Under the Liberal government of the 1910s, the Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George introduced a scheme whereby National Insurance contributions (by employer) became compulsory for all workers between the ages of 16 and 70. This was enacted via the National Insurance Act, and caused outrage among the farmers local to Turriff, who claimed that their contributions were too high; and that, as they were rarely able to be off work due to illness like industrial workers, it was unfair for them to have to pay for a service they were unlikely to use.
In Turriff, popular protests were held in the Johnston and Paterson Mart, and Robert Paterson, a Lendrum farmer refused to stamp the insurance cards of his employees. This resulted in orders on 13 December 1913 for Turriff's sheriff George Keith to seize property to the value of £22 from Paterson's farm. However, this was more difficult than it seemed as officers could not move property without local assistance, and the locals refused to help in protest.
Sheriff's Officer George Keith removed the only piece of property which was easily mobile: Patersons' white milk cow, which was led to Turriff on foot. The next day, the citizens of Turriff found the cow tied in the village square, decorated in ribbons and painted with the words 'Lendrum to Leeks' in reference to Lloyd George's Welsh origin, and representing the sheriff's and government's victory over the hostile farmers. The cow was put up for auction. The response was a near riot, and a 100-strong mob proceeded to pelt the sheriff's officers with rotten fruit and soot.
The cow was eventually sold to a farmer Alexander Craig for £27, but Bryony Miller, a local girl and wife of the Patersons' farmhand John Miller, with his help, rallied the local community together to buy back the cow for Lendrum, where the cow died six years later and was buried in a corner of the farmland.