An October Race 131 Years Ago

The other day rowing historian Bill Lanoutte of Washington DC sent me an e-mail with an article from Omaha Daily Bee, Saturday October 10, 1874. On the front cover of the paper is a report of a race on the Hudson between professional scullers John Biglin (picture from Daily Graphic 16 July 1873) and Joseph Ten Eyck (in the article as ‘Teneyck’). This 131-year-old article reads:

A large crowd of sporting men assembled this morning to witness the great boat race between Joseph Teneyck and John Biglin, distance three miles, for $1,000 and the State championship. At 9 o’clock preparations were made for the contest.

Charlie Ward was selected as judge for Biglin, and Thomas Lewis for Teneyck. Commodore Voorhees was appointed referee. At 9:20 Teneyck launched his shell, and a few minutes later Biglin rowed up to the starting point. The betting, which had been at $100 to $80 on Biglin, was now $100 to $60.

Teneyck took the lead at the start but was soon passed by Biglin, who rowed a much more powerful stroke.

At the coal dock, half a mile from the start, Biglin was leading Teneyck by half a length, and the latter struggling hard to again lead. As boats approached the upper stake boat Biglin began to ease up, and Teneyck by a powerful spurt drew up to a level with Biglin, when the latter shot his boat to the front and turned his stake boat, one mile and a half from the starting point in eleven minutes. The return race was an exciting one, Teneyck drew up level with Biglin and a hard struggle ensued for the first position; here Biglin’s splendid staying qualities began to tell, and he took the lead and won the race. Time 23 minutes; Teneycke’s time was 33:02.

My thanks to Bill for sharing his find!

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