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The American Cream

The History and Development of the American Cream Horse

The American Cream horse is strictly of draft breeding and must not be confused with Palominos or other light breeds. Our records, tracing back with absolute accuracy to the beginning of the twentieth century, do not indicate any other than draft breeding.

By the late fifties, forty-five members had registered 200 animals. For a breed with so small a membership and less than ample numbers of registered animals, the events of the late forties nearly wiped out the American Cream breed of draft horses.

As the word of the breed having been placed on the "endangered breeds" list surfaced, owners and breeders were challenged to once again come together as an Association and replenish the numbers of this great American Cream draft horse.

Breeders/owners of American Creams today are no longer concentrated in the Mid-west as they formerly were. We now have breeders from the East to the West Coast and from the North to the South Coast.

The unusual color of these horses seems to be their major attraction, but on further investigation, qualities which make them invaluable as a draft horse are brought to light. Such important qualities as these are listed among the American Cream's assets: Docility, uniformity, pleasing style and willingness to work. Uniformity in color and type is a convenient factor and therefore worthy of much consideration.

Back of these two seemingly unimportant meetings was 40 years or so on interesting and also painstaking work. It was these years which have provided the ingredients for the following history of our own American Cream Horses, the first breed of draft horse ever originated in America.

History and Development of the American Cream Horse

Composed by Karene Bunker, Secretary,

February 1946

In or about the beginning of the twentieth century, the late Harry (Hat) Lakin, well known stock dealer of Ellsworth, Hamilton County, Iowa, purchased a cream colored mare at a farm sale in Story County, Iowa. This little mare, Old Granny, was truly what her name implies-grandmother to the breed of American Cream horses. She is foundation dam of ninety-eight percent of all the horses now registered in the Association. Her description which follows, has become a standard for breeders to maintain:

Rich cream color, white mane and tail, pink skin and amber colored eyes.

 American Cream youngsters at play

As to the lineage of Old Granny, we cannot say. She may descend from a long line of cream horses but no one knows. Trying to trace her would be more or less guess work on our part. Due to the keen memory of the older breeders of the cream horse, we do have a clear and fairly complete record of Old Granny's descendants. The names of these men appear throughout the entire history of our horses.

Old Granny raises several cream colored colts on the Lakin farm, all of which sold at far above average prices. She was then sold to the Nelson Bros. Of the same community, and there she spent the remainder of her long and productive life. It was here that the breed really began and it was due we believe, to the foresight of Eric Christian of Jewell, Iowa. Eric, an old time veterinary and great horse lover, was very much attracted by the beauty of one of Granny's stallion colts and persuaded them to keep him for a stallion. This colt later became known as Nelson's Buck No. 2 and may be regarded as the progenitor of the breed. Eric was much interested in the possibilities of creating a new breed of these attractive draft horses, but unfortunately he did not live to see his dream materialize.

Buck No. 2 was kept as a stallion only a year but during that time sired one cream colt of which we have record. It was the stallion, Yancy No.3 foaled in 1923, out of a black Percheron mare owned by the Nelsons. He attained a weight of around 1600 pounds and ran true to the real American Cream type. This stallion was later sold to John Yancy, who moved to Minnesota some time later taking the horse with him. There Yancy No.3 died at about fifteen years of age after siring several cream colts of which we have no record.

Eureka No.4 and Knox 1st No.5 are the only two recorded creams sired by Yancy before he was taken out of Iowa. The mare, Eureka, was foaled in about 1926 by a light bay mare and was owned by Eric Christian. He had planned to use her in the founding of the new breed he had talked so much about. Due to his inability to care for her and her stallion colt, he sold them to Sam H. Twedt of McCallsburg, Iowa, where they carried on. A few of their offspring are now recorded.

The other colts sired by Yancy, was bred and raised by Chas. Know, now of Lehigh, Iowa, whence came his name of Knox 1st. Knox 1st was foaled in 1926 by a bay grade Shire mare. He attained the weight of around 1800 pounds, was perfect in both color and type and was the sire of several registered American Creams before his death at about six or seven years of age. This untimely incident was no doubt a great hindrance to the early development of the breed.

On August 20, 1931, a colt was foaled that was to have the greatest influence on the breed of any thus far seen. That colt was Silver Lace No.9, sired by Knox 1st and out of a light sorrel, Farceur bred, Belgian mare. This stallion colt was bred and raised by G. A. Lenning, now of Melbourne, Iowa. Silver Lace attained the weight of around 2,000 pounds, showing many of his Belgian mother's characteristics. A large number of our foundation stock being used today are sons and daughters of Silver Lace or his direct descendants.

Popularity of these horses really began in 1935. At this time G. A. Lenning, then living near Union in southeastern Hardin County promoted what was known as the Silver Lace Horse Company and routed the stallion, Silver Lace, amongst shareholders in parts of Hardin, Grundy, Marshall and Story counties. This continued for about three years or until the horse suddenly and mysteriously died. During that time he became the envy of other stallion owners, but was very much admired by the general public and soon became the most popular stallion in that territory.

The Iowa state law at that time required all stallions standing for public service to have a certificate of soundness and a permit issued by the State Department of Agriculture. This permit could not be issued to other than registered stallions of a recognized breed. Silver Lace was not, of course, from a recognized breed. This permit was not necessary, however, for a horse jointly owned by those requiring his services. This was the main reason for the organization of the Silver Lace Horse Co., for it was the only way to legally stand him for public service. In due time, cream colts sired by him became numerous in small localities in this territory.

About 1935, C. T. Rierson, owner of Ardmore Stock Farm, near Radcliffe, Hardin County, Iowa, became interested in these new attractive horses and proceeded to to buy all the good cream colored mare colts sired by Silver Lace that he could find for sale. Ardmore Stock Farm had been the home of Percheron horses and Aberdeen-Angus cattle for a number of years and now a new interest had come Mr. Rierson's way.

These mares which Mr. Rierson had purchased were used with the thought in mind of creating a new breed of these beautiful draft horses. The records of their ancestry were still available and with the help of the afore-mentioned pioneer breeders, was procured with almost complete accuracy. From then on records were kept of them and their offspring.

In order to create more interest in the new breed he then began showing his horses at local county fairs where they were the center of attraction both in the individual and hitched classes. It was at one of these fairs, that the inspiration for the name of "American Cream" came to him. The name seems particularly appropriate because these horses are entirely American to the best of our knowledge and they do have the rich cream color.

Among other men who became interested about this time were H. L. Bavender of New Providence, Iowa, who raises a few colts by Silver Lace and bought others to add to them. In a few years he was in possession of a very nice group of Creams. His herd sire was Bavender's King No.15, a horse of his own raising sired by Silver Lace. This stallion attained the weight of 2100 pounds and was a well made, attractive horse.

E. E. Reece, also of New Providence, was among the early breeders. His mare, Pet No.8, sired by Knox 1st has proven to be one of the outstanding brood mares of the breed. Pet has rased several good cream colts, both mares and stallions, many of which are being used as foundation stock. His herd sire, Ardmore Flash No.45, sire by Silver Lace, is one of our most noted sires today.

Verner Stromer of Klemme, Iowa, is another of our American Cream enthusiasts. He started breeding them about 1937 when he and a neighbor, Ray H. Veldhouse of Garner, Iowa, came down to Hardin County and bought a young stallion of Chas. Knox. This stallion, Prince No.17 was sired by Knox 2d, No.12, a son of the noted sire, Knox 1st. he was kept as a stallion only about a year, but during that time sired a few good colts. Among them was a matched pair of mares raised by Mr. Veldhouse, now being used as foundation stock.

About a year later, Mr. Stromer came down and bough Knox 2d , the sire of Prince, but was unfortunate losing him some time later. Before his death, however, he had sired a few good colts, among which was his present herd sire, Stromer's Duke 1st No.39.

Gaylord Engle of State Center, Iowa, is another man who has been raising Creams for some time and owns several head of Silver Lace breeding, among them some good mares and a stallion sired by Silver Lace himself.

Thus reads the history and development of the American Cream Horse. It is an unfinished story for breeders are even now writing new pages which are bright with hope. This hope is furnished by the group of both new and old breeders, whose names follow. Each of these men, we feel sure, will add real milestones on the road to the success of the American Cream Horse.

Other Breeders

Ernest Werling and son, Earl of Renwick, Iowa, are among our new breeders, but have probably made the most progress for the short time they have been in the business of any of our breeders. They have some very good mares which have been winning prizes for them in the show ring as well as raising good colts. Their young herd sire, Gold Flash No.80, bred by E. E. Reece, is out of Pet No.8 and sired by Ardmore Flash No.45. he is destined to become one of our most noted sires, and has certainly proved himself in the show ring.

One who has been active for some time in the breeeding of creams is Joe H. Twedt of Roland, Iowa. He has a small but select group of horses, a statement proved by the fact that from his fine old mare, Betsy, came Ardmore Flash, a noted sire of today.

Paul Ackley of Blairsburg, Iowa, also has a few head and has been raising them the past few years. The Ites Bros. of Alden, Iowa, own a small but very outstanding group including a young stallion sired by Ardmore Flash. They had the misfortune to lose one of their fine broodmares, Ardmore Roxey, a daughter of Silver Lace.

Among the newer breeders are Al Staudt of Dougherty, Iowa, F. M. Tilton of Ames, Iowa, W. M. Droste of Waterloo, Iowa, John T. McGuire of Algona, Iowa, Wm. Kinsinger of Williams, Iowa, Glen Ball of Eldora, Iowa, Wayne Rierson of Radcliffe, Iowa, C. E. Hayes of Hubbard, iowa, J. Howard paine of Woolstock, Iowa, Myron Cockerham of clemons, Iowa, Dale Schlei of Goodell, Iowa, and John H. King of Hubbard, Iowa. Each of these breeders own from one to four or five head of these horses.

Our Secretary

This history would not be complete without the mention of our secretary, Miss Karene Bunker, who early in her teens became interested in our American Creams. She took an active part in tracing and compiling a record of their ancestry some time before any attempt had been made to organize the Association. She also spent considerable time and effort in preparing the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws at the time or organizing-and last but not least in writing this interesting history--C. T. R.

Notes by C. T. Rierson

It has been only during the last decade that a few breeders have concentrated their efforts on improving and perfecting the breed, especially the color and type, by inbreeding and line breeding. Also by carefully selecting and mating some of their best individuals with some of the best bloodlines of other draft breeds.

The latter has materially improved the size and quality of the Creams while their color, type and other characteristics have been maintained. Their success is plainly visible by the admiration bestowed upon the Creams by the general public.

While we realize modern machinery has replaced a large number of horses on mid-western farms, we still believe there is a place for a good dependable team on a large percent of these farms as well as in many other industries.

There are still a lot of good horsemen who are not satisfied with raising the common run of horses but want something in which they can take pride. To these men we extend an invitation to investigate the possibilities of our American Creams.

An excerpt from a letter on this subject recently received from a good authority states as follows: "Most anyone can admire a new piece of machinery or a shiny automobile but it takes a real man to love a horse."

History is still in the making-our efforts are in the line of improvement. A lot of this has been accomplished during the past decade. We hope to accomplish still more during the next one. By that time, our aim is to have the American Creams rated among the top draft breeds of America.

The American Cream Draft Horse Association  This article and all accompanying illustrations are kindly provided by the American Cream Draft Association.
To visit their official website please click here
Back to the American Cream Index 

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Updated: October 2005.