• Marta Driscoll

The Lima Fox Hunt

Chester Heights Moments in History 75th Anniversary Edition


We have taken the 75th Anniversary of the Borough of Chester Heights as an open invitation to learn and share with you moments in the history of our hometown. In sharing what we've learned we endeavor to live a key tenant of our mission to INFORM. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor.


We first learned about about the Lima Fox Hunt from Mr. Glenn Mon, who during a brief afternoon encounter shared with us the history of Hamanassett.


Built in 1856, Hamanassett has been called home by only three families: The Meigs, the Dohans, and the Mons. You can read more about the history of Hamanassett here, because today we are focusing on the Lima Hunt.


It was evident in Mr. Mon's telling of the history of Hamanassett that he was extremely proud of the fact that Dr. Charles A. Dohan, was the Master of Hounds at the Lima Hunt. Honestly, knowing nothing about fox hunts, I had not a clue why this was such a big deal.

"Is being Master of Hounds important?" I asked. He replied that being Master of Hounds was more significant than being the Prince of Wales.


That certainly piqued our interest in the history of the hunt and its connection to Chester Heights. So we did a little digging, and found the Lima Hunt was detailed in a book published in 1908 by A. Henry Higginson and Julian Ingersoll Chamberlain entitled The Hunts of the United States and Canada, Their Masters, Hounds and Histories. The Lima Hunt is featured on pages 62&63. These pages and the pictures we received directly from the Dohan Family of the 1909 hunt can be found at the end of this article.


Facts about the Lima Hunt:

The Lima Fox Hunting Club was started in 1885 by farmers and landowners in what was called Lima country. Dr. Dohan was elected Master of Hounds in 1892 and was still in charge of the club as of the printing of the book in 1908. The book boasts that under Dr. Dohan's care the hounds had "the reputation of being one of the best working packs in the country".


The Club had 75 members and a "half-a-dozen ladies in the Field" with the following leadership team and schedule. Which puts our March 23rd, 1909 cover photo at the end of the fox hunting season.


MASTER.......................................................................................Dr. Charles A. Dohan

SECRETARY...................................................Joseph M. Dohan Esq, Philadelphia, Pa

HON. HUNTSMAN.............................................................................John Yarnell, Esq.

HON. WHIPPERS-IN............................................................1st Leander W. Riddle, Esq.

2nd, Joseph M. Dohan

HOUNDS...............................................................................18 1-2 couples, American

KENNELS AND POST-OFFICE..........................................Lima, Delaware County, Pa.

DAYS OF MEETING.............Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with an occasional bye

LENGTH OF SEASON...........................................................November 1st to April 1st


The terrain for the hunt was considered "cramped and hilly, though not rough, with average enclosures of 8 - 10 acres furnishing plenty of opportunities for jumping which can be seen in the photos.


The book concludes the Lima Hunt section as follows:


" The attitude of the landowners, as in most parts of Pennsylvania, is entirely favorable; many of them turning out regularly and some of them contributing hounds, giving the Lima still somewhat the character of a trencher-fed pack."


DEFINITIONS:

Things I had to look-up because I've never participated in a fox hunt:


A "trencher-fed pack" is a pack of foxhounds or harriers in which the hounds are kept individually by hunt members and only assembled as a pack to hunt. Usually, a pack of hounds are maintained together as a pack in kennels. (Wikipedia.com)


The huntsman, who may be a professional, is responsible for directing the hounds. The Huntsman usually carries a horn to communicate to the hounds, followers and whippers in. Some huntsmen also fill the role of kennelman (and are therefore known as the kennel huntsman). In some hunts the master is also the huntsman. (Wikipedia.com)


whippers-in - a huntsman's assistant who brings straying hounds back into the pack (Dicitonary.com)



It is clear to us after this bit of research that there is definitely much to be proud of, not just for the owners of Hamanassett, but for all area residents. Our history is rich and there is much to learn and appreciate.


We hope you enjoyed this trip down history lane with us. We will work on bringing you Chester Heights Moments in History as we encounter them.

If you have a picture, a moment or a location you think we should feature please email us at CHNA@CHNeighborsAlliance.com.









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