“1814 “Horse Race””

Carroll County Times Article for 24 July 1994

by Jay A. Graybeal

Last week was the deadline for political candidates to file for a variety of local and state offices. New begins a long series of public appearances, interviews and debates as each candidate jockeys for the lead.

A local newspaper editor published an article about a group of candidates at the start of a similar campaign in March 1814. Charles Sower, editor of the newly-founded Engine of Liberty and Uniontown Advertiser, likened the campaign to a horse race in an article entitled “Sporting Intelligence.”

To be Run for on the first Monday in October next, over the beautiful course of Frederick county, a purse of immense value, called the Representative Purse. Four Horses to start or no race; but it is confidently expected there will be eight entered, and as the members of this Jockey Club essentially differ in their judgments as to the merits and qualifications of Horses, it is agreed that four shall run on each side, which will certainly be a most amusing spectacle to the ladies and gentlemen of the county who delight in sentiment. It is not at this time finally ascertained what Horse will be entered, tho’ it is whispered among some of the old grooms who pretend to be knowing ones, that one party of the members of the Jockey Club intend entering the noted Horses “Sportsman,” “Whistle Jacket,” “Belle Air,” and “Cincinnatus,” being the four Horses that won the Purse at October last, beating with considerable ease the celebrated Horses, “Old Senator,” “La Petit Democrat,” “Conostoga,” and “New County.” For the information of gentlemen lovers of the turf who reside at a distance, and who may wish to bet on the race, it is proper to state, that “Sportsman” is a finely formed, full-bred, first rate Horse, of fine joint and sinew, and has never been beaten when well rode ; but is at times hard to manage, being a horse of great mettle, always bearing on the bit, and when much pressed, runs with almost inconceivable rapidity, open-mouthed, and greatly to the annoyance of his adversaries; he is universally admitted to be a noble animal tho’ it is said by those who are in the habit of betting against him, that he is sometimes a rough runner, which may be owing, perhaps, to his training ground, near the Potomack being rather hilly – he is now in his prime.”Whistle Jacket” is a horse some years younger than Sportsman and has not performed as often, tho’ he has several times exhibited on handsome turf with sportsmen, to the admiration of all beholders. He is full-blooded-and tho’ apparently of not much bone or sinew, yet is an astonishing performer both as to speed and bottom-he has had the best keeping this country could afford and his training has been equal to any horse on the continent, having been from a colt under the management of the most skilful persons that could be procured, and for some years before he was brought on the turf, was under the direction of an experienced and distinguished gentleman, formerly from South Carolina, now a resident of Baltimore. “Whistle Jacket” has never disappointed the expectations of his Keepers – he is a horse of great spirit and fine action – ’tis thought, that after the next match race is over, he will be entered for the Congressional Purse. Before the great days racing in October last, he took several morning brushes with the celebrated imported horse, “The Marquis of Whitewash.” On the last morning brush, when they were both nearly at full speed, at Frederick-Town, the Marquis was so much alarmed at Whistle Jacket’s exploits, that he flew the course, threw his rider, broke through his keepers, and run, ’tis said, forty-five miles without stoping [sic]. Good judges are of opinion that with a little more practice, Whistle Jacket will rival the celebrated horse “Chatham,” so well known some years past to the people of this country.

“Belle Air” is one of the finest animals ever brought upon a race ground – finely formed, and of the most prepossessing appearance, with so much gracefulness of action, so much gentleness and docility, yet so true, so elegant, so faithful a performer, that he not only wins every purse he runs for and the affection of his keepers, but extorts from those most opposed to his wining, acknowledgments of sincere excellence – he ranks among the first horses on the continent, and will ever be admired by competent and impartial judges.

“Cincinnatus,” so called, I presume, from the celebrated Roman Farmer of that name, was not known ’til a year or two ago to have the extraordinary qualities which he possesses for the turf. Raised in a part of the country where racing is not much attended to, he was unmeritedly passed by – but when it became necessary, about two years since, to examine throughout the county and secure the first rate horses, both for bottom and speed that could be procured, he was found to possess very high qualifications – was immediately entered for the purse – performed his part to the entire satisfaction of his keepers- was entered again at the last October races, with the horses above mentioned and with them bore off the palm of honor, coming out first among the foremost running. He has exhibited two years on the legislative turf at Annapolis, greatly excelling most of the horses sent on the affections of his Keepers, and rising in public opinion – we may look forward to his future usefulness, not only to those who intend opposing the success of the above mentioned horses, will have considerable difficulty.

“Old Senator,” who run last fall, tho’ a faithful old fellow, ever ready and willing to perform his best, and who has rendered essential services to his Keepers has seen too many summer suns to perform again – as Gen. Lewis said of old Dearborn, “he is unfit for service, and should be freed from the task of contention, retaining merited distinction for past favors.” Besides, many are of opinion that Sportsman’s training ground is too near Old Senators stand, and has by his performances drawn off many of Senators former admirers.

“La Petit Democrat” is a small horse, not remarkably well formed, but of much joint, and has been greatly admire by his keepers near Woodsborough, and performed a race a few years ago greatly to their satisfaction. He was run, however, so severely under the lash at the last October races, that report says, he has ever since been dreadfully afflicted with the string hault, and has obvious marks of the Ring bone, some are apprehensive that his lungs are affected, as he has been since the October races on the decline. – It is thought he will be put up with Old Senator.

“Conostoga” was never brought on the turf ’till last fall; he is so miserable a performer that he was immediately cried down, and will have to exhibit in the waggon gears the balance of his life, being too heavy and clumsy for any other life.

“New County” is a horse of considerable size, of a bold front and majestic appearance – some few years past he made one or two good races, tho’ beat with great ease last October – he is highly thought of by some of his keepers in Westminster, and will probably be entered again, from necessity, as there are but few well trained horses in that part of the county.

The members of the Jockey Club have entered into the following resolution:

Resolved unanimously, That no person shall be permitted to enter either for morning brushes, or on the great day of racing, any rip, poney, or quarter nag, as it was found by experience, last fall, that an animal of this description was intruded upon the turf, disturbing every body by an incessant nichor, making great parade by pawing and champing his bit-a very indifferent animal, that no one on earth could for a minute at a time keep in one track – immediately upon being started he did nothing but kick up a great dust, and with all his parade and pretentions was double distanced the first round- he performed so miserably, that on the second days morning brush at Taney-Town, he was by common consent on all sides, turned off the ground, and sent home to his stable in Frederick-Town, being pronounced by all judges, only fit for a tanners bark-mill – he will be disposed of on moderate terms and long credit, without interest or hand money, to any good tanner, who will stipulate to tan his hide occasionally, without skinning or putting him in a vat.

Signed this 8th day of March 1814, by order of the President and Members of the “General Jockey Club” of Frederick county. Test,

Editor Sower’s article appears in a new publication by the Historical Society of Carroll County. Entitled, Abstracts From The Engine of Liberty, and Uniontown Advertiser, the book contains selected abstracts of newspaper articles related to Frederick and present-day Carroll county. These abstracts furnish the researcher with insights into social, political, economic history of these regions.
Photo Caption: The masthead of the Engine of Liberty and Uniontown Advertiser featured a woodcut of a hand operated printing press of the type used by Charles Sower.