Remembering Charlie Smith

| June/July 1990

  • Charlie Smith
    Charlie Smith was 86 when this photo was taken in 1974.

  • Charlie Smith

11215 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49002

Back in 1973 I found a Rumely '6A' No. 603. This tractor was the 101st of the total of 802 that were built prior to Allis Chalmers buying out Advance Rumely in 1931.

This tractor had been torn down 20 years prior to my finding it on a parcel of land our daughter and son-in-law bought to build a new home.

I had it hauled to Kalamazoo the following year and proceeded to restore it. I finished it in December of that year. My wife called the local newspaper and asked if they would like to write a story on the restoration of this antique tractor. So they came out to where the restoration had taken place and took some pictures. Then I and a friend, Mr. Ray Noel, drove this tractor 12 miles home. This was just before Christmas and it was a typical Michigan winter, so we needed our mittens on.

In the article in the paper I asked for any information that anyone could give me on this tractor. A few weeks later I received a letter from C.B. Smith, a man from Kalamazoo, Michigan who was wintering in Florida. He told me of being a field engineer with the Rumely Company for 15 years in the early 1900's, working for them in South America with the Pancorvo Brothers, a Rumely dealer in Peru. He later returned to Kalamazoo, Michigan and was a Rumely dealer here until Allis Chalmers took over Rumely and then was with them for a total of 40 years in business. He later sold his business to his sons, Smith Brothers of Fulton, Michigan. They had sent their dad the picture and the newspaper article.

Mr. Smith told me in his letter he sold my tractor to a Maynard Fellows of Schoolcraft, Michigan. He said he sold many of them that year in and out of Kalamazoo County and had records of most of the transactions. He said he was a man of 86 years and would very much like to meet me on his return to Kalamazoo in the spring.