A midcentury tale from Canada has been given new life, thanks to social network Reddit.
A story about a dying farmer who scratched his will on the fender of a tractor he was trapped beneath, made front page of the r/TIL subreddit on Nov. 16.
Attorneys have called it one of the most unique wills ever written and accepted in a court of law. In 1948, farmer George Harris, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, found himself trapped underneath a tractor for 10 hours during a heavy storm.
He happened to have a pocketknife with him and managed to etch his last will and testament onto the tractor’s fender.
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"In case I die in this mess, I leave all to the wife,” he wrote.
Harris died that night at the hospital from injuries, according to Canada's Metro.
Bob Hannay, 80, was 15 at the time and is the only living survivor of the team that rescued Harris.
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"My part in it was just to drive the tractor up there and pull the implement back so they could get the fellow out," Hannay said at a 65-year anniversary celebration of Harris' will.
"It was real heavy clay, Rosetown clay, heavy heavy rain, dirt roads. So they hooked chains on the car and my dad said 'don't stop until you get to the highway.'"
Hannay did not know what Harris had done to the tractor when he helped rescue him.
"A pretty tough old fellow to write his will on a tractor fender, all wedged up under a tractor," said Hannay. "Quite brave of him."
The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law now celebrates the anniversary of Harris’ will. A judge even ordered the tractor fender to be preserved and displayed under glass in the Law Library of the college.
Calgary attorney Geoff Ellwand tracked Hannay down to interview him for a book.
"This was one which was written under extraordinary circumstances on an extraordinary medium," said Ellwand.
"It was written in a manner, very brief, there was no doubt about his wishes. And so the courts accepted it, without a blink. Here's a man, trapped under a tractor for 10 hours, who knows what went through his mind, but at some point he must have said, 'I might not make it.' And he decides to write this will, giving everything to his wife, protecting his family."