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John Deere
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    (February 7, 1804-May 17, 1886)
    Born in Rutland, Vermont
    Vermont blacksmith
    Moved to Grand Detour, Illinois (1836)
    Invented the first commercially successful steel plow (1837)
    Moved his business to Moline, IL in 1848 and expanded (Deere & Company)
    Died in Grand Detour, IL at age 82
    His blacksmith business was failing and he sold his shop to his father-in-law before splitting to Illinois.
    His idea for a plow came from a Joliet, Illinois, gentleman who invented his version four years before Deere did.
    He formed a partnership with Leonard Andrus in 1843, only to dissolve it five years later due to mutual distrust.
    He fathered nine children (guess he still found time for inventing farm stuff).
    When his first wife died in 1865, he married her sister less than two years later.
    Though he made his bones in the Great Plains states, his monument is located in Middlebury, VT, where he learned the blacksmith trade.
    When he was two, his father sailed for England to claim an inheritance, and was lost at sea.
    He outlived four of his children, two of whom died as toddlers.
    When he moved to Illinois, there wasn't a blacksmith within 40 miles of his location, so he found immediate success.
    He developed a highly polished cast-steel plow that worked on the tough soil of the Midwest where other plows failed, and his invention earned the nickname 'The Plow that Broke the Plains.'
    He went from near bankruptcy to self-made millionaire, and his company has become a billion dollar industry (listed in 2008 as 102nd in the Fortune 500 ranking).
    His name has been mentioned in more than one country & western song.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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