The Iroquois membership is comprised of a diverse group of about 150 families that share an interest in hounds, land conservation and the historic traditions of foxhunting in America. Some of them are farmers and hunt country landowners and some live in Lexington and the surrounding area.
A celebrated Central Kentucky tradition since 1880.
The Iroquois Hunt was founded in 1880 by General Roger D. Williams. It was named for Iroquois, the first American horse to win the English Derby. When the news of Iroquois' winning this race reached America, business was, for a time, "entirely suspended on Wall Street and the Stock Exchange rang with the cheering."
General Williams served as vice-president and president of the National Foxhunter's Association as well as Master of Hounds at the annual meets held by this group.
For thirty-four years, from 1880 to 1914, this foxhunter and hound man was MFH of the Iroquois. During a good part of his Iroquois Mastership, Bonnie Stone served as his Huntsman, but when Williams retired from regular hunting activities, the Iroquois Hunt followed suit.
It wasn't until the fall of 1926 that the Iroquois became active again. In 1928, the Hunt purchased Grimes Mill, located on Boone Creek near the Kentucky River. Phillip Grimes settled here in 1800, built a dam across Boone Creek and erected the mill in 1803. It immediately became an institution, and farmers from miles around came to have their corn and wheat ground. Grimes also erected a malt house and distillery. And for years, Old Grimes Whiskey was as famous as his flour and meal. In 1813, Grimes built the beautiful stone house above the mill.
After having purchased the old mill, the Hunt remodeled it into a clubhouse, with kennels, stables and a huntsman's house across the road. In the same year, the first annual Iroquois Horse Show was held. In 1929, the Iroquois Hunt was recognized by the Master of Foxhounds Association of America.
An integral part of the farming community in Southern Fayette County
The Iroquois Hunt Club is an integral part of the farming community in southern Fayette County. Although it is called a foxhunting club, the main function of the hunt is to keep the coyotes dispersed so they do not become a threat to livestock and house pets. The hunt country is a ten square mile area of land used for many different types of farming. The land owners allow the hunt club to put up jumps and gates in their fence lines so horseback riders can follow the hounds who are bred and trained to chase coyotes by scent. Because of the hunt, the coyotes are less apt to form packs and attack livestock, and farmers are not forced to eliminate them by poison or shooting. Coyotes are allowed to survive, and the hounds provide wonderful sport for hound, horse, coyote and fox lovers throughout the winter months.
Each of the eighty hounds supported by the Iroquois Hunt are as friendly as house dogs and love to go hunting.
The life of an Iroquois foxhound is a dog's heaven on earth. They live in a clean comfortable kennel, get the best dog food available, receive excellent veterinary care, have hundreds of humans who love and adore them and all are provided with a comfortable retirement when they can no longer hunt due to age or injury. They are one of the few canines in this day and age that actually get to do what they were bred to do. Each of the eighty hounds supported by the Iroquois Hunt are as friendly as house dogs and love to go hunting.
The Clubhouse at
The Iroquois Hunt Club is fortunate in having Grimes Mill as its headquarters and the club and its members take great care in preserving and maintaining the historic building. Nestled beside Boones Creek the two-story former mill includes a full kitchen, bar and patio that looks out onto the swimming pool. A popular local caterer, Cooper Vaughan, cooks fabulous meals two or three Saturdays a month for members and their guests. Cooper and his staff provide excellent service not only for the Saturday dinners, but also for other club parties like the annual Hunt Ball held on the first Saturday in November.
Many members reserve dates at the mill for private parties like wedding receptions, luncheons or charity fundraisers.