How Pilot, the New York Brindle, Won the American Championship
DOG-FIGHTING: A SPORT
If only to point the refining influences of the years, it seems worth while
that we should take note of how the now almost extinct pastime of the sporting gentleman, dog-fighting, was elevated in 1881
over the rude days when Kit Burns had his rat and dog-fighting pit doing a flourishing business at 273 Water Street, where
his house of prostitution was merely incidental to an evening's entertainment. It was here through the Sixties and Seventies
that the rough characters who made up the denizens of the streets along the lower East
River water-front took their diversion in watching rats the size of well-grown
kittens, which had been captured from the nearby wharfs, in
revolting contests with terrier dogs,
and on special occasions, could wager on their favorite when the terriers had been pitted. There were many such places through
the city of New York, and we merely mention Sportsmen's Hall (or Bandbox, as it was sometimes called), of which Kit Burns was the proprietor,
because it happened to be the most noted.
Of course, the gentleman sport had his fighting dogs and his fighting cocks
well back in the last century and even earlier in this country but as a rule dog-fighting was rated an entertainment for the
more debased element. Such contests are still being waged occasionally on the quiet in the vicinity of Greater New York. As
a sports editor of a prominent metropolitan daily I have refused in recent years more than one special invitation to attend
such matches. But in 1881, when the white brindle, Pilot, worried Crib, until there was no more life to shake out of his canine
foe's body, thereby winning the American championship, this was an interstate contest for a stake of $2,000. which had an
international tinge, was conducted with an extreme of ethics in its way, and was an occasion graced by not a few of the
most prominent and respected among sporting personages. This was nothing
short of dog-fighting deluxe. The challenge was officially filed through the National Police Gazette; its proprietor, Richard
K. Fox, whose paper gave attention to both blue-ribbon and fighting dogs, proudly accepted the office of stakeholder; and
he specially delegated his editor of sports, William E. Harding, to the important post of referee.
Louis Kreiger, of Louisville, had challenged the world on behalf of Crib, an imported dog, to what was described as a "fair-scratch-in-turn"
match for 1,000 a side. "Cockney Charley" Lloyd, of New York, took up the challenge published in the Gazette and backed his fighting dog, Pilot, an American animal.
The preliminaries of the contest were quickly consummated, but it took some time before Pittsburg, Kentucky, was finally announced as the battle site. It was in this state, Kentucky, that professional fistic
contests were long outlawed, and from Louisville that a certain well-known New York journalist brought a once very popular
story when he returned from one of the very first bare-knuckle fights privately staged there, which non-parlor story is worth
setting down for its significance in driving home the contrast in viewpoints.
It seems that, after the prize fight in question, this gentleman of the
press was one of a New
York delegation who proceeded to round out the
evening by getting intoxicated and visiting the sporting houses of the city.
At the final stop the newspaper representative got himself quite interested in one of the inmates and in the course of conversation
his companion wanted to know what he was doing in her town. He volunteered the information that he had come on for the prize
fight. "Do you know," she answered, regretfully, "that I was fair crazy to see that fight. But my man, my man he says, that
a prize fight ain't no place for a
lady." For the dog-fighting match between Pilot and Crib, some of the best-known
sporting lights from New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, New Orleans and many other leading cities journeyed to Louisville, which was in close proximity to the scene of contest. Considerable sums of money were wagered on
the outcome all over the country. The Ohio and Mississippi Railroad issued special excursion tickets to the fight, and the sporting delegation
was met at the Louisville Hotel by Alderman Gifford, president of the Louisville Board of Aldermen, and by Chief of Police
Adam Bly and other notables of the city.
ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN DOG OWNERS
Police Gazette Office
New York, Sept. 1, 1881
Articles of Agreement entered into this first day of September, A.D. 1881,
between Louis Kreiger, of Louisville, Ky., and Charles Lloyd, of New York: The said Charles Lloyd, of New York, hereby agrees
to fight his brindle and white dog Pilot, ears cut and tail on, against Louis Kreiger's, of Louisville, white dog Crib, ears
cut and tail on, at 28 pounds weight for one thousand dollars ($1,000) a side: The said fight to take place on the 19th day
of October, A.D. 1881, at or within a point of seven miles of Pittsburg, Ky. The stakeholder or the referee to name the place
of fighting. The dogs to be weighed at 7 o'clock a.m. on the day of fighting, and to fight between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., Richard
K. Fox to be final stakeholder and to select the referee. The deposits to be made with Richard K. Fox, of the Police Gazette,
the final stakeholder, viz: The first deposit of five hundred dollars ($500) a side on September 5, 1881, and the final deposit
of five hundred dollars ($500) a side to be posted with Richard K. Fox, or his
representative, on the 19th day of October, 1881, and on the day and place
of fighting, Louis Kreiger to deposit five hundred dollars ($500) to Charles
Lloyd's four hundred dollars ($400), there being an allowance of one hundred dollars ($100) for Lloyd's expenses to and from
Pittsburg, Ky.' thus Louis Kreiger wagers one thousand($1,000) to Charles Lloyd's
nine hundred dollars ($900).
The said Charles Lloyd and the said Louis Krieger do hereby agree that
should the authorities in any way interfere or try to stop or prevent the
said battle, that the referee shall have full power to name the next time and place of fighting. It is also agreed that the
referee shall insist on the dogs being again weighed, and the said weighing shall be within thirty minutes before the time
named by the referee for the fight to be decided. Should there be any after interference the dogs shall again be weighed day
after day, and neither will be allowed to exceed 28 pounds in weight. It is further agreed that the handlers shall each taste
the other's dog and sponge them with wet sponge. The sponge used shall then be squeezed into each other's dog's mouth in order
to prove there is no poison or pernicious drugs placed on them. After the dogs have been tasted neither of the sponges must
In pursuance of this agreement the said Charles Lloyd and the said Louis
Kreiger do hereby agree to comply with the rules embodied in this agreement or forfeit the money now deposited with the stakeholder.
It is also agreed that the battle shall be fought according tot he Police Gazette's revised rules of dog-fighting.
MANY COME TO WATCH THE DOG-FIGHT
on the morning of the contest, the roads leading to the
battle-ground were crowded with vehicles of every description. Kreiger had
Crib in a buggy, and Pilot was conveyed in a closed carriage. At 6:30 the party arrived at Garr's farm, six miles from Louisville,
Six miles out of this pike was a rough-looking old barn, which the writer tells us "was as illy fitted up for a dog-fight
as it would have been for a high-toned wedding." A pit thirteen by sixteen feet was erected in one end of the barn, and in
this dilapidated old building the crowd was quickly wedged. Harding, the referee, however, was not satisfied with the conditions
of the building interior, and every one was forced to outside while the barn was cleaned up. Whether it would have then been
fit for a "high-toned wedding" is not known, but Mr. Harding finally adjudged it suitable for the dog-fight. Before the would-be
spectators were allowed to return "Cockney Charley,' who didn't propose to lose a cent," said that everybody would have to
pay a dollar to
get in and see the fight. Some did, but not a few climbed in through holes
in the sides of the building.
It was around when the dogs were weighed in. Pilot scaled twenty-seven and
three-quarters pounds, being one-quarter of a pound heavier than Crib. Betting was "pretty lively even up" as the referee
tossed up a silver, or what the report describes as a trade dollar, for choice of corners and washing. Kreiger won the toss
and decided Pilot should be washed first. In Garr's farmhouse everything was ready for the washing. In the kitchen, in which
were Mrs. Garr's two daughters and a baby, the washing was done in the presence of the referee. Pilot was placed in a tub
of warm water and washed thoroughly, he was then washed in warm milk, and Kreiger tasted him to see if there had been any
red pepper placed upon him. Pilot was then dried with towels which had been examined by the referee and thenput in blankets. Crib was then "put through the same course of sprouts." And now the dogs
were brought to the pit, which, we are given to understand, was surrounded
by some of the most important men of Louisville.
CROWD EXCITEMENT AND THE FIGHT BEGINS
Intense excitement prevailed when the dogs were placed in the pit. Chief
of the Louisville Fire Department Hughes announced the desire of the referee that both handlers be searched. The handlers
searched each other's clothes thoroughly, being solicitous that nothing was concealed that might cause injury to the opposing
dog. When this ceremony was gone through with, the word was given at to let go the dogs. Their blankets and muzzles were speedily
removed and the dogs set at liberty. But let Mr. Harding tell the story in the words he reported in the paper of which he
was the sports editor:
Both uttered low growls, and then, with one savage bound, Crib sprang to
Pilot's corner and attacked his antagonist. He caught Pilot by the nose, but the brindle dog shook him off and grasped him
by the right leg. Pilot loosened his hold upon Crib's leg to get a better one upon his throat. Crib succeeded in freeing himself,
and once more caught Pilot by the nose, only to loosen it almost instantly and seize Pilot by the back of the neck and ear,
throwing him down. While down Pilot got Crib by the breast and had a terrible hold, but being unable to retain his hold to
any good advantage, let go and grasped Crib by the left ear. Then in turn Pilot loosened the ear-hold and got Crib's left
front leg between his molars. As he pressed his jaws together the bones in Crib's leg fairly cracked. This terrible punishment
seemed only to enrage the Louisville dog the more, for with one great effort he threw Pilot five times in succession with the ear hold.
Crib again seized Pilot by the nose, which, by the way, seemed to be his favorite
hold, and once more downed the New York dog. As quick as a flash he let go Pilot's nose
and went to chewing Pilot's front leg. With the fighting that Crib was now doing the Louisville people thought him a sure winner of the fight.
But it now came Pilot's turn to do some fighting, and the manner in which
he viciously chewed Crib's left leg was terrible to behold. Crib, with a growl, broke loose only to be caught again in the
same way. With another effort Crib once more gained his freedom, and for fully five minutes the dogs fought with ear-holds,
until finally Pilot downed Crib and while holding him by the ear, bumped his head on the floor of the pit. Crib secured a
hold on Pilot's throat, and although only fighting on three legs, succeeded in throwing his antagonist. This seemed to incense
Pilot, for he threw Crib with a throat-hold and again with a hind-leg-hold. Crib returned with a leg-hold on Pilot, and then
a bet of $100 was made that Crib would win the fight. The bet was promptly taken by "Cockney Charley," the owner of Pilot.
CRIB IS DOWN, PILOT THE CONQUEROR
The fight had now lasted forty-two minutes. Crib succeeded in getting from
under his adversary, but the poor critter's gameness was gone. He turned to the side of the pit and was in the act of leaping
out when he was grabbed by the brindle dog and dragged back into the field of battle. Crib was a whipped dog at this moment,
but Pilot, not content with the victory already achieved, determined to kill his antagonist while the opportunity of so
doing was at his command. Crib once more turned to the side of the pit,
and this time succeeded in getting outside, followed by Pilot, who seized the Louisville pet by the under jaw and, clinging
on to him, refused to loosen his hold, necessitating the picking up of the dogs together and placing them again in the pit.
Pilot threw Crib in the corner with an ear-hold and held him there. Kreiger fanned Crib vigorously with his hat, but did the
dog no good, for he was fast failing. From this time on Pilot did nothing but endeavor to shake the little life out of Crib
that still remained. The fight lasted exactly one hour and twenty-five minutes. Just as the winning party reached the depot
to make their departure for New York, up dashed Kreiger and said to "Cockney Charley" Lloyd:
"I told you I would stand treat if I lost, and I'm here to keep my word."
And he kept his word. No getting away from it, the Louisville gentleman was a thorough sport. He amply proved this when he permitted his nearly dead dog to be dragged
back into the pit by the conquering Pilot.
Sins of New York
As "Exposed" by the Police Gazette
By Edward Van Every
Publisher:Frederick A. Stokes
Copyright: 1930 3 Printings October 15, October 23 and October 30.
Prepared and Transcribed Exclusively for the Brooklyn Pages, by Miriam Medina