More Of The Wells Fables: Joseph Cairn Simpsons Marginal Note Gives Some Light.; Facts as Shown by Investigation About War Dance and Lizzy G. and Stud Book., Daily Racing Form, 1922-05-14


view raw text

MORE OF THE WELLS FABLES Joseph Cairn Simpsons Marginal MarginalNote Note Gives Some Light Facts as Shown by Investigation InvestigationAbout About War Dance and Lizzy LizzyG G and Stud Book BY SALVATOR SALVATORRecently Recently in Daily Racing Form I discussed the surprising case of the justdiscovered Bocalled daughter of Lexington and Edith by imported Sovereign Lady Bess and after examining the evidence of her origin which had been made public disclosed the impossibility of her having been a daughter of Lexington or bred at the time and under the circumstances alleged i e at tho Me tairie course New Orleans in April 1854 when Lexington and Lecoinpte ran their his ¬ toric races there thereThe The facts or what we are asked to accept as facts about Lady Bess and her origin have reached tho public through the testi ¬ mony of an ancient witness Thomas Jeffer ¬ son Wells now somewhere in the vicinity of ninety years of age who resides at Alex ¬ andria La What he knew or alleges he knew about her and the circumstances at ¬ tending her coming into the world are set forth in an affidavit which he made Decem ¬ ber 19 last its text having however not been published until a few weeks ago It was the many discrepancies between the as ¬ sertions sworn to in this affidavit and the recorded facts of history which led me to pronounce the statements of Jefferson Wells without value as final evidence upon which to accept the authenticity of the socalled Lexington mare In my review of the casej I did not however go into other phases of this affidavit relating to other famous thor ¬ oughbreds I wish now to call attention to one of them themJefferson Jefferson Wells is a nephew of the famous antebellum turfman T J Wells by courtesy called General Wells T J Wells gained prominence as the owner of the great matron Reel by imported Glencoe and the breeder of her family of foas which included be ¬ sides Lecompte the rival of Lexington Prior ¬ ess and Starke classic winners in England and War Dance the lastnamed one of the best sons of Lexington as a sire In his affi ¬ davit Jefferson Wells narrates under oath as follows T J Wells died in 1863 The Civil War was then in progress All of his thorough ifbred brood mares were in Kentucky They vwere seized and sold Of the horses that were in Louisiana I saved War Dance by Lexington Reel and Fanny Wells by Sov ¬ ereign Reel After the war War Dance was sold to Keene Richards He gave me a note for ten thousand 10000 dollars pay ¬ able in gold after the war He also paid it and took the horse horseWELLS WELLS STORIES OF POOS STRUCTURE STRUCTUREWhen When the recorded facts of history are tal ¬ lied with these statements of Jefferson Wells they will be found like those he has made about the alleged daughter of Lexington to be a picturesque mixture of fact and fiction with the latter most prominent prominentWar War Dance was the last foal of Reel Ac ¬ cording to the American Stud Boo he was foaled in 1859 but like many other states ments of the Stud Book this is undoubtedly incorrect On the leaf of the copy of vol 2 page 242 I find the following marginal notation in the handwriting of the late Jo ¬ seph Cairn Simpson the breeder of the re ¬ nowned matron Marion dam of Emperor of Norfolk El Rio Rey Yo Tambicn and other cracks in whose library it formely be ¬ longed Should be 1SGO on the authority of B G Bruce Kentucky Live Stock Record April 30 1331 1331Mr Mr Simpson who originally helped S D and B G Bruce who jointly compiled it to finance the first publication of the Stud Book and wrote its preface was deeply learned in pedigree lore and exact in his statements of fact He undoubtedly refers to the obituary notice of War Dance written by B G Bruce for the Live Stock Record which he Bruce edited and published upon the occasion of the death of the son of Reel which occurred April 27 1881 I have not at hand this article but I have a copy of another which verifies it also written by B G Bruce and published in the Live Stock Record in the spring of 1876 It is en ¬ titled War Dance and His Progenitors and Is signed Neptunus a penname which B G Bruce also used when he wrote for other turf journals This article was without ques ¬ tion written from data supplied by the late A Keene Richards owner of War Dance for it is really a writeup of the stallion with a bid for patronage I quote from it as follows followsWar War Dance was purchased by his present owner A Keene Richards Blue Grass Park Georgetown Ky from Gen T J Wells Alexandria La February 23 1863 when two years old for 3000 to be paid in legal Ken ¬ tucky money after the war The war between the North and South was then at its height the colt was in no stakes and no prospect for him to show his powers Mr Richards closed the purchase and the colt was delivered to his groorn who was then at General Wells place with Knight of St George Fysaul and some others that had been sent from Kentucky fearing the chances of war It was proposed to send the colt if possible to England to run for the Goodwood Cup which had been won by his halfbrother Starke As he came from a Dancing family and would have to run the war blockade Mr Richards and General Wells concluded to change his name from General Westmore to War Dance When General Banks army ap ¬ proached Alexandria La War Dance Knight of St George Fanny Wells dam of Nelly Gray and other horses were hur ¬ ried off from General Wells place to the Texas border above Shreveport ShreveportAbout About the time General Wells died and In the confusion produced by the army move ¬ ments War Dance was taken from Mr Rich ¬ ards groom and carried to the interior of Texas At the close of the war Madison Wells brother of General Wells and acting governor of Louisiana sent to Texas for War Dance and Fanny Wells and had them brought to New Orleans The governor then wrote Mr Richards to come or send for the horso When Mr Richards arrived at New Orleans he found the governor had permitted General Westmore the noted turfman for whom War Dance first was named to train tho horse and was to run the day he arrived a threemile dash against General Rousseau War Dance had a leg before he started and broke down before going a mile and a half This was the first and only race he ever ran He was removed to Kentucky and made his first season at Blue Grass Park the spring of I860 He covered but few marcs tho first season as Mr Richards brood mares had been much reduced in number and quality qualityWe We have here without question the au ¬ thentic facts about War Dance later des ¬ tined to become the sire of Brademante which broke the record for twomile heats and produced The Bard of Modesty the only filly which ever won the American Der ¬ by and of Lizzy G tho granddam of Dom ¬ ino inoFirst First as regards the correct date of foal ¬ ing of War Dance The quoted narrative re lates that in February 1863 when Keene Richards purchased him he was two years old This however means that he was two according to the method of reckoning1 ages in Louisiana at that date which was from May 1 not January 1 According to this system War Dance would have been three on and after May 1 1863 which would make him a foal of 1860 not of 1850 This moreover is established as the correct date for elsewhere in the article in question it is directly stated that War Dance bred by Gen T J Wells of Alexandria La in I860 was by Lexing ¬ ton first dam Reel by imported Glencoe etc etc We may therefore feel certain as B G Bruce reiterated this statement 1881 on the occasion of War Dances death that the horse was foaled in 1860 not 1859 as the Stud Book has it Reel was certainly a won ¬ der among brood mares for in I860 she was twentytwo and had produced twelve other foals of which a half dozen or more attained great celebrity celebrityPRICE PRICE DOUBLED IS THE TELLING TELLINGSecondly Secondly it will be observed that Jeffer ¬ son Wells narrative must be radically re ¬ vised Jefferson Wells who plays the part of hero in his own affidavit and apparently the owner of War Dance for whom Keene Richards he says paid him 10000 in gold is not even named in the history of the horse written by B G Bruce under the instruction of Richards himself The prico paid for War Dance was not 10000 but 5000 It was in legal Kentucky money which may or may not have been gold but probably was not and it was quit evidently paid to Madison Wells acting governor of Louisi ¬ ana and the brother of the deceased General Wells whose estates affairs he had in charge chargeThe The narrative of Bruce says that in the confusion produced by the army movements and by the death of General Wells War Dance already the property of Richards who had bought him in 1863 not after the war as the affidavit says and to whose groom he had been turned over was taken from Mr Richards groom and carried into the interior of Texas This is the episode referred to by Jefferson Wells where he describes him ¬ self as having saved War Dance But as the other horses of Keene Richards name ¬ ly Knight of St George and Fysaul then also at the Wells plantation Wellswood were all saved by Mr Richards employes and came none of them to harm it is evi ¬ dent that if War Dance had been left with them he would have been just as much saved as if Jeff Wells had not taken upon himself without authority to run him off into the interior of Texas TexasThis This presents another example of the pic ¬ turesque mixture of fact and fiction that the Wells affidavit includes as well as the notion of Wells to exaggerate his own importance and knowledge of events that happened from sixty to seventy years ago concerning which no other living man probably now survives to offer direct personal testimony testimonyFACTS FACTS ABOUT DOMINOS GRAXDDAM GRAXDDAMThere There remains one other extremely inter ¬ esting angle to tills matter It is mentioned above that War Dance sired Lizzy G the granddam of Domino by virtue of which ho is a near ancestor of one of cur dominant tribes of presentday American race horses War Dance was foaled in 1860 but is re ¬ corded in the Stud Book as a foal of 1839 Reference to the same authority vols 3 and 4 reveals the curious fact that Lizzy G was foaled in 1857 or three years before her sire Obviously in this detail somebody blundered In vol 5 we at last find a correction of the previous entries in which it is stated Lizzy G was foaled 1S67 not 1857 The entry reiterates the fact how ¬ ever that she was bred by General T J Wells As that gentleman died in 1863 how could he have bred a mare that was foaled in 1867 This is as big a conundrum as the previous one how she could have been three years older than her sire Evidently again somebody blundered blunderedWar War Dance left Louisiana forever in the summer or fall of 1S65 and all his foals 1867 of his first stud season 1866 were got in Kentucky The Stud Book after giv ¬ ing General Wells as the breeder of Lizzy G says she was owned by Colonel George Garner Louisiana LouisianaThe The inference there is little room for doubt is that Lizzy G must have been foaled prior to 1867 and got before War Danca departed from Louisiana In all probability he was bred to her dam the daughter of Lecompte and Edith by imported Sovereign at some interval between 1863 and the fall of 1865 the period when War Dance and numerous other horsen belonging to General Wells and Keene Richards were so to speak held incommunicado in Texas or elsewhere elsewhereThe The natural method of verifying the age of Liszy G would be to turn to her dam in the Stud Book but most unfortunately that mare nowhere appears in it in her own right Lecompte her sire the son of Boston and Reel made but one short stud season before being sent to England where he died This was in 1856 He then covered only a few mares but among his handful of foals were Sherrod a brilliant performer and the un ¬ named daughter of Edith that became the dam of Lizzy G GSTUD STUD BOOKS LIST IT GO AT THAT THATAside Aside from the fact that tho Stud Book shews Edith which was by Sovereign Ju ¬ dith by Glencoe to have had a b f by Lecompte in 1857 and that the same author ¬ ity gives Lizzy G as having been from that same filly or mare no trace of her can be found Evidently she had no foals except Lizzy G and we may suppose that she either perished shortly after producing her or was diverted to other purposes than breeding The singular error of the Stud Book in orig ¬ inally giving Lizzy G as foaled in 1857 Is accounted for by the fact that this was really the year of her dams birth When Lizzy G was first recorded it is apparent that the year of her foaling Avas unknown and that of her dams was erroneously assigned her This was allowed to stand uncorrected for years and then Col S D Bruce passed it as a typographical error and merely changed changedI I the 1857 to 1867 and let it go at that thatTho Tho curious condition obtains therefore that we are in the dark about some of the principal facts of the maternal breeding of Domino one of the most wonderful horses alike as performer and as sire that America has produced Of as near an ancestor as Irs granddam Lizzy G we know neither who bred her nor when she was foaled and of her dam the Lecompte Edith filly we know nothing save that she was foaled in 1857 and produced one foal circa 18631866 the rest of her history being a blank As a re ¬ sult of this we can never be sure that the extension of Dominos maternal line is ab ¬ solutely correct It is a most extraordinary 1 fact that his pedigree and that of Peter the Great the most phenomenal of modern trot ¬ ting sires should go back both of them into the same group of animals and both be bej j lost or clouded in the mighty storm of our Civil War

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1922051401_14_1
Library of Congress Record: