Racing Career of Eli Winesett

Eli was about 15 years old when he left home Woodlawn, VA, and walked to the home of his Uncle Enoch Stamey in Greensboro, North Carolina, wearing bib overalls with a hole in the seat to seek his fortune. He somehow made his way to Olympia, Washington, staying with his Uncle Forney Stamey.

Eli began to ride and race bicycles and did very well. One family story is that he was in a race in McMinville, Oregon. He finished so far ahead of the other racers that officials made him go back to the top of a rise and ride in just ahead of the other racers. He won a watch in that race which Dan supposedly had. Dan's son Frank is not sure who ended up with the watch after Dan's death. There was also a crystal bowl won in Europe but Frank doesn't remember any markings on the bowl nor who has it.

Eli became a professional at some point. He participated in races across the United States, Canada and in Europe. He was referred to as the British Columbia champion in 1901. Sometime before the turn of the twenith century, he was in Atlanta, GA, racing with and training the famous Bobby Walthour, "The Dixie Flyer".

The bicycle racing circuit evidently included Atlanta, Memphis, New York, Boston and perhaps Jacksonville (FL).

Eli married the widow May Coolidge. Her daughter, Blance Bailey married Robert H. [Bobby] Walthour in 1898. By marrying May, Eli became Bobby Walthour's father-in-law as well as his manager.

The 1900 Atlanta city director lists Eli Winesett as manager of the Georgia Bicycle Manufacturing Company at 80 South Prior Street. At the same address as the Sou Electro Plating Works, C[harles] Cummons, Mrg.

Eli obtained a divorce from the former Mrs. Coolidge 1-Nov-1900 in Seattle, Washington [Superior Court Case #29545] by default. While there, he crossed over into British Columbia, Canada, where he won the British Columbia championship.

The 1901 Atlanta city director lists the Georgia Bicycle & Plating Company at 80 South Pryor Street. C. Summons and E.W. Carr

Eli is credited by some with introducing Bobby to motorpace racing. In addition to managing Bobby, he was the pacemaker who rode a motor (motorcycle) in front of his racer on a bicycle to break wind for him and to set the pace. Eli was blamed when Walthours lost an important race to George Leander of Chicago in 1902 however another article said Eli's mistake was to follow the Walthour's verbal instrctions rather than follow his own counsel.

Eli made several trips to Europe with Walthour before retiring from bicycle racing and returning to the Virginia mountains. Eli bought and sold land. He would buy land, cut and saw the timber with his own saw mill equipment, build a house, live in for a while, sell, then move on to another project.

Any additional information including pictures, newspaper and magazine articles about Eli or the races in which he participated would be appreciated.

A Few Newspaper Articles Mentioning Eli Winesett

22-Jul-1897 The Atlanta Journal: Eli Winesett an able helper in handicap racing.

1-Dec-1901 THE CONSTITUTION; ATLANTA, GA., Sunday: ATLANTA BICYCLE TRACK THE STEEPEST EVER BUILT. Eli is erroneously referred to as "Sinsett, the manager of Walthour". The article describes the new coliseum and compares it to Madison Square Garden. 10-Mar-1902 The Atlanta Journal: Article about George Leander beating Bobby Walthour who was paced by Eli Winesett, his manager. There is a picture of Eli on the motor pacer with Bobby following behind. In an interview Bobby blames Eli for not following instructions.

11-Mar-1902 The Atlanta Journal [Tuesday Evening]: Bobby's Father-in-Law Paced a Losing Race. Refers to the previous day's article where Bobby Walthour blamed Eli for his loss. Describes the relationship by marriage to the parties. It has a drawing of Eli on a motor pacer and of Mrs. Winesett.

4-Mar-1902 THE CONSTITUTION, ATLANTA, GA, FRIDAY: HADFIELD-LAKE RACE HAS SCORCHERS GUESSING. Eli Winesett is listed as the pace for Jonnie Lake for Saturday's race.

??-Apr-1902 The Constitution: Atlanta, GA: WINESETT MARRIES AGAIN; IS NOW WALTHOUR'S COUSIN. The article tells about the April 8 marriage of Eli Winesett and Miss May Steele, daughter of Mrs. H. J. Pogue. The article also said that Eli had gone to Boston to arrange for a race [the great Brassard] the follwing Saturday. There is a picture of May wearing a large hat. The adjacent article was about a race taking place that evening between Jimmy Moran and Bobby Walthour at the Coliseum out at Piedmont Park.

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