The Chicago Tribune first reported on the Black Horse Troop on January 13, 1929, giving a thorough history and description:

    "Chicago is to have a black horse troop and crack band mounted on white chargers to be available for official ceremonies, to greet distinguished visitors, and bring a touch of pomp and color to state occasions.
     When not in training or service the men will be turned out in natty uniforms and mounted on coal black chargers outfitted with white harnesses, while the military band will be likewise brilliantly uniformed and mounted on white horses.
    The special unit will comprise a 64-horse troop and a 27-horse band.
     While the war department cannot provide specially matched mount and special uniforms, Gen. Keehn stated that a citizens' committee comprising prominent chicago horsemen and military men is being formed to underwrite the extra expense.
     It is planned to ask each subscriber to underwrite the additional expense of one mount for a period of five years. Sites for the housing of the troops that have been suggested are the Chicagao Riding Club, Soldiers' Field, and the Stock Yards pavilion. The Riding club, however, is favored because of its facilities and its proximity to the loop."

The Chicago Tribune reported on the progress of the Black Horse Troop's formation:

March 7, 1929

March 12, 1929

March 27, 1929

April 28, 1929

April 30, 1929

June 28, 1929

            Articles of incorporation were issued by Secretary of State Stratton yesterday to the Black Horse Troop association of Chicago. The troop was organized some time ago, and volunteers enthusiastically joined it.
            The purpose of the association, as stated in the application for a charter, is to assist in the organization and maintenance of the headquarters troop and band of the 106th regiment of the Illinois National Guard.

The Black Horse Troop first reported for duty at Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois, in the summer of 1929. On July 24, the Sterling Daily Gazette reported, "The 33rd Divisions' famous Black Horse troop will be at the camp for the first time this year. The troop, under the command of Capt. Maxwell Corpenning, will form a special guard of honor for the governor and other distinguished guests at the camp."

The Tribune also chronicled the process of choosing the Troop's uniforms and regalia:

September 20,1929 (Excerpts)

            The sleek black mounts which are to form Chicago’s Black Horse troop are to wear snappy white trappings to set them off, but it remains to be determined just what regalia will adorn the riders when the prince of Wales comes calling or the politicians come marching home.
            The committee of prominent men and women who have the important detail to decide met yesterday at a luncheon in the Blackstone hotel. . . .They pored over the fascinating colorful collection of sketches and photographs of famous troops of foreign countries, but no decision was offered as to whether the 100 troopers will wear royal purple, turquoise blue, wine red, or Robin Hood green uniforms.
            In other words, the style of glory that will distinguish the Black Horse troop as Chicago’s pride on official and pompous occasions cannot be settled, the committee found, by merely looking at a catalog of mounted horses.

September 21, 1929 (Excerpts)

            Art circles were astir yesterday. Ambitious designers were wielding pencil and crayon. Painters with futuristic leanings were reported to be gloating. All because the Chicago Black Horse troop is looking for a flashy uniform and is considering a contest for a design which will be colorful and entirely new.
            When those jet black chargers prance down the avenue, their riders will present a glittering spectacle, if the hopes of the troop’s backers are realized. The British Yeomen of the Guard will turn green with envy, the Swiss guards will weep for their own paltry pound or two of gold braid.

Turn Pages of Past.
            There was much thumbing of old volumes to study what the nations of the world have done in the way of providing trappings for their horses. The artists had to admit that England, France, Italy and other countries have down pretty well in assembling gold lace and velvet for warriors, but there is hope that Chicago is going to make them all seem shabby by comparison.
            For example, see what the aforementioned Yeomen of the Guard, sometimes referred to as “beef eaters,” display for the ladies when the British king goes calling – a royal red tunic with purple facings, stripes and gold lace ornaments, full sleeves and short skirts; red knee breeches, red stockings, black shoes with red, white and blue rosettes, a ruff and plumed hats.
            On their backs and fronts, the yeomen have gold embroidered emblems detailing bits of English history. This idea might be followed here, the artists suggested. A gold embroidered representation of the Chicago fire or the world’s fair on the broad stomach of a horseman would be sure to catch the eye, they declared.

On November 21, after much deliberation, the Troop's uniform was unveiled and reported in the Chicago Tribune:

    "The official uniform for members of Chicago's Black Horse troop was selected last night at the chicago Riding club. When the troopers are called out at future state occasions they will present a colorful spectacle in fittings which will include black jackets and boots, white breeches, and a black shako topped with a white plume. The uniform is similar to that worn by the American dragoons in the war of 1812.
     The final selection was made last night from two uniforms which were worn by Capt. J.T. Knight, commanding officer of the troop, and Corporal E.S. Younkers. They paraded around the arena before the committee.

These rare views of the 1933 106th Cavalry and summer campsite were photographed by 106th Cavalry Capt. Paul Butler and are presented courtesy of the Butler Family Archive.

106th Cavalry, Illinois National Guard in formation.

106th Cavalry drilling at Camp Grant.

More than one hundred men comprised the Black Horse Troop and Mounted Band.

When dressed in their War of 1812-modeled uniforms, these members of the 106th Cavalry, pictured above and below, comprised the ceremonial Black Horse Troop.


The Black Horse Troop (106th Cavalry) Mounted Band. Many of the mounted band troopers had never ridden a horse before, and stories mention awkward tactics to stay mounted while they played their instruments and guided their horses with their knees. The first generation of mounted band members were ROTC high school students.

July 13, 1929
            Thirty young men, selected from the ROTC high school bands of the city, last evening reported for the first time as members of the mounted band of the Illinois National Guard's Black Horse troop.
            The band is to appear with instruments and in uniform Monday evening when the whole troop is to stand inspection. The troop will be used on state occasions, for the welcoming of important visitors to the city, in parades and in celebrations of all kinds. Eventually it is to number about 100 men.

The Black Horse Troop Mounted Band drilling in tight formation.

The 106th Cavalry in their Black Horse Troop regalia, parading down Michigan Avenue at the head of the parade that officially opened "A Century of Progress," Chicago's 1933 World's Fair. Commander Paul Butler leads the parade at the lower left.

December 13, 1929
     Chauncey McCormick has been granted a captain’s commission in the Illinois National Guard by Gov. Emmerson and will be attached to Chicago’s Black Horse troop, according to word form Springfield last night.
Capt. McCormick, a Yale graduate, director of several large corporations and prominent clubman, had consented to direct the ceremonial of the Black Horse troop and undertake development of a polo team among the troopers, according to Leonard A. Busby, president of the association sponsoring the troop. Acpt. John T. Knight Jr. is the troop commander.
Mr. Busby, coincident with the announcement, said his committee expected to complete plans for financing the troop over a five year period by next Feb. 1.

May 20, 1930

     Chicago’s new Black Horse troop last night made its first public demonstration in a full dress drill, accompanied by its mounted band, in the arena of the Chicago Riding club, Erie street and McClurg court.
     Society was there to view the new troop and 36 piece mounted band. The troop was organized by Chicago business men following the first announcement early in 1929 that a fund of $225,000 was sought to finance a Black Horse troop and bane, “to be made up of the finest young men in Chicago.” It was organized for the purpose of forming a crack troop to be used as a guard of honor when distinguished visitors came to Chicago.
Mustered Into State Service.
     The troop was mustered into state service and federally accepted as Headquarters troop, 106th cavalry, Illinois National Guard on April 27, 1929. Later a committee headed by Mrs. Waller Borden chose a dress uniform for the troop. It is a dragoon uniform worn by troopers in 1812.
     Preceded by the band, which also rode black horses, the troop entered the arena in single file to applause. Maneuvers continued for more than an hour. The troop is commanded by Capt. Chauncey McCormick.
High black patent leather boots, reaching above the knee in front; tight fitting breeches of white flannel; wide white leather belts; black blouses, also tight fitting, adorned with white fourragere, metal epaulets, white chevrons and silver piping on the collar, and white gloves constituted the uniform.

May 26, 1930
     It was my pleasure on the evening of May 19 to witness the formal debut of the Chicago Black Horse troop, and, while the presentation was in a way spectacular, yet as an ex-cavalryman I was very much disappointed in the drill.
     The troop as a whole appears to ride well, with the exception of mounting and dismounting, which was accomplished in many instances by the use of packing boxes, and in one case the assistance of two grooms was necessary to successfully dismount a trooper, much to the horror of one acquainted with cavalry monkey drill.
     The manual of the saber appeared to include only drawing, carrying, presenting, and returning, the finer techniques of cuts, parries, moulinets, etc., being omitted – and one would not expect such omissions by a crack outfit on display. Perhaps they are not a finished product as yet, but then have they not been drilling for a year?
     The uniform, while striking, is in some ways impractical. The shako has a coat button on either side instead of a shako button, causing great discomfort to the wearer, and the baldric, while ornamental, could have been put to use had it been attached to the belt, thus supporting the saber and thereby relieving the strain from the blouse.
     The troop, in a street parade, will perform to the satisfaction of most Chicagoans, but they did not function the other evening as a crack organization, by comparison with the balance of the 106th cavalry regiment.
It is high time that the military of this country were elevated to a position that will command the respect of citizens, but if the military expects this respect, they must be so superbly drilled as to merit that honor.

March 30, 1931
Black Horse Troopers to Give Show on Friday
The Black Horse troop will hold drills and ceremonies at the Chicago Riding club next Friday evening before its sponsors and hundreds of cadets of the ROTC of Chicago high schools. The mounted drill will be directed by Capt. Chauncey McCormick, troop commander. He will be aided by Lieuts. Paul Butler, Roy D. Keehn Jr., and W.E. Myers. Mar. Gen. Frank Parker, commander of the Sixth corps area, will be the guest of honor.

April 4, 1931
Black Horse Troop Drills Before Crowd at the Riding Club
     The Chicago Black Horse Troop and mounted band of the Thirty-third division performed last night at the Chicago Riding club, 330 East Ontario street, before more than 2,500 persons, including several hundred cadets from the R.O.T.C. unites in Chicago high schools.
     One of the most difficult feats of the evening consisted of acrobatics on galloping horses. The troop also rode through arcs of fire, participating in jumping contests and in in the manual of the saber. A full dress review before Maj. Gen. Frank Parker, commander of the Sixth corps area, was a part of the program.
     The troop was commanded by Capt. Chauncey McCormick.

January 23, 1932
     Two of the outstanding polo players in the middle west will compete at the Chicago Riding club Feb. 12, in the matches for the benefit of the Joint Emergency Relief fund. The are Capt. Maxwell M. Corpening, the wet’s outstanding player with his six-goal rating, and Maj. CC Smith of Fort Sheridan, famous international star of the United States army, a five goal man.
     The ten other men who will appear in the two games will be picked from nearly fifty players of the Chicago district who are working out nightly at the Chicago Riding club, the 124th Field Artillery armory, and other arenas. Among these are Frank Bering, Herbert J. Lorber, James A. Hannah, Prentice Porter, Capt. CA Wilkinson and Lieut. HD Reed of Fort Sheridan; Lieut. Paul Butler, Lieut. Col. RG Hunter, Lieut. CM Schuh, George Bates, Capt. W.S. Everett and Dave Silberman.
     Lorber is chairman of the committee arranging the event. In addition to the polo matches there will be an exhibition drill by the famous Black Horse troop of the Illinois National Guard.

March 11, 1932
Oak Parker
Members of the Black Horse Troop Band will make their first public appearance under their own auspices Wednesday, March 16, at a benefit band concert to be held in their arena at the Chicago Riding club, East Ontario and McClurg Court, it was announced recently by Bandmaster A. Boyd Pixley of 236 South Cuyler avenue.
     During the intermission, members of the troop will assist their musical brothers by furnishing further entertainment in the form of a polo game.

November 11, 1937

     The city council yesterday donated to the Illinois National Guard a rectangular plot of land adjoining the 122d field artillery armory on Seneca street between Chicago avenue and Pearson street. On it will be erected a building to house troop B of the 10th cavalry, the famous Black Horse troop.
     Maj. Gen. Roy D. Keehn, commander of the 33d division of the guard, said the addition will provide an arena convenient to the loop large enough for all military purposes, polo games and horse shows.
     The land is estimated to be worth $500,000.

December 23, 1937

     Final approval for a new armory for troop B of the Illinois National guard, the Black Horse troop, has been given by Gov. Henry Horner, it was revealed yesterday, and the Illinois Armory board, under Maj. Gen. Roy D. Keehn, will proceed at once with plans for financing its construction.
     The armory, for which land valued at $500,000 was donated last month by the city council, will adjoin the 122d field artillery armory, 234 East Chicago avenue. It will be as large as any in the state, and will be used by the Black Horse troop and the 122nd regiment, as well as for civic and athletic events. It is believed the building will be finished by next fall.

September 9, 1938

     By a decision of the Illinois Supreme court yesterday in a test case, the Chicago Black Horse Troop and Mounted Band is now assured a modern armory. The suit was brought to test recent legislation empowering cities to donate land for armory purposes.
     Mayor Kelly sponsored an ordinance directing the city to deed land west of the 122d field artillery for construction of an armory for the Black Horse troop. This will adjoin the existing building, extending west to Seneca street between Pearson street and Chicago avenue.
     The enlarged arena will provide additional training features for the 122d field artillery. The new building also will include an officers’ club room and a memorial hall dedicated to founders of the troop.

January 12, 1940

     Chicago’s 2d Black Horse troop, which is being recruited by officers of the Illinois National Guard, will make its official debut Feb. 17 at the dedication of the new annex of the 122d Field Artillery armory on East Chicago avenue. Only 15 more recruits are needed to bring the troop to its full strength of 66 men, Lieut. William Kirby said yesterday.
     The new troop is Black Horse troop F of the 106th cavalry regiment, formerly stationed at Springfield. On orders of the war department, the national guardsmen assignd to the troop were transferred to an armored car unit, and the troop’s horses were sent to Chicago.
     Troop F shares quarters in the new annex with troop E, Chicago’s first Black Horse troop, commanded by Capt. Roy D. Keehn Jr.


     The new National Guard armory at Chicago avenue and Seneca street, which will be occupied by the 122d field artillery regiment and the Black Horse squadron, was formally dedicated last night and turned over to the state by the Illinois armory board.

November 24, 1940

     The motorized 106th cavalry regiment, consisting of 1,200 Illinois National Guardsmen from Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana, will be mobilized tomorrow for a year of training under the national defense program. Troopers in the regiment weill remain at their local armories for about 10 days before they leave for Camp Livingston near Alexandria, La., where they will be stationed.
     The 106th is the second Illinois National Guard unit mustered into federal service.
     Mounted troops will assemble tomorrow in the armory at 234 East Chicago avenue.
     Included among the 400 horse mounted troopers is Chicago’s famous Black Horse squadron commanded by Maj. Roy D. Keehn Jr.
     At the time the troop was organized with the authority of the war department 100 black horses were needed while federal National Guard funds were provided. Money was needed also to buy uniforms patterned after those of the United States dragoons of the war of 1812 who had been stationed at Fort Dearborn.
     To supply the necessary funds Chicago citizens dug into their pockets and contributed $100,000, plus $9,000 more annually for expenses. Since the depression the troop has helped support itself by conducting military exhibitions and polo games.
     Officers of the troop see the mobilization order as the end of their colorful organization. They say it is doubtful whether they can get enough black horses to fill its needs.

From the 2nd week of November 1940 through 1942 newspapers reported on the Black Horse Troop's mobilization and being mustered into federal service to serve in the Second World War. The Troop was mechanized - similar to the plight of the original First Cavalry at the onset of the First World War - and it never recovered its status as a ceremonial horse troop.

After WWII, former Black Horse Troop members formed an American Legion post and in ten years the Troop, diminished for lack of membership, dissolved. In the mid-1980s, another incarnation of the Black Horse Troop Association appeared in the Chicago area and appeared in suburban parades.