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Hereditary Genius
309
There are in the Appendix only three families, each containing more
than one excellent oarsman; they are Clasper, Matfin, and Taylor,
and the total relationships existing towards the ablest member of each
family are, 8 B and 1 S.
There appears to be no intermarriage, except in the one case that is
mentioned, between the families of the rowers; indeed there is much
jealousy between the rival families.
APPENDIX TO OARSMEN.
“I have not picked and chosen, but have simply taken all the best men I could hear
anything certainly about.”—Extract from MR. WATSON'S Letter.
The 18 men whose names are printed in italics are described below as examples of
hereditary gifts. The remaining 3 are not.
Candlish; Chambers; 5 Clasper; Coombes; Cooper; Kelly; Maddison; 2 Matfin;
Renforth; Sculler; 5 Taylor; Winship.
Candlish, James; a Tyne man, married sister of Henry Clasper, has no children.
[B.] Thomas; a good but not a great rower; has always pulled as one of a crew.
Unmarried.
[B.] Robert; moderately good; has not rowed very often.
Clasper, Henry; very excellent oarsman. Is the most prominent member of a large
and most remarkable family of oarsmen. He was for many years stroke of a
four-oared crew, and frequently the whole crew, including the coxswain, were
members of the Clasper family. For eight years this crew won the
championship of the Tyne. Six times Henry Clasper pulled stroke for the crew
winning the championship of the Thames, and Coombes declared that he was
the best stroke that ever pulled. Up to the year 1859, when he was 47 years
old, he had pulled stroke 78 times in pair- or four-oared matches, and his crew
had been 54 times victorious. He had also pulled in 32 skiff matches and won
20 of them, and had been champion of Scotland upon the only two occasions
on which he contested for it.
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