Keene Richards’ Arabian Importation part I

Articles of History:

Keene Richards’ Arabian Importations

By Thornton Chard

from The Horse Nov/Dec 1934 Part I Part II “After God, the horses” Thus Cunninghame Graham, in his “Horses of the Conquest,” interprets the chroniclers of the Cortez Mexican conquest as to the victorious part played by the horses. (1) And if you will afford yourself the entertainment of reading his book you will be convinced that it was more than the physical prowess of the eastern blood that evoked the above exclamation.

Over three hundred years later there was to be another spontaneous eulogy, born of battle experience, by another soldier and again in Mexico. It runs thus: —

    During the war between the United States and Mexico I rode a horse by Medoc–1st dam by imported Amurath (Barb), 2nd dam by imported Stamboul (Arabian).

    For style, courage and endurance he took the palm from all others but was unfortunately killed by a lance thrust at battle of Buena Vista.”

Who this soldier was will appear later; but enough has been said, aside from the title of this article, to show the trend, so the story may as well begin here.

Back in the 1880’s when the late Randolph Huntington (2) sought to develop a national horse for the United States he was well aware of the vital part that the eastern horse had contributed in the foundations and creation of the national horses of fixed type of England, France, Hungary and Russia. Accordingly he interested himself intensely in the Arabian and the Barb to futher his laudable purpose. He knew that at various times, from 1750 to the arrival in 1879 of General Grant’s Leopard and Linden Tree, quite a number of eastern horses and mares had been imported to North America, so he decided to investigate those importations that were not too far in the distant past, to get information as to the result, if any, of such eastern blood on the American horses and to find out if any descendents of such importations were still alive that might be available to assist him in his objective.

It was common knowledge among horsemen, for example, that Secretary William H. Seward had had presented to him, in 1860, two Arabian horses (3); and after a search of eight years Huntington traced them through the efforts of Hon. John E. Van Etten of Kingston, N.Y., to find that there was just one descendant there, a mare bred by the late Judge Westbrook; also that a man in Ohio named Meyers had a granddaughter of one of the Seward horses; “and she proved the blood.”

Not discouraged by so meagre a result both as to information and to the fact that the Seward Arabians had been practically lost through ignorance of their blood value as a benefit to the American horse, Huntington always kept his eyes and ears open and his pen active in hopes that, at some time, more information might be obtained about the Seward and other importations.

So it was that Huntington tried for several years to get exact and useful information from Kentucky about the A. Keene Richards Arabians, which were, by far, the most important importations of eastern blood, both for quality and quantity, that had ever been made in the United States; “but they knew absolutely nothing. All efforts failed.” As Huntington wrote to a friend in 1888, “There is a great difference between knowing facts and telling stories. I gave it up.”

This failure is the more remarkable because the arrival of the Richards Arabians was an event which provoked wide discussion among racing men, in hte public press, and there were contemporary relatives of Richards still living in Richards’ own town in Kentucky.

Evidently this Arabian blood, like that of the Seward Arabians, had not been conserved or used to advantage, though, if only one excuse is offered, it is enough and is the one usually given for the loss of the Richards Arabian blood–the Civil War–for this North and South upheaval began so soon after the importation (1853-56) of the horses that there was hardly time to form a settled plan of breeding to test out, in the right way, their benefits.

Now, it often happens that the most energetic search for information, as in this case, will result in finding none; yet, without effort, the information was finally obtained, also the fact that some descendants of the Richards horses were still alive in 1888 and that their blood had done good service in Kentucky, in Canada and in far-off Texas and Mexico.

Since the unexpected manner in which this information came to light reads like an Arabian Night’s dream, it will be set down verbatim as written by Huntington to a friend in Chicago. (4)

Before beginning to quote it should be stated that Huntington had, at Rochester, N.Y., a number of colts and fillies, the result of breeding his selected Clay mares — strong in the Arabian blood–to Gen. Grant’s Arabian horse Leopard and Barb horse Linden Tree. This young stock naturally had eastern blood characteristics that made them stand out markedly from the regular run of American horses. It was the observaton of these blood traits that led to the information. But this anticipating the story so I will quote Huntington:–

    “Colonel G —-, who is my neighbor, was, all through the (Civil) war, stationed in Louisiana and (in) that district during the Butler, Banks times and later, His servants, male and female are from that country. My Arabs stood at his farm on our Lake —- (to take care) of his mares and mine, also one or two others.

    “His colored groom and special servant, said to me one day, “Massa Huntington, your Arab stallions make me feel as though I was down in my old home in Texas.” (He was born and grown there, but got away during the war.)

    “I asked him how so? and he replied that ‘Old Dr. Paris, one ob de bes men in Fort Bend (where he was raised), had de finest horses’ he ever saw in his life, ‘and dey call em Arabs’; that my horses ‘look jes like dem and act jes like dem.’

    “Well now, ‘Dr. Paris’ and ‘Fort Bend’ were pretty blind information; but I knew there was fire where there was smoke. I spoke to the Colonel about it, but he could not help me. He said that Tom had been for years telling about some wonderful Arab horses in Texas where he was raised, but that he could never get any starting point.

    “I questioned the negro (and he is a light yellow man with a good head) until I gathered from him that he was born near a place called Richmond, ‘but dat Fort Bend was de name ob de place.’

    “I turned to my postal guide, and found Richmond in Fort Bend country; then opened correspondence with the Postmaster.

    “In due time I got a .. reply in pencil, from a man signing Keene Feris, saying ‘he supposed I referred to his Father.’ I could feel a bitterness in the lines; but no man in the South suffered more from the war than I did, so I knew how to take them.

    “I now had the initials and proper name of the man I wanted, so wrote a long … letter to Dr. Geo. A. Feris. I was educated in a military school where all but six were from S.C., N.C., Va, Ga, and Ala. (Later) I was put into a Drug house in New York City.

    “It was purely a Southern house with branches in (the south) …; so that my association from boyhood up to the breaking out of the war, had been exclusively Southern; and there was no portion of that country I was not familiar with; also her institution of slavery. I let Dr. Feris know me. I let him know that all the property of that old New York House was confiscated by the Confederacy. I let him know how friends of the South had suffered here at the North and this broke the ice. … He has confidence in me and that is sufficient.

    “No man in Ky. or elsewhere at the North knows what I do about A.Keene Richards importations.”

What Huntington learned was from the Feris letters that follow: —

    “Richmond, Texas Nov 30th [18] 77 [1887] Randolph Huntington, Rochester, N.Y.

    Dear Sir

    Yours of 25th inst. just read–In answer thereto–I am the veritable old Dr. Geo. A. Feris for whom you enquire–still living, (but rather shaky as you will see in my chirography) at the advanced age of 78 years–

    You ask how I became interested in Arabian horses?…My Father born in France–my Mother a Frazer-Bruce from Scotland and I born in Lexinton-Ky. in 1810: with this pedigree and raised in an atmosphere vibrating with the neighing of the Blood horsee and the discussions of Horsemen I became saturated, (by inhalation and absorbtion) with love of the grandest gift of God to man, the thoroughbred Horse–and he has been my constant and ever faithful companion from childhood to the present time– At this moment an orphan filly of the Blood Royal–thrusts her head into my window and asks for her rice and syrup which she claims of me as a tribute to her beauty and love of myself–I must go for her plate of dessert at once–All right now, and as it was not my autobiography which you desired but the “History of the Arabian Horse in Texas,” you shall have it–During the war between the U.S. and Mexico I rode a horse by Medoc (5) 1st dam Imported Amarath [Amurath] (6) (Barb) 2nd dam by Imported Stamboul (7) (Arabian).

    For style–courage and endurance he took the palm from all others, but was unfortunately killed by a lance thrust at the battle of Buena Vista. Being an early Texas settler (50 years ago) and always a soldier engaged in repressing Indian and Mexican incursions I knew how to appreciate the value of my lost comrad and conceived the idea of supplying my country with the same noble race–

    This was the germ of the Richards importations (8)– An interview was arranged between A.K.Richards and myself at New Orleans to discuss the matter and took place [1855(9)] (10) during race week of the old Mettaire (Metairie) club.

    Present at the meeting — Richards — Buford and Viley of Ky. — Bingaman and Minor of Mississippi — Wells — Kerner and Lecompte of Louisiana. What memories of the grand olden South are evoked by barely writing these names —

    But I am writing to a Northern man and dare not trust my pen farther in my present mood.

    If I could reconstruct astronomy I would make place in a conspicuous portion of the Heavens for a constellation–call it “Equus” and christen the largest star that composed it in the name of the above mentioned gentlemen —

    I can say no more today but merely add, that if you knew you were corresponding with a broken down Southern officer and a classmate of Jefferson Davis, perhaps this letter would be burnt.

    Yours respectfully, Geo. A. Feris.”

Fortunately, the above letter and those that continue the narrative were never burnt for, of the scores of references to the Richards Arabians, by many writers, I know of none but this that is as full and authentic. Furthermore, it is written in the time when racing was a sport and not a business, by a successful breeder and a participant in the events narrated.

“(Continued” [Postmarked Richmond, Texas, Dec. 1-1887]

    The abrupt break in my letter of yesterday was caused by the visit of an aged gentlemen who before the war numbered his acres by the thousand and his slaves by the hundred. he came to rent a small house for himself and wife with a lot of ground to cultivate–“

[Some observations about the social results of the Civil War have been omitted.}

    • “(Continued) [Postmarked Richmond, Texas, Dec. 2- 1887]
  • “We will resume the Arabian Horse as more interesting and agreeable than reminiscences of rapine and carnage or forebodings of their repetion.

    At the conference of horsemen in New Orleans all present except Richards and myself vigorously opposed the fresh importion of Arabians and cited English writers to prove the failure of oriental lines since the Godolphin and Darley era.–We met this by showing that all importations of modern date (English) were mere commercial speculations and managed by unscrupulous men who knew no more about horses than I do about Federal politics–‘Hine illae lachrymae’ (11)

    Nevertheless, the expedition to interior Arabia was planned and carried out successfully–with results which I will state in my next as I am again interrupted and compelled to close.

    Respectfully Geo A Feris.”

    After my rambling Tristram Shandy introduction I at last reach the horse and will mount him and gallop away from all interuptions.

    The expedition to Arabia was composed of A. Keene Richards and Morris Keene of Ky, and the great horse-portrait painter Troye [Edward Troye] of England [also of France and America]–of their journey and adventures we will not speak now but will deal with the successful results: After an absence of 14 months they returned with the following prizes viz:

    (1st) Hamdan (Dr. Feris owned him. R.H.) Gray colt 2 years old–from Nesjd, of the pure ‘Koheyl” [Kuhaylan] race–purchased from the Sheik of the Rouibah tribe of Bedouins, in whose family the stock had been kept pure for more than 300 years (12)

    2nd Massoud Chestnut horse–fifteen hands high, purchased of the Anayza [Anazeh] tribe of Arabians. (13)

    3rd Mokhladdi Gray horse fourteen and 1/2 hands high, bought of the Zarabine tribe of Bedouins in Arabia Petra [Petraea(14)]

    4th Saklowie Bay horse–fifteen hands high–bred by the Anayza [Anazah] Bedouins.

    This horse was selected by Mr. Troye, the great painter, on account of his resemblance to the English racer of the present times. (15)

    5th Fysaul Chestnut horse fourteen and 3/4 hands high and of the ‘Koheyl [Kuhaylan] and Saclowie [Saglawi] race and bought in the Desert from the bedouin chief who bred him. (16)

    6th Lulie Grey mare of pure ‘Koheyl’ [Kuhaylan] race bred by the Anayza (Anazah) tribe of Arabians. (17)

    7th Sadah (Dr. Feris took. R.H.) Gray mare–bred by Anayza (Anazah) tribe of Bedouins. She was my favorite of the entire importtion. (18)

    7th (8th) Zurufa [Zareefa. (19)] Gray mare–a Barb from the desert of Zahara.

    This comprises the list of our importations. (20)

    On next page I will give you the produce of the pure stallions and mares if agreeable.

    Geo. A. Feris”

    “(Continued) [Postmarked Richmond, Texas, Dec. 3-1887]

    The produce of my favorite mare Sadah (Imported) was (pure Arab R.H.)

    1st (Dr. Feris) Abdel Kadir [pure Arab R.H.]

    Gray horse by Imported Arabian Mokhladdi.

    2nd [Dr. Feris R.H.] Boherr.

    Foaled at sea (on the Atlantic) and got in Arabia by a favorite stallion of the Wahube [Wahabi] tribe of Arabs and she [Sadah] had many other foals but they did not belong to me. (21)

    Abdel Kadir was my choice of all the stallions and I owned him and Hamdan, Boherr and Bazar who was by Imported Fysaul and out of the Imported Barb mare Zurufa [Zareefa], born in Kentucky and brought to Texas.

    Abd-el-Kadir–known as the ‘Feris Arabian’ is the horse who made his mark in Texas by his produce. He was ‘par excellence’ the grand gentleman of his race.

    The colts of this horse were sold at enormous prices to Mexican stockmen.

    Druse [Dreuse]–gray colt for $1600, he was out of Hagar (22). Two others, one out of ‘Betsy Hardin (23), the other out of Rehab (24) were sold together for $3600.00.

    The gray colt Sheik (25) 2 years old brought $3000.00 (26).

    I am compelled to cease writing by Rheumatism in hand and wrist.

    Will continue at some other time if desired

    Respectfull Geo. A. Feris”

Then followed a letter from Miss Sallie Feris saying that her Father had been injured by a fall but hoped to resume the correspondence. he did so in a letter dated

    “Richmond, Texas Jan 29-88
    Thanks for your last kind letter–I am still suffering from my R. Road ‘smashup,’ but am able to write with a pencil. I send you a brief notice of my relative A. Keene Richards deed compiled from his diary–It may prove interesting–If agreeable I will send you crayon drawings (27) of the Feris Arabians Hamdan and Abd-el-Kadir taken form oil paintings (destroyed by fire)

Respectfully Geo. A. Feris”

Enclosed in the above letter was the press notice which is so interesting and authentic, having been compiled from Richards diary, that it is copied here verbatim. (28)

    “Mr Alexander Keene Richards died of pneumonia yesterday at his farm, called Blue Grass Park, near Georgetown, Ky., in the fifty-fourth year of his age. He was born in Scott county, Ky., on the 14th of October 1827. Mr. Richards passed through all the scientific departments at Bethany College, Virginia, and a full term in the celebrated Alexander Campbell Bible classes. When through with his college course Mr. Richard’s grandfather gave him means to travel in foreign countries for his health, he having been an invalid almost from infancy. Instead of spending much time in the gay capitals of Europe young Richards adopted the idea of making a specialty of studying the different breeds of horses of every country. He went first to England, and no kind of horse escaped his notice, from the heavy draft animal used by the brewers of London to the Derby winner. The first Derby race that he saw was when Teddington won in 1851. (29) He timed this race, and was at once impressed with the idea that a first-class American-bred colt could win the Derby if the pace was made strong throughout and not a waiting race, as is usually the case for this great event. (30) After leaving England he went through France and examined the Norman horses. Then he journeyed over Spain, where he gave especial attention to the Andalusian horses, and examined a number of Arabian animals just then imported by Queen Isabella from near Bagdad. From Spain he crossed over into Morocco and rode through the country on some of the best Barbs. From Morocco he went nearly the whole length of Algeria on horseback, and as he traveled part of the time with a French passport he had every facility to inspect the different horse-breeding establishments then under the control of the French Government, as well as those horses owned by the native chiefs who had been long in service with the renowned Abd-el-Kader, then a prisoner in France. Mr. Richards then passed from Algeria to Tunis, where he made diligent search for any trace, in shape or quality, of the Numidian horses which Hannibal made so famous for cavalry. Mr. Richards afterward in a sailing craft went to Malta and from there by steamer to Egypt, where he made preparations to cross into Arabia Petrea by an entirely new route, and he was with the first party of Europeans that crossed directly through the Desert of Paran to the ruins of Petrou [Petra]. During this journey through the wilderness, Mr. Richards learned to break-in the dromedary to ride himself, and for amusement he frequently rode races on the regular “deloul” of the desert. The deloul is the swift dromedary used in the wars of the desert and for courier service, where great speed and endurance are required. From Petrou [Petra] Mr. Richards passed on to Hebron and thence to Jerusalem, where he made arrangements to visit all the interesting localities in Palestine and Syria, but especially those districts where good horses were to be found; for, by this time Mr. Richard’s experience with horses of Arab blood had given him an admiration for them. After spending some time in Damascus he sought an interview with the celebrated Sheik Midjuel, of the Aneysa [Anazah] tribe of Bedouins. Although the American and English missionaries and consular agents thought the attempt at the time a hazardous one, Mr. Richards induced the Sheik to take him as far east from Damascus as the ruins of Palmyra. The danger in this was that Midjuel had to pass near the Shammer [Shammar] tribe, with whom he had a feud, and had Midjuel been captured by them, his head would have been the forfeit. The journey was successful. Before leaving the East, Mr. Richards selected and purchased several stallions and a mare of the best Arab blood, (31) and shipped them by a careful groom to America, by the way of England, soon following them himself, stopping on the way and seeing what the Austrians and the Prussians called their best, including a look at the Orloffs of Russia. Mr. Richards, soon after his arrival at home, purchased some good mares to breed to his Arabians, and the famous mare Peytona (32) was one of his first fancies. he paid a high price for her, and bred her to Mossoud [Massoud]. He added many good mares to his list. Mr. Richards from this gave great attention to breeding and training, and every season–spring and autumn–had horses trained, and ran them in all parts of the West and Southern country. Mr. Richards made a second visit to Arabia, where he purchased more stallions and brood mares, but the war coming on in this country the last experiment was not much known to the public. During the war Mr. Richardards purchased the colt War Dance (33) for $5000, when a two-year-old, from Jeff. Wells, his breeder, and when the war was over the colt was taken to Kentucky to the Blue Grass Park, and since that time the horse has kept his produce before the public. Mr. Richards went early into the war, and later on was the friend who took Gen. Breckingridge out of Kentucky so fast behind his Arab team when the latter gentleman supposed he would be arrested. Mr. Richards afterward served on the staff of Breckinridge. Although Mr. Richards had been on the turf thirty-five years and was seen in the judges’ stand on every prominent race-course in America, no one can say that they ever heard him use an oath or make a bet of any description.

It is interesting to note and Americans should take pride in the fact that the two expeditions that Richards made to the desert preceded by ten years both the Upton and the Blunt journeys, both of these important to England through the high class desert horses purchased and sent there and because Lady Blunt in her “Bedouins Tribes of the Euphrates” and “Pilgrimage to Nejd” gave to the world one of the best modern accounts of the desert and its horses thereby creating a revived interest in the desert-bred horse upon which all worthy breeds are founded.

Now follows a letter, of more recent date, from another cousin of Keene Richards, commenting on the press notice clipping, the Arabian importations and verifying the well known Breckinridge incident.

    “Georgetown, Ky. 24th Mch 1900

    Mr. Randolph Huntington: Yours in reference to Arab horses &c recd–I am 83, with bad eyes, and memory–A. Keene Richards and Maurice [Morris] Keene were cousins of mine, both dead–Your memory of events as narrated, is correct–You will find a record of Mr. Richards importation of Arabs in Bruce’s Stud Book Vol. 1st pages 146-150–My impression is, the modern Arabian horse is a failure as a race horse–I know of not one animal bearing the blood of Mr. Richards’ Arab importation (34)–At his death they sold one by one and I know of none being tried for racing–

    Richards carried Breckinridge out of Ky. behind two beautiful white match Arab mares–They went out the fall of 1861–I believe I have answered all your questions as far as able–

    Mr. Richards as you suppose was a well informed and travelled gentleman, with pleasant manners, and a fine conversationist. He left a widow, and three daughters–all living–Two daughters married.

    He may have lost money in his experiment with Arabs, but undoubtedly the destruction of property in the South by reason of the war was the main cause of his financial ruin.

    Respt. &c S.Y. Keene

    (P.S.) Mr. Richards was at the battle of Shiloah, and was taken through the lines after the battle to identify the body of Geo. W. Johnson then provisional Governor of Ky.”

Considering the comment, in the above letter, on the Arabian experiment, an interesting rejoinder by Speed, a Kentuckian, helps to clear up some of the breeding principles involved and warns against a too hasty judgment on the apparent lack of success.

(Concluded in next issue)

Image notes and footnotes:


Richards came of a long line of distinguished ancestors. His mother, Eleanor Keene, was a direct descendant of Richard Keene who in 1641 came from Surry, England, to Maryland. His father, Dr. William Lewis Richards, of the Virginia Richards, was through his mother a descendant of the Marquis de Calmes, a Huguenot emigrant to Virginia.

Richards was a man of exceptional culture, and conversational charm. Possessed of large means he was widely travelled and thus able to inform himself at first hand on the subjects that interested him, especially blood horses of which he was a successful breeder and racer, owning many of the most renowned sires and dams including “Glenco” and the famous mare “Peytona.” Realizing that the Eastern blood was the fountain head of all excellence in horses he determined to go to Arabia for pure desert-bred blood to strengthen that on which the Thoroughbred was founded.

From a photograph of a colored crayon drawing made from life in Rome. Reproduced through the courtesy of Mrs. Edward G.Swartz and Mrs. John Pack, daughters of A.K.Richards.


1) Spanish horses were largely of Arabian and Barb blood. During the sixteenth century every important stud that could procure Andulusian stallions made use of them. T. C.

2) The late Randolph Huntington (1828-1916) was an internationally known breeder of horses. He saved the Clay blood from extinction; brought the Arabian blood to public attention by using the Grant stallions and by importing from England examples of the purest Arabian blood there. Descendants of his breeding stock are in almost every present-day Arabian stud in the United States. He created the American-Arab; and for more than fifty years he wrote profusely, advocating pure blood versus “time-standards,” for breeding. T.C.

3) Maanake Hedrogi; red horse 7-8 yrs. old, from Beyroot 1860, Siklany Gidran; 2 yrs. 2 mo. old, from Syria 1860. Bruce A.S.B.

4) Letter to J.W.Harvey, Feb 16, 1888.

5) Medoc, foaled 1829; by Eclipse. Died by accident at Col. Buford’s, Ky., 1839. Bruce A.S.B.

6) Amurath at one year of age was imported to New York in 1833 from Tripoli. He was brought from Nubia to Tripoli in 1832. Bruce A.S.B.

7) Stambul, Ch. h. of the Ugedi tribe was selected from Sultan Mahomoud’s stables inConstantinople and presented to U.S. Minister Rhind. The horse was sold [about 1831] for the benefit of the U.S. for $575. Bruce. A.S.B.



GEORGE A FERIS, M.D. (1810-1891)

Dr. Feris of Huguenot stock was born in Kentucky and at eighteen years of age got his degree from the Kentucky Medical College. He was a Texas pioneer and a soldier, having fought in the Mexican War as well as in the Civil War in which he was medical director of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate Army. A man of courage, education and refinement, a true southern gentleman, beloved of his family and as a citizen. It was he who lent his moral support to the project of going to Arabia for fresh original blood to infuse into the Thoroughbred and who after Richards’ successful importations of Arabian stock took some of these horses and mares to Fort Bend and to Richmond, Texas, where for many years he was a successful breeder.

From a photograph reproduced here through the courtesy of Dr. Feris’ only surviving child, Miss S. lavinia Feris.


8) Italics are mine. T.C.

9) As nearly as I can find out. T.C.

10) There must have been a lapse of several years between Dr. Feris’ resolve to encourage Arabian importations and Mr. Richards’ expedition which was his second. T.C.




This horse was foaled in 1844 and imported in 1853. He was the sire of a number of high class horses and of the mare “Transylvania,” the dam of “Limestone.”

“Massoud” with “Mokhladdi” and the mare “Sadah” were the result of Richards’ first expedition.

Edward Troye’s paintings of horses appeal to the horseman for he brings out the racial traits of the breed and the subject’s individuality. Note the angle of the hock which is not so wide as that of the thoroughbred but insures greater durability.

The original of this picture was painted in Arabia, and has the added interest of showing a portrait of Mr. Richards’ dragoman in authentic costume.

Note manner of tethering Desert horses, so that the head is free.

Reproduced here by permission of Mr. Walter M. Jeffords, who owns the painting, and through the courtesy of Mr. Harry Worcester Smith, who possesses the photograph.


11) Note similar comment by an English writer is legend for illustraion No. 14, which will appear in next installment.

12) Foaled in 1854 and imported by Richards in 1856. Stood the season of ’59–at stable of Dr. Feris, Richard, Texas. R.H.

The finest that could be found in the tribe. Bruce. A.S.B.

13) Foaled in 1844. Imported by Richards in 1852 R.H.

The import date indicates that Massoud was the result of Richards’ first expedition. T.C.

14) Foaled in 1844. Imported by Richards in 1853. R.H.

The import date, 1853, indicates that Mokhladi was the result of Richards’ first expedition. T.C.

15) Dr. Feris is referring to the 1850’s when the English Thoroughbred was still thought of as the Anglo-Arab, although this title was officially discontinued after about 1830. T.C.

Sacklowie was foaled in 1851. Imported by Richards in 1856. Died in 1860. R.H.

16) Foaled in 1852. Bought and imported by Richards in 1856. R.H.

An Arab stallion from Nesjd. Bruce. A.S.B.

17) This mare was imported in foal to Ahzee Pasha’s chestnut Arab Bagdad. This colt foal was lost. Later she produced gr. f. Mahah by Fysaul; ch. f. by imp. Thoroughbred Micky Free; fr. f. Hopsie by Mickey Free; gr. f. Kaffeah by Fysaul. Bruce A.S.B.

18) Imported 1853. Bruce. A.S.B.

The import date indicates that Sadah was the result of Richards’ first expedition. T.C.

19) Imported in 1856. Bruce. A.S.B.

Zareefa’s produce: b.c. Bazar by Fysaul; b.f. Benica by Fysaul; gr. c. by imp. Thoroughbred Michey Free. Bruce. A.S.B.

20) Results of Richards’ two expeditions, which Dr. Feris lumps together giving the impression that all the horses were imported after the new Orleans meeting. But Mr. Richards had already made his first expedition and importation as will appear later. T.C.

21) Produce of Sadah: gr. c. Boherr; gr. f. Zahah by Mokhladdi; gr. c. Abd-el-Kadir by Mokhladdi; ch. c. Yusef by Massoud; gr. c. by Thoroughbred Knight of St. George; gr. f. Haik by Fysaul; gr. f. by Thoroughbred Mickey Free; —-by Thoroughbred Mickey Free. Bruce A.S.B.




“Fysaul” stood 14 3/4 hands high; was foaled in 1852; and with “Sacklowie” and “Hamdan” and the mares “Lulie” and “Zareefa,” was the result of Richards’ second expedition.

Edward Troye, who painted the original picture in Arabia, shows the horse to have been of beautiful conformation and carriage.

Reproduced here by permission of Mr. Walter M. Jeffords, who owns the painting, and through the courtesy of Mr. Harry Worcester Smith, who possesses the photograph.


22) Hagar by Hamdan.

23) Hardin by Sultan (Son of Am. Eclipse).

24) Rehab by Hamdan

25) Sheik out of Rehab.

26) These horses were sold on their blood, though not for the purpose of racing. T.C.

27) Illustrations No. 9 and No 10, which will appear in next installment; photographic copies received from Miss Feris 46 years later. T.C.

28) There is nothing to indicate from what paper it was cut, but the date can be fixed as 1881, the year Mr. Richards died. T.C.

29) This date places the first expedition. T.C.




Gray Arbian stallion from ‘Neijid’ of the pure Koheyle race; foaled in Arabia, 1854; purchased in the desert from a Sheik of the Rouiba tribes of Bedouins & imported by A. Keene Richards in 1859 [56]; brought by me to Texas in 1859; died December of the same year at my place in Ft. Bend Country. I regard his death as a public calamity. He was 15 hands high, with the finest head, neck, shoulders, loin and legs I ever saw, but was too light in the quarters. I regard his premature death as a public calamity. His descendants should be crossed with the heavy muscled Glencoes.”

Exact copy as my Father had it in his register. S.L.F.” [Daughter of Dr. Feris.]

Photograph from a crayon drawing by Guy F. Monroe and copied from a painting unfortunately destroyed by fire. Both the photograph and the legend are reproduced through the courtesty of Miss S. Lavinia Feris, only surviving child of Dr. Feris.


30) The first American-bred horse to win the Derby was Lorillard’s Iroquois, in 1881. T.C.

31) Massoud, Mokhladdi and mare Sadah.

32) Peytona ch. m. f. 1839, by imp. Glencoe. In 1855 she produced ch. f. Transylvania by Richards’ Massoud. Transylvania produced the celebrated race horse Limestone by War Dance. T.C.

33) War Dance, ch. c.f. 1859 by Lexington out of Reel by Glencoe. T.C.

34) He did not know of those in Texas. T.C.



“ABDEL KADIR” (Known as the Feris Arabian)

Gray stallion bred by A. Keene Richards, Scott County, Ky., 1856; was got by his Imported Arabian ‘Mokhladdi’; dam his imported Arabian mare ‘Sadah,’ and brought to Texas by me in November, 1860. He remained my property and stood in Ft. Bend Co. until his death, which occurred in June, 1866. He was drowned in the Brazos river; was 15 hands high, perfect in form & was ‘par excellence’ the ‘gentleman’ of his race. He won the love & admiration of all who knew him. We will never see another like him.

Exact copy as my Father had it in his Register. S.L.F.” [Daughter of Dr. Feris]

Miss Feris, who was in and out of “Abdel Kadir’s” stall daily, wrote me that the drawing is a perfect likeness.

Photograph from a crayon drawing by Guy F. Monroe and copied from a painting unfortunately destroyed by fire. Both the photograph and the legend are reproduced through the courtesy of Miss S. Lavinia Feris, only surviving child of Dr. Feris.