DearAggie: Presidential livestock | Home and Garden

Greg Stevens

Pricey Aggie: Did any U.S. presidents have farm animals?

We frequently listen to stories about presidential canine or cats roaming the halls of the White Home while their proprietors are in place of work. For case in point, soon right after the president was elected, we figured out about the Biden family’s German shepherds. Of program, the Bidens’ pet dogs were not the first presidential pups to stay at the White Dwelling. What number of folks know is that lots of earlier presidents, particularly people with agricultural backgrounds, kept other kinds of livestock at the White Residence.

Individuals choose to have animals for many motives — from milk, meat and eggs to transportation to companion animals. In the same way, presidents and their families have kept several varieties of livestock at the White Property for similar good reasons. You might have guessed that prior to refrigeration and railroads, early presidents retained livestock to give clean food stuff for the desk, especially milk and eggs. Right before autos and other motor cars had been created, horses were a key method of transportation. Most early presidents had horses and/or ponies although they were being in business. At last, it was not uncommon for a president to be gifted animals while in office.

Thomas Jefferson was a massive proponent of American agriculture and typically experimented with new farming methods at Monticello, his residence in Virginia. He was amid the very first to graze sheep on the White House garden. He also kept a magpie, a single of four birds sent back again from the Lewis and Clark expedition, as a pet. Ponies named Reb and Billy Button pulled the carriage that took Ulysses Grant’s little ones to faculty. William Henry Harrison kept a cow and a goat. Abraham Lincoln held goats and turkeys for the duration of the Civil War. President Lincoln’s son, Tad, was rumored to have befriended just one turkey and led him about on a leash. Tad also retained two ponies. William McKinley, who saved a yellow-headed Mexican parrot, was gifted a rooster by a politician from the opposing social gathering. The rooster was referred to as a “gold regular match fowl” in reference to urgent financial plan of the working day.

Livestock at the White Property persisted properly into the 20th Century. Ahead of his time in business office, Theodore Roosevelt operated two cattle ranches in North Dakota. Even though at the White Home, the Roosevelts were being acknowledged for their menagerie of pets like snakes, guinea pigs, ponies, a pig, a badger, and extra. Roosevelt’s son, Quentin, as soon as introduced a horse named Algonquin into the White Home to comfort his brother Archie, who was sick with the measles. William H. Taft grazed a great Holstein cow named Pauline Wayne on the White Household lawn to ensure a supply of contemporary milk. Calvin Coolidge kept a donkey whilst First Lady Grace Coolidge stored a pet racoon. Most notably, Woodrow Wilson grazed an full flock of sheep on the White House lawn to save the manpower essential to hold it mowed (a follow becoming resurrected today at installations of solar panels in the course of the place). Wool from Wilson’s sheep was also auctioned off to elevate money for the American Crimson Cross.

Abigail Jantzi is the dairy and livestock expert at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

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