Abbotsford

Abbotsford is a short story about the great Aberdeen Angus bull Abbotsford, written in 1904 by Charles S. Plumb, B. Sc., Professor of Animal Husbandry, Ohio State University. This bull played a great part in the early history of the Angus breed of Beef Cattle. This story rescued from the public domain.

     The bull Abbotsford 2702 (3411) was not the most distinguished specimen of the breed, yet his influence as a breeder and his family relationship were such as to make his life of very considerable interest to many Aberdeen-Angus breeders.  He was bred by Mossom Boyd, Bobcaygeon, Canada, and was dropped March 2, 1884. His sire was the bull  Ermine Bearer 1794 (2082), by Young Viscount, and his dam was Coquette 10th 2703 (4668), Ermine Bearer’s influence has been a remarkable one, particularly in his sons.

     A most interesting feature of the use of Ermine Bearer is brought out in the fact that, mated with Coquette 10th, he became sire of the following bulls, they thus all being full brothers in blood:

  • Abbotsford 2702
  • Abavus 3625
  • Abbatoir 7402
  • Abactor 7426

     These full brothers proved a remarkable lot in their signal importance in improving the breed. Their names are familiar in Angus pedigrees during the past twenty years. It seemed to be a most fortunate mating, this union of the sire and dam of Abbotsford.

     Among the famous herds of Aberdeen Angus cattle in America is that of “Heatherton,” at Naperville, 111., the property of Judge J. S. Goodwin. This herd had its inception in 1883 at Beloit, Kan., in a partnership of Judge Goodwin with his brother, W. R., Jr. After five years it was removed from Kansas to Illinois, where it stayed two years. From then on until 1902 it was in a partnership on shares between Judge Goodwin and M: A. Judy. During all these years this herd was intimately identified with the most progressive history of the breed.

     On different occasions three of the choicest Scotch bulls, champions of the first class at tlfe Highland and Agricultural society shows, were brought to Americato be used on the Heatherton herd. This
stands alone as a record in itself. These were Judge 473, “the World Beater,” purchased in 1884; Justice 854, “the Incomparable,” imported in 1886, and Erica Chieftain 15498. Strangely and unfortunately each of these three great bulls lived but a short time in the Heatherton herd, and left but few offspring.

     The death of Justice required that Heatherton secure another bull suited to its needs, and Judge Goodwin entered into negotiations with Mr. Boyd with the hope of securing Ermine Bearer. As this was impossible, it was thought wise to secure his best son, if available. Mr.  Boyd wrote Judge Goodwin that he might have the choice of any of Ermine Bearer’s sons at a price to be named by the purchaser. The telegraphed reply was: “We have twenty-nine bulls in our own barn now. Do not want a bull want a stock getter. Will take any Ermine Bearer son at your own price if guaranteed breeder of extra stock, Abbotsford preferred.” As a result of this correspondence this bull was secured.

     In a most interesting sketch of the Heatherton herd recently published Judge Goodwin says: “He was a thrice Trojan-Erica topped Ballindalloch Coquette bull, and developed into a magnificent individual, thick fleshed, a good handler and an easy keeper. But it was as the sire of a remarkable lot of animals that his fame chiefly rests, although he was practically undefeated in the show ring.
All his calves carried such a wealth of flesh and such constitutions that to Abbotsford must be given the credit of ‘making’ the herd.”

     Abbotsford, like his sire, proved to be an unusually superior breeder of bulls, and his sons, Black Abbot 10423, Blackbird Knight 11547, Black Monk 13214, and Black Magic 14367, all obtained special fame for merit.

     Black Abbot proved also to be a great bull breeder, and Zaire 5th 13067, one of his sons, brought much fame to the Bradfute herd in Ohio, by siring some of their best animals, and especially Lady of Meadowbrook 21466, and her sister, Bertha of Meadowbrook 20275, both prize winners of the highest character.

     Other important sons of his were Lilburn K. 20534, Duke of Marlborough 22827 and Black Victor 24135, each of which was used at the head of prominent herds. Black Monk proved not only a great show bull, but a breeder as well. In 1897, at the Illinois state fair, the Heatherton herd won grand sweepstakes with Black Monk at its head, five of the animals in the herd also being his progeny.