John J. Nutt.

Newburgh; her institutions, industries and leading citizens. Historical, descriptive and biographical online

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Wave, black boat, gilt stripe, blue and white caps; Halcyon, green
boat, green and white dress; Minerva, straw color boat, red stripe,
red and white dress; Pearl, white boat, gilt stripe, blue and white
check dress. There were four oarsmen and a coxswain in each boat.
The Wave was the fastest boat in New York Harbor. The Rollins
brothers, who formed a portion of her crew, had great reputation in
New York as skillful and enduring rowers. The Gull, a beautiful
barge, was the first boat ever rowed to Philadelphia. The New-
burgh Association entered the Highland Wave, black boat, white
dress; and the Corsair, black boat, green and white dress and caps.
The Wave came in first, the Gull second, the Corsair third and the
Highland Wave fourth. The Washington, of Poughkeepsie, started
with them, but was ruled out for not turning the lower stake-boat.
A reception was given at the Orange Hotel by the ladies of New-
burgh to the visiting clubs, when the prizes were awarded and
speeches delivered by Judge Monell and others. The West Point
Band furnished music. A number of excursion boats came to New-

burgh that day. Accounts of the race were published in the princi-
pal papers of the land, and it was the first regatta in this country
to claim general public interest. An editor came all the way from
Boston to attend, which was considered a remarkable feat of jour-
nalistic enterprise in those days, when steamboats were in their
infancy and railroads and the telegraph practically unknown.
Through the success and fame of this regatta, boat-racing became
popular, and many clubs were organized along the Hudson and in
seaport cities.

The regatta of 1838 was for the benefit of the Newburgh Library
Association, and was restricted to Newburgh boats. The contest-
ants were: The Galatea, Highland Wave, Corsair, and Scylla; they
finished in the order named. The prizes were awarded at a banquet
at the Orange Hotel, as was the custom for years afterwards, and
sometimes there was a ball, attended by the best people of the town.

In the regatta of 1839 there were prizes (silver cups) for four-
oared and six-oared boats. The contestants were the Scylla, Galatea
and Corsair, of the Newburgh Association; Washington, of the Po'-
keepsie Club; Wave, Gazelle, and Ariel, of the Castle Garden Associa-
tion; Edwin Forrest, Daniel D. Tompkins, and Spark, of the Independ-
ent Association, of New York.

The annual regatta of 1841 was termed " the most splendid aquat-
ic pageant ever witnessed in America." The regatta was arranged
under the auspices of the Newburgh Amateur Boat Club Association,
and by the indefatigable exertions and liberality of Captain Henry
Robinson. It was free to all six and four-oared boats; and prizes to
the amount of $550 in gold were offered. The course was diamond-
shaped. The umpires were Captains Rogers and Cobb, of New York ;
William H. Denning, of Fishkill; Thomas Chrystie, of New Wind-
sor, and Captains Belknap and Reeve, of Newburgh; Thomas Powell,
referee. At an early hour crowds began to assemble from the coun-
ties on both sides of the Hudson. The Osceola, Troy, Albany, High-
lander, Emerald, Gazelle, Telegraph and other steamers, and sail-
ing craft of every description, arrived loaded to the water's edge
with passengers. The night previous the hotels were filled with visit-
ors from a distance. So great a concourse of strangers never before
assembled in Newburgh. The roofs of dwellings and storehouses
and the wharves were covered with people. The bay was dotted
with crowded steamboats on which were fine bands of music, sloops,
schooners, and vessels of every size and rig, beautifully decorated
with flags, and a multitude of club boats and barges. In the six-
oared race the starters were: Washington, Poughkeepsie; Ann, Peeks-
kill; New Jersey, Jersey City; Galatea, Newburgh; Dutchess, Hyde
Park; Eagle and Spark, of New York; Scylla, Newburgh. The dis-
tance was two miles and repeat. The New ] 'ork Herald said, ' ' never
was a more exciting scene, or a more manful contest of strength
and skill." The race was rowed in heats as was the custom in those
days. The Dutchess won, Spark second, Galatea third, Scylla
fourth, Washington fifth, Eagle sixth. Best time, 16:07. In the
four-oared race the boats finished as follows: Thomas Jefferson,
Xew York; Ann, Peekskill; Duane, lone, Water Witch, and John C.
Stevens, New York; Gondola, Newburgh. Time, 16:40.



The annual regatta of August 31, 1842, is noted in the annals of
rowing as the finest and biggest regatta that had ever been held
in the country. There were many thousand strangers here, and many
excursion boats. There were three races for six-oared, four-oared
and double scull boats, and forty-six starters. The distance was three
miles and a quarter. The six-oared race was won by the New Jersey,
of Jersey City; Galatea, of Newburgh, second; Dutchess, of Hyde
Park, third; Eagle, of New York, fourth. Time 20:35. The Galatea
was manned in this race by John Baird and Martin Lyon, of Peekskill,
Archibald Daly, of Newburgh, Abram Bowen, of Cold Spring, Wil-
liam Doherty, Williams Hawkins, of Newburgh; Frank Gerard, of
Newburgh, coxswain. The Galatea was built by Shemburgh, of New
York, and owned by Captain Robinson. In the four-oared race the
George Washington, of New York, won; Duane, of New York, second ;
Henry Robinson, of Newburgh, third; Morgan S. Farnam, of New-
burgh, fourth. Time 23:19. The Robinson was manned by James
Moshier, John Moshier,
John Ward, Charles F. __
June, and George June,
coxswain, all of New-
burgh. The Farnam
was built by Chambers,
of New York, and man-
ned by R.S. Hunt, John
Stewart, William Mc-
Turk, W. H. Hawkins,
and J. R. Sayres, cox-
swain. The double scull
race was won by the
Crolius, of New York,
rowed by T. and J.

July 4, 1842, the Gal-
atea, of Newburgh,
won the six-oared race
at Castle Garden. Other
oarsmen of that day
were Thomas C. Ring,
William Lisle, Frank
Gerard, Enoch Carter,
William Randall a 11 d
Moses Kimball. In 1838
a match race for $1,000
between the Washing-
ton, of Poughkeepsie,
and the Disowned, of
Jersey City, was rowed
in Buttermilk Channel,
and won by the Dis-
owned, of which Charles
F. June, of Newburgh,
was coxswain. He was
once coxswain for the
Atalanta crew, of New
York, when they won a
race in Newburgh Bay, and on
steered the fast boats of the time.

The boat-houses of the Scylla and Highland Wave were at the
foot of South Street, that of the Henry Robinson at Wells' dock at
the foot of Broadway ; the Corsair, Galatea and White Lady at the ship-
yard, and the James G. Clinton, owned by the Messrs. Shaw, at the
Old Red Storehouse, at the South End. The first races in New-
burgh Bay were rowed in ordinary skiffs and wherries, but not long-
before the organization of the association craft had been built ex-
pressly for speed, but even they were far larger and heavier than
racing craft of the present day, when four men, weighing 150 to 160
pounds each, use a shell of only 17 inches beam, 41 feet in length and
weighing only 9 pounds. The four-oared boats of 1837 were from 26
to 31 feet in length, nearly four feet wide and weighed from 200
to 260 pounds. Six-oared boats were from 35 to 41 feet in length,

ither occasions when :i lad he

between four and five feet in width, and their average weight 350
pounds. Outriggers were then unknown.

After 1S42 rowing lost much of its popularity. The principal cause
was that the races had assumed a professional character; expert oars-
men, usually fishermen, were hired by clubs to row their boats, so
that the boats lost their representative character, and public interest
declined. The Newburgh Association, and all the old clubs, went out
of existence, and there were no regattas of any kind for a long peri-
od. In 1852 the first college regatta occurred at Lake Winnepiseogee,
N. H., and in 1854 the first of the Boston City regattas was held on
the Charles River course, and public interest in the sport began to
revive. In 1S56 the Newburgh Association was re-organized, and
soon resumed its old place as the "head-quarters for rowing in the
United States." The first regatta was held July 4, 1S56.

The following were the umpires: In the starting boat, Captain
T. C. Ring, Captain T. S. Marvel, Franklin Gerard; in the stake-
boat, J. H. H. Chap-
man, M. C. Smith; in
the second stake-boat,
J. K. Lawson, Charles
Halstead, jr.; in the
third stake-boat, J. T.
Hamilton, Robert
Baughan. The Secre-
tary of the Association
was Isaac Wood, jr.
First race for four-oared
boats, Sioo in prizes —
$65 to the first, $25 to
the second, $10 to the
third. Distance three
miles. Witch of the
Wave, Cold Spring;
William Terboss, of
New York, rowed by
Lynch, Mattison, Wood
and Burns; Jacob
Swartzer, of New York,
rowed by Leary, Yal-
lerie, O'Neil and Conk-
lin; Whitehall, New
York. The Terboss won
in 27 minutes. Second
race, for all two-pair
scull boats not exceed-
ing 26 feet in length,
S50 to first, $25 to sec-
ond, $10 to third.
Enoch Carter, rowed by
Teneyck and Ferguson,
of Peekskill; the T. C.
Ring, by Decker and
Collins, of New York;
the William Lisle, row-
ed by Charles F. June
and R. Rodgers; the George W. Shaw, rowed by E. Hubbard, jr.,
and H. Ward; Samuel Roach, rowed by Hancon and Moshier; John
Blizard, rowed by James Moshier and Charles MacLaren. The Car-
ter won in 30 minutes, the Ring second, and the Shaw third. The
Gale, rowed by Arthur Meginn, of Newburgh, won the single scull

The regatta of the Fourth of July, 1S57, was notable as the occa-
sion of the debut of William H. and Joshua Ward. The entries in
the four-oared race were the Experiment, of New York (the first
regular shell ever built in the United States), the Alida, of New
York, the B. B. Odell, the I. Wood, jr., and the Frank G. Wood, of
Newburgh, and the Ripple, of Haverstraw. The Experiment won,
the F. G. Wood a good second. Double scull race: the H. C. Bayley.
of New York, first; J. C. Gazely, of Newburgh, second; the Enoch
Carter, third. The Gazely was rowed by George and Charles B. Shaw.




Third race, single scull boats, won by T. Daw, of New York; Arthur
Meginn, of Newburgh, second, in the Gale. Fourth race, double
sculls, for Newburgh boats only; starters— the G. W. Shaw, the

E. Carter, the T. C. Ring, and the Fanny Fern. The Fanny Fern
won, rowed by Josh and Hank Ward; the T. C. Ring, second, rowed
by George and Charles B. Shaw. It was a close race from start to
finish, the Wards winning only by " a dip or two."

In those days the crews were known by the names of their boats,
and seldom did the press give the names of the oarsmen. The boat
was seemingly considered of more importance than the oarsmen, and
the prizes were awarded to the owners of the boats. There was great
rivalry between boat-builders. At this period the Shaws were the
principal builders here. Timothy Donoghue built the F. G. Wood,
and afterward became celebrated as a builder.

The regatta of 1858 was another great event. There were a score
of excursion boats in the bay, and thousands of strangers in the city.
Newburgh oarsmen won all four races. In the four-oared race the

F. G. Wood beat the Dan Bryant and Experiment, of New York.
The Wood was rowed by T. Donoghue, W. Tuthill, A. Sheffield and
Peter Hunt. The race for fishing skiffs (four boats entered) was won
by the Sarvis brothers, of Newburgh. Third race, double sculls;
starters— the J. C. Gazely, of Newburgh, the Rappahannock, of New
York, and the T. C. Ring, of Newburgh. The Gazely won, rowed by
Josh. Ward and George W. Shaw. Time, 44 m. The fourth race,
for single sculls, was won by John Hancon; Dillon, of New York,
second. Regatta Committee— Captain Robinson, T. C. Ring, F.
Gerard, I. Wood, jr., J. H. H. Chapman, Enoch Carter, William Lisle,
Ezra Farrington.

1858, August 9, at Staten Island, first race, double sculls, won by
the J. C. Gazely (George Shaw and Josh. Ward.) Second race, single
sculls, Fay of Brooklyn, first; Hancon of Newburgh, second; Daw of
New York, third; Burns, fourth. Third race, four-oars, the Dan
Bryant won, defeating the George J. Brown and Experiment, of New
York, and the F. G. Wood, of Newburgh.

1S58, August 27, Springfield regatta, first race, four-oars, F. G.
Wood, of Newburgh, first; Dan Bryant, of New York, second; Bonita,
of New London; Pride of Boston, of Boston.

1858, September 15, at Newburgh, Josh Ward vs. John Hancon;
Ward's first single scull match; distance two miles, won by Ward by
two lengths. Time 16:07.

In the four-oared race of July 4, 1859, at Newburgh, the F. G.
Wood won, defeating the Dan Bryant and the George J. Brown, of
New York, and the John D. Kelly, of Newburgh. The Wood was
rowed by T. Donoghue, B. Marvel, Peter Hunt and William Tuthill.
John Hancon won the single scull race.

These were the first of a long series of races and regattas in
which Newburgh oarsmen participated. From the oarsmen which
the contests at Newburgh Bay developed sprang in a great measure
all the principal contests which occurred in this country for years af-
terwards. There was at that period no marked distinction between
amateurs and professionals. It was the custom to offer small money
prizes at nearly all regattas. We cannot attempt to note all the

At this time, and in fact for a long time afterward, John Hancon
ranked high as an excellent oarsmen. He learned the trade of boat-
builder and oar-maker with the Shaws in Newburgh, but afterwards
moved to Cornwall, where he still resides. August 4, 1859, at Lake
Quinsigamond, Worcester, he defeated T. F. Doyle, champion of
Boston; T. Daw, champion of New York; and A. Fay of Brooklyn.
On the 15th of the same month he defeated Fay and Burns at Staten
Island. On the same day and place there was a championship race
for four-oared crews. The entries were the Dan Bryant (now of New-
burgh), and the William Lisle, of Newburgh; the George J. Brown, of
New York, and three other crews. The Bryant came in first, the
Brown second. The Bryant was rowed by Josh, and Hank Ward,
George W. Shaw and Oscar Teed. The Lisle, rowed by T. Donoghue,
A. Shaffer. W. Tuthill and Peter Hunt, was ahead at the stakeboat,
but met with an accident and withdrew.

September 12, 1859, a match race for a thousand dollars was rowed
on the Harlem River between the Bryant crew and the George J.

Brown crew, of New York. The Bryant crew were Josh, and Hank
Ward, O. Teed and G. W. Shaw. The Brown crew were W. H.
Dexter, D. Leary, W. Boggs and P. O'Brien. The crews fouled each
other, and the race was declared a draw. On the 29th of the same
month Shaw and Ward won the double-sculling race at Albany, and
John Hancon the single sculling race.

Hancon's many victories aroused a controversy as to who was the
champion sculler of America, and to settle this question a champion-
ship belt was designed and made by Tiffany & Co., of New York,
and a championship race arranged for Tuesday, October 11, 1859, at
Staten Island. The competitors were Ward, Hancon, Daw and Fay.
Ward rowed in the Major Morton, built by Timothy Donoghue (at
the expense of Benjamin B. Odell). Ward took the lead early in the
race, turned the two-and-one-half mile stake-boat thirteen seconds
ahead of Fay, and came home in the remarkable time of thirty-five
minutes and ten seconds. This time has never been equaled by any
oarsman in the world. The course was full five miles, regularly sur-
veyed by the U. S. Revenue Cutter, Harriet Lane, expressly for this
race. A month later Ward defeated the same oarsmen at Boston.

Joshua Ward was born in the Town of Newburgh May 11, 1838,
and during the early part of his racing career lived at "Mud Hole,"
north of the city limits. Thence he moved to the neighboring village
of Cornwall, where he now resides. The Ward family of oarsmen
are descended from William Ward, who was a resident of Newburgh
as early as- 1726.

Another red-letter day in the history of Newburgh oarsmen was
July 25, i860, at Lake Quinsigamond. Josh. Ward won the single
scull race in the Oscar Teed; Walter Brown and Charles F. June
won the double-scull race, and the Gersh Banker the six and four-
oared race. In the latter race the six-oared boats made an allowance
of 30 seconds to the four-oared boats. The Banker was a six-oared
boat built by Thomas Shaw & Sons. It was rowed by Joshua Ward,
stroke, George W. Shaw, Benjamin Marvel, William Tuthill, Charles
Sarvis and Peter Hunt, all of Newburgh. Several college crews
entered for this race. The Brown college crew had just received a
new boat built by Timothy Donoghue, but because of an accident to
the boat just before the race they did not start. The Banker covered
the three miles in 18:37, the fastest time then on record; Yale
second; Union, of Boston, third; Quickstep, of Boston, fourth. In
their race Brown and June defeated Doyle and Colbert, the champion
crew of Boston, and others. They won by more than two minutes in
the three miles. They rowed in a new boat called the Noddle, by
special request of the builder, Valerie, of Boston. It was built for
Doyle and Colbert to row in, but they condemned it. The victory of
the Noddle elated the Boston builder. He refused a large price for
the boat, and put it on exhibition in a Boston hotel.

In September, 1S60, at Poughkeepsie, Timothy Donoghue and
Walter Brown, of Newburgh, won the double-scull race, five miles,
36: 15, defeating among others Gilbert Ward and John Hancon.

October 4, 1S64, at Newburgh, Joshua and Gilbert Ward, T.
Donoghue and Charles Sarvis, rowing in the F. G. Wood, defeated
the Stranger crew, of Poughkeepsie.

Joshua Ward held the sculling championship, defeating allcomers,
till August 13, 1S64, when James Hamill, of Pittsburgh, wrested it
from him on the Schuylkill, and the next day defeated Ward again,
but in less than a year Ward won it back at Poughkeepsie. In Sep-
tember, 1S63, Hamill won the championship again from Ward at
Poughkeepsie, and on July 19, 1864, in Pittsburgh, again defeated

Walter Brown was the next to challenge for the belt. He was
then living at Portland, Maine. He was born on the upper Hudson,
in 1840, but came to Newburgh when four years old. He attended
school till the Autumn of 1S56, and then was apprenticed to John D.
Kelly, to learn the carpenter trade, and afterwards worked for the
Shaws. This brought him in contact with George W. Shaw and
Timothy Donoghue, to whom Brown expressed himself indebted
for the principles of rowing. About 1864 he moved to Portland
and engaged in boat-building. In 1866 he defeated Joshua Ward
twice— first in July at a regatta at Worcester, and next in September
in a match race at Portland; but the next week Ward defeated Brown



at Springfield. Brown then challenged any sculler in the country,
and Hamill accepted. May 21, 1867, Brown won the championship
at Pittsburgh. Hamill thereupon challenged Brown to race at New-
burgh, September 6. On that day thousands of people flocked here
from all parts. The city police were reinforced by a large number of
officers from New York. The New York " rough " was in the ascend-

" Rich and rare were the oaths he swore,
And the Kohinoor in his shirt he wore."

Because of rough water the race was not started till 6.30 a. m.,
Monday, September 9. Hamill led for a mile, when Brown passed
him, and led by a length or two, but held the lead only for a short
distance. Near the stakeboat Hamill was three lengths ahead; for
some unknown reason he stopped at the stakeboat, and Brown ran
into him, knocking a hole in Hamill's boat. The referee, Stephen Rob-
erts, of New York, gave the race to Hamill.

In 1865, at New York, Henry, Charles, Gilbert and Josh. Ward
vanquished the Stevens crew, of Poughkeepsie, and the same year
defeated the Biglin crew, of New York, at Sing Sing.

In September, 1867, at Springfield, on the Connecticut River, the
Wards easily defeated a picked crew from St. John, N. B., in a contest
for $1,000 and the American championship, course three miles to
stakeboat and return, the Wards winning in the Bryant in 39 m. 28 s.

In July, 1868, at Worcester, Josh. Ward and four of his brothers
and J. L. Raymond beat the Harvard crew in 17 m. 40^ s., the fastest
time ever made in America over a three-mile turning course.

In October, 1868, St. John, N. B., sent to the same course its
" Paris crew," which in the exposition races of 1867 had beaten the
picked crews of England and France, and now won $3,000 and the
championship, covering the six miles in 39 m. 28^ s., the Wards
coming in 1 minute behind. The St. John crew were afterwards
beaten by the Renforth (Tyne) crew of England, at Lachine, Canada.

But on September 11, 1S71, at Saratoga Lake, came the greatest
international race of all. The contestants were the Ward Brothers,
the Tyne crew, of England, the Taylor-Winship crew, of England,
the Coulter-Biglin crew, of New York, the Pittsburgh crew, and the
Stevens crew from Poughkeepsie. The Wards won, making the four
miles in 24 minutes, 40 seconds.


It has been said that the history of skating — that is, speed skat-
ing — in this country, if ever written, must be written at Newburgh,
which is now, and, our oldest residents say, always was, " the head-
quarters for fast skaters." About 1S15-20, Jacob June, John Decker
and Charles Payne (colored), were the fastest skaters in these parts.
At a later period, John Gains, of Newburgh, was accounted the
fastest in the United States. One of the great races of that time oc-
curred in the Winter of 1S39-40. The distance was two miles, and
the starters were John Gains, William Hawkins, James Moshier and
Charles F. June, of Newburgh; Harrison Moshier, of Breakneck, and
Burger, of Albany. Burger had often said he could beat Gains, and
this race virtually decided the championship of the Hudson River.
Gains won the race, Hawkins second, and James Moshier and June
making a dead heat for the third prize. Burger was fifth in the race.
June and Moshier skated immediately afterward for the third prize,
and Moshier won by six feet; time, 7 minutes, 42 seconds. The next
day Gains and Hawkins skated a match race, one mile, in a circle.
Gains won. John C. Stevens, of New York, a wealthy sporting man,
offered a prize to any person who would skate one mile in three
minutes without the aid of the wind. Gains skated for the prize, and
on a dead calm day in Stevens' presence, at Haverstraw, covered a
measured mile inside of the required time.

Charles F. June, at the time referred to above, was a lad of sixteen.
His performances were considered remarkable for one of his age,
his competitors in the race having been men. Gains took him in
hand to train, and every favorable night the young skater received
his lesson from the old expert where no prying eyes could see them.
The next Winter June was entered in a race at Cornwall, in which
William Hawkins, Harrison Moshier, James Moshier and Piatt Moshier

also skated, distance one-half mile out and back; June won easily.
In 1849 a match was arranged between "Wash." Moshier and June,
which June won. June eventually became the acknowledged cham-

A challenge was published, in 1S60, in the New 1 'ork Herald that
he would skate any man in the United States or Canada, from one to
ten miles, for $1,000 to $10,000 a side. The challenge remained open
three weeks, but was not accepted.

Another fast skater of that period was George W. Shaw, and many
believed him the equal of June, but in two regular races he was de-
feated by June. In 1S53 Mr. Shaw skated a measured quarter-mile
in 32 seconds, and once skated a mile in 2 minutes and 35 seconds
with the wind. The following reminiscences are credited to Mr. Shaw
by a local paper:

" We didn't skate against time those days, not much. We would match our
best men, and the fastest man came in ahead— that's all. But one day ' Nat '
Belknap, Captain Tommy Ring and a lot more came in the shop and says,
' Shaw, we've staked a quarter-mile out here and want to time you. Will you
go? Now, in those days, we didn't follow skating as a business, and when we
took a half day off to skate it meant half a day off pay, too. But, thinks I, 'all
work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,' so I says, ' here goes.' When I skated
the first heat they marked 36 seconds. Says I, 'Gentlemen, I can beat that,'
and I did beat it just two seconds. Says I, 'Gentlemen, I can beat that, too,'
and by the great horn spoon I did, for they marked the time 32 seconds. Why

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