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The Team’s Formation

Image of a riverbank in the Renforth area of Rothesay, New Brunswick prior to the Paris Crew's participation in the International Rowing Regatta in July 1867. This photograph is in black and white, and quite faded due to its age and personal photography equipment available at that time. There are a number of different boats on the water including the Paris Crew in their four-person rowing scull, single rowers, and others in one-person and two-person canoes. Along the banks of the river is a wooded area and what appear to be three barns or boat houses.

The Kennebecasis River (a tributary of the Saint John River) in Rothesay, NB showing a typical 19th century four-person rowing scull.

Just imagine yourself standing on the banks of the Saint John Harbour in the mid 19th century. The city is buzzing and the harbour is equally busy with water-based industry, ships of all sizes and shape pulling in and out of the harbour, and residents and tourists taking in the scenes of this picturesque port city.

Near the river’s mouth the waters are turbulent as the highest tides in the world cause the river to reverse its flow twice a day in a narrow gorge called the Reversing Falls. You also notice that the oarsmans working the waters are very rugged and strong, with such prowess on the water. Layer on the fact that brewing rivalries and wagering are motivating rowers to go faster and faster on their quest for bragging rights over their fellow oarsmen. Would they be the best competitive rowers in the world?

Image of a wooden replica of the famed J. A. Harding rowing scull that the Paris Crew would have competed with at the International Rowing Regatta in Paris, France. This model is approximately three feet in length, with four wooden figures representing the four team members.

Wooden sculpture of the Saint John team in their rowing. scull


For several consecutive years the rowing teams from a hamlet within Saint John, known as Indiantown, were considered the best. Rivalries between the rowing crews, from a neighbouring hamlet called the Carleton area, lead them to construct a team of the strongest and best rowers to end the Indiantown dynasty. In the summer of 1866, at a rowing regatta dubbed “Father Dunphy’s Picnic” the Carleton Crew’s final recruit, Robert Price, joined forces with Samuel Hutton, Elijah Ross, and Robert Fulton to win a hotly contested race.  Finally the Carleton Crew had conquered their arch rivals and in doing so scored a measure of revenge. It was this win that would solidify the Carleton Crew’s chances of becoming World Champions at an upcoming Rowing Regatta in Paris, France.

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