Sunday, June 7, 2015

The John Deere MT tractor abandoned on the island

A few weeks back on a Sunday afternoon we took a cruise in our 1969 Glasspar boat... now we had been to this part of the Skidaway river east of Savannah many times, but it was a low tide (we have a large tide swing in coastal Georgia) and my eye fell upon some submerged pilings....

I looked and saw the thing that grabbed my attention most...the un mistakable shape of an old tractor! Look just to the right of center on this pic, behind the first bark less large tree. I was only looking at the rotting pilings that normally can't be seen except at low tide, and wondering why a dock would have been on this low lying island when I spotted it.  Now I know, so a barge could transport things like this tractor on and off island.

The tide was very low, and the muck at low tide is like stinking quick sand. Having plans of pulling up on a somewhat firmer beach to play with the kids and the dog, I noted where the tractor was, and made plans to return when I had my actual camera and not my phone camera for a closer inspection.  

A few weeks later we had a few hours time and the tide was high at 11am on a Sunday. I spied the prize, and nosed the boat up staying somewhat to the south of the center, avoiding contact as I knew those rotting pilings were lurking just below surface level to gash a hole in our hull if hit hard. 

Once ashore, I took little time figuring out what it was. Partly due to my knowledge of post war John Deere tractors. It was a model "MT" standing for a model "M" with the "tricycle" front end arrangement.

    -With an attached disc harrow implement. 

And missing the cylinder head. I suspect the hood and much of the light gauge sheet metal disintegrated long ago.  A "Two Banger" of upright design.  A little research found me, revealing that it was a 100 cubic inch mill, with a 4" bore and stroke, around 20 horsepower.   

 You can see the remains of inner tubes, this machine had rubber front tires but the rear was on steel.

A casting number on the transmission case- the serial tag is long gone, I could see where the rivets used to be. Look up and to the left on this pic, you will see a rectangular place with a rivet where it used to be.
Here is a pic I pulled from the web of a somewhat more intact tractor of the same model-
And here is a short youtube video I made-
Hard to believe I have lived and boated here for 19 years and never seen this!  After making the video and going over the county GIS system mapping, I discovered this tract of acreage belongs to none other than the Univeristy of Georgia. Now, to see if I can find out when it went from private hands to the state! I love these mysteries.