138 YEARS OF HUNTING IN THE GENESEE VALLEY
The One Hundred
and Thirty-eighth year of the Genesee Valley Hunt
will begin with the opening meet on Saturday,
September 27th, 2014, at the Homestead in Geneseo.
In 1876 Major W.
Austin Wadsworth organized and became Master of the
Genesee Valley Hunt, which for the first six years
was called the Livingston County Hunt. There were no
hounds other than those brought to the hunt by
members of the field. Although Charles Carroll
Fitzhugh was designated the Huntsman, there were
often as many huntsman as there were owners of
hounds since the hounds responded only to their
became Huntsman as well as Master of the Hunt in
1878. After spending a few years struggling with the
chaos that results from hunting a trencher pack, the
Major decided to develop his own pack of crossbred
hounds. The Major achieved a level of fame in the
foxhunting world and from the 1880s through the
1890s the Genesee Valley was regarded as the
foxhunting center of North America. The Major hunted
his hounds in the Valley for almost four decades,
only relinquishing his role as huntsman the last few
years of his life, and keeping his role as Master
In 1919, Major
Goss L. Stryker, from Maryland, took over the Hunt, but
failed to keep it going the following year. The Hunt
was disbanded until 1922, when Major Winthrop
Chanler, a newcomer to the Valley, revived it. Major
Chanler was M.F.H. until just after the Hunts formal
incorporation on the 31st day of December, 1925.
In 1926 the Hunt
was taken over by the joint Masters, Ernest L.
Woodward and James S. Wadsworth, known as “Jim Sam”.
In 1930, Jim Sam died, leaving Mr. Woodward to carry
on until 1933, when William P. Wadsworth, the
founder’s son, stepped into his father’s boots.
William P. was
M.F.H. for the next 43 years until 1975, and
Huntsman until 1972. His only absence was during the
time he served in World War II. During that time the
Hunt was under the stewardship of Edward Mulligan,
W. Austin Wadsworth,
grandson of the Hunt’s founder, and son of William
P. Wadsworth, became joint Master and Huntsman in
1972. He then took over completely after his
father’s retirement in 1975. In 1980, Austin’s
Sister Martha D. Wadsworth became joint Huntsman,
and seven years later she became joint Master as
well. Marion Thorne, Austin’s Stepdaughter, became
joint Huntsman with Austin in 2001 and became Joint
Master in 2006.
was a seminal year for the creation of art associated
with the Hunt, due in part to the promotion of the
2007 MFHA Centennial Traveling Art Exhibition.
For photos of these art works, click on the title
above or HERE. For
information on the Centennial Exhibition, see the
Cross Gate Gallery web site at http://www.crossgategallery.com/.
MFHA 2007 Centennial DVD - Submission of Information
As part of
the Celebration of the Centennial of the Masters of
Foxhounds Association, GVH developed an expanded
written history of the hunt, which was submitted
along with some photos for inclusion in a DVD
compiling all of the MFHA member hunts. This text
document, with a few of the photos included, is
available for download HERE
as a PDF file.