Or Perhaps it was a Farm

President Kennedy and President Roosevelt may have turned the White House into a zoo, but President Taft brought his cows, and the Lincoln boys kept pet goats, and President Wilson kept sheep, and President Jefferson brought a cow too.

Part of the Pets at the White House series.

President Taft’s Cows

President William Taft, known for his enjoyment of milk, brought his cow Mooly Wooly to the White House. Mooly Wooly enjoyed her time at the White House. She ate grass on the White House lawn all day and then was served oats in the evening. Soon after she arrived she suddenly passed away. People speculate she ate too many oats–oats are for horse not cows.

President Taft soon received a new cow from Wisconsin, Pauline. Pauline sleep next to the President Taft’s car in the garage because President Taft had converted the barn into a garage for the first cars.

President Taft’s cow, Pauline Wayne, grazing on the white House lawn with an unknown young girl (Photo: Library of Congress)

Pauline became a star. She was asked to attend the International Dairymen’s Exposition in Milwaukee in 1911, where you could buy a souvenir bottle of her milk for 50 cents. However, she almost didn’t make it to Milwaukee. The railroad car she was on was accidentally hitched to a train going to Chicago and to the stockyards for Pauline to be made into steaks. That was Pauline’s last trip–President Taft kept her close to home after that.

Farm animals galore

President Taft wasn’t the only president to house farm animals.

  • President Wilson brought 48 sheep to keep the White House lawns trimmed during World War I.
  • President Harrison’s goat Old Whiskers pulled his grandchildren in a cart. He also had a cow
President Harrison and their goat Old Whiskers pulling his grandchildren in a cart
  • Best of all, President Lincoln’s sons’ Willie and Tad, who saved the turkey Jack, had two pet goats, Nanny and Nanko. With loads of imagination and spunk, the two boys used kitchen chairs as carts and Nanny and Nanko pulled them through the White House as the boys yelled, “Get out of the way there!” to ladies in floor-length dresses of the Civil War period with hoop skirts. President Lincoln loved the goats and they knew the sound of his voice.

‍Author: Kathleen Vincenz