RANCH: Father and son, and the Mother herd 1910-1938

From 1910 on, Jim built up a prized mother herd of white-faced Herefords and became one of the most respected cow-calf operators in the County. Every year, he culled the barren cows and kept the best heifers for breeders to his revolving herd of blooded bulls kept on the Gaviota strip along Highway 101. In addition, cattle broker Glen Cornelius sold him replacement cows. But the herd was becoming too large to graze on the land during winter draughts.

John James Hollister — Jack — went to work for his father,  Jim, in 1932 fresh with his Harvard education and immediately objected to his father on why he kept such a large herd. Jack set up an extensive farming program to raise feed, hay and grain. The more Jack put aside feed, the larger Jim built his coveted mother herd.

Some time during the Second World War, Glen’s son and partner in cattle brokerage, Raymond Cornelius, helped Jack persuade Jim to change to a stocker program. Ray imported Corriente weaners from Mexico and the ranch was then on a weight gain basis.

In 1938 or so, the winter rains were very short. Jim called Jack on the crank phone from the Big House to Jack’s tiny shack several hundred yards away, and ordered him to gather all the mother herd for shipping to Oregon, where they would graze for the summer awaiting next winter rains.

Jack resented this overburden on grazing and his cherished supply of baleyed hay and stored silage but had to comply with the roundup and shipping. To add to Jack’s discomfort, jack was ordered to accompany the cattle cars, traveling in the cold caboose all the way to Oregon.

Jack was gone for weeks and returning began a serious attempt to change the ranch operations to stockers– calves from the other herds left to graze for weight gain and then sold.

From: Gaviota Boy, by John James Hollister III

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