Colishay and Alptraums
Lest readers find themselves at a loss to comprehend the meaning of the words in the caption we proceed, at once, to explain them. Colishay was a bred of grey fox and Apltraums were a breed of pied hounds used in the fox chases in colonial Pennsylvania.
This is a story of a fox chase in Berks County before the Revolutionary War (1770). Michael Quigley, an Irishman who had mastered the Pennsylvania German tongue well enough to write his diary in that medium, furnishes us with the account of a fox chase, October 12, 1770, in which Stephen Franks, one of the descendants of the Jewish colony at Schaefferstown was master of the hounds.
A party of a 100 sportsmen assembled at the Harvest Inn near the Snow Spring (Schneebrun) of Schparrewele-Barrig, now Hawk Mountain. There were 35 riders, including five women. Twelve pairs of hounds, straining at the leash were waiting for the chase to begin.
The Colishay, or grey fox, was released near the Armbruster house and it headed for the hills. The hunt was difficult says Quigley, because the timber “north of Reading” was not good for hunting.
The Colishay gave the riders and hounds a merry chase. First the fox wove in and out of a herd of deer, hoping thereby to throw the pursuers off scent, but the well trained Alptraums ignored the deer and kept to the trail.
At the foot of Hawk Mountain, there were some Indian graves.
There a panther lay on the limb of an oak tree; the fox circled the panther, hoping once again to throw the hounds off his trail. When the hounds approached, the wild cat moved as if to pounce upon the dogs but again the hounds were true to their master, Franks, and kept up their hot pursuit.
Beyond the Indian graves at the very base of Hawk Mountain, the fox scampered into a hole, only to be dug out of the earth and suffer death at the hands of the master of the hounds.
The brush, or tail of the fox was given to Miss Jones, one of the five female riders, because she was the first to arrive at the time of the kill. The four pads, or feet were divided among the other four ladies.
By custom, the pelt of the fox was given to Stephen Franks, the master of the hounds. Then the entire party rode back to Harvest Inn where a young steer was roasting on the spit to provide a feast for the hungry sportsmen.