I grew up in Columbus, Mississippi with an A Farmall. I drove many miles in my mind sitting on the seat of that red tractor. It's my favorite tractor in the world. That tractor is also the first tractor my daddy, Gary Holtman, ever owned. It seemed to me that Daddy always enjoyed working on tractors more than anything, and in recent years he has been able to spend more time gathering up old tractors and fixing them up. Several of them are special because they once belonged to special people in Daddy's life. Every one of them has a story. I got Daddy to tell me the story of each one and have put down the words here. I hope you enjoy our sharing these stories.
These are Daddy's words....
This tractor’s serial number is FR138. The R stands for research. According to Frank Peacock, the late zone manager for International Harvestor, this tractor was put out on a farm in Calhoun County, Mississippi in 1937, two years before they came on the market. The serial number of all production models begins in 501. This tractor is real unique in that it has an outlet for a hydraulic pump on the motor that’s the same as the Super C. Of course, you’ve got to remember that these tractors didn't come out until ’39, so that’s the reason for the unusual things about it.
The right blue lever you see is-I’m not sure what it goes to. I think it goes to a rear-mounted two-pan, pull-type breaking plow, semi-mounted. The tall right blue lever goes to a disc breaking plow that goes between the front and back wheels, and you set the right front wheel out so that it runs in the previous furrow and the right rear wheel runs in the new furrow. I bought this tractor in 1964 for $300 for it and all the equipment from Rev. Grover Perkins. He bought it from W.M. Hardin, better known as Jack Hardin up at Caledonia (Mississippi). Jack Hardin got it from up at Calhoun County, maybe from the original owner that got it when International Harvestor never came back and got it.
I restored this tractor back in the winter of 2009 just like it---it’s probably done its last day’s work.
So they put this on a farm and they never came and got it. (Missy)
There's also a B Farmall with a cotton picker on it that I’ve got pictures of –same deal---in Calhoun County. Who knows why.
“This is my daddy’s F-14 Farmall. He bought it from John Schnicke Implement Company in Meadow Grove, Nebraska in 1939, September of ’39, 3 months before I was born. This tractor came out with dual tires on the rear. I believe they were 7 x 44, and we took those off and put 40 inch single tires on it in about 1947 after we moved to Missouri. One of my brothers borrowed the back tires off of it to put on his F-12 and put his F-12 steel wheels on it, and that’s the way it was when I got it, but thank goodness they sent the old wheels with it.
I rebuilt the engine on this tractor. Daddy rebuilt it in 1952, as best I recall, and it had been run just a few hours after that, so the bottom end was in good shape. The engine was stuck. I drove the piston sleeves out with a slegehammer and looked at them, and they looked just like C Farmall piston sleeves. I had a brand new set of those and I put those in and they fit perfect. In looking at an old parts book later on I found out that the piston sleeves, rod-bearings, and the main-bearings are the same as the C Farmall. Now, you’ll notice it has a rag joint on the steering. That’s a shock joint. The F 12, the steering shaft came straight back and it set a lot lower. It was unhandy. On the F 14 they raised it up and they put this rag-joint in it. I went to CarQuest and they had exactly what I needed for a late-model pickup. It fit perfect.
This tractor has a road gear. This arm on the front that you see there is called a “quick dodge.” This particular cultivator came out in 1932 and I have a manual for it. It’s called a “quick dodge” for dodging stuff in the field.
What does that mean “road gear?” (Missy)
"That means instead of running 3 miles an hour top speed, it runs 12. I’ve driven it many miles on the highway.
Another story on the F 14 is I got it in August of ’07. My oldest brother Bobby had terminal cancer so I had to get things rolling real quick if he was going to get to see a picture of it. And he did get to see a picture of it. I don’t know if he really realized what he was looking at or not, but…
Oh, and another thing about that. Daddy bought it from John Schnicke. I called my brother Paul. He couldn’t remember who Daddy bought it from. I called my brother David. He couldn’t remember. So I called Valjean King, our landlady up in Nebraska, who we go by and see every year. She is nearly 90 years old now, just a sweet lady. And she said, “Well, Gary, that was John Schnicke…Let me check the phone book and make sure I’ve got the spelling right.”
"A T5 Bumgartz 1-cylinder diesel air-cooled. Mr. Charlie Arndt gave this to me a number of years ago. The front wheels will turn square to the right or to the left. You’ll see the geometry above the front tire. Real strange. I’ve had it a number of years. It’s a T5 1-cylinder diesel. That’s a wood seat on it. I keep meaning to put varnish on that seat. Just haven’t got around to it yet.
He had bought a tiller for it and put it on the rear from Sears Roebuck. And he said it worked great. He hit a root and broke the chain. I’ve repaired the chain; just haven’t put the motor on it yet. It has a separate motor. It’s got 8-speed transmission."
“This is a VBF Moline. What that means is that it was built after Minneapolis Moline bought BF Avery, so they called this a VBF Moline. I went with Sam Parra and hauled this home for him many years ago when he bought it from Mrs. Ray Price. It belonged to her brother. I overhauled it at that time and repainted it in its red color. But over the years the red peeled off it in many places and it showed it to be yellow. And the wheels showed it to be this Prairie Gold. Prairie Gold is a Minnneapolis Moline color. And supposedly the tractor should be Minneapolis Moline Prairie Gold, but I’ve been told by the authorities that the wheels are supposed to be red; the cultivoator’s supposed to be red, but this is the color it originally was, so that’s the color I painted it.
I got this from Mr. Sam Parra. He gave it to me. He used it for many years cultivating his garden. Fine tractor.”
“I traded for this with Tommy Shockley, a retired school teacher-lives over there on Wright Road. I tried to buy it from him for years. I couldn’t buy it from him. I finally traded from him. I traded him an International Scout, 4-cylinder, a belt-pulley attachment for a WC Allis Chalmers—also fits a WD—just this, that, and the other thing. I just kept putting stuff on the stack until finally he agreed to the trade. The back wheels were rusted completely off the rims. When I brought it home, I looked out at an old A Farmall I had and I thought, “Boy, them wheels sure do look the same.” And they are they same, the tires. So I got by with just swapping the wheels and tires off the old A Farmall. Doris and I went the Litchfield, Kentucky and got the engine. This is a combine engine, an LUT or LUC engine, which is identical to it. I had to change flywheels and so forth because it was a hand crank. But that wasn’t any big problem either. I got the hood from some Mr. Deb Kimmelschlause or something like that in California; the hood, gas tank, and air cleaner from him. Marty and I built the grill. There was virtually no grill left in it.
This little tractor is kind of unique. The tractor was built from spare parts originally. The steering sector is the steering sector for a model A Ford. The gears in the transmission are out of a Model A car. This was built in 1942.”
"That was Jack Parra’s. It’s a 40 and they only built the 40 I think for one year, and then they built the 420. So that would make it a ‘53 model. Jack had a Super A Farmall that was the last year they were built. But he wanted something with a 3-point hitch. Ray Dove had this 40 John Deere, and they traded. I think they traded even up. Both of the were approximately 1953 models. Billy Welch has that Super A Farmall now, and he has completely restored it. I overhauled the little John Deere and repainted it and put new inner tubes in both back tires. I put a new set of front tires on it, and it is a fine little tractor now. Bought new side panels for the battery.
Jean (Jean Parra - Jack’s sister) gave it to Dale (Parra). Dale took it home and never cranked it again. Just a few months before Jean passed away, 2 or 3 years ago, Dale mentioned to her that I’d like to have it, and she said, “Well, let him have it.” So I reworked it, and Marty drove it in the Christmas Parade that year. Two weeks after I got it, he drove it in the Christmas Parade, that’s how fast I hustled."