ALLIS ENDURES


| June 2002



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Carl McKee, Jaye C. McKee and Charles Styers

Jaye C. McKee's dad purchased an Allis Chalmers WC, Serial No. WCIT4727, in March 1944 from the Harry Fair dealership in Indiana, Pa. The tractor was on order for 10 to 12 months because of World War II, for at that time, a farmer had to wait until a machine became available and until the local rationing board OK'd the purchase.

When the new tractor arrived by rail in Indiana, the McKees, who lived in Rossiter, Pa., were notified and asked to pick it up. Few trucks were available for custom hauling back then, and Harry Fair's delivery truck was in for engine repairs. Jaye, now 77, remembers Harry saying, 'It's only 30 miles from Indiana to Rossiter. Why not let the boy drive it home, and that will break in the engine?'

'What a joy for me, at 19 years of age, to drive that brand new tractor through all the towns, including Punxsutawney, the groundhog town of Pennsylvania (home of 'Punxsutawney Phil') to get to Rossiter,' Jaye says. 'I think my top speed was less than 15 miles an hour; it took me from about noon to 4 p.m. to go 40 miles.'

The price of the tractor, including freight and servicing, was $855. Jaye's dad also got front and rear two-row cultivators, which added another $150 to the bill.

In just a few days, they began to plant oats, and from then on, the WC was either farming or powering the father's sawmill. He sawed mine timbers, which were used for roof supports in the region's deep underground coal mines. 'Even with that WC, we couldn't keep up with the demand,' Jaye recalls.

When it was still early spring, Clara Ray, a widow whose husband had died in an underground mine accident, asked