Polled Durhams:  1880-1920+

Starting in the early 1880s Dr. William W. Crane of Tippecanoe City bred pedigreed Shorthorn bulls to native “muley” (hornless) cows and developed a useful type of cattle possessing scale, feeding and milking qualities without horns.  He published a series of newspaper articles promoting this idea and suggested that after about five crosses a desirable type could be developed and depended upon to reproduce itself with consistency.  Other breeders in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa were attracted to this idea and established programs along the suggested format.  Since the cattle developed along these lines were not purebreds (called grades) they were referred to as Single Standard Polled Durhams.   

A group of naturally hornless purebred Shorthorns was discovered in Minnesota, owned by W. W. McNair.  They all descended through their sire or dam to the cow Oakwood Gwynne 4th v15 p803 of the American Shorthorn Herd Book.  Dr. Crane purchased this entire herd and since they were purebreds they became known as Double Standard Polled Durhams.  Occasionally other naturally polled Shorthorns were born from horned purebred Shorthorn parents, were referred to as “sports” and fit the double standard category.  These polled cattle were recorded in the American Polled Durham Herd Book which was first published in 1894.  

The decade of the 1920s was when Polled Durhams seemed to “come into their own.” By then some 60,000 head of Polled Durhams had been recorded in their herd book. The foundation breeders had vigorously promoted them, and many good herds had been established. Scotch -bred bulls and females were added to some herds. Some herds chose to emphasize the dual-purpose capabilities of the breed while others went the beef route.    

Polled Durhams to Polled Shorthorns

The inclusion of single standard or “graded up” Polled Durhams in the American Polled Durham Herd Book was ceased in 1905, and none of these “graded up” registrations were later included in the American Shorthorn Herd Book. In 1923 the American Polled Durham Association was disbanded and the herd book was incorporated into the American Shorthorn Herd Book, with an X before the registration number to signify polled status. (All Polled Shorthorns have an “x” in front of their registration number.) At this time their name was officially changed to Polled Shorthorns. At most fairs polled and horned cattle were shown in separate classes until the 1970s.

This Section Includes:   Ottawa Duke,  Young Hamilton,  Polled Acomb, Golden Gauntlet,  Cambridge Lad 3rd,  Golden Hero, Tippecanoe, Roan Hero, The Confessor, Roan Champion, Sultan of Anoka, Silver Secret, Sultan’s Creed, Intense Sultan, Scotch Loch Dale, Imperial Sultan, Ringleader 2nd, Roselawn Marshall, Royal Stamp, and Ceremonious Sultan.

OTTAWA DUKE x185-109292

Ottawa Duke x185-109292.jpg

Born: March 10, 1890

Bred by W.S. Miller, Elmore, Ohio.    Owned by William W. Crane, Tippecanoe City, Ohio

     Sire:   KING OF KINE x23-87412

     Dam:   NELLIE GWYNNE x51-v33 p728

He was perhaps the most important foundation sire of Double Standard Polled Durhams. The product of the mating of maternal half-sibs who reportedly never sired a horned calf.  He was the sire of 54 bulls and 75 females recorded in the first two volumes of the Polled Durham Herd Book.

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YOUNG HAMILTON sx49-114169

Young Hamilton x49-114169.jpg

Born: June 1, 1890

Bred by J.R. & W.A. Shafer, Middletown, Ohio.   Owned by J. H. Miller, Mexico, Indiana

     Sire:  LOUAN'S MONTAUK 3D 70651

     Dam:  MINNIE BELL 2D v38 p649

Fortunately for sponsors of Double Standard Polled Durhams this red hornless bull (referred to as a “sport”) was born from purebred horned Shorthorn parents.  He was undefeated in his class for seven years which included winning the Grand Sweepstakes open to "All General-Purpose Breeds" at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

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POLLED ACOMB x367-120519

Polled Acomb x.jpg

Born: October 6, 1894

Bred by J.H. Miller, Mexico, IN Exported to Frank S. Dobbs, Buenos Ayres, Argentina

Sire: MIAMI BOY x97-116517

Dam: GOODNESS 14TH v38 p561

Polled Acomb is pictured at approximately 29 months of age. Bred by J.H. Miller and sold to Frank S. Dobbs, Buenos Ayres, Argentina in 1897. The Argentine exportations grew out of the successes of Polled Durhams at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. This bull left New York harbor on the steamship “Port Darwin,” Lamport & Holt line on an ocean voyage that was scheduled to take 35 days.

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GOLDEN GAUNTLET x1140-128003

Golden Gauntlet x1140-128003.jpg

Born: September 23, 1897

Bred & owned by J. H. Miller, Mexico, Indiana

     Sire:  YOUNG ATHELSTANE x329-121641

     Dam:  GOLDEN PRIDE 2D v41 p645

Senior Champion (no Grand Champions were selected until 1918) at the first International Livestock Exposition in 1900 and repeated this win in 1901.  He was a product of mating a Polled Durham bull with a cow of Scotch (Cruickshank) breeding, a process which greatly improved the breed.  He became a dominant Polled Durham sire in the first decade of the twentieth century.

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CAMBRIDGE LAD 3rd  x1300-13672

Cambridge Lad 3d x1300-13672.jpg

Born: Dec. 28, 1897

Bred by Arthur H. Jones, Delaware, Ohio, used also by Stewart & Martz, Webster, OH & Fletcher S. Hines, Malatt Park, IN

     Sire:   OTTAWA STAR x347-113109

     Dam:   OXFORD HEYDON ROSE 2D v35 p686

He was advertised as “probably the best known Polled Durham bull in existence.”  He sold for $1000 at the Stewart and Martz dispersion which at the time was the highest price ever paid for a Polled Durham bull at public sale.  His pedigree shows that except for the polled cross he is of straight Bates breeding (all sires are named “Duke”).

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GOLDEN HERO x2847-150363

Golden Hero x2847-150363.jpg

Born: September 24, 1899

Bred by J. H. Miller, Mexico, Indiana.  Owned by A. C. Woods & Son, Pendleton, Indiana

     Sire:  GOLDEN GAUNTLET x1140-128003

     Dam:  LADY HARRISON 4TH v42 p914

This son of Golden Gauntlet x was Senior Champion at the 1903 and 1904 International, and winner at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.  He was said to be of the Polled Durham type that was “close to the ground, compact with beefiness and quality.”

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TIPPECANOE 44TH x1698-155197

1901 Tippecanoe 44th x (Int'l. Jr. Champ).jpg

Born: March 31, 1900

Bred by Dr. Wm. W. Crane, Tippecanoe City, OH Owned and used by Fletcher S. Hines, Indianapolis, IN & Oscar Hadley, Plainfield, IN

Sire: ROYAL VICTOR 120980

Dam: 5TH THORNLESS ROSE OF ACACIA x475- v40 p451

International Jr. Champion 1901 and International Sr. Champion 1902. He appears in the pedigrees of many Polled Durhams of the early 20th century. Bred by Dr. Crane who accumulated some of the first Double Standard Polled Durhams. Mr. Hines served as secretary-treasurer of the American Polled Durham Breeders Association.

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ROAN HERO x3613-229963

Royal Flora and Roan Hero

Royal Flora and Roan Hero

Born: October 24, 1903

Bred by A.C. Wood & Sons, Pendelton, IN Sold to and shown by L.G. Shaver, Shaver & Deuker, Kalona, IA

Sire: GOLDEN HERO x2847-150363


International Jr. Champion 1905 and Sr. Champion 1907 pictured with Royal Flora x v3 p438-v57 p934, 1907 International Sr. Champion female, both shown by Shaver & Deuker, Kalona, IA. His sire, Golden Hero x2847-150363 was International Sr. Champion in 1903 and 1904 and at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

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THE CONFESSOR x5985-284217

1910, '11 The Confessor x.jpg

Born: October 12, 1906

Bred by J.H. Miller, Peru, IN

Sire: THE PROFESSOR 172332

Dam: LADY GRACEFUL x v4 p468- v55 p775

International Jr. Champion 1907 and 1908 and never defeated throughout the rest of his showring career, International Sr. Champion 1910 and 1911. Sire of Select Goods x8719-353693, sire of the first prize get of sire at the 1918 International. He later sold to Argentina for $4500.

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ROAN CHAMPION x7021 xv5-313912

Roan Champion x7031-313912 -1.jpg

Born: October 23, 1907

Bred by W.W. Rose & Sons, Rossville, IN Owned & used Marven J. Ranck & Sons, Roann, IN

Sire: BUTTONWOOD TIP 2D x5016-274337


Roan Champion weighed 2400 pounds at maturity and was referred to as “not exactly a show bull.” However, he sired a lot of useful calves, especially heifers which formed the nucleus of the herd of Marven J. Ranck & Sons. His dam was also the dam of the 1916 International Junior Champion female, Crimson Scarlet x v7 p397-507601.

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SULTAN OF ANOKA 302426 v73

Sultan of Anoka.jpg

Born: January 16, 1908

Bred by F.W. Harding, Anoka Farm Waukesha, WI


Dam: LADY IN WAITING v44 p632 (v44 p543E)

This is only a “headshot” of this horned Scotch-bred bull. His photo & write-up belong in the Polled Durham section because of the extraordinary influence he exerted on this branch of the breed. He was purchased as a calf for $2525 at Frank Harding’s Anoka Farm sale. He sired some of the most notable Polled Durhams as the breed was gaining a foothold in the industry. Two of his most famous sons were Sultan’s Creed x and Ceremonious Sultan x, both International winners and highly successful and influential sires.

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SILVER SECRET x8170-339882

Silver Secret x.jpg

Born: Jan. 4, 1910

Bred by Herman C. Miller, Peru, IN

Sire: SILVER CROWN 240328

Dam: 10TH MIAMI VICTORIA x V3 p386-v59 p848

As was the case with many Polled Durhams at the time, Silver Secret carried a strong “Scotch” (horned) influence in his pedigree. He was a consistent winner on the state fair circuit and attained junior championships. He became an important herd sire in the J. H. Miller herd, Peru, IN.

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SULTAN'S CREED x8716-353694

Sultan’s Creed as a calf

Sultan’s Creed as a calf

Bred by J.H. Miller, Peru, IN Sold to H.C. Rose & Sons, Rossville, IN

Born: June 30, 1910

Sire: SULTAN OF ANOKA 302426

Dam: 13TH MIAMI VICTORIA x v4 p458- v66 p882

International Jr. Champion 1911 and Sr. Champion 1912 and 1913 (no Grand Champions selected until 1918). He was purchased at “something over $3000” and was sire of the first prize get of sire at the 1916 International which included Intense Sultan x10465-385899, the 1916 International Sr. Champion. His sire Sultan of Anoka 302426 bred by F. W. Harding, Anoka Farm was considered to be one of the best sons of Whitehall Sultan 163573 and worked great improvement for Polled Durhams.

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INTENSE SULTAN x10465-385899

1916 Intense Sultan & Grandpa Miller.jpg

Born: March 17, 1913

Bred by J.H. Miller, Peru, IN

Sire: SULTAN'S CREED x8716-353694

Dam: CAPACIOUS SULTANA x v6 p748-132803

Intense Sultan x was double bred Sultan of Anoka and Golden Gauntlet x, thus his name. He was Senior Champion at the 1916 International and served as a herd sire in the J. H. Miller herd and for Achenbach Bros in Kansas. Both his sire and his dam were International winners, and he was Junior Champion at the 1912 international.

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SCOTCH LOCH DALE x15779-431409

1917 Scotch Loch Dale 15779 undefeated G.C. 1917 sold for $5100.JPG

Born: November 28, 1913

Bred by Leemon Stock Farm, Hoopeston, IL

Sire: LOCHLIN DALE 334951

Dam: BUTTONWOOD JENNY LIND 2D xv3 p330- v62 p737

He was bred and shown by Leemon Stock Farm, a farm that started breeding Polled Durhams in 1902 and is still in existence today. After an undefeated season on the 1917 show circuit he was selected as Senior Champion at the International (no Grand Champions selected). He came back and won the aged bull class at the 1918 international and was later sold for the then record price of $5100 for a Polled Durham bull to Lloyd J. Loonan, Waterloo, IA in whose herd he did good service.

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IMPERIAL SULTAN x11633 xv6-474737

Imperial Sultan x.jpg

Born: February 1, 1914

Bred by J.H. Miller & Son, Peru, IN

Sire: SULTAN OF ANOKA 302426

Dam: LADY PURITY x v5 p537-70975

Several sons of Sultan of Anoka were used in the J. H. Miller and Sons herd. This son was referred to as “a great bull in the show ring as well as out.” He was the older full brother to Ceremonious Sultan x, the unprecedented five-time International Grand Champion.

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RINGLEADER 2D x12904-454548 v90

Ringleader 2d x .jpg

Born: June 5, 1914

Bred by Marvin J. Ranck, Roann, IN

Sire: GOOD LEADER x10166-387341

Dam: LANCASTER MAID 8TH x v6 p796-168292

Ring Leader 2d x was a consistent prize winner himself, and sire of Polled Durham prize winners from the herd of Marvin J. Ranck, Roann, IN. He sired a son, Royal Stamp x17841-680807 that was the 1918 International Grand Champion who sold to Uruguay for $5000. His progeny also sold to Argentina and New Zealand.

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1919, '20 Roselawn Marshal x.jpg

Born: January 5, 1915

Bred by W.W. Rose & Sons, Rossville, IN. Owned & used by Albert Hultine & Sons, Saronville, NE

Sire: FIELD MARSHAL 3D x12328-385546

Dam: JENNY x v5 p591-112836

A highly successful sire in the Grey Gables Stock Farm herd of Albert Hultine & Sons, in Saronville, NE. This farm has the distinction of showing ten International Grand Champions, seven on females and three on bulls, all bred on their farm. Three of the Grand Champion females, in 1918, ’19 and ’20 were sired by Roselawn Marshall as were the first prize get of sire groups in 1919 and 1920.

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ROYAL STAMP x17841-680807

1918 Royal Stamp x.jpg

Born: February 26, 1917

Bred by Marvin J. Ranck & Sons, Roann, IN

Sire: RINGLEADER 2D x12904-454548

Dam: ROAN BUTTERFLY x v6 p797-185242

After his selection as Grand Champion at the 1918 international (the first year that Jr. and Sr. Champions competed for Grand Champion) he sold for $1525. The Breeder’s Gazette said that “this roan son of Ringleader 2d x impresses with his burliness, level top, long rump, deep twist, and mellow quality.” He later sold for export to Uruguay for $5000.

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Ceremonious Sultan x (5 time Int'l. Champion).JPG

Born: August 11, 1917

Bred by J.H. Miller & Son, Peru, IN, owned & shown by Leemon Stock Farm, Hoopeston, IL

Sire: SULTAN OF ANOKA 302426

Dam: LADY PURITY x v5 p537-70975

As a 10-month-old calf he was purchased at J. H. Miller’s sale for $3100. After placing second in class to the Grand Champion as a short-aged junior yearling in 1918, he went on to win an unprecedented five Grand Championships at the International in 1919, ’20, ’21 ’22 and ’24, a feat never accomplished previously or since. During his show career he garnered no less than 44 Grand Championship honors. He also proved to be an extraordinary sire and contributed to many improved Polled Shorthorns.

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