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Billy, Goat: 1929

Billy, Goat: 1929

Washington, D.C. September 5, 1929. "William Harrison Bones, Stinson Goat." The elopement came as a shock to both of their families. View full size. Update: Thanks to Stanton Square we now know that the caption should read "William Hamilton Bones, Stimson goat." Who had a substance-abuse problem.


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Why goats?

Goats proved to be perfect companions for Army horses, as non-competitive stall mates they proved to be the best at keeping valuable military horses calm and happy. They could also provide milk and wool for industrious ex-farmers.

Goat, Billy, One Each

One of the newspaper articles stated that the goat served "two tempestuous months with the active Army." So even animals learn bad habits while in the Army.

Speaking of which, I kind of feel sorry for the soldier who was the goat's caretaker.

"Gee, Dad, what did you do in the Army?"

"Ummmm...I took care of the Secretary of State's pet goat."

Light on his hooves

Say what you like, that goat's a great dancer.

It's an Old, Old Story

The "tempestuous" saga of Stimson's goat reminds me of my favorite Persian proverb: "If you have no troubles, buy a goat."

One of 2 things

I have raised goats for the last 10 yrs and can say with full confidence that it is not a Billy. It appears to be a wether but could be a Nanny there is no way to tell by outward appearance of the horns or beard. But judging from species it appears to be a Spanish goat or maybe a Nigerian dwarf.

[Our other photo (below) shows that Billy most definitely is a billy. - Dave]

B. Goat

I'm guessing it's a buck from the shape of the horns with the outward curve. Nanny goat horns tend not to curve outwards like that. Most farms poll the female goats shortly after birth so you rarely see a nanny with horns. This is probably a wether (i.e. could sing the high-voice roles in a Handel opera).

[Another clue would be the goat's name. - Dave]

Billy & Who?

What's the goat's name?

[William Hamilton Bones. - Dave]


Swampoodle was the name given to the area which eventually became Union Station. The name seems to derive from the swampy ground bordering the once free flowing Tiber Creek. It was a bit of smelly shantytown in the old days.

W.H. Bones

Well I'm glad we got that cleared up. But what about Swampoodle?

Goat Debauchery

The headline makes it sound more perverted than it actually was -- it seems that William became a bit of a nicotine addict and was sent to the country for a bit of cold-turkey rehab.

W.H. Bones, Stimson's Goat,
Exiled After City Debauch

Cigarets and Urban Orgy Bring Banishment to Rural Haven.

City Life Ruinous to Goat.

Too many cigarettes and too much city life have resulted in a rest cure down on the farm for William Hamilton Bones, Filipino goat, jointly owned by Secretary Stimson and his military aid, Capt. Eugene A. Reigner.

For two tempestuous months, wild William was with the active Army, but now he crops the grass on the broad acres of Maj. Albert F. Drake, retired, at Ashtof, Md.

Here's the tale as told in quartermaster stables No. 1, to which William Hamilton Bones was attached, though the personnel there could not be said to be equally attached to William Hamilton Bones.

"Too many people around, wanting to play with him. They got him into the habit of being hungry for cigarettes. He wouldn't touch one that had been lighted. Wanted 'em fresh from the package."

"He got so that at the first sniff of tobacco, he reared right up on his hind legs and let you know he aimed to eat the package right out of your pocket! He'd no place in the city. The country is where he belongs!"

The army medical room, next door to the stables, often heard echos of Bones' efforts to separate a soldier and his cigarettes.

"Glad he's gone," voted the veterinarians.

So closed another chapter of the checkered career of William Hamilton Bones, who sailed across the Pacific last June to join the administration animal family, only to find himself barred at the Golden Gate. Later, however, he gained entry and made his way to Washington in August, only to yield to the temptations of Capitol City life so graphically described recently in the Senate.

Washington Post, Nov 16, 1929

Capital Goats

The District's goat population is discussed in the Washington Post of Nov. 22, 1903:


An Expert Who Says the District Has Only Nine.


And Has Prof. Thompson Forgotten Foggy Bottom?
Patrons and Fanciers Laugh at Alleged Census of Agricultural Department –- Pamphlet on an Absorbingly Interesting Subject.

Uncle Sam’s experts in the Agricultural Department, laying aside for the time being other pressing scientific duties, have just completed a census of all members of the genus Capra hircus in the United States, and in a pamphlet just issued a large mass of facts has been spread broadcast over the country concerning the great American billy goat.

A complete census has been taken of all the goats, but so far as Washington is concerned, the goat-census enumerators do not appear to have made a very thorough search of Swampoodle and Foggy Bottom, for the official figures of the Agricultural Department contained in a neatly arranged table show that in the District of Columbia there are only nine goats with a total value of $39. Some people do not believe that these figures are correct, and a revision may be asked for by goat devotees of the city.

It is felt in many quarters, especially in those vicinities adjacent to dumps, that there are many more of the gentle animals than have been taken into account by Government Expert Thompson. The police records of the Capital in every precinct, from Twining City to Vinegar Hill, indicate plainly that the billy goat still holds in Washington an honored place among the domesticated animals.


I'm not quite sure that's a billy. Unless the photo was taken in the winter.

I love my wife....

...but oh, you kid.

What's a Stinson Goat?

And did its family all fly in for the wedding?

Billy's Goat

Hey now, thats a Billy Goat, what are you trying to say!?

What can be said here

... that hasn't already been said, except that they're leaning against a brick wall done in Scottish Bond.

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