Young Viscount

Young Viscount is a short story about the Aberdeen Angus bull Young Viscount 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.

     Young Viscount (736) was calved in 1873, being bred by William Duff, Hillockhead, Glass, Scotland. His sire was the bull Hampton (492), while his dam was Erica 3d (1249) of the Ballindalloch Erica tribe. When a calf Young Viscount was purchased by the Earl of Fife at Duff house, near Banff, Scotland. His superior character became manifest as a calf, and he was shown as a yearling at the Highland and Agricultural society show at Inverness, Scotland, in 1874, where he won first prize in his class.

     The following year he was shown at Glasgow, where as a 2-year-old he gained first. Again, in 1876, at Aberdeen he competed in the aged bull class, and again received the coveted first place. In notes on the Highland show animals, in reference to Young Viscount, William Macdonald, editor of the North British Agriculturist, writes of him, in reference to the Inverness show, as “the  highest-priced bull and perhaps the best-looking animal of the breed that has yet been shown.” The followingyear at Glasgow he writes of him as “looking compact and shapely, though less striking than he afterward appeared.” At the Aberdeen show Young Viscount seemed in better bloom, and Mr. Macdonald wrote that he “here looked almost perfect in form. Deep, square and level, he lacked length of neck a trifle, but he had no other fault, and was ‘head and shoulders’ above his compeers in the aged class.”

     In 1875 this bull won the $250 Challenge cup, and in 1878 the McCombie prize at the Royal Northern show of about $75 for the best breeding Angus bull in Scotland. In order to make his  claim good for being a grand individual he won first prize as aged bull and a special prize of about $150 at the International Exposition at Kilburn, London in 1879. These various records indicate  great show character on the part of Young Viscount. It is a remarkable record for any bull to campaign for six years and have an unbroken list of first prizes. So great an impression as an individual did he make that in 1882 Campbell Macpherson Campbell wrote of him: “Young Viscount is an undefeated bull, and is acknowledged by breeders to be the best bull of the breed ever seen.”

     In 1878 this son of Erica 3d was purchased by Sir George Macpherson Grant for 225 guineas (about $1,125), the highest price paid for an Angus up to that time.  From then he went into active breeding service in the Ballindalloch herd, where he was used with great success, as will appear further on.

Young Viscount possesses special interest for American breeders, as well as British. While retained until his death in Scotland, he proved to be a male of great prepotency, and his descendants have played a most important part in American Angus development. Reference to almost any catalogue of to-day, showing pedigrees of this breed, will show the name of Young Viscount occurring four to six generations back. Several of his sons are worth more than passing comment.

     No doubt his most distinguished son was Ermine Bearer 1749, out of Erminia 1750. This bull was imported from Ballindalloch by Mossom Boyd & Co. of Bobcaygeon, Canada. In their herd he proved a great sire, and his sons, Abactor and Abbotsford 2702 became two great bulls. The former sired Jean’s Abactor 2d, the first prize yearling bull at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. while the latter, as the sire of Black Monk 13214, secures permanent place among the famous sires. Mr. McGavock, referring to Ermine Bearer in the Breeder’s Gazette (Aug. 28, 1901), says: “Ermine Bearer is, I believe, entitled to the distinction of being America’s foremost sire of high-class producing dams.” Lucia Windsor, a daughter, was dam of Gay Lad 19538, the champion bull of 1895 and 1896, which as a 5-year-old sold at $3,050. Another daughter, Lucia Estill, sold in the Estill dispersion sale at $2,800.  There are numerous descendants of Ermine Bearer that became great prize winners.

     Another son of Young Viscount that attracts attention is Bushranger (2012). He was bred at Ballindalloch, and came into the possession of Estill & Elliott, where he was for some time at the head of the Woodland herd at Estill. Mo. He was a very short-legged, thick- fleshed bull, and sold at public auction at $1,150.  He was the sire. of a champion bullock of the 1888 fat stock show named Dot, and of a bull named Estill Erick. that proved to be a high-class sire of producing dams.
Still another son of Young Viscount was King of Trumps 2690, out of Duchess of Verulam 2748, owned by Mossom Boyd& Co. of Canada. This bull had the same great prepotency seen in his sire, and was also a celebrated show animal. In 1883 he was first prize 2-year-old at Toronto, and also at the Dominion exposition at Ottawa, winning a silver medal at the latter show as the best bull of any age. In 1884 he again won first prize at each of these fairs, and in 1886 was first prize bull at Toronto for the third time.

     A daughter of Young Viscount, bred at Ballindalloch, by the name of Katinka 778 (4669), cost $1,500 in Scotland, and was a cow “of wonderful individual merit.” She was owned by Wallace Estill of Estil, Mo., and proved to be an excellent dam.

     The great importance of Young Viscount’s blood has been best seen in mating with the Blackbird tribe. Take up a catalogue showing prominent Blackbird breeding, and Young Viscount and his descendants make a striking showing.  Take, for example, the pedigree of Black Monarch of Emerson 30331. one of the prominent service bulls of to-day. He is six generations removed on each side of the family from the subject of this sketch, Young Hero 1921, his son, being sire of Rugby 6140. The latter, bred to Blackcap of Keillor Lodge 2095, dropped the famous Blackbird Hero 14494, the grandsire of Black Monarch of Emerson, on both sire and dam’s side. The blood of Young Viscount, however, is found abundantly in other tribes.

     Volume 1 of the American Aberdeen-Angus herd book contains 5,200 names of animals registered, and Young Viscount was sire of thirty-two of these, twenty three being bulls. These sons of his are sires of hundreds of animals registered in this volume, many of which are well known to fame.

     It is hardly a third of a century ago that Young Viscount appeared as a candidate for show honors and breeding fame. His record in competition with the best in the Scotch show ring, and the added records of offspring and descendants during twenty-five years in Angus history, stamp him as the greatest breeding bull since 1875. Many claim him to be the greatest Angus bull in history, and there are many facts to support their argument.