Horse Drawn Road Grader



Cree Vicar Dave ~ SASS Life 49907


One thing that I really enjoy doing is traveling around the Country shooting at different Cowboy Action Shooting™ Clubs and seeing the 1800’s style machinery on display.  I wish that I’d known about Cowboy Action back in the nineteen seventies.  I’m sure that I could have gotten my dad interested in our sport, as he loved talking about farming with horses, riding in a buggy and driving an eight penny nail at twenty paces.


Our club (Sucker Creek Saddle & Gun Club) has a few glimpses of the past on display; a Logging Sled, a Covered Wagon undercarriage and other small odds & ends that reflect the spirit of bygone years.  What really draws my enthusiasm is seeing a rusty relic of retrospect restored to its former glory.


A while back I found out about one such mechanical apparatus that was totally restored and on display less than 3 miles from our spread, as the crow flies.  In the courtyard of the Adams Township Hall, Arenac County, Michigan sits a Horse Drawn J.D. Adams Leaning Road Grader, Model 31.  From what I could find out the company was in business from around the turn of the century to the mid 1960’s.


Adams Township Road Grader Monument
J D Adams Road Grader
Front View
Rear View

Back in the days when the grader was in use there wasn’t much of a “Road Commission”.  The people pooled their money to buy machinery, or the townships that could put up the cash to buy the tools required to maintain their roads. Then those who had the means to operate the equipment took care of the roads in exchange for paying their taxes.  In Matthew 22:19-21 (KJV) Jesus says:
“19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” The grader was therefore a symbol of limited government, as our Founding Fathers intended, a symbol of freedom and/or self government. 

Recently I talked to Hubert Fisk who was instrumental in bringing this antique back to life.  He said that his older brother Chet Fisk, who is 90 years old, remembers seeing the grader in use when he was a boy of five.  So he surmised that the grader is around 100 years old.  It was pulled by three teams of horses.  There is a seat on the back of the grader for the operator to sit on and an assortment of wheels, levers and cranks to adjust the machine.  

Hubert knew about the grader and talked to others in the township about restoring it.  The grader was cleaned up, rebuilt and painted to look like new.  Hubert applied the lettering and the manufacturer’s brass plate was replaced.  The money used to restore the grader, build the pavilion and buy the life size composite horses was all covered by the funds brought in to the township from the sale of township property pine trees that were planted by local residents years ago.  The total cost of the restoration was around $8,000.00.  Hubert refers to it as a “Piece of History”.  It is quite a Monument to the heritage of Adams Township, a tangible history lesson for the youth of today. 

When one thinks about all the unique antiques that have been carted to the scrap yard of late it’s good to know that some people have the foresight and fortitude to save a great piece of history and display it for all to see.  I would like to thank the Adams Township Board, everyone who worked on this project and all the like minded people of Adams Township for erecting this great Monument.  It is truly a beautiful sight to behold. 

The Adams Township Hall is located at:

6600 West Sterling Road

Sterling MI 48659


Hope ta see ya on the trail

God Bless