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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column every other Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


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Tractor Show brings hometown news

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................July 28, 2015

Note to readers: Barry Schrader’s “DeKalb County Life” column will appear every other Tuesday.

Each summer that I attend the Waterman Tractor Show brings back memories from my childhood in elementary school there, as well as fresh news from people I have known over time.

This year was no exception, as I spent five hours there without having to rush up to the Kingston Picnic to watch the cardboard boat races. The heavy rains forced a delay in the races until the Kishwaukee River returns to summer levels.

My favorite pastime there is exchanging greetings and trivia that could be found in the “personals” section of the local weekly Waterman Enquirer 40 years ago. I had the added benefit this time of Wendell Chestnut with me who has more cousins around Waterman and Hinckley than a dog has fleas. He could spot a familiar face and put a name to it which made it easier for me to say “Hi Reid” when the president of the Waterman Area Heritage Society Reid McAllister stopped to talk. I know him from by his bushy beard, but sometimes a senior moment leaves the name back in my throat.

Wendell also explained Reid’s genealogy which includes a cousin named Jim Thompson, former Illinois governor. Not a first cousin but maybe a third or fourth.

It also came to light that he is related to the late Dr. Ralph McAllister from DeKalb who was my parents’ doctor for many years at the same time Dr. John W. Ovitz Jr. was my wife’s family doctor.

Announcing the Waterman Tractor Show’s Parade of Power are from left Max Armstrong, Waterman Lions vice president Shawn Blobaum, and DeKalb County Farm Bureau president Mark Tuttle. (Barry Schrader photo for Shaw Media)

This 1932 Twin City KT tractor was a hit with announcer Max Armstrong. It is owned by Logan Berge of Sandwich.

Craig Rice, a fellow journalist and former farm editor of the Daily Chronicle and DeKalb Journal, is always there. Asked how his two cemeteries are doing, Craig revealed that after 24 years as sexton of both the Johnson Grove and North Clinton cemeteries he has stepped aside and Marge McDonald has taken his place. Also found out that Wendell is now on the Oak Mound Cemetery board not far from the United Presbyterian (UP) Church on Chicago Road. Even though the cemetery is not connected to that church, many of its members are interred there. And a mutual friend Bud Burgin has been board president for “a good number” of years.

Getting back to the Tractor Show, the “Voice of American Agriculture” broadcaster Max Armstrong was again the parade emcee along with DeKalb County Farm Bureau president Mark Tuttle. A rare old tractor caught Max’s eye and by all the photos he took, it may featured on one of his future segments of Tractor Tales, according to what I learned from Leonard Johnson. The machine is a 1932 Twin City KT model now possessed by Logan Berge of Sandwich whose grandfather, the late Chuck Haas of Somonauk owned it before him.

Anyway, I wish I had located a family member to ask if they are descended from Emil Haas, the old German immigrant who was custodian at Somonauk Grade School when I attended and my mother taught there. He remained a good friend of ours for many years.

I can’t end this without sharing the winners of the tractor judging. The President’s Choice was Dwight Olson of Maple Park and his 1965 Allis Chalmers 190 XT High Crop; Speaker’s Choice went to Aaron Seim of DeKalb driving his 1930 Toro fairway tractor; People’s Choice was a 1959 Ford Power Master owned by Ron and Paula Smith of Maple Park; Most Unique entry was judged to be a 1967 MM Jetstar 3 forklift (one of only seven ever made) owned by Ron Riveland of Serena; Most Unique Truck was won by John Biddle of Elburn for his 2000 Custom KW Ford; and the Oldest Entry prize went to Don Cleary of Mendota for his 1908 IH Famous engine.

That wraps up the 15th annual Waterman Summeriest and Tractor Show. Despite the heat and humidity which pushed the heat index over the 100 mark, I enjoyed the day there, thanks to a fine job of organizing by the Waterman Lions.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115