Little Black Joe: the Forgotten Hancock

By Norman E. Seargeant

Little Joe Black

Little Black Joe
Joe Hancock x Lady (Anson quarter mare)

photo taken from old Quarter Horse Journal

A whole bunch of years back I was asked which Hancock horse I liked best. The answer for me was easy. If I ask you the same question, is the answer that easy for you? Even those who profess to be Joe Hancock fans. And that includes me as I like Hancock in a pedigree, stumble a little at naming their favorite Hancock son or daughter. But, as I said, it is easy for me to name my all time favorite Hancock offspring.

I'm going to wander around the hillside a bit before I get directly to the point. You see, I'm a bloodline freak. I believe that good horses mated together produce good horses. Someone might cheat on their spouse and I might pass it by as their own business, but if someone cheats on a pedigree, it is inexcusable. This not only cheats the horse world but it defrauds the horse of it's true heritage.

I said I was going to wander a little…….. Now the original AQHA Stud Book, published in 1941, Vol. 1, No.1, Page 1, reads as follows:


"This, the first American Quarter Horse Stud Book
and registry, is dedicated to the memory of William Anson,
He spent his life on, and for Quarter Horses."

Volume 1, Number 3, page 111 lists as number 694 Little Black Joe, sired by Joe Hancock and out of Lady, a Billy Anson quarter mare. I know I am still wandering a little…….

Thus, it was to be that my all time favorite Joe Hancock son, Little Black Joe, was not only sired by the premier Joe Hancock but out of a mare bred and raised by the man to whom the AQHA had dedicated its registry. Boy! Can I pick 'em!

Before I get too puffed up and start strutting like a peacock about how smart I am, I'll tell you why this forgotten Hancock, Little Black Joe, was so great a horse and sire.

Little Black Joe was bred and raised by W.C. Frey of Wichita Falls, Texas. He was foaled in 1937. Mr. Frey was a much respected breeder to most of us old timers. Although the AQHA had yet to be formed and records kept, Mr. Frey kept records and campaigned Little Black Joe as a cutting horse, a task at which the stallion excelled. However, the AQHA records revealed none of this and has only goose eggs for the show totals of Little Black Joe.

After the formation of the AQHA and record keeping was established, the get of Little Black Joe began to stand out like a Yankee fan at Dodger Stadium. They were that good.

Tar Baby

Tar Baby was a son of Little Black Joe owned by R.L. Underwood.

photo taken from 1945 AQHA stud book

In his 1942 foal crop he sired Tar Baby. Tar Baby's dam, was Little Jane by Little Ben, he by Weatherford Joe Bailey. Tar Baby turned out to be a great horse. He was owned by R.L. Underwood who also owned and raised many great cutting horses.

Tar Baby & pedigree

To illustrate this, some of Mr. Underwood's horses were Golden Chief, Dexter, Amigo Brown, Buddy Dexter, etc., etc. Buddy Dexter sired the World Champion - Cutter Bill out of Billie Silvertone by Silvertone. Silvertone, an Underwood stallion, was the horse that stood Reserve to Wimpy when Wimpy won Fort Worth and received AQHA number one.

When such an astute breeder as Mr. R.L. Underwood chose the blood of a stallion such as Little Black Joe to be included in his program, you know Little Black Joe was a premier horse.

Mr. Frey began crossing Little Black Joe on daughters of Tom B., a cream colored horse by Red Buck. Tom B. was bred by Tom L. Burnett (thus a namesake). Tom B. was by Red Buck, he by Buck Thomas, he by Peter McCue, It is important to know and understand the quality of mares, their breeding and their owners in order to understand the rapid achievements and recognition the get of Little Black Joe earned.

1943 saw the arrival of Jo Jo, a bay stallion brother to Tar Baby. Jo Jo was another cutting horse deluxe and an NCHA money earner.

Honest John

Honest John 1945 bay

sire: Little Black Joe

sire: Joe Hancock sire:
dam: Lady "Billy Ansom QH mare" sire:  

dam: Honest Gal

sire: Tom B sire: Red Buck
dam: Tom Burnett mare
dam: Frey Mare sire:  Little Black Joe
dam: Bud Frey mare

Honest John, by Little Black Joe (by JH) out of Honest Gal (also a grandaughter of Little Black Joe).
Honest John carried 31.25% Joe Hancock blood and was 62.5% Little Black Joe.

Honest John, a foal of 1945 and subject of one of my earlier writings, was out of Honest Gal by Tom B. Although Honest John was tried as a running horse, his claim to fame was in the cutting arena, both as a performer and as a sire. He was an AQHA Register of Merit stallion.

School Boy H

School Boy H was a son of Little Black Joe that was a top cutting horse in California.

photo taken from 1951 AQHA stud book

School Boy H

sire: Little Black Joe

sire: Joe Hancock
dam: Lady "Billy Ansom QH mare" sire:  

dam: Miss Teacher

sire:  Tom B sire:  Red Buck
dam:  Tom Burnett mare
dam: Mare by Gardner Horse sire:   Gardner Horse
dam:  W C Frey Mare

School Boy H, another outstanding stallion of the 1945 crop, was out of Miss teacher by Tom B. Miss Teacher was later acquired from Mr. Frey by Ed Heller of Dundee, Texas, where, when mated to the premier sire Pondie, produced the great cutting horse Ponjet.

Back to School Boy H. Sydna Woodyard of North Hollywood, California purchased School Boy H and thus both Honest John, then owned by John Lilly of Van Nuys, and School Boy H were cutting and standing at stud less than ten miles apart from one another. School Boy H earned $1,667.75 in NCHA competition. This was a bunch of money back then. My dad paid $900 for a brand new Chevy pickup about the same time.

My good friend, H.T. Sullivan of Auberry, California, will tell you of his first cutting horse entry. The entry fee was $10.00. Mr. H.T.'s horse placed third and won $7.50… big money back then.

R.L. Underwood, W.C. Frey and Ed Heller made good use of the superior horses by Little Black Joe, as did several other good old time breeders. When mated to Little Black Joe daughters of such horses as Little Britches, Mickey Mouse, Sunup H, Pretty Boy, Chief, Ben Cody, Peppy Red, Little Sunflower, Nifty Pep, and Double Diamond, to name just a few, were producing AQHA ROM's and NCHA money winners all across the western U.S.A.

Don Flynt of Colorado Springs acquired Little Black Joe. After using the stallion on several good mares Don teamed up with Leonard Milligan and Quincy Farms of Denver to hold a rather large sale. It was a complete dispersal sale for Mr. Flynt and Mr. Milligan. Little Black Joe was the headliner stallion of this event. The cutting horse man Phil Williams ended up with Little Black Joe. Mr. Williams had moved to Wisconsin where he stood Little Black Joe until the stallion died. Little Black Joe's last foal crop was two foals of 1962.

Back in 1955 my father-in-law, the late Bob Whaley, my wife Barbara, and I went to a ranch to see a filly named School Dodger by School Boy H. At this ranch we saw a group of horses owned by G.T. Bohannon from Frederick, Oklahoma. Ill health and hard luck had fallen on Mr. Bohannon and he was boarding by day money his horses at this ranch. He felt he might lose everything, so the ranch lady said.

My father-in-law, my wife and I put our heads together, figured out what we might be able to do and presented our plan to Mr. Bohannon. We struck a deal. Money and horses changed hands and the Whaley-Seargeant Quarter Horses were formed and stabled at the Seargeant Ranch.

One of the young mares we acquired in this deal was Ponda Rose. She was sired by Whizaway out of Ponda by Pondie. Her second dam was Susan by Blackburn. Ponda Rose was a full sisiter to Char-lin-Rockey, the great halter horse back in Texas. Because of the breeding of Phonda Rose, being by Whizaway and such, and because I knew a real speed burner named Chocolate Whiz that was by Whizaway, I checked the bottom line of this race mare. Chocolate Whiz was out of Buckskin Bunny by Little Black Joe. Well, what do you know? My cutting horse, son of Joe Hancock, sired a race producing mare supreme.

Buckskin Bunny

sire: Little Black Joe

sire: Joe Hancock
dam: Lady "Billy Ansom QH mare"

dam: Pass Em Lucy

sire: Pass 'Em Up (TB)

But Chocolate Whiz was not all. This cross, Whizaway over Buckskin Bunny produced Chocolate Whiz, a stakes placed Superior Race Horse, Buckskin Whiz, another stakes placed ROM race horse, Honey Whiz, an NCHR money winner, Dr. Cutter, Superior Reining, Superior Calf Roping, High Point Calf Roping ROM and AQHA Champion and Poncho Whiz, ROM racing.

Buckskin Bunny produced thirteen foals, of which eight were sired by Whizaway. Of these eight, five were outstanding performers.

Because of my admiration of Honest John and School Boy H. and now adding Buckskin Bunny, I began looking closely for Little Black Joe in the pedigrees of horses I liked. But, alas, save for a cutting horse out here in California, few were to be found. Then, out of the clear blue sky, Bob and I stumbled onto a mare, no, not just a mare, but a gorgeous daughter of Honest John. This mare was not for sale! However, her colt by Bill Elliot's Country Boy Lauro was. We made a deal and a fantastic young stud moved into our barn.

Soon after this a crack in the bond between Bob and me started to form. Bob wanted racing quarter horses and I wanted cow horses. If I were to race, it would be with Thoroughbreds and not quarter horses. We split and that was the end of the Whaley-Seargeant venture.

Somehow in the split Bob ended up with this great young stud. He gelded him and made a saddle horse out of him. However, I had bred one of our good show mares to this stallion prior to our split. This mare was sold in the split and she produced a filly of such superior quality that she was seldom beaten in the show ring, whether it be halter or performance. This filly was never offered for sale.

That was the end of the line of Little Black Joes in our breeding string. But the lasting impression was made in my mind from watching the shows and cuttings that the forgotten Hancock, Little Black Joe, was the greatest son of them all. No-doubt-about-it!

Wredes Classy Bay (deceased);
at the time of her death the highest % Joe Hancock mare at 28%.
She also carried 25% Little Black Joe bloodline percentage.

photo courtesy Jeanie and Lewis Frasch

This article was submitted by Sally Tvedt,
a dedicated Hancock breeder - along with her husband George.
Thank you.

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