The Great Hound Match of 1905 by Martha Wolfe

The Story of an Audacious Contest

In November 1905, the peak of foxhunting season across the Midlands of England and up and down the east coast of North America, two tiny towns in Virginia’s Piedmont, poor and nearly forgotten after the Civil War and a recent depression, saw the coming of illustrious and wealthy foxhunters to raise their hopes.

There was to be a contest, a Great Hound Match, between two packs of foxhounds, one English and one American.

The English hounds carried, on their great stout forearms and deep chests, the monumental weight of centuries of foxhunting in England and were expected to make their hound dog ancestors proud of their New World conquest. The American hounds were expected to show those stodgy old Brits how it was done over here—with spunk and intuition, individuality, drive, and nerve. This book, the story of an audatious contest between men cut from very different cloth and their hounds carved from very different stock, chronicles a metaphorical battle in America’s coming of age—her psychic independence from Britain’s lingering shroud at the turn of the 20th century.

Coming in November, 2015

MARTHA READS


Advanced Praise for The Great Hound Match of 1905

“Wolfe captures not only the essence of the time, but with clever word snapshots the essence of these two men, titans of their generation, and an event that could only have happened in that era. An astute and well-crafted read indeed.”

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MARTHA WRITES


I’m currently researching a bio of Mary Lee Settle, a great American writer and founder of the PEN/Faulkner Awards.

mary lou settle

I did not grow up riding horses or foxhunting. My husband gave me my first horse in the early 1980s and I pursued the sport much like a foxhound puppy does his first fox—with sloppy but keen, even naïve, enthusiasm.

POTENTIAL SPOT FOR BLOG POSTS TO LINK TO YOUR OTHERS
 I have since found that foxhunting, besides being politically incorrect and so … two-centuries-ago…is spectacularly dangerous, exciting, fascinating from an animal-behaviorist’s point of view, remarkable from a historical point-of-view, filled with literary appeal and always, in every way, beautiful. Foxhunting, from a rider’s point of view, is, well, absolutely addictive.

In our little corner of Virginia, we have raised three boys, a bunch of Connemara ponies, a couple of donkeys, a few cats who refuse to catch mice, some pigs and a couple of steers on their farm in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Each summer we “walk” foxhound puppies for the Blue Ridge Hunt.

The Wagon Train

Two strangers came to two towns in Virginia bringing with them their separate entourages—private train loads of friends and their horses, trunks of tack, boots, formal and informal clothing, food and wine, servants and of course their hound dogs. Neither Middleburg nor Upperville, Virginia, had seen the likes since J. E. B. Stuart established his headquarters at the Beverage House (now the Red Fox Inn) in Middleburg during the Gettysburg Campaign. Alexander Henry Higginson of South Lincoln and Harry Worcester Smith of Grafton, Massachusetts had determined that the Loudoun Valley in Virginia’s pastoral Piedmont was the best place to prove the relative worth of their chosen foxhounds.

Images courtesy of National Sporting Library.

The Story of an Audacious Contest

 

In November 1905, the peak of foxhunting season across the Midlands of England and up and down the east coast of North America, two tiny towns in Virginia’s Piedmont, poor and nearly forgotten after the Civil War and a recent depression, saw the coming of illustrious and wealthy foxhunters to raise their hopes. There was to be a contest, a Great Hound Match, between two packs of foxhounds, one English and one American. The English hounds carried, on their great stout forearms and deep chests, the monumental weight of centuries of foxhunting in England and were expected to make their hound dog ancestors proud of their New World conquest. The American hounds were expected to show those stodgy old Brits how it was done over here—with spunk and intuition, individuality, drive, and nerve. This book, the story of an audatious contest between men cut from very different cloth and their hounds carved from very different stock, chronicles a metaphorical battle in America’s coming of age—her psychic independence from Britain’s lingering shroud at the turn of the 20th century.

 

 

Coming in November, 2015

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Euphoria, by Lily King

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