Reference: Allan F-1 aka "Black Allan"

Allan F-1

Nothing is of more importance, of course, than the blood and performance of the sire and dam. The most colossal mistake in all my years of breeding horses was made the day I sold Allan F-1 to my good friend, Albert M. Dement, of Wartrace, Tennessee. Today, these two stallions are a father-and-son combination that will live on after I have answered the last roll call, to render their strong influence, to produce the best light horse in the world for pleasure or utility.

The story of Allan F-1, written by my good friend, W.J. McGill, of Shelbyville, Tennessee, in Volume I, of this publication, was most interesting to me, as he is, of course, the sire of Roan Allen. There is little that I could add to that story except to say that Allan F-1 was as easy-gaited a horse as any one ever rode. I rode him myself, and so did my children and many neighbors. No stallion ever lived who had a better disposition. His gaits in the trot, pace, flat or running walk were perfect. He had a particular gliding gait under saddle truly equal to the family rocking chair. He had perfect style, a very high head, a natural, high tail, quick, very fine hair, good flat bone and ample foot. Indeed, anyone today would have to appraise him as a great horse, which he was.

- J.R. Brantley in collaboration with J.J. Murray and Rachel Hosey

Allan F-1 is the foundation of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. The following history of Allan was given by Dr. Bob Womack in his book, The Echo of Hoofbeats. This is just a small sampling of the information on Allan available from the book. If you get a chance, do check it out!

The bloodlines of the HALS, WHIPS, BULLETS, SLASHERS, COPPERBOTTOMS, and BROOKS had blended into an animal of which Middle Tennessee could be justly proud, but as yet the product had not become distinctive enough to justify the establishment of a breed. In February of 1891 the spark needed to ignite the Pacer into something really unique was on its way to Middle Tennessee from Kentucky in the form of an unpretentious, little, black stallion by the name of ALLAN.

On a Tuesday morning in February of 1891, a five-year-old black stallion was sold at auction in Lexington. Although bred to be a trotter, the little horse refused to trot in harness, and its owner, disappointed in this turn of events, decided to get rid of him. Pacing horses were cheap at the time, and John P. Mankin of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, bought the colt for $335. ALLAN, as the young stallion was called, was loaded on a boxcar with another purchase of Mankin’s, and after several hours of bumping along the cold tracks from Lexington he was unloaded from the train a short distance south of Murfreesboro. There were no crowds waiting to see Mankin’s new property, and those who happened to see the black stallion probably felt more in the mood to extend sympathy than congratulations.

Makin was not ready to give up on ALLAN and immediately put him in training with J.E. McDonald, who worked with the horse throughout the following summer. As had been the case previously, ALLAN suffered by comparison with other horses in the area. He was not big, and his speed was not exceptional. To top it all off, he still refused to trot and insisted on following his natural tendency to pace. After other trainers had failed to develop ALLAN he was sent back to Mankin who was advised to put him at stud and forget the race track.

ALLAN’s future looked anything but promising. He was in a county where many outstanding racers were stabled, and certainly he did not distinguish himself in competition with them. It was generally agreed that ALLAN was a fast horse but that he tended never to finish well in a hard drive. This reputation would not promote him as a possible sire of racehorses. Many observers said he was too small for a breeding horse, and the few mares brought to his court were not the quality to produce acceptable colts. Evidently believing he had made a bad buy, Makin, in 1898, traded ALLAN to a neighbor named Goodlow, who resold the black pacer to West Orrin in 1900. The 1900 sale price was $97.50. ALLAN’s fortunes did not improve as time went by, and after a year at Orrin’s farm he was traded to R.L. Ashley of Manchester, Tennessee. Ashley gave Orrin a black yearling filly, a yearling Jersey heifer, and $20 for the horse. Later, Orrin told Ashley he traded ALLAN because neighbors refused to breed their mares to him.

Standing at a stud fee of $5, ALLAN failed again and was traded to Dr. J.M. Price for a black jack. In 1902, Dr. Price traded ALLAN to a Ben Dunn at Hillsboro, who traded him before the year was out to J.H. Winton for a small black mare. Winton kept the horse only a few months and sold him to J.A. McCulloch for $110 to use as a teaser for his jacks. The latter trade took place in 1903.

Only a few days later ALLAN was involved in yet another trade. McCulloch priced on of his fine jacks to Mr. James R. Brantley of Coffee County, and in the deal ALLAN was included at the $110 price tag that had been paid for him. Mr. Brantley was convinced he wanted the jack, but wasn’t sure about the little black stallion. Having heard of ALLAN’s pedigree and believing him to be outstanding, Brantley spent several days and rode many miles, checking it out. Finding that ALLAN truly represented outstanding bloodlines, Brantley decided to close the deal. Hitching his mare GERTRUDE to the buggy, Mr. “Jim” drove to McCulloch’s place and made the purchase.

The official biographer of ALLAN was W.J. McGill of Shelbyville, Tennessee. After the old horse had died and his influence on the Walking Horse breed had become apparent, many controversies arose concerning his early history. McGill spent many months and uncounted hours tracking down the official history of the horse, and it is through his efforts that the early history of ALLAN is known.

McGill gives us the best written description of ALLAN that exists. He is described as black, foaled 1886, near hind sock, off hind foot white to ankle, and blaze. According to McGill, “…he had smart ears, perfect head, wonderful eyes, full and well set, a long rangy neck, beautiful mane and foretop, a decided sloping shoulder, and a breast that belongs to an outstanding Tennessee Walking Horse. His fine body lines, short back, long belly, well coupled, smooth hips and rump, natural set long heavy tail, with the abundant style he shows in head and neck, smooth limbs, cordy muscles, good foot and bone, his superb gaits, his easy, graceful way of going into the fast running walk, justifies our statement that he was as fine as they make them, even now.” The above was written in 1945.

ALLAN was a gentle, dependable horse. As a young boy, French Brantley, son of ALLAN’s owner, rode the stallion to school at Beech Grove where the horse was left tied to a tree during school hours. Women felt perfectly safe on his back. ALLAN’s chief gait under saddle was a running walk which he performed comfortably and smoothly. The boys of the community often ran ALLAN in impromptu races, and tradition has it that the little stallion could pace faster than most horses could gallop.

ALLAN’s greatest reputation came as a sire of good saddle horses. Regardless of the type of mare crossed with him, the colt performed the easy gliding gait which carried its rider effortlessly along the country roads of Coffee County. ALLAN’s stud fee for the first five years at Brantley’s was six dollars to ensure a foal, but this fee was later raised to seven dollars. The little pacer rarely got over thirty foals per year. According to one story, Albert Dement approached Brantley with a proposal that the latter breed a mare to Dement’s stallion. Brantley refused, saying that his own horse, ALLAN, sired the type of colt he wanted. Dement investigated the situation and evidently agreed with Brantley. Shortly thereafter, sometime in 1909, Dement bought ALLAN for $140 with the guarantee that the horse would live through the next breeding season. ALLAN fulfilled his end of the bargain by living until September 16, 1910.

Since time has proven ALLAN to be the greatest single force in the establishment of the Tennessee Walking Horse, his pedigree merits detailed study. In his sire’s line ALLAN traces to the Darley Arabian, one of the Foundation sires of the Thoroughbred. From the Darley Arabian he traces forward to MESSENGER, the Thoroughbred which founded the Standardbreds. Skipping one generation we come to HAMBLETONIAN, the greatest Standardbred sire of his day and the stallion to which 99% of Standardbreds now trace. From this point forward, we can examine some of the outstanding animals that are the separate fiber from which the ALLAN cloth is woven.

by Franne Brandon
reprinted with permission

During the Reconstruction period following the United States Civil War, as Middle Tennessee began rebuilding after the conflict, Nashville and larger towns like Murfreesboro saw wealthy horsemen establish both Thoroughbred and Standardbred stud farms as racetracks sprang up in these areas. (Middle Tennessee Horse Breeding, p.25) In small towns and surrounding rural countryside, though, the progress seen in the more affluent cities failed to arrive. Horsemen living in farm areas continued to promote and to blend bloodlines of stallions and mares  descended from the easy-gaited saddle stock that had been in the area in the earliest days. These multi-purpose horses were bred for their ability to smoothly negotiate rough country roads. Their flat walks were fast and steady, their intermediate gait, known as a running walk, was a gliding, quick ride as the horses nodded along in time to their hoofbeats. These country horses could also pull a buggy or wagon and plow a field. Common sense was their forte, and they were sturdy animals, not show ring fancy, but solid and handsome.

These native Tennessee horses were firmly established as a type by the end of the 19th century. Classes for them at the Tennessee State Fair's showcase in the early 20th century termed them "Plantation Saddle Horses" according to historian Margaret Lindsley Warden. (Biography of the Tennessee Walking Horse, pages 104, 105.) To this state fair competition, Tennessee hrosemen brought their best stock, among them descendants of Tom Hal, Earnhearts Brooks, and Grey John. These competitors were proud of the horses they exhibited and the bloodlines that they represented.

It was at the start of the 20th century that a new stallion introduced bloodlines not previously found in the area. Foaled in 1886, the Standardbred ‘Allen’ was acquired by John Mankin of Murfreesboro in 1892. He failed as a sire of race horses, however, and for over ten years he was largely unappreciated as he was traded around Middle Tennessee. Finally, in 1903, in what could be regarded today as a freaky coincidence, James R. Brantley of Beech Grove, Tennessee, bought the black stallion for $110 as part of a purchase negotiation on a jack. Brantley investigated the background of his new stallion, liked the pedigree that he unearthed, and offered him at stud on the Brantley farm. There, for the first time, Allen attracted a large court of fine mares. He stood as a popular sire on the Brantley farm from 1903-1909.

Brantley described Allan years after owning him "as easy-gaited a horse as anyone ever rode. I rode him myself, and so did my children and many neighbors. No stallion ever lived who had a better disposition. His gaits in the trot, pace, flat or running walk were perfect. He had a particular gliding gait under saddle, truly equal to the family rocking chair. He had perfect style, a very high head, a natural, high tail, quick, very fine hair, good flat bone and ample foot." (Biography, pages 84,85) But, when Allan's son from his first foal crop out of Brantley's top mare, Gertrude, became established in the stud, Allan changed owners one last time, to live his final days at the farm of Brantley's good friend Albert Dement in Normandy.

While Allan never graced the show ring, his offspring did, and their success catapulted his bloodlines into prominence as the bloodlines to have. Red sabino son Roan Allen was described by his breeder as a youngster "with a long over-reach, nodding head with coltish legs beating in perfect form a true running walk.” (Biography, p.84) In appearance, the mature Roan

Allen was "possessing rare quality in conformation, a very long and finely proportioned neck, sloping shoulders, perfect head, quick, sharp ears, short back, very heavy flaxen mane, water spout flaxen tail, rear stockings, fore socks, and broad blazed face, and carried his head high.” (Biography, p. 83)

His half sister and future mate, Merry Legs "...was a big mare - about 15 ½ hands, weighing 1200 pounds - and in comparison with the best Tennessee Walking Horses today, I believe she could beat any of them. Her tail was never set, but she could carry it about as well as if it were set." So wrote Jimmy Joe Murray of Lewisburg in his memoirs of Allan's most famous daughter. (Biography, p. 79)

Another future mate of Merry Legs was Hunter's Allen, "...a golden or bright red chestnut, off hind stocking, star and snip, with a beautiful long mane that waved and a long tail that touched the ground, but was carried high while he was in action. He was about 15.1 hands and weighed approximately 1050 pounds." (Biography, p. 156) Hunter's Allen was champion stallion at the Tennessee State Fair in 1912, 1913, 1916, 1917, and 1924. In 1926, Fred Walker showed the then-twenty year old stallion to an undefeated season. (Biography, p. 156)

Hunter's Allen, Merry Legs, and Roan Allen shared traits that tied them to the established Tennessee bloodlines of their dams while allowing them to pass along the best from their sire, Allan. Although varying in height, these Allens (the spelling changed with their generation) were strongly built horses with conformation to carry weight and get the job done. All three took to saddle work easily and continued as show and riding horses after starting in the stud or producing foals. Although they were at the top of the game in the show ring, their competitive edge did not prevent them from functioning as useful riding horses, or in the case of the stallions, harness horses as well.

Another characteristic of these Allen horses was superior tail carriage. Oldtimers in the South mentioned in the past that a tail carried high was a hallmark of a well-bred horse. Before tail cutting came in vogue, judges would use criteria of excellence of tail carriage to determine the ribbons for a pair of competitors with equally matched gaits.

Although Allan was black, many of his grand-get were bay, chestnut, or sorrell. Today, over a hundred years since the Allens entered the gene pool, a sparkling irridescence known in some areas as "the Allen irridescence" brightens the coats of some sorrell and bay Tennessee Walkers. Did it come from Old Black Allan, or did his offspring pass it along as gifts from their dams?

The Tennessee Walker was an established type of regional saddle horse when Allan 7623 ATR was purchased by James Brantley in 1903. Less than thirty years later, however, his bloodlines were so prevalent that in 1935, he was selected as Foundation Sire #1 for the new Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Association of America. Allan and his Allen descendants left a legacy of horses with bone, solid walking gaits and the attitude to be suitable for any number of equine uses.

Breeders today should recall this Allen legacy as they direct their efforts to maintaining the integrity of the Tennessee Walking Horse in its claim to be the World's Greatest Pleasure Horse.



DOB: 1886
DOD: 09-16-1910

near hind sock, off hind foot white to ankle, and blaze
TWHBEA #12205
TWHBEA #12206
by: sherman morgan (justin morgan x fisk mare)
out of: queen of the neck (Captain absolute x sauders mare)
nathan hardy mare
by: Sir walter (by whip)
out of: bishops hambletonian mare


TWHBEA # Name Color Sx Foal   Name
11379 BY ALLAN F-1   M    
990114 ASHLEY'S MABLE   M    
990217 CROCKERS NOLA   M    
990567 BLUE DOLL   M    
990568 BLUE GRASS MARE   M    
990644 BROYLES LOU   M    
990975 OLD DUTCH   M    
991110 ED WEST MARE   M    
991233 FLETCHER'S MAE   M    
991271 FREEMAN'S OLD TOPSY   M    
991460 GRAY GIRL   M    
991622 JACOBS' ALLEN   M    
991736 JOYCE LIGHTBURN   M    
992383 MARY FAY   M    
992426 MARY LOU BARTON   M    
992434 MARY M.   M    
992488 MATT DEMENT   M    
992729 MAUDE M   M   MINNIE
992859 *MINNIE   M   *MOLLIE
993405 *OLD CORA   M    
993495 PATSY H   M    
993583 PEARL NANCE   M    
993605 PEARL WILKINSON   M    
994196 SORREL MARE   M    
994240 STEPP'S MAUDE   M    
994367 TINPENY MAUD   M    
994402 TRICKSIE   M    
994433 TRIXIE POINTER   M    
994560 BLACK SALLY   M    

Westwood Farms - Locust Dale, Virginia 22948 - - 540-825-1300