My Grandfather's Model T

One of my fondest memories as a child was staying overnight with my grandparents, Adam and Victoria Kosh, on their farm in rural Brazos County. My grandfather grew cotton and corn and raised cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and goats. He also had two mules that helped pull a wagon through the corn and cotton fields. When mom wasn't looking, we would sneak away and climb to the top of the hay loft or the corn crib out in the barn or steal away deep into the woods to fish in a stream for crawfish with a nail and a piece of bacon. Every Sunday after church, we would all go to my grandparent's house for lunch and dinner, where we joined the families of our 7 aunts and uncles. What a wonderful time we had as youngsters.

I recently talked to one of my uncles about a Ford Model T that my grandfather purchased in 1927. My mother's father purchased the Ford Model T brand new from a local dealer. My uncle remembered that they used curtains to keep the rain out of the car because it did not have windows that would roll up or down. It also had front and back seats. There are no surviving photos of the car, but we think it might have been a touring car.

Using a Model T could have been a challenge for a family with eight children. When I asked my uncle how everyone could be seated in the car, he laughed and said, "You just throw them in the back and let them scramble." Problem solving was so simple back then. When the children got bigger, they had to take turns going to town or to church. They also sat in each others' laps so more family members could ride in the car at the same time. "You just make it work," he said.

Learning to drive was easy, my uncle told me. He said there was no shifting and he got on an open trail and learned to drive by himself. The roads at that time could be very muddy but the car would go up and down the hills with no problem. He said, "If you hit a tree, you just got out of the car and looked at the bumper. Then, if there was a dent in it, you just took a sledge hammer and fixed it. Those cars were made to last."

Years later, my grandfather purchased a 1937 Chevrolet, but he converted the old Model T into a truck and continued to use it on the farm. He carried cattle and cotton in it, and after he retired from farming, he kept the truck on the farm. He later gave the truck to my uncle, who kept it in town. His neighbor purchased it from him and then "junked" the car.

I learned so much by talking to my uncle, who had first hand knowledge about what it was like to use a Model T for transportation when they were considered to be modern cars. The vehicles that survived have proved to be pieces of Americana that are appreciated for getting families out of wagons and buggies and into power driven vehicles. How lucky we are to be caretakers of the first automobiles that mobilized America.

Submitted by Ginger Wentrcek