Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Pelham's Grand Traditions of Celebrating the Fourth of July During the 19th and Early 20th Centuries


"From early morning hours when the first fire cracker proclaimed the
dawn of the nation's greatest holiday, until well into the night
when the last skyrocket traveled its course across the sky, the
din of explosions and smell of powder brought recollections
of actual warfare."

----- Newspaper Description of Noisy Fourth of
July Celebration in the Town of Pelham in 1927.

The little Town of Pelham has a longstanding grand tradition of celebrating the Fourth of July in quintessentially-American ways.  Indeed, I have written on a number of occasions regarding grand Fourth of July celebrations in Pelham.  See, e.g.:

Wed., Jul. 04, 2018:  The Village of North Pelham's Grand Fourth of July Celebration in 1907.

Tue., Jul. 04, 2017:  Pelham's Fourth of July Celebration in 1877.

Mon., Jul. 04, 2016:  19th Century Fourth of July Celebrations in the Town of Pelham

Fri., Jul. 04, 2014:  A History of Grand "Small-Town" Fourth of July Celebrations in Pelham.

Fri., Aug. 21, 2009:  Pelhamville's Independence Day Celebration in 1894.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog article continues a tradition of describing fascinating Fourth of July celebrations over the years in the Town of Pelham.  Below are descriptions of celebrations that range between 1878 and 1927.  At the close of today's article is the text of each newspaper article on which the descriptions below are based.  The text of each article is followed by a citation and link to its source.

Quaint Celebration in 1878

Today's Pelhamites certainly would recognize the Fourth of July celebration held in their little town by our predecessors 141 years ago in 1878.  In those days, most of Pelham's population lived on City Island, so the island was ablaze in celebration for much of the day.  

Of course, what would an All-American Fourth be without the National Pastime?  For a week prior to the holiday, City Island's two baseball teams had been preparing for a big baseball game.  The Clam Diggers was the weaker local team.  Yet, for nearly a week its members talked trash to the members of the rival Vails.  According to one account, the Clam Diggers told "the Vails at every opportunity how they were going to beat them."  On the Fourth of July, however, the Vails crushed their trash-talking rivals 23 to 3.  Following the game, the vanquished Clam Diggers relented and told all who would listen that the game was the last they would play against the Vails.

Two local brewers, Diehl's and Loeser's, paraded wagons of their wares.  According to one account, the horses and wagons "presented quite a fine appearance on Monday last, as they drew up in front of the City Island Hotel, with horses and wagons decked with plumes and gay-colored ribbons."

The ladies of the local Methodist Episcopal Church of City Island had grand plans for the day intended to help fund construction of a new church building.  They announced the week before the holiday that they would host "a citizens' picnic and clam-bake, in the Scofield Orchard, near the church parsonage."  The event featured ice cream as well as dinner and refreshments, all in an effort to raise the $6,000 needed to fund and furnish their planned new church building.

As the day waned and darkness fell, financier William Belden hosted a grand fireworks display for all of Pelham on his grand estate on Belden Point at the tip of City Island.  The display cost $500 (roughly $19,000 in today's dollars).  As one would expect a "large number of people assembled on the Point to witness the display" which was accompanied by the City Island Cornet Band.

Pelham Had to Ban Revolvers for the Fourth of July Celebration in 1909

During the 19th century and even well into the early 20th century, it was common for Pelhamites to carry revolvers.  On the Fourth of July each year, such revolvers were used as part of the celebration, particularly by young boys and men.  

By the early years of the 20th century, however, the Village of North Pelham had enacted local legislation that barred the carrying of revolvers or other such weapons in the village.  Nevertheless, in prior years young men and boys ignored the ban on the Fourth of July and fired revolvers into the air as part of the holiday celebration.  

By 1909, the leaders of the Village of North Pelham were fed up with the practice.  Two days before the holiday that year, the Trustees of the village announced that the village would enforce the ban and that "any person caught, having a revolver in his possession, will be arrested."  The Trustees emphasized that they had "taken this action because many boys have used revolvers loaded with ball cartridges in past years and the dangers that have ensued."

1927 May Have Been the Worst of all Pelham Fourth of July Celebrations

By 1927, the availability of fireworks had become so widespread that the Fourth of July celebration seems to have spun out of control.  The holiday was unacceptably noisy due to local fireworks and one of the local fireworks stands set up in the town to sell explosives caught fire and burned.  The fire spread to, and completely destroyed, the adjacent De Feo & Donati Electrical Shop on Fifth Avenue.  Other nearby stores were damaged by water and smoke.  

Pelhamites, of course, grew increasingly unhappy with the nature of the celebration.  

The Town of Pelham no longer followed a tradition of a grand Fourth of July parade in 1927.  The problem, according to the local newspaper, was that the week of the Fourth of July holiday was among the most popular vacation weeks of the year.  The Town reportedly was a shadow of itself during the week as many thousands of Pelhamites left for "vacation resorts."  

Lack of crowds, however, did not stop those left behind from celebrating.  Indeed, fireworks were easy to procure.  Local fireworks stands sprang up within the town and sold fireworks to virtually all comers.  The stands seem to have been located everywhere.  Ironically, there was one located directly across the street from the Pelham Fire Department.

Fireworks advertisements filled the local newspaper.  Stands such as Subitsky's Fireworks Stand (located opposite the Pelham Post Office on Fifth Avenue) carried a vast assortment of items including:  Salutes, Roman Candles, Cap Canes, Skyrockets From 1 oz. to 4 pounds, Sparklers, Jumping Jacks, Essex Tanks, Pin Wheels, Flashlight Crackers, Giant Crackers, Cock O' the Walk, Torpedoes, Fire Balloons, Devils-on-the-Walk, Ten Minute Torches, Five Minute Torches, Thunderbolts, Radio Candles, Fountains, Mines, Bingoes, Golden Shower, Serpent Hats, Flower Pots, Triangle Pin Wheels, Snakes, Aerial Flash Salutes, Railroad Torches, and Red and Green Fire.  

Today, of course, on the evening of July 4th, many Pelhamites head to the grounds of the New York Athletic Club or to Shore Park next door to watch the NYAC fireworks set off from Travers Island.  



Newspaper Advertisement for Electrical Store Burned and Destroyed
When Fireworks Stand Outside the Store Ignited on July 4, 1927.
Source:  WE WERE BURNED OUT!, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 8, 1927,
Vol. 18, No. 20, p. 1, cols. 6-7.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.
Text of Advertisement Transcribed Below to Facilitate Search.



Newspaper Advertisement for Sale of Fireworks at Fireworks
Stand Located, Ironically, Across the Street from the Pelham
Firehouse.  Source:  FIREWORKS! for the 4th, The Pelham
Sun, July 1, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 19, p. 12, cols. 1-7 (NOTE:
Click on Image to Enlarge).  Text of Advertisement Transcribed
Below to Facilitate Search.

"FIREWORKS! FIREWORKS! FIREWORKS! for the 4th FIREWORKS! FIREWORKS! FIREWORKS! GREAT BIG STOCK ALL READY FOR YOU TO SELECT FROM

You Get Your Fireworks For Less at Pelham Paint & Hardware Company

Firework Stand Opposite Fire Headquarters Fifth Avenue, Pelham

SAFE AND SANE

SAFE AND SANE"



Advertisement for Sale of Fireworks in Pelham Manor for
July 4, 1927.  Source:  FIREWORKS!, The Pelham Sun,
Jul. 1, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 19, p. 10, cols. 4-5 (NOTE:
Click on Image to Enlarge).  Transcript of Text Appears
Immediately Below to Facilitate Search.

"FIREWORKS!

BIG STOCK OF ALL KINDS OF FIREWORKS TO CELEBRATE THE FOURTH

Get Your Fireworks In Pelham Manor AT BURGESS B. FIELD SERVICE STATION
BOSTON ROAD and PELHAM PARKWAY
(Foot of Secor Hill, Boston Rd., Pelham Manor)"



1927 Newspaper Advertisement for Subitsky's Firework Stand
Opposite the Pelham Post Office.  Source:  Hooray July 4th,
The Pelham Sun, Jul. 1, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 19, p. 16, col. 1
(NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge).  Transcript of Text
Appears Immediately Below to Facilitate Search.

"Hooray July 4th A GREAT BIG STOCK OF FIREWORKS!
Lots of Noise Makers But No Trouble Makers
-----
FINEST ASSORTMENT IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY
-----
Living Up to Subitsky's Motto of Leading the Way

Salutes, Roman Candles, Cap Canes, Skyrockets From 1 oz. to 4 pounds, Sparklers, Jumping Jacks, Essex Tanks, Pin Wheels, Flashlight Crackers, Giant Crackers, Cock O' the Walk, Torpedoes, Fire Balloons, Devils-on-the-Walk, Ten Minute Torches, Five Minute Torches, Thunderbolts, Radio Candles, Fountains, Mines

Assortments, $1.00 Upward

Bingoes, Golden Shower, Serpent Hats, Flower Pots, Triangle Pin Wheels, Snakes, Aerial Flash Salutes, Railroad Torches, Red and Green Fire
-----
DON'T WAIT -- GET YOUR ASSORTMENT EARLY
-----
SUBITSKY'S FIREWORK STAND
(Opposite the Post Office)
Fifth Avenue Pelham"

"WE WERE BURNED OUT!
But We Are Not Quitting Business!

De Feo & Donati, proprietors of the electrical store at 149 Fifth Avenue which was burned in Monday's fire wish to announce that they have secured temporary premises immediately opposite the Post Office on Fifth Avenue.

Estimates on electrical work or radio installations and our general business will be conducted from that address for a time.  Our telephone number is Pelham 2753.  Only our stock was burned.  The skill of our workmen is still at your service.

We Thank Our Patrons for the Many Kindly Messages We Have Received During the Last Few Days"





Cover of the Program for the July 4, 1907 Celebration. Source: Original
Held in Private Collection, But Image Provided to The Office of The
Historian of The Town of Pelham. NOTE: Click on Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *

"City Island.

On Thursday, July 4th, the ladies of the M. E. Church of City Island propose holding a citizens' picnic and clam-bake, in the Scofield Orchard, near the church parsonage.  Proceeds for the benefit of the crew church in contemplation.  Dinner, ice cream and other refreshments can be procured on the grounds.  If the day should prove stormy, the picnic will be held the next fair day.  It is to be hoped that the ladies will reap a large sum from this enterprise, thereby helping to forward the new church movement.  The old church is entirely too small for the congregations that meet in it from time to time.  The people of City Island have done nobly.  Thus far over $2,000 have been pledged, and it only remains for a few of the wealthy men on and near City Island to swell the amount so that the work can go on.  The lot is clear, or the balance due on it otherwise provided for, and when $5,000 has been pledged work will be begun and pushed forward to a rapid completion.  The congregation want to build a church that will cost, furnished comple[te], about $6,000.  The plans have been prepared and from the description given us, the building will be not only sufficiently commodious, but an ornament to the island. . . ."

Source:  City Island, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Jun. 28, 1878, Vol. IX, No. 458, p. 2, col. 5.

"City Island.

On Tuesday, July 2nd, the schooner Illinois, while at anchor about three miles south of Captain's Island, was run into by the steamer Massachusetts.  At the time of the disaster the captain was rigging the fog-bell and the mate was blowing the horn.  The schooner was struck amidship and almost immediately sank.  A boat was lowered from the steamer and the schooner's crew was picked up.  The schooner, Kate Kallahan, Captain E. J. Horton, went to the assistance of the wrecked schooner and made fast until the wrecking steamer, James McMahony, arrived, when the sunken vessel was raised and towed to City Island, where she was beached.  She is now on the ways at Hawkins's ship yard for repairs.  The schooner was badly damaged.  It will cost about $1,500 for her repairs.

The two brewers, Diehl's and Loeser's, turnouts, presented quite a fine appearance on Monday last, as they drew up in front of the City Island Hotel, with horses and wagons decked with plumes and gay-colored ribbons.

A game of base ball was played on the Fourth of July, between the Vails and Clam Diggers, both of City Island, which resulted in an overwhelming victory for the Vails.  Score, 23 to 3.  The Clam Diggers declare this is the last game with the Vails.  Mr. Editor, we would say nothing about this if it were not for the fact that, for a week before the game came off the diggers were telling the Vails at every opportunity how they were going to beat them.  But we are all liable to mistakes, and such was the case with the Clam Diggers on July 4th.  Umpire, Mr. Geo. Bell.

Mr. Wm. Belden gave the citizens of City Island a grand treat by the display of about $500 worth of Fireworks on the night of the fourth.  A large number of people assembled on the Point to witness the display and the City Island Cornet Band discoursed some good music.

At Carll's ship yard the sloop G. J. Demarest is on the ways for recaulking and painting.  The sloop Long Island has been hauled out for cleaning and repainting.  The steam yacht, just completed, was launched on Saturday last, and left for Key West on Sunday.  The Minnie Griffin is having a new spar put in and is being recaulked.  The schooner Ella Cooper is hauled out for cleaning, caulking and painting."

Source:  CITY ISLAND, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Jul. 12, 1878, Vol. IX, No. 460, p. 3, col. 1.  

"FOR A SANE FOURTH.
-----
Pelham Trustees Put Up the Ban on Revolvers for Next Monday.
-----

North-Pelham, July 2. -- The village trustees are going to keep the young patriots in bounds who may wish to celebrate to an unlawful extend next Monday.

Trustee Lyon said this morning that the board would enforce the law about carrying weapons and that any person caught, having a revolver in his possession, will be arrested.

The village trustees have taken this action because many boys have used revolvers loaded with ball cartridges in past years and the dangers that have ensued."

Source:  FOR A SANE FOURTH -- Pelham Trustees Put Up the Ban on Revolvers for Next Monday, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jul. 2, 1909, Whole No. 5971, p. 1, col. 6.  

"FIREWORKS POP ALL OVER STREET WHEN STAND BLAZES UP ON NIGHT OF FOURTH; FIRE DESTROYS STORE
-----
De Feo & Donati Electrical Shop on Fifth Avenue Total Loss -- Other Stores Nearby Damaged by Water and Smoke -- Origin of Fire Unknown -- Fire Loss Estimated at $5,000
-----

While Pelham was celebrating the Fourth in great style on Monday evening, about 7:30, the firework stand outside the electrical store of De Feo & Donati at 145 Fifth avenue became ignited.  Five hundred dollars' worth of fireworks exploded within the next few minutes.  The electrical store and its contents valued at $5,000, were destroyed.  Damage to surrounding stores and apartments by smoke and water is estimated at $15,000.

Fire Chief Dominick Amato and the firemen of the first fire district fought the blaze amid a series of explosions and shooting fireworks.  Four lines of hose were laid and the fire was in hand half an hour after the blaze started.

The De Feo & Donati store is the center of a block of five one-story structures near the Westchester & Boston R. R. station.  To the north is the Astarita fruit store and the Marion Dress Shop.  To the south the Tybee Tea Room and the Betty Hat Shop.  In the rear of the stores are five apartments, occupied by Mrs. Marion Held, proprietress of the dress shop; J. W. Bradshaw, Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Adair, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Singer.  All the stores and apartments were damaged by smoke and water.

The fire spread with amazing rapidity.  A few seconds after the start the front windows of the De Feo store were broken by the exploding fireworks and the blaze had spread to the electrical store.  When the firemen arrived flames were roaring through the skylight and had mushroomed under the room setting fire to the Astarita store and threatening the entire row of buildings.  Fire Chief Amato, who operates a garage a few doors away, was talking with De Feo when the fire started.  He grabbed a fire extinguisher from his stock nearby and waded through the mass of exploding fireworks into the store in an effort to prevent the spread of the flames.  Several autos which were parked at the curb were removed to safety under the supervision of Police Chief Fitzpatrick. 

Proprietor De Feo, remembering that there was a considerable sum of money in a desk and cash register inside the store, made a spectacular dash into the store.  Armed with an axe he smashed the desk and obtained a sum reported at over $200.  

To fight the spreading of the flames, firemen tore holes through the ceiling of the Astarita store.  Household furniture was removed from the Bradshaw home in the rear of the store.  The work of the firemen was effective.  The recall was sounded at 9:45.

The building is the property of Dr. Wm. I. Wallach, 141 Center avenue, New Rochelle.  It is protected by insurance.  Dr. Wallach said that he had had no opportunity to estimate his loss but would at once proceed to repair the building.  The following loss is being reported:

De Feo & Donati, electrical store, total loss, $5,000.  Insurance carried, $3,000.

Tybee Tea Room, damage by water to foodstuff stored in basement, together with tapestry and hangings in restaurant, $1,000.

Astarita Fruit and Vegetable Store, damage to the stock in store and basement, $1,500.

T. S. Hughes, sewing machine agent, damage to stock of machines in basement of De Feo store, $1,500.

Betty Hat Shop and Marion Dress Shop, stock damaged by smoke, $1,000.

Various conjectures are made as to the origin of the fire, but no one has any authentic story.  The Tybee Tea Room resumed business on Tuesday, but the other stores in the block were forced to shut down."

Source:  FIREWORKS POP ALL OVER STREET WHEN STAND BLAZES UP ON NIGHT OF FOURTH; FIRE DESTROYS STORE -- De Feo & Donati Electrical Shop on Fifth Avenue Total Loss -- Other Stores Nearby Damaged by Water and Smoke -- Origin of Fire Unknown -- Fire Loss Estimated at $5,000, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 8, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 20, p. 8, cols. 4-5.

"No Injuries In Noisiest Fourth Of July Program
-----
Firecrackers and Fireworks Proclaim Anniversary of Signing of Declaration of Independence
-----

Although it is estimated that fully one-third of the residents of the Pelhams took advantage of the week end holiday and spent the Fourth of July at vacation resorts, those who remained, gave Pelham the noisiest Fourth of July celebration that can be remembered by even the oldest of the residents of the town.  From early morning hours when the first fire cracker proclaimed the dawn of the nation's greatest holiday, until well into the night when the last skyrocket traveled its course across the sky, the din of explosions and smell of powder brought recollections of actual warfare.

Although all manner of noisemaker and fireworks was utilized in the celebration there were no injuries reported by the local physicians.  Pelham luckily escaped the toll of burned fingers, and other injury that ordinarily accompanies the noisy and unsafe program of Fourth of July celebrating.

No organized program has been prepared for the observance of the day.  The early days of July see the exodus of vacationists to summer resorts and the custom of a town celebration has been abandoned.  Vacant houses were kept under the vigilant supervision of the police departments and though this service vacationing Pelhamites were assured of home protection during their absence.

Traffic was heavy on all through highways.  On the Boston road long traffic lines were managed without mishap.  Police officers kept the cars moving at a fair rate of speed despite the heavy traffic."

Source:  No Injuries In Noisiest Fourth Of July Program -- Firecrackers and Fireworks Proclaim Anniversary of Signing of Declaration of Independence, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 8, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 20, p. 7, col. 2.  


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Thursday, April 18, 2019

More Seventeenth Century Maps that Depict the Pelham Region and Local Native Americans


The Historic Pelham Blog has begun a series of articles intended to analyze 17th century maps that depict the Pelham region.  See Tue., Aug. 28, 2018:  Seventeenth Century Maps that Depict the Pelham Region.  Today's Historic Pelham Blog article continues that series with details from relevant additional 17th century maps and brief descriptions of the significance of each such detail.



Detail from "Pas caarte van Nieu Nederlandt uytgegeven door Arnold
Colom"  Ca. 1656.  By Mapmaker Arnold Colom.  Source:  "Pas caarte
Library Map Collection, Accession No. C-0113, File Name C-0113-000,
Call No. Cabinet Cc656 /2.1 (visited Aug. 18, 2018).  NOTE:  Click on
Image to Enlarge.

Like the Adriaen van der Donck map published in 1656, this map by Arnold Colom also prepared in about 1656 is fascinating in many respects important to Pelham history.  For example, like the van der Donck map of about the same time, this Colom map references "Siwanoys."  However, the Colom map places the reference in an entirely different location - - in the middle of Long Island Sound quite a distance east of Pelham nearing the eastern end of Long Island.

The placement of "Siwanoys" on this map is interesting when considered in the context of arguments by some scholars and Lenape linguists that the term "Siwanoy" is a combined reference to "Sewan" (i.e., "wampum") and "oy" (i.e., "people") and meant "makers of wampum."  See, e.g., Buckland, John Alexander, The First Traders on Wall Street: The Wiechquaeskeck Indians of Southwestern Connecticut in the Seventeenth Century, p. xiii (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2009).  The shores of Long Island Sound were known to be an active wampum-manufacturing region.  Placing the reference in the Sound on the Colom map would suggest a reference intended to encompass shores on both sides of the reference and, arguably, would be consistent with the argument that the term "Siwanoy" was intended by Natives as a descriptive term rather than a name intended to identify a specific Native group or people.

The Colom map also shows a reference to "Wickagick" Natives much closer to the Pelham region (clearly a reference to Wiechquaeskecks).  However, the map seems to show the Natives known as "Manhattans" as located not only on today's Manhattan Island, but also along the shoreline and in the region that includes today's Pelham.  The "Wickagick" seem to be shown as located northwest of the Pelham region.  

As noted in the recent discussion of other 17th century maps that depict the Pelham region, "It is known that the Manhattans of the Island of Manhattan and the Wiechquaeskecks of the Bronx and lower Westchester County, both Lenape groups that spoke the Munsee dialect, were close and communicated and traded with one another via a significant trail that became Broadway and Old Boston Post Road. However, most modern scholars agree that the Manhattans populated the Island of Manhattan while the Wiechquaeskecks populated much of the Bronx, Westchester County, and even southwestern Connecticut."



Detail from “Novi Belgii Novæque Angliæ : nec non parties Virginiæ
tabula multis in locis emendate / per Nicolaum Visscher nunc apud
Petr. Schenk Iun.”  1656.  Mapmaker Nicolaes Visscher.  Source:
(1656) via Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc. (visited Aug.
25, 2018).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

The detail above is from the earliest obtainable state of the well-known 17th Century map by Nicolaes Visscher that was largely based on a map published by Joannes Janssonius in 1651 (which itself borrowed heavily from a 1635 map by Willem Janszoon Blaeu).  There are many later editions of the Visscher Map.  It is entitled “Novi Belgii Novæque Angliæ : nec non parties Virginiæ tabula multis in locis emendate / per Nicolaum Visscher nunc apud Petr. Schenk Iun.” That map contains a reference to the area that the Dutch knew as “Freelandt” (also Vreelant, Vreedlant and Vreedlandt) – where Englishmen sponsored by Thomas Pell settled near an area known today as Westchester Square in the Bronx – as well as a reference to “Siwanoys” in an area roughly north of today's Stamford, Connecticut. The map detail immediately below shows "Siwanoys" referenced in nearly the center of the detail in an area north of what is referenced as "Stamfort."  To the left (west) of the "Siwanoys" reference is a reference to the "Wickquaskeck" Natives.  The map purports to show the Manhattans not only on Manhattan Island, but also across much of the area that later became Pelham and Pelham Bay Park.  In the "Oost Rivier" (Long Island Sound) there are many islands depicted off the mainland shores of Freelandt, but the "Archipelago" reference in Long Island Sound appears in this map far east of today's Pelham. 


Detail from "A Map of New England and New York" from the 1676
Edition of Speed's Prospect of the World by John Speed.  Published
in London and Hand Colored, 20 x 15.5 Inches.  Source:  Barry Lawrence
Ruderman, Antique Maps, Inc., Digitized Image of Speed, John, "A
Map of New England and New York" in Speed's Prospect of the World,
(London, 1676) (Stock No. 50585; visited Apr. 18, 2019).  NOTE:
Click on Image to Enlarge.

The detail above is from an example of John Speed's Map of New England and New York from his 1676 edition of Speed's Prospect of the World published in London.  According to Barry Lawrence Ruderman of Antique Maps, Inc.:

"Speed's map is one of the earliest maps to illustrate dramatic shift from Dutch to English dominance in the Northeast in the latter part of the 17th Century and one of the earliest to use the term New York for both Manhattan (formerly New Amsterdam) and New York State, as well as one of the earliest appearances of New Iarsey (Jersey). As noted by Michael Buehler, Speed's map shares the traits of many other regional maps of the period: a haphazard depiction of the St. Lawrence, no sign of Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain offset far to the East of its actual location, Cape Cod at essentially the same latitude as New York City, and the Delaware River curving eastward to connect with the Hudson. Many of these errors can be traced far back to early 17th-century prototype maps by Samuel Champlain, Adrien Block and others. One of only a small group of English maps of New England, prior to 1700. Based on Jansson's [Janssonius's] map of 1651, it illustrates the territories acquired by the British with the capture of New Amsterdam in 1664, which radically adjusted the landscape of North American politics. While the map's geographical features are largely drawn from Jansson, the map's nomenclature is substantially anglicized, including the first appearance of the name Boston (omitted from the Jansson maps), and the use of the names New York and Cape Cod."

This detail reproduces from Jansson's map of 1651 references "Siwanoys" in nearly the center of the detail in an area north of what is referenced as "Stanford."  To the left (west) of the "Siwanoys" reference is a reference to the "Wickquaskeck" Natives.  The map purports to show the Manhattans not only on Manhattan Island, but also across much of the area that later became Pelham and Pelham Bay Park.  This detail, like several above, strongly supports the theory that references to "Siwanoys" were simply copied from earlier maps rather than through any form of meaningful independent confirmation.

Continued analysis of such 17th century map details continues to support the theory, now based on rather extensive 17th century primary sources, that there were no local Native Americans in the Pelham region properly known as "Siwanoys" during the 17th century.  Rather, according to much recently-assembled evidence, at the time Thomas Pell bought the lands that became Pelham on June 27, 1654 and for decades thereafter, the Native Americans that populated the Pelham region near the shores of Long Island Sound were referenced as "Wiechquaeskecks."  See Wed., Jan. 29, 2014:  There Were No Native Americans Known as SiwanoysSee also Thu., Aug. 09, 2018:  Evidence that the Most Famous Native in Pelham History Was a Wiechquaeskeck, Not a "Siwanoy."

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Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Great Invasion of Armed Police in Pelham and City Island on June 7, 1895


Introduction

Things were about to get ugly late in the evening of June 7, 1895.  Four Police Roundsmen and fifty Patrolmen, all from New York City, were crowded into patrol wagons making their way silently on dark dirt roads toward the communities of Pelham, City Island, West Chester, East Chester, Wakefield, Williamsbridge, and Unionport.  

Each Police Officer was armed with a loaded revolver and billy club.  The plan was to invade West Chester and take control of its Town Hall, then to dispatch groups of Police Officers from that command post to town halls and other public buildings in the remaining communities.  However, the group of invaders had been assembled so quickly that none was mounted on horseback.  Plans were to substitute mounted men for the invading Police Force as soon as possible.

The Great Invasion of Lower Westchester was underway.  

The Origins of the Invasion

The previous day, June 6, New York Governor Levi P. Morton signed into law Chapter 934, New York Laws of 1895.  That statute annexed much of the Town of Pelham including City Island and all of today's Pelham Bay Park into the City of New York.  It also annexed areas including the Town of West Chester, portions of East Chester, Wakefield, Unionport, and more.

Neither New York City nor the communities being annexed seemed ready for the legislation, despite the fact that it was long in coming.  Indeed, some in the communities believed that the annexation was unlawful and vowed to continue to fight it, both physically and through the courts.  Others argued that residents of most of the communities favored annexation while their elected representatives (who would be turned out of office by the annexation) did not.  In any event, rumors abounded at the time that local residents would use force to resist annexation; hence, the police invasion that night.

To make matters worse, rumors abounded in New York City that local elected officials in the annexed communities were on spending sprees to deplete their public coffers before New York City took over the public funds and that local officials also were entering into contracts of all sorts for public services in the hopes of binding New York City to the arrangements once annexation was finalized.  Consequently, early in the day of June 7, United States Congressman Benjamin Fairchild, a resident of the Village of Pelham (today's Pelham Heights), and State Assemblyman J. N. Stewart of Westchester County gathered a group of local Westchester citizens.  The group scurried to see New York City Mayor William Lafayette Strong "in a state of considerable excitement."

The group fomented anxiety in among Mayor Strong and his staff.  They told the Mayor that local elected officials in the annexed district were engaged in subterfuge to defeat the annexation and were fomenting dissent among local residents.  According to one account:

"They asked that the New York police be sent up to protect them and that the proper authorities take charge of the public buildings, and that means to be taken to get the $200,000 or more of money in the public treasuries of the several villages and towns turned over to the City Chamberlain before it can be wasted by the officials, who say they propose to fight the annexation on the ground that the law is unconstitutional.  The Town Board of West Chester has retained H. C. Henderson to test the law, and there was talk of resistance to our occupation of the territory."

As soon as the meeting ended, Mayor Strong consulted with his Corporation Counsel, one of his Police Commissioners, his Commissioner of Public Works, the New York City Comptroller, and others.  Members of the Board of Commissioners of the City Police Commission contacted the Acting Police Chief to consider the matter.  The group soon realized that local police in the communities of the annexed district had been "deposed" by the legal machinery of the annexation.  The entire annexed district was entirely un-policed!

With the guidance of the Police Commissioners, Acting Police Chief Conlin formulated a plan quietly to invade the annexed district that night with a large police presence to secure public buildings and maintain order.  There was particular concern over the saloons operating on City Island.  The plan was to create two police precincts in the region:  the Thirty-Eighth Precinct and the Thirty-Ninth Precinct.  The Thirty-Eighth Precinct would be based in the West Chester Town Hall as its principal police station with two sub-stations (sub-precincts) located, respectively, in the Wakefield Fire Engine House and the Pelham Town Hall Building on City Island.

Later in the day (June 7), a letter authorizing the plan was secured from newly-appointed President of the Board of Commissioners of the City Police Commission, Theodore Roosevelt (later to become Governor of New York, Vice President of the United States, and President of the United States).  The letter, to be delivered to Pelham Town Supervisor William McAllister at City Island, Town Supervisor August M. Fields of the Town of West Chester, and Village Clerk Robert Wallace of Williamsbridge, read as follows:

"POLICE DEPARTMENT, June 7, 1895.

SIR:  

Under the act, chapter 934, of the Laws of 1895, which became law yesterday, it becomes the duty of this department to police all that territory comprised within the limits of West Chester, East Chester, and Pelham which lies southerly of a straight line drawn from a point where the northerly line of the city of New York meets the centre line of the Bronx River to the middle of the channel between Hunter's and Glen Island, in Long Island Sound, and all that territory lying within the incorporated limits of the village of Wakefield which lies northerly of such line.

In the performance of this duty it becomes necessary for this department to take possession of all public buildings within the area described and to receive from the former custodians thereof free access thereto and possession thereof.

The bearer of this, Acting Inspector John McCullagh, is authorized so to take possession on behalf of this department, and you will please, upon presentation hereof, put him in possession of all such buildings within your jurisdiction and deliver to him the keys thereof, taking you a voucher or receipt therefor from him.  

Yours very truly, 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT."

The Town Hall of the Town Hall on City Island

Many may be surprised to learn that the Town Hall of the Town of Pelham once was located on City Island.  Pelham has had at least four Town Hall Buildings since the town was organized by State statute on March 7, 1788.  The first was a beautiful brick structure that once stood on today's Shore Road.  Built in 1858, it was demolished by New York City in 1955.  See Wed., Dec. 03, 2014:  Pelham Proposed To Build A Town Hall and Post Office in 1857.  



Undated Photograph of Pelham Town Hall on
Shore Road Not Long Before it Was Razed in
1955.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

For much of the 19th century, however, City Island was the population center of the Town of Pelham.  Thus, most elected Town officials lived on City Island.  Typically they found the chore of crossing to the mainland to conduct Town business tiresome and, at least for a time, abandoned the structure as a meeting place for the Town Board, although it continued to be used for other functions and even, for a time, a tiny schoolhouse.  During such times, Town business was conducted on City Island.

Although it is not now known all the places where Town Board meetings were held on City Island, it is clear that at least during the early to mid-1890s, a building that once stood 




Postcard View of Old Pelham Town Hall on City Island
Postmarked July 26, 1905 From Collection of the Author.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.



Detail from Map Published in 1893 With Arrow Showing
Location of Town Hall Building on City Island at the Time.
in Bien, Joseph Rudolf, Atlas of Westchester County,
New York, p. 3 (NY, NY:  Julius Bien & Co., 1893).  NOTE:
Click on Image to Enlarge.

With annexation, as detailed below, New York City took control of the Town Hall building on City Island.  Thus, the Town of Pelham had to move its government to a new location within the unannexed portion of the Town.  It chose to move Town business to a small wooden meeting facility and courthouse built in the settlement of Pelhamville in 1890.  The facility once stood on the location of today's Town Hall at 34 Fifth Avenue.  See Tue., Apr. 21, 2015:  The Early History of Pelham's Town Hall, Built in 1909.  After that Town Hall structure burned on October 23, 1908, the Town of Pelham built in 1909 the beautiful brick and stone courthouse that still stands and still serves the same purpose.



Detail from Undated Photograph of the Original Pelham
Town Hall on Fifth Avenue on an Election Day. The Building
Later Burned on the Evening of October 23, 1908 in a Suspicious
Fire. Source: Courtesy of The Office of The Historian of The
Town of Pelham. Note: Click on Image to Enlarge.



2013 Photograph of Pelham Town Hall, Built in 1909.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Back to the Police Invasion of Pelham and City Island, and its Aftermath

As the police force left in patrol wagons for West Chester Town Hall, someone telephoned a wild "tip" to the former Constables of the Town of West Chester.  According to the tipster, a force of five hundred police officers "flanked by a regiment of soldiers" were on their way "to capture the town."  Word spread like wildfire.  The former Chief of Constables raced over to the Town Hall building with his keys and "barred and locked the doors and windows, leaving a lone prisoner locked up in the cellar."


A crowd of more than five hundred local residents gathered along the road outside West Chester Town Hall to "meet" the police.  Soon the patrol wagons rolled up and police scrambled over the sides of the wagons.  The town hall building was pitch black.  Local streets were unlighted.  Inspector John McCullagh, who led the force, assembled his men and ordered them to march to the building and surround it.  As they followed orders, the Inspector went to the front door, found it locked, and began pounding on the door.  

Soon a quivering voice came from a cellar window.  The lone prisoner still held within the building said "There's no one here but me, and as I'm locked up I can't get out to let you in."  Someone in the crowd told McCullagh that the former Chief of Constables had the keys and lived a block away.  Five police officers were dispatched to his home to take the keys.  Though McCullagh protested and said that the New York City Police had no authority to enter the Town Hall, he turned over the keys.  The Police returned to Town Hall and handed the keys over to Inspector McCullagh.

The crowd turned ugly and began to harass the Police Officers.  When Inspector McCullagh had had enough, he ordered his men to drive back the crowd.  Armed with billy clubs and revolvers, the Police waded into the crowd and drove it back "in a hurry."  The unruly crowd and the response of the Police seemed to prompt the former Chief of Constables to action.  According to one account, after Police drove the crowd back, he:

"looked around in the crowd for his town constables and found two of them.  A consultation was held, and then Fitzgerald approached the Town Hall and volunteered to show Inspector McCullagh how to unlock the door.  He also got an oil lamp from one of the village stores and lighted it, so that the police could see their way in.  When the doors were opened a dozen policemen filed in and drew up in line along a railing surrounding an oak writing table.  Fitzgerald placed the lamp on the table."

Inspector McCullagh went behind a railing and sat at the table.  He next took the first formal action in the annexed district to establish a New York City Police presence.  He "formally established a new police station" and put one of his Police Roundsmen, a man named Wolf, in charge, stating "This will be known as the West Chester station."

Leaving Roundsman Wolf in the Town Hall with eight Policemen to maintain order, Inspector McCullagh drove to Williamsbridge where he left a detail of eight men with a Police Roundsman at a "little hall" that was "used as a political meeting place."  Next he drove to the Town Hall building on City Island where he left a dozen Police Officers with another Roundsman in Charge.  He drove an additional patrol wagon full of men "to Pelham" and left eight patrolmen there.  (Although nowhere in news reports is there any indication as to where in Pelham he left these men, it is virtually certain that he and the men commandeered the old brick Town Hall building built in 1858 that stood along Shore Road.  That was the only Town building not on City Island that was part of Pelham within the annexed district at the time.)  Finally, Inspector McCullagh drove a small group of officers who were left at Throggs Neck, described as "the most dismal place in the new district," to "patrol the woods in the vicinity of Fort Schuyler."

The invasion was complete without the loss or injury of a single person.  The annexed district no longer was un-policed as of late in the evening, June 7, 1895.

The Aftermath of the Invasion and Cleaning Up the Details

The invasion may have been complete, but because it was organized so hastily, many details had to be addressed in the coming months.  For example, the following day, a representative of the New York City Comptroller's Office, James Rapp, appeared in front of the Town Hall in each annexed municipality and read "to the assembled trustees" of each municipality, the statute providing for the annexation of the district.  

Additionally, important municipal records had to be transferred to New York City.  The papers of the Town of Pelham presented a particularly thorny problem because a huge portion of the acreage of the Town had been annexed but the property annexed represented only about one-third of the assessed value of all taxable properties in the Town.  Nevertheless, because Pelham Town Supervisor William McAllister was one of the leaders in Pelham of the movement to annex City Island and Pelham Bay Park, he quickly turned over Pelham records to the City by June 9.  According to one reported, once again quoted and cited in full below:

"At City Island Supervisor McAllister has surrendered all the papers and documents concerning the annexed part of Pelham.  He holds the papers and documents of the unannexed portion.  The unannexed portion represents about two-thirds of the taxable valuation of the town.  Mr. McAllister will turn these over to his successor in the Board of Supervisors as soon as there is one.  Only one-third of the Town Building here belongs to the annexed part of the town, and it is thought some means of transfer of the third portion will be found, so that the city may become sole owner.  It is thought the Town Board of Pelham will be allowed the use of the hall until such a settlement is made.  Mr. McAllister is the leader of the annexationists here.  He thinks there will be no trouble in arranging the details.  The majority of the citizens on City Island favor the change."

Similarly, on June 11, 1895 a regional newspaper reported that "Deputy Collector John H. Rapp, of the Finance Department, took possession of the public property and records of the villages of West Chester, Williamsbridge, Wakefield and City Island, and made his report to the Controller yesterday."  (See full article cited and quoted below.)

Next there were efforts to tie up loose ends that should have been handled before legislation effecting the annexation was passed in the first place.  For example, in order for the public buildings seized by the City to serve as authorized police station houses, they first had to be designated by the Mayor and Common Council of New York City as "houses of detention and refuge."  By June 21, 1895, the Police Board, led by Theodore Roosevelt, requested such a designation.  

About three months later, on September 6, 1895, the Police Board adopted a resolution dealing further with the issue.  The resolution provided, in its entirety, as follows:

"Resolved, That all the territory annexed to the city of New York, pursuant to chapter 934, Laws of 1895, shall constitute a police precinct, to be known and designated as the Thirty-eighth Police Precinct.

Resolved, That on the approval of the Mayor and Common Council of the West Chester Town Hall as principal station, and the Wakefield engine house and the City Island Town Hall as sub-station, said premises be designated and set apart for the accommodation of members of the police force, for the temporary detention of persons arrested within said precinct and sub-precincts, and for the transaction of the business of the Police Department.

Resolved, That the quota of the police force of said precinct shall for the present be as follows:  One Captain, 4 Sergeants, 10 roundsmen, 45 patrolmen, and 8 doormen, or a total of 68, to be assigned as follows:  West Chester (main station), 1 Captain, 4 Sergeants, 4 mounted roundsmen, 16 mounted patrolmen, 6 foot patrolmen, 2 patrol wagon drivers, 2 patrol wagon guardsmen, and 3 doormen.  Wakefield (sub-station), 2 roundsmen and 4 patrolmen. . . ."  (Note:  No mention of City Island or Pelham.)

Only a few weeks later, on September 30, 1895, the Board of Aldermen of the City of New York passed a resolution "authorizing the establishment of a police station for the Thirty-eighth precinct in the Westchester Town Hall, and sub station in the fire engine house in Wakefield and in the Town Hall, City Island."

The entire arrangement was finally formalized early on October 10, 1895 when New York City Acting Chief of Police Conlin issued an order constituting the police force of the newly-established Thirty-eighth Precinct covering the annexed district a permanent force.  His order followed adoption of a resolution early the same day by the Board of the New York City Police Commission authorizing the creation of a permanent force in the precinct.  According to one account published on October 10:

"Acting Chief of Police Conlin this morning issued an order creating the permanent force of the Thirty-eighth Precinct.  The precinct was made permanent by a resolution adopted by the Board of Police early this morning.  The new precinct comprises the territory recently annexed to the city, and embraces all that territory lying within the villages of West Chester, Wakefield, Williamsbridge, and City Island.  The police have been in command of the territory since June 7, but the police force stationed there has been only temporary and was made up from the various precincts in the city.  The district as it stands now has forty-five men to look after it.  It was said that twenty more will be added to these as soon as new appointments are made.  The precinct is in command of Acting-Capt. Frers, who was made Acting Captain at the last meeting of the Police Board.  It was said that he would be made a Captain as soon as his six months of probation as required by the rules of the department are ended." 

The Great Invasion of 1895 was complete.  New York City Police had prevailed.  Portions of Pelham in Pelham Bay Park and all of City Island thereafter were policed by New York City.  Mainland Pelham had shed an albatross about its neck.

*          *          *          *          *

"ANNEXED BY OUR POLICE.
-----
WE'RE IN POSSESSION OF THE CITY'S NEW TERRITORY.
-----
Fifty Policemen Go Up and Occupy the Public Buildings -- The Comptroller After the Public Funds -- A Formal Resistance by Local Authorities, Who Propose to Test the Constitutionality of the Law.

Congressman Fairchild [of the Village of Pelham] and Assemblyman J. N. Stewart of Westchester county, together with several other prominent citizens of the territory brought into the city of New York by the law signed by Gov. Morton on Thursday, came down to see Mayor Strong yesterday in a state of considerable excitement.  They represented that some of the town and village authorities in the territory referred to have been acting as though to defeat the objects of the annexation:  letting contracts of various sorts, tearing up streets, and otherwise disposing of the public funds.  They asked that the New York police be sent up to protect them and that the proper authorities take charge of the public buildings, and that means to be taken to get the $200,000 or more of money in the public treasuries of the several villages and towns turned over to the City Chamberlain before it can be wasted by the officials, who say they propose to fight the annexation on the ground that the law is unconstitutional.  The Town Board of West Chester has retained H. C. Henderson to test the law, and there was talk of resistance to our occupation of the territory.

Mayor Strong consulted with Corporation Counsel Scott, Police Commissioner Parker, Commissioner of Public Works Brookfield, Comptroller Fitch, and others.  Later in the day Supervisor Fields of the town of West Chester turned over to City Chamberlain O'Donohue $19,000 of public moneys which had been in his keeping.

Police Commissioner Parker went back to Headquarters and the Commissioners called in Acting Chief Conlin.  The local constabulary having been deposed by the operation of the law, it became necessary to police the district at once.

Four roundsmen and fifty patrolmen were detached from various precincts and ordered to proceed forthwith to Capt. Creeden's headquarters in the Thirty-third precinct, the Town Hall at Morrisania.  There Acting Inspector McCullagh took command of them.  Accompanied by a representative of the Comptroller he left Morrisania at 6 o'clock, and with his force in patrol wagons moved on West Chester village, where a temporary headquarters was established.  There the detail was built up and squads were sent to City Island, Williamsbridge, East Chester, Pelham, Wakefield, and Unionport.  The men were all armed with billies and revolvers.  All men were afoot, but as soon as possible mounted men will be substituted.

Commissioner Parker said that the new district would probably be made into two precincts, to be known respectively as the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth.  Copies of the following letter, signed by President Roosevelt, were given to Inspector McCullagh to be delivered to Supervisor William McAllister at City Island, Supervisor August M. Fields at West Chester, and Village Clerk Robert Wallace at Williamsbridge:

POLICE DEPARTMENT, June 7, 1895.

SIR:  Under the act, chapter 934, of the Laws of 1895, which became law yesterday, it becomes the duty of this department to police all that territory comprised within the limits of West Chester, East Chester, and Pelham which lies southerly of a straight line drawn from a point where the northerly line of the city of New York meets the centre line of the Bronx River to the middle of the channel between Hunter's and Glen Island, in Long Island Sound, and all that territory lying within the incorporated limits of the village of Wakefield which lies northerly of such line.

In the performance of this duty it becomes necessary for this department to take possession of all public buildings within the area described and to receive from the former custodians thereof free access thereto and possession thereof.

The bearer of this, Acting Inspector John McCullagh, is authorized so to take possession on behalf of this department, and you will please, upon presentation hereof, put him in possession of all such buildings within your jurisdiction and deliver to him the keys thereof, taking you a voucher or receipt therefor from him.  Yours very truly, THEODORE ROOSEVELT.

Inspector McCullagh's orders to his men were first to take possession of the Town Hall in West Chester village.  Some one had telephoned to the West Chester constables, notifying them that 500 policemen, flanked by a regiment of soldiers, were on their way to capture the town.  Chief of Police John Fitzgerald, who is also keeper of the Town Hall, hurried to the Town Hall, barred and locked the doors and windows, leaving a lone prisoner locked up in the cellar.

The hall was dark and deserted when the patrol wagon with the police arrived.  But the news of their coming had been spread about the various villages, and a crowd of over 500 men, women, and children gathered to meet them.  

Inspector McCullagh drew the men up in front of the hall, and gave orders to march in on the lawn.  The policemen surrounded the big old-fashioned building, and the inspector went to the door and rapped.

An answer came from a cellar window.  It was the lone prisoner who spoke, saying:

'There's no one here but me, and as I'm locked up I can't get out to let you in.'

A man in the crowd out on the road shouted that Fitzgerald had the keys.  Roundsman Benjamin Wolf and four policemen were sent to hunt for Fitzgerald.  They found him in his house, a block away.  At first he refused to give up the keys, saying that the New York police had no authority to enter the Town Hall.  

Roundsman Wolf was not to be bluffed, and he soon had possession of a bunch of keys bigger than his head.  There were forty keys in the bunch.  Fitzgerald explained that one was for the Town Hall, another for the town safe, and so on.

'Just what we want,' said Wolf.

'Well, I didn't give them up voluntarily,' remarked Fitzgerald.  'I intend to have this thing tested by the courts.  This is a game of politics, and the cards were stacked right here in this town.  It's no use to quarrel with you policemen, for you'd get the best end of it.  You'll be sorry for this.'

Roundsman Wolf and his companions went back to the Town Hall and handed the keys over to McCullagh.  By this time the crowd had begun 'sassing' the bluecoats.

Inspector McCullagh ordered his men to drive the crowd back, and they did so in a hurry.

Fitzgerald looked around in the crowd for his town constables and found two of them.  A consultation was held, and then Fitzgerald approached the Town Hall and volunteered to show Inspector McCullagh how to unlock the door.  He also got an oil lamp from one of the village stores and lighted it, so that the police could see their way in.  When the doors were opened a dozen policemen filed in and drew up in line along a railing surrounding an oak writing table.  Fitzgerald placed the lamp on the table.

Inspector McCullagh went around behind the railing and then formally established a new police station, putting Roundsman Wolf in charge.

'This will be known as the West Chester station,' said the Inspector.

Eight policemen were left with Roundsman Wolf in the Town Hall, and the Inspector drove away to Williamsbridge, where he left another detail of eight men with a roundsman in charge in a little hall that is used as a political meeting place.

Then City Island was visited, and here a dozen policemen were left with a roundsman in charge.

There was still a patrol wagon filled with men, and this was driven to Pelham, where inspector McCullagh left eight patrolmen.

At Throgg's Neck, which is the most dismal place in the new district, the remaining coppers were dropped from the patrol wagon to patrol the woods in the vicinity of Fort Schuyler.

As this load of coppers was dumped out an old Irishman advised them not to go up near the fort as they would be shot by the soldiers there.

'They'll be suspicious of seeing brass buttons out there in the moonlight,' said the man.

At Throgg's Neck there is an Irish settlement, and here the coppers got a royal welcome.  One of them remarked that the place was made just after Hoboken had been finished, but it would be a good place to catch fish and chase butterflies in the summer time.

After visiting Throgg's Neck Inspector McCullagh returned to the new station house in the West Chester Town Hall and inspected it.

In front of the Town Hall at each place, James Rapp of Comptroller Fitch's office read, or will read to-day, to the assembled trustees of the village, the act by virtue of which it became a part of New York."

Source:  ANNEXED BY OUR POLICE -- WE'RE IN POSSESSION OF THE CITY'S NEW TERRITORY -- Fifty Policemen Go Up and Occupy the Public Buildings -- The Comptroller After the Public Funds -- A Formal Resistance by Local Authorities, Who Propose to Test the Constitutionality of the Law, The Sun [NY, NY], Jun. 8, 1895, p. 3, cols. 1-3 (see map below that accompanied this article).



"THE NEW TERRITORY JUST ANNEXED TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
[The shaded part of the map shows the new territory.  It comprises 20,000
acres and includes West Chester, East Chester, Pelham, Wakefield, City
Island, and Hart's Island.]"  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

"POLICE IN THE NEW DISTRICT.
-----
Every One but Displaced Officials Is Satisfied.
-----
Only One Arrest, and That Was a Lost Italian Boy.
-----

Acting Police Inspector John H. McCullagh, who has charge of the new annexed district, has made his headquarters at the new police station in the Westchester Village town hall, and Supt. Brennan, of the Police Telegraph Service, is engaged in putting in telephone communication with the Central Office.

Inspector McCullagh made a tour of his new district to-day, starting from City Island at 7 A.M.  He says that the advent of the city police was received with expressions of pleasure by the people of the various annexed places, the only dissenters being the village officials who are legislated out of office.

At City Island, where there are 1,800 inhabitants.  Roundsman Seavy and three patrolmen have established a station in the Town Hall.

At Eastchester, which has 350 inhabitants and is three and a half miles from City Island, a roundsman and two men are quartered at Steve O'Donnell's Hotel, on the Boston road, the nearest stopping place of the coaches.

At Wakefield, a pretty place of 2,500 inhabitants, Roundsman Strathman and six men are quartered in the headquarters of the Volunteer Fire Company, which is rented as a sort of village hall.

At Williamsbridge the only entries on Roundsman Duffy's books this morning were a false alarm of fire last night and a second visit of the village clerk and other officers to demand again the tax books.  The request was denied.

At Westchester Roundsman Wolf has headquarters in the Town Hall.

Inspector McCullagh conferred with Supervisor Field regarding the character of his new duties to-day, and the latter said:

'We have covered everything with two constables, but they would never interfere with the ball players, who play near the saloons.  Then there are the thimble-riggers on the West Farms road every Sunday fleecing the people.'

The Inspector said:  'I won't promise you much for to-morrow, for we are only temporarily established but by next Sunday we will be thoroughly organized and will restore order.'

There has been but one arrest so far in the new district, that of a four-year-old Italian boy, lost in Wakefield.  If not claimed he will be sent to the Central office.

'What will I do if 'Little Monte Carlo' does poolroom business now?' said Acting-Chief Conlin to a reporter of 'The Evening World,' which paper succeeded some time ago in rooting out the nuisance.

'Well, now,' and the Chief winked his gray eyes significantly, 'there's no 500-feet-outside-the-city-line business about Little Monte Carlo now.

'The Evening World' can depend upon it.  Little Monte Carlo will be carefully watched.'"

Source:  POLICE IN THE NEW DISTRICT -- Every One but Displaced Officials Is Satisfied -- Only One Arrest, and That Was a Lost Italian Boy, The Evening World [NY, NY], Jun. 8, 1895, p. 7, col. 3 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).  

"WITHHOLDS THE MONEY
-----
Annexed Westchester's School Commissioner Has $12,000.
-----
DUE TO NEW-YORK CITY BY LAW
-----
Acting Chief of Police Conlin Will Send a Squad of Mounted Metropolitan Police to Protect the New Territory.

Acting Chief of Police Conlin was busy yesterday completing the arrangements for policing the new territory annexed to the city, which takes in Westchester, East Chester, Pelham, Wakefield, City Island and Hart's Island.

Acting Inspector McCullagh has established a temporary headquarters in the Westchester Town Hall.  Telephonic communication was established yesterday between Police Headquarters and Westchester.  Acting Chief Conlin said that the present police arrangements were temporary.

'The men on duty in the new territory to-day,' said the Chief yesterday, 'will go back to their precincts to-morrow morning.  I am selecting twenty-five mounted men, who will be sent up there to-morrow.  They will be kept there for the present.  I will send a Sergeant or two along.  Temporary quarters will be provided for the men.  The department, of course, has to arrange to board the men until the police details for the new district are permanently completed.

'Acting Inspector McCullagh will have supervision over the squad.  The new territory will be included in his inspection district.  I have a telephone at the headquarters at Westchester, so I am in direct communication with the men stationed there.  A patrol wagon will be kept at Westchester, which is the central point of the new territory.  Prisoners will be taken in the patrol wagon to the King's Bridge and Morrisania stations.

'There was no trouble during the night.  I wish to give notice that the law will be enforced to-morrow up there.  I will permit no violations of the excise law.  I understand that no respect at all has been paid to the excise law at City Island and the other places on Sunday.  I will stop that right away.  The law will have to be rigidly enforced.'

The first case to be reported from the annexed territory to the police was entered on the books in the Information Bureau at Police Headquarters yesterday afternoon by Sergt. Harley.

Antonio Brandi, who lives in Pleasant Avenue, between Second and Flower Streets, called upon Sergt. Harley and had an alarm sent out for his child, Victor, two and a half years old, who wandered away from home yesterday, and was last seen at 6 o'clock last night on the White Plains Road.

Acting Chief Conlin yesterday afternoon detailed Sergt Revelle to command the mounted men who will go on duty in the new district.

When the police took possession of Westchester Village on Friday night the whole town was thrown into a state of excitement over the announcement that the village authorities would resist the taking possession of the town records and buildings.  The authorities did nothing.

Supervisor August M. Field, who has been one of the strongest advocates of annexation, and who was the only one in the Town Board who did not condemn the annexation, Friday turned over to City Chamberlain O'Donohue $19,000 which was in his possession as town money.  He received his receipt for it.  It was at first supposed that the other members of the board would obtain a writ from the Supreme Court restraining him from Turning over the money.

School Commissioner Warren Ferris of the village has still in his possession $12,000, which, it is said, ought to have been turned over to New-York City.  He will wait, it is said, until he obtains legal advice.

The following office holders will be legislated out of office:

John Fitzgerald, J. McGory, and F. O'Mara, Constables; Justices O'Neil, Cox, Delahanty, and Kidder, Town Clerk Thomas Dunnigan, Supervisor Field, and Road Commissioners Talma T. Hyde, Henry Victory, and J. Gerroughty.

As yet there have been no changes in the schools.  There are four schools in this place.  The largest is School No. 1, presided over by Michael E. Devlin, as principal.  It is said that Devlin will be the first to have his head cut off, as a consequence of his fighting the bill for annexation.

At City Island Supervisor McAllister has surrendered all the papers and documents concerning the annexed part of Pelham.  He holds the papers and documents of the unannexed portion.  The unannexed portion represents about two-thirds of the taxable valuation of the town.  Mr. McAllister will turn these over to his successor in the Board of Supervisors as soon as there is one.  Only one-third of the Town Building here belongs to the annexed part of the town, and it is thought some means of transfer of the third portion will be found, so that the city may become sole owner.  It is thought the Town Board of Pelham will be allowed the use of the hall until such a settlement is made.

Mr. McAllister is the leader of the annexationists here.  He thinks there will be no trouble in arranging the details.  The majority of the citizens on City Island favor the change.

Fire Commissioner Ford and Chief Bonner visited City Island yesterday, and were met by Fire Chief Fordham of City Island.  Chief Fordham showed the officers the department maintained by the island, and, after an inspection, both Mr. Ford and Chief Bonner agreed that the fire protection was ample for the time being, and until permanent arrangements could be made."

Source:  WITHHOLDS THE MONEY -- Annexed Westchester's School Commissioner Has $12,000 -- DUE TO NEW-YORK CITY BY LAW -- Acting Chief of Police Conlin Will Send a Squad of Mounted Metropolitan Police to Protect the New Territory, N.Y. Times, Jun. 9, 1895, p. 9, cols. 3-4 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).  

"IN PEACEFUL POSSESSION.
-----
CITY AUTHORITIES HAVE FULL CONTROL IN THE NEW TERRITORY.
-----
PEOPLE IN THE ANNEXED DISTRICT A LITTLE ANXIOUS OVER THE QUESTION OF IMPROVEMENTS -- A MEETING THAT WAS NOT HELD.

The land up in Westchester, with its groves and primeval forests, its natural parks and antique buildings, which has just become a part of the city of New-York, was visited yesterday by a number of New-Yorkers who were anxious to see what the baby ward of the city looked like.  Some went by trolley from One-hundred-and-twenty-ninth-st., by way of West Farms, and some took the suburban road.  Those who went by trolley landed in the centre of the pretty village of West Chester and escaped the hackmen at the station, who seem to have become intoxicated with metropolitan honors and although they retain all their rustic looks and their strictly 'country' conveyances, they charge city prices.  The place looked lively, and the new New-Yorkers stood in groups in the street discussing annexation and the appearance of their visitors.  One little girl from New-York proper was heard to say to her father:  'Isn't it nice, though -- we can go to the country now without leaving the city.'

Blue-coated guardians of the peace in the well-known metropolitan uniform patrolled the place, and the town hall has been converted into police headquarters for the Annexed District.  Until yesterday there were only twelve men in charge of the district, but this force has been augmented and there are now distributed in the Westchester part, under command of Sergeant A. Revelle, Sergeant W. W. Burfiend, Acting Sergeant Ferdon, four roundsmen, sixteen mounted men, twelve patrolmen, one driver, one guard, one stable man, one doorman and a patrol wagon.

Acting Police Inspector McCullagh was in charge yesterday, and the newly made citizens looked with awe through the open doors of the 'meetin' house' on the men who came to preserve the peace.  It was expected by some that there would be a contest between the old town authorities and the police yesterday, but there was none.

A meeting had been held last week and adjourned to meet yesterday at 10 a.m.  At the appointed hour about twenty citizens demanded entrance to the town hall, but they were told by Roundsman Benjamin Wolf that the town hall was now a police station and that no meeting could take place there.  There was a little muttering, a little talk, which was more emphatic than polite, and then the citizens retired in good Westchester order.

There is certainly some dissatisfaction on account of the annexation, but the majority of the inhabitants are pleased with the change.  The only town official to be seen yesterday was Thomas O'Neil, who was elected a Justice of the Peace in March, 1894, for a term of four years.  He was shoeing a horse in his blacksmith shop when a Tribune reporter called on him.  He stopped to say:  'The reports which have been sent to New-York about the lawlessness of our people and of their intention to resist annexation do us a great injustice.  We are law-abiding citizens,' he added, 'and we were against annexation because we were afraid we would get no improvements.  There is so much to be done in the way of public improvements in the city proper that it seems but natural that we should be neglected.  We know how little has been done for Fordham and for Tremont, and has been done for Fordham and for Tremont, and that's why we opposed annexation,' and the blacksmith Justice of the Peace resumed his labors.

Deputy Collector John H. Rapp, of the Finance Department, took possession of the public property and records of the villages of West Chester, Williamsbridge, Wakefield and City Island, and made his report to the Controller yesterday.

The Controller also received yesterday a petition from many prominent citizens of the town of West Chester asking the Controller to allow the tax-books of that town to remain for a reasonable time at the office of the late Supervisor, Augustus M. Field, and that Mr. Field be appointed custodian of such books, with authority to receive the back taxes and furnish searches from the records."

Source:  IN PEACEFUL POSSESSION -- CITY AUTHORITIES HAVE FULL CONTROL IN THE NEW TERRITORY -- PEOPLE IN THE ANNEXED DISTRICT A LITTLE ANXIOUS OVER THE QUESTION OF IMPROVEMENTS -- A MEETING THAT WAS NOT HELD, N.Y. Tribune, Jun. 11, 1895, p. 5, col. 1.  

"CAPT. GALLAGHER RETIRED. . . . 

The Mayor and the Common Council were requested by the board [i.e., the Police Board of New York City, led by Board President Theodore Roosevelt] to designate the town hall at Westchester, the engine-house at Wakefield, and the town hall at City Island as houses of detention and refuge, so that those places may be fully authorized station-houses for the Annexed District. . . ."

Source:  CAPT. GALLAGHER RETIRED, The Evening Post [NY, NY], Jun. 21, 1895, p. 3, col. 1.  

"WARING ASKS POLICE AID.
------
WANTS PEOPLE WHO LITTER THE STREETS LOOKED AFTER.
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The Annexed Territory to Be Known as the 38th Police Precinct. . .

At the meeting of the Police Board yesterday . . .

The following resolution was offered by Commissioner Grant and adopted:

Resolved, That all the territory annexed to the city of New York, pursuant to chapter 934, Laws of 1895, shall constitute a police precinct, to be known and designated as the Thirty-eighth Police Precinct.

Resolved, That on the approval of the Mayor and Common Council of the West Chester Town Hall as principal station, and the Wakefield engine house and the City Island Town Hall as sub-station, said premises be designated and set apart for the accommodation of members of the police force, for the temporary detention of persons arrested within said precinct and sub-precincts, and for the transaction of the business of the Police Department.

Resolved, That the quota of the police force of said precinct shall for the present be as follows:  One Captain, 4 Sergeants, 10 roundsmen, 45 patrolmen, and 8 doormen, or a total of 68, to be assigned as follows:  West Chester (main station), 1 Captain, 4 Sergeants, 4 mounted roundsmen, 16 mounted patrolmen, 6 foot patrolmen, 2 patrol wagon drivers, 2 patrol wagon guardsmen, and 3 doormen.  Wakefield (sub-station), 2 roundsmen and 4 patrolmen. . . ."

Source:  WARING ASKS POLICE AID -- WANTS PEOPLE WHO LITTER THE STREETS LOOKED AFTER -- The Annexed Territory to Be Known as the 38th Police Precinct, The Sun [NY, NY], Sep. 7, 1895, p. 9, col. 3.  

"CITY JOTTINGS. . . . 

The Board of Aldermen yesterday passed a resolution authorizing the establishment of a police station for the Thirty-eighth precinct in the Westchester Town Hall, and sub station in the fire engine house in Wakefield and in the Town Hall, City Island. . . ."

Source:  CITY JOTTINGS, N.Y. Herald, Oct. 1, 1895, p. 13, col. 2.  

"THE NEW PRECINCT.
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A Permanent Police Force Created.

Acting Chief of Police Conlin this morning issued an order creating the permanent force of the Thirty-eighth Precinct.  The precinct was made permanent by a resolution adopted by the Board of Police early this morning.  The new precinct comprises the territory recently annexed to the city, and embraces all that territory lying within the villages of West Chester, Wakefield, Williamsbridge, and City Island.  The police have been in command of the territory since June 7, but the police force stationed there has been only temporary and was made up from the various precincts in the city.  The district as it stands now has forty-five men to look after it.  It was said that twenty more will be added to these as soon as new appointments are made.

The precinct is in command of Acting-Capt. Frers, who was made Acting Captain at the last meeting of the Police Board.  It was said that he would be made a Captain as soon as his six months of probation as required by the rules of the department are ended."

Source:  THE NEW PRECINCT -- A Permanent Police Force Created, The Evening Post [NY, NY], Oct. 10, 1895, p. 4, col. 4.  

 "Y'EAVE HO, THE TARRY COPS!
-----

They Are the Bluecoats Who Keep Watch and Ward on City Island Reg'lar Old Mariners, Now.

The police of the Westchester Sub-Station, at City Island, have become regular old shellbacks, and can catch oysters, clams and flounders as well as they can catch lawbreakers.

It is nearly two years since the territory north of the turbulent waters of the Bronx was annexed to the city.  One night two big patrol wagons, filled with policemen, suddenly drew up in front of the West Chester Town Hall.  The men jumped out, fell into line and captured the building.  Then a few of them were sent to Wakefield, and half a dozen under Roundsman Wolf, went to City Island and took possession of the Town Hall of Pelham, where they are yet.

City Island is a bit of land in Long Island Sound, less than two miles in length and only half a mile wide at its fattest part.  Its chief industries are boat building and oyster and clam catching.  The place reeks of the salt, salt sea.

When the bluecoats arrived at City Island the natives were inclined at first to regard them as curiosities.  The instructions from Capt. Freres to his men were to treat the people kindly and not enforce all the city ordinances at once, so no one was arrested for spilling sand on the seashore or scattering paper over the clam cars.

The City Island police were gentlemen, every one of them.  The natives took them under their wings and mainsails and the result is that the policemen can reef, steer, dredge for oysters and converse in a tarry-topsail sort of way.

When off duty the police go sailing or fishing or sit on oyster and clam cars and talk about Stepping Stones and Sand's Point Lights, the last storm and about the oyster sloop Kate receiving a new suit of sails or Cap'n Pell's new catboat breaking her main boom off Turtle Cove.

They know the history and records of all the famous yachts laid up or getting ready for the season at Piepgrass's or Hawkins's shipyard.  They have a perfect knowledge of all the tides -- where the best places are to fish, when, where and how to plant and dredge for oysters and how to calk, rig and handle a boat.  

Should you visit the island and ask for a certain policeman who might be absent you would be told that he had 'gone over to the main,' meaning that he had crossed the rickety drawbridge to the mainland, on which Pelham Bay Park is situated.

When a City Island policeman starts out for duty he 'weighs anchor.'  He 'hauls alongside' a lawbreaker, takes him to the sub-station and 'claps him under hatches.'

The policemen only sleep in 'Town Hall,' their diminutive headquarters, when on duty.  Nearly all have neat little cottages with pretty gardens about them, with hard winding paths made out of ground-up oyster and clam shells.

There are not many posts on City Island, but what few there are cover such important places as Main street, Belden Point, the drawbridge and Pilot avenue, including a close watch over the shipyards and clam cars.  When a prisoner is brought in a policeman starts 'east'ard' and uses a telephone or the ship news reports who controls the only telegraph wire on the island may send a message for him to West Chester and the prisoner is taken to West Chester Station and later on arraigned at the Morrisania Police Court.

Once a day Capt. Freres drives from West Chester to City Island to see how things are getting along and talks to the police, boat builders, and oystermen, shakes hands with the leading citizens and then drives away again."

Source:  Y'EAVE HO, THE TARRY COPS! -- They Are the Bluecoats Who Keep Watch and Ward on City Island Reg'lar Old Mariners, Now, The World [NY, NY], Sep. 1, 1897, p. 2, col. 5 (Note:  Paid subscription to access via this link).



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