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Historian delves into John Deere, the man

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A historian with John Deere delivers speeches that describe the persona of the company founder.
A historian with John Deere delivers speeches that describe the persona of the company founder.

John Deere helped co-found the political organization that became the Republican Party and he was a devoted abolitionist, a company historian said during a Tuesday evening presentation in Southeast Nebraska.

The Beatrice Daily Sun reports the founder of what's now the globe's biggest manufacturer of agriculture machinery founded the namesake company in 1837. What started as a one-man gig in a blacksmith shop now employs more than 50,000 people around the world, said Chris Boyens, John Deere Company senior historian. Boyens spoke at the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice.

"I like to give people a glimpse at John, the man, and the trials and tribulations he went through," Boyens told the publication prior to the presentation. "Most people don't recognize John, they recognize the tractor. Some of the youth today don't even realize that there was a John Deere. I try and get people to know the man behind the company."

Deere surmounted numerous challenges as he grew up, Boyens said.

"He lost his wife, lost his father when he was four and lost his mother when he was 23," Boyens said. "He went through a lot of trials and tribulations. He had his business burned down twice and had to move to Illinois without his family to start a new life out west."

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