History of the Spring Creek Bassets
Founded unofficially in 1968 by Nat Hamilton, Emily McHugh and Charmain Green (MFH, Warwickshire Hunt, England) this hunt was the 12th recognized basset pack in the United States.
The pack was formed with the idea that Pony Clubbers and other young ladies and gentlemen interested in hunting would have an opportunity to not only take part in the actual hunting and care of the hounds but would be able to be up front during the hunt and could actually see and get a feel for hunting. It would also be a way for people who enjoyed nature and the countryside to meet and have a social as well as a sporting experience.
The original foundation stock was "Sadie" and "Sally" who were given to the pack by Ralph Bushee, M.B., Southern Illinois Basset Pack in Carbondale, IL. Other initial Bassets in Moreton-In-Marsh, England who had French bassets at the time.
Assembling a pack of hounds is not an easy task and in order to get a good pack one must start with some good bloodlines. People were generous in drafting hounds to Spring Creek to get a good foundation. One of the "most interesting" stories of receiving hounds happened in 1972. Charmain Green, (nee Jackson), and Emily McHugh, (nee Cullom), were visiting Charmain's parents in England and while hunting with the Fourshires Bassets were given 2 bitch basset hounds, Frolic and Wynnstay and one basset dog hound Brigand. Also given to the Fox River Valley Hunt in Barrington was a bitch foxhound, Tarnish, from the Cotswold Hunt. Since Charmain and Emily were sailing home on the QE 2, they booked passage for 4 "dogs" to be kenneled in the upper decks. The voyage being 5-1/2 days, they needed to be exercised as well as fed and cleaned. The ship's personnel were very helpful and donated all sorts of delicious leftovers from the ship's 4-star restaurants.
Upon docking in New York City they then had to arrange transportation to the airport where tickets would be purchased to transport them to Chicago. (Charmain and Emily were going to get the hounds to the airport, leave them for awhile and return to New York City to meet some friends for a drink before the plane took off.) Locating a cab in 100 degree weather while standing with 4 big hounds is not an easy task. It was obvious that none of the cabbies wanted 4 big dogs in their cab, especially in that heat. Finally after much negotiating and promising a hefty price, a cabbie relented and they were on their way. Unfortunately, one female hound was in season and in the close (and hot) confines of the cab, nature took over and the male hound proceeded to try to "breed" the female hound. The cabbie was beside himself, the cab was beyond being bearable in the heat, the windows would not open and the air conditioning did not work.
Upon arriving at the terminal Charmain had to get out and purchase tickets, leaving Emily alone in the cab with the cabbie, female hound in season and the male hound who was trying to breed and 2 other hounds in a very humid 100 degree weather (probably 120 degrees in the cab)!!!! The cabbie was NOT happy and kept threatening to dump all at the curb, and, of course, the police would not let the cab just sit there, the cabbie had to keep moving. The smell of four un-bathed kennel hounds was indescribable. What seemed like hours later, Charmain came back for the hounds with kennels and some porters to help her get them into baggage. Then, after another long wait, the cabbie, still threatening to leave the airport, Charmain arrived back having delivered the hounds into good hands and off they went to meet friends in New York for a drink, but as they were not "smelling" the best, they had to wash up somewhere, as no one would ever believe their story! Thus came into being some of the best bloodlines the Basset Pack had at the time.
Spring Creek Basset Hunt, Organized 1971, Recognized by NBC 1973
Photos by Kelcey Roberts and Spring Creek Members