[R.M. Gow: The Jersey. N.Y. 1938]
Introduction of the Breed. It is impossible to set down any particular date as the earliest on which Jersey cattle were imported to America; because in the early days cattle brought from either one of the Channel Islands were called Alderney, Jerseys and Guernseys without discrimination. In England Jersey cattle were for long called Alderney. Reuben Haines, in 1818 wrote to the Secretary of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture: "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." Richard Morris writes this Society in January, 1817: "I have upon my farm on the Delaware a cow of the Alderney breed, imported a short time since by Mr. Wurts. The cow is a small animal, and is supported with less food than our ordinary stock." "In September, 1840, three Alderney cows were purchased by the late Nicholas Biddle, Bucks Co., Pa., that had been imported from the Island of Guernsey." Such statements leave room for much doubt as to the actual breed these cows belonged to.
It would be very desirable to honor, by mentioning his name here, that far-sighted and sagacious dairyman or agriculturist who had a vision of the future and with deliberation brought the first Jerseys to this country; but it cannot be done. In fact, there are reasons for believing that the first Jerseys were not imported by any stock-breeder or farmer, but by some man who ploughed the ocean and not the fields; by some sailor man, that is. Nor is this so strange, for in old days of the sailingship sea captains occasionally had a cow to sell or give away, because their slow-moving vessels were often away on long voyages, and the captains sometimes took their wives and young children along with them. This was establishing a floating home, and where there is a home there needs must be a cow. The cow-house was built atop of the main hatch; the pig and chickens found quarters in the long-boat. Many ships were thus floating farm yards. Nor is this custom entirely a thing of the past, for on Aug 22, 1929, a whaler bound for Ross Sea, in the Antarctic, steamed out of the Virginia Capes having on board the captain`s wife, their two small children and a milch cow, for which cow the captain had paid $175.
Mr. T.J. Hand, one of the men who started the A.J.C.C., has stated that a Captain Pratt, master of the ship Hudson, had brought many Jerseys from the Island of Jersey to New York before anything was known about the breed in this country. Mr. Hand knew this cpatain and it is on record that cattle brought on the Hudson were registered by Mr.Hand. Capt Pratt traded with his ship at ports on the coast of Africa, sometimes touching at Jersey onhis return. When in New York he amused the merchants with his sea yarns, amongst other things telling them of the wonderful cattle he found on Jersey, and some of them became interested and asked him to bring two or three back with him on his next return. In the records of imported animals in the Club`s Herd Register the names of Capt. Pratt and the Hudson are found frequently; and after the establishment of the Club he bought over eighty-one Jerseys in his ship in the years 1870, 1871 and 1873, and some as late as 1875.
Whatever claims can be made for Cap pratt as the first importer of Jerseys, the Club records show that the first Jerseys that were registered were imported in 1850, nine imported in that year being entered in Vol. I of the Herd Register. From 1850 to 1867 a few were imported each year, and 236 of them were afterwards presented and acccepted for registration by the Club. The establishment of the Club in 1868 proved a great stimulus to the breed, and the first year after its organization 142 Jerseys were imported, which number increased to 220 in 1869, and 110 at least were brought over in 180. Over thirtysix per cent of the animals were registered in this first volume were imported either from Jersey or England.The other sixty-three and one-half per cent were animals bred in this country from stock formerly taken to America, and whose descent from imported animals could be proved with reasonable certitude.
Ships Which Brought the Early Jerseys. Most of the earlier Jerseys were carried across the Atlantic in sailing ships, and we have the names of seventy-five or more of those vessels,, but in the case of many animals the names of the ships are not known, as their importation long antedated the start of the A.J.C.C. Some of those ships bore significant names, and sometimes a ship`s name wasused by the owner in naming his cattle; for instance, the cow Rose Hudson 125, the bulls Splendid 2, Splendens 16 and Stalwart 265. Here are the names of the sailing vessels mostly used by Jersey importers, and the years in which they brought Jerseys: The Splendid in 1850; the Lady Franklin, the Typhoon and the Duchess in 1851; the Meteor, the Samuel Appleton and the Lizzie Harwood in 1853; the Southampton, the Vancouver and the Germania in 1854; The American Congress, the William Frothingham and the Splendid in 1856; the Stalwart in 1857; the Guy Mannering, the Stalwart, the William Frothingham and the Great Western in 1858; the Robert Mills, the Philadelphia and the Hercules in 1859; the Philadelphia, the Plymouth Rock, the R.H. Dixon, the Cornelius Grinnell and the Hammonia in 1860; the Lancaster, the Constitution and the John R. Skiddy in 1862, not to list those of later years, except the Herald of the Morning, which brought eleven Jerseys in 1864 and the New World in 1868.
It is surprising that the New World could have brought as many as thirty-eight head on one trip, arriving at New York on Nov. 17, 1868, even although this packet ship when launched in 1846 was the largest sailing vessel afloat, 1404 tons, and she had crossed the Atlantic in seventeen days. Of the thirty-eight head mentioned, eleven were imported by Alvin Adams, founder of the Adams Express Co, and twenty-six by William B. Dinsmore, his partner. On Jan. 12, 1870 the New World brought five Jerseys for Geo I. Seney, founder of the Nickel Plate R.R. and endower of the Seney Hospital, Brooklyn. The Cornelius Grinnell in 1864 brought one bull for Pierre Lorillard. On July 10, 1869 she landed in New York thirty-three Jerseys, eleven of them for Samuel C. Colt. On November 20, 1869, she brought thirteen and on April 15, 1870, she brought seven. The Plymouth Rock on three ships brought over twenty Jerseys, these trips ending at New York on Oct. 29, 1860, in August, 1870, and on Jan. 5, 1871, all on the first two trips imported by William B. Dinsmore.
Steamers began to ply somewhat regularly between port of the United States and Great Britain as early as 1838, in April of which year the steamship Great Western made her first trip from Bristol, England to New York. The first steamship to bring Jerseys to the United states was the Europa in 1851. She brought over in that year and gave her name to the cow Europa 558, imported by E.M. Read, Tewksbury, Massachusetts. But notwithstanding the advent of the steamship, Jerseys were brought in sailing vessels as late as 1878, when the ship Lord Clive brought a number to Philadelphia.
Of the seventy-five or more sailing vessels known to have brought Jerseys, four - the John R. Skiddy, launched in 1844, the Plymouth Rock (1849), the New World (1846) and the Cornelius Grinnell (1850) - were designed and built by Donald McKay, the man "who designed and built the fastest, staunchest and most beautiful vessels ever propelled by sail. Most of America`s maritime glory is due to his genius" - won by his famous "yankee clipper ships," and it is interesting to find that some of the first Jerseys were imported in his ships.
The above are records of importations of Jerseys which were registered; there were others long previous of which there are no records; some were shipped and died on the passage; others were imported in dam and therefore not counted in the above lists. The early importations were landed at Quebec,Montreal, Portland (Maine ), Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans, usually after rough passages lasting from four to six weeks, unless one of the speedier ships was used, the vessels seeming to us now very small. These vessels and others like them have vanished from the seven seas; but of late public interest has been revived in them by their romantic and stirring histories, supplemented by pictures and models. In these days of fast steamships making regular timed ferry passages across the Atlantic Ocean, Jersey cattle travel de luxe, and no importer anxiously awaits new of the sighting in the harbor offing of the white sails carrying his precious Jerseys to their new pastures.
Early Importers. There were a good many Jerseys in the Eastern States before the A.J.C.C., was organized in 1868. In the years from 1850 to 1865 sixty-eight breeders imported cattle,mostly for their own herds, 1850 being the earliest exact date known. These pioneers, who at this early date placed their faith in and their work and money on the Jersey, are worthy of commenmoration. They are listed below under the years of their first importations:
1850 John A. Taintor, Connecticut, brought cattle over every year from 1850 to 1861. In 1853 he imported Flora 213 at a cost of $140, not including freight or charges, at that date the price of a choice heifer. Daniel webster, the celebrated statesman, imported a Jersey cow on some date before 1850. He had purchased a farm at Marshfield, Massachusetts in 1831. He bred Venus, one of the progenitors of the foundation stock in America. Importing in this year we also find Samuel Henshaw, Massachusetts.
1851. John Glenn, Maryland, one of the founders of the Club, imported cattle in 1851, 1853 and 1858. Thomas Motley, another Club founder, brought cattle in 1851 and also in 1853. Others were E.M. Reead and Peter Lawson, Massachusetts, th e latter also importing in 1854.
1852. In this year we find John T. Norton, Connecticut, who also imported in 1857 and 1858; Paran Stevens, afterwards (1859) one of the proprietors of the Fifth Avenue Hotel and S.R. Spalding, both in Massachusetts.
1853. W.W. Billings, afterwards a founder of the Club, whose farm was in Connecticut, and William B. Bacon, Massachusetts, who also brought over some Jerseys in 1854.
1854. In this year, and also in 1864, Dr. Joseph Burnett, Southboro, Massachusetts, imported Jerseys. He was the manufacturer of the well-known flavoring extracts bearing his name, proprietor of Deerfoot Farm and father of Edward Burnett, Club Director, Congressman, and engineer of Biltmore Farms. In the same year we have George Davenport, Thomas S. Pagge and David Dana, all in Massachusetts, and another Club founder, J. Howard McHenry, Maryland.
1855. Roswell L. Colt, New Jersey, imported some animals in this year, and he entered seven Jersey or Alderney cattle at the fourth national exhibition of the United States Agricultural Society, held at Philadelphia in 1856, the first recorded instance of Jerseys being shown at a public exhibition in this country, at which Prince of Jersey, No 66 in the Club`s Herd Register, took the first premium. Other 1855 importers were Samuel C. Colt, who also brought cattle here in 1859 and 1860, and became a Club member in 1870 W.C. Wilson, Maryland, a Club founder, imported also in 1859; Shepherd F. Knapp and J.P. Swain, New York, the latter one of the Club founders; John Giles, Connecticut, A. Robeson, Rhode Island, Club founder, and E.M. Hopkins, Pennsylvania.
1856. During this year seven breeders imported Jerseys: William Redmond, New Jersey, Club founder, also in 1859; Jonathan Bird, New Jersey; Dr. L.H. Twaddell, Pennsylvania, Club founder, also in 1858; John C. Gray and Jeremiah Pritchard, Massachusetts, William Goddard, Rhode Island, and William Hoge, New York.
1857. Thaddeus Davids, New York, a manufacturer of printers` inks (the firm still is in existence), Capt Furber, master of the ship Great Western, and Edward Hobart, Massachusetts.
1859. W.H. Aspinwall, New York, brought over Jerseys in 1859, 1860 and 1861. He was one of the Club founders, head of a once famous shipping firm which first opened a route to California across Isthmus of Panama. We also find R.L. Maitland, New York; in this year and 1861; S. Morris Waln and Joseph Price, Pennsylvania; Robert Fowle, Virginia, D.B. Fearing, Rhode Island, and a Mr. Bryce, New Jersey.
1860. This year we find amongst the importers W.B. Dinsmore and Thomas Richardson, New York. Mr. Dinsmore also imported in 1862 and 1865; he was a Club founder, and organizer of the Adams Express Co. Mr. Richardson was also amongst the importers of 1861. In this year appears the anme of the celebrated Commodore R.F. Stockton, uncle of S.W. Stockton, a Club founder, and also Mrs. T.F. Potter, all of New Jersey. Oters were Noah Billings, Connecticut and John P. Cushing, Massachusetts.
1861. The New York importers were Richard M. Hoe, a Club founder and famous as a printing press inventor and manufacturer, and John L. Aspinwall, shipping magnate and Club founder, who also brought over Jerseys in 1867. Others, hartman Kuhn and Isaac Morris, Pennsylvania, R. & H.R. Tucker, Md, the latter also in the 1862 list.
1862. The only importers were George Bacon, New York and R. & H.R. Tucker, Md.
1863. No importations, probably on account of the Civil War.
1864. But in 1864 there were five: John Van Antwerp, Thomas Messenger, New York; E.F. Bowditch, A. Thayer, Massachusetts; and Charles Carow, New Jersey.
1865. John Hoey, New Jersey, a Club founder and also a founder of the Adams Express Co; George D. Parish, New Jersey; R. W. Cameron, New York; and A.D. Bullock, Ohio, the first importer from a Middle Western State.
These breeders in all brought over two hundred and thirtynine head which were eventually registered. The registration of animals from these early importations ran from seven of those brought in 1850 to twentyseven of the 1860 importations, the largest in the eighteen years. Sixteen of the sixty-six early importers were, later on, among the fortythree founders of the Club.
Mr. Roswell L. Colt of Paterson, New Jersey, was one of the very early breeders of Jersey cattle in the United States before 1850. He died in 1856, leaving no records of his herd. Prior to 1855 Mr. Colt had many animals descended from the stock of Nicholas Biddle, of Philadelphia, and others he had imported direct from the Island of Jersey, but Mr. Biddle`s son stated that his father`s cattle were Guernseys. The breed name had rather an uncertain significance in those early days. However, at the Fourth National Exhibition of the United States Agricultural Society at Philadelphia in 1856 Mr. Colt entered seven animals as Jerseys, and won premiums on two of them, one named Jersey Prince, the other St. Clement 10. Mr. Colt in letters made frequent mention of "the Biddle Alderneys." In September, 1855, he imported three animals from the Island. He then rented from John Giles, of Connecticut, the bull Prince of Jersey 66, imported in 1855, the "Jersey Prince", mentioned above. In July, 1856, Mr. Colt imported the bull St. Clement 10.
In 1850 some few gentlemen in Hartford, Connecticut, commisioned John A. Taintor to go to Jersey and buy a dozen or so of the best animals to be procured, including the best bull on the Island, and did not set any limit to the prices to be paid fpr them. He brought back, among others, the bull Splendens (named for the ship which brought him, the Splendid), afterwards registered as No 16, and the cows Dot and Violet, numbered after the Herd Register was started as Nos 7 and 23 respectiveely. In 1851 Thomas Motley, Massachusetts imported the bull Colonel, registered as No 76, and the cows Flora and Countess, Nos 113 and 114. All these animals were selected primarily for constitutional vigor and ability as producers.
In 1853 American wealth and influence began to have an effect on te Island of Jersey and also at the English stock sales. A report of the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society states that several animals had been sent to the United States, "where a great and intelligent people are offering every encouragement to all branches of agriculture."
In 1865 Dr. L. Twaddell, of West Philadelphia, one of the earliest of American Breeders, afterwards one of the the original members of the A.J:C.C., whose son and grandson are now members (1936), visisted the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, and on his return made by request a report to the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture. This report must have been in answer to a general demand for fuller information in regard to the Jersey, as the breed was more and more winning the attention of the American dairyman. Dr. Twaddell fully describes the Jersey as he saw her on the Island, and the prevailing methods of handling and breeding then practised. He states that the bulls were slaughtered at three years aof age, the opinion being that young bulls have the most vigor and stamina. He stresses the point that it was as superior dairy animals that the Channel Island cows, Jerseys and Guernseys, were presented for consideration. Dr. Twaddell had been commissioned to buy cattle on his visit to the Island in 1865 for Sam. J. Sharpless, Chas. M. Sharpless, Hartman Kuhn, William M. Potts, O.S. Hubbell, Chas. Wheeler, james M. Bullock and others. He purchased in all thirty head, but the rinderpest had in the meantime broken out in England, and the importation of these cattle was interdicted.
A way-bill for three Jerseys imported in 1869 by William Devries, a merchant of Baltimore, grandfather of Mrs. Charles E. Rieman, the wife of our present Club member, is interesting, as it gives their cost. The cattle were brought to Baltimore on the ship N. Churchill, and their cost was £64 ($307), and the cost of bringing them over £63 12s 6d ($305), making the total cost of the three animals landed at Baltimore $612.
Col. Waring`s essay (1871), the first piece of promotive literature published by the Club, names the characteristics of the Jersey which the A.J.C.C. from its foundation in 1868 has consistently sought to emphasize. Col. Waring, if writing today in the light of better dairy knowledge, would have used the term "rich milk," instead of "rich and highly coloured cream". The passage reads:
"The sole office of the Jersey cow, broadly speaking,i sto produce the largest possible amount of rich and highly-coloured cream from a given amount of food. Everything else in connection with the breeding of the race is, or should be, incidental. Beauty of form and beauty of color are, of course, desirable, but no wise breeder will give these features more than a secondary position. If they can be secured without detracting from economic value, they are most desirable; but if, in seeking them, we lose sight of the chief aim, we not only do injury to our own interests, but permanently detract from the average value of the whole race."
In whatever degree aesthetic and sporting tasts may have in later years induced men to establish Jersey herds, those who first brought the breed to America were actuated mainly by a philanthropic desire to introduce to their country a dairy animal possessng more desirable qualities than the common stock.
Most all of the early importations were made by breeders for the purpose of founding Jersey herds or of building up herds already existing. Unless they could go personally, they commissioned someone to go to the Island and bring back certain specified animals.
After the A.J.C.C. was established, importations became more frequent and more numerous. The demand for Jerseys had increased to such an extent that what may be called professional importers were induced to enter the field - men who made a business of importing cattle and offering them for sale to breeders. Many of these made but one, two or three importations, and then stopped. Others continued for many years and their names became identified with the progress of the breed in America. E.P.P. Fowler made many trips to America, and sold Jerseys in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Mobile, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Boston and New York. From 1869 to 1881 he brought over 481 Jerseys that were registered with the Club, and his brother, P.H. Fowler, brought over 120, making over 600 animals imported to the United States by the Fowlers. A.M. Herkness & Co imported a good many animals, beginning in 1870.
Distribution of the Jersey in the U.S.
There were Jersey herds in at least thirteen States before the American Jersey Cattle Club was established; namely Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Vermont. As far as the greater number of these states is concerned, it is not known and cannot be discovered when the Jersey was first introduced. After the American Jersey Cattle Club was established 1868, record was made by transfers of animals, and these records give the first authentic dates on which animals went into States other than those mentioned above. But many of the early transfers and applications for registration on file are without dates. Club records were not as complete at the start as they were afterwards made. So it must not be understood that the years mentioned in the following list are in all cases absolutely the first during which the Jersey was introduced into the States for which dates are given; they indicate only when the States for which dates are given; they indicate only when the Jersey was beginning to interest breeders in those States, and are as nearly accurate as can be ascertained without almost interminable research. The approximate dates are as follows:
Earliest Recorded Dates of Jerseys in the Several States.
Delaware Prior to 1868
Maine Prior to 1868
Maryland Prior to 1868
New Hampshire Prior to 1868
New Jersey Prior to 1868
New Mexico 1887
New York Prior to 1868
North Carolina 1874
North Dakota 1888
Pennsylvania Prior to 1868
Rhode Island Prior to 1868
South Carolina 1874
South Dakota 1886
Vermont Prior to 1868
West Virginia 1873