Jilt

Jilt is a short story about the Aberdeen Angus cow, Jilt. It was written in 1904 by Charles S. Plumb, B. Sc., Professor of Animal Husbandry, Ohio State University. Jilt was an early Matron of the Aberdeen Angus breed.

  Among the various tribes of Aberdeen-Angus cattle the Jilt stands prominent.

  We naturally pay considerable deference to a matron of dignified and impressive bearing and quality, but in the case of Jilt (973) 422, the foundress of this tribe, there are quite exceptional reasons why one should pay her homage. She was not the greatest of show cows in her time; there were better ones. Yet she was a worthy individual, for she was a second-prize winner at the Highland and Agricultural show of Scotland in 1864, and won the same place the next year at the Royal Northern. In view of the fact that both McCombie and others were making great shows of Angus in those days, a second place in the ring must mean much of individual merit.

  Jilt (973) was bred by William Mc-Gombie at Tillyfour. She had for sire one of the most impressive and valuable bulls of that time, Black Prince of Tillyfour (366) 77, a descendant of Queen Mother, while her dam was Beauty ot Tillyfour 2d (1180) 423. The sire was bred by McCombie and the dam by Watson, and each animal represented the blood from which great individuals may be created. Jilt was dropped in 1863, and in 1867 was purchased at McCombie’s sale for about $350 by Sir George Macpherson Grant for the herd at Ballindalloch. When she was 10 years old, Thomas Farrail, in a prize essay on this breed, published by the Highland and Agricultural society, wrote: “Though several summers have somewhat dashed her bloom, she is still a cow of great size and many good points.”

  Although the Ballindalloch herd is a very old one, McCombie regarding it as one of the oldest in north Scotland, it has been said that it got its first good start with the Jilt stock. And this leads us to Jilt, the breeder, and here she stands out in history as a really wonderful cow. So superior as individuals ‘and breeders were her sons that she had been happily termed “the mother of monarchs,” the appropriateness of which will appear farther on. Jilt bred to 16 years of age and had nine calves, and as she ceased to breed was slaughtered in her seventeenth year.

The following is a list of Jilt’s sons and daughters:
Juryman (4Q4) 421 ..Sire, Bright (454) 375 Jester (472) 1471 : l.-Sire. Victor of Ballindalloeh (403) 528 Jewel (1413) 1669 . Sire. Victor of Ballindalloch (403) 528 Jewess a916) 852..’ Sire Exciseman (473) 801 Judge (1150> 473 Sire, Scotsman (474) 482 Judy (2996) 4131. Sir.e. BalUmore (741) 474 Juno of Ballindalloch (3374) -1900 Sire. Ballimore (741) 474 Justice (1462) 854 Sire, Elcho (595) 527 General of Tillyfour (1332) 5158 Sire. President 4th (368) 279 These are all recorded in volume 1 of the American Aberdeen-Angus Herdbook, as the registration numbers show, Besides these, according to Judge Goodwin, there is another son, named Jacket sired by Editor, but not registered in the American book. It is interesting to note here that custom occasionally adopted by the breeders of naming stock with a uniform letter a method apparently well perpetuated in the Jilt tribe, and, as Farrall says, “a race or family of J’s difficult to compete with.”

  It will be well to briefly consider some of these sons and daughters of Jilt. Juryman, Judge and Justice , brought everlasting fame to the memory of the cow. They formed a great trio, and Americans must be especially interested in them from the fact that both Judge ‘and Justice were purchased and used by Judge J. S. Goodwin (then of Beloit, Kan.) in his herd.

  Juryman made his first appearance in the show ring at the Highland at Dumfries, winning first place, and again at the 1871 Highland at Perth, winning first as aged bull. In 1871 he was referred to xas “a remarkably good looking as well ‘as a most valuable stock bull.” Judge was calved in 1875, and he secured fame by winning first prize in the aged bull class at the Paris exposition, and so has been dubbed “the world beater.” He was imported to Rougamont, Quebec, by George Whitfield, who later sold him to Judge Goodwin, In whose possession he died.

Justice, “the incomparable,” was calved in 1878, and he, perhaps, attained the most fame of these famous brothers.

  Justice was first shown as a yearling at Perth in 1879, and at the Highland show, where he was “splendidly brought out,” and won first place in class. In 1880, at the Highland at Kelso, he was second as 2-year-old, “through a little lightness around the girth,” being defeated by Prince of the Realm. The next year, however, at the Stirling Highland show, with the same two bulls in the ring, this decision was reversed, and Justice became the first prize aged bull, the highest Angus honor in Scotland. The quality of Justice was said to be quite remarkable. It is interesting to note, regarding him, that he was sired by a half brother, his grandsire being Juryman, Jilt’s first calf, out of the original Erica (843). Here we have a union of two of the greatest Angus tribes of cattle, from which most fortunate results were secured. Judge Goodwin made a special trip to Scotland and purchased Justice, and he died at Beloit, in his herd, on July 3, 1886.

  Jewel has been considered the best daughter of Jilt. She was shown at the United Banffshire show, where she won first prize and a cup as the best polled animal exhibited, but she fell ,to third place at both Highland and Royal Northern shows in 1877. She proved,.to be a high-class breeder, and was first as one of a pair of Angus breeding cows at the Royal Northern 1n 1878. Her son, Jupiter of Aberlour, was a famous prize winner, and a daughter, Jill, was about the first close descendant of Jilt to be imported to America.

  Jewess was a very large cow of an excellent sort that was retained to breed at Ballindalloch.

Mainly through the preceding five sons and daughters has come most of the fame of Jilt. The bulls were used extensively at Ballindalloch, and with considerable success; in fact, with greater
success than marked the career of Judge and Justice in America. The Jilts have proved to be great bull breeders, and consequently much of the reputation of the tribe has come from this source. Referring to this feature, Judge Goodwin, in an interesting communication on Jilt in the Breeder’s Gazette (June 22, 1892) says: “For a number of years there was scarcely any female increase at Ballindalloch, and as a result almost the entire reputation of the family has been made by the bulls.

Those sold from the herd, however, have been very prolific, until now more Jilts are owned away from Ballindalloch than there, although only four females have been disposed of in the past twenty years, until within the past year. * * * It is on account of the facts just stated that it has been well nigh impossible to secure any of the females of this family at any price.” As before noted, Jilt was a cow of large size, and this quality in her seems to have been transmitted to her descendants, probably largely through her three great sons, for Judge Goodwin credits Judge with weighing about 2800 pounds, and Justice exceeding 3000 pounds, each of which represent enormously heavy animals. The quality of flesh and softness of hair are also commented on as distinguishing features of the Jilts.

  The blood of Jilt has been liberally used among the Ericas and Prides, and is found playing an important part in the bes,t Prides of to-day. The sire of Prince Ito’s dam is Justice, while Juryman occurs three times in the sixth generation on the sire’s side. Young Viscount was bred with success to both of Jilt’s daughters, Jewel and Jewess, and from those unions have come other J’s, to the advantage of the breed.

  Jilt in her three choicest sons was a thrice worthy matron, yet even Justice alone made impression enough on the breed to bring fame to such a dam. The excellence of Jilt should be indelibly chronicled in the annals of Scotch Angus history.