Foaled on May 1, 1854 in Orange County, New York, Volunteer was the son of the mare Lady Patriot and the most productive and illustrious sire of trotting stock in the 19th century, Rysdyk's Hambletonian. Alden Goldsmith of Washingtonville (town of Blooming Grove), New York purchased Volunteer in 1861. Prior to his purchase, the horse was known as Hambletonian, Jr. With patriotic sentiment high because of the Civil War, his name was changed to Volunteer.
Volunteer was a bay with just a few white hairs around his left coronet. He was considered to be his sire's most handsome heir. His reputation as a progenitor of first-rate trotters began about 1871; however, it was the wide distribution of prints created in 1869 by lithographic forms of H. C. Eno and Mayer and Merkel of New York that increased the patronage of the stallion.
Volunteer lived to the extraordinary age of thirty-four. It was said "he stood pre-eminent among trotting sires as the one horse who never quit." Among the great horses he sired were St. Julien, Driver and Huntress. The campaigns of his descendants made the gameness, consistency and stamina of the Volunteer line renowned for all time. He died on December 12, 1888 at Walnut Grove Farm, Washingtonville, New York.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1999 Souvenir Journal