Allen Fisher

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Allen Fisher
Date of Birth: April 12, 1930
Date of Death: April 29, 2004
Place of Birth:
Known For: "Hard Hitter" Hatch

Allen Burgin Fisher Jr. AKA Tarheel

The pen, the ink and I sit down tonight to try to honor Allen Fisher who spent his life forever in the cocking eye. The words may not come easy although I know they should because he kept us laughing while helping all he could. One could call him "Mister Cocker" and that statement would ring true; he knew everyone in cocking and had for each a word or two! Johnny Cash, maybe the greates country western singer of all times, sang the lyrics of a song about a barn burning, fire and brimstone, crying, shouting, and a traveling preacher who could preach hell so hot that you could smell the smoke! Well, Allen Fisher could do the same thing with the written word! He was a wordsmith of the first order and words would jump off the paper and into your focus when he painted a scene, a place, aperson or an event. He was a self styled writer without peer on the subject of game fowl. No writer could steady the pen nor draw the ink to matchthe wonderful words that graced his column in The Gamecock, Grit and Steel, The Feathered Warrior and anywhereelse that the mighty gamecock was discussed and loved. Not even the newspapers around Sylva, North Carolina was exempt from his rattling, sharp tongue, witty scolding, and "Letters to the Editor." Allen would call you early in the morning, on the phone and you better have your coffee made cause he call would last at least an hour. Then he would hang up and call someone else. He could describe in speech the same way he wrote. He loved foxhounds and when he told me of a "hunt" I would closed my eyes, smell the crisp Blue Ridge damp air and listen to the hounds as he described the race as only Allen Fisher could. However he would neve let a good hound get in the way of a good rooster fight. Roosters were his first love of wordly things and he loved family as no other man. Married to Patricia, the mother of his two boys and two girls. Tragedy plagued the children will Jimmy drowning and daughter Becky Elders dying at an early age, leaving behind a son Travis Scott whom Allen took to himself to follow the roosters, dogs, and chase the varmints. The tales that Allen could tell on this boy would make a book by itself. There are others to whom Allen was Grandpa but only knew about Travis Scott. Dusty Rhoades, of Houston, was a great fan of Allen Fisher and often discussed The Gamecock articles that he wrote, with me to our mutual enjoyment. Dusty told me that he was in a hurry to get back from a derby to tell Allen that he had split a derby using four half "Hard Hitters" when he learned of Allen's death. Allen was a breeder and creator of the "Hard Hitters" Hatch and they became famous around the world, not only in the gaff but also in the short knife. I remember him writing once about sending a show of his culls to Sunset and winning the derby. I never saw one fight but he made them well known in cock pits whenever roosters are shown. But it was as a writer that he gained the most attention. One could not read The Gamecock without first reading Fisher's comments. He certainly knew how to drawattentionto both himself adn his fowl. At his best he wrote of things, places, people and bygone times that transcended the bluegrass music and the Blue Ridge Mountains. He wrote of mules, horse traders, loggers, hillbillies, food cellars and rooster fighting history all with the same stroke of the pen and the read became a part of the life Allen Fisher lived. Now that time has come to say goodbye. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and back to the earth from which we sprang. As a keeper of the printed word I take pride in the obituaries that I have written, mostly for the love and affection that Iheld for those cockers and cock fighters that have departed the world and leave only their footprints of memory to mark their passing. Gus Frithiof once wrote "words are but empty vessels that cannot hope to contain the respect we hold for our departed fellow cockers." Allen Fisher was one of a kind. Just what be the judge that will take note of character, honor, family, and friendship. Tonight the cock crows for the sould of Allen Fisher as across the Blue Ridge a Fox Hound pauses in the chase to acknowledge a passage of time. Burial was across the branch from Allen's home in Addie Cemetery. Sleep well old friend, for your place in cock fighting lore is secure. ""Cecil Perkins aka The Witch Doctor's Walk""



When John Steinbeck authored his many books “The Grapes of Wrath” appears to stand out head and shoulders above the others. Most who read this book today cannot comprehend the misery and starvation that took place.

The piece you are about to read was thoroughly researched and documented. Allen Fisher did not write this article. The Author of this article painstakingly ferreted out each bloodline that went in to the Hatch fowl.

It is offered to the readers so that those who are trying to breed these fowl will have a much clearer understanding of why certain cocks do not act right. Why suddenly the family just “blows up” for no apparent reason.

--Allen Fisher

In the late 1950’s and 1960’s, I wrote many articles on the Hatch fowl. In these articles I asked for, and gave a lot of information. I received hundreds of letters, from man different cockers, telling me what they had seen, what they had heard and their own personal experiences. What really surprised me was that I was flooded with letters, telling me which of their fellow cockers had ruined their fowl, using Hatch bloodlines. It was a rare occasions that I got a letter telling me, that the Hatch blood had improved the pit quality of their fowl.

Over the years, knowing that Mr. Hatch had bought hundreds of fowl and discarded hundreds more, that was called Hatch. I reached the conclusion that Mr. Hatch was looking for the “nick” that would make a perfect battle cock.

For example, when a good cocker died in his area, if his fowl had attracted Mr. Hatch’s attention. Then after the burial, some one bought the fowl, from the widow and they were delivered to Mr. Hatch. He went through those yards, culling closely, other went into the brood yard. This is the reason “I believe,” that he produced so many dunghills, especially when inbred. My good friend Bob, told me of an old cocker friend, who stated that many of the best cockers have obtained their fowl in two different ways.

The first way was they obtained the brood fowl, as a gift from a friend. The second was if they could not buy or beg, good brood fowl. They paid someone to steal, the brood fowl that they needed. To my knowledge Mr. Hatch never was accused of such a deed as he bought, what he wanted, the old fashion way.

I have gotten and still do, many letters filled with rumors and allegations about who stole, or had bought stolen fowl over the years. If these rumors and allegation are true, it is still going on and no one has a safe yard, not even “yours truly” who has lost a few over the years.

The following is some excerpts from letters, written years ago, regarding Hatch fowl. They are not in chronological order, as no one can guess the chronological breeding program of another breeders. I would find a lot of unknown breeds involved. This you will find to be true, as you read what I have written.

1. Hatch got his first game chickens from Maurice O’Connell around the early 1900’s. They were good game Irish Whitehackles.

2. Sandy Hatch told E. T. Piper, editor of The Feathered Warrior, around 1940 that his fowl was started from game fowl from a Mr. Cassidy and chickens from Harry Genet. Harry Genet had some excellent Pyles and some excellent Black breasted reds. This black breasted red family is the family that Hatch got from Genet and used in his brood yards, as he disliked Pyles.

3. Tom Murphy was a good friend of Sandy Hatch and gave Hatch some brood fowl. He also got what brood fowl he wanted from Hatch, anytime he needed his blood. Murphy gave Walter Kelso, some of the Hatch blood, which introduced dunghill blood into the Kelso bloodlines.

4. Heinie Mathesius was quoted many times as saying, the Hatch bloodlines, were Kearney Brown Red to which was added Thompson Whitehackle and my Morgan Whitehackle.

5. Thompson Whitehackles were also known as Thompson Mahogany Whitehackles. These fowl were bought from Thompson’s widow, after Thompson’s death. Their actual bloodlines were Lowman and Kearney bloodlines.

6. Simon Flarety had a good family known as the Grave Diggers. These fowl were exceptionally game, and had a small Roundheads; Hatch bough this family, after Flarety’s death. I have been told that Simon Flarety had some Muff fowl, which I believe Hatch put into his brood pens.

7. J. W. Clark, an Englishman, had some fowl that were a blend of Kearney, Thompson, and Cass bloodlines. Hatch bought a cock and six hens from him. These went into brood pens, more infusion of similar bloodlines of the breeds, fought in New York.

8. Hatch bought approximately 200 cocks and stags. Plus 12 hens and pullets from Michael Kearney. These fowl where given to Kearney, after he had ruined them by breeding a Boston Roundhead from Frank Coolidge. This so-called Boston Roundhead had a shot of dunghill oriental blood from Ida Rossiters, East India fowl. This cross lost five mains against the Garth’s of Virginia, costing John Madden $35,000. This cross ruined the Duryea fowl that was at John Madden, owned both by Madden and Duryea. Kearney sold these fowl to Hatch for about $2,500, a year’s wages or more, in those days ($2,500 in those days could buy 10 or 12 Model T Fords.

9. I have been told that when Sandy Hatch passed on “that his will stated” that Ted McLean got first pick of all his fowl. Ed Devonald got his pick of the remainder, and that Heinie Mathesius got the remainder (some called them culls.). The Hatch fowl that Heinie got was sold to C.C. Cooke, who was associated with E.W. Law. A sum of about $2,000, was paid for approximately 250 fowl Two thousand don’t sound like much? I bought a new 64 Chevrolet Deluxe for $1,740, bread up to 5 cents a loaf. These cocks were sparred by the partnership and J.D. Perry was present. He told Gus Frithiof Sr., that these Hatch fowl were the worst sparring dubs, he had ever seen, in his whole life. After “big ads” in the game fowl magazine, these fowl, were sold from $100 to $500 each. Many of these fowls were dunghills and a lot of good game families were “messed up” by this dunghill blood. I had gotten a pair, from a friend who bought them from a friend who bought them from Heinie. I mated them together, then bred brother to sister, the progeny were rank dunghills. I killed all of them, made good possum bait.

10. The Hatch Shock Troops were crosses of the Morgan Whitehackle. These crosses were great fighters and terrific cutters, that they were loaded with dunghill blood. I understand most of these were sold thru ads in the game magazines for very good money.

11. John Schanock, old K.C. combine at St. Augustine Tournament in 1929 asked Ed Devonald what was Hatch fighting tomorrow? Devonald answered, “Hatch choked full of Claret”—first indication of Claret in the Hatch bloodlines to my knowledge.

12. In an article April 1948, Feathered Warrior, the Editor, E.T. Piper asked Heinie if he ever made any Hatch-Claret crosses for Hatch. Heinie was standing near his cockhouse at the “National Stag Tournament” (the 1939 tournament) Troy, N.Y. Heinie invited Piper and his friend into the cockhouse and handed them two cocks. Told them, that those two cocks were Hatch-Claret crosses he had bred.

13. In 1949, Gus Frithiof, Sr. answered a blind ad that offered eight Hatch/Claret shake cocks for sale. Frithiof answered the ad, bought the eight cocks from Ed Devonald. Frithiof conditioned and won eight fights. “Sold them, as they were as slow as molasses in the winter time.”

14. In 1936 Sandy Hatch and David Ward made a trip to Birmingham, AL. They visited Mr. Bohannon. They again visited Mr. Bohannon in 1942. Both times they brought brood fowl, and returned with both brood fowl and battle fowl that Mr. Bohannon had raised on his yard. The best family that Hatch and Ward, left at Bohannon’s was the 42 Hatch some are still around.

15. Dave Ward supplied Hatch with brood fowl (Ward was sort of “Go For”) that he had gotten at Hatch’s request. Ward, a very friendly man, had many friends. Especially since he gave away a lot of fowl. So it was very easy for him to get any brood fowl, Hatch thought he might need. Most of the fowl that Ward supplied were full shows of the Ward 13’s. This is a Kearney Whitehackle family that contains one quarter Mansell White Pyle. They were actually A.P. O’Connor, New Hope family as Ward, discovered after some letters Mr. Gus Frithiof told me that my white Hatch, are throwbacks to this family and I do agree with him.

16. For the 1938 New Orleans tournament, Walter Kelso hired Mr. Frithiof, to feed his 100 cocks that were Hatch crosses. Three of these, ran at the tournament, and Kelso disposed of them, telling those who bought they had dunghill Hatch blood. This wealthy Alabama cocker, went to visit Kelso to buy some brood fowl, saw some of these dunghills, said he thought, Mr. Kelso was a lying Texan chicken fighter, “trying not to sell” his best chickens. So John O. Fowler bought the Dunghills. He soon found that Mr. Kelso was not a lying Texan, while these Kelso’s were great fighters and won a good majority and still do, in a rough drag fight they will quit – I know, as I have once had some of these very beautiful, very aggressive whippoorwill Kelso. The entire flock of about 20, made it to the freezer, of a needy family, this was about 15 years ago.

17. When Walter Kelso cleaned his yard of the Hatch tainted Kelso’s. Mr. Frithiof mated two Judge Wilkerson’s Typewriter hens to a 11-time winner Frithiof cock. This is the foundation of the good Kelso fowl that was called Hurricane Kelso. The original brood cock had five brothers that won 28 fights and had one draw with a broke leg. That is a record that would be hard for anyone to equal.

18. When Army Fox took the 3-cocks from Hatch and the cocks were bred, many cockers got some of the bloodlines. (a) Dan and Solly O’Connell made the old Albanys with offsprings of one cock. (b) Marsh, Pine, Kosygarten along with Hatch’s friend Murphy, got some of the crosses and bred it into their fowl. (c) This infusion of Hatch blood, hurt the Murphy bloodlines. As the low-headed characteristics dominated their pit action, even after the Hatch blood had been very diluted by crossing into Murphy’s fowl.

19. Mr. Henry Wortham paid Hatch $1,500 for three great battle cock that he had seen fight over a two year period. He send one cock each to three men who bred cocks for him. The first seven cocks that he fought of the Hatch crosses were dunghills. He destroyed everything on his yard that contained any Hatch bloodlines.

20. I think Sanford Hatch was a very poor breeder as he was continually searching for crosses that would improved his fowl. He never learned, you improve a game family by single mating your best, selected individuals. Thusly you will gain control to some extent, of their heredity influence. When you gain control to some extent, you are able to reinforce the best characteristics and the worst characteristics are shoved aside, never eliminated. One thing Mr. Hatch did provide was a good environment and as we all known, heredity is improved, within a good environment. Over the years I have seen some great Hatch cocks and some of these Hatch fowl were called Hatch (because they had green legs) whose ancestors did not contain a drop of the so-called Hatch blood. For some reason a few cockers are now creating new Hatch breeds out of their “no name fowl.” Incidentally Mr. Hatch did not like green legs.

21. The late Hugh Norman told my late partner in the 1960’s, as they looked at my McLean Hatch fowl. Hugh said that Ted McLeans’ record show that only one man ever got a pure Hatch hen from McLean. That my McLean and ever one else that had them probably had crossed of Roundhead, Claret, or Sid Taylor. Plus anything else, McLean felt would make a good cross. In summary of the above, I would say that the Hatch bloodlines have provided us, with some of our best battle fowl and some of our worst brood fowl. I know as I have owned and destroyed, several Hatch brood yards over the years. I now own, three different families of the Hatch bloodlines. I do believe they contain bloodlines of many different strains as Mr. Hatch, probably bought thousands of brood fowl—that is not saying, he used them all in the brood pen. However, be whatever they are I am proud of my three inbred Hatch strains, they are game, can fight, do cut and mostly win. I can’t ask for better. Mr. Hatch, was smart enough to make millions, yet was not smart enough to locate dunghill blood in some of his fowl. If he had matter brother/sister, the dunghills would have been exposed. Thus the dunghills that went to McLean, Devonald, Mathesius, and the rest of us, would have been eliminated. Question: are you a smart breeder?


  • The Gamecock Magazine, Aug/Sep 2004
  • The Gamecock Magazine, June 2002
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