Georgia Shawlnecks by George J. Garrett (1920)
It appears to me that we are dealing with a situation wherein two varying sources lead to the same conclusion, viz. That Col. Barclay produced one great family or strain of fighting cocks, and that Chas. F. Brown produced another of equally outstanding pit qualities, both being closely related unquestionably, and known years ago as the Georgia Shawlnecks. I have received many inquiries from widely separated sections of the U.S. wishing to be directed as to sources from which the pure Georgia Shawlneck strain could be secured, and to all inquiries. I frankly confessed that to say where was regrettably beyond my knowledge. The Charlie Brown Shawlnecks that I bred years ago were cocks of medium station (no stilty feature about them) and, as a rule, their legs stood wide apart, the color being yellow, green and leaden in shades. No birds ever showed more unflinching eyes, being of red pepper color in brilliance. Just as Mr. Johnson described, I also bred them with colors varying, some light brown, others being ginger, however, red predominated. The plume feathers and wings of the cocks showed some white. The top knots cropped out on both cocks and hens. The wings of both were wide, heavy and well lapped. Another characteristic was strong beaks that enabled the cock to bill his opponent with an unfaltering grip, terrier-like in fact, not releasing its hold until the other cock was shifted across the pit with those deadly shuffles that riddled and cut into shoestrings - the other cock cut to pieces and put out of action. Col. F.E. Grist bought his foundation stock of Shawlnecks from Charlie Brown. That he injected crosses is evidenced by the high station and standardized yellow legs of his Champions.
The original Asele, black and tans, of Baltimore, are unfortunately now extinct. The nearest approach to the original were owned about eighteen years ago by Mr. Rojan, now deceased. In one respect, these black and tans reminded me of the old-time Georgis Shawlnecks. I have seen them take a bill hold, then strike and shuffle until winded, though holding on with the same grip and shuffle again, causing deadly execution. Their beaks were short and heavy, reminding one of a cardinal's or joree's. They hackled the color of pot black, had black eyes somewhat larger than the old-time Hopkinson Warhorse. I have witnessed many thrilling night battles, beginning at nine p.m. and lasting until day break at the old Highland town (subsurban Baltimore) cock pit, made famous by the cockers of Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. In concluding this article, I present a personal letter from Mr. Felix G. Rood, Florence, PA., which is interesting to me, being conservative in tone and neutral in point concerning the Shawlnecks, viz:
Dear George - As you say in your communication to Grit and Steel, there's two sides to the question. I know the two strains - Barclay and Brown. The color and type were different. Charlie always claimed that he was the originator, while the Macon contingent - Griggs, Hamilton, Ridley and Old Andrew - claimed that Barclay was entitled to the honor. Both of these strains were terrific fighters 30 to 40 years ago. Some of the greatest cocks I ever saw were from Barclay's years and some of Brown's Shawls, whitehackled and yellow legged, paceful and handsome, were the most skillful fighters that ever walked the "Tan bark." In their day, Brown's Shawls in condition were second to none. I would not like to champion either side of the question. I never met Col. Barclay, but he must have been an exceptionally good judge of fighting cocks. Chas. Byrums of New Orleans and Barclay were friends. The former was at one time proprietor of the Baronne Street Pit and used Barclay's cock at good prices. Byruns on one of my trips to New Orleans, showed me three cocks, tufted gingers with huge wings and tails, and Xmas present from Barclay, who was blind from age and who selected these cocks from a bunch, relying entirely on his touch. Each cock had three fights to this credit and were fine as I ever saw in a life time. Yours, F.G. Rood
Such explanations as those given by reliable sources like Messrs, Johnson and Rood are sufficient to satisfy both sides as to the Shawlnecks origin, and likewise serve as a safe guide for the younger element, which we hope will prove to be graceful losers and generous victors, for all that follow the game must be licked in order to lick the other fellow. I always admired Charlie Brown and Felix Rood for licking me and others at the famous cock pit at Reich's Garden, Columbus, GA., when I was wearing the shoes of "a tender foot," because it was done so gracefully and, to be exact so thoroughly in fact, that they made a Christian out of me (for the time being). Hence I can't forget such old time warriors, whose word is good and clean like an open-face watch. Such figures as Col. Barclay, Charlie Brown, Col. Bacon, Col. Grist, Felix Rood and other of such type, will always reflect honor and credit to the fraternity, and if possible to do so. I would suggest that an effort be made to secure a likeness of the above celebrities to appear in the pages of our staunch defender, Grit and Steel. Yours very truely, Geogre J. Garrett
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