Alexander Keene Richards, Bluegrass Horse Breeder

donna

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Alexander Keene Richards was a noted horse breeder of thoroughbreds in Georgetown, Kentucky. He was a friend of John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge. He was also pro Confederacy during the war.

A. Keene Richards also introduced the Arabian horse into the U. S.

As to thoroughbreds, he gave a gift in 1862 to John Hunt Morgan his fine horse Glencoe. This horse was to replace Black Bess, the favorite horse Morgan lost in escaping from Federals.

As to Arabian horses, Mr. Richards made two trips to the Arabian dessert to purchase them. His first trip was between 185 1and 1852 and second trip was between 1855 and 1856. When he took these trips Mr.E. Trope, noted animal painter , accompanied him and helped with the selection of the horses. Richards brought several of the horses back with him. He had idea that by breeding a thoroughbred with Arabian he would produce a faster and finer horse.

Information from:

http://www.wiwfarm.com/ArabBloodBH.html
 

donna

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As posted above Glencoe was one of Richards finest horses. He was a racer and sired many fine thoroughbreds. One was his son, also named Glencoe. Glencoe was given as gift to John Hunt Morgan. Mr. Richards admired Morgan very much. He wanted Morgan to have a fine horse to replace his favorite horse, Black Bess, who had been lost. Glencoe was a very fast horse and became Morgan's other favorite. Glencoe was horse ridden by Morgan in his Great Raid into Indiana and Ohio. As written description of Glencoe states, "he was not only a strong, but a big horse. He had the thoroughbred points in a marked degree, but is robust proportions...Big as he was, he was yet extremely nimble and surefooted."

See site on
the first Glencoe and then information on the son Glencoe:
http://www.tbheritage.com/Portraits/Glencoe.html
 
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donna

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A. Keene Richards lived in Georgetown, Kentucky, the heart of the Bluegrass region. He had an extensive stud farm called Blue Grass Park. He was said to be the wealthiest man in the state of Kentucky in 1850s and up to war years. Much of his wealth was derived from cotton fields and sugar plantations in Louisiana and Mississippi. He was in partnership with other southerners on these ventures. The plantations were operated by slave labor. Thus, at the beginning of the war, he wanted Kentucky to secede and joint the Confederacy. He always supported the Confederate cause. It is known that at his own expense he equipped and mounted an entire company of Confederate Cavalry.

Later during the war years he had to flee the state of Kentucky. He first went to New Orleans and then to London. When the war ended, he returned to Kentucky and stayed at his Blue Grass farm until he died. He continued to bred horses up to his death.
 

SharonS

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An interesting bit of trivia....the original Glencoe (a foundation sire of the modern American Thoroughbred) was only owned by Richards for a few months, but he presumably sired Morgan's Glencoe before his death in 1857. Or he may have been the grandsire. They reused names again and again, making it very difficult to trace a horse's origins and ancestry in the pre-Stud Book days.

Here's the interesting thing. The original (and best) Glencoe was imported into the US in the 1830's by a Scots-Irish plantation owner named James Jackson, who I came to believe might be related to Stonewall Jackson, going back to his ancestors from Northern Ireland. I was unable to prove it, but I still think it might be true. I was looking for the horse-related history of the Jackson family. (I tend to go off on tangents).
 

donna

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What I found was James Jackson did buy Glencoe and brought him to his Forks of Cypress planation in 1837. Jackson bred Glencoe for years. Jackson's horses were sold to different horse breeders when Jackson died. His horses Glencoe and Peytona were sold to Alexander Keene Richards of Blue Grass Farms, Georgetown, Kentucky. Glencoe died in 1857 and Peytona 5 years later. They are both buried on Richards farm.
 
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