Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Granddad's chickens

 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. from 1898.
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.

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Blogger JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

This is all very interesting. It is wonderful that you have the ribbons still. One of Don's uncles raised chickens of all sorts and was also a chicken contest judge, but I'm not sure if he entered chickens or just judged them.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Del said...

When I was younger I was amazed that there were people who had never seen a live chicken or cow - "city folk". But I realize that even with the traveling I do I rarely see any chickens now. I guess they are all in chicken jails serving their short life spans. Sad. I guess that dogs are the chickens of our era - hence the Westminster Dog Show instead of the Westminster Chicken Show.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Tanya Brown said...

Oh, wow.

I like the look of this chicken. She seems like the sort who'd be racing around a garden pecking at slugs and bugs. A creature with some personality.

I feel dreadful for the ones who are regarded as sort of organic machines, stuck a jillion to a cage in egg factories.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Meggie said...

Oh, we loved our chickens- 'chooks' in NZ and Oz. I always wished I could keep some in latter years, but no space, and suburban by-laws prevented any such dream from becoming reality.
Love this post!

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Kristin Nicholas said...

Have you read the book Hen Fever? It is old and maybe you can find it on the Internet? Very interesting. About the popularity of raising chickens 100 years ago or so.

5:54 AM  

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