of the National Beagle Club of America
In 1884 the American
Kennel Club was founded, as well as the first Beagle Specialty
Club, the American-English Beagle Club. This Specialty Club was
established by Philadelphia area breeders, a Standard was
adopted and the breed rapidly changed from the "bench-legged"
beagles (crooked forelegs) who were undoubtedly the result of
crosses of the early imported beagles from England with
Although the early
American show Beagles were rangier, often pied or mottled as
were most of the best English hunting strains which produced
them, they were also ranging in size from "toy" to 16 inches in
height as the British Standard allowed.
The National Beagle Club
was formed in the late 1800's, with its object to hold field
trial events with the purpose of improving field qualities as
well as type. When they initially applied for admission to The
American Kennel Club as a Specialty club they were denied
because the American-English Beagle Club or American Beagle
Club, as it was also known, refused to sanction admission.
But the new club forged
ahead with its plans and eventually merged with the American
Beagle Club, and was thereafter known as the Beagle Club of
America or NBC. The Standard was revised in 1900 to put more
emphasis on running gear and thus the function of the Beagle
The first National Beagle
Club field trial, scheduled to be held in Hyannis, Massachusetts
in 1890, was moved due to poor terrain to New Hampshire. The
first National Beagle Club Specialty Show was held in 1891. The
eventual Dual Ch. Frank Forest was a major influence at this time.
With the continuance of
derogatory remarks made of the show-Beagle of the time in the
field trial press, in 1896, James Kernochan began to import
proven hunting hounds from English packs, thus introducing the
hound head and body, legs and feet of a good Beagle to the more
terrier/Dachshund-like field beagles, and also setting the
Beagle type of present time.
Before 1912 field trials
were held primarily on cottontail and occasionally on New
England hare. It was after this that pack on hare clubs began to
demonstrate the longer endurance the Beagle needed on larger
In 1916, James W.
Appleton was was President of the NBC from 1910-1942, Harry
Peters and George W. Post, both directors of the American Kennel
Club, Chetwood Smith, Ted Lucas, H.C. Phipps of Wheatley Beagles
and C. Oliver Iselin, President of the NBC from 1942-1971,
formed the Institute Corporation.
The early emphasis on
field and conformation by NBC changed over the years as interest
in conformation phased out, and by 1936, the task of
administering the large and increasing number of field trial
clubs and activities became a near impossible burden. It was
because of this, the Beagle Advisory Commission was established.
In 1970, a small group of
conformation Beaglers, also Regular members of the NBC, with the
encouragement of NBC Secretary, Morgan Wing, held the first
National Beagle Club Specialty in many years at the Institute
Farm in Aldie, Virginia. Increasing pressure for representation
of the Conformation Beaglers in NBC brought about the
establishment of a second classification of membership for those
interested in conformation. The Supporting Membership status.
In 1980, due to the work of Nadine Eaton Chicoine in the late
1970s, the Supporting Membership was granted permission to draw
up its own By-Laws to govern the Specialty show activities and
to provide for the election of a Supporting Membership Director
to serve on the Board of the NBC for a one-year term. Go to the
Forms page for membership applications.
As of 1987, NBC listed
375 Regular Members and 162 supporting members. As of Spring
2000, there are 384 Regular Members, 178 Supporting Members and
6 Associate Members.
History of the
National Beagle Club's Institute Farm Property
The National Beagle Club is
fortunate to have possession of a tract of 508 acres located in
Western Loudoun County, Virginia. This property was purchased
in 1916 by 5 men who were members of an organization which had
been founded in Boston in 1887, named the National Beagle Club.
These same 5 men formed a corporation named the Institute
Corporation to purchase and own the land. The land is still
owned by that same corporation which leases it to The Institute
Foundation, which, in turn, maintains the property for the
National Beagle Club.
The land is known as The Institute
Farm because in the late 1850s the owner of the property, John
Hixon Gulick, whose great-grandfather had purchased the land at
the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, joined with a local
educator named Benjamin Hyde Benton and a local builder named
Harmon Bitzer; and they founded the Loudoun County Agricultural
and Chemical Academy. To accommodate the activities of the
Academy, Mr. Bitzer built the structure which is the present
main building at the Institute farm. According to an
advertisement in the June 15, 1855, issue of the
Washingtonian, the Academy offered courses which were
"varied to suit the farmer, the merchant, the engineer."
(Nothing wrong with trying to appeal to everyone. ) The Academy
appears to have been highly regarded, but the panic of 1857 and
the subsequent depression ended its brief life.
When the Civil War broke out, John
Hixon Gulick joined the Confederate Army and was killed at the
Battle of Upperville on March 27, 1864. The heirs of John
Gulick eventually sold the farm to Isabella Skinner and The
Institute Corporation seems to have purchased the property from
her estate, although an interesting comment by C. Oliver Iselin,
Jr., one of the five original founders of The Institute
Corporation, raises a question about who the owner was at the
time of the purchase. In a 1971 interview, Mr. Iselin said, "We
were lucky, in a sense, to obtain the Institute, which we
purchased from the estate of a man who had planned to use it for
a Hunt Club. He went to England and purchased a pack of hounds
there. On his way back, he went down with all his hounds on the
Titanic." The deed conveying the property to The
Institute Corporation lists J.R.H. Alexander, an Aldie,
Virginia, lawyer as substitute trustee for Isabella S. Turner
(nee Skinner) as the seller. According to Eugene M. Scheel, who
in 1988 prepared A Conservation plan for The Institute
Property, Loudoun County, Virginia, and did some historical
research in the process, there was no one named Skinner or
Turner on the passenger list of the Titanic. Perhaps
the unfortunate man who went down on the Titanic had
contracted to buy the property, and his death cleared the way
for the Institute Corporation to obtain it.
In addition to C. Oliver Iselin,
Jr., who was a college student at the time of the purchase, the
other four original purchasers were George P. Post, a New York
stockbroker and partner in the firm of Post & Flagg; Edward
"Ted" W. Clucas, a New York stockbroker; Chetwood "Chet" Smith
of Worcester, Massachusetts, who was the brother of Harry
Worcester Smith who instigated the famous International Foxhound
Match held in the Middleburg- Upperville area in 1905; and John
S. Phipps, a gentleman farmer with several large farms in
Fauquier County, Virginia. James W. Appleton, who at that time
was president of the National Beagle Club, was one of the
original incorporators of The Institute Corporation, but
apparently did not contribute $7,500 to the undertaking as did
When the Institute Corporation
first took possession of the property, the buildings were in
poor repair. When the trials were held, the men initially
stayed in Middleburg, then in tents on the Institute grounds.
According to Mr. Iselin, "We spent two or three weeks here in
Middleburg before the trials. We would put our hounds in
crates in the early morning, drive over to The Institute, hunt
all day, and drive back in the dark . . . We financed the
repairs and the building of the kennels by selling stock.
Cattle were using the basement for shelter.
The poor state of the building led
to the erection of cabins for members to stay in when they came
to the trials. The first three cabins were built in 1917 for
George Post, Chetwood Smith and James W. Appleton, who continued
to serve as President of the National Beagle Club until his
death in 1942.
Mr. Appleton, a proper Bostonian,
felt it was not right for women to camp out in such rough
surroundings with men, so he decreed that women should not stay
on the property during the trials. He was eventually overruled
and "Squaw Cabins" were constructed some distance from the main
building and the other cabins. Later, other "Squaw Cabins"
were built near the original cabins. Nowadays, men, women, and
children who are members of the National Beagle Club come to the
Institute Farm and stay in any of the available lodging places.
Today, the Institute Farm is used
as the site for many activities of the National Beagle Club,
including the annual Spring and Fall Pack Trials for beagles and
for bassets, AKC licensed and sanctioned field trials, every
third or fourth year the AKC licensed Specialty Show for beagles
put on by the National Beagle Club, and the annual Triple
Challenge Trial for all types of beagles.
|The cabins at Aldie
||In the field
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