Tractors are a peek at the past


SALEM, Ohio – Sometimes, you just know when to hang on, even if you don’t know exactly why.
John Cluxton, an Adams County farmer, has been hanging on for 50 years and this summer, he found out why.
Helper. The story goes back to 1957 when the World Conservation Exposition and Plowing Contest was held in Adams County. Cluxton was 16 then and he was recruited by a machinery dealer to help during the four-day event.
As 250,000 people poured into his small, southern Ohio town, Cluxton made rounds on his dad’s 1952 John Deere B model tractor. His job was to haul wagonloads of people on conservation tours.
When he wasn’t chauffeuring, the teen was busy helping his classmates – Cluxton’s junior class sold pop during the contest.
“I was there early in the morning ’til late at night,” Cluxton said.
On display. Now a county commissioner, Cluxton still remembers the machinery display at the event. And as many have experienced at machinery shows, it’s hard to ignore the shiny new paint and unscuffed tires. That year, the Cluxtons went home with a 1957 John Deere 620 that had been on display.
For five decades, Cluxton kept those John Deere tractors. He has restored them, bringing back their original gleam. And in the back of his mind, he thought maybe, just maybe, he’d have a chance to show them off sometime. Perhaps in a way that people would recognize their history.
As it turns out, that’s just what’s happening.
Later this month, the two tractors will be part of the anniversary celebration commemorating the world plowing contest in Adams County.
“I kind of kept these tractors for this,” Cluxton said.
Turning back the clock. The event will be different this time around. But the tractors bring a sense of familiarity, a peek at what the county was like in 1957.
And for this Adams County farmer, showing off the tractors is an opportunity to be 16 again, if only for the day.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at


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