Gravestone of Sadie Pointer

Gravestone for the horse, Sadie Pointer, sits in a woodlot on the private property of Ramseyer Farm. Photo courtesty of Andrew Jenner. Please do not trespass on private property looking for the gravestone.

Gravestone for the horse, Sadie Pointer, sits in a woodlot on the private property of Ramseyer Farm. Photo courtesty of Andrew Jenner. Please do not trespass on private property looking for the gravestone.

Located in a dense woodlot on the Ramseyer Farm that sits along St. Rt. 585 between the long winding curves of the byway from Wooster to Smithville is an unusual gravestone.

While a number of private family cemeteries and grave sites exist in Wayne County, this particular grave site is not the final resting place of any human being. This place was dedicated to a horse: Sadie Pointer.

The weather-beaten and moss-covered gravestone was inscribed with the following:

SADIE POINTER FOA
LED 1901 BY STAR
POINTER 1 58 FIR
ST 2 MINUTE HORSE
SHE DIED IN 1921
W J MCFADDEN

Like a human being, many horses have a family tree, more often referred to as a pedigree, that can be traced. From Sadie Pointer’s gravestone we can discover her family lineage because she was a registered Standardbred horse.

The stone says she was by Star Pointer; which simply means a stallion by the name of, Star Pointer, was her father. Star Pointer was the first harness horse to pace a mile under 2-minutes. He won a mile pacing race in 1-minute and 59-and-1/4-seconds at the Readville, Massachusetts racetrack in the summer of 1897. Which made Star Pointer a very fast and famous racehorse in his time. The following year Star Pointer was bought at an auction in New York by William J. White, the Cleveland, Ohio Beeman’s chewing-gum manufacturer magnate, for $15,000. White sent Star Pointer to his Two-Minute Farm on the shores of Lake Erie to begin stud duty in Ohio in 1900.


Sadie Pointer's registration information as entered in Wallace's American Trotting Register Volume 16.

Sadie Pointer’s registration information as entered in Wallace’s American Trotting Register Volume 16, circa 1904.

Having a horse that carried the bloodline of Star Pointer would have been like being able to own a car manufactured by Ferrari today. The final line on the gravestone, W J McFadden, is the only reference to a human being: William J. McFadden. He once owned the farmland from 1877-1934 where Sadie Pointer’s gravestone stands. William J. McFadden likely sent or took his elderly broodmare, Manzinetta (foaled in 1880 and became the mother of Sadie Pointer), to visit Star Pointer at the Two-Minute Farm sometime during the stallion’s first year of service in 1900, and sometime in 1901 his beloved Sadie Pointer was born. Sadie Pointer died in 1921 after having a lifespan of 20-years, which is a relatively long life for a turn of the century horse. From all indications William McFadden bred, raised, trained, and proudly owned Sadie Pointer her entire life.

"The Legend of Sadie Pointer" by Andrew Jenner can be read in the 2013 November issue of Hoofbeats magazine.

“The Legend of Sadie Pointer” by Andrew Jenner can be read in the 2013 November issue of Hoofbeats magazine.

There is no record that Sadie Pointer ever became a racehorse herself. She never brought William McFadden fame or fortune as a racehorse. She produced no offspring that made her a valuable broodmare. She had only one foal, Effie Hal, that was registered as Standardbred, but also never raced. So why would William J. McFadden go to the trouble of burying Sadie Pointer in a special spot on his farm and marking her grave with a large inscribed stone? McFadden’s great-great-great grandson, Andrew Jenner, a free-lance writer tried to answer those questions in his latest work, The Legend of Sadie Pointer, published in the 2013 November issue of Hoofbeats magazine.

Perhaps William McFadden sat with Sadie Pointer and held her head in his arms during the long last minutes of her life when a horse comes closest to seeming human, and felt such a regal creature deserved an appropriate burial and marker. Or maybe after many miles spent together trodding over Wayne County roads on their way to here, or there, over the course of twenty years, simply shared a bond that cannot be explained with words.

Allowing the leeway to slightly adjust Robert Smith Surtees famous horse quote: There is no secret so close as that between a man and his horse.

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