America’s Last Homesteader Tractor Is Rescued


November 15, 2017

America’s last homesteader settled in Alaska in 1974. Homesteaders are a group of people who claimed land during the homestead act. This act was established for citizens of the United States to claim land west of the Mississippi river, as well as north, in Alaska for farming. Here, Ken Deardorff claimed this land, about two-hundred-fifty miles west of Anchorage, Alaska. Deardorff utilized the land and the Stony River, to fulfill the homesteader requirements of bettering it and utilizing it for farmland.

Deardorff found the 1945 Allis Chalmers Model C tractor in a barn near Palmer, Alaska. After his purchase, he needed to relocate it to his homestead for use. Deardorff had it disassembled and moved to his property where he reassembled it. “It was a simple machine, not too complicated,’’ said Deardorff, “The worst thing was the heavy parts were awkward, and working with bolts in the freezing cold.”

After selling his homestead in the 1980s, Deardorff now resides in McGrath, Alaska. The tractor has remained on the property since. Deardorff is considered one of the last homesteaders and artifacts from his property are now on display for the viewing public.

The tractor is being moved from Alaska to Nebraska, where will be on display at The Last Homesteader exhibit.