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John Deere built company one plow at a time
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A single steel plow forged by John Deere launched the beginning of a company that is now a world leader in agricultural equipment.

According to Deere & Co.'s website, johndeere.com, Mr. Deere was born Feb. 7, 1804, in Rutland, Vt. At age 17, he left home and began a four-year apprenticeship as a blacksmith.

In 1825, he began working as a journeyman. He met his wife, Demarius Lamb, and they married in 1827. For the next nine years he looked for steady work. He even built his own blacksmith shop, only to have it destroyed by fire -- twice.

At the time, many Easterners were moving west to the prairies. In 1836, Mr. Deere sought new opportunities and left his pregnant wife and four children in Vermont and headed to Grand Detour, Ill.

Once there, he set up a shop and began working. He soon learned that farmers were having trouble plowing the prairie sod. In 1837, he developed his first steel plow. A year later, he was able to send for his wife and children.

In 1841, he made 41 plows, and seven years later, he moved the company to Moline to take advantage of the river. By 1949, Mr. Deere's work force had grown to 16, and they built 2,136 plows.

John's son, Charles, who had been formally educated, joined the company as a bookkeeper in 1853. Within five years, Charles Deere was running the company.

This gave his father more time to get involved in the community. In 1854, he served as chairman of the Whig party. He also helped bring a fire engine to Moline, became president of First National Bank and was a trustee of First Congregational Church.

In 1864, Mr. Deere secured his first patent, and in 1868, Deere & Co. was incorporated.

His wife, Demarius, died in 1865. The next year he married her younger sister, Lucenia.

In 1873, Mr. Deere's level of community involvement propelled him to be elected the second mayor of Moline. He served a two-year term and was credited with repairing sidewalks and streets and installing sewers.

He died on May 17, 1886, at the age of 82, in his home, Red Cliff, in Moline.








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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)