We’re called the Treeing Walker Coonhound
and tan in color, and fell into a ringing chop when announcing to all that a coon was treed. In November of 1927, Herman Bray of Elwood, Indiana, purchased a Walker Foxhound named Speed. Speed was pure Walker Foxhound breed- ing, but had been outcast by the fox hunters
that he needed to own King in order to reach his dream! Finally, in late October of 1932, Herman priced the pup to Lester for $25. Lester had only $13 cash to his name and the depression was in full swing. Lester told Bray he would give the cash and two 100- pound bags of “Peet’s” pig mineral for the then unproven seven-month- old pup, King. Since Bray fed that brand of feed, he knew they cost $7 each to buy and agreed to the deal. Lester had secured
because he would stop a fox chase to tree a coon when he got a chance. Speed was an open trail- er, had a loud tree voice, and was a true tri-color. Bray paid the unheard of price of $75 cash for him at four years of age, when a good dog could be bought for $35. The first season that Foland’s Queen and Speed were hunted together, a diary was kept of all their hunts. They struck 29 coon tracks and treed 27y. This was quite a good season for the times and the num- ber of coon to be found in that area. In January of 1932, Foland’s Queen and Speed were mated. Lester was well aware of this cross and made a trip to see the litter of 12 when they were about a week old. He made arrangements with Bray to get two females from the litter. Bray kept all five of the males, since he wanted to hunt them some before making a decision which he wanted to keep. At five months of age, Lester and Bray took these seven pups hunting with Speed. That night, no coon tracks were struck, but one of the pups went hunting with Speed while the rest stayed near the lantern. This blanket-backed male which had been named King, finally began to bark lost when Speed left him behind, but found his way back. A few days later, they took the same seven pups down on the White River to see how they would take to water. King and Lester’s female were the only two that took right to the river like ducks. A short time later, Lester lost both his females, one to a car and one to distemper. Bray agreed to let him hunt Speed, Queen and the five males, so they would get some experience. After several shake-out races, and going in to trees with the two old dogs and only one of the pups, King, up on the wood; Lester knew
Lester with White River Boone ~ circa 1949.
for $27 the hound that would be the first-ever adver- tised as “Treeing Walker” and the foundation of the breed which would not get recognition by the United Kennel Club, Inc. (UKC) for another 13 years. White River King became Lester’s constant com- panion. He went with Lester as he graded roads for the county. King rode in the truck seat, and if a squir- rel or groundhog crossed the road, the door would open and the chase would be on. Three nights before the season officially opened, Lester slipped in to the same woods where he had seen his first coon in a tree. At eight months old, White River King opened on a track in the corn and was soon in the timber. For the next 14 years, a familiar voice would tell Lester in the night air that the coon was up the tree. Lester found King on a big cottonwood, and backed up a little to shine the tree with his lantern. The eyes of that coon shown in the night like Times Square on New Year’s Eve to the excited 20-year-old man. He knew the pup had treed a raccoon, and now the coonhound world was headed into a different direc- tion than ever before. Fourteen years later, Lester returned to this same tree with King wrapped in his hunting coat. On that day in December 1946 Lester had the sad chore of laying in his final resting place, not only his personal friend, but the foundation of a new breed, and the beginning of a new era. This hound had always given his best, was always dependable. He was a coon hunter’s coon dog! Twenty-three years after his death,
88 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE • O CTOBER 2010
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