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Warhorse

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Warhorse

A Warhorse History.

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 to 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 "Irish 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 afterwards became famous under the name of "Gaitor Legs." It was of this family that Dr. Morgan got from Wilson and were afterwards known as Morgans. Also Maj. Rhett purchased hens of Tom Wilson and bred his Stone cock over them producing the celebrated Rhett fowl of which it is said there was never a runner.

Also:

In the 1850's  Col. Thomas Bacon, of Edgefield, S.C. by breeding a Baltimore Cock (known as Burnt Eyes) over a yard of Irish Gilder hens direct from John Stone, of Marblehead, Mass. The cross procuced wonderful fighting cocks with a savage rushing style of fighting that was then unknown in the south, and proved to be absolutely game, although the "Burnt Eye" cock had produced offsprings from other matings that were considered short on gameness. Col. Bacon bred and fought these fowl for a number of years with marked success as "Burnt Eye-Gilder crosses, " and it was at a main at Augusta, Georgia, in 1856 between Bacon and Bohler against a Mr. Franklin, of Columbia, S.C. that they were given the name of Warhorse by one Peter Sherron, who owned one of the cocks being fought by Bacon, and which won a sensational battle.

Cocks run in weight 4:06 to shakes, and are black or black with lemon hackle and saddle. Hens are black to whipporwill brown, and both have dark legs and daw or hazel eyes.

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Irish Whitehackle
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Irish Whitehackle