The domestic animals of the county now claim special attention, that their qualities, their numbers, their value, and the state of improvement which they have undergone or are now undergoing, may be fully given and understood. And first of the horses. For their general good qualities they are not surpassed by those of any other county in the State. In size, symmetry, fine style, etc. ; in adaptation to the wants and tastes of our people, who take a pride in having fine horses- they are deserving of high commendation. Good judgment and fine taste have secured to us our present stock of horses, which is the result of judicious and long-continued crossings with the best thoroughbred horses to be found among us. Horses, either thoroughbred or of esteemed high blood, have been so long used for improvement as to justify one of the most experienced and best informed breeders of Ohio in saying that "there is a large infusion of thoroughbred blood in our stock of horses." The history of our improvements in horses will verify the truth of his statement.
As early as about 1816, a very superior horse, called "Shakespeare," was brought into the county, from New Jersey. He was a horse of fine size and appearance, and proved to be a horse of high quality as a breeder. He was extensively used as a breeding horse, and the improvement in the size and substantial character of his descendants was very marked. No higher commendation for a horse, thirty years ago, could be given, than to say he was a "Shakespeare."
This horse was sired by "Valerius," a colt of Colonel SMOCKs "Badger," of Maryland. The dam of "Shakespeare" was a descendant of the famous high bred horse of Somerset, New Jersey, called "Don Carlos."
About the same time, a horse which acquired a great notoriety in the county, called "Badger," was introduced to the attention of our farmers. This horse was also a colt of "Valerius," and consequently a half-brother of "Shakespeare." Both had more than one-half thoroughbred blood in their veins, and both were extensively used as breeders, and the result was marked and decided improvement in the size and general good qualities of our stock of horses. The "Badger" stock stood preeminent, as spirited, active, and fleet travelers, with surprising powers of endurance. The writer recollects most marvelous stories which were told fifty years ago of the facility with which, this strain of horses could carry men eight and ten miles per hour, under the saddle, without exhibiting signs of distress. These horses, and the numerous "Young Shakespeare's" and "Young Badgers," which did not discredit their illustrious sires, prepared the way for further improvements, which were made through the introduction of other horses of good quality and high blood. Among these we are enabled to name "Kirkland" and "Miami Chief," both thoroughbred horses, "Flag of Truce," "Defiance," and other horses of other like good qualities.
About 1831, A fresh impetus was given to the improvement of our horse stock by the introduction into our country of the fine horse "Cadmus." He was a colt of "American Eclipse," out of "Di Vernon," by Balls "Florizel," and consequently a horse of unsurpassed breeding qualities. He became the sire of a large number of popular stallions, and of many fine breeding mares. Among the number of his colts was a stallion called "Sheppards Cadmus," the sire of the unequaled "Pocahontas," who was described by Frank Forester as "one of the most superb, most sumptuous of animals, as well as the fastest of the day."
Subsequently, as horse called "American Boy" was brought from Monmouth County, New Jersey. He had a large infusion of good blood in his veins, from such noted horses as "Seagull," "Imported Expedition," and "Imported Royalist." this horse produced much valuable stock, among which may be mentioned "Belmont," "American Boy, Jr.," and these in turn had their descendants, also much esteemed.
The original stock of our improved horses which were at an early day brought into this part of the State, came from New Jersey, Long Island, Virginia, and Maryland. Their get constituted the base upon which subsequent improvements have been made. And in addition to the strains of horses, and particular horses above given, it is proper to state that many other horses of good qualities have been used by our breeders. Among these we can give the names of "Orphan Boy," "Comet," "Miami Chief," "Friendly Tiger," "Top Gallant," "Young Canmus" (by "Cadmus," and dam by "Sumpter"), "Bell Founder," "Archie," "Lightfoot," "Mambrino," "Victor," "Highlander," and "Perfection." Others of equal merit, whose names are not readily called to mind, have had their part in the improvement of our stock.
We have not relied alone upon our own stock. that which has been introduced into neighboring counties has been used, and its improving influence is manifest. One thing we have carefully avoided: We have not deteriorated our stock by using what Dr. Clemens styles the "Morgan of to-day," and what he describes as stock "not suited for any thing, badly gotten up, and bogus."
|Years||No.||Horses Value||Years||No.||Horses Value|
It will be seen, by reference to the foregoing table, that the number of horses in this county for the last thirty-five years has undergone but a very slight change. Their average price, however, has undergone very decided fluctuations. The average value of horses, as returned for taxation in 1847 was $38.04. The average value in 1866 was $83.39, an increase of about 109 percent, a decided change in twenty years. The decrease in the value of horses as returned in 1862 was violent and excessive, resulting from the apprehensions of all classes that the effects of the rebellion would be to destroy the value of all our property. the mistaken views of all were soon made apparent, and the result is that in 1866 the value of horses per head had increased in four years from $51.04 to $83.39, being an increase of 63 per cent.
The average value for 1865 and 1866 of the horses of Butler County was $83.50 per head. That is a higher average than was attained in those years by any county in the State, save the county of Hamilton. Notwithstanding the may fine single horses, and fancy matched horses of great value, owned in the cities of Dayton, Columbus, Toledo, and Cleveland, the average value of the horses in this county. This fact conclusively sustains the assertion that we very confidently made, that in the blood, size, fine style, symmetry of form, and enduring qualities of the horses of this county, we are not excelled. With this confident expression of our opinion we conclude what we have deemed it proper to say upon this division of our report. Mules, by consanguinity, and the uses to which they are applied, rather than by numbers or value, next claim our attention. they have never been received with favor by our farmers. Their appearance was not prepossession, and a strong repugnance to permit any uncomely mongrel to supersede the noble horse has seriously interfered with their introduction into this county. They were, therefore, show in gaining a foothold among us. Now they have some fast friends who regard them as indispensable helpmates in the work of the farm - as reliable and enduring slaves, and as profitable stock to raise and feed for market. The slow progress of their introduction, and their numbers and value, will be seen by the following table:
|Years||No. Mules||Value||Years||No. Mules||Value|
CATTLE. - The quality of the cattle of this county does not compare favorably with the quality of the horses, the sheep, or the hogs. The infusion of improved blood, by crosses of our common cattle with other breeds, has not made much progress. More attention to this important branch of good farming has been given within the last ten years than during the twenty preceding years. Although men can be impressed with the fact that the value of our stock would be enhanced in four years fifty per cent by judicious crossing with the finer breeds of cattle, yet there seems to exist an inveterate repugnance on the part of some who are abundantly able to expend money for the accomplishment of so great an improvement. There are some who appreciate good stock, and who feel the importance of setting a good example before those who, from obstinate prejudices and selfish but short sighted views, are unwilling even to promote their own interests. Progress has been made in the right direction, and sooner or later we shall have good cattle in abundance. The breeds which have received attention from our farmers are Shorthorn Durhams, Devons, and Ayrshires. The former breed has been more extensively used for crossing than both the others. Devons have been purchased by some under the singular delusion that they stand pre-eminent as a breed of cattle for milk. Those who so highly commend the Devon for their milking properties would most likely disparage the Ayshire cow as a good milker. Crosses, however, with Devons, even if made under mistaken views, will accomplish good results, and may induce our farmers to consider the propriety of making further experiments in crossing and improving their stock, even at the cost of a few dollars, well invested.
As it will be seen, by examination of a table hereafter given, our stock of cattle has been fearfully reduced in numbers within the last score of years. In 1855 we had 20,914 head of cattle, while now our numbers have been very improvidently reduced to 16,519. This is an actual reduction of twenty per cent in twenty-six years. This great falling off has very unwisely been permitted to take place, notwithstanding the increase of our own immediate population and the exceedingly rapid increase of Cincinnati and of all the principal cities in the country, which are constantly making greater demands upon farmers for beef. The numbers of our cattle should at least grow with the increase of our population. But it has not been so with us.
The above reduction is not only injudicious and improvident, but, if correspondingly continued, will tend to the serious impoverishment of our soil, and must reduce our position from a first-class producing county to one of the second class. The high prices which meats of every king have commanded has unwittingly induced our farmers to sell not only their aged cattle, but their calves. They have not only parted with the golden egg, but they have foolishly sold the hen that laid it. the places of the aged cattle made into beef have not been filled by younger stock raised upon the farm. On the contrary, a shortsighted and avaricious policy has induced many to destroy their capital by selling off all their calves for veal, instead of bestowing upon them extra care to make them more than fill the places of those previously and properly sold.
As a general rule, every good system of mixed husbandry, in order to be profitable and promotive of the permanent productiveness of the soil, should be based upon the amount of manures that may be relied upon from the domestic animals maintained upon the farm. No arbitrary rule as to the number to be kept can be definitely fixed. All such rules would be liable to frequent modifications, depending upon the character of the soil, the climate, the grains grown the grasses produced, and numerous other important considerations. Besides, temporary circumstances might, for a brief season, justify a departure from any well-considered rule which may have proved to be generally correct.
In this climate, with our highly productive soil, alike suitable for grains and grasses, it can not be unsafe to prescribe, as a general rule, that the number of our domestic animals should bear that proportion to our population which is found to be wise and appropriate in foreign countries less productive than ours, which proportion to population may be modified by the extent of area upon which such populations, respectively, may be found to exist.
Let us see, therefore, what proportion the cattle of other countries bear to their population, and what proportion they bear to the aggregate number of acres in such countries, so far as we can find the necessary data for giving the proportion.
|In||Great Britain||to every head of cattle,||3.20||of population.|
|||Butler Co.||in 1855||||1.60|||
As our population is much less dense in Ohio than in the above-named foreign countries, and our ability to feed stock is far superior to their ability, it is apparent that our cattle in Ohio are not so numerous as they should be. The proportion of cattle to population in Butler County, as it existed in 1855, was no better, all things being considered, than that above given for Ohio. the present exhibit, therefore, for Butler County, is reprehensibly low. Our number of cattle ought to be speedily increased, for our credit as well as our profit.
If we rightly estimate our productive ability to sustain a large amount of stock, the great and increasing demand at remunerative prices for cattle in every condition, and their value in providing the most reliable means for maintaining the fertility of our soil, we can not hesitate to come to the conclusion that Ohio, as well as Butler County, has been pursuing an unwise policy in not maintaining and increasing her stock, not only in number but in quality. The population of Butler County was, in 1855, 33,301, and is now 42,580; and yet while this increase of population of 9,289 has taken place, our cattle have decreased from 20,914 to 16,519. We should resolve speedily to regain our former position, and then put forth new energies to make our county one of the best counties in the West for the population of beef and milk.
No carefully conducted experiments have been made to determine the most economical mode of raising and fattening stock. the general custom of bestowing as little attention upon the stock of the farm as possible often prevails. We have, however, many exceptions, where intelligent and well-directed efforts are given to increase the number and to improve the quality of our cattle. The number of marauding cattle found upon the public roads has sensibly decreased. The law upon the subject has had a salutary effect, not only in restraining the wayward footsteps of famished cattle, but in educating their owners to a higher sense of their obligations to their neighbors. Yet there are sore-heads who have not yet become reconciled to the necessity of caring for the property, the rights, or the comfort of others.
The following table will give the number and value of the cattle in this country since 1843:
|Years||No. cattle.||Value||Years||No. cattle.||Value.|