Duryea

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A Hailstone Duryea Hen owned by Bart B.
A Hailstone Duryea Hen owned by Bart B.


By Keoni

The Duryea fowl were originated by Herman Duryea of New York and possibly with help of Michael Kearney who also worked for Mr. Duryea. The Duryea fowl come red or gold in color with willow legs and are a cross of Kearney Brown Red, Yellow Birchin and possibly Kearney Whitehackle. The Duryea blood is found in many different breeds of game fowl as they are very game, high accuracy, good plumage fowl.

Duryea and Kearney Whitehackles as told in the Grit and Steel

There can be but little doubt in the minds of the students in the cocking fraternity that the gamest fowl in this country, not only today but as far back as any of us now living can remember, come and came from the vicinity of New York City. Lest some of the readers get gamest confused with best. Let us hasten to assure you we used the former. there isn't a doubt in the mind of this writer but what today or any day a main of cocks could be selected from most any part of the country and in long heels make the gamest fowl up there look very sick indeed. Ever in the short fast heels of today. We believe a main could be selected from among the better long heel fowl that could take the gamest fowl in or around New York. It`s a recognized fact among the more intelligent members of the clan that the gamer a family is the poorer fighters and cutters they seem to be. We won't go into the whys and wherefore of that statement just now. With hardly an exception the gamest families we can recall when their pedigree is traced back leads right to New York City. The few we can think of that were not descended from New York City were from not very far away and did a big share of their fighting against the New York crowd. Examples? yes, we can give you a few. The gamest fowl it has been this writers privilege to see in the past 25 years were the so-called Hardy mahoganies, the Hatch fowl the Albany's the Jim Thompson fowl and very few others that is which filled the bill as deep game fowl in our book. Let`s see where some of them came from. The Hardy's got their fowl from Jim Ford of Medina, New York. Ford got them through his brother who was a New York judge, he, in turn got them from John Madden of Kentucky, and Madden got them direct from Mike Kearney of Long Island, NY. The Albanys were half Hardy through a cock called "the sneak" and on the other side of Albany family there was some Hatch blood, Hatch too came from and lived all his life in or very near New York City. Jim Thompson lived at White Plains, NY about 20 miles from New York City. His fowl were said to have been the result of a cross between an Adam Schreiber, Albany,NY, hen that Thompson had a man name Squealer Murray steal for him, and some old game stock down near New York City. they were a very deep game family, and of course the hatch fowl were entirely New York stuff. There are plenty of winning fowl in both the North and South that seldom show bad factor, yet, we have not included then in our list of the gamest families. Those who are familiar with deep game fowl will understand why. And when deep game fowl and New York are mentioned, Mike Kearney sticks out like a sore thumb. Kearney is said to have arrived in this country from Ireland in about 1870. He brought fowl with him and in a comparatively short time, was in the midst of cocking activities in and around New York. Either at or soon after his arrival, the type of heels preferred in that section were what later came to be know as slow heels. They where a regulation heel with a blade, but, one and one-quarter inch long in length. The blade was thick with the point more or less blunt. The rules used were known as New York rules, ten tens required to count out a cock and peck would break the count at any time, under such conditions, deep game cocks were an absolute necessity and fighting ability and cutting ability were a secondary consideration, just the opposite, incidentally, from today with our modern rules and faster heel. The Mike Kearney whitehackles, brown reds and others were used to a certain extent as a standard to go by in measuring gameness, Mike Kearney has been dead for many years, yet even today most of our gamest fowl can be traced back to his fowl. during the years E. W. Rogers published the warrior, 1927-1935, its pages were constantly filled with stories of the Kearney and Duryea fowl. Nearly all of this was written by A.P. O`Conor, who contended Herman Duryea with whom Kearney was for years associated in cocking was the greatest gamefowl breeder of all times. The Duryea white hackles, the greatest family of gamefowl in this or any other country, that were according to O`Conor obtained by Duryea from a steamship agent in or near Boston and maintained in their purity by Duryea strictly by inbreeding for 30 years or more, during which time Duryea fought mains by the score and lost but one that one when his cocks took sick Mike Kearney was Duryea's feeder and caretaker,etc. In the past fifteen years we have at every opportunity questioned anyone we thought might have some information of this regard to either the Kearney or Duryea in the following we are going to tell you a few of the things we learned. Mike Kearney `s son Harry is still alive and while none of this information came to us directly from Harry, a considerable amount of it came from him indirectly. Several years a go in Troy, we met a Boston cocker who's name we have forgotten and who has since passed away. He was well-known on the game and was an ink salesman. Tom Kelly of Watertown knows who I mean. At any rate this man told me he visited Kearney on Long Island one time and told him he would like to see a pure Kearney white hackle, Mike reached in a peb and brought out a typical white hackle exept he had a round head and pea comb, he told mike he didn't know white hackles came pea comb. Mike said some of his did and offered no further explanation, it`s a well know fact the so-called Duryea fowl came both straight and pea comb. After Kearny`s association with Duryea when a pea comb cock was shown it was assumed by most men it was a Duryea cross, or a so-called straight Duryea. Today, Harry Kearney confirms the fact that their whitehackles came from Ireland with both pea and straight comb just as mike previously to the ink salesman. Further more and this came indirectly from Harry both him and his dad, Mike, preferred their brown reds to their white hackles, because they were gamer, stronger, and harder hitters, although the whitehackles were better cutters. They ran a saloon and had nowhere but a small back yard in which to breed and raise fowl. Until Mike hooked up with Duryea and took complete charge of the breeding and fighting of his fowl. Duryea had the fowl on his estate at Red Bank, New Jersey, and he, himself maintained a large racing and breeding stable in France. He spent considerable time there. Mike mated the yards at Red Bank and generally ran things with the fowl to suit himself. Duryea very much disliked a brown red chicken and forebode Mike to have any of then on the place. For that reason Kearny bred only a few and those few away from Duryea`s place, Duryea also had at Red Bank some fowl he got from Frank Collidge of Boston which we believe to be Boston round heads. They were oriental cross of some sort, according to Kearney they were very strong fowl good cutters and fighters but not bitter {game} enough to suit Kearney. However as Duryea liked them, they bred some and used them along with their white hackles and some crosses of the two. If the above is correct as we have every reason to believe it is, acutely there was never any such thing as a long inbred strain of Duryea fowl anywhere but in O`Conor's mind. O`Conor claimed Duryea lost but one main in thirty years while another writer in the warrior of that era contended Kearney probably lost more mains than any man that ever lived, in view of the above both men were wrong Duryea lost many mains and Kearney had a share in both the winning and the losing mains. As we stated above for a period of five or six years the warrior contained reams and reams about the Kearny and Duryea fowl. Gamest on earth, best winning family in history, etc. when probably the truth is the so-called Duryea fowl were nothing more than Kearney white hackles and some crosses of them on some jap or asil crosses from Frank Coolidge.

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