BSCBA - USA 1880-1889
''The Association is Born''
Roger’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the history of the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association of the USA. This second review covers the first 10-year period
of the Association founded in 1880.
On September 8, 1880, a small group of Brown Swiss bereders gathered for dinner at the home of David G. Aldrich in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following dinner, they met in the office of Israel N. Keyes, of the same city. It was there the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association was foremed and the first officers elected.
The original officers were as follows: President David G. Aldrich, Worcester, MA; Vice President Israel N. Keyes, Worcester, MA; Vice President William R. Fish, Mystic River, CT; and Secretary Caleb B. Metcalf, Worcester, MA. An executive committee included the following six breeders: George L. Wells, Wethersfield, CT; George W. Harris, Wethersfield, CT; Nathan S. Fish, Poquonnoc Bridge, CT; David G. Roberts, Pittsfield, MA; John A. Bancroft, Worcester, MA; and Lemuel Houghton, Adams, NY. There were 22 charter members with members from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.
As Secretary C.B. Metcalf was in charge of the Herdbook, it is interesting to note that they did not use the term “registration certificate”, but called them “pedigrees”. The early entries listed the name and number, birthdate, breeder, owner, and sires and dams back to the imported ancestor. Regulations (rules) included the following:
2. The person owning the dam at the time of service by the bull shall be regarded as the breeder.
7. All applications for registry of imported animals will be referred to a committee of examination of two, or more, members of the Association, who shall visit and examine each imported animal reported for registry . . .
The national BSCBA office in Beloit, WI, has the original handwritten Herdbook and Transferbook.
In 1889, The Swiss Record, Volume 1, was published by Nathan S. Fish, the current secretary and treasurer. The first volume contained data on 422 bulls and 607 females beginning with the original imports. The early paperback volumes were later (1908) combined into a hardcover book and identified as Volume I. From 1889 to 1942, a Herd Record Book, listing the animals registered and transferred, was published. Due to costs, the books were discontinued at that time.
George W. Harris, the only living charter member at the 50th anniversary, in 1930, included this paragraph on those early meetings of the Association in his presentation at the annual meeting. “I contrast the attendance, here today, of this large number of enthusiastic members with the handful of members, hardly more than 10 in number, who every other year met for about an hour in a room in our state capitol in Hartford. In those early years, the owners were farmers with limited capital, generally. With us, there was no favorable opportunity for selling milk. That came years later.”