Gamefowl History, Champion Bloodlines

Gamefowl History, Champion Bloodlines



By: E.T.Piper (August 1965)

Every time we read in a game journal or hear someone arguing about how a famous strain was bred, it used to make us smile. Now, after a lot of developing into the history of present day families of fowl, it makes us laugh right out loud. If any man ever hit the nail on the head, it was Henry Ford when he said, much to the disgust of our scholarly element, “History is the bunk!” Much of the history taught in our schools is just that, or at its best inaccurate reporting of past events, and all game fowl history is absolutely bunk. Ninety-five percent of us gamefowl breeders don’t know how our own fowl are bred further than two or three generations back. A whole hell of a lot of us are not positive how last season’s chicks were bred, and them right on our own yard at that. Sounds silly, but it’s true.

Let’s take the Allen Roundheads as a well-known example. We know they were good. I can show you a man who claims to have letters from Allen in which he claims his strain was kept good by careful inbreeding. I can show you another who says he has letters to prove the best cocks Allen ever showed were crosses of Green’s Japs; and still another who contends the best Allen ever fought, and this over a period of years, were not bred by Allen at all, but sent him each year by a New England saloon keeper. And, all three of these men claim to have positive proof of their contentions. What’s the difference how they are or aren’t bred, or who bred them? If they are good today, that’s what you want and need. If they aren’t good, a silly pedigree of long, pure breeding isn’t going to improve them a particle. Recently, we talked to a well-known cocker and a competent man. We asked him about some fowl he had tried out for three years. He said, “I had to get rid of every drop of the blood. All the damned things would do is stand there like fence posts and take whatever the other cock handed them.” Now, we happen to know a considerable amount of those fowl and their owner. He can write out the pedigree of any chicken on his yard and trace it right back to 1865 or ’70; not another drop of outside blood in all those years. They are famous today among paper fighters. Yet, compared with today’s best cocks, they are positively jokes. Keeping pedigrees of animals and birds was begun simply because it furnished (for future reference) a record in writing of how outstanding individuals were bred, who their fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, and the proper place for their pedigrees is in the trash can.

In two different issues of the Warrior some time last summer, we gave you the history of the Albany fowl; one of today’s winning strains of fowl. We had been much interested in these fowl for the past 9 or 10 years, or longer, ever since we saw some of them back in 1930 or ’31. Since then, at every opportunity, we have tried to get a line on how they were originated and bred, up to today. Finally, we thought we had it right and gave in to you. On a recent trip to Troy, we found out it was only approximately correct, so, here it is again. If you are tired of reading our stuff on these fowl, we don’t’ blame you a bit, and promise this is our last word on the Albanys. Back years ago or more, Mr. hatch of Long Island, N.Y., fought a main in Eastern New York. When we arrived home, he found someone had stolen three cocks from his shipping coops, the ones he had taken along for the main. Two of them were yellow legged and one a green leg.

While the men who have us our information said they would take their oaths they didn’t know who stole these cocks, they did know who eventually got them. The two yellow legs were bred and produced nothing worthwhile. “Army” Fox of Utica, N.Y. got the green leg. He was a large, straight comb, broad backed, dark red, with green legs. Army later talked with Mr. Hatch about having the cock, and he told him what he was, that all of that family were straight combs, etc. Army said he would send and get him. His friend told him the cock had died, and that he wasn’t his type of chicken anyway. However, he had raised two or three stags form him , and a hen that was in breeding, Pogmore Whitehackle and Henny, and offered to send Army one of the stags. When he arrived, he was a beautiful, long feathered, large stag, black and red in color. He was bred to the Slade Roundhead hens and a dozen or so stags were produced. About half of them looked like Hennies, and while game, better than the Hennies, and that’s about all that could be said of them.

About this time and for some years previous, Tom Foley of Troy, N.Y., had a strain of extras good ginger colored fowl, and Army Fox sent to him and asked for a good cock to breed. Just about this time, and Albany crowd one of his Gingers, a spangle (and the only one out of 50 or so to come that color), to fight in the main. He was a big cock and didn’t fall in (but in a hack after the main won a very classy battle), and was sent on to Army Fox for a brood cock. Army bred him to the pullets, or perhaps hens by then, that were sisters to the Henny stags that were out of the Hatch Pogmore Henny cock and Slade hens. This mating, for some unknown reason, produced all very small fowl, 4.0, 4.04, 4.06, etc., too small for practical purposes although they were exceptional fighters and very game. Practically all of them were given away. Shortly after this, Army met a friend of his in Albany, whom we must refer to as Mr. X. He had always had gamefowl, but a few years before had gotten into politics. At that time, he gave up the fowl. Army suggested he get back in the game again, that new blood was needed among the big shots, and especially new blood with a bankroll. He laughed and said perhaps he would, but where would he get good fowl? To make a long story short, he took the pullets or hens Army had that were bred from the Foley Ginger cock and hens that were ½ Slade Roundhead, ½ hatch-Pogmore Henny. He got, form the Hardy Bros. Of Niagara Falls, one of their Mahogany cocks known as “The Sneak” (due to a habit he had of ducking under his opponent) and bred them together. This mating produced what were known as the strait Albanys; very uniform, awfully game cocks, but not good enough to compete with the topnotchers. From here on, our previous writings on these fowl are correct. A Pine Spangle was bred tot he Albany hens and produced cocks that were invincible for five or six years.

When he died, a Claret cock bred to the same hens and other Clarets down to Mr. X’s “Caseys” of today were what he had. Offshoots of the family have proven awfully good. The Bradford fowl, Laws Clippers, Hard, Cox fowl, Keefer, and many more all contain the blood. In spite of the numerous and varied crosses that have been made, these fowl today are surprisingly uniform in looks and in action and winning qualities. We know of nothing better, not few as good.


By: E.T. Piper
Ed Pine was born and lived all his life at south Cairo, New York in the foothills of the catskill mountains. It was also home of Frank Stryker, another cocker, don’t get Frank Stryker and Jack Stryker mixed up. Jack lived in New Jersey and had fowl of various kinds, including greys. they were not related and it `s doubtful if they were acquainted with one another. Frank Stryker eventually became a member of what some refereed to as the “Albany combine” that is Billy Lawman, John Hoy and others who controlled the Lawman white hackles and muffs : considered by men living today, who saw them in their prime, as the greasiest fowl ever to land on these shores. they came to Billy lawman at Schenectady, new York from his father in the north of England near the Scottish border, hence the name “north brittions” which, I believe, was first applied to them in this country, in the early 1900 `s, frank Stryker was fighting a family of Charley Brown Shawlnecks that were very good fowl.

This was in what cockers have always referred to as “eastern ‘New York State and the vicinity, which included south Cairo. Stryker was very successful with his Shawlnecks and was considered quite a cocker. along about this time, john hoy moved to Albany, N.Y. from Brooklyn/NJ, in short order, he became associated with Billy lawman with his muffs and white hackles. hoy was an outstanding cocker and feeder, and he and lawman soon began going to town with their fowl, one of their early victims was frank Stryker and his shawls. friend `s of frank tried to console him by saying he got some tough breaks, but he was too smart a cocker to swallow that. he said the cocks that beat him were the best he ever saw, that he would not only never try to beat them again, he was going to try to and get in with hoy and lawman and get some. that is exactly what he did, he crossed them over his charley brown shawls and began going to town with the cross. they where outstanding fowl in every way Lawman and Hoy fought some of them and did equally well with them. they { the cross} became known as Stryker whitehackles.

Shawlnecks and white hackles have always been almost identical in appearance and the cross made a family outstanding, typical whitehackles. in referring to these fowl , i say the cross made the stryker whitehackes,but i may be and probaly am, in error there for this reason,after stryker got in with Hoy and Lawman, he could get anything from them he wanted.exactly how he bred from then on no one would know for sure.all that is known for certain is that the stryker white hackle were a combination of blood of Lawman whitehackle and Charley Brown shawl. probaly, if the lawman blood was as outstanding as it was claimed, he leaned in that direction with his breeding and put in more lawman blood,cutting down on the shawl. the combine went to town to beating everyone as Billy lawman said, from new York City to buffalo, NY it has been said they beat Kearney and Duryea five times out of six and Dennis mahoney and many others old-timers. mahoney died in 1907, so many of these mains must have been between 1902 and 1907 when mahoney died. i believe John Hoy fed most of their mains. there were no tournaments or derbies in those days.

somewhere between 1902 and 1915 which is closer to the time Stryker died, Ed Pine, was a tall,gamgly young fellow and helped Stryker work his cocks and also walked them, Stryker had been a butcher and it was said his wife was an Indian, or part Indian, who knew nothing about and cared less about her husband `s chickens. so when Stryker died suddenly, Ed Pine fell heir to all of the Stryker fowl. from then on, they were known as Ed Pine `s strykers.lawman dided somewhere between 1911 and 1920, and Hoy went along with his lawman fowl and pine with his Stryker fowl. both did exceptionally well. hoy died in 1929 but had been inactive several years previous due to old age. Pine, between 1915 and 1935 when for practical purposes quit the game. probably fought more mains and won a larger majority than any cocker who ever lived in this county.

Arkansas Travelers
by F.E. Montgomery

Something like a year ago, I believe, I promised my uncle, Mr. W.M. Smith that I would attempt to write the history of the Arkansas Travelers. This history serves as a link connecting the Montgomery Travelers with the old time Sledge and Hanna strain. My original blood was selected from the very best matings we had. Now, so far as real facts are concerning as to the original blood, I know very little, only that the old Nick Arrington fowl, of North Carolina. served as the foundation on which to build. This North Carolina fowl came into hands of Col. Jim Rogers, of Arkansas, who fought them for years. This same Rogers’ fowl was named and became famous as the “Arkansas Travelers”. Sledge and Hanna, and also Mr. Sam H. Jones met all comers for years with great success.

When I was a small boy the late W.H. Hackney, of Wesson, Mississippi, and my uncle, W.M. Smith, ordered a pen of pure Sledge and Hanna Arkansas Travelers direct from Mr. Sledge. I was only seven years old, but I remember just as though it were yesterday, going to my grandfather’s to see these Travelers. I can now see the little blue stag, the prettiest thing on earth. I had always loved game chickens and had a few that my uncle had given me, but I offered all I had for a stag from this mating. I was assured first choice of the stags, and just as soon as they were large enough to tell the roosters from the pullets I went up to make my selection. Don’t anyone reach the conclusion that though only a boy in my eighth year, I did not know just what kind of stag to select. My uncle said when I made my selection he knew he had lost his best. I brought my stag home and began daily to give him all the feed he would stand. In a few months I had a real stag ready for a good country walk. This I found with a colored man on our farm. Time passed and the stag became a real cock, most two years old, and ready for the pit. One evening my uncle came to my room, and what do you suppose he wanted? The country boys were hacking with the Wesson boys in two weeks, and they (the country boys) wanted to use “Arkansas”, as I called my cock in one of these fights. I was assured that nothing on earth could whip my rooster and when I was offered 25 cents for the use of him, I gladly let him go. “Arkansas” was the prettiest cock on earth, I thought, a light dove colored blue-red with dark eyes and legs, peacombed, and weighed about 5.10.

I knew nothing of how they cut out all the hackles and saddle feathers in that day. If I had, he never would have gone. “Arkansas” proved as good as he looked, whipping a three time winner in the first buckle. When he came home, trimmed up, I became disgusted with my deal and traded him for a stag. Every year I would exchange for another cock or choise stag and 25 xents, my uncle’s way of keeping a good walk. Until this day my uncle has never denied my obtaining his best cock or stag if I wanted them or needed them.

Time passed and I became 15 years old and knew enough, I thought, to begin breeding for myself. I got a setting of eggs and raised a stag and five pullets. The stag was a brown-red. All had dark eyes and legs. I didn’t want to breed my stag to the five pullets, so I paid my uncle another visit to select a stag from a different yard to breed to these pullets. He was a compact fellow, and you could tell by seeing him move around he was going to make a “storm”, and he matured into the prettiest Pyle I ever saw.

After they had appiled the shears to old “Arkansas”, I had not sent any more to the pit, but just traded them outright. My uncle assured me that the Pyle stag mated to the five pullets would produce the greatest chickens on earth. I secured a good yard on a free range with a tennant on our place and brought every bird he raised. I bred by stag two years, walking my young stags, mating the old cocks with pullets, and my choicest stags over my old hens.

The next fall my uncle came to see me and brought R.B. Shelton and Will Allen with him. Shelton and Allen had a main closed to be fought at Allison Wells, Mississippi, with Mr. John Taylor. They said they just had to have my cock to pit against a certain weight of Mr. Taylor’s that had already whipped “Ole Hitler”. My uncle let them have the cock. The fight came on and the stag defeated the cock in two pittings.

That was my first time to see Mr. Shelton. We remained warm friends from that time until his death. He and my uncle bought all of my stock and fought and shipped them every where. Mr. Shelton once said to my uncle, “Bill, Gene had the best Blues on earth.” The last time he visited me he bought six of my choicest brood stags and had them on his brood yard at the time of his death.

From the time I was fifteen years old until 1918, I bred a few chickens of the purest and best of the old Arkansas Travelers. In March, 1918, I let my uncle look after my chickens while I was away in the world war. I was gone eleven months and four days when I received my discharge. I resolved to purchase a farm and to raise the best travelers possible. My uncle was to buy all that I could spare at a standard price. In the course of three years the demand for the Arkansas Travelers and the Newell Roundheads continued to increase.
The Arkansas Travelers is one of the oldest strains. You can watch all the game journals of today and wherever pitted he wins a greater percentage of battles than any other strain you can find. When pitted the Traveler is eager to go, and will give you the very best that is in him at once. This often in the first pitting. The Travelers come dark blues, light blues, red-blues, pyles, duck-winged reds, brown or black-reds, and occesionally a gray. Legs are generally dark with now and then a yellow or white, eyes from a firey red to black. Weight 4.08 to 7 pounds. They are quick to score and all do not fight alike any more than they are colored alike. Some are smart and careful, while others rush in and bill, shuffle and roll. However, the smart ones do this in close corners.

I have not fought many large mains or tournaments, but my cocks have, in my customer’s hands and in the hands of my uncle and Mr. Shelton, meeting all comers for years, and with much success. In Juarez, in 1926, the greatest cock shown was a little duck-wing red cock, 5.02 bred by me, and when my uncle won the great Memphis Tournament in 1924, my cocks won 100%. Mr. E.J. Deacy, of Flint, Michigan, won second money in a tournament last season, using three of my stags, all winning. I could produce hundreds of letters where they have defeated the best in America, but space and time will not permit.

I now have fifteen well mated yards, every one bred on free country range, and will say that the demand for them is satisfactory. This in itself is sufficient proof that the Montgomery Travelers of today equals the old time blood of Sledge and Hanna and Sam H. Jones. I line bred from the very beginning, and have kept them that way, having two families to select brood stock form. My uncle and myself have exchanged brood cocks with each other until there is no question, in our minds, as to their ability, gameness, etc.

In selecting my brood yards I am very particular in selecting the hen. The hens must have attention if the breeder succeeds in making his strain meet the demands of the cockers in the pit


Log Cabin Sid Taylors
by : Fulldrop

The original strain of the chickens from which the Sid Taylor’s of today were made goes back many years before the civil war of 1861. these chickens were bred by Jim shy of lexington,ky..shy lived near the racetrack at Lexington and bred his chickens on the farm of Jim price, who lived near pinegrove,ky.. their farm join the land owned by on which he lived and bred his chickens. price was interested in all kinds of sports events and he backed shy `s cocks heavily shy fought his cocks in Lexington and other places very successfully no one seems to know what these chickens were. the cocks came red, brown red ,pyle and blue red. with many of them having white feathers in there wings and tails. had an uncle who lived near pinegrove who remember walking cocks for prive and shy in the fifties. soon after the war of the sixties Sid Taylor got chickens from shy. he told that they were the first real good , dependable winning cocks he has ever had . although he had been breeding and fighting cocks before that time. mr.taylor was closely associated with shy until his death in 1892.shy was said to be nighty years old when he died. he became blind eight or ten years before his death. when his eye sight became very bad he gave mr.taylor all of his gaffs and all his chickens. the fist cross mr.taylor made on the shy chickens was in the early sevenies. in 1869, George cadwallader gave Taylor 6 black importer Irish hens. of the 6 black Irish hens Taylor put a blue cock that came from shy.. Mr. Taylor was supplying cocks to tom o`neal and wadle,he crosses the wadle Irish [ black cock with black eyes know as the blackberry eyes] into his chickens . the wadle Irish came dark or mulbery color faces the hens were black cocks being dark red. this was about 1880 he also made a cross with o`neal doms and established a yard of doms. since that time mr.taylor had one yard of his chickens that showed dom color, and had done the same thing since. the dom blood has never been bred into the other families and they never showed dom markings..the other families were bred into the dom family from time to time,. the dom color had been kept up, but they do not always bred for color. mr.taylor`s cocks were dom,and with a brown red some of them showed white feathers in the tail and wings. the brown red family developed himself. in 1912 fought brow red stag from the red family.that he liked so much that he bred to him and contented to breed to him until 1920 when he died. this cock was kept at a log cabin on the farm and he came to be know as log cabin and the children from him called log cabin. today the log cabin family are largely the blood of this first cock. log cabin had 21 full brothers nineteen of them won their first fights. many won more. log cabin was a 6 time winner. the progeny of log cabin have been largely responsible for the Sid taylor winning the national tournament at Orlando in 1922 and again in 1924 tourament. there was one log cabin `s sons that won the 6ths fight in 1922 and the shake battle in 1924 tourament. has used this cock for two seasons as a brood cock. the sid taylors are purely a KY product the foundation stock being old shy chickens into the chickens mr.taylor put import Irish blood from hudderson in the early seventies. in the early eighties Taylor again crossed import Irish blood from wadle. these two infusions of imported Irish blood into shy chickens made all the families of the Sid taylors except the doom family which has the addition of o`neal dom blood about 1870. there has been no other blood put into the Sid taylors since these crosses where made by Taylor a period of over forty years. they have only been in the hands of two men Taylor and gay.

Sid Taylors
by P.P. Johnston
This is straight out of the Gamecock (1946)

The original strain of chickens from which the Sid Taylors of today were made goes back many years before the Civil War of 1861. These chickens were bred by Jim Shy of Lexington, Ky. Mr. Shy’s names has been spelled in several ways- Shigh and Shei, Shy seems to be correct, as it is spelled Shy in the Turf Guide and in accounts of races, in which his horses ran, in old copies of “The Spirit of the Times.” He is remembered today by some of the oldtimers round Lexington, who speak of him as a sporting man of the highest honor. Shy lived near the racetrack at Lexington and bred his chickens on the farm of Jim Price, who lived near Pinegrove, Ky. Their farm joins the land owned by Mr. Gay on which he lives and breeds his chickens. Price was interested in all kinds of sporting events and he backed Shy’s cocks heavily. Shy fought his cocks in Lexington and other places very sucessfully. The cocks came red, brown-red,pyle and bluereds, many of them having white feathers in their tails and wings. Mr. Gay had an uncle who lived near Pinegrove who remembered walking cocks for Price and Shy in the fifties.

Soon after the war of the sixties, Sid Taylor got the chickens from Shy. Mr Taylor was closely associated with Shy until his death in 1892. When his eyesight began to fail he gave Mr. Taylor his gaffs and all his chickens.

First Cross

The first cross that Mr. Taylor made on the Shy chickens was in the early seventies. In 1869 George Cadwallader, who had been a jockey and was at that time a race horse trainer, sold a horse named Pompey Payne to W.R. Babcock, and Easter turf man, for $15,000, and as a further consideration he was to get six black imported Irish hens that Mr. Babcock was to procure from a man named Hudderson, of Rhode Island. Cadwallader then gave his chickens to Mr. Taylor.
I have seen a letter written a few years ago to Mr. Gay by George Cadwallader verifying these statements.

On these six Irish hens, Mr. Taylor put a blue cock that came from Shy. Noone knows the proportion of this blood Mr. Taylor put into his chickens, but with them hw suceeded in winning the respect of Tom O’Neal, the great Dom breeder and cocker of Louisville, Ky. Tom O’Neal was associated with Waddle, who controlled most of the gambling houses in Louisville at the time. Mr. Taylor furnished a great many cocks to O’Neal and Wadle. Mr. W. Pragnoff, of Louisville, Ky and Wadle imported from Vinegar Hill, Ireland, some game chickens.

These chickens were called Waddle Irish. They had black eyes and dark or mulberry colored faces. The hens are black, the cocks very dark red, and dark brown red. Mr Pragnoff has talked of the importance of these chickens with Mr. Gay many times.

During the time that Mr. Taylor was furnishing cocks to Tom O’Neal and Wadle, he crossed the Wadle Irish into his chickens. This was about 1880. He also made a cross with the O’Neal Doms and established a yard of Doms. Since that time Mr. Taylor had one yard that showed the Dom color and Mr. Gay has done the same since. The Dom blood has never been bred into the other families and they never show Dom markings. The other families were bred into the Dom family from time to time and the Dom color has been kept up but they do not always breed to color. Mr. Taylors cocks were Doms, Blues, Brown Blacks, Reds and Gray Reds, with a few Brown Reds. Some of them showed white feathers in the tail and wings.

The Origin of the Log Cabins

The Brown Red family Mr. Gay has developed himself. In 1912 Mr Gay fought a Brown Red stag from the red family that he like so much that he bred to him and continued to breed him until 1920, when he died. This cock was kept at a log cabin on the farm and he came to be known as Log Cabin and the chickens from him were called Log Cabins. Today the Log Cabin families are largely the blood of theis one cock. Log Cabin had 21 full brothers.

The Sid Taylors are purely a Ky. product, the foundation stock being the old Shy chickens. Into the Shy chickens, Mr. Taylor put the imported Irish blood from Hudderson in the early seventies. In the early eighties, Mr. Taylor again crossed in Irish blood, named the Wadle Irish. These two infusions of imported Irish blood into the Shy chickens made all the families of the Sid Taylors, except the Dom family, which has the addition of O’Neal Dom blood about 1870. There has been no other blood put into the Sid Taylor since these crosses were made by Mr. Taylor-a period of over 40 years. The Sid Taylors have the right to be classed as a pure and distinct strain and for over 40 years they had been in the hands of only two men, their originators, Mr. Sid Taylor and Mr. J.D. Gay.

Black Mcraes
By Bluff Creek

William McRae

The black mcraes were bred from jack wactor of nigger trotter and calvin hux kelso..they come several; different collors from black reds to black,to light reds to dark light reds with red or black eyes…..william has known the wactor family for almost 1/2 a century.,and got 100 baby stags every other year..william started buyin them from Sam and later JACK and sold them soley to fight in the philipines,after the vietnam controversy he started sellin to the hawaiian islands and all acrosss the us because of the popularity of the long knife…….William McRae also had put some griffen clarret in his blacks at one time along with some democrat from blondy……..the black macraes are strongly infused of nigger round head and hux kelso…as up to the year 2000……they can fight and born to boogie ..William macrae was on one of the 1st long knife men to ship from the states to the philipines and was around about the korean war to my knowledge… AND started sending the blacks after the vietnam contoversy….he has been a supplier well over 3 0r 4 decades….. A very nice gentlemen indeed-he also stated that the lk birds had to be deep game to compete in compitition,not like you hear today that they dont……..i agree with william,game chickens that can fight like hell ,and fly in a fight can deliver and get out of the way is best for this type of fighting….he was one
of the first legends to supply and dominate the long knife in the 60s , 70s and early 80s…then he became a supplier…but he had an eye for chickens if that makes any sense…

William was a breeder and produced fowl that he had acquired… to my understanding he had got some clarrets from griffen along with some round heads from blondy roland along time back…they were pretty decent fowl and macrae fought them and i cant say how he bred them..but i do know its true about his black fowl that made him a reputable breeder for long k to be honest -i believe the yellow legged p comb democrats from the paytons to be bred similar to the red macres that they inherited-or recieved from blondy while he was in the hospital of the last round head infusion- blondy liked the green legged st comb ones best…. mcraes reds were very reputable fowl…and looked like the democrats of the paytons…..mcrae got em from blondy and griffen long before bobby and buddy payton had em…. hope ya can find more about them red mcraes……

HAMMOND GORDON: Originator, J. H. Hammond, S. C. Bloodlines: Bacon Warhorse, Aldrick Mugwump, infused Rood Warhorse.

By: Terry Roberts

The Gordon’s was made from 2 well know strains of fowl. The first line was Warhorses. In Augusta GA, a man by the name Barney Dunbar was the wealthiest man in that part of the south. He loved game fowl very much an in bout 1850 he sent John Stone a trail of a few seasons. These gilders proved to be very game. In the meantime Col. Thos. G. Bacon of Edgefield S.C. found some wonderful fighting cocks in Baltimore, MD. Col. Bacon brought of Marblehead, Massach. an purchased a trio of stones Irish Gilders. This trio was placed on the yard of Mr. Tom Wilson of beech S.C. Where they was to be breed by Mr. Dunbar. After some of these was to be cocks they were the best cocks up until that time. They was wonderful fighting a cutting cocks. Col. Bacon decided to try to cross some with some fowl called Baltimore fowl of the Irish Gilders. Because some of the Warhorses would run they hoped that the Gilders would make them better fighters. So he took a cock called BURNT EYES a breed them a there by produce a great strain of fowl. So the old burnt-eye cock was put over hens of the Irish-Gilderhens that came from Mass. A number of stags was raised. Now remember the Gilder hens was put on the yard of Mr.Tom Wilson so he raised the stags from branny cock to gilder hens. It so happen that Tom was wanting a saddle so one day one policeman of Augusta GA his name was Peter Sherron had one he didn’t need so he made a A trade with Tom Wilson. The saddle for one of the stag cross of burnt-gilder. In 1856 in Aug. GA Bacon & Bohler fought a main against Franklin of Columbia S.C. Bacon an Bohler used a number of these stags along with the stag that was a cock by now of sherron. This cock made top weight at 6-04. This cock meet his opponent in the air both came down to ground a both shuffling a fell apart in dying condt. The policeman cockvomited a mouthful of blood staggered over the Columbia cock a made a hard shuffled the sherron cock killed the other cock. Peter Sherron the proud owner jump into the pit a grabbed the cock up a yelled be faither-rs but aint he a war-horse. This cock of sherron was typical burnt eye in appear. Black body, dark legs, black eye, lemon neck. So this is the make up of the old warhorses. Col. Bacon like the brownred fowl. Old Col. John Fair also faced this type of fowl. Hopkinson like the dark colors of these hens was all black the cocks the type of the original warhorse type found. The Baltimore burnt eye cock. As to the fighting qualities of this fowl Bacon & Bohler fought 42 mains a won 40 of them. 41 of these wins was fouth by Bacon an won 40 of the 1 main was fought by Bacon handler an the handler lost by the odd fight. the other side of the gordons is col. Alferd Aldrichs Mugwumps. Will tell later what the mugwumps made from. thanks hope u all read an like this as much as i have.

Black and Tans
by J.C. Miller (1969)

Since I frequently get requests for the breeding of my Black and Tans, I will try to comply to the best of my ability.

The Back and Tan strain was originated by George S. Smith in Washington, D.C. just about 100 years ago. He was a friend of the Eslin Brothers and a few other men that combined to fight many mains along the est coast. At that time mains were very popular and most cocks were fought that way.

Smith did most of the walking of the cocks and was interested in the mains. In that way, he had the use of any of the fowl belonging to the Eslins. In making the Black and Tans he bred a Redhorse cock over Redquill hens and also a Requill cock over redhorse hens. Both crosses proved to be extra good so he continued to hold the blood at about 50/50.

The Redhorse blood came form what was supposed to be a strain of cocks from Lord Derby in England. These were black-red and brown-red with dark legs and large, dark eyes and long, tough plumage. They were powerful built cocks and wicked cutters. The Redquills were a cross of Redhorse and a strain of light red cocks with dark eyes and mostly green legs and bred very true to color. In build they were very similar to the Redhorse. A saloon man in Washington, Harry Midleton made the same cross and fought them very successfully and advertised them for many years as Middleton Rusty Reds. In reality the Black and tans resulting from this cross was actually 3/4 Redhorse and 1/4 Redquill which left them showing plainly both sides of the cross.

In color they came very few black-red, mostly brown-red with few gingers and a very few that came true Quill color. An interesting feature, if two quill colored fowl were bred together their get would nearly all look like pure quills. The hens are a solid rusty black, some with straw neck, some whipoorwill ginger and quill color.

The cocks are well built, broad backs, long thighs and low set spurs. They have long, tough feathers and a very proud carriage. They are rather nervous, high strung cocks and I never liked to sell them to a beginner as they could be made bad man-fighters. For me they seldom went to the drag as they always tried for a quick kill. They could cut well in most any length or style of heel except the extremely curved blades.

Most cockers will look at their color and quickly reach the conclusion that they are “speed” cocks but in checking their breeding it is easy to see that they are pure “power” cocks.

The Black and Tans had the enviable reputation in the east of winning many mains and losing very few. Smith and the Elsins took their cocks thru the south and won practically every main. Then to Mexico with about the same results in both gaffs and slashers.
When I was a boy I lived near a man that ran a saloon and was a very enthusiastic cocker. He was not in a position to breed any cocks but bought all that he used. He always fought mains, hacked only the ones left over from the mains.

He bought most of his cocks from George Smith and did well with them. In each shipment he got several brown-red cocks that seemed to be extra good and asked what they were and was informed that they were Black and Tans.

About that time he found that I was crazy about game cocks and I became welcome to his cock house at any time. He asked how I would like to raise some Black and Tans and when I agreed he sent to Smith and got two hens. He mated them with a 6.0 cock that had won several times for him and gave them to me. For several years I raised them and let him fight the stags. Several years past and this saloon man contracted TB and sold out and moved to Arizona where he did not live too long. When he left, he gave me the few Black and Tans that he had left.

About that time I became aware of the advantages of single mating and from then until I retired single mated my fowl. For the big breeder that makes a business of selling fowl this practice is too slow to produce many fowl so they flock mate and depend on artificial incubating and brooding. I bought a farm with timber, grain fields, running water and kept many cattle and horses which made an ideal range for game fowl. This farm was also over half a mile from any other farm buildings.

Around here there are many canning factories and they use many migrant workers of mostly Mexican birth and they are great on cock fighting. Some of them came to me to buy cocks and I found that they were fighting in slashers. After they went home they still sent for cocks. That was my introduction to slasher fighting and that was several years before shipping slasher cocks became a big business here in the U.S.

I think it was in 1955 that I sent Maynard Mann and the late Jim Gooch several Black and Tan cocks and hens. I did not hear from them for several years, when a letter came from Mann saying that he was winning with what cocks he could match but that they were coming so big that he could not get them matched. He said that he had over 40 stags that were already shakes and too young to pen. He wanted to know if I could use them. It happened that at that time I had customers to take every cock or stags that I could raise and would take light weights. I showed Mr. Mann where to place his cocks and stags and I think he has still never caught up with his orders. Don’t take this as a free plug for Mr. Mann as he has an ad every month in Grit and Steel.

In the spring of 1945, a group of local cockers came to me and asked me to build a pit knowing that I had an ideal location for a pit less than a mile off a state road and a quarter mile from the road in the edge of a woods. The pit was ready for the 1946-1946 season and for 20 years it was operated with no trouble or interference. I don’t think a man ever came that failed to get a cock matched or his money covered.

After listing the good qualities of the Black and Tans the reader may wonder why they are not so popular as some other strains. One is as I mentioned before is their disposition. The cocks are hard to handle and are easily made manfighters. The hens are exceptionally mean when brooding chix. and are apt to kill several while trying to protect them. Also the hens even while on a walk will start fighting and one or both will be dead if not found in time. Chix with the hen will start fighting and practically eat each others head off. The light reds and greys that are so popular now are easier to condition, stand confinement better and the hens and chix are easier to handle. Many of my customers were experienced cockers and fought for high stakes. When they got good cocks they hesitated to tell where they got them. They simply fight them as Brown-Reds. I also feel that several well known cockers have incorporated more or less Black and Tan blood into their strains.

Smith Black and Tans should not be confused with another strain originated quite a few years after the Smith strain gained their well deserved popularity. This strain started by an eccentric cocker in Maryland, faded after a few years.

In giving the history of a strain quite often after it is published one or more persons will appear with a very much different version. To this I will say that what I have written is what George Smith personally wrote me.

Aldrich Mugwumps
by Col. Alfred Aldrich (1919)

Referring to the orgin of the Mugwump strain of game fowl, I will say that back in the distant past there was a turfman and cock fighter of this state by the name of Col. Thomas G. Bacon who bred and pitted the most successful cocks of that age. His original stock came from John Stone, of Massachusetts. About the same time Major Burnett Rhett, of Charleston, S.C. bred and fought a strain B.B. Reds woh cocks’ had the reputation, deservedly, of being the gamest cocks of their age.
I got a pair of Bacon fowl and a trio of Rhett’s and crossed them and by selection produced a strain which I maned Mugwump. Mugwump is an Indian name and in the Algonquin language it means Big Chief.
About the year 1890 I crossed into my strain a B.B. red cock with yellow legs that I got from Baltimore. I do not know who bred this cock or what strain he came from. This cock was a spangle in his third year, a white at the fourht molting and remained white until his death. Before I bred any of his sons to a yard of my mugwump hens, I satisfied myself that he was a game cock.
The first and only one of his sons that I used as a brood cock was a black with yellow legs and beak, had a few white feathers in his tail and wings. I fount him in a main at Hibernia Park, Charleston, S.C., where a number of fine cocks fought in the two days of a main and the concensus of opinion was that he outclassed any cock shown on either side. He was a high flying cock and never tried to bill as long as his adversary could stand on his feet. In several of his fights, he killed opponents without ever touching hom with his mouth.
It was invariably my practice to breed from the best fighter of his year and never to breed from any cock until he had fought several battles, in order that I might determine his quality. I bred this black cock to a yard of my choicest pure Mugwumps hens and he sired several black stags and occasionally a white stag or pullet. From him I got my white and Black Mugwumps.Always the White and Black Mugwumps were bred exactly alike.
Note the staement that I ama bout to make, namely: that no Mugwump of the present day, no matter where he or she may be found, has any blood in its composition save what came from that black cock. He was the only son of the Baltimore cock that I bred from and I never used any of the daughters of the Baltimore cock for breeding purposes. If I used a son of the black cock he was invariably mated to pure Mugwump hens.
I once shipped a coop of five cocks to Sr. Bustamente, three reds, 1 black and 1 white, all brothers, and all acted alike in the pit.
In the foregoing I have given the orgin of the Mugwumps, as many of the cock fighters in the South know it be.
In conclusion I will say my main reason in giving you the foregoing information is that I have replied to many letters asking to find the purest Mugwump, to the effect that, in my judgment, your yards will come nearest filling the bill.
I also found an article adding a little more information to the one above.

Aldrich Mugwumps
Gus Frithiof, Sr.
Breeders of the “Old School” know that the Mugwumps were originated by Col. Alfred Aldrich about 90 or more years ago. They also knew that from time to time some whites would appear in the strain after Aldrich bred from s ason of the Baltimore cock. Andrew P. O’Connor of Baltimre, Maryland gave Aldrich this cock. The Baltimore cocks contained white bloodlines in his pedigree and eventually it shows up in the strain. Aldrich had his own reason for denying he knew where the cock came from (the breeder) or had forgotten when he wrote about their bloodlines in 1919.
I hope that this helps clear up the pedigree of the Mugwumps and why some of them can throw – back to the white color in them.
Gus Frithiof, Sr. Austin, Texas

Dehner Racey Mugs

Dehner Racey of Mo., got Mugs from Earl Bigger of York, S.C. in 1935, All came dark. In 1939 he bought a pure O.C. Wilson White Mug cock and crossed him over the black Bigger Mugs. From this cross came several dark blue pullets and several spangle stags, but no whites. He bred one of the spangle stags over the black hens and got about 50 per cent dark blues with lemon hackles, dark eyes and legs but still no pure Whites. These mugs are high breaking, fast shuffling cocks and Racey has won several large derbies with them.

Dehner Racey Mugs
From the Gamecock, July 1998
By: Walter Hall, James River Farm.

This came from the July 1998 gamecock. History of the Racey Mugwumps, The Racey fowl started when Otto Morris, 83-years old of Springfield, Mo.He purchased from Earl Bigger of South Carolina in 1935, some of his dark type mugs and with these fowl Racey and Morris won a good majority. In 1939 a pure white Mugwump cock was purchased from O.K. Wilson of Allendale, SC and mated to the six black hens, full sisters, from the original Earl Bigger stock. The offspring of this mating produced blues, black reds, brown red and one spangle stag, This new blood produced exceptional cutting fowl and a great improvement was noted in speed, disposition and feathering. Being all of mug blood, no difference was noted in conformation. The following year the same black hens were mated back to the spangle stag. A son to mother and aunt mating. This is the breeding that produces 50% dark blues with the rest being brown red, black red, and blacks. It was not until this breeding that they were given the name Racey Mugs. A few years later,and still sticking to speed type cutting Mugwumps a white Mug brood cock was purchased from Frederick of Allendale S.C., and a black Mug with lemon hackles from Earl bigger. These 2 cocks were used over Racey Mug hens and in this way it is now possible for Racey to add desired pit qualities to his fowl without going out of the Mugwump family. The last 2 crosses produced high breaking, shuffling type of cocks. Racey tried a number of crosses on his Mugs, but none were as good as the straight Mugwump family. Thus, all of these trial crosses were discarded. Most people in ordering Racey mugs ask for the blue color, but the brown reds and blacks have just as high a winning percentage in the pit. When being conditioned for the pit, these fowl do better when handled gently, and are at their best fighting in good flesh. Racey got many shake cocks, but prefers smaller ones that fit well into derby.

by McK. Albergotti (1927)

Just after the close of the Civil War, 1865, Mr. T. C. Albergotti, my father, began raising game fowl, procuring his original stock from Col. Morgan, Col. Tom Bacon and Mr. Cephus McMichel. After breeding these fowl strictly pure and breeding them very close for eight or ten years he found they needed an out-cross. At this time Baltimore cocks were great favorites in Charleston, S.C., and a great many of them were being fought very successfully. We crossed with these cocks for about four years, and the result was magnificent game fowl – rapid, game, savage and beautiful, all that could be desired. We then bred them pure until in the 80’s. Finding that their size and strength were again diminishing, we prospected for an outcross and finally procured a blue-red cock and two hens from Baltimore. As to the result I can only say that they not only never lost a main, but it was a rare ocasion for them to loose a single battle. These fowl were only fought locally in South Carolina. When another out-cross was needed we got a Grist Champion cock, direct from Col. Grist. This cock was an excellent specimen and Col. Grist regarded him very highly. A Dunbar cock from Beech Island, S.C., was bred over one of my yards and over another a cock direct from Col. R. F. Johnson, of Union, S.C. My cocks at this time were making splendid records whosoever they fought.

Mr. H. M. Kent, of Lenoir, N.C., was breeding excellent cocks and having wonderful success with them at this time and I secured a brood cock from him. Up to this time, Jamuary 19000, when we commenced to advertise in Grit and Steel our fowl had no name. We selected the name Stonewall, in memory and honor of the great Confederate chieftain, Stonewall Jackson, whom we all loved.
Since 1900 I have made several crosses, always buying my stock direct from the originator, some of the crosses are as follows: Grist Gradys, Redquills, from Col. Grist, Huddleston’s Inside Reds, from Huddleston; Rood’s Brown Reds, from J.E. Carter, and especially good cross from a cock that I went to Washington, D.C., and selected from the yards of George Smith, a Black and Tan. I have also used Mug cocks and Granger’s Irish cocks. This covers the crosses I have made, in a lifetime. I have ten or twelve yards and I always put this new blood in quarters into my old fowl.

My fowl are strictly American, no importations. They have straight, small combs, no Oriental blod whatsoever. We have infused new blood whenever we thought it necessary, according to our own ideas. My Stonewall fowl, altho not bred for color, are generally brown-reds or black-reds with dark legs and red or black eyes.

Wingate Brownreds
By: Full Drop

1924 Joe Wingate laid aside his life `s work and joined his ancestors. From that time on the once great family of fighting cocks that he had built decined. Though many may boast of having them today, old timers know that the claims have little or no foundation. Back in 1870 , Wingate brought over from north of Ireland a single comb strain of chickens. In color they were mostly brown red, some showing ginger color and all showing dark legs and hazel eyes. The hens were sharp and stylish looking a dark brown or ginger some showing straw neck feathers. They were medium stationed and many grew of the Irish hens was a favorite of Joe`s . He had her set up and mounted when she died. This mounting hen is in existence today but looks nothing like the hens of the so-called wingates you see in these later days. The cocks of this family were not big cocks being in condition 5.4 or under, brown or ginger red, dark legs and hazel eyes. Broad backed and not heavy, though strong boned. They were single stroked cocks fast and strong in the mix-up not high flyers, rushing wild hitting cocks they now want to call Wingates. Did Wingate add any new blood to the above family? Of course he did he added the blood of an English hen he brought over a mahogany colored hen with hazel eyes and dark lead colored legs. He bred this hen under the Irish cock and then bread some of those cross back into the original line. The infusion of the English hen `s blood increased the poundage until off and on a cock would weigh 6.2 or 6.4. Holly Chappell enters the picture, Chappell while down in Alabama on one of his trips to the south got hold of a standout cock and brought him home. He bread him over his hens that were understood to be north Briton and brown red crosses. Wingate and Chappell were friends, wingate got one of the cocks out of this cross and bred him over a brown red hen. After reducing the cross some more, he put the blood of the Chappell line into the Irish family. That is the layout of the Wingate Irish brown reds as the old-timers up here in the hills recall it.

Bacon Warhorses

This grand old strain was originated in the 1850’s by Col. Thomas Bacon, of Edgefield, S.C. by breeding a Baltimore Cock (known as Burnt Eyes) over a yard of Irish Gilder hens direct from John Stone, of Marblehead, Mass. The cross procuced wonderful fighting cocks with a savage rushing style of fighting that was then unknown in the south, and proved to be absolutely game, although the “Burnt Eye” cock had produced offsprings from other matings that were considered short on gameness. Col. Bacon bred and fought these fowl for a number of years with marked success as “Burnt Eye-Gilder crosses, ” and it was at a main at Augusta, Georgia, in 1856 between Bacon and Bohler against a Mr. Franklin, of Columbia, S.C. that they were given the name of Warhorse by one Peter Sherron, who owned one of the cocks being fought by Bacon, and which won a sensational battle. Cocks run in weight 4:06 to shakes, and are black or black with lemon hackle and saddle. Hens are black to whipporwill brown, and both have dark legs and daw or hazel eyes. They are among one of our oldest strains, and still extensively bred.

By: Peter Sherron

Please notice that there is no mention of any black fowl in this history of the Warhorse breed nor any mention of a “Fardown blood (which is black)” either.

IN 1855 John Sherron, of Marblehead, Mass., defeated Col. Tom Bacon in a main at Columbia, S.C. He showed two different strains of cocks in the main both were imported from Ireland and were reputable originally stolen by the warden of a vast estate to exchange them for a coon and opossum that came from America. Here they had been carefully bred and guarded for over a century by a line of Irish Earls. One strain, which he called “Gilders” or “Claibornes”, came a bright red color with black or mottled breasts, orange hackle, yellow beak and moccasin legs. The other strain called “Irish Brown Reds: were brown reds or mahogany reds. All straight combed, with black faces and combs, eyes, dark red or hazel brown (not black) with lead or dark legs.

After the main Col. Bacon purchased a Gilder cock and an Irish Brown Red cock from Stone and later received a shipment form Stone of them wheaten- colored Gilder hens and three Whippoorwill Irish Brown Red hens. Major Burnett Rhett, of Chareleston, S.C. purchased the finest cock Stone showed in the main, a 6-lb. mottled breasted brown red, one-half Gilder, one-half Irish Brown Red.

Later Barney Dunbar, a wealthy game fowl fancier (but not a breeder), of Augusta, Ga., went personally to see Stone and got a trio of each family. Dunbar gave the Gilders to Tom Wilson, at Beach Island to breed and these later became famous under the name of “Gaitor Legs”. Dr. Morgan got some of them from Wilson and these were later known as Morgans. Major Rhett also got some hens from Tom (Fowl) Wilson and bred his great Stone cock over them, producing the famous Rhett fowl. These Rhett fowl were three- quarter Gilder, one quarter Irish Brown Red.

Dunbar let Tom Seily keep the trio of “Irish Brown Reds” a year, then carried them to old man Baldwin’s place on Horse Creek where they were bred until Dunbar quit the game and gave them to John Foster. Later Foster quit pitting cocks due to overweight and gave them to an Irishman Peter Sherron on the condition that he be a partner in all mains fought with these cocks. They had by devious methods finally found their true home for Sherron dearly loved them saying he knew of these fowl in Ireland, and that they were both invincible and unobtainable in the old country.

Sherron, who was very impulsive, named a great cock “Warhorse” after a sensational battle and then again the next year after this same cock, here tofore called “Store Keeper”, won the deciding fight in a $3,000.00 main in one of the greatest battles known to cock fighting. After that the family was called “Warhorses”.
After Sherron’s death, Jack Allen bought the fowl and he and his brother in law, Henry Hicks, fought them together until Allen got angry one day because of a sick Warhorse being given away after the main and swore he’d kill or sell every game chicken he owned. On the way home he met Harrison Butler and Jim Clark and told them his intentions. Butler bought all the fowl and the next day he gave a trio of Warhorses to Jim Clark, of Dawson, Ga., a trio to Col. John Fair and a trio to his nephew, Dr. Pierce Butler.

Source: Johnson’s Breeders’ and Cockers’ Guide

by Dal Johnson (1917)

Fashion is a eccentric in the course it takes and goes chasing through a labyrinth of paths most unheard of and ridiculous, but once steadied and on the serving back to reason ever turns first to some past object of popular and meritorious favoritism, hence it is not surprising that the fancy of game chicken men is turning just now to the two greatest families if fighting fowl ever sent ot America from the British Isles. Manifestly the reference is to the Whitehackles of North Briton and the Stone Irish or Warhorses of Ireland.

Of the former there are others much better qualified to speak, nor do I pose as an authority on the Warhorse, or claim to know their history better than many, but I do know the facts regarding their name, their ancestry, and the only known true source from which the pure stock could have been obtained.

To begin, I will go back to the year 1855, when John Stone of Marblehead, Mass., came south and fought and defeated Col. Tom Bacon a main of cocks at Columbia, S.C. Stone used against Bacon two styles of cocks evidently of different families and distinctive in appearance. One portion of them showing bright red plumage, black or mottled breast, orange hackle, yellow beak and moccasin legs stripped on the outside with flesh colored red. These he called Gliders or Claibornes and I am informed that occasionally one showed a tassel and some few a round head with pea comb. The other cocks he showed were brown and mahogany reds. All smooth heads and single, straight comb with black faces, comb black or sooty looking, eyes dark red or hazel brown (not black) and lead or dark legs. These he called his “Irsih Brown Reds.”

After the main there were several cocks purchased of Mr. Stone by the Southerners and when he returned to Marblehead, shipped at least two coops of fowl back to parties in Georgia and South Carolina. Col. Bacon purchased a Glider and an Irish cock out of Mr. Stone’s coops at the pit and later received a shipment of six hens from Marblehead, three wheaton colored Gliders and three whippoorwill brown Irish hens. Maj. Burnett Rhett purchased the finest cock Stone showed in his main, a 6.00 lbs mottle breast brown red with moccasin legs, said to be a cross of Glider and Irish. B.S. Dunbar of Augusta, GA., purchased of Mr. Stone and had shipped him from Marblehead a trio of each familiy. Mr. Dunbar went to Marblehead and selected these trios in person. The Gliders, Dunbar sent over to Tom Wilson at Beach Island to breed. These afterwards became famous under the name of “Gailor Legs.” It was of this family that Dr. Morgan got from Wilson and were afterwards known as Morgans. Also Maj. Rhett purchased hens of Tom Wilson and bred his Stone cock over them producing the celebrated Rhett fowl of which it is said there was never a runner.

The trio of “Irish Brown Reds” Dunbar sent out to Tom Seiley’s place and Mr. Seiley kept them one year and gave them up. Then Dunbar carried them out to old man Bladwin’s place on Horse Creek, where they were kept and bred for Dunbar until he quit fooling with cocks and gave them all to Joh Foster. Later on Foster quit pitting cocks on account of his corpulency and gave every feather over to Peter Sherron, with the understanding that latter would take Foster on as partner in all battles fought with these cocks.

Sherron was an Irishman, a cocker on the sod and again in America. He claimed to have known this stock in Ireland and that they were invincible in the old country, but unobtainable from the estate on which they had been bred by a line of Irish Earls for more than a century. He believed the tale Mr. Stone’s Irish agent told when he procured a trio of birds from a flock that had been carefully and zealously guarded for a century or over: that they were the best in Ireland and so far as known not a feather had ever gone out of the possession of the owners of this particular estate. He claimed to have carried a coon and opossum over from America and that one of the wardens on this estate was so infatuated with the animals that he stole a trio of these sacred chickens and gave them in exchange for the American rodents. Be this as it may, Sherron at least, believed it and certainly it is thousands of subsequent importations from Ireland have shown no such game fowl as the Stone Brown Reds.

Sherron is said to have made stacks of money fighting these cocks against the rich planters around Augusta. He had an old brood cock called “Store Keeper” that had a habit of lounging around inside of the Irishman’s store and bar and flopping his wings and crowing when the town clock pealed forth the hour. At the Shades on Ellis street this cock was pitted against a fine cock in the hands of Ike Little. It was a cock fight and both cocks were down unable to stand or press the battle after one tremendous pitting. Neither party would consent to a draw; dark came on, lights were gotten and the crowd stood vigil over the almost lifeless birds. Thus the watch was kept until the town clock, commenced striking the hour of ten. “Store Keeper” roused up, made an effort to regain, till finally he stood upon a pair of wabbly legs and crowed in answer to the bell as was his habit, Old Sherron was wild over the performance and cried out, “Listen to the old Warhorse,” No sooner was he thus denominated than he staggered over, grabbed that little cock and shuffled till the bones cracked.

Thus the first name Warhorse, but just a fore-runner of the laurels that were ultimately to crown that name. “The pale light of the morning star before the morning sun.” This same cock was destined to add beams to his crown of glory and make the name won beneath the torches imperishable.

During the next season (I have forgotten the year) Franklin, of Columbia, made a main with Bohler, of Agusta to show 21 cocks and fight what fell in for $200.00 a battle and $3,000 on the odd. “Store Kepper” was ordered and shown for top weight on the Augusta side. Fifteen cocks fell in and each side had won seven battles and ready to decide the biggest and hardest fought main ever known till that day. Franklin showed a Chappel Dom that the Columbia contingent thought invincible. Bohler showed “Store Keeper” who had recently won the soubriquet of “Warhorse.”

It is said that when this pair of cocks came in the betting was tremendous. Men became frantic in their efforts to place large wagers on the issue, wildly offering their homes, their negroes, bank accounts, big plantations and favorite horses on one side or the other. When the fatal moment arrived and the referee called “Pit your cocks,” the Dom as he made a lunge toward the center was caught in a viritable wind storm. “Store Keeper’s” flying, rolling, shuffling charge in the Agusta pit on that night while the town clock was striking the hour of twelve is now as famous in cocking history as are the peerless charges of Ney and Picket in the annals of human valor.

“Store Keeper” made a rubber ball out of his big Chappel antagonist, picked him clean; shuffled him into an unrecognizable piece of blood shot metal; fanned the lights out of the hall; frightened half of the spectators nearly to death, closing the world’s greatest cocking event in a charge unparalleled in cyclonic dash and spectacular high rolling and shuffling. Above the noise of battle Sherron was heard shouting – “And isn’t he a Warhorse?” The crowd took up the cry and by all that vast assembly old “Store Keeper” was for the second time christened “Warhorse” and the news of his magnificent charge and his name went out together and “Old Warhorse’ was the most famous cock in all the world.

Peter Sherron bred the Irish fowl under the name of Warhorse ’til his death in 1869. At the sale of his personal property after he died, Bob Lumpkin bid off one cock for $50.00 and the balance of the fowl were bought by Jack Allen,a brother-in-law of Henry Hicks, known as the “plunger and backer of the Warhorses.”

Allen bred the Warhorses pure and for the exclusive use of Hicks and himself. In a main between Augusta parties and the Barckley, Brown combination, Decmeber 1875, there was a Warhorse cock ordered for battle that went sick and Jim Thomas, who had him walked from Allen,gave the cock to Hone Ridley. When Allen heard of this he flew into a rage and started home swearing he would kill or sell every game chicken he owned. On his way down Broad street he met Harison Butler and Jim Clark riding horse back. He hailed down them and told the story of how he had been treated about the cock and of intentions to do away with ever damn chicken he owned. Mr. Butler asked how many he had and what he’d take for them. Allen said about sixty big and little and that $300.00 would buy the lot. Without a word, Mr. Butler gave him the money and Allen promised to have the fowl next morning. Mr. Clark rode on home with Mr. Butler and found Col. John Fair and Dr. Pierce Butler, a nephew of Harrison Butler, at the house. All three of these gentlemen spent the night at Mr. Butler’s place and they sent for the fowl the next morning (Christmas Eve morning) and all four took them from the coops and put them in new quarters. To each of his guests Mr. Butler presented a trio of Warhorses, to wit: a trio to Col. Fair,a trio to Jim Clark and a trio to his nephew, Dr. Butler.

Now, the reader will have no difficulty in following the history of the Stone Irish through their first twenty years of breeding, nor the Warhorse from “Store Keeper’s” time to the morning they landed at Harrison Butler’s place. They swapped hands several times during the years but were always confined to one man’s hands who thought them too valuable to distribute around even among his best friends. We find in the last days of December 1875, about twenty years after Dunbar shipment arrived that the stock had been kept pure, but remained only in the hands of four careful, appreciative breeders, hence any one wishing to establish the purity of his Warhorse must trace to Harrison Butler’s yard or to the yards of one of the three men presented a trio on that Christmas Eve morning, 1875; and prove that no infusions of other blood have been made since.

Of the subsequent history of the flock left in the hands of Mr. Butler, I have never known. Col. A.P. Butler, a brother of Harrison, and father of Dr. Pierce, sent me a Warhorse cock in the early eighties which he said came from Harrison. Also about that time he gave Col. E.R. Mclver, of Darlington, S.C., a trio from the same source, but other than these meager facts I know nothing of them, but they must have been crossed out and lost. Certainly they have faded away and perished or friend Jim Clark would have mentioned something of their history to me in our communications on the Warhorse.

Col. Fair took his trio to Edgefield, S.C., and bred them to great perfection on his plantations in upper Carolina. It was his pleasure to breed fine fowl and present them to his friends. Notable among those to whom pure Warhorses were given by him was the late R.C. (Dick) Johnson,of Union, S.C., and Walter Hopkinson, of Augusta, Ga. Both of these men were famed breeders and the latter, perhaps the best known of all late day Warhorse breeders. I may say that by the vast majority of uninformed, Hopkinson was regarded as the premier breeder and perpetuator of pure Warhorses, the one man owning the stock to which all must trace their orgin. This is not only a fallacy but ’tis a mooted question as to whether Mr. Hopkinson owned a pure Warhorse five years after Col. Fair made him a present of the trio.

The trio given to Jas. Clark were taken to his home and have been bred pure ever since. Mr. Clark is a good and careful breeder and a man of spotless personal character. He is now quite old but still breeds game fowl and follows hounds.

The Dr. Butler trio were shipped to Col A.P. Butler at Columbia, S.C. The Col first put these fowl at the penitentiary, but not being satisfied with the run sought my father, then in the Senate from Marion county and asked if he could not get them a run on his big Donoho plantation in Marlboro County, S.C.. The Donoho was the largest cotton plantation in the state. Some 2,000 acres of cleared land on which 500 bales of cotton, feed for fifty head of horses, for big herd of cattle, and numbers of sheep and hogs was made annually as early as 1869, and which now produces over 1,200 bales of cotton annually. The Dr. Butler trio were transfered to this place in March or April, 1876, and kept and bred in the middle of this big place for eight or ten years. Col. Butler and Dr. Butler got all of the fowl they wanted from the yard and the balance of the stags were walked around the place. Col. Butler was a t the home in Marion frequently and often drove up to Donoho to see the crops, the colts, the cows and the chickens.

To keep the record straight I may say for the information of those not informed that the Bacon fowl are not in a vital sense “Warhorse.” In the first place they are not descendants of Peter Sherron’s fowl of the old cock. Warhorse, therefore, not from the family of Stone Irish fowl that inherit the name. In the second place Col. Bacon did not breed his Irish fowl pure from Stone as he got them. He crossed the two strains from Stone and later put Wellslaeger blood into them. Col. Bacon was a great admirer of George Wellslaeger’s cocks and frquently made the statement that every fowl he owned had Wellslaeger blood in it.

There is seemingly quite a divergence of opinion as to the general description of the Warhorse,as to color, color of eyes, legs, etc. Will say the cocks were mostly brown reds, some few mahogany red and occasionally one came very dark, in fact, black except for a few brown or mahogany feathers in hackle or saddle or a dash of red across the wing butts. The hens were mostly whippoorwill brown, with quite a number shading off to jet black. They all showed sooty looking faces and combs, lead legs of light and dark red, some hazel brown having the appearance of being black at a little distance. There seems to be an impression that these fowl should have black eyes – this is not correct – on the other hand those Warhorse that show invariably a jet black eye are as a rule, clustered up with other blood.

They get the black eyes from an infusion of Eslin’s black eye stock. Of course, I would not say that this feature is fatal to their purity of blood for I admit many showing an eye almost, or quite, black and might have had black eyes by encouraging the feature, hence could not assert that they are not pure Warhorse because they show black eyes, but do know it to be a fact that certain Warhorses were once bred on Elsin black eye stock and later sold as Warhorses with the claim that the pure stock must show black eyes.

Now, I think, I have written enough. Information I have been able to give has been gotten from time to time from Col. Butler, Col. Fair, Jim Clark, Frank Battle, and Fred Mitchell.

BEE MARTINS: Originator, Charlie Morre, S. C. Bloodlines: Means Red Cuban, Hopkins Warhorse. Description: Dark and red eyes, dark legs; black, black red, some spangle and brass back.

BLACK HACKLES: Originator: Jarvis Ellis, Penn. Description: Dark and black red, black hackle, dark legs.

BLACK HAWKS: Originator: E. Perigo, Thompson, MO. Bloodlines: Gordon Cock, Bacon-Hopkinson Warhorse.

BROWN RED PANTHERS: Originator: Geo Scliffet, 1930. Penna. Bloodlines: Half Fowler Brown, red quarter Snyder Warhorse, quarter Carpenter Gull. Description: Cocks dark brown, dark legs, straight comb.

DYER’S IRISH BROWN REDS: Originator, Ireland, 1885, by Dyer.

HOPKINSON BLACK-GRAYS: Originator, Walter Hopkinson. Bloodlines: Irish Grey cock and Warhorse hen.

MUGWUMPS: Originator, Col Alfred Aldridge, S. C. Bloodlines: Bacon Warhorse, Major Rhett B. B. Reds, a Baltimore cock, 1890. Description: Black, black red, dark legs, dark and red eyes.


by Mike Norris

I don’t really know a lot on the history of game strains in America except that there is a book available for people interested. This book may or may not shed a lot of information on Blue fowl. What I am saying is that a man would just have to read it and find out. I have had a life long affection for Blue fowl and at times a belly full of resentment for Blue fowl. In other words I am saying that I beleive I have been exposed to some of the best and for sure some of the worst Blue fowl on earth.

I would probably be a pretty safe bet that the first Blue fowl could have been a result of crossing Pyle colored fowl onto red fowl or brown-red fowl or etc. I would also bet that the first Pyle colored fowl probably came from Ireland. I am not really sure of that, but neither is anyone else. In a very old book that I once read concerning early American history of game fowl, there were references to Irish Pyles.

About 25 years ago, when I was just a young kid, we lived in Dallas, Texas, Johnny Wooten and Burt Fuller would take me to the cock fights at Ardmore, Marietta, and Colbert. I can’t remember which pit we were at but it was on one of those trips that I was first exposed to Blue game cocks. I remember that we had just arrived at the pit and weas getting out of the car when a man walking past us stopped to say hello to Mr. Wooten and Mr. Fuller. Mr Wooten asked him if he had brought some of his bad Blue with him today. The man said “No,” he just brought some Blue roosters today. Later Mr. Wooten told me that this man’s name was Teacher and he was the originator of the Blue Darters. As the day went on I became friends with Teacher and I bet on every Blue cock he fought that day and I bet on every cock that Mr. Wooten and Mr. Fuller fought. That was my lucky day because Teacher won the derby and Mr. Wooten and Mr. Fuller only lost their money fight. I came home with a pocket full of money and hooked on Blue chickens. On of the Blue occks fought that day was the famous Pretty Boy Floyd cock, and I remember that he won easily. If Teacher is still alive and involved with the Blue Darters, I would like to get in touch with him.

For sure a man name Lloyd Miner had good Blues and he proved it by winning and selling fowl all over the USA, Canada, Mexico, and over-seas that won. I don’t know exactly what the Miner Blues were in breeding but I am told that they did have some good Mahogany blood in them and that couldn’t have hurt. The Miner Blues were not uniform in color but most Blus aren’t. They would come red with a light blue to dark blue chest and tail, solid white, Pyle, Spangled, a brownred blue color, and some even came red in color with no blue feathers showing at all. It is just my opinion but I beleive that most of the Blue chickens that are around today are either Miner Blues or carry some Miner blood in them.

After being influenced by the good Blue cocks the Teacher fought when I was a kid, I began to buy Blue roosters here and there and the majority of them were simply no good. Quite a few Blue roosters quit on me during that period. Finally my father completely bought out a man named Mr. Mooreland of Lancaster, Texas. The majority of the cocks from Mr. Mooreland were a mixture of Miner Blues, Asil, and Claret, some were carrying some Blue Berg Muff blood. These were actually the first good Blues I ever had my hands on. I had a lot of fun fighting these Mooreland Blues because a lot of people would turn their nose up at them because they were Blue in color. This sure did add extra fun to whipping them. I remember Burt Fuller was at our house and we were fighting those Blues and winning nearly every fight and Burt told someone that he knew it had to feel funny getting whipped by Blue roosters like that. The man nearly growled as he walked away. I was only about 13 or 14 years old and I sure got a kick out of that.

Johnny Stansell perfected a family of Miner Blues by loading it up with his best Hatch blood and then for some reason he disposed of it. I say he perfected his family of Blues because they ended up in the hands of a friend of mine and I sometimes have to fight at this family and I have seen them fight at other people. These Stansell Blues have everything it takes to win and they do win and they are game as hell.

There came a time several years ago that I met Don Bundy and his wife Wanda of Apple, Oklahoma. I believe Wanda makes the world’s best pancakes. Don and Wanda own several families of fowl but they also own a famimly of Blues that they bred up themselves. When I first met Don he let me have a Blue cock and this cock turned out to be everything a game cock should be. Since that time I handled some of Don’s Blues in the pit for him and I came to love those little Blue cocks. Don’s Blues are game and they are above average fighters. One of his little Blue cocks will always stand out in my mind. We were at the Atoka pit and when I was to turn the Blue cock loose for the first pitting, he pulled away from and in his hurry to get to the other rooster, he stumbled. This gave the other cock the chance to free roll the Blue and the little Blue cock came up with a broken leg. This was in the first pitting. When I turned the Blue cock loose for the second pitting, he burst inot his opponent with a desire to kill and in the third buckle of the second pitting, the other rooster died. Don’s Blue chickens truly hate a rooster and they are fast, cutting, aggressive cocks.

My good friend for many years, Leroy Deloney has just recently went out of the chicken business and he had a good family of Blues that when crossed on his Roundheads made a really fine chicken. Leroy is one of the last of the true breeders. I’m not saying he bred and raised game fowl, I’m saying he did more that that. Leroy perfected several families of game fowl thta were good to start with. This may be off the blue subject but it is worth the mention. When Leroy had to sell out, he had on hand the very best Clarets that money and friendship could buy and several other families. I wrote a letter to the editor of Gamecock that was published concerning the only ad Leroy Deloney ever had to run in Gamecock. If you are losing your butt now, it’s not my fault because I told the world through Gameocck in 1988, that Leroy Deloney’s fowl were for sale and that thye would win anywhere and that even meant his Blue Roundhead cross. If Leroy reads this article, then let me say “Thank You” again to Leroy for helping me to win fights for over twenty years now.

I realize that a lot of the Blue fowl around today are not up to pare with a good red or grey cock. I am sure that there are several good families of Blues around somewhere. If you can get your hands on a good family of Blues, like the ones from Deloney or Mr. Bundy, and if you take good care of them you can have a lot of fun with them because of their color. It is like I said, a lot of people turn their nose up at a Blue gamecock. This adds a little extra fun to winning and winning is what this sport is aobut. I guess some of the most beautiful cocks I have seen were Blue cocks and the most beautiful cocks I have ever seen were a cross using a Miner Blue cock over some Madigin grey hens. The off-spring of this cross had a Grey rooster’s neck and back color with a blue chest and tail. This turned out to be a really good cross too. I guess the very best cross I have ever seen using Blue fowl was when my father gave one of his friends one ofour Morreland Blue cocks and he bred this cock over Shufflers hens. There were not real pretty but they were lighting fast in their attack and could burst into a rooster with a machine gun shuffle. This was before I started fighting in the knife but when I think about the Blue Shuffler cross, I wish I had them today because they would have been super in the knife.

Whatever type of chickens you fight, keep them rolling and if you get the chance, help a beginner. We need the beginners to keep this sport going. Good luck to everyone.

Blue Berg Muffs
by Ed “Fulldrop” Piper

Along about 1914 Dave Berg of N.Y. hacked a Hoy Muff cock that walked off after knocking a man down. Before Berg could kill him a young fellow with Berg asked for him to breed over some Shelton Knob-comb Blues, as the Southern fowl were not considered any good for short heels. Berg laughed and said he reckoned he’d be O.K. to breed over them and so gave hom to the boy.

In the fall, the young man stopped at Berg’s and asked if he could put his stags in Berg’s coops as he had none of his own. He told him no, he didn’t want any of that kind of chickens on his place. The fellow said that they were beating each other up. Berg told him he could put them there, all 19 of them, until he got some coops made, but to get them out of there as soon as he could. So he brought them over, big, beautiful blues with muffs. John Hoy was considered THE authority on the game at that time, came to see Berg about something and noticed the stags. Asked what they were and Berg told him, he pushed open a couple of doors and got two of them out. He watched them for a moment and said they were good, not to fool them away. They turned out to be great fowl. Phil Marsh says they were the greatest he ever saw in every way, practically unbeatable. They were later crossed with Whitehackle from Dr. Hallock, of N.Y. state.

High Creek Blues

The High Creek Blues have a long and distinguished History. I wish I knew it all, but I’ll have to settle for giving you the part I do know. Bobby Joe Manziel, Sr. a big time cockfighter in Texas originated a family of blues he called the Toolpusher Blues. Toolpusher being a term for a supervisor on an oil rig, the toolpushers can do it all if necessary. The Toolpusher Blues were the result of Mr. Manziel crossing Wilkens Typewriters with C.C. Cooke Perfections. The Typewriter fowl were originated by Judge Wilkens and contained Dr. King Blues, the old time Wildcat Blues, Smith Roundhead and possible other blood. C.C. Cooke made his Perfections by crossing Madagin Perfection Greys with J.D. Perry Hatch.

Although a real “mongrel” chicken the Toolpushers COULD FIGHT! Mr. Manziel set the cross as a family which fought very successfully for many years. Pure Toolpusher Blues can still be seen in major competition today, usually being pitted in long knife due to their speed, accuracy, and intelligent style of fighting.

I got my start with the Toolpusher bloodline over 25 years ago. They were a big hit with me right from the start. Beautiful, well built fowl and they could still fight! They were fast and aggressive, very accurate cutters. They would meet the other bird on the ground or in the air, breaking as high as necessary to do so. The thing that impressed me the most with these fowl was their intelligence. They knew when to dodge and they knew when to score! They could recognize an opening and would always take it if they could. The flip side of the coin was that they did not have a lot of bottom for a long drag fight and had a very hard time fighting an uphill battle. If we didn’t win in the first few pittings, we usually didn’t win period. Their gameness was unpredictable at times as well. Most would fight a good, game battle, but occasionally one would let up, particularly the young stags. Nevertheless, all things considered, I was sold on this family and even with their faults the pure Toolpusher Blues won a majority for me and rapidly became my favorite family.

My breeding program soon became centered around the Blues. We experimented with many battle crosses on the Blues and gradually began to infuse the family with new blood based on the results of the most successful crosses. Some of the blood which ended up in what we now call the High Creek Blues is Narragansett we got from Frank Shy in the early 70’s, Boston Roundhead from Lloyd Jenkins, Irish Pyle from Richard Saint and Sonny Hancock (actually Hancock/General crosses) which came from Mike Ratliff, and others.

Two years ago I sold out all my mugs and hatch fowl so I can focus all my attention on my favorite family, the High Creek Blues. These are high class fowl and are getting nothing but better.

Although very uniform in body conformation and station (medium high), they come in a wide variety of colors ranging from solid white, white with black and red spangles, pyles, bluereds, bluegreys, and even an occasional black. Straight or pea combed. Leg color varies from white to willow with occasional slate or yellow legs. They are generally very easy to work with, very good temperament, never a man fighter if treated properly. They take bench work well, if you’re into that (I’m not). They are very active fowl and keep themselves in good condition.

The High Creek Blues are very aggressive fowl. They get hot instantly at billing and break very fast. They are deadly cutters in the knife or gaff. They fight the most intelligent style I’ve seen, avoiding the other bird, yet always ready to hit an opening. They have good bottom and power although this is still the area I feel needs the most work. I fight my blues pure in high or medium high point, 2 1/8 to 2 1/4 inch gaffs and have been winning a solid majority with them for over 25 years fighting into tough competition. You can fight these Blues pure or use them for a good, aggressive cutting foundation in battle cross.

Miner Blues
By Lloyd B. Miner
(Reprint from Histories of Game strains)

Several months ago you asked me to write the history of my Miner Blues. I appreciated being favored with this request and promised you that I would write same, however, when yours of July 5th came asking if I had the history written, I had failed to have a single line.

I consider myself very poor at writing anything and writing the history of my own fowl makes it all the more difficult for me, but i shall keep my promise and do the best I can. I will try and not say too much for my fowl and if I do, just remember ho much each real lover of the game cock thinks of his own strain.

I have two strains of Blues, one a strictly straight comb strain, the other of all Roundhead blood. I shall give you the history of the straight comb strain first because they were the first fowl that I really bred. I owned my first game cock about 25 years ago. At that time the village of Cornell had some men who kept a few half-mile running horses, a few scrub game cock and boasted of one real 100-yard dash men. Every summer many covered wagon loads of Gypsies passed through Cornell; they made money trading horses, racing horses and fighting cocks. Professional foot racers traveled with them. We had saloons then and the little village was pretty sporty, would gamble on anything. I took in the horse races, foot races and cock fights. Several of us young fellows liked the game cocks very much, so we all bought cheap cocks and started in the game, fighting against each other, There were seven or eight of us started in the game at that time. A few years later I secured twenty subscribers to Derby Game Bird for a premium of Gregory gaffs. All of these boys finally quit the game except George Hasel and myself. George quit about three years ago and moved to South Bend, Ind., from there to Chicago and not long ago I received a letter from him in Denver, Colo., in which he said that he wanted a trio of the old straight comb Blues as soon as he got located where he could keep chickens. Am getting off my track so will go back to the time we were fighting chickens among ourselves. At that time I was working in my fathers store and a mon by the name of Ed Foley ran a hotel next door. He had a large back yard and one day I noticed a beautiful blue-red game cock running in this yard with some dunghill hens. I asked Foley what breed he was and what he would take for him and he replied that he was one of Nick Vipond’s Blues and did not belong to him, that he was only walking him for Nick, but for me to go to Streator (which is 15 miles from Cornell) and see old Nick and he would perhaps sell me a cock, I got my best friend, George Hasel, and we went to Streator and looked up Nick. It was not hard to find him as he ran a saloon in the main part of the city. He took us to his home and showed us may fine cocks in pens. We each bought one and could hardly wait until we hot home to tackle some of the boys for a scrap. Next day both cocks were fought and both won. After that day both of us bothered old Nick quite often. We must have been an awful pest to him and I often wonder how he had the patience to fool with us. However, he seemed to take a liking to us and would let us watch him condition cocks up stairs over his saloon in the winter and at his home in his barn during the warmer months. He taught us how to hold a cock and how to work him and to this day I have never seen a man who could put a cock through his work and not break a feather as he could. He had a world of patience with a biting cock and his condition was good, but now I think that he pulled his cocks too low for them to be at their best. Nick traveled and fought his cocks and also fought mains against Col. Minton, George A. Fuller, the Red Hornet man, (at that time of Springfield, Ill.) and many others. Like most others Nick had other fowl besides his blues, some good and some bad, some of them belonging to other parties that he would condition and fight for them. Years have proven that his Blues were the best that he had and were the only ones that he kept when he got old. The straight comb Miner Blues that I breed today are direct descendants of the best and last brood yards of Nick Vipond’s Blues.

Just what blood these Blues are no one really knows. Many have asked Nick what blood they were and I have asked him where he got them, but he never would say, his reply being to all “they are my old Blues.” However, Nick was born in Wales, He moved from Pennsylvania to Steator over 50 years ago, was a coal miner and later went into the saloon business. He brought with him from Pennsylvania some very dark blue fowl, dark eyes and dark legs. Some say that they were imported from Ireland and that Nick bought them from a man in the east who needed money badly, however, I don not know that this is true, and doubt if there is any one who does know, but I do know that the first fowl that I saw at his place were dark-blue. Later he had a very beautiful, white leg, red eyed, light-red cock over some blue hens and in a short time he had many white leg and yellow leg Blues of different shades of lighter blues, also many light-red with white or yellow legs. I asked him one day what the white leg red cock was and he said that he was just the same as the Blues and added that some of them came red. I bought a 4.14 white leg red cock of him that had won bottom weight in one of his mains and six dark blue hens. My friend Hasel bought a 5.04 dark blue, slip leg cock and two dark-blue hens. I had the pleasure of being in on the last three mains that Nick fought, my friend George Hasel was also in on one, these being fought against local parties. In two of the mains he won every fight but one and lost but one main, by the odd. After the last main, which he won, he told Hasel and I that he was going to give each of us a good cock that had won in the main and tell us how to breed them. We already had eight dark-blue hens, the dark-blue slip leg cock and the white leg 4.14 cock, then he gave Hasel the white leg red 6.02 cock. This cock was old, but did not show it, and had won quickly in the main. A year or two before Hasel had asked Nick to price this cock, but he would never do it. When Nick gave Hasel the cock he told him that sense he had always wanted him so badly that he would make him a present of the cock and told him to breed him over the pullets from the slip-leg blue. He then gave me a fine young 5.08 dark-blue cock that had won a sensational battle in the main and told me to breed him to the pullets from the 4.14 Red. I never got a picture of the slip-leg nor the old white leg red Hasel got, but I had a photographer take a picture of the 4.14 Red and I took a snap shot of the 5.08 Blue. The one I took is not clear, but I am sending both for you to print. Hasel and I bred these four cocks and eight hens just as we were told to do and exchanged stags and pullets each year and mated more yards. We could do this nicely with four yards to draw from. At about the same time that we got the last tow cocks from Nick a friend of mine named Harry Rucker (who lived in Cornell) bought a 3-time winner brown-red, white leg cock from Nick and bred him on some Dom hens he had and two years later Hasel bought this Vipond cock from Rucker and later bred him over daughters of the slip-leg.

About ten years ago, Nick quit business and moved to Chicago, later moving to either Marion, Ohio or Indiana, I have forgotten which and finally came back to Streator where he died about three years age. When he moved to Chicago he sold all of his fowl except two large dark-blue hens and one large white leg hen. These he would not sell. He called on me just a short time before he left and brought these three hens and asked if I would keep them for him, said that his daughter was sick and that he and his wife must go and live with her and that they had no place to keep chickens. I kept the hens and bred them single mated. I have a letter that Nick wrote me sent from Chicago, about eleven years ago asking me to have his hens caught up as he would be after them soon. He never bred any more fowl, but came and took one of the blue hens for a friend and gave me the other, the white leg hen having died.

My straight comb Miner Blues I breed today are direct descendants of the four cocks and the eight hens that Hasel and I got from Nick, the cock that Rucker got and the three hens that Nick left with me. I have many yards and believe that I can breed them indefinitely without a cross. I have mated them as I know that they must be mated and at the same time I have line-bred them to the most sensational fighting cocks that have been produced from time to time. For instance, Hasel, by mating a dark-blue stag that I gave him over one of his white leg red hens, produced a white leg blue-red stag that proved, in the brood yard, to be one of the best producers of all. He fought this stag against Sam Brazier in Chicago in 1919. Brazier had a wonderful stag and cut Hasel’s stag blind in one eye and broke one wing in the first pitting but Hasel could hardly hold his stag during the rest period and when turned loose for the second pitting he went across like a flash, and with one eye and one wing gone he shuffled Brazier’s stag to death. Hasel bred this stag that year and as a cock for two years. We called him old Blinker. He gave me one of his first stags from this cock, also one of his daughters and in 1922 traded me the old Blinker for a brood cock of mine that had won several times. I bred old Blinker until he died in the fall of 1924. He was a great producer and was line-bred from the start. Many of ny yard carry more or less of his blood on each side. I have bred many cocks that have won several battles but never have I found one that produced more winners that old Blinker did. Old White Leg, a four time winner that I raised is a grandson of the 4.14 and the old white leg Vipond cock. This strain of cocks have not been bred to color but have been to fight, however, in the last few years I have mated Red to Reds and Blues to Blues whenever I could do so and not sacrifice fighting qualities nor the proper mating. At the present time they average in color about 50% blue reds with white or yellow legs, 40% light reds with black or brown mottled breasts and white or yellow legs and about 10% come dark-blues with dark legs. I get more dark-blues in hens than in cocks. Are medium, low station and the cocks run in weight from 4.06 to 6.08 and the hens from 3 to 5 pounds. They are exceptionally game, extra good cutters and know how to fight. Just to give and example of the gameness of these Blues I am going to quote what a friend in Omaha Nebraska wrote me about one of these Blue cocks that fought in a main there in 1925. “Fourth fight we matched your straight comb Miner blue against a Harry Williams Warhorse cross from Covington, Ky. Warhorse coupled your Blue in first pitting and the fight dragged out to 68 pittings, 48 minutes of terrible give and take on both sides. In my opinion your blue was the best cock and his gameness was remarkable. He crossed the pit several times on his wings and shuffled whenever he could get a beak hold, only to be counted out in the 68th pitting, his opponent dying soon afterwards. Blue had two counts on Warhorse but could not see or stand on his feet, yet he always broke all counts except the 68th..”

I call these Blues Miner Blues because most of them come blue and they have been bred by my method long enough to make them the type they are today. I have the same opinion as Mr. Ewing A. Walker has in calling his Mugs Walker Mugs. My friend Hasel advertised and sold some of these Blues that he bred and called his Hasel Blues. As he had bred them many years he felt that he had the right to call them Hasel Blurs. I have never spent much time in thinking up a name for my fowl as I feel sure that if cocks can fight they will make a name for themselves and if not a blood curdling name will not help them.

While I have always kept these Blues pure that I got from Nick Vipond, I have also made some crosses. Most of us experiment some and I have always thought it best to make a cross when I had time to try them out than wait until I had to have a cross and trust to luck for a nick. I have made several crosses and fought them all to find out what I had and found that some were good and others were bad. Those that were good I bred back to my Blues and then fought the quarter bloods, then bred back again and fought the eighth bloods. I do not need a cross on my old Blues at this time, but if I ever do I now have on hand some good hens with one-half, one-quarter and one-eighth new blood that are sisters to cocks that have proven good and of which I breed a few each year. In 1917 D. H. Pierce loaned me a young Wisconsin Shuffler cock to breed. He was a dark eyed brown-red and an extra good one. I tried to buy him from Pr. Pierce but he would not sell him, so I returned him in good shape in the fall of 1918. I mated this Pierce cock to one of the old dark-blue hens that Nick left with me when he moved to Chicago and from this mating I got dark-blues and dark-brown reds. Fought the stags and refought them and only one lost his first battle. I then bred one of my Blue cocks over one of the half blood hens and the quarter-bloods win a good majority of their battles. I have two dark-blue hens today that are daughters of the Pierce cock. They are over nine years old and are strong and healthy brood hens yet.

In 1923, Henry Flock sent me a blue-red, white leg, red eyed, straight comb cock from El Paso, Texas and wanted me to breed him. Said if I did not want him to just send him to his daughter at home and that she would care for him until he returned. Flock had won twice with him and had pronounced him a wonder. He said that Jas. G. Oakley had bred him out of a Smith Blue cock that he got off Smith Bros., that won in the Opelousas Tournament. I bred this cock single mated on one of my old Blue hens and he nicked well with my blood. I bred back to my Blues and the quarter bloods won a larger percent than did the half bloods. I am saving some of the quarter-blood hens. My friend Hasel made a cress several years ago with Gleezen Whitehackel on Blues, also a cross of a Shawlneck hen from Elmer B. Denham and both were good. I traded some of my Pierce cross and of the Oakley cock cross to Hasel for some of his Whitehackles and Shawlneck crosses and breed a few each year carrying this blood. This concludes the history of my straight comb blues.

by Lunchmoney

My first introduction to the Wilkens Typewriters was in April 1946, when the Judge fought a main against Ford & Luster, as memory has it, at the Berg’s Mill Pit, San Antonio, Texas.

This was a three-day event with the main being fought the first day followed by a tournament. The tournament included the Walton-Wortham entry, Hale Brothers, Judge Ed Wilkens, and aobut four or five other entries.

Having always been an admirer of blue game fowl, dating back to the old cock my grandfather had on the yard – a blue-red, yellow legged cock, and having a little more money than normally, I found the odds laid on the Ford & Luster fowl to be irresistible when they were 10-8 and 10-7 on every fight. The Judge won the main rather handily 7-4 as I recall and it should have been 8-3 since one fight was won by a seemingly unfair handle by Mr. Luster, but that is water under the bridge. At that time, most of the cocks that the Judge showed in the main were lemon-hackled, blue-reds with yellow legs mostly, some pyle colored cocks with white legs, and nearly all of the fowl shown during the main and tournament, as memory serves me, were straight comb.

My life-long frined Edward Bently took me out to the Judge’s home and we had a short visit there, seeing the quarters where the Judge conditioned his fowl and also a few othe fowl on the yard.

I made more than my expense money on the trip, thanks to the Judge’s cocks, and the Walton-Wortham fowl and came home a winner.

I could not resist the temptation to obtain some of these fowl. Edward located a pyle colored, pea-comb, white legged Typewriter cock for me and I purchased a hen from the Judge. I remember her this day almost as well as the day I received her. She was a blue-red hen, with large blue fan tail, red eyes, white legs, straight combed. During the period after her mormal laying season had ended, she would act almost like a cock. She would fly upon a pile of wood, or a post or pen and crow, popping her wings just like a cock.

The remarkable thing about this hen is that the cock which she was mated with, an old ham-strung cock, produced nearly all shakes. The first two were fought when they were about 13 or 14 months old against fuly matured cocks. The first one – a yellow legged, sky-blue pyle stag killed a 3-time winner brood cock that had won three fights in three pittings, in one pitting. His brother, a dark blue-red with yellow legs and peacomb won his fight but slipped his spur. I believe that we fought the sky-blue cock when he was two for $100, Ernest Trochta doing the feeding and pitting, and he won an uphill fight, coming from behind. From that Typewriter hen and the old Pyle cock, we fought about six stags amd cocks and all won. Several Thaggard Grey-Typewriter stags and cocks were fought also and the records kept up through the first 21 fights were 20 wins and 1 loss. The loss was with a Grey-Typewriter stag that fought a long hard fight and losing but being thoroughly game. I lost track of them after that they must have all eventually lost, but 20 of the first 21 fought won their first fight or more.

I often wondered why these fowl have not been more prominent in the game fowl journals. They could fight; they could cut; they had bottom and they deserve a better place in the history of game fowl than they seem to have received.

I recall that the Judge had at about that time two great cocks that he had fought a number of times – One Round Hogan, a Pyle cock, and Pay-Day a dark blue-red cock. I’m sure that there must be a lot of people in and arround San Antonio, Texas that would remember these cocks. I always found the Judge to be quite honorable in his dealings with me and I also found him to be quite an understanding gentleman.

MINER BLUES: Perpetuator, Loyd Miner, Ill. Bloodlines: Nick Vipond Blues. Description: Blue red, light reds, dark blue, white, yellow, and darks legs.

BLUE BOONES: Originator, Alva Campbell, Ky. Description: Blue red and Dom.

BLUE JEWS: Originator, Capt. Mayberry, Ala. Description: Blue shades; dark and red eyes, dark and yellow legs, st. and pea comb.

CAROLINA BLUES: Originator, W. S. Church, N. C. Description: Blue, blue red, pyle.

KNOB COMB BLUES: Originator, B. Shelton, Miss. Bloodlines: Cripple Tony R. H., Sledge and Hanna Traveler. Description: Blue, pea comb, yellow legs.

TYPEWRITER BLUES: Originator, Judge Wilkins, Texas. Description: Blue shades.

DARCY BLUES: Originator, B. F. Anderson, Ohio. Bloodlines: Blue Jews, Koopman Tassel Blues, Filipino Tassels. Description: Blue red, pyle; red eyes, slate and willow legs.

WILD CAT BLUES: Originator, C. C. Lundy, Ga. Bloodlines: English Blue Cock X Knobcomb blue hens; possibly Lundy R. H. blood. Description: Blues, pyles, green and yellow legs, red eyes.


The actual originator of the Chets was the late Al Ashton. He had Joe Wolfe feeding his cocks; they fought a little cock several times and proved a sensation. In breeding, this bird was an even 4way cross of OK Roundhead, Red Quill, Butcher Boy and Mortgage Lifter.

Ashton had two cocks half Tuzo Jap and half Rood Brownred, they were several time winners. After fighting these particular birds. Chet Robinson, a policeman who never fought a cock but a convivial companion was present. Ashton asked Robinson to take a sister to his half Jap, half Brownred and the 4way cross cock and breed them in his backyard.

Chet Robinson did this and raised two clutches of chicks, more than half stags, approximately fifteen. When big enough to pick up, all were brought to Ashton. These stags won from four to 21 fights each and were mated for several years. All looked alike and fought alike?just about whipped everyone in the far west for years. Ashton was a good breeder and feeder, one of the best in pen walking cocks.

All Chets were uniform; green-legged, peacomb and whippoorwill color for a period of years. They were bred and inbred for several generations and occasionally a straight comb appeared.

Ashton fought hundreds of cocks each season and won his share. Very few people ever received a pure Chet from him. The first man to ever secure any Chets was the late Bill Stevenson?in turn he let Bill Hentges have some and the latter won a grand majority for several years. Later on Hentges infused a trace of Nigger Roundhead in his and they turn were good for a few years. It was evident the yard of the latter had a race of donkey in them and it started to show up.

I imagine the most exciting main ever fought on the west coast was between Ashton and the Reno (Nevada) Cockers. Twenty-one were shown and fought, and as I recall Ashton won seventeen—Don Carse handled for the winner.

The writer paid an even hundred for a Chet cock he was handling for Al in a fight won with one leg. Carse secured an old hen, sister to Peanut, a Chet winner of 21 battles. Carse and myself bred the pair and started our Chet. Later on, after Al knew we had the real McCoy he would exchange pure ones with us. As has been stated, very few men ever got a hen and a cock from Ashton.

I know of one fellow, here on the East Coast, who advertised for some long time, offering pure Chets?he never had over three quarter Chet blood. Just one time, lasting but a day, he entered Ashton?s yard when the latter was away and ?appropriated? a hen. The neighbors told Al what had happened. It so happened he had a cocker friend who was a highway patrolman and he made a quick trip and brought the hen back.

The incident is mentioned to illustrate how difficult it was to obtain a pure Chet.

Very few cockers know how good a cocker was Al Ashton?few can say they ever beat him. I did defeat him in his last main which was fought at the age of 83. He was as sharp then as most cockers are at 25. He passed away several years ago at the age of 86 and to the time of death fought his cocks. At one main, he told me he had no more pure Chets left. Ashton was a friend of the writer and I acquired much chicken knowledge in our association. It was on his place I saw pen walked cocks for the first time.

A closing tale on the Chet origination?Ashton and Robinson visited me one day. Chet had been struck by a car receiving a broken leg. He was using a walking stick. I asked where they had been and Ashton replied, we have been looking for Chet?s cane. Seems they had been imbibing and he had thrown it away. Further, this is the true breeding of the Chets, anyone can take it from here


Here are two different stories about the Claiborne fowl. One by fulldrop and the other by W.T. Johnson. Thank you pops for the W.T. Johnson story. It goes to show you if you was not there you will never know the true story behind the strains.


Let’s set the stage a bit. Place: New Orleans, Louisiana

Time frame: About 18 to 20 years, before the “War Between the States” or somewhere around 1838 or 1840.

The main players:

Jim Sanford – an ex- (bare knuckles) prizefighter. Who was on the run, from an eastern state, after an opponent died in the ring. He had been raised in the crescent city as a youth fresh from England. Now he was breeding and pitting cocks for Judge Claiborne.

Judge Claiborne – It’s unclear if the “Judge” was a court Judge or simply a justice of the peace. However what is recorded is that he was on of the greatest sportsmen of his time.

John Stone – A dairy farmer from some where between Marblehead and Swampscott, Mass. He was also a sportsman and breeder of game fowl. It would do him an injustice to simply leave it at that. He may be responsible (if not directly certainly indirectly), for many if not most of the breeds of game fowl in the U.S. today. The list of the stains of fowl that contain at least some of the blood of his breeding would take more room than allowed in this one posting.

The story:

Jim Sanford was an Englishman and an ex-pugilist who left the East following a prize fight which resulted fatally to his opponent. He was brought up in New Orleans, bred and pitted cocks for a number of years for Judge Claiborne of that city. The judge was one of the greatest sportsmen of his time and in fighting a main in the Old Spanish pit, an English Earl of Derby lost by having a heel broken off in his back. Jim Sanford got the broken heel out and bred him to a Spanish hen, as Jim could see the good points in this cock. This cross proved to be the equal, if not the superior, to anything wearing feathers in the chicken line at the time.

Here is a few simple words we have on the makeup of the smooth head Claibornes bred and originated by Jim Sanford and named in honor Judge Claiborne 18 or 20 years before the war between the North and the South.

The smooth head Claiborne got into the hands of John Stone in this way Stone and Saunders made a main to be fought in Richmond, Va. Stone took his Irish Brown Reds there to condition them. About the same time Judge Claiborne happened to be in Baltimore and was the main advertised on the billboards of the city. So the judge went to Richmond to witness that main. He was introduced to Stone and Saunders and expressed a desire to see the Brown Reds. He looked the cocks over, examined them, and said they were as fine a lot of cocks as I have ever seen, but they are looking too beefy and I think that you will lose the main, which they did.

Mr. Stone was living on a farm and the judge asked him if he would breed chickens for him. If we can agree said Stone. The agreement was that Stone was to kill all his pullets and ship all stags to Judge Claiborne in New Orleans, which he did till after the war broke out. After the was began Stone could not hear from Judge Claiborne and as he had taken on a bride who wished him to dispose of his games he then sold them to John Mahar, of Marblehead, Miss., the Jim Sanford Smoothhead Claibornes, stipulating that is Mahar ever heard from Judge Claiborne, that he, Mahar should ship stags to the Judge as he had done.

Mr. Stone also let John Daniels have a trio and Tom Heathwood a pair. Mr. Mahar, being a cocker, they made a name and fame that will ive for generations to come, all through the United States. Mr. Mahar had good success raising stags the first year and the next winter took a main of ten stags to Boston and won every fight and fought four of them the second battle and won. The Boston cockers were amazed at their success so made another main with Mahar, to show 13 stags, nine pair fell in. Boston had forty of the best to be found to pick from. Mahar won seven straight battles. The other two were not fought as Boston had enough. Boston then challenged Mahar to fight seven cocks, they were winners, but the great Claibornes were again victorious and won six out of the seven battles. This established their well-earned reputation.

Jim Sanford was also an admirer of the Baltimore Topknots, a fame and winning strain of Bright Reds, which were originated in Maryland and were almost invincible in long heels. Jim procured six full sisters of the Baltimore Topknots and bred them to the same Earl Derby cock he used on the Spanish hen. Jim bred both strains as long as he lived, the Topknot cross proving to be as good as the smoothheads and a little larger.

A few years later Lewis Everett, of Benton, Ala., went to New Orleans and brought a stag and three pullets of the plain heads, but the Topknots Everett carried to Ben Grisset’s, Camden, Ala., did not pan out satisfactorily, so he sold them to Major Felix Tait, of Rock West, Ala., and Tait with his brother bred them as long as he lived, the remnant going to his daughter, Mrs. Sally Tait Bragg, of Camden Ala. We also made note that Grissett, Everett and Tait crossed the plain or smooth heads on the Topknots.

Sanford and Everett bred together later at Mobile, Ala. In Everett’s last years we find him at Joe Pickins, Sulphur Springs, Texas with his smoothheads where they were bred pure by Mr. Pickins. Major Tait said he got out first from Sanford, then from Everett who sent smooth heads and Topknots and we have bred them together always. Both strains are a beautiful fowl and both show white in wing and tail, both strains showing some spangle, some having a red breast and some black, yellow and white legs and beaks, red and daw eyes, ranging from low set to medium. The Spanish showed some dark legs, as one may crop out. Everett called the “nigger foot”. This history comes from many friends who were personally aquatinted with Jim Sanford, Judge Claiborne, Everett, Trait, John Stone and John Mahar and is as old as true as the strain itself. When I was a very small boy about 45 years ago, I could visit an estate where the Earl Derbys were bred. Some were black red, some brown red and some light red, the light reds having a shorter head than the black reds and color eyes and bill as mentions above.

Source: Johnson’s History of Game Strains By; W.T. Johnson

History of Jim Sanford and the Claibornes
by. E.T. Piper

Jim Sanford was an English man and ex=pugilist, who left the east following a prize fight which resulted fatally to his opponet. he was brought up in new Orleans, Louisiana, bred and pitted cocks for a number of years for judge Claiborne of that city. the judge was one of the greatest sportsmen of his time. in fighting a main in the old Spanish pit, an English earl derby lost by having a heel broke off is in his back. Jim, Sanford got the broken heel out and bred him to a Spanish hen, as Jim could see the good points in this cock, this cross proven to be equal. if not superior. to anything wearing feathers in the chicken line at that time. here, in a few simple words, we have the make-up of the smooth head Claibornes, bred and originated by Jim Sanford, and named in honor of judge Claiborne eighteen or twenty years before the war of the north and south. these smooth head Claibornes got into the handles of john stone in this way. stone and saunders made a main to be fought in Richmond, Virginia. stone took his Irish brown reds there to condition them about the same time judge Claiborne happen to be in Baltimore and saw the main advertised on the billboards of that city. so, the judge went to Richmond to witness that main. he was introduced to stone and saunders and expressed a desire to see the brown reds, he looked the cocks over examined them, and said these are as fine a lot of cocks as i have ever seen, but they are too beefy i think you will lose the main, they did. mr.stone was living on a farm, and the judge asked him if he would breed chickens for him. if we can agree said stone. the agreement was that stone was to kill all his pullets and ship the stags to judge Claiborne in new Orleans, which he did until after the war broke out. after the war began stone could not hear from judge Claiborne as he had taken a bride who wished him to dispose of his games, stone sold to john mahar of Marblehead, Massachusetts the Jim Sanford smooth head Claiborne, that mahar, should ship the stags to the judge as he had done. mr.stone also let john Daniel’s have a trio and tom heathwood a pair. mr.mahar being a cocker they made a name and fame that will live for generations to come, all though the united sates. mr.mahar had good success raising the first year. the next winter, he took a main of ten stags to Boston and won ever fight, and fought four of them the second battle and won. the Boston cockers were amazed at their success, so made another main with mahar, to show thirteen stags nine pair fell in. Boston had forty of the best to be found to pick from. mahar won sever straight battles. the other two were not fought as Boston had has enough.boton then challenged mahar to fight sever cocks, they to name the weights mahar accepted and Boston picked up a noted lot of winners. however, the great Claibornes were again victorious and won six out of sever battles. this established their well-earned reputation Jim Sanford was also an admirer of the Baltimore to knots, a game and winning strain of bright reds which were originated in Maryland. they were almost invincible in long heel. Jim procured six full sister of the topknots and bred them to the same earl derby cock that he used on the Spanish hen. Jim bred both strains as long as he lived, the topknot cross proving to be as good as the smooth heads and a little stronger. a few years later, Louis Everett, benton,albama. went to new Orleans and bought a stag and three pullets of the plain head. arrived them back to to Richard Harrison where Everett trained horses. Everett soon because interested int he topknots as Sanford was having as good success with the cross as the plain heads. however, the topknots Everett carried to Ben grisset, camden,albama, did not pan out satisfactorily so he sold them to major Felix tait of rock wesy,alabama. tait with his brother, bred them as long as he liver, the remnant going to his daughter, mrs.tally tait bragg of camden,alabama,we also note that grissett,everett and tait crossed the plain or smooth heads on the topknots. Sanford and Everett bred together later in mobile, Alabama, in Everett `s last years. we find him at Joe pickins place in sulphur springs, Texas. with his smooth head where they were bred pure by mr.pickins, major Felix tait said we got our first from Sanford then from Everett, who sent smooth heads and topknots. we have bred them together always. both strains are beautiful fowl and both show white in wing and tail, with both strains showing some spangle, some having red breast and some black, yellow and white legs and beaks red and dawn eyes ranging from low set to medium. the Spanish showed some dark legs as one may crop out Everett called this nigger foot.


Written By: Bill Marsh Article from History of Game Strains by W.T. Johnson & Frank Holcomb

Concerning the Madigin fowl and perhaps even Madigin himself no two people seem to be in complete agreement. He gave statements as to the breeding of his fowl and as to who had access to them and later repudiated both statements. There is confusion and endless contradictions as to the exact origin and breeding of the Daddy of Clarets, of the mother of the Clarets and of the worth of these; some saying they were the best in the world and others saying the first Clarets were absolute duds. Then we have the same confusion about what blood, how much, and when was later added. He stated several times that they started with a Hanky Dean cock and a hen from A.P. O?Connor that O?Connor said was a Duryea Whitehackle. Editor Piper, of Feathered Warrior, says this hen was bred by Mr. Hillsman of Va. out of a cock or stag (supposedly Whitehackle from a man named Hanna) and one of O?Connor Duryea pullets.

Col. Madigin often stated that only one man was ever given a female of any of his blood. Later changed that to two, after getting a letter. After his death many men showed letters signed by Madigin showing where he had given away and sold both male and female. Some of this blood was very good and some of it very bad.

Below is part of one of Mr. Gus Frithiof?s ads that favors the goodness in the Clarets to have come mostly from the original stock. After that follows part of a letter from Mr. William Mash with what I would say is the opposite viewpoint. This is interesting as both of these men are prominent cockers and both have worked for, or with Madigin.

Mr. Madigin told me that the Reds and Whites were the same identical chickens and that the greys were very close in the original. In fact, the ?daddy? of the nine original Clarets was sired by a Mansell Pyle, Joe Gilman grey cock bred from a pair of fowl from the Earl of Craven. His mother was obtained from Tom McCarthy, who raised her from fowl of Mr. Beard, of Toronto, Canada. Light-red, yellow legged fowl, same as the cocks made famous by Dennis Mahoney. The ?Mother? of the original Clarets was a pure H.B. Duryea Whitehackle hen, whose sire had won 19 battles, 14 of them in the hands of Michael Kearney and 5 in England and Ireland for the Earl of Clonwell. Duryea cocks bred from the 19 time winner, his mother and sisters, defeated all the leading strains in Europe, including 2 out of 3 mains for $50,000 on the odd, 2 mains, vs. William Gulliver, England?s premier cocker, the other main ended in a draw.

As the years went by both Madigin and Deans made many crosses most of which were discarded. A ?New Hope? cock, white legs, black spurs, won 9 times and was nicknamed ?Black Spur?. He, containing a shot of Mansell Pyle blood bred in Spain, threw them many whites and was used in 1917. Madigin bred from the Roland Mimton ?Skyrocket? cock, that he got from my friend, Frank Raggio, Austin, Texas, who got him from Julius W. Bell, Cincinnati, Ohio. Madigin and Deans made many families of these fowl and bred from among others the following cocks: Two ? Phil Marsh cocks (Grover Whitehackle ? ? Clarets) called ?My Choice? and ?Tuck In Under?. They won many times. They also used a Lowman Whitehackle cock and a Hardy Mahoney cock, a Duryea cock, 1927, threw many ?Pumpkins? or ?Canary? colored cocks, wonderful cocks. A grey Claret cock bred to a Herrisford Brown Red Black and Tan hen in 1922 was the source of the dark legs in many of the greys.

Author?s Note: The Hardy Mahoney cock should be Hardy Mahogany

The Origin of the Clarets
by J. H. Madigan

The Gamecock Magazine November 1936

In the year 1907 I received from my friend, Andrew P. O’Conor, of Maryland, two pullets — one a black-red with pea comb, the other a wheaten with single comb. I lost the pea comb pullet. I put the single comb pullet at the race track where I was walking a stag for Henry Deans — a pure black-red with white legs.

Early the following spring the O’Conor hen stole her nest in the bush and brought out a large clutch of chicks, of which nine were stags — all black-reds with white and yellow legs and of very deep wine color; hence the name Claret.

We walked and fought them, and they proved to be very successful. Upon breeding them further, one in every eight or ten came white, and they are still doing so. In fact, this year we have many whites and a few spangles.

I have tried to keep the same blood, as nearly as possible. All crosses have been a failure, with few exceptions.

I notice that certain people in Houston, Texas and Hendersonville, North Carolina, and also in Michigan, are advertising Clarets for sale. They are not my blood unless they were stolen, which I doubt.



The Dominiques

Game Fowl News November 1926

It has been written that the Dominiques as we have them today were originated in this way: In the 1830s there was being bred on Rabbit Island, near New Orleans, La., some imported English-Spanish hens and a cock of the same. From this breeding came a stag that was different color markings from any that had ever before came from this mating. The owner took especial care of this stag, walked him well and when he was old enough took him to New Orleans and fought him.

When he was pitted the crowd laughed and called him a barn yard dung-hill. He was speckled yellow, blue and white, rose comb, yellow legs and beak. He walked in and made mince meat out of his opponent but everyone thought it was an accident. He was matched again and did the same work as before. His owner fought him time and again, always winning nicely. He was 3 years old and had never been bred from on account of his color.

Captain Warthall, an old river an, purchased him and brought him to Louisville, Ky., and gave him to two known well known cockers of that day. They saved him and bred him to some English hens. They saved all the pullets that came the color of the cock and bred the old cock back to them, and in this way in a few years they had a strain that was known all over the country as the Kentucky Dominiques.

The originals were yellow and blue Dominiques, yellow legs and beak, with the cocks generally having white tails, speckled with blue or yellow. The hens were either solid blue with dark eyes or mottled like a Plymouth Rock or pale blue or nearly white. In later years White Pyle was crossed on them and the rose comb bred off. At present they breed pure white, pale blue, mottled breast and hackle and saddle speckled. Some come pyle colors and some the regular Dominique color.

Tom O’Neal secured some of these fowl around 1886, and began to fight all comers.

In the early 80s [1880s] we never thought of a Dominique game fowl unless we thought of Tom O’Neal at the same time. As he was never an advertiser, and too as our country at that time had no game papers, you could readily imagine that their popularity was discovered through mains and the process of word of mouth and anxious ear.

When in the 80s [1880s] the first journal devoted wholly to pit games made its appearance Dr. J. B. Frymire was the leading advertiser of the Dominiques. It was not long before other men began taking up the advertising of other breeds, but Ohio, the Virginias and other states near Kentucky were hotbeds of Dominique breeders. In Kentucky the restraint concerning cock-fighting was synonymous with the sport of horse racing and fox hunting. Little or no opposition appeared, therefore the native sport state became the center of the Dominique breed, and its greatest activity. When Tom O’Neal began with the Dominiques he did not strive to breed them to the Dominique color. He was a cocker with a large following who had had his defeats and bore them gamely. O’Neal and James Waddell were at this time partners, and were taking on all the big ones of those days and annexing the receipts with ease. They fought the Doms up and down the Ohio river, made more than one trip down the Mississippi and took a whole main of Doms to New Orleans and won there. Afterwards O’Neal lost the oua tournament in New Orleans).

Wingate won 20 out of 21 battles. In those days they fought for sport as well as for money and it was no uncommon thing to continue the fighting after one side had won a majority. It was at this main that Sid Taylor, who later was affiliated with O’Neal and Waddell was impressed by the almost inconvincible Heathwoods, and which blood finally went into the Sid Taylor breed of Doms.

Something else surely went into the O’Neal fowl later on, as they bred many shades of dom colors and had yellow, white and even white legs with dark spots on them. I have seen pure O’Neal Doms that were white as any Leghorn, with clear yellow legs and red eyes. I have seen others white in both hens and cocks whose only variation in color was a few pencil stripes of red, black or yellow in hackles. Others were exact duplicates of the domestic American Dominique. Some with black neck hackles; some with brown and some with golden hackles.

O’Neal was at one time ailed the Champion cocker of America, but so was Denny Mahoney, Chas. Brown, William Morgan, Michael Kearney and Anthony Greene. Championships in these days rests but lightly with the laurelled brow – too many better ones in better fix than they were before are appearing and a championship that holds more than a year or two is one not often obtained, so let us only say that the Doms were champions of their day.

Some of us see the tournaments, but the majority have to content ourselves with reading about them. In these events a certain breed may win, but more often there are several bloods and colors in the winning entry, so that it is unfair to say that John Smith’s ?Bear Cats? won the tournament, when in truth John used three Bear Cats and more of other breeds whose breeding was not known to John himself. Mr. J. D. Gays breeding won two or three Orlando tournaments, and there as not the slightest hesitancy on his part to say that not all were Sid Taylors or not all were Doms. Both entered into the winning although I recall that the Sids were used the majority of the times. That Mr. Law chose the side Taylors does not detract from the rating of the good old O’Neal blood which can show more gameness. Fancier or better cutters than the Taylors were difficult to locate. So it remained a dark horse breed to run in under the Madigan entry at the next tournament, and the next tournament, and the next also which was won by the same blood under another name, and they were far from a uniform lot of cocks. They had condition and won, and they were exclusively short heel cocks bred in a short heel country and had no right to win according to the controversial disturbances among the long and short gaff enthusiasts.

I believe it was the Doms who by their steady work held both events for Law at Orlando; those old O’Neal Dom bloods sent this end of the U.S. by Mr. Gay are about as near one-style performers as cocks get to be. They will step in and show as pretty a bit of sparring as is rarely seen. They can get out of a tight corner with a wicked shuffle and go as high in a break as is necessary. I am not writing to uphold the merits of individual fowl, but rather the species.

Chappell Doms

The Chappells of S.C. crossed a black strain and a white strain to produce their Doms. While many showed true dominique color, some had a tendency to come speckled and even white. Merrill H. Smith closely inbred some of them and about 30 % came slate-legged, low stationed, pea combed black fowl with broad, flat-iron bodies. About 30 % came yellow legged, high stationed, round bodied white fowl with large tassels. The other 40% came all shades from speckled to dominique.

The Chappell Doms

It is a great honor that I be given the privilege of presenting to the public for the first time, a written history of a Grand old strain of game fowl affectionately known as the “The Chappell Doms.” The Chappell Doms were born of an importation of a single pair from England by one W. R. Smith of Lawrence, S.C. near Cross Hill. In the year 1855 all of Mr. W.R. Smith’s Doms were acquired by J.W. Chappell who bred them in their purity along with his brothers Henry and Jim. The brothers Chappell, with J.W. leading the way built quite a reputation for breeding and fighting cocks of exceptional quality by taking on all comers near or far and fighting every year for 50 Years in and around Columbia, S.C. The Chappells and their Doms migrated to Alabama and settled in the town of Falkville just north of present day Cullman. The Chappells along with their strain of Doms have remained on the same farm for numerous generations while maintaining the Doms as a strain with minimal outside influence. There are 4 documented infusions of outside blood used to maintain this family. A Spanish Cock called Santa Ana used by J.W. Chappell, an Arlington cock used by J.W. Chappell, a Mingus Dom cock in the 1970’s used by Jerry Chappell and turning them over to his son Kris, the 6th generation to carry on the family has added the blood of the Sureshot Dom from Mr. Scott Gay in 1991. Kris has maintained them as is from that time to present day. It is of interest to note that Mr. F.D Mingus used the Chappell Dom blood in maintaining his famous strain of Doms as well. After Nearly 150 years this Grand old strain of fowl still maintain the winning traditions of their originator. J.W. Chappell of South Carolina. In 1998 Kris won a prominent 5 cock gaff derby showing pure Dom nest brothers. In the year 2000 he won another prominent 6 cock knife derby. In 2001 Kris partnered with Brian Corkren and won the Jerry Ellard Tribute at Hickory along with several other derbies which culminated with winning the Cocker of the Year Award at Hickory fighting Chappell Doms and Corkren Sweaters respectively. 2002 was a repeat success for the Chappell/Corkren team winning Cocker of the Year for the second consecutive year at Hickory. Kris has recently returned from the Philippines where he and his partner scored a 3-1 record with the Doms in the Cavite Int. Long Knife Derby. Mr. J.B. Chappell compiled a record of the Chappell Doms to be submitted to Grit and Steel for publication yet it was never submitted. I have included a complete transcription of his original history and have forwarded a copy for of the original to Grit and Steel for filing and hopefully publishing. I have also transcribed several letters from customers and friends of the Chappell family which will give some insight into the family and fowl. There will be highlighted links throughout the history that will allow viewing of the original documents as written in Mr. J.B. Chappell’s hand and I will do the same for the letters that I have included. I am truly honored to have been given the opportunity to associate with the Chappell family and find them to be of unquestionable character and true lovers of game fowl just as their ancestors were. They have protected the sanctity of this family for generations and feel it is time to honor the one that started it all. Kris, I am truly grateful.

You’re Friend
Brent R. Scott (tnerb)

The Chappell Doms

Grit and Steel: As I have been called on several times to write the history of my Chappell Doms, I will endeavor to tell you all I know about them. In 1855 my honored old father J.W. Chappell (1st) got them from W.R. Smith of Lawrence, S.C. near Cross Hill S.C. W.R. Smith was an old bachelor and very rich; also a true lover of a game cock. This W.R. Smith went to England to a horse race and cocking main. There he saw those Doms fight and was so impressed with their fighting and true gameness he paid a fancy price for one cock and one hen. He brought them home with him and found they were exceedingly fast and dead game. J.W. Chappell, my father, bought every Dom chicken W.R. Smith had; and Smith never fighting anymore. Two years after my father got these chickens he fought them and almost every one won their fights. Later on J.W. Chappell and his brothers Henry and Jim Chappell fought a fifteen cock main with one Rob Franklin of Columbia, S.C. whipping Franklin every fight in the main. Mr. Franklin saw that they were the best fighters he ever went up against and he insisted on my father fighting a main with one Mr. Liverman, of Augusta, Ga. My father fought the main with Liverman and won for a big amount. I don’t recall how much, anyway, they matched eighteen cocks, the Chappells winning every fight also the main. Afterwards, father fought a Mr. Ben Brazzle near Columbia, S.C. and made a clean sweep of the Sandy Hill Boys.

The Chappells of South Carolina fought those Doms every year for fifty years in Columbia, S. C. The hardest fighting J.W. Chappell ever did was against Nickerton of North Carolina; Mr. Phil Joiner of Columbia, S.C. made a main with Arlington of N.C. showing eighteen Chappell Dom cocks and Nickerton cocks were the hardest cocks to whip the writer ever saw. Now as to the color of the old pure Chappell Doms. At first they were white almost. They are known all over the South as the Chappell Doms. The old white Doms all have Tassells or Top Knots. As to the Rosecomb cross in them, this came from a Spanish cock that J.W. Chappell got from a Mexican and he called this cock after a Mexican General Santa Ana. This rose comb cock was a dangerous cock winning eleven battles in J.W. Chappells hands.

J.W. Chappell bred one of those Arlington cocks over some of his Dom hens and that cross proved to be the best cross that we Chappells ever made. The Arlington cock killed a Chappell Dom lying on his back, Mr. Pom? Floyd of Newberry, S.C. paid $50.00 for this Arlington cock and gave him to me and I bred him over five of my fathers Chappell Dom hens; and some of our Doms have some of that blood in their veins now. J.W. Chappell was the first Chappell that brought those Doms to the front. J.W. Chappell had those Doms before the Civil War between the north and the South. Just before my father went to the war he left his Dom chickens with Mr. Ben Wells, in Lawrence, S.C. Ben Wells was a true lover of a game cock, and kept my fathers Doms in their purity. Mr. Wells was a fine gentleman. In 1891 at Atlanta, Ga. Fought Tennessee a main; eleven matched. Chappell of Alabama furnished Tennessee the cocks to fight in this main. Tennessee whipped Atlanta ten out of eleven fights with J.B. Chappell Doms and crosses.

J.W. Chappell, my father, died about twenty one years ago.

J. B. Chappell
Falkville, Ala.

J.W. Chappell the founder of the strain in S. C.
J.B. Chappell son of J.W. migrated to Ala.
O.B. Chappell son of J.B. Falkville, Ala.
J.W. Chappell son of O.B. Falkville, Ala.
Jerry Chappell son of J.W. Falkville, Ala.
Kris Chappell son of Jerry Falkville, Ala.
Six generations of pure Chappell Doms.

O’Neal Doms

Tom O’Neal of Louisville, KY., said that he gave an old Irishman $40 for a trio of dominique chickens many years ago, and they are what were later, and are today, known as the O’Neal Doms. They have been very successful strain. The come light and dark doms and some are almost white. Have yellow or white legs and usually red eyes. Run in weight from 4:08 to 6:00 and are said to be good cutters in any style heels.

Gee Doms

Dr. James T. Gee, who originated this noble strain of game fighting fowl, was born at South Hampton, Va. , March 8, 1821 and died at Burnsville, Alabama, February 19, 1891. For forty years Dr. Gee stood the undisputed champion cocker of the south. The Gee Doms are also known as the Georgia Doms. The first Dom was the result of a cross of a Black Sumatra cock on a White Pyle hen, the results of this cross which came in light and dark blues were then crossed on a strain called the heatherwoods–a cross of the Earl Derby and a Red Pyle hen imported by Ed Heatherwood. This cross ws in color a dirty white similar to the Dusty Millers. This cross was then bred back on the original cross and produced a beautiful fowl of light and dark blue color with typical Dom markings, which were known as the Blue Champions of the South. Dr. Gee and “Dad” Gleezen fought them together. “Dad” Gleezen then suggested a cross of the Doms with one of his best Whitehackles which turned out to be a wonderful success. The Dr. Gee Dominiques are the oldest strain of Dominiques in the country today, as they had been going strong for more than 20 years when Dr. J.W. Cooper described them in his Standard Edition of “Game Fowls” published in 1869. They run in weight from 4:08 to 6:08 in condition. In color they come all shades of the Dominique, guinea, red or orange dom and quite frequently one comes pure white. Have very red eyes and yellow legs, extra fine feathers and stong tail and wings, and aside from their pit qualities, are a very handsome fowl. The Dr. Gee dominiques have qualified in both long and short heels, and competent cockers say they fail to see where they do any better in long heels than in short ones, for they seem to be at home in either style. As long as the sport of cocking lasts, the name of Dr. Gee will be heard, and so long , also will the birds be bred that the Doctor originated, for they are too grand a strain to ever fall into decay. Mr. J.E. McLaurin, of Salida, Colorado, is perhaps the foremost breeder of this strain, he having bred them pure for more than forty years at the present time.

Cassidy Doms

This strain of Doms, was originated by R. Cassidy, of Sioux City, Iowa, in 1913, by blending the bloods of the Minton, Chappell and Harvey doms. They come all colors of the dom family, and run in weight 4:12 to 7:00. Have mostly yellow and white legs and red eyes. They are good in any length heels, and are considered extra good finishers on a down cock. Absolutely game, fast scorers and good cutters. Mr. Cassidy is one of the formest of present-day breeders, backed by many years experience.

Giant White Doms

This is a large strain that was originated by George Hathaway, of Independence, Iowa in 1920. To Dom hens he bred a buff colored cock that was 5-8 Dom and 3-8 Jap, and weighed 8:08. The cocks come white with a few dom feathers throughout the body. Have yellow legs and red eyes and both straight and peacomb. They come about 80 % shakes, and are said to be very fast for large birds.

Sure Shot Doms

This strain was originated by the late Quinn E. Robb, of Springfield, Mo.We have been informed by parties who were closely associated with Mr. Robb that he used the old Minton Dom, White Tails and Grist Champion in their making. They come all shades of dom, with yellow and white legs, red eyes, straight and peacomb, and run in weight 4:06 to 6:00. A classy pit fowl, being good cutters and great shufflers.

Pittsburgh Dominiques

These were originated around 1800 in York County, Pa., by breeding a 7 pound Pittsburgh cock over a Virginia hen. Along hten a dominique colored cock was considered a rank dunghill and often he was given weight and odds bet against him, sometimes as much as 2 to 1. Many raised them especially for this purpose. Their fame soon spread over Pa. , Md, and W.VA, and were still fought in their purity around 1850. About the same time Gad of Fayette, Pa., was getting odds the same way with his Muff fowl as they too were considered dunghills at that time.

School House Doms

Osa Lentz and Lewis A. Lentz of Kentucky originated these about 50 years ago by breeding an Irish cock raised at an old school house in Browns Lane near Barbourville, Ky., over Dom hens from Tom O’Neal of Louisville, Kentucky. Lewis was still fighting and selling these in 1951 when a tornado and thieves wiped his stock out twice in succession.

Harveys Shuffling Doms

This strain was originated by W.L. Harvey, of South Carolina, about twenty years ago, and are well favorably known all over the Southern states. They contain the bloods of G. Perk Huddleston Doms, an old strain of Cuban Doms, Thompson Whites, Pea Soup Pyle, Arkansas Traveller and dom blood from O’Neal, Dr. Frymire and H.B. Spencer. Theyare medium to high station; mostly straight combs with yellow legs and come in all shades of dominiquer color. Cocks are very aggressive and good finishers.


Eslin Redquills by Redquill Rooster

Long ago and far away, in England, there lived a family of cockfighters The Elsins or Eslins, which ever you prefer. This family owned a strain of terrific leg fighting fowl with unexcelled speed, topping, and cutting ability. By topping I mean that they were very seldom if ever topped. They always started fast and ferocious, shuffling and cutting their opponent to pieces. If they did not win quickly they usually did not win at all. The fowl came to a bright red-orange in color, with black over brown spangles on their chests. One other mark that will come out in greater detail later in this history is their large jet black eyes.

Anyway, the Eslin fowl, Redhorse, were starting to come smaller and more nervous as inbreeding went on. Obviously what was needed was a cross of a different blood. The Eslins procured a power strain of fowl called Redquills from a family named Winans, who lived in Baltimore. They crossed this strain on their Redhorses.

Incidentally, the Redquills had red eyes and usually came yellow legged. They were long winged and had lots of stamina. Their tails were jet black (the Redhorse had bronze tails). However, it should be noted that this first cross (1/2 Quill – 1/2 Redhorse) was not, repeat, NOT very good. So they crossed the Redquill blood down to a quarter or less, and came up with the Eslin Redquills.

Today, pure Eslin blood is hard to find, and also it should be known that the pure Winan blood is GONE. So, anybody who claims to have pure Redquill, and their fowl are red eyed and just red or brown-red in color, does not, repeat DOES NOT have pure Redquill. It just is not so.

I hope this will answer questions and also shed light on the grand old strain of Eslin Redquills.

by W.T. Johnson & Frank Holcomb

James Eslin bred a red eyed, yellow- legged , blue-red, topknot cock from his friend Winan over his Brown/red hens, which carried the blood of the original fowl Mr. Eslin’s father had fotten from Lord Fairfax (Fairfax was a friend of George Washington and imported game fowl from Lord Derby). These were duckwings, pyles and white-legged light reds. These fowl had many fresh infusions of Irish blood. They carried the “Old Hickory” blood of General Andrew Jackson’s, Blackhackle from Jarvis Elise and several infusions of Hansbrough’s Meyell greys, and the blood of the Mexican cock “General Santa Anna” and blood from Thomas O’Neil. The produce were first called YellowJackets and later Redquills. The Wellslager rose comb Brown/Red from Ohlenschlager was later added, as well as a Brown/Red Tasseled “Counterfeit” cock from John Goss of Maryland.

From History of Game Strains by W.T. Johnson & Frank Holcomb


Chocolate Grey Part 1 by Rex DeRusseau

The first part of this information came directly from Rex DeRusseau, of Kansas, a breeder for Dave Ward. Ward told DeRusseau that his Chocolate Grays were an infusion of four different strains of the old Gray bloodlines; the Madigin (Regular) Gray, The C.C. Cooke’s Perfection Gray, the Deans Gray and the Four Webber Gray, from Bobby Manziel Sr. Manziel and Cooke were partners at this time.
As far as we know, only S.B. Clay, Rex DeRusseau, and Sam Bingham had these Chocolate fowl. They come both straight and pea-combed. They will come with pearl, yellow, green or dark slate colored legs. They have a superb style of fighting, and fight as well pure as they do crossed. They are smart, aggressive, and game to the end.

Chocolate Grey (HOLCOMB STRAIN) Part 2 by Frank Holcomb

We took the above mentioned strain, purchased from Robert Logan, of Mississippi, we then took an Asil hen from Vasco Sibert, of Florida, and bred her under a Chocolate cock (from Logan), called “Number 18”, alwats carrying the same punch – right-out and left-out, and still do until this day.

We then bred this cross to a Lundy Roundhead, from Jimmie Johnson, of Americus, Georgia. We then bred this down until all fowl carried 1/8 Asil and 1/8 Lundy Roundhead. By having from 4 to 6 breeder pens we were able to keep this percentage in all of our Chocolate Gray fowl. We have experimented with other degrees of blood percentages, but found with out a doubt this is the best that we have come upon.

As to my way of thinking, the Chocolate in this confusing blood mixture is the very best that I have ever run upon. It is easily kept in this percentage, but also would be just as easy to unbalance it by putting new blood into them, or by crossing and double crossing.

Chocolate Grey Part 3 by Jim Gooch

As you probably know, I have been advertising 4 Webber Grays for a long time, since 1949. Through friendship, I secured the last of the Manziel 4 Webber Grays the late S.B. Clay had. Clay wanted me to get back into the game chicken business, and told me to look over his place and pick out anything I wanted for brood stock. I saw a well built Gray cock, about 6 years old, that Clay had in a stall, that had bad feet. I told Clay I liked his looks and he was too old to fight, how about that one? Clay gave me a big smile and said, “Jim, do you know what cock that is?” I told him I did not. Then he told me he was the old 4 Webber Gray cock from Manziel, and that this cock had been fought in 5 large tournaments and derbies. This cock was marked all 4 webbs out. Whether Madigin marked them that way, I do not know. I was under the impression that was Manziel’s mark, but Grady Hamilton says it was Madigin’s. Regardless of who marked them, mine were marked that way.

I told Clay I had better get something else as I didn’t want ot get one of his best brood cocks, but he said he wanted me to have the best and to take him, which I did. This was about 1949. He also secured three C.C. Cooke Perfection hens for me to mate with this cock, and I raised quite a few, and gave most of them to Clay, in appreciation for what he had done for me. I bred this 4 Webber cock for three seasons and when the cock became sterile, due to age, I took him to Clay, and Clay told me to destroy the cock, which I could not do, and left him with Clay, and he destroyed the cock.

The year Clay passed away, I gave him 6 Gray stags out of the old 4 Webber cock and he shipped them to the islands. The same year I gave him 4 pullets that he wanted to mate with one of his cocks to ship to LA in exchange for 5 Shake cocks. I asked Clay why the name “4 Webber”, and he told me because they were marked all 4 webbs out.

Mr. Hamilton said there were 3 hens, two went to Henry Wortham and one to Bobby Manziel, Sr. I do know that Bobby Manziel, Sr. had gray fowl that were marked all 4 webbs out, (4 Webbers, as they were called.)

Manziel was associated with C.C. Cooke and they had the fowl from Law, which fowl came from Madigin. I do not know when Manziel became associated with Cooke, but they did fight lots of derbies here at Waco, and Manziel fought lots of Grays when they were fighting as Manziel and Cooke, and anyone that attended these meets knew what records Manziel and Cooke made with their fowl. Both Law and Madigin got gray fowl from Hanky Deans, so evidently they were of the same breeding. It is a fact that Law shipped Gray fowl that were red in color, so after Law got these Grays, no one but Law would know how they were bred.

Bobby Manziel, Sr. was a good friend of Law’s, and am sure they exchanged fowl. Law let Manziel have a red cock, called “Repeater”, to breed over his 4 Webber Gray hens, and lots of white fowl showed up. What this “Repeater” red cock was, I do not know, but probably a Clipper.

As to the $1,000 hen, or Chocolate Hen, it is my understanding this hen went to Dave Ward, in Kansas. She was a gray hen with chocolate colored body, with lots of chocolate color feathers, hence the name Chocolate. The information I have from Kansas, this
Chocolate hen was a Madigin Regular Gray.

Shelly Clay told me that C.C. Cooke gave the grays he had their name, Perfection Grays, and in bloodlines they were the exact breeding of the Regular Grays. Cooke had a cock that he said was what you would call “Perfection” Gray.

I still have some of the 4 Webber Gray blood, and the gray cock that appeared in Grit & Steel some time back, the one that moulted out white is a pure 4 Webber Gray, and he is still on my brood yard, and is out of the old original 4 Webber fowl from Clay.

I had a very lengthy letter from a Red Robertson (or Roberson) that worked for Bobby Manziel at the time he had these 4 Webber Grays. He said the late E.W. Law let Manziel have new blood to use with his 4 Webber Grays, and that Law let Manziel have a red cock to breed over his 4 Webber Grays, and when mated, they produced lots of white stags, and Manziel did not like the white coloring, and gave them to Clay. When in partnership with Cooke, fighting at Dripping Spring Pit in Waco (Clay’s pit during the 1940’s) I did not see any white fowl fought by Manziel. Law didn’t know Manziel gave the fowl to Clay, as he did not like to see them go into other hands. Clay tried the white stags and they were excellent fighters, and this changed Manziel’s mind about not wanting them.

I do not know how Clay got his 4 Webber blood from Manziel, whether he bought fowl or Manziel gave them to him, Clay told me they were the best he had on his yard.

After Clay passed away, I gave Mrs. Clay two of the 4 Webber Gray stags to mate with some highly inbred gray hens she had. The stags from this mating were bought by Mr. Galbreath when he was in Colorado, as I helped Mrs. Clay dispose of her chickens. Galbreath bought both red and grays and when he moved to Orgeon, he got in touch with me and wanted some of the 4 Webber blood. Galbreath won a six cock derby with 6 full brothers of these grays, winning six straight without a loss. He entered another derby and used two of his 3 Spur Grays, and won six straight again. One of Galbreath’s stags was returned to me for a brood purpose, and I have him in a brood pen at this time. Galbreath wrote me he won 10 fights with 8 stags without a loss.

There is no question about it – anyone having this 4 Webber Gray blood, has just about as good, if not better than any fowl.

I have corresponded with Rex DeRusseau, of Kansas, a breeder of Dave Ward fowl, and part of this information came from him, and as he was on the ground, he got the information first hand from those that bred this $1,000 hen, and fought stags from her. He told me the $1,000 hen was in Kansas, and he talked to the man that ran the pit at Beloit, where Dave Ward, a noted cocker in Kansas fought fowl from this Chocolate or $1,000 hen, and Mr. Ward said the Chocolate name given the hen was account, as stated, her feathering. This letter from Rex DeRusseau was dated March 2, 1959, and he had bought Choclate blood from Bob Basham. As to where Mr. Basham got his blood, I do not know.

When I bred the 4 Webbers straight, I did not get anything but gray fowl. I got a stag from Clay, a J.D. Perry Gray, and used him over the gray I had, and that is when I began to get fowl that were red in color. This Perry Gray blood was a perfect blend with my 4 Webber Grays. Don’t anyone write and ask me what are the J.D. Perry Grays, as I do not have this information, and I doubt if Clay knew.

About 1957 I bought two white hens from Bob Basham, went to his place and picked them up. He told me they were Deans Grays, and some come white. These two hens were a little too old to breed, and I only raised one stag to maturity. These hens were mated to a pure 4 Webber Manziel Gray, and this stag came light red, with lots of white in feathering, and looked more like a Whitehackle. A party from St. Louis visited me when I had this stag, and I told him the full history, and that I had this one stag, and as I did not like his color, gave this stag to him, and he was shipped to St. Louis. The white hens did not moult out completely the next season, and were very short feathered, and they would not lay any eggs; so I have them to a Waco friend of mine and told him to take them to the country and turn them loose and they might freshen up and start laying. The last I heard of these two hens, they died and none was raised from them.
If Grady Hamilton is correct about the three hens, Bobby Manziel, Sr. gave or sold the hen to Dave Ward, as that is where the $1,000 hen went to.

The 17 years I have been breeding these 4 Webber Grays, I got one white hen, but the following year after moulting, she turned gray, and is still gray. My old white 4 Webber gray cock is moulting out this year with lots of dark feathers in his breast, and red on his back. He is not solid white at this time.

My pure 4 Webber Grays did not throw any white fowl, but if crossed on the pure Madigin Claret, you would get some white ones. I made this cross of 4 Webber on pure Sam Bingham Red fwol that came out of the Old Cedar cock of Clay’s and this mating produced white dowl, but I discontinued this cross and bred them straight.

What information I have, I got from the late S.B. C.ay, Rex DeRusseau and the late Sam Bingham, and I believe what they say about these Grays. Sam Bingham told me that Madigin had lots of Gray fowl with dark legs, and they came pearl legged, yellow legged and dark legged. Sam ought to know, as he walked hundreds of cocks for Madigin, and had access to his best.

So, summing it all up, the Madigin Regular Gray, Cooke Perfection Gray (bred by C.C. Cooke) and the Deans Grays are close kinfolks, if not exact bloodlines.

English Grey
by Cocking Cousins (1992)

In Britain, there are three well known strains of English Greys. Namely Felix Leach Greys, Colonel Greys, and Hawes Greys. Their may be others but these are the most well known and widespread.

Felix Leach, a racehorse trainer of Newmarket in Southern England, is perhaps the most famous breeder of Grey fowl over here. He took great pride in these fowl during the early and middle part of this century. They were and still are a good fighting bird and are used a lot in English pits. They are around 4 1/2 pounds and are low to medium station, aggressive pressure fighting type fowl, allowing their opponent no room or rest, fighting mainly low to the ground and looking to keep on top their opponent. They need to be dead to be beaten. My knowledge of Colonel Greys is slightly better, having used this strain of Greys myself for a few years. They come slightly bigger than Leach Greys being about 4.10 to 5.4, they are long in body and narrower than most English strains, looking more American in appearance. When right they are very fast, heads high, legs in front type fighters, they are also very aggressive. When “oure” they are prone to man fight, but cross very well for battle. They are light boned birds appearing big for their weight. They perform much better when fought in lean flesh and mature early.

Hawe’s Greys are not so widespread in England. They are very much like the Leach Grey, both in size and fighting style, in fact Felix Leach and Hawes were friends and its likely the strains are of very similar blood.

At a recent sale of gamefowl by Sir Mark Prescot in Newmarket, both Hawes and Leach broodstock along with American strains were sold in good numbers. They also made a high price by English standards. It was quite an event for English gamefowl lovers, being the only public sale of gamefowl in England this century.

I’ve also seen a lot of Black Grey Hennies fought over the years, though the origin of these birds is unknown to me at present, they have been game and always deadly cutters.

Well, thank you for listening, as you can gather we are not done yet on the gamefowl front. I even know of old strains of Creel and Black Toppy that are game and deadly but we will leave it for now.

Ginn Greys

The Ginn Greys were bred and fought by Col. S.A. Ginn, of Georgia, and their blood lines are unknown. Ginn and more used these Greys in some of the biggest and best mains ever fought in the south, and they made a wonderful pit record. They are still extensively bred throughout the country. The males come a light silver grey to a solid white, with hens the same color. Both have straight and peacomb, and some show a small tassel. Red fiery eyes and both yellow and white legs. Run in weight 5:00 to shakes.

Regular Grey
Regular Grey is said to be a combination of three grey families: the Law Grey, the Sweater Gray and the Plain head Muff Grey. Regular Grays come green legged, sometimes with yellow, silver duck wings and straight comb. They are medium to low-stationed, and are known for power and gameness. Breeders note that they are as powerful and dead game as the Blue faces. Because of these, many breeders have made Regular Grey as their foundation line.

JOE HOWELL GREYS: Origin: England.. Bloodlines: Tassel Grey Cock added 1900. Description: Light to dark Grey.

MISSOURI PACIFIC GREYS: Originator, Jack Dycus, Mo., approx. 1907. Bloodlines: Irish Grey, Joe Redmond Grey, Toppie Grey, Warhorse. Description: Dark Grey, dark green legs.

GREY DRAGON MUFFS: Originator, A. L. Shapmore, R. I. Description: 90 percent Muff.

GREY TORMENTORS: Originator, R. R. Raines, Ky. Bloodlines: Four greys, Grimble, Gordon, Ginn, Mortgage Lifter.

GREY SPEEDERS: Originator, E. E. Weller, N. Y. Bloodlines: Bohler Fair-Warhorse X Smoke Ball-Sangamingo Cock.

GINN GREY: Originator, S. A. Ginn, Ga. Description: Light silver Grey to white, red eyes, white and yellow legs, st. and pea comb, some Tassel.

CHAMPION GREYS: Originator, W. H. McCurdy, Ft. Payne, Ala., 1909. Bloodlines: Dark Grey Cock X one Ginn Grey hen,, Cock over daughters and inbred. Description, Grey, dark eyes and legs, st. comb.

HOLLAND GREYS: Originator, C. Holland, Vinemont, Ala. Bloodlines: Black Hennie Cock X Boone-Redmond hen and inbreeding. Description: Dark Grey, lead color legs, st. and pea comb, Grey and black eyes.


Hatch Fowl
by George Beattie

I doubt very much if anyone could give you an authentic history on this great breed, named Hatch. I knew Sandy Hatch pretty well, having met him innumerable times at Flaherty’s Pit, both in the old days at Laurel Hill, back of Calvary cemetery by the chemical works, and at Flaherty’s later location at the Queensboro at Long Island City.

I also fought against him in mains and was in his and Flaherty’s company in many safaris to Tom Foley’s pit in Troy, NY, but I never inquired as to the make-up of his fowl and doubt if I could have received the information if I had.

A story was rampant that Hatch gave John Leiper his farm at Huntington for his start in the fowl. Leiper handled in all the mains I fought against Hatch. He was supposed to have obtained his fowl from a race track official, Mars Cassidy. The fowl all came dark red in those early days and had a hard smash. Some claimed that they were low headed sulkers, for you could knock one down and in those days of N.Y. rules, where the handlers did the counting and a mistake could cost you the battle on the final count. They could uncork a smash that could so stun, cripple or kill your cock that he could easily be counted out.

I do know that when Heinie took over, a couple of years after he had obtained a yard of my Morgans from Mr. Claude Hill, that a cross between them and the Hatch blood, produced what Hendrickson, Leiper, and Bon Lang as well as John Gildersleeve, termed the best fighting cocks ever shown on the Island and the addition of the Thompson Mahogany blood which also contained a shot of Morgan, as Jim fought many mains in partnership with the Col., did much to bring them to the top, elimintating to a great extent the objectionable low headedness.

It was after the introduction of the Whitehackle blood that Tom Murphy became interested and the Long Island stable was formed. From World War I until 1942 I promoted tournaments in New Jersey, starting at the Old Deaf and Dum Club at Bill Raes at Morgan station when Frank Deizer of Mason Pyle fame was President and George Beattie, V.P. until gas rationing stopped us in 1942. Hatch, Leiper, George Pogmore, Al Jones, Harold Clesham, John Gildersleeve, Hendrickson and Rekar, Ted Ireland, Chas Storey, Herb Ploch, Issy Sholk, Frank Donato, Pat and Mat Ryan, Illston, Deinzer, Bill Anderson, Beloff, Knight, Burnett, Nee Shanahan, Haussman, Kromelbine, among others, fought ay my Eastern Breeders Pit where Henry Mondin one of the fairest referees called the shots.
Many of the entrants of the big pits still in operation got their start in the “Club” that operated every Friday night, and the tournaments every 2nd. Saturday night held there from Jan. 1 to July 4. In all those years only one raid and that at a different location, marred the record and that was directed at a “crap game” on a supposedly off night.

I’m proud of the record I made in refining the game and furnishing honest refereeing for the sport. For many years Issy Sholk was my partner in the promoting and later giuded the destinies of the Anthracite Club of PA.

At 80, I’m still in good health, and my Morgans are still winning their share in the hands of customers I placed them with.

Gilmore Hatch
By BluffCreek

Lun Gilmore was a cocker and a good friens of ben ford,they fought birds with and agianst each other for over 60 years..lun gilmore accired his birds direct from sanford hatch and mike kearny …when mike crossed the kearny brown reds on the hatch birds they were awsome as any ever bred til this day…sanford wanted to breed em back to the yellow legged side but mike insisted on breedin them one more time to the brown red side and produced them to fight.fight they did and won some derbies against everyone at that time,he wanted to breed a cock of his fathers breeding which was the kerany whitehackle to the sanford ,kerany,kerany breedings- from this breeding he had 17 black birds with white specs in them and over 40 brownred lookin birds,,he then crossed these back on the brown reds-having the kearny white hackle in them and hatch blood they came all dark fowl with green leggs-mike give lun glimore 6 hens and one dark red cock to breed over them=this was the origination of the gilmore hatch fowl -and the ben ford fowl-these birds was given and sold to gilmore from mr hatch and mike kearny…it did kearny mike s fathers blood -mike kearny sr white hackle blood in them and still till this day they will come spangle or dark …!the next breeding that was the brown red and kearny out and out became the 42 hatch that jd perry dominated with-same fowl from same people except did not have the kearny white hackle in them…but mostly yellow leg ,and the black leggs made em all come od green legged…….believe it or not…..i knew collonel givens for over 40 years and he got his from lun gilmore in the early 40s and also got some of mike kearny jrs white hackles that was dark red and spangled…..and fought the kearny white hackle crosses at sunset and all over north alabama…..collenol givens and jimmy east were the handlers for john ovilan fowler from huntsville ala.when john fowler died jimmy kept has hatch birds and collenol givens kept the white hackles… the gilmores are 1/4 kearny whirte hackle-1/4 hatch- 1/2 brown red bred back to the 1/2 hatch 1/2 brown red and kept that way until he passed on- – – – still til this day all gilmores will throw a spangle every other year or so….depends on how there bred and where ya got them- – – so there is your facts- believe it or not- – – but if ya didnt get em from gilmore there yours MR KELSO* MADIGAN*LAW*KEARNY*MORGAN* O ‘CONNOR….there your birds- heres ya sign…….!

before i forget…the mike kearny brown reds and the sanford duryeas crossed were very good fowl and after they bred em back makin the 42s the breeding back to the p combed hatch side was the ones they gave Ted McClain, and Thodore Mc Lean two seperate men…and the ones that were 3/4 hatch-duryeas and 1/4 kearny were the left nose hatch of the late Sweater Mc Guiness….Marvin anderson was in ww! with sanford hatch and become friensds in 1910 were they fought in north alabama in long heel mains which was all new to the short heelers….marvin s father had the Kelcy patts from ireland and sanford hatch fell in love with the long heel roosters….sanford gave birds to marvin untill his death,and marvin gave the patties to sanford upon any request of these men….and they whipped all round head fowl those days. which was dominating the early years….judge lacy was makin a statement at this time and was winning more than average in alabama and at the agusta tounaments…..the Kelcy Pattswere brought from ireland by marvins grandfather well before the civil war……no one knew there originality…. strait combed,lemon hackled,bigg thighs and wide backs and spangles came dark red with lemon around the bottom of the shaw…….the photographs are all black n white…..marvin lost them over the years do to hawks and eagles in the mountain areas of north east alabama….he owned the ranburne pit which was shut down in 73 due to his health………..

Lun Gilmore was the insperation of establishing the hatch name in the south,tTed mclain routed the hatch name when he was dominating with the hatch fowl,sweater came famous in the mid section of the country,jd perry and blondy roland,harold brown ,ben ford,frank steel ,and curtis blacwell made the hatch name in the south east……the fowl that gilmore aquired were theone that won the orlando tiurnament from mr hatch and would have payed any price for those fowl…and was a very sharp eyed man that could recognise an ace cock….that made him a true breeder and respected in the gamecock fraternity…sanford hatch told marvin anderson that lun had the best fowl of the dark breedings anywhere and he would do well with them….at that time lun whipped leiper in a fight that lasted 6 hrs and 10 min…..both men strived on deep game did all long heel men of the south at the turn of the century untill there deaths……

Ed Garrand Hatch
The Feathered Warrior, July 1999
by Carl Saia aka “The Breeder”

This family is known by many other names, such as Biloxi Hatch, Spangle Hatch, Speck Hatch, Little Ed’s, and originally they were called McLeans, by some, including me.

This family, according to Ed, traced back to a spangle McLean Hatch, that was bred and fought by Harold Brown at the old Biloxi Pit. Harold fought this cock, a three time winner, the cock was beaten and looked to be dead. So Harold threw him on the dead pile. Later on Ed walked by, saw the cock was still living, picked him up, took him to the cock house, gave him penicillin tablet. Next morning, the cock could not stand, but he would show against another cock. That evening the cock was standing and trying to crow, so Ed took him home.

At this time, most of the Garrard fowl were based on Harold’s Red Fox Fowl. I do know Ed bred this cock to a Morgan Whitehackle hen that he got from Frank Hooks. I had a half Kelso, half Judge Lacy hen that Walter Kelso sent to my partner David Harding for the use of one of our Judge Lacy brood cock on three separate occasions (cock always was returned). Ed saw this old hen, and decided he wanted to breed the spangle Biloxi cock to this hen. The progeny produced some excellent pit fowl, and was almost set as a family. Later on Ed called me to come over and see a 22 time pit winner he had borrowed from that “great Hawaiian cocker Mr. Lee”. This cock Ed called an Aseel, I believe he was an Aseel cross, according to his feathers. Ed asked me to pick out some hens to mate to this cock as he had to return him to Mr. Lee. I selected several hens, (I believe 4) that were out of the Biloxi cock, and put them in that Aseel’s pen. After about a week or so, Ed started saving eggs when he was certain all the hens were fertile to the Aseel cross cock. Ed had me set the eggs of this cross and I hatched off some 30 odd chicks. Ed told me to keep a few and give him the rest, that gave me some of the fowl, I was now calling them Biloxi, along with Ed.

In 1970 Col. Victor Lee Chun visited Ed’s home, it was there I met Mr. Lee’s grandson, one very fine gentleman. Several years ago, Col. Chun visited my home, and told me that the Aseel cock only received one cut in all of his fights and that he had the honor of sewing up that great cock after he had won his 22nd fight, and then was retired.

The color of the Garrard fowl can be varied from one breeder to another. Some can be straight comb, others look like dark leg Roundheads. The cocks will stand out in any group, as they are tall, long legged fowl. Colors of this family can range for cock, from black breasted reds, some of these have white specks in the breast, and on other parts of the body. Most of the leg color is green or dark legged, lots of them look like long legged Lacy Roundheads. The hens have many color variations from dark spangle to a wheaten color, with green or dark legs and a Roundhead type of body.

Blueface Hatch
By: J.D Perry

Lum Gilmore got a cock from Ted McClean it was a small stationed cock ran around Gilmore place for some time and there where no hens with him. He was said to be a hard hitter, and when cockers stooped by they sparred him to show how hard he could hit. When sparred or exerted in any way he turned blue in the face, hence the name blue face. Sweater McGinins was around Gilemore`s place at Bay City, TX at the time, he finally brought over one of his Madigin regular grey hens as company for the cock. Some stags and pullets were raised from that mating. Sometime before that two hens where stolen from Hatch on Long Island and given to Sweater. And not long after that Sweater was inducted into the service. He put the two hatch hens with E.W. Law to keep for him until he returned, when he got out, he immediately got in touch with Law to get the hens.Law told him one had died ,but he sent Sweater the other one. One of the 1/2 grey 1/2 blue face cock was bread to the stolen Hatch hen and the progeny of that mating where known as the blue face fowl.

The following is told by Harry Parr whom Ted McLean gave all of his fowl.

In the spring of 1949, Ted Mclean had two beautifully bred “straight” (being McLean Hatch) stags, one of which he wanted to breed. Tehy were full brothers, well made, green legged, weighted about 4:10, and you could not have told them apart except one was a roundhead. His wing clip was 40-90; the square comb, 48-96. Ted decided to heel them up and fight them which they did in his pti in the barn. Teh square comb proved to be the better fighter and cutter, and when he blinded the roundhead, Ted said he had seen enough to cut the head off the roundhead. Well Harry had handled the roundhead and when he was on his hands he could tell all the roundhead wanted to do was get at the other stag. After being pitted, he would search and as soon as contact was made, explode. so Harry said he would take him home and see what he could do. After a couple of weeks he regained the sight of one eye and was soon back in good health. He bred this stag two years and one day Ted asked Harry if he would mind sending him to Lun Gilmore. Lun wanted a cock and at the time, Ted did not have a really good one to spare. Harry shipped the cock and later learned that Lun and Pete Frost bred him to a hen that TEd had previously given to Pete. Teh hen was 47-65, by Green Leg cock number 2, the “straight” stuff out of hen number 81 which was a Morgan Whitehackle from Heinie Mathesius (none of the “straight” stuff on the hen side ever got out) Prior to this Ted had given Pete Frost, Green Leg cock number 53 which became the sire of the “Frost Cherries” They had also bred this cock to hen 47-65 and sent Harry and TEd a stag from that mating, which was called , after Lun, the “Alligator Cock” Sweater McGinnis was involved in their fighting activities at this time, and it was from these three birds taht the Blueface emerged. (Hen 47-65, Cock 53, Cock 48-90) The next time Harry saw Sweater was January 1958 in Orlando. He told Harry, these “Blue Face” were the gamest chickens he had ever seen and that he kept the seed stock pure just make battle crosses. He asked Harry if he would let him have another cock and Harry snet him cock 57-340 (Harry was fortunate to get this cock back after Sweaters death thanks to Willis Holking) He also told Harry not to worry, that he didn’t let the “straight” one go but they all fought under the name of “Blue Face” At the time, his favorite were one quarter Blue fce, one quarter Regular Grey and one half Leiper, bred in various cmobinations. Like all of them, Willis experimented wiht many crosses and blend in an effort to produce superior battle cocks but recognized the value of keeping the seed stock pure.

Here’s an article by Art Hefner written on the April issue of the Gamecock 1985.

“I have read several articals about the BLUEFACE containing CHET blood.

About 1956 or 1957 I was visiting at Pineville Farms with Big Red Sweater McGinnis and naturally, we were only talking chickens. On this particular day Big Red Sweater was in a wonderful mood. On asking why he was so jolly, he told me he got one of his pure Blueface cocks off a walk, of which they had walks by the hundreds. this particular Blueface weighed slightly over 4-08 pound. Sweater was elated. This was the biggest, pure Blueface he had raised in years. So you see, they were intensely inbreed.

I asked him if the cocks weren’t any larger, how small were the pure hens? He got a bucket of feed an called the chickens up. He showed me two hens and told me they were the purest and only two of the pure. And if they had showed up on my yard unknowingly, I would have killed them, never expecting to see anything like them as Blueface. They may have weighed 2 or 2 1/2 pounds. And behold! they were black with brown spots on their breast. Like a Seabright Bantam, with legs a couple of inches long. He never told me what kind of black blood was in them, but by their color, they were heavy in some kind. Ever what kind, they were the hardest hitting cocks I’ve ever seen.

Nearly ever successful cockfighter and breeder today has some of this blood. But most have only a small amount. As to the pure, there was precious few let out, (Including me). When breeders have “pure” Blueface cocks that go 6 pounds, or even 5 pounds, they can do more with them than the old master breeder, himself, could do. Later I’ll tell more about this.

This article was not written to create any controversy. Just telling you the facts as it was told to me by one of the GREATEST BREEDERS and cockfighters of our times. I was proud and honored to know this man personally. SO BE IT.

Sandy Hatch
By E. T. Piper

Mr. E. S. Hatch of long island, new York, passed a way sometime in April, we know none of the details, except that he died suddenly, supposedly from a heart attack. He was very close to 80 years of age, looked less than 70,

While Mr. hatch has been known in gamefowl circles in the north ending neighborhood of 50 years, it is only in recent years that he has become, more or less, nationally known as a breeder, this is, due to his condition with the long island entry at Florida tournaments ,and also to the fact that he is fowl have been become commercialized, to a considerable extent, in the past years,prior to that time, it was considers something of a accomplishmentto get a hold of a Hatch cock, close free and an associate for about the only was able to get to the first base,

A great many different mean have worked for Mr. Hatch as feeders and or fowl caretakers. It was in the very early 30s that Heinie Mathesius went with him. Heating various fowl with him from New Jersey to the hatch estate, from that come on more experimenting and crossing took place there, while he may be our imagination is seem to us that Mr. hatch from that time until his death took less interest in his fowl than formerly, he was very fond of Heinie, he said he did more work than three average mean in was careful and consistent about everything, and an excellent feeder, still it seemed to us Mr. Hatch did not guard them so carefully from then on or display the same interest in him that he had,

Some claims the Hatch fowl, with inffusions and crosses of the Mathesius fowl, were much improved while many others denied, certainly they work changed and changed a lot after he took over.

The first we saw of these were back about 20 years ago at Troy, New York, we sawVM at the same place in mains and tournaments a good many times after that,from the end up to about 1932 or so .they were mostly very stout powerful built dark Red with yellow Legs, both stright and peacomb and a whallop like a trip hammer, many of them were low head, dumb and clumsy, but, win or lose ,the next year and next they would look the same and fight the same , many good men who saw them would give an eye tooth to get one,and did not come close, in nearly every main, he would show from 1 to 2 or three, mostly real dark gray and with green legs and pea comb, it anything, they were poorer fighters than the others, but nothing gamer ever we have to. You had to kill one to beat them,or he would count you out. These are what are known now at Hatch greenlegs.

We may to Mr. Hatch at the claymore tournament a year ago, he told a then that the foundation of his fowl were his green legs, which he got from Jim Cassidy of Huntington, long island, New York, many years ago, and some black Red and he got from the famous Harry Genet of somewhere around in New York, many years ago, he had some fowl that became famous, we had heard of the Genet pyles for years but never heard of the black reds until Mr. Hatch mentioned them.

Mr. Hatch got a lot of fowl from Cassidy over a considerable length of time, yards, trios, cocks, etc. he did not know just what they were, but they were said to be Kearney fowl. Casey was one of the Kearney clique around New York for many years.

Pink Hatch
by L. C. Guneau

This is written in reply to the many requests for a true and authentic history of the modern strain of pit game fowl known as Pink Hatch. Before going into further details let me say this; neither I or this strain of fowl need publicity. I have never raised enough of them to supply the demand and still have enough of them left for my own use. In fact I could sell all of them I care to raise without a single line of advertising in any magazine.

As to their orgin I think it best at least more interesting, to describe some of the fowl that went into their make-up. I could just say they are the result of a Dan Tracy Pyle/Long Island Roundhead cross, but it is not that simple, for the Long Island Roundheads are the net result of considerable crossing and blending, also the Tracys carry a wee bit of outside blood. So, to just say they are the result of a simple cross does not really tell the full story. Unfortunately I am unable to give as much information on the history of the Tracy Irsih Pyles as I can on the Long Island Roundheads, altho I have made several trips to Ireland in an effort ot run down as much information as possible on these wonderful and beautiful fowl. The Tracys are about the 5th or 6th strain of Pyle colored chickens I have tried crossing on Roundheads in the past half century. Briefly I crossed my good Allen Roundheads on Travelers and got dunghills, I crossed them on Blue Boones and got dunghills, I also crossed them on Lundy Wild Cat Blues and got good battle cocks in long heels. Don’t know what they would have done in short heels as I was fighting in long heels at the time, as most of the above experimenting goes back almost fifty years.

As the years went by I added new blood to my Allens by way of Cowan’s Alabama Roundheads, and a shot of the Big Four Roundheads which were at one time fought extensively along the Ohio River in KY, WV, OH and points west. But I always kept my Allens basically Allen in looks and performance for I liked their smart heads-up style of fighting and their deadly cutting.

After coming to New York I added one quarter Sandy Hatch, set them at that stage and have fought them in both long and short heels ever since. So now it comes out that the Pink Hatch have exactly one eighth Sandy Hatch in them, which obviously comes thru the Long Island Roundhead side. One can see at a glance that the little Tacy cock is much smaller, also slimmer in his body and lower stationed, while the Pink Hatch is larger, taller, more robust in his body and a little more red in his coloring. Some of the pure Tracys come almost pure white, but the Pinks invariably have deeper colors. I even get a red once in awhile, and each season I get two or three grays, but will explain later about the grays.

The original Amesbury Gray cock, a 17 time winner, whose blood was infused inot the Dan Tracy Pyles when Frank Welsh, Dave’s uncle, lost every Dan Tracy he had except one pullet. After the original cross he bred the stags back to the old hen for about nine years, each year cutting down the outside blood by one-half until (genetically) there was something on the order of one-five hundreds-and twelofth part Amesbury Gray in the pure Dan Tracys.

The Gray color rarely shows up in the pure Tracys, but will crop out once in a while when new blood is infused. I have noticed I get more grays from the Long Island Roundhead crosses than any other. One thing is very evident, the grays are very well built, and are power cocks, and I can see no difference in their ability. If the Mendell law is correct, when a color or any other characteristic goes recessive it will remain dormant but not extinct, and will crop up occasionally and infinitum or endlessly that part of the theory I can understand, for it is happening every year right in front of my eyes, but what I don’t understand is why the recessive comes out more often in one strain or cross than another. Insofar as I know there has never been a drop of gray blood put into the Allens or Cowans, or Big Fours; or hatch either for that matter, notwithstanding some of the writers who have had the Hatch coming every color of the rainbow.

The Amesbury Grays were a local strain, bred and fought around Amesbury, Mass. and I understand they were blend of Billy Anderson Tassel, Arch Ruport’s Kearney and perhaps other bloddlines of which I am not aware. One reason I bring up the background of the Amesbury Grays is that they had a tassel, which the Tracys inherited, and which gradually dissapeared, and now they are always smooth heads, but the gray color still crops up. Perhaps some of our geneticists can explain why the tassel, which was also recessive finally dissapeared but the gray color never did? But, whatever their makeup, these Amesbury Grays sure must have been some chicken. Dave Taylor, who had the original Amesbury Gray cock a 17x winner, told me that the cock won nine fights as a stag and eight as a cock and was never beaten in the pit. He said his uncle Frank Welsh told him that he never regretted putting the Gray blood into his Dan Tracys, for it sure did help bring them back, as he was about finished with only one hen left after a dog raid on his yards. But that is only one chapter of the Dan Tracy Pyle story. This strain of game fowl have been bred as a family and fairly true to color and type for at least 250 years, maybe longer. During that time they have fought, and been known as champions in many countries, and have been known by several different names. Dan Tracy is merely the name they go under in America. In Ireland they were known as Galway Pyles and several others of which I am unaware. King Charles of England was their originator, and it was he who took them to Ireland. Today nearly every cocker in Ireland has Pyles, no doubt all descendants of this one strain. I saw some real good ones fight over there, but the real good ones had been beefed up with infusions of other good Irish strains. It seems the Kearney infused Pyle blood into his Brown Red Whitehackles and it still shows up occasionally. I recently fought a pure Mike Kearney in the Eastern Pit few weeks after he had fought in Alaska in long heels, and he has several pure white feathers in his breast. Some of these pure Mike Kearneys come a light buckskin tan, almost the same as Pyle color. I wish I could tell you more about the Dan Tracy Pyle side of my Pink Hatch, but I do not wish to pose as an expert where I know so little. Of one thing I am sure, there is not another strain on this earth like them, and altho they are not strong enough in their purity to be good pit cocks against the modern power blends, I hope to always have some of them around, for they are the proudest and most likable fowl I have ever owned, and for blending or infusing into a stronger strain they are pure gold. I have never offered any of the pure Dan Tracys for sale and don’t intend to. Most people today want a big, strong, aggressive cock that will tear right in there and fight like a tiger, and they don’t have time or patience enough to understand or appreciate these little Pyles cocks from our of the past.

It would make me feel real bad to know they were in the hands of the wrong person and were being treated badly. Some twenty odd years ago I got a pair of Dr. Robinson Pyles from Ed Devonald of New Jersey. The cock was a small peahead, or low comb Pyle cock, well set up, but low stationed. The hen was a big robust hen that was the toughest hen I ever owned. She was a straight comb with dark legs. I infused this Dr. Robinson Pyle blood into some of my Long Island Roundheads and got good pit cocks, and they were desperately game, in fact too game for their own good as they would kill each other off while still very young, which made them very hard to raise. The stags would start fighting as soon as they could stand up, and keep it up until trimming time at which stage there would not be too many good ones left. I fought several of the Dr. Robinson Pyle/Long Island Roundheads cocks in long heels down along the Ohio river and at Cobert Riggsby’s pit in Catlettsburg, KY, and along the Kanawha river during the 2nd World War when I went down to Charleston, WV to take over the foremanship of the spray paint assembly in the Naval Ordinance plant where the 11:75 rockets were in production. These Pyle/R.H. proved very good in long heels and I fought them as long as I was down there. After the war I came back to New York and picked up my business here, which had been run for me by a friend. When I brought my chickens back to New York I brought back a few of the Pyle/R.H. crosses and kept them around for a good many years. But they were so hard to raise I had just about ran out on them when Bob McGarrity of Atlantic City, N.J. gave me a pair of the pure Dan Tracys which he had gotten from Frank Welsh some time previously, before Frank Welsh passed away. This would be about the 5th or 6th strain of Pyle fowl I had tried crossing on my Roundheads over a period of a half century. I don’t know why I kept trying, unless I had had partial success with the Wild Cat Blue Roundhead cross, and with the Dr. Robinson Roundhead cross, aside from the fact that a Pyle chicken always fascinated me. Anyway, I sent the pair of Dan Tracy Pyles up to Carl Fauske of Ill. who had purchased Long Island Roundheads from me several years ago, and told him to cross Pyles on the Long Island Roundheads for me. He did, and that was the beginning of the Pink Hatch. The name Pink hatch started as a joke, but the name has stuck, and it is no joke, any more. I have tried different percentage infusions of these two strains, but have found the original cross was the best, and that is the way I have set the strain, and have bred and fought them that way for several years. They now come very uniform as to size and shape and ability. As stated before I get a very few off-colored ones, but I never offer for sale one of the grays, or the occasional reds. I fight them myself for a customer might not understand. As to the exact bloodlines of the Pink Hatch it would figure out about as follows: one-half Long Island Roundhead, which strain carries one-quarter Sandy Hatch. One-half Dan Tracy Pyle, which carries one-five hundredth or so of Amesbury Gray, which said Dan Tracy Pyle are about as pure as any strain you will find today. If you think this hot air, just sit down and figure out how much Amesbury Gray blood will remain after 9 years of continuous line breeding back to the old hen, or figure as some breeders are inclined to do, the hen will throw ninety percent of the blood of the offspring, which would reduce the percent of Gray blood down to astronomical figures. But the gray stag or two still coming along each season. This experience should prove interesting to the young chap who may think he can breed cold blood out of a strain of pit game fowl. In fact, it would be more difficult to breed out the dunkie blood than it is to breed out the Amesbury Gray! Being a game family will do no harm to another game family, but the cold blood will utterly destroy them.

I will not go into a long windy yarn about how great the Pink Hatch are, but will say only that they are now proving themselves all over the world in all kinds of weapons. One of their more likable traits is their good temper. They are always happy, easy to work with, and very intelligent. Just the opposite of the Dr. Robinson Pyle cross. The latter proved mean and hard to handle from the day they were brought in and trimmed, adn they never seemed to get over it, no matter how patient and gentle I was with them. This trait I could never understand, for the pure Dr. Robinson Pyle were not nasty to handle, and we all know how good natured and intelligent a well bred Roundhead is. So there is another riddle for the geneticists to chew on. I have been unable to come up with the answer, and the Lord knows I have tried, for I always had a burning desire to have a strain of Pyles that I could depend on, and that could win. And so, after a half century of trying I have come up with just about what I have been lookng for. I am holding my Pink Hatch at exactly the proportions described above and I can see no need for any change in the forseeable future. They come large and robust, strong and well set up, some of them weigh over six pounds, but most are in the good derby range.

This my friends is the best I can give you on the history of the Pink hatch, and I hope it may have proved interesting to you. After so many requests, and so much interest being shown I think you are entitled to it, so I have done my best.

Origin of the McLean Hatch
By Harry Parr, November 1977

Interest in the breeding of game fowl strains has always run high even though the knowledge thereof seldom has any practical application. I have been asked many times to set forth the breeding of the Mclean Hatch and their offshoot, the Blue Face family. This I have done briefly in letters and countless times orally. It is amazing how twisted these accounts become. So, since this subject appears still to hold the interest of many, I have decided to write down the facts for one and all. Although Ted Mclean has been out of the “chicken business” since December of 1954 at which time he gave me all his fowl, he is still very much with us. I mention this only because I have seen too many “histories” come out when it is too late for the facts to be verified by the principles involved. Further, the following is being written with my notes and breeding records before me and this paper will be limited to first hand information. Finally, lest anyone think there is an ulterior motive involved, my chickens are my hobby. I keep only enough for my purposes and have never, nor do I ever contemplate selling them.

In the early thirties, Mr. E.S. Hatch and Mr. E.T. McLean were on the floor of the stock exchange. That Mr. Hatch gave Ted McLean fowl is the testimony enough of their friendship, as it is well known that Mr. Hatch did not let many go. At the time, Mr. Hatch’s fowl consisted of four basic bloodlines. These were the Kearney fowl made up of the two strains Mike Kearny brought from Ireland, namely (1) the “beasy” Breasted Light Reds (Whitehackles) and (2) the Brown Breasted Reds, plus (3) the Herman Duryea fowl (commonly called Boston Roundheads) which he added when he worked for Mr. Duryea. With these bloodlines Mr. Hatch incorporated (4) the green leg Thomson (Jim Thomson) fowl. I might say here that from then till now, the strain made up of these four bloodlines is what Ted and I call the “straight stuff”.

In those days virtually all the fighting in the North East was done in inch and a quarter, heavy, slow heels, which is not surprising considering the cockers prime requisite, was gameness. It followed the toughness and power was high priorities and the Hatch fowl had all these in abundance. While they surely did not compile a great winning record, they were admired by name for these attributes. Fortunately, Ted McLean kept this set of priorities or the “straight stuff’ would have long since gone by the boards. For in addition to these attributes, the McLean Hatch are poor cutters, low headed dumb fighters, that usually take two or three shots before unleashing one of their patented hay makers. Obviously as the heels got faster their ability to win lessened, so they are useless now if fought pure. Their value then, is only as an ingredient to produce battle cocks.

Ted McLean bought “Gamecock Farm” in Maryland and built one of the best all around chicken plants I have ever seen. He gave me a trio of his Hatch fowl in 1948 and shortly thereafter I bought a farm within a short distance from his. I suppose I was at Gamecock Farm a couple of times a week and everyday during fighting season, because we fought a heavy schedule and chickens were almost always in the cock house for conditioning. At least one experimental cross was tried each year and many produced superior battle cocks, but as soon as one quit, all chickens containing that blood, came under the axe. I saw an awful lot of chickens killed and when he retired from the game in 1954 and only the “straight stuff” remained. All of these fowl were given to me.

J.D. Perry Hatch

The cocking world will be shocked and saddened by the sudden death of J.D. Perry of Muskogee, Oklahoma, on Friday morning, January 11. On his way to work at a clothing factory in Muskogee, owned by his sister, during a cold spell, he slipped on the ice, fell, and hit his head on a steel beam lying beside the walk. He got up, went in the factory, and was telling some of his fellow workers about his fall when he began to shake. He was taken to the hospital but was dead on arrival due to concussion of the brain.

“J.D.,” as he was generally known in the cocking world, had for about 15 or 20 years of his life a colorful career as a cocker. We have none of the details concerning his death or funeral, and what we write is from what we knew of him for the past 20 years. We believe he was born in Oklahoma and started his cocking career in that state. Somewhere along in the 1940’s, he went to work for C.C. Cooke of Oklahoma City. Shortly after that, Cooke bought the Lawridge Plantation at Miccosukee, Florida from E.W. Law, one of the best
known cockers in the world.

According to the story told to this writer by Cooke, here is what happened. Law had been after Cooke when he came to Florida for the tournaments to buy his plantation for three of four years. Finally Cooke made him an offer of a certain amount ($50,000 as I recall), saying he would give that for the place and everything in and on it, just as it stood. Law accepted his offer and the deal was closed. Shortly after the deal was closed, the place transferred to Cooke, Law said, “Now, just as soon as I can find a place, I will come and get the chickens.” “What chickens?” asked Cooke. “Why, my chickens,” said Law. “You have no chickens. I bought your place with everything in and on it, and the chickens are mine,” said Cooke. From that point on, Law and Cooke were at swords points and did nothing but quarrel. Cooke had Perry come down to look after things for him, including the chickens.

Eventually, they settled things up and Law moved away taking with him, as I recall him telling me, 29 chickens. Cooke got all the rest, hundreds of them. How it was settled as to how many chickens Law was to keep, I don’t recall (although I was told at the time), but this is the way they were divdied. Perry had access to all of Law’s breeding records, and by the time the split came he knew as much about the Law chickens as Law did. Cooke purchased from Henie Mathesius, for $2,000 approximately, 125 Hatch cocks and stags, and 125 hens and pullets. These were shipped to the plantation in Florida. So, when it came time to divide up the chickens I suppose these were in the deal, too, but wether Law took any of the Hatch fowl I don’t know. At any rate, J.D. represented Cooke, and he and Law would come to a yard of chickens (let’s say there was a cock and four hens). First one took his choice of individuals in the pen and then the other. For instance, Law might say, “I will take the cock,” and J.D. would say, “I’ll take this hen.” They alternated first choice from yard to yard until Law had his 29 chickens and Cooke got the rest. Then all the chickens were shipped back to Oklahoma to Cooke’s yard.

At the time this split occurred, I think it safe to say that E.W. Law had in his possession more good families of game fowl than any man on earth had at the time, or ever had. There were Clippers made by Law from a Pine Albany and Claret cross, there were straight Albanys, there were Pine Albanys, Clarets, Regular Greys, Perfection Greys, and literally dozens of other families and crosses accumulated by Law up to that time. 98% of all these families, of course, were shipped back to Oklahoma by Perry for Cooke. And, of course, Perry came home to take charge of the Cooke layout.

The late Bobby Manziel teamed up with Cooke. With Perry breeding the fowl and feeding them for fighting, they formed what might be termed one of the most formidable cocking combines of all time, certainly of this generation. For the next several years, they were practically unbeatable using practically all Cooke fowl for their fighting. In 1946 or 1947, they won a main against Sam Head and Co. at Ruleville, Miss., for ten thousand a side in a clear cut and decisive manner using what were said to have been the first cross of Claret and Hatch. I thought at that time, and still believe, the main showed by Perry were the best long heel cocks I have ever seen.

At that time, Orlando held their annual meet, St. Augustine, Pass Christian, Waco, and other large pits were in operation and it was practically a fifty-fifty bet that Perry would “be in the money” or he would win outright. Their winning record for several yearswas phenominal, and probably never will be equalled by any cocker or combination of cockers for that class of fighting, derbies and tournaments. But, as all things must, it ended eventually when Perry left to go to work for the late Mr. Halff of Leesburg, Texas. Perry was replaced by Cooke with a half-dozen different chicken men at various times, but they got nowhere. After a few years of this, Cooke closed up shop and sold his place and chickens.

From then on, Perry and his chicken operations presented a mystery no noe has ever figured out with any degree of accuracy. Cooke and Perry were on friendly terms even after Perry left to go to work for Halff. While no one ever told me this, I am positive Perry could have had, free of charge, from Cooke, either during the time he worked for him or after he left, any chickens Cooke owned. And, it’s a certainty Perry did have some of the same bloodlines later on. Cooke was always generous with his chickens, and he liked J.D. So, I am sure he would have given him, and no doubt did, anything he asked for. Even if that were not so, Perry had for several years supervised the shipping of hundreds of fowl sold by Cooke all over the U.S.A., and I don’t know a man who got any Cooke fowl who wouldn’t have been glad to give Perry any that he might have asked for. But, almost from the day he left Cooke, Perry never did any good in the chicken game. Halff was worth millions and spent it like water. He had a fabulous layout and the best chickens money and friendship could obtain. I don’t recall how long Perry was with Halff before Halff died, but it must have been a couple of years. Their success was just mediocre, no better than the average chicken man who fight in the big shows. After Halff died, Perry went with Flato, another millionaire from Corpus Christi, Texas. Flato had previously built a ten acre chicken layout at Robstown, Texas that cost him $64,000. Perry lived on the place and was in complete charge of everything; the breeding, rearing, feeding, selection, etc. Money was no object. He could have anything he wanted. I feel reasonably sure had Perry told Flato of some fowl he was sure he could have done some winning with but the cost would be $50,000, Flato would have told him to go ahead and buy them. Flato wasn’t in the game for money, all he wanted was to do some winning. Again, they did very little, no better than average. After about three years of this, Flato quit the game. With the passing of Bobby Manziel, Mr. Halff, Dick Kleberg, and Flato quitting the game, the men who could hire a chicken man of Perry’s type were few and far between.

Flato owned some sort of stove factory in Mississippi, and he told Perry to go over and see if there was any job in the factory he would like to have. If there was, it was his. There was nothing there he wanted, so for the next year or so Perry did nothing of importance.

Eventually, he went to work for his sister at Muskogee. As I understood it, Perry, a Mr. Daniels, and a Dr. Schumun had a small chicken plant outside of Muskogee, and they did some fighting but not too much. Last year, Perry fed the Anderson entry for Oaklawn and tied for second money with an 8-4 score, just one fight behind the winner.

It can truthfully be said the J.D. Perry was a credit to the game, clean-cut, honest and respected by all who knew him. No one questioned the fact he was a first-class feeder, breeder, and all-around game chicken man. He leaves, I believe, a wife andf two children. May he rest in peace.

Walton Hatch
By H. Duff

Henry Wortham was working for Jack Walton at the time Jack decided to sell out. Henry knew Manuel Massey who was feeding for Paul Harvey, a professional wager from Odessa, Texas. Henery asked Manuel to form a plan with him in order to get Paul to buy the fowl. Manuel talked Paul into purchasing 12 cocks from Jack. Henry tied pieces of string on the cages of 12 double barrel aces. When Paul and Manuel selected the 12 cocks, Manuel picked only the ones with strings on the cages that Henry planted. This was unknown to both Jack Walton and Paul Harvey. Aftr all 12 cocks were selectd by Manuel, Jack told Paul that he didn’t know about Manuel’s feeding ability but he selected the 12 best cocks he owned, besides the brood cocks!

Manuel Massey got the cocks ready for the sunset tournament. They won easily. Paul Harvey and Manuel won several other big tournaments shortly threreafter. This made Paul and Massey the top cock fighter that year. This all happened in the early 1952. The wins convinced Paul to purchase the rest of Jack Walton’s fowl. Paul paid Jack the sum of $20,000.

Paul Harvey hired professional union carpenters to build pens for the fowl. Carpenters worked around the clock getting the pens on Paul’s estate ready. When the pens were completed, Paul and Massey drove to Dallas with boxes for the cocks and u-haul trailors for the hens and little ones. During this time Henery was selling to others some good Walton Hatch to others unknown to Paul. I had heard that some of these cockfighters were Clarence Stewart, Ray Hoskins, Richard Bates, and the Everett brothers of Hood County Red fame. Harold Wells ended up with the “Bone Crusher” cock which was one of the original 12 cocks. Harold started a family of Bone Crushers that became a major force at the Jal N.M. pit ran by Tommy Booth. Over a period of 20 to 30 years Paul Harvey sold many Walton Hatch. At the time he decided to sell all the Walton fowl. Bill Patterson bought the best of what he had left. Bill still raises and fights the Walton Hatch fowl. The Walton Hatch, if inbred over a long period will come spangle with pearl colored legs, red eyes, and large bones. Their temperament is nasty.
The Walton fowl will put gameness and hitting power into any breed. Also they will add bone size if your breed is coming small.

To finish the story, Paul Harvey bought the Percy Flowers blue face bloodline and continued to win derbies until his death. Bill Lisenbee purchased the remaining Blueface bloodline fowl at Paul’s death. If you ever owned a Walton Hatch you will never stop breeding a few because of their gameness and tremendous power.

If you have any further questions about this rare breed of Hatch, contact me (NOT The Game Fowl Connection but the author H. Duff). I am truly glad that I was part of the Jack Walton fowl history.

Doc Robinson Hatch

Now, I will first start out by saying I never had the chance to meet with the man being born in a time too late. But one of my main curiosities even as a young boy has always been the history of gamefowl and other fowl, and my father was the main source of history regarding many of the local strains in the great states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. From the bit I have gathered, The Doc Robinson Hatch originated from the Stewart Yellow Legged Hatch blood, created by Clarence Stewart from the “Bonecrusher” Jack Walton Hatch.

The information from my father speaking from personal experience and information passed to him from Donnie Roberts who showed under the Pine Burr entry in many derbies along side Doc Robinson and Peck Brown, is that Doc was always looking for new hatch birds to improve his lines. Whenever Doc saw a bird in the pit that he liked, and thought could improve his he would buy it and take it home, and my father said upon stepping into Doc’s yard that he had two different hatches. The light side and dark side, separated on each side of the yard and the birds looked completely different. The dark side were more uniform with a dark mahogany color, green and blue legs, and had a straight comb with the occasional lemon hackle around the bottom of the hackle. The light side were very light lemon hackled birds with yellow legs and a pea comb. However they also could have green, slate, blue, spotted, or even green on one half and yellow on the other legs. They were Doc’s primary power chickens, I was told a story of a man named Jerry who conditioned a manfighter cock, and in doing so the cock flew up and hit him in the head knocking him out for two hours. And Doc regularly crossed these two from my understanding.

And within those were individual strains. There were many lines, the main one I remember is the Red-Bandeds and the information my father told me regarding the Red-bandeds is that the Red-bandeds received their name due to descending from a hen with a red leg band, Doc Robinson took five cocks out of her and showed them at Sunset winning every fight. And another strain, though from Donnie Roberts (which were the Red-Bandeds) is The Rag hatch blood. Their name came from how they looked as chicks, they were always raggedy with poor feathering and a ugly coloration until they grew up into the dark mahogany colored fowl.

On more than one occasion, my father told me stories of a Doc Hatch cock owned by Donnie Roberts that one year molted and developed a few white specks in his breast. The next year he got more spots, and every year he gained more until he was almost solid white. Other people who have inbred their Docs have also found that they will occasionally throw a spangle. And my father also mentioned that he himself who received birds from Donnie (who got them from Doc) as well as a friend of his who received Donnie’s birds have had the Docs molt out into hennies on more than one occasion. So I would say this could be a very good reason for why many peoples Doc’s can range from small station to tall station, 4lbs 12oz to 6.5lbs and come both pea and straight comb, light, dark, even the people who claim to contain the same blood originally from Doc himself without anything added! And if anything I would say it goes to show even further that the old breeders were less concerned with color, purity, and uniformity like today’s breeders and more concerned with their gameness and fighting ability; making one of the greatest hatch strains to this day.

I know there is a lot of controversy behind this strain, as many believe they have the Ray Hoskin’s blood (and based upon this, they very well may have a touch) while others do not. And people can choose to believe what I have said or not, but when my father was friends with both Peck and Donnie (who inherited Doc’s birds after his death to my understanding) receiving birds from both and seeing them first hand in days-gone-by and I meeting Peck myself; I choose to believe it.


Irish Hennies

History of the Irish Hennies!

History of the Hennies i got from Rick Bohn of California Gamefarm: In about the year 1890, there was a strain of Hen Feathered Games, in the hands of cockers in & around Jackson, Michigan. They attracted attention from the fact that they were apparently invincible.

While in the hands of John Neil & the Robson Brothers, they defeated all new comers & most of the old strains, that were represented at that time. In fact, when a well conditioned Hen Cock was theown into the pit, it was almost impossible to get a bet on him.

As to their breeding or origin, they came from a William Blair of Pontiac, Michigan, about 1880. Mr. Blair’s fowl were believed to be descendants of a trio of Hennies, from an old Irishman. This old Irishman brought them over to Quebec in a wicker basket some years prior to this. Old Jack Neil kept Hennies from this stain until his death in 1921.

About twenty-five percent of the Hennie stags will be long feathered until they molt out as cocks, nearly all then become hen feathered. Colors run from brown to black, with generally a few lighter colored feathers in hackle.

As a cross they usually put speed in another strain & produce a large percentage of Hen feathered males. In several instances crosses of Hennie have wiped out strains thought to be invincible.

by Paul Dawson (1976)

I have been asked many times how the Hennies were made up – what crosses were used. A Hennie is one of the very few Strains of pure Game Fowls. They were first seen in India and they must have come out of the Jungles as did the Bankiva, and when you cross them they are no longer a Hennie. I believe they are just as the Maker made them. Their traits, their fighting style, their speed and cutting makes them as different from their long feathered cousins as daylight and dark.

I have bred, fought and sold them for sixty five years so I feel I am qualified to write their history.

They came into England in the early fifteenth century and the good British breeders bred them to perfection and at one time they challenged all of England with their Hennies. From the Sports and Mutations they bred them in many different colors, including the beautiful Grouse bred by John Harris. They soon found their way into Spain where the Spanish bred them over their Brown and Grey Spanish. My good friend, the late John Thrasher, bred the Spanish just as they came from Spain and many of them came he-feathered.

The first Hennies were brought inot this country by a party named Story and they proved to be great fighters in short heels as used along the East Coast. Mr. Chester A. Lamb imported the Black Thorne, also the brown Hennies in the early eighties. He bred them for fifty years and sold most all of the old time
breeders, Hennie brood cocks. Mr. Lamb also imported the Kikilia from Ceylon. These he gave to me about a year after he imported them. My first Black Hennies came from Mr. Lamb and I also imported some great fighting Brown Hennies from England.

I never aspired to be a big shot, I bred my Hennies because I love them. I fought a few each year but never enough to make a nuisance out of it. They won for me and for my customers all over the world and after 65 years my Hennies are just as fast, just as rugged as in years gone by and they are bred and fought all over this country. Not in large numbers but by men like me who like them and they win for them.

A good Texas cocker has a Black Hennie cock that has won seven derby fights. Another Texas cocker who went to Copper State last season, saw one of my Black Hennies win his tenth fight in one short pitting.

In the early 30’s I helped W.R. Hudlow run a pit south of Chickasha, Oklahoma. I only had nine Hennie stags and cocks but I won thirty-four fights without a single loss. This was reported to Grit & Steel. These Hennies were fought with any one that could match the weight, the great Sweater McGinnis included.

I married in 1935 and my wife informed me that she didn’t like game chickens. I have five stags ready to fight so I told her if she would go with me and see them fight I would dispose of them. (A man will do funny things when he is in love.)

We were having a brush fight with about a dozen of the local cockers. I matched Sweater with a 4-8 Black Hennie stag; Sweater had a hot Grey Toppie that coupled and wry necked my stag in the first buckle. When I set my stag down for the second pitting he just rolled over on his back but when the Grey reached for a bill hold it sounded like a snaer drum and the fight was over. While I was cutting off the heels my wife asked me for some money to bet on our stags. I won all five fights and the best Pal a man ever had, my wonderful wife Opal.
So as long as I live I will always breed a few of what I believe to be the greatest fighting cocks on earth, Dawson’s Black Hennies.

The gene responsible for the hen feathering is not sex linked and is carried by either the male or female in different strengths. Since this gene is an Incomplete Dominant, Autosomal, about 1/4 of the stags produced from pure Hennies will be long feathered, 1/4 will be hen feathered, and the remainder will be of mixed feathering until their second year when they moult out completely hen feathered.

From an article written in 1891 Hennies were very plentiful in Wales and Cornwall. There is an account of a main fought at Ponterfract (in the country of Yorkshire) in 1670 of hen-cocks v. long feathers. The black hen-cocks of Wales were thought a fit present for a prince, and Pembrokeshire ( a country in Wales) once challenged all England with them.

Hennies are an old-established and well-known variety of British game fowl, from which they differ chiefly in length, form and brilliancy of feather, the plumage of the male resembling that of the hens, hence the name of hen-cocks or hennies, and the more rounded, short and free from sheen or gloss they are in the hackle, cloak, and tail, in short the more hen-feathered they appear in neck, wings, body and tail the more they are entitled to claim purity of breed.

They are generally lighter in bone than other cocks, having light corky bodies that appeared larger than their wieght at the scales, and on that account were never favorite match cocks with the old feeders at the “Cockpit Royal” who preferred cocks with more bone.


History of Kelso Fowl

By Lou Elliott (Nov. 1974)

Walter Kelso, who died in 1964, fought his cocks under the entry name of Oleander-a type of flowering shrub that grows profusely in the semi-tropical climate of his home on Galveston Island, Texas. In the heyday of the pure old-time strains Kelso was a maverick. His Oleander cocks were simply a succession of battle crosses. For example, when John Madigin died in 1942, Kelso and Bill Japhet inherited all of his Clarets, Madigin Grays, and Texas Rangers.
Most any breeder would do anything in his power to keep the stock pure. However, Kelso wrote, “I immediately began infusing new blood in the Madigin hens.” Kelso obtained his brood cocks from other breeders after he saw the cock fight. He was more interested in performance than he was the name of the strain. He would mate the new cock to a sister of his best pit cocks. If the cross was successful, he would add other sisters to the pen.
More often than not, the pen produced worthless offspring and the cock was discarded. At any rate, that was the method used to produce the Out-and-Out Kelso family that is still the foundation stock for many of the best winning cocks fought in the major pits today. The Out-and-Out Kelso family was so-called because they were marked in the outside web of both feet. The cocks are generally black breasted reds (ranging from a deep mahogany to light reds) with their white or yellow legs and pea or straight comb.
About 1940, during the Orlando Tournament, Judge Ed Wilkins of San Antonio, Texas, fought a beautiful light blue Typewriter cock that won his first fight easily and was repeated to win a second fight on the same day. Kelso asked for and received this cock. The typewriters are a great family of game fowl made by crossing a Marsh Butcher cock over two Irish Blue hens from James G.Oakley of Alabama. The Butcher family is a cross of Grove Whitehackle (Lawman and Gilkerson) and the Marsh Gray Speeders, which are reported to be a combination of the old Santo Domingo Grays from the West Indies island of that name and Burnell Shelton’s old Knob comb Blues.
The Typewriter cocks were placed on a walk with some of Hill McClanahan’s Claret Roundhead hens. A blue cock from this mating was bred in 1942 to two straight comb hens from Tom Murphy of Long Island, New York. Most of the cocks were Yankee Clippers that Bobby Schlesigner of Charolottesville, Virginia, had obtained from E.W. Law of Thomasville, Georgia. Duke offered to let Kelso have any of the Clipper cocks he liked. Kelso with Sweater McGinnis handling had met Schlesigner in his deciding fight at 1942 Orlando Tournament. Kelso won the fight and the Tournament but had been impressed with the quality of the Schlesinger cocks.
Kelso passed up several of Duke’s easy winners and finally selected a cock that won against a Hatch cock after 58 fighting over an hour in the drag pit with the odds 100 to 40 against him. E.W. Law started these Yankee Clippers by crossing his Clarets with Dan O’Connell’s Albany fowl. This Albany family was made by mating some hens that were Hatch, Foley’s Ginger, Roundhead, and maybe some Pine Whitehackle (Stryker, mostly), with a Hardy Mahogany cock (Jim Thompson Mahogany and Kearney cross). The Yankee Clipper cock was mated to two of the Left-Out Kelso hens to produce the original Out-and-Out cocks that won 85 percent of their fights in major competition over a six-year period (1947 to 1953). These cocks were 1/2 Yankee Clipper, 1/4 Murphy, 1/8 Typewriter, 1/8 McClanahan.
In 1951, Oleander won the Oaklawn Derby at Hot Springs, Arkansas, with a ten and two score. One of the Out-and-Out cocks won a quick battle and then was repeated to also win the deciding fight. In his second win, the cock broke the tip of his wing. This was the Broke wing cock that was mated back to three Murphy cross hens (probably from the Left-Out yards). In 1955, cocks from this Broke wing yard were fought in the Oaklawn Derby and Oleander won ten, lost two to split first money.
At the Oaklawn Derby in 1956, Oleander won four lost four the first two days of fighting and then on the last, they had a full show of the pea-comb cocks from the Broke wing yard. They won four straight to tie for first money with the Van Horne entry of Kentucky. It just so happened that the Van Horne entry was using cocks bred by Curtis Blackwell out of a full brother to the four final Oleander winners. In 1957 Kelso advertised all of his fowl for sale except the cock he needed for the events he had promised to enter. In the ad, his bloodlines are listed as Murphy, McClanahan, Claret and Albany. It was rumored that the Broke wing yard went to a major cocker for $500.00.


Mainly responsible for the popularity of those “lemon-hackled” gamecocks of Duke Hulsey here in the country was the father-son tandem of Don Amado Araneta and son Jorge (Nene).

Fighting under the name “THUNDERBIRDS”, the Araneta’s in partnership with Duke Hulsey dominated the competition in Manila’s cockpits from 1963-1967. During the same period mentioned, several “mains” were held at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Q. C.. These events were billed “U.S. vs. Philippines”. The U. S. team was composed by the Aranetas and Duke Hulsey while the “Philippines” was represented by the cream of Phil. cockfighting some of whom were: Mssrs. Peping Cojuangco, Johnny Veloso, Mayo Lacson, Eddie Araneta and Esting Teopaco.

In all of the said encounters, the U. S. team prevailed. They fought uniformed looking cocks which typically were red. straight comb and yellow legged. Duke called them his “Lemon Hackles”. He claims they were a blend of HATCH-CLARET-BUTCHER blood that he had proportionally set and established as a family.

While the “Lemon Hackles” rooster was famous internationally, the “Lemon 84” strain is only true in the Philippines. It was originated by Mr. Paeng Araneta. Based on his personal account, which I read in a book about Philippine cockers and breeders, this is his story.

Mr. Rafael Araneta’s first visit to the Amicizia Farm of Duke Hulsey in Tangipahoa, Louisiana was i 1967. It was there that he came upon an “unusual lemon”. It was a peacomb. He had it shipped to Manila. As friends kept asking him what he called the rooster, he noticed the leg band number and coined the name “LEMON 84”. He states the pedigree of this strain as follows:

He bred the Lemon 84 cock (peacomb) to two Lemon hens which he had also bred from a battle-scarred winner he had acquired earlier.
He got some pullets which he bred back to 84′ cock (father-daughter mating) and from the clutch picked two specimens which he bred to each other (brother-sister mating).
Again, he choose 2 of the most vigorous pullets and bred back to the 84′ cock. This time a pair of pullets showed up with green-legs. From all the breeding of the “Lemons”, Mr. Araneta was able to establish two families; One, typical “Lemon” with yellow legs. The other, looking more like peacomb, green legged Hatches which were dark red. In 1970 and 1971, the “Lemon 84’s” were entered in the Internatinal Derby. They finished with runner-up honors in both occasions. However, the crowning glory of the Lemon 84 came in 1972, when they claimed the title in the International. Though they shared the honor with 2 other champion entris, it was nonetheless a monumental feat for it marked the first time in Philippine cockfighting history that a team of island-bred roosters were successfully pitted against an all imported line-up of opponents.

Stories about the “Lemons” vary depending on whose hands they’re with. One should remember that this strain has been in the country for almost 40 years now. Recently, I was told the story of another family of Lemons by Mr. Boy Palileo. Boy, who is 58 years old now, used to condition the shows of his late uncle Manolo Lovina. Manolo bred what he called his “MASSA or SUNSHINE LEMONS”. This line of Lemons came from Mr. Emmanuel Massa, who in turn was a partner of Duke Hulsey. Boy believes that Mr. Massa is still alive and a member of the board of directors of the U.G.B.A.. Basically, Mr. Massa bred two families of fowl, with stocks either full brother or full sisters of the Dukes’ personal brood fowl. His yards composed of: “Lemons” which were basically: 1/2 Butcher (MARSH) 1/4 Blueface 1/4 Kelso and the “Cecils” which were basically 1/2 Bumblefoot (Grey line) 1/4 McLean 1/4 Kelso. This particular family came 99% peacomb and though the Bumblefoot was a family of greys no grey rooster ever came out of Manolo’s breeding.

Some of the feats that Manolo and Boy accomplished with this family of Lemons are:

A. In the five years that they fought this “MASSA or SUNSHINE LEMONS” they accumulated 49 trophies (champions).

B. They won a 5 cock derby in the prestigious Candelaria affair.

C. Under the “MESCALEROS” entry, which was a combine of Messrs Lito Lacson, Herman Lacson, Brothers Joe & George Zubiri, Brothers Manolo & Nonie Lovina and Rafael “Paeng” Araneta, the group palced runner-up behind Bago City combine in a circuit held in Bacolod in 1976. Though the BAGO CITY GROUP won the circuit with an over all score of 28 pts., the “MESCALEROS” scored 27 1/2 pts.

What is worth mentioning here is, that Boy claims he only used 9 cocks the entire affair to accumulate the said total score of the combine.

The breakdown is as folows:

4 cocks were purchased from Mr. Tony Trebol (which had 84 blood in them) 1 cock purchased from a certain DEWIT of Bago City. This particular cock won 5x losing its 6th fight because the blade was cut off and fell entirely during the 1st buckle and completing the line-up were 4 “MASSA” Lemon cocks.

In another story, Boy narrates that it was because of their fine performances with the breed, that prompted Mr. Leandro “Biboy” Enriquez to ask if he could purchased some of their Lemons. Manolo replied that he was not been on selling but that he could refer Mr. Enriquez to a friend who Manolo claims had better “Lemons” than him. The first batch of roosters that Mr. Enriquez purchased either became champion or did pretty good with them. The second batch of Lemons that he got were stolen from his farm in Tanay. Then Mr. Enriquez financed on all occasions the entries of Manolo’s friend in the 1970, 1971 and 1972 International Derbies at the Araneta Coliseum. They foght under the banner “SJ FIREBIRDS”.

Manolo’s friend was Mr. Rafael “Paeng” Araneta. Note: Sometimes, the story you hear about the exploits of the “LEMONS” sound fictional; they’re not!

History of The Lemon “84”
By: Rafael “Paeng” Araneta

The Lemon 84 was a Duke Hulsey cock that was shipped to me in 1967 by the late Duke. At that time the “Duke” had established an outstanding win record in the Philippines using his “Lemon Hackles” as he called them. In breeding they were Hatch/Butcher/Claret. He had established this as a strain and they were so good that almost everybody wanted to have some to breed. But the Duke was under contract to the late J. Amado Araneta and his son Jorge and would not sell any. I was privileged to have acquired 1 lemon cock & 2 hens in 1965 and the now legendary “84” cock in 1967. I bred him to the hens out of the first lemon cock on the lemon hens. To coin a cliche, the rest is history. I had perpetuated the strain of lemon hackles of the Duke. We bred them every which way and they were just so good, that at that time we dominated the field of locally bred (in the Philippines) chickens. I had let out a few of this lemons to some trully fine gentlemen of the sport who, at one time or another had helped me. Soon the whole province where I lived had some of this blood in their own chickens. I did not care to keep the blood to myself, always believing that something as good as this should be shared, mortality being a reality that confronts us all. Over the years, I had met some of these. Some had whipped me and I whipped some. But whichever side won, made a man proud that he had done something good to the game that would far outlive him.

Witch Doctors

History of Witch Doctors

by Cecil “The Witch Doctor” Perkins

At least once or twice a year for the past several years I have received phone calls asking about the Witch Doctor fowl, who made them, how they were bred and if still have any for sale. Just this past week I have had three phone calls seeking the same information so I have decided to set the record straight and write what will most likely be the last story about this great strain of black-brown red fowl that were in the eyes of many the greatest slasher cocks that were ever made. Excellent gaff cocks, they were even better in the long knife (slasher). Their record and fame in the islands became so great that editors of the game fowl journals wrote me and requested that I write their origin. Here then, is the true story and breeding of the mighty Witch Doctor fowl and due credit is given to all breeders whose blood made this strain.

I got married in November of 1950 and moved to Austin, Texas with my wife Mozelle. As a wedding present she bought me a trio of Bill Shaffer Mugs from William McCullough of Kinnington, PA. The cock weighed about 5 and one half pounds, was brown red in color, stood up like a fighting cock and, indeed was fought once as a stag after I bred him, winning in one fast pitting. On hen was coal black and one hen was the same color as the cock. I mated them and raised 37 stags, all looked alike and were the best sparring fowl that I had ever seen. However, I lost four of the first seven that I fought and was quite disappointed as they out-fought the other roosters but were not cutting, which in fast company is fatal. I wrote to my good friend Randall Burkey, San Antonio, Texas, and told him my problem. In turn he told me that Bill Shaffer used the Burkey #61 Derby gaffs when he won the Orlando Tournament 13 out of 15 fights. (This could have been St. Augustine, however, both were the majors and nothing but the very best matched steel there.) I ordered a pair of the #61’s, 2 1/8″ long and put up another show of stags.

Using these gaffs I won 37 out of the next 41 fights. Witnesses were cockers like Gus Frithiof Sr., Si Memen, Bubba Reeves, Brownie Davis, Ernest Puryear, Jack Everhart and the list could go on for an hour. I won so many fights in the first pitting that it was unbelievable. One the greatest cocks I ever owned was “One Round Hogan” who won seven, one pitting fights in my hands and two other fights for Shorty Awalt while I was away in the Army. In 1952 I was drafted into the Army and sent to France. I “left” my brood fowl with a local cocker for safe keeping and put a frying size trio on the yard of my good friend, John DePew, of Austin with instructions not to breed any pure but with permission to cross if he wouldn’t sell any of the offspring. One other cock I left on a walk at Bee Caves, Texas. The cocks that I had left I “loaned” to Shorty Awalt and he was to fight them at Shelly Clay’s Pit at Waco, Texas, the following year. The brood fowl were not to be bred and no fowl to leave his hands. I had one cock that had never quite gotten over the roup and my wife and I took him to **** Williams’ Pit, Kingburry, Texas, to get him whipped as I hated to kill him. He won in one pitting and I rematched him winning the second time in three pitings. As I told the crowd to which I brought him to get whipped I couldn’t refuse when I was offered four ounces of weight to fight him the third time against a fresh cock. This fight lasted over an hour but the little Mug won giving him three victories for the day. I refused one hundred dollars for him and pulled his head off not wanting this blood to “get out”. The next year, while I was in France, Shorty and J.D. Cantwell took the Shaffer Mug cocks that I left and went to Waco and won the biggest derby of the year 5-1. Jr. Whitted handled these cocks and tried to buy them just as did most everyone there. Shorty turned him down. Jr. took his winnings and purchased a trio of Mugs from Bill McCullough, being the same person I got mine from, as he couldn’t buy mine.

The second trio didn’t look like my Mugs and couldn’t fight like them either and Jr. disposed of them after I got back from the Army. The original brood cock died while I was in the Army but I got back the original hens and one of their sons. There was a big misunderstanding about the terms of how I left these fowl and Shorty killed the off springs and obtained new fowl of a different strain; we never fought together as an entry after that. So much for the Mug blood. John DePew returned my Mug trio and told me that he had borrowed a Texas Ranger hen from Gus Frithiof and bred the Shaffer Mug stag to her. He had some beautiful hens from this mating and years later I bought two of the last hens from this mating. They were coal black and had the best bodies that one can find on a hen, weighed over five pounds each and had beautiful shoe button black eyes. Enter the Texas Ranger blood.

Jr. Whited had moved out on a road close to me and had over 300 cocks in his back yard. Jr. paid top, top dollars for the very best fowl that money could buy. In the yard was Duke Hulseys, Billy Ruble, Grady Hamilton, Cecil Davis, D.A. Morton, Tom Spurrier and other fowl too many to recall. I told Jr. that I wanted to buy a top Hatch cock and he told me to “take my pick”. We discussed the mating at great length and he recommended a beautiful Mill Mimms Hatch cock explaining to me that he gave $500 for the trio and that the fowl came from Owen McGuiness who got them from Duke Hulsey and in turn let Bill Mimms have them. Carl Malls had brought the Mimms fowl to Austin and Jr. called them the greatest Hatch fowl in America. This Mimms cock was the Daddy of the Witch Doctors. I raised a yard full of these fowl from this mating and was looking for a name that would excite the Island people in case I wanted to ship my surplus to the Philippines. I settled on Witch Doctors believing that all the Island folks were superstitious and that the name would drive them crazy; little did I know. Later I found out that they sometimes order cocks with thirty scales on each leg calling such a cock 30-30 as in a repeating rifle.

When Buck Biggs came to my house with a box full of Redquill Stags to fight I found out that my wildest dreams had come true; I could hardly get one whipped! My percentage was something like 95%. Next came Bubba Reeves, Gus Frithiof, Preston Barrnett, Red & Joy Nalls, Ben Curry, Dudley Bryant, Si Memen, & Jr. Whited with the outcome always the same…too much Doctor. Then I took a show to Luther Watson’s and won seven straight. I knew that I had hit the jackpot in Witch Doctor fowl. One stag won nine fights before 11 months of age and graced the May 1964 cover of The Gamecock. A few days later came a letter from Guam from a cocker named Sammy Lee wanting to buy the stag on the cover which was the famous “Dr. Dandy.” I thanked him by return mail and declined to sell. Three days later I received a phone call from Guam from Sammy still wanting to buy Dr. Dandy. Once again I refused. Then he told me that he was being beaten badly in cock fights in Guam and had lost several thousand dollars. He offered to pay $300 for the loan of the stag for one fight and would return him if he won. A top trio in those days was bringing $100.

I shipped Dr. Dandy and cocking history was made. Sammy hacked the stag for $4,700 and won in a buckle. Another phone call came and Sammy requested that I permit him to come to my house to see these fowl but first he wanted to take him to the Philippines and fight the top cocker of that time who was fighting Thunderbirds from Duke. He was willing to pay an additional $300 rental and I agreed. Sammy fought Dr. Dandy for $30,000 and he was called the greatest cock to ever fight in the Islands. He won in two pittings and was cut through the liver dying three days later. A marble stone marks his grave site. Sammy Lee showed up at my house a week later and took every stag I owned of Witch Doctors and started fighting them for huge amounts of money. Gamecock carried stories and the fame grew. They won mains in straight fights for ten and twenty thousand per fight. No one wanted any of their business. For five years Sammy ruled the roost. He loaned Raymon Rivera six of these stags and Raymon won six straight for a fortune. I have a copy of his letter trying to purchase more. Another great and famous cock of the Witch Doctor breed was called the “Christmas Cock”. I sent him to Sammy Lee in Guam as a stag and Sammy won seven slasher fights with him before he was two years old. He was cut up badly during his seventh fight and Sammy gave him to a friend in Guam. The friend told Sammy that he was better than any Christmas present that he has ever received. The cock healed and when Christmas Day rolled around the friend couldn’t resist and fought him believing that Christmas was lucky for this bird. He won and was repeated back every Christmas day until he had won 13 fights then totally and permanently retired. This cock was famous throughout all the Islands and a most sought after bird. I have no report on any offspring or if he was ever bred.

I sent a trio to Paulino Ochoa in the Philippines and the reported record was 64 wins – 6 losses 2 draws. Over a hundred letters were received (still on hand) willing to pay any price for a feather. I never offered to sell any, no ads were run but Gamecock would give my address to all who inquired; I enjoyed the fame. The bubble burst when I lost both original hens due to old age and bred the cock over his daughters. The first one of these I fought was jerked out of a pen and carried to Ken Teeler’s house and fought at Ken at nine months old, he quit and ran off after a few pittings. I was crushed not only because my famous Witch Doctors had run off but I had over 150 brothers and half brothers to this. I went home and fought the stags at each other and killed the winners. Eldon Molish and Randy Wallace aided me in this slaughter. I had 22 left and we were too tired to fight the rest so we quit. A month later I sold Gus Frithiof the 22 that were left and told him that when he shipped them that he was not to tell anyone where he got them. However, I had fought over a hundred brothers to the runner and all proved game. Gus shipped them to South America and the report came back that the first nineteen fought, won. I killed all the sisters and gave Gus the full sister to Dr. Dandy which I had turned down $500 for. He bred her to a Texas Ranger cock and the report is almost unbelievable. This family won 300 fights, lost 22, and drew 12. One man won 104 and lost or drew 10.

No pure Witch Doctors exist to my knowledge and certainly not in the United States for I never sold a pair in the USA. However, I went to a man’s yard in Texas to look at some White hens and he showed me a pen of pure Witch Doctors. I asked him if he knew who made the Witch Doctors and he replied Billy Ruble. I never told him any different or who I was. However, if a man can prove that I didn’t make the Witch Doctors just as I say I bred them I will pay a $10,000 reward. I don’t believe that I missed a Major Derby in the United States for a period of ten years and I am known to thousands of cockers as “Witch”. My farm is listed as Witch Doctor Farms and I show and register Dairy Goats under that name. I need no fame…the Witch Doctors earned me that with their winning ways.

Hulsey Fowl

The E.H. Hulsey Fowl
Their start began prior to J.W.’s employment with Mr. E.H. Hulsey, Mr. Pipes was breeding and fighting the Barnett Wonders fowl and was very successful with them. In fact he stated that these were the best cutting fowls he owned.

Mr. Pipes had contracted to walk some cocks for John Madigin. One of these cock must have been exceptional as Mr. Madigin urged or suggested that Mr. Pipes breed the cock if he desired. Mr. Pipes bred the cock to a Barnett Wonders hen and raised six stags and six pullets. Note – These were all marked “out and out”. Mr. Pipes later was employed by Mr. E.H. Hulsey to feed and manage the Seven Acre Farm, bringing along the stags and pullets of the Barnett Wonders -Claret cross.

Mr. Hulsey at this stage of his cocking career was sold on the P. Dixon Travelers fowl. It was with these same fowl that Mr. Pipes fed and conditioned in his first main, and won for Mr. Hulsey.

The following season the six Claret-Barnett, as cocks were used in a main. In fact the P. Dixon Travelers were down 5-0. When Pipes started bringing in the Claret Barnett cocks and they won the main by winning six straight fights.

Liking their style and cutting ability, Mr. Pipes bred their hen sisters to a Roundhead cock from Vincent Hotines. This cock was the “Newell” yard of the Allen Roundheads cock and a many time winner. These were of the “Cripple Tony” infusion that Burnell Shelton made and stated that these were the best of the Allen Roundheads. Mr. Pipes stated that the offsprings from this mating were also marked “out and out”, like thier mothers.

These were the basic bloodlines of the E.H. Hulsey fowls when Henry Wortham came on the scene. That is, half (1/2) Roundhead, quarter (1/4) Claret, quarter (1/4) Barnett Wonders. At this time the fowl came both pea comb and straight comb and one could breed to which ever trait they liked.

When Henry Wortham came under the employment of Mr. Hulsey, the “Hulsey” were beginning to come on the small side and as a result their top weights were being borrowed from friends to complete their tournaments.

Henry saw a great need to raise his own top weights as this was the big weakness in the show of cocks, so it was natural that he was always on the lookout for a broodcock large enough to improve the size of the “Hulseys”. One such cock was a large pumpkin – colored straight comb that he secured from his days in Memphis Charlie Babb. Henry said that he never did know the breeding of this cock and didn’t really care as the cock was everything he wanted in a brood-cock to improve the size of the “Hulseys”. This yard was referred to as the “Babb” yard or family, and many came pumpkin colored.

Henry also made other families of the Hulsey’s, he obtained and bred a cock from Sam Bingham. This was called the “Bonehead” Family which was heavy in Marsh Butcher blood.

Another yard was from a Dark Mahogany red cock from Beaumont, Texas. This cock was heavy in Claret blood and was used by Henry in several important events. It was later used as a broodcock giving rise to what was known as the “Beaumont Yard.”

Another Sub-Family was made from the R.E. Doyle Reds. These were made by Mr. Doyle and not Henry, although Henry furnished Mr. Doyle with brood cocks on several occasions. A good number of this family was used in Florida tournaments after the Walton-Wortham forces joined together after the World War II.

In the later year of the combination of Walton-Wortham forces, Hatch blood was infused.

Today there are very few people as Transplanted Okie says who might have like them like they were in the 1930’s and 1940’s, but at one time the breeders of this grand old strain were men like Maurice White, R.E. Doyle, B.L. Saunders, Al Jacobs and last but not least Norman Paine of Oxford Mississippi. Most are all gone.

well friends, to give credit to transplanted Okies efforts on this article, satisfaction is his to have shared an insight on the history of the grand old strain of the E.H. Hulsey Fowl.

Lawman Muffs
by Ed “Fulldrop” Piper (1971)

Probably everyone has heard about the Lawman Whitehackles and the Gilkerson Whitehackles which I believe were very similar and came from the same place in England, the North Country. They were known there as North Britons. The name Whitehackle was given them in this country. I never saw any of the straight ones myself as they had been crossed up and gone before my time.

But, few people outside of New York State have ever heard of, or at least they never mention, the Lawman Muffs. Billy Lawman, I believe, received several shipments of fowl from his father in England. The last to arrive, so Billy sated, was in 1911. That shipment, like the previous ones, contained some Lawman Muffs as well as Whitehackles. Many old-timers from that section of New York State told me they considered the Lawman Whitehackles the greatest fowl they had ever seen. A few others told me they liked the Lawman Muffs even better.

They were said to have fought very similar to the Whitehackles but were stronger and tougher and harder to kill. Both families were deep game. It’s more than likely 90% of the Whitehackles and Muff fowl in the North descended directly or indirectly from the Lawman and Gilkerson fowl.

John Hoy of Albany, N.Y. fought most of the Lawman fowl. He was considered one of the all time greats among short heel cockers. For seven years, he was under contract to feed for the late T.W. Murphy, the “long one” as his help called him. Murphy acquired that nickname because he was tall, slim and straight. Hoy lived at Albany, N.Y., and Murphy lived at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., about 75 miles away. The contract stated Hoy was to feed all the mains Murphy fought during a season for $1,500. There were no derbies or tournaments in those days. This was previous to 1925 or thereabouts. I was told that the last year Hoy fed for Murphy he was so weak he had to be helped up the stairs to Murphy’s feeding quarters. He probably fed the cocks, but I would imagine he showed Murphy’s man, Nick Downes, how he wanted them worked.

Hoy liked to bet on the harness horses, and not far from Poughkeepsie was the Goshen Racetrack where the Hamiltonian and other harness horse races were held. Walter Cox, a famous harness horse driver, was in complete charge. His Supt. was George Bates, and George liked to fight cocks. I believe, but not sure, that it was through Bates that Cox became interested in cocking. Hoy liked to get tips on the races from Cox, so Bates asked Cox to ask Hoy for some good fowl.

It’s pretty certain at that time that Murphy fought a lot of the Lawman fowl of Hoy’s. In fact, Nick Downes, who was with Murphy for 38 years, claimed up to the time he died that the good fowl Murphy fought up until 1942 were the Lawman Whitehackles of Hoy’s and nothing else. But, Murphy had some fowl of his own at the time which were said to be of Mike Kearney extraction. So, Hoy gave Walter Cox one of his Lawman Muff hens and borrowed a cock of Murphy’s to go with him. That pair was the foundation stock of the Goshen Muffs which were famous in that section for many years.

Dave Berg and his son, John, lived at Cobleskill, N.Y., not far from Albany. Hoy and Dave Berg were hooked up in cocking for some time, and Dave had with him a young man just starting in the game. On the way home he asked Berg if he would let him use a Hoy Muff cock that had won that night to breed. “What do you want that on for? I didn’t like him very well myself,” Berg said. “I liked him alright,” said the young man. Berg asked him what he wanted to breed him to, and the young man said a Shelton Knob Comb Blue. Very few long heel fowl were highly regarded in that short heel section at the time, so Berg said, “Well, he’s plenty good enough to breed to that kind of hen.” So, the young man took him home with him.

The following fall the young man came to Berg’s farm and said, “Listen I have 19 big blue stags out of your Muff cock and the Knob Comb Blue hen. They are ready to kill one another and I have no coops, what will I do with them?” “Well, I have some empty coops, and you can bring them over and leave them just long enough for you to get some coops built, then get them out of here as I have no time to waste with chickens of that sort,” said Berg.

Hoy came up one day while they were there and asked Berg what they were. That’s cold country up there. In fact, just a week or so ago I got a letter from a man who lives near there, and he said it had been 20 degrees below zero the night before. Berg’s coops were enclosed with walls and doors separating the stags. Hoy idly held the seperating door open and let a couple of them go at each other. They went together like bombshells. “Say, they might be good, keep them and we will try them later on,” said Hoy. Those stags were the begining of the famous Berg Blue Muffs. I never saw one, but Tom Foley, Dave Berg, Phil Marsh, Ed Pine and several others classed them as some of the greatest fowl of all time. Berg and Pine together fought a main against someone years ago, and pine asked Berg for a little 4.09 Blue Muff that fought and won in the main. And, that blood was in some of the best cocks Pine ever fought, including the cock that Dan O’Connell used on Old Albany hens to make the Pine Albany

Marsh Butcher


First, I would like to thank Carl for asking me to write the May article. It is indeed an honor to be asked and I hope some of you enjoy the article. I will be writing about my family’s involvement with gamefowl for over 100 years, so I am sure I am leaving out a lot,but I have relied on memories from my father and grandfather as well as old magazines and personal notes from my ancestors. I am sure someone out there will disagree with some of the text because thay have heard or read a different version or story from some other authority, but remember that this is straight from the source.


Peter Marsh (1800’s) – He was the first gamefowl breeder/cock fighter in the family. He bred and fought Whitehackles, Smokeballs, and Roundheads. Peter was not a big time fighter. He took part in small money mains and local tournaments. He became associated with George Green who was to become the father-in-law of Peter’s son Phil Marsh I (1869-1945). Phil (1869-1945) – is probably the best known of the Marsh Family as he became nationally known through his efforts in breeding and fighting gamefowl. It was Phil who made the Speeder bloodline and along with his son Bill, created the Butcher fowl. He operated a meat market in Fort Plain and the Butchers were named after his profession. Phil was considered to be a better breeder than conditioner and his son Bill was just the opposite. He prided himself on excellent physical condition and at the age of 70 could still kick higher than his head. Phil was an avid coon and fox hunter with hounds and took pride in his hound breeding also. He passed away after sustaining injuries brought on after being kicked in the kidney area by a cow in his slaughterhouse.

Bill Marsh (1894-1977) – Son of Phil I, fed and conditioned his first main alone at 13 years of age. Considered to be a better conditioner than breeder. When he and Phil fought at the Orlando Tournaments, he went down to Florida one month ahead of the tournament with the fowl. He did most if not all of the conditioning from the age 15 on. Bill fought roosters along the eastern U.S. from New York to Viginia. He worked most of his life as a cattle dealer and was a boot-legger during prohibition. Like his father he was an avid bird, coon, and fox hunter as well as an avid carp fisherman. In the 1950’s Bill would occasionally fight using the name “Goodman”.

Phil Marsh II (1918-1995) – Son of Bill and named for his grandfather, was not invloved with the fowl to the extent his father and grandfather were. Served as a captain in the Military Police in WWII and served in North Africa and Europe. Participated in the Anzio campaign and the Battle of the Bulge. He also served as an aid to General Mark Clark while serving in Italy. Phil worked as a truck driver most of his life.
Mark Marsh (1962-present) – Son of Phil II. Employed in law enforcement. Learned from Bill and Phil II. Started caring for fowl at four years of age. Like his ancestors he is an avid hunter and carp fisherman.

THE FOWL: While the Marsh’s are known primarily for originating the Speeder and Butcher fowl, they have used other fowl, namely Boston Roundheads, Bergh Blue Muffs, Eagleheads, Smokeballs, Black Devils, Sid Taylor, and Brown-Reds Muffs.

Butchers: The Butchers are the result of a cross between Marsh Speeders and Groves Whitehackles in 1915 and by 1920 were set as a strain. Through selective breeding the Butchers come black-red with a straight comb, white and yellow legs, and have red, orange and lemon colored hackles. Additionally their breasts may have red flecks. About 5% of our Butchers will come spangled. The hens will come wheaton and partridge in color and about 1/3 will have spurs. The Butchers are known primarily as head and neck cutters as that is what is needed in short heel fighting, but they can and do cut very well to the body. In addition they are known as good side steppers.

Speeders: The Speeders were originated by Phil Marsh in 1890 and received the name “Speeder” on Decoration Day in 1900 at a main vs. Jim McHugo when McHugo remarked “ain’t they speedy little devils.” A sailor got two pair of fowl in the Dominican Republic and while returning to New York aboard ship one of the roosters was knocked overboard and lost while being sparred. The remaining rooster and two hens were brought to Fort Plain. These fowl came grey, blue and pyle in color with dark legs, balck eyes, and straight combs. Phil purchased a hen from Burnell Shelton of Mississippi. She had a rose comb, dark legs, and eyes. This hen was bred to one of the grey Dominican stags and the fowl from this mating came grey, blue-grey, and brown-red with dark legs and eyes. A few years later Phil purchased a blue-grey rooster from Earl Walrath of Fort Plain. This rooster was bred on the daughters of the first mating of the Shelton hen and Dominican stag. Through years of selective breeding the rose comb was eliminated. The Speeders come grey and brown-red with dark legs and eyes. They are known as excellent cutting fowl.

by Full drop
{October 1969}

Unfortunately Mr. Murphy was a reticent man, not only about chicken his chickens but everything in his life. he considered his affairs his own business and saw no reason to discuss them with any others, particularly acquaintances. had he been willing to discuss his experiences with game chickens, he could have passed on some information to fraternity that should have been and, I believe, would have been of tremendous value to all of us, particularly in regarding to breeding.

From the time i first saw him at Troy, NY , fighting a main, in late 1920 `s until 1942 , he showed consistently the most uniform fowl i have ever seen show.. don `t misunderstand me, he could be and was whipped quite often. but, he won a big majority of his mains and win or lose, his fowl looked and fought alike. as i recall, he won, during his career in cocking, forty-nine stag mains and lost none.

But let `s go back to the beginning, and please remember much of what I write is hear say.

I was not around ninety years ago when he was born, but I am beginning to feel I was. In spite of the fact he was part owner of schley and company. A large brokerage firm.

He was born only Long Island, NY. And at the age of 14 he began working around the harness horse track near his home. The owner of the horses and the trainer to a liking to him helped him in many ways. After he got to driving, some of the owners, who were in one-way or another interested in the stock market, gave him tips on the market, helped him financially.

Many of the Horsemen were interested in cockfighting. And, at the time, when Murphy descended two get into it on his own, cocking was in full swing the in and around you New York City.

Presumably, he had made his mark has a harness driver and had money to do what he’d please. It was said at one time three or four horses owners he drove for had deposit in Syracuse, New York bank $100,000 which he could draw on at any time for he saw a horse that, in his opinion, would do them some good. Eventually, of course, he became one of the greatest harness horse drivers of all times. As far as I know, he bred no horses at any time. He bought what he thought were good ones in broke records with a great many of them can.

When he got ready to go into cocking in a big way, he, of course, needed good fowl to go began thus began, what some have called, the quest internal. He could have gotten fowl from most anyone he desired the beginning of the independent nature he wanted his own and didn’t want anyone to know what they were, or where they came from. He’d begin buying fowl here and there and got exactly nowhere. From the little I knew of Murphy, I am convinced no on ever knew, or ever will no, exactly what his fowl where or where he got them.

There are two stories about it. Nick downes, and old Irish man who worked for him for 30 , claimed the Murphy fowl were lawman whitehackles. John Hoy, a great cocker around 1900 until his death in 1929, work for Murphy for seven years as a feeder and, Hoy was associated with Billy lawman and had the lawman whitehackles and muffs. He took some of the fowl to Murphies place and a great many of the a more breed, raised and fought by and for Murphy. And, after hoy left Murphy, some of the fowl remained. They were the fowl Murphy continued to raise and fight.

Another version of the a Murphy fowl is this; a horse men visited Murphy onetime and went to a main he was fighting. This was before Hoy which to work for Murphy. He lost the main, and the Horsemen who knew something of cocking told Murphy his fowl were no good, and if he intended to continue main fighting he would have to get something better. Murphy told him he knew that, but did not want to get him from Friends or men he would be fighting against, and he did nowhere else to get them. The Horsemen asked him if he was willing to pay a good price for fowl and he told him he would. The promised to get him some good ones. Not long after that, 15 chickens arrived, either five Cocks and team hens or ten Cocks and five hens, from long John Murphy of Ontario, Canada. A bill came with them for $1,500. I know that Murphy did get out from long John on several occasions, because his son is still very much alive and knows about it. At the time in Canada, there was a family of whitehackles fowl that were saved to have been some of the best fowl to land there. They came to Canada from Ireland, and long john had some of them, although he wasn’t the man to imported the them. Long John also had some Duryea fowl. As I recall, long John son said he sent Murphy, at one time, 12 Cock that were half the whitehackles blood and half the Duryea blood.

So, the readers can take their choice as to have the T.W.Murphy fowl were bred and where they came from. It is not only possible, but probably, that Murphy combined the blend of the long John and lawman whitehackles was to make his own family.

A stated above, the Murphy fowl were very uniform in every way, looks, fighting style and gameness. They were sort of a rusty red with white in wings and tail, call straight comb and all yellow legs and beaks. I have heard that some of his fowl came with white legs, and that he killed them. It was also said when fowl was shipped to him from anywhere he removed the shipping labels so no one would know where they came from. I can believe that as he was one of the most secretive men I have to ever know.

One time, he was fighting Marsh a main at Troy and to be surprised if everyone came in with a main of stags that looked as though they might be red quills or crosses of red quills. They whipped marsh six straight fights and won the main. No one ever knew what they were or where they came from, or if Murphy raised them, or got them from some else. no one ever saw him again with fowl that looked anything like them.

Murphy Whitehackles
By Spectator (Nov. 1973)

The exact composition of the Murphy Whitehackles will never be known. Tom Murphy undoubtedly was the greatest short heel cocker in the history of American cocking. During one span of years he won 49 consecutive stag mains without a loss against the finest cockers the country could produce. He also was the least communicative. He followed to the letter the old biblical admonition “let not your right hand know what your left hand doeth.”

Nick Downes, his long time cocker trainer, may have known more or less of the Murphy Whitehackle bloodlines but Nick has been dead for many years, and he was never much of a talker in his lifetime either. All of Nick’s successors and they were numerous were kept in complete ignorance of the Murphy bloodlines and breeding practices. One such man complained, “I never know what is going on around here. He switches the cocks and hens around in the brood pens so often I can’t keep track of them, and I have no idea of which eggs he keeps and which ones he destroys.”

One time Mr. Murphy telephoned me requesting a certain cock to breed. I had given the cock to another friend, but recalled him for Mr. Murphy’s use. A few weeks later I spent the night at Mr. Murphy’s home where we spent considerable time looking over his numerous cocks, stags and brood pens. Not once did he mention the cock I had sent to him, nor did I see him. Then Mr. Murphy was called to the house to answer the telephone. At that same time I heard a cock crow behind a high solid board fence. I lifted myself up the fence in order to see over it and there was my cock in with two beautiful hens. He never referred to the mating, nor did I. That’s how we got along together.

Here is the story, which Mr. Murphy gave me as to the origin of his fowl. When I was a boy (which would have been in the 1880’s) there was an old Irishman who lived about 10 miles form my home on Long Island who had two old Whitehackle hens which I had my heart set upon. I used to walk over there at every opportunity just to look at them. But the old man would not let them go; he said he would not part with them for less than $50.00. The only way I had to earn any money was to shoot quail that I could sell for .25 cents a pair. It took me a long time to save $50.00 but I finally made it and went over there to claim my two hens. The old man was reluctant to part with them even then. Said I should take two younger hens or pullets., but I said no, that I wanted those two particular hens. Then he said he could not catch them because they roosted in the tall trees near his house. I said I could climb trees. So I waited until it got dark and the hens had gone to roost and then I climbed the tree and got the two hens. I walked the ten miles back home after dark with the two hens under each arm, and they were the foundation of my fowl.”

Mr. Murphy never told me to what cock he bred the two hens, or how the breeding operation was conducted during the succeeding years, just that and nothing more. But when I first knew him in the 1920’s, he had a strain established of uniform black red fowl that were well nigh invincible; terrific fighters and cutters with gameness to spare. Nick Downes was his cocker at that time and as I look back upon it, much of the success properly should be attributed to Nick’s superb conditioning procedure. Mr. Murphy was a master breeder. One of the greatest in the annuals of American cocking. Unfortunatley he divulged few of his breeding secrets to anyone. Least of all did he divulge them to the men who worked for him: Jimmy Chipps, Andy Thomason, Johnnie Monin, and Hienie Mathesius. He quarreled with all of them to the end of his days and did everything in his power to keep them ignorant of his methods.

One time, twenty odd years ago, he sent me one of his choicest stags to breed. He crated and shipped the stag himself and requested me when returning his shipping crate to send it from a different location in order that his help would not know where the stag had gone. So I drove 50 miles to another express office in order to keep Mr. Murphy’s employees in the dark as to the stag’s whereabouts.

Incidentally, the stag was a great disappointment to me. He had a tremendous body, but short hackle and a short tail with a great long curved bill like some of those seashore birds you see. I called him “the curlew” after one of them. He lived only one year before he developed a huge canker on his neck and died. But before he checked out, I bred him in late August to a fine spangled Whitehackle hen that belonged to a friend of mine. Only four chicks came from the mating, two stags and two pullets, which on the day hatched I placed in a cole hod and took over to my friend, since I did not want to be bothered with late hatched chicks. But these four little “Curlews” made history. All four were bred extensively for years. One pullet when mated to a Blonde Rollan cock produced stags that won the Lally for Joe Morgan over Sweater McGinnis when Sweater was at his peak. Other offspring from these Curlews won many matches in the Claymore for me and more offspring were big winners throughout New England for years.
All of the original blood is gone now except for mere traces here and there, but it goes to show the genius of that master breeder, Thomas W. Murphy.

I wish it were possible to record a more complete account of the great Murphy Whitehackles, but so many of his close friends have gone-Walter Kelso, John Madigan, Messrs. Hatch, Flaherty, and Story. Most of all Nick Downes who probably had more real knowledge of the fowl than anyone. Mr. Murphy confided in no one, least of all his employees. All chicks were hatched in an incubator in his basement for which he used to remove the day old chicks, take them in a tray to his little room in the house where he had a roll top desk. There he would toe mark them himself, cauterizing the hole with barbershop caustic on the end of a match, enter the record in a little black book which he carried in his inside coat pocket and which no one, No ONE, ever saw. The world is poorer from Mr. Murphy not sharing his genius with the rest of us.


By Johnny Jumper

“Cecil brought me a rooster to train one time…and this rooster was very noisy. He was happy, happy all the time. So, I trained him and uh I’d exercise him and he was just so noisy. He had a great mental attitude. So, I named him Radio. I gave him the name Radio cause he talked all the time. And that…that name has stuck with those chickens since 1962. And course people call “you the man that invented uh come up with the radios?” and I say well I come up with this one rooster you know and so I bred him to 1 kelso hen then I bred him back to 7/8 of him and that’s how the…and I still have that family to this day. We call them Radios but they are red chickens with yellow legs. Their basic bloodline was 1/2 whitehackle I was telling you about and 1/2 murphy. They come from Mr. Murphy up in New York. That’s what the rooster was made up out of, but we still have them today and they have such a great mental attitude. That’s so important…the mental attitude.”

Blue Legged Radio
by Marty Dutcher

The origin I’m about to tell you is from the originator direct so any disagreements with this should be written to me direct, as they did to the Marsh Butchers. I’m not writing a story about what someone else told me. You are getting it from the horse’s mouth as it was originated here on my two farms, one farm for breeding the other for experimenting.

It all started out back in the early 80’s when I was living in the Philippines. I saw Jumper Radios being fought in the biggest and toughest pits on all the islands, (Leyte, Luzon, and Negros Oriental) and I wondered where they came from because only the Chinese and rich Filipinos could afford them, not the so called back yard breeders – and they (Radios) were winning much more than their share so if you had money enough to bet on them you would win nearly 75% of the time. But if in a Bacolod City Pit be careful, because in this area thye had 90% Greys and the Greys by the rich cockers were hard to beat and they cuold of been Jumper Greys, maybe bought from Ray Al;exander because Ray came yearly to the Philippines at that time and was a personal friend of Jorge Araneta who owned the largest pit in Manila, which I lived only a short distance from. Many of the best birds in the Philippines came from the USA as well as Richard Bates, an American cocker, living in Cavite and tough to beat.

I decided when I returned to the USA during the molt season I’d try to buy a Radio trio. I inquired where these Radios came from and everybody told me they were Jumper Radios. So what diid I do as soon as I returned to the USA, I called Jumper and made an appointment to meet him at his farm on a Sunday afternoon. I was not only impressed with him and his set up but his birds also, so I made an offer to buy. Well, fortunately he refused to sell me any in the USA unless I payed him up front and only take delivery to my farm in the Philippines. Well this a no-no for any American cocker because my import permit cost thousands and he knew I would not accept such a ridiculous offer so I left without any Radios. My intent was to take only the so called pure Radio eggs to the Philippines and hatch them in the very hot country they were going to fight in.

I inquired at Clear Creek II Pit and Pumpkin Valley and was told that a cocker named Dennis Oakley was beating every one with his strain of Radios. So the following Sunday I went to Dennis’ yard and was really impressed with his Radios that he sparred for me. It boiled down to two pure Bull stags, so he knowing his fowl, I asked him to pick the one he thought would make the best brood cock. It ended up dark red and white legged. It had large diameter legs and the upper part of the leg was really muscled and right away I knew he had plenty of lower power. His eyes were big, his wings tough in back and the spurs were very low on his legs. I asked him to show me his pure hens and pullets and I picked out two of the smallest pullets he had, as in the Philippines many of the Radio hens were geting entirely too big with age, something that I refised to breed to.

This was two years before Dennis became cocker of the Year at Cooper State. Thank goodnes Jumper didn’t sell to me because every bit of my foundation Radios have turned out to be superior – which I accept as pure luck. God was on my side that Sunday.
Well, as the years passed Dennis Oakley became Cocker of the Year at Clear Creek II, our local pit, which is tough and if you don’t believe me try it or ask Oscar, Ray Alexander, Carol NeSmith and the top cockers in Alabama and Tennessee. Well to face the facts, here is the same blood that I’m sitting on that Dennis beat the big boys with so I was smart enough to ask the genetic experts how to breed them. I had already asked Harry Parr, after reading his book on “The Breeding of Game Fowl” and I asked Dr. Cocker as well as Dr. Goan of the University of Tennessee and also M.L. Fernando a genetic expert in the Philippines, and Gerald Ware of Arkansas. I knew how to maintain the pure family but I wanted to set a family from a cross because I had so called pure families of Wm McRae Hatch and YLH, GLH, which I understand from Carol NeSmith of Black Water Farms were Sweater McGinnis Hatch and I bred both of Carol’s YLH and green legged Hatch to my Radio cock. I have plenty of tyson single mate pens so I put a pure Radio hen in pen number one and in pen number two I put my Wm McRae Hatch hen, and in pen number three I put a Ray Alexander pure LRH hen, in pen number four I put a pure Carol NeSmith GLH hen, in pen number five I put a pure Carol NeSmith GLH hen, in pen number six I put a pure Oakley Kelso hen. So I bred pure to pure on six hens hoping that if I did get the “nick” I could get repeats. I moved my Radio cock everyday.

Well, much to my surprise, out of two of my WmMcRae hens, when her pullets were four months old they had blue legs which I understand now but didn’t at the time until Gerald Ware and Harry Parr explained recessive genes and XX and XY genes. So naturally I bred back all my Blue legged daughters to their father a white legged Radio but much to my surprise still only half my pullets came blue legged. So I did it the years of 1988 thru 1991 and in conjunction with breeding back all the pullets ot their father after the 4th generation, I bred a blue legged Radio stag to a blue legged Radio pullet and I’m now convinced it is from the Genetic trait Blue to Blue that usually produces Blue and has been set as a family as I’m getting repeats and have decided now to produce Hybrids that would be a 3-way cross consisting of 1/2 Radio 1/4 Hatch and 1/4 Kelso. I’ll have 64 single mate pens all breeding hybrids because the best combination could be 1/2 Radio 1/4 Hatch and 1/4 LRH. If I had a Harry Parr Grey stag I’d use him on top of my other breeds including my pure Radio pullets.

I saw a show of cocks fight at Clear Creek I that was only 1/4 Grey and he beat them all going 5-0 and ended up with the por. Ray Alexander did the impossible and went 11-1 in the 12-cock short knife in the toughest pit in the world using Harry Parr’s pure Grey cocks on top of Ray’s pure Democrat hens. I’ll try to catch him some day using Harry Parr’s pure Grey cocks top of my pure Radio hens also on my 1/2 Radio 1/2 LRH hens. I have never had any 4-way crosses on my yard period. That’s what they have in the Philippines and many don’t know it but when American cocker’s imported battle cross fowl into the Philippines for a specific derby, many of them imported a 3-way or 4-way cross, something that I have never ever used for breeding.
If the Lord is willing and the creks don’t go dry, I’ll be in Mexico with my Blue Legged radios and crosses in 1992. So I have a lot of people to thank because it was pure luck on my part and I fel that most the credit goes to the most famous breeders of alltime, the great Wm McRae. He put something in his Hatch blood that was instrumental in getting blue elgs because my pure hens and their daughters had greenish legs with a blue tint. Please do not misunderstand me as it makes no difference to me what color his legs are as I had one coming one leg white and one leg blue and they are barn burners but I really believe by using this Blue Legged Radio cock in producing a two or three way cross, could and should, make the best battle fowl. And once you hit the “nick” be satisfied and make repeats the way.
No way can I tell you with accuracy what went in this excellent Hatch blood and anyone that tries is completely hear say as all Hatch families have so many different bloods in them I doubt anyone knows. But I do know from experience, that whatever Mr. McRae put into his was the right blood. My opinion is for sure Blue face Hatch and McLean Hatch, because a lot of the offspring had greenish blue tint on their legs. So my expectations was to experiment and brred for 3-way battle fowl only, as it was pure luck how I got a true fmily of Radios. I started out only trying to get a battle cross of 1/2 Radio 1/2 Wm McRae and after much experimenting found the right combination. Now after four generations was a 1/2 + 1/2 and I was smart enough to produce this end of it not as a family and have found out that the blood from a 3-way cross is the best for battle fowl. Without the family to begin with you can’t get the 3-way cross. Remember, it’s very dangerous using Hatch blood as a cross, as there are many, many Hatch families that are croses to begin with so don’t give up, try them all. I have never once bred a brother to a sister so Ishould not end up with a bag of worms and many unknowns. Many cockers who think they have a 2-way cross probably have a 3-way cross.

So I will end this true Radio story by admitting it was pure luck and admit it was a team effort not by me alone and hopefully it can be one of the best pure families that you can cross to your best families and end up being some of the best battle folw of the 1990’s. Forget about the 1960’s, as competition today is by far the toughest ever. And hopefully they will not do to this breed what they did to the famous Marsh Butchers and stil call them Marsh Butchers. Come see me and I’ll show you the “proof of the pudding.” Good luck!


ROUNDHEADS: The Roundheads originated by crossing Jap & Asil Orientals with Straight Comb Bankava Mediterranean fowl such as English and American Straight Combs. This began long years ago and is currently practiced (1966). The product is Allen Roundheads, Bostons, Saunders, Sheltons, Lacey’s, Hulseys, Perkins, Killers, Claret Roundheads, Negros, Mayberry, Cowan, Lundy, etc. Allen made his first Roundheads from Grist-Gradys fowl by breeding to the Oriental side around 1900. A second Allen Family were an importation from Massachusetts of Dr. Saunders Roundheads in the early 1920’s.

LACEY ROUNDHEAD hen. Originated by the late Judge Lacey of Alabama. Smart, one stroke clippers who seldom had body contact with opponent. Often stayed sound and unscratched to an old age. Judge Lacey was a master breeder and like Mr. Allen believed in the invincible. After Mr. Allen, Judge Lacey’s Fowl dominated the field and for years after his death. Perhaps as important was the Judge’s influence in preventing his associates from using lesser fowl.

Alabama Roundheads
by H.H Cowan & T.K. Bruner (1924)

This story begins 45 years ago when I was born into the chicken game and which I have played in its every phase. I have bought, fed, fought, heeled and handled cocks of many different strains and crosses, and probably have done as much experimenting as any man of my years. It is my opinion that there is no one best strain of fowl and no one best feeder, but there are many of both in class “A” and when you make a main nowadays for real money you are sure to meet them. It seems the days of monopoly in the cocking game have passed, which I attribute to renewed interest in the sport and the increased flow of money and brains into the game.

I do not claim to have originated the best strain of the pit games in the world in my Alabama Roundheads, but the fact that they have won the majority of their fights and kept pace with the ever-increasing speed of the game for the past twenty years, under all rules and any length of gaff, is very gratifying.

For the past several years I have done most of my fighting at Memphis, Tenn., where my fowl were known as Alabama Cocks, thus theur name Alabama Roundheads. My fowl have passed the experimental stage, having their characteristics inbred into them, and I feel with my system of breeding I can hold them at their present standard for years to come.

Many years ago when Mr. Allen and Mr. Shelton were defeating all opposition with their great strain of Roundheads, I attended just about all the mains and tournaments in which they were entered, forming an acquaintance and finally friendship with Mr. Shelton, as he was a man whom to know was to like, being one of those old time Southern gentlemen-sportsmen who at one time so characterized the gentility of the Old South. In his passing the fraternity lost one of its great uplifters and the South one of its best citizens. Through this association I became familiar with the history and breeding of the Allen Roundheads and secured my first of these from Mr. Shelton, personally, when at their best, and of his best. I fought them pure for a number of years. From my knowledge of the Allen Roundheads they were originated from a Saunders Roundhead cock bred over Col. Grist Grady hens and then bred closely to the Sauders side. I was breeding and fighting these Roundheads continuously each season and it gradually became apparent to me that they were being bred a bit too close to cope with the strong, rough cocks they were having to meet. It is my opinion, from both experience and observation, that the old time Allen Roundheads with their smart side-stepping tactics and phenomenal sparring qualities and rapid straight hip blows while in the air, could best most cocks they met in the early stages of the battle.

I think this excellent quality was their chief asset and enabled them to make one of the best, if not the best, pit records of any Southern strains. But in the latter stages of battle, when it came down to a give-and-take, I have never thought they excelled, and I was convinced that if they were to keep pace with the game and maintain their record they must be bred to fight as efficiently when the battle came down to a “tug of war” as in the beginning of a fight. I made several unsuccessful experiments with this end in view, but I kept on trying and about fifteen years ago I became acquainted with the great characteristics of the old time Mahoney Gull fowl, with their desperate gameness, strong constitutions and deadly heel. These being the qualities I wished to add to the already great fighting qualities of the Allen Roundheads, I decided to make an infusion of this blood. I secured a royally bred Gull cock of the old school, through friendship with a source whence no one has ever been able to buy a feather to my knowledge, and bred him over my Roundhead hens.

The Gulls being a yellow and white leg strain of black breasted reds with few exceptions of medium station, the type and color was only slightly changed from this cross; but the plumage was longer and much improved. The plumage of the Gull fowl is of a marked characteristic, consisting of a very broad feather extremely lomg and with a quill of whale-bone toughness. Such plumage enables a cock to be fought several times during a season in good feathers.

The first cross were strong, tough and desperately game. I bred back to the Roundhead side, fighting and testing them. Each year’s breeding showed an improvement over the preceding one, and kept this up until they again were back to the Roundhead type, showing all the old time fighting qualities of the Allen Roundheads, yet this was backed by strength and endurance, making them more efficient cocks at any stage of battle.

It is my experience that any cocks must have the ability and inhibition to go all the way, as well as great scoring or starting, in order to hold their own in cock fighting of the present day. I fought them with fair success a few years and studied them closely, and finally reached the conclusion that their ability to strike rapidly and efficiently from any angle when in close quarters could be improved upon. Knowing this quality to be one of the outstanding characteristics of the Grist Gradys their foundation stock, I made a fresh infusion of this old reliable blood.

I secured a cock that proved to be of the right sort and his produce were deep game and he imparted the quality I had aimed at to a marked degree, without the loss of any other essential quality. Thye proved to be a real combination fighting cocks, efficient at any stage of battle, which their record shows. By inbreeding anfd line breeding to the outstanding individuals for the past 12 years these qualities have been stamped into them, until they come uniform in type and action. The Alabam Roundheads are practically of the same color and type as the Allen Roundheads. Cocks are black breasted reds with white or yellow legs, but a pumpkin or a deep cherry red or a spangle occurs occasionally, as well as both straight and pea-combs. The hens come from light buff to wheaten, occasionally a green or dark legged fowl will appear among the offspring. All these slight variations come honestly from their foundation blood; the green or dark legs from the Redquill in the Gradys, and the straight combs from both the Gulls and Gradys. However, the largest proportion of them come with white and yellow legs, pea-combs and in color black breasted reds.

For the past eight years I have done most of my fighting at Memphis, Tenn., in combination with Bruner and Herron. Bruner doing all the honors in the cock house and pit. I consider him a fine judge of a cock and among the best feeders in the South. He knows what to expect of a cock, and if they had not been right in every respect he would have found it out several years ago and passed them up. He tests nearly every loser and they have to be right for ihm or he has no use for them. He has been breeding the Alabama Roundheads ten years and has greatly assisted me in bringing these fowl to their present state of excellence by his help and advice in selecting brood fowl from the performance of the cocks in the pit. Mr. Bruner has conditioned and fought more of these cocks possibly than any other man, knows them through and through, as he has practically lived in the cock house with them for the past several years.


For the original cock of this family I am forever indebted to DR.Fred Saunders of Salem Masacheusetts. I paid him the highest price ever paid for a gamecock in America. I took this cock and bred him a Grist yellow legged Grady hen. I raised 4 stags and 7 pullets.I then bred the old cock back to his daughter each season line breeding him until his offspring were 1/8 to 1/16 Grady and Balance Roundhead.

By this method I increased size,station bone and muscle. They nearly all come yellow legged and beaks, roundhead,often with white in their wings. The old cock was a spangle. I then got from a Mr.John M.Vines of Jefferson Texas,a very old cocker,3 hens of his old inbred Cripple Tony family.These hens were dark fowl and legs.I bred the old original Roundhead to these hens.

The cross was a hit,and kept breeding the old cock to his daughters each season, breeding to the Roundhead side.This stock often throws a dark pullet or stag,coming of couse from the Cripple Tony blood.This family of Roundheads is one the greatest on earth.They are dodgers and smart cocks, like the pro fighter of today they use their head as well as their feet and they have won more mains and tournaments than any cocks known to the south.

No better description can be given of these cocks then that given by the honorable Sol P.McCall of New Orleans and Allison Wells of New Orleans. They come white and yellow legged and run from 4-08 to 6-08.The hens of this family are the smallest of any gamefowl known to me.

Bowen Roundheads
by Narragansett (1973)

Most famous strains of game fowl take their names from the men who originated the families. In the case of the Bowen Roundheads the name came not from the man who created them, but rather from the one who destroyed them.

Myron J. Bowen lived in Cold River, New Hampshire, just across the Connecticut River from Bellows Falls, Vermont, which river forms the boundry between the two states. Since Cold River had no post office, Mr. Bowen’s mail was always addressed to Bellows Falls, Vermont. He was born in 1870 and died in 1955 at the age of 85. He was active in cocking circles right up to the day of his death, which classifies him to us of the present generation as being one of the real old timers.

M.J. as his many friends affectionately knew him, was a typical chicken man. He did not know the first thing about breeding, rearing, conditioning, heeling, handling or any phase of the sport. He just loved game chickens and loved to fight them and talk about them. And how he could talk about them! They were his sword, shield, buckles and Bible all rolled into one. Through his extensive enthusiastic correspondence with prominent cockers from one end of the country to the other, his fowl gradually became associated with his name even though he contributed nothing to them other than their downfall.

M.J. had a heart bigger than all outdoors. Any cocker who visited him or corresponded with him and spoke favorably of his fowl got the choicest stock on his place at the time. Nothing was with held. If you praised his great production brood cock, you got him. Either for nothing or nearly nothing. Eventually such generosity proved his undoing, or at least the undoing of his original fowl. Those of you who read this and received fowl from old M.J. can be sure of one thing, you got the best he had at the time. If you got fowl bred after 1940, the strain was going downhill, but there was still enough of the original Roundhead blood in them to make them valuable, for the originals were the greatest, the most uniform, the most potent family of game fowl I have ever known.

Unfortunately, few men knew about or procured any of the original Roundhead stock of the 1930’s. And those who did, including myself, did not know enough to breed them pure. I doubt if there is in existence today any fowl containing over 15 percent of that original blood, probably not that much.

So what were the original called today? Bowen Roundhead as they are.

The originals came from Henry Bradford, Senior, of Benningotn, Vermont. Probably Mr. Bradford himself would not claim that he originated them, but where they came to him, I don’t know. His son, Henry E. Bradford, was still living in Bennington, Vermont, the last I knew and may still be alive.

Also there was a family named Statia of that same city, ftaher and sons, who were the Bradford’s cockers both senior and junior. Some of them may still be there, though even the boy would be in their 70’s or 80’s now. Other than these few individuals, I know of no one who would go back farther than the original Bradford, Senior, Roundhead fowl.

Mr. Bradford referred to his fowl as the Sanders Roundheads. They were a distinctive type, typical of what were known as the Boston Roundheads from Marblehead, Mass. Bright red plumage, jet black breasts and tails, fiery red eyes, and bright yellow legs. I never saw a white, brown, ginger or any other colored feather on them: very tight, tough feathers. In fact they were so close feathered that they were heavier than they appeared to the eye. Feathers were relatively long and full for Roundheads, though they did not have the heavy shawls and tails of some squareheaded strains. Bodies were round and short coupled from front to back that gave them excellent balance. Never a slab sided one. In station, above average. The legs and bone structure on the light side, but tough bone. The hens a light wheaten color, almost creamy. Fan tails were firmly set on. A little on the high side and above average for Roundheads. Tight, tough feathers. Both hens and cocks seemed a lot heavier and fuller in hand than they did on range.

In disposition the cocks were fiery and aggressive both in the pie and on the yard. Those fiery red eyes meant just what they said. Old Bowen used to say, “Don’t ever get one of these cocks mad at you. He will never forget or forgive. He will come for you as long as he lives.” I’ve seen one fly twenty feet through the air to get at a stranger who approached his coop. Handled carefully and respectfully they were gentle enough. Except when they were with hens in the breeding season. At such times they did not any males in their brood pens – you or anyone else.

In the pit they were aggressiveness personfied. All they had in mind was to kill that other rooster as quickly as possible. Many times this proved to be a handicap. For often they would fight themselves out before putting the opponent away and become helpless. They were strictly a single stroke fowl. The only family of Roundheads I ever knew to possess this characteristic. Their blows were delivered with a snap and fast. Always landed in perfect balance, ready to snap the next lick; high-headed, quick breaking. I never knew one to give other than his full effort to the last breath. To the very end they hit to kill, not just to defend themselves or to ward off the opponent.

So these were the round-headed fowl which M.J. Bowen inherited from Mr. Henry Bradford, Sr. upon the latter’s death in about 1930. To these hens he bred a wonderful Shelto Roundhead cock that Henry Bradofrd, Junior had purchased for large sum. You may ask, “How come Bowen got these fowl?”

Well, Henry Bradford, Jr., married Bowen’s daughter, and young Henry had that typical Vermont independence developed in him to the point where he was unwilling to carry on the family cocking tradition with his old man’s fowl, but was determined to establish a reputation of his own with fowl of his own. He did right well at it too, especially after he teamed up with Otto Kozgarten who lived nearby in New York state. Anyhow, young Henry gave his father’s fowl to his father-in-law, Myron J. Bowen. What happened to the rest of the original fowl I never learned. Mr. Bradford, Sr. had an extensive cocking operation and all Bowen got was a pen of hens and this one cock. Maybe young Henry killed all the rest. He was the kind who would. I never heard of anyone else getting any of the fowl after the father’s death. People were funny about theuir fowl 40 or 50 years ago. They would kill every bird on the place rather than have a feather get to anyone else. That’s sort of hard for us to understand today but it was standard practice then. I remember one old fellow telling me he would kill any man who stole one of his hens. He meant it too. You or I would not give a dime for one of them but that’s the way he felt about it. The Bradford’s were immensely wealthy so they could do as they pleased.

The Shelton Roundhead cock lived for only two years. Accordingly, for the next six or seven years or so, all the breeding was to the Bradford hen side of the line. This breeding operation Bowen conducted in a haphazard manner. He never single mated or kept any sort of records, he just put them together and let nature take its course. He was not even selecetive of the individuals bred. “What difference does it make?” he used to say. “They are all the same blood.” As a result of this lack of selectivity and by indiscriminate inbreeding, by about 1939 or after six or seven generations, the fowl started coming smaller, more nervous and fragile, fought themselves out quickly and no longer had the body strength to match the dynamic spirit (They got broken legs, wings, and all that sort of thing.).

In order to beef them up he got a Saunders Roundhead hen from Georgia. This new blood did beef them up too. The offspring came larger and stringer and won more. But the character of the fowl changed with it, both physically and in disposition and fighting style. They were good, but they lack the sterling qualities of the original Bradfords. These were the fowl Bowen was selling everywhere during the 40’s. The recipients almost universally had good success with them. There was still enough of the original Bradford in them to make them valuable, especially in the early 40’s.

Then the indiscriminate matings and non selective inbreeding started all over again and since he did not have as sound stock to start with as he inherited in 1930, by 1945 the family was pretty shot.

It’s a pity too, for the original Bradford or Saunders, or Boston Roundheads as Bowen got them in 1930 were the greatest fowl for crossing inot a line that I have ever know. Even in the late 40’s enough of the golden virtues remained to revive many a faltering family if you got hold of the right individual. At least I don’t know of any and I had it available to me 100 percent for years but did not recognize its value until too late.

Old M.J. was a grand old guy: honest, honorable, generous and loyal. I wish it were possible to turn the clock back 40 years for him, for me and most of all for the marvelous Roundhead fowl on his farm beneath the towering white pines at Bellows Falls.

How our family of Lacy Roundheads has been carried on by friends and me since 1942.
By: George Wood
Contributed by: Ray Boles

Judge Ernest Lacy of Jasper, Alabama, who was my mother’s brother, originated the strain of roundheads which bears his name in 1916. They were basically of Allen and Shelton bloodlines. Through the years Uncle Ernest, as I called him, wrote several times outlining how the Lacy Roundhead strain was established. I have copies of several of his letters giving their history, and this information has been published in the gamefowl journals and shared with friends who are interested in the Lacy Roundhead family. Uncle Ernest died in November 1942. That is now almost 50 years ago. Cockers who carry on the Lacys have asked me to write an account of how the family of Lacys which friends and I have carried on has been bred during those 50 years. The following is an account of our breeding of this line Lacys during those years.

(Author’s Note: This account is not for publication in any journals or otherwise during my lifetime. I do not approve of cockers promoting their fowl through writing about them in the gamefowl journals, and I do not want to be guilty of that practice. Also, it is my observation that writings about a family of fowl in the journals generally promotes inquiries about it by chicken raisers of every type and every degree of knowledge and dependability. I do not sell fowl and would not want to receive such inquiries. G.W.)

(Editor’s Note: Our appreciation to the author for allowing us to produce his work on this site. His requests are noted in hope that the general public abides by them.)

Background Information. Uncle Ernest and I were the only members of our family who cared for game chickens. In fact, an aunt (Uncle Ernest’s sister) who did not approve of cockfighting said when her only grandchild was born, Oh, I hope he won’t like game chickens. Clearly, she considered a liking of gamefowl to be a family weakness. From the time I was a very small boy I always had bantams, in spite of living in Birmingham, making numerous moves and other obstacles. I was completely fascinated by them and absorbed in raising them. Not until I was in high school did I learn that Uncle Ernest had game chickens and a strain of his own which was known and respected throughout the country. During my high school years, when I visited in Jasper, Uncle Ernest would take me with him to visit the walks where his chickens were raised. He lived in town and did not keep fowl himself, but had excellent walks where people kept them for him. It was a sight to see those beautiful Lacy cocks as they would come up on these walks’ faces red, feathers shining, bursting with vitality, bright eyes seeing everything that moved. They made a lasting impression on me. I’ve loved a good roundhead cock since those days. Uncle Ernest died unexpectedly of a heart attack in November 1942, while visiting a yard of his chickens with his close friend and cocking partner, Manley Daniel. At that time, I had been drafted into the army and was about to be sent overseas. A few months later I was sent overseas and spent the next 27 months in a 4.2 chemical mortor – battalion fighting in the European Theatre of Operations. Before leaving for overseas, I got a week-end pass and made arrangements for a fine old man who kept chickens for my uncle to keep two or three selected trios of broodfowl for me and to maintain another yard on a walk nearby where some of Uncle Ernest’s best fowl were kept. When I returned from World War II, I found a tale of woe with my chickens. The old friend who was to care for them had taken a war job in another city and had not raised any young from the brood fowl I’d left with him. One old brood cock had died and another was sterile. He had brought chickens from other of Uncle Ernest’s walks, many of them being crossed with other breeds and put them on the yard where my pure Lacys were to have been kept and bred. The result was that I had only a few old Lacy hens from my uncle’s yard to carry on with.

My First Years of Breeding (1945-1952). After World War II, I went to Auburn University to study forestry. I found a family in the “colored” quarters of town who agreed to keep a pen of chickens for me. I built a pen in their back yard and brought three old Lacy hens from Uncle Ernest’s yard to Auburn. Having no brood cock left from my uncle’s yard, I wrote Mr. J. T. Shepler of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and asked if he would sell me a cock to breed to these hens. Uncle Ernest and Mr. Shepler had been exchanging fowl for several years and Uncle Ernest considered him an excellent breeder and a “stickler” for deep gameness. Today, if I were in the position I was in at that time, I would seek out the very finest Lacy cock that I could find anywhere to breed to these old Lacy hens. Uncle Ernest had many friends who, I know now, would have been glad to let me have anything they owned. In those days, however, I was shy and afraid of imposing on anyone. So, I wrote and asked Mr. Shepler if he would sell me a cock. Mr. Shepler wrote that he was sending me as a gift as fine a cock as he ever sent my uncle. He said the cock was an “Albany-Claret” and that his father was one of the greatest cocks he had ever seen fight. The Albany-Claret cock Mr. Shepler sent me was not al all impressive in looks. He was a medium red in color, straight comb, yellow legs, rather small. He had one unusual characteristic; he walked with his legs bent, never straightening them out but always having a bend at the knees. I bred this Shepler Albany-Claret cock to the three old Lacy hens and raised several stags and pullets. However, I went to Duke University to get an advance degree in forestry and did not get any of the stags fought. I put the pullets on a yard where Mr. Clyde Clayton of Boldo (near Jasper) was keeping chickens for me. The stags raised from these pullets on Mr. Clayton’s yard killed themselves except for one baby stag before I got home from Duke. It is an indication of the gameness of these stags that except for the baby one, not one beat-up, one-eyed stag remained; they all had killed themselves. I had seen similar indication of very deep gameness in the half Lacy-half Albany-Claret stags that I’d raised the year before at Auburn. The baby stag which survived on this yard was of a different mating. I had taken a small, marked hen from Uncle Ernest’s yard where I left chickens during the war. To her I bred a beautiful Lacy cock belonging to Manley Daniel. Manley had been Uncle Ernest’s close friend and cocking partner for many years. He knew the Lacys intimately, having been closely involved in the breeding, walking and fighting of them almost from the time they were originated. The baby stag left on Clyde Clayton’s yard was from the hen from Uncle Ernest’s yard and Manley’s Lacy cock. The next year, in the late summer, my favorite of the ½ Lacy-½ Albany-Claret hens running under the above stag (from the Lacy hen from Uncle Ernest’s yard and Manley’s cock) stole her nest off in the garden and set. I examined the eggs while she was setting and they were all uniform and appeared to be from one hen. That plus the fact that the nest was out in the weeds and it was the time of year when hens were raising chicks of varying ages and stealing their nests rather than laying together, led me to assume that the eggs were all from this. From this setting of eggs, one stag was raised. He was typical Lacy and did not show the Albany-Claret in his lineage. I showed him to Manley and I’ll always remember his saying, “George, we have winned with many a one that looked just like that.” When I fought this cock as a two-year old, he won a sensational one-pitting fight that brought a roar from the spectators. At pitside I gave this cock to Russell Sutherland and Carl Davis. This cock bred to Russell and Carl’s Lacy hens produced the best Lacy Roundheads any of us have seen since Uncle Ernest had them at their best. Not only were they outstanding battle fowl, but with everything they were bred to, first class fowl were produced. Carl and Russell and I bred primarily to this cross of the cock I gave them and their hens as our main line of Lacys from that time on. We exchanged brood fowl so frequently that our Lacys have been essentially the same bloodlines since the mid-1950’s. My introduction of the Shepler Albany-Claret into our Lacys, which as said above I would not do today, proved to be a fortunate introduction of new blood which “nicked” with and freshened our Lacy family. I was very lucky.

As mentioned, the ¾ Lacy ¼ Albany-Claret cock which I gave to Russell Sutherland and Carl Davis in 1954 bred to their Lacy hens produced such outstanding offspring that we all have bred primarily to this line from that time on. As to the breeding of Carl and Russell’s Lacys: Carl’s father, George Davis of Jasper, and Uncle Ernest were good friends. They fought together, Uncle Ernest furnished Mr. Davis Lacys regularly through the years and he bred one of Mr. Davis’ roundheads into his Lacys. Carl was a young man in his early twenties in those days, and he fed for both his father and Uncle Ernest, helped him with his walks, etc. Uncle Ernest thought the world of Carl. He told me that Carl was as fine a young man as you would find anywhere and that you could believe implicitly anything that he told you. Carl and I later became very close friends and I held him in the same esteem and affection that my uncle did. Russell Sutherland was a young man in Haleyville who loved gamefowl and helped Uncle Ernest walk cocks in Winston County. He especially loved Lacys and Henry Worthan Hulseys. Carl moved to Haleyville in the late 1930’s and he and Russell became cocking partners. At the time of Uncle Ernest’s death, they were out of Lacy blood. They went to Manley Daniel, who as mentioned was Uncle Ernest’s friend and cocking partner and had had the best of the Lacys, and from Manley they got a trio of Lacys. They were very successful with the offspring from this trio, both when fought pure and when crossed. As a matter of breeding interest, it should be pointed out that the lacy hens they bred to the cock I gave them carried 1/8 Newell Roundhead which came from Mr. Ned Toulmin of Toulminville, Alabama. In 1955, Russell Sutherland told me to come up to Haleyville, that he wanted to give me a trio of their Lacys. When we went to the yard, I saw the most beautiful Lacy hen grazing in the weeds that I have ever seen. Evidently, she caught Russell’s eye too, for he “walked” her down and gave her to me. She became a major cornerstone of my breeding. I have never seen before or since a cock or hen which to me was as beautiful as this hen. Her beauty did not lie in long feathers. She was a neat, round bodied, buff colored hen with somewhat short but smooth feathering. Her beauty lay in her proportions and above all in her movements. She was like a ballerina, a symphony in motion, always in perfect balance. I used to watch her with pleasure and with wonder.

When picking seeds in the grass, her stride was wide, smooth and swinging, but when she was in a hurry, her steps were short and very quick, always smooth, her body in perfect balance. When she fought, she was like lightning, crossing her opponents and hitting multiple blows on their backs with amazing speed. As said above, this hen, which I call the Russell hen, was the cornerstone of my breeding. I bred her to a number of different cocks and used the offspring as my main broodfowl. Since her offspring by these cocks comprise much of the foundation of my Lacy family, I will describe the most important cocks she was bred to. As stated previously, most of them were from the cross of the cock I gave Carl and Russell and their Lacy hens. I bred the Russell hen to a son of the ½ Lacy-½ Albany-Claret hen which was the mother to the cock I gave Russell and Carl. From this mating I got the best battle cocks I’ve ever owned and some of the best I’ve ever seen fought.

I bred the Russell hen to a stag Carl gave that was from a son of the cock I gave him bred back to his aunts. The daughters from this mating were some of the best brood hens I’ve ever owned. I bred the Russell hen to a stag Russell gave me that was out of daughters of the cock I gave him and Carl bred to a brother to the Russell hen. From this mating I got a son that was one of my most used brood cocks. This cock was rather light bodied for a Lacy and limber muscled, but well muscled. He had unusually smooth, coordinated movement. He was exceptionally active and energetic, always on the move, but not nervous in disposition. He would look you square in the eye, not mean and wanting to fight you, but not afraid. I liked him very much for this disposition. Most of the Lacys I have had and have let friends have for many years carry his blood. My closest bred fowl were from this cock bred to his sisters, daughters and other relatives. I also bred him to the last of the old hens from the mating of the cock I gave Carl and Russell and their hens.

(Russell and Carl called these the “George Wood” hens and I’ll refer to them this way hereafter in this report). Many of the best Lacys fought in Alabama in the last 25 years have been descended from this mating. I also bred the Russell hen to what was known as the white-tail cock. Friends kept telling me of a little white-tailed roundhead cock which was being fought almost every week in brush fights around Haleyville, always winning. Finally, I learned that when Russell Sutherland picked up the stags on the yard where the George Wood hens were bred to the brother of the Russell hen, he picked up the cock early and when he got the stags there was a baby stag left which was thought to be from the hens and their bull stag sons. Russell gave the baby stag to the owner of the yard where he was bred and the owner sold him for $1.00. This baby stag grew into the white-tailed cock that was winning so many fights. I bought this cock for $25.00, the only time I have ever purchased a cock. Interestingly, this cock turned solid white the year after I bought him and remained white for two or three years. He was turning back red when he got out of his pen and was killed. This cock was a very fine specimen, firm but limber in muscle, well-proportioned and well feathered and with a steady, friendly disposition. His offspring are being carried on today in my lines and those of friends, as will be seen later in this account. I bred the Russell hen to a cock from Carl that had a little Bingham Red in him and got a fine son which made a foundation brood cock for my friend, Noonan Gortney. In those years I made one infusion of other Lacy blood which is carried in small amounts in many of my Lacys today. In the 1960’s I exchanged a pair of Lacys with Hugh Norman. I got first-class roundheads from this cross, very game and capable fighters. Today many of my Lacys carry from one sixteenth to less than one-hundredth of this Hugh Norman Lacy blood.The matting described above were the heart of my breeding during the 1950’s and 1960’s. I was breeding half brother and sister, half uncle to niece, etc. Everything traced back within a few generations to just a few individuals, those individuals being the ones described above. I was breeding very closely. During these years, I fought my generally closely inbred cocks in small derbies with mediocre success. I won an occasional derby but was never a dangerous contender. The cocks were kept is small round stationary pens, never moved from the time they were put in them as stags, then put through a two week keep, usually by an only average feeder or they were scratched in a fly pen by me and fought out of it. Although they did not have an impressive winning record, these small, inbred Lacys showed qualities which were generally admired. They were sought after by those with Lacy blood and by others who wanted to use them for crossing. I will list some of the cockers who have acquired and carried on with these Lacys later in this account. During these same years, Carl Davis was fighting our line of Lacys crossed with power blood with considerable success. (Russell had quit fighting by then.) Carl’s best cocks were ¾ Lacy-¼ Hatch or other power blood. They were some of the best cocks to be found in Alabama, winning consistently in all of the major Alabama pits. If they went to the drag pit with a power cock on equal terms, they would win four times out of five on cutting ability and gameness. It was Carl’s success with his Lacy crosses more than anything else which made cockers in Alabama begin wanting roundheads again. Until then, almost the only thing wanted was pure power blood. Carl’s success showed cockers that a cross of Southern fowl and power blood could produce first class battle fowl. (Hugh Norman knew this. Although he advertised only power breeds at the time, Hugh told me in the early 1960’s that his best cocks were his Lacy-Hatch crosses and that when someone paid him top prices for his battle cocks, the Hatch-Lacy crosses were what he sent them.)

From a Copy of Judge Lacy’s Letter as given to me by Carl Saia

(Page 1 of 2)

In the spring of 1916, I bought from Shelton of Miss. a pea combed, yellow legged, red eyed RH hen – medium station, had white feathers all over body, but not enough to call a spangle color – To this hen I bred a 5.14 white legged, pea comb, black-breasted red, above medium stationed cock that Judge E.W. Long, loaned me. As I then understood it, this E.W. Long cock was out of a Hope of Aberdeen Miss. From this mating I raised about 12 stags & pullets. They were all rather large & high stationed. I selected 5 pullets from this mating and bred them in 1917 to a stag I raised in 1916 out of eggs that Will Gunter & I got from Shelton. Only two stags were raised from that setting of eggs, Gunter got one of the stags and I got the other. Gunter wrote Shelton for that setting of eggs & Shelton wrote Gunter, when the eggs were shipped that there was a small “ash” of blood in the yard that the eggs came from, that he was not “yet ready to divulge”. I never knew exactly what that “ash” of non-roundhead blood was, but got the impression from what I later heard (not from Shelton) & the general confirmation of the 2 stags Gunter & I raised that, that “ash” of blood was red-quill. The 2 stags referred to were pea combed black breasted reds, with red eyes and white legs. As above stated I bred the white legged stag which I got to the five pullets above referred to. From that mating I got some high class fighting, desperately game stags and pullets. This 1917 yard was in the handle of John Barton who then lived at the Dullin place about 4 miles southwest of Jasper.

In 1918 I got from Will Gunter his white legged cock, which he raised in 1916, and bred this cock on pullets raised in 1917 from ny white legged stag above referred to from this I raised five stags & pullets (Bob Burton raised them for me) (the stags won several fights after reaching two years of age.) In 1920 or 1921 I let James G. Oakley take all of the pullets from this 1918 mating.

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I started my roundhead in 1915 by breeding a Hope roundhead cock (loaned me by Judge E. W. Long of Jasper, Ala) on a roundhead hen bought from Burnwell Shelton of Mississippi. In 1917, to avoid too close breeding, I bred a 1/2 Shelton 1/2 Harvey roundhead cock on one yard of my hens, and for the same purpose, in 1921, I bred on one of my yards a cock which Ira Kimbrell secured from Mr. Hugh Buckingham of Memphis. About this time I let Mr. Thos. J. Judge, an attorney living at Birmingham, Ala. have some of my games and since then we have often made exchanges of brood stock. I put no new blood in my stock until 1927, when through Tom Judge, I secured from a party named Ledbetter, who lived near Birmingham a cock called “two-toe” which was placed at the head of one of my yards of roundhead hens. I got some fine cocks and stags from that mating – the best I had ever had up to that time, – I now have two of the hens that I raised from the “two-toe” cock in 1927. While I only got to breed the “two-toe” cock one season, yet every cock, hen, stag and pullet that I have or have had for five years carries more or less of that “two-toe” blood. The old “two-toe” cock was not a very impressive looking bird, and just who raised him is uncertain – His “get” ( sp? I can’t make this out) have made such a good record that quite a number of parties claim he was raised by them – Ledbetter bought him at a fight new B’ham for $5.00 from a party named King. He was a small cock weighing about 4.14 was red-eyed, pea-combed, had yellow legs & almost white ear lobes, was light red in color and medium stationed.

Here is another copy of a letter to Mr. Moreland by the Judge describing his Lacy Roundheads:
June 7, 1937.
Mr. C. E. Moreland
Uniontown, Pa.

Dear Mr. Moreland,

Your letter of June 1st with the $5.00 enclosed therewith was received las Friday. I would have answered your letter sooner but for the fact that I have not been well and have had to have some teeth removed lately which upset me.

In reference to the inquiries contained in your letter will say that originally I secured from Mr. Burnell Shelton, of Mississippi, a very fine looking roundhead hen upon which I bred a white leg cock that Judge E.W. Long, of this place, loaned me. This cock was Charlie Hope cock. From that mating I raised a nice bunch of pullets, enough for two yards of five pullets each, and on each of those yards I bred two white leg roundheads that I got from Shelton the year after he purchased the original hen. Later on I secured from a friend in Memphis a roundhead cock that was raised by a Mr. Buckingham, and later on I secured another very fine little cock that had won seven fights in one season, which cock was locally known as “Two-Toe”, which was said to be Shelton roundhead.

While my roundheads are practically pure Allen and Shelton roundheads, yet, all of them carry a very small percentage of blood which is locally known as the “Bair brown-red”. I never saw at any time or place any cocks that were better fighters than the “Bair brown-reds”. The blood is about extinct. I wish that I had more of it. I might say that the Bair brown-red stock came from around this way: Bair bought from Shelton back in 1913 or 1914 a roundhead cock that eventually won seven fights. He was known as “Cackling Sam”. About the same time Bair obtained from Alva Campbell, of Ky., a little pea-combed roundhead black hen. Bair bred this cock called “Cackling Sam” on the little black hen, and from that cross obtained some sensational cocks. When Bair left this section of the country for oil fields in Texas he gave me a stag which carried that “Bair brown-red” blood, and all of my roundheads carry that blood, but they only have about 1/32 percentage of that blood, and none of my roundheads indicate that they have any brown-red blood in them at all.

About 60% of my roundheads come out white legs, and the other 40% come out yellow legs. About 50% of them come out with red eyes, and about 50% come with light or grey eyes. Occasionally some of my stock will come spangle, and sometimes one will come what I call pumpkin colored plumage, or ginger colored plumage, but about 90% of them will come black-breasted reds. About 50% of my hens come straw colored, and about 50% of them will come buff.

My roundheads as a rule do not have as heavy feather or plumage as I would prefer that they have. As stated in my former letter to you, I have sought to bring about better plumage, but in most instances where I have tried that I have found that I would sacrifice good fighting qualities for plumage.

My roundheads are not low-stationed, but are what down here we would call average or medium stationed, with a tendency towards being a little above medium stationed.

I have never heeled nor handled a cock in my life. I always left that to the party who did the handling for me in fights that I have had. I have found that my cocks do better in what we down here call the style of heels that are known as the old Huff gaggers, using 2-/8 on the small cocks and 2-1/4 on the large cocks.

The bad-tailed cock which I had in mind to send you is now being bred on the hens which I had in mind to send you. The hens are out of hens that are sisters to the bad-tailed cock, and they are out of a cock that is a half brother to the sire of the bad-tailed cock. From this statement you will see that I believe in pretty close breeding, provided, the specimens you select for breeding are of the right kind and type. The wrong kind of inbreeding will ruin any strain of fowl, just as the wrong kind of crossing will ruin any strain of fowl.
It may be that the trio which I planned to send you will not suit your idea or be just what you want, and after receiving them you are not pleased, I do not want you to hesitate to say so, because I certainly do not want one to buy and pay for any of my fowls and not be satisfied. If after you receive the chickens you are not satisfied, please write me and return the chickens, and I will return the purchase price. All that I will ask you to do is to pay the express charges both ways.

To be perfectly frank with you, I will say that I would not sell you or anyone else the chickens that I have referred to, but for the fact that I am this year breeding a yard from which I will get identically the same kind of cock that I intend to send you, and I am also breeding another yard that will produce identically the same kind of hens that I have in mind to send you. More than that, I would not sell any of those in this section, because sooner or later some of my fowl would have to go up against them.

If after considering the above statements you decide that you think I am selling you fowl that will be too close bred, then, I can send you two hens or a different cock that will not be so closely related to one another. I have several different yards of roundheads, but all of them are pretty closely related.

Perhaps you saw the picture in the recent issue of Grit and Steel of the Finley Cock, and a picture of a party that was referred to as Pope M. Long, of Cordova. That was a picture of the old Finley cock, but it was not a picture of Mr. Long, but was a picture of one of Mr. Long’s tenants. I gave Mr. Long the old Finley cock, and also gave him a yard of my hens. He seems to prize them very highly. In 1935 the old Finley cock was bred on a yard of hens that were 3/4 Lacy Roundheads and 1/4 Hulsey blood, and from that mating they got a number of stags that were raised and they have made wonderful records in the pit this season. Last year Mr. Long bred the Finley cock on the pure roundhead hens which I gave him, and as he had an over supply of stags and insisted that I take some of them, which I did, though, I did not take any pullets raised from that mating. While the Finley cock and the hens that I gave Mr. Long are pretty closely related to both the bad-tailed cock and the two hens I thought of sending you, yet, the stags raised from that mating by Mr. Long last year are not as closely related to the two hens I planned to send you as the bad-tailed cock, and if you prefer I can send you one of those cocks raised by Mr. Long in 1936 to mate with the hens you get from me, instead of sending you the bad-tailed cock.

I have some other cocks, stags, hens, and pullets that I could let you have if you prefer them, but to be perfectly frank, I think you would get the best results fro the trio that I originally wrote you about. I will not definitely make up my mind or decide which trio to send you until I hear from you again. I understand that you would want the trio shipped sometime during the first week in July.

Very Truly Yours Ernest Lacy

If you were paying attention, you would have notice the little black hen that the Judge described. But my question is – what is her breeding? Carl Saia said that it is most likely a black Tuzo Aseel and Carl also pointed out that the Buckingham roundheads come with green legs. That is why some throwbacks of roundheads are green legged and it would be on the pullets. And to all you history buffs, I hope that you all have enjoyed this letter.

by Harry Charles

My recollections of chicken fighting go back almost 70 years. I was born in 1900 and started earning money when I was 6 years old by running errands and doing any small odd jobs. By the time I was 8 years old I was trading horses. At the age of 10 I owned a livery stable as the result of successful horse trading.
Judge Ernest Lacey was a probate judge in Jasper. In 1910 he rented horses and buggies from me and took a liking to me. He started taking me to all the local chicken fights, and I soon learned to handle, spar, and pit the chickens.

The yellow legged Roundheads were originated, to the best of my knowledge, by a man named Burrell Shelton who lived in Mississippi. Just after Shelton died the owner of the Mountain Eagle Newspaper in Jasper, Alabama, bought a setting of eggs from his widow. Judge Lacey bought the chickens hatched from these eggs and continued to breed the Roundheads. These were known as the side-stepping Roundheads. Lacey crossed these Roundheads with the Blue Moon chickens owned by a man named Moon who lived in Kentucky. He also crossed them with the Whitehackle, and these crosses all had white legs. The white legged Roundheads you buy today have some Blue Moon and some Whitehackle in them.

Judge Lacey gave me chickens and gave me money to bet at the fights. Several of the other fighters also gave me Roundheads. Back then the cockers all fought in the woods. Chickens were carried in tow sacks, and the tow sacks were tied upright to trees so the chickens could stand up. You could find the fights by following the sounds of roosters crowing.

Judge Ed Long was president of the First National Bank in Jasper and was also a probate judge. He bred and fought Roundheads as did Lacey. At one time Long fought Lacey a main in the woods on Long’s farm near the Warrior River. Long won because he had the best conditioning. Both men were active chicken fighters. Both won a great many fights and both lost a great many too.

One night a man named Ware got his chickens lost. I helped him find them in my Model T. He said he would send me some chickens, and he did send me nine. I took a Glover keep and had my coops against the barn with no scratch pens. I was going to fight these against tough competition. Judge Lacey wouldn’t go with me because he didn’t think I could win and because he wouldn’t bet against me. The judge loaned me his handler. He was anxious to meet me when I got back. I won 8 out of 9 fights and $2,200. I had $100 to start with. At that time they made up pots, I doubled every time to cover the pots.
In this bunch of cocks I had a great White Dom. This is where I got to love White Doms.

I moved from Jasper to Birmingham about 1920 and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, about 1924. It was there that I met Colonel Eugene Dickey, an attorney, and Mr. Hogg, a beer distributor. They took me to a derby at Albany, Georgia, and what proved to be a fight I shall always remember. The derby was held on a large plantation and was attended by hundreds of people from all over the Unitee States. The owner of the plantation killed cattle and hogs and fed all the people 3 meals a day. The meals were free and there was no charge for admission.

Sheldon Nigger Roundheads
By: Rick Albright

The original Sheldon Roundheads that Sam Wactor started with must of been heavy with oriental and or Asil blood as some of my Nigger Roundheads show the Asil look. The feather color of the Nigger Roundheads now are Black, Black Red, and Dark Red, the eye color is black or red, leg color has been dark but with the Sheldon Roundhead blood in them I am sure one day I will get some lighter legs out of them. But, when Sam Wactor first started breeding his Nigger Roundheads he got some BLUE feathered ones but sent them to an other yard away from his main farm. And over the years he bred out the BLUE colors. However, in doing research on many breeds of fowl you will find that many had a blue in them some where. I obtained my Nigger Roundheads from Jack Wactor SR. the son of Sam Wactor, in the last few years Jack Wactor’s son Jack Wactor Jr. sold some of his fowl in the Gamecock. I talked to Jack Wactor SR. on the phone a few weeks ago and he said that he had given all the fowl to his handler. However, Jack Wactor SR. told me that he had sent me the best fowl he had and that the handler in fact did not have some of the Blood lines that he had sent me due to a problem with varmits and dogs. I will continue to raise and test the Nigger Roundheads as they cross very well with my other fowl. The following history was written by JACK WACTOR SR. and sent to me so I could share it with anyone who was interested.

I hope you enjoy the history of the Nigger Roundheads as much as I did. “My father, Sam Wactor got started in the game chicken life at the tender age of 8 years old. Burnell Shelton had country walks near my father’s farm and he began using him to help catch his chickens. Shelton gave him a yard of chickens that same year which he bred and kept pure for years.As much as he liked his Shelton Roundheads he still was not dominating at the pits. He thought if he found a sure enough outstanding cock he would breed him over some of his roundhead hens. Charlie Knapp a New Orleans banker, close friend and supporters of Sam’s told him if he ever saw the rooster he wanted he would buy it for him. In January 1921, while at a main in New Orleans, LA, a man named Grimme, who was a shoe cobbler from Yazoo City, MS, fought an absolutely awesome rooster. The rooster was fought twice that day and won both fights quick. Sam knew he found what he had been searching for and as agreed Knapp bought the rooster and paid a $100’s. The rooster was a dark brown-red with a dark face, eyes and legs. Sam bred the cock over 9 Shelton Roundhead hens (some yellow legs and some white) and all the biddies came dark. He only bred the Grimme cock for one season because he was killed by his offspring and he never bred back to the Roundhead side.

Out of this breeding he raised an outstanding rooster he called Trotter. Trotter proved to be such an exceptional rooster he continued to breed him over his daughters and then granddaughters and so on for twelve straight years and he always bred to the black side. No out-crossing was ever attempted. Fresh blood was added within the family using the dominate stag over the yard and Trotter in the brood pens. So the Nigger Roundheads are actually half Shelton Roundhead and half Grimmie. They were originally called Black Trotters, Trotter Roundheads and Nigger Trotters. Eventually they picked up the name Nigger Roundheads and this name stuck with them over the years. My belief is the name Black Travelers is just a deviation of the Black Trotters.

The Nigger Roundheads of Sam Wactor have been kept pure and have maintained their absolute gameness, body structure and feathers. No infusing of out side blood to date.” {This is a direct quote from the letter sent to me by Jack Wactor (Sam Wactor’s son)}. Jack L. Wactor also stated on the phone that Sam Wactor did in fact sell many of the “Nigger Roundheads” to William McRae and that they were sent to the Islands. In fact he sold William McRae a whole yard of Nigger Roundheads. In picture’s that have been traded between Jack and I, I am of the belief that the Black McRae’s are of mostly “Nigger Roundhead” blood with other strains of fowl being added to the Nigger Roundheads from time to time by William McRae. But that the Nigger Roundheads are the dominate strain of fowl used in the make up of the Black McRae’s.


Georgia Shawlnecks
by George J. Garrett (1920)

It appears to me that we are delaing with a situation wherein two varying sources lead to the same conclusion, viz. That Col. Barclay produced one great family or strain of fighting cocks, and that Chas. F. Brown produced another of equally outstanding pit qualities, both being closely related unquestionably, and known years ago as the Georgia Shawlnecks. I have received many inquiries from widely separated sections of the U.S. wishing to be directed as to sources from which the pure Georgia Shawlneck strain could be secured, and to all inquiries. I frankly confessed that to say where was regrettably beyond my knowledge.

The Charlie Brown Shawlnecks that I bred years ago were cocks of medium station (no stilty feature about them) and, as a rule, their legs stood wide apart, the color being yellow, green and leaden in shades. No birds ever showed more unflinching eyes, being of red pepper color in brilliance. Just as Mr. Johnson described, I also bred them with colors varying, some light brown, others being ginger, however, red predominated. The plume feathers and wings of the cocks showed some white. The top knots cropped out on both cocks and hens. The wings of both were wide, heavy and well lapped.

Another characteristic was strong beaks that enabled the cock to bill his opponent with an unfaltering grip, terrier-like in fact, not releashing its hold until the other cock was shifted across the pit with those deadly shuffles that riddled and cut into shoestrings – the other cock cut to pieces and put out of action. Col. F.E. Grist bought his foundation stock of Shawlnecks from Charlie Brown. That he injected crosses is evidenced by the high station and standardized yellow legs of his Champions.

The original Asele, black and tans, of Baltimore, are unfortunately now extinct. The nearest approach to the original were owned about eighteen years ago by Mr. Rojan, now deceased. In one respect, these black and tans reminded me of the old-time Georgis Shawlnecks. I have seen them take a bill hold, then strike and shuffle until winded, though holding on with the same grip and shuffle again, causing deadly execution. Their beaks were short and heavy, reminding one of a cardinal’s or joree’s. They hackled the color of pot black, had blakc eyes somewhat larger than the old-time Hopkinson Warhorse. I have witnessed many thrilling night battles, beginning at nine p.m. and lasting until day break at the old Highland town (subsurban Baltimore) cock pit, made famous by the cockers of Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York.

In concluding this article, I present a personal letter from Mr. Felix G. Rood, Florence, PA., which is interesting to me, being conservative in tone and neutral in point concerning the Shawlnecks, viz:

Dear George – As you say in your communication to Grit and Stell, there’s two sides to the question. I know the two strains – Barclay and Brown. The color and type were different. Charlie always claimed that he was the originator, while the Macon contingent – Griggs, Hamilton, Ridley and Old Andrew – claimed that Barclay was entitled to the honor. Both of these strains were terrific fighters 30 to 40 yearsa go.

Some of the greatest cocks I ever saw were from Barclay’s years and some of Brown’s Shawls, whitehackled and yellow legged, paceful and handsome, were the most skillful fighters that ever walked the “Tan bark.” In their day, Brown’s Shawls in condition were second to none. I would not like to champion either side of the question. I never met Col. Barclay, but he must have been an exceptionally good judge of fighting cocks. Chas. Byrums of New Orleans and Barclay were freinds.

The former was at one time proprietor of the Baronne Street Pit and used Barclay’s cock at good prices. Byruns on one of my trips to New Orleans, showed me three cocks, tufted gingers with huge wings and tails, and Xmas present from Barclay, who was blind from age and who selected these cocks from a bunch, relying entirely on his touch.

Each cock had three fights to this credit and were fine as I ever saw in a life time.

F.G. Rood

Such explanations as those given by reliable sources like Messrs, Johnson and Rood are sufficient to satisfy both sides as to the Shawlnecks orgin, and likewise serve as a safe guide for the younger element, which we hope will prove to be graceful losers and generous victors, for all that follow the game must be licked in order to lick the other fellow. I always admired Charlie Brown and Felix Rood for licing me andothers at the famous cock pit at Reich’s Garden, Columbus, GA., when I was wearing the shoes of “a tender foot,” because it was done so gracefully and, to be exact so thoroughly in fact, that they made a Christian out of me (for the time being). Hence I can’t forget such old time warriors, whose word is good and clean like an open-face watch. uch figures as Col. Barclay, Charlie Brown, Col. Bacon, Col. Grist, Felix Rood and other of such type, will always reflect honor and credit to the fraternity, and if possible to do so. I would suggest that an effort be made to secure a likeness of the above celebrities to appear in the pages of our staunch defneder, Grit and Steel.
Yours very truely,
Geogre J. Garrett


There has always been two strains of this breed, namely, Barclay and Brown. However, they are the same, and from the history, Barclay was the originator of the Shawlnecks. According to the best infromation that can be obtained Barclay used a cock of English origin, which was light red and trimmed out white in hackle on the old Griggs strain, together with an infusion of Red Quill blood from the Eslin brothers. He then used a cock from John Stone of his Irish Gilder blood, and this composes the pure Shawlnecks. J.W. King of College Park, Georgia received some of these fowl in their purity in 1924 from Mr. Tranthan, who had them direct from C.F. Brown in 1894. Mr. Trantham had kept them pure. Mr. King states they were greatly inbred and very small when he received them, but that now has them to where cocks run in weight from 5:04 to 5:08. The Shawlnecks are light reds, and hens a wheaton color. Have both white and yellow legs. Mr. W.T. Richards, Big Falls, Minn,. and Mr. Chesbro of New York state are also prominent breeders of the pure Shawlneck.


by Ole Lunchbox (1976)

Mr. A.W. Starnes of Konawa, Oklahoma was a mature hand at every phase of the game fowl sport when Ole Lunch got out of the service in 1946. We met a couple of years later. We were never close friends but I always have had, and still do have, a great respect for Mr. Starnes. He is the kind of man whose reputation has been built and well established on performance. Now, at 86, he is mentally alert, remarkably healthy and his memory fails him not.

On June 19, 1976, it was my good fortune to be driving through Konawa and never having visited Mr. Starnes, I gave in to a personal desire to visit him, renew our acquaintance and to discuss, in particular, his “Starnes Shufflers” of which he has not a feather remaining.

For a number of years, I had heard many stories about his fowl and their bloodlines and since A.W. no longer has any, I thought he might divulge their true breeding. Reluctantly, at first, then willingly, with the urging of Mrs. Starnes, A.W. told me from whom they came and what change he had made in their bloodlines.

Mr. Starnes stated that they were Shufflers. He obtained his first ones from our mutual friend, Karl Bashara. The Bashara Shufflers were obtained by Karl directly from the originator, Mr. Dudley Pierce.
To the Karl Bashara Shufflers, Mr. Starnes introduced some of the old slate legged Madigin Grey blood and reduced the Madigin blood to about 1/8th. This was the breeding of the Starnes Shufflers.

Curiosity bettered me at this point and I had to ask from what source came the Magigin Grey blood. Mr. Starnes told me they came from Mr. Madigin. He went on to say that J.H.M. told him to never take one out until he was counted out – and they would pull together and deliver a killing blow leaving their opponent dead. Mr. Starnes said that he, also, had this to happen many times, and that Mr. Madigin had told him the truth about the grey fowl.

A.W. told me that on several occasions Mr. Madigin had obtained his services for feeding cocks for J.H.M.

As to whether or not the old Vibrator fowl contained any of the Starnes Shuffler blood, I am not prepared to say, but will state, as Mr. Starnes told me, that the old Manziel cock that Max Thaggard had was bred to a Starnes Shuffler hen and some of these were fought. I believe, if memory erreth not, that Max stated in his article that he bred a pure Pierce Shuffler cock to some hens whose breeding I’ve forgotten if I ever heard. Whether these contained Starnes blood I do not know. It just may be possible that some of the Starnes blood-lines.

There are other possibilities that are probably not generally known about the Starnes Shufflers – One is that the late “Sweater” McGinnis obtained fowl from A.W. Starnes. Some maintain that the Starnes blood was introduced into the magnificent “Blue Face” fowl that have been popular now for many years and which, “if you ain’t got some, you ain’t hardly got nothing anybody wants some of!” Whether the Blue Face actually contain any of the Starnes Shuffler blood, this writer cannot say. Ole Lunch will go so far as to say that from the Blue Face fowls appearance, they look as though they might well be related. For sure it is that “Sweater” McGinnis bought cocks from A.W. Starnes to fight and certainly had the opportunity to put some into his Hatch fowl if he felt the inclination.

What does A.W. say about this? He only says that he has heard this rumored but that he does not know whether any of the blood was crosed into Sweater fowl.

Well, rooster lovers, that’s the story. Hope you liked it. That’s about the way A.W. Starnes told it to me, as near as I can remember.

Oh! Yes! Let me add this one item – Back in those days, Mr. Starnes was selling cocks for about $50 – not a bad price. One gentleman up north, a repeat customer, had had trouble beating a certain grey cock. In fact, the grey cock had beaten him three times in hack fights. He wrote A.W. to see if he had anything of that weight that was anything like an ace. Mr. Starnes had one that he had just fought in a couple mains or a derby and a main, can’t remember which. Mr. Starnes sent him the cock with instructions to fight him and to send him what he felt like he was worth. Mr. Starnes said it was not too many days before he received a letter with $100 for the cock along with the word that he did not have too much trouble whipping the grey.

There never are enough fellows around like Mr. A.W. Starnes. May he live to 150. Thanks for the story Mr. Starnes.

West Virginia Shufflers
By: W.T. Howard there orignator.

Year 1901, I was breeding Hopkinson Warhorse and Shawineck. My stock came from William Kezee of Tazewell Va. I wanted a line of fowl I could call me own. I crossed the 2 lines together and the next infusion in this cross was a Mugwump from R.J. Bartley of Suffolk Va. This infusion made great cocks, big bone and muscle, heavy plumage and strong as a mules. Next I used a Allen Roundhend from a Mr. Harry Hamner, chief of police of Kimball Va. Then I breed a Red Quill cock into them From Mr. Thomas Hogahead of Staunton Va. This stag was a 2 time winner in the hand of Charlie Peters. Next I used a Stonewell cock from a Mr. J.B. Cummingham OF Youngstown Pa. Then a pure Mountain Eagle cock from W.S. Church. Then the last infusion I ever put into them was a pure Arkansas Traveler. A blue-red an 2 time winner in great comp. This is all in the West Virginia shufflers. They will come blackred, bluered, an brownred in color. Hen are blackred, black, darkblue, and sometime a light blue or a pyle. Great moms with babys. So this is were they was made up was in West Virginia.

Terry Roberts

Pierce Wisconsin Red Shufflers

In 1887 Dudley Pierce bought a stag and two pullets from Mr. F. W. McDougall of Indianapolis, Ind., McDougal wrote Dudley when shipping the trio saying that they were his strain of New Macks. The stag was a deep red with a very dark face, the pullets very dark brown bodies with red hackles. In 1889, Dudley decided to purchase more chickens and chose Col. G. Perk Huddleston, of Lebanon, Tenn. He purchased three stags, a dominique, a blue-red Gladiator and a red, a half cork Irish and half Seven Strain Inside Red. Dudley did well with these birds and decided to visit the Colonel and stayed there two weeks talking chickens and learning all he could from the old gentleman. Dudley was very keen on Huddleston’s Cork Irish, especially a little cock Huddleston had over one of his brood yards. Dudley wanted this cock badly and finally persuaded the old gentleman to let him have the cock for thirty dollars which was a pile of money in those days to pay for a chicken. Dudley brought this cock home with several others and mated him with the two McDougal New Mack hens. From this mating Dudley raised a nice bunch of stags which he placed on walks and then as cocks in 1890 Dudley fought them in his first main against a combination of local parties and won easily. This particular mating was the original foundation of Wisconsin Red Shufflers. The following season Dudley bred the New Mack stag that he purchased from McDougal over the three half Seven Strain Inside Red, half Cork Irish hens from Huddleston and again was rewarded with good offspring. At that particular time Dudley was looking for a name to call his birds. He asked Mr. Charles Fose, whose stable was used to condition Dudley’s birds, what he should call them to which Mr. Fose replied, “Call them Wisconsin Red Shufflers,” and right then and there the name was definitely decided upon. Then in 1892 Dudley purchased a Denny Mahoney Gull cock. He was a black breasted red with red eyes and a willow green leg, and this cock was used to breed a yard of hens which Dudley had raised from the McDougal-Cork Irish mating. Dudley lost the Mahoney Gull cock after breeding him the first year but later on used two of his sons as brood cocks over some of his older hens and from those crosses there came some wheaten colored pullets and some stags that were black-reds and looked very much like the old original Mahoney Gull cock. Dudley figured he had made a mistake in making the cross because so many of the yougsters came lighter colored than either the Huddleston or McDougal fowl, and from the very beginning Dudley admired these birds that came of even color, then on the other hand whenever Dudley fought one of the lighter colored stags which now onley contained 1/4 of the Mahoney Gull blood, they always proved terrific hitters and hard fighters so Dudley bred them and kept them in with the rest. Only a small amount of the Gull blood was in Pierce’s fowl, nevertheless, it was sufficient and strong enough to produce many throwbacks, like or very near like the old Mahoney Gull cock, and these throwbacks are the fowl Pierce call his “Cottontails” because the stags are black-reds in color, usually having red eyes and green or bluish colored legs and show a large tuft of soft, fluffy white feathers at the base of their tail, while the pullets and hens are sort of dark black-reds usually showing brown or what Dudley called robin breasts.

by Johnny Jumper

One of the breeds of gamefowl most in demand today are the “Sweaters”. There are several versions of how they originated. The following account of their origin is “straight from the horse’s mouth”.

It comes from Johnny Jumper and another respected cocker who knew the parent fowl; when, where and by whom they were bred.

The following is their version how the Sweaters originated.

Sweater McGinnis gave Walter Kelso a yellow legged Hatch cock whose bloodlines are thought to trace back to Harold Browns McLean Hatch. Mr. Kelso bred this cock to his Kelso hens and the offspring from the mating proved to be outstanding pit cocks.

Cecil Davis, who was a friend of Mr. Kelso, walked cocks for him and had access to Mr. Kelso’s best fowl. Cecil got one of the cocks which Mr. Kelso raised from the Sweater McGinnis Hatch cock and his own hens. Cecil got this cock from Doc Robinson, who also walked cocks for Mr. Kelso. The cock was yellow legged and pea combed. Cecil bred him to five of his out-and-out Kelso hens. The offspring from this mating were the foundation of the Sweaters. They were called Sweaters because the Hatch cock from Sweater McGinnis was their grandfather. As the above indicates, in breeding, they would be ¾ Kelso-¼ yellow legged Hatch.

The original Sweaters were bred by Ira Parks, who was Johnny Jumper’s brother-in-law, a very fine man and an excellent breeder of gamefowl. Ira, Johnny and Cecil were at the hub of a group of cockers in northern Mississippi and Tennessee who were friends and cocking partners. Several of this group got Sweaters from the original mating. Some of these friends have bred the Sweaters without addition of outside blood and have them in their purity today. Other breeders have added infusions of other blood to their Sweaters.

The line of Sweaters which is bringing the breed such popularity today came from Roy Brady, who got some of the first mating of Sweaters, to Sonny Ware, to Odis Chappell, to Carol Nesmith and the Browns of Mississippi. Odis Chappell let a number of friends in addition to Carol, have his Sweaters, so the blood has been distributed rather widely in central Alabama in recent years. It has been excellent blood for all who got it. This line of Sweaters produces occasional green legged offspring, usually pullets. When asked about his, Roy Brady said that at one time some Hatch was bred into this line. This line is said also to carry small amount of Radio blood.

The Sweaters described in this article are typically orange-red to light red in color, with yellow legs and pea combs. Of interest, however, Dolan Owens of Booneville, Mississippi, acquired some of the early Sweaters and has bred them to come uniformly dark, wine red in color, straight comb and white legged. In looks, these two lines of Sweaters show almost no resemblance. This is an example of how a family of fowl can be bred toward different standards by different breeders and In a few generations the two lines will be like two different breeds.
Sonny Ware bred some Radio into the Sweaters making them pumpkin in color. Most people like this color better and breed to that end.

By: Bluff Creek
from Harold Brown,Marvin Anderson

Marvin Anderson was born 1878 and died in 1976.while servin in the army he became aqainted with mr sanford hatch from newyork.they both were cockers and became friends at this time.this was during ww1he fought birds in alabama and goergia.during these times people that fought birds traveled by wagon trains to southern towns where cockfighting was a week long event.they fought there fowl and mains was on there way out.the decided to weigh at fight them in order till one fought his birds out,almost like ten cock hack fights.they served food and stayed all week in the towns and always had some one stay with there birds.MR maguiness had fowl as well, harold brown told me that he had a family of the left nose hatch,given to him by mr mike kearny,and he crossed them on 1/2 ew law grey,1/2 madiagn calarretts,they was as good of fowl that he had.after meeting a young cocker from alabama named harold brown they became acuainted he gave him some fowl none as his sweater left nose greys.horld said in the early 40s and early 30s they were greys and bred back to the brother and sister mating they became red,being 1/2 hatch blood 1/4 clarrett blood and 1/4 greythe law birds was a dark legged grey blood to start with.I know fro a fact i seen some in the early 70s that threw a grey every now and then.harold also said he gave some of this blood to mr walter kelso for the orlando tounament and to meet some persons in a derby at the agusta tournament.they where the sweaters turn they won both tournaments .

MR gilbert coutua was the feeder from louisianna,a friend of harolds and marvins.marvin was breedin the yeller legged birds from sanford and harold kept the ones that was crossed on the kerny blood and where green legged he got from theodore maclain,the green legged fowl was more plumage and thats the ones harold could sell.marvin and horold decided to keep the yeller legged fowl in alabama,only letting them out to jus the locals -runt camp+scott thhe 60s harold brown was beating a young cocker from texas named joe good and his brother.then became acquainted with a young cocker named johnny jumper,he was fascinated with the fowl.harold talked to walter and told him to let this young man have some of them birds because he knew he was prettymuch a upand comming cocker and harold and curtis liked him.they beat him alot but he had a good show of birds and always took care of the ones that was fought.through the years breeding of this cross fowl they all became the color of red roosters light red in color with white in the tails,being a breeder and selecting fowl harold sold some of these fowl, carol later obtained some of the yeller legg blood from buddy barnett,bruces older brother.dink fair got some from johnny ,and some from carol.

MARVIN ANDERSON TOLD ME THE MAKE UP OF THOSE SWEATERS WERE AND I BELIEVE TILL THIS DAY ARE MOSTLY THE 1/2 YELLER not yellow LEGGED HATCH.1/4 MADIGAN CLARRETT 1/4 EW LAW DARK LEG GREY. BRED BACK TO THE YELLER SIDE WHICH WOULD BE DOMINENT LINE AND INBREEDEDING like all the old timmers done to keep there birds.most sweaters being a battle cross are alil mean unless handled at early stages of there life……


The Kearney and Duryea fowl
By: E. T Piper

There can be but little doubt in the minds of the students in the cocking fraternity that the gamest fowl in this country, not only today but as far back as any of us now living can remember, come and came from the vicinity of new York City. Lest some of the readers get gamest confused with best. Let us hasten to assure you we used the former. there isn’t a doubt in the mind of this writer but what today or any day a main of cocks could be selected from most any part of the country and in long heels make the gamest fowl up there look very sick indeed. Ever in the short fast heels of today. We believe a main could be selected from among the better long heel fowl that could take the gamest fowl in or around new York. It`s a recognized fact among the more intelligent members of the clan that the gamer a family is the poorer fighters and cutters they seem to be. We wont go into the whys and wherefore of that statement just now. With hardly an exception the gamest families we can recall when their pedigree is traced back leads right to new York City. The few we can think of that were not descended from new York City were from not very far away and did a big shore of their fighting against the New York crowd. Examples? yes, we can give you a few ./ the gamest fowl it has been this writers privilege to see in the past 25 years were the so-called hardy mahoganies, The Hatch fowl the Albanies the Jim Thompson owl and very few others that is which filled the bill as deep game fowl in our book. Let `s see where some of them came from. The Hardys got their fowl from Jim Ford of Medina, New York. Ford got them through his brother who was a New York judge, he, in turn got them from John Madden of Kentucky, and Madden got them direct from Mike Kearney of long island, NY. the Albanys were half Hardy through a cock called the sneak and on the other side of Albany family there was some hatch blood, hatch too came from and lived all his life in or very near New York City. Jim Thompson lived at White Plains, N.Y. about 20 miles from New York City. His fowl were said to have been the result of a cross between an Adam Schreiber, Albany, N.Y. hen that Thompson had a man name Squealer Murray steal for him, and some old game stock down near New York City. they were a very deep game family, and of course the Hatch fowl were entirely New York stuff. There are plenty of winning fowl in both the north and south that seldom show bas actor, yet, we have not included then in our list of the gamest families. Those who are familiar with deep game fowl will understand why and when deep game fowl and New York are mentioned, Mike Kearney sticks out like a sore thumb. Kearney is said to have arrived in this country from Ireland in about 1870. He brought fowl with him and in a comparatively short time, was in the midst of cocking activities in and around New York. Either at or soon after his arrival, the type of heels preferred in that section were what later came to be know as slow heels. they where a regulation heel with a blade but one and one-quarter inch long in length. The blade was thick with the point more or less blunt. The rules used were known as New York rules, ten tens required to count out a cock and peck would break the count at any time. Under such conditions, deep game cocks were an absolute necessity and fighting ability and cutting ability were a secondary consideration. Just the opposite, incidentally, from today with our modern rules and faster heel. the mike Kearney whitehackles, brown reds and others were used to a certain extent as a standard to go by in measuring gameness, mike Kearney has been dead for many years, yet even today most of our gamest fowl can be traced back to his fowl. during the years E. W. Rogers published the warrior, 1927-1935, its pages were constantly filled with stories of the Kearney and Duryea fowl. nearly all of this was written by A.P. O`Conor, who contended Herman Duryea with whom Kearney was for years associated in cocking was the greatest gamefowl breeder of all times. The Duryea Whitehackles, the greatest family of gamefowl in this or any other country. That were according to O`Conor obtained by Duryea from a steamship agent in or near Boston and maintained in their purity by Duryea strictly by inbreeding for 30 years or more. During which time Duryea fought mains by the score and lost but one that one when his cocks took sick mike Kearney was Duryea feeder and caretaker,etc. in the past fifteen years we have at every opportunity questioned anyone we thought might have some information of this regard to either the Kearney or Duryea in the following we are going to tell you a few of the things we learned. Mike Kearney `s son Harry is still alive and while none f this information came to us directly from Harry, a considerable amount of it came from him indirectly. Several years a go in Troy, we met a Boston cocker who’s name we have forgotten and who has since passed away. He was well-known on the game and was an ink salesman. Tom Kelly of Watertown knows who i mean. At any rate this man told me he visited Kearney on long island one time and told him he would like to see a pure Kearney Whitehackle, Mike reached in a peb and brought out a typical Whitehackle exept he had a round head and pea comb, he told mike he did`nt know Whitehackles came pea comb. Mike said some of his did and offered no further explanation. It `s well know fact the so-called Duryea fowl came both straight and pea comb. After Kearny `s association with Duryea when a pea comb cock was shown it was assumed by most men it was a Duryea cross, or a so-called straight Duryea. Today, Harry Kearney confirms the fact that their Whitehackles came from Ireland with both pea and straight comb just as Mike previously to the ink salesman. Further more and this came indirectly from Harry both him and his dad, Mike, preferred their Brownreds to their Whitehackles. Because that were gamer, stronger, harder hitters, although the Whitehackles were better cutters. They ran a solon and had nowhere but a small back yard in which to breed and raise fowl. until Mike hooked up with Duryea and took complete charge of the breeding and fighting of his fowl. Duryea had the fowl on his estate at Red Bank, New Jersey, and he, himself maintained a large racing and breeding stable in France. He spent considerable time there. Mike mated the yards at Red Bank and generally ran things with the fowl to suit himself. Duryea very much disliked a Brownred chicken and forebode mike to have any of then on the place. For that reason Kearny bred only a few and those away from Duryea `s place, Duryea also had at Red Bank some fowl he got from Frank Collidge of Boston which we believe to be Boston Roundheads. They were oriental cross of some sort, according to Kearney they were very strong fowl good cutters and fighters but no bitter {game} enough to suit Kearney `s. However as Duryea liked then, they bread some and used them along with their Whitehackles and some crosses of the two. If the above is correct as we have ever reason to believe it is, acutely there was never any such thing as a long inbred strain of Duryea fowl anywhere but in O`Conor mind. O`Conor claimed Duryea lost but one main in thirty years. While another writer in the warrior of that era contended Kearney probably lost more mains than any man that ever lived, in view of the above both men were wrong. Duryea lost may mains and Kearney had a share in both the winning and the losing mains. as we stated above for a period of five or six years the warrior contained reams and reams about the Kearny and Duryea fowl. Gamest on earth, best winning family in history, etc. when probably the truth is the so-called duress were nothing more than Kearney Whitehackles and some crosses of them on some Jap or Asil crosses from Frank Coolidge.

Kearney Whitehackles
by M.D. Chesbro (1920)

To the genuine lover of the game fowl, the history of strains that have become famous is always interesting, and as I have never seen an accurate and detailed history of the strain or family so widely known as “Mike Kearney’s Whitehackles,” I will give as fully as may be, the principalfacts concerning them, and the man who by his skill as a feeder and handler made them famous.

It is not my intention to unduly glorify this strain, nor to contrast them with other families of games, but simply to state facts. And I may say, that in addition to my personal knowledge of the fowl many of the facts which I will record here were stated to me by Mr. Kittridge, Mr. Kearney, Mr. Coolidge and Mr. Wingate and in each instance where the statement to me was by word of mouth I immediately made a written memoranda (some of which are more than twenty years old) and are now before me, and from the basis of what I will write. I will tell this story in order of time as that may make it more clear.

The extensive plan occupying the central portion of the county of Kildare in Ireland and known as the Curragh of Kildare, has long been known as the sporting center of the Green Isle. Here racing, cocking, and all field sports were wont to flourish. Each village had its favorite trainers, jockeys, wrestlers, and foot racers, and favorite strain of game fowl. Sport in some form was the main business of the inhabitants and here was born Michael Kearney. While most of his relatives were devoted to horses, he bacame known throughout Kildare as a most successful breeder, feeder, and handler of cocks.

His favorite strain were “beasy” breasted light reds with yellow legs and white underhackles, broad shoulders, compactly made cocks with heavy plumage. In the mains which were constantly taking place, the most formidable opponents of his light reds were a strain bred in a nearby village which were dark brown reds in color, dark underhackles, and dark hazel eyes. These two strains were similar in fighting qualities and equally good, except that the brown reds heavier in bone and muscle. The sporting freedom which the people had so long enjoyed began to be more interfered with by the authorities, until just prior to the year 1870, cocking was entirely prohinited. Kearney refused to give up his beloved sport and emigrated to America bringing with him twelve of his favorite Whitehackle cocks.

These cocks were very tame and on sunny days, were one by one allowed their liberty on the deck of the vessel, which arrived in New York in Augsut. As there was no cocking at that season, it was not until the following winter that he fought and won a main using his imported cocks. The sport was extremely popular in New York and vicinity and soon the new comer was in the midst of it. He was very successful with his mains and made many friends and it was not long before he opened a road house and pit at Blissville; a suberb of Long Island City, having in the meantime taken out his papers as a citizen of the United States. Here for many years his cocks held sway, and mains were constantly being fought, sometimes two or three mains a week during the cocking season. Each year, for several years, Kearney sent a man, (usually his uncle Bob Quinn) over to Ireland to bring to New York cocks and hens of both the light red Whitehackles and the dark brown breeds. The two strains were each bred separately and pure without any crosses, and were fought by Kearney in immense numbers.

The Whitehackles were a medium weight fowl, the breast black streaked more or less with dark ginger the outer hackle a light red shading to light golden on the shoulders, the back a dark crimson, the wing long, wide, and hanging low, the tail wide and carried up, the shanks short and yellow, (never white) the body noticeably wide and short, neck medium length and the head short and broad with red eyes, and a thin single comb and white under feather.

The hens were always wheaten color. As fighters the cocks were high headed, fast enough and game beyond the test of steel. Around the pit was gathered a coterie of cockers whose constant cry was “gameness first.” and the test that these little Whitehackles were put to by that crowd not only in mains and hacks but also for days after, were sufficient to prove to any one that if there was such athing on Earth as a strain that never produced a quitter, that was it. The brown reds were amuch larger, and heavier breed, low on the leg with tremendously broad powerful bodies, and very big thighs, but were not as fast and high strung as the Whitehackles, but were harder hitters and deep game. It was for one of these game cocks that Kearney named his race horse, “Hard Brown Red.” After several years of breeding the two strains seperately, he concluded to cross them, and it was from this nick which came heroric little 4.6 cock who then blind and bleeding, but with his head in the air, won the terrific battle at Albany of one hour and fourty minutes of steady fighting against his noble whitetailed opponent. These were the Kearney fowl up to 1886.

Horace Brown, who lived at Peekskill, N.Y., was an old time cock fighter, a friend of Bill Clacker and the other worthies of the period from 1860. He was a great stickler for extreme gameness, along about 1881-’83 used to come into the law office and read with great interest the articles written by Joseph Wingate who at that time was having a controversy in the pages of Dixie Game Fowl and upholding the claims of 1 1/4 heels as the only game cock heel, and the old controversy never has been settled. In the begining of the year 1883, Wingate took some of his cocks and went down to New Orleans where a cocking tournament was held in the first week of Febuary, and challenged all comers to fight him in 1 1/4 heels. Brown was so delighted with the gameness of the man and his cocks, that when Wingate returned to his home in New Hampshire Brown sent to Wingate and bought a trio of his fowl. The cock was a dark ginger in color with dark legs and had a straight single somb; one hen was a partrige color, the other a pyle. They were from Wingate’s Irish (imported) McDermotts’ strain. Brown bred them together in the spring of 1884. Living in Peekskills at that time was Benjamin Kittridge, a wealthy young gentelman who had graduated from Harvard College the preceeding year. He was an ardent amateur sportsman, a crack pigeon shot and a successful yachtsman. He and his college classmates, Mr. Herman Duryea, then of Red Bank, N.J., and Mr. Raymond Belomnt, of New York, during their college days had become interested in cocking at Frank Coolidge’s place at Watertown, near Boston. As Brown was the cocking authority of his town Mr. Kittridge employed him to raise and fight cocks for him and they started with the pullets Brown had raised from the Wingate trio, and also fought successfully the main of stags. Mr. Kittridge sent to Wingate for a cock to breed over the pullets and purchased it – a ginger breasted white legged cock sired by Wingate’s McDermott cock out of a white legged Gull hen bred by J.B. Squires. When put on the scales he balanced the seven pound weight and a silver dollar, so he was always called “Silver Dollar.”

At the same time Mr. Kittridge and Mr. Belmont purchased some fowl of Coolidge, a cock and three hens. This cock was a broad backed low set cock with a black breast, light red hackles, daw eye, and yellow legs. He had long broad wings, and long heavily sickled tail carried up a widely spread. He had a smooth round head and was dubbed very closely indicating once a pea comb. One hen was a very light buff, with creamy to almost a white breast, light green legs, and high single comb; the other two hens were wheaten with single combs, yellow legs and spurs. It was stated that these hens were “sired by a Claiborne cock out of hens from Marblehead.” How the cock bred was not stated at the time, but the following statement by Frank Norton, of Boston, may throw some light on this cocks’ breeding. “in 1864 John Harwood was head stevedore at East Boston docks for the Cunard Steamship Company. I lived next door to Harwood. One of the steamers brought over from England a trio of game fowl. The address and shipping bill of the fowl had been lost. The company kept them about three months and gave them to Harwood, he paying the shipping charges. Harwood gave the fowl to his friend Ned Gill, who bred and fought them. I knew Ned Gill and often saw these fowl fight, and frequently saw the brood yards. They were called Gill Roundheads or Boston Roundheads. They were light reds with black breasts more or less streaked with ginger. The hens were light wheaten color. All had yellow legs. After Ned Gill died John McCoy, of Marble head, Mass., got some of the Gill fowl and crossed them with John Stone fowl. McCoy was a very successful cocker in his days in the neighborhood of Boston. The imported trio had small round heads, pea sombs, and heavy feathers. They looked like old time English full feathered fowl with a slight touch of Aseel in their makeup.”

Gilkerson Whitehackles
by the Newyorker (1907)

I note in a recent issue of an esteemed journal an interesting and I might add, an amusing history of the Gilkerson Whitehackles, to me amusing because of the many unaccuracies this fertile brained historian so proudly offers to the cock loving public, erstwhile flinging a few choice bouquets at that other grand strain of Whitehackles which stand out in the history of game cocks and which show their breeding in the pit and not paper, etc. Now whenever a man offers up such fulsome praise it creates or invites criticism and desire to ask questions and ascertain where this knowledge is derived. Perhaps these fowl are better than any Gilkerson ever dared to own but I am like the man from Missouri – you must show me. Now, consider the comparison. Gilkerson proved his by public performances against the best fowl in the country. Has the other man done so? Where did these much lauded Whitehackle ever defeat a standard strain in a public pit? He is located near Casey. Ever defeat him or Jim Wild, of his own state? Not far from Billy Howard or Kearney or Hoy, of New York state. Ever defeat them? Gilkerson played no favorites in his mains. How about the other man? I do not wish to reflect in any manner upon the qualities of these fowl am simply trying to enlighten myself and incidentally many others. Perchance the owner desires a public demonstration. If so I will guarantee to pit another strain of Whitehackles against them which will test them good and plenty. Now there is another strain of Whitehackles that my honored historical contemporary can take off his hat to and that do “stand out prominent in the history of cocking” and like Gilkerson’s they play no favorites. Kearney’s Whitehackles and Maurice O’Conell’s “Niggers.” Kearney always conditions and fights O’Conell’s cocks and the limit is taken off when you stack up against O’Conell with Kearnet to feed and when you whip one of these cocks you have got to kill them and be positive they are actually dead because they have a nasty way of coming back to life and landing another desperate smash. Such a smash as only a dead game cock is capable of making. Hats are off to Kearney and his Whitehackles. Hats off to Maurice O’Conell and his “Niggers.” By the way, I did hear that one of the Whitehackles my historical friend kindly mentions fought in a main at Nyack recently. Perhaps later he will learn how he performed, in so much as history seems to be in oder to permit me to digress for a time. Sometime in the early ’60’s a young Irish lad living in Tipperary conceived the idea of invading America with a bunch of Irish bred cocks. His country had the best breed of Whitehackles in all Ireland while the adjoining county had the best Brown reds and many were the mains fought between these counties with honors about even. When this lad started with his lot of game cocks he had one-half Brown Reds and one-half Whitehackles. He landed in New York in May, only to learn that cocking was over for the season. He managed to find walks for the cocks and returned to to Ireland, coming back the following winter with another bunch of cocks. Shortly after his arrival there was a big main and during an intermission the audience was amazed to hear a young man with as rich brougue as ever crossed the pond, cry out, “I will fight any man in the house a main for 500 pounds.” Pat Carroll, of Philadelphia, who was present, said, “I would like to get at that `greenhron’ if he would only put up,” and he forwith tackled the `greenhorn’, making the preliminaries all the time skeptical, until finally he suggested putting up a forfeit. “All right,” said the `greenhorn’. “Suppose we put up $1000 each as a forfeit,” and producing the money. This was a stagger for Carroll but he managed to come up and the main was on. Carroll, who was the breeder of the then famous “Black Hawks”, won the toss and named for the small end a 3.10. The greenhorn (who the readers have probably guessed, was Michael Kearney) had nothing so light and was in despair, when he met a man who told him where he might find such a small cock, He succeeded in geeting him and strange to say, won the light weight. Michael obtained permission to feed his cocks at this hotel where they were to fight the main and which was in Hoboken, N.Y. On moving he discovered a lot of cocks left in the coops which had big heads and swollen eyes. “Swelled head.” He had never seen anything like it before but concluded to take no chances and moved every cock to barrels in the yard, disinfected the coops and started feeding. After a time some strangers appeared and asked Michael how he was getting on. Suspecting they were emissaries from Carroll, he replied, “Poorly. I don’t know what is the matter, look here,” showing the cocks in the yard. “I never saw anything like that in the old country,” said the forthy Mike. “Oh” replied the strangers, that is the same way they act in this country. Carroll’s are just the same.” “Is that so?” said Mike. Then I doubt they could scarcely get away fast enough to report to Carroll with the result that on the night of the main the betting was 100 to 60 on Carroll. If I remember correctly fifteen fell in and it stood seven to seven with the last match to decide the main and such hedging of bets was rarely ever seen before. For the last battle Carroll produced a magnificent Black Hackle while Kearney produced a Brown Red, bred in Ireland and that he brought along with him. It was a grand battle, both cocks in pink of condition and both aggressive and determined. It was anybody’s fight for an hour or more when it was seen that the Black Hackle was getting smaller and he finally turned away giving the victory ot the gamy, persevering Kearney Brown Reds, direct from the old sod and incidentally a small fortune to the equally game `greehorn’ who dared to come thousands of miles to test the supremacy of the Irish bred cocks and the Irish system of feeding and handling against the redoubtable Pat Carroll and his seldom defeated Black Hackles. I again take off my derby to Michael Kearney as a breeder. I think he is the most wonderful breeder of the country. He still has the Whitehackles same as he brought over nearly fifty years ago and can show them in plenty at 6:00 to 7:00 in condition and has fought them every year since and from Aiken, S.C., where he defeated Jimmie Dougrey, from Boston, where two years ago fought a draw with Casey to the extreme western part of the state. He had fought thousands of these two strains in all kinds of pits and conditions and who ever saw one quit that he or Maurice O’Connell bred. He has won two big mains already this season. Can any breeder equal this? It is proper to doff your head gear to Michael. What say you, historian? on’t you now consider yourself presumptive to say at the least, to class that other strain with Kearney Whitehackles?. I will also add that when Lord Cromwell was here some years ago he visited Mr. Kearney who presented his lordship with several Whitehackle cocks and hens to take back to Ireland. Lord Cromwell bred these and last year challenged all England and defeated England with these same cocks. How about you, historian? I know of at least one case where at least $500 would have been paid Mr. Kearney for a trio and the man was shown the fowl and then shown out the back door of the yard as the “easiest way to get to the cars.” The man was not even allowed in to buy a drink in Michael’s hotel after he made the offer. I have known of $1000 being offered by a syndicate gentlemen connected with a country club to Mr. O’Connell for a stock of his Whitehackles and refused.

Morgan Whitehackles
by: E.T. Piper { Fulldrop }

Col. William l Morgan of East Oragne,N.J., bred and perfected this strain of gamefowl. And it takes its name from him. As the Morgan fowl are practically pure Gilkerson North Brittons, it is necessary to go somewhat into the history of that strain. About 1858, George Gilkerson, an English farmer living in Cortland County, N. Y, imported some fowl from Cumberland, England. From a man named lawman a relative of Billy Lawman of New York State. In this country there where known as North Brittons and later known as Gilkerson Whitehackles. North Brittons contained Duckwingred, Brownred and Pyle. On and before his death Gilkerson`s death many of his fowl came to Col.Morgan. Among these fowl was a little imported Scottish hen. Which Gilkerson prized most highly. Col. Morgan bred this hen with the old Gilkerson fowl and her blood is in all his fowl. Morgan did not know the history of this hen but expressed the opinion that she was nothing more or less than a lawman hen. That had been bred across the boarder in Scotland. All her stags looked and acted just like the Gilkerson fowl. The Morgan Whitehackles became famous than the Gilkerson fowl had ever been. He whipped Kearney, the Eslins, Mahoney and many of a less note in many mains in the Pennsylvania coal mining district. No man has ever approached this record in short heels, and the backbone of all these mains was pure Morgan Whitehackles. Col. Morgan never made but two permanent outcrosses in the straight strain. Morgan got a Ginger hen from Perry Baldwin. And put her on the yard of Sonny Stone of Newark. He had stone bred her. Her granddaughters and great granddaughters under Morgan cocks. the resulting progeny had the bloody heel and fighting quality of the pure Morgan’s and still retained some of the excessive courage of the ginger [ newbold fowl]. Morgan finally took a fifteen-sixteenth Morgan and a sixteenth {ginger] newbold hen from stone and bred her on his own yard. That is the blood in all Morgan fowl. About the beginning of the century John Hoy of Albany obtained possession of the fowl of Billy Lawman. Morgan and Hoy exchanged brood fowl freely an as the fowl were identical in general make-up and charactishtics. The offspring bred on as the pure strain. Morgan bred the Lawman cock when reduced to one quarter in his favorite pens. At the time of his death there was a small percentage of this blood in most of his fowl. In the early nineties Morgan have a small pen of his fowl to a Col. in Virginia. The Col. inbreed the fowl and on his death. They fell into the hands of a professor at Georgetown university. Who knew nothing about breeding or cock fighting. He kept the family pure breeding his favorite cock to the whole flock on hens. When he died the fowl were still inbred in N.J. Neither the family Morgan bred or the family that had been inbred had changed appearance or quality in twenty-five years. Although kept absolutely apart, bred together the young cannot be told from the parents on either side. Except that they are larger and stronger that the offshoot family.


White Hornets

These were originated by Prof. J.A. Monroe, of Woodville, Mississippi. In them are combined the bloods of the Louisiana Cotton Balls, the Thompson Whites and one or two other strains which Mr. Monroe preferred not to give out. They are one of the prettiest and most savage fighters of all the white strains, and are good in any length heels.

Thompson Whites

Thompson Whites were originated by Bradford Thompson by using a white cock procured from Col. Bragg,which was called a white China Pheasant cock. He used this cock over his Pyle hens:breeding him back to his daughters. He soon had a strain coming pure white with yellow legs and beaks, red eyes and straight combs. Cocks weighed from 4:04 to 6:00. It is claimed that Thompson never sold a feather, but after his death in 1859 his wife disposed of the fowl to the public. It is said that Thompson never lost a main and only a few hacks with them.

The Pheasant cock was a white oriental cock Thompson bought for $50 from Bragg, which he was fighting in a Main, Thompson forfeited the fight so that he could buy the cock.

Harry Charles sold Mr. Thompson the original hens in 1935 that started the Thompson Whites.

Giant White Doms

This is a large strain that was originated by George Hathaway, of Independence, Iowa in 1920. To Dom hens he bred a buff colored cock that was 5-8 Dom and 3-8 Jap, and weighed 8:08. The cocks come white with a few dom feathers throughout the body. Have yellow legs and red eyes and both straight and peacomb. They come about 80 % shakes, and are said to be very fast for large birds.

BROMLEY PYLES: Originator, J. R. Bromley, Mich. Two strains – Gennett Ply, Quebec white Ply R. H.

Pyle: Pyle is a plumage color that denotes one that is not red, grey or black. Pyles come white, blue, dom, off-white, off-grey or off-red colors. They are white-legged or yellow-legged and straight or pea combed.

They are known for their high flying style and accurate cutting. Many are not deep game as Hatch or White hackle, but there are Pyles that are as game. Currently, they are crossed with the sturdy and hardy lines to hopefully strike the perfect blend of fighting characteristics.

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24 Responses to “Gamecock Strains”

Jose Navarro said
May 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm


Gamecocksunlimited said
May 5, 2013 at 12:49 am
Mahoney Gulls

Originated by Dennis Mahoney of New York by using a North Briton White Hackle cock over hens he obtained from the “Little Jockey” in Canada. The cocks came in color mostly black-breasted reds. Hens a light to dark buff. All had yellow legs and beaks. Cocks looked very much like the pure White Hackles, and run in weight from 4:04 to 5:06, with long wings and medium to low station. A gamer fowl never lived than the pure Gulls. They are probably extinct at present, and an absolutely pure Gull could not likely be found. However, there are some breeders that have near the originals, and there is Gull blood in many of the present-day strains.

Dictionary of Game Strains


GULLS (Mahoneys)

To find out what a Gull is, all we have to do is get the encyclopedia or dictionary. To find what Mahoney’s Gulls were (or are) all we have to do is read what the different men who worked with horses or fought cocks along with Mahoney had to say about them. There were only 20 or 30 who gave their opinion and, so far as I know, none were alike. That’s the bad part about trying to write a history of strains. It fatigues the writer and confuses the reader, who may have heard only one or two versions of his favorite strain so he picks the one he likes and that’s it. As far as he is concerned he knows what his fowl are, every drop of their blood. The other who wrote the other version was just off a little, cracked, ignorant or maybe just wrote the wrong one for spite to hurt the fowl, BUT when we see where, instead of one, we have many, many different versions we begin to have doubts, not only about the authenticity of ours but, of ALL versions.

Mahoney stated in letter to his friend Ed. Carea of the “Game Breeder” in Nov. 1892: “Gulls and Ross are same strain.” He bought a cock called “Gull” from Tom Baird of Toronto, Canada. He was a brown red, white leg cock and Mahoney never asked Baird his breeding. He bought cocks from Baird from about 1867 to 1871.

William McNiell, Mahoney’s helper, named a cock “Charley Ross “. The “Gull” was the grandsire of the “Charley Ross” cock. The Ross and Gull fowl were b.b, red with white and yellow legs. A few showed willow legs after later crosses were made.

E. R. Carpenter said: “In 1870 Mahoney crossed a cock from Baird (Medcliff claimed Baird brought these over from England in 1862) over Irish Derby hens (McCarthy had brought this blood from Ireland in the fifties). A cock from this cross was the first named “Gull” and the first named “Ross “. Medcliff and Kilcourse both bred cocks for Mahoney and they took turns breeding the cock until he died and then passed his progeny back and forth until 1884. All of his get were called Gulls… Mahoney practically never bred fowls but gave stock he secured to his friends and then fought the cocks they raised. ”

(Author’s note: Medcliff should be spelled Metcalfe.)

Hank Deans was a very close friend of Madigin. Mahoney lived with Deans the later part of his life. Madigin stated in a letter that neither he nor Deans ever recollected Mahoney fighting any fowl called Gulls. He said Mahoney bred few fowl as he was more of a feeder than a breeder. One writer stated they were a cross of Gilkerson fowl from Lohman over Mahoney Ross fowl. Another writer says an English Jockey known as II
Little English George” came to Hamilton, Ont., to ride for John Martin, bringing with him some pure’ Derbys. A cocker named Reid fought some in a main and afterwards Mahoney bought a cock known as the II Old Fairy Cock II and two hens for $50.00. That was the start of the Gulls, he says.

In 1912, a writer stated in Grit & Steel that the Gulls did not contain a drop of Whitehackle blood. A late historian disclaims all knowledge of their blood origin except that he is sure they contain White hackle blood.

Long ago in the Featherd Warrior a writer had this to say of the Gulls:

“About 1860 John Mulholland imported from the North of Ireland two strains of fighting fowl, one gray and the other black-red. He gave the latter to Mahoney and they were the ancestors of the Gulls. n He goes into the matter to great length, however, and says that about a year before his death Mahoney told him II in the course of our conversation ••• ‘ the Gulls came from Dromore, County of Down.’ n Then it is conjectured whether they were bred as imported or crossed with other fowl. Finally reference is made to the Reid stock. Here is what was II said II to have happened. Denny rented five cocks from Reid for $5.00 apiece if they won, and’ nothing if they lost. Three of them were impressive winners. Mahoney wanted some of the stock to breed and so he bought a hen for $15.00. She was bred to one of the Reid cocks, but she laid nothing but soft-shelled eggs that season, therefore no chicks were secured. At this point where n the memory of the man runneth not to the contrary ” no further facts were available, so it was ” presumed he bred her to the Irish cock, and from them the gulls were obtained as the hen was known as a ‘Gull hen’.”

Then the writer discusses the name and its origin. It is considered probable that the cocks as cut out for battle bore such a resemblance to the gulls flying up the Genessee river toward Rochester, N.Y., from Lake Ontario that the appropriateness of the name became apparent and stuck from then on. ‘ As a further probable reason for the name it was recalled that at about that time a pugilist by the name of Gulley was very popular in England and that his name) shortened to Gull, may have been used to perpetuate the
memory and fame of both the man and the birds.

We can see that many writers who were supposed to know what they were talking (or writing) about gave histories of the Gull many years after Mahoney had given all the history he knew in a public letter to Ed. Carew and published in the Game Breeder in 1892. Since then it has been reprinted in the Game Breeder, the Feathered Warrior, Derby Game Bird and Grit & Steel. Yet these men, purported to know so much of the strain had never even seen Mahoney’s own version or disregarded it. And about all I can add after I get through talking about them is that I’ve probably been guilty of the same thing.

There were many noted crosses or off-shoots of the Gulls as bred by Mahoney’s friends and fought by Mahoney. A man named Adair came to Kingston from Limerick, Ireland and brought with him some brown red and black red tasseled fowl. Metcalfe crossed the cock, Charley Ross, over some of the hens, to produce the Ross-Limerick fowl. Some of these came with tassels and were the first to come that way.

There were many sub-strains of the original Gulls, most of these being named after some great cock. Some of these were: Captain Jack, Ajax, Battle Axe, and Broken Wing.

See Mahoney fowl this book; also Mahoney Gull and Commodores third Edition.

Johnson’s History of Game Strains

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