“We just had fun collecting”, that is what Leon Walker says when you listen to him talk about the variety of collections that Leon and Lou have collected over the years. Leon started out collecting A&W root beer paraphernalia from root beer mugs, signs, menu boards, and a bear driving an A&W race car. Some other collectibles are Jewell Tea Autumn Leaf pattern dishes, cookie jars, and Red Wing crockery. Leon started his Farmall and International Harvester collection with literature from flea markets. One piece of literature is on an F-20 tractor. In the piece of literature, it tells that you can farm 125 to 200 acres of ground and it will replace 8 to 12 horses. He also has one on an F-12 tractor and it says it will replace 3 to 5 horses.

It seems that when Leon collects something, he goes all in. He not only has an M-1 Grand International Harvester rifle that was produced after the Korean War but also has the bayonet and a grenade thrower. His cream separator has the manual and the parts book that goes along with it. His collection of belt buckles is very extensive as he has his own number when they are produced for the Red Power Round Up each year. Leon and Lou have gone to the Cub-A-Rama so many years, collecting a pin each year, they named a tree after them called the Walker Tree in Fredericktown. In his collection, he also has some family treasures like this Great Grandpa’s mustache mug and a Hagerman snuff box from 1840. Leon is the second owner of a Farmall 200 after doing some work for the first owner who worked at Jasper Implement. There were probably about 10 sold new in Jasper.

In 2001, Leon and Lou went Germany for an International Harvester show and to tour the factories in Germany. While they were there, they also visited with a man from England and the gentleman knew that Leon wanted to buy a Super Farmall Cub Vineyard and so he got a hold of Leon when one came up for sale. It was put on a Ferry from England to Sweden and shipped to Canada.  The second French tractor that Leon bought was a French 230 Utility came through New York and got held up in customs because of Foot & Mouth Disease. There were only sixty of the Vineyard tractors made and as far as Leon knows he has the only one left in existence.

When Leon and Lou got together in December of 1957, Leon was from Jasper and Lou was from Sarcoxie and they were married the next July. Lou was working split shift as a switch board operator. Leon would drop her off at work, pick her up for supper, take her back to work and pick her up again. They became dairy farmers and bought the farm they live on in 1963. Later in life Lou became a beautician and Leon was an electrical contractor both working from their home. Leon lost his beloved Lou in September of 2018. They raised three sons together Larry and wife Kelly live in Barton County, Mark lives in Joplin, and son Kevin and wife Sherry live in Collinsville. They also have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In 2017 Leon and Lou hosted one of the International Harvester Chapter 1 meetings and since then they have built a building to house much of their collection. Thank you to Leon for giving us a tour, Leon is just a great guy to visit with.