Founded in 1914 by brothers Goodloe and Earle Yancey, Yancey Bros. Co. began as the Yancey Hardware Company, selling hardware, picks, shovels and prison uniforms (stripes) to government agencies - especially county prisons - for road construction. From their Peachtree Street location in downtown Atlanta, the brothers became the first dealer in the United States for the Adams Mule Grader, a predecessor of today’s motorgrader which was pulled by eight mules.

Early successes brought expansion into a new location on Marietta Street and branch offices in Birmingham, Alabama, Ft. Pierce, Florida, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Establishment of the Nation's First Caterpillar Dealership

In 1918, the Holt Manufacturing Company of Peoria, IL boasted that its Model 45 tractor could do the work of, “40 mules . . . or 40 horses and countless humans.” Goodloe and Earle traveled to Peoria to ask Holt if they could represent the product in the southeastern United States. Holt preferred direct sales to end users and questioned the need for local distribution, preferring to target sales to the United States Army. Unable to secure a demonstration tractor, Goodloe and Earle left Peoria with only a photograph of the Holt Model 45 and a price quote of $4,750 per machine.

Yancey’s first Model 45 delivery came later that year to Troup County, Georgia. Within 12 months Yancey had sold all of the Model 45’s in Holt’s inventory, using only a single photograph. When Goodloe and Earle returned to the Holt factory in Peoria the following year, they were given Holt’s first jobber’s contract, and a higher commission than initially promised.

In 1925 Holt merged with Best Tractor Co. to become the Caterpillar Tractor Company, now the world’s largest manufacturer of earthmoving equipment. Records at Caterpillar’s corporate offices in Peoria indicate that, based on the original agreement date of December 19, 1918, “Yancey is the dealer with whom Caterpillar and its predecessor companies have had the longest business association.” Thus, Yancey Bros. Co. is proud to own the title of, “The Nation’s Oldest Caterpillar Dealer.”

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