The Horses of F.E. Lewis

by Pat Payne of Asil Arabians, Chino, Calif.
from The Arabian Horse News Oct. ‘71

During the mid-1940s, I was interested in the horses of the 1906 Davenport importation and their descendants. When checking pedigrees on the Davenport horses of the ‘40’s, I would come across the name of F.E. Lewis II of Spadra, California, as the breeder of many of these horses, such as ANTEZ 448 and ORIENTAL 529.

In 1956 I was living in Newport Beach, California, in an apartment. Just before Christmas one of the tenants had a party for the rest of the tenants. There I met a man everyone called “Hoppy.” He and I talked for a while and I found out he had worked for F.E.Lewis since 1915 as his business manager. I asked him about the Arabian horses, and he mentioned a few that Mr. Lewis had owned, such as LETAN 86 and HARARA 122. During the next 13 years I saw Hoppy off and on in Newport Beach, but we never talked of the horses.

In August of 1970 I visited Charles Craver in Winchester, Illinois. Charles has a herd of approximately 50 to 60 Arabians, all tracing to the Davenport importation, and is a great student of the Davenport horses. In our conversation I mentioned I had met F.E. Lewis’ business manager and that he still lived in Newport Beach. Charles urged me to get in touch with Hoppy to see what I could learn about these old horses.

During all the years that I had known Hoppy, that was the only name I ever knew him by. My wife went to our market and asked about him. Most everyone at the beach knew Hoppy, but didn’t know his real name. However, in the office at the market they had his name — C.H. Hopkins. I phoned him and made a lunch date

Before our meeting I did some homework with the stud books to reacquaint myself with the Lewis horses. I found the first foal with Lewis as the breeder was HAMAMA 418, foaled May 29, 1920, and the last was GHURRA 686, foaled June 28, 1928. During those nine years, F.E. Lewis bred 37 registered Arabians.

His foundation horses were all from the Hingham Stock Farm and consisted of eight mares: FREDA 20, SALEIFY 70, MOLIAH 109, SAMIT 153, SEDJUR 193, HASIKER 268, ADOUBA, 270 and TAMARINSK 331; and two stallions: LETAN 86 and HARARA 122. Two of the mares were in foal when purchased: SAMIT to *HAMRAH 28, producing ZIKI 415, a colt; and HASIKER 268 to FARTAK 141, producing a filly, MEDINA 416.

The Hingham Stock Farm, where Lewis purchased all his horses, was owned by Peter B. Bradley who is reported to have financed Homer Davenport’s trip to Arabia in 1906. The horses at Hingham consisted of the original 1906 imported horses and their descendants, the descendants of the Hamidie Society importation to Chicago in 1893, and, lastly, descendants of Davenport’s importation of 1910 from England. Eight of the ten Lewis horses traced only to the 1906 desert importation. The other two were SEDJUR and FREDA. SEDJUR was by *HAMRAH and out of AARED 91 (*Obeyran 2 — *Wadduda 30). *HAMRAH and *WADDUDA were part of the 1906 importation, and *OBEYRAN was one of the Hamidie horse. FREDA traced only to the Hamidie importation, being by *OBEYRAN and out of ZITRA 68 (*Mannaky 294 — *Galfia 255).

As I checked through the stud books I was surprised at the number of well-known horses of today who trace back to the ten foundation horses of F.E. Lewis and what an impact the Lewis horses have had on the Arab.

The best-known horse bred by Mr. Lewis was ANTEZ 448 (Harara 122 — Moliah 109). ANTEZ had a very interesting history. He was purchased from Lewis by the Kellogg Ranch in about 1924, and in 1931 went to General Dickinson’s Travelers Rest Arabian Stud in Tennessee. There he was raced against the clock and, I believe, set the half-mile record for Arabs. The Poles, being interested in racing Arabs, bought ANTEZ and took him to Poland.

He was re-purchased by the Lanteen Arabian Foundation of Hereford, Arizona, just before the outbreak of World War II in Europe and returned to this country. All of his descendants in Poland were lost during the war. However, two of his Polish offspring were imported to this country before the war. They were *SIELANKA 1391 and *LATIF 1454. ANTEZ was a favorite of Mr. Kellogg’s, and when the Lanteen Foundation was closed in about 1942 or 1943, Mr. Kellogg bought him and gave him to H.H. Reese of Covina, California. So, ANTEZ returned to within six or eight miles from his birthplace. It was there that I saw him. He was a beautiful chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, a color very popular in California at that time. Many California breeders were thankful for the opportunity to use this great old horse. He produced 19 foals in the next two years. As I remember, he was kicked by a mare and had to be put to sleep. ANTEZ had 52 registered offspring in our stud books, making him one of the more popular stallions of his day, especially considering the six or seven years of his prime spent in Poland. According to Gladys Brown Edward’s research, ANTEZ is credited with 25 champions in tail male descent.

HARARA 122, the sire of ANTEZ, shared with LETAN (*Muson 27 — *Jeddah 44) the duties of co-herd sires. Again, according to Gladys Brown Edwards’ research, 17 champions descend in tail male order from LETAN. Perhaps LETAN’s best known son was ORIENTAL, the sire of MUSTAFA 2022, twice champion of the big Southern California Arabian shows in the middle ‘40s. MUSTAFA sired the Bevan’s KIMFA, who is still producing champions in Texas. I remember MUSTAFA at the 1947 show, when he came over from Arizona and showed us Californians a thing or two about show horses. Not only was he a beautiful horse, but when in the ring he showed like an artist’s model.

Another well-known son of ORIENTAL was BARAKI 997. He was shown in open competition in California in the ‘40s and won many stock horse classes.

Some of the other better known get of LETAN were: SHERLET 339, DHAREB 537, AKIL 552, BABE AZAB 567, PEP 611 and KASAR 707. SHERLET produced by *RASEYN 597: RASLET 702, RALET 759, SHEREYN 926 and RASEYNA 1042. RALET was the jumping horse at Kellogg’s. RASLET and SHEREYN were working cow horses, with SHEREYN winning in open competition. RASEYNA produced MASYRA 1778, dam of MRAFF, the $36,000 seller at the 1970 Nationals Sale. DHAREB sired 13 foals, among them FARHAN, one of Donald Jones’ foundation mares.

AKIL sired 12 foals, including LA PLATA 1243, dam of JUBILO 2466 for the Drapers’ Jedel Arabians. BABE AZAB produced ROYAL AMBER 1557, one of the foundation sires at Jedel. PEP was named after the Kellogg cereal and was the trick horse at the Kellogg Ranch. KASAR was used at the Hearst Ranch and sired 19 foals. The best known were ANSARLAH 1281, used at the Hearst Ranch and GAMIL 1427, the dam of IBN HANAD.

Many of the eight F.E. Lewis mares also contributed their bit to the Arab horse of today.

MOLIAH 109 was the dam of ANTEZ, DHAREB and MUSTAKIM, mentioned above. MOLIAH’S daughter SANKIRAH 149 produced 14 foals. HANAD 489 was her best known offspring. Two of her better known daughters were KIRAH 551 and MONICA 589. These two mares are to be found in the pedigrees of many of today’s best known horses, such as FERNEYN, THE REAL McCOY, FERZON, DUNES, SOTEP, RAFFERTY, ROSE OF RASWAN, ORBIT and many others.

SEDJUR 193, besides being the dam of AKIL, mentioned already, also produced BINT SEDJUR 1148, dam of BINT SAHARA, Frank McCoy’s great foundation mare, and from her descended FERSARA, FERZON, FADJUR, THE REAL McCOY and the other great McCoy horses.

HASIKER 268 was the dam of MAKINA 450 who, in turn, produced ALLA AMARWARD 1140 by STAMBUL 575. ALLA AMARWARD was one of the leading sires in number of offspring during the 1940’s.

When I went to meet Hoppy for lunch, I took along some pictures of ANTEZ. When I showed them to him, he said: “Isn’t he beautiful! He looks just like his daddy, HARARA.” Hoppy had no idea what had happened to ANTEZ after he sold him to Kellogg. I told him what I knew of ANTEZ and his travels and his fame. Hoppy was very pleased to hear about it.

Hoppy had bought along a photo album. There were several pictures of LETAN and HARARA and F.E. Lewis and the ranch. I asked him to tell me about F.E. Lewis.

Lewis was born December 26, 1884, in Tarrytown, New York. He came from an extremely wealthy family. He started coming west when he was a teenager and fell in love with the country.

He was a man of many interests and had the money and time to enjoy them all. One of his early interests was auto racing. He raced both gas and steam cars. One of his races was from New York City to Buffalo in 1911. Another of his early interests was boating, and this interest stayed with him all of his life.

He spent three years looking for a ranch in the west and in 1916 bought 7,800 acres near what then was called Spadra, California, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. He named his ranch Diamond Bar, and today it is being subdivided for housing and is still called Diamond Bar.

Lewis got title to the land in 1917. He and Hoppy drove out to the ranch from New York, leaving in October 1917. They drove a custom-made Cadillac with 37-inch tires, special shock absorbers and a reclining seat. They took bedrolls and were going to take turns sleeping. There were two other men going with them in one of Lewis’ Stanley Steamers, but it broke down after 100 miles. They shipped the Stanley Steamer by rail and took the other two men with them. Hoppy showed me pictures taken on the trip — and it was sure some trip! In much of the western country there were no roads, not even bridges. They had to be ferried across the Colorado River.

When they got to the ranch, the work really began. They built houses, barns, corrals, etc. Lewis decided to go into the hog business and built a farrowing house 1,200 feet long. He had a herd of 7,500 Duroc Jersey brood sows. He found that the cost of raising hogs on grain in California was prohibitive, so he went into partnership with A.B. Miller of Fontana, California. The two of them posted a $50,000 bond in the name of C.H. Hopkins and got the garbage contract from the City of Los Angeles. They ran a spur track into the Diamond Bar from the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad. Hoppy showed me pictures of the hog operation. They had their own railroad engine. They were getting more garbage than they could feed, so Lewis and Miller bought 35,000 feeder hogs from the midwest and put them in Fontana. Lewis finally decided to get out of the hog business entirely, so he sold out to A.B. Miller. Miller made a fortune from the hog operation.

Lewis also had a herd of grade cattle. When the Country Fair of 1919 was closed because of the influenza epidemic, he had the opportunity to pick up seven purebred Hereford bulls. With these bulls he upgraded his herd and ran up to 1,500 head of cattle. The Diamond Bar was a real working cattle operation and Lewis enjoyed it. He lost two joints off three fingers from dally roping. This is the type of roping where the rider’s end of the rope isn’t fastened to the horn, but after the steer is roped, the rider dallys it around the horn.

Will Rogers was a great friend of Hoppy and Lewis. He loved to rope cattle and would come to the Diamond Bar whenever there was branding to be done. Hoppy said when it was time to eat lunch they would ask Rogers to come with them, but he would decline, saying he would rather rope. I asked Hoppy if Will Rogers used the Arabs for roping and he said: “Oh, gosh, no, he was too rough on the horses.” When Will Rogers crashed in 1934 with Wiley Post in Alaska, Hoppy and Lewis went to Point Barrow aboard Lewis’ boat to visit the memorial. I didn’t realize where Point Barrow was, but as I looked at the pictures and the map I was surprised to find its location. It is through the Bering Straits and perhaps 1,000 miles east on the Arctic Ocean. I asked Hoppy about Lewis’ boats, and he said Lewis had boats all his life. One of them was over 200 feet long and had a crew of 52.

For personal reasons, Lewis sold the Diamond Bar in 1943 and bought an island north of Vancouver in Canada. He felt California was getting too crowded for him. He bought a warehouse building in Newport Beach to store his personal things and also as an office for Hoppy. Lewis died in Canada on March 6, 1963. Hoppy bought the building from the estate and still maintains his office there. After lunch, Hoppy and I visited his office to look at more pictures. The calendar on Happy desk is turned to Wednesday, February 17, 1943 — the day escrow was closed and title was transferred on the Diamond Bar.

Here are a few things Hoppy told me about the horses:

Lewis always liked western horses. His wife had gaited horses, but he didn’t care for them.

Hoppy didn’t visit Hingham or know how Lewis found out about the Arabs. The horses were shipped to California on an express car. It was a hard trip on the horses, and one mare died shortly after the arrival. She was blind and, as he remembers, one of the 1906 importations. He doesn’t recall her name.

He says HARARA was beautiful, and the pictures he showed me certainly confirm that. HARARA was sold to Central Agurerra Sugar Company in Puerto Rico and shipped from L.A. harbor.(1)

LETAN seemed to be Hoppy’s favorite. He twice used the same words about him — once at lunch and later in his office: “handy as a pocket knife. Quick, would turn on a dime.” This seems to carry on in many of LETAN’s progeny, as many of the great Arab stock horses are descended from him. Hoppy also told me they never used anything more severe than a snaffle on LETAN when he did stock horse work. He felt LETAN and HARARA were equal as sires. Lewis usually rode LETAN.

Albert W. Harris visited them several times and was interested in endurance rides. He recalled Harris’ ranch in Chino. Mr. Harris was president of the Arabian Horse Club in later years, and I can remember his visit to our place and his letters concerning our participation in endurance rides.

Hoppy’s personal riding horse was the gelding HAMEK 445 (Harara x Samit). The name “Hamek” is Kemah spelled backwards. Kemah was the name of one of Lewis’ early boats and the name of his personal corporation. There was also a mare named HEMEKA 420 (Harara x Adouba).

One morning Hoppy was told there was something wrong with LETAN. When he got to LETAN’s corral, his neck, chest and forelegs were covered with blood. They found LETAN’s upper front on the ground, all in one piece, apparently torn out on the fence. They saved the teeth and kept them in alcohol at the ranch for many years. LETAN wasn’t able to graze after that.

Once Hoppy got a letter from a man named Kellogg in Michigan, inquiring about a stallion for a riding horse. Hoppy was busy and forgot about answering the letter. Several months later, Mr. Kellogg arrived at the Diamond Bar and good-naturedly kidded Hoppy about not answering the letter. Mr. Kellogg still wanted to buy a riding stallion. Hoppy said Mr. Kellogg was at that time along in years and rather portly, and they tried to discourage him from buying a stallion. Some time later, Mr. Kellogg returned to the Diamond Bar with a German named Schmidt and bought about half of their horses.(2) Schmidt selected the horses they bought. The German later was known as Carl Raswan, but, of course, Hoppy knew nothing of this.

The balance of the breeding stock was sold before 1930, and when the Diamond Bar sold in 1943 a few Arab geldings went with it.

As noted in the captions, some of the pictures with this article are from Hoppy’s album. They are 50 years old and have never before been published. In spite of the fact that these photos are amateur snapshots and the horses are not professionally posed in the style of today, it would appear to me that both LETAN and HARARA were well-balanced horses with more quality than was usual for their time.

So this is the story of the F.E. Lewis horses — whose influence on our present-day Arabians is far out of proportion to their small number.

(1) According to Carol Mulder in “Harara 122” AHW Aug. ‘74, Harara sired Rafihara 646 (x Rafih 471), foaled 1927 in Puerto Rico and bred by Juan E. Serralles.

(2) Kellogg purchased Letan, Antez, Sedjur, Hasiker, Tamarinsk, and Sedjur’s 1924 filly, Mabruk by Ziki.