Milton Young

by Edmund Starling, 1886


There is no name associated with the history of Henderson County, so remarkable in all of its fortunate surroundings, as that of Milton Young. The eventful life of this young man has been marked by a success unparalleled in the history of most counties of the country, and has been frequently attributed to what is commonly denominated luck; this opinion, however, arises from a want of knowledge of the man. His "luck," as it is called, was the outcropping of a splendid mind, evenly balanced in the art of money making, and remarkably strong in cogent powers, necessary to direct and govern a most successful business life. Governed by the highest principles of social and business order, modest and unassuming, even in the zenith of his successes, non-communicative in matters important to himself, strictly temperate and sober in all of the phases of life, liberal and accommodating in friendship, and a brother in fact and deed, he has thus won for himself in the race for life a name, national in itself, a name as honorable as it is national. Milton Young was born in Union County, Ky., on the first day of January, 1851, and is the fifth son of Judge Milton Young and Maria Thompson. Judge Young moved to Henderson when the subject of this sketch was eight years of age. His school days were spent here, and by close application to his studies. under the guidance of two or more competent teachers, he qualified himself for life's journey.

In 1867, when only sixteen years of age, he borrowed the necessary amount to enable him to open a very small tobacco and cigar store, in an eight by six foot store room, adjoining the old drug house of George Lyne, on Main Street. To this business the young man applied himself, and soon gained a lucrative trade. In October, 1869 two years after, he sold his stock and went to Hopkinsville, where he engaged in the same business, in an old building on Main Street, adjoining what was then known as the Ford House. During this time, he was appointed on the Hopkinsville police force, and served in that capacity to the time of a difficulty between himself and the Marshal, some six months after. An unpleasantness had existed for some time between him and A. M. Laub, City Marshal, which finally resulted in a shooting scrape, wherein Mr. Young in front of the Court House door about nine o'clock on the morning of August, 1869, and thereupon renewed the old fued[sic]. In the melee pistols were fired by both parties, and the wonder is that the gallant policeman lived to tell the story of the encounter. The determination of Laub and Gerhard was evidently to take his life, but a kind providence and a bold and fearless spirit manifested on the part of Mr. Young, protected him from a literally mangling of flesh and bones. He received, however, two shots, one in the abdomen and one under the shoulder blade, passing under the skin, and coming out at the neck. Both parties fired on him. From the effect of these wounds he was confined to his room about six weeks. About a year afterwards he returned to Henderson, and again embarked in the tobacco and cigar trade, in an old frame building on Main Street, where now stands a handsome row of bricks, built for retail stores. By economy, he had saved enough to enable him to purchase the three little old frames then standing, one of which he occupied himself. He continued in business one and one-half years and then sold out. For some months after this, he amused himself in a leisure way, spending, perhaps, the most of his time on the Richland farm with his sister, Mrs. Buckman. In January, 1876, he organized the firm of Norris & Young, and opened a large hardware and agricultural house on Main Street, between Second and Third. While Mr. Young exercised a supervisory care over the business of the firm, Mr. Morris was yet the active partner, and was instructed with the mangagement and conduct of the business. During this partnership Mr. Young purchased at Nashville two race horses, Old Joe Rhodes and Duncan F. Kenner; this was in the fall of 1878. In the spring of '79 he commenced his turf life at Louisville, and at this meeting won two races with Joe Rhodes. Kenner started once, was defeated and afterwards sold. Joe Rhodes was taken to the St. Louis meeting following, and was there sold. In this spring he purchased of General Harding, of "Belle Meade" Nashville, Boot Jack, one year old; Manitou, one year old, and Boswell, two years old. In the month of May, he purchased of J. J. Merrill, Louisville, Bandcroft, a two year old. In the fall, he purchased of Douglas & Co. Beatitude, a three year old. The aggregate cost of the five racers amount to $2,455. These horses were brought to Henderson and wintered, and in the spring of 1880 shipped in Louisville. This spring his stable, consisting of the above named horses, made its debut at Nashville, running Bancroft, Beatitude and Boot Jack, and all winning. From Nashville, the stable was taken to Louisville, and here all three won. Beatitude won three races, Bancroft won the Missouri Derby, and Boot Jack won his race. From St. Louis to Chicago, here, Bancroft won three stakes and Beatitude three purse races, one of which was the three best in five, mile heats, to which was added $2,500, the largest purse ever run in a three in five race. she also won one stake race in the very remarkable time of 2.8-1/2 and 1-1/4 miles. At Detroit Bancroft won the Michigan Derby, and a mile heat stake for three year olds. He was the only starter from Mr. Young's stable at that meeting. From Detroit the stable was taken to Saratoga, New York, and at that meeting Beatitude and Boot Jack both won a purse race each. From Saratoga, the stable was returned to the fall meeting, held at Louisville, where Beatitude failed in her fore legs and was withdrawn from the turf. Boot Jack won the two year old stake. At Nashville, the next week Boot Jack started and was second to Lelex; Bancroft won the Cumberland stakes, two miles for three year olds. This ended the racing season of 1880, and Mr. Young's winnings, when calculated, showed the large sum of $19,600. During this year, Manitou and Boswell were sold, and such horses added to his stable as Lost Cause, Boatman, Getaway, and Beatrice.

At the beginning of the spring 1881 races, Mr. Young's stable was much stronger than it was the previous year. He started Nashville, with his stable, and at the meeting Boot Jack won the "Belle Meade" stake 1-1/2 miles; Bancroft won the 1-3/4 mile, "Railroad Stakes;" at Louisville, just afterwards, Bancroft won the "Inaugural" rush 1-1/4 miles, defeating the famous Checkmate. He also won the Louisville Cup, 2-1/4 miles, beating Checkmate and Mendelsohn. For this race Mr. Young had Bancroft heavily backed in the books, and as a veritable consequence won what is called in turf parlance , "a barrel of money." At Cincinnati, the following week, Critic and Monogram were purchased of Captain Wm. Cottrell. This stable, comprising Boot Jack, Bancroft, Getaway, Beatrice, Monogram and Critic, was entered in six races, and ran without defeat, winning the entire six, in which the horses were entered. At St. Louis, the following week, Boatman and Critic each won a race, Getaway ran and won the best 1-1/8 mile heat race on record; Bancroft won two races, one of which was the Brewers' Cup, 2-1/4 miles. In this race, as at Louisville, Mr. Young had Bancroft heavily backed. At Chicago the following week Getaway won the best 2 mile heat race ever run by a three year old. Lost Cause won his debutant effort. At Saratoga, Getaway and Boot Jack won six races each. It was here Getaway was matched against Eole for $2,500 and suffered defeat. At this meeting Mr. Young purchased Perplex and Patti. Perplex won four races, Patti won one.' From Saratoga the stable was brought to the fall meeting at Lexington. Here Getaway won the Viley Stakes, Lost Cause, the two colt stakes, and Boot Jack, two purse races. In the Station stake Getaway broke down in his fore legs, and was afterwards sold; Patti won the Inaugural Rush. At Louisville, Lost Cause won both the two year old events; Boot Jack son four races, one being the "Great American Stallion" stake, the other the Turf stake; Perplex won two races out of three starts. At Nashville, the last meeting of the year 1881, and after having run at the same place in the spring, subsequently at Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, Saratoga, Lexington and again at Louisville--the renowned Boot Jack won here two races on the same day, and the following day won the Cumberland stakes, mile heats for three year olds; Lost Cause won the two year old stake. This closed the year 1881, and upon an accurate calculation Mr. Young's purse and stake winnings aggregated the round sum of $37,700, nearly double that of 1880. During 1881, Mr. Young added to his stable Bondholder and Ascender, and the spring of 1882 found his string of flyers composed as follows, Bondholder, Boot Jack, Bancroft, Perflex, Lost Cause, Monogram, Patti, Ascender, Boatman, Glen Arm and several others not worthy of mention. This spring found the Young stable in elegant form for the year's work. The spring of '82 racing, so far as this stable was concerned, commenced at Louisville, and here as a successful starter, Monogram won the one mile dash, and the mile heat race for three year olds; Bancroft won the mile dash in 1.42-1/2 It was here that Bondholder defeated the celebrated "Punster," and several others for the Runnymeade stakes for two year olds. At St. Louis, Monogram won the Missouri Derby, and a mile dash; Bancroft won two races, one 1-1/8 and 1-1/2 miles; Boot Jack won three races, 1-1/8 miles, 1-1/4 miles and mile heats; Ascender won the 3/4 mile and 1 mile, for two year olds; Perplex won the 7/8 of a mile; Lost Cause won the 1-1/8 mile dash, and Glen Arm 7/8 mile dash. At this meeting Mr. Young won the first day's programme, consisting of four races, with four horses as follows: Monogram, "Missouri Derby," Boot Jack, mile heats, Ascender, 3/4 mile dash, Bancroft, 1-1/8 miles. Such unprecedented fortune was never known to fall to the lot of a turfman before in the history of racing. At Chicago, Boatman made his first appearance for the year, winning a mil race for three year olds; Ascender won two valuable two year old stakes, 3/4 and 1 mile; Boot Jack won two races, one at a mile and one at two miles, the longest race ever run by that horse. At Saratoga Bancroft let down, and was started in a selling race, which he won; he was sold for one thousand dollars. Boot Jack won several races, the best of which was a cash handicap 1-1/8 miles, in the fast time of 1.54-1/2; his stable companion, Boatman ran second. Boatman won four races, two of them the "Kenna," and the "Sequel" stakes, perhaps the most prominent and important races ran during the meeting. Ascender ran four times, and was defeated only once. Patti won one race; Monogram won two. At this meeting Mr. Young sold Boot Jack, Lost Cause and Perplex to the Dwyer Bros., of New York. Here he purchased Vera, a most promising young race mare.

From Saratoga the Young stable was brought again to the fall (1882) meeting at Lexington; here Ascender won the two year old stake; here Square Dance was purchased.

At Louisville, the following week, Ascender won the mile stake for two-year olds; Vera the mile stake for two-year old fillies; Boatman won the great American stallion stake. This stake has been in existence since the organization of the Louisville Race Course, and Mr. Young is the only turfman who has won the stake two consecutive years. Square Dance won, at this meeting, two races. At this meeting, Mr. Young's racing career was brought to a close, he having determined to abandon it for the more pleasant and agreeable life of breeding for the turf. To this end, at the Louisvilled meeting, he sold to R. C. Pate, of St. Louis, Boatman, Monogram, Bondholder, Ascender, Tangent, Longway, Emperor, Rex, Embargo, Empire, Envoy and Endymion, absolutely. He also sold the running qualities for the racing season for which they were entered, the following fillies: Vera, Nannie D. Maria D., Tattoo, Trophy and Trinket. He reserved Patti and Square Dance. This sale was made for the handsome sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, cash in hand paid. In summing up the year's business, it was found that the winnings from stake and purse races, amounted to $30,300. Thus, it will be seen, that the star of fortune had never before stuck so closely to a young man, in so risky a business, as it did to Mr. Young. His turf life began in the spring of 1879 with two broken down racers and a limited purse, and ended in the fall of 1882 with a stable of magnificent runners and a barrel of money to carry out any plan he might choose to undertake. For some time he had set his soul upon being the owner of McGrathiana, perhaps the finest blue grass farm in all the State of Kentucky. On September 14th, 1882, McGrathiana, the magnificent home of Price McGrath, the renowned owner of Tom Bowling, was offered for sale at commissioner's sale, and Milton Young, being the highest bidder, became the purchaser for the sum of $47,000. The farm comprises four hundred and seventeen acres of land, a beautiful brick and stone residence, elegant outbuildings and superior stables and breeding improvements. It is located three miles from Lexington, on the Newtown pike.

It is Mr. Young's intention to make McGrathiana still more noted in turf annals, and, to this end, he has selected the purest blooded racing stock to be found in America. he now has in his McGrathiana stud, the celebrated stallion, Onendaga (full brother to Sensation), by Leamington, dam Susan Bean. Duke of Montrose, six years old, by Waverly, dam Kelpie by imported Bonnie Scotland. These two stallions have no superior in this country. He has in his harem forty-seven mares, which cost him on an average of one thousand dollars each. Among the number we note, Beatitude, Bliss and Beatrice, full sisters; Fonwitch, full sister to Fonso; Kelpie, dam of Jeannette; Gladiola, sister to Glidelia; Black Maria, sister to Bancroft; Perhaps, dam of Perplex; Skylight, sister to Vandlelight; Olivia, dam Olitipa. Of the forty-seven mares in the harem, eight of them are by Imported Bonnie Scotland; four by IMport Australian; four by Imported Leamington. Twenty-seven of these mares foaled last spring, by such stallions as King Alphonso, Longfellow, King Ban and Imported Mortimer. Mr. Young sold, last spring, four colts: one out of Beautitude, by King Alphonso; one out of Nelly Booker, by Harper's Tenbroeck; one out of Perhaps, by St. Martin, and one by Fellowcraft, dam an Enquirer mare. A majority of his mares were bred last spring to Onandago, and a few to the Duke of Montrose. Annual sales of yearlings will be one of the main features of McGrathiana from this time on.

In conclusion: During Mr. Young's turf career he has won one hundred and twenty-one races, been second fifty-nine times, and winning the sum total, in public money, of $80,100. Mr. Young always backed his horses, and his winnings, outside of stakes and purses, it is confidently said, have amount to $200,000. Mr. Young has been a close observer, always keeping a watchful eye over his horses and never shooting at high game unless he had good guns and first-class ammunition.

the following compliment, taken from the Courier-Journal, I heartily endorse: "The present proprietor of McGrathiana is not unlike that of the celebrated Captain Machell, of England. Neither of them has ever owned a sensational horse, nor won the greatest prize contended for in their respective countries; but each of them has had many good ones, has managed them with rare tact and judgment, and has gained a deserving reputation for shrewdness and ability; the fact is Mr. Young is the "Machell" of the American turf.

Now, after a life of success unparalleled in the history of this county, we come to the finale, wherein he crowns it all with a queenly ornament: the result of a taste in keeping with his splendid business judgment. To complete the victory and renown he so hurriedly builded all by himself, he has displayed a degree of sense surpassing even the brightest of his turf life. On December the 14, 1882, he was married to Miss Lucia Spalding, the handsome, and highly cultured daughter of Hon. and Mrs. I. A. Spalding, of Morganfield Ky. A truly brilliant and happy event in the life of him whose young life had been filled with successful prolific blessings. She meets the stranger with an ease and grace which have a peculiar charm, showing that she has been accustomed to the highest circles of society, and in her presence he at once feels at home. Mr. Young, while on the turf, won 121 races, but his last victory, when he captured Mrs. Young, was by long odds the greatest prize and a fitting crown to his retirement.

In conclusion, allow me to say, on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Young, that they are well settled down, and nothing will afford them more pleasure than to receive calls from friends and strangers, having both the ability and inclination to entertain them in true old Kentucky style; in other words, the latch-string at McGrathiana always hangs on the outside.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 697-703;

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