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Sporting Heritage


Of all the magnificent farming estates still operating in America few can match, for sheer beauty, the 4,000-odd acres of farm lands owned by the descendants of Dr. William Seward Webb along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain at Shelburne, Vermont, south of Burlington. Webbs for generations have been noted sportsmen, and none have been more active—or more successful—than the present senior members of the family, Mr. and Mrs. J. Watson Webb. Mr. Webb, an international polo star in the 1920s, is the only left-handed 10-goaler in U.S. polo history. He and Mrs. Webb have passed on to their five children a sporting heritage that is to be both admired and envied.

Granddaughters of the J. Watson Webbs, Kitty, Laura and Dundeen Webb, are all set for a ride on Dusty, the faithful 27-year-old Shetland on the right.

Harry Webb and wife Kate take their three daughters across a pasture in front of his house, an inlet of Lake Champlain and the distant Adirondacks forming a perfect backdrop. During the fall there is duck shooting in the bay.

End of ride finds the Harry Webbs following their Hampshire sheep back to the barn. Like other members of the Webb family at Shelburne, Harry runs his own farming operation, and in his case it is an extensive dairy business.

J. Watson Webb, former polo star, Master of Foxhounds and big game hunter, poses with Sandy, a Shelburne terrier—the breed first developed by Mr. Webb in 1911 to bolt foxes after they had been run to ground. Mr. Webb until recently owned one of oldest private packs of English foxhounds in America.

Mrs. Webb stands in the Sam Webb's Trophy Room surrounded by many of her own trophies, which help make up one of the finest North American game collections in the world. Standing brown bear killed by her on the Alaskan Peninsula weighed about 1,400 pounds. There are 100 specimens in the room.

Breeding barn of J. Watson Webb at Shelburne may be the largest structure of its kind in the country. A massive combination of wood, stone and iron girders 418 feet long and 107 wide, the barn has an indoor riding and exercise ring 375 by 85 feet. Looking north over the peacefully rolling Vermont countryside which Mr. Webb has been farming since 1908 (he now also raises purebred Herefords), the granary, dairy bam and other farm buildings on the estate can be seen.