Rt. 2, Box 125, Camden, West Virginia 26338
When I finished high school in 1957, my brother bought an International 300 utility tractor with a front bucket and backhoe on it. The backhoe was a Henry with a cable swing.
He wanted me to be his operator, so I agreed to it. I worked the 300 and it worked me. Five or six days later, I got to the point I could dig a ditch and use the front bucket.
A few years later he bought a new yellow Gravely walk-behind with a backhoe on it. This was in the late 1960s. It was a lot of fun to run and saved a lot of manual labor. On level ground it worked fine. On rough ground it was on its side more than on its wheels. I like old antique iron, tractors, engines and the like. This Gravely was traded off and got away. I have no idea where it went, so I started looking for one.
This year I went to the 1998 Tiger Tractor Show in Burlington, West Virginia. On my way home, in Randolph County, I happened to see one in a backyard on a trailer. By the time I got stopped, I was down the road a quarter of a mile. I turned around and went back to the driveway. The owner came out to greet me.
This Gravely is a red one and has a Terramite #1 backhoe on it with a 16 inch bucket. The tractor is a 1975 model, 7.6 engine with electric start. The owner said he might sell it after he finished digging a water line to his house. I checked with him every two weeks and on the fourth week he said he would sell it. On November 14, 1998, the hunt came to a happy end some thirty years later.
Never give up on finding a prize toy. It will show up sometime--somewhere.
I also operated another odd backhoe loader in the late 1960s, the Belmar tractor. It had a Ford motor and a Select O Speed transmission. It had the same size tires and wheels on both front and rear. It was built solid and steered like a dozer with two levers. The rubber tires did not last long.
If anyone has any information on the Gravely backhoe or the Belmar, please contact me. I would like to know how many are out there. I am still a backhoe operator part-time.