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Contributed Article
The River Tractor
By Charlie English Jr.

This is a 4010 John Deere that was used to farm on the Diamond Island which is in the Ohio River about 15 miles southwest of Evansville, Indiana. About ten years ago, this tractor was parked close to the bank as the river was washing the bank of the island away.

tractor with smashed roof, cowling, and hood
The River Tractor
The tractor rolled into the river and came to rest about 20 feet deep. In 1998, a barge with a large crane was placing rocks on the bank at the same place where the tractor rolled in to help fight against the river washing the bank away anymore.

The farmer who owned and lost the tractor was there looking on and told the crane operator about the tractor falling into the river and pointed to the general location of he thought the tractor was submerged. The operator lowered the clam shell type bucket into the water. With a lot of luck, he grabbed ahold of the JD 4010, brought it back up and set it back on the island.

My uncle works for the farmer and the farmer gave it to him. After about a year, we were able to go get the tractor off of the island. We loaded the truck and trailer onto the ferry boat, which is owned by the farmer, from a Kentucky boat ramp. We then took the ferry boat over to the island.

Diamond Island is a rather large island. It is about 1 mile wide and 3 miles long. It just so happened that the ramp was located about 3 miles from where the tractor was located. It was a real journey just to get across the large island.

When I first saw the tractor, I was sort of shocked at the amount of rusting that took place. I thought that metal did not rust that bad under water. Three of the tires were still holding air, and the front end can still be turned by prying on it. The tractor still rolls, and I would almost bet that most of the damage to it was done by the clam shell bucket grabbing onto it.

The tractor loaded easily and we were back on the ferry boat within three hours. The tractor will end up being sold for parts. I have not been around the river much, so I though the trip was real neat! Out of all the tractor related trips I have been on in the past thirty-one years, this ranks right at the top.

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