You may take the man from the farm, but you can’t take the farm from the man.”
That definitely sums up a father and son from Strathclair, who love telling stories of the past from their shop on the town’s outskirts.
Willard Moffett and his son David are well known for their passion for antique farm machinery. As longtime members of the Strathclair Old Iron Club, they wholeheartedly help host the inaugural two-day demonstration of how farm work was done a half-century ago. Back then a pitchfork, handkerchief and sweat were common, as was horsepower and the sound of antique farm tractors driving long belts connected to threshing machines while a pair(s) of hands unloaded a rack full of sheaves.
The father/son duo is not only keen on full-size antique farm tractors that can be showcased in parades or demonstrations, they also have a passion for tractors that can sit on a mantel.
“The majority of the collection, which numbers 21, is owned by my father,” said David, adding that Strathclair citizens, Doug Gamey and Harvey Brown, have lent a few to the collection. “The oldest of the one-sixteenth toys is a 1917 Model ‘F.’”
Local John Deere dealership, S.H. Dayton Ltd., was noted as a place of business where the “green” was gained and spent, with models including a John Deere ‘H’ with rack and other replica collectibles. Other models include Case, Massey Harris, Farmall, Oliver, International, Minneapolis, Allis Chalmers, and Ford Ferguson.
History runs deep
A monument placed on the S1/2 2-17-22 in the RM of Strathclair (now part of the RM of Yellowhead) back in 2006, stands as a fitting testimonial to farm families. Willard and wife Molly created the memorial on the property just west of Strathclair to honour those who farmed or will farm their land.
Born in 1930 to Alex and Teressa Moffett, Willard aided his parents on their farm while growing up, prior to embarking out on his own. Retiring from farming in 1999 after a 40-year run, Willard’s farming heritage is kept alive by putting his stamp of approval on showcasing the past to today’s generations.
About the erection of the monument Willard said, “Considering myself a bit of a historian, along with Molly, I wanted to recognize those who have farmed this piece of land that was homesteaded by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Burnell in 1880.”
The Old Iron Club’s antique harvest demonstration is still a few weeks away but its signage and working water pump can be seen in area parades and fairs with historians close by to share knowledge on how farming made the community of Strathclair, and so many more like it across Canada.