Today’s installment of WARHorses “History’s Horses” regales courageous actions set against the classic 20th century confrontation – horse versus automobile.

Harvard Street, 1910


Mrs. Theodore Metcalf and Daughter Owe Lives to Brave Officers.

Boston, MA,1910: By pressing an automobile into service and overtaking a pair of frenzied runaway horses, after a two-mile chase through Brookline and into Roxbury, two Brookline patrolmen saved the lives of Mrs. Theodore Metcalf and her daughter Sarah and also the life of the driver, Thomas Glennon.

Driver Powerless.
Mrs. Metcalf and her daughter were driving in a coupe when the pair of horses took fright and snapped the reins from the hands of the driver at the corner of Webster and Beacon streets. The horses had gone but a few blocks with the coupe swaying from side to side and the drive unable to secure the reins when Patrolmen John Johnson and Michael J. Lynch saw their plight and stopped the first automobile that came to view, which was but a moment after the runaway horses had passed.

The automobile was owned and operated by Jacob Stone of Brookline. Holding him up, the policemen jumped in and had him give chase to the runaways. Down Webster street the horses dashed with the automobile in chase. At Harvard Street, the runaways narrowly escaped colliding with a street until Longwood avenue was reached, then the horses went down Longwood avenue to Huntington avenue, where the automobile was steadily gaining.

A Rockaway Coupe carriage circa 1910

All this time the driver was pluckily attempting to recover the reins that dangled about the heels of the frightened horses but so wildly was the coupe swaying that he was scarcely able to keep his seat much less secure the reins. Just as the horses approached the corner of Huntington avenue and Vancouver street near the Art Museum, and almost opposite Mrs. John L. Gardner’s palace the automobile managed to pass the horses.

Mad Pair Headed Off.
Then under direction of the policemen Mr. Stone swung his automobile in front of the horses heading them off and forcing them toward the curbing. At the same time the automobile slowed up and the policemen leaped from the car and made a run for the still crazed horses.

Their work was excellent, each policeman picked a horse and caught the bridle at the same time and on the first jump. They were dragged about thirty feet before they finally brought the horses to a stop.

Originally Published by the Boston Journal (Boston, Massachusetts), Dec 26, 1910.