The Story of B.H. Bull & Son and their Jerseys (2)

By J. Hume Grisdale

John was now active in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and, in 1956, he was appointed as Chairman of the Building Committee with $3,000.000.00 to spend on new buildings at the Royal. Over the years, John had gained much valuable experience in making friends, selling and buying cattle and becoming familiar with herd management and herd operation. He developed the almost uncanny cow sense for which he was well-known. He had the ability to discern the wellbeing or otherwise of the animals comprising the herd, a trait that had long characterized his father, Duncan. He became familiar with pedigrees and the art of selecting and mating good cattle and gradually equipped himself through training and experience to take over the responsibilities of the operation of B.H. Bull & Son. When Duncan died in 1950, John became two-thirds owner of the properties.

In the early 1940s, the 5% Trade Mark Jersey Milk program was flourishing with Toronto one of the best markets on the continent and sales of Jersey cattle wer excellent. But the early 1950s brought problems to all Jersey breeders in that the medical profession advanced the theory, as yet unproven, but all too easily accepted, that the high butterfat content of Jersey milk was dangerous to human health, fostering arteriosclerosis and other  heart and circulatory difficulties. As a result the demand for Jersy milk sank to an alltime low as did the market demand for Jerseys. Action had to be taken.

It was John and Ernest Crossland, a well-known Guernsey breeder, who were instrumental in the establishment of the Channel Islands MIlk Producers` Association (C.I.B.M.P.A.) in 1956, the organization that high test milk producers would use in the future to put before the Ontario Milk Marketing Board their demands for an equitable payment for their product.

The All-Jersey 2% Milk Program was introduced and successfully promoted by the Ontario Jersey Club under the guidance of John with the result that, within a couple of years, Jersey Milk sales and the market for Jersey cattle changed course.

This program required a great deal of time and attention on John`s part. He never spared himself and many times his foresight and vision paid off. He provided a leadership which was invaluable at a time when decisions had to be made. The Jersey breeders of Canada owe a great debt of gratitude to his efforts.

The new Brampton Jersey Dairy, conceived and promoted by John after a long battle with the powers that be, came to fruition in 1957, opening for business on May 15th that year. It consisted of a self-service milk section and an ice cream bar and also did a retail delivery business. Owing to the subsequent early sale of the Brampton property, however, it hardly had time to establish itself on a paying basis before being closed by the developers.

Perhaps one of the most successful exhibits of Canadian Jerseys in the United States was that of the Ontario herd at the Chicago International in 1956. The outstanding Senior Get of Sire group by Brampton Beacon created something of a sensation. All animals in this group were Brampton bred and included Brampton Sybil J. Beacon, owned by Pierre Veillon, that went on to be Senior and Grand Champion at the Royal the same year. John had much to do with the organization of this successful exhibit of 38 head shown by Ontario and Quebec breeders.

During the years from 1950 to 1965, John was active in the interests of the Jersey in many organizations. At the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club representative on the Board of the Canadian National Exhibition he was many times a committee member acting as Chairman of the Youth Committee among others. He also became a director of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair representing the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club thereon for several years. In this regard he was noticeably concerned with the Jersey exhibitors as well as the ringside spectators. He was first elected as a director of the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club in the fall of 1957 for 1958 and each year thereafter until his death.

It is necessary to go back a little and pick up the June, 1958 sale at which 46 head averaged $1,259.00 with a top of $6,000.00 being paid for Brampton Bel Bas Radar by Campbell Mackay. It is of interest to note that this cow in Mr. Mackay`s herd did not prove to be the kind of producer her price would have led one to expect although she was Grand Champion at St. John that year.  John was sure that this cow had the ability to produce and in 1960 he brought her back to Brampton and proved his point - she made a record of 18.990  lbs. milk, 1,048 lbs. fat and later went on to make good records in the United States.

Second top cow at this same sale was Brampton Gareth Carom, a two-year-old that brought $5,700.00. She was returned by her buyer because of a misunderstanding about her service date. A few months later she was again offered, this time at the All American where Henry Vihlein of Heaven Hill Jerseys paid $8,500.00 for her. She too, proved to be a high producer with three records over 1,000 lbs fat and 20,000 lbs. milk.

At the same June sale, Lea and Sylvia Marsh made a much appreciated gesture when they placed a floral basket on the auctioneer`s stand in honour of the thirty years since Lea had bought his first Jerseys from Brampton.

At the Sale of the Stars at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Brampton Doreen Acme topped the sale when she sold for Mrs. Margot T. Mais for $5,000.00.

In May, 1959, a substantial part of the Brampton herd was sold. This was because most of the Brampton Jersey farm acreage had been sold for development. This sale reduced the herd to approximately 200 head, most of these being direct "Basilua" descendants. The 173 head sold on May 28th included 50 daughters of Brampton Acme and average $522.49 with a top of $2,300.00 being paid for Brampton Bel Bas Carom.

With the death of Oswald Warman on November 24th, 1959 and Bartley getting into his seventies more and more decisions became the responsibility of John.

The nineteen-sixties brought many dramatic changes to Brampton Jerseys. The sale of a large area of the farm necessitated the purchase of another farm in as convenient a location as possible. A farm of 200 acres at Norval was bought but required some changes and improvements and it was not until a couple of years later that the herd would be transferred to its new location.

The sixties saw the demolition of the old "Basilua" barn where so many of the great cows had been milked: Jester`s Royal Maid, "Basilua", "Lady Basilua", "Lua Pinn", "Favorite Girl", "Bay Xenia", "Basil`s Caramba", to mention just a few.

For the first time in 82 years of history, B.H. Bull & Son agreed to sell a half interest of a bull in use in the Brampton herd, namely, Brampton Eureka, at the All American Sale in 1960. That half interest was sold for $17,750.00 The same year at the Sale of the Stars at the Royal, Brampton Cosmosline Eureka was sold to Diana Ryan for $5,500.00 and became the highest-priced cow to sell in any of the Slaes of the Stars at that point.

In the sixties too, production records were broken. In 1962, Brampton Mary Carom broke the All Time Canadian Milk Production record on 2xmilking in both the 305 and 365 day classes with a record of 17,814 lbs. milk, 823 lbs. fat in 305 days and 20,293 lbs. milk, 957 lbs. fat in 365 days, this latter record making her the first Canadian Jersey to exceed 20,000 lbs. milk. In
1968, Brampton Line S. Dreamer broke the All Time Senior fouryear-old record with 18,661 lbs. milk, 957 lbs. fat in 305 days and 20,701 lbs. milk, 1,079 lbs. fat in 365 days.

On June 17th, 1962, at the age of 76, Bartley died after an illness of approximately nine months. In his will he left a quarter of a million dollars to the University of Guelph to be set up as an endowment ever set up for such a purpose in Canada. Revenues from the fund which was named the Bartley Bull Endowment Fund for Research and Education were to be shared equally by the Ontario Agricultural College and the Ontario Veterinary College. The announcement of this Endowment Fund was made in 1966. Dean N.R. Richards of the Ontario Agricultural College and Dean T.L. Jones of the Ontario Veterinary College would direct the use of the evenues and, at that time, they stated that the money would be used in support of research and educational projects related to the livestock industry with special reference to dairy cattle.

The herd was now the sole responsibility of John and, in 1963, a half-interest in Lindale Merit was purchased thus bringing back into the herd the blood of Favorite Commando (Brampton Worlds Records out of Brampton Lady Basilua), Lindale Beacon Bas (Brampton Beacon out of a daughter of Brampton Basileus) and Brampton Basil Ward, and added Marlu Milestone as a partial outcross.

Brampton Basilua and her Influence on the Jersey Breed

We have already mentioned that the imported heifer, Brampton Basilua, that remained by chance at Brampton completed a world record in 1933, a record which stood for 19 years. In addition to her high production during her lifetime, she proved to be a great brook cow her son, Brampton Basileus, and her daughter, Brampton Lady Basilua. The demand for "Basilua" bloodlines put her in the forefront of the elite and through her descendants she made a great contribution not only to the production but also to the type of the Jersey, witness the fact that, at the 1935 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club, a recommendation of the Type Committee to adopt Brampton
Basilua as the model cow for Canadian Jerseys was accepted. Fern`s Wexford Noble of Twin Oaks was accepted as the model bull.

Brampton Basilua appeared on the scene at the beginning of the great depression of the 1930s after importation from the Island was virtually at a standstill and also so costly that it would probably never recover.

When it became necessary to establish the herd on the new Novral farm, 79 of the 220 females were direct descendants of Basilua.

In the "1000 lb. story of the Jersey cow" compiled by Jens Svinth of Oregon, Brampton Basilua has 54 descendants with 78 records of 1,000 lbs. fat or more out of a total of 210 Jerseys in Canada and the United States. Further, Estella`s Volunteer, imported by B.H. Bull & Son from the Island of Jersey and sire of "Basilua" had 50 other descendants with 70 records of 1,000 lbs fat or more.


John died on April 1st, 1965 shortly after having attended the World Jersey Cattle Bureau Conference in New Zealand where he presented a paper, "What is the Influence of GOlden Lad on the Jersey Breed Today". For this paper, the pedigree of Lindale Merit, mentioned above, was projected to the tenth generation and in that tenth generation there were 1,024 animals.

In John`s will, the herd was left to be held in trust for his children, Duncan, Bartley and Mary, or at the discretion of his three executors, his wife, Binks, his brother-in-law, A.M. Hutchinson and legal COunsel, harry Willis. It was carried on in the care of Donald McCaig, first at Norval and then at Huntingdon, Quebec.

John`s widow donated a trophy in his memory to be known as the John Bull Memorial Trophy and to be won by the highest placed Jersey in the Inter-breed Udder Class at the Royal. This trophy was a little later turned over to Duncan, Bartley and Mary Bull as donors.

Under the management of Donald McCaig, the herd maintained its reputation as a herd where "production and type were combined" In 1965, Brampton Bel Bas Radar won the Skinner Trophy for the cow completing the record with the highest total B.C.A. indices in Ontario with 234 BCA for milk and 235 for fat. She completed the 305 day record at the Norval Farm and was then returned to Campbell Mackay in New Brunswick where she completed a record of over 1,000 lbs. fat in 365 days. Brampton Columbus C Acme broke the All Time 365 day milk record in the senior earling class with 12904 lbs. milk. Brampton Commando Daisy, a cow raised at Brampton, completed a record of 1,030 lbs. fat in the herd of Dean Workman in the United States. We have already
mentioned the All Time record made by Brampton Line S. Dreamer in 1968.

In the show-ring, Brampton won Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor honours at the Royal in 1965 and Premier Breeder honours at the Royal in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Brampton was Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1969.

John`s daughter, Mary, was Jersey Princess at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in 1969.

At the 1967 Sale of the Stars, Brampton Marlu Basil (BMB) topped the sale when he sold for $4,200.00 to a syndicate.

In order to reduce the herd still more for its move to Huntingdon, Quebec, the "Opportunity Sale" was held on April 27th, 1970. The sale consisted of 75 head from the B.H. Bull & Son herd and ten head from the D.H. McCaig & Son herd and averaged $355.00  with the top-selling animal, a yearling bull, Brampton Merit Basil, being sold for $2,400.00 to Eastern Breeders Inc.

Early in 1971, it was decided to dispose of the herd at auction - the entire herd with the exception of a small carefully selected nucleus of three heifers for Duncan, Bartley and Mary.
These would remain in the herd of Donald McCaig. This sale took place on November 18th, 1971 at the Hays Farms Sale Arena in Oakville just two days after the Royal. Sixty-one head sold for an average of $530.00

And so the saga ends - the saga which began when Bartholomew acquired a few Jerseys and decided in 1878 that farming was to be his future and which ends 93 years later on November 18th, 1971. What a contribution to the Jersey breed was made in the intervening years by Bartley and Duncan`s son, John!

John`s children, Duncan, bartley and Mary have all graduated from University and are pursuing their careers but, from that carefully selected nucleus retained for them, who knows what the future may hold.

J. Hume Grisdale

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