American Landrace Breeds
Randall Linebacks in the 1700s-1800s
During the 1700s and 1800s very few cattle were imported into North America. The expense and difficulty of shipping cattle was only warranted for early importations to a region that lacked cattle. After their introductions in the 1600s, the European cattle multiplied and were crossed one with another, so that by the 1700s the American cattle population was sufficient to meet the demand for cattle services and products such as meat, milk, and oxen. The lack of importations resulted in the North American cattle populations being able to respond to local conditions and breeder preferences to foster useful and unique types of American cattle. These were the landrace cattle populations of New England.
As well as providing dairy products and meat, these landrace breeds provided the power to transport heavy loads and to till the fields. These cattle performed extraordinary feats in extraordinary times. As an example, outside Boston, in 1776, George Washington and his fledgling army, with no heavy artillery, faced the British, well-protected in the city by their cannons. Henry Knox, in one of the most extraordinary feats of the long War of Independence, departed Boston to retrieve the heavy cannons and mortars of Fort Ticonderoga. He arranged for eighty yoke of New England landrace oxen and their drovers to pick up the artillery on sledges at the southern end of Lake George and to haul these many tons of deadweight over the hills and valleys of New York and western Massachusetts. Without these landrace cattle and their drovers, the heroic feat of getting the artillery to Dorchester Heights and the subsequent liberation of the city of Boston would not have happened.