Dickey Davis, 69
Samuel Dickey Davis, 69, of Wytheville, died Friday, November 15, 2013. He started riding at the age of three and started showing pleasure ponies at the age of six. in 1950, he then broke the ponies to drive and started showing them in the Shetland classes. In 1955, Dickey’s father went to Peoria, Illinois and bought a long tail Hackney poney named King Citation, which was one of the first Hackney ponies in the southeast. Dickey showed Citation in Harness pony classes; winning everywhere he went. A couple of the Pleasure Ponies that Dickey started were Rising Star and Midnight Princess.
Dickey continued showing roadsters, harness, and cob tail ponies. His father went to Kentucky and bought the five-gaited pony, Vicky Flynn. In 1959, Vicky Flynn and Dickey were Reserve World’s Champions. When Dickey started school at Virginia Tech, he worked horses at Billy Matty’s barn in Christiansburg. He bought a five-gaited mare, Sweet Sharon; which he showed in gaited classes until he sold her to a client in South Africa.
In 1969, Dickey’s family built the training barn known as Fort Chiswell Stables. Dave Becker trained there for several years and during this period many nice show horses were developed. After Becker left, Ivan Treser came and trained for the Davis’s. Dickey showed in amateur classes for Ivan, but once Ivan left in 1979, Dickey moved to the training position. Dickey started training outside horses, as well as his own. In 1982, Dickey was diagnosed with lymphoma. Harry Gilmore took on the training duties while he was taking treatments for two years.
In 1992, Dickey and Mary Ellen put Royal Memories through the Tattersalls sale, where Dickey purchased her for himself. In 1993, after a spinal cord injury, Dickey bred Royal Memories to Supreme Heir, resulting in the colt “Mountain Empire.” Then in 1995, he bred her to Attache’s Liquid assets, resulting in the stud colt “Attache’s Royal Assets.” He brought several American Saddlebred broodmares and started breeding his own mares, as well as outside mares to the two stallions. Attache’s Royal Assets first crop of colts produced yearling Fort Chiswell’s Premiere (Thomas Edison), which he had sold to Karen Waldron. Both stallions have produced many world champions, reserve world champions, and Kentucky State Fair Ribbon winner. He has built a broodmare barn to bloom as the largest breeding program in the southeastern United States. Last Year, Attache’s Royal Assets was ranked sixth in performance horses.
Dickey was of course a successful trainer and breeder of American Saddlebred Horses and exhibited at all of the top shows in the country. He was a faithful attendee of these shows and related things whether he had horses show or not. He attended the World’s Championship Horse Show thru 2012 as well as made it to the last Tattersall’s Fall Sale in that same year. Although confined to wheelchair in 1993 after a farm accident, Dickey was always smiling and in a wonderful mood with a story to tell. His happy demeanor and stories will be missed by many of his friends. He successfully ran the farm and it’s operations with gusto. He even took care of farm business while he was in the hospital recently with the aid of his phone, laptop and help from assistants at the farm. Fort Chiswell was his life, says his mother Agnes, who will turn 99 on January 18th. One of his proudest moments was the Five-Gaited Mare World’s Grand Champion win in 1990 with Royal Memories.
He surprised his mom in 2009 by having a restored carriage waiting at their Crockett Family reunion. The carriage was over 150 years old and came from the original Crocket home place in the Cove.
He was a member of the United Professional Horseman’s Association and operated Fort Chiswell Stables in Fort Chiswell. Dickey was a graduate of VPI/SU and had been an active member of the Iron Boots Society and the Wytheville Rotary Club. He was a member of the Wytheville Presbyterian Church. Dickey’s ancestors were among the earliest families and settlers of the area, hence the name of his Fort Chiswell Stables.
Dickey was preceded in death by his father, John Garnett Davis. He is survived by wife Rae Lee Mills Davis, of Wytheville; mother, Agnes Crockett Davis, of Wytheville; sister and brother-in-law, Susan Davis and Ronny Lynn Goforth, of Max Meadows; brother and sister-in-law, John “Jack” Garnett Jr. and Robin Davis, of Cumberland; nieces, Wendy DeMartini, Beth Wydra, Julie Scully; nephews, Davis Goforth, Lynn Goforth; several great-nieces and nephews also survive.
Funeral services were November 19, 2013 at the Wytheville Presbyterian Church and were conducted by the Reverend Brad Simpson and the Reverend Cindy Privette.
Interment followed in the Crockett’s Cove Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wythe County Humane Society, P.O. Box 362, Wytheville, Va. 24382.