RACINE — His great-great grandfather was Jerome Increase Case, founder of the legendary J.I. Case Company.
But until this week, Peter Frederick Case and his wife, Angela, had never been to the city J.I. Case helped put on the map. While here, they toured CNH facilities and the Racine Heritage Museum, seeing historical equipment as well as the company’s current operations.
As a descendant of the company’s founder, Case and his wife received royalty-like treatment during their visit.
“I have never been so overwhelmed by how much Racine loves the Case family,” Peter Case said.
Impressed with visit
Racine is a far cry from the 5,200-acre cattle ranch the couple operates in west Texas, where “we’re just Mr. and Mrs. Case,” Angela said.
The ranch is on land purchased by J.I. Case, who got into the sheep business, Peter Case said. After finishing some improvements, they felt the ranch was in good enough shape to leave for a few days and make the trip north.
The visit fulfilled Peter’s long-held desire to see his Racine roots and visit the stomping grounds of the man displayed in photos hung in his office and grandparents’ home.
“I’ve always known that I was part of the family, and just always had a desire to come up here and never could find an opportunity,” Peter said.
They were also brought to Racine with the help of Image Management, 610 Main St., which is helping them with their website. Account executive Deb Revolinski, a former CNH employee, met the family in Texas a few years ago along with other Case employees who were in the state for a dealer meeting.
While in Racine, Peter and Angela Case got a tour of the CNH tractor plant, 7000 Durand Ave., Mount Pleasant; reviewed old materials and photos at the Racine Heritage Museum, 701 Main St.; and saw J.I. Case’s original desk in the corporate building at 700 State St.
They quickly noticed advanced technology — comparing it in their minds to J.I.’s thresher — as well as the diversity of the workforce. Angela said she was particularly impressed by how many women were on the assembly line.
“It didn’t matter what color you were, what sex you were,” said Angela, 59, a retired science teacher. “If you could do the job, you were doing the job.”
The Case family sold the company long ago, but Peter Case maintains a connection to his great-great grandfather through the ranch.
“They’ve taken that corporation, it’s gone to somebody else and it’s run by hundreds of people or thousands of people, and I’m still out here on J.I.’s old patch of ground that’s still in family hands,” said Peter, 61. “It’s kind of neat. “