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If a list were to be made of the greatest Tennessee Walking
Horses of all time, WILSON'S ALLEN would find that his son, Midnight
Sun was his only rival for the top spot. Wilson's Allen's
blood dominated the male line of the breed for 40 years after his
Sired by Roan Allen F-38, out of the foundation mare, Birdie Messick
F-86, Wilson's Allen was a double grandson of the first Tennessee
Walking horse ever registered, Allan F-1. Through the dam of
Roan Allen, Gertrude F-84, he inherited some of the foundation
American Saddlebred genes of Royal Denmark, and the Morgan blood of
Bullet, Jr. Through his own dam, Birdie Messick, came the blood of
the Hals. When mixed in with the Naragansett Pacer, the
Canadian Pacer, and the best Standardbred blood of the times, the
resulting gene pool was our own Tennessee Walking horse breed.
Wilson's Allen was foaled on Bud Messick's farm in Coffee
County, Tennessee in 1914. There was considerable talk
among breeders when Roan Allen F-38 was mated to his own
half-sister, Birdie Messick F-86, to produce Wilson's Allen
350075. It is said to have been the first act of
"inbreeding" done on purpose. A neighbor, Johnson Hill
arranged to have Bud's mare, Birdie, bred to Roan Allen F-38
from the farm of Jim Brantley. The hope was that the union
would produce a stud colt, which Mr. Hill contracted to buy for
$200. The resulting chestnut foal was Wilson's Allen.
At five months old, Wilson's Allen was moved to the Hill farm
and left to grow, which he did to an extraordinary degree. He
was soon ready for saddle, a duty which fell to the nephew of
Johnson Hill, a lad named Steve Hill. In Steve's words, "The
horse was small and so was I, so my uncle thought we would match up
pretty good." Little did that uncle know what a winning
combination he had produced, as his nephew later became one of the
premier trainers in the breed.
The "Johnson Hill Horse" as Wilson's Allen was called at the time
was an exceptional colt, both in his gaits and his disposition.
Steve remembers him as a colt that "could really walk, he'd walk and
shake his head and slobber, and he could come up and go yonder."
There was little in the horse's early life to indicate the prominent
role he would eventually play in the history of the breed, but by
the time he had died
of pneumonia on August
1939, he had earned a place of distinction for the
Tennessee Walking horse among the great breeds of the world.
Among his get were many famous horses besides the immortal Midnight
Sun. In fact, the first time that Midnight Sun was shown at the
National Celebration, he was beaten by a horse called Wilson's Ace.
Through the blood of Midnight Sun, Wilson's Allen remained the
dominant force in producing Walking horse for many years to come.
Considering that Wilson's Allen was dead before the first
Celebration was held, his record of winners is almost unbelievable.
Some of his most famous offspring were as follows.
Melody Maid - winner of 1942 World Grand Championship.
Strolling Jim - winner of the first W.G.Ch. in 1939.
Hayne's Peacock - winner of both 1940 and 1941 W.G.Ch.
Wilson's Allen's Dream Girl,
City Girl - winner of 1944 W.G.CH.
Midnight Sun - winner of 1945 and 1946 W. G. Ch.
There were dozens of other Wilson's Allen offspring
that won consistently in shows throughout the country, and many were
only beaten by other Wilson's Allen offspring. Equally
impressive was the number of his offspring that became significant
sires of the breed.
What a sad loss
to the breed were the great horses that were gelded before their
greatness was recognized. Consider what horses such as Strolling Jim
(1939 W.G.CH.), The G-Man, Haynes Peacock (1940 and 1941 W.G.Ch.) and
Pride of Memphis might have contributed to the breed, had they been
left entire. We cannot help but be amazed at the potency of
Wilson's Allen. He, more than any other horse, carried on
the torch left by Allan F-1 and Roan Allen F-38.
He brought stamina and dignity to the breed, and his colts exhibited a
looseness that was not noticeable in the get of other sires.
Since his son, Strolling Jim won the first World Grand Championship in
1939, only 3 World Grand Champions (Black Angel, Merry Go Boy, and Go
Boy's Shadow) do not trace directly to this incomparable sire.
Thank you, Bud Messick and Johnson Hill, for your wonderful gift of
this stallion, Wilson's Allen.
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