Oscar Wilde.

Lady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest online

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most vivid imagination which was brought into the most active
play whenever he found it necessary. To maintain his "reputa-
tion" 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 bril-
liancy, and it was always important to have a call to some busi-
ness that cut off further entertainment from his repertoire.

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-
23. 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

messenger's soxs. 245

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 Ave have to take Mr. Bush's assertions cum grano salts, 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 Batavia."

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 pro-
genitor of horses suited to the stage coach this particular one
tliat 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 Kanst for five hundred pounds. In
1802 he was owned by Major William Jones, of Cold Spring Har-
bor, and made some seasons there. In 1806 he was at New
Windsor, Orange County, New York. In 1806 he was in charge
•of Thomas Jackson, at Rahway, New Jersey, and 1811 at Cross-
wicks, 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 neigh-
borhood 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, Penn-
sylvania, 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 Phila-
delphia, 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

messenger's soxs. 247

several years in Union Coianty, 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 competi-
tion with bim, and thus the son of Tickle Toby would steal many
a chaplet from the brow of his namesake, the son of Messenger.

Ogdex Messenger was a grey horse, foaled 1806, got by im-
ported 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 Eegulus. The pedigree of this
dam is correct, and she was doubtless entitled to rank as thor-
oughbred. This horse was bred by Mr. Cruger, and at three
years old was sold to David Ogden, and that summer he was pas-
tured on the farm of Major William Jones, of Long Island, from
Avhose books we have the foregoing facts. Mr. David W. Jones
remarks: '"T retain a perfect recollection of him. He was at
that time a large overgrown colt, not particularly ugly nor ex-
ceedingly coarse, but having no special beauty nor finish. I can-
not better describe him than to say he was a coarse pattern of a
fine horse, with marked traits of his lineage." Mr. Jones evi-
dently saw him at his worst age and before he fully reached his

Judge Odgen, his owner, was a large landholder in St. Law-
rence 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 sous of imported Messen-
ger 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 valua-
ble tribe of ti otters and pacers, but later developments showed


that this was a mistake. (He appears to have alternated in his'
services between Lewis and Jetferson 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 person-
ally, and Mr. Daniels was seventy-five years old when he wrote..
He still had a very clear recollection of the horse in his appear-
ance 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 carry-
ing 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 excel-
lent, 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-gran-
dam 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 Eichard
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

messenger's sons. 249

harnessed and was a very popular stallion in Salem and adjoin-
ing counties for many years. Mr. Atkinson was a very prom-
inent 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 sjieed for his horse, but owing
to his position in the society he never could gratify his friends
by showing it. AVhen 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 sug-
gests that Messenger was kept in Burlington County, New
Jersey, the unplaced season of 1800. Still as he was at Lawrence-
ville 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 hand-
some, 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 Messen-


ger, 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 Penn-
sylvania, and was sold at auction in Philadelphia to James Du-
bois 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 Gr.
Blauvelt, and is probably the horse that was more widely known
as Blanvelt'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 Ba-
shaw. 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 horse-
man 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, hand-
some, 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

messenger's sons. 251

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 in-
stinct," and that without any assistance from the blood of his

Plato was a large brown horse, fully sixteen hands high, and
was a full brother to Bishop's Hambletonian, being by Messen-
ger, out of Pheasant. He was bred by General Coles, of Long
Island, and was foaled 1802. As he matured the general judg-
ment 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' Engi-
neer, 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 con-

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 Top-
gallant," 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. Fag-
down 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 Fag-
downs. 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 Iowa.

Bright Phoebus Avas foaled 1804, the same year as Hamble-
tonian. He was out of the imported Pot-8-os mare, and his
breeeder. General Coles, of Long Island, sold him to Bond and
Hughes, of Philadelphia. His most noted achievement was at

messenger's sons. 253

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 ©f 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 in-
fluence upon the American trotting horse.

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, Kew
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 sup-
port 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 m 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 gener'ation, mul-
titudes of his grandsons gloried in the same cognomen, and thus
generation after generation jjerpetuated it, in widening circles,
till "confusion became worse confounded," leaving the historian
in helpless and hopeless ignorance as to what was true and what

Online LibraryOscar WildeLady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest → online text (page 27 of 61)