New Hampshire Glossary: Neat Stock

Neat stock is a livestock term that may have originated in New England, and was used as early as 1782 in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Neat stock was often used as payment and barter.

28 December 1782. Providence Rhode Island, Providence Gazette. To be SOLD.
FOUR Lots of Land, containing 100 Acres each, lying in the Town of Windsor, in Berkshire County, State of Massachusetts….Cash, neat Stock, or West-India Goods, will be received in Payment….GIDEON FRANKLIN. Windsor, Dec. 25, 1782.

Most early references to “Neat stock” or “Neat cattle” refer specifically to oxen or heifers, and seems to exclude milking (Milch) cows. Even up to the 1923  the Town of New Boston when listing farm animals and improvements, separated the cows from the neat stock, i.e. ” 3 horses, 2 cows, 1 neat stock, 140 hens, etc.”

In some locations outside of New England, “neat stock” was a term used for any type of cattle. A related term, “Live Stock” is defined as neat cattle, horses, mules, asses, sheep and goats.

 

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