If a list were to be made of the greatest Tennessee Walking
Horses of all time, WILSON'S ALLEN would find that his son,
Midnight Sun was his only rival for the top spot. Wilson's
Allen's blood dominated the male line of the breed for 40 years
after his death. He sired 482 registered foals.
Sired by Roan Allen F-38, out of the foundation mare, Birdie
Messick F-86, Wilson's Allen was a double grandson of the first
Tennessee Walking horse ever registered, Allan F-1. Through
the dam of Roan Allen, Gertrude F-84, he inherited some of the
foundation American Saddlebred genes of Royal Denmark, and the
Morgan blood of Bullet, Jr. Through his own dam, Birdie Messick,
came the blood of the Hals. When mixed in with the
Narragansett Pacer, the Canadian Pacer, and the best Standardbred
blood of the times, the resulting gene pool was our own Tennessee
Walking horse breed.
Allen was foaled on Bud Messick's farm in Coffee County, Tennessee
in 1914. There was considerable talk among breeders when
Roan Allen F-38 was mated to his own half-sister, Birdie Messick
F-86, to produce Wilson's Allen 350075. It is said to have
been the first act of "inbreeding" done on purpose. A
neighbor, Johnson Hill arranged to have Bud's mare, Birdie, bred
to Roan Allen F-38 from the farm of Jim Brantley. The hope
was that the union would produce a stud colt, which Mr. Hill
contracted to buy for $200. The resulting chestnut foal was
At five months old, Wilson's Allen was moved to the Hill
farm and left to grow, which he did to an extraordinary degree.
He was soon ready for saddle, a duty which fell to the nephew of
Johnson Hill, a lad named Steve Hill. In Steve's words, "The
horse was small and so was I, so my uncle thought we would match
up pretty good." Little did that uncle know what a winning
combination he had produced, as his nephew later became one of the
premier trainers in the breed.
The "Johnson Hill Horse" as Wilson's Allen was called at the time
was an exceptional colt, both in his gaits and his disposition.
Steve remembers him as a colt that "could really walk, he'd walk
and shake his head and slobber, and he could come up and go
There was little in the horse's early life to indicate the
prominent role he would eventually play in the history of the
breed, but when he died in 1939, he had assured a place of
distinction for the Tennessee Walking horse among the great breeds
of the world. Wilson's Allen was buried three times. He was
buried first in Beech Grove at the Steve Hill Stables.. Then he
was dug up in 1975 and buried at the campus of MTSU, with a
funeral and a big crowd. He was later dug up again, and moved to
his final resting place near the Horse Sciences building.
Among his get were many famous horses besides the immortal
Midnight Sun. In fact, the first time that Midnight Sun was shown
at the National Celebration, he was beaten by a horse called
Wilson's Ace. Through the blood of Midnight Sun, Wilson's
Allen remained the dominant force in producing Walking horse for
many years to come. Considering that Wilson's Allen was dead
before the first Celebration was held, his record of winners is
almost unbelievable. Some of his most famous offspring were
Melody Maid - winner of
1942 World Grand Championship.
Strolling Jim - winner of the first W.G.Ch. in 1939.
Hayne's Peacock - winner of both 1940 and 1941 W.G.Ch.
Strolling Mary, The G-Man, Mountain Man, Wilson's Ace, Nellie
Gray, Hill's Wilson, Frank Wilson, Wilson's Allen's Dream Girl,
Wilson's Allen's Dictator, Top Wilson, Society Man.
City Girl - winner of 1944 W.G.CH.
Midnight Sun - winner of 1945 and 1946 W.G.Ch.
There were dozens of other Wilson's Allen
offspring that won consistently in shows throughout the country,
and many were only beaten by other Wilson's Allen offspring.
Equally impressive was the number of his offspring that became
significant sires of the breed. Among the most prominent were:
Midnight Sun; Sir Maugray; Miller's Wilson Allen; King's
Wilson's Allen; Gold Bond; Wilson's Allen's Boss Man; Wilson's
Allen's Order, Hi-Boy; Wilson Allen Again, Hill's Wilson's
Allen; Strolling Wilson; Wilson's Allen's Echo; Roy Wilson; King
of Haven; Top Wilson; Limestone Wilson; Red Warrior; Wilson
Allen's Repeat; Wilson's Allen II; Fisher's Wilson's Allen;
Wilson's Ace; Wilson's Flight Allen; Wilson's Allen Winchester;
Governor Wilson; Victor Allen; Wartrace; King of The Alamo;
Wilson's Allen's Sunset Gold; Slippery Allen; Wilson's Allen
Jr.; Billy Wilson; Wilson's Allen's Dictator; Wilson Dean;
Wilson's Allen's Replica; Fulton's Wilson's Allen; and the Last
What a sad
loss to the breed were the great horses that were gelded before
their greatness was recognized. Consider what horses such as
Strolling Jim (1939 WGCh.), The G-Man, Haynes Peacock (1940 and
1941 WGCh.) and Pride of Memphis might have contributed to the
breed, had they been left entire. We cannot help but be amazed
at the potency of Wilson's Allen. He, more than any
other horse, carried on the torch left by Allan F-1 and Roan Allen
He brought stamina and dignity to the breed, and his 482 colts exhibited
a looseness that was not noticeable in the get of other sires.
Since his son, Strolling Jim won the first World Grand Championship
in 1939, only 3 World Grand Champions (Black Angel, Merry Go Boy,
and Go Boy's Shadow) do not trace directly to this incomparable
Thank you, Bud Messick and Johnson Hill, for your wonderful gift of
this stallion, Wilson's Allen.
All photos that are not specifically accredited otherwise, are
courtesy of Dr. Bob Womack,
author of "Echo of Hoofbeats." If you have a story or photos
of Wilson's Allen that you would like added to this page,
please forward them to Walkers