Little Bits of History

Grady the Cow

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 22, 2011

Not Grady, but a cow (picture by Joi)

February 22, 1949: Grady the Cow gave birth to a stillborn calf. The cow lived with farmers Bill and Alyne Mach and was six years old at the time. The birth was difficult and so the Machs called in veterinarian, D.L. Crump to assist with the birth. The vet tied the cow to a post in the shed so she would hold still. When he was finished with his treatment, he untied the cow. The cow was enraged by this treatment and upon release began to chase Bill around the shed. Bill jumped on a pile of cottonseed sacks and escaped the cow’s charge.

The only light in the shed was from a small opening in a silo. Grady went for the light and tried to escape. When Bill and Dr. Crump looked at the silo, all they could see was some red hair on the edges of the heavy steel silo door. The door measured only 17 inches wide by 25 inches high. They could not get the cow out. To tear the silo down was just too expensive. Widening the door was not possible as it was encased in steel. The two men could not figure out how to get the cow out of this predicament.

Bill went to the local newspaper and asked for help. They published his story and helpful farmers from around the United States gave possible solutions to this problem. Phone calls, telegrams, and letters poured in. People even got into their cars and drove to the farm to see what all the hoopla was about. Some enterprising (and wealthier) folks even had planes take a flyby. Grady the Cow was featured in Life and TIME magazines as well as many other newspapers across the country. One person suggested tunneling under the silo. Another thought an attractive bull outside the door could lure Grady out. An Air Force officer even knew of a helicopter that could lift 1,200 pounds, but it was elsewhere at the time.

Bill Mach got a call from Ralph Partridge, the farming editor of The Denver Post. Partridge said he was coming to Yukon, OK to help. Partridge supervised the building of a ramp and then coated the door with axle grease. Two heavy halters were placed on the cow and Dr. Crump administered some tranquilizers. Men outside the silo started to pull on the ropes while others inside the silo pushed on Grady to edge her toward and eventually out the door. She slid through without a couple scratches. She went on to have a long life and had several live calves before she died in July 1961.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There are three easy ways of losing money – racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain.” – Lord Amherst

“I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision…I enjoyed the life to the full.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm, and live entirely surrounded by cows – and china.” -Charles Dickens

Also on this day:
Copy Rights – In 1774, perpetual copyrights were banned by House of Lords.
Dolly – In 1997, the first successfully cloned sheep was announced.


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