Oak Grove Hunt Club History

In the early 1940's a group of horse owners in Germantown, TN, East of Memphis, had the custom of meeting on Sunday afternoons to ride their horses around the area. They called themselves the Oak Grove Saddle Club. They became interested in fox hunting and with the leadership of Walter “Sonny” Foster, Raymond C. Firestone and others, Oak Grove Hunt Club was formed with a nucleus of riders from the saddle club. Oak Grove Hunt Club became established with the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America in 1946.

In one of the early years, some of the members thought it would be nice to have a show where riding skills and horse abilities could be demonstrated. In 1947, a one-day event was planned and held on the football field behind the old M.C. Williams high school on Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN. This was the beginning of the Germantown Charity Horse Show. This show, still being held today, is one of the largest all-breed shows in the country. It was the home ground for equestrian Melanie Smith, winner of an Olympic Gold at the Los Angeles Olympics, 1984. It features classes for Hunter/Jumpers, Tennessee Walking Horses, Three and Five Gaited Horses, Hackneys, Carriage Classes, Arabians and includes costume and stick pony classes for the children. One of the founders of the Charity was long-time Master of Fox Hounds, Claude H. McCormick. He was MFH of Oak Grove Hunt until about 1972 when he retired and moved to Louisiana. The kennels were located at his property on Old Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN where Honey Tree Drive is now located. He also operated a riding stable there and taught many people how to ride, jump and fox hunt. MFH, Jack Bowman, said, “If he taught you how to ride you had to hunt.”

When Mr. McCormick retired, Bob Hall was Master for a year and then was succeeded by Mark Harris, who was Master for about three years. Unfortunately, Mark died at an early age. In 1976 the club members elected Neil Taylor and Jack Bowman Joint Masters of Fox Hounds.

Following the retirement of MFH, Neil Taylor, Huntsman for Oak Grove from 1976 to 2003, the Oak Grove Hunt Club merged with Fourth Bluff Hounds. Fourth Bluff Hounds leadership included Thomas Brannon, MFH and Huntsman Richard (Dickie) Watson, MFH. Fourth Bluff Hounds hunted in the Moscow, Tennessee and Hernando, Mississippi areas. Oak Grove had well established hunt territory near Collierville, TN and in Marshal County, MS. The merger opened up more territory for both hunts and was well received by both memberships. Today Oak Grove Joint Masters include Dickie Watson, Huntsman, Tommy Brannon, and Peggy Hart.

At the present time the kennels are located in Moscow at the home of Dickie Watson, MFH. Oak Grove hunts the following territories: Misty Meadows located a few miles east of Collierville, Tennessee; Mt. Pleasant, Mississippi; Fairview Farms in Desoto County, Mississippi; in Hardeman County, TN, and the Bolton Trust Territory in Millington, TN.

Principal horse activities, other than hunting, are a hunter pace in the spring and trail rides in the summer. Social activities are varied and include a Hunt Ball or party in January, an annual ice cream party in August, and a Christmas party. The Mud Ball in the spring honors members who have had an unplanned dismount in the previous season and to crown the King and Queen of the Mud Ball. Essential paneling parties are held in the off-season. The premiere event of the year, of course, is the Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds in early November.

Hunting season begins with cub hunting on the weekend after Labor Day in September, depending on the weather, and ends about the middle of March. Formal hunting begins after the Opening Meet. Meets are held on Saturdays mornings with Huntsman, Dickie Watson Jt. MFH, and Wednesday mornings with Huntsman, Amanda McGee. Our hunt country is open and wooded farmland with rolling pastures, some gullies and ditches, and a few streams. Panels are coops and rails, usually not exceeding three feet. Oak Grove currently takes out about 10 to 14 couples of Penn-MaryDel foxhounds.


2003-present   Richard Watson, MFH
1976-2003      William N. Taylor, III, MFH
1974-1975      Mike Burnette (pro.)
1972-1974      Robert E. Hall, MFH
1958-1973      Claude H. McCormick, MFH
1956-1957      Walter N. Foster, MFH
1954-1957      Bart P. Mueller, MFH
1954-1956      Lomax Springfield, Jr., MFH
1953-1954      Oliver Anderson, MFH
1952-1953      Claude H. McCormick, MFH
1946-1952      Bart P. Mueller

Masters of Foxhounds
2008-present Peggy Hart
2003-emeritus William Neilson Taylor, III
1999-present  Richard B Watson, Jr.
1995-present  Thomas C Brannon
1995-2008  Charles Brady
1976-present  William N. Taylor, III
1976-emeritus  John W. Bowman
1974-1976      Mark A. Harris
1970-1974      Robert E. Hall
1962-1973      Mrs. Jack Erb
1959-1962      John Cleghorn
1957-1973      Claude H. McCormick
1956-1957      Walter N. Foster
1954-1957      Bart P. Mueller
1954-1956      Lomax Sprinfield, Jr.
1953-1954      Oliver Anderson
1951-1953      Claude H. McCormick
1951-1953      Walter N. Foster
1950-1951      Bart P. Mueller
1949-1950      Claude H. McCormick
1949-1950      Winston E. Cheasrs
1946-1949      Walter N. Foster
1946-1949      Raymond C. Firestone