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 incuvators 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.
By Harry Parr, November 1977
Interest in the breeding of game fowl strains has always run high even though the knowledge thereof seldom has any practical application. I have been asked many times to set forth the breeding of the Mclean Hatch and their offshoot, the Blue Face family. This I have done briefly in letters and countless times orally. It is amazing how twisted these accounts become. So, since this subject appears still to hold the interest of many, I have decided to write down the facts for one and all. Although Ted Mclean has
been out of the â€œchicken businessâ€� since December of 1954 at which time he gave me all his fowl, he is still very much with us. I mention this only because I have seen too many â€œhistoriesâ€� come out when it is too late for the facts to be verified by the principles involved. Further, the following is being written with my notes and breeding records before me and this paper will be limited to first hand information. Finally, lest anyone think there is an ulterior motive involved, my chickens are my hobby. I keep only enough for my purposes and have never, nor do I ever contemplate selling them.
In the early thirties, Mr. E.S. Hatch and Mr. E.T. Mclean were on the floor of the stock exchange. That Mr. Hatch gave Ted Mclean fowl is the testimony enough of their friendship, as it is well known that Mr. Hatch did not let many go. At the time, Mr. Hatchâ€™s fowl consisted of four basic bloodlines. These were the Kearney fowl made up of the two strains Mike Kearny brought from Ireland,
namely (1) the â€œbeasyâ€� Breasted Light Reds (Whitehackles) and (2) the Brown Breasted Reds, plus (3) the Herman Duryea fowl
(commonly called Boston Roundheads) which he added when he worked for Mr. Duryea. With these bloodlines Mr. Hatch
incorporated (4) the green leg Thomson (Jim Thomson) fowl. I might say here that from then till now, the strain made up of these
four bloodlines is what Ted and I call the â€œstraight stuffâ€�.
In those days virtually all the fighting in the North East was done in inch and a quarter, heavy, slow heels, which is not surprising considering the cockers prime requisite, was gameness. It followed the toughness and power was high priorities and the Hatch fowl had all these in abundance. While they surely did not compile a great winning record, they were admired by name for these attributes. Fortunately, Ted Mclean kept this set of priorities or the â€œstraight stuffâ€™ would have long since gone by the boards. For in addition to these attributes, the Mclean Hatch are poor cutters, low headed dumb fighters, that usually take two or three shots before unleashing one of their patented hay makers. Obviously as the heels got faster their ability to win lessened, so they are useless now if fought pure. Their value then, is only as an ingredient to produce battle cocks.
Ted Mclean bought â€œGamecock Farmâ€� in Maryland and built one of the best all around chicken plants I have ever seen. He gave me a trio of his Hatch fowl in 1948 and shortly thereafter I bought a farm within a short distance from his. I suppose I was at Gamecock Farm a couple of times a week and everyday during fighting season, because we fought a heavy schedule and chickens were almost always in the cock house for conditioning. At least one experimental cross was tried each year and many produced superior battle cocks, but as soon as one quit, all chickens containing that blood, came under the axe. I saw an awful lot of chickens killed and when he retired from the game in 1954 and only the â€œstraight stuffâ€� remained. All of these fowl were given to me.
The China(Chinese) Game Fowl are truley a magnificent breed in their own. They sport massive tail feathers in length as well as height and saddles that drag the ground. These are also of aggressive behavior, however seem to show the intelligence of tacticle defense as well as breed personality. They appear to be showing great vigor and disease resistance as well, producing chicks in numbers that hatch off quite well with little to no problems. These fowl, originating from China, were brought to the states in the early 1930's. Mr. Herman Pinion had Chinese Immigrants who worked on his farm and these were their birds. It is not unheard of that these were also crossed to Mr. Pinion's own American Game Fowl, creating some which had pea comb and long tails and saddles. The China Games come in a variety of colors and weigh in the range of 5-7lbs depending on conditioning. The usually have a pea to cushion comb and pearl to white legs. In the last year I have been hatching off mostly goldens,silvers,red pyles, some mahogany and several recessive whites. The hens are good layers of medium sized eggs that are usually white to cream colored and males showing great fertility levels as well as the hens. My intentions are to preserve this breed back to "saddle draggers" as well as keeping the game state. Selections for such type as well as pea comb birds with light colored legs will be my focus in the future. I am still trying to obtain information on these birds through international contacts to research their origin. So far all is inconclusive, but will keep up on the quest.!
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.
In the year 1907, J.H. Madigan received from his friend Andrew P. O'Connor of Maryland, two pullets - one a black red with pea comb, the other a wheaton with single comb. He lost the pea comb pullet. He put the single combe pullet at the race track where he was walking a stag for Henry Deans-a pure black-red with white legs. Early the following spring the O'Connor hen stole her nest in the bush and brought out a large clutch of chicks of which nine were stags- all black reds with white and yellow legs and very deep wind color; hence the name claret. They walked and fought them, and they proved to be very successful. Upon breeding further, one in every eight or ten came white and they are still doing so. One year he had many whites and a few spangles. Madigan tried to keep the same blood, as near as possible. All crosses have been a failure, with exceptions. The daddy of the Clarets is a Manzel Grey Pyle cock. The hen stole the nest from a Whitehackle hen. Madigan did sell roosters and hens, once he slacked off from fighting.
The Manel Grey Pyle cock came from Canada. Hanky Dean got them from a man up there he called them Canadian Grey for a long time.
By Lloyd B. Miner
(Reprint from Histories of Game strains)
Several months ago you asked me to write the history of my Miner Blues. I appreciated being favored with this request and promised you that I would write same, however, when yours of July 5th came asking if I had the history written, I had failed to have a single line.
I consider myself very poor at writing anything and writing the history of my own fowl makes it all the more difficult for me, but i shall keep my promise and do the best I can. I will try and not say too much for my fowl and if I do, just remember ho much each real lover of the game cock thinks of his own strain.
I have two strains of Blues, one a strictly straight comb strain, the other of all Roundhead blood. I shall give you the history of the straight comb strain first because they were the first fowl that I really bred. I owned my first game cock about 25 years ago. At that time the village of Cornell had some men who kept a few half-mile running horses, a few scrub game cock and boasted of one real 100-yard dash men. Every summer many covered wagon loads of Gypsies passed through Cornell; they made money trading horses, racing horses and fighting cocks. Professional foot racers traveled with them. We had saloons then and the little village was pretty sporty, would gamble on anything. I took in the horse races, foot races and cock fights. Several of us young fellows liked the game cocks very much, so we all bought cheap cocks and started in the game, fighting against each other, There were seven or eight of us started in the game at that time. A few years later I secured twenty subscribers to Derby Game Bird for a premium of Gregory gaffs. All of these boys finally quit the game except George Hasel and myself. George quit about three years ago and moved to South Bend, Ind., from there to Chicago and not long ago I received a letter from him in Denver, Colo., in which he said that he wanted a trio of the old straight comb Blues as soon as he got located where he could keep chickens. Am getting off my track so will go back to the time we were fighting chickens among ourselves. At that time I was working in my fathers store and a mon by the name of Ed Foley ran a hotel next door. He had a large back yard and one day I noticed a beautiful blue-red game cock running in this yard with some dunghill hens. I asked Foley what breed he was and what he would take for him and he replied that he was one of Nick Vipond's Blues and did not belong to him, that he was only walking him for Nick, but for me to go to Streator (which is 15 miles from Cornell) and see old Nick and he would perhaps sell me a cock, I got my best friend, George Hasel, and we went to Streator and looked up Nick. It was not hard to find him as he ran a saloon in the main part of the city. He took us to his home and showed us may fine cocks in pens. We each bought one and could hardly wait until we hot home to tackle some of the boys for a scrap. Next day both cocks were fought and both won. After that day both of us bothered old Nick quite often. We must have been an awful pest to him and I often wonder how he had the patience to fool with us. However, he seemed to take a liking to us and would let us watch him condition cocks up stairs over his saloon in the winter and at his home in his barn during the warmer months. He taught us how to hold a cock and how to work him and to this day I have never seen a man who could put a cock through his work and not break a feather as he could. He had a world of patience with a biting cock and his condition was good, but now I think that he pulled his cocks too low for them to be at their best. Nick traveled and fought his cocks and also fought mains against Col. Minton, George A. Fuller, the Red Hornet man, (at that time of Springfield, Ill.) and many others. Like most others Nick had other fowl besides his blues, some good and some bad, some of them belonging to other parties that he would condition and fight for them. Years have proven that his Blues were the best that he had and were the only ones that he kept when he got old. The straight comb Miner Blues that I breed today are direct descendants of the best and last brood yards of Nick Vipond's Blues.
Just what blood these Blues are no one really knows. Many have asked Nick what blood they were and I have asked him where he got them, but he never would say, his reply being to all "they are my old Blues." However, Nick was born in Wales, He moved from Pennsylvania to Steator over 50 years ago, was a coal miner and later went into the saloon business. He brought with him from Pennsylvania some very dark blue fowl, dark eyes and dark legs. Some say that they were imported from Ireland and that Nick bought them from a man in the east who needed money badly, however, I don not know that this is true, and doubt if there is any one who does know, but I do know that the first fowl that I saw at his place were dark-blue. Later he had a very beautiful, white leg, red eyed, light-red cock over some blue hens and in a short time he had many white leg and yellow leg Blues of different shades of lighter blues, also many light-red with white or yellow legs. I asked him one day what the white leg red cock was and he said that he was just the same as the Blues and added that some of them came red. I bought a 4.14 white leg red cock of him that had won bottom weight in one of his mains and six dark blue hens. My friend Hasel bought a 5.04 dark blue, slip leg cock and two dark-blue hens. I had the pleasure of being in on the last three mains that Nick fought, my friend George Hasel was also in on one, these being fought against local parties. In two of the mains he won every fight but one and lost but one main, by the odd. After the last main, which he won, he told Hasel and I that he was going to give each of us a good cock that had won in the main and tell us how to breed them. We already had eight dark-blue hens, the dark-blue slip leg cock and the white leg 4.14 cock, then he gave Hasel the white leg red 6.02 cock. This cock was old, but did not show it, and had won quickly in the main. A year or two before Hasel had asked Nick to price this cock, but he would never do it. When Nick gave Hasel the cock he told him that sense he had always wanted him so badly that he would make him a present of the cock and told him to breed him over the pullets from the slip-leg blue. He then gave me a fine young 5.08 dark-blue cock that had won a sensational battle in the main and told me to breed him to the pullets from the 4.14 Red. I never got a picture of the slip-leg nor the old white leg red Hasel got, but I had a photographer take a picture of the 4.14 Red and I took a snap shot of the 5.08 Blue. The one I took is not clear, but I am sending both for you to print. Hasel and I bred these four cocks and eight hens just as we were told to do and exchanged stags and pullets each year and mated more yards. We could do this nicely with four yards to draw from. At about the same time that we got the last tow cocks from Nick a friend of mine named Harry Rucker (who lived in Cornell) bought a 3-time winner brown-red, white leg cock from Nick and bred him on some Dom hens he had and two years later Hasel bought this Vipond cock from Rucker and later bred him over daughters of the slip-leg.
About ten years ago, Nick quit business and moved to Chicago, later moving to either Marion, Ohio or Indiana, I have forgotten which and finally came back to Streator where he died about three years age. When he moved to Chicago he sold all of his fowl except two large dark-blue hens and one large white leg hen. These he would not sell. He called on me just a short time before he left and brought these three hens and asked if I would keep them for him, said that his daughter was sick and that he and his wife must go and live with her and that they had no place to keep chickens. I kept the hens and bred them single mated. I have a letter that Nick wrote me sent from Chicago, about eleven years ago asking me to have his hens caught up as he would be after them soon. He never bred any more fowl, but came and took one of the blue hens for a friend and gave me the other, the white leg hen having died.
My straight comb Miner Blues I breed today are direct descendants of the four cocks and the eight hens that Hasel and I got from Nick, the cock that Rucker got and the three hens that Nick left with me. I have many yards and believe that I can breed them indefinitely without a cross. I have mated them as I know that they must be mated and at the same time I have line-bred them to the most sensational fighting cocks that have been produced from time to time. For instance, Hasel, by mating a dark-blue stag that I gave him over one of his white leg red hens, produced a white leg blue-red stag that proved, in the brood yard, to be one of the best producers of all. He fought this stag against Sam Brazier in Chicago in 1919. Brazier had a wonderful stag and cut Hasel's stag blind in one eye and broke one wing in the first pitting but Hasel could hardly hold his stag during the rest period and when turned loose for the second pitting he went across like a flash, and with one eye and one wing gone he shuffled Brazier's stag to death. Hasel bred this stag that year and as a cock for two years. We called him old Blinker. He gave me one of his first stags from this cock, also one of his daughters and in 1922 traded me the old Blinker for a brood cock of mine that had won several times. I bred old Blinker until he died in the fall of 1924. He was a great producer and was line-bred from the start. Many of ny yard carry more or less of his blood on each side. I have bred many cocks that have won several battles but never have I found one that produced more winners that old Blinker did. Old White Leg, a four time winner that I raised is a grandson of the 4.14 and the old white leg Vipond cock. This strain of cocks have not been bred to color but have been to fight, however, in the last few years I have mated Red to Reds and Blues to Blues whenever I could do so and not sacrifice fighting qualities nor the proper mating. At the present time they average in color about 50% blue reds with white or yellow legs, 40% light reds with black or brown mottled breasts and white or yellow legs and about 10% come dark-blues with dark legs. I get more dark-blues in hens than in cocks. Are medium, low station and the cocks run in weight from 4.06 to 6.08 and the hens from 3 to 5 pounds. They are exceptionally game, extra good cutters and know how to fight. Just to give and example of the gameness of these Blues I am going to quote what a friend in Omaha Nebraska wrote me about one of these Blue cocks that fought in a main there in 1925. "Fourth fight we matched your straight comb Miner blue against a Harry Williams Warhorse cross from Covington, Ky. Warhorse coupled your Blue in first pitting and the fight dragged out to 68 pittings, 48 minutes of terrible give and take on both sides. In my opinion your blue was the best cock and his gameness was remarkable. He crossed the pit several times on his wings and shuffled whenever he could get a beak hold, only to be counted out in the 68th pitting, his opponent dying soon afterwards. Blue had two counts on Warhorse but could not see or stand on his feet, yet he always broke all counts except the 68th.."
I call these Blues Miner Blues because most of them come blue and they have been bred by my method long enough to make them the type they are today. I have the same opinion as Mr. Ewing A. Walker has in calling his Mugs Walker Mugs. My friend Hasel advertised and sold some of these Blues that he bred and called his Hasel Blues. As he had bred them many years he felt that he had the right to call them Hasel Blurs. I have never spent much time in thinking up a name for my fowl as I feel sure that if cocks can fight they will make a name for themselves and if not a blood curdling name will not help them.
While I have always kept these Blues pure that I got from Nick Vipond, I have also made some crosses. Most of us experiment some and I have always thought it best to make a cross when I had time to try them out than wait until I had to have a cross and trust to luck for a nick. I have made several crosses and fought them all to find out what I had and found that some were good and others were bad. Those that were good I bred back to my Blues and then fought the quarter bloods, then bred back again and fought the eighth bloods. I do not need a cross on my old Blues at this time, but if I ever do I now have on hand some good hens with one-half, one-quarter and one-eighth new blood that are sisters to cocks that have proven good and of which I breed a few each year. In 1917 D. H. Pierce loaned me a young Wisconsin Shuffler cock to breed. He was a dark eyed brown-red and an extra good one. I tried to buy him from Pr. Pierce but he would not sell him, so I returned him in good shape in the fall of 1918. I mated this Pierce cock to one of the old dark-blue hens that Nick left with me when he moved to Chicago and from this mating I got dark-blues and dark-brown reds. Fought the stags and refought them and only one lost his first battle. I then bred one of my Blue cocks over one of the half blood hens and the quarter-bloods win a good majority of their battles. I have two dark-blue hens today that are daughters of the Pierce cock. They are over nine years old and are strong and healthy brood hens yet.
In 1923, Henry Flock sent me a blue-red, white leg, red eyed, straight comb cock from El Paso, Texas and wanted me to breed him. Said if I did not want him to just send him to his daughter at home and that she would care for him until he returned. Flock had won twice with him and had pronounced him a wonder. He said that Jas. G. Oakley had bred him out of a Smith Blue cock that he got off Smith Bros., that won in the Opelousas Tournament. I bred this cock single mated on one of my old Blue hens and he nicked well with my blood. I bred back to my Blues and the quarter bloods won a larger percent than did the half bloods. I am saving some of the quarter-blood hens. My friend Hasel made a cress several years ago with Gleezen Whitehackel on Blues, also a cross of a Shawlneck hen from Elmer B. Denham and both were good. I traded some of my Pierce cross and of the Oakley cock cross to Hasel for some of his Whitehackles and Shawlneck crosses and breed a few each year carrying this blood. This concludes the history of my straight comb blues.
Their start began prior to J.W.'s employment with Mr. E.H. Hulsey, Mr. Pipes was breeding and fighting the Barnett Wonders fowl and was very successful with them. In fact he stated that these were the best cutting fowls he owned.
Mr. Pipes had contracted to walk some cocks for John Madigin. One of these cock must have been exceptional as Mr. Madigin urged or suggested that Mr. Pipes breed the cock if he desired. Mr. Pipes bred the cock to a Barnett Wonders hen and raised six stags and six pullets. Note - These were all marked "out and out".
Mr. Pipes later was employed by Mr. E.H. Hulsey to feed and manage the Seven Acre Farm, bringing along the stags and pullets of the Barnett Wonders -Claret cross.
Mr. Hulsey at this stage of his cocking career was sold on the P. Dixon Travellers fowl. It was with these same fowl that Mr. Pipes fed and conditioned in his first main, and won for Mr. Hulsey.
The following season the six Claret-Barnett, as cocks were used in a main. In fact the P. Dixon Travelers were down 5-0. When Pipes started bringing in the Claret Barnett cocks and they won the main by winning six straight fights.
Liking their style and cutting ability, Mr. Pipes bred their hen sisters to a Roundhead cock from Vincent Hotines. This cock was the "Newell" yard of the Allen Roundheads cock and a many time winner. These were of the "Cripple Tony" infusion that Burnell Shelton made and stated that these were the best of the Allen Roundheads. Mr. Pipes stated that the offsprings from this mating were also marked "out and out", like thier mothers.
These were the basic bloodlines of the E.H. Hulsey fowls when Henry Wortham came on the scene. That is, half (1/2) Roundhead, quarter (1/4) Claret, quarter (1/4) Barnett Wonders. At this time the fowl came both pea comb and straight comb and one could breed to which ever trait they liked.
When Henry Wortham came under the employment of Mr. Hulsey, the "Hulsey" were beginning to come on the small side and as a result their top weights were being borrowed from friends to complete their tournaments.
Henry saw a great need to raise his own top weights as this was the big weakness in the show of cocks, so it was natural that he was always on the lookout for a broodcock large enough to improve the size of the "Hulseys". One such cock was a large pumpkin - colored straight comb that he secured from his days in Memphis Charlie Babb. Henry said that he never did know the breeding of this cock and didn't really care as the cock was everything he wanted in a brood-cock to improve the size of the "Hulseys". This yard was referred to as the "Babb" yard or family, and many came pumpkin colored.
Henry also made other families of the Hulsey's, he obtained and bred a cock from Sam Bingham. This was called the "Bonehead" Family wich was heavy in Marsh Butcher blood.
Another yard was from a Dark Mahogany red cock from Beaumont, Texas. This cock was heavy in Claret blood and was used by Henry in several important events. It was later used as a broodcock giving rise to what was known as the "Beaumont Yard."
Another Sub-Family was made from the R.E. Doyle Reds. These were made by Mr. Doyle and not Henry, although Henry furnished Mr. Doyle with brood cocks on several occasions. A good number of this family was used in Florida tournaments after the Walton-Wortham forces joined together after the World War II.
In the later year of the combination of Walton-Wortham forces, Hatch blood was infused.
Today there are very few people as Transplanted Okie says who might have like them like they were in the 1930's and 1940's, but at one time the breeders of this grand old strain were men like Maurice White, R.E. Doyle, B.L. Saunders, Al Jacobs and last but not least Norman Paine of Oxford Missippi. Most are all gone.
well friends, to give credit to transplanted Okies efforts on this article, satisfaction is his to have shared an insight on the history of the grand old strain of the E.H. Hulsey Fowl."
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 in-accurate 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 those families 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 Slade Roundhead, hatch-Pogmore Henny. He got, from 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 to the 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.
Regular Grey is said to be a combination of three grey families: the Law Grey, the Sweater Grey and the Plainhead Muff Grey.Regular Greys come green legged, sometimes with yellow, silver duck wings and straight comb. They are medium to low-stationed and are known for power and gameness.Breeders note that they are as powerful and dead game as the Bluefaces. Because of these, many breeders have made Regular Grey as their foundation line.
Around 1935-1936, Law started calling his Greys Law greys. Prior to that he called then Canadian greys in published fight club reports. This was his way of referencing they were Hanky Dean greys being bred in Canada for Col. John Madigan. They came yellow and white legged. All were straight combed. They were the exact same blood as the Red Clarets. When he started calling them Law Greys he had infused O'Connel Albany(hen side) under a Madigan Grey cock. The yellow leg becoming more common with a white leg still expected. A later infusion of McNerney Greys solidified the predominace of yellow legs over the white.
Law crossed these on alot of his other good fowl and advertised and sold alot of fowl. A successful cross was the Law greys to Madigan's Texas Ranger's. These came dark legged. Therefore, if you have dark legged Law Greys and the trait is due to Law's breeding and not some other breeder afterward, then I would guess it is Ranger blood.