of the North
Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME XII, NUMBER 4 (NOV, 1995)
John Deere Comes to North Manchester
by Rex Reahard Jay asked me to tell you about the Reahards and the John Deere business in North Manchester, and the many changes that have taken place in farming in the time we were in business from 1936 to 1957. This period of time was when horse power farming was rapidly changing to power farming and John Deere became a household name in the farming industry.
First, I want to introduce you to the Reahard family and then tell how they got involved with John Deere. But before I go any further, I want to answer a question I've been asked many times: "Who is Catherine Reahard whose tombstone is on the Historical Society's Memorial Wall in the Halderman Cemetery?" Catherine Bair was the first wife of John F. Reahard who came to young North Manchester in 1838 - a pioneer! They were married in 1851 and had five children. Their oldest son was Franklin, my grandfather.
As I start my story, I want to call your attention to two adages in this story; namely, l. Sometimes it isn't what you know but who you know to get ahead, and 2. what goes around comes around. I'm sure they are familiar to you, so see if you can pick them out in this story.
When John F. Reahard came to No. Manchester in 1838 he was ten years old. He took jobs with men and moved freight (the Movers) from Lagro to the new town of No. Manchester. Over a period of time he was able to save enough money to buy a team and wagon of his own. By 1860 he was able to buy a farm 1/2 mile west of the Bolivar bridge where he, his wife Catherine and their five children (four boys and a girl) started farming. Catherine died in 1867 and John F. later married Sarah Lautzenhiser. From that marriage three children were born. John F. died in 1914 at the age of 86.
Our story now continues with my grandfather, Franklin Reahard. He was born in 1853 and in 1874 he married Ellen Cripe. They had three children, one of whom was Dan Reahard. Ellen died in 1882 and in 1883 Franklin married Sarah Royer. From this marriage there were four children, my father being the second born. After his first marriage, Franklin started farming where the Highland Hills Golf course is now on Highway 15. Because of the hilly land, he sold that farm and purchased the one just south of it.
In June of 1896 tragedy struck. Franklin Reahard hitched his team of horses to a wagon loaded with produce to be taken to Wabash. At the time there was no bridge across the river. One either had to ford the river or travel three miles to the east to the Rey bridge. While in Wabash, the weather was fine, however in the north east a heavy rain had fallen which caused to river to rise very fast. Coming home quite late in the day, he was not aware of this and in attempting to again ford the river, he was swept away and drowned. My father was eight years old at the time.
After my grandfather Franklin died, my grandmother, Sarah decided to sell the farm and she bought a house and moved her family to Roann. My father, Russell (Rick) got jobs working for farmers in the area and clerking at the Baber General Store in Roann. Two very important things happened while clerking at the General Store which changed his life. First was when he met a man by the name of Charles Moreland who on occasion stopped at the store to sell items of Hardware. One of those items was the John Deere Walking Plow, another was the John Deere Two Horse Riding One Row Corn Cultivator. There was also a John Deere gas engine used to pump water. This was the introduction of John Deere items to this area.
The second was that this is where he met my mother when she came in one day to make a purchase. Soon love dominated the scene and they were married December 25, 1911 and moved to a farm south of Akron, Indiana where my father not only farmed but found time to attend an auctioneering school at Bluffton, Ind. My sister, brother and I were all born in Akron.
In 1928 my father learned that an IHC dealer in Peru needed a salesman and he applied and was hired for the job. In 1934 Dad learned that the North Manchester IHC dealer had died and his son-in-law was running the business and needed an experienced salesman. With Dad's previous experience he was immediately hired when he applied.
It is customary for farm machinery salesmen to go to the state fair and look at the new equipment the companies are introducing to the farmers for the next year. In 1934 while walking through the John Deere machinery display, Dad happened to see his old friend, Charlie Moreland who, 25 years before called on the Baber General Store in Roann. In that period of time, Charlie had been promoted to Vice-President and General Manager of the John Deere Plow Co. in charge of the Indiana and Kentucky areas. After the small talk and catching up on the past, Charley got serious and asked Dad to start a John Deere dealership in North Manchester. So when he came home, he discussed it with the family and the family approved it.
So John Deere came to North Manchester. We started the business in 1934 where ONE WORLD HANDCRAFTS is now.
Our first inventory was a John Deere "A" tractor on steel wheels and a John Deere "B" tractor on lug wheels. Incidentally, these tractors had only two cylinders. We also got a two bottom plow and a one bottom plow. The two bottom was pulled behind the JD "A" and the one bottom behind the JD "B".
This inventory also included a 7 foot disc harrow, a three section drag harrow, a three section spring tooth harrow and two 999 corn planters. A few repair parts were also added to this inventory. If we needed anything else, we could drive to Ft. Wayne to the John Deere Warehouse.
The first year we sold three tractors - a JD "B" and two JD "A"s - steel wheels, of course. Tractors with rubber tires were unheard of until 1938 when Sears sold a rubber tired tractor in this area called a GRAHAM BRADLEY. This tractor, ordinarily on steel wheels, would pull a 2-bottom plow, but with rubber tires, it could pull a 3-bottom plow. By 1940 all tractors had rubber tires unless it was a special order.
Business was slow the first three years, but auctioneering was good. There was no competition for auctioneers in the Manchester area except for Hank Auker at South Whitley. When Dad had a farm sale, he could pick up a lot of prospects for farm machinery sales from the bidders. Later, he would call on them and many times make a sale. However, they usually had something to trade in and that something would likely be a horse drawn item. The most difficult trade-in to handle and deal with was livestock - horses, cows, pigs and sometimes sheep. My uncle, John Reahard, dad's brother, who had a farm 2 1/2 miles southwest of Laketon, was a livestock dealer and would take them or help sell them. The Liberty Mills sale barn was very active at that time and much of the livestock was sold there. Farming up to the l940's was much like it is today in the Amish areas.
Most of the machinery that we sold was shipped by rail in box cars which we had to unload and warehouse until sold. Most of the farm equipment came in bundles wired together. We had to cut the wires, lay out the pieces, get out the set-up book and assemble each item.
In the early 40's horse drawn equipment was rapidly changing to tractor drawn equipment. John Deere came out with streamlined tractors on rubber tires and with electric starters and even lights. They had a complete line of equipment by now from buying out smaller companies such as VAN BRUNT GRAIN DRILLS, MANSUR CORN PLANTERS, DAINE HAY TOOLS, LETZ FEED GRINDERS, DEERING GRAIN BINDERS, etc. They also added combines and corn pickers.
In the l930's and the mid 40's the average farm in the N. Manchester area was 80 acres. If someone owned 160 acres, he was a big farmer. When WW II came, the farm equipment dealers were rationed. The Reahard Implement Co. was no exception. I remember getting a letter from the U.S. government stating "There will be no more steel allotted for Hammer Mills since enough hammers have already been produced." What a joke! Farmers use hammer mills to grind feed -- not to produce Hammers to pound nails. Also in 1942 a ceiling price was put on certain farm equipment such as tractors, combines, corn pickers and hay balers. These items were becoming scarce because of rationing and they were bringing such high prices at auctions that only the wealthy farmers could buy them. This presented big problems for auctioneers, including my dad. For example: If an auctioneer is selling a tractor with a ceiling price of $600 (set by O.P.A.) and several bidders are willing to give the $600, who gets the tractor? Some one suggested putting the names in a hat and letting them draw for it. The auctioneers tried that, but the state of Indiana -- back then -- said this was gambling, which was illegal.
So, the auctioneers got together and solved their problem. They would put an item that had no ceiling price such as a bale of hay or straw or even a straw hat in some cases and let the tractor bidders bid on the other item (the bale of hay, for example) and the one who bid the most got the tractor. A bale of hay in this situation could bring several hundred dollars. I remember my dad coming home and telling about selling a straw hat for $350.00. An auctioneer in the Plymouth Area defied the O.P.A and their ceiling price system. He spent a year in jail and paid a $1000. fine.
During the war the farm equipment business was slow, but you could notice one thing that the horse drawn equipment was either traded or set aside for power equipment. By this time the Reahard Implement Co. had made three moves since starting business. In 1938 we moved from downtown to the building now housing the Spyker Spreader Warehouse which is next to the Julia Felgar Real Estate office on West Main Street. In 1942 we bought a building at the corner of Main and First Street from the Percy Bunker estate.
Over the years John Deere has made many changes in its equipment and one early change in particular that I remember -- mostly for its advertisements - was the John Deere "H" tractor which came out in 1939. It pulled a one bottom 16" plow or a two bottom 12" plow and you could cultivate two rows of corn. Its advertising went like this: it costs the price of a load of bread or 11 cents to plow an acre of ground and the price of a 3 cent postage stamp to cultivate an acre of corn." Wouldn't we like to go back to those days?
In the early 50's farm machinery began to get bigger. John Deere came out with tractors that pulled four and five bottom plows; self propelled combines with 10' and 18' headers (that's how wide a swath it could cut) bigger grain drills; bigger disks; bigger planters, etc.
In the early 50's John Deere management changed also. My father's old friend Charley Moreland was given an early retirement; the warehouse in Ft. Wayne was closed and everything was moved to Indianapolis. New and younger men took over and the new management wanted the Dealers to carry more parts and employ a parts manager. They wanted a full time salesman as well as two mechanics in the shop. They made a survey of our sales area and then told us what we should stock. At first it was a suggestion, but as time passed, the suggestions became stronger and they began shipping equipment to us that we had not ordered. This caused quite a discussion at the monthly dealer meetings and a profitable dealership was no longer profitable. Incidentally, John Deere stock went from $16 to $32 in a two year time span.
In the spring of 1954 John Deere invited one person from each dealership to come to the tractor factory at Waterloo, Iowa to see the future tractors and equipment. My Dad being the senior member of the company made the trip. When he got back he said he couldn't believe what he saw --mainly tractors as big as locomotives, pulling equipment as wide as a highway around a field. He said these machines weren't ready for market yet, but they would be ready in four to five years. These are the big tractors and combines we see today on the farms.
In the fall of 1954 the John Deere area salesman (the blockman to us) stopped by as he usually did, only this time he asked us if we would be willing to close our store in No. Manchester and open one in Wabash. The main office was moving the dealerships to the county seats with one dealer to a county. In other words, they were getting ready for the big equipment about to come. After some discussion with the blockman, my father said, "We'll think about it". Over the coming weeks, I could tell that Dad was very discouraged and depressed. None of us wanted to go to Wabash. The only thing left was to sell the business, for the folks to retire and for me to find employment elsewhere.
On March 23, 1955, my father died from a stroke. He was 67 at the time. In order to settle the estate, the family decided to close the store. The process was started, and in 1957 it was completed. The Reahard Implement Company closed its doors. As for myself, I became a teacher at Lagro High School and at Northfield High School where I remained until I retired in l980.
J. Raymond Schutz
by Wilbur Brookover Manchester College, many of its students, and especially I, owe a great debt to J. Raymond Schutz who served the college for 22 years during the decades of the 1920s and 1930s. Many, perhaps most, of us who were taught by and influenced by J. Raymond Schutz have passed away. Therefore, I hasten to express my great appreciation for what I learned from him and the great impact he had on all of Manchester College.
Professor Schutz was born near Pandora, Ohio in 1890. He died at age 55 in 1945. He received his bachelor's degree from Otterbein College in 1914. He received his master's degree at the University of Chicago in 1919. He also studied at Yale University and at the University of California. He came to Manchester College shortly after receiving his master's degree. He taught sociology and economics at Manchester for 22 years. All of us who studied any sociology or economics at Manchester during those decades were students of Professor Schutz. He was an outstanding lecturer and many students enrolled in his courses.
All during the decades of the '20s and '30s and until his death in 1945, Professor Schutz was a popular and highly respected lecturer throughout northern Indiana and Ohio. He lectured in churches, Kiwanis clubs and at many school functions including as many as 35 commencement addresses in high schools throughout the area each year. Like many other high school students, I identified Manchester College with J. Raymond Schutz. The College's reputation and acquaintance throughout the region was greatly enhanced by Professor Schutz's extensive lecturing.
During my Manchester student years, 1929 to 1933, Professor Schutz lectured off campus two or three times almost every week. Professor Schutz's classes were always scheduled in the forenoon and he spent many afternoons travelling throughout the Mideast for lectures. As a personal note, I became aware of this when, beginning in my sophomore year, Professor Schutz asked me to grade papers for him. He had an arrangement with the college to pay a small stipend for grading and occasional teaching for him. Beginning in my junior year and very extensively in the senior year, I taught many classes when his off-campus lecturing required him to leave earlier in the day. On numerous occasions, I travelled with him in order to relieve him of some of the driving. Sometimes he taught sociology and economics courses for Indiana University at Fort Wayne or other cities and a few times I taught those classes for him when he had a conflict.
All during his tenure at Manchester College, Professor Schutz was the minister of the First Brethren Church in North Manchester. He served that church 25 years. He was also, at one time, district governor of the Indiana Kiwanis clubs and later a trustee of Kiwanis International.
In 1937 he became president of the New Standard Life Insurance Company with offices in Indianapolis. He continued his affiliation with Manchester College on a part time basis and continued as minister at the First Brethren Church while serving for several years as the president of Standard Life Insurance Company. Although he purchased a house in Indianapolis, I am told that the family never moved from North Manchester. He continued to commute from North Manchester to Indianapolis.
Perhaps the most exciting and busy period of my association with J. Raymond Schutz was 1932 when he was a candidate for the U.S. Congress. Urged by many throughout the district, Professor Schutz became a candidate of the Republican party for the U.S. Congress in the spring of 1932. He won the primary over Mr. Hillis who later became a congressman. He lost the general election in the Democratic landslide of 1932. I believe, without reservation, that any other time Professor Schutz would have been elected to Congress. He could not overcome the disappointment of the electorate in President Hoover and the widespread demand that something be done about the Depression.
I was not highly involved in the campaign but assumed a rather heavy load of teaching Professor Schutz's classes during the Fall campaign. I did, however, accompany him to a rally at the Butler Fieldhouse in Indianapolis where President Hoover spoke and I met the President with Professor Schutz.
It is apparent from this resume of J. Raymond Schutz' career that he was an extremely dynamic and effective teacher, lecturer and minister. He was a giant in his career and widely respected throughout that time. His early death may have been precipitated by the very rigorous and heavy schedule which he maintained throughout his life.
J. Raymond Schutz and Salena Schumacher were married in 1916. They had four sons: J. Raymond, Jr., Donald, Richard and Harold and one daughter: Charlotte. Mrs. Schutz served Manchester College as Alumni Director for several years after Professor Schutz's untimely death. She retired from that position in 1962.
One of the many lessons learned from Professor Schutz was the importance of social change. He frequently quoted:
New occasions teach new duties
Time makes ancient good uncouth
They must upward still, and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.
This is from J. Russell Lowell's "The Present Crises." I quote it often and carry a copy in my billfold. This testifies to the teaching of J. Raymond Schutz.
by Charlotte Schutz Deavel It was so interesting to read through the last NEWSLETTER and find at the end the short anecdote about Mrs. M.R. Gardner by Richard Stauffer.
Just weeks before, I had sent our granddaughter Hayley (who was six on the 4th of July) a child's clear glass cakestand and four goblets that had been Mrs. Gardner's and which she had given me when I was a child. I imagine they must be around 130 years old. Using a date on the back of a photograph, it would appear that she was born in 1860.
The date startled me. She was 70 years old when I was born! My memory of her is not of an old lady; rather a vital, energetic, and charming one! She was a dear friend of our family and we called her "Auntie Gardner" as I'm sure many others did as well. She would often ride with us on Dad's (J. Raymond Schutz) speaking engagements and one of my fondest childhood memories is of those trips and of the hearty singing that would fill the car going and returning.
Auntie Gardner lived at the end of College Avenue on East Street where East Hall is now located. She was one of several adults who were very special to me and whom I would visit with some regularity. "Auntie Comer" (Gloe) and Nettie Fern, Emmy (Etta Emerick), and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Endicott are others who come quickly to mind. I realize now how fortunate I was to have adults who truly cared for me and were willing to take the time to nurture and spend time with me.
My visits to Auntie Gardner would often include teatime prepared and brought in by Maggie, her live-in helper. I might play the piano for her and I distinctly remember a series of visits which were labeled "English lessons." I would read to her and then we would discuss the material. I learned to correctly pronounce Arkansas there, I know, having read it as it looked!
I was instructed by my mother not to mention the word SNAKE in any way, shape, or form on any of my visits as Mrs. Gardner had a deep aversion to them. I don't believe that I did, though telling a child NOT to do something is almost tantamount to ensuring it will be done. I hope that I didn't.
Auntie Gardner knew Artur Rubenstein. He had, I believe, stayed in her daughter's home. An appreciation of the fine arts and the importance of sharing that love with younger generations were central in her life.
Toward the end of her life she became blind. I recall going to see her in her bedroom with the shades partially pulled, but her presence was such that it continued to be a happy event and one to which I looked forward. I could wish that every youngster had an "Auntie Gardner" in his or her life.
Editor's Notes Under pressure from increasing costs of postage and printing the Executive Board of the Historical Society has found it necessary to increase membership and subscription rates. Please note the new rates on the last page of this issue. We urge you to renew promptly.
You may have noticed a small number on your address label. If that number is 95 or an L your subscription is up-to-date according to our records. If it is 94 we have no record in the editor's office of having received your renewal. We cannot guarantee our records so if you believe we are wrong please let us know. For some of you this may mean that your membership dues were not paid last year. We will make every effort to update these records promptly so look for a 96 to appear soon after your dues/subscription is paid.
Some members find it possible to give added support to the society at the rate of a sustaining or a supporting membership. As all of you know a major portion of the funds we receive go to support the restoration work at the Thomas Marshall house. Some members have made special donations to that project. All gifts from one individual or a couple which reach a total of $2500 for this project will be entered on a plaque for permanent display in the house. Some of you who have already given a significant contribution may want to aim to complete that goal.
Two committees are making solid progress. One committee is carefully assessing the materials offered in auctions and making purchases of suitable materials when costs are within the reach of our budget. This committee also evaluates materials offered to the Society to find things dating to the approximate time period (1850). If you possess any material you think may be suitable please notify the committee through our regular mail box.
The second committee is working on the restoration of the building itself. The house will have sufficient heat so that interior work can continue this winter. Most of the time only one or two individuals is working at a time and obvious changes come slowly. You may be assured that real progress is being made and if you have been intending to make a gift for the project, now is a wonderful time to do it.
The Thomas Marshall birthplace may seem dwarfed as it nestles close beside our beautiful new North Manchester Public Library. But plans indicate that when the building and the landscaping are completed we will have a little jewel which will be impressive in its own right. Many are helping to make it happen!
West Manchester Church Records
Wayne and Gwen Miller of Santa Cruz, CA made a happy find when researching family records in this area last October. They discovered a record book of the German Baptist Brethren from 1882 to 1896 which includes those whose letters of membership were received by the West Manchester congregation during that time. Some of the names were printed in the August Newsletter. Maybe a member of your family is included among these additional names. Feb 4, 1894 Martin Hoover and wife
25 " John E. Miller and wife
Jun 7, " Hettie Stuart
Jul 22 " Etta Fosnough
Aug 2 " Polly Landis
14 " Henry Jacobs (reclaimed)
Sept 6 " Emma Horning
" Susie Miller
" L.D. Wright
Mar 7 1895 Samuel Fager and wife
" Marvin Rank and wife
Mar 28 " Frances Brandeburg
" Levi Witters
Jun 13 " Katharine Butterbaugh
" Alice King
" Etta Butterbaugh
Aug l 1895 Emma Timberlin
" Maggie Bixler
" Maggie Vail
Sept 28 " Clara A. Cripe
" Milo F. Hale
" William H. Fisher
" Hettie Staufer
" Melvin Swartz
" S. S. Young and wife
" Ellen Metzgar
" Gladie Swatz (sic)
" Reuben Hollinger
" Elma Burket
" J. E. Joseph and wife (minister 2nd degree)
" E. M. Cobb and wife (minister lst
" Melvin N. Rensberger (minister lst degree)
" Jacob W. Rarick & wife (elder)
Dec 5 1895 Owen Ramond and Ralph Bottrell
" Elmer Miller
" Nannie G. Mida and Lucy Bink
" Merton & Mollie Hollinger
" L. H. Eby and wife and daughter
Ethel (min - 2nd degree)
" D. W. Ulery
" Harvey Misener and wife
" John C. Yoder
" Stephen Haines & wife
" Ella Raffensbarger
Dec 5 1895 Henry Buck & wife (deacon)
" Ira Eisenhour
" Abe Miller & wife Grace
" Levi Buckingham
" Andrew Blickenstaff
" David Hollinger and wife (minister 2nd degree)
" Ivy Martin
" Emma Beechly
" Iva Cridler
" Eli Cottrell & wife (deacon)
" Anna Shull
" Dora Zeigler
" J. R. Hollinger
Mar 5 1896 J. L. Blickenstaff
" Rebecca Hollinger
" L. T. Holsinger and wife Ada and Harley & Franklin Holsinger are all members (Eld. L. T. Holsinger in the full ministry)
Apr 4 " Curt Hollinger & wife
" Atlis Opperman
" Effie Opperman
" Owen Opperman
" Edson Ulery
" Lucinda Bowser
" Jennie Culler