T. L. (Timothy Lathrop) Miller.

History of Hereford cattle, proven conclusively the oldest of improved breeds online

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that breed and color necessarily went together
and could not be separated. The universal ac-
ceptance of this great error led to endless, re-
grettable disputes amongst the old breeders.
This misuse of the word "breed" was most
misleading during the transition state of the
Herefords, and all attempts to trace its history
by color marks completely failed. Marshall,
describing Bakewell's Longhorn in 1784, says:
"Color is various, the Brindle, the Pinchbeck
and the Pye are common. The lighter the
color the better they seem to be esteemed, but



this seems to be merely a matter of fashion."
And when describing the points of a perfect
Longhorn he says: "Any color that can be
joined with the foregoing qualifications, it
being perhaps of little (if any) essential im-
port." Thus Bakewell, like Tomkins, disre-
garded color marks, and his improved Long-
horns varied in this respect, but were not called
in consequence the Brindle breed, the Pinch-
beck breed and the Pye breed.

Instances are given in the first volume of the
Herd Book where the sire and dam are white-
faced and the offspring mottle-faced, and vice
versa. In the phraseology of the day, the sire
and dam would belong to the white-faced
breed, and the offspring the mottle breed. This
clearly illustrates the fallacy of taking color
marking as a guide to the breed during the
transition period of the Herefords.

Tomkins never line bred color markings,
but rather used them together in every imag-
inable way. Their system was in the words of
the poet:

"White face, Pick face, Mottle face and Grey,

Mingle, Mingle, Mingle, ye that mingle may."

The Herefords were then in a state of com-
minglation with the Tomkins cattle, on whose
bodies color marks had no fixed abode, so that
at that time it was a matter of choice where
these should be placed on .the future Hereford.
It could have been constituted a grey, a mottle
face or a white-face breed. The overwhelm-
ing choice was to stick to the old red with
white face markings, and although some old
breeders resisted this for a time, they ultimately
died or gave up the contest.

The red with white face markings left liquid
by Tomkins have now through many years of
selection carefully obliterated the spotted face
and grey markings, and become typically fixed
and the true index of breed, which they were
not during the transition period.

Doubtless the Tomkins cattle would have
spread much faster if B. Tomkins, Jr., had not
been so extremely jealous of others obtaining
his best blood. It is well known that he had
many of his best bulls killed at home for the
harvest men rather than others should have
them, and many of his best cows were resold by
the butchers for breeding purposes. The old
butchers bore universal testimony that the
Tomkins cattle were the most profitable butch-
ers' cattle they killed.

Day of Credenhill, Bakerville of Weobley,
Preece of the Shrewd, Davies of Canon Pyon,
and others used to declare that for quality of
meat, associated with smallness of offal, none
they killed approached them. And Sinclair has

shown in his history that all the old noted
herds, without exception, that could be traced
went back to what Hewer tersely called "Old
Tomkins' Prime Cattle."

* * *

Beside the foregoing manuscript, prepared
by Mr. Bustin, I wish to acknowledge here his
great assistance in the preparation of the illus-
trations in this history. Without Mr. Bustin's
help this great feature of the work would be
most lamentably lacking. His skillful search
has unearthed drawings and paintings that have


been hid for years; he visited various parts of
England, securing photos of homesteads, farm
views, ancient drawings, paintings and engrav-
ings, etc., etc., which are invaluable to the
student of Hereford history. I wish to ac-
knowledge also the kind co-operation of Mr.
Geo. Leigh, of Aurora, 111., to whom I am in-
debted for many photographs of English Here-
ford breeders, their homes and their cattle.

I would draw particular attention to the fact
that the illustrations in this work are, as far
as possible, reproductions of photographs from
life. The successful photograph of live ani-
mals is only a recent accomplishment, and not

as yet so successful in America as in England.
This is one great work wherein England excels
America, a condition which can hardly be ex-
pected to last. It is only in recent years that
actual photographs of cattle from life has been
the successful method of illustration in Eng-
land. Therefore, the illustrations in this work
of both English and American subjects, prior
to 1895, are reproductions of lithographs,
paintings, engravings, etc., all produced by
hand. I thought at first that it would be best
to have old drawings modernized by an up-to-
date live stock artist, as has been done in some
other prominent works on cattle, but after giv-
ing the matter much thought it seemed to me


best to reproduce these old pictures exactly as
they were made. They vary, as does all hand
work, with the ideals of the artists drawing
them. Messrs. Gauci, Page, Dewey, Burk, Hill>
Palmer, Throop, etc., each had their ideal, so
that were each of these men to portray the same
animals those familiar with their work would
have no difficulty in discovering from the pic-
ture who the artist was- by the peculiar personal
ideal invariably, and perhaps unconsciously,
incorporated into the picture. Some of the
ancient artists painted the forms of the ani-
mals they portrayed upon impossible stems,
representing legs. If the readers of Miller's

History will bear in mind these variations of
the artists' ideals when examining the old draw-
ings of cattle reproduced herein they will form
a much more intelligent conception of the ex-
cellence of those old foundation animals by sub-
stituting in their mind's eye correct impressions
of animal anatomy for the superfine limbs and
heads portrayed by the artists. I have
in the appendix added full page reproduc-
tions of photographs from life of choice
specimen Herefords . of diif erent ages, be-
ing correct reproductions of actual pho-
tographs from life; every one knows that pho-
tographs have never yet been made to flatter
animals, for, as a rule, they portray faults
more plainly than virtues. These photo-
graphs, however, give the most correct ideas of
anatomy attainable by any process known at
this day. These illustrations have been selected
carefully from photographs taken in England,
and are specifically included in the appendix
of this work to give correct ideas of Hereford
form and character.

In closing I wish to say that there are per-
sonal references in this book, mainly of persons
long since deceased, that I regret exceedingly
to see again in print. Yet, to leave out these
references, would be leaving out facts of his-
tory that would give the reader no conception
of the trials and vexations to which the early
supporters of the Hereford breed of cattle were
subjected. No one coming freshly upon the
scene to participate in the breeding of pure-
bred cattle in these days of breed tolerance
could understand the lengths to which jealousy,
prejudice and selfish interests drove men in
their opposition to. Hereford cattle; in what
was, in veriest truth, the "Battle of the
Breeds." I have personally experienced some-
thing in this line myself. Several old show
ring controversies are, in this work, again
brought to light. Fraudulent entries and false
ages are shown to have been prominent factors
in past conflicts. Let no reader suppose that
such things do not exist to-day. They are not
so patent between the breeds, because the show
ring contests between breeds has largely been
done away with, but the fraudulent exhibitor
is, if possible, more prevalent to-day than ever.
He can be found in our own ranks, so much so
that an exhibitor must take one of three
courses, either one of which is equally unpleas-
ant. I refer to the fact that ages are misrep-
resented (flagrantly, in some cases). Surgical
operations are performed to change the appear-
ance and eradicate defects of animals in a man-
ner that should put the most unscrupulous
horse farrier to shame, and there are, at times,



as notorious manipulations of judging commit-
tees in the present day as ever occurred in the
past. As I said before there are three courses
open to the honest exhibitor who desires to
bring his cattle before the public at the great
shows. He must either (first) protest and prove
these nefarious practices; (second) practice
these unworthy methods himself, or (third)
submit tamely and allow the unscrupulous ex-
hibitor to win unmerited prizes and escape
unscathed. The one redeeming feature of the
show ring is that the unscrupulous exhibitors
are a very small minority, so that whenever
those who show fairly and honestly get to-
gether and protest in a body against crooked
practices they can be overthrown, but as a rule
up to this time exhibitors have preferred to
allow these frauds to go unrebuked, because of
the prominence of the parties committing
them, or of a desire to keep peace regardless of
price. Again, the class of exhibitors commit-
ting these depredations on the show ring
usually last but a little while. They are, as it
were, meteors, who come out and, to use their
own language, "make a killing" in the prize
ring for a year or two, and then disappear, only

to be followed by some similar fraud upon
whom their mantle invariably falls. As I said
before, these unpleasant parts of the book are
left as their author shaped them. Mr. Miller
and my father had the habit of calling things
by their real names, and both were accustomed
to tell the truth regardless of who were hurt
or benefited thereby, and therefore I have felt
constrained to adopt the policy that was forced
upon Pontius Pilate and say, "What is written
is written." They could never in life forgive
the garbling of their statements by the editor,
and I could not be party to such action now
that they are not here to protest for them-

This is Mr. Miller's work, and as such is
submitted as the best work ever published on
cattle. If every stockman in America will read
this work and act upon its suggestions, in the
light of its teachings, more will be accom-
plished in the profitable upbuilding of the beef
interests of America in one decade hereafter
than has heretofore been accomplished in a
century. T. F. B. SOTHAM.

Chillicothe, Mo.,

April 14th, 1902.




In the year 1627, John Speed published a
work on England, Wales, and Scotland, in
which he says of Herefordshire, "the climate
is most healthful and the soil so fertile for
corn and cattle that no place in England yield-
eth more or better conditioned." (fl 1)

Starting from this data, it is fair to presume
that the cattle of Herefordshire should im-
prove, and that Mr. Benjamin Tomkins, who
commenced the breeding of Herefords in the
year 1742, should have found a class of cattle
of great merit. (j[ 2) It is well here to give
an account of the Tomkins family.

The Tomkins of Weobley were of considera-
ble note and position in its neighborhood, prior
to the civil war of Charles the First, but being
enthusiastic Royalists, they suffered much, in
consequence of that monarch's overthrow.

They were distinguished in music and paint-
ing, being patronized in both arts by royalty,
and the leading members of the House; they
were great and consistent politicians, for many
generations, representing Leominster and
Weobley in Parliament.

. At successive periods during the seventeenth
century, the branch from which the dis-
tinguished cattle breeder sprang was known
as Tomkins of Garnestone, a considerable do-
main, situated immediately south of Weobley,
which belonged to James Tomkins, Lord of
Weobley, and M. P. for Leominster from 1623
to 1628, who was much esteemed as a country
gentleman and noted debater in the House of

In the beginning of the eighteenth century,
was one Richard Tomkins, of the New House,
King's-Pyon parish (|[ 3), who spent his life
there, and became a very successful farmer
and breeder of work oxen. In his will in 1720,
he bequeathed a yoke of oxen, called Spark and
Merchant, to his son Richard, and a cow Silver
and calf to his son Benjamin. Richard Tom-
kins died in 1723, leaving six sons and one
daughter. Five of his sons established them-
selves as farmers in the immediate neighbor-

hood. The fourth son, the first distinguished
cattle breeder, "Benjamin Tomkins the elder,"
was born at the New House, King's-Pyon, in
1714, and commenced business at the Court
House, Canon Pyon, about 1738. He married
Anne Preece of Alton, in 1742, and subse-
quently moved to Wellington Court in 1758,
where he died in 1789, leaving six children,
four sons and two daughters. Of these four
sons, Benjamin, who has been credited as the
noted breeder and improver of the Hereford
breed of cattle, was the second son of Benjamin
of the Court House and Wellington Court, and
from Richard of New House to Benjamin in-
clusive, there were ten of the sons and grand-
sons, who were all farmers and probably
breeders of Hereford cattle.

Benjamin Tomkins, (ft 4) the renowned
breeder, was the second son of Benjamin Tom-
kins of Court House, Canon Pyon, where he
was born in 1745 and commenced farming at
Black Hall, (fl 5) King's-Pyon, in 1766. He
married in 1772, his cousin Sarah, second
daughter of Richard Tomkins of the Grange,
Wormsley. He occupied Black Hall until
1798 when he sub-let it to his nephew, George
Tomkins, Jr., of Frogdon, and removed to
Wellington Court, which he held as a bytake,
from his father's death.

In 1812 he gave up Wellington Court and
went to reside at his own place, Brook House,
(ff 6) King's-Pyon, where he died in 1815.
From James Tomkins, Lord of Weobley, who
was active in politics in 1623-8, to Richard,
who commenced farming at New House,
King's-Pyon, and died in 1723 nearly one
hundred years we are without a record.

Returning to Mr. Benjamin Tomkins, the
younger, who commenced the improvement of
the Herefords in 1766, we have very little in-
formation as to the course he pursued, except
that his cattle obtained a very enviable reputa-
tion among breeders, and brought large prices
from some of the best breeders during his time.
At one time he took twenty cows to Hereford-



shire Agricultural Show and gave a challenge
of 100 to any one who would show an equal
number against him. His nephew, George
Tomkins, after traveling over Herefordshire
and other parts of England, among cattle
breeders, when he came home, reported to his
uncle that of all the cattle he had seen, there
were none equal to his. Mr. Jno. Price, of
Ryall, about the year 1804, became acquainted
with the cattle of Mr. Benjamin Tomkins,
from whom he bought a few cows, using them
to bulls descended from Mr. Walker's stock.
He first attempted to improve the Tomkins
cattle by crossing them with the larger stock
of Mr. Walker, with a view of increasing their
size, but the result was so unfavorable that he
put away all these crosses and returned to the
pure Tomkins variety. Mr. Price continued
to breed Herefords until 1841, his herd being
solely of the Tomkins blood. So that, upwards
of seventy years at least, this strain, first in
possession of Benjamin Tomkins, and then in
that of John Price, was bred continuously
without an out-cross.

It would appear that Mr. Tomkins was en-
titled to the position of leader in the improve-
ment of the breed, and for giving a fixed char-
acter both as to quality, color, and markings,

and at the same time, the Hewers, William and
John, were close seconds. It was perhaps to
be expected that their friends would take sides,
and a feeling of rivalry should grow up among
them for the time being; but ultimately as
these different lines expanded and new men
took the places of the early rivals, the best
of each were brought together.

Mr. John Price of Ryall and other eminent
breeders acquired bulls and cows of the Tom-
kins breed and they soon spread widely over
the country. In October, 1808, Tomkins had
a large sale at the Court Farm, Wellington,
which the auctioneer, Mr. William James, an-
nounced in these words : "For sale, the follow-
ing valuable and much admired stock, the
property of Benjamin Tomkins, who is going
to decline breeding cattle; consisting of 20
capital cows and heifers, which have five calves
now sucking, two four-year-old bulls, one ditto
martin, nine three-year-old bullocks, six two-
year-old ditto, two yearling heifers, one of
which is heavy in calf, three two-year-old bulls,
two ditto yearlings/' No note of the prices or
purchasers' names at this sale has been ob-
tained, but we are able to give a private valua-
tion of the stock at Wellington Court Farm,
drawn up by George Tomkins in June, 1808,




which will indicate the owner's estimate of
their worth: "12 cows and calves at 40
($200) each, 480 ($2,400) ; 12 oxen at 43
($215) each, 516 ($2,580) ; 10 two-year-olds
at 20 ($100) each, 200 ($1,000); 10 year-
lings at 15 ($75) each, 150 ($750)." An
average for old and young, steers and breeding
stock of over 30 ($150) each.

Only a comparatively small number of the
hulls bred by Benjamin Tomkins were entered
in the Herd Book, and in few cases are par-
ticulars given of their breeding. Wellington
(4) 160 (ff8) is registered simply as coming
under the division of the mottle faces, and as
having been bred by Mr. B. Tomkins. He'
passed into the possession of Mr. Price, and
was purchased at his sale in 1816 by Mr. Jelli-
coe of Beighterton for 283 10s, ($1,400), be-
ing afterwards sold to Mr. Germaine. He was
considered by Mr. Tomkins the best bull he
ever bred, his Silver Bull (41) 432, excepted,
and also the best stock getter. In Vol. 1 of the
English Herd Book, there is a colored litho-
graph (reproduced herein) of this bull from a
painting by Mr. Welles, representing a compact,
straight animal, of fine size, with fine bone,
mottle face, white dewlap, and white along the
lower parts of the body. Another of Tomkins'
bulls registered in Vol. 1, is Ben (96) 6703,
of which the editor, Mr. Eyton, says that "Miss
Tomkins informed him that Ben was by Sam

(144) 6704, out of one of Mr. Tomkins' cows
called Nancy." Sam (144) 6704, is without
recorded pedigree, all that is said concerning
him being that he was bred by B. Tomkins.
Wild Bull (145) 3040, bred by 'Tomkins, was,
on Miss Tomkins' authority, said to be by Sil-
ver Bull (41) 432, out of Tidy 340. Phoenix
(55) 3035, a mottle face, out of Storrell 3039,
bred by Mr. Tomkins and got by Wild Bull

(145) 3040, was purchased at Miss Tomkins'
sale in 1819 for 560 guineas (over $2,800) by
Lord Talbot. Mr. Eyton has this remark as to
his dam: "Storrell, Miss Tomkins informs
me, was out of a mottle faced cow of the same
name ( Storrell 3041 ) , by a Pigeon bull." The
bull called Son of Prices 25 (84) 440, bred by
Tomkins, was out of (Price's No. 25) 439,
"who was out of a sister to the dam of Price's
23, or 'The Slit Teat cow,' by the Silver Bull
(41) 432." Proctor's bull, (316) 376, was
bred by B. Tomkins "out of his favorite cow,
'Old Pink."- Voltaire (39A) 429, was a white
faced bull bred by Tomkins, dam Price's No.
3. Wizard (59) '6699, was a mottle face of
Tomkins' breeding by Ben (96) 6703, and
was sold to Mr. Germaine for 300 guineas
($1,500). Wedgeman (166) was bred by Tom-

kins, but no pedigree is given in the Herd Book.
In the appendix to Vol. XI of the English
Herd Book, Mr. E. F. Welles gave some inter-
esting recollections of the stock of Mr. John
Price, from which a very complete idea can be
obtained of the character and appearance of
the Tomkins cattle. It is, indeed, one of the
most valuable statements that has been made
on the subject. Mr. Welles says: "When Mr.
John Price commenced cattle breeding, the
character of bull most in esteem in the chief
Midland districts was one having a throat with
as little loose flesh as possible depending from


it. This character was also introduced by some
cattle breeders amongst Herefords. The cele-
brated Purslow bull, the property of the Hay-
woods of Clifton-on-Teme, had this character.
Mr. Walker of Burton had also adopted it, and
from him Mr. Price had a bull or two. Mr. B.
Tomkins and other Hereford breeders had not
been affected b}r this fashion, and Mr. Price,
when he became acquainted with Mr. Tomkins'
stock, relinquished it, preferring, and upon
sounder principles, that character which better
indicated the male animal, a considerable de-
gree of throatiness not being objected to. This
character belonged to Wellington (4) 160, the
first bull, and I think, the only one bought by
Mr. Price of Mr. B. Tomkins. This bull was very
dark in color, with face and bosom both mottled
and speckled. His dam, too, bought afterwards
by Mr. Price (but did not breed with him),
was also of the same color."

"The cows bought by Mr. Price of Mr. Tom-
kins were the following: First, a large cow
with a speckled face, giving a blue appearance
to it, with what may be termed an arched fore-
head or Roman nose, tips of horns blackish,
body of lightish brown, dappled, under part of



body and legs inclining to blackness, white
along her back and well formed, but on rather
high legs. Secondly, a cow commonly called
'the Mark-nosed cow' a red cow with mottled
face, square made, and on short legs, rich
quality of flesh, with a soft and thick pile of
hair moderately curled. This cow was un-
fortunate to Mr. Price as a breeder, the only
produce I recollect out of her being the
'Marked faced bull/ alias Tyon' at his sale.
Thirdly, a large yellow cow with white face,
rather long headed, and not carrying much
flesh. She was the dam of Voltaire (39 A)
429, by one of Mr. Tomkins' bulls.

"Pigeon, by far the most remarkable cow he
had of Mr. Tomkins and her own character,
as well as that of her descendants, will well
warrant me in terming her the best was a
large cow, rather on high legs, somewhat shal-
low in the bosom, with very fine bone, neck
rather light, head good but horn short; her
color a speckled grey, the red parts being dark,
growing still darker about her legs ; hair rather
short but soft, quality of flesh excellent, back
and hind-quarters great, excepting thighs,
which were rather light, but with good twist;
her constitution hardy, and she was a regular


and successful breeder. About this same time
also, Mr. Price had another cow from Mr. B.
Tomkins, which was called the Rough cow,
from her coat being much curled; she was a
middle sized cow, nothing remarkable in form,
her color dark red, with white back, and she
had the reputation of being of a family that
were good ox breeders. Mr. Price had a bull
from this cow called 'Rough bull' alias 'Origi-
nal/ but he did not long retain any of his stock.
There were sisters to him by other Tomkins
bulls. Two more cows Mr. Price subsequently
obtained from Mr. B. Tomkins a half-sister to

No. 25, and a daughter to Mr. Tomkins'
famous 'Slit Teat Cow' No. 21. The former
of these was a small cow out of a very true
form, dark color, with white along her back;
she was the dam of Lord Talbot's Woodcock
(50) 654, sire of Mr. Price's Woodcock
Pigeon 651. I am not aware that Mr. Price
had any more cows from Mr. B. Tomkins, but
he afterward obtained two cows of his blood
one called Damsel 371 from Mr. T. Tom-
kins, and another from Mr. Tomkins of Worm-
bridge, the former the dam of W'oodman
(10) 307 and the latter the dam of Diana
638. He also bought a few Tomkins bred
cows from Mr. Jas. Price; among these was
the dam of Peg Murphy 3559."

These notes, which furnish a complete pic-
ture of a large number of the Tomkins cattle,
fully bear out what has been said as to their
diversified colors. Mr. Price's selections com-
prised animals that were yellow with white
face ; speckled grey ; dark red, with white back ;
red with mottle face; dark color with white
along the back; and lightish brown dappled,

Online LibraryT. L. (Timothy Lathrop) MillerHistory of Hereford cattle, proven conclusively the oldest of improved breeds → online text (page 2 of 88)