Uncle Jake’s Model T Ford still kicking

My dad, Edmund Torbeck, was born and reared one mile south of St. Paul in Wilberton Township.

The farm on which he was reared was also the birthplace of his mother, Anna Yund, and had been given to her by her parents when she married Henry Torbeck in 1903.

About a mile south of dads house lived his mothers bachelor brothers, Jacob and Albert Yund. Their unmarried sister, Wilhelmina ‘Minnie,’ moved in with them following their mothers death in 1929.

Jake and Albert lived on what was known as the old ‘Doc’ Bundy place. ‘Doc’ was a veterinarian, and known locally as a ‘Yankee,’ meaning non-Lutheran. He built a racetrack in the field between his home and my dads birthplace, and races were held there for a number of years.

Jacob and Albert were the two youngest sons in the family, and were farmers. Their older brothers, Charles and Edward ‘Sport’ helped their father, Jacob Yund, with his mercantile in St. Paul, and upon his retirement, took over its operation.

When I was a child, we would visit Dads family in Wilberton Township several times a year. Dads two bachelor brothers, Renatus ‘Noddy’ and Harold, lived on the home place, while the aunt and uncles were on the next farm south. Dads brother, Albert, and wife, Rena, lived another mile south on the Fayette/Marion county line.

It was during these visits that I heard about Uncle Jakes 1925 Model T.

Dad was very small when he exhibited musical talent. By age 5, he was playing guitar and at age 9, he was a regular at school picnics. It was about this time that he began playing barn dances with his Uncle Jake Yund.

Dad remembered that Uncle Jake would come for him in his Model T, and Dad wasnt allowed to step on the running board, he had to jump into the vehicle.

I checked my encyclopedia and learned that the Ford Motor Co. was organized in 1903, with the first Model T coming off the line in 1908, at a price of $850. This was too rich for many people, and the ideas for the first assembly line were put into practice.

In 1925, Henry Ford got the price of a Model T down to $260. They came in one style and one color black. More than 15 million Model T’s were sold.

In 1926, other colors were offered, and two years later the Model A began production.

I relied on my brothers to tell me what they knew about the car. Don remembered that Uncle Jake kept the car under a tarp in the barn, so when the men went out to the barn to look at the horses, it wasnt in plain view.

My brother, Ed, remembered that Harry Craycroft traded Uncle Jake a 1956 Ford sedan traded him even-up, as he remembered. He also said that Jake was given a razor that plugged into a cigarette lighter in a car, and one of the family laughs was of him going outside to the car to shave.

Ed is the oldest of our family, and said it was an occasion when Uncle Jake would take the car out for a spin. Im sure he dressed in his Sunday best.

Kenny said that he remembered hearing that Jake kept an extra pair of rubber boots in the car. These were his driving boots, and he always changed into the boots before he drove.

Dad told us that at the time Craycroft obtained the car, John Merriman also heard it was for sale and headed out to Wilberton Township to see if he could make a deal with Uncle Jake. On the way down U.S. Route 51, he passed Harry Craycroft with the Model T on a trailer headed to Vandalia.

Many readers may remember seeing Uncle Jakes Model T in parades and displayed in Craycrofts car dealership window.

More recent owners are Tom and Gayle McDowell Cearlock of Arthur, and this is where the above photograph comes from. Gayle told me that some say the car has been repainted others disagree, although all agree the interior is original. Uncle Jakes Model T still runs, and Tom drives it now and then in parades.

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