(By Billy Taylor. Reprinted with permission from The Voice)
Boy was foaled in the Wartrace community, Bedford County,
Tennessee; the year was 1925. This area has been referred to as
the Cradle of the Tennessee Walking Horse because so many great
ones were produced there. Merry Boy's breeder and owner was Albert
Dement; his sire was Roan Allen F-38, not only a great show horse
during his lifetime but one of the greatest foundation sires of
all time. His dam, Merry Legs F-4, was not only a great show mare,
as was her half-brother, Roan Allen F-38, she was considered to be
the best producing mare ever born in the Tennessee Walking Horse
breed. She produced 13 foals, six stallions and seven mares. She
produced five stallions that became very popular breeding
stallions, including the great Merry Boy. The other four were
Merry King by Moreland's Pride, Major Allen and Bud Allen by Mitch
F-5, and Last Chance, her last foal by Hunter's Allen F-10.
Albert Dement owned Merry Boy until
he was approximately eight years old. His first three foals were
foaled in 1928, making Merry Boy on two years old when they were
sired. Two were Ed Nowlin F-8 out of Little Maid and Neil Don out
of Neil Dement F-, Merry Boy's grand dam. The breeder and owner of
these two foals was Albert Dement. The other foal, born in 1928,
was Monette's Dutchess, breeder was T.A. Chapman of Shelbeyville.
It was impossible to know exactly
where Merry Boy was located during his early years. It appears
from TWHBEA records that he was at Albert Dement's barn until
sometime in 1928, when he was located in Ed Ward's barn in the New
Herman community, in the southern part of Bedford County. While
there he sired Byrom's Allen in 1929. It appears he was in the New
Herman community until sometime in 1930. Merry Boy sired one foal
in 1930; the breeder was F. Shelton and he had a Wartrace address,
so it appears that Merry Boy was back at Albert Dement's sometime
In 1931, Merry Boy sired two foals.
The breeder of one foal was F. Bowden, with a Lewisburg, Tennessee
address. The breeders of the other foal were Welch & Whitesell, no
address given. It is possible that Merry Boyu was located at
Culleoka during 1931, as alluded to by Bob Womack in The Echo
of Hoofbeats. In 1932, Merry Boy sired four foals and
according to the records, it appears he was back at Albert
In 1933 Merry Boy was purchased by
Mr. Addie Rhoton of the Awalt community, located in the northern
part of Franklin County, Tennessee. Mr. Rhoton had a Tullahome
mailing address which can make it confusing to the actual location
of the Awalkt community. While the property of Mr. Rhoton, Merry
Boy was worked in harness to a turning plow alongside a mule or
draft horse and ridden under saddle regularly. This information
was obtained Mr. Rhoton's son, A.B. Rhoton shortly before his
death October 9, 1995. My uncle, P.O. Harrison visited the
Rhoton's as a young man and on one occasion, rode Merry Boy.
Clayton Ervin, a neighbor of mine, stated that he remembered Mr.
Addie Rhoton riding Merry Boy to different farms, breeding him to
mares there. Mr. A.B. Rhoton stated that his dad purchased Merry
Boy when the horse was eight years old, and then sold him to Mr.
Patton in the middle 1930's for $500. It was speculated the Mr.
Patton was acting as an agent for Mr. J.L. McMichael in the
purchase of Merry Boy.
Prior to being purchased by Mr.
Addie Rhoton Merry Boy had sired only 19 foals during his first 8
years. While at Mr. Rhoton's, Merry Boy sired thirty foals in
approximately two years.
Some of Merry Boy's first offspring
to bring attention to him were Dement's Merry Legs, Ed Nowlin
F-38, and Byrom's Allen. Dement's Merry Legs was foaled May 1,
1933, and by the time she was three years old, she had become a
great show mare. Mr. Albert Dememt, her breeder and owner, sold
her to L.D. Rouse of Montgomery, Alabama for an unheard-of price
in 1936 of $2,000. Also, E Nowlin F-8, foaled in 1928, was highly
regarded as a breeding stallion, but died young at the age of six
in 1934. Byrom's Allen, foaled May 1, 1930, was the other son that
brought attention to Merry Boy. He was purchased as a foal by Mr.
Roy Byrom, Moore County, Tennessee. Mr. Reagor Byrom, son of Roy
Byrom, said that his dad, brother Albert, and himself were driving
cattle along a dirt road in 1930 in the New Herman community and
spotted Byrom's Allen and his dam in a pasture near the road. They
liked the colt and purchased him at a young age. Mr. Reagor Byrom
said that after Byrom's Allen became breeding age, that he would
ride him to different farms and breed mares to him. On one
occasion he rode him approximately 20 miles to Mr. Fount Ray's
farm, in the Awalt community, to breed his mare.