Activities of Heifer Project as seen from the Roger Roop Collection Farm, Part I

Heifers wait for shipment in fall 1945 at the Roger Roop farm, Union Bridge, Maryland. Photo credit: Robert Ebey.

Heifers await shipment in fall 1945 at the Roger Roop farm, Union Bridge, Maryland. Photo: Robert Ebey.

In a box of Heifer Project founder Dan West’s materials in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in Elgin, Illinois, is tucked away this undated report, likely given to the Heifer Project Committee circa 1947 or 1948, signed W. Roger Roop: “Summary of Activities of Heifer Project as Seen from Farm.”

       The first truck load of cattle arrived the afternoon of July 31, 1945 delivered by Mr. Wilmer Kline of Manassas, Va. The following night a trailer load came in from Roanoke, Va. with Mr. J. G. Kinzie in charge. One week later the first carload arrived from Michigan which were collected and delivered by Mr. Russell Hartzler.

From then on they came in by car trailer, pickup truck, small trucks, large trucks and trailer trucks from as far south as Tennessee, west to Oklahoma and north to New York in numbers of one to thirty-four head per load. Carloads ran from sixteen head up to forty head in a forty-foot car, which is just about eight to ten too many. Cars carrying feed and water with an attendant in charge came through in less time and better condition. Cattle have come by rail from fifteen states and as far west as California. Twenty-three states have been represented in cattle shipments.

They have arrived every day in the week, including Sunday and every hour of the day except from 2:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M. All dairy breeds and a few beef breeds have been represented. Quality of the heifers has ranged from as fine an animal as grows to down pretty close to the other end of the scale. That point should not be criticized too much because the person giving a poor quality animal may have made more of a sacrifice than the one giving a purebred suitable for the show ring.

Numerous incidents of interest happen here, one of which I will relate. Wayne Keltner, one of the men helping with the heifers is from Illinois. Two cars of heifers came from California with extra hay in the cars which was hauled to the farm. A few days later a load of heifers came from Wisconsin and were placed in the lot back of the barn. What happened? An Illinois man fed California hay to Wisconsin heifers in Maryland.

Helpers feed hay to heifers on the Roger Roop farm. Photo courtesy of Kenneth West.

Helpers feed hay to heifers on the Roger Roop farm. Photo courtesy of Kenneth West.

In a later report, Roger said of that first delivery, “Mr. Harley Kline* from Manassas, Va. brought the first load of fine cattle & wondered if this was the collection point of Heifers for Relief. I told him this had been talked about but no details had been worked out but since they were here we would unload them and take it from there. I went to the house and got a record book saved from an old mill I had torn down and made record of these cattle.”

From then on, life was not the same for the Roop household.

*One report says Wilmer Kline delivered the first heifers to the farm, another says Harley. Not sure which is right.

Next post: Activities of Heifer Project as seen from the Roger Roop Collection Farm, Part II

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