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 Smiling Tommy Tracey, the clever Australian (1871-1937)

 

Tom Tracey, welter-weight champion of Australia and white welter-weight championship of the world. Tracey had been in over 200 fights, the majority of them of the strenuous variety ranging over a period of 18 years.

 

Thomas Joseph Tracey was born on the 19th February 1871 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia of Irish parents.

 

Tommy became an exponent of the "manly art" at the tender age of 14 years, breaking into the bare-knuckle game of the Antipodes. But he was far from a tender youth physically, his debut going the marathon route of 46 rounds. He was to get $25 for winning, but as the affair was a draw the promoters refused to give the youngsters a "bob" for court plaster. But the lad was not to be turned aside by financial arguments and he slowly but surely forced his way to the front, first winning 126-pound tourney's, and then jumping into the 145-pound class, until, at the age of 21 years, seven years after his bareknuckle initiation, he was the undisputed welterweight champion of Australia. He won the title by decisively defeating Tom Meadows in five rounds.

He immigrated to the United States from Australia in 1893, but was boxing in London England in 1896, and naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1899.  In 1894, he is described as Dan Creedon's foster brother and trainer. In an article from 1908, he is referred to as Creedon's half brother.

 

He won the white welter-weight championship of the world in May 1903 and retired in 1904. He settled in Portland Oregon and later became a head of the Portland Boxing Commission during the mid-1910s.

 

According to the July 10, 1926 Portland Oregonian he was operating a small cigar store in the lobby of the Gasco building in Portland.

 

According to the November 26, 1937 Portland Oregonian he was the manager of Portland Light Heavyweight Jack Root at the time Root ended the comeback of Mysterious Billy Smith in 1915. The article refers to "the late Tom Tracey," so he had passed away prior to this.

 

Boxing Record: click

http://boxrec.com/media/index.php/Tom_Tracey

http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/boxing/tracey-tom.htm

 

Thomas Tracey died 01 Jul 1937 Portland, Oregon. Spouse's Name: Antoinet Tracey

Antoinette Tracey, b. 22 June 1877, Social Security Number: 559-32-3291, Last Place of Residence: Alameda California, died October 1965, Age: 88

 

In 1897, it was reported that he had married Georgie Dexter.

 

Russell E. Dexter, 21, of Port Jervis Orange NY, An Brake Insp, (s. of Thomas Tracey & Georgeanna Dexter, both born USA) m. Mamie Bishane, 19, of Port Jervis Orange NY, Factory Employee, (d. of Tony Bishane & Paulie Faltman, both born Austria) 27 May 1918 Port Jervis Orange NY.

 

 

Family References

 

 

 

Tom tracey 1892.jpg

 

 

7 December 1892 Referee (Sydney, NSW)

Tom Tracey

The Champion Victorian Light-weight and conqueror of Tom Williams, Tom Moadows. Dummy Mace, &c, &c. TracEy has a splendid record, and yet hopes to win the Light-weight Championship of the World.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tracy.jpg

 

 

Tom Tracy, of Australia.

 

Tom Tracy, of Australia, is an Australian boxer, who, after winning a number of hard finish fights in his native country, journeyed to America in search of fame and wealth in the American prize ring. He arrived in San Francisco as companion to Dan Creedon.

In Australia he was rated as a top notcher with the mittens, and he certainly

was a clever boxer, although his punishing powers were not above the ordinary. He has proved his cleverness and gameness in many hard fought battles with men who are recognized as good ones over in that land of fighters, Australia. Tracy’s. height is five feet nine and one-half inches, and he weighs in prime condition, about one hundred and forty-two pounds. He is a cool, clever and rapid fighter, his strong point being in-fighting, at which he excels.

Tracy has had but two fights in this country, his time being occupied travelling with a theatrical company, acting as the sparring partner of Dan Creedon, the celebrated Australian middle weight. Tracy and Creedon are foster brothers and born companions.

‘Tracy's first light was with Billy Gallagher, a clever middle weight, who, up to his meeting with the subject of our sketch, had scored a series of unbroken victories on the Pacific Coast. Tracy put an end to his victorious career, by defeating him in the nineteenth round, after one of the hardest battles ever seen on the Pacific Coast.

When Champion Jim Corbett was training for his battle with Charlie Mitchell, at Jacksonville, Corbett engaged Tracy and Creedon to assist in his preparations, and he was of valuable assistance in bringing the Champion to the scratch in perfect condition. He was also one of Corbett’s seconds in that memorable battle.

Tracy's last battle was with Joe Walcott. It took place at Music Hall, Boston, April 19 1894, and Tracy was knocked out by a wild left-hand swing in the sixteenth round, when he appeared to be winning.

Edwards, Billy (1894) Portrait gallery of pugilists of America and their contemporaries. Pugilistic Publishing Co.

 

 

 

 

30 Jun 1897 Referee (Sydney, NSW

Tom Tracey Married. A Tinge of Romance.

Tommy Tracey, the clever Australian welter-weight, is the hero of a romantic marriage which took place recently, the facts of which have just come to light. It seems that while Tom was training for his fight with Harry Fisher, he had occasion to pass M'Dowell'a Hotel at West Brighton, State Island, near where Eddy Connolly and Mike Sears were quartered. Georgie Dexter, the soubrette of the ‘Parlor Match' Company, was a guest at that establishment and, as she was inclined to athleticism, morning walks were frequent. It was but natural that she should meet the Australian boxer during those strolls, and from all appearances it was a case of love at first sight. They met often, it seems, but nothing was suspected by the friends of either until a letter was received from the Catskill Mountains, in which Tommy announced that Miss Dexter had become Mrs. Tracey, and that they were enjoying their honeymoon very much indeed. The bride is said to belong to a well-to-do family in Stouesville, Pa., where her father is an operator in oil aud coal.— American Exchange

 

29 December 1897 Referee (Sydney, NSW)

Tom Tracey. Well Fixed in clover - Phenomenally Popular

Tho American correspondent of a Victorian contemporary has tbo following to say about on old friend :— ' Tom Tracey's match with Charley M'keever at San Fraucisco did not materialise, through no fault, hoverer, of the ex-Melbournite. Tracey was at New York a few weeks since, but is now at Chicago. Ho looks well, and feels confident he will give Griffo the battle of his life. Tracey’s wife is well fixed in worldly goods, and owns a well stocked farm in Sullivan county, Now York. She was a shining light in the Vaudeville profession, and though she scarcely ever now appears before the footlights, her services are always in demand. She was connected with Charley Hoyt's ' Trip to Chinatown ' company ere she met tbe clever ex-Melbournite. Tom's popularity in America is phenomenal. All who know him speak of him in the highest terms, mid his jovial temperament has made him hosts of friends.'

 

1899 Tom Tracey.jpg

 

27 February 1899 San Francisco Call

Will Box Before The National Club

Tom Tracey, the champion welterweight boxer of Australia

 

 

 

September 12, 1900 Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.)

Tom Tracey, welter-weight champion of Australia...

 

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13 May 1903 The Morning Oregonian

The 20 round contest at the Expedition building last night between Rube Ferns and Tom Tracey, for the white welter weight championship of the world was won by Tracey on a decision, the contest going to the limit...

 

 

August 28, 1903 Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.)

Tracey’s Boxing School, 105 Fourth Street.

 

1910 US Census Portland Ward 4, Multnomah, Oregon

Thomas Tracey            Lodger            M         38        b. Australia, Father b. Australia, Mother b. Australia, Immigrated 1893

Antoinette Tracey       Lodger            F          31        b. California, Father b. Germany, Mother b. Spain

1920 US Census Portland, Multnomah, Oregon

Thomas J Tracey         Head   M         49        b. Australia, Father b. Ireland, Mother b. Australia, Immigrated 1893

Antoinette J Tracey     Wife    F          40        b. California, Father b. Massachusetts, Mother b. Spain

1930 US Census Portland (Districts 1-219), Multnomah, Oregon

Thomas Tracey Jr.       Head   M         57        b. Australia, Father b. Irish Free State, Mother b. Australia, Immigrated 1893

Antoinette M Tracey   Wife    F          52        b. California, Father b. Massachusetts, Mother b. Spain

William C Waterman Nephew           M         16        b. California, Father b. California, Mother b. California

 

May 05, 1912 The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.)

Holder Of The World's White Welter Title At One Time Is Portland Man
"Smiling" Tommy Tracey, Who Heads Fistic Colony of "Has Beens," Realized $75,000 From His Ring Career Prior to Becoming Instructor in "Manly Art" - Once Knocked out Joe Gans Gans and Held Championship By James H. Cassell
Thomas Joseph Tracey, known more than a decade ago as "Smiling Tommy" Tracey, champion welterweight pugilist of Australia, world's title holder, and one of the shiftiest welters that ever donned the padded glove, heads Portland's fistic colony of "has beens."
Despite his 40 years and the failure of his name to appear in the prize ring records of late years Tommy hoots at the idea that he is a "has been" and declares that he is still in the game. As a clincher of this argument of this argument Tommy will appear before Portland fans this week as the mentor of Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club youths aspiring to amateur title honors. Taking the old saying "By a man's work shall he be known." Tommy expects to disprove the "has been" theory by turning loose a few Northwest Associations boxing of Wednesday and Thursday nights.
While it has been eight years since he retired from the ring, laying aside the lightweight mitts after his defeat at the hands of Joe Gans in Portland. Tommy did not sever his connection with the sport, but donned heavier gloves of the training camp and turned his attention to developing ring wisdom that has caused his services to be sought by champions as well as embryonic stars, and now, at the age of 40 years, is imparting a little of the lore accumulated in many rings to members of Multnomah Club.
Opponents Number 200
Tracey has been in over 200 fights, the majority of them of the strenuous variety ranging over a period of 18 years. Born in Melbourne, Australia of Irish parents, Tommy became an exponent of the "manly art" at the tender age of 14 years, breaking into the bare-knuckle game of the Antipodes. But he was far from a tender youth physically, his debut going the marathon route of 46 rounds. He was to get $25 for winning, but as the affair was a draw the promoters refused to give the youngsters a "bob" for court plaster.
But the lad was not to be turned aside by financial arguments and he slowly but surely forced his way to the front, first winning 126-pound tourney's, and then jumping into the 145-pound class, until, at the age of 21 years, seven years after his bareknuckle initiation, he was the undisputed welterweight champion of Australia. He won the title by decisively defeating Tom Meadows in five rounds.
Debut Into America Splendid
With the Australian belt dangling at this waist and an accent he has never successfully suppressed. Tracey packed his belongings in the proverbial handkerchief and as proverbially shook the dust of Australia from his feet, landing in San Francisco in 1893. He made a splendid showing in his first American appearance, knocking out Billy Gallagher, welter pride of Frisco, in 18 rounds.
With his victory over Gallagher evidencing his calibre, Tracey had no difficulty securing bouts and during the next few years was busy meeting welters and middles from Boston to Portland with almost unvarying success. But soon his prowess eliminated him from consideration by the 145-pounders, and during the remainder of his career as a ringman he was forced to either concede several pounds to his opponents, or as in the case of Joe Gans, Kid Lavigne, and others of that caliber, was forced to reduce to 140 pounds, a performance which sent him into the ring in a sadly weakened condition.
White Title Once Claimed.
Tracey claimed the white welterweight title of the world by virtue of a victory over Rube Ferns in Portland 10 years ago. Joe Walcott was the world's champion at the time and while Tommy had three chances to win the crown he lost via knockout route, but put up such a surprising exhibition that Walcott could never be enticed to enter the ring again with the Australian except in "sprint" bouts. In the two six-round engagements which followed at Philadelphia and Chicago Tommy was given newspaper decisions.
According to Tommy's account of the 16-round knockout at Boston, the affair was scheduled for 15 rounds and at the end of that time he had a fair lead over the negro. Tracey never could figure how they called for the extraround, but he went after the negro for a return bout. He was disappointed on the eve of a battle. Walcott backing out by explaining that he had a broken hand and could not fulfill his engagement.
Among the other notable fights of Tracey's career were: Eight-round draw and 10-round defeat with Tommy Ryan, to whom he conceded weight on both occasions; lost 10 round decision to George Green, San Francisco middleweight; 18 round knockout over Frank McConnell for Pacific Coast welterweight title; knocked out Tommy Cavanaugh in seven rounds; knocked out Harry Fisher in 14 rounds; knocked out by Joe Gans in eight rounds; lost 20 round decision to Kid Lavigne; lost six round decison to "Philadelphia Jack" O'Brien; draw with Douglas, a middleweight, and defeat of Young Griffo and Paddy Smith on the same night, forcing Griffo to quit in three rounds and knocking out Smith in the same round.
Tracey quit the game at the age of 32 years, and two years later opened his well-known boxing school in Portland. He joined the Multnomah Club corps of instructors four months ago and is one of the most popular boxing mentors the organization has ever had.
Winnings Nearly $75,000
Tracey estimates that he won nearly $75,000 during his many years of ring work, with $4,000 received at San Francisco for Boxing Kid Lavigne, his biggest purse. He fought in the days of small purses and hard bouts, and, as with the majority, failed to save much of his earnings.
The Portlander was considered one of the shiftiest men in the ring with good punches to either right or left hand. His favorite blow, and the one which scored nearly all knockouts, was a left hook to the jaw. Walcott rated him as his toughest opponent, while his services were in great demand at the training camps of many of the champions.
Tracey believes that the majority of present-day champions are not as clever as the old-timers, and uses Wolgast, Nelson, and the majority of the present-day middles of the wade-in-with-the-head-and-swing-away type as examples of the decadence of ring craft. He says that such man as McFarland and Coulon, the cleverest of the top-notchers, are followers of the old school boxing.

 

March 12, 1916 The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.)

Man Run Down By Auto

Tom Tracy sustains broken ribs and bruises in accident.

Tom Tracy of the Teasdale Apartments was run down by an auto at Twentieth and Washington streets yesterday...Mr Tracy is 43 years of age and is a boxing instructor,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last update: 05 February 2016