Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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The Lad and The Huntsman

What follows is the author’s Introduction to his forthcoming book, Chappie: color cover, black and white illustrations, about 6 x 8-1/4 inches, $45.00 USD (price includes postage), release date August, 2016. Fifty copies will be printed; half are already pre-sold. Click for purchase instructions.

anthony chapmanChappie, painting by Wilk, reproduced with permission

One morning in the early 1960s, a young lad took a day off school to go hunting; he had planned it down to the smallest detail. Hounds were meeting in the Troutbeck valley at 9:30, but that was on the other side of the 1601-foot-high fell known as Wansfell Pike. As usual he left home about 8:15 am but instead of heading for the playground near the church to meet his mates and play football, he turned left at the Salutation Hotel and took the road for Wansfell.

The Oldest Foxhunting Photograph?

old ambrotypeAmbrotype, 1855, John Fred Garper / Collection of Jason WrightJason Wright may possess the oldest foxhunting photograph in existence.

A long time collector and researcher of early photography, Wright's collection consists mainly of daguerreotypes covering the five-year period from 1839 (when the process was first introduced) to 1843. Wright discovered this photograph, an ambrotype, in a lot of early daguerreotypes that he purchased from a Scottish country house sale.

On the back of the framed photo appears the date 1855 and the name of the subject. The surname is somewhat difficult to make out, but the proud young man, booted and spurred, whip and cap in hand, would be John Fred Garper as best it can be deciphered. Wright claims to know all the major sources for daguerreotype and ambrotype (a later process) images and says he has never before come across an image of either process with English-style foxhunting subject matter.

The Harvard Yard Run

saltonstall family.1930.norfolkThe Leverett Saltonstall Family in the Norfolk Hunt field, 1930. Leverett (top hat) was governor of Massachusetts and U.S. Senator, three terms each. Leverett, Jr is just left of his father.

In the dark of night on April 16, 1936, the atmosphere of refinement within the ancient walls of Harvard Yard was suddenly shattered by foxhounds in full cry. A candid confession to the affair is buried in the pages of The Norfolk Hunt: One Hundred Years of Sport, published in 1995 to commemorate Norfolk’s centennial. The statute of limitations having long expired, we can confidentially out the two students who organized and carried out the caper: Leverett Saltonstall, Jr. and I. Tucker Burr, III.

Tuck’s mother, Mrs. I. Tucker (Evelyn Thayer) Burr, Jr. was MFH and huntsman of the Norfolk Hunt at the time of the incident. Whether she was a willing accessory we’ll leave to the reader to decide. Young Leverett whipped-in to her from time to time. Leverett’s father, who traced his roots directly to the Mayflower, was Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, soon to be governor for three terms, and finally U.S. Senator for three elected terms.

British-Inspired Rabbit Hunt Took an Odd Turn

california hare.audubonCalifornia hare by John J. Audubon

The early part of the last century saw the people of Riverside, California looking towards Great Britain for inspiration for their leisure activities.

This was chiefly because of the many British immigrants who had begun arriving here about 1889, primarily to invest in, among other things, the fast-growing orange industry. English customs were held in the highest esteem, especially among socially ambitious Americans, Tom Patterson wrote in his book, A Colony for California.

Riversiders engaged in such British activities as polo, high tea, and foxhunting. The latter did not usually include a fox, because foxes were not common in the area. Instead they substituted a more common animal, the jackrabbit. These hunts were conducted wherever a large area of open land could accommodate horses, hunters, hounds, and the prey.