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Frederic Ferguson McElhone

FREDERIC FERGUSON McELHONE. Of the many noted farms and country places in Fauquier County one that has perhaps been longest a center for the breeding of horses for sport is Grafton. The present master of Grafton is Frederic Ferguson McElhone, who came to Virginia in 1900, bringing with him an expert knowledge of horses and of their training.

Mr. McElhone was born in Washington, D. C., December 29, 1876. His father was John J. McElhone, who for more than forty years was Chief Official Reporter of the Federal House of Representatives, a. very close friend of William McKinley, Samuel J. Randall of Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Thomas F. Bayard and other noted men of his generation. John J. McElhone was a native of Philadelphia, and began his newspaper career with General Forney on the Philadelphia Ledger. From there he went to the nation’s capital. He was an expert shorthand writer, one of the American pioneers, when it was a rare and distinguished profession. His death occurred at the age of fifty-nine. Mr. McElhone was famous for his editing of the reports of Congress done from the notes he took on the floor which if literally transcribed would have displayed the ignorance and illiteracy of many leading figures in American politics. After his death Ainsworth R.. Spofford, the famous Librarian of Congress, declared that John J. McElhone’s private library was the most perfectly selected small library in the world. He was one of the charter members of the Metropolitan Club of Washington.

In New York Citv John J. McElhone married Miss Mary Matilda O’Hanlon, who was born in Irehind. Tier father, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, came from Rathkeel, County Limerick, Treland, and was a noted surgeon, practicing both in his native land, London, England, and in New York. His home was always on Feast Eighteenth Street, New York. His daughter, Mrs. McElhone, who died in 1912, was the mother of twelve children, and four sons and three daughters are living.

Frederic McElhone was educated in private school, later in the preparatory school of Georgetown University and for a, time was a student in the University itself. He left before graduating, and since then has been a devotee of the turf and horse breeding. At Grafton, on December 22, 1.908, he married Miss .Rebecca Anne Dulany, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. Hunter Dulany and a granddaughter of Col. Richard Henry Dulany. A more complete record of the Dulany family, one of the most prominent in Northern Virginia, is given elsewhere in this publication. Grafton was established as a horse farm by the Dulany family, and has been in that family for more than seventy-five years. Under the management of Mr. McElhone it has become primarily in recent years a place for the breeding of thoroughbreds. Grafton has bred some of the splendid horses known to the sporting world. “Silver Crest” is the most famous of the hunting horses bred on the farm. He was foaled in 1908, and in 1922 made a record never before approached. Without any special plans for record breaking in that season, and with only two short trips oil the train through the year, Silver Crest won 105 ribbons, including 58 firsts, 23 seconds, 6 championships and 6 reserve championships, and some of these victories were in classes where more than seventy horses competed.

Another animal is “Web Carter,” now the Property of Mrs. Payne Whitney of New York. He has won innumerable races for his owner, and through her interest in this animal Mrs. Whitney became interested ill racing and has built up a string of racers and has also become a breeder of steeple chasers. Wallace Lanahan’s horse “Rock Abbey” also was bred at Grafton. R. Hunter Dulany’s “Bachelor” came from this farm.

Since the close of the war Mr. McElhone has concentrated the energies of Grafton upon the breeding of thoroughbreds, and all his stock is young. He is a director of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, which was founded by Col. Richard Dulany and other Upperville horse men in 1851, and is the oldest horse show in the United States. He is also a member of the National Steeple Chase and the Hunt Association of New York, and of the American Remount Service Association, the popular liorsemen’s association.

An enthusiastic partner with Mr. McElhone in all the activities at Grafton is Mrs. McElhone, who grew tip in an atmosphere of the king of sports. She was born at “Old Welbourne” in Loudoun County, Virginia., and was educated under governesses and at Dana Hall, near Boston. He is one of three children. Her brother, John Peyton Dulany, who died in 1904, was owner of the dam of the noted horse, Silver Crest. Her sister, Mrs. A. C. Randolph, is the wife of Dr. A. C. Randolph, a breeder at Old Welbourne in Loudoun County.