Eliza Jones

Eliza Jones

1838 - 1903

Credited with being one of the best dairywomen of her time, Eliza Maria Harvey was born in 1838 in Maitland Upper Canada, now Ontario. Her father, a successful miller, sent her to Montreal and Scotland for her education until Eliza’s mother’s early passing forced Eliza to return home to care for her five younger siblings. While caring for her siblings Eliza spent much time on her father’s farm which is where she began to develop her dairying skills.

In 1859, after marrying Chilion Jones, Eliza briefly moved to Ottawa. While there her husband, an architect, worked on the Canadian Parliament buildings. Upon the completion of his project the couple moved to Brockville where they owned a small piece of property. While birthing and raising her children throughout the 1860’s, Eliza also rented and worked two small farms near her property where she made butter. When she acquired what she considered to be an exceptional Jersey cross-breed Eliza developed an interest in breeding Jersey cattle.

At the time raising Jersey cattle was considered unwise because they could not produce good beef or very much cream-rich milk. However, Eliza was impressed with the quality of butter she could make from the Jersey milk. Over many years of hard work Eliza learned how to make rich, high quality butter from her Jersey’s. All this is especially impressive considering that at the time most Ontario butter was unfit for consumption and often used as axle grease.

Eliza’s butter was of such impressive quality that she exported over 7,000 pounds a year throughout Canada and the United States. Some of the more illustrious clientele to purchase her butter include the dining cars of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Rideau Club in Ottawa. As her operation grew, Eliza hired three men to help her on the farm but Eliza still oversaw all aspects of her business.

With all her success in dairying, Eliza decided to try her hand at showing her magnificent cattle. Her first victory was awarded to her in New York by the Kellogg and Company when she won the breeders cup. From there, her cows went on to win many fairs all throughout Ontario and Quebec as well as competitions held by newspapers and other farm related publications.v

After travelling to the town where her husband lived in 1902 to take care of him in his failing health, Eliza soon became ill and passed away in 1903. After her death, the remainder of her land and cattle were sold at prices she had specified prior to her death, being the intelligent and capable business woman that she was.

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture