Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 9, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:4



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 9, 2019 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


I’ve always been fascinated by history and its landmarks, not 
the least of which is the transformation of transportation 
that brought us to where we are today as a society. I mean, 
it seems incredible that we went from riding horseback to 
maneuvering the horse-drawn buggy, to ultimately driving 
a motor vehicle on paved roadways, within a relatively 
short period of time.

 Indeed, the evolution of transportation helped pave the 
way to the technological age we are living in 
today. But most fascinating to me is the part 
animals have played in the process. It’s hard 
to believe that not long before the motorized 
vehicle came along, the four feet of a horse were 
the primary means of getting from point A to 
point B, just to perform one’s daily tasks.

 Even after the early automobile was invented 
and in use by a certain few enthusiasts, animals 
continued to play a part in land-marking 
the evolutionary advances of transportation. 
As a matter of fact, the two pioneers who 
successfully completed the first coast-to-coast 
transcontinental trip by way of motor car in the 
United States were accompanied by none other 
than a furry, four-legged canine companion!

 That’s right, one of the party-of-three who 
embarked on that historical ‘maiden voyage’ 
was a beautiful, burly bulldog named Bud. 
History has it that Horatio Jackson, the captain 
of the two-man team, acquired the pup at some point as they putted their way through Idaho, and saw fit to invite 
him along for the ride. The other passenger was a hand-picked mechanic named Sewell Crocker who helped Jackson 
make history by keeping the motor rolling on that rough and rugged road trip. 

 Credit goes to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for the following extractions from their 
account of the feat, and for the photos. ( 

 “Driving an automobile from coast to coast in 1903 was a difficult and daring achievement. Horatio Nelson Jackson, 
a physician and businessman from Burlington, Vermont, captured the nation’s attention when he and Sewell K. 
Crocker, a mechanic, drove from California to New York. Despite mud, washouts, breakdowns and a lack of roads 
and bridges in the West, they finished their trip in 63 days. Two other motoring parties - each anxious to claim the 
title of first to drive across country - departed while Jackson and Crocker were en route, but were unable to overtake 

 The trip began after a discussion in a San Francisco men’s club as to the feasibility of a transcontinental auto crossing. 
Jackson decided to give it a try. He purchased a 1903 Winton touring car that he named “Vermont” after his own 
home state, and headed east. Jackson and Crocker followed trails, rivers, mountain passes, alkali flats and the Union 
Pacific Railroad across the West.

 In Idaho, Jackson acquired Bud, a bulldog that accompanied the pioneering motorists to the East Coast and for 
obvious reason, was featured in many news photos. After 63 days on the road, the expedition reached New York. 
Jackson had spent $8,000 on the trip, including hotel rooms, gasoline, tires, parts, supplies, food, and the cost of the 

 The men often used a block and tackle to pull the car out of mud holes on the long trip from coast to coast, and 
when the Winton needed repairs, they telegraphed the factory for parts and awaited delivery by railroad. The Winton 
Motor Carriage Company published details 
about the Jackson-Crocker cross-country 
trip and emphasized the car’s ruggedness and 

 Photographic images of Jackson, Crocker 
and Bud showed up on poster boards and 
in newspapers across the nation following 
the expedition, and have become iconic 
images in our history books to this day. My 
favorite photo is one taken of Jackson sitting 
in the right-hand side driver seat of the 
“Vermont”, with Bud saddled next to him in 
the passenger seat, sporting a smart pair of 
doggie goggles. I am so proud to know that a 
beautiful bulldog played such a special part in 
that epic landmark of our country’s history.



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