Dr W S T Bill Connell
Dr. W. S. T. "Bill" Connell was born in Prescott, Ontario in 1890. Enrolling in medical school following time serving in the Canadian Forces during the later part of WW1, he began a medical practice in Hamilton, Ontario. For 50 years he would serve the needs of the city and surrounding area. As part of his research and observations with children's health, he discovered the benefits of goats milk for infants. He purchased a farm in Hamilton and established a milking goat herd which supplied children that could not drink the easily accessible cows milk.
As a leisure activity, he purchased some horses and ponies for his farm. Early purchases were Modern Searchlight, bred at the Dodge Stables. Sired by King of the Plain, and out of a imported horse mare, the young horse showed incredible potential and was sold to Mrs Combs. Exhibited by Mrs. Combs as Competition, he was a winner at Chicago and Madison Square Garden. Seaton Huddle came from the Seaton Hackney Farm through Charles Gilbert. This pair were his first harness show horses.
A major purchase of four well bred pony mares from the Longview Farm of Lee's Summit, Missouri started him with harness ponies to show and future breeding stock. Robert Alderman, assisted by sons Robert and Art would help Dr. Connell with the show ponies. In search of a breeding stallion, Dufferin Jollity was bought from the Dufferin Stock Farms in 1951. Jollity sired some very nice ponies as well as being champion stallion at Royal Winter Fair and the CNE.
Dufferin Debutante and Lady Electra were bought at the 1953 Dufferin Stock Farm dispersal, and would be sold to John Cuneo at Chicago.
During the 1950s and 60s, many horses and ponies were bought, sold or traded to other exhibitors. Acclamation was bought from Mrs Combs in 1956, shown by the Alderman's for Dr. Connell, and sold to Frank Ryan. Competition was repurchased from Mrs Combs. The Duke S came from ABC Farms. Southworth Searchlight was sold to the Knolland Farm in Illinois and was champion pony stallion at Devon in 1963 and shown in harness to world champion honours. Ponies were sold into the U. S. for show and breeding stock, while others were shown in Ontario.
Dr. Connell continued to show until the late 1960s when he closed down his farm. When he died in 1974, he bequested his property to the city of Hamilton for use as a park. The city has developed the property into the William Connell Park, with sports fields and a childrens playground area. This community use area is a fitting memorial of his service to people of Hamilton, Ontario.
(Inducted April 2020)