Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cowboy Legacy -- Belgian horses

The  young boy in the photograph above is my granddad (Frank Bailey 1886-1968) with his prized Belgian colt. Belgians were the strongest working horses in the world (Now they are primarily used for parades and shows). The photo was taken about 1898 in Liberty Township near Comstock, Nebraska.
Granddad raised Belgian horses most of his life.  I know his grandfather (David Solomon Bailey) had a Belgian stallion in the 1860s when worked as a teamster--after he losing a leg in the Civil War.  I'd say there was a pretty good chance the reverence for Belgian horses had been passed on from father to son for at least three generations.  

Granddad was proud of the fact that he had been born in a sod house on the Nebraska prairie.  I still have the certificate that he got in 1955, making him an official member of the Sons and Daughters of the Soddies.  It hangs with honor in a special place in my home.

This photo of granddad and his family with a new colt was taken in Lewiston, Idaho about 1927.  As you can see he was still raising Belgians.


  1. Hi- I came across the photo of your certificate and wanted you to know that our museum is in the process of scanning all the information, letters, etc. that people like your grandad sent Verney Kear at the Sons and Daughters of the Soddies organization. (some 20+ boxes) We are putting them on a website
    and they are available for people to look at, and print out or save onto their computers. There were letters from Clara L. (Bailey) Halseth and she filled out a list of sod house folks that were her older brothers. We are still in the process of scanning so keel looking back and look to see if we have added anything new. You can search by name, or object number, or several other ways. The object number that we have for these particular letters is 2008.058.0794. I hope you find this interesting and I applaud your blog and wanting to pass your history onto your grandchildren. Sincerely, Chris Griffin, Registrar, Prairie Museum of Art & History, 1905 S. Franklin, Colby, KS 67701

  2. Thank you so much for the comment. Clara was my granddad's younger sister, so it is nice to have a copy of her letter.