British importer of American cattle and horses; also established the famous Truman Pioneer Stud Farm for draft horses.
1842-1923 | Artist: Othmar J. Hoffler (1893-1954)
Impact & Accomplishments
Jonathan Truman—a man who, perhaps more than any other, helped open British markets to American cattle imports—was born in Whittlesea, Cambridgeshire, England. At age eighteen, he took over the management of his ailing father’s livestock business.
In 1874, Truman invested in a shipment of American cattle, but initially had difficulty convincing British buyers to accept imported stock and beef. The animals showed well, so starting in 1877, Truman began to spend nine months of the year at the Chicago markets, buying and shipping fat cattle and sheep overseas. He averaged about 30,000 head per year, shipped to England.
In 1884, he established Truman Pioneer Stud Farm in Bushnell, Illinois, and started exporting Shire horses from England. By 1900, the Shire, Percheron, and Belgian stable was his primary business. After 114 crossings of the Atlantic, Jonathan Truman left the farm in his sons’ hands and retired to England.
Did You Know?
"The once-famous Truman Pioneer Stud Farm was started in 1878 by English livestock dealer Jonathan Hall Truman, and it was later operated by his five sons, four of whom moved to Bushnell. Originally located on W. Main Street, the business was moved in the 1890s to a 100-acre tract with a dozen buildings located south of town. The importing and breeding operation was fabulously successful, earning a national reputation. The Trumans organized the Bushnell Horse Show in 1908, and it drew huge crowds to town every year until cars and mechanized farming caused horse breeding to decline. The large barn shown in this postcard painting is still standing." "McDonough County Historic Sites," by John E. Hallwas, p. 64. Courtesy of the Bushnell Museum via Dorothy Williams.