History


From mid-April until mid-December, 2011, the farmhouse was renovated. As the work progressed, daily progress reports and photos were posted to show the details of how our contractor started with, for example, this:

Before: old dining room (click on all photos to embiggen).

and ended with this:

After: Charlotte's new kitchen.

For those interested in reading about troubles and triumphs of this project from start to finish, all posts concerning it have been consolidated into an article entitled “2011 House Renovation”, located in the Pages section on the right-hand side.

As told by: Hugh Miller/Thistle Ha’.
Photo credit: Argentine Shorthorn Breeders Association.

Tarquinos cattle

Tarquinos cattle

While showing Shorthorns at the International Livestock Show in Chicago one year, Hugh Miller/Thistle Ha’ was introduced to Pedro Laco, Secretary of the Argentine Shorthorn Breeders Association. He remarked that the Miller name was famous in Argentina. Laco said that another John Miller, who “must have been a relative of yours” [debatable, sources differ whether this John Miller came from Scotland or England], sailed up the Río de la Plata in the 1820s with the first pedigreed bull imported into Argentina – a Shorthorn bull named Tarquin. It was at “The Caledonia” ranch near Cañuelas, Buenos Aires that John Miller began crossbreeding Tarquin with native Spanish cattle, resulting in such a remarkable improvement in the quality of the beef that he is considered the founder of the modern beef industry in Argentina.

Laco added that Tarquin had white feet. This proved to be a bad trait on the pampas, since the white hair attracted ticks. Tarquin proved to be so prepotent that it took ten generations to completely eliminate white feet from his “Tarquinos” offspring.

In an 1867 letter to the editor of the farm journal The Canada Farmer, correspondent George Buckland reported on his visit with the Millers in Pickering and Markham townships, giving us a glimpse of the Miller enterprises 144 years ago. It is interesting that George Miller was farming a total of 1,100 acres [445 hectares] in 1867.
Source: George Buckland, correspondence to the editor, “A Few Days with the Messrs. Miller”, The Canada Farmer, Volume IV, Number 18, Globe Printing Company, Toronto, September 16, 1867, pp. 280-281.

A Few Days with the Messrs. Miller.

To the Editor of the CANADA FARMER :—

Sir,—I had the pleasure of a day’s intercourse with Mr. John Miller, of Pickering, who occupies a situation commanding a view of one of the finest landscapes that is to be met with in this section of Canada. Mr. Miller has some well-bred pure Durhams [English Shorthorn cattle], and an excellent bull, that is doing good service in the neighborhood. His herd of grades, consisting of cows and young stock, is really superb, illustrating the supreme importance of what I endeavour everywhere to enforce, the necessity and advantage of using a pure-bred male animal in all our endeavors to improve permanently the live stock of the country, and wherever practicable, no other. The sheep on this farm, consisting of Leicesters and Cotswolds, are very superior, denoting great care and sound judgment in their breeding and management. The high character which the Millers have long earned in this particular department of agriculture, continues to be well sustained. Mr. William Miller, father of John and brother of George, of Markham, has now retired from active business; he is among the oldest, perhaps the oldest improver of farm stock in Canada, and both he and his brother George were favorably known in Scotland in these relations, nearly half a century ago. They now own and cultivate a large tract of very productive land, in this and the adjoining township. Mr. John Miller’s four years old Clydesdale Stallion is a very pretty symmetrical animal, rather small, but having the more distinguishing characteristics well brought out; he is a sure stock getter, and his numerous progeny are well liked by the farmers.
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