On a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon I headed to Franklin, IL to visit with the Edwards Family. Franklin is quiet little town about 30 minutes west of Springfield. As I pulled in the driveway I noticed rows and rows of tractors lined up. I definitely knew I was at the right place. As I pulled in there was a pair of John Deere 60’s at at end of the driveway. Is there anything more awesome than a beautiful sunny day filled with tractor talk?
Jim greeted me and introduced his boys Doug; whom set the interview up, James and Corey. He then said “its an addiction!!” Jim was very eager and excited to get the interview going! The first row we talked about was the long row of John Deere tractors. The first tractor to catch my eye was the 820 diesel with a cab. There was at least twelve tractors lined up from the 830 diesel to the 430 tractor clear on the other end. The Edwards family doesn’t just collect John Deere. They also collect a little bit of everything! A row of beautiful red Farmall and green Oliver tractors as well.
Doug really likes Olivers. Jason and his wife Marcy love Farmalls. Jason shared that they celebrated their first wedding anniversary at the Half Century of Progress in Rantoul. Jim’s favorite; well does any collector really have a favorite tractor or brand? Jim does love the 730 Diesel narrow front, 2010 John Deere Propane LP, 2 Cylinder 402 with single wheel. He loves this tractor because it is very rare. He also mentioned the 820 tractor has the original owner’s manual with very good detail from the previous owner. The Oliver 66 sitting in the row outside was in the junk yard and now it is a beautiful show tractor! Corey likes the Hart Parr 18-27 on steel wheels. The family also has a 1945 John Deere A that Jim’s Grandfather bought.
We finished the tour around the yard and toured a few buildings were more tractors are kept. Most of their collection has been privately purchased; with a few being purchased at auctions. I had the pleasure of meeting Katie, Marlean and the farm dog Sam as well. I learned a little bit more about the family and how the came across some of their purchases. Doug and Jason watch the internet, keep their dad informed of area sales or auctions, and getting the tractors home is a family affair. Jim had just been to Iowa the Friday before I did the interview and brought home a John Deere tractor.
In one of the buildings is Doug’s paint area. A lot of the tractors are painted by Doug himself and talk about beautiful paint and restoration! One tractor that really caught my eye was the Oliver Super 88! Every July 4th the family gets all of the tractors washed up and ready for their annual cook out. The family puts all of the tractors on display and places American flags in front of each one. The Edwards family usually goes to various tractor shows to show off part of their collection. You can easily spot an Edwards tractor because their name plate will be proudly displayed on the side.
The family would like to invite everyone to their July 4th Open House. The ladies ride tractors and help with food. Head down to Franklin and enjoy a day of talking tractors with a super great family!