Canoe Club

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Rowing and canoeing became popular recreational activities on the Hudson River many years ago.  Sculls, canoes and sailing canoes were  common sights, and canoes were often rented for week-end excursions. This page reproduces newspaper articles of early rowing and canoeing events, and the growth of the Shattemuc Canoe Club at Sing Sing, now known as Ossining, N.Y.

The Shattemuc were a dozen or so avid canoeists who continued the racing tradition of earlier Sing Singers.  Their fame peaked in 1887 when they hosted the annual Hudson River Meet of the American Canoe Association at Croton Point.  By 1889, however, most of their members joined the newly formed Sing Sing Yacht Club to sail sandbaggers, and the Club became inactive shortly thereafter.  Many of these canoeists remained in the American Canoe Association, and in 1896 the Canoe Club was reorganize.  In 1902 it merged with the Yacht Club and “the name and flag of the Shattemuc Canoe Club was maintain, and thus the organization became as a wheel within a wheel, keeping its place among the canoe clubs in the American Canoe Association.”  The name of the Club was changed at that time to the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club, subsequently shortened to the Shattemuc Yacht Club.

Grand Regatta at Oscawanna Island  A Three-Mile Race with Turn, for Professional Scullers, for Purse of $200, free to all, in Single Sculls. $100 to first, $60 to second, $40 to third.        --Democratic Register 08.25.1880    


Boat Race  There was an exciting boat race for double-scull working boats on the Hudson on Tuesday afternoon, the contestants being employees of the Brandreth Works and the prize a purse of $10 offered by Mr. Franklin Brandreth.  The crews were as follows: Albert Tompkins and Romeyn Williams; Norman Minnerly and John Kenney; Patrick Flynn and Thomas Thompson; Horace Cummings and Wm. Kidd.  George Bruce and William See were chosen judges, and Morgan Hyatt starter. The race was a very close and pretty one, and was witnessed from the stone wall along the railroad tracks by a large crowd of interested spectators who speculated considerably on the prospective result of the contest. --Democratic Register 05.34.1884

Shattemuc C.C. of Ossining, NY  The Shattemuc C.C. was organized in the early part of the month of December 1884, the officers being as follows: Com. J. Herbert Carpenter; Captain, Wm. M Carpenter; Purser, Thos. J. Hand, Jr. The membership numbered about twenty .

Shattemuc lodge, above left, at Wheelers Dock

The first canoes in the club were of the canvas construction design, being constructed of paper and canvas over a frame of rattan ribs, with a heavy coat of white lead liberally applied to

the canvas . A number of these were built by the members and used on the Hudson, weather and elements permitting. Their length was about 16 ft.; paddles of 14 ft. in length were at first used with the idea of balancing poles.  From the birth of the club the interest grew until it was necessary to seek larger quarters than those occupied on Wheeler’s Dock. 

The Commodore, Franklin Brandreth built a most comfortable and well planned building on his property near the upper dock, and here the club moved in the spring of 1886, still growing and taking it place as the New York press had frequently to say in reports of regattas and cruises, as one of the leading canoe clubs of the State.  In March 1887, the crab was adopted as the totem.

The spring meet of the various clubs along the Hudson was held under the auspices of the Shattemuc on Croton Point, on Decoration Day, 1887.  Speaking of this successful meet, one of the “dock rats” of the Newburg Canoe and Boating Association had the following to say on the subject: “The cordial invitation of the Shattemuc C C to their brother canoeists to take ‘pot luck’ with them on Decoration Day seems to me to be about the right thing. The custom of a little meet along the river on that day was successfully started three years ago. Why give it up?  Personally it meets my views to a fraction.  The southern delegation should be a large one – good it always is; Brooklyn, New York, and Knickerbocker are generally there in force.  It is too early in the season to speak of those Indians up at the frozen North, but nevertheless I hope to see the Mohicans out in force, and Rondout by the time will have given up ice-boating and should be ready to join in the ‘love feast’ at the Shattemuc beach – the ‘corn dance’ will come later up on at each place to warm their toes at


the big camp-fire and help ‘roll the main down’ is the toast of a Dock Rat.

  There was a convention of the Hudson River Canoeists at Newburg last week.  Among those represented were several from the Shattemuc Canoe Club, of this village…..Shattemuc Club is in a most flourishing condition, has fourteen members and a good house and float at Wheeler’s Dock.  During the summer they intend to have half a dozen regattas, the first to take place on June 13th.---Democratic Register  06.06.1885

Spring Regatta  The spring regatta of the Shattemuc Canoe Club of this village will be held off the club house at Wheeler’s Dock, to-day, commencing at 4 o’clock. The Regatta Committee is composed of H M Carpenter, F D Arthur and T J Hand Jr.  There will be two mile sailing races for two classes, a sailing race over a two-mile course for all classes, and a paddling race, half a mile in length for two classes of boats. The regatta will, no doubt, be very interesting. ---Democratic Register 06.13.1885

Along the Upper Docks. The new boat house for the Shattemuc Canoe club is almost ready for occupancy.  It is on Col. Brandreth’s property and was built by that gentleman for the use of the club.  The landing float is very conveniently placed in a slip between two docks, and the canoeists can enter and leave their boats in smooth water no matter how rough it may be outside. ---The Republican

The Shattemucs and the Pennant.  The challenge pennant offered by Miss Wicks to the members of the Shattemuc Canoe Club has already elicited two spirited contests, and, from the appearance of things, many more are to follow before the season is over.

At the first race, which was a part of the programme for the annual regatta on the 5th, the pennant was won by H M Carpenter. Of course, as soon as he crossed the winning line, the other Shattemucs resolved to carry the conditions of the pennant into effect and challenge for it.  W E Barlow was the first to move, and, the challenge being of course accepted, the race was set down for 5 o’clock last Saturday afternoon.  The conditions of the race being altered so as to admit any other members to enter, the following six canoeists appeared at the post when time was called:  H M Carpenter, W E Barlow, G F Secor, Franklin Brandreth, W S Phraner and C B Carpenter.  The race was over the usual triangular course, which was to be encircled once sailing and once paddling. To a fairly good start H M Carpenter led with Secor second. Going along the first stretch Secor closed, however, and took the lead at the first stake, the others being considerably scattered.  The two leaders kept well together on the second stretch, and Carpenter turned the tables on Secor by reassuming the lead. After turning the second stake and entering the homestretch of the sailing lap, however, a dark horse appeared in the person of C B Carpenter who came away from the rear ones as if they were tied and not only overhauled the leaders but passed them, and, by the time the lap was finished, had secured a good lead.

  The paddling lap was less exciting as C B Carpenter had such a lead that his victory was assured, and he eventually won with a long stretch of water between the second man H M Carpenter.  The victor has been already challenged by the former custodian, and the race is set down for Saturday afternoon of this week at five o’clock.  It seems likely that the pennant will be changing hands with almost clockwork regularity all summer.  The weather is seldom twice alike, and each different condition seems to be favorable to some particular canoe. However, it will make the season lively, and that is what the Shattemucs and their friends want. ---The Republican 06,17.1886

Twenty Years Ago. A shark was seen several times swimming about the river near here. One day he “sized up” a boating party consisting of John T Adcock, B C Feeny, Miss Birdie O’Brien and Miss Alice Adcock, but was unable to get at them. ---Democratic Register 08.25.1906

Camilla Dock and Shattemuc Canoe Club



The Shattemuc Races. A puffy southeast wind prevailed on the river on Saturday and the bold canoe navigators of the Shattemucs had enough of the breezes to push their crafts around in quest of the handsome prizes that were offered for them to contest for.  The gathering clouds and the general unpleasant look of the weather didn't deter a large number of their friends from making their way to the little pier in front of the club quarters and witnessing the event, and they were all seemingly deeply interested in the movements of the little crafts and the outcome of the various contests, The first contest was a sailing race, to the leeward and return, for a silver syrup pitcher, offered by Gen. Ralph Brandreth.  The following canoeists squared their crafts over the staring line: Harry Carpenter, Ralph Brandreth, J.K. Hand, Wilson Phraner, William E. Barlow, Herbert Carpenter, G. Fisher Secor, William Carpenter. The boats all got away in a bunch and the run up the river to a buoy just above the Brandreth works’ store house was very pretty, all the little craft carrying their booms over to port, and looking like so many butterflies, with everything drawing.  Most of the fleet had to tack and wear around the buoy before trimming in, then they all strung out in a southwesterly course in order. to make the finish line with a free sheet  Then the fleet commenced breaking up and each navigator began trying to work in a good position for the run home.  B. Fisher Secor, who was about the last to round the outer mark, had picked up to the majority of the other craft and was working well to the windward when he run his mainsail over a lonely fish net stake and the next feat he performed was to hang on the stake and sit on his canoe to prevent any familiarity with the chilly flood beneath him.  He was speedily rescued by an oarsman in a rowboat and he and his craft escorted to the slip, and he began getting things to rights again for the next race.  Herbert Carpenter finally got over the finish line and was awarded the prize, the rest of the canoeists following at a respectable distance.


The next event on the programme was a sailing race over a triangular course for Commodore Franklin Brandreth’s medal.  The entries were the same as in the first race, and after another fine contest, Herbert Carpenter again crossed the finish line a winner, and thus secured first mortgage on the first prize, while Messrs. Ralph Brandreth and Harry Carpenter secured a grip on the second and third medals respectively. The hero of the capsize, G. Fisher Secor, came in fourth. 

Then came a paddling contest for an elegant silk pennant offered by William E. Barlow.  The course was up the river about two hundred yards and return and the following paddlers entered:  Roger Haddock, Ralph Brandreth, William Carpenter, G. Fisher Secor and William E Barlow.  The latter took the lead from the start and was never headed, and won what was the prettiest contest of the day.  Then the plucky paddler waived his right to the prize, as he had offered it, and it was awarded to William Carpenter who came in second.

After this an attempt was made to decide who would be the wearers of two gold scarf pins offered to the two

paddlers who came in first in a tandem paddling race over a straight-away course.  The prizes were offered by Commodore Brandreth, and the following teams entered.  Roger Haddock and Wilson Phraner, in the Caona; William and Harry Carpenter in the Nellie; Herbert Carpenter and G Fisher Secor, in the Winnekce; Ralph Brandreth and William E Barlow, in the former’s new paddling canoe which is yet unnamed. The start was made down by the Lower Dock and the finish was in front of the club house.  The Caona came in first, but did not finish on the right side of the stake so they were disqualified, and the rest of the crews were disqualified for fouling one another so the contest was declared off.

The “Class A” paddling race was postponed on account of the approaching darkness .-The Republican 09.30.1886

Canoeists in Camp. The annual spring meet of the Hudson River Canoeists is being held this year under the auspices of the Shattemuc Canoe Club of this village. They went into camp last (Friday) evening and will continue there until Monday afternoon. This morning and Monday will be devoted to racing when it is expected some excellent records will be made. At the spot selected there is a good sand beach, a fine place for pitching their tents with an abundance of pure spring water handy. The following clubs are expected to be represented: Amsterdam, Essex and Ianthe of Newark, NJ; Newburgh, Roundout, Yonkers, Poughkeepsie, Mohawk of Troy; Knickerbocker and New York of New York, and the Mohegan of Albany.

Commodore Franklin Brandreth of the Shattemucs has presented a beautiful gold medal for the trophy for the sailing races on Monday and it will be well worth competing for. We wish them a thoroughly enjoyable time. --The Republican 05.28.1887

The Shattemuc’s Races The Shattemuc Canoe Club intended to have a regatta on the fourth, but some of the members were away out of town and others had engagements which prevented them entering, so there was not a regatta, strictly speaking, but they had several pretty races which were watched with interest from the club house or from the steam yacht Camilla, owned by Commodore Franklin Brandreth, who kindly took some guests over the course and a little further.

The first was a sailing race for Class B boats for which J Herbert Carpenter entered the Nellie and Harry Carpenter the Sea Gull. The wind was blowing briskly from the south and kicked up quite a sea.  The skippers of these two little craft had to sit out way to windward to prevent capsizing. They were to sail twice around their old triangular course and did it.  The one winning the best two out of three was to receive the prize – an elegant glass and silver pickle jar.  The Sea


Gull won the first heat and the Nellie the second and third.  It was a very pretty race throughout, and the only pity was there was not more in it.  The Nellie was declared the winner and took the prize.

The second event was a paddling race between Francis Larkin Jr. in the Oneko and Frederick Fisher in the Edith.  The start was from the old club house on Wheeler’s dock, and the finish off the present club house.  Fisher maintained the lead until the finish when Larkin spurted and crossed the line about a third of a length in the lead. They had had all they could do to prevent capsizing in the rough water.  Mr. Larking took the prize – a pretty glass pitcher.

The last race was a tandem race, in which two get into each canoe and paddle together.  The contestants in this were H M Carpenter and Frederick Fisher in one canoe and Talbot Simpson and Paul B Rossire of the Yonkers Yacht Club in another.  The latter crew with several others had been camping out since Saturday at Underhill Point and were on their way home.  They had just stopped to pay a fraternal visit and went into the race for the sport of it.  As it turned out, they won by about two lengths.--The Republican 07.09.1887

Brief Mention William E Barlow of the Shattemucs was a winner in the tandem race at the canoe meet last week at Lake Champlain. -- The Republican 09.03.1887

Shattemuc Canoe Regatta. A regatta was held by the Shattemuc Canoe Club on the Fourth. There were two events, one was a canoe yawl race to and around the buoy off Northwest Point, six miles in all, in which G F Secor sailed the “Nunky” and H M Carpenter the “Marie B”.  The yawl race was won by the “Marie B”, after a very close race by twelve seconds. In the canoe race, the Nesta won, the second being William EBarlow of Sing Sing B.C. by 45 seconds.  Commodore Franklin Brandreth gave the prizes, a handsome dressing case for the yawl race and a silver cream pitcher for the canoe race. The wind was very strong from the southwest. Just after crossing the line P B Rossire capsized, but with no further damage than a ducking.  There are only three canoe yawls in the county, the other being owned by W P Stephens, of Forest and Stream. This was the first canoe yawl race in this county. --The Republican 07.08.1888

Reorganization of the Shattemuc Canoe Club.  On Wednesday evening last several of our prominent canoeists met, pursuant to a call, at the club house of the Mount Pleasant Field Club, and re-organized the Shattemuc Canoe Club.  This club was originally organized in the spring of 1884, and for several years following was known, not only locally but also generally throughout the country, as one of the leading canoe clubs.

The American Canoe Association, of which several of the Shattemucs are members, holds its annual camp this year at Grindstone Island, in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River, from August 14 to 28.  The Shattemuc Canoe Club will be represented by a party of ten form this village, and the old blue and white burgee will once more float in the breeze of the Canadian border as it did in ’85 and ’86 The object of the club is the advancement and betterment of the members interested in canoeing and in the American Canoe Association.Long may the Shattemuc’s burgee wave.