A Cow Pedigree

Pictured is the genealogy or pedigree of “Homeland Homer” a prized Guernsey Cow owned by Thomas J. Selden of Haddam Neck in 1942. Like many breeds of dogs and horses, the pedigree of a Guernsey Cow was extremely important in the dairy farm business. An animal’s genetic makeup played an important part of its performance and value, so it was essential to know where Homer came from. Many of his ancestors had very exotic and poetic names like “Phoebe of Falcon’s Flight” or “Imperial Choisie de la Touraine.”

Thomas and Leonard Selden were well-known residents of Haddam Neck for close to a century. The brothers (both bachelors) ran Homelands Farm at the family’s historic homestead built in 1800 by their great grandfather, Captain Elias Selden. The brothers started breeding registered Guernsey Cows in 1916 at the farm and for close to 40 years developed a champion strain that won records throughout the state at agricultural fairs and shows. They were active in the Jersey and Guernsey Breeders Associations and for decades held board positions at the Haddam Neck Fair. The Selden brothers also were active in town and state politics and local church affairs. As Ruth Hayden noted in a 1961 article “Haddam Neck is Seldom without a Selden”. Alas after Thomas died in 1971 no Selden’s remained in Haddam Neck.