The Fairfax Hunt History: 1972–2010
Some things have changed since that history was written 35 years ago, and some remain the same. Members still hunt twice weekly, enjoying excellent sport from a variety of fixtures in Loudoun County. The clubhouse in what is now Reston still stands and serves as the site of hunt breakfasts and other social gatherings. A point-to-point is still hosted every spring, now held on the course at historic Morven Park just outside the town of Leesburg.
Perhaps most notable in the "remains the same" category is that Randy Rouse, who celebrated his 92nd birthday in December of 2008, continues to serve as Master and, in many ways, as the guiding force that has kept the club going despite increasing pressure on territory.
Rouse began foxhunting in 1946 and was appointed Master in 1961. From 1964 until 1992, he was the only Master. Joining him as joint-MFHs in 1992 were Michael Kearney and Edith Smart. Kearney withdrew in 1996. For 15 years, Smart led the second field, earning a well-known reputation for her blazing pace. In 1997, Joseph Keusch was named joint master and Ray Moffett joined the Masters' ranks in 2002. Linda Devan replaced Keusch in 2009.
Kevin Palmer took up the horn following the loss of long-serving huntsman Ian Milne. Milne, a native of Yorkshire, England, entered hunt service at 16 and dedicated his life to working with hounds. A quiet man of gentle temperament, he was widely known and respected throughout the foxhunting community. His death meant the loss of both an able huntsman and a good friend to many Fairfax Hunt members. The club was fortunate to have Palmer serving under Milne and ready to take over the pack when the time came.
The kennels and huntsman's house are now located at Red Hill, close to Arcola. What began as A. Smith Bowman's pack of six Walker-type hounds is today a well-run kennel housing approximately 40 couple of American-English crossbreds, infused with lines from neighboring hunts such as Piedmont, Middleburg, and Loudoun Hunt West. Through his long friendship with Lord Daresbury, master of the Limerick Hounds, Randy Rouse imported a number of outstanding Irish-bred hounds during the 1960s and 1970s.
The club still hunts from the kennels over land consisting of the adjoining Red Hill, Lenah, and Longfield farms. Other fixtures are located around the small village of Philomont, where there is still open, rolling country with heavily wooded sections and plenty of coops, post-and-rails, stone walls, and logs to jump.
Another aspect that has remained the same from the club's earliest days in the late 1920s is the blend of hunting and social activities. The roster includes both hunting and nonhunting members, the latter consists of some waiting for a hunting spot to open, some who have retired from the hunt field but are still active club members in other ways, and some who do not aspire to foxhunt but who enjoy the camaraderie for which The Fairfax Hunt is famous.
The closing words from the 1972 historical recap remain true now:
The Fairfax Hunt has from its beginning been privileged with dedicated leadership. With the continued wholehearted cooperation and support from its members, hunting and nonhunting, the future can be faced with the same eagerness that marked our beginning.
The location may have changed, but the "foxhunters club" Bowman and his enthusiastic supporters founded in 1928 is still going strong, enjoying lively sport and good fellowship.