Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Fred Whyte

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book, “Stihl American.”

For twenty years Etta Whyte waited at home for her husband’s safe return. Al Whyte, a graduate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police School, comparable to America’s advanced FBI training, served on Vancouver, British Columbia’s police force for over twenty years before joining Titan. Al was Titan’s sales engineer responsible for Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Since the new position was with an American company and working in America, Al, Etta, and their eight year old son moved a few miles south, across the Washington state line.

After gaining considerable… Continue reading

1st Stihl Salesman in America

Genealogy is always tedious and rarely interesting, especially when it deals with an unrelated family. We now know that genetics play a significant role in our health and behavior. It’s easy to recognize the effects of genetics in animals–retrievers naturally retrieve, beagles chases rabbits, and chihuahuas bark. The same natural tendencies occur in humans.

The Bryan’s have traced their genealogy all the way back to Sir Francis Bryan, who served as Governor General of Ireland 1549. The following reads like something out of the book of Numbers, but is representative of the journey of many American families. Francis was the… Continue reading

Greg’s Saw Center

Greg’s Saw Center today…

If there’d been hyphenated Americans in the twenties, Greg Bobeen would have been born a Bohemian-American, but as it was, he was simply born American, 1925 in Troy, Missouri, long before the rhapsody made famous by the rock band Queen hit charts celebrating Bohemian heritage.

Greg was born into a family of farmers and would have grown up to be a farmer had it not been for the great depression, which cost his family the farm. Having learned all he felt he needed to accomplish his life goals, or possibly to provide for his struggling family,… Continue reading

Stihl in America Blog 16 – A Quintessential All American Couple

He was the son of a Connecticut florist—she was the daughter of a wealthy Missouri banker. He was known for his love of horses—she was known for catching a car on fire with a smoldering cigarette while on the way to grade school—both were known for their service to America during WWII—one flew planes and the other went Navy–they were of the greatest generation.

Margot – Far Left

Tom Reck was born November 1914 in Bridgeport Connecticut, the home of P.T. Barnum, birthplace of the Frisbee, and Subway, and once headquarters to numerous well-known companies, including Remington Arms. Situated in… Continue reading

Let Liberty Ring

While many are dusting off their artificial Christmas tree and placing the spider infested contraption in the traditional place of prominence, others are heading to a crowded parking lot occupied by their favorite local civic organization selling trees shipped in from who knows where. The more fortunate will be keeping with tradition and traipsing into the woods and choosing the perfect conifer suitable to be adorned with all of those ornaments brought home by the kids during their elementary school days, at least the ones that weren’t edible and still have a remnant of glitter clinging to the, now fragile… Continue reading

Stihl in America Blog 15 – Opportunity and Commitment

Glen Banks was born November 25, 1902 in Columbus, Ohio to Lewis Banks, a railroad conductor, and Barbara Calhoun Banks, reportedly a relative to the late John C Calhoun, who was famous for serving as vice president for both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

Glenn earned a degree in Forestry Management in Mansfield, Ohio, near where the legendary Johnny Appleseed supposedly planted one of his many apple trees. Immediately following graduation, Glen accepted a position with the city of St. Louis managing the trees in the city’s many beautiful parks, including the famed Forest Park, known then and now… Continue reading

STIHL in America Blog 14 – He Could Have Played Baseball

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Jimmy admiring his billboard

His father was employed with the civil service at Wright-Patterson Air base; he grew up just down the street, a few blocks, from the garage where the Wright Brothers designed the first airplane. One would assume that during his formative years he’d dreamed of strapping on a leather helmet, wrapping his neck with a silk scarf, becoming an airborne swashbuckler, and barnstorming across America. Rather than using a vacant field to fly kites and balsam model airplanes and idolize Ohio’s Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy migrated to the field where America’s favorite sport was being played—baseball. His idol… Continue reading

Stihl in America Blog 11 – He honored the family legacy and then some…

On possibly the same day a Pan American Lockheed Super Constellation night-flight from New York to Stuttgart, Germany, carrying Gordon Williams and Harding Smith on their quest to secure the famous one page contract, a young, driven and clever Dorsey Glover was possibly sitting in an afternoon class on the sultry campus of the University of Arkansas, wishing he had drank more coffee before attending class to suffer through a monotonous law professor drone on about torts. It’s not likely that the lanky soon-to-be lawyer was sitting in class and obsessing about torts the way Gordon and Harding were obsessing… Continue reading

Stihl in America Blog 13- The Gold Standard

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Kathryn, Alphonse, Rita, and Hugo Brandt

Missouri’s Rhineland lies along the last hundred-mile stretch of America’s longest river, the mighty Missouri. Big Mo begins 2300 miles upstream at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers, near Three Forks, Montana. While the French were the first Europeans to explore and establish settlements along the entire length of the river, German immigrants, following soon thereafter, settled primarily along the last hundred miles between Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital, and St. Louis, where the Missouri flows into the Mississippi.

The most well-known village along this stretch is Herman, named in honor of… Continue reading

Stihl in America Blog 12 – The Chief

Osage Indian_Citizenship_ActFour Osage men with U.S president Calvin Coolidge after signing the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which granted Indians across the country full citizenship for the first time.

Like most Native American tribes, the Osage suffered countless broken promises by the American government. However, unlike most tribes, by the time the Osage were forced to re-settle in Oklahoma, they had the financial wherewithal to purchase the ground upon which their reservation was located. Much of this wealth gained as a result of being paid by the federal government for the land they’d been forced to acquiesce in Missouri and… Continue reading

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