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John Herschel Barnhill

horse trainer and show rider, was born on the Bass Plantation near Columbia, Missouri, to Cornelia Grey, an African American slave, and William Hayden Bass, the white son of the plantation owner. He was reared by his maternal grandfather, Presley Grey. By the 1890s his prowess as a horse trainer was known throughout the world of saddle horses. His horses won championships and well over 2,000 blue ribbons. He met five presidents, and he rode in several inaugural parades.

Tom was riding at age 4 and jumping at age 6. While working at the town hotel as a bellhop and buggy driver, he trained rogue horses part time. In 1879 he began working for Joseph Potts in Mexico as a trainer Saddle horses were highly prized during this era and Potts and his partner sold only the top of the line Potts s Thornton Star was one of the ...

Article

Ariel Bookman

Kenyan pioneer, horse trainer, aviator, and memoirist, was born on 26 October 1902 in Ashwell, Leicestershire, England, to Charles Clutterbuck, a former army officer, and Clara, née Alexander. Her parents, attracted by the intensive British government effort to promote white settlement in Kenya (then British East Africa), moved there with Beryl and her older brother Richard in 1904. Beryl’s early life was thus shaped by the unique opportunities open to a white child in a frontier colony: she spoke Swahili nearly as early as she did English; learned hunting, games, and mythology from her father’s Nandi tenants; and grew to recognize herself as part of Africa. As she phrased it in her 1942 memoir West with the Night with characteristic, figurative simplicity, “My feet were on the earth of Africa” (134).

Her mother soon returned with Richard to England where she remarried According to one of Markham s biographers ...

Article

Steven P. Savage

William Simms (better known as Willie) was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of former slaves. Enticed by racing silks as a boy, he ran away from home to become a jockey. He worked for C. H. Pettingill's stable in New York for two years, until trainer Con Leighton “discovered” him riding in Clifton, New Jersey, in 1887.

For Simms's first important race, Leighton assigned him to ride the two-year-old Banquet, a 20-1 underdog, in the 1889 Expectation Stakes. Banquet defeated both the favorite, Bellisarius, ridden by Edward “Snapper” Garrison, and Banquet's preferred stablemate, Chaos. Later, at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Simms guided Chaos, now a 30-1 underdog, to victory over favored Banquet. Freelancing in 1891, Simms enjoyed great success at Saratoga. In 1892P. J. Dwyer hired Simms who won the Champion Stakes aboard Lamplighter After signing with the Rancocas Stable later ...

Article

Steven P. Savage

jockey and trainer, was born William Simms in Augusta, Georgia, the son of former slaves, whose names are unknown. Enticed by racing silks as a boy, he ran away from home to become a jockey. He worked for C. H. Pettingill's stable in New York for two years, until the trainer Con Leighton “discovered” him riding in Clifton, New Jersey, in 1887 or 1888.

For Simms's first important race, Leighton assigned him to ride the two-year-old Banquet, a 20-1 underdog, in the 1889 Expectation Stakes. Banquet defeated both the favorite, Bellisarius, ridden by Edward “Snapper” Garrison, and Banquet's preferred stablemate, Chaos. Later, at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Simms guided Chaos, now a 30-1 underdog, to victory over favored Banquet. Freelancing in 1891 Simms enjoyed great success at Saratoga. In 1892P.-J. Dwyer hired Simms who won the Champion Stakes aboard Lamplighter After ...

Article

Erin D. Somerville

Equestrian and man of letters, favourite of the Duchess of Queensberry and contemporary of Ignatius Sancho and Olaudah Equiano. Born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts, he was brought to England at the age of 10 and given to the Duchess of Queensberry as a gift. Under the Duchess's direction Soubise became an accomplished fencer and equestrian, serving as assistant to the Italian fencing master Dominico Angelo Malevolti Tremamondo.

Soubise is best remembered as a fop in London high society. Claiming to be an African prince, he was known for entertaining audiences in fashionable London clubs with comic songs and amateur theatre. He often escorted aristocratic women to the opera and was rumoured to be sexually engaged with the Duchess—a relationship depicted in an engraving by William Austin of the pair fencing (1773).

While Soubise regarded himself as a talented letter writer and poet of ...

Article

Elizabeth Kuebler-Wolf

slave, jockey, and horse trainer, was born Charles Stewart, most likely in the first years of the nineteenth century, in Pocahontas, Virginia, the son of a free, mixed-race man named Charles Stewart, a sailor, and an enslaved woman, Sally Vaughan, who was owned by a man named Enoch Vaughan. Charley's parents were not married at the time of his birth. Enoch Vaughan died when Charley was a baby, and for several years he lived with the free members of his father's family, residing with his aunt Mary Stewart. When Charley was about twelve years old Enoch Vaughan's daughter Lizzie Pace sold him in order to pay her husband s gambling debts Stewart later recalled that his father was out of town when this sale occurred and thus did not have the opportunity to buy his son This was only the first of ...

Article

Kelly M. Jordan

jockey and trainer, was born in Chilesburg, Kentucky, the youngest of seventeen children in a family of sharecroppers. He first worked at the racetrack shining shoes and made his way to stable hand, then exercise rider, and finally jockey. At the age of sixteen he was riding in races. Nicknamed “Wink,” he secured a place in racing history by age twenty-two for winning the Kentucky Derby back-to-back: in 1901 on His Eminence and in 1902 on Alan-A-Dale. During his career he won an amazing twenty-six hundred races. He also was a talented horse trainer in his later years.

In 1904 Winkfield fled the United States rumor had it that he had a falling out with a racehorse owner and raced in Russia There he continued his winning career taking the Russian and Moscow derbies more than once He scored victories in other races in Germany Russia and Poland ...