Ellwood McCloskey

"The Old War-Horse"
And His Fighting-Dog "Bob"

What follows is the transcribed text and scanned pages of a 3 1/2" by 6" pamphlet with the above title and cover picture. The booklet was given to me by someone living in Sparrow Bush, NY. How it got there is not known. The text is amusing and the list of boxing opponents are of possible interest to others, so I include it here, but I know nothing more about him.

I did a search of the internet for Ellwood McCloskey. I found, in the Social Security Death Index, one Ellwood McCloskey who was born in 1900 and died in 1986 in Pittsburgh. I found a James Ellwood McCloskey, who entered the baseball major leagues April 21, 1936, on the Boston Bees team. His career lasted only about one month. According to the statistics pages, he was born May 26, 1910 in Danville, PA, and died August 18, 1971 in Jersey City, NJ. The fact that he was Irish is also mentioned.

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[Page 1] Born August 25, 1870. Nationality, Irish American. Place of birth, Philadelphia, Pa.


I was a born fighter. Every boy has a hobby, and my hobby was fighting. As a boy I can remember, at the age of six years, being presented with a set of boxing gloves. I used to invite all the boys in my neighborhood to my house to put the gloves on with me, and from that time on defeated every boy in the vicinity. Then I started out as a professional pugilist. I made the match myself with a man named Mike Sullivan, who used to be on of Arthur Chamber's pugs, who would meet all comers for his "free booze," as all those who remember know that in those days all sporting resorts had boxing gloves and rings to entertain their patrons. I myself when a boy used to frequent all places where boxing was the chief amusement and watch the pugs go through their stunts and familiarize myself with all of their points that I could get wise to. Then I would go home and practice upon my companions--that is the way I learned to box, as I never had a teacher. I defy any man to contradict this statement, and, moreover, I never had a manager of any description, and I transacted my own business. I never "jobbed" or quit, nor was ever knocked out. I also defy anyone to refute this latter statement. I simply quit my profession because of losing my eyesight, as at present I am totally blind. In addition, let me say that I did not have to quit because a "dead one" or a "has been."

To-day, physically, I am as well as ever. I go through my stunts daily with dumbbells and Indian clubs. My chief exercise is "shadow" boxing, as that is all I am able to do at [Page 2] the present time. Another hobby of mine is dogs. Being a great lover of the canines, I am now the possessor of a handsome bull terrier named "Bob Fitzsimmons McCloskey." There may be many a reader who would like to know why I have given him this name. My reason is this: After having given him a thorough "try out," he proved satisfactory to me, demonstrating the many combative qualities of the Australian pugilist.

I shall endeavor to enlighten the minds of my readers as to how I managed my business affairs. One of my important matches was with Terry McGovern, and this is the way in which I "beat the wise ones out." What I mean by "beating them out" is this: They toured the country and got men with reputations to reduce themselves to a certain weight and compelled them to put up a large forfeit that they would make the weight, and thus allow McGovern to weight what he liked. I agreed to do this, knowing very well I could make the weight. But I did not take any chances in putting up a forfeit. I agreed to let my opponent's representative come to my gymnasium and see me weighed every day till the day of the contest. On that day I wa at my home resting, when Mr. Harris and a few of his pals made inquiry of me, and asked me abut weighing. I asked Mr. Harris whether Terry was going to weight. He said no, as that was not the agreement. I then refused to weigh. Thereupon he (Mr. Harris) makes a forfeit that I was heavier than Terry. I called his hand and a hundred-dollar note that if Mc Govern would weigh I would weigh, but he positively refused to allow Terry to do so. He asked me what I intended doing, and I told him I was going to go up and trim his champion. He bid me good-bye.

Upon my arrival at the club I "got wise" that he and his clique were going to trim me of $250 on the weight question. I absolutely [Page 3] refused to go on until my money was given to a friend of mine. I went on and filled my contract by fighting six rounds. After the job I met McGovern. He told me I ought to be called the "Old Iron Man" instead of the "Old War Horse." My reply was: "If I had two lamps I think I would be champion to-night instead of you."

Another of my important matches was with Darby MacDonald, of Mr. Carmel, Pa. This is the way I tried this match: I gave several exhibitions of boxing through that country with my pupil, Eddie McCaffrey, and challenged any man in the anthracite coal regions near my weight. At that time McDonald [sic] was the best man in that particular region. On behalf of MacDonald they accepted to box my pupil, as they thought he was easier game than myself. I allowed them to box, and made the match for a hundred dollars a side and the gate money. Of course, MacDonald won in one round, being much heavier than McCaffrey. I challenged Darby from the right that nigh, telling him and his friends I would box him (if he weighted a ton), $100 to $1000 a side. They could not see a thousand, so they split it in half and made it $500, and I cleaned up for the wise ones in that region by knocking out their favorite in eight rounds, and getting twelve hundred dollars all told.

An Irish friend of mine said to me after that fight it was a pity that I had but one eye; he thought I had an excellent chance of getting to the top of the ladder if I only had my other blinker. He also said that there wa one other thing that handicapped me in my profession. That was the name of Ellwood. He thought the name of "Pat" or "Mike" would be more appropriate in my business, as I would have more of a following among the "A. O. H."

I lost the sight of my left eye at boiler-making in 1889. I quit my trade and followed my business as a professional pugilist with the [Page 4] one eye until March, 1902, at which time I lost the sight of my other eye.

At present I am conducting a cigar store at 913 Fairmount avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.

Although with my affliction I conduct and manage all of my own business; that is, I wait upon the store and am always glad to hear of any of my friends coming in to look me over. Another important I would like to inform you of is that my aged mother conducts the household end of it, and although seventy-three years of age, she is as bright and as active as a woman of fifty. The company consists of my mother, my fighting dog "Bob" and myself.

This story is dictated and worded by myself--as I have no press agent--during my leisure moments, and written by a friend of mine.

The following below is the record of my ring battles. At any time I put the gloves on in public or private it was always on my own merits. My fighting weight was from 126 to 128 pounds. In my long career I never weighed in except on five occasions, and it made no difference to me what color or weight they were so long as the "long green" was there. I never disappointed an audience in my life.

Your truly,
"The Old War Horse."

I started my profession Feb. 8, 1887, but was compelled to retire from the ring in 1902, on account of the loss of my eyesight.

[Follow are the names only on each page in the order they appear the first time. Check the image for complete details. No bout dates are provided in the listings.]
Mike Sullivan; Tommy Owens; Frank Dixon; Fred Warren; Young Mitchell; Phil McRevey; Jimmy Dewire.
Page 5 Jim Dewire; Kentucky Rosebud; Jim Kood; John H. Johnson; Harry Smith; Jerry Marshall; Jack Farrell; Frank Huffacer; Frank Bradley; Billy Berger; Joe Fairburn; Danny McMann; Young Star
Page 6 Young Star; Eugene Roann; Jim Symester; Tim Callahan; Charlie Mullhall; Darby MacDonald; Mike McManus; Jack Lynch; Jack Gallagher; Eddie Gardner; Joe Leonard; Fred Fairman; Jack Keneger; Harry Lyons; Herman Miller; Billy Burrows; Jimmy Mann; Benny Peterson; Jack Grant; Patty McPhillips; Joe Reilly; George Sidens; Billy Spencer; Eddie Loeber; Jim Clare
Page 7 Tommy Moran; Marty McCue; Arthur Jones; Cyclone Jack O'Brien; Jack Williams; Billy Faron; Billy Mahodge; Vernon Camel; Harry Burke; Jimmy Doyle; Frank Dechilds; George Haddon; Joe Allen; Joe Bernstein; Billy Pope; Eugene Horbacker; Jack Bennett; Jack Skelly; Billy Whistler; Jack Waldron; Mike Tutes; Joe Hensel; Ed. Brooks; Crockey Boyle; Fred Stricker; Jack McFarland; Billy Smith; Billy Plymer
Page 8 Billy Murphy; Jimmy Lawson; Jack McDonald; Barney Reilly; Cole Watson; Willie Fitzgerald; Joe Elliot; Frank O'Brien; Ben Jordon; Terry McGovern; George Dixon; Johnny Locksley; Jimmy Reeder; Harry Burke; Billy Bachman;
Willie Clark; Jack Hardin; Harry Burger; Eddie Lenney; Lew Riles; Howard Wilson; Jimmy Lynn; Tim McDermott; Billy Clarke; Andy Rambo; Frank Farley; Paul Deine; Spike Sullivan

The following men below I boxed exhibition bouts with, and numerous others as this is all I can remember at present. I have also taught hundreds of men the art.

The following is a list of the men:--
Young Griffo; Frank Wango, the Indian; Horace Leeds; Jimmy Hagen; Charlie McKeever; Jimmy Fogarty; Jack Everhart; Tom Moriarty; Charlie Johnson; Jimmy Adair

I was also the first man matched to fight Geo. McFadden, of New York, his first professional fight, at Long Island City. The preliminary of the Maher and Slavin fight, but was prevented by his Honorable Patrick Glenson, who was at that time Mayor of Long Island City.

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