Richardson Saddle

Anyone who has information about the saddlemaker, Mr. Richardson, please contact me via email: Dianna,
Also contact me with the history of the plantation saddle, or details on the museum.

...UPDATED......Sept. 17, 2009...Scroll down.....

Pictures - Click on the picture here to see a LARGER view and the fine details of workmanship.
....Click the browser "back" button to return to this page.
Side view shows both stirrups- wooden ones, very wide. This is a comfortable saddle, built for an easy-riding Plantation Walking Horse.

... Notice scalloped edge on the seat piece, decorative brass dots, and lacing on pommel.

On the right side of the pomel, (just in front of the brass dots), shows the leather is worn extremely thin by the friction of the rider's hand against the saddle, an indication of many hours of use by a right handed rider.
See the worn away leather where the rider's thigh would rest, indicates many miles of use.

Girth (cinch) made of web with very thick leather end pieces.
Note the lacing on the skirt behind the cantle, and the rolled seams on edge of cantle.

Stirrups show extreme evidence of use by the worn down side of the bar where the stirrup leathers would be. Virtually half of the wood is worn away by the friction of leather on wood. Think how many miles this saddle has travelled to make that much wear.

....................Sept. 17, 2009

A grandson of William M. Richardson, the inventor and original saddle maker, has made contact!!

Allen Richardson gives information about the MOTIVATION for his grandfather, William M. Richardson to build this saddle. Allen's family lore is this: (printed with permission)

"He vowed that if he ever got home from the Civil War that he was going to make a saddle that was comfortable to ride."

Mr. William M. Richardson lived 1840 to 1913, buried in Wilkes Cemetery, Culleoka. (Maury County Cemetery Books compiled by Fred Hawkins, on page 504) Company E, 48th Tenn. Infnantry C.S.A. He recieved a patent on the saddle which, in later years, was sold to Tennessee Harness Co.

Seavy Hight (1887-1989) owned and used this saddle - pictured above- for many years. He told me it was built in Culleoka, Tennessee, by a saddlemaker named Mr. Richardson.

Seavy Hight, known to me as Pa, brought this saddle to me in Alaska in the early '70's, possibly 1973. I was most likely the last person to ride in the saddle, and that was in the late 1960's. Unfortunately, the saddle was very old even then, the straps were brittle. A vital piece of leather broke which startled ole Stewball, and I then had a runaway on my hands. We went around the cornfield, past the kitchen window at a high rate of speed, ending up at the barn.

Pa always made sure we had a horse or pony when we visited. Pa also had ponies for my Mom, Georgie Mae, her favorite was an especially good one named Buttons. Mom and Buttons won a lot of horse show classes together. Mom also told me that when Pa would come courtin' to see Grandmother (Willie Tyler, 1904-1995), he let Mom ride his horse while he and Grandmother visited.

In 2004 I decided that the saddle should be on display where people could view this unique saddle and think about its history. The Saddle Shop in Lewisburg, Tennessee, offered to display it, (there is a Knight relative there, whom I gained acquaintance with by way of Martha Cross who is one of my Knight cousins.) Before that deal was consumated, I heard from Jack Dugger who suggested that Jack Craig might have started a museum in Columbia for such items. I felt this was a good option because Jack Craig is Seavy's nephew.

Before I mailed the saddle to Jack Craig in Columbia, Tenn., I took some photos for the sake of memories, and for this website, to give it a wider audience than just the museum.

Seavy Hight also gave one of the Richardson saddles to Charles J. Knight, my father, in Maryland. Dad has had it in his garage for many years, but is now going to have it restored and put on display somewhere. When he provides "before" and "after" pictures, they will be posted here.

June, 2008, unfortunately Charles Knight has passed on, and nothing was ever done about the saddle. I presume it remained with his estate, now in the hands of his son Chuckie.

Jack Dugger also had a Richardson saddle in his family. Mr. Dugger says, "My father had one that he treasured very much. In fact, I grew up with that saddle-he was not really fond of our using it." and about having the saddle in the museum, he said this:"....and I hope it reminds a lot of people of the old Richardson Saddle Shop in Culleoka."

Click here for Jack Dugger Rememberance

Bill Thrasher writes: I rode a Richardson saddle one summer as a kid. Uncle Jack had loaned it to me. (This saddle was lost in a fire.) Granddaddy Thrasher also had one.

Seavy Hight (1887-1989)

Not only is his saddle of interest, notice his amazing necktie arrangement!! (click photo to enlarge)
Georgie Mae Dawson, at age 15

Wearing the dress she won riding the pony Buttons in a show.
Both the dress and the photo-shoot were her prizes.

Georgie Mae

This section: ~~~~Updated March 12, 2009~~~~
More information about Seavy Hight, Hight Ancestors, and the Locale where the saddle orginated may be found at:
Hight Website

This is significant is because I had originally posted a photo here that I thought was Seavy Hight and his mother,
but a long and convoluted conversation later, the photo was declared to not be the people I thought,
but the outshoot of the discussion led to the creation and documentation of this Hight Ancestry website.
Several of those Hights, Craigs, and Thrashers, etc. used Richardson Saddles, so it is still relevant.

Jack Dugger

I wish to announce the passing of our friend and fellow Maury County native Jack S. Dugger. Jack was approaching centenarian status with as clear a mind and writing diction as any could possess when he met his maker. His presence and gifts of life are greatly missed and so we want to briefly remember this old soldier for Christ here.

JACK S. DUGGER, Sr. 1918 - 12 Jan 2010

Mr. Jack Dugger Sr. age 91, born in 1918, one of Middle Tennessee’s most storied citizens passed away on January 12, 2010. He was preceded in death by a brother, Leland (Nan) Dugger.

He was survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Jean F. Dugger. Also he & Jean have one son, Jack S. (LaDonna) Dugger, Jr.; three grandchildren, Neal Dugger, Jennifer Dugger, Kimberly (Adam) Franklin and six great-grandchildren.

Jack completed his schooling at Columbia Central High School in Columbia Tennessee, David Lipscomb College and Vanderbilt University, both colleges located in Nashville Tennessee.

After schooling he spent the World War II years working in the Oak Ridge Tennessee Project, for the effort developing materials for the Atomic Bomb. Unknown to Mr. Jack another Maury County person Dolly Barlar Davis also served in that effort. At the time he nor few involved in that effort had any idea what they were working on. 

After Oak Ridge, Jack tried merchandizing in various stores. Soon he returned to his engineering roots and spent several years in the aircraft Industry in Nashville Tennessee on Vultee Blvd near the Airport. He became a staff engineer with a company known as Vultee Aircraft who later became known as Avco Aerostructures.

About 20 years after he spent time in the aerospace industry in Nashville this author likewise spent 6 years with the aircraft manufacturer at the same location. By then it was a different company. Jack kept abreast and swapped information with me concerning the survival efforts for that industry, which has 50 acres of underground buildings and about that much above ground. The well situated facility and it people were important to the winning effort of WWII where at the time they made the twin engine P-38 Lightning Aircraft and other Aircraft subassemblies and thereafter continued to supply important wing assembles for major aircraft, both military and commercial for America's dominance in flight.

With his many talents Jack also worked in other vocations, but eventually settled into ownership and operation of Dugger Insurance Agency where he spent the most successful & last years of his productive life until retirement.

He was active with the historical community of Maury County Tennessee where he was a native. Through friends and distant kin and with web sites he shared several community histories and humorous stories of the people and events he knew as a child around the county covering the early 1900s and even earlier.

Jack was constantly looking out for new Dugger connections. He maintained lively exchanges with cousins and others throughout the country for many years keeping alive the histories of early times in Maury County, his native county. With his gifts he was careful to see that his newly discovered distant family members felt they were a part of the extended Dugger family. Jack was always public spirited. He practically excluded no one from his inner circle of friends.

He was a member of Brentwood Church of Christ in Nashville, and in times past had been a part of many church ministry outreach efforts traveling around to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Funeral services for Jack Dugger were conducted by David Thomley and David Claypool January 15, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. Visitation took place that Thursday from 2-8 p.m. and again 1 hour before the Friday service which took place at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home, 660 Thompson Lane, Nashville, Tennessee. 

His remains were laid to rest in the Woodlawn Memorial Park, Nashville, Tennessee near the funeral home.

This is a compilation with contributions by Dianna Taplin of Alasska, Judy Forgos of Ohio and Wayne Austin of Alabama. 
Below is one of his stories here for your delight.

The trip to Columbia to Columbia Central High School
By Jack Dugger, b.1918. d. 2010.

I was twelve years old and a freshman when I started driving from Southport to Central High School in Columbia. This was in 1930 and there were no busses for picking up children going to school. Our family car was a 1929 Chevrolet, two-door, two seated, coach. I picked up 5, (yes, five) more students, one boy and four girls), on my way to town. The County provided a small stipend for transportation and they each gave me this for their rides. There was not such a thing as a drivers license and we had no liability insurance on the car nor for my passengers, (never thought of such a thing-scares me silly when I think of it now).

The 1929 Chevrolet had a "mind of its own," it was hard to start with the battery and was prone to break rear axles. I bought cylinder oil in a 5-gallon can and kept two quart fruit jars with pouring spouts filled with oil at all times. We had no spare tire or wheel. The wheels had wire spokes and were heavy to handle. Flat tires were the norm because we lived on a gravel road. Fortunately I never had a flat tire while driving but a number of flats while sitting in the garage or parked at school.

I parked the car on a hill at school so that I could coast off and get it started. Every morning when it was cooler, my Daddy put the harness on one of our mules, Old Dan, and when I was dressed and ready to start out to school he would hitch Old Dan to the rear of the car and make him pull it out of the garage. Then he would hitch him to the front of the car and pull it down the road until I could get it in gear and start the engine that way.

My tale really concerns a flat tire at school. All of my riders came out of school and ready to go home when we found a flat tire on the rear of the car. John Patterson, my male rider, and I jacked up the car at the flat having "scotched" the other wheels with rocks.

We couldn't think of any way to get the tire repaired except to roll it out to Jess Nichols" garage on the edge of town, a distance of about two miles from school. So, we left the four girls in the car and headed to Jess Nichols' garage, with John Patterson rolling the wheel with the flat tire. When we started down School Street and down a long sloping hill. Be as it may John accidentally let the wheel get away from him. As it picked up speed down the hill it slammed into a ditch on the right side of the street, jumped back across the road and onto the sidewalk. It rolled down the sidewalk having picked up more speed. An old man with a grass sack full of bottles that he had collected to sell to the junk shop was walking up the walk towards us. He saw the wheel rolling down the walk and did a little dance trying to avoid it but the wheel hit him squarely, knocking him down and scattering broken bottles every direction. We got to the scene and helped the old man get to his feet and ascertained that he had no serious injuries. We picked up all of the bottles that were not broken and asked him how much he thought the broken bottles were worth. He told us about five dollars which we thought was about twice the worth however we pooled all the money we had in our pockets and it came to two dollars and fifty-two cents. He saw that this was all we had so he said that this would be acceptable. We gave him our money and he went on his way and we went on our way to the garage-however, I rolled the wheel from that point. We never thought to ask him his name nor did he ask us for our names. This was the end of this incident except that we finally got to the garage. Jess repaired the flat tire, remounted it on the wheel and drove us back to our car in his wrecker where with his help we put the wheel back on the car. We were somewhat later getting home than usual because of this incident.

I have reflected on this incident many times during these 75 years, (I am now 89-hoping for 90), and thought how fortunate we were that the old gentleman was not really injured and caused us no more trouble than the payment of $ 2.52. Should this happen today there would be a lawsuit claiming injuries of perhaps a million dollars or more. We never knew his name nor did he know our names but I have never forgotten my feelings when this accident occurred.

Jack and Jean Dugger, Nashville Tennessee 11 Oct 2007


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