Marshall Martin finally has a piece of his father’s history in his toolshed in Tippecanoe County, Ind. It took nearly 80 years and a few quirks of fate.
Martin, currently interim director of the Indiana Agricultural Experiment Station, is happiest when he dons his farmer cap and works with his tractors. He’s especially proud of the latest arrival, a 1930 McCormick-Deering 22-36.
“My father, Marion, graduated from Toulon High School in Stark County, Ill., in 1930,” Martin begins. “He started business school, but due to the Great Depression, he couldn’t continue. He joined a custom farming and trucking business with his older brother, Lester. Together they farmed throughout the 1930s. The McCormick-Deering 22-36 was their primary tillage tractor.”
Martin’s father married in 1941 and started farming on his own. Martin’s uncle kept the McCormick.
Fast-forward to the late 1960s. The tractor sold in his uncle’s farm sale. Dennis Orr, a neighbor and antique tractor collector near Galva, Ill., bought it to restore.
“My father last saw it in his shop just before he passed away in 1989,” Martin recalls. “Two years ago, Orr asked if I wanted to purchase the tractor. I told him yes. He never found time to complete any restoration work on my father’s tractor.”
Orr passed away in December 2016. “I purchased it from his children and hauled it to West Lafayette [Ind.] in March 2017,” Martin says. The tractor was finally home but not restored!
Shane Kerkhove, a mechanic in West Lafayette, did mechanical repairs and got the tractor running. Bill Tetzloff near Winamac did some metal work and repainted it.
“The last nice Saturday in December 2017, I started it, loaded it and brought it back to West Lafayette,” Martin says.
The McCormick-Deering 22-36 will likely be at the Tippecanoe Steam and Gas Power Show on July 28 and at the Half Century of Progress Show in Rantoul, Ill., in 2019. It may make a few other appearances. Otherwise, this proud link to his father is home to stay, Martin says.