SMITH: Okay, we're recording.

BOWEN: All set.

SMITH: All set.

BOWEN: Okay, standard question number one. When and where were you born?

COURTNEY: I was born in Lexington, Kentucky on May 15th 1921 at Good Samaritan Hospital.

BOWEN: We're your parents' long time Kentuckians or had they come from other places?

COURTNEY: No my father was born in Wisconsin and my mother I believe was probably born in New York. And, uh, what, how they gravitated here, of course, my grandfather on my father's side came down here; he was out of Wisconsin in the lumber business there. He came into Kentucky to be in the lumber business. Went up to Powell County, up around in Clay City in there and he, that's where he operated. My other grandfather, on my mother's side he--when he immigrated into this country he ended up in New York and he ended up working for a man named Brewster a carriage maker in New York. Famed carriage maker of New York. I have 1:00a letter where Mr. Brewster wrote and gave him a recommendation.

BOWEN: Is that right? Where, where did he come from?

COURTNEY: He came from Ireland. Just like both my grandfathers came from Ireland and both my grandmothers came from Germany. And, uh, how they got together I don't know. (laughs)

BOWEN: Well were you, do you remember your grandfathers? Did he have carriages or does, was that?

COURTNEY: I never saw him. I never saw it but I knew where his carriage shop was down on Short Street. And, uh, oh, but, uh, no I never saw any, when I came along the automobile was coming in. He never accepted the idea that the automobile was here to stay. And, uh, I think that brought about his break down in health and all. And he had one son that stayed down there and when I was growing up I used to go down there, he painted automobiles is what he did in those days. You 2:00could get 'em in any color you want as long as it was black, you know. Uncle Fred painted automobiles. Worked with DuPont Company painting, developing paint to paint the automobiles. And, uh--

BOWEN: What was your father doing when you got old enough to be aware of, aware of his career?

COURTNEY: Well of course he was banking as everybody knows he banked in Lexington for fifty years. He came here from Whitesburg. He started in a bank in Clay City, we went to Whitesburg and from Whitesburg he came to Lexington. And, uh, of course that's where he spent his whole life while I was around.

BOWEN: Well did he go from banking, was he able to do that because your grandfather's business prospered or did you father just start at the bottom and take a different tact?

COURTNEY: I always felt my gran-, after going, hearing about my grandfather, what did I hear about him, why he was sort of what we would call a venture capitalist in those days. And, uh, he was always 3:00not only invested in lumber but other things and, uh, he got involved with some drilling of oil wells all up through Powell County up in that end of the world. And, uh, because he would go get, buy timber rights he would also get the mineral rights of the properties and the oil thing came along, why, this, he became involved in that. He started a bank in Clay City, Kentucky, he helped form the bank in Clay City my grandfather and that's where he started, my father started out banking. And, uh, banking career was there and then he came to Lexington as I say. He came to Lexington well he went to Whitesburg and from Whitesburg he came to Lexington, always banking.

BOWEN: Did your father go to college or?

COURTNEY: I think he went one year, started one year in, uh, Centre College and, uh, I think he had to go home thereafter maybe one of the venture capital deals didn't work, he never made a comment to it. And, uh, so he went home and went to the bank and that's where he stayed the 4:00rest of his life. Only degree he had, Transylvania gave him a degree which he was very proud of.

BOWEN: What was his name?

COURTNEY: William Henry Courtney is what he was known by but when he got ready to go on a cruise one time he had to get a birth certificate and, uh, we had to go search out up in Wisconsin and finally found where he had been born and all and he had been baptized Wilhelm Hindrick Courtney. Because his, his grandmother--his mother was German and he was in a very German community up there. So we all, the granddaughters all called him Wilhelm Hindrick, it was just. (laughs) But, but, um, he was here for fifty years you know involved in, very much in the development of the city of Lexington.

BOWEN: How about your mother? How, do you know how she came to be here, or?

COURTNEY: Well I guess her father and all after he left Brewster in 5:00New York, he went out in Denver, Colorado and was building wagons and carriages and stuff in Denver, Colorado. And the plant, I understand the plant blew-, burned down. And which was very helpful, got a bid in carriage building and all because he always had wood around and wood shavings and fires to keep people warm and so, uh, he was there. But he wanted to get someplace where he could get wood, raw wood that was straight with no knot. Well that is hickory and you've heard of hickory. Well hickory trees, the reason hickory trees are so straight you know the squirrels plant the nuts all the way around the hickory tree and that makes the hickory tree ----------(??) and they all grow up very straight you know and that made good wood for straight shafts to go in. And, and he came here so he could do that and get shafts, he 6:00had a place down on Short Street which was behind where you and I know was the old Ben Ali Theatre back in behind that he had a place there and it burned out there. And, he went on up to Upper Street about where Hurst Printing Company is and, uh, he had a shop there. And, that's where he ended up there. And, uh, my mother, I guess my mother just when he moved back in here, came here she went to business school here. And, uh--

BOWEN: What was her name?

COURTNEY: Harriett Upington Courtney.

BOWEN: Upington, yeah that was a family name?

COURTNEY: That was her family name yes, U-p-i-n-g-t-o-n, Upington, and, uh, she had I think she had two sisters and four brothers or something like that four or five. And, uh, so they had been of course, there's three, they've got mother and dad, had the three boys. Bill who was 7:00the oldest and then John middle brother and myself. So--

BOWEN: What were you, were you all really close growing up? Were your brothers close enough in your age that you?

COURTNEY: Well John was, Bill was five years older than John, John was about a year and a half older than me. So we were, Bill didn't bother those kids hell and he we were close enough but not as close as you are when a brother's, close. John and I had the same room, slept in the same room and everything. And, uh, we went to school together and everything like that where Bill was up and gone ahead of us and all.

BOWEN: What, where were you living when you first, your first memory of?

COURTNEY: On Hanover Avenue.

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: Yes sir. Dad bought the house on Hanover Avenue in 1919, came back here from Whitesburg bought their first house on Hanover, wasn't their first house, yeah. I lived there all my life until I got married and they lived there until both of them died.

BOWEN: Your father would have come through that remarkable era of 8:00carriages, then the automobile, World War I. What, uh, and then air travel. What, what do you think, what do you recall seemed to, to amaze him the most about the things he had seen, what did he talk to you about that he was amazed by?

COURTNEY: Well Ed truthfully I was asked one time about my father dying and I said "Well I was raised by a bank." A bank and a mother--(both laugh)--dad, dad was a Depression banker you have to remember that, he was a Depression banker. And, there's only one bank in Lexington that failed that was the Fayette National Bank in which he took over with First, First National. And, uh, his heart was banking and I don't criticize him, he's a good father. I got no gripe but his, his job in those days was tough. Bankers didn't make the money they make today, 9:00they didn't make the money back in that day and he had his problems running a bank, but he loved Lexington and he loved the bank. And did the best he could for all I guess, you know he was very good and all. His mother, his mother even after my grandfather Courtney died she continued to live, she lived a number of years up in Winchester. That's where he moved to when he, when my grandfather came out of the mountains, he moved to Winchester. And, uh, so dad had something to do with a little bank up there too, involvement with it, not much but involvement. But that's about.

BOWEN: What, what was his, what do you recall about his social and business connections, was he, was he, you know, I suppose he was well- known. I mean he walked down the street, everyone--

COURTNEY: Well yes he--

BOWEN: --would know him?

COURTNEY: He was well-known and, and plenty of the people of Lexington, 10:00like he ate lunch two or three times a week with Mr. John Stoll who owned the newspaper here in Lexington. And, uh, Mr. Fred Watts who ran it and they all ate lunch together a number of times a week and all. He had associated with a lot of people in development of town I will say that, yes he was very interested in town because he was a banker and he wanted to see the town grow. Of course banks were different then. They were there to; they took the communities' money and reinvested it in the community. Today the banks take your money and send it to Ohio or New York or someplace. And you have to sweat to get it back down here--(laughs)--back from 'em. They don't understand some of this business here.

BOWEN: What, uh, as a kid what was, what were the things that you were interested in, did you, uh, go into sports or?

COURTNEY: No I'm not much a sportsman; I tell you the truth Ed. I've 11:00told it many times. He had an assoc-, association with a man in the bank named Estill, E-s-t-i-double-l, that's my middle name. I was named for the man. And they owned a great deal of land out on the Winchester Pike, about a thousand acres ----------(??). The Estill brothers did and there's another group of Estills opened another farm next to them. They had Estill brothers married sisters so everybody was double first cousins, which happened a lot on those years, those years. And uh, Mr. Estill didn't marry until late in life but he and dad, my mother and my father were both very good friends. And, as I told many times, came summer-time I went out to the farm and lived out at the farm with the Estills. Of course, he, we didn't marry late in life and when he did he had two daughters. And, uh, so he sort of took me under his wing and sort of a pseudo son I guess you might say. And 12:00at this, I just loved it more and I went down and worked one summer in the bank. Dad didn't believe in nepotism, didn't really want any of us in the bank. And, uh, but wanted me to see what it was like and I didn't like the bank at all. I liked being outdoors truthfully and other things but I--

BOWEN: About how old were you when you started spending summers out there?

COURTNEY: Eight, nine, ten years old.

BOWEN: Really? That's, and you would literally stay out there, live, not just go in and out every day you literally lived out there?

COURTNEY: In the summer-time I lived out there and during the year I'd go out there and spend Saturdays out there with them. They'd take me out there and let me stay all day and come get me. Spend Saturdays just go out there with them. But primarily summer-time was really the time I got to be very involved with the farm and all that is really what stirred me that way I guess, really it did.

BOWEN: Well you'd of been maybe old enough to, do you have memories of 13:00the start of the Depression and prohibition and did that, was that?

COURTNEY: Yeah I could, I have that is one of the things that surprised me. My father had to sleep with a shotgun on the floor beside his bed at night during the Depression. And, uh, that is one thing that turned me off of banking. I thought God if that's what this game is all about I don't, but.

BOWEN: And that was because of uh?

COURTNEY: Bank failures and everything else.

BOWEN: Bank failures and customers would be--

COURTNEY: Very upset and all.


COURTNEY: And uh, but uh, I just where, where are we going with that question, I got wandering a little bit.

BOWEN: Well I think it's interesting I mean you were I know I can't know exactly when your memory kicks in and so forth. I have memories of being, before I was nine but I don't know that I could really say much. 14:00But you, you don't have any recollection of whether prohibition?

COURTNEY: Well, I remember that there was prohibition because I can remember a man telling me one time that he had to go down to the post office one night and I said, "Why?" He said "Well that's where I meet my, lay right in front of the post office," he said, "That's the best place to be ----------(??) post office in their office there, they're out looking for somebody, we would just meet down in front there." (laughs) But, uh, yes and other things I can, uh, recollect. I didn't quite understand the depth of them, but I know that when I was at the Estills one time why one, late at night somebody came in there and Mr. Estill had a garage out by the house which was where they used to keep the carriages and now they kept automobiles. They had a loft above it and he had a lock you couldn't get up there. But he had the key and he went out there I don't know what he was doing upstairs but well it turned out that's where he bought from people who were stealing whiskey 15:00out of the warehouses around he'd buy barrels of whiskey. And put it up there in the loft and that's where he aged it, he'd go periodically and rotate the barrels around and well I'd tell it or not but I will. He would take samples out of the barrel and take them down to Curry Drug, old Curry Drug, and have it tested and when it got to 110 proof he'd bottle it. That is what he drank I'm going to tell you. I drank some of it--(laughs)--and but, uh, they had a good life, they had a good life. And, uh, so--

BOWEN: How about your mother was she?

COURTNEY: My mother was a Christian Scientist so she had a very strict line which I was raised a Christian Scientist, I have nothing but admiration for the religion. I really do. As you go through war your life changes which is what happened with me. My life changed and 16:00when I came back here around I was not associated with any church and then when Evelyn and I got married why we got married at the Central Christian Church 'cause her father and a lot of her old aunts and all had been members of Central Christian where she had been raised over in the Baptist Church. So they said, uh, uh, what I want to call it? It will come to me in a minute. The, um, one of the best card players in Lexington was a lawyer. He came out to see me about joining a church and I thought man if that church is that liberal it sends a card player out here to see and he's a lawyer and a card player I better, that church will be all right for me. (laughs) George Weinberg (??) ------- ---(??), he was pretty liberal.

BOWEN: Well having a mother as a Christian Scientist did that create any tension in the family? Did, did your father adopt that or at least understand it?

COURTNEY: No my father, my father didn't join the church until late 17:00in life and he joined the Central Christian Church. That was after he'd broken his hip and we had him in the nursing home. And Leslie Smith who was the preacher at Central Christian Church then was a good friend of my father's. And he went out there to see him one day and then he sent a young boy out there to see him, that was from up in the mountains, he talked mountain talk like dad liked to talk. He didn't like those big words. And, uh, he became very involved, ----------(??) but he, he was a religious man. I tell you the man he liked best of all was a very simple preacher, preacher that preached down at the old Ben Ali, Ben Ali Theatre down on Sunday morning.

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: Yeah Grey, what was his name? Something Grey Hand (??). He had, he had a right good congregation gathered in there every Sunday. Had dad going down there. Dad would get up in the morning and take my brothers down primarily to Sunday school. Then he would go back home and get mother and, uh, take her to church and pick us up. And, uh, 18:00then he would ride around some days well he had project, I can remember one day riding out to Newtown Pike and he stopped the car and made some notes. Drove out there, said, "What's going on?" He said, "Well, I'm bank rolling this colored man that's building all this fence here at Coldstream Farm." I said, "Well, keep track of how many miles he's laying." "Well, he'll build in a week 'cause I'm paying--I'm giving him, advancing him money for his payroll you know." And, uh, that is what he did. One day, I don't know whether if you ever heard of the Wilson brothers that were out on the Winchester Pike, had a great deal of land and they both were just a little bit different, let's put it that way. And their mother was the same way. And she had nothing to do with anybody; I mean she was very strange. And periodically we would drive out there, you go up and knock on doors and she wouldn't answer when dad would go out there. So one day, Sunday we went out 19:00there and, uh, he drove in and she was out in the garden so he got, stopped the car between the house and the garden. My brother and I were scared to death; we always heard there were spooks in that house and everything you know. We would hide down on the back seat practically. And, uh, he talked to her, turned out he told me later in life why he had to go out there to see her was that she had a lot of bank stock but she never cashed in dividends. He said, "I can't close the books, the books were open four or five years couldn't ever get them closed because she never came." And he finally got her and Clint Harbison, a very prominent lawyer here in Lexington was her attorney. And dad found out the very ------------(??) he told Mr. Harbison and Mr. Harbison went out there and got her, got so he could close the books up but then I can remember I don't know why we did it but one Sunday he took us to Claiborne Farm, brother and I, Claiborne Farm. That was my brother John, my brother Bill was above all that and, and I don't know what he and Mr. Hancock, Senior had to discuss but 20:00they went to the library and Ms. Hancock took John and myself back to the kitchen and gave us homemade ice cream, vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce. And I don't know what business was done, I have thoughts about what was discussed but I don't--never knew, and, uh, positively. So but anyway dad brought us back to have lunch at the Lafayette Hotel, which we only did one Sunday a month. And of course John and I didn't want anything to eat, we already. (laughs) But, uh--

BOWEN: Though at that time the hotels were more a part of life than now, is that right? I mean--

COURTNEY: Yeah. When dad was on the board of the Lafayette Hotel, Mr. Lynn Shouse, Sr. (??) ran it, lived in the hotel. That's when the manager lived, he and his wife lived there, he had two sons there. One of them took over the management after Mr. Shouse retired. And, uh, 21:00it was, it was, uh, they were first-class hotels and they were run like first, and it was a very good story that came out of there. He had a head waiter, colored head waiter down there and all the waiters of course in those days were. And this waiter had been with them and knew and all the waiters knew too and Colonel Bradley used to come to town and he used to stay there at the hotel. At the Lafayette Hotel.

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: And they always knew when he was coming and he had one waiter that waited on him all the time. Well the Colonel came in, the story goes, and went to his table, the head waiter sat him down at his table, but his waiter didn't come over and wait on him, this other came waiter waited on him. And it--Colonel couldn't quite understand it so after he got through eating he motioned to his waiter to come over and he said, "I hope I haven't offended you in some way or another and I just 22:00don't understand you have waited on me all these years and everything and I just hope I haven't." Oh he said, "No Colonel," said, "No I still, I, my, just lost you in a crap game." (Bowen laughs). True.

BOWEN: How, uh, was the horse aspect in your father's career sort of a result of business as opposed to his seeking to be connected with the horses?

COURTNEY: Well of course business and all yes. And, uh, but dad liked horses, dad liked horses but he was never really totally involved. But anyway with horses when I came along later in life you see. But he liked horses and all. One of the stories that he told one time was that the bank examiners used to appear in a national bank unannounced. And they would just walk in some afternoon prior just a few minutes 23:00before closing to take, shut the bank down you know take it over. They would go over everything then and went in and talked to him about it. They said, "Mr. Courtney we see you have collateral listed on the back of these notes down, these notes down there are horses names, why?" He said, "That's the livestock." Said, "I got a lot of those notes that got a lot of dead stock on the back of 'em too." (laughs) So but he did a lot of business with, uh, the farmers around here and the horse people. And, uh, in fact another story that he told himself was that Olin Gentry called him one day and said asked if he would come out and see Colonel Bradley wanted to see him. And had an account there but didn't have any idea then he went out to see the Colonel and the Colonel just told him he was not invested in anything but horses and the operation in Florida and all. And he would like dad to assist him in making, investing in the stock market. Dad told him he would be 24:00glad to assist him at that point and he gave dad twenty-five thousand, lined twenty-five thousand dollars which was a lot of money back in those days. Because it was right after the Depression. So dad went to work and invested it and kept track of it and everything. About a year later the Colonel was in town, Olin called him again and dad went out. And he told him he said, "Well Colonel," he said, "I'm afraid I haven't done very good for you this year," and I don't know told him how much his stock had deteriorated and worth and everything, dividends he'd gained. He said, "Mr. Courtney, don't worry I lose more money than that on a turn of a card." (laughs) But he did, he had a lot of good friends in the horse business and Henry Knight was a customer of his and when he had Elmhurst down here.


SMITH: Did Mr. Estill raise horses?

COURTNEY: Yes ma'am he raised both, he loves trotter horses, he loved to drive and he kept a couple of trotters in training out at the cut-, training track, old trotting track out there. As well he always had a few Thoroughbreds around. He races some Thoroughbreds and trained them himself at the old association track. You've got to realize the horse business wasn't like it was today. It was rai-, horses were raised primarily by farmers; we didn't have these Lane's Ends and all these big operations. Taylor Mades you didn't have, you had farmers out. And they didn't have horse sales; had one sale up at Saratoga. And that was basically the one big horse sale they had here. Fasig-Tipton had a place out here on Paris Pike right there across, just across from the Lexington Country Club, a little wedge, wedge shop place, I don't, wedge shopped piece of land, I don't know, wedge shaped piece of land. 26:00But, uh, they didn't have much of a sale company and all. And in fact the first sales provision at Keeneland was moved from out there to Keeneland. And, uh, that's where they got it because Fasig-Tipton shut down when Keeneland opened up down there, they didn't have it. So, uh, but these farmers around here Mr. Tom Pike was a farmer, Mr. Estill, John Wesley Marr (?) he was basically a farmer, but they got involved raising horses. And they were just another crop is what they were. And, uh, they had, they didn't have a ways to sell 'em so they traded themselves and got them sold. And, uh, that's and he had, then they boarded horses of course Estill's business started picking up, he boarded horses for different people and all. That is another thing that got me all involved. His, he was always fussing at me about being, being crazy about Thoroughbreds and not trotting horses. And, 27:00uh, he said, "I don't know see how you can spend all that time breeding a mare and waiting to have a foal, and getting that foal and spending all that time raising that foal, then you put him in training and you get ready to run him, you go down in the paddocks, some kid comes down there wearing a size four hat, what chance have you got?" (Bowen laughs). He was right.

BOWEN: Well were you, uh, at the time your first memory were there, was there still a lot of horse drawn traffic in town?

COURTNEY: You'd see at fall when they started hauling tobacco to town. Farmers didn't have, most farmers didn't have trucks and all. And they line up down Broadway over there. Horse drawn wagons, mule drawn, most of them were mule drawn wagons. Bringing the loads of tobacco in town and all. I can remember that yes, I can remember old Colonel John Red (??) used to ride his horse down here on Main Street and tie him up to the rail in front of Phoenix Hotel. And go in and have a drink or 28:00something. And, uh, I can rem-, but you didn't see many other horses. There were a few other horses around town I remember. Rue Grocery (??) had, out on Main Street had a, uh, grocery delivery wagon which was pulled by an old horse and all. A few, a few of them but there weren't very many though. It was a thing of the past really when I was growing up.

BOWEN: Where did you go to school?

COURTNEY: Well started out in Maxwell School over on Maxwell Avenue, over in Maxwell. Then I ended up going out to University High School. Then I went on to the University of Kentucky.

BOWEN: Where was the University High School?

COURTNEY: Well it was up there across, well it's really over on Upper Street, across from the university where Upper runs into Limestone was across there. A big red building, two story building, flat over there. Yeah that was University High, that's where they built that to train teachers, teachers. We had a lot, uh, you had a teacher, then you had her, her understudy there, you know. That's where, they, it was built 29:00to train teachers. Yeah.

BOWEN: Did you like school?

COURTNEY: No. I don't know any better answer than that. (both laugh)

BOWEN: Were you forced to be a good student?

COURTNEY: Yes I was forced to be a good student. I guess so. And, uh, of course I went on over to university and went into ag college and I was still in ag college and war came along. And, uh, so I didn't even complete my senior year. Sort of played my senior year. And, uh--

BOWEN: Can you look back and sort of see a time that your connection with Mr. Estill sort of put you on a path of wanting to be in the horse business?


BOWEN: How's that?


COURTNEY: Well just being associated with it around there and all. And, uh, as I say he boarded a few horses, he had an old stallion out there named Desperate Desmond who sired a horse named Kerry Patch who won the Belmont Futurity for a man, he was owned by a man named Lee Rosenberg up in New York. And, uh, I don't know even, just becoming associated, I can remember when Ed Madden came over to Mr. Estill's and we lead the yearlings down to the house and Ed Madden was sitting on the rail around the front porch, the rail around the porch. And, uh, Ed Madden bought all the Rosenberg's yearlings which he couldn't pay the board bill on and took them all over there to make polo ponies out of them.

BOWEN: Is that right?

COURTNEY: Yeah, yeah.

BOWEN: That would have been about 1930? Early?

COURTNEY: Seven thirty, he'd loan it. (??) Thirty, it'd probably be about '34 or '35. Yeah.

BOWEN: Yeah okay.

COURTNEY: Yeah, so, uh, I don't know I just like being around horses. Loved to be in the outdoors. And truthfully in those days we 31:00associated a lot with the colored people and they were good to be around. They were--that was the year when the colored people, well truthfully I was raised by, my family had a colored couple that had been with them. Was with 'em for--

BOWEN: Had what?

COURTNEY: A colored couple that was with us for f--

BOWEN: Really? Huh.

COURTNEY: Yeah, yeah. Emily Walker taught me how to roller-skate down in the basement and her husband taught me, Mos taught me how to drive and things like that. They were just like members of the family.

BOWEN: And they lived in the?

COURTNEY: Well they didn't live in the house they lived up on Third Street across from where the big fire station is, lived in a shotgun house up there. But they came to work every, worked seven days a week.

SMITH: The workers out--

BOWEN: --and that--

SMITH: --at Mr. Estill's farm, were they black as well?

COURTNEY: Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am.

BOWEN: Well having that kind of help was that, uh, was that kind of common for anything but the most wealthy families or?


COURTNEY: Even all the wealthy families had good, good colored help; I'll tell you they were.

BOWEN: But it wasn't only the wealthiest families?

COURTNEY: No it was everybody. Everybody that could--

BOWEN: Yeah.

COURTNEY: So, uh, it was, uh, and they were good. And I had them when I came back here after the war and went back to work. But then, that's when things started just to deteriorating on me. I had a very interesting man that worked for me by the name of Les Sharpe. When I went to Sam Look in '51, for Sam Look in '51. Uh, he had some people named Chatt (??) out of New York boarding horses. And Max Wexler was another one boarding horses there. And--he's a story unto himself as everybody knows. But anyway, uh, Chatts kept sending so many horses in we went over, Mr. Look and I went over and we leased part of Coley 33:00Johnson Montrose's farm. Because Mr. Look only had fifty or sixty acres there on the, on the, uh, Muir Station Pike so he got over there and leased a hundred acres with a nice barn. And looking for a man, somebody told me Les Sharpe was available and he came over and talked to me and Les Sharpe was the best horseman I ever had in my life. He had never had, wasn't schooled, one day in his life. His family lived down there on Muir Station which was a railroad camp down there. And his family lived there and his wife, mother lived there and all. And I don't know what happened but someplace along the way one of those Irish railroad workers came along and Les's mother had an affair with him and Les was the results of it. His stepfather came along who was black then and ran him off. And he went down, went down on to where 34:00Carter Thornton was, down on Houston-Antioch Pike and work-, moved in down there. The man took him in down there and he lived in a barn when he was seven years old. Now you didn't have horse vans in those days. The only way to get the mare from here to a stallion was ride her and that is where Les learned to ride horses. Taking these old mares off to be bred. Ride 'em clear to Paris outside of Paris and bring them back down there and all just rode those old mares around. So that's where he got his start and all. No chance to read, no chance to go to school. And it progressed from there down to Johnny Madden's Hamburg Place. That's where they started breaking yearlings. He left there and I don't know who he went with but he ended up in New York as an exercise boy. Exercise boy. And one of his mentors or one of his associates there was a man named Max Hirsch. And he was starting out 35:00too. And a way I brought that up is, one day I was selling a horse for George Zauter (??) out of New York and Max Hirsch was in town and he came over. John Marr brought him over to see the horse, the yearling we were prepping. And, uh, Max got out of the car and Les was walking up through the barn and Max stopped and looked down through--of course, looking and he said, "Pike is that you?" Said, "Yes sir Mr. Max it's me." Max came there three straight days and sat down on a bale and talked to Les about old times and I don't know never did look at the damn horse, I know he didn't buy him. Bowes Bond bought him. (laughs) But, uh, he was, he was a very interesting, he could neither write nor, one of the secrets I learned, he put everything in the same place every day. And did everything the same way. You know colic medicine 36:00and iodine and you hold them up to the light and they both look alike. Therefore he never put them close; he'd have the iodine which we used to put on foals and all. Colic medicine, he put them in different places and he remembered where they were. And you better not move them because he might give a horse a dose of iodine some day--(laughs)--and that be the end of him. But, but he was a good horseman too. He could, he taught me more about horses than I thought I ever knew and I know it did, he taught it to me. Just by watching him. I asked him one day I said, "Les I got a young man coming out here and I wish you'd show him how to sh-, shake stalls." Said, "Nobody showed me," said, "I just had to watch and learn. Tell him to do it." That's the way he was. And he, he would do the most beautiful job in the stall. He told me he was working for Fitzsimmons as a groom at one point. And Mr. Fitzsimmons was starting out, he would make him take the wet stall out of the barn and take it out and lay it on the, out in front of the barn 37:00and let it dry and in the afternoon when they did the horses up they would put the wet straw back in and it was dry. Since straw was five dollars a ton there--then in those days.

BOWEN: Economizing. (laughs)

COURTNEY: Economizing see, it happened then. So, uh, well I don't know where are we going from here?

BOWEN: Well, that's great, that's great will you, uh, uh, did you actually, did you ever really work for Mr. Estill as part, okay that's your, your full-time job?

COURTNEY: Not as a full-time job no, 'cause I just worked around there in the summer-time and like that always doing little jobs around there. One, one summer I was busy running the grass stripping crew and all, and, uh, that's when we used to strip bluegrass here. You go strip, had strippers and teams to pull them and men and everything. Uh, I worked with the grass strip group, bailing hay around.

BOWEN: What was the grass stripping, what was the purpose of that? Was 38:00it--

COURTNEY: Well you stripped the seed off the grass and, and you cured the seed up. And they cleaned it and resold that seed. But actually now you know all, all the bluegrass seed comes out of Missouri now. They, they quit doing. Uh, Doug Gay had a big cleaner out there on, well Todd's Road, it's over the Todd's Road where his operation was back in there. He had a place, he'd take it, we would bring it in and of course there's stalks of it that had seed on it. We put it in wind rolls and had men stir it all day long, keep stirring it to cure it out and everything. Once you got it cured out good, why you put it back in sacks and took the sacks up to, to the place where they, uh, I don't know what you call it. Uh, like cotton and everything else.

BOWEN: Yeah. Who, who were the customers? I mean--


BOWEN: People bu-, buy?

COURTNEY: People right around here.

BOWEN: To, to reseed their own?

COURTNEY: Reseed their own farm. Farmers were better, better farmers 39:00then in those days they were now. They got to many aids today. Like they pay all these weather men who--(Bowen laughs)--got it right, they're the only people, that's the best job in the world you know. (Bowen laughs) You, do that and be wrong every day and they'll give you a raise.

BOWEN: Right.

COURTNEY: So, uh, Mr. Estill never went out the front door of his house. He had a thing sitting right by the door and he'd--big thing that told us how much, what the temperature was, what the weather was going to be. And every day he would put that down in his book three times a day, morning, noon, and night. He had a little day book he wrote that stuff down.

BOWEN: Had he been affiliated with old John Madden?

COURTNEY: Yes sir.

BOWEN: What was that connection?

COURTNEY: Well see John Madden owned all of course he owned all that land across from Madden's. Madden had, John Madden's wife never came down here and Mr. Estill as I said didn't marry until late, until late in his life, fifty. And Mr. Madden, he'd come up and ha-, have dinner 40:00with Mr. Estill, cook and all and he would come up and have dinner with him a great deal and he told me about it. And they did a lot. And they bred a horse named Thunder Clap together. Mr. Madden had, that's what really got him started I would guess, Mr. Madden 'cause they bred a horse called Thunder Clap and I know he said he held the world's record or American record or something for a mile and a half. I never looked it up I don't know whether you could find it or not. But he told me about it. What was said was very, he and Mr. Madden were very, Johnny, were very good friends. He quoted him a lot I'll tell you that to me, he quoted him a lot. (laughs) Yeah, so, uh--

BOWEN: Well I know we are back--going back-and-forth but, uh, how, how did you met Evelyn?

COURTNEY: Well I was working for L.R. Cook and Company after the war. When I came back out after the war the first job I had was I ran into Bish (??) one day and he said, "What are you doing?" I had just gotten 41:00home. I said, "Well I have been home maybe a month or two," I said, "Nothing." He said, "Come out to Keeneland I've got a job for you tomorrow." And I went out to Keeneland and he had, it was the first year the TRPB started finger printing everybody. And he hired me and a boy named Ned Jordan who used to be down at the bank, down at First National Bank. Had been to war too and, and he hired both of us, we went in there and we finger-printed everybody, that's-- we had them lined up because it was the first year they started it. And we, and, uh, then after that why I ended up getting on the TRPB tattoo crew and I went to Chicago. And, uh, from Chicago went to New York, from New York went to Boston, from Boston went back to Detroit. All in one month, two months tattooing horses. And, uh, only had three men crews in those days now just have one man to do it instead of three men. We 42:00were doing, we had to do about thirty or thirty-five horses a day. And, uh, uh, so we had to sell the idea, after we got it sold it was all right but like they asked me out at Keeneland while I was there said, "Do you know Bill Caskey?" And I said, "Yes, I know Bill Caskey." I don't know whether he remembers me, but I know Bill. Said, "Would you ask him if he will let us tattoo your horses?" I said, "I'll go down there and see him." He's down there in the barn right there below the grandstands. So I walked down there one day, afternoon and Mr. Caskey was sitting out there in the barn in a chair. I started, I walked downstairs well I said, "Mr. Caskey you probably don't remember," he said, "I know you Bobby, what do you want?" I told him, he said "I don't believe I'll do that right now." I said, "I thank you and all." But you see Mr. Caskey had owned the farm next to Mr. Estill and he had been over there one or two times borrowed exercise rider, get an exercise rider was over there for Caskey who was another one of those 43:00men who had a farm, raised his own horses, trained his own horses and bred his betting operation too. That's where Caskey like all of them that's what they did. And, uh, so, uh, that was my association with Mr. Caskey and he told me right quick and I stayed on with, went on away from here with the TRPB and then we had swamp fever take over in New England. And we got to Detroit and they fired us all. And, uh, so I came on home and I went to work for L.R. Cook Implement Company (??). My father didn't believe in letting me sitting around I'll tell you that. You had. (laughs) And, but, uh, so I went out to L.R. Cook Implement on Versailles Pike, it was way out on the Versailles Pike at the time, not way on right out there at Campbell Phillips office, uh, moved into the building after L.R. Cook. I stayed there eighteen 44:00months with them, with them. They moved it down to right there by the viaduct where Bob Clinkinbeard's Breeder's Supply is, that is the building they built, Mr. Cook did and moved his farm, we sold tractors, fence and hardware. And, uh, stayed with him, stayed with him about eighteen months and ----------(??) I just decided to move on and went down and went to work for Harrod, Harrod and Wilkerson's (??) real estate. And, uh, I didn't stay there very long, I'm not, I wasn't much of a real estate salesman. I may have stayed there maybe four or five months. And Johnny Clark called me one day and said, "Bob--(coughs)--I got a man needs somebody to help him on a farm, you be interested?" I said "Damn right, I'll be interested." I'm obviously not doing any good selling real estate I'll do this though. He told 45:00me where to go and I went out and saw Mr. Look. And I just walked into it blindly really what the situation was because I knew he said somebody wanted to go, planned to go to Florida but he said, "I'll stay around here and help you get in to know what you're doing around here." I didn't even know the men's name he had working for him. He had two or three men on the payroll, they were all colored men. (coughs) I didn't know any of them. He said, "I'll stay around," the next day it snowed and the next day Mr. Look was on a train going to Florida. (Bowen laughs) I saw him back in May or June sometime thereafter. And, uh, I learned a lot right quick I'll tell you. (laughs)

BOWEN: I can imagine. Yeah.

COURTNEY: And I stayed there about eighteen months--(coughs)--and decided to move on from there and ended up going in town going to work for Brumfield Hay and Grain, the Brumfield brothers. I worked the 46:00racetrack for them. They said they didn't want a racetrack business, get rid of it. Before I knew it I had more racetrack business than I knew what to do with. And, uh, that suited them fine 'cause I was collecting the money, getting the money they paid off too. They'd had, they'd had a good old man selling for 'em but he'd--they gave me his list of people he had and a bunch of bills he had and I looked at all of them. And one of them was for a ham-bone and another for slew-foot and this kind of thing. He had all the guy's nicknames didn't know who any of them was--(Bowen laughs)--so I just threw them cash, just start a new and I did. And I got their names and started; I stayed on the racetrack. Herb Stephens, George Miller, had a lot of clients you know felt were good clients. And, uh, one day Bish, I stayed away from Bish; you know Bish was a nice guy. And as I say we got association early along in life but, uh, I never went to Bish about anything always let Bish come to me because I know a lot of people bothered him and everything. He just, a little different but, uh, a good man. 47:00I have nothing but the greatest respect for him. And, uh, one day, "Hey," I said "Yes, yes sir." I was walking up through the barn. Said "Calumet's moving into barn so and so put the hay and straw in over there, will you?" I said, "Yes sir." I knew Calumet had been Pen's (??) customer for years and I didn't know what had happened, who knows. So we stocked the barn with hay and straw and I went out there and checked how much feed, old Pinky, the exercise boy, did all the buying for Mr. Jones. Didn't see Mr. Jones very much, you saw him but he didn't have anything to do with you. Pinky, he'd tell Pinky and Pinky delivered the messages, that's who delivered the orders. But anyway about the third day there I walked into the barn and Pinky said to me, "Feed man, BA wants to see you." I thought all hell what's gone wrong 48:00now so quick. So I went down and he said to me, uh, "You got any hay better than that stuff up in the loft." I looked up and I said, "Yes sir, I got some clover." He said, "I didn't ask you what kind it was I asked if it was better than that." I said, "Yes sir." "Well take that out and put some good hay in there then." I said "Mr. Jones I didn't put that hay in there." "Who did?" I said, "Mr. Paul Eblehardt put that hay in there." "All right you fill that loft up this afternoon." When I got there that loft was empty. (laughs) Mr. Eblehardt had taken that hay out of there and I put the hay up in there and always had to put a ton of hay in there to feed his old pony. Had to be straight timothy, well that's sort of hard to come by, we always had the stockyard full of it so I would go up there and get a ton out of stockyard. Clay Watts' stockyard there right behind, it's on Angliana 49:00Avenue and take it out there, keep it for his ponies. Got along with him, that was the only daggone time in all the years I serviced them out there that had anything out of Ben Jones or anybody really. Well lovely account, just lovely, lovely account. But, so then--

BOWEN: Back tracking, uh, I know your father was really involved in, uh, Keeneland and you would have been early teenager. Was that something that just was going on, you didn't know much about or do you?

COURTNEY: Well I knew he was involved in it because I think I told them I can remember him saying one night at the dinner to mother. Uh, pack my suitcase I'm going to New York, I've got to go to Washington tomorrow. And she said, "What for Will?" And he said, "Well Price and Louie want to build a racetrack and I'm going up to see Senator Barkley 50:00to see if we can sell the government the old property, old racetrack property over on Third Street.

BOWEN: Sell the government the old property, is that?

COURTNEY: Get the government to buy the old property, build a housing development on, which is what they were doing all over the country. That's all he said. I know he left, I know he came back and I officially heard that they were tearing down the old racetrack over on Third Street. And next thing I knew they were working out there, Dan Metcalf (??) was working out building the new racetrack, was out there working on the racetrack.

BOWEN: The old track had been shut down. You, you probably never went to the races there did you?

COURTNEY: I never went there, no, no, no. Can't remember, no. But I went to Keeneland the first day it was open with dad. He sat up there in the box with us and, uh, said he, right now how the pools showed up win, place, and show. He would write them all down and when the last 51:00race was run he, he added it all up and he said, "Well they made enough money to pay, paid me off today." (Bowen laughs) He had loaned them the money to open a racetrack. So, uh--

BOWEN: Did he ever talk you through what it was like to, what--did it take a lot of leadership on his part to get the investors or did that kind of come, was, was it, come together fairly quickly, easily?

COURTNEY: No I think it took time because at that time he was still having suffering of the Depression too, you see. That was in the late '34, '35 when he started that, that might have been '32 or '33. When it really started it and all so it was right at the tail end of the Depression and all. And, uh, still had a thing but I know I ended up with one bond and, uh, I don't think he ended up with any. And, 52:00uh, you people, all the people on the board and if you remember go back to your original board and look at it, they were all basically farmers. One or two were business men in Lexington but most were farmers that help build that damn racetrack. And, uh, so, uh, that is the way it went you know. It, uh, as I say, it, to see what it is now is unbelievable. Uh, so just he always said you know don't let the racetrack have your sales company.

BOWEN: Interesting. Well was it, uh, did it just become instantly a big part of Lexington life? Or did it take a while?

COURTNEY: Well, of course your downtown merchants were very upset with a thought of a racetrack. Usually what would happened during the 53:00grand circuit meeting out there that would have a certain effect on the merchants. And that's the reason we have such a short meeting in Lexington, it was agreed too you know, you can only race so many days in the spring and so many days in the fall. 'Cause it still does hurt business downtown in Lexington, I'll tell you that the businesses downtown in Lexington. But, uh, that was the reason that's the reason we have the short meeting that they have. And now they are in a trap, trapped between Arkansas and Churchill Downs now and I don't know what they will ever do. Because this town should have a longer race meet. Because the way it is now people just get to know the horses and they are gone by the time they run them one time. Some of them don't get to run by twice if they are lucky. Run twice. You go to Churchill Downs; you race thirty days you might see the same horse three times down there. People get to know them and, yeah.

BOWEN: What was your, uh, you said you went on opening day and did that, 54:00do you remember your impressions of it?

COURTNEY: Well yeah you had your old wooden grandstand down there, big old wood post up in there painted green and all. It was and of course there was not a lot of people there to begin with. It's a very, the town just wasn't quite ready for it but they had, it's grown on them as we see now, it's grown and they've grown too. And, uh, but they had a good, good base of people that came out there. And, so--

BOWEN: Was that something your father was really proud to have been associated with as, as, as time went on?

COURTNEY: He was laying in his bed one day and, uh, he said to me, "Promise me one thing," I said, "What is that dad?" "That you will never embarrass me with Keeneland." He knew I was sort of a rogue- 55:00-(both laugh)--I guess but I said, "I hope I haven't." And I hope I didn't. I'll say this; my involvement you have to realize my family has really been involved with horse business industry because I went across town and was involved with the establishment of Fasig-Tipton of Kentucky. And, uh, it, uh, that was, uh, a fight with Keeneland. It was a problem while I was president of the Thoroughbred Club everybody was on my case about Keeneland. Keeneland this and Keeneland that, they couldn't get their horses in the sale and that old summer sale. And, uh, so when I had the--been approached by Jay Graves to see if we couldn't get certain people to help develop another sales company here. I thought well I'll take a shot at this and I went down to see Warner 56:00Jones. Who I, was a salesman from Brumfield Hay and Grain I had called on Warner and I started selling all the feed from--down to Wilmore down to Warner Jones hauled feed down there for him. I, and, uh, made him a good price. I'll tell you what and we became very good friends after that. So I went to see Warner, Warner said, "I'll tell you one thing Bobby," said, "We need another sales company but I can't be involved because I'm on the board at Keeneland." But said, "We do need it." Well I kept beating around and beating around and talking to people and all. And, and, uh, finally I got talking to Ted Bates and Ted Bates told me that there was something in the wind then because Ted was working for Fasig-Tipton. And next thing I knew John Finney called me so it started from there, we started putting it together and going over from 57:00there and I don't think--I know one thing it didn't ever hurt Keeneland one day. I think it has helped Keeneland really. Because competition in the business is a good for any business you know. And, uh, so he was very; my father was very, very proud of Keeneland the way it turned out and all, 'cause.

BOWEN: He was, he was deceased before the Fasig-Tipton thing? Wasn't he? Or was he?

COURTNEY: Yeah I guess but, uh, there was, I wasn't, I got into. Uh, uh, I can't recall quite the dates I don't try to keep dates in mind I just know where I can find 'em when I need 'em. Uh--

BOWEN: Well I wanna get back to, uh, you had said that you were in school when the war came along and you, did you get drafted? Or did 58:00you enlist?

COURTNEY: No, I enlisted. I enlisted and, uh, which most of us at were in the ROTC program at the university did. I went on and enlisted and that's why I got to stay up to my senior year but didn't accomplish anything as far as education went. But did and just soon as school was over my senior year they put us all in training and sent us up to Fort Thomas. And Fort Thomas I went up to Cleveland, Ohio to--

BOWEN: Fort Thomas was for basic training?

COURTNEY: No it was just--

BOWEN: --just pro-, processing?--

COURTNEY: --you get, processing point, yeah. And, uh, so they we went to Akron and from there I went to Fort Benning. I busted out of OCS and of course they didn't need any lieu-, second lieutenants at that point. We had been whooped down in Africa but just didn't need any second lieutenants so they sent me over to Camp Shelby to 69th Infantry Division. And, uh, I stayed over there and we were going around that 59:00neck of the woods at Hattiesburg, Mississippi is where Camp Shelby was. We were known as the BBB boys. They sent General Bolte back down there to run the 69th Division. General Bolte had been over in Africa. And General Rommel ran out of Africa. And, uh, he always felt that the American troops were not fit enough, that's the problem. And that's probably true to a point. We had all those first series of people going in after the draft and everything and didn't have time to train them, you know. So General Bolte kept us out in the field. We were known as BBB boys; Bolte's Bivouac and Bastards. (laughs) So, uh, we, I stayed there about eighteen months so. They were getting ready to go ship 'em out at some point when the enemy started making the 60:00invasion, get ready to make the invasion and they were getting it ready to go. And all the officers were nice guys but they all had been anti- aircraft officers, up stationed up in Washington D.C. When they--afraid they were gonna come in and bomb 'em; they had a whole contingent army, of course, in D.C. at camp, camp, um, over there. And so they sent them back to Fort Benning for a refresher course and just sent them in there and made them officers. Because they had taken all the officers out of these divisions and sent them over after the invasion to replace all the officers that got killed off in the invasion. So here we were going out with them and I wasn't proud of that thought too much. And so, they hung out the word, they--anybody that wanted to go to OCS make out the application. So I made out the application to go back to OCS and of course being there once before why they said pack your bags and get on the train and you can go over there. And, uh, we tried and did. 61:00I went back over of course got commissioned the next time through. And, uh, uh, at that point the war was getting to crank down and sent me over to Alexandria, Louisiana. And, uh, I was training, training troops there, we were training troops there. And, uh, so the war ended while I was there so the next orders I got was to get on a train and go to Seattle. I went to Seattle. Got on a boat and ended up in Tokyo. But they didn't let me get off the boat in Tokyo they put, sent the boat clear back around down to the tip and let us get off at Nagasaki. Only the officers and they sent us in to Nagasaki and we just wondered around all over Nagasaki. They wanted us to see what the atomic bomb 62:00done.

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: We even went in the old hospital there, the hospital wasn't old. It was built, it was one of the two buildings still standing. City hall and the hospital. But in there the beds were torn up and there were skeletons laying in those beds. So we got to see a lot, you got to see a lot.

BOWEN: Well, they, they wanted you to do that from the standpoint of reporting back to them?

COURTNEY: Oh no just to, just for so we realized and we would talk about it and, uh, tell the public. I came out of there and am convinced you won't see another atomic war. Because that was a very small atomic bomb because I'm checked every fall, every fall for my blood because I don't know how much radiation I did expose but I don't guess there was a lot of radiation from those. There's some radiation from those small bombs that they dropped. Because I was also, after we got back on the boat, after we stayed there two day, two or three days. Took us back to Tokyo and unloaded us. Sat me down in I don't remember even where 63:00it was right now. And I became a battalion agent of a quartermaster battalion because they didn't need an infantry officer. And I served as a 98th quartermaster battalion, all colored troops. And, uh--

BOWEN: What was your rank?

COURTNEY: I started as second lieutenant and ended up being a first lieutenant. And, uh, that is what I came out as.

BOWEN: Did you like the military pretty well? Did it fit your?

COURTNEY: Well I, it didn't, didn't bother me, let me put it that way. But I would--I'll tell you what happened, when I got my chance to go home. I had, sent back up to Tokyo to catch the ship out. And they held us there until they got a ship bringing our replacements in and loaded the ship up and take it back out. I had to stay two or three days and I don't know where, what it was, I guess it was a soccer field or something. One afternoon didn't have anything to do except sit around that old camp. I just walked over and there and sitting up in the sun, sunning, sort of sunning myself smoking a cigarette. And, 64:00uh, lieutenant came up beside me or captain I guess he was a captain now sat down beside me and he said, "You Lieutenant Courtney?" I said, "Yes sir." He said, "We are looking for somebody to take over pay big laundry we're building, building here in Tokyo." I said, "Yes sir." Said, "It calls for one officer be operated by the Japanese and will be capable of doing ten thousand men's washing a day and it will all be Japanese. We've got to have one soldier, calls for a major. Would you be interested in the job?" I said, "Truthfully no sir. I appreciate the offer but no sir." He said, "Well you'll be a major in about four or five years, you'll be a major and pull your time, you've already got 65:00four or five, four years in, four or five more." I said, "Well I don't think so I think I want to go back home I really do. I appreciate the offer and all." "Well I'll talk to you before you leave here," but he never saw me again probably. But they, I wouldn't have anything about running a laundry and have some general call me up every day about them breaking the buttons on his shirt or something. I was ready to leave the Army at that point.

BOWEN: Yep. Well during the time you were doing, you were posted hither and yon were you, were you kind of hoping to get into action or were you pretty well content to be on this side of the ocean?

COURTNEY: I'm very content; I'm very content to tell you the truth. I'm not a hero.

BOWEN: How did you feel about the war? Did you have a lot of occasions where people you had trained you found out later didn't get back or?

COURTNEY: Well a few, a few that I went to school with at the university.

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: Basketball player Mel Burris (??) one of them I can remember. Of course, I was up at Camp Perry up there at Cleveland, Ohio with and he was left-handed and they were trying to make him shoot right-handed. 66:00And he couldn't hit that target as big as that window down there. And I was on the range next to him and you can hit so many of your own targets just switch over and put a few shots into his target for him. Got him qualified and he got over and killed on D-Day. That's when he got killed on D-Day. So, uh, but I wasn't, I wasn't a hero type. I wasn't looking for action if I had to go I was going but you know that.

SMITH: What did you think of Nagasaki?

COURTNEY: Was there? Well--

SMITH: Were you surprised by what you saw?

COURTNEY: Yes because you know explosions. The force of an explosion will hit a hill and it'll go up on the ridges, it's deflected right on up. Not the atomic bomb, it will roll. And the only left standing around Nagasaki outside of the hospital and the city hall. See it was a seaport town where those big stone arches that you see were there, 67:00well I don't know whether what they were, you'd find four or five of those but you drive through there or walk through and the bottles in the houses where houses have been, big green water bottles, they, they'd just ba-, balls of green glass. And just made you realize how much heat and all was with that thing when it went off and the way it followed and went. Now I wonder what the--see I had an emergency airstrip at, uh, Hiroshima, then I called it Hiroshima but Hiroshima in those days. Why we had an emergency airstrip and I had to go over there once a week or something. Drive over there from where I was and check they had a thing hanging on a telephone post or something a post if they had to land there, they signed in and signed out on it. I had to go and make sure nobody signed in or signed out on it. If it did I had to report it to general at headquarters and I drove over. And of course that was town that was built by the Japanese that came back from 68:00America when they got the call to come in, come home. And a lot of them did go home and they built a modern city right there in Hiroshima. So they wanted to find out what that did. They found out what did, it turns brick into powder. Glass into balls. It--just flatten that whole 'cause that's the reason the blast was so much greater in Hiroshima and all. And uh--

BOWEN: Did you have much connection? Did you interact with the Japanese population during the occupancy?

COURTNEY: I never ate one Japanese meal in my life.

BOWEN: But you didn't, you were?

COURTNEY: I drove around some but not a whole lot. I'm not a great tourist. I was just there to do--spend my time and come home.

BOWEN: I mean in terms of your job was there tension--

COURTNEY: --well now the secretary, the secretary--

BOWEN: --between the American Army and the conquered people? Was that tricky?

COURTNEY: Yes sort of to a point but not bad but some trickiness to it. 69:00My secretary was a Japanese girl who was born in Seattle. She spoke beautiful English and her family had taken her home when they got the call. And, uh, she signed on, she cleared the FBI check her or whoever checked the MP's or whatever checked her. But of course I didn't have anything that had in the battalion headquarters we didn't have no problems really. They get information from us. Basically we had very little trouble with the Japanese people, very little trouble. Oh, I did take a pistol off one of 'em one time and we had a night raid on the compound there of prisoners and there was one Japanese who had a pistol or something. I don't know whether he was trying to sell it or what but I ended up with a little twenty-five automatic, what it was.

BOWEN: I remember a documentary that Lord Mountbatten talking about how the English loathed the Japanese. Did you have the sense of --------- 70:00-(??), did you still have the mind set of these are the enemy and we've, they are beneath us or?

COURTNEY: Well we as I say we didn't have a lot of problems with them. I found them to be very, work very well, I had, uh. Well I tell you I have only one thing left that I brought back from Japan. When we were in one of those little towns over there, where we had a battalion headquarters, why I hired little Japanese boys to help in the officers' quarters make up the beds and things like that and had to train them of course. Because they couldn't speak a word of English, couldn't speak a word of English. But they were nice, we called them Mike and Moe. And, uh, they got so they could make beds and dust things like that. Wipe up and mop up the floors and do things for us like that. Well they got word we were moving out and we were being replaced by the Australians. Well the Japanese had total fear of the Australians because they had; they had treated the Americans very badly. But let me tell you what they done to the Australians was unbelievable. And 71:00what the Australians would do to the Japanese was unbelievable. And, uh, so the mother of these two boys came down to see me and I had to get the secretary. She wanted to know if the boys could go with me. If I would take the two boys with me, Mike and Moe with us when we moved. And I thought well if they want to go that'd be fine, I'll take them at least I won't have to train two more, you know, and teach them what to do. So I told her yes and then she wanted to know if their father could go, he would take care of himself. I wouldn't have to quarter him or anything. I took care of them. That's all we had, we let him go 'cause I felt it better about having him there with the boys than anything. So I said, so she next day came down and brought me her two kimonos. Now listen that's all the kimonos she owned. Two kimonos, silk kimonos. And I still have 'em. And every time Evelyn 72:00says something to me well you got your stuff out there in that storage room; I say I got two kimonos. (both laugh) I don't have another thing. But, uh, but no I--my association with the Japanese I had no problems with them at all. I really didn't have any problems with them.

SMITH: Did you say that you were responsible for the colored troops?

COURTNEY: That's colored troops.

SMITH: Okay so they were still segregated at that point?

COURTNEY: Uh, sort of yeah, yeah. When I went to OCS which was back to OCS was the first time we really had integration of colored troops. And, uh, had the white officer cadets and colored were trained at that point. But we still had units that were strictly colored units and biggest problem we had with them was we just had turned to cemetery where some American soldiers had been buried. And, uh, that sent the 73:00colored troops over and had sent a few white troops over there with them too. And, uh, dig 'em up and, up, then we brought, brought the caskets across a little island, brought the caskets across it. And we had to take them off the boat and put them on trucks and bring them down to the railroad station. We commandeered one railroad car and we sat the caskets across the seats like that down through the whole car. I think there were sixteen of them, more than, it might have been more than tweny-two I don't. But then we put a soldier on each of the car. And we sent them up to Tokyo. But we put white soldiers on there and that was the only problem you had. You had to do that or they would have gone in there, taken the car over and thrown the caskets out there. They we knew that the Japanese had been tough on Americans too. 74:00We knew that. But I didn't know too much about it, just what I had heard. But I had a grave registration, this is getting off--

SMITH: That's okay.

BOWEN: That's okay.

COURTNEY: A grave registration outfit attached, attached to my battalion.

BOWEN: A grave registration?

COURTNEY: Grave registration. And the only job they had, the only thing I had to do for them was to give me a daily report of how many men they had. The orders came in to me marked secret. I signed for them and I made them sign me for them and it was about eight of them, eight men. A first of quarters when they were there and food and everything. But they didn't associate with us. One day they came to me and said, uh "We, we need a dentist, do you got a dentist to go with us?" Well I had a boy from up in New York someplace. And I says, "Yeah I ---------- 75:00(??) him." Said, "Oh, I would like to go with this." I said, "All right you go with them." Came back and he said, "Don't ever let me do that again." He said that, he said, "I learned more." They had to go up and divert a creek and where the creek had been they had to dig under it and dig the bodies, the American bodies up from under it. And he had to pull out the teeth of them, so he'd--

SMITH: --identify them--

COURTNEY: Identify the teeth. And he just said it just, said they would be digging in the dirt and he'd look out, ah that's a dog bone. Said, said they just, said they just tore them all to pieces, you know, but he said they were working, working me. Don't know where the-- I guess we were getting information; they were buying it off some Japanese or something. But they were.

BOWEN: Um-hm. Where they were spotted.

COURTNEY: But that's the total of my war experiences right there.


BOWEN: Now when you came back you were, you mustered out right away?

COURTNEY: Yeah mustered out, mustered out in Chicago and came right on home. And, uh, that's when I went to work at Keen-, next spring or sometime or other I went, fall I went to work at Keeneland. Yeah.

SMITH: Did you not want to go back to school?

COURTNEY: No. I told you I wasn't a good student. No, at that time I was three years older too and everything and going back to school wasn't in. But I did know, I knew what I wanted to do but didn't know how I was going to get to do it. Because I went back to see Mr. Estill and he's, he had advanced in age and he had lost all of the horses he had just given it. He really wasn't interested in horses anymore. And Mr. Henry Knight had always told me come see me if you want a job. So I went down to see Mr. Knight and he told me I would 77:00have to come down there and have to start at the bottom. I said, "That's fine." And I was getting ready to leave the office and he said, "Bob, you're married aren't you?" I said, "No sir." He said, "I can't use you." His secretary I was going with his niece's secretary. She tried hard but she couldn't change his mind either and I am very proud of the fact that I mean that was his, he did not want any single boys said you can't count on you single boys. So I ended up getting in at the hardware store. That's how -----------(??), so, uh--

BOWEN: Well, what was Lexington like then? Did you think of it as changed when you came back?

COURTNEY: Yes it was starting to change. It was starting to change. Lexington is a lovely town even at that point it really hadn't gotten to what it is now. This is the point my father and I fought over quite 78:00a bit, IBM. I was totally opposed to IBM.

BOWEN: That was really the sort of beginning.

COURTNEY: --beginning of it all--

BOWEN: I remember people that I--

COURTNEY: Beginning of it all. And, uh, I sort of opposed to it because in the old days, you, your work force went out to the farms and worked in the summer-time. You came in and worked at the re-dryers in the winter-time. You had up here on, uh, well what was Walnut the old city hall had, it had two police car, a garage for two police cars. That's where the soup kitchen was in Lexington. Thirty or thirty-five crowd, thirty-five, thirty or thirty-five people was a big crowd to come through the soup kitchen at night. We didn't have unemployment. People here wanted to work, you know. Oh you had a few drifters come through and everything going around begging on doors and things. But the people here all want, were a working community. But of course now you've had these influx and we got a loafing community out here. Of 79:00course the unemployment. Let 'em get hungry, they, they'll do anything you know but right now they don't get hungry. And, uh, as I say so that's changed, it changed and it was changed because of industry moving in here and all. Worse thing that ever really happened in my opinion was wage an hour, paying people by the hour. Used to be paid people by the job they did. And when you went to paying them by the hour, they didn't give a damn about the job, what kind of job they did the job, take as long as they wanted to. Better get off my soap-box hadn't I? (laughs)

SMITH: People that I've read--talked to talked about how they got paid by the week.

COURTNEY: Yeah that's right.

SMITH: On the farm.

COURTNEY: That's right, that's the way you got paid. I started out on the farm you got paid two dollars, they paid two dollars a day. And, uh, they you went to work and you worked all day. Worked from about six to five and then you got two dollars a day. I can remember bailing 80:00hay, stripping grass, see Mr. Estill would sit on that rail around the front porch a big stone rail around. He would straddle that with his checkbook and he'd line up and he'd write them their paycheck. And, uh, then when he did that they would hold up a tin cup and he would fill them up with Bluebird gin to wash the dirt out of their throat. (Bowen laughs) That's right. One other thing I remember a man walked up there one day Mr. Estill said, "What's your name?" Said, "Reverend so and so and so and so." Mr. Estill said, "What's your name?" He said, "Reverend so and so." He said, "I can't understand, what did you say your name was?" He said, "Joe so and so--(laughs)-- Reverend." (laughs) He was a character in his own rights I'll tell you. He was-- yeah. Hmm.

BOWEN: Well we've got you through the war and some of your career. And, 81:00uh, how did you, how did you and Evelyn hook up?

COURTNEY: Well as I say I worked for L.R. Cook Implement Company. And they had a show over at the university, that's when electricity was just becoming an item to cook with. Refrigeration and everything. And we sold International Harvester and they made refrigerators and electric stoves and those kin-, and freezers and those kinds of things. So we sold them there at L.R. Cook Implement Company. So they had this farmer's fair over at the university. And they sent me over there with it to show the refrigerators and all. Evelyn worked for Kentucky Utilities, home demonstration agent. And, uh, so, uh, she came by and you know just casually. I had heard of her but I didn't know her because she went to Henry Clay and I went to University High. And 82:00so we just met there. And Marian Congleton was working with her at Kentucky Utilities. Bob Congleton's wife. She was there and she was working for Kentucky Utilities too. And she was a graduate of home ecs department out at the university. And, uh, that's where I met her was out there. We just started dating thereafter you know. Next thing, it's like I've told a lot of people, talking Mr. Webb last night down here, I told him I got married, her father, her father had been chief of police. Well he started out as a patrolman for the Lexington Police Department, walking the beat.

BOWEN: Evelyn's father?

COURTNEY: Yeah. Ended up being chief of police.

BOWEN: Really?


BOWEN: I didn't know that.

COURTNEY: And when he retired from that after twenty years on the police department. He had been chief detective first, you know, worked his way up through the ranks. He retired and he ran for sheriff. Got 83:00defeated the first time then ran back again and he was elected sheriff. Well a sheriff can't succeed himself so the next time he ran for jailer. And the man who ran for jailer ran for sheriff and they traded that job back-and-forth for three or four years now.

BOWEN: (laughs) Is that right?

COURTNEY: He was very involved with the pol-, Democratic political party.

SMITH: What was his name?

COURTNEY: Ernest Thompson.

BOWEN: What was a date like then? You go to the movie and?

COURTNEY: Oh you would go to the movie. We would go you know different places. You had the Green Dome out there on, on, uh, what was out there on ----------(??) Dave Wells' farm out there.

BOWEN: What was it called? The Green what?

COURTNEY: The Green Dome.

BOWEN: The Green Dome?

COURTNEY: Yeah. It was just one of those night spots you go out and drink and sing, dance and all. And, uh, then you went down to the river down by down at Boonesborough down under the bridge there's 84:00one of two honky-tonks down there, go to movies. Go out and eat someplace. Didn't have a lot of restaurants to go to and eat in those days. You had the Canary Cottage down there on Main Street. It was the best restaurant in town really. And, uh, of course, you had, and had--handbooks galore over Lexington, you know, there's handbooks galore. Had, uh, there was one right up here, it was up here above the Mayflower Bar that was Ed, Ed, uh, I'll tell you in a minute. But then you had both the Ben Ali Theatre, the Strand Theatre down in the old Drake Hotel down, down there on the Broadway. There were handbooks all peop-, this was a very horse oriented community; people loved people raced horses and wanted to bet on 'em, shoo wanted to bet on horses and all. You had 'em out on Third Street, you had a color book-maker out on Third Street he took twenty-five cent bets on horses. That's all they had, so I wouldn't take your book money. (laughs) And, uh, 85:00so you know this was a very horse oriented community. I helped down at Fayette Cigar store at night sometime. And a boy named Joe well Leo Brophy (??) owned the store and Joe Brophy worked there. Joe was, but Joe was a fan of betting on horses very much so and, uh, but he could tell you the pedigrees. Some horse running well and John Clark was the same way. He'd give you the pedigree of the horses running. He'd say so and so is in the ----------(??) fifth, oh that's the colt out of so and so. You know you knew the families of these horses. These big farms C.V. Whitney, Greentree they had families, you, you knew. People knew those families. None of them--these horses came out of those families and all unbelievable, it was unbelievable.

BOWEN: Was there, uh, what was the, uh, the feeling of the connection to the absentee owners? Did the--let's say if you were a farm manager of a 86:00big top farm, the farm managers were the sort of the social leaders of the community even though they, they work for wealthy people. But the wealthy people weren't around, is that right?

COURTNEY: That's right, that's right. Well, see Louie Beard was out at Greentree. I can't remember quite who was at C.V. Whitney's. I can't, I don't know but of course Olin was down with, uh, Colonel Bradley. Yeah those--and they were pretty important people in the community because that's who the people would have to call to say get your boss to give some money to the community chest or something you know. So they, they had contact within the community too. And, uh, it was a, as far as the big people went as dad always said, said you know if they could have built a fence or wall around Fayette County during 87:00the Depression and turned the radios off, we would have never known there was a depression because they had the big farms out here. They were taking up all this labor out there working on the farms. Going back to city and ----------(??). He said till you brought all this industry and brought all these people on wage an hour you destroyed all of that, see. That's where my father and I, we used to argue about all the time. That, uh, I contended that it was going to be the end of it and it really was the end of, it made the community grow. Of course all bankers are like politicians. Politicians want it to grow so they can get more money to spend. Tax payer's money to spend for power and all. And bankers wanted help--of course in those days the banker wanted to get more money in the bank so they could do more for his community is what the basis of it was.

BOWEN: But your father even though he was a banker, he didn't like the growth?

COURTNEY: Didn't like the what?

BOWEN: The growth.


COURTNEY: Well yeah he liked it. He wanted growth oh yeah he wanted growth, Ed. He wanted growth, yeah. That's why we were separated. (laughs) Not separated but we discussed it some, yeah 'cause, uh, he, he, oh, he wanted growth. I just, I just could not stand the thought of IBM coming in here. Because the train came in all that's come in and all. Yeah.

BOWEN: Well now what, what stage were you in your business career when you got married? You said you were working--

COURTNEY: Well I was working for Sam Look at, at Sam well just before. I marr-, I, I guess I was working for L.R. Cook, that's what it was. And I got married and I went out to the hardware, I went out to the Davis and Wilkerson Real Estate then I went out to Sam Look's. But, right that era in there. I married in '48.


BOWEN: Where did you all live when you first got married?

COURTNEY: Lived on Bon Air Drive in her father's house. He, he moved to the Lafayette Hotel. (Bowen laughs) Then he come back home and then we get, Robert came along, go cry and he got up and moved to Lafayette Hotel. (laughs)

BOWEN: Well did Evelyn keep working for a while, or?

COURTNEY: No sir I made her quit. Tell you a story. I was at Keeneland one day with dad and Mr. Bob Watt who was president of Kent-, of Kentucky Utilities. And he's, he went to the races with dad quite often. And the first thing Mr. Watt would say to me is get me a gaboon son. You know what a gaboon is? Something to spit in to, a spittoon. A gaboon. And I would go get him a paper cup because he chewed tobacco when he was out of his office. So one day there I said to him I knew what kind of job Evelyn had had with him. And she was 90:00with him a number of years. So I said to him, "Mr. Watt what about a young man coming to see you about a job." He said, "I'll tell you what to do Bobby." What's that mister? Said, "Send your wife back there to work and you go home and take care of the house." (laughs)

BOWEN: Well he was ahead of his time.

COURTNEY: Oh well I didn't go to work for KU either. But that's all right.

BOWEN: You were twenty-seven or so at the time. Did getting married really sort of change your way of going? Did you think this is?

COURTNEY: Yeah I gave up drinking shortly thereafter. (laughs)

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: Well no I of course I did drink and all the times on the 91:00racetrack with the time I was on the racetrack and all, why those gangs all drink a lot you know. They'd come to town after I left, left and came down here they come to town they'd come to town and call me up and of course we'd go out and have a little drink that was before I got married, you see. Then after I got married I cut that foolishness out.

BOWEN: So you, uh, were with Mr. Look briefly then the--

COURTNEY: I was with him about eighteen months too.

BOWEN: Oh you were, okay.

COURTNEY: Yeah I was there about eighteen months.

BOWEN: What kind of operation was that? Did he raise yearlings to sell or?

COURTNEY: Well he, he couldn't really, I couldn't, I can't really tell you what the hell it was. He, he was the nicest man you ever worked for in your life. Of course you know he'd been running Castleton Farm for his father. His father, then his father went broke in the Depression and all. And they had to sell Castleton Farm. And I 92:00don't know whether, who bank rolled the operation for him to buy that little place on the Muir Pike a quaint little old country home on it and all. And they fixed it up nice enough. And, uh, but he boarded a few horses they had one or two mares they sold, but not too many. We had, when I went there we had three or four stallions. We had Mighty Story, Broke Even, Sweet Act (??). There's a fourth one--oh Swing and Sway, we about fell out over him. You remember he was the last son of Equipoise around here. He got, he came back one day and said--he told me he made the best deal of his life. I said, "What did you do?" He said, "I got a Swing and Sway coming over here." I said, "Swing and Sway?" He said "Yeah." I said, "I gonna tell you one thing Mr. Look there is only one thing that ever been resurrected from the dead that wasn't Swing and Sway I'm going to tell you that much." (laughs) I thought he was going to fire me over this smart. But I have a little tendency to be a little smart at times.

BOWEN: Mighty Story was a pretty good horse.


COURTNEY: Oh Mighty Story was a good horse. But syndicated him, it was the first I syndicated, I went down with Gail Mooney (??), no I went down with Sam Look. Gail Mooney told us to go on down there and we went down there and met with Roscoe Goose. And Mighty Story had already been at Sam's farm, but old man, uh, Mac, what's his name who had the horse, it will come to me in a minute. Why wanted to sell, he wanted to get out of the stallion business. He liked racing. And so settled on a price on Mighty Story. And we came back up from Louisville that night and the next morning he and I talked about what to syndicate the horse for and that's just the beginning of syndication of stallions. I put a price on him what we decided to do with him and he said, "See if, see if you can do it." I got on the phone and I called everybody that had been breeding to the horse. And every one of 94:00them took a share in the horse.

BOWEN: Really?

COURTNEY: And I tried to limit it to one share. Joe Mets (??) said, "I've got to have two shares I've got so many mares." Walter Salmon said the same thing, I've got to have two shares I've got so many horses, mares. So I let them have two shares but everybody else was one share. Old man Charlie Asbury never got so mad at me brought up every time he saw me. You didn't call me about that horse you were syndicating! I said, "Mr. Charlie you never ever bred to the horse." And, uh, all these people I sold shares to were all breeding her, but of course in those days you only bred only sold forty shares in a horse or forty-two shares. Forty-two was a big book for a mare and we sold I think thirty-six shares is all we sold on that horse. And we're gonna sell the rest of those shares to cover our expenses on the horse, you know. And, uh, so of course he was, he had the first two-year-old winner of the year. His first crop was a horse named Timeless Moment. 95:00No, no Mighty Moment, he's by old Timeless whatever the dam of Tiger was, Timeless something. But this two-year-old was out of her, she was an old mare and they bred her to him and a two, only one, the first two-year-old races down in New Orleans on January the first. So I was high on myself and I walked up here on, uh, ----------(??) of Short Street, where the Racing Forum office was up there in the old Fortune building, that pretty white house they tore down to build that thing. And Charlie Hatton who John Clark had introduced me to had me take him down to the bank so I could get his check cashed so that was he tells me to do. So I saw Charlie he was our local representative with the Racing Forum and I went in there he said, "Well Bob I'll tell you one thing, at least you've got the leading sire of two-year-olds in America." (laughs) But yes he, he was a good horse. That old Broke 96:00Even, he wasn't too much. Sweet Act was even less than that. But if you couldn't give Seasons away to another dam.

BOWEN: Swing and Sway?

COURTNEY: But I left. But I don't.

BOWEN: At the time you went to, uh, Brumfield Hay and Grain did you, did you have a sense of, hey, this isn't, this isn't going the way I want it to go. I, your dream was to have your own farm I take it or?


BOWEN: Did you see the steps as--

COURTNEY: --I couldn't see, I couldn't see that far down, I couldn't see that far down the road at that time. Now that my whole life is over with and I look back at it how it all fit right together. But no it, but I did learn a lot while I was at Brumfield Hay and Grain because at that point they were still having a hay bailing operation up in Ohio. Gus Brumfield took men up there and tents and cook tents and cooks 97:00and everything else. And they, his bailing crew he fed them and they all lived out and all. And, uh, bailed hay and he sent two loads down every night and we sent two up truck and trailers every morning.

BOWEN: Is that right?

COURTNEY: Yeah. Oh hell they fill up. They had Elmhurst Farm, had to fill Elmhurst Farm and, uh, they took a lot of hay in those days to fill Elmhurst Farm too. And, uh, so I learned that and we sold a lot of hay and I--they said they didn't want racetrack business but sent me to the racetrack and I developed quite a good following out at the racetrack. Yeah.

BOWEN: Did you work just Keeneland or did you go, did you go back-and- forth to Louisville a lot?

COURTNEY: No I didn't go back-and-forth to Louisville at all. I never worked at all.

BOWEN: Would Keeneland--

COURTNEY: Just what, uh--the only place I ever went in Louisville was, was out to Warner's. Out there at his farm never sold him anything but feed, oats really.

BOWEN: Yeah. But Keeneland just with the short meetings they didn't have training though year round at Keeneland then, did they?


COURTNEY: Yes sir. Oh yeah.

BOWEN: Oh, they did.

COURTNEY: Herb Stevens was there. George Miller was there. Well Babe Wells had a barn there you know up on the hill there at the back gate.

BOWEN: Is that right?

COURTNEY: Yeah Babe had a barn there and he kept it. Although he shipped most of his horses out, but he had Bud Greeley, father of all these boys, had a barn there and he trained horses there. And then he went up, got so after Babe died and he took the horses away to the races. But, uh, the, uh, it was a learning, just a learning experience when you look back on my whole life. I mean I started out in hardware selling farm machinery and stuff like that. Farm I worked for the real estate firm you know to ran to another farm. Ended up in the feed business and see that's where, when I worked for Sam Look that's how I, after I left Brumfield and went to Sam Look, I mean no.

BOWEN: So you were working for Brumfield at, at the time you leased, leased the farm on?


COURTNEY: Yeah after they gave up after Mr. Look gave up the hundred acres I leased, I called Cooley up and the only reason I did that, Les showed up at my backdoor.

SMITH: Les Sharpe?

COURTNEY: Um-hm. Showed up at my backdoor. And, uh, I said, "What's the matter, what are you doing here?" He said, "I don't have a job." I said, "I left you with--you had a job." He said, "I can't work for that man with you gone." I said, "Well let me see what I can do," so I called and he told me they let turned back let up the Cooley's farm and moved everything back to the farm over on the Muir Road. Well I knew that farm wouldn't hold it, wouldn't went away, but I didn't have anything to do with it. And, uh, so, uh, I called him up--but I had a mare or two at that point myself and I had them over at Hamburg Place with Kelis Marsh (??) who was Winnie, Winnie Madden's second husband. And, uh, I had them over there with him. And so, uh, I just called 100:00him and told him I was going to have to take those horses out, went do you--I didn't know what I was going to do. I went out there and leased that farm and paid the same thing Sam Look did. I had two mares of which I owned one of them and I owned a third of the other one and the other one was owned by my father, Joe Thomas, and myself. Joe Thomas cooked that deal up he put a syndicate together and told dad said you got to put up the money and I'm going buy the mares, Bobby will take care of 'em. (laughs) We had, we had so, uh, he had a lot of fun doing that too. But, uh, uh--

BOWEN: Well was that, uh, at the time did you see that as, uh, sort of gamble? Did you have to commit to a lot money--

COURTNEY: --oh yeah it was a gamble, a gamble--

BOWEN: --have to borrow money to do it?

COURTNEY: Well I just, of course, I had a salary, making from Brumfields. But, uh, it made the Brumfields a little money late up along the way but it was very much of a gamble. I, what I had to do 101:00I hired the one man, old Les and he worked for me. He foaled my mares at night, he stayed there all night long and foaled mares get up and go home in the morning after he had taken turned, found them and taken and turned his horses out. He would go home take a little nap eat his lunch and come back up and bring his dinner up in a sack and stayed there in the barn all night long foaled mares and everything.

BOWEN: Oh. How big a, how quickly did that kind of get established, with a, with a client base?

COURTNEY: Well of course having contact on the race-, racetrack, uh, people started sending me a few horses out there to take care of, after coming off the races. I got a horse for Bud Greeley, I got it for old Bud Greeley sent me one or two horses out there. Uh, George Miller sent me a horse out there from a guy named Clifford Scott Allen in Chicago, was a trainer. Uh, what was old man Charlie something or other was an old trotting horse trainer, he sent me horses out there to turn out. Of course in those days when Churchill Downs was 102:00over on Thanksgiving Day, racing was shut down in Kentucky. And, uh, people turned their horses out. And they took them up the first day of February. Well I picked those up. Lou Doherty of course had just started Stallion Station truthfully my father loaned him the money to buy that. Told him I'll send him some mares so he sent mares over for me to board during the breeding season. And it just sort of grew from that. One year Bowman (??) Gentry sent me a bunch of mares up of course then Tommy came along and started his own farm and I lost that, that, that didn't make sense. I've always known that blood is thicker than water. (laughs) So that is the way and it just developed from that, they just kept growing and growing and finally I just told the Brumfield boys I said well truthfully I'd go drive and sell feed for them today and go out there and shake stalls at night to help Les if I didn't have enough money to hire two men I'd go out there and shake 103:00stalls, shake a few stalls for 'em and help keep things going.

BOWEN: Did, uh, did you do any sales prep at that, from that property?

COURTNEY: No. You didn't sell that many horses 'cause--

COURTNEY: Come in!

EVELYN: Hello.

BOWEN: Hello.

COURTNEY: You back?


COURTNEY: Good for you.

BOWEN: Hi Evelyn.

EVELYN: How are you?

BOWEN: Just fine.

COURTNEY: You know Ed. Ms., Ms. Smith's down here.

SMITH: ----------(??) microphone there--

BOWEN: So we better stop now. (laughs)

EVELYN: Stop while you're ahead there, just--

[End of interview.]

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