youhe oddly particular award, introduced at Cincinnati’s first main canine present, was buried in a protracted listing of prizes bestowed upon the best canines within the Queen Metropolis:
“The best and handsomest canine of any form, and owned and entered by a girl, a gold-mounted collar; awarded Miss Jeanne Bassett; Spaniel John Wilson.
Therein lies a story (or tail).
It was 1877. New York attracted an excessive amount of nationwide consideration with the inaugural Westminster Kennel Membership Canine Present. Boston introduced it could quickly stage an identical occasion. In Cincinnati, George M. Arnold, an actor, and Robert Miles, proprietor of the Grand Opera Home on Vine Avenue, determined that New York had nothing on our truthful metropolis and introduced a serious canine present to happen on Mt. Adams in late June.
Arnold and Miles procured a big vacant lot next-door to the Highland Home on the prime of the Mt. Adams Incline. A few years earlier than, the property held a fireworks manufacturing unit and sooner or later the Rookwood Pottery would find there. On this plot, Miles erected an immense circus tent, 150 toes in diameter, sheltering 250 kennels.
Canines have been packed in all places. They got here in all sizes, from a “Siberian Bloodhound” (a sort of mastiff) weighing 192 kilos, to Toodles, a “black and tan,” who tipped the scales at simply over 24 ounces. Cincinnatians saved totally different breeds again then. Newfoundlands have been widespread, as have been spaniels, poodles, Irish setters and pointers. Different breeds appear unique in the present day, similar to coach canines, fox canines (believed to be fox-dog hybrids—an impossibility), Greenham canines and Russian shepherds.
The present acquired off to a moist begin. Though Thursday, June 21, began out wonderful, a storm “of no strange significance” blew by and soaked the pavilion, scattering the group and soaking the grounds. After retying the tent ropes and hauling in a few truckloads of straw, the present went on, attracting so many purchasers at 1 / 4 apiece that an additional day was tacked on to accommodate demand.
Different cities took envious discover. Indianapolis Journal opined that Cincinnati staged the canine exhibition to direct consideration away from accusations by the Temperance newspapers that native brewers have been promoting adulterated suds. The St.Louis Occasions noticed that Cincinnati was on a roll, with the canine present opening concurrently with the show of a stay beluga whale at Mt. Auburn’s Lookout Home, a revived skilled baseball staff and the ribbon chopping for the brand new Cincinnati-Southern Railroad.
On the conclusion of the present, the newspapers printed prolonged lists of prize winners and a few controversies. Dogappers stole a few of the prize canines from their be-ribboned kennels and some pooches escaped. A lawsuit or two alleged that judges had illegally awarded prizes to undeserving mutts and the homeowners of some honored canines claimed they by no means obtained their prizes. Nonetheless, the present was declared a roaring success, a feather in Cincinnati’s cap, till, that’s, the Cincinnati Gazette [26 June 1877] spilled the beans:
“On the canine present held final week, the prize for the ‘handsomest and best canine of any form, owned and entered by a girl,’ a gold-mounted collar, was awarded to the keeper of a home of ill-fame. The canine was named after a circus-rider who, a number of days in the past, shot a person with the intention of killing him.”
All of this was true. The woman in query was Jeanne Bassett, who maintained a brothel at 130 Longworth St., the very coronary heart of Cincinnati’s red-light district. Miss Bassett was no stranger to the newspapers. In reality, her latest feud de ella with a neighboring madam, Kate Riley, had gotten so out-of-control that the police “pulled” each homes and fined the landladies and inmates for disturbing the peace.
Madam Bassett’s award-winning spaniel was named John Wilson and will have been a present from the gentleman with that title. Mr. Wilson was, because the Gazette intimated, a someday equestrian for the John Robinson Circus, primarily based in Cincinnati. As his namesake canine was wowing the judges on Mt. Adams, Wilson himself was incarcerated, unable to lift a dance after taking pictures a safety guard at Wooden’s Theater. As is commonly the case with hot-headed gunplay, alcohol was concerned. In the course of a pub crawl, Wilson and a pal, gambler Bob Cathcart, popped into Wooden’s Theater on the southeast nook of Sixth and Vine. There, non-public policeman Charles Thompson instructed Cathcart to ditch his cigar. Wilson took offense and shot Thompson as they argued. Wilson fled however despatched a messenger to Miss Bassett’s home. The younger courier was intercepted by the police and led officers to Wilson’s hideout. Miss Bassett apparently raised cash to ensure Wilson’s bond.
All of this was nonetheless contemporary within the public’s thoughts because the canine present was organized. It will be past perception that Bob Miles, the theater impresario, and George Arnold, the actor, have been unfamiliar with Jeanne Bassett and her Longworth Avenue home. They certainly would have heard concerning the taking pictures at Wooden’s Theater. How they allowed Miss Bassett to register her de ella spaniel, a lot much less take prime honors, is a little bit of a thriller.
The scandal of Miss Bassett’s success, nonetheless, solid a pall over your entire enterprise and it was some years earlier than anybody dared to stage one other canine present in Cincinnati.