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June 20, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Hyatoga, Part I

Virginia Argus.

In the early spring of 1816, the Virginia Argus carried an advertisement that the celebrated stud horse named Hyatoga would be available beginning the first day of April in Charlotte and Prince Edward counties. He would also visit Buckingham.

In May, the same newspaper announced Hyatoga’s shocking death. His obituary, much lengthier than afforded many of Virginia’s best known citizens, read as follows:

A Public and Private loss in the Death of the highly celebrated HORSE

HYATOGA.

I think it a duty incumbent on me, to adopt this method of informing the most liberal public of the particulars relative to the death of the much admired & celebrated Horse HYATOGA. He had stood in most of the counties in Virginia and had acquired great applause & celebrity as a Foal-getter. Most of his colts, which are many, remain as specimens, and are sufficient proof of the superiority of the Hyatoga or Naragansett  breed for the saddle.

HYATOGA was raised by Capt. Samuel Carr of Albemarle County and was purchased of him by Maj. Stapleton Crutchfield and Dr. James Minor for $2000 when he was 9 or 10 years old. From these two Gentlemen, myself and partner (Mr. Lewis Sherley) purchased him in January last at not much under $2000 in the aggregate tho’ he was in his 16th year.

We moved him South of James River and had fixed his stands, and the most sanguine expectations were entertained of his making a greater season than he had ever made before. He was let to mares at $20 the season, and would, without doubt, have got as many as he could have served at that price. It was the prevailing opinion that he would have had from 152 to 200 brought to him, some of them from a great distance.

The young Gentleman who acted as groom, had fixed his three regular stands at proper distance; one near Charlotte Court-house, one near Buckingham Court-house, and one at Prince Edward Court-house; at all of which stands the most liberal encouragement had been given.

The groom informs me that he never saw him appear more healthy and vigorous than he was on Tuesday, the 23d of April, the day before he died. He informed me that he heard him stamp the floor of his Stable [about] on Wednesday, 24th April, and that he flew to his relief. He found him much complaining, and immediately commenced giving drenches of every thing and kind advisable; but all proved abortive! The envious and deadly draught had been judiciously and effectually given to yield to an antidote. He died about one o’clock on the same day (Wednesday 24th April) at his stand at the Stable of Mr. Garner in Prince Edward Court-house in the 16th year of his age. His sire died in the state of Kentucky in 1814 in his 47th year.

HYATOGA was let to a mare the morning before he died, and, appeared to possess unusual vigor. The groom was offered at the stable door $2,500 for him no more than three weeks before he died.

It being the opinion of many who were present at Hyatoga’s death was occasioned by villainous and unfair means, I will give FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS, to any person or persons who will apprehend and bring to trial and punishment the villain or villains who may have been the perpetrators of this atrocious deed.

I will inform the Public that there is one more Hyatoga left, who is in my possession, and is brother, to the above Horse and possesses every action, and form of the other. He stands at my stable one mile from Gordonsville in Orange, where good pasturage will be furnished, and great care taken of mares from a distance. All who wish to breed from Hyatoga will do well to embrace this opportunity, as he will leave this part of Va. the next season.

JOHN C. HARRIS.

Willow Grove, Orange, May 1st 1816.

John C. Harris’ sad report and offer of a reward was followed by a postscript.

Coming next: Hyatoga, Part II

3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Jean L. Cooper / Jun 20 2019 9:00 am

    This is fascinating. I’ve always wondered about that ad.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 20 2019 9:16 am

      More to come on Monday. It’s a shocking lost of long-term investment and what was doubtless a beautiful horse.

      Joanne

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