I called Ms. Lane early morning on August 11, 1993 at approximately 8:23 am. She answered the phone after a few rings with her usual southern drawl, “Haallo”. I greeted her good morning and she did the same. I introduced myself not knowing if she had remembered my voice (She sounded a little droggy). I told her who I was and asked her could I ask some more questions about the history of the Alapaha. I had written down some questions since our last conversation a month ago. I reminded her again who I was from our previous conversations over the last 7 years (I also visited her plantation twice on my many trips through South Georgia on my way to look at prospective brood stock).
First of all, I would like to thank you for putting up with my constant thirst for information on this breed. I know that your health has not been good since your accident last year. I hope that I’m not troubling you too much. In doing research on the Alapaha I have spoken and visited with a few breeders and fanciers. They all have been very hospitable though sometimes it may seem that I’m prying for information. Again, I’d like to thank you for spending all of the time on the phone and in person sharing your knowledge and life experiences with me. But there are a few things about the breed after speaking with others that have me puzzled.
RC: “Where and when were you born?”
LL: “”I was born April 8, 1947, at home here in Rebecca.”
RC: “Is that where you lived all your life?”
LL: “No, when I married my first husband we move to Ashburn right up the
RC: “Did your first husband have anything to do with Alapahas?”
LL: “Yes and No, we had a dog named Henry that he owned when we first got married. The dog was more of a companion dog for his Shell Oil Filling Station than a pet. They bred him a few times here and there but that’s about it, I guest. I really didn’t get involved myself with breeding and raising these dogs until the late 60’s after we divorced.”
RC: “Who was your first Bulldog?”
LL: “Polly! She was given to me by my daddy! She was Henry’s mother.” (In doing some pedigree research I found out that this was a pure Colby bitch out of Dime × Cheyenne).
RC: “Then, why does your literature say that Roseanna was your foundation bitch?”
LL: “Well she was. Polly was more of a family dog that lived on the plantation. My Daddy handled the few breedings that took place with her.” During those times I was young and beautiful and worried more about courtin’ if you know what I mean.”
RC: “Where did you get the name (Circle L) for your kennel?”
LL: “That’s the brand for our ranch; my family use to raise Angus cattle.
Everyone in Southern Georgia knows that brand. My Grand Daddy started it after the fencing laws were enforced in the late 1800’s. My Daddy also used this prefix when he bred AKC Great Danes up until I was a teenager.”
RC: “Speaking of your grandfather, are you talking about Papa Buck?”
RC: “Where did he get his bulldogs from?”
LL: “I don’t know. He was killed by a train a mile from home in 1943, before I was born. He was transporting some Niggers in a cattle car who had been working for him cutting timber. Papa Buck tried to beat the train but didn’t make it. His truck was thrown a half mile down the track. One of the cattle cars was cut in two and not one Nigger had a scratch on him!
(For those who didn’t know she was one of the most fowl mouth racist I’ve ever heard. Today is no exception! Fortunately for me, the South lost the War!!!)
LL: My Daddy would always say that Papa Buck had bulldogs all his life as long as he could remember and all of the males were named Otto. Papa Buck always had an “Otto” by his side. My Daddy said that Otto would look after the family, house and plantation. When he was in the woods at work, he kept watch over that operation too. After Papa Buck’s death, Otto was found on many occasions sitting on Papa Buck’s grave continuing his ever faithful duties to his undying master. He did this until he died a few years before I was born my Daddy said. The last Otto was the sire of Bouncer, (Lane’s Otto IV × Lane’s Trixie) who was the dog that was bred to my Polly to produce Henry. Bouncer was a very aggressive dog. When I was a little girl he’d almost scare me to death.”
RC: “Are all of your dogs down from those two bulldogs?”
LL: “Not all of them. I’ve purchased some dogs locally that originated from my Granddaddy’s line crossed with other strains.
RC: “Were any of those dogs crossed with Catahoula’s, Pit-Bull’s or any other type of dog?”
LL: “No, not to my knowledge!”
RC: “Where did you get the merle coloring and blue-eyes from?”
LL: “I don’t know. I bought Blue Boy from a gentleman in Central Georgia and he had the prettiest glass eyes you’d ever want to see. I bred him to my Roseanna and out popped Marci (Marcelle her foundation stud) with a blue- merle & white coat with marble eyes. He was the finest example of a bulldog you’d ever want to see.”
(Blue Boy was the pup that she bought out of Chester’s Black Jack × Chester’s Missy, her ARF pedigree states that she bred him out of Ham Bone × Magnolia)
RC: “Are you referring to William Chester of Dublin, Georgia?”
LL: “Yes, that would be him.”
RC: “Mr. Chester told me that his line of dogs (the Silver Dollar) were a cross between the Old Mountain Bulldog from the Big Sand Mountain area in NE Alabama and Lookout Mountain area in Southern Tennessee, Colby Pit- Bulls and Catahoula Leopard Dogs he’s had for thirty years, used for rounded up his cattle.”
LL: “I had no knowledge of that. He ran an ad in the Wiregrass Farmer for Bulldog pups so I drove up to see what he had and I liked that one particular pup.”
RC: “Pardon me Ma’am, but he told me that you and he use to be business partners until there was a discrepancy in the selling of his pups. And that you’d acquired numerous dogs from him over the years.”
LL: “I don’t know what the Hell he’s talking about!”
RC: “I also talked to Mr. Strickland and he wasn’t to happy with your rendition of the history of the breed. He said that your claim of being the originator was a lie and that he was one of the founding members of the Alapaha Blue- Blood Bulldog Association (ABBA) started in 1979 by him, Oscar & Betty Wilkerson, you, Nathan & Kathy Waldron and a few others who had dogs in the surrounding area.”
LL: “Are you some Fucking melding Yankee!”
RC: “Ah no Ma’am, I’m just trying to find out what’s going on with the real history of the breed! Mr. Strickland told me that after you fell out with Mr. Chester that you were looking to create your own line of merle dogs by crossing Catahoulas back into your dogs because that’s what you customers wanted. He advised you that the ABBA had a closed stud file based on the registry of the original dogs and that no others crosses or lines would be allowed in unless they trace back to those dogs.”
LL: “Pete’s just a jealous backstabbing Son of a Bitch!”
(Her mother (Mrs. Vivian Lane) over hears the conversation and starts to interject some background profanity about Mr. Strickland).
RC: “Mr. Strickland said that’s why you left the ABBA in 1985 and joined Mr. Tom Stodghill in 1986 at the Animal Research Foundation (ARF) so you could create what ever ‘mutt’ you wanted!”
LL: “I left that rag tag club because it was a group of lowly rednecks and dusty farmers who knew nothing about promoting a breed of dog. As far as they were concerned a hundred dollars ($100) was more than enough for a pup! They don’t know a damn thing about business and what people want!”
RC: “So, do you have Bulldogs or some concoction of Catahoula Bulldogs!”
LL: “What do you think Mr. Know it all Nigger!”
RC: “Excuse me!!!”
LL: “If you know so much why are calling me wasting my time. You should start your own kennel and be the spokes person for the breed. Yep, that’s just what this world needs is another uppity Nigger!”
(As by now you know, I’m African-American, after 7 years of hearing this type of language from Ms. Lane I’ve grown accustom to hearing it even when she’s not upset. She even speaks this way in person. As many of you can attest! At first I blamed it on her being from the South but after speaking at length with her first cousin and first husband Pete Strickland he advised me that this behavior was in part spurn by her mother’s side of the family. And that the Lane family which his mother was Papa Bucks eldest daughter were God fearing Christian’s and didn’t behave or speak like that. He did in fact tell me that the Lane family owned and sold slaves before the Civil War but freed them during the conflict. He also told a different rendition of the train wreck that killed Papa Buck without the racial slurs. His view of the survivors wasn’t the same. He said he was one of the first people (he was eight years old) there with his father and care for the injured “hired” workers was their first priority.)
RC: “I’m going to refrain from stooping to your level. All I want is the truth about the breed from your perspective. Everyone else has been very cooperative. Some of these people had good things to say about you and some bad. You’re telling me one thing and they’re telling me something else. I look at your dogs and I see visible signs of Catahoula or some kind of merle cur dog. I look at their dogs and they look like the original working bulldogs that your Granddaddy had. I’m only pestering you because in all of the publications I’ve found about the breed you’re saying that you’re the originator of the breed and they’re saying that’s a lie! And they have documentation to prove it! You had these dogs before 1986 but you’re saying the breed started then!” Mr. Strickland showed me a copy of the Articles of Constitution of the ABBA with your signature in 1979 as the acting secretary. If multiple people had a hand in creating this breed why do you advertise yourself as being the originator when you got you first dogs from Mr. Chester!”
LL: “I am the originator! I advertised in Dog World first, the book publishers only know me, know one knows anything about Pete (Strickland) or Bill (Chester) or anybody else! That’s why I left the club because it was going know where!”
RC: “I’m not saying you had to stay with the rest of the pack but please do give them some credit for getting things started!”
LL: “Why, they’ve got their thing and this is mine! People don’t want to hear about some ol’ bastards with a bunch of cross bred dogs. They want southern romance and history!”
RC: “Have you ever used any American Bulldog blood in your new program!”
LL: “Son, I’ve got over one hundred dogs why would I need to introduce
something like that!”
RC: “Well, I recently spoke with Mr. Johnson and he said that you purchased a bitch from him a few years back.”
LL: “Um, ah, yes, I did. But that was before anyone knew what was what. By the way, I traded dogs with him which he fails to mention every time the story comes up. I named her Lilly White.” (Dick the Bruiser × Lady Tuffie)
RC: “Who was Danny Ross?”
LL: “Ah, why are you asking so many damn personal questions!”
RC: “Well ma’am, in doing a little pedigree research with the ABBA I found out that some of your dogs were bred by him.”
LL: “He was my third and fifth husband (I was told he was also her first cousin. His mother was Papa Buck Lane’s middle daughter)! He’s the big fella with the cowboy hat doing an interview on my promotional video. Does that answer your question! I started breeding these dogs while we were married the first time.”
RC: “Does he still have bulldogs?”
LL: “Well, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t spoken to him since he swindled the family fortune and left this estate bankrupt!” He was another lying, cheating son of a bitch who found his way into my heart and my pockets! I think that’ll be enough questions for today. I’m getting a little exhausted with the personal ones especially… I hope you’ve got the answers to all of your questions! But, I’d like to end by saying this… these dogs have been in my family since the mid 1800’s and probably even before then. My Granddaddy was one of the first people to have these dogs in this area on his 7,000 acre farm, ranch & plantation. All I’m trying to do is preserve what he had and that’s it. These dogs are as much a part of southern history as whistlin’ Dixie and the Confederate Flag. And I hope after I’m long gone they’ll remain so!”
RC: “Ah, well ma’am, thanks for your time and all of the information you’ve given me. Try having a nice day.”
LL: “You do the same. Good bye!”
RC: “Good bye!”
Unfortunately, I had many more questions to ask like:
1 Why did you base your entire breeding program on one stud dog when you had at least 20?
2 Why did you prefer merle colored dogs when your Granddaddy dogs were mostly white?
3 Since you knew about it why didn’t you OFA your breeding stock?
4 Why did you make up pedigrees of dogs when you knew the real information?
5 If you’re the originator what should we call W. Chester, O. Wilkerson, V. Woodard & etc?
Just to list a few!
After speaking with Ms. Lane on numerous occasions I’ve come to the conclusion that without someone getting into this breed and exposing its truthful rich history this information will be lost forever. The original founders of the breed were Pete & Herb Strickland, Lana Lane, Vernon Woodard, Oscar & Betty Wilkerson, Nathan & Kathy Waldron, William Chester, Danny Ross, Kenny Houston, Bryan Evans, Mark Williams, Robert Carpenter, Charles Bates, Arnold Miller and Archie Hobby. This is based on the pedigrees of the original fifty (50) or so ABBA registered dogs. The many contributors to the this lineage include Papa Buck Lane, Cecil Evans, Bob Williams, Howard Carnathan, Alas Kittles, Lou Hedgewood, Cel Ashley, Walter Nations, Harold Lassiter, David Clark, J. Gary Mason, Alan Jackson, Hubert Hatley, John P. Colby & Tom D. Stodghill. And, if anyone was left out I hope you do understand attempts to recognize you were at least made. The different types of dogs reportedly used were working English Bulldogs, Mountain Bulldogs, Old Southern White Bulldogs, American Pit Bull Terriers, Catahoula Leopard Dogs (the Florida Cur variety), Black-mouth Curs (from East Texas) and Great Danes.
Shortly, after this interview my relationship with Ms. Lane went south if you know what I mean. She wouldn’t speak with me over the phone anymore as Ray Coleman that is. I made four more visits to her plantation over the next five years with others namely Marker Ray Nicholas and John Conners but under an alias name.
© 1994 All rights reserved. No Part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without express written permission by the publisher, the Alapaha Blue-Blood Bulldog Association.
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