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Special report on the history and present condition of the sheep industry of the United States online

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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF



BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY.



SPECIAL REPORT



ON THE



HISTORY AND PRESENT CONDITION



OF THE



SHEEP INDUSTRY -OF THE IITED STATED



PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OP

DR. D. E. SALMON,
CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY,

BY

EZRA A. CARMAN, H. A. HEATH, AND JOHN MINTO.



PUBLISHED BY AUTaK^tr&F JES$ SSK^^fLY OF AGRICULTURE.




WASHINGTON:

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
1892.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



Paga

Letter of transmittal 9

PART I. THE SHEEP INDUSTRY IN STATES EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

BY EZRA A. CARMAN:
Chapter I. The Wild Sheep of America, and earliest introduction of

Domesticated Breeds 11

II. The Household Woolen Industry 1607-1800 95

III. Introduction of the Spanish Merino Sheep 131

IV. The Dissemination of the Spanish Merino throughout New

England. Progress of the fine-wool industry and its

decline 217

V. Introduction of the Fiue-Wooled Sheep into the Middle and
South Atlantic seahoard States, and the subsequent

progress of Sheep Husbandry 349

VI. The Sheep Husbandry of Western Pennsylvania and the

Pan-Handle of West Virginia 483

VII. The Sheep Husbandry of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan,

and Wisconsin 52j

VIII. The Sheep Husbandry of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi,

Alabama, and Florida 657

PART II. CONDITION OF THE SHEEP INDUSTRY WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI

RIVER.

BY H. A. HEATH AND JOHN MINTO :

Chapter I. The Sheep Industry in Montana and North and South Da-
kota 701

II. The Sheep Industry in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah 771

III. The Sheep Industry in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Mis-

souri, and Kansas 811

IV. The Sheep Industry in Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and

Arizona 885

V. The Sheep Industry in California, Oregon, and Washing-
ton 947

3



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PART I. CHAPTER I.

Page,

Mountain Sheep or Big Horn (Ovis Montana, Desm.) 19

Texel sheep 24

The Old Wiltshire sheep 44

Kentish or Romney Marsh sheep 44

The Ryland sheep 46

Old Norfolk ram 46

Tunisian Mountain (flat-tailed) sheep . 78

Wicklow Mountain sheep 86

The New Leicester ram 88

The New Leicester ewe 88

Tees water sheep 92

Southdown ram 92

The Southdown sheep 92

The Old Lincoln breed 92

CHAPTER III.

Spanish Merino ram, Don, of 1790 134

Merino ram, Don Pedro 136

Clermont 142

Ramhouillet 142

Spanish Merino ram (imported at beginning of the present century) 150

CHAPTER IV.

Saxony Merino rain 228

Electoral Escurial ram 23d

Electoral Escurial ewe 230

Infantado Xegretti ram 230

Merino ram, Sweepstakes 262

Rambouillet ram of 1787 268

Rambouillet ram of 1873 268

Horned Dorset 280

Merino ram, Consul . 284

Merino ram,Golden FU-oee 294

Spanish Paular Merino ram, Fortune 298

General Fremont 298

Bismarck 322

Centennial 322.

5



6 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

CHAPTER V.

Page.

Registered Cotswold ram 368

French Merino ram, Louis Phillippe 380

French Merino ewe, Marquese <lc Rouge 380

Silesian Merino ewe 388

Merino ram, Osceola 392

Beacon Down ram 402

Merino ram, Addison 404

Merino ram, Hopeful 404

Merino ram, Genessee 404

Merino ram, Ruby's Boy 408

Merino ram, Onondaga 408

Merino ram, Ranzin 410

Merino ram, Longfellow 410

Merino ewe 141 410

Yearling Merino ewe of 1890 410

Yearling Merino ewe of 1890 410

Hampshire ram, Baron 416

Suffolk ram 422

Oxford Down ram, Freeland 444

Imported Southdown ram 452

Cheviot ram 472

CHAPTER VI.

Black-Top Merino ram, Success 496

Black-Top Merino ram, Walter 496

Black-Top Merino ewe, Madam 496

Dickinson Merino ewe, Emma 502

Humphrey's Merino ewe, Queen 506

Delaine Merino ram, Wall Street 510

Delaine Merino ewe 510

Saxony Merino ram 518

CHAPTER VII.

Wells & Dickinson Merino ewe of 1865 526

Merino ram, Snowflake 528

Merino ram, King, jr 542

Merino ram, Nobhy Tom 544

Oxford Down sheep 564

Shropshire ram 586

Flock of Shropshire sheep ; 586

Merino ram, Premier 614

Pure Atwood Merino ewe 614

Rambouillet ram, Humber 634

Rambouillet ram, Golden Hoof 634

Lincoln ram 638

CHAPTER VIII.

Improved Kentucky sheep 664

Flock of Southdown sheep 666

Florida Piney Woods sheep 684

PART II. CHAPTKR I.

The Range Herder 700

The Camp Wagon on the Range 700

4The Herder's Camp 700



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
CHAPTER II.

Sheep Barn at Grand Forks, N. Dak 770

Just in from tlie Range, Northern Montana 770

Farm Scene in Red River Valley, N. Dak 770

Sheep Ranch, near Conway, N. Dak 770

Oxford Down sheep, Wilmot, S. Dak 770

CHAPTER III.

Sh< -p Shearing on Ranch, Wyoming 810

A Ranch in Middle Park, Colo 810

CHAPTER IV.

In Camp en route to winter Range, Arizona 946

Lamb Corral on Ranch near Santa F6, N. Mex 946

Single wool clip of a New Mexico ranch 946

Dipping sheep, Southwest Texas 946

Feeding Pens on a Ram Ranch, Western Texas 946

Ranch on Devil's River, Texas 946

View on Devil's River, Texas 946

Iron Mountain Ranch, Buchel County, Texas 946

Mexican Sheep Shearers, near Fort McKavett, Texas 946






LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL



U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,

BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY,

Washington, D. 0., April 11, 1892.

SIR : I have the honor to submit herewith a report upon the history
and present condition of sheep husbandry in the United States. The
work has been prepared with great care and is believed to be thorough,,
comprehensive, and exhaustive. The first two chapters give the his-
tory of the first sheep introduced into the infant colonies, their charac-
teristics, and their improvement, together with a brief sketch of the
household woolen industry down to the period of the general introduc-
tion of the Spanish Merino breed in 1810->11.

The third chapter is devoted to the history of the Spanish Merino-
and its introduction into the country between 1801 and 1811. Many
hitherto unpublished facts are here presented, which are of interest a&
bearing on the economic history of the country and as affecting the
pedigrees of noted flocks.

The remaining chapters of the report trace the history and progress
of the sheep and wool industry in the several States, the introduction
of the fine-wooled Spanish, Saxon, French, and Silesian in each, the
varying phases of the wool industry, and the gradual extension of the
English mutton breeds over the whole region, and the present status
of the industry both for wool and mutton. Included in this treatment
of the subject is the general and pedigree history of the early Merino-
flocks, traced from the first importations down to and, in some cases,
including the flocks of the present day. There is shown the progressive
improvement of the fine-wooled sheep now inhabiting the continent, the
great increase in fleece and the tendency of its present development.
The system of breeding pedigreed flocks and the management pursued
by the most successful sheep husbandmen are given, covering a period
of wide and varied experience from the beginning of the century down
to the present day. The experience of those who have been the most
successful in the breeding of the improved English mutton sheep has
also been given, as well as the methods followed by those who have
been most successful in supplying the markets with early lambs and
mature mutton.

9



10 liETTJflS; OF TRANSMITTAL.



In tliat^^r^:6f ^Ije^robort^ referring to the sheep industry in the sec-
tion west of the'Mississippi &iver will be found much new and extremely
interesting matter in regard to the management, the present condition,
and the prospects of this branch of the animal industry in that great
region.

The illustrations have been selected with care and with the view of
increasing the historical and practical value of the volume.

Taken as a whole, this report can not fail to be interesting and valu-
able to every owner of sheep. It will give a broader view of the indus-
try, its magnitude, and the methods which are most likely to bring
success in conducting its various branches.

An effort has been to state simply facts, leaving the reader to draw
his own conclusions. Where that principle has been necessarily de-
parted from in the report, the expression or opinion does not imply
that the Department indorses it, but it is presented as the personal
opinion of the writers of the report and must be judged accordingly.
Very respectfully,

D. E. SALMON,
Chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Hon. J. M. BUSK,

Secretary.




HAINE8 AFTER HUMPHREYS.



MOUNTAIN SHEEP OR BIGHORN (OVIS MONTANA DESM).

PATENT OFFICE REPORT, AGRICULTURAL, 1861.




PART I-THE SHEEP INDUSTRY IN STATES EAST OF THE
MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

By EZRA A. CARMAN.



OHAPTEE I.

THE WILD SHEEP OF AMERICA, AND EARLIEST INTRODUCTION OF
DOMESTICATED BREEDS.

The European discoverers and conquerors of the Western Hemi-
sphere found no domesticated sheep such as they had been accustomed
to (at their homes) in Portugal, Spain, Italy, England, and France.
To the American aborigines the domesticated sheep of the present day
and its progenitor were unknown, but in South America, especially in
the regions of the Andes, the Spaniards found four forms of the genus
Auehenia, the guanaco and vicuna, known only in the wild state, and
the llama and alpaca, known only in the domesticated state, and used
by the natives as beasts of burden and for their wool. These four
animals appear so different that most naturalists, especially those who
have studied them in their native country, maintain that they are spe-
cifically distinct, notwithstanding that no one pretends to have seen a
wild llama or alpaca. Mr. Ledger, however, who has closely studied
these animals, both in Peru and during their exportation to Australia,
and who has made many experiments on their propagation, adduces
arguments, which seem conclusive, that the llama is the domesticated
descendant of the guanaco, and the alpaca of the vicuna. And now
that we know that these animals were systematically bred and selected
many centuries ago, there is nothing surprising in the great amount of
change which they have undergone.* These animals all furnished
wool for clothing, some of it of the finest quality, and the llama was
used as a beast of burden. They possess great interest and form an
important part in the industrial economy of South America, but can
not here be discussed at length, and we pass to the consideration of
the wild or native sheep of North America, then to the progressive in-
troduction of the domesticated breeds and varieties of the Old World.

THE WILD SHEEP OF NORTH AMERICA.

The Eocky Mountain sheep, or Big Horn, the Argali of America, in-
habits the loftiest mountain chains of North America, and was long ago
described by Spanish writers and others as the sheep of California, aud

* "Animals and Plants Under Domestication." Charles Darwin.

11



12 ^p3P I&JJlJJ$e3|S.>F THE UNITED STATES



is familiar-* to i^lfldfaiis: anrd/J&ir traders of Canada. It ranges from
the region' of thelTpper Missouri and Yellowstone to the Rocky Moun-
tains, and the high grounds adjacent to them on the eastern slope, and
as far south as the Eio Grande. Westward it extends as far as the
Cascades and coast ranges of Washington, Oregon, and California, and
follows the highlands some distance into Mexico. It is found from
Wyoming to California, though more abundant in the northern latitudes
than in the southern. It appears to be more common in the Klamath
basin, between California and Oregon, and the Blue Mountains tra-
versing Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, than in any portion of the
Pacific coast. This vast area, traversed in every direction by mountain
chains ranging from 4,000 to 10.000 feet in altitude, furnishes it com-
parative security and nutritious vegetation.

When the first mission was established in California, in 1697, nearly
two centuries after the discovery of that country, Fathers Piccolo and
De Salvatierra found, says the former

two sorts of deer that we know nothing of; we call them sheep, because they some-
what resemble ours in make. The first is as large as a calf of one or two years old ;:
its head is much like a stag, and its horns, which are very large, are like those of a:
rani; its tail and hair are speckled and shorter than a stag's, but its hoof is large,
round, and cleft as an ox's. I have eaten of these beasts; their flesh is very tender
and delicious. The other sort of sheep, some of which are white and others black.
differ less from ours. They are larger and have a great deal more wool, which is
very good and easy to be spun and wrought.

The animal mentioned in the latter part of the above quotation is the
Rocky Mountain goat; the other is the Eocky Mountain sheep, or a
species closely allied to it.

An extract from Venega's " History of California" follows closely the
description given by Father Piccolo :

In California are two species of wild creatures for hunting, which are not knowir
in old or new Spain. The first is that which the Californians, in the Mouqui tongue...
call a Taye. It is about the bigness of a calf a year and a half old, and greatly re-
sembles it in figure, except in its head, which resembles a deer, and the horns very
thick, like those of a ram; its hoof large, round, and cloven, like that of an ox; its-
skin is spotted like the deer, but the hair thinner, and it has a short tail. The flesh
is very palatable, and, to most tastes, exquisite. The second species differs very little
from a sheep, but a great deal larger and more bulky. These are of two colors, white
and black, both well covered with excellent wool. The flesh of these is not less
agreeable, and they wander in droves about the forests and mountains.

In 1803 Duncan McGillivray gave an interesting account of these
sheep and the hunting of them on the plains between the Saskatchewan
and Missouri rivers. They were found there in small flocks, and some
were killed of great size. A male measured as follows: Length from
the nose to the root of the tail, 5 feet; length of the tail, 4 inches; cir-
cumference around the body, 4 feet; the stand, 3J feet high; length
of the horn, 3 feet, and girth at the head, 1J feet. The horn was of
a circular form, proceeding in a triangle from the head like that of at
Merino rani. In appearance the animal was a compound of the deer



EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. 13

and the sheep, having the body and hair of the first, with the head and
horns of the last. It was met with only in the Kocky Mountains, gen-
erally frequenting the highest regions producing any vegetation; some-
times descending to fee.d at the bottom of the valleys, from whence, on
the least alarm, it retired to the most inaccessible precipices where the
hunter could scarcely follow. Though clumsy in appearance it was
nimble in action, bounding from one rock to another with as much
facility as the goat, and making its way through places quite imprac-
ticable to any other animal in that country not endowed with wings.
It seemed to encourage pursuit by frequently halting, sometimes re-
tracing a few steps and staring at the hunter with a stupid curiosity
that was often fatal to it. The flocks seldom exceeded twenty or thirty
animals ; as a rule not more than two or three were seen together. The
female does not differ materially from the male, except in being much
less in size and having a small black straight horn like the goat. The
color and texture of the hair are the same in both, and they are dis-
tinguished by the white rump and dark tail. The female greatly re-
sembles the domesticated sheep in her general figure, particularly in
the timid cast of the countenance. The flesh of the female and of the
young male is a great dainty, thought by some to be much more deli-
cate than any kind of venison, and regarded by the Indians as the
sweetest feast afforded by the forest.

John Kichardson, who described the Ovis montanain 1829, says that
it exceeds the Asiatic Argali in size and is much larger than the largest
varieties of the domestic breeds. The horns of the male are very
large, arise a short way above the eyes, and occupy almost the whole
space between the ears, but do not quite touch each other at their
bases. They curve first backward, then downward, forward, and up-
ward, until they form a complete turn, during the whole course of
which they recede from the side of the head in a spiral manner; they
dimmish rapidly in size toward their points, which are turned upward.
At their bases, and, for a considerable portion of their length, they are
three- sided, the anterior or upper side being, as it were, thickened, and
projected obtusely at the union with the two others. This side is
marked by transverse furrows, which are less deep the farther they
are from the skull, and towards the tips the horns are rounded and but
obscurely wrinkled. The furrows extend to the two other sides of the
horn, but are there less distinct. The intervals of the furrows swell
out, or are rounded. The ears are of moderate size. The facial line is
straight, and the general form of the animal, being intermediate between
that of the sheep and stag, is not devoid of elegance. The hair is like
that of the reindeer, short, fine, and flexible, in its autumnal growth;
but, as the winter advances, it becomes coarse, dry, and brittle, though
still soft to the touch; it is necessarily erect at this season, from its
extreme closeness. The limbs are covered with shorter hairs. In re-
gard to colors, the head, buttock, and posterior part of the abdomen



14



SHEEP INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES



are white; the rest of the body and the neck are of a pale amber, or
dusky wood-brown. A deeper and more lustroiis brown prevails on the
fore part of the legs. The tail is dark brown, and a narrow brown line,
extending from its base, divides the buttock, and unites with the brown
color of the back. The colors reside in the ends of the hair, and, as
these are rubbed off during the progress of winter, the tint becomes
paler. The old rams are almost totally white in the spring. The horn&
of the female are much smaller and nearly erect, having but a slight
curvature and an inclination backward and outward. The young
rams and the females herd together during the winter and spring while
the old rams form separate flocks, except during the month of Decem-
ber, which is their rutting season. The ewes bring forth in June or
July, and then retire with their lambs to the most inaccessible heights.
Where the hunters have not penetrated and have not annoyed them
they aref approached with some ease, but where they have been often
fired at they are exceedingly wild, and, alarming their companions on
the approach of danger by a hissing noise, they scale the rocks with a
speed and agility that baffles pursuit. Their favorite feeding places
are grassy knolls skirted by craggy rock?, to which they can retreat
when pursued by dogs and wolves. The horns of the old rams attain
a size so enormous, and curve so much forward and downward, that
they effectually prevent the animal from feeding on level ground. The
flesh of these sheep, when in season, was quite delicious, much superior
to that of the deer species and exceeding in flavor the finest English
mutton. The Indians esteemed it as food fit for the gods.

The dimensions of an old ram,- killed early in this century on the
south branch of the Mackenzie River, are given by Richardson * as
follows:

Feet.

Length of head and body 6

Height at the foreshoulders 3 i>

Length of tail 2

Length of horn, measured along its curvature 2 10

Circumference of horn at base 1 1

Distance from the tip of one horn to the tip of the other 2 3

A ram and ewe obtained by John Muir, near the Modoc lava beds,
northeast of Mount Shasta, measured as follows :



Inches.
(>





Earn.


Ewe.




Ft In.
3 6


Ft. In.
3


Girth around shoulders ... . . ..


3 11


3 31




5 104


4 3*


Length of ears


4


5




o 4


4^


L/ength of horns around curve . . .


2 9


11J




2 5*




Circumference of horns at base


1 4


6









" Fauna Boreali- Americana." John Richardson. London, 1829.



EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI R1VEK. 15

The measurements of a male obtained in the Rocky Mountains by
Aiulubon vary but little as compared with the above. The weight of
his specimen was 344 pounds, which is, perhaps, about an average for
full grown males. The females are about a third lighter.*

Mr. Muir, who has observed these wild sheep extensively in recent
years, and who has given a valuable and interesting contribution to
our knowledge of them, ranks fhem highest among the animal monn-
taineers of the Sierra. " Possessed of keen sight and scent, immovable
nerve, and strong limbs," he ranged from one extremity of the lofty
mountains to the other, crossed foaming torrents and slopes of frozen
snow, exposed to the wildest storms, yet maintaining a brave, warm
life, and developing from generation to generation in perfect strength
and beauty. Compared to the best domesticated breeds, this wild
sheep of the Rocky Mountains is more than twice as large; and, in-
stead of an all-wool garment, the wild sheep wears a thick overcoat of
hair like that of the deer, and an undercoveriug of fine wool, which is
always white, and grows in beautiful spirals down out of sight among
the straight shining hair like delicate climbing vines among stalks of
corn. The coarse, soft, and spongy outer hair lies smooth, as if care-
fully tended with comb and brush. The more energetic Indians hunt
these sheep among the more accessible of the California alps, in the
neighborhood of passes, where, from having been pursued, they have
at length become extremely wary; but in the rugged wilderness of
peaks and canons, where the foaming tributaries of the San Joaquin
and Kings rivers take their rise, they fear no hunter save the wolf, and
are more guileless and approachable than their tame kindred. Their
feeding grounds are among the most beautiful of the wild gardens of
the mountains, bright with daisies, and their resting places are chosen
with reference to sunshine and a wide outlook, and, most of all, to
safety from the attacks of wolves. They bring forth their young in the
most inaccessible and solitary places, far above the nesting rocks of the
eagle. Mr. Muir says he has frequently come upon the beds of the
ewes and lambs at an elevation of from 12,000 to 13,000 feet above sea
level. These beds he describes as simply oval-shaped hollows, pawed
out among loose, disintegrating rock chips and sand, upon some sunny
spot commanding a good outlook and partially sheltered from the
winds that sweep those lofty peaks almost without intermission.

Such is the cradle of the little mountaineer, aloft in the very sky, rocked in storms,
curtained in clouds, sleeping in thin, icy air; but, wrapped in his hairy coat and
nourished by a strong, warm mother, defended from the talons of the eagle and teeth
of the sly coyote, the bonnie lamb grows apace. He soon learns to nibble the tufted
rock grasses and leaves of the white spiraea. His horns begin to shoot, and before
summer is done he is strong and agile, and goes forth with the flock, watched by the
same divine love that tends the more helpless human lamb in its warm cradle by the
fireside.t

* The wild sheep of the Sierra, in " Sport With Rod and Gun." The Century
Company, 1883.
t " Sport with Gun and Rod." The Century Co., 1883.



16 SHEEP INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES

Efforts to domesticate the wild Eocky Mountain sheep have not been
crowned with success. Some crosses between it and the domesticated
sheep have been formed, but we are not aware that the progeny was
fruitful or that the experiment was persisted in.

The Indians have been successful hunters of the wild sheep, killing
them in great numbers for their flesh and skins; but the most dangerous
enemy they have to encounter is the civilized man, who, with long-
range rifle, hunts them for sport. Thanks, however, to the almost inac-
cessible feeding grounds which they inhabit, the wanton, criminal de-
struction that has overtaken the elk, the moose, and the buffalo has not
seriously followed the footsteps of the free inhabitant of the Eocky
Mountains.

A subspecies of the Ovis montana is found in Alaska, and has been
named Ovis montana Dalli, or the Northern mountain sheep, sometimes
called Ball's mountain sheep. This sheep differs from the Ovis mon-
tana in its nearly uniform dirty- white color, the light-colored rump area
seen in the typical montana being entirely uniform with the rest of the
body in Dalli. The dinginess of the white over the entire body and



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