Oscar Wilde.

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

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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 grand-
son of imported Bellfounder, of which little is known. He was
bred by Joseph Eegan, 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 cam-
paigned 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, AVells Fargo made a record of 2:18|; Sam
Purdy, 2:20^; Yanderlyn, 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 Godfre}'
Patchen, with nine trotters to his credit and his descendants
breeding on; Henry B. Patchen, with seven to his credit; Seneca
Patchen, Avith sixteen trotters and one pacer to his credit, per-
haps 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 j)acer. 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 pro-
duced 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 in-
heritance 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 succeed-
ing generation. The second thought is that the tribe has not
held its vantage ground of the first and the longest line of de-
veloped trotting speed. The third is that it has failed to trans-
mit 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 inherit-
ance 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



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 — Familj' statistics,
summarized— Grinnell's Champion, son of Almack — His sons and perform-
ing 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 gen-
tleman 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 Sjnrit 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 Eock, 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 Eock, 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 "Eegister" I was
greatly surprised that nobody believed it, and the more a horse-
man 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 concensus 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 person-
ally 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 amuse-
ment 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 follows:

" American Star is a chestnut sorrel, eight years old on the lltb day of April,
1847, near 16 hands high, etc, , . . He was sired by the noted trot-
ting 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 pedi-
gree 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 qnasi-
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 per-
sisted in giving the pedigree as by a Canadian horse and out of a
mare by Henry. Upon the whole, T long ago concluded tliat 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 Pier-
mont, 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 liber-
ally patronized. An unusually large percentage of his foals were
fillies, and he was essentially a brood-mare sire from the start.
Opinions diifer 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 troubles.

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 in-
side 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 in-

American Star (Conklin's) was a chestnut horse, foaled
1851, and got by Seely's x\merican 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 trot-
ters, 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

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 profes-
sional pedigree manufacturer, who exploited his inventive skill
very widely through the early catalogues of that great establish-
ment. 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 exhaus-
tively treated in Chapter XXIX., the details need not be
farther 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 mani-
fested 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, there-
fore, in danger of becoming unreliable, but they were fast for
their day, and dead game campaigners. There is one particular
in Avhich 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 lemarkable.
During the troublous times of the war many of his early pro-
geny 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 Eussell, 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 cham-
pion 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 j)laced five there.
This brief and hasty exhibit of what the descendants of Miss-
Russell are doing seems to upset ail 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 wa&
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 j)lienomenal 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


Tiim, and in June, 1846, Mr. AVilliam R. Grinnell paid two thou-
sand 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 getter.

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
liis daily exercise Mr. Van Cott says he could "show considera-
bly 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 lifty dollars. On reaching St. Louis he proved to
be as dangerous a§ 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 compara-
tively few colts, but a large proportion of that few were of excel-
lent quality and many of them trotters.

Champion (Sco bey's also known as King's Champion) was the

Online LibraryOscar WildeLady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest → online text (page 36 of 61)