Deering — a forgotten farm equipment dealership


Sometime prior to 1915, Leroy R. Whinery, a farmer from near Damascus, Ohio, and his brother, Thomas R. Whinery, took over what had been Shriver Feed & Grain.

The facility, the appearance of which is unknown, was located on the east side of S. Lundy Street in Salem, Ohio, just half a block south of E. Main Street (now E. State Street).

North of the Whinery’s store, and facing E. Main, was the Hammeter-Martens dry goods store (later J.C. Penney), while on the south was Alfred Howell’s blacksmith shop, and then on the corner of S. Lundy and E. Dry Street (now E. Pershing) was L.A. Noling’s (later Sam Mackintosh’s) livery stable.

Sold Deering

The two Whinery brothers sold Deering farm equipment and other farm supplies, as well as builder’s supplies and, in 1915, made the decision to incorporate the business as a stockholder-owned company, probably to raise money to expand the business.

Homer J. Mountz, a farmer living on Salem rural route 2, John W. Kuhl from Winona, and George E. Votaw from Salem, joined Leroy and Thomas Whinery as incorporators and stockholders in what was to be called the Votaw-Whinery Company.

The capital stock of the new firm was to be $10,000 divided into 100 shares valued at $100 each. In the event, only 90 of the 100 shares were subscribed with 20 shares each taken by Votaw, Kuhl, L. Whinery and T. Whinery, while Homer Mountz bought ten.

The Articles of Incorporation were signed by the Ohio Secretary of State Oct. 15, 1915, and the Votaw-Whinery Co. was in business “for the purpose of buying and selling and dealing in all kinds of merchandise, material and machinery.”

Leroy Whinery was elected president, George Votaw, vice-president, John Kuhl, secretary, and Thomas Whinery, treasurer.

At the first directors’ meeting, Nov. 6, 1915, the need to order binder twine and “some cultivators” for the next season’s trade, as well as the question of officers salary was discussed, “but no definite conclusion was reached.”

At the December meeting officers’ pay was again “thoroughly discussed and in view of the fact that the officers are all employed as helpers or laborers in the business it was unanimously decided their weekly pay would be $17.35 for L.R. Whinery, T.R. Whinery and G.E. Votaw, while J.R. Kuhl received $15.

They also agreed to hire Ira C. Hoopes as a helper at $15 per week.

Officer elections

The next meeting was March, 1916, and Thomas Winery was elected business manager with no mention of extra pay. They also adopted a resolution fixing a “policy as to sales and credits,” to wit: settlement for all goods exceeding $10 to be settled at time of delivery either by cash, or by a note bearing interest from that date.

No note to be taken for longer than six months, except for farm machinery that was sold “on next year’s time” for which the notes would bear interest from the following settlement dates:

Plows and harrows, at once; cultivators, June 1; corn planters, July 1; hay loaders, rakes and tedders, Sept. 1; grain binders and mowers, Sept. 1; corn binders, Nov. 1; cream separators, as per contract; wagons and manure spreaders, as per contract; binder twine, cash or not later than Sept. 1; and all other goods, as per contracts covering each line.

At this meeting it was also decided to take out “industrial insurance” and to advertise the new IH Mogul tractor in “the paper;” too bad they didn’t specify which paper.

At the October, 1916 meeting, it was revealed that Leroy Whinery had sold his 20 shares of stock to Herbert A Gross of Salem, who had been engineer at the Broadway Laundry, probably running the steam boiler.

Changing roles

Because of this, Gross was chosen acting president of the firm in Whinery’s place until the next election of officers. Wages for Gross then came up and he was awarded $17.35 a week, while George Votaw, as “head machinist,” was raised to $100 per month. The handling of apples was kicked around with no decision.

Near the end of 1916, George Votaw sold 10 of his company shares to Tom Whinery and the other 10 to Leroy Whinery, although he remained as head of the machinery department. Votaw may have figured since he was now making $300 more per year than any of the others he didn’t need to be a stockholder.

The decision was made to order six Deering corn binders for next year, while the idea of taking on a buggy and an automobile agency was discussed with no action taken.

Early in 1917, the financial report revealed liabilities of $7,660.88 and assets of $21016.37, so naturally the subject of dividends came up. It was decided to pay a 5 percent dividend on paid up stock, meaning T.R. Whinery, the largest stockholder with 30 shares got $150, while Leroy was due just $50 on his 10 shares.

One can see why George Votaw took his $100 per month and jettisoned his shares. They decided to buy a carload of woven wire fencing at this meeting, as well.

In April the business manager was authorized to look into buying a truck or trailer to haul machinery, while Tom Whinery and John Kuhl asked for raises. They were raised to $100 per month and Homer Mountz was hired at $3 per day.

In October, 1917, Mountz’ pay was also set at $100 per month. In May of 1918, the opportunity of taking the agency for IHC trucks was turned down with no reason given. In a burst of patriotism in October, 1918, it was voted to buy $200 in Liberty Bonds.

In February, 1919, a 4 percent dividend was declared and was continued for several years. In January, 1921, bonuses were voted: Herb Gross, president (part time), $450; Homer Mountz, V.P., $790; John Kuhl, secretary, $790; and Tom Whinery, treasurer and manager. $1,000. Nothing is said about George Votaw so it’s unclear if he was still “head machinist.”

Out of business

At a meeting Nov. 20, 1923, it was “unanimously agreed to dispose of the business at our earliest opportunity.” Then, on Feb. 16, 1924, the unanimous decision of the stockholders was “to liquidate the business, and to distribute the proceeds to stockholders as per shares held by same, also to notify the public throughThe Salem News.”

Salona Supply had bought the business and ran it as their farm machinery department, with George Votaw as manager.

Herb Gross went back to the laundry, by then the American Laundry, and Tom Whinery started managing Whinery Hardware on E. Main Street.

Just a peek at one of Salem’s long forgotten early farm machinery dealerships.


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Sam Moore grew up on a family farm in Western Pennsylvania during the late 1930s and the 1940s. Although he left the farm in 1953, it never left him. He now lives near Salem, where he tinkers with a few old tractors, collects old farm literature, and writes about old machinery, farming practices and personal experiences for Farm and Dairy, as well as Farm Collector and Rural Heritage magazines. He has published one book about farm machinery, titled Implements for Farming with Horses and Mules.



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