Scrub Stock

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 25 05:13:59 UTC 2009

I now had a chance to review some searches on "scrub stock". So here's
the follow up.

First up was the "news" search. The regular news search turns up either
references to the TPM post or copies of it, or multiple reprints of
Buchanan's own piece. Ho-hum.

But Google now has the option for searching older archives (even if you
can't see the entire publication). Someone with access to ProQuest
Archives can check the specifics, but I can outline the results here.

The general use of "scrub stock" appears to be quite common in the
period 1850-1930 in reference to cattle, horses, sheep--at least, as far
as these limited search patterns show. Some are just generic references
to the runt, as I identified initially, but others are a bit more
interesting. Basically, "scrub stock" refers to animals that are not
"pure-bred". This language appears in US, Canadian and Australian
publications that I came across. In many cases, the publications suggest
that owning pure-bred stock is preferable and more profitable than
owning "scrub stock". Some suggest that "scrub stock" is due to poor
farm management. Others use the term to describe "local" breeds, as
opposed to the more prominent breeds. A interesting variant can be found
at the Cornell University Library "Making of America" site, which
reproduces a copy of Living Age, Vol. 55, #702 (November 7, 1857). The
piece in question appears on p. 377 and is titled Blood Stock.
[The URL is far too long and I won't dare to reproduce it without tinyurl.]

 >> A stock raiser of Fayette county, Ky., lost eight colts one season,
*four of them thorough-breds, and four of them common scrub stock.* He
amputated the legs of all of them, and boiled off the flesh, cleaning
the bones thoroughly, to learn, by examination, what difference, in
respect of bone, there was between pure-blooded and common ones. On
taking the bones of the thorough-breds, and holding them up to the
light, he noticed that they were almost transparent, as much so as white
corn. He tried the same experiment with the bones of inferior stock.
They were opaque, and transmitted light no more than buffalo horn. He
then tested the bones by weight, and found the thorough-bred by far the
heavier, showing their superior substance and solidity. They were had
and dense as ivory.--*Nashville Union, October 1*

I reproduced the entire piece because it makes it obvious how this usage
lent itself to eugenics. On one hand, you got pure-bloods, on the
other--scrub stock. Simple!

Another piece from Cornell Library is equally illuminating. The excerpt
is from p. 513 of Wheat Fields of the Columbia by Ernest Ingersoll
(Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 69, #412, September 1884, p. 510).

 >>These Indian ponies, and *the half-breed scrub stock* raised by the
white men as well, go by the name of "Kyuses"--derived from a tribe of
Indians in northern California with whom the pioneers first began to
trade in horseflesh. They are tough, active, often speedy little brutes,
but as full of tricks and deviltry as their homely skins will hold.

Now, for the topic of the day, so to speak. There are two pieces in the
NYT. One is the aforementioned January 19, 1913, column on Moral
Measurement (promoting eugenics).

The other is a July 17, 1909, letter to the editor by F.L. Orton:

 >>Until it is shown more conclusively than it has ever been shown in
the past that the 75 per cent. of individuals belonging to what may be
called the lower class of this or any other country has produced even a
bare majority of the men worthy of mention in a volume devoted to such
individuals, there will be little occasion for discussion of the
relationship between poverty and genius. So far as can be observed by
rather close student of the authoritative compilations relating to
eminent men, the very small percentage of educated, thinking men and
women have produced many time their proper proportion of distinguished
individuals. ...
 >> ... The sooner the world comes to appreciate the simple and
demonstrable fact that breeding is just as effective in human as in
equine, bovine, or canine life, the better for generations yet to come.
The Father of His Country didn't spring from "scrub" stock, but from the
best blood of the country and the young man born of intelligent and
successful parents will find if he investigates that he stands several
chances of succeeding, if not several hundred, to one of the youth whose
parent showed no capacity beyond the making of a bare living.

The other pieces are from ProQuest, so I don't have access:

The Lancer in LATimes, Nov. 29, 1927:

"You can t breed from scrub stock In people any more than cattle."

The Lancer in LATimes Mar. 17, 1927:
"In other words. the race is being bred out by scrub stock."

Pen Points in LATimes Sep. 23, 1929:
"Americanism: Killing scrub stock to Improve the breed; permitting the
marriage of half-wits whose progeny will be supported by the taxpayers."

Now, on to books.

Character Building and Reading, by Jean Morris Ellis, 1911, p. 126
 >>Is it too much to hope that some day it will be considered quite as
laudable to breed and raise human beings to the same degree of
perfection, and quite as disgraceful to raise a family of mental, moral
or physical defectives, as to raise "scrub stock?"

Next to the ground, by Martha McCulloch-Williams, 1902, p. 323
 >>Scrub stock is a colloquialism for ordinary native blood. White Oaks
scrub stock was not the least scrubby, although it lacked
uniformity--had red coats, or black, or white, or gay red-and-white
blotched, was long-horned, short-horned, even entirely hornless.

Race and Population Problems, by Hannibal Gerald Duncan, 1929, p. 347
(from Univ of Cal)
 >>People with no sense worthy of the name, defective stock, over 5
million; people with little sense, scrub stock, 20 million. These are
the people who multiply at from one and a half to twice the rate of the
superior classes of our ...

The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal, April-June 1913, pp. 84-85
N. Kolkin, At the Beginning of the Archaic Period (pp. 82-86)
 >>This tribe became Avianized and its name is found from Cabalia
northward. There is reason to believe that it emigrated from western
Asia Minor to eastern Armenia, Singara (Mesopotamia), and Shinar. It
was, no doubt, driven from the latter position by Kushites. That the Sin
tribe did not belong to common scrub stock seems plain, for it was
empire-building and producers of opium dope, guided by the Avian element
in its make-up. ...
 >>The Us element, where it had come in, also mixed with Ats, froming
the Est or, of the more humble type, the Dus tribe. This was scrub
stock, except that Ests (Tse) was not considered so among the Sins. It
was the nucleus of the Sin tribe (Chinese tse, ancestor), and the Greeks
called Chinese Sinestae. Among the rulers or slave holders in Asia
Minor, however, the Ests or Dus were scrubs or only common stock.


Victor wrote:
> Zachary Roth and the rest of TPM bloggers have taken Pat Buchanan to
> task over a comment that includes the phrase "scrub stock".
> ...
> I have not done any significant searching on "scrub stock" yet, but I
> was planning on doing it later tonight. I am sure others will have
> something interesting to contribute on this subject.

The American Dialect Society -

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