The American Dominique

America's Oldest Breed of Livestock

Dominiques in Literature

Scattered throughout literature you can find references to the Dominique,  Dominicker, Dominecker, the old blue hen, etc.  Regardless of what our favorite breed is called it is interesting to see them referenced in such an off-hand way as though everyone knows exactly what they were.   What follows are excerpts from those works where the breed is mentioned.

On a more serious note, in these historic works I have done NO editing.  This means that a couple of the excerpts contain language or race references that would no longer be considered politically correct.    One must consider the era when these were written and judge accordingly.


Vacation with the Tucker Twins
by Nell Speed

Copyright  1916

Sally Winn gasped and clutched her heart until I thought we’d have to
run for her pink medicine; but she pulled herself together. It was
nothing but astonishment at the long speech from Jo. Jo actually
stringing words together and getting up a picnic! It was too much for
Sally, but she rose to the occasion with plans for a big lunch.

“I’ve a ham all cooked–and some blue Dominicker chickens that have just
reached the frying size–I’ll make some fried pies–and some light
rolls–some Columbus eggs would eat good–and my pear pickle can’t be
beat, and a stem to every one so you can eat it without messing yourself
up—-”


In Simpkinsville
By Ruth McEnery Stuart
Copyright 1897

Scanned by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Category: Fiction, Social life and customs in Arkansas

. . .

“See that stove how she spits smoke. East wind ‘ll make her spit any day – seems to gag her.”

“Yas,” McMonigle chuckled softly, as he leaned forward and began poking the fire, “she hates a east wind, but she likes me – don’t you, old girl? See her grow red in the face while I chuck her under the chin.”

“Look out you don’t chuck out a coal of fire on kitty with your foolin’,” said old man Taylor. “She does blush in the face, don’t she? An’ see her wink under her isinglass spectacles when she’s flirted with.”

“That stove is a well-behaved old lady,” interrupted the doctor; “reg’larly gits religion, an’ shouts whenever the wind’s from the right quarter – an’ I won’t have her spoke of with disrespect.

“If she could tell all she’s heard, settin’ there summer and winter, I reckon it ‘d make a book – an’ a interestin’ one, too. There’s been cats and mice born in her all summer, an’ birds hatched; an’ Rowton tells me he’s got a dominicker hen thet’s reg’larly watched for her fires to go out last two seasons, so she can lay in her. An’ didn’t you never hear about Phil Toland hidin’ a whiskey bottle in her one day last summer and smashin’ a whole settin’ o’ eggs? The hen, she squawked out at him, an’ all but skeered him to death. He thought he had a ‘tackt o’ the tremens, shore – an’ of a adult variety.”

“Pity it hadn’t a-skeert him into temperance,” remarked the man opposite.

“Did sober him up for purty nigh two weeks. Rowton he saw it all, an’ he give the fellers the wink, an’ when Pete hollered, he ast him what was the matter, an’ of co’se Pete he pointed to the hen that was kitin’ through the sto’e that minute, squawkin’ for dear life, an’ all bedaubled over with egg, an’ sez he: ‘What sort o’ dash blanketed hens hev you got round here, settin’ in stoves?’ And Rowton he looks round and winks at the boys. ‘Hen,’ says he – ‘what hen?

Any o’ you fellers saw a hen anywhere round here?’

“Of co’se every feller swo’e he hadn’t saw no hen, an’ Rowton he went up to Pete and he says, says he: ‘Pete,’ says he, ‘you better go home an’ lay down. You ain’t well.’

“Well, sir, Pete wasn’t seen on the streets for up’ards o’ three weeks after that.

“Yas, that stove has seen sights and heard secrets, too, I don’t doubt.


At the Mercy of Tiberius
By Augusta Evans Wilson
Copyright  1887

“Own up, husband. You did find a hankchef. You see, Marse Alfred, we helped to raise that poor young gal’s mother; and Bedney and me was ‘votedly attached to our young Mistiss, Miss Ellie, and we thought ole Marster was too hard on her, when she run off with the furrin fiddler; so when this awful ‘fliction fell upon us and everybody was cusing Miss Ellie’s child of killing her own grandpa, we couldn’t believe no such onlikely yarn, and Bedney and me has done swore our vow, we will stand by that poor young creetur, for her ma’s sake; for our young mistiss was good to us, and our heart strings was ‘rapped round her. We does not intend, if we can help it, to lend a hand in jailing Miss Ellie’s child, and so, after the Crowner had ‘liceted all the facts as he said, and the verdict was made up, Bedney and me didn’t feel no crampings in our conscience, about holding our tongues. Another reason why we wanted to lay low in this hiere bizness, was that we didn’t hanker after sitting on the anxious seats of witnesses in the court-house; and being called ongodly thieves, and perjured liars, and turned wrong side out by the lie-yers, and told our livers was white, and our hearts blacker than our skins. Marse Alfred, Bedney and me are scared of that court; what you call the law, cuts curous contarabims sometimes, and when the broad axe of jestice hits, there is no telling whar the chips will fly; it’s wuss than hull-gull, or pitching heads and tails. You are a lie-yer, Marse Alfred, and you know how it is yourself; and I beg your pardon, sir, for slighting the perfession; but when I was a little gal, I got my scare of lie-yers, and it has stuck to me like a kuckleburrow.

One Christmas eve jest before ole Marster got married, he had a egg-nog party; and a lot of gentlemen was standing ’round the table in the dining-room. One of ’em was ole Mr. Dunbar, Marse Lennox’ father, and he axed ole Marster if he had saved that game rooster for him, as he promised, Marster told him he was very sorry, but some rogue had done gone and burnt some sulphur the week before in his henhouse, and bagged that ‘dentical rooster. Presently Mr. Dunbar axed if Marster would let him have one of the blue hen’s roosters, if he would catch the rogue for him before midnight. Of course Marster said he would. Mr. Dunbar (Marse Lennox’ pa), he was practicing law then, had a pot full of smut on the bottom, turned upside down on the dining-room flo’, and he and Marster went out to the hen-‘ouse and got a dominicker rooster and shoved him under the pot. Then they rung the bell, and called every darkey on the place into the dining-room, and made us stand in a line. I was a little gal then, only so high, but I followed my daddy in the house, and I never shall disremember that night, ’cause it broke up our home preachment.

Mr. Dunbar made a speech, and the upshot of it was, that every darkey was to walk past the pot and rub his finger in the smut; and he swore a solemn oath, that when the pusson that stole that fine game rooster, touched the pot, the dominicker rooster would crow. As Marster called our names, we every one marched out and rubbed the pot, and when all of us had tried, the rooster hadn’t crowed. Mr. Dunbar said there was some mistake somewhere, and he made us step up and show hands, and make prints on his hankcher; and lo, and behold! one darkey had not touched the pot; his forefinger was clean; so Mr. Dunbar says, ‘Luke, here is your thief?’ and shore ’nuff, it was our preacher, and he owned up. I never forgot that trick, and from that day ’till now, I have been more scared of a lie-yer, than I am of a mad dog. They is the only perfession that the Bible is agin, for you know they jawed our Lord hisself, and he said, ‘Woe! woe! to you lie-yers.’ Now, Marse Alfred, if you have made up your mind you are gwine to have that hankcher, it will be bound to come; for if it was tied to a millstone and drapped in the sea, you lie-yers would float it into court; so Bedney, jest perduce what you found.”


THE DESERT FIDDLER
By William H. Hamby
Copyright  1919

“But,” persisted Bob, “when you earn a thing and get what you earn, it
is really yours, and has a value and gives a pleasure that you can’t
get out of money that comes any other way.”

“Don’t you believe it,” Noah shook his head lugubriously.  “The easier
money comes the more I enjoy it.  Only it don’t never come.  It goes.
This here gamblin’ business reminds me of an old dominecker hen we used
to have.  That hen produced an awful lot of cackle but mighty few eggs.
It is what my dad would have called the shadow without the substance.


THE STORY OF A COMMON SOLDIER OF ARMY LIFE
IN THE CIVIL WAR 1861-1865
Second Edition

by LEANDER STILLWELL
Late of Co. D, 61st Illinois Infantry

DEDICATED TO MY YOUNGEST SON,
JEREMIAH E. STILLWELL.

DEAR JERRY:

You have earnestly asked me to write something in the nature of an extended account of my career as a soldier in the Union army during the Civil War. It will be a rather strenuous undertaking for a man of my age. I shall be seventy-three years old in about three months, and the truth is, I am now becoming somewhat indolent, and averse to labor of any kind, either mental or physical. But I have concluded to comply with your request, and undertake the work. Whether I shall complete it, or not, I cannot now positively say, but I will do the best I can. And I will also say, for whatever you may think it worth, that YOU are the only person, now living, whose request could induce me to undertake the sketch that you desire.

L. STILLWELL.

Erie, Kansas,
July 3, 1916.

—- I told him that the doctor had refused to excuse him, that he was the next man on the roll for duty, that I had no discretion in the matter, and he would have to get ready and go. But, if he was feeling worse, I would go with him again to the doctor,
and request him to look further into his case. Press sprang out of his bunk with a bound, and grabbed his trousers. “Before I’ll ever go again,” he said, “to that hawk-nosed old blankety-blank-blank, to get excused from duty, I’ll see him in hell further than a pigeon can fly in a leap year. He hasn’t got sense enough, anyhow, to doctor an old dominecker hen that is sick with a sore [anus], much less a civilized human being. You could let me off this detail, if you wanted to, and let me tell you, Stillwell, if this trip kills me, which it probably will, I want you to remember, as long as you live, that the responsibility for my death lies on your head!”


The Annals of Ann
By Kate Trimble Sharber

Copyright 1910

One morning early, while mammy was beating the biscuit for breakfast,
and I was up in the pear tree right by the kitchen door I nearly fell
out with surprise when I saw Professor Young coming around the house
with a pretty shirt open at the neck that he admires and two _great
big_ dominecker roosters up in his arms which were both squawking very
loud. Mammy Lou came to the door to see what all the noise was about,
and he said she was the very person he wanted to see.

“Auntie,” he commenced, trying to get into his pocket and wipe his
face with his handkerchief, which was greatly perspiring, but he
couldn’t do it for the roosters, “my wife and I are in a quandary. We
are both ignorant of the preferred method of inflicting a painless yet
instantaneous death upon a fowl.”

Mammy’s eyes began to shine, for she loves big words like she loves
watermelons, and without a sign of manners she never even tried to
answer his question, but looked up at me in the tree and says:

“Baby, kin you rickollect all that to write it down?”

Professor Young then looked up into the tree too and says: “Why,
Mistress Ann, how entirely characteristic!” And then he wanted to know
what book I was reading and I told him, _John Halifax, Gentleman_,
which I have had for my favorite book since I was eleven years old;
and the roosters continued to squawk. I got down then and asked
Professor Young if he wouldn’t come into the house, but he said no and
asked his question to mammy over again. She looked at me and to save
her manners I told her right quick what the meaning of it was, me
understanding it on account of being precocious and also at Rufe’s
last winter, where they use strange words.

“_Thar now!_ Is _that_ all it’s about?” she asked awfully
disappointed, for she thought from the words “painless death” it must
be something about preaching. Then in a minute, when she saw that he
was still waiting, she turned around to him and said: “Whar is the
chicken _at_ that you want killed?”

He held the roosters away from him and, looking at them as proud as a
little boy looks at a bucket of minnows, he said:

“These are they!”

This tickled mammy so, and me too, though I remembered my manners,
that she began to laugh, which shook considerable under her apron, and
said:

“Well, gentle_men_! Whut do you want to kill _them_ for?”

“For breakfast,” he said; and, noticing her laughing, his face got to
looking so pitiful all in a minute that it made me just wish that
Cinderella’s fairy godmother would come along and turn those roosters
into nice little pullets all fried and laying on parsley.

“Why, Mr. Professor,” mammy told him, “them roosters is so old that
they will soon die a natural death if you leave them alone; and
they’re so big that you might fry ’em frum now till breakfast time on
Jedgment Day, and then they wouldn’t be fitten!”

When she told him this he did manage to get out his handkerchief, I
thought maybe to cry on, he looked so disappointed, but it was just to
perspire on.

“I–er, observed that they were unduly large,” the poor man told her,
“but I–er, thought maybe the larger a country thing was the better!”


THE TREASURE OF ‘ THE LAND
How Alice Won Her Way
By Garrard Harris

Copyright 1917

“Well, to break and cross-break that acre is wuth a dollar ’n’ a half. That’s what I’d charge anybody else.”

“Here’s your money,” said Henry, with a grand air. “Gimme, a receipt for it.”

The transaction was concluded with great solemnity.

Mr. Warren plowed and harrowed the whole garden-spot, and figured that on account of especial deep plowing Alice ought to pay thirty cents for her tenth. This she did that night, and she also demanded a receipt.

The one dollar and eighty cents Mr. Warren handed over to his wife, who the next day invested it in a young “dominecker” rooster and four hens, purchased from a neighbor.

“I can’t wait for you to get those fancy chickens, ” she explained to Alice, who was surprised, on re turning from school, to find the fowls in the chicken house, where they were being kept until they became at home. “Besides, fancy chickens always seem too valuable to eat. What I want is just a common, good eating and laying chicken. I’m used to that sort. And I’m going to get some more hens soon’s I can spare the money.”

“You take these three dollars and see if you can find any more, mother,” said Alice. “I think I will have my hands full with my crop, and you better handle the chicken end of this farm. I expect those ‘domineckers’ are just about as good as any.”


Carlotta’s Intended
By Ruth McEnery Stuart
Copyright 1894

Somehow, I miss ma to-night,” he said, wearily, at last. ” But I know she’d scold ef she was to come in sudden an’ see the way things are. Seem like I can’t ricollec’ to wind up that clock reg’lar, noways. ‘N’ ef she was to see ole Domi- nicker a-sett’n over yonder on the flour-bar’l — well, I dun’no’ what she would say. How ma has wrastled with that hen! Lay an’ set on that flour- bar’l top she would, spite o’ the devil — ‘n’ pore ma jest ez set on breakin’ ‘er !

How I have begged ‘er to let me nail a little strip aroun’ the top to keep the eggs f’om rollin’ off ! But she wouldn’t, an’ jest ez reg’lar ez her back was turned seem like Dominicker ‘d up an’ lay a egg, an’ it ‘d roll off an’ smash, ‘n’ ma’d whup ‘er — but of co’se she whupped ‘er so easy it didn’t hurt — an’ nex’ day, maybe jest a hour sooner or later, jest quick ez ma’d get both han’s in the dough, or maybe be tiltin’ the wash-kittle, she’d up an’ perform, ‘n’ they’d have the same picnic over agin. Lordy ! but it was tur’ble. I’ve begged ‘er to kill Dominicker a-many a time when the preachers ‘d come out to dinner, but ’twasn’t no use. She ‘lowed thet she’d kill ‘er after she’d conquered ‘er, an’ not befo’ — ‘n’ then she’d make me go an’ kill some easy-goin’, Christian-sperited hen, an’ she’d continue to wrastle with Dominicker. I do b’lieve ma’s read passages o’ Scrip- tur’ an’ prayed over breakin’ up Dominicker f’om sett’n on that flour-bar’l. An’ it would shorely pleg her mightily to know I’d fixed ‘er nes’ there, jest the way she wanted it. But I ‘lowed thet maybe ma wouldn’t know it, an’ when she was here she had her way, ‘n’ now th’ ain’t no con trary person roun’ but Dominicker, an’ I ‘low to let ‘er have her turn at hers.


The Boston Cooking School Magazine of
Culinary Science and Domestic Economics
November 1911

Mayberry straightened himself with a jerk, whirled ’round, and perceived, at no great distance, two three-quarter- grown Dominicker cockerels, half ob scured amid the debris of a bed of young onions. The stout yellow legs were vigorously scratching, while the absorbed fowls conversed in a series of inarticulate gutterals, chuckling fatuitously. Mayberry regarded them for a moment of dumb rage, then, brandishing his hoe, exploded.

Get out!” vociferated Mayberry.

“Meaning me?” meekly queried Sawyer. Then did Mayberry, with ill- suppressed fury, turn upon his erst while friend.

“See here, Sawyer, I’ve always con sidered you a gentleman, but a man who turns his half-starved chickens into a neighbor’s garden, to fatten up on the products of his labor ”

“Why, Mayberry, did you make the worms? Glad you told me! I didn’t know that!. . .Besides, they’re not my chickens.”

“Not your chickens? Isn’t that a Dominicker?”

“Yep.”

“And that?”

“Yep.”

“And aren’t yours Dominicker?”

“Nope. Mine are Plymouth Rock.”

“Same thing.”

“Can’t help it. Those are not my birds.”


Monthly Journal Published by
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Vol. XIX
January 1885

A Rooster’s Mistake

There are two families in New Orleans to-day who reside in adjoining houses up-town, and who, a few bright days ago, were Warm friends, but are deadly enemies now.

Baumgard is a druggist and makes his own pills, and Snider runs a small gro cery, and raises chickens in his back yard, and it was his habit to lean over the back fence in the evening and war ble the German language with Baum gard, as the latter mixed insect powders and put up castor oil.

This, however, is now a matter of the past, and from what the States man heard concerning the trouble, it appears that one day Baumgard made about two bushels of pills and spread them out on a sheet in the back yard to dry in the sun, preparatory to placing them in vials for selling to customers.

After the pills had been arranged so that they would catch the full force of the sun, Baumgard went into the fore part of the store to fill a prescription and while he was gone an old Shanghai roos ter belonging to Snider flew up on the back fence and peeped down into the back yard, and saw what he believed to be a spread of choice white peas; and he commenced to cluck with the reatest satisfaction, and to shake his tai% feath ers as if to say: “I’ve struck a real bo nanza.” The old rooster, who had eight wives and about as many sweethearts in Snider’s yard, concluded to invite the entire family to a pea dinner, so he strutted along the top of the fence and joyfully informed the hens and young roosters of his discovery, and told them to come over and dine with him at once. As scratching was bad that day in Snider’s yard, all the chickens, young and old, accepted the invitation without delay, and the next moment Baumgard’s pills were being swallowed as fast as a %et if hungry chickens could work their beaks.

“This is quite a treat, is it not?” re marked the old Shanghai to the little speckled pullet, after he had filled his criilw with about a dozen or more of the pills.
“Yes, indeed,” murmured the little pullet, “it is just too nice for anything, because the peas are delicious.”

“I am glad you like the meal, Miss Pullet,” said the Shanfghai, as he stood on one leg and looked ondly down upon her, “and your company to dinner will always be a source of great pleasure l0 me,” and while the little pullet blushed at the compliment, the Shanghai ran around her in a circle a couple of times, and scratched his left wing, which in chicken manners amounts to a display of great respect and esteem.

“ You are always so kind, Mr. Shanghai,” said a matronly looking hen, “ because when you find anything nice you will not touch it unless your friends share it with you.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Dominicker; but you flatter me when you say that,” and the old rooster stretched himself, and after a low bow, stalked about feeling that he was the boss of the world.

He did not think so long, for suddenly a feeling of uncertainty struck him about the pit of the stomach, and he began to appear agitated, and the next moment he was turning around, first one way then another, in great distress of mind.

Mrs. Dominicker asked him if he had seen anything of her eldest daughter’s chicks, but, without replying, he apologized and hastened away, stepping as high as a blind horse in plowed ground.

A few minutes after the departure of the Shanghai, a look of consternation crept into the eyes of the old hen, and she also scooted away in another direction as fast as her legs could carry her. One by one the remaining chickens dis appeared, without even saying good-by.

That evening, when Snider went out to find his chickens, he found the Shanghai roosting on the top of a barrel, doubled up in aknot not larger than an apple, and so weak that he could not blink his eyes.

Around about the yard were ten or twelve pullets, cold in the embrace of death, but with their feathers ruffled in such a way as to indicate that they had died hard. All that were left were the Shanghai and the hen, and both of them looked as though the did not care how soon death snatched’ them from their pain. About the same time in the even ing, Baumgard came out in the back yard to gather up his pills, but they had gone.

The truth dawned upon him at once, and looking over the fence he saw Sni der, and Snider saw him, and they glared at each other.

“I say, Snider,” said Baumgard, “vy mit de devil don’t you keep our tam schickens mit dere coops in? They have eat more as five hundred uf my liver pills.”

“Vell, vy in de tamnation,” yelled Snider, “you trows your poison all de time about and kills my schickens? Dells me dat, und I makes you bay for dose schickens if dere vas any law in dis world.”

“ I bays for nodding,” howled Baum gard, as he shook his fist at Snider-’s head. “I lose my medicine und my pills by dose tam schickens, und if you vill come mit de sidevalk out, den ve purty tam soon see who have de money.”

“If I goes dere I knocks your eye avay !” screamed Snider, and then both ma e a rush for the street, and the next moment the friends of many years rolled each other all over the sidewalk until they were separated by neighbors.

Counter suits have been filed by Baum gard and Snider, and the judge says that it will be difficult to decide who is entitled to damages.—New Orleans States.


The Christian Advocate – September 4, 1902

“Tom” and His Family

Tom is a Dominic rooster. Last winter his feet were frozen. After a short time the legs came off just below the knees, and the stubs healed over nicely. At first we intended to kill him and end his helpless sufferings; but everyone was “chicken hearted” about it. So he lived until a neighbor boy, Dan, asked for him for a pet.

It is entertaining to see Tom get about. Having no toes. He cannot well balance himself, yet, in a way, he is quite expert at it. Usually he sits flat on the ground, and we teased Dan that, as Tom was good for nothing else, eggs should be put under him, that he might hatch them. Tom has refuted that slander. When Tom wants to make a journey he spreads both wings, as a sort of combined balance pole, sail, and rudder. Then, with his stub-legs thumping the ground, away he goes—somewhere. The rudder part is uncertain, and often he will spin round like a top or run in a small circle several times before he can stop at equilibrium. It is very comical to see him. He crows as cheerily as any rooster. He cannot defend himself, and other roosters have to be kept away from him.

The thing that distinguishes Tom and entities him to a biography is his interest in and care for the little chicks. When a member of one flock gets to the wrong coop Tom proceeds to see it safely home. Getting his wings and stubs in motion, he first makes for the wanderer, which he seizes by the neck with his bill. Then he starts on the uncertain trip to the home coop. Sometimes the course is straight, and sometimes it is zigzag or roundabout. But with the chick dangling and squawk ing he perseveres until he reaches the right place. It is a laughable performance, though the chick appears not to see the fun in it. The mistress regards Tom‘s attentions in that ‘way as cruel, it well meant. and switches him for it. Then he flutters away with a crestfallen air, and creeps under a shed. From that safe retreat he sends forth his defiant chanticleer.

A mother hen died and Tom took her unprotected brood literally under his wing. He cannot lead them about through the day, but at night he gathers them in the little box and covers them with his feath ers. They accept it in a matter-of-fact way. Whether Tom will yet take to hatching his own brood remains to be seen.

Altogether we think Tom is an unusual specimen of his race and a citizen of mark. He takes a philosophical and sensible view of life. Though handicapped, he makes the very best out of everything. He seems as happy as if he had two good feet.


Grip (an 1879 magazine)
From the section titled “The Joker Club” with a subtitle of “The Pun is Mightier than the Sword

The ceramic art has become so popular on Long Island that dominic hens that used to feel flattered while sitting on china eggs refuse to take anything less than a blue milk pitcher or a purple tea set. – N.Y. Herald


An excerpt from the Annual Report of New York 1864
THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF YOUNG FARMERS

An Address before the Greene County Agricultural Society
September 30th, 1864, by Rev. Charles Rockwell, of Catskill

. . . . It has made me in my old age, as happy as a child to have my noble Dominic rooster come early each morning some ten or twelve rods to the house, and standing under my bedroom window crow long and loudly there, until having spoken a few kind words to him in return for his morning salute, he returned quietly to the barn, and watching until I came forth from the house, met me with all his Mormon wives around him, some of them flying into my arms to be carried; while with him, as a crest, standing on my cap, and one of his wives on each shoulder as an epaulette, I have moved about, though I had no food with me to draw them to me.


 The Michigan Poultry Breeder
February 1901

“Boyhood Days”

The letter in the December Breeder “Why I Breed Game Fowls,” recalls to my mind my assassination of an old Dominique cock in my boyhood days. It happened back in ’71,  (ed. that would be 1871) and at that I time I was ten years old, living in a village in North Carolina. I was a full fledged hack fighter at that time and owned the boss cocks of the town. Well, about the Dominique; a next-door neighbor of ours was presented with an old fashioned dunghill Dominique by her father in the country. I should say he would weigh 8% pounds, and had feathers on him as thick as the fur on a beaver, and spurs, Holy Moses! they were like the horns on a Texas steer.

Well, it flew around among us boys that there was a new cock in town and a fighter, as he had been taken from the farm for that reason. I tackled Mrs. Blank’s son Walter for a fight but he was a good Sunday school boy and would not fight. Well, boys, I said, we will get fight anyway, if he is such a scrapper. I made the plan that I would drive my best cock and hens down in our apple orchard, which was right next to their yard and enticed the cock over with them. I had all my small army of urchins to see the fun. My plan was successful and he flew the fence in no time to get acquainted. He no sooner hit the sod than the feathers began to fly; that kept up for one half hour, when my cook got a shot through the brain that settled that fight.
Well, he got back over the fence and I told the boys we would try him again next day with one of my other ones. Next day he whipped mine in two minutes and sent him back to the hen house singing, Good bye, my Honey. I was in a rage and went and caught the quitter and presented him for the dinner table. I was getting restless by this time and told the boys we would try him again that afternoon with my last one; -well, we did, and such a fight for half an hour and then my cock got one of those horns through his thigh which broke it and finished him.

Now I was wild and told the boys to bring two of their best cocks and we would double on the old sinner the next morning. They brought them and we were going to kill him with the two cocks at once; well, inside of 15 minutes he had sent one singing and the other dead. That night he walked up to my house crowing for more fight and couldn’t find any, so went to roost with my hens. By and by Mrs. B. came up and asked it I had seen her rooster. Yes, mam, he was out in my hen house, and I wanted to buy him from her.

She laughed in my face and said, no, as it was a present to her, and furthermore, she wanted all the cock fighting boys to bring their chickens and put them in my orchard, and the people would soon be rid of that bad habit we had of fighting; for at the rate he was going on he would kill all in town in a week or so, and went off laughing at me. as she had seen all the fights and knew as well as I did how they had terminated.

Well, that rooster, in my mind, had to be killed fair or foul; the only thing to do was to go and see my old Yankee friend, Mr. Hart, who had moved from Pennsylvania and settled about four miles out from town and had some thoroughbred B. B. Beds. That night I sold one of my Opossum hounds for $3.50, and next morning saw the contingent start for Friend Hart’s. It consisted of my two year old heifer calf drawing a two wheel cart that my father bad made for me, with my little five year old sister perched on the seat with me, and my right bower and one half dozen others tramping behind to see my purchase that would kill the old dunghill; and last but not least, my good old bull terrier, Dandy, that would take hold of the devil if I said sick him, Dandy. Well, I bought a two year old cock that was never licked, paid $4.00 for him and had to owe 50 cents to my friend.

Got back home and there was more than work on that cock’s spurs to get them like nee dies that afternoon. I remember well a remark my father made to my mother while he was watching the preparation going on; my mother came out and said, Major ’tis a shame to let this boy buy all those roosters, and when one don’t suit him he chops his head off and takes him to the kitchen; only the other day he killed the prettiest one he had. I glanced at the old gentleman and he was all smiles, and said, Oh, let him alone; be is only a chip off the old block. I never asked him afterward, but am sure he knew ’twas the singer that went in the pot, and was proud of me for it
Well, I kept the new purchase in the hen house with the hens for two days to get acquainted, and the fatal morning arrived. I sent the hens to the orchard and the cock followed, crowing all the while; Mr. Dominique crowing also, over the fence he came, and the feathers flew from that old dunghill like you were emptying a pillow tick in a stiff wind; but my cock could not get a brain blow in on him, try as he would. Well the Dominique flew the fence and looked like a cyclone had plucked him. When I got my cock, lo and behold, he was a blinker. I was mad, as I had told the boys we had the Dominique on the run now.

Next day the cook let my cock out of the coop and the old Dominique tackled him again and cowed him so he would not fight him anymore, do what I would, end would chase him all over the lot. Well, that was too much. His fate was sealed and I swore that I would shoot him on sight. I heard him crowing in the clover lot next morning and I knew now was my chance, so I took my old Long Tom single barrel muzzle loading shot gun, and to the barn and stables I went and found a convenient crack to look through and waited my chance, took good aim, and I never since have beard such a loud report of a gun or heard a cock holler so loud or jump so high; I had hit him in the neck with large squirrel shot. Mrs. B. came out and looked all around but she couldn’t see me in the barn, nor her cock in clover knee high. I finished the job that night with a spade and no one ever knew but myself until I was 22 years old. where that old Dominique was. Of course, I was blamed by Mrs. B. for it but I knew nothing; her son accused me of killing it because I could not whip him fair. Well I gave him an unmerciful beating for saying so, and I got one in return from my mother. But I got hunk by giving orders to all my gang to whip him on sight, and he got three before I called it off and informed him if I heard any more I would give old Dandy a breakfast on his pet poodle at the first chance.

A few years after my father died and I got it into my head to be a cotton planter, and off to Georgia I went, and did not return until 22 years old. I saw Mrs. B., of course, when I got back, and about the first thing I said was, Mrs. B. I want to make a confession to you, What, says she, about the rooster? Yes, I said, and I had to tell the whole story to her and my mother Well, Dave, she said, don’t you know it trea ed me right because I might have known if you could not kill him with cocks you would kill him otherwise on account of his being a dunghill.

Well, Mr Editor, I felt a load taken off me after that twelve years of silence, but forgot it never. I breed B. B. Beds now, and think I can truthfully say that every time I go in my yard and look at one cock I have I think of my boyhood days and the old Dominique that I assassinated down in old Carolina. H.D.J.

 

 

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