c1850s ORIGINAL ARCHIVE OF FOURTEEN  MANUSCRIPT LETTERS REGARDING VERY EARLY MORGAN HORSE BLOODLINES AND SENSATION PHILIP ALLEN 'THE BLACK HAWK'
On offer is an original archive of fourteen  New England horse breeding and racing manuscript letters, mostly from J. W. Peck to his father, Hiram, during the 1850s, with excellent content regarding the legendary Morgan colt referred to as "the Black Hawk", assuredly the horse named Philip Allen, bred by Vermonter Hiram Peck and sired by one of the most famous Morgan horses, Black Hawk, grandson of the first Morgan, Justin Morgan (also known as Figure). Philip Allen's brother, so to speak, was world champion trotter Ethan Allen. This horse, Black Hawk, was so revered that for a time his progeny were referred to as Black Hawks rather than Morgans. He was immortalized in Currier & Ives trotting prints and a classic series of weathervanes. The letters and documents include: 1] To Hiram Peck, dated Sept. 1851, from F. P. Fletcher of Bridport, Vermont, who is holding a note dated June 10, 1850 for $20 for "Services Black Hawk". He also mentions another similar note of Peck's dated May of 1851, for $25. (Black Hawk was owned by David Hill of Bridport; evidently Hill sold Peck's note to Fletcher) 2] February 1854 letter from J. W. Peck, Canandaigua NY, to his father, 3 pages family news. 3] May 1854 letter from B. F. Sanford of Milton to Hiram: "I have had a talk with a number of farmers in this vicinity of late concerning your colt. They say that they will use him if he is as good as I recommend... Mr. Barns was here...he has three and a man by the name of Kelley has five that they wish to put to a Black Hawk and they will pay 15 Dollars if the Horse puts them++ 4] May 1854 letter from J. W. Peck to his father Hiram, on New York Central RR letterhead, requesting Hiram to ship the horse to Canandaigua. 5] Dec. 1854 letter from J. W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father. After family news he writes: "And now as I turn over on a new page we will say something about the Black Hawk he is doing first rate when I say first rate I mean it. Harlow [J. W. 's brother] & I take care of him I have not drove him any in about 3 weeks but have led him out to exercise him I am doctoring him for his small feet & they are growing finely I think he will have no more trouble with his feet & I think he will do well here. Harlow says you would not know him now he will be as fat as a hog in a month..." 6] Dec. 1854 letter from Hiram's cousin, David Wakefield. At the end he writes "I will give you a pedigree of the old mare when you come over here..." 7] Jan. 1855 letter from J. W. Peck and Harlow Peck, Canandaigua, to their father: (Harlow): "& now for the colt he looks fine & is fatting very fast we are afeeding him on 1 quart of oats twice a day & cut feed once oh he looks fine now I tell you I think that he will do something here." (J.W.): "The colt is doing well & I think he will go fast I have been training him some -- & today I got the man that owns the fastest horse in town to try him to see if he could go any & he kept tight on to him all the time he is very green and needs -- a good deal... I think he is a 200 horse sire..." 8] Feb. 1855 letter from J.W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father: "I wrote to you to forward to me all you could learn about the mare & a certificate from David Hill. I am a going to have a puff in the paper about him he does finely you have often said you would like to see him put, you could if you could see him now & all I feed him is 2 quarts of Oat & a little cut, feed at night but he is taken care of & that makes the difference... since I have commenced your letter I have rec'd one from you & you say that you forwarded me all you could learn about the mare I have never rec'd any such thing. I want you to get a Regular Pedigree of the mare & send to me what Blood she was & all about it, it is very hard times for money here... I have had the colt out to day & I never saw him go any better in my life he will trouble the fast horses here when he gets a little better broke he is not half broke yet..." 9] March 1855 letter from J.W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father: "I wish you would forward me the Plates of the old horse as soon as you can get them & now for Black Hawk you can tell Mr. Edward Hamilton that yesterday he trotted a mile on the ice in 3 minutes & 5 seconds & if he has got any money to Bet that there is a man here that will Bet from one hundred to 1 thousand dollars that with 3 weeks training he can go in 2 minutes & 55 seconds which is not very bad for a colt he beat a horse yesterday that they said could go in 2 50 & the man offered to Bet me before we trotted that he could beat me & give me 15 rods the start but I dint not Bet for I did not know how fast he could go he beat the horses about 2 Rods it wants about 15 men to hold him when he goes fast there is no man in the world that can hold him you had ought to have seen him go yesterday you can tell Mr. Hamilton if he wants any proof of it that I can prove it by over 200 persons the reason that I trotted him was this man strooped [?] me & I expected to get Beat but I did not back out it is a feather in his cap..." 10] March 1855 letter from J. W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father: "Now for the colt he is as fat as a hog & doing well all of the time & I see no reason why that he will not do something here the coming season. We are not entirely decided in relation to who we will have to attend him this season we have a man in view & intend to stand him at the franklin house." 11] April 1855 letter from J. W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father: "The colt is doing first rate the man that is going to tend him commences to take care of him tomorrow he looks fine & is shedding his coat." 12] April 1855 letter from J. W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father. Request for money. 13] April 1855 letter from J. W. Peck, Canandaigua, to his father: "The Black Hawk is doing well I commenced to feed him the first of this month he is fat as a hog I have got a good many mares that I think will put to him I have got 3 of one man and they are nice ones I have never Rec'd any paper containing the Pedigree of the old horse you seem to be very anxious to know who will tend him I can tell & then see how much better you will know. George Shertly will tend him he never took a purse I only told Dick Haskell so he would tell Ed Hamilton I never trotted him for a purse when I do he will win it." 14] March 1856 letter on New York Central RR letterhead, Rochester NY, from J. W. Peck to his father: "we will talk a little about the horse. You say can he be made to go in 3 1/4 minutes I have no doubt, but what he can but still I would not warrant him to do it & have any forfeit if he could not do it. I have not driven him any to amount to anything this winter in the first place had not time & in the next place there has been so much snow I could not do it I drove him in 3 05 last winter but have not since & I have no doubt but what he can do it in 3 with proper training. you say do the best you can with him I am feeding him high now to get him in condition to sell now I want to know what is the lowest I shall sell him for I shall sell him for all I can get but I want to know the lowest figures & then I shall know what to do. I have no doubt but what he would do well another year to stand... but you would have to hire a man & board him & pay him..." HISTORICAL NOTES: The story of this world famous line of horses is an American legend. "Figure was born in 1789 in southern New England. He was taken to Randolph, Vermont, in 1791 by Justin Morgan, who had recently emigrated there with his family from Springfield, Massachusetts. Figure was a stylish bay horse of many talents. He became widely known for his ability to pull stumps and logs while clearing the land of newly arrived settlers. In addition, he won races and pulling contests, was a favored parade mount at militia trainings, and was used as a saddle and driving horse. His strength, endurance, and easy-keeping qualities served him well on the Vermont frontier. Among horsemen he became widely respected for his prepotency (the ability to pass his own looks and qualities on to succeeding generations). The round and compact bodies of Morgan horses enabled them to 'get the best of their feed' and made them suitable to perform a wide variety of tasks. Their large eyes, small ears, and short, broad heads set on gracefully curved necks carried high provided them with a proud countenance. Also blessed with ground-covering gaits, the Morgans were able to cover many miles day after day at steady rate of speed." (National Museum of the Morgan Horse). Figure became known as "the Justin Morgan horse", or simply Justin Morgan. The breed's trotting ability made it a favorite for harness racing in the 1840s. Morgans were also used in the Civil War as cavalry mounts, including Sheridan's "Rienzi" and Stonewall Jackson's "Little Sorrel". In the post-civil war era, Morgans were also used in the Pony Express and as mounts for the cavalry in the western United States. The only survivor of the Custer regiment from The Battle of Little Bighorn was the Morgan-Mustang mixed breed horse Comanche. In June of 1850, Hiram Peck of West Cornwall, Vermont, hired the stud services of Black Hawk, Justin Morgan/Figure's grandson. The resulting colt came to be called Philip Allen. Its mother was Lady Morgan, granddaughter of Justin Morgan (her sire was Bulrush). Philip Allen stood at 15 hands, 1050 pounds. In 1867 he was sold to E. S. Ashley of New York, and then to a Spaniard who took him to Havana, Cuba where he was used as a saddle horse. E. S. Ashley wrote: "He had a great endurance and was very stylish, with high knee action and very elastic step, and got many fine colts that sold for high prices in New York City. I showed him at Lexington County Fair every year for nine years and always received 1st premium except once, then 2d. He received 2d premium at New York State Fair, 1864, and several 1st premiums at Allegany and Wyoming County fairs." (Battell, The Morgan Horse and Register) Overall VG.
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