January 4th, 1919

Reminder of Great Aquatic Event

Articles of Agreement in Paris-Tyne Crew Race on Kennebecasis

Presented to the Y.M.C.I.

August 23, 1871, Date of Contest- James Renforth, Stroke of Tyne Crew, Died.

A very interesting document has been presented to the Y.M.C.I. by Dr. Thomas Walker. Some time ago, Philip M. O'Neil gave to the Institute the four-oared boat in which the famous Paris Crew rowed to victory in the days when St. John furnished champion oarsmen to the world. Dr. Walker, who was one of the most prominent men of his time in the encouragement of aquatic sports, has now made a gift to the Institute of the original agreement made for the race between the Paris (St. John) and Tyne (England) crews on the Kennebecasis on August 23, 1871. The race was the greatest, and most tragic, aquatic event in the history of rowing in St. John, and was witnessed by many thousands of persons. St. John on that morning, indeed, looked like a deserted town. The men were sent off at 7:30 o'clock in the morning.

Both crews were in fine condition, and both confident of victory. When the Tyne crew had gone about a mile and quarter, James Renforth, the stroke oar, fell to the bottom of the boat. Kelly, who was next to him, supported him in his arms, while Chambers and Percy, other members, rowed ashore.

Renforth died before 9 o'clock at his quarters in the Clairmont House, Torryburn, recently destroyed by fire. The Paris Crew - Fulton, Price, Ross, Hutton, - went over the course and were awarded the race. Elijah Ross, West Side, is the sole survivor of the St. John men engaged in the memorable contest.

Here are the articles of agreement:


Between James Renforth, the Champion Sculler of England, and three other English Oarsmen, and Robert Fulton, and three other Oarsmen of St. John, N.B.. For a four-oared Race on the Kennebecasis River near St. John, New Brunswick, in August, 1871.

It is mutually understood and agreed between the two Crews as follows:

I. That they shall row a four-oared race in the best boats each crew can get, on the Kennebecasis River, over the usual Regatta Course, on the 23rd day of August, 1871. The distance to be six (6) miles, (three up river from Torryburn Cove, and back again,) for the sum of Five Hundred Pound Sterling a side, and the Championship. The St. John Crew to row without a Coxswain, and Renforth's Crew to have the right of rowing with or without one, as they may see fit.

II. The Boats to start from Points Buoys, or Line, such Points, Buoys, of Distances on Line, to be not less than thirty (30) yards apart: and to row a distance of three miles up river where there shall be two Stake Boats and turn each Boat its own State Boat, being the one on its own side of starting- the turn to be made from left to right - and back to the line of starting: such turning Stake Boats must be one hundred (100) yards apart .

III. The race to be rowed as above stated, on the 23rd day of August, 1871 between the hours of seven (7) and ten (10) o'clock, A.M., if the water is perfectly smooth. If the water, in the opinion of the Umpires, or in the case of a dissagreement by decision of the Referee, is not smooth, the Renforth Crew shall be empowered to postpont the race to the same hours on the day following, and so on from day to day until the state of the water is favorable.

IV. One half of the Stakes to be deposited by each party in the hands of the Hon. Thomas R. Jones of St. John on the signing of these Articles and the remaining half to be so deposited not later than the 10th day of August, 1871. Either party failing to make such latter deposit within ten days of the specified time, to forfeit the amount previously deposited.

V. The Crews will nominate their respective Umpires and Distance Judges, two days before the race, and at the same time agree upon a Referee.

VI. The Referee, when appointed, shall be fully empowered to settle all and every matter of dispute which may arise. He shall also act as Starter.

VII. The Distance Judges shall be stationed on or near their respective Stake Boats.

VIII. In consideration of the expense incurred by Renforth's Crew, in consequence of the race being rowed on the Kennebecasis River, near St. John, N.B., the St. John Crew hereby bind themselves to pay to Renforth's Crew, not later than the 15th day of August, 1871, and after their arrival at St. John, N.B., the sum of Two Hundred Pounds Sterling.

IX. Renforth's Crew hereby bind themselves not to row any race prior to the 23rd day of August, 1871, during their absence from home, at any place in North America, (St. John, N.B. excepted). The St. John Crew hereby bind themselves to the same.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have hereunder affixed their names this 27th day of February A.D. 1871.

In the Presence of Thomas Walker-

ROBERT FULTON for St. John Crew.

In the presence of Thos. Jno. Pickett-

JAMES RENFORTH for English Crew.