Prominent Racing Official is Dead.
Richard Thornton Wilson, Jr., prominent on the turf, died of broncho-pneumonia at his home on Park Ave., New York on Sunday Dec 29, 1929. He was 63 years old. His funeral service was held at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York. He was interred in the family mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.
He was the president of the banking firm of R.T.Wilson and Co. founded by his father, the late Richard Thornton Wilson Sr. who died in 1910 and was the Commissary General of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
Richard Thornton Wilson Jr., was also a member of the Saratoga Association for the Improvement of the Breed of Horses and a steward of the Jockey Club and a director of the Winchester Racing association, which owns Belmont park.
Although he was a successful banker and business man, his first love was thoroughbred race horses, he was an expert horseman and breeder. Wilson owned stables in New York, Kentucky and at his estate in Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina. The Wilson stables racing colors of yellow and green were in many winner's circles around the country.
Richard Thornton Wilson Jr. was born in New York City one of five children of Melissa Clementine Johnson and her husband Richard Thornton Wilson Sr., a multimillionaire investment banker originally from Georgia.
Richard Jr. married Marion Steadman Mason on March 12, 1902 with whom he had 2 daughters Marion Mason Wilson and Louisa Steedman Wilson Louisa's only son and Richard Jrs only grandchild Herbert W Simmons was killed in a car accident in 1955.
Richard Jr., was best known for his incessant fight for horse racing, being credited for preserving the sport when it was threatened by hostile legislators during Governor Hughes administration of New York. Richard Jr's official connection with the turf dated from 1896 when he was elected a member of the Jockey Club. In 1909 he was made President of the Saratoga Association for the improvement of the breed of horse, an office he held up to the time of his death.
In 1896, Richard Wilson, Jr. hired Thomas J. Healey to manage his racing stable. Together for three decades, they would win a number of the most important East Coast races including the Travers Stakes three times, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.
Richard Wilson Jr's sister, Grace, married Cornelius Vanderbilt III whose sister Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was married to prominent horseman, Harry Payne Whitney.
In 1896, Richard Wilson, Jr., Harry Payne Whitney, August Belmont, Frank R Hitchcock and others teamed up to purchase Saratoga Race Course which had fallen into the hands of an undesirable New Jersey brothelkeeper, Gottfried Waldbaum.
In 1902, Richard Wilson, Jr. purchased an estate at Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina from John Holbrook Estill where in 1910 he built a mansion and maintained a stable and a blacksmith shop. The home burned down in 1926 and the property was sold.
His Successful Racehorses
The Parader Won the 1901 Preakness Stakes, Withers Stakes, Lawrence Realization Handicap.
Campfire-United States leading money winner in 1916 and American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt.
Hannibal Won 1918 Saratoga Special Stakes, 1919 Travers Stakes.
Pillory Won 1919 Preakness and Belmont Stakes
Wilderness Won 1925 Travers Stakes and Toronto Cup Handicap.
Sunfire Won back-to-back runnings of the Toronto Cup Handicap in 1928-1929.