Pioneering a Great Industry
By Maurice S. Prescott

Source:  Centennial Souvenir History 1825 - 1925 of the Town of Sandy Creek, Oswego County, New York, Commemorating the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the Town July 2-3-4-5, 1925.  

 
The year 1876--just past the half-way mark in the history of the town of Sandy Creek--marked the first introduction of purebred Holstein-Friesian cattle into this township and in fact one of the first in the United States.  In that year, Stevens and Pruyn bought of Gerrit S. Miller, Peterboro, Oneida County, NY, the four-year old heifer, Juno (No. 15 in the Holstein Herd Book), and the two-year-old heifer, May, and from C. R. Payne, Hamilton, NY, the yearling bull, Baron Steuben.  At the time of these first purchases, only 405 Holsteins had been registered in the United States.  Up to the present time, over 1,500,000 animals of this breed have been registered in America and Holstein-Friesians compromise about 60 per cent of all the purebred dairy cattle in this country.  The purebred Holsteins now living are estimated to have value of a billion dollars.  

Mr. Pruyn retired shortly from the partnership and the herd was developed by Henry Stevens with the later assistance of his sons, Ward W., Ralph J., and Floyd H.  In this herd were developed a number of foundation families that have probably had more to do with popularizing the Holstein-Fresian breed in America than any other strains.  Perhaps the best known was De Kol 2d 734 H.H.B.  In 1894, she established a world's record for official butter production in 7 days and the blood of this great former champion has become so widely spread throughout the herds of the United States that all of the leading producers trace their ancestry to De Kol 2d in some line of their pedigree and the world's champion four-year-old in yearly test traces forty-six times to De Kol 2d in her extended pedigree.  This fact is mentioned to illustrate the important part Sandy Creek Holsteins have taken in laying the foundation for the present greatness of this breed.

Other foundation cows in the Stevens herd of nearly equal reputation and later influence were Belle Korndyke, Netherland Hengerveld, Helena Burke and Aaggie Grace 2d's Pieterje.  In 1894, when the Holstein-Friesian Association of America established its Advance Register under the present system of having the production figures certified to by representatives of State Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations, Henry Stevens & Sons' Brookside herd won more prizes for high production than any other herd.  In fact, it won a majority of all the prizes offered in competition with the whole United States.  Breeders from all  over the world came to the Stevens herd in search of foundation animals.  The New York Holstein-Friesian Association has adopted the slogan for this state "The Nursery of the Holstein-Fresian Breed."  It may be said with equal truth that Oswego County and the township of Sandy Creek in particular is "The Cradle of the Nusery of the Holstein-Fresian Breed."

This subject is of importance in connection with the history of the town of Sandy Creek because of the fact that the inspiration and example of Henry Stevens in developing the outstanding herd of Holsteins of his time converted Sandy Creek into a dairy community far above the average, impressed the black and white color markings of the Holstein-Fresian breed generally upon the dairy cattle of the community and as a result of this improved breeding, the dairymen of this community are selling each year through their own farmer-owned marketing organizations more than a quarter million dollars worth of milk each year, the largest and most important industry in this township today.   While the community does not enjoy the prominence from a Holstein breeding point it did when the industry was in its infancy, in this county, there are today close to a dozen owners of purebred Holsteins in the township that are doing their part to raise still higher the average production of the dairy herds of this community.

This pioneer activity of the Holstein industry in this township,however, has benefited the community in other ways than the improvement it has wrought in the dairy herds of the township.  Its early prominence as a Holstein center resulted in the development of the Corse Press as the leading Holstein printing establishment of the United States and was really responsible for the location of the Holstein-Fresian World in Sandy Creek.  This publication is the largest and most widely read publication devoted to any particular breed of cattle.  Each week it carries the name of Lacona into every section of the United States and to all quarters of the globe.  The township of Sandy Creek may well be proud of its Holstein traditions and should look with gratitude uponn the Holstein-Fresian breed which has meant so much to its development in many lines.


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Copyright © April 2004Laura Perkins 
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