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J.H. Fitch

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    This website started as a biography on my Great, Great-Grandfather John Henry Fitch that was written as a ninth grade English assignment in December 1981 while I was attending Whitehall (MI) High School. My teacher, Mr. Greg Boughton, remarked that it was the best paper of 50 he read over the Christmas vacation and that I must save this for my family.

    Since that time, I have conducted extensive research and located more information and periodically updated John's biography. What started as a 7-page written report on John's life  had grown to over 50 pages filled with graphics and photos.  Because of  the size of the latest revision in 2001, I decided to remove the information on the Four Drive Tractor Company and develop this website.  Future plans include an Internet webpage featuring John's biography as well as a published book on the company.

    This is an on-going project. If anyone has any information that they would like to have included, please contact me. Your information would be greatly appreciated.

    I would like to thank the following people and organizations for their contributions to this website:

  • my Grandmother, Mrs. Arlene Brant, her late brother Mr. Charles W. Fitch, Jr., her late sister Mrs. Alice Chinnery and her sister Mrs. Hazel MacDonald for providing valuable information and for allowing me to obtain copies of photos.

  • Mr. Donald Chinnery (son of Mrs. Alice R. Chinnery), editor of "The Four-Drive" genealogy newsletter, [visit "Don's Genealogy" Internet web site at] .

  • Mrs. Laura Lagana (Granddaughter of John H. Fitch's daughter, Nora Fitch Hayes) for the brochure, letterheads and photos.

  • the Rose Hawley Museum and the Mason County Historical Society of Ludington, MI for allowing me to search their files and to photocopy records.

  • Mrs. Maxine Sofoulis of the Mecosta County Historical Society, Big Rapids, MI for her assistance on locating information on the Four Drive Tractor Company and its demise.

  • Mr. James Bruskotter, weeklies managing editor of The Pioneer Group of Big Rapids for his assistance in obtaining copies of photos used in previous Pioneer articles on the Four-Drive Tractor Company.

  • Agricultural Tractor Historian and author of "The World of Classic Tractors", Mr. Ian M. Johnston of Tuncurry, New South Wales, Australia for information regarding the 1929 Fitch Four-Drive Tractor on display at the Gunnedah Rural Museum in Australia. [visit Ian's Internet website at]

  • Mr. Ken Christensen of Westport, WA (owner of a Model 20-35 Four Drive Tractor) and his  friend Mr. Jim Savage for their assiatance during our visit in July 2001 and  Mr. Richard Toy of Aberdeen, WA for information regarding Ken's tractor.

  • Mr. Keith Schuberg of Rodney, MI (owner of a 1929 Four-Drive Tractor) who let my family and I play around with his tractor during our visit to Big Rapids in August 1998 and June 2003; Mr. Edwin Sanderson of Big Rapids who arranged for us to visit Keith Schuberg in 1998; Mr. Alan Walsh of Rodney, MI who drove my family around on the tractor in 2003.

  • Mr. Jim Spall of Fielding, New Zealand (owner of a Fitch tractor) who provided me with photos and information his tractor and other Fitch tractors.

  • Mr. Bob Thoms of Blenheim, New Zealand who sent me photos and information on the tractor the he restored at Marlborough Vintage Farm Machinery Museum at Brayshaw Park, Blenheim, NZ.

  • Mr. Richard Robinson of Rotorua, New Zealand - author  and owner of County Life (NZ) - who provided me with photos and information on the Brayshaw and Mr. Jim Spall's tractors; and Mr. John Murray of New Zealand who forward my email to Mr. Robinson.

  • Mr. R. Alister Clark of Tauranga, New Zealand who sent me information on the photos he shot in 1947.

  • Mr. Wayne Walker of Onaga, KS for the photos and information on the Fitch tractor parts that he has for sale and Mr. Dan Crist who forwarded me Mr. Walker's email address.

  • Mr. Alan Crocker of Modesto, CA (owner of a Fitch tractor) for the information on his tractor and, Mr. David Garrison and Mr. Gary ?? of California who sent me photos and information on Alan's tractor.

  • Mr. Warren Bolton and Mr. Joe Haze of Big Rapids and members of the Big Rapids Antique Farm & Power Club who provided information and photos on Keith Schuberg's "Cat" Four Drive Tractor.

  • Mr. & Mrs. Richard & Lois Spedowski of Big Rapids - President and Secretary of the Big Rapids Antique Farm & Power Club - who provided information Four Drive Tractors.

  • Mr. Michael Lewis of Elsie, MI and his sister Mrs. Jackie Danalewich of Westerville, OH who provided information and photos on Four Drive Tractor and Company that belonged to their Grandfather, Mr. Albin Johnson who was Secretary and a sales representative of the Company.

  • Mr. Michael Betz of Battle Creek, MI for the photos of his 1929 Model E Four Drive Tractor .

  • Mr. Robert Hamilton and his coworker Mrs. Kim McIntyre of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada for the information and photos of Bob's 1929/30 Model F Four Drive tractor.

  • Mr. Ole Potter of Escalon, CA for the information and photos of the Fitch Four Drive Model D at Angels Camp Museum at Angels Camp, CA.

  • Captain C. W. Addison  USN(ret) of Pensecola, FL, who sent me a 1918 FDTC stock certificate that was purchased by his Grandfather William Addison.

  • Mrs. Grace Gibbons of Boynton Beach, FL, who sent me a 1917 FDTC stock certificate that was purchased by her father J. F. Grim.

  • Mrs. Eileen Curtis of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory for her assistance in obtaining advertising and test information on the 1929 Four Drive models.

  • Mr. & Mrs. Ralph & Glayds Nutter of Napoleon, OH from whom I purchased the Four Drive Tractor Company postcard.

  • Mr. Donald Staats of Onalaska, WI who sent me the photocopies of the 1916 "Motor Age" magazine article.

  • Mrs. Marita Bragg of Goldsboro, NC who sent me photocopies of "The 1929 Tractor Field Book".

  • Mr. Russ Pusilo of Bartlett, IL who sent me a copy of a 1929 Model E "Cat" brochure.

  • Mrs. Nancy Hurley of Spokane, WA who had a photo of a Fitch tractor posted on eBay.

  • Mr. & Mrs. Richard & Lynda Rosemus of Portland, OR from whom I purchased a black & white 8"x10" photo of a Fitch tractor taken in California in the 1930's.

  • Mr. Terry L. Ommen of Visalia, CA from whom I purchased a black & white 8"x10" photo of three Fitch tractors in a ditch taken most likely in California in the 1920's or 30's.

  • Mr. Pat Roberts of Bryan, OH - owner of "Paper-N-Parts" - who sent me a photocopy of the Four Drive Tractor specifications from the "1919 Year of the Tractor" book.

  • Mrs. Elayne Hurd of Wisconsin for the scans of the Fitch tractor ads from the June, August and September 1920 Tractor & Gas Engine Review Magazines.

  • Mrs. Donna Adams of Toulon, IL for the scans of the Fitch tractor article from the January 1920 Tractor & Gas Engine Review Magazine.

  • and especially my wife Janelle for helping me search the files and records in Ludington and Bellaire, for the purchasing of a scanner and a color printer, and for her love, support and understanding during my many hours of researching and typing.

    This is dedicated in the memory of John H. Fitch, who has not received the recognition that he deserves for his significant contribution to the tractor industry.


Jeanne, Ryan, Mikayla & Carissa