Benton County Pioneer Life

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Pioneer life in the Benton Co. WA area

Lum's Dad Grew Black Angus/First Herd in Tri-City Area

Tri-City Pioneer
Tri-City Herald, Sunday, 14 January 1962

The Tri-City area has the distinction, of being chronologically the first producer of many products in Washington. The first casabas grown in the United States were raised here. The first peppermint west of Michigan was grown and distilled near Kennewick. The first sorghum cane was grown and the sirup manufactured in Kennewick, and then shipped back to Puget Sound, Oregon, and California. The first broomcorn in Washington was grown in this area. The first castor beans in the State were raised near Kennewick and shipped to California for processing.

The Tri-City area was also one of the first areas in the United States to raise Black Angus cattle. One of the first young Black Angus bulls ever to be imported from Scotland to Washington was imported by a wealthy Scotch remittance man who was developing a cattle spread in the Crab Creek country. His ranch foreman, however, was partial to shorthorns.

When a young Black Angus bull arrived from Scotland, my father, C.E. Lum, went to Crab Creek to see it. Father had a beautiful registered shorthorn bull. He traded it for the younger Black Angus bull. The bull was brought to Maple Springs, our headquarters 8 1/2 miles southeast of Kennewick in the Horse Heaven Hills.

C. E. Lum had read of the ruggedness of these cattle and their ability to travel while grazing and was anxious to develop a herd. This region at that time had wonderful grass, but a scarcity of watering places. The Columbia, Snake and Yakima Rivers were about the only water sources. A breed of cattle that could stand the most travel would excel all others in this area. The Black Angus cattle in their native Scotland ranged the highest country and could withstand the mountains, snows and storms. The long-horn cattle, the whiteface cattle and the shorthorn cattle were all allergic to snows and blizzards and could not endure low temperatures. They would always huddle together and when their body heat cooled down, freeze to death or suffocated. They did not die of thirst or

The winter of 1868 that killed so many range cattle did so by snow storms and winds. The same was true in the bad winter of 1883. Many of the pioneer cattlemen were searching for a breed of cattle that could endure the snow storms and winter winds. C. E. Lum, through exhaustive reading and research, thought the Black Angus was the answer.

Ralph Whyborn ran a dairy in Pasco at that time. He had heard that a Black Angus poled heifer was being sent from Scotland as a present to a Scottish lady customer he had on his milk route. He notified father, who contacted the lady and bought the heifer when she arrived from Scotland. Black Angus cattle at this time were strictly range cattle. Their legs were much longer than the present Black Angus. The cow’s udder was small. Her milk was very rich, but the yield was light. They had a high percentage of twin calving.

Under father’s watchful care, his Angus herd developed quite rapidly. We children could not pronounce the registered names of the bull or heifer so we called the bull Caeser and the heifer Cornelia.

The young Scottish black angus bull developed into a most beautiful animal. His large fawn-like ears were not cropped. In the lower edge of his right ear was a small metal registration tag. This was the only mark of identification he possessed, no dulap, no ear crop and no brand. None was necessary. He was the only one of his kind on this range. His neck was much larger in circumference than the other breeds of bulls. When his neck was arched, the high pole of his head stuck out like a battering ram. To my knowledge he was never whipped in combat. His neck was so powerful that when he butted his adversary, the force of his pole against the other bull’s forehead would stun it and it would flee.

I remember when Congdon and Battles brought their famous herd of Black Angus to Yakima about 50 years ago. They showed them at most of the fairs of the west.

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