Western Working Sires of Utah, by Gail Perlee

February 19, 2008

By Gail Perlee
SideKick #3
“Morgan roots are deep in Utah soil. They go back to the arrival of the Mormons in 1847. Vermont was the birthplace of Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormon Church. He died during persecutions of the new sect in Illinois, and Brigham Young became the new leader. He led his people West in search of a home where they could live and worship in peace. On that grueling cross country trek, Brigham Young fell gravely ill, but was able to continue on when he was transferred to the only spring wagon available. The wagon was owned by Wilford Woodruff and drawn by a pair of Morgan horses, which he is thought to have acquired near his birthplace outside of Hartford, Connecticut. Woodruff later became president of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and his big, heavy wagon can still be seen at the Museum of the Daughters of Utah in Salt Lake City. There were probably other Morgans among those first settlers, but no records exist. The blood of those early Morgans was mixed with others and lost to the breed.

Morgans did not reappear in Utah until the late 1930s when a rancher named Delos Huff of Spanish Fork and the Uintah-Ouray Indian agency at Fort Duchesne began importing them. The Indians received their Morgans as part of a government program that supplied registered Morgans to tribes throughout the West to upgrade their native stock and to produce purebreds as a cash crop. In 1942 the Utah tribe received four 3 year olds of top Western Working bloodlines. There were two stallions, COPPER CHIEF (Tehachapi Allen x Ella Linsley) bred by the Hiebert Bros. in Kansas and TEXAS RAIN BOW! (Silver Ranger x Baby Dix) bred by W.P. Thornhill in Texas, and two mares, MONTANA DAWN and REVA from Montana rancher Thomas VT/. Adams. Nothing more is known of these horses and they were probably lost to the Morgan gene pool.

Delos Huff purchased the yearling stallion REDISH by Roosevelt from T.C. Doak in Iowa in 1938. From the LU Sheep Company in Wyoming he got the young stallions TRAPPER, TETON, TIMBERLINE and ESCALANTA, all by Plains King, as was MUNDA and WASHAKIE by Highview King. Huff also acquired the LU fillies FALCON, NEOGA, GRETEL and MOCCASIN, all by Plains King. These mares all produced registered Morgans in Utah, but most of the colts disappeared and were probably sold to ranchers to cross with native mares to produce stock horses as was common practice throughout the West until the mid-1950s.

Other young stallions sold into rural Utah at this time were KELTON by Highview King and KIYUNE by Plains King from the LU Sheep Co. in 1944, THOR by Vanguard from Clark Ringling in Nevada in 1945, the three year old GOLDEN FLASH by Delbert from the Jackson Ranch in Montana to the Aleutian Livestock Co. in Ogden in 1948 and the two year old ROB AYR to the Perry Land and Livestock Company in 1947.{mospagebreak}

One of these stallions that left registered get was ESCALANTA 8940 (Plains King x Monty by Flyhawk). He was foaled on the LUSheep Co. in 1943 and sold to Huff as a yearling, to Lyman Hamblin a year later, in 1951 to Mosher Brothers and then to several other parties in Utah over the years. He sired only 11 registered get 6 fillies and 5 colts, in a breeding career that spanned more than 20 years. ESCALANTA’S main claim to fame was as a quarter mile racer. He was never beaten in a race, and was said to have bested Utah’s leading AAA Quarter Horse in five straight races. Probably most of his get were from grade mares and became ranch horses and/or Quarter horse breeding stock. There is a good photo of him in the April 1970 TMH along with a brief obituary that mentions his racing career and says “he covered the ground at a 7 mile per hour walk” and “was a working cow horse with creditable cutting ability”. Escalanta died in 1969.

Another stallion brought in by Delos Huff that had registered get was BENAYR 8191 (Jack Sprat x Sallie Bee). Foaled in 1939, he came to Utah in 1942, and by 1946 he had produced all of his six registered get. The four colts and two fillies were all born in Utah and out of the LU mares, except for two out of BELAYR (Jack Sprat x Elma Belle R.M.). She was a foal of 1939 and came to Utah in 1943. She was one of several “ayr” horses bred by Charles F Ayer of Meeker, Colorado which came to Utah, where along with the LU stock they became the foundation of the Western, Working Family. There were the stallions BENAYR, RONNARY and ROBAYR, and the mares BELAYR, ILOAYR, JESSIEAYR, HAZELARY, PEARLAYR and SALLYAYR. They were brought to Utah by various parties including Delos Huff, George Hinckley and Lyman Hamblin among others. In 1943, wealthy Salt Lake City businessman and rancher J. Waters began to acquire Morgans for his ranch. His first purchase was a four old palomino stallion bred by Tom Burnett’s Triangle ranch in Texas. This was GOLDEN JUBILEE X -6549 (Jubilee King x Gold Bug) who was foaled in 1939. He sired only 11 registered foals between 1945 and 1951, six colts and five fillies, of which five were palomino. After 1951 no further get or transfers are recorded for Golden Jubilee.

Also in 1943, Waters bought the five year old LUSheepCo. mare DEUCE (Linspar x Adele by Flyhawk), and over the next few years he acquired the mares MECSUN by Sun Down Morgan, her dam High Valley Mecca by Squire Burger, the Jackson Ranch bred BOBBETTE SUE by Delbert and HER MAJESTY (Sonfield x Iva). Waters bought three more stallions, the two year old Thomas Adams colt ONTANAREY by Monterey in 1947, the California bred MARCH FIELD (Blackman x Marguerita by Sonfield) in 1949 and finally the Government stallion STELLAR 10009 (Mentor x Naiad) in 1951. Water’s breeding program was discontinued about 1957 and Stellar only sired ten foals for him. However, J Holman Waters had brought into the state the horse who would become a premier Western Working sire for Utah and the breed.

A major WWF sire, STETSON 9039, came to Utah as a yearling in 1945. He was by Flyhawk and out of Sentola, a full sister to Jubilee King. Stetson was a chestnut with no white markings and was bred in Illinois by Helen Brunk Greenwalt. Purchased by rancher E.C. Judd of Murray, Utah, who kept him until 1959, Stetson only sired nine of his 88 get in Utah. He left one filly, PUTZI, who had no registered get, and eight colts. As was the case with so many well bred Morgan stallions sold to western ranches, he was used primarily to produce working ranch horses out of grade mares. Stetson’s important contribution to the WWF occurred after he went to Wyoming as a 15 year old. There he was a top producer for rancher Ramul Dvarishkis and the LU Sheep Co. Some of his daughters found their way back to Utah where their blood went into the local WWF gene pool. Stetson got his last foal crop in Washington State in 1972. {mospagebreak}

In 1946 another WWF stallion was brought to Utah. Delos Huff purchased MONTE LEON 8216 (Silver Ranger x Brady) who was bred in Texas by W P Thornhill and foaled in 1939. Like his sire, a Querido son bred by Roland Hill in California, Monte Leon was chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. His dam was by Dan, the Sellman bred son of Headlight Morgan, which along with his paternal half brother Dixie Dan was a sire on the JA ranch in Texas during the 1920s. Before coming to Utah, Monte Leon stood at the O E Sutter Ranch in Kansas where he sire 27 foals, most with the Dot S prefix. In Utah from 1948 to 1950, he got 11 more, eight mares and three colts. After that there are no more transfers or get listed for the 11 year old stud. Some of his daughters, including FREYA (x Iloayr), FRENA BELLE (x Frena) and LADY FALCON (x Falcon), went on to produce WWF foals in Utah.

In 1953 two of the most influential sires of Utah WWF Morgans arrived. One was FLYING JUBILEE 9964 (Flyhawk x Juvina by Jubilee King), a chestnut with no white markings of pure Brunk breeding. Foaled in Illinois in 1948, he had stood for two years at the LU before he was sold to cowboy writer Ern Peddler, who broke the stud and used him hard for mustanging in the roughest terrain imaginable. In his book The Big Lonely Horse and Other Stories, Ern describes Flying Jubilee as “a horse raised in flat lowlands where you couldn’t find a rock big enough to throw at a dog. Unridden as a long four year old. In less than a year he has become a top mountain horse in a country of which there is no rougher, doing as well as ponies raised in that country and longer broke, and better than many”.

Neal and Pat Werts saw the stallion in 1957 and described him in the Jan-Feb 1958 TMH. “Aside from conformation and type, which he has in abundance, he’s sired some wonderful colts. He has the ability, willingness, sense, courage and endurance that we’re all looking for. He is used hard, but seems to thrive on it. I doubt if most of us would ride where Ern takes his little stud”. Flying Jubilee sired 75 foals, including 32 colts and 43 fillies. He left one foal in the Mid-west, produced 18 for the LU, of which all but three were fillies, and sired 56 in Utah. His first was foaled in 1951 and his last in 1966. Flying Jubilee died of colic at 18, but he left a rich legacy of WWF Morgans in Utah and Wyoming.

J Roy Brunk sold two black full brothers into Utah. The Mosher brothers of Sandy, Utah purchased the 2 year old CONDO 10604 (Congo x May Burger by Squire Burger). The next year Hal P Schulthies of Woods Cross bought CHANGO 10937, a foal of 1957. Both brothers went to ranchers and both produced registered get, but Condo was to have the greater influence on WWF bloodlines as he had more registered get. Condo produced 157 foals, of which 79 were colts and 78 were fillies, sixty three of his get were foaled between 1954 and 1964 while he was owned in Utah by Mosher Bros. Another 88 were born between 1965 and 1976 while he was owned by the Hunewill Land & Livestock Co. in Nevada. Most of these carried the Circle H prefix. Condo’s last crop of four arrived in 1959. There were the chestnut, CONDEVI (x Bevi) who stood for most of his life for Coley Duncan near Phoenix, Arizona and the black, AARON JAY (x Fruita) who was a sire for the Eberlines of Eethree Morgans in Oklahoma. Many of Condo’s daughters were both excellent using horses and good producers of WWF stock.{mospagebreak}

Ern Peddler purchased TOWNSHEND GAYMEADE 10284 (Meade x Gayselba by Gay Mac) in 1957. A dark chestnut foal of 1949, Gaymeade was registered as bred by Wallace L Orcutt and owned by Anna Ela of Townshend farm. In fact, his bloodlines were straight Government as all four of his grandparents were bed by the U S Morgan Horse farm at Weybridge, VT. He was sold as a four year old to Helen Brunk Greenwalt, who packed him off to the LU Sheep Co, where he stood until sold to Pedler. He sired 56 foals for the LU, but none in Utah as he was sold on to Herman Speck of Tas-Tee farm in Ohio after less than a year.

Townshend Gaymeade sired a total of 84 registered foals, of which there were 28 colts and 56 fillies, from 1952 to 1971. His contribution to the WWF is primarily through his LU daughters, and several of them came to Utah as yearlings between 1954 and 1957, including GAY ROSE, HENNY, MACDELLA, LURAMEADE, LUCIMEADE, SUNMAID and HEIDI. In the early 1960s EMBAR and ECSTACY arrived.

Some of Gaymeade’s sons also came to Utah, most as yearlings. They were OMR DESERT JOY, OMR SUPREME, KING BOB, DICKIES KING and GAYLO’S VICTOR. Probably Gaymeade’s most prominent breeding son was Gaylo’s Victor 11596 (x Mallow by Linspar). Bred by the LU and originally named Charles B, he was registered by his new owner Mosher Bros. Sold as a two year old to Charles Boyce of Sandy, Utah, who changed his name, Gaylo’s Victor sired 31 registered foals in Utah between 1959 and 1975.

Melvin V “Mel” Frandsen of American Fork, Utah, first became interested in Morgans when he saw the LU bred stallion WASHAKIE 9104 (Highview King x Cascade by Plains King). A Chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, he was brought to Utah as a yearling by Delos Huff in 1945 and sold to Douglas W Nash of American Fork in 1948.

Frandsen liked his looks and the fact he had a nice singlefoot gait. Like many Westerners who have to cover a lot of miles horseback in rough country, Mel was partial to singlefooters, and he still is today. He says that over the years he has bred many Morgans who would do a running walk or singlefoot in addition to having a nice square trot. Except among ranchers and others who spend long hours in the saddle, he had until recently kept a Iow profile on the matter due to extreme prejudice against “gaited” Morgans within the breed.{mospagebreak}

Ern Pedler also taught his Morgans to singlefoot for the same practical reasons. This writer was privileged to ride one of Ern’s last mountain horses in 1977. He was a stout 15.2 chestnut WWF Morgan gelding about 12 years old and he gave a tremendously fast, powerful ride at either the singlefoot or trot. He was the last son of Flying Jubilee. Pedler told me a story about this horse. It seems that a couple of his riding buddies had been trying for years to beat him to the top of a certain mountain. Finally they each got a Tennessee Walker and then conditioned them for several months before issuing a challenge. On the day of the ride, the Walkers kept right up with Ern’s singlefooting Morgan, but when the going got rough and steep, the big Morgan pulled away from the competition and easily won the race to the mountain top. Ern grinned and said he thought the boys had just about given up after that.

Mel bred a couple of grade mares to Washakie and was pleased with the results. In 1957 he purchased his first registered Morgan, a three year old mare, STARFIELD by Fleetfield, from the Jackson ranch in Montana. Mel’s breeding program really took off in 1963 when he was able to purchase STELLAR in partnership with E W “Bud” Higgins of Lorwin Morgans. With J Holman Waters dispersing his ranching interests, Stellar had sired only one Morgan foal in 1956 and 1957 and none at all between 1958 and 1962, then one in 1963.

STELLAR 10009 (Mentor x Naiad) was foaled in 1948 at the US Morgan Horse Farm at Weybridge, Vermont. He was a dark liver chestnut marked with a connected strip and snip and white socks behind. IN 1950, Stellar was shown by the Government farm at the National Morgan Show, where he was named Junior Champion Stallion. At the same show, his sire was crowned Grand champion Stallion, his full sister, Riviera, was Champion Saddle Horse, and all three teamed up to win the Get of Sire class. Stellar left three foals in New England, two with the Bay State (U of Mass) and one with the UConn (U of Conn) prefix. All the rest of his 88 get were sired during his Utah years. When the government disbanded its breeding program in 1951, Stellar was purchased by sealed bid by J Holman Waters. In Utah, he made the transition to Western using horse. Each year from 1951 through 1955, he was named Grand Champion Stallion against all breeds at the Utah State Fair, and in 1955 he retired from the show ring undefeated. During these years Stellar sired only ten registered foals for Waters, but they were out of some very well bred WWF mares. There were four out of the Roland Hill mare Her Majesty (Sonfield x Iva by Querido) and one from her daughter Milholm Duchess (x Gay Mac). Her Majesty’s foals by Stellar were Baron of Milholm, Milholm Misty, Milholm Sue and Milholm Coronation. Stellar also sired a filly out of the Elmer Brown mare Elma Belle RM (Romanesque x Sparbelle by Sparhawk), and another out of her daughter Belayr (x Jack Sprat). In 1956 he sired a filly for E C Judd out of the Jackson ranch mare Agata (x Delbert).

In 1964, under the ownership of Frandsen and Higgins, Stellar had nine new foals on the ground. He continued to produce until his last foal crop of seven was dropped in 1972 just a few months after he died of heart failure at age 23. It was the blood of Stellar that knit together the various Utah Western Working lines into a distinct branch of the family. Besides the mares mentioned above, he produced get out of four Townshend Gaymeade daughters, DURKEE (x Luxury by Night Tide), EMBAR (x Lustre by Plains King), ECSTASY (x Charmaine by Senator Graham) and GAYFLOWER (x Moonflower by Plains King) all of which were bred by the LUSheepCo.{mospagebreak}

Two Stetson mares settled to the service of Stellar, IRISH MIST and MOCHA, as did two more LU mares by Highview King, RUSSET (x Shoshone by Flyhawk) and QUITA (x Luxury). Other LU mares who produced Stellar foals were CHARMAINE by Senator Graham and MOCCASIN by Plains King. The foals out of LADY FALCON (Monte Leon x Falcon by Plains King) brought in another old Utah line.

New blood was introduced when Stellar got foals on the California mares KEDRON BEATRICE by Lippitt Morman and her daughter EMBER RED by Redman. Stellar was also mated with three Chief Justin Morgan daughters, PICKAGIN, WYOMA and LOVELY LOIS, all bred by Johnnie Lee in Wyoming. Some of Stellar’s best offspring came from the Brunk mare CYNTHIA and her Frandsen bred daughter WlNGO by Flying Jubilee. Another Brunk mare ClNGO (Congo x Cynthia) produced Stellar foals, as did JEZABELLE (Chango x Wingo) and CLEO-PATRICIA (Flying Jubilee x Quita).

As for Stellar himself, Mel Frandsen remembers him as perhaps the best horse he ever saw or owned. Stellar was so gentle that the kids rode him up and down the road bareback with only a rope and halter. Mel especially enjoyed his stallion’s swift running walk until a visiting mare broke his left rear leg at age 18. After weeks in a full case and sling hooked up to a walking beam, Stellar recovered enough to mount mares, but his hock was permanently fused. Friends remember Stellar’s wonderful courage, patience and will to live during his slow recovery.

Years earlier, J Cecil Furgusson saw Stellar during a Western trip and wrote in the May 1955 TMH that he was “a good rugged 15 hand stallion weighing about 1100 pounds and like all Mentor offspring he has a wonderful disposition. It would be hard to fault Stellar”. Pat Werts saw him in 1958 and said in the Jan-Feb 1958 TMH, “he’s a handsome horse” and “is used regularly in the summer to work cattle on a ranch near Salt Lake City”. His later foals were the first to carry the Frandsen’s Mary Mels prefix. Stellar left a rich WWF legacy, especially through his 41 daughters and his two sons, the full brothers GRINGO and OMAR SHERIFF, each of whom established a dynasty of his own. They were out of the Brunk line mare WINGO (Flying Jubilee x Cynthia). She stout, typey little mare bred by Frandsen and foaled in 1960. GRINGO (Stellar x Wingo) was from Mel’s first from Stellar in 1964. Frandsen stood the handsome bay stallion until 1970 when he was sold to Don and Lucille Car of Lu Don Morgans in Nevada. Gringo produced about half of his 84 get in Utah and half when he stood in Nevada. His get included 41 bays, 41 chestnuts and one each buckskin and palomino.{mospagebreak}

He had one full sister, Mary Mels Dol, and five full brothers including OMAR SHERIFF. Foaled in 1966, Omar grew into a typey, correct 15.1 hand dark chestnut stallion with two hind white socks and a short, wide strip/snip that reached both nostrils. Frandsen kept him all his life, producing 126 foals, 71 colts and 55 fillies. Eleven were bay and the other 115 chestnut.

This writer has a vivid memory of Omar Sheriff. During a visit to the Frandsens in the late 1970s, I had asked Mel to turn his stud out so I could see him move. Instead he slipped on a bridle which was way too big and let the bit hang halfway down his mouth, led Omar out and tossed me up bareback. Not accustomed to stallions and long out of practice riding bareback, I grabbed him with my legs. He misunderstood and rose immediately into a long powerful lope that was a joy to ride. In spite of the ill fitting bridle, he had perfect manners and I soon discovered his springy, yet smooth trot and long strided walk. I still have a photo of myself sitting on the big stud, grinning with delight. Omar Sheriff’s untimely, accidental death by choking at 18 cut short a breeding career that produced excellent using, sport, show and breeding horses, many of which are carrying on the Western Working Family today.

The WWF tradition in Utah may not be as long as in some Western states, but it has a solid foundation going back to the late 1930’s, and is a living legacy continuing on into the future. The blood of the early sires, Escalant, Benayre, Golden Jubilee, Stetson, Monte Leon, Condo, Chango, Townshend Gaymeade, Flying Jubilee, Stellar, Gringo, Omar Sheriff and others not as well known, has come together to produce the Utah branch of the Western Working Family of Morgans.”