Independence Day From the Tractor Seat

I’m honored to present a guest writer on the blog. Cindy has given me opportunity to guest write on her blog “Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl”. Now she has graced my blog with another take on July 4th, in Franklin ~ Rick

By Cindy Ladage

There is something very American about celebrating the 4th of July from a tractor seat, and that is how a group of antique tractor collectors celebrated this past Independence day during the Franklin Tractor Drive. Doug Edwards and Josh Adkins families had planned the event with assistance from Rick Shaw and others.

Leaving from Josh Adkins place and heading to the Franklin square, a group of tractor drivers headed out to celebrate the day. Franklin is famous for it’s burgoo. In fact, the Lions club building , on the square proclaims that fact boldly on the front of the building that Franklin is “Burgoo Capital of the World”!

Every year, except this one because of COVID-19, burgoo is served during the 4th of July. From what I could find, burgoo has American origins and is thought to have been developed in Kentucky

Celebrating the 4th on a tractor is a very American idea because tractors are a very US invention as well! In fact, the first tractor was developed in the village of Froelich, Iowa by John Froelich who invented the first gasoline powered traction engine. The Froelich tractor company later became part of the Waterloo Engine Company that went on to become John Deere.

The word tractor was first used in the US as well! Although there may be some argument, most agree that the word was first coined by W H Williams around the turn of the century while working for the Hart Parr Co in Charles City when writing copy to describe a gasoline traction engine. He shortened the word to tractor and a new word was coined

So on the 4th of July, a truly American Holiday, around 70 tractors of all makes and models completed a 30 mile trek through Morgan County, Illinois countryside on a tractor drive. Many tractors had American flags flying adding to the patriotic spirit. Perhaps the most patriotic tractor of the day was the Case Spirit of 76. Also known as the model 1570. An article in Heritage Iron states that approximately 200 of these were built although no exact number has been determined.

The hot July sun, tractor collectors, and the love of old iron on the 4th said it all. An Independence Day celebration for the record books

Thank you Cindy! Your historical accounting for the day was VERY educational. Cindy has written many articles for various specialty magazines and papers. I’m very grateful that she patiently answers questions from me, and discusses ideas to make my writing better. I’d like to consider her a mentor for all she’s done to help me. I enjoyed our time working together doing “press coverage” this past holiday. ~ Rick

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