SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Tractor returns to Indiana family after 68 years of service

Since he was a young boy, Chip Horn heard stories about the 1951 John Deere Model B tractor that plowed through his family’s history.

Posted: May 25, 2020 10:03 AM

KOUTS, Ind. (AP) — Since he was a young boy, Chip Horn heard stories about the 1951 John Deere Model B tractor that plowed through his family’s history.

“Just stories,” he told me. “I never physically saw it.”

The 27-year-old lifelong Kouts man always wondered what happened to that tractor. His grandpa, whom he never met, bought the late-styled model in 1952, brand new.

Lawrence Becker was a farmer who worked in the wintertime at Wanatah Implement, a John Deere dealership. Becker also bought a John Deere Model G at the same time, but later traded it for a model 4020.

Just before World War II, the Model B was introduced as a smaller tractor to fill the needs of row-crop farmers who didn’t need a tractor as large as the Model A. The tractor had a nearly 20-year production run, with versions of Model B broadly divided into three groups, according to TractorData.com.

“The original Model B is often referred to as ‘unstyled,’ and includes all tractors built through 1938,” the site states. “In 1939, with tractor number 60000, the ‘early styled’ Model B began. In mid-1947, with tractor number 201000, the ‘late styled’ Model B began.”

There’s something about a tractor, any model, that serves as an iconic symbol for American farming. And the families that depend on it to earn a living.

Horn, who doesn’t have children, operated his first tractor when he was 9.

“I almost ran it through the barn,” he joked.

At 13, he restored his first tractor, a 1951 Farmall Cub.

“My uncle and I did it together,” he recalled.

Horn still has that tractor, along with eight other ones. He’s a proud collector.

“I have a John Deere Model A as well,” Horn said.

Of course he does, I replied.

Still, his collection was never complete without his grandpa’s 1951 John Deere Model B.

“This is the one that was always the goal, you know,” Horn said.

His mother farmed with it in the 1960s. His uncle rode it as a teenager. His grandpa owned it until he retired from farming in the 1980s.

The family tractor was sold a few times, Horn said, eventually ending up in the enviable collection of Lou Abbott, owner of the A&M Farm Center in Valparaiso. In Horn’s younger days, he used to work at that center. He’s been keeping an eye on that tractor.

“Lou had it in Florida for years, using it to move airplanes around,” Horn said. “He would never sell it. After he passed away, it was sold and got hauled back up here. I lost track of it.”

Through the farming community grapevine, Horn recently found out who owned it.

“A guy named Kyle in Valparaiso,” Horn said.

The tractor had certain modifications done to it by Horn’s family, according to his uncle. This is how Horn knew it was “the one.”

“I’ve been tracking it down most of my life,” said Horn, a field technician for Konecranes, an overhead crane company.

With help from a friend, Alex Leman, Horn finally tracked it down.

“And, by golly, it was for sale,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the purchase but not his passion for it.

On Monday, he finally took possession, brought it home and chugged around his neighborhood in a sort of victory lap.

“I’ve never physically seen it before now,” Horn said. “Runs like a top!”

His mother, Janet Becker Schweizer, also took it for a spin, for nostalgia sake. As did Blake Werner, the 22-year-old great-great-grandson of the late Lawrence Becker.

Somewhere, Becker has to be smiling. He likely paid $1,900 for that tractor in 1952, brand new, equivalent in purchasing power to about $18,000 in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index.

Horn paid $3,400 to get it back into his family.

“Most expensive antique tractor I’ve ever bought,” he said.

Horn and his cousin plan to restore it, again. Someday.

The old tractor’s farming days are over.

“It’s just gonna be a preserved heirloom for our family to enjoy,” he said.

__

Source: Post-Tribune

Lafayette
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Kokomo
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 21°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Lafayette
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 25°
Danville
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Frankfort
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 20°
Frankfort
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 20°
Monticello
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Monticello
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Logansport
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 22°
Active Start To The Work Week
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
Unassigned0376

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events