Some time back, John Fairhead, a fourth generation rancher from Merriman, Neb., in the Nebraska Sandhills, sent us an interesting bank ledger. It details the vaccine accounts that his grandfather, a banker in the area, was apparently in charge of. Rather than rewrite the story, I’ll let Mr. Fairhead tell it in his own words.
“Mike Apley’s article in the January 2015 issue of BEEF got my interest up. It was pertaining to the changes in our industry since his great-uncle had used an old folding pocket knife, some 100 years ago. He briefly touched on when penicillin was discovered in 1928 and various forms of early vaccines used for blackleg.
“My personal interest in this topic has to do with something I found while going through personal things in my parent’s house. It belonged to my maternal grandfather, who was a banker for most of his working life.
“There is an envelope of canceled checks and a ledger for “Vaccine and Insurance” accounts that my grandfather apparently was in charge of. The ledger in itself is an historical list of the early ranches Grant County, Neb. It includes names of many of the early-day ranch families around Ashby and Hyannis, Neb., beginning in 1928 through 1937.
“My mother’s father, Howard E. Lichty, got his start in banking at the Grant Co. State Bank at Ashby, Neb., then the Bank of Hyannis and later moved to Alliance, Neb., where he finished his career at the Guardian State Bank. He worked 42 years for the Abbott Banks, passing away in 1984. Since my parents have both passed on, we have been going through their personal things. My mom was an only child, so all of her parents’ things ended up with my mom and dad.
“The ledger is about an inch thick and each page has entries on both sides. It might take a banker’s mind and an historian to decipher it all. I know little about the history of vaccinations in our industry or when this advancement arrived. I would suspect that it could have happened in the years just prior to this ledger and that by this time it was proven science.
“Some of the entries look to be for the insurance account, while others list the number of doses for blackleg, hemorrhagic and later, a few for pulmonary vaccines; as well as an occasional entry for syringes, needles, etc. There are notes for who picked it up and the various ranches it went to.”
Fairhead sent the information to BEEF in hopes that someone might have information about when vaccines were first developed and used in our industry and why a bank would be involved in distribution of these early vaccines. “I suspect there may have been regulations requiring the distribution of a ‘dangerous product’ through a bank or other such agency. Or perhaps the bank simply required inoculation of cattle that they had as collateral for their loans,” Fairhead says.
What do you think? Why would a banker in the 1920s keep a ledger of the vaccines used by area ranchers? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You might also like: