Foxhunting Legend Ben Hardaway Dies At 98

Oct 19, 2017 - 11:39 AM

MFH Benjamin H. Hardaway III, the man who developed the Hardaway crossbred hound and started the Midland Fox Hounds, died at 3:45 a.m. at home in Columbus, Ga., on Oct. 19. He was 98.

Mr. Hardaway was born on Sept. 28, 1919, in Columbus and grew up on his family’s tobacco farm. He became interested in hunting as a child and bought his first hounds when he was 11. After attending the Virginia Military Institute, Mr. Hardaway went on to work professionally as an engineer for the family’s Hardaway Construction business, but hounds and hunting continued to be a passion and obsession for the rest of his life.

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Ben Hardaway. Photo by Douglas Lees.

He established the Midland Fox Hounds, which has territory in Georgia and Alabama, in 1950. He also developed a crossbred hound, the Hardaway hound or Midland hound, and as many as 100 of the current hunts in the United States have hounds in their pack with some Hardaway blood in them.

“My hounds are all over the world—New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Canada and both sides of the Atlantic. It makes me proud as hell,” said Mr. Hardaway in a 2013 interview with the Chronicle.

He married Sarah McDuffie, and they had four daughters, Page, Mary-Lu, Susannah and Ann. Mary-Lu married Mason Lampton, who joined Mr. Hardaway as a master of Midland in 1989.

“He is a true hound man, no question about it,” said Lampton in 2013. “I don’t know anybody who is more knowledgeable in the foxhound world than he is about breeding.”

Mr. Hardaway gave up riding to hounds in 1994 after breaking several bones in a fall, but he continued to follow by truck for many years. While recuperating from his accident, he wrote and self-published his autobiography Never Outfoxed: The Hunting Life of Benjamin H. Hardaway III. He was inducted into the Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America’s Huntsmen’s Room in 2009.

“I don’t know why, but there was something in me,” said Mr. Hardaway. “I knew in my guts that I was going to foxhunt.”

A full obituary will run in The Chronicle of the Horse magazine.

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