A brief account of the Ned Glaven Tasselled Greys from County Down, Ireland, bred for more than half a century without new blood infusion.
By Allen T. Boger, Jr. Charlotte, N.C.
Historically modern breeds of gamefowl have resulted from the crossing of established breeds, sometimes with a plan, but often with the force of luck. The origin and history of the Ned Glaven Flarry Eye fowl presents quite the opposite picture. For better than half century they have been bred without infusion of new blood. To be able to relate the story of a strain that has remained of itself for so long is an honor and a privilege.
We are indebted to the late Mr. B.V. Brumfield, formerly of Asheville, North Carolina, for much of the information of record on the Flarry Eye fowl. In a letter to my father, A.T. Boger, Sr. dated April 23, 1945, Mr. Brumfield stated:
"Mr. Ned Glaven brought the Flarry Eye chickens with him from Ireland when he came to this country over fifty years ago. He located at Charlotte, N.C., where he was employed by the Southern Railway. My father, J.D. Brumfield, lived in Dallas, N.C., at the time. He and Mr. Glaven became close friends, and of course, he got them direct from him. My father afterwards moved to Gastonia, N.C., then to Charlotte where he remained until his death, about twenty-five years ago".
It is not possible for me to learn the former breeding of the Flarry Eye fowl, but I venture to presume that it could not have been other than generations of line breeding in Ireland, according to their custom, else they could not have maintained their color standard throughout the years to come. With the flaming red eyes, their name, "Flarry Eye", was a natural selection.
The Brumfield family pioneered the development of the casket manufacturing business. Mr. B.V. Brumfield was associated with the Charlotte Casket Co., and later organized the Atlanta Metallic Casket Co. at Atlanta, Ga. He grew up with the Flarry Eye fowl and maintained their stock after his father's death. While in Atlanta he developed Tuberculosis. In the late 1920's he retired from active business life and moved to Asheville in the hope that the mountain climate would be beneficial to his health. With him went his gamefowl. Within a relatively short time, he was well again.
He never actively returned to business life, but made the Flarry Eye fowl his fulltime hobby. He worked at the breeding of his fowl in all seriousness, sparing neither time noe expense in his efforts to improve health, but was still able to care for his fowl. He was located on a small knoll, just outside of Asheville, ideal for breeding fowl. His equipment and facilities were the best. It was during 1942 that I secured the first Flarry Eye Grey fowl for my father, A.T. Boger, Sr., of Concord, N.C. Mr. Brumfield died on August 27, 1945, at the age of seventy-six.
Ned Glaven could not have selected a gamer, more beautifully-feathered fowl for his trip to America. They are one of the most uniform families of fowl that it has been my experience to see.
Every male bird has the grey tassel, single comb, flaming red eyes, black breast and blue legs. Grey hackle turns to a combination of grey and rust-red on the saddle, black wings, with overcast of grey and red in the center, and duckwing tips. The hen is typically dull in color. The body is a mixture of grey and brown, with grey-striped neck. During 1951 Mr. Harry G. Wolfe of San Antonio, Texas, informed my father that he had received a Flarry Eye hen, the last living bird from a trio that had been imported by a military friend stationed overseas. Mr. Wolfe lost the hen to a chicken dog, before being able to breed her. A photo of this hen shows an amazing likeness to the brood hens of my father. I doubt if one would be able to distinguish between the two.
The Flarry Eye fowl are not disposed to be on the heavy side. They range from 6.00 lbs. to lightweight. A great majority range from 5.00 to 5.10. They are well-proportioned, and though quite active, they are easy to handle. Seldom do they show a tendency toward man-fighting. They show remarkable ability to maintain their vitality during the breeding season when placed under wire, provided proper care is given them.
Following the death of Mr. Brumfield, my father sought to carry on the breeding of the strain. He is located on a farm some fifty acres with free range, properly developed. A great majority of his time goes to the Flarry Eye breeding, along with the old Bacon Warhorse strain which he has maintained for over twenty years. Recently, he decided to dicontinue the Flarry Eye strain and to retain only one strain, but due to the many requests urging him to retain them, he decided to continue both strains.
In my opinion the perpetuation of a strain of pure fowl has its merits. With the many infusions currently being bred into fighting fowl, I believe there will be a need for pure strains, of several color standards.
- Grit and Steel Magazine; September 1951