Dust­ing off an an­tique in aid of a good cause

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -


News Staff Af­ter lan­guish­ing in a Glen­garry shed for over half a cen­tury, an early Massey-Harris match plow with a sto­ried history will go un­der the ham­mer at the In­ter­na­tional Plow­ing Match to raise money for the Ot­tawa Heart In­sti­tute.

Up for auc­tion is a fully re­stored Massey-Harris No. 51 sin­gle-fur­row walk­ing plow with a distin­guished prove­nance.

The plow was owned by Glen­garry plow­man Don­ald MacGil­livray, of Dalkeith, who used the im­ple­ment when he com­peted at plow­ing matches in the 1930s and 1940s.

Don­ald MacGil­livray who died in 2014 at age 89 is still re­mem­bered for his skill as a com­pet­i­tive plow­man and for his con­tri­bu­tions as a coach and judge at lo­cal and re­gional matches and IPMs.

Be­fore buy­ing his first trac­tor in 1949, when horses were still the prime power source on many Glen­garry farms, Mr. MacGil­livray, a fine horse­man, used teams to plow his fields. He was ac­tive in the Glen­garry Plow­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion, the Eastern Coun­ties Plow­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion and the On­tario As­so­ci­a­tion. The plow is be­ing do­nated by Don­ald’s son, Ross MacGil­livray, a mem­ber of the On­tario Plow­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion (OPA) and the Glen­garry Plow­men, a for­mer trac­tor class com­peti­tor, a plow­ing judge since 2000, and this year, the In­ter­na­tional Plow­ing Match ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber in charge of the IPM trac­tor park.

Mr. MacGil­livray is do­nat­ing the an­tique to raise money for the Univer­sity of Ot­tawa Heart In­sti­tute Foun­da­tion. In 2010, Mr. MacGil­livray had suc­cess­ful heart surgery per­formed by car­diac sur­geon and pro­fes­sor of car­diac surgery Dr. Paul Hendry at the in­sti­tute.

The plow will be auc­tioned off at the IPM Horse­men’s Bar­be­cue on Tues­day evening, Septem­ber 22, at the New­ing­ton Fair­grounds where the event’s horses are be­ing sta­bled.

The auc­tion is ex­pected to at­tract in­tense in­ter­est, with bid­ding spurred on not just by al­tru­ism and nos­tal­gia but be­cause the Massey-Harris No. 51 is still the plow of choice at plow­ing matches and an in­tact orig­i­nal is a rare find. The plow was re­stored last year in South­west­ern On­tario by Wayne Gur­ney, of Drumbo, past pres­i­dent of the Drumbo Fall Fair, and a hob­by­ist re­storer of an­tique horse-drawn wag­ons and farm ma­chin­ery.

“It was all orig­i­nal and solid— I was re­ally sur­prised when I saw it,” says Mr. Gur­ney. “The han­dles only needed a light sand­ing. It was al­ways stored in­side so there were no cracks in the han­dles and the steel was solid, there was no wear at all. I just took it all apart, sand­blasted it and started over.”

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