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Dixon IL



Dixon IL

F.X. Newcomer Company (F.X. Newcomer, J.U. Weyant, H.E. Senneff)

Grand Detour/Dixon This well known establishment was founded in 1837, at Grand Detour, Illinois, a little town situated in a horse-shoe bend in the beautiful Rock river, six miles above Dixon, by Major Andrus and John Deere, late of Moline, Illinois, both now deceased. They started what was styled a plow factory in a little blacksmith shop (such as may be seen at a country cross-road), and two forges were sufficient to meet their wants for some two years, when they became able to run an ordinary horse-power, for the purpose of turning the grindstone and fanning the furnace. The building in which those labor saving arrangements were located stood some forty rods from the "factory" proper and every plow ground and casting molded had to be carried one way or the other in the hand or on the shoulder, and the sight of the two proprietors lugging their work back and forth is recalled with interest, in view of the great prosperity which each of them, by means of the same hard work and close management ultimately attained. In this manner and under these disadvantages the business went on for about six years, when such success attended the enterprise that they were enabled to put in steam. From this time forward they continued, adding machinery and improvements and their progress was uninterrupted.

However, there were no means of sending their plows through the country except by wagons and few markets except the farm house in even the best agricultural sections. Teams were loaded and sent over the country and substantial farmers were supplied with plows which they sold through the community, reserving a handsome commission for their services. In 1847 Mr. Deere withdrew from the firm (which has experienced several changes, at one time presenting the array of Audrus, Deere, Tate & Gould), and with the experience he had acquired and with the means at his hand, started a plow factory at Moline, Illinois, which grew and prospered from the first and might with reason be termed the child of the Grand Detour works. He passed away in May, 1886, after a long and useful life at the age of eighty-two. The business was run for seven or eight years by Mr. Andrus alone, who was then joined by Colonel Amos Bosworth, who, in our late war, was known as Lieutenant Colonel of the Thirty -fourth Illinois, and who died in the service March, 1862.

In October, 1857, the factory which had been steadily growing and extending its limits, was burned down and upon the same site and upon the remnants of the old walls a new factory was erected. In August, 1863, Theron Cumins, Esq., the first president of the present company became one of the firm, which took the name of Andrus & Cumins. Under their administration the business was carried on until February, 1867, when Mr. Andrus died. Few men pass away more deeply and sincerely lamented than was Mr. Andrus. Upon his death the business passed into Mr. Cumins' hands and was by him conducted until June, 1869, when the late Colonel H. T. Noble of our city became interested therein, the firm name being T. Cumins & Company.

In the meantime Grand Detour had lost its pristine glory and its bright promise had flown forever. It was still a pleasant little village on Rock river, but about all there was in it was the Grand Detour Plow Works and their dependencies, while Dixon had acquired two of the largest railroads in the union and had grown to be a city of seven thousand inhabitants. The plow works, which in the first years turned out only seventy-five to a hundred plows per year, are now producing many thousands, and scattering them by means of the steam horse over the limitless west. Dixon was the nearest railroad point and as it cost thousands of dollars a year to transport this vast quantity of plows from the factory to the cars, Dixon was the place for these works and they were moved here in 1869.

In June, 1874, Mr. Dodge became interested in the business, under the firm name of Cumins, Noble & Dodge. In June, 1879, the business was incorporated under the laws of the state of Illinois as the Grand Detour Plow Company, Theron Cumins, Henry T. Noble, Orris B. Dodge and Charles H. Noble being the incorporators and officers of the company, the management and detail of the business being under their personal supervision for many years. April 15, 1891, Colonel Noble died, having only a short time before retired from active business to devote more time to public affairs, and by his death the community and company lost a most energetic and able friend. Bis brother, Charles Noble, continued actively in his place as vice president of the company. August 3, 1898, Mr. Cumins passed away after painful and protracted sickness. In 1890 Mr. Lewmon D. Dement became associated with the business and shortly afterward was made secretary. He continued as such until by his untimely death, October 16, 1903, the company lost a clear-headed, ever faithful, hard-working official. It is worthy of mention that all who have been connected with the Grand Detour Plow Company have prospered.

In 1905 controlling interest in the company was acquired by the present officers, W. B. Brinton, president, and Bradford Brinton, secretary and treasurer. Several additions and improvements have been made in the plant since that time and the past year's business was the largest in the history of the corporation. The works are located on a spacious triangular piece of land between the depots of the Chicago & Northwestern and Illinois Central railroads, with switches from both roads running to the shops and warehouses. Since the location of the shops at Dixon, large additions to the factory and warehouses have been made from year to year, the location and arrangement of which are admirably adapted to the requirements of the business. New and improved machinery has been added from time to time whenever, by so doing, the quality and style of goods could be improved or the cost lessened. Thus year by year the business has grown, successfully weathering the financial panics which have destroyed many enterprises.
Portraits and Biographical 1892

The Telegraph on June 11, 1919, announced the purchase of the Grand Detour Plow Company by the J.I. Case Threshing Macine Company of Racine, Wisc. The company announced that manufacturing would continue as before.




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