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September 29, 1983


PIX #1 - "Summer Shower"...painting by Jim Crow, former Fostorian, of his mare and foal at their Kentucky farm. Painting sold and now hangs in Woburn Abbey, England.

James L. Crow, a native Fostoria, brother of Lucille Hemrick, Foster Street, and Robert Crow, administrator of Fostoria City Hospital, continues to make marks for himself in the art world, his chosen profession.

The great love of the Crows is horses. They breed, raise, and train them on their small farm near Herrodsburg, Ky. So, it is only natural that Jim's choice of subjects is horses.

One day, not too long ago, a scene on the farm caught Jim's eye. During a rain shower, he saw his mare and a foal nestled together. He hurried and got a photo of them to use as the basis for his paintings, to capture the details, but also the emotion of the situation.

Ever hear of "long shots" with horses? That's how the picture he painted and called "Summer Shower" turned out for Jim.

Eventually, he exhibited the painting at Collector's Gallery in the Lexington Mall, Lexington, Ky. That's horse country down there. The Marchioness of Tavistock from Woburn Abbey, Bedsfordshire, England, happened to be in Lexing- ton and saw the painting and wanted it. She and Crow met and the sale was consummated...$8,000.


The painting hangs with the others of horses in her family's own exhibit area, "The Racing Room," at Woburn Abbey, where she and her husband, Lord Tabistock, and their family live.

Marchioness Tavistock happened to be in Lexington because she and the Lord are horse lovers too, like Jim, and own and breed them, several being kept in Kentucky.

The Tavistocks have been breeding horses since 1969 at Woburn. Their interest in horses goes back to Francis, the 7th Duke of Bedford, who bred horses at Woburn in the 19th century, according to a historical booklet about that estate, now managed by the Tavistocks.

Perhaps, some of Fostoria's world travelers have visited Woburn Abbey and the town of Woburn. The descriptive booklet about it would indicate it is worth- while. Woburn has been open to visitors since 1980. There is a charge for the tour to help pay maintenance costs and continue it a national heritage.

Sale of "Summer Shower" to the Tavistocks did not prevent Jim Crow from sell- ing smaller copies of the original, which he had already started to do before the sale. At the gallery in Lexington Center where small numbered copies were on sale, one day Jim signed 750 prints.


Jim was written up in Saddle and Bridle magazine, June 1983, and the article was illustrated with the "Summer Shower" painting and another one, showing Skywatch, the current reigning World Champion Five-Gaited Horse, which won the Junior Stake in 1981.

Of that event, Jim said, "My wife and I felt Skywatch would be the next world champion when we saw him win the Junior Stake in 1981. I decided to paint him right then." Again, Jim had the right hunch.

Horse owners in this area who subscribe to Saddle and Bridle magazine may have seen the illustration of Skywatch, but would not have known that the artist was Jim Crow, former Fostorian.

An article about Jim dating from his high school days, college, and his career up to the present was contained in "Potluck" Jan. 8, 1981. Here's an update.


Jim and his wife, Mollie, continue to live on the nine-acre Four-T Farm where they settled in 1979. They called it Four-T because all their children's names belong with T.

Mollie is a trainer and for several years trained saddlebreds. Jim says she has passed her love of horses on to their children.

Daughter Tammy is assistant trainer at Castle Hills Farm, Lexington, Ky.

Tracy worked at Flying V Farm, Lincolnton, N.C., interrupting her career to present them with their first grandchild, Michell.

Tracy's husband, Tom McGeary, is the trainer-manager of the colt operation at Flying V.

The Crow sons love horses but have chosen careers in the arts. Ted is an edi- torial cartoonist and caricaturist. Tom is an actor and model.

Jim's works have been exhibited at Cleveland Museum of Art; Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown; Dayton Institute of Art; Headley-Whitney Museum, Lexing- ton; Living Arts and Science Center, Lexington; Internatinal Museum of the Horse, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington; American Saddle Horse Museum, Louis- ville; and J.S. Speed Museum, Louisville.


Blake Myers, North Union Street, telephoned to say, "I just finished reading your article about Billy Speck. He was a great old guy." He said he knew him well, having worked with him at The Mennel Milling Co. for a number of years.

Blake reported he learned much from "Billie," as everyone called him, but the one thing he recalls vividly was his use of stub pencils, maybe two inches long. He never used any longer.

Speck's long years in the milling business, according to Blacke, taught him to judge the qualities of flour, and what it was best used for, by sticking his hand in a sack and feeling it. And Speck in turn taught Myers that skill, too.

"He had a keen mind," Myers said.

Kenny Souders, W. Jackson TR 41, stopped me uptown to tell me how much he en- joyed the Speck article too, but added, "All of your articles are great; I read them all."

Kenny was a good friend of Corinne Speck, but like me never knew about the many mail members of that family being millers.

Harold Drake, Jeannette Drive, telephoned to report that Billie Speck was still working for Mennel Milling when he was just a teen, and at the time his father was superintendent there. Harold said he often went to Speck's house to have him report to work, and his father would send him (Harold) to help Speck with some jobs at the mill.

Mrs. Glenn (Violet) True, Buckley Street, telephone, and she said that Corinne Speck and an older sister, Mary Chamberlin, whom Violet knew. According to Violet, folks around here often went over to St. John's dam on the Sandusky River for picnics and cookouts.

Mary Chamberlin once remarked that when she was young she lived with her par- ents in a house on the road which led from Alvada to St. John's dam. There were a few houses on the right side of that road as it approached the river. The house where the Specks lived was very close to the river road and sat up probably 15 to 20 feet from the road. There were trees and bushes in abun- dance on the grade.

I wonder if the old Speck house is still there. I haven't visited that area for about 25 years. I must do it and report my findings.

Violet says just about where the dam crossed the river, there was once an old mill on the east side. She recalls old timers talking about the old mill.

It is highly probable that the old mill was once of those which some of the Specks operated in the 1800's. Located right on the river, the mill would have used water power for grinding grains.



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