Friday, December 18, 2015

Longfellow Jr. --- Eulogy for a Boar

Lucas County was saddened on July 7, 1913, when Longfellow Jr. passed to his final reward --- despite all that (veterinary) medicine could do to save him. In fact, the giant porker was so revered that he merited a front-page obituary in The Herald-Patriot of July 10.

This says more about the importance of livestock --- and lard --- to our forbears than anything else, although it seems kind of amusing now. But Longfellow was indeed a champion.

He was Poland China, representative of the first breed developed in the United States --- in Warren County, Ohio, during 1816. This is not his portrait --- in fact it is a vintage Poland China sow. But it does give some idea of the shape back then of this giant animal, considered a "lard" rather than a "bacon" breed at a time when there was a demand for huge quantities of grease.

The demand for lean meat has long since slimmed the breed down a little; in fact, it is considered a "heritage" breed now, when most of our pork is produced in confinement operations. Longfellow, however, lived at a time when most hogs were allowed to roam pastures and barnyards freely, dreaming procine dreams before making the ultimate sacrifice. Here's his obituary:


Geo. W. Sefrit has lost his most valuable hog, death coming to Longfellow, Jr., Monday as the result of paralysis induced through fighting with another animal. The two hogs got together June 30th and proceeded to fight each other without delay, Longfellow Jr. receiving wounds resulted in his death a week later despite all the efforts of Dr. C.E. Stewart to save him.

He was four years old, was bought two years ago by Mr. Sefrit from Peter Mouw, of Orange City, and developed into the grandest Poland-China hog in the state under the handling of his new owner. Hog raisers and those posted in such matters pronounced him the best Poland-China boar in Iowa, if not in the United States, and his loss is a severe blow to them as well as to Mr. Sefrit.

The latter had refused $1,500 spot cash for the animal a few months ago, but refused to part with him at the price, preferring to keep him at the head of his excellent herd of brood sows. 

To such a judge of stock as George W. Sefrit, the loss is not irreparable, but it will be a long time before either Mr. Sefrit or any other hog man will have a hog which will excel Longfellow Jr. or surpass him in those qualities which made him the pride of the state among fanciers of the best in swine.


No information is available concerning the disposition of Longfellow's remains. I was unable to locate a Find A Grave entry.

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