An Early Commercial Barn – Sequent Occupance Stage 3
Sequent Occupance Stage 4 – Large Commercial Farming
“ELMIRA – N.Y.              FORT ATKINSON – WIS.            OAKLAND – CAL.”


 An Example of Two Stages of Sequent Occupance.


The James Way (1906-1964)


Sequent Occupance Stage 3

 The James Way company was officially known as James Manufacturing, Inc.   It specialized in the production of farming equipment devoted to livestock industries.  James Manufacturing excelled in dairy products, in particular the steps required to produce milk and milk-related products in very large quantities.  James Manufacturing also marketed a line of products, not as well-known, devoted to poultry farming


This company had its factories in several places distributed throughout the country.  When it was at its peak during the early to mid-1900s, its main factory was at the original site in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, with Elmira as its New York branch and four other factories located in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Chicago, Illinois, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sequent Occupance Stage 3

I was introduced to James Manufacturing indirectly during a follow-up with a vocational counselor who informed me of my career recommendations based on this exam I took as a sophomore in high school.  The state of New York had this program that tested you for your knowledge and skill strengths and then used the results to define the kind of career you should pursue.  According to this test my career options were either to become an accountant or become a farmer.  The reason for the accounting position was obvious.  My math skills were exceptional, but I did not want to spend the rest of my life adding up numbers.  The reason why farming and agriculture were recommended was more of a puzzle at first, until I ordered the free booklets circulated by the local University’s Extension programs on dairy manufacturing, and crops farming. 

It ended up that the new agriculture and livestock businesses required a lot of math skills, not so much for calculating the money that would be earned per crop or whatever, but more so due to the increased popularity of calculating such things as bushels or bales per acre, gallons of milk per month, the cost for tilling, sowing, watering, harvesting, and preparing for the marketplace, or the cheapest way to box and deliver several fields of produce in just a couple of days.   This meant that farming was switching from being a family run business to a large-scale industry.  With this in mind it was The James Manufacturing company, along with several veterinarians at Cornell University, who made the development of large poultry farms in the Hudson Valley more lucrative and less hazardous to the health and well-being of its most important products–chickens and turkeys.

One might suppose that “a barn is a barn”.   The stereotype we assign to barns is different today from it was around the end of the 19th century.  For those of us old enough, we can probably remember that scene from Witness with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis in which an entire Amish town took a day to raise a barn for a newly wed couple (a German version of this part of the movie is at YOUTUBE at, but see also  Those days of community activities in Dutchess County history were long gone by the end of the 19th century.  The older style barn was being replaced by a newer much lighter form designed to go up faster and handle the much larger amounts of produce that had to be managed.  Accompanying this change in the independent family setting was the development of a number of new programs designed to recover some of the lost forests for the region.  It was this absence of wood locally that was forcing the industry to develop this new type of barn during the early 1900s, one that required less board foot volume per building.   But this also meant that the architecture behind the building of a barn would also have to change.

The James Manufacturing Company developed the means to construct light-framed barns that could be erected in half the time, using half the people required for older structures.  These buildings were constructed using lighter, narrow cut wood with some well placed breaks in the V that typically formed the older style roof–forming a gambrel-roof.  According to James Manufacturing, this lighter wood was used to make the “ribs” of a barn which could be raised up with just one person on each side and a third pulling on a rope from the end.  Once erected, this “rib” was then mounted to the foundation where beams had been laid and stabilized to a cement piece. 

This roofing sometimes had angled cross beams inside the frame in order provide additional support.   But for the most part this broken-A form, since it mimicked many of the older Dutch barns so popular during the prior century, added to the looks of this region as well as provided more storage space for each facility made by using this new style of architecture.

When I first saw the barn that was visiting in upper Dutchess County I didn’t recognize any of its architecture due to its obvious aging.  All I knew was that the old barn standing before me had only some remnants of the Dutch influences of the sectioned or jointed A frame.   I was amazed that it had a lot of added features on the back and two sides.  I was even more amazed by the contents still resting in its interior. 


One of the first questions I had about this structure  is why are there so many windows on the front face?  Was it a hay loft?  These windows offered plenty of opportunity to cross-ventilate this facility and in some cases for the farm workers to throw items out of the barn from the second floor or storage space if and when such a need existed.  The purpose of this barn mostly pertained to storage or something and  all the machinery still parked inside and the old bales on the ground floor suggested to me it was used mostly for hay, with the chicken wire installed keep the swifts and swallows out.

In the following views of this building through the east face side window, we get a better idea on how the inner space was used.   Access to the second floor was no longer possible.  There was never an inside stairwell built for this and any outside stairwell built had long since rotted away. 

(roughly aligned images)

The second floor storage space also held wooden crates, which were empty.  Upon first observations, these looked like old and flimsy, and rather thin, crates used to store certain kinds of produce for shipping.  An impression that stayed with me for the next few minutes.  Looking downward from the east side of this building, by way of one of its side windows at ground level, I could see what is called a combine harvester.  The design of this harvester, in particular the shape of its front rotating cylinder and the number of arms (4), was the first solid clue I had for which time period could be assigned to this barn’s history–the 1960s.

The harvester displayed in the lower right image is an Allis Chalmers All Crop Harvester from around 1960 to 1969.  This machine was designed to  cut the crop, separate the grain from the stalk, turn the stalk into a standard smaller pieces which are then thrown out to the side to form piles, as the grain and chaff are separated for use as feed.  In the lower left picture, the machine to the right and behind it was used to till and sow–turn the soil and plant the seeds.  Other views of these structures from ground level and up close follow . . .

The Allis Chalmers All Crop Harvester was popular in the 1960s.  The exact model of this I am uncertain of.  [See,, and a number of 1 to 7 minute films on these devices.]  This Ontario tillage and sowing equipment still has to be reviewed.

So this was just the beginning of a bigger story.  According to some old advertising for James Manufacturing, Inc., the best way to describe a James Way’s product is to say that it was essentially the barn and the complete contents that were marketed by this company.  It was not just the lightness or architectural make up that they were trying to sell.  When someone ordered a James Way barn the deal also included all of the accessories.   In the barns in the image below there is addition ventilation provided by tall vents placed along the roof at both end and in the middle for the largest barn.  These double as grounds for lightning as well as aeration, and had a more pleasant look to them than the archaic looking lightning rods seen in the pictures of the structure I am researching above.   I still had no idea what type of crops this business was working with, although I expected it to be some form of livestock due to the buildings in the back.

A look at the back face of this barn I was viewing provides us with a little more insight into its multiple uses.  There are three sets of openings provided for specific uses.  Wooden crates and bales of hay could be removed by either side, with the remains of a slide still seen of the left (east) side.  There were no stairs or remains of stairs that could be found to the second where these bales were kept.  The third loft set above the second was possibly used for storage, but consisted only of cross beams, placed several feet apart, and lacked any signs of bearing a solid floor.

3 main components of the back wall

 The first evidence that appeared regarding what this farm produced is the following piece of galvanized metalwork found next to the harvesting equipment.

On the first floor I also saw a cleaning unit, a pressure steamer with a company name that could be traced. The name Oakley Chemical Company was changed to Oakite Products in 1926. In 1948, Oakite was selling its products out of New York City (see  The following was noted for the history of this company at

Founded in 1909, Oakite Products was originally based solely on the production of Oakite, according to a website maintained by Industrial Paint & Powder.  The stuff was used as a household and industrial cleaner to remove grease, oil, and soils from various surfaces.  During World War II (which ended only four years prior to the photo), the Oakite product expanded into a full line of cleaners, brighteners, and rust preventatives.  These served in the manufacturing of aircraft, ships, tanks, and munitions.  Oakite Products has continued today as Chemetall Oakite Products Inc.


Just outside this building there was a lot of bric-a-brac lying around.    This helped to more accurately date some parts of this site.


After making my way out of the barn my curiosity had risen enough to make me want to see the rest of this facility.   Just behind the older barn was a more recently developed structure made mostly of concrete bricks.  This could have been a more recent replacement built for the fairly small barn I was just in, which in its later years appeared to have served mostly as a garage for the harvesting equipment and its accessories.  This next generation of barns I was about to visit represents the next stage in farming that came to this country during the mid to late 1900s, which I will refer to in this presentation as sequent occupance stage 4, for reasons that will become clear later. 

Sequent Occupance Stage 4

During the early 1800s, Dutchess County farms were developing from a Stage 2 to early version of the Stage 3 model of Sequent Occupancy.  During the Yellow Fever epidemics prevailing on and off between 1800 and 1825, the staple foods needed by New York city were provided by the Dutchess county farmers.   This meant that Dutchess county farming had transitioned from being a pioneer industry to an early business-like setting.  For the most part, the farms in Dutchess County retained this combination of Stage 2 and Stage 3 styles of business as the locals continued to provide their products to local families and grocery stores and in large amounts to New York city down below.  By the late 1800s, some of these local farms had evolved into “big businesses”, but were not yet large enough or industrialized enough to be what we refer to today as agribusinesses.  This type of farming setting produced the stage 3 building that was photographed and described above.   This next building on these premises is a Stage 4 sequent occupance structure.  It demonstrates the major changes that occurred when the local “big business” of farming became the early version of what we today refer to as agribusiness ventures.

This transition from the wood to bricks farm setting is due to the significant changes that took place around the 1960s as a result of technological and financial investments being made.  These farms were no longer staple industries for just local citizens and nearby urban settings, providing food to just the locals.  Due to the baby booms that took place after the war and into the 1950s, there were much larger food demands in this country that had to be met.  The rapidly growing urban and suburban settings in the states were where most of these people were residing.  Some of these settings were quite a distance from their farmers.  In thus Hudson Valley we could find these cities up near Albany and down and around New York City.  The new barns being built were designed to meet these demands of these seemingly far away places.

This enabled the farming business to become what we refer to today as agribusinesses, the “IBM version” of farms that sprung up all along this part of the Valley.  The facilities were designed to produce much greater amounts of products, and hopefully make use of newer technologies to provide these supplies to distributors and ultimately consumers at lower costs.   To war veterans of a generation or two before, they were not pretty sights.

The front view of this building, Sequent Occupance Stage 4

From the outside, the lack of wood in the structure for this Stage 4 facility made it very unappealing.  I can recall as kid driving by these kinds of places and noting the “pollution” they left in the local air–constant noise, discomforting smells, dirtied roadways, and oh yeah, too much lighting at night.  There was this road we would take to my aunt’s house that I could recall, that may have been this road I am on right now I was thinking.  Along with the guaranteed deer sitings you would have each time you drove up here, you had the constant noise pollution at nights and in the middle of a dark field, with no street lights to drive by, there was this well lit community of large buildings that appearing much like the brick-faced urban ghetto buildings we would see at the the north edge of New York City, each time we drove down to visit my great grandmother. 

Walking about the premises just outside the much larger concrete brick building, there was enough bric-a-brac lying around out there to make me want to continue my exploration.

Hiking around the backside of its exterior I found a lot more evidence regarding what this place was used for.    There were more of those galvanized and glazed shelving units used to hold chickens in their place.  Line these up in a standing position along the walls inside this building and you have a concrete “barn” holding a lot of fowl, in some sort of warehouse-like side-by-side shelf assembly.  This told me that whenever an egg was laid, it could be more easily seen and gathered.  When it was time for a feeding this could be more readily accomplished.  Whenever a bird got ill, its neighbors could be more easily monitored . . . and infected.


Examples of coop designs, currently put to good use

Also behind this long concrete building there were the remains of another building or two, now well concealed by the vines overgrowing it.  There was once a back room here, a one floor facility with a lot of plumbing.  It was possibly a slaughter or packaging house due to its proximity to the rear doors of the large barn and positioning right alongside a large dirt and gravel clearing.  The main driveway for this place led into the property and directly to this site.  The piles of large wood, iron and even some electrical pieces suggested this room of unknown use had since not only collapsed, but also been covered by several tons of other scraps and building remains.   The following are views of the back face of this large gray brick building.  Beneath the vines there was layer upon layer of assorted metal debris, shelving units, 20 foot long feeding trays, braces for the framing of the roof and wall, etc.  Right at the back edge of this place,  next to the straw and hay field, there was an old latrine house, apparently used in recent decades mostly by deer hunters.

The following are views of the length of the facility, this time from the west end gazing along back and front face . .  .

. . . with a view from west end, looking eastward back at the original barn from the generation before.

Sequent Occupance, Stages 3 and 4

The size of this farm factory is hinted at still more by all of the galvanized nesting bins lying outside in the back by its west end . . .

From this corner at the west end, looking in through its windows, you could tell there was a lot of interesting history to this building.  By now, the large number of chicken coops made me suspect this was a large egg-producing farm.  However, its appearance was quite different from the another farm I used to go by every morning on the bus headed to school.  That facility was equal in size but was constructed of wood and had a gambrel roof.  You knew you were close to it once you began to hear the loud clucking in the background heading down to New Hamburg on the edge of the Hudson River. 

There were also a number of structures noticeable on the outside of this structure, even more signs of the technology in place for this time.  This was enough to make me want to continue this tour from the inside.   As I headed back to the east end where the door was, I noticed dozens of openings in the walls, some of these, incredibly, were due to birds that had managed to peck their way through the brick walls, others were deliberately put there to allow for various levels of cross ventilation.

One of many front window fans

Barrels with unknown use

So I made my way through the entrance back at the east end.  What I could see from the outside was nothing compared to what I found once I entered this facility through its east end entrance. 

I walked through a brief open space  totally exposed to the outside due to the loss of its roof,  and into a space with old single mattresses and such lying about that was part of the main structure.  This entranceway had a door in the far corner that led into a fairly dark room.  This room had the following interior . . . .




It took me a few minutes to put all the pieces together for this puzzle.  The word pullet painted onto the wall told me this was some sort of poultry raising facility, not just a 1950s “egg factory”.  The extremely thick cork along the entire walls was there for insulation and sound proofing.  The very large metal units and other contraptions strewn about the floor told me that eggs were kept here, not by the dozens, but by the hundreds to nearly one thousand. 

One might immediately think that this was where the eggs were collected for sale as food items.  But the fact that the special units were there with temperature and humidity controls told me this was an incubation room.  This was a room used to keep the eggs until they were ready to hatch.  The framing was used to hold the eggs, and were three very large units produced by James Manufacturing.


Standing directly in front of these three units, sheets of small notepad sized paper were hung on a nail to the left.  These was used to keep notes and label each collection of shelves drawn out from the incubators for a controlled hatching.   The producer of these incubators–James Manufacturing, Inc.–was my first bit of evidence to the history of this site.  According to the metal label screwed into the frame, this company had a local factory operating in Elmira, New York.  ‘Now I am getting somewhere,’  I thought.  

The upper part of each section had a unit that held two layers of eggs, with about 15 eggs per row, 7 or 8 rows wide.  The lower unit held 6 or 7 of these layers.  In each of these the shelf units, the metal frames holding the eggs could be slid into the incubators or ‘warmers’.   The upper and lower units in the warmer that were temperature-controlled had a small silver-colored unit — they were controlled by using something much like the hexagon wrenches placed into the holes. 




I exited this room and made my way through the entryway room, followed by another set of doors.  These doors led to the ground level floor of this facility, where the following pictures were taken.

When the eggs were ready to hatch, they were pulled out of the incubation room and placed on some other device that rested beneath a large heat lamp, probably fueled by propane.  


These chicks were then probably cared for in the small cages now strewn about the premises.


The entire floor, longer than a football field, was covered with sawdust. 

At the far western end of this first floor there was a special room with part of its door controlled by a long piece of plywood placed at ground level, as if to allow animals in and out of this end space.  Chicken wire separated this room, about one-fourth of the floor space, from the rest of the area.  


Door into the poults room at the end of this floor, with feed tray

On the northern wall approximately every 4 or 5 feet apart were these nails with scraps of paper hanging from them.  I was able to trace their use back about half way along the entire first floor.  These were the first solid evidence I had for what this place was used for.    There were turkeys being raised here!  And due to the numbers involved, this had to be a commercial farm devoted mostly if not totally to raising  turkeys, and perhaps chickens or a few eggs.

All of these tickets hanging on the wall stated “FT ORANGE TURKEY START CRUM MD.”  At first I thought the last two words indicated an MD by the name of Crum was somehow involved with what took place here, perhaps as a veterinarian specializing in poultry or a local public health inspector (To the South about 5 to 10 miles is something called Crum Elbow Creek; I though Crum might have been a family name).  Reading these slips, everything about this facility was spelled out.  These were the slips detailing the use of what was called “TURKEY STARTER CRUMBLES MEDICATED.”   The medication was Sulfaquinoxalamine, which according to the slip was used as an “Aid in preventing outbreaks of coccidiosis due to Eimeria melengrimitis and E. adenoides.”   [For the specifics on this groups of turkey diseases  see]

The poults (baby turkeys) were fed this formula for the first four weeks of life.  During this time they are living in very close association with each other.  The purpose of the medicine is to prevent the possible deaths that would normally ensue due to such restricted living conditions.  Living in such cramped quarters, a single bird infected by Eimeria can pass this organism on to the others in very short time, through the stool layer left behind on the barn floor.  This could result in dozens to hundreds of deaths in just a few days, and by the 1950s was often responsible for the death of nearly 25% of a population of fresh hatchlings.   This treatment for Eimeria was developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in large part due to the efforts of Cornell University. 

These poults were continued this feed for a week to ten days following their transfer into the main living quarters for the next stage of their life. 

The other ingredients

Backtracking to make my way up to the second floor, I could see that the Chicken wire was hanging from the long beams, essentially dividing the floor space into thirds for the entire course of the building.  There were also well placed wire chicken curtains and wall boards going at a right angle to the other wire, breaking the ground floor into sections, with the most distinct section formed at its western end where most of the feed tickets were, and less distinct sections formed all along the floor as I head back to the east end main entrance. 

the wooden stairs leading to floor 2


Poultry Farm

Scene from Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s movie Baraka  (from


To make my way to the second floor I had to back track a little to go up the stairs positioned close to the entranceway.  On the second floor there was more sawdust like cover and a number of other contraptions raising my curiosity about this place.    At its far east end there was a vacant room, still very clean relatively speaking, which I suspect to be some sort of combined office and storage space. 

The piles of newspapers strewn about this section suggested this to me as well–they consisted mostly of the Wall Street News.  I figured there probably was a desk, phone, filing cabinet and perhaps even an old typewriter in this room at one point in time.  Heading into the main section of this floor, I passed a unique triangular cage and then made my way onto the main completely open platform.

For the next period of life, the poults were transferred to the second floor of this facility.   Until now, they have been caged for much of the time, or confined to small area settings.   This was done for safety’s sake. 

Allowing too many poults to reside in close quarters risked the chance that an unanticipated bacterial or viral disease could initiate and be spread rather quickly across an entire brood, a financial and public health disaster.   There was a lot of internal open space for these birds to wattle about in.  Both pecking and feeding orders pretty much controlled everything that took place at this level I figure.



There were these large, circular feeding trays were situated along the entire length of the building.  They were about 3 feet in diameter. 

There were also more of those cages used to hold the poults down below.  But what really stood out on this floor for the most part was the total open space it consisted of.  It had numerous small openings throughout its walls and all possible roof sections.  Some of these were placed between major roof supports, others in the littlest spaces available for such use.  There were also numerous fans placed around the area. 

These were in part placed there to deal with  the temperature and humidity problems that might occur on the upper floors of this area, but more so to ventilate this living space.  The cross ventilation served to prevent further complications from developing due to other disease related organisms.  Evidence that mature adults lived up on this level came to me quite remarkably, in the form of recurring remnants of feathers still sitting on the debris ridden floor. 

There were also this rubber hosing used as water lines, and a thin layer of hay found all along the floor, serving to produce a humidity that was cooling and more conducive to the healthy survival of the fowl. 

All of these vents in the ceiling bore the company name–“Jamesway” for James Manufacturing.

Like the first floor, this floor was separated into sections with large amounts of chicken wire.

There were clues found everywhere about the cleaning and humidification process for these quarters.


But the most revealing evidence I could find about the use for this place were the tattered feathers lying about on the floor.  They were pure white, which meant either some breed of white chicken or turkey was residing in this place.   (The “pullet” note on the wall in the incubation room suggested chickens, but the poult feeding tickets pretty much confirmed they were turkey).


This gave me a little more evidence related to the local history of this part of the Hudson Valley.  During the 1950s and 1960s, this section of the county had the least expensive land available to companies interested in developing a crop or livestock industry.    According to some writings, the least expensive acreage for the county was in the Milan township where this facility was located.  Putting 2 and 2 together, it also seemed possible to me that that due to the strong history of local Dutch heritage for this region, a special breed of turkeys was raised here–the purebred Holland white Turkey first made popular in the 1930s.

turkey farm

Dept. of Agriculture Photograph Collection.
Flock of Holland White Turkey, which comprise
a section of the huge family of 25,000 birds
raised by Milton B. and Marion E. Tabor on the
lakeshore farm at West Swanton. October 1937.
(Photo #: Ag-9)




Throughout my tour along the upper floor I saw plenty of evidence that this was a James Manufacturing building.  All of the vents leading to the outside had the company name on them.  The main switches controlling the various utilities were labelled as James Manufacturing.  Even though the old-style James Manufacturing farm built with that famous array of ribs and cross beams was no more, the company managed to maintain its leadership role in this early version of a commercial farm about to become an agribusiness.  In its later years, James Manufacturing became affiliated with a Texas company in fact, but still managed to maintain the distribution of some of its most important creations and inventions.

One of the inventions that amazed me was a switch used to control all of the lights and water hoses.  This was the original version of that little plastic device we buy today to plug into the outlet in order to control when the lights go on and off on a daily basis, depending on how we set those little plastic pegs or control pins.   Most of these devices were innovative back then, and usually had to be produced by local companies.


This simple and seemingly archaic device today was at its peak use and performance in the 196os.  The height of this technology was symbolized by its use at the Turkey Farm.   

There were two models of these devices I saw at the facility, both produced locally.  The producer of the one next to the entranceway was Tork Clock Company operating out of Mount Vernon, NY.   The producer of the other located on the first floor was Paragon.


The Holland White breed of turkey produces 99% of today’s turkey product.  See  [Photo credit: INSADCO Photography/Alamy]

There was a back door to this floor, through which the now fairly old turkeys could be shuffled out, to make their way to the next place.


Once I got close to the middle of this second floor, I noticed that the surface of this floor was interesting (to put it nicely).    At first it seemed as though a top surface of cement was used to seal the main floor.  But it was peeling off in bits and pieces or a layer about one-eighth of an inch thick, and varied in make up from mostly hay to mostly white powder. 


Then I noticed after breaking off a few pieces of this white layer that this could be a solidifed 50 year old concretion of guano left behind by these turkeys.  All along the second floor there were tell-tale clues that a significant amount of water had to be used to regularly clean up the entire facility.  This water may have been directed towards a spillway through the back door, but this conclusion is just conjectural. 




Heading back out of this facility, followed by a walk back towards the road, one can see another large series of buildings in the distance behind a lot of young trees and shrubs.  Throughout the years of driving by this place, this building structure changed from plainly visible to barely visible except during the winters.  My assumption was always that this was some sort of place where cattle and/or horses were kept. 

With my interest now high, I decided to walk over to that building as well to check it out.  Behind the true garage on the edge of the road there was a stream passing from left to right through a concrete channel, and a 3 to 4 inch thick, 10 inch wide board lying across it that I used to cross to the other side.

A picture of where I just came from 

On this side, the buildings and such told me this was more of the turkey growing operation.  These facilities were where the adults were kept and raised.


 Outside of Coop from central entrance, west end looking east, and from the same west end corner looking south


Inside views of the Coop




View of Northwest Corner standing on a buff

A couple of feeding devices were found at the far east end of the facility.  Some were adopted from barrels, the largest was a device actually made for this use.

In spite of all of the shelter so far photographed, this setting has plenty of “free range” areas set up in front of this building with a narrow track located behind this building as well following the wall. 


Sequent Occupance and the James Way

This facility was developed for large-scale manufacturing of this unique series of food products.  In the sequence occupance model, this farm setting represents the structures that are midway between the distant past in farming and agriculture and the current high-tech industry that tends to be more engaged in very large production processes.  This has an interesting application of geography and public health in that it help to demonstrate the transition that had taken place between the late 1960s and the early 1980s in agriculture.  During the 1960s, the domesticated animal meats industry was still somewhat rustic and country-like, seemingly fitting the commercial agriculture phase in a region’s development.  Due to the various forms of special equipment being utilized, this industry was on the edge of becoming more highly evolved technologically.  In the following figure, this setting best represents the fourth stage in the processes depicted.


The James Way adds a twist to the human sequent occupance model promoted by economic geographers during the 1960s.  The traditional model of a place is that it changes from farming to industrial occupations.   The original models produced by its promoters in the 1960s never really considered farming and agriculture as major industries.  This was changing during the 1960s into 1970s, and is perhaps even why the Meyer and Strietelmeier model had so much difficulty being supported for this way of interpreting the changes in land use over time.  This James Way setting provides us with an example of how the Commercial Farming/Early Industrial setting in the above sequent occupance model came to be.  Exceptionally large scale farms became the standard for some of the more developed farming regions during the 1960s and 1970s. 

Based on the visit to the site it must have handled fowl by more than just a few hundred, perhaps up to one or two thousand.   The indoor and outdoor coop settings alone could have handled at least as much as the egg laying and poult-feeding set-up.

Another scene from Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s movie Baraka  (from

There is also an interesting series of public health issues related to these changes in the farming industry.  The type of epidemiological transition processes involved with this business setting were very different that those common just a few decades before the 1960s.  If we look at agribusiness as an industry, not just an outdoor natural resource business engaged in the use of older technologies, we can see how the farming business of the 1960s was becoming an industry much like that of its neighboring big businesses like Texaco, WonderBread or IBM.  One was just as likely to deal with such OSHA problems as chemical exposure involving cleaning supplies, petroleum products, insecticides and weed killers in the factory setting as well as in the large-scale farming setting.   In terms of disease type prevalence, this allowed for some overlap when it came to certain work related diseases due to chemical exposure and accidents, along with the additional occupation risks attached to farming-related settings, ranging from specific lung diseases linked to inhalation of straw, mold, fungal powders, bat and bird guano, and numerous other occupational hazards, along with zoonotic diseases of primary and secondary human risk such as salmonella, campylobacter, listeria, brucella, histoplasma, ancylostoma (hookworm), yersinia (plague), mycobacterium (tuberculosis), and in modern times vibriotoxic E. coli strains.

The major products for this business in upper Dutchess County were just chickens and turkey.  It produced these products by engaging in every step in the “manufacturing process”, beginning with the production and fertilization of the egg, to the slaughtering of the adult birds for use as table food.  It was up to the other industries that provided these industries with their needs to meet their demands as factories for food, instead of just farms.

Animal Epidemiological Transition and Sequent Occupancy Patterns

Yet another unique way to look at these changes in disease and ways of living is to relate the sequent occupance model to the epidemiological transitions process normally applied to humans.  This way of interpreting disease in animals is quite different and unique and deserves some special attention, especially with regard to this sequent occupance version of the history of agribusiness.  

By engaging in this type of query, we can take the basic biology and ecology of zoonotic disease as defined by Pavlosky and Voronov and provide a temporal way to model the disease patterns and transitions that take place within the farming-agribusiness settings.  The old style traditional farms serving a family are considered stage 2, the early local business farm stage 3, the large-scale regional farm stage 4, and the megafarm stage 5, a stage I felt the need to add to my model of sequent occupance as posed in my thesis.  

During each of these stages in the animal’s lifestyle, different types of animal diseases prevail, and once we add humans to this scene, certain kinds of epizootic diseases, diseases related to animal and usually start out just as an animal-based disease, become a human disease due to this shared ecology or human ecology related feature.


 When I produced the basic human model of sequent occupance and epidemiological transition on several of my other pages, I focused on the anthropocentric version of this ecological transition–defining disease as a human experience rather than as an animal or zoonotic experience.  Diseases do exist that infect animals that have many of the same ecological features of diseases produced by similar organisms in humans.  At times, these two ecological systems can overlap, resulting in the transference of a case of influenza in hogs for example into humans–the results of which were the two early 1900s deadly influenza epidemics.  Likewise in recent years it was the avian flu that once transmitted to human became a much more aggressive form of disease.  In the case of the Hanta Virus or the Ebola, it was the transference and successful transition into human disease form that results in the very deadly epidemics attached to each of these previously non-human-born disease organisms.

Since we normally do not study animals much unless they are in some domesticated or commonly caged form, we have only a partial perception of what the natural disease processes are within an animal’s ecosystem may be.  These poorly documented animal disease are out there, possible precursors to some up and coming human epidemic, but only in recent decades have they become more aggressively researched by wildlife experts and agriculture scientists interested in possibly preventing animal extinctions  Until recently, we only knew about these diseases once they were discovered and reported by people frequently associated with the wildlife ecological setting, for example, the highly problematic disease Ebola.

It is interesting to note that domestication does have its impact of species in several major ways.  The first way that domestication modifies species disease history and patterns is by changing an animal’s genomic background.  Purebreds and certain cross breeds can be more susceptible to diseases that were previously not infectious to the species in general.  The second way changes occur is very much like how human evolution and adaptation impacts human disease patterns–major dietary practices and the nutritional content of foods are changed.    A third way human interactions and domestication change animal health and disease is through chemical exposure to new substances atypical of the normal environmental setting the animal naturally evolved in.  The fourth way human interactions impact animal health is by modifying the associational patterns between disease carriers, disease vectors and potential disease victims.   The fifth way is by modifying the population density that an organism/animal was originally adapted to, the primary problem with poult and chicken farms.

Example of Possible Layout of Sequent Occupance-Zoonoses Associations

Each of these five modifications in living patterns has its own sets of diseases for animals to contend with.  Natural ecological diseases more befitting of the first stage in the Sequent Occupance are those basic zoonotic diseases so extensively covered by Pavlovsky and Voronov.  These diseases are dependent on the overlap of three ecologies and spatial distribution and locational behaviors.  There is the ecology of the host, the carrier or vector, and the pathogenic organism that all have ecological and environmental needs that must be met for such illnesses to commence.  Pavlovsky and Voronov refered to this as a metazoonotic disease pattern, with large areas that need to be defined for each of the three spatial distributions and the central disease region.  There are certain requirements for the place where all three can intersect with each other and result in human disease patters.

The second stage in the sequent occupance model for animal diseases requires that some form of animal grouping and socialization begin to play a more important role in the species activities.  It retains many of the wilderness features but adds a little self- or human-imposed domestication to the situation with regard to animal occupancy.  In these scenarios, intraspecies socialization becomes important to the species survival, and for doesticated species, people and animal population density increases, though not that much.  There are also more complex interactions taking place between the main group of organisms and other organisms.  These social relationships that animals have are can naturally or anthropically increase in frequency and intensify, thereby making the possibility of aggressive disease transmission common.   In the history of medicine, I might equate this with the early 19th century domestic medicine and farming medicine books published during the antebellum years, which include descriptions of animal diseases like worms and external infections along with human born whitlow’s tumor and worms.

The third stage in this setting is more akin to the early industrial-agricultural period in life.  Until now, the human ecological factor has played little role in determining the disease patterns an animal might have.  With more aggressive domestication, there is a forced increase in population density, and a change in the ecology due to an inclusion of human bodies and human habits and behaviors into this scenario.  Now the human factor becomes more important in defining disease patterns and disease ecology.  In these cases we find certain disease like animal-human intestinal worms becoming more a factor, or the development of occasional cases of animal-human diseases that require a minimal or limited interaction between the two, like lyme disease or psittacosis.   The disease does not require the organism to be present when humans get it, but does require a recent history of shared space and lifestyle practices in order for the appropriate transfer of pathogens to take place.

The fourth stage is the result of forced domestication and significantly modified living habits, such as the forced population densities seen in the above turkey farm scenario.  In the natural setting, Stages 2 and perhaps 3, the effects of Eimeria are minimal.  In the crowded living quarters of a domestic farm industrial setting, Stage 4, and especially the modern-day high technology industry farming setting, Stage 5, we see complete changes in the environment taking place, resulting in numerous deaths were the proper monitoring, prevention and intervention processes developed and adhered to.  These settings not only modify the natural ecology of animals, hosts, vectors, pathogens and people, they result in new settings with a greater likelihood for the natural problems normally absent from such settings to begin to surface in the new living arrangements for people and animals.   (The old farms illustrated here and the Amish setting represents stages, the newer farmer with the concrete building stage 4; the hints directed to the movie Baraka refer to stage 5.)

Finally, as noted in my thesis on Oregon Trail Cholera, in a more modern sense there is this need to add a fifth “post-modern” humanist-generated stage to the sequence occupancy model, one that takes into account the very unnatural manmade changes in nature that have prevailed.  This fifth stage differs from the fourth stage in that the industries lose a lot of their natural ecological settings of pathogenic behaviors.  A 20th century industrial setting that is very mechanistic, highly engineered, but still somewhat limited by other factors such as speed in productivity and lack of dependence on exceptionally high technology such as electronics and the computer world, or the addition of complex automation and high rates of productivity.  These 21st century changes result in a very different set of diseases in people, and will result in the same epidemiological transition patterns in domestic animals as well.  Now lifestyle and ability to survive in a non-industrial setting become less possible for these domesticated species, and the diseases they become exposed to and become more likely to experience change considerably from the outdoor ecological diseases their species once had to suffer.

The thing to do here is to place the common diseases that we know of within these 5 different levels.  Take for example the influences of certain disease on schools of whales or dolphins, or herds of bison, flocks of migrating fowls, communities of ants, or a hive of bees.  In such cases, population density plays a bigger role in the spread of the epidemic.   We know that rabies ecology is ancient (Stage 1 mostly), and that even equine encephalitis induced by mosquitoes is most a natural ecological disease (Stages 1 and/or 2).   Brucellosis is common to social animals and to humans.  The Hog Cholera of the early 1900s was probably a Stage 2 or 3 disease.  The endemic Pimelia (St. George) diseases involve two domesticated herding animals–cattle and horses.  Where might Chronic Wasting Myelitis, a prion disease of Elk (Mad-Elk Disease) fit into the scenario?  Traditional Newcastle influences wild bird flocks; it is stage 2.  Egg products spoiled by Salmonella are stages 3, 4 and later.  Milk products spoiled by vibriotoxic E. coli are stages 4 and 5.



Veterinary Medicine and Public Health

There are numerous reasons to focus on the health of livestock and farm animals in relation to the health of people.  Our first instinct is the try to relate this piece of medical and public health history to foodways and diets practiced in the western world.  Leaders in this field like to argue that the reason we have som much animal disease is that we confine these animals and force them to live in unnatural conditions, environments and ecological and social setting that they are not naturally adapted to.  In part they are correct that the living conditions we tend to put edible animals into is not at all consciously moral or naturally humane and good for the being.  But that moral argument is not the intention here of this section.  Instead, the point here is to try to better understand what was happening at this poultry facility in upper Dutchess County, New York at the peak of the commercial success for this once farming, now industrial occupation.

The James Way set the stage for what would happen in the late 19th century with farms and animal raising.  The use of ventilation, the control of humidity and temperature, dust, mold and fungi in the air, all were essential to ensuring the survival of the animal species and far setting now becoming more industrial in style and nature.   With improvements in the building of large buildings, and the use of some very non-naturally aerated materials like concrete and some of the early plastics, we find the buildings developed to harbor these wares to be less conducive to promoting good health in animals, animal growers, and the consumers.  

One of the primary reasons for losses in large numbers of poults grown for the food industry was the effects of delivery to new climates.  This occurs when a bird is removed from its natural setting into a domestic setting, from a domestic setting into a more controlled industrial farm setting, from an outdoor living environment to a mostly indoor growth environment.  Adding to these changes in environmental differences were the manners in which these changes were made.  Whereas a freshly laid egg had to lie in the same place for weeks to come, with the goal of making it through any potential threats to its existence defined by predators of itself or its parental population, safety was more assured in the barn, especially one that could accommodate hundreds of inhabitants at a single time.  But now the enemy was mold, spores, fungi and bacteria naturally circulating about this setting, due in part to natural biological processes that animals engage in as a part of life, but also due to weather and climate changes. 

The effects of weather and climate on the human body were by 1900 extremely well documented.  The discovery of the bacterial cause for disease as an extension of animalcules theories underwent much the same types of changes with animal borne diseases as well.   The intestinal worm was at a disadvantage because we could see obvious signs of it in animal fecal materia.  Much the same could be said for some of the smaller microbial organisms responsible for such farm-generated diseases as ringworm and mange.  The smallest of microbial organisms related to farmed animal diseases were usually discovered about this time as well, but due to their unique physiological make-up, were often more difficult to treat.  The cause for diseases in fowl was a protozoan animalcule, one sized between the bacteria and the ringworm.

Eimeria maxima

The advent of sulfa drugs in medicine was paralleled by the same type of industry developing in the livestock raising business.  People were often at a disadvantage compared to animals when it came to receiving the earliest forms of these cures.  It was easier to test a particular remedy using an animal, and experience unexpected fatal results, than it was to test the same medicine on people, only to witness similar fatalities.  At times, due to this paradigm, animals were the first to have a drug tested on them, long before the same type of treatment could be defined as one that people could manage as well.

Eimeria maxima in Chickens

In the poultry business, Eimeria was the primary culprit for causing fatalities in crowded fowl population settings.  The disease it resulted in was coccidiosis.  In 1939, the development of sulfonamide medications to treat microbial pathogens was found to benefit poultry populations.  More importantly however was the discover that this use of the drug could be provided in a preventive fashion, due to the fact that organisms could not easily develop a mechanism to work against it.  Unlike the vaccination process, which results in immunization, the administration of sulfonamide before any disease onset occurs, over the right period of time, enables the animal being treated to outgrow its highest risk stage, right after its move to a new location.  Better yet, this drug could be administered as a part of the feed.

Stages and histology of Eimeria infections

Over the next 12 years, more than one-hundred articles were published on the use of sulfa drugs to treat avian diseases.  But during this time, it was administered solely as a way to treat birds already taken ill.  These birds required a very skillful veterinarian to identify their fairly generic symptoms that developed due to coccidiosis, symptoms like fatigue, etc.  With the invention of this method of coccidiosis prevention, this improved the productivity of Turkey Farm and greatly reduced costs attached to fowl and egg losses. 

This period in poultry raising history in general also had relationships with human born infections diseases.  The swine  flu was the worst epidemic to strike the United States, and so its possibility of any link to White Holland Turkey farming seemed minimal.  However a genetic study of the H1N1 virus associated with the deadly flu strains of 1911 and 1918 demonstrate that there was some wild water fowl link to the evolution of this virus.  The high amount of wetlands in this county do make some people, farmers or not, worry that their setting could be a place where the next serious flu strain might evolve.  But none of this thinking was evidence during the mid-1900s when this turkey farm was busy manufacturing its next set of birds.   Nevertheless, the knowledge of good sanitation practices prevailed.  For James Manufacturing, we see them involving for example ion the production of a unit designed for a Sanitorium devoted to Tuberculosis victims.

Unfortunately the plans for the old Turkey farm is ultimately demolition due to local development plans.  This facility was once the largest poultry and turkey farm in upper Dutchess County.  I learned a little about this place as a child, on occasion seeing it whenever we drove up to see my aunt, uncle and cousins who lived in a back woods area just north of Milan, New York.   But driving by this facility recently, I just had to stop when I noticed that this landmark piece of real estate with a detailed local history important to the local economy was now up for sale.   The land surrounding its remaining structures was partially cleared, obviously in preparation for further clearing of this property and the removal of what I always felt were a series of historical buildings.  For this reason, I decided it was time to take the above photographs of this place that I had always meant to take.

Another James Way Barn


For more on Coccidiosis go to

See also:  Records of the James Manufacturing Co., a manufacturer of livestock handling equipment, incubators, ventilating systems, and other products to improve productivity and sanitary conditions in agriculture. The collection consists primarily of printed newsletters, catalogs, and fliers documenting the firm’s advertising and promotional efforts. Included are photographs, drawings and blueprints, and details on an advertising campaign on Jamesway equipment used by Admiral Richard Byrd in Antarctica in 1934.  James Manufacturing Company. Catalog number 23, dated 1917, has 303 pages.   Published as a hard cover book, it covers all types of barn and livestock equipment along with a hundreds of pictures of barns the company built with locations for these barns over the entire country.  The book has photos and illustrations of full page picture and many double page images of Weather Vanes, Cupola’s, Trollies for feed, milk cans , Bull Pens and much more.  There is also a large blueprint section.  The James Manufacturing Company was an industry leader in dairy barn equipment, and became more successful that then older barn equipment companies like Louden, Leader, Giant, Ney, Meyer and Milwaukee.  These older companies remained successful in manufacturing Hay Tools. T he James Manufacturing Company was the dairy barn equipment pioneer.  The James Manufacturing Company was organized under the laws of Wisconsin in 1906. Although the company was comparatively young to other established barn equipment manufactures. The James Manufacturing Company would become an industry leader in dairy barn equipment. Successful and veteran barn equipment companies like Louden, Leader, Giant, Ney, Meyer and Milwaukee found success in manufacturing Hay Tools. The James Manufacturing Company would become the dairy barn equipment pioneer.   The real beginning, however, was back on the James farm near Wales, Wis., where the first James stalls were made in the old blacksmith shop on the farm. Later, more stalls were made in the village near by.

A timeline for the discovery of Coccidiosis treatments in New York


Eimeria tenella (Raillet and Lucet, 1891).   Horton-Smith, C. 1951. Sulphaquinoxaline in the treatment of caecal coccidiosis in chickens caused by the coccidium Eimeria tenella (Raillet and Lucet, 1891). Pages 3–8 in Investigations of diseases and their control. Sect. III. 9th World’s Poult. Cong., Paris, France.

Early 1900s

Levine, P. P. 1939. The effect of sulfanilamide on the course of experimental avian coccidiosis. Cornell Vet. 29:309–320.

Levine, P. P. 1945. Specific diagnosis and chemotherapy of avian coccidiosis. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 106:88–103.[Web of Science]

Anonymous. 1947. Research for the farmer. 59th Annual Report. Contribution 703, Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station, Kingston.

Grumbles, L. C., J. P. Delaplane, and T. C. Higgins. 1948. Continuous feeding of low concentrations of sulfaquinoxaline for the control of coccidiosis in poultry. Poult. Sci. 27:605–608.[CrossRef]

Foster, A. O. 1949. The economic losses due to coccidiosis. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 52:434–442.[CrossRef][Web of Science]

Hawkins, P. A. 1950. Coccidiosis in poultry: A review. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 116:226–227.[Web of Science]

Horton-Smith, C. 1951. Sulphaquinoxaline in the treatment of caecal coccidiosis in chickens caused by the coccidium Eimeria tenella (Raillet and Lucet, 1891). Pages 3–8 in Investigations of diseases and their control. Sect. III. 9th World’s Poult. Cong., Paris, France.

Anonymous. 1953. Coccidiosis annotated bibliography. Merck and Co. Inc., Rahway, NJ.

Anonymous. 1961. John P. Delaplane (1906–1957). Avian Dis. 5:1.[Medline]

1990s onward

Chapman, H. D. 1993. Twenty-one years of monensin for the control of coccidiosis – A review. Pages 37–44 in Proc. VIth Int. Coccidiosis Conf. J. R. Barta and M. A. Fernando, ed. University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Williams, R. B. 1999. A compartmentalised model for the estimation of the cost of coccidiosis to the world’s chicken production industry. Int. J. Parasitol. 29:1209–1229.[CrossRef][Web of Science][Medline]

Chapman, H. D. 1999. Anticoccidial drugs and their effects upon the development of immunity to Eimeria infections in poultry. Avian Pathol. 28:521–535. [CrossRef][Web of Science][Medline]

Chapman, H. D. 2001. Use of anticoccidial drugs in broiler chickens in the USA: Analysis for the years 1995 to 1999. Poult. Sci. 80:572–580.[Abstract/Free Full Text]

Campbell, W. C. 2008. History of the discovery of sulfaquinoxaline as a coccidiostat. J. Parasitol. 94:934–945.[CrossRef][Medline]