It was the fourth of July weekend and Doug Edwards and Josh Adkins from Franklin Illinois had set up a tractor drive. When the drive began Doug said he heard they started with 80 tractors at Josh’s place. Rick Shaw was kind enough to let Keith and I ride in the “press truck” so we could take pictures and get photos along the way.
The Franklin Square
After the tractors rounded one side of the square Doug said he heard they lost 10 tractors narrowing the numbers down to around 70. The brands of tractors were varied and plentiful. My husband Keith brought his John Deere 730 that used to belong to Bud Redeford. Bud drove the tractor during most of the trip. He had a great time reliving memories from what was previously a family tractor.
In Franklin, I spied a very cool building. The Lion’s Club building proclaims that Franklin is the Burgoo Capital of the World. I may just have to check that out next Burgoo festival whenever we reopen for festivals! Burgoo Stew is a Mulligan like stew and I learned that burgoo is usually sold in Franklin during the 4th!
I truly think that in 2020 tractor drives will supplant tractor shows. Every large tractor show for the summer seems to be cancelled as the dates draw nigh. Tractor drives are a great way to enjoy antique tractors in a unique way with social distancing not an issue.
Police and fire personnel helped direct tractor drivers across a highway. Doug and Josh planned a beautiful country drive seeking out shady byways for the drivers to enjoy. While people came out on the square to see the tractors, in the country, farm families and even farm dogs gathered in lawn chairs and on porches. They waved as drivers passed on Minneapolis Moline tractors, John Deere, Farmall, Oliver and many more brands passed by!
Before heading up a major hill tractor drivers stopped to take a breather. On the side of a farm, Tim Seifert found a unique concrete post with one word emblazzoned across it. Nope! I made Tim take my picture in front of it.
Back on the road we passed by beautiful barns and even an abandoned farm house. This makes me wonder what the story is on
this farm. Did the owner pass on? Did they move to town and just decide they were tired of the farm? Is this a family home loved that a family member wants to make a summer home out of? What memories does this place invoke? Many a story comes to mind!
After making it up a major hill with a bit of difficulty for a few antiquers, we pulled into the quaint town of Nortonville.
Grain Bin bar in Nortonville
The stop in Nortonville was perhaps my favorite part of the tractor drive. Billy and Janet Orris turned a grain bin into a patio/bar. Billie brought the grain bin in town from the family farm and placed it not far from the kitchen. They decorated it beautifully and supplied tractor drivers with soft drinks as they stopped in the hot July sun for a few moments to replenish
What a cool converted farm building! I enjoyed checking out some of the neat tractors during the stop. Tractor drives are a one of a kind way to see the world. Bud Redford said he loved seeing the corn rise from the ground!
Rick wanted to get back to Franklin so we could take pictures and he could video as they arrived at Josh Adkins place. There were so many cool sights on the return trip! We passed two lovely churches and Rick had the patience of Job as I made him stop for photos of the Youngblood Baptist Church which was built in 1888! I then also requested a photo stop along Woodson Road at the lovely brick Durbin United Methodist Church as well.
On down the road we passed a closed store with wide board windows and a ramp that looks like you could easily drive something right inside. A shop? What was it used for? Inquiring minds want to know!
Next we passed Reese Station where so much antique tractor pulling history happened. It was the site of much antique agricultural history agricultural shows and the legacy of Bill Reese.
Back at Adkins tractors rounded the corner slowly coming back from the 30 mile drive. Such a lovely drive, such a great day. A catered meal waited for the drivers who had stories to tell and memories to share.
Josh Adkins has a really cool safe inside his shed that is a reminder of their agricultural past. It is from Adkins Implement dealership in Prentice, Illinois.
Thank you Edwards family, Adkins family, and Rick Shaw for this day. Keith and I and the drivers will long remember this 4th and the scenes we saw along the way!
Learn more about Cindy Ladage on the Contributors page.
- Scenes of the Franklin Tractor Drive, by Cindy Ladage - August 13, 2020