- By J. Blan van Urk
This essay is adapted from J. Blan van Urk’s The Story of American Foxhunting as published in The Derrydale Press Treasury of Foxhunting edited by Norman Fine. At the time of van Urk's writing (1940), the Brooke family had maintained the breeding of their hounds for nearly three hundred years. Today, while it may be doubtful that a purebred Brooke hound could still be found, the genes live on in various old American foxhound strains.
Robert Brooke, Esq., came to Maryland from England in 1650 with a pack of hounds. He’d been appointed a member of the Privy Council of State for the Province of Maryland by Lord Baltimore, who wished to increase Maryland’s population.
Arriving with Mr. Brooke and his hounds aboard his private ship were a wife, ten children, (eight of whom were boys), twenty-one man-servants, and seven maid-servants—forty persons in all and a meaningful contribution to the fulfillment of Lord Baltimore’s wishes. Brooke’s hounds more than satisfied another of Lord Baltimore’s foremost requirements—that each colonizing family bring at least one dog.