Articles of History:


-- how they came to be

by Eileen Borowy Sass
Chipmunk Hill Farm
Hopewell, New Jersey
Arabian Horse Express June, 1992

           In the early 1900's, America had just swept into the 'Golden Era.' Morris County, New Jersey, was known as the 'Millionaire Center.' The social scene was opulent and open only to 'the old guard' and not to newcomers. However, one newcomer broke through the barrier. Homer Davenport, internationally known caricaturist, writer, orator, sportsman and somewhat of a bon vivant. Unbeknownst to him, Homer Davenport soon was to become the founder of an important Arabian horse breeding group.

           Homer Davenport was born March 8, 1967 in Silverton, Oregon, to Timothy and Florinda Davenport. the family, which included Homer's older sister, Orla, lived on a 320-acre farm. Prior to Homer's birth, two infant children died.

           Homer was a child prodigy who learned to draw near the time he learned to walk. Florinda had artistic spririt and encouraged her son, who she was convinced, and often announed, would become a cartoonist.
           At the age of three and a half, Homer lost his mother to smallpox. Before her death, Florinda requested that her husband give Homer the encouragement he needed for his artistic freedom. Her desire was that Homer should devote his time to this artistic endeavors and not be burdened with work. Working diligently at his art, and not much else through his teen years, Homer appeared to be idle and aimless to his neighbors.

           As a child, Homer's mother had shown him cartoons drawn by Thomas Nast which were published in Harper's Weekly. His admiration for Nast carried him through to early adulthood and let him to obtain a job with the Portland Oregonian. The job did not last long. Other newspaper jobs formed and quickly disappeared in both Chicago and San Francisco. It was in San Francisco that Davenport met Daisey Moore and they were married just two weeks later.

           In 1892, William Randolph Hearst offered Davenport a job at the San Francisco Examiner. Davenport's cartoons attacking political bossism rapidly gained him statewide notoriety. When Hearst took over the Journal in New York, Davenport was brought along to shake things up a bit.

          Although Joseph Pulitzer predicted that Hearst would not last at the Journal, Hearst succeeded in taking the newspaper's circulation of 40,000 in 1895 to over one million three years later.

           Pulitzer had not taken into account that Hearst was actually "three men": himself, New York editor Arthur Brisban and Homer Davenport, whom he affectionately dubbed "Davy." It was Hearst who sensed that Davenport was most likely the world's greatest political cartoonist at least five years before the world realized it, and he believed Davenport could reshape a shameful nation into one that held moral purpose.

           During this time, Homer and Daisy lived in East Orange, New Jersey, and later relocated to a 27-acre estate in Morris Plains, a village of large Victorian estates. To the south was the county seat of Morristown with a main street named Speedwell Avenue that was a wide dirt road.

           This was an area where the residents were as individual as their homes, and the most colorful and famous residents were the Davenports with their three children -- Homer Jr., Mildred and Gloria. Their home was a simple clapboard farmhouse with a porch which they purchased in 1901. It is now the site of the well-known Warner-Lambert Pharmaceuticals.

           It was because Davenport had become renowned for his work that he was able to meet many famous people. He soon became a member of the famed Algonquin Roundtable and many of that crowd were invited to his home. The clapboard home became a treasure trove of autographs that were signed on the back of the house and around the windows. Among the more well-known visitors were author Ambrose Bierce, actress Lillian Russell, illustrator A.B.Frost, Thomas Edison, William Jennings Bryant and sports figures John L. Sullivan and Bob Fitzsimmons. It was truly a great loss to history when the house was torn down in 1953 when Warner-Lambert expanded their buildings, as none of the autographed clapboards were saved.

           Homer and Daisy hosted a barbecue on a yearly basis, at which 100 guests usually attended. Saturday afternoon, the guests would be picked up at the train station and transported to the estate via buckboard. The guests ranged from Buffalo Bill and his troupe of 101 Ranchers, who were playing at Madison Square Garden, to the outrageous Flora Dora Girls, bedecked in spectacular gowns and hats.

           It is interesting that although Davenport's work lacked technical training, his cartoons were powerfully satirical and sufficiently forceful. The 1896 candidate McKinley and his manager Mark Hanna were attacked and depicted as slave-driving murderers. William Jennings Bryant was portrayed as an insane anarchist. Also a target of Davenport's barbs was political boss Tom Platt, and he tried unsuccessfully to pass an anit-cartoon bill.

           In short, no one was spared, and Davenport even went as far as to pen a caricature of Hearst. So proficient was Davenport week after week, month after month, that people inferred that ideas were suggested to him.

           Though a good portion of Davenport's work lampooned political figures, he greatly admired Theodore Roosevelt, and endorsed him with his most famous cartoon, "He's good enough for me," the largest vote-getting cartoon of all time. By this time, Davenport was working for the New York Mail.

           While still presiding at the Morris Plains estate, Davenport, armed with a letter from his friend Roosevelt to the Sultan of Turkey, and financed by Boston millionaire Peter Bradley, went to the Arabian desert for the express purpose of selecting Arabian horses for importation to the United States. He was obsessed with acquiring 'real' Arabian horses from the 'real' source, and his impatience resulted in a trip to the desert at the hottest time of the year. Yet, it was only during the summer that the Anazeh tribes were easily accessible.



The Davenport Arabians... How They Came to Be. Part II

Arabian Horse Express July, 1992

           In the June issue of the Express on page 23 we covered American political cartoonist Homer Davenport's early life, including his successful career with the Hearst newspapers. It was Davenport's cartoon "He's good enough for me," showing Uncle Sam patting President Theodore Roosevelt on the back, that won Roosevelt re-election. Roosevelt, grateful to Davenport, presented him with a letter to the Sultan of Turkey, and financed by Boston millionaire Peter Bradley, Davenport went to the Arabian desert to select Arabian horses for importation to the U.S.

Part Two: The Importation

           So eager was Davenport to select horses, that instead of waiting to be introduced to Governor Nazim Pasha, he ignored protocol and called upon the Bedouin Sheikh Akmet Haffez. Unbeknownst to Davenport, Haffez was the official diplomatic representative of the Anazah tribes to the Turkish Government in Aleppo. Haffez, flattered by Davenport's gesture, sponsored and personally aided him in his acquisition of horses.

           On Oct. 7, 1906, Davenport returned to America with 27 horses (17 stallions and 10 mares), and the slave boy, Said Abdullah, to care for the horses. Of the 27 horses, only 25 were eventually registered, including one in utero.

*Abbeian, an 1889 grey stallion of the Abayyan-Dahwan strain. Sire of Jadaan, Sheria and Ashmar.

*Abeyah, an 1896 bay mare of the Abayyah-Sharrakiyah strain. Dam of the *Haffia and Hejas. This incredible mare was taken in war from the Shammar tribe by the anazeh tribe. She was known for carrying 300 pounds over 35 miles in 4 1/2 hours.

*Antar, a 1903 grey stallion of the Saqlawi-Ubayri strain. Sire of Joon.

*Deyr, a 1904 chestnut stallion of the Abayyan-Sharrak strain. Sire of Amran, Harara, Hejas, Hanad, Saba and Satwan.

*El Bulad, a 1903 grey stallion of the Jilfan-Sitam strain. Sire of Dahura and Fartak. This stallion was of rare beauty and conformation. His dam was highly regarded as a war mare and it required a great deal of persuasion by Akmet Haffez for the Anazeh to sell him.

*Enzahi, a 1906 bay mare of the Hadbah-Inzihiyah strain. Daughter of *Hadba.

*Euphrates, a 1905 chestnut stallion of the Saqlawi-Jidran strain. Full brother to *Hamrah.

*Farha, a 1900 grey mare of the Mu'niqiyah-Sbailiyah strain. Dam of Fartak and Kokhle.

*Gomusa, a 1903 brown stallion of the Kuhaylan-Haifi strain. Sire of Killah. This stallion was presented to Davenport by Hickmet Bey, son of the Governor of Aleppo.

*Hadba, a 1900 brown/bay mare of the Hadbah-Inzihiyah strain. Dam of Meleky and Killah.

*Haffia, a 1906 chestnut mare of the Abayyah-Sharrakiyah strain. Dam of Harara, Saba, Samit and Satwan. Akmet Haffez presented this mare to Davenport. Her sire was held in such high esteem that the Anazeh refused to set a price on him for the Italian government in 1906.

*Haleb, a 1901 brown stallion of the Mu'niqi-Sbaili strain. Sire of Meleky, Rhua and Saleefy. *Haleb was known as 'Pride of the Desert," and was presented to Davenport by Nazim Pasha who had received him as a gift in recognition of his liberal camel tax.

           In his journal, Davenport noted that more than 200 mares were in foal to *Haleb. Upon his arrival home, Davenport made an entry on the porch clapboards which contained "It was the realization of my childhood dream when I saw Manake Sebele (*Haleb), the Pride of the Desert, enter these gates."

*Hamrah, a 1904 bay stallion of the Saqlawi-Jidran strain. Sire of Moliah, Jeremah, Dahanah, Hasiker, Sankirah, Sedjur, Morfda, Poka, Adouba, Fasal, Tamarinsk, Kokhle, Mershid, Ziki, Kilham, Amham, Sherah and Halloul.

*Houran, a 1902 bay stallion of the Kuhaylan-Tamri strain. Sire of Bint Nimhaarah.

*Jedah, a 1902 brown mare of the Hamdaniyah-Simriyah strain. Dam of Letan.

*Kusof, a 1904 bay stallion of the Mu'niqi strain. sire of Samit.

*Masoud, a 1903 grey stallion of the Saqlawi-Jidran strain. This stallion was used for three years by Randolph Huntington on his Clay-Arabs (part-breds) which later became a part of the Standard-bred breed in America.

*Moharra, a 1907 chestnut stallion of the Abayyan-Sharrak strain. He was imported in utero with *Abeyah. He left no descendants.

*Mawarda, a 1904 grey stallion of the Kuhaylan-Ajuz strain. This stallion left no descendants. His dam, owned by the Anazeh, was not for sale at any price, nor were her fillies permitted to leave the tribe's possession.

*Muson, an 1899 grey stallion of the Kuhaylan-Abu-Muhsin strain. Sire of Letan This stallion descended from the "listening" horses. As the Bedouin legend states, there was a historic mare that stood listening, ignoring food given to her by the Bedouins. On that night, the most horrendous massacre in Bedouin history occurred and that mare and only a few Bedouins escaped. In 1907, *Muson was ridden by Buffalo Bill Cody during his Wild West show, and created quite a sensation at Madison Square Garden.

*Reshan, an 1896 grey mare of the Kuhaylah-Haifiyah strain. Dam of Hasiker.

*Urfah, an 1898 bay mare of the Saqlawiyah-Jidraniyah strain. Dam of *Euphrates, *Hamrah, Saleefy, Sheria and Rhua. Akmet Haffez regarded this mare as the best of her strain in the northern desert. Several attempts to purchase this mare were made, and in the end, with the aid of soldiers, she was taken by force. Her purchase created quite a stir among the tribes.

*Wadduda, an 1899 chestnut mare of the Saqlawiyah-Al-Abd strain. Dam of Moliah, Aared and Amran. Akmet presented this mare to Davenport. This mare had been the great war mare of Hashem Bey, Sheikh of all Sheikhs.

*Werdi, a 1903 chestnut mare of the Kuhayah-Kurush strain. Dam of Tamarinsk.

           Davenport Arabians are the prime foundation for American Arabian breeding. Davenport blood is found in the pedigrees of the well known American Arabians such as Ferzon, Tsali, Ibn Hanrah, Fadjur, Khemosabi, Bint Sahara, Saki and Kisronna to name a few. The breeding programs of McCoy, Kellogg, Gainey, Sunny Acres, Donoghue, Payne, Tone and Crabbet-Maynesboro-Kellogg have all used Davenport blood as a key ingredient.

           Certainly a pioneer for his time, Homer Davenport realized his dreams, and in doing so, he left us this wonderful legacy.

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