Wayne, Walter, and the Model T

My husband’s great-uncle Wayne Nedry Alwood (1893-1948) had a Model T automobile similar to this one, pictured.  Those puppies could be hard to start, and sometimes a person had to get creative.  But Wayne’s brother-in-law, Walter Garver, discovered a system that worked.

Dale Garver, a cousin of my husband’s and a top-notch genealogy researcher, wrote and self-published a book about the Garver family in 2002 which he entitled One Tree in the Garver Family Jungle—Past and Present.  Dale recorded some wonderful stories in the course of his research, including this one about Wayne, Walter, and the Model T…

“Wayne Alwood drove his Model T Ford up for a visit (to his sister Hazel’s farm) one time, and parked it in the Grove.  After it sat unused for a couple of days during Wayne’s stay, he cranked it and cranked it and couldn’t get it started.  Finally he gave up in frustration, uttered a swear word, threw up his hands, and said, “I’ll walk instead!”  He then gathered up his traveling gear, got out of the car, and stopped by Walter and Hazel’s house.  He told his brother-in-law Walter, “I’m going home.  There’s a car sitting out there; if you can get the so-and-so to start, it’s yours.”  He never came back for the car.

Walter kept it and he always used a horse to pull-start it.  He would get his trusty work horse Prince, not even bothering with a bridle, just putting the harness on him, and grab a chain.  He’d hook Prince to the car and holler, “Okay,” and Prince would pull the car backwards out of the garage.  “Stop,” Walter would say, and Prince would turn around and walk to the front of the car.  The chain was then hooked up to the front of the car and out the driveway they went, not even trying to start the car until they got out into the road.  Walter just kept talking to Prince as they slowly picked up speed.  Once a trot was established, the car was started.  Prince would then head back to the barn, beating Walter in his car, as Walter had to go on to the corner to turn around and come back.”

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Is this story vitally important in the genealogical history of my husband’s family?  No.  Is it priceless to me anyway?  Definitely.

[photo in the public domain]

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