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Title: The Horse of America in his Derivation, History, and Development
Author: Wallace, John H.
Language: English
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[Illustration: JOHN H. WALLACE.]

                            HORSE OF AMERICA
                                 IN HIS

                     OF HISTORY TO THE PRESENT DAY.


                      OF TROTTERS WAS ESTABLISHED.

                     _WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS._

                            JOHN H. WALLACE,
     _Founder of “Wallace’s American Trotting Register,” “Wallace’s
                 Monthly,” “Wallace’s Year Book,” etc._

                                NEW YORK:
                        PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR.

                Entered according to act of Congress, by
                            JOHN H. WALLACE,
                 in the year 1897, at Washington, D. C.


The study of the Horse, from the first glimmerings of history, sacred and
profane, and tracing him from his original home through his migrations
until all the peoples of the globe had received their initial supply, may
not be a new idea, but it is certainly a new undertaking. Horse Books
without number have been written, mostly in the century just closing,
but in the history of the horse they are all alike—merely reproductions
of what had been printed before. So far as my knowledge goes, therefore,
this volume is the first attempt, in any language, to determine the
original habitat of the horse and to trace him, historically, in his

The facts presented touching the introduction of the horse into Egypt,
and two thousand years later into Arabia, as well as the plebeian blood
from which the English race horse has derived his great speed, will be a
shock to the nerves of the romanticists of the old world as well as the
new. Taking the facts of history and well-known experiences together,
my readers can determine for themselves whether the claims for the
superiority of Arabian blood is not pure fiction. For my own part I
cannot recognize any blood in all horsedom as “royal blood” except that
which is found in the veins of the horse that “has gone out and done it,”
either himself or in his progeny.

In our own country there has always remained a blank in horse history
that nobody has attempted to supply. This blank embraced a century of
racing of which we of the present generation have been entirely ignorant.
Believing that a correct knowledge of the horse of the Colonial period,
in his size, gait, qualities and capacities was absolutely essential to
an intelligent comprehension of the phenomena presented on our trotting
and running courses of the present day, I have not hesitated to bestow
on this new feature of the work great labor and research. In this I have
felt a special satisfaction in the fact that while the field is old in
dates, this is the first time it has ever been traversed and considered.

In the chapters which follow, many historical questions are treated at
such length as their relative importance seems to demand, embracing
the different families that have contributed to the building up of the
breed of trotters; and the question of how the trotting horse is bred is
carefully considered in the light of all past experiences and brought
down to the close of 1896. These chapters will not surprise the old
readers of the _Wallace’s Monthly_, for they will here meet with many
thoughts that will not be new to them, but they will find them more
fully elaborated, in more orderly form, and brought down to the latest

It is not the purpose of this book to furnish statistical tables covering
the great mass of trotting experiences, nor to consider the mysteries of
the trainer’s art that have been so ably discussed by experienced and
skillful men. But the real and only purpose is to place upon record the
results of years devoted to historical research, at home and abroad; to
dispel the illusions and humbugs that have clustered about the horse
for many centuries; and to consider with some minuteness, which of
necessity cannot be impersonal, the great industrial revolution that
has been wrought in horse-breeding, and all growing out of a little
unpretentious treatise written twenty-five years ago, which contained
nothing more striking than a little bit of science and a little bit of
sense intelligently commingled. The battle between the principles of
this treatise and selfish prejudices and mental sterility, was long and
bitter, but the truth prevailed, and in the production of the Driving
Horse the teachings of that little paper have placed our country first
among all the nations of the earth.

                                                         JOHN H. WALLACE.


_September 1, 1897_



                               CHAPTER I.


    General View of the Field Traversed                               1-23

                               CHAPTER II.

                     ORIGINAL HABITAT OF THE HORSE.

    No indications that the horse was originally wild—The steppes
    of High Asia and Arabia not tenable as his original home—Color
    not sufficient evidence —Impossibility of horses existing in
    Arabia in a wild state—No horses in Arabia until 356 A.D.—Large
    forces of Armenian, Median and Cappadocian cavalry employed
    more than one thousand seven hundred years B.C.—A breed of
    white race horses—Special adaptability of the Armenian country
    to the horse—Armenia a horse-exporting country before the
    Prophet Ezekiel—Devotion of the Armenian people to agricultural
    and pastoral pursuits through a period of four thousand
    years—All the evidences point to ancient Armenia as the center
    from which the horse was distributed                             24-35

                              CHAPTER III.

                      EARLY DISTRIBUTION OF HORSES.

    First evidences of horses in Egypt about 1700 B.C.—Supported
    by Egyptian records and history—The Patriarch Job had no
    horses—Solomon’s great cavalry force organized—Arabia as
    described by Strabo at the beginning of our era—No horses
    then in Arabia—Constantius sends two hundred Cappadocian
    horses into Arabia A.D. 356—Arabia the last country to be
    supplied with horses—The ancient Phœnician merchants and their
    colonies—Hannibal’s cavalry forces in the Punic Wars—Distant
    ramifications of Phœnician trade and colonization—Commerce
    reached as far as Britain and the Baltic—Probable source of
    Britain’s earliest horses                                        36-50

                               CHAPTER IV.

                           THE ARABIAN HORSE.

    The Arabian, the horse of romance—The horse naturally
    foreign to Arabia —Superiority of the camel for all Arabian
    needs—Scarcity of horses in Arabia in Mohammed’s time—Various
    preposterous traditions of Arab horsemanship—The Prophet’s
    mythical mares—Mohammed not in any sense a horseman—Early
    English Arabians—the Markham Arabian—The alleged Royal
    Mares—The Darley Arabian—The Godolphin Arabian—The Prince
    of Wales’ Arabian race horses—Mr. Blunt’s pilgrimage to the
    Euphrates—His purchases of so-called Arabians—Deyr as a great
    horse market where everything is thoroughbred—Failure of Mr.
    Blunt’s experiments—Various Arabian horses brought to America
    —Horses sent to our Presidents—Disastrous experiments of A.
    Keene Richards—Tendency of Arab romancing from Ben Hur           51-66

                               CHAPTER V.

                         THE ENGLISH RACE HORSE.

    The real origin of the English race horse in confusion—Full
    list of the “foundation stock” as given by Mr. Weatherby one
    hundred years ago—The list complete and embraces all of any
    note—Admiral Rous’ extravaganza—Godolphin Arabian’s origin
    wholly unknown—His history—Successful search for his true
    portrait—Stubbs’ picture a caricature—The true portrait alone
    supplies all that is known of his origin and blood               67-78

                               CHAPTER VI.

                  THE ENGLISH RACE HORSE (_Continued_).

    England supplied with horses before the Christian era—Bred
    for different purposes—Markham on the speed of early native
    horses—Duke of Newcastle on Arabians—His choice of blood to
    propagate—Size of early English horses—Difficulties about
    pedigrees in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—Early
    accumulations very trashy—The Galloways and Irish
    Hobbies—Discrepancies in size—The old saddle stock—The pacers
    wiped out—Partial revision of the English Stud Book              79-89

                              CHAPTER VII.

                        THE AMERICAN RACE HORSE.

    Antiquity of American racing—First race course at Hempstead
    Plain, 1665—Racing in Virginia, 1677—Conditions of early
    races—Early so-called Arabian importations—The marvelous
    tradition of Lindsay’s “Arabian”—English race horses first
    imported about 1750—The old colonial stock as a basis—First
    American turf literature—Skinner’s _American Turf Register and
    Sporting Magazine_, 1829—Cadwallader R. Colden’s _Sporting
    Magazine_, short-lived but valuable—The original _Spirit of
    the Times—Porter’s Spirit of the Times—Wilkes’ Spirit of the
    Times_, 1859—Edgar’s Stud Book—Wallace’s Stud Book—Bruce’s
    Stud Book—Their history, methods and value—Summing up results,
    showing that success has followed breeding to individuals and
    families that could run and not to individuals and families
    that could not run, whatever their blood                        90-107

                              CHAPTER VIII.


    Hardships of the colonists—First importations of horses—Racing
    prevalent in the seventeenth century—Exportations and then
    importations prohibited—Organized horse racing commenced 1677
    and became very general—In 1704 there were many wild horses
    in Virginia and they were hunted as game—The Chincoteague
    ponies accounted for—Jones on life in Virginia, 1720—Fast
    early pacers, Galloways and Irish Hobbies—English race horses
    imported—Moreton’s Traveler probably the first—Quarter racing
    prevailed on the Carolina border—Average size and habits of
    action clearly established—The native pacer thrown in the
    shade by the imported runner—An Englishman’s prejudices        108-119

                               CHAPTER IX.


    Settlement of New Amsterdam—Horses from Curaçoa—Prices of
    Dutch and English horses—Van der Donck’s description and size
    of horses—Horses to be branded—Stallions under fourteen hands
    not to run at large—Esopus horse—Surrender to the English,
    1664—First organized racing—Dutch horses capable of improvement
    in speed—First advertised Subscription Plate—First restriction,
    contestants must “be bred in America”—Great racing and heavy
    betting—First importations of English running horses—Half-breds
    to the front—True foundation of American pedigrees—Half-bushel
    of dollars on a side—Resolutions of the Continental Congress
    against racing—Withdrawal of Mr. James De Lancey—Pacing and
    trotting contests everywhere—Rip Van Dam’s horse and his cost  120-127

                               CHAPTER X.


    First importations to Boston and to Salem—Importations
    from Holland brought high prices—They were not pacers and
    not over fourteen hands—In 1640 horses were exported to
    the West Indies—First American newspaper and first horse
    advertisement—Average sizes—The different gaits—CONNECTICUT,
    first plantation, 1636—Post horses provided for by law—All
    horses branded—Sizes and Gaits—An Englishman’s experience
    with pacers—Lindsay’s Arabian—RHODE ISLAND, Founded by Roger
    Williams, 1636—No direct importations ever made—Horses largely
    exported to other colonies 1690—Possibly some to Canada—Pacing
    races a common amusement—Prohibited, 1749—Size of the
    Narragansetts compared with the Virginians                     128-134

                               CHAPTER XI.


    Penn’s arrival in 1682—Horse racing prohibited—Franklin’s
    newspaper—Conestoga horses—Sizes and gaits—Swedish
    origin—Acrelius’ statement—NEW JERSEY—Branding—Increase of
    size—Racing, Pacing and Trotting restricted—Maryland—Racing and
    Pacing restricted 1747—Stallions of under size to be shot—NORTH
    CAROLINA—First settler refugees—SOUTH CAROLINA—Size and gait in
    1744—Challenges—No running blood in the colony, 1744—General
    view                                                           135-141

                              CHAPTER XII.

                       EARLY HORSE HISTORY—CANADA.

    Settlement and capture of Port Royal—Early plantations—First
    French horses brought over 1665—Possibly illicit trading—Sire
    of “Old Tippoo”—His history—“Scape Goat” and his
    descendants—Horses of the Maritime Provinces                   142-153

                              CHAPTER XIII.


    The mechanism of the different gaits—The Elgin Marbles—Britain
    becomes a Roman province—Pacers in the time of the
    Romans—Bronze horses of Venice—Fitz Stephen, the Monk of
    Canterbury—Evidence of the Great Seals—What Blundeville
    says—What Gervaise Markham says—What the Duke of Newcastle
    says—The amble and the pace one and the same—At the close of
    Elizabeth’s reign—The Galloways and Hobbies—Extinction of the
    pacer—The original pacer probably from the North—Polydore
    Virgil’s evidence—Samuel Purchas’ evidence—The process
    of wiping out the pacer—King James set the fashion—All
    foreign horses called “Arabians”—The foreigners larger and
    handsomer—Good roads and wheeled vehicles dispensed with the
    pacer—Result of prompting Mr. Euren—Mr. Youatt’s blunder—Other
    English gentlemen not convinced there ever were any pacers     154-171

                              CHAPTER XIV.


    Regulations against stallions at large—American pacers taken
    to the West Indies—Narragansett pacers; many foolish and
    groundless theories about their origin—Dr. McSparran on the
    speed of the pacer—Mr. Updike’s testimony—Mr. Hazard and
    Mr. Enoch Lewis—Exchanging meetings with Virginia—Watson’s
    Annals—Matlack and Acrelius—Rip Van Dam’s horse—Cooper’s
    evidence—Cause of disappearance—Banished to the frontier—First
    intimation that the pace and the trot were essentially one
    gait—How it was received—Analysis of the two gaits—Pelham,
    Highland Maid, Jay-Eye-See, Blue Bull—The pacer forces
    himself into publicity—Higher rate of speed—Pacing races
    very early—Quietly and easily developed—Comes to his speed
    quickly—His present eminence not permanent—The gamblers
    carried him there—Will he return to his former obscurity?      172-189

                               CHAPTER XV.

                       THE AMERICAN SADDLE HORSE.

    The saddle gaits come only from the pacer—Saddle gaits
    cultivated three hundred years ago—Markham on the saddle
    gaits—The military seat the best—The unity of the pace and
    trot—Gaits analyzed—Saddle Horse Register—Saddle horse
    progenitors—Denmark not a thoroughbred horse                   190-195

                              CHAPTER XVI.

                       THE WILD HORSES OF AMERICA.

    The romances of fifty years ago—Was the horse indigenous
    to this country?—The theories of the paleontologists not
    satisfactory—Pedigrees of over two millions of years too
    long—Outlines of horses on prehistoric ruins, evidently
    modern—The linguistic test among the oldest tribes of Indians
    fails to discover any word for “Horse”—The horses abandoned
    west of the Mississippi by the followers of De Soto about 1541
    were the progenitors of the wild horses of the plains          196-204

                              CHAPTER XVII.

                      MESSENGER AND HIS ANCESTORS.

    Messenger the greatest of all trotting progenitors—Record of
    pedigrees in English Stud Book—Pedigrees made from unreliable
    sources—Messenger’s right male line examined—Flying Childers’
    “mile in a minute”—Blaze short of being thoroughbred—Sampson,
    a good race horse—His size; short in his breeding—Engineer
    short also—Mambrino was a race horse with at least two pacing
    crosses; distinguished as a progenitor of coach horses and fast
    trotters—Messenger’s dam cannot be traced nor identified—Among
    all the horses claiming to be thoroughbred he is the only one
    that founded a family of trotters—This fact conceded by eminent
    writers in attempting to find others                           205-221

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                          HISTORY OF MESSENGER.

    Messenger’s racing in England—His breeder unknown—Popular
    uncertainty about the circumstances and date of
    his importation—The matter settled by his first
    advertisement—Uncertainty as to his importer—Description of
    Messenger by David W. Jones, of Long Island—Careful consensus
    of descriptions by many who had seen Messenger—His great and
    lasting popularity as a stock horse—Places and prices of his
    services for twenty years—Death and burial                     222-231

                              CHAPTER XIX.

                            MESSENGER’S SONS.

    Hambletonian (Bishop’s) pedigree not beyond doubt—Cadwallader
    R. Colden’s review of it—Ran successfully—Taken to Granville,
    N. Y.—Some of his descendants—Mambrino, large and coarse
    in appearance—Failure as a runner—Good natural trotter—His
    most famous sons were Abdallah, Almack, and Mambrino
    Paymaster—Winthrop or Maine Messenger and his pedigree and
    history—Engineer and the tricks of his owners—Certainly
    a son of Messenger—Commander—Bush Messenger, pedigree
    and description—Noted as the sire of coach horses and
    trotters—Potomac—Tippoo Saib—Sir Solomon—Ogden Messenger, dam
    thoroughbred—Mambrino (Grey)—Black Messenger—Whynot, Saratoga,
    Nestor, Delight—Mount Holly, Plato, Dover Messenger, Coriander,
    Fagdown, Bright Phœbus, Slasher, Shaftsbury, Hotspur,
    Hutchinson Messenger and Cooper’s Messenger—Abuse of the name
    “Messenger.”                                                   232-254

                               CHAPTER XX.

                        MESSENGER’S DESCENDANTS.

    History of Abdallah—Characteristics of his dam,
    Amazonia—Speculations as to her blood—Description of
    Abdallah—Almack, progenitor of the Champion line—Mambrino
    Paymaster, sire of Mambrino Chief—History and pedigree—Mambrino
    Messenger—Harris’ Hambletonian—Judson’s Hambletonian—Andrus’
    Hambletonian, sire of the famous Princess, Happy Medium’s dam  255-266

                              CHAPTER XXI.

                      HAMBLETONIAN AND HIS FAMILY.

    The greatest progenitor in Horse History—Mr. Kellogg’s
    description, and comments thereupon—An analysis of
    Hambletonian, structurally considered—His carriage and
    action—As a three-year-old trotter—Details of his stud
    service—Statistics of the Hambletonian family—History and
    ancestry of his dam, the Charles Kent Mare—Her grandson,
    Green’s Bashaw, and his dam                                    267-283

                              CHAPTER XXII.


    Different opinions as to relative merits of
    Hambletonian’s greater sons—George Wilkes, his history
    and pedigree—His performing descendants—History and
    description of Electioneer—His family—Alexander’s
    Abdallah and his two greatest sons, Almont and
    Belmont—Dictator—Harold—Happy Medium and his dam—Jay
    Sprague, grandson of Hambletonian                              284-314

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                     MAMBRINO CHIEF AND HIS FAMILY.

    Description and history of Mambrino Chief—The pioneer trotting
    stallion of Kentucky—Matched against Pilot Jr.—His best
    sons—Mambrino Patchen, his opportunities and family—Woodford
    Mambrino, a notable trotter and sire—Princeps—Mambrino
    Pilot—Clark Chief—Fisk’s Mambrino Chief Jr.—Ericsson           315-320

                              CHAPTER XXIV.

                         THE CLAYS AND BASHAWS.

    The imported Barb, Grand Bashaw—Young Bashaw, an inferior
    individual —His greatest son, Andrew Jackson—His dam a trotter
    and pacer—His history—His noted son, Kemble Jackson—Long Island
    Black Hawk—Henry Clay, founder of the Clay family—Cassius
    M. Clay—The various horses named Cassius M. Clay—George M.
    Patchen—His great turf career—George M. Patchen Jr.—Harry
    Clay—The Moor, and his son Sultan’s family                     321-337

                              CHAPTER XXV.


    Seely’s American Star—His fictitious pedigree—Breeding
    really unknown—A trotter of some merit—His stud career—His
    daughters noted brood mares—Conklin’s American Star—Old Pacing
    Pilot—History and probable origin—Pilot Jr.—Pedigree—Training
    and races—Prepotency—Family statistics summarized—Grinnell’s
    Champion, son of Almack—His sons and performing
    descendants—Alexander’s Norman and his sire, the Morse
    Horse—Swigert and Blackwood                                    338-351

                              CHAPTER XXVI.


    Blue Bull, the once leading sire—His lineage and history—His
    family rank—The Cadmus family—Pocahontas—Smuggler—Tom
    Rolfe—Young Rolfe and Nelson—The Tom Hal Family—The various
    Tom Hals—Brown Hal—The Kentucky Hunters—Flora Temple—Edwin
    Forrest—The Drew Horse and his descendants—The Hiatogas        352-365

                             CHAPTER XXVII.

                    THE BLACK HAWK, OR MORGAN FAMILY.

    Characteristics of the Morgans—History of the original
    Morgan—The fabled pedigree—The true Briton theory—Justin
    Morgan’s breeding hopelessly unknown—Sherman Morgan—Black
    Hawk—His disputed paternity—His dam called a Narragansett—Ethan
    Allen—His great beauty, speed, and popularity—The Flying Morgan
    claim baseless—His dam of unknown blood—His great race with
    Dexter—Daniel Lambert, the only successful sire of the Black
    Hawk line                                                      366-389

                             CHAPTER XXVIII.


    Orloffs, the only foreign trotters of merit—Count Alexis
    Orloff, founder of the breed—Origin of the Orloff—Count Orloff
    began breeding in 1770—Smetanka, Polkan, and Polkan’s son,
    Barss, really the first Orloff trotting sire—The Russian
    pacers—Their great speed—Imported Bellfounder—His history
    and characteristics—Got little speed—His descendants—The
    English Hackney—Not a breed, but a mere type—The old Norfolk
    trotters—Hackney experiments in America—Superiority of the
    trotting-bred horse demonstrated in show ring contests         390-408

                              CHAPTER XXIX.


    Tendency to misrepresentation—The Bald Galloway and
    Darley Arabian—Godolphin Arabian—Early experiences with
    trotting pedigrees—Mr. Backman’s honest methods—Shanghai
    Mary—Capt. Rynders and Widow Machree—Woodburn Farm and
    its pedigree methods—Victimized by “horse sharps” and
    pedigree makers—Alleged pedigree of Pilot Jr. conclusively
    overthrown—Pedigrees of Edwin Forrest, Norman, Bay Chief and
    Black Rose—Maud S. pedigree exhaustively considered—Captain
    John W. Russell never owned the mare Maria Russell—The deadly
    parallel columns settle it                                     409-431

                              CHAPTER XXX.


    How Belle of Wabash got her pedigree—Specimen of pedigree
    making in that day and locality—Search for the dam of Thomas
    Jefferson—True origin and history of Belle of Wabash—Facts
    about the old-time gelding Prince—The truth about Waxy, the
    grandam of Sunol—Remarkable attempts to make a pedigree out
    of nothing—How “Jim” Eoff worked a “tenderfoot”—Pedigree of
    American Eclipse—Pedigree of Boston—Tom Bowling and Aaron
    Pennington—Chenery’s Grey Eagle—Pedigree of George Wilkes in
    doubt                                                          432-455

                              CHAPTER XXXI.

                     HOW THE TROTTING HORSE IS BRED.

    Early trotting and pacing races—Strains of blood in the
    first known trotters—The lesson of Maud S.—The genesis of
    trotting horse literature—The simple study of inheritance—The
    different forms of heredity—The famous quagga story not
    sustained—Illustrations in dogs—Heredity of acquired
    characters and instincts—Development of successive generations
    necessary—Unequaled collections of statistics—Acquired injuries
    and unsoundness transmitted                                    456-479

                             CHAPTER XXXII.

              HOW THE TROTTING HORSE IS BRED (_Continued_).

    Trotting speed first supposed to be an accident—Then, that it
    came from the runner—William Wheelan’s views—Test of powers of
    endurance—The term “thoroughbred” much abused—Definition of
    “thoroughbred”—How trotters may be made “thoroughly bred”—How
    to study pedigrees—Reward offered for the production of a
    thoroughbred horse that was a natural pacer—The trotter
    more lasting than the runner—The dam of Palo Alto—Arion as
    a two-year-old—Only three stallions have been able to get
    trotters from running-bred mares—“Structural incongruity”—The
    pacer and trotter inseparable—How to save the trot and reduce
    the ratio of pacers—Development a necessity—Table proving this
    proposition—The “tin cup” policy a failure—Woodburn at the
    wrong end of the procession                                    480-507

                             CHAPTER XXXIII.

              HOW THE TROTTING HORSE IS BRED (_Continued_).

    Breeding the trotter intelligently an industry of modern
    development—Plethora of turf papers, and their timidity of
    the truth—The accepted theories, old and new—Failure of
    the “thoroughbred blood in the trotter” idea—“Thoroughbred
    foundations,” and the Register—“Like begets like,” the great
    central truth—Long-continued efforts to breed trotters from
    runners—New York the original source of supply of trotting
    blood to all the States—Kentucky’s beginning in breeding
    trotters—R. A. Alexander, and the founding of Woodburn—The
    “infallibility” of Woodburn pedigrees—Refusal to enter
    fictitious crosses in the Register and the results—The
    genesis and history of the standard—Its objects, effects, and
    influence—Establishing the breed of trotters—The Kentucky
    or “Pinafore” standard—Its purposes analyzed—The “Breeders’
    Trotting Stud Book” and how it was compiled—Failure and
    collapse of the Kentucky project—Another unsuccessful attempt
    to capture the Register—How honest administration of the
    Register made enemies—The National Breeders’ Association
    and the Chicago Convention—Detailed history of the sale and
    transfer of the Register, the events that led up to it, and the
    results—Personal satisfaction and benefits from the transfer,
    and the years of rest and congenial study in preparing this
    book—The end                                                   508-546



                      _By a Friend of the Author._

    Mr. Wallace’s early life and education—Removal to Iowa,
    1845—Secretary Iowa State Board of Agriculture—Begins work,
    1856, on “Wallace’s American Stud Book,” published 1867—Method
    of gathering pedigrees—Trotting Supplement—Abandons Stud
    Book, 1870, and devotes exclusive attention to trotting
    literature—“American Trotting Register,” Vol. I., published in
    1871—Vol. II. follows in 1874—The valuable essay on breeding
    the forerunner of present ideas—Standard adopted 1879—Its
    history—Battles for control of the “Register”—_Wallace’s
    Monthly_ founded 1875—Its character, purposes, history,
    writers, and artists—“Wallace’s Year Book” founded 1885—Great
    popularity and value—Transfer of the Wallace publications, and
    their degeneration                                             547-559


  PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR                                    _Frontispiece._

  MAP OF ARMENIA, CAPPADOCIA, SYRIA, ETC.                _To face page_ 24


                                   }      In one view        ”    ”     67

  STAR POINTER, THE CHAMPION PACER (1:59¼)                   ”    ”    155

  JOHN R. GENTRY, PACER (2:00½)                              ”    ”    173

  ALIX, THE PRESENT CHAMPION TROTTER (2:03¼)                 ”    ”    255

  HAMBLETONIAN (RYSDYK’S)                                    ”    ”    267

  GEORGE WILKES, SON OF HAMBLETONIAN                         ”    ”    284

  ELECTIONEER, SON OF HAMBLETONIAN                           ”    ”    289

  ABDALLAH (ALEXANDER’S), SON OF HAMBLETONIAN                ”    ”    294

  NANCY HANKS, BY HAPPY MEDIUM  (2:04)                       ”    ”    306

  ETHAN ALLEN, BY VERMONT BLACK HAWK                         ”    ”    381

NOTE.—Nine of the above engravings have been reproduced, by permission,
from the Portfolio issued by _The Horse Review_.




    General View of the Field Traversed.

In undertaking to fulfill a promise made years ago, to write a history
of the American Trotting Horse and his ancestors, I am met with the
inquiry: What were his ancestors and whence did they come? To say that
the American Trotter, the phenomenal horse of this century, is descended
from a certain horse imported from England in 1788, does not fully meet
the requirements of the truth, for there are other and very distinctive
elements embodied in his inheritance that are not indebted to that
particular imported horse. In searching for these undefined elements,
I have found myself in the fields of antiquity, reaching out step by
step, further and further, until the utmost boundaries of all history,
sacred and profane, were clearly in view. There I found a field that
was especially attractive because it was a new field, and the relations
of the peoples of the earliest ages to their horses had never been
investigated nor discussed. Having no engagements nor necessities to
hurry me, the careful exploration of this hitherto unknown territory has
afforded me very great enjoyment.

As the result of these investigations, the breadth and scope of this
volume will be greatly widened, touching upon the originals of most of
the lighter types of horses, and many of the idols of the imagination
will be demolished. The objective point is the history of the Trotting
Horse, but before reaching that point we must consider the beginnings
of, practically, nearly all the varieties of horses in the world. The
assistance that I may be able to gain from modern writers will be very
limited, and restricted Haicus, the great grandson of Japheth, became
the ruler of his people. Descending from him, in the direct male line,
there were five or six long reigns before the dynasty was overthrown by
the Assyrians. They were largely an agricultural people, and the ancient
historians have told us they were famous for the great numbers and fine
quality of the horses they produced. The market for their horses, the
prophet Ezekiel tells us, was in the great commercial city of Tyre,
whence they were carried “in the ships of Tarshish” by the Phœnician
merchants to all portions of the known world. Having here reached back to
the Noachic period and country, with all that this implies, I will leave
the problem, with the more extended consideration that will be given it
in the chapter on the general distribution of horses in all parts of the
commercial world.

Horsemen of average intelligence and writers on the horse, oftentimes
much below average intelligence in horse matters, all seem to unite on
the Arabian horse as their fetish, when in fact they know nothing about
him. The songs of the poets and the stories of the novelists have taken
the place, in the minds of the people of all nations, of solid history
and sober experience. When a story writer wishes to depict an athletic
and daring hero, he never fails to mount him upon an “Arab steed,” when
some blood-curdling adventures are to be disclosed. When Admiral Rous,
the great racing authority in England, announced some years ago, that
the English race horse was purely descended from the horses of Arabia
Deserta, without one drop of plebeian blood, all England believed him,
and this rash and groundless dictum has served all writers as conclusive
evidence ever since. Now, it is not probable that more than two or at
most three per cent. of the blood of the English race horse as he stands
to-day is Arabian blood. The greatness and value of the Arabian horse is
purely mythical. He has been tested hundreds of times, both on the course
and in the stud, and in every single instance he has proved a failure.
This is what all history and experience teach. There are but few horses
bred in Arabia and there are, comparatively, but few there now. From
the time of their first introduction into Yemen—Arabia Felix—up to the
time of Mohammed, about two hundred and seventy years, they were still
very scarce. Mohammed was not a horseman nor a horse breeder, nor is it
known that he ever mounted a horse but once, and then he had but two in
his army. When he made his first pilgrimage to Mecca he rode a camel;
and when he went the second time in triumph, mounted on a camel, he made
the requisite number of circuits round the holy place, then dismounted
and broke the idols that had been set up there. Then came the triumphant
shout of his followers; “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his
prophet.” Since then, this cry has rung over a thousand battlefields, and
as I write it is still heard in the homes of the slaughtered Armenians.
From a great, warlike, and conquering people, the followers of Mohammed
have degenerated into an aggregation of robbers and murderers of
defenseless Christians. Since the days of Mohammed, horses no doubt have
increased in numbers, but all modern travelers express their surprise at
the small numbers they see. The horse is an expensive luxury in Arabia,
and none but the rich can afford to keep him. He fills no economic place
in the domestic life of the Arab, for he is never used for any purpose
except display and robbery. Nobody is able to own a horse but the sheiks
and a few wealthy men. Nobody would think of mounting a horse for a
journey, be it long or short. The camel fills the place of the horse, the
cow and a flock of sheep, all in one, and surely the Arabs are right in
saying, “Job’s beast is a monument of God’s mercy.” It is very evident
that nearly all the horses said to have been brought from Arabia never
saw Arabia. As an illustration of the uncertainty of what a man is
getting when he thinks he is buying an Arabian, in the Orient, I will
give, in some detail the experiences of Mr. Wilfrid S. Blunt, a wealthy
Englishman who had an ambition to regenerate the English race horse by
bringing in fresh infusions of Arabian blood. He went to Arabia to buy
the best, but he didn’t go _into_ Arabia to find it. He skirted along
through the border land where agriculture and civilization prevailed,
while away off to the south the wild tribes roamed over the desert, and
to the north, not far away, was the land of abundance that had been
famous for more than three thousand years for the great numbers and
excellence of the horses bred there. Here on the banks of the Euphrates
Mr. Blunt found the town of Deyr, and he soon discovered it was a famous
horse market. The inhabitants were the only people he met with who seemed
to understand and appreciate the value of pedigrees, and there were no
horses in the town but “thoroughbreds.” Here Mr. Blunt made nearly all
his purchases which amounted to eighteen mares and two stallions “at
reasonable prices.” As will be seen in the extracts from his book, he
was strikingly solicitous that the friends at home should have no doubt
about the quality of the stock he purchased being all “thoroughbred.”
No doubt he realized the awkwardness of the location as not the right
one in which to secure “thoroughbred” Arabians and hence the vigorous
indorsement of the honesty of the “slick and experienced” dealers as
honest men and true descendants of the Bedouins of the desert. In this
“he doth protest too much” and thus suggests that while the pedigrees
came from the tribes of the desert to the South, it might be possible
that the horses came from the farmers who bred them to the North. However
this may have been, the whole enterprise turned out to be a flat failure,
and after a number of years spent in begging for popular support, the
whole collection was dispersed under the hammer of the auctioneer, not
realizing a tithing of the cost.

While it is not necessary that I should express any opinion as to whether
Mr. Blunt was deceived in the breeding of the animals which he brought
home, I will make brief allusion to an American experience which is more
fully considered elsewhere. Some forty or more years ago Mr. A. Keene
Richards, a breeder of race horses in Kentucky, became impressed with the
idea that the way to improve the race horse of America was to introduce
direct infusions of the blood of Arabia. He did not hesitate, but he
started to Arabia and brought home some horses and mares and put them to
breeding. The pure bloods could not run at all and the half-breeds were
too slow to make the semblance of a contest with Kentucky-bred colts. He
concluded that he had been cheated by the rascally Arabs in the blood
they put upon him. He then determined to go back and get the right blood,
and as a counselor he took with him the famous horse painter, Troye, who
was thoroughly up on anatomy and structure. They went into the very heart
of Arabia and spent many weeks among the different tribes of the desert.
They had greatly the advantage of Mr. Blunt or any other amateur, for
they were experienced horsemen and knew just what they were doing. When
they were ready to start home they believed they had found and secured
the very best horses that Arabia had produced. When the produce of this
second importation were old enough to run it was found that they were no
better than the first lot, and thus all the bright dreams of enthusiasm
were dissipated. Thus was demonstrated for the thousandth time that the
blood of even the best and purest Arabian horse is a detriment and
hindrance rather than a benefit to the modern race horse. Mr. Richards,
with all his practical knowledge and experience, was no more successful
than the amateur, Mr. Blunt. The blood which Mr. Richards brought
home was, no doubt, purer and more fashionable, as estimated in the
desert, than that brought home by Mr. Blunt, but when tested by modern
advancement it was no better.

A careful study of the chapter on the English Race Horse will present
to the minds of all my intelligent readers the consideration of several
points to which they will be slow in yielding assent. These points run
up squarely against the preconceived opinions and prejudices of two
centuries, and these preconceived opinions and prejudices are well-nigh
universal. The first point upon which the public intelligence has gone
wrong is in the general belief that horse-racing had its origin in the
seventeenth century, when Charles II. was restored to his throne. The
truth is we have accounts of racing by contemporaneous historians in the
twelfth century, and indeed, we might say from the time of the Romans
in Britain. To go back four centuries, however, is far enough to answer
our present purpose. After selecting, breeding, and racing four hundred
years we must conclude that the English had some pretty good race horses.
This is fully verified by the writers at the close of Queen Elizabeth’s
reign as well as at the beginning of Charles II.’s. They had native
English horses that were able to beat all the imported exotics, including
the Arabian owned by King James. We must, therefore, conclude that the
race horse was not created by Charles II., but that racing was simply
revived by him, after the restrictions of Cromwell’s time, and that the
old English blood was the basis of that revival. The importations of so
many exotics in his reign were simply so many reinforcements of the old
English racing blood.

The next point to which exception will be taken is the conclusion reached
as to the character and influence of the exotics that were introduced in
the reign of Charles II. These exotics have been designated in a general
way, by the phrase “foundation stock,” which has been introduced more
out of deference to the popular understanding than to its legitimate and
true meaning. For the real “foundation stock” we must look away back
in the centuries, long before Charles was born. The analysis of the
data furnished by Mr. Weatherby as “foundation stock” clearly shows
that the Turks predominated in numbers, but, possibly, the Barbs in
influence. The Arabian element, in both numbers and influence, seems
to be practically _nil_, and this is the “gist of my offending.” The
one great horse—Godolphin Arabian—exerted a greater and more lasting
influence upon the English race horse than any other of his century and
probably than all the others of his century, and his blood is wholly
unknown. Fortunately, a few years ago I was able to unearth his portrait
and prove it a true portrait, and in that picture we must look for his
lineage. He was a horse of great substance and strength on short legs,
with no resemblance whatever to a race horse. About fifty years after his
death Mr. Stubbs, the artist, who prided himself upon representing the
character of a horse rather than his shape, came across this picture,
from which he made an “ideal” copy of what he thought the horse should
have been, which is a veritable monstrosity. These two pictures will
appear together in their proper places, where they can be leisurely
studied, and the honest and the dishonest compared.

The American race horse is the lineal descendent of the English race
horse, and like his ancestor he is very largely dependent upon the
“native blood” for his existence as a breed. The first English race horse
was imported into Virginia about 1750, and he there met a class of saddle
mares that had been selected, bred, trained, and raced at all distances
up to four-mile heats, for nearly a hundred years. These mares were
the real maternal foundation stock upon which the American race horse
was established, as a breed. The phrase “native blood” is here used as
applying to the animals and their descendants, that were brought over
from England at and soon after the plantation of the American colonies.
Up to the time of the Revolution there were but few racing mares brought
over—as many as you could count on your fingers—but they must have been
marvelously prolific, for thirty or forty filly foals each would hardly
have accommodated all the animals with pedigrees tracing to them. Quite
a number of our greatest race horses and sires of forty or fifty years
ago traced to some one of these mares through links that were wholly
fictitious. Indeed, from the period of the Revolution, and even before
that, down to our own time, the pernicious and dishonest habit of adding
fictitious crosses beyond the second or third dam became the rule in the
old American families, and an animal with a strictly honest pedigree
was the exception. In spreading abroad these dishonest fictions as true
pedigrees, the press—perhaps not venally, but ignorantly—was made the
active agent. Whenever a rogue could get a pedigree into print, however
absurd, nothing could prevent its spread as the truth. The early sporting
and breeding press was not in the hands of men remarkable for conscience
and still less remarkable for knowledge. But the worst of all was the
“professional pedigree maker” who knew so many things that he never knew,
and stopped at nothing. In all this dirty work of manufacturing pedigrees
there is a very striking resemblance between the awkward efforts of the
early English and the early American pedigree maker. This whole topic
of the ignorance of the press and the dishonesty of the pedigree makers
will be considered fully in its proper place. Fortunately, although still
far from perfect, the methods and care in the preservation of the true
lineage of the race horse in our own day have been greatly improved. The
many efforts to improve the American race horse by introducing fresh
infusions of Saracenic blood will receive due attention, especially as
they have nearly all been made within the newspaper period, and their
uniform and complete failure will not be new to American horsemen.

When we reach the horses of the colonial period, we are in a field
that never has been explored and cannot be expected to yield a very
rich harvest. Here and there I have been able to pick up a detached
paragraph from some contemporaneous writer, and occasionally a record,
or an advertisement, from which, in most cases, I have been able to
construct a fair and truthful outline and description of the horses of
the different colonies, down to the Revolutionary war. The collection of
the material has required great patience and great labor, but it has not
been an irksome task, for many things have been brought to light of great
interest to the student of horse history. The knowledge of the colonial
horse in his character and action, that may be gathered from the chapters
devoted to his description and history, I flatter myself, will not only
be interesting as something new, but will throw a strong light on the
lineage of the two-minute trotter and pacer.

The colonists of Virginia were subjected for a number of years to great
suffering, privation, and want. They were badly selected and many of them
were improvident and never trained to habits of industry and thrift.
There were quite too many “penniless gentlemen’s sons” among them, who
had been sent out with the hope that the change might improve their
habits and their morals. They were too proud to work, and when they were
driven to it by necessity they didn’t know how. After suffering untold
hardships for a succession of years, those that survived learned to
adapt themselves to their environment and to make their own way in the
world. Their first supply of domestic animals were all consumed as food,
embracing horses, cattle, swine, and goats, and everything had thus been
consumed except one venerable female swine, as reported by a board of
examiners. Their second supply of horses, cattle, swine, and goats was
more carefully guarded, and from them in greater part came the countless
denizens of the barnyard.

There were several shipments of horses at different times, by the
proprietors in London, down till about 1620 and possibly later, but they
do not seem to have increased very rapidly, for in 1646 all the horses
in the colony were estimated at about two hundred of both sexes. This
estimate was probably too low, for ten years after this the exportation
of mares was forbidden by legislative enactment, and eleven years later
this restriction was removed, and both sexes could then be exported. From
this legislation and from writers who visited the colony we learn that
horses were very plenty, and they are described as of excellent quality,
hardy and strong, but under size. It was the custom in Virginia, and
indeed in all the other colonies at that period and for long afterward,
to brand their young horses and turn them out to hustle for their own
living. They increased with wonderful rapidity and great numbers became
as wild and as wary of the habitation and sight of man as the deer of
the forest. About the close of the seventeenth century the chasing and
capture of wild horses in Virginia became a legitimate and not always
an unprofitable sport, for an animal caught without a brand became the
unquestioned property of his captor. It is a noteworthy fact that off
the coast of Virginia the island of Chincoteague has been occupied for
probably two hundred years by large bands of wild horses. They are
still there, and not till within the last few decades have there been
any efforts made to domesticate some selections from them. They are of
all colors, but quite uniform in size, not averaging much over thirteen
hands, with clean limbs, and many of them are pacers. There is only one
way to account for them in that location, and that is, that they were
originally a band of Virginia wild horses that wandered or was chased
out onto this sandy peninsula, and while there some great storm set the
mysterious ocean currents at work and cut off their retreat by converting
a peninsula into an island, and there they have lived and multiplied ever

The colonial horses of Virginia were of all colors and all very small
in size, as we would class them in our day. An examination of a great
many advertisements of “Strayed,” “Taken up,” etc., of the period of
about 1750, clearly establishes the fact that at that time the average
height was a small fraction over thirteen hands and one inch. More were
described as just thirteen hands than any other size, and they were
nearly all between thirteen and fourteen. From this same advertising
source I was able to glean conclusive evidence as to their habits of
action, and found that just two-thirds of them were natural pacers and
one-third natural trotters. Thus for more than a hundred years they
had retained the peculiarities of their English ancestors in the reign
of James I., in color, size, and gait. This in no way differs from the
description of the Chincoteague Island ponies of to-day. As early as 1686
a law was enacted that all stallions less than thirteen and a half hands
high found running at large should be forfeited; but this, like Henry
VIII.’s laws in the same direction, had failed to increase the average
size of the horses. From the indomitable passion for horse-racing which
prevailed universally among the colonists, we may safely conclude that
some animals were carefully selected and coupled with a view to the speed
of the progeny, both at the gallop and at the pace, but the great mass
were allowed to roam at large, and under such conditions no variety or
tribe of horses has ever improved in size, or indeed in any other quality.

The early horses of the Dutch colony of New Netherlands, afterward New
York, were brought from Utrecht in Holland. As we would look at them
to-day, they were small, but they were larger and better, and brought
higher prices than the English horses of the Eastern colonies or than
the Swedish on the West. It was conceded, however, that for the saddle
they were not so good as the New England horses, and hence it may be
inferred that they were not pacers. It is very evident, however, that the
two breeds were soon mixed, as the saddle was then the universal means
of travel, whether for long or short distances. During the time of the
Revolutionary war a large accumulation of data bearing on the size and
action of the horses of that period goes to show that the average size
had then increased to fourteen hands and one inch, and in gait fifteen
both paced and trotted, nine trotted only, and seven paced only. It is
not pretended that these data represent the horses of the early colonial
period, but only of the period above indicated. Strains of larger breeds
had been introduced, but the little New England pacer had made his mark
on the habits of action.

In 1665, the next year after the Dutch had surrendered the country to
the English, Governor Nicolls established a race-course on Hempstead
Plains and offered prizes for the fleetest runners, and his successors
kept up annual meetings on that course for many years. This was the first
official and regularly organized race-course that we have any trace of
in this country. These meetings seem to have been well supported from
the very first by both town and country, and as the people were then
practically all Dutch, it is a fair inference that the horses engaged in
the races were Dutch horses. This was before the English race horse had
reached the character of a breed, and a hundred years before the first of
that breed was imported into New York. From this beginning many tracks
were constructed or improvised in and about the city, upon which racing
at all forms and at all gaits has been carried on to the present day.
When honestly conducted the sport has always been favorably received by
reputable people; but at successive periods it has degenerated into a
mere carnival of gambling that placed it under a ban.

The horses of the New England colonies fill a very important place in the
horse history of the country. This is especially true of a remarkable
tribe of swift pacers, produced in Rhode Island and known throughout
the whole country as the “Narragansett Pacers.” To the description of
these a special chapter will be devoted. The first horses imported into
New England reached Boston harbor in 1629 and were sent direct from
England by the proprietary company in London. The same year a small
consignment reached Salem. The next year about sixty head were shipped
to the plantation, but many of them were lost on the voyage. In 1635 two
Dutch ships landed at Salem with twenty-seven mares and three stallions,
and were sold there at remunerative prices. Other shipments followed,
no doubt, that have not been noted. In 1640 the colonists seem to have
been supplied with all the horses they needed, for that year they shipped
a cargo of eighty head to the Barbadoes. From these importations into
Boston and Salem, all the New England colonists received their supplies.
The field specially gleaned to determine the size and gaits of the
Massachusetts horses covered the years 1756-59, from which it appears
that the average height was then fourteen hands and one inch; and as
to gait, just three-fourths were pacers and one-fourth trotters. In
comparing this average size with the Virginians of the same period we
find that the Massachusetts horses were about one hand higher, which
would indicate the influence of the early Dutch blood. Besides this we
must make some allowance for a possible different habit of estimating

When the plantation was made at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1636, the
planters brought their horses and other domestic animals with them. In
1653 the General Court, at New Haven, made provision for keeping public
saddle horses for hire, and all horses had to be branded. After passing
over a period of more than a hundred and twenty years we find that in
1776 the average size of the Connecticut horse was thirteen hands and
three inches, thus ranging below the other New England colonies. At that
period it is found that the ratio of pacers and trotters was as fifteen
pacers, or trotters and pacers, to four that trotted only. The very
interesting experience of two English travelers, mounted on Connecticut
pacers, in 1769, and their enthusiasm about their superlative qualities,
will be found in its place.

The colony of Rhode Island was planted in 1636 by Roger Williams and his
followers, and eleven years later they obtained their charter. Their
supply of horses came wholly from the colony of Massachusetts, and in
a short time the new plantation became greatly distinguished for the
superiority and speed of its pacers. From the official report of the
colony for 1690, we learn that horses constituted their leading item of
exports, and that they were shipping horses to all the colonies of the
seaboard. At that early day the fame of the Narragansett pacer extended
through all the English colonies, and probably also through the French
plantations on the St. Lawrence. All trade with Canada was strictly
prohibited, but in the then condition of the borders how could such
regulation be enforced, if a Frenchman, with a bale of peltry, wanted
to exchange it for a Narragansett? Freed from the Puritan restrictions
of New England, of that day, the Rhode Islanders developed the speed
of their pacers by racing them, and thus the best and fastest of all
New England were collected there. In 1768 the average height of the
Narragansetts was fourteen hands and one inch, which shows them to have
been about three and a quarter inches higher than the Virginia horses of
the same period. They were not all pacers, for out of thirty-five there
were eight that did not pace, and some others that both trotted and
paced. A full account of these famous pacers will be found in the chapter
on the Colonial Horse History of New England, and that on The American
Pacer and his Relations to the American Trotter.

William Penn did not visit his princely gift from Charles II. until 1682,
and it was then under the government of the Duke of York. In giving a
description of things as he found them he remarks: “The horses are not
very handsome, but good,” and this is all he says of them. Knowing that
Pennsylvania, in the early part of this century, produced larger and
heavier horses, than any other portion of the country, it was a great
surprise to me to find the undoubted proof that a hundred years earlier
she had produced the smallest and the lightest horses of any of the
colonies. In the first half of the last century the average size of the
horses of Eastern Pennsylvania was thirteen hands one and a quarter
inches, and they were remarkably uniform in size. This was one-quarter
inch below the average of the Virginians. Of the twenty-eight animals
examined as to gait, twenty-four of them were natural pacers, three both
paced and trotted, and a single one trotted only. Finding these two facts
of uniformity of size and uniformity of gait together, we are prepared
for another fact that follows, viz., in Philadelphia the pacers were more
popular and fashionable than in any other city, so far as we can learn,
and they were selected with great care and bred for their speed, and that
speed was highly tested on the race-course. They were breeding for speed
without much regard to size, and hence the uniformity.

It has not been discovered that the colonists of New Jersey made any
direct importations of horses from England. Their original supplies
were obtained from New York on the one side and Pennsylvania on the
other. From these sources, therefore, we can form a correct estimate of
the size and gaits of the Jersey horses, without going into particular
investigation. The only object, then, in referring to this colony is
to prove that before 1748 all kinds of racing had become so common in
the colony as to be a nuisance. Consequently the legislative authority
passed an act in 1748 for the suppression of “Running, Pacing and
Trotting Races.” This was in strict harmony with the well-known condition
of things in Philadelphia and vicinity very early in the century. If
there had been no pacing races there would have been no legislation
suppressing them.

The horses of the colony of Maryland would necessarily partake of the
characteristics of Virginia and Pennsylvania, from which she probably
received her supply. There seems to be no evidence of direct importation.
This colony was really the first, in point of time, to legislate for the
suppression of pacing races. In 1747, one year before New Jersey, an act
was passed forbidding pacing races in certain locations at certain times,
and the avowed object was the protection of the Friends in holding their
yearly meetings. Here, then, we have historic evidence that the three
colonies of Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Virginia had frequent pacing
races, and legislative evidence that Maryland and New Jersey had quite
too many pacing races, early in the last century. It follows, then, that
the other colonies indulged their sporting fancies in pacing races also.

The colonies of North and South Carolina obtained their supply of horses
from Virginia, and they possessed the same characteristics as the parent
stock. The first permanent settlement in North Carolina was in 1653, but
before this it had become the refuge of Quakers and others fleeing from
the proscriptions that prevailed in Virginia against all who did not
conform to the English church. South Carolina received her charter in
1663, at a time when horses were beginning to run wild in Virginia. In
1747 thirty horses were advertised in which the size was given, and the
average is within a small fraction of thirteen and a half hands high, and
in this number two were given as fifteen hands, which was a very large
horse for that day. The gait is given in only twelve cases—ten of which
were pacers, one paced and trotted, and one trotted only.

The chapter on the “Early Horse History of Canada” is very brief. It
was not till the year 1665 that the first horses were brought over from
France, and as they came from ancient Picardy, right across the Channel
from England, it is reasonable to assume that they partook of the same
characteristics as the English horses, and that many of them were pacers.
Another theory of the origin of the Canadian pacer is the probability of
clandestine trading with the New Englanders. Among the many impossible
stories about the breeding of Old Tippoo, the greatest sire of Canada,
the truth seems to come to the surface at last, and there can be no
reasonable doubt that he was got by “Scape Goat.” However much or little
dependence can be placed upon many of the claims of fast pacing stallions
coming from Canada, it must be conceded that some of these claims
seem to be well founded, and that the pacing element has been greatly
strengthened by blood from the other side of the border.

The most striking fact in the history of the pacing habit of action is
its great antiquity. The average Englishman of to-day and the average
American of twenty years ago have been united in insisting with the
greatest vehemence that the pace is not a natural but an acquired gait,
resulting from some injury or malformation. One of the great leaders on
that side of the discussion called it “structural incongruity” arising
from the breeding of the “thoroughbred” horse on the “slab-sided” mares
of the West and South, and thought the idea was unanswerable, but
never cited any instances to prove it. Now, the truth is, the earliest
unquestioned evidence we have that horses paced is that furnished by
the chisel of Phidias when he sculptured the horses on the frieze of
the Parthenon at Athens, and that is two thousand three hundred and
thirty-three years old. From the period when the sons of Japheth turned
their attention to horse-breeding on the fruitful plains and valleys in
the regions of the mountains of Ararat down to this culmination of Greek
art, I have not been able to find any contemporaneous evidence of the
existence of the lateral habit of action; but as we know it existed more
than two thousand years ago, we are justified in concluding that among
the original bands of horses, in their original habitat, pacers as well
as trotters abounded. From the erection of the Parthenon in Athens, the
occupation of Britain by the Romans, and through all the centuries down
to the plantation of the colonies in this country, we have mountains of
indisputable evidence of the antiquity of the pacer. In its place this
topic will be quite fully discussed.

The relation which the pacer bears to the American Trotting Horse has
for twenty-five years been a topic of much senseless discussion. In the
historical sketch which served as an introduction to the first volume
of the “American Trotting Register,” the attention of the breeding
public was first called to this question, in a form that was somewhat
tentative, and much less didactic than my judgment suggested, but
it served as an introduction to the study of the question which it
foreshadowed. From this initial paragraph grew the discussion that has
been going on ever since, much of which has been the merest jargon. The
essential oneness of the trot and the pace has been clearly demonstrated
by thousands of experiences. The trotting inheritance that produces the
fast trotter also produces the fast pacer; and the pacing inheritance
that produces the fast pacer also produces the fast trotter. The
trotting-bred John R. Gentry, with his pacing record of a mile in two
minutes and one-half a second, is but a single instance of very many
of the same character. The fastest harness racers in the world are the
pacers, and it seems to make no difference whether the inheritance of
speed comes from the trotter or the pacer. The subject of the pacer in
his diversified historical relations to the American trotter will be
found in different portions of this work, and all tending to show the
significant fact that he is again rapidly attaining the position of honor
among the equine race which he maintained for so many centuries in the
far-distant past.

Early in this century the American Saddle Horse, the real saddle horse of
all time, past and present, began to vanish from sight. Improved roads
and wheeled vehicles superseded him, in great measure, long before the
days of railroads. For business and travel he was the sole dependence
of our forefathers for two hundred years, and in point of health it
is a great misfortune that he has gone so completely out of use. The
horse that cannot take the “saddle gaits” and carry his rider without
discomfort or fatigue is not a saddle horse. Springing up and down at
every revolution of the horse is not riding for pleasure, but to avoid
punishment and a torpid liver. In the chapter devoted to his description,
origin, and breeding, it will be clearly shown that he is indebted to
his pacing ancestry of the past centuries for his saddle gaits. As the
mere matter of great speed cuts no figure in the qualifications of a
saddle horse there is a wide field here for the production of style and
beauty in the breeder’s art. The aims of a goodly number of intelligent
breeders are now moving in this direction, and with the foundations so
well laid as they now are, we can look forward to a grand superstructure.
As the breeder of speed at the trot goes to the horse that can do it
himself, and as the breeder of speed at the gallop goes to the horse
that can beat all the others, so the breeder of the saddler will go to
the handsomest and best of all his tribe, and when we reach the horse
that is perfect in symmetry, style, quality, and disposition, he will
be a saddle horse and no questions will be asked about what particular
combinations of blood he may possess. He will be strictly eclectic, with
the one exception of the inheritance of gait, and he will be the result
of wise choosing in his size and structure, and of skillful handling in
his disposition and manners.

The Wild Horse of the plains and pampas of North and South America was
at one time an object of great interest and curiosity with all our
people. No schoolboy of sixty or seventy years ago knew any lesson
in his geography so well as the one which pictured and described the
millions of wild horses that roamed over the Western plains. In the
field of imagination and exaggerated fiction he was a fairly good second
to the Arabian—both arrant humbugs, at least so far as their merits
have been tested. In the past, the question has sometimes been asked,
tentatively, whether the horse may not have been indigenous on this
continent? The paleontologists have undertaken to answer this question
in the affirmative and have produced the bones of what they call the
horse to prove it. This “horse” is scant fifteen inches high and he has
three, four or five toes on each foot. These toes resemble “claws” more
than anything else. They tell us these little animals flourished over
two millions of years before man was placed on the earth, and that they
are now found imbedded in the solid rock, say two hundred feet below the
general surface. The outline drawing of horses on works supposed to have
been erected by a prehistoric and lost race, and also the linguistic
question as to whether any of the oldest Indian tribes had any word
representing the horse, will be fully considered, with that presented
by the paleontologists, in the chapter devoted to the Wild Horse. Too
much prominence has been given to the horses of Cortez in his conquest
of Mexico, as the progenitors of the American wild horse. He had very
few horses in his command, and it is very doubtful whether any of them
escaped the slaughter of battle and found a home in the wilderness.
The horses in the army of the unfortunate Ferdinand De Soto, that
were abandoned on the confines of Texas, after his death, became the
progenitors of all the wild horses of North America.

The remarkable pre-eminence to which Messenger attained as the founder
of a great race of trotters, in his own right and by his own power,
and more especially as he was the only English-imported running horse
that ever showed any tendency whatever in that direction, the study of
Messenger’s lineage becomes a question of very great interest and value
to all students of trotting history. His sire, Mambrino, was a great
race horse, and was distinguished above all others of his generation, or
indeed of any other generation, before or since, as the progenitor of a
tribe of coach horses of great excellence and value. In addition to this,
the evidence seems to be conclusive that he had a natural and undeveloped
trotting step that far surpassed that of all other running horses of his
day. His sire, Engineer, was notoriously short on the side of his dam,
and his grandsire, Sampson, was a half-breed of great size and bone, and
ran some winning races, in the best of company, for that day.

The history of Messenger himself is still clouded in mystery, and the
blood he inherited from his dam remains hopelessly unknown. The identity
of his importer and owner has never been established, which of itself
throws a suspicion upon the pedigree that is said to have come with him.
He ran several races at Newmarket, England, and proved himself a second
or third-rate race horse. The racing records there show that he was by
Mambrino, and that is all that is known about his inheritance. He left
a few tolerably good race horses, for their time, but he filled the
country with the best road and driving horses that the horsemen of this
country had ever known. A chapter each to Messenger’s ancestors and to
himself will be found in their proper places in this volume. The twenty
years of Messenger’s life and service in this country fell in a period
of indifference to all kinds of racing except running. The English race
horse was then the popular idol, and it is not known that any of his sons
or daughters were ever trained to trot. Neither can it now be certainly
determined that any of them were disposed to pace, but if we may judge
of the habits of action of his immediate progeny by what we know of
succeeding generations, we can hardly doubt that there were pacers among
them. As the custom then was, and as it so remained for at least half a
century later, all pacers were hidden away from public sight, as they
were supposed to furnish evidence of ignoble breeding.

The chapter on “The Sons of Messenger” will be long, but it will be of
exceeding interest. They constitute the connecting link that brings
together the peculiar trotting instincts of the sire and develops them
in their own progeny. Several of them were not only trained to run,
but did run successfully. It is not known that any of his sons was
ever trained to trot, but it is known from contemporaneous evidence
that several of them were fast natural trotters, notably Bishop’s
Hambletonian, Bush Messenger, Winthrop Messenger, Mambrino, etc., all of
which will be considered in their proper place. When we reach the second
remove from Messenger we begin to enter into the full fruition of all the
promises, and in considering such animals as Abdallah, Almack, Mambrino
Paymaster, Harris’ Hambletonian, etc., we begin to feel that we are well
within the trotting latitudes, for this remove began to found families
and tribes that attracted the attention of all intelligent breeders.

In the next remove from Messenger we strike the most famous of all
trotting progenitors in Rysdyk’s Hambletonian. At one time there was an
active and determined difference of opinion among breeders as to which
of three horses, Hambletonian, Ethan Allen, or Mambrino Chief, would in
the end prove to be the most successful sire. This controversy may not
be remembered by the younger of the present generation of horsemen, but
it was bitter and uncompromising, and it presents a lesson so important
that it may be here referred to. The adherents of Ethan Allen argued
that as he was handsomer, that his gait was the very perfection of
trotting action, and that he was incomparably faster than either of the
other two, he must of necessity prove the most successful in begetting
trotters. The adherents of Mambrino Chief used the same argument, with
the exception of beauty and style, and dwelt strongly on the fact that he
was a faster horse than Hambletonian, and would consequently get faster
offspring. Both these arguments were good, so far as they went, but they
lacked completeness and hence were not sound. Neither Ethan Allen nor
Mambrino Chief had a dam, and so far as we know the inheritance of both
was restricted to the male side of the house. Development of speed is
a valuable and real qualification in any sire, but all experience goes
to show that it is only a help to an inheritance. Hambletonian was not
much developed, but it is conceded on all hands that he could show a
2:40 gait at any time and that his action was very perfect. He was got
by a grandson of Messenger, whose dam, Amazonia, was one of the fastest
mares of her generation, whatever her blood may have been. Abdallah got
more and faster trotters than any other grandson of Messenger, and his
daughters were very famous as the producers of trotters. Hambletonian’s
dam, the Kent Mare, was by imported Bellfounder, a horse that got no
trotters practically, but this mare was the fastest four-year-old of
her time, and that because she was out of a very fast mare, One Eye,
that was a double granddaughter of Messenger. That is, One Eye was by
Hambletonian, the son of Messenger, and out of Silvertail, a daughter of
Messenger. This double Messenger mare was unknown to the trotting turf,
but she was well known throughout Orange County as a remarkably fast
trotter. Hence Hambletonian not only possessed more Messenger blood than
any horse of his generation, but that blood came to him through developed
trotters, and he had a right to surpass all competitors, especially the
two that were, at one time, the most prominent.

Several of the sons of Hambletonian, as shown by the tabular statistics
which will be introduced, became greater than their sire, not only in
getting trotters from their own loins, but in transmitting the trotting
instinct to their descendants. The growth and spread of this family
is far and away beyond any precedent that can be cited in any age or
country, and is simply marvelous. It is said that fully ninety per cent.
of the fast trotters now on the turf have more or less of the blood of
Hambletonian in their veins, and I think it is a safe conclusion to say
that no intelligent breeder in all the country is trying to produce
trotters without it. All the other tribes are dropping out of sight,
and at the present ratio of rise and fall it will be but a few years
till every trotter on the turf will be credited in some degree to the
one really great progenitor, Hambletonian. The other tribes will not be
blotted out nor will their merits be lost, but absorbed into the mightier

Such families as the Bashaws, the Clays, the Black Hawks, the Mambrino
Chiefs, the Pilots, the American Stars, the Blue Bulls, etc., will be
fully considered through several chapters, according to their strength
and merit. As these families have not been able to hold their own in
the rush to the front, and as they seem to be falling further to the
rear in the number and quality of their performers each succeeding year,
we may as well begin to designate them as “the minor families.” Their
inheritance was feeble and unsatisfactory, and more or less sporadic, and
we never had any right to expect a brilliant and permanent success from
such beginnings.

As the investigation of disputed, spurious and fraudulent pedigrees
was a prime necessity in order to reach safe and honest grounds upon
which to build up a breed of trotters, much of my time through all my
editorial life was devoted to this kind of investigation. From the first
page of the first volume of the “Register” I was deeply impressed with
the importance of having all pedigrees absolutely correct, and this
impression grew into a vital conviction that without this a breed of
trotters never could be established. I soon found that I had accepted
from some breeders of the very highest respectability a goodly number of
pedigrees that were thoroughly rotten in their extensions. This taught
me that I must study the moral fiber of breeders critically, as well as
their pedigrees, and that from the highest to the lowest. Some men are
honest from principle and because it is right to be honest, while others
are honest because “honesty is the best policy.” Some men are dishonest
because of ignorance, others because they were born cheats, but the
most dangerous of all rogues is the man who will utter a false pedigree
and then prove it by trained witnesses who, for half a dollar, can
remember whatever is necessary and forget whatever might be against their
employer’s interest. By this kind of evidence a man can prove anything.
Not very long ago a man proved that a certain mare came out of a certain
other mare, and when that was shown to be impossible he turned round and
proved (?) that she was out of another mare, and there was just as much
truth in the one as the other, and not a single word of truth in either.
So long as there are men in the world there will be rogues among them,
but the intelligence of the public in breeding matters has so greatly
advanced that many an honest man would begin to doubt his own sanity if
he were even to think of breeding in lines that he was once ready to
fight for as the only right and successful way to breed. The brainless
advocacy of “more running blood in the trotter,” was substantially the
basis of the whole brood of dishonest pedigrees, against which it became
my duty to wage war; but to-day no intelligent man in all the land can be
found to advocate any such balderdash unless it be in the foolish support
of thoughtless opinions previously expressed.

The subject of “How the Trotting Horse is Bred,” is a most interesting
one because it is entirely new in animal economy and is distinctively
American. The initial thought that opened the door to the practical and
scientific consideration of the subject was the happy conception, in the
spring of 1872, of the little phrase, “Trotting Instinct.” Following this
with the definition of the word “instinct” as being “the sum of inherited
habits,” the term expressed in two words and the definition of it in five
words, put the whole subject in a form that was easily comprehensible and
flashed upon the mind as thoroughly practical. This little phrase, with
its definition, when once comprehended, is a very complete epitome of all
that has been taught and all that has been learned of the art of breeding
the trotter. It not only embraces, but requires, the trotting inheritance
as the only starting point, which must be strengthened and the instinct
intensified by the development of the speed of succeeding generations.
It stood some years at the parting of the ways between intelligence and
ignorance, between enlightened judgment and stupid prejudice, between
honesty and dishonesty, but now it is accepted, in practice, as the
universal law from one end of the land to the other. Thus, we have
not only added millions to the wealth of the country, but without any
outside assistance or instruction we have produced a horse that by way of
pre-eminence, throughout the world, is justly entitled to be designated,
“The Horse of America.”



    No indications that the horse was originally wild—The steppes
    of High Asia and Arabia not tenable as his original home—Color
    not sufficient evidence —Impossibility of horses existing in
    Arabia in a wild state—No horses in Arabia until 356 A.D.—Large
    forces of Armenian, Median, and Cappadocian cavalry employed
    more than one thousand seven hundred years B.C.—A breed of
    white race horses—Special adaptability of the Armenian country
    to the horse—Armenia a horse-exporting country before the
    Prophet Ezekiel—Devotion of the Armenian people to agricultural
    and pastoral pursuits through a period of four thousand
    years—All the evidences point to ancient Armenia as the center
    from which the horse was distributed.

In undertaking to consider and determine what particular portion of the
earth was the original habitat of the horse, we must not forget that we
are in a field that antedates all history, both sacred and profane. When
we have gone back to the very first dawnings of historical records we
are still far short of the period in which initial light can be reached.
In profane history, with more or less safety, we can get back to a point
about seventeen hundred years before the Christian era; and in sacred
history about two hundred years less. At both of these dates the horses
referred to were not in a feral state, but were the companions and
servants of man.

There have been two separate theories advanced which demand some
attention, because of the eminence and learning of the men who have
advanced them. The first is that the original habitat of the horse was
on the steppes of High Asia, east and north of the Caspian and the Black
Sea. The only argument I have ever seen advanced in support of this
theory is based upon the great number of wild horses that are found in
that part of the world, and that so many of them are of a dun color.
From the frequency of the recurrence of the dun color another theory has
sprung up to the effect that the original color of the horse was dun,
and hence it is argued that when the dun color appears in our own day
it must be taken as evidence that the original color of the horse was
dun. This reasoning is very far from being conclusive, for there are dun
horses and dun tribes in all breeds, just as there are greys, and the
color is just as liable to be transmitted as any other color. In the
last century there were many dun horses in England, and at least one of
that color was advertised very widely as “the Dun Arabian,” probably a
foreign horse, but it is hardly possible that he was an Arabian. It was
then the custom of the country to call all foreign horses “Arabians,” no
difference from what part of the world they came. It has been stated on
what seemed to be good authority that a dun horse once won the Derby,
but whether the color may result from line breeding or from atavistic
tendencies, the argument advanced does not seem to have any weight in it
for the purpose intended.


ABOUT 1200 B.C.]

Another argument in favor of the wild and unknown regions east and north
of the Caspian as the habitat of the horse has been urged with much
more power and effect. It has been accepted and reiterated by so many
learned men, one after another, that I doubted the wisdom of attempting
to overthrow it, until I found the spot in which it was fatally weak.
This view of the question seems to rest upon the fact that the successive
hosts of Barbarians that overran Europe in the early centuries of the
Christian era brought their horses, as well as their flocks and herds,
with them, and it is assumed that these horses were the first brought
into Europe. This involves a total misconception of dates; not of a few
years merely, but of many centuries. All of Europe, including Britain,
and all of Northern Africa, were abundantly supplied with horses,
probably a thousand years before the first destructive wave of Barbarians
touched Europe. Linguistic and ethnological facts clearly prove that
those people came from Asia, and possibly from a part of Asia where
there were horses running wild, but that does not prove that they came
from the original habitat of the horse. With no dates, either definite
or approximate, to support this theory, and with no specific portion
of the earth fixed upon as the general locality from which they came,
it resolves itself into a mere speculation with nothing to support it,
except the fact that different writers have been copying it from one
another, without throwing any additional light upon it, for a number of

The most remarkable and at the same time the most untenable of all the
claims that have been urged about the horse is that he was indigenous
in Arabia. We can tolerate any number of foolish claims set up to show
that the Arabian horse is superior to all others, for such assertions
can be tested and disproved, as they have been a thousand times, but
the claim that Arabia was the original habitat of the horse is so
utterly preposterous, and yet so widely advocated by writers and others
who know nothing about it, that we must consider it with some brief
deliberation. When the maimed and crippled horses of De Soto were turned
loose and abandoned on the plains of Texas, they had all around them
the means of an abundant and healthy subsistence, and they multiplied
and grew into an innumerable host that made the earth tremble when they
moved in great masses. Under the same favorable conditions of water
and pasture, the same results followed on the pampas of South America.
Upon the early settlement of Virginia, as well probably as in some of
the other colonies, and within two hundred years, many of the horses of
the colonists strayed away, became wild and remained so, propagating
and increasing for generations, and until the growing numbers of their
former masters captured or exterminated them. The varied herbage of the
forest and its grassy swales, and streams of pure water everywhere, made
Virginia a paradise for the horse in his feral state.

Buffon, the French naturalist of a hundred and fifty years ago, notices
the theory of the wild horses of Arabia, but he is careful not to
commit himself nor indorse it in any form. In Vol. I., p. 237, he says:
“According to Mannol, the Arabian horses are descended from the wild
horses in the deserts of Arabia, of which, in ancient times, large
studs were formed,” etc. In going further, to find where Mannol got his
information, it appears that somebody, with an unpronounceable name that
I have forgotten, told him so. Major Upton, a very intelligent but very
credulous modern writer on what he saw and learned in the desert, says
he never heard of this story of wild horses in Arabia, and pronounces it
a “fallacy.” When we consider that Arabia never was conquered and the
reason why, although Rome, at the very culmination of her power, followed
by Assyria and Egypt, all failed of their purpose without meeting an
enemy in battle, we must accept the fact that nature had interposed
a barrier that military power could not surmount. The barrenness and
aridity of the desert has always protected the Arabs against the most
powerful armies of the mightiest nations. Now, to maintain that wild
horses could not only live, but flourish and increase, in a country
where there was not enough edible herbage on a thousand acres to keep
a grasshopper alive, and not a running stream of water within five
hundred miles, requires a measure of mental sterility that can be found
nowhere but among a few of the writers on the Arabian horse. Of all
the curiosities in which the literature of the Arabian horse abounds
and in the multitudinous efforts to give him the primacy among horses,
there seems to be nothing quite so absurd as this story about his being
indigenous to the desert. Animals in a wild state are never found except
in countries and districts where the conditions surrounding provide them
with food and water. How long would a band of strong, healthy horses live
if turned loose to seek their own subsistence in the desert of Arabia?
Of all the countries on the face of the globe there is no one where the
horse is so completely dependent upon, the care and support of his master
as Arabia.

Fortunately, we are not left for data to unwritten traditions two
thousand years old, nor to the fervid imaginations of a race of
cutthroats and thieves of the very lowest order of civilization,
but we can turn, with full confidence, to authentic contemporaneous
history, from which we can settle this question, at once and for all
time. Strabo, the great Greek geographer and philosopher, flourished
in the reign of Augustus, at the very beginning of the Christian era.
He describes Arabia just as we know it to-day, for all countries have
changed in their boundaries and government except Arabia. He describes
the people as chiefly nomadic, and as breeders of camels. The most
remarkable thing in this description is the fact, found in his great
work, Vol. III., p. 190, that they had no horses at that time. The exact
language used in this statement will be found in the next chapter of
this work. The question now arises, If there were no horses in Arabia
at the beginning of the Christian era, when and how did they become
possessed of them? Fortunately, again, written history supplies the
answer to this question. In my next chapter will be found, quoted at
some length, the circumstances bearing on this question. In brief, the
facts are as follows: Philostorgius, a distinguished Greek theologian,
wrote an ecclesiastical history in the fifth century which is no longer
extant. Photius, at one time Patriarch of Constantinople, in the ninth
century wrote an epitome of the work by Philostorgius and to this
epitome we are indebted for the facts we here relate. Constantius, at
the time of which Philostorgius wrote, was on the throne of the Eastern
empire, and was exceedingly zealous in spreading and strengthening the
Christian religion. He learned that the prince of Arabia Felix (that
part of Arabia which we will designate by its modern name Yemen) was
strongly disposed to come out with his people and embrace Christianity.
Constantius thereupon determined to encourage both prince and people in
the movement they were contemplating, and he sent them a grand embassy
with many valuable presents, the most noted of which were two hundred
“well-bred Cappadocian horses.” The embassy was completely successful,
and Theopholis, who had been made a bishop and placed at the head of it,
remained there several years. This was in the year 356 of the Christian
era, and is the first intimation we have in all history of horses in
Arabia. These are the facts, so far as any facts are known, upon the
consideration of which I am not able to assent to the claim that either
High Asia or Arabia was the original habitat of the horse.

I have been surprised at the number of coincidences that seem to point
to ancient Armenia as the first habitation of the horse. This country
at one time was a very powerful kingdom, extending from the mountains
of Caucasus on the north to Media or Assyria on the south, and from
the Caspian Sea on the east to the Euphrates on the west, and at one
time even to the Mediterranean. It was intersected by several ranges of
mountains and not only gave rise to the Euphrates and the Tigris, but to
a number of smaller rivers. It was well watered everywhere, and produced
in great abundance all varieties of herbage, cereals, and fruits. It
was originally called Ararat by the Hebrews, probably after a range of
mountains about central to the territory embraced, and because Noah’s Ark
rested somewhere “on the mountains of Ararat.” It is also called Togarmah
in Scripture, after Torgom, son of Gomer, who was the son of Japheth,
the son of Noah. Japheth seems to have been the oldest son of Noah, and
he chose this fruitful region as the future home of his descendants.
The Rev. Michael Chamich, a native Armenian, went back into the old
Armenian records, translated the language as originally used, and wrote
a history of the country from its first settlement; and this history has
been Englished by Johannes Adval, another native Armenian, and published
in Calcutta in 1827. This work seems to be worthy of credence, and it
clearly establishes the lineal descent of the governing family back to
Japheth, the son of Noah. The order of succession as the head of the
tribe continues through several generations unbroken, from father to
son. Gomer, the son of Japheth, was succeeded by his son Togarmah, then
followed Haicus, Armenac, Aramais, Amassia, Gelam, Harma, Aram, Arah, who
was slain in battle, his son Cardus (at twelve years old), Anushaven, who
died without issue and was succeeded by Paret, who reigned fifty years
and during his reign the patriarch Joseph died in Egypt, B.C. 1635. These
princes all had long reigns. Haicus was the first of the line to assume
the title of king, and he was greatly distinguished for extending the
boundaries of his kingdom. Gelam extended his borders to the Caspian.
Aram was fifty-eight years on the throne, during which time he had a war
with the Medes, and also with the Cappadocians, in both of which he had
a large force of cavalry in the field. This was about seventeen hundred
years before the Christian era, and is the first mention of cavalry that
I have found in history, either sacred or profane. In both these wars
his cavalry was met by the cavalry of the enemy, equal to or greater
than his in numbers. How long before this troops may have been mounted
on horses it is impossible to say, but from the numbers so used at that
period of the world by the neighboring nations and tribes, as the Medes,
the Cappadocians, etc., it is fair to conclude that the horse had then
been an important factor in all military movements for many generations.
When we consider two opposing armies, each provided with divisions of
five thousand cavalry, the period being about B.C. 1700, with no dates
beyond that are known as relating to the horse, we are shut up to our own
reasoning as to the number of centuries that may have been required to
produce these great numbers. It must have been at least one century, or
it may have been three or four, and this would carry us back to the head
of the house of Japheth.

If we accept Egyptian chronology, which still lacks much of being
reliable, one of the Pharaohs, named Thutmosis I., invaded Syria, passing
up through Palestine till he reached the latitude of Aleppo, and then
turned eastward and crossed the Euphrates. His campaign was successful;
he fought many battles and returned laden with spoils, especially horses
and chariots of war. This was before the Israelites reached the promised
land, and before Joshua’s battle with the “Northern kings,” in which
they had “horsemen and chariots very many,” and which is the earliest
Scriptural instance in which horses were employed in battle.

The territory embracing the ancient countries of Eastern Asia Minor,
bounded on the north by the Black Sea and the Caucasian mountains, on
the south by the thirty-seventh degree of north latitude, and extending
to the Caspian Sea, has always been remarkable for the variety, value,
and abundance of its agricultural products. Many of the very early
historians have noted the fact that each one of the countries embraced
in this territory was distinguished for the excellence and numbers of
horses produced, and they appear in about the following order, namely,
Armenia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Media. The last-named country embraced
what is now the northern part of Persia, and as between the “Medes”
and the “Persians” there is no little confusion in the public mind, as
sometimes one was on top and sometimes the other. Then, to add to the
confusion, the Assyrians came in, occupying the same country and the same
capitals. For our present purposes it is not necessary to enter into the
consideration of these successive dynasties. The Medes were comparatively
newcomers, and as they were a great military people their prominence
in horse history resulted more from the spoils of war and the tribute
in horses that they collected from their neighbors than from their own
production. Kitto says that in the time of the Persian empire the plain
of Nissæum was celebrated for its horses and horse races. This plain was
near the city of Nissæa, around which were fine pasture lands, producing
excellent clover. The horses were “entirely white” (probably grey) and
of extraordinary height and beauty, as well as speed. They constituted
part of the luxury of the great, and a tribute in kind was paid from them
to the monarch, who, like all Eastern sovereigns, used to delight in
equestrian display. Some idea of the opulence of the country may be had
when it is known that, independently of imposts rendered in money, Media
(then the undermost dog), paid a yearly tribute of not less than three
thousand horses, four thousand mules, and nearly one hundred thousand
sheep. The races, once celebrated through the world, seem to exist no

When Darius the Mede had extended his empire over the whole of Western
Asia and Egypt, he exacted heavy tribute in horses from all subjugated
provinces. This was about 520 B.C., and antedated the racing referred
to above. In all parts of his extended empire he built roads and
established lines of couriers, mounted on fleet horses, that there
might be no delay in receiving at his capital and sending out again
intelligence of what was transpiring in any part of his dominions. For
this service the best and fleetest horses were required, and the only
guide we have to determine how these horses were selected we find in
the fact that the tribute collected from the little kingdom of Cilicia,
formerly a part of Cappadocia, was, in addition to a stated sum of money,
one white horse for every day in the year. It is possible that these
white Cilician horses may have been the progenitors of the white (grey)
race horses spoken of in Media.

In describing the general fruitfulness of Cappadocia, Strabo says:
“Cappadocia was also rich in herds and flocks, but more particularly
celebrated for its breed of horses.” Strabo speaks of this as a leading
characteristic of the country and doubtless it had held pre-eminence in
this respect for generations before he wrote. Three hundred and fifty-six
years later, when Constantius was selecting his presents of horses for
the prince and people of Yemen, in Arabia, he knew just where to look, in
all his dominions, for the best of their kind, and selected two hundred
“well-bred” ones for Arabia. Sir R. Wilson, in discussing the quality
of the Russian cavalry horses about 1810, had evidently heard of this
Cappadocian origin of the Arabian horse, but, unfortunately, he got all
the parties badly mixed in his reference. He makes Constantine instead
of Constantius the donor of three hundred Cappadocian horses, instead of
two hundred, and they are given to one of the African princes, instead of
to an Arabian prince. The African traveler, Bruce, found some excellent
horses in Nubia, Africa, and from their high quality and unusually large
size he seems to have jumped to the conclusion that these were the
descendants of the three hundred from Constantine.

After glancing over all the different countries in this great zone as
defined above, and extending from the Bosphorus to the Caspian Sea, one
cannot fail to be impressed with its special adaptation to the production
and sustenance of all varieties of domestic animals, in their greatest
perfection. Here the country seems to have been made for the horse, and
the horse for the country. Here was a country suited to his nativity, and
here we find records of his existence centuries earlier than in any other
country. The wild ass flourished in this country, but I have not been
able to find any evidence or indication that the horse was not always
the companion and servant of man. Wherever he is found in a feral state
reasons that are amply satisfactory are never wanting to account for that
state. Ancient historians have specially noted each of the principal
countries embraced in this zone for the superiority and numbers of its
horses, but no one has made any allusion to wild horses, nor suggested
that there may have been a time when their ancestors were wild.

Now, as we have designated a long and wide region of Western Asia,
embracing a number of different nationalities and governments, as the
probable original habitat of the horse, can we go further and designate
the particular nationality or government in which was his original home
and from which he was distributed to adjoining nations or peoples? In
answer to this question, we cannot present any dates of record earlier
than about 1700 B.C., and this date will apply as well to Media and
Cappadocia as to Armenia. We must, therefore, consider it in the light of
other facts and circumstances, not dependent upon specific dates. In the
first place, and taking the Mosaic account of the deluge as the starting
point, “the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat.” This is the original
name of a country, intersected by a mountain range, and that range took
its name from the country in which it was found. “Mount Ararat” was
simply a very high peak in that range. The distinction should be observed
here between “the mountains of Ararat” and “Mount Ararat.” In the second
place, it is clearly established by all history that near the base of
this mountain range Japheth and his descendants had their homes. His son
Gomer was highly distinguished in his day, and his grandson, Togarmah,
son of Gomer, became a powerful chief. To such prominence did he rise in
the affairs of his age that for centuries after his day his country was
called “Togarmah.” Hence we have the three names, Ararat, Togarmah and
Armenia applied in sacred and profane history to the same country that we
are now considering.

During the continuance of the dynasty of King Haic or Haicus, the son of
Togarmah, the Armenians became a very prosperous and powerful people.
They did not seem to be an aggressive or warlike people, although
their boundaries were greatly extended, but a thrifty agricultural and
industrious people. Breeding and marketing horses seem to have been
their leading employments. In the twenty-seventh chapter of the Prophet
Ezekiel he gives a catalogue of the different peoples trading with the
great Phœnician merchants and the products of their countries, in which
they traded. This catalogue was written five hundred and fifty-eight
years before the Christian era, and is very remarkable for its extent
and completeness. It not only shows what the Phœnicians carried away
to the West, in their “Ships of Tarshish,” but also what they brought
back for distribution among their customers in Western Asia. I will
quote, from the revised version, two or three of the classes of articles
enumerated, embracing both import and export trade. Of foreign imports
he says: “Tarshish” (Spain and beyond) “was thy merchant by reason of
the multitude of all kinds of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead,
they traded for thy wares.” Of articles for export he says: “They of the
house of Togarmah traded for thy wares with horses and war-horses and
mules.” “Togarmah” here means “Armenia,” and this is the only instance
in which horses are mentioned in the catalogue. I will give another
quotation, not because it is conclusive in itself, but because it is
confirmatory of Strabo’s statement that there were no horses in Arabia
in his day. He says: “Arabia and all the princes of Kedar, they were the
merchants of thy hand; in lambs, and rams, and goats, in these were they
thy merchants.” Other products from more southern portions of Arabia are
enumerated, but no horses. This is the initial step toward the general
distribution of horses, by the Phœnician merchants, which will be
developed in the next chapter.

In speaking of Media (Vol. II., p. 265), Strabo says: “The country is
peculiarly adapted, as well as Armenia, to the breeding of horses.” Of
one district not far from the Caspian he remarks: “Here, it is said,
fifty thousand mares were pastured in the time of the Persians, and
were the king’s stud. The Nessæan horses, the best and the largest in
the king’s province, were of this breed, according to some writers, but
according to others they were from Armenia.” Again he says: “Cappadocia
paid to the Persians, yearly, in addition to a tribute in silver, one
thousand five hundred horses, two thousand mules, and fifty thousand
sheep, and the Medes contributed nearly double this amount.”

Of Armenia he says, p. 271: “The country is so well adapted, being
nothing inferior in this respect to Media, for breeding horses that the
race of Nessæan horses, which the king of Persia used, is found here
also; the satrap of Armenia used to send annually to the king of Persia
twenty thousand young horses.”

The Nessæan horses, so famous for their speed, were the “thoroughbreds”
of their day, and there can hardly be a doubt they originated in Armenia,
and, just like our own “thoroughbreds,” they were essentially the result
of careful selection through a series of generations, and of breeding
only from animals possessing the desired qualifications in the highest
degree. In the earlier days of racing in Media, it appears that white
was the fashionable color, but I am disposed to think that grey, growing
white with age, was the color intended to be expressed by the writers
of that period. The “albino” color is abnormal and supposed to indicate
tenderness and lack of stamina.

There is one fact, in considering this question, to which I have probably
not given sufficient prominence and weight. So far as the records go,
the three countries of Armenia, Cappadocia, and Media are synchronous
in having mounted troops in their armies seventeen hundred years before
the Christian era. We must, therefore, consider the conditions of these
countries antecedent to the period of 1700 B.C. Of Cappadocia we know
absolutely nothing historically until it was conquered by Cyrus, king
of Persia, about 588 B.C. Of Media the earliest knowledge we have of a
historical character does not go back further than about 842 B.C. It
should be observed that I here speak of “historical” knowledge and not
of uncertain traditions of many centuries earlier. Both of these nations
with their distinctive nationalities have, long since, been wiped off the
surface of the earth.

When we reach Armenia, we reach a people with a most remarkable history,
extending back for more than four thousand years. This history, although
not wholly free from criticism or doubt, seems to be honestly written and
worthy of a liberal measure of confidence. That the children of Japheth
should have settled at the foot of the mountains of Ararat strikes every
one as a very natural event, but that their descendants should still be
there, through all the triumphs and oppressions of four thousand years,
is one of the most stupendous facts in the history of the world. From
the very first we know of them they seem to have been an agricultural
people, strongly attached to their native soil. When they ruled over the
land from the Caspian to the Mediterranean, they built no great cities,
but adhered steadfastly to the rural pursuits of their fathers, and
this, probably, was the chief cause of their weakness. Their wealth
and sources of wealth were chiefly in their horses, and these they sold
to the merchants of Sidon and Tyre, who carried them to all the nations
of Europe and Africa, commencing with Egypt, and supplying all wants as
far as Spain and Morocco, and beyond, probably, as far as Britain. The
Phœnician merchants were the first to open commercial transactions with
Europe and Africa, and they were in control of the commerce of the world
long before King Solomon entered into commercial partnership with Hiram,
king of Tyre. Armenia had horses to sell long before they had horses
in Egypt, and Phœnicia had ships and enterprise to carry them there.
There is a fitting of interests here that seems to point to Armenia as
the great original source of supply, and as the original habitat of the



    First evidences of horses in Egypt about 1700 B.C.—Supported
    by Egyptian records and history—The Patriarch Job had no
    horses—Solomon’s great cavalry force organized—Arabia as
    described by Strabo at the beginning of our era—No horses
    then in Arabia—Constantius sends two hundred Cappadocian
    horses into Arabia A.D. 356—Arabia the last country to be
    supplied with horses—The ancient Phœnician merchants and their
    colonies —Hannibal’s cavalry forces in the Punic Wars—Distant
    ramifications of Phœnician trade and colonization—Commerce
    reached as far as Britain and the Baltic—Probable source of
    Britain’s earliest horses.

Having considered the different theories or opinions as to the original
habitat of the horse and the means and facilities by which distribution
to the different portions of the earth may have been effected, I have
omitted land migration, which will be self-evident to all as an important
factor in the problem. It is now in order, therefore, to consider such
dates and facts as are pertinent and may be gleaned from history, sacred
and profane.


ABOUT 1200 B.C.]

When Abraham, with Sarah his wife, visited Egypt about 1920 B.C., the
Pharaoh for her sake bestowed upon him many gifts: “Sheep and oxen and
he asses and men servants and maid servants and she asses and camels.”
Among these great gifts there were no horses, evidently because Egypt
had no horses at that time. There is no mention nor reference to horses
in Egypt till Joseph became prime minister two hundred years later,
when there were a few horses, and they were traded or sold to Joseph by
their owners in exchange for food, not in droves, but as individuals.
These scriptural facts in the experiences of Abraham and Joseph seem
to be circumstantially sustained by the discoveries of those learned
Egyptologists who, in late years and with the spade in their hands,
have resurrected so much of history that had been buried for thousands
of years. It was during the reign of the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings,
that Abraham and Joseph were in Egypt, and in order to approximate the
time when horses were first introduced, we must glance at a few facts
in connection with what is known of the Hyksos. Some have claimed they
were from Chaldea, some from Northern Syria and Asia Minor, and some
again from Phœnicia, and it is one of the strangest things in history
that a great nation should be overthrown and held in subjection for over
five hundred years and nobody know who did it. Then again, it is equally
incomprehensible that any nation should have subdued Egypt and held it
in bondage so long and yet never have claimed the honor of having done
so. Still another mystery remains that never has been solved, and that
is, what became of the Shepherds and their followers when they were
driven out? At the period of the conquest the governing class was rent by
factions and under a weak and tyrannical king. The Delta and the Valley
of the Nile were crowded with slaves, many of them of Asiatic origin.
The elevated plains and mountain sides were covered with fierce and
intractable nomads, all of Asiatic origin, tending their flocks. Some
brave and skillful shepherd organized the shepherds and the slaves and at
their head swept down upon the government with a power that was so mighty
as to be irresistible. Manetho, the great Egyptian historian of more
than two thousand years ago, thus describes the event: “Under this king,
then, I know not wherefore, the god caused to blow upon us a baleful
wind, and in the face of all probability bands from the East, people of
ignoble race, came upon us unawares, attacked the country and subdued it
easily and without fighting.” In remarking upon this same event Professor
Maspero, who stands at the very head of the Egyptologists, says: “It
is possible that they (the shepherds) owed this rapid victory to the
presence in their armies of a factor hitherto unknown to the Africans—the
war chariot—and before the horse and his driver the Egyptians gave way in
a body.” In view of the direct declaration of Manetho that the question
of the succession was settled “without fighting,” the mere suggestion of
an unsustained “possibility” from Maspero that the result may have been
determined by the war chariots cannot be accepted. All the authorities
agree that the horse was introduced into Egypt at some period during the
rule of the Shepherd Kings, but there is absolutely no evidence that this
was at the beginning or anywhere near the beginning of that rule.

No records or delineations of the horse have been found in any of the
temples or tombs of Egypt prior to the beginning of the eighteenth
dynasty, which was probably about the year 1570 B.C. and contemporaneous
with the birth of Moses. If the Shepherd Kings left behind them any
records or delineations of the horse it would be quite natural for the
true kingly line to destroy and erase every vestige of whatever would
revive a memory to them so bitter and hateful. But the absence of all
traces of horses under the seventeenth dynasty of the Shepherds does not
prove that there was none, for we have direct proof in Joseph’s case that
they were there one hundred and fifty-six years, and in Jacob’s burial
one hundred and nineteen years before the beginning of the eighteenth

The question as to the time when they procured their horses having
now been approximately settled, the inquiry naturally follows as to
where they came from? In answering this question there seems to be no
hesitation or doubt. They came from Northern Syria, which embraces not
only the northeastern coast of the Mediterranean, including Phœnicia,
but the countries north and east of it trading there, which means the
great horse-breeding countries of Armenia and Cappadocia. Being largely
engaged in the Egyptian trade for many centuries, it is probable the
Phœnician merchants were the principal agents in supplying them. In
speaking of the horse in Egypt, Prof. Maspero says: “The horse when once
introduced into Egypt soon became fairly adapted to its environment. It
retained both its height and size, keeping the convex forehead—which
gave the head a slightly curved profile—the slender neck, the narrow
hind-quarters, the lean and sinewy legs and the long, flowing tail which
had characterized it in its native country. The climate, however, was
enervating, and constant care had to be taken, by the introduction of new
blood from Syria, to prevent the breed from deteriorating. The Pharaohs
kept studs of horses in the principal cities of the Nile valley, and the
great feudal lords, following their example, vied with each other in the
possession of numerous breeding stables.”

There are some facts here that are worthy of special emphasis: (1)
There were no horses in Egypt till the period of the Shepherd Kings,
i. e., about the time of Joseph. (2) All Egyptologists down to the
present day agree that the supply of Egyptian horses was procured from
Northern Syria. (3) The Egyptians and the Arabians were adjoining nations
in constant, friendly intercourse, exchanging the products of their
respective countries, and yet there is no shadow of an intimation that
the Arabians had then ever owned a horse. It is reasonable to conclude,
therefore, not only from what is written, but from what is implied, that
the Arabians at about the period of 1600 B.C. had no horses. Northern
Syria, as the source of Egyptian supply, points directly to Armenia,
adjoining on the east, as the original source. When Strabo wrote at the
beginning of the Christian era that there were no horses in Arabia at
that time, he would still have been within the bounds of the truth if he
had said there had been none there for more the sixteen hundred years
before his day. All these considerations confirm the history that has
come down to us from Philostorgius.

As early as the dynasties of the Shepherd Kings and while the Israelites
were still in Egyptian bondage, the Phœnician merchants had accumulated
great wealth and great power and were literally the masters of the seas.
The Phœnicians were a commercial and maritime people and the Egyptians
were, in fact, dependent upon them for all their foreign supplies.
These conditions leave hardly a doubt that Egypt’s first supply of
horses came through the Phœnicians. But upon the establishment of the
eighteenth dynasty under the old Thebans, the spirit of war and conquest
revived, and under Thutmosis I. and Thutmosis III., notably, numerous
and successful campaigns were made against Northern Syria and then
extending eastward across the Euphrates into the borders of Armenia and
Assyria. And from the number of horses and chariots captured in battle
and collected as tribute, the careful student cannot avoid the conclusion
that this kind of spoil was the chief incentive to the various campaigns.
“Besides the usual species,” Maspero informs us, “powerful stallions were
imported from Northern Syria, which were known by the Semitic name of
_Abiri_, the strong.” This is the first mention in history of an improved
type of horse noted for his strength.

Whatever may have been the precise period in which the Patriarch Job
lived, he was the author of the grandest panegyric on the war-horse that
ever was written. Yet it seems strange that he owned seven thousand
sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred
she asses, but did not own a horse. To draw his picture of the war-horse
he must have seen him in action, on the field, and it is not improbable
in his younger days he witnessed, or possibly participated in, some great
battle between the Babylonians and the Persians, north of the latitude
and country in which he lived. It is now generally conceded, I think,
among learned men that the “land of Uz” was in the southeastern portion
of Arabia Deserta, bordering on the Persian Gulf, where the horse is a
useless luxury. Job was a very rich man, he certainly did not lack in
admiration of the horse, and if he had thought that horses would add to
his comfort and enjoyment he could easily have obtained them from the
great herds in the north. But the camel is the great beast of service
and utility in Arabia; it was so in Job’s time, it is so to-day, and it
always will be so because it is suited to the environment.

When Joshua was subduing the tribes of Canaan, B.C. 1450, he found that
the Phœnicians had several well-fortified cities and did not attack them,
but he encountered a combination of “Northern Kings” with a vast army and
“with horses and chariots very many.” His victory was complete, and he
houghed their horses and burned their chariots with fire.

Jabin, called the King of Canaan, in the time of the Judges, had his
kingdom on the northern border of Palestine and east of Phœnicia, at
the southern extension of Mount Lebanon. Sisera, one of the greatest
commanders of the time, B.C. 1285, commanded his army and he had nine
hundred chariots of iron, but the victory of the Israelites was complete.

In the year B.C. 1056, David pursued some of the tribes of Western Arabia
that had made a raid on Southern Palestine and carried away many captives
and much spoil. He overtook them with his own followers and subdued them,
and none escaped except four hundred young men who fled on camels. He
recovered all the captives and brought back all the flocks and herds,
but there were no horses among them. About the same time, historians
inform us, the tribes of Eastern Arabia were paying their tribute to the
Assyrians in camels and asses, while the northern countries were paying
theirs in horses and money.

The Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon B.C. 992, to learn of his wisdom
and “to prove him with hard questions.” Her kingdom was in that part
of southeastern Arabia now called Yemen, bordering on the Red Sea. Her
journey was a very long one and she “came with a very great train of
camels that bare spices and very much gold and precious stones.” It will
be observed that there were no horses in this “very great train.” It will
be observed further, from the incidents above related, that whenever the
Israelites met their neighbors north of them, whether in peace or war,
they met horses with them; and whenever they met their neighbors south
of them, they were mounted only on camels.

When the dominions of Solomon had become vastly extended, embracing
numbers of tributary kingdoms, as well as nomadic tribes, and when his
ships had gathered in untold riches from all parts of the world, he
found it prudent to reorganize his army for the defense of his kingdom
and his wealth, and on a scale commensurate with the dangers that might
arise from a combination of the jealous and envious neighbors with whom
he was surrounded. Among the northern kingdoms of that day it had been
often demonstrated in battle that the effective force of an army must
be estimated by its strength in horsemen and chariots of war. Solomon,
therefore, bought horses and chariots from Egypt, and horses from all
lands that had them for sale. It is probable that the superiority of
the Egyptian chariots was the special reason for buying them in that
country, as he paid six hundred shekels of silver for the chariots and
one hundred and fifty for the horses to bring them home. The reorganized
army consisted of one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand
horsemen, and they were quartered in the different large cities in his
dominions. In the interval of seven hundred and twenty-eight years that
had elapsed since Joseph was Prime Minister, and horses introduced in
Egypt, they had greatly multiplied. When Solomon died and his kingdom was
divided into two hostile camps, Hiram, King of Tyre, his lifelong friend
and associate, became virtually his successor to the trade of the world.

The great Greek geographer, Strabo, traveled and wrote in the reign of
Augustus, and died A.D. 24. For descriptions of all countries of that
period and their industries and productions, he has been quoted for
eighteen hundred years as the best if not the only authority. Writing
as he did, at the very initial point of the Christian era, he gives us
a landmark that fixes itself in the mind. He gives a brief, but quite
satisfactory, description of Arabia, in which he notes the general
topography and boundaries as they are understood to-day; and then he
enters, somewhat, into the climate, productions of the soil, character
and industries of the people, etc. Of one part of the country he speaks
of the inhabitants as breeders of camels, and of another, that is more
productive, he remarks: “The general fertility of the country is very
great; among other products there is in particular an abundant supply
of honey. Except horses, there are numerous herds of animals, asses
and swine, birds also of every kind, except geese and the gallinaceous

Here we have from the very highest authority the pivotal fact that there
were no horses in Arabia at the commencement of the Christian era. This
does not rest upon argument, nor is it a deduction from some condition
of things that might have existed; but it is a distinct declaration of
what Strabo saw with his own eyes and wrote down when he saw it. It must,
therefore, stand as an undisputed fact, until some reputable authority is
brought forward to contradict it. This description from Strabo applies
to that rich portion of Arabia, bordering on the Red Sea along its full
length. With the fact established, circumstantially and historically,
that there were no horses in Arabia at the beginning of the Christian
era, it now remains to consider how and when they were first introduced
in that country.

Philostorgius, a distinguished Greek theologian, born A.D. 425, as
related in the preceding chapter, wrote an ecclesiastical history, which
is no longer extant, but fortunately Photius, at one time patriarch
of the Eastern church, born A.D. 853, prepared an epitome of it. This
epitome of Philostorgius comes down to A.D. 425, and is to be found
in the Lenox Library of this city, bound up in the same volume with
Sozomen’s Ecclesiastical History. I will here quote literally from this
epitome so much as is pertinent to the question before us. Constantius
was then on the throne of the Eastern Empire, and labored for the
promotion of the Christian religion.

    “Constantius sent ambassadors to those who were formerly called
    Sabæans, but are now known as Homeritæ, a tribe descended from
    Abraham, by Keturah. As to the territory which they inhabit,
    it is called by the Greeks Magna Arabia and Arabia Felix, and
    extends to the most distant part of the ocean. Its metropolis
    is Saba, the city from which the Queen of Sheba went forth to
    see Solomon.... Constantius, accordingly, sent ambassadors to
    them to come over to the Christian religion.... Constantius,
    wishing to array the embassy with peculiar splendor, put on
    board their ships two hundred well-bred horses from Cappadocia,
    and sent them, with many other gifts.... The embassy turned
    out successfully, for the prince of the nation, by sincere
    conviction, came over to the true religion.”

Other facts might be quoted from this epitome, showing that Theopholis
was made a bishop and placed at the head of this embassy and that
he remained in Arabia Felix several years, prosecuting his work
successfully. It might also be quoted to show that the people of the
cities of Yemen (Arabia Felix) were, at that day, well advanced in
civilization and refinement, and that wealth and luxury abounded on
all sides. Their lands, from the sea to the desert, were wonderfully
productive, and their people lived in the cities and on their farms,
but few leading a nomadic life. In later generations this part of the
country, which is in Arabia Felix, has been called Yemen, and I believe
it is universally conceded among the Arab tribes and by writers who have
studied the subject that the best horses come from Yemen.

Taking the administration of Joseph as indicating the time when the first
horses were introduced into Egypt, about B.C. 1720, and the actual date
when Constantius sent the first into Arabia, A.D. 356, we find that Egypt
led Arabia by two thousand and seventy-six years. And yet numbers of men
have written great pretentious books on the horse, in which they tell
us that the Egyptians got their horses from the Arabians; while others
equally pretentious and voluminous tell us the Arabians got their horses
from the Egyptians; and neither class probably ever gave the labor of an
honest hour to settle this question. The one is over two thousand years
out of the way, and still they know just as much about it as the other
knows. They are both equally ignorant and equally dishonest, for they
simply copied, as their own, what somebody had said before them.

It is conceded on all hands and by all men who have gone beneath the mere
surface, that the literature of the ages furnishes no evidence that there
were horses in Arabia before the fourth or fifth century of our era.
General Tweedie, by far the ablest writer on the Arabian horse that we
have examined, concedes the pertinency and force of the absence of all
literary evidence, until the fifth century is reached, and as a reply he
says: “The several Roman invasions of Arabia, in the reigns of Augustus,
Trajan, and Severus, must have left foreign horses behind them.” This
is, in fact, conceding the accuracy of Strabo’s representations and that
there were no horses in Arabia at the beginning of the Christian era. The
truth of the historical allusion is that the Romans never overran nor
conquered Arabia. They could skirmish around the border and capture a
few towns or cities, but the death-dealing desert was too much for them.
Trajan at last made it a Roman province by his proclamation, and not by
his sword, and for the excellent reason that “the game was not worth the
candle.” What a strange fact it is that Arabia, instead of the first,
should have been the last country in all the old world to be supplied
with horses!

It is very difficult to comprehend or even imagine the changes that may
be wrought in a thousand years by a strong, enterprising, and aggressive
people, colonized in a rich country occupied by semi-barbarians and
savages. This was the condition in Northern Africa, when the Phœnician
colonies were planted there, a thousand years before the Christian era.
The colony at Utica in Algeria was planted about eleven hundred years
before the Christian era, which was contemporaneous with the reign of
Saul as king of Israel. The colony of Carthage, that afterward contested
with Rome for universal dominion, was planted in the same country, about
two hundred years later, and was contemporaneous with Jehu. The whole
southern shore of the Mediterranean was dotted with Phœnician colonies,
from Egypt westward.

The oldest of the Phœnician colonies so far from home was probably Gades,
now called Cadiz, on the Atlantic coast of Spain and outside of the
Pillars of Hercules. This colony was planted about fifteen hundred years
B.C. and was contemporaneous with Moses and the forty years’ journeying
of the Israelites in the wilderness. The more recent scholarship seems
to have developed the fact that still north of Gades and extending from
the mouth of the Guadelete to that of the Guadiana, there was a very
large and flourishing colony planted by the Phœnicians, possessing within
itself many of the requisites and functions of statehood, and that
this was the ancient “Tarshish” of scripture. This plantation became a
secondary Tyre, and the “ships of Tarshish” not only made their voyages
back and forth through the length of the Mediterranean, but extended them
northward, up the European coast and to Britain, and southward along the
African coast for a great distance, establishing trading posts wherever
the products of a country promised profitable exchange.

The planting of colonies in that age, even for the one ostensible purpose
of trade, involved more than the mere erection of a “trading post”
at some selected harbor. A strong and well-equipped and well-trained
military force had to be employed to protect and defend them. The
Phœnicians were great traders, and at the same time they were excellent
fighters. Their numerous colonies on both shores of the Mediterranean
required a strong military force that was made up very largely of
slaves and the nomadic tribes of the country, but always commanded by
prominent and influential Phœnicians. It is impossible to tell what the
very early experiences of the colonists may have been with regard to
horses; nor do we know whether they found horses already there when they
arrived at their new plantations. My belief is, however, that they were
not only the first to carry horses to Egypt, but they were the first
to carry them to the western extremities of the Mediterranean. It will
be remembered that the early trade of the Armenians with the Phœnician
merchants was not only in horses, but in _horsemen_, and it is probable
that these “horsemen” were slaves, expert and skillful in managing the
horse. It has been said by historians that certain classes of their ships
were ornamented with a carved horse’s head, at the prow; and it has been
inferred that the ships so designated were specially constructed and
fitted up for the safe carrying of horses. It is true that in the course
of the centuries horses may have found their way from Egypt westward to
Algeria, and by crossing the Bosphorus they might have found their way
from Asia Minor to Spain, but it is also true that from small beginnings
at the plantation of the colonies there was ample time for them to
increase to almost countless herds before the period when the colonists
became a mighty military power in the earth.

Historians tell us that the military establishment of the city of
Carthage alone, when on a peace footing, consisted of three hundred
elephants, four thousand horses and forty thousand foot soldiers.
When Hannibal started out to fight Rome, in the second Punic war, say
B.C. 218, he had with him eighty thousand footmen and twelve thousand
horsemen; and he left thirty-two thousand soldiers at home to guard his
Spanish and his African dominions. With a proportional division of the
home troops, he then had about seventeen thousand mounted men in his
army. These were not war levies, but hardened and trained soldiers, and
it is, therefore, not remarkable that he held nearly the whole of Spain
in subjection, and practically all of Northwestern Africa. Polybius,
the soldier historian, tells us that “his Numidian cavalry formed the
strongest part of his army, and to their quick evolutions, their sudden
retreat, and their rapid return to the charge, may be attributed the
success of Hannibal in his great victories.” At an earlier period, we
learn that in the organization of the Phœnician armies the numerous
nomadic tribes were placed on their flanks, and wheeled about on
unsaddled horses guided by a bridle of rushes.

At a very remote period there were two tribes in the interior of Spain,
the Celtæ and Iberi, that were greatly distinguished for their love of
independence and their bravery in defending it. The antiquarians have
failed to give us any information as to what they were or whence they
came. They were contemporaneous with some of the early colonies of the
Phœnicians. Their tactics in battle seemed to have been to break the
enemy’s ranks by a charge as cavalry, and to then dismount and fight on
foot. They united as one people and called themselves Celtiberi. Where
they got their horses, or whether they had them before the Phœnicians
arrived, are questions that cannot be answered.

The Visigoths, or western Goths, overran Northern Italy, settled in
Southern France and eventually passed over into Spain, where they
established a dynasty that lasted over two centuries and until it
was overthrown by the Saracens, A.D. 711. Roderick, the king of the
Visigoths, went out to battle with the Saracens, arrayed in his most
showy apparel, and mounted on his splendid chariot, made of ivory and
set with precious stones. As the battle progressed he saw what he had
good reason to believe was treachery on the part of one wing of his army
and he alighted from his chariot, mounted his horse called Orelia and
rode away while his soldiers were being butchered. He was the last of
the Gothic dynasty. There had been a battle between the navies of the
Saracens and the Goths, A.D. 680, fifty-one years earlier, in which the
fleet of the Saracens had been entirely destroyed, and at that time the
Saracens occupied the whole of the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
The word “Moors,” as often used to designate the people of Northern
Africa, is not well chosen, for it really belongs to but one of many
different tribes of different names. The term “Saracen” anciently meant
only an Arab born, but since the middle ages it has come to mean any
and all adherents to the Mohammedan religion, in the usage of Christian
people, and is particularly apposite when speaking of a number of tribes
engaged in a common cause.

The people of Northern Africa were not negroes as we understand the word,
but a mixture of different races. When the Phœnicians settled among
them they were nomadic barbarians, possessing a country of great riches
without knowing it. Under the tuition of their new masters they made
great advances in many of the arts of peace and in all the arts of war.
The Phœnician blood was liberally commingled with that of the natives.
The blood carried the brains, and hence the beautiful structures that
came from their hands and heads. No purely bred nomad ever could have
conceived or constructed the Alhambra. The Phœnicians were refined and
educated idolaters, as refinement and education were understood in their
day, while the native people were literally barbarians.

The then recent and rapid spread of Mohammedanism among all the people
of Northern Africa is, on its surface, one of the most remarkable facts
in history. As a religion it served to unite, under the banner of the
Crescent, all who accepted it, and guaranteed to all who fell in its
defense immediate admission to paradise. All who did not accept it were
enemies and only fit to perish by the sword of the Saracen. The founder
of this religion died A.D. 632, and seventy-nine years afterward his
followers, in Northern Africa alone, won their great victory over the
Gothic dynasty of Spain. When once on Spanish soil they appeared to take
root there and held possession of a large part of Spain for nearly nine
hundred years.

Now that I have traversed the field of Spain and Northern Africa, from
the first dawnings of history down to the beginning of the seventeenth
century, in order to gather in all that history reveals touching the
introduction and propagation of the horse in those regions, we are
ready to summarize the facts that we have gleaned. At the periods of
six hundred (when Carthage became independent of the mother country),
four hundred, and two hundred years before the Christian era, there is
undoubted evidence, over and over again, that Spain and Northern Africa
were abundantly supplied with horses. Then, how is it possible that the
hordes of Barbarians from Asia could have supplied these countries with
horses, when they did not arrive there until several centuries after
the supply is established to have existed? Take, if you please, the
shortest of the periods suggested above, when Hannibal’s cavalry almost
annihilated a great Roman army, two hundred and sixteen years before
the Christian era. This was five hundred and seventy-two years before
Arabia had any horses; and how can “the blind leaders of the blind”
supply Hannibal’s cavalry with Arabian blood? When the people of Northern
Africa, west of Egypt, fought their way into Spain it is not known that
there was a single Arabian soldier nor a single Arabian horse in the
whole army. They were all called Arabians, however, and that pretense has
existed ever since.

The Phœnicians were the most remarkable people of all the early ages
and indeed of any age. They belonged to the Aramaic or Semitic race;
they settled in Canaan long before the days of Abraham and attained
their greatest prosperity in the days of Solomon, when his fleets and
those of his friend Hiram, King of Tyre, controlled and monopolized the
commerce of the world. More than five hundred years before this alliance,
however, they had established commercial relations with all the countries
bordering on the Mediterranean, and their ships were trading in the ports
of every country from Egypt to the Pillars of Hercules and far beyond.
There seems to be no doubt that they carried tin from Britain and amber
from the Baltic, and, of course, they had to bring something to exchange
for what they carried away. What did they bring? As amber did not enter
into the necessary arts it is not probable the trade was very large, but
tin was required by many nations in their everyday life, especially the
Egyptians, who had no foreign commerce and were thus dependent upon the
Phœnician merchants. We may conclude, therefore, that the trade in tin
was large, and as there was no Phœnician colony in extreme southwestern
Britain, the foreign traders would bring just what the Britons most
needed. If they were already in possession of horses they would not need
that kind of exchange, but if they were not in possession of horses,
that would be just the kind of exchange they would want, and probably
this was the source from which they obtained their supply. The question,
however, of how or when our British ancestors obtained their first supply
of horses has never been positively answered. That they had them in great
abundance at the beginning of the Christian era is fully established by
the experience of the Romans when they captured Britain. From their great
numbers and the skill displayed in their management in battle, it cannot
be doubted that they were there for many generations before the Roman
armies came in contact with them. Many theories have been advanced as to
how the horse may have reached Britain, but no one of them rests on so
reasonable a basis of probability as that of the Phœnician traders. If
from this source, which I am strongly disposed to believe was the true
source, it must have been during the maritime supremacy of the Phœnicians
and their colonies, and this would place the date several centuries
before the Christian era. If we were able to reconstruct the original
line of the migration of the early English horses, we would, probably,
first find them in “the land of Togarmah” starting to market at Tyre,
where they were exchanged for supplies needed in Armenia. There they were
put on board one of the great “ships of Tarshish,” and when they next
touched the land it was at one of the ports at the southwestern portion
of England, where they were exchanged for tin and other products of the

In addition to the argument furnished by this known course of trade
between nations and peoples, in prehistoric times, we have an additional
one in the natural perpetuation of racial qualities, extending through
many centuries. In reply to some questions submitted to a friend of
mine who was born in Western Persia, educated in this country, and then
returned to the land of his nativity, I have replies to my questions
bearing date of July, 1896. He is located at Oroomiah, not far from the
modern line between Persia and Turkey, and in what may be considered the
very center of ancient Armenia. He is not skilled in horse lore, but he
uses horses a great deal and is a very intelligent observer. He says
that the Persian horses have been greatly overrated and that the country
is full of very ordinary horses. He says that they are all colors, with
bays probably predominating. There is a great variety of mixed greys,
shading into white, and a few that are dappled. Then there are chestnuts,
sorrels, “mouse-color” (duns), and not many blacks. They are small, as a
rule, and a harness of small size from this country has to be cut down
for them. From this I infer that they are generally under fourteen hands.
On the whole the horses are nicely shaped, have slender, clean limbs,
small ears, and carry the head and tail well up. As a rule they are great
stumblers. With regard to gaits he says that stress is laid on a rapid
walk—a half walk and half trot. In this country we would call it the
“running walk” that may be kept up for days in succession. In speaking of
the pace, my correspondent says: “There are some horses trained to pace,
while some pick it up naturally, that is, are born pacers. The greater
number are natural pacers. Now and then one will find a rapid pacer, but
commonly the pace is a five or six miles an hour gait. There are some
that single-foot naturally, and from birth.”

He then says horses are not bred with any care. They are turned loose in
herds and the breeding is such as would naturally occur.

It will be observed that my Persian friend speaks of the different
colors “of grey, shading into white,” which suggests a possible descent
from the famous breed of white Nissæan horses kept by the great Darius
and other Medo-Persian monarchs for racing purposes. But the striking
feature in this description of the horses of Persia, or more properly,
of ancient Armenia, of this day, is the fact that they are of the same
size and color and habits of action as the horses of Britain when
first visited by the Romans, as well as when they were more minutely
described twelve hundred years later, and as they were at the beginning
of the seventeenth century, and as they still were at the middle of the
eighteenth century. As evidence on these points reference is made to
the chapters on horses of the colonial period that will follow in their
place. In ancient Armenia, as with all pastoral people of the early ages,
horses were turned out to run in herds and literally left to Mr. Darwin’s
law of “natural selection and the survival of the fittest.” So it was in
Britain to a great extent, until the eighteenth century, and so it was in
the American colonies until fifty years later; hence the same types and
characteristics prevailed and were perpetuated in all these countries.

It is sad to contemplate the present debased and semi-barbarous condition
of the descendants of a great people who for centuries stood first among
all the nations of the earth in commercial enterprise, in learning, and
in the arts. The banishment of the Saracens from Spain in the beginning
of the seventeenth century of our era was in fact the banishment of
the descendants of the Phœnicians who first colonized Spain. The
architectural structures which they left behind them, and which for
their marvelous beauty have challenged the admiration of the world, were
not the work of nomads and barbarians. They were the flashes of the old
Phœnician taste and genius as exemplified by the descendants of the men
whom Hiram sent to construct and decorate the buildings of Solomon. The
Alhambra and some other structures in Spain are all that we have to
remind us of the genius, and grandeur of Phœnicia. Whatever may have been
the character and attainments of the descendants of the colonists at
the time, the change from idolatry to Islamism was a bad one. Wherever,
throughout the world, the teachings of the “Prophet” have been accepted,
whole nations have become intolerant, murderous and brutalized, and the
modern Phœnicians are no exception. They have now lost their identity in
the follies and crimes of Islamism and we can have no sympathy for them.



    The Arabian, the horse of romance—The horse naturally
    foreign to Arabia— Superiority of the camel for all Arabian
    needs—Scarcity of horses in Arabia in Mohammed’s time—Various
    preposterous traditions of Arab horsemanship—The Prophet’s
    mythical mares—Mohammed not in any sense a horseman—Early
    English Arabians—the Markham Arabian—The alleged Royal
    Mares—The Darley Arabian—The Godolphin Arabian—The Prince
    of Wales’ Arabian race horses—Mr. Blunt’s pilgrimage to the
    Euphrates—His purchases of so-called Arabians—Deyr as a great
    horse market where everything is thoroughbred—Failure of
    Mr. Blunt’s experiments—Various Arabian horses brought to
    America—Horses sent to our Presidents—Disastrous experiments of
    A. Keene Richards—Tendency of Arab romancing from Ben Hur.

Admiration always leads to exaggeration. This is true in most of the
relations of life, but in our admiration of the horse it becomes greatly
intensified, so greatly indeed that in magnifying his excellent qualities
we find ourselves telling downright falsehoods about him before we know
it. This “amiable weakness,” as we might call it, is true of our everyday
life and our everyday horses; but when we come to the horse that is the
universal ideal of perfection, everybody seems to lay aside all the
restraints of truth in extolling the superiority of his qualities. The
“Arabian horse” is the ideal horse of all the world. He is the “gold
standard” in all horsedom, with the one important distinction that the
one is real and the other is mythical. Not one so-called horseman in a
million ever saw a genuine Arabian horse, nor any of the descendants of
one; and in all the discussions of the past three hundred and fifty years
it has never been shown in a single instance that a horse from Arabia,
with an authenticated pedigree and tracing as such, has ever been of any
value, either as a race horse or as a progenitor of race horses. The
superior qualities of “the Arabian horse,” like the superior qualities of
“The Arabian Nights,” are purely works of the imagination. There is just
as much truth in the stories of Sindbad the Sailor and Aladdin’s Lamp as
there is in most of the literature relating to the Arabian horse.

I am fully satisfied that these views of the Arabian horse will not meet
with a ready acceptance by the vast majority of the horsemen of this
or any other country, but my reasons for presenting them will become
apparent as the discussion progresses. They smash too many idols and
dispel too many chimeras of the brain to be readily accepted. It takes
the average man a long time to get clear of the prejudices in which he
was born, and the first question that will be asked by the doubter is,
“Why could not Arabia have supported a race of indigenous wild horses, as
well as any other country?” Because the horse, wild or tame, has never
learned to dig a well forty feet deep, nor to draw water after it is
dug. Neither has he learned to lay up a store in time of plenty against
a time of famine. The horse could not live in Arabia without the care of
man. And, second, “Why were all the civilized and semi-civilized nations
west of Asia supplied with horses a thousand years before Arabia, when
so near the original habitat of the horse?” It is the first law of our
nature to supply ourselves with what we need. The camel always has been
a necessity to the Arab, not only to carry him and his burdens, but to
furnish nourishment and sustenance to him and his family. The camel is
adapted to the country and the country to the camel, and no other created
animal can fill that place. He is, literally, “the ship of the desert.”
The horse in Arabia is a luxury that can be indulged in only by the rich;
hence his ownership is practically restricted to the chiefs of tribes. He
is never used except for display and war. Palgrave, in speaking specially
of the Nejd tribe, says: “A horse is by no means an article of everyday
possession, or of ordinary or working use. No genuine Arab would ever
dream of mounting his horse for a mere peaceful journey, whether for a
short or a long distance.”

When we consider the immeasurable superiority of the camel to the
horse in meeting the wants and necessities of the Arab, we will not be
surprised at the immense herds of the former and the small numbers of
the latter that are bred and reared in that country. A camel can go four
days without water, and under stress, it is said, a good one can cover
the distance of two hundred miles in twenty-four hours. The camel and
the country are suited to each other, while the horse is an exotic, and
has no part in any industrial interest except raiding and robbery. My
attention was first called to this unexpected smallness in the numbers
of Arabian horses in the seventh century, two hundred and sixty years
after the introduction of the original stock from Cappadocia. The flight
of Mohammed from his enemies in Mecca to Medina took place A.D. 622.
There, setting up as a Prophet, and as holding communications with
Heaven, he soon gathered around him a number who believed in his divine
inspiration. Understanding the habits and instincts of his followers,
he soon found he must give them something to do. He called them about
him, mounted a camel, and at their head he was successful in plundering
two or three caravans, which greatly enraged his old enemies at Mecca.
Whether the anger of his enemies was kindled anew because some of the
plunder belonged in Mecca, or whether he merely deprived the Meccans of
the opportunity of doing the plundering themselves, the historian fails
to make clear. Whichever may have been the underlying reason, it led to
war. In the first campaign of the Meccans and in the first battle fought,
they far outnumbered the followers of the Prophet. There were some camels
in Mohammed’s train, but no horses. He did not lead the battle himself,
but remained in his tent and promised his followers that all who fell
in battle would be forthwith admitted into Paradise. They believed the
promise, as millions and millions have believed it since; it inspired
them with a recklessness of life, and they were completely victorious.
The result of this victory was the capture of one hundred and fifteen
camels and fourteen horses, besides the entire camp of the enemy. In the
battle of the next year (A.D. 625) between the same parties, the forces
were much increased on both sides. Sir William Muir, the historian,
informs us that Mohammed had but two horses in his army, one of which
he mounted himself and took command of his forces. This battle was not
decisive. In subsequent raids he captured many enemies and traded his
female captives for horses with the surrounding tribes, so far as he was
able to obtain them. The next year he had an army of three thousand men
and thirty-six horses, while the enemy had an army of three thousand men,
of whom two hundred were cavalry, but there was no fighting. The fame of
Mohammed as a successful and relentless pillager and destroyer had now
spread far and wide, and as a means of escape the chiefs of the larger
portion of the tribes of Arabia hastened to tender their allegiance
and obey his commands. From this forward, therefore, we must consider
Mohammed as the representative of the whole of Arabia, in both its
religious and military power. The next year his old enemies, the citizens
of Mecca, surrendered the sacred city to him without a blow, and thus
Islamism became a mighty power in the world.

It is evident from many sources other than the history of Mohammed that
horses have always been a very sparse production in Arabia. Burckhardt,
the famous traveler in the East, journeyed very extensively in Arabia
about 1814, and he gives the result of his observations on this point of
numbers as follows: “In all the journey from Mecca to Medina, between
the mountains and the sea, a distance of at least two hundred and sixty
miles, I do not believe that two hundred horses could be found, and the
same proportion of numbers may be remarked all along the Red Sea.” This
is in strict conformity with the observations of other writers, the
reasons for which have already been given.

Time out of mind, everybody has heard of the insuperable difficulty of
prevailing upon an Arab to part with his genuine, high-caste mare for
either love or money. He will expatiate, as the story goes, upon “the
beauty and graces of his mare as the light of his household and the joy
and playmate of his children, and above all as she is royally bred he
cannot, as a good Moslem, disobey the injunctions of the Prophet not to
sell such mares, but to keep them forever that their descendants may
enrich the children of the faithful to all generations.” If you ask him
more particularly about her lines of descent, he will give you fifty or
a hundred generations and land you safely on the name of the particular
one of the five mares of the Prophet from which she is descended. To
illustrate the sham of all this Major Upton’s experience, in purchasing
horses in Arabia for the East India service, may be cited. It is evident
the major understands his dealers and they understand him. He says: “In
the desert we never heard of Mohammed’s mares, nor was his name ever
mentioned in any way as connected with the Arabian horse.” He says there
is no restriction nor difficulty in buying as many mares as you want, in
any part of Arabia. This disposes of the tricky pretenses of the Arab
horse dealer when he is negotiating a sale to a man without Arabian

Some modern writers make mention of a tradition that still prevails
among some tribes as to the origin of the Arabian horse, and it is to
the effect that their best horses came originally from Yemen. This
tradition is met with in Arabia Deserta, a long way from Arabia Felix, of
which Yemen is a portion. While this tradition is of no possible value
as evidence, it is suggestive of what might be unearthed in that strange
country. The people were not nomadic, but agricultural and commercial,
and the cities were rich. The people were well advanced in the arts and
comforts of civilized life, and in their cities they had many beautiful
temples and palaces. Such a people would of necessity produce learned
men who would leave records of their national history behind them, and
especially that of such an event as the conversion of the whole people
to Christianity. Possibly the researches of scholarly men may yet bring
to light more of the facts connected with the embassy from the Emperor
Constantius and the introduction of the Cappadocian horses into Yemen, as
related in the preceding chapters.

There are many other traditions, so called, that are burnished up and
brought out whenever the crafty dealer finds he has a Richards from
America, or a Blunt from England, with his mind already made up that all
the best horses of the world have come from Arabia. To such a customer,
with his mind already at high tension in search for the longest pedigree
and the purest blood, the dealer casts his hook in something like the
form following:

“When King Solomon had completed the temple he turned his attention to
supplying his army with horses and chariots. He searched every nation
that had horses for sale and would have none but the very best that the
world could produce. He spent much of his time in admiring his beautiful
horses, and one day he was so thoroughly absorbed that the hour of prayer
passed without his observing it. He felt that this neglect to pray at the
proper time was a great sin, and that his horses had led him into it.
He did not hesitate longer, but he at once ordered all his horses to be
turned loose to the public. Some of my ancestors succeeded in securing
six of these mares, and from these six mares all the good horses of
Arabia are descended.”

Other dealers are a little more modest in their claims for the antiquity
of the pedigrees of their horses, and generously knock off about sixteen
hundred years, being content to trace to the mares of the Prophet
instead of the mares of Solomon. This still leaves them with a pedigree
only about twelve hundred years long, which beats our modern romancers
in making stud books. In order to test and select the mares that were
worthy of becoming the dams of the best horses, as the story goes, the
Prophet shut up a herd of mares, in plain sight of water, and kept them
there till they were almost famished with thirst; and then at a signal
they were all released at once, and when rushing headlong to the water
the trumpet sounds, and notwithstanding their sufferings they turn and
align themselves up in military order. In this test of obedience and
discipline, it is said, only five of the mares obeyed the signal (some
say only three) and thus the mares that obeyed, notwithstanding their
sufferings, became justly entitled to the distinctive and honored name of
“The Prophet’s Mares.” Another story is told of the particular markings
which, in the Prophet’s estimation, indicated the best horses. By one
authority he always selected a black horse with a white “forehead,” and
some white mark or marks on his upper lip. Another authority says he
always chose a bay horse with a bald face and four white legs, and so
we might go on till we had embraced every color and every combination
of marks, and we would then find that each “authority” had a horse to
sell corresponding with the Prophet’s preferences. Now the fact is that
Mohammed was neither a horseman nor a horse breeder, and the whole tenor
of history goes to show that he neither knew nor cared very much about
horses. In his first pilgrimage to Mecca, after the battles referred to
above, the privilege for which was secured by negotiation, a hundred
horsemen, it is said, were started and kept one day’s journey in advance
of the main body of pilgrims. The great numbers following Mohammed on
this pilgrimage admonished his old enemies of Mecca of the futility of
attempting to resist his power longer, and they fled from the city during
the continuance of the ceremonies. A year or two later he summoned all
the tribes of Northern and Eastern Arabia to follow him again to Mecca,
and they had too lively a sense of their own safety to disobey. Due time
was given for preparation, the rendezvous was at Medina, and a vast host
from all Northern and Western Arabia congregated there for a purpose that
might be to fight, or it might be to pray. Mohammed mounted his camel
and the word was passed, “On to Mecca.” As against such a multitude the
Meccans saw that resistance was hopeless, and the city was surrendered
without either side striking a blow. Arrayed in great splendor and
mounted on his camel, the Prophet made the requisite number of circuits
round the holy place and then entered and ordered all the idols that
had been set up there to be destroyed, and his followers then shouted,
“Allah is Allah, and Mohammed is his Prophet!” Thus he became master of
all Arabia—and woe to the Christian or the Jew who stood in his way. Two
years afterward he died, and there is nothing in his life or history to
indicate that he ever owned a horse or that he ever mounted one, except
on a single occasion. In the ten short years of his public life he had
something more important on hand than to determine how to breed horses.

In studying the Arabian horse in the light of what he has done and what
he has failed to do, we are indebted to English writers for little
snatches of experiences extending back for a period of about two hundred
and fifty years. The earliest English writer who has had anything to say
about the Arabian horse was the Duke of Newcastle, who seems to have
known a great deal about the various types and breeds of horses of his
day. During the period of the Commonwealth it appears he devoted his
time, in the Netherlands, to training horses in the _manege_ of that day.
From his experience in this employment he became an expert in the form,
structure, and docility of the different kinds of horses that he handled.
When Charles II. was brought back and placed upon the throne, the duke
also came to his own, and being a personal friend of the king he became
his counselor and adviser in all matters relating to the improvement of
the horses of the realm. In 1667 the duke published his famous book upon
the horse, in which he speaks right out on any and every question that
he touches. There can be no doubt that he knew more about horses and
horse history than any man of his day. In speaking of the Arabian horse
he says: “I never saw but one of these horses, which Mr. John Markham, a
merchant, brought over, and said he was a right Arabian. He was a bay,
but a little horse, and no rarity for shape, for I have seen many English
horses far finer. Mr. Markham sold him to King James for five hundred
pounds, and being trained up for a course (race), when he came to run
every horse beat him.”

It is generally held that this Markham Arabian was the first of that
breed ever brought to England, and this seems to be established by the
fact that historians antedating his arrival make no mention of any
Arabian horse before this one, and those following always speak of this
horse as the first. In speaking of the powers of endurance of the Arabian
horse, the duke says: “They talk they will ride fourscore miles in a day
and never draw the bridle. When I was young I could have bought a nag
for ten pounds that would have done as much very easily.” The duke’s
masterful knowledge of the subject, as well as his special official
relations to the king, gave him control of whatever was done or attempted
in the direction of improving the racing stock of England. Tradition
informs us that “King Charles II. sent abroad the master of the horse
to procure a number of foreign horses and mares for breeding, and the
mares brought over by him (as also many of their produce) have since been
called Royal Mares.” It is very doubtful whether any such importation
was ever made. The question has been discussed, from time to time and
even recently, but nobody has ever yet discovered who was “Master of the
Horse,” to what country he was sent or what the character of the mares
he brought home, or where he got them. The fair presumption is that
these “Royal Mares” were myths and that they were created merely for the
purpose of putting a finish on certain very uncertain pedigrees, just as
a trotting-horse man would finish a pedigree that he knew nothing about
by saying, “out of a thoroughbred mare.” As a matter of course it has
always been assumed that these “Royal Mares” were of distinctively pure
Arabian blood. But, if we admit that such an importation was really made,
we must consider that it was made under the direction and control of the
Duke of Newcastle, the king’s mentor in all horse affairs, and this is
sufficient proof that there was no Arabian blood about the “Royal Mares.”
As the size of the English race horse and especially his weight of bone
commenced to increase soon after this time, it strikes me as probable
that this was the wise and guiding motive of the duke in making his
selections of the “Royal Mares.”

When we come down a little nearer to our own times and step across the
border from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century, we are still
in the realm of traditions, and many of them very preposterous. The
deceptions practiced in nomenclature were so common as to be well-nigh
universal. Everybody who owned a foreign horse must have “Arabian”
attached to his name. To illustrate this evil and the misleading effects
flowing from it, I will give two instances of the most famous horses
in all English history. The Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian
stand pre-eminent and before all others as progenitors of the English
race horse. The former of these two was purchased at Aleppo, in Asia
Minor, and brought to England in 1711, by Mr. Darley of Yorkshire who
secured him through a brother in trade in that region. He was the sire of
Flying Childers and many others, and his blood carried from generation
to generation. Aleppo is in Northern Syria and far distant from Arabia.
At one time it was embraced in Armenia Minor, the original home of the
horse, and adjoined Cappadocia and Cilicia, all famous for the excellence
of their horse stock more than two thousand years before there was a
single horse in Arabia. Upon the restoration of the ancient Theban line
of Pharaohs in Egypt, at the beginning of the eighteenth dynasty, no time
was lost by Thutmosis I. in leading a great army into Northern Syria for
no other purpose that is apparent except to replenish and reinvigorate
the horse stock of Egypt, from the region of Aleppo and further east, for
this is the region from which they had secured their original stock. His
successors pursued the same course, year after year, and the number of
horses and chariots captured in battle, as well as the number of mares
sent as tribute by the frightened people, were duly recorded in the
annals of their achievements. If the Darley Arabian, so called, bore any
relationship whatever to the Arabian horse, it can only be established
by tracing him back to some one of the animals in Cappadocia that the
Emperor Constantius sent to Arabia in the year A.D. 356. A writer of
the seventeenth century, Dr. Alexander Bursell, in speaking of Aleppo,
says: “Formerly this part of the country was famous for fine horses; and
though many good ones are still bred here, it may be said they are much
degenerated.” This is the observation of an intelligent man, written and
published in 1756, about forty years after Mr. Darley’s horse was brought
from there.

The other illustration is that of Godolphin Arabian. As a progenitor of
race horses this was the greatest horse of his century, or indeed of any
other century in the history of the English race horse. He died in 1753,
and absolutely nothing is known of his origin or his early history. The
story is generally accepted, and I suppose is true, that he was bought
out of a cart in Paris, as an act of humanity, by a Mr. Coke, taken to
London, presented to Mr. Williams, the keeper of a coffee-house, and
passed from him to Lord Godolphin, who kept him till he died. The story
that he was presented to Louis XV. by the Bey of Tunis in 1731 has never
been verified in any manner, and breaks down on the vital point of date.
Some intelligent Englishmen insist that he _must have been_ an Arabian,
while others insist that he _must have been_ a Barb, while no man
_knows_ whether he was either one or the other. With the most prominent
horses of the nation and of their century thus used to mislead the public
mind as to their lineage, what are we to expect from the great ruck of
the obscure and less prominent? But, as a more elaborate and methodical
discussion of this topic will be found in the chapter on the English
and American Race Horse, we will now turn our attention to the actual
experiences with the Arabians in recent times.

When we come down to the present century we get into the era of
newspapers that really begun to give the news, and thus educate their
readers, not very authentically, but circumstantially, in what was
passing in the world in every department of knowledge and enterprise.
Under these wide sources of information, a few authentic experiences
will serve to illustrate the true status of the Arabian horse and his
influence, or lack of influence, on English and American horses. More
than twenty years ago the Prince of Wales made a royal progress through
Her Majesty’s dominions in the East. The enthusiasm was unbounded and he
was loaded down with many valuable presents, among them several elegant,
high-caste Arabian horses. It appears that some of these horses had
already won reputation and money on the turf, and were considered the
very best that could be found in the East. On their arrival they were
greatly admired and praised, especially by the sporting friends of the
prince, who seemed to have no doubt, nor did they conceal their opinions,
that they could beat any horses in all England. This was a conclusion
that a great many racing men, with longer memories, could not accept,
and after a good deal of diplomacy a match was finally concluded between
the prince’s best horse and an old horse that was third or fourth-class,
in his prime, but was unsound and liable to break down any time he was
extended. The prince was popular, had many supporters, and much money
was pending. The old horse was patched up as well as possible, the day
came, the race was started, and the old cripple was so much faster than
the Arab that his managers had the hardest work in the world to prevent
him from running clear away and disgracing the prince. This account of
the race I had from one of the most eminent and successful trainers
that England has produced. He witnessed the race and knew all the facts
concerning it. Notwithstanding the popularity of the prince and the
universal feeling of loyalty toward him, it was a long time before his
Arabs ceased to be a laughing-stock among horsemen.

Some sixteen or eighteen years ago, an English gentleman of wealth and
intelligence—Mr. Wilfrid S. Blunt—got it into his head that the way
to improve the English race horse was to secure fresh infusions of
pure Arabian blood. He was industrious in propagating his fad, in an
amateurish way, through the columns of the English newspapers, evincing
great zeal and a great lack of knowledge of the hundreds of experiments
in the same direction and in the history of his own country that had
proved disastrous. But he had a will of his own and a bank account that
enabled him to carry out his views to their own realization. In the
autumn of 1877 he made up a pleasant family party, consisting of his
wife, Lady Anne, and two of her lady friends and started for Arabia, with
the full determination to find the best and to buy nothing that was not
of the purest and best lineage that could be found in all that country.
Fortunately, Lady Anne carefully noted down everything that transpired in
their journeyings and after the return wrote a very pleasant and readable
book, understood to have been edited by her husband in some of its
features. The title of the book—“The Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates”—did
not strike me pleasantly, for I never knew that any of the numerous
Bedouin tribes were to be found on the Euphrates. But my purpose is not
to criticise either the book or its title, but to follow the party over
its itinerary and discover just where Mr. Blunt found the blood he was
looking for, and upon what evidence he accepted it as “the best blood.”
With this view I will carefully give his own language, so far as it
applies to the point in view.

His first purchase was at Aleppo, where he got a mare he named Hagar, as
he says, “for a very moderate sum.” “She was of the Kehilan-Ajuz breed.”
“When purchased she was in very poor condition, having just gone through
the severe training of a campaign.” “She was bred by the Gommussa, the
most able of the horse-breeding tribes, had passed from them to the
Roala, and had now been captured and ridden some two hundred miles, in
hot haste, for sale to Aleppo.” “We never met anything in our travels
that could compete with her over a distance, and she has often run down
foxes and even hares, without assistance, carrying thirteen stone on her
back.” This was the first experience of the English “tenderfoot” among
Syrian horsethieves. According to his own showing, he bought her from
the fellow who had stolen her and had ridden her two hundred miles to
escape, and he accepted what the thief told about the breeding of the
mare as true. The thief knew just what Mr. Blunt wanted and he shaped the
pedigree and tracing to suit the purchaser. Mr. Blunt had no knowledge of
this mare’s breeding, nor where she came from; still, her blood was to
become one of the great influences in renovating the English race horse.
This incident is of no importance, in itself, except as it illustrates
the universal conditions under which amateurs buy horses in the Orient.

Upon leaving Aleppo, the party traveled eastward till they struck the
Euphrates and then down the right bank of that river. The first town
of any importance was Deyr, on the river, and just across was ancient
Mesopotamia. They were still in the border land between the productive
north and the desert south, with the Syrian desert between them and the
Arabian desert. All this region is occupied with a mixture of races,
employed in varied pursuits, with but a feeble trace of tribal authority,
as all are under the direct government of the Sultan of Turkey.

    “Deyr is well-known,” Mr. Blunt says, “as a horse market, and
    is, perhaps, the only town north of the Jebel Shammar where
    the inhabitants have any general knowledge of the blood and
    breeding of the beasts they possess. The townsmen, indeed, are
    but a single step removed from the Bedouins, their undoubted
    ancestors. They usually purchase their colts as yearlings
    either from the Gomussa, or some of the Sabaa tribes, and
    having broken them thoroughly, sell them at three years old
    to the Aleppo merchants. They occasionally, too, have mares
    left with them, in partnership, by the Anazah, and from
    these they breed according to the strictest desert rules. It
    is, therefore, for a stranger, by far the best market for
    thoroughbreds in Asia, and you may get some of the best blood
    at Deyr that can be found anywhere, besides having a guarantee
    of its authenticity, impossible, under ordinary circumstances,
    to get at Damascus or Aleppo. There are, I may say, no horses
    at Deyr but thoroughbreds.”

He made some purchases at Deyr and then they pursued their journey down
the river, and at the most convenient point he crossed over to Bagdad,
on the Tigris. Here he inspected the stud of the Turkish pasha, but the
prices were high and he seemed to lack confidence in the purity of their
breeding. Whatever the cause, he made no purchases, and soon started
on his journey up the Tigris. Upon reaching Sherghat on the Tigris,
he turned westward, and crossing ancient Mesopotamia, he was again at
Deyr, where he seems to have made more purchases, and then started, in
a southwesterly direction, with eighteen mares and two stallions for
Damascus and the coast. This closed the search of Arabia for Arabian
horses of the highest caste and purest blood, without really being in
Arabia, and this is all that can be said of “The Bedouin Tribes of the
Euphrates”—without having seen a real Bedouin.

No doubt Mr. Blunt thinks he is right in his high appreciation of
the town of Deyr as a horse market; that it is “the best market for
thoroughbreds in Asia;” and that “there are no horses in Deyr but
thoroughbreds,” or he would not have bought his horses there. Dealing
in horses seems to be the principal business of the people, they are
all well informed on the best and purest strains of blood, according to
Mr. Blunt, and all their own horses are thoroughbred. Truly an ideal
market, an ideal people, and ideal horses, just suited to the needs
of enthusiastic amateurs like Mr. Blunt. This remarkable horse town
is located on the border between the rich grain fields and luxuriant
meadows on the north, and the comparatively barren deserts of the south.
On the north the country has been famous for thousands of years for the
great numbers and excellence of the horses produced, and they are still
produced of excellent form and quality, and are sold at very low prices.
On the south is the land of the camel, and but few horses and those few
held at high prices, and the simple term “Arabian horse” always brings
them purchasers. Here, then, we find that Deyr is the very paradise of
horse traders—a tribe, wherever we find them on the face of the earth,
distinguished for elasticity of conscience. The north furnishes the
horses and the south furnishes the pedigrees, and no wonder the Deyrites
had nothing but “thoroughbreds” when Mr. Blunt came along. In the line
of their business and from their southern neighbors, they had picked up
enough “Arabian horse talk” to satisfy all inexperienced buyers that
they knew all about the value of the different strains of Arabian blood,
and could supply them from their own studs, at very reasonable prices.
And thus Mr. Blunt brought home to England eighteen “Arabian” mares and
two stallions, without any satisfactory evidence that they ever had seen
Arabia. In this enthusiastic venture, resulting in utter failure, there
is one alleviating fact that Mr. Blunt can call to mind, and that is that
his horses were just as good for the purpose of improving the English
race horse as any others that have been brought from the Orient in the
past hundred years. Whatever their blood, whether genuine or counterfeit
Arabians, they have all alike been failures, and all alike good for

Early in the history of our own government it became not an unusual
thing for the Sultan of Turkey, the Emperor of Morocco, or some other
potentate of the Saracenic races, to present to the President two horses,
and as they were presents from royalty to what they esteemed royalty,
they were necessarily of the highest caste and of the greatest value of
any horses in all their dominions. It is probable that Mr. Jefferson
was the first president to receive these royal gifts, and under the
requirements of the constitution and without any disrespect to the donor,
he ordered them to be sold to the highest bidder, and turned the money
into the treasury. Several of the presidents received these presents of
horses, and without knowing the fact, I will presume disposed of them
the same way. In the case of President Lincoln, Mr. Seward seemed to
be more highly favored and the sultan sent the horses to him. Through
the State Agricultural Society, Mr. Seward presented his royal presents
to the State of New York. My recollection is not very distinct, but
my impression is that Mr. Van Buren had disposed of his in the same
way. When General Grant received his, he was not in public office and
hence they became his personal property. A number of the first of these
importations, together with some others that were brought from Arabia,
individually and by private persons, were, in the early part of the
century, carried into the South, which was then the “race-horse region,”
but the breeders there very soon discovered that in breeding from them
they were taking a backward instead of a forward step. Their progeny
could neither run nor trot, and as they were too small for the ordinary
uses of the farmer and planter, they were almost unanimously rejected,
with nothing left but the ignorant “fad” that was embodied in the name

The most notable example of the folly of attempting to regenerate the
American race horse by the introduction of the “blood of the desert”
is furnished in the sad experience of the late A. Keene Richards, of
Kentucky. He inherited a large estate, and when he came into possession
he proved himself an intelligent and successful breeder, and ran the
colts of his own breeding, with a full share of winnings. He was not a
spendthrift nor a gambler, but he was not content with mediocrity in
sharing triumphs with his neighbors, for he was ambitious to beat, them
all. He soon had his head full of such horses as the Darley Arabian and
the Godolphin Arabian, and he argued if that blood founded the English
race horse, he would go to Arabia and get it, and it could not fail to
regenerate the American race horse. He did not stop to inquire whether
either of his great ideals might have had a drop of Arabian blood in his
veins, but he started for Arabia at once. He brought home a few stallions
and felt sure he was on the eve of the greatest triumph of his life. When
the half-Arab produce of his strong and elegantly bred race mares were
old enough to run the jockey club allowed the half-breeds seven pounds
the advantage in weight and they were beaten. The club then allowed them
fourteen pounds and they were again beaten; and finally the allowance was
raised to twenty-one pounds, and they were still in the rear rank. Under
these humiliating defeats a careful man would have hesitated before he
went further, but he at once jumped to the conclusion that his defeat
was not in the fact that Arab blood could not run fast enough to win,
but in the fact, as he supposed, that the rascally Arabs had sold him
blood that was not Arab blood. In a short time he was off for Arabia
again, taking with him as companion and adviser the distinguished animal
painter, Troye, who had a long and successful experience as a delineator
of race horses and knew all about the anatomy of the horse. They spent
several months among the different tribes, and in order to get “inside
of the ring,” as it were, they ate with the Arabs, slept with the Arabs,
and worshiped with the Arabs, as Mr. Richards told me himself. They came
home full of the highest expectations, bringing several mares as well as
stallions with them, and fully assured that every one was of the highest
caste and the best form for racing that could be found on all the plains
of the desert. After the foals of this importation were old enough to
start in the stakes, they were given the same advantages in weight as
before, and they proved no better than the first lot. Poor Mr. Richards
was crushed in spirits, not only by the vanishing of his air castles,
but by the importunacy of his creditors. In his heroic, but misguided,
efforts to improve the American race horse by infusions of pure Arabian
blood, he involved his once handsome estate, and he died hopelessly
insolvent. He had bred a number of pure Arabs of several generations, but
the abundant feed and luxuriant blue grass of Kentucky did not increase
their size, for when they came under the auctioneer’s hammer they were
but little “tackeys,” and they brought only the price of little “tackeys.”

The number of horses brought to this country, whether as gifts to
statesmen or as private ventures, and called “Arabians,” is not very
large, and it is safe to say that not one in ten of them ever saw Arabia.
They came from Turkey or some of the Barbary States. But in the case
of Mr. Richards there can be no doubt that he made his selections in
Arabia itself. Those selections having been made personally and with
care and skill, we are bound to accept them as genuine Arabians. When
we find, therefore, that having been tested they are no better than the
horses brought from Turkey or from Africa, we must conclude that the
whole scheme is mere moonshine, and that Arabian blood as a means of
improvement has failed to develop the value that enthusiasts and dreamers
have claimed for it since “time whereof the memory of man runneth not to
the contrary.” Practical and thinking men always judge of the value of
a breed of horses from what the representatives of that breed can do or
what they fail to do. The emotional and unpractical are always looking
for an ideal horse, and the poets and story writers are always furnishing
them one. Where a horse figures in a story he is uniformly endowed with
an almost supernatural intelligence and sense. To finish up the ideal
horse, he always traces back to the “Courser of the Desert.” If his
triumph is in a flight of speed, he distances all competitors because
he is a pure Arabian. The story of “Ben Hur,” written by General Lew
Wallace, furnishes a fitting illustration of this tendency of the public
mind. The story of the chariot race at Antioch is a masterpiece of most
exciting ingenuity, and one of the finest specimens of word painting in
the English language. The irascible old sheik is quite overdrawn, but the
judgment and skill of Ben Hur cannot be surpassed. As a matter of course,
the team of black Arabians was bound to win. Every bright schoolboy in
the country has read the story, and he has joined in the triumph of the
black Arabians. The wide interest in the chariot race seemed to demand
its pictorial delineation, and soon the public was gratified with a large
and elegant etching, which hangs before me as I write. The only trouble
about this excellent work of the imagination and the team of black
Arabians is that there were no horses in Arabia till about three hundred
and fifty years after the date of this supposed scene. We must let the
poets sing and the novelists work out their plots, but it is well to pay
some attention to the facts and experiences of history.


A true portrait taken from life by D. Murrier, painter to H. R. H. the
Duke of Cumberland.]


A distorted copy by Mr. Stubbs who never saw the horse, and changed to
express the idea of fleetness.]



    The real origin of the English race horse in confusion—Full
    list of the “foundation stock” as given by Mr. Weatherby one
    hundred years ago—The list complete and embraces all of any
    note—Admiral Rous’ extravaganza—Godolphin Arabian’s origin
    wholly unknown—His history—Successful search for his true
    portrait—Stubbs’ picture a caricature—The true portrait alone
    supplies all that is known of his origin and blood.

The English Race Horse is the great central figure of all the horse
literature of the past two hundred years. Much has been claimed for him
and much has been written about him, in a haphazard way, by people who
know but little of the subject. A few men of independent and real thought
have written on this subject, but they have devoted their attention to
the comparing of family with family or individual with individual. Of
the books that have been written by brainless people on the English
horse there is no end, and they are generally mere repetitions, without
giving credit, of what somebody has said before. Among all the books
that have been written on this subject I have never yet found one that
even pretended to make a serious attempt at discovering the real origin
of the English Race Horse. They all seem to agree with Admiral Rous that
he is purely descended from the Arabian horse, and without one drop of
the blood of the indigenous English horse. The average writer for the
two past centuries has been content with just this much knowledge, and
he wants nothing more. Occasionally it is modestly suggested in some
magazine article that this exclusively Arabian origin may not be true,
and I am glad to note that these suggestions are becoming more frequent
of late years. It has been claimed that the pure Arabian origin of the
race horse “is as solid as a pyramid,” all of which may be accepted—but,
unfortunately for the claimant, the “pyramid” is standing on its apex,
and when the facts breathe upon it, as gently as a zephyr, it will topple
over. The most convenient and the most authoritative collection of facts
relating to the earliest exotic horses that were brought in is to be
found in the English Stud Book itself, and as but few of my readers have
access to this work, I will copy that portion of it entire, as it appears
in the first volume, and the edition of 1803. In the edition of 1808 the
list was reprinted with four additional animals and some verbal changes,
which, when important, will be noted.


    1. The Helmsley Turk was an old Duke of Buckingham’s and got
    Bustler, etc.

    2. Place’s White Turk was the property of Mr. Place, studmaster
    to Oliver Cromwell, when Protector, and was the sire of
    Wormwood Commoner, and the great grandams of Windham, Grey
    Ramsden and Cartouch.

    3. Royal Mares: King Charles the Second sent abroad the master
    of the horse, to procure a number of foreign horses and mares
    for breeding, and the mares brought over by him (as also many
    of their produce) have since been called Royal Mares.

    4. Dodsworth, though foaled in England, was a natural Barb.
    His dam, a Barb mare, was imported in the time of Charles
    the Second, and was called a Royal Mare. She was sold by the
    studmaster, after the king’s death, for forty guineas, at
    twenty years old, when in foal (by the Helmsley Turk) with
    Vixen, dam of the Old Child Mare.

    5. The Stradling or Lister Turk was brought into England by the
    Duke of Berwick, from the siege of Buda, in the reign of James
    the Second. He got Snake, the D. of Kingston’s Brisk and Piping
    Peg, Coneyskins, the dam of Hip, and the grandam of Bolton

    6. The Byerly Turk was Captain Byerly’s charger in Ireland,
    in King William’s wars (1869, etc.). He did not cover many
    bred mares, but was the sire of D. of Kingston’s Sprite, who
    was thought nearly as good as Leedes; the D. of Rutland’s
    Black Hearty and Archer, and the D. of Devonshire’s Basto, Ld.
    Bristol’s Grasshopper, and Ld. Godolphin’s Byerly Gelding,
    all in good forms: Halloway’s Jigg, a middling horse; and
    Knightley’s Mare, in a very good form.

    7. Greyhound. The cover of this foal was in Barbary, after
    which both his sire and dam were purchased, and brought into
    England by Mr. Marshall. He was got by King William’s White
    Barb Chillaby, out of Slugey, a natural Barb Mare. Greyhound
    got the D. of Wharton’s Othello, said to have beat Chanter
    easily in a trial, giving him a stone, but who, falling lame,
    ran only one match in public, against a bad horse; he also got
    Panton’s Whitefoot, a very good horse; Osmyn, a very fleet
    horse and in good form for his size; the D. of Wharton’s Rake,
    a middling horse; Ld. Halifax’s Sampson, Goliah and Favorite,
    pretty good 12-stone Plate horses; Desdemona, and other good
    mares, and several ordinary Plate horses, who ran in the North
    where he was a common stallion and covered many of the best

    8. The D’Arcy White Turk was the sire of Old Hautboy, Grey
    Royal, Cannon, etc.

    9. The D’Arcy Yellow Turk was the sire of Spanker, Brimmer, and
    the great-great-grandam of Cartouch.

    10. The Marshall or Selaby Turk was the property of Mr.
    Marshall’s brother, studmaster to King William, Queen Anne, and
    King George the first. He got the Curwen Old Spot, the dam of
    Windham, the dam of Derby Ticklepitcher, and great-grandam of
    Bolton Sloven and Fearnought.

    11. Curwen’s Bay Barb was a present to Louis the Fourteenth
    from Muley Ishmael, King of Morocco, and was brought into
    England by Mr. Curwen, who being in France when Count Byram
    and Count Thoulouse (two natural sons of Louis the Fourteenth)
    were, the former, master of the horse, and the latter an
    admiral, he procured of them two Barb horses, both of which
    proved excellent stallions, and were well known by the names
    of the Curwen Bay Barb and the Thoulouse Barb. Curwen’s Bay
    Barb got Mixbury and Tantivy, both very excellent formed
    Galloways. The first of them was only thirteen hands two
    inches high, and yet there were not more than two horses of
    his time that could beat him at light weights. Brocklesby,
    Little George, Yellow Jack, Bay Jack, Monkey, Dangerfield, Hip,
    Peacock, and Flatface, the first two in good forms, the rest
    middling; two Mixburys, full brothers to the first Mixbury,
    middling Galloways; Long Meg, Brocklesby Betty, and Creeping
    Molly, extraordinarily high-formed mares; Whiteneck, Mistake,
    Sparkler, and Lightfoot, very good mares, and several middling
    Galloways, who ran for Plates in the North. He got two full
    sisters to Mixbury, one of which bred Partner, Little Scar,
    Soreheels and the dam of Crab; the other was the dam of Quiet,
    Silver Eye and Hazard. He did not cover many mares except Mr.
    Curwen’s and Mr. Pelham’s.

    12. The Thoulouse Barb became afterward the property of Sir J.
    Parsons and was the sire of Bagpiper, Blacklegs, Mr. Panton’s
    Molly, and the dam of Cinnamon.

    13. Darley’s Arabian was brought over by a brother of Mr.
    Darley, of Yorkshire, who, being an agent in merchandise
    abroad, became member of a hunting club, by which means he
    acquired interest to procure this horse. He was the sire
    of Childers, and also got Almanzor, a very good horse; a
    white-legged horse of the D. of Somerset’s, full brother to
    Almanzor, and thought to be as good, but meeting with an
    accident, he never ran in public; Cupid and Brisk, good horses;
    Dædalus, a very swift horse; Dart, Shipjack, Maica and Aleppo,
    good Plate horses, though out of bad mares; Ld. Lonsdale’s
    Mare in very good form, and Ld. Tracy’s Mare in a good one for
    Plates. He covered very few mares except Mr. Darley’s, who had
    very few well-bred mares besides Almanzor’s Dam.

    14. Sir J. William’s Turk (more commonly called the Honeywood
    Arabian) got Mr. Honeywood’s two True Blues; the elder of them
    was the best Plate horse in England, for four or five years;
    the younger was in very high form and got the Rumford Gelding,
    and Ld. Onslow’s Grey Horse, middling horses out of road mares.
    It is not known that this Turk covered any bred mares except
    the dam of the two True Blues.

    15. The Belgrade Turk was taken at the siege of Belgrade, by
    Gen. Merci, and sent by him to the Prince de Craon, from whom
    he was a present to the Prince of Lorraine. He was afterward
    purchased by Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, and died in his possession
    about 1740.

    16. Croft’s Bay Barb was got by Chillaby, out of the Moonah
    Barb Mare.

    17. The Godolphin Arabian was imported by Mr. Coke, at whose
    death he became (together with Cade, Regulus, etc., then young)
    the property of Ld. Godolphin. His first employment was that
    of a teaser to Hobgoblin, who, refusing to cover Roxana, she
    was put to the Arabian, and from that cover produced Lath, the
    first of his get. He was also sire of Cade, Regulus, Blank,
    etc., and what is considered very remarkable, as well as a
    strong proof of his excellence as a stallion, there is not a
    superior horse now on the turf without a cross of the Godolphin
    Arabian, neither has there been for several years past. He was
    a brown bay, with no white, except on the off heel behind, and
    about fifteen hands high (a picture of him is in the library at
    Gog Magog, Cambridgeshire). It is not known to what particular
    race of the Arab breed, indeed it has been asserted that he was
    a Barb. He died at Gog Magog in 1753, in or about the 29th year
    of his age. The story of his playfellow, the black cat, must
    not be omitted here, especially as an erroneous account has got
    abroad, copied from the first introduction to the present work.
    Instead of his grieving for the loss of the cat she survived
    him, though but for a short time; she sat upon him after he
    was dead in the building erected for him, and followed him to
    the place where he was buried under a gateway near the running
    stable; sat upon him there till he was buried, then went away,
    and never was seen again, till found dead in the hayloft.

    18. The Cullen Arabian was brought over by Mr. Nosco and was
    sire of Mr. Warren’s Camillus, Ld. Orford’s Matron, Mr. Gorges’
    Sour Face, the dam of Regulator, etc., etc.

    19. The Coomb Arabian (sometimes called the Pigot Arabian
    and sometimes the Bolingbroke Grey Arabian) was the sire of
    Methodist, the dam of Crop, etc., etc.

    20. The Compton Barb, more commonly called the Sedley Arabian,
    was sire of Coquette, Greyling, etc.


    21. King James the First bought an Arabian of Mr. Markham, a
    merchant, for 500gs., said (but with little probability) to
    have been the first of the breed ever seen in England. The Duke
    of Newcastle says, in his treatise on Horsemanship, that he had
    seen the above Arabian, and describes him as a small bay horse,
    and not of very excellent shape.

    23. Bloody Buttocks; nothing further can be traced from the
    papers of the late Mr. Crofts than that he was a grey Arabian,
    with a red mark on his hip, from whence he derived his name.

    23. The Vernon Arabian was a small chestnut horse. He covered
    at Highflyer Hall, and was the sire of Alert, etc. Alert had
    good speed for a short distance.

    24 & 25. The Wellesley Grey, and Chestnut Arabians (so called)
    were brought from the East, but evidently not Arabians. The
    former was a horse of good shape, with the size and substance
    of an English hunter.

This list of twenty-seven different animals, which for the sake of
convenience I have numbered, was presented to the public more than
a hundred years ago by Mr. Weatherby, the highest of all English
authorities, as the foundation stock from which the English race horse
was propagated. The uniform omission of dates of importations, etc.,
discloses the fact that the compiler had no accurate knowledge of the
animals or their history, and that he was dependent largely upon very
uncertain traditions for his information. It must not be understood that
the animals in this list were contemporaneous, or that the list embraces
all the foreign animals that were brought in, but only those that were
recognized as of value in founding the breed.

To understand just what we have to consider, I will place here, in
juxtaposition to the above list, the remark of Admiral Rous, at one
time the great race-horse authority of England, which expresses the
popular opinion as to the origin of the race horse, that is practically
universally held in all lands. The admiral says: “The British race horse
is a pure Eastern exotic whose pedigree may be traced two thousand years,
the true son of Arabia Deserta, without a drop of English blood.” To
reach the approximate truth on the issue here made, and to puncture this
extravaganza is the work now before us.

Numbers 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, were Turks, and to these we may
add Mr. Darley’s horse, known as the Darley Arabian, number 13, for he
was brought from Aleppo in Turkey, far removed from Arabia, and famous
for the great numbers and excellence of its horses many centuries before
Arabia had any horses. To carry horses, for sale, from the deserts of
Arabia, where they are scarce, to the region of Aleppo, where they are
very plenty, and of the highest quality, would be simply “carrying coals
to Newcastle.” We may therefore safely conclude that the ten horses here
enumerated were Turks.

Numbers 4, 7, 11, 12, 16, 20 were Barbs, as they are named in the list.
It is a surprise to me that these six horses should be designated as
“Barbs,” for it has been the usage of many generations to call these
horses “Arabians.” As late as 1819 the Dey of Algiers sent several
Algerine horses as a present to the Prince Regent of England, and they
were always spoken of as “Arabians.”

Numbers 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 are all unsatisfactory as to their
origin. Number 17—Lord Godolphin’s horse—is wholly unknown as to his
blood elements, and further on his history will be considered. Number 18
“was brought over,” but from whence nobody knows. Number 19 is in the
same condition, and not one of his different owners has been able to
tell us anything about his origin. Number 21 was, possibly, an Arabian,
but the Duke of Newcastle, who knew the horse well, seems to have doubted
his genuineness on account of his inferiority. However this may have
been, he preceded other importations so many years that it is not known
that he ever sired a colt, and as a progenitor we may as well strike
him out. Number 22 seems to be in darkness, and all efforts to find his
origin having failed he may as well be classed as unknown. Number 23
is furnished with no evidence that he was entitled to be classed as an
Arabian. Numbers 24 and 25 were confessedly not genuine.

This reduces the analysis to its lowest form and shows that in the
original foundation stock, including Mr. Darley’s horse (13), there were
ten Turks and six Barbs that can be accepted with reasonable certainty.
This leaves eight so-called “Arabians,” from which we must eliminate
numbers 17, 21, 24, 25, leaving numbers 18, 19, 22, 23, without any
evidence whatever that they were Arabians except in name. From these four
rather obscure animals, therefore, according to the Rous dictum, the
English race horse must have derived every drop of his blood; and yet
there is not a scintilla of evidence either direct or inferential that
any one of them, or the ancestors of any one of them, ever saw Arabia.
From the custom of calling every horse from abroad an “Arabian,” that
has prevailed in England for more than two hundred years, it is fair to
conclude that there was no Arabian blood in the foundation stock. It
was the blood of the Turks and the Barbs, commingled with that of the
native blood that had been bred to race for centuries, that furnished the
foundation of the modern English and American race horse.

Blood in the race horse is an imperative necessity, but it must be blood
that has been carefully selected from winners, and raced for generations,
or it is of no value as an element of speed. If the English race horse
had been a strictly pure exotic from Arabia Deserta, as Admiral Rous
maintained, he would have been of no value either as a race horse or the
progenitor of race horses, without many generations of careful selection
and development of speed.

The Godolphin Arabian was altogether the greatest horse of his century.
He flourished during most of the reign of King George II., but the
horsemen of the world, even Englishmen themselves, know far more about
him than they do about the reign of that monarch. Still, nobody knows
anything of his birthplace, his origin or his blood. He was to the
English race horse what Rysdyk’s Hambletonian has been to the American
trotter. Neither of them was ever in a race, but each of them stood
immeasurably superior to all others of his day as a progenitor of speed,
at his own gait. From the latter we had reason to expect speed because we
knew he inherited speed, but from the former we had no reason to expect
anything, for we knew nothing of what he inherited until he proved his
inheritance by what he transmitted to his progeny. Some of the principal
semi-tragic incidents, so far as known in the early life of Godolphin
Arabian, were seized upon by the great novelist Eugene Sue, and out of
them grew a “horse novel” from his gifted pen. The horse was foaled
about 1724, was brought to England from France about 1730, and died
at Magog Hills, 1753. There seems to be a substantial agreement among
those who had the best opportunities to know that the horse was employed
on the streets of Paris as a common drudge in a cart and driven by a
brutal master. A Mr. Coke, who is represented to have been a Quaker, was
in Paris on business and he happened to witness the brutality of the
ruffian who was this horse’s master in trying to make him draw a load
of wood up a steep acclivity on to a new bridge, which the horse after
repeated trials and clubbings was unable to accomplish. To relieve the
poor brute from his sufferings, Mr. Coke’s feelings of humanity asserted
themselves, and he stepped forward and bought the horse on the spot and
had him released from the cart. Mr. Coke, it is said, brought the horse
to London and presented him to Mr. Williams, the proprietor of a famous
coffee-house, and Mr. Williams presented him to Earl Godolphin.

In September, 1829, Mr. John S. Skinner commenced the publication of the
first horse magazine that ever appeared in this country, and in the first
number there appeared a steel engraving purporting to be executed by the
famous Stubbs and to represent the great horse, Godolphin Arabian. Not
many years afterward I came into possession of a copy of this publication
from the beginning, and the sight of this picture always impressed me
as the most ludicrous abortion of the likeness of a horse that could be
conceived of. The neck was absolutely longer than the body, the legs
were about strong enough for a sheep, and all over it lacked strength of
both muscle and bone to a most absurd extent. When this picture appeared
in London, some years before, it was laughed at by all artists as
well as by all men who knew anything about the shape of a horse, as a
monstrosity, and it was received in the same spirit on this side of the
water; but it bore the name of a great artist and that was sufficient to
secure the approbation of the unthinking and the unknowing. The only key
to the origin of the horse, the only pedigree that can be given, must be
found written in his own structure of bone and muscle and brain. A true
delineation, therefore, of his form and shape became a matter of the
highest moment, not merely to satisfy the curiosity of the curious, but
as a study of the true sources of his wonderful prepotency.

Sixty-five years ago a correspondent of Mr. Skinner’s magazine, referred
to above, and a descendant of Mr. Samuel Galloway of Maryland, spoke of
an oil painting of Godolphin Arabian that had hung in the hall at Tulip
Hill from the days of his childhood as still hanging there, and said
that it was wholly unlike the Stubbs engraving. Mr. Galloway was one of
Maryland’s land barons, an enthusiastic horse breeder, and a successful
horse racer. He was educated at Cambridge, I think; and if so, no doubt
he saw Godolphin Arabian many times before he died, for he was within
four or five miles of him, and his sporting instincts could not fail to
take him to see so great a horse when so near at hand. As he was a young
man of great wealth and great ambitions, it is quite probable he was on
terms of friendly acquaintance, if not intimacy, with Lord Godolphin, and
thus secured the oil painting from that distinguished friend himself.
This theory is strengthened by the fact that the picture still bears the
coat of arms of Lord Godolphin.

To reach and secure this picture, or at least a faithful copy of it,
became an object of continuous effort that was never intermitted for
more than twenty years. At last, in the spring of 1877, one of the
correspondents of _Wallace’s Monthly_, Prof. M. C. Ellzey, of Blacksburg,
Virginia, wrote me that the picture was then the property of Dr. J. H.
Murray (whose wife was a lineal descendant of Mr. Galloway) of Cedar
Park, adjoining Tulip Hill, West River, Maryland, and that he would have
the picture sent to me. In a few days it arrived, and when my eyes rested
upon it, it was like the feast of a lifetime; for there was all that
could ever be known of the greatest horse of his century. The painting
was in a state of excellent preservation and the coat of arms of Lord
Godolphin was plainly traceable. The horse is shown from his right
side, in his rough, paddock condition, with his right hind foot a little
advanced, and his head low and without any animation or excitement. The
standpoint of the artist is a little forward of the shoulders, and he
must have been a tall man or the horse must have been a low horse, or
perhaps both, for he sees over the horse and portrays the fine spring
of muscle over the loin, on the opposite side of the vertebra. From the
position of the artist the drawing is slightly foreshortened, and this,
together with the advance of his right hind foot, intensifies the droop
of the rump, to some degree, in the outline. From the proportions, as
shown in the painting, I would conclude he was below fourteen and a half
hands high rather than above it. His head is striking and unusually
large for an animal of his size, with remarkable width between the
eyes, and without a star to lighten it up. His ear is not fine, and it
droops backward as he stands, as if half-asleep. His mane is sparse and
in disorder. His throat-latch is very good, and the windpipe large and
well developed. The neck is of a fair length for a horse of his blocky
formation, and there is nothing unusual about it except its great depth
at the collar place. The slope of the shoulder is very marked and shows
his ability to carry his head in the air when he wished to do so, but the
shoulder itself is coarse and angular to an unusual degree. His withers
rise very abruptly and there is great perpendicular depth through the
carcass at this point. His back is remarkably short and the spread and
arch of his loins is simply magnificent. But the point of superlative
excellence is in the remarkable development of power in his quarters.
His limbs, instead of being “spider legs,” are unusually strong for an
animal of his size; indeed, they might be considered coarse for any horse
that was pretended to be a race horse. His tail is of the usual weight
and somewhat wavy. With the addition that there is a little white at
the coronet of the right hind foot, and not forgetting his friend and
companion the cat, I have made a somewhat detailed description of what is
represented in the painting. Several artists examined the picture, and
they pronounced it the work of an artist of ability and experience. The
signature “D. M. pinxt” was carefully examined, but no one was able to
throw any light upon the name represented by the initial letters “D. M.”

While this painting contained within itself evidence of its great value
as a likeness of its subject, it lacked confirmation as “true to the
life;” and nothing could supply this lack but to find a portrait of the
same horse, painted by another artist, and then if the two agreed, the
proof would be fully satisfying to the understanding. A little over a
hundred years ago Lord Francis Godolphin Osborne, Duke of Leeds, and heir
to Lord Godolphin, wrote Sir Charles Bunbury, a great race-horse man,
that he had a painting of Godolphin Arabian, by Wootton, at Gog Magog
Hills. Over sixty years ago an American gentleman wrote to Mr. Skinner’s
magazine that he had seen a painting of Godolphin Arabian hanging in
Houghton Hall, Norfolk. In 1878 my physician told me I must quit work
for awhile, and that I had better visit the great Exposition at Paris
that year. I was anxious to see the Fair, but I was a great deal more
anxious to see those two paintings of Godolphin Arabian, if they were
still in existence. Gog Magog Hills is a quaint old place, and the origin
and meaning of its name is lost in a very remote antiquity. As it has
not been the residence of its owners for more than a hundred years, it
is much neglected. The people in charge were very obliging, and I was
immediately admitted to the view of Wootton’s painting of Godolphin
Arabian. The first glance was a complete vindication of the truthfulness
of the Maryland painting as a true likeness in every important feature
of the outline and proportions. The canvas is about four and a half by
four feet, inclosed in a massive frame. After studying it and comparing
it, point by point for more than an hour, with a copy of the Maryland
painting, it became evident they were not painted by the same hand,
although the horse had the same position in both pictures, with the
exception that the right hind foot was thrown backward in the Wootton
painting instead of forward, and thus gave a less abrupt droop of the
rump. The head was precisely the same shape, but in the large painting
the articulations were less distinct and expressive.

After a little peregrination through Norfolk, studying the “Norfolk
Trotter” as then called, but since called “Hackney,” on his “native
heath,” I reached Houghton Hall, in Norfolk. This grand old place was
built over a hundred and sixty years ago by the famous Sir Robert
Walpole, and at that time it was considered the most splendid structure,
as a gentleman’s country seat, in all England. For many years it has been
the property of the Marquis of Cholmondeley, but is not often occupied as
a residence. Here too, I was lucky, for upon my entrance to the picture
gallery, about the first object upon which my eye rested was the painting
of the Godolphin Arabian, and the first impression was that there must
be “spooks” around, for that seemed certainly the Maryland picture I was
looking at. I had it taken down and removed to a good light, and there
the whole mystery was removed. It is difficult to compare two peas. All
you can say about them is that they were just alike, and that is all I
can say about the Galloway picture in Maryland and the Houghton Hall
picture in England. The paintings were the same size, and the pigments
used were of precisely the same shades of color and quality. The colors
were peculiar in the fact that the artist had used no varnish nor oil
that would leave a shiny appearance. The Houghton Hall picture had a
black, glossy margin all around it of about five inches in width on
which the names of the most noted of his progeny were inscribed in gold
letters, and at the bottom was this inscription: “The original picture
taken at The Hills, by D. Murrier, painter to H. R. H. the Duke of
Cumberland.” This explained the modest signature attached to the Maryland
picture, which was a replica of the original. “The Hills” is the local
designation of “Gog Magog Hills.” The word “original” not only implies
that the picture was made from life, but that one or more replicas were
made at the same time.

Here, then, in this picture, we have all that we know or probably ever
will know of the origin and pedigree of this horse. It does not tell
us what he was, but it does tell us in the most clear and unmistakable
language what he was not. There is no feature nor element in his make-up
that does not say that he was neither an Arabian nor a Barb. He was a
stout, strong-boned, heavily muscled, short-legged horse. In his form and
shape he was very far removed from an ideal progenitor of race horses,
but he was that progenitor all the same. About forty years after his
death Mr. Stubbs, who never saw the horse, brought out a painting of
him which all artists laughed at as the picture of an impossible horse.
This picture, however, was engraved on steel and became the standard
representation of Godolphin Arabian, in England, till this day. Both
these pictures are here given, and a comparison of many points makes
it evident that Stubbs copied from the original of Murrier or from the
painting by Wootton, which was probably also a copy of Murrier, and
he followed his copy just as closely as he could while converting a
big-boned, stout saddle horse into a long-necked, spindle-shanked race
horse. By actual measurement the neck is longer than the body, but it is
not necessary to point out the Stubbs absurdities, as they are apparent
to every eye. It was simply an awkward and dishonest attempt to express
in his form and shape such a pedigree as a great racing sire should have
had. In these two pictures we have the real and the imaginary—the honest
and the dishonest.

The search for this picture and then for its verification was a labor
of many years. I never expected to find the horse’s origin, but the
discovery of his likeness seemed to be in the bounds of a possibility
that was finally realized. Murrier’s picture, as a mere work of art, is
of no mean value. It contains within itself undoubted evidence that it
is a true picture of a horse, and it is shown circumstantially that this
horse was the great “unknown and untraced founder” of the English race
horse, with nothing of the race horse in his appearance.

The name of this horse has been a misnomer ever since the day he fell
into the hands of Lord Godolphin, and it has misled a multitude of men
to their financial hurt. Of late years the more intelligent class of
writers, instead of calling him an “Arabian” call him a “Barb,” but
there is just as much propriety in using one name as the other, and not
a scintilla of authority for using either. Whatever may have been his
origin, his marvelous structural combination of propelling power supplied
what was wanting in the English stock of his day, and gave him success.
Since then thousands of Arabians and Barbs have been tried and all of
them have failed.



    England supplied with horses before the Christian era—Bred
    for different purposes—Markham on the speed of early native
    horses—Duke of Newcastle on Arabians—His choice of blood to
    propagate—Size of early English horses—Difficulties about
    pedigrees in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—Early
    accumulations very trashy—The Galloways and Irish
    Hobbies—Discrepancies in size—The old saddle stock—The pacers
    wiped out—Partial revision of the English Stud Book.

Britain was fully supplied with horses when first invaded by the Romans,
but as there is no history beyond that period we are only groping in
the dark when we attempt to discover when or whence this supply was
procured. The most reasonable theory is that the first supply came
from the Phœnician merchants, when they were trading for tin in the
southwestern part of Britain. If this theory be correct, the trading
between the Phœnicians and the Britons could hardly have been later than
the fourth century before the Christian era, and it is more probable
that it was several centuries earlier. This topic, however, has been
considered in a preceding chapter. Another theory is that when the tides
of migration struck the Atlantic, in the higher latitudes, there was a
natural deflection toward the warmer countries of the south, the people
carrying their horses with them. But from the primitive condition of
the arts and of maritime affairs among the Norsemen of that very early
period, and from the insular position of Britain, it seems to me that to
reach it with horses, the most probable source of supply was from that
great nation whose “ships of Tarshish” had been trading to all lands more
than a thousand years before the Christian era. But, laying all theories
aside, there are some facts and dates that we know, and the particular
one to which I wish here to call attention is the historical record that
when the Romans first visited Britain they found an abundant supply of
horses; and this was about four hundred years before Arabia received her
supply from the Emperor Constantius.

From the time of the Romans in Britain, horse-racing has been a popular
and favorite amusement of our ancestors, and from that time horses have
been bred for special purposes. The “Great Horse,” as he was called, was
bred for war, parade, and show, and was large enough and strong enough
to carry a knight in armor. The smaller horses were bred for the race
or the chase, others for the saddle on account of their easy, gliding
motion, and the comfort of the rider, while others, again, were stout
of back and limb and able to carry burdens. In regard to the speed
of the horses bred for that purpose, Mr. Gervase Markham, the second
Englishman who undertook to write a book on the horse, has given us some
very interesting and valuable information. He brought out his work in
the latter part of the sixteenth century, and it passed through several
“enlarged and improved” editions. In the edition of 1606 he says:

    “For swiftness what nation has brought forth the horse which
    excelled the English? When the best Barbaries that ever were
    in their prime, I saw them overcome by a black Hobbie, of
    Salisbury, and yet that black Hobbie was overcome by a horse
    called Valentine, which Valentine neither in hunting nor
    running was ever equalled, yet was a plain English horse, both
    by syre and dam.”

From this we must conclude that some horses from the Barbary States had
been brought over previous to 1606, which doubtless antedated the arrival
of King James’ Arabian. This is the horse known as the Markham Arabian,
and is in the above list of foundation stallions. In speaking of the
Arabian horses as a breed, the Duke of Newcastle remarks as follows upon
this particular representative of that breed:

    “I never saw but one of these horses, which Mr. John Markham, a
    merchant, brought over and said he was a right Arabian. He was
    a bay, but a little horse, and no rarity for shape, for I have
    seen many English horses far finer. Mr. Markham sold him to
    King James for five hundred pounds, and being trained up for a
    course (race), when he came to run every horse beat him.”

The duke then goes on to speak of the staying qualities of the Arabians:

    “They talk they will ride fourscore miles in a day and never
    draw the bridle. When I was young I could have bought a nag for
    ten pounds that would have done as much _very easily_.”

These remarks are repeated here because they are specially pertinent in
this connection.

It will be conceded by every one who has any knowledge of the horse
history of this period that the Duke of Newcastle was the best-informed
man of his generation on all subjects connected with the history and
breeding of the horse. His preference for blood was in the following
order: The Barb, the Turk, the Spaniard, the Neapolitan, and the
handsomest of the English stock. It will be observed that in this
classification the Arabian has no place.

From these illustrations, to which other similar ones might be added,
it seems to be evident that the native English stock did not lack speed
so much as they lacked quality, finish, and beauty. Perhaps size should
be included in this enumeration. They had been bred and trained to run
for centuries, and they were as stout and fleet as the exotics, but they
lacked the qualifications of beauty and style. The foreigners possessed
what the natives lacked, and more than all they furnished both the
climatic and the blood outcross that were needed to re-invigorate the
native character. It was the custom of the people in the seventeenth
century to let their horses of both sexes roam at will through forests
and glades, and in this way the average size had been reduced and the
law of Henry VIII. (prohibiting the running at large of stallions under
a certain size) had become a nullity. At the time of the restoration of
Charles II. (1660) the average size of the traveling stock of England was
very small—perhaps not over thirteen hands high—and then commenced the
serious work of increasing the size and improving the speed of the light
horse stock, under the direction and influence of the Duke of Newcastle.
The introduction of the new blood would give vigor to the stock, but as
that blood was the blood of Turks and Barbs, probably but little if any
larger than the native stock, the mystery still remains unsolved. In
about one hundred years from that time the average size of the race horse
had been brought up from less than fourteen to about fifteen hands. This
increase of size cannot be accounted for on any other grounds than the
introduction of the blood of some larger breed. We cannot conceive of
this being the blood of the old Flanders stock that had been brought over
centuries before; hence I am strongly of the opinion that the duke knew
just what he was doing when he brought in a lot of stallions and mares
(the latter called the “Royal Mares”) without telling anybody what they
were or where they came from. This view is strengthened by the fact that
none of the descendants of these mares, for several generations, ever
made a mark upon the turf. If we reject this theory of the “Royal Mares,”
we are then forced to the conclusion that the increase of size came
chiefly from the large cold-blooded mares of the native stock. The fleet
running families of the natives were small, and the imported Turks and
Barbs were but little if any larger; hence, if we accept the evidence of
our own senses and study the great variations in height, we cannot reject
the conclusion that these variations had their origin in the size of the
original elements entering into the formation of the breed.

What was the extent of the influence of the speed of the old English
race horse upon the new race horse that sprang up in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries? This is a question that has not been very much
discussed, but every intelligent and thinking man has given it more or
less thought. Britain was not rapid in the progress of civilization and
refinement, but through all the centuries of her history she had her
race horses and she ran them. There can be no doubt that many of these
native horses could outrun and outlast the best of the exotics that were
brought in. None of those exotics, so far as we know, could run and win.
Their value, then, was measured, not by what they could do themselves,
but by what their progeny could do; and that progeny, at the foundation,
carried half the blood of the old tribes. There were no racing calendars
in the seventeenth century and none till the second decade of the
eighteenth, and during all that time the blood of every man’s horse
would, naturally, be fashionable blood. When the racing calendars were
established they were a partial check upon untruthful representations,
but this check only extended to the sire of the animal, and was then not
always trustworthy. This left the whole maternal side open to all kinds
of misrepresentation, and as the Anglo-Saxon race is fond of liberty,
every man exercised the liberty of making his pedigrees to suit himself.
Thus, through advertisements, sale papers, etc., great multitudes of
fictitious pedigrees, all shaped on fashionable lines, gained currency
and were propagated from owner to owner, from generation to generation.
On this point I speak from the personal knowledge of a long lifetime
in connection with such affairs in our own country, and I take it for
granted that our English ancestors were no better and no worse than we
are ourselves. This was the condition of things in England for about
one hundred and fifty years, and when Mr. Weatherby was at work on the
Stud Book he was overflowed with a flood of those bald-headed fictions,
concocted by generations long past, and nobody could disprove them. In
this way a large portion of the accumulated rubbish of past generations
found its way into the English Stud Book and there it stands to-day,
serving only to misguide the seeker after truth.

The earliest records of English racing commence with the year 1709, and
at Newmarket 1716. There have been several racing calendars published at
different times, but probably the best and most convenient for office use
is the Racing Register published by Bailey Bros., commencing with the
first and now filling several large volumes. In the early days very few
of the winners even had any pedigree, but after the lapse of about fifty
years we find it the rule to insert the sire of all winners, although
there were still some exceptions. Under this usage it became possible in
the course of time to establish the leading facts on the paternal side,
and thus the work of the stud-book compiler was greatly facilitated.
Those racing calendars, although intended merely to serve the convenience
of men who bet their money, caring nothing for blood, served the more
permanent and valuable purpose of fixing the paternal lines in the
genealogy of the English race horse.

In 1786 Mr. William Pick, of York, England, published “A Careful
Collection of all the Pedigrees it was then Possible to Obtain,” thus
antedating Mr. Weatherby’s “Introduction” by five years. In 1785 Mr. Pick
had commenced the publication of a racing calendar called “The Sportsman
and Breeder’s Vade Mecum,” which was continued a good many years. These
little annual volumes were well received, and they were the forerunners
of Pick’s Turf Register, the first volume of which was brought out in
1703. This was the same year that the first volume of Weatherby’s Stud
Book appeared, and there was a sharp rivalry between the two authors,
not merely as two men, but as representing two divisions of the country.
Mr. Pick was a Yorkshire man and Mr. Weatherby was a Londoner. Yorkshire
claimed to be the “race-horse region” of England, and the Southrons were
ready to fight rather than concede that claim. This rivalry survived two
or three generations of racing men, and it is a question whether it
has yet subsided. In the north Pick was the authority and in the south,

These two men worked on different plans, and each had its advantages.
Pick limited his labors to the great animals of the past, and took them
up in chronological order, giving a brief sketch of the history and
performances of each. This plan required space, and when he had completed
his first volume of five hundred and twenty-eight pages he had only
reached the close of 1763. The second volume, bringing the work down to
the close of 1772, made its appearance in 1805. Mr. Pick did not live
to continue the work, and it fell into the hands of Mr. R. Johnson, who
brought out the third volume in 1822, which continued the chronological
order to the close of 1782. After the lapse of forty-five years, namely
1867, the fourth volume appeared under Mr. Johnson’s name, bringing
the work to the close of 1792, and I am not aware that the work has
been continued. These four volumes contained much that cannot be found
elsewhere, and are very valuable.

When we come to study these assemblages of impossible things put together
and called pedigrees, we begin to realize the absolute rottenness of the
alleged pedigrees of that whole early period. Take, for instance, the
case of the horse called the Bald Galloway. He bore this name because
he had a bald face, and was of the Galloway breed. This Galloway breed
took its name from the old Province of Galloway, in the southwestern part
of Scotland. They were small, active horses and were famous for many
generations as a breed of pacers. It has been said that the last pacers
in Great Britain were found in Galloway. This horse, Bald Galloway, was
foaled some time about 1708 and was famous as a fast race horse till he
trained off at five years old. I think there is no doubt about his being
a genuine Galloway, and if so how could he have a pedigree all of foreign
blood and ending in a “Royal Mare?” This Galloway horse was the sire of
the famous Roxana, that produced Lath and his full brother Cade, that
made the early reputation of the great Godolphin Arabian. I will ask my
readers to refer to the Curwen Bay Barb, No. 11, near the commencement of
this chapter. This was one of the very best of all the Barbs imported,
and his origin and history are given with unusual fullness, as well as
an enumeration of the best of his get. In examining this enumeration it
will be seen that a good number of his best foals were out of Galloway
mares and are called “Galloways.” Brocklesby Betty was one of the great
mares of her day, and the Stud Book says that “as a runner, she was
thought to be the superior of any horse or mare of her time.” She was
foaled 1711, was got by Curwen Bay Barb and out of Mr. Leedes’ Hobby
Mare. She was a brood mare before she was trained, and her performances
were soon after the establishment of the Racing Calendars, which show
her great superiority. The “Hobbies” were a breed of Irish pacing horses
that had been noted for more than a hundred years, on both sides of the
Irish channel, as saddle horses, hunters, and runners. The theory that
these “Irish Hobbies” were descended from the horses on board one of the
ships of the Spanish Armada, that was wrecked on the Irish coast, is
purely fanciful, for they were known as a breed long before the Spanish
Armada was projected. The Hobbies were larger and better formed, as a
rule, than the Galloways, and more highly esteemed. These illustrations
of the influence and power of indigenous blood in the formation of the
breed, known throughout the world as the English race horse might be
extended indefinitely, but let these suffice. With the “Galloways” and
the “Hobbies,” well known to our ancestors two hundred years ago as
established breeds or tribes of horses, we cannot avoid the conclusion
that they were very prodigal of fancy and very economical of truth when
they attempted to clothe Bald Galloway, Leedes’ Hobby, etc., in foreign
pedigrees to make them fashionable. Aside from the matters of evidence
here introduced going to show the composite material entering into the
constitution, structure and instincts of the race horse as he is today,
there is another that plays a very prominent part in the combination.
When we see a race horse fourteen hands high, and another of equally pure
blood standing beside him seventeen hands high, we naturally wonder, and
ask, Why this difference in size? The Turk, the Barb, the Hobby, the
Galloway, and indeed all the old English racing stock, were very small,
scarcely averaging fourteen hands. After we have made every allowance for
a salubrious climate and a generous and unstinted dietary we must concede
a gradual increase of growth, but these things fail to account for a
difference of twelve inches in the height of two horses bred in the same
lines for untold generations. The conclusion seems to be inevitable that
there were big horses as well as little ones in the original combination
of ancestors. From these diverse sources of his inheritance, it becomes
plain to the mind of every one that the English race horse is thoroughly
composite in the blood he inherits, and it is beyond the powers of
analysis to determine whether one element did more than another in making
him the fastest running horse in the world.

While it might be forcibly, if not conclusively, argued that the native
English horse had in him all the elements necessary to the development of
a breed of race horses as great as the breed of our own day, there is one
fact ever present to the senses which goes to show that the influence of
exotic blood was very wide and very powerful in controlling the action of
the race horse. The popular and prevailing pacing action of the Hobbies,
the Galloways, and other hunting, racing and saddle tribes was completely
wiped out more than a hundred years ago. Any attempt to account for this
revolution in the gait of the English horse as a fancy of fashion, or on
the introduction of wheeled vehicles, fails to satisfy the understanding.
In the first half of the seventeenth century pacers were popular,
common, and abounded everywhere. In the second half of the eighteenth
century not one could be found in all Britain, “from Land’s End to John
O’Groat’s House.” Of all the facts that are known and established in the
history of the English horse, the wiping out of the pacer is the most
striking and significant. This exterminating process was not limited
to the families that were intended for hunting or racing purposes, but
extended to all types and breeds of English horses. The little English
pacers that had been the favorites of kings and princes and nobles for
so many centuries were submerged in the streams of Saracenic blood
that flowed in upon them, and their only legitimate descendants left
upon the face of the earth found homes in the American colonies. Their
blood is one of the principal elements in the foundation of the English
race horse, but the “lateral action” in his progeny was esteemed a
bar-sinister on the escutcheon of the stallion, and it was sought to
be covered up with something more fashionable in name. The old saddle
horses of England were not all pacers, although that habit of action was
very general among them, and in some families it was more uniform and
confirmed than in others, and my authority for this conclusion will be
found in the detailed account of the horses brought from England to the
American colonies early in the seventeenth century. It is evident that
from the day the blood of the Saracenic horse was brought in contact
with that of the indigenous saddle horse, they were antagonistic, if
in nothing more, certainly in the habit of action. The one never moved
in the lateral action and the other very generally adopted that form of
progression because it was his inheritance. What might have been the
result if left to the laws of “natural selection,” it would be impossible
to decide; but with the dictates of profit to the master, the mandates of
fashion, and above all the accepted teachings of the Duke of Newcastle,
the little pacer had no “friends at court,” and all he could do was to
get out of the way, with his lateral action. In our own country and
under the observation of everybody the pacer shows great tenacity to his
long-inherited habit of action, and although buried in non-pacing blood,
as supposed, for two or three generations, the pace is liable to appear
again, at any time. So it was, doubtless in English experiences, but as
the revolution was not retarded by the development of pacing speed, in
one hundred years from the restoration, in 1660, there was no longer a
pacer on British soil.

When the first Mr. Weatherby assumed the task of making and keeping a
registry of English race horses, he seems to have had only a very faint
conception of the magnitude of the undertaking. The first volume of his
“General Stud Book” was published in 1803, and when it appeared it was
found to contain so many things that were not true that the necessary
work of revision and excision reduced its contents fearfully. In these
eliminations he started in with a free hand, as is shown by comparison
with later editions, but soon found that his book was disappearing very
rapidly, and not much of it would be left, if he did not stay his hand.
At this point he seems to have adopted some new rule, unfortunately,
either of evidence or of date, probably the latter, for his work
discloses the fact that he declined all responsibility for pedigrees
as they came to him, of an earlier period than about 1780. Beyond that
date nearly all the crude and impossible things of fiction were allowed
to remain and are thus propagated as true, down to our own day. There
was one rule, however, adopted very early in the management of this
compilation that saved it from degeneracy, and that was the difficulty
of getting into it. In all its history, from the beginning, it has been
a kind of “close corporation,” and the animals in the volume of the last
year are almost uniformly descended from the animals to be found in the
first volume. The application of this rule, no doubt, worked an injustice
in very many cases, but it made the English race horse a BREED,
pre-eminent above all other horses for his unequaled speed as a running
horse. This general rule restricting admissions to the descendants of
such as had places in preceding volumes seems to have been followed and
maintained with a good share of rigidity, by the different generations
of the Weatherby family, in whose hands the compilation still remains.
Whatever may have been the ratio of fables and forgeries in the first
volume, they were there compacted and neither the Weatherbys nor the
breeders have been much annoyed with them since. The plan of the Stud
Book itself is very unsatisfactory to the careful student, for the reason
that it admits of no details of breeder, owner, etc., that are of vital
importance in tracing and identifying an unknown or disputed pedigree.
While the plan is very desirable and effective in placing the produce of
mares underneath the dams, it is very defective in relation to breeders,
and subsequent owners. Unless the identity of the animal can be traced
and established by the records, the pedigree is always doubtful. But
notwithstanding the unsatisfactory plan of its construction, it has been
honestly compiled, and we may safely accept its contents, back as far as
the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Mr. Weatherby began his
work; but when we reach the period of the eighteenth century, facts,
fables and frauds are so inextricably mixed that whatever we accept must
be _cum grano salis_. Beyond that period Mr. Weatherby furnishes nothing
but the wildest fancies and traditions shaped up by those contributing
them with a view to lengthen a pedigree and a price accordingly. All that
we can ever know of the horses of that period we must gather from the
little snatches dropped by contemporaneous historians.

In establishing his “General Stud Book,” Mr. Weatherby’s work may be
compared to the building of an embankment around a great field which
contained all the race horses of the realm. They were of all colors, all
markings and all sizes, except the monster cart horse and the diminutive
Shetland. They had all raced or possessed blood that had raced, and they
all had pedigrees of various lengths and various degrees of reliability.
They all walked and trotted and galloped, and there was not a pacer among
them, for the last pacer had disappeared from England probably fifty
years before this. The antagonism of the Saracenic horse had triumphed,
and that antagonism was bred in the blood and bone of every animal in
the field. They were placed there to be inter-bred and to produce race
horses. Every one of the thousand owners was anxious to produce a great
winner, and he was left to the exercise of his own fancy and judgment as
to what cross would be most likely to prove successful, and to vindicate
his superior intelligence. With, all experimenting outside of the breed
practically barred, the instincts of the breed ripened and intensified
until its representatives are able to beat the fleetest in the world
at the gallop, but they could neither walk fast nor trot fast. It is
doubtful whether any person in the world has ever seen a true-bred race
horse that could trot a mile in four minutes. At this gait they show no
aptness nor speed whatever. By breeding to fit the modern methods of
racing, the speed of the race horse has been greatly increased, for short
distances, but his stamina and endurance no longer command admiration as
in former generations.

In the latter half of the last century there were a good many excellent
trotters in England, but the further we get away from the blood of the
old English pacer, the fewer the trotters we find, until at last there
are none at all. It seems to be true of all countries that where there
are no pacers there are no trotters. It was not the purpose nor wish of
the English people to banish the trotter, but when the pacer was banished
the trotter soon followed him.



    Antiquity of American racing—First race course at Hempstead
    Plain, 1665— Racing in Virginia, 1677—Conditions of early
    races—Early so-called Arabian importations—The marvelous
    tradition of Lindsay’s “Arabian”— English race horses first
    imported about 1750—The old colonial stock as a basis—First
    American turf literature—Skinner’s _American Turf Register and
    Sporting Magazine_, 1829—Cadwallader R. Colden’s _Sporting
    Magazine_ short-lived but valuable—The original _Spirit of the
    Times_—_Porter’s Spirit of the Times_—_Wilkes’ Spirit of the
    Times_, 1859—Edgar’s Stud Book —Wallace’s Stud Book—Bruce’s
    Stud Book—Their history, methods, and value—Summing up results,
    showing that success has followed breeding to individuals and
    families that could run and not to individuals and families
    that could not run, whatever their blood.

Horses were kept for running, and horse racing was a common amusement
in some of the American Colonies for about a hundred years before the
first English race horses were imported. This embraces a century of horse
history that, hitherto, has been practically unexplored and unknown.
For the details of what I have been able to glean of this neglected
and unknown century my readers are referred to the chapters on the
different colonies. The first racing in this country of which we have any
historical knowledge was organized by Governor Nicolls. In 1664 the Dutch
surrendered the province of New Netherlands to the English, and the next
autumn, 1665, the new race course at Hempstead Plains was inaugurated by
the new governor of the colony. This course was named Newmarket, after
the famous English course, and Governor Nicolls’ successors continued to
offer purses on this course for many years, and after a time there were
two regular meetings held there, spring and autumn. Owing to the distance
of this course from the city, other courses, near at hand, were soon
constructed and racing of all kinds and at all gaits held high carnival.
The principal prizes were called “Subscription Purses,” the distance
almost invariably two miles, and the weight carried ten stone. The horses
that ran were known as “Dutch horses,” and were descended from the
original stock brought from Utrecht, in Holland. They were larger than
the English horses, and brought better prices, although the latter were
esteemed more highly for their saddle gaits. I think the Dutch horses,
originally, had no natural pacers among them, but for the pleasures and
uses of the saddle they were inter-bred with the English horses and the
mixed blood soon produced many pacers. It is probable also that this
mixture increased the speed of the whole tribe. Thus racing continued
with but few interruptions and without any known changes in the rules
or conditions governing performances, except that after fifty years or
more the weight to be carried was reduced from ten stone to eight stone.
In the year 1751, which was eighty-six years after Governor Nicolls had
established the Newmarket course on Long Island, we find the following
significant condition inserted in the terms of entrance to the races, for
the first time: “Free to any horse, mare, or gelding bred in America.”
The simple meaning of this new condition was to “head off” the scheme
of some “sharp” fellows who were, probably, then on the ocean with two
or three English race horses, with which they expected to “gobble up”
whatever stakes or purses came within their reach.

The first record we have of racing in Virginia is to be found in the
court records of Henrico County, in the year 1677—twelve years after the
establishment of racing in New York. For fuller particulars of this,
the reader is referred to the chapter on that colony. The Virginians
were a horse-racing people from the start, and it is impossible to
tell how long before racing first commenced, but probably just as
soon as any two neighbors met, each owning a horse, a few hundred
pounds of tobacco were put up the next day, to make it interesting, in
determining which was the faster. This racing feeling was not confined
to neighbors nor to neighborhoods, but it pervaded the whole colony, and
the people of every county had their annual and semi-annual meetings,
which everybody attended. Their methods of handicapping will strike the
present generation as somewhat peculiar. In their advertisements of the
meetings, such language as the following was very common: “Sized horses
to carry one hundred and forty pounds and Galloways to be allowed weight
for inches.” From this we learn that the tribe of little Scotch pacers
were still to the fore on this side of the water and that they were
just as fleet as the larger horses, provided the weight was graduated
to their inches. There was one feature in these race meetings that will
be a surprise to many of my readers, as it was to myself, and that is
the fact that at most of these meetings there was one four-mile race.
Smaller prizes were run for by horses classed as to size, and it may be
noted that there was one class “not exceeding thirteen hands.” At these
meetings the distance never seems to have been less than one mile, while
on the southern border of the colony and in North Carolina, quarter
racing was very popular and very common from the earliest dates, and it
was kept up through the greater part of the eighteenth century. For a
fuller account of the racing of those early days the reader is referred
to the chapter on Virginia.

In this old English, Irish and Scottish blood, full of the pacing
element, which we may now call “native” blood, we have the real
foundation upon which the English race horse was bred and from which has
come the approximate if not the complete equal of the highest type of the
English horse, in both speed and stamina. The English and the American
race horse came from the same source and possess the same blood, with
this trifling distinction—the native mares in England were bred to horses
of exotic, Saracenic origin, while the native mares of America were bred
to the descendants of that native-exotic combination. Hence, with the
original maternal ancestry of the same blood, the combined and improved
English descendant of that blood became the paternal ancestor of the
American race horse. We must not forget that this “paternal ancestor”
had been the result of crossing and recrossing, selecting, breeding and
developing for nearly a hundred years, and that he was, therefore, a
far better horse and far more prepotent as a sire than the produce of
the first cross made under the direction of the Duke of Newcastle. We
must not ignore the fact that while there were many stallions brought
over in the early days there were also a few mares, but they were so few
in number that their influence was hardly appreciable in the new breed
to be established. Saracenic blood was touched very sparingly in the
colonial days, as even the names of not more than three or four have
been preserved in history. The only one of that period fully identified
was named Bashaw and was kept on Long Island about the year 1768. Like
all the others, he was called an Arabian, but according to the showing
of his advertisement he was bred by the Emperor of Morocco, and was not
an Arabian. Of the later period and coming down to about 1860 there are
twenty-five or thirty that have been called “Arabians.” Near the head
of the list stands one called “Arab Barb” or “Black Arabian Barb.” He
was claimed to be an imported Barb from Algiers, and was seventeen hands
high, “and coarse in proportion.” Many other so-called “importers” were
equally absurd and dishonest in their claims, but there horses all passed
as genuine “Arabians.” Out of the whole number called “Arabians” not more
than five or six seem to have had a shadow of right to the name, and
these exceptions were practically restricted to the animals imported by
Mr. A. Keene Richards, of Kentucky. That each and all of these exceptions
were irredeemable failures is a fact well known to all intelligent
horsemen. This motley crew of “Arabian” importations came from all the
countries bordering on the Mediterranean, except Arabia, were all called
“Arabians,” and they were all flat disappointments both as race horses
and as producers of race horses.

Out of this list of thirty-five or forty so-called Arabian horses, there
is one that requires special mention, not only because a correction
may be made in his history, but because I have frequently spoken of
him as the only Arabian that had left any mark upon the horse stock of
the country. Lindsay’s Arabian, as he was called, was a grey horse and
represented to be over fifteen hands high. The story is that he was a
Barb and had been presented to the commander of a British man-of-war,
when a colt, by the ruler of one of the Barbary States, as an expression
of gratitude to the captain for having saved the life of his son. The
captain sailed away for a South American port, and while lying there he
took his present ashore to let him have a little exercise. The colt was
given the free range of a lumber-yard, as the story goes, and in his
playfulness a pile of lumber fell upon him and broke three of his legs.
The British officer was greatly grieved at his loss and proposed to put
the colt out of misery by knocking him on the head. There happened to be
an American trading vessel in port and the skipper “allowed if he had
that critter on his vessel he could save him.” The officer at once gave
him to the skipper and told him his history. Yankee ingenuity and thrift
soon got him aboard the trader and he was swung up and his legs properly
bandaged. The surgical treatment was good, the bones knit, and in due
time the vessel arrived at New London, and the colt was taken to the
vicinity of Hartford. Just where this story originated it is not possible
now to say, nor do I know that it ever had currency in Connecticut, but
it was certainly rehearsed and probably believed in Maryland. He was
owned by Colonel Wyllis of Hartford, and was advertised in 1770 under the
single name of Ranger, and described as “a fine English stallion of the
Barbary breed, bred in England.” From this it would appear that nothing
was then known of his romantic history. As a part of his Maryland history
it was said that General Washington’s attention had been attracted to
a body of Connecticut cavalry by the excellence of their horses, and
at his instance Captain Lindsay bought Ranger, because he was the sire
of many of those horses, and took him to Maryland, where he was ever
afterward known as “Lindsay’s Arabian.” The story of the indorsement
of Washington made an excellent stallion card, and it is not necessary
that we should inquire into it too closely, for the dates might raise
a question. The horse passed from Colonel Wyllis to James Howard, of
Windham, and was advertised by him as “The Imported Arabian Horse called
The Ranger to stand at his stable the season of 1778.” Hence we must
conclude that he was not taken to the South before the season of 1779,
or possibly later. Then, as now, to catch the popular fancy, North and
South, the horse is no longer an “English stallion of the Barbary breed”
but an “Imported Arabian Horse.” His cross was well esteemed in his
day, and it has held its place in the estimation of all the experienced
horsemen as a good cross in an old pedigree. We now see that he was bred
in England, that he was got by a Barb horse or the son of a Barb horse,
and that it is not probable there was a single drop of Arabian blood
in his veins. This little sketch will serve to illustrate the methods,
general and particular, that were invariably used to place a fictitious
value upon the so-called imported “Arabians.” In no other department of
human knowledge has there been such a universal and persistent habit of
misrepresenting the truth of history as in matters relating to the horse.
It seems to have been, and still is, a kind of psychical contagion that
has been generating dishonesty and a habit of lying in the minds of the
great body of horsemen for the past two hundred and fifty years. If a
horse is brought from Turkey, or Syria, or Egypt, or Spain, or Morocco,
or any of the Barbary States, he is at once called an “Arabian.” This
is worse than a misnomer, for it is an essential untruth, and its
universal use does not redeem it from its essence of deception and fraud.
It must be conceded, however, that this deception may have sprung from
bad teaching and ignorance rather than from a depraved moral sense, for
many people, as well as the poets and the novelists, may have concluded
that as the nations named above got their religion from Arabia, so
they got their horse stock from the same country, and thus the horses
brought from Turkey, or Syria, or Egypt, or Spain, or Morocco, or any
of the Barbary States, are descendants of the Arabian horse and thus
entitled to the name “Arabian.” This seems to be the only theory upon
which this universal misrepresentation can be palliated. Let us repeat a
sentence or two here, to show what history reveals on this point. Strabo
says there were no horses in Arabia at the beginning of the Christian
era. Philostorgius says that in the year 356, two hundred “well-bred”
Cappadocian horses were sent as a present to the prince of Yemen, by
the Emperor Constantius. These were the first horses in Arabia. In the
days of Mohammed horses were exceedingly scarce in Arabia, and they have
remained so to the present time. The horse is an expensive exotic in
Arabia, as he is never used for any domestic purpose, nor for any other
purpose except robbery or display. For all domestic and commercial uses
the camel is far better. All the countries named above were abundantly
supplied with horses, at least eight hundred or a thousand years before
there were any horses in Arabia. The Moslems got their religion from
Arabia, but not their horses. This topic is more fully discussed in the
chapter on the Arabian horse.

The importation of English race horses to this side of the water
commenced about the year 1750, and that being the middle of the last
century it is easy to remember the date when the line was drawn between
the old and the new elements appearing on the race course. The following
six animals were brought over within a year or two of that date—Monkey,
Traveller, Dabster, Childers, Badger, and Janus. A few others might be
named, but some at least are mythical. Of those here named, Traveller
was the great horse. Janus became the progenitor of a tribe of very fast
quarter horses, and although he did not found that tribe, which had been
in existence for a hundred years on the border line between Virginia and
North Carolina, he doubtless improved it. Monkey was twenty-two years old
when he came and did not live long. The whole number imported into all
the colonies before the war of the Revolution counts up to about fifty,
and some of these are practically unknown, and a few of them were wholly
fictitious. Maryland, I think, was first in the field of importations,
and then followed Virginia, New York, and North Carolina. Possibly the
very earliest importations were made in South Carolina, but there is
not much evidence that those importations were utilized to any extent
for racing purposes, and hence we know but little of the doings of that
colony till a later date. There were not more than about twenty mares of
English race-horse blood imported, in the quarter of a century preceding
the Revolution, into all the colonies. As many of these animals of both
sexes were stolen or destroyed during the war, we can approximate with
some degree of certainty the great reduction in this producing force by
the time the war ended and importations again commenced.

Now, we have before us the old colonial running stock that had been
tested in many a battle and found able to cover the distance of two to
four miles, and we have also the new running stock that had never been
asked to go any further, but we have no actual, authentic and reliable
knowledge of the comparative speed of the two classes. There were no stop
watches nor records of time kept in those days. This much only we know,
that prizes were offered for “half-breds” for a few years, but when it
was found that some of the half-breds could run just as fast and as far
as some of the whole-breds, this class of prizes was withdrawn. Then
commenced the manufacture of fraudulent pedigrees, for, it was argued,
“How could an American horse beat an English horse unless he had English
blood and plenty of it?” Hence, when a horse won that fact was taken as
proof that he was full bred, and no time was lost in investing him with
a first-class, pure-bred pedigree. This was a little onerous on the few
imported mares that were known and named, as in the case of imported Mary
Gray, for she had to _produce_ eleven filly foals by imported Jolly Roger
in order to accommodate her numerous progeny, as alleged, and how many
more claims were made of the same pedigree it would be very difficult
to estimate. When it began to appear a little awkward to require Mary
Gray to have, on paper, more than eleven filly foals by Jolly Roger, it
was soon, discovered that it was less perplexing and at the same time
less liable to be “cornered” by saying “dam an imported English mare.”
No doubt there was a great deal of sharp practice, to say nothing of
cheating and lying, about horse matters in Colonial times, but those
little venialities were only the blossoms indicating the mature fruits
of deceptions and frauds that were to follow when pedigrees would be
considered an element of value in the running horse, and when every man
would have the power, in fact, to make and print his pedigrees to suit
himself. This brings us to a very brief consideration of what has been
done in the direction of correcting the frauds of the past and preventing
them in the future.

The period of fable and of falsehood in the genealogy of the American
race horse seems to have commenced not long after the first importations
of English race horses. In the first generations from the imported
English horse and the native mare, it was rather difficult for a man
to fix up a pedigree for his half-bred colt that would show him to
be full bred, but after forty, fifty, or sixty years had elapsed the
events became misty, and then every man exercised the right to make
his own pedigrees to suit his own fancy. This seems to have been the
condition of things for many years, and while there were a few honest
men who would stick to the truth, the great majority either made their
pedigrees to suit themselves or employed some “expert” to make them for
them. The confusion which ensued was most perplexing, and the slipshod
manner in which editors and writers on the horse did their work was most
discouraging. Whatever was found in print on a crossroads blacksmith shop
door was taken as authentic, because it was in print.

In 1829 Mr. John S. Skinner, of Baltimore, Maryland, commenced the
publication of a monthly magazine, entitled “_The American Turf Register
and Sporting Magazine_,” and as it really “filled a long-felt want,” it
received a very encouraging support. As its name indicated its field,
it at once became the authority on sporting events and the receptacle
of a great amount of valuable correspondence on the horses of the day,
as well as the earlier race horses. Mr. Skinner was industrious in
collecting material for his magazine, but unfortunately he published
whatever was sent to him relating to the horse, and just as it was sent.
If a communication was well written, no difference how many errors of
fact it might contain, it never seemed to occur to Mr. Skinner to use
his blue pencil. Pedigrees were sent in, amounting to many thousands,
during his ownership, with fictitious and untruthful remote extensions,
and published without any possibility of tracing the different crosses
to a known or responsible source or name. Here was the opportunity of a
lifetime to “fix up” the pedigrees of stallions to suit the public demand
and the fees sought by their owners, send them to Mr. Skinner, and have
them duly spread before the public in all their dishonest finery. The
early volumes are very rich in the accumulations of pedigrees, such as
they are, and hence very valuable. The magazine received less and less
attention from its proprietor each succeeding year and finally it was
transferred to the _Spirit of the Times_, of New York, and died after an
existence of some fifteen years.

Mr. Cadwallader R. Colden, of New York, commenced the publication of
another sporting magazine, that was of very great merit, and did much to
correct some of the errors that abounded in Mr. Skinner’s publication.
In the controversies which naturally sprang up he had greatly the
advantage of his adversary, for he knew horse history and Mr. Skinner
did not. Mr. Colden was a man of marked ability, and over the signature
of “An Old Turfman” he made himself famous as a writer. He hated a fraud
and wherever he saw one he did not hesitate to hit it. His publication
was a large and expensive one, racing was then under the periodical
interdict of public opinion, and after about two or three years, and
greatly to the loss and misfortune of the truths of horse history, the
publication was discontinued. The weekly press had no representative in
the field of “horse literature and sporting subjects” until early in
the thirties, when the _Spirit of the Times_ was founded by William T.
Porter. The conception of a weekly paper devoted to all kinds of sports,
such as hunting, fishing, racing, gaming, etc., was not only new in this
country, but it was brilliant. Mr. Porter was not only a gentleman in his
appearance and manners, but he had fine social qualities and was a writer
of ability and polish. Such a personage would naturally gather about him
friends and correspondents that were congenial, and very soon _The Spirit
of the Times_ became noted as the organ of a great body of educated men
who loved sport and enjoyed wit. It was the only publication of its kind
on the continent, and it soon obtained a very wide circulation. Mr.
Porter knew very little of horses, either theoretically or practically,
but he was a ready adapter and wrote some fine descriptions of famous
racing contests. His habits were sportive rather than industrious, hence
he left nothing behind him of value to his friends or to the world
except the mere fact that he was the founder of the first sporting paper
in this country. In course of time the paper with all its belongings
became the property of John Richards, the former pressman, and Mr. Porter
had to look for a living wherever he could find it. Mr. George Wilkes
then took him under his wing, and started a new sporting paper called
_Porter’s Spirit of the Times_. The use of this name carried with it the
support of a good many friends, but as he was not able to write anything,
practically, for the new paper, from its very commencement in September,
1856, it failed to yield any support to Mr. Porter, and not much to Mr.
Wilkes and his partners. Litigation arose and Mr. Wilkes finally withdrew
from _Porter’s Spirit of the Times_, and started _Wilkes’ Spirit of the
Times_ in September, 1859. We then had three sporting papers all claiming
to be the original and only legitimate _Spirit of the Times_. Among their
readers they were distinguished as the _Old Spirit_, _Porter’s Spirit_,
and _Wilkes’ Spirit_. The circulation of the Old Spirit was largely in
the Southern States, and the war destroyed it, in 1861. _Porter’s Spirit_
having but little money and still less brains, died about the same time.
This left Mr. Wilkes in open possession of the field, and his remarkably
trenchant articles on the conduct of the war gave _Wilkes’ Spirit of
the Times_ a very wide circulation, even among those who cared nothing
for sporting matters. At the same time he was fortunate in securing the
services of Mr. Charles J. Foster, an able writer on horse subjects, and
a very industrious and capable man in managing and discussing affairs
connected with the horse. Some years later, Mr. Wilkes dropped his
own name from the title of his paper, and not long afterward he added
twenty-five or thirty years to its age by changing the numbers so as to
cover the period of the original _Spirit of the Times_ founded by William
T. Porter. The old sporting publications, one and all, maintained the
view, so far as they ever had any view to maintain, that all that was
of any value in the American horse, for whatever purpose, had come down
to us from the Arabian through the English race horse. Their value,
therefore, consists wholly in the naked statistics which they contain.

The first attempt made in this country, in the direction of publishing
a stud book of American race horses, was the product of Patrick Nesbitt
Edgar, an eccentric and apparently not well-balanced Irishman, who was
a resident of North Carolina. This book, which purported to be a “first”
volume, was very remarkable in many respects, two or three of which I
will enumerate. The prevailing absence of dates and all means by which
the truth or falsity of a pedigree could be determined; the astounding
number of crosses given, even to the _immediate_ descendants of imported
sires; the multitude of animals never heard of before nor since, with
pedigrees extended a dozen crosses; the absence of many animals that
everybody had heard of. This book had been in print about thirty years
before I ever saw it, and the first impression it made on my mind was
that the author was “clean daft.” At the same time, through all his work
there was a “method in his madness,” going to show the care he had taken
to exclude or suppress any little fact that might lead to detection and
exposure. As an illustration of his methods I will take the following
pedigree, at random, as given by him and copied, literally, by Mr. Bruce,
following the particular form of the latter:

    CENTAUR, b. h. foaled 1767, bred by ——; owned in Virginia, got
    by imported Stirling (Evans’) (foaled 1762).

    1st dam by imp. Aristotle (imported 1764).

    2d dam by imp. Dotterel.

    3d dam by imp. David (imported 1763).

    4th dam by imp. Ranter (imported 1762).

    5th dam by imp. Othello (imported 1755).

    6th dam by imp. Childers (imported 1761).

    7th dam an imported, thoroughbred mare.

Now, what do we know about this pedigree that has been indorsed and
published, just as here stated, by two stud-book makers? They do not
pretend to know by whom he was bred, nor do they know in what part of
Virginia he was owned, but they assume to know perfectly well each cross
in his pedigree and that his seventh dam was an imported, thoroughbred
mare. The dates of importations in parentheses in the foregoing have
been placed there by myself for the sake of the exhibit. The horse
Dotterel, the original of that name and by the same reputed sire, never
left England, and it is probable this Dotterel is mythical. Now, let us
analyze this pedigree by the aid of the searchlight of dates. Ranter,
imported 1762, might have had a filly to his credit in 1763. This filly
at two years old might have been bred to David and produced a filly in
1766. This filly at two years old might have been bred to Dotterel and
produced a filly in 1769. This filly at two years old might have been
bred to Aristotle and produced a filly in 1772. This filly, at two years
old, might have bred to Evans’ Stirling (or Starling), and produced the
colt Centaur in 1775—_but he was foaled in 1767_. Not once in a million
times would this succession of possibilities occur, but if they did occur
in this case the pedigree of Centaur still remains absolutely impossible,
for four generations of horses cannot be crowded into five years. This
exhibit fairly illustrates the character of Mr. Edgar’s work, and being
right on the border line between the “native” race horse and the modern
“thoroughbred” we see just how they compressed the breeding of eight
generations into the space of fifteen or sixteen years. If we were to
compare the English with the American methods of manufacturing pedigrees,
it would be hard to determine which was the more shamefully dishonest.
Mr. Edgar was fiercely dissatisfied with the indifference of horsemen to
his enterprise, and with the lack of support which they rendered him. He
went forward with his second volume and professed to have completed it,
but announced that it should never be put in type until the horsemen of
the country should assist and support him. In the event of their failing
to do so he threatened to sink his manuscript twenty feet deep in the
center of the Dismal Swamp, where no mortal would ever find it. The
second volume never appeared, and it is to be hoped he carried out his

For the second attempt at compiling a stud book of American Race Horses
I must, myself, plead guilty. Some time in the “fifties” I came into
possession of a number of volumes of the “old” _Spirit of the Times_,
Skinner’s American Turf Register, three or four volumes of the “English
Stud Book” and a large number of volumes of the _English Sporting
Magazine_. As I was then dabbling slightly around the edges of “horse
literature,” I found this little nucleus of a library very convenient,
but very unsatisfactory in answering questions that came to me, and
which an official position seemed to require that I should be able to
answer. When asked for the pedigrees of other domestic animals I could
take down the Herd Books of the different leading breeds and give precise
information, but when asked about the pedigree of a horse, unless he was
greatly distinguished as a racer, days of solid labor might be expended
on the one question and then not discover the information sought. It
was, perhaps, ten years after this time before I ever saw or heard of
the misbegotten and foolish compilation of pedigrees made by Edgar. For
some years this labor of compilation was prosecuted at odd hours, for
my own personal use and satisfaction, and without the remotest purpose
of ever publishing a stud book. As I plodded my way along, finding what
I supposed to be a fact here and another there, and often conflicting,
I found myself invariably accepting what was longest as a pedigree,
as this feature seemed to be evidence not only of completeness, but
of truthfulness at the same time. As my gleanings grew in volume my
interest in what I was doing became more absorbing and intense, and when
I had completed the search of every page and paragraph of my published
sources of information, up to the close of the year 1839, I found I had
enough matter for a large volume. About this time I came into possession
of a copy of “Edgar’s Stud Book”—and I was greatly perplexed to know
what to do with it. The copyright was dead and it contained a good many
unimportant and utterly unknown things that I had not met with in all my
gleanings. Under these circumstances and considering the fact that it
abounded in the crudest uncertainties, to call them by no harsher name,
I concluded to use his work in all cases where I did not have a pedigree
from other sources, to cut off all imaginary extensions and to insert his
name, in every case, as the source of information and responsibility. The
work then went to press and the first volume of “Wallace’s American Stud
Book” made its appearance in 1871. The time and labor expended on the
first volume made me quite familiar with the leading performers of the
several generations embraced therein, and the work on the second volume
went forward with more ease and rapidity, and in 1871 I had completed the
gleaning of all publications relating to the race horse, up to the close
of 1870.

This second volume, being about the size of the first, was completed and
put in due form for the compositor, but never was published. The reason
why it was never published may not be without interest to the student
of horse genealogy, and I will, in a few words, state that reason.
Side by side with the progress of the second volume of the runners,
I was carrying forward a careful investigation of the lineage of the
early trotters and their progenitors. As there were no trotting records
giving pedigrees, I was compelled to go back to the breeders as the only
source of reliable information. When I obtained this from intelligent
and reputable people I accepted the information and stood by it as the
truth; and when I came to compare it with the representations of pedigree
made in advertisements of some stallion scion of the family, the truth
began to dawn upon me that advertisements, whether in newspapers or on
crossroads blacksmith-shop doors, with scarcely an exception, were made
up of statements that were utterly false and fictitious. They were made
up for the single purpose of securing patronage, and generally traced
in different directions to famous and well-known horses. The fictitious
extensions of stallion advertisements have served as the basis for the
fictitious extensions of families and tribes. When I came to compare
the extensions of trotting pedigrees with running pedigrees, I could
not discover that the one was any more or less reliable than the other.
They rested on precisely the same basis of stallion pedigrees, and no
difference whether they appeared in Mr. Skinner’s _Turf Register_ or in
a big poster, there was no censorship, and they were both in type—and
whatever was in type was generally supposed to be worthy of belief. In
one respect the pedigrees of running horses are more reliable than the
early advertisements of trotting horses, particularly with those that
raced, for they were required to give the sire and dam when they were
entered in races, and a failure to comply with this rule was penalized.
The sires, therefore, are generally right, but unfortunately the rule did
not require the dam to be named and definitely specified, hence any one
of a dozen unnamed mares by a given horse could be represented in after
years as the dam of that particular horse. Here commenced the trouble
in the unnamed and untraced mares that never have been nor ever can be
identified. On a careful and sorrowful review of my work of many years I
found that I had been working on a wrong basis from the start. Instead of
discovering and arranging a great many valuable truths, as I supposed,
I had devoted years to perpetuating thousands and thousands of fictions
in these unknown, unnamed, and unidentified dams. This is the reason the
second volume of “Wallace’s American Stud Book” never was published.
The only benefit I ever derived from the work was in its educational
aspects. The work made me familiar with the early running-horse history
of this country and of England, and taught me what so many horsemen
should learn—that a truth is always better than a lie. The more carefully
and thoroughly I went into the origin, lineage and history of what we
may call the modern race horse, the more evident it became to my mind
that the great mass of the running horses of our own generation are
carrying, in their pedigrees, the frauds and fictions of the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, to say nothing of the innumerable deceptions
and tricks of our own century. To accept and propagate these untruths is
simply to, in a manner, indorse them, and an attempt to eliminate them
would invoke the clamors of a continent. Hence, more than twenty years
ago, I washed my hands of all responsibility for the pedigrees of English
race horses, and turned my attention to establishing the lineage of the
American trotter, on sure foundations, and building him up into a breed.

The third attempt at compiling the pedigrees of running-bred horses was
made by Mr. Sanders D. Bruce, of New York, and as it followed Edgar and
Wallace, it was made up chiefly of what he found in these works. The
conscienceless fictions of Edgar were accepted without hesitation or
remorse, and the central aim seemed to be to make every pedigree as long
as possible, whether true or false. No fictitious stallion advertisement
was ever too absurd to serve as a basis for the pedigrees of all his
kindred. Mr. Bruce accepted everything and rejected nothing, and it is
not probable he ever investigated a pedigree in his life. His rule of
action seems to have been to please his customers, and to scrupulously
avoid all public discussions of pedigrees. This was the politic course to
pursue, for any attempt to defend the monstrosities it contained would
have wiped it out of existence very quickly. Bruce’s Stud Book seems to
have been supported by a few individuals, from the beginning, as a kind
of eleemosynary institution, and it is not likely it will ever rise above
that condition.

The substantial correctness of the generations extending back for a
period of sixty or eighty years, and in some cases even a little further,
is a very valuable contribution to our store of knowledge in this
department of industry, but, unfortunately, the generations beyond those
that may be classed as recent very largely rest upon foundations that are
fictitious and fraudulent.

These fictions and frauds are so general and common in the remote
extensions on the female side of the pedigree that when we find a
string of ten or perhaps twenty dams and not one of them named, known
or identified until we strike the twenty-first, and she described as
“thoroughbred, imported mare,” we know that this is the work of the
professional “pedigree maker,” and not more than once in a hundred times
will we be mistaken. This is alike true of both English and American
pedigrees of race horses. The modern crosses are comparatively honest,
but the remote extensions, through the maternal lines, in both countries
are chiefly the products of a venal imagination.

There are some foundation truths in the history and development of the
English and American race horse—for they are both one in blood—to which
I must briefly advert before dismissing this topic. In announcing the
conclusions which I have reached, I am fully conscious that I will come
in contact with preconceived opinions that have been very prevalent, if
not universal, for at least two centuries.

1. There were race horses in England that had been racing and breeding
for centuries before the first Saracenic horse was brought there, and
it was not an uncommon thing for the native to beat the exotic, when he
first arrived. There had been racing in America, by what we will call the
native stock—but they were all English and Dutch—for about one hundred
years before the first English race horse reached this country.

2. These horses had been selected with care and bred for centuries with
more or less intelligence, with the single purpose of increasing their
speed. During those centuries there were not so many writers on biology,
heredity, etc., as we have now, but the old aphorism, “Like begets
like”—a complete epitome of all science on this subject—was just as well
known and as universally believed a thousand years ago as it is to-day.
We may, therefore, safely conclude that at the close of the sixteenth
century there were many native English horses, descended from lines and
tribes that had been selected, raced and bred for generations, that were
fully the equals of the best of the exotics, that were brought in about
that time.

3. The native stock of England at the close of the sixteenth century, was
the stock from which the American colonies received their first supplies,
except the few brought from Utrecht, in Holland, to the Dutch Colonists
in New York. When brought across the Atlantic, especially in Virginia, no
time was lost in continuing their development as race horses, which was
carried forward for nearly one hundred years before the first English
race horse was imported for their improvement. Their regular racing was
at all distances, up to four miles.

4. On this basis of the native English blood, common to both countries,
the breed of English and American race horses was built up. The foreign
elements brought into England were chiefly from the Barbary States and
from Turkey. This exotic blood certainly had a very marked effect upon
the horse stock of Britain, but it cannot be said, with certainty, that
it increased the speed of the race horse. All the experiences of the past
hundred years with these foreign strains have gone to show that instead
of increasing the speed they have retarded it.

5. The list of the foundation stock of the English race horse as given
by Mr. Weatherby, in the first volume of the English Stud Book, and
reproduced in the preceding chapter, is worthy of very careful study,
especially by those who seem to think that the English race horse is
descended, without admixture, from the Arabian horse. The striking
feature of that list is the overwhelming preponderance of other blood
than the Arabian, even if we accept all that is called Arabian as
genuine. Mr. Darley’s horse, called an Arabian, and Lord Godolphin’s
horse, called an Arabian, count for more than all the others put
together, in the make-up of the English race horse. Mr. Darley’s horse
came from a region remote from Arabia and where a thousand good horses
are bred for one in Arabia, and should be called a Turk. Lord Godolphin’s
horse—“the great unknown”—will ever remain unknown. He seems to have been
traced to France, and, after studying his portraiture, it is probable he
was a French horse.

6. Taking this list of foundation stock and viewing it from the
standpoint of the greatest lenity and liberality that a sound and careful
judgment can accord, we find that the inheritance of Arabian blood in the
veins of the English race horse, if there was any such inheritance at
all, was strictly infinitesimal. This historical fact in the foundation
of the race horse, showing the inutility of Arabian blood, whether
genuine or spurious, has been fully confirmed in great multitudes of
trials, in both nations, during the past hundred years. In no case has it
been a benefit, but always a detriment.

7. The race horse has been bred through centuries for the single purpose
of speed. Through all his generations he has been the product of the
brains, judgment and skill of his successive masters. Parents were
selected that could go out and win the prizes from their fellows. The
next generation was not only the product of running parents, but parents
that were from running families. Thus grew up the pedigree of the
race horse under the direction of thought and judgment. Pedigrees are
practical things and full of winners, and in no sense made more valuable
by having some supposed “Arabian” cross away back ten generations, that
never ran in his life.



    Hardships of the colonists—First importations of horses—Racing
    prevalent in the seventeenth century—Exportation and then
    importations prohibited—Organized horse racing commenced 1677
    and became very general—In 1704 there were many wild horses
    in Virginia and they were hunted as game—The Chincoteague
    ponies accounted for—Jones on life in Virginia, 1720—Fast
    early pacers, Galloways and Irish Hobbies—English race horses
    imported—Moreton’s Traveler probably the first—Quarter racing
    prevailed on the Carolina border—Average size and habits of
    action clearly established—The native pacer thrown in the shade
    by the imported runner—An Englishman’s prejudices.

The colony of Virginia, settled at Jamestown, May 13, 1607, was subjected
to a succession of dissensions, privations and disasters extending
through a number of years. The elements of which this first plantation
was composed were heterogeneous, and many of them wholly unsuited to
battle with the hardships and privations of the wilderness. A very large
proportion of the adventurers were mere idlers at home, descended from
good but impecunious families, and had never done an honest day’s work in
their lives. Too proud to labor even if they had known how, hunger and
rags soon made them the most unhappy and discontented of mortals. The
governmental affairs of the colony fell into confusion, like the people
forming it, and we have no official record of what was done for a number
of years. All that is known today of what transpired in the early years
of the colony has been gleaned from the personal correspondence of actors
in the many strifes that came so near destroying them all. These letters
are, generally, so strongly imbued with partisan feeling that there seems
to be no room left to tell us anything about the industrial growth of the
colony, either in planting or breeding. The excerpts, therefore, relating
to the early horses of Virginia which I have been able to gather from a
great many sources, will fall far short of being complete, but I think
they will serve as a basis upon which to form an intelligent estimate of
the Virginia horses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and as
to the nineteenth, the newspapers will furnish everything what is needed.

It is evident that the fleet of three vessels which took out to Virginia
the first adventurers took also some horses and mares with them; for
the governor and council, who went out the next year, in reporting the
condition of the colonists to the home company, under date of July 7,
1610, use this language:

    “Our people, together with the Indians, had, the last winter,
    destroyed and killed up all our hogs, inasmuch as of five or
    six hundred, as it is supposed, there was not above one sow
    that we can hear of left alive, not a hen or a chick in the
    fort, and our horses and mares they had eaten with the first.”

From a letter written by M. Gabriel Archer, who arrived in Virginia
August 31, 1609, we gather the following facts:

    “From Woolwich, the fifteenth day of May, 1609, seven sail
    weighed anchor and came to Plymouth the twentieth day, where
    George Somers, with two small vessels, consorted with us. There
    we took into The Blessing, being the ship wherein I went, six
    mares and two horses, and the fleet layed in some necessaries
    belonging to the action; in which business we spent time till
    the 2d of June, and then set sail to sea, but crossed by South
    West winds, we put into Falmouth, and there stayed until the
    8th of June, then gate out.”

Now, as The Blessing was probably about the average size of the rest of
the fleet, I think it is reasonable to conclude that each of the other
vessels took some horses also. In a report of a voyage to Virginia, dated
November 13, 1611, we find the following statement: “They have brought to
this colony one hundred cows, two hundred pigs, one hundred goats, and
seventeen horses and mares.” In 1614 the Virginians made a raid on Port
Royal, in what was then called New France, and carried off to Virginia,
among other captures, a number of horses, mares and colts. A second raid
in the same quarter seems to have resulted in carrying off wheat, horses,
clothing, working tools, etc.

Mr. Harmor, writing in 1614, in his “True Discourse on the Present State
of Virginia,” says: “The colony is already furnished with two hundred
neat cattle, infinite hogs in herds all over the woods, some mares,
horses and colts, poultry, great store, etc.”

In 1894, in the Public Records Office in London, I found that the
Virginia Company had sent out four mares, February, 1619, on The Falcon.
And further, I found a kind of summary of what the company had done in
the past toward populating and supplying the colonists with live stock.
It is stated that they had sent twelve ships, taking out one thousand
two hundred and sixty-one persons, making the total number in Virginia
at that date about two thousand four hundred. The exportations include
five hundred cattle, with some horses and goats, and an infinite number
of swine. In 1620 the company ordered twenty mares to be sent over, at
a cost, delivered, of fifteen pounds each. From the price of horses in
England at that day, I would infer that somebody was making money out of
the colonists.

In a little work published in London, 1646, entitled “A Perfect
Description of Virginia,” the author says that “There are in Virginia,
of an excellent raise (race), about two hundred horses and mares.” It
is evident that this statement is a mere estimate, and I am disposed to
think it a very wild estimate from what follows in a very few years. It
is true that horses do not propagate and increase as fast as any other
variety of domestic animals, but under the circumstances every effort
would be made to increase the stock, and from what follows, I think my
criticism will be sustained.

In the legislation of the colony we find no mention of horses, till the
year 1657, when the exportation of mares was prohibited. Eleven years
after this (1668) this restriction was removed and the exportation
of both mares and horses permitted. The very next year, 1669, the
importation of more horses was prohibited by legislative enactment. From
this it would seem that there were already too many horses in the colony,
or possibly some horse breeder had begun to realize that there were
better horses in some of the other colonies that were finding a market in
Virginia, and they thus sought “protection” for their own stock.

This prohibition could not have been aimed at the mother country,
for the prices obtained would not justify the cost and risk of a sea
voyage. We must, therefore, conclude that it was intended to shut out
the New England colonies, which were already shipping horses to all
the settlements on the seaboard, as well as to some of the West India
Islands. In this we see at what an early date commenced the interchange
of commodities among the colonies. As early as 1647 the Dutch authorities
at New Amsterdam authorized Isaac Allerton to sell twenty or twenty-five
horses to Virginia.

The court records of Henrico County, Virginia, for the year 1677 contain
three distinct trials growing out of horse races for that year. In one
case the contest was for three hundred pounds of tobacco; in another
the winner was to take both horses; in the third the amount at issue
does not appear. From the readiness at sharp practice and from the
cunning dodges to get clear of paying a bet it is very evident that the
principals and the witnesses were well up in all the tricks of racing
as it was practiced at that early day. How long before 1677 racing was
practiced in Virginia I have no means of determining, but the next year
and the next, continuing to the end of that century, the records of the
court speak for themselves. In these trials I find the names of Thomas
Jefferson, Jr., grandfather of President Jefferson, and also the name of
Benjamin Harrison, the ancestor of two presidents, although they were not
principals in any of the cases.

In Beverley’s History of Virginia, published in London, 1705, at section
ninety-four, we have the following:

    “There is yet another kind of sport, which the young people
    take great delight in, and that is the hunting of wild horses;
    which they pursue, sometimes with dogs and sometimes without.
    You must know they have many horses foaled in the woods of the
    uplands, that never were in hand and are as shy as any savage
    creature. These having no mark upon them belong to him that
    first takes him. However, the captor commonly purchases these
    horses very dear, by spoiling better in the pursuit, in which
    case he has little to make himself amends, besides the pleasure
    of the chase. And very often this is all he has for it, for the
    wild horses are so swift that ’tis difficult to catch them; and
    when they are taken ’tis odds but their grease is melted, or
    else being old they are so sullen that they can’t be tamed.”

In the number of _Wallace’s Monthly_ for September, 1877, p. 684, will
be found a very interesting article from the pen of the late Dr. Elwood
Harvey, on “The Chincoteague Ponies,” that have from time immemorial
occupied, in a wild state, the islands of Chincoteague and Assoteague off
the eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland. The traditions relating to
their origin are very hazy and improbable, and the most reasonable one,
because it is within the range of possibilities, is that a Spanish ship
was wrecked off this part of the coast and the original ponies were on
board and swam ashore. It is well established that they have occupied
the islands for more than a hundred years. They are about thirteen hands
high, uniform in shape and resemble each other except in color, for all
colors prevail. Some of them pace a little, and they have rather light
manes and tails, and no superabundance of hair on the fetlocks. Now, the
horses of Virginia, at the period of which Mr. Beverley writes, and
of which I will have something further to say as we progress, were but
little if any larger than these semi-wild inhabitants of the islands;
they were of all colors and many of them paced. As it is well known that
the action of the ocean, so unaccountable to all human ken, one year
builds up a dike connecting islands with the mainland, and the next year,
perhaps, washes it out again, we can thus easily understand how a herd of
these semi-wild animals may have been caught and kept there. In this way,
it seems to me, the origin of the Chincoteague ponies may be easily and
rationally accounted for, without any shadow of violence to the clearest
reasoning. Mr. Hugh Jones, who, in many directions, seems to have been
a closer observer of the life of the colonists than any of the other
tourists whose writings we have examined, wrote a little work entitled
“The Present State of Virginia,” which was published in London, 1724,
expressing himself as follows, on page 48:

    “The common planters, leading easy lives, don’t much admire
    labor or any manly exercise except horse-racing, nor diversion
    except cock-fighting, in which some greatly delight. This
    easy way of living, and the heat of the summers, make some
    very lazy, who are then said to be climate struck. The saddle
    horses, although not very large, are hardy, strong, and fleet;
    and will pace naturally and pleasantly at a prodigious rate.
    They are such lovers of riding that almost every ordinary
    person keeps a horse, and I have known some spend the morning
    in ranging several miles in the woods to find and catch their
    horses only to ride two or three miles to church, to the
    courthouse or to a horse race, where they generally appoint to
    meet on business, and are more certain of finding those they
    want to speak or deal with than at their home.”

Mr. Jones here places us in close contact with the character and
habits of the people of that day, as well as with the character and
qualifications of their horses. It is not to be inferred, I think, that
all their horses were pacers, but that all their saddle horses were
pacers there can be little doubt. This is the first intimation we have
from Virginia that some of their pacers were very fast, and when Mr.
Jones says “they could pace naturally and pleasantly at a prodigious
rate,” he means that the speed was marvelous, wonderful, astonishing.
This “prodigious rate,” in a good measure, balances Dr. McSparran’s
account of the Narragansett, which he had seen go a mile “in a little
over two minutes and a good deal less than three,” and gives strength
to the statement of Mr. Lewis, that when a boy he had ridden in pacing
matches and return matches between the Rhode Islanders and the Virginians.

In the _Virginia Gazette_, under date of January 11, 1739, we find the
following advertisement, to which we invite special attention, as it
brings out some facts which, inferentially, throw a great deal of light
upon horse racing, up to that period:

    “This is to give notice that there will be run for at Mr.
    Joseph Seawall’s, in Gloucester County, on the first Tuesday in
    April next, a Purse of Thirty Pistoles, by any horse, mare or
    gelding; all sized horses to carry 140 lbs. and Galloways to
    be allowed weight for inches, to pay one Pistole entrance, if
    a subscriber, and two if not, and the entrance money to go to
    the second horse, etc. And on the day following, on the same
    course, there will be a Saddle, Bridle and Housing, of five
    pounds value, to be run for by any horse, mare or gelding that
    never won a prize of that value, four miles, before. Each horse
    to pay five shillings entrance and that to go to the horse that
    comes in second. And on the day following there is to be run
    for, by horses not exceeding thirteen hands, a hunting saddle,
    bridle and whip. Each horse to pay two shillings and sixpence
    at entrance, to be given to the horse that comes in second.
    Happy is he that can get the highest rider.”

The first point suggested by this advertisement is that there were no
distinctions made except by size, and that, at this date, 1739, there
were no English race horses then in Virginia. The second point is that
there was such a thing as “horse size” but what size this was I have
not been able to discover. The third point is that Galloways were
allowed weight for inches. They were evidently below “horse size.” But
they were expected to enter for the big purse of the meeting, and they
must, therefore, have ranked as good race horses; but what did they
mean by “Galloway?” This is the only instance in which I have met the
term in Virginian history, although it is well known in general horse
lore. “Galloway” is an old name of a territorial division of Scotland,
embracing Wigtonshire, part of Ayrshire, etc., in the southwestern
part of that country, and was at one time famous for the excellence of
its pacers, and it is probable they were to be found there after the
influx of eastern blood had driven the pacer from all other portions of
Great Britain. The Irish Hobbie, always undersized, was a famous race
horse, as well as a pacer, many generations before the period now under
consideration. The name “Galloway” is only known in history and is not
to be found on any modern map. I have learned by many experiences that
the name is very generally believed to be Irish and is confounded with
“Galway,” an Irish county. It is known that an Irish gentleman shipped
many cattle to the colony, and it is quite possible that he shipped
horses also, and if this reasoning be right, these “Galloways” may have
been Irish “Hobbies.” It will be observed, also, that the distance to be
run is not definitely stated, but it is fairly to be concluded that the
race of the second day was to be four miles, and none of them less than
one mile, and that in heats. Races of four-mile heats were very common
long before the first English race horse was imported.

We here have a stock of horses that the people of Virginia have bred and
ridden and raced for a hundred years, and we know comparatively nothing
about them. They seem to have been specially adapted to the saddle, but
they could run four miles, or they could run a quarter of a mile, like an
arrow from a bow. They were not a breed, although selecting and crossing
and interbreeding for a hundred years would make them quite homogeneous.
There is a romantic interest attaching to these little horses, for we
have reached the middle of the eighteenth century, and all the successive
idols of this race-loving people are about to be dethroned by their own
act, and their homage transferred to a stranger—a larger and finer animal
and faster over a distance of ground. Whatever of glory and honor, to say
nothing of money, that was to be achieved from this time forward was to
be ascribed to the newly arrived English race horse. But the truth should
not be concealed that this old stock furnished half the foundation, in
a vast majority of cases, for the triumphs of future generations of the
Virginia race horse, and the same may be said of the old English stock
upon which the eastern blood was engrafted. About the middle of the
eighteenth century the line was drawn, and there was thereafter developed
the engrafting of the new upon the old. In 1751-52, Moreton’s imported
Traveller was there, and he was the only English race horse advertised
that year. There may have been two or three others, but they had not made
themselves known to the public, and I very much doubt whether there was
any other. A very few years later there were many others, and some of
them of great celebrity.

Mr. J. F. D. Smith made an extended tour of the colonies, especially
of Virginia, before the Revolutionary war, and he suffered some of the
inconveniences growing out of the rising hostility to the mother country.
In speaking of quarter racing, he says:

    “In the southern part of the colony and in North Carolina,
    they are much attached to Quarter Racing, which is always a
    match between two horses to run one quarter of a mile, straight
    out, being merely an exertion of speed; and they have a breed
    that perform it with astonishing velocity, beating every other
    for that distance with great ease, but they have no bottom.
    However, I am confident that there is not a horse in England,
    nor perhaps in the whole world, that can excel them in rapid
    speed; and these likewise make excellent saddle horses for the

It will be observed that Mr. Smith speaks of these heavily muscled
horses as a _breed_, which expression, I suppose, is intended to be used
in a restricted sense. In the many generations of horses that would
necessarily succeed each other in a century, in the hands of a people
so devotedly fond of racing, it is merely an exercise of common sense,
among barbarous as well as civilized people all over the world, to “breed
to the winner.” In this way, and without any infusion of outside blood,
there would be improvement in the strength and fleetness of all animals
bred for the quarter path. He remarks further that “these likewise make
excellent saddle horses for the road.” In that day nothing was accepted
as a “saddle horse” that could not take the pacing gait and its various
modifications. This was true of Virginians of that day, and it is still
true of their descendants who have built up new States further west.

In the early days, as already intimated, it was the habit of Virginians
to brand their horses and then turn out all not in daily use to “hustle”
for their own living. As a matter of course these animals would often
stray long distances away, and not a few never were found. In due time,
legislation provided for the recovery of estrays, embracing all kinds
of domestic animals as well as negro slaves. Fortunately this enables
me to reach what may be considered “original data,” in determining the
size and habits of action of the early Virginian horses. As the field
of my examination, I have taken the _Virginia Gazette_, for the years
1751 and 1752, published at Williamsburgh, and in these volumes I find
a great many advertisements of “Strayed or Stolen” animals scattered
through the pages; and in the second especially a great many “Taken Up”
advertisements appear. In a very large proportion of these notices,
perhaps a majority of them, all the description that is given is the
color, sex and brand, with occasionally some natural mark. As a matter
of course these are of no value for the object in view. In some cases
the size is given without the gait, and in others the gait is given
without the size, in a few both size and gait are given. The range of
size is from one of fifteen hands down to one of twelve hands, with more
of thirteen hands than any other size, either above or below. The true
average of the whole number is a little over thirteen hands and one inch,
and none of them are called ponies. As further evidence of the small size
of the colonial Virginia horses we find that in 1686 the legislature of
Virginia passed an act providing for the forfeiture of all stallions
under thirteen and a half hands high found running at large. It provided
that any person might take up such stallion and carry him before a
justice of the peace, and if he measured less than thirteen and a half
hands, the justice was required to certify to the measurement and the
facts, and the horse passed legally to his new owner.

As to the gaits I find just twice as many pacers as trotters.
Double-gaited animals, of which there were a few, I have here classed
with the pacers. That many of these little fellows were very stout and
tough is fully demonstrated by the fact that they could run heats of
four miles with a hundred and forty pounds on their backs. This closes
the first epoch in the history of the Virginia horse. The fleet and
compact little horse of thirteen to fourteen hands had had his day, and
he was now about to be overshadowed by a greater in speed and a greater
in stature. Much of the blood of the little fellow that could run four
miles and pace “at a prodigious rate,” was commingled with the blood of
the English race horse, but whatever its triumphs, the lately arrived
“foreigner” took the credit. A man would have been pronounced “clean
daft” if at that time he had dreamed that one hundred and forty years
later the blood of this little pacer would stand at the head of the great
trotting interest of the world. The tough little fellow has retained his
qualities through all the generations in which he has been neglected,
despised and forgotten, until he was taken up twenty odd years ago, and
now the names and achievements of the great pacers are as familiar to
the whole American people as ever were the name of the greatest running
horses. It is not known how long he continued to be a factor in the
racing affairs of Virginia, but probably not later than about 1760.

From about 1750 to 1770 seems to have been a period of great prosperity
in Virginia and, notwithstanding the general improvidence of the times,
many of the large landholders and planters were getting rich from their
fine crops of tobacco and their negroes. This prosperity manifested
itself strongly in the direction of the popular sport of horse racing
and improving the size, quality, and fleetness of the running horse.
England had then been selecting, importing Eastern blood, and “breeding
to the winner” for a hundred years, with more or less intelligence and
success, while the colonists had rested content with the descendants of
the first importations from the mother country. Doubtless progress had
been made here too, but it was as the progress of a poor man against
another with great wealth and backed by the encouragements of royalty.
The English horse could then run clear away from the Saracenic horse, his
so-called progenitor, and he was very much larger than that “progenitor.”
We can understand how the speed might be increased by its development in
a series of generations and by always breeding to the fastest, but the
increase of size can hardly be accounted for as the result of climatic
causes—but we are getting away from the thought before us. When the
Virginia planter found he had a handsome balance in London, subject
to his draft, he at once ordered his factor to send him over the best
racing stallion he could find. The action of one planter stirred up
half a dozen others who felt they could not afford to be behind in the
matter of improvement, but more especially that they could not afford
to be behind in the finish at the fall and spring race meetings of the
future. These importations went on continuously for about twelve years,
and until they were interrupted by the excited relations and feelings
between the colonies and the mother country and the preparations for the
War of the Revolution, which was then imminent. After the close of the
Revolution a perfect avalanche of race horses was poured upon us, some of
which were good, but a great majority of them were never heard of after
their arrival, on the race course or elsewhere. But up to the close of
the century they had not succeeded in exterminating the pacer—the saddle
horse of a hundred generations.

As a specimen of how absurdly a man can talk and even write on subjects
of which he knows nothing, I cannot refrain from giving the following
from what an Englishman had to say in 1796 about the horses and
horsemanship of Virginia:

    “The horses in common use in Virginia are all of a light
    description, chiefly adapted for the saddle; some of them are
    handsome, but are for the most part spoiled by the false gaits
    which they are taught. The Virginians are wretched horsemen,
    as indeed are all the Americans I have met with, excepting
    some few in the neighborhood of New York. They ride with their
    toes just under the horse’s nose, and their stirrup straps left
    extremely long, and the saddle being put three or four inches
    on the mane. As for the management of the reins, it is what
    they have no conception of. A trot is odious to them, and they
    express the utmost astonishment at a person who can like that
    uneasy gait, as they call it. The favorite gaits which all
    their horses are taught are a pace and a _wrack_. In the first
    the animal moves his two feet on one side at the same time
    and gets on with a sort of a shuffling motion, being unable
    to spring from the ground on these two feet, as in a trot. We
    should call this an unnatural gait, as none of our horses would
    ever move in that manner without a rider; but the Americans
    insist upon it that it is otherwise, because many of their
    colts pace as soon as born. These kind of horses are called
    “natural pacers” and it is a matter of the utmost difficulty to
    make them move in any other manner. But it is not one horse in
    five hundred that would pace without being taught.”

There can hardly be a doubt that our English friend in his “Travels
Through the States” noted and wrote down just what he thought he saw,
and when he saw anything that he never had seen in England, he was
ready to either deny its existence altogether or to insist that there
was some mistake about it. Poor man, he could not understand how there
could be anything outside of England that could not be found in England.
His vision, mental and physical, seems to have been restricted to the
shores of his own island home, and he was probably a descendant of a
very good man we once heard of. As you sail up the Firth of Clyde you
pass an island of three or four miles in extent, called Cumbrae. At
the head of ecclesiastical affairs in the island was a very pious man,
some generations back, and every Sunday morning he prayed that the Lord
would bless the “kingdom of Cumbrae and the adjacent islands of Great
Britain and Ireland.” The author of “Travels Through the States” was
evidently one of the very numerous descendants of this good man, as
they are scattered all over England, and as I am a strong believer in
the laws of heredity, I can hardly avoid this conclusion. Indeed, some
of the numerous tribe, tracing their genealogy through many generations
back to “The kingdom of Cumbrae,” have found their way across the water,
and at another place I will pay my respects to them. But to return to
our traveler: there can be no doubt about his never having seen a pacer
in England, for the last one had disappeared before his day, unless an
occasional one might have been found in the old province of Galloway, in
the southern part of Scotland. If he had known the history of the horses
of his own country he would have known that from the time of King John
down to that of James I., the pacer was the most popular and fashionable
horse in England, and that the nobility and gentry used no other kind
for the saddle. He was always of “a mean stature,” but he was compact,
hardy and strong, and could carry his burden a long journey in a day with
great ease and comfort to his rider. In the reign of Elizabeth, he was
kept separate from others, and bred as a breed on account of his easy,
gliding motion, which he transmitted to his progeny. At the time of the
plantation of the English colonies in this country the pacers were very
numerous, and as they were just the type of horse suited to wilderness
life, a very large proportion of those selected were pacers. The pacers
our traveler saw in Virginia were the lineal descendants of the original
English stock brought over by the adventurers, and the awkward riding
charged upon the Virginians, with some evident exaggerations, was wisely
and sensibly adapted to the action of the horses they were riding. The
criticism of the long stirrups is wholly unjust, as they are just the
right length for the “military” seat, and nobody in this country when
mounted on a _real saddle horse_ would ever think of taking any other.
The Englishman, when mounted on his “bonesetter,” is compelled to have
his stirrups short so that he can rise and fall with every revolution the
horse makes on the trot to save himself from being shaken to death. This
up and down, up and down, tilt-hammer seat, if it can be called “a seat”
at all, is one of the most ungraceful things, especially for a lady, that
can be conceived of in all the displays of good and bad equestrianism.
The English have been compelled to adopt it because they have no trained
saddle horses, and a lot of brainless imitators about our American cities
have followed them because “it is English, you know.” If the English had
pacers and horses trained to the “saddle gaits,” they never would have
anything else, and the tilt-hammer “seat” would disappear from Rotten Row
and everywhere else.



    Settlement of New Amsterdam—Horses from Curaçoa—Prices of
    Dutch and English horses—Van der Donck’s description and size
    of horses—Horses to be branded—Stallions under fourteen hands
    not to run at large—Esopus horse—Surrender to the English,
    1664—First organized racing—Dutch horses capable of improvement
    in speed—First advertised Subscription Plate—First restriction,
    contestants must “be bred in America”—Great racing and heavy
    betting—First importations of English running horses—Half-breds
    to the front—True foundation of American pedigrees—Half bushel
    of dollars on a side—Resolutions of the Continental Congress
    against racing—Withdrawal of Mr. James De Lancey—Pacing and
    trotting contests everywhere—Rip Van Dam’s horse and his cost.

For several years after Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the employ of
the Dutch, discovered the harbor of New York and the great river which
took his name, in the year 1609, there is uncertainty and doubt as to
the nature of the settlement. For a time it seems to have been merely a
trading post, occupied only by those in the employment of the company
that owned it, and without many of the elements requisite to make up
a permanent colony. At Fort Orange (Albany) and at Esopus (Kingston),
the conditions were the same as at New Amsterdam, as New York was then
named. The first party of immigrants that seemed to have the elements of
permanent colonization about it arrived in 1625, and consisted of six
families and several single men, making in all forty-five persons, with
furniture, utensils, etc., and one hundred and three head of cattle.
Doubtless some of these “cattle” were horses, and the general instead
of the specific term was used in enumerating them. Very little is known
of the early horse history of the New Netherlands, as the whole region
was then named; there can be no doubt, however, that they increased and
multiplied. Sometime, probably about 1643, a cargo or two of horses were
brought up from Curaçoa and Azuba, in the Dutch West Indies, but the
climatic change was too great for them, and they did not do well, being
specially subject to diseases from which the Dutch horses seemed to have
complete immunity. In 1647, Isaac Allerton, as agent, was authorized to
sell twenty or twenty-five of these horses to Virginia, and whether the
authorities were able thus to get clear of a bad investment does not
appear from the existing records. In a report to the home company, made
in 1650, I find the following prices were given at that time: A young
mare with second foal, one hundred and fifty florins; stallion, four or
five years old, one hundred and thirty florins; milch cow, one hundred
florins. The same report makes a comparison by giving the prices of
New England horses, as follows: A good mare one hundred to one hundred
and twenty florins; stallion, one hundred florins; milch cow, sixty to
seventy florins. Neither horses nor cows were then allowed to be shipped
out of the province without permission of the council.

Adrien Van der Donck wrote a description of New Netherlands which was
published 1656, in which he speaks of the horse stock as follows:

    “The horses are of the proper breed for husbandry, having been
    brought from Utrecht for that purpose; and this stock has not
    diminished in size or quality. There are also horses of the
    English breed which are lighter, not so good for agricultural
    use, but fit for the saddle. These do not cost as much as the
    Netherlands breed and are easily obtained.”

From a large number of facts collected for the years 1777 and 1778 the
horses then averaged about fourteen hands and one inch, and when compared
with earlier data it is evident they had increased in height. In the
gaits of those advertised, fifteen both paced and trotted, nine trotted
only, and seven paced only. As this was in the period of the Revolution,
and right in the center of hostilities, some allowance should be made for
horses from other colonies.

The people of this colony, like those of all the others, branded their
horses and turned them out to seek their own living in the summer season,
and this resulted in many losses, and oftentimes in much bad feeling.
The Dutch were not accustomed, in the “old country,” to building fences
around their crops high enough and strong enough to keep out all the
droves and herds of animals running at large. In the line of improvement
and increase of size in their horses, they provided that all stallions
running at large, of two years and nine months old, must be fourteen
hands high or be castrated. This law was in force in 1734, and no doubt
was effective. Among the many laws for the suppression of vice of
different kinds, I find one prohibiting horse racing on Sunday, and from
this we might infer that it was not forbidden on other days of the week.

In old newspapers, advertisements, etc., we sometimes come across “Esopus
Horses, Esopus Mares,” and, for years, I was not able to tell what this
term meant. The locality of Kingston was originally called Esopus, and in
that neighborhood there were several farmers who bred horses largely, at
an early day in the history of the colony, and the locality became famous
for the character and quality of the horses produced there. They were of
the best and purest Dutch blood, and for what we would call “all-purpose
horses” their fame was very wide in that day. Hence I infer that the term
“Esopus” was used to indicate what was considered the best type of Dutch
horses. There is danger of going astray in the meaning of the term “Dutch
horses,” as in later times it was applied to the great, massive draft
horses of Pennsylvania. They were better “for agricultural purposes,” as
Van der Donck puts it, than the Connecticut horses, because they were
larger and stronger, but they were sprightly and active and some of them
could run very well. They had a fine reputation in the adjoining colonies.

New Amsterdam, and consequently all the plantations in New Netherlands,
surrendered to Colonel Nicolls, commanding the British forces, August
27, 1664. Colonel Nicolls remained as governor of the colony three or
four years and until he was succeeded by Governor Lovelace. Among his
early official acts, Governor Nicolls laid out a race course on Hempstead
Plains, and named it Newmarket, after the famous course in England.
No engineering or grading was necessary, as nature had already made a
perfect course without stick or stone or other obstruction. The first
race was run 1665, and although it was a long distance from the city,
the presence of the governor gave the occasion prestige and there was a
great gathering of the gentry from town, and the farmers of Long Island.
These meetings were kept up annually by the appointment of succeeding
governors, and after a time they were held twice a year, spring and
fall. There are some very important facts about these races that are not
known and probably never will be known, namely, who were the nominators
and what breed of horses were entered in these contests. With these
two essential facts left out the value of the information is greatly
impaired. As it is known, however, that there were but two breeds or
types of horses that could have been engaged in these contests, it
becomes a matter of interest to reach a conclusion as to which were the
victors. Mr. John Austin Stevens has done some very excellent work on
this part of the horse history of New York, but I cannot agree with him
in his characterization of the Dutch horses as being Flemish. They did
not come from Flanders, but from Utrecht. They were not great unwieldy
brutes, such as we would associate with Flanders, but hardy, compact
animals that could make their way in the wilderness. Although larger,
it does not follow that they could not run as fast or even faster than
the New England ponies. All breeds of horses were very much smaller
two hundred years ago than they are now. These races were instituted,
evidently, for the improvement of the breed of horses in the colony, and
the great majority of these horses were the descendants of the original
stock brought from Utrecht. We must, therefore, conclude that they were
not slow, heavy, unwieldy animals with no action, as the language of Mr.
Stevens would seem to imply, but capable of improvement in the direction
of speed. No doubt there were very many New England horses in the colony,
“lighter and better adapted to the saddle,” but neither the interests nor
the pride of the old Dutch settlers would have permitted them to support
racing for a period of more than eighty years, unless the early Utrecht
blood was represented. Besides this, the weights carried, one hundred and
forty pounds, and the distance, generally two-mile heats, were conditions
that were strongly against the New Englanders, even if they were lighter
of foot. With these two breeds in the field, we may accept it as an
inevitable sequence that the superior qualities of the one would very
soon be engrafted on the other, and by this process of breeding, a better
type would be produced than either of the originals. This first step was
only a prelude to the next, and that again to the next, until the common,
plain lesson was thoroughly learned, that if a running horse was wanted
the way to get him was to breed to a running horse that had proved he
was a running horse. The improvement became very wide and general, and
occasionally an animal was produced with such phenomenal speed that he
was barred from stakes and purses. On this foundation, and this alone,
the running turf was built up and continued for about eighty years, with
occasional intervals, when the gamblers made it so nasty that no decent
people would go near it.

The first subscription plate race of which we have any trace is to be
found in the _New York Gazette_, of September 27, 1736, of which the
advertisement is given below. The course indicated is believed to have
been on the Church Farm, west of Broadway, and not far from where the
Astor House now stands. There is no account of what horses won, and all
we know is just what is in the advertisement.

    “On Wednesday, the 13th of October next, will be run for, on
    the course at New York, a plate of twenty pounds’ value, by any
    horse, mare or gelding, carrying ten stone (saddle and bridle
    included), the best of three heats, two miles each heat. Horses
    intended to run for the plate are to be entered the day before
    the race, with Francis Child, on Fresh Water Hill, paying a
    half pistole each, or at the post on the day of running, paying
    a pistole. And the next day being the 14th, will be run for,
    on the same course, by all or any of the horses that started
    for the twenty-pound plate (the winning horse excepted) the
    entrance money, on the conditions above. Proper judges will be
    named to determine any disputes that may arise. All persons on
    horseback or in chairs, coming into the field (the subscribers
    and winning horse only excepted) are to pay sixpence each to
    the owner of the grounds.”

Passing on to 1747 we find a duplication of the foregoing for the plate
race of that year, with some variations. Entries are restricted to
animals that never won a plate before “on this island,” and a horse
named Parrot is not permitted to compete. This race was advertised
to take place on the Church Farm. The next that I will notice is the
advertisement of this same stake for 1751, when the weight was reduced to
eight stone, and in addition to the usual exclusion of previous winners,
we have for the first time a restriction of the entries to animals “_bred
in America_.” At the May meeting at Hempstead Plains, the year following,
1752, the entries are again restricted to animals “bred in America.”
From this, then, we are able to fix the precise period when English Race
Horses were first brought to this colony. At this time there were two or
three other courses on Manhattan Island, besides several noted speeding
grounds on the roads and elsewhere, for the trotters and the pacers, of
which no advertisements appear, and consequently no notice was taken by
the newspaper press.

From about 1760 up to the time when the Revolutionary struggle began
to engross and absorb all thought and all action, racing received a
tremendous impetus, not only in this colony but in others. Ten or twelve
years before this a very few rich men in Maryland, Virginia and South
Carolina commenced importing English running-bred horses with great
success, and Mr. James De Lancey and other rich men of this colony were
only a year or two behind them. This fancy grew and spread until a
great many breeders and planters of the richer class had imported stock
of their own, while their less wealthy neighbors were well supplied
with half-breds. These half-breds were, for a short time, classed by
themselves and purses were offered and run for, restricted to this class.
After experimenting with animals bred in this way it was found that not
a few of them were able to hold their own in any company. Mr. Morris’
mare Strumpet was only half-bred, but she was able to beat many of the
imported animals, as well as the full-breds that started against her.
From this it would appear that breeding for speed for a hundred years had
produced results in this country as well as in England. These experiments
led many owners of old-fashioned stock to try it, and right there is
where thousands and thousands of our best old American pedigrees end.
The decade from 1750 to 1760 witnessed a complete transformation from
the old methods to the new, from the old blood to the new, and more than
all from the old managers to the new. During the next decade, from 1760
to 1770, the new blood came out in great strength, and the saturnalia of
horse racing grew more and more furious. Purses of a hundred dollars, as
in the olden time, sprang up to ten times that sum, and matches were made
for sums that were fabulous in that day. One match, between Mr. Delaney
of Maryland and Mr. De Lancey of New York, specified the consideration on
each side as a half bushel of silver Mexican dollars, and the Marylander
had the satisfaction of carrying home a bushel of silver dollars. The
great struggle, in New York, for supremacy on the turf was between the De
Lancey family and the Morris family. These two families had been bitter
political rivals for years, and when they met on the turf it was for
“blood.” The De Lanceys were Tories and the Morrises were Whigs, and this
intensified the feeling that had so long existed between them. When the
Continental Congress adopted that remarkable resolution, advising the
people to abstain from horse racing, cock fighting, gambling and some
other more slight offenses, on the grounds of “economy,” in view of the
approaching conflict with the mother country, the effect was thrilling
and electrical. Every man who loved his home and his country obeyed it.
True, as I have said, it was drawn in the form of advice and in the
interests of “economy,” but there was but one great evil, one great
prodigality at which it was aimed, and that was the gambling connected
with horse racing. It was well aimed and struck the bull’s eye. It came
in the midst of preparations for the greatest race meetings ever then
projected, but everything was dropped and there it lay through all the
years of the bloody struggle and until peace again smiled upon a land
of free men. Before avowed hostilities commenced, Mr. James De Lancey,
one of the first and largest importers and breeders of his day, sold out
every animal of the horse kind that he possessed and retired to England.
Thus, as the colonial period drew to its close, the brave little colonial
horse that had weathered the storms of a hundred winters and carried his
master in safety and comfort through all that time, is superseded by
another race, and no one has ever attempted to write even so much as his

As the contests of speed considered, up to this point, have all been
at the running gait, I must not close my review of this colony without
giving some attention to the pacers and the trotters. At these gaits
all sources of information are almost hopelessly barren of facts and
incidents. We know that the running horses of the colonial period were
the saddle horses of the country, and we know that the best and most
fashionable saddle horses were pacers. When we connect these two facts
and place them alongside of the pacing and trotting experiences of
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we have no difficulty in reaching the safe
conclusion that the same conditions would produce the same results as
in those two States. Pacing and trotting contests were just as frequent
and as exciting in this colony as in any other, but they were sustained
chiefly by road-house keepers and butchers, and were never advertised.
Matches were made one hour and decided on the road in the next. In the
“Annals of New York,” compiled and published in 1832, by John F. Watson,
we find the following curious, but very valuable, scrap of horse history:

    “Some twenty or thirty years before the Revolution, the steeds
    most prized for the saddle were pacers, since so odious deemed.
    To this end the breed was propagated with much care. The
    Narragansett pacers of Rhode Island were in such repute that
    they were sent for, at much trouble and expense, by some few
    who were choice in their selections. It may amuse the present
    generation to peruse the history of one such horse, spoken of
    in the letter of Rip Van Dam of New York, in the year of 1711,
    which I have seen. He states the fact of the trouble he had
    taken to procure him such a horse. He was shipped from Rhode
    Island in a sloop, from which he jumped overboard when under
    sail, and swam ashore to his former home. Having been brought
    back he arrived in New York, in thirteen days’ passage, much
    reduced in flesh and spirit. He cost thirty-two pounds and his
    freight fifty shillings. This writer, Rip Van Dam, was a great
    personage, he having been president of the Council in 1731, and
    on the death of Governor Montgomery that year, he was governor,
    ex-officio, of New York. His mural monument is now to be seen
    in St. Paul’s Church.”

As New England saddle horses were only worth forty dollars in 1650, and
this horse cost more than four times as much, when horses were more
plentiful, we must conclude that he was a fine specimen of the breed, and
was, probably, bought for stock purposes. The date of this transaction is
a significant fact that should not be forgotten, as 1711 is the same year
in which the first of the two great founders of the English race horse,
Darley Arabian, was brought to England.



    First importations to Boston and to Salem—Importations
    from Holland brought high prices—They were not pacers and
    not over fourteen hands—In 1640 horses were exported to
    the West Indies—First American newspaper and first horse
    advertisement—Average sizes—The different gaits—CONNECTICUT,
    first plantation, 1636—Post horses provided for by law—All
    horses branded—Sizes and Gaits—An Englishman’s experience
    with pacers—Lindsay’s Arabian—RHODE ISLAND, Founded by Roger
    Williams, 1636—No direct importations ever made—Horses largely
    exported to other colonies 1690—Possibly some to Canada—Pacing
    races a common amusement—Prohibited 1749—Size of the
    Narragansetts compared with the Virginians.

In 1629 the London founders of the plantation of Massachusetts Bay sent
out six vessels laden with emigrants, horses, cattle, goats, etc. These
vessels brought some twenty-five head of mares and stallions, that
were valued at six pounds each and all owned by the company in London,
except three mares from Leicester, that were owned by private parties.
At that time there seems to have been some rivalry between Boston and
Salem as a shipping point, but this fleet came to Boston harbor. This
same year (1629) Salem seems to have had six or seven mares and one
stallion, besides forty cows, and forty goats. From this it might be
safely inferred that a part of this fleet put into Salem harbor, or that
there may have been another and somewhat earlier shipment of which we
have no details. Salem was really founded in 1626, and the settlement
at Charlestown, Boston, dates from the same year. The next year about
sixty head were shipped to the plantation, but many were lost during the
voyage, of both horses and cattle. Several other shipments followed,
but nothing worthy of special note, till 1635, when two Dutch ships
arrived at Salem with twenty-seven mares, valued at thirty-four pounds
each, and three stallions. Some writers have spoken of these mares as
“Flanders mares,” but I have not been able to find any evidence or even
indication that this might have been the fact. The records show they
were Dutch ships, and that on a given day they sailed out of the Texel,
a Dutch port, far away from Flanders. I think, therefore, we are safe in
concluding they were “Dutch mares,” and they should be so designated.
Just about this period they were bringing Dutch horses from Utrecht, in
Holland, to the Dutch colony at New Amsterdam, and it was well known
in Holland as well as in New England that the Dutch horses brought
much better prices in New England than the English importations. It is
probable, further, that these Dutch traders were looking out for a choice
of markets, as between New England and New Netherlands. These mares
were valued at thirty-five pounds each, the record says, but we are not
informed as to the price that was really paid for them. There is a very
wide discrepancy between the figure at which these mares were “valued”
and the cost of the mares that were brought from England. The English
company charged the colony six pounds each for the horses sent from
there, and ten pounds freight.

I have labored assiduously to get at such data as would afford a safe
basis upon which to determine the size and other qualities of these
Dutch horses. They were larger than the English horses of that period
and they were more muscular, with greater weight of bone. They were,
doubtless, better adapted to the various offices of the “general purpose”
horse than their English contemporaries, in every respect, except the
saddle. There is no distinctive evidence that they were pacers or could
go any of the saddle gaits, in their own right. It is probably safe to
conclude that the original importations would not average more than
fourteen and a half hands high, and very likely the exact truth, if
it could be reached, would place them below that figure rather than
above it. The process of reducing the size commenced as soon as they
arrived: for the English horses had saddle qualities which the Dutch
did not possess, and everybody wanted a saddle horse. Still the Dutch
blood was highly prized, and a hundred and fifty years afterward it
was no uncommon thing, especially in the valley of the Connecticut,
to meet with the advertisements of stallions seeking patronage on the
strength of “Dutch blood.” This, for a time, was a puzzle to me, but
as we consider the horse interests of the region of the Hudson and the
Mohawk Valley extending eastward and that of eastern Massachusetts
extending westward along with the current of emigration, it is not
difficult to understand how the blood of the Dutch horse should have
become so generally diffused. On the one hand we had the much-desired
saddle qualities, and on the other we had the much-desired increase of
size without deterioration in appearance. Thus owners were accommodated
and the horse stock of the country was improved by the interbreeding
of the two nationalities. It is not necessary to further particularize
different importations. It is sufficient to say that they were very
numerous, and the multiplying of the stock was carried forward with vigor
and success. Five years later—1640—the colonists not only had all the
horses they needed, but they shipped a cargo of eighty head to Barbadoes.
From the colony of Massachusetts Bay all the plantations of New England
secured their foundation stock of horses, hence they are here considered

The people of the Plymouth plantation were very slow in providing
themselves with horses, and it was not till after 1632 that they had any.
It is hard to conceive of a colony like that of Massachusetts Bay living
and flourishing for a period of, say, eighty years without a newspaper,
and yet such is the fact. The Boston _News-Letter_, the first newspaper,
so called, in this country, was established May 29, 1704, and it lived
many years. The early colonial newspapers, from one end of the land to
the other, were anything and everything but newspapers, as we understand
the meaning of the title in our day. If a boy fell off a building in
London and broke his leg, six weeks before, it was liable to appear as an
item of “news” in the local American newspaper, but if the same accident
happened the week before, in a neighboring town, it was never mentioned.
The name “newspaper” attached to such publications was a fraud.

The following is a copy of the first horse advertisement ever published
in this country, and for that reason it is worthy of preservation. It was
taken from the Boston _News-Letter_ of November 19, 1705:

    “Strayed from Mr. John Wilson of Braintree, at Mr. Havens’
    in Kingston, in Narragansett, about a fortnight ago, a
    sorrel mare, low stature, four white feet, a white face,
    shod all round, her near ear tore, has a long white tail and
    mane. Whoever will give any intelligence of her ... will be
    sufficiently rewarded.”

As this was in the period when the Narragansett pacers had reached their
greatest fame, we might argue that this mare had been sent down to
Kingston from Braintree, Massachusetts, to be wintered and to be bred
in the spring to some famous horse in Kingston, the very center of the
horse-breeding interests of that day.

Under the date of June 17, 1706, I find a bay horse advertised as
“strayed or stolen: fourteen hands high, hardly possible to make him
gallop,” and October 28, 1706, a black gelding “fourteen hands high,
paces, trots, and gallops.” Then in the years 1731 and 1732 I find a
“black mare fourteen and three-quarter hands, trots and paces;” a “black
horse twelve hands,” no gait given; “black gelding, fourteen hands,
races, trots, and gallops;” “bay horse large, good pacer;” “roan mare,
fourteen hands, paces and trots.” But the field which I specially gleaned
was for the years 1756-59, where I found the average height was fourteen
hands one inch, the data including eight pacers and two trotters. This,
I think, may be taken as fairly representative of the size and habit
of action of Massachusetts horses in the first half of the eighteenth

In 1636 the first plantation was made in Connecticut at Hartford by the
Rev. Thomas Hooker and over a hundred of his congregation with him. They
left nothing behind, but brought all their domestic animals to their new
home. I have not been able to discover just how many horses they brought
with them, but in a few decades they had a great abundance and to spare.
In 1653 the General Court at New Haven made provision for keeping public
saddle horses for hire and fixed the rate of charges for their use. It
also prohibited the sale of horses outside of the colony. In 1658 all
horses, young and old, had to be branded by an officer appointed for
that purpose, and it required several years of legislation before the
system of branding, selling and recording could be so perfected as to
prevent dishonesty and frauds. In 1674 an act was passed providing and
enjoining that all colts entire and stallions running at large, under
thirteen hands high, should be gelded. This law also required a good
deal of amending before it could be made to work smoothly. The size of
the Connecticut horses about the time of the Revolution was an average
of thirteen hands three inches, thus ranging below the other New England
colonies. In 1778 horse racing was prohibited under the penalty of
forfeiture of the horse and a fine of forty shillings. In 1776 a careful
compilation of the gaits of the horses of that period, embracing nineteen
individuals, taken as they came, showed that fifteen were pacers, or
pacers and trotters, and four were trotters only. As an evidence of
the quality of the Connecticut pacers, take the following passage from
a little volume published 1769, in England, entitled “A Voyage to North
America,” by G. Taylor, Sheffield, England, 1768-69:

    “After dinner at New London, Conn., Mr. Williams and I took
    post horses, with a guide to New Haven. Their horses are, in
    general of less size than ours, but extremely stout and hardy.
    A man will ride the same horse a hundred miles a day, for
    several days together, in a journey of five or eight hundred
    miles, perhaps, and the horse is never cleaned. They naturally
    pace, though in no graceful or easy manner, but with such
    swiftness and for so long a continuance as must seem incredible
    to those who have not proved it by experience.”

This is a very different view of the pacer from that expressed by another
Englishman who visited Virginia in 1796. He had never seen a pacer before
and he was wholly unwilling to believe his host when he assured him it
was a natural gait and that many colts paced from the day they were
foaled. This, to the mind of the Englishman could not be true, he says,
“for none of our horses ever move in that manner.” (See Virginia, pp.

The most noted horse ever owned in Connecticut, at least in colonial
days, was the horse named and known in later times as Lindsay’s Arabian.
When I was younger I accepted the marvelous story of the origin and early
history of this horse, of which a brief account is given in the chapter
on the “American Race Horse,” to which reference is here made. This
acceptance on my part of the romantic story was largely superinduced by
a statement made by a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,
that he had examined the animal when he was old and found on three of
his legs undoubted physical evidence that they had at one time been
broken. This appeared in a reputable publication, but when compared with
some other facts in the history of the horse that are known, there can
hardly be a doubt that the examination by the justice was a fiction.
When I began to realize that the marvelous story was a mere fiction my
“wrath waxed hot” against the people of “the land of steady habits,” to
say nothing of “wooden nutmegs,” until Mr. O. W. Cook made it very plain
that the people of Connecticut never had heard of the remarkable story.
(See _Wallace’s Monthly_, Vol. VI., p. 251). Thus it became evident
that the whole story had been fabricated in Maryland and was a kind of
“green goods” method for catching the unwary. These are my apologies
to the general public and especially to the Connecticut public for
supposing them guilty of any such fraud. The naked truth of the matter
is, that while this horse may have been imported from England, his public
advertisements clearly indicate that his owners knew nothing of his blood
or early history.

The colony of Rhode Island was planted by Roger Williams and his
followers in 1636, and the first patent giving it a legal existence
was obtained 1647. It was an offshoot from Massachusetts and a protest
against the intolerance of that colony in religious affairs. For several
years I made renewed and persistent efforts to discover whether in
the early colonial period Rhode Island had ever imported any horses
from foreign countries, and after exhausting every source of recorded
information, I have not been able to find a single intimation of such
importation. It is evident, therefore, that the famous Narragansett
pacer is simply the result of carefully selecting and breeding from
the best and the fastest of the descendants of the English pacers, to
be found everywhere in the colony of Massachusetts. The superiority of
the Narragansett pacer over all others of his kind seemed to suggest
the probability that he must have possessed blood that was superior to
all others, and to supply this “want,” a Rhode Islander advanced the
claim that his grandfather had imported the original stock from Spain.
Unfortunately for this “claim” there were two difficulties in the way
of accepting it. First, there were no pacers in Spain, and second, the
Narragansett pacers were famous for their speed and value before the
grandfather was born, or at least before he was out of his swaddling

The horse interests of Rhode Island seem to have been active and
successful from the very founding of the colony, and the fame of her
pacers extended to all the American colonies at a very early day. When
the authorities made their report to the Board of Trade at London, in
1690, showing what they had produced and where and how they had disposed
of their surplus, they place horses at the head of their products and
state that they are shipped to all the English colonies on the American
coast. This statement is sustained by corresponding facts that are known
in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Trading with the French colonies
in Canada was rigorously prohibited, but it is quite probable that many a
good pacing horse found his way to the St. Lawrence in exchange for pelts
and furs. But, as the Narragansett and the pacer generally will be fully
considered in another part of this volume, the reader is referred to the
chapters wholly devoted to those topics.

That racing was a common amusement of the people of Rhode Island is fully
established by the very best of contemporaneous evidence, and by the
silver plate prizes won, that are said to be still in existence in some
of the old families. Attempts have been made to laugh this statement out
of court, on the grounds that Rhode Island was a Puritan colony, and
such a thing as a horse race would not be tolerated for a single day.
This attempt shows a great deal more smartness than knowledge, for Rhode
Island was not a Puritan colony, as that term is generally understood,
but had for its very foundation opposition to the spirit of intolerance
that prevailed in all the other New England colonies. But, what is still
more conclusive, the legislature of the colony in 1749 enacted a law
prohibiting all racing, under a penalty of forfeiture of the horse and
a fine of one hundred dollars. As in other colonies not in New England
racing and betting had become so common that the moral sense of the
people rose up and abolished it. If there had been no racing there would
have been no law to wipe it out.

When the Rev. Dr. McSparran, of Rhode Island, made a trip in Virginia
and rode the Virginia pacers some hundreds of miles, early in the last
century, he seems to have observed them closely and spoke very highly of
them, but he said they were not so large and strong as the Narragansetts,
nor so easy and gliding in their action. It might be suggested that this
opinion was the natural result of esteeming one’s own as better than
those of a neighbor, but he was certainly right in the matter of size. In
1768 the Rhode Island horses averaged fourteen hands one inch, while the
Virginia horses averaged (1750-52) thirteen hands one and three-quarter
inches, making a difference of three and one-quarter inches in height.
In the matter of gait they were not all natural pacers, for out of
thirty-five there were eight that did not pace, and some of the others
both paced and trotted. From this it may be inferred that breeders, in
order to increase the size, had incorporated more or less of the blood of
the early Dutch importations.



    Penn’s arrival in 1682—Horse racing prohibited—Franklin’s
    newspaper—Conestoga horses—Sizes and gaits—Swedish
    origin—Acrelius’ statement. NEW JERSEY—Branding—Increase of
    size—Racing, Pacing, and Trotting restricted—MARYLAND—Racing
    and pacing restricted 1747—Stallions of under size to be shot.
    NORTH CAROLINA—First settlers refugees—SOUTH CAROLINA—Size
    and gait in 1744—Challenges—No running blood in the colony
    1744—General view.

When William Penn arrived on this side of the water (1682) and took
possession of his princely gift from Charles II., he found the eastern
border of his new province already occupied, though sparsely, by an
industrious and enterprising people. The old Swedish colonists as well as
a sprinkling of Englishmen and other nationalities had been there for a
good many years, and were beginning to get the necessaries as well as the
comforts of life about them. For their numbers, they had a fair supply of
horses, cattle, sheep, and swine; and the growing of cereals and fruits
of all kinds showed encouraging progress, with the promise of plenty.
The new proprietor was gladly welcomed and his rule proved kindly and
beneficent. In a letter to Lord Ormonde, after his arrival, Mr. Penn, in
describing the condition of things in his new colony, says: “The horses
are not very handsome, but good.” The public affairs of Penn’s grant,
before his arrival, had been administered in the name of the Duke of
York, from about the time New Amsterdam had surrendered to the English,
and hence we find sundry regulations with regard to the horse in force
before that event.

The first of these, having the efficacy of law, was in the year 1676,
requiring all horses to be branded, and officers appointed to do the
branding and keep a record of the fact. Besides the individual brands,
each town had its own brand that had to be applied, and by this double
marking it was supposed that strays could be identified with certainty.
Another provision was that no mares should be exported to Virginia or
Barbadoes or other foreign plantations. Again, every owner was supposed
to keep a certain number of horses at home, for daily use, and he was
allowed to keep twice that number running at large. In 1682 no stone
horse under thirteen and one-half hands high was allowed to run at
large. This was afterward changed to thirteen hands. In 1724 this law
was revised and re-enacted so that colts “of comely proportions” and not
more than one year and a half old, if thirteen hands high, might run at
large; but if older than eighteen months they must be fourteen hands high
or suffer the penalty, which was castration. In 1750 horse racing of all
kinds was prohibited, under a severe penalty.

In that grand old repository of ancient, curious, and valuable things
relating to colonial affairs, the New York Historical Society, to which
I am greatly indebted, I found a file of the _Pennsylvania Gazette_,
commencing with the year 1729, published by “B. Franklin, printer.”
In that day the term “editor” or “reporter” was not known in the
vocabulary of any well-regulated newspaper office, and for anything of
a local character you had to look in the advertising columns. To these
I resorted, as usual, and they presented results that were a great
surprise to me. Pennsylvania has long been famous for the production
of great massive draft horses, and before the days of railroads just
suited, with six or eight of them in a team, for the transportation of
freights from the seaboard to the Ohio River. This was a great business
at the beginning of this century and for forty or fifty years afterward.
The fame of those great teams, the great wagons and the great loads
they hauled over the mountains, spread far and wide, and as a special
designation that went with them they were called Conestoga horses, and
the wagons were called Conestoga wagons, named after a creek in Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania, where many large horses were bred. There was no
particular line of blood to be followed, for a large horse bred west
of the mountains was just as certainly a Conestoga as though he had
been bred in Lancaster County. The Conestoga was simply the horse that
was best suited for a big team with an enormous load, and he varied in
size from sixteen and one-half to eighteen hands in height and from one
thousand six hundred to one thousand nine hundred pounds in weight. These
measurements he reached by breeding for the one purpose of strength
and weight. It is safe to conclude that in the latter part of the last
century breeding animals of large size were brought over the water, for
we can hardly conceive of their being descended from the little pacers
preceding them only fifty or sixty years.

The Pennsylvania horses of the first half of the last century were
remarkably uniform in size, and from a large number of cases in which
the size is given I find the exact average was thirteen hands one and
one-quarter inches. Of the twenty-eight animals in which the habit of
action is given, twenty-four were pacers, three both paced and trotted,
and just one is given as a natural trotter. Here we have two very
striking facts—the low stature and the uniformity of the pacing gait.
These horses average a quarter of an inch below the Virginians, the next
lowest, and a higher ratio of pacers than in any other colony. There must
have been some reason or reasons for this, and I will suggest two which
strike me as probably effective in producing these results. The earliest
settlers in Southeastern Pennsylvania were the Swedes. They brought their
horses with them from the Old World, and they were undoubtedly pacers,
but I have no means of determining anything about their size. This may be
an important factor in determining the uniformity of the gait, as well as
the diminutive size. The other consideration that I will present is the
fact that the pacer was more fashionable in and about Philadelphia, then
the leading city of the continent, than in any other section or portion
of the colonies. It is a fact that seems to be fully established, that
early in the last century the breeding of pacing horses was carried on in
the region of Philadelphia, with much spirit and intelligence, and that
pacing stallions for public service were carefully selected for their
shapeliness and speed. It is also a fact that all horses that could not
pace were, in the public estimation, classed as basely bred.

The Swedes and Finns planted a colony on the west bank of the Delaware in
1638, and as they were an industrious and thrifty people they prospered
and extended their plantation up the river as far as Philadelphia. This
territory was then claimed by the Dutch of New Netherlands, and they
overcame the Swedes in 1655, and ten years later they in turn had to
surrender to the English. Of the early Swedes, the Rev. Acrelius wrote
and published, in the Swedish language, a very valuable account of
his people. In speaking of their horses he says: “The horses are real
ponies and are seldom over sixteen hands high [evidently a misprint and
should read “thirteen” instead of “sixteen”]. He who has a good riding
horse never employs him for draft; which is also the less necessary, as
journeys are for the most part made on horseback. It must be the result
of this, more than of any particular breed in the horses, that the
country excels in fast horses, so that horse races are often made for
very high stakes.” Such horses often sold for sixty dollars in our modern
money. The question of the pacers of Philadelphia will be considered more
at length in the chapters devoted to the history of the pacer.

NEW JERSEY is not known to have made any direct importations of horses
from the old country. Lying between New York on the east and Pennsylvania
on the west, she had abundant opportunity to get her supply of horses
from her neighbors on either side, to say nothing of the overflow from
Virginia about 1669. Like all the other colonies, as early as 1668 her
horses were ordered to be branded and then suffered to roam at large and
find their own living. Not much attention seems to have been given to the
idea of improvement in the size and quality of the stock till 1731, when
it was provided by law that all colts of eighteen months old, running at
large and under fourteen hands high, should be gelded. I have not made
any attempt to get at the exact average size of the Jersey horses, nor to
ascertain the ratio of pacers among them, for we know the environments
and the sources of supply, and in knowing these we know just what the
Jersey horses were—a large majority of them were pacers and they were not
over fourteen hands high.

The statutes of this colony, enacted 1748, furnished the first real
evidence of record, with one exception, going to show that pacing and
trotting races, as well as running races, were the common amusement of
the people in the first half of the last century. They were so common,
indeed, that the legislative authorities declared them a nuisance
and restricted them to certain days in the year. That this was not a
“moral spasm,” as some might call it, that had seized the legislative
authorities of that particular year, is evident from the fact that,
afterward and from time to time, this statute was amended, and always
in the direction of greater restrictions and greater severity. This is
sufficient evidence that the moral sense of the community sustained the
lawmakers in pronouncing it a nuisance, to be abated. It is not probable
that pacing and trotting races were any more common or more demoralizing
in New Jersey than in some of the other colonies, but they seem to have
been content with fulminating against “horse racing” without specifying
the different gaits at which the horses might go in the race. Until this
old colonial statute was discovered, it was not possible to prove by
contemporaneous evidence that there had been any pacing or trotting races
before the first decade of the present century. This, however, adds to
their antiquity more than a hundred years.

MARYLAND was really the first in point of time to legislate for the
suppression of pacing, as well as running races, but the old statute,
enacted in 1747, was not discovered till very recently. This proves that
pacing races were very common in Maryland one hundred and sixty years
ago, but it says nothing about trotting races. It will be observed that
in the New Jersey statute the different kinds of racing are placed in
this order: “Racing, pacing and trotting,” and I take this to mean the
order of their prominence. Applying this method to Maryland, it may be
inferred that trotting races were infrequent and practically unknown,
and hence not enumerated as offensive. Taking these two cases together,
I think we are justified in concluding that the pacer antedated and
preceded the trotter in all turf sports. No doubt he was faster then
than the trotter, and he has maintained his superiority, in that respect
at least, to this day. Maryland was a great racing colony and it was
afterward a great racing State. This statute did not sweep over the
whole colony, but applied only to the race course at Newmarket, and Anne
Arundel and Talbot counties. As I understand the matter, this statute was
enacted specially at the request of the Society of Friends, and for the
protection of their yearly meetings.

With Pennsylvania on the one side and Virginia on the other, it is not
necessary to spend any time on the sizes and gaits of the horses of
Maryland, for they were simply duplicates of those in the two colonies
with which they were in constant intercourse and trade. In the matter
of undersized stallions running at large Maryland was more in earnest
and more savage than any of the other colonies. For, by an act of
Legislature, passed 1715, it was provided that any person finding an
entire colt eighteen months old, or an unbroken stoned horse, running at
large, no difference what his size, might shoot him upon the spot.

NORTH CAROLINA was first permanently settled by a colony from Virginia,
led by Roger Green, July, 1653. For some years previous to this it had
been the refuge of Quakers and others fleeing from the persecutions and
proscriptions that prevailed in Virginia at that time, against all who
did not conform to the ritual of the English church. These refugees and
colonists took their horses and all they had with them, and as this was
but a few years before there was an overproduction of horses in Virginia,
and great droves were running wild without an owner, we may conclude they
cost but little and that they spread rapidly in the new colony. As we
thus know whence they came, we necessarily know what they were in size
and gait, and we need not trace them any further.

SOUTH CAROLINA received her colonial charter in 1663, and the
earliest newspaper that I have found was for the year 1744, from the
advertisements in which I have extracted the following data as to size
and gait. In the first four and the last four months of the _South
Carolina Gazette_ for 1744 I find thirty horses advertised as strayed
or stolen, in which the size is given, and they average within a small
fraction of an inch of thirteen and one-half hands, and of this number
three are given as fifteen hands, which was considered, in that day, a
large horse. Out of this number the gait is given in only twelve cases,
ten of which were pacers, one paced and trotted, and one trotted only.
The foundation horse stock of South Carolina was obtained chiefly, if not
wholly, from Virginia, and the practice of branding and turning out, to
roam at large, prevailed everywhere.

In the issues of the _Gazette_ for this year (1744) I find but one
advertisement of a stallion for public service, and he is called the
“famous racing horse named Roger,” and is advertised as a great, race
horse, but there is no attempt to give a pedigree or to claim that he
possessed any blood that was not the inheritance of all others. Another
advertisement is a lengthy challenge from Joseph Butler to run his
gelding Chestnut against any horse, mare or gelding for five hundred or
one thousand pounds “inch and weight,” the lowest horse carrying thirteen
stone. No mention or reference is made to his blood, and from these two
facts we may reasonably infer that at that time there were no strains of
blood, known to the Carolinians, specially bred to run. The distance to
be run is not definitely mentioned, but it was on a road from one point
to another, and I suppose it was about two and a half, or possibly three
miles. This was three years before the first English race horse was
imported into Virginia. It has been represented that an old gentleman,
whose name is forgotten, imported into South Carolina a number of English
race horses at a period long anterior to this, but that claim has never
been in a shape that placed it above very grave suspicion and doubt; and
the claim accompanying it, in the way of apology, that the old man would
never allow any of his horses to race, did not improve its credibility.
From the advertisements just referred to, it seems evident that there was
no distinctively English running blood in the colony till after this date.

This review of the horses of the colonial period embraces all that I
have been able to glean of the character, qualifications, size and
habit of action of the earliest importations and their descendants.
Their diminutive size will be a surprise to my readers as it has been
to me, and the overwhelming ratio of pacers to trotters will be a still
greater surprise. The importance of increasing the size by judicious
selections of the largest seems to have been ever present to the minds
of the colonists, but not much could be accomplished in that direction,
under the system prevalent everywhere of roaming at large. The little
pacers were great saddle horses, and down to the days of good roads and
wheeled vehicles they were deemed indispensable. That there were race
horses among them at the running, pacing and trotting gaits there is
indisputable evidence, covering about a hundred years of the colonial
period, but there is no record of the rate of speed. The pacer was the
favorite and fashionable horse of that period, and after something has
been said about the Canadian horse we will take up his history and treat
it with that fullness its importance demands.



    Settlement and capture of Port Royal—Early plantations—First
    French horses brought over 1665—Possibly illicit trading—Sire
    of “Old Tippoo”—His history—“Scape Goat” and his
    descendants—Horses of the Maritime Provinces.

Before taking up the two provinces of the Dominion—Quebec and Ontario—to
which reference is made in this volume as “Canada,” there is an incident
in the history of Nova Scotia, full of sadness, that I cannot pass over
without mention. The French made a settlement here in 1602, and named the
country New France. The settlement to which I refer was at Port Royal,
afterward named Annapolis by the English. This seems to have been a
thrifty and flourishing little plantation, far removed from all outside
associations, except the savages of the forests, with whom they lived in
peace. The first horses brought to North America were owned and bred by
the people of Port Royal. In November, 1613, Captain Argall, of Virginia,
organized a plundering expedition, and having learned of the defenseless
condition of Port Royal from Captain John Smith, he sailed up there with
two or three ships, captured the place and carried away horses, cattle,
sheep, wheat, farming utensils, and indeed everything their ships would
carry, and then sailed away to Virginia. This raid was without authority
or orders, but it was winked at by the officials, and forthwith a second
raid was made by Argall, and all that had been left in the first was
carried away in the second, as well as some of the inhabitants.

The pacer of Canada, generally believed to be of French origin, has
long been an object of diligent investigation, without reaching any
satisfactory results. Again and again I have gone over the first
half-century of the history of the French plantations on the St.
Lawrence; examining everything in the English language that held out any
hope of throwing light upon the question, but nothing was revealed. The
trouble was that my search stopped a little short of the date when the
first horses arrived. The management of the affairs of the plantations
on the St. Lawrence being in a company located in France, there was a
lack of vigor, not much growth, and still less profits to the projectors
of the colony. The energies of the people seemed to be directed almost
wholly to collecting and trading in peltry instead of building up a
commonwealth from the productions of the soil. For half a century these
primitive people lived without horses. Their farms, if they could be
called farms, all had a frontage on the water, running back in narrow
strips to the highlands. They did their plowing with cattle and their
canoes supplied the place of the saddle horse, the family carriage and
the lumber wagon to carry the scanty surplus of their little farms to
market. At last the company in France, holding direction and control, got
out of the way, and the king of France assumed direct authority over the
affairs of the plantation. On June 30, 1665, the Marquis de Tracy arrived
at Quebec, as viceroy, with a numerous suite of retainers and a regiment
of French soldiers. Two months later a large fleet arrived bringing
many colonists, embracing artisans, farmers, peasants, etc., with their
families, and a good number of horses, the first that had ever been seen
on the St. Lawrence. There is a tradition that a horse had been sent over
to the governor in 1642, but it is probable he was lost on the voyage, as
the older people of the colony had no recollection or knowledge of any
such animal. These colonists came from the ancient province of Picardy,
not now to be found on the modern maps of France, but it lay on the
English Channel in the extreme northwest of France. As it is expressly
stated that these colonists came from Picardy, it is fair to conclude
that the horses came from that portion of the kingdom also. At this
period in history there had been no wars between France and England for
many years, and commercial as well as social intercourse had long been
cultivated between the people on both sides of the channel. We know but
little of the early horse history of France, but in our own time we know
that France has been largely benefited by the diffusion of the English
blood among her horse stock, so we may conclude that if a man in Kent had
a horse that a man in Picardy wanted, he very soon got him in the way of
legitimate trade. I think, therefore, it is safe to conclude that the
horse stock of Northwestern France and the horse stock of England were
very much the same in appearance, action and blood. On this basis of
reasoning, which involves no improbabilities, we may conclude that the
same proportion of the horses from Picardy were natural pacers.

There is another theory, giving the Canadian pacer an Anglo-American
origin, that commends itself to the unbiased judgment with even greater
force than the one just suggested. Various writers have talked about
the “French characteristics” of the Canadian pacer, and all that, when
probably not one of them ever saw a horse that he _knew_ to be French.
The early pacers—the pacing-bred pacers—all have more or less strongly
marked resemblances, especially in conformation, and it makes no
difference whether they come from Canada or whether their habitat has
been south of Mason and Dixon’s line for two hundred and fifty years.
When we look at a pacer, therefore, we may as well be honest and say we
don’t know whether he resembles the horses that reached the St. Lawrence
in 1665, or those that reached Massachusetts Bay in 1629. The theory
that the French Canadians got the foundation of their pacing stock from
the New England colonies rests upon two well-known facts. First, the
colonies had a great abundance of such horses for sale; and second, they
were within reach of and purchasable by the Canadians. To these two facts
rendering the theory possible, we have others which render it probable.
The jealous restrictions sought to be imposed on both the English and
French colonists by the home governments of both people strongly indicate
that there was no small amount of illicit trading, and this trading,
in the very nature of things, must have been between the English and
French. Toward the close of the seventeenth century the English colonies,
especially Rhode Island, had far more horses than they needed for home
use, and they did a thriving business in exporting them to different
parts. These were just the kind of horses the Canadians needed for their
wild life in the wilderness; they were cheaper than they could be brought
from France; the water way of Lake Champlain was convenient; pelts and
furs were a desirable commodity of exchange, and there was no cordon of
customs officers to keep the willing traders apart. Of these theories we
consider the second the more probable of the two, and if we accept it
we reach the conclusion that the so-called “French” Canadian pacer is
merely a descendant of the old English pacer brought over by the early
New England colonists. Objection has been presented to this theory, on
the grounds that the powerful confederation of the Six Nations Indians
interposed an insurmountable barrier to all trade, whether legitimate or
illicit, between the Canadians and the colonists of New England. This
objection is certainly conclusive as applied to the different periods
of hostilities, but the hostilities were not continuous. During both
the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries there were periods of
years at a stretch when there were no hostilities, and when there was
nothing to prevent the Canadian and the Yankee from coming together and
exchanging what they each had that the other wanted. The border abounds
in traditions of the incidents connected with this illicit trading, but
we need not go to the border in the wilderness to learn that the desire
to “beat the customs” is almost universal. We can see it manifested every
day at the docks in New York, when a steamer arrives from abroad. The
fine lady, with her gloves and lots of other lingerie that she has been
contriving all the way across how best to keep from the sight of the
officer, is no better and no worse than the “Canuck,” who in a retired
place at midnight trades his peltry to the Yankee for his horse. If the
Canadian pacer did not have his origin in New England it was not because
he could not be carried across the border.

When we enter upon the consideration of the actual performers descended
from the original Canadian stock, we find both pacers and trotters of
speed and merit, but in attempting to trace them to their particular
ancestors we find ourselves in a labyrinth from which there seems to be
no deliverance. In the midst of this darkness I am glad to be able to
say there is a ray of light that illumines much that has been obscure.
The greatest progenitor of trotters and pacers that Canada has produced,
“Old Tippoo,” has been fully identified in his true origin, and he has
been well named “The Messenger of Canada.” He seemed to be known all
over Canada as the greatest of their trotting and pacing sires, and many
attempts were made through several years to give his pedigree, but in all
these attempts there were elements of weakness and in many of them very
bald absurdities.

When the roan gelding Tacony made his record of 2:27, away back in 1853,
the performance was looked upon as something that would not be surpassed
in a generation at least. Then when Toronto Chief made his saddle record
of 2:24½, ten or twelve years later, and it was found that he and Tacony
were both descended from a Canadian horse called Tippoo, the inquiry
became quite active as to what Tippoo was, and all kinds of imaginable
stories were told about him. In the search for the history and breeding
of the horse Tippoo, extending through more than twenty years, many
curious and some impossible things were developed, and as these old
“fads” may come as new discoveries in future generations, I will mention
two or three of them here. The first of these untruthful statements to
assume tangible form was to the effect that Tippoo was imported from
England, and that he was got there by Nesthall’s Messenger. I never
could tell how or where this story originated, but it first appeared in
the pedigree given to Toronto Chief when he went into the stud on Long
Island. This was settled by the facts, expressed in very few words, that
the horse was not imported, but bred in Canada, and that there was no
such horse in England as “Nesthall’s Messenger.”

The next representation came from an old horseman, Mr. V. Sheldon, of
Canton, New York, a very intelligent and careful correspondent, who
had given much labor to the question. He had learned from different
sources, that were satisfactory to his mind, that a Mr. Howard, a
traveling preacher, had ridden a mare from Lowville, New York, over into
Canada; that this mare was in foal “by a very noted horse that stood
at Lowville;” that when the mare became too heavy for his use under
the saddle he sold her to Isaac Morden, and that the foal she dropped
was the famous Tippoo. The name of the “very famous horse that stood
at Lowville” was not remembered, but as Ogden’s Messenger was there
at that time—1816-17—the conclusion followed that he was the horse.
This representation was far from complete, but as there was nothing
unreasonable about it, and nothing known to be untrue, I accepted it for
a time, awaiting further light.

The third representation came from Mr. Lewis T. Leavens, of Bloomfield,
Ontario, who was born 1792, and was, therefore, old enough to have had
some personal knowledge of the horse. But whether his knowledge was
personal or only traditional cannot now be made to appear. He says that
Tippoo was got by a horse called Escape, and I will ask the reader to
note this name “Escape” as we progress. He says that “when Escape was on
the ocean, the vessel encountered a severe gale, and the horse had to be
thrown overboard, and he was picked up the ninth day off the coast of
Newfoundland, on a bar, eating rushes.” This silly and ridiculous story
had been told and possibly believed by some fools more than a hundred
years before the dates here implied by Mr. Leavens. It is probable it
was first told as a joke, by some wag in Rhode Island, when asked about
the origin of the Narragansett pacers. He replied that the original
Narragansett “was caught swimming in mid-ocean, when a ship came along,
lassoed him, pulled him on board, and landed him safely in Narragansett
Bay.” The vitality of the joke probably had its origin in the experience
of Rip Van Dam, when in 1711 he went up to Narragansett for a flying
pacer, which is related in another part of this volume. Mr. Leavens
speaks of the Rev. Erastus as the owner of the dam, and the breeder of
the horse; but he says the horse did not come into possession of Isaac
Morden till he was six or eight years old. The date of his death is
fixed by Mr. Leavens in 1835, and while he is more definite than our
information from other sources, all agree he died from a kick about that

The next representation that seems to be worthy of noticing is a
communication that appeared in the New York _Sportsman_, written by
somebody who signs himself “Dick.” Whether “Dick” is in earnest and
believes what he writes, or whether he is merely trying to “sell”
somebody, we will leave for him to decide. He seems to depend upon
Mr. Morden, at one time the owner of the horse, as the source of his
information. “Dick” says the sire of Tippoo was imported into New York in
1811, and was called Fleetwood. Why did he not tell us by whom the horse
Fleetwood was imported? If there was a man in New York in 1811 so big a
fool as to import an English stallion at great expense, and then send him
up to the wilderness of Canada where there was neither money nor mares,
his name should be handed down as a historical curiosity. The whole story
is a “fake.”

In January, 1883, I received from the Hon. J. P. Wiser, of Prescott,
Ontario, the following letter, which he had just received from the writer:

                                     WELLINGTON, December 27, 1882.

    As the origin of the Tippoo horses seems to be a mystery to you
    I will tell you. Erastus Howard was a traveling preacher in
    those days, and he traveled on horseback. He bought in Kingston
    a dark chestnut mare and bred her to a horse called “The Scape
    Goat,” brought from Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island. The
    horse was a large brown horse, and could rack (pace) faster
    than he could run. The colt was coal black and large, and was
    sold to Mr. Wilcox, who named him Tippoo Sultan. His gait was
    like the “Scape” some, but soon squared off to a trot, and the
    way he could go was dreadful. In June, 1836, he broke his leg
    and was lost.

                                                      WILSON SERLS.

This short letter was a great surprise, for never before had I heard
of Mr. Serls. Through the kindness of Mr. Wiser he had entered the
discussion, evidently without knowing anything about what representations
had been made by others. His short, crisp sentences seemed to be an
epitome of a history of this horse, which he might be able to give. It
will be observed that the traveling preacher, Erastus Howard, is still
in the foreground, and that Mr. Leavens’ “Escape” and Mr. Serls’ “Scape
Goat” are evidently one and the same horse, and thus these two men
practically confirm each other, so far as the identity of the horse is
concerned. No time was lost in preparing a series of questions to be
submitted to Mr. Serls, embracing the sources of his information, for
although well advanced in years he certainly could not have had personal
knowledge of what he testified. These questions not only covered the
minute points in the history of the matter, but they were so framed as
to test the accuracy and honesty of his memory. In due time they came
back fully and satisfactorily answered, and as these answers embrace
many things that my readers care nothing about I will condense them into
narrative form.

Mr. Serls derived his information from his uncle, Stephen Niles, the
brother of his mother. In 1798 Stephen Niles took a band of horses to
Prince Edward County, and stopped with an uncle of his who was then a
member of the provincial parliament, living on the Bay of Quinte. His
uncle prevailed upon him to settle there. In 1800 he was married, and
bought a farm of two hundred acres four miles west of Wellington, where
he lived many years, and the place is still known as Niles’ Corners.
He was an orthodox Quaker in his religious belief, and for a number of
years he was one of the bench of magistrates for Prince Edward County.
When the War of 1812 broke out he was employed by the British forces in
procuring hay and grain for the mounted troops. In 1858 he died, leaving
an honorable name behind him.

At the close of the war the military authorities sold off a large number
of horses to the highest bidder, and Mr. Niles was present when the
traveling preacher, Erastus Howard, bid off a dark chestnut mare for
ninety-three dollars, at Kingston. This mare afterward became the dam
of the famous Tippoo, and as a matter of course nothing can ever be
known of her breeding. In 1816 a man from Rhode Island, whose name is
not definitely remembered, but believed to be Williams, traveled the
horse Scape Goat through Prince Edward County, and he stopped one day
and night in each week at the house of Stephen Niles, and during that
season Mr. Howard bred his chestnut mare to this horse, and, as already
said, the produce was Tippoo. This black colt passed into the hands
of Mr. Wilcox, who gave him his name, and he afterward passed through
several other hands before he reached Mr. Morden about 1826, and he died
ten years later from the effects of a kick. As the horse Scape Goat was
brought from Narragansett Bay, and as he was a remarkably fast pacer,
there can be no mistake in calling him a “Narragansett Pacer.” He was
considerably larger than the average of that tribe, but this does not
vitiate his title to a place in that family. It seems he was only kept in
Prince Edward County the one season, and his owner, not being satisfied
with the extent of his earnings, took him back to Rhode Island. Thus, the
horse that has been proudly designated as “Canada’s Messenger,” was the
son of a Narragansett pacer. In his younger days, Tippoo paced like his
sire, but as he grew older the trotting gait was more fully developed.

It is safe to say that the immediate progeny of Tippoo were numerous, and
it is safe to say that some of them, either as trotters or pacers, were
fast for their day, but it must be confessed that we know very little
about the way they were bred. One son was called Sportsman, but nothing
is known of his dam and very little of the horse himself beyond the fact
that he was the sire of the roan gelding Tacony, that trotted some great
races about 1853, and made a record of 2:27. This horse had a son called
Young Sportsman, that was more widely known as “the Sager Horse,” and his
horse became the sire of the trotting mare Clara, or Crazy Jane, as she
was at one time called, that made a record of 2:27 in 1867. Beyond these
two representatives of the Sportsman line, I have not been able to go. It
has been claimed that another son of Tippoo, called Wild Deer, was the
sire of the Sager Horse, but it does not seem to be well sustained. There
was a son called Wild Deer, and several others that have been mentioned
by turf writers, but no particulars of any value have been given.

Warrior, or Black Warrior, as he is sometimes called, was a brown horse
and not a black, as his latter name would imply. He was a son of old
Tippoo and his dam was a black mare owned and ridden by an officer in an
English regiment, known as the First Royals. She was a black mare and
after she was sold out of the service she was called “Black Warrior,”
and this name was transmitted to her son. This mare was for a long time
represented as the dam of Royal George, but she was the dam of his sire.
This horse was bred at Belleville, Ontario, and about 1840 a certain Mr.
Johnston was moving from Belleville to Michigan. He had this horse with
him, which, becoming lame on the way, he traded to a Mr. Barnes, living
about twenty miles south of London, Ontario. He was a valuable horse and
left many very useful animals. Many of his get were pacers, and he was
kept by Mr. Barnes till he died.

Royal George was a brown-bay horse, foaled about 1842, and was got by
Warrior, son of Tippoo. His dam was the off one of a pair of bay mares
taken to that vicinity from Middlebury, Vermont, by a Mr. Billington.
This mare got her foot in a log bridge and the injury made her a
comparative cripple for life. Being thus unfitted for road work, Mr.
Billington sold or traded her to Mr. Barnes. She was bred to Warrior
and produced Royal George. It is said by those who knew both animals,
that this mare was a better trotter than Warrior, and from this springs
the argument that Royal George had a trotting inheritance from his dam
as well as from his sire. To learn whence this inheritance came, I have
labored assiduously for years without being able to technically determine
it. The single fact that her sire in Vermont was known as “the Bristol
Horse,” is beyond all doubt, but as Mr. Billington was not living when
this search was commenced, it has not been possible to determine just
what horse is meant by “Bristol Horse.” At one time Harris’ Hambletonian
was known very widely as “Bristol Grey” or “Bristol Horse,” and this
is the only horse in the records so designated. It may, therefore, be
assumed as more than a probability that this was the sire of the dam of
Royal George.

When three or four years old he was sold by Mr. Barnes to James Forshee,
and he was known as “the Forshee Horse” for several years. He was sixteen
hands high, not very handsome, but well formed, with plenty of substance
and stamina, good action, and a first class “business” horse for anything
that was wanted of him. In the stud, at low prices, he was largely
patronized, and during the other months of the year he was employed in
all kinds of drudgery. From Forshee he passed to Frank Munger, and from
Munger to Mr. Doherty, of St. Catherines, for four hundred dollars, and
he gave him the name of Royal George, and kept him many years. In 1858 W.
H. Ashford, of Lewiston, New York, bought him and kept him two or three
years there and at Buffalo. He seems to have passed into Doherty’s hands
again, and died at St. Catherine’s, December, 1862. It is not known that
he ever had any training as a trotter except what he got from his owner
on the road, and there is no tradition of his ever having been in a race
but once, and that was on the ice at Hamilton, about 1852, against the
famous State of Maine, for a considerable wager. In this contest he was
the winner. His highest rate of speed was about 2:50 under the saddle.
He was strongly disposed to pace, but when he got down to his work his
gait was a square, mechanical trot. He left a numerous progeny with a
heavy sprinkling of pacers among them; they were generally of fine size
and very useful animals. Many of his sons were kept entire and that
whole region of Ontario was filled up with Royal Georges, to say nothing
of the large numbers that were brought across the border. He left one
representative in the 2:30 list, and five sons that became sires of

Toronto Chief was the best son of Royal George, according to the records.
He was a brown horse, foaled 1850, and was bred by George Larue, of
Middlesex County, Ontario. His dam was a small bay mare by a horse called
Blackwood, and his grandam was by Prospect. The horse Blackwood “was
bought of a Frenchman below Montreal in 1837,” and that is all that can
be said of his blood. He was a horse of fine size and went with great
courage. Toronto Chief passed through several hands before he reached
his owner, A. Bathgate, of New York. He was a horse of great speed for
his day, having a record of 2:31 in harness and 2:24¼ under saddle. He
left three representatives in the 2:30 list, and among them the famous
Thomas Jefferson, 2:23, with thirty-nine heats to his credit. Six of his
sons became sires of trotters, and five of his daughters producers. Like
all the other minor families, the Royal George family is surely being
absorbed or submerged in trotting strains of more positive and uniform

It is probably true that Old Columbus and Old St. Lawrence were both
descended from the Tippoo family, as they were both bred in Canada and
seemed to possess and transmit the same characteristics as the Royal
Georges possessed, in conformation and gait. Their descendants were
not numerous, but so many of them were able to show such a rate of
speed, either at the lateral or diagonal gait, that they left a distinct
trace on the trotting stock of the United States. Old Pacing Pilot has
always been classed as a Canadian, but no trace of his origin has ever
been secured, and it is impossible at this day to give any definite
information as to whether he was brought from Canada or not. Some forty
or fifty years ago the “Canadian pacers” were so highly esteemed for
their speed that very many horses were called “Canadians” that never
saw Canada. The original Tom Hal was purchased in Philadelphia as early
as 1828, and was always called a Canadian. He was the progenitor of
the great pacing family still bearing his name, that is doubtless the
most noted pacing family now in existence. Sam Hazzard, it is said, was
brought from Canada about 1844, and left some noted descendants. Many
others might be named, but as they never gained great celebrity, and as
their origin is not fully established, I will leave the Canadians for
future investigators.

The rich province of Ontario has always been, in all its ways, the most
English section of the Canadian Confederation, and in nothing more than
in horsemanship. True, it is now a great trotting region, but running is
and always has been the sport of the rich and fashionable, and almost
all the English horses imported in Canada have gone to Western Ontario.
On the other hand, in the Maritime Provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
and Prince Edward Island—running races have never been popular, except
at Halifax, which is a great military station and socially and otherwise
much influenced by its English army and navy residents. It is the only
point in the provinces where running meetings are given or where the
running horse is at all cherished. For generations the principal sport of
the people of these provinces has been trotting and pacing races, winter
and summer, for ice racing is very general and very popular, through
Maritime as well as Western Canada, the numbers of great bays and wide
rivers affording ample courses, everywhere, throughout the long winters.
Though there is, through these provinces, a generous sprinkling of horses
called French Canadian, it is a fact that when we write the horse history
of Maine we have written that of the Maritime Canadian provinces. The
best of the early trotting stock of these provinces came from Maine,
and the most and the best of the old-time trotters of New Brunswick,
Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island were of tribes loosely described
as Maine Messengers. For this there are ample geographical and natural
reasons. That part of Quebec nearest them has never been rich in horses
nor in anything else which the Provincials want, or in which they trade.
The people of eastern New England are their natural trading neighbors,
and the city of St. John, New Brunswick, especially in the past, the
common market place; and almost all the earlier Maritime trotting sires
trace through St. John to Maine, or some of the other New England
States. It is a fact, too, that for generations enterprising horsemen,
in the lower provinces, have been importing American trotting stallions
for service, and to-day the trotting stock of these provinces is very
thoroughly Americanized. While the exportation of horses, principally to
Boston and Bangor, is one of the industries of Nova Scotia and of Prince
Edward Island especially, almost without exception trotting and pacing
stallions in use there are imported American horses, or the descendants
of American trotting sires; while, as we have noted, the foundation stock
came chiefly from Maine, and in very small degree from Ontario or Quebec.
In either of the Maritime provinces it is a rarity to find a trotting
horse that has not more or less of American blood.



    The mechanism of the different gaits—The Elgin Marbles—Britain
    becomes a Roman province—Pacers in the time of the
    Romans—Bronze horses of Venice—Fitz Stephen, the Monk of
    Canterbury—Evidence of the Great Seals—What Blundeville
    says—What Gervaise Markham says—What the Duke of Newcastle
    says—The amble and the pace one and the same—At the close of
    Elizabeth’s reign—The Galloways and Hobbies—Extinction of the
    pacer—The original pacer probably from the North—Polydore
    Virgil’s evidence—Samuel Purchas’ evidence—The process
    of wiping out the pacer—King James set the fashion—All
    foreign horses called “Arabians”—The foreigners larger and
    handsomer—Good roads and wheeled vehicles dispensed with the
    pacer—Result of prompting Mr. Euren—Mr. Youatt’s blunder—Other
    English gentlemen not convinced there ever were any pacers.

In considering the antiquity and history of the pacing horse, it seems
to be necessary that we should have a clear perception of the mechanism
of the gait from which he takes his distinctive name and the relation
which that mechanism bears to other gaits or means of progression. In
the study of this mechanism we learn the combination by which we unlock
the mystery that has puzzled so many breeders of the past and present
generations. Some have maintained that the pace is a combination of the
trot and the gallop, while a smaller number have maintained that the fast
trot was a combination of the pace and the gallop. It is quite evident,
as I will be able to show, that neither of these parties has ever given
any careful attention and study to the mechanism of the different gaits.
The most simple and least complicated method of illustrating this
mechanism of movement is furnished in the human means of progression. At
the walk, a man steps off with his left foot and the heel of that foot
strikes the ground before the toe of the right foot leaves it. Then the
right foot advances and strikes the ground before the toe of the left
foot leaves it. This is the natural “heel and toe” walk, and the speed
may be increased by quickening the step and extending the stride, so
far as physical conformation will permit. Still greater speed becomes
a succession of bounds, the propelling foot leaving the ground before
the advanced foot strikes it. This is running, the highest rate of speed
attainable, and in every revolution, for a space, the whole body is in
the air. In the action of the horse, with four legs, we find greater
complication, which I will try to make clear.

[Illustration: STAR POINTER.

By Brown Hal, strictly pacing bred, record 1:59¼, 1897.]

First, all horses walk, all horses pace or trot, and all horses gallop.
The walk is easily analyzed, for it is slow and the movement of each
limb can be followed by the eye. Each foot makes its own stroke upon the
ground, and we count one, two, three, four in the revolution.

Second, at the gallop, which is a succession of leaps, each limb, as
shown by the instantaneous photograph, performs its own function, whether
in rising from the ground, flying through the air, or in striking the
ground again. There is harmony in all, but there is no unity in any two
or more of them, and when they strike the ground again you hear the
impacts, one, two, three, four, in a cluster. The conventional drawing
of the running horse in action is impossible in nature, and a wretched
caricature of the action as it is. As in the walk, so in the run, we
count four impacts in the revolution.

Third, at the pace the horse advances the two feet, on the same side,
at the same time, and when they reach the ground again there is but one
impact; then the two feet on the other side are advanced and strike in
the same way. Thus, the rhythm of the action strikes the ear as that of
the movement of an animal with two feet instead of four. In this there
can be no mechanical mistake, for in the revolution of the four-legged
pacing horse we count one, two, and in the revolution of the two-legged
man we count one, two. The conclusion, therefore, seems to be inevitable
that the two legs on the same side of the pacing horse act in perfect
unison in performing the functions of one leg. At the trot the horse
advances the two diagonal feet at the same time, and when they reach
the ground again there is but one impact; then the two other diagonal
feet are advanced and strike in the same way. Thus, the rhythm of the
action strikes the ear as that of the movement of an animal with two feet
instead of four. In this there can be no mechanical mistake, for in the
revolution of the four-legged trotting horse we count one, two, and in
the revolution of the two-legged man we count one, two. The conclusion,
therefore, seems to be inevitable that the two diagonal legs of the
trotting horse act in perfect unison in performing the function of one
leg. In the mechanism of the gait then that is midway between the walk
and the gallop there is no difference in results, nor distinction in the
economy of motion, except that the pacer uses the lateral legs as one,
and the trotter the diagonal legs as one. In use, there is a vertical
distinction, if that term should be allowed, between the gait of the
pacer and the trotter. The action of the pacer is lower and more gliding
which fits him for the saddle, while the action of the trotter is higher
and more bounding which makes him more desirable as a harness horse.
In the processes of inter-breeding to the fastest, this distinction,
if it be a distinction, seems to be coming less real, or at least less

While the essential oneness of the pace and the trot is indicated above
from the mechanism and unity of the two gaits, there is a great mountain
of evidence to be developed when we reach the consideration of breeding
subjects, in which we will meet multitudes of fast trotters getting fast
pacers, and fast pacers getting fast trotters; fast pacers changed over
to fast trotters and fast trotters changed over to fast pacers, and the
final evidence that speed at the one gait means speed at the other.
Having briefly explained what a pacer is, it is now in order to take up
the question of whence he came.

On the summit of the Acropolis, in Athens, stand the ruins of the
Parthenon, a magnificent temple erected to the goddess Minerva. The
building was commenced in the year B.C. 437, and was completed five years
afterward. All the statuary was the work of the famous Phidias and his
scholars, made from Pentelic marble. This noted building resisted all the
ravages of time, and had, in turn, been converted into a Christian temple
and a Turkish mosque. In 1676 it was still entire, but in 1687 Athens was
besieged by the Venetians, and the Parthenon was hopelessly wrecked. As
a ruin it became the prey of the Turks and all other devastators, and in
order to save something of what remained of its precious works of art,
Lord Elgin, about the year 1800, brought home to England some portions
of the frieze of the temple, with other works of Phidias, in marble,
sold them to the government, and they are preserved in the British
Museum. This frieze is a most interesting subject to study, not only as a
specimen of Greek art of the period of Pericles, but as a historic record
of the type and action of the Greek horses of that day. It consists
of a series of white marble slabs, something over four feet wide, upon
which are sculptured, in high relief, the heroes and defenders of Athens,
mounted on horses, and some of these horses are pacing, while others are
trotting and cantering. This is the first undoubted record we have of the
pacer, and it is now over two thousand three hundred and thirty years old.

Britain became a Roman province in the reign of Claudius, in the first
part of the first century of the Christian era, and it continued under
the Roman yoke until A.D. 426, when the troops were withdrawn to help
Valentinian against the Huns, and never returned. When Julius Cæsar
first invaded Britain, in the year B.C. 55, he found the inhabitants
fierce and warlike and abundantly supplied with horses and war chariots.
These chariots were driven with great daring and skill, and the fact
was thus demonstrated that this kind of warfare was not a new thing to
the Britons, and that they were not to be easily subdued. The next year
he returned again, but the second seems to have been no more successful
than the first expedition. But little is known of the extent of territory
overrun or the result of these invasions beyond the fact that no
settlement was made then, and none till about ninety years afterward,
when under the reign of Claudius, a strong military colony was planted
there and Britain became a Roman province. During these centuries of
bondage we know practically nothing of the lives of the slaves and but
little of their masters, except the remnants of military works for
aggression and defence, and the magnificent roads they constructed
where-ever they moved their armies. In relation to their horses, I will
make a few extracts from a work published about the beginning of this
century, by Mr. John Lawrence, a man of great research and intelligence,
besides of a wide acquaintance with the practical affairs of the horse,
and, I may add, altogether the most reliable writer of his period. He

    “In forming the paces, if the colt was not naturally of a proud
    and lofty action, like the Spanish or Persian horses, wooden
    rollers and weights were bound to their pastern joints, which
    gave them the habit of lifting up their feet. This method,
    also, was practiced in teaching them the ambulatura, or amble
    (pace), perhaps universally the common traveling pace of the

    “That natural and most excellent pace, the trot, seems to
    have been very little prized or attended to by the ancients,
    and was, indeed, by the Romans held in a kind of contempt,
    or aversion, as is demonstrated by the terms which served to
    describe it. A trotting horse was called by them _succussator_,
    or shaker, and sometimes _cruciator_, or tormentor, which bad
    terms, it may be presumed, were applied specially to those
    which in these days we dignify with the expressive appellation
    of ‘bone-setters.’”

The statuary of the early ages furnishes some excellent illustrations
of the gait of the horse at that period of the world’s history. The
four bronze horses on St. Mark’s in Venice are known throughout the
world, and they are in the pacing attitude. The forefoot that is
advanced is possibly a little too much elevated to strike the ground
the same instant the hinder foot should strike it, but the whole action
indicated is undoubtedly the lateral action. The date of these horses
is lost in history, but it is supposed they were cast in Rome, about
the beginning of the Christian era. Their capture in Rome and transfer
to Constantinople, then their capture by the Venetians and transfer to
Venice, next their capture by Napoleon and transfer to Paris, and then
their restoration to Venice, are all matters of history.

William Stephanides, or Fitz Stephen, as he was called, a monk of
Canterbury, was born in London, lived in the reigns of King Stephen,
Henry II., and Richard I., and died 1191. He wrote a description of
London in Latin, which was afterward translated by John Strype, and
printed, from which I take the following extract:

    “There is without one of the gates, immediately in the suburb,
    a certain smooth field (Smithfield) in name and reality. There
    every Friday, unless it be one of the more solemn festivals, is
    a noted show of well-bred horses exposed for sale. The earls,
    barons and knights who are at the time resident in the city,
    as well as most of the citizens, flock thither either to look
    or to buy. _It is pleasant to see the nags with their sleek
    and shining coats, smoothly ambling (pacing) along, raising
    and setting down, as it were, their feet on either side; in
    one part (of the field) are horses better adapted to the
    esquires; those whose pace is rougher, yet expeditious, lift up
    and set down, as it were, the two opposite fore and hind feet
    (trotting) together._”

After locating and describing the pacers in one part of the field and
the trotters in another, Fitz Stephen goes on to take a look at the
colts, then horses of burden, “strong and stout of limb,” and then
their chargers in their galloping action. He next gives a very spirited
description of the race, when the people raise a shout and all the other
horses, cattle, etc., are cleared away, that the contestants may have
an unobstructed field. It is a fact worthy of note that every English
writer on the race horse, for the past century or two, has quoted a part
of the above paragraph from Fitz Stephen as the first known and recorded
instance of racing in England, but left one of the most important parts
out. Even Mr. Whyte, one of the most prominent of modern writers, in his
“History of the British Turf,” seems to have followed some other writer,
in the omission; or possibly, as he never had seen a pacer in England, he
concluded that Fitz Stephen had only imagined that he saw, in one part
of the field, horses moving at the lateral gait. In the paragraph quoted
above, I have italicised that part of the description which English
writers on turf subjects have omitted with remarkable uniformity.

This seems to have been the period in which the pacing horse reached the
highest point in official and popular appreciation, at least since the
days of the Roman occupation of Britain. In speaking of this period,
Mr. Lawrence says: “All descriptions of saddle horses were taught to
amble” (that did not amble naturally), “and that most excellent and
useful gait, the trot, was almost entirely disused.” In addition to the
evidence of Fitz Stephen, we have that furnished by the Great Seals of
a succession of sovereigns commencing with Richard I., and continuing
to Elizabeth. These seals represent a knight in armor, mounted on a
pacing horse in action, and perhaps the most conspicuous, at least the
clearest, impression that has come down to us is that of King John, used
at Runnymede, when he yielded to the demands of his barons and granted
the Magna Charta. This act secured the liberties of the Anglo-Saxon race
for all time and in all climes.

Mr. Thomas Blundeville was, probably, the first writer on the horse who
undertook to publish a book in the English language on that subject.
This book, entitled “The Art of Riding,” was merely a translation from
the Italian, with some brief observations on English horses added to it.
The first edition, it is said, was published in London, 1558, the year
that Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne. The only edition which I have
been able to find in the British Museum is that of 1580, in old English
black letter. In quoting from the old authors of that period I will seek
to avoid confusion by using the modern orthography. In speaking of the
horses of his day he says:

    “Some men would have a breed of great trotting horses meet for
    the war and to serve in the field. Some others again would have
    a breed of ambling horses of a mean stature for to journey and
    travel by the way. Some, again, would have a race of swift
    runners to run for wagers or to gallop the buck, or to serve
    for such like exercise for pleasure. But the plain countryman
    would have a breed only for draft or burthen.

    “The Irish Hobbie is a pretty fine horse, having a good head
    and a body indifferently well proportioned, saving that many
    of them be slender and pin-buttocked. They are tender-mouthed,
    nimble, pleasant and apt to be taught, and for the most part
    they be amblers and thus very meet for the saddle and to travel
    by the way. Yea, and the Irishmen, both with darts and light
    spears, do use to skirmish with them in the field, and many of
    them do prove to that use very well, by means they be so light
    and swift.

    “Let those mares that shall be put to the stallion be of a high
    stature, strongly made, large and fair, and have a trotting
    pace as the mares of Flanders and some of our own mares be. For
    it is not meet, for divers reasons, that horses of [service
    stallions] should amble. But if any man seeks to have a race
    of ambling horses, to travel by the way, then I would wish his
    stallion to be a fair jennet of Spain, or at least a bastard
    jennet, or else a fair Irish ambling Hobbie; and the mare to be
    also a bastard jennet, bred here within this realm, having an
    ambling pace, or else some other of our ambling mares, so that
    the mare be well proportioned. And if any man desires to have
    swift runners let him choose a horse of Barbary or a Turk to be
    his stallion, and let the mare, which shall be put unto him,
    be like of stature and making unto him, so nigh as may be, for
    most commonly, such sire and dam such colt.”

It is evident Mr. Blundeville was not much of a friend of the pacer, but
as an honest writer he considers things as he finds them. Unfortunately
he throws no light upon just what he means by the term “Spanish Jennet,”
and a definition of that term, as used in the sixteenth century, would
throw much light on passages from following writers in later periods.
Everybody knows he was a small Spanish saddle horse, but nobody knows
just what gait he took. To use Blundevilles own language, “The pace of
the jennet of Spain is neither trot nor amble, but a comely kind of going
like the Turke.”

Mr. Gervaise Markham published several revised and enlarged editions of
his work on the horse, the last of which I have been able to examine
being printed in London, 1607, the same year the colony was planted at
Jamestown, Virginia. In this edition he devotes nine short chapters or
paragraphs to the pacer. In quoting from him I will again use the modern
methods of spelling. He says:

    “First to speak of ambling in general. It is that smooth and
    easy pace which the labor and industry of an ingenious brain
    hath found out to relieve the aged, sick, impotent and diseased
    persons, to make women undertake journeying and so by their
    community to grace society; to make great men try the ease of
    travel, more willing to thrust themselves into the offices of
    the commonwealth, and to do the poor both relief and service.
    It makes them when necessity, or as the proverb is, “when
    the devil drives,” not to be vexed with the two torments, a
    troubled mind and a tormented body. To conclude, ambling was
    found out for the general ease of the whole world, as long as
    there is either pleasure, commerce or trade amongst the people.
    Now for the manner of the motion and the difference betwixt
    it and trotting. It cannot be described more plainly than I
    have set down in my former treatise; which is that it is the
    taking up of both legs together upon one side and so carrying
    them smoothly along to set them down upon the ground even
    together, and in that motion he must lift and wind up his fore
    foot somewhat high from the ground, but his hinder foot he must
    no more than take from the ground, as it were, sweep it close
    to the earth. Now, by taking up both his legs together on one
    side, I mean he must take up his right fore foot and his right
    hinder foot. For, as in the contrary pace, when a horse trots
    he takes up his feet crosswise, as the left hinder foot and the
    right fore foot, etc.”

Mr. Markham, in his edition of 1607, then goes on in six or eight
chapters acknowledging that many foals pace naturally, and to show how
the foal may be trained to pace. His methods are very cruel, in many
cases, and very crude throughout; but it clearly demonstrates the fact
that in the sixteenth century the pace was a very general gait among
English horses. In these chapters we find the toe weight first introduced
as well as the trammels or hopples. The most striking fact brought out in
these chapters is the discovery that more than three hundred years ago
Englishmen were using the same devices to convert trotters into pacers
that we are now using to convert pacers into trotters. He takes notice
that Mr. Blundeville had advised those who wished to breed amblers to
select a Spanish jennet or an Irish Hobbie, and objects to the former on
the grounds that their paces are weak and uncertain. From this I conclude
that the gait of the jennet, whatever it might have been, was not a habit
of action fixed in the breed, and that its transmission was doubtful.

Mr. Markham then goes on further to explain the mechanism of the trot
and the pace and incidentally introduces the rack or single-foot action,
which, I think, is the first time I have found it in any English writer.
He says:

    “The nearer a horse taketh his limbs from the ground, the
    opener and evener and the shorter he treadeth, the better will
    be his pace, and the contrary declares much imperfection. If
    you buy a horse for pleasure the amble is the best, in which
    you observe that he moves both his legs on one side together
    neat with complete deliberation, for if he treads too short
    he is apt to stumble, if too large to cut and if shuffling or
    rowling he does it slovenly, and besides rids no ground. If
    your horse be designed for hunting, a racking pace is most
    expedient, which little differs from the amble, only is more
    active and nimble, whereby the horse observes due motion, but
    you must not force him too eagerly, lest being in confusion he
    lose all knowledge of what you design him to, and so handle his
    legs confusedly. The gallop is requisite for race horses....
    If he gallop round and raise his fore legs he is then said to
    gallop strongly, but not capable of much speed, and is fitter
    for the war than racing.”

In 1667 the Duke of Newcastle published his famous work on the horse
under the title, “A New Method and Extraordinary Invention to Dress
Horses, and Work them According to Nature and also To Perfect Nature by
the Subtilty of Art which was Never Found Out, but by the Thrice Noble,
High, and Puissant Prince, William Cavendish, Duke, Marquess, and Earl of
Newcastle, etc., etc.,” followed with twelve other titles and offices.
The book was dedicated to “His Most Sacred Majesty, Charles the Second,”
and is pretentious and magniloquent in its letter press and its make-up
as it is in its title. In this work there is a great deal of bad English,
some sense, and much nonsense, all mixed up with a strut of superiority
that His Grace, no doubt, felt justified in enjoying after his long
years of beggary in Antwerp. In giving the _natural_ gaits of the horse
he places the walk first, then the trot and next the amble, which he
describes very minutely as follows:

    “For an amble he removes both his legs of a side, as, for
    example, take the far side, he removes his fore leg and his
    hinder leg at one time, whilst the other two legs of the near
    side stand still; and when those legs are on the ground, which
    he first removed, at the same time they are upon the ground
    the other side, which is the nearer side, removes fore leg and
    hinder leg on that side, and the other legs of the far side
    stand still. Thus an amble removes both his legs of a side and
    every remove changes sides; two of a side in the air and two
    upon the ground at the same time. And this is a perfect amble.”

The duke seems to have been somewhat profuse in the use of words, and
not very happy in his use of them, but after all we know just what he
means. The description of the movement is that of the clean-cut pace, and
our object in introducing it here is not only to show that the pace was
then a well-known and natural gait in England, but also to show that the
_pace_ and the _amble_ are one. In itself, the word “amble” is a better
word than “pace,” for the latter is often used in referring to a rate of
speed without regard to the particular gait taken by the horse, but in
this country it is now universally understood to apply to the lateral
motion, and it would not be wise at this day to attempt to change it.
There is an undefined supposition in the mind of some people that the
amble is something different from the pace, that it is a slower and
less pronounced gait, and hence we are often told a given horse did not
pace, but “he ambled off.” In all that we have found in the writings of
the past, and in all that I have seen with my own eyes, I have not been
able to discover that there is any distinction between the amble and the
pace. The only distinction is not in the gait itself, but in the fact
that our ancestors, four hundred years ago, used the word “amble” to
express precisely the same thing that their descendants now express by
the word “pace.” The only sense in which the word “amble” is used among
the horsemen of this country is to describe a kind of slow, incipient
pace that many horses, both runners and trotters, show when recalled for
a fresh start in scoring for a race. This probably indicates, whether
in the case of a runner or a trotter, that somewhere, not very far
removed, there is a pacing inheritance, and this incipient amble, as it
is sometimes called, comes from that inheritance. It is also possible
that it may arise from the excitement of the start and the confusion
consequent upon the contest.

At the close of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, about the beginning of the
seventeenth century, the pacing horse of England was at the highest point
of his utility and fame. He was the horse for the race course, he was
the horse for the hunting field, and he was the horse for the saddle. He
was able to beat King James’ Arabian, and with the few Barbs that had
then been brought in, the historian informs us, he was able to hold his
own. There were two tribes of his congeners, the Galloway and the Irish
Hobbie, the former from Southwestern Scotland and the north of England,
and the latter from Ireland. These tribes were chiefly pacers, and not a
few of them were distinguished as running horses. The Bald Galloway, as
he was called, was a grand representative of his tribe. He was simply a
native pony with a bald face, and he was a capital runner for his day,
and a number of his get were distinguished runners. True, he is tricked
out in the Stud Book with a pedigree, wholly fictitious, and that nobody
ever heard of for a hundred years after he was foaled, but that did
not prevent his daughter Roxana, when bred to Godolphin Arabian, from
producing two of his greatest sons, Lath and Cade. This topic, however,
has already been considered in the chapter on the English Race Horse.
The Galloways were very famous as pacers in their day, and it seems they
were about the last remnants of the pacing tribes to be found in England.
It seems, also, that long after they had ceased to be known on the
other side their descendants were still known by the same designation in
Virginia. From the history of the times, it appears that a wealthy Irish
gentleman invested quite largely in shipping live stock to Virginia, and
there can hardly be a doubt that his shipments included some of the Irish

While the opening of the seventeenth century witnessed the supremacy of
the English pacer, in the uses and enjoyments of the lives of the people,
during the whole course of its succeeding years he was battling for his
existence, and at its close he was nearly extinct. At the close of Queen
Anne’s reign there were still a few Galloways left, but in the early
Georges there were no longer any survivors, and Great Britain was without
a pacer in the whole realm. The extinction of a race of horses that had
been the delight of the kings, queens, nobility, and gentry of a great
nation for many centuries is, perhaps, without a precedent in the history
of any civilized people, and the causes which produced this wonderful
result are well worthy of careful study. In looking into these causes we
must consider the facts as we find them.

As we have no guide, either historic, linguistic or ethnographic, by
which we can certainly determine the blood of the original inhabitants
of the British Isles, it is not remarkable that we should be in profound
ignorance as to the blood of their horses. They were, doubtless, like
their masters, of mixed origin, and through all the centuries their
appearance would indicate that they have been bred and reared in a
nomadic or semi-wild state, in which only the toughest and fleetest
had survived. A good many years ago I met with a theory, advanced by
somebody, that the original horse stock of Britain came from the North,
but there were no reasons given to support it. I have no hesitation in
accepting this theory, as far as it distinguishes between the North
and the South, for some Northern countries produce vast numbers of
natural pacers, as Russia, for instance, but I have never learned that
any Southern country produced pacers. Certainly the shaft horse of
the Russian drosky has been a flying pacer for generations, and great
numbers of them are produced in Russia, especially in the eastern part
of the empire. As these pacers are produced in a natural and semi-wild
state, it must be conceded that habits of action have been inherited
from their ancestors in the remote past. Historically, we know that
the Phœnicians, when they ruled the trade of the world, supplied the
whole of the northern coast of Africa, from Egypt to Algiers, and the
southern coast of Spain, with horses, about a thousand years before the
Christian era. Now, the horses of those regions are the descendants of
the original stock carried there by the Phœnicians, and we know their
habit of action is not that of the pacer. Hence the conclusion that the
English pacer came from the North and not from the South. In speaking of
the difference in the gaits of Northern and Southern horses, Mr. John
Lawrence specifies the horses of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, etc., and says:
“They are round made, but with clean heads and limbs; their best pace
is the trot (or pace), which indeed is the characteristic pace of the
Northern, as the gallop is of the Southern horse.” Other writers speak
of the trot (or pace) as common to Northern horses, but as not common
to Southern horses. Now, as all Southern horses do trot, and as these
writers could not fail to know that they trotted, at some rate of speed,
we must construe their terms so as to be consistent with plain, common
sense. There was something in the “trot” of the Northern horse altogether
different from the “trot” of the Southern horse that rendered his habit
of action more conspicuous, probably by his higher rate of speed, but
still more probably by the peculiar mechanism of his lateral action. If
we insert the word “pace” instead of the word “trot,” the meaning of
these old writers becomes very plain and in harmony with other known
facts. Neither does it militate against the theory that the inhabitants
of Britain may have secured their original horse stock from the Phœnician
merchants; but if they did, it seems quite evident that at a later date
they supplemented their supply from the pacing element from the North.

At the close of the fifteenth century Polydore Virgil, an Italian
ecclesiastic, came to England and wrote a descriptive history of the
British Islands in Latin, which was published about 1509. Part of
this history was very clumsily translated about the time the English
language began to assume its present form in literature and learning.
In speaking of the horses of the country, he seems to have been greatly
surprised with the pacers, and treats them as a curiosity. He says: “A
great company of their horses do not trot, but amble, and yet neither
trotters nor amblers are strongest, as strength is not always incident
to that which is most gentle or less courageous.” It will be observed
that these observations were made nearly four hundred years ago, and that
the surprise of the Italian was not at merely seeing a few pacers which
he had never seen in his own country, but that “the great company” of
English horses were pacers. As I have here given an instance showing the
surprise of an Italian at finding pacers, I will follow it with another
showing the surprise of an Englishman at not finding any pacers. The
chaplain of the Earl of Cumberland, on his several voyages of discovery
in South America and the West India Islands, about 1596, made elaborate
note of what he saw and learned of the new countries which the English
then visited for the first time. These notes passed into the hands of
that wonderfully prolific writer, or rather compiler, Samuel Purchas,
from whose fourth volume, page 1171, the following paragraph is taken:

    “And I wot not how that kind of beast [speaking of cattle]
    hath specially a liking to these Southerly parts of the world
    above their horses, none of which I have seen by much so tall
    and goodly as ordinarily they are in England; they were well
    made and well mettled, and good store there are of them, but
    methinks there are many things wanting in them which are
    ordinary in our English light horses. They are all trotters,
    nor do I remember that I have seen above one ambler, and that
    was a little fiddling nag. But it may be if there were better
    breeders they would have better and more useful increase, yet
    they are good enough for hackneys, to which use only almost
    they are employed.”

The surprise of the Englishman at finding no pacers in South America
seems to have been as great as that of the Italian at finding so many of
them in England, one hundred years earlier. These horses were strictly
Spanish, and probably were descended from those brought from Palos in
1493 by Columbus, the first horses that ever crossed the Atlantic. The
“one little fiddling nag” that showed some kind of a pacing gait may have
been of English blood and captured from some English expedition, several
of which were unfortunate; or his failure to trot may have been the
result of an injury. It should not be forgotten that in that period every
sea captain was out for what he could capture, and this was especially
the case as between the English and the Spanish. These are the outlines
of the principal points of evidence that the pacing habit of action came
from the North and not from the South. That there were pacers in both
Greece and Rome before the Christian era, and perhaps later, there can be
no doubt, for they were both overrun and devastated again and again by
the hordes of Northern Barbarians, bringing their flocks and their herds
and their families, as well as their horses, with them.

This question naturally suggests itself here: “If the English pacer had
been the popular favorite of the English people for so many centuries,
how did it come that he and his habit of action had been so completely
wiped out in one century, the seventeenth?” This question might be
answered in very few words, by saying the people thought they were
getting something better to put in his place. In reaching this conclusion
I will not pretend to say the judgment of the people was not right, that
is, if they exercised any judgment in the case. “Jamie the Scotsman”
when on the throne set the fashion in the direction of foreign blood
by paying the enormous price of five hundred pounds for the Markham
Arabian. The Duke of Newcastle, when he was young, had personally seen
this horse, and while he thought he was a true Arabian, he described him
as a very ordinary horse in his size and form, and an entire failure as
a race horse. It seems that any average native pacer could outrun him,
but he carried the badge of royalty, and that was sufficient to make him
fashionable, as he was not only the king’s horse, but was himself a royal
Arabian. The weak place in the character of James I., in addition to his
intolerable pedantry, was his inordinate ambition to be considered the
wisest sovereign who ever sat upon a throne since the days of Solomon.
His courtiers, nobility, and all who approached him understood his
weakness, and a little quiet praise of the great superiority of the
Arabian blood in the horse, over all other breeds and varieties, was
always grateful to the monarch, for he was the original discoverer and
patentee of that blood. Then and there, in order to praise the wisdom
of a foolish king, a foolish fashion grew into a foolish notion that
has afflicted all England from that day to this. No humbug of either
ancient or modern times has had so long a run and so wide a range as
the miserable fallacy “that all excellence in the horse comes from the
Arabian.” Notwithstanding the thousand tests that have been made and the
thousand failures that have invariably followed, from the time of King
James to the present day, there are still men writing books and magazine
articles on the assumption that “all excellence in the horse comes from
the Arabian,” without ever having devoted an honest hour to the study of
the question as to whether this is a truth or a fallacy. This craze for
Arabian blood was the primary cause of the extinction of the pacer, and
this craze was so strong in its influence that when a foreign horse was
brought in, no difference from what country, if he were of the lighter
type he was called an Arabian and so advertised in order to secure
the patronage of breeders. Horses brought from the African coast were
invariably classed as Arabians, notwithstanding they and their ancestors
were in Africa more than a thousand years before there were any horses in
Arabia; and the same may be said of Spain. But as this line of inquiry
has already been considered in another chapter, I will get back to the
immediate topic.

The process of breeding out the pacer did not commence in real earnest
until the middle of the seventeenth century, when the Stuarts regained
the sovereignty of Great Britain in the person of Charles II. Released
from the restraints of Puritan rule, the Restoration brought with it a
carnival of immorality and vice, for the court and the courtiers set the
fashion and the people followed. As the breeding interest of the period
of which we now speak has already been considered in the chapter on the
English Race Horse, I will not further enlarge upon it. The light, or
running and hunting, horses of England of that day were not all pacers,
but they were all of the same type and the same blood, hence when I
speak of the pacers I include their congeners. They were small—less than
fourteen hands high—and not generally handsome and attractive. In general
utility they were ahead of the importations, and doubtless many of them
could run as fast and as far as the foreign horses, but the foreigners
had the advantage in size, especially the Turks and the Neapolitans;
besides this, they were more uniformly handsome and attractive in their
form and carriage. It is also probable that the outcross from the
strangers to invigorate the stock was needed and resulted in the increase
of the size of the progeny. This latter suggestion is inferential and has
been sustained by many similar experiences, but without this as a start
it would be exceedingly difficult to account for the rapid increase in
the height of the English race horse. It is certainly true that the chief
aim of the English breeder of that day was to increase the size, without
losing symmetry and style, and if he found that foreign upon native blood
gave him a start in that direction, he was wise in the commingling.
Another consideration, growing out of the rural economy of the people,
doubtless had a very wide influence in the direction of wiping out the
pacer, in this period of transition. Long journeys in the saddle became
less frequent, good roads began to appear and vehicles on wheels took
the place of the saddler and the pack horse. To get greater weight and
strength for this service, recourse was had to crosses with the larger
and courser breeds, and through these channels have come the giants and
the pigmies of the modern race course. Under the changed conditions of
travel and transportation it is not remarkable that the people should
have been willing to see their long-time favorites disappear, for it
is known to every man of experience that the pace is not a desirable
gait for harness work. No doubt the pacer is as strong as the trotter
of the same size and make-up, but in his smooth, gliding motion there
is a suggestion of weakness communicated to his driver that is never
suggested by the bold, bounding trotter. The antagonism between the
pacers and the new horses of Saracenic origin was irreconcilable and
one or the other had to yield. As the management of the contest was in
the hands of the master the result could be easily foreseen, for if one
cross failed, another followed and then another, till the Saracenic blood
was completely dominant in eliminating the lateral and implanting the
diagonal action in its stead.

As no home-bred pacer, of any type or breed, has been seen in England for
nearly two hundred years, it is not remarkable that Englishmen of good
average intelligence, for the past two or three generations, have lived
and died supposing they knew all about horses, and yet did not know there
had ever been such a thing in England as a breed of pacing horses. When,
some eighteen or twenty years ago, I called the attention of Mr. H. F.
Euren, compiler of the Hackney Stud Book, to the early English pacers as
a most inviting field in which to look for the origin of the “Norfolk
Trotters,” he was surprised to learn that such horses had existed in
England, but he went to work and gathered up many important facts that
appear in the first volume of the Hackney compilation. Many of these
facts, but in less detail, had already appeared, from time to time,
in _Wallace’s Monthly_, but Mr. Euren’s was the first modern English
publication to place them before English readers. From this prompting,
Mr. Euren did well, but we must go back a little to see how this subject
was treated by English writers of horse books, who wrote without any
promptings from this side.

Mr. William Youatt was a voluminous writer on domestic animals, and at
one time was looked upon as the highest authority on the horse, both
in England and in this country. He seems to have been a practitioner of
veterinary surgery, and from the number of volumes which he published
successfully, he must have been a man of ability and education. There can
be no question that he knew a great deal—quite too much to know anything
well. The first edition of his work on the horse was published in 1831,
and soon after its appearance several publishing houses in this country
seized upon it as very valuable, and each one of them soon had an edition
of it before the public. It purports to have been written at the instance
of “The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.” This declaration
was a good thing, in a commercial view, and no doubt it did much in
extending the circulation of the book. Without tarrying to note several
minor historical blunders, I will go direct to one relating to the gait
of the horse, which is now under consideration. In his fourth edition,
page 535, he incidentally discusses the mechanism of the pace, and after
speaking of the Elgin Marbles, to which I have referred at the beginning
of this chapter, and after conceding that two of the four horses are not
galloping but pacing, he says:

    “Whether this was then the mode of trotting or not, it is
    certain that it is never seen to occur in nature in the
    present day; and, indeed, it appears quite inconsistent with
    the necessary balancing of the body, and was, therefore, more
    probably an error of the artist.”

This remark is simply amazing in an author who pretentiously undertakes
to instruct his countrymen in the history of the horse when he knows
nothing about that history. If he had gone back only twenty-two years,
“Old John Lawrence,” in his splendid quarto, would have told him about
the pacer. If he had gone back one hundred and sixty years, the Duke of
Newcastle would have explained to him the complete and perfect mechanism
of the pacing gait. If he had gone still further back and examined
Gervaise Markham, Blundeville, Polydore Virgil, and Fitz Stephen the
Monk, of the twelfth century, any and all of them would have explained
to him the pacing habit of action and shown him that for many successive
centuries the pacing horse was the popular and fashionable horse of
the realm. If Mr. Youatt had lived to see John R. Gentry pace a mile
in 2:00½; Robert J. in 2:01½, and dozens of others in less than 2:10,
he might have changed his mind and concluded that it was possible,
after all, for a horse to travel at the lateral gait without toppling
over. From Mr. Youatt and a few other modern English authors, most
of our American writers on the horse have derived what little mental
pabulum they thought they needed, and thus an error at the fountain has
been carried into all the ramifications of our horse literature. Only
two or three years ago a very intelligent gentleman, who had attained
great eminence as a veterinary surgeon, especially for his knowledge
and treatment of the horse’s foot, seriously and in good faith stoutly
maintained that the pacing habit of action was merely the result of an
abnormal condition of the foot, and that all pacers would trot just as
soon as their feet were put in the right shape. We must not laugh at
this wild notion, for it is really no worse than Mr. Youatt’s doubting
whether it was possible for a horse to balance himself at the lateral
motion. Neither gentleman seemed to know anything about the fact that
it was a matter of inheritance, and that the lateral habit of action
had come down by transmission through all the generations for a period
of more than two thousand years. It is hardly necessary to say that the
gentleman who was so confident that the pace was merely the result of the
abnormal condition of the feet brought his notions about the pacer from
across the water. He was an Anglo-American, and could make a pacer into
a trotter in a jiffy, by using the paring-knife. He was an intelligent
man and a skillful veterinarian, but there were no pacers in England
and there should be none here. Toward the close of the chapter on The
Colonial Horses of Virginia, will be found the observations of an English
tourist in 1795-96 who is very certain that there is some mistake about
the pacer, and will not be convinced there are any, unless they are
artificially created. Having now completed what I had to say about the
old English pacer, it is next in order to consider his descendants in
this country and the relations they bear to the American trotter.



    Regulations against stallions at large—American pacers taken
    to the West Indies—Narragansett pacers; many foolish and
    groundless theories about their origin—Dr. McSparran on the
    speed of the pacer—Mr. Updike’s testimony—Mr. Hazard and
    Mr. Enoch Lewis—Exchanging meetings with Virginia—Watson’s
    Annals—Matlack and Acrelius—Rip Van Dam’s horse—Cooper’s
    evidence—Cause of disappearance—Banished to the frontier—First
    intimation that the pace and the trot were essentially one
    gait—How it was received—Analysis of the two gaits—Pelham,
    Highland Maid, Jay-Eye-See, Blue Bull—The pacer forces
    himself into publicity—Higher rate of speed—Pacing races
    very early—Quietly and easily developed—Comes to his speed
    quickly—His present eminence not permanent—The gamblers carried
    him there—Will he return to his former obscurity?

In the several chapters devoted to “Colonial Horse History” will be
found all the leading facts that I have been able to glean from the
early sources of information. With the exceptions of the horses brought
from Utrecht in Holland to New Amsterdam (New York), two shiploads that
sailed out of the Zuider Zee and landed at Salem, Massachusetts, and
those brought from Sweden by the colonists that settled on the Delaware,
all the early importations came from England. As much the larger number
of those from England and Sweden were pacers, the breeds and habits of
action were soon mixed up, as those who had no pacers wanted pacers for
the saddle, and those who wanted more size, regardless of the gait,
were always ready to supply their want by an exchange of their saddle
horses for more size. The Dutch horses were certainly something over
fourteen hands and the English and Swedish horses were perhaps nearer
thirteen than fourteen hands. The colonists from the first, and from one
end of the land to the other, seem to have appreciated the importance
of increasing the size and strength of their horse stock, and this was
very hard to do under the conditions then prevailing of allowing their
horses to roam at large. Hence, stringent regulations were adopted in
all the colonies against permitting immature entire colts and stallions
under size to wander where they pleased. It is doubtful whether these
regulations were any more effective than those of Henry VIII., for while
there was some increase, it was hardly perceptible until after the close
of the colonial days. The real increase did not commence till the farmers
had provided themselves with facilities for keeping their breeding stock
at home.

[Illustration: JOHN R. GENTRY.

By Ashland Wilkes, pacing record 2:00½, 1896.]

It is very evident from the statistics of size and gait, as given in
the chapters referred to above, that our forefathers wisely selected
the most compact, strong and hardy animals they could find in England
as the type best adapted to fight their way against the hardships of a
life in the wilderness of the new world. There have been some attempts,
wholly fanciful and baseless, to trace importations from other countries,
outside of those mentioned above, but all such attempts have proven
wholly imaginary and worse than futile. In less than twenty years after
the New England colonies received their first supply they commenced
shipping horses by the cargo to Barbadoes and other West India Islands.
This trade was cultivated, extended to all the islands, and continued
during the remainder of the seventeenth and practically the whole of the
eighteenth century. The pacers of the American colonies were exceedingly
popular and sought after by the Spanish as well as the Dutch and English
islands. Indeed, the planters of Cuba alone carried away at high prices
nearly all the pacers that New England could produce. They knew nothing
about pacers for the saddle until they had tried them and then they
would have nothing else. These continuous raids of the Spaniards of the
West Indies upon the pacers of New England, and Rhode Island especially,
has been assigned, by the local historians of that State as one of the
principal causes of the decadence and practically final disappearance of
the Narragansett pacer from the seat of his triumphs and his fame. It
is just to remark here, in passing, that if there had been pacers among
the horses of Spain, the Spanish dependencies would have secured their
supplies from the mother country and not have come to Rhode Island and
paid fabulous prices for them.

As all the pacing traditions of this country to-day point to the
horses of Narragansett Bay as the source from which our modern pacers
have derived their speed, we must give some attention to the various
theories that have been advanced as to the origin of the Narragansett
horse. In time past, and extending back to a period “whereof the memory
of man runneth not to the contrary,” the horse world has been cursed
with a class of men who have always been ready to invent and put in
circulation the most marvelous and incredible stories about the origin of
every remarkable horse that has appeared. Some of these wiseacres have
maintained that the original Narragansett pacer was caught wild in the
woods by the first settlers on Narragansett Bay, while others (and this
seems to be of Canadian origin) have insisted that when being brought to
this country a storm struck the ship and the horse was thrown overboard,
and after nine days he was found off the coast of Newfoundland quietly
eating rushes on a sand bar, where he was rescued and brought into
Narragansett Bay. This story of the marine horse probably had its origin
in the experiences of Rip Van Dam, which will be narrated further on.
Another representation, coming this time from a very reputable source,
has been made as to the origin of the Narragansett horse, and as many, no
doubt, have accepted it as true, I must give it such consideration as its
prominence demands. Mr. I. T. Hazard, a representative of the very old
and prominent Hazard family of Rhode Island, in a letter to the Rev. Mr.
Updike, makes the following statement:

    “My grandfather, Governor Robinson, introduced the famous
    saddle horse, the Narragansett pacer, known in the last century
    over all the civilized parts of North America and the West
    Indies, from whence they have lately been introduced into
    England, as a ladies’ saddle horse, under the name of the
    Spanish Jennet. Governor Robinson imported the original from
    Andalusia, in Spain, and the raising of them for the West India
    market was one of the objects of the early planters of this
    country. My grandfather, Robert Hazard, raised about a hundred
    of them annually, and often loaded two vessels a year with
    them, and other products of his farm, which sailed direct from
    the South Ferry to the West Indies, where they were in great

This theory of the origin of the Narragansett came down to Mr. Hazard
as a tradition, no doubt, but like a thousand other traditions it has
nothing to sustain it. Opposed to it there are two clearly ascertained
facts, either one of which is wholly fatal to it. In the first place,
there were no pacers in Andalusia or any other part of Spain, and in the
second place, these horses, according to official data, were the leading
item of export from Rhode Island in 1680, and Governor Robinson was not
born till about 1693. As impossibilities admit of no argument, I will
not add another word to this “Andalusian” origin tradition, except to
say that a hundred years later, when the pacing dam of Sherman Morgan
was taken from Cranston, Rhode Island, up into Vermont, she was called
a “Spanish mare,” because Mr. Hazard had said the original Narragansett
had come from Spain. The story of the descendants of the Narragansetts
having been carried from the West Indies to England, and there introduced
under the name of the Spanish Jennet as a lady’s saddle horse, is wholly
imaginative. The Spanish Jennet, whatever its gait may have been, was
well known in England many years before the first horse was brought to
any of the American colonies. (See extracts from Blundeville and Markham
in Chapter XII.)

After several years of fruitless search for some trace of the early
importations of horses into the colony of Rhode Island, I have reached
the conclusion that probably no such importations were ever made. The
colony of Massachusetts Bay commenced importing horses and other live
stock from England in 1629, and continued to do so for several years
and until they were fully supplied, as stated above. In 1640 a shipload
of horses were exported to the Barbadoes, and it was about this time
that Rhode Island began to assume an organized existence. Her people
were largely made up of refugees from the religious intolerance of the
other New England colonies, and they brought their families and effects,
including their horses, with them. The blood of the Narragansett pacer,
therefore, was not different from the blood of the pacers of the other
colonies, but the development of his speed by the establishment of a
pacing course and the offering of valuable prizes, naturally brought the
best and the fastest horses to this colony and from the best and fastest
they built up a breed that became famous throughout all the inhabited
portions of the Western Hemisphere. The race track, with the valuable
prizes it offered and the emulation it aroused, was what did it. As the
question of origin is thus settled in accordance with what is known of
history and the natural order of things, and as the Narragansett is the
great tribe representing the lateral action then and since, we must
consider such details of history as have come down to us.

The Rev. James McSparran, D.D., was sent out by the London Society
for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, to take charge of
an Episcopal church that had been planted some years before in Rhode
Island. He arrived in 1721, and lived till 1759. He was an Irishman, and
appears to have been somewhat haughty and irascible in his temperament
and was disposed to find fault with the climate, the currency, the
people, and pretty much everything he came in contact with. He was
a man of observation, and during the thirty-eight years he spent in
ministering to the spiritual wants of his flock, he was not unmindful
of what was passing around him, and made many notes and reflections on
the various phases of life as they presented themselves to his mind, and
especially on the products and industries of the colony. These notes and
observations he wrote out, and they were published in Dublin in 1753,
under the title of “America Dissected.”

His writings do not discover that he was a man of very ardent piety,
but he was honored as a good man while he lived, and was buried under
the altar he had served so long. His duties sometimes called him away
into Virginia, and, in speaking of the great distance of one parish from
another, he uses the following language:

    “To remedy this (the distance), as the whole province, between
    the mountains, two hundred miles up, and the sea, is all a
    champaign, and without stones, they have plenty of a small
    sort of horses, the best in the world, like the little Scotch
    Galloways; and ’tis no extraordinary journey to ride from
    sixty to seventy miles or more in a day. I have often, but
    upon larger pacing horses, rode fifty, nay, sixty miles a day,
    even here in New England, where the roads are rough, stony and

The reverend gentleman seems to assume that his readers knew the Scotch
Galloways were pacers, and with this explanation his observations are
very plain. He makes no distinction between the Virginia horse and his
congener of Rhode Island except that of size, in which the latter had the
advantage. In speaking of the products of Rhode Island he says:

    “The produce of this colony is principally butter and cheese,
    fat cattle, wool, and fine horses, which are exported to all
    parts of English America. They are remarkable for fleetness and
    swift pacing; _and I have seen some of them pace a mile in a
    little more than two minutes, and a good deal less than three_.”

When I first read this sentence in the reverend doctor’s book I confess
I was not prepared to accept it in any other light than that of a wild
enthusiast, who knew but little of the force of the language he used. To
talk about horses pacing, a hundred and fifty years ago, in a little more
than two minutes and a good deal less than three, appeared to be simply
monstrous. The language evidently means, according to all fair rules of
construction, that the mile was performed nearer two minutes than three,
or in other words, considerably below two minutes and thirty seconds. I
doubt not my readers will hesitate, and perhaps refuse, to accept such a
performance, just as I did myself till I had carefully weighed not only
the character of the author of the statement, but the circumstances that
seemed to support it. If the learned divine had known no more of the
world and its ways than many of his profession, I would have concluded he
was not a competent judge of speed; but he was a man of affairs, and knew
perfectly well just what he was saying. The question naturally arises
here as to what opportunities or facilities the doctor had for timing
those pacers of a hundred and fifty years ago. In a note appended to the
above extract by Mr. Updike, the editor of the work, I find the following:

    “The breed of horses called Narragansett pacers, once so
    celebrated for fleetness, endurance and speed, has become
    extinct. These horses were highly valued for the saddle, and
    transported the rider with great pleasantness and sureness of
    foot. The pure bloods could not trot at all. Formerly they had
    pace-races. Little Neck Beach, in South Kingston, of one mile
    in length, was the race course. A silver tankard was the prize,
    and high bets were otherwise made on speed. Some of these prize
    tankards were remaining a few years ago. Traditions respecting
    the swiftness of these horses are almost incredible.”

The facts stated by Mr. Updike in this note are corroborated from other
sources, and may be accepted as true. These were the opportunities
and facilities the doctor had for holding his watch, and nobody will
doubt they were sufficient to enable him to be a competent witness.
In connection with this subject, and as another footnote, Mr. Updike
introduces a letter from Mr. I. T. Hazard, which brings out another very
curious fact in the history of the pacer. The Hazard family was very
eminent in Rhode Island, and many of its members have occupied positions
of high honor and responsibility for several generations. The date of
the letter is not given, and we may infer it may have been written fifty
years ago, or perhaps more. Mr. Hazard says:

    “Within ten years one of my aged neighbors, Enoch Lewis, since
    deceased, informed me he had been to Virginia as one of the
    riding boys, to return a similar visit of the Virginians in
    that section, in a contest on the turf; and that such visits
    were common with the racing sportsmen of Narragansett and
    Virginia, when he was a boy. Like the old English country
    gentlemen, from whom they were descended, they were a
    horse-racing, fox-hunting, feasting generation.”

This paragraph from Mr. Hazard’s pen has been the subject of very
deliberate consideration. The first promptings of my judgment were
to doubt and reject it, especially on account of the absence of date
to the letter, and of the remote period in which Mr. Enoch Lewis
must have visited Virginia. Another question, as to why we have not
this information from any other source except Mr. Hazard, presented
itself with no inconsiderable force. After viewing the matter in all
its bearings I am forced to concede that it is likely to be true.
These visits must have taken place before the Revolution, and from
the construction we are able to place upon the dates, this was not
impossible. It is a fact that I do not hesitate to announce that before
the Revolution racing in all its forms was more universally indulged in
as an amusement than it ever has been since. This was before the days of
newspapers, and all we can possibly know of the sporting events of that
period we must gather up from the detached fragments that have come down
to us by tradition. There was a strong bond of sympathy and friendship
between the followers of Dr. McSparran in Rhode Island, surrounded as
they were by Puritans, and their co-religionists in Virginia. They were
accustomed to maritime life, and had abundance of vessels fitted up
for the shipment of horses and other live stock to foreign ports. To
take a number of their fastest pacers on board one of their sloops and
sail for Virginia would not have been considered much of an adventure.
These visits were not only occasions of pleasure and festivity, with
the incidental profits of winning purses and bets, but they were a most
successful means of advertising the Narragansett pacer; and through these
means alone the market was opened, as Dr. McSparran expresses it, in
all parts of British America. When we consider the widespread fame of
these Rhode Island horses, and that there were no other means by which
they could have achieved it, except by their actual performances, we are
forced to the conclusion that they were carried long distances, and in
many directions, for purely sporting purposes. That these visits would
result in the transfer of a good number of the best and fastest horses
from Narragansett to Virginia would be a natural sequence, and thus, in
after years, we might look for a strong infusion of Narragansett blood in
the Virginian pacing-horse.

It appears to be a law of our civilization that each generation produces
somebody who, out of pure love for the curious and forgotten, devotes
the best years of his life to hunting up old things that have well-nigh
slipped away from the memory of man. In this class Mr. John F. Watson
stands conspicuous in what he has done for Philadelphia and New York.
In 1830 he published a work entitled “Annals of Philadelphia and
Pennsylvania,” in two volumes, and among all the antiquated manners and
habits that he again brings to our knowledge, he has something to say
about the horse of an early day:

    “The late very aged T. Matlack, Esq., was passionately fond of
    races in his youth. He told me of his remembrances about Race
    Street. In his early days the woods were in commons, having
    several straggling forest trees still remaining there, and
    the circular course ranging through those trees. He said all
    genteel horses were pacers. A trotting-horse was deemed a base
    breed. These Race Street races were mostly pace-races. His
    father and others kept pacing stallions for propagating the

Mr. Watson further remarks, on the same subject: “Thomas Bradford, Esq.,
in telling me of the recollections of the races, says he was told that
the earliest races were scrub and pace-races on the ground now used as
Race Street.”

The Rev. Israel Acrelius, for many years pastor of the Swedish church of
Philadelphia, wrote a book early in the last century, under the title,
“History of New Sweden,” which has been translated into English. In
describing the country and people, in their habits and amusements, he
thus speaks of the horse:

    “The horses are real ponies, and are seldom found over thirteen
    hands high. He who has a good riding horse never employs him
    for draught, which is also the less necessary, as journeys, for
    the most part, are made on horseback. It must be the result of
    this, more than to any particular breed in the horses, that the
    country excels in fast horses, so that horse races are often
    made for very high stakes.”

It will be noted that Mr. Acrelius does not say that these races were
pacing-races; but when his remark is taken in connection with what
Mr. Matlack said about the pacers, and when it is considered that he
is speaking of the speed of the saddle horses as such, we can easily
understand his true meaning. In our turf history I supposed I was getting
well back when I reached the great race between Galloway’s Selim and Old
England, in 1767, but here we find that race was comparatively modern,
and that the pacers antedated the gallopers by many, many years.

In 1832 Mr. Watson did the same service for New York that he had done for
Philadelphia, and published his “Annals of New York,” in which we find
the piece of horse history embodied in the extract printed on pages 126
and 127, to which the reader will please turn.

It is hardly possible to be mistaken in assuming that Rip Van Dam’s
letter was written to some person in Philadelphia, and that Mr. Watson
saw it there. I would give a great deal for the sight of it; and if it
has been preserved in any of the public libraries of that city, either
in type or in manuscript form, I have good hopes of yet inspecting it.
In one point of view, it is of exceeding value, and that is its date.
It is fully established by this letter that, as early as 1711, the
Narragansetts were not only established as a breed or family, but that
their fame was already widespread. This, of necessity, carries us back
into the latter part of the seventeenth century, when their exceptional
characteristics were first developed, or began to manifest themselves. In
reaching that period we are so near the first importations of horses to
the colonies that it is no violence to either history or good sense to
conclude that the original Narragansett was one among the very earliest
importations. This plays havoc with some Rhode Island traditions, as will
be seen below; but with 1711 fixed as a point when the breed was famous,
traditions must stand aside.

While on this matter of dates, it may not be unprofitable to compare the
advent of the Narragansett with the well-known epochs in horse history.
Every schoolboy knows that the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian,
say twenty years after, were the great founders of the English race
horse. The Narragansetts had reached the very highest pinnacle of fame
before the Darley Arabian was foaled. Darley Arabian reached England
about the same year that Rip Van Dam’s Narragansett jumped over the side
of the sloop and swam ashore, and this was eighty years before there was
an attempt at publishing an English stud book. When Janus and Othello,
and Traveller, and Fearnaught, the great founders of the American race
horse, first reached Virginia, they found the Narragansett pacer had
been there more than a generation before. On the point of antiquity,
therefore, the Narragansett is older than what we designate as the
thoroughbred race horse, and if he has a lineal descendant living to-day
the pacer has a longer line of speed inheritance, at his gait, than the

The only attempt at a description of this breed that I have met with is
that given by Cooper, the novelist, in a footnote to “The Last of the
Mohicans.” This note may be accepted as history, so far as it goes, and
pretends to be history; but I am not prepared to admit that all the breed
were sorrels. This color, no doubt, prevailed in those specimens that
Mr. Cooper had seen or heard of, but I think all colors prevailed, as in
other breeds. He says:

    “In the State of Rhode Island there is a bay called
    Narragansett, so named for a strong tribe of Indians that
    formerly dwelt on its banks. Accident, or one of those
    unaccountable freaks which nature sometimes plays in the
    animal world, gave rise to a breed of horses which were once
    well known in America by the name of Narragansetts. They were
    small, commonly of the color called sorrel in America, and
    distinguished by their habit of pacing. Horses of this race
    were, and still are, in much request as saddle-horses, on
    account of their hardiness, and the ease of their movements. As
    they were also sure of foot, the Narragansetts were much sought
    for by females who were obliged to travel over the roots and
    holes in the new countries.”

Without having a minute description of so much as a single individual
of the race, I can only infer, from general descriptions, as to what
their family peculiarities of form and shape may have been. It is fully
established that they were very compact and hardy horses, and that they
were not large; perhaps averaging about fourteen and a quarter hands in
height. I have met with no intimation that they were stylish or handsome,
and we think it is safe to conclude that they were plain in their form,
and low in their carriage. From my conceptions of the horse I think one
of the better-shaped Canadian pacers, of fifteen hands or thereabouts,
might be accepted as a fair representative of the Narragansett of
a hundred and fifty years ago. He was fleet, hardy, docile, and
sure-footed, but not beautiful, and it is reasonable to suppose that the
lack of style and beauty was one of the leading causes of his becoming
extinct in the land of his nativity.

In considering the causes which resulted in what we may call the
dispersal of the Narragansett pacers, and their extinction in the seat
of their early fame, we must be governed by what is reasonable and
philosophical in the industrial interests of the people, rather than look
for some great overwhelming disaster, like an earthquake, that ingulfed
them in a night. In speaking of this dispersal, and the causes which led
to it, Mr. Hazard says:

    “One of the causes of the loss of that famous breed here was
    the great demand for them in Cuba, when that island began to
    cultivate sugar extensively. The planters became suddenly rich,
    and wanted the pacing-horse for themselves and their wives and
    daughters to ride, faster than we could supply them, and sent
    an agent to this country to purchase them on such terms as he
    could, but to purchase them at all events. I have heard my
    father say he knew the agent very well, and he made his home
    at the Rowland Brown House, at Tower Hill, where he commenced
    purchasing and shipping until all the good ones were sent off.
    He never let a good one escape him. This, and the fact that
    they were not so well adapted to draught as other horses, was
    the cause of their being neglected, and I believe the breed is
    now extinct in this section. My father described the motion
    of this horse as differing from others in that his backbone
    moved through the air in a straight line, without inclining the
    rider from side to side, as the common racker or pacer of the
    present day. Hence it was very easy; and being of great power
    of endurance, they would perform a journey of a hundred miles
    in a day, without injury to themselves or rider.”

We can understand very well how an enormous and unexpected demand from
Cuba without restriction as to price, should reduce the numbers of the
breed very materially. But it is a poor compliment to the intelligence
and thrift of the good people of Narragansett to say that, because there
was a lively demand, they killed the goose that laid the golden egg every
day. It is a slander upon that Yankee smartness which is proverbial to
conclude that they deprived themselves of the means of supplying a market
that was making them all rich. We must, therefore, look for other causes
that were more potent in producing, so marked a result.

After more than a hundred years of faithful service, of great popularity,
and of profitable returns to their breeders, the little Narragansetts
began to disappear, just as their ancestors had disappeared a century
earlier. Rhode Island was no longer a frontier settlement, but had grown
into a rich and prosperous State. Mere bridle paths through the woods had
developed into broad, smooth highways, and wheeled vehicles had taken
the place of the saddle. Under these changed conditions, the little
pacer was no longer desirable or even tolerable as a harness horse, and
he was supplanted by a larger and more stylish type of horse, better
suited to the particular kind of work required of him. This was simply
the “survival of the fittest,” considering the nature of the services
required of the animal. The average height of the Narragansett was not
over fourteen hands and one inch. His neck was not long, even for his
size; he dropped rapidly on the croup, and his carriage was low, with
nothing of elegance or style in his appearance. His mane and tail were
heavy, his hind legs were crooked, his limbs and feet were of the very
best, but aside from his great speed and the smoothness of his movements
under the saddle, there was nothing very desirable or attractive about
him. In a contest with a type of the harness horse, at least one hand
higher, of high carriage and elegant appearance, there could only be one
result, and that soon decided.

As in England, so in this country, the blood of the running horse soon
worked the extermination of the pacer; not because it was stronger in
reproducing itself, perhaps, but because it had the skill and fancy of
the breeder enlisted in selecting and mating so as to make the expunging
process complete. Only a few years ago a pacing horse could hardly be
found in any of the older settled portions of the country, especially
where running blood had become fashionable. He was literally banished to
the frontiers of Canada, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and
especially in the latter two States, where his blood is still appreciated
and preserved for the luxurious saddle gaits which it alone transmits.
In many individual cases he has shown wonderful power in meeting and
overcoming antagonistic elements, but with the tide of running blood all
against him, it was only a question of time as to how soon he would be
totally submerged.

It is only a quarter of a century ago that the first volume of “Wallace’s
American Trotting Register” was published, and then began the great task
of bringing order out of chaos. In a historical introduction to that
work, I inserted the following:

    “So many pacing horses have got fast trotters, so many pacing
    mares have produced fast trotters, and so many pacers have
    themselves become fast trotters, and little or nothing known of
    their breeding, that I confess to a degree of embarrassment,
    from which no philosophy relieves me. If the facts were limited
    to a few individual cases we could ignore the phenomena
    altogether, but, while they are by no means universal, they
    are too common and apparent to be thus easily disposed of. I
    am not aware that any writer has ever brought this question
    to the attention of the public; much less, attempted its
    discussion and explanation. Indeed, it is possible that the
    observations of others may not sustain me in the prominence
    given these phenomena, but all will concede there are some
    cases coming under this head that are unexplained, and perhaps
    unexplainable. It is probable trotters from this pacing origin,
    and that appear to trot, only because their progenitors paced,
    will not prove reliable producers of trotters. Such an animal
    being in a great degree phenomenal, should not be too highly
    prized in the stud, till he has proved himself a trotting sire
    as well as a trotter.”

This very comprehensive little paragraph, put modestly and tentatively
rather than positively, contained a germ of thought that is to-day
exerting a very wide influence. So far as my knowledge goes, this was
the first time in which the public attention had ever been called to the
intimate relations between speed at the pace and speed at the trot. Some
laughed at it as not practical, others sneered at it as a theoretical
abstraction, a few gave it some thought, while the writers who never
think left it severely alone. It required the cumulative experiences
of nearly ten years before horsemen generally began to think about it,
and then ten more before the germ had matured itself in the minds of
all intelligent men who were able to divest themselves of their earlier
prejudices. The great primary truth now stands out in high relief that
the pace and the trot are simply two forms of one and the same gait,
that lies midway between the walk and the gallop. At last the truth,
dimly foreshadowed in the paragraph above, is received and accepted, in
some form or other, almost if not quite universally. This fact and its
acceptance are now shown in all the recorded experiences of racing, and
especially in the origin and habits of action of many of the heads of
trotting and pacing families, to which the reader is referred.

At the beginning of Chapter XIII. I have labored to make plain the
proposition that the pace and the trot are simply two forms of one and
the same gait. This is evident from the fact that this gait, in one form
or the other, is the intermediate link between the walk and the gallop,
and this is true among nearly all quadrupeds. I have also there shown,
and I think beyond cavil, that the mechanism of the pace and the trot is
the same, and especially in the fact that in both forms two legs are used
as one leg. That is, if the two legs on the same side move together, we
call it the pace, and if the diagonal legs move together we call it the
trot. The rhythm is the same and the sound is the same, and by the ear no
man can tell whether the movement is at the lateral or diagonal motion.
In all the varieties of steps that a horse may be taught, and in all the
methods of progression that he may naturally adopt, there is no step
or movement in which he uses two legs as one except in the pace or the
trot. From the place, therefore, which these two forms of the gait hold,
indifferently, in animal movement, between the walk and the gallop; from
the unity of action and result in the use of the same mechanism, and from
the wide disparity between the mechanism of this gait and that of all
other gaits in the action of the horse, we must conclude that the pace
and the trot are one and the same gait.

Another evidence of the unity of the two forms of the trot is to be found
in the great numbers of pacers that have been changed over to trotters
and the astonishing readiness with which they took to the new form of
action. To go back no further than the records sustain us, we find that
the converted pacer Pelham was the first horse that ever trotted in 2:28.
This was in 1849, and four years later the converted pacer Highland Maid
trotted in 2:27. Twenty years later, Occident, another, trotted in 2:16¾.
These were champions of their day, and when we come a little nearer we
find that Maud S. was a pacer and Sunol was a pacer, although neither
of them ever paced in public, and the fact that they ever paced at all
was held as a kind of “home secret.” Since the days of Pelham, literally
thousands of horses have been changed from pacers to trotters, and some
hundreds have been changed from trotters to pacers successfully. Then
there are quite a number, like Jay-Eye-See, 2:10 trotting and 2:06¼
pacing, that have made fast records at both gaits.

At one time the pacing horse Blue Bull stood at the head of all sires
of trotters in this country, and it is not known or believed that he
possessed a single drop of trotting blood. He was a very fast pacer and
could do nothing else, and a large percentage of the mares bred to him
were pacers, and practically all the others had more or less pacing
blood, but his great roll of trotters in the 2:30 list was the wonder of
all horsemen of that period. Certainly the average of the elements in
his inheritance would place him very low in theory, but in practice he
struck back to some ancestor that was strongly prepotent. The trouble in
his case is practically the same as in all other pacing stallions—the
inheritance traces back to a period more remote than any of the fast
trotting stallions, but at intervals it has been neglected and not
developed until it has become weak and uncertain from lack of use. The
same may be said of the Copperbottoms, Corbeaus, Flaxtails, Hiatogas,
Davy Crockets, Pilots, Rainbows, Redbucks, St. Clairs, Tippoos, and Tom
Hals, as well as other heads of minor families that will be considered in
their proper places.

The changes that have been wrought in the status of the pacer have
been truly wonderful. Instead of being hidden away as an outcast
and a disgrace to the family, condemned to a life of inferiority and
drudgery, he has been brought out and exhibited to the public as a son
and heir and the equal of the best. In looking back over the trotting
records of twenty years ago, any one will be surprised to observe that
at all the leading meetings of the whole country there were no pacing
contests. Occasionally at the minor and local meetings of the middle
Western States, a pacing contest would be given for a small purse, in
which local and obscure horses only would be engaged. Very naturally
the owners of pacing horses protested against this practical exclusion
of their favorites from the trotting meetings, and employed all their
energies in begging for admission. When they began to be really clamorous
the managers of trotting tracks argued that there could be no profit to
them in opening pacing contests, for nobody cared about seeing a pacing
match, that the entries would not fill, and especially that there would
be no betting, that, consequently, the pool-sellers would have nothing
to divide with the management. As the receipts for pool-selling and all
other gambling privileges were making the track managers rich, they were
very slow about admitting an untried element that might diminish their
profits. But gradually and patiently the pacers worked their way into the
exclusive circle, and when they appeared everybody, especially in the
Eastern States, was surprised to see what excellent horses they were and
the terrific speed they showed. Instead of the typical pacer, as formed
in the popular mind, with the low head, bull neck, low croup, hairy legs,
exuberant mane and tail, and generally “Canuck” all over, that would stop
at the end of the first half-mile, here was an array of horses that in
make-up and gameness would average just as well as the same number of
trotters. This was a revelation to great multitudes of people, and from
that time forward the pacer had a fair show, on his merits. For hundreds
of years the pacer, with very few exceptions, has been able to show a
little higher rate of speed than the trotter. When Flora Temple smashed
all records in 1859 by trotting in 2:19¾, Pocahontas had drawn a wagon,
five years earlier, in 2:17½; and when Maud S. trotted in 1885 in 2:08¾,
this beat all laterals as well as diagonals, except Johnson, who the year
before had paced in 2:06¼. In 1894 Alix trotted a mile in 2:03¾, which
stands the best at this writing, but the same year Robert J. paced in
2:01½, and John R. Gentry in 2:00½ in 1896.

It is not my purpose here to undertake to discuss the reasons for the
almost continuous supremacy of the pacer over the trotter, for there is
no data from which I might frame a conclusion that would really “hold
water.” At best, therefore, I can only suggest two or three thoughts.
Speed at the pace is older, and has been longer in the process of
development, than speed at the trot. In 1747 pacing races had then been
fashionable in Maryland, and had been carried on in that colony time
out of mind, but we have no trace of trotting races. One year later
(1748) “running, pacing and trotting” races had become so numerous and
so common in the colony of New Jersey that they were declared a nuisance
and suppressed by the legislative authority. My impression from the
language of the act is that it was aimed chiefly at the running and the
pacing races, and that the trotters were not very numerous. It seems to
be a reasonable conclusion that this racing mania in New Jersey took its
rise about 1665, when Governor Nicolls established the Newmarket race
course on Long Island, and if so, it had been growing in strength for
over eighty years, and if we add the time from then till now we find that
the speed of the pacer has been going on almost continuously for over two
hundred years in our own country. There is another fact entering into the
rural life of colonial times that must not be left out of consideration.
The pacer was the universal saddle horse, and the trotter never was
tolerated for that service. Every farmer’s son had his saddle horse, and
when two of them met what so natural and common as to determine then
and there which was the faster, if a little stretch of road offered?
In these neighborhood rivalries, if not in actual racing, the instinct
of speed at the pace was kept alive and developed, from generation to
generation. If I am right in this little study of colonial life, we can
understand that the inheritance of speed at the pace has come down to our
own time through a great many generations of pacers, and hence the pace
is the faster gait. There is one fact in our own experience that seems to
sustain this with great force, and that is the small amount of “pounding”
that the pacer requires in order to reach the full development of his
powers. There is no need of driving a pacer to death in order to teach
him how to pace, for he already knows how to pace, and all that is needed
in the way of training is to get him into high condition. It may be
possible that the lateral action is faster than the diagonal because it
is less complicated, but I can see no anatomical reason for this, as the
two legs in both gaits act as one leg. The only difference I can see in
practice is that the trotter has more up-and-down motion than the pacer;
that is, he bounds in every revolution, describing a series of depressed
curves with his back as he moves, while the pacer rises less from the
ground with his hind feet and seems to glide instead of bound; in other
words, there is less action thrown away by the pacer than the trotter,
and this may arise from the more complex action in the diagonal than in
the lateral motion.

The pacer has reached a higher acclivity than the trotter, but he is not
so well assured in his footing. His present popularity and his upward
flight are phenomenal, but the causes that have sent him there are
abnormal and not lasting. In his best individualities he is simply a
gambling machine when in the hands of unscrupulous men, to be manipulated
in whatever direction he will make the most money. Racing, at whatever
gait, is not necessarily demoralizing nor disreputable, but when it
falls into the control of the “professionals” it becomes both. So long
as it remains under the control of the breeders it is not only honorable
and legitimate for them to develop and race their stock, but it is a
necessary adjunct to their business, for they must thus bring their
products before the public, if they expect to make their business pay.
Breeders should not own race tracks, or if they do, they should have no
part nor lot in the percentage uniformly paid for the gambling privilege.

The history of racing in this country teaches over and over again that
whenever the breeding and racing interest falls into the control of
gamblers, down goes the whole interest and honest men suffer with the
rogues. The grasping track managers are to-day complaining loudly that
they cannot afford to give trotting meetings unless they are allowed to
bring in the pool-sellers and make them divide the “swag” with the track.
Every attempt by legislatures to make gambling on races a felony outside
the race track and a virtue inside is a most arrant humbug and most
destructive in its results. It makes the race track a cesspool of every
vice, and a stench in the nostrils of every honest man and decent woman.
The moral sense of the people all over this country is being aroused, and
if public gambling cannot be suppressed on horse races, then history will
repeat itself and horse racing will be wiped out. The gamblers and their
friends will sneer at this as “puritanism,” but no difference about the
name—it will come.

But, destructive and ruinous as gambling on races may be to the life
and moral character of young men, as well as to the material interests
of honest and reputable breeders, it hardly comes within my province to
discuss it further in this place, and therefore I will return to the
consideration of the pacer. As the historical periodicity is now looming
in sight when the moral sense of the people will command the suppression
of racing of every kind, the question becomes exceedingly pertinent as
to what is to become of the pacer? He will no longer be of any value as
a gambling machine, the days of the saddle horse are past as a means
of travel, except by a few about the parks of the cities, and however
uppish and handsome he may be, he is not and never will be a desirable
driving horse in harness. We have already used sufficient of his blood to
create the American Saddle Horse, and if the saddle horse shall produce
“after his kind” we need no more infusions from the pure pacer. In the
trotter his blood has leavened everything, and in some lines more than we
desire or need. He has been a great source of trotting speed, and if, as
I am inclined to believe, Messenger’s power to transmit trotting speed
came from the old English pacer, then the pacer is the only source of
that speed. Under the condition of things as here foreshadowed he will
probably sink back into the obscurity from which he emerged twenty years



    The saddle gaits come only from the pacer—Saddle gaits
    cultivated three hundred years ago—Markham on the saddle
    gaits—The military seat the best—The unity of the pace and
    trot—Gaits analyzed—Saddle Horse Register—Saddle horse
    progenitors—Denmark not a thoroughbred horse.

In the preceding chapters the pacer has been considered from the
standpoint of his antiquity, history, speed at the pace, and his
contributions to speed at the trot. We now come to consider him as the
founder of the best and most delightful type of saddle horses in the
world. This estimate of his quality and value had a solid foundation
in the judgment and habits of our ancestors at an early period in our
history. When our patriotic forbears entered upon the struggle for
independence, they were fully alive to the necessity of foreign sympathy
and aid. For this purpose agents were sent abroad to enlist the good
feelings and, if possible, secure co-operation of foreign governments,
especially that of France. Mr. Silas Dean was sent to Paris, and in a
communication to the secret committee of Congress, under date of November
28, 1776, he writes: “I wish I had here one of your best saddle horses,
of the American or Rhode Island breed—a present of that kind would be
money well laid out with a certain personage.” This was probably intended
as a present to Marie Antoinette, or some other person having great
influence at court. It further indicates that “the American or Rhode
Island Saddle Horse” was at that period, in Mr. Dean’s opinion at least,
the best in the world. (See Dean Papers, New York Historical Society,
Vol. I., p. 377.)

To the man of average intelligence and candor on horse subjects it
certainly is not necessary to enter upon an elaborate discussion to
show that the saddle gaits come from the pacer, but a certain class
of writers, who neither declare nor attempt to prove their position,
constantly imply that the saddle gaits came from the “thoroughbred.” As
it is better, therefore, to make everything plain as we go along, I will
very briefly consider this point. Twelve years ago, through _Wallace’s
Monthly_, I presented the following questions to all gentlemen interested
in saddle-horse affairs and acquainted with saddle-horse history: “Are
all the tribes and families noted for their saddle qualities descended
in whole or in part from pacing ancestry?” In order to cover the whole
question, no difference from what standpoint it might be considered, I
added the following: “Has any family or subfamily of saddle horses come
from pure running ancestry and without any admixture of pacing blood?” To
these questions Major Hord, then editor of the _Spirit of the Farm_, at
Nashville, Tennessee, a gentleman of very wide and accurate knowledge on
this subject, but strongly in favor of running blood, made the following
response through his paper:

    “We can only draw conclusions from established facts in
    reference to these questions, for we do not think they can
    be answered otherwise, as the original ancestry of our best
    saddle families is more or less clouded in obscurity. It is an
    established fact, demonstrated by experience, that in order to
    get a saddle horse, the quickest and most successful way is to
    get in the pacing blood; it matters not how good or bad the
    other blood may be, a strong dash of pacing blood will almost
    invariably improve the animal for saddle purposes, and never,
    under any circumstances, does a pacing cross detract from an
    animal’s qualities for the saddle. Judging from these facts, we
    conclude that all our saddle families are descended, at least
    in part, from pacing ancestry. On the other hand, all our best
    saddle families have a strong infusion of thoroughbred running
    blood. This blood, however, is valuable only for the courage,
    bone, and finish it gives the animal, for it imparts none of
    the saddle gaits; and while we have secured the best results
    in breeding the saddle horse by mixing the running and pacing
    blood, we have observed that too much running blood in the
    stallion detracts from his success as a sire of saddle stock.
    As a rule, no trainer’s skill can make a good saddle horse out
    of a thoroughbred runner, whereas if you mix two or more strong
    pacing crosses on top of the running blood, a child can gait
    the produce to the saddle. We have sometimes seen good saddle
    horses that were thoroughbreds, but have never seen a perfect
    one. Our observation and experience lead us to the conclusion
    that the natural saddle gaits come from the pacers, but to the
    runner we are indebted for the size, style, bone and finish of
    our saddle stock.”

In this reply, when the author says “all of our saddle families are
descended, at least in part, from pacing ancestry,” and when he adds
to this that “running blood imparts none of the saddle gaits,” he has
answered both questions very fully and very satisfactorily. The argument
that running blood gives bone and finish, and all that, is very well
as a theory of breeding, but it has nothing to do with the questions
propounded. As all families of saddle horses have pacing blood, and as
there is no family without it, it may be taken as settled that the saddle
gaits come from the pacer.

I notice that at least one of the present saddle gaits was cultivated
more than three hundred years ago. Mr. Gervaise Markham, a writer of the
sixteenth century, and probably the second English author on the horse,
says: “If you buy a horse for pleasure the amble is the best, in which
you observe that he moves both his legs on one side together, neat with
complete deliberation, for if he treads too short he is apt to stumble,
if too large to cut and if shuffling or rowling he does it slovenly and
besides rids no ground. If your horse be designed for hunting, a racking
pace is most expedient, which little differs from the amble, only is
more active and nimble, whereby the horse observes due motion, but you
must not force him too eagerly, lest being in confusion he lose all
knowledge of what you design him to, and so handle his legs carelessly.”
The orthography of the work “rack” as used by Markham is “wrack,” and
this is the only place I have met with it in any of the old authors.
Webster defines the word “rack” as “a fast amble,” but Markham uses it
in contradistinction from the amble. It is worthy of note here that the
word “rack” is older than the word “pace,” in its use as designating
the particular gait of the horse, and through all the centuries it has
been retained. Of all the gaits that are subsidiary to the pace and
derived from that gait, the rack is probably the most common, and in
many sections of the country the pacer is called a racker. Racking is
often designated as “single-footing,” and in this gait as well as in
the running walk and fox trot, there are four distinct impacts in the
revolution. It follows, then, that they are not susceptible of a very
high rate of speed.

In all the services which the horse renders and in all the relations
which he bears to his master, there is no relation in which they can be
made to appear to such great mutual advantage as when the one animal is
carrying the other on his back. There is no occasion on which a beautiful
horse looks so well as when gracefully mounted and skillfully handled by
a lady or gentleman. And, I will add, there is no occasion when a lady or
gentleman, who is at home in the saddle, looks so well as when mounted
on a beautiful and well-trained American horse. England has no saddle
horses, and never can have any till she secures American blood and adopts
American methods. The shortening of the stirrups and the swinging up
and down like a tilt-hammer is not, with our English friends, a matter
of choice, but a necessity to avoid being jolted to death. Their very
silly imitators, on this side, think they can’t afford to be out of the
fashion, because “it’s English, you know.” For safety, true gentility,
and comfort the military seat is the only seat, and if you have a horse
upon which you can’t keep that seat without punishment, he is no saddle
horse. If your doctor tells you that your liver needs shaking up, mount
an English trotting horse, but if you ride for pleasure and fresh air,
get a horse that is bred and trained to the saddle gaits. There is just
as much difference between the two horses as the difference between a
springless wagon on a cobble-stone pavement and a richly upholstered
coach on the asphalt.

The American Saddle Horse has an origin as well as a history. His origin
dates back thousands of years, and his history has been preserved in art
and in letters since the beginning of the Christian era. For centuries
he was the fashionable horse in England, and the only horse ridden by
the nobility and gentry. Away back in the reign of Elizabeth it was not
an uncommon thing to use hopples to teach and compel trotters to pace,
just as in our day hopples are often used to teach and compel pacers to
trot. In the early settlement of the American colonies pacers were far
more numerous than trotters, and this continued to be the case till after
the War of the Revolution. The great influx of running blood after that
period practically banished the pacer to the western frontiers, where a
remnant has been preserved for the uses of the saddle; and on account of
his great speed and gameness he has again returned to popular favor in
our own day.

The walk and the canter, or short gallop, are gaits that are common to
all breeds and varieties of horses, but what are known as “the saddle
gaits” are derived wholly from the pace and are therefore considered
modifications or variations of the pace. In regions of country where
the saddle horse is bred and developed these gaits are well known among
horsemen and riders as the rack (single-footing), the running-walk, and
the fox-trot. These gaits are not easily described so as to be understood
without an example before the eye. The rack is the most easily explained
so as to be comprehended, and it is sometimes called the slow pace. In
this movement the hind foot strikes the ground an instant before the fore
foot on the same side, then the other two feet are moved and strike in
the same way; thus there are four strokes in the revolution, in pairs.
As each foot has its own stroke we see the appositeness of the phrase
“single-footing.” The four strokes are in pairs, as one, two—three,
four, and in many cases as the speed of the horse increases the interval
between the strokes is lost and the horse is at a clean rapid pace. As
a matter of course none of these gaits in which the horse makes four
strokes instead of two in the revolution can be speedy. They are not
developed nor cultivated for speed alone, but for the comfort and ease of
the rider and the change from one to another for the rest and ease of the

These “saddle gaits” are always derivatives from the pace, and I never
have seen one that did not possess more or less pacing blood. A careful
examination of the first and second volumes of “The National Saddle
Horse Register” establishes this fact beyond all possible contradiction.
This work is a very valuable contribution to the horse history of the
country, but it is a misfortune that more care has not been taken in the
exclusion of fictitious crosses in a great multitude of pedigrees. This
trouble is specially apparent among the supposed breeding of many of
the old stallions that are inserted as “Foundation Stock.” The tendency
throughout seems to be to cover up and hide away the very blood to
which we are indebted for the saddle horse, and to get in all the blood
possible that is in direct antagonism to the foundation of the saddle
gaits. It can be accepted as a fundamental truth in horse lore, that from
the day the first English race horse was imported into this country to
the present day, which covers a period of about one hundred and fifty
years, nobody has ever seen, either in England or in this country, a
thoroughbred horse that was a pacer. When the old race horse Denmark
covered the pacing daughter of the pacer Cockspur, the pacing blood of
the dam controlled the action and instincts of the colt, and in that colt
we have the greatest of saddle-horse sires, known as Gaines’ Denmark.

As this horse Denmark was by far the greatest of all saddle-horse
progenitors, and as his superiority has been widely attributed to his
“thoroughbred” sire Denmark, the son of imported Hedgford, I have taken
some pains to examine his pedigree. His sire was thoroughbred, his dam
and grandam were mongrels, and the remoter crosses were impossible
fictions. The fact that he ran four miles cuts no figure as evidence
of purity of blood, for horses were running four miles in this country
before the first “thoroughbred” was born. Of the fourteen stallions that
are inserted as “Foundation Stock,” it is unfortunate that the choice
seems to be practically restricted to the State of Kentucky, while the
States of Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee, to say nothing of Illinois,
Missouri, etc., have produced numbers of families and tribes that are
much more prominent and valuable from the true saddle-horse standpoint
than some that appear in the select list of fourteen. It is doubtless
true, however, that more attention has been paid to symmetry and style,
and to the correct development and culture of the true saddle gaits, in
Kentucky than in any of the other States. With such horses as Gaines’
Denmark, John Dillard, Tom Hal, Brinker’s Drennon, Texas, Peters’
Halcorn, and Copperbottom the list is all right, but the other half-dozen
are mostly young and have hardly been heard of outside of their own
immediate neighborhoods. It is a notable fact that old Pacing Pilot does
not appear as the progenitor of a saddle family.

In considering the comparative merits of the leading foundation stallions
we find that Denmark was not a success in any direction except as the
sire of handsome and stylish saddle horses. John Dillard may not have
been the equal of Denmark, in the elegance of his progeny, but he far
surpassed him in his valuable relations to the trotter. His daughters
became quite famous as the producers of trotters of a high order, and
they have over twenty in the 2:30 list. The Tom Hals have developed
phenomenal speed at the pace, and a great deal of it, interspersed with
but few trotters.

Of late years many owners of the very best material for saddle stock have
given their whole attention to the development of speed, either at the
lateral or diagonal motion, because it has been deemed more profitable.
In thus selecting, breeding and developing for extreme speed, the
adaptation to saddle purposes has been lost or bred out. While it is true
that some colts come into the world endowed with all the saddle gaits, it
is also true that skill and patience are requisite in teaching the saddle
horse good manners. There is no imaginable use to which the horse can be
put where he will show his beautiful form and thorough education to so
great advantage as under the saddle.



    The romances of fifty years ago—Was the horse indigenous
    to this country?—The theories of the paleontologists not
    satisfactory—Pedigrees of over two millions of years too
    long—Outlines of horses on prehistoric ruins evidently
    modern—The linguistic test among the oldest tribes of Indians
    fails to discover any word for “Horse”—The horses abandoned
    west of the Mississippi by the followers of De Soto about 1541
    were the progenitors of the wild horses of the plains.

Fifty years ago there was much that was romantic and mysterious in our
conceptions of the real character and origin of the vast herds of wild
horses that abounded on our Western plains, and the same remark applies
to their congeners on the pampas of South America. The wild horse and
the Indian opened up a most inviting field for the writers of romance,
and current literature was flooded with “Wild Western” stories, with
the horse and the Indian as the leading characters. We are now one
generation, at least, this side of the time when stories of this kind are
either sought or read, but we are not past the period when the origin
or introduction of the horse on this continent may be considered with
interest and profit. Before touching upon the wild horse, as known in our
early history, however, it may be well to consider, briefly, the question
as to whether he may not have been indigenous to this continent.

In our generation the spade has become a wonderful developer of the
truths of ancient history. The buried and forgotten cities of the old
world are being unearthed in Europe, Asia and Africa, and thousands
of works of art and learning that had vanished from the face of the
earth are again restored to the knowledge of the human race. In a
kindred branch of investigation the geologists and paleontologists have
been delving into the bowels of the earth—not to find what previous
generations of men had left behind them, but to find what life was
myriads of ages before man was placed on the earth. Out of the rocks
they have, literally, quarried many strange examples of animal life
that lave been buried millions of years, and hundreds of feet below the
present surface. Among these strange petrefactions that were thus buried
when the earth was young, there is one that has been widely exploited as
the “Primal Horse,” that is, the animal from which our present horse was
finally evolved. There are three or four specimens of this petrefaction
now on exhibition in this country, the first having been discovered
by Professor Marsh, of Yale College, and now in the museum of that
institution. Nearly twenty years ago Professor Huxley, the great English
naturalist, delivered a lecture in this city on the Marsh petrefaction as
his text, in which he told us that the “Primal Horse” had, originally,
five toes on each foot, that after an indeterminate geological period he
lost the two outside toes on the hind feet, and after another million
years, more or less, he lost the outside toes of the fore feet, thus
leaving him ready to go on developing the middle toe into the foot and
hoof of the horse while the outside toes disappeared. In proof of this
he offered the fact that horses of this day have splint bones on each
side of the leg, under the knee, and these bones are the remnants of the
outside toes. This was the explanation which the learned professor gave
in disposing of the outside toes when there were but three toes on each
foot, but he failed to explain what had become of the outside toes when
there were five on each foot, and there his whole explanation toppled to
the ground.

In the American Museum of Natural History, in this city, there is a very
fine representative of this particular type of petrefactions. It is
about fifteen inches high, with a head that is disproportionately large,
and a tail that is long and slender, suggesting that of a leopard. On
each fore foot this animal has four toes, or claws, as we might call
them, and on each hind foot three claws. With these claws this little
animal might dig in the ground, or he might climb a tree when necessary
for either safety or food. Each one of these toes has its own distinct
column of joints and bone extending to the knee, and there is no material
difference in the size and strength of these different columns. Now,
with three toes and three columns only, we can accept or reject, as we
please, Professor Huxley’s method of getting the two superfluous ones
out of sight by pointing to the splint bones on the leg of a modern
horse and saying these are the remnants of the outside toes. But, in the
meantime, neither Mr. Huxley nor anybody else has told us what became
of the outside toes and their columns in cases where there were five
toes. It will not do to chuck these out of sight and say nothing about
them; they must be accounted for or the theory fails. In the specimen now
under examination the fore feet are each supplied with four toes, and
each toe is supported by its own distinct column of bone. Here we meet
with the same difficulty as in the case of five toes, for we have more
material than the Huxley theory is able to provide for. This theory has
been generally accepted among specialists, in this line of investigation,
and they all point to the splint bones, as already stated, as the
remnants of the two toes, adhering to the main column. This leaves the
one superfluous toe wholly unprovided for, and thus the theory discredits
itself and leaves the question in a shape that is entirely unsatisfactory
and unacceptable to the understanding.

The teeth of this specimen, in their shape and arrangement, very strongly
resemble the teeth of the horse. Upon this one fact is placed the chief
reliance to sustain the claim that this was the “Primal Horse,” but
this fact, when taken without the support of other facts, simply proves
that the animal was herbivorous, subsisting on the same kind of food as
the horse, but it does not prove that he was a horse. The teeth are an
excellent starting point, and we admit their arrangement and resemblance
to the teeth of the horse, but the rules of comparative anatomy, as well
as common sense, require that at some other point or points there should
be at least a suggestion of resemblance. In this case there is absolutely
no resemblance, but a very marked and unmistakable divergence. The foot
of this little animal, fifteen inches high, bears no more resemblance
to the foot of the horse than the foot of the dog bears to the foot of
the horse. Indeed, the foot of the specimen before us, whether provided
with three, four or five claws, very strikingly resembles the foot
of the dog. The arrangement of the different specimens of the feet,
commencing with the smallest with four toes and ending with the perfect
and full-grown foot of the horse as we know him, intended to illustrate
the process of evolution, is a very interesting study, but when you have
done with the last foot with claws and reach forward for the first foot
with a hoof, you find there is an impassable gulf between them, over
which the theory of Evolution has not been able to construct a bridge.
But there is another consideration that is final and that cannot be
overcome by any theory whatever. According to the chronology widely
accepted among geologists, this little animal was buried in the sand
more than two millions of years ago, and in a grave more than a hundred
feet below the general surface of the country in which he was found. In
some great upheaval or cataclysm of the earth’s surface, this little
animal, with all his contemporaries, perished, and there perished with
him all possibility of propagating his race. It is only a waste of time,
therefore, to speculate upon what a certain race of animals might have
produced in our day, when they were all cut off two millions of years
ago. With this disposition of the little animal with the variety of toes,
quarried from the rocks and by courtesy here called the “Primal Horse,”
we reach another prehistoric epoch in our inquiry, but much less remote
than the one just considered.

From the incredible numbers of wild horses on our Western plains and on
the pampas of South America, at a very early period in history, it became
a question of some interest with many thinking men as to whether the
horse was not indigenous on this continent. It is within the knowledge
of everybody that this continent was inhabited by a mysterious and
unknown race of people long before it was visited by Europeans. These
mysterious people seem to have been driven out by the fierce and warlike
savages who occupied the country at the time of its discovery, and even
they knew nothing about the people who had preceded them. In very many
localities the vanished people left behind them marks, numerous and
unmistakable, that they had made considerable progress in the arts of
civilized life. Writers have generally designated them as “the Mound
Builders,” because they heaped great _tumuli_ of earth over the graves of
their distinguished dead, but the real “Mound Builders” did far more than
this, for with immense labor they built great, strong defenses for their
protection against their enemies. When we go further West and South, into
the fertile valleys among the mountains, we find still later traces of
these unknown people in the ruins of buildings and dwellings erected,
with infinite labor, traces of irrigating canals, etc., but we still fail
to come up with them, or any trace of their history. In that region ruins
of this type are designated as “Aztec Ruins,” but this title puts us no
further on the way of who the builders were. In 1877 a correspondent of
a Colorado newspaper, who seemed to write intelligently and candidly,
described some of those ruins which he found in the valley of the Las
Animas, in Southwestern Colorado. He speaks of a valley fifteen miles
long and seven miles wide, on the Animas River, and says this valley was
covered with dwellings built of stone, but he gives particular attention
to a row of buildings built of sandstone laid in adobe mud. These
buildings are about three hundred feet long and three hundred feet apart,
as I understand the writer, and extend a distance of six thousand feet.
The outside walls are four feet thick and the inside ones from one and a
half to three feet thick; there are rooms still left and walls remaining
that indicate a building four stories high. In some of the rooms there
are writings that never have been deciphered, and in one of them there
are drawings of tarantulas, centipedes, horses and men. The word “horses”
riveted my attention, and connected with it there were several things
to be considered. First, were the drawings really intended to represent
horses? Second, if so might they not have been placed there long after
the builders had disappeared and in recent years? Third, if placed there
by the builders, what was their date, and were they before or after the
introduction of the horse into Mexico by the Spaniards? The possibility
of ever obtaining any satisfactory information about these drawings and
their date seemed very remote, but after watching and waiting for about
eighteen years, I have recently received two letters that settle the
whole matter so far as these particular ruins are concerned.

Mr. Charles McLoyd, a very intelligent gentleman of Durango, Colorado,
who has made a special study of the Cliff Dwellers and kindred subjects,
in that part of the world, writing under date of January 10, 1895, says:

    “I am unable to inform you in regard to the pictures on those
    particular ruins, but can say that in no other locality have
    I found pictures of horses or anything to indicate that these
    prehistoric races had any knowledge of the animal. If such
    pictures existed we would be unable to determine anything
    definite from them; or in other words, it would not show that
    the horse was on this continent before the Spaniards brought
    him, but rather that the people who constructed the buildings
    lived here after the Spaniards came. I have often seen pictures
    of horses on the walls of cañons, but there is no question
    but they were the work of the present Indians. We often find
    associated with them pictures of railroad trains, etc., that
    indicate that some of them are of very recent date. To sum the
    matter up, would say that, so far, there is no evidence that
    these races had any knowledge of the horse, or had ever seen
    the Spaniards.”

Mr. John A. Koontz, of Aztec, New Mexico, writes under date of January
24, 1895. He knows all about the ruins in question, for he owns the land
on which they are situated, and puts the whole matter very clearly, as

    “I know nothing of the drawings of horses and other animals on
    the walls of the ‘Aztec Ruins’ here that Mr. Wallace speaks
    of. I think the drawings were all in the imagination of the
    correspondent to whom Mr. Wallace refers. I have been familiar
    with the ruins for fourteen years and this is the first time I
    have ever heard of any drawings of horses on any of the walls.
    There are drawings on some rocks some miles from the ruins, but
    from their nature I have considered them the work of the modern
    Indians. These ruins were visited by a party of archeologists
    two years ago, who spent several weeks here, and made a survey,
    with maps and general drawings of the same. They decided that
    the main building had, originally, over seven hundred rooms.”

These letters are conclusive, so far as the region of the Las Animas is
concerned, and with that region knocked out there is not enough left
to justify further search for evidence that the prehistoric races had
any knowledge of the horse. Nothing remained then but the linguistic
test, and in 1885 I had such an opportunity for applying this test as
may never occur again. This test formulated itself in my mind, in this
shape: “Did any of the nations or tribes of the aboriginal inhabitants
of this continent have a word in their language indicating a horse?”
When in California I applied to Mr. Bancroft, the compiler and publisher
of the great documentary history of the Pacific coast, who then had a
large corps of skilled translators at work on his famous compilation, and
submitted my question. He introduced me to his principal linguist, who
knew not only Spanish, English and other modern languages, but also the
language of the Indians of the coast, the mountains and the plains, of
the period covered by the question. The question did not seem to be new
to him, and he answered with the candor and conscientiousness of a man
who knew what he was saying, that there was no word in any of the Indian
tongues, ancient or modern, that represented the horse. This settled the
question of the supposed prehistoric character and rank of the horse, and
we are thus driven to accept the infinitesimally small number left behind
by Cortez, Nunez and De Soto as the seed from which sprang the countless
thousands of wild horses that for generations roamed the Western plains.

The story of the Conquest of Mexico is full of blood and cruelty, but
as we have nothing to do with any part of the story except so much
of it as relates to the introduction of the horse to the continent of
North America, it will require but small space to tell it. Cortez sailed
from Cuba for Yucatan, February, 1519, with an army of six hundred and
sixty-three men, two hundred Indians and sixteen horses. This wholly
inadequate supply of cavalry was the weak place in his venture, but the
horses could not be had in Cuba, without paying an incredible price.
Those he was able to secure cost from four to five hundred _pesos de oro_
each. The _peso_ was the Spanish dollar. The expedition was nominally
fitted out for Yucatan, but its real aim was the heart of Mexico. In
his first fight with the Indians near the coast, men mounted on horses
were feared by the natives as monstrous apparitions. This overwhelming
fear of the horse may seem to some of my readers as overdone by the
historian, but it seems to have been the common experience of all the
different nations and tribes of Indians wherever the horse made his first
appearance in battle. In the first battle two of the horses were killed,
and in the second another was killed, and all that remained were more or
less severely wounded. Cortez was afterward joined by Alvarado, at Vera
Cruz, with twenty horses and one hundred and fifty men. In making his
official reports directly to the home government in Spain instead of the
governor of Cuba, Cortez gave mortal offense to that dignitary, and he
sent out an armada under Narvaez to supersede Cortez and return him in
chains to Cuba. This armada consisted of eighteen vessels, carrying nine
hundred men, eighty of whom were cavalry. After some diplomacy, Cortez,
feeling that with his little handful of men he was wholly unable to meet
Narvaez, he did all he could to avoid a conflict. Each party knew the
exact strength of the other, and as Narvaez began to threaten, Cortez
determined to fight for his rights and his liberty. He then had but five
men mounted, but he took advantage of the carelessness of his adversary,
made a night attack in the midst of a tempest, and captured Narvaez and
his whole army. The private soldiers of that day, like their commanders,
had no idea or principle to fight for except for plunder, and they
were always ready to attach themselves to the most successful robber.
Cortez was their ideal leader, and at once he had a new army of devoted
followers. He then had eighty-five mounted men, and he felt strong enough
to hold and rule the great country he had conquered. Mexico was conquered
in 1521, and the news of the vast amount of treasure captured brought
a great crowd of emigrants from Spain and from all her dominions.
The Spaniards, like other nations of Southern Europe, kept their
horses entire and whenever representatives of both sexes strayed away,
reproduction would follow. As the country became more tranquil, and as
the tide of European settlers kept pouring in, we can easily understand
how the little bands of estrays should grow into larger bands and soon
become as wild as though they had never seen a human being except to flee
from him.

The explorer De Soto sailed for Florida in 1539, in search of gold. He
had in his command five hundred and thirteen men, exclusive of sailors,
and two hundred and thirty-seven horses, besides some for the purpose of
bearing burdens, the number not given. In all his weary journey of three
years he found the Indians active, hostile, and courageous fighters. In
one of his first battles he lost twelve horses, and had seventy wounded.
He pursued many phantoms in search of gold, in different directions,
but his general course was westward and northwestward. He was the first
European to discover the Mississippi River, not far from the mouth of
the Arkansas, and there he was buried in the middle of the river, to
prevent the Indians from discovering he was dead and from desecrating his
remains. His followers then determined to push on westward to Mexico,
and reached as far as the borders of Texas, probably, when they became
discouraged with the magnitude of the difficulties that surrounded
them, and determined to return and seek an outlet from the wilderness
by water. On this last journey, west of the Mississippi, they suffered
their greatest loss of horses. They had not been shod for more than a
year, and a great many were lame and unable to travel. When the Spaniards
had completed their boats and were ready to leave the scenes of their
sufferings and disasters, they turned loose upon the bank of the river
their four or five remaining horses, which manifested great excitement,
running up and down the bank neighing for their masters, as they sailed
away. This alarmed the Indians and they ran into the water for safety.

The Indians were afraid of the horses and the horses were afraid of the
Indians. It seems to be a fact, observed in all the early intercourse
of the Spaniards with the Indians, that universally they had a kind of
superstitious awe of the horse as a superior being, and it is probably
due to this awe that the Indians did not utterly destroy every horse that
fell out of the ranks or that escaped in the wilderness. As I understand
the history of this terrible exploration, when the Spaniards crossed the
Mississippi they had two hundred and fifty men and one hundred and fifty
horses, and when they came back and were ready to sail they had but four
or five horses left. It is fair, therefore, to conclude that the greater
portion of these hundred and fifty head was scattered in the wilderness
as they went out and as they returned. This provides a sufficient
breeding basis for the countless multitudes of descendants, and places
that nucleus in the right region to nourish them in a feral state.

While this exploration of De Soto seems to furnish a breeding basis of
sufficient breadth to account for all the wild horses that have appeared
on this continent, there is another consideration that we must not
overlook, and that is the inborn tendency of the domestic horse to become
wild when in wild associations. By turning to the chapter on the colony
of Virginia you will see that there were many wild horses there at the
beginning of the last century. On the frontiers, near the habitat of
wild horses, they became a great nuisance to the settlers in “coaxing”
away their domestic horses and making them as wild as the wildest. These
accretions to their strength from the domestic horse have been going
on for generations, and thus the wild horse became conglomerate in
the elements of his blood, with the Spanish traits still predominant.
Fifty or a hundred years ago the pens of many writers were employed
in idealizing “The Wild Horse of the Desert.” He was made the leading
figure in many a romance, and the hero of many a triumph. Tom Thumb,
the great trotter that was taken to England, astonished all the world
with his speed and his endurance, and, following the fashion of the day,
he was represented to have been caught wild on the Western plains. For
many years the wild horse was the “fad” of American writers, just as the
Arabian was of English writers, and the writers on one side were just
about as far from intelligence and truth as those on the other. When,
forty years ago, great droves of the half-breeds, Mustangs, were brought
from the plains to the border prairie States, seeking a market, the
scales began to drop from the eyes of the worshipers of the wild horse.
They were homely little brutes, and they were as tough as whit-leather.
But the countless multitudes that roamed at will over their grazing
grounds, making the earth tremble when they moved, have dwindled down to
a few insignificant bands, and the whole glamour around the wild horse of
the desert has vanished.



    Messenger the greatest of all trotting progenitors—Record of
    pedigrees in English Stud Book—Pedigrees made from unreliable
    sources—Messenger’s right male line examined—Flying Guilders’
    “mile in a minute”—Blaze short of being thoroughbred—Sampson,
    a good race horse—His size; short in his breeding—Engineer
    short also—Mambrino was a race horse with at least two pacing
    crosses: distinguished only as a progenitor of coach horses and
    fast trotters—Messenger’s dam cannot be traced nor identified—
    Among all the horses claiming to be thoroughbred he is the only
    one that founded a family of trotters—This fact conceded by
    eminent writers in attempting to find others.

Having completed a brief historical sketch of horse history from the
beginning, and many events connected therewith, we are now ready to
consider the American Trotting Horse, as the culmination of what has been
written. Thus far we have met with much pretentious nonsense, claiming to
be history and written by men who never gave the subject the study of an
honest hour. The horse is honest enough, but the rule seems to be almost
universal that whenever men commence to write about him they are guided
by their imagination and not by the facts. As to what we are to meet in
the coming chapters, I can only say that, unfortunately, “the fathers
have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” The
instinct to misrepresent has been transmitted, and I cannot promise that
we will find any great moral improvement among the horsemen of our own
country and generation.

For more than three-quarters of a century, and indeed from the first
trotting experiences of this country that have been preserved, it
has been the unanimous judgment of all who have given any thought or
attention to the subject that the imported English horse, Messenger, was
the great central source of trotting speed. As the years have rolled by
this opinion has increased in strength until it has become an intelligent
and demonstrated belief. When, forty years ago, a horse was found able
to trot a mile in two minutes and thirty seconds, the speed was deemed
wholly phenomenal, but that speed has been increased, second by second,
until we are now on the very brink of two minutes. In this process every
second and fraction of a second that has been cut off has been so much
additional proof of the universal belief that Messenger was the chief
progenitor of the American trotter. He is not the only source of trotting
speed, but he is the chief source. Whence he derived this distinctive
power to transmit trotting speed will be made more clear as we proceed.
His blood left no deep nor lasting impress upon the running horses of the
country, and it is seldom we meet with any trace of it in the running
horse of to-day, but it is prominent and conspicuous at the winning post
of every trotting track on this continent. This will be made apparent
when we come to consider the details and the merits of the mighty tribes
and families that have descended from him.

Several years ago I promised to write a volume on “Messenger and his
Descendants,” and I have often been reminded of that unfulfilled
promise, which I will here try to redeem. When that promise was made I
had written many things about Messenger, but since then I have secured
very many valuable facts that, I think, will far more than compensate
for the delay. There is still much that is unknown and much that is only
partially known of the origin and history of Messenger and his ancestors,
and in considering the questions that will arise as the discussion
progresses, I will not submit to a slavish acceptance of whatever has
come down in the shape of stallion advertisements, or as unsupported
traditions, and then recorded as facts by people who knew nothing about
them, and made no effort to know. I shall look for the facts that are
known to be facts, or such evidence as is reasonable and commends itself
to an unbiased judgment, and then reach such conclusions as right reason
shall dictate. The pedigree of Messenger, or rather the pedigree of
Messenger’s reputed grandam, appears in the English Stud Book in the
editions of 1803 and 1827, in the following form:

  REGULUS MARE (Sister to Figurante). Her dam by Starling, out of
  Snap’s dam.
    1769, b. f. by Herod (dam of _Alert_).            }
    1770, bl. c. _Hyacinth_, by Turf.                 } Mr. Vernon.
    1771, bl. c. _Leviathan_ (aft. Mungo), by Marske.   Lord Abingdon.
    1773, — f. by Turf.                               }
    1774, — f. by Ditto (dam of _Messenger_).         }
    1777, bl. f. by Dux.                              } Lord Grosvenor.
    1780, b. f. by Justice (dam of _Equity_).         }
    1782, b. c. Vulcan, by Justice.                     Mr. Panton.
    1783, b. c. _Savage_, by Sweetbriar.              }
    1784, b. f. _Ariel_, by Highflyer (dam of Mr.     } Mr. Bullock.
                  Hamilton’s Swindler, by Bagot).     }

This is all we have of the pedigree of Messenger as recorded in the
English Stud Book, and this record, on its face, has a very suspicious
appearance. Messenger had run some races at Newmarket and a place must be
provided for him in the Stud Book. He always ran as a son of Mambrino,
and there is no doubt this is correct, as it so appeared in the Racing
Calendar, long before the days of the Stud Book. But nobody, either then
or later, seemed to know anything about his dam. Toward the close of this
chapter I will give an exhaustive review of the many troubles in which
these two fillies by Turf seem to be involved.

Messenger was by Mambrino, he by Engineer, he by Sampson, he by Blaze, he
by Flying Childers, and he by the Darley Arabian. We give the right male
line here for the reason that there can be no doubt as to the accuracy of
this line, for it has been preserved in contemporaneous racing records.
The trouble, where any trouble exists, is all with the dams of these
horses which at best are only matters of the most uncertain tradition. A
writer in the Edinburgh _Review_ for July, 1864, covers the whole ground
when he says: “The early pedigrees (in the Stud Book) are but little to
be relied upon, as they seem for the most part to have been taken from
traditional accounts in the stable, from descriptions at the back of
old pictures, and from advertisements, none of which had to pass muster
at the Herald’s College.” This is in full accordance with our American
experiences and it is entirely safe to say that the great body of our old
American pedigrees, especially in their remote extensions, are more or
less fictitious. The industry of producing great pedigrees out of little
or nothing has long been pursued on both sides of the water, and it would
be very difficult to determine which side had the better of it.

Before attempting to analyze the pedigree of Messenger, or rather that
of his dam, with which the chief difficulty lies, we will go back to
the head of the male line and consider each successive generation. The
Darley Arabian, one of the most distinguished of all the founders of the
English thoroughbred horse, was brought from Aleppo, about the year
1710. He did not cover many mares except those of his owner in Yorkshire,
but he was very successful. Childers, commonly called Flying Childers,
was foaled 1715. He was got by the Darley Arabian out of Betty Leeds,
a distinguished lightweight runner, by Careless. Childers was the most
distinguished race horse of his day, and the fabulous story of his having
run a mile in a minute was circulated, believed and written about for
generations. He ran a trial against Almanzor and Brown Betty over the
round course at Newmarket (three miles, six furlongs and ninety-three
yards) in six minutes and forty seconds, “and it was thought,” says the
old record, “that he moved eighty-two feet and a half in a second of
time, which is nearly at the rate of one mile in a minute.” This was the
basis of the legend “A Mile in a Minute,” and it has lived till our own
day, just as many a traditional pedigree has lived. If we accept the time
as given by the old chroniclers, of which we have very grave doubts,
Childers ran at the rate of one minute and forty-five seconds to the
mile, and he covered a distance of fifty feet and about two inches to the
second of time. The pedigree of Childers on the maternal side is one of
the oldest in the Stud Book, and we are not aware that any charges have
ever been made against its substantial authenticity.

BLAZE, the son of Childers, was foaled 1733, and was out of a mare known
as “The Confederate Filly,” by Grey Grantham; her dam was by the Duke of
Rutland’s Black Barb, and her grandam was a mare of unknown breeding,
called “Bright’s Roan.” Here the maternal line runs into the woods, but
this is not the only defect in the pedigree, for the dam of Grey Grantham
was also unknown. In order to give a clear idea of just how Blaze was
bred, taking the Stud Book for our authority, we will here tabulate the
pedigree for a few crosses.

                               { Darley Arabian
           { Childers          {                 { Careless.
           {                   { Betty Leeds     { Sister to Leeds.
  Blaze    {
  (1733).  {                                     { Browlow Turk.
           {                   { Grey Grantham   { Blood unknown.
           { Confederate Filly {
                               { Daughter of     { Black Barb.
                                                 { Brights Roan, unknown.

Certainly this horse cannot be ranked as thoroughbred under any
rule, English or American, that has ever been formulated. Only three
generations away we find two animals of hopelessly unknown breeding.
Mr. Henry F. Euren, compiler of the English Hackney Stud Book, has given
Blaze a new place in horse genealogy, and this new place affects the
American trotter, remotely, outside of the line through Messenger. Mr.
Lawrence, the best English authority on horse matters in the latter part
of the last and the beginning of the present century, had maintained,
confessedly on tradition only, that Old Shales, the great fountain head
of the English trotters of a hundred years ago, was a son of Blank, by
Godolphin Arabian. On this point Mr. Euren has got farther back and found
earlier evidence in printed form that Blaze and not Blank was the sire of
Old Shales. We combated this claim for a time, but in the introduction
to his Stud Book he has made out a very good case, and we have hardly a
doubt but that he is correct. In speaking of the breeding of Shales, and
of his dam being a “strong common-bred mare,” he says: “It is of interest
to examine the pedigree of the sire (Blaze) to determine whether yet
stronger racing or pacing elements existed on that side.” After giving a
tabulation of the pedigree he continues: “There would thus appear to have
been a large proportion of English (native) blood in the dam of Blaze,
though no one can say what was its character—whether running, trotting,
or ambling.” In referring to the fact that Bellfounder was a descendant
of Old Shales, the son of Blaze, Mr. Euren makes this practical
application of the incident:

    “The fact that in the seventh generation from Blaze, on each
    side, the reunion of the blood in Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, the
    sire of so many fast American trotting horses, should have
    proved to be of the most impressive character, would appear to
    warrant the conclusion that there was a strong latent trotting
    tendency in the near ancestors, on one, if not on both, sides
    of Blaze.”

These two points from a very high English authority—that Blaze was
not thoroughbred and that he was the sire of Shales, a great trotting
progenitor, must have due weight in reaching sound conclusions.

SAMPSON, the son of Blaze, was foaled 1745, and he has occupied a very
prominent and at the same time unique place in running-horse history. He
was not only a great race horse, at heavy weights, but he was considered
phenomenal in his size and strength, and in his lack of the appearance
of a race horse. Some of his measurements have come down to us, and as
they are reliable data as to what was considered a remarkably large and
strong race horse a hundred and forty years ago, we will reproduce them
here in order that the curious may compare them with the average race
horse of this generation:

    Height on the withers, 15 hands 2 inches; dimensions of fore
    leg from the hair of the hoof to middle of fetlock joint, 4
    inches; from fetlock joint to bend of the knee, 11 inches; from
    bend of knee to elbow, 19 inches; round fore leg below knee,
    narrowest part, 8½ inches; round hind leg, narrowest part, 9

These measurements may not seem to merit any particular attention at this
day, but a hundred and fifty years ago they were considered phenomenal
in the race horse. But we are not left to the dry details of a certain
number of inches and fractions of an inch upon which to base a just
conception of the strength and substance of this horse. A number of
historians have told us of the merriment among the grooms and jockeys
when Sampson made his first appearance on the turf. The question was,
“Has Mr. Robinson brought a coach horse here to run for the plate?” The
laugh was on the other side at Malton that day, however, when the “coach
horse,” carrying one hundred and forty pounds, won the plate in three
heats. The distance was three miles, and Sampson was then five years old.
At long distances and at high weights Sampson was a first-class race
horse for his day. But, notwithstanding all this, we are told that his
blood never became fashionable, for there was a widespread conviction
that he was not running-bred on the side of his dam. The historians tell
us that he transmitted his own coarseness and lack of the true running
type in a marked degree, which was very evident in his grandson, Mambrino.

His pedigree has been questioned from the day of his first appearance
to the present time, and we have made a very careful study of all the
facts at our command. In the first edition of his Stud Book (1803) Mr.
Weatherby gives his dam as by Hip; g. d. by Spark, son of Honeycomb
Punch; g. g. d. by Snake and out of Lord D’Arcy’s Queen. This has not
been materially changed in any of the subsequent editions, and we think
it may be taken for granted that the horse was advertised under this
pedigree. Mr. Weatherby commenced work on pedigrees in 1791, and avowedly
accepted the best information he could get with regard to old pedigrees,
regardless of the source. We are not aware that he ever investigated
anything outside of his office work, or if he did he never gave the
public the benefit of the details of his investigations. John Lawrence
commenced work on horse history long before Mr. Weatherby commenced
as a compiler of pedigrees, and he was altogether the ablest writer
of his day, or perhaps we might add, of any other day. He was a clear
and independent thinker and a vigorous writer. In his “History of the
Horse in all His Varieties and Uses,” on page 281, he thus discusses the
question of Sampson’s pedigree:

    “Nobody yet ever did, or ever could assert positively that
    Jigg was not thoroughbred, but the case is very different with
    respect to Sampson; since nobody in the sporting world, either
    of past or present days, ever supposed him so. Nor was the said
    world at all surprised at Robinson’s people furnishing their
    stallion with a good and _true_ pedigree, a thing so much to
    their advantage. Having seen a number of Sampson’s immediate
    get, those in the Lord Marquis of Rockingham’s stud and others,
    and all of them, Bay Malton perhaps less than any other, in
    their _heads_, size and form, having the appearance of being a
    degree or two deficient in racing blood, I was convinced that
    the then universal opinion on that point was well grounded. I
    was (in 1778) an enthusiast, collecting materials for a book
    on the horse. It happened that I wanted a trusty and steady
    man for a particular service, and opportunely for the matter
    now under discussion, a Yorkshire man about threescore years
    of age was recommended to me, who had recently been employed
    in certain stables. I soon found that his early life had been
    spent in the running stables of the North, and that he had
    known Sampson, whence he was always afterward named by us ‘Old
    Sampson.’ He was very intelligent on the subject of racing
    stock and his report was as follows. He took the mare to Blaze,
    for the cover which produced Sampson, helped to bit and break
    the colt, rode him in exercise and afterward took him to Malton
    for his first start, where, before the race, he was ridiculed
    for bringing a great coach horse to contend against racers. On
    the sale of Sampson this man left the service of James Preston,
    Esq., and went with the colt into that of Mr. Robinson. His
    account of Sampson’s dam was that she appeared about three
    parts bred, a hunting figure and by report a daughter of Hip,
    which, however, could not be authenticated; and the fact was
    then notorious and not disputed in the Yorkshire stables....
    Mr. Tattersall lately stowed me a portrait of Sampson in his
    flesh, in which this defect of blood appears far more obvious
    than in one which I had of him galloping.”

Again, in his great quarto work, issued 1809, Mr. Lawrence reiterates his
belief that Sampson was not thoroughbred. He says:

    “I am by no means disposed to retract my opinion concerning
    Robinson’s Sampson. Not only did the account of the groom
    appear to me to be entitled to credit, but the internal
    evidence of the horse’s having had in him a cross of common
    blood is sufficiently strong by the appearance both of the
    horse himself and of his stock; an idea in which every
    sportsman, I believe, who remembers Engineer, Mambrino and
    others will agree with me.”

Here then, we have the answer to the whole inquiry reduced to its
simplest form. The groom who coupled the mare with Blaze from which
came Sampson says the mare was called a Hip mare, but that her pedigree
was really unknown. For the intelligence and honesty of this groom Mr.
Lawrence does not hesitate to vouch, and he adds the common belief of
all the Yorkshire sportsmen of that day, who knew the mare, that she was
of unknown breeding. This evidence is further supplemented by the family
characteristics of the stock descended from Sampson, to say nothing
of the great lack of “blood” in the appearance of Sampson himself. As
against this we have the dry, unsupported assertion of Mr. Weatherby,
forty years after the event, and probably copied from an advertisement of
the horse. In view of all this we must tabulate the pedigree of Sampson
as follows:

                               { Childers          { Darley Arabian.
                               {                   { Betty Leeds.
           { Blaze             {
  Sampson  {                   { Confederate Filly { Grey Grantham.
  (1745).  {                                       { D. of Black Barb.
           { Called a Hip Mare
           { (Unknown).

ENGINEER, son of Sampson, was a brown horse, foaled 1755, and was out
of Miner’s dam, by Young Greyhound; grandam by Curwen’s Bay Barb, and
the next dam unknown. This is all the pedigree that has ever been
even claimed for this horse, and it falls far short of the rank of
thoroughbred. That the eye may take it all in at a glance we will here
put it into tabular form. There is a discrepancy of one year between
Weatherby and Pick in the age of the horse, and we find Pick is right in
giving his date as 1755.

                               { Blaze             { Childers.
           { Sampson           {                   { Confederate Filly.
  Engineer {                   { Unknown.
  (1755).  {
           { Miner’s dam       { Young Greyhound   { Greyhound.
                               {                   { Pet mare.
                               { D. of Bay Barb    { Unknown.

Notwithstanding the absence of Eastern blood, Engineer was a race horse
of above average ability, although not so good as another son of Sampson
called Bay Malton. A few of his sons aside from Mambrino ran respectably,
and his daughters were, at one time, highly prized as brood mares.

MAMBRINO, the son of Engineer, was a great strong-boned grey horse, bred
by John Atkinson near Leeds in Yorkshire, and was foaled 1768. His dam
was by Cade, son of the Godolphin Arabian; g. d. by Bolton Little John;
g. g. d. Favorite by a son of Bald Galloway, etc. The Cade mare produced
Dulcine, a noted performer, and the mare Favorite was a distinguished
performer herself. The poverty of this pedigree is all on the side of the
sire, as will be seen by a brief tabulation.

                                                   { Blaze.
           { Engineer          { Sampson           { Unknown.
           {                   {
           {                   {                   { Young Greyhound.
  Mambrino {                   { Miner’s dam       { D. of Bay Barb.
  (1768).  {
           {                                       { Godolphin Arabian.
           {                   { Cade              { Roxana.
           { Daughter of       {
                               {                   { Bolton Little John.
                               { Daughter of       { Favorite.

It is worthy of note here, as a curious fact, that Mambrino had two
pacing crosses. Roxana, the dam of Cade, was by Bald Galloway and
Favorite was by a son of Bald Galloway. This horse Bald Galloway was a
distinguished representative of the famous old tribe of pacers known as
the “Galloways,” from the province of Galloway in Southwestern Scotland.

Mambrino was not put upon the turf till he was five years old, and he
proved himself a great race horse in the best company and for the largest
class of stakes. He was on the turf most of the time for five or six
years and until he was beaten by Woodpecker in 1779, in which race he
broke down. He was beaten, but four times, and paid four forfeits. He
went into the stud in the spring of 1777, although he ran after that, at
10gs. 10s. 6d. to cover thirty mares besides those of his owners. In 1779
he was again in the stud, in Cambridgeshire as before, at the same price;
1781 he covered at 50gs. 10. 6d.; 1784 at 15gs. 10. 6d.; 1785 at 25gs.
10s. 6d.; 1786 he dropped back to 15gs. 10s. 6d.

We give these prices to show the variations in the estimated value of
his services. As a sire of race horses Mambrino was not successful. Some
fifteen or twenty of his progeny ran more or less respectably, but none
of them was at all comparable with himself. While he was a comparative
failure as a racing sire there was another qualification in which he
attained great eminence and distinction. In the second volume of Pick’s
Turf Register, published 1805, on page 266, we find the following
paragraph appended to the history there given of this horse:

    “Mambrino was likewise sire of a great many excellent hunters
    and strong, useful road horses. And it has been said that from
    his blood the breed of horses for the coach was brought nearly
    to perfection.”

This paragraph, considering its date (1805), the authority from which
it comes, and the peculiar circumstances which prompted its utterance,
has a most striking significance. After years of familiarity with Mr.
Pick’s works we can say freely that we never have been able to find any
allusion or reference to the qualities of any horse portrayed by him
other than his running qualities. This reference to the adaptabilities of
the progeny of Mambrino stands alone. The “blood that brought the breed
of coach horses nearly to perfection” must have been blood that gave
the “breed” a long, slinging, road-devouring trot, as well as size and
strength. The very same qualifications were observed and noted in the
descendants of Mambrino in this country forty and fifty years ago, and at
no time in our history have we had such unapproachable coach horses as
the great-grandsons of Mambrino. What has been said, therefore, by Mr.
Pick of the “coach-horse” qualities of the descendants of Mambrino in
England has been fully realized and verified in his descendants, through
Messenger, in this country.

The question here arises whether Mambrino ever showed any remarkable
trotting action himself that would seem to justify this estimate of the
trotting action of his descendants? Several writers, and among them Mr.
Lawrence, have spoken of this peculiarity of Mambrino’s incidentally,
but the most tangible account we have of it is furnished by an English
writer to the _Sporting Magazine_, who dates his letter from the
“Subscription Rooms, Tattersall’s, 1814.” These “subscription rooms”
were the very focus of sporting events, and this writer seems to be
unusually intelligent on this class of subjects. The object and point
of his communication is to prove that no thoroughbred horse could be
developed into a fast trotter. “Hence,” he says, “no thoroughbred was
ever known capable of trotting sixteen miles within the hour, and only
one stands on record as having trotted fifteen miles within one hour.
That was Infidel, by Turk, who performed it in the North, carrying
nine or ten stone. Several race horses have been supposed capable of
trotting fourteen miles in one hour, and it is reported that the late
Lord Grosvenor once offered to match Mambrino to do it for a thousand
guineas.” Now this writer does not say that Lord Grosvenor really made
such an offer, but only that he was “reported” to have made it. This
does not prove that the offer was formally made, but it does prove that
Mambrino had a very remarkable trotting step or such a topic would not
have been considered at Tattersall’s subscription rooms. As this writer
seems to refer to Mambrino and Infidel only as exceptional horses for
their trotting step among thoroughbreds, we may take it for granted that
Mambrino was considered exceptional, in his day. It is not probable that
he was ever trained an hour at the trot, and we must conclude, therefore,
that whatever speed he showed was his natural and undeveloped gait. It
will be observed that Mr. Pick’s paragraph was dated 1805, and the letter
from the “subscription rooms” 1814, so that they could not have been mere
reflections of theories advanced on this side of the Atlantic in relation
to Messenger being a great source of trotting speed. These two facts
were on record long before any “Messenger theories” were in existence,
and those “theories” were formulated long before these two facts were
known. The conclusions reached on both sides of the water are entirely
harmonious, but they were reached in complete independence of each other.

MESSENGER, son of Mambrino, was a grey horse about fifteen hands two
inches high, with strong, heavy bone and a generally coarse appearance
for a horse represented to be thoroughbred. From the Racing Calendar, and
not from the Stud Book, we learn that he was foaled 1780, and came out
of a mare represented to be by Turf, and she out of a mare by Regulus,
son of Godolphin Arabian, etc., as represented by Mr. Weatherby in his
Stud Book. By looking back to the beginning of this chapter the form in
which the entry appears in the Stud Book will be fully comprehended. The
identity, history, and breeding of the dam of Messenger is the central
point in this inquiry, and we must do our work carefully and thoroughly.
From the form of the entry in the Stud Book, it will be understood that
the breeder of each animal is supposed to appear opposite the foals
of his own breeding, but this we have found in more than a thousand
instances to be wholly imaginary on the part of the compiler. If the
animal ran, the name of the party running him is far more apt to appear
than the name of the breeder. It will be observed, also, that the Turf
fillies of 1773 and 1774 appear without their color being known. These
fillies seem to be put in there to partially fill the gap between 1771
and 1777. Mr. Pick says the dam of Messenger was black, but he gives no
account of her further than that. Whether Mr. Pick was indebted to Mr.
Weatherby, or Weatherby to Pick, I cannot say, but they both give the
pedigree just as we have given it in this country. I am not inquiring
whether these authorities agree on this pedigree, but whether they knew
anything about it, and whether there is such agreement in details between
them as will support each other.

The first question that arises in every man’s mind is, whether there is
any further trace of this Turf mare, the reputed dam of Messenger, in
the Stud Book, by whom was she bred and owned, and by whom was Messenger
bred? Pick says the Turf mare was bred by Lord Bolingbroke, and Weatherby
says she was bred by Lord Grosvenor. To test the question whether either
is right, I have gone through the English Stud Book, page by page, and
pedigree by pedigree, wherever I found the name of Lord Bolingbroke, or
Lord Grosvenor, to see if any trace of the Turf mare could be found. I
found no shadow of trace. The certificate of pedigree that came across
the ocean with Messenger represents him to have been bred by John
Pratt, and Mr. Pick, or rather his successor, Mr. Johnson, says he was
bred and owned by Mr. Bullock. These clear and explicit declarations
gave new hopes of finding something of the Turf mare, and at it I went
again, and searched every pedigree that had the name of Mr. Pratt or Mr.
Bullock attached to it, with no better results than before. Now, Lord
Bolingbroke, Lord Grosvenor, Mr. Pratt and Mr. Bullock were all breeders,
and if any of them ever owned the dam of Messenger and bred from her,
none of her produce was ever recorded or ever started in a race.

Thus, the more we search for the truth about Messenger and his origin,
the more dense becomes the mystery. When we find an English authority
that seems clear, we find another that contradicts him, and probably
neither of them knows anything about it beyond uncertain tradition. When
we consider these contradictions of authorities in connection with the
fact that men were just as prone to lie and fix up a bogus pedigree a
hundred years ago as they are to-day, and that stud-book makers were just
as liable to be deceived then as now, we must conclude that there is room
for very serious doubts as to whether Weatherby or Pick knew anything
about the pedigree of Messenger, or by whom he was bred.

In pushing our inquiries still further in search of this mare, we must
consider somewhat in detail Mr. Weatherby’s methods and the degree of
responsibility he assumed for the accuracy of his compilations. In 1791
he published what he called “An Introduction to a General Stud Book,”
containing, as he says, “a small collection of pedigrees which he had
extracted from racing calendars and sale papers, and arranged on a
new plan.” In May, 1800, he issued a supplement to his “Introduction”
bringing down the produce of mares to 1799. In 1803 he issued what we
suppose is the first edition of the first volume of the Stud Book. The
title-page reads, “The General Stud Book, containing pedigrees of race
horses, etc., from the Restoration to the present time.” The imprint is,
“Printed for James Weatherby, 7 Oxenden Street, etc., London, 1803.” The
volume contains three hundred and eighty-four pages, while the edition
of 1827 contains four hundred and forty-eight pages. There is no “Volume
I.” on the title-page, nor is there any indication that this is a
continuation or revision of any preceding work. It brings down the list
of produce in many cases to and including 1803, but none later than that
year, so there can be no mistake as to when it was issued.

I have been thus particular in identifying this first edition of the
first volume of the English Stud Book, for it gives us an insight into
the methods employed by Mr. Weatherby in the progress of his work.
Upon a careful comparison of the editions of 1803 with 1827 extending
through the letters A, B, and M, we find that he has thrown out more
than ten per cent. of the entire families in the edition of 1803. By
“entire families” I mean brood mares, with their lists of produce. In
making these exclusions he seems to have confined himself to what may be
considered the historic period, at that day, and did not go back further
than about twenty years. Beyond that period everything was traditional,
and he appears to have shrunk from all responsibility of attempting the
exclusion of families. On and near the border line between these periods
he seems to have taken the responsibility of cutting off a great many
individuals of doubtful identity, even though the family was left to
stand on its uncertain basis of tradition. I cannot say positively that
the dam of Messenger and her sister were cut off with the multitude
of others, but I can say that neither of them ever appeared again in
the Stud Book. Other members of the family of the Regulus mare have
places for their descendants in subsequent volumes, from which I would
infer that Mr. Weatherby considered her breeding all right, but the two
fillies, one of them the dam of Messenger, have been treated as spurious
and wholly omitted from the records. These are the facts relating to
these two fillies claimed originally to be by Turf, and there can be no
moral doubt that they were omitted or excluded because Mr. Weatherby
deemed them unsustained and probably spurious.

In confirmation of the facts and circumstances already adduced, going to
show that Messenger was not thoroughbred, we are now ready to consider
one of the strongest arguments that can be advanced in support of that
conclusion. This argument is founded on the laws of nature and is not
dependent upon the mere writing down of uncertain traditions. Messenger
possessed and transmitted qualities that no thoroughbred horse has ever
transmitted, from the period when the breed of race horses was formed to
the present day. It is practically conceded on all hands that Messenger,
by his own power and by his own right, founded a family of trotting
horses, and this fact will be fully demonstrated in coming chapters. It
is equally plain and, with honest and intelligent people, it is accepted
with equal readiness, that no thoroughbred horse has ever done this. This
declaration has been much controverted, but always in a general way and
without specifying any particular thoroughbred horse that had succeeded
in establishing a family of trotters. In the progress of a discussion of
this point with the late Charles J. Foster, a very clear and able writer,
he was directly challenged, in a manner that could not be dodged, to name
the thoroughbred horse outside of Messenger, that had accomplished this
feat. Greatly to my surprise, and I might say, gratification, he came
back at me with _two of Messenger’s sons_—Hambletonian and Mambrino. Thus
he conceded the whole contention, for out of, literally, thousands he had
to come back to two sons of Messenger.

In reply to an article in _Wallace’s Monthly_ for December, 1887, going
to show that Messenger was not a thoroughbred horse, Mr. Joseph Cairn
Simpson, of California, an able man and a lifelong advocate of more
running blood in the trotter, wrote a review of the article in question.
After admitting the full force of the demonstration that Messenger was
not a thoroughbred horse, there is one sentence to which Mr. Simpson
cannot subscribe, and he quotes it as follows: “Complete and conclusive
as these facts may be, there is still another fact equally complete and
still more convincing. Messenger possessed and transmitted qualities
that no thoroughbred horse, in the experience of man, ever possessed
and transmitted.” This was a declaration of Messenger as a progenitor
against the whole world of thoroughbreds, and Mr. Simpson felt that he
could not let it pass unchallenged, and after scratching about among
the thousands of thoroughbreds without finding anything, like poor Mr.
Foster, he “acknowledges the corn,” and comes back with Mambrino, _the
son of Messenger_, without, seemingly, once realizing that he was proving
my contention.

The theory that if any other English race horse had been in Messenger’s
place and bred upon the same mares and had his progeny developed as
Messenger’s were developed, he would have produced the same results, has
always been very popular with the advocates of “more running blood in the
trotter.” No doubt there are still some honest, but not well-informed
people, who hold to this view merely because they have never heard of any
other imported English horses that were contemporaneous with Messenger,
and hence have concluded there were none. If Messenger had been all
alone during the twenty years of his stud services, as this theory
assumes, there might be some reason to doubt whether some other English
race horses might not have done just as well in establishing a line or
tribe of trotters. But was he alone? From the close of the Revolutionary
War to the end of the last century was a period of great activity and
enterprise in the way of importing running horses from Great Britain. The
blood of Herod and English Eclipse was in the highest estimate, not only
in the old but in the new world, and a great many distinguished horses
were brought over possessing those favorite strains. During that period
racing was carried on with just as much spirit and _éclat_ on Long Island
and the river counties of New York, New Jersey, and some of the eastern
counties of Pennsylvania as it was in Virginia and South Carolina. Horses
of the most fashionable lineage were sought after and patronized, not by
a few great breeding establishments, but by the farmers generally, in all
the region here designated. The following list of imported English race
horses is made up of animals that were contemporaneous with Messenger,
covering the same mares and the offspring subjected to precisely the
same treatment and conditions. The list is limited to what may be called
the trotting latitudes, and embraces such animals only as were brought
into New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania. We will not only
give their names, but the blood elements also, so that all can see that
Messenger not only had competitors but competitors of the highest grade
of running blood.

  Admiral, by Florizel, son of King Herod.
  Ancient Pistol, by Ancient Pistol, son of Snap.
  Arrakooker, by Drone, son of King Herod.
  Baronet, by Vertumnus, son of Eclipse.
  Benjamin, by Ruler, son of Young Marske.
  Creeper, by Tandem, son of Dainty Davy.
  Deserter, by Lenox, son of Delpini, by Highflyer.
  Dey of Algiers, Arabian.
  Diomed (Tate’s), by Phenomenon, son of King Herod.
  Driver, by Saltram, son of Eclipse.
  Drone, by King Herod.
  Dungannon (Young), by Dungannon.
  Expedition, by Pegasus, son of Eclipse.
  Express, by Postmaster, son of King Herod.
  Exton, by Highflyer, son of King Herod.
  Florizel, by Florizel, son of King Herod.
  Grand Seignor, Arabian.
  Highflyer (1782), by Highflyer.
  Highflyer (1792), by Highflyer.
  Highlander (Brown), by Paymaster.
  Highlander (Gray), by Bordeaux.
  Honest John, by Sir Peter Teazle.
  Joseph, by Ormond, son of King Fergus.
  King William, by King Herod.
  King William, by Paymaster.
  Light Infantry, by Eclipse.
  Magnetic Needle, by Magnet.
  Magnum Bonum, by Matchem.
  Nimrod, by King Fergus.
  North Star, by North Star, son of Matchem.
  Paymaster, by Paymaster.
  Prince Frederick, by Fortunio.
  Punch, by King Herod.
  Revenge, by Achilles.
  Rodney, by Paymaster.
  Royal George, by Jupiter, son of Eclipse.
  Royalist, by Saltram.
  Slender, by King Herod.
  Sour Crout, by Highflyer.
  Venetian, by Doge.
  Yorkshire, by Jupiter, son of Eclipse.

Here we have forty-one imported English stallions, contemporaneous with
Messenger, occupying the same territory and covering the same mares that
he covered. With the exceptions of two or three they were all ranked
as not only thoroughbred, but they possessed the most fashionable and
successful blood that England had then produced. A few of them were taken
southward after a time, but the great body of them lived out their days

To this great array of imported English running horses we might add
hundreds of their sons, and yet not find one that claimed to be
thoroughbred that ever became a trotting progenitor or founded a family
of trotters. Mr. Foster and Mr. Simpson, by far the two ablest writers on
the wrong side of the question that this country has produced, with this
list of forty English stallions before them from which to select their
proof that Messenger was not the only progenitor of trotters, were at
last compelled to take two of Messengers sons, as trotting progenitors,
to prove that their sire was not a trotting progenitor. If the
intellectual powers of these two gentlemen had enabled them to scratch
ever so little beneath the glittering surface of the word “thoroughbred,”
they would have saved themselves from this humiliating exhibition of

What was true of Messenger’s contemporaries is equally true of all the
strictly thoroughbred stallions that have lived on the earth from his
day to the present. No one of them has ever founded a trotting family
and no one of them has ever got a trotter out of a mare of his own kind.
Out of the half-dozen instances on record where a thoroughbred horse has
got a trotter there is no one instance in which the dam did not have
a strong pacing or trotting inheritance. If we accept the known and
recorded experiences of the past seventy years, in the trotting world, we
find two great facts on every page of the record. First, Messenger left
a family of trotters; second, no other thoroughbred horse did that. It
follows, then, that if Messenger transmitted capacities different from
those transmitted by thoroughbred horses, he must have had a different
inheritance from thoroughbred horses, and if different, then that
inheritance could not have been thoroughbred. From the facts we have
developed in the history of his English ancestors; from the ten thousand
demonstrations of his American descendants, and from the great laws which
govern the transmission of special capacities, we are forced to the
conclusion that Messenger was not a thoroughbred horse.



    Messenger’s racing in England—His breeder unknown—Popular
    uncertainty about the circumstances and date of
    his importation—The matter settled by his first
    advertisement—Uncertainty as to his importer—Description of
    Messenger by David W. Jones, of Long Island—Careful consensus
    of descriptions by many who had seen Messenger—His great and
    lasting popularity as a stock horse—Places and prices of his
    services for twenty years—Death and burial.

Messenger made his first appearance on the turf in October, 1783, then
three years old, and ran twice, successfully, that year. He continued
on the turf till November, 1785, winning eight races, losing six and
receiving forfeits in two. Most of his races were practically matches,
and all were single dashes but one, in which he was beaten. Two of his
winnings were less than a mile, five at the distance of a mile and a
quarter, and one at two miles. These distances are approximate. He was
beaten at two and a quarter miles, three, and three and a half miles. He
never appeared in any great racing event, but seemed to be managed with a
special view to picking up small prizes at short distances. His owner and
manager, Mr. Bullock, was a very shrewd “professional” at Newmarket, he
had quite a number of horses in the same stable with Messenger and some
of them seem to have been selected always to run for the more valuable
prizes. Considering the short distances he was able to run and the
unimportant character of the contests in which he was engaged, we must
conclude that Messenger was a very ordinary race horse.

It is not known by whom Messenger was bred. In his first advertisement in
this country it is stated that he was bred by John Pratt, of Newmarket,
but in the fourth volume of Pick’s “Turf Register,” continued by Johnson,
it is stated explicitly that he “was bred by and the property of Mr.
Bullock, of Newmarket.” Mr. John Pratt was a breeder as well as a racing
man of some prominence, in his day, and the certificate of pedigree from
him and purporting to have been issued by him was probably a fraud, as
he died May 8, 1785. This was while Messenger was still on the turf,
and owned and controlled by Mr. Bullock for two years previous to this,
still no mention is made of the fact, and Mr. Pratt is made to say that
he sold him to the Prince of Wales, while all the evidence, which must
necessarily be of a negative character, goes to show that the Prince of
Wales never owned him. Mr. Pratt was a Yorkshire man, of Askrigg, in the
North Riding, and although he died at Newmarket we have no trace of any
of the family from which the dam of Messenger was said to have descended
ever being in his possession. Besides this, it is not likely that the
importer of Messenger got a certificate from him two years after his

The different representations that have been made about Messenger’s
importation would fill a much larger space than would be profitable.
About no horse has there been so much written, and about no horse
has there been so little really known. His character and memory have
never suffered defamation, for every writer was a eulogist of the
most enthusiastic type, whether he knew anything of his hero or not.
As a specimen of the admiration which he excited, it has been told a
hundred times that when the horse came cavorting down the gangplank
from the ship, with a groom hanging on to each side of his head,
literally carrying them for some distance before he could be checked,
an enthusiastic horseman shouted out, “There, in that horse a million
dollars strikes American soil.” This story has been told so often, even
in England, that no doubt many people believe the startling prophecy
was really uttered. Indeed we have heard the name of the prophet, but
as he was a distinguished New Yorker and as debarkation took place at
Philadelphia, we never have been able to fully reconcile the actor with
the occasion. The reputed prophecy, like the reputed pedigree, seems
to have been an afterthought, but unlike the pedigree it proved true,
whether uttered or not. Some said he was imported 1785, while others
dribble along through the intermediate years till 1800 was fixed upon
with great positiveness as the precise year. One of these gentlemen, we
remember very well, was entirely confident he returned to England and
was brought back again after a number of years. Less than twenty years
ago the breeding world was favored with scores upon scores of this kind
of teachers, not one of whom knew what he was talking about. The most
surprising example of this kind of writing, however, is furnished by Mr.
C. W. Van Ranst, himself, who was part owner of the horse a number of
years. In a communication published in Skinner’s “Turf Register,” 1831,
he says Messenger was imported into New York in 1792, and in the same
publication for 1834 he says he was imported into New York 1791. As the
sequel will show, Mr. Van Ranst, although his owner, had no definite
knowledge of the early history of the horse.

From some slight investigations I became satisfied, years before, that
Messenger made his first appearance in this country at Philadelphia, and
that he was imported into that city instead of New York. In that view all
the writers of the whole country were opposed to me; but, as it became
more and more evident that those writers were merely copying from one
another and that none of them had ever made an honest search for the
truth, I resolved to follow my own convictions and to commence there an
investigation that would settle the matter one way or the other. In a few
hours after reaching that city I found a file of the old _Pennsylvania
Packet_, and in the number dated May 27, 1788, an advertisement of which
the following is a true copy:


    The capital, strong, full blooded, English stallion,


    To cover mares this season at Alexander Clay’s, at the sign of
    the Black Horse, in Market Street, Philadelphia, at the very
    low price of three guineas each mare, and one dollar to the

    Messenger was bred by John Pratt, Esq., of Newmarket, who
    certifies the following pedigree. The grey horse Messenger
    was bred by me and sold to the Prince of Wales; he was got by
    Mambrino (who covered at twenty-five guineas a leap). His dam
    by Turf, his grandam by Regulus; this Regulus mare was sister
    to Figerant and was the dam of Leviathan. JOHN PRATT.

The performance of Messenger has been so very great that there need only
be a reference to the racing calendar of the years 1783, 1784 and 1785.

Any mare missing this season shall be served the next gratis, provided
they continue the same properties, on paying the groom’s fees.

This is a literal copy of the first printed announcement of Messenger in
this country, and there are two very striking features connected with
it, namely, its bad grammar and the absence of the name of the importer
and owner. The former we may attribute to the times, but to the latter
I have been disposed to attach no trifling significance. It is a fact
that till this day we have no direct information as to who imported this
horse. The name “Benger” was developed indirectly as the man, but not
till years after the horse was dead, and probably the importer too, did I
learn from an advertisement of a son of his that stood in Jersey that the
importer’s name was “Thomas Benger.” In 1791 and for two years afterward
he was advertised to stand at “Mount Benger, two miles from Bristol,
Pennsylvania.” When I visited Bristol for the purpose of identifying
“Mount Benger,” which I supposed was the country seat of the owner of
Messenger, I was greatly surprised to find that none of the “oldest
inhabitants” had ever heard of such a place, and when I was informed
that there was no locality within half a dozen miles of Bristol where
the ground rose to a hundred feet above the level of the Delaware River,
the name “Mount Benger” assumed the character of an absurdity as well
as a myth. From a very intelligent man of middle age, who had learned
the blacksmith trade with his grandfather, I learned that he had often
heard his grandfather speak of Messenger, and as having put the last set
of shoes on him when he was taken away to New York the fall the yellow
fever was so bad in Philadelphia. The tradition was still preserved in
the family that Messenger reared up in crossing the river in a boat, and
struck his groom on the head with one of those shoes, from the effects
of which he died. As our informant was able to name two other horses,
Governor and Babel, brought over by Mr. Benger, we were ready to accept
his tradition that he lived at a point known in old times as “China
Retreat,” two miles below Bristol on the Delaware. This point has been
known later as “White Hall.”

After all traditions were exhausted, without yielding anything tangible
or satisfactory, we turned with great confidence to the records of the
county of Bucks, in which Mr. “Benger” had lived for a number of years.
After a diligent and protracted search, embracing a number of years
before and after his known residence in the county, we were not able to
discover that any person by the name of “Benger” had ever owned a foot of
real estate in the county or had been in any way publicly connected with
its affairs or its administration. We had search made in Philadelphia
with the same fruitless results. There is a faint tradition that Thomas
Benger, if that was his name, was a fox-hunting Irish baronet, and if
this was so, it is probable he returned to the old country about the time
he sold Messenger in 1793. However this may be, the owner is forgotten,
but his horse will live forever.

Among the many eulogies and word-paintings of Messenger, by writers
who knew the horse personally, we select the following from the pen
of the late David W. Jones, of Long Island, as the most striking and
picturesque. He says:

    “Having scanned in my boyhood the magnificent form and bearing
    of this noble old horse, and for more than half a century
    having drawn reins over his descendants, I have for a length of
    time felt it incumbent to furnish such facts and impressions,
    as, when considered with those of others, will give the younger
    portion of the present generation, as well as posterity, a
    fair knowledge of the general characteristics of the noblest
    Roman of them all. The first time I ever saw old Messenger
    my father sent me to the farm of Townsend Cock, Esq., of the
    County of Queens, L. I., where the horse was then standing,
    to receive his services. On my arrival at his harem, I found
    the groom, whom I knew, and he at once placed me with the mare
    a short distance from the stable, by the side of a barrier
    erected for security. Having at home heard frequent and long
    discussions in relation to the wonder I was now to behold, you
    may suppose I was all eyes. Presently the stalwart groom, James
    Lingham, with, at the extreme end of the bridle rein, all the
    blood of all the Howards, turned the angle of the stable and
    came in full view. The moment the old horse caught sight of
    the paragon of beauty I had brought to his embrace, he threw
    himself into an attitude, with the grandeur of which no other
    animal can compare, and at the same moment opened his mouth,
    and distending his nostrils, raised his exultant voice to such
    a pitch as gave unmistakable evidence of the capacity of his
    lungs and the size of his windpipe. Indeed, if his nostrils
    were as much larger than ordinary as my boyish vision pictured
    them, I can almost suppose that Mr. McMann with his little bay
    mare (Flora Temple), and sulky, could drive in at one, down the
    windpipe, turn under his immensely long arching loin and out at
    the other.... At that early day I was only impressed by those
    extraordinary developments; but in after years as I sit behind
    his offspring, they invariably remind me of what was then to
    my youthful judgment less apparent—the extraordinary strength
    of his loin, the length and beautiful molding of the buttock,
    the faultless shape of the crupper bone, giving an elegant set
    to his fine flowing tail, as well as the remarkable swell of
    his stifle, altogether forming a most perfect and powerful hind

A good many years ago I made a special study of all that had been written
about Messenger, and I was fortunate in being able to supplement this
information by interviews with a few old gentlemen who knew the horse
personally. Nearly all that generation of horsemen had passed away before
I commenced this personal search for them. But a few then remained with
excellent memories and with characters above suspicion or reproach. From
these sources I gathered a great many incidents, facts and descriptions
which I succeeded in harmonizing, to my own mind at least, and thus was
able, to compile a complete description of the horse at every point. That
description was written out more than twenty years ago, and in presenting
it now I will not change a single word. At the time it was written,
as will be seen from its perusal, I had really no doubt the horse was
thoroughbred. It will not be charged, therefore, that the coarse traits
brought out in the description were influenced in any degree by a theory
of his breeding:

“Messenger was a grey, that became lighter and flea-bitten with age.
He was fifteen hands three inches high, and for a thoroughbred his
appearance was coarse. He did not supply the mind with an idea of beauty,
but he impressed upon it a conception of solidity and power. His head was
large and bony, with a nose that had a decided Roman tendency, though
not to a marked degree. His nostrils were unusually large and flexible,
and when distended they were enormous. His eye was large, full, very
dark and remarkably brilliant. In this particular he does not appear to
have inherited the weakness of his great-grandsire, Sampson. His ear was
larger than usual in the blood horse, but thin and tapering and always
active and expressive. The windpipe was so unusually large and stood
out so much as a distinct feature that it marred what otherwise would
have been a gamelike throat-latch and setting on of the head. His neck
was very short for a blood horse, but was not coarse and thick like a
bull’s; neither did it rise into such an enormous crest as that of his
sire. It was not a bad neck in any sense, but like Lexington’s of our
own day, it was too short to be handsome. His mane and foretop were thin
and light. His withers were low and round, which appears to have been
a family characteristic in the male line, back for three generations
at least. His shoulders were heavy and altogether too upright for our
ideas of a race horse. His barrel was perfection itself, both for depth
and rotundity. His loin was well arched, broad and strong. His hips and
quarters were ‘incomparably superior to all others.’ The column of the
vertebra being of unusual depth and strength, gave the setting on of the
tail a distinctive, but elegant character. The tail was carried in fine
style; like the mane, it was not in superabundant quantity, but there was
no such scantiness as to detract from the beauty and grace of the animal.
His stifles were well spread and swelling, but there appears to have been
no unusual development at this point. From the stifle to the hock and
from the elbow to the knee, no writer that we can now recall has given us
any description of either length or strength. We may, therefore, take it
for granted that these points had no unusual development of muscle, but
were in harmony with the general contour and make-up of a great strong
horse. His hocks and knees were unusually large and bony, with all the
members strong and clearly defined. The cannon bones were short and flat
and the ligaments back of them were very large and braced a good way off,
so that the leg was broad and flat. Mr. Jones says this part of the limb
was of medium size, but other writers all agree that he had an unusual
amount of bone at this point. Considering the whole style and character
of the horse, and especially the character of his ancestors in the male
line, and of Turf, the [reputed] sire of his dam, all of whom were
distinguished for their quantity of bone, we are disposed to think Mr.
Jones’ memory has not served him with entire accuracy in this particular.
The conviction is reasonable and grows out of evidence that comes from
every quarter, and we have no disposition to surrender it, that the bones
of Messenger’s limbs were unusually large and strong for those of a
thoroughbred. His pasterns and feet were all that could be desired, and
as an evidence of the excellence and health of his underpinning several
writers have put it on record that whether in the stable or on the show
ground he never was known to mopingly rest one leg by standing on the
other three, but was always prompt and upright. This is our conception
of the form and appearance of the horse as we have reached it after a
diligent and careful study of all that has been said by those who saw him
while he lived. From this description it is a very easy matter to pick
out the features which gave him his coarse and badly bred appearance.
His big head, long ears, short neck, low withers, upright shoulders,
large bones and, possibly, coarse hair, complete the catalogue. From
these features the purity of his blood has been doubted and denounced,
just as that of his sire, his grandsire and his great-grandsire had
been denounced. The coarseness, the cart-horse appearance was in the
family, but it did not seem to prevent some of them from beating some
of the best that England produced in successive generations. There are
many traditions that have been handed down to us concerning his temper,
some of which, no doubt, have accumulated and gathered strength and
ferocity in the years through which they have rolled. There have been
perhaps half a dozen stories about his killing his keepers, but we
are not able to say whether any one of them is true. It is known with
certainty, however, that he was willful and vicious and would tolerate no
familiarity from strangers.”

The ownership of Messenger, after he was transferred from Philadelphia
to New York, like his earlier history, seems to be very much muddled.
Henry Astor, a New York butcher, certainly bought him in the fall of
1793, and located him at Philip Platt’s, four miles from Jamaica, on
Long Island. In the spring of 1796 Mr. Cornelius W. Van Ranst bought
one-third interest in him and removed him to Pine Plains in Dutchess
County, New York, and, without specifying the time, he says he afterward
purchased the remaining two-thirds, for which he paid two thousand seven
hundred and fifty dollars. There appears to have been some mistake about
this, for in 1802 we find Henry Astor, of New York, conveying one-third
interest in the horse to Benjamin B. Cooper, of Camden, New Jersey. Some
other parties also claim to have owned an interest in the horse, and I
heard that there was a lawsuit about him between Astor and Van Ranst.
The latter claims to have owned an interest in him till the time of his
death, in 1808. It is not known how much Mr. Astor paid for him when he
bought him, nor have I any data from which to determine the probable
market value of the horse except that Mr. Van Ranst says he paid two
thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars for two-thirds of him. If we
accept this as a basis, he must have been valued at about four thousand
one hundred and twenty-five dollars. It is true, beyond doubt, that
for several years he brought to his owners a net annual rental of one
thousand dollars. This would indicate a very large patronage at very high
prices for those times. For the twenty years of his stud services in this
country, we find him located as follows:

1788, at Alexander Clay’s, Market Street, Philadelphia, at $15 the season
and $1 to the groom, privilege of returning.

1789, at Thomas Clayton’s, Lombard Street, Philadelphia, at $10 the
season and $1 to the groom.

1790, at Noah Hunt’s, in the Jersies, near Pennington, at $8.

1791, at “Mount Benger,” two miles from Bristol, Bucks Co., Pa., at $16.

1792, at the same place and the same price.

1793, at the same place and the same price.

1794, at Philip Platt’s, fifteen miles from New York and four from
Jamaica, Long Island, at $25 the season.

1795, at the same place and the same price, when, as Mr. Van Ranst
expressed it, “he took with our horsemen.”

1796, at Pine Plains, Dutchess County, N. Y., where he covered 106 mares
at $30 the season.

1797, I have no advertisement for this year, but it is probable he was at
the same place at the same price.

1798, at Pine Plains, as before, and the terms $30 for the season and $40
to insure.

1799, I have no definite trace of him this year, but there are some
indications he was in West Jersey.

1800, for the spring season he is not located, but he made a fall season
at John Stevens’ in Maidenhead, Hunterdon Co., N. J.

1801, at Goshen, Orange Co., N. Y., and I have seen the book account of
expenses, etc., while he was there.

1802, at Cooper’s Ferry, opposite Philadelphia, Pa., but the price of
services is not mentioned.

1803, at Townsend Cock’s, near Oyster Bay, Long Island, at $20 the season.

1804, at the same place and the same price.

1805, at Bishop Underhill’s, in Westchester Co., N. Y., fifteen miles
from Harlem Bridge. Price reduced to $15.

1806, back again at Townsend Cock’s, and the terms fixed at $15 for the
season, and $25 to insure.

1807, again at Bishop Underhill’s on the same terms as before, and this
was the last of his twenty years’ stud services. It will be observed
that the horse is located every year except two, and these locations
are determined, not by tradition or hearsay, but by copies of his
advertisements for each year. In giving the prices charged for his
services I have given the value of the guinea or the pound as five

Messenger died January 28, 1808, in the stable of Townsend Cock, on Long
Island, in his twenty-eighth year. This date has been as familiar to all
intelligent horsemen for the last forty years as any prominent event in
the history of the nation. The news of the death of the old patriarch
spread with great rapidity, and soon the whole countryside was gathered
to see the last of the king of horses and to assist at his burial. His
grave was prepared at the foot of a chestnut-tree some distance in front
of the house, and there he was deposited in his holiday clothing. In
response to the consciousness that a hero was there laid away forever
a military organization was extemporized, and volley after volley by
platoons was fired over his grave. Some of the young men and boys who
witnessed and participated in the ceremonies of the occasion were still
living twenty years ago, and as they related the incidents of the
occasion to me, their recollections seemed to be as clear and bright as
though the occurrence had been of yesterday.



    Hambletonian (Bishop’s) pedigree not beyond doubt—Cadwallader
    R. Colden’s review of it—Ran successfully—Taken to Granville,
    N. Y.—Some of his descendants—Mambrino, large and coarse
    in appearance—Failure as a runner—Good natural trotter—His
    most famous sons were Abdallah, Almack and Mambrino
    Paymaster—Winthrop or Maine Messenger and his pedigree and
    history—Engineer and the tricks of his owners—Certainly
    a son of Messenger—Commander—Bush Messenger, pedigree
    and description—Noted as the sire of coach horses and
    trotters—Potomac—Tippoo Saib—Sir Solomon—Ogden Messenger, dam
    thoroughbred—Mambrino (Grey)—Black Messenger—Whynot, Saratoga,
    Nestor, Delight—Mount Holly, Plato, Dover Messenger, Coriander,
    Fagdown, Bright Phœbus, Slasher, Shaftsbury, Hotspur,
    Hutchinson Messenger and Cooper’s Messenger—Abuse of the name

It is not my purpose to write a history of all the descendants of
Messenger, for that would fill several volumes and would be simply
writing over again the trotting and pacing records of the past twenty
years. I will, therefore, limit the chapters on this topic to such of
his descendants as have demonstrated the value and prominence of their
blood, as a factor, in the make-up of the American Trotter. Naturally,
the immediate progeny of Messenger will first demand consideration, and
then will follow the succeeding generations that have written their own
history in the official records of trotting and pacing. Completeness
of description and space occupied will be determined, chiefly, by the
prominence and historic value of the animal under review. In this scope
and without following any chronological order, I will try to embrace all
that is known that would be of value to the student of trotting-horse

HAMBLETONIAN (BISHOP’S), originally called HAMILTONIAN.—This was a
dark-bay horse about fifteen hands two inches high. He was bred by
General Nathaniel Coles, of Dosoris, Long Island, and was foaled 1804.
He was got by Messenger, his dam Pheasant (the Virginia Mare), said
to be thoroughbred, by imp. Shark and grandam by imp. Medley. I first
unearthed the pedigree of this “Virginia Mare” in the advertisement of
Hambletonian for 1814 when he was owned by Townsend Cock and standing
that year at Goshen, New York. The “Old Turfman,” Cadwallader R. Colden,
was thoroughly familiar with all turf subjects in the early years of
this century, and was the best turf writer of his generation. He had no
patience or tolerance with frauds in pedigrees and always exposed them
without mercy. He stoutly maintains that the pedigree of the “Virginia
Mare” was bogus, and, to use his own language, he says:

    “When Hambletonian became a public stallion, his owners were
    in a dilemma; a _pedigree_ was necessary, so to work they
    went, and, as many had done before and as many are doing now,
    _made one_; and in his handbills his dam was given as bred in
    Virginia, and got by imported Shark, with a train of maternal
    ancestors, with as much truth, and affording as much ability to
    trace it or discover the breeder of the dam, as though they had
    said _hi, cockalorum jig_.”

Mr. Colden goes into the pedigree of this mare and the non-racing
character of her family at great length, and it cannot be denied that
he has the whole argument. As a specimen of sharp and interesting turf
writing of that period and from that pen, I must commend my readers to
turn to this article, which will be found in _Wallace’s Monthly_, Vol.
II., p. 67.

With the probabilities all against the truthfulness of the pedigree of
the dam, as given, it is certainly true that he was a running horse and
attained distinction in his day. I have no full list of his performances
at hand, but the following may be taken as a fair summary of his
principal achievements. He ran at Newmarket in the spring of 1807 (then
three years old), one mile, beating General Coles’ colt Bright Phœbus,
Mr. Terhune’s bay filly, and distancing two others. He also ran, two days
after the above race, four heats of a mile each, beating Bright Phœbus
again and distancing three others. In the fall of 1808 he ran five weeks
successively, and the three last weeks he won three four-mile purses,
running the distance in shorter time than it ever had been run in the
State of New York. I must say here that these races were run on the then
Harlem course, which was not a full mile in length.

While Hambletonian was on the turf, Tippoo Sultan, a grandson of
Messenger, beat Bond’s First Consul in a famous four-mile race, and Mr.
Bond determined that he would find a horse that would be able to lower
Tippoo Sultan’s colors, and it was thought there was nothing in the
North able to do it except Miller’s Damsel, so he made a match for four
thousand dollars a side on condition that Damsel should prove not to be
in foal. But the mare proving to be in foal the match was off. He then
took Hambletonian into his stable and offered to match him for the same
amount against Tippoo Sultan, but he went amiss and the match was off.
This incident is here introduced to show that whatever his real merits,
Hambletonian had some reputation as a running horse. It was said that
the secret of Mr. Colden’s hostility to the “Virginia Mare” and her
descendants was because those descendants were always able to beat the
descendants of his fashionably bred mare Matilda. Whatever the motive in
exposing a pedigree that has never been fully established, there is one
particular and that the most important of all particulars, in which Mr.
Colden has done justice to Hambletonian. He says: “_Hambletonian got some
excellent roadsters, good trotters._”

There seems to be no description of this horse extant that is fully
satisfactory. For some seasons he was in the hands of Mr. Daniel T.
Cock, who in 1869 furnished me the following: “He was a dark bay, a
little heavy about the head and neck, fifteen and a half hands high, and
rather an upright shoulder. Back, loin and hind quarters as good as were
ever put on a horse. Fore legs a little light, but hind legs strong and
good—pretty straight. He was a beautiful saddle horse, notwithstanding
his head and ear were a little coarse.” Other persons who had seen him
have described him as “a great strong horse, with bone and substance
enough to pull the plow or do any other kind of drudgery.” It has been
said that he had a fine open trotting gait and that, in a cutter with old
Isaac Bishop behind him, he was able to show the boys the road.

In 1807 he became the property of Townsend Cock, of Long Island, and he
remained on the turf till 1810, when he was put in the stud. That and the
following season he was at the stable of his owner; 1812 at Cornwall;
1813 at Fishkill; 1814 at Goshen; 1815-16 at Fishkill; 1817 at White
Plains. In the winter of 1819 Mr. Cock sold him to Stephen and Smith
Germond of Dutchess County, New York, and Isaac Bishop of Granville, New
York. The latter was probably the real owner, and the horse then became
known as “Bishop’s Hambletonian.” He made several seasons in the region
of Granville and was back in Dutchess County 1823 and 1824. The next year
he was at Granville—1825. He made one season, at least, at Burlington,
Vermont, and some seasons or parts of seasons at Poultney, Vermont. It is
said he lived till 1834.

At Wallingford, Vermont, he was bred upon the “Munson Mare,” said to be
a daughter of imported Messenger, and doubtless either by him or one
of his earlier sons, and the produce was Harris’ Hambletonian, also
known as “The Remington Horse” and Bristol Grey, and this son became
the progenitor of a great tribe of trotters, known as the “Vermont
Hambletonians,” some of which were very fast pacers, among them the
famous Hero, the fastest of his generation. Another son of Mr. Bishop’s
horse was the Judson Hambletonian, that was the sire of the Andrus horse,
that got the famous Princess, that was pitted against Flora Temple. He
was also bred on his half-sister, Silvertail, by Messenger, and produced
One Eye, a very fast mare, the grandam of Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, and
I have always thought that this combination was the very cream of the
pedigree of that great horse. He was also bred on a daughter of Mr.
Coffin’s son of Messenger and produced Whalebone, that was the phenomenal
long-distance trotter of his generation. His son, Sir Peter, out of an
unknown mare, was also a famous old-time trotter. One of his daughters
was bred to Coriander, son of Messenger, and the produce was Topgallant,
the fastest horse of his time. These individual enumerations might be
extended indefinitely, but I have given enough to show that he was not
merely a progenitor of trotting speed in remote generations, but that
speed came directly from his own loins. Another most significant fact is
here brought to light, namely, that when bred back upon the blood of his
own sire he achieved his greatest successes.

MAMBRINO.—This great son of Messenger was a bright bay with a star and
one white ankle. He was fully sixteen hands high, with great length of
body and generally of coarse appearance. He was foaled 1806, and was
bred by Mr. Lewis Morris, of Westchester County, New York. His dam was
by imported Sour Grout, out of a mare by imported Whirligig, and she out
of the famous Miss Slammerkin, that is a well-known landmark reaching
beyond the Revolution. The late William T. Porter, of the _Spirit of the
Times_, stoutly maintained that Mambrino was not a thoroughbred horse,
and his reasons seemed to rest wholly upon his coarse and cart-horse
appearance. Technically, Mr. Porter was right, but the trouble did not
rest with the dam, as he seems to have supposed, for I have seen the
original certificate of breeding in the handwriting of Mr. Morris, his
breeder, and there is no slip on that side of the pedigree. Mr. Morris
was a prominent breeder and racing man for many years and his character
was without taint. The pedigree is a very long one and I would be very
far from vouching for the truth of the remote extensions, but back to the
mare by Cub, imported by Mr. De Lancey, who bred Miss Slammerkin, there
can be no mistake.

In the spring of 1810, then four years old, he was purchased of his
breeder by Major William Jones, of Queens County, Long Island, and in the
autumn of that year he was trained and ran for the two-mile purse at the
old Newmarket Course, Long Island, and it is said gave some evidence that
he could run, but after that he was never trained nor started in a race,
from which we may conclude he was not a race horse, or his owner, who
bred and ran his horses, would have given him another trial.

In 1811 he was put in the stud and made the season at Huntington, Long
Island, in charge of Ebenezer Gould. It is not known where he made the
season of 1812, but probably in Orange or Dutchess County. The years
1813-14-15 he was in charge of my late highly esteemed and venerable
correspondent, David W. Jones, on the borders of Queens and Suffolk
counties, Long Island, where he covered about two hundred and fifty
mares. In 1816 he was in one of the river counties, in 1817 at Fishkill,
and 1818 at Townsend Cock’s, Long Island. In later years he changed hands
many times, at from two hundred to two hundred and fifty dollars, and
there is no published trace of him till we find that he made the seasons
of 1825 and 1829 at Pleasant Valley, Dutchess County, and he died the
property of Benjamin Germond, on the farm of Azariah Arnold in Dutchess
County, about 1831.

He took his beautiful color from his dam and transmitted it with great
uniformity. His general structure was after the Messenger model,
especially in the large bones and joints of his limbs. His head was
long and bony and his ears were large and somewhat heavy. He was too
high on his legs and his general appearance was coarse, all of which he
transmitted. In speaking of his offspring Mr. Jones remarks: “When young
they were somewhat leggy and lathy, but spirited, stylish and slashing
in action. When matured, he must indeed be fastidious who would crave
another.” With regard to his gait Mr. Jones uses the following very
emphatic language: “I have been the breeder of some, and the owner of
many good horses, and with the best opportunities of judging, having
ridden him (he was never driven) many, many miles, I say, with entire
confidence, he was the best natural trotter I ever threw a leg over. His
walk was free, flinging and elastic; his trot clear, square and distinct,
with a beautiful roll of the knee and great reach of the hind leg.” In
the absence of actual training and timing, it is hardly possible to get
better evidence that Mambrino was a natural trotter that might have been
developed to a considerable rate of speed. It would be interesting to
know just why the horse “never was driven.” Did he show an unconquerable
aversion to harness, and did Abdallah inherit this aversion? This
description of Mambrino’s gait was written in 1866, and the writer had
spent a long lifetime in an intimate personal knowledge of many, or
indeed most, of the best early trotters that this country had produced.

The only one of his immediate progeny that attained distinction as a
trotter was the famous Betsey Baker. This mare was very prominent among
the best of her day, and was able, on one occasion at least, to beat
the great Topgallant, and in tandem with Grey Harry when she was old
she trotted in 2:41¾-2:43¾. Others of his progeny were trotters of some
merit, but none of them especially distinguished on the turf. His three
sons, Abdallah, Almack and Mambrino Paymaster, are the bright links in
the chain extending from Messenger to the two-minute trotter that will
keep his memory green as long as there is a trotting horse on the earth.
Abdallah at the head of the Hambletonians, Almack at the head of the
Champions, and Mambrino Paymaster at the head of the Mambrino Chiefs
embrace the major portion of the great trotters of this generation.

WINTHROP, OR MAINE MESSENGER.—Perhaps no son of Messenger, not excepting
Hambletonian and Mambrino, produced a more marked effect upon the stock
of any part of the country than this horse did in the State of Maine.
The impress he there made was not only remarkable at the time, but it is
still felt and acknowledged in his descendants to this day. There have
been many conflicting statements made to the public about him and his
history, but I think I am now able to give, in authentic and reliable
form, all that is really known of his origin and history. He was foaled
about 1807 and was among the last colts by the imported horse, but
unfortunately we know nothing of the blood of his dam. Mr. Alvan Hayward,
for many years a citizen of Kennebec County, Maine, but more recently of
York, Livingston County, New York, says his dam possessed some imported
blood; but as all his records and memoranda were burned up in 1845 he is
not able to give the pedigree of the mare that produced him.

Mr. Hayward bought the horse about 1817 or 1818, in the village of Paris,
Oneida County, New York, of a man by the name of Rice or Wright, but
did not remember which. He took him to Winthrop, Maine, where he was
first known as “Messenger,” then as “Kennebec Messenger,” or “Winthrop
Messenger,” and when he became old, as “Old Messenger.” The earliest
contemporaneous account I have of this horse is his advertisement for the
season of 1819, which I copy from the Hallowell _Gazette_ of May 12, of
that year, and is as follows:


    “The subscriber hereby recommends to the public and all who
    feel interested to improve in the breed of good and serviceable
    horses, the good horse Messenger, that stock so well known and
    approved of on Long Island, New York, and Pennsylvania. Said
    horse was raised on Long Island, and owned by Mr. Rylander, a
    gentleman who has taken the greatest pains to import the best
    breed of horses that came to his knowledge. Said horse is a
    silver grey, well proportioned, of a large size, and a good
    traveler. Gentlemen who are desirous of raising good horses
    will do well to call and see for themselves.

    “The Messenger will stand for the most part of the time in the
    village at Withrop Mills.

                                                     ALVAN HAYWARD.

    “Winthrop, May 1st, 1819.”

From the foregoing it will be seen that the new element, brought out in
the history of this horse is the statement that he was owned at one time
by Mr. Rylander, of Long Island. There were two brothers of this name,
and they imported a great many horses, but never before had I heard their
names connected with Winthrop Messenger. This carries us back to a period
in the history of the horse before he was taken to Oneida County.

Colonel Stanley, a prominent banker of Augusta, and at one time a leading
horseman and stage proprietor, bought Messenger of his kinsman, Hayward,
and owned him some seven years. He says the horse was brought to Maine as
early as 1816, and that his Uncle Hayward had certificates that he was
got by imported Messenger, out of a mare well-bred and part of imported

In a communication from Mr. Sanford Howard, who had been prominently
connected with the breeding interests of the country for many years, the
following description is given:

    “I saw him several times, first in 1828. In the latter years of
    his life he stood mostly at Anson, on the Kennebec River, and I
    think died there about 1831 [he died at Dixfield]. He appeared
    like an old horse when I first saw him, older, perhaps, from
    being much afflicted with grease, which had become chronic,
    and at length had almost destroyed his hoofs; so that the last
    time I saw him he was nearly incapable of locomotion. His
    feet and legs looked like those of an elephant. This trouble
    was transmitted to his offspring through several generations
    (though not invariably so), and constituted, perhaps, in
    connection with, in many cases, a flat foot and low heels,
    their greatest defect.

    “Mr. Hayward states, in concluding his letter, that he has no
    doubt the horse he took to Maine was got by imp. Messenger.
    The remark is probably elicited by intimations that he might
    have been gotten by a son of Messenger. I presume Mr. Hayward’s
    belief was well founded. As imported Messenger did not die
    until the 28th of January, 1808, there is no discrepancy
    between that event and the age of Mr. H.’s horse. At the same
    time I must admit that Maine Messenger hardly looked like a
    half-blood horse. He was pretty large, rather short-legged,
    thick-set, with heavy mane and tail, very hairy legs, long
    hair on his jaws, and was heavy coated (in winter) all over
    his body. These characteristics were sometimes accounted for
    by saying he was probably out of a Dutch mare, meaning such
    mares as the Dutch farmers of New York kept. I never heard of
    any claim being set up for his speed in trotting, and I presume
    he was never tried at running. He was strong and plucky, and
    the story was told at Winthrop that on an occasion when all
    the stallions of the neighborhood were brought out to be
    shown, they were put to a trot in sleighs for half a mile or
    so, and Messenger was beaten. Whereupon his owner proposed
    that the horses should each draw a sled with six men on it up
    to Winthrop hill, and be timed. It was done, and Messenger
    beat them all. I think the first of his offspring that became
    noted for fast trotting was a gelding called Lion, taken to
    Boston by a well-known horse dealer by the name of Hodges,
    of Hallowell, Maine. He was sold, I think, for four hundred
    dollars, which made quite a sensation among the Kennebec
    farmers who had any stock of the same sort. I do not recollect
    the rate of speed this horse showed, but a mile in three
    minutes was then considered wonderful, and probably this was
    about his rate. Other horses of the stock were soon brought
    out as fast travelers. I remember a friend of mine showing me
    some young horses he was training, and I rode with him after
    several of them. They were _natural trotters_, and would do
    _nothing but trot_, even under severe applications of the whip.
    But I think the second generation from Mr. Hayward’s horse
    were generally faster trotters than the first. They were also
    generally handsomer horses, not so rough looking. Nearly all
    the horses of this stock which have acquired a reputation in
    Massachusetts, New York, etc., as fast trotters, had not more
    than a quarter of the blood of the horse that Mr. Hayward took
    to Maine, and consequently had not more than an eighth of the
    blood of imported Messenger.

    “The mares that produced these horses were of no particular
    blood. Various stallions had been kept in that section. Morgans
    from New Hampshire and Vermont, with an occasional change to
    the French Canadians, and now and then a quarter or half bred
    horse from New York or New Jersey.”

This excellent communication from Mr. Howard is especially valuable,
as the conclusions drawn by an accurate and competent observer from a
personal acquaintance with the original horse and his progeny. There are
some inferences, however, that may be drawn from Mr. Howard’s letter
that would be unjust to this distinguished animal. His general coarse
appearance, in connection with which Mr. H. says, “he hardly looked like
a half bred horse,” was a prominent feature in the family. Mambrino,
a very high-bred son of old Messenger, was very coarse, and the same
remark was often made about him. The quantity and length of his coat in
the winter of his old age are not conclusive against his pretensions to
a large share of good and pure blood. They are the results oftentimes
of neglect and ill health. It is somewhere stated that the famous Sir
Archy before he died looked exceedingly shaggy, his hair being fully
three inches long. Mr. Howard expresses the opinion that “the second
generation from Mr. Hayward’s horse were generally faster trotters than
the first.” In many instances this, no doubt, is true, for it would be
altogether contrary to the uniform laws which govern these things if
development and use did not strengthen and intensify the instinct to trot
in successive generations. If Mr. Howard is right, and we do not doubt he
is, the increased capacity did not grow out of the dilution of the blood,
but out of the strengthening of the instinct by culture and use. At the
time Mr. Howard made this remark he evidently did not know that the
famous old-time trotters, Daniel D. Tompkins and Fanny Pullen, were both
immediately from the loins of Winthrop Messenger. In their day these two
were classed among the best and fastest trotters that the world had then
produced. The facts that both these animals were the immediate progeny of
Winthrop Messenger were never brought to light for many years, and all I
will say about them now is that they do not rest on shadowy traditions or
suppositions, but are fully and circumstantially established.

In a letter written by Mr. Hayward, May 12, 1852, in speaking of the
useful and everyday qualities of this horse’s progeny, he used the
following language:

    “The stock produced by that horse I consider superior, as
    combining more properties useful in a horse than any other
    stock I have ever been acquainted with, being good for draft,
    for carriage, for travel, for parade, or any place where
    horses are required. They had great bottom and strength, and
    were of hardy constitution. There are some horses in this town
    twenty-two years old, that were by a son of Winthrop Messenger,
    which I brought with me when I left Maine. They have always
    been accustomed to draw the plow and to perform other hard
    labor, and yet they have the appearance of young horses, and
    will now do more service than many horses of seven or eight
    years old.”

Among the several sons of imported Messenger whose names are conspicuous
as the progenitors of great tribes of the most distinguished trotters I
know of no one entitled to a higher place on the roll of fame, all things
considered, than this one that went to Maine, and there laid a foundation
that has made the State famous throughout the length and breadth of the
land for the speed and stoutness of its trotting horses.

With such noted performers from his own loins as Fanny Pullen and Daniel.
D. Tompkins, and in the next generation the famous Zachary Taylor, this
horse made about the best showing of all the sons of Messenger, but as
his line failed to produce a Rysdyk’s Hambletonian or a Mambrino Chief,
it dropped to a place somewhat removed from the front of the procession.

ENGINEER was a grey horse, about sixteen hands high and very elegant in
his form, style and proportions. The earliest account we have of him is
in the spring of 1816, when he was advertised in _The Long Island Star_
to stand at the stable of Daniel Seely, near Suffolk Court House, and
at Jericho, in Queens County. He was in charge of Thomas Jackson, Jr.,
generally designated as “Long Tom.” He was then well advanced in years,
but no attempt was made to give his age. Mr. Daniel T. Cock, in charge
of Duroc and one or two other stallions, was then in sharp competition
with Engineer, and he assures me he was a horse of large size, great
share of bone and sinew, most elegant form, and a fine mover. His elegant
appearance was so captivating that he was a very troublesome competitor.

The advertisement referred to contains the following very unsatisfactory
paragraph relating to his pedigree, viz., “The manner he came into
this country is such that I cannot give an account of his pedigree,
but his courage and activity show the purity of his blood, which is
much better than the empty sound of a long pedigree.” This was a most
unexpected discovery, for I had always understood that Engineer was a
son of Messenger and never had heard of this mystery before. It is here
intimated that the horse was imported, and the story that Jackson told
was that he was brought from England to Canada by a British officer, and
by some surreptitious means found his way from Canada to Long Island.
What appears to be the real history of the horse, and the version
accepted afterward by everybody on the island, will be found in the
following extract from a letter written by David W. Jones, February 28,
1870. He says:

    “I can well account for Mr. Cock’s recollections of the history
    of the first Engineer. Thomas Jackson and George Tappan,
    noted owners and keepers of stallions on Long Island and in
    the counties of Orange and Dutchess, in the course of their
    peregrinations met with a person in possession of this horse,
    who offered him for sale. Impressed with his fine appearance
    and pedigree, they at once entered into negotiations for
    his purchase, and finally obtained him at so low a price as
    to cause strong suspicions that he was not honestly in his
    vendor’s possession. They, however, determined to take the
    chances, and at once brought him to Long Island, their place
    of residence, and determined on what they deemed a harmless
    representation in regard to his history; for this they had
    several motives. First, Messenger stallions were then very
    numerous on Long Island; their blood coursed in the veins of
    nearly every brood mare. Secondly, imported stallions were much
    desired, and by a little added fiction they could give him
    considerable _éclat_, and thirdly, in case of his having been
    unjustly obtained this would afford the best means of disguise.
    Accordingly they represented him as having been imported from
    England to Canada and ridden in the army by Gen. Brock, who,
    in an engagement with our troops, was shot and killed. The
    horse, escaping into our lines, was secured by our soldiers and
    brought to the State of New York. On these representations they
    claimed to have purchased him. No pedigree, as I recollect,
    was attempted to be given, and though many doubted the truth
    of this statement, there was no evidence to controvert it.
    For a length of time this story was adhered to; but after
    several years, when all fears of difficulty had subsided,
    they acknowledged the deception. Mr. Tappan, who resided but
    a few miles from me, was a man of more than ordinary candor
    and fairness, for one of his position and employment. I knew
    him well, and occasionally rendered him a favor by preparing
    his horse bills. On one of these occasions, at my house, he
    gave a full and particular statement of the whole affair. Some
    of the details have escaped me, but the essential facts are
    distinctly recollected. The owner, with Engineer in possession,
    was met at some public place and the purchase completed, and
    this statement then made, ‘that he had become involved in debt,
    and that his creditor had begun a prosecution, with a view
    to levy on the horse, the only property he possessed, and he
    was determined not to lose all.’ This was certainly enough to
    arouse their suspicions with regard to his history. He declared
    the horse was bred and raised in Pennsylvania and that he was
    got by imported Messenger. Whether any further pedigree was
    given is not recollected. He was at this time (1814) a horse
    considerably advanced in years and perfectly white. Mr. Tappan
    also told me that he had afterward traced the horse, and was
    entirely satisfied of the former owner’s veracity. I will not
    apologize for the length of this statement, being desirous of
    giving you all the information here possessed and probably all
    that can now be obtained.”

I am not aware that in the past sixty years any question has ever been
raised as to the truth of the universally accepted statement that
Engineer was a true son of Messenger, and I would not have disturbed
it now, nor thought of doing so, had it not been for that remarkable
advertisement discovered in the obscure Long Island paper. That was
contemporaneous history, however, and it must either be explained or
accepted. The question has been examined down to the bottom by one of the
most conscientious and capable men of his generation, in this department
of knowledge. His verdict has been accepted as the truth by all parties
of that day, and I cannot reject it.

It is not known that any of his immediate progeny attained distinction
on the trotting turf. Several of his sons bore his name in the stud and
while their blood seemed to be helpful in the right direction, only one
of them made any mark as a sire of speed, and that was the horse known as
Lewis’ Engineer, the sire of the world beater, Lady Suffolk. Burdick’s
Engineer, another son, was taken to Washington County, New York, and got
the dam of the famous Princess, which produced the great Happy Medium.
In all these instances there was commingling with other strains from

COMMANDER.—This was a grey horse, fully sixteen hands high and of massive
proportions. He was a son of imported Messenger and out of a mare by
imported Rockingham. This Rockingham was not a thoroughbred horse.
Commander was bred in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and found his way to
Long Island about 1812, where he was liberally patronized. His name
frequently occurs among the remote crosses of good pedigrees, but his
fame rests wholly on the progeny of his son, Young Commander, who was
the sire of Screwdriver, Screws, Bull Calf and other good ones. This
horse Young Commander was sometimes called “Bull” and sometimes “American

MESSENGER, (BUSH’S), generally known as BUSH MESSENGER. This son of
Messenger was bred by James Dearin, of Dutchess County, New York, and
was foaled 1807. His dam was a Virginia mare, named Queen Ann, by Celer,
son of imported Janus, and out of a mare by Skipwith’s Figure, son of
imported Figure, and she out of a mare imported by Colonel Miland, of
Virginia. This pedigree was not accepted without some misgivings, but
as it was possible and as it had been indorsed sixty years ago by
Cadwallader R. Colden and published before that by Mr. Dearin, I am
disposed to accept it as reliable.

He was sixteen hands high, a light grey, becoming white with age. He
was excellent in form and probably the most handsome and attractive
of all the sons of Messenger. The first public notice we have of him,
he was advertised at the stable of his breeder, six miles south of
Poughkeepsie, in 1813. Soon after this he became the property of Philo
C. Bush, and this was the first horse, he says, that he ever owned. This
Mr. Bush was a noted “character” in his day. From early manhood, through
good and evil report, and until he died a very old man in poverty and
want, he was a habitue of the race track. He knew all about race horses
and their breeding, and he could prattle pedigrees from morning till
night. Added to this knowledge which his life pursuits had placed in
his possession, he was endowed with a most vivid imagination which was
brought into the most active play whenever he found it necessary. To
maintain his “reputation” it seemed to be a necessity that he should be
able to extend all pedigrees laid before him and give the remote crosses,
whether he knew anything about them or not. He was the author of the
running pedigree given to the dam of Major Winfield—Edward Everett, son
of Hambletonian—and on it money was won in a bet. An investigation of
just two minutes disclosed the facts that by established and known dates
the whole thing was utterly impossible. He was literally a very “racy”
_raconteur_, but his reminiscences soon became tedious, notwithstanding
their brilliancy, and it was always important to have a call to some
business that cut off further entertainment from his _répertoire_.

Mr. Bush says he paid one thousand seven hundred and forty dollars and
a silver watch for this horse, and with him he got an elegant suit of
clothing that had belonged to imported Express. It is said that he never
ran but one race and that was at Pine Plains, in which he distanced
all his competitors in the first heat. In 1816 Mr. Bush kept him at
Kinderhook; 1817 at Kinderhook and Schodack; 1818 at Kinderhook and
Albany; 1819-20 at Utica. In the autumn of 1820 he was sold to Dr.
Millington, of Crooked Lake, Herkimer County, and he was kept there
1821-22. He was then sold to Edward Reynolds, of East Bloomfield, where
he was kept three or four years, after which he made one or more seasons
at Le Roy, and he died at East Bloomfield in July, 1829. This horse had
probably more trotting speed than any of the other sons of Messenger. Mr.
Bush assured me that he could trot very fast for a horse of that day, and
when led by the side of another horse he could beat three minutes very
easily, but as we have to take Mr. Bush’s assertions _cum grano salis_,
we fortunately have very reliable testimony of contemporaneous date and
from a source wholly disinterested. I have before me a letter written
by Judge J. Porter, of East Bloomfield, dated June 4, 1828, in reply to
inquiries from some correspondent about the horse, his terms, etc. He
writes as follows:

    “I should think he was a very swift _trotter from what I have
    seen_, and very sprightly and nearly white. He has got a
    great number of fine colts in this town which are three years
    old; and the probability of their drawing on the old horse’s
    business is the reason of his being removed to Le Roy and

Whether Judge Porter was a horseman or not he certainly reflected, in
this remark which I have emphasized, the leading quality for which Bush
Messenger was distinguished in that region _and in that day_.

Although he was certainly a very fast natural trotter, it is not known
that he was ever trained an hour in his life, neither is it known that
any fast or trained trotters ever came from his loins. This was the
period of fast mail coaches running from Albany to Buffalo, and as the
old proprietors of those great lines were pushed westward from State to
State until they finally were driven across the Mississippi, I have many
times heard them talk of the great slashing grey Messenger teams that
would carry their coaches along at ten miles an hour, and lament that
there were no such horses nowadays. There were other sons of Messenger
and many grandsons, all known as “Messengers,” but as a progenitor of
horses suited to the stage coach this particular one that broke his neck
in trying to get out of his inclosure was the premier. He probably came
nearer filling the place in this country that his grandsire filled in
England—English Mambrino—than any other one of the tribe, for we can
truly say of him, as Pick said of his grandsire, “from his blood the
breed of horses for the coach was brought nearly to perfection.”

POTOMAC was a bright bay, fifteen and a half hands high, and was bred by
Daniel Youngs, of Oyster Bay, Long Island. He was foaled 1796 and got by
imported Messenger; dam by imported Figure; grandam by Bashaw. He was
put on the turf in the spring of 1799 and was a respectable race horse
at short distances. He ran against and beat some of the best of his day.
He was on the turf about three years. In the midst of his racing career
he was purchased by Mr. Van Ranst for five hundred pounds. In 1802 he
was owned by Major William Jones, of Cold Spring Harbor, and made some
seasons there. In 1806 he was at New Windsor, Orange County, New York. In
1808 he was in charge of Thomas Jackson, at Rahway, New Jersey, and 1811
at Crosswicks, near Trenton, New Jersey. It is probable he died about
this time, as we find no further trace of him. Most of his stock were
bays, of good size, and very salable animals. Nothing can now be recalled
that connects him with any of the trotting strains coming from his sire.
He was not strictly running-bred on the side of his dam.

TIPPOO SAIB was a bay horse with one white foot and was fully sixteen
hands high, with plenty of bone. He was foaled 1795, got by imported
Messenger; dam Mr. Thompson’s imported mare by Northumberland; grandam
by Snap, etc. His fine size and elegant pedigree made Tippoo Saib a
very desirable horse to breed to, but for some cause he did not appear
much on the turf. He ran a few races and went into the stud early, in
the neighborhood of Trenton, New Jersey, and in the following year was
at Goshen, Fishkill, and Pine Plains, New York. My impression is he was
then returned to West Jersey and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he was
probably owned in his latter days. His sons Tippoo Sultan, Financier and
others, acquired great fame on the turf. His connection with the trotting
lines of descent is very distinct, but not very prominent.

SIR SOLOMON was got by imported Messenger; dam Camilla by Cephalus;
grandam Camilla by imported Fearnought and out of imported Calista, etc.
He was foaled about 1800, bred by General Gunn, of Georgia, who seems
to have kept Camilla and perhaps others in the North for the purpose
of breeding. The pedigree on the side of this dam is an excellent one
and would seem to justify the owner in seeking to get the best crosses
possible into his stud. When five years old he was sold to Mr. Bond, of
Philadelphia, for two thousand dollars. His races were numerous and often
successful, beating some of the best horses of his day, and among them
the famous Miller’s Damsel, also by Messenger, over the Harlem Course in
heats of four miles. Not much is known of his stud services, and he seems
to have been kept several years in Union County, New Jersey. He seems to
have labored under the disadvantage of having a greater horse of the same
name—Badger’s Sir Solomon by Tickle Toby—in competition with him, and
thus the son of Tickle Toby would steal many a chaplet from the brow of
his namesake, the son of Messenger.

OGDEN MESSENGER was a grey horse, foaled 1806, got by imported Messenger;
dam Katy Fisher, by imported Highflyer; grandam a mare imported
by H. N. Cruger in 1786, by Cottager; great-grandam by Trentham;
great-great-grandam by Henricus; great-great-great-grandam by Regulus.
The pedigree of this dam is correct, and she was doubtless entitled to
rank as thoroughbred. This horse was bred by Mr. Cruger, and at three
years old was sold to David Ogden, and that summer he was pastured on the
farm of Major William Jones, of Long Island, from whose books we have
the foregoing facts. Mr. David W. Jones remarks: “I retain a perfect
recollection of him. He was at that time a large overgrown colt, not
particularly ugly nor exceedingly coarse, but having no special beauty
nor finish. I cannot better describe him than to say he was a coarse
pattern of a fine horse, with marked traits of his lineage.” Mr. Jones
evidently saw him at his worst age and before he fully reached his

Judge Odgen, his owner, was a large landholder in St. Lawrence County,
New York, and in the spring of 1810 he removed from New Jersey to an
island of eight hundred acres in the St. Lawrence river, opposite the
village of Haddington, and took the horse, then four years old, with him.
It is not known that he ever ran a race for money, and it is not probable
he ever did, for it was his owner’s aim and object to improve the stock
of the country as well as his own, in which he was successful. After five
or six years he was taken to Lowville in Lewis County, and made several
seasons there in charge of Charles Bush, and from this fact he came to
be known there, locally, as Bush Messenger. Thus it happened that there
were two sons of imported Messenger in the State of New York at the same
time, and both known as Bush Messenger, and to these we might add a
grandson and a great-grandson in the State of Maine, and at later date
both named “Bush Messenger.” It was at one time supposed that Mr. Ogden’s
horse while at Lowville became the sire of the famous Tippoo of Canada
that became the head of a very valuable tribe of trotters and pacers,
but later developments showed that this was a mistake. (He appears to
have alternated in his services between Lewis and Jefferson counties,
but whether weekly or yearly I cannot state. He was taken to Lowville as
early as 1815 and was there five or six years.)

The facts about this horse have been developed from much correspondence
with different parties, but more especially from Mr. V. Sheldon, of
Canton, New York, and from Mr. P. F. Daniels, of Prescott, Ontario. Both
men knew the horse personally, and Mr. Daniels was seventy-five years
old when he wrote. He still had a very clear recollection of the horse
in his appearance and style of action. In describing him he says: “He
was peculiarly marked about his hocks and knees, having a series of dark
rings about his limbs, continuing at intervals down to his hoofs, and
many of his sons and daughters were marked the same way.” Having ridden
him many times he says: “He; had a long flinging step and was a fast
trotter. His action was high and not easy to the rider, and he could not
widen behind as some of our modern trotters.”

When Mr. Daniels was a young man he was engaged in carrying the mail,
and in March, 1821, he believes it was, Judge Ogden gave him an order to
bring the horse home from Lewis County. He led him all the way behind his
mail conveyance and delivered him safely to young Mr. Ogden, who gave
him to an Irish groom named Daley, and Daley remarked he would soon make
him look like another horse. That night he gave him an overfeed of corn
and he died of colic. He was never advertised while at home and he was
not very liberally patronized. The Freemans and the Archibalds, however,
Mr. Daniels says, bred to him largely. His stock were good and many of
them excellent, especially those descended through his sons Blossom and
Freeman’s Messenger.

MAMBRINO (GREY).—This son of Messenger was foaled about 1800, his dam
was by Pulaski, grandam by Wilkes; great-grandam by True Briton. He was
bred by Benjamin C. Ridgeway, near Mount Holly, New Jersey. In 1807 he
stood at Flemington under the name of Fox Hunter. He was purchased by
Richard Isaac Cooper, who resold him to William Atkinson for about one
thousand two hundred dollars. He was a flea-bitten grey, mane and tail
white, handsome and stylish, about sixteen hands high, head medium size,
and a good, well-formed horse at every point, except his feet, which were
big and flat. He was probably never harnessed and was a very popular
stallion in Salem and adjoining counties for many years. Mr. Atkinson was
a very prominent and influential member of the Society of Friends, and
“Billy” Atkinson was always a welcome guest as he traveled through Salem,
Gloucester, and Burlington counties with his horse, and his genial good
humor made him as popular as his horse. He always claimed great speed
for his horse; but owing to his position in the society he never could
gratify his friends by showing it. When his offspring came into service
they were not only performers of great merit on the road and the course,
but they had bone and substance that fitted them for every kind of labor
required of them. All the Quakers had Mambrinos and nothing else, after
“Billy” Atkinson and his horse had been among them a few years. Some of
his descendants attained to great local fame as trotters and some did
well as runners. He was a very valuable horse and left a wonderfully
numerous and valuable offspring.

BLACK MESSENGER.—Among all the progeny of Messenger, this is the only one
that I can now recall that was black. He was bred by William Haselton,
of Burlington County, New Jersey, and out of a mare highly prized in the
Haselton family, but her blood cannot now be traced. He was foaled in
1801 and on the death of Mr. Haselton in 1804 he was sold to Charles or
Richard Wilkins of Evesham, ten miles from Camden, New Jersey, who owned
him till he died at an advanced age. As the birth of this horse is fixed
by documentary evidence at 1801 it suggests that Messenger was kept in
Burlington County, New Jersey, the unplaced season of 1800. Still as he
was at Lawrenceville in the fall season of 1800 it is possible the mare
was sent to him there. He was full sixteen hands high and possessed great
muscular development and strength of bone. He was not handsome, but his
figure and style were very commanding. In his day he was regarded as one
of the best natural trotters ever in Burlington or Gloucester counties.
This was not the claim of his owner merely, but the unprejudiced opinion
of all the horsemen who knew him. His stock were very highly prized as
horses suited to all purposes and especially for fast road work. Some of
them were greatly distinguished locally as fast trotters, and among them
was Nettle, the dam of the famous Dutchman, that was the greatest trotter
of his day.

WHYNOT MESSENGER, Pizzant’s Messenger, Austin’s Messenger, and Cousin’s
Messenger were all sons of Messenger and got by him while he was in West
Jersey, but as nothing has been developed concerning their maternal
breeding nor the character of their progeny, I will pass them over with
this bare record that such horses existed.

SARATOGA.—This son of Messenger was a flea-bitten grey and was foaled
about 1805. It is believed he was bred on Long Island, but nothing
is known of the blood of his dam. He was driven in harness and did
service in several counties in Pennsylvania, and was sold at auction in
Philadelphia to James Dubois of Salem, New Jersey. He was a great, strong
horse, and was kept at work on the farm of his owner, covering mares only
as opportunity offered. He was a slashing trotter, but it was only when
his owner was away from home and got an extra drink or two that anybody
ever had an opportunity to see how fast he could go. A number of his
progeny were fast trotters; among them a mare called Charlotte Gray that
was the fastest of her day in all that region. Among his sons, one called
Dove was greatly distinguished in the stud.

NESTOR AND DELIGHT.—These were sons of Messenger, the former bred in
Orange County, New York, in 1802, and was at Warwick in that county, 1807
in charge of Nehemiah Finn. The latter was bred in Westchester County
in 1806, and made the season of 1827 at Warwick, New York, in charge of
John G. Blauvelt, and is probably the horse that was more widely known as
Blauvelt’s Messenger. The breeding of the dams of both these horses is
very uncertain.

MOUNT HOLLY was a grey horse, fifteen and a half hands high. He was
foaled about 1807 and was bred by Colonel Udell, of Long Island. His dam
was by Bajazet, and his grandam was by Bashaw. Not much is known of him
till he was well advanced in years and was taken to Dutchess County.
Daniel T. Cock knew him well on the island, and he assured me he was a
trotter in the true sense of the word. The late Mr. Daniel B. Haight, a
horseman of excellent judgment and knowledge, knew him very well, and he
describes him as of the true Messenger grey, and a smooth, well-finished
horse all over. His offspring were smooth, handsome, and remarkably
tough, and from their kindly tempers they were easily managed and made
horses fit for any service. The most noted of his get were the famous
trotters Paul Pry and Mr. Tredwell’s grey mare that went to England.
His cross appears in the pedigrees of many trotters and is very highly
prized to this day. In the latter part of his life he was owned by Jacob
Husted, of Washington Hollow, New York, and made several seasons there.
His sight failed entirely as he grew old, and he died about 1835. With
two such performers from his own loins as Paul Pry and the Tredwell mare,
it cannot be doubted that he inherited and transmitted the true Messenger
“trotting instinct,” and that without any assistance from the blood of
his dam.

PLATO was a large brown horse, fully sixteen hands high, and was a full
brother to Bishop’s Hambletonian, being by Messenger, out of Pheasant.
He was bred by General Coles, of Long Island, and was foaled 1802. As
he matured the general judgment was that his limbs were too light for
his body, and this is the only instance that I can recall where the get
of Messenger failed at this vital point. He was trained and ran a few
races, and from a trial with Miller’s Damsel General Coles said he was
the best horse that ever ran against that famous mare. In a race against
his half-brother, Sir Solomon, he won the first heat of four miles and
broke down in the second, which finished him as a race horse. He was a
larger and a handsomer horse than his full brother Hambletonian, but at
no other point was he so good. When they stood in the same stable he was
advertised at a lower price. He was a number of years in the stud on Long
Island, New Jersey, and the river counties of New York, and after 1816 at
Pine Plains there is no further trace of him. In his physical structure
and doubtless, in his mental structure also, he took after his dam, and
the only link now recalled coupling him with the trotter is the fact that
he was the sire of the dam of Lewis’ Engineer, that was the sire of the
great Lady Suffolk.

DOVER MESSENGER was a grey horse, and was got by imported Messenger, but
the blood of his dam and the year he was foaled are unknown. He was kept
several seasons at South Dover, Dutchess County, New York, and left a
very valuable progeny strongly endowed with the instinct to trot. He was
taken to the town of Russia, in Herkimer County, where he died. There
was a younger horse bearing practically the same name, a son of Mambrino
Paymaster, with which this horse has often been confounded.

CORIANDER.—This son of Messenger was a bay horse, about fifteen and a
half hands high; was foaled in Queens County, New York, about 1796, and
his dam was by Allen’s Brown Figure; grandam by Rainbow; great-grandam by
Dauphin. He seems to have been kept on Long Island as long as he lived.
His progeny was much like their sire, and Mr. D. W. Jones describes them
as “clean, wiry, and brilliant. In their make-up there seemed nothing
wasted and nothing wanted.” He ran some races, as did many of his get.
He was bred upon one of the early daughters of Hambletonian, and she
produced the great trotter “Old Topgallant,” the sensation of his period
and one of the most famous of the very early trotters. One of the most
remarkable facts in the history of this remarkable old gelding is that he
ran some races before he was trained to trot.

FAGDOWN.—This son of Messenger was bred on the Jersey side of the
Delaware, not far from Philadelphia, and was foaled, I think, in 1803.
His dam was represented to be by Diomed, and if this be correct it must
have been Tate’s imported Diomed that was imported into New Jersey
and kept there a number of years. This was a bay horse and must not
be confounded with the chestnut horse of the same name imported into
Virginia. Fagdown became vicious and dangerous, and from this trait in
his character he was generally called the “Man Eater.” He was kept in the
region of Philadelphia and south of there for many years, and left a very
numerous and very valuable progeny. They were noted for their superior
qualities as road horses, and some of them were very fast, for their
day. For a number of years no family of horses were so popular about
Philadelphia as the Fagdowns. He had a son called Cropped Fagdown that
was fast, and another son called Jersey Fagdown that trotted some races
against the great Andrew Jackson. Another son, named after his sire, was
bred in Northeastern Maryland, and was taken to Eastern Ohio in 1829,
and he was kept in Columbiana, Mahoning, and Jefferson counties for at
least ten years. He was never in a race nor never trained, but his Quaker
patrons all insisted that when led by the side of another horse he could
trot as fast as a pretty good horse could run. This grandson of Messenger
was the sire of the grandam of Wapsie, the well-known trotter and sire of

BRIGHT PHŒBUS was foaled 1804, the same year as Hambletonian. He was out
of the imported Pot-8-os mare, and his breeder, General Coles, of Long
Island, sold him to Bond and Hughes, of Philadelphia. His most noted
achievement was at Washington, D. C., in 1808, when in a sweepstakes he
more than distanced the great Sir Archy, by catching him when he had the
distemper. His racing career was respectable, but not brilliant, and when
that ended it is not known what became of him.

SLASHER, SHAFTSBURY, HOTSPUR.—There was quite a famous brood mare
owned somewhere in Jersey called Jenny Duter, or Jenny Oiter, as some
authorities have it. She was got by True Briton; dam Quaker Lass by
imported Juniper; grandam Molly Pacolet, by imported Pacolet, etc.,
tracing on six or eight more crosses that are all fudge. This mare was
bred to Messenger about 1801, and produced Shaftsbury; her daughter by
Liberty was bred to him about the same time and produced Slasher, and
about the same time her granddaughter by Slender was also bred to him and
produced Hotspur. These three sons of Messenger do not seem to have ever
been trained, and very little of their history can be traced, except that
they were kept as stallions in different parts of New Jersey. It is not
known that their blood has had any influence upon the American trotting

MESSENGER (HUTCHINSON’S).—This was a large grey horse, foaled in 1792,
and bred by Mathias Hutchinson, of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. His
dam was by Hunt’s Grey Figure, son of imported Figure. He was kept in
Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1797, and it is probable that he was often
represented as imported Messenger himself. I have no knowledge of this
horse or his progeny beyond the mere facts here given.

MESSENGER (COOPER’S).—This son of imported Messenger was generally
known as “Cooper’s Grey” and sometimes as Ringgold. He was sixteen
hands high and was foaled about 1803. He was bred in Montgomery County,
Pennsylvania, and was kept about Philadelphia, on both sides of the
Delaware, till 1821, when he was sold by the administrators of Jacob
Kirk, and it has been said he was taken to the Wabash by Amos Cooper. He
ran some races when he was young, and was a horse of a good deal of local
fame. He was liberally patronized in the stud and left valuable progeny.
It has been suggested that probably he was the sire of Amazonia, the dam
of Abdallah; but as there is nothing to support this suggestion except
the mere matter of location, and as all that has ever been claimed for
her paternity is that she was by “a son of Messenger,” we must not forget
that there were plenty of other sons of Messenger in the same locality
that might have been her sire.

The name “Messenger” was more sadly abused in its duplication in the
closing of the last and the early decades of the present century than
that of any other horse, or perhaps of all other horses of that period
put together. Multitudes of his sons were called “Messenger,” and, in
the next generation, multitudes of his grandsons gloried in the same
cognomen, and thus generation after generation perpetuated it, in
widening circles, till “confusion became worse confounded,” leaving the
historian in helpless and hopeless ignorance as to what was true and
what was false. When grey horses in the second, third, or fourth remove
from the imported horse became old, it required but little “diplomacy”
to satisfy the public that they were true sons of the original, and this
became the custom.

[Illustration: ALIX.

By Patronage, record 2:03¾, the fastest to this date.]



    History of Abdallah—Characteristics of his dam,
    Amazonia—Speculations as to her blood—Description of
    Abdallah—Almack, progenitor of the Champion line—Mambrino
    Paymaster, sire of Mambrino Chief—History and pedigree—Mambrino
    Messenger—Harris’ Hambletonian—Judson’s Hambletonian—Andrus’
    Hambletonian, sire of the famous Princess, Happy Medium’s dam.

ABDALLAH.—This grandson of Messenger has been popularly and justly
designated as the “king of trotting sires of his generation.” He was bred
by John Tredwell, of Queens County, Long Island, and was foaled 1823.
His sire was Mambrino, son of Messenger, and his dam was Amazonia, one
of the most distinguished trotters of her day. Concerning the breeding
and origin of Amazonia there has been great diversity of opinion among
horsemen and a great amount of controversy among writers. It is not my
purpose to enter into a discussion of the questions raised on this point,
but I would hardly be doing justice to history to pass it over unnoticed.
I will, therefore, try to give a brief synopsis of the history and the
arguments urged, and refer the reader to the first and second volumes of
_Wallace’s Monthly_ for a more extended consideration of the questions

The first representation of her pedigree was that she was a daughter of
imported Messenger, and the next was that she was by a son of Messenger.
On the first claim, that she was by Messenger, no argument was possible,
one way or the other, on account of dates; but against the second claim,
that she was by a son of Messenger, the arguments were numerous and
vehement. All these arguments were based wholly upon her coarse external
conformation and the absence of all resemblance to the Messenger family.
Among the supporters of this view were many of the most intelligent and
trustworthy horsemen of the whole country. Indeed, the preponderance of
intelligence as well as numbers seemed to be on that side. That she had
“coarse, ragged hips,” that she had a “rat tail,” that she “had hair
enough on her legs to stuff a mattress,” that she was “a muddy sorrel,”
etc., were all urged to prove that she was not by a son of Messenger. It
is true that many entered into this controversy who never saw the mare
and who knew nothing about her appearance, but there were others who knew
her perfectly, among them my venerable friend David W. Jones, to whom
we are all indebted for so many treasures from his storehouse of very
valuable memories.

On the other side there were some little scraps of history, that at
the vital point may have been history or may have been fiction. In the
certificate of sale of Abdallah, April 27, 1830, to Mr. Isaac Snediker,
his breeder, Mr. John Tredwell, says: “And believe him to be the very
_best bred_ trotting stallion in this country, and be it enough to know
that his sire was Mambrino and his dam Amazonia.” It has been argued
that it would be very inconsistent for a man of Mr. Tredwell’s standing
to certify that Abdallah “was the very best bred trotting stallion in
this country,” if he knew nothing of the blood of his dam, drawing the
inference that he must have known and believed the representations
of his nephew, B. T. Kissam, from whom he got Amazonia. The story of
the original purchase of Amazonia by B. T. Kissam and given to me by
his brother, Timothy T. Kissam, in 1870, is as follows: Amazonia was
purchased by B. T. Kissam, a dry goods merchant of New York, when on an
excursion of pleasure in the vicinity of Philadelphia about 1814. She was
brought out of a team and was then four years old past, his attention
having been called to her as an animal of much promise. He used her for
his own driving a short time and sold her to his uncle, John Tredwell.
“Amazonia was represented to my brother to have been a get of imported

Now, in considering whether this scrap of history is probably true, the
geographical question has been urged with telling effect. Messenger had
been kept a number of years on both sides of the Delaware, right on the
way to Philadelphia, his fee had been above that of any other stallion,
and a large percentage of his colts had been kept entire. In no part of
the country, perhaps, were there so many sons of Messenger seeking public
patronage. The geography and the chronology of the question, therefore,
both sustain the probability of its truthfulness. Whether Mr. Kissam
crossed the river at Trenton, or Burlington, or Camden he was right in
the hotbed of the sons of Messenger. “If Amazonia” it has been asked,
“was as coarse and forbidding as represented in her appearance, what
induced Mr. Kissam to buy her?” He wanted a carriage horse and he wanted
one that could not only show good action, but one that had a right of
inheritance to good action. He knew the Messengers and knew that beauty
and style were not family traits in that tribe. Many of them were coarse,
and possibly as coarse as Amazonia. Her very coarseness and lack of style
is, under the circumstances, a strong argument that in choosing her Mr.
Kissam had regard for her Messenger blood.

Another argument, resting on “the internal evidences,” has been urged
with considerable force and it is very hard to answer it. Amazonia was a
mare of tested and known speed. She was in a number of races to saddle
and had won several of them in less than three minutes along about
1816-18, and when Major William Jones, in 1820, accepted the challenge to
produce a horse that could trot a mile in three minutes for one thousand
dollars, he knew very well what he was doing, for he had seen Amazonia
do it a number of times. Her best time was about 2:54, which in that day
was considered phenomenally fast. If we were to meet a running horse out
on the plains that could run away from all others, we would naturally
and justly conclude that he had some of the blood of the race horse in
his veins. If we have a pacer and we learn he came from a section of the
country where a certain tribe of pacers abounded, we would naturally
conclude that he belonged to that tribe, especially if we knew there
were no other pacers in that section. If we have a trotter that can go
away from all other trotters, and we know that this trotter came from
a section abounding in a family of trotters, and in nothing else that
can trot, we naturally and justly conclude that this trotter came from
some member of that family of trotters. This argument from the “internal
evidences” seems almost axiomatic, and when taken in connection with the
historical argument, unsatisfactory though it be, they together lay the
foundation for a very strong probability that Amazonia was by a son of

Abdallah was in color a beautiful bay, about fifteen and a half hands
high, and there was a measure of coarseness about him that he could not
well escape, as both his sire and dam were endowed with that undesirable
quality. The one exception to this was in the character of his coat,
which was very fine and glossy when in healthy condition. His reputation
as a great trotting sire was very widely extended during his lifetime,
but his lack of symmetry and his “rat tail,” which he inherited from his
dam, so impaired his acceptability with the public that he never was very
largely patronized. Besides this he had an unconquerable will of his own,
which he transmitted to his offspring very generally. This willfulness
was not a desirable quality in a horse for drudgery, and hence most of
his patrons were such as were seeking for gameness and speed. When he
was four years old he was not in the stud, and it is understood that Mr.
Tredwell undertook to break him thoroughly and train him that year. It is
also understood that when put in harness he kicked everything to pieces
within his reach and that all thoughts of training were soon abandoned.
He never was in harness again until, in extreme old age, he was sold for
five dollars to a fish peddler, and the peddler’s wagon was soon reduced
to kindling wood.

He was kept at different points on Long Island, and one season in New
Jersey, till the fall of 1839, when he, with Commodore, another son of
Mambrino, was sold to Mr. John W. Hunt, of Lexington, Kentucky, where
they made the season of 1840. Commodore was much the more attractive
horse of the two, and did a large business, while Abdallah was almost
wholly neglected, leaving only about half a dozen colts. Meantime
his progeny on the island began to show their speed and their racing
qualities; a company was formed and he was brought back from Kentucky and
made the seasons of 1841 and 1842 at the Union Course, Long Island. He
was at Goshen, New York, 1843, at Freehold, New Jersey, 1844 and 1845, at
Chester, New York, 1846-47-48, at Bull’s Head, New York, 1849, and did
nothing, then at the Union Course and Patchogue, Long Island, and was not
off the island again. After the period of his usefulness was past his
inhuman owners turned him out on a bleak, sandy beach on the Long Island
shore, and there he starved to death in the piercing November winds,
without a shelter or a friend.

Abdallah was the sire of Hambletonian, 10, the greatest of all trotting
progenitors and greater than all others combined. This fact alone has
made his name imperishable in the annals of the trotting horse. A number
of his other sons were kept for stallions and some of them lived to old
age, but they were all failures in the stud. His daughters, generally,
proved to be most valuable brood mares, producing speed to almost any
and every cross. A pedigree tracing to an “Abdallah mare” has always
enhanced the value of a family.

ALMACK.—Mr. John Tredwell bred his famous team of driving mares, Amazonia
and Sophonisba, to Mambrino in the spring of 1822, and the next year
they each produced a bay horse colt that he named Abdallah and Almack.
Sophonisba, the dam of Almack, was a superior mare, but she was not fast
enough for her mate. Almack, however, was a good horse and left some
trotters. I have no particular description of him at hand and nothing
can now be given of his history further than that some of his daughters
produced well and that he seems to have been kept all his life on Long
Island. His dam Sophonisba was got by a grandson of imported Baronet,
as represented, but this is so indefinite as to be unsatisfactory and
suspicious. As none of the Baronets could ever trot, even “a little bit,”
it is evident that whatever trotting inheritance Almack possessed came
to him from his sire. Aside from a number of his descendants that were
recognized trotters of merit there was one in particular that established
Almack as a progenitor of a great family of trotters. A son of his bred
by George Raynor, of Huntington, Long Island, in 1842, and known as the
“Raynor Colt,” out of Spirit by Engineer II., sire of Lady Suffolk, was
led behind a sulky at a fair at Huntington, when he was eighteen months
old, and he went so fast and showed such a magnificent way of doing it,
that he was named “Champion” by William T. Porter, editor of the _Spirit
of the Times_. At three years old he was driven a full mile in 3:05 and
this was a “world’s record” for colts of that age at that time. In 1846
he was purchased by William R. Grinnell for two thousand six hundred
dollars and taken to Cayuga County, where he founded a great tribe of
trotters that is now known everywhere as the “Champion Family.” A fuller
account of this horse will be found at another place in this volume.

MAMBRINO PAYMASTER (widely known in later years as Blind Paymaster).—This
was a large, strong-boned, dark-bay horse, sixteen hands and an inch
high. When young he was somewhat light and leggy, but with age he spread
out and became a horse of substance. He was bred by Azariah Arnold, of
the town of Washington, in Dutchess County, New York. There is some
uncertainty about the year this horse was foaled, but it was somewhere
between 1822 and 1826. He was got by Mambrino, son of Messenger, and his
dam was represented to be by imported Paymaster. The late Mr. Edwin
Thorne made a statement a few years ago that in an interview with Azariah
Arnold he said that he did not know or remember the horse that was the
sire of the dam. At that time Mr. Arnold was very old, and doubtless his
mental faculties very much impaired, so it would not be remarkable that
he should have forgotten all about it. On the other hand, Nelson Haight,
Daniel B. Haight, Seth P. Hopson, and others of like high character,
maintain that Mr. Arnold, in his younger days, always represented the
mare to be by Paymaster, and the name of the horse itself is very strong
evidence that he did so represent it, and is a standing proclamation to
that effect. There can be no possible doubt that in earlier life Mr.
Arnold constantly represented this mare to be by Paymaster; neither can
there be any reasonable doubt that when his faculties were impaired
with age he told Mr. Thorne that he did not remember her pedigree. Mr.
Arnold’s neighbors all agree that he was a man of unblemished character
and incapable of a willful misrepresentation, when in possession of
his faculties. Again, that this Paymaster cross was not only possible,
but probable, is shown by the fact that imported Paymaster was kept by
Ebenezer Haight, in the year 1807, in the same township with Azariah
Arnold, and the years 1808 and 1809 in the same part of the county.
Therefore, Mr. Thorne to the contrary notwithstanding, I have but little
doubt that the Paymaster cross is correct.

He had a small star in his forehead and a little white on one hind foot.
His back, loin and hips were altogether superior, and those who knew him
best say they never saw his equal at these points. His head was large and
bony, with an ear after the Mambrino model. His neck was of medium length
and his shoulder good. His hind legs were quite crooked and too much
cut in below the hock in front, giving the legs at that point a narrow
and weak appearance; his hocks were large and at the curb place showed
a fullness. His cannon bones, all round, were short for a horse of his
size, and his feet were excellent. He was slow in maturing, but when he
filled out he lost all that narrow, weedy appearance which characterized
his colthood. He was not beautiful, but powerful.

About 1828 he was sold and taken to Binghamton, New York. Meantime his
colts came forward and proved to be so valuable that Nelson and Daniel
B. Haight and Gilbert Jones purchased and brought him back to Dutchess
County about the year 1840. He was not a sure foal-getter, but his
stock proved to be of great value. When brought back from Broome County
he was blind. He made one season on Long Island in charge of George
Tappan; the other seasons till 1847 he was kept in Dutchess County in the
neighborhood of his owners. In 1847 he was sold to Mr. Gilbert Holmes and
taken to Vermont, where he died after getting one colt. Many of his sons
were kept as stallions, but the most famous of his get were the mares
Iola and Lady Moore, and last but not least, his famous son Mambrino
Chief, the founder of a great family of trotters in Kentucky. His stock
were probably more noted and more highly prized than that of any of the
sons of Mambrino that stood in Dutchess County. As Abdallah was the
link by which the greatest of all trotting families are connected with
Messenger, so Mambrino Paymaster is the link through which the family
easily entitled to second place reaches the same illustrious original.

MAMBRINO JR. (BONE SWINGER) was a beautiful bay horse, foaled 182-, got
by Mambrino, son of Messenger; dam not traced. He was bred on Long Island
and was owned by George Tappan, near Jericho, Long Island. About 1833-4
he made some seasons at Washington Hollow, Dutchess County. He was about
fifteen hands three inches high and was considered more blood-like and
handsome than most of his family. He was a strong breeder, giving most of
his colts his own elegant color.

MAMBRINO MESSENGER (commonly known as the Burton Horse) was foaled
about 1821. He was got by Mambrino, son of Messenger; dam by Coffin’s
Messenger, son of Messenger; grandam by Black and All Black;
great-grandam by Feather. He was bred by Abram Burton, of Washington
Hollow, New York. He was a beautiful bay, about fifteen hands three
inches high, and was the same age as Mambrino Paymaster, and they were
rivals for a number of years, each having his friends and adherents. He
was finer in the bone, having more finish and beauty than his rival, and
what was still more effective with the public, he could out-trot him.
Many of his offspring proved to be most excellent roadsters and some of
them were fast. He was probably taken to Western New York, but I have
not found any trace of his location or history. This name, Mambrino
Messenger, was borne by several other horses of different degrees of
affinity to the originals.

HAMBLETONIAN (HARRIS’) (also known as Bristol Grey and Remington
Horse).—This was a grey horse, about sixteen hands high, and possessed
great strength and substance. When young he was an iron grey and probably
pretty dark, but as he advanced in age he became lighter in color. His
head was large and bony, with great width between the eyes. He was short
in the back, with long hips, and the rise of the withers commenced far
back, showing a fine, oblique shoulder. He was a horse of unusually large
bone formation; his limbs were large, but flat and clean, with a heavy
growth of hair at the fetlocks. He was of docile and kindly disposition
and worked well either alone or with another. His gait was open and
decided and at a walk his long slinging steps carried him over the ground
unusually fast. His speed as a trotter was never developed, but his
action at that gait was so free, open and square that those who knew him
well have insisted that his manner of going indicated the possibility of
great improvement, if he had been handled with that view. His offspring
were slow in maturing, and for many years, indeed till toward the end
of his life, he was not appreciated as a stallion. He was in constant
competition with the little, plump, trim and trappy Morgans, and at three
and four years old his long, lathy, plain colts cut but a sorry figure
against the well formed and fully developed Morgans of their own age.
With such a rivalry, sustained by the question of profit to the breeder
by early sales, it is not remarkable that he should have been neglected,
till it was clearly demonstrated that he transmitted the true Messenger
trotting instinct in greater strength than any of his competitors.

He was bred by Isaac Munson, of Wallingford, Vermont; foaled 1823, got
by Bishop’s Hambletonian, son of Messenger; dam the Munson mare that was
brought from Boston, 1813. There never has been any question about the
sire of this horse, but up to 1869 the representation made by Mr. Harris
that his dam was an imported English mare was generally accepted as the
truth. I was led to doubt this, and in December of that year I made a
thorough search of the records of the custom-house in Boston, and found
the claim was without any foundation whatever. Through the kindness of
Mr. Henry D. Noble I was enabled to get beyond Mr. Harris, who really
knew nothing about the mare, back to the Munson family, and to Mr. Joseph
Tucker, the earliest and best authority living in 1870. In order that
this evidence may be preserved I will here insert Mr. Tucker’s letter

                                    “MILFORD, N. H., May 4th, 1870.

    “MR. J. H. WALLACE, Muscatine, Iowa.

    “DEAR SIR: Yours of 22d of April is duly received and contents
    noted. I was 24 years old when first acquainted with the dam
    of the ‘Harris Horse,’ so called, in the fall of 1813. Was
    then carrying on a farm, now owned by Wm. Randall, Esq., in
    this town, for Mr. Israel Munson, a commission merchant then
    doing business on India Street, and afterward on Central
    Wharf, Boston. I was in Boston in the fall of 1813, as above,
    and found the dam (of Hambletonian) and mate in Mr. Munson’s
    possession. He said they had been ‘leaders’ in a stage team,
    and they acted as if green about holding back, etc. He never
    said she was imported from England, neither did I hear such
    a story till two or three years ago. The dam was called ‘a
    Messenger.’ All the description I can give of her is that she
    was a strong, well-built, light dapple grey, and would weigh
    ten hundred, certain. The span was well matched. The nigh one
    (the dam) was more serviceable than the other. Led them all the
    way from Boston behind an ox team; kept them till the middle of
    April and then returned the pair to Boston. Mr. Munson drove
    them up, only stopping to dinner, when on his way to Vermont
    in August, 1814, and I didn’t see them again until December. I
    then drove them from Boston to Vermont, and used them a year on
    the Munson farm, on Otter Creek, in Wallingford. In June, 1815,
    I took them to Phœnix Horse (bay, black mane and tail, good
    looking and smart) in Clarendon Flats. Both stood and had foals
    the spring after I left Mr. Munson’s employ. The off mare was
    occasionally a little lame, I think in the off fore foot, when
    hard drove, but the nigh one was perfectly free from lameness
    or limping. I left Mr. Munson in the spring of 1816, and know
    nothing of mares afterward.

                           “Yours truly,

                                                     JOSEPH TUCKER,

                                                “(By Geo. W. Fox).”

I have given this letter entire, with the exception of a few closing
sentences, that the public may be able to judge of its authenticity.
That these mares were leaders in a stage team when Mr. Munson bought
them is confirmed by members of the Munson family, and that the nigh
mare was represented to be a Messenger at the time of the purchase I
have not the least doubt. But whether she was really a Messenger is
quite another question. All I can say is, it was possible in the nature
of things; and the employment and qualities of the mare, together with
the representations of Mr. Munson, appear to make it probable. During
the mare’s lifetime I find she was spoken of in the Munson family and
about Wallingford as “the imported Messenger mare” and in this phrase, no
doubt, was the origin of the story that she was herself imported. When
this phrase, through her son, reached the next outer circle, “imported
Messenger mare” no longer meant a mare by imported Messenger, but an
imported mare by Messenger.

At the point where Mr. Tucker’s knowledge of this mare ceases,
fortunately Mr. Isaac B. Munson, of Wallingford, takes up the history and
carries it forward, with great particularity, to the time of her death
about 1826. She produced several foals by different horses, and while
they were all valuable animals, the only one that is known to history is
the subject of this sketch. When Hambletonian of Vermont was two years
old Mr. Munson sold him to Samuel Edgerton and others, of Wallingford,
and they kept him in the stud till about 1828, when they sold him to Mr.
Eddy, of Bristol, Vermont, and in the hands of the Eddy family he was
kept at Bristol, New Haven, and other points in and about Addison County
till about 1835, when he was kept one or two years again in Wallingford
and adjacent towns. About 1837 he was sold to Joshua Remington, of
Huntington, Vermont, and was taken there. He stood in various parts
of Chittenden County, and became well known as the “Remington Horse.”
Unfortunately there is no guide to dates in these transfers and it is
not known just how long Mr. Remington owned him. He next passed into the
hands of Mr. Russell Harris, New Haven, Connecticut, and remained his
till he died late in the year 1847.

The location of this horse was unfavorable either to a large or to a
numerous progeny of trotters. He was surrounded with Morgan blood, trappy
and stylish and fast growing in popularity on the supposition that they
were trotters—a most valuable tribe as family horses, but none of them
were able to trot fast without the introduction of trotting blood from
the outside. He lived in a period antedating the real development of the
trotter and the keeping of records of performances, and hence we must
not judge of his merits as a trotting sire by comparing the list of his
performers with lists of later generations. Green Mountain Maid was one
of the best of her day and made a record of 2:28½ in 1853, and the same
year the famous pacing gelding Hero made a record of 2:20½. Probably
the best trotter from his loins was Sontag, with a wagon record in 1855
of 2:31. This mare was originally a pacer, and whether his dam was by
imported Messenger or not we must conclude that the tendency to the
lateral action was strong in his progeny. Lady Shannon, Trouble, Vermont,
Modesty, and True John were all famous performers in their day. The last
named was kept in the stud a few years and was known as the Hanchett
Horse. He fell into the hands of Sim D. Hoagland, of this vicinity,
became ugly and was made a gelding. As a weight puller he had no equal
in his day. His daughters became the dams of many noted producers and
performers, and through the doubling of his blood and its predominating
influence we have the famous General Knox and his tribe. But few of his
sons were kept as stallions; among them the best known is Hambletonian,
814, known as the Parris Horse and the sire of the stout campaigner,
Joker, 2:22½. Vermont Hambletonian (known as the Noble or Harrington
Horse) was one of his best and best-bred sons. He died in 1865, leaving a
valuable progeny.

HAMBLETONIAN (JUDSON’S) was a brown horse and resembled his sire
very much in both size and form. He was foaled 1821, got by Bishop’s
Hambletonian, son of Messenger; dam by Wells’ Magnum Bonum. This Magnum
Bonum family abounded in that region, and it was a very good one,
whatever the blood may have been. This horse was bred by Judge Underhill,
of Dorset, Vermont, and sold, 1829, to Dr. Nathan Judson, of Pawlet,
Vermont. He was kept in that region till he died about 1841. His progeny
were very numerous and valuable.

HAMBLETONIAN (ANDRUS’) was a brown horse nearly sixteen hands high.
He was a well formed and evenly balanced horse, all over, with an
objectionable lack of bone just below the fore-knee. His head and ear
were strongly after the Messenger model. I have never been able to
determine just who bred him, and consequently his blood on the side
of the dam is not fully established. He was foaled about 1840, got by
Judson’s Hambletonian, and out of a mare which Mr. B. B. Sherman says
was by old Magnum Bonum. He seems to have known this mare well and
speaks of her as a very superior animal. This would indicate inbreeding
to the Magnum Bonums, and as they were a light-limbed family we may
account for this horse’s defects in that respect. He was owned a number
of years by Mr. Andrus, of Pawlet, and passed into the hands of G. A.
Austin, of Orwell, Vermont. In 1853-4 Mr. Austin sent him to Illinois,
along with Drury’s Ethan Allen, Black Hawk Prophet, Morgan Tiger and
some other stallions, in charge of Mr. Wetherbee, for sale. In 1854
they were removed to Muscatine, Iowa, and several of them sold there,
among them the Andrus Horse. He was then stiff in his limbs, showing the
effects of previous neglect and abuse. He died at Muscatine in 1857.
His progeny there were defective in bone. I am told several of his
daughters in Vermont have left good stock there and thus perpetuated
his name in the second and third generations. But his chief title to
fame has been secured to him by his renowned daughter Princess, the dam
of the great Happy Medium. In 1851 Mr. L. B. Adams, who then owned her,
bred the Isaiah Wilcox mare, by Burdick’s Engineer, son of Engineer by
Messenger, to Andrus’ Hambletonian, and, in a nutshell, the union of this
great-grandson of Messenger with this great-granddaughter of Messenger
produced Princess. This pedigree of Princess is incontrovertibly
established and will be given in fuller detail in the history of her son,
Happy Medium.


The greatest of all trotting progenitors and the most intensely inbred to



    The greatest progenitor in Horse History—Mr. Kellogg’s
    description, and comments thereon—An analysis of Hambletonian,
    structurally considered—His carriage and action—As a
    three-year-old trotter—Details of his stud service—Statistics
    of the Hambletonian family—History and ancestry of his dam, the
    Charles Kent Mare—Her grandson, Green’s Bashaw and his dam.

HAMBLETONIAN, 10.—It has been a matter of constant regret that in
the compilation of the first volume of the Register I attached the
name “Rysdyk’s” to this horse, and this misstep has served as a kind
of apparent justification for very many men to seize upon the name
“Hambletonian,” with their own name as a prefix. This has led to great
confusion and annoyance to all that body of men who have anything to do
with records and correct pedigrees. Fortunately, however, the evil has
become so apparent that many writers are beginning to use the numbers,
and we now very frequently hear men speak of “Hambletonian, 10,” as the
true designation of this horse.

As no horse of any blood or period in this or any other country has
excited an interest so universal, or represented such a vast sum of money
in his offspring and descendants, I must try to give an account of him
and his family—ancestors and descendants—as full and accurate as the
materials at hand will enable me. He was a beautiful bay color, bred by
Jonas Seely, of Sugar Loaf, Orange County, New York, foaled 1849, got by
Abdallah; dam the Kent Mare, by imported Bellfounder; grandam One Eye,
by Hambletonian, son of Messenger; great-grandam Silvertail, by imported
Messenger; great-great-grandam Black Jin, breeding unknown. He was sold
with his dam, when a suckling, to Mr. William M. Rysdyk, of Chester, in
the same county, and he remained his till he died in March, 1876. He has
been described by a great many writers, but the most minute and accurate
description I have ever seen is from the pen of “Hark Comstock” (Peter C.
Kellogg), which I will here present, and after it note any point upon
which my own judgment differs from his. It should be remembered that this
description was made when the horse was breaking down with the weight of

    Hambletonian, now twenty-six years old, is a rich deep mahogany
    bay, with black legs, the black extending very high up on the
    arms and stifles. His mane was originally black, and in his
    younger days very ornamental; rather light, like that of the
    blood-horse, and of medium length, never reaching below the
    lower line of the neck, but uniform throughout. His foretop
    was always light. At the present time not a vestige of either
    remains, they having gradually disappeared until crest and
    crown are bald. His tail is long and full. When we first knew
    him it was very full, but is also thinning with his advancing
    years. The hair of both was black as a raven’s wing, and
    entirely devoid of wave or curl. His marks are a very small
    star and two white ankles behind, but the coronets being dotted
    with black spots, the hoofs are mainly dark. Muzzle dark. Head
    large and bony, with profile inclining to the Roman order; jowl
    deep; jaws not as wide apart as in some of his descendants, yet
    not deficient. Eye very large and prominent, and countenance
    generally animated and expressive of good temper. We found
    him to measure 10½ inches across the face. Ear large, well
    set, and lively. Neck rather short and a little heavy at the
    throatlatch, but thin and clean at the crest. His shoulders are
    very oblique, deep and strong; withers low and broad; sway very
    short, and coupling smooth. The great fillets of muscle running
    back along the spine give extraordinary width and strength to
    the loin, which threatens to lose the closely-set hip in the
    wealth of its embrace. But it is back of here that we find
    lodged the immense and powerful machinery that, imparted to
    his sons and daughters, has ever placed them in the foremost
    ranks of trotters. His hip is long and croup high, with great
    length from hip-point to hock. Thighs and stifles swelling with
    the sinewy muscle, which extends well down into his large,
    clean, bony hocks, hung near the ground. Below these the leg is
    broad, flat, and clean, with the tendons well detached from the
    bone, and drops at a considerable angle with the upper part of
    the limb, giving the well-bent rather than the straight hock.
    Pasterns long, but strong and elastic, and let into hoofs that
    are perfection. In front his limbs in strength and muscular
    development comport with the rear formation. His chest is broad
    and prominent; his forelegs stand wide apart (perhaps in part
    the result of much covering), and he is deep through the heart;
    yet notwithstanding this, and the fact of his roundness of
    barrel, there is no appearance of heaviness or hampered action.

    Taken at a glance, the impressive features of the horse are
    his immense substance, without a particle of coarseness or
    grossness. No horse we can recall has so great a volume of
    bone, with the same apparent firmness of texture and true
    blood-like quality. Though short-backed, he is very long
    underneath. Indeed, he is a horse of greater than apparent
    length. We found his measurement from breast to breeching, in
    a straight line, greater by four inches than his height at the
    withers—a very unusual excess. We also found him two inches
    higher over the rump than at the withers, and the whole rear,
    or propelling portion of the machinery, would upon measurement
    seem to have been molded for an animal two sizes larger
    than the one to which it is attached; yet so beautifully
    is its connection effected with the whole that there is no
    disproportion apparent, either in the symmetry or the action
    of the horse. As an evidence of the immense reach which this
    admirable rear construction enables him to obtain, it is often
    noticed by visitors that in his favorite attitude, as he stands
    in his box, his off hind foot is thrown forward so far under
    him as to nearly touch the one in front of it—an attitude which
    few horses of his proportionate length could take without an
    apparent strain, yet which he assumes at perfect repose. When
    led out upon the ground his walk strikes one as being different
    from that of any other horse. It cannot be described further
    than to say that it shows a true and admirable adjustment of
    parts, and a perfect pliability and elasticity of mechanism
    that shows out through every movement. Many have noticed and
    endeavored to account in different ways for the peculiarity,
    some crediting it to the pliable pastern, others to surplus of
    knee and hock action, etc., but the fact is, there seems to be
    a suppleness of the whole conformation that delights to express
    itself in every movement and action of the horse. “In his box,”
    said a Kentucky horseman, who recently looked him over, “I
    thought him too massive to be active, but the moment he stepped
    out I saw that he was all action.”

There is so much in the foregoing description that is intelligent and
just that I hardly feel like reviewing a single phrase. In judging of
the conformation of a horse and determining whether it is good or bad,
at different points, we must have in our mind some ideal standard, by
which we mentally compare one thing with another. The popular conception
of the perfect horse is the picture of the “Arabian,” painted by artists
who never saw an Arabian horse. The next approach to perfection is the
English race horse, but others may insist that the Clydesdale comes
nearer perfection and that he should be the ideal with which the standard
of comparison should be made. It is unfortunate that Mr. Kellogg should
have described Hambletonian as possessing “immense substance, without a
particle of coarseness, or grossness.” He had a remarkably coarse head
in its size and outline, but this is greatly softened by saying “with a
profile inclining to the Roman order.” The ideal muzzle of the English
race horse is so fine that, figuratively speaking, he can drink out of
a tin cup, but Hambletonian could not get his muzzle into a vessel of
much smaller dimensions than a half-bushel measure. “Ear large, well set
and lively.” This is true as to the size of the ears, but not correct,
in my judgment, as to the setting on. As they habitually lopped backward
when in repose, giving a sour and ill-tempered expression, I could not
concede that they were “well set.” The hocks were good and clean, but
the abrupt angle at that point was certainly a coarse feature. The
round meaty withers and the round meaty buttocks were both “coarse and
gross” when looked at from the point of good breeding. His two great,
meaty ends, connected with a long and perfect barrel, two or three sizes
too small for the ends, showed such a marked disproportion that I often
wondered at it. Not one of these criticisms is made in the sense of a
criticism of Mr. Kellogg’s description, but merely as the expression of
a different view on some points, and on those points not mentioned I
most heartily agree with him. He has omitted to give the height of the
horse for the reason that he had shrunken from his normal height just one
inch. When at his best he measured fifteen hands one inch and a quarter.
This shrinkage, in addition to the ordinary results of great age, is
thus explained by Mr. Guy Miller, who knew him better than any other
man except his owner. “His splendid fore hoofs had been ruined by an
operation whereby the arch was lost and the horse during the remainder of
his days stood on his frogs.” He was two inches higher on the hips than
on the withers.

When the horse was led out his movements were so frictionless and
faultless that he impressed me as the most wonderful horse that I had
ever seen. He seemed as supple as a cat with the power of an elephant.
As he walked he kept pushing those crooked hind legs away under him in
a manner that gave him a motion peculiarly his own, and suggested the
immense possibilities of his stride when opened out on a trot. Plain and
indeed homely as he was he was a most interesting and instructive study
whether in his box or taking his daily walks. The question has been asked
a thousand times whether the speed of Hambletonian had been developed
and how fast he could go. This question I considered very important, in
a philosophical and breeding sense, and in starting in to investigate
it I found two statements, one that the time made at the Union Course
was honest and true, and the other that it was a “put up job” to make
Mr. Rysdyk feel good, and that the time in fact was much slower than
that announced. Each side had its advocates, and it did not take long
to discover that the enemies of Mr. Rysdyk were all on one side and the
more bitter their enmity the more blatant they were in denying the truth
of the time given out for the performance. This party was headed by
one “J. M.,” long distinguished, and will be long remembered in Orange
County, for the virulence of his dislike to Mr. Rysdyk, and as the most
unreliable of all unreliable horsemen.

In the autumn of 1852 Mr. Rysdyk and Mr. Seely C. Roe, the owner of Roe’s
Abdallah Chief, then four years old, concluded to exhibit their sons of
Abdallah at the fair of the American Institute, in New York, and after
the fair to take their colts, three and four years old respectively, for
a light training for a few weeks. The programme was carried out, and
after reaching the course they started the two colts together, and much
to Mr. Roe’s surprise Hambletonian beat his colt in 3:03. In a short
time Mr. Roe gave his colt another trial in 2:55½. A few days later Mr.
Rysdyk drove his colt in 2:48. Believing then he had the making of the
best trotter in the world and being thoroughly homesick, he packed up
his traps and started for Orange County, and this was the first and the
last training that Hambletonian ever had. When we consider the age of the
colt and how few of that age had then ever reached that mark, the little
then known by amateurs of the arts of training and driving, and the very
limited preparation, we must conclude that this was a remarkably good

Was it honestly made? Mr. Roe has been dead a good many years, but the
next day after he returned from Long Island with Mr. Rysdyk he called at
the house of his brother-in-law, David R. Feagles, a very responsible
man, and in the course of the conversation he asked Mr. Feagles if he
had heard the news? “No,” said Mr. Feagles, “what is it?” “Rysdyk’s colt
trotted the Union Course in 2:48. I held my watch and I know it is true.”
Mr. Roe was always steadfast and immovable in this declaration while he
lived. Mr. W. H. Wood, the breeder of Abdallah Chief, says he told him
the time was 2:48, and he had several times heard it disputed in Mr.
Roe’s presence and he had always settled the dispute by giving the same
fact. Mr. David R. Seely said he could not remember the time made, but he
had heard the matter disputed, and Mr. Roe settled it by saying it was
true, that he saw it and held the watch on him when he did it. These men
were as reliable as any in Orange County and their statement of Mr. Roe’s
assertions cannot be doubted. Considering the circumstances, it will
occur to any mind that Mr. Roe was the very best witness to the truth of
this performance that could be produced. He was not only disinterested,
but in building up the reputation of a rival stallion he was testifying
to his own hurt.

There are other evidences of Hambletonian’s development and speed, but
nothing so definite as the foregoing. He was driven in double team
sometimes with the great trotter Sir Walter. Mr. Kinner, at one time
owner of Sir Walter and other good ones, a horseman of experience and
knowledge of trotting affairs, assured me that Sir Walter had shown a
trial at Centerville track to wagon in 2:32, and this was before he was
driven double, occasionally, with Hambletonian; and that Hambletonian
could out-foot Sir Walter for the first half-mile, but as the young horse
was green and unseasoned, he could not keep up the clip to the finish. He
did not hesitate to express the belief that the team could have trotted
the mile in considerably less than 2:40. There is one fact in connection
with the trial at Union Course that I have omitted in its proper place.
Mr. Rysdyk was a remarkably careful man and always aimed to be inside of
the truth rather than beyond it. He advertised his horse as having made
the trial in 2:48½, as it is probable some of the watches gave that as
the time, instead of 2:48 flat.

Like all the Abdallah family, Hambletonian matured early, and at three
years was as well advanced as many colts a year older. His stud services
commenced early. When two years old he was allowed to cover four mares
without fee and he got three colts, one of which was afterward known as
the famous Alexander’s Abdallah. When three years old he was offered
for public patronage at twenty-five dollars to insure, and he covered
seventeen mares and got thirteen colts. The next season, at the same
price, he covered one hundred and one mares and got seventy-eight
colts. The next season (1854), being then five years old, the price was
advanced to thirty-five dollars, and he covered eighty-eight mares,
getting sixty-three foals. The price remained at thirty-five dollars
till 1863, when it was advanced to seventy-five dollars. At which price
he covered one hundred and fifty mares. The next season the price was
advanced to one hundred dollars, and he covered two hundred and seventeen
mares, getting one hundred and forty-eight foals. In 1865 the price
was advanced to three hundred dollars and one hundred and ninety-three
mares were covered. In 1866 the price was put at five hundred dollars
and one hundred and five mares were covered. At this price his services
remained ever afterward—one hundred dollars down and the remainder when
the mare proved in foal. In 1867 he covered seventy-seven mares and got
only forty-one foals. This large percentage of failure indicated beyond
question that his procreative powers had been overtaxed and that there
was a general letting down of his vital energies. In 1868 he was not
allowed to cover any mares. In 1869 he again manifested his usual vigor
and he covered twenty-one mares, getting fourteen foals. In 1870 he
covered twenty-two mares and got thirteen foals. From this time forward
his procreative powers dwindled, and in 1875, I think, he got but two
foals, and died the following March.

It has been estimated that he got about one thousand three hundred
foals, and for several years it was one of the amusing features of horse
literature to see how many writers were able to demonstrate that as a
progenitor of speed he was a failure. This item of one thousand three
hundred foals was taken as the basis of computation, and then with the
small number of forty trotters out of the one thousand three hundred,
the percentage of trotters was very small. The next step was to find
some unknown horse, generally a pacer, that had only two or three foals
to his credit and one of them had made a record of 2:30, thus showing
a much larger percentage than Hambletonian, and by that much he was a
greater sire than Hambletonian. All this foolishness has now subsided in
the face of the fact that the great mass of the trotters of today have
more or less of his blood in their veins, and in a very short time that
blood will abound in greater or less strength in every American trotter.
The tables which here follows will make this fact evident to all who will
study them.

    [Prefatory to these tables and to the other statistics
    concerning the present rank of the trotting families given
    in the pages following, an explanatory paragraph is in order
    so that they may not be misunderstood. (1) They are based
    on the tables given in the Year Book for 1896, and I regret
    to say that these tables are so emasculated, incomplete,
    unsatisfactory and in many cases contradictory one of the other
    that it is literally impossible to compile from them statistics
    that may be accepted as absolutely correct and letter perfect.
    However, as this work is not intended as one for statistical
    reference, the tables being approximately correct serve
    my purpose, which is merely to show _relatively_ and with
    substantial accuracy the standing of the sires and families
    embraced to the close of 1896. (2) By the term “standard
    performers” is meant horses that have acquired trotting records
    of 2:30 or better, or pacing records of 2:25 or better. The
    Year Book no longer gives a 2:30 pacing list, and it should
    be noted that pacers with records between 2:30 and 2:25 are
    not credited in these tables. (3) The tables are designed to
    show (_a_) the number of standard performers got by each sire
    named. (_b_) The number of his sons that are sires of standard
    performers. (_c_) The number of his daughters that are dams of
    standard performers. (_d_) The number of standard performers
    produced by these sons and daughters, and finally, in the last
    column, the total number of standard performers produced in the
    two generations—_i. e._, by the sire himself, and by his sons
    and daughters. The dates of foaling and death are important in
    considering the opportunities of the families embraced.]

The first table following gives some idea of the supremacy of the
Hambletonian family over all others. When we seek a rival to Hambletonian
as a trotting progenitor we must do so among his sons; and by turning to
the second table it will be noted that many of these outrank the founders
of any and all the other great trotting families.


                         Total No. Standard performers in two generations.
                Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  -----------------------------------------------------------+      |
                                        Producing daughters. |      |
  -----------------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                       Producing sons. |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                            Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                                Year died. |     |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |      |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |      |     |     |     |      |
  Hambletonian               | 1849 | 1876 |  40 | 148 |  80 | 1665 | 1705
  Blue Bull                  | 1858 | 1880 |  60 |  47 |  77 |  211 |  271
  Mambrino Chief             | 1844 | 1862 |   6 |  23 |  17 |  119 |  125
  Ethan Allen                | 1849 | 1876 |   6 |  22 |  18 |  118 |  124
  Pilot Jr.                  | 1858 | 1865 |   8 |   6 |  18 |   72 |   80
  George M. Patchen          | 1849 | 1864 |   4 |  15 |   4 |   70 |   74
  Champion (807)             | 1853 | 1874 |   8 |   6 |   7 |   53 |   61

In this table Ethan Allen is given as the representative of his family
in preference to his sire, Black Hawk, the real founder, for the reasons
that he was a far greater horse, and makes a better showing than his
sire, and further because he was a contemporary of Hambletonian. For
exactly the same reasons George M. Patchen is given as the representative
progenitor of the Clay line.

The next table demonstrates what the Hambletonian family has done in the
second and third generations, and the relative standing of the leading
sub-families of the greatest trotting line. It embraces separately
every sire that has to his own credit and to the credit of his sons and
daughters an aggregate of fifty or more standard performers, twenty-three
in all, while the totals to the credit of all the other sons of
Hambletonian are grouped in the last line:


                         Total No. Standard performers in two generations.
                Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  -----------------------------------------------------------+      |
                                        Producing daughters. |      |
  -----------------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                       Producing sons. |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                            Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                                Year died. |     |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |      |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |      |     |     |     |      |
  George Wilkes              | 1856 | 1882 |  83 |  94 |  81 | 1801 | 1884
  Electioneer                | 1868 | 1890 | 154 |  65 |  43 |  493 |  647
  Happy Medium               | 1863 | 1888 |  92 |  51 |  47 |  272 |  364
  Harold                     | 1864 | 1893 |  44 |  43 |  45 |  248 |  292
  Dictator                   | 1863 | 1893 |  52 |  44 |  42 |  234 |  286
  Volunteer                  | 1854 | 1888 |  34 |  40 |  48 |  221 |  255
  Strathmore                 | 1866 | 1895 |  71 |  26 |  54 |  158 |  229
  Abdallah (15)              | 1852 | 1865 |   5 |  14 |  29 |  199 |  204
  Aberdeen                   | 1866 | 1892 |  45 |  25 |  19 |  110 |  155
  Egbert                     | 1875 |  ——  |  75 |  25 |  18 |   74 |  149
  Messenger Duroc.           | 1865 | 189- |  23 |  24 |  41 |  125 |  148
  Edward Everett             | 1855 | 1878 |  13 |  12 |  16 |  112 |  125
  Administrator              | 1863 | 1892 |  14 |  20 |  44 |   93 |  107
  Jay Gould                  | 1864 | 1894 |  29 |  14 |  28 |   76 |  105
  Victor Bismarck            | 1867 | 189- |  31 |  13 |  13 |   64 |   95
  Cuyler                     | 1868 | 1894 |  15 |  15 |  36 |   74 |   89
  Masterlode                 | 1868 | 189- |  28 |  17 |  16 |   57 |   85
  Sweepstakes                | 1867 | 189- |  35 |   4 |  20 |   39 |   74
  Sentinel                   | 1863 | 1873 |   8 |   9 |  14 |   57 |   65
  Middletown                 | 1860 | 1891 |  14 |   9 |  11 |   49 |   63
  Squire Talmage             | 1866 | 1891 |  23 |   9 |  14 |   35 |   58
  Dauntless                  | 1867 | 189- |  31 |   6 |   9 |   20 |   51
  Echo                       | 1866 | 189- |  16 |   9 |  15 |   34 |   50
  Other sons (125)           |  ——  |  ——  | 618 | 229 | 412 |  980 | 1600

This table shows what each horse himself produced, and how his blood is
breeding on through his sons and daughters; and above all it demonstrates
the stupendous fact that in three generations the Hambletonian family has
produced upward of seven thousand standard performers, and all facts and
all experience now beyond cavil justify what I ventured to declare in
_Wallace’s Monthly_ many years ago: “The Hambletonian line stands above
all other lines and must survive because it is the fittest.”

THE CHARLES KENT MARE, dam of Hambletonian, was a bay, fifteen and
three-quarter hands high, with a star, left forward ankle roan, and
left hind foot white. Her son was long and round, just the opposite of
her sire. Hips rather coarse, and might be considered a little ragged.
Stifles very powerful and well-developed. Her hocks and legs were exactly
represented in her son Hambletonian. Her neck was fine and bloodlike, but
not long. Her head was good, and her eyes remarkably full and bright,
showing considerable white. Her mane was long, but thin, and her tail
was light. Her shoulders were well-sloped, her withers ran up high, and
were thin. Jonas Seely, Sr., having given the old mare One Eye to his son
Charles, she was sold to Josiah S. Jackson, of Oxford, Orange County.
Mr. Jackson bred her to Bellfounder and the produce was the Kent mare.
Although the Seely family owned the stock, originally and afterward, Mr.
Jackson was really the breeder of this mare. Mr. Jonas Seely says she was
got the year Bellfounder stood at Poughkeepsie (1831), but Mr. Rysdyk
says she was got in 1832, when Bellfounder stood at Washingtonville. Mr.
Jackson sold her at three years old to Peter Seely for three hundred
dollars; Mr. Seely sold her soon after to Mr. Pray, of New York, for four
hundred dollars; Mr. Pray sold her to William Chivis for five hundred
dollars; and Mr. Chivis sold her to a gentleman, who was a banker in New
York—name not remembered—to match another as a fast road team. This team
ran away after a time, and she was injured, and became lame. Charles
Kent, a butcher in New York, then bought her and bred her to Webber’s Tom
Thumb, before he came to Orange County. At this juncture, on the earnest
recommendation of Mr. Pray, who had tested the quality of three or four
of the family, Mr. Jonas Seely—Jonas, second—bought the mare of Kent for
one hundred and thirty-five dollars, and took her back to the old place,
where she was bred and produced as follows:

  1843. Brown filly Belle, by Webber’s Tom Thumb.
  1845. Black gelding, by Webber’s Tom Thumb.
  1846. Chestnut filly (died at 4 years old), by Abdallah.
  1848. Brown filly (died at 4 years old), by Abdallah.
  1849. Bay colt Hambletonian, by Abdallah (mare and colt sold to
          William M. Rysdyk, for $125).
  1850. Brown filly (went to Maryland), by Young Patriot.
  1851. Lost foal, by L. I. Black Hawk.
  1852. Brown colt Tippoo Saib, by Brook’s Black Hawk.
  1853. Chestnut colt (died young), by Fiddler.
  1856. Brown gelding, by Plato.
  1859. Bay colt, by Almack, son of Hambletonian.

In the preceding list there are but two fillies that lived to produce
anything, and one of them is lost from sight. The produce of the first
will be given below. The Patriot filly that went to Maryland was a brown,
and of good size, but nothing further is known of her.

The Tom Thumb gelding of 1845 was in 1869 a good road horse, and was
owned by George S. Conklin. He was showy and stylish without very much
speed. Her fifth foal, Hambletonian, is known wherever the trotting horse
is known.

This mare was a trotter of no ordinary merit. She was never in any races,
so far as known, except they might have been of a private nature, but
after she passed into the hands of Peter Seely her speed was pretty well
developed. This is not only shown by the advance in her price from owner
to owner, but it appears to be a well-established fact that when four
years old Peter Seely had her at the Union Course, and he there gave
her two trials to saddle, the first in 2:43 and the second in 2:41. For
a time I was skeptical about these trials, but they seem to be beyond
question. This is considerably faster than any other of the get of
imported Bellfounder ever trotted in this country, and from this we may
conclude that her inheritance from her dam was the great factor in her

ONE EYE, the dam of the Kent mare, was a brown, about fifteen hands and
an inch high, with two white feet and perhaps a little white in her
face. With the taste Mr. Seely had of the Messenger blood in Silvertail
he wanted more of it; and when Townsend Cock sent the famous Bishop’s
Hambletonian to Goshen in 1814, Mr. Seely bred his daughter of Messenger
to this son of Messenger and the produce was One Eye. I do not learn
that this mare was handsome, but she was an animal of most remarkable
courage and endurance. The load was never too heavy nor the road too
long. Withal, she had a will of her own and was a little hard to manage
unless she was worked constantly. One day when on her mettle she got an
eye knocked out by accident, and, hence, her name; but the great quality
of this mare was her remarkable trotting action. Those familiar with her
gait, and entirely competent to judge, are enthusiastic in the opinion
that no trotter of the present day ever surpassed, her in a grand open
trotting step. If the patience and skill brought into use in developing
the modern trotter had been expended on her, she doubtless would have
surpassed all of her day, not even excepting her near relation, old
Topgallant. This mare illustrates a point of very great importance. She
was got by a son of Messenger that was a running horse of merit and
able to beat some of the best of his day, and her dam was a daughter of
Messenger. The trotting action of neither sire nor dam had ever been
developed, but when these two Messengers came together, the clean, open,
unmistakable trotting gait was the result. Right at this point and in
this mare, One Eye, we have the incipient cause of all Hambletonian’s
greatness. This mare was bred by Jonas Seely, Sr.; given to his son
Charles, who sold her to his brother-in-law, Josiah Jackson, of Oxford in
Orange County. According the recollection of Mr. Rysdyk, who was entirely
familiar with the Seely family and their affairs, she produced as follows:

  1829. Bay gelding Crabstick, by Seagull.
  1830. Bay gelding Pray Colt, by Seagull.
  1831. Bay filly Young One Eye, by Edmund Seely’s horse Orphan Boy.
  1833. Bay filly Kent Mare, by imp. Bellfounder. Sold to Mr. Pray.
  1834. Bay filly; sold also to Mr. Pray, by imp. Bellfounder.
          Perhaps there was another foal that died.

The first of her foals, Crabstick, appears to have been well-named.
His temper was anything but smooth and pleasant. He was sold early
to Mr. Ebenezer Pray, of New York, and he soon evinced two traits of
character that did not elevate him in the estimation of his owner. He
would throw every one off that dared to mount him, and when they did get
him under motion he was determined to pace and not trot. On a certain
occasion Mr. Rysdyk visited Mr. Pray, and he was urged to try his skill
in riding Crabstick and see if he could make him trot. The attempt was
long-continued, and embraced up hill, down hill, and level work, but
all to no purpose, as pace he would. At last Mr. Pray proposed to put
him over rails and stakes, placed on the road at intervals of a good
trotting stride, and see if that would make him quit moving one side
at a time. Mr. Rysdyk went up the road and got under good headway, but
just before he reached the rails the horse threw him. He was not much
hurt, mounted again, and then commenced in earnest the fight for the
mastery between the horse and his rider. The value of a neck was nothing
when compared with the great question of who should conquer. The next
attempt was successful, and he went over the rails flying. The intervals
between them were then extended, and he was kept at that most dangerous
exercise till he would trot without rails, and until both horse and rider
were completely exhausted. The horse was conquered, and although always
willful and hard to manage, ever after, when called on to trot, he would
do it. Mr. Pray sold him to Mr. Vanderbilt, and, although kept as a
private driving horse, he was fast for his day, and could go in less than
three minutes at any time.

Her next foal was sold also to Mr. Pray when five years old, and was
known as the Pray Colt. He was marked just as his brother Crabstick, and,
like him, was somewhat vicious and hard to manage.

The third foal, Young One Eye, was by Edmund Seely’s horse Orphan Boy,
whose pedigree is not now known. One of her eyes was knocked out by Peter
Seely, accidentally, when breaking her, just as her dam had lost an
eye. She passed out of the hands of the Seely family and her subsequent
history is unknown. If this mare ever produced anything, her history and
that of her descendants would be of great interest and value.

The question at once suggests itself, Where did Crabstick get his pacing
action? It could not have been from his sire, as he was a son of Duroc,
so said, but it may have come from Seagull’s dam, as we know nothing
of her breeding; or it may have come from old Black Jin, the dam of
Silvertail. If from neither of these we must then conclude it came
from Messenger himself, or rather, through him from some of his pacing
ancestors. It is altogether probable that the strong infusion of pacing
blood in Messenger’s veins was the real element that made him a trotting
progenitor when every other imported English horse failed in that respect.

Silvertail, the great-grandam of Hambletonian, was a dark brown mare
with white hind feet and a white face. She had a great many white hairs
in her tail and hence she was called Silvertail. She was foaled in 1802
and was bred by Mr. Jonas Seely, Sr., of Sugar Loaf, Orange County, New
York. She was got by imported Messenger in 1801, the year he stood at
Goshen, New York. Her dam was a great, slashing black mare called “Jin”
that Mr. Seely had used in his business many years, but her origin and
breeding cannot now be found. She must have been a real good one or Mr.
Seely would not have taken her to Messenger. In the summer of 1806, as
was his custom, he was down at New York with a drove of cattle, and his
son Jonas, then a lad of eight or ten years old, went along to help
drive the cattle and to see the city. He was detained two or three days
longer than he expected and it was very important that he should reach
home at a certain time. On the morning of that day he found himself in
Hoboken, with his son, and no means of getting home except on Silvertail.
So he took the boy up behind him and went home that day, seventy-five
miles, by sundown. She was fully sixteen hands high and of very fine
style. Her head, neck and ear were bloodlike, and her resolution and will
were remarkable even in old age. Her step, at the trot, is not known to
have been much developed, but she could gallop all day long. On several
occasions she carried her master to Albany in a day. Besides the famous
One Eye she produced several superior foals that brought high prices, in
those days, but we have only the one line tracing to her as a producer.
She died the property of Ebenezer Seely.

In searching for the particulars of this pedigree of Hambletonian and
in tracing it back to old “Black Jin,” I was necessarily brought into
contact with a great many people, some of whom were helpful and some were
not. As a matter of course I met with the usual number who professed to
“know it all,” but really knew nothing that was reliable. As the whole
tracing was in the Seely family, the public may wish to know what kind
of people they were. Jonas Seely, first, of Oxford in Orange County, was
a large farmer in the last century and an extensive cattle feeder and
drover. As there were no railroads or steam boats in those days, much
of his time was given to driving cattle, either in collecting them from
the interior or in taking them to market in New York. He had use for
good horses and he had a fancy for the best. His business brought him
into contact with the butchers of New York, and we find he sold many of
his horses as well as his cattle to them. These same business relations
were continued under his successor. He left a large family of sons who
seemed to take to the horse as a duck takes to water. Jonas, second, was
one of his younger sons and succeeded to his father’s business as well
as to the homestead. He was born 1797 at Oxford, and his father removed
to the farm at Sugar Loaf when he was a child. He was a thrifty and
successful farmer. For a number of years he was engaged with his partner
and lifelong friend, Ebenezer Pray, in buying and driving cattle from
the West to the New York market. In June, 1882, he passed away and there
ended an acquaintance and a friendship of nearly thirty years. He was a
strictly conscientious and truthful man, and died in the glorious hope of
a devoted Christian. His first visit to New York, in 1806, the wonders
he saw there, and especially the total eclipse that occurred while he
was there, and how he watched it from the Bull’s Head tavern, through a
piece of smoked glass, and the ride home the next day behind his father
on Silvertail, and how he ran down many a hill to rest himself, and how
tired he was when they reached home, are incidents that were all detailed
to me with the interest and vigor of yesterday.

When One Eye was about fifteen years old the elder Jonas gave her or
sold her to his son-in-law, Josiah Jackson, and in due time he bred her
to imported Bellfounder and she produced the Charles Kent mare. Mr.
Rysdyk thought the elder Jonas gave this mare to his son Charles and
that Charles sold her to Mr. Jackson, which is not material. After the
Kent mare had been battered about in New York for some years and finally
crippled, Charles Kent, a butcher, bought her and bred her to Webber’s
Tom Thumb, a Canadian horse that was quite a trotter. On one occasion
when Jonas II. and Mr. Pray were down in the city, Kent wanted to sell
the mare, and Mr. Pray urged Jonas very strongly to buy her and take her
home for a brood mare. He concluded to do so if she were not too badly
crippled, and they together went over on to the island to see her, when
she came again into the Seely family. In 1848 he bred her to Abdallah, in
1849 she produced a bay colt, and in the autumn of that year he sold her
with her colt to William M. Rysdyk, who had been employed on his farm for
the year, for one hundred and twenty-five dollars, and this colt proved
to be the great Hambletonian.

As it is now conceded, not only in this country, but throughout the
world, that Hambletonian, as a trotting progenitor, is far and away the
greatest horse that has ever been produced, a careful and true analysis
of the blood elements entering into his inheritance is a most interesting
and instructive lesson for all breeders. First we have the direct cross
from Messenger himself in Silvertail; second, we have the cross from a
son of Messenger on a daughter of Messenger in One Eye, making her equal
to a daughter of Messenger in blood; third, we have the out-cross from
Bellfounder, that was a total failure as a trotting progenitor, on this
double granddaughter of Messenger, and the result is a trotter in the
Kent mare and practically the only trotter that Bellfounder ever got;
fourth, we have the cross of a grandson and probably a double grandson
of Messenger on this trotter, and the produce is Hambletonian himself.
These crosses show a stronger concentration of Messenger blood than can
be found in any horse of his generation.

BASHAW (GREEN’S).—This was a black horse, fifteen and a half hands high,
bred by Jonas Seely, the breeder of Hambletonian; foaled 1855, and
given when following his dam to his son-in-law, Colonel F. M. Cummins,
of Muscatine, Iowa. He was got by Vernol’s Black Hawk, then known as
the Drake colt, son of Long Island Black Hawk, and his dam was Belle,
the first foal of the Charles Kent mare, that was out of One Eye. In
the spring of 1857 he was sold to Joseph A. Green, of Muscatine, and he
remained his till 1864. He had one white hind foot and a large, full
star in his forehead. He was a smooth, handsome horse in every respect.
His head, neck, ear and eye were all good, and free from coarseness.
His back and loin had very few equals even among those that are called
most perfect at these points. His hip was of great length, and in
his buttock there was quite a resemblance on a reduced scale to his
kinsman, Hambletonian. His limbs and feet both in shape and quality were
admirable, and his disposition docile and kindly. In walking his gait
was slinging, but loose jointed and slovenly, and he was therefore not a
pleasant driving horse. But at the trot, whether going slow or fast, his
style was very taking and his action remarkably perfect. While owned by
Mr. Green he was handled by good, careful men, but they had no experience
in developing and driving a trotter, and knew nothing about that kind
of horsemanship. Under these circumstances many a horse would have been
spoiled, but his gait was always perfect and his popularity as a trotter
never waned. He never was started in what might be called regular races,
but at State fairs and the principal county fairs he was always in
demand and always won. He was, perhaps, the best natural trotter that
I have ever seen. He was able to show about 2:28, but I think he never
won a heat on a half-mile track in better than 2:31, and when sixteen
years old he was able to win in 2:35. In 1864 Mr. Green sold him to some
parties in St. Louis, Missouri, and they to Mr. Beckwith of Hartford,
Connecticut, and while in his hands he was matched against Young Morrill,
but went amiss and paid forfeit. He made the season of 1865 at Hartford.
The following winter Mr. Green repurchased him and he was returned to
Muscatine, where he remained till January, 1877, when he was sold to
George A. Young, of Leland, Illinois, and died January, 1880.

He left seventeen trotters in the 2:30 list; twenty-four sons that were
the sires of fifty-nine standard performers, and thirty-four daughters
that produced forty-four standard performers. As his sire never amounted
to anything either as a trotter or a getter of trotters, it is fair to
conclude that whatever merit he possessed was inherited from the same
source that made Hambletonian greater than all others.

BELLE, the dam of Bashaw, 50, was a brown mare about fifteen and
three-quarter hands high, with tan muzzle and flanks and some white feet.
She was rather short in the body and neck, but she was very stoutly built
and had been a fine road mare. She was bred by Charles Kent, the butcher,
and I think was following her dam when Mr. Jonas Seely bought her. She
was foaled 1843 and was got by Tom Thumb, a Canadian horse, and a trotter
that was brought into Orange County by William Webber and left excellent
stock. Her dam was the Charles Kent mare, the dam of Hambletonian. She
produced as follows:

  1848. Bay gelding, by Abdallah.
  1849. Bay filly Seely Abdallah, by Abdallah.
  1851. Black colt Seely’s Black Hawk, by Long Island Black Hawk.
  1853. Bay filly, (taken West) by Hambletonian.
  1855. Black colt Green’s Bashaw, by Vernol’s Black Hawk.
  1857. Bay filly by Black Hawk Prophet, son of Vermont Black Hawk,
          in Iowa. This filly was ringboned, and given away.

Nothing is now known of the gelding by Abdallah. The filly of 1849 by
Abdallah, called Seely Abdallah, was owned by Mr. Charles Backman, and he
had her produce for two or three generations.

The black colt by Long Island Black Hawk of 1851 was sold to Ebenezer
Seely, and kept as a stallion. This Mr. Seely died in Chemung County,
and the horse died there in the spring of 1859. The filly of 1853 by
Hambletonian was one of a pair of Hambletonian fillies bought and taken
to Iowa by Mr. Green in 1855. They developed a very fine rate of speed.



    Different opinions as to relative merits of
    Hambletonian’s greater sons—George Wilkes, his history
    and pedigree—His performing descendants—History and
    description of Electioneer—His family—Alexander’s
    Abdallah and his two greatest sons, Almont and
    Belmont—Dictator—Harold—Happy Medium and his dam—Jay
    Sprague, grandson of Hambletonian.

There is hardly a prominent sire by Hambletonian that has not been
claimed by his admirers to have been the “greatest son” of the most
renowned of trotting progenitors, and if a poll of the horsemen of the
country could be taken to-day as to what horse was the greatest son of
Hambletonian, probably a dozen names would be found to have thousands
of supporters each. As with all questions that are largely matters of
opinion, and that cannot be decided absolutely by figures, the relative
rank of horses as progenitors must always remain open to disputation
according as thinkers approach the subject from different points of view
and of interest. I shall not enter into any discussion as to the relative
merits of the great sons of Hambletonian with a purpose to reach any
deduction as to which was or is the greatest; but shall refer the reader
to the table given in the preceding chapter, and content myself with
briefly giving the history of the more renowned sires of the Hambletonian
line, with such statistics as may be necessary to gauge their rank as

[Illustration: GEORGE WILKES.

A Great Son of Hambletonian.]

GEORGE WILKES was one of the first of Hambletonian’s sons to attract
attention, by his performances on the turf, to the value of his sire;
and as a progenitor he must be accorded a place in the first rank of all
trotting sires. This horse was bred by Colonel Harry Felter, Newburgh,
New York, was foaled 1856, and was got by Hambletonian out of the fast
road mare Dolly Spanker. (This mare was afterward registered on what
seemed excellent evidence as by Henry Clay, out of a daughter of Baker’s
Highlander, but more recent investigation has thrown serious doubt upon
this pedigree, the subject being fully discussed in the chapters in
this work on “The Investigation of Pedigrees.”) After the travail that
brought the little brown colt into the world, Dolly Spanker died, and
the orphaned youngster, like Andrew Jackson, owed his life to woman’s
kindly care. He was fed by the women of the farm on Jamaica rum and
milk sweetened with sugar, and soon grew lusty, though he was always an
undersized horse, never much, if any, exceeding fifteen hands in height,
though he was so stoutly and compactly made that he gave the impression
of being larger than he really was. He was of that order that has been
paradoxically described as “a big little horse.” In color he was a very
dark brown, and his flanks and muzzle shaded into a deep tan, or wine
color. From a detailed description of him published in the _Spirit of the
Times_ in 1862, I extract the following:

    “He is about 15.1, but all horse.... His traveling gear is just
    what it should be—muscular shoulders long strong arms, flat
    legs, splendid quarters, great length from hip to hock, and
    very fine back sinews. He stands higher behind than he does
    forward, a formation we like.... He is very wide between the
    jaws.... His coat is fine and glows like the rich dark tints of
    polished rosewood.... His temper is kind. We had the pleasure
    of seeing him at his work, and unless we are greatly mistaken
    he will make an amazingly good one. He has a long and easy way
    of going, striking well out behind and tucking his haunches
    well under him.”

Though from the fact that this writer stated that Wilkes “was as handsome
as Ethan Allen,” we might suspect him of a tendency to “paint the lily,”
it will be noted that this was written before the horse had any great
reputation to speak of, and it may be accepted as a substantially correct
description as far as it goes. In describing his action Charles J. Foster
wrote that “his hind leg when straightened out in action as he went at
his best pace reminded me of that of a duck swimming.” He was then the
property of Z. E. Simmons, who had purchased him as a three-year-old for
$3,000, and another horse.

George Wilkes, or Robert Fillingham, as he was first named, was a trotter
from colthood. At four years old he was matched against Guy Miller, but
his party paid forfeit, the reason therefor being afterward alleged
that they found Fillingham possessed of so much speed that they decided
to “lay for bigger game.” The late Alden Goldsmith, a most competent
judge, saw the colt trot at this time and then thought he was the fastest
horse he had ever seen. He won a race in August of his five-year-old
year, taking a record of 2:33, and the next year sprang into wide fame
by defeating the then popular idol, Ethan Allen, in straight heats, over
the Union Course, the fastest heat being in 2:24¾. In October of that
year he started in harness against General Butler, under saddle. Though
Butler was no match for George Wilkes in harness, with a saddle on his
back, and Dan Mace in the saddle, he was almost unbeatable in his day,
but it took him four heats to beat Wilkes, who forced him out in the
first heat in 2:21½, a record he never after surpassed. Then William L.
Simmons and John Morrissey matched Wilkes against Butler, two-mile heats
to wagon, the latter having previously beaten the great George M. Patchen
a heat in record-breaking time under similar conditions. In preparation
for that match George Wilkes was sent a trial over the Centerville
Course, concerning which there has been much discussion and probably much
romance. Charles J. Foster wrote thus:

    “It was a close, sultry day and the stallion was short of
    work.... He went the two-mile trial and I have no doubt it was
    faster than trotter ever had before, or has since, in any rig.
    But it ‘cooked his mutton,’ as the saying is, and for a long
    time he was George Wilkes no more.”

It is said that ever after this trial, whatever it may have been, George
Wilkes was inclined to sulk in his races. He raced with fair success
in 1863 and 1864, and at the beginning of 1865 was classed among the
very best out. He was sent against Dexter and Lady Thorn, being beaten
by both; but in 1866 he twice defeated Lady Thorn, the last time in a
notable wagon race over Union Course in 2:27, 2:25, 2:26¾. Afterward
in the same year Lady Thorn defeated Wilkes in four successive races,
and she beat him again in their only meeting the following year, but in
1868 he defeated the mare in a hard-fought race, she winning the first
and second heats and making the fourth heat dead. George Wilkes made
his record of 2:22, October 13, 1868, over the Narragansett Course at
Providence in a winning race with Rhode Island and Draco. He was kept on
the turf with indifferent success until 1872, racing frequently against
Lucy, Lady Thorn, and American Girl, all of whom outclassed him, at least
in the afternoon of his racing career. Just how fast a trotter George
Wilkes was it is impossible definitely to determine, so many and varying
have been the representations on that point. It has been claimed that
he went a quarter in twenty-nine seconds to an eighty-five pound wagon.
William L. Simmons some years ago stated that of his own knowledge George
Wilkes trotted a mile and repeat as a six-year-old at the Centerville
Course in 2:19¼, 2:18½, and that Sam McLaughlin drove him a half-mile to
wagon over Union Course in 1:04½. These statements I give for what may
be deemed their worth, contenting myself with the remark that it is safe
to conclude that George Wilkes would have trotted well within the 2:20
mark, if he had been managed with a view to bringing out his highest
racing capacity, instead of being handled solely for the purpose of smart
betting and match-making manipulations.

George Wilkes was taken to Lexington, Kentucky, by William L. Simmons,
his owner, in 1873, and in his declining years made a reputation so great
in the stud that his brilliant turf career is almost forgotten. After
having trotted against the best in the country for twelve successive
years, proving his fitness in the fiery ordeal of turf contest, he, in
the nine remaining years of his life, fulfilled the purpose of his being,
and demonstrated the truth of heredity by getting trotters in plenty able
to do and outdo what he had in his day done.

George Wilkes got a few foals before going to Kentucky, of which the most
notable was May Bird, 2:21, the first trotter to bring him reputation
as a sire. Of the others got in the North, Young Wilkes, 2:28¼, a sire
of some reputation, and Wilkes Spirit, who also figures in the table of
sires, are the only ones to earn places in the records. Early in the
eighties George Wilkes began to assume high rank as a sire, May Bird,
Kentucky Wilkes, Prospect Maid, So So, Joe Bunker and others bringing
him into prominence. Every year added to his roll of honor and soon
he was among the leaders. Blue Bull had surpassed Hambletonian in the
number of trotters to his credit in the 2:30 list, but at the close of
1886 George Wilkes was even with the Indiana sire, in 1887 he passed
him, and for some seasons led all sires of 2:30 performers. George
Wilkes got seventy-two trotters and eleven pacers to acquire standard
records, of which the most noted were Harry Wilkes, 2:13½, Guy Wilkes,
2:15¼, and Wilson, 2:16¼; and ninety-four of his sons and eighty-one of
his daughters have produced, as shown in the table of Hambletonian’s
sons, 1801 standard performers. The following table embraces the sons
of George Wilkes that have twenty or more standard performers to their


                              Total No. produced in two generations.
         Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  ----------------------------------------------------+      |
                                 Producing daughters. |      |
  ----------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                Producing sons. |     |      |
  ----------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                     Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |     |     |     |      |
  Red Wilkes, 2:40           | 1874 | 127 |  62 |  41 |  267 |  394
  Onward, 2:25¼              | 1875 | 120 |  64 |  32 |  275 |  395
  Alcantara, 2:23            | 1876 |  98 |  29 |  15 |  115 |  213
  Bourbon Wilkes             | 1875 |  67 |  14 |  12 |   45 |  112
  Simmons, 2:28              | 1879 |  64 |  13 |   6 |   35 |   99
  Wilton, 2:19¼              | 1880 |  61 |   3 |   4 |    8 |   69
  Jay Bird, 2:31¾            | 1878 |  57 |  10 |  10 |   68 |  125
  Alcyone, 2:27              | 1877 |  55 |  27 |   9 |  117 |  172
  Guy Wilkes, 2:15¼          | 1879 |  52 |  10 |   5 |   49 |  101
  Ambassador, 2:21¼          | 1875 |  48 |   8 |   3 |   33 |   81
  Gambetta Wilkes, 2:26      | 1881 |  48 |  11 |   6 |   32 |   80
  Baron Wilkes, 2:18         | 1882 |  47 |   6 |   7 |   18 |   65
  Adrian Wilkes              | 1878 |  38 |   6 |   7 |   25 |   63
  Wilkes Boy, 2:24½          | 1880 |  37 |   2 |   3 |    8 |   45
  Young Jim                  | 1874 |  37 |  11 |  19 |   43 |   80
  Brown Wilkes, 2:21¾        | 1876 |  32 |   5 |   1 |   39 |   71
  Young Wilkes, 2:28¼        | 1868 |  29 |   6 |   3 |   12 |   41
  Favorite Wilkes, 2:24½     | 1877 |  23 |   7 |   6 |   21 |   44
  Woodford Wilkes            | 1882 |  23 |   1 |   4 |   12 |   35
  Wilkie Collins             | 1876 |  21 |   5 |   1 |   10 |   31
  Lumps, 2:21                | 1875 |  20 |   3 |  10 |   16 |   36
  The King, 2:29¼            | 1874 |  20 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   20
  Jersey Wilkes              | 1881 |  20 |  —— |   2 |    2 |   22

Among the other seventy-one producing sons of George Wilkes: that do
not come within the scope of this table are many most promising sires
of rapidly growing prominence, and indeed this family is branching out
wonderfully in every direction. This family is an emphatically improving
one. In extreme speed, in racing capacity, and in form the third Wilkes
generation is better than either the second or first. Of trotters, such
as Beuzetta, 2:06¾, Ralph Wilkes, 2:06¾, Hulda, 2:08½, Allerton, 2:09¼,
the once sensational Axtell, 2:12, and many others of the first rank
by sons of George Wilkes sustain this judgment. The pacing instinct is
rampant in the Wilkes blood, as is attested by the fact that twenty-five
per cent. of the performing get of George Wilkes’ sons are pacers,
and frequently pacers of extreme speed, including such as Joe Patchen,
2:03, and Rubenstein, 2:05, while John R. Gentry, 2:00½, Online, 2:04,
and Frank Agan, 2:03, are by grandsons of Wilkes. Like his sire, George
Wilkes got many sons greater than himself—and after all that is the true
test of greatness in a progenitor.

[Illustration: ELECTIONEER.

A Great Son of Hambletonian.]

ELECTIONEER has for some years led, far and away, all sires of trotters
in the numbers of performers to his credit in both the 2:20 list and
2:30 list, and is generally conceded to have had no equal as a producer
of early speed—that is, of colts and fillies that trotted fast at tender
ages. In many respects this was the most remarkable horse of any age,
for besides being phenomenally prolific in transmitting speed at the
trot, and in getting early trotters, he possessed in a higher degree than
any sire that has yet lived the ability to control running blood in the
dam, and to impress his own instinct and action upon his progeny out of
any and all kinds of mares. In speaking on his pet hobby of producing
trotters from thoroughbred running mares, Governor Stanford once said
to me: “None of my stallions but Electioneer can do it;” and of all the
hundreds of stallions that have been mated with thoroughbred mares in
the hope of getting a trotter of extreme speed, Electioneer alone was
able to do it. Palo Alto, 2:08¼, is so far faster than any other trotting
horse out of a thoroughbred dam—the one solitary instance on record of a
half-bred trotter of extreme speed—that he is significant in one way, and
one only, and that is as an evidence of the phenomenal prepotency of the
blood of his sire in controlling instinct and action.

Electioneer was a dark bay horse, foaled May 2, 1868, bred by Charles
Backman, at his Stonyford Stud, Orange County, New York. He was got by
Hambletonian, out of Green Mountain Maid, by Harry Clay, 2:29, grandam
the fast trotting mare Shanghai Mary, pedigree not established, but in
all probability a daughter of Iron’s Cadmus, the sire of the famous
old pacer and brood mare Pocahontas, 2:17½. (In Chapter XXIX., on the
investigation of pedigrees, the history of Shanghai Mary is fully given.)
Green Mountain Maid, the dam of Electioneer, has been called by Mr.
Backman, and with justice, “the great mother of trotters.” In all she
bore sixteen foals, fourteen of which were by the not remarkable horse
Messenger Duroc. Electioneer was her second foal and the only one by
Hambletonian. Of the other fifteen, nine have records of 2:30 and better,
another has a record of 2:31, another, Paul, was a very fast road
horse, and two died young. Of her four sons kept entire, Electioneer,
Mansfield, Antonio, and Lancelot, all are sires of trotters, and her
daughters already figure as producers. The figures would seem to point to
the daughter of Shanghai Mary and Harry Clay, 2:29, as perhaps the most
wonderful of all great trotting brood mares. She was a brown mare, barely
fifteen hands high, with a star and white hind ankles, and was finely
formed, with an exceptionally beautifully outlined and expressive head.
She had very superior trotting action, the trot being her fastest natural
gait. A writer who made a very close study of her history said, on this
point, in _Wallace’s Monthly_:

    “Her education was limited to a single lesson when three
    years old; but previously she had been regularly developed on
    somewhat the same plan since adopted for early training at
    Palo Alto, and was probably one of the fastest trotters out of
    harness that ever lived.”

As a matter of fact Green Mountain Maid, while in no sense vicious,
was so highly strung, wild and uncontrollable, that her training was
abandoned with the “one lesson” referred to, and she never wore harness

Green Mountain Maid was a money producer as well as a speed producer. Mr.
Backman paid four hundred and fifty dollars for her when she was carrying
her first foal, and the writer above quoted states that up to that date
(1889) Mr. Backman had received sixty-eight thousand eight hundred
and thirty dollars for such of her progeny as he had then sold. This
remarkable mare died June 6, 1888, and a fitting monument marks her grave
by the banks of the Walkill.

At maturity Electioneer was of that shade of bay that many might call
brown, and stood precisely fifteen and one-half hands at the wither
and an inch higher measured at the quarter. Many of his get, notably
Sunol, are pronouncedly higher behind than at the wither. In general
conformation, Electioneer was a stout and muscular horse, standing on
fairly short legs. His head was well proportioned, of fair size, and
a model of intelligent beauty. The forehead was broad and brainy, the
eyes large and softly expressive, and the profile regular, with just
the faintest suggestion of concavity beneath the line of the eyes.
Electioneer’s neck was a trifle too short for elegance of proportion,
but not gross. His shoulder was good, the barrel round, of good depth
and proportionate in length and well ribbed, and the coupling simply
faultless. The quarters were marvelous, and Mr. Marvin did not overstate
the case when he said they were the best he had ever seen on any
stallion. They were the very incarnation of driving power, and recalled
Herbert Kittredge’s portrait of Hambletonian, except that there was
nothing gross or meaty about the buttocks of Electioneer. They were the
perfection of muscular endowment and development. The arms and gaskins,
like the quarters, were full with muscle laid on muscle, and the legs and
feet were naturally excellent. In the last years of his life he went over
on his knees a bit, but that was not strange considering his age, and the
fact that he had seen considerable track work. Indeed as long as he was
at all vigorous he was daily exercised on the track, and in view of his
great success in the stud, this fact has a special significance.

As a three-year-old Electioneer was worked some on the Stonyford farm
track to wagon, and Mr. Backman, whose word is good enough authority for
all who know him, stated that he showed a quarter to wagon in thirty-nine
seconds in that year. Little else is known of his history at Stonyford.
He was bred to a few, very few mares, and was evidently not greatly
esteemed by Mr. Backman. In the autumn of 1876, ex-Governor Stanford, who
was just establishing his great breeding farm, Palo Alto, in the Santa
Clara Valley, California, visited Stonyford to purchase stock—principally
brood mares. The governor was a great believer in what I may call
horse-physiognomy, or to be more exact, he believed in the importance of
the right psychical organization, what we commonly call brain force, in
horses, and was attracted by the physical evidences thereof as indicated
in the head. Electioneer pleased him in this regard, and in his general
make-up, and when the governor’s purchase was completed Electioneer went
along, being put in at twelve thousand five hundred dollars. He with the
other Stonyford purchases arrived at Palo Alto Christmas Eve, 1876.

Though Electioneer never took a record, he was emphatically a developed
horse. I do not know whether he was ever driven a full mile or not—Mr.
Marvin never drove him one—but it has been stated that one of the other
trainers drove him a mile in time somewhere between 2:20 and 2:25.
However they may be, Mr. Marvin in his book settles the question as to
his having been a fast, trained trotter. He says:

    “Electioneer is the most natural trotter I have ever seen.
    He has free, abundant action; it is a perfect rolling action
    both in front and behind, and he has not the usual fault of
    the Hambletonians of going too wide behind. Certain writers
    have said that Electioneer could not trot, and have cited him
    as a stallion that was not a trotter yet got trotters.... I
    have driven, beside Electioneer, a quarter in thirty-five
    seconds.... He did this, too, hitched to a one hundred and
    twenty-five-pound wagon, with a two hundred and twenty-pound
    man, and not a professional driver, either, in the seat. In
    this rig he could carry Occident right up to his clip, and
    could always keep right with him; and it was no trick for
    the famous St. Clair gelding to go a quarter in thirty-four
    seconds. Without preparation you could take Electioneer out any
    day and drive him an eighth of a mile at a 2:20 gait. He always
    had his speed with him.... That Electioneer could have beaten
    2:20 if given a regular preparation is with me a conviction
    about which no doubt exists.”

Mr. Marvin is a conservative and reliable man; he knew whereof he wrote,
and his testimony must be accepted as conclusive both as to Electioneer’s
having been a naturally fast trotter, and as to his having had his speed
developed. Undeveloped horses do not trot quarters in thirty-five seconds.

When in 1880 Fred Crocker, one of the seven foals got by Electioneer in
his first year’s service in California, astonished the world by trotting
to a two-year-old record of 2:25¾, his sire became instantly famous, and
that fame has increased rapidly and steadily from that day to this. It
was not allowed for a moment to wane or lag. After Fred Crocker came an
ever-surprising procession of young record breakers. In 1881 Hinda Rose
made a yearling record of 2:36½, and Wildflower a two-year-old record
of 2:21. In 1883 Hinda Rose lowered the three-year-old record to 2:19½,
and Bonita the four-year-old record to 2:18¾. In 1886 Manzanita lowered
the four-year-old record to 2:16; in 1887 Norlaine, granddaughter of
Electioneer, lowered the yearling record to 2:31½; and in 1888 Sunol
put the two-year-old record at 2:18, and the year following took a
three-year-old record of 2:10½, the fastest to that date. Sunol captured
the four-year-old record in 1889, and the world’s record, 2:08¼, in 1891,
but what made this the brightest year in all the history of Palo Alto was
that Arion lowered the two-year-old record to 2:10¾—the most remarkable
of all trotting performances—Bell Bird the yearling record to 2:26¼,
and Palo Alto the stallion record to 2:08¾. Electioneer has now to his
credit one hundred and fifty-four standard performers, and in this and in
the 2:20 list he has a long lead over all other sires. He died at Palo
Alto, December 3, 1890, and I am informed that his skeleton has been
articulated and mounted for the museum of the Stanford University. The
following table gives the sons of Electioneer that up to the close of
1896 had ten or more standard performers to their credit:


                              Total No. produced in two generations.
         Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  ----------------------------------------------------+      |
                                 Producing daughters. |      |
  ----------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                Producing sons. |     |      |
  ----------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                     Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |     |     |     |      |
  Saint Bell, 2:24½          | 1882 |  47 |   1 |  —— |    1 |   48
  Sphinx, 2:20½              | 1883 |  43 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   43
  Chimes, 2:30¾              | 1884 |  32 |   3 |  —— |    3 |   35
  Anteeo, 2:16¼              | 1879 |  28 |   5 |   3 |   12 |   40
  Norval, 2:14¾              | 1882 |  24 |   1 |  —— |    1 |   25
  Egotist, 2:22½             | 1885 |  18 |   1 |  —— |    1 |   19
  Anteros                    | 1882 |  16 |  —— |   2 |    2 |   18
  Elector (2170), 2:31       | 1879 |  16 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   16
  Albert W., 2:20            | 1878 |  15 |   1 |  —— |    1 |   16
  Eros, 2:29¼                | 1879 |  14 |   3 |  —— |    4 |   18
  Antevolo, 2:19½            | 1881 |  13 |  —— |   1 |   11 |   14
  *Bell Boy, 2:19¼           | 1885 |  11 |   1 |  —— |    1 |   12
  Fallis, 2:23               | 1878 |  10 |   1 |  —— |    3 |   13
  Palo Alto, 2:08¾           | 1882 |  10 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   10

  * Died at 5 years old.

In considering this table it is necessary to remember that the
Electioneer family dates from 1878, and that no family of anything
approaching so late a date makes a showing that will bear comparison with
this. In considering the rank of families this question of age is always
vital. Electioneer’s first crop of foals at Palo Alto—1878—numbered
seven, and of these two are represented above, while another was the
famous gelding Fred Crocker. The next numbered but twenty-one, and of
these Eros, Elector, and Anteeo are in the table, and ten are in the
2:20 list. His third and fourth crops (1880 and 1881) numbered sixteen
and twenty-three respectively, and the forty of 1882 was the greatest
number he ever got in one year. I am informed that in all Electioneer
got less than four hundred foals at Palo Alto; and that, since the first
one saw light in 1878 this family should in eighteen years make the
showing it has with nearly fifty per cent. of its members in the 2:30
list, and four hundred and ninety-three of the second generation also
there, is certainly remarkable. Electioneer has to his credit in the
2:15 list the following trotters: Arion, 2:07¾, Sunol, 2:08¼, Palo Alto,
2:08¾, Helena, 2:12½, Belleflower, 2:12¾, Utility, 2:13, Quality, 2:13¼,
Conductor, 2:14¼, and Norval, 2:14¾, an “extreme speed list” greater
than to the credit of any other sire, while among the get of his sons
are such trotters as Azote, 2:04¾, Fantasy, 2:06, Little Albert, 2:10,
Lynne Bel, 2:10½, Copeland, 2:11½, Athanio, 2:11¾, Cobwebs, 2:12, etc.,
etc. Sixty-five of his sons have sired four hundred and thirty-seven
performers, and forty-three of his daughters have produced fifty-six
performers. With all these facts kept in view the study of the above
table will prove interesting and instructive in forming an estimate of
the merit of Electioneer as a trotting progenitor.

[Illustration: ABDALLAH (ALEXANDER’S).

A Great Son of Hambletonian.]

ALEXANDER’S ABDALLAH was the founder of one of the very greatest of the
Hambletonian sub-families, and he stands in the records as a progenitor
of the first rank. This was a stout bay horse, about fifteen and one-half
hands high. Excepting a right white ankle he was a rich solid bay. The
only reliable portrait in existence of this horse was a drawing by
Herbert Kittredge, made from a photograph taken of Abdallah after he went
to Kentucky. The picture of Abdallah published in this work is a faithful
reproduction of the Kittredge portrait published in _Wallace’s Monthly_
for March, 1881, and in the absence of any reliable detailed description
of the horse this portrait must be taken as the best reflection we now
have of his individuality. He was bred by Lewis J. Sutton, of Warwick,
Orange County, New York, and was foaled 1852. Mr. Sutton had in 1851
a good road mare that he had got at Carl Young’s roadhouse in Third
Avenue, New York. This mare, Katy Darling, had been quite a trotter,
and had, it was said, won a match race on Union Course. Her reputation
as a trotter and her fine form caused Mr. Sutton to buy her when, as he
describes it, “she was standing on three legs,” in the hope of getting a
foal from her. He took her home in March, 1851, and in August bred her
to Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, then a two-year-old colt, and September 22,
1852, she produced the subject of this sketch. Two years later Mr. Sutton
sold Katy Darling to James W. Benedict, of Warwick, from whom she was
purchased by Hezekiah Hoyt, who took her to Muscatine, Iowa, where she
produced a chestnut colt that was gelded, by Hector, son of La Tourrett’s
Bellfounder. This gelding was her only foal other than Alexander’s
Abdallah, and Katy Darling died at Muscatine, the property of a Mr.
Stewart. A search was long kept up for the pedigree of this mare, and for
the full details of what is known of her history the reader is referred
to the different volumes of _Wallace’s Monthly_. The conclusion from all
the evidence found is that she was probably by a son of Andrew Jackson.

As a foal by his dam’s side Alexander’s Abdallah attracted much favorable
attention by his fine trotting action, and his persistency in cavorting
around at that gait. Among those who took great delight in watching the
little fellow trot was Mr. Hezekiah Hoyt, and when the youngster was
seventeen months old Mr. Hoyt, acting for, or in partnership with, Major
Edsall, bought the colt for five hundred dollars, a fine price at that
time. Major Edsall kept him until he was seven years old, and I am under
the impression that he won some local races during that time, when he
was known as Edsall’s Hambletonian. He was accorded a fairly liberal
patronage in Orange County, and his progeny showed so well that Major
Edsall sold him for three thousand dollars in 1859 to Joel F. Love and
James Miller, of Cynthiana, Kentucky. The Hambletonian family was just
then becoming popular, and the price paid indicates that this horse was
already regarded by good judges as one of Hambletonian’s best sons.
That he was regarded, moreover, as quite a trotter is indicated by the
fact that at the close of his second season in Kentucky—1860—Mr. Miller
matched him against Albion, a competing stallion, for two hundred and
fifty dollars a side. The affair caused quite a sensation at the time,
the Cynthiana horsemen going in crowds to Lexington to back Abdallah.
The latter was driven by “Jim” Monroe, and Albion by Warren Peabody,
and Abdallah won in the hollowest fashion, distancing Albion in 2:46.
As youngsters Abdallah’s first progeny in Kentucky showed very well,
and in the spring of 1863 he was purchased by R. A. Alexander, and made
the seasons of 1863 and 1864 at Woodburn. On the evening of February 2,
1865, Marion’s band of Confederate guerrillas raided Woodburn and took
away a number of horses, among them Alexander’s Abdallah and the then
famous young trotter, Bay Chief, by Mambrino Chief. Marion mounted Bay
Chief and, crossing the Kentucky River, the band encamped on the farm of
a Mr. Bush, in a rough, hilly region, twelve miles from Woodburn. Here
the next morning the Federal cavalry, that were sent in pursuit after
the raid, came up with the raiders, and after a sharp fight routed them.
Marion, on Bay Chief, was a conspicuous mark for Federal bullets during
the skirmish. Early in the fray Bay Chief was shot through the muzzle,
through both thighs, and one hock. In this condition he carried his rider
two miles in the retreat, when the horse was so weakened by loss of blood
that a Federal cavalryman overtook them. His piece being empty, the
soldier aimed a blow at Marion, but missing him, lost his balance, and
fell from his horse. The guerrilla leader quickly saw his opportunity,
jumped from Bay Chief, mounted the soldier’s horse, and escaped. Bay
Chief died about ten days later, despite all efforts made to save him.
Meanwhile, Alexander’s Abdallah had been found, safe and sound, by a
Federal soldier in Mr. Bush’s stable. The soldier refused to give him up
to Mr. Alexander’s men, and declared he would send him North and keep him
until he got a large reward for his return. The horse was barefooted and
in no condition for hard usage. And so they rode him off, and after going
some forty or fifty miles he gave out, and they turned him loose on the
road. He was found next day in a pitiable condition by the roadside, and
brought back as far as Lawrenceburg on his way home, where he was taken
with pneumonia and died a few days later.

Just how great a loss this was to the trotting breed was not realized
until long after—until in fact Goldsmith Maid had conquered all before
her, and made a record as a campaigner never equaled, and until his two
great sons, Almont and Belmont, rose to pre-eminent places in the list of
great sires. Other sons of this remarkable progenitor have taken rank as
sires, and his daughters proved of the highest excellence as brood mares;
but Almont and Belmont have each established such large, important, and
popular sub-families that this work would be incomplete without some
brief sketch of each.

Alexander’s Abdallah got Goldsmith Maid, 2:14, Rosalind, 2:21⅔,
Thorndale, 2:22¼, Major Edsall, 2:29, and St. Elmo, 2:30. Fourteen of
his sons have produced one hundred and fifty-five standard performers,
and twenty-nine of his daughters have produced forty-four standard
performers, among them being the noted campaigners, Favonia, 2:15, and
Jerome Eddy, 2:16⅔, the latter also a successful sire. The following
table gives the families of his most prominent sons:


                                    Total No. produced in two generations.
                Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  -----------------------------------------------------------+      |
                                        Producing daughters. |      |
  -----------------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                       Producing sons. |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                            Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                                Year died. |     |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |      |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |      |     |     |     |      |
  Almont, 2:39¾              | 1864 | 1884 |  37 |  95 |  72 |  609 |  646
  Belmont                    | 1864 | 1889 |  58 |  63 |  48 |  560 |  618
  Hambletonian (Wood’s)      | 1858 | 1885 |  24 |  12 |  13 |   49 |   73
  Major Edsall, 2:29         | 1859 | 1886 |   3 |   6 |   3 |   87 |   90
  Thorndale, 2:22¼           | 1865 | 1894 |  10 |   8 |  14 |   47 |   57
  Jim Munro                  | 1861 | 1882 |   8 |   5 |  17 |   38 |   46
  Abdallah Pilot             | 1865 | 1881 |   3 |   1 |   1 |   17 |   20

ALMONT was bred at Woodburn Farm, was foaled 1864, and was by Alexander’s
Abdallah out of Sally Anderson, by Mambrino Chief; grandam Kate, a
wonderfully fast pacer by Pilot Jr. Colonel R. P. Pepper informed me
that he knew Kate as well as any of his own horses, and that her speed
at the pace was “simply terrific.” Kate, whose dam was called the
Pope mare, pedigree unknown, had several foals, among them the “catch
filly” that was the dam of Clay Pilot, sire of The Moor, that got the
great brood mare Beautiful Bells, 2:29½, and Sultan, 2:24, the sire of
the world-famous Stamboul, 2:07½. Thus the blood of this pacing Pilot
Jr. mare figures in three great sub-families, the Almont family, the
Beautiful Bells family, and the Sultan family. Almont was a beautiful
cherry bay, very rich in shade, and without any white whatever. He
was fifteen hands two and one-quarter inches high at the wither,
somewhat higher behind, and stoutly and symmetrically made all over.
He could not be called a handsome or highly finished horse, but he was
emphatically a well-made one. He had very excellent feet and legs,
and these he reproduced with great uniformity, as well as his very
intelligent and even disposition. He was trained early at Woodburn,
and, like his sire, started but once and distanced his competitor in
2:39¾, this being in his four-year-old form. He soon after showed 2:32
over the slow Woodburn track, and was sold to the late Colonel Richard
West for eight thousand dollars and put in the stud. In 1874 the late
General W. T. Withers, Lexington, Kentucky, bought him for fifteen
thousand dollars, and a half dozen of years later he was very generally
regarded as the greatest of living sires, and his prestige made the
name of Fairlawn Farm of world-wide renown, and made his owner rich.
The fact that ninety-five of his sons have sired standard performers,
a greater number of producing sons than is to the credit of any other
horse, Hambletonian alone excepted, indicates the high rank Almont must
be accorded as a progenitor. In considering his success it is well for
breeders particularly to note that good judges considered Almont capable
of showing a 2:20 gait any day, and that, like Electioneer, he always was
daily given regular and ample track exercise. His gait has been described
as bold and open, without an excess of knee action, but with immense
display of power behind. Almont died of spasmodic colic, July 4, 1884, in
the fullness of his fame, and at an age when, had he been more discreetly
used in the stud, he should have been at his prime as a stock horse.

Almont was hardly a sensational horse in his day, the performance of
Westmont at Chicago in 1884, when he paced a mile with running mate
in 2:01¾, being the one sensational performance to the credit of his
progeny. This lightning streak of pacing speed that so often crops
out in the Almont family can be readily accounted for by the student
of breeding. As has been noted, his grandam Kate, by Pilot Jr., was a
phenomenally fast pacer, and, as we have indicated, her blood proved
potent in more than one line. In addition to this there was a strong
tendency to pace among the progeny of Alexander’s Abdallah. St. Elmo
was first shown at fairs in Kentucky under saddle and as a pacer, and
many others of Abdallah’s get were known to naturally pace. When we
reflect that in Almont this Alexander’s Abdallah blood with its pacing
predilection was united with the blood of the old lightning pacer, Kate,
we need not be surprised at the great number of fast pacers that came
from Almont and his sons. Belmont, too, has shown a tendency to get the
pacing gait with great frequency, but not in such frequency or at such
high rates as his son Nutwood. As there could not be traced any known
pacing blood in Belmont’s dam, and as the fact that Alexander’s Abdallah
transmitted an inclination to pace has been generally not known or
ignored, some writers have been unable to understand why the Belmonts
paced. He got pacers because he inherited that capacity from his sire,
and Nutwood got more and faster pacers than Belmont, because in him the
pacing inclination inherited from Alexander’s Abdallah was reinforced by
the strong pacing inheritance of his dam, Miss Russell, the granddaughter
of Old Pacing Pilot.

As shown in the table of Alexander’s Abdallah’s sons, Almont got
thirty-seven standard performers, ninety-five of his sons sired five
hundred and three standard performers, and seventy-two of his daughters
produced one hundred and six standard performers. His most successful
sons are embraced in the following table:


                             Performers produced in two generations.
         Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  ----------------------------------------------------+      |
                                 Producing daughters. |      |
  ----------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                Producing sons. |     |      |
  ----------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                     Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |     |     |     |      |
  Almont Jr. (1829), 2:26    | 1872 |  44 |   7 |  20 |   39 |   83
  Altamont, 2:26¾            | 1875 |  39 |   7 |   1 |   10 |   49
  Atlantic, 2:21             | 1878 |  24 |   6 |  12 |   22 |   46
  Piedmont, 2:17¼            | 1871 |  19 |   3 |   8 |   18 |   37
  Almont Jr. (1764), 2:29    | 1871 |  19 |  11 |  11 |   51 |   70
  King Almont, 2:21¼         | 1874 |  14 |  —— |   1 |    1 |   15
  Pasacas, 2:43              | 1870 |  14 |   4 |   6 |   13 |   27
  Almonarch, 2:24¾           | 1875 |  13 |   2 |   3 |    7 |   20
  Allie Gaines               | 1875 |  12 |   5 |   8 |   17 |   29
  Harbinger                  | 1879 |  10 |   1 |   2 |    3 |   13
  *Allie West, 2:25          | 1870 |   7 |   4 |  10 |   24 |   31
  Abdallah Mambrino          | 1870 |  13 |   1 |  11 |   24 |   37

  * Died at 6 years old.

This line is justly regarded with growing favor as one of our very
best and most productive sub-families, and one that is breeding on
excellently, generation after generation.

BELMONT was a bay horse of very superior form and finish, bred at
Woodburn Farm, and foaled there in 1864. He was by Alexander’s Abdallah,
out of Belle (that also produced McCurdy’s Hambletonian, 2:26½, and
Bicara, the dam of Pancoast, 2:21¾) by Mambrino Chief; grandam Belle
Lupe, by Brown’s Bellfounder. Belmont and Almont were of the same age,
and, perhaps because of his finer appearance, Belmont seems to have been
the preferred one at Woodburn, and was retained while Almont was sold.
Though Belmont was a successful horse and established a great family, no
thinking man can contend that he was the equal of Almont as a sire, when
all the circumstances are considered. Almont spent almost his entire stud
career at Fairlawn, where there never were five mares worthy in blood
to be in a great trotting stud, where there were scores of mares of all
kinds of poor and freakish pedigrees, even to “Arabs,” and where none of
the stock was ever trained. Belmont, on the other hand, was all his life
at the head of the most famous, and, in his younger years, unquestionably
the best collection of trotting brood mares in the world, and where a
training department was always maintained. Remembering these conditions,
and contemplating the statistics of the two families, it is interesting
to speculate as to how the records would stand had Belmont been at
Fairlawn, and Almont at Woodburn.


                             Performers produced in two generations.
         Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  ----------------------------------------------------+      |
                                 Producing daughters. |      |
  ----------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                Producing sons. |     |      |
  ----------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                     Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |     |     |     |      |
  Nutwood, 2:18¾             | 1870 | 136 |  90 |  69 |  432 |  568
  King Rene, 2:30½           | 1875 |  35 |  17 |  16 |   55 |   90
  Egmont                     | 1873 |  34 |  13 |  11 |   38 |   72
  Wedgewood, 2:19            | 1871 |  31 |  12 |   9 |   60 |   91
  Vatican, 2:29¼             | 1879 |  14 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   14
  Warlock                    | 1880 |  12 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   12
  Monaco                     | 1878 |  11 |   1 |   4 |    7 |   18
  Waterloo, 2:19¼            | 1882 |  10 |  —— |   1 |    1 |   11
  Meander, 2:26½             | 1879 |  10 |   3 |   1 |    7 |   17
  Mambritonian, 2:20½        | 1883 |  10 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   10
  Herschell                  | 1883 |  10 |  —— |  —— |   —— |   10

Belmont, besides having the advantage of excellent individuality was also
a trotter of no mean speed. He was driven a mile over the working track
at Woodburn in 2:28½, and was, therefore, a quite well-developed trotter.
He never appeared in public, and has, therefore, no public history.
The most successful of his sons has been Nutwood, whose dam was Miss
Russell, the dam of Maud S. This horse was himself a fast trotter in his
day, taking a record of 2:18¾, and rose to great popularity and success
in the stud. Daughters of Belmont, being nearly all out of producing
mares, are greatly and justly esteemed as brood mares. Belmont died at
Woodburn November 15, 1889. Belmont got fifty-eight standard performers,
sixty-three of his sons sired four hundred and eighty-nine standard
performers, and forty-eight of his daughters produced seventy-one
standard performers. The rank of his best sons is shown on the preceding
page; all having ten or more in the list of standard performers being
included in the table.

VOLUNTEER stands pre-eminent among trotting sires as the one horse
against not one of whose get the epithet “quitter” was, as far as I am
aware, ever hurled. He did not get speed with remarkable uniformity, nor
did his progeny develop speed early or rapidly. They required persistent
training, but when speed was developed in a Volunteer you had with
it every other quality of a resolute, enduring race horse. They were
hardy, rugged, good-limbed horses, and uniformly possessed stamina and
resolution in the highest degree. Volunteer had the advantage of being
owned by Alden Goldsmith, an ambitious and experienced horseman, and the
father of two of the most successful trainers of our day. The Volunteers
had, therefore, every advantage that training could give, and his rise to
fame was largely due to Mr. Goldsmith’s constantly developing and racing
his progeny.

In 1853 Mr. Joseph Hetzel, Florida, Orange County, New York, bred the
bay mare Lady Patriot to Hambletonian, 10, and Volunteer was foaled
May 1, 1854. This mare, Lady Patriot, was by a horse called Young
Patriot, and out of Mr. Lewis Hulse’s trotting mare, and that is all
that is known of her pedigree. Her sire’s pedigree is wholly unknown.
She produced a numerous family, among them being Sentinel, 2:29¾, and
Green’s Hambletonian, brothers of Volunteer, and of some rank as sires,
and Marksman, by Thorndale, that is also in the table of sires, while her
daughter Heroine, sister to Volunteer, produced Shawmut, 2:26.

Volunteer was a bay horse, with a little white around the left hind
coronet, fifteen hands three inches at the wither, and sixteen hands
measured at the coupling. He has been considered by many good judges to
have been the handsomest of all the sons of Hambletonian. He was a horse
of superb form and of great elegance of carriage. With sufficient of
muscle and substance, he was built on graceful, finished lines, with a
beautiful head loftily carried, a long and graceful neck, a body stout
but finely molded, and all set off by a handsome mane and tail. His feet
and legs were of superb quality, and despite his great age they were, it
is said, without fault or blemish to the last. His temper and disposition
were good, though he was very high-spirited, and in harness he was
especially attractive. As a four-year-old Volunteer was sold to Mr. R.
C. Underhill, of Brooklyn, after he had won a premium at the Orange
County fair. In April, 1861, Mr. Underhill sent him to Tim T. Jackson,
of Jamaica, Long Island, and in _Wallace’s Monthly_ for December, 1880,
Mr. Jackson gave his experiences with Volunteer, making among others this
specific statement:

    “I had him at Union Course one day, and met Mr. Alfred M.
    Tredwell there, and I got him to hold that watch on him. Had
    him in quite a heavy single-seated wagon, weighing probably one
    hundred and twenty-five or one hundred and thirty pounds. On
    the first trial he trotted in 2:33. I said to Mr. Tredwell that
    he could beat that, and he trotted the next mile in 2:31¼.”

He had previously been trained by William Whelan, at Union Course.
It was June 26, 1862, while he was in Jackson’s hands, that Alden
Goldsmith, in partnership with Edwin Thorne, purchased this horse,
then called Hambletonian Jr., and he soon afterward became the sole
property of Mr. Goldsmith. Mr. Rysdyk greatly resented his having been
called Hambletonian Jr., and early regarded him as a possible rival of
Hambletonian, and there was war from the start between the adherents
of sire and son. The Civil War was just then at its height, and the
patriotic and military spirit rampant, and Mr. Goldsmith aptly named
his horse Volunteer. Mr. H. T. Helm, who wrote a very detailed history
of Volunteer twenty years ago, credits him with having trotted in 2:36
to wagon at the Goshen Fair in the fall of 1862, beating Winfield, Grey
Confidence and others. At Hartford, Connecticut, in August, 1867, he beat
George M. Patchen Jr., in a single dash in 2:37. He was, like nearly all
the other great sires, a developed trotter.

It is said that his early stud opportunities were so limited that at ten
years old he had but eighteen living foals. The first of his get entered
the 2:30 list in 1871, but from that time on his list rapidly grew, and
the great campaigners Gloster, Alley, Driver, Bodine, Huntress, the great
three-miler, and finally St. Julien, 2:11¼, then the fastest trotter in
the world, so spread the fame of Volunteer that when his sire died in
1876 he was regarded as the greatest living sire of trotters. In 1882
Mr. R. S. Veech, probably the most intelligent breeder in all Kentucky,
while on a visit to New York, telegraphed Mr. Goldsmith to know whether
it was worth while for him to visit Walnut Grove, with a view to buying
Volunteer, and Mr. Goldsmith’s answer reveals the regard in which he held
his horse. The pith of his admirably written letter was in this paragraph:

    “While there is no person that would be more welcome at the
    farm than yourself, if the only object of your visit would
    be the purchase of Volunteer, then your trip would not be a
    profitable or successful one, as no breeder in Kentucky has
    money enough to buy him.... I have as high a regard for money
    as the most of men for the uses it may subserve, but there are
    certain things which money cannot buy, as the Teacher of old
    taught Simon the Samaritan.”

And so Volunteer remained at Walnut Grove, and “lagged superfluous on the
stage” long after his owner had passed away, and died December 13, 1888,
at the extraordinary age of thirty-four years, seven months and twelve

Volunteer sired thirty-four standard performers, and forty of his sons
and forty-eight of his daughters produced an aggregate of two hundred
and twenty-one standard performers. The most successful of his sons
is the Michigan sire, Louis Napoleon, that was out of the Harry Clay
mare, Hattie Wood, dam also of Victor Bismarck and Gazelle, 2:21. Louis
Napoleon has twenty-seven in the standard list, and fourteen of his sons
and twenty-two of his daughters are producers, his best son being Jerome
Eddy, 2:16½, sire of Fanny Wilcox, 2:10¼, and twenty-seven other standard

DICTATOR very early in his career attracted attention as the full brother
to the famous Dexter, who was his senior by five years, and who was
king of the trotting turf, and the most famous trotter in all the world
just at the time when Dictator was merging from colthood to maturity.
Dictator had thus from the very start the advantage of splendid stud
opportunities. He was bred by Jonathan Hawkins, of Walden, Orange County,
New York, and was foaled in 1863. He was got by Hambletonian out of the
famous Clara, the dam of Dexter, 2:17¼, Alma, 2:28¾, Astoria, 2:29½,
etc., by Seely’s American Star; grandam the McKinstry mare, breeding
unknown, but that produced Shark with a saddle record of 2:27¾. Dictator
was a seal-brown horse with a white rear ankle, and stood scant fifteen
hands and one inch. He was made on a small but a fine model, and was,
all in all, a handsome little horse, and most of his get partook of
his fine quality of structure, though many were unsound. Shortly after
Dexter made his _début_ on the turf, Dictator was bought by Mr. Harrison
Durkee, a wealthy New York gentleman who had an extensive stock farm at
Flushing, Long Island. The colt was then but eleven months old and was
left at the Hawkins farm until two years old. Then he was sent to Mr.
Alden Goldsmith’s place, at Washingtonville, to be broken, after which
he was taken to Mr. Durkee’s farm. The colt was very fast, but the fame
of Dexter was already wide, and, no great importance being attached to
development of stallions in that day, he was considered of more value
for breeding than for racing. He was worked considerably at Mr. Durkee’s
farm, and Colonel John W. Conley and H. C. Woodnut, who at different
times had charge of him, have both declared that they knew him to be
one of the fastest trotters of his day. In 1874 Colonel Richard West
sold Almont to General Withers, and to fill his place leased Dictator in
the autumn of 1875, and he made the seasons of 1876 and 1877 at Colonel
West’s Edgehill farm, Georgetown, Kentucky. Standing at a higher fee
than Almont or George Wilkes, he attracted little outside patronage, and
he was returned to Long Island. It has been stated that when at Colonel
West’s, George Brasfield drove Dictator quarters as fast as thirty-four
and one-half seconds. After his return to Flushing he sank from public
notice until the appearance of Director as a great three-year-old in
1880. Then a couple of years later came the phenomenal Jay-Eye-See, and
close after him Phallas, and with these three great trotters on the turf
at once “the sire of Jay-Eye-See, 2:10, Phallas, 2:13¾, and Director,
2:17,” came again prominently before the public. In 1883 he was purchased
by Major H. C. McDowell, and Messrs. David Bonner and A. A. Bonner, for a
price that was said to have been twenty-five thousand dollars, and taken
to Ashland farm at Lexington. Eventually he became the sole property of
Major McDowell, and died May 25, 1893.

Dictator did not get speed uniformly. He was what might be called a
sporadic sire, but those of his get that raced at all raced well. By
far his best son as a producer is Director, 2:17, that was out of Dolly
by Mambrino Chief, and is the sire of sixteen trotters and pacers with
records in the 2:20 list, including the champion trotting stallion
Directum, 2:05¼, and the one-time champion pacing stallion, Direct, who
after being practically crippled in trotting to a four-year-old record of
2:18¼, carrying great weights to keep him at that gait, was allowed to go
at his natural gait and paced in 2:05½, and is already a very successful
sire. Phallas, 2:13¾, of whom high hopes were entertained, and who had
great opportunities, proved practically a failure in the stud, though his
son Phallamont, out of an Almont mare, ranks with Direct as the best of
Dictator’s grandsons. Dictator got fifty standard performers, forty-four
of his sons have produced one hundred and seventy-three standard
performers, and forty-two of his daughters have produced sixty-one
standard performers.

HAROLD became very famous when Maud S. became queen of the turf with
the then marvelous record of 2:08¾, a record that stood unequaled from
1885 till 1891. This horse was bred by Charles S. Dole, Crystal Lake,
Illinois, by whom he was sold, in an exchange of horses, to Woodburn
Farm, when he was a yearling. He was foaled in 1864, and his dam was
Enchantress (the dam also of Black Maria and of Lakeland Abdallah), by
Abdallah. It was long claimed that this mare’s dam was a daughter of
imported Bellfounder, but investigation exploded this claim. Harold was
a bay horse, without marks, just fifteen hands high, stoutly made but
very homely of form. He had a finely made head, but otherwise he was
exceedingly plain, and when Maud S. came out the late Benjamin Bruce,
in the _Kentucky Live Stock Record_, expressed wonder that “that little
bench-legged stud” could have gotten such a mare. Harold’s full brother,
Lakeland Abdallah, was far superior to him individually, but ranks
with Hetzel’s Hambletonian, the brother to Volunteer, and Kearsarge,
by Volunteer out of Dexter’s dams, in the fore front of the well-bred
failures in trotting history. Largely from his individuality Harold was
never, even when Maud S. was in the heyday of her renown, a popular
horse, and the figures given by the Woodburn management say that in his
entire career he was bred to but five hundred and ninety-four mares, or
an average of about twenty-five for each of his twenty-three seasons.
With the exception of Maud S., Harold got nothing of the first class,
but in the second generation the family holds better rank in respect
to extreme speed production. Beuzetta, 2:06¾, Early Bird, 2:10, The
Conqueror, 2:13, and the great three-year-old Impetuous, 2:13, are out
of daughters of Harold, while Kremlin, 2:07¾, Io, 2:13½, Rizpah, 2:13½,
Russellmont, 2:12¾, and the great pacer Robert J., 2:01½, are among the
produce of his sons, and the present queen of the trotting turf, Alix,
2:03¾, is out of a daughter of Attorney, by Harold. Harold died at
Woodburn, October 6, 1893. This horse never trotted in public, but he was
worked some for speed at Woodburn. As a six-year-old he is said to have
trotted the farm track in 2:40½, in which mile it is stated he “grabbed
a quarter” and was not worked again. He is the sire of forty-four
standard performers, forty-three of his sons have produced one hundred
and eighty-one standard performers, and forty-five of his daughters have
produced sixty-seven standard performers.

HAPPY MEDIUM was bred by R. P. Galloway, of Sufferen, New York, and was
foaled 1863. He was by Hambletonian, out of the famous old campaigner
Princess, 2:30, that trotted ten miles in 29:10¾ and two miles in 5:02,
and was the great rival of Flora Temple, 2:19¾. Princess was a bay mare,
foaled 1846, by Andrus’ Hambletonian, son of Judson’s Hambletonian,
that was by Bishop’s Hambletonian, son of imported Messenger; and her
dam was the Wilcox mare, by Burdick’s Engineer, son of Engineer, by
imported Messenger. She campaigned from ocean to ocean, and her career
is perhaps the most remarkable of the earlier trotting days. When young
she was mixed gaited, alternately pacing and trotting, and was put to
work hauling logs. Then her owner traded her for a second-hand wagon, and
finally she reached the hands of D. M. Gage, of Chicago. He put her into
training, and she trotted some indifferent races as Topsy, was sold, and
taken across the plains to California. Here in 1858 she beat New York,
taking her record of 2:30. Then she fell into the hands of the notorious
“Jim” Eoff, and the next year was matched against the then crack trotter
of California, Glencoe Chief, at ten miles to wagon. These were golden
days on the coast, and this race was for the enormous stake of thirty-six
thousand five hundred dollars. Princess won easily in 29:10¾, but the
Glencoe Chief party being dissatisfied, another race was trotted the
next day at the same distance for five thousand dollars, Princess again
winning. There was after this nothing on the coast to race with Princess,
and Eoff brought her to New York to try conclusions with Flora Temple.
Her first race with Flora was at three-mile heats at Eclipse Course,
Long Island, Flora winning, but at two-mile heats a week later Princess
won in 5:02, 5:05. In their subsequent races Flora turned the tables,
though in a stubborn contest at two-mile heats Princess forced the then
queen of the turf to make the long unbeaten record of 4:50½. She was then
retired from the turf, and after passing through several hands became the
property of R. F. Galloway, who in 1862 bred her to Hambletonian.

[Illustration: NANCY HANKS.

By Happy Medium, record 2:04.]

Happy Medium was a bay horse, with star, snip, and two white rear ankles,
fifteen hands two inches in height, and was a shapely, attractive horse,
with excellent legs and feet. Some critics have found fault that he was
light barreled, and perhaps with some degree of reason, but as a whole he
was structurally much above the average of his time. As a four-year-old
he started at the Goshen Fair and won, taking a record of 2:54, which he
lowered to 2:51 in 1868. The next year, 1869, at Paterson, New Jersey,
he distanced Guy Miller and Honesty in 2:34½, 2:32½, and these three
performances, all winning ones, comprise his entire turf career. He was
in 1871 purchased at a very large price—said to have been twenty-five
thousand dollars—by Mr. Robert Steel, who placed him at the head of
his Cedar Park Farm, at Philadelphia. In 1879 he was purchased by the
late General W. T. Withers, and taken to his Fairlawn Farm, Lexington,
Kentucky, where he remained until he died, January 25, 1888, at which
time he had more 2:30 performers to his credit than any horse then
living. The Happy Mediums developed speed easily and quickly, and were
remarkable for the purity of their gait. The most famous of his get is
the mare Nancy Hanks, that lowered the world’s record to 2:04 in 1892.
The mares bred to Happy Medium never were as a whole of good breeding,
and in his early stud career they were largely of inferior blood and
quality. His fame has steadily grown, and with ninety-two standard
performers to his credit, and his sons and daughters breeding on, the
blood of Happy Medium is justly held in very high esteem as a positive
speed-producing element. Fifty-one of his sons have produced two hundred
and thirteen, and forty-seven of his daughters have produced fifty-nine
standard performers.

JAY GOULD was one of the most famous of all the sons of Hambletonian on
the turf and the sensational trotting stallion of his day, and he now,
in turn, takes a high place among producing sons of the great father
of trotters. This horse was bred by the late Richard Sears, of Orange
County, New York, was foaled 1864, and was got by Hambletonian, out of
Lady Sanford, by Seely’s American Star; grandam Old Sorrel, by Exton
Eclipse; third dam by Lawrence’s Messenger Duroc, etc. At maturity Jay
Gould was a handsome, blood-like horse, fifteen and one-half hands high,
and a rich bay in color, with white hind ankles. With his dam he was
sold while at her side to Charles H. Kerner, of New York, who soon after
traded them to John Minchin, of Goshen, for the then well-known trotter
Drift, Mr. Kerner also paying a fair sum in cash. Later the colt came
into the hands of A. C. Green, of Fall River, and was by him named Judge
Brigham. It is said that Mr. Green first learned that Judge Brigham was
a fast trotter through his taking fright at a train one day in 1870 and
running away with him at a trot. Whatever the facts as to this are, it
was soon known that Mr. Green had a very fast trotter, and the next
season (1871) he started for a five-thousand-dollar purse at Buffalo,
among the other starters being the already famous Judge Fullerton. To
the general astonishment, Judge Brigham “cut loose” in the second heat,
winning it in 2:22, thus equaling the stallion record then held by George
Wilkes, and placing to his credit the fastest heat ever up to that time
trotted by a horse in his maiden race. He won the race handily, and was
the sensation of the time. He was at once purchased for, I believe, the
great price of thirty-five thousand dollars by the late world-famous
financier, Jay Gould, H. N. Smith, and George C. Hall. Later Mr. Smith
acquired Mr. Hall’s interest, and Mr. Kerner bought Mr. Gould’s, and
finally, some years after, Mr. Smith, who had established Fashion Stud
Farm, at Trenton, New Jersey, and owned the noted mares Goldsmith Maid,
2:14, Lady Thorn, 2:18¼, and Lucy, 2:18¼, became sole owner of Jay Gould,
as Judge Brigham was renamed.

The week following his Buffalo race Jay Gould defeated another strong
field at Kalamazoo, Michigan; and in 1872 started four times, winning in
all his races, lowering his record to 2:21¼, the then champion stallion
record. He was kept in the stud in 1873, but being challenged on behalf
of Bashaw Jr., the following year, was given a hurried fall preparation,
and met his challenger at Baltimore. Bashaw Jr., broke down in the
first heat, and Gould of course won an empty victory, but to satisfy
the audience was driven a public trial in 2:19½. Meanwhile Smuggler had
lowered the stallion record to 2:20, and Jay Gould was sent against it
at Boston, trotting under unfavorable circumstances in 2:20½ and 2:21½.
This practically closed his turf career. He made a number of seasons at
Fashion Farm, and in his later years at Walnut Hill Farm, near Lexington,
Kentucky, and died of old age June 10, 1894. Jay Gould’s opportunities
were never of the best. In his earlier years in the stud General Knox
was more used at Fashion Farm than Jay Gould, and there was no training
done at Fashion until 1886. Jay Gould is the sire of twenty-nine standard
performers, the most noted of which is the great mare Pixley, 2:08¼.
Fourteen of his sons have produced thirty standard performers, and
twenty-eight of his daughters have produced forty-six performers, among
the latter being the great pacer, Robert J., 2:01½, and such trotters as
Poem, 2:11½, Colonel Kuser, 2:11¼, Mahogany, 2:12¼, Edgardo, 2:13¾, etc.
His most noted producing daughter is Lucia, whose dam was the famous old
trotting mare Lucy, 2:18¼, by George M. Patchen, 2:23½. Lucia is the dam
of Edgardo, 2:13¾, Hurly Burly, 2:16¼, and several others in the 2:30
list, and her blood is breeding on through both her sons and daughters.

STRATHMORE, taking all things into consideration, must be rated among
the very greatest sons of Hambletonian. He was a solid bay horse, of the
substantial Hambletonian type, foaled 1866, bred by Aristides Welch at
his Chestnut Hill farm, near Philadelphia, and was got by Hambletonian
out of the quite famous trotting mare Lady Waltermire, by North American,
and Lady Waltermire’s dam was said to have been by Harris’ Hambletonian.
This North American sired Whitehall, that got the famous trotter Rhode
Island, sire of the still more celebrated Governor Sprague, and in
the section treating of the latter the reader will find particulars
concerning North American. Lady Waltermire was a noted trotting mare in
her day, and it has been claimed that she performed faster than 2:30, but
I have never been able to substantiate this claim. When Strathmore was
a three-year-old, in 1869, I visited Chestnut Hill. Mr. Welch then had
three sons of Hambletonian, viz., William Welch, Rysdyk, and Strathmore,
who was then called Goodwin Watson. The two former were led out to be
shown, but when I inquired for Goodwin Watson, Mr. Welch’s reply was “Oh,
he’s a pacer”—except that he used an adjective in connection with “pacer”
that added emphasis, and betrayed some degree of regret, or indeed
disgust. The fact that several of Strathmore’s sons have gotten many
fast pacers need not be marveled at. I am not aware that Strathmore was
ever trained, and probably his pacing inclination furnishes the reason.
When he was seven years old he was purchased by Colonel R. G. Stoner,
of Paris, Kentucky, and named Strathmore, and up to this time, Colonel
Stoner states, he had but three foals, one of which was afterward known
as Chestnut Hill, 2:22½, the first of his get to earn a reputation. His
first two seasons were made in Montgomery County, after which he was
taken to Paris, in Bourbon County. Colonel Stoner states in one of his
catalogues that Strathmore’s early opportunities in Kentucky were very
inferior; that in 1877 and 1878 the service fees earned would not pay for
his keep; that up to 1879 he never served a mare with a record or the dam
of an animal with a record, and that it was not until Steinway trotted in
1878 as a two-year old in 2:31¾, and Santa Claus as a five-year-old in
2:18 in 1879 that any good mares came to Strathmore. At Colonel Stoner’s
sale, February 9, 1886, Strathmore was sold for two thousand one hundred
and fifty dollars to Rockhill & Bro., of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they
owned him until his death, March 11, 1895. Strathmore has seventy-one in
the standard list; twenty-six of his sons and fifty-four of his daughters
have produced one hundred and fifty-eight standard performers.

EGBERT is one of the youngest sons of Hambletonian, and has achieved very
fair success in the stud. He is closely inbred to the Hambletonian, or
rather the Abdallah blood, and is possibly the most notable instance of
a successful sire being very closely inbred. Egbert was bred by Hon. J.
H. Walker, Worcester, Massachusetts, and was foaled in 1875. He was sold
at the sale of Mr. Walker’s horses at Worcester in the autumn of 1877,
when he was purchased for the then great price for a two-year-old of
three thousand four hundred and twenty-five dollars by H. J. Hendryx, of
Michigan, a representative of Mr. Veech, of Kentucky, being a contending
bidder. After the sale Mr. Hendryx sold the colt for four thousand
dollars to George W. Raudenbush, of Reading, Pennsylvania, who I believe
still owns him. In the spring of 1880 Egbert was taken by Colonel Richard
West to his farm at Georgetown, Kentucky, and kept there a number of
years, and indeed the greater part of his stud career has been in
Kentucky. I am not aware that Egbert was ever trained. He is individually
a superior horse, but is alleged to have an unkind disposition.

Egbert was got by Hambletonian out of Campdown, by Messenger Duroc
(son of Hambletonian); grandam Miss McLeod (dam of Lord Nelson, 2:26¼,
and Polonius), by the Holbert Colt (son of Hambletonian); great-grandam
May Fly, by Utter Horse, son of Hoyt’s Comet; great-great-grandam
Virgo, sister to the dam of Messenger Duroc, by Roe’s Abdallah Chief,
son of Abdallah, the sire of Hambletonian. The Holbert Colt, son of
Hambletonian, was a pacer, and others in Egbert’s ancestry paced; and in
commenting on his pedigree, from this point of view, at the time Colonel
West took him to Kentucky, I remarked in _Wallace’s Monthly_, March,
1880: “Colonel West need not be surprised if he finds quite a number of
Egbert’s offspring starting off at a pace.” The facts have borne out the
prediction, as a glance at Egbert’s long list of fast pacers will show.
Egbert is the sire of seventy-five standard performers, while twenty-five
of his sons, and eighteen of his daughters have produced seventy-four
standard performers.

MASTERLODE, that left a family of some merit in Michigan, was a mammoth
bay, foaled 1868, got by Hambletonian out of Lady Irwin by Seeley’s
American Star. He was a gigantic, coarse horse, and was certainly the
largest horse that ever earned a reputation as a sire of trotters. It
is said he was quite seventeen hands high and was built on a heavy mold
even for his height. He was bred by James M. Mills, Orange County, New
York, and passed to A. C. Fisk, Coldwater, Michigan, who owned him until
his death in 1892. The most noted of his get was Belle F., 2:15¼, that
was one of the very best campaigners out in 1886. He has twenty-eight
to his credit in the list, and seventeen of his sons and sixteen of his
daughters have produced in all fifty-seven standard performers.

ABERDEEN shares with Dictator such honors as attach to the highest
success of the “Hambletonian-Star cross” in the stud. This horse was
bred by the notorious Captain Isaiah Rynders, at Passaic, New Jersey,
and a full account of the investigation of the pedigree of his dam,
the noted Widow Machree, 2:29, will be found in Chapter XXIX., on the
investigation of pedigrees. Widow Machree was altogether the best trotter
of the American Star family, and was especially noted for her gameness.
Bred to Hambletonian, it was natural that she should produce a trotter,
and Aberdeen was quite a trotter in his day. As a three-year-old he
won a stake at Prospect Park, distancing his field in 2:46, and the
statement has been published that he later in his career trotted a slow
New Jersey track in 2:24¼. This horse was foaled in 1866, and was a bay
fifteen hands three inches high, and very stoutly, indeed coarsely made,
and was of a dangerously vicious disposition. The good race mare Hattie
Woodward, that made a record of 2:15½, first attracted attention to
Aberdeen as a sire, and in 1881 he was purchased by General Withers and
taken to Fairlawn, and before this his stud opportunities had been very
limited. He died in 1892. By far the best of his get is the great mare
Kentucky Union, that made a record of 2:07¼ in 1896. Aberdeen has forty
in the standard list, fourteen of his sons have produced fifty-seven, and
seventeen of his daughters have produced nineteen standard performers.

SWEEPSTAKES must be classed among the successful sons of Hambletonian
as a sire of trotters, though in the second generation his family have
yet failed of great distinction, nor did Sweepstakes himself get extreme
speed. This was a bay horse, foaled 1867, by Hambletonian out of Emma
Mills, that also produced Mott’s Independent, by Seely’s American Star.
He was bred by the late Harrison Mills, near Goshen, in Orange County,
New York, and was never, I believe, trained. Indeed it has been stated
that he never wore harness, and is perhaps the most remarkable example of
a strictly undeveloped sire of trotters. The most noted of his get is the
bay horse Captain Lyons, 2:17¼. Sweepstakes sired thirty-three trotters
and two pacers that are standard performers, four sons have produced
eight trotters and two pacers, and twenty of his daughters have produced
twenty-five trotters and four pacers.

GOVERNOR SPRAGUE is one of the few horses not descended in the male line
from one of the great foundation progenitors, and that yet was a trotter
of merit and the founder of a trotting family. His dam, however, was a
producing daughter of Hambletonian, and this must be regarded as the
probable source of his power, though his sire was a fine trotter for his

Back in the thirties a Frenchman living at Rouse’s Point, New York, near
the Canadian boundary line, bred a pacing mare to a horse that was kept
in the same stable with Sir Walter, thoroughbred son of Hickory, and
the result was the horse known as North American, or the Bullock Horse.
It was long claimed that North American was by Sir Walter, but the best
authenticated version is given in _Wallace’s Monthly_, for 1880. This was
the statement of a Mr. Ladd, said to be a reliable man, who knew the
Frenchman who bred North American. Ladd had formerly lived at Rouse’s
Point, and kept a little hotel at Benson’s Landing on Lake Champlain.
Ladd’s statement was that the Frenchman had a little pacing mare, from
which he wanted to raise a foal, but would not pay more than three
dollars for any horse’s service. Sir Walter’s fee was fifteen dollars,
but in the same stable was a large stallion that was used to haul water
from the lake to the hotel, and the Frenchman was permitted to have the
service of this horse for three dollars, and this is the only reliable
version I could ever obtain as to the pedigree of North American. Besides
the line we are now considering, this horse got Lady Waltermire, the dam
of the great Strathmore, and one of his daughters is the dam of two in
the 2:30 list, and Vergennes Black Hawk came from another. North America
was said to have been a natural trotter, and quite fast for a short
distance. A son of his, named Whitehall, from the name of the place where
he was bred, was taken to Ohio from New York about 1854 and there got the
noted Rhode Island, 2:23½, the sire of Governor Sprague. Rhode Island was
a brown horse, foaled about 1857, and his dam was by a black horse called
Davy Crockett that was brought from Pennsylvania, and her dam was called
Bald Hornet. This mare, Mag Taylor, was bred to Whitehall twice, one of
her foals being Belle Rice, the dam of the stallion Harry Wilkes, sire
of Rosalind Wilkes, 2:14¼, and the other was Rhode Island. This horse
trotted many races, and at Fashion Course, New York, October 27, 1868,
earned his record of 2:23½. He about this time passed into the hands
of Sprague & Akers, and he died in 1875. At this time Governor Amasa
Sprague had among his brood mares Belle Brandon, by Rysdyk’s Hambletonian
out of a daughter of Young Bacchus. This was a bay mare, foaled in 1854
in Orange County, and was a fast trotter and a mare of great general
excellence. She was driven as a mate to Sprague’s Hambletonian, and Mr.
Sprague claimed that he had once driven her a mile in 2:29. Bred to
Volunteer she produced Amy, 2:20¼, and to Rhode Island, produced in 1872,
Governor Sprague, 2:20½.

Governor Sprague was a black horse, approximating fifteen hands two
inches in height, and very substantially built. He is described as having
been an exceedingly handsome horse, especially in action, his gait having
been pure and beautiful. In 1873 he was sent to Kansas and trained, and
so promising was he that he was that year sold to Higbee Brothers and Mr.
Babcock, of Canton, Illinois, for one thousand five hundred dollars.
He was shown and known as a very fast four-year-old, trotting public
exhibitions in about 2:22. With the exception of a three-year-old race
at Earlville, Illinois, he did not start in a public race until July 20,
1876, when at Chicago he easily defeated a good field, and so promising
and attractive did he seem that the late Jerome I. Case, of Racine, paid
the great price of twenty-seven thousand five hundred dollars for him.
At Poughkeepsie, New York, that season he lowered his record to 2:20½,
and a few more races ended his short but brilliant turf career. He died
at Lexington, Kentucky, May 23, 1883, at the early age of eleven years.
His stud career was therefore short, and this fact we must remember in
estimating his rank as a sire. Kate Sprague, 2:18, and Linda Sprague,
2:19, were about the best of his immediate progeny, and Rounds’ Sprague,
that has twenty trotters and pacers in the 2:30 list, some of them in
better than 2:20, seems to be his most successful son. Governor Sprague
has to his credit thirty-six trotters and two pacers with standard
records, twenty-two of his sons have sired fifty-four trotters and
fifteen pacers, and his daughters have produced twenty-three trotters
and six pacers. There was nothing in the inheritance of Rhode Island to
justify a supposition that he would transmit speed uniformly, and, like
Smuggler, the speed-getting power with him was sporadic. But from his
dam, Belle Brandon, Governor Sprague received the blood of Hambletonian
through an individual that had speed herself and naturally produced
speed; and this strain, combined with the blood of a horse that was good
enough in his day to beat Lucy, American Girl and George Wilkes, gave
Governor Sprague a right to be all that he was.



    Description and history of Mambrino Chief—The pioneer trotting
    stallion of Kentucky—Matched against Pilot Jr.—His best
    sons—Mambrino Patchen, his opportunities and family—Woodford
    Mambrino, a notable trotter and sire—Princess—Mambrino
    Pilot—Other sons of Mambrino Chief.

Mambrino Chief was a dark bay or brown horse, got by Mambrino Paymaster,
grandson of imported Messenger, and his dam was a large, coarse mare that
was brought from the West in a drove, and absolutely nothing was known
of her blood. The theory was once advanced in print that she must have
been by Stevens’ Messenger Duroc, but I think it was never repeated.
The basis of this theory was, that the horse referred to was large and
coarse, with a long thigh bone, and as the mare was large and coarse,
with a long thigh bone, she must have been a daughter of his. There are
some obvious difficulties about accepting this “thigh-bone” pedigree. In
the first place, the inventor of it never saw either the horse or the
mare, and how could he have put his tapeline on their “thigh-bones” and
thus ascertained they were of the same length? In the second place, it is
not known, nor was it known to the inventor, that the horse ever had been
within three hundred miles of the dam of this “daughter” of his. It is
not much wonder that the “horse business” is hardly considered reputable
when an educated man will advance such senseless gabble as the basis of
a pedigree. This mare produced another colt called Goliah that developed
some speed, but this was not the Goliah that was on the trotting turf.

Mambrino Chief was bred by Richard Eldridge, of Dutchess County, New
York, and was owned by Warren Williams; in the spring of 1851 he passed
into the hands of James M. Cockroft and G. T. Williams; was kept two or
three seasons in Ulster County; trotted, under the saddle a trial in
2:36; sold to James B. Clay of Kentucky, in the winter of 1854, and then
to Gray & Jones, 1857, for five thousand and twenty dollars, and died
1861. Soon after his arrival in Kentucky he was matched to trot against
Pilot Jr., and the match stirred up a great deal of interest among the
breeders. He was so big and coarse and so far removed from the type of
the running horse that very few believed he could show any speed at
any gait, for the distance of a mile and repeat. He was placed in the
hands of Dr. Herr, who had had some experience in handling trotters, for
preparation. When the day came there was quite an assemblage to witness
the race but the Pilot Jr. party came forward and paid forfeit. This was
a sore disappointment to those who thought the big horse could not trot,
and to satisfy them that he could trot and trot fast, Dr. Herr drove him
to show his gait, and notwithstanding his quarter cracks he satisfied
all that he really was a trotter. This was an auspicious opening of a
successful career extending through the remaining six years of his life.

In the sense of success, Mambrino Chief was really the pioneer trotting
stallion of Kentucky. True, “Old” Abdallah had been there fourteen
years earlier, but he was in bad shape and breeders did not like him.
He was very plain in his appearance and only left some half-dozen of
foals behind him when he was brought back to Long Island. The breeders
all turned to his stable companion, Commodore, that was more after the
pattern of the running horse, and would not look at Abdallah. This
Commodore filled the blue-grass fields with his foals, but none of them
could trot. He was a son of Mambrino, by imported Messenger, and was an
inbred Messenger, if his pedigree was right, but he was a failure as a
trotting sire. Mr. Marcus Downing took his horse, Bay Messenger, there
about the same time and he was a failure also, notwithstanding he was a
grandson of imported Messenger. Both Commodore and Bay Messenger should
have been trotting sires, but either one of two reasons was sufficient to
prevent that consummation. First their blood and physical structure were
all right, but the mental structure—the instinct to trot—was lacking;
they inherited from some ancestor that could not and was not inclined
to trot. Second, Kentuckians of that period knew nothing about trotters
and they may have lacked in the requisite knowledge, skill and patience
to develop them. It is true that old Pacing Pilot and some other pacing
tribes were there that would occasionally throw a pacer with the diagonal
motion, like Pilot Jr., but there was no other blood there that trotted
before the arrival of Mambrino Chief. This pacing element was a very
valuable element upon which to build up the trotter, but unfortunately
and wherever it was possible, a running pedigree was tacked on to the
pacer, and thus, in the estimation of Kentuckians it was the running
blood that did it.

The six years of his services in Kentucky gave sufficient time to
establish his value as a trotting sire, but not sufficient to build
up a large family. This limited period must be further restricted, in
estimating his value, by the fact that the war broke out in 1861, at
the very time when the larger part of his offspring were just at the
right age for development. This important fact has been very generally
overlooked when estimating the true value of this horse. The question has
often been asked why this horse succeeded in Kentucky when he had not
succeeded in the North? This is too broad a question to be considered in
this historical sketch, but will be considered at another place in this
volume. In passing it, some very intelligent writers have attributed it
to what is called “the climatic outcross,” and there may be some real
value in this point, but the great cause, aside from the new surroundings
and expectations of his progeny, may be found in the fact that his own
speed was never developed until the very eve of his transfer to Kentucky.
His instinct to trot and to trot fast had remained dormant, practically,
during the whole period of his Northern service, and when he reached
Kentucky he was, in a sense, a new horse and conscious of his powers as a
trotter. The salutary effects of development, at whatever gait, have been
shown in ten thousand instances and will continue to be shown as long as
the interests and ambitions of man shall prompt him to strive to surpass
his neighbor.

At one time it was maintained right vehemently by the owners of the stock
of Mambrino Chief, as well as some others, that as a stock horse he was
not only equal but superior to Hambletonian. In 1867, when the battles
were raging between Dexter and Lady Thorn, this view showed little
abatement, and notwithstanding the gelding was beating the mare all the
time, they still maintained that in the end she would be the conqueror.
When Lady Thorn was seriously crippled and retired from the turf, there
were many sad hearts in the Mambrino family and many wonderful stories
were told, privately, of what Dan Mace had seen her do, and that he was
keeping very quiet till an opportunity came to show the most wonderful
flight of speed that the world had ever seen or ever would see. With
the shroud of what “might have been” about them, they were “of the same
opinion still.”

Mambrino Chief left six in the 2:30 list; twenty-three sons that put
ninety-five in the list and seventeen daughters that produced twenty-four


                                   Performers produced in two generations.
                Standard performers produced by sons and daughters. |
  -----------------------------------------------------------+      |
                                        Producing daughters. |      |
  -----------------------------------------------------+     |      |
                                       Producing sons. |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------------+     |     |      |
                            Standard performers. |     |     |      |
  -----------------------------------------+     |     |     |      |
                                Year died. |     |     |     |      |
  ----------------------------------+      |     |     |     |      |
                       Year foaled. |      |     |     |     |      |
  ---------------------------+      |      |     |     |     |      |
           Name.             |      |      |     |     |     |      |
  Mambrino Patchen           | 1862 | 1885 |  25 |  51 |  90 |  259 |  284
  Woodford Mambrino, 2:21½   | 1863 | 1879 |  13 |  23 |  24 |  172 |  185
  Mambrino Pilot, 2:34¾      | 1859 | 1885 |   9 |  17 |  15 |   71 |   80
  Clark Chief                | 1861 | 1871 |   6 |  12 |  25 |   43 |   49
  Ericsson, 2:30½            | 1856 | 188- |   6 |   4 |  15 |   25 |   31
  Mambrino Chief Jr. (Fisk’s)| 1861 | 189- |   5 |   6 |  14 |   34 |   39

MAMBRINO PATCHEN was the best son of Mambrino Chief and was brother to
Lady Thorn, 2:18¼. He was foaled 1862, after the death of his sire, and
was bred by Levi T. Rodes. His dam was by Gano, a running-bred son of
American Eclipse; his grandam was a pacing mare by a colt of Sir William,
but what Sir William is not known; his great-grandam was an inveterate
pacer and never was known to strike any other gait. Mambrino Patchen
was so much smoother and handsomer than his sire, and was so much of a
failure as a trotter, that a very strong conviction prevailed among the
friends and neighbors of his owner that he was not a son of Mambrino
Chief, nor a brother of Lady Thorn. To this story that he was a Denmark
and not a Mambrino Chief I never have given any shadow of credence. The
attempt of his owner, Dr. Herr, to make him a trotter was patient and
persistent, extending through several years, but with all his skill and
experience he failed. Nobody was ever able to “catch” him a mile, but it
seems to have been conceded that he might go somewhere in the “forties.”
While this persistent and long-continued training failed in its original
purpose of giving the horse a record of reputable speed, there can be
no doubt, under the law that governs, that this development did great
good to the horse, as a progenitor of trotters. The conditions being a
handsome horse, with the banner constantly flying over him, “full brother
to Lady Thorn,” an industrious and very capable owner, in the heart of
the greatest breeding region in the whole country, it is easy to account
for a very wide and lucrative patronage. Still, as a getter of speed he
was not a great success, and as a getter of high speed he was a failure.
With all the facilities for development, only twenty-five of his progeny
have found a place in the 2:30 list, the fastest of which has a record of
2:20½. Of his sons, fifty-one are the sires of one hundred and twenty-six
trotters, and of his daughters, ninety have produced one hundred and
twenty-nine standard performers. He has proved himself a very great sire
of brood mares, and when his daughters are bred to horses of stronger
inheritance, they stand among the best.

WOODFORD MAMBRINO.—This son of Mambrino Chief was a large brown horse,
foaled 1862. He was bred by Mr. Mason Henry, of Woodford County,
Kentucky. His dam was also the dam of other trotters, was got by
Woodford, son of Kosciusko, and her dam was a farm mare without any known
breeding. Woodford was a large, strong horse used only for farm work, to
which he was well suited. After spending a good deal of time and labor on
his pedigree I am constrained to say that while he may have been a son
of Kosciusko, his dam’s breeding is worse than unsatisfactory. Woodford
Mambrino made a record of 2:21½, and placed thirteen of his get in the
2:30 list. He left twenty-three sons that were the sires of standard
performers, and twenty-four daughters that produced twenty-seven standard
performers. His son, Princeps, owned by Mr. R. S. Veech, of Indian Hill
Farm, near Louisville, Kentucky, was in the stud far and away the best of
his sons, and although he had no record of his own he placed in the list
forty-four trotters and four pacers, many of them with fast records.

MAMBRINO PILOT was a very large and very coarse horse. He was a brown,
got by Mambrino Chief, foaled 1859, dam Juliet, by Pilot Jr.; grandam by
Webster, son of Medoc; great-grandam by Whip. He was bred by Thomas Hook,
of Scott County, Kentucky, and after passing through the hands of Dr.
Herr and others he was sold to C. P. Relf, of Philadelphia, and, I think,
remained in his family till he died, 1885. He had a record to saddle of
2:27½. He put nine of his get into the 2:30 list, and seventeen of his
sons left fifty-one performers and fourteen of his daughters produced
twenty performers.

Many others of the descendants of Mambrino Chief might be noticed,
but it is not the purpose of this volume to dwell upon matters that
are accessible in the current literature of the trotting horse. The
foundations of breeds and the leading heads of tribes must command my
labor. The table shows the rank of the other sons of Mambrino Chief that
achieved any degree of success, and of these clearly the best was Clark
Chief, that died at ten years old.



    The imported Barb, Grand Bashaw—Young Bashaw, an inferior
    individual—His greatest son, Andrew Jackson—His dam a trotter
    and pacer—His history—His noted son, Kemble Jackson—Long Island
    Black Hawk—Henry Clay, founder of the Clay family—Cassius
    M. Clay—The various horses named Cassius M. Clay—George M.
    Patchen—His great turf career—George M. Patchen Jr.—Harry
    Clay—The Moor, and his son Sultan’s family.

This family is no longer prominent in trotting annals and its blood has
been practically absorbed by other strains that have proved themselves
more potent in transmitting and more uniform and more speedy in
performing. The name “Bashaw Family” is a misnomer and it should never
have been used, but as it has represented, for many years, the oldest
line of developed speed, it seems a necessity to recognize it here. A
branch of this family, designated as “The Clay Family” has perpetuated
itself in some strength and will be considered in this chapter.

GRAND BASHAW, the horse that gave this family its name, was imported from
Tripoli by Richard B. Jones, who was the American consul at that port.
Mr. Morgan was associated with him, and they imported at the same time
two other Barbs, Grand Sultan and Saladin. Grand Bashaw was kept in Lower
Merion, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, several years; Grand Sultan
was kept in New Salem, New Jersey, for a time, and Saladin was taken to
North Carolina and afterward died in Georgia. From these three horses
nothing has been left to the horse history of the country but one single
attenuated line. Grand Bashaw was a black horse, fourteen hands and an
inch high, with a star and a snip on his nose. He was kept all his life
in the vicinity of Philadelphia, and died at Newtown, Pennsylvania, 1845.

YOUNG BASHAW was a grey horse, about fifteen and one-quarter hands
high, and is the only descendant of Grand Bashaw through which we can
trace to that horse. He was foaled 1822 and was bred by Thomas Logan,
of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. His dam was Pearl, by Bond’s First
Consul, a famous running horse, his grandam Fancy, by imported Messenger,
and his great-grandam by imported Rockingham. This is the pedigree under
which he was advertised, but it has never been authenticated in any of
its crosses. Judging by the horse himself and his progeny there can
hardly be a doubt that there was a Messenger cross in it, but just where
cannot be determined.

He made his first season in Salem, New Jersey, 1826. He was then four
years old and by no means handsome or attractive in his form. His head,
ear and neck were his worst features; but in addition to these defects
he was flat on the ribs and habitually carried his tail to one side. His
limbs and feet were as good as ever were made, but his great redeeming
quality was his trotting gait. When in Salem he was only a rough, partly
developed, four-year-old colt, but he showed then a step and a rate of
speed so remarkable as to induce a few to breed to him, notwithstanding
his ungainly appearance. He did not cover more than a dozen mares that
season, and all-told he got eight foals. Out of these eight, seven proved
to be superior trotters for that day. Andrew Jackson was the best, but
there was another that could go below 2:40. The common remark was,
wherever he touched a mare of Messenger blood, there was sure to come
a trotter. This was the general rule, but the best hit he ever made,
probably, was when he covered Joseph Hancock’s black pacing mare and got
Andrew Jackson.

In looking over his blood elements we can see nothing in his pedigree
to justify these trotting qualities except the grandam, Fancy, by
Messenger. First Consul was a great race horse, but neither he nor his
descendants ever evinced a disposition to trot. The horse Rockingham was
contemporaneous with Messenger and a constant rival while Messenger was
about Philadelphia. He was not wholly running-bred, as he was by Towser,
afterward called Counsellor, and out of a hunting mare. As a stock horse
he was esteemed as only second to Messenger on the Delaware, where he
stood many years.

The fame of Young Bashaw did not cease nor die out after the exploits of
Andrew Jackson, Black Bashaw, Charlotte Temple, Washington and others
from his own loins. The Clays, the Long Island Black Hawks and the
Patchens have kept spreading it wider and wider until of late years we
find that only the one great Hambletonian family has overshadowed them
all. Young Bashaw, after eleven years in the stud along the Delaware
River, above and below Philadelphia, died at Morrisville, Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, June, 1837.

ANDREW JACKSON was the most noted son of Young Bashaw. He was a black
horse, fifteen and a half hands high, with three white feet and a strip
of white in his face. He was very well formed in every point and was
strong, compact, short-legged and handsome. He was foaled 1827, and was
bred by Joseph Hancock, of Salem, New Jersey. His dam was a strong,
compact black mare that both trotted and paced, and was noted for her
speed at the latter gait. This mare was brought in a drove from Ohio, in
the spring of 1820 and on the twenty-first of June of that year she was
sold to Mr. Hancock, of Salem, New Jersey, for one hundred dollars. He
kept her a little over six years, and in the spring of 1826 bred her to
Young Bashaw, and in the fall of that year sold her to Powell Carpenter;
and soon after he sold her to Daniel Jeffreys, a brickmaker on the
Germantown road, near Philadelphia. She was then in foal by Young Bashaw,
and the next spring she dropped the colt that became famous as Andrew

The incidents connected with the history of this mare are here given,
perhaps in unnecessary detail, but as Andrew Jackson was very extensively
advertised under a fraudulent pedigree from about 1834 till the time of
his death, and as I had at one time accepted it as true, it is better
that it should be made very plain, especially as I had been severely
criticised for changing it. The correction made, as above, was founded
on information received from two separate and distinct sources and both
thoroughly reliable. The fraudulent pedigree of this mare represented
her as “by Whynot, son of imported Messenger, and her dam by Messenger”
himself. This was just such a pedigree as so great a horse should have
had, but there was no truth in it. The attack was led by quite a large
breeder in one of the prairie States, who had a number of animals
remotely descended from Andrew Jackson. He did not even pretend to know
anything at all about the truth of the matter, but simply urged most
vehemently that the pedigree should be restored because it was old. The
fact of the matter was the man wanted the old lie instead of the new
truth maintained because it would help to sell his stock, which was the
very object for which the lie was originally invented.

Daniel Jeffreys was very much addicted to trotting horses, and when he
bought the black mare that was then carrying Andrew Jackson he kept her
for his own driving and named her “Charcoal Sal.” She was no doubt among
the fastest of the road horses, but there is no record of her ever being
in a race. How much Jeffreys drove Charcoal Sal that autumn cannot now be
determined; probably too much for the physical, but not too much, for the
mental, organization of the foal she was carrying.

About the break of day, one morning in the following April, somebody was
passing Jeffreys’ brickyard (my recollection is, it was George Woodruff
himself), and he heard a splashing in the water accumulated in one of
the clay pits, and Charcoal Sal circling round in great distress. She
had dropped her foal, and in its weak efforts to get on its feet, it had
rolled into the pit. It was at once pulled out and the family aroused,
and no time was lost in rubbing it dry and wrapping it in warm blankets.
Some of the mare’s milk was poured into it from time to time, and toward
noon it was so much revived and strengthened as to manifest a disposition
to get on its feet. This was due, principally, to the womanly care and
good nursing of Mrs. Jeffreys. But, when helped up, he appeared to have
strength enough everywhere but in his pastern joints, and there he had no
strength at all. In this condition the colt remained a day or two, a most
pitiable and most helpless object, standing on its pasterns instead of
its feet. One morning at the breakfast-table Mr. Jeffreys said he would
give any of the boys a dollar if he would put that colt out of misery
and bury it out of his sight. Mrs. Jeffreys, whose womanly feelings and
sympathies were all enlisted, replied to her husband’s remark that “the
boy who would kill that colt never could eat another mouthful at that
table.” What a grand exhibition of true womanly instincts! Day by day her
unremitting care was rewarded by seeing a little more strength gathering
in the weak places, and at last her kind, motherly heart was gladdened by
seeing him skip and play, a strong beautiful colt.

Mr. Jeffreys kept the colt till he was some five or six years old! and
then sold him to John Weaver, whose residence was about half a mile from
the old Hunting Park Course. He remained the property of Mr. Weaver
till he died, September 19, 1843. In his stud services he was kept on
both sides of the Delaware, in the region of Philadelphia, and made one
season, perhaps two, on Long Island. As a trotter he stood as the first
of all stallions of his day.

His first race took place October 19, 1832, over the Hunting Park Course
for a purse of two hundred dollars for green horses, to saddle. He was
entered under the name of “Brickmaker,” was ridden by George Woodruff
(“Uncle George”), and beat Jersey Fagdown, son of Fagdown, by Messenger.
Time 6:30, 6:23.

The next year he beat Jersey Fagdown again for the same purse and over
the same course.

October, 1834, he again won the same purse, over the same course, at two
miles to saddle, beating Sally Miller. Time 5:26, 5:25.

The next October, 1835, over the same course, the same conditions, he
beat Lady Warrenton, by Abdallah, and Daniel D. Tompkins, by a son of
Winthrop Messenger. Time 5:20, 5:19.

These performances have been extended far enough to give a just
conception of his speed and his staying qualities. His races seem to
have been pretty much all to saddle and two-mile heats. In that day most
races were to saddle. George Woodruff told me he was on his back when he
made Edwin Forrest trot in 2:31¼ to win, but whether it was in a race or
a trial I cannot now recall. Mr. George Woodruff was an uncle of Hiram
Woodruff and a very worthy man. To him I am indebted for all the details
of the early life of Andrew Jackson, and they were of his own personal

KEMBLE JACKSON.—About the year 1853, of all the idols of the
trotting-horse world, perhaps no one had so many worshipers as Kemble
Jackson. In 1852 he was beaten by O’Blennis, three-mile heats in harness,
and in April, 1853, he was beaten by both Green Mountain Maid and Lady
Vernon, mile heats in harness, but in June following he achieved a great
triumph. The race was on the Union Course and there was a vast concourse
of people there to see it. The purse and stake was for four thousand
dollars, three-mile heats to two hundred and fifty-pound wagons. The
interest was very intense, as O’Blennis, Boston Girl, Pet, Iola and
Honest John were in it. Each horse in the race made better time than he
ever made before, and yet Kemble Jackson took the lead and maintained it
from end to end, without a skip or a break. After the first heat even,
the friends of O’Blennis would not hedge their money, for they had faith
that the gallant son of Abdallah would win. The finish of the second heat
was in the order above given. The time was 8:03, 8:04¾. Faster time has
since been made to wagon, but probably not with this weight and at this
distance. As a weight-puller for three miles I believe he still remains
the champion. He was a very strongly built chestnut horse, and was got by
Andrew Jackson the last year of his life.

The pedigree of his dam was in confusion for a long time. Her name was
Fanny Kemble. There were a number of running-bred mares named after
that very popular actress, and everybody who had anything tracing to
“Fanny Kemble” was sure that that particular mare was the dam of Kemble
Jackson. In the first volume of the “Register” he is given as out of
Fanny Kemble by Sir Archy, and in the second volume there was some
fairly good evidence that he was out of Fanny Kemble by Hunt’s Eagle,
tracing on through running lines. It is true he was out of a mare called
Fanny Kemble, but neither of the two foregoing. Her blood was wholly
unknown. The Hon. Ely Moore was a member of Congress, and when on his
way to Washington in 1839 he saw a very fine, stout-looking mare hitched
to a gig in the city of Baltimore. She was a chestnut and showed such
ability to handle a great heavy gig with ease and rapidity that he bought
her. He bought her for what she was herself and not for what her blood
was. There was no evidence asked or given as to how she was bred. This
mare produced several foals to Andrew Jackson, the youngest of which
was Kemble Jackson. While he was still a colt, Mr. Moore presented him
to his son-in-law, G. U. Reynolds, who still owned him when he died.
Mr. Reynolds is an intelligent and very reputable man, and this is the
history of the origin of Kemble Jackson as given to me in person by him.
Mr. Moore paid two hundred and fifty dollars for this mare Fanny Kemble,
and she was so handsome and so fast on the road that he considered her a
very cheap mare. The company never was too hot nor the road too long for

Everybody has heard of “The Kemble Jackson Check” and nearly everybody,
until within the last few years at least, has been using it without
knowing just why or when it can be used with advantage. When in the
hands of Hiram Woodruff, Kemble Jackson got into the habit of bringing
his chin back against his breast, and in that shape Hiram could pull
on him all day without getting control of him. In this dilemma, Mr.
Reynolds suggested an overdraw check which might prevent the indulgence
of this bad habit. Hiram took the suggestion, had one made, and it was
a success, in his case. In twenty-four days after the performance which
made him a great name from one end of the land to the other he died of
rupture. As he was only nine years old and as he was just beginning to be
appreciated as a stallion the breeders of the country sustained a great
loss. Up to this point in his history he had no reputation, had been
little patronized and left but few of his progeny to perpetuate his name.

LONG ISLAND BLACK HAWK.—This son of Andrew Jackson was foaled 1837 and
his dam was the distinguished trotter Sally Miller, by Tippoo Saib, son
of Tippoo Saib by imported Messenger. This mare was bred in Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, and trotted as a three-year-old in 1828 on the Hunting Park
Course, Philadelphia. She was distinguished in her day, beating many of
the best, and was the first three-year-old trotter of which we have any
account. She was finally owned on Long Island, but I have never been able
to learn the name of her owner. Black Hawk trotted some famous races on
Long Island, the most noted of which, perhaps, was his match with Jenny
Lind in which he was to pull a two hundred and fifty-pound wagon, and
the mare the usual weight. In this match he beat her in straight heats.
Time 2:40, 2:38, 2:43. In 1849 he beat Cassius M. Clay, time 2:41, 2:38,
2:41. This horse was owned for a time by Jonas Hoover, of Germantown,
Columbia County, New York, and was there called Andrew Jackson Jr., or
Young Andrew Jackson. He made some seasons in Orange County, and died at
Montgomery in that county July, 1850. His progeny were not numerous and
but two of them from his own loins entered the 2:30 list. His son Jupiter
put five in the 2:30 list; Andrew Jackson Jr., two; Mohawk, three;
Nonpareil, two; Plow Boy, one; and Vernol’s Black Hawk, one; to which we
may add the fact that this last named was the sire of the famous Iowa
stallion, Green’s Bashaw. Although his life was not long and his stud
career was probably up to the average, it cannot be said that he was a
great progenitor of trotters.

HENRY CLAY, the nominal head of the tribe that has taken his name, was a
black horse, foaled 1837, got by Andrew Jackson, son of Young Bashaw; and
his dam was Surrey, or Lady Surrey, as she is sometimes called, a pacing
mare that was brought from Surrey, New Hampshire, to New York, and was
converted to a trotter, or possibly she may have been double-gaited from
her birth. It has been generally stated in years past that this mare
was brought from Canada, and as there have been many disputes about her
origin, I will try to give what authentic knowledge we have concerning

Mr. Peter W. Jones, one of the “old-time” horsemen and a very reliable
man, said that David W. Gilmore, formerly a grocer at City Hall Place
and Pearl Street, New York, bought a pacing mare, five years old, of
Mark D. Perkins, of Mount Vernon, New Hampshire, which came from Surrey,
New Hampshire, and hence her name “Lady Surrey.” Gilmore rode her to
New York, with a young man named Lovejoy. He gave less than one hundred
dollars for her. She was a superior saddle mare, and as Mr. Gilmore
appreciated horseback riding he bought her for that purpose. Frank
Gilmore, who was a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Orser, of New York, said
that Lady Surrey was the mare his brother rode from New Hampshire, and
after he sold her she turned out to be a trotter.

This is the story as told by Mr. Jones, and judging from its source I
have no doubt it is substantially correct. This leaves us without any
knowledge whatever of the blood of the mare, but only that she was both
a pacer and a trotter. She was engaged in some races and was quite well
known to the trotting men of that day, and she must have been a pretty
good one to have been owned by such a horseman as George M. Patchen and
by him bred to Andrew Jackson. It is said Surrey and Sally Miller were
coupled with Andrew Jackson the same day; they both stood, and the one
produced Henry Clay and the other Long Island Black Hawk.

While Henry Clay remained the property of his breeder he was trained and
was looked upon as a promising young horse, but I have not been able to
determine what rate of speed he was able to show. He certainly did not
stand anywhere near the fastest, and he does not appear to have ever
won a race, and perhaps never started in one. Still, he was esteemed as
one of the best horses on Long Island and was liberally supported while
there. When about eight years old he was sold for a fine price to General
Wadsworth, of Livingston County, New York, and he was kept at various
points in that part of the State till he died of old age and neglect in
1867. He came into the world when trotters were few and he lived till
they were many. He left a numerous progeny, but as the sire of trotters
he was a pronounced failure. In examining the 2:30 list I find a single
one of his get, before he left Long Island, with a single heat of even
2:30. And in examining the list of his get during the twenty-odd years
of his life in Western New York, I find a single representative, with a
single heat in even 2:30, and this one was out of a mare by old Champion,
a very noted trotting progenitor. He left three sons that appear as
sires: Andy Johnson, with three just inside of the 2:30 list, Henry
Clay Jr., with a single one to his credit, and Cassius M. Clay, with
one very fast one to his credit. This Cassius M. Clay was the sire of
the famous George M. Patchen. Three of Henry Clay’s daughters produced
six 2:30 trotters, and for a time it was held that the dam of the very
famous George Wilkes was a daughter of his, but that claim has not been
sustained by later developments.

The name and memory of the horse Henry Clay would have been perpetuated
in horse history through an attenuated line of descendants, as a fairly
good horse, though unsuccessful as a trotting progenitor, had his
bones been left to rest and rot where they were buried. Unfortunately,
about the time of his death, there sprang up a most voluble enthusiast
whose special mission on earth seemed to be to extol the superlative
greatness of Henry Clay, and the contemptible worthlessness of “Bill
Rysdyk’s bull,” as he designated Hambletonian. He commenced pouring his
endless contributions into the columns of the breeding press and writing
interminable letters to as many prominent breeders as would receive them,
and all about the Clay blood being the only blood from which the trotter
could be bred. These effusions were written with some skill, abounding
in great prodigality of fancy and still greater economy of truth. It was
astonishing how many men believed what he said and how few understood
that the “old man” was in it as a “business.” He had gathered up all
the cheap sons of the old horse and wanted to sell them at a handsome
advance, and for a time the game won.

To keep the interest from falling off and the Clay blood moving, he
secured access to the purses of two wealthy gentlemen who were possessors
and admirers of Clay blood, and the bones of the horse were taken up,
mounted and set up, and presented to the United States National Museum at
Washington, D. C. The bones are still there, and the inscription on the
pedestal when last seen was as follows:

    “The progenitor of the entire family of Clay Horses, and the
    foundation of the American Trotting Horse.”

Then follow the names of the two gentlemen who presented the bones to
the Museum, but as a kindness to them their names are omitted. The first
clause of the inscription is true, but the second is not true, and I very
seriously doubt whether they ever authorized the second clause. Henry
Clay was not the “foundation” of anything, except the airy fabric of a
fortune for our enthusiast. The scheme as an advertising dodge was well
worked, and the schemer could well exclaim, “Where now is Bill Rysdyk’s
bull?” In the nature of things such shams cannot last; this one had its
fleeting day, and in the end the sheriff sold its worthless accumulations.

CASSIUS M. CLAY.—This son of Henry Clay was quite a large bay horse,
taking his color and much of his shape from his dam. He was foaled
1843, and his dam, Jersey Kate, was the dam of the trotting horse John
Anderson. Jersey Kate was a bay, about fifteen hands three inches high,
with a clean, bony head, long neck, well set up, and when in driving
condition was a little high on her legs. She was used in livery work,
and when a good and fast driver was wanted, Jersey Kate was always in
demand. In the same stable a pair of “Canuck” ponies were kept that
were driven in a delivery wagon. They were duns with white manes and
tails and about fourteen and one-half hands high, quick steppers with
no speed. One of them slipped his halter one night and got Jersey Kate
with foal. While she was carrying this foal she became the property of
Mr. Z. B. Van Wyck’s father, and when she had dropped her colt and was
put to farm work it was found that she was too rapid and spirited for
his other horses, and he sold her to Joseph Oliver, of Brooklyn. The
colt she dropped was weaned before the sale of the dam and remained in
the family till he grew up. He was a grey, a little below fifteen hands,
and as the boy, Z. B. Van Wyck, had broken and ridden him he got it into
his head that he would make a trotter, so he bought him from his father
for eighty dollars. He continued to improve and he sold him to Timothy
T. Jackson and he to Charles Carman, who trotted him in many races. When
Mr. Oliver, then owner of Jersey Kate, saw her “catch” colt by a “Canuck”
pony able to beat many of the good ones on the island, he concluded
to breed her to Mr. Patchen’s horse, Henry Clay, and the produce was
Cassius M. Clay. From her appearance, form, and especially her action,
it was the universal opinion she was by Mambrino, son of Messenger, and
it is probable she was, but in the absence of proof she must be classed
as “breeding unknown.” Had it not been for the speed of little John
Anderson, there would not have been any Cassius M. Clay.

When the colt grew up, Mr. Oliver, his breeder, sold him to Mr. George
M. Patchen, of Brooklyn, and he became a very popular stallion. After
the death of Kemble Jackson and Long Island Black Hawk he was considered
the best trotting stallion on Long Island. He was in a good many races,
some of which were reported, but more that were not, and as against
stallions, he was with the fastest. In temper he was disposed to be
vicious and had to be watched. In form he could not be considered
beautiful, but powerful. When the artist was modeling the equestrian
statue of Washington that stands in Union Square, he had a great search
for a horse to serve as a model, and he selected Cassius M. Clay as the
best representative of majesty and power that he could find. Although the
bronze is of heroic size, it is, no doubt, a fair representation of the
outline and structure of the horse. He died at Montgomery, Orange County,
New York, July, 1854, in the same stable where Long Island Black Hawk
had died four years before. The three great horses, Long Island Black
Hawk, Kemble Jackson and Cassius M. Clay, died just as they entered on
what should have been the period of their greatest usefulness, the first
at the age of thirteen; the second at the age of nine; and the third at
the age of eleven. If these horses had lived through the usual period of
horse life, doubtless the records of performers would bear very different
relations from what they do to-day, but the _really great sire_ had not
yet made his appearance.

Considering the short period Cassius M. Clay was in the stud he left
a numerous progeny, but only one of them, George M. Patchen, achieved
greatness on the turf. He placed thirty-four heats in 2:30 or better to
his credit and made a record of 2:23½ in 1860, which was the fastest for
any stallion of his day. This was the only one in the 2:30 list from the
loins of Cassius M. Clay. Nine of his sons became the sires of eighteen
trotters, and more than a dozen of his sons were named “Cassius M. Clay
Jr.” thus leading to great confusion and oftentimes uncertainty as to

CASSIUS M. CLAY JR. (NEAVE’S).—This was a brown horse foaled 1848, got by
Cassius M. Clay; dam by Chancellor, son of Mambrino; grandam by Engineer,
sire of Lady Suffolk. He was bred by Charles Mitchell, of Manhasset, Long
Island, owned by Joseph Godwin, New York; stood in Orange County, 1852,
in Dutchess, 1853, and was taken to Cincinnati that fall. He was owned by
Mr. Neave, made a few seasons, broke his leg in the hands of Mr. McKelvy,
and had to be destroyed. Mr. Godwin represented this horse to me as very
fast until four years old, when by an accident he was thrown into the
Harlem River when hot and was stiff ever afterward. He put four of his
get into the 2:30 list, and four of his sons got ten trotters and one
pacer. His early death was esteemed a great loss, for he was better bred
than most of the other sons of his sire.

CLAY PILOT, by Cassius M. Clay (Neave’s), was out of a catch filly,
whose dam was the famous Kate, the grandam of Almont. From the noted
old trotting mare Belle of Wabash, whose history will be found in
Chapter XXX. on the investigation of pedigrees, Clay Pilot got The Moor,
himself a fast trotter and a successful sire. He died at ten years old,
leaving among others the famous Beautiful Bells, 2:29½, that, mated with
Electioneer, produced a remarkable family; and Sultan, 2:24, sire of
the great Stamboul, 2:07½, and of thirty-eight other performers, and of
thirteen producing sons and twenty producing daughters. The Moor founded
an excellent family.

From a sister to Crabtree Bellfounder, by imported Bellfounder, Neave’s
Cassius M. Clay got the black stallion Harry Clay, 2:29, that was quite a
reputable trotter in his day, and left five standard performers, sixteen
producing sons and twenty-three producing daughters, among the latter the
famous Green Mountain Maid, the dam of Electioneer.

CASSIUS M. CLAY JR. (STRADER’S).—This was a handsome brown horse,
foaled 1852, by the original Cassius, and his dam was a black mare by
Abdallah, that passed through the hands of A. Van Cortlandt and afterward
became the property of Joseph Godwin; grandam by Lawrence’s Eclipse;
great-grandam the Charles Hadley mare by imported Messenger. This
pedigree has been questioned without assigning any reasons or facts, but
as it came to me circumstantially and from unquestionable sources I have
no reason to doubt it. He was bred by Joseph H. Godwin, of New York, and
foaled the property of Dr. Spaulding, of Greenupsburg, Kentucky. He made
some seasons in the hands of Dr. Herr, of Lexington, Kentucky, was bought
1868 by R. S. Strader, and passed to General W. T. Withers, of Lexington,
where he died 1882. He was engaged in several races and made a record of
2:35¼. He put four in the 2:30 list, and he left sixteen sons that were
the sires of forty-six trotters and seven pacers. His daughters have
produced well, thirty-four of them having produced forty-two trotters and
seven pacers. This shows him to have been a better horse than his sire
and better than any of the other sons of his sire.

GEORGE M. PATCHEN was a large bay horse, fully sixteen hands high and
heavily proportioned. He was bred by H. F. Sickles, Monmouth County, New
Jersey, for Richard F. Carman, of New York, the owner of his dam. He was
got by the original Cassius M. Clay, and his dam was a light chestnut
mare, owned and driven on the road by Mr. Carman. As the blood and origin
of this mare was for many years unknown, it is necessary to go into some
particulars concerning it. From 1835 two brothers, Thomas and Richard
Tone, were contractors on the streets in the northern part of New York
City. Two or three years afterward Richard bought or traded for a large,
strong sorrel mare to work in one of their dirt carts. It was represented
that she had lost a foal shortly before and she was thin in flesh and
looked coarse. When she moved out of a walk she always went into a pace,
and that seemed to be her natural gait. They kept this mare at work in
the cart for several years and sometimes turned her out to pasture in a
small field at the foot of “Break-neck” hill, adjoining a pasture owned
by the Bradhurst family. One morning a two-year-old stallion colt, owned
by Samuel Bradhurst, was found in the pasture with the big pacing mare.
He had broken down the fence between the two pastures and gotten the big
mare with foal. In due time she dropped a light chestnut filly, and when
weaned, Thomas Tone bought this filly from his brother Richard, and at
two years old commenced working her to his wagon. She had very severe
treatment for so young an animal and went amiss, when Thomas sold her
to James Scanlon, a blacksmith, and after a time he sold her to Richard
F. Carman for a driving mare. Like her dam, when she started off she
would pace, but after going some distance she would strike a trot and
go very fast. Mr. Carman paid one hundred dollars for her and he drove
her beside another that he paid fifteen hundred for, and his fast daily
drives from Carmanville down to the city soon tested the respective
merits of the two mares. The hundred-dollar mare could outlast the other
and had to help her along toward the end of the drive. In time she was
foundered and permanently stiffened and that was the reason she was sent
to Mr. Sickles to be bred.

We must now look after the two-year-old colt that was the sire of this
mare. Robert L. Stevens, of Hoboken, owned the famous race mare, Betsey
Ransom, and with others he bred from her the two fillies, Itasca and
Frolic. In 1837 these two mares were owned by Samuel Bradhurst, who
manifested a sporting disposition, very much against the wishes of
his father. In 1837 he bred these two mares to imported Trustee, then
standing at Union Course, Long Island, and the produce were Head’em
and Fanny Ransom. It is not known what became of Fanny Ransom, but he
continued to own Head’em for some years and ran him in 1841 at the Union
Course and beat the imported colt Baronet, by Spencer. There seems to
be no other trace of his running or his stud services. It was in 1840,
therefore, that he jumped the fence and in 1841 that the dam of George M.
Patchen was foaled. George Canavan, Mr. Bradhurst’s coachman, says there
were no other foals of any description bred by Mr. Bradhurst. These facts
were gleaned personally and separately from Tone and Canavan, and as they
complement and sustain each other, they must be accepted as the best
information extant on the breeding of this great horse. His dam was by
Head’em, a son of Trustee, out of a mare by American Eclipse, a grandson
of Messenger, and she was a pacer and a trotter. His grandam was a pacer
of unknown breeding.

In 1851 he was purchased for four hundred dollars from Mr. Sickles by
John Buckley, of Bordentown, New Jersey, and a few months afterward he
sold a half interest in him to Dr. Longstreet, of the same place, and he
remained their joint property till 1858, when Mr. Buckley sold his half
interest to Mr. Joseph Hall, of Rochester, New York. He commenced his
remarkable career on the turf in 1855 and it continued till 1863. In 1858
he was engaged in the first race that gave him a national reputation.
This was against no less a celebrity than Ethan Allen, and he was
distanced, leaving Ethan with a clear title to the stallion championship.
In 1860 he turned the tables on his old rival and beat him in straight
heats in 2:25, 2:24, 2:29. The next week the contest was renewed and
Patchen again won in straight heats, and this gave him the unchallenged
right to the rank of the fastest trotting stallion in the world. His
triumphs, however, were as wide as the trotting turf and not limited to
sex. He was able to beat and did beat all the best but the indomitable
little Flora Temple, and although he beat her twice, she was too fast for
him and beat him many times. It is not my purpose to give a history of
his achievements. It is sufficient to say he made a record of 2:23½, with
thirty-four heats to his credit in 2:30 and less, and two miles in 4:51½.

It cannot be said that he was a very great success in the stud as we now
measure success. Four of his get were able to enter the 2:30 list, and
among them was the great Lucy, with her record of 2:18¼. Fifteen of his
sons became the sires of sixty-two trotters and three pacers, and four
of his daughters produced five trotters. It is hardly fair to compare
the stud services of a horse of Patchen’s generation with many of the
great sons of Hambletonian, but at the same time we must not forget that
Patchen was foaled the same year as Hambletonian. On the first of May,
1864, when Dan Pfifer was preparing him for the racing season then about
to open, he died of a rupture, just as his sire had died.

GEORGE M. PATCHEN JR. (California Patchen) was a bay horse by the
foregoing; dam Belle by Top Bellfounder, a grandson of imported
Bellfounder, of which little is known. He was bred by Joseph Regan, Mount
Holly, New Jersey, and taken to California 1862 by William Hendrickson;
returned to New York 1866, sold to Messrs. Halstead, Poughkeepsie, 1867,
and by them to W. A. Matthews in 1869, and taken to San Jose, California;
then sold to P. A. Finnegan, of San Francisco, and died the property
of J. B. Haggin, Sacramento, 1887. He was campaigned quite extensively
during the years 1866 and 1867 in the East, and carried away a good share
of the winnings from the best. His best record was 2:27. In the stud he
was more successful than his sire, which may be accounted for by his
more numerous progeny and his longer life. From his own loins he put ten
trotters into the 2:30 list, and, although there was no Lucy among them,
Wells Fargo made a record of 2:18¾; Sam Purdy, 2:20½; Vanderlyn, 2:21,
etc., showing a better average than the get of his sire. Ten of his sons
got twenty-three trotters and two pacers, and eleven of his daughters
produced twenty-five trotters and three pacers.

Several of the other sons of George M. Patchen left valuable and fast
trotting progeny, and among them I will name Godfrey Patchen, with nine
trotters to his credit and his descendants breeding on; Henry B. Patchen,
with seven to his credit; Seneca Patchen, with sixteen trotters and one
pacer to his credit, perhaps more than he is honestly entitled to; Wild
Wagoner, with four to his credit; and Tom Patchen with three and his
family transmitting speed.

In considering the founders of the Clay family, there are two or three
important facts that should be kept in view, bearing upon the growth, or
the decadence of the family. In a breeding sense this appears to be the
longest line of _developed_ speed that we have in any of our trotting
families. While we know that there were developed trotters and pacers
many years before Abdallah and Andrew Jackson were foaled, we are not
able to connect them in lines of descent, generation after generation.
As Andrew Jackson with his developed speed stands at the head of this
line, the question naturally arises, Where did he get his ability to
trot? The only answer we can give is, from the daughter of Messenger that
was the grandam of his sire, and from the fast pacer, Charcoal Sal, that
produced him. Even if we accept the pedigree of Young Bashaw, with his
Messenger grandam, when we get to Andrew Jackson we are a long way from
the Messenger source of trotting speed; hence, we must look to the pacing
speed of his dam—Charcoal Sal from Ohio—as the more probable source.

Andrew Jackson was bred upon the converted pacer Surrey, and produced
Henry Clay, then Henry Clay was bred upon Jersey Kate, of unknown blood,
but a producer of trotting speed, and produced Cassius M. Clay. Then
Cassius M. Clay was bred upon a mare “full of Messenger blood” and
produced Strader’s Cassius M. Clay—the best of the Clay name by the
record. Cassius M. Clay (the original) was also bred on “Dick Carman’s
mare” and produced the famous George M. Patchen. This Carman mare was by
a running-bred son of Trustee. She was both a pacer and a trotter and her
dam was a natural pacer. George M. Patchen was bred on the Regan mare
and produced California Patchen. This mare was, practically, of unknown
breeding. California Patchen was bred on Whiskey Jane and the produce
was his best son, Sam Purdy. This mare Whiskey Jane was quite a trotter
and she was undoubtedly pacing bred, but I will not here enter into the
details of her origin.

We have here before us a condensed view of the trotting inheritance of
the Clay and the Patchen families from Andrew Jackson to Sam Purdy, and
its most remarkable feature is its poverty in recognized trotting blood.
On the maternal side, the pacing habit of action seems to prevail in
almost every succeeding generation. The second thought is that the tribe
has not held its vantage ground of the first and the longest line of
developed trotting speed. The third is that it has failed to transmit
speed with uniformity, but rather sporadically. This may be accounted
for by the general character and uncertainty of the maternal side, and
suggests the question whether animals so bred can be relied upon to
transmit with uniformity an inheritance received sporadically. From its
place in the first rank as to time and popularity, this family has not
been able to hold its own and it has declined to a place among the minor
families of trotters and bids fair to be absorbed by tribes of stronger
trotting inheritance.



    Seely’s American Star—His fictitious pedigree—Breeding
    really unknown—A trotter of some merit—His stud career—His
    daughters noted brood mares— Conklin’s American Star—Old Pacing
    Pilot—History and probable origin —Pilot Jr.—Pedigree—Training
    and races—Prepotency—Family statistics summarized—Grinnell’s
    Champion, son of Almack—His sons and performing
    descendants—Alexander’s Norman and his sire, the Morse Horse—
    Swigert and Blackwood.

Of all the hundreds of difficult and obscure pedigrees that I have
undertaken to investigate and straighten out, I have given more time,
labor and money to that of Seely’s American Star than to any other
horse. In 1867 I got his pedigree from a gentleman in Morris County,
New Jersey, who claimed to have bred him, and this pedigree and the
history accompanying it embracing several details that were interesting,
I published it, at full length, in the _Spirit of the Times_. This
represented the horse as a light chestnut about fifteen hands high, with
star and snip and two white hind feet. He was represented to have been
foaled 1837 and to be by a horse called American Star, son of Cock of the
Rock, by Duroc; dam Sally Slouch by Henry, the race horse; grandam by
imported Messenger. As there was no horse of that name, so far as I knew,
by Cock of the Rock, but as there was one of that name by Duroc, I wrote
to know whether this was not the breeding of the sire, and the answer
came that it might have been so.

After the appearance of this pedigree in the “Register” I was greatly
surprised that nobody believed it, and the more a horseman knew of the
horse and his history the more positive he was that it was a mistake.
Several years passed away, and while I kept insisting it was true, the
unbelievers became more persistent than ever in their opposition to the
pedigree. The consensus of the opinions of horsemen seemed to be that the
horse was part “Canuck,” and this was the view held by his owner, Edmund
Seely, as long as he lived. At last the following story came to me from
different responsible persons, all of whom were personally cognizant
of the facts they related, as follows: On a certain occasion a street
contractor had a force at work, grading with shovels and carts, near
the foot of Twenty-third Street, I think, New York City. Among the cart
horses there was a Canadian stallion and a frisky, high-strung bay mare
that wouldn’t work kindly. One day during the noon hour, the “boys” for
amusement brought this stallion and mare together and in due time the
mare proved to be with foal, and she was sent over to Jersey the next
spring. The foal she there dropped was Seely’s American Star. When I
asked to whom the mare had been sent to be taken care of, the answer came
back quickly naming the same man whom I had represented as the breeder.
As the contractor had no use for the colt, as a matter of course, the
keeper of the mare would take the colt for the keeping. There is nothing
unnatural nor unreasonable in this story, and it bears a pretty strong
resemblance to the way the dam of the famous George M. Patchen came into
the world.

When the horse was four or five years old he began to show a fine
trotting step and he was sold to John Blauvelt, of New York, for a
driving horse. His feet not being strong, in the course of a year or two
he developed a couple of quarter cracks and he was sent back to the man
who raised him to be cured. In the winter of 1844-5 he was sold to Cyrus
Dubois, of Ulster County, New York, who kept him in the stud the seasons
of 1845, 1846 and 1847. His advertisement for the year 1847 reads as

    “American Star is a chestnut sorrel, eight years old on the
    11th day of April, 1847, near 16 hands high, etc.... He was
    sired by the noted trotting horse Mingo, of Long Island, who
    was got by old Eclipse. American Star’s dam, Lady Clinton, the
    well-known trotting mare of New Jersey, was sired by Sir Henry.”

Here we have the third pedigree of this horse, and now the question
arises, Where did this pedigree come from? Cyrus Dubois is dead, but
a living brother of his says this is the pedigree that Cyrus brought
with the horse from New Jersey. As this same quasi-breeder was the man
who delivered the horse to Dubois, the statement of the living brother
comes very near proving that the first and the third of the pedigrees
here given were the work of the same man. Again, in 1844, this same
quasi-breeder kept this horse at Warwick and New Milford, in Orange
County, New York, and nobody in that region seems to have ever heard of
either of these pedigrees. And again, this quasi-breeder wrote me that
after Edmund Seely had brought the horse to Goshen he went to see him,
and after fully identifying him as the same horse he had bred he gave the
pedigree to Mr. Seely as he had given it to me. If this be true it is a
very strange thing that Mr. Seely never seemed to know anything about
it, but persisted in giving the pedigree as by a Canadian horse and out
of a mare by Henry. Upon the whole, I long ago concluded that my first
and earliest correspondent on the question of American Star’s origin was
unfortunate in having a mental organization that placed him “long” on the
ideal, and “short” on the real.

His stud services may be summarized as follows: In 1844 he was kept at
Warwick and New Milford, Orange County, New York. In 1845, 1846 and 1847
he was in Ulster County, and on the borders of Orange. In 1848 and 1849
he was at Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York. In 1850, 1851, 1852 and
1853 he was at Goshen and other points in Orange County. In 1854 he was
at Elmira, New York. In 1855, it is said on good authority, he was kept
ten miles below Hudson. Others say he was at Piermont, Rockland County,
that year. In 1856 he was at Mendota, Illinois. In 1857, 1859 and 1860 he
was again in Goshen. In February, 1861, he died at Goshen, the property
of Theodore Dusenbury. In Orange County his service fee ranged from ten
to twenty dollars, and at last twenty-five dollars, and he was liberally
patronized. An unusually large percentage of his foals were fillies, and
he was essentially a brood-mare sire from the start. Opinions differ very
widely among horsemen as to his capacity for speed, some maintaining that
he could trot in 2:35 while others insisted on placing him ten seconds
slower. In trying to harmonize these conflicting views it is probably
safe to conclude that, when fit, which seldom occurred in his whole life,
his speed was about 2:40. He was always a cripple from defective feet
and limbs, and his whole progeny were more or less subject to the same

He left four trotters that barely managed to get inside the 2:30 list
and eight sons that put sixteen inside of the list. But his strong point
was in the producing character of his daughters. Thirty-six of these
daughters left forty-five of their produce inside of 2:30. The disparity
in the producing power of the sexes in this family is very remarkable
and, in a breeding sense, very instructive. In the light of what has
been developed in this family in the past fifty years, we are certainly
ready to form a safe estimate of its value as a factor in the combination
that goes to make up a breed of trotters. Star mares gave us a Dexter
and a Nettie, and all the world thought that was the blood that was to
live on and on in the new breed. But, while Hambletonian was able to get
great trotters from Star mares, he was not able to get, through their
attenuated trotting inheritance, sons that would be as great as himself.
To his cover Star mares produced no such great sires as George Wilkes,
Electioneer, Egbert, Happy Medium, and Strathmore. In the instances of
Dictator and Aberdeen there was a reasonable measure of success, but all
the others—and there were many of them—proved comparative failures. There
is a lesson taught here that any one can interpret.

AMERICAN STAR (CONKLIN’S) was a chestnut horse, foaled 1851, and got
by Seely’s American Star, and his dam has been variously represented,
with nothing established as to her blood. He was bred by a Mr. Randall,
of Orange County, and was among the first from his sire to attract
attention. He came into the hands of E. K. Conklin when young, and was
taken by him to Philadelphia, and was owned by him during his lifetime.
He gave early promise of making a trotter, and from 1865 to 1868 he was
on the turf, more or less, and left a record of 2:33. His stud services
were confined to the region of Philadelphia till the year 1872, when he
was taken back to Orange County and died there. Three of his get entered
the 2:30 list; two of his sons got one trotter each and four or five of
his daughters produced one each.

At one time the name “American Star” was very popular, and quite a number
of stallions were so named that were bogus; but his son Magnolia put
two in the 2:30 list; one son got three trotters, and three daughters
produced five performers. His son Star of Catskill got two performers,
and his son King Pharaoh got four pacers and all of them fast. The family
has not grown strong either in numbers or in merit. It has been carried,
so far, by the influences of stronger blood, and it seems destined to
complete absorption and extinction in more potent strains.

PILOT, the head of the Pilot family, was a black pacing horse, and of
later years he has been generally designated as “Old Pacing Pilot.” He
was foaled about 1826, and nothing is known of his origin or his blood.
From his make-up and appearance he was generally considered a Canadian,
as was the custom at that time, and I think I have used this term
myself in referring to the horse, but there is really no foundation for
crediting him to that source. The earliest information we have of him
is from an unpublished source, to the effect that he was well known to
certain sporting men about Covington, Kentucky. He next appears in New
Orleans, hitched to a peddler’s cart, but really looking for a match as
a green pacer. To promote this object, Major Dubois, a sporting man, was
taken into the confidence of his owner, and it is said the horse showed
him a mile in 2:26 with one hundred and sixty-five pounds on his back,
and the major bought him for one thousand dollars. In 1832 Dubois sold
him to Glasgow & Heinsohn, a livery stable firm of Louisville, Kentucky,
and he remained the property of that firm till he died, about 1855. It
has been asserted with some semblance of authority that he could trot as
well as pace, but this seems to be wholly apocryphal, and on this point I
am prepared to speak without hesitation or doubt. A large breeder in the
vicinity of Louisville, whom I have learned to trust implicitly, through
the intercourse of many years, has assured me repeatedly that he knew
the horse and his master well, and that he had seen him very often, for
years, that he would not trot, and that his master could not make him
trot a step. On the occasion of a very deep fall of snow he was taken out
to see whether that would not compel him to trot, and he went rolling and
tumbling about with no more gait than a hobbled hog.

He left a numerous progeny, most of them pacers, with some trotters. We
know but little of their merits, as at that period pacing and trotting
races were carried on, generally, on guerrilla principles, and no records
kept, except at a few of the more prominent occasions. His fastest pacer,
probably, was Bear Grass, and there is a little history here that will
be interesting further on. My late friend, Edmund Pearce, had always,
from childhood, been a great admirer of the grand old saddle mare, Nancy
Taylor. She had been bred to Old Pilot and produced a colt foal, which
Mr. Pearce bought when young and named him Bear Grass. This was the
first piece of horseflesh he ever owned, and he didn’t think he had ever
owned a better one. He was amazingly fast, and could go away from all
competitors, but unfortunately an accident befell him that ended his
career before he reached maturity. Bear Grass had a half-sister called
Nancy Pope, being the daughter of Nancy Taylor, that was afterward bred
to Old Pilot, and she produced the famous Pilot Jr., that was the fastest
trotter from the loins of the old pacer. Pilot Jr. took the diagonal form
of the trot from his dam and never paced. It is worthy of noting that
Nancy Taylor and Nancy Pope—mother and daughter—produced old Pilot’s
fastest pacer and fastest trotter.

PILOT JR. (ALEXANDER’S) was a grey horse, foaled 1844, “got by old Pacing
Pilot; dam Nancy Pope, grandam Nancy Taylor.” This is the literal version
of his pedigree as given by his first owners and as given by W. J.
Bradley and others who had him in charge year after year in the region of
Lexington, according to the different advertisements, and no change ever
appeared till the horse was bought and taken to Woodburn Farm. Then, for
the first time we learned that Nancy Pope was got by Havoc, thoroughbred
son of Sir Charles, and that Nancy Taylor was got by Alfred, an imported
horse. This was not the work of Mr. R. A. Alexander, an honorable man,
but the work of the professional pedigree manufacturer, who exploited
his inventive skill very widely through the early catalogues of that
great establishment. As a matter of historic fact, Pilot Jr.’s dam was
Nancy Pope, but nothing is known of her sire, and Nancy Pope was out of
Nancy Taylor, about whose pedigree nothing whatever is known. But as the
subject of Pilot Jr.’s pedigree is exhaustively treated in Chapter XXIX.,
the details need not be further dealt with here.

The training of Pilot Jr. commenced when he was five years old, and after
the close of his stud seasons he was kept at it, in a moderate way,
for several years, and it is said he never manifested any inclination
to strike a pace. He was engaged in some races, and his advertisement
claims he won several, giving the names of horses he had beaten, but the
time made seems to be carefully avoided. He could probably trot in about
2:50 or a little better. He and all his family, so far as I can learn,
were willful and hard to manage in their training, and were, therefore,
in danger of becoming unreliable, but they were fast for their day, and
dead game campaigners. There is one particular in which this horse seemed
to surpass nearly all others and that was in his power to eliminate the
running instinct and to plant the trotting instinct in his progeny from
running-bred mares. It is doubtless true that many of those mares, so
classed, were only running bred on paper; but the fact still remains,
and it is supported by a sufficient number of authentic instances, to
justify the conclusion that his potency in this direction was remarkable.

During the troublous times of the war many of his early progeny were
lost or destroyed, but from his own loins he put eight performers in the
2:30 list and others not far away. Six of his sons became the sires of
forty-one performers, and eighteen of his daughters produced forty-one
performers. Although the official records do not show that Pilot Jr.
got any pacers, it is nevertheless true that he did get some very fast
ones. But when we get past the period when the pacer was considered a
bastard and kept out of sight, we meet with some astonishing facts. As an
example, take Miss Russell, the greatest of all the Pilots. First, she
produced a pacer that was changed to the diagonal instead of the lateral
step, and then stood for years as the champion trotter of the world.
Second, her son Nutwood has placed twenty pacers in the 2:30 list; her
son Mambrino Russell has placed five there, and her son Lord Russell has
placed five there. This brief and hasty exhibit of what the descendants
of Miss Russell are doing seems to upset all the laws of heredity,
provided always that her dam was a thoroughbred mare. The evidence that
the breeding of this reputed “thoroughbred” mare is wholly unknown is
considered in another part of this volume.

In a few odd instances, in the male lines of descent from Pilot Jr., the
trotting and pacing instinct seem to be transmitted in stronger measure
than in any of the other minor families, but the day of its submersion is
not far distant. The survival of the fittest is the law of Nature.

CHAMPION, the head of the Champion family, was a beautiful golden
chestnut, sixteen hands high and without marks. He was bred by George
Raynor, of Huntington, Long Island, and was foaled 1842. He was got by
Almack, son of Mambrino, by Messenger; dam Spirit, by Engineer Second,
son of Engineer, by Messenger, and sire of the famous Lady Suffolk. This
is enough Messenger blood to please the most fastidious, but I think
there was still more beyond the Engineer mare. When eighteen months old
this colt showed phenomenal speed when led behind a sulky, and when
three years old he was driven a full mile to harness in 3:05, a rate of
speed which, at that time had never been equaled by a colt of that age.
This made him “champion” as a three-year-old and William T. Porter named
him Champion. After this performance Mr. John Sniffin, a merchant of
Brooklyn, bought him, and in June, 1846, Mr. William R. Grinnell paid
two thousand six hundred dollars for him and took him to Cayuga County,
New York. After keeping Champion in that county till the close of the
season of 1849, Mr. Grinnell concluded to sell the horse, as in all that
time he had not covered one hundred mares. Mr. Grinnell complained that
the farmers did not appreciate the horse, and many of them failed to pay
for his services. But the fault was not all on the part of the farmers,
for the price, to them, was very high, and he was a very uncertain foal

In April, 1850, he was sent to New York and kept in the stable of Mr.
Van Cott, on the Harlem road. He had been very badly handled, and Mr.
Van Cott says he had been abused and ill-treated, and when he came to
his place he was as vicious and savage as a wild beast. The horse was
kept there for sale, and in his daily exercise Mr. Van Cott says he could
“show considerably better than 2:40 at any time.” In 1851 he was sent
over to Jersey and kept for public use at a fee of fifty dollars, by
Samuel Taylor, at Newmarket, Metuchen, Boundbrook and Millstone. After
making three or four seasons in the region of Boundbrook, in the year
1854, Mr. Grinnell, who still owned him, sold him to Mr. James Harkness,
of St. Louis, Missouri, for about seven hundred and fifty dollars. On
reaching St. Louis he proved to be as dangerous as ever, and no man dared
to go into his stall, except Mr. Harkness and one assistant. In 1858 Mr.
Harkness sold him to Thomas T. Smith, of Independence, Missouri, for
one thousand dollars. He was there stolen by “jayhawkers” and taken to
Leavenworth, Kansas, where he made two seasons and died 1864. Although he
lived to be old, he left comparatively few colts, but a large proportion
of that few were of excellent quality and many of them trotters.

CHAMPION (SCOBEY’S also known as King’s Champion) was the best son of
Grinnell’s Champion, the son of Almack, and he came out of a mare called
Bird, by Redbird, son of Billy Duroc. He was foaled 1849, and was bred
by Jesse M. Davis, then of Cayuga County, New York, and sold to David
King, of Northville, New York, and by him in 1861 to Mr. Kellogg, of
Battle Creek, Michigan. He was repurchased by Messrs. Backus, Scobey and
Burlew in August, 1865, and soon became the property of Mr. C. Scobey
and died his in May, 1874. It has been claimed this horse had speed and
a record of 2:42 in 1857, but I have no data to determine how fast he
was. From his own loins he put eight performers in the 2:30 list, two
of which were phenomenally fast, although their records do not show it.
Here I allude to Nettie Burlew and Sorrel Dapper, more generally known as
“The Auburn Horse.” The latter was a long, leggy, light chestnut, with a
tremendous stride, and Hiram Woodruff did not hesitate to say he was a
faster horse than Dexter. This Champion was a sire of excellent quality,
although but a few of his progeny were developed. He left six sons that
were the sires of forty-four trotters, and seven daughters that produced
nine performers.

CHAMPION (GOODING’S) was a bright bay horse with black points, standing
fifteen and three-quarter hands high. He was got by Scobey’s Champion,
dam the trotting mare Cynthia, by Bartlett’s Turk, son of Weddle’s
imported Turk; grandam Fanny, by Scobey’s Black Prince; great-grandam
Bett, by Rockplanter, son of Duroc; great-great-grandam Kate, represented
to be a Messenger mare. He was foaled 1853, and was bred by Almeron Ott,
Cayuga County, New York, and traded to Mr. Stearns, from whom he passed
to his late owners, T. W. and W. Gooding, Ontario County, New York. He
died June, 1883. This horse was peddled about in Seneca County at a fee
of five dollars, and had a very light patronage among the farmers. At
last he was sold, with difficulty, at Canandaigua, for three hundred
dollars to the Messrs. Gooding, and he brought them a handsome income as
long as he lived. As his reputation as a sire of speed spread abroad,
the quality of the mares brought to him improved, and among them were
some with good trotting inheritance. Of his progeny, seventeen entered
the 2:30 list, the fastest in 2:21, and they were good campaigners. It
is a remarkable fact that only one of his sons proved himself a trotting
sire, and he left but a single representative. On the female side of the
house he was more successful, for six of his daughters produced seven

CHARLEY B. was a bay horse, sixteen hands high, and was bred by Charles
Burlew, of Union Springs, New York. He was foaled 1869, and was got by
Scobey’s Champion, son of Champion, by Almack, and proved himself the
best son of his sire. He was out of a mare well known as “Old Jane” that
was the dam of Myrtle with a record of 2:25½. Several pedigrees have
been provided for this mare that did not prove reliable, and they were
all careful to endow her with plenty of Messenger blood. After searching
for the facts through some years, the only version of it that seemed
to be worthy of credence showed that her sire was a horse called Magnum
Bonum and there it ended. In his racing career this horse was started
sometimes under the name of “Lark.” He has six heats to his credit
in 2:30 and better, and a record of 2:25. From his own loins he has
twenty-two trotters in the 2:30 list. Considering the respectable number
this horse shows in the 2:30 list, his great nervous energy, his vigorous
constitution, and the number of years he was liberally patronized in
the stud, it is a most notable fact that he has but two sons that are
producers. Six of his daughters have produced. As a propagator of speed
in the coming generations, this horse seems to be even a greater failure
than his half-brother, Gooding’s Champion.

NIGHT HAWK was a chestnut son of Grinnell’s Champion. He was bred by
John S. Van Kirk, of Newark, New Jersey, and his dam was by Sherman’s
Young Eclipse, son of American Eclipse. He was foaled 1855-6. In 1862
Mr. Van Kirk took him to Kalamazoo, Michigan, thence to Paw Paw in 1872,
and in 1879 he was returned to Kalamazoo, owned by A. T. Tuthill. He
was something of a trotter, and had a record of 2:36, under the name of
Champion, when he was controlled by Mr. D. B. Hibbard, I think. He was
shown at a State fair, held at Lansing, on a poor half-mile track, it is
said, and trotted a mile in 2:31¼, and for this performance he received
a piece of plate from the society testifying to this fact. He has but
two representatives in the 2:30 list, and three of his sons have five
trotters to their credit, while six of his daughters have produced seven
performers. He lived to an old age.

The merits and demerits of this family are very marked. The head of it
seems to have possessed great nerve force and an unmistakable instinct
to trot, but he was irritable and vicious in his temper. Both these
qualities—the desirable and the undesirable alike—he seems to have
transmitted to his offspring. I have seen Gooding’s Champion, and he had
the temper and disposition of his grandsire. It appears that the original
Champion was a shy breeder, and I am disposed to think he inherited this
infirmity from his sire, Almack, and whether the inability of his sons
and grandsons to get sires of trotters may be accounted for from this
cause would be a very difficult question to answer. There are several
others of this family, East and West, that have single representatives in
the 2:30 list, that I have not enumerated, but from the statistics, as
they now stand, it seems probable that whatever is good in this family
will be swallowed up in other tribes that are more prepotent and positive
in the trotting instinct.

NORMAN, OR THE MORSE HORSE.—This horse was originally named “Norman,” but
in later years he was more generally and widely known as The Morse Horse.
His family is not large, but some of his descendants have shown great
speed and great racing qualities. His origin and breeding as given below
have resulted from a wide and laborious correspondence, and, I think, can
be accepted as trustworthy. He was bred by James McNitt, of Hartford,
Washington County, New York, who was a large farmer and distiller. He
was foaled 1834, got by European; dam Beck, by Harris’ Hambletonian;
grandam Mozza, by Peacock, son of imported Messenger. He was fifteen and
three-quarter hands high, a dark iron grey when young, and became white
with age. He had plenty of bone, was handsome and a natural trotter.
Something of the history of the animals entering into this pedigree is
important and I will try to give it in as brief form as possible.

The breeder, Mr. McNitt, was in the habit of visiting Montreal at least
once a year with the products of his farm and his distillery. On one
occasion he brought back three horses with him, two “Canucks” and a very
elegant grey horse that he called European, that was evidently somewhat
advanced in years and was a little knee-sprung from the effects of
hard driving. The two “Canucks” were fast trotters, but European could
beat either of them. Mr. McNitt represented that this horse had been
imported into Canada from Normandy in France and doubtless he believed
it, but there were none of the French characteristics about him. He was
purchased in Montreal about 1829 and died in Washington County about
1836. The dam and grandam of the Morse Horse were bred by Mr. Joseph T.
Mills, of the town of Argyle, in Washington County. Beck, the dam, was
a bright bay mare about sixteen hands high. At weaning time Mr. Mills
sold her to Robert Stewart, of Greenwich, and at three years old he sold
her to Mr. McNitt. She was got by Harris’ Hambletonian, when he was
kept by John Williams, Jr. This is established quite satisfactorily and
circumstantially. Mozza, the dam of Beck, was a chestnut mare, without
marks, and was got by Peacock, a son of imported Messenger that was
owned by Mr. Emerson in Saratoga County and was afterward burned up in
his stable. This son of Messenger, called Peacock, was entirely new to
me when I was investigating this pedigree in 1876 and I was disposed
to reject it, but Mr. Mills certainly had a horse of that name and he
represented him to be a son of Messenger, and he probably was, but I do
not _know_ that he was so bred.

Mr. McNitt sold the colt at three years old to Martin Stover, who lived
on his place, for eighty dollars; the next year Stover sold him to James
Mills. In 1840 Mills sold him to Mr. Tefft and Zack Adams, and they sold
him not long after to Philip Allen and Calvin Morse, of White Creek. Mr.
Morse had him a number of years and when old sold him to Mr. Grant, and
he died at Spiegletown in Renssalaer County, New York. He was a very
perfect, natural trotter, and his speed was developed to some extent. In
August, 1847 or 1848, Mr. Morse put him into the hands of John Case, of
Saratoga Springs, the driver of Lady Moscow, to prepare him for the State
Fair, at which he expected to meet the famous Black Hawk. Mr. J. L. D.
Eyclesheimer, a very intelligent gentleman, formerly of the region of
Saratoga, wrote that while the horse was in Case’s hands, he, with Mr.
Morse, timed him a full mile in 2:40½. At the State Fair he was all out
of fix and Black Hawk beat him in the second and third heats. He won the
first heat in 2:52½. In the rivalries between stallions at agricultural
fairs, however, is a very poor place to look for fair work and fair
judgment, either from the stand or from the spectators.

GENERAL TAYLOR was a grey horse, foaled 1847, got by the Morse Horse,
dam the trotting mare Flora, a New York road mare of unknown breeding.
He was bred by the brothers Eyclesheimer, then of Pittstown, New York.
He was taken to Janesville, Wisconsin, 1850, and thence to California,
1854, where he trotted thirty miles against time in one hour forty-seven
minutes and fifty-nine seconds. He also beat New York a ten-mile race in
29:41½. This horse has no representative in the 2:30 list, but his blood
has always been very highly esteemed in California for its speed, but
more especially for its game qualities. Honest Ance was another son of
the Morse Horse that did a great deal of racing in California, although
he has no record in the 2:30 list. He was a chestnut gelding, and was
managed by the notorious Jim Eoff, who was always ready to win or to lose
as the money seemed to suggest.

NORMAN (ALEXANDER’S) was a brown horse, foaled about 1846, got by the
Morse Horse, son of European; dam one of a pair of brown mares purchased
by John N. Slocum of Samuel Slocum, a Quaker of Leroy, Jefferson County,
New York, and represented to be by Magnum Bonum. These mares passed to
Mr. Russell, and from him to Titcomb & Waldron, who bred the better of
the two to the Morse Horse, and the produce was Alexander’s Norman.
This colt passed through several hands till he reached Henry L. Barker,
of Clinton, New York, and about 1860, he sold him to the late R. A.
Alexander, of Woodburn Farm, Kentucky. He died 1878. The original version
of this pedigree, as put upon Mr. Alexander and advertised by him, as
were many others, was wholly fictitious on the side of the dam. He
was not retained long at Woodburn Farm. He does not seem to have been
a uniform transmitter of speed, but when it did appear it was apt to
be of a high order. He left but two representatives in the 2:30 list,
Lula, 2:15, with fifty-six heats, and May Queen, 2:20, with twenty-five
heats. He left four sons that became the sires of fifty-eight performers
and thirteen daughters that produced nineteen performers. Such sons as
Swigert and Blackwood speak well for his transmitting powers.

SWIGERT was a brown horse, foaled 1866, got by Alexander’s Norman, son of
the Morse Horse; dam Blandina, by Mambrino Chief; grandam the Burch Mare,
by Brown Pilot, son of Copper Bottom, pacer. He was bred at Woodburn
Farm, Kentucky, and when young became the property of Richard Richards,
of Racine, Wisconsin, where he remained many years and passed to F. J.
Ayres, of Burlington, Wisconsin. As a prepotent sire this horse stands
high in the list of great horses. This may be accounted for in great
part by the speed-producing qualities which he inherited from his dam.
I am not informed as to the amount of training he may have had, nor of
the rate of speed he may have been able to show. He placed forty-four
trotters and two pacers in the 2:30 list. Thirty-three of his sons became
the sires of sixty-one trotters and fourteen pacers. Twenty-three of his
daughters produced twenty-one trotters and six pacers. From the number
of his sons that have already shown their ability to get trotters, it is
fair to presume that his name will be perpetuated. He died in 1892.

BLACKWOOD was a black horse, foaled 1866, got by Alexander’s Norman, son
of the Morse Horse; dam by Mambrino Chief; grandam a fast trotting dun
mare, brought from Ohio, pedigree unknown. He was bred by D. Swigert,
Spring Station, Kentucky, and foaled the property of Andrew Steele, of
Scott County, Kentucky. At five years old he was sold to John W. Conley,
and by him to Harrison Durkee, of New York, and was afterward owned at
Ticonderoga, New York. He made a record of 2:31 when three years old,
which, at that day, was considered phenomenal for a colt of that age. His
opportunities in the stud were not of the best, but nine of his progeny
entered the 2:30 list; eleven of his sons got twenty performers, and
twenty-five of his daughters produced thirty-seven performers.



    Blue Bull, the once leading sire—His lineage and history—His
    family rank— The Cadmus family—Pocahontas—Smuggler—Tom
    Rolfe—Young Rolfe and Nelson—The Tom Hal family—The various
    Tom Hals—Brown Hal—The Kentucky Hunters—Flora Temple—Edwin
    Forrest—The Drew Horse and his descendants—The Hiatogas.

BLUE BULL, the real head of this family, was one of the most remarkable
horses that this or any other country has produced. He was a light
chestnut, just a little over fifteen hands high, with one hind pastern
white and a star in his forehead. He was strongly built and his limbs
were excellent, except perhaps a little light just below the knee. He
was foaled 1858 and died July 11, 1880. He was bred by Elijah Stone, of
Stone’s Crossing, Johnson County, Indiana. For a time he was owned by
Lewis Loder and Daniel Dorrel, before he passed into the hands of James
Wilson, of Rushville, Indiana, who kept him many years and whose property
he died. At one time he stood at the head of the list of all trotting
sires in the world, and yet he could not trot a step himself, but he
could pace amazingly fast, and it was claimed he could pace a quarter in
thirty seconds. He was the first and only horse that was ever able to
snatch the scepter from the great Hambletonian family, but after a brief
reign of a couple of years he had to surrender it again to that family,
where, from present appearances, it is destined to remain.

The breeding of this horse is very obscure, and after we have told all
that is known about it we will not have given very much information.
He was got by a large dun pacing horse that was known as Pruden’s Blue
Bull, and he by a blue roan horse known as Merring’s Blue Bull, or Ohio
Farmer. The latter was taken to Butler County, Ohio, from Chester County,
Pennsylvania, and it has been said, without confirmation, that he was of
Chester Ball stock. He was a large, strong farm horse, a natural pacer,
as were many of his progeny, and dun and roan colors were very prevalent
among them. He died the property of Mr. Merring about 1843. His son,
Pruden’s Blue Bull, was of a dun color and a natural pacer, but his dam
has never been traced. He was large, strong, rather coarse, and had some
reputation as a fast pacer, for a horse of his size, and his color was
quite prevalent among his progeny. He was bred in Butler County, Ohio,
and about 1853 was taken to Boone County, Kentucky. In 1861 he became the
property of G. B. Loder, of the same county, and in 1863 he traded him to
James Pruden, of Elizabethtown, Ohio.

The pedigree of Wilson’s Blue Bull, the head of the family on the side
of the dam, is equally unsatisfactory so far as the blood elements are
concerned. We know that this dam was called Queen, that she was bred by
Elijah Stone, and that she was got by a horse called Young Selim, but we
know nothing about Young Selim. We also know that the dam of Queen was
called Bet, and that Mr. Stone bought her of Mr. Sedan, and there all
knowledge ends. Since the days of the great racing progenitor, Godolphin
Arabian, of whose origin and blood nobody, living or dead, had a single
shadow of knowledge, down to the day of Wilson’s Blue Bull, no horse
equally obscure in his inheritance has ever been able to prove himself
really great as a progenitor of speed.

In the days of Blue Bull’s rising fame, and indeed till his death, there
was developed such a condition of muddled morals as one seldom meets with
in a lifetime. Whenever a horse of unknown breeding, in any one of three
or four States, began to show some speed, his owner at once called him
a Blue Bull, and if he went fast enough to enter the 2:30 list, he was
at once credited to Blue Bull by his friends, and they were all ready
to fight for it. If the books of Blue Bull’s services did not show that
the dam of the “unknown” had ever been within a hundred miles of that
horse, it was all the worse for the books. With a large number of men
interested financially in Blue Bull stock, ready to claim everything
in sight and anxiously looking for something more to appear, it became
a most laborious task to keep this class of frauds out of the records.
Another cause of dissent and dissatisfaction among the “boomers” of Blue
Bull blood was the final discovery of the breeder in Elijah Stone and
that there was no “thoroughbred” blood in his veins. At that time a very
large majority of the horsemen of the country honestly believed that all
speed, whether at the pace or the trot, must come from the gallop. It
was not the _truth_, therefore, that these people were looking for, but
something to support that ignorant and stupid theory.

A careful study of the statistics of this horse will teach a valuable
lesson. He put fifty-six trotters into the 2:30 list, varying in speed
from 2:30 to 2:17¼, and five of this number in 2:20 or better. He also
got four pacers with records from 2:24½ to 2:16¼. It thus appears that
this horse, without any known trotting blood, got fifty-four trotters
to four pacers, which clearly shows that an inheritance of speed at the
pace may be transmitted at the trot, as well as the pace. When we come to
his progeny, we find that forty-seven of his sons have to their credit
one hundred and four performers, making an average of a little more
than two each. These sons are all past maturity and some of them dead
of old age, and not one of them has ever reached mediocrity in merit as
a sire. He left seventy-seven daughters that have produced one hundred
and seven performers, and if we had time to trace out these performers
we would find that they were generally by strains of blood stronger and
better than the blood of Blue Bull. While, therefore, we can acknowledge
Blue Bull’s greatness as a getter of speed from his own loins, we must
acknowledge that his sons and daughters as the producers of speed are
failures. It is possible that some representative of the tribe may
spring up and restore the prestige of the family, but as the source is
sporadic and as the country is filled up with trotting elements that are
more prepotent, it is more likely to be swallowed up and lose its family

CADMUS (known as Irons’ Cadmus) was the head of a very small family that
occasionally developed phenomenal speed either at the pace or the trot.
He was a chestnut horse nearly sixteen hands high, strong and active,
with four white feet. He was foaled 1840 and was got by Cadmus, the
thoroughbred son of American Eclipse, and was bred by Goldsmith Coffein,
Red Lion, Warren County, Ohio. His dam was a chestnut pacing mare that
Mr. Coffein got in a trade, from a traveler, and nothing was ever known
of her breeding. A pedigree was shaped up for her that seemed to make
her thoroughbred and her son took a prize on it once, as a thoroughbred,
but it was wholly untrue. Mr. John Irons of the same county became joint
owner in this horse, and he became widely known as “Irons’ Cadmus.” To
close this partnership he was sold, 1850, and taken to Richmond, Indiana;
then to George Shepher, of Butler County, Ohio, and next to a company in
Wheeling, West Virginia, where he made two seasons, and was sold to St.
Louis, Missouri, and died without further service, in 1858. From birth
he was double-gaited, inclining more to the pace than to the trot. From
unskillful handling his gaits became mixed up so that it was never known
whether he might have been able to show any speed or not.

Pocahontas, the pacer, was the most distinguished of his get, and if
there were no others of merit from her sire this one alone would be
sufficient to command a place in the volume. She was a large, strong
chestnut mare with four white legs, a white face, and a splotch of white
on her belly. She was bred by John C. Dine, of Butler County, Ohio, and
was foaled 1847. Her dam was a very strong mare got by Probasco’s Big
Shakespeare, a horse over sixteen hands and very heavily proportioned,
a very valuable farm horse with good action, many of whose tribe were
disposed to pace. The grandam was also a descendant of Valerius, that
was brought to Ohio from New Jersey. Pocahontas passed through several
hands at very low prices and was used for all kinds of heavy farming and
hauling until she reached the hands of L. D. Woodmansee, when her speed
began to be developed. She was soon matched against Ben Higdon, the fast
pacing son of Abdallah, and beat him in 2:32. In December, 1853, she was
taken to New Orleans, and beat several celebrities there early the next
spring. Before her last race it was discovered she was in foal, and some
two months afterward she dropped Tom Rolfe. In the autumn of 1854 she was
brought to the Union Course, Long Island, and it was not till June, 1855,
that her owners and managers could get a match with her. At last Hero,
the famous son of Harris’ Hambletonian, met her for two thousand dollars,
he to harness and she to wagon. In the first heat she distanced the
gelding in 2:17½, and it was maintained by her driver that she could have
gone at least five seconds faster, if it had been necessary. For racing
purposes she was no longer of any value, for nothing would start against
her. She was then sold and became a brood mare at Boston, Massachusetts,
and produced the sires Tom Rolfe and Strideway, Pocahontas, 2:26¾, and
the dams of May Morning, 2:30, and Nancy, 2:23½, thus ranking as a great
brood mare.

Shanghai Mary, that has become so famous as the dam of Green Mountain
Maid, one of the very greatest of all brood mares, was probably a
daughter of this same horse, Cadmus. This mare, Shanghai Mary, was a
trotter of speed, not far from a 2:30 gait, and she won some races, but
she was hot-headed and unreliable. Notwithstanding continuous searches,
for years, her origin remained a profound mystery, until of recent date
certain facts point to Mr. Coffein as her breeder and Cadmus as her sire.
This has not been established historically, but when the circumstances
are understood and taken in connection with the internal evidences, which
are amazingly strong, and had been pointed out and applied to this sire
long before the recent developments, there remains hardly a moral doubt
that she was by Cadmus. The fact that this mare is the maternal grandam
of Electioneer, the greatest of all trotting sires to date, makes her
pedigree a matter of special interest, and for details of the various
investigations the reader is referred to _Wallace’s Monthly_, and to
Chapter XXIX. of this volume.

Pocahontas seems to have produced but five foals that reached maturity:
1855, Tom Rolfe, of which hereafter; 1859, Young Pocahontas, by Ethan
Allen, a very fast trotter; 1860, May Queen, by Ethan Allen; 1861, May
Day, by Miles Standish; 1863 bay colt Strideway, by Black Hawk Telegraph.
This was a very fast and promising young horse, and doubtless would have
stood among the fastest stallions of his day, but he died on the very eve
of his public appearance on the trotting turf.

TOM ROLFE had a checkered existence from his conception. His dam,
Pocahontas, was bred to Pugh’s Aratus, by Abraham Pierce, her then owner,
May 10, 1853, and ten days afterward she was sold without her new owner’s
knowing she had been bred. He was thus carried in his mother’s womb,
during her training and through her racing campaign in New Orleans, until
a little over two months of the time he was dropped. During most of this
period those handling the mare did not know she had been bred, and hence
the story that Tom was a “catch” colt. He was a bay, about fifteen hands
two inches high, and came to his speed with very little handling. In
private trials, it is said, he had frequently shown a mile in 2:23. While
on exhibition in a small ring at Dayton, Ohio, he met with an accident,
from which he was ever afterward a cripple. In this condition however,
he afterward made a record in 2:33½. His sire, Pugh’s Aratus, was a
large, handsome farm horse, sixteen hands two inches high, and weighing
one thousand three hundred pounds. He was got by Phares’ Aratus, out
of a fast pacing mare. There is no evidence whatever going to show that
Phares’ Aratus was a son of Aratus by Director. The type of the family
did not indicate the possession of any running blood. Tom Rolfe put four
trotters and three pacers, all with fast records, into the 2:30 list, and
three of his sons left twenty-nine performers. In the latter years of his
life he was sold by Mr. Woodmansee to Mr. Wesley P. Balch, of Boston, and
died 1877.

YOUNG ROLFE was the best son of Tom Rolfe. He was a bay, foaled 1876, and
came out of Judith, by Draco, son of Young Morrill, and she out of Lady
Balch, by Rising Sun. He was bred by Wesley P. Balch, passed to C. H.
Nelson, of Maine, then back to John Sheppard of Boston, and died 1884,
when only eight years old. He was one of the best horses of his day, as
a race horse, and his early death was universally considered a great
loss to the breeding interests of the country. He has to his credit nine
representative trotters in the 2:30 list.

NELSON, the great son of Young Rolfe, was bred and owned by G. H.
Nelson, Waterville, Maine. He is a bay horse, foaled 1882, and out of
Gretchen, the daughter of Gideon, by Hambletonian, 10, and she out of
the fast trotting mare Kate, by Vermont Black Hawk. This horse Gideon,
the son of Hambletonian, was, like his sire, very strongly inbred to old
Messenger, tracing through mares by Young Engineer and Young Commander,
both grandsons of Messenger, to the William Hunter mare, that was by
Messenger himself. When the pedigree of Nelson is compared with the
pedigree of Hambletonian, according to the rules of arithmetic, it may be
found to contain nearly or quite as much Messenger blood as Hambletonian
possessed, but, unfortunately, we know nothing of the trotting capacity
of the intervening mares. If we had a “One Eye” and a “Charles Kent
Mare” coming next to the William Hunter mare, we would have much greater
expectations. But, as it is, when we consider the superlative capacity of
Nelson himself, with his record of 2:09, and his nineteen trotters and
seven pacers already to his credit, it is probable he will found a large
and valuable family.

Through his son Blanco, sire of Smuggler, we have another notable line to
Irons’ Cadmus. Smuggler was in his day the champion trotting stallion,
taking a record of 2:15¼ when owned by Colonel Russell, of Boston,
and driven by Charles Marvin, who after long and painstaking efforts
converted him from his natural gait, the pace, to the trot. Wearing
twenty-four ounces on each fore-foot to keep him at the trot, Smuggler
defeated all the best horses of his day, including Goldsmith Maid. He
was by Blanco, out of a pacing mare of unknown blood. As might have been
expected, he failed to found a great family, though fourteen of his get
are standard performers, and twelve of his sons and seventeen of his
daughters have produced thirty-eight performers.

TOM HAL.—The original Tom Hal was taken to Kentucky, as early, probably,
as 1824, and as was the custom in those days, he was called a Canadian,
like all other pacing horses. The tradition is that Dr. Boswell got
him in Philadelphia and rode him home to Lexington, Kentucky. Another
statement is that he was taken to Kentucky by John T. Mason, and this
statement appears in the advertisement of the horse for the year 1828.
As the horse was in the hands of William L. Breckenridge that year, and
as his advertisement was practically a contemporaneous record, we must
give the preference to the Mason representation. He was a roan horse, as
I understand, a little over fifteen hands high, stout and stylish. He
was very smooth and pleasant in his gait and a very fast pacer. He was
for some time in the hands of Captain West, of Georgetown, Kentucky, and
then passed to Benjamin N. Shropshire, of Harrison County, and after some
years he died his property.

BALD STOCKINGS, also known as Lail’s Tom Hal, was a chestnut horse with a
bald face and four white legs. He was foaled early in the “forties,” and
was got by the original Tom Hal, and his dam was by Chinn’s Copperbottom.
He was bred by Higgins Chinn, Harrison County, kept for a time by John
Lucas, and owned by Mr. Lail, of the same county. He was one of the
prominent links between the old and the new, and was a fast pacer.

SORREL TOM was a son of Bald Stockings (Lail’s Tom Hal) and bore the same
color and markings. He was bred and owned by John Shawhan, of Harrison
County, Kentucky. His dam was a grey mare from Ohio, of unknown breeding.
He was kept at Falmouth, Indiana, the seasons of 1857 and 1858, and was
very widely known in that region as “Shawhan’s Tom Hal.” He was quite a
large horse, and to take the description as given him, “he could pace
like the wind.” He was then taken back to Kentucky, leaving a multitude
of good colts behind him, among them the famous pacing gelding, Hoosier
Tom, 2:19½. One of his Indiana sons passed into the hands of William
Gray, of Rush County, Indiana, and became known as Gray’s Tom Hal.
Nothing is known of the dam of this horse. He was the sire of Little
Gipsey, trotter, 2:22, and Limber Jack, pacer, 2:18½, besides six
daughters that produced nine performers.

About 1863-4 Mr. Shropshire, Jr., a son of the owner of the original Tom
Hal, brought a little roan Tom Hal horse to Rushville, Indiana, where
he stood a number of years and was known as Shropshire’s Tom Hal. This
horse was probably by Lail’s Tom Hal, as he was too young to be by the
original of the name. He was a fast pacer, but nothing is known of his
progeny or history. The locating of this Indiana branch of the family is
of particular interest, for it shows a concentration of pacing blood that
was doubtless a strong reinforcement to Blue Bull.

TOM HAL (KITTRELL’S) was a large bay horse and a pacer, bought by Major
M. B. Kittrell in 1850 of Simeon Kirtly, near Centerville, Bourbon
County, Kentucky, and taken to Middle Tennessee. His sire was represented
to have been a large pacing bay horse that was brought from Canada,
thereby implying that he was the original of the name, brought to
Kentucky. While it is possible that the original Mason horse may have
been the sire of Major Kittrell’s horse, the size and color of that horse
do not correspond with what has been accepted as facts. It is altogether
more probable that the sire of the Tennessee horse was a son of the
original Tom Hal, as the roan color seems to be strongly fixed in all
branches of the family.

TOM HAL JR. (GIBSON’S) was a roan horse, foaled 1860. Got by Kittrell’s
Tom Hal; dam (bred by John Leonard), by Adam’s Stump, pacer; grandam
said to be by Cummings’ Whip, pacer. Bred by H. C. Saunders, Nashville,
Tennessee; kept a number of years by T. D. Moore, Petersburg, Tennessee,
afterward owned by Polk Bros. and Major Campbell Brown, of Springhill,
Tennessee. Adams’ Stump was a roan horse and a fast pacer and he
was not only the sire of Julia Johnson, the dam of this horse, but
also of the dam of Bonesetter. He died of old age, July, 1890. The
strong concentration of pacing blood in his veins gave him unusual
power in transmitting his inherited habit of action. He put fourteen
representatives in the 2:30 list, and what is unprecedented, they are all

BROWN HAL is a brown horse, as his name indicates, foaled 1879, got by
Gibson’s Tom Hal; dam the pacing mare Lizzie, the dam of the pacer Little
Brown Jug, by John Netherland, son of Henry Hal; grandam Blackie, by John
Hal, son of John Eaton; great-grandam Old March, by Young Conqueror.
Bred by R. H. Moore, Culleoka, Tennessee, passed to M. C. Campbell and
Campbell Brown, Springhill, Tennessee. Here we have a still stronger
intensification of the pacing instinct, for this horse not only has a
pacing record himself of 2:12½, but he put twenty of his progeny into the
standard list, and all of them pacers. It is not shown by the Year Book
that either this horse or his sire has any trotters to his credit, but it
can hardly be doubted that some of their progeny took naturally to the
diagonal trot, and not showing encouraging speed, were never developed.

If the question were asked, “What is to result from this intensely pacing
family?” it would be very difficult to frame a satisfactory answer. At
present this family shows all the vigor of youth in its new development,
but, judging by others that have come and gone, it too, in its turn, will
be submerged in more prepotent strains, that will more nearly meet the
wants of their masters. The pacer has been lifted from obscurity and made
the equal of the trotter as a race horse; his blood has contributed to an
unknown extent in giving speed to the trotter, but he must be as good a
horse for all uses as the trotter, or nobody will want him.

KENTUCKY HUNTER, the head of the family bearing this name that, at one
time, was very prominent in Central New York, was foaled 1822, and was
bred by Louis Sherrill of New Hartford, New York, and was got by Watkins’
Highlander. His dam was a mare bought from a couple of dealers who were
passing through New Hartford with some six or seven horses for sale, and
they represented this mare to have been brought from Kentucky. On this
representation she was called “a Kentucky mare.” She was a fine saddle
mare and for this reason she was used chiefly for that service. From
her superiority as a saddler, I think it is safe to conclude she was
a pacer and could go the saddle gaits. Kentucky Hunter was a chestnut
horse, a little above medium size. Mr. Sherrill sold him when young to
Messrs. Bagg and Goodrich who kept him two years and sold him to William
Ferguson, of Oriskany Falls, New York, and Mr. Ferguson continued to own
him till he died in 1838.

During the lifetime of this horse the pacing gait was considered an
evidence of bad breeding, and this prejudice has continued for many
years. The saddle was going out of use and wheels were coming in. After
Flora Temple electrified the trotting world, writers had a great deal
to say of her origin and family, but no one ever intimated that her
grandsire was a pacer. From sources that I have no reason to doubt,
I have been informed he was not only a pacer, but a fast pacer. This
habit of action was not popular with breeders, and Mr. Ferguson kept it
concealed as much as possible. When the pacer, Oneida Chief, from his own
loins, was beating Lady Suffolk, three miles in 7:44, to saddle, and many
of the other cracks of that day, his sire was dead and nothing was then
to be made by proclaiming from the housetops that Oneida Chief was by old
Kentucky Hunter.

Very little is known of Watkins’ Highlander, the sire of this horse.
He was brought to Whitestown, New York, 1821, by Julius Watkins, from
Connecticut. Some of the older men who knew the horse insist that Mr.
Watkins represented him to be by a son of imported Messenger, and out
of Nancy Dawson by imported Brown Highlander. This is possible, indeed
probable, but it is not established.

BOGUS HUNTER was one of the younger sons of Kentucky Hunter. He was a
chestnut horse of good size and came out of a mare by Bogus. But little
is known of this horse, and that little is rendered still more uncertain
by the unreliable character of his owners, the Loomis brothers, of
Sangerfield, New York. It is certain, however, that a horse owned by the
Loomises and called by this name was the sire of the famous world beater,
Flora Temple. This fact rests upon the testimony of Mr. Samuel Welch,
a reputable and trustworthy man who owned the dam of Flora and had her
coupled with this horse, under his own eye.

EDWIN FORREST, the most prominent representative of this family, was a
large and rather loosely made bay horse, foaled 1851, got by Young Bay
Kentucky Hunter, son of Bay Kentucky Hunter, that was by the original
Kentucky Hunter. His dam, Doll, bred by Mrs. Crane, of Whitestown, Oneida
County, New York, was by Watkins’ Highlander; grandam a chestnut mare
owned in the Crane family, by Black River Messenger, son of Ogden’s
Messenger. The identification of this grandson of imported Messenger was
secured after the appearance of the fifth volume of the “Register.” This
same mare, Doll, the next year produced Wamock’s Highland Messenger,
that was taken to Kentucky, and was a valuable element in the road-horse
blood of that State. Edwin Forrest was bred by Barnes Davis, Oneida,
Madison County; owned two years by H. L. Barker, of Clinton, New York,
sold to Marcus Downing, of Kentucky, by him to Woodburn Farm, and after
a time he passed to a company at Keokuk, Iowa, and then to George W.
Ferguson, of Marshalltown, Iowa, where he was burned up in 1874.

It has been said this horse was a pacer and converted to a trotter,
but this does not seem to be sustained by the facts. He was shown as
a three-year-old at the Oneida County Fair, and he was then a square
natural trotter and was considered very fast, for he was fully able to
distance all the other colts of his age. The story of his being a pacer
probably grew out of the fact that there was a strong pacing strain in
the family, as the original Kentucky Hunter was undoubtedly a pacer. Many
of the Kentucky Hunters were speedy travelers and a few of them were
fast. Black River Messenger was a horse of very wide local reputation
for the superiority of his progeny as rapid travelers. The union of the
Messenger blood with pacing blood produced excellent results in this, as
well as in thousands of other cases. As was the common usage before the
establishment of the “Trotting Register,” this horse was advertised with
two fictitious crosses added to his pedigree—his grandam was given as
by Duroc, and his great-grandam as by imported Messenger. Only two from
his loins were able to enter the 2:30 list; six of his sons got seven
performers and twelve of his daughters produced fifteen trotters.

SKENANDOAH (afterward called Kentucky Hunter) was a bay horse, foaled
1854, got by Brokenlegged Hunter, son of the original Kentucky Hunter;
dam not clearly established. He was bred by Mr. Sykes, near Canastota,
and passed through several hands to Henry Dewey, of Morrisville, New
York, who trotted him in a number of races in Central New York and then
took him to California, where he was kept in the stud a number of years
under the name of Kentucky Hunter, and died there 1871. He got one
trotter; one son that left two performers and seven daughters that left
nine performers.

DREW HORSE, commonly called “Old Drew,” was a brown bay horse, foaled
1842, and was about fifteen and one-quarter hands high and well-formed.
He was bred, or rather raised, by Hiram Drew, then of Exeter, Maine,
who kept him all his life. The story of his supposed sire was one of
those weakly devised fictions, so common in that day, and especially
where the Canadian border could be made effective in rounding it out.
To show that the mysterious colt that became the sire of Drew Horse was
“thoroughbred,” the stereotyped “British Army officer” is made available,
for the hundredth time, as having brought a mare from England in foal to
a thoroughbred horse, the foal was dropped and at three years old he was
traded by the aforesaid “officer” to the party that brought the colt to
Maine. Unfortunately for the story, the party who made the trade and the
story had a bad memory, and sometimes he located the trade at St. Johns
and sometimes at Fredericton, New Brunswick. But the fiction served its
generation and was not exposed till long after the Drew Horse was dead.
The facts in the matter seem to be simply these: a stallion colt was
running in a pasture adjoining Mr. Drew’s pasture, and that colt got over
the fence, was found with Mr. Drew’s mare, and in due time she dropped
the colt known as the “Drew Horse.” The fence-breaker was soon after made
a gelding and sold, and nothing is known of him, either before or after
this escapade. The dam of the Drew Horse was a bay mare about fifteen
and one-half hands high, foaled about 1836, and bred by Mark Pease, of
Jackson, Maine. Her sire was called Sir Henry and was represented to be
by a son of American Eclipse, that was taken to Maine from Connecticut
by Dr. Brewster and sold to General F. W. Lander. She was known as Grace
Darling and afterward as Boston Girl. She was on the turf and was quite
a trotter, and it is claimed she made a record of 2:37, and her dam was
Lady Jane by Winthrop Messenger. While I don’t know what the inheritance
of this horse was on the side of his sire, I do know that he had a
trotting inheritance on the side of his dam. He lived till 1866 and then
had to be destroyed on account of a broken leg.

This horse was never trained, and it is not known what he might have been
able to do as a trotter. He put two of his sons in the 2:30 list, Dirigo
and General McClellan. Of his sons, two put five trotters and three
pacers in the list, and of his daughters left six representatives there.
Besides these he left a number of others with records a little short of
the limit of speed, and many without records that were fast and very game

DIRIGO, at first called George B. McClellan, under which name he made
his record, was the best son of Drew Horse. He was a brown horse, and in
appearance much like his sire. He was foaled 1856 and came out of a mare
that has not been traced, but was doubtless a pacing mare. He was bred by
Horace McKinney, Monroe, Maine, and passed to David Quimby, of Corinna,
Maine, and died 1884. He made his record of 2:29 in a single heat and
never was on the track again. Four trotters and two pacers by him entered
the 2:30 list. Two of his sons became the sires of three trotters, and
five of his daughters each produced a performer. He left others with and
without records that were fast and stylish drivers.

HIRAM DREW, at first called Bay Morgan, was a son of Old Drew, and
his dam was a small bay mare, owned near Bangor and said to be of
Morgan blood. This horse was on the turf some years and was engaged in
some locally important contests, but never was able to make himself
standard either by his own or the performances of his progeny. His best
performance, I believe, was 2:31½.

WINTHROP was a bay horse, foaled 1864, got by Drew Horse; dam by the Eton
Horse and grandam by Stone or Simpson’s Messenger. He was bred by E. J.
Greene, Newport, Maine; taken to California 1870, and there owned by
Judge W. E. Greens and L. E. Yates, of Stockton. It does not appear that
he ever was trained, and consequently has no record. His opportunities,
probably, were not very great, but whether or not, he was not successful
in the stud. He left one trotter and one pacer and the dams of one
trotter and one pacer.

This family never was large, and its popularity was up and down just as
a few individuals might be successful or unsuccessful on the turf. To
start with, it had a very weak inheritance of trotting instinct, and
that weakness did not strengthen in succeeding generations. Of late
years it has failed to maintain itself as a trotting family, and is now
practically out of the reckoning of trotters.

HIATOGA, generally known as Rice’s Hiatoga, was a bay pacing horse and
was bred in Rockingham County, Virginia, and taken to Fairfield County,
Ohio, by Edward Rice, some time about 1836. He had the reputation of
being a fast pacer, and was sold to William Shiruo, of the same county,
and by him to William Munger, in whose possession he died. He was got by
a horse known in Virginia as Hiatoga, and also American Hiatoga, but
nothing is known of the blood of his dam. Nothing is known of his speed
or his progeny except through the two sons here given.

Hiatoga, generally designated as “Old Togue,” was got by Rice’s Hiatoga;
dam by Thunderbolt, grandam by Black or Bold Rover. He was foaled 1843
and was bred by David W. Brown, of Perry County, Ohio; sold 1849 to John
Joseph, Kirkersville, Ohio, where he made some seasons and was sold 1855
to Alvah Perry, Lancaster, where he remained till 1863, and was sold to
Harvey Wilson, and two years later to William McDonald, Columbus, Ohio,
where he died 1871. This horse left excellent stock and many of them fast
pacers, but they never cut much figure on the turf.

HIATOGA (HANLEY’S) was a bay pacing horse of good size and quality and
was very popular as a sire. He was foaled 1849, got by Rice’s Hiatoga;
dam an elegant bay mare sixteen hands high and represented to be of “Sir
Peter and Eclipse blood.” This mare was formerly given as by Firetail,
but the present rendering, whatever it may mean, comes from sources with
opportunities to know. He was bred by John Bright, of Fairfield County,
sold to Joseph Watt, and taken to Harrison County and then to Jefferson
County, and sold to James Davis Tweed. He next passed through the hands
of David Rittenhouse and Moses Hanley, of Hopedale, Ohio, and after three
or four years in the stud Mr. Hanley sold him to David Rittenhouse,
John Wiley and Samuel Hanley for two thousand five hundred dollars, and
he died the property of Mr. Rittenhouse near Hopedale, Ohio, 1858. Two
of his progeny entered the 2:30 list; three of his sons left thirteen
performers, and three daughters produced five.

HIATOGA (SCOTT’S) was a bay pacer foaled 1858, got by Hanley’s Hiatoga;
dam by Blind Tuckahoe (pacer); grandam by Consul. This horse was quite
fast and paced under the name of Tuscarawas Chief. He was the best of
the family and was bred and owned by Samuel Scott, East Springfield,
Jefferson County, Ohio. He put five trotters and four pacers in the 2:30
list; seven of his sons and seventeen of his daughters were producers.

The Hiatoga family seems to have no trotting inheritance except from the
pacer. It is a useful family and still has vitality.



    Characteristics of the Morgans—History of the original
    Morgan—The fabled pedigree—The true Briton theory—Justin
    Morgan’s breeding hopelessly unknown—Sherman Morgan—Black
    Hawk—His disputed paternity—His dam called a Narragansett—Ethan
    Allen—His great beauty, speed and popularity—The Flying Morgan
    claim baseless—His dam of unknown blood—His great race with
    Dexter—Daniel Lambert, the only successful sire of the Black
    Hawk line.

Fifty years ago there was no family of horses so popular as the
“Morgans.” They were carried into all parts of the country at high prices
and they gave their purchasers general satisfaction. They were small,
perhaps not averaging over fourteen and a half hands high, but compact,
trappy movers and had most excellent dispositions. Many of them were
ideal roadsters, where speed was not in great demand, for they were
kindly, tractable and always on their courage. Many of them carried
themselves in excellent style, and notwithstanding their diminutive size,
it is not probable we will ever again see a better tribe of every-day,
family horses. In all their outline and in every lineament they were the
very opposite of the blood horse, and when bred on any strain outside
of their own family, they almost universally failed to impress their
own characteristics on their progeny. This failure I observed with deep
regret more than forty years ago. The step could be extended and the
speed increased by crossing with the long striders, but in securing this
we lost the Morgan. In advance of their general distribution they had
the misfortune to be heralded as great trotters, and in this respect,
at least, they failed of meeting expectations. They went, largely, into
the hands of inexperienced men, who knew nothing about how to cultivate
speed, and the little, short, quick steps of their new trotters gave
them all the sensations of going fast, without the danger incident
to rapid traveling. In regard to the matter of speed, through the
overzealous and not too conscientious editors and others to say nothing
of the advertisements of those who had them for sale, they suffered
greatly by too much praise. The result is that the original type has
been extinguished, and it is doubtful whether a fair specimen could be
found, even among the mountains of New England. Next to the injury which
the family sustained from the exaggerated claims of speed put forward
by its too sanguine friends, there was another and even greater injury
from the absurd and foolish claims made for his blood. It is impossible
to make a thinking and sensible man believe that a little hairy-legged
“nubbin” of a pony, weighing eight hundred and fifty pounds, hired for
fifteen dollars a year to drag logs together in a clearing, at which
employment he was a great success, had the blood of the race horse in his
veins. This was always a stumbling block to my immature enthusiasm for
the Morgan horse. From an experience of a great many years and from the
developments of horse history during that time, I find the “stumbling
block” no longer worries me, for it has rotted away and disappeared.
Although the family has ceased to exist as a factor in current horse
history, it had a history in the past; and, as a historian, I must
consider its origin as well as the deeds it has accomplished or failed to

Mr. Justin Morgan, the central figure in this investigation, was born
in West Springfield, 1747, where he married and lived till 1788, when
he removed to Randolph, Vermont, where he died, March, 1798. He was a
reputable citizen, fairly well educated for his time, and taught school
for a living. He owned a house and lot in his native town, where he kept
a wayside house of entertainment, and during the early summer he usually
had a stallion to keep on the shares. In the spring of 1785 he had charge
of the horse True Briton, or Beautiful Bay, and I will here add that
three years later, John Morgan, Jr., had charge of the same horse at
Springfield, for the seasons of 1788 and 1789. This John Morgan, Jr.,
removed to Lima, New York, late in 1790 or early in 1791. Justin had sold
his place in West Springfield to Abner Morgan, on long payments, and in
the summer of 1795 he came back to West Springfield to collect some money
that was due him, presumably on the price of his former home, but he
failed to get money and took two colts instead. One was a three-year-old
gelding and the other was a two-year-old bay colt, entire. He led the
three-year-old with a halter and the two-year-old followed. The date
of this visit to the old home is the key to the main question to be
settled, and it is fixed by Justin Morgan, Jr., then a lad of the right
age to remember such things, and by Soloman Steele and Judge Griswold,
who fix the date in the late summer of 1795. The horse was sold and
resold and sold again, as a foal of 1793, and that date never left him
till he died in 1821. I look upon this date as perfectly immovable, and
every attempt that has been made to overthrow it has not been based on
any reasonable evidence, nor prompted by a desire to get at the truth,
but only to make a fictitious sire a possibility. This was the original
Morgan Horse, and this date was thoroughly fixed by Linsley, without
knowing that it upset the pedigree he had labored so hard to establish.
After a lapse of fifty years an attempt was made to fix up a pedigree for
the “Original Morgan Horse,” claiming that he was got by True Briton or
Beautiful Bay—represented to be a great race horse, stolen from the great
race horse man, Colonel De Lancey, in the Revolutionary War. I must,
therefore, consider, briefly, this part of the fiction.

First—As a starting point in the pedigree, it is assumed that the
race-horse in question was stolen, during the War of the Revolution, from
James De Lancey, perhaps the largest and most widely known of all the
colonial horsemen of that day. He was the first man to import race horses
into this colony, and his name and the fame of his horses were discussed
everywhere. He was very rich, in politics a Tory, and on the eve of
hostilities he sold out every horse he owned, of whatever description,
went back to England and never returned. This disposes of the false
assumption that the sire of the original Morgan horse was stolen from him.

Second—There was another James De Lancey, cousin to the preceding, and
not a rich man, who was colonel of a body of Tory cavalry operating in
Westchester County from 1777 to the close of the war in 1782. It is not
known whether he ever owned a race horse in his life, but it is certain
he was a dashing fighter, and at the head of the cowboys he was known to
the inhabitants of all that region. His name is not to be found anywhere
in connection with horses. He bore, in full, the same name as the
distinguished horseman, and was mistaken for him, although he was on the
other side of the ocean.

Third—It is claimed that “one Smith” stole the horse in question from
Colonel De Lancey and sold him to Mr. Ward, of Hartford, Connecticut, who
kept him a few years and sold him to Selah Norton, of the same place,
and remained his till he died. Who was this “one Smith” and where did he
belong? Where is the evidence that this “one Smith” stole a horse from
Colonel De Lancey?

Fourth—In the New York _Packet_, then published at Fishkill, under date
of October 19, 1780, we find the following: “Last week Lieutenant Wright
Carpenter and two others went down to Colonel James De Lancey’s quarters
and lay in wait for his appearance. He accordingly came and having tied
his horse at the door, went into the house; upon which Carpenter seized
the horse and mounted. When De Lancey discovered him, he immediately
alarmed his men, who pursued him to White Plains, but in vain,” etc.,
etc. This Lieutenant Carpenter was a dashing young fellow and was
promoted next month to the position of first lieutenant in Captain Lyons’
company, of the Second Regiment of New York Militia, of Westchester
County, and still commanded by Colonel Thomas. This is the man who stole
the horse, this is the contemporaneous evidence of it, and “one Smith”
had nothing to do with it.

In these four points we have what may be considered the first chapter
of this investigation and, as will be readily seen, each of them must
be fatal to the pretentious claim that has been maintained for about a
hundred years. Avoiding all circumlocution, I think it is safe to say
that this so-called pedigree did not originate this side of Hartford. The
Second Regiment of New York Militia, called “The Skinners,” was made up
of Westchester County men, and as Colonel De Lancey had been sheriff of
that county, everybody knew him and knew that he was not the race horse
James. We must, therefore, look further on for the time when and the
person by whom this pedigree was manufactured.

In 1784 this horse was advertised at Lanesboro, Massachusetts, under the
name of Beautiful Bay, and no attempt was made to give a pedigree or
origin of the horse.

In 1785 he was at West Springfield, Massachusetts, in charge of Justin
Morgan, still called Beautiful Bay, and still no pedigree.

In 1788 and 1789 he was in charge of John Morgan, Jr., of Springfield,
Massachusetts, and here, for the first time, he is designated as “the
famous full-blooded English horse, called True Briton or Beautiful Bay,”
but no pedigree is given.

In 1791 he was advertised at East Hartford, Connecticut, by his owner,
Selah Norton, and his pedigree is here given for the first time as
follows: “True Briton, or Beautiful Bay, got by imported Traveler, dam De
Lancey’s racer.” After advertising the horse for seven years without a
pedigree, at last Mr. Selah Norton manufactures one and gives it over his
own signature.

In 1793 he is again called Beautiful Bay, but no pedigree, at South
Hadley, Massachusetts.

In 1794 and 1795 he was kept at Ashfield, Massachusetts, by Mr. Norton
himself, and called Traveler, and his pedigree is again given in amended
form as follows: “Sired by the famous old Traveler, imported from
Ireland, dam Colonel De Lancey’s imported racer.”

This is the last trace we have of the horse Beautiful Bay, for that
seems to be his honest name, and now I must ask some questions. These
advertisements cover a period of eleven years and they are worthy of
careful study. From 1784 to 1791 there is no attempt at giving any
pedigree at all. With the exception of three seasons he seems to have
been let, probably on shares, to different keepers, in different parts
of the country. From first to last Selah Norton seems to have been his
owner. If he had received the pedigree, and the romantic story of his
theft, from “one Smith,” as claimed, is it conceivable that he would have
concealed that story from the public when it would have added so much to
the patronage of his horse? How does it come that not a single man having
this stallion in charge, except Selah Norton himself, ever gave his
pedigree? What prompted Selah Norton to withdraw the horse from public
service, in Hartford, immediately after he first gave his pedigree? Was
it because everybody there knew it was a fraud? When the horse was taken
to South Hadley in 1793, why did his keeper there refuse to accept either
the name True Briton or the new pedigree? It will be observed he was
advertised there simply as Beautiful Bay and no pedigree given. The next
two years we find him at Ashfield, Massachusetts, to which point it would
seem his owner had removed from Hartford. For some reason that can be
better imagined than explained, the names Beautiful Bay and True Briton
are there dropped and he is rechristened as Traveler. To this change of
name the old pedigree is attached, with a very important change in that
also, as follows: “Sired by famous old Traveler, imported from Ireland,
dam Colonel De Lancey’s imported racer.” These three words, “imported
from Ireland,” are very important in two particulars, for they not only
knock out the “featherheads” who have been always maintaining that the
imported Traveler meant Lloyd’s Traveler of New Jersey, son of Morton’s
Traveler, that was imported from Yorkshire into Virginia about 1750,
but it convicts Selah Norton of inventing this pedigree, for there was
no such horse brought from Ireland. It is certainly unnecessary to say
another word in illustration of Selah Norton’s character. When we study
these advertisements it becomes as clear as the light of day that nobody
believed him or the story that “one Smith” stole the horse from Colonel
De Lancey. The crimes of horse stealing and desertion were exceedingly
common during the period of the revolution and it is quite possible that
“one Smith” may have stolen a horse out of somebody’s stable and sold him
to Mr. Ward or Mr. Norton as the same horse that Lieutenant Carpenter
stole from Colonel De Lancey, but neither “one Smith” nor “one Norton”
knew anything more about his pedigree than he did about the man in the
moon, and I will here end the second chapter of this investigation.

I am clearly of the opinion that Justin Morgan was an honest man and that
he would not tell a lie, even if he knew it might accrue to his present
and personal advantage. He was poor, feeble in health, and had hard
scuffling to get along. As a means of livelihood, in part at least, it
seems to have been his business for a good many years to keep stallions
on shares for different owners. As late as 1795 he had a horse from
Hartford, Connecticut, called Figure, to which we will refer later on.
In 1788 he sold his little place in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and
removed to Randolph, Vermont, where he died in March, 1798 In the autumn
of 1795 he visited West Springfield again, for the purpose of collecting
some money that was still due him there, probably some deferred payments
of his former home, and as he was not able to get the money he took two
horses in lieu thereof. One was a three-year-old gelding, and the other
was a two-year-old bay colt, entire. He led the gelding beside the horse
he was riding and the colt followed all the way. The evidence that fixes
the date of this trip in the autumn of 1795 and the age of the colt that
followed seems to me to be completely bomb-proof. This evidence not only
embraces the recollections of Justin Morgan’s neighbors, but when he died
the colt, in 1798, was sold by his administrators as a five-year-old. In
all the changes of ownership that took place through his life and at his
death, in 1821, he was represented as foaled in 1793. He died from the
effects of a kick that was neglected, and not from old age.

The only serious attempt that has been made to controvert the date
of 1793 was that made in the name of John Morgan, of Lima, New York,
in 1842, he being then eighty years old, in the Albany _Cultivator_.
Unfortunately the editor fails to publish the letter he professes to
have received from John Morgan and only gives his construction of it,
which any child knows is no evidence at all. The editor represents him
to say “that the two-year-old stud which he (Justin) took with him to
Vermont was sired by a horse owned by Selah Norton, of East Hartford,
Connecticut, called True Briton or Beautiful Bay.” Justin Morgan removed
to Randolph, Vermont, in the spring of 1788, and this John Morgan removed
to Lima, New York, about February, 1790. They were not brothers, but
distant relatives. If John means to say that Justin “took with him” when
he removed to Vermont a two-year-old son of Beautiful Bay, that colt must
have been foaled in 1786, which would make him twelve years old instead
of five when he was sold upon the death of his owner, and thirty-six
years old instead of twenty-nine when he died from a kick. Now, if we
concede that Justin did take with him a two-year-old son of Beautiful
Bay, the dates render it impossible that he should have been the founder
of the Morgan horse family and we have no trace of him whatever.

Another authority has very recently come to the front, and in order to
avoid the difficulty of dates and still retain the possibility of the
horse being by Beautiful Bay, insists that he was foaled 1789 and bred
by Justin Morgan himself. Under this new light he was foaled in Vermont
and didn’t have to travel there at all. He insists further that he named
the horse Figure and kept him in the stud till his death in March, 1798,
when the horse was sold and his name changed to Justin Morgan. It is
true that Justin Morgan, still seeking to make a living, kept a stallion
two or three years owned in Hartford, Connecticut, and advertised him as
“the famous horse Figure, from Hartford.” Now, if this horse was foaled
the property of Justin Morgan and owned by him as long as he lived, why
should he advertise him as “from Hartford?” All these efforts to fix
dates by shifting about so as to make it possible for the bogus stolen
horse to come in as a sire, have already received more attention than
their importance demands and I will therefore call this the close of the
third chapter.

There are several incidents connected with the life of the colt of 1793
that fixed his identity and age upon the recollections of the neighbors
and friends of Justin Morgan. Solomon Steele, Evans, Rice and others who
knew the colt well, all agree that the colt followed his companion and
playmate from West Springfield to Randolph in the autumn of 1795 and
that he was not then halter broken. They all agree that Evans hired him
for fifteen dollars a year to draw logs in his clearing, in the place of
a yoke of oxen. They all agree that Justin Morgan died in March, 1798,
and that the colt was then sold as a five-year-old. The death was an
immovable date fixer around which everything in connection with these
events must be determined. And when the horse died in 1821 nobody had
ever doubted that he was foaled 1793.

Justin Morgan, Jr., was in his tenth year when the colt was brought home,
and he was twelve years old when his father died. In 1842 Justin Morgan,
Jr., in a communication to the Albany _Cultivator_, says: “One was a
three-year-old gelding colt, which he led; and the other a two-year-old
stud colt, which followed all the way from Springfield. The said
two-year-old colt was the same that has since been known all over New
England by the name of the Morgan Horse. I know that my father always,
while he lived, called him a Dutch horse. I have a perfect recollection
of the horse when my father owned him and afterward, and well remember
that my father always spoke of him as of the best blood.”

When he made these clean-cut and emphatic declarations Justin Morgan,
Jr., was fifty-six years old, and it has been suggested that he was too
young, at the time, to have remembered about the colt. This is a grave
mistake, for farmer’s boys remember a thousand things better then than
they ever do afterward. I don’t think that my own memory is remarkable,
but today, at over three score and ten, I can, with the utmost
distinctness, recall the names, color, markings, size, peculiarities
and, in some cases, the history of most of the horses that were on the
farm when I was eight years old. I can, therefore, have no hesitation in
accepting Justin Morgan’s evidence on account of his youthfulness, at the
time of which he speaks.

Did Justin Morgan know what he was saying when he “always, while he
lived, called his horse a Dutch horse?” And did he understand the
historical meaning of his words when “he always spoke of him as of the
best blood?” To answer these questions we must make some reference to
history. The Dutch horses were a breed wholly distinct from the horses
of the other colonies. The colony of New Netherlands (New York) received
its supply from Utrecht, in Holland, commencing in 1624 and a few years
following. In forty years they had so increased that the colony was well
supplied. These horses were about fourteen hands and one inch high,
which was about one hand higher than the horses supplied to the English
colonies. They were not only higher, but they had more bone and muscle,
and, I think, more shapely necks. In every respect they were better,
except that they were not so good for the saddle, for the reason, as I
think, that they were not pacers. The standard that determined their
superiority was the higher prices at which they were bought and sold,
over the New England horses, as shown by the official reports of the
colony. When the colony passed under British rule, the first governor
immediately established a race course on Hempstead Plains, Long Island,
and there in 1665 the first organized race in this country took place.
This was long before the English race horse had reached the character of
a breed, and a round hundred years before the first representative of
that breed reached New York. The horses that ran at Hempstead Plains were
undoubtedly Dutch horses, for the inhabitants of New York and Long Island
attended these annual meetings in great numbers, and as they were nearly
all Dutch they would not have gone a stone’s throw to see an English
horse run. These annual race meetings were kept up a great many years by
the successive governors.

In 1635 two shiploads of Dutch horses, from the same quarter, chiefly
mares, reached Salem, Massachusetts, and were sold at prices enormously
high as compared with the prices of those sent from England to the same
colony. These two shiploads added materially to the average size of
the horses of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, as shown by statistics,
as well as the other colonies getting their foundation stock from that
source. We may safely conclude, I think, that some of the descendants of
these shiploads were taken to the valley of the Connecticut when Hartford
was planted, for we not infrequently meet with the term “Dutch horse”
in the old prints of that valley. Besides this source the valley of the
Hudson was full of them. They retained their distinctive appellation
till about the beginning of this century.

Mr. O. W. Cook, of Springfield, Massachusetts, did a great deal of
fundamental investigation on the origin of this family, away back in
1878-9, etc., and I am under special obligations to him for being the
first man to open my eyes to the great confidence game that has been
played for a hundred years, and all originating in the fabulous story of
“one Smith.” Among other important things he unearths an advertisement
of Young Bulrock that was advertised to stand at Springfield, 1792, as
follows: “Young Bulrock is a horse of the Dutch breed, of a large size,
and a bright bay color, etc.” In speaking of his pedigree, Mr. Cook most
pithily remarks: “In view of the three-fold concurrence of time and place
and breed, it fits into the vacuum in the Morgan’s lineage as a fragment
of pottery fits into its complement.” There was another horse advertised
in Springfield that year, but he had neither name nor breed and in color
he was gray. The advertisement of Young Bulrock fits in time, fits in
color and fits in breed; and thus removes all reasonable doubt that
he was the sire of the original Morgan horse. This is the reason why
Justin Morgan “always, while he lived, called him a Dutch horse;” and
the little scrap of history given above will show why he always spoke of
him as “of the best blood.” He was right in the former and he was right
in the latter declaration. It is not possible, at this day, to prove,
technically, these matters of a hundred years ago, but after considering
all the facts in the case, we must conclude that they are satisfying to
the human understanding, and that Justin Morgan told the truth.

For the past fifty or sixty years the breeding of the original Morgan
horse has been a subject of apparently unending controversy. The real
facts concerning his origin, however, have never been brought to light
and fully developed until within the last few years, and it is probable
that nothing of material value will ever be added to the foregoing
tracing. We have found from contemporaneous history that Lieutenant
Wright Carpenter stole a horse from Colonel James De Lancey and was
successful in carrying him into the camp of the patriots at Fishkill, and
that is all we know about that particular horse. After the war was over
it is stated that “one Smith” sold a horse to Mr. Ward, of Hartford, and
represented that he had stolen the horse from Colonel De Lancey, and Mr.
Ward sold that horse to Selah Norton, who seems to have owned him as
long as he lived. It must be accepted as true that Lieutenant Carpenter
captured a horse from Colonel De Lancey, but we cannot accept it as true
that this was the same horse owned by Norton. We must first know how and
where “one Smith” got him. Norton had this horse and advertised him in
different parts of the country for public service seven or eight years
before the romance of his history and pedigree was given to the world.
As this romance would have been a grand feature in an advertisement of a
stallion, Mr. Norton was too slow in evolving it, and when he did bring
it out nobody believed it. At that period many portions of New England
abounded in stallions with bogus pedigrees and histories, and if we judge
Norton by his acts in giving his horse three different names at different
times and places, we must conclude he was ready to conceal or invent
anything that would add to his horse’s popularity and patronage.

SHERMAN MORGAN.—In his history of the Morgan Horse, Mr. Linsley names
this and three or four other sons of the original, that were kept for
stock purposes, but none of them seems to have attained any eminence,
except Sherman. As he never made any pretensions to being a trotter,
he would have been forgotten long ago, had it not been for the lucky
circumstances that he was the sire of Black Hawk, and thus his name
has been preserved. He was scant fourteen hands high, with heavy body
on short legs, and carried his head well up. He was a chestnut and
foaled about 1809. There has always been a doubt in the minds of many
as to whether he was the sire of Black Hawk, but that question will
be considered when we reach that horse. His dam was a very handsome
mare, brought from Narragansett, a pacer, and a very desirable saddle
mare. In the trotting “Register,” three representations are given as to
the breeding of this mare, namely, that she was of the Spanish breed;
that she was an imported English mare; and that she was brought from
Virginia on account of her beauty and speed. The first claim seemed to
have the best historical support, and besides this she was brought from
Providence, Rhode Island, and was a very fine pacer. The theory was then
prevalent that the Narragansett pacers were of the “Spanish breed.” The
elimination of that foolish notion from the history of the pacers does
not affect the plain statement that she was a Narragansett pacer. It is
not known that this mare ever produced anything else, either by the
original Morgan or by any other horse.

BLACK HAWK.—As his name indicates, this horse was a jet black, and was
something over fifteen hands high. He was foaled 1833, was got by Sherman
Morgan, and was bred by Benjamin Kelly, of Durham, New Hampshire. As the
question of his paternity has been the subject of a great deal of bitter
controversy, continued through many years, and participated in by men of
intelligence, on both sides, I must give the history, as I understand it.
Mr. Kelly kept a tavern at Durham and Mr. Bellows, the owner of Sherman
Morgan, made this house one of his points of stopping as he traveled his
horse, in his circuit of the season. Along with Sherman he had another
horse called Paddy, black as a raven, that did some service at seven
dollars, while the price for Sherman was fourteen dollars. On one of
his visits, Mr. Kelly’s black mare, called “Old Narragansett” was bred
to Sherman and proved to be in foal. Not long after this Mr. Kelly sold
the mare to Mr. Shade Twombly, living about two miles from Durham, and a
part of the agreement was that if the mare should prove to be with foal,
Mr. Twombly was to pay for the services of the horse. The next spring
the mare dropped a fine black horse colt, and Mr. Twombly claimed the
colt was by Paddy and not by Sherman, hence, he refused to pay fourteen
dollars for the services of Sherman, but was willing to pay seven dollars
for the services of Paddy. This resulted in a lawsuit in which it was
proved that Sherman was the sire of the colt, and Mr. Twombly’s estate
had to pay the money. The colt was kept by Mr. Twombly’s heirs, at
pasture in Greenland, New Hampshire, till he was about two years old,
when he was sold at auction to Albert Mathes, of Durham, for seventy
dollars and from him he passed to Benjamin Thurston, of Lowell, for two
hundred dollars. In Thurston’s hands he became quite noted, locally, as a
trotter, and in 1844 he became the property of David Hill, of Bridport,
Vermont, where he became altogether the most popular stallion in the
United States, and died there November, 1856. He was the first horse to
command one hundred dollars for his services; and many of the great mares
of the country were sent to his embrace, among them the world-renowned
Lady Suffolk, but unfortunately she failed to produce.

To understand why the fight against the Sherman Morgan paternity of this
horse should have been so bitter and so persistent, we must consider the
condition of the horse interests in New England at that time. When Black
Hawk came to the front the Morgans of the real Morgan type had already
attained some degree of popularity and here came a horse overtopping
them all, with no trace of the Morgan type about him. He and his family
attracted the attention of purchasers and threw a shadow of doubt over
the little punchy, hairy-legged fellows that knocked out many a sale.
Besides this, it was a serious and real question in the minds of a great
many honest and intelligent men, as to whether Sherman Morgan, so typical
of his family, could possibly have been the sire of a horse so completely
outside of the family, not only in appearance and formation, but in his
ability to trot. In 1847 Black Hawk was pitted against the Morse Horse,
mile heats, best two in three, at the Saratoga State Fair. He won the
first heat in 2:50½ and the second in 2:43½. He was then fourteen years
old and this was very fast, for a stallion of that period. It is but
justice to say that the Morse Horse contingent claimed that Black Hawk
was set back in the first heat for running and that the heat was given to
the Morse Horse in 2:52½ and that the second and third heats were won by
Black Hawk in 2:54½ and 2:56. Just what the truth is in this disagreement
I am not able to determine. As we look at this horse, so distinct from
all his tribe; and as we consider the very indistinct knowledge of the
laws of generation as held by the masses in that day, we cannot wonder
that the paternity was so vehemently disputed. Neither can we wonder, as
his descendants pass in review before us, that this dispute has never
been settled to the satisfaction of the contending parties. The old
Morgan type never reappears in the descendants of this family.

But, we must not forget that we have considered only half of the
inheritance of this horse. He had a dam as well as a sire. To that
half of his pedigree we must now give some attention. The story of the
“half-bred English mare, brought from New Brunswick” has had its day
and we may as well lay it aside as a humbug. Mr. Allen W. Thomson, of
Woodstock, Vermont, has brought out the facts with regard to this mare in
a form that is very clear and satisfactory. In 1876 Mr. Thomson visited
Albany for the purpose of examining everything that had been said in _The
Country Gentleman_ newspaper touching on the paternity of Black Hawk. In
this search for the sire he would necessarily find many references to
the dam and among these references he was greatly surprised to find she
had been described as “a pacing mare.” He goes on to say: “In our visit
the same fall to Durham, Dover, Portsmouth and Greenland to learn more
of her, we found a number that knew her when owned in Durham, and they
said she was then known as the ‘Old Narragansett Mare.’ They said that
Benjamin Kelly, deceased, brought the mare into Durham, that he had a
son John L. living in Manchester, New Hampshire, and that he would know
more about her, etc.” After learning that Mr. John L. Kelly was a very
intelligent and responsible man, having been city marshal and mayor of
Manchester, and known as “Honest John,” he wrote him and received the
following reply:

    “In answer to your inquiries about the dam of Black Hawk, I
    will give you my best recollections, aided somewhat by a diary
    which I kept at that time. I returned to Durham from a sea
    voyage in the fall of 1830. In the following spring I went to
    Boston with my father with a lot of horses. We stopped over
    night at Brown’s Hotel, at Haverhill, Mass., where we met a
    teamster from Portsmouth, N. H., with a team of four horses. In
    the hind span was a large gray horse and a dark bay mare. Among
    father’s horses was one which was a good match for the gray
    horse. The man noticed it and told father that the mare was too
    fast for the horse, was worth two of him for speed and bottom,
    yet he would trade with father for his gray horse. After a good
    deal of talk, with the aid of Mr. Brown, the trade was made
    and we drove the mare in the carriage to Boston, leading the
    others. We found her to be a splendid roadster, and as she was
    not in good condition to sell, we took her back to Durham. At
    this time she was chafed and bruised up very badly with the
    heavy harness, yet in a few months she came out of it, with no
    traces of it, except a few white spots on her back and breast.
    The teamster said she was a Narragansett mare. She would weigh
    1,000 pounds. Father kept her as one of his stable horses. She
    was found to have great speed as a trotter, and father was
    always bragging about her. One day, late in the season, Israel
    Esty, of Dover, drove up to Durham with a trotter, and bantered
    father for a trot, mile heats on Madbury Plains, between Durham
    and Dover. I had great faith in the mare and pleaded with
    father to accept his offer, and he did, and fifty dollars was
    staked on the race. John Speed was father’s hostler at the
    time, and he commenced getting the mare ready for the race.
    He had only three weeks to do it in. At the time specified, a
    large collection of people from Dover and Durham collected to
    witness the race. Dr. Reuben Steele was one of the judges. The
    Esty horse won the first heat, the Kelly mare won the next two,
    distancing the horse in the last one. In the spring of 1832
    John Bellows came to Durham with the old Sherman Morgan, and
    I persuaded father to have the mare bred to him. He did, as I
    saw the horse cover her. I was 21 in 1832; went to sea again
    that fall. My recollection of the dam of Black Hawk is she was
    a very fine pointed dark mare, with a nostril so large, when
    excited, that one could put his fist into it.

                                                     JOHN L. KELLY.

    “Manchester, N. H., August 25, 1876.”

The only “trip” in this letter is where Mr. Kelly speaks of the mare as
“a dark bay,” but as the identity of the mare is fully maintained by
other witnesses, this shade of color is not material and is, doubtless
a slip of the pen. We don’t know she was a Narragansett mare, but we
do know that she was called a Narragansett. It is wholly possible she
may have been a bastard Narragansett, or she may have been called a
Narragansett merely because she was a pacer. At that date there were
still many descendants of the old Narragansetts to be found, of greater
or less degree of purity in their breeding. Among Mr. Thomson’s gleanings
from persons who knew the mare there are some bearing upon her color
and gait that are in order at this point of our inquisition. Mr. John
Bellows, the owner of Sherman Morgan, says: “She was a good-sized black
mare, a fast trotter, with a swinging gait, and resembled in appearance
the Messenger stock of horses.” The following description was gathered
from several persons who knew the mare well and among them Mr. Wingate
Twombly, son of her former owner. “She was a large, rangy mare, a little
coarse and brawny, did not carry much flesh, might have weighed some over
one thousand pounds and was a trifle over fifteen and one-half hands
high. Head and ears rather large, neck long and straight, withers low and
thin, medium mane and tail, had more hair on the fetlocks than her son,
was called black a little way off, but close to one could see her grey
hairs mingled with her coat and close to she was called a steel mixed.
She had a white strip in her face and some say a little white on one hind
foot. She was smart to go, but her gait was not a smooth, square trot.
Some called it a sort of a pace, others that she single-footed. She went
with her head low when trotting fast. One person said it was about a
straight line from her back to her head when she was going fast.” She was
called the Narragansett Mare when Mr. Kelly owned her. From other sources
and from men who personally knew the mare and had ridden beside her, we
have undoubted evidence that she was very fast, but all through there is
some confusion about the character of her gait. Mr. Bellows, who ought to
know something about the gait of a horse, says: “She was a fast trotter,
with a _swinging gait_.” Now just what he means by the phrase “swinging
gait” is hard to determine. Putting all these bits of evidence together,
the reasonable conclusion seems to be that she was double-gaited, and
when speeded she would go from the trot to the pace or from the pace to
the trot as the case might be.

[Illustration: ETHAN ALLEN.

Son of Vermont Black Hawk.]

From this synopsis of all that has been developed in the blood lines
of Black Hawk, there can be no longer any mystery about where he
got the characteristics making him so intensely different from the
representatives of the typical Morgan. His sire was out of a high-class
Narragansett pacer, and his dam was probably a fast Narragansett pacer,
thus giving him presumably seventy-five per cent. of Narragansett
blood and twenty-five per cent. of Morgan blood. The fight that was
made against him all his life, as not being a genuine Morgan, had its
foundation in justice and truth. He was not a Morgan in either blood or
character. He founded a very valuable line of trotters, something that
no other branch of the Morgan family has ever accomplished, and of right
his descendants should be designated as “the Black Hawk Family,” and
not jumbled up with the heterogeneous mass of nondescripts still called
“the Morgan Family.” Black Hawk’s gait was spluttery and uneven, rather
than square and mechanical. A few of his progeny were very perfectly
gaited, but a great many of them manifested their evil inheritance,
which, together with unskillful handling, destroyed all possible value
as trotters. He placed three in the 2:30 list; fourteen of his sons were
sires of 2:30 performers, six of them with two or more, and two daughters
produced 2:30 performers. He died November, 1856.

ETHAN ALLEN, 43.—This was a handsome, bright bay horse, less than fifteen
hands high, with three white feet and a star. He was foaled 1849, got by
Black Hawk, 5; dam, a fast trotting grey mare of unknown pedigree. With a
list of all the celebrated American horses before him, it would be very
difficult, if not impossible, for the best informed horseman to select
an animal that has been so great a favorite with the American people,
and for so long a time, as the famous Ethan Allen. When four years old
he gave the world a sensation by eclipsing everything that had appeared
before him at that age; and again when he was eighteen years old he
renewed and intensified the sensation by trotting in 2:15 with a running
mate. These sensations of his youth and his old age, did much to give
him a standing with the people; but his wonderful beauty and remarkable
docility and kindness, with the elegance and ease of his action, made him
the favorite of everybody. His trotting gait was recognized by the best
judges and experts as probably more perfect than that of any horse of his
day. Others have gone faster singly, but no one has done it in greater
perfection of motion. In his great flights of speed he was not bounding
in the air, but down close to the ground, with a gliding motion that
steals from quarter-pole to quarter-pole with inconceivable rapidity. He
was bred by Joel W. Holcomb, of Ticonderoga, New York, and as the result
of a practical joke he played, for the purpose of annoying his uncle,
David Hill, the owner of Black Hawk, against whom he had some pique just
at that time, many well-meaning and no doubt honest people once believed,
and possibly still believe, that Ethan Allen was by Flying Morgan and not
by Black Hawk. The fact that Ethan Allen was the same color as Flying
Morgan and that there was some resemblance in size and style of action
of the two horses, lent a strong suggestion to the joke as a truth. I am
indebted to Mr. I. V. Baker, Jr., of Comstock’s Landing, S. B. Woodward,
then of Ticonderoga, and B. H. Baldwin, of Whitehall, New York, for the
details of the way the Flying Morgan story started, and need only say the
narrator was an eye-witness to the whole affair. In the spring of 1852,
in the barroom of S. B. Woodward’s hotel, at Ticonderoga, quite a number
of the villagers being present, Mr. Joel W. Holcomb came in and said
he was going to write a letter to R. M. Adams, of Burlington, Vermont,
the owner of Flying Morgan, and he was going to have some fun with him;
and, going to the desk in the room, he wrote, substantially as follows:
“I don’t know but I have made all the reputation for David Hill and old
Black Hawk that I care to. I am willing to have the credit go where it
belongs, and desire to let yourself and the public know that my colt
Ethan Allen is got by your horse Flying Morgan.”

“There,” he said, “you will see this in all the Vermont papers next week.
Won’t Uncle David be mad?”

“What!” exclaimed some of his neighbors, after hearing it read, “you
won’t put your name to such a falsehood as that? It’s a shame.”

“Well, well,” said Holcomb, “I’ll add a postscript.” And going to the
desk he wrote below his signature, leaving a good wide space between his
signature and the following words:

“Flying Morgan never covered the dam of Ethan Allen, never smelt of her
and never saw her, consequently Ethan Allen was not by Flying Morgan,
but he can beat Flying Morgan or any other stallion in the State of

The next fall Mr. Adams visited many of the fairs with his horse and
showed Holcomb’s letter, and, it is said, with the postscript torn off.
Every man in Ticonderoga knew as well as Mr. Holcomb how Ethan Allen
was bred, and this letter created much indignation. But Holcomb was a
reckless man and cared for nothing more than what he called a good joke,
and the more it hurt any one’s feelings the better it suited him.

This account of the “joke” was written down by Mr. Baker, at the
dictation of Mr. Woodward, April 22, 1875, and I have implicit confidence
in its substantial accuracy. It has been said that the reason Holcomb did
this was out of ill feeling toward Mr. David Hill, the owner of Black
Hawk, and Holcomb’s uncle, because he dunned him for payment of the
horse’s services in getting Ethan Allen. One day at the Fashion Course,
in the spring of 1867, as I was looking at Ethan while he was taking
his daily exercise, either Mr. Holcomb or Mr. Roe, his partner—I knew
them both by sight as the owners of Ethan Allen, but not well enough to
distinguish one from the other, but I think it was Mr. Holcomb—came up to
me and expressed a good deal of solicitude to know how I was registering
the horse. He appeared gratified when I assured him I had no doubt he
was a son of old Black Hawk and would so enter him. He remarked “that
was right,” and said the Flying Morgan story originated in a practical
joke and should not be permitted to go into history as a fact. This is
the full history of the basis of the controversy, and certainly, to a
reasonable man, it does not leave a single peg on which to hang a hope
for the Flying Morgan story.

But, the paternity of Ethan Allen is not left to the uncertainties of
recollection nor to be trifled with by practical jokers. The books of
Black Hawk’s services show that the dam of Ethan Allen was bred to him
on a certain day or days of the season of 1848, and was taken away
believed to be in foal. This fact is conceded on all hands as wholly
indisputable, but it is claimed that Flying Morgan was kept in Holcomb’s
stable one night, after the mare returned from Bridport, and the two
were there surreptitiously coupled. I have studied this claim in all its
details, I have examined every detail minutely, and I do not hesitate to
say there is not a single shadow of evidence to support the claim. In
Vermont, as in Kentucky, there are many people who can remember things
that never occurred, but in the former State these people are at a great
disadvantage, for they are not able to get so many to agree with and
support their remarkable memories. The Vermonters are very far from being
all honest, but they are very much disposed to make up their own minds,
whether right or wrong.

In searching for the breeding of the little flea-bitten grey mare,
“called a Messenger,” that produced Ethan Allen, I have not been sparing
of either time or labor. I have assiduously followed every clew that
presented itself, and waded through “sloppy” correspondence “knee deep,”
but I never have been able to reach a single point that was relevant and
tangible. From the first that is known of her at Hague, New York, her
identity has been maintained by a spavin on one leg and one hip knocked
down, and thus she has been traced through the hands of many owners till
she reaches Mr. Holcomb, of Ticonderoga, New York. A pretence has been
set up that she was by some Morgan horse, but this was only a wish of the
originator, and not a fact founded on reasonable evidence. It is said
she was quite a fast trotter, in her younger days, and that she could
beat all the farmers’ horses against which she was started. That she had
a trotting inheritance, and probably from Messenger, there can be no
reasonable doubt.

Ethan Allen made his first appearance as a trotter at the Clinton County
Fair, as a three-year-old, and made a record, over a very bad track, of
3:20-3:21. In May following, then four years old, at the Union Course,
he beat Rose of Washington in 2:36-2:39-2:42. This was then the fastest
time ever made by a four-year-old. He then retired to the stud and did
not again appear till October, 1855, when, over the Cambridge Park
Course, he beat Columbus, Sherman Black Hawk, and Stockbridge Chief for
the stallion purse in 2:34½-2:37. Three of the contestants here were sons
of Black Hawk. The next season he defeated Hiram Drew twice, to wagon,
making a record of 2:32¾. October 15, 1858, at Boston, he beat Columbus
Jr., and Hiram Drew, 2:37-2:35-2:33. The same month, on the Union Course,
he beat George M. Patchen, to wagons, distancing him the first heat in
2:28. At the Union Course, Long Island, July 12, 1860, he beat Princess,
distancing her the second heat in 2:29½-2:25½. This is his fastest
record. He was frequently beaten by George M. Patchen, Flora Temple,
etc., and it was thought by many that he could not take up the weight
and “hold the clip” for the full mile out. His most famous performance
was made in 1867, and as I had the pleasure of witnessing it, from a very
eligible position, I will here repeat the description as then made:

“On the 21st of June, 1867, on the Fashion Course, it was my good fortune
to witness the crowning event of his life. Some three weeks before, with
running mate, he had beaten Brown George and running mate, in very fast
time, scoring one heat in 2:19. This made horsemen open their eyes, and
there at once arose a difference of opinion, about the advantage to
the trotter of having a runner hitched with him, to pull the weight.
This resulted in a match for two thousand five hundred dollars to trot
Ethan Allen and running mate against Dexter, who was then considered
invincible. As the day approached the betting was about even; but the
evening before the race, word came from the course that Ethan’s running
mate had fallen lame and could not go, but they would try to get Brown
George’s running mate, then in Connecticut, to take the place of the
lame runner. As the horses were strangers to each other, it was justly
concluded that the change gave Dexter a great advantage and the betting
at once changed from even to two to one on Dexter. Long before noon the
crowd began to assemble; the sporting men everywhere were shaking rolls
of greenbacks over their heads, shouting “two to one on Dexter.” I met a
friend from Chicago, who sometimes speculated a little, and when he told
me he was betting two to one on Dexter, I took the liberty of advising
him to be cautious, for I thought the team would win the race, and that
its backers knew what they were doing. Before the hour arrived I secured
a seat on the ladies’ stand, from which every foot of the course, and
the countless multitudes of people, could be taken in at a glance. The
vehicles in numbers were simply incalculable, and the multitudes were
estimated at forty thousand people. Upon the arrival of the hour, the
judges ascended the stand and rang up the horses, when the backers of the
team came forward, explained the mishap that had befallen the runner,
that they had Brown George’s mate on the ground, but, as he and Ethan
had never been hitched together, they were unwilling to risk so large a
sum, and closed the race by paying one thousand two hundred and fifty
forfeit. When this announcement was made there was a general murmur
that spread, step by step, through all that vast multitude. The betting
fraternity were just where they started and every spectator realized a
feeling of disgust at the whole management. As soon as this had time to
exert its intended effect upon the crowd, the backers of the team came
forward again and expressed their unwillingness to have the people go
away dissatisfied, and proposed a little match of two hundred and fifty
a side, which was promptly accepted by the Dexter party; and when it was
known there would be a race after all the shout of the multitudes was
like the voice of many waters.

“This being a new race, the betting men had to commence _de novo_. The
surroundings of the pool stands were packed with an eager and excited
crowd, anxious to get on their money at two, and rather than miss, at
three to one on Dexter. The work of the auctioneers was short, sharp and
decisive, and the tickets were away up in the hundreds and oftentimes
thousands. But the pool-stands did not seem to accommodate more than a
small fraction of those anxious to invest, and in all directions in the
surging crowd, hands were in the air, filled with rolls of greenbacks,
and shouting “two to one on Dexter.” I was curious to note what became
of these noisy offers, and I soon observed that a quiet-looking man came
along, took all the party had to invest and then went quietly to another
of the shouters, and then another and so on, till I think that every one
who had money to invest, at that rate, was accommodated. The amount of
money bet was enormous, no doubt aggregating a quarter of a million, in a
few minutes.

“When the horses appeared on the track to warm up for the race, Dexter,
driven by the accomplished reinsman Budd Doble, was greeted with a shout
of applause. Soon the team appeared, and behind it sat the great master
of trotting tactics, Dan Mace. His face, which has so often been a puzzle
to thousands, had no mask over it on this occasion. It spoke only that
intense earnestness that indicates the near approach of a supreme moment.
The team was hitched to a light skeleton wagon; Ethan wore breeching, and
beside him was a great strong race horse, fit to run for a man’s life.
His traces were long enough to allow him to fully extend himself, but
they were so much shorter than Ethan’s that he had to take the weight.
Dexter drew the inside, and on the first trial they got the send off
without either one having six inches the advantage. When they got the
word, the flight of speed was absolutely terrific, so far beyond anything
I had ever witnessed in a trotting horse, that I felt the hair rising
on my head. The running horse was next to me, and notwithstanding my
elevation, Ethan was stretched out so near the ground that I could see
nothing of him but his ears. I fully believed that, for several rods at
this point, they were going at a two-minute gait.

“It was impossible that this terrible pace could be maintained long, and
just before reaching the first turn Dexter’s head began to swim and the
team passed him and took the track, reaching the first quarter-pole in
thirty-two seconds, with Dexter three or four lengths behind. The same
lightning speed was kept up through the second quarter, reaching the
half-mile pole in 1:04, with Dexter still farther in the rear. Mace then
took a pull on his team, and came home a winner by six or eight lengths,
in 2:15. When this time was put on the blackboard, the response of the
multitude was like the roar of the ocean. Although some distance away,
through the second quarter of this heat I had a fair, unobstructed side
view of the stallion and of his action, when going at the lightning rate
of 2:08 to the mile. I could not observe that he received the slightest
degree of propulsion from the running horse; and my conviction was then,
and is now, that any such propulsion would have interfered with his own
unapproachable action, and would have retarded rather than helped him.
The most noticeable feature in his style of movement was the remarkable
lowness to which he dropped his body and the straight, gliding line it
maintained at that elevation.

“The team now had the inside, and in the first attempt they were started
for the second heat, but they did not appear to me to be going so fast as
in the first heat. Before they had gone many rods Ethan lost his stride
and Dexter took the track at the very spot where he had lost it in the
first heat. The team soon got to work, and near the beginning of the
second quarter collared Dexter, but the stallion broke soon after and
fell back, not yards, nor lengths, but rods before he caught. Incredible
as it may seem, when he again got his feet, he put on such a burst of
speed as to overhaul Dexter in the third quarter, when he broke again and
Mace had to pull him nearly to a standstill before he recovered. Dexter
was now a full distance ahead and the heat appeared to be his beyond all
peradventure. I was watching the team in its troubles very closely and
my idea of the distance lost was the result of a deliberate and careful
estimate at the moment; and the query in my mind then was whether the
team could save its distance. At last the old horse struck his gait, and
it was like a dart out of a catapult, or a ball from a rifle. The team
not only saved its distance, but beat Dexter home five or six lengths in

“In the third heat Mace had it all his own way throughout, coming home
the winner of the race in 2:19. The backers of Dexter, up to the very
last, placed great reliance on his well-known staying qualities; but
the last heat showed that the terrible struggle told upon him more
distressingly than upon the team. It is said by those who timed Dexter
privately that he trotted the three heats in 2:17, 2:18, and 2:21. As
an opinion, I will say that if ever there was an honest race trotted
this was one, but there was such an exhibition of sharp diplomacy, of
the “diamond cut diamond” order, as is seldom witnessed, even among the
sharp practices of the turf. It is not probable that Ethan’s running mate
fell amiss at all, the evening before, as represented; and if she did,
it was not possible to send to Connecticut for another horse and have
him there early in the morning as was pretended. This was a mere ruse
put out to get the advantage of the long odds. The managers of the team
knew just how the horses would work and knew they had speed enough to
beat any horse on earth. When the race was called and they came forward
and paid forfeit, it was merely to give the ‘two to one on Dexter’ money
encouragement to come out. It did come out most vociferously and was all
quietly taken. It was said John Morrissey was the manager in chief, and
that his share of the winnings amounted to about forty thousand dollars.”

I have here given my personal impressions of this race, not because the
performance was of any special value, as a test of speed, but because
the time was then phenomenal, even with this kind of hitch, and as an
illustration of what certain horses can do when relieved of all weight.
This was among the first of the contests of this kind, and although
some effort was made to introduce this plan by which a poor horse could
beat a good one, it never has received much encouragement. With all his
perfection of gait and wide popularity, extending from early life to old
age, Ethan Allen was not a success as a progenitor of speed. He placed
but six in the 2:30 list, and the best—Billy Barr—with a record of 2:23¾.
He left but one son equal to himself as a sire, and several daughters
that became the producers of single performers. He was kept several
seasons in Kansas and died there September, 1876.

DANIEL LAMBERT, 102, was a chestnut horse, foaled 1858; got by Ethan
Allen, 43; dam Fanny Cook, by Abdallah; grandam by Stockholm’s American
Star, etc. His color was a light chestnut, and his mane and tail were of
the yellow, flaxen shade. He was about fifteen hands high and long and
light in the body, with no indications of Morgan blood about him unless
it was in the kinkiness of his mane and tail. But why should he not
resemble almost anything else than the little nondescript Morgan, when he
had only one-sixteenth of his blood in his veins? He had more Messenger
than Morgan blood, and according to the rules of arithmetic it is a
misnomer to call him a Morgan. More than this, his dam was a daughter
of the great Abdallah, far and away the greatest trotting sire of his
generation. When we consider that he had four times as much of the blood
of Abdallah as he had of the original Morgan, we can see the absurdity
of sticking to the right male line after that line has been wiped out by
other lines far more potential. Lambert was bred by Mr. John Porter of
Ticonderoga, New York, and as a colt he showed great promise on the ice,
and was thought to be the fastest and best of the get of Ethan Allen. He
was known far and wide as the “Porter Colt,” and he was the popular heir
to very great expectations. To have created so much enthusiasm he must
have shown great speed for a youngster, and he is credited with a record
of 2:42 as a three-year-old. As a sire of trotters he stood very high at
one time and was even with Blue Bull in his number of representatives in
the 2:30 list, but in the end the little “plebeian” pacer outstripped him
a long way. Lambert put thirty-seven trotters into the 2:30 list, but
when we come to study this list we are not very favorably impressed, for
about one-third of the animals have but a single heat inside of the mark,
with only five or six reputable campaigners and a single one—Comee—that
ranked among the real good ones. Comee had seventy-one heats to his
credit and a record of 2:21¼. Thirty-three of Daniel Lambert’s sons
have put one hundred and thirty-six in the list, and forty-four of his
daughters have produced seventy-four performers.



    Orloffs the only foreign trotters of merit—Count Alexis
    Orloff, founder of the breed—Origin of the Orloff—Count Orloff
    began breeding in 1770—Smetanka, Polkan, and Polkan’s son,
    Barss, really the first Orloff trotting sire—The Russian
    pacers—Their great speed—Imported Bellfounder—His history
    and characteristics—Got little speed—His descendants—The
    English Hackney—Not a breed, but a mere type—The old Norfolk
    trotters—Hackney experiments in America—Superiority of the
    trotting-bred horse demonstrated in show-ring contests.

It may be a little outside of the field of our discussion to include the
Orloff Trotter, but as a few of them have been brought to this country,
and as that is the only organized and recognized _breed_ of trotters in
all the world beside our own, it seems to be necessary to give a brief
synopsis of the origin and history of that breed, so far as we may be
able. An additional and probably a more cogent reason for making this
foreign detour is the fact that there are now many American trotters on
the turf in Europe, and practically their only competitors, whether on
the turf or in the breeding studs, are the Orloffs of Russia.

“Wallace’s American Trotting Register,” the first volume of which was
issued in 1871, was an individual enterprise. Two years afterward the
director-in-chief of the Russian Imperial Studs submitted a series of
questions to different scientific gentlemen, whose studies were in
the right direction, soliciting their views, on the practicability
and advisability of establishing a governmental standard by which the
Orloff trotters should be classed and officially registered. The report
was favorable and the Russian trotting register was established under
governmental direction. This was the second movement toward establishing
a _breed_; not merely by writing a lot of names in a book, but by writing
those names on the turf of two continents. A delegation from France once
visited me to consult about establishing a Register in that country,
and to learn how to commence such an enterprise. When I asked them what
strains of blood they had that could trot, they did not seem to know of
any particular strains, or any one strain better than another, to serve
as a foundation, but they were sure they had plenty of trotters. This was
the first I ever had heard of French-bred trotters, and it was the last I
ever heard of the French trotting register.

The stalwart Alexis Orloff took a very active part in making Catherine
II. Empress of Russia—for which he was loaded with honors as well as
lucrative offices. In the war with the Turks in 1772 he was given command
of the Russian fleet, and with the assistance of the English fleet
under Admiral Elphinstone, he achieved a great victory and captured the
pasha in command of the Turkish fleet. Owing to some unusual kindness
Count Orloff was able to extend to the captured Turkish commander, or
his family, he presented the count with a pure white stallion, said
to be a Barb, which he took home with him and placed in his stud of
horses, that he had established but a short time before. Another story
is that the count bought this white horse, which he called Smetanka,
while he was in Greece and paid a large price for him. I am not able to
say which representation is the more probable, and it is not material
to our history, as there is no dispute about the identity of Smetanka
as the nominal head of the Orloff breed of horses, and neither story
gives any information about his blood. No doubt he was a Turk. Count
Alexis commenced his breeding stud in 1770, and there appears to have
been a good deal of system about it or else a large amount of very free
guessing. When first established, the horse breeders say, it consisted of
stallions and mares as follows: Arabs, 12 stallions, 10 mares; Turkish,
1 stallion, 2 mares; English, 20 stallions, 32 mares; Dutch, 1 stallion,
8 mares; Persian, 3 stallions, 2 mares; Danish, 1 stallion, 3 mares;
Mecklenburg, 1 stallion, 5 mares. From this it will be seen that he had
more English running blood than all the other varieties put together,
and yet no trotters came from that source. From this great variety of
composite material the count had free rein in his grand experiment of
producing the type of horse that best pleased his fancy. As a matter of
course the indiscriminate commingling of these different strains and
types would produce a mongrel lot, from which a few superior animals
might be selected, and doubtless were selected, for breeding purposes.

The different writers who have discussed the result of this experiment
seem to agree, substantially, that two distinct types were the
result—the galloper for the saddle and the trotter for harness—but they
assume what appears to me to be a very unreasonable conclusion that both
these types were indebted to the super-excellence of Smetanka. The count
was one of the most prominent sporting men of his day, an inveterate
horse-racer and cock-fighter, and under this kind of management it is
hardly credible that the twenty English thoroughbred stallions should
have been put aside for the little white horse of positively unknown
origin. But whatever may have been the predominating blood in the saddle
department, it is certain that the trotter is lineally descended from
Smetanka. He was bred on a Danish mare and produced Polkan (Volcan),
without anything new or striking in his characteristics. Polkan was bred
on a Dutch mare and produced Barss, and this was the first to manifest a
disposition to extend himself to his utmost at the trot and to stick to
it. Barss became a great favorite with his master; for, although stumbled
upon, he was a new creation and is the real progenitor of all the horses
that bear the name Orloff. His component elements are easily expressed.
He had twenty-five per cent. of the blood of Smetanka; twenty-five per
cent. of the blood of the Danish mare, and fifty per cent. of the blood
of the Dutch mare, it seems to be reasonable to conclude, therefore, that
the trotting instinct must be found in the unknown elements of the Dutch

Some years ago Prof. —— (the name I cannot now recall), from the Imperial
Agricultural College, near Moscow, Russia, paid me several visits for
the purpose of gathering up what information he could obtain about the
origin and history of the American Trotter. He was very intelligent and
thorough in his methods of obtaining information, and each succeeding day
he came back to me with a new series of questions hinging upon previous
interviews, and all carefully prepared. These questions were so admirably
shaped to reach the vital points of the subject that I became greatly
interested in the man. When it came my turn to ask questions, my first
one was, What was the origin and lineage of the Dutch mare that produced
Barss? He replied, “Ah, the scientific men of Russia would give a great
deal to be able to answer that question.” We both agreed, perfectly, that
the living instinct of the trotter came from that mare, but he was not
able to tell me anything of her history or habits of action. He told me
there were many pacers in Russia and that the best ones came from the
province of Viatka and from the region of the Volga River.

As the true source from which the Russian trotters have drawn their
ability to trot fast has not been developed nor determined by history, we
must consider the problem in the light of the surrounding conditions, and
possibly our American experiences may lead to its solution. In 1873 Prof.
Von Mittendorf, at the request of the director-in-chief of the imperial
stud, prepared a very able paper on the scientific questions involved
in the establishment of a Government Register for the Orloff trotters.
In this paper he discusses the pace and the trot as both original and
natural gaits and insists that there are no outward indications in form
or shape by which the animal, when at rest, can be decided to be a pacer
or a trotter. In his own words he says:

    “In answer to the question whether, from the form of a horse
    at rest, it can be ascertained what gait would be easiest
    assumed by it, viz., trotting or pacing, I must confess that
    I have never seen, read or heard of such marks, and, indeed,
    there never are any symptoms or signs of inclination for pacing
    in the proportions of any horse with the single negative
    exception, viz., that great speed in one-sided motion does not
    agree with a large frame, which is more adapted to leaping, and
    hence fast pacers are never found among large horses.”

This is the view as taken by a Russian scientist of the distinction, or
rather lack of distinction, between the trotter and the pacer. I have
not quoted this paragraph from Prof. Mittendorf because it contained
anything new in the economy of breeding, but to prove that there were
pacers in Russia and that their relation to the trotter was considered in
the formation of the rules of admission to the Orloff trotting register.
A very intelligent writer, evidently a Russian and one who knew what he
was talking about, contributed an interesting article to the New York
_Sun_ of July 9, 1877, from which we get a clear and strong light on the
practical side of the Russian pacer, and I will here again quote:

    “Up to the middle of the last century horses in Russia were
    not scientifically bred; they ran wild in many parts of the
    country. Those caught on the steppes of the river Don, and
    in the wilderness of the district of Viatka, obtained early
    celebrity, which they still maintain. The Don horses are those
    famous Cossack steeds about which so much has been written of
    late. The Viatka horses, or Bitugues, as they are called are
    the genuine trotters of Russia. They are all pacers, equally
    remarkable for their speed and their endurance. But since
    the Orloff breed has been introduced, the Bitugues have been
    excluded from all matches, on the ground that their pacing is
    not orthodox.

    “It is with these Bitugues that the peculiar troika team, of
    which a specimen was shown in Fleetwood Park, on Saturday,
    originated. A fast, sturdy Bitugue is put in shafts, and a
    light running horse from the steppes harnessed on each side of
    him. A good Bitugue trots so fast that the wild steppe runners
    have to be whipped all the time to force them to keep up with
    him. The idea of putting an Orloff trotter in the place of a
    Bitugue is very queer, as no square trotter can equal the speed
    of those famous pacers of Viatka, and keep abreast with side

From these three several sources we learn a number of facts that may
have a more or less important bearing upon the true origin of the Orloff
trotter. (1) That there are now, and have been for generations past,
plenty of pacers in Russia. (2) That these pacers have a common habitat,
north and east of the Don. (3) That they are a very old race, running
back in the centuries away beyond the knowledge of man or the records of
history. (4) That they are a very fast and very enduring race, and that
they have been trained for generations as the shaft horses of the troika
and their speed so well developed as to require good running horses
to keep abreast with them. (5) That they are of smaller size than the
average and lack symmetry, and thus, notwithstanding their great speed
and bottom, they and their blood are excluded from registration with the
Orloffs. (6) That they are also excluded from competing for any prizes
that may be offered, and no other reason is suggested than that they
would be sure to win.

Russia and America both have pacers and they are both carrying forward
the breeding and development of the trotter with great intelligence and
success. No other nation has been able to make even a beginning in this
field of animal economy except by the introduction of the foundation
stock from one or other of these two countries. It may be taken as
historically true, and as applying to every nation on the face of the
earth, that where there are no pacers there are no trotters. Hundreds of
unmistakable experiences in this country go to show that the pacer is a
great source of trotting speed. At one time a pacing stallion of obscure
pacing origin stood at the head of the list of all stallions as the sire
of the greatest number of trotters with fast records. A great multitude
of our fastest trotters at maturity were foaled pacers from trotting
parents. It is no longer a matter of wonder or surprise that with two
animals from the same parents one of them should be a fast trotter and
the other a fast pacer. Neither is it any longer remarkable that a fast
trotter with a very fast record should turn around and make just as fast
a record at the pace. The American people are just beginning to realize,
in its full force, the declaration of more than twenty years ago; that
the trot and the pace are simply two forms of the same gait, in the
economy of motion. The only difference that has been observed as between
two brothers, the one a pacer and the other a trotter, is that with the
same skill in handling the pacer will come to his speed much quicker than
the trotter, which is of itself a strong suggestion at least that the
pace is the more natural and easier form of the one gait.

Now, in view of the fact that Smetanka was of Saracenic origin—a strain
of blood that has always been antagonistic to the pacer, and never
produced a pacer or a trotter; and in view of the fact that his grandson,
Barss, is accepted as the first of all Orloff trotters; and in view of
the further fact that in thousands of American experiences the trotter
has come from the pacer, it seems to be a reasonable conclusion that the
“Dutch Mare” that produced Barss had a strong pacing inheritance, and
possibly had her speed fully developed, as the Bitugue in the count’s own

Among all the pleasures which Count Orloff derived from his experiments
in breeding, whether of gamecocks, or race horses, or saddlers, or
trotters, Barss was his greatest favorite because he was his highest
achievement in the art of breeding. This judgment of his master has been
confirmed in the experiences and history of all succeeding generations
for a hundred years, and the name of Barss will be known through the
coming centuries as the founder of a mighty breed of trotters. I once
possessed a fine picture of Barss hitched to a sleigh and driven by his
breeder, Count Orloff, himself; and I have seen it stated somewhere that
this picture was a copy of a bronze statue erected to the memory of the
Count Orloff and the greatest horse of Russia.

It has been stated by some writers, but with what measure of authority
I do not know, that for about thirty years after the appearance of
Barss his daughters were bred to English thoroughbreds, to Arabs, to
Anglo-Arabs, and, indeed, to all the highly bred crosses that the great
establishment was able to furnish, and there was no improvement in either
the quality or the speed of the produce. From this it is evident that
the count and his managers were at that period entangled in the same
foolish notions that befogged the minds of so many very worthy gentlemen
in this country some years ago, viz., that the way to improve the trotter
was to go to the runner—the horse that never could trot. This foolish
notion, that never had a spark of reason in it, naturally and necessarily
weakened the trotting instinct of the descendants of Barss, and would
have wiped it all out if it had been followed persistently, and there
would have been no Orloff trotters to-day.

After this narrow escape from the annihilation of much of the good that
Barss had done, the management then began to look for the same blood and
the same habit of action that the “Dutch Mare” transmitted to her son,
and, with this element to the front, progression was resumed. Out of his
great variety of forms and of strains of blood the count and his managers
could pick and choose for the size, shape and forms they wanted, but they
were not able to transfer with the size, shape and form the instincts and
psychical nature of the horse. The count seems to have carried forward
his great enterprise rather with a view to experimentation than its
commercial possibilities. Smetanka lived but a year or two, and when
he stumbled upon the production of Barss, a magnificent individual and
a great trotter, his head seems to have been turned, as he evidently
supposed that he could breed any kind of horse he wished to breed, and
be able to do anything he wished him to do. At his death, in 1808, he
left no male heir to succeed him, but he provided in his will that his
stud should not be dispersed. It was kept intact till about 1845, when it
was purchased by the government, and finally divided among a number of
prominent breeders in different portions of the empire.

Without having any knowledge on the subject that is definite and
specific, I am led to infer that the rules on registration and racing in
Russia are a hindrance to the breeding and development of the trotter.
As I understand it, no horse can be registered unless he is purely
descended from Barss. And I understand further, that he must possess
the same requirements in order to enter and start in a public race
against the Orloffs. If it be true that these restrictions are really in
existence and are enforced, we can understand why the American trotter is
so far ahead of the Orloff in speed and in the markets of Europe. The
Orloff is restricted to certain lines of blood and is protected against
competition from others that might beat him. The American is free from
all restrictions of blood and gathers up all that is best and fastest. He
neither asks nor accepts protection from any quarter, but throws down the
glove to all comers.

BELLFOUNDER was imported from England, July, 1822, by James Boott, of
Boston, Mass. He was placed in the hands of Samuel Jaques, Jr.—a very
shrewd manager who understood the use of printer’s ink and did not
hesitate about employing it liberally. In his advertisement for 1823 he
says: “This celebrated horse is a bright bay with black legs, standing
fifteen hands high.” From this we are safe in concluding he was not
more than fifteen hands, and from another contemporaneous source it
is learned that he was a little below that measurement. On this point
the recollections, or perhaps impressions, of Orange County horsemen
are not very trustworthy, as one of them places his height at sixteen
hands and others at fifteen and a half. His pedigree was given on the
card which was distributed by his groom in the form following: “Got
by old Bellfounder, out of Velocity by Haphazard, by Sir Peter out
of Miss Hervey by Eclipse.” “Velocity trotted on the Norwich road in
1806, sixteen miles in one hour, and although she broke five times
into a gallop, and as often turned round, she won her match.” Although
after diligent search I have not been able to find this performance
of Velocity, it may be true that a mare so named may have trotted as
represented, but she was not a daughter of Haphazard. The dates make this
utterly impossible, and Mr. Jaques was smart enough never to put this
humbug pedigree in his elaborate advertisements that appeared in the
leading agricultural papers of the country, year after year.

As the great mass of people of that day knew nothing and cared but little
about pedigrees, the astute manager of the horse struck an expedient in
the way of advertising that was very effective. He had a cut made of a
horse trotting loose on the road, at the rate of a hurricane, and in
the background was an entablature with the legend “Seventeen and a half
miles an hour,” which anybody and everybody would interpret to mean that
this was a record made by imported Bellfounder, and there he was doing
it. This cut in reduced form went the rounds of the agricultural press,
and in 1831 made its appearance in the “Family Encyclopedia of Useful
Knowledge.” This dodge was exceedingly effective, and as it appeared in
a book it must be true. Thousands of people interpreted the picture to
mean that imported Bellfounder had trotted seventeen and a half miles
in an hour. Mr. Jaques did not say this in letters and figures, but he
said it even more plainly in a picture. The basis of this deception is
found in the advertisement itself, where, in speaking of the speed of old
Bellfounder in England, he says: “His owner challenged to perform with
him seventeen miles and a half in one hour, but it was not accepted.”
Here we have a possible challenge of the sire transmuted into an actual
performance of the son, for the sole purpose of securing public patronage.

There can be no doubt that this horse was a true representative of what
was then known as the Norfolk Trotters and at this time designated as
Hackneys or Cobs. Bellfounder was of a quiet, docile disposition, with a
display of great nervous energy in his movements when aroused. His knee
and hock action was high and showy, giving the impression of a great
trotter, without much speed. At several points his form was measurably
reproduced in Hambletonian, especially in his low, round withers and his
great, meaty buttocks. In seeing these points so plainly developed in his
idol it is not remarkable that Mr. Rysdyk should have placed too high an
estimate on Bellfounder blood as a factor in the American trotting horse.
If he had thoughtfully asked himself the question, What has Bellfounder
blood done in its own right in the way of getting trotters? the illusion
would have vanished.

Bellfounder was in the control of Mr. Jaques for six years, and never
in my knowledge of trotting stallions have I known one so widely and
successfully advertised. The name “Bellfounder” was heard and known
everywhere. From 1829 to 1833, inclusive, he was under the control of
Mr. T. T. Kissam, of Long Island. After that time he seems to have gone
“a-begging” wherever there seemed to be a chance to earn his oats. At
last, at Jamaica, Long Island, he died, having made twe