Treasures Preserve Family Heritage

A 1919 Twin City tractor and 1928 Chevy truck are proud survivors for JD Schmidt.


| December 2017


The area surrounding Wagon Mound, New Mexico, about 70 miles south of the Colorado line in northeastern New Mexico, gets less than 20 inches of rainfall a year. Today, no one would consider it farm country. But JD Schmidt recalls a time when a few stubborn, gritty men did.

“I was born in Newton, Kansas,” he says, “but years ago, my dad and my uncle were looking for a place to make a living. They went to the Texas panhandle for a little while, but when I was 3, in 1930, my folks came to Wagon Mound and I’ve been here ever since.”

Among his keepsakes are a 1919 Twin City 12-20 tractor and a 1928 Chevrolet truck that were important parts of his family’s farming operation in those years. And, until about 17 years ago, he still had the Holt combine his dad bought as a young man.

Now 89, JD has clear memories of growing up in rural New Mexico. Just 9 when his dad died, he was raised in part by his uncle, Simon Schmidt, the father of two sons. “Me and my brother and our cousins were raised like four brothers,” he says.

In the 1930s, during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, “people were literally starving out of this country,” JD says. But a decade later, some – Simon among them – persisted in trying to raise wheat near Wagon Mound. Perhaps motivated by the presence of a family-owned Holt combine, Simon did everything he could to eke out a crop.

“This country is not good farming country,” JD says. “The only farming done here now is where streams run out of the mountains and they grow hay.” Seventy-five years ago, Simon attempted to grow summer fallow wheat. “He’d try to use two years’ rain to grow one crop,” JD says. “He wouldn’t graze cattle on that wheat in the winter. His theory was to let the wheat grow as much as it would. If you didn’t and you had a dry winter, when the spring winds came, you’d have a dust storm on your hands. And once that started, you’ve got nothing.”

Jwall
12/23/2017 12:53:14 PM

I remember when he bought that steam engine. He found it in Wichita, Ks. I think it was '76 or '77. Herb & Harold Ottaway, Joyland Park owners, had quite a collection back then. Harold had to replace a couple of flues before JD would take it. Once they were tested we loaded and were on our way. About 5 miles down the road we stopped and checked the chains. Pulled over on interstate in a residential neighborhood. Quite a few kids gathered at the fence to view this. I rode with him back to my house. Every year he was the main event in the Bean Day parade in Wagon Mound held on Labor Day. Locals are still talking about it. It's good to know where it's at. Thank you Mr. Adams for giving it new life. JD has talked about it often.. JwaLL


Jwall
12/23/2017 12:53:12 PM

I remember when he bought that steam engine. He found it in Wichita, Ks. I think it was '76 or '77. Herb & Harold Ottaway, Joyland Park owners, had quite a collection back then. Harold had to replace a couple of flues before JD would take it. Once they were tested we loaded and were on our way. About 5 miles down the road we stopped and checked the chains. Pulled over on interstate in a residential neighborhood. Quite a few kids gathered at the fence to view this. I rode with him back to my house. Every year he was the main event in the Bean Day parade in Wagon Mound held on Labor Day. Locals are still talking about it. It's good to know where it's at. Thanks Floyde


FLOYDEA
12/5/2017 9:00:17 AM

Another interesting story about my friend JD is his Minneapolis Threshing Machine. This is a 1913 steam tractor. My son and I bought this from JD in around 1996 and brought it from Wagon Mound to Las Cruces, NM. We subsequently disassembled it and had a new certified boiler made. Our "Minnie" probably has the newest boiler on earth. Took the boiler maker 8 years and 3 months to finish it. JD is very interesting in many ways. He is a pilot and has a few engines he built from scratch among which is a radial engine that swings a 4 foot prop. I could go on and on. Very nice article. Floyde Adams







SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265