Lonnie and Marilyn Deweese were among the first of our Jeep friends and they found us. They had read the early pages of FarmJeep.com and made a pilgrimage to see us and to gather some information on our Newgren lift. Once we met it was clear that these were people with a passion for the history that we want to preserve.
Lonnie and Marilyn are responsible for spreading the Farm Jeep story to thousands of individuals. They freely share their knowledge and their love and passion for the little Jeep’s role in agricultural history. Lonnie’s and Marilyn’s names appear several times in our writings. There have been hundreds of interactions over the years (phone calls, visits and conversations at shows) that haven’t been recorded but are an important part of our own story.
Pictures of Lonnie’s and Marilyn’s Jeeps appear across the Web and they continue to share their passion for Jeeps at an annual fall gathering. When we asked them to talk about their Jeep story, we quickly discovered that there is a lot to tell. So much so, that we will post updates over a period of time. Enjoy
The $200 Jeep by Marilyn Deweese
Lonnie’s jeep story began when he was 9 years old. The previous year his father had passed away. His parents were quite old when he was born and his uncles would take him home with them to help work their farms. He was always large and strong for his age. His uncle, Presley Monroe used him the most and his farm was located on the ridge and extended to the valley below. He purchased a 1948 CJ2A with a belt pulley. He used the jeep for cutting wood and sawing lumber. He also checked livestock daily in the valley and worked their tobacco crop there. Lonnie’s first time driving this jeep when he was 9 yrs old started a love affair that still is his passion today. It was always in 4WD and 1st gear going down and coming back up from the valley. He volunteered every day to check on the livestock and run any errands just to drive that jeep. Did I forget to mention Lonnie’s only wage for working from daylight to dark was all he could eat!
When Lonnie turned 16 and got his driver’s license, he purchased his first vehicle. You guessed it, it was a 1948 CJ2A for $200. This proud new owner drove off the lot toward the feed mill his cousins owned and couldn’t wait to show off his first vehicle. He drove 1/2 mile down the road and it died on him. After pulling it to the mill, everyone jumped in the help get it running again. After getting it running it was hard to put in 4WD, Lonnie finally discovered the problem. All the tires on the jeep were a mismatched set of tires, different kind and sizes. This was throwing off the 4WD. Lonnie went looking for a new set of jeep tires but needless to say none were available. However, he went to Bale Tire and purchased a full set of mud grips 600×16 and drove this jeep everywhere for a couple of years until he left for Viet Nam.
After returning home, he decided to put a V8 in it. He started gathering parts slowly, however, in the mean time the jeep had been taken apart and placed on a farm wagon covered with an Army tarp. Thirty years later the parts were still in the barn on the wagon and the body sat by a sink hole on the farm for those 30 yrs before the jeep was put back together and restored.
To be continued: