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Clarets By: C. C. Crenshaw

From Johnson's History of Game Strains

I notice in Grit and Steel that many are advertising "pure Madigin Clarets" from many parts of the nation. There is a question in my mind now and has been for some time as to just where and when they got this blood. I am talking about the good old time blood now, as Mr. Madigin has said (I quote from the Oct., 1937 Grit and Steel)," I have many letters of inquiry concerning those who advertise Clarets. I have never sold a Claret. I have only given away a few cocks; no hens. I raise them all at Ft. Erie and there alone and the only way anyone has to get them is to steal them, of course, all who walk them for me have one half blood and if they inbreed them, can get them, but they are useless when inbred. I only to give you an insight into the methods of those who profess to have pure Clarets." Author's note: Concerning above, it is now an established fact that Madigin did give away hens to several different men. As for what Mr. Madigin has to say about those walking cocks for him having only one half the Claret blood and not being able to get more except by inbreeding: If a man bred form a Claret stag or cock walked for Madigin and then bred the stags and pullets fromm him together that would be inbreeding but would not increase the percent of Claret blood. Madigin always asked me not to return blinkers or broke billed cocks, etc. I always killed these as I did not want to breed them and did not think I had a right to fight them. But anyone walking cocks for Madigin who wanted to breed them could breed said battered cock year after year back over his daughters until soon they would be seven/eighth or fifteen/sixteenth his blood (and likewise that percent of Claret blood). However this would be line breeding rather than inbreeding. A man could breed from a different stag or cock (from Madigin for purpose of walking) each year over the pullets out of the stag or cock bred the preceding year. Regardless of the definition you give inbreeding, you will realize that such a man can not possibly be inbreeding any closer that Madigin himself. R.L. Sanders bred from Madigin's Clarets until his are thirty/one thirty/second Claret blood. I cannot understand a man having the great amount of intelligence required to become the success Mr. Madigin was making such a statement in writing as above.


Written By: Bill Marsh Article from History of Game Strains by W.T. Johnson & Frank Holcomb

Concerning the Madigin fowl and perhaps even Madigin himself no two people seem to be in complete agreement. He gave statements as to the breeding of his fowl and as to who had access to them and later repudiated both statements. There is confusion and endless contradictions as to the exact origin and breeding of the Daddy of Clarets, of the mother of the Clarets and of the worth of these; some saying they were the best in the world and others saying the first Clarets were absolute duds. Then we have the same confusion about what blood, how much, and when was later added. He stated several times that they started with a Hanky Dean cock and a hen from A.P. O’Connor that O’Connor said was a Duryea Whitehackle. Editor Piper, of Feathered Warrior, says this hen was bred by Mr. Hillsman of Va. out of a cock or stag (supposedly Whitehackle from a man named Hanna) and one of O’Connor Duryea pullets.

Col. Madigin often stated that only one man was ever given a female of any of his blood. Later changed that to two, after getting a letter. After his death many men showed letters signed by Madigin showing where he had given away and sold both male and female. Some of this blood was very good and some of it very bad.

Below is part of one of Mr. Gus Frithiof’s ads that favors the goodness in the Clarets to have come mostly from the original stock. After that follows part of a letter from Mr. William Mash with what I would say is the opposite viewpoint. This is interesting as both of these men are prominent cockers and both have worked for, or with Madigin.

Mr. Madigin told me that the Reds and Whites were the same identical chickens and that the greys were very close in the original. In fact, the “daddy” of the nine original Clarets was sired by a Mansell Pyle, Joe Gilman grey cock bred from a pair of fowl from the Earl of Craven. His mother was obtained from Tom McCarthy, who raised her from fowl of Mr. Beard, of Toronto, Canada. Light-red, yellow legged fowl, same as the cocks made famous by Dennis Mahoney. The “Mother” of the original Clarets was a pure H.B. Duryea Whitehackle hen, whose sire had won 19 battles, 14 of them in the hands of Michael Kearney and 5 in England and Ireland for the Earl of Clonwell. Duryea cocks bred from the 19 time winner, his mother and sisters, defeated all the leading strains in Europe, including 2 out of 3 mains for $50,000 on the odd, 2 mains, vs. William Gulliver, England’s premier cocker, the other main ended in a draw.

As the years went by both Madigin and Deans made many crosses most of which were discarded. A “New Hope” cock, white legs, black spurs, won 9 times and was nicknamed “Black Spur”. He, containing a shot of Mansell Pyle blood bred in Spain, threw them many whites and was used in 1917. Madigin bred from the Roland Mimton “Skyrocket” cock, that he got from my friend, Frank Raggio, Austin, Texas, who got him from Julius W. Bell, Cincinnati, Ohio. Madigin and Deans made many families of these fowl and bred from among others the following cocks: Two ½ Phil Marsh cocks (Grover Whitehackle – ½ Clarets) called “My Choice” and “Tuck In Under”. They won many times. They also used a Lowman Whitehackle cock and a Hardy Mahoney cock, a Duryea cock, 1927, threw many “Pumpkins” or “Canary” colored cocks, wonderful cocks. A grey Claret cock bred to a Herrisford Brown Red Black and Tan hen in 1922 was the source of the dark legs in many of the greys.

Author’s Note: The Hardy Mahoney cock should be Hardy Mahogany

The Origin of the Clarets

by J. H. Madigan

The Gamecock Magazine November 1936

In the year 1907 I received from my friend, Andrew P. O'Conor, of Maryland, two pullets -- one a black-red with pea comb, the other a wheaten with single comb. I lost the pea comb pullet. I put the single comb pullet at the race track where I was walking a stag for Henry Deans -- a pure black-red with white legs.

Early the following spring the O'Conor hen stole her nest in the bush and brought out a large clutch of chicks, of which nine were stags -- all black-reds with white and yellow legs and of very deep wine color; hence the name Claret.

We walked and fought them, and they proved to be very successful. Upon breeding them further, one in every eight or ten came white, and they are still doing so. In fact, this year we have many whites and a few spangles.

I have tried to keep the same blood, as nearly as possible. All crosses have been a failure, with few exceptions.

I notice that certain people in Houston, Texas and Hendersonville, North Carolina, and also in Michigan, are advertising Clarets for sale. They are not my blood unless they were stolen, which I doubt.

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