Johanna 344 H.H.B., the foundation cow of the Johanna family, was born in 1871 in the Dutch province of North Holland. According to breeders at the time she developed into “the best dairy cow of Holland” and was transported to the United States by Gerrit Miller in 1878 as a seven-year-old cow. There, she was regarded as “one of the best cows of the breed”; in 1880, she was honored at the New York State Fair as the first prize milking cow for all breeds. Her son Joe became a popular bull at the time. Johanna is the 23rd dam behind Hanoverhill Starbuck, one of the breed’s fifteen most influential sires. Both of Canada’s principal foundation sires – King Toitilla Acme and Johanna Rag Apple Pabst – both owing substantial debts to the white, slope-rumped cow.
Johanna 344 H.H.B, was bred by K.J. Akkerman of North Holland and imported by Gerrit S. Miller in 1878. She immediately made her presence felt at Miller’s Kriemhild Farm, winning the prize for best dairy cow of all breeds and taking her place as a member of Miller’s Gold Medal herd at the New York State Fair in 1880.
Johanna’s best yearly production while running with Miller’s general herd was 12,264 lbs. milk. When she reached ten years of age, Miller turned her and Empress out to pasture in a field that fronted his residence, milking up to 88lbs on their best days. Johanna made 2,407 lbs in a 31-day month, believed to be extremely rich.
When Wilson Gillett bought Johanna, he sold her to Gillett & Moore of Wisconsin for $500.00. Johanna’s descendants born under Gillett ownership were given the word “Johanna” for their first name. Johanna transmitted principally through two Gillett-bred daughters, Johanna 4th and Johanna 5th. Johanna 4th produced two daughters of influence: Johanna Aaggie and Johanna May; while the important daughters of Inhanna 5th were Tohanna Rue and Johanna 5th Clothilde, who founded the four branches of the Johanna family.
- Johanna Aaggie made a junior 4-year-old record of 22.86 lbs. butter from 479 lbs. milk in May 1898, sired by Aaggie Cornelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial. Three of her four Advanced Registry daughters transmitted through their own daughters, while the fourth, Johanna Aagoie 2d, was dam of Johanna Aaggie 2d’s Lad. In one of the Holstein-Friesian Advanced Registry lists of the time, there were no less than forty females whose names began with the words “Johanna Aaggie,” which is one measure of the influence of this animal. The pedigree of Wayne-Spring Fond Apollo (GP-GM), sire of To-Mar Blackstar’s dam, shows the same thing, only in slightly different form. Johanna May’s Aaggie Clothilde, her sire, was out of Johanna May; second and third dams were Johanna 4th and Johanna. These animals represent the fulfillment of a capability inherent in all of the family trees of the Johanna clan. This potential was there at the beginning, making its presence felt numerous times in various places.
- Johanna May, the second influential daughter of Johanna 4th, was primarily transmitted through her son, Paul Johanna DeKol, sired by Paul Mutual DeKol. This bull sired Pearl of the Dairy’s Joe DeKol, one of the foundation Homestead sires. Johanna May’s Aaggie Clothilde, son of Aaggie Cornelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial and Johanna May, was used in the Cascade herd of William Todd & Sons, Yakima, Wash., the first of three Gillett-bred sires used in that herd. Johanna May’s maternal granddam, Bessie Lassie, was the maternal granddam of Cascade Jessie, with 1,276 lbs. butter from 24,866 lbs. milk at nine years of age.
- Johanna 5th had two influential daughters: Johanna Rue, by Ben Nicolaas, and Johanna 5th Clothilde, by Aaggie Cornelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial. Johanna Rue was the premier female of the Johanna family, with her 21-1b. record made in 1896. She had five Advanced Registry daughters from 20 to 24 Ibs., of which, four were strong transmitters. Johanna Rue 2d, by Aaggie Cornelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial, was one of the early 21-1b. cows. Her four proven sons included Johanna Rue 2d’s Paul DeKol, grandsire of King Segis and Sir Johanna Canary DeKol, sire of Spring Brook Bess Burke 2d. Johanna Rue 3d, a world’s champion junior 2-year-old with 16.85 lbs. butter, was famous for three proven sons, the strongest of which was Johanna Rue 3d’s Lad.
- Johanna Rue 4th, son of Johanna Rue and Aaggie Cornelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial, was dam of Johanna Rue 4th’s Lad, by Sarcastic Lad. Sold as a yearling to Matt Richardson, Riverside Farm, Caledonia, Ont., Johanna Rue 4th’s Lad left 32 tested daughters and 21 proven sons. One of his outstanding daughters was Jemima Wayne Sarcastic, dam of Jemima Johanna of Riverside, Canada’s first 30,000-1b. milk cow and 1,000-lb. fat producer.
Johanna DeKol, another good daughter of Johanna Rue, was a 20 lbs. senior 4-year-old and dam of the former world’s champion, Johanna DeKol 2d, who was the first 24 lbs. senior 4-year-old. Johanna DeKol 3d, a daughter of Johanna DeKol, had a daughter, Johanna De Colantha, whose Colantha Johanna Champion son was Johanna De Colantha Champion. Johanna De Pauline, the second transmitting daughter of Johanna 5th, was sired by Aaggie Comelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial.
Colantha 4th’s Johanna was the first cow to cross the 35-lb. butter barrier on seven-day test. Continued for the full year she produced 1,200 lbs. butter (998 lbs. fat), a new high mark over all breeds for fat production on yearly test. The record closed on December 18, 1907. During the course of Colantha 4th’s Johanna’s record, Gillett’s neighbours grew worried. The man was spending night and day with his cow. When a friend admonished him, “Gillett, you are going to kill yourself looking after that cow”, he replied, “If I do, I shall die happy.” Colantha 4th’s production of 24.49 lbs. butter and 513 lbs. milk won the first Association prize for the year 1899. Her sire was Aaggie Cornelia 5th’s Clothilde Imperial, mentioned earlier as one of the best sons of Clothilde 4th’s Imperial. Colantha 4th’s Johanna’s sire was Sir Johanna, a son of Johanna Rue 2d, a great-granddaughter of the Gillett foundation cow, Johanna 344 H.H.B.
One prime example came in Johanna Rue 4th’s Lad, his dam, which produced the dam of Jemima Johanna of Riverside, Canada’s first 30,000-lb. milk and 1,000-lb. fat cow. He also sired Toitilla DeKol Sarcastic whose son sired King Toitilla Acme (Extra), sire of the 1937 All-American get. Jemima started the Jemima family while the King daughters provided the underpinning for Ontario’s Glenvue and Spring Farm herds. The same kind of Johanna strength is found in the pedigree of Johanna Rag Apple Pabst – his first name wasn’t “Johanna” on a whim.
Both of Canada’s principal foundation sires – King Toitilla Acme and Johanna Rag Apple Pabst – both owing substantial debts to the white, slope-rumped cow that Gerrit Miller brought over from Holland in 1878. For Elevation one of the most influential sires of the Holstein Breed, it was stated that “His dam Eve traces 20x back to Johanna Rag Apple Pabst”. Johanna Rag Apple Pabst is undoubtedly one of the most important transmitters of the Holstein breed, and is heavily developed by Johanna breeding.
Gerrit Miller agreed to sell Johanna to Wilson Gillett and Howard Moore in 1882, four years after importation. For Miller, she had generated a male, Joe 1002 H.H.B.; and two females, Joy and Joan of Arc. At the time of sale, she was eleven years of age. There’s another plausible reason for the sale, one that appeals to Miller, who had become fond of Wilson Gillett. The Wisconsin man was attractive personal qualities and ambitious, one who could get the best out of this animal. Miller likely thought the cow could do his new acquaintance a world of good. So Johanna went to Springdale Farm with Miller’s blessing, in retrospect a fortunate turn of events. On the Gillett farmstead, she accomplished things that likely weren’t even in Miller’s realm of experience. At Gillett’s, she gave Johanna 4th and Johanna 5th to the breed, and Gillett exploited these daughters to the fullest. His was a sparkling program set in a classy domain, where concentrated feeding, regular testing, aggressive merchandising, and the use of high octane herd sires were the norm. Gerrit Miller, on the other hand, inhabited a different world – a laid-back sort of enterprise when compared to Gillett’s, a place where it wasn’t necessary to sell a bunch of bulls every year to pay the bills.