When I worked for The Jackson Pioneer across from the courthouse in Jackson, I knew there was a horse in the window of the store just west of us, but I never stopped in to look at it. If you had asked, I’d have told you it was a real stuffed horse.
Mother and I went over to Wib’s BBQ on Friday, and on the way back, I stopped at 131 West Main Street to visit with the old boy. He turned out to be more interesting than I had thought.
Building once housed harness shop
The building on the corner used to house C.H. (Herman) Wolter’s harness shop. You can still see a hint of its sign. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)
Pioneer was on the left
The newspaper office was to the left of the yellow building, which now houses the horse and the Gaming Grounds, a video game center. Above the bay window, you can see the date 1898. The horse’s hind end is barely visible to the left of the OPEN sign.
Not easy to see
It’s hard to see the horse from the street because of the sign, and you can’t see it at all from inside the store because it is protected by a wall. The Gaming Ground folks didn’t object when I asked if I could squeeze behind the wall.
History of the horse
There is a reprint of a 1974 Jackson Journal story hanging from the horse’s saddle. It says, in part:
Prince Truxton II, handmade of paper mache and wood frame, was purchased in 1889 from Horse Display Works of Dayton, Ohio. The dapple gray horse stands 16 hands high and weighs some 600 pounds. The mane and tail are of real horse’s hair and the dark brown eyes are made of glass. The tail, chin and ears can be removed to fit a harness onto the horse.
Arriving on a railroad car here in Jackson, the horse cost $125 in 1889, including the railroad delivery charges. Its first home was in the building that housed the Albert Sander Hardware Co. in the Priest Building. The horse was used to fit and display harnesses.
Had encounter with bull
Situated on a platform with rollers, Wolter used to roll the display horse onto the sidewalk in front of the harness shop. One day, a herd of cattle was being driven through town on Main Street to the railroad station, not an uncommon sight in the late 1800s. Suddenly a bull, maddened and upset, charged from the herd and rammed into the horse, pushing it down the sidewalk. Fortunately, the horse remained upright and was not damaged. From that day on, the horse was displayed in the window of the harness shop, a much safer location.
Moved to new home in 1898
In 1898, C.H. Wolter completed a new building for his Harness and Buggy Shop [which explains the date inscribed on the building] further west on Main Street at 131 W. Main, where Leonard’s Seed Center is located today (1974). [I vaguely remember it being a feed store when I was there in the mid-1960s.] The horse was rolled down the hill to its new home and placed in the large front window.
How it became Prince Truxton II
It was not until Jackson’s Sesquicentennial in 1965 that the horse officially received its name. Rebecca McDowell was the winner of the horse-naming contest during the 1965 celebration with the name of Price Truxton II. Miss McDowell, after doing historical research, suggested Prince Truxton II, since Andrew Jackson, for whom the City of Jackson is named, owned a horse called Truxton, which stood 15 hands and 3 inches high. For many years prior to 1965, the horse in the window was simply referred to as Prince.