Oklahoma Farming Through the Years


| December/January 1985



107 Beech wood Pl Lexington Park, MD 20653

My father began farming in Oklahoma as a 16-year-old with his team and bundle wagon. Each year Dad and his brothers helped the local farmers with the threshing which was done with a steam engine and a thresher. The steam engine was sometimes parked at my grandfather's after harvest where it would remain until next year.

Dad bought his first tractor, a Fordson, in about 1928 or 1929. In 1931 he bought a 1929 D John Deere that had been returned from Argentina following a crop disaster there. The 29 'D' served well until 1936 when Dad traded it for a 1935 'back model' (new, but 1 year old). This one had 3 forward speeds.

I learned to drive this one when I was only 10 years old. I wasn't big enough to crank it when I started but could soon walk up the lugs and apply enough pull to the flywheel to start it. This one was still going strong when WW-2 broke out and even through the conflict 'Johnny' kept up the good work.

By 1943 rubber tires were installed on the front only. My, what a joy to drive! In 1944 a surplus set of 16' wide B-50 bomber tires with 16 ply casing and diamond tread were installed. When it came to driving old 'Johnny' with rubber all around, I thought I was in heaven for sure. My hitch in the army left Dad to farm alone again which he did with the 1935 'Johnny'. Later, after my return from the Phillipines, Dad bought a 1937 'D' at a farm sale. This was faster in some of the gears and seemed like a new one beside old 'Johnny'. Dad named this '37 'Kenny', as he bought it at the Kenny Bliss farm sale.

By this time I had returned home and married my high school sweetheart. I bought a new 1946 Ford Ferguson and a modest line of equipment. Dad kept insisting that it was just another Fordson with rubber 'tars' (tires). It didn't take long, however, to get his attention with the 3 point hydraulic system and the Sherman overdrive transmission. We (Dad and I) put in 60 acres of alfalfa which was cut each time with the 'Ford Fergy'. Dad used the 'D', Kenny, to rake with a new David Bradley side delivery rake. Dad had mixed some turnip seed with the alfalfa, just a tiny bit, but we had tons of turnips. We approached the alfalfa pellet mill on pelleting turnips but no one knew of a market for turnip pellets. Our dairy and beef stock ate well that winter (on turnips).