When Dr. Charles Orvis asked that milk cows be given the tuberculosis test, on the rounds that milk from a diseased animal was a hazard to the public welfare, health officials, some veterinaries and many medical doctors derided him, but he persisted In his efforts and was vindicated
Snow Ranch scene where Herefords were studied and developed under planned
program and clinical eye of Dr. Orvis.
At the sound of approaching hoofs the group hipped around
in worn stock saddles to survey the three Americans. Chihuahua, of black
beard and piercing eyes, started spouting in Spanish as they reined up. The
speaker's gesturing was at the bull in the pen., The four young vaqueros lounged
in saddles, smoking and listening to their boss. Each rider's shooter horned out
a hip-sided holster.
Captain Pitts argued back in Spanish. Dr. Orvis eyed the
suffering Durham bull in the pen with clinical interest. The bull's nose
was bloody. Its mouth was taking on a purplish hue. Its closed eyes were oozing.
Lying down, its swellings were apparent. It was feverish and perhaps beyond
help. According to the symptoms, it was afflicted with Anthrax, a highly
contagious disease. Anthrax on a remount range could prove, disastrous.
"Shoot it, Henry," Captain Pitts ordered.
When the wrangler started to pull the Spencer carbine from a
saddle boot the bearded Mexican realized what was to happen. He snapped out a
command, and his riders responded by drawing their pistols. Now there was an anticipatory
glint in their eyes and their cigarrillos hung at a slant from lower lips. "You
shoot bull, amigo," Chibaubau warned in English, "and I shoot you." His
mirthless grin displayed white teeth in a framework of beard.
Orvis had his hands cupped on the saddle horn. A pistol was pointed at his
midriff and the finger on its trigger seemed taut for action.
Charles Bruce Orvis was one of John and Julia Orvis' six sons. Charles was born
February 13th, 1858, on a farm at Oakfield, Wisconsin. As a boy he lived part
time with a grandmother and attended school in Fond du Lac. On week ends
and during summer vacations Charles returned to the family to help with the farm
and crop work.
Charles became interested in livestock at an early
age. While other children played and romped at games he acted as veterinary to
pets, to trapped wildlife, and to corral animals. By the time he finished high
school Charles Orvis knew he wanted to be something other than a dirt farmer or
milk producer. He aspired to the professional field where he could use his
innate abilities for the maximum good.
His gateway to a career
was the Chicago Veterinary College. Its terms ran six months a year for three
years and it cost $700, payable in advance. Even with excellent qualifications
the cost of this kind of education was a challenging obstacle to a student back
in the Eighties. Orvis worked, studied, skimped and saved.
his father was convinced his son's longing for a college education was no
passing fancy, he loaned Charles a wagon and a four-horse team to seek jobs that
would pay bigger rewards.
Charles did hauling and road grading
before he learned of opportunities in Dakota Territory. He loaded his wagon with
a camp outfit and bags of horse feed and drove across Minnesota into northern
Dakota. He plowed sod for settlers, did freighting, and helped with harvests.
Come fall he would return to Wisconsin to bank his earnings. Finally the needed
amount was raised and C.B. Orvis enrolled for the three year course at the
Chicago Veterinary College.
In his mid-twenties he was older than
most students. He applied himself to study and research with such vigor that
upon ending his first term he was hired to do veterinary work in Chicago.
After three years Orvis graduated second in With a diploma, and a $300 loan from his father, C.B. Orvis bought that cut-rate excursion ticket at $2.50 and headed West to launch his career. A career that looked very doubtful that day he faced the Mexicans at the water hole.
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