Letter icon
Letter 7087

Innes, J. B. to Darwin, C. R.

28 Jan 1870


JBI sends clipping about a hybrid between a deer and a cow, from the same parish as the one reported in 1868.


Hybrid Cow.— There is at present a hybrid cow among aherd at the home farm of Beaufort—a cross apparently between a deerand a cow. Except in the colour, which is black, the animal isidentical in appearance with the one lately sold by Mr Maclean,V.S., to the proprietor of Wombwell’s Menagerie.f1 Strange to say,both animals were bred in or near the sameparish—Ardclachf2—and in many respects bear a similar history.Mr Lawson, manager at Beaufort,f3 bought the cow last autumn among aherd of cattle, and it has since been seen and admired by many. Thehybrid cow in Wombwell’s menagerie was calved at Lochindorb,f4 andwas exhibited by Mr M’Donald, Blervie,f5 at the Forres ChristmasCattle Show in 1868.

Dear Darwin

The above is from the Elgin Courant of this day 28th. Janry. 1870.f6I have not seen the animal. It is satisfactory to know that theformer one, which I told you of before, and which seemed if not a hybrid,a wonderfully good imitation of one has gone to a menagerie whereperhaps in life or death the truth of its origin may be tested. Someold red deer seems to have taken to erratic courses about the ancienthaunts of the Wolf of Badenochf7

Faithfully Yours | J Brodie Innes

DAR 167: 27



Mr S. McLean, a veterinary surgeon at Inverness, had bought thesupposed deer–cow hybrid from Mr McDonald of Blervie at the ForresCattle Show on 7 December 1868 (see Correspondence vol. 16, lettersfrom J. B. Innes, 7 December 1868 and 14 December 1868, and letterfrom S. McLean to J. B. Innes, 15 December 1868). On the history ofWombwell’s Menagerie, which had three branches, see Bostock 1927.
Ardclach is a hamlet eleven miles south-south-west of Forres.
Mr Lawson has not been further identified.
Lochindorb Castle is south of Forres.
McDonald of Blervie has not beenfurther identified. Blervie castle is five miles south-east ofForres.
Innes glued the clipping to the top of his letter.
The ‘wolf of Badenoch’ was Alexander Stewart, earl of Buchan, whooccupied Lochindorb from about 1371 (ODNB).
Maximized viewPrint letter