After Merritt Heaton of Toulon, Illinois, won an Illinois State Fair contest to find the state’s oldest farmer, Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show invited him to appear on the show. He declined, mostly because he wasn’t that familiar with the Carson show; he rarely stayed up that late. Friends urged him to reconsider, and in 1988, he spent over 16 minutes providing a lot of laughs and charm for Johnny and his audience. Merritt’s great-grandson, Kirk Wilson, and grandson-in-law, Oliver Wilson, both of the Quad Cities, shared the details of the appearance and Mr. Heaton’s life with Steve Alexander. (Carson audio supplied courtesy of Carson Entertainment Group)