A Long, Proud History
Seventeen years before the American Civil War erupted, the J.S. Woodhouse Company was started by Joseph Stuyvesant Woodhouse. Mr. Woodhouse was an industrious and capable man from a prominent New York family.
Mr. Woodhouse opened a retail store to sell hand tools and horse-drawn farm equipment such as plows, harrows, planting equipment and corn shellers. The company distributed one of the very first horse-drawn manure spreaders which was manufactured in western New York (Weedsport, we believe). They also sold grape presses, butter molds, seed potato knives, and a variety of other agricultural related products to the farmers in Lower Manhattan County, New York City. Today, this area would encompass the area of Broadway and Wall Street, as well as the financial district of lower Manhattan.
Mr. Woodhouse's hard work and effort yielded a prosperous business and the respect of his peers. He added traveling salesmen, and had several locations throughout New York City on Pearl Street, Water Street, Front Street, and Broadway and Bricker Streets at the edge of the garment district. At that time, the city ended at 14th Street and the rural community began.
As New York City changed and grew, Woodhouse sold his equipment through the wholesale market on Long Island, and in New Jersey and New York. Joseph Stuvesant Woodhouse died in 1912, leaving the business to his two sons. Unfortunately, both sons died shortly thereafter and the business passed to two of Woodhouse's granddaughters. While the granddaughters had limited interest in the business, the company continued to operate through the 1920's and 30's under the guidance of a Mr. W.C. Cole.
On a parallel course, Mr. C.J. Reilly and Mr. Harold McGreevy were involved in the distribution of the Fordson Tractor on a national level. In 1939, Reilly and McGreevy imported the first Ford-Ferguson tractor with an internal hydraulic system. The tractor was a success, but Reilly and McGreevy needed farm implements to round out the line.
By 1941, the J.S. Woodhouse Company was doing poorly. Mr. Cole was 76 years old and his financial man, Howard Lane, was 74. The granddaughters, who were living in California, decided to sell the business.
C.J. Reilly saw the Woodhouse Company as a great opportunity in the wholesale "implement" business and opted to purchase the Woodhouse Company in 1941. The company was not in good shape, lacking the confidence of the manufacturers it represented. Through hard work, dedication, and good people, the J.S. Woodhouse Company rebounded within two years. The company regained the confidence of its suppliers and was established as an important link in the farm implement distribution business.
After the end of World War II, the company prospered and expanded throughout the Northeast United States. Ford Motor Company began selling direct to dealers, and J.S. Woodhouse Company elected to remain a wholesale distributor. By 1948, Woodhouse was distributing product lines such as Cobey, Little Giant, Electric Wheel, Smalley, Super Six, Turner Balers, True Temper Hand Tools, Harvey Manufacturing, Belt Elevators, Judson Bros., Buller Saw, Planet Jr., Garber Seeders, American Crop Drying Equipment Co., Galloway Manure Spreaders, and others. Harold McGreevy retired in 1949 with full control of the J.S. Woodhouse Company going to Charles Reilly and his two sons, William and Charles, Jr.
In the early 1950's, Howard Rotavator and Snowco Elevators were added to the product mix. The company progressed through the 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's, responding to the agricultural industry with changing lines of equipment. Several of the company's first product lines continue to be distributed by the J.S. Woodhouse Company today.
The J.S. Woodhouse Company is now operated by C.J. Reilly's three grandsons, Charles J. Reilly III, Robert C. Reilly, and William J. Reilly.
Since 1843, J.S. Woodhouse has distributed equipment through agricultural tractor and equipment dealers, as well as through lawn & garden tractor dealers. Although we sell exclusively through these dealers, we welcome inquiries from retail consumers and are happy to provide product information and a referral to the nearest local dealer for the product(s) of interest.
We offer a wide range of implements such as Agricultural, Forestry, Light Industrial, Skid Steer Attachments, Turf, and Lawn and Garden equipment.
Office and warehouse locations in Lewisberry, PA, Syracuse, NY, Waterville, ME, and our main headquarters in West Springfield, MA, enable us to serve equipment dealers in 13 states throughout the Northeast including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.
To the best of our knowledge, Woodhouse is the oldest agricultural equipment distributor in North America.