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Pietertje 2d – Foundation Families of the Holstein Breed


Pietertje 2d (born 1877) Her record of 30,318 lbs. 8 oz. milk in a year, completed in 1888, was not exceeded until 1914. Foundation dam of the Pietertje family which sprouted countless influential males and females.

Pietertje 2d (born 1877) is the name of a legendary world record producer who immigrated to the United States as a five-year-old from the Netherlands. She established a 24-year record of 30,318 lb/13,781 kg milk when she was 10 years old. The Pietertjes had a significant breeding impact on the male line as well. The bull Pietertje Ormsby Mercedes 37th, born in 1912 (with Pietertje 2d in his pedigree seven generations back), is regarded as the breed’s founding sire; his name occurs in the pedigrees of the icons Elevation and Chief.

The Foundation dam of the Pietertje family was Pietertje 2d, and she developed numerous branches like a robust tree trunk. Alonzo Bradley of Lee, Massachusetts brought her from Holland in 1882, when she was five years old. Other cattle imported by this lumberman-turned-farmer laid the groundwork for many imported hers.  Some of these cows Haizum 4702 H.H.B. (decedents include Snow-N Denises Dellia), Gritje 1528 H.H.B. (Decedents include: Lutz-Meadows E Mandel) and Aagje Beck 5990 H.H.B. (decedents include: Johns Lucky Barb). Bradley had seen hundreds of herds in Holland and found Pietertje 2d to be a wonderful cow with extraordinary milk veins. After keeping her for a short time on his farm, she was sold to Elizur Smith, a neighbour, who later became the property of Dallas Benjamin Whipple. Whipple practiced dentistry in Cuba, New York, and later became involved in the oil industry, operating oil fields at Kendall Creek and Clarksville, Pennsylvania. He used some of his oil profits to purchase high-end Holstein cattle.

Dallas Whipple gave an account of Pietertje 2d’s life up to the time she began her world record. He visited several herds of Holsteins in the New England States in September 1884, and found her capable of milking more than any cow that he had ever seen milked. He bought her, along with twelve others, and shipped them home to Cuba, where she has remained ever since.

Pietertje 2d was pregnant when imported and gave birth to the bull, Pietertje 2d’s Holland King. In 1883, Bradley mated his cow with Keyes 6th, one of his herd sires, then sold mother and son to Elizur Smith. In Smith’s herd, the cow dropped a heifer calf, Milla, who was re-registered as Pietertje 3d after the family came to prominence. In 1884, Smith sold Pietertje 2d, her son, and young daughter to Dallas Whipple, and Pietertje 2d gave birth in 1885 to another heifer calf, Pietertje 4th, by Netherland Duke (a maternal brother of Netherland Prince).

On February 24, 1887, Pietertje 2d commenced a private record at Whipple’s which substantially exceeded the world record of 26,021 Ibs. milk was established by Clothilde in 1886. The first North American Holstein to exceed 30,000 Ibs. milk in a year, she produced 30.318 Ibs., 8 oz. milk, a record that stood unchallenged for 26 years. It was finally bested in 1914 by Tilly Alcartra’s production of 30,451 lbs in the herd of A W. Mores & Sons.

During her world-record lactation, Pietertje 2d was carrying twins and was milked three times a day. She spent the day in the barn and the night out the pasture when it was warm outside in the summer. She was given food three times a day for a whole year. Daily, she would consume 20 to 30 pounds of a mixture of bran and crushed oats. Every day, she ate half a bushel of potatoes and half a bushel of turnips. Refusal always resulted in its subsequent removal. Her summertime diet was grass, while her wintertime fare included uncut corn stalks and Timothy hay. In the winter, she was provided with sixty-degree water to drink three times daily. Throughout this record, she was only provided excellent water and no other drinks. She was also fed one pound of Blatchford’s Royal Stock Food daily, also a small quantity of Thorley’s Horse and Cattle Food. They were given a diet of watered-down oats and bran. The dimensions of her run-free box stall were thirteen by fifteen feet.

The Pietertje 2d family, consisting of Pietertje 2d her two daughters, and two sons, was sold to Dutcher & Son, Pawling, New York. During her time with Whipple, Whipple received several offers for Pietertje 2d of over $10,000, while her son, Holland King, was the first Holstein bull whose services were patronized at $500.00.

Of the forty or so original Dutch animals that made a lasting impact on the North American breed, Pretertje 2d occupies a unique position by virtue of the breeding record of certain of her male descendants. These descendants included Milla’s Pietertje Netherland, Sir Pietertje Josephine Mechthilde, Hengerveld DeKol, Pontiac Kordyke, and King Segis.

Milla’s Pietertje Netherland, a leading sire of the 1890s, was born in 1887 and was sired by Duke Netherland, a son of Netherland Prince and Netherland Duchess. His dam, Pietertje 3d, was registered as Milla. Milla’s Pietertje Netherland headed Stevens’ Brookside herd all his life and had his best daughters, Pietertje Hengerveld and Magadora, out of Netherland Hengerveld, one of Henry Stevens’ world champions.

The contribution to breed history of Milla’s Pietertje Netherland was very impactful. He was grand-sire of Segis Inka, foundation dam of the Segis family and granddam of King Segis, and the forebear of Pieterje Maid Ormsty, whose sire was a grandson of Pietertje Hengerveld’s Paul DeKol.

Sir Pietertje Posch’s influence on North American pedigrees included Sir Pietertje Josephine Mechthilde, who fathered Worthemall 3rd’s Sir Pietertje, who carried the Pietertje blood to Canada and sired Alta Posch’s two sons. Sir Pietertje Posch also sired Kaalje DeBoer 2d, dam of Sir Pietertje Posch DeBoer.

Other Pietertje 2d descendants include Sievia Keyes Pietertje, who sired the breed’s first 29lbs. cow, Mercedes Julip’s Pietertje, who was the granddam of King Segis and great-grand-dam of Sir Pietertje Ormsby Mercedes. Pietertje 2d’s youngest and perhaps best son was Pietertje 2d’s Koningen, and his daughter, Ellen, was dam of Manor Josephine DeKol, sire of Pontiac Korndyke. The Pietertje blood in Pontiac Korndyke’s pedigree may account for the outstanding success of his matings with Hengerveld DeKol daughters, as the latter’s dam was a daughter of Milla’s Pietertje Netherland, a Pietertje 2d grandson.

In summary, Pietertje 2d’s production capabilities were made evident when she completed a world record of 30,318 Ibs. milk in 1888, which stood unchallenged for twenty-six years. Pietertje blood was eagerly sought by leading breeders and became widely disseminated. Pietertje 2d’s best descendants usually resulted from crosses with animals carrying Netherland or DeKol blood.  The bull Pietertje Ormsby Mercedes 37th, born in 1912 (with Pietertje 2 in his pedigree seven generations back), is regarded as the Holstein breed’s founding sire; his name occurs in the pedigrees of the icons Elevation and Chief.

Enjoy reading about the foundation cows of the Holstein Breed?  Then check out Edward Morwick’s latest book “The Holstein History” click here.


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