BSCBA - USA 1950-1959
"Lee's Hill Dominates the 50's"
Roger's Note: Lee’s Hill Farm, Morristown, New Jersey, was the Michael Jordan of the Brown Swiss breed in the 1950’s. They dominated the show circuit as well as owned two All Breed Champions for production during this decade. Lee’s Hill Farm was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Warren Kinney with Vernon Hull as Herd Manager during this period. Their accomplishments during this era as well as other notiable events are described below.
Lee’s Hill dominated the show circuit during the 50’s as Lee’s Hill Farm was Breeder and Owner of the National Show Champion (female) from 1949 through 1959 with the exception of 1957. It started with Royal’s Rapture of Lee’s Hill 115541 in 1949, the same year she became highest producing cow of the breed, and finished the 50’s with Lee’s Hill Kestrel M 253256 winning in 1958 and 1959. In addition, Lee’s Hill was Premier Breeder and Exhibitor from 1940 through 1956 (no shows in 1943-45 due to WW II), with Norvic Farm winning Premier Breeder in 1957-59 and Premier Exhibitor in 1958-59.
Their string of production champions began in 1949 when Royal’s Rapture of Lee’s Hill 115541 became the new Brown Swiss fat champion with 1229 fat replacing previous leader Illini Nellie 26578 who held both the milk and fat record since 1937. However Rapture’s record did not last long as in 1950 Royal’s Astor of Lee’s Hill 115540 (owned by Lee’s Hill) topped that with 1242 pounds of fat. A year later on October 6, 1951, Gypsie’s Jane of Lee’s Hill 98789 (owned by Lee’s Hill) broke Astor’s record by over 100 pounds at 1358 fat. She also became the milk leader at 30,673 pounds replacing Blue’s Beauty R’s Babe. But hold everything, only two days later, October 8, 1951, Royal’s Rapture of Lee’s Hill regains the fat record at 1379 pounds fat and also the milk record at 31,882. In December 1951, a third cow (owned by Lee’s Hill) breaks the 1300 lbs fat level as Royal’s Gina of Lee’s Hill finishes with 1360, placing her in second place. However, the real record breakers were yet to come.
The year 1953 saw Royals Rapture becoming the All Breeds 305-day milk and fat champion with her 305d record of 29,819 milk and 1283 fat. She completed her 365-day record breaking her own records at 34,670 milk and 1465 fat at 10 years of age. Rapture was machine milked by Mr. Carl Stookey, managed by Mr. Vernon Hull, and owned by Lee’s Hill Farm, now of New Vernon, New Jersey. In 1957, Active Acres Bessie 147788 of Active Acres Farm, Fred S. Schluter, owner, Princeton, New Jersey, became the All Breeds fat champion with 1545 fat. However, one year later Lee’s Hill Keeper’s Raven 171673 regained Lee’s Hill’s place at the top for both milk and fat with 34,851 milk and 1579 fat. This again made Raven the All Breeds Fat Champion. Finally, to round out the 50’s, Letha Irene Pride 170154 owned by White Cloud Farm, Princeton, NY, came within 40 pounds milk of setting a new milk record, but overwhelmingly captured the fat title with 1733 pounds of fat. This breed record stood for 27 years until 1986. What a tremendous production accomplishment during the 1950’s!
Other notable events follow:
- Reported in the April 1950 Bulletin that the following was published in the newspaper column, “Believe It Or Not, by Ripley”, was the following: “Royal’s Rapture, a Brown Swiss cow, produced 29,095 lbs of milk and 1228 lbs butterfat in ONE year.”
- In August 1950, Blue’s Beauty R’s Babe 141803 becomes the top milk producing Swiss with 30,465 lbs milk and replaces Illini Nellie as milk champion. She is owned by J. Franklin Michels of Greenhills Swiss Farm, Greenhills, Ohio.
- In December 1954, USDA publishes first sire evaluation reports entitled “Daughter Average of DHIA Sires in Service in Artificial Breeding Associations in the United States”. Records used were 305- day lactations standardized to a ME 2X basis.
- Officially on this date, June 22, 1955, President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, became the owner of his first registered Brown Swiss animal. Brown Swiss President Allen C. Alfred presented the President with the animal Mansinolass of Ethan Allen 278469 at the Vermont Dairy Festival. Secretary Idtse then presented President Eisenhower with an Honorary Lifetime Membership to the Brown Swiss Association. The August 1955 Bulletin cover shows a photo of this presentation.
- The 75th Anniversary Meeting and Diamond Jubilee Sale were held on November 10, 1955, in Springfield, Massachusetts. At this meeting, the Jane of Vernon Memorial Marker was dedicated and a life-sized portrait of Jane of Vernon presented to the Brown Swiss Association. The marker still resides today at the gravesite on the Judd’s Bridge Farm, New Milford, Connecticut, and the portrait hangs in the entryway at the national office.
- In the March 1956 Bulletin, the HyCrest ad photo entitled, “Hy- Crest Farms win the Pennant”, depicts HyCrest manager, Louis Picucci presenting owner Lester T. Sawyer with two championship baseball trophies from teams the farm sponsored in 1955.
- The National Bell Ringer Program began in 1957 and was similar to the All American Programs of other breeds. Beginning in 1970, the program was restricted to Juniors and became one of the first national junior programs.
- While milk and fat lactation records were being broken, one cow, Lady’s Gypsy Girl F 86633, just kept pouring out the milk and butterfat. In May 1958, “Gypsy” was creating her own record as Top Lifetime Fat Producer over all breeds. She had accumulated at that time 265,393 lbs milk and 11,343 lbs fat. She graced the cover of the May 1958 Bulletin.
- In August 1958, Ivetta 296971 owned by White Cloud Farm, Princeton, New Jersey, begins her illustrious career by becoming the All-Breeds Champion junior 3-year old with her 365-day record of 26,405 milk and 1176 fat.
- Fred Idtse is guest of honor at the Dairy Shrine meeting on October 1, 1958, and his portrait is hung in the Dairy Shrine building in Waterloo, Iowa.
- In 1958, two December Bulletins were published with the second one being a “Date Correction Issue”. In March 1955, it was decided to predate the Bulletin by one month and, thus, in 1955 there was no April issue. The Board now decided to discontinue that policy and so the issue mailed on the 12th of the month would be dated for that month.
NOTE: Photos of All Breed Champions, Lady’s Gypsy Girl F and Lee’s Hill Keeper’s Raven, may be seen hanging on the walls of the national office.