by F.E. Montgomery
Something like a year ago, I believe, I promised my uncle, Mr. W.M. Smith that I would attempt to write the history of the Arkansas Travelers. This history serves as a link connecting the Montgomery Travelers with the old time Sledge and Hanna strain. My original blood was selected from the very best matings we had. Now, so far as real facts are concerning as to the original blood, I know very little, only that the old Nick Arrington fowl, of North Carolina. served as the foundation on which to build. This North Carolina fowl came into hands of Col. Jim Rogers, of Arkansas, who fought them for years. This same Rogers' fowl was named and became famous as the "Arkansas Travelers". Sledge and Hanna, and also Mr. Sam H. Jones met all comers for years with great success. When I was a small boy the late W.H. Hackney, of Wesson, Mississippi, and my uncle, W.M. Smith, ordered a pen of pure Sledge and Hanna Arkansas Travelers direct from Mr. Sledge. I was only seven years old, but I remember just as though it were yesterday, going to my grandfather's to see these Travelers. I can now see the little blue stag, the prettiest thing on earth. I had always loved game chickens and had a few that my uncle had given me, but I offered all I had for a stag from this mating. I was assured first choice of the stags, and just as soon as they were large enough to tell the roosters from the pullets I went up to make my selection. Don't anyone reach the conclusion that though only a boy in my eighth year, I did not know just what kind of stag to select. My uncle said when I made my selection he knew he had lost his best. I brought my stag home and began daily to give him all the feed he would stand. In a few months I had a real stag ready for a good country walk. This I found with a colored man on our farm. Time passed and the stag became a real cock, most two years old, and ready for the pit. One evening my uncle came to my room, and what do you suppose he wanted? The country boys were hacking with the Wesson boys in two weeks, and they (the country boys) wanted to use "Arkansas", as I called my cock in one of these fights. I was assured that nothing on earth could whip my rooster and when I was offered 25 cents for the use of him, I gladly let him go. "Arkansas" was the prettiest cock on earth, I thought, a light dove colored blue-red with dark eyes and legs, peacombed, and weighed about 5.10. I knew nothing of how they cut out all the hackles and saddle feathers in that day. If I had, he never would have gone. "Arkansas" proved as good as he looked, whipping a three time winner in the first buckle. When he came home, trimmed up, I became disgusted with my deal and traded him for a stag. Every year I would exchange for another cock or choise stag and 25 xents, my uncle's way of keeping a good walk. Until this day my uncle has never denied my obtaining his best cock or stag if I wanted them or needed them. Time passed and I became 15 years old and knew enough, I thought, to begin breeding for myself. I got a setting of eggs and raised a stag and five pullets. The stag was a brown-red. All had dark eyes and legs. I didn't want to breed my stag to the five pullets, so I paid my uncle another visit to select a stag from a different yard to breed to these pullets. He was a compact fellow, and you could tell by seeing him move around he was going to make a "storm", and he matured into the prettiest Pyle I ever saw. After they had appiled the shears to old "Arkansas", I had not sent any more to the pit, but just traded them outright. My uncle assured me that the Pyle stag mated to the five pullets would produce the greatest chickens on earth. I secured a good yard on a free range with a tennant on our place and brought every bird he raised. I bred by stag two years, walking my young stags, mating the old cocks with pullets, and my choicest stags over my old hens. The next fall my uncle came to see me and brought R.B. Shelton and Will Allen with him. Shelton and Allen had a main closed to be fought at Allison Wells, Mississippi, with Mr. John Taylor. They said they just had to have my cock to pit against a certain weight of Mr. Taylor's that had already whipped "Ole Hitler". My uncle let them have the cock. The fight came on and the stag defeated the cock in two pittings. That was my first time to see Mr. Shelton. We remained warm friends from that time until his death. He and my uncle bought all of my stock and fought and shipped them every where. Mr. Shelton once said to my uncle, "Bill, Gene had the best Blues on earth." The last time he visited me he bought six of my choicest brood stags and had them on his brood yard at the time of his death. From the time I was fifteen years old until 1918, I bred a few chickens of the purest and best of the old Arkansas Travelers. In March, 1918, I let my uncle look after my chickens while I was away in the world war. I was gone eleven months and four days when I received my discharge. I resolved to purchase a farm and to raise the best travelers possible. My uncle was to buy all that I could spare at a standard price. In the course of three years the demand for the Arkansas Travelers and the Newell Roundheads continued to increase. The Arkansas Travelers is one of the oldest strains. You can watch all the game journals of today and wherever pitted he wins a greater percentage of battles than any other strain you can find. When pitted the Traveler is eager to go, and will give you the very best that is in him at once. This often in the first pitting. The Travelers come dark blues, light blues, red-blues, pyles, duck-winged reds, brown or black-reds, and occesionally a gray. Legs are generally dark with now and then a yellow or white, eyes from a firey red to black. Weight 4.08 to 7 pounds. They are quick to score and all do not fight alike any more than they are colored alike. Some are smart and careful, while others rush in and bill, shuffle and roll. However, the smart ones do this in close corners. I have not fought many large mains or tournaments, but my cocks have, in my customer's hands and in the hands of my uncle and Mr. Shelton, meeting all comers for years, and with much success. In Juarez, in 1926, the greatest cock shown was a little duck-wing red cock, 5.02 bred by me, and when my uncle won the great Memphis Tournament in 1924, my cocks won 100%. Mr. E.J. Deacy, of Flint, Michigan, won second money in a tournament last season, using three of my stags, all winning. I could produce hundreds of letters where they have defeated the best in America, but space and time will not permit. I now have fifteen well mated yards, every one bred on free country range, and will say that the demand for them is satisfactory. This in itself is sufficient proof that the Montgomery Travelers of today equals the old time blood of Sledge and Hanna and Sam H. Jones. I line bred from the very beginning, and have kept them that way, having two families to select brood stock form. My uncle and myself have exchanged brood cocks with each other until there is no question, in our minds, as to their ability, gameness, etc. In selecting my brood yards I am very particular in selecting the hen. The hens must have attention if the breeder succeeds in making his strain meet the demands of the cockers in the pit
Blue Berg Muffs
by Ed "Fulldrop" Piper
Along about 1914 Dave Berg of N.Y. hacked a Hoy Muff cock that walked off after knocking a man down. Before Berg could kill him a young fellow with Berg asked for him to breed over some Shelton Knob-comb Blues, as the Southern fowl were not considered any good for short heels. Berg laughed and said he reckoned he'd be O.K. to breed over them and so gave hom to the boy. In the fall, the young man stopped at Berg's and asked if he could put his stags in Berg's coops as he had none of his own. He told him no, he didn't want any of that kind of chickens on his place. The fellow said that they were beating each other up. Berg told him he could put them there, all 19 of them, until he got some coops made, but to get them out of there as soon as he could. So he brought them over, big, beautiful blues with muffs. John Hoy was considered THE authority on the game at that time, came to see Berg about something and noticed the stags. Asked what they were and Berg told him, he pushed open a couple of doors and got two of them out. He watched them for a moment and said they were good, not to fool them away. They turned out to be great fowl. Phil Marsh says they were the greatest he ever saw in every way, practically unbeatable. They were later crossed with Whitehackle from Dr. Hallock, of N.Y. state.
by Mike Norris
I don't really know a lot on the history of game strains in America except that there is a book available for people interested. This book may or may not shed a lot of information on Blue fowl. What I am saying is that a man would just have to read it and find out. I have had a life long affection for Blue fowl and at times a belly full of resentment for Blue fowl. In other words I am saying that I beleive I have been exposed to some of the best and for sure some of the worst Blue fowl on earth. I would probably be a pretty safe bet that the first Blue fowl could have been a result of crossing Pyle colored fowl onto red fowl or brown-red fowl or etc. I would also bet that the first Pyle colored fowl probably came from Ireland. I am not really sure of that, but neither is anyone else. In a very old book that I once read concerning early American history of game fowl, there were references to Irish Pyles. About 25 years ago, when I was just a young kid, we lived in Dallas, Texas, Johnny Wooten and Burt Fuller would take me to the cock fights at Ardmore, Marietta, and Colbert. I can't remember which pit we were at but it was on one of those trips that I was first exposed to Blue game cocks. I remember that we had just arrived at the pit and weas getting out of the car when a man walking past us stopped to say hello to Mr. Wooten and Mr. Fuller. Mr Wooten asked him if he had brought some of his bad Blue with him today. The man said "No," he just brought some Blue roosters today. Later Mr. Wooten told me that this man's name was Teacher and he was the originator of the Blue Darters. As the day went on I became friends with Teacher and I bet on every Blue cock he fought that day and I bet on every cock that Mr. Wooten and Mr. Fuller fought. That was my lucky day because Teacher won the derby and Mr. Wooten and Mr. Fuller only lost their money fight. I came home with a pocket full of money and hooked on Blue chickens. On of the Blue occks fought that day was the famous Pretty Boy Floyd cock, and I remember that he won easily. If Teacher is still alive and involved with the Blue Darters, I would like to get in touch with him. For sure a man name Lloyd Miner had good Blues and he proved it by winning and selling fowl all over the USA, Canada, Mexico, and over-seas that won. I don't know exactly what the Miner Blues were in breeding but I am told that they did have some good Mahogany blood in them and that couldn't have hurt. The Miner Blues were not uniform in color but most Blus aren't. They would come red with a light blue to dark blue chest and tail, solid white, Pyle, Spangled, a brownred blue color, and some even came red in color with no blue feathers showing at all. It is just my opinion but I beleive that most of the Blue chickens that are around today are either Miner Blues or carry some Miner blood in them. After being influenced by the good Blue cocks the Teacher fought when I was a kid, I began to buy Blue roosters here and there and the majority of them were simply no good. Quite a few Blue roosters quit on me during that period. Finally my father completely bought out a man named Mr. Mooreland of Lancaster, Texas. The majority of the cocks from Mr. Mooreland were a mixture of Miner Blues, Asil, and Claret, some were carrying some Blue Berg Muff blood. These were actually the first good Blues I ever had my hands on. I had a lot of fun fighting these Mooreland Blues because a lot of people would turn their nose up at them because they were Blue in color. This sure did add extra fun to whipping them. I remember Burt Fuller was at our house and we were fighting those Blues and winning nearly every fight and Burt told someone that he knew it had to feel funny getting whipped by Blue roosters like that. The man nearly growled as he walked away. I was only about 13 or 14 years old and I sure got a kick out of that. Johnny Stansell perfected a family of Miner Blues by loading it up with his best Hatch blood and then for some reason he disposed of it. I say he perfected his family of Blues because they ended up in the hands of a friend of mine and I sometimes have to fight at this family and I have seen them fight at other people. These Stansell Blues have everything it takes to win and they do win and they are game as hell. There came a time several years ago that I met Don Bundy and his wife Wanda of Apple, Oklahoma. I believe Wanda makes the world's best pancakes. Don and Wanda own several families of fowl but they also own a famimly of Blues that they bred up themselves. When I first met Don he let me have a Blue cock and this cock turned out to be everything a game cock should be. Since that time I handled some of Don's Blues in the pit for him and I came to love those little Blue cocks. Don's Blues are game and they are above average fighters. One of his little Blue cocks will always stand out in my mind. We were at the Atoka pit and when I was to turn the Blue cock loose for the first pitting, he pulled away from and in his hurry to get to the other rooster, he stumbled. This gave the other cock the chance to free roll the Blue and the little Blue cock came up with a broken leg. This was in the first pitting. When I turned the Blue cock loose for the second pitting, he burst inot his opponent with a desire to kill and in the third buckle of the second pitting, the other rooster died. Don's Blue chickens truly hate a rooster and they are fast, cutting, aggressive cocks. My good friend for many years, Leroy Deloney has just recently went out of the chicken business and he had a good family of Blues that when crossed on his Roundheads made a really fine chicken. Leroy is one of the last of the true breeders. I'm not saying he bred and raised game fowl, I'm saying he did more that that. Leroy perfected several families of game fowl thta were good to start with. This may be off the blue subject but it is worth the mention. When Leroy had to sell out, he had on hand the very best Clarets that money and friendship could buy and several other families. I wrote a letter to the editor of Gamecock that was published concerning the only ad Leroy Deloney ever had to run in Gamecock. If you are losing your butt now, it's not my fault because I told the world through Gameocck in 1988, that Leroy Deloney's fowl were for sale and that thye would win anywhere and that even meant his Blue Roundhead cross. If Leroy reads this article, then let me say "Thank You" again to Leroy for helping me to win fights for over twenty years now. I realize that a lot of the Blue fowl around today are not up to pare with a good red or grey cock. I am sure that there are several good families of Blues around somewhere. If you can get your hands on a good family of Blues, like the ones from Deloney or Mr. Bundy, and if you take good care of them you can have a lot of fun with them because of their color. It is like I said, a lot of people turn their nose up at a Blue gamecock. This adds a little extra fun to winning and winning is what this sport is aobut. I guess some of the most beautiful cocks I have seen were Blue cocks and the most beautiful cocks I have ever seen were a cross using a Miner Blue cock over some Madigin grey hens. The off-spring of this cross had a Grey rooster's neck and back color with a blue chest and tail. This turned out to be a really good cross too. I guess the very best cross I have ever seen using Blue fowl was when my father gave one of his friends one ofour Morreland Blue cocks and he bred this cock over Shufflers hens. There were not real pretty but they were lighting fast in their attack and could burst into a rooster with a machine gun shuffle. This was before I started fighting in the knife but when I think about the Blue Shuffler cross, I wish I had them today because they would have been super in the knife. Whatever type of chickens you fight, keep them rolling and if you get the chance, help a beginner. We need the beginners to keep this sport going. Good luck to everyone.
High Creek Blues
The High Creek Blues have a long and distinguished History. I wish I knew it all, but I'll have to settle for giving you the part I do know. Bobby Joe Manziel, Sr. a big time cockfighter in Texas originated a family of blues he called the Toolpusher Blues. Toolpusher being a term for a supervisor on an oil rig, the toolpushers can do it all if necessary. The Toolpusher Blues were the result of Mr. Manziel crossing Wilkens Typewriters with C.C. Cooke Perfections. The Typewriter fowl were originated by Judge Wilkens and contained Dr. King Blues, the old time Wildcat Blues, Smith Roundhead and possible other blood. C.C. Cooke made his Perfections by crossing Madagin Perfection Greys with J.D. Perry Hatch. Although a real "mongrel" chicken the Toolpushers COULD FIGHT! Mr. Manziel set the cross as a family which fought very successfully for many years. Pure Toolpusher Blues can still be seen in major competition today, usually being pitted in long knife due to their speed, accuracy, and intelligent style of fighting. I got my start with the Toolpusher bloodline over 25 years ago. They were a big hit with me right from the start. Beautiful, well built fowl and they could still fight! They were fast and aggressive, very accurate cutters. They would meet the other bird on the ground or in the air, breaking as high as necessary to do so. The thing that impressed me the most with these fowl was their intelligence. They knew when to dodge and they knew when to score! They could recognize an opening and would always take it if they could. The flip side of the coin was that they did not have a lot of bottom for a long drag fight and had a very hard time fighting an uphill battle. If we didn't win in the first few pittings, we usually didn't win period. Their gameness was unpredictable at times as well. Most would fight a good, game battle, but occasionally one would let up, particularly the young stags. Nevertheless, all things considered, I was sold on this family and even with their faults the pure Toolpusher Blues won a majority for me and rapidly became my favorite family. My breeding program soon became centered around the Blues. We experimented with many battle crosses on the Blues and gradually began to infuse the family with new blood based on the results of the most successful crosses. Some of the blood which ended up in what we now call the High Creek Blues is Narragansett we got from Frank Shy in the early 70's, Boston Roundhead from Lloyd Jenkins, Irish Pyle from Richard Saint and Sonny Hancock (actually Hancock/General crosses) which came from Mike Ratliff, and others. Two years ago I sold out all my mugs and hatch fowl so I can focus all my attention on my favorite family, the High Creek Blues. These are high class fowl and are getting nothing but better. Although very uniform in body conformation and station (medium high), they come in a wide variety of colors ranging from solid white, white with black and red spangles, pyles, bluereds, bluegreys, and even an occasional black. Straight or pea combed. Leg color varies from white to willow with occasional slate or yellow legs. They are generally very easy to work with, very good temperament, never a man fighter if treated properly. They take bench work well, if you're into that (I'm not). They are very active fowl and keep themselves in good condition. The High Creek Blues are very aggressive fowl. They get hot instantly at billing and break very fast. They are deadly cutters in the knife or gaff. They fight the most intelligent style I've seen, avoiding the other bird, yet always ready to hit an opening. They have good bottom and power although this is still the area I feel needs the most work. I fight my blues pure in high or medium high point, 2 1/8 to 2 1/4 inch gaffs and have been winning a solid majority with them for over 25 years fighting into tough competition. You can fight these Blues pure or use them for a good, aggressive cutting foundation in battle cross.
By Lloyd B. Miner (Reprint from Histories of Game strains)
Several months ago you asked me to write the history of my Miner Blues. I appreciated being favored with this request and promised you that I would write same, however, when yours of July 5th came asking if I had the history written, I had failed to have a single line. I consider myself very poor at writing anything and writing the history of my own fowl makes it all the more difficult for me, but i shall keep my promise and do the best I can. I will try and not say too much for my fowl and if I do, just remember ho much each real lover of the game cock thinks of his own strain. I have two strains of Blues, one a strictly straight comb strain, the other of all Roundhead blood. I shall give you the history of the straight comb strain first because they were the first fowl that I really bred. I owned my first game cock about 25 years ago. At that time the village of Cornell had some men who kept a few half-mile running horses, a few scrub game cock and boasted of one real 100-yard dash men. Every summer many covered wagon loads of Gypsies passed through Cornell; they made money trading horses, racing horses and fighting cocks. Professional foot racers traveled with them. We had saloons then and the little village was pretty sporty, would gamble on anything. I took in the horse races, foot races and cock fights. Several of us young fellows liked the game cocks very much, so we all bought cheap cocks and started in the game, fighting against each other, There were seven or eight of us started in the game at that time. A few years later I secured twenty subscribers to Derby Game Bird for a premium of Gregory gaffs. All of these boys finally quit the game except George Hasel and myself. George quit about three years ago and moved to South Bend, Ind., from there to Chicago and not long ago I received a letter from him in Denver, Colo., in which he said that he wanted a trio of the old straight comb Blues as soon as he got located where he could keep chickens. Am getting off my track so will go back to the time we were fighting chickens among ourselves. At that time I was working in my fathers store and a mon by the name of Ed Foley ran a hotel next door. He had a large back yard and one day I noticed a beautiful blue-red game cock running in this yard with some dunghill hens. I asked Foley what breed he was and what he would take for him and he replied that he was one of Nick Vipond's Blues and did not belong to him, that he was only walking him for Nick, but for me to go to Streator (which is 15 miles from Cornell) and see old Nick and he would perhaps sell me a cock, I got my best friend, George Hasel, and we went to Streator and looked up Nick. It was not hard to find him as he ran a saloon in the main part of the city. He took us to his home and showed us may fine cocks in pens. We each bought one and could hardly wait until we hot home to tackle some of the boys for a scrap. Next day both cocks were fought and both won. After that day both of us bothered old Nick quite often. We must have been an awful pest to him and I often wonder how he had the patience to fool with us. However, he seemed to take a liking to us and would let us watch him condition cocks up stairs over his saloon in the winter and at his home in his barn during the warmer months. He taught us how to hold a cock and how to work him and to this day I have never seen a man who could put a cock through his work and not break a feather as he could. He had a world of patience with a biting cock and his condition was good, but now I think that he pulled his cocks too low for them to be at their best. Nick traveled and fought his cocks and also fought mains against Col. Minton, George A. Fuller, the Red Hornet man, (at that time of Springfield, Ill.) and many others. Like most others Nick had other fowl besides his blues, some good and some bad, some of them belonging to other parties that he would condition and fight for them. Years have proven that his Blues were the best that he had and were the only ones that he kept when he got old. The straight comb Miner Blues that I breed today are direct descendants of the best and last brood yards of Nick Vipond's Blues. Just what blood these Blues are no one really knows. Many have asked Nick what blood they were and I have asked him where he got them, but he never would say, his reply being to all "they are my old Blues." However, Nick was born in Wales, He moved from Pennsylvania to Steator over 50 years ago, was a coal miner and later went into the saloon business. He brought with him from Pennsylvania some very dark blue fowl, dark eyes and dark legs. Some say that they were imported from Ireland and that Nick bought them from a man in the east who needed money badly, however, I don not know that this is true, and doubt if there is any one who does know, but I do know that the first fowl that I saw at his place were dark-blue. Later he had a very beautiful, white leg, red eyed, light-red cock over some blue hens and in a short time he had many white leg and yellow leg Blues of different shades of lighter blues, also many light-red with white or yellow legs. I asked him one day what the white leg red cock was and he said that he was just the same as the Blues and added that some of them came red. I bought a 4.14 white leg red cock of him that had won bottom weight in one of his mains and six dark blue hens. My friend Hasel bought a 5.04 dark blue, slip leg cock and two dark-blue hens. I had the pleasure of being in on the last three mains that Nick fought, my friend George Hasel was also in on one, these being fought against local parties. In two of the mains he won every fight but one and lost but one main, by the odd. After the last main, which he won, he told Hasel and I that he was going to give each of us a good cock that had won in the main and tell us how to breed them. We already had eight dark-blue hens, the dark-blue slip leg cock and the white leg 4.14 cock, then he gave Hasel the white leg red 6.02 cock. This cock was old, but did not show it, and had won quickly in the main. A year or two before Hasel had asked Nick to price this cock, but he would never do it. When Nick gave Hasel the cock he told him that sense he had always wanted him so badly that he would make him a present of the cock and told him to breed him over the pullets from the slip-leg blue. He then gave me a fine young 5.08 dark-blue cock that had won a sensational battle in the main and told me to breed him to the pullets from the 4.14 Red. I never got a picture of the slip-leg nor the old white leg red Hasel got, but I had a photographer take a picture of the 4.14 Red and I took a snap shot of the 5.08 Blue. The one I took is not clear, but I am sending both for you to print. Hasel and I bred these four cocks and eight hens just as we were told to do and exchanged stags and pullets each year and mated more yards. We could do this nicely with four yards to draw from. At about the same time that we got the last tow cocks from Nick a friend of mine named Harry Rucker (who lived in Cornell) bought a 3-time winner brown-red, white leg cock from Nick and bred him on some Dom hens he had and two years later Hasel bought this Vipond cock from Rucker and later bred him over daughters of the slip-leg. About ten years ago, Nick quit business and moved to Chicago, later moving to either Marion, Ohio or Indiana, I have forgotten which and finally came back to Streator where he died about three years age. When he moved to Chicago he sold all of his fowl except two large dark-blue hens and one large white leg hen. These he would not sell. He called on me just a short time before he left and brought these three hens and asked if I would keep them for him, said that his daughter was sick and that he and his wife must go and live with her and that they had no place to keep chickens. I kept the hens and bred them single mated. I have a letter that Nick wrote me sent from Chicago, about eleven years ago asking me to have his hens caught up as he would be after them soon. He never bred any more fowl, but came and took one of the blue hens for a friend and gave me the other, the white leg hen having died. My straight comb Miner Blues I breed today are direct descendants of the four cocks and the eight hens that Hasel and I got from Nick, the cock that Rucker got and the three hens that Nick left with me. I have many yards and believe that I can breed them indefinitely without a cross. I have mated them as I know that they must be mated and at the same time I have line-bred them to the most sensational fighting cocks that have been produced from time to time. For instance, Hasel, by mating a dark-blue stag that I gave him over one of his white leg red hens, produced a white leg blue-red stag that proved, in the brood yard, to be one of the best producers of all. He fought this stag against Sam Brazier in Chicago in 1919. Brazier had a wonderful stag and cut Hasel's stag blind in one eye and broke one wing in the first pitting but Hasel could hardly hold his stag during the rest period and when turned loose for the second pitting he went across like a flash, and with one eye and one wing gone he shuffled Brazier's stag to death. Hasel bred this stag that year and as a cock for two years. We called him old Blinker. He gave me one of his first stags from this cock, also one of his daughters and in 1922 traded me the old Blinker for a brood cock of mine that had won several times. I bred old Blinker until he died in the fall of 1924. He was a great producer and was line-bred from the start. Many of ny yard carry more or less of his blood on each side. I have bred many cocks that have won several battles but never have I found one that produced more winners that old Blinker did. Old White Leg, a four time winner that I raised is a grandson of the 4.14 and the old white leg Vipond cock. This strain of cocks have not been bred to color but have been to fight, however, in the last few years I have mated Red to Reds and Blues to Blues whenever I could do so and not sacrifice fighting qualities nor the proper mating. At the present time they average in color about 50% blue reds with white or yellow legs, 40% light reds with black or brown mottled breasts and white or yellow legs and about 10% come dark-blues with dark legs. I get more dark-blues in hens than in cocks. Are medium, low station and the cocks run in weight from 4.06 to 6.08 and the hens from 3 to 5 pounds. They are exceptionally game, extra good cutters and know how to fight. Just to give and example of the gameness of these Blues I am going to quote what a friend in Omaha Nebraska wrote me about one of these Blue cocks that fought in a main there in 1925. "Fourth fight we matched your straight comb Miner blue against a Harry Williams Warhorse cross from Covington, Ky. Warhorse coupled your Blue in first pitting and the fight dragged out to 68 pittings, 48 minutes of terrible give and take on both sides. In my opinion your blue was the best cock and his gameness was remarkable. He crossed the pit several times on his wings and shuffled whenever he could get a beak hold, only to be counted out in the 68th pitting, his opponent dying soon afterwards. Blue had two counts on Warhorse but could not see or stand on his feet, yet he always broke all counts except the 68th.." I call these Blues Miner Blues because most of them come blue and they have been bred by my method long enough to make them the type they are today. I have the same opinion as Mr. Ewing A. Walker has in calling his Mugs Walker Mugs. My friend Hasel advertised and sold some of these Blues that he bred and called his Hasel Blues. As he had bred them many years he felt that he had the right to call them Hasel Blurs. I have never spent much time in thinking up a name for my fowl as I feel sure that if cocks can fight they will make a name for themselves and if not a blood curdling name will not help them. While I have always kept these Blues pure that I got from Nick Vipond, I have also made some crosses. Most of us experiment some and I have always thought it best to make a cross when I had time to try them out than wait until I had to have a cross and trust to luck for a nick. I have made several crosses and fought them all to find out what I had and found that some were good and others were bad. Those that were good I bred back to my Blues and then fought the quarter bloods, then bred back again and fought the eighth bloods. I do not need a cross on my old Blues at this time, but if I ever do I now have on hand some good hens with one-half, one-quarter and one-eighth new blood that are sisters to cocks that have proven good and of which I breed a few each year. In 1917 D. H. Pierce loaned me a young Wisconsin Shuffler cock to breed. He was a dark eyed brown-red and an extra good one. I tried to buy him from Pr. Pierce but he would not sell him, so I returned him in good shape in the fall of 1918. I mated this Pierce cock to one of the old dark-blue hens that Nick left with me when he moved to Chicago and from this mating I got dark-blues and dark-brown reds. Fought the stags and refought them and only one lost his first battle. I then bred one of my Blue cocks over one of the half blood hens and the quarter-bloods win a good majority of their battles. I have two dark-blue hens today that are daughters of the Pierce cock. They are over nine years old and are strong and healthy brood hens yet. In 1923, Henry Flock sent me a blue-red, white leg, red eyed, straight comb cock from El Paso, Texas and wanted me to breed him. Said if I did not want him to just send him to his daughter at home and that she would care for him until he returned. Flock had won twice with him and had pronounced him a wonder. He said that Jas. G. Oakley had bred him out of a Smith Blue cock that he got off Smith Bros., that won in the Opelousas Tournament. I bred this cock single mated on one of my old Blue hens and he nicked well with my blood. I bred back to my Blues and the quarter bloods won a larger percent than did the half bloods. I am saving some of the quarter-blood hens. My friend Hasel made a cress several years ago with Gleezen Whitehackel on Blues, also a cross of a Shawlneck hen from Elmer B. Denham and both were good. I traded some of my Pierce cross and of the Oakley cock cross to Hasel for some of his Whitehackles and Shawlneck crosses and breed a few each year carrying this blood. This concludes the history of my straight comb blues.
My first introduction to the Wilkens Typewriters was in April 1946, when the Judge fought a main against Ford & Luster, as memory has it, at the Berg's Mill Pit, San Antonio, Texas. This was a three-day event with the main being fought the first day followed by a tournament. The tournament included the Walton-Wortham entry, Hale Brothers, Judge Ed Wilkens, and aobut four or five other entries. Having always been an admirer of blue game fowl, dating back to the old cock my grandfather had on the yard - a blue-red, yellow legged cock, and having a little more money than normally, I found the odds laid on the Ford & Luster fowl to be irresistible when they were 10-8 and 10-7 on every fight. The Judge won the main rather handily 7-4 as I recall and it should have been 8-3 since one fight was won by a seemingly unfair handle by Mr. Luster, but that is water under the bridge. At that time, most of the cocks that the Judge showed in the main were lemon-hackled, blue-reds with yellow legs mostly, some pyle colored cocks with white legs, and nearly all of the fowl shown during the main and tournament, as memory serves me, were straight comb. My life-long friend Edward Bently took me out to the Judge's home and we had a short visit there, seeing the quarters where the Judge conditioned his fowl and also a few other fowl on the yard. I made more than my expense money on the trip, thanks to the Judge's cocks, and the Walton-Wortham fowl and came home a winner. I could not resist the temptation to obtain some of these fowl. Edward located a pyle colored, pea-comb, white legged Typewriter cock for me and I purchased a hen from the Judge. I remember her this day almost as well as the day I received her. She was a blue-red hen, with large blue fan tail, red eyes, white legs, straight combed. During the period after her normal laying season had ended, she would act almost like a cock. She would fly upon a pile of wood, or a post or pen and crow, popping her wings just like a cock. The remarkable thing about this hen is that the cock which she was mated with, an old ham-strung cock, produced nearly all shakes. The first two were fought when they were about 13 or 14 months old against fully matured cocks. The first one - a yellow legged, sky-blue pyle stag killed a 3-time winner brood cock that had won three fights in three pittings, in one pitting. His brother, a dark blue-red with yellow legs and peacomb won his fight but slipped his spur. I believe that we fought the sky-blue cock when he was two for $100, Ernest Trochta doing the feeding and pitting, and he won an uphill fight, coming from behind. From that Typewriter hen and the old Pyle cock, we fought about six stags and cocks and all won. Several Thaggard Grey-Typewriter stags and cocks were fought also and the records kept up through the first 21 fights were 20 wins and 1 loss. The loss was with a Grey-Typewriter stag that fought a long hard fight and losing but being thoroughly game. I lost track of them after that they must have all eventually lost, but 20 of the first 21 fought won their first fight or more. I often wondered why these fowl have not been more prominent in the game fowl journals. They could fight; they could cut; they had bottom and they deserve a better place in the history of game fowl than they seem to have received. I recall that the Judge had at about that time two great cocks that he had fought a number of times - One Round Hogan, a Pyle cock, and Pay-Day a dark blue-red cock. I'm sure that there must be a lot of people in and around San Antonio, Texas that would remember these cocks. I always found the Judge to be quite honorable in his dealings with me and I also found him to be quite an understanding gentleman.