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<Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby>

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"African American Heritage Guide: history, art & entertainment," Lexington, KY
Start Year : 2010
The African American Heritage Guide was published by the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum, Inc. in Lexington, KY, and funded in part by the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Included are 14 historic districts that may be viewed on a walking or driving tour. The majority of the districts are profiled in the publication, along with a map on the center pages. The latter pages contain horse racing history, including brief biographies of trainers and jockeys, cemetery entries, rural community entries, and information on public art and public events. The booklet also provides a very informative overview of the individuals who owned the homes and businesses featured in the publication. The African American Heritage Guide is available at the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum. See also M. Davis, "Booklet full of black history - Heritage Guide painstakingly researched," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/11/2010, City/Region section, p. A3. Copies of the African American Heritage Guide are available at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Additional information provided by Yvonne Giles:


Subjects: Communities, Genealogy, History, Historians, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

African American Jockeys in Lexington, KY, 1893
Start Year : 1893
The following names of African American jockeys comes from the title Directory of African Americans in Lexington, KY, 1893 by D. Y. Wilkinson.

  • Albert Boyer at 16 Ellerslie Avenue
  • Thomas Britton at E. Short Street
  • Clarence Clark at 81 Thomas Street
  • Ansal Conn at 411 Market Street
  • Charles Graham at 112 Corral Street
  • John Porter at 83 Thomas Street

Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

African Americans in the Thoroughbred Industry Oral History Project
Start Year : 1994
End Year : 1995
The following information comes from the description on the "Pass the Word" website. "This series focuses on the experiences of African Americans working in the thoroughbred industry in Kentucky. The majority of interviews focus on backside occupations including hot walkers, exercise riders, and groomers. Other occupations include trainers, clockers, and jockeys. Interviewees discuss employment opportunities for African Americans in the racing industry, individuals they have worked with including owners and trainers, living conditions at the track, how they were trained in various occupations, working on horse farms, family life, race horses they have worked with, and the Kentucky Derby. Most of the interviews were conducted in Louisville with individuals who have worked at Churchill Downs."

 

Access Interview  See list of interviews at "Pass the Word" website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Allen, Anthony, Sr.
Birth Year : 1857
Anthony Allen was a horse trainer from Lexington, KY, who lived in Baltimore, MD. He was born in 1857, the son of Daniel and Caroline Allen [sources: 1880 U.S. Federal Census and 1870 Freedman's Bank Record #239]. In 1900, Anthony Allen was the husband of Mary F. Allen; the family of four lived in Baltimore, MD, on Cathedral Street [source: U.S. Federal Census]; they had lived at 936 Brevard Street earlier [source: R. L. Polk & Co.'s Baltimore City Directory for 1900, p. 82]. In 1910 there were five children in the family, and in 1920 the family of six lived at 122 Patapsco Avenue [source: U.S. Federal Census; and Baltimore City Directory, 1920, p. 349]. In 1920, Anthony Allen spent part of the year as a horse trainer in Delaware County, PA, and part of the year in Baltimore, MD [source: U.S. Federal Census]. By 1930, Anthony Allen was listed with no job title; his wife Mary was the proprietor of a lunch room [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Anthony Allen is named in the last paragraph of the article, "They will live as long as racing does," Capital Plaindealer, 12/20/1936, p. 6. There are a number of articles in the Sun and listings in the Daily Racing Form with Anthony Allen listed as a horse trainer.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Baltimore, Maryland

Allen, Dudley
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1911
Dudley Allen, a slave born in Lexington, KY, was owned by either Walter or John Dunn. Allen would become a noted thoroughbred owner and trainer. He owned a stock farm in Lexington, where he trained his own young horses and sold others to wealthy horsemen. Allen had purchased the farm after serving in the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry Regiment. He was the first African American to own a Kentucky Derby winner: he was part owner of the 1891 winner Kingman, ridden by Isaac Murphy. Allen was one of two leading trainers at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. The following was submitted by University of Kentucky Anthropology Researcher Nancy O'Malley: Dudley died at his residence, 416 Kinkead Street in Lexington, KY. He and his wife, Margaret Crittenden Allen (d. 1919), had lived in the home since around 1871, when Margaret purchased the lot from George B. Kinkead. The couple was married by Reverend George Downing in Lexington in 1866, after Dudley Allen had served in the Army with Company M of the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, 1864-1866 as a Quartermaster Sergeant. The 5th Colored Cavalry fought October 2, 1864, in Saltville, VA; "many of the soldiers had not been adequately trained and were not properly equipped, and a disastrous defeat followed." The 5th Colored Cavalry also fought at Lexington on October 19, and at Harrodsburg on October 21, retuning to Virginia in December when the Saltville works were destroyed. For more see Dudley Allen in the Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States, by G. B. Kirsch, et al.; and the "Dudley Allen" entry on the African Americans in the Thoroughbred Industry website, a Paris-Bourbon County Public Library website. See also "The Allen House Lot," chapter XI in Kinkeadtown: Archaeological Investigation of an African-American Neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky, by N. O'Malley. Quotation from Nancy O'Malley's submission.

Nancy O'Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Barber, Paul Peter
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1929
Barber was born in Louisville, KY, the child of slaves. His last name was Smith until he was 4 years old, when Barber was sold to Philetus Swift Barber. On the Barber Farm in Bardstown, KY, Paul learned to train, ride, race, and care for the horses. He went to Ottawa, Canada, around 1885, one of the first African Americans to become a permanent resident of Ottawa. In 1892 he married Elizabeth Brown, a white woman twenty years younger than he. Their marriage is thought to have been the first interracial marriage in Ottawa. They had five children: Paul Jr., John (Jack), Joe, Tom, and Mary. Paul Barber, Sr. supported his family with wages from his job as a horse trainer. When the automobile replaced the horse, Barber worked as a laborer for the city of Ottawa. For more see T. Barber, "The Kentucky gentleman was a pioneer black resident," The Ottawa Citizen (newspaper), 02/05/2001, p. D4.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / Ottawa, Canada

Barnes, Shelby D., "Pike"
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1908
Shelby D. "Pike" Barnes was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2011. He was born in Beaver Dam, KY, the son of Joseph Barnes and Susan Austin Barnes [source: Ohio County Marriage Record, for Shelby D. Barnes]. Pike Barnes became a jockey when he was 14 years old. Barnes had a number of noted achievements in the racing industry. In 1888, he won the first race of the Futurity aboard Proctor Knott. The win was one of his 206 victories in 1888, a record number of wins by a jockey in the United States for one year. Barnes also had the most wins in 1889 with 170. Barnes would go on to win other big races such as the Belmont Stakes, but he soon gave up racing. In 1891, Barnes owned a farm in Beaver Dam, KY and was contemplating whether he would ride again [source: "Epitome of horsemen," Freeman, 11/14/1891, p. 2]. In 1908, Barnes was part owner of a saloon in Columbus, OH, when he died from consumption (tuberculosis). The Paragraphic News column in the Washington Bee, 01/18/1908, p. 1, noted that "[i]t is reported that Shelby Barnes, better known as "Pike" Barnes, died without any money, not withstanding he won $100,000 as a jockey." He is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as "Pike Barnes," the husband of Mary Barnes, a cook, who was born in August of 1873 in Kentucky. Her previous name was Mary C. Pennman; she had been married to James Pennman prior to marrying Shelby Barnes [source: Ohio County Marriage Records]. The couple married in 1897 and lived on E. Elm Street in Columbus, OH, according to the 1900 Census. Their marriage certificate is dated June 16, 1906. For more see T. Genaro, "Shelby Pike Barnes to join the racing Hall of Fame on August 12," The Saratogian, 08/05/2011, Sports section; and "Reported death of Pike Barnes," Daily Racing Form, 01/15/1908, p. 1.

See photo image of Shelby D. "Pike " Barnes and additional information at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Beaver Dam, Ohio County, Kentucky / Columbus, Ohio

Berry, Julius
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2001
Julius Berry was born in Lexington, KY. In 1994, Mayor Scotty Baesler appointed Berry to the post of Affirmative Action Officer of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Berry, 41 years old at the time, was responsible for managing the government's affirmative action plan and investigating discrimination complaints. He held the post under various mayors up to the time of his death in 2001. Berry was a man of many talents. In 1974, he worked with the city government's A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund, which helped minorities get apprenticeships in the building and construction trades. He was also involved with horses as a breeder, racer, seller, and thoroughbred bloodstock agent. He had been a public advocate in Lexington, working on school integration issues as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He is also remembered as a former (old) Dunbar High School basketball star; standing at 6'5", Berry scored more than 3,000 points during his high school days in the 1950s. He played college ball at University of Dayton and at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he earned a bachelor's degree, then went on to get his master's degree at Rutgers University. Julius Berry was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He was Ulysses Berry's brother. For more see the following articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader: J. Duke, "Julius Berry Returns to Government," 06/01/1984, City/State section, p. B1; M. Fields, "Inductee Sees Athletics as Societal Salve," 03/12/1996, Sports section, p. C1; and S. Lannen, "Aide to Lexington Mayor Dies - Dunbar Basketball Star During 1950s," 12/03/2001, City & Region section, p. B1. See also the sound recording interview of Julius Berry in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Access Interview Read about the Julius Berry oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Black Horsemen
The history of Black horsemen, many of whom were from Bourbon County, KY, is being collected and displayed. The Butler Family from North Middletown, KY, has developed the website Back in Black: A History of Black Horsemen in the Twentieth Century for the gathering and sharing of information, including photos of many of the men. There is also the 2007 exhibit at the American Saddlebred Museum in Lexington, KY, Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History. A DVD by the same title is available for purchase at the American Saddlebred Museum. For more information see L. Muhammad, "Show heralds achievements of Black trainers," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/05/2007, Features section, p. 1E; Exhibition Honoring Black Horsemen Set to Open, 02/03/2007, a Kentucky.gov website; and African American Horsemen of Bourbon County included in American Saddlebred Museum Exhibit [.pdf], 02/10/2005, a Kentucky Horse Park news release.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Booker, Elzey
Birth Year : 1841
Death Year : 1937
Elzey Booker was a horseman in Chicago, IL. He was born in Allen County, KY, and died in Bremen, IL on July 30, 1937 [source: Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. He is buried in Rest Vale Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Allen County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Brauham, James L.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1922
James L. Brauham was a horseshoer who was born in New Castle, KY, and died in Chicago, IL [source: Cook County, Illinoise Death Index]. He was the son of Leory Brauham and Emily Smith Brauham.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Britton, Thomas M., Sr. "Tom"
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1901
Well known jockey Thomas "Tom" Britton, Sr. was born in 1870 in Lexington, KY, the son of Laura and Henry Britton. He was the husband of Pearl Jackson Britton (1873-1904, born in KY), and they had a son named Thomas Britton, Jr. [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. Tom Britton, Sr. rode in the 1892 Kentucky Derby aboard Huron, owned by Ed Corrigan, and came in second place, six inches behind Alonzo Clayton riding Azra. Britton had won the Tennessee Derby in 1891 aboard Valera, and the Kentucky Oaks aboard Miss Hawkins. He was thrown against a fence and knocked unconscious when he fell while riding Miss Dixie in a Chicago race in June of 1891. It was written in the Milford Mail newspaper that Britton's mind had been affected by the injury, and since then he was sometimes referred to as "Crazy Britton." He continued racing and won the 1892 Tennessee Derby aboard Tom Elliott. Though a successful jockey during the earlier days of his career, Britton began having more serious troubles around 1895 when he lost his racing license. April of 1895, the Committee on Jockeys of the Turf Congress allowed Britton to have a two-month permit that was to be continued if his conduct was satisfactory. Britton was ruled off the track at Latonia in November of 1896, and it was recommended that his license be revoked. He had been ruled off the track five months earlier because of his involvement in a fraudulent ticket operation. In 1900, he was racing in Newport, KY, riding aboard Banbury, when both horse and rider took a spill. By 1901, Britton was down on his luck, he was broke and living in a room in a boarding house in Lodge Alley in Cincinnati, OH, when he committed suicide. Thomas M. Britton, Sr. is buried in African Cemetery #2 in Lexington, KY. For more see "The Chicago races," Sandusky Daily Register, 06/27/1891; "The Congress rules," New York Times, 04/12/1895, p.6; "Jockey Tom Britton," Leader, 11/20/1896, p.5; "Jockey Tom Britton," in the Daily Racing Form, 07/03/1896, p.2, and 07/04/1896, p.1; "Jockey Tom Britton," in the Daily Racing Form, 05/23/1900, p.1; "Took his own life," Leader, 05/20/1901, p.7; "Britton had great ability," The Milford Mail, 08/31/1905, p.3; and "Negro riders of renown," Daily Racing Form, 02/17/1922, p.2.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Suicide

Brown, Edward D. "Brown Dick"
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1906
Edward Dudley Brown, born in Kentucky, was a slave owned by R. A. Alexander. At the age of seven, Brown was sold on the steps of the Lexington Courthouse to Alexander. Brown was a jockey, and won the 1870 Belmont Stakes aboard Kingfisher, trained by Raleigh Colston, Sr. Dudley was the trainer for the horse Baden-Baden, winner of the 1877 Kentucky Derby. Brown also owned and trained his own horses. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1984. For more see Black winning jockeys in the Kentucky Derby, by J. R. and M. R. Saunders.

See photo image of Edward D. Brown at Black Jockeys website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, Edward Hall
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1946
Edward H. Brown was born in Henderson County, KY. He owned his own blacksmith business, beginning in 1898. Brown also owned a number of homes and held stock in mercantile interests and organizations. He was a member of the National Horseshoers Association and the Henderson Blacksmiths Association. He was the son of Michael and Susan Agnes Watson Brown. Michael Brown was also a leading blacksmith in Henderson, KY, and his son Edward learned the trade from his father. Edward H. Brown was the husband of Emma B. Coleman Brown (b.1883 in Louisville, KY) and after her death, he was married to Mary B. Brown [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Edward H. Brown made his home at 935 Clay Street in Henderson, KY, and his blacksmith shop was located at 422 First Street. He and Emma had five children: Michael, Rose, Lelia, Susan, and Andrew. Edward H. Brown died August 30, 1946 in Henderson, KY. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Bryant, Clarence W.
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1899
Bryant, born in Covington, KY, was a famous winning jockey who had ridden for the well-known turfman, Byron McClelland (1855-1897), from Lexington, KY. Bryant died of heart disease at 92 Race Street in Lexington, KY, on April 21, 1899, according to his death certificate. The family entry in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census indicates he was the son of William and Mary Bryant. For more see "One Famous Jockey Dead," The Marble Rock Weekly, 04/27/1899, p. 2. A picture of McClelland and his African American employees is available at the Bloodhorse.com website. For more see the Byron McClelland entry, History of Kentucky, by Kerr, Connelley, and Coulter, p. 375 [available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Burnt Cork in Kentucky Derby, 1943
Start Year : 1943
Burnt Cork was a thoroughbred racehorse owned by Edmund Lincoln Anderson (1905-1977), aka "Rochester," the Negro comedian and former vaudeville performer who teamed with Jack Benny on radio in The Jack Benny Program and in the television series, The Jack Benny Show. Several newspapers around the country accused Anderson of entering Burnt Cork in the 1943 Kentucky Derby as a publicity stunt, and prior to the race, Anderson was advised not to enter his horse; its odds were 25-1. Anderson would not be swayed, however; he attempted to hire jockey Carroll Bierman, who had won the 1940 Kentucky Derby with longshot Gallahadion. Anderson, his wife, and his valet stayed at the home of Kentucky House Member Mae Street Kidd in Louisville; the hotels in Louisville were segregated. Mae Street Kidd did not care much for Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, but got along well with his wife. Kidd was invited to join the Andersons in their box during the derby. Burnt Cork came in last place. He had come out of the gates fast, but quickly ran out of steam and came in 10th, 38 lengths behind the winner, Count Fleet, owned by Mrs. John D. Hertz. Burnt Cork was ridden by jockey Manual Gonzalez and was trained by A. E. Silver. Edmund Anderson was disappointed in his horse's performance, but the loss became part of the comedy routine with Jack Benny ribbing "Rochester" on air during The Jack Benny Program. The newspapers and other comedians also poked fun at Anderson. During 1943, there were more than 200 newspaper stories in the United States and Canada about Burnt Cork's loss in the Kentucky Derby. Anderson continued to race Burnt Cork until the horse died in July of 1944. For more see Kentucky Derby Stories, by J. Bolus; "Rochester entry in Kentucky Derby has good chance," Corsicana Daily Sun, 04/12/1943, p. 5; "Burnt Cork is long shot," Racine Journal-Times, 04/16/1943, p. 19; "Entry of Burt Cork would end doubts of last place in derby," Salt Lake Tribune, 04/29/1943, p. 19; "Burnt Cork runs in Crete Handicap," New Castle News, 05/22/1943; and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in Passing for Black, by W. Hall.

*The term "burnt cork" refers to theatrical makeup that was first used by white blackface performers in minstrel shows, beginning in the early 1800s. The actors presented themselves as comical and stereotyped characterizations of African Americans. There were also African American minstrel performers who wore burnt cork, including one of the most famous and highest paid blackface performers, Bert Williams. Originally the makeup consisted of burnt cork that was pulverized then mixed with water, petroleum jelly, or some other substance and smeared on the uncovered areas of skin such as the face, neck, and hands. With the popularity of blackface performances in the U.S. and abroad, soon burnt cork was commercially manufactured, advertised, and sold to performers by mail. A popular item was The "Crest Brand" Burnt Cork, billed as a healthier alternative to the original mix. It was sold by the Crest Trading Company in New York for 50 cents, plus 7 cents for postage. Other burnt cork alternatives were grease paint and shoe polish. Today, there are blackface performers around the world. For more see The Witmark's Amateur Minstrel Guide and Burnt Cork Encyclopedia, by F. Dumont [available at Google Book Search]; and Behind the Burnt Cork Mask, by W. J. Mahar.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Campbell, Robert E., aka "Bob" Allen
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1919
Robert E. Campbell, aka "Bob" Allen, was a noted horseman born in Kentucky around 1859. He died in Covington, KY, June 23, 1919, according to his death certificate. During his lifetime, Campbell was recognized as the turfman/owner of the two year old horse named Protection, winner of the Junior Champion Stakes at Monmouth Park (NJ) in 1889, ridden by Edgar "Pike" Barnes. It was a $30,000 win for Campbell who had paid $350 for the yearling colt at Swigert's sale. Protection's other races included winning the 1889 Flash Stakes at Saratoga, and runner-up in the Kenwood Stakes at Washington Park in Chicago, IL. Protection was from Prince Charlie, an English stallion, and out of Manola. Campbell had offered to sale the horse to E. J. Baldwin for $550. Baldwin, a California millionaire, declined the offer. Campbell was the trainer of Baldwin's horses, including the horse named Los Angeles, winner of the Senior Champion Stakes at Monmouth Park in 1889. [Robert E. Campbell can also be found in newspapers by the name Bob Campbell.] In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Robert Allen is listed as a horse trainer, the son of Harry and Dilsey Allen, and the family lived in Goodloetown. For more see "Bob Allen's Luck," Weekly Pelican, 08/10/1889, p.3; "The two new champions," New York Times, 08/07/1889, p.2; and "Latonia draws more rain," Daily Racing Form, 06/24/1919, p.1.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / New Jersey

Carpenter, Eliza
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1924
She was known as Aunt Eliza, the only Colored race horse owner in Oklahoma, her real name was Eliza Carpenter. She had been a slave, born in Virginia, sold to a Kentucky master at age six, and sold again at age eight to a Missouri planter. Carpenter gained her freedom at the end of the Civil War and returned to Madisonville, KY, where she learned the business of buying, training, and riding race horses. She then moved to Kansas where she purchased several horses, and would move on to Ponca City, Oklahoma where she shared her home with a boarder, Athather Johnson, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Carpenter's occupation is given as a trader of livestock. She had come to Ponca City when the Cherokee Strip was opened for settlement in 1893, and with a $1,000 prize going to the first person to reach the Ponca City site. There was a heated race to the site and Carpenter was one of the competitors. Some sources say that she was the first to stake a claim, while other sources say that she did not win the race. Either way, Carpenter settled in Ponca City where she trained her horses, was one of the few African American stable owners in the West, and when dissatisfied with the way a race was going, she had ridden her own horses. Carpenter, as a jockey, had won a few races. Her regular jockey was Olla "Lucky" Johnson. Some of her horses names were Irish Maid, Blue Bird, and Little Brown Jug. Eliza Carpenter had also stood up for herself when she won a horse racing bet and the person she was betting with refused to pay-up. Carpenter visited family in Kentucky on several occasions and on her final visit she was thrown from a buggy when her horse became spooked; Carpenter suffered a fractured skull and never fully recovered. She died in Oklahoma. She was the aunt of Frank and Virgil Gilliam of Madisonville, KY. For more see "Fans mourn woman jockey," Baltimore Afro-American, 12/20/1924; "Reproduced the Strip Run," Hutchison News, 09/17/06, p.8;
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Virginia / Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky / Missouri / Kansas / Oklahoma

Carson, Sam
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1932
Horseman Sam Carson was born in Williamsburg, KY, the son of Simon and Dison Carson [source: Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index]. Sam Carson died in Mobile, AL, April 7, 1932, and is buried in the M. C. Public Grounds.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration South
Geographic Region: Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky / Mobile, Alabama

Cato (slave jockey) [Grey Eagle v Wagner]
Start Year : 1839
On Monday, September 30, 1839, the infamous race between the Virginia-bred horse Wagner and the Kentucky-bred horse Grey Eagle took place at the Oakland Course in Louisville, KY, for a purse of $14,000. Grey Eagle was a four year old owned by hemp dealer Alfred Lawrence Shotwell of Louisville, and ridden by Stephen Welch, a white jockey who weighed 83 pounds. Grey Eagle had run the fastest two miles in the United States. Wagner, a five year old owned by John Campbell of Maryland, was ridden by Cato, a slave jockey owned by John Campbell. The race was set for three four-mile heats. The winner of two heats would be declared the champion. Bets between individuals were made in dollars and in slaves. It was estimated that there were over 10,000 people in attendance to witness Wagner win two heats back to back and be declared the overall winner. A new record of 7:44 was set in the second heat. Fans still wanted the opportunity to prove Grey Eagle's winning ability, so it was agreed that another race would take place on the same course in five days. Wagner was again the victor. Grey Eagle was injured during the competition and never raced again. Cato, the slave jockey, was given his freedom in exchange for the victories. He would continue as a jockey for John Campbell. For more see "Some Great Races," chapter three in The American Turf, by J. H. Davis [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and Black Maestro, by J. Drape.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Maryland

Caulder, William Francis "Jelly"
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 2001
William F. Caulder was a farrier for more than 45 years. He was well respected for the work he did for some of the biggest names in the horse industry. He put shoes on horses at a number of local farms and at race tracks such as the Lexington Standardbred and Churchill Downs. Caulder was inducted into the International Horseshoers Association and in 1991 was honored by the Bluegrass Horseshoers Association. William F. Caulder was also active in the community, serving as chair of the Lexington-Fayette County Commission on Human Rights and working with the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center. He was a graduate of old Dunbar High School and attended Clark College in Atlanta for one year. Caulder was a World War II veteran: he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH on August 22, 1942, according to his enlistment record. Caulder was born in Lexington, KY, the son of William and Julia Caulder, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. For more information see J. Hewlett, "William F. 'Jelly' Caulder, 86 - Retired farrier to equine stars," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/16/2011, p. B2.

 

Access InterviewListen to the William F. Caulder oral history interview online, and read more about him at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Clark, Elmer S., Jr.
Birth Year : 1929
Elmer S. Clark, Jr. is a noted horseman, and a former athlete, educator, and coach. He was the first African American to become a peri-mutual judge of harness racing in the United States. Clark was sponsored by the Sportsman's Park when he attended the Harness Horse School in Columbus, Ohio, which prepared him to become a peri-mutual judge. He was also a paddock, placing, and senior Judge over the Chicago Trotting Horse Circuit. In addition, Clark was owner and trainer of his own racehorses beginning in 1962, he received his trainer's license in Chicago and raced his thoroughbred horses in locations such as Chicago, Detroit, and Atlantic City, and he raced his horses in Canada. He bought yearlings and trained them himself. His first horse was named Calico, and a few of the other horses were named Super Chief, Road Man, and the last horse he owned was Mr. Bo Jo. Clark was fairly successful with his racehorses, and had 30-40 winners including the horse Tide Me Over, and in 1990, he retired from the horse industry. Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Elmer S. (d.1984) and Mary F. Ross Clark. He was raised in Lexington, KY. His father, Elmer S. Clark, Sr., was a jockey and trainer who won the first race at North Aurora Exhibition Park [later Aurora Downs] near Chicago. In the 1930s, Clark Sr. was issued a jockey's license in Florida and may have been the first African American to receive such a license in that state, but it was revoked when it was learned that Elmer S. Clark, Sr. was an African American. His racing career ended and Elmer S. Clark, Sr. moved to New York where he had a limousine service. His son, Elmer Jr., was around horses most of his life, and uncles on both sides of the family were grooms. When he was a teenager, Clark Jr. was an exercise rider at Keeneland, and he also worked on Calumet Farm. He was mentored by Ben Jones, and worked with the horses Citation, Coaltown, Ponder, and many others. He worked with African American trainers and grooms such as Henry and Ernest Louden, Theopilus Irivn, and William Perry Smith who was the trainer for Burnt Cork, a horse that ran in the 1943 Kentucky Derby. Clark left the racetrack to go to college, he was the first member of his family to attend college. He enrolled at Kentucky State [now Kentucky State University] in 1948 on a football scholarship; he had graduated from old Dunbar High School in Lexington, where he was coached in football by Norman Passmore and in basketball by S. T. Roach. In college, Clark was the quarterback of the football team that won the 1948 post-season tournament known as Little Brown Jug, the opponent was Tennessee State A & I [now Tennessee State University]. His team also won the Vulcan Bowl in January of 1949, playing against North Carolina A & T. After one year at Kentucky State College, Clark went back to working with horses for a year, and in 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served until 1953. Clark boxed some while he was in the Army. He fought in three battles during the Korean War and received an Honorable Discharge. Clark then returned to Kentucky State College where he was on the boxing team, the track team, the football team, and he was an assistant for the basketball team. He lettered in basketball, football, and boxing. After graduating from Kentucky State College in 1956, S. T. Roach informed Clark about three job openings. Clark took the teaching job in Franklin, KY, where he was also the school's football and basketball coach. While in Franklin, he met and married Catherine Sloss, and in 2012, the couple had been married for 54 years. Catherine Sloss was also a school teacher in her home town of Franklin. After one year of teaching in Franklin, Elmer and Catherine Clark moved to Chicago where Catherine was hired as a teacher in the Chicago Public School System, and Elmer was employed at Schlitz Brewing Company. He was the first African American to work for the advertising and marketing department at Schlitz. His territory was from 120th Street to the Loop and Clark promoted the beer from the brewery to the wholesalers. After four years with Schlitz, Elmer S. Clark, Jr. also became a school teacher, he taught at Dunbar High School in Chicago and he coached football and basketball. He was teaching school during the same period that he was buying and racing his racehorses. Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was recognized by the Bluegrass Black Business Association in 1993 as an outstanding African American owner and trainer of thoroughbred horses. In 1996, Clark was recognized at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, MD as an outstanding racehorse owner and trainer. This entry was suggested by Gregory Clark, the son of Catherine and Elmer S. Clark, Jr. Gregory Clark provided background information and copies of literature, letters, and an article citation. Additional information was acquired via a telephone interview with Elmer S. Clark, Jr. on 01/24/2012. See also Elmer S. Clark trainer record at Equibase.com; see Elmer S. Clark Jr. in the online Daily Racing Form dated between 1977-1987; see M. Davis, "Horseman knows the Rest of the Story," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/10/2004, p.C1; and L. Shulman, "Last of a breed," Blood-Horse, 03/08/2003, pp.1392-1394 & p.1396.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Football, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Clay, John T.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1934
John T. Clay was a jockey who was injured riding War Jig on the Kentucky Association Track; the injuries ended his riding career, but he then became a successful trainer and was described as a wealthy man who owned real estate [source: "The Negro jockey on the American turf," The Freeman, 11/11/1905, p. 6]. He had ridden for Major Barak G. Thomas and was one of the persons named in Thomas' will [source: "Fortune for former slave," New York Times, 05/22/1906, p. 1]. In 1907, Clay partnered with Lewis McClanahan for the building of the Colored Skating Rink in Lexington, KY [see NKAA entry Colored Skating Rink and Summer Palm Garden]. John T. Clay is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY. He was the son of Harry Clay; his mother's maiden name was Reese, according to Kentucky Death Certificate File #5998, Registered #234. He was the husband of Caddie Clay and the father of John and Barak Clay. In 1900, the family lived on Constitution Street in Lexington [source: U.S. Federal Census]. John T. Clay was employed by the U.S. Post Office as a rural mail carrier, according to the 1910 Census and his death certificate. By 1920, the family lived on East Second Street, and in 1930, John T. Clay was a widower [sources: U.S. Federal Census].
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Postal Service, Skating Rinks
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Clay, Theodore H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1843
Theodore H. Clay, Sr. was born in Fayette County, KY, his father was from Virginia and his mother was from Kentucky. Clay grew up in Lexington and became one of the early African American horse trainers who owned his own business, [as was Dudley Allen]. Clay is listed as Colored in the Sheppard's Lexington City Directory 1873 and 1874, owner of a breaking and training stable on Deweese Street opposite Correll [Corrall] Street. He is the only "Colored" person listed under the heading 'Horse Trainer' on p.234 of the 1873-74 city directory. His account record at the U.S. Freedmen Bank dated May 26, 1871, gives his occupation as a self employed trainer, and includes his wife's name, Louisa, a child named Brice, and a brother named Marshall. The Clays lived on Deweese Street. The family is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census and includes the name of a second son named Theodore, and their property was valued at $800. The Clay family would leave Kentucky and move to Kansas. In 1880 they lived in Shawnee, KS: Theodore and Maria Louisa Clay (b.1848 in KY) and their three sons, all born in Kentucky, Brice Henry Clay (b.1868), Theodore H. Clay, Jr. (b.1870), and Edward Marshall Clay (b.1873). Theodore, Sr. supported the family as a farmer. By 1900, Theodore Clay was a widower living at 545 Tracy Street in Kansas City, MO, his occupation was listed in the census as farmer. He is last listed in the 1910 census, when Theodore shared his home with his son Edward and his family.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Shawnee, Kansas / Kansas City, Missouri

Clayton, Alonzo
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1917
Alonzo Clayton was born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Robert and Evaline Clayton. One of the two youngest jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby, Clayton was 15 years old in 1892 when he won the Derby riding Azra. He died of chronic tuberculosis in California. For more see In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., Supp. ed. by M. M. Spradling; The Great Black Jockeys, by E. Hotaling; and Alonzo Clayton at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture website.

See photo image and additional information about Alonzo Clayton at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Kansas City, Kansas / Kentucky / California

Coleman, George
Birth Year : 1798
Death Year : 1908
Coleman was a famous jockey in the 1830s. He rode in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and other locations. He had been a slave in Kentucky who belonged to the Lindsay Family. In his later years, Coleman was a member of the circus managed by Dan Rice. He eventually settled in Seguin, TX, where he died. For more see "Former slave dead at 110," The Washington Post, 07/18/1908, p. 1.
Subjects: Circus, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New York / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Washington D.C. / Seguin, Texas

Conley, Jess
Conley, considered the last African American jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby, was actually one of the last. Conley finished 3rd aboard Colston in 1911. He had competed in the Derby two times before: in 1898 aboard Han d'Or (finishing 4th), and in 1899 aboard Mazo (finishing 3rd). Henry King would be the next African American jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby in 1921, and Marlon St. Julien rode in 2000. For more see Black Maestro, by J. Drape; and R. A. Frister, "Forgotten heroes: Black winners of the Kentucky Derby," Ebony, May 1989, pp.82-87 [available online at Google Books].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Covell, Henry
Birth Year : 1850
Henry Covell is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a horse jockey in Boston, MA. Born around 1850 in Kentucky, Covell was the husband of Helen Covell, a laundrywoman who was born in Massachusetts.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Boston, Massachusetts

Davis, Ellen
Birth Year : 1843
Death Year : 1927
Ellen Davis was the daughter of John Davis, an Irishman [John J. Cummins is listed as the father on her death certificate]. She was from Fayette County, KY, and had been a slave belonging to the mother of wealthy horseman John T. Hughes (1840-1924) of Fayette County. When Davis was about 18 years old, she had a son by Hughes, who never married. Their relationship was temporarily interrupted during the Civil War, but resumed in 1872, when Davis became free and after J. T. Hughes' mother had died. The relationship continued until 1924 when J. T. Hughes died. In his will, he left $30,000 to various persons, and his faithful colored man, Alex Rankin, received 96 1/2 acres of land [Alex Rankin d.1935, his wife Nannie d.1939, they are buried in African Cemetery No.2]. Ellen Davis received the mansion Elkton and hundreds of acres of farmland plus all of the home belongings, farm equipment, and stock. Their son, Robert Henry Hughes, who had spent most of his life in Buffalo, NY, received 160 acres. The remainder of the estate went to the Midway Orphan's Home. The will was contested and the case went to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, December 1925. The will was allowed to stand as written and Ellen Davis, in a situation very similar to that of Margaret Pryor, was thought to be the wealthiest Negro woman in Kentucky. But unlike Pryor, 80 year old Davis sold the estate that neighbored thoroughbred farms that belonged to wealthy men such as John E. Madden, Samuel D. Riddle, and Joseph E. Widener, who bought 587 acres. Payne Whitney, a relative of J. T. Hughes from New York, bought the Elkton mansion and 277 acres. Ellen Davis died at the age of 84 in Fayette County, KY, on December 8, 1927. According to her death certificate, she is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. For more see "Bayless v. Hughes' EX'Rs et al. (Court of Appeals of Kentucky. Dec. 15, 1925)," South Western Reporter, vol. 278, pp. 162-163; "Made richest Negress in South by court," New York Times, 12/17/1925, p. 13; and "New property cost breeders $326,000," New York Times, 03/01/1926, p. 14. The Rankins' death dates and cemetery information provided by Yvonne Giles - "The Cemetery Lady".
Subjects: Freedom, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Inheritance, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Dawson, Howard Preston, Jr.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1961
H. Preston Dawson, a horse trainer, was born July 20, 1916 in Kentucky, the son of Howard Preston Dawson, Sr. and Nettie B. Baker Dawson [source: West Virginia Deaths Index]. Preston Dawson died in Wheeling, WV, and is buried in Springfield, KY.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration East
Geographic Region: Wheeling, West Virginia / Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Dishman, Oscar, Jr.
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2000
Born in Scott County, KY, Oscar Dishmanm, Jr. began working with horses when he was a teenager, training thoroughbred horses for more than 40 years, including Silver Series and Golden Don. Dishman had been employed at Latonia and River Downs. He also filed suit against the Scott County Board of Education in 1956, leading to the desegregation of the public schools in Georgetown, KY. He was the son of Oscar, Sr. and Anna L. Henderson Dishman. The family lived in New Zion according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. For more see "Oscar Dishman Jr., thoroughbred horse trainer for more than 40 years, dies at 77," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries, p. B2, 10/02/2000. For more about the school board lawsuit, contact Marilyn Dishman (his daughter).

 

Access InterviewRead about the Oscar Dishman, Jr. oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Board of Education, Court Cases
Geographic Region: New Zion, Scott County and Fayette County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Duval, Edward
Birth Year : 1852
Edward Duval, born in Kentucky around 1852, was a jockey in Springfield, OH, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.

Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Springfield, Ohio

Fisher, Lester C.
Birth Year : 1891
Death Year : 1926
Lester C. Fisher, born around 1891, was a horse groomer from Kentucky. He was employed at the Fairmont Jockey Club in Madison County, IL [source: Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. Fisher died July 16, 1926 in Collinsville, IL.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Collinsville, Illinois

Free, Lee
Birth Year : 1891
Lee Free was a horseman who was born in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1915, he was among 30 horsemen, mostly Americans, who were returning to the United States aboard the ship Bohemian from Liverpool, England, on March 17, 1915 [source: List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States]. Lee Free was 24 years and 4 months old. He lived at 318 Jefferson Street in Louisville, KY. He was 5'8" tall and had a scar on his right cheek.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / England / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Harlan, Robert J.
Birth Year : 1816
Death Year : 1897
Robert J. Harlan was born in Harrodsburg, KY, child of a slave mother and Judge James Harlan (father of John M. Harlan - Plessy v. Ferguson). He was the second American to own and race horses in England. He lost his wealth during the Civil War. Harlan spoke out for the ratification of the 15th Amendment. He was a member of the Ohio Legislature and worked with two others to gain the repeal of the Black laws. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston.

  See photo image and additional information on Robert J. Harlan at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / England, Europe / Ohio

Harlem Race Track Employees from Kentucky
Start Year : 1894
End Year : 1904
Initially named the Harlem Jockey Club, the track was located in the Village of Harlem, Proviso Township, suburb of Chicago, IL. It was later known as the Harlem Race Track in Forest Park, located near 12th and Hannah Streets. Harlem was a community of 15 houses in 1866, and was incorporated as a village in 1884. The population in 1900 was 4,085. The horse race track operated 1894-1904; it was established by gamblers George Hankins and John Condon. One of the early African American residents of Proviso Township was William Robenson (b.1840 in KY), a hotel cook. By 1900, practically all of the African Americans from Kentucky, who lived in the Proviso Township, were employed at the Harlem Race Track. Below are some of their names and occupations.

Source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census

Cooks

  • Marvin Blair (b.1877)
  • John McGorman [or McGowan] (b.1876)
  • John Young (b.1858)
Grooms

  • Albert Bell (b.1875)
  • Alis Calarneys (b.1874)
  • Hy Carrington (b.1860)
  • Casper Cash (b.1867)
  • M. Dudley (b.1872)
  • John Griffen (b.1869)
  • William Hanson (b.1876)
  • C. Jackson (b.1878)
  • Milt Kennedy (b.1862)
  • Isaac Lewis (b.1867)
  • J. Madison (b.1878)
  • William Mason (b.1874)
  • John C. Smith (b.1875)
  • John Stepp (b.1873)
  • W. Wells (b.1881)
Jockeys
Stable Boys
  • E. Anderson (b.1882)
  • William Crow (b.1880)
  • George Green (b.1883)
  • Sam Kennedy (b.1880)
  • Steve Porter (b.1884)
  • S. Porter (b.1884)
Trainers

  • William Reid (b.1869)
  • Charles Gather (b.1858)
Horse racing was banned in Chicago in 1905, and the Harlem Race Track was used for auto racing.

For more about Harlem see the enty in Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, v.1 by N. Bateman and P. Selby [available at Google Book Search]; and History of Cook County, Illinois, v.2 edited by W. A. Goodspeed and D. D. Healy [available at Google Book Search]. For more about the race track see "Horse Racing" in the Encyclopedia of Chicago [online]. See photo of men riding horses at Harlem Race Track at American Memory.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Village of Harlem, Proviso Township, Chicago, Illinois

Harris, H. C.
Birth Year : 1850
H. C. Harris was a former slave who was born in Kentucky and owned by Alexander Moore, a bookbinder in Lexington. Harris was stolen by Tatin Sites Harper and became one of the best jockeys in the state. Harris later rode for J. T. Moore, Williams and Owens, and T. F. Tracey. He was also a stable foreman for Tracey. In 1875, Harris went to New York to work for Frank Bennece until he was able to develop his own stable. Harris retired from the horse industry and moved to Washington, D. C. in 1881. By 1898, he was an attaché caring for the horses at the White House. For more see Leading the Race by J. M. Moore; and "Mrs. Harris surprised," Colored American, 06/25/1898, p.5
Subjects: Freedom, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York / Washington, D. C.

Hathaway, John [Hathaway v Commonwealth]
Death Year : 1905
John Hathaway had 79 wins in 1889, he was remembered as a prominent jockey by newspapers around the country when he was hanged in Winchester, KY, for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Etta Thomas. The couple had lived together in Jackson, KY, prior to the day that Thomas left Hathaway and moved to Winchester. She lived at a brothel managed by Alice Bean. In January 1904, Hathaway went to Winchester to retrieve Thomas, and when she refused to return to Jackson with him, he shot her several times. Hathaway was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but the case was appealed on the assignments of error and was heard by the Kentucky Appeals Court, where the judgment was affirmed. Hathaway was scheduled to hang on January 3, 1905, on an historic traveling scaffold. Hathaway's mother fell unconscious when he was hung and never recovered, she died a few days later. Though, there is a second article that says she died a few months later. John Hathaway was thought to be the first famous jockey to be hanged. For more see "Hathaway v Commonwealth," Kentucky Law Reporter, vol. 26 (July 1904/Jan. 1905), pp. 630-634 [available full-text at Google Book Search]; "Historic scaffold," Lexington Herald, 12/21/1904, p. 5; "She never recovered," Breathitt County News, 01/13/1905, p.1; "John Hathaway...," in the column "Interesting news notes" in the Cleveland Gazette, 01/07/1905, p.2; and "Mary Hathaway, an old colored lady,..." Breathitt County News, 05/05/1905, p.3.

 
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Hawkins, William L.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1990
Hawkins was born on a farm near Lexington, KY, and reared by his maternal grandmother, Mary Scudder. As a young man, he was a trapper and horse trainer, but when his girlfriend became pregnant he was sent to live in Ohio. He began to paint when he was 80 years old, using materials that came from junk piles and throwaway material at construction sites in his artwork. Hawkins also collected photographs that he used in his work. One of his signature techniques was to paint a frame around his work that included his name and the place and date of his birth. For more see Souls Grown Deep: African American vernacular art of the South, vol. 1, by P. Arnett and W. Arnett.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Ohio

Henderson, Erskine
Birth Year : 1864
Death Year : 1913
Erskine Henderson is the only jockey to win three derbies in one year: the Kentucky Derby, the Tennessee Derby, and the Coney Island (New York) Derby, all in 1885 aboard Joe Cotton. For more see p. 114 of SCLC: The Southern Leadership Conference National Magazine, vol. 23, issue 4 (Aug-Oct, 1994); and the "Erskine 'Babe' Henderson" entry on Africa-Americans in the Thoroughbred Industry website, by the Paris-Bourbon County Public Library.

*Additional information provided by Yvonne Giles, "The register wrote his name as "Earthshins Henison" with a death date of 25 Nov 1913, burial in Versailles, KY certificate # 30819."
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Hensley, Peter Lee
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1926
Peter L. Hensley was born in Mt. Sterling, KY, he had been a slave, the son of Howard and Margaret Magowan Hensley. He owned and bred trotters, owned a grocery store and restaurant when he was 19 years old, and later owned the Yellow Rose Farm in Montgomery County, KY. Two of his winning horses were Temple Bar (who won 24 out of 25 races) and Alcyo (who won 17 consecutive races). Peter Hensley was also president of the Montgomery County Colored Fair Association. Peter Hensley's family was owned by the Magowan Family during slavery. For more see Peter Hensley on p. 392 in The WPA Guide to Kentucky, by F. K. Simon; P. W. L. Jones, "The Greatest Negro harness horse owner," Crisis, Sept. 1937, pp.266, 284-285 [online with picture at Google Book Search]; and the following articles in The Mt. Sterling Advocate: "Alcyo and Temple Bar," 04/18/1906, p. 2, and "Home of Alcyo and Temple Bar," 05/09/1906, p. 3 [picture with article].

See picture of Peter L. Hensley in Crisis, Sept. 1937, p.266.
Subjects: Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Hokins, Fred
Birth Year : 1863
Hokins was a horse trainer at a race track in Puerto Rico. He is one of the unknown number of African American horsemen who lived and worked outside the U.S. mainland. Born in Kentucky, Hokins lived in Hato Rey, Río Piedras Municipality, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. [His last name may have been Hawkins.] [Río Piedras is a former municipality that is now part of San Juan.]
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration South
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Hato Rey, Rio Piedras [now San Juan], Puerto Rico

Hurd, Babe
Death Year : 1928
Hurd won the Kentucky Derby in 1882 aboard Apollo. He was also a noted steeplechase rider. Hurd was born in Texas, died at the Longridge Farm in Bourbon County, and was buried in Chicago. He had lived in Chicago in 1892 according to his voter registration information, he was working at the Garfield Park Race Track. His death certificate has that Hurd was 48 years old when he died, which would mean that he was born in 1880, though that is highly unlikely given that he won the the Kentucky Derby in 1882. For more see "Famous jockey dies in Ky," The New York Amsterdam News, 12/19/1928, p.9.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Texas / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Irvin, Theophilus, Jr.
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 2009
Theophilus Irvin, Jr. was the first African American to become a Kentucky Racing Commissioner, he issued licenses and tested the horses for drugs. He served in that post from 1979-1995. Irvin had been working with horses since he was a boy, he worked with his father who was a horse trainer. In 1931, when Theophilus Jr. was 15 years old, he began breaking horses at the Hickory Farm. He got his first trainers license in 1947 at Narragansett, RI, and would later train horses for persons such as J. Graham Brown and Keene Daingerfield. Theophilus Irvin, Jr. was the son of Ada Morton Irvin and Theophilus Irvin, Sr. The family of four lived on 511 Chestnut Street in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The family lived at 549 Thomas Street in 1932 [source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory]. Theophilus Irvin, Jr.'s birthdate is given as August 22, 1915 in the Kentucky Birth Index. He was married to Olive Bell Irvin (1914-1996). For more see J. Hewlett, "Theophilus Irvin , 93, dies - first African-American employed by the Ky. racing commission," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/02/2009, Obituary section, p.95, and L. Taylor, "Winner of a different sort," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/28/1999, p.A6.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Irvin, Theophilus, Sr.
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1967
Theophilus Irvin, Sr. was a horse trainer who was born in Clark County, KY, the son of Laura and Rev. Dudley Irvin. His birth date is given as October 22, 1882 in the Social Security Death Index and on Irvin's WWI Draft Registration Card. He was the husband of Ada Bell Morton Irvin and the family lived at 511 Chestnut Street in Lexington, KY. Irvin worked at the racetrack, he was employed by Will Perkins Stables. He was also listed in the 1910 U.S. Census as a foreman at the racetrack. Irvin and his previous wife, Lou J. Shelton Irvin, were living with his wife's family on Thomas Street. In the 1920 census, Ada B. Morton Irvin is listed as Theophilus Irvin's wife and the couple had two sons [they would later have more children, including Theophilus Irvin, Jr.]. By 1932, Theophilus Irvin, Sr. was employed as a janitor at the Lexington Telephone Company and the family lived at 549 Thomas Street in Lexington, KY [source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory]. The telephone company was later owned by Bell Telephone and Irvin continued working at the telephone company until his retirement. He died in 1967. For more see the obituary of Theophilus Irvin, Sr., "Retired employee of Bell Telephone Co." Lexington Herald-Leader, p.15, C1.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Telephone Company Employees, Telephone Inventions, Telephones and Race
Geographic Region: Clark County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Isom, Bob and Albert
The Isom brothers, Robert L. "Bob" (d.1897) and Albert "Bert", were Kentucky jockeys. They were referred to as light-weight jockeys, and are remembered as riders for Jack Chinn, owner of Lissak [the horse was sold to Sidney Paget in 1898]. The lesser known of the Isom brothers was Albert who was a jockey as early as 1895 when he and Bob rode for the Burns and Waterhouse Stable in San Francisco, CA. Albert also rode for various horse owners at the race courses at Latonia, the New Louisville Jockey Club, Newport, Lexington, and the Oakley Race Course near Cincinnati, OH. Bob Isom, the better known of the two brothers, rode the two-year-old Kentucky horse Lissak to victory in San Francisco in 1894; it was the first time Lissak had raced in California. The following year, June of 1895, Bob Isom rode the horse to victory in the Detroit $5,000 International Derby [not a real derby] held in Detroit, MI. Bob Isom had been a jockey as early as 1894, he rode in San Francisco in December of that year and there was a bumping incident that later resulted in a fight and Bob Isom stabbed jockey Robert Combs. August of 1895, Bob Isom was in Lexington, KY, when he was thrown while exercising a yearling colt owned by Judge J. R. Jewell. In May of 1896, it was reported that Bob Isom was dying from consumption, but in August of 1896, he rode aboard the horse Billy C and was narrowly defeated by Cal Leonard aboard Antidote. The race took place at Kapioloni Park in Hawaii; Bob Isom had been sent to Hawaii to recuperate from his illness. The following year he rode at both Oakley and Ingleside [California]. Bob Isom died of consumption [tuberculosis] in San Francisco, November of 1897, and his body was shipped to Lexington, KY for burial in African Cemetery No.2 [source: KY Certificate of Death #2385]. For more see "The turf," The Salt Lake Herald, 11/20/1894, p.2; "California racegoers..., The San Francisco Call, 05/22/1895, p.5; "Lissak won a derby," New York Times, 06/26/1895, p.6; "The Detroit Derby," Daily Racing Form, 07/28/1896, p.1; "Albert Isom attempts suicide," Central Record, 08/17/1899, p.4; "Stock and turf news," Bourbon News, 12/02/1898, p.5; see the Daily Racing Form; "Done in 1:04," Hawaiian Gazette, 08/04/1896, p.5; "Fight between jockeys," Galveston Daily News, 12/02/1894, p.4; "Jockey Isom injured," Columbus Evening Dispatch, 08/23/1895, p.9; "Gossip from the turfmen," The Daily Review, 05/03/1896, p.2; "Bob Isom, the jockey, dead," New York Times, 11/18/1897, p.4; "Bob Isom...," Semi-weekly Interior Journal, 11/19/1897, p.3 [top of column 4]; "Death ended career," Courier-Journal, 12/18/1904, p.29.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths, Suicide
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / San Francisco, California

Jackson, Alfred M.
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1888
Alfred M. Jackson was a horse trainer who was born in Lexington, KY, around 1850 and died in Chicago, IL, March 22, 1888 [source: Cook County, Illinois Deaths Index]. He and his wife, Fannie Jackson, lived on South First Street in Terre Haute, IN, in 1880 [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Alfred M. Jackson is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Jackson, James (horse trainer)
Birth Year : 1946
Jackson, from Lexington, KY, and the son of Lucian Jackson, is the first African American trainer to saddle a starter in the Kentucky Oaks; Gallant Secret placed third in the 2005 run for the Kentucky Lilies. Jackson was the leading trainer in Michigan for 25 years; he left Kentucky when he was 22 years old, seeking better opportunities in Detroit. He became the nations 6th leading trainer in 1996, and in 1995 was 3rd in number of wins. Jackson and his family moved back to Lexington in 1998. For more see M. Walls, "Back in state, back in the money, - trainer Jackson gains notice by lighting up the board," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/20/2001, Sports section, p. D1.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Jennings, G. W.
Birth Year : 1854
G. W. Jennings, born in Kentucky around 1854, was a race rider in Weldon, N.C., according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Rose Jennings.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration East
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Weldon, North Carolina

Jim's Orbit (horse), [Jim Cottrell]
Start Year : 1988
In 1988, Jim Cottrell became one of a handful of African American horse breeders who owned a Thoroughbred that qualified for the Kentucky Derby. His horse, Jim's Orbit, was a three year old at 64-1 odds and finished 10th in the 114th running of the Kentucky Derby. Jim's Orbit was trained by Clarence Picou and ridden by Shane Romero. He was bred in Texas of Orbit Dancer and the mare Gaytimer. Jim Cottrell was a millionaire who was born in Mobile, AL, the son of Helen Smith Cottrell and Comer J. Cottrell, Sr. Jim and his brother Comer Cottrell, Jr. were the owners of Pro-Line, an African American hair care product company, makers of the 'Curly Kit' and the 'Kiddie Kit'. Jim Cottrell left the business in 1983. For more see "Black-owned horse runs in 1988 Kentucky Derby," Jet, 05/30/1988, p.53; S. Crist, "Jim's Oribt wins the Derby trial," The New York Times, 05/01/1988, p.S7; and D. Mcvea, "The House of Cottrell," Dallas Observer, 03/21/1996 [article online].
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mobile, Alabama / Texas

Jockeys/Trainers in Kentucky
Start Year : 1880
End Year : 1947
As fewer African American jockeys became riders in the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing competitions, there were still African American men employed as trainer jockeys. For Kentucky, some were listed in the various city directories from the 1880s up to the late 1940s. Those born in Kentucky and employed in other states, can be found in the U.S. Census data. These men and boys as young as 9 years old, earned a living training race horses. Below are some of their names.

Source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census

  • Alex Cottril (b.1865 in Alabama) - jockey - Josh Burnside Farm - Boyle County, KY
  • Bill Fisher (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - boarder - East Walnut Street, Cynthiana, KY
  • William Arthur (b.1822 in KY) - jockey - husband of Kitty Arthur - Main Street, Danville, KY
  • Austin Farris (b.1864 in KY) - jockey - son of Ann Farris - 5th Street, Lexington, KY
  • Charles Green (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Amanda Green - Lincoln Avenue, Lexington, KY
  • Claiborne Howard [Jr.] (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Claiborne and Mary Howard - Lexington, KY
  • Farmer Howard (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - son of Claiborne and Mary Howard - Lexington, KY
  • Benjamin Howard (b.1870 in KY) - race rider - son of Claiborne and Mary Howard - Lexington, KY
  • Thomas Smith (b.1862 in KY) - race rider - son of Martha Smith - Lee's Row, Lexington, KY
  • Scott Welson (b.1850 in KY) - race rider - husband of Harriett Welson - Todd Street, Lexington, KY
  • John Williams (b.1863 in KY) - race rider - Hill Street, Lexington, KY
  • Harrison Williams (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Charles and Eliza Jackson - Georgetown St., Lexington, KY
  • Joe Caldwell (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Lily Lucy - Main Street, Lexington, KY
  • Braxton Woodward (b.1861 in KY) - race rider - son of Bailer and Jane Woodward - East Third St., Lexington, KY
  • George Bush (b.1862 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • George Clay (b.1864 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • John Forest (b.1864 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • James Caluces (b.1866 in KY ) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • John Williams (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Carl Tankseily (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • John Morgan (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Aleck Brown (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Arthur Cooper (b.1870 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Benjamin Bryce (b.1868 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Frank Shelton (b.1860 in KY) - jockey for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Isaac Murphy (b.1861 in Bourbon Co., KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Robertson Thomas (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Walter Johnson (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Willie Payne (b.1868 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Thomas Kendrick (b.1865 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • William Wilson (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - son of James and Susan Wilson - 2nd Street, Frankfort, KY
  • Merett Johnson (b.1867 in KY) - race rider - son of Reuben and Georgia Lewis - Georgetown, KY
  • Jack Mefford (b.1860 in KY) - race rider - son of Reuben and Georgia Lewis - Georgetown, KY
  • Thomas Spots (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - son of George and Rose Spots - Georgetown, KY
  • Thomas Stepp (b.1869 in KY) - race rider - son of Emma Stepp - Georgetown, KY
  • Rodes Stepp (b.1871 in KY) - race rider - son of Emma Stepp - Georgetown, KY
  • John Lewis (b.1868 in KY) - race rider - son of Cena Lewis - Green Street, Glasgow Junction, KY
  • Dan Doritha (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - boarder - Henderson, KY
  • John Levill (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - boarder - Henderson, KY
  • George Williams (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - boarder - Henderson, KY
  • Joseph Johnson (b.1865 in KY) - race rider - Keene, KY
  • Cleland McElroy (b.1850 in KY) - jockey - husband of Mary McElroy - Republican Street, Lebanon, KY
  • Charles Reynolds (b.1852 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Reese's Alley - Louisville, KY
  • Charles Sweeny (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - son of Malvina Pendleton - Louisville, KY
  • Sam Bowman (b.1865 in KY) - race rider - son of Lizzie Black - Louisville, KY
  • Alex Brown (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - son of C. and Celia Brown - Louisville, KY
  • John Dady (b.1861 in KY) - race rider - son of Harrison and Mira Dady - Eddie Street, Louisville, KY
  • John Lucas (b.1864 in Tennessee) - race rider - Mayfield, KY
  • Frank Thomas (b.1859 in KY) - jockey - son of Harrison and Mahala Thomas - Midway, KY
  • John Coleman (b.1866 in KY) - jockey - the brother of Enis Coleman - Midway, KY
  • Alonzo Allen (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Joseph and Jane Allen - Midway, KY
  • Grant Allen (b.1870 in KY) - race rider - son of Joseph and Jane Allen - Midway, KY
  • Harry Colston (b.1845 in KY) - jockey - son of Henny Colston - Midway, KY
  • John Dupuy (b.1864 in KY) - jockey - son of Moses and Harriet Dupuy - Midway, KY
  • Winston Lewis (b.1851 in KY) - jockey - husband of Appoline Lewis - Midway, KY 
  • Tobe Davis (b.1864 in Tennessee) - jockey - son of Mary Davis - Paducah, KY
  • William Williams (b.1867 in Tennessee) - Jockey - son of Mary Williams - Paducah, KY

Source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville

  • George Banks -1880 directory
  • Thomas Guest - 1884 directory
  • Henry Gibbs - 1886 directory
  • Thomas Robinson - 1886 directory
  • Edward Rutherford - 1886 directory
  • Alexander Shields - 1886 directory
  • Charles Taylor - 1886 directory
  • Edward West - 1886 directory

Source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9

  • James Bibbs (1883-1939) - Bibbs was born in Lexington, KY, and according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the son of Nathan and Amanda Bibbs. James Bibbs was a teenager when he was listed as a horse jockey in the 1900 census and in the 1898-9 city directory. He roomed at 96 Constitution Street, and his family lived on S. Limestone. He would later become the husband of Mattie Bibbs. According to his death certificate, Bibbs' was a jockey his entire work life. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
  • Thomas M. Britton (1870-1901) - Britton had been a competing jockey. He won the Tennessee Derby in 1891 aboard Valera, and the Kentucky Oaks aboard Miss Hawkins. He won the 1892 Tennessee Derby aboard Tom Elliott [source: last paragraph of "Negro riders of renown," Daily Racing Form, 02/17/1922, p.2].
  • Robert Clark
  • James Grimes (b.1868) - Grimes was born in Kentucky and was the husband of Fannie Grimes. The couple lived on W. 4th Street. James Grimes is listed in the city directory as a jockey, and a year later he is listed in the 1900 U.S. Census as a cook.
  • Thomas Smith (b.1862) - Smith was born in Kentucky, the son of Martha Smith, and the husband of Mary Jane Smith. He and his wife lived on Race Street. Smith is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a race rider, and he is listed in the city directory as a jockey.
  • Frank Williams (b.1872) - Williams was born in Tennessee, and his parents were from Kentucky, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Annie Williams and the couple lived on Pine Street. Williams is listed in the census as a horse trainer, and as a jockey in the city directory

Source: Owensboro City Directory (Evansville, IN)

  • Julius T. Patterson (b.1872) - Patterson was born in Kentucky, he was the husband of Georgia Patterson, and the family of six lived on Jackson Street, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. Patterson is listed as a jockey in the city directory, and as a race horse trainer in the census. (1899-1900 directory)

Source: Owensboro City Directory(Cleveland, OH)

  • Ernest Smith (1901-1902 directory)

Source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census

      Walnut Hill, Fayette County, Kentucky - Thomas H. Stevens Farm

  • Sam Green (born in KY)
  • Claude Patterson (b.1883 in KY)
  • Henry Johnson (b.1875 in KY)

      Harlem Village, Cook County, Illinois

Source: "Found dead," Bourbon News, 06/16/1908, p.5

  • French Brooks (c.1856-1943, born in KY) - Noted race horse trainer at Wood Clay Farm in Bourbon County in 1908. French Brooks was born in Paris, KY, the son of Milton True and Jinnie Lacy [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death #10182]. He is buried in #2 Cemetery in Lexington, KY. He was the father of groomer Warner Brooks.

Source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census

  • Warner Brooks (1877-1952, born in KY) - groom - Lexington, KY. Warner brooks was a groom at a race track in Lexington, KY.  He was born in Bourbon County, KY, the son of French Brooks.  He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and is buried in the Camp Nelson National Cemetery [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death - Registrar's #1242].
  • John Huston (b.1900 in KY) - rider - Husband of Margaret Huston - Rear Brock, Louisville, KY

Source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory

  • Roscoe Huguley (b.1900) - According to his WWI registration card, Huguley was in Georgia in 1918. He was born in Kentucky and is listed in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census employed as a horse trainer and head of the household of two older sisters, who were cooks, and a younger sister. Huguley was married to Alta Huguley when he was listed as a jockey in the 1931 Lexington city directory.
  • Richard Mitchell (1931 directory)
  • Lewis White (b.1883) - White's WWI registration card, signed in 1918, gives his occupation as a horse rider for Will Perkins whose business address was on 3rd Street in Lexington. White is listed as a jockey in the 1931 Lexington city directory. [Will Perkins was a horse trainer and the brother of jockey James "Soup" Perkins and horse trainer Frank Perkins.]
  • Arthur Pinkston (1939 directory)
  • Joseph H. Parks (1947 directory)

Source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census

  • Melvin Johnson (b.1916 in KY) - jockey - husband of Louise Johnson - Crittenden Drive, Louisville, KY
  • Henry Johnson (b.1918 in KY) - jockey - husband of Helen Johnson - Floyd Street, Louisville, KY
  • Max Maupins (b.1885 in KY) - jockey valet - Lexington, KY
  • Robert Wallace (b.1908 in Missouri) - jockey - Newport, KY

See the photo image of an African American jockey riding a horse (scroll down) and images of jockeys from Kentucky, at the Discover Black Heritage website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Kennedy, John W. "Jay"
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 2001
John William Kennedy was born in Bryantsville, KY. His family had worked on the J. Hogan Ballard tobacco farm and also worked with horses. When Kennedy's father died around 1920, the family moved to New Kensington/Greensburg, PA. Throughout his life, Jay Kennedy was well know in the horse industry; see photos of him at horse shows and fairs at the Blackhorsemen.com website. Like many others, Kennedy is among the forgotten horsemen highlighted in the American Saddlebred Museum 2007 exhibit in Lexington, KY - Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History. Kennedy was also Grand Marshall of the Masons in Bridgeport, OH. Additional information provided by Jane Kennedy-Ellis, daughter of John W. Kennedy. For more information on the Black Horsemen, see the DVD Out of the Shadows, winner of a Silver Telly at the 28th Annual Telly Awards, available at the American Saddlebred Museum.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Bryantsville, Garrard County, Kentucky / New Kensington and Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Kennedy, Raymond "Ray"
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1997
Kennedy was probably born in Bryantsville, KY; he is the older brother of John "Jay" Kennedy. The family moved to Kensington/Greensburg, Pennsylvania after the brothers' father died. The Kennedy brothers became well-known horsemen. Photographs of the brothers are available at the Black Horsemen website. There were many other African American horsemen such as those featured in the American Saddlebred Museum 2007 exhibit - Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History. Additional information provided by Jayne Kennedy-Ellis, niece of Raymond Kennedy. For more information on the Black Horsemen, see the DVD titled Out of the Shadows, winner of a Silver Telly at the 28th Annual Telly Awards, available at the American Saddlebred Museum.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Bryantsville, Garrard County, Kentucky / New Kensington and Greensburg, Pennsylvania

King, Henry
In 1921, Henry King, aboard the horse Planet, was the last African American jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby until the year 2000 [Marlon St. Julien]. Henry King finished 10th in the 1921 Derby. Source: Black Winning Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby by J. R. Saunders and M.R. Saunders.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Kentucky

King, John
Birth Year : 1870
John King, born April 1, 1870, in Eminence, KY, was a horse trainer. In 1914 his permanent address was 460 Chestnut Street, Lexington, KY [source: U.S. Emergency Passport Application #660]. In October, 1914, King applied for an emergency passport at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna; he had come to Vienna in May of 1914 to work at a horse racing site in Kriau and wanted to remain in Austria for no more than six additional months. King was described on the application as a 44 year old black male who was 5'5" and partly bald. In 1900, John King and his wife Maria lived in Louisville, KY, where John was employed at the race track [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1910, he was employed at the trotting track in Shelby County, TN [source: U.S. Federal Census].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Vienna, Austria, Europe

King, Norris Curtis
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 1960
Dr. Norris Curtis King was the founder of Curtis King Hospital in Newnan, GA, and in 1941, the Rose Netta Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. King was born in Princeton, KY, the son of Dee and Nettie Metcalf King. The family of four moved to Cairo, IL, and lived on Poplar Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Census. Norris King completed high school in Cairo, and by 1910, his father had died and the family of three was living in Louisville, KY, on W. Chestnut Street [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Norris was employed as a presser in a tailor shop, and his brother Cassius was a roller in an iron foundry. By 1920, Norris and his mother lived in Nashville, TN, where Norris King was a student at Roger Williams University [source: U.S. Federal Census]. He continued his education and was a 1924 graduate of Meharry Medical School [now Meharry Medical College]. Norris King moved to Newnan, GA, where he opened his medical practice and later founded the Curtis King Hospital. His specialty was the prevention and cure of venereal diseases. While in Newnan, GA, Norris King met and married Rosa Mae Webb, who was a nurse. The couple had a daughter, and in 1929 the family moved to, Los Angeles, CA, where Dr. King founded the Rose Netta Hospital. It was said to be an interracial hospital because the employees were Negroes, Mexicans, Japanese and White assistants. While in California, Dr. King was also head of the Los Angeles Venereal Clinic and several other clinics. The first interracial blood bank was was established at the Rose Netta Hospital by the Red Cross in 1942. Dr. Norris C. King was the sponsor of the "Craftsman of Black Wings," a Negro aviator and student group seeking to become licensed pilots. Dr. King also owned and bred palomino horses on his ranch in Elsinore, CA. He was a member of the Palomino Horse Association and several other organizations, and he was a 33rd Degree Mason. He was a WWI veteran, and received a certificate of merit and selective service medal for outstanding work during WWII. Dr. Norris Curtis King died December 29, 1960 in Riverside, CA [source: California Death Index]. For more see Norris Curtis King on p.32 in Negro Who's Who in California, 1948 edition; "Dr. Norris Curtis King," Jet, 01/19/1961, p.17; "Dr. Norris Curtis King," J.A.M.A., 05/20/1961, p.143; and “Rose-Netta Hospital, L.A.,” Opportunity, 08/20/1942, p.429.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Migration South, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Cairo, Illinois / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Newnan, Georgia / Los Angeles, California

Lee, James Henry
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1934
James H. Lee was a race horse attendant in Shelbyville, Illinois. He was born in Danville, KY, February 11, 1858, the son of Henry Lee and Ann Brumfield Lee [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. James H. Lee died February 18, 1934 and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Shelbyville, IL.

[Henry Lee had been a slave owned by Frank Lee, and he served with Company A 116 U.S. Colored Infantry - - source: Freedman's Bank Record.]
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Illinois

Lee, James (jockey)
In 1907, J. Lee, an African American jockey, became the third jockey in history to win all of the races on the card. The races took place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY; Lee won six races. He was under contract to J. B. Respess of Cincinnati. Lee also set a record by two seconds riding the horse Foreigner. Some of the wins were long shots: a one dollar bet netted $13,000. Lee tied the record set by jockeys Fred Archer and George Fordham, who also won all the races on their cards in England. Jockey Monk Overton, also an African American, won six of seven races at Washington Park in Chicago; he did not have a horse for the seventh race. For more see "J. Lee rides six winners," The Washington Post, 06/06/1907, p. 8; "J. Lee wins every race at Louisville," New York Times, 06/06/1907, p. 9; and "Remarkable jockey feats," Daily Racing Form, 04/11/1912, p.1.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lewis, George Garrett
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1880
In 1880, Lewis won the Kentucky Derby riding Fonso. The industry's first foul was claimed after the race. Lewis died a few weeks later at his home in Hutchison Station, KY; he had been injured in an accident that occurred while he was racing in St. Louis, Missouri. George Garrett Lewis was the brother of jockey Oliver Lewis. For more see African-Americans in the Thoroughbred Industry, a Paris-Bourbon County Public Library website; and Black Winning Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby by J. R. Saunders and M. R. Saunders.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Hutchinson Station, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri

Lewis, Isaac E.
Birth Year : 1867
Death Year : 1919
Isaac Lewis was born in Hutchinson Station, KY, the son of Henry and Mary J. Lewis. Isaac won the 1887 Kentucky Derby aboard Montrose. His exact birth year is given as 1867 in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census [others have given his year of birth as 1870]. He rode as a 17 year old jockey in the 1887 Derby. He had been around horses all of his life; both Issac and his older brother Garrett Davis Lewis were listed in the 1880 Census as being employed working with horses. In 1900, Isaac Lewis was a groom at the Harlem Jockey Club in Proviso Township in Cook County, Ill. He is listed in the U.S. Federal Census as living in the Harlem Village where several other African Americans from Kentucky also lived, they were employed at the Harlem Jockey Club as cooks, jockeys, grooms, trainers, and stable boys. In 1910, Lewis was living in Chicago, and was manager of a Turkish Bath. For more see Black Winning Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby by J. R. Saunders and M. R. Saunders.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Hutchinson Station, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

Lewis, Oliver
Birth Year : 1856
Death Year : 1924
Oliver Lewis won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875 aboard Aristides. Ansel Williams, also an African American, was the trainer. Oliver Lewis was born in Fayette County, KY, the son of Elnora Keys Lewis and Goodson Lewis [source: Cincinnati Ohio Death Certificate]. He was the husband of Lucy Lewis and thought to be a brother to jockey George Garrett Lewis. In 2010, the Newtown Pike Extension in Lexington, KY, was renamed Oliver Lewis Way. For more see Black Winning Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby, by J. R. Saunders and M. R. Saunders; Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston; and Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 56, 2006. See also K. Ward, "Newtown Pike extension to be renamed Oliver Lewis Way," Lexington Herald Leader, 08/31/2010, p. A3.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Lucas, Dave
Born in Kentucky, Dave Lucas and his mother, Elizabeth Lucas, moved to Fort Lowell, Arizona, in the 1870s. He held a number of jobs before handling horses and becoming a jockey. He purchased a home, which is thought to be the oldest standing home in Tucson owned by an African American. For more see Biographies & Oral Histories: Pioneers in In the Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage, by the University of Arizona Library.

See photo of Dave Lucas home at the Universit of Arizona website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Fort Lowell and Tucson, Arizona

Marshall, George
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1925
George Marshall is described as a "race horse man" in the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index. He was born in Kentucky around 1860 [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census], and he died in Rock Island, IL, November 4, 1925. He is buried in the Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island. George was the son of Henry and Martha Smith Marshall. At the time of his death, George Marshall was about 65 years old, and he and his family had been living in Rock Island for about 50 years. In 1880, Henry, Martha, and their five children were living on 5th Avenue [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1870, the family lived in Coal Valley, IL [source: U.S. Federal Census].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Coal Valley and Rock Island, Illinois

Matthews, Mark, Sr.
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 2005
Mark Matthews, Sr. was the oldest living Buffalo Soldier. He was born in Greenville, Alabama, and grew up in Ohio. When he was young, Matthews came to Lexington, KY, and at the age of 15 was working at a racetrack exercising horses. At the age of 16, he joined the 10th Cavalry. The enlistment age was actually 17, but Matthews' boss forged some papers which the recruiter accepted as proof that Matthews was the appropriate age. Matthews was stationed in the West and rode with General John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing's 1916 expedition into Mexico. Matthews also saw action in the South Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army in 1949 and worked as a security guard until his second retirement in 1970. He died September 6, 2005, at the age of 111. For more see J. Holey, "Sgt. Mark Matthews Dies; at 111, Was Oldest Buffalo Soldier,"Washington Post 09/13/05, p. B06 Metro. See also his photo on page 118 in Prince George's County, Maryland, by J. T. Thomas, et al.

See photo images and additiional information about Mark Matthews at the Arlington National Cemetery website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Greenville, Alabama / Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Mills, Glen F.
Birth Year : 1951
Mills was born in Munfordville, KY. A self-employed horse breeder and trainer, in 1977 he was elected to the Munfordville City Council. For more see "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 21.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Munfordville, Hart County, Kentucky

Mollie McCarty vs Ten Broeck (horse race)
Start Year : 1878
On July 4, 1878, one of the greatest horse races of all times took place in Louisville, KY, when African American jockey William "Billy" Walker, Sr., riding Ten Broeck, defeated the western racehorse champion, Mollie McCarty. Thoroughbred mare Mollie McCarty [or McCarthy], owned by Theodore Winters, was undefeated prior to the July 4th race in Louisville, and was also thought to be the first California-bred horse to travel east to compete in a race. She was carried by a special train from California to Louisville, arriving early to prepare for the race. Ten Broeck was the eastern champion, owned by Frank B. Harper from Lexington, KY. The horses ran four mile heats at Churchill Downs on a muddy track [it had rained the night before] for the sum of $10,000 [some sources say $20,000]. The arrangements were made by the Louisville Jockey Club. The race is said to be the last of the great races for long distance contests. There are several songs memorializing the race, one titled Mollie and Tenbrooks by The Del McCoury Band with Vince Gill on vocals [viewable on YouTube]. For more, see "Ten Broeck" in The Horse-breeder's Guide and Hand Book, by S. D. Bruce; and The American Thoroughbred, by C. E. Trevathan [both available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / California

Morgan, Lavelle
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1912
Lavelle Morgan was a jockey from Kentucky who died in Chicago on December 17, 1912 [source: Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index]. Morgan is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Murphy, Isaac [Burns]
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1896
Named either Jerry Burns or Isaac Burns at birth in Bourbon County, KY, he changed his name to Isaac Murphy after becoming a jockey. Isaac Murphy's family moved into town (Lexington, KY) after his father died at Camp Nelson, KY; the family lived with the maternal grandfather, Green Murphy. Isaac Murphy was the son of America (1842-1879) and Jerry Burns [Skillman] (1834-1864); he and his parents were slaves. Isaac Murphy was the first back-to-back Kentucky Derby winner and the first to win three derbies (1884, 1890 & 1891). One of the very best jockeys, Murphy's 44% winning percentage is still unbroken. Additional information may be found in the Betty Borries Papers, Isaac Murphy Material, located at Kentucky State University; The Isaac Murphy Notebook at the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum in Lexington, KY; and The Great Black Jockeys, by E. Hotaling. Isaac Murphy's widow, Lucy Murphy, died in 1910. She and her mother lived on North Limestone Street in Lexington. See "Widow of noted jockey," Lexington Leader, 02/25/1910, p.8.

See photo image of Isaac Murphy at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Oline Catalog (PPOC) website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Murphy, Walter
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2000
Born in Waddy, KY, Walter Murphy began training horses when he was a boy working alongside his father at Mountjoy Stables in Lawrenceburg, KY. Murphy struck out on his own when he was 16 years old, embarking on a great training career that included about 50 world champion horses, according to his son, trainer Bobby Murphy of Murphy Stables in Urbana, Ohio. Bobby and his father opened Murphy Stables in the 1970s. In 1992, Walter Murphy was the first and only African American inducted into the American Saddlebred Association Hall of Fame in Louisville, KY, only one of the many awards he received. A memorial scholarship in his name has been established at Urbana University. Information submitted by Paula Murphy, native of Lawrenceburg, KY. For more see B. Parcels, "Love of horses passed down through family," Urbana Daily Citizen, Weekender, 03/03/2001, p. A-3; the Murphy Family, a Black Horsemen website; and T. Doll, "Bobby Murphy, reflecting on the family's history [pdf]," Saddle Horse Report, 09/17/2007, pp. 38-41 [article available full-text at Black Horsemen website].


Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Waddy, Shelby County, Kentucky / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Urbana, Ohio

Nero, Elijah
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1956
Elijah Nero was a jockey and horse trainer in Lexington, KY [source: 1920 & 1930 U.S. Federal Censuses]. He was the son of James and Gertrude Nero. He is listed in the 1900 census as a 19 year old jockey, born March of 1881; the family lived on Mt. Mullen Street in Lexington [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. Elijah Nero was the husband of Eva Haggard Nero, and he was the father of Gertrude M. Nero Morbley. In 1923, the family lived at 315 E. Third Street; Elijah Nero is listed in the city directory as a colored horseman [source: Lexington City Directory, 1923, p. 600]. Elijah Nero is last listed in the 1955 directory, when the family was living at 547 E. Third Street [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY) City Directory, p. 464]. Elijah and Eva's son, Ruford Nero, who lived with his parents, was a horseman with Darvis Stevens. Elijah Nero died April 9, 1956 in Lexington, KY [source: Kentucky Death Index].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Nero, Ruford
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1981
Ruford Nero was a horseman from Lexington, KY. He was the son of Elijah and Eva Haggard Nero [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census], he was born December 8, 1916 [source: Kentucky Birth Index]. Ruford's occupation is given as stablemen on his WWII Army Enlistment Record; he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, October 23, 1942. After the war, Ruford continued to be listed in the Lexington city directories as a horseman. In 1955, Ruford Nero was a horseman with Darvis Stevens [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY) City Directory, p.464]. Ruford Nero died in Arkansas in 1981 [source: Social Security Death Index].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Arkansas

Oliver, Samuel
Birth Year : 1852
Death Year : 1907
Samuel Oliver was a jockey from Kentucky; he died in Philadelphia, PA, June 15, 1907 [source: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificate Index]. Oliver lived in Lower Merion and is buried in Philadelphia.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Lower Merion and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parker, Frank
Birth Year : 1874
Death Year : 1954
Frank Parker was a horse trainer. He was born in Kentucky in October of 1874, and later lived in Kalamazoo, MI [source: Michigan Death and Burial Index]. Parker was the son of Mary Carlisle Parker and Edward Parker. Frank Parker is buried in Lexington, KY.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kalamazoo, Michigan / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Perkins Family [Jockeys and Horse Trainers]
Four members of the Perkins family are noted for their success in the horse racing industry: James "Soup" Perkins, William "Will" Perkins, Edward "Eddie" Perkins, and Frank Perkins. The following is additional information about the family. 

  • Mother: Mattie Maupins Perkins - born around 1855 in KY - died October 13, 1904 in Lexington, KY; former slave of Major Flournoy in Fayette County, KY; wife of John Jacob Perkins; mother of Frank, Carrie, Elizabeth "Eliza", William "Will", James "Soup", and Edward "Eddie" Perkins. [sources: 1880 and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census; KY Death Certificate #8066; Porter & Jackson Funeral Home, buried in African Cemetery #2; Obit in "Colored," Lexington Leader, 10/16/1904, p.2; "Court house news," Lexington Leader, 10/23/1904, p.6; and Emerson & Dark's Lexington Directory].
  • Father: John Jacob "Jake" Perkins - born around 1845 in KY - died January 26, 1913 in Lexington, KY; former slave of Major Flournoy in Fayette County, KY; horseman; husband of Mattie Perkins; father of Frank, Carrie, Elizabeth "Eliza", William "Will", James "Soup", Edward "Eddie", and Walter Perkins. [sources: 1880 U.S. Federal Census; KY Death Certificate #1043; Williams & Reed Funeral Home, buried in African Cemetery #2; Obit in "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 01/26/1913, p.5].
  • Son: Frank Perkins - born around 1871 in KY - murdered by Thomas Christian, October of 1900; race horse trainer [sources: 1880 U.S. Federal Census; "Frank Perkins," Lexington Leader, 10/09/1897, p.5; "Trial is on," Lexington Leader, 03/05/1901, p.1; "Shot down in his own door," Lexington Leader, 10/07/1900, p.1; and "Case passed," Lexington Leader, 10/11/1900, p.5].
  • Daughter: Carrie J. Perkins Lawrence Bulett - born around 1873 in KY; lived in Chicago, IL [source: 1880 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census; "Will Perkins succumbs," Daily Racing Form, 04/19/1927, p.12].
  • Daughter: Elizabeth "Eliza" Perkins - born around 1877 in KY - died January 17, 1896 on Thomas Street in Lexington, KY. [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census; KY Death Certificate #966; Death notice, "Eliza Perkins," Lexington Leader, 01/18/1896, p.8].
  • Son: William "Will" Perkins - born around 1879 in KY - died April 17, 1927 in Lexington, KY; jockey, race horse trainer and owner; Claughton Funeral Home, buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington; [sources: KY Death Certificate #15241; and see his NKAA entry].
  • Son: James "Soup" Perkins - born in 1880 in KY - died August 10, 1911 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; jockey; husband of Frankie Perkins; [sources: 1880 U.S. Federal Census; several articles in the Lexington Leader; and see his NKAA entry].
  • Son: Edward H. Perkins - born August 2, 1888 in KY - died August 7, 1952 in Lexington, KY; also called Eddie Perkins; stable agent for Will Perkins; WWI veteran; Claughton Funeral Home, buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY; [sources: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census; WWI Draft Registration Card; KY Death Certificate #52 16492; and see Will Perkins NKAA entry].
  • Walter W. Perkins, born January 9, 1889 in KY - died August 10, 1987 in Lexington, KY; son of John Jacob Perkins; [sources: Social Security Death Index; and John Perkins' Obit in "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 01/26/1913, p.5].

Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Perkins, James "Soup" (jockey)
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1911
James Perkins, one of the two youngest jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby, was 15 years old in 1895 when he won the Derby riding Halma. Perkins was born in Lexington, KY, and his parents, Jacob and Mattie Perkins, were the slaves of Major Flournoy. Perkins died in Hamilton, Ontario. He was a brother to horse trainers Frank and Will Perkins. For more see The Great Black Jockeys, by E. Hotaling; Black Maestro: the epic life of an American legend, by J. Drape; and "Soup Perkins, last noted Negro rider," the Lexington Leader, 09/12/1911, p. 10. See also the Perkins Family entry in the NKAA Database.

See photo image of James Perkins and other jockeys at BlackJockeys.org.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Perkins, William "Will"
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1927
William "Will" Perkins, a thoroughbred race horse owner, a race horse trainer, and former jockey, was the brother of horse trainer Frank Perkins, and jockey James "Soup" Perkins. Will Perkins was not a gifted jockey, but he excelled as a trainer. In 1926, he was trainer of more winning horses (82 races) than any other trainers in the U.S. During his 16 year career as a trainer, he had 655 winners. He was trainer of the horse Billy Kelly that won the Idle Hour Farm Stakes, the Bashford Manor, the Flash, and the U.S. Hotel Stakes. Will Perkins was trainer for W. F. Polson, J. K. Knight, Senator Allie W. Young, George Baker, and many others. Will Perkins was part owner of the horse General Haldeman, the winner of the Queen City Handicap at Latonia in 1926. The Will Perkins Stable was located on Third Street in Lexington, KY, in 1918, and his brother, Edward Perkins was the stable agent. Will Perkins was born in Fayette County, KY, and was survived by his brother Edward and his sister Carrie J. Perkins Bulett who lived in Chicago. Their parents were Jacob and Mattie Perkins and the family of seven is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census [Jacob, Mattie, Frank, Carrie, Elizabeth, William, and a new born (James)]. In 1899, the family members Carrie, James, William, and their mother Mattie lived at 240 N. Upper Street [source: 1898-99 Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory, pp.675-676]. For more see "Will Perkins, race horse man, dies," Lexington Leader, 04/18/1927, p.6; and "Will Perkins succumbs," Daily Racing Form, 04/19/1927, p.12. For more about the Perkins family members in the horse industry, see the "Trainer" notebook at the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum in Lexington, KY, and the Perkins Family entry in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Price-Cordery, Barbara
Birth Year : 1948
Death Year : 2002
Born in Louisville, KY, Price-Cordery was the first African American woman elected to chair the Kentucky Derby Festival. She passed away, however, before serving as chair of the festival. Price-Cordery was honored posthumously with the Distinguished Service Award. She was also founder of the First African Heritage Weekend Series and was the first African American employee of The Voice newspaper in Louisville. For more see HR 247 (BR 2886) - R. Meeks (Word doc.).
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Pryor, Margaret
Birth Year : 1835
Death Year : 1910
Margaret Pryor was the richest African American woman in Kentucky as a result of the fortune she inherited from her former owner, horse breeder Major Barak G. Thomas (1826-1906). Thomas, who also raced his horses, had left smaller inheritances to others, including $1,000 to his African American jockey and trainer, John T. Clay, and another $1,000 to Clay's sons, Johnnie and Barak. The will was protested by Thomas's family and friends but was allowed to stand as written. Maj. B. G. Thomas had been born in South Carolina; in 1912 his family moved to Lexington, KY. After making his wealth in the horse industry, and with the onset of failing health, Thomas had sold his stud farm and settled in his city home at 194 West Main Street, where he passed away in 1906. His home was next door to the Henry A. Tandy family home. After Maj. Thomas's death, Margaret Pryor remained in the home and welcomed visitors from throughout the U.S. When she died in 1910, she was buried in Greenwood Cemetery [now Cove Haven Cemetery] in Lexington, though Maj. Thomas had stipulated in his will that she be buried beside him in the then segregated Lexington Cemetery. Margaret Pryor's will was challenged in the Fayette Circuit Court by her heirs, Mary Walker and others. The will was allowed to stand as written. The wills of both Maj. Thomas and Margaret Pryor were reported in all of the major newspapers and many smaller papers in the United States. In 1911, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper reported that Pryor had no children and four women who lived in Macon and Eatonton, GA, were claiming to be Pryor's sisters and were seeking to claim $50,000 that the sisters said was left to them by Pryor. All of the sisters were supposedly once owned by Skelton Napier of Macon, GA. For more see "Major Barak G. Thomas is dead," The Thoroughbred Record, 05/19/1906; "Will of Major Thomas," The Thoroughbred Record, 05/26/1906; "Death of rich ex-slave," Washington Post, 05/13/1910, p. 11; "Margaret Pryor's will," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/14/1910, p. 6; and "Negroes claim estate of wealthy sister," Atlanta Constitution, 01/24/1911, p. 5.

*Maj. Barak G. Thomas's home at 194 West Main Street had been renumbered to 646 West Main Street by 1907. The property faces the corner of present day Main Street and Old Georgetown Street.
Subjects: Freedom, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Inheritance, Court Cases
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Macon and Eatonton, Georgia

Ramond, William
Birth Year : 1861
William Ramond was one of the riders at Jerome Park in New York, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Ramond was born around 1861 in Kentucky. Jerome Park Racetrack opened in 1866 and was operated by the American Jockey Club. The first Belmont Stakes was held at Jerome Park Racetrack.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New York City, New York

Riley, Clay
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1898
Clay Riley was a jockey from Kentucky. He died in Philadelphia, PA, September 1, 1898 [source: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Death Certificates Index and Return of a Death in the City of Philadelphia, Physician's Certificate #5710]. Riley was married and lived at 224 Randolph Street. He was buried at the Alms House Cemetery in Philadelphia. Riley may have been from Bourbon County; he lived at the home of A. W. Bedford in 1880 and was employed as a servant [source: U. S. Census].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ringo, William
Birth Year : 1862
William Ringo was a rider in Babylon, NY, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Ringo was born in Kentucky around 1862. He is mentioned in the Long Island Forum, 1995, p. 28, as a rider at Belmont's Nursery in North Babylon. There is an 8 year old Willie Ringo listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census whose family lived in Georgetown, KY.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Babylon, New York

Samples, John
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1912
Samples was born in Kentucky, and was a competing jockey. He rode the horse Wanderer for Rice and McCormack. He rode Longfellow for John Harper. He won the Mammoth Cup at Long Branch in 1871 aboard Longfellow. Samples also rode the horse Ten Broeck. He gave up being a jockey due to his weight and became a police officer in Cincinnati, OH. He was an officer for 23 years. John and Kate Samples are listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, the couple lived on Willow Street. For more see John Samples death notice in the Daily Racing Form, 06/06/1912, p.1 [available online]; and "Are now few Negro jockeys," The Milford Mail, 08/31/1905, p.3.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Scott, George
Birth Year : 1840
Death Year : 1907
George Scott was a horse trainer from Kentucky, born around 1840; he died in Chicago, February 21, 1907 [source: Cook County, Illinois Deaths Index]. Scott is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Scott, William
Death Year : 1901
William Scott was a jockey from Louisville, KY. In 1901, he was one of three people to die at Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, all of whom were killed by lightning strikes. Scott died when the race track stable known as Irish Row was struck by lightning [source: "Lightning Killed Three," New York Times, 07/07/1901, p. 2].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Killed by Lightning
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada

Shawler, John
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1922
John Shawler was a horseman and rider in Chicago, IL. He was born Christmas Day, 1868, in Hardinsburg, KY, the son of George and Martha Tabor Shawler [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. The family of nine was still in Kentucky in 1880, and John, the oldest child, 12 years old, worked on the farm with his father [U.S. Federal Census]. By 1910, John's father had died and the family of five lived on Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago, IL. John worked with horses [U.S. Federal Census]. John Shawler died January 9, 1922 and is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Simms, Willie
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1927
Willie Simms was born in Augusta, GA. This jockey compiled a 24.8% winning record, winning the Kentucky Derby in Louisville twice, in 1896 aboard Ben Bush and in 1898 on Plaudit. Simms was the first and only African American to win the Preakness, in 1898. He won over 1,100 races during his 14 year career. Simms was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1977. For more see The Great Black Jockeys, by E. Hotaling.

See photo image of Willie Simms and additional information at the African American Registry website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Augusta, Georgia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Snowden, Harris
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1917
Harris Snowden was a race horse trainer from Kentucky. He was born around 1887 in Kentucky and died in Nashville, TN, December 16, 1917 [source: Tennessee Deaths and Burials Index]. Snowden is buried in Mt. Ararat Cemetery in Nashville.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration South
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee

St. Julien, Marlon
Birth Year : 1972
Born in Louisiana, St. Julien was the first African American jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby since 1921: he rode Curule in 2000 and finished 7th. For more see Jet, 05/22/00, vol. 97, issue 24, p. 51.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stone, James "Colle"
Death Year : 1893
James Colman Stone, a jockey, was born a slave in Bloomfield, KY. Stone, his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother had all belonged to the same family in Bloomfield. His uncle had been a slave of Judge Advocate Joseph Polt of Washington. In June 1888, Stone killed bartender Henry Miller at Steinzig's Saloon on Coney Island in New York. The story was carried in many of the major newspapers in the U.S. After three trials, Stone was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to hang in Brooklyn in June of 1889. A month before the hanging was to take place, Judge Henry Moore received a letter from Kentucky, the writer asking that Stone's sentence be commuted and his life be spared. The letter came from the sister of Stone's former owner. The letter was printed in the newspaper, but the name of the writer was withheld. It was reported on February 1, 1890 that Governor Hill of New York had commuted Stone's sentence to life in Sing Sing Prison. For more see "A Kentucky Negro," Newark Daily Advocate, 05/15/1889; "James Stone a jockey..." in The National Leader (D.C.), 05/18/1889, p.4; James Stone briefing in the News (Frederick, MD), 02/01/1890, p. 5; and the second paragraph of the article "Brooklyn Briefs," New York Age, 02/08/1890, p.3. See also "January 11 - James Stone, the jockey, imprisoned for life for murder, died at Auburn, N.Y." on p.34 under the heading "1893" in The New York Clipper Annual for 1894, by the Frank Queen Publishing Company.
Subjects: Freedom, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Bloomfield, Nelson County, Kentucky / Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

Stoval, John
Birth Year : 1864
Death Year : 1900
Stoval was a winning jockey born in Louisville, KY. He rode six times in the Kentucky Derby, his two best rides were 3rd place finishes riding Ten Booker in 1885 and Jacob in 1887. Stoval died of heart disease at the Gravesand Racetrack in New York, where he was employed as an exerciser. Earlier in his career, Stoval had been a jockey for Milton Young of Louisville. He also rode for Robert Pate, Amos Campbell, and J. L. Harris. His riding skill gained him some of the largest retainers paid to a jockey, until he was ruled off the track after being accused of fraud in a race. For more see "Ex-jockey Stoval Dead," The New York Times, 09/14/1900, p. 18.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Summers, William E., IV
Birth Year : 1943
William E. Summers, IV was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Sallie S. and William E. Summers, III. He was the second African American to serve as chairman of the board of the Kentucky Derby Festival. His father, William E. Summers, III, was the first African American to chair the festival. Beginning in 2003, William E. Summers, IV served as Deputy Mayor of Metro Louisville. For more see William E. Summers, IV in Jet, 05/22/2000, vol. 97, issue 24, p. 51; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2006; and Who's Who in Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, pp78-79.


Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Talbott, Dannie
Birth Year : 1887
Dannie Talbott was a horse trainer who was born in Paris, KY on March 3, 1887 [source: U.S. Manifest Form, Detroit Michigan, May 2, 1951]. In May of 1951 Talbott returned to the United States from Toronto, Canada, where he had been working at the Long Branch Race Track. Talbott is described as a dark complexioned man about 5'7" with a scar on his left hand.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Toronto, Canada

Thompson, Jackie
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2007
Jackie Thompson was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Leonard Thompson. He was the oldest working horseshoer in Lexington, KY. Thompson shod the winners of five Kentucky Derbys: Dark Star, Proud Clarion, Dust Commander, Gato Del Sol, and Swale. Thompson was an excellent farrier, highly sought by those in the racehorse industry. In 1982, he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame at Churchill Downs and in 1989 was recognized by the International Equine Podiatry Association. For more see, M. Wall, "Legendary farrier shod 5 Derby winners - Jackie Thompson 1926-2007," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/06/2007, City&Region section, p.C1.

See photo image of Jackie Thompson at the Kentucky Educational Television (KET) website.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Tilford, Louis
Birth Year : 1867
Death Year : 1912
Louis Tilford was a horse groomsman from Kentucky. He died in Chicago, December 1, 1912 [source: Cook County, Illinois Deaths Index]. He was the son of Ben Tilford and Elvira Proctor Tilford.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Walker, Ray
Ray Walker was born near Springfield, KY, the son of trainer Joseph Walker. Ray Walker opened his own stable at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. He was the first African American to develop show horses in the Philadelphia area. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Walker, William, Sr. "Billy"
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1933
William Walker, Sr., born in Versailles, KY, rode Baden-Baden to victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1877. Walker was born a slave on the Bosque Bonita Farm in Woodford County, KY. He won his first race in Lexington, KY, at the age of 11. He became one of the leading riders at Churchill Downs between 1875-1878. After retiring in 1896, he became a trainer and was adviser to horse breeder John Madden. Walker is buried in the Louisville Cemetery, his grave was unmarked until Churchill Downs placed a headstone at his grave site in 1996. For more see Roadside History, by M. P. Hay, D. Wells and T. H. Appleton; and "Once noted jockey dies," The Daily Mail, 09/21/1933, p.10.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wells, Billy T.
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 1986
Wells was the first African American rodeo star from Murray, KY. He is buried in the African American section of the Murray City Cemetery. For more see Find a Grave, Billy T. Wells.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky

Wesley, Edward
Birth Year : 1859
Edward Wesley, born in Kentucky around 1859, was a jockey in Prescott, AZ, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.

Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Prescott, AZ

West, James
Birth Year : 1868
Death Year : 1885
Seventeen year old James West was a jockey from Madison County, KY. He died April 17, 1885 in Chicago, IL [source:  Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index]. He is buried in the Oak Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Wheeler, Albert
Birth Year : 1866
Albert Wheeler, born around 1866 in Kentucky, was a jockey at the fairgrounds in Kansas City, MO, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri

Williams, Charles
Birth Year : 1840
Charles Williams, born around 1840 in Kentucky, was a jockey in Detroit, MI, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Josephine Williams; the couple had three children.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Williams, John
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1924
John Williams was a race horse trainer who was born in Lexington, KY, in February, 1875 [source: Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. He was the son of Warren Williams and Rose Worsham Williams. John Williams died February 28, 1924 and is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago, IL.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Williams, Samuel
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1927
Horseman Samuel Williams lived in Chicago. He was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Charles Williams from Georgetown, KY, and Emma Holmes Williams from St. Mary's Parish, LA [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths]. He was the husband of Ada Williams. Samuel Williams is buried in a cemetery in Louisville, KY.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Williamson, Ansel
Birth Year : 1810
Born in Virginia, Williamson was a slave owned by T. G. Goldsby of Alabama and later bought by R. A. Alexander. Williamson was a horse trainer who conditioned many winners, including Aristides, winner of the first Kentucky Derby, ridden by Oliver Lewis. Williamson was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1998. Williamson is listed in the 1880 U. S. Federal Census as having been born around 1810. For more see Black winning jockeys in the Kentucky Derby, by J. R. and M. R. Saunders.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Virginia / Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Willis, Edward D. (horse trainer & newspaper man)
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1930
Willis was one of the most noted trainers in the history of harness racing and one of few African Americans to drive trotters on the Grand Circuit. He set a new world record of 2:19 1/4 for yearling trotters with Miss Stokes, and later lowered the record another quarter of a second with Peter Volo. Willis was employed at the Patchen Wilkes Farm on Winchester Pike in Lexington, KY, owned by millionaire Mrs. W. E. D. Stokes from New York. Willis had previously worked for horse breeder Robert P. Pepper in Frankfort, KY. He resigned from his job at Patchen Wilkes Farm in 1914. Willis' second career was editor and publisher of the Lexington Weekly News, a newspaper in Lexington KY that succeeded the Lexington Standard. He began as editor of the newspaper in 1912. Willis was also an activist and led a protest against the 1916 movie, Birth of a Nation, by D. W. Griffith. He was on the committee that created Douglass Park in Lexington. For more see the following articles from The Lexington Leader, "Willis was famous Negro horse trainer," 12/06/1930, p. 1; "Ed Willis quits Patchen Wilkes," 03/10/1914, p. 8; "Good advice from Colored editor," 10/25/1912, p.4; and "Lexington news," 12/22/1912, sec. 1, p.5; and see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; and The Daily Aesthetic.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Winkfield, Jimmy
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1974
Born in Chilesburg [later Uttingertown] in Fayette County, KY, Jimmy Winkfield was the youngest of 17 children. He was the last African American jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, in 1901 and 1902. Winkfield left the U.S. after a contract dispute and became a national riding champion in Russia and a trainer in France. He retired from racing in 1930 and died in France in 1974. In 2004 he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. For more see The Great Black Jockeys and Wink: the incredible life and epic journey of Jimmy Winkfield, both by E. Hotaling; and Jimmy Winkfield, a National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame website.

See photo image and additional information at the African American Registry website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Chilesburg (Uttingertown), Fayette County, Kentucky / Russia, Europe / France, Europe

 

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