The Guernsey Cattle - Introduction to America.
William H. Caldwell: The Guernsey. 1941.
Willis P. Hazard writing of the early introduction of Guernseys to America in his book
"Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney Cow," published in 1872, refers to information
given him by Colonel Craig Biddle of Philadelphia as follows.
The earliest record of an Alderney cow in Pennsylvania, that I am aware 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. Wurs. She has been fed in the usual way with potatos, 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.
In a note on the same page, it is stated that the cow above referred to is now in the
possesion 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-colored 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 given 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 produced 8
lbs 2 oz of butter, and the week succeeding 10½ quarts, which gave 83/4 lbs 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
ofcattle is the ease with which the cream is churned, requiringbut 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 Brrittany cow from France, both of which breeds I have
I remain, respectfully
I September 1840 three Alderney cows were purchased by the late Nicholas Biddle. They
were imported from the Island of Guernsey, and brought to the port of New York in the
Schooner Pilot, Captain Belair. They turned out to be remarkably fine animals. This stock,
crossed by later importations, is maintained in its purity at Andalusia, Bucks County,
Pennsylvania the country-seat of Mr Biddle, and still in possession of his family.
Romane entered into the introduction of the uernsey to America through a sea captain by
the name of Prince, sailing out of Boston, who stopped at the Island of Guernsey on one of
his trups and bought three young animals, two heifers and a bull. These he brought back to
this country and gave to his brother who had a farm on a small island in Lake
Winnepesauke, New Hampshire. One of the heifers was lost trace of, but the other heifer
and the bull started herds, from which there have descended many animals.
It was said to be in or about 1830 or 1831 that this Captain Prince brought these animals
into the port of Boston, where they were recorded as entering. Here fate stepped in and
wehave no record of the exact date because the records were lost when the Custom House at
Boston was destroyed by fire.
There was no American Guernsey Cattle Club at that time, nor was there any way in which
records could be kept as official,but this did not interfere with tracing the descendants
from Cow Island through interesting facts that had been carefully preserved by friends of
After the Club was well established in 1899 a large group of Guernseys, purporting to
be pure bred and descending from the two original animals, were submitted to the Club for
registration. After investigating the origin of these animals it was found that Joseph
Barnard of Hopkinton had kept a very careful diary on the daily happenings in his life. In
this record was found a complete history of the mating, breeding and handling of a herd
developed from the original Cow Island animals. In the fall of 1890 and 1891, J.L.
Gerrsih, Secretary of the Granite State Dairymen`s Association and Secretary of the
Guernsey Dairy at Coontoocook, New Hampshire, describes the effort made to preserve the
data that was found regarding the descendants of these animals. This was undertaken in
what was called as follows:
The New Hampshire Guernsey Herd Book
The opening of the Guernsey Dairy at Cootoocook has awakened a new interest in the
Barnard breed, as it is locally known, and search has been made for the evidence showing
that a portion of these cattle can be traced to the Channel Islands.
About a dozen head of these cattle are owned by Mr. Barnard at this time, as many by John
F. And J. Arthur Jones, all of Hopkinton, and some individuals by the writer, and a few
others who are interested in breeding good dairy stock. We have the sworn statement of Mr.
Barnard and six other gentlemen concerning these cattle, as follows: Mr. Barnard says: I
am 73 years old, and live on the farm owned by my father Joseph Barnard. When I was a
young man and lived at home on this same farm I had knowlege of the cattle known as the
Prince Importation of Alderneys (and mentioned in one place in my father`s journal as
"Alderneys, sometimes called Guernseys") and drove my father`s native cows to
the Daniel Pillsbury bull at Boscawen. He was dark brindle, with some white with bug
horns, and a very rich skin. After I went from home, my father bought a heifer of Gen.
Moody A. Pillsbury of West Boscawen (now Webster). She was dark, with a brown stripe on
her back and sides. Later, he bought a light yellow heifer of the said M.A. Pillsbury.
These were of the Prince importation, and were bought wholly on the merits of the butter
which he had seen at Mr. Pillsbury`s. My father inbred these cattle, keeping both cows and
bulls of his raising until quite aged. He was very particular to keep them pure and kept
that bulls for work till nine or ten years old to prevent further inbreeding. At my
father`s death, in 1870, I came into possession of four cows and two bulls bred thus. I
kept the dark, brown bull and sold the brindle and white one to a neighbour, Dr. Gage. I
afterwards bred to both of these bulls and, to raise the cattle I now have, I have made no
outcross, except to the use of a bull which I bought of James Lawrence of Groton,
Massachusetts, and a bull bought of E.F. Bowsitch of Framingham, Massachusetts, by John F.
Jones an d his son J. Arthur. These bulls were Guernseys. I have never coloured any butter
from these cows, and took the first prize for Dairy Print at the last annual meeting of
the Granite State Dairymen`s Association. This butter was the product of the herd of eight
cows, and was no different from the butter made for our egular trade, excepting in the
amount of salt. In my breeding for the past 21 years since my father`s death, I have made
the quantity and quality of the butter product the leading idea. I have succeeded so well
in this that I run no risk in warranting young and untried heifers to become first class
and "gilt edge" in their products."
Joseph B. Thurber`s statement: I am 57 years old. I was born in West Boscawen and
commenced to workfor Joseph Barnard of Hopkinton as soon as I was old enough to work out.
I worked for him about ten years. I went with Mr. Barnard when he bought an Alderney
heifer of Gen. Moody A. Pillsbury. This heifer was light red and had a low bag and large
teats. Mr. Barnard was particular not to mix his stock with other cattle when I worked for
Moody A. Pillsbury`s statement: I am 70 years old. I went to Cow Island in Winnipesauke
Lake with my father and got a bull and heifer calf of the Prince importation (then called
Alderneys) in 1842. They were owned by one Prince of Roxbury, Massachusetts and were cared
for on the Island by my uncle, Paul P. Pillsbury. The heifer was yellow with bug horns,
and made 9½ lbs of butter in a week on grass alone, and would make yellow butter in
winter without grain. My father Gen Moody A. Pillsbury sold a heifer from this stock to
Joseph Barnard of Hopkinton.
Charles S. Pillsbury`s statement: I am 62 years of age, and was born in West Boscawen,
now Webster, New Hampshire. My father Gen. Moody A. Pillsbury, bought a calf of the Prince
importation when I was a boy and brought it home when he returned from a fishing excursion
to Winnepesauke Lake, where some of these cattle were kept and cared for by my uncle, Paul
P. Pillsbury. My father`s journal shows that he went to lake December 27, 1842 and
returned Jan 4, 1843, which I suppose was the time when he got the calf. This heifer
proved to be the best cow my father ever owned and lived to be 19 or 20 years old. He sold
a heifer from this cow to Joseph Barnard of Hopkinton. DanielPillsbury of Boscawen had
cattle from Cow Island, also, and my uncle Enoch Pillsbury a bull of the same breed. This
cow had a low lying bag, with six teats which the calf would suck, but we usually dried
two of tehm and milked but four.
George L. Pillsbury`s statement: I was born in Boscawen and spent my boyhood with my
father on Mount Pleasant farm. In about 1830 or 1831, I have understood, my father was
offered the management of a farm and dairy on an island in Winnipesauke Lake, owned by a
wealthy merchant in or near Boston named Prince.. Having a better offer, he recommended my
uncle Paul P. Pillsbury, to the position. Daniel Pillsbury procured a bull, and I think a
heifer, from this stock of Prince`s importation. My father bought a heifer of this Daniel
Pillsbury stock in 1844. She was light red or yellow, had a long back, high rump and was
amed bug horn by us. She made superior and very high colored butter, which drew prizes
both at the New Hampshire state and Merrimack county fairs. I remember that my uncle, Gen.
Moody A. Pillsbury, had cattle of this stock.
E. Kilburn Stone`s statement: I am 72 years old. I worked for Daniel Pillsbury of
Boscawen when a boy. I remember that he had a bull of the Alderney breed from Mr. Prince`s
farm in Lake Winnipesauke, and I think he had a cow of that breed from the same place.
This stock was sold out after his death.
John A.Flanders statement. I was 59 years old. When I was first married I lived in
Hopkinton and bought an Alderney heifer of Joseph Barnard. She run in his Sutton pasture
and Mr. Hardy who had charge of the pasture got her up and milked her, thinking she had
lost a calf in the pasture.
I then bought her and churned butter twice from her before she dropped her first calf.
I kept her until she was 15 years old and she would make over 12 pounds of butter a week
on gass only.
These several statements are subscribed and sworn to before a notary public, or justice
of the peace, and dated, and are thought to be sufficient to trace their origin to the
Channel Islands, from which it is known Mr Prince imported some of the best dairy cows
ever brought to the United States. It is also thought that these cattle had the same
general appearance and quality as Guernseys. On this evidence a private herd book is to be
commenced as a registry and guaranty of purity, with about 30 individuals of all
From these early animals descended some wonderfully good individuals that resulted in the
establishment of three or four herds, including those of Joseph Barnard, and the
Canterbury Shakers, a community colony located at Canterbury, all in New Hampshire.
The record of the descendants of this importation is a very interesting study of close and
in-breeding. One of the heifers was lost trackof. The bull and other heifer were known as
the Pillsbury Bull and Pillsbury Cow and were finally registered as No. 5816 Bull and
11310 Cow. Thse were taken from the island farm to General Moody A. Pillsbury`s farm in
Boscawen, New Hampshire, som few miles from the lake. It was the carefully kept diary of
Joseph Barnard and his knowledge of these cattle that he afterwards purchased, that this
chain of breeding was preserved. Two female progeny of the Pillsbury Cow and Bull were
born of which we have record. These were known as the Barnard Cow and the Yellow Cow, both
becoming the property of Mr. Barnard and later registred as Nos 11311 and 11313
respectively. Mr. Barnard took the Barnard Cow back some twenty miles to be bred to the
Pillsbury Bull, her sire, and got what appears as her only female progeny, called the
Brown Cow (registered as No. 11312).
Mr. Barnard then led the Brown Cow back to the Pillsbury Bull, which was her sire and also
grand sire, and the result was the Brindle Bull so called and registered as No 5817. He
then breeds he Brown Cow to her son, The Bridle Bull, and secures the Grizzle Bull so
called and registered as No 5818.
With these two bulls and the Brown Cow and the Yellow Cow which he purchased, he commences
The Brown Cow, bred twice to her son, the Grizzle Bull, whose grand sire was her own sire,
gives him the females Lady Colby and Lady Dustin .
Lady Dustin, twice bred to the son of her dam, the Grizzle Bull, her half brother, gave
him what was known as the Brown Bull (5819) and the Speckled Cow (11317), full brother and
sister. These two bred together gave the bull Hopkinton (5822) who bred to his own
daughter Lily Barnard (11311), who was also a great-grand-daughter of his grand sire, gave
Young Lily (11323) the great-great-grand-dam of the well known Lily Bell of Canterbury
(11352)whose grand-daughter was Glencoe`s Bo Peep (18602) and who on her sire`s side also
descends from Jennie Barnard 11319, the fifth generation back.
It was through the breeding of the Shakers that Lily Belle of Canterbury 11352, a splendid
cow, became the grandam of that well know cow, Glencoe`s Bopeep 18602. It was also from
these same people that Charles H. Tyler, owner of Steele`s Hill Farm, secured another
great animal, Catherine of Canterbury 38535.
In 1933 New Hampshire Guernsey Breeders` Association organized a pilgrimage on a
beautiful fall morning and some 90 Guernsey enthusuasts with their friends cruised down
Lake Winnipesauke, a distance of 18 miles, to the beautiful island, towards the eastern
end of the lake with the beautiful Ossiper Mountains as background. Through the efforts of
Commissioner of Agriculture Felker, Mr. Caldwell, and Mr. H.H. Blake of Concord, together
with other interested friends, the ancient name of this Island, Cow Island, was changed
the previous winter by the New Hampshire Legislature to Guernsey Island in Ammerica. The
group evidences of the old Pillsbury farm buildings, sill of the old windmill, corner
stones of the house and barn, as well as the stone walls around the paddocks.
It was then determined that some effort should be made to permanently mark this the home
of the first Guernseys registered in the Herd Book and these same men were chosen as a
committee. It was soon found from the sentiment of the surrounding ountry that the old
windmill which had served such an admirable purpose to the entire neighbourhood in the
early days, and which had stood for a landmark for nearly 100 years would be the most
appreciated marker. Consequently an appeal was made to the Guernsey breeders of America
and a sum of money suffcient to reproduce the mill was cheerfully given.
In September, 1935 another Pilgrimage was made to the Island and the mill was formally
dedicated and turned over to the custody of LD. Roys, owner of the Island, who conducts
Camp Idlewild there. The occasion was honoured by Governor H. Styles Bridges, and many
notable and interested persons.