Selling Col. R.K. Meade’s livestock (1833)

Posted on April 26, 2016 by


The title of this post might lack the hook that would draw in a crowd, but that shouldn’t detract. For those who are truly curious about what antebellum life was like in the Valley (and might be well-acquainted with the area of the Valley in which this piece discusses), this piece offers an opportunity to sneak a peek into what is a particularly small aspect of life… but an aspect, all the same.

Anyway, this came about as a result of a casual search of online newspapers today. Using certain search criteria, I came across an article out of Raleigh, North Carolina, pertaining to an Shenandoah Valley estate livestock sale, in 1833. For one, it seems rather interesting that, in 1833, a newspaper in Raleigh would carry a story about the sale of livestock in the Shenandoah Valley, especially considering there were no North Carolinians in the crowd. I suppose it was a slow news day, and the story simply struck some sort of a chord with the editor of Weekly Raleigh Register.

What’s even more remarkable is the fact that the sale of Richard Kidder Meade‘s livestock didn’t take place until nearly three decades after his death (in 1805). Of course, the fact that his wife, Mary, didn’t die until 1819 makes this a little less remarkable. I suspect the livestock continued to meet some of her needs until her death, while the chief overseer of the livestock of the estate was likely one of Meade’s sons… Episcopal Bishop William Meade, who resided nearby, in White Post. It just seems a but funny to think, when seeing the age of the cattle and sheep, this was not livestock with which Col. Meade was actually familiar, but in fact descendants of the original.

Even so, ads for the sale had apparently been posted early enough in the year that it drew interested purchasers from as far away as Goochland, Virginia (maybe further, but that’s what we can know from the list of those who made purchases).

As you read the piece, below, note also how the cattle were individually named. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this rather interesting.

Nonetheless, for those who find this look into the “culture” of antebellum livestock sales interesting… enjoy.

From the July 2, 1833 edition of the Weekly Raleigh Register:



We learn from the Winchester Republican, that the sale of improved Durham Short horns, belonging to the estate of the late Richard K. Meade, took place on Wednesday last, near White Post, in Frederick county, Va. From a gentleman who was present, the editor of the Republican has obtained the following list of sales, which will be interesting to many of our readers. A large number of persons attended – among them several from the lower counties and the South Branch of the Potomac. The stock, it is known is not the fill bred Durham, but a mixture of that breed with our first-rate valley. The older cattle may be called, in reference to the Durham stick, half-blooded; the younger, which is a further cross or mixture, quarter blooded.