THREE GENERATIONS-OUR HOBBY

By Staff
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5 East 6th Street, Prophetstown, Illinois 61277

To have one antique tractor collector in the family is bad
enough, at times; to have three collectors in one family can be
unbearable. It can also be a way to bridge the generation gap.
Grandpa Jim is 81 years old, grandson Joe is 15, and Lyle is the
one in the middle. Grandpa and Joe lay claim to most of the
tractors and Lyle is the mechanic.

We have a large collection of tractors and machinery and a few
gas engines. In our collection are three Hart Parrs, several John
Deeres, Farmalls, a binder, a sawmill, a model ‘T’ truck,
all belonging to Grandpa. Lyle and Joe have two Case tractors, an
Oliver 80, a Case threshing machine, the Lehr and ‘LI’
Deere, the latter two being Joe’s pride and joy. We also have
the gas engines, and some horse-drawn implements, and since I
can’t beat ’em (I am daughter-in-law, wife, and mother), I
now collect dishes, toys and furniture and join ’em at the
shows.

The first antique tractor we had was a Farmall F-20; then we
bought the Lehr. At that time it wasn’t antique just unusual.
Next we got a John Deere GP, and from then on it became a way of
life. Buying, selling, trading, fixing up, tearing down, scrounging
for parts, taking vacations to coincide with steam shows is second
nature to us. Grandpa brought the model T home from a vacation
trip. He literally had most of it in bushel baskets. I told him he
would never get it to run, but this summer he entered it in a local
parade and won first prize!

Most of our tractors do run, some might, and some never will,
but we have 27 tractors, so there is always one to work on.

We belong to antique clubs in Geneseo, Sycamore, Stephenson
County and Bureau County, all in Illinois. We attend all the shows
in this area that we can and we try to have as many tractors to
exhibit as possible. Joe enters his ‘LI’ in almost all the
parades in the area. He had it in the parade celebrating the 100th
birthday of Tampico, Illinois the birthplace of President Reagan,
which is about 18 miles from where we live.

For those unfamiliar with the Wirth’s ‘Big Boy,’ it
was manufactured by the Lehr Company, founded by four men named
Leas, Early, Harkins and Rosar. The Big Boy was an ‘orphan’
tractor manufactured by Custom Manufacturing Corporation of
Shelbyville, IN. It was only made for a couple of years. Lehr then
became Dunham Lehr and today manufactures farm implements.

So, if you ever get to our part of the country, stop and take a
look. We’d love to meet you. We live 7 miles southwest of
Prophetstown, Illinois on Spring Hill Road. If you can’t stop
by the farm, look for us at the shows. You can’t miss usJim is
the old guy on the Hart Parrs, Joe is the kid in the John Deere
T-shirt driving the LI and Lyle is the one running back and forth
between them, carrying the oil can and the wrenches.

P.S.: Our older son, Tim, has now come home from the Army.
He has taken a big hand in helping his dad farm and helping to
restore the tractors and he has a 4 year-old son who will
undoubtedly be the 4th generation in the antique collecting
business! In fact, the hand-me-down tractors that he rides and the
little ones that he plays with are getting to be worth their weight
in gold. Maybe you could say we are a four-generation antique
tractor family. But the family that antiques together, stays
together and prays a lot! And we have a lot of fun together at the
same time. One couldn’t ask for more.

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