A Lasting Legacy
Farm & Ranch Living|December / January 2017

Struck by tragedy in the winter of 1937, this family formed a Christmas tradition.

Lynn Orrell Owens

For years now, we, the Orrell family, have spit-shined and hand cranked our antique John Deere tractor to prepare it for Christmas parades, and every year we hear people say how remarkable it is that “the Deere still runs.” What’s remarkable to us, though, is not the tractor’s running, but the history behind how this piece of machinery got to my family in the late 1930's, and what it means to Davie County.

In the late 1930's, family and neighbors in Advance, North Carolina, helped each other and shared tools during the harvest. On Feb. 16, 1937, the farmers in Advance agreed to set up the Potts family’s steam-driven tractor—the only one in Davie County—in exchange for some of the harvested Kobe lespedeza, a grass used for hay, as well as some seed to use next season.

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