In the 1930's a man from Hardin County Iowa named C.T. Rierson became interested in the beautiful cream draft horses he noticed cropping up on the Iowa countryside. He bought up all of the good cream colored mares and colts sired by Silver Lace that he could find. He traced all of these cream drafts back to one mare who had been purchased at auction by a Mr. Harry Lakin. There had been a number of good horse breeders who had been breeding to get the cream coat. Little did they know that they were on the brink of developing a new breed. The mare's name was Old Granny and as best as can be guessed she lived from 1905 to 1925. She is the grandmother of this breed.
Mr Rierson and a handful of other breeders started line breeding and inbreeding to establish the breed. They found that breeding a "palomino" draft, that is one with dark skin , to the creams who had pink skin created an undesirably too white horse, and lost some of the good cream qualities. So they concentrated their breeding to getting the pink skin, cream coat traits. The registry was recognized by the Department of Agriculture in Iowa in 1944. The breed went on to be recognized by The National Stallion Enrollment Board in 1950.
This was a very bad time for a draft breed to be getting its start. With the advent of the tractor in the 40's there was the largest decline of heavy horses in the history of our country. The US census in 1925 showed more than 98,000 registered draft horses, but by 1955 there were less than 2,000 on the roles. Many good farm horses were hauled to auction for dog food. It was a very sad time for our farming heritage. The reason we still have American Creams is because a handful of dedicated horse farmers hung onto their horses through the tough times. We are forever indebted to them.
Interestingly enough, the University of Kentucky with genetic studies showed us today what these good horsemen knew then, and that is that this breed is as much a unique breed as a Quarter Horse is from a Belgian, or a Morgan is from a Percheron. It is not a color breed any more than a Suffolk is or a Fresian is.