Oscar Wilde.

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

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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 North ville. 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
^nd 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 deter-
mine how fast he was. From his own loins he put eight per-



346 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

formers 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 (GtOGDing'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, On-
tario 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 Irst 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 per-
formers.

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 2:25-^. Several pedigrees have been pro-
vided 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



AMERICAN" STAR, PILOT, CHAMPION, AXD NORMAN". 347

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 nnder 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 con-
stitution, 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 propa-
gator 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 Lans-
ing, on a poor half-mile track, it is said, and trotted a mile in
2:31^, and for this performance he received a piece of plate from
the society testifying to this fact. He has but two representa-
tives in the 2:30 list, and three of his sons have five trotters to
their credit, while six of his daughters have produced seven per-
formers. He lived to an old age.

The merits and demerits of this family are very marked. The
head of it seems to have possesssed great nerve force and an un-
mistakable instinct to trot, but he was irritable and vicious in his
temper. Both these qualities — the desirable and tlie 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



348 THE HORSE OF AMERICA..

whatever is good in this family will be swallowed up in other
tribes that are more prepotent and positive in the trotting in-
.stinct.

NoRMAX, OR The Morse House. — 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 Pea-
<3ock, 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 enter-
ing 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 di-s-
tillery. On one occasion he brought back three horses Avith 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-sjjrung 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' Hamble-
tonian, when he was kept by John Williams, Jr. This is estab-
lished 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.



AMERICAN STAR, PILOT, CHAMPION AXD XORMAN. 349'

Emerson in Saratoga County and was afterward burned up in his
stable. This son of Messenger, called Peacock, was entirely new
to me then 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 k^ioio 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. Giant, 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 2:40^. At the State Fair he was
all out of fix and Black Hawk beat him in the second and tliird
heats. He won the first heat in 2:52^. 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 Eycles-
heimer, then of Pittstown, New York. He was taken to Janes-
ville, 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 29:41^. 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 tha
money seemed to suggest.



350 THE HORSE OF AMEEICA.

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 Samuet 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 iVlexander's Norman. This
colt passed through several hands till he reached Henry L. Barker,
of Clinton, New York, and about 1800, he sold him to the late

E. 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 tcT 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 Eichard Eichards, of
Eacine, 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 ac-
counted 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 liis
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 per-
petuated. 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;



AMERICAN STAR, PILOT, CHAMPIOlf, AND NORMAN". 351

graiidam a fast trotting dun mare, brought from Ohio, pedigree
unknown. He was bred by D. Swigert, Spring Station, Ken-
tucky, 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 ISTew 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 phenom-
enal 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.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THE BLUE BULL AND OTHER MINOK FAMILIES.

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 Cross-
ing, 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 Herring's Blue Bull, or Ohio Farmer. The latter was
taken to Butler County, Ohio, from Chester County, Pennsyl-
vania, 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. Mer-



THE BLUE BULL AND OTHER MINOR FAMILIES, 353

ring about 1S43. His son, Prnden'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 preva-
lent 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 Gr. B. Loder, of the same county, and
in 1863 he traded him to James Pruden, of Elizabethtown, Ohio.

The pedigree of AVilson'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 Wil-
son'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
speeu, 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 dissat-
isfaction 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



354 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

looking for, but something to support that ignorant and stupid
theory.

A careful study of the statistics of this horse will teaoh a valu-
able lesson. He put fifty -six trotters into the 2:30 fist, varying
in speed from 2:30 to 2:17i, and five of this number in 2:20 or bet-
ter. He also got four pacers with records from 2:24| to 2:16^.
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 pro-
duced one hundred and seven performers, and if we had time to
trace out these performers we would find that they were gener-
ally 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 swal-
lowed up and lose its family identity.

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 part-
nership he was sold, 1850, and taken to Richmond, Indiana; then



THE BLUE BULL AND OTHER MIlSrOR FAMILIES. 355

to George Shepher, of Butler County, Ohio, and next to a com-
pany 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,
ind 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 Va-
lerius, 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 de-
veloped. 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 fojil, 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 2:17^, 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, 2:26f.
and the dams of May Morning, 2:30, and Nancy, 2:23-|, thus rank-
ing as a great brood mare.

Shanghai Mary, that has become so famous as the dam of
Oreen Mountain Maid, one of the very greatest of all brood



356 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

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 re-
mained a profound mystery, until of recent date certain facts,
point to Mr, Coft'ein as her breeder and Cadmus as her sire.
This has not been established historically, but w^hen the circum-
stances 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 investi-



Online LibraryOscar WildeLady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest → online text (page 37 of 61)