Arabian Horses at Historic Travellers Rest
As was the case with many upper-class Southern families, the Overton’s engaged in the breeding of fine horses. However, not until 1929 was Travellers Rest devoted solely to breeding one type of horse. Jacob MacGavock Dickinson Jr., (great-grandson of Judge John Overton), purchased Travellers Rest and established one of the largest Arabian horse farms in the U.S. Because Arabians are one of the oldest known breeds, Dickinson carefully researched pedigrees and corresponded with breeders in the Middle East to locate the purest stock. His efforts led to international recognition as a breeder of Arabian horses for “sport and pleasure.” In 1946, Dickinson moved his family and the Arabian horse farm to California. However, the Travellers Rest Arabian horse breeding tradition continued in Tennessee through his daughter Peggy Dickinson Fleming. In 1953, she established a Travellers Rest in Columbia, Tennessee and bred Arabians until 1991. Many Arabian horses in Tennessee and elsewhere can trace their pedigree to Travellers Rest Arabians.