I've posted a few times after I found the forum but just found the pic I was looking for.
This is my 1948 M and my Dad not too long after he restored it, the photo was taken on the farm where he was born and grew up with the tractor.
As I recall the history, my grandfather purchased "John" second hand sometime late 1949 - early 1950 and my Dad was pretty happy as he was plowing with a mule at that time. As I remember the story the tractor was purchased from a dealer when the original owner traded it back in, so they got the tractor, turn plow, cultivator and side dresser practically new. My grandfather converted a Cole single hopper planter from mule drawn to the tractor. I still have the planter and all of the equipment.
I grew up riding John and sometimes working with John. One of the more memorable times I was treated like a real "farmer" as a pre-teen and got to drive John while making cane syrup with the whole family there. That job entailed driving John round and round pulling the boom that rotated the mechanical cane grinder. Of course we got an early start so at some point on the endless travels I fell asleep on the tractor and woke up only when it came to a sudden stop trying to pull the mill over, luckily I was in low gear and idling so the only thing damaged was my pride.
My Dad knew that tractor inside and out and could make it do anything he wanted it to do including plowing a row straight as an arrow. He could point to old repairs made by so and so in 1958 and he did all of the minor and major mechanical repairs himself over the years. It became his tractor in 1976 when my grandfather passed away and he used it mainly in small 1-2 acre gardens but in the past few years planted corn and watermelons at the original farm. He said John always popped a little prouder when it was out at the farm that is now owned by my aunt. In early 2000 he was in the hospital prepping for open heart surgery and wanted me there early so he could tell me "how to put John back together" as it was sitting in the barn in a million parts as he was doing his dream restoration. He got to put it all back together and painted without my mother knowing what the parts cost and the pic above was the result.
The last time he used it was March 2013 when he planted the garden and corn/watermelon patch at the farm. He came to my home for Easter dinner that weekend and complained of his fingers drawing up. A few days later he was diagnosed with lung cancer and then we found out it had spread to his brain. Despite that when he came home from the hospital literally the first thing we did when we got home was get John out and I had to plow the peas in the garden with him watching in pjs and house shoes. He wanted me to replant some squash so I got the hoe out and next thing I know he is next to me dropping seed while I made the hills. He died in May 2013, so now John is mine.
Since then I've used it a few times and have been working to keep it running and ready to start working again. He knew that one day something might break that would stop us from using John so over time we put together a pretty good set of row crop gear for my Kubota just in case. As far as John I've recently replaced the light/ignition switch, all of the gauges and redid some of the wiring and just basic mechanical maintenance. It will now start at the touch of the pull switch and will idle and run like it is 1948. I've also been working on repairing the side dresser and just recently found a compatible hopper for the fertilize side dresser Daddy and PaPa would be happy to see that returning to its original look. Some sanding and painting and the Lord willing John and I will be planting and plowing in the spring along with my little 'bota.
I'm not the JD aficionado or mechanic that my Dad was (and he loved working with and maintaining my little Kubota and just about any other tractor too) but I'll keep working at it. Thanks for all the good info and posts on the forum.