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Sing Sing Yacht Club 1888 - 1902

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The Sing Sing Boat Club  was organized in 1887 and grew rapidly under the leadership of Ralph Brandreth, their Commodore.  Brandreth was a leading citizen of the village, and was instrumental in the club’s growth.  He nurtured club racing by offering valuable prizes for winners.  In 1888 the members incorporated themselves as the Sing Sing Yacht Club (SSYC) and leased the new boathouse Brandreth had just constructed for the club on his waterfront property.  Ralph Brandreth remained their Commodore for 16 years until 1902.

After about the first six years, a division of interests occurred within the membership causing many to leave the SSYC and form the Ossining Yacht Club, who purchased and raced all of the fast sailboats of the SSYC fleet.  Those who remained in SSYC expanded their social activities and gravitated toward motorboats, which were new at that time.

This separation of clubs continued until about 1901-2, when the membership of the Ossining Yacht Club rejoined the SSYC.  About this same time, Ralph Brandreth stepped down from his leadership role. The Village of Sing Sing changed its name to Ossining, and the name of the SSYC was changed to the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club. These changes marked the end of one era for the Club and the beginning of another.



The Sing Sing Yacht Club.  The Sing Sing Boat Club formally disbanded last Monday evening, and the newly incorporated Yacht Club was permanently organized.  The membership list is that of the old Boat Club, and the new organization will no doubt take rank with the first clubs in the country.

   A pleasant feature of Monday evening’s business was the financial report of the committee, which managed the recent Minstrel Entertainment.  The net earnings were $200, an announcement which was received with applause.

   The annual election of officers of the Yacht Club resulted as follows:


Ralph Brandreth

Vice Commodore

W W Washburne

Rear Commodore

Benj. R Smith


W L Onyans


Joseph Thompson


Philip Samstag

--The Republican 3.07.1889

The Yacht Club Minstrels.  Seven hundred people held down the settees in Olive Opera house on the evening of Washington’s Birthday.  They bore the affliction in order to witness the performance of the Sing Sing Yacht Club Minstrels, and although the ordeal was quite equal to any of the tortures of the inquisition, no one seemed to regret the deed.  It was, indeed, the largest audience that has assembled in that edifice for many a long day.  Gathered in the number were many from out of town, the neighboring villages contributing to the number of the audience, many being present from Yonkers, Irvington, Tarrytown and Peekskill, while the back country also furnished many to join in the laughter created by the amateurs in the burnt cork. 

It was about a quarter past the first bell in the starboard watch when the curtain rolled up, and after it had accomplished getting there with the usual accompaniment of noise the house greeted the following artists in cork and full dress suits with applause.

Olive Opera House

 Interlocutor Wm. Henry Rowe introduced the end men, Stuart Baker, bones, and William E Barlow, tambourine, and the evening’s entertainment was opened by a musical medley by Professor Henry J Rall, who arranged the musical parts and led the celebrated orchestra of Professor Louis J Cornu, of New York City, with their Teutonic faces covered with burnt cork, in doing up the instrumental part of the programme.

   Then after the audience finished applauding that, they laughed and giggled at the jokes of the end men, until George Hyatt sung “Good-Night, but not Good Bye”.  After the singer had responded to an encore, which, by the way, followed every thing, David H Benedict sang “The Old Street Lamp,” after responding to what was now the inevitable, Stuart Baker sang “Many a Time”, an effusion which reflected slightly on his friend Benedict.  “With all Her Faults” was the burden of a song by John F Jenkins and it transpired that he loved her still. 


professional standard of minstrelsy.  Fresh and vivacious fun was being uncorked on both ends, and the singers were dissecting their numbers in excellent style.  Surely these could not be our young men about the village giving vent to mirth and merriment with their songs and jokes, but they were, and the audience kept on growing interested. -- Rebublican 2.28.1889

Yacht Club Notice.  The plans and specifications for the erection of the quarters for the Sing Sing Yacht Club have been placed in the hands of the builders, and as soon as the award is made work will be commenced.  Rear Commodore Benjamin R Smith, who profitably spends his time as builder when he is not sailing the staunch Cora, has about completed building the dock required for the erection of the edifice. --Republican 04.18.1889

River Ripples. --Peter Clausen, a South Brooklyn blonde, who has heretofore sailed the seas, has been appointed Boat keeper by the Sing Sing Yacht Club.  During his short term of duty Peter has won favor among the members by his practical and obliging ways and bids fair to fill the bill to perfection, thus showing that his election is commendable.

---Contractor Smith is raising the Sing Sing Yacht Club quarters with a speed of the wind, only that element will find hard work to shake it.  So rapid has been the progress the question of a grand opening on Decoration Day is already a surety.  There will be music, fireworks and refreshments in the evening to top off the sports of the day, which, by the way, will be devoted to a race for the club pennant
--Republican 05.16.1889

The Sing Sing Yacht Club.     On last Decoration Day the organization celebrated one era in its existence.  That was the opening of the new club house, which is situated on the river front just above the Upper Dock, opposite Major Symonds’ School.   

   A large number of guests were present at the formal opening of the club house in the evening.  The house was gaily decorated with a large number of Japanese lanterns and the brilliant illumination of the electric lights with which the house is furnished shown through the windows to bid welcome to the coming guests.  Rall’s orchestra was there to please the ears and make every body’s feet fretful until the floor was waxed and Caterer Sanford with his attendants were making active preparations for serving the refreshments, which were a bountiful supply of ice cream, cake and strawberries.

   In the meanwhile, the guests were occupying camp chairs in front of the house witnessing a pyrotechnic display by Messrs Onyans & Kamp, who fired the “Ah!” producing pieces from the float in front of the house.  After the glare of the red fire, the noise of the bomb and the last rocket stick had came down from up near the clouds, dancing commenced.  The Corinthians told the ladies that this part of the programme was only a test of the strength of the building, and as the fair ones were anxious on this score the edifice was thoroughly tested and pronounced perfectly safe and a capital place to waltz or polka.  It was well towards the witching hour when the big door of the boat house closed and the last of the happy participants in the opening of the Sing Sing Yacht Club started homeward.


The new club house is a plain but commodious building, which has been substantially constructed by Contractor John Smith.  It is seventy-five feet long by twenty-five in width, being two stories in height.  The lowerfloor is devoted to locker room, and a general storage. On the upper floor is a large meeting room, boat-keeper’s quarters and lady’s toilet room. In front is a large piazza from which a splendid view of Tappan Zee may be obtained.  The building is lighted by electricity, and will be fitted up neatly ere it is finished, the builders not having completed it as yet.--The Republican 06.06.1889

Sing Sing Yacht Club Notes.  Col. Franklin Brandreth’s steam launch Buttercup has come off of Smith’s ways at Nyack, thoroughly overhauled and painted.

--The fall regatta of the Columbia Yacht Club will be held on Thursday, September 18th, and will be open to the yachts of the clubs constituting the New York Yacht Racing Association.

--There was quite a large bevy of ladies at the club house on Wednesday, which is set aside as Ladies’ Day.  There was one disappointment to the fair visitors and that was because the piazza is shut off from use, as a new coat of paint has not thoroughly set as yet.  This disappointment was quite allayed by inspecting the cosy quarters and taken in the grand views to be seen from the observation windows.

--The storm of Tuesday night nearly swamped the boats of the fleet, the rain filling the standing room in most of the yachts moored at the anchorage.  Boatkeeper Peter Clausen had a long spell of pumping them out and airing sails on Wednesday morning, but fortunately all the boats were safe and sound to need such attention.




--Treasurer Thompson, Secretary Dennis, William and John Haff and Fred S Jenks had a wild sail on Friday night.  They went to Peekskill in the latter’s yacht Oneita in the afternoon and got becalmed on the voyage home.  The boat was drifting through Haverstraw Bay when the thunderous squall of that night started out on business, and struck the boat with all its fury.  Between the wind and rain, and the blackness of the night they had a pretty adventurous time ere they reached the anchorage.  The sail in from the Point was made under bare poles. --Republican 08.28.1890

Sing Sing Yacht Club Notes. 
Col. Franklin Brandreth has become infatuated with the electric light fishing scheme.  He has perfected it and got it down to scientific principles.  A thirty-two candle power light is now submerged off the club house float of a night and the sport goes on with a zest born of the novelty of the idea.  The bulb in which the light burns is protected by a heavy glass globe and the current is conveyed underneath the water by the regulation wire covered with a heavy rubber insulator.  The fish flock around the light in all their inquisitiveness, and are lured out of the water in surprising numbers.  Col. Brandreth captured forty five, big perch on Monday evening in a little less than an hour’s angling, beside a lot of small fry that were returned to the waters again to be caught some more, if they were not satisfied with their investigation.--Repbulcian 09.18.1890

Original Sing Sing Club House

Sing Sing Yacht Club Notes
--Water is to be introduced into the clubhouse from the mains of the Sing Sing Water Works.

--The members of the Sing Sing Yacht Club have been invited to attend the annual “planked shad celebration of the Jersey City  Yacht Club, on Saturday next.

--The club regatta for the champion pennant will be held on Decoration Day and the fleet will probably rendezvous at Nyack in the afternoon and join the amateur tars of the Columbia and Yonkers Corinthian Yacht Clubs in a social time, and fresco the handsome village under the Hook Mountain a lurid red.

--The Uniform Committee – Vice-commodore W W Washburne, Col. B Stuyvesant Gibson and J Herbert Carpenter reported in favor of adopting a blue flannel suit, with a double breasted coat and appropriate buttons, and a yachting cap after the style of the New York Yacht Club, with the Sewanhaka Yacht Club trimmings, as a club uniform with the usual devices as designations of rank, and such will hereafter be the prescribed dress toggery, their recommendations having been adopted. --Republican 05.08.1890

Sing Sing Yacht Club Notes. --Col. Franklin Brandreth has presented four colored lithographs to the club.  They are handsomely framed in oak, and are hung in the panels over the windows.  They are entitled, “Sunset at Robbins Reef,” “The Early Racers,” “Ice Boating on the Hudson,” and a plate of the American Steam Yacht Club colors. --The Republican 09.25.1890


The Yacht Club Shooting Gallery.  The members of the Sing Sing Yacht Club managed to make things lively in the spar room of the club house of an evening lately through the aid of a shooting gallery they have established to break up the monotony of time

between seasons.  A pool target, counting thirteen for a center is shot at over a range of fifty feet.  At this distance most of the marksmen can make a very creditable score, when it is taken into consideration that the center is hardly as large as a half a dollar. --The Republican 12.25.1890

Pauline B Again a Winner.  Our famous little catboat, Pauline B, belonging to the fleet of the Sing Sing Yacht Club, was one of the participants in the regatta of the Yonkers Corinthian Yacht Club, last Saturday afternoon.  There were also representatives from the Columbia and Hudson River Yacht Clubs.  The fastest yachts in all the clubs were there, but notwithstanding that, the little Pauline B cut out the course for them all and led the fleet of seventeen over the same, including the sloops.  She was in Class G, the only other member of which class was not with her once. --Democratic Register 09.19.1891

Yachting Notes.  --There is every indication that the “Rough and Ready Races” will revive quite an interest among the boat owners while the non-boat owners are doing a good deal of talking in regard to the prowess of their favorite crafts.  The first race will take place on Saturday, the start being called for two o’clock in the afternoon.  The course will be to and around the Tarrytown buoy and return, without

restriction as to time limit.  Each boat must be sailed by a member of the organization, and any non-professional can be one of the crew.  The prize will be a pennant in each class.  This must be worn three times to become the property of the successful boat. --The Democratic Register 09.19.1891

Sing Sing Yacht Club
.  This club has grown so proficient upon the old billiard table they have at their clubhouse that they have decided to dispense with it and have purchased two new tables from the Brunswick and Balke Company, one for billiards, and the other for the game of pool.  This club is not asleep or dormant this winter, but is having a good social time.
--The Democratic Republican 02.03.1894


Desire for Club Life.  The desire for club life is growing hereabouts, and we hear of one or two projects on foot to from a men’s club, such as is in operation in Yonkers, Peekskill, and other progressive places.

The Sing Sing Yacht Club, since it has become a social club in winter, has increased so in popularity that it has doubled its initiation fee of ten dollars, and now it costs twenty dollars to enter its membership. --The Democratic Republican 3.03.1894

--The Sing Sing Yacht Club has leased the second floor of the Foshay block, entrance on Spring street, for a club room, to which they will remove their billiard and pool tables.  This will be much more convenient for the members when they wish to manipulate the spheres.  It is said the club will have a naphtha yacht race on Labor Day --.8.06.1898--The Sing Sing Yacht Club has leased the second floor of the Foshay block, entrance on Spring street, for a club room, to which they will remove their billiard and pool tables.  This will be much more convenient for the members when they wish to manipulate the spheres.  It is said the club will have a naphtha yacht race on Labor Day --.8.06.1898