E200 Late 19th century American lawn jockey portraying Jocko Graves, Made of iron with old weather paint, He was a 12 year-old boy, that helped shape this great nation into what it is today, this fine Jocko hitching post offers a glimpse into the past.. The night he froze to death. This fine post is a memorial to that brave young soul. .
A lawn jockey is a small statue of a man in jockey attire, intended to be placed in yards. Most today are white jockeys, but historically black jockeys were commonplace. The lawn ornament, popular in certain parts of the United States in years past, was a cast replica, usually about half-scale, of a black man dressed in jockey's clothing and holding up one hand as though taking the reins of a horse. The hand sometimes carries a lantern or a metal ring suitable for hitching a horse Lawn jockeys may have also played a role in the history of the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, oral traditions held that lawn jockeys holding lit lanterns or colored flags in their hands indicated a possible safe house for escaping slaves. The home of U.S. District Judge Benjamin Piatt was just such a home, with his wife using the family's lawn jockey for that very purpose. At the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, 13 of the 15 riders were African Americans, and blacks rode the winners of 15 of the first 28 Derby races. Jocko, as it is so commonly called continues to be shrouded in mystery. In 1963, Earl Koger Jr., an insurance salesman and part-time journalist, published a 32-page pamphlet, “The Legend of Jocko: The Boy Who Inspired George Washington.” It was the story of Jocko Graves, a 12-year-old black boy who died in the service of George Washington on the night Washington and his revolutionary army crossed the Delaware River, an important occasion in American history that led to victory for the colonial forces. According to the legend, Jocko froze to death while waiting for the colonial forces to cross the river and tending to horses for their use. After the war, so the story goes, Washington had a small statue erected in his memory on the grounds of Mount Vernon.