1899 Season

Curran C. McConville
Curran C. McConville
  Andrew R. Anderson
Andrew R. Anderson
 Results | Summary | Photos | W Winners 

Season Results


Season Summary

At 8:30 AM June 10, 1899, the Badger frosh left Madison over the St. Paul Road for Oconomowoc, WI to row St. John’s Military Academy at 6:30 PM on a 1½ mile straight away course on Lac La Belle. An Oconomowoc dispatch said “train loads of people are arriving to see the contest. Oconomowoc’s Wisconsin Free Press of June 10 described the build-up to the race,

The only rowing race of import in the West this year will be rowed on La Belle Lake this evening between crews of St. John’s Military Academy and the University of Wisconsin freshmen. The crews appear to be quite evenly balanced. St. John’s crew especially, the heaviest men weighing 163 pounds and the lightest 141 pounds, 147 pounds being about average. The cadets will use a paper shell made by Waters of Troy, while the freshmen will row a cedar boat made by Davy of Cambridge. A subscription paper made the rounds of the business men and resorters this week and the required sum of $200 was guaranteed to meet the expenses of pulling off the race.

Wednesday afternoon the St. John’s crew brought their boat to Oconomowoc and went into training on La Belle Lake. A large tent was pitched on the vacant lot opposite the M. -E. parsonage on the shore of the Lake. Where the shell was protected from the wind and weather. Several picked men of the crew are disabled or sick and it is feared substitutes will have to take their places. Tamewell will be coxswain for St. John’s and Ferry for the freshmen.


The Wisconsin Free Press of June 17, 1899 reported, on page 1, the results of the contest:

When the Wisconsin freshmen crew pulled across the line last Saturday evening, it was just 7 minutes and 15 seconds from the time Walter Dupee fired the starting signal and the cadets were 24 seconds behind.

St. John’s lads were the first to take to the water and many a shout of encouragement went out from the landing at Draper Hall pavilion as the cadets pulled up the lake to the starting line. Not more than five minutes later the freshmen eight - big, brawny, brown-backed fellows - were in their boat and following in the wake of the cadets, with such precision as to elicit commendation and applause. The St. John’s wore suits of purple and cardinal while the freshmen dressed in white, but rowed the race with shoulders bare.

The start was made at 2 minutes and 45 seconds past 7 o’clock, the cadets on the inside of the course and Wisconsin on the outside. Both crews struck a good pace at the start, St. John’s rowing forty and Wisconsin thirty-eight. The first quarter was a pretty race, St. John’s keeping pace with the more sturdy freshmen but at the half, the bare backed boys drew about three lengths ahead. At this point, Tamewell, St. John’s cox (and captain) , lost his head and steered wildly, crossing over the curse of the freshmen. At the mile buoy, the Badgers had gained another length and were still widening the space between the boats, until at 7:10, they sped across the line amid shouting and blowing of whistles, eight lengths ahead of the cadets.

The annual eight-oared race between the two crews had attracted hundreds of strangers to Oconomowoc, and every dock and pier from Edgemore, John Dupee’s summer residence, round to Woodland, was crowded with spectators. Every available spot from whence the race could be seen was packed and the lake was dotted with launches and row boats filled with interested lookers-on. The Wisconsin crew came up from Madison earlier this morning, accompanied by Coach McConville and two “subs.” Others were prevented from coming by examination, while St. John’s had hundreds of “rooters” from the academy and Delafield.

A banquet was served the crews at 8:30 PM at Draper Hall at the conclusion of which St. John’s held a meeting at which they extended a vote of thanks to Messrs. John and Walter Dupee, Wm. Hale Thompson and others for generous kindness shown.

The Wisconsin crew remained in the city over Sunday and on invitation attended the alumni banquet Saturday evening at the Hotel Chicago, returning to Madison by way of Milwaukee Sunday evening.

The officials of the race were as follows: Wm. Hale Thompson and Francis Bloodgood Jr., judges at finish; Walter H. Dupee, starter; L. A. Dahlman, referee; C. C. McConville and George N. Stephenson, time keepers.

The Oconomowoc Cornet Band discoursed sweet music at Draper Hall pavilion during the waiting period or while the draws were getting ready for the start.


At the IRA’s:

As an historical note, Cornell, unwilling to row two four mile races too close together, declined to participate in the Harvard-Yale regatta at New London in favor of the Poughkeepsie Regatta on the Hudson. For their part, Harvard and Yale refused to come to Poughkeepsie to race Cornell in a four boat race (actually five, with Wisconsin participating).

The 1899 Poughkeepsie Regatta was Wisconsin’s second IRA and first on the Hudson River; this race became legendary at Wisconsin as the “Berry Crate Race” with the “Haymaker Crew.” The crew, according to the Poughkeepsie Regatta Program of 1899, stayed at the Cannon House just south of the railroad brige and the center of Poughkeepsie on the east side of the Hudson River. UW’s boathouse was near-by.

On June 27, 1899, Wisconsin (20:05.5) lost to Penn (20.04) by 1½ seconds over 4 miles after leading over each of the three-mile markers up to the finish. See the chapter “The Berry Crate Race.”


  1899 UW Varsity Class Age Height Weight
Bow Frederick A. Little ‘01 21 6’2 ½” 155
2 John Q.Lyman ‘01 21 5’7 ½” 141
3 Isreal Mather ‘01 20 6’1” 171
4 S. C. Welsh ‘02 20 6’2” 177
5 William J. Gibson ‘02 21 6’ 1 ½” 170
6 Wm. C. Sutherland ‘02 20 5’10 ½” 164
7 Andrew R. Anderson ‘00 22 6’ 177
Stroke Lynn A. Williams ‘00 21 5’ 10 ½” 155
Cox Joseph G. Dillon ‘00 20 5’1” 106
      Average 5’11 ½” 164 3/4


Will Gibson was the half-uncle (same grandfather as) of George Rea, UW’s crew coach for the 1942-43 season.

Interesting to note is the questioning of authors Curti and Cartensen as to whether the berry crate story was merely an excuse for falling behind Penn. They quote Harvard coach, Andrew O’Dea, in a special account for the Milwaukee Sentinel of June 28, 1899, where they note O’Dea “did not mention the berry crate and declared Penn the best crew."



Haymaker Berrycrate Crew

Caption: The Famous "Haymaker" Crew which astonished the public by almost winning the Intercollegiate race at Poughkeepsie.

Leslie's Weekly Poster, August 27, 1899

(Haymaker Berrycrate Crew


Varsity Training

Varsity Training


Berrycrate Varsity 8
Badger Yearbook of 1901

Berrycrate Varsity 8


Poughkeepsie Course Diagram
Poughkeepsie Regatta Program, 1900

Poughkeepsie Course Diagram



Alonzo A. Chamberlain
Joseph G. Dillon
William J. Gibson
Israel Mather
Louis W. Olson
S. C. Welsh


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