Recently, while researching letters from the Sutliff Collection, I discovered a letter from a man named Lyman Potter to Calvin G. Sutliff in Vernon, Ohio. In the letter, Potter asks Sutliff to train one of his horses, just as he “would a race horse.” From my research, I have concluded the letter was written around 1826, and it represents the popularity of horse racing in America, well before the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875. This essay will examine the humble origins of American horse racing in Northeastern Ohio.
During the late 1700s, Martha Ballard was a midwife living in Maine. In life, she was not famous or well known, but her personal diary made her an important part of history, because it revealed the obscured viewpoint of early American women. Ballard’s diary entries covered topics, including textile production, dissections, courtship and marriage, money, the Scarlet Fever epidemic, premarital pregnancy, and the horrific Purrinton Murders.