This bird does not look like one of today’s chickens and yet she was a top prizewinner in the early 20th century. Duchess had her portrait drawn by F.L. Temple in 1904. She is standing on a packing crate.
My granddad, Fremont Chapin, was a gentleman farmer and called his place ChapinDale in Oneida, New York. He traveled the world seeking out fine chickens. He would get on a steamer and sail to Europe to choose chickens to be brought home to ChapinDale. He raised prize specimens and showed them at exhibitions. Madison Square Garden II held huge poultry shows.
He won several blue and red ribbons at the Garden events in 1899 and 1901. They have been kept in a box ever since then. There was also a medal for a Challenge Cup in 1899. There were two ribbons from the Adirondack Poultry & Pet Stock Club in Johnstown, N.Y.
Fremont was in his 40s when he did his. A New York Times
article from 1909 describes the Madison Square Garden event: “Chickens Coming to Roost. . . .Years of service and popularity have given to the show a hold upon the public favor. … [T]here is a representative in every class that shows what the American poultry-raiser can do and what, also, has been done in the adoption of foreign birds and their betterment by American treatment.”
I wrote about my granddad in 2009 here
Labels: family, history, odd facts