Interview with John R. Gaines, March 15, 2002

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

Interview Summary

UK benefactor, John Ryan Gaines was born in 1928 in Sherburne, New York. Gaines describes his Irish ancestry and his family's history in New York State. His great-grandfather came to New York from Ireland and worked on the Chenango Canal. He settled on a farm in Chenango County, and Gaines' grandfather then started a lumber business, Thomas P. Gaines and Sons. John Gaines describes how his father worked for his grandfather and also began to experiment with making hog and cattle feed and dog food. His father was so successful with his dog food, that he turned his hobby into a profitable business which was bought by General Foods.

Gaines describes how his family became involved in the horse business. His grandfather started training and raising horses and Gaines remembers some of his favorite horses. After selling his dog food company, Gaines' father retired and looked into buying a horse farm in Kentucky. Gaines remembers that his father looked at the Castles horse farm which was in shambles at the time, but decided on a farm called Overbrook on Tates Creek Road. Gaines also recalls a friend of his grandfather, W.M. Reynolds who had one of the greatest years in horse racing history with three champion pacers. He remembers a trainer that his father hired named Brosmer who was also involved in breeding game chickens. Gaines and Brosmer became good friends and Brosmer taught him how to judge all breeds of animals. He describes his mother's side of the family and remembers his mother as a beautiful woman with great common sense. His mother's brother, Louie and his father bought a race track called Vernon Downs along with some other friends. He recalls his father's interest in dogs and a dog who won the national pheasant championship and best of breed at Madison Square Garden.

Gaines remembers his experience at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, and states that he hated every minute of it. He met a coach there though who encouraged him to attend Notre Dame, and he describes his experiences at Notre Dame. He began as a business major, but disliked it and started skipping classes to work at the Studebaker plant in South Bend, Indiana. He recalls how upset his father was when he found out. Shortly thereafter, Gaines explains that he changed his major to liberal arts, which he liked very much. Gaines also describes his interest in art which began as early as the third grade, and explains how he was able to purchase a painting by Leonardo DiVinci.

Interview Accession

2002oh063_af641

Interviewee Name

John R. Gaines

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

2002-03-15

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Gaines, John R. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 15 Mar. 2002. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Gaines, J.R. (2002, March 15). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Gaines, John R., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. March 15, 2002, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt798s4jpw34