Tractor holds fond memories for Paonia man

By Pat Sunderland


Tractor holds fond memories for Paonia man | People in the News

Photo submitted Before hauling the tractor off to Delta, Orval Proctor stopped by Paonia Care Center to give 97-year-old Charlie Todd one last look.

Charlie Todd recently donated a 1930 International F-30 tractor to the collection Orval Proctor has displayed on Delta's Main Street.

The International was originally owned by C.E. "Ed" Carville, who purchased the tractor new from Ed Allison's International dealership in Paonia. At that time, the dealership was located a half block east of Main on 2nd Street.

Carville owned the old Chappen Orchard just north of the Stewart Mesa schoolhouse. His farm was a half mile wide and a mile long, excluding the ground the schoolhouse sat on.

A versatile farmer, Carville raised whatever he could to get by, including sugar beets, hay and a variety of grains.

Most of the International tractors were red, but in 1930 the "F" models were painted blue and gray with Navy surplus paint. Previous models also had steel wheels; the 1930 Internationals had fine rubber tires.

When word got out about the rubber tires, people came from all over the county to see Carville's new tractor at work. They were amazed how hard the tractor pulled and how it could make sharp turns.

A favorite story relayed to Charlie was about a farmer named Halleck who had ground in the Gunnison Valley near Delta. He did all his farming with mules and was interested in seeing how many mules he could replace with one of the new tractors.

In 1942, Charlie married one of Ed Carville's daughters. One day Charlie was at Carville's house, where Ed was waiting on two guys to help him operate the buck rack and pickup to stack hay. Charlie told Ed he would be glad to put his hay up for him, so he headed out to the field and went to work.

Later that night, Ed and Charlie met back at the house. "Where the heck did you learn to stack hay like that?" Ed asked Charlie. Charlie hesitated for a moment, because he thought he had done something wrong. Finally, Charlie said, "Well, that was the way I was taught."

Ed said, "I never seen anybody stack hay like that before. That is the best job I have ever seen."

From that day on, Charlie was the only person to put Ed's hay up. It was also the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

Todd told Proctor his "daddy-in-law" was one of his favorite people.

In 1945, Todd bought the upper half of Ed Carville's farm and that's where he raised his family of four.

In October, Todd turned 97. Proctor met Charlie when he was visiting his brother Dick at Paonia Care Center. Every day after visiting with Dick, he hunts up Charlie. Through their visits, Charlie learned about Orval's collection of tractors. Out of the blue, Charlie started talking about his old International and the endless hours he and his kids spent on that tractor, plowing and pulling a "humongous" thrashing machine. Even after it was finally parked behind the barn in the '70s, the tractor was a big attraction for the grandkids. They bounced up and down on the old metal seats, shifted the gears and took turns behind the big old steering wheel.

Because that rusty old tractor had made so many fond memories, Charlie said he would hate to see it hauled off and sold for scrap iron. Instead, he offered the tractor to Orval for his collection.Before leaving Paonia, he stopped by Paonia Care Center so Charlie could have a look at his tractor.

"It was priceless to watch Charlie walk around and around the trailer inspecting his 'Old 30' remembering all the old welds and repairs he had made over the years," Proctor said.

Orval said he cherishes the tractor because it was a gift from a very special friend. He invites community members to stop by for a look at the newest addition to his collection. "Just imagine the endless hours Ed, Charlie and Charlie's boys spent on the tractor, going up and down the fields," Proctor said.

"If only these old tractors, cars and trucks could talk ... the stories they could tell."

This article is based on a written account provided by Orval Proctor.