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 Article on Mike Kearney Whitehackle Fowl 
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Post Article on Mike Kearney Whitehackle Fowl
Cocker's Gazette, Issue No: 46, 1988

Without a question or a doubt the fowl fought by Mike Kearney of New York beginning back in the 1870's and ending with his death in 1916 were the gamest fowl ever in this country. Everyone seems agreed on that part of the Kearney story but there the agreement stops with a snap. For the past 15 years or more we have devoted no end of time trying to find out for sure what the Kearney fowl are or were and we have arrived exactly nowhere.

No two people we have ever talked to have the same story on them and we have talked to and questioned at least a hundred if not more. Many of these men who were alive and active in the game not only at that time but were well acquainted with Kearney and some of them fought against him. Probably old A.P. O'Conor did more to mess up the story of the Kearneys than any other 50 men in the country. He just wrote or told what he wanted to tell without the slightest regard for the truth at any time. Its a damn shame but there is nothing can be done about it now.

For years it seemed generally agreed that Kearney came over from Ireland in 1870 and brought with him both Brown Reds and Whitehackles. But there are many who right today insist Kearney brought with him nothing but some very poor Brown Reds. Others claim the Brown Reds he brought were the gamest and stoutest fowl ever to land in America. "Quills in their wings as big as pencils, no end to their gameness" etc. etc. Several we have talked to agree that Kearney did not bring any Whitehackles with him or get any from Ireland after he got here. Still others contend he sent his uncle Mike Quinn to Ireland several times to bring back specimens of both families.

One man who knew Kearney very well tells us he never had ANY good fowl, either Brown Reds or Whitehackles until after he fought Denny Mahoney a main near N.Y. years and years ago. After he got fowl from Mahoney and those were the famous Kearney Whitehackles? One thing seems certain he did have good Whitehackles but where they came from no one seems to know but everyone is ready and willing to argue until hell freezes over that he knows without any question marks. A departed friend of ours stopped to see Mike Kearney many years ago and asked him this question. "Mr. Kearney would you show me one of your pure Kearney Whitehackles?" Kearney told him he would, reached in a feeding coop and brought out a PEACOMB cock and handed him to him. "That's one he said." Well, if there is one thing all the students of Kearney history agree on it is that the Kearney Whitehackles were a strictly straight comb family of fowl. Yet Kearney himself shows one as a pure Kearney and he has a pea comb or what we call a roundhead. With such contradictions as that to contend with, how in the world is anyone to get the straight dope on any fowl?

Kearney as far as we can learn ran a saloon and had no where to raise or care for fowl on his own property but in back of his saloon. He went to work for Duryea at Red Bank, N.J. and was in almost complete charge of the Duryea fowl due to the fact Duryea was often gone for a year or more at a time - in Europe. The story goes that Duryea had a family of Boston Roundheads he got from a Mr. Coolidge of Boston where they were well known. When Kearney went with Duryea he took his Whitehackles or some of them, with him and raised them on the Duryea estate. He bred them straight and he also crossed them with the Boston Roundheads and these were named by A.P. O'Conor and NO ONE ELSE - Duryea Whitehackles. It is claimed Kearney did not take any of his Brown Reds chickens of any kind and forbade him to bring any of them on the place. So -- Kearney turned most of the Brown Reds over to John Madden of Hamburg Place in Ky. From time to time Kearney would get some of them back from there to fight or breed, But Madden was said to have maintained the bulk of the family on his stud farm in Ky, until his death not so many years ago.

It has been said that around N.Y. city when Kearney was active some cockers would literally have given their right arm to get hold of a Kearney Whitehackle but very few of them ever got one or saw one unless a main Kearney was fighting. They say he actually didn't even want people to see them, let alone get hold of any. While Kearney was a famous cocker and had as game fowl as ever lived the truth is he was not such a successful cocker as many now imagine him to have been. One man we know contend Kearney lost more mains that any man who ever lived. Whether that is true or not we are not prepared to say. Old O'Conor used to say all the mains Kearney fought and lost were Kearneys and that the ones Duryea fought, with the assistance of Kearney were Duryeas and he won them all for thirty years. That of course is just more O'Conor hooey. They tell the story around Albany, N.Y. of Kearney fighting John Hoy a main which as we know now recall was won by Hoy 6-1. After it was over Kearney is said to have told Hoy his cocks were sick. "Your damn right they are sick now" said Hoy "but they looked OK to me before the main started." And from what they say Hoy was the kind of man who would have replied in about that manner.

Our own opinions is that Kearney fought chickens and lots of them long before he ever met Duryea. After they became associated they fought them together and at times when Duryea was away he fought some for both of them and at other times he fought them for himself. And in them they used straight ones of both the Bostons and the Kearneys and crosses of the two families. And probably Kearney used some of the Brown Reds in his own fighting, that is if its true that Duryea wanted nothing to do with that family. Of course O'Conor claims the Duryea were part Kearney Brown Reds but the less attention paid to ANYTHING O'Conor ever said or wrote the better off and more on the beam anyone would be. O'Conor would lie when the truth would answer better and that is not an exaggeration. In fact its doubtful if he ever saw Mike Kearney or his fowl. He told a long story of discussing the breeding of his fowl with Kearney and the general opinion is that Kearney discussed breeding of his own fowl with only a handful of intimates. And we believe that. At the time O'Conor tells of his conversation with him O'Conor would have been a punk of 18 and Mike his usual crabby self so we can just laugh that one off.

Still another man we know and one who was active in the Kearney era for many years claims Kearney did not bring any Brown Reds over from Ireland that he got them from a man named McCann of Albany, N.Y. So you can take your choice of what he brought with him and what he got after he was here. Certain it is that he was noted for the gameness of his fowl, whatever they were and wherever they came from. And at that time or rather the time Kearney was active and it covered a wide span of years, his vicinity (N.Y.); as noted for the gameness of their fowl. And it has been stated by many who SHOULD know that 90% of the game ones around thereat that time either were straight Kearney stuff or crosses of them.

Judge Wells story of these fowl is well written and considered by many to be absolutely authentic. Others claim its ALL wrong, none of it right! Take your choice. Back in those days cockers around N.Y. and in and around Boston considered they were very smart if they could keep the breeding of their fowl to themselves. Everything was a secret!

Many claim today that the breeding of the Hatch fowl were nothing more or less that a Kearney Whitehackle-Kearney Brown Red cross. Mr. Hatch without being asked, the year before his death and while attending the Claymore tournament in N.Y. state had this to say to this writer - Fulldrop "You have said some very nice things about me in your paper and I appreciate it. I am going to tell you how my fowl were started. I got some green legged fowl from a man on Long Island named (as we now recall) Lynch. I suppose you have heard of the Genet Pyle owned by Genet a member of the Tweed gang years ago. His Pyles were well known but few people seemed to know he also had a strain of Black Reds. I got one of the Black Red cocks, crossed him on the green legged fowl and those were my foundation stock. Of course I have added lots of new blood since then. Hatch told us that personally and with our asking him for any information at all. And yet I can name you 25 men who will claim its a lie. So how can one gather any accurate data on the fowl of others. Its fun to try but it simply can't be done.

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January 14th, 2012, 10:51 am
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Post Re: Article on Mike Kearney Whitehackle Fowl
Thanks for that CC. Looks like you've been busy.


January 14th, 2012, 3:14 pm
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Post Re: Article on Mike Kearney Whitehackle Fowl
you think this one will start another squabble? LMAO! :say

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January 14th, 2012, 4:46 pm
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