“Wagonmaster, I insist! My Cow is Coming With Me!”
Jaylene Andersen is Marjorie and Art’s daughter-in-law, and together with her husband Jim, they operate the multi-generational Wits End Dairy. Jaylene describes their spot in Cache Valley as “Our own little corner of the world.” and their little corner has some interesting history.
Back in 1859, Jim Andersen’s Great Grandparents (“or was it great, great…it was a long time ago,” as Jaylene recalls) made their way across the country on a wagon train. Margaret Ellis and Edmond Rees, originally hailing from Wales, moved out west for Edmond to continue work as a coal miner, and 1859 the journey from the East Coast to Utah wasn’t an easy one. When Margaret showed up with her cow, the wagon master shook his head and gave her a ‘you-have -got-to-be-kidding-me’ look, arguing that the cow would never make it through the stress of the journey. But Margaret wasn’t about to give up her Jersey cow and insisted that she join the family on their trek westward. The wagon master had no choice, so along came the cow. Not only did the family’s cow survive the trip, but her milk helped hungry babies survive the rugged journey. Settling in Coalville, Utah, Margaret and Edmond kept their cow and added a couple more to the herd. The family has raised and milked jersey cows ever since.
As the farm evolved and the family grew, the farm moved from Coalville to Cache Valley. Marjorie Anderson is a direct descendent of Edmond Rees and continues to live on the farm. She says that her family has always milked Jersey cows, even when they weren’t such a popular breed and remembers a common taunt of Jersey dairymen, “your too proud to milk a goat and too poor to milk a cow.” But that never deterred her family and eventually Jerseys became popular – the high protein content of their milk and the higher butterfat is ideal for making cheese. (See Jerseys vs. Holsteins)
Jerseys are the pride of their farm and right now the dairy has two almost all white cows, Snowball and Snowflake – perfect for the winter.