ASA J. MORRIS
The name of Morris is inseparably identified with the live stock industry of the Sacramento Valley, the organization known as the A. W. Morris & Sons Corporation being known among dairymen from ocean to ocean. Remarkable success has crowned the labors of father and sons in their efforts to advance and maintain the standard of the great herd of Holstein cattle on their ranch in Yolo county, and they are the proud owners of the world’s most famous Holstein cow, “Tilly Alcartra,” which has been appropriately called “the most wonderful cow dairy history has known.” A. W. Morris, a native of Pennsylvania, came to Yolo county in young manhood for the benefit of his health. He was first employed here as a farm laborer, but soon became a land renter and then an owner. He learned the dairy business in every detail and with the sound judgment characteristic of the family decided to go in for high-class breeding. In this work he was enthusiastically joined by his sons and in the course of time, through their patient and painstaking methods, they produced results which have startled the live stock world.
The first cow in their herd to make a world record was “Aralia DeKol.” She made a world record for milk production in a year. After her came the great foundation cow, “Riverside Sadie DeKol Burke,” with another world record for milk production, but it remained for her daughter, “Tilly Alcartra,” to make a record that will possibly never be surpassed as a milk producer. In reference to the data preserved on these three animals, a recent issue of a prominent farm paper contained the following reference to the methods used: “The Morris herd of Holsteins is known throughout the United States and Canada as the most productive group of animals in the long-period test class the world has yet seen. A. W. and his sons have specialized on the so-called long-time test, which means that the animals have been tested for a year. They were virtually pioneers at long-time testing in the breed, taking up the work when many others were depending upon such short-time tests as seven days and thirty days to give an idea of a cow’s productivity.” The leading newspapers and agricultural magazines of the country have featured “Tilly Acartra,” the Associated Press has carried articles about her, and Dr. Frank Crane, one of the highest paid syndicate writers in this country, wrote an essay on her which was published in fifty-two leading newspapers of the United States and Canada.
To sum up the results of the work done by A. W. Morris & Sons in building up their great Holstein herd, it may be recorded that they owned and developed the first cow to produce over twenty-eight thousand pounds and the first cow to make over thirty thousand pounds of milk in one year; the only cow to produce over thirty-three thousand pounds of milk in one year and the only cow to give sixty-three thousand pounds of milk in two years; the only cow to produce over ninety-three thousand pounds of milk in three years and the only cow to make over 120,000 pounds of milk in four years; the first two cows with over 50,000 pounds of milk in two years and the only forty-pound cow with over thirteen hundred pounds of butter in one year; the only cow with a record of over eleven hundred pounds of butter a year three times, the only cow that has made over one thousand pounds of butter a year four times, and the only cow that averaged over one thousand pounds of butter a year for six years; the only eleven hundred pound cow that has two daughters and a granddaughter each above eleven hundred pounds of butter in one year, and the only cow that made twenty-five pounds of butter in seven days, eight months after calving, that has a daughter and granddaughter with like records.
Asa J. Morris was born in Fresno, California, November 19, 1889, and is a son of Asa W. Morris, who was born at Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania, May 8, 1857, and is represented on other pages of this work. Asa J. Morris was about two years of age when the family came to Yolo County and he received his early education in the schools of Eureka district, supplemented by a course in the Polytechnic Business College of Oakland. He then engaged in farming on the Conway ranch, which is a separate unit of the A. W. Morris & Sons holdings of two thousand, four hundred acres of leased land. He has had charge of this ranch and it was here that “Tilly Alcartra” made her wonderful record as a milk producer. There are now fifty head of thoroughbred Holsteins on the Conway ranch and it is questionable if a more valuable herd of like size exists anywhere. In addition to this great herd of cattle, fine Duroc-Jersey hogs are found on this ranch. The main grain crop is barley, while alfalfa hay is also extensively raised. Mr. Morris was united in marriage to Miss Florence Grice, who was born and reared at Knights Landing, Yolo county, and they are the parents of two children, John Richard and Mary Ruth. Mr. Morris is progressive in his operating methods, is a man of mature judgment in practical matters, and the success which has crowned the efforts of the family has been largely due to his personal labors along definite lines. He is highly esteemed throughout the community where he has spent practically his entire life and is regarded as one of its most prominent citizens.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 2 Pages 251-253. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.