By Norman Taunton
He was born in 1911 in Alabama, the second child of a family of five children. His parents were sharecroppers until they were able to own their own farm. They started training their children to plow at a young age. Each one had a mule and a plow. Bud was seven years old when he was put behind his mule.
When the Depression hit, his parents knew they had to make some changes. They sold their possessions and piled the kids into a Model T truck and headed west. His parents had relatives living in Las Cruces, New Mexico. They made it that far and they helped them find a farm to work on shares. They just broke even and did not try another year, moving back to Deming New Mexico.
Bud left home when he was nineteen, taking a job on a 50,000 acre cattle ranch. He tired of that and went to work on a dairy. The pay wasn’t much, but it was regular and he had a place to stay and an old Buick stripped down homemade truck to go to town on Saturdays.
Bud’s father traded an old cook stove for a calf and had Bud deliver the stove seven miles out of town and pick up the calf. This is where he met June. When deer season came, he got permission to go hunting over the weekend. When he returned to the dairy, he had a young two legged deer and a very angry new father-in-law. It was quite a while before things got patched up.
Soon after, the big rancher contacted Bud and he went back to work for him. This is where he got his first real experience with old gas engines and windmills. He traveled from ranch to ranch servicing and repairing them. Bud worked for the rancher on and off for six years. In the meantime, they bought a small adobe house on ten acres for the taxes and had three healthy kids. He started a small trucking business hauling for farmers in the area.
In 1943, Bud and June and their family moved to California. Bud did all sorts of different things, mostly trading and selling. You name it, he did it. Finally when Norman and his brother Bob were old enough to help he got into the lumber business and stayed with it for the next thirty years. His daughter Betty stayed home to help June.
Over the years, he still couldn’t get the gas engines or windmills out of his system. He would pick one up now and then and tinker with them. Bud joined Branch 13 along with his son Norman shortly after it was formed in the early 70’s. That was one of the best things he ever did. The first engine show he went to was at Mike Gianni’s in Manteca. He enjoyed meeting with and talking to his friends in the club.
Bud and Norman bought their first big engine from the Adams Ranch on Liberty Road in Galt in 1965. It is a 25 hp hot head Fairbanks-Morse Diesel. From then on, they were addicted and there seemed to be no cure.
In 1978, the Taunton family hosted the first of the Fall Gas-Ups at their ranch in Galt. The shows are still going strong after twenty years. Bud did not make it in person this year for the 21st Taunton Fall Gas-Up, but his spirit was there as he watched from up above.
Thanks to all members for being important Chugger friends with Bud.
The Taunton Family