The First Cowboy
Found photos chronicling one of the first Heifer voyages overseas
In November 1946, 18-year old Claire L. Stine of Millersburg, Indiana, joined the crew of the Liberty Ship S.S. Yugoslavia Victory to bring roughly 800 horses from Newport News, Virginia, to war-ruined Germany through the port of Bremen. He was a "Seagoing Cowboy", enlisted by the Relief organization to care for livestock shipped to post-war Europe. As we know, Heifers for Relief would grow into Heifer Project International. These photos were taken by Claire on that three-plus-week trip, and annotated on the back of the photos in his left-handed cursive soon after.
Among the Seagoing Cowboys abroad the S.S. Yugoslavia Victory identified in Claire's pictures were friends Gerald Showalter and Willis Berkey, also from the Millersburg-Goshen, Indiana area; Howard Henry, from Virginia; Jacob Shacklett, from Kentucky; Bill Wilson; Rob Rodes, and a Mr. Snell.
The original photos were found in the days following Claire's death in August, 2013. Curled, black-and-white prints, placed inside a plastic sandwich bag, inside a shoe box, stored beneath his bed. We can assume that his wife, Jane (who predeceased Claire), had seen the photos; Claire's four sons, however, were not aware of their existence until son Todd found the shoebox and opened the lid.