Animal's Artificial Mark Register

One of the oldest documents related to the founding era of Vienna Township is a small, handwritten journal entitled Animal's Artificial Mark Register for Vienna Township (also called the "Earmark Book"). Begun by the Township's first clerk Dennis Clark Palmer, the register was used from 1806 to 1844.

This book represents the system of identification of livestock by assigning a specific cropping shape on one or both ears to all the livestock of an owner. Unsupervised animals in Vienna Township were taken to the Animal Pound. This record ensured that owners could, in the case of straying animals or theft, legitimately prove their claims.

The first entry was by Dennis C. Palmer on April 10, 1806, the day that he was elected as the first Vienna Township Clerk. It was one of Palmer's first duties to set up the register for current residents, and to continue to maintain it for new arrivals.

A typical entry included the livestock owner's name, a description of the earmark, a drawing of the earmark, and the date the earmark was entered into the book:

Entry in the Animal's Artificial Mark Register by Dennis C. Palmer in April of 1806.Note the cutouts in the ears of the drawing to designate the identity of Simeon Wheeler's animals.

Eight township clerks recorded marks in this ledger: the Township's first clerk, Dennis Clark Palmer, followed by Jacob Humason, Anson Clinton, Moses Scott, Charles Woodruff, Dexter Clinton, James Humason, John H. Reed, Harry Truesdell, and Perry Squire.[1]

Entry in the Animal's Artificial Mark Register by Anson Clinton in December of 1810.Note the cutouts in the ears of the drawing to designate the identity of Dexter Clinton's animals.

The final entry in the book was dated September 20, 1844 by Perry Squire.

The book eventually came into the hands of Henry Huffman, owner of Huffman's Greenhouse. Huffman said that Jesse Munson gave him the book in about 1937. Over the years, Huffman had offers and requests for the book but he believed that it should remain in Vienna Township.[2]

Henry J. Huffman examining the Vienna Township Animal's Artifical Mark Register while it was in his possession, 1963.

The book was given to Ruth W. and Paul F. Miller in 1985. Eventually the book was placed back in Township hands.

Preserving the Township's History

In 2017, the Vienna Township Trustees and the Vienna Historical Society underwrote the professional conservation and digitization of the book. Previous owners added typed pages and inserted a newspaper image. ICA-Art Conservation in Cleveland, Ohio, took on the challenge of conserving and rebinding the book. Digital images of each page were created by the Cleveland Public Library.

The digital version of the book is available here.

An index of names mentioned in the book is available here.

Updated 2/16/2021
This article is adapted from Carley Cooper O'Neill, "Government," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), p. 100.
[1] "Moses Scott" and "John H. Reed" are corrected spellings of names listed in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live" and based on research undertaken by Shirley T. Wajda, January 2012.
[2] "Parchment Book Lists Early Vienna Animal Brand Marks." News-Reporter, May 30, 1963, page 7.
Additional information added in May 2018 by Shirley T. Wajda. Additional information also added in February 2021 by Christine Novicky.