SOME of you might have noticed a little inconsistency in our photo of Clear Creek Beagles Master and huntsman Buck Wiseman’s coat. We posted the photo yesterday to show off Buck’s CCB hunt buttons, and it wasn’t until I downloaded the picture to post it on the blog that I noticed it, too: not all of those hunt buttons are for the CCB. The top one, also featuring a rabbit like the CCB buttons, has the initials R. F. B., a little difference that made me smile. Who knew Buck might have a slightly sentimental streak? Well, okay, Buck–we’ll call it “an appreciation of history,” if you prefer!
The R. F. B. button is from the Rollington Foot Beagles, which pre-dated but contributed to the present-day Clear Creek Pack. I guess you could say it was an ancestor to the Clear Creek Beagles. Here’s how Buck described it in an e-mail to me this morning about the Clear Creek pack’s history:
The Rollington Foot Beagles were a revival of E.B. Merry’s Merry Beagles from Gates Mills, Ohio. Mrs. Merry had a nice pack, but in the mid 1970’s, she was getting older. She sold the pack en masse to a purchaser who promised to keep them going. He didn’t, and by 1979, the pack had dwindled to about 5 couples who were disbursed around with various breeders not connected to the National Beagle Club. Mrs. Merry called the purchaser one day and essentially told him that she might have sold him the pack, but, damn it, it was still her pack, and she wanted it to be a pack. The purchaser agreed to collect the remnants and sell them on, and I, who had just expressed a wish to have my own hounds again, got the call from Jack Oelsner, the then NBC President to see if I wanted them. I did, threw kennels together in about three days and picked them up.Mrs. Merry did not want them to be called the Merry going forward as she felt that I had to give them their own identity. I did, with her permission, adopt her blue and green colors. At that time, we lived on Rollington Road near the Rollington community in Oldham County. I remembered that John Cowperthwaite in New Jersey had had a pack called the Readington Foot Beagles, which I thought was a name which scanned well, so the pack became the Rollington Foot Beagles.They were hunted as a purely private pack, mostly hunting the south end of Oldham County while the Fincastle Beagles hunted the north, until 1984 when I began to take a few subscriptions. In 1987, Patrick Rodes, son of Jack and Ruby Rodes, the then Fincastle Masters along with Kennedy Clark, was moving to Texas. Patrick had been hunting the FIncastle, and there was no obvious choice of a new huntsman. I suggested that the two packs amalgamate as there was a great overlap in the followers anyway, and we had frequent joint meets. The Fincastle had been founded in 1902 as Clear Creek Beagles. Rather than have a double barreled name, we elected to revive the Clear Creek name and pick up the old Merry blue collar, a nice compromise, and away we went.
For the record, I love the name Merry Beagles. It suits pretty much every beagle I know.