north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      The greatest thoroughbred in North Carolina history was the celebrated Sir Archie, foundation sire of champions Timoleon, Boston, Lexington, and Man O’War. In the era preceding the time when Kentucky became the nation’s center of horse racing and equine culture, North Carolina established a considerable reputation. For several generations Virginia and North Carolina horses dominated tracks throughout the country.

      Foaled in Cumberland County, Virginia, Sir Archie (1805-1833) at an early age came to the attention of the nation’s first great trainer, William Ransom Johnson (1782-1849), a native of Warrenton, North Carolina. Johnson bought the horse for $1,500 and described him as “the best horse I have ever seen.” After Sir Archie won races in Richmond and Petersburg, Johnson was hard pressed to find competition. In 1809 William R. Davie of Halifax, Revolutionary War general, former governor and founder of the University of North Carolina, purchased Sir Archie for $5,000 and soon thereafter put him out to stud. Sir Archie’s offspring became the next generation of champion thoroughbreds. From 1817 to 1833 he was quartered at "Mowfield" plantation and is buried on its grounds. In the annals of turf history he has no peer.

      In 1974 a State Highway Historical Marker was erected on US 158 one mile south of the "Mowfield" and west of Jackson in Northampton County. It is one of only two state markers dedicated to a four-legged mammal, the other being about a breed, the Plott Hound.

Elizabeth Amis, Cameron Blanchard, and Manly Wade Wellman, The Life and Times of Sir Archie: The Story of America’s Greatest Thoroughbred, 1805-1833 (1958)
Roger Longrigg, The History of Horse Racing (1972)
Thoroughbred Heritage Portraits website:
Location: County:

Original Date Cast:




north carolina highway historical marker program

Sir Archie

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources