Still Farms With Horses!

By Staff
article image
Mr. Walter Bieritz
George Crook with his team and the one-row cultivator he uses in his farming operations. Courtesy of Mr. Walter Bieritz, R. 2, Box 168, Yorkville, Illinois

There has been a bunch of crooks living on this farm ever since
1857. Such was the statement of George Crook, patron of Kendall
Farmers Oil Company. And 1857 was the year in which his grandfather
traveled from England and settled on this farm. A bunch of Crooks
has lived there ever since.

George Crook is a colorful and fascinating gentleman who has
been farming all his life . . . and that is a considerable length
of time. George will celebrate his ninety-first birthday December
11. He is the only living charter member of the Kendall County Farm
Bureau.

His farm consists of 160 acres, and George and his hired-man,
John Rusk who is 73, handle the complete farming operation
themselves.

When asked why he still farmed, George answered, ‘Statistics
tell us that the average life expectancy of those who retire is two
years . . . so I don’t think I’ll retire just yet.’

This is only part of what makes George Crook a colorful
individual . . . another is that he still uses horses in planting
his crops. The only type of tractor he ever tried to use was the
crank-type . . . he maintained that they were harder to start than
his horses . . . so he stuck to his horses.

George explained that he is always happy when he has a pair of
reins in his hands. Horses have been his hobby since he was a small
boy. He has had numerous matched teams and delights in buying and
trading horses. He explained it this way, ‘I like horses and
horses like me.’

The team that he now uses are named Kate and Charlie. George has
been using Kate and Charlie for three years. He stated that they
are one of the best teams that he has ever owned.

Until two years ago, he was still using a threshing machine.
George said that he had worked around the old-time threshers for
about 70 years.

George Crook’s grandfather bought the first 80 acres of what
is now the Crook farm in 1857. He paid the fantastically high price
of $10 per acre.

The additional acreage was bought in 1885 by George’s
father. The price of land in Kendall County had risen by this date
to $35 an acre.

George married Grace Noble in 1902. Grace died May 5, 1964 after
they had had 62 years of happy married life.

Watching George Crook hitch Charlie and Kate to the one-row
cultivator was both nostalgic and a little sad. It was as if you
had suddenly stepped into the past to watch a part of the American
scene that has all but vanished. In the barn were rows of horse
collars and worn harnass And in the field the only sounds . . . who
a Kate . . . giddap Charlie.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment