Modena Plantation

Friends, it all started in the 1930s when Robert Roebling, family builder of Niagara Falls Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge and owner of the Roebling Steel and Wire Corporation, purchased half the Isle of Hope. Today it's commonly called Skidaway Island and it's near Savannah, GA. Roebling's goal was to develop the nation's finest black angus herd, the Modena Plantation. Mr. Roebling seemed to prefer living on his ship, the “Black Douglas.” By the spring of 1936, he tied his ship to what is now the North Pier as his home. History doesn’t recall this, but his main reason for moving there was the abduction of his next-door neighbor Charles Lindberg’s child in 1932. Mr. Roebling’s overriding concern was for his children. It’s noteworthy that all sale cattle had to be ferried back to the Georgia Mainland from the now historic round ampitheatre sale facility built on the island.

George Gibson

George W. Gibson graduated from the University of Georgia on June 15,1937 with a degree in Animal Husbandry while simultaneously teaching in the animal science department at UGA. Upon purchasing a bull from the University of Georgia herd in the fall of 1936, that Christmas holiday George hitchhiked the bull he purchased from the UGA herd 350 miles to his home in Waynesville, GA. near Savannah. Mr. Roebling read about George’s endeavor in the Atlanta paper. George was brought on board in summer of 1937 as manager at Modena Plantation, in part due to his tenacity at moving bulls and a top referral from Dr. Milton P. Jarnigan, head of animal science at UGA (1907-1948). Later, with the impending war, George Gibson enlisted in the Army, serving as an Army Drill Sergeant all throughout World War II. Upon returning home, George produced one of our first Red Angus Cows: “Lady Jean 3” was born June 1, 1949. She was destined to become RAAA Registry # 871A, one of the breed foundation cows.

Clearly, we are not suggesting we are one of the esteemed Founders of the Red Angus Association. We did, however, develop one of the foundation herds of the Red Angus Breed. Modena purchased a brother of the 1936 International Grand Champion (red factor) Angus bull Epponian 8th of Rosemere from Yakima, Washington. One of our remaining 1952 pedigrees goes back to Epponian 8th twice. When we partially dispersed to Pioneer Seed Company in 1970, those animals went on to become top animals in their herd. One animal Pioneer purchased we particularly liked was the 1956 Gibs Petnia 137 (885), who went to Pioneer at about age 14, we believe. Another great cow, the 1949 Lady Jean 3 (871) remained in the herd for 22 years. Longevity is built in!

Present day...

We still continue to select for calving ease, superior feed conversion, and optimun performance. Our most recent top 19 year old cow, GG Pet Survivor 94 (512446) is also the grand dam to our senior herd sire, Gibson Nexus X210. Survivor 94 goes back to another great cow, the 1956 Gibson Girl 863. Again, longevity is built in. All of our animals are still recorded in the RAAA data search under herd prefix “GG” and we remain excited with our current genetics as we build towards the future.

Robert C. Roebling was honored at South East Red Angus Association (SERAA) field day held at the Gibson Cattle Company farm in Rome, Georgia in 2014.

During the banquet of the 2014 SERAA field day, Tim Whitley, president of the Red Angus Association of American and the Georgia Red Angus Association presented the award to honor Roebling for his lifetime of service, and his role as Georgia’s first “Super Angus Promoter.”

Robert and Dorothy Roebling’s granddaughter-in-law Catherine Cundiff accepted the plaque on the family’s behalf and we are excited that this occured on our farm when considering the history between our families.

Visitors to the farm are
always welcome!