How I Became a Case Man

| July/August 1996

  • Case
    Kevin Dunn readies Case #35654 for its trip to Indiana.
  • Case
    Bob Rhode and Eric Brutus run the 65 HP Case in a Hoosier meadow.

  • Case
  • Case

3982 Bollard Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45209

Moving day, May 20th, 1995. By the evening of that day, Case #35654 would be safely unloaded on the farm belonging to my father, Joe Rhode, near Pine Village, Indiana. I was so excited about the engine that sleep was a scarce commodity the night before the trip. For Lloyd and son Kevin Dunn of Mt. Orab, Ohio, the day meant the trucking away of the 65 horsepower engine Lloyd's father, Howard M. Dunn, had restored between 1968 and 1969. Kevin and Lloyd would accompany the faithful Case to its new home in northwestern Indiana, there to bid it goodbye.

With the understanding that the engine would be moved in May, I had bought the Case in January. On that winter day, just after snowplows had opened the main road, I had given Lloyd the certified check to purchase it. As Russell-man Jay Hanselman of Georgetown, Ohio, put it, 'That gives you a weird feeling, doesn't it? You're holding a check for one of the biggest amounts of money you've ever had at one time, and then you hand it over.' It did feel strange, but I knew the engine was in tiptop condition and worth the price. I took a look a the Case and thought, 'I'll see you again in spring.'

The months passed quickly from January to May. It seemed impossible that irises should be blooming already. Following five extra inches of rain, the morning of the 20th dawned clear, cool, and bright. The day would be perfect for transporting the engine.

I drove to the Dunn's home where the Green line truck from Washington Court House soon arrived. Kevin steered the Case while a chain pulled the engine up planks onto the low-slung truck bed. The weight of the Case that morning approached ten tons; Bill Lamb, old-time engineer from Lexington, Kentucky, had recommended filling the boiler full with water to keep the tubes from rattling. While men busily chocked the wheels of the Case, a neighbor said, 'There goes a piece of Mt. Orab history.'

The truck took off, with Lloyd and Kevin's pickup and my car falling into position behind. We circled Cincinnati on the freeway through Kentucky. Once, we crossed a viaduct so high above the valley that the trains down below looked like toys.