The Story of the 'Old 1928 Rumely Do-All Tractor'

| October/November 1987

  • Old Rumely
    Old Rumely Do All when re-purchased July 1986.
  • 1928 Rumely
    1928 Rumely Do All in 1935 in Flandreau, South Dakota. James L. Keenan, then age 24 is on the tractor.
  • 1928 tractor
    The 1928 tractor in May 1982.
  • Old Rumely
    The old Rumely Do All restored in 1986-87, as it looked May 31, 1987. James Keenan, now 76, on the tractor.

  • Old Rumely
  • 1928 Rumely
  • 1928 tractor
  • Old Rumely

1724 No. 91 Street, Omaha, NE 68114

When I was farming near the town of Flandreau in Moody County, South Dakota in the year of 1934 during the period of 'draught and depression', I drove to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and purchased a six year old used Rumely Do All tractor with two-row mounted cultivator. I don not recall the exact cost but it was less than $500.00.

I used the above tractor on over 200 acres of tillable farmland through 1934 and 1935 and then quit farming and sold the above tractor to my neighbor Walter Wiegel in the spring of 1936 for $400.00.

The 'old' Rumely tractor was a 1928 Model convertible type, either used as a three wheel row crop or a four wheel regular type tractor. At the time of purchase the color was Allis-Chalmers orange Waukesha four cylinder engine (model XA26, Serial number 136785) and I find it was manufactured in May 1928.

I moved away from South Dakota in 1936 and forgot about the old tractor for a number of years, but later when visiting relatives an old friend in the old hometown of Flandreau about the year of 1942, I found the old Rumely abandoned in a grove of trees near where I originally farmed east of Flandreau. The old tractor then belonged to Rude Wiegel, the town's most popular blacksmith and machinist. I tried to buy the old tractor in 1942 and many times thereafter but was told that Rude had intentions of restoring it himself after his retirement and it was not for sale at any price. It seems that Rude was so involved in serving his farm customers with welding and repair service that time did not allow him to restore it himself.

At a chance meeting with Rude Wiegel at an old grade school reunion meeting in July of 1986, I inquired again about buying the old Rumely and was told that he just may decide to sell it to me! A few days later I just called on the phone from Omaha, Nebraska and asked if he would help load the tractor when I came up to get it and the answer was 'yes'....I drove from Omaha to Sioux Falls, South Dakota the next day and paid $800.00 for it-just twice the price I originally sold it for fifty years earlier. The tractor had not been used or run for 44 years and was in unusually rough condition. The cultivator was missing as well as many of the parts needed to convert it to a row crop tractor. Just to look at the old tractor would indicate to most anyone that it could never be made to run again. But having owned it and farmed with it over fifty years earlier, I was determined that I could restore it to be like original condition.


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