Ethan Allen was bred by Joel Holcomb, Ticonderoga, New York. His sire was the Morgan horse, Vermont Black Hawk; his dam was out of a mare by Robin, a presumed Morgan. He is listed No.43 in Wallace's registry.
Immortal John Wallace wrote, "of all the horses that have been favorites with the American people, no one has ever approximated the popularity of Ethan Allen." This is also evidenced by the five Currier & Ives lithographs that featured him. He was a bright bay, barely 15 hands tall and, barring a rather crooked hind leg, was one of the most beautifully formed, perfectly gaited and personally attractive horses ever foaled.
Ethan Allen's career was long and memorable. In 1853 he set the four-year-old record of 2:36. In 1858 he became the first horse to trot under 2:30, when he reduced the stallion record to 2:28. The great achievement of his life occurred on June 21, 1867 when, at age eighteen, hitched with a running mate, in 2:15, 2:16 and 2:19, he defeated Dexter to harness, over the Fashion Course. His best harness record was 2:25 at the Union Course, New York in 1860. In his sixteen year career, at a time when horses raced five and six heats to determine the winner, he won 33 races, 22 to single harness.
At stud Ethan Allen was also one of the best horses of his day. Always popular, his fee at one time was $500. He had six 2:30 performers. In succeeding generations his descendants multiplied with great rapidity and, directly and collaterally, his family became one of the most highly valued strains in existence.
During his lifetime, Ethan Allen passed through numerous hands and finally died, the property of Colonel Amasa Sprague of Providence Rhode Island, at the Sprague and Akers Stock Farm, Lawrence, Kansas, September 10, 1876, aged 27.
Skeleton - Natural History Museum, Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2000 Souvenir Journal