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Saturday, September 27, 2008

History of game strains

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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 of 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 family. 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 afterward became famous under the name of "Gailor Legs." It was of this family that Dr. Morgan got from Wilson and were afterward 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, December 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 transferred 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.

by Old Swash (1921)

Warhorses and John Stone Irish Brown Reds are two different families. John Stone Brown Reds, as Col. Bacon got them, were colored as follows, and no two ways or double colors in it: The cocks were a beautiful brown-red, and ginger red, yellow-greenish legs called terrapin legs, red eyes, with single and pea combs, mostly single or saw-tooth combs, which was evidence that they were the result of a cross before John Stone got them from the Lord Dondon estate through James Doolin. Now, the hens came wheaton, or straw colored, with eyes and legs same as the cocks. Now, once in a while a stag or pullet would show moccasin legs, white and blueish or greenish, vice versa. Now then, when a man claims his fowl are Warhorses and at the same time claims his Warhorses are pure John Stone Lord Dondon Irish Brown Reds, and ships out fowl other than the above colors, for both Warhorses and John Stone Brown Reds, he is in my judgment off his base and should be halted to keep him in bounds of reason, for I am aware of the fact that the gentleman has shipped almost black fowl to purchasers and claimed them Warhorses, and also claimed them to be John Stone Irish Brown Reds that were named the Warhorse, and etc.

Now, I am, or have always been, a great admirer of my friend who does this, but I tell him frankly I am at this late day losing interest in his writings. He is a smart man and an educated man - he has Old Swash skinned in books - but from his Warhorse writings of late I know I have skinned in the knowledge of the Warhorse fowl as originated by my departed friend Col. Bacon.

Now the June Grit and Steel, 1921, in his letter trys to credit George Welslager with the black cock cross in the Warhorse family, and then he narrows down to the point where he says he wishes to know if that old Black Welslager cock's blood was in Peter Sherron's Warhorse or Stone Irish fowl, and I wish to in a word clear his mind and tell him "Yes". And every other Warhorse fowl, no matter who owned or bred them, carries that black cock's blood. Yet I don't admit it was a Welslager, for the simple fact: Why would Col. Bacon wish to get another Welslager cock to cross with to produce the Warhorse family when prior to the Warhorse's orgin he bred and fought George Welslager's Old Welslgaer Reds, and they were not blacks, either. They were black-breasted reds, with cherry red bar across back from wing butt to wing butt, and came as near being true to the color as any fowl I ever saw. Legs were blue, or lead moccasin, and terrapin eyes, hazel and red, and often had what we called clear eyes, on order of sheep eyes - some called them gander eyes. Now, I hate to differ so very widely from my friend's views, but facts are facts.

Now, from all Col. Bacon ever was able to learn in regard to the Baltimore Black, or Godner Floyd Black, they sprang from the coop of black fowl that Dr. Cooper mentioned was stolen from the Englishman's wagon in Pennsylvania. Now, I am not arguing on that, but only give it as Col. Bacon expressed it in my presence. One fact I do know is that those black fowl won eleven out of fourteen battles in a main from Col. Bacon and his party lost heavily. Bacon was then using Stone Irish Brown Reds and his old Welslager Reds. Bacon tried to buy a certain cock which he fancied, a coal black, and his fabulous price was refused, and Col. Bacon's old servant got the negro keeper drunk and stole the cock and carried him from Baltimore in a sack and walked and made a trip through to Edgefield. He got rides along the road some times, but walked most of the way. But he ran until he got out of Baltimore with the black cock.

Now, to throw some more light on this Warhorse history, not a strain of any importance now but what carries a bit of Warhorse blood in their veins. Look at Col. F.E. Grist's great champions; it was from a cock Col. Bacon bred that Col. Grist originated the world renowned Grist Champions, and I could go on and name various other strains.

Now, you all have seen mushrooms loom up in a single night, and when the hot sun shone they died as suddenly as they loomed up. Now, my friends, Peter Sherron's origination of the Warhorse reminds me of one of those mushrooms. Peter Sherron is due this much and no more. He named Col. Bacon's fowl Warhorse - that much and no more. Now, you men of sense and judgment, go behind the pen of my friend and see if you can find a single man who ever gives Peter Sherron credit for or as a breeder of Warhorse or any other horses other than Mr. Dal Johnson, and the treat is on my friend.Joe Hammond, in a circular, he once issued, gave Sheron credit for naming Col. Bacon's fowl Warhorse, and outside of that single mention old Peter Sherron was not known to the cocking world. Peter wasn't known outside of Augusta, Georgia, and we often had cock fights between Edgefield and Trenton South Carolina, and from 25 to 200 men there from North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and elsewhere, but never once did I see Peter Sherron there. He went as far as Hamburg and Beech Island and that was all. Peter was a barkeeper and he was a great game breeder, as you all will vouch for when I tell you of his brood yards. He had them Oh! Did I say them? Well Imeant it, at the rear of his bar, and the two buildings on either side his bar that joined it was the fence and they ran back some 30 feet, or I might say 40 feet further than the bar on either side, and he planked up the back end and this was his brood pen, or yards. His chickens often came inot the bar from the rear end door. The stag so often referred to was given the name of storekeeper, and was called Barkeeper because he almost lived in the bar. I've seen so muhc said about that stag I want ot tell you all he was a son of the identical cock of Col. Bacon's that Peter called Warhorse after he had won in the main I have before mentioned and from the B.S. Dunbar hens from John Stone of the Irish Brown reds. But if Dunbar got the colors my friend states he got, he never got Stone's Irish Brown Reds; he got John Stone's Irish Gliders, which was a cross on the Irish Brown Reds and a Ned Gill Black cock. Said cross was made by Jack Saunders, of Salem, Mass., on the Stone Irish Brown Reds, and was named Stone Irish Gliders so as to distinguish these cross breeds from the pure John Stone Irish Brown Reds.

Set up, youngsters, and take notice. Don't let any man deceive you, for deception is the slogan today. It was a Ned Gill Roundhead crossed on John Stone Jim Sandsford Claibornes that produced the Roundhead Claibornes that are sold and fought as John Stone Roundhead Claibornes. John Stone had no Roundhead Claibornes, and why he is credited with the strain is this: The hens from which the cross was made were procured from John Stone, of his little inbred Sandford Claibornes. John Stone had no more to do their origin than I did. Ask old Daddy Joe Wingate, better known as Ginger Joe, who is the best authority in the USA today on game fowl and cockers and breeders. He is getting very old and his mind may be getting foggy, but if it is still clear and he will write a letter for Grit and Steel, you will get the worth of a year's subscription in one issue. I have a thousand letters from his pen in my file and some day if I live I mean to have them put in book form to mail to my customers.

My friend in his letter mentions the cock Col. Rhett got that produced the Rhett Morgan fowl. He can go on and learn why they were called Rhett Morgan fowl. Because Dr. Morgan bred them out on his plantation and he and Rhett were brother-in-laws, and the cock Col. Rhett got was a cross bred cock. Col. Rhett got the hens from Col. Bacon of his Warhorse family and bred that Rhett John Stone cock on them. The Rhett Stone cock was an imported black-breasted English cross on Stone Irish hens. Then this cock bred on bacon Warhorse hens caused the Rhett fowl to show very few dark fowl, mostly cinnamon reds, reds and mottled-breasted reds, and most all had terrapin legs, and about as red eyes as was ever in a fowl's head.

Give me my friend's education to couple with my knowledge and I will make him look like 30 cents. Presently, if he had my knowledge and the education he has he would make me look like a forsaken camp heap way out in the woods.

by O. Fudd (1957)

Sooner or later, those who write a piece for a game journal has gotta say a few words about Roundheads. It's well known and a matter of statistics that over the year, there have been more Roundheads fought than any other strain of battle cocks, bar none!

It is also a matter of common knowledge that the most popular of these was and is the Allen Roundhead - as produced by Will Allen of Mississippi. They came light red, pea or knob comb, yellow legged, brown duck wing, or spangle-sensational fighting fowl that literally had everything - clever sparring cocks, side-stepping an opponent's rush and in the clinches they turned on the fan. They were excellent cutters, physically stronger than most strains and adapted themselves to confinement. In fact, they were ideals cocks from nearly every angle being also possessed of gameness, lacking only that awful wallop of the short heel birds. This was not widely known until the past decade, which saw the rise of the Madigin-Hatch bloodlines.

For benefit of younger members of the fraternity it must be pointed out that not every cock bearing the title Roundhead carries the old-time Will Allen bloodlines. Nearly every Roundhead breeder has put in a little shot of sumpin' or other to improve them according to his own ideas. However it is still possible to obtain pure Allen Roundheads tis said. This may be so as the strain was so widely distributed that such breeders could obtain new blood from others without going out of the family if they so desired.

At least according to what Fudd knows, the fighting weights of the Roundhead still run from around 4-6 to 6-6 with good size in the hens. They, by the way, came bluff with red neck hackles, a brown partridge color and spangle. Any of the three colors mentioned for the hens are satisfactory and most Roundhead breeders get some of each if they breed enough of them. The battle record of the Roundheads over the years is too well known to even mention, except that it might be noted that prior to the advent of the Madigin line it was usual thing for the Roundheads to win most of their drag fights, this by reason of their superior bull strength.

Fudd's own experience with the Roundhead fowl is not anything to brag about although I've met'em in the pit through the years to my financial sorrow many times. I've fed and pitted between three or four hundred of the critters, winning and losing, so if this entitles me to an opinion, here goes!

Gaffs, for instance, over the years we found that the medium point jagger pattern was the best all around heel with the high-point regulation a very close second. The exception was in using the straight Jarrett Roundheads and these executed better with a regulation type curve blade.

Among the various Roundhead families, more or less containing the Allen Roundhead bloodlines, or a basic proportion, it was Fudd's opinion that the Jarrett Roundhead family produced more winning occks in tough competition. They could meet the best and hold their own although out of hundreds of this strain fought by my old friend, the late Dr. George H. Gwynn of Tallahassee, FL, I never saw one that we'd term spectacular. They were simply rough, tough, cutting cocks and they won. His Jarretts were obtained as a gift from the late Honorable Francis B. Winthrop of the same city and one of the "Watson & Co." members. On the death of Winthrop all the fowl went to Gwynn who offered a Fudd a yard of these fowl. I refused them and I had no room to breed but here again the yard was given to my younger brother and the breeding of them fell on me anyway!

The Lunday Roundhead fowl as bred by W.T. Johnson rank right at top. The late C.C. Lunday who originated this family was a personal friend of Fudd and I observed the cocks fighting in South Georgia, Florida and Alabama over a period of many years. There ware no better fowl of the Roundhead family.

J.F. "Jimmie" Johnson of Leslie, Georgia, had a family of white leg Roundheads that many think the best in the country. Fudd has seen a great many of these cocks fight and there is no doubt, they are good. It seems to me they break higher and hit much harder than most Roundheads and there has been little question as to the gameness of this family. One of the best fighting cocks I ever bred was out of a 2-time winning Johnson cock given my brother by W.H. Wilder which I bred over a couple of hens given to me by my friend Cal Hicks, the hens being Tait or "Old Southern" Roundhead blood that was placed out in the country with the cock just to give him a free farm walk. Cal was unhappy about these hens as they had previosly thrown cocks that wouldn't finish a down bird, which proves against that in breeding game fowl you never know.

The Lacy Roundhead family from Judge Lacy of Alabama also produces white leg cocks and they have consistently held their own through the years. Fudd likes them very much and has used many in the past. Several Alabama breeders have them "right" today and for the man who fancies the Roundhead they are a good bet. On the whole they seem to be a shade faster and deadly cutters as well.

Fudd also remembers the old Toulmi Roundhead cocks from down Mobile way and west of Pensacola, Florida, perhaps the most spectacular of the Roundhead blood. They would then and today, cut the life from the opponent cock so quickly you hardly get seated at the pit side before the crowd starts whopping and yelling, climbing all over you to collect on the Toulmin Roundhead! S'fact, ask Roy Greer about these wonderful Roundhead cocks.

The Bell Roundhead as bred by Hemingway of Atlanta, Georgia, hold their own nicely in the big time pits and Fudd points out that it takes game, cutting fighting cocks to do that today.

The old-time Alabama Roundhead family bred by Cowan and T.K. Bruner were always ace high among Roundhead lovers. Even today there is a gent up in North Country that has 'em with just a dash of Whitehackle.

Fudd has much experience with Chick Hall's killer Roundhead and must put in a plug for them, as he knew them some years ago. An old friend, Chas Parks of Tallahassee, FL, always bred two yards of these and from breeding shakes only, produced mostly heavy cocks. As stags they were too clumsy in my opinion but were always desperately game and better than average cutting fowl. Break even was about all we could do with them but you can't expect to do much better than 50-50 against the men who met 'em!

Old Fudd's hesitates not at all to predict that more and more Roundheads cocks will be seen in the pits, that they will begin to nudge out the Madigin Reds and Greys and are ideal fowl for us little Fudds, can be pulled out of coop walks and make a showing against any cocks you might mention.

This dipping into the past and prediction for the future reminds me that every now and then some game journal editorial blossoms out, recommending that game breeders keep one eye on the past and the other on the future. In this regard it might not be amiss to tell about the lady in Natchez, Mississippi, whose story told in antebellum says still goes strong. She sez: "Keep one eye on the past and one eye on the future and you can't help being cock-eyed today!" Which lead Fudd to inquire of our esteemed editors and publishers, just what the hell are they trying to make out of us Fudds's!

One of the best Roundhead families that have produced winners over a long span of years, are those bred by Emmett Mitchell Jr, down Thomasville, Georgia way. Crossed with his Brown Reds they battled out an Orlando win and straight bred are no pushover. Emmett partnered with Ted McLean of Maryland for a spell and this McLean Hatch-Mitchell Roundhead cross made some cocks that had many of us seeking the aspirin bottle and ice pack the next morning whilst wondering what would be the best method of getting more cash, a straight loan from a kind-hearted pawnbroker or robbin' a bank! Old Fudd recalls that he wished he had one of these McLean Hatch cock and a couple of measly pullets from Mitchell, in fact I did obtain a promise from these fellows to let me have such a trio - more or less conditioned promise - their reply being "when hell freezes over!"

Roundhead cocks require somewhat different feeding method than other families and you are just not going to improve them much regardless of conditioning methods. They will fight about as well and maybe cut better when picked up fresh from a walk as they will after a couple of weks enduring most of Fudd's Conditioning systems.

In conclusion, let me say that there are many more good families of Roundhead breeding in the US, Fudd has mentioned only those with which he was best acquainted although I've seen a few individual cocks from O.L. Ashworth, J.D. O'Neal, R.L. Sanders and others that were as good as any Roundheads.

The Kearney and Duryea fowl

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. Let 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 owl 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 won't 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 share 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 Albany's the Jim Thompson fowl 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 Hardy's 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, NY about 20 miles from New York City. His fowl were said to have been the result of a cross between an Adam Schreiber, Albany,NY, 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 bad factor, 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 white hackles, 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's 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 of 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 white hackle, Mike reached in a peb and brought out a typical white hackle exept he had a round head and pea comb, he told mike he didn't know white hackles came pea comb. Mike said some of his did and offered no further explanation, it`s a 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 brown reds to their white hackles, because they were gamer, stronger, and harder hitters, although the whitehackles were better cutters. They ran a saloon 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 brown red chicken and forebode Mike to have any of then on the place. For that reason Kearny bred only a few and those few 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 round heads. They were oriental cross of some sort, according to Kearney they were very strong fowl good cutters and fighters but not bitter {game} enough to suit Kearney. However as Duryea liked them, they bred some and used them along with their white hackles and some crosses of the two. If the above is correct as we have every 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's 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 many 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 Duryea fowl were nothing more than Kearney white hackles and some crosses of them on some jap or asil crosses from Frank Coolidge.

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.

Morgan Whitehackles

Col. William l Morgan of east Orange, NJ bred and perfected this strain of gamefowl, and it takes its name from him. As the Morgan fowl are practically pure Gilkerson North Britains, it is necessary to go somewhat into the history of that strain. About 1858, George Gilkerson, an English farmer living in Cortland County, NY, imported some fowl from Cumberland, England from a man named Lawman a relative of Billy Lawman of New York State. In this country they were known as North Britains and later known as Gilkerson whitehackles. North Britains contained duckwing red, brown red and pyle. On and before his death Gilkerson gave many of his fowl 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 border 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 to bred her her grand-daughters and great grand-daughters 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 and as the fowl were identical in general make-up and characteristics 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 gave a small pen of his fowl to a Col. in Virginia. The Col. inbred 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 NJ. 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.


Peter Marsh (1800's) - The first gamefowl breeder/cockfighter in the family. He bred and fought Whitehackles, Smokeballs, and Roundheads. 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.

Phil Marsh (1869-1945) - Phil was 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,N.Y., 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 the hounds and took pride in his hound breeding also. He passed away after sustaining injuries brought on after being kicked in the kidney by a cow in his slaughterhouse.

Bill Marsh (1894-1977) - Son of Phil. Fed and conditioned his first main alone at the age of 13. 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 age 15 on. Bill fought cocks along the eastern United States from New York to Virginia. He worked most of his life as a cattle dealer and was a bootlegger 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 under the name "Goodman".

Alfred Marsh (1897-1971) - Alf was not as well known as his brother Bill. He basically dabbled in small mains and tournaments and took care of the fowl when Bill was unable to. Although he was not involved with the fowl to the extent that Bill was he was by no mean a pushover and won many mains on his own. Alf worked all his life in the family cattle business.

Phil Marsh II (1918-1995) - Son of Bill and named for his Grandfather. Serves 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 aide to General Mark Clark while in Italy. He worked as a truck driver most of his life. After his retirement Phil was active in the sport fighting most of his fowl in New York and Pennsylvania.

Mark Marsh (1962-present) - Son of Phil II and employed in the law enforcement field for over 17 years. Learned from Bill and Phil and is fortunate to have access to many of their personal notes, breeding records as well as the family keep. Started caring for fowl at 4 years of age. Former amateur boxer and a well known softball player in central New York. Like his ancestors he is an avid hunter and carp fisherman and appreciates his heritage in the sport.

by W.T. Johnson

Some say that the original E.S. Hatch blood was bred by Hatch's friend Judge Leiper who got them originally from a man in Huntington, Long Island. They were supposed to be a Kearney Whitehackle, Kearney Brown Red cross. Leiper also bred a 4.12 ginger colored cock from Duryea for several years. Hatch told Ed Piper that around 1900 he got some dark red, green legged fowl from a Mr. Cassidy (or Lynch) of Huntington, Long Island, NY, and later several times through the years got more of that blood. They were dead game, hard hitting and tough.

He bred a black red cock from Harry Genet of NY, breeder of the Genet Pyles over the Cassidy (some say Lynch) hens. This was the foundation blood and Hatch made many crosses and it is said that at the time he gave them to Mathesius none of the pure original stock was left. Hatch was well acquainted with Mike and Harry Kearney, Jim Thompson, Joe Crossin, J.W. E. Clark and Simon Flaherty. It is said they often loaned each other brood fowl.

When Jim Thompson died, Hatch got the choicest of his Mahoganies. When Mr. Clark died, Hatch got the best of what he had left. These came mostly Roundhead and were probably part Duryea which contained Boston Roundhead blood. Hatch and T.W. Murphy were close friends and he had some of the Murphy blood. He crosses Foley's Gingers (that Murphy gave him after buying all Foley supposedly had). They quit and discarded them. He bred a Stegmore cock from Bradford, then discarded those. Clarets and others from Dave Ward were bred. Blood from Morris O'Connell was added as well as good Morgan blood from Billy Clarkin. He bred fowl from Simon Flaherty.

Most of his cocks were yellow legged and dark reds. However, some came green legged and came all shades of red, some a dark red, some a rustly red, some a brownish red and others a sort of maroon color. They were strong, hard hitting cocks, not only dead game, but tough and could take a lot more than they could dish out as many of them were low headed, dumb and poor cutters.

In 1931, Hennie Mathesius went ot work for Hatch and carried his fowl with him, which were Morgan Whitehackles, from Hill, of New Jersey, some Lowman blood and some Gull/Morgan crosses. Some of these were crossed on the Hatch fowl and though their progeny looked about the same, they fought better. They lost a little of their power, but became higher headed, better cutters and won a larger percent of fights. Some think they lost their extreme gameness, but I think this was the case only in some yards. Hatch gave all his fowl to Mathesius, who sold them to C.C. Cooke, of Oklahoma, who soon became partner of E.W. Law.

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 color 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.

by Gus Frithiof Sr.

I have before me at this time letters from W. A. Kelso, Col. John Magigin, J.M. (Milo) Frost Jr., a letter from Gilbert Courtois, who fed the Kelso cocks for 25 years and many letter from my good friend John J. Liberto, Galveston, Texas, who made hundreds of single matings for Mr. Kelso; also helped him with brooders and incubators for 32 years. In writing this data on the Kelso fowl I am not drawing upon hearsay and my imagination for facts, but rather upon my long association with these great cockers and breeders.

Mr. Kelso was not the kind of man who went around telling everyone he came in contact with how he bred his chickens. The only reference I ever came across from him was a letter that was published in The Gamecock magazine for April, 1964. He had written this letter to a personal friend, who sent it in for publication a couple months after Mr. Kelso's death, Febuary 1, 1964. It was in regards to the breeding of one family of his fowl, the Oleander Peacomb Fowl.

In the letter about the Oleander Peacomb Fowl he stated that he bred a Blue Judge Wilkins Typewriter - McClanahan cock to two Tom Murphy's straight comb Whitehackle hens and produced the two red, "Left Out" marked hens that were later bred to a "Yankee Clipper" cock that Duke Hulsey gave him, which produced the original pea-comb fowl that won an average of 85% of their fights from 1947 to 1953.

The above mentioned Blue Judge Wilkins Typewriter - McClanahan cock was bred out of my two Typewriter hens, bred to the McClanahan cock I brought down to Mr. Kelso's place, and bred there and NO OTHER Typewriter cock or hens were bred there, and no other McClanahan cock or hens were bred down there. When I left Galveston, Texas, I left Mr. Kelso a large number of stags, bred out of my Typewriter hans and the McClanahan cock I brought down there to breed to my hens. Kelso fought my fowl (young cocks) against Bobby Manziel, deceased, and they won a great main, fed by Turley Stalcup of Tennessee. Mr. Stalcup wrote me of the results of that main and asked me for hens bred the same way.

I have many letters here from John J. Liberto, who helped Mr. Kelso for 32 years with his fowl, in Galveston, Texas, and he assures me that the only Typewriter hens of and the McClanahan cock (Austin-Claret-Smith Roundhead) was ever bred at Mr. Kelso's, or by him down there.

Hundreds of men have written me about the Kelso Clarets, some saying they have them, others wanting information on them. Although Kelso had many of Madigin's fowl he never bred any of them pure, as he always wanted his own strain of fowl and bred towards this goal. I know this will surprise many, but there is no such fowl, as Kelso (Madigin) Clarets. However, some of his "Battle Cocks" contained some Claret blood.

I fed a 13-cock main for Mr. Kelso against Gilbert Courtois, New Iberia, LA, which was fought at the Club Belvedere, near Erath, LA, which ended in a draw. Gilbert Courtois had won many mians at that time and was rated the Champion of Louisiana. The Kelso cocks I trained were half E.H> Hulsey (Pumpkins), one quarter Smith Roundheads (DeJeans) and one quarter Madigin Claret.

Kelso made a main against Smutt Griffiths, Victoria, Texas; Jeff Lankard, Goliad, Texas, and others in their combination. It was a "show" of 21 and 17 pairs matched. Sam Bigham and Henry Wortham visited Kelso'd cock-house and he extended them the courtesy of examining his cocks. When Kelso asked them what they though the results would be they replied, after prompting - that they felt I had "Drawn" the cocks too much and that the cocks Kelso was meeting were absolutely perfect. After Wortham and Bingham left the cock-house we soon heard the bets of 100/60 and 1000/six hundred offered. Madigin drove up and asked why the big odds. I told him that the experts had felt of Kelso's cocks and thought we had no chance. I then handed Madigin some of the cocks and he looked them over. As he was leaving the cock-house, Mr. Kelso asked him what he thought about them. He replied, "I am going to break these smart betters." J.M. Frost had an interest in our main, but withdrew his support and went with the opposition. The final score was Frithiof-Kelso 11 and Griffith-Lankard 6. We won the only hack after the main and Kelso and Madigin won a great deal on the main as they were my only backers.

I used 3 of J.M. Frost's Pipeliners in the main and the rest were E.H. Hulsey-Smith Roundhead-Madigin Claret crosses.

Sweater McGinnis teamed up with Tom Averyt (feeder for Hill McClanahan), J.M. Frost Jr., (Pipeliner and Frost Greys), Judge Ed Wilkins (Typewriters) and other backers and challenged Kelso to fight them for a thousand dollars on each battle. We fought at Austin, Texas. We defeated the combination 8 to 3. I used one Madigin Grey that won and the rest were E.H. Hulsey-Coutois-DeJean-Smith Roundhead-Claret crosses.

When Kelso fought a main against Madigin in New Orleans his cocks were Roundheads from Louisiana. Madigin won the main 11 to 6. The Madigin Clarets completely outclassed the LA Roundheads.

Kelso fought four E.H. Hulsey cocks and one Madigin Grey cock against Judge Edward Wilkins at Austin, Texas late one season. Wilkins used 5 cocks, one half Marsh Butcher and one half Typewriter. The Hulsey cocks were pumpkins (Yellow Birchen color), all lost, the Madigin Grey won.

In 11 mains and hacks after the mains, I fought Wilkins over 150 battles. He told me only 5 cocks of this sum were, or had any Butcher blood in them, and this should refute the allegation of two of the "self appointed experts," who wrote articles for The Gamecock that stated that the Wilkins cocks were either 100% Marsh Butcher, or one half Butcher.

Appearing in August, 1946 Grit & Steel is a report of a 9 stag main, page 36, between Walter Kelso, Gilbert Courtois feeding, and Maurice Cohen, San Antonio, Texas, fought at Berg's Mill San Antonion, Texas. Won by Kelso 6 to 3. Kelso used 5 stags bred by John Liberto, Galveston, Texas.

In the Febuary issue G&S, page 67, 1948, is a report of a main fought between Regels & Co., Alice, Texas, fed by Lee (pop) McGinnis, "Skeeter" Alford hadnling, against Walter Kelso, Gilbert Courtois feeding and handling for Kelso. Score 5 to 4 for Kelso. Kelso used 4 cocks bred by John Liberto, Galveston, texas.

The reason I mentioned the mains fed by myself and those fed by Gilbert Courtois for Mr. Kelso, was to show the readers that Mr. Kelso was NOT FIGHTING COL. JOHN H. MADIGIN CLARETS in any of his important mains.

Upon the death of Mr. Madigin, September 16, 1942, Mr. Kelso fell heir to his fowl, which surprised many, as all thought Mr. E.W> Law would inherit them. Madigin didn't relish Mr. Law selling fowl and perhaps, this influenced his decision. Madigin's instructions were that Frank Heiland, who fed his cocks for many years, was to be given a trio of Greys and Bill Japhet, son of his old time friend, Dan Japhet, was to be given some of the fowl if he wanted them.

Kelso had "Sweater" McGinnis with him at the time. McGinis didn't like the Madigin fowl and was busy killing them. He did fight some of them at Waco, Texas and most lost.

When I was with Mr. Kelso, Col. Madigin would bring down a dozen or more cocks and I would place them in big pens to "freshen them up." After they had been on green grass for a month I would put them up and work them out and fight them in New Orleans Tournaments for Madigin. He would bring his green legged Regular Greys and Red and White Clarets, usually an equal number of each color. Madigin told me many times that his Red and White Clarets were the same identical fowl, bred exactly the same, contained the same blood-lines.

Madigin had a dozen hens down there in large pens (Kelso's place) and we went after them while I was with Madigin. However, when I went with Kelso there were no pure Claret fowl down there and I doubt that Kelso bred from them.

Madigin believed that fowl bred in Canada, where he bred his fowl, and brought down to Texas, would improve them, because of the difference in climate, minerals in the ground and in the grass, would be beneficial to them.

Sweater McGinnis brought down to Kelso's place a Peacomb red, yellow legged cock, heavy plumage, long wings and broad back. He was bred to Kelso's "out ans Out" marked hens and single mated to the little bluff, straight comb, Murphy hens. This cock was called the "Sweater" cock.

McGinnis got a Regular Grey Madigin cock from Kelso. John Liberto, Galeston, Texas, had been breeding the cock to his Pipeline (Frost) hens for Mr. Kelso. A Perfection Grey cock was also bred to Pipeliner hens for Kelso's use. The original Madigin Perfection Greys were out of a Madigin Regular Grey named "Perfection," bred to Red Clarets hens.

When Walter Kelso (Oleander Club), Gilbert Courtois feeding, won the Sunset Derby in 1952, he fought 6 Yankee Clippers (Claret-Albany's), 3 Claret crosses and 3 Griffin cocks. The Bob Angelle trophy was given to Gilbert Courtois. (May issue G&S, page 17, 1952.)

May 6, 1953, Kelso (Oleander Club), Courtois feeding, won a main against Mr. Halff, J.D. Perry feeding, at Nine Mile Club, 6 to 4. Kelso used some of his "Little Murphy" cocks and Oleander Reds, which were Typewriter-McClanahan. Old Murphy, Yankee Clipper and Claret blood. June issue, Gamecock, page 44.

Mr. Kelso obtained from Billy Ruble, a peacomb, Brown Red, dark legged cock, twice a winner at Hot Springs, same day, and he was bred to the dakr legged hens Tommy Murphy sent Kelso. The cocks were very game but average fighters. Tommy Gillespie, editor of the Game Fowl Breeders Journal, had been trying to get some Kelso fowl from the caretaker on Kelso's place. Kelso told his caretaker to sell them to Gillespie and keep the money.

The Ruble cock was then bred to Kelso's best Buff, straight comb hens and the cocks were satisfactory. Best "Left Out" marked little hens.

John Liberto let Kelso breed his dark wine red, straight comb yellow Pipeliner (Frost cock to his buff, yellow legged, Murphy hens). Sweater McGinnis fought the cock twice. After Sweater left Kelso's place to go inot the army Gilbert Courtois bred him for Kelso for a few years. Kelso won mains and derbies with this mating. Later a son of the Pipeliner cock was bred the same way with excellent results. The blood of this line of fowl was in his later fowl, his very best fowl.

Mr. Griffin from Alabama was walking stags for Mr. Kelso and he sent Kelso a bright red, single comb cock, that was a sensation, a five-time winner, called the Trosclair cock, because Trosclair had walked him; he was also called the $1000 cock. Griffin also sent Kelso a dark red, peacomb, white legged cock, extra good. Some offspring from these cocks was raised and they were satisfactory.

A Hennie Mathesius Hatch cock was bred by John Liberto to his Pipeliner (Frost) hens and Kelso used many of them with good results.

Mr. Armand DeJean, Opelousas, LA, gave Kelso some of his Smith Roundheads and Kelso gave them to John Liberto. Later Kelso got some of them back again. I think some of the cocks I was fighting for Mr. Kelso carried this blood line.

One of the Grey cocks Kelso used for his Grey colored cocks was from Carl Van Wormer, Houston, Texas. He was a Shake and fought several times. Van Wormer rented Col. Madigin's place in Houston, Texas, after Mr. Madigin's death, from Madigin's daughter. When I visited him there he had fowl from E.W. Law, Dave Ward, Frank Shy (Narragansett) and some Albany fowl (Old Albanys). Van Wormer joined me in 5 mains, all of which I won. I let him have a Madigin Grey cock, sire of 5 cocks I fought against E.H. Husley and Henry Wortham, at Arcola, Texas, in our $2000 main. Four of my Grey cocks won - the 5th cock met a 9 time winning Hulsey cock, they went up, came down flopping, dying and it was called a draw. Wortham said they were the best Grey cocks he ever saw fight in any pit. I don't know for sure if that Grey cock Kelso got was out of my cock, or form E.W. Law stock.

This is the true way Kelso bred his fighting cocks and they were TOPS.

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.

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.

Oak Grove is Gene Brown Of Mississippi, He aquired his Yellow Leg Hatch by way Of Mr Lawerence Arrington. They were given to Lawrence from Marvin Anderson of Alabama and was 1/2 Ray hoskins of Texas 1/2 Andersons. They are very aggressive, hard hitting fowl, deep game and are very distinctive fighter chickens that Cut Deep, Some of the Same Fowl were Later Purchased from Carol Nesmith for Breeding Purposes. Which came from Marvin Anderson and Harold Brown. It was like a kelso, high station, dark red, pea-comb, and 3 or four white streamers with white tips on his wings.

The Wingate Brown Reds

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 spurs. One of the Irish hens was a favorite of Joe`s. He had her set up and mounted when she died. This mounted 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 bred 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 bred him over his hens that were understood to be north Britain 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.

Miner Blues by: Loyd B. Miner

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 ack 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 eing 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 win 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.


article courtesy of One of the breeds of gamefowl most in demand today are the “Sweaters”. There are several versions of how they originated. The following acccount 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 Brown’s 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 excelent 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.

THE ALBANYS 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.

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.

Clarets By: C. C. Crenshaw
From Johnson's History of Game Strains

I notice in Grit and Steel that many are advertising "pure Madigin Clarets" from many parts of the nation. There is a question in my mind now and has been for some time as to just where and when they got this blood. I am talking about the good old time blood now, as Mr. Madigin has said (I quote from the Oct., 1937 Grit and Steel)," I have many letters of inquiry concerning those who advertise Clarets. I have never sold a Claret. I have only given away a few cocks; no hens. I raise them all at Ft. Erie and there alone and the only way anyone has to get them is to seal them, of course, all who walk them for me have one half blood and if they inbreed them, can get them, but they are useless when inbred. I only to give you an insight into the methods of those who profess to have pure Clarets." Author's note: Concerning above, it is now an established fact that Madigin did give away hens to several different men. As for what Mr. Madigin has to say about those walking cocks for him having only one half the Claret blood and not being able to get more except by inbreeding: If a man bred form a Claret stag or cock walked for Madigin and then bred the stags and pullets form him together that would be inbreeding but would not increase the percent of Claret blood. Madigin always asked me not to return blinkers or broke billed cocks, etc. I always killed these as I did not want to breed them and did not think I had a right to fight them. But anyone walking cocks for Madigin who wanted to breed them could breed said battered cock year after year back over his daughters until soon they would be seven/eighth or fifteen/sixteenth his blood (and likewise that percent of Claret blood). However this would be line breeding rather than inbreeding. A man could breed from a different stag or cock (from Madigin for purpose of walking) each year over the pullets out of the stag or cock bred the preceding year. Regardless of the definition you give inbreeding, you will realize that such a man can not possibly be inbreeding any closer that Madigin himself. R.L. Sanders bred from Madigin's Clarets until his are thirty/one thirty/second Claret blood. I can not understand a man having the great amount of intelligence required to become the success Mr. Madigin was making such a statement in writing as above.

Lacy Roundheads By: George Wood 1942
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.)


Clippers (Law) Two yards of the famous Yankee Clippers as bred by the late E. W. Law of Georgia and Florida are supposed to be a cross of Madigin Claret over the "Pine Albany" and "Old Albany" respectively from the O'Connells of Albany, N.Y. One version among some of the big time cockers is that Law sold some crossed fowl that turned out to be so good that he got them back and bred and fought them, as the Clippers but was never sure what blood was in them.(Am just giving it as I've often heard it; I express no opinion either way.) Cocks come light and dark red, Spangle, Pumpkin, and an occasional white. All are straight combed with white and yellow legs and occasionally one will come green legged. As with most other strains there were probably several different families, all called Clippers. Some were extremely good and dead game. The boys down in Albany, Ga. have some of these. Others were rank dunghills. I have known Mr. Law since I was just a kid until his death. I fought my first cock at a main between Law and my uncle, the late W. L. Johnson. Long before that Law had a yard of his fowl at Mr. Cliff Morgans who lived about three miles from my home. I walked a few cocks for Law about ten years ago. Our dealings were always satisfactory to both parties.

Coopers Clippers In 1859 "Censor" the London correspondent of "Porters Sprit of the Times" presented Dr. J. W. Cooper two trios of Clippers. One of the cocks was breed by Mr. Cobden of Sussex. The hens with him were out of a brown red Nottingham cock, out of black breasted red hens from the celebrated jockey Frank Butler. The other cock was bred by Mr. Heathcote at Epsom Race Course, of which he was part owner. The hens with him were of famed Staffordshire stock. Although the two sets of hens were no kin, nor were they kin to the cocks, all the produce were called Clippers. They came black red and brown reds.

by Harry Parr (1977)

Interest in the breeding of game fowl strains has always run high even though the knowledge there-of seldom has any preactical 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 of 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 principals 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 ulteriot 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 testimony enough of their friendship, as it is well known Mr. Hatch did not let many go. At the time, Mr. Hatches' fowl consisted of four basic bloodlines. These were the Kearney make up of the two strains Mike Kearney 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 Thompson (Jim Thompson) fowl. I might say here that from then 'til now, the strain made up of these four bloodlines are what Ted and I call the "straight stuff."

In those days virtually all the fighting in North East was done in inch and a quarter, heavy, slow heels, which is not surpring considering the cockers prime requisite was gameness. It followed that toughness and power were 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 many 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 ahots before unleashing one of their patented haymakers. Obviously as the heels got faster their ability to win lessened, so they are now useless 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 of his. I suppose I was at Gamecock Farm a couple of times a week and everyday during the fighting season, because we fought 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, al 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 only the "straight stuff" remained. All of these fowl were given to me.


In the spring of 1949, Ted McLean had two beautifully bred "straight" stags, one of which he wanted to breed. They were full brothers, well made, green legged, weighed about four ten, and you really could not have told them apart except one was a roundhead. His wing clip was 48-90; the square comb, 48-96. Ted decided to heel them up and fight them which we did in his pit in the barn. The square comb proved to be the better fighter, cutter, and when he blinded the roundhead, Ted said he had seen enough and to cut the head off the roundhead. Well, I had handled the roundhead and when he was in my hands you could tel all he wanted to do was get at the other stag. After being pitted, he would search and soon as contact was made, explode. So, I said I would take him home and see what I could do. After a couple of weeks he regained the sight of one eye and was soon back in good health.

I bred this stag two years and one day Ted asked me if I would mind sending him to Lun Gilmore. Lun wanted a cock and at that time Ted dod not have a really good one to spare. I shipped the cock and later learned that Lun and Pete Frost bred him to a hen that Ted had previously given to Pete. This hen was 47-65, by Green Leg Cock no. 2, the "straight stuff" out of hen no. 81 which was a Morgan Whitehackle from Heinie Mathesius. (You see none of the "straight stuff" on the hen side ever got out.)

Prior to this Ted had given Pete Frost Green Leg Cock no. 53 which became the sire of the Frost "Cherries". They had also bred this cock to hen 47-65 and sent us a stag from that mating which we called, after Lun, the "Alligator Cock". Sweater McGinnis was involved in their fighting activities at this time, and it was from these three birds that the Blue Face emerged, i.e. Hen 47-65, Cock 53, Cock 48-90.

The next time I saw Sweater was January 1958 in Orlando. He told me these "Blue Face" were the gamest chickens he had ever seen and that he kept the seed stock pure just to make battle crosses. He asked me if I would let him have another cock and I sent him Cock 57-340. (I was fortunate to get this cock back after Sweater death thanks to Willis Holding.) He also told me not to worry, that he didn't let the "straight" ones go but that they all fought under the name of "Blue Face". At one time, his favorites were one quarter Blue Face, one quarter Regular Grey and one half Leiper, bred in various combinations. Like all of us, he experimented with many crosses and blends in an effort to produce superior battle cocks, but recognized the value of keeping the seed stock pure.

The McLean Hatch come both green legged and yellow legged, single comb and pea-comb. The hens are whearon or "dirty" partridge, and the cocks red. They vary in shades from dark mahogany to light reds with white under hackles and white in wings and tail. The latter are usually single comb yellow legged, reverting back to the Kearny Whitehackles. Most of the cocks' breasts are flecked with brown and quite a few come with lemon hackles at the shoulders.

The Blue face are all green legged with single or pea-combs. Hens are dark wheaton or partridge and cocks run more to the mahogany red. Most have brown feathers in the breast but few come lemon hackled. There are no exceptions to the above.

In summation, I would like to say I have tried to adhere strictly to the purpose of this paper being the orgin and make-up of these two strains. I have intentionally omitted all extraneous information, details of breeding, fighting and the like, the inclusion of which would fill a book.

I hope this answers the questions of those who are interested.

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.

by H. Duff (Submitted by RED_ZONE)

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

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 mr.gay 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. mr.gay 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 mr.gay 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 mr.gay 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 mr.gay developed himself. in 1912 mr.gay 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. mr.gay 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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ponkan broodcock

Ponkan broodcock
One of the ponkan broodcocks being readied by RB Sugbo for the incoming breeding season. RB Sugbo is among the gamefowl farms very much involved in the Masang Nagmamanok (MANA) Inc. nationwide gamefowl dispersal program.

Another ponkan

Another ponkan
Another ponkan broodcock in the trio pen.

Mana: Dami at Pagkakaisa

Walang duda napakalaki na ng pinagunlad ng sabong mula sa paging libangan tuwing araw ng Linggo, ito ngayon ay isa nang napakatanyag na isport, malaking industriya at kaakitakit na mapagkakitaan.

Napakarami nang nagpapalahi ng manok panabong. Nagsilabasan ang mga babasahin at programa sa telebisyon ukol sa sabong. Panay ang pa-derby at hakpayt sa buong kapuluan. Samantalang bumabaha sa merkado ang mga produktong pang manok. Sa likod ng lahat ng ito ay ang napakaraming masang sabungero na siyang tunay na gulugod o backbone ng industriya.

Sa bawat nagpapalahi, ilan ang tagapagalaga ng kanyang manok? Sa bawat may-ari ng sabungan, ilan ang naghahanapbuhay sa sabungan niya? Sa bawat kasali sa derby, ilan ang nagbabayad sa pinto upang manood? Sa bawat malaking sabungero, ilan ang mayroon lang iilang pirasong tinale sa kanilang bakuran? Dapat lang, at napapanahon na siguro, na ang masang sabungero ay mapagtuonan ng pansin, mabigyan ng kinatawan, at, marinig ang boses sa isport at industriya ng sabong.

Ito ang nais abutin ng MANA (Masang Nagmamanok), isang pambansang kilusan at samahan ng mga masang sabungero. Ang mga layunin ng MANA ay ang sumusunod:

1. Ang pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng mga maliit na sabungero, partikular na, ang mga naghahanapbuhay sa sabungan. Inaasam na sa darating na panahon, ang mga handlers, mananari, casador, kristos, sentensiyador, farm hands ay magkakaroon ng mga benepisyo tulad ng insurance, pension at iba pa.

2. Ang mapatingkad ang kaalaman ng ordinaryong sabungero sa pagmamanok. At, sila’y mabigyan ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng angkop na materyales sa pagpapalahi at paglalaban.

3. Ang ipaglaban ang sabong sa gitna ng banta na itoy gawing labag sa batas tulad ng nangyari kamakailan lang sa Estados Unidos, at ipreserba ito bilang isport, hanapbuhay, industriya at bahagi ng ating kultura at tunay na mana.

4. Ang magtulungan at makipagtulungan sa iba pang haligi ng industriya sa ikabubuti ng sabong at ikauunlad ng lahat na mga sabungero.

Inaasahan na matupad ng MANA ang nasabing mga layunin pamamagitan ng pagpakita ng dami at pagkakaisa.

Ang pagkatatag ng MANA ay bunsod ng mungkahi ni kamanang Boying Santiago ng Camarines Sur na lumabas sa pitak na” Llamado Tayo,” na magtayo ng samahan ang mga masang sabungero. Ang pitak na ito, noon, ay arawaraw na lumalabas sa pahayagang Tumbok, na pagaari ng Philippine Daily Inquirer group of publications. (Ngayon mababasa ang Llamado Tayo sa dyaryong Larga Weekly.)

Ang Llamado Tayo ay tumatalakay sa ibatibang aspeto sa pagmamanok at binabasa ng napakarami arawaraw, kaya di nagtagal marami ang sumapi sa MANA.

Kasunod nito, ang MANA ay nakapagpaseminar sa ibatibang lugar at rehiyon ng Pilipinas, sa tulong ng mga kumpaniya tulad ng Excellence Poultry & Livestock Specialist, Bmeg-Derby Ace, Sagupaan, Secret Weapon, at Thunderbird.