Saturday, August 19, 2006

FE Stevens milk bottle

Found a FE Stevens milk bottle at the Madison/Bouckville Antique show. A creamer to be exact. Bought it for $20. So the story that he bottled and delivered milk is correct.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

FE Stevens

Glens Falls, NY.
That is about the only info that I have on this guy to date. He was a breeder of Kerry cattle before the start of the registry in 1911.

A spot on a historical society web site says, "Stevens St.- This street was laid out and named by FE Stevens, who lives on the County Line Rd. between Hudson Falls and Sanford Ridge, & who is well known here since he has delivered milk in this city fro more than 60 years. Mr. Stevens bought property around the site of the street & developed it during the 90's, building most of the houses."

I also know that he showed Kerry cattle at the NY State Fair. Transfers of Kerry Cattle suggest that he sold individuals within NY State. I am curious to see what happened to his animals.

The historical society up there did email to day to say they found a lot of information on him. I had to pay $20, but I am eager to see what they came up with.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dexter History Characteristics distribution etc 1921

[Reproduced from the revised edition of "Types and Breeds of Farm Animals", by Charles S. Plumb. Published bu Ginn & Company, Boston, Mass] ~ also herd book 1920...second part as with Kerry, only Blog will not allow such a long post....~

The Dexter breed of cattle is an offshoot from the Kerry and, while classed with the Kerry in the first edition of the book, is properly a seperate and distinct breed. The offspring from a Kerry and Dexter cross is regarded by each Kerry and Dexter herdbook association as a true crossbred and ineligible for registration.
The native home of the Dexter is in the southern part of Ireland and in the same region as that of the Kerry.
The origin of the Dexter is quite obscure. The common assumption has been that this breed is a cross between the Kerry and some other breed, perhaps the Devon. This opinion expressed by Professor James Wilson is that this is a short-legged offshoot of the Kerry, due to crossing with the Devon. It has also been repeatedly claimed that a "Mr. Dexter," who at one time was agent of Lord Hawarden, is responsible for this Irish breed, which for some time was known as the Dexter-Kerry, but which is now is classed by organizations promoting these cattle in Great Britian and America as a distinct and seperate breed from the Kerry.
The introduction of the Dexter to America probably occured long ago, when no discrimination was made between Kerry and Dexter in importations. Perhaps two hundred Dexters were imported to the United States between 1910 and 1915, a large percentage of which were brough over by Elmendorf Farm of Kentucky, Howard Gould of New York and james J. Hill of Minnesota, none of whom are now maintaining herds of these cattle.
The characteristics of the Dexter. In Great Britian the Dexter is regarded as a diminutive dual-purpose breed, although in the United States the beef side is given scant consideration. The essential characteristics are found in the heard, short legs and small size and color. The head is old-fashioned in a degree tending towards plainness and crowned with more or less black-tipped, upright horns. The head of the bull is burly and short and the horns aften extend directly out to each side and then make a wide curve forward and upward, with considerable space between the tips. The neck is moderately short and muscular, the withers show a dual-purpose thickness and the back is unusually strong supported, the depth of body and digestive capacity is comparatively great, teh tail head is often prominent, the hind quarters suggest the dula-purpose type (more especially with the bull), the legs are very short, and the udder on mature cows frequently indicates great capacity for aniimals of such small suze.
The color of the Dexter is very generally a solid black, although pure reds are also recognized and are not uncommon. The Irish regard either color as of equal merit. White marks are permissible on the udder and on the belly up to the navel, though not outside of the flanks. The brush of the tail may also contain more or less white. No white marketings are favored on the bull, although a slight amount on the scrotum or sheath will not disqualify. The horns are unusually white wiht black tips, while the hoods and nose may be either white or dark as the animal is red or black.
The size of the Dexter places it among the smallest of the British breeds. In mature form the standard weights are 900 pounds as a mzximum for the bull and 800 for the cow when in breeding condition. Some very beautiful specimins of cows that scarcely weigh over 500 pounds are seen at British shows. One of the noted bulls of the breed - LaMancha Union Jack - stood only about 28 inches high and probaly weighed less than 500 pounds. In view of the fact that diminutive size the tendancy among breeders has been to emphasize that feature. Where breeding is conducted under conditions of plenty there is a tendency towards increase in size.
The hardy Character of the Dexter is one of its outstanding features. In its native home, like the Kerry, it lieves largely in teh open, under rather rigorous conditions and tubercular and other diseases due to close housing are quite uncommon.
The crossbred Dexter especially with the beef stock, meets with much favor in the British market. The use of Aberdeen-Angus or Shorthorn bulls on Dexter cows has produced some very beautiful small carcasses of beef. The author has seen some of these crosses in Irealnd which, although small, represented high-class beef animals, indicating very superior killing quality. So highly is this kind of cross-breeding regarded in England that special classes for these small carcasses are provided at the Smithfield Club Fat Stock Show.
The Dexter as a milk producer has considerable merit. There are many records for these little cows, of 4000- to 6000 pounds of milk produced within a year and this on just ordinary care. In Ireland, however, official testing of Dexter cows has only just begun. During the years 1916 and 1917 twenty four cows and under test as supervised by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, covering periods of lactation renging from thirty-three to forty-five weeks. The smallest annual yield was 4555 pounds during a period of thirty- six weeks, testing an average of 4.1 per cent fat, while the largest yield was 8124 pounds during a forty-five weeks, testing 3.7 per cent fat. The Castlegould herd of Howard Gould in New York State produced a number of excellent records, one cow - Slane Clara - having a record of 9046 pounds, testing 4.26 per cent fat. Dexter milk averages 4 per cent fat.
Prices paid for Dexter cattle are comparatively small. As a breed is quite limited in number the demand is also limited. These cattle may be bought in Ireland for approximately $150 a head, with a fair selection at this price, although show animals naturally command a higher figure. While Americans have imported several hundred Dexters, as a rule the prices paid have been modest. In a pamphlet on these cattle published by the Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society of Ireland in 1918 it is stated that the prices vary from $125 fo $350, according to age and quality.
The distribution of the Dexter extends over Ireland, with a few select herds in England. The 1918 volume of the English Kerry and Dexter herdbook records thirty-one herds in Engladn. Dexter cattle have been exported to South Africa, Australia, and other British colonies. A number of herds are kept in Canada. In 1919 there were Dexter herds in Vermont, New York, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Wisconson and Minnesota.
The official promotion of Dexter cattle is supervised by several associations. The Farmers' Gazetts of Dublin, Ireland, instituted a herdbook, the first volume of which appeared in 1887. Later the Royal Dublin SOciety took over this work and since 1890 has published the records. The English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society was founded in 1892 and up to 1919 has issued nineteen herdbooks, which show a total of 639 bulls and 2544 cows registered,. In 1917 there was organized at Killarney, Ireland, the Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society of Ireland "to maintin the purity and promote the breeding of Kerry and Dexter cattle in Ireland." The American Kerry and Dexter Cattel Club organized in July, 1911, serves the purpose of registration and transfer and aims to promote the welfare of the breed. up to 1920 the club has registered fifty-five males and two hundred and forty six females.


[Reproduced from the revised edition of "Types and Breeds of Farm Animals," by Charles S. Plums. Published by Ginn & Company, Boston, Mass.] ~also copied from the Herd Book 1921~

The Kerry
The native home of Kerry cattle is in the southwestern Ireland in the county of Kerry. This is one of the wildest and most picturesque sections of Ireland, with mountains rising above three thousand feet and witht he famous Killarney lakes in the setting. The climate is moist and fairly temperate. Agricultural conditions are inferior.
The origin of the Kerry is as uncertain as that of other British breeds. From time immemorial it has been bred in Ireland, where it is known as the "poor man's cow". The opinion of the British students is that this is a descendant from the smaller type of aboriginal cattle of that country, of the same character as the dark-colored cattle of Britian. Nothing more is known. The development of the breed had mainly rested with the Irish farmers or tenants, who keep but small herds.
The introduction of the Kerry to America was probably first made in 1859 by Sanford Howard of Boston, massachusetts, who imported for Arthur W. Austin a bull and five two-year old heifers. In 1860 he imported a second bull, the first having died, and two heifers. Since that period Kerry cattle have been imported to the United States in a small way up to about 1915.
Characteristics of Kerry cattle. This is a distinct dairy type of breed, with the following special characteristics: The color should always be a solid black, with no white on the body in case of the bull; with the cow a slight amount of whire on the udder or underline, while undesirable, does not disqualify. This lean head of the cow carries upstanding, slender white horns with black tips, which often turn back; the bull's horns are shorter than those of the cow, but are commonly erect, with the tips turned back. The neck is slender and long, with the withers moderate, the rump tending to be somewhat sloping, the thighs muscular, and the legs slender and comparatively long. The udder is frequently large for the size of the cow, but tends to have a poor front development. In size the Kerry is one of the small breeds, and when in breeding condition the bull should not weigh over one thousand pounds nor the cow over nine hundred pounds. The temperament of the Kerry is distinctly nervous, yet, when well cared for, these cattle are quiet and easily handled.
The maturing characteristics of Kerry cattle are secondary. As bred in Ireland, due to inferior care, they are slow to develop, producing the first calf later than other breeds. This slowness of maturity is overcome to a considerable degree under proper conditions of care and feeding, and in america earlier maturity may be expected than in Ireland.
The hardy character of Kerry cattle is one of its distinctive features. Diring the entire year it is necessary for the Irish cotter's cow to adapt herself to conditions of privation, including the inclemency of winter. No breed has a more robust constitution or is less subject to common diseases than is the Kerry.
The prepotency of the Kerry cattle is very marked. Being of an ancient breed, long bred pure, it transmits its color and physical characteristics in a marked degree.
The Kerry in crossbreeding is essentially a value in improving common dairy stock. Kerry bulls from high producing dams, bred to ordinary cows, should result in heifers showing a uniformly black color and capable of producing a good yield of superior milk at minimal cost.
The grazing value of the Kerry is very high. This breed has been developed under adverse food conditions and thrives on comparitively poor rations. It well serves the purpose of furnishing the poor Irish laborer a maximum or return for a minimum of expenditure.
The Kerry as a milk producer ranks well, considering her size and cost of production. Messrs. William and James McDonald, reporting on the Kerry cattle shown at the Paris Exposition in 1978, state that twelve quarts of milk daily during the season yield from six to seven pounds of butter a week are the estimated yield of a Kerry cow, and that cows have been known to give sixteen quarts every day for some time after calving. Only in recent years have any systematic efforts been made to keep milk or butter-fat records of these cows. In 1905 Prfessor James Long wrote as follows, relative to official trials (Agricultural Gazette. London, August 21, 1905)

If we take the milking trials at the National Dairy Show at Islington, and travel over a number of years, we find that in one year eight Kerries averaged 36 pounds, or more than 3 1/2 gallons of milk per day, this milk containing 3.33 per cent fat. In another year twelve Kerries averaged 25 1/2 pounds of milk per day, this milk containing the larfe proportion of 4.33 per cent fat, while the solids not fat reached 9.2 per cent. Again, in a third year, seven Kerries averaged 33 1/2 pounds of milk, containing 3.69 per cent fat. In two other years the average of ten cows in each year were 27 1/4 pounds of milk and 33 pounds of milk, the fat percentage in one case 4.36 and in the other 4.26.

In official tests in 1916 and 1917 in Ireland, under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, records ranged from 4812 pounds of milk as a minimum to 8124 pounds as a maximum yield, forty-fice weeks being the extreme period of lactation. The butter-fat percentage ranged from 3.4 to 4.9, the average being 4 per cent. From what the author has seen of these cattle in Ireland he believes the Kerry to be a milk-producing breed of much promise under a judicious system and selection.
The distribution of the Kerry is not general; even in Ireland, where it is best known, the Shorthorn is the leading breed. There are a number of excellent Kerry herds in England, but very few of these cattle have neen inported to America. There are small herds in Australia and South Africa. In the United States the principal herds are in New York, Missouri and Minnesota.
Organization for the promotion of Kerry cattle have been in existence for some years. In 1887 a register was started in Ireland by the owners of the Farmers' Gazette of Dublin, which was taken over by the Royal Dublin Society after the publication of three volumes of herdbooks. In 1890 this society issued the first volume of the "Kerry and Dexter Herdbook," and has continued doing so up to date. Seventeen volumes of the RIish herdbook have been published, containing the total entry up to 1918 of 871 Kerry bulls and 2658 cows. An English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society, with headquarters in London, was established in 1892 and has published eighteen herdbooks, containing a total entry to 1917 inclusive of 392 Kerry bulls and 2098 cows. In 1917 an Irish Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society was organized in Ireland to promote the welfare of the breed. In 1911 an American Kerry and Dexter Cattle Club was organized, but thus far had published no herdbook. Up to 1920 but 16 bulls and 61 cows have been recorded, and to this date no importation herd of Kerry cattle has been established in the United States.

Saturday, August 12, 2006



1. This organization shall be called the American Kerry and Dexter Cattle Club.
2. The membership fee shall be ten dollars ($10.00). State Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations shall be regarded as honorary members, without voting privileges, but with membership fees.
3. The purpose of thsi club shall be to promote the breeding of pure bred Kerry or Dexter cattle in America, by dissemination of information concerning these cattle; keeping a record of registration and transfer of individual pure bred animals; publishing a herd registry or other information of importance; and protecting the integrity of Kerry and Dexter pedigrees in America so far as possible.
Foundation Stock
4. (a) Any animal imported from Ireland or England up to January 1st, 1912, from ancestry in the Royal Dublin Society's Kerry and Dexter herd Book or in the English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society Herd Book, by which a connected registration record may be shown. (b) Also up to January 1st, 1912, any animal of Kerry or Dexter breeding, from unregistered ancestry in America, that properly certified evidence shows to have come or descended from stock of pure Kerry or Dexter breeding, imported from Ireland or England. (c) Also, up to January 1st, 1912, of any animal imported from Ireland or England of Kerry or Dexter breeding, of which certified evidence is given, yet not from registered ancestry.
Perdigree Stock
5. After January 1st, 1912, no cattle shall be registered by this Club, excepting those of registered ancestry in America and those imported, that are registered in the Royal Dublin or English Kerry and Dexter Societies books. To be eligible for registry by this Club, the sire and dam must have been registered and made a matter or record on the books.
Registration and Transfer.
6. Kerry Cattle will be kept classified by themselves, and Dexter cattle likewise, each forming an independent group. The product of a cross of Kerry and Dexter blood shall be regarded as a cross bred and ineligible for registration.
7. Printed forms for registration and transfer will be furnished by the Secretary free of charge. All applications by Government certificates of importation and certificates from the Secretary of either the Royal Dublin or English registry societies, unless as provided for under Foundation Stock.
Registry and Transfer Fees.
8. The regular fee for registration to members of the Club shall be one dollar ($1.00). Non-member's fee of two dollars ($2.00). All registrations of cattle calved after January 1st, 1912, shall be made within 365 days of calving, or be subjected to an excess penalty for registration of five dollars additional to the usual fee.
9. The transfer fee for members shall be trenty-five cents, for non-members, fifty cents, and the seller shall pay cost of transfer certificate, and furnish the same to buyer unless otherwise agreed upon. All fees for transfer will be doubled, if delay filing witht he Secretary over 90 days following the sale.
10. The Secretary is directed to issue no certificates or transfers until payments for the same have been recieved at the office of the Club. Exceptions to thei rule, however, may be made in the case of State or Governmnet Institutions, where authority to furnish registry certificate or transfer has been officially made.
11. This Club shall publish from time to time, as funds may permit, a herd register, and any literature of an educational character that will aid in placing the merits of Kerry and Dexter before the public.

History of Kerry Dexter Cattle Club in US to 1921


For some years a number of herds of Kerry and Dexter Cattle have existed in America. Finally the interest in these breeds developed to such an extent that an organization to promote their interests and care for their registration and transfer was thought a necessity. During the year 1910, Prof. C.S. Plumb, of the Ohio State University, sought by correspondence to ascertain something of the ownership and size of Kerry and Dexter herds in America, and addressed letters to every person of whom he could learn owning these cattle. Less than 20 herds were located, but some of these were large and were actively engaged in development. In response to the request for views on forming an organization, the sentiment was very much in favor of doing this.

It was not thought expedient to have a called meeting, owing to the small number of persons owning these cattle, and their wide distribution over the country. Consequently those breeders interested, effected an organization by means of correspondence and a mail vote. A temporary list of officers necessary for the transaction of business was suggested and these were balloted on by mail, in July, 1911, with the following results:
President – G.M. Carnochan, New York City, New York.
Vice President – C.H. Berryman, Mgr. Elmendorf Farm, Lexington, KY
Secretary-Treasurer – C.S. Plumb, Columbus, Ohio.
Executive Committee – G.M. Carnochan, C.H. Berryman, C.S. Plumb, Maurice Molloy, Agt. Castlegould, Port Washington, New York; and B. Nason Hamlin, Boston, Mass.

These officers were elected to serve until the membership could be represented in regular meeting at some future time, when conditions would permit a more formal organization. At the time of the election of officers, Articles of Association were adopted by mail vote, which will be found on page 17.

A feature of publicity regarding Kerry and Dexter Cattle was undertaken by the secretary, in publishing bulletins from time to time, containing material of interest concerning these breeds, as well as answering inquires from correspondents. Up to November 1920, nine bulletins of uniform character, were published. Bulletin No. 1 is dated October, 1911 and Bulletin No. 9 is dated November, 1920. These have been more or less freely distributed and should have served a useful purpose. It is unfortunate that funds have never been available for promoting these breeds into greater publicity.

Just what the future of the Club is to be remains to be seen. Present conditions cannot long continue. An official organization and election of officers must take place through a cooperative movement of the breeders, otherwise the present so-called Club must go out of existence. The one now acting as secretary feels that with the publication of this herd book, he has about completed his task, and that some one else should now assume responsibility of the office. Careful records have been kept of all registrations and transfers, and a cash book in detail shows the financial transactions of the Club. All records are in shape to be placed in other hands that may be willing to look after Kerry and Dexter interests in America.


Preface 1921 Herd Book Kerry and Dexter

This first volume of the American Kerry and Dexter Cattle Club contains all entries and transfers up to December 31, 1920, inclusive. This record is as follows:

Kerry bulls...........16
Kerry cows...........61


Dexter bulls.........63
Dexter cows.........260


Grand Total----------400

Total transfers of Kerry and Dexter cattle-------136

It is desirable to call attention to the fact that no Kerry cattle have been registered since 1916, and no active interst at this time is being manifested in teh breed, notwithstanding its undoubted merit. It may also be appropriate to state that comparatively few registrations are being made of Dexter cattle, and unless the few breeders we now have manifest more activity in promoting the breed, it will be many more years before enough registrations will be available to justify a second volume.


Columbus, Ohio
April, 1921

A British Standard for the Dexter 1919


Reproduced from the English Kerry and Dexter Herd Book, Volume XX, for 1919. THe scale of points is from the same source.
1. The Dexter is essentiall both a milk producing and a beef-making breed, and both these points should, in judging, be taken into consideration.
2. Color - Bulls. WHole black or whole red (the two colors being of equal merit). A little white on organs of generation not to disqualify an animal, which answers all other essentials of this standard description. Cows. Black or red (the two colors being of equal merit). WHite on udder and the extension of white on udder slightly along inside of flank or under line of the belly, or white on tassel of tail, may be allowed on animals which answer all other essentials of this standard description.
3. Head and neck - Head short and broad, whith great width between the eyes, and tapering gracefully towards the muzzle, which should be large, with wide distended nostrils. Eyes bright, prominent, and of a kind and placid expression. Neck short, deep and thick, and well set into the shoulders, which, when viewed in front, should be wide, showing thickness through the heart, the breast coming well forward. Horns - These should be short and moderately thick, springing well from the heard, with an inward and slightly upward curve.
4. Body - Shoulders of medium thickness, full and well filled in behind; hips wide; quarters thick and deep and well sprung; flat and wide across the loins; well ribbed up; straight underline; udder well forward and broad behind, with well placed teats of moderate size; legs short (especially from knee to fetlock), strong and well placed under body, which should be as close to the ground as possible. Tail well set on and level with back.
5. Skin - The skin should be soft and mellow, and handle well, not too thin, hair fine, plentiful and silky.
Dexter bulls should not exceed 900 pounds live weight, when in breeding condition. Dexter cows should not exceed 800 pounds live weight, when in breeding condition.

Scale of Points of Dexter Bull
General formation and character.....25 points
Head, horns and hair.........................25 points
Quality and touch..............................20 points
Color....................................................30 points
Perfect-------------------------100 points

Scale of Points of Dexter Cow
Head, neck and horns......................15 points
Body, top line, underline, ribs,
setting on of tail, shortness of
leg, etc. .............................................25 points
Bag.....................................................40 points
Quality and touch............................10 points
Color..................................................10 points
Perfect------------------------100 points

Friday, August 11, 2006


By Charles S. Plumb

Comparatively little has been published concerning the Kerry or Dexter breeds of cattle, especially in America. Undoubtedly until recently they were regarded as one and the same breed. The earliest record that the writer has discovered of the introduction of Kerry cattle to America, is a statement by Reuben Haines, of Germantown, Pennsylvania, in the Memoirs of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society, published in 1824, in which he states that he had “imported from Ireland the celebrated Kerry cow.”

Mr. Sanford Howard of Boston, Mass. was probably one of the first importers of the Kerry to America. He visited Ireland in 1858 and 1859, and made an importation for Arthur W. Austin of West Roxbury, Mass. In an address before the Norfolk County Agricultural Society, Mr. Howard in 1859 discussed the subject of cattle breeding. On this occasion interesting reference was made to his observations in Ireland, as applied to the Kerry. Said Mr. Sanford, quoting from the Report of the Mass. Board of Agriculture for 1859:

“The Kerry breed belongs to the county of that name in Ireland, or more especially to the mountainous portion of that county, where they have probably existed coeval with the present race of human inhabitants. They are very different from the cattle, which occupy the lower, and more fertile sections of the island – the latter, as has already been observed, belong to the Longhorn tribe, of larger size, the horns drooping, sometimes crossing each other beneath the lower jaw. The Kerries on the other hand, are small, with horns of medium length, rising, and generally somewhat spreading. The color ranges from black to brindle and red, sometimes with a little white, but black is the prevailing color, and is preferred as denoting the nearest affinity with the original type. The Kerry cow has always been considered remarkable as a milker. Youatt says ‘she is emphatically the poor man’s cow; hardy living everywhere yielding, for her size, abundance of milk of good quality.’ Milburn says, ‘she is a treasure to the cottage farmer – so hardy that she will live where other cattle starve. She is a perfect machine for converting the coarsest cattle-food into rich and nutritious milk and butter.’

“In 1858, and also in 1859, I visited the native country of the Kerry cattle, chiefly for the purpose of learning their characteristics, and purchasing some to send to America. I found the cattle somewhat smaller than I had supposed them to be, but evidently very useful in that locality – living where no other dairy cattle that I have ever seen could live. In several instances they were met with at elevations of 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the sea, sharing with the goat the wild herbage of the mountainside. As illustrating their hardiness, the following incident is given: A man led me up a mountain glen to see a lot of three-year-old heifers he had grazing there. It appeared a mystery to me how the cattle could get round and over the rough rocks, and obtain a subsistence, even in summer. Having noticed that the man had several stacks of hay down in the valley, where was the rude habitation which he called his home, I asked him if he was going to take the Kerry cattle there for the winter. He replied, ‘No, the hay is for the lowland cattle and ponies.’ He had just been telling of the deep snows, which sometimes fall in the mountains, and I asked what the cattle would do in such cases. He said, ‘The snow generally softens after a day or two, and the cattle can work through it.’

“It is difficult to estimate the weight of these cattle, compared with others, from what I have seen of them. They are generally large bodied in proportion to their height, their legs being short, and the shank-bone being very small. Their heads are generally handsome and the countenance lively, but with a mild expression. The best of them are decidedly attractive in their appearance. When taken to the low country and supplied with plenty of nutritious food, they become more bulky, but I had no opportunity to see what would be the effect of breeding them for several generations in a milder climate and on a better soil.

“I could not generally obtain reliable statements in regard to yield of milk or butter of these cows. In several instances where they were kept, in the low country, it was stated that they would give, per day, ten imperial quarts of milk, which would afford a pound of butter – certainly a large product, considering the size of the animal. It is stated that Mr. Crosby, of Ardfert Abbey, near Tralee, obtained in his herd, ranging for seven years in succession, from 28-80 cows, mostly Kerries, an average of 1,952 quarts of milk in a year, which yielded a pound of butter to eight quarts – or 244 pounds per cow annually and that one pure Kerry cow in the herd gave 2,725 quarts of milk in ten months.

“I purchased for Arthur W. Austin, Esq., five two-year old Kerry heifers and a bull of the same breed, which arrived here after a long and boisterous passage, in November last. The bull, however, was so much exhausted, that he died a few days after his arrival. The others are at Mr. Austin’s farm in West Roxbury and are doing well. Another Kerry bull has been ordered for Mr. Auston, which it is hoped will reach here in June next, so that through Mr. Auston’s exertions it is believed the breed will be fairly introduced, and subjected to such thorough trials as will settle the question in regard to their usefulness here.”

In 1860, the committee on cattle of the Norfolk County Agricultural Society reported as follows:

He most prominent among the cattle brought to our notice, were those of the Kerry breed – one bull and seven heifers – imported by Arthur W. Austin, of West Roxbury, from the county of Kerry, Ireland. They are probably the first genuine specimens of the breed ever exhibited in this country, and many persons regarded them with curious eyes. In consequence of the loss of the bull first imported by Mr. Austin, he obtained another, ‘Mountaineer,’ which with two heifers, arrived in July last. The five heifers of the previous importation are believed to be in calf by this bull, and are expected to come to milk in April next. They have gained remarkably since their arrival, averaging an increase in girth of nearly an inch a month for the first year. Their indications for dairy purposes are all that could be expected from the high reputation of the breed. The bull is beautifully shaped – the forehead broad, the eyes large and full, the muzzle open, the uipper and lower lines of the body almost straight – while his think, furry coat and elastic hide, indicate at once an ability to endure a severe climate and to thrive rapidly.”

In 1862, Mr. Austin submitted a statement regarding his Kerries, under the date of January 14, this being to the local agricultural society. The report was as follows:

“I often had the milk measured during the past summer, and found it did not go below 60 quarts a day for five heifers of the first importation. On the 31st of May, the five alluded to, having in that month produced their first calves, gave 601/3 quarts, or an average of 12 quarts each. On the 14th of June the same five gave 62 ¾ quarts. The three of them gave a fraction over 14 quarts each. I weighed the morning’s milk and the 312/3 quarts, wine measure, weighed 67 ¼ lbs. Of the two last imported heifers, one is fully equal to either of those of the first importation, in proportion to age, she being a year younger, and having given her first calf over 10 qts. per day during the summer. I do not think the other one comes up to the standard, but she holds out well and gives rich milk. The milk of all of them is of the first quality as to richness. Butter is obtained from the cream in a very short time. Late in October it requires less than five minutes churning, by the clock, to bring butter. A lady who sends for six quarts once a week and who has had much experience, pronounces the production of cream marvelous. She says she skims it several times over. I have had excellent milkers of different breeds, and have always been particular as to the quality more than the quantity; but I obtain from these Kerry heifers as large a quantity of milk as could be reasonably be expected, considering their size and age; and the quality certainly surpasses, on the average, any milk it has been my fortune to see. I have now, besides the imported stock, three pure bred bulls, which will be a year old in the spring and summer of 1862, three pure bred heifers and one steer of the same age, one half blood Kerry and Shetland steer, and three half blood Kerry heifers. All have improved wonderfully under my winter regimen. We think all the imported heifers are in calf to Mountaineer, who is in fine condition.”

Mr. Sanford Howard contributed an article on “The Kerry Breed of Cattle” to the Report of the United States Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1862. This article contains some descriptive matter regarding the breed and conditions under which it is kept in Ireland, rather similar to that above credited to him in the Massachusetts report. He calls attention in this article to two subjects not mentioned by him elsewhere that are of interest. He comments on the increase in size of the cattle kept in America. Their growth for the first year olds was very rapid. When he bought the first five two-year old heifers, their girth was only four feet, five inches to four feet, six inches. He says, “I measured two of them a few days since, and found their girth five feet and five feet, six inches, although, from having been pretty well milked down during the season, they are in only middling condition.”

“The purchase of these cattle in Ireland to come to America.” Says Mr. Howard, “attracted considerable attention. The face was noted in several newspapers and while the cattle were in Liverpool, many persons called to see them. Singular as it may seem, but few people in England had ever seen a specimen of the breed. How much this purchase has had to do in the bringing of Kerries into general notice, I cannot say; but it is certain that attention had, within a year or two, been more turned to them than ever before. English papers state that Baron Rothschild has sent a large number to Australian possessions, the first lot of 50 heifers having been shipped a little more than a year ago. They are also attracting much more attention in England, as is shown by the special prizes offered for them by the Royal Agricultural Society, and the favorable comment made on those exhibited at its shows.

From the American Kerry and Dexter Herdbook of 1921.

Conversations Start It All

Well, I have talked to people in Ireland, New Hampshire, New York, Deleware, Kansas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Maryland, Iowa... Everyone has something to contribute to the history of these great animals.

I admit that I am a complete breed nerd. I love researching and obsessing about pedigrees, old breeders and the development of breeds. Lately it is the Kerry cow. I cannot leave it to just Kerry cows. Milking Devons, Dexters, Abondance.... they are all great breeds that have histories in their native country as well as ours.

Most people ask me to relate this research back to them. Obviously parts of some or all conversations have to be kept to my notebook. I plan to put as much of the other information into this blog. I was going to have this a part of my web site, but I like the interactive nature of this blog. I think that people can contribute something to each of these posts. Well, at least I hope that they can.

So far, I have come up with a bit about the history of the Kerry and Dexter up to about 1921. That is incomplete and pretty much missing for the Kerry breed. I have also developed an appreciation for C.S. Plumb. I only wish that he was my professor in college. I really liked the stuff that he has written. A very prolific publisher of agricultural books.

Well, on to adding to this history of the breeds in the US. ..