The following information was taken from the Souvenir Program at the Dedication of the Holstein-Friesian Marker in Peterboro, on August 17, 1929. "It was sixty years ago in October that the first Holland importation of Hon. Gerrit S. Miller arrived at his farm in Peterboro, Madison County, New York. At that time the Holstein breed in this country consisted of the Chenery importation of 1861 (a bull and four cows) and their increase, together with one bull remaining from the earlier Chenery inportations. Contemplating the Holstein breed in America today with over 1,800,000 animals registered in its herd book - outnumbering as it does all other dairy breeds combined, and producing around 70% of all dairy products consumed in northern centers - it seems almost impossible that such a growth and development could take place within the life span of a single individual. Mr. Miller today occupies the unique position of having personally witnessed the whole development of this breed from its very beginning in this country down to the present day. Like Aenas of Ancient Greece, he can truthfully say: "All of this I saw and a part of it I was." Mr. Miller's Kriemhild Herd was founded in October, 1869, by the importation of the bull Hollander (20), and the three cows, Dowager (7), Crown Princess (6), and Fraulein (9). The first calf born in the herd was Agoo (1), imported in the cow, Dowager (7). She was dropped March 15, 1870, and appears as the first female registered in the first herd book of the breed (the herd book of the Association of the Breeders of Thoroughbred Holstein Cattle, published in 1872). Following the death of Mr. Chenery in 1872, upon Mr. Miller's competent shoulders fell the task of editing the introductory matter of subsequent herd books and this task he performed with distinction for all of the eight remaining volumes, except the fourth, when he was serving as president of the organization. From the outset of his breeding operations, Mr. Miller recognized production as fundamental. In 1869, when he started farming, he inaugurated the practice of weighing and recording the daily production of his cows for every milking throughout the year - thus pioneering another movement that lies at the very foundation of sound dairy practice, and which is responsible for the present-day popularity of the Holstein cow. The forst cow of this breed to complete a yearly production record by actual weight was Dowager (7), one of Mr. Miller's first importation. Her record, completed in 1871, was 12,681 lbs., 8 oz. - a forerunner of later productions for this breed that were destined to overshadow all competition. At that time the annual yield at cheese factories was between 3,500 and 4,000 lbs. so that Dowager's record - over three times as high - attracted much attention. Now we have Segis Pietertje Prospect, the present champion, with a production nearly three times as high as Dowager's performance of 1871. They are truly the Alpha and Omega of the breed's achievements in milk production. The entire lot of two-year-old heifers in the Miller herd tested during 1926-27 averaged over 12,000 lbs. on ordinary herd care, another example of the progress of the breed since Dowager's day. So significant were these two events - improving breeding, as typlified by Agoo, the first Holstein female registered, and improving dairy methods, as represented by the yearly record of Dowager, that the New York Holstein-Friesian Association has performed a real and most fitting service by erecting a permanent marker on the Miller Farm whereby these facts may be preserved authentically for posterity. The second Miller importation was made in 1876. This consisted of six head, including the famous foundation, history-making sire, Billy Boelyn. He was recognized as the greatest sire of his day for type and production, as well as an individual of outstanding type himself. He was the first sire to have two daughters with records averaging over 100 lbs. of milk in a day. At the present time, every 1,000-lb. fat producer of the breed in this country traces at least twice to Billy Boelyn, a statement that can be made of no other sire. His third importation was brought over in 1878, comprising nine head, eight heifers and the cow, Johanna (344) selected as the best cow then recorded in the Netherlands Herd Book. She later founded the family bearing her name and is still recognized as one of the great foundation cows of the breed. The following year (1879), Mr. Miller made his fourth and fifth importations. These totaled seventeen head each and included such famous foundation animals as Empress, Plenty, Nannie Smit, Hulda, Ondine and Coronet. What a foundation this proved to be! Empress later (at 13 years of age) became the champion of milk production with 19,714 lbs., 8 oz. milk in one year. Her son, Empire, by Billy Boelyn, Mr. Miller regards as the greatest sire he ever owned. Plenty later produced two daughters, Pledge (by Billy Boelyn) and Plum (by Empire) that founded distinguished families of their own. Coronet produced Copia (by Billy Boelyn that founded another family which has lived down to the present day. The famous sire and show bull, Sir Henry of Maplewood, was bred by Mr. Miller, being sired by a son of Hulda and out of Ononis, a daughter of Empire from Onyx, who was imported in her dam, Ondine. A half century is a long span of years, but the blood of the Miller importations has carried on and is today to be found in the pedigrees of most of the great animals of the present time. Its local influence is reflected in the popularity of the breed in his home county of Madison, which has more Holstein population today than any other county in the United States. By constructive breeding, with the judicious addition of outside blood through herd bulls of desirable breeding, the standard of the herd has been well maintained and an outstanding showing for production hung up in recent years. Although Mr. Miller has never believed in forced records, nor permitted them to be made in his herd, a number of leaders for New York State in cow testing association work have been brought out, and the entire herd made the fine average of 12,110 lbs. milk, 421 lbs. fat in the Stockbridge Valley Association. The accompanying pictures will serve to show something of the type of the Miller herd today - highly creditable in connection with the fine production maintained. This tribute to the life work of Hon. Gerrit S. Miller and his service to the Holstein-Friesian industry would not be complete without reference to some of his other activities outside the actual breeding of meritorious animals. We have mentioned his work as editor of the introductory matter of seven of the nine herd books of the Holstein Breeders Association. In 1880 while a member of the New York State Legislature, he secured its incorporation as the Holstein Breeders Association of America. He was also one of the incorporators and a charter member of the Holstein-Friesian Association of America (formed in 1885 by the union of the Holstein and Dutch Friesian Associations). He was elected a director of this organization at its first meeting, serving two years, and thereafter a term as first vice president. His outside activities are numerous and of interest, showing the natural leadership of the man. Back in his school days, while attending a preparatory school in Boston before entering Harvard, he was the organizer and captain of the first organized football team in America. It was known as the Oneida Football Club (taking its name from Oneida Lake near Mr. Miller's home) and in 1863 won the championship of New England. A tablet was recently unveiled in Boston commemorating this occasion. Entering Harvard just as the game of baseball was coming into existence, Mr. Miller helped lay out the first diamond on which the Harvard team ever played. This was located on the Cambridge Common under the Washington Elm. He also distinguished himself as a pitcher for the Harvard team. His interest and enthusiasm for the game is still retained. Recognition of Mr. Miller's service to Agriculture and the Nation is not confined to his friends in the Holstein industry. His Alma Mater, Harvard University, only recently called this distinguished son back to confer upon him an honorary degree. In connection with this ceremony, President Lowell said: "Swift reckoned a benefactor to mankind the man who made two blades of grass to grow in the place of one, and we honor him who has made our cattle yield two quarts of milk for every one they gave before." What higher tribute than this could be paid to the life-work of a single individual? In arranging this dedication ceremony, the Holstein industry, which has directly profited in such large measure from Mr. Miller's constructive effort, has taken most fitting action, doubly appropriate because it comes while this pioneer of progress is present to participate and to receive in person the honors due him. A tablet commenorating Mr. Miller's pioneer work with Holstein- Friesian cattle is attached to a granite boulder in the Miller farm dooryard on the right side of the road leading north from Peterboro toward Clockville.
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