“I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me,” Words from the man who changed the industry of farming. John Deere, a man that sure did change the farming industry. He lived a legacy that will stay with the farming society for a long time. John was born on February 7, 1804, in Rutland, Vermont. He was the third son of William Rinold Deere and Sarah Yates Deere. In 1805, the Deere’s moved to Middlebury, Vermont. While in Middlebury, William engaged in merchant tailoring he also boarded a boat for England to hopefully make a more comfortable life for the family, but he was never heard from again. John was only 4 years old.
John’s education was limited to the common school of Vermont. At only 17, he apprenticed himself and learned the trade of blacksmithing; he carried his skills to various places in Vermont. He became an apprentice to a respectful man, Captain Benjamin Lawrence. John was paid $30 stipend for the first year out of four and an additional $5 for each of the remaining years, along with a set of clothes and room and board. Mr. Deere completed his apprenticeship in 1825, he moved on to journeyman position.
Then he fell in love, around the time he moved on to the new position, he met Demarius Lamb. Demarius was a young woman who attended boarding school in Middlebury. Despite the couple’s different backgrounds, they married in 1837.
During the next ten years, John and the family moved from town to town in Vermont trying to find steady work. There were many skilled blacksmiths in the area and there was lots of competition. Because of the difficulties finding a job, John borrowed money to buy land and build his own shop. Then tragically, it was destroyed by fire twice. He had to sell the newly owned property and put his dream on hold for the time being. The tragedy left Deere in debt; he was in need of a stable income.
By the 1830s, Vermonters shared John’s economic woes. The state’s woods had been cut down, the land was losing value, and rich soil was washed away by a line of vigorous storms. The grasshopper plague also had a huge effect on the economy, it weakened crop yields. To put more negatives on the plate, the nation’s banking system was collapsing this was called as the “Panic of 1837.”
With depressing business conditions in the Northeast, he decides to move him and his young family to a small village on the Rock River in northwestern Illinois, named Grand Detour. On the way back to Vermont, a man enticed John with tales of opportunity in the prairie. He decided to leave his pregnant wife and four children to head west and establish the family. When he arrived in Grand Detour, he rented land near the river and built a blacksmith shop and had work in just a few days of opening. Soon after opening he heard stories about frustrated Vermont farmers struggling to break through tough prairie sod. The northerner’s cast-iron plows that worked well in the sandy New England soil didn’t do so well in the sticky Midwest soil. Soil stuck to the cast-iron bottoms and were removed by hand every few digs. Plowing with these plows was tiring and very time-consuming. John realized that a plow with a nicely polished surface could clean itself as it moved through the field. On a beautiful day in 1837, Deere caught a broken saw blade in the corner of a sawmill and asked the owner if he could take it and use it. While working with it in his shop, John Deere came up with the most marvelous invention to farmers in the 1800s, the world’s first successful steel plow. From this success, John opened up the West to agriculture development. By that time, John sent for his family. In late 1838, Demarius and the five children headed West on a six-week journey. Knowing he didn’t have the facilities or financial help to keep the work going Deere soon found that his future was more in the plow business versus the blacksmith business. So from...
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