Indiana Man Tracks History of Dad's Old Tractor

Early manufacturers kept records that helped track original owners.

Published on: May 1, 2013

Bob Stwalley knew the Huber Tractor Company shipped a new tractor and thresher by rail to Crawfordsville when he was just a kid. In later life, he wanted to know exactly when that happened. To his surprise, the Huber Tractor Company kept meticulous records of each piece of equipment made and shipped, and the ledgers were still around. He was able to determine exactly when the new 40-62 tractor and thresher arrived in town.

He recently traced the history of that original tractor, his dad, Merton, purchased for use. It became the centerpiece of the 1,000 acre threshing ring at Linden, running a thresher by pulley and belt drive. The ring operated through 1948.

Plenty of history: Bob Stwalley and his wife, Nancy, center, and Teresa Sutherlin, granddaughter of Uncle Louis, partner with Bobs dad in the threshing business years ago, recall old times.
Plenty of history: Bob Stwalley and his wife, Nancy, center, and Teresa Sutherlin, granddaughter of Uncle Louis, partner with Bob's dad in the threshing business years ago, recall old times.

"After that dad and his partner, Uncle Louis Conrad, sold it to a guy who still wanted to thresh his own wheat instead of combining," Stwalley remembers. "The only problem was he didn't know how to run the tractor. So for a couple of years after he bought it from them, we helped him thresh and made sure he knew how to run the tractor."

Stwalley even recalls helping him use the tractor for another job too.

"He wanted to tear out a long hedgerow between fields, and convinced me to come run the tractor. He hooked onto the brush and I pulled it out. There was a huge, long pile of brush when we left the field."

Later, when his interest piqued in the old tractors, Stwalley tried to track his dad's original 40-62.

"It apparently was sold to someone with a sawmill, and it was used there for several years," he says. "Eventually, something happened to it and it wound up in a salvage yard for scrap."

The four tractors that Stwalley and his wife, Nancy, recently donated to the Pioneer Village for use and display at the Indiana State Fair weren't the ones used on his farm, but were the same models. He tracked them down around the country so he could have tractors like the ones his dad and uncle used so long ago. Now he's happy other people will get to enjoy them.