Being in horse business appears hereditary

Did you ever wonder if being horsey is hereditary? 25 years ago a fellow

veterinarian invited me into his office and showed me a picture in a

livestock book copyrighted in 1882. It was a drawing of a bay

stallion.It was labeled “Black’s Hambletonian.One of the finest and best

blooded trotting stallions of the day. Property of S. Baxter Black,

Compassville, PA. Cost when a weanling colt, $3500. Sired by Rysdyk’s

Hambletonian; dam, Kitt, out of Long Island Black Hawk.”

I was taken aback! Aunt Effie always told me that my great grandfather,

James Black (b. 1833) was Pennsylvania Dutch, from Erie County

Pennsylvania. His son, my grandfather, was E. Baxter Black. (b. 1866).

According to the U.S. Trotting Registry Black’s Hambletonian was foaled

in 1868. It’s beginning to look suspicious.

The ancestry backtrack for James Black (b. 1833) ends with him. S.

Baxter Black was born in Pennsylvania in 1825, 8 years before James. S.

Black’s father was listed as foreign born. The census in 1850 shows S.

Baxter Black to be living in Lancaster County Pennsylvania and was

listed as a farmer.

It is my belief that James named his son E. Baxter Black after S. Baxter

Black.They were across the state from each other and the ancestry

doesn’t connect them as brothers, but they could easily be cousins. E.

Baxter had a son named Robert who named his son Baxter A. …which is

me. And we are all horsey. Grandpa E. Baxter was horsey. The same could

be said of my father Robert, Uncle Bert, cousin Jim (James), daughter

Jennifer and me.

Now, $3,500 had to be a lot of money in 1868. But it appears S. Baxter

was doing pretty well for himself. Black’s Hamilton is sired by Rysdyk’s

Hambletonian (b. 1849) who happens to be the one of the most prominent

sires of the breed.

My contention is supported by the dearth of Baxter Blacks who have

walked the Earth. When I Google myself I find only one or two but they

have different middle initials. I figger if I checked their ancestry

back four or five generations we’d all be named after the same character

that S. Baxter was named after. After all, who would make up a name like


James moved through Wisconsin and Texas then finally Oklahoma. His son

E. Baxter was in the Oklahoma Territory Land Run of ’89 and staked out

the home place where my dad was born in 1918. In 1880 S. Baxter moved to

Lexington, KY, bein’ in the horse business and all, and in 1888 he had a

sale. Sold the place, the livestock and all the horses except two;

Greenfield and Black’s Hambletonian.

I have on my wall an original litho of Black’s Hambletonian that was

portrayed in the livestock book 150 years ago. How I got it is another




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