Rural Missouri - April 2020 - 31

brother an extra $100 for saving the machinery.
"It was a ball of fire," adds Joe. "It didn't take long
before the whole straw pile burned to the ground."
In the late '40s and through the 1950s, Anton worked
as an electrician and plumber. Surviving to thresh another
season, the tractor was used for many more harvests until
it was retired to the Schulte shed in St. Martins sometime
during the early 1960s. There it lay dormant for 30 years
before Stephen eventually purchased and restored the
tractor. During that time, it became famous among travelers along nearby Highway 50, as Rod and Stephen later
would find out from fellow enthusiasts and collectors at
antique tractor pulls and shows across the state. Anton's
tractor also attracted another visitor one hot day in 1982.
"He just showed up," Louis recalls. "He came walking
down the road and said, 'Can I draw your tractor?'‚ÄČ"
The stranger was the late John Robert Weaver, an artist
from Nebraska who is reported to have spent two years
in the Centertown community, drawing classic cars, local
characters and Anton's tractor. The artist gave at least two
of those latter drawings to the family: one of smiling Anton
riding atop his iron steed, hat cocked to block the midday
sun. The other shows the tractor as most folks probably
saw it - rusty, weather-beaten and standing on four flat
rubber tires beside the shed, but standing nonetheless, as
if it somehow knew its days were far from done.
It was in that bygone condition that Anton's nephew

Stephen purchased the tractor in 1994. At Stephen's insistence he paid $1,000 for the hulk, not much less than
what Anton would have purchased it for in 1930. The new
owner and self-described "tractor nut" was surprised to
learn upon closer inspection that other than the paint and
back tires, Anton's machine was in tip-top shape, mechanically speaking.
"It's a tribute to Anton, but all I had to do was loosen
one valve on each cylinder, and that's all it took to get the
motor fired up," Stephen says. "It doesn't smoke and absolutely runs like a top."
When Stephen was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal
cancer in 2010, he prepared for the worst. Wanting to keep
the tractor in the Schulte family, he gave it to his nephew,
Eric. Happily, Stephen's once-terminal prognosis faded
into obscurity, similar to the all-fuel tractor engines of old.
He and the rest of the family are proud that the center of
so many Schulte stories and memories will remain in the
family.
"It's an honor and a responsibility too, having something to carry on forever," Eric says. "My son, Oliver, gets
it. He's talked about, 'It would be really cool if 100 years
from now that thing will still be in the Schulte family.' He's
11, but he's already aware of how historically neat it is."
For more information on the Schulte family tractor, call
Louis Schulte, 573-690-3923.

Nebraska artist Robert John Weaver made many sketches of the tractor during his visit to Centertown in the
1980s. This piece owned by the Jim Schulte family shows Anton atop his prized machine.

APRIL 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

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Rural Missouri - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - April 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - April 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - April 2020 - 5
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