Friday Flashback – March 18, 2016 – Morgan Horses

Sherman Morgan woodcut
Sherman Morgan woodcut

Happy Friday! Here is your Friday Flashback!

Reprinted from 1992’s LCN Vol. XIX, No 1, p.16:

“Morgan Horses” by Joshua Scott

(Betsy Curler submitted the following article which appeared in the “Middlebury Register,” March 5, 1886. It was written by Joshua Scott of Vergennes, Vermont in 1856; thus it is a contemporary viewpoint of someone who saw Justin Morgan. His description of a Morgan is interesting and has some noteworthy points.)

“Being a person not in the habit of writing upon any subject to be published for the public, I feel incompetent to write anything that will be interesting; but thinking it may be the means of bringing out others more capable and better informed than myself on Morgan horses, I will endeavor to write what information I possess in regard to them.

I have always thought much of the Morgan horses since I first saw the old Justin Morgan at Williamstown, this State, in 1806. I have seen him run and trot at different times, and consider him to be the most muscular horse of his inches I ever saw.

Then the Sherman, Woodbury, and Bulrush came on the stage of action; and one more, I think, the Revenge, making four sired by old Justin. From that time to the present, I have taken great pains to examine the stock and to obtain what information I could of their pedigrees, having had a good opportunity of doing so, as I have kept the old Gifford and two others of the same blood, at different times within twenty-six years.

The old Gifford, Putnam, Hibbard, Chief, Emperor, Walker, and many others too numerous to mention, and most of the Woodbury Morgans – all descended from those I have mentioned. The Green Mountain by Gifford and dam by Woodbury; the Hackett by Gifford and dam by Woodbury; the Chief, bred by Peter Burbank of Newbury from the old Woodbury, and dam by Justin; I suppose the line through the Gifford, Putnam, Hackett and Green Mountain to be all the same family. The Flying Morgan, Wheeler and Hunter, all descendants from the old Woodbury; Judge Bennett’s of Burlington, and Whitcomb’s, from Putnam.

People must judge for themselves of the purest blood. There are some sired by the Gifford and dams from the old Sherman; others from the Putnam and dam from the Gifford; others from the Hackett and dams from the Green Mountain and Woodbury; others from Green Mountain and dame from Hackett; bred in as close as possible, but when they are crossed it is never that you find them weighing over 950 to 1050, but you will find them the same model of the old stock, and others.

I will mention some of the old stock of Shermans: The Batchelder, Sherman, Crane, Rockingham, Comet, Weston; there was the Morgan Tiger, Boardman and Black Hawk, the old Sherman’s last colts.

I think as a general custom of breeding in, there is the purest blood in the Woodbury and Sherman; both are the same model and color, only the Sherman the darkest chestnut and Woodbury about 100 lbs the heaviest horse.

The Morgan horses have been kept 61 years and are spread all over the universe. The State of Vermont has the credit of sustaining the present blood and reputation of the Morgan Horses longer than any other ever known.

As for information in regard to raising and feeding colts, I must leave for others, for I never raised one only the one I now own. One word more: keep the colts well through winter that they may take an early start in the spring; then they will not lose a summer’s growth when yearlings.”

(A comment which accompanies the article says of Joshua Scott: “He had a keen eye for a horse, especially for Morgans. No man dare dispute Uncle Josh’s judgment on a good horse, for it was law with those who knew him.”)

Woodcut is of Sherman Morgan.