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The Guernsey Cattle - Introduction into America

[Charles Hill: The Guernsey Breed. 1917]

It is a well attested fact that Channel Island`s cattle (Alderney ) were imported into United States more than 100 years ago, and, without doubt, some of these were Guernseys. Their blood was not kept pure, and they beccame lost in the common herd. The first introduction of Guernseys into the United States, the records of which were kept so that later they and their descendants could be recorded in the American Guernsey Cattle Club Herd Register, was an importation by a Mr. Prince, of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1830 or 1831. These cattle were taken to his farm in Massachusetts, and a little later a cow and a bull of this importation went to Cow Island, in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. These two animals now registered as the Pillsbury bull 5816 and the Pillsbury cow 11310 were sold from this herd to General Moody A. Pillsbury, of West Boscawen, New Hamspshire. From these two foundation animlas, some very good animals were developed in the hands of Joseph Barnard, of Hopkinton; J. Arthur Jones and George E. Barnard, of West Hopkinton; and the anterbury Shakers, of Canterbury, New Hamshire; and from this foundation came Lily Belle of Canterbury 11352, a splendid old cow, she being the granddam of the well-known cow, Glencoe`s Bopeep 18602. The cattle descending from this first importation were not recorded in the herd register of the American Guernsey Cattle Club until 1899, but for many years previous to that time the New Hampshire gentlemen aforementioned kept a sort of joint private herd book. When the matter of registry came up for investigation by the club, t was found that Mr. Barnard Sr.  had a carefully kept diary giving all the details of the individual animals, which made it possible to register a major part of each of these herds.
The next earliest importation as far as known from the record kept that later enabled, the progeny to be recorded, was of three cows, Jennie Deans, Fenella and Flora McIvor, Nos 1,2, 3 respectively, of the American Guernsey Cattle Club Herd Registry. These cows were brought to New York on the schooner Pilot, September 26, 1840, by the late Nicholas Biddle, of Andalusia, Pennsylvania. Two of these cows dropped heifer calves, Fanny Ellsler 4, and Fairy 5, and one a bull calf, St. Patrick 1. Subsequently Judge Craig Biddle, a son of Nicholas Biddle, became equally attached to the Cattle and visited the Island of Guernsey to see them in their native home.
Professor W. Gibson, an eminent surgeon conected with the University of Pennsylvania, who owned a country seat near Philadelphia, purchased a black and white Guernsey heifer in 1858. He was a great admirer of fine cattle and subsequently went to the Channel Islands and remained there for several months, visiting both Guernsey and Jersey Islands to lean all he could of both breeds. He became an enthusiastic admirer of the Guernseys and wrote glowing descriptions of their superiority over the Jerseys. He brought back several choice animals for himself and several for his friend, judge Biddle. The Biddles maintained the puriyty of their cattle for many years and kept careful records.
As far as known,the history of the next importation is as follows: In the American Agriculturist of April 1868, there appeared what is believed to be the first picture of a Guernsey cow published in America. This was of Cottie 188; and her owner James P. Swain of Bronxvill, New York, writes as follows in the article accompaying the cut:
"You ask me for facts in regard to the Guernsey cow Cottie. I will tell yoy the story of the Channel cattle as far as they have come under my own observation. In the summer of 1845, I employed Mr. LeRoy, an intelligent Guernsey man, to build a factory for me, and he interested me in the cattle of his own and the other islands so much that I imported one from the little Island of Alderney, two from Guernsey one from Sark and two from Jersey. I found but one of them to be a superior cow in every respect. She came from Guernsey, gave 32 pounds of milk a day when in full milk, averaging 24 pounds a day for eight months; was never dry during the six years I owned her. She was accidentally killed. Cottie the property of George P. Nelson, Esq of Scarsdale, is her first calf, She is now 14 years old and has been in milk over 12 years, except two or three months. She averaged during the summer 24 pounds of milk daily for eight months,  and about 8 pounds for the balance of the year. Of the quality of her milk I cannot give you facts, but can in regard to her sister. She was so much like her that we never could tell which was the better for quantity and quality. This sister, Katie, now owned by James Hall, Esq., of East Chester, gave at her height 45 pounds of milk per day, and made 14 pounds 5 ounces of butter per week, and averaed 24½ pounds of milk for eight months, and a litle less than 8 pounds for the balance of the year. In all the descendants of Cottie and Katie, and they are very many. I do not think there is a variation of 1 percent in the quantity or quality of milk they give, with same care. This family are all that have been of special value out of seven imported cows.

The other Guernsey cow referred to was doubtless Curl Horn 183. The mother of Cottie referred to in this article was Guernsey 184, and she is recorded as imported about 1851 by J.P. Swain in the ship William Tell."

At about the same time Mr. Swain purchased the bull Rosewell Colt 29, bred by Mr. Middle, and in the fall of 1858 he made another importation, in the ship Guy Mannering. He imported a cow which, as far as I can find, was never registered, but she was carrying the calf Guy 33.

In June 1855, W.H. Stewart of Torresdale, Pennsylvania imported the cow named Stewart`s Cow 11. Edward M. Hopkins of the same place, imported the cow Flora 17 the same year.
In 1855 Charles Henry Fisher, of Philadelphia, imported the three cows, Little Red Riding Hood 26, Spphia 27 and Fanny Physic 28. Mr. Fisher already owned a bull, Hercules 9, born 1850 and imported by R.L. Colt, of Paterson, New Jersey and the blood of these animals is still mingled in the highclass herd owned by James Logan Fisher, of Fernrock, one of the suburbs of Philadelphia.
The Fowlers, of Philadelphia and Southampton, had brought over large numbers of Jerseys for public sale, and at about 1865 they began to bring a few Guernseys also, though I do not find any animal recorded of their importation earlier than the cow Signet 99, imported to Boston in September 1870. This cow was sold to James M. Codman, and he tells me that it was she that first gave him his interest in the breed. He also says that it was the first Guernsey cow sold at an auction in the United States of which there is any record. Liking this cow and being impressed with the very yellow milk and butter that she gave, he decided the next year to make a trip to the island, arriving on the very morning that the cattle from Guernsey were being shipped over to Jersey for the Channel Islands exhibition mentioned in Chapter II. [1871]. Seeing this, he stayed on the boat and went to Jersey and attended this exhibition. He spent several weeks on Guernsey, studying the history and characteristics of the breed, and purchased the cows Amber 50 and Crystal 51 for himself, and also imported the bull Jasper 25 and the cows Pearl 20, Topaz 21, Jewel 22, and Ruby 23 for Wm P. Perkins of Wayland, Massachusetts.
Shortly after this time the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture became interested in the introduction of Guernseys into Massachusetts for the improvement of the dairy stock, and as early as September 28, 1874, an importation was made and the cattle scattered to many different farms, in the state, including those of James Lawrence, Groton; E.F. Bowditch, Framingham; and W.C. Cabot, Brookline. All three of these herds are still maintained.

At the same time a group of farmers around Hartford, Connecticut, and especially those who were patrons of the creamery at Farmington, having heard of the Guernseys, and not being able to buy them in this country, unitedly sent to the island C.M. Beach, of hartford, and M.C. Weld of New York. They made a number of importations of cattle to Connecticut, and from them many herds were founded, including that of the late Edward Norton, who became the first secretary of the club.

Other single sanimals imported earlier than 1871 were Lady Thierman 135, imported in 1869;  Brown Forest 69, Belle Forest 67, Lady Forest 45, Lily Forest 41, and Lady Hudson 391, imported May 2 1870.
In 1872 Silas Betts, of Camden, New Jersey, purchased the cows Queen 74, Beauty of Bloomfield 75, and Peeress 76 from an importation of E.P.P. Fowler, the last two named dropping the calves Billy 3 and Romeo 40. The cow Beauty of Bloomfield numbers among her descendants many high-class animals, includin the cow Cinderella 3251, that won first prize at the Wisconsin State Fair of 1887.

At this time Fowlers were gradually increasing the number of Guernseys in their importations, and in the spring of 1872 Thomas M. Harvey and Son, West Grove, Pennsylvania, purchased of them the cows Nos. 81 to 86, and these with the cows Nos 24 and 25, purchased by Messrs Harvey of Judge Biddle, were the first cattle,a s the records show, that went into Chester county, Pennsylvania, which county later was for years the headquarters for the breed.

In May 1878 importations were made to Boston by James Lawrence, who, it will be remembered, had some of the first cattle of the importations by the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, and by this time cattle from the Fowler importations had been scattered to all the seaboard states.

In 1878 Wm L. Fox of Foxburg Pennsylvania imported five cows, Frolich 49, Florence 50, Fancy 51, Fan 52 and Fay 53. In June of the same year J.J.C. Abbot of Montreal, Canada importted the cows Rossey of Les Vauxbelets 379 and Rosebud of Les Vauxbelets 2d 380, they appearing to be the first Guernsey to go to Canada.

As early as November 24, 1872, a cow, Monica 371, was imported direct to San Francisco, California, by J. N. Knowles and sold to Henry Pierce, of the Yerba Buena ranch. In October 1879 Mr. Pierce made an importation of bull No 183 and the nine cows Nos 417to 426. The descendants of this importation have apparently been lost sight of.

In 1871 the Coleman heirs, Cornwall Pennsylvania, purchased the cows Nos 397, 398, 620, 621, of the Fowlers, these cattle later passing to E.C. Freeman, who until his death in 1912 maintained a high-class herd. The well known cow, purity 2315, that won second prize at the Columbian Exposition in 1893, came from this herd.
In 1878 L.W. Ledyard of Cazenovia, New York, purchases two heifers, Fernwood Fancy 37 and Kathleen 38 of Mr Beach of Hartford, who had recently imported them. Mr. Ledyard began at once to test his cows and Kathleen made for him 22 pounds 4 ounces of butter in sevend ays and she was the dam of Fernleaf 636, 18 pounds 13 ounces butter; and Fernwood Fancy mad 14 pounds and 7 ounces. Mr. Ledyard became very favorably impressed with the cattle, and in September 1880, he made an importation of 14 females and brought them to his farm, which he named Fernwood. Included in this importation was the cow Lady May that made for him 19 pounds of butter in seven days. Mr Ledyard became at once one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the breed, and in September of 1883 he brought over 25 females, Nos 1464 to 1485 and 1565 to 1568 that were notable, indeed and bull Nos 644 an 645. Among these cows were Countess of Fernwood 1464 that made for Mr Ledyard 14 pounds 12 ounces butter in sevend ays and that was the dam of the advanced register bull Viscount 2177, she being out of the cow Fleurie du Terte 1136 .................

In February, 1881 S.C. Kent of West rove, Pennsylvania landed his first importation of cattle in Philadelphia, and in the next four or five years, in connection with James James, of Les Vauxbelets, Guernsey and Mark Hughes, also of West Grove, imported over 1.000 head of Guernsey cattle and scattered them far and wide through auction sales. One of the most notable of his sales  was the one held in May, 1884 atwhich 76 animals sold above the $200 mark, and Lady Emily Foley 2d 1700 sold for $1.900 to Henry Palmer, neighbor of Messrs Kent and Hughes, who also paid $480 for the cow Lily des Islets 1816 and $550 for the cow The Nun 1812. Many others sold aabove the $400 mark. From the books it would appear that during those three or four years Mr. Kent registered nearly one-half of the cattle recorded in the American Register during that time.
In view of the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United States, the fact will be of interest that one of the importations made by Messrs Kent and Hughes had this disease. The story of this outbreak is here given in Mr. Hughes own words:

In the month of March, 1883, S.C. Kent of West Grove and myself, as partners, made an importation of 80 head of Guernsey cattle direct from the island. These cattle were landed March 18, 1883, from the steamship Nessmore, at Baltimore. My memory is that they had been about 17 days on the ship. Quarantine enforcement, then imposed by the Treasury Department, requiring us to keep them 90 days in quarantine, was turned over to this state. At the time of this importation, and several others also permission had been granted us before the arrival of the cattle to quarantine them in barns that we procured in West Grove, Pennsylvania. I had actual care of the cattle of these several importations.

As soon as this particular importation of cattle landed my man told me that some of the cattle were sick, and from what he told of the symptoms I at once suspected foot and mouth disease, after having heard what I had of the recent attacks in England. I at once telegraphed Dr. Francis Bridge of Philadelphia (then the state veterinarian of Pennsylvania) and asked him to come at once to West Grove. They had been inspected by a government veterinarian on the boat and when I arrived he said to me: Mr. Hughes you have one pretty sick cow on board (which was Imported Cora de Sausmarez 1733, A.G.C.C) that unless you take good care of you will lose. The cattle were just in the early stages of the disease, having fever, not wishing to eat, and wanting to lie down, but the old cow referred to had begun to show later symptoms of the disease. We got the cattle on the cars and arrived at West Grove with them at 2:00 o`clock the next morning and took them out of the cars at once to two barns. Dr. Bridge did not reach West Grove until aobout 9 a.m that day. When I met him at the train I told him that I believed the cattle had foot and mouth disease, and he at once went to the sation agent and had the cars in which the cattle came held up until disinfected by his direction. He diagnosed it foot and mouth disease, as I expected he would.
Two men came over from Guernsey with these cattle, and these two men went to one barn and two of my men who lived in West Grove went to the other barn. None of these men left the barns during the 90-day quarantine period. I myself visited both barns every day and saw that Dr. Bridge`s advice regarding the treatment of the disease was carried out. Included in his treatment was the standing of every animal twie each day in a through of disinfectant and scrubbing her feet. Mr. Palmer`s barn was on a farm that Mr. Palmer has just ppurchased, and the former owner had a sale of farm tools, two horses and a goat advertised to take place on this farm soon after the arrival of the cattle. Dr. Bridge objected to the conducting of the sale there, but, finally when I told him that we would see that no person went in or near the barn in which the cattle were, and I had promised to buy the two horses and the goat (the only live stock on the farm) he gave us permission to hold the sale and no evil results followed.
The stables and cattle were thoroughly disinfected every day, but no precautions were taken to disinfect the hay or straw in the mows above, although the men had every day gone up to these mows to thrown down hay. Immediately at the close of the 90-day period these cattle were all taken to my home farm and placed with other cattle then on the place. About three months later one-half or more were sold and others farmed out among farmers in this locality. There was no further spread of the disease. Every animal had the disease, and no one died, not one aborted, and every calf born during the period was saved. Also, no udder trouble resulted and this notwithstanding the fact that considerable hoof trouble resulted and several of these animals lost the shell of their hoofs during the summer, the last ones probably as late as September or October while they were running with animals that had not previously had the disease. Some of the cattle also lost their horns, though I do not now remember how many. No United States inspector visited the placeduring the epizootic.
Before we got all of the cattle off the ship they had commenced to load beef cattle and sheep into the ship, without its disinfection for Southampton. Many of these animals were down with foot and mouth disease when they reached England.

The statement has often been made that animals that have had foot and moouth disease were ruined for breeding purposes. The records have been searched for the number of the progeny of this importation and of another importation of 80 head made the same year by Messrs Kent and Hughes that did not have foot and mouth disease. The books show that 202 calves have been recorded from the importation that did not have the disease and 217 from the importation that did have it.. It may be of further interest to state that Yeksa Sunbeam 15439 (857.15 pounds of fat); May Rilmaa 22761 (1073.41 pounds of fat); Murne Cowan 19597 (1098.18 pounds of fat); Dolly Bloom 12770 (836.21pounds of fat); Dolly Dimple 19144 (906.89 pounds of fat); Azucena`s Pride2d 24957 (855.7 pounds of fat), and many others of the greatest cows of the breeds are descendants from cows of the importation that had the disease. At least six animals that have been grand champions at the National Dairy Show were also descendants of that importation.

In 1883 A.J. Cassatt, who later became president of the Pennsylvania Railroad imported 12 cows. A clipping from the Guernsey paer, La Baillage, states that the prices he paid fro them were from £50 to £250 each. Included in the lot was Vesta 2d of St. Peter Port 1443 (Vesta 2d 424, F.S:) that had made a record of 16 pounds of butter, Guernsey weight, in seen days on the island.
In July 1883, J.W: Fuller of Catasaugua, Pennsylvania, made a small importation of five head, and in September 1884, he imported 64 females and five bulls, which was one of the most notable importations ever made. Included in this lot were Select 2205, that founded the family of that name and that made 22 pounds 8 ounces butter in seven days; Jolie 2d 2206, that is said to have milked 65 pounds of milk in a day; and France 2207, that founded the France family. Several of the select and Jolie 2d families came with this lot. There were also included in this importation the Windfalls,d am and daughter; Lady Whitesea 2214; Daisy of the Rue a lÒr 2226; Garnet of Lehigh 2208 and her daughter Garnet of the Pelleys 2249 and many other good ones, space forbidding individual mention.

In August, 1882 S.L. Hoxie of S. Edmeston, New York, who was later the first superintendent of the advanced registry for the Holstein breed, imported 27 females and two bulls. Included in this lot were Gully V 1590 (24 pounds 2 ounces butter in seven days), Duchess of Brittany 1613 (21 pounds 4 ounces). Stella 4th 1598 (18 pounds 4 ounces), Musette Ford 1600 (16pounds 4 ounces), Dolly Ford 2d 1595, Primrose Ford 1589, Primrose Ford 4th 3302, and many other excellent cows whose blood was scattered over New York and Pennsylvania.

From 1884 to 1887 practically no cattle were imported, but in November, 1887, Levi P. Morton imported 60 cows and one bull. In this lot were some notable cows, including Bretone 3660, that later made 602.9 pounds of butterfat. Buda 7178, Beinfaitrice 4th 3657, the dam of Sheet Anchor 2934, Rosette 5th 3698, one of the leading cows in the Guernsey herd at the World`s Columbian Exposition in 1893; Esmeralda 8657 and many others of almost equal note. Mr. Morton later amde several other importations of high-class cows, but was so unfortunate as to lose 100 head of his best cows at one time by fire.
 
E.N. Howell, of Poughkeepsie New York imported 10 cows in September 1886 and six more in April 1888, among them being My Pet 3094, a daughter of Climax 48, P.S. In December 1888, Hopewell Brothers, Natick, Massachusetts imported 14 cows.

J. Pierpont Morgan imported 10 head in July, 1889 and in February 1890, S.C. Kent made his last importation, which consisted of 60 females and one bull, 45 of which were sold at auction March 17, 1890.
In 1891 Francis Shaw, Wayland, Massachusetts, who at that time probably had the best herd in the country, having purchased at different times such cows as Select 2205 and Select 2d 2229 rance 2207, France 3d 2573 ..... , sent J.L. Hope to Guernsey, who took with him the first Babcock tester ever used on the island. Mr. Shaw`s idea was to import such cows as might be useful to the breed as representatives in the World`s Fair test in 1893. Several of this importation were good enough to qualify for this test. Included in the lot was Pretty Dairymaid 2d of Guernsey 6366, that won first prize on the island in 1889, 1890 and 1892.
In April 1891, Edward Burnett, then proprietor of Deerfoot Farm, Southboro, Massachusetts, made the first importation for H. McK. Twombly , consisting of 13 females. In this lot were Daisy Pearl 5990, Honoria 4th 5989 and Virginia of Madison 6000, whose blood later added character to the breed.

In 1894 Mr. Twombly imported 15 females, and included in this lot were Deanie 3d 7643 and Belvidera 7644 that later made an advanced registry record of 420.63 pounds of fat, and other good ones. In this same year Mr. Morton made a second importation of 17 head, which included among other good ones May Rose 4th 7682 and May Rose 5th 7681.

In 1895 Allen S. Apgar of New York, imported the bull, Squire of Lilyvale, that had twice won first price on the island and seven high-class females, two of the best of which were Success of Lilyvale 8284, which was bred on Sakr, and Pride of Lilyvale 8285 of Alderney breeding, both of foundation stock. In April 1895, Mr. Morton made another importation of 27 females, including many animals whose blood is now scattred throughout the country.
In 1896 James Forsyth of Oswego, New York, imported a few animals and in the same year Benjamin Heartz imported 10 good females int Prince Edward Island. In 1898 Mr. Twombly imported 43 more females for his Florham herd.
From that time until 1901 there were no important importations, and very few animals were brought over that have left any appreciable impress on the breed. An importation of six head by E. Rigg Brow of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, was probably of most note. The Experimental Farms at Ottawa, Canada imported a few head of high-class animals in 1901.
 
 
 
 

 
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