Over 90 Years of Tradition...
The Beaufort Hunt was organized in 1929 by Ehrman B. Mitchell a Harrisburg native, who along with his sister, Mary Gallagher, owned a 1,000 acre tract of land north of Harrisburg in the Linglestown Valley. Joining Mitchell were among others Ross Rhoads, Ray Shoemaker, Paul Gable, Farley Gannett, Reginald B. Gerhardt and Dr. George Moffitt. Shoemaker was a contractor who built the Harrisburg Hotel and Payne Shoemaker Building. Gannett was an engineer who was one of the original members of the firm today known as Gannett, Fleming, Cordry and Carpenter. Dr. Moffitt was Chief Pathologist at Harrisburg Hospital at that time. Paul Gable was in the insurance business. The Beaufort Hunt was organized with Ehrman B. Mitchell as Master, Paul Gable and Farley Gannett as Honorary Whippers-In and Reginald B. Gerhardt as Honorary Secretary. Permission to use the name Beaufort and a hunt livery of blue with buff trimming was granted by England's Duke of Beaufort. Evening dress was scarlet with buff facings and blue collar.
Mitchell served as Master of Fox Hounds until he resigned in 1949. He hunted the hounds, until 1945 when, because of ill health, he turned the horn over to Otis Dodson and Bernard “Tex” Hoppe. Tex became Joint Master with Mitchell in 1946. Sherman Wise was the first person to regularly hunt the hounds outside of the Masters. He held the position of huntsman during the 18 years that Rife Gingrich served first as a Joint Master with Hoppe and then the Master.
In the early days, hunting was primarily confined to the area North of Harrisburg known as the Linglestown Valley. Many of our older members will remember hunting from such locations as Mr. & Mrs. John Bogar's Belle Nance Farm, Otis Dodson's Goose Valley Farm, Clyde and Toni Smith's Glen Acres Farm, and Red Top Farm then owned by Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Hackman. In 1959, the territory was expanded to the Middletown area primarily in Londonderry Township. Today we still cast hounds near two of those original locations: Dr. Rife Gingrich's Hillsdale Farm, and Ben and Louise Graybill's Foxiana Farm. In the mid-fifties Beaufort acquired additional territory on the West Shore and hunted over land owned by Max Hempt, Fred Dapp and George Wade, Jr. in Silver Spring and Middlesex Townships. Territory was also developed in Lower Allen Township. The 1990’s saw the addition of territory in Northern York County and near Halifax. All of these new territories are State Game Lands.
Beaufort's pack started with 2 1/2 couple which were purchased from Joe Baber in Hagerstown, Maryland. It grew to 16 couple in 1938 and included bloodlines from the Duke of Beaufort's Cardinal, one of the most illustrious hounds of England in 1911. Foundation stock was also acquired from Radnor and the Moore County Hounds.
For the first 20 years, the business of Beaufort was conducted by committee; the basic one being the hunt committee which operated in a fashion similar to today's Board of Directors. Subcommittees were responsible for such activities as paneling, farmer relations, hound shows, hunter trials and social functions. The present format of officers and directors was not adopted until 1949.
Throughout its history, Beaufort has often had hunter trials where Beaufort members, members of neighboring hunts and visitors competed on their horses in simulated hunting conditions. Members of Beaufort have competed at Hunt Night competitions at both the Washington, D.C. International Horse Show and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
Ehrman Mitchell, Bernard “Tex” Hoppe and Farley Gannett all hunted the hounds themselves when they were masters. Then Sherman Wise became the Huntsman. He was followed by Chester Webber. In 1992 Beaufort broke with the tradition of having an all volunteer hunt, and hired a professional huntsman, Mike Tabachka. Two years later, Diane Vickery, a member, volunteered to become our Honorary Huntsman. She was succeeded by Betsey Carricato who is currently hunting the hounds.
In 1993 Dr. Jon Vickery suggested that letters be sent to all of the recognized hunts in America and the United Kingdom requesting favorite recipes for tailgates and hunt breakfasts in order to compile a cookbook. A committee was formed and this was accomplished. When the recipes were collected and compiled, they were published as a book entitled A Foxhunter’s Cookbook. There were recipes in it from the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, and Wales. Illustrated by long-standing member Sandra Rebert, the cookbook was sold throughout the United States and even in England. Copies were personally presented to His Grace, The Duke of Beaufort and Ian Farquhar, the Joint Masters of the Beaufort Hunt in Great Britain. The sale of the cookbook proved to be a very successful campaign.
We can take pride in Beaufort's history. Some of our current members were privileged to have known the men who were responsible for our being able to hunt today. We will continue to maintain the high standards and dedication to the sport of foxhunting these people have entrusted to us. (Written by Harry Banzhoff ex. M.F.H., 1979, updated 2006)