The Swickard Family traces back 9 generations in the United States and 6 generations in California, in the production of quality, sustainable crops and organically raised livestock, especially beef cattle and performance horses. The family has produced quality performance horses in California since 1852, first under the “JS” brand in the 1800’s to early 1900’s, and in the last century under the famous “Five Dot” brand, and currently under the Northern Cross Land & Cattle Company’s “Gamadian Cross” brand. The Northern Cross Land & Cattle Company brings its owners’ family heritage and expertise of over 150 years of practical ranch and performance show horse breeding expertise to its current Blue Roan Quarter Horse breeding program.
“My purpose is that you may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that you may have the full riches of the complete understanding, in order that you may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2,3
The known history of the Swickard Family begins at the culmination of a century of European warfare in The Seven Years’ War (1756 – 63) between Prussia and Austria. This extended turmoil in northern Europe led many Germans, including the Swickards, to seek religious, political and economic refuge in the long-established German Mennonite and Dunker settlements in the English colonies near Germantown, Maryland and in the southern Pennsylvania. These German immigrants were known as the “Pennsylvania Deutsch.”
Daniel Zwigart/Zwickart/Swickard (1724 – 1803), was among these immigrants, arriving at the Port of Philadelphia in 1765 with his wife and young family, and settling north of Germantown, Maryland. After the Revolutionary War, the Swickard family, moved west to the frontier on the Pennsylvania-Ohio border in 1788 in Washington Co., Pennsylvania, purchasing a large tract of land there to farm and raise cattle and horses.
Upon the opening of the Ohio frontier in 1803, Daniel’s son, Daniel Swickard Jr. (1764 – 1849) crossed the Ohio River and established a large farming and livestock operation in Jefferson County Ohio.
When the War of 1812 started, Daniel Jr. served as a part of the First Regiment Ohio Militia, Captain James Alexander’s Company, with his son Daniel III (1789 – 1874) and nephew Daniel Swickard (son of his brother Martin Swickard) fighting the allied forces of the Canadian British and northern Indian tribes that had invaded the young nation’s northern frontier in northern Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
Soon after his grandfather Daniel Jr.’s death in 1849, Daniel III’s son, Andrew Swickard (1818 – 1861), looking for the next frontier and needing a drier climate for his health, emigrated to California in 1852, via a sailing trip to Panama, a land crossing, and a sailing ship to San Francisco, with his wife and two young children, Harvey and Cordelia.
After landing in San Francisco, Andrew purchased two Spanish Land Grants, Rancho de Santa Teresa and Rancho Yerba Buena, in the very fertile Santa Clara Valley, on which to produce crops, cattle and horses for the booming San Francisco economy, with the ever-arriving “49er” gold miners on their way to the gold fields to the north and east.
Andrew’s son Harvey Swickard, his son John Harvey Swickard, and then his son John Abraham Swickard (Andrew’s great grandson) continued their very successful farming and livestock operations in the Santa Clara Valley for over 100 years.
John Abraham Swickard continued on the previous century of family heritage in raising crops and riding and draft horses for the California market, expanding the business to include rope horses and working cow, horses, building a roping and performance horse arena and the San Jose “JS” brand ranch.
When the initial urban development of the Santa Clara Valley began encroaching on the “JS” livestock and farming operations, the Swickard Family, now under the leadership of Jack Swickard, relocated to the Sierra Mountains and Black Rock Desert of Lassen Country in the 1950’s and established the range cattle and horse operations of the Five Dot Land & Cattle Co.
Jack Swickard took this love of the Spanish Vaquero Bridle horses he was raised with in the Santa Clara and Salinas Valleys with him to Lassen County, where he purchased a blue roan mare and stallion to raise ranch horses for the expansive mountain and desert cattle operation. He also purchased a team of blue roan Percheron draft horses to pull the hay feed wagon in the winter snows.
Jack’s son Tim took this initial ranch horse breeding program and built the Five Dot Land & Cattle Co. horse operation, raising winning AQHA cutting reined cowhorses and racing horses in the 1970’s to the present date, making he, and his brother Todd, the 6th generation of Swickards in the cattle and horse business in California.
During college at the University of California, Davis, Tim played on the NCAA National Championship Horse Polo Teams that won the National Tournament in 1978 and 1979.
After college, Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt were frequent visitors at the ranch and put on a number of clinics there. All of the horses raised and started on the ranch were trained under their “natural horsemanship” feel, timing and balance approach.
During this period, Tim excelled in taking home -bred, born and raised horses to many Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred performance and racing championships. He showed Motadocs Jay to her 1984 Non-Pro Championship in the West Cost Cutting Durby, Reserve Champion of the 1984 PCCHA cutting Stakes and Electric Blue to the 1993 Reno Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Reserve Champion, 1994 West Coast Reining Maturity Non-Pro Reserve Champion and the 1996 World Championship Stock Horse Contest Top Five Non-Pro, and raced Tripol Midge as a finalist in the Skoal-Dash for Cash Futurity, among many other awards and championships.
In 1985, Tim was saved and baptized into Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. God subsequently blessed him with his wife Laura and five children, all who are serving Christ as Lord and have showed and are showing family bred performance horses in cutting, reined cowhorse and reining shows. God has blessed this family in innumerable gracious ways and all success is due to God’s mercy and blessing and thus He is indeed worthy of all praise and glory!
Many of the Northern Cross broodmares in the breeding operation today can trace back 6 generations of maternal lineage under the Swickard breeding program. This program started with the Joe Hancock bred roan mares in the 1950’s who then were subsequently bred to King Fritz stallions, producing Five Dot Chex and other top producing Swickard broodmares. These mares were bred to Colonel Freckles and Master Remedy, again producing top performance horses like Electric Blue and Masterfully Colored.
In 1997 Tim and Todd split the Five Dot Land & Cattle Co. horse and cattle operations and Tim moved the entire horse operation under the Northern Cross Land & Cattle Co. Gammadian Cross Brand to the lush irrigated pastures of the Sacramento valley between Woodland and Winters California, where it flourishes today.
The 5th generation of Swickard broodmares are a part of the current Northern Cross broodmare band and are currently being outcrossed on top two sons of High Brow Cat, Peptoboonsmal and Nic It in The Bud. This breeding outcross program has the genetics to excel in the top ranks of the Cutting, Reined Cowhorse and Reining industries, and yet the foundation to still possess the size, disposition, color and athletic ability to excel in the rodeo arena, on the ranch and in other disciplines as well.
Purchase one of our sustainably raised, natural horsemanship trained foals and become a part of this historical legacy and heritage as well!