Friday Flashback – part 1 for July 18, 2014

We will do this week’s Friday Flashback in two parts. Here is the first “chapter,” and the second will come on Friday:

From the Ancient Gossip column presented by Diane Orser for the “Lippitt Club News,” Vol. XII, No. 6, Nov/Dec 1985:

“Another True Story About the Intelligence and Courage of the Morgans” Written by Joseph F. Bean, in an old circular of the Morgan Horse Co., Carpentersville, Illinois.

In 1855 my father emigrated from New Hampshire to Minnesota, taking with him a pair of young mares, one, a bay weighing 1050 pounds, was always called a Morgan, though we never knew positively the blood of her sire; the other, a chestnut sorrel weighing 1083 pounds, was sired by a well-known and popular Morgan horse, called, in our vicinity of New Hampshire, the “Steve French horse.” Before starting, father went over to Vermont and bought the best Morgan yearling stallion colt he could obtain, taking him along also. (I think he was a grandson of Green Mountain Morgan.) Two years later, both mares dropped bay mare colts by this young horse. They grew to about the same size as their mothers. When they were five years old, Father sold them to a young man for $550. Within the next year, a gentleman, having some business to transact out on the sparsely settled frontier, hired this young man with his team to take him to the distant settlement.

They started early in the morning one January day with a light sleigh. They had a good road for 15 miles; then they came to a road in an unsettled district in which, though it was plain to follow, the snow lay unbroken eight inches deep for twenty-six miles, then they were detained by their business over three hours in this settlement driving fourteen miles to finish it; then they drove twenty-five miles to a county seat to transact some business there, then went a different road home.

The whole road, except the first fifteen and the last ten miles, was strange to both men and the team. They had no thought, at first, of driving home that night, but the team went so fast and so proudly and cheerfully that they let them go on and reached home at midnight, having driven 206 miles. The gentleman for whom the trip was made (a man with large experience with driving horses) said: “I have driven many a good horse on the racetrack and on the road, in many states between the Atlantic Ocean and west of the Mississippi River, but I was never before in my life slung over the road in such exhilarating style. They did not falter a step and did not show any sign of fatigue, though they must have been tired; they rushed like a tempest all day and trotted up to their stable at midnight in the same energetic style they left it the morning before.”

(Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story on Friday morning.)

(Photo of Hale’s Green Mountain Morgan, mentioned in the story.)