P.O. Box 93 Old Chatham, NY 518.766.4340
"The plaintive notes of a copper born, followed by the joyous music of a pack of hounds in full cry across frost-filled fields,
have echoed over Columbia County hillsides for years in the time-honored sport of foxhunting".
Smith of Canaan, established the Lebanon Valley Hunt. Captain Smith, a former U.S. Army Cavalry officer, had gained
hunting experience abroad. When he approached W.Gordon Cox of New Lebanon on the subject, Cox asked, "Is that the
kind of foxhunting where people dress up in scarlet coats and ride over the ountryside"?
"Yes," Smith replied, "it was indeed the same sport." Gordon Cox not only became a hunt member, he also became a
founding member of The Old Chatham Hunt. In the summer of 1927, Smith and Cox organized paper chases (pieces of
paper laid down as a course to follow) which proved popular In 1928, five couple of hounds were drafted from the Goldens
Bridge Hunt. On their introduction to the foxhunting, membership grew. Polo was introduced to Lebanon Valley in the
summer of 1928 and Sunday matches drew large and enthusiastic gatherings.
In 1929, the Lebanon Valley Hunt was registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and meets were held
in eastern Columbia County and western Massachusetts. Captain Smith became the first Master of Foxhounds (MFH).
Allen F. Arnol and George Gilden of New York City, both of whom had ridden with the Berkshire Hunt in Lenox,
Massachusetts, were the first whippers-in along with Gordon Cox.
The George Tilden residence in New Lebanon became the hunt's club house; stables and kennels were readied for future
years of hunting. When commercial ventures invaded the Lebanon Valley, however, it was decided to seek new country.
In 1930, Smith, Cox, and Blanchard Rand, a prominent rider and polo player from Salisbury, Connecticut, were invited by
Wilson Powell of Old Chatham to look over the Squire Hammond proprty in Old Chatham. The property proved ideal. The
Hammond House on what is now known as Hunt Club Road was remodeled, a 40-stall hunting stable was constructed,
and locker rooms were provided for a professional staff. The latter included huntsman Thomas Thornton who had served
in a similar capacity for General George S. Patton. When the hunt moved to Old Chatham, it became The Old Chatham
Some of the nation's most prominent families-including the Roosevelts of Hyde Park, the Saltonstalls of Boston and the
Astors of Long Island-rode with the Old Chatham Hunt. One season, the Saltonstalls even rented a home in New Concord
just to be near the Hunt. Foxes were plentiful, fields were open and long runs were possible with not a single major
highway to cross.
With the approach of World War II, Chester A. Braman of Old Chatham became MFH. But many of the young men and
women who had ridden with the hunt entered the armed services. Then came gasoline and meat rationing that made it
impossible to transport and feed hounds. The Old Chatham Hunt became a victim of the war and the OCH was disbanded
The hounds were turned over to the noted artist, John Carroll of East Chatham, who hunted them through the New Britain
section of Chatham as a private pack. The Carroll hounds continued until 1953 when a disastrous fire at the Carroll home
forced him to give up foxhunting.
Enthusiasts met to determine how to keep the sport alive. It was decided to form a corporation for the purpose of foxhunting
on horseback, hare hunting on foot and various other sports and social activities. In accordance with the by-laws of the new
corporation, the club became governed by a Board of Directors. The kennels and other facilities were located at the home
of Mr. and Mrs. W. Gordon Cox, Antinore Farm in Old Chatham.
The original pack of hounds was getting old. Wanting to provide more varied sport, Captain Smith suggested acquiring a
pack that could be hunted both on horseback and on foot. Consequently, a pack of harriers was drafted from Philip Crowe
of Maryland, who had been appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ceylon. The harriers did not prove successful. They were too
fast to be hunted on foot, and too difficult to control from horseback (they pursued rabbits rather than foxes). They also
failed to meet the standards of the MFHA for the Old Chatham Hunt to become a recognized pack.
In 1954, four couple of foxhounds were drafted from the Radnor Hunt and three couple drafted from the Genesee Valley
Hunt. That enabled The Old Chatham unt to become recognized by the MFHA. In 1956, recognition was obtained
from the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association as well. The hunt was based at Antinore Farm for the next twenty-five
In 1980, the Hunt purchased a 21-acre tract in the town of Old Chatham. Here, the kennels were erected for the foxhound
pack. Then in 1990, the Club raised funds to erect a beagle kennel, stable and paddock, plus living quarters for a
Through the years, Reynard has proven to be a wily adversary for hounds, hunt staff and large fields of riders. He usually
succeeds in eluding his pursuers. During one recent autumn, he even dashed through Old Chatham Square. Those who
saw the cunning old fellow swore he had a smile on his face as the speaking hounds and dashing horseman were
coursing behind him.
Lebanon Valley Hunt
1928 Established as an outgrowth of organized
rides from the Polo Club Stables of W. Gordon Cox and the
stable of Sydney R. Smith, who were conducting a series of
1928 - present Span
1928 Kennels located in New Lebanon, New York
1928 Hunted Hounds from Golden's Bridge
1929 Registered by the MFHA.
1929 Country recorded the MFHA in eastern
Columbia County and western Berkshire County
1930 Kennels moved to what is now known as
Hunt Club Road in Old Chatham, New York
1931 Recognized by NSHA
1931 Hunted live fox, giving up drag hunting
1932 Name changed to Old Chatham Hunt
Old Chatham Hunt
1940 Disbanded due to World War II and hounds
turned over to noted artist John Carroll of East Chatham,
who hunted them as a private pack under the name of the
Carroll Hounds until 1953.
1941 - 1953 Country hunted in part by Carroll Hounds
1953 Re-organized for the purpose of foxhunting
on horseback, hare hunting on foot, and various other
sports and social activities
1953 - 1981 Kennels located at W. Gordon Cox's
Antinore Farm, Old Chatham
1953 Hunted Beagles but obtained four couple of
hounds from the Radnor Hunt and three couple from the
Genessee Valley Hunt and gave up the beagles
1981 - present Kennels located in Old Chatham, New York
1997 Merged with the Taconic Hunt
Dear Friends and Members,
If you have any questions regarding roading or are a non-member who
would like to join us please contact Norman J Levine at 203.733.9288 or
Hon. Hunt Secretary
|Fixture locations and directions will be
sent out each month and on a weekly