Murphy Whitehackle

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by Full drop {October 1969}

Unfortunately Mr. Murphy was a reticent man, not only about chicken his chickens but everything in his life. he considered his affairs his own business and saw no reason to discuss them with any others, particularly acquaintances. had he been willing to discuss his experiences with game chickens, he could have passed on some information to fraternity that should have been and, I believe, would have been of tremendous value to all of us, particularly in regarding to breeding.

From the time i first saw him at Troy, NY , fighting a main, in late 1920 `s until 1942 , he showed consistently the most uniform fowl i have ever seen show.. don `t misunderstand me, he could be and was whipped quite often. but, he won a big majority of his mains and win or lose, his fowl looked and fought alike. as i recall, he won, during his career in cocking, forty-nine stag mains and lost none.

But let `s go back to the beginning, and please remember much of what I write is hear say.

I was not around ninety years ago when he was born, but I am beginning to feel I was. In spite of the fact he was part owner of schley and company. A large brokerage firm.

He was born only Long Island, NY. And at the age of 14 he began working around the harness horse track near his home. The owner of the horses and the trainer to a liking to him helped him in many ways. After he got to driving, some of the owners, who were in one-way or another interested in the stock market, gave him tips on the market, helped him financially.

Many of the Horsemen were interested in cockfighting. And, at the time, when Murphy descended two get into it on his own, cocking was in full swing the in and around you New York City.

Presumably, he had made his mark has a harness driver and had money to do what he'd please. It was said at one time three or four horses owners he drove for had deposit in Syracuse, New York bank $100,000 which he could draw on at any time for he saw a horse that, in his opinion, would do them some good. Eventually, of course, he became one of the greatest harness horse drivers of all times. As far as I know, he bred no horses at any time. He bought what he thought were good ones in broke records with a great many of them can.

When he got ready to go into cocking in a big way, he, of course, needed good fowl to go began thus began, what some have called, the quest internal. He could have gotten fowl from most anyone he desired the beginning of the independent nature he wanted his own and didn't want anyone to know what they were, or where they came from. He'd begin buying fowl here and there and got exactly nowhere. From the little I knew of Murphy, I am convinced no on ever knew, or ever will no, exactly what his fowl where or where he got them.

There are two stories about it. Nick Downes, an old Irish man who worked for him for 30 , claimed the Murphy fowl were Lawman Whitehackles. John Hoy, a great cocker around 1900 until his death in 1929, work for Murphy for seven years as a feeder and, Hoy was associated with Billy lawman and had the Lawman Whitehackles and muffs. He took some of the fowl to Murphies place and a great many of the a more breed, raised and fought by and for Murphy. And, after hoy left Murphy, some of the fowl remained. They were the fowl Murphy continued to raise and fight.

Another version of the a Murphy fowl is this; a horse men visited Murphy onetime and went to a main he was fighting. This was before Hoy which to work for Murphy. He lost the main, and the Horsemen who knew something of cocking told Murphy his fowl were no good, and if he intended to continue main fighting he would have to get something better. Murphy told him he knew that, but did not want to get him from Friends or men he would be fighting against, and he didn't know where else to get them. The Horsemen asked him if he was willing to pay a good price for fowl and he told him he would. Then promised to get him some good ones. Not long after that, 15 chickens arrived, either five Cocks and team hens or ten Cocks and five hens, from long John Murphy of Ontario, Canada. A bill came with them for $1,500. I know that Murphy did get out from long John on several occasions, because his son is still very much alive and knows about it. At the time in Canada, there was a family of Whitehackles fowl that were saved to have been some of the best fowl to land there. They came to Canada from Ireland, and long John had some of them, although he wasn't the man who imported them. Long John also had some Duryea fowl. As I recall, long John's son said he sent Murphy, at one time, 12 Cocks that were half the Whitehackles blood and half the Duryea blood.

So, the readers can take their choice as to have the T.W.Murphy fowl were bred and where they came from. It is not only possible, but probably, that Murphy combined the blend of the long John and Lawman Whitehackles was to make his own family.

As stated above, the Murphy fowl were very uniform in every way, looks, fighting style and gameness. They were sort of a rusty red with white in wings and tail, call straight comb and all yellow legs and beaks. I have heard that some of his fowl came with white legs, and that he killed them. It was also said when fowl was shipped to him from anywhere he removed the shipping labels so no one would know where they came from. I can believe that as he was one of the most secretive men I have to ever know.

One time, he was fighting Marsh a main at Troy and to be surprised if everyone came in with a main of stags that looked as though they might be red quills or crosses of red quills. They whipped Marsh six straight fights and won the main. No one ever knew what they were or where they came from, or if Murphy raised them, or got them from some else. no one ever saw him again with fowl that looked anything like them

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