01 February 2007

A Horse Named "Trooper"

At its inception, the primary responsibility of the New Jersey State Police was to patrol New Jersey's rural areas. In 1921, 61 horses were used by the State Police as they patrolled the farms and remote sections of the state.

Born in 1919, Trooper began his career with the New Jersey State Police in 1922, one of 10 horses purchased on March 27th from F.J. Leiwerling of Trenton for $175.

Initially Trooper assisted in the training of recruits at the State Police Academy at Wilburtha. Later, he was used to patrol country roads that were inaccessible to automobiles and motorcycles. He is shown in the photograph with Trooper Paul Verba#213 who rode him on patrol.

In 1933, all of the horses owned by the State Police were sold. Captain William J. Carter wanted to keep Trooper, however the orders of Superintendent Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf were that all of the horses must be sold.

Maurice R. Young, a businessman from Trenton, purchased Trooper at an auction and then presented the horse to Captain Carter and the troopers assigned to Troop "A" in south Jersey. Captain Carter and the troopers established a "pension fund" for Trooper and a corral and stables were built for him at the Hammonton Headquarters.

This arrangement lasted until 1943 when the death of Captain Carter and the enlistment into the armed forces of several of the troopers who had been contributing to the upkeep of Trooper made it impossible for the State Police to continue to give him proper care. Colonel Charles H. Schoeffel explained that since the horse was bought by Mr. Young, he was not legally the property of the State of New Jersey. Therefore, the State could not pay for his upkeep.

All was not lost for Trooper. In March 1943 Bobby Scott, a 10-year-old equine aficionado, read a newspaper article about "Trooper". He wrote the following letter to the men of Troop "A":

"Dear Troop A: "I was reading about ‘Trooper’ in the Sunday paper and I was wondering if you would like to have a good home for him. We have a pony 25 years old, so he would have company. We love horses and we would be good to him. After all these years of service, I think he deserves some fun. Please let me know and also the price you want for him. Yours Truly, Bobby Scott, Fallsington, PA."

When it came time to find a new home for Trooper later that year, the State Police remembered Bobby Scott’s letter and Trooper was given to him to care for. On December 11, 1943, Trooper was loaded in a van and transported to his new home. He lived happily on the farm until his death in May 1944.

In June 1944, the following letter was received at Troop "A" Headquarters from Bobby Scott:

"Dear Troop ‘A’:

"I am writing to let you know about good old
Trooper. He has answered his last command. He passed away Saturday morning (May 27, 1944) about 5 A.M. to his last reward. And I know he has gone to Heaven. I could not make myself write before as it hurts just to think about his empty stall and bridle.

But Troop ‘A’ was so kind to give me Trooper Mother said I should let you know. He was fine on Friday night; he was begging for his sugar. I guess you all know how sweet he could beg by crossing his two front feet. I am glad Mother let me use my sugar stamp for lump sugar for Trooper as he was worth anything on earth.

Daddy had the Vet to come and file his teeth and he could eat very good. I think he always had a soft spot in his heart for New Jersey for when I would take him up for water he would stand and look over Jersey way. There was not a better horse living than Trooper as he was faithful, kind and loving and my how he enjoyed the rides we would take around the yard and in the field.

Gee, it’s no fun to come home from school now since Trooper is gone. But I guess the Lord knew his work was done on earth and took him home. I have lost the best friend I ever had except my Mother and Daddy.

"Mother took a picture of Trooper a week before he died and [he was] in the best of health.

"Well, Troop ‘A’, I want to thank you for the five months of pleasure I had with Trooper as he came to me just 4 days after my birthday.

"When I grow up I am going to be a State Trooper and have a black horse named Trooper. Well this will be all for now so will close sending love and regards.

Your Little Friend,
(s) Bobby Scott,
Emilea, Pa."