By Dusti Snider

Mercer County, West Virginia

Originally posted on


I didn't grow up on a farm, as is the case with lots of folks. However my maternal grandfather was a bi-vocational farmer most of his life. It was from him that I learned a lot about farming, and as a boy and teenager I spent as much time with him as I could.



Poppy, my Aunt Patty and my mother (white dress) pose with the Cub that served them well on their small farm in the 1950's.

Otis G. Reed and Mildred Dunn married in the summer of '39 and moved into a small frame house on the acreage given to them by my grandmother's Baptist preacher/farmer father. "Poppy" & "Granny" named the small tract "Sunny Slope Farm." As many great men of his era did, Poppy answered the call of this country and said goodbye to his wife and young daughter in 1944. He served in the U.S. Navy CB's, mostly in the Pacific Theater, returning home in the spring of 1947. My mother was born a short nine months later. He lived an American Dream there on Sunny Slope Farm, building a new home there on the place in 1950, purchased a new '51 Chevrolet pickup later that same year, and in the early spring of '51 bought a new International Harvester Farmall Cub.

He purchased the Cub from the local IH dealer, some 40 miles away. That dealer was J.M. Snider in Princeton, West Virginia. J.M. (Joe) Snider was the brother of my paternal great-grandfather C.H. (Charles Henry) Snider. My great-grandfather owned and operated a sawmill, and his brother started a small lumber and hardware store, selling his brothers lumber. The store that was birthed during the Great Depression at 106 Thorn Street in Princeton, West Virginia continued to grow, and after acquiring the IH/McCormick Deering line in the 40's began selling farm equipment.


The J.M. Snider IH dealership on Thorn Street in Princeton, WV sometime in the early 1950's.

There's no way to know for certain, but it is very likely that our '51 Farmall M came from that same dealership. I'm working now with a local sign shop to print me a set of vinyl decals for our tractor that will replicate the J.M. Snider store information based on information I've collected. Among this information is a letter from Joe's son back to the Company regarding an order...Unfortunately the J.M. Snider store closed before I was born, back in the early 60's. Lowe's moved into the building by the early 70's, and have moved four times since.

Poppy only bought three implements with the tractor when it was new, the sickle mower, the dump rake, and a disc. He was raised farming with horses and I'm sure this little red tractor made life a lot easier for a man that worked on the loading docks at the Celanese Fiber Plant during the day, and farmed during the evenings and Saturdays. He never worked on Sunday...that was the Lords day...a day of rest.

In 1982 Poppy retired after 45 years of service operating a forklift at the Celanese Plant near Pearisburg, Virginia. Determined to spend more time cleaning up the place he decided it was time to upgrade from the little Cub, and in the summer of ’82 sold the Cub. I was in high school and remember how excited I was when Poppy bought the '56 640 Ford that replaced the Cub. To me the little red belly Ford was so much nicer, powerful, and much more capable with the 3 point hitch, not to mention so much more stable on the hillside of Sunny Slope Farm.


Poppy took this photo of Mom climbing up on the rake. Granny is in the seat and my Aunt Patty is standing by the tire.  Mom was probably about 3-4 when this picture was taken. This very well may have been the Cub's first summer on the farm.


I don’t think Poppy ever got really used to the little Ford though, he never seemed satisfied with the way the 501 mowing machine mowed the fields, always preferring the cut of the belly mounted mower on the Cub. To him the Cub was a far cry better than the horses that he farmed with befor

e the Farmall. Poppy was called home to be with his Lord on February 2, 2002, leaving behind a huge void in my life. The summer before he passed away a friend of mine called to let me know a bunch of guys were getting together and having a plow day with horses. I made the trip the next morning to Poppy’s and picked him up and we spent the day out there with those teams. He and I had a great day together. I stopped at his favorite restaurant on the way back home and bought his was one of the most memorable days of my life, definitely one for the record books…I could write a book on him...but for the sake of boring ya'll I won't.


After Poppy passed I tried for a few years to locate Poppy's Cub, to no avail. I tracked it through one owner and one used equipment dealer. With no serial number to go by it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever find it. That search kindled an appreciation in me for the littlest of Farmall's, an appreciation I honestly didn't have twenty years earlier. Perhaps someday I'll find one like Poppy's and restore it to former glory. Someday I'll restore the little 641 Ford as well, and I'm glad we still have it in the family. When Poppy passed Granny gave the tractor to my Dad, who still uses it for light chores and family hayrides on the place. In the mean time I enjoy our big ol' 1951 Farmall M and the unique connection it gives me to my family's past.


Here's another picture of Poppy's Cub, Mom is seated at the wheel. This picture was taken in the mid 50's when Mom was about 6-7, which was about the time she was taught to operate the tractor.


























A letter written to International Harvester concerning a sale.