The first Jersey Cows in USA
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From: Hans Nørgaard [jersey@post4.tele.dk]
Sent: 30. august 1998 18:51
To: ho@svendborg-info.dk
Subject: The first Jersey Cows in USA
The first Jersey Cows in United States of America

In modern times the Jersey cow has become world famous, and a steady and lucrative export trade has been built up, both in cows and bulls. Many fine herds of Jerseys have been established in many countries, originally with stock from islands farms. Although early reports of the exports of cattle are few, we do know that in 1657 George Poingdestre  and Peter Effard were sending cows to America in small numbers.
[Merchants and shipowners and their vessels before 1800 [John Jean:Jersey Sailing Ships, chapter 5. 1982]

George Poingdestre grew up at Swan Farm and then immigrated with his wife and children to Middle Plantation (Williamsburg), Virginia.

It is believed that Swan Farm was built c.1490, on land the Poingdestre family had lived on since the 13th Century.
 
George Poingdestre with his wife, Susanna, [and Peter Effard] arrived in the Colony of Virginia in 1657.  They first settled in Middle Plantation (Williamsburg). George Poingdestre later built his plantation home, Criss Cross (or Christ's Cross), which still stands located midway between Williamsburg and Richmond in St. Peter's Parish.

Peter Effard was an Uncle to George. George's mother's brother. They seemed to be in business
together when they first arrived to Virginia. Doris Ann Lucas tells that  "Peter Effard did give to two of George's children a cow apiece". It is believed that they imported Jersey cows to America in the 1650-80"s.

An Alderney Cow 1815

"The early importations of Jersey cattle into this country are most difficult to trace. The animals were then called Alderneys, and the same name was given to Guernsey cattle, of which a goodly number were brought over, and they seem to have been interbred somewhat indiscriminately.
The following is a copy of a paper kindly furnished by Col. Craig Biddle, of Philadelphia:

The earliest record of an Alderney cow in Pennsylvania, that I am aware of, will be found in Vol.IV,, page 155, of the Memoirs of the Philadelphia Society for Promotion of Agriculture. It is as follows.

I have upon my farm on the Delaware a cow of the Alderney breed, imported a short time since by Mr. Wurts. She has been fed in the usual way with potatoes, and during the last week the milk from her was kept separate, and yielded eight pounds of butter. The cow is a small animal, and is supported with less food than our ordinary stock.
By communicating this fact to the Society, it will oblige, etc.
Jan, 11, 1817    Richard Morris
P.S. The Cow is three years old.
To Roberts Vaux, sec of the Phila Society for Promoting Agriculture.

   Photograph [of portrait?] of William Wurts.

William Wurts [ b. circa 1786]  with his brothers Charles and Maurice, were businessmen of Philadelphia.
 

In a note on the same page, it is stated "that the cow above referred to is now in the possession of another member of the Agricultural Society; and after a fair trial made with her during last summer (1817), the superior richness of her milk, when compared with that of other cows, has been fully tested. She gave 9½ pounds of extremely rich, highly-coloured butter per week.
Another mention of the same cow will be found in the fifth volume of the same work, page 47, viz.:

Germantown, Oct. 20, 1818
With this you will receive a pound of butter made from the Alderney cow imported in 1815 by Maurice and William Wurts, and now in my possession. She calved on the 13th of last month, and is now in fine condition, running on excellent pasture of orchard grass and white clover, and gives on an average about 14 quarts of milk per day. From this quantity, during the week ending the 7th instant, we obtained 10 quarts of cream, which produce 8lbs 2oz of butter, and the week succeeding 10½ quarts, which gave 83/4 of the quality of the sample sent. You will perceive it is of so rich a yellow that it might be suspected that some foreign coloring matter had been added to it; but you may rely on it this is not the case. I may add that one of the good properties of this valuable breed of cattle is the ease with which the creamis churned, requiring but a few minutes to convert it into  butter. When a proper opportunity occurs, I shall endeavour to ascertain the quantity and quality of butter to be obtained per week from the Kerry cow, imported this summer from Ireland, and the Brittany cow from France, both of which breeds I have pure.
I remain respectfully
Reuben Haines

Richard Peters, Esq."

[Jersey Cattle. Edited by the Secretary [ 1. Volume of the American Jersey Herd Book 1871]

According to E. Parmalee Prentice this Alderney  "cow seems to have come from Brixton, Surrey, England, where she was born in 1813 or 1814, her sire and dam being "two fullblooded Alderneys", though it is not known from what Island they came."

E. Parlamee  Prentice
Guernseys in America [American Dairy Cattle. 1941]
 

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