A Closer Look
Henry Whipple said that his horse, Bashaw, was his “friend
and companion for over fifty thousand miles, always full of spirit
and gentle… The only time I ever touched him with a whip
was on the brink of a precipice where the path was a sheet of glare
ice and as the wagon began to slide I saved us both by a lash,
but the blow hurt me more than it did Bashaw. He saved my life
when lost on the prairies many times.”
Henry first received
Bashaw in 1860, and kept him for thirty years. The acquisition
of a good horse was essential to his missionary
work, and took some time.
In July, 1859, Benjamin Wright, Cornelia’s
father, wrote from Waterloo (probably in New York):
Henry that I spoke to Joseph about letting him have a horse. He
said to me that he intended
so when he could get one that
is suitable and safe. While I am here I shall be on the lookout
for one for him.”
In November, 1860, Joseph Wright
sent a horse to Faribault from Waterloo, along with the following
"We call this horse Bashaw after one of his
ancestors on his sires side.You will notice that he has a way of
looking rather wicked sometimes
when you enter his stall, but you will only need [to] speak sharp
to him, till you have made his acquaintance and ever afterwards
you will find him kind and affectionate.
We consider him a
remarkably good horse to drive by the side of another horse in
double harness and withall a very fleet traveler.
As a single horse I think you will be pleased with him, he may
however evince rather too much spirit at first if suffered to remain
too long without use. We also think he possesses all the desirable
qualities of a first rate saddle horse although he has been used
very little in that way.
I will give you his pedigree on the way
of breeding to the best of my ability and which I think is [?]-
Bashaw’s dam was
a large Bluchu mare bred in Dutchess C[ounty], N.Y. Sire, Bashaw
by New York Black Hawk by Andrew Jackson by imported Arabian black.
Bashaw the great-great grand-sire of the present very celebrated
M. Patchen. There are two classes of Black Hawks, the Vermont
and the New York, the latter the grandsire of Bashaw; we consider
these far superior as a breed to the others.
I hope you will avoid
getting them confounded for I would not like any one to think him
a descendent of the Vermont Black Hawk.
I hope you will be pleased
with the horse, and that he may be to you a true and faithful servant.”