I spent an exciting Saturday night combing over the articles from the English Shepherd Club of America’s Who’s Who Breeder Manual. In particular, I spent quite some time reading and re-reading John Blankenship’s article titled “The Blankenship’s Best Friend”. Mr. Blankenship makes some statements in his article which shine even more light on the origins of the black and tan farm dogs I’ve come to call Tennessee English Shepherds.
One critical point that both John Blankenship’s and Tom Stodghill’s testimonies agree upon is that the rural citizens of Middle Tennessee were using black and tan shepherd farm dogs prior to the turn of the twentieth century. Around that time, Polly Blankenship’s parents Altte Simmons Wilson and Aubrey H. Wilson were using a sturdy Shepherd to move stock in Cannon County. John Blankenship’s father Charles B. Blankenship was using a black and tan shepherd dog to drive stock in Wilson County. And Tom Stodghill’s grandfather George Dromgoole was packing-up his black and tan shepherds from Rutherford County and taking them with him to Texas. The timeframe for the use of these black and tan shepherds of Middle Tennessee pre-dates O.O. Grant’s registration of the English shepherd breed with the UKC by some thirty to forty years.
I’ve updated my article titled The Tennessee English Shepherd – A brief modern history with a revised Epilogue and several footnotes citing specific, salient statements from the articles written by John Blankenship and Mrs. C.M. Bend.