Elise Beckert of South New Berlin, NY passed away last September 2 months shy of her 105th birthday.
She left her son Bruce Beckert a very special piece of family history, actually a very important part of New York agricultural history...the 1948 John Deere M tractor Elise and her husband E.J. Beckert, Jr. purchased brand new for $1,225. That tractor was reason the Beckert family got into the John Deere farm equipment business.
Bruce Beckert relayed the amazing family story to me recently:
"In 1947 my parents moved to upstate New York from Yonkers and purchased a small farm with 10 cows and a team of horses," said Beckert.
"My father, E.J. Beckert, Jr. wanted to purchase a small tractor, but equipment was still hard to find due to war production. He left his name with IH, Ford and JD dealers. After a while the JD dealer right in our local town (Lyle Sisson) contacted him and showed him the JD M that just came in. My father purchased it and over the next few months also purchased an array of dedicated equipment for the M."
"Over the next couple years my father became quite acquainted with the owner of the dealership and being the dealer's main business was livestock feed he approached my father about purchasing the JD business from him, which transpired the summer of 1950. I was born less than a year before my father purchased the business and stayed involved always through the years until I sold the business in 2005 to Cazenovia Equipment (http://www.cazenoviaequipment.com)."
"I am still doing sales for the dealership and working with many customers I’ve known for many years and think the world of. There are many, many high quality people in agriculture that are a total privilege to know and work with."
Bruce Beckert is one of those people.
He sent me a few cool pics from the Beckert family archives. Here's a pic below of the 1948 John Deere M tractor in action on the Beckert's family farm: "My father had brought a few sweeps of hay from field and deposited them at the barn," Beckert said. "In the picture my father is pulling the rope with the M taking the fork full of hay up into the barn. My mother’s uncle is hold the trip rope that trips the fork."
Here's a pic of Bruce with the M and sweep rake that his brother Jim had restored for the 50th Anniversary event at their SNB Valley Supply Co. John Deere dealership back in 2000:
Here's an old photo from 1956 of young Bruce with his father E.J. Beckert, Jr., in front of their store, on a John Deere 70 Diesel with demonstrator seat headed for a field demonstration with a trailer plow behind:
More dealership memories..."This pic (below) is a copy of a page of our newsletter promoting our 50th anniversary open house that was hand delivered to every one of our customers," said Beckert. "There were over 2,000 Chicken Barbecue dinners served over the two day open house."
What an honor it has been all these years, to get to know so many wonderful, hard working, honest, kind folks in the business of agriculture...farmers, farm equipment dealers like Bruce Beckert, auctioneers, ag lenders, manufacturers. To be able to hear their own unique stories, and share them with you....it is such a privilege.
For the Beckert family of South New Berlin, NY, that decision to leave Yonkers back in 1947 and set up their own little dairy farm and then the decision to buy that 1948 John Deere M tractor led to quite a life in the farm equipment biz.
Quite a life indeed.