Today’s post comes from Heifer Project Committee meeting excerpts of August 21, 1944, in Nappanee, Indiana, item 4: “Heifers for Puerto Rico,” in which cattle attendant, a.k.a. “seagoing cowboy,” Wayne Hostetler [see previous post] reports on his trip to the committee.
The heifers were loaded July 13…. There were from twenty to twenty-five men ready and waiting to load them, and only four men were needed. The ship had five hatches. The heifers were right behind the officers’ quarters. Waterman office men made the shed extra strong. Its slope roof was 20 ft. x 16 ft. Dr. Meixel said that the shed was twice as strong as requirements. Negro stevedores were afraid of the cattle. It took one and one-half hours to load….
The ship left Mobile, Alabama, at 2:30 a.m. on July 14. It followed a storm, and had five days of calm. It waited one and one-half days at Guantanamo, and there joined a convoy of eight merchant ships and four escorts. [World War II was raging at the time.] They traveled at 12 knots an hour in three columns (escorts on each corner). The sea was rough, but no trouble was caused for the cattle.
Wayne fed grain and hay twice a day and watered three times a day. He also cleaned stables three times a day. All cattle gained on ship except one which aborted. On Sunday the Shorthorn heifer had a calf. A good crowd was there.
Mr. Fizell [Chief Officer] was very considerate; likewise the captain. (There were thirty navy men on armed guard, six on twenty-four hours, and four merchantmen on guard twenty-four hours.)
The ship arrived at Port of San Juan on July 22 at five o-clock a.m…. All heifers were unloaded by 5:30 p.m. by cage and hoist–one at a time. Rufus King [leader of the Brumbaugh Reconstruction Unit, see previous post] led them to the truck.
They all led well. Twelve were distributed [by the Farm Security Administration] to four counties. By 11:00 p.m., the farthest was placed–3-1/2 miles up a mountain beyond the road.
The Chief of Dairy and Forestry took Wayne and Rufus King on a tour.
One man receiving a heifer had twelve children. They had never had milk to drink. The County Agent’s advisers visited each home three times during the first week and as many times as necessary thereafter….
“Faith” [the first heifer donated to the Heifer Project] is close to Ocean front, and a suburban “colony.” She has plenty of pasture, shelter and a barrel for feed. Her heifer calf was kept in a one-room house with the family and carried out at feeding time.
Wayne left from San Juan by plane at 2:30 p.m. on July 29, and arrived in Miami at 10:30 p.m. His five rolls of films will be sent by Paul Weaver in four or five letters. Incidentally, Wayne drank “cokes” on the Captain of the boat who drank beer.
Chief Officer George W. Fizell wrote the following letter of praise from the SS. William D. Bloxham in the Port of San Juan to the Brethren Service Committee:
I want to extend my congratulations to you on the wonderfull [sic] work you are engaged in. The finest example of practical Christianity I have ever seen.
We who travel see how the other half struggle for existence and can perhaps realize the value of your work far better than the stay-at-homes.
I would also like to congratulate you on your excellent selection of Mr. Wayne Hostetler as your Representative. A fine type of American youth who would be a credit to us anywhere.
I am not a religious man but if I remember a little of the Bible I believe it was Paul who said ‘By their works ye shall know them’. More Power to you.
How I would love to find those five rolls of film Wayne had Paul Weaver send from Puerto Rico! I’ve found very few photos from this first shipment.
Next post: An interview with Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari.