On October 18th 1996 Thomas Francis Le Ruez invited me to have dinner at Homestead in St. Peter on Jersey Island. It was quite a special event to me, as we were celebrating the centennial for the first shipment of Jersey cattle meant for Denmark. The steamer "Jyden" left St. Helier on October 15th, 1896 with 84 Jerseys on board, bought by the Danish pioneer Jørgen Larsen, Gårdbogård.
Thomas Francis Le Ruez
Thomas Francis`s grandfather Francis Le Brocq pioneered the export of cattle to England and America. During his lifetime he bought and shipped more than 30.000 head of stock - an amazing number, when one realises that the total stock in Jersey at that time, as now, was less than 8.000, though it rose to over 11.000 in the 1930s. He was also responsible, at the turn of the century, for the export of many hundred animals to Denmark, to form the nucleus of the breed now famous in that country.
Two of the most famous breeders and cattle dealers in the island of Jersey, Francis Le Brocq and John A. Perrée in front of Niagara Falls in US.
Francis Le Brocq married off his daughter Adele to Henry Prouings Le Ruez, son of Thomas Le Ruez, a Constable of St. Mary. He started a herd with the purchase of a cow called Sainte Louise 6th. She was a heavy milker and, bred to a famous bull, Majesty, she produced Majesty`s Louise. The Louise line has ever since been much sought after.
Henry Prouings Le Ruez, son of Thomas, and father of Thomas Francis came to Homestead in St. Peter from his father`s farm, Westfield, in 1923. He brought with him two cows and two yearling heifers Summer Louise and Dairy Gambogia, both of the Louise strain. The latter produced a daughter, Sweet September, which caused a sensation when she appeared before the Herd Book judges. Though she was early exported and never shown, she established the reputation of the herd. Her son "Right Royal" commanded the highest stud fee of the time in Jersey, and was later very successful in the U.S.A. and Canada.
According to Jersey Evening Post on December 24th 1999 "Francis Le Ruez has been made an honorary life member of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society - only the sixth person in the society's history to be so honoured.
Mr Le Ruez (85) was described as 'a master breeder and great ambassador for the Jersey cow worldwide' by the society's president, Lewis Rondel, at a gathering of some 50 members, held at Les Charrières Hotel.
The meeting followed the recent announcement of Mr Le Ruez's honorary life membership to the society's annual general meeting.
Delivering a tribute to Mr Le Ruez at the meeting, RJAHS vice-president Derrick Frigot said: 'Francis has always been a shy man, never someone to push himself forward. This was highlighted when he was told about this award. In typical fashion, his first remark was, "But there must be someone more deserving than me!'' '
Mr Le Ruez, who was at the reception with his wife, Elin, his children, Henry and Elisabeth, brothers, sisters, and other relatives, replied to Mr Frigot's tribute by saying simply: 'I don't deserve anything; I do appreciate it.'
In his address, Mr Frigot said that as important as the breeding of cattle was in Jersey, it was evident
that this could also be said of cattle breeding families, and Mr Le Ruez's own bloodlines were 'steeped in the purple of cattle breeding families'.
Mr Le Ruez's paternal grandfather, Thomas, started the family herd, and his grandfather on his mother's side, Francis Le Brocq, pioneered the export of cattle from the Island to England, the USA and Denmark. He shipped in total more than 30,000 head of stock, and established the Jersey breed in Denmark.
Thomas Le Ruez's sons, Henry and Ernest Le Ruez, were both expert cattle breeders, as, in the next generation, were three of Henry Le Ruez's eight children - Francis, and his two brothers John and Laurence"
Thomas Francis Le Ruez died on September 26th 2002