Stories from a Friend: The Tales of a John Deere Dealer

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Dale and Ed Brenner’s Model H as it looks today.

I have an older friend named Dale Brenner who is 92. Dale grew up on an eastern Ohio farm and as a young man worked at a John Deere dealership called Kensington Supply Company, in Kensington, Ohio. Some years ago [2004, as I recall], I asked Dale to write down some of his experiences as a youngster and here are two that I found especially interesting.

Field Demonstration
By Dale Brenner

I was just a teenager [age 16] in 1937, we were farming with horses, and I wanted wheels! Here’s the story of how I got to plow with a John Deere Model 62 that year.

Our local John Deere dealer had arranged a tractor plowing demonstration at a nearby farm, and I coaxed my father into attending (and taking me, of course). At the demonstration was a new Model 62 tractor with a 12-inch, one-bottom mounted plow. Also on hand was a Model B tractor, equipped with steel wheels and a one-bottom mounted plow, as well as a Model A on steel, with a No. 4B two-bottom plow.

The spectators were given the opportunity of trying out the tractors and plows and every chance I got, I was on that Model 62. I don’t remember how many rounds I made, but every time no one was on the 62, I was plowing with it.

One of the things that impressed me about the demonstration was the way the tractors were brought there. Two block men hauled in those three tractors and plows and they didn’t have trucks. Each man drove a 1936 Chevrolet Master two-door sedan with a low, two-wheeled John Deere trailer behind. One trailer had the Model A tractor and 4B plow aboard, while the other carried the Model B and plow, as well as the Model 62 and plow. That was a lot of weight for those 3000-pound Chevys, with their 206.8 cubic-inch engines that put out less than 80 horsepower. Quite a difference from today when everything has to have hundreds of horsepower.

By the way, Dad didn’t buy a tractor that year, but we did get one later. It was a John Deere Model H, the second one our dealer got after the H was introduced during the spring of 1939.

Dale and his son Ed have that very John Deere H, restored to like new condition. Dale knew where it was for years and tried to buy it but, as so often happens, the owner wouldn’t sell. Finally, a few years ago, the owner died and Dale and Ed made sure they got it.

A John Deere Model 62 tractor in the Dale Brenner’s collection.

Here’s one more.

How I Met My Spouse
By Dale Brenner

In the summer of 1941, I was working for a John Deere dealership [Kensington Supply], and we had a machinery exhibit set up at our local county fair [Columbiana County, Ohio]. The competing International Harvester dealer [O.S. Hill] from a neighboring town [Lisbon, Ohio] had a display of Farmall tractors and McCormick- Deering machinery at the fair as well.

While walking through the exhibits one afternoon, I met the owner of the International dealership, along with his wife and sister. I had seen the sister a couple of times at our county church youth meetings, but had never really met her. After talking to the three for awhile, I jokingly asked the sister to ride with me while I drove one of our John Deere tractors in the parade that evening.

At first she said no, but finally agreed, at her brother’s insistence. After the parade that evening, we enjoyed the fair and she rode with me in the parades the next two nights.

The next year we were married and a month later, the first piece of mail we received was my draft notice. I spent three and a half years in the Army Air Corps in England, France, Belgium and Germany before getting back to my bride. Now, after sixty two years of marriage, during which we raised three children, we are still together, although we’re not as lively as we were in 1941.

Sadly, Dorothy Brenner passed away on March 18, 2004, shortly after the above was written.

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