Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

stihl

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

STIHL in America Blog 14 – He Could Have Played Baseball

jimmy-with-poster

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 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

Stihl in America – Blog 10 – The First Flying Stihl Distributor

Virg with planeIt’s possible that Gordon Williams met the chainsaw legend of Hood River while visiting the Oregon chain plant during his days at Estate Equipment. If the two hadn’t met, Gordon most likely knew of the reputation of the owner of H&D Logger Supply, Virg Hatfield. Virg’s parents had migrated to Oregon from West Virginia. It’s possible they were trying to get as far from family as possible since during the time of the migration, the Hatfields and the McCoys were bent on killing each other—some say over a disputed pig, while others claim the feud was a remnant of the… Continue reading

The Piano Player – Blog 9

Leora Back (Bach) was born 1912 at the home of her parents near Zalma, Missouri. She was one of eight children, four boys and four girls. Seven of the children graduated 8th grade from Zalma. One brother died at young age a few days after falling into a boiling kettle of lye.

Leora’s parents never owned a motorized vehicle. The farm was four miles from town one way and four miles from Berong Baptist Church the other. They’d all ride on a wagon pulled by a team of horses to both places at least once per week, sometimes more… Continue reading

The Whiz Kid

Response to full-page ads running every month in Chainsaw Age, starting in 1959 by Tull-Williams and subsequently Stihl America continued to pay rich dividends. The single warehouse phone virtually rang off the wall with calls from established Stihl distributors placing orders and those wishing to become distributors for Stihl. Joe Minarik, Mock, by then working part-time for Stihl America took the initiative to have a second phone line installed. Gordon, then being held accountable to a budget with the Stihl’s, a 40% partner, fired Joe for what he thought an extravagant expense. The following day a container of saws arrived… Continue reading

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