History

Belle Meade was founded on a hot Sunday afternoon, in 1966 at the bequest of William Preston Smith, gathered at the home of James E. Wilson Jr, Present were Mrs. Robin Howell, Mrs. Barbara Exum, Mr. Carl Westmoreland Sr., Mr. Carl Westmoreland Jr., Mrs. Theresa Voght, Mrs. Margaret Street and Mrs. William Preston Smith. Most of the cast taking part in the first foxhunt meeting was meeting for the first time. After a brief discussion led by Mr. Smith, the decision was made to form a club that would be called Belle Meade Hunt Club

At the suggestion of Mr. Smith, the name of Belle Meade was given to the hunt.the name Belle Meade came from Mr. Smith’s Family home in Virginia. The hunt colors of Calvary Yellow were also taken under the suggestion of Mr. Smith.

The meeting broke up to look over the area Mr. Wilson suggested what would be appropriate for one of Americas top hunt countries? On the way to look at the area, the group went to the Seymour Farm to pick up Mr. Pete Seymour Knox Jr. whose interest in the gaited horse led him to joining the group of eight to make a total of nine members.

The first stop on the tour of the country to be hunted was Hawes Hill, and for those seeing it for the first time needed no convincing that this was the place to start a Foxhunt.

The Belle Meade pack was started in the late Summer and early Fall of 1966, Mr. Smith took on the task of writing letters to the different packs in the Southeast, telling them of forming the Belle Meade Hunt and asking them if they would be willing to draft a couple of hounds to the new hunt, a favorable response came from the Iroquois hunt in Lexington, Kentucky, the Tri County hunt in Griffin, Georgia, the Deep Run Hunt in Richmond, Virginia, the Orange County Hunt, also of Virginia, the Shakerag of Atlanta, Georgia and the July Foundation of the Belle Meade Pack coming from hounds donated from Ben Hardaway’s pack. After only two years Belle Meade was accepted as a recognized hunt, on the 25th day of January, 1968, on the recommendation of the Southern District Representative Mr. Ben Hardaway III.

During the first Belle Meade Hunt season the hounds were to be hunted, by Mr. William Smith and Mr. Dave Widener Jt. Master’s of the hunt were as follows: P.S Knox Jr. and Jt. Master and the Hon. Huntsman J.E Wilson who would go on to hunt the hounds for twenty years. Before handing the task to his son Epp Wilson, who became joint master in 1985 with his father, and the huntsman in 1986. At the present time Charles Lewis, Gary Wilkes and Epp Wilson are Jt. Masters. Epp Wilson holds the title of huntsman.