Reflections

Farmall Tractors A Staple At Trusty Hardware

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week. My friend Jim Allen notified me about the upcoming birthday of Mr. Bill Trusty on Friday.  I want to personally offer my congratulations to him for reaching this milestone. I have been privileged to know him for many years and although we are not close friends, he has always epitomized my idea of a southern gentleman.

I also knew his father, Mr. Thad Trusty. I also met  Mr. Aubrey Trusty when we were both pallbearers at Jake Ray’s funeral. The Trusty Hardware was a landmark on South Main for many years.  

When I was growing up, if you saw a piece of farm equipment it was usually a red International Harvester which were known for their rugged construction and long life. It also seemed to me that nearly all the farmers in Yalobusha county drove International trucks. I’ve heard  some of them say that the trucks were so tough that they could drive over corn rows without a problem.  It seemed to me that Mr. Thad Trusty drove an International truck most of the time.  

When I worked for Cornish Crew’s sawmill, he had a Farmall tractor equipped with a pulley to power the saw. I know that Jim Peacock’s dad and his grandfather, Jim, used a Farmall to power their axe handle mill.  It was one of those with iron cleats instead of tires and was not supposed to be run anywhere but in a field or to power a mill.      

They were powered by tractor fuel and had to be cranked by hand. All the old timers knew they were bad to backfire and held the crank a certain way.  Buddy Palmer once forgot Cleve’s instruction and suffered a badly broken arm as a result.  

In spite of this all the owners swore by them and traded them in for newer models until Trusty Hardware closed in the 70s after over 50 years of being a Water Valley institution. Mr. Bill is the last living founder of the 1931 Watermelon Carnival and I’ve never understood why he hasn’t been honored at the carnivals in recent years.  

Mr. Bill, you have only two more years before reaching that 100–year mark and I hope we’re both around to celebrate it. It is always such a joy to do a profile on someone when they are still around to read it. The longer I write this column, the more I realize that I’ve been so fortunate to have such a rich heritage to draw from and how proud I am to be a Water Valley native. My only regret is that I don’t get to spend more time down there visiting with all my old friends.  

I’m like my old friend, Wade Doolin – retirement is not for me and as long as I can walk and talk I plan to keep active. I believe that there are far too many people with so much experience and knowledge that have so much to offer and are not being utilized.  

Again I want to thank all of you who have contributed over the years and I want you to keep it up.  My email address is charlescooper3616@sbcblobal,net or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great and productive week.

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