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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Advertisement for Fair Held in 1842 to Fund Construction of Christ Church


Christ Church, Parish of Christ the Redeemer, in the Village of Pelham Manor was built in 1843..Built of native granite, the cornerstone of the sanctuary was laid on Friday, April 28, 1843.  The church building was completed and was consecrated on September 15, 1843.  

The opening of the church building was the culmination of a dream long held by the first rector of the church, The Rev. Robert Bolton.  Father Bolton was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1788, the son of a prominent merchant also named Robert.  As a young man, Robert Bolton traveled to England and became a merchant in Liverpool, England.  

In 1838, the Bolton family built Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor.  The home still stands and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1840, Reverend Bolton -- in addition to his ministerial duties in Eastchester -- began holding a Sunday service in his residence, Bolton Priory.  By 1842, an effort was underway to organize a parish and construct a church building.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an advertisement published on July 26, 1842 for a fair to be held the next day on the Priory grounds to raise money for the construction of an "Episcopal Chapel" in Pelham Manor.  I have written before about a related advertisement that appeared in the July 25, 1842 edition of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  See Fri., Aug. 29, 2014:  Announcement of Two-Day Fair in Pelham in 1842 to Raise Money to Build Christ Church.  



Christ Church, Shortly After It Was Constructed, as Depicted in the 1848
First Edition of Bolton's History of Westchester County, Volume 1.

"A Fair will be held on the Grounds of Rev. Robert Bolton, Pelham Priory, near New Rochelle, on Wednesday the 27th, and Thursday the 28th inst. to aid in the erection of an Episcopal Chapel for Pelham.  The Fair will be open from 11 to 7 o'clock.  

The price of each article will be marked on it.

If the weather should prove unfavorable on the 27th, the Fair will be opened on the first fair day and continue two days.  Refreshments of various kinds will be provided at reasonable prices.  

The steamboat Fairfield, Capt. Peck, will leave New-York from Fulton Market slip for New-Rochelle, on Wednesday the 27th, if fair, and if not, on the first fair day thereafter, at 9 o'clock A. M.; and returning leave New-Rochelle at 5 P. M.  Fair 37 1/2 cents each way.

Pelham, July 20, 1842.

jy262t*"

Source:  A Fair, New-York Daily Tribune, Jul. 26, 1842, Vol. II, No. 91, p. 3, col. 1.  



1842 Advertisement for Fair to Fund Construction
of "Episcopal Chapel" in Pelham Manor, New York.
Source:  A Fair, New-York Daily Tribune, Jul. 26, 1842,
Vol. II, No. 91, p. 3, col. 1.  

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pelham Responds to the Financial Panic of 1857; Steps to Alleviate Plight of the Poor of the Town


On August 24, 1857, the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company, an Ohio Bank, failed.  The failure of the bank focused attention on the financial state of the overextended railroad industry and the inflated real estate markets associated with the railroad industry.  Financial confidence quickly waned and, on October 13, 1857, a financial panic gripped the New York Stock Exchange.  By the time the panic settled, hundreds of banks had failed.  Individual investors were ruined.  Although the financial crisis began to level off and the U.S. economy began to stabilize by 1859, a true recovery was not felt until after the American Civil War.  



"RUN ON THE SEAMEN'S SAVINGS' BANK DURING THE PANIC."
Source:  Harper's Weekly, Oct. 31, 1857, Vol. I, p. 692.  NOTE:  This
Engraving Shows an Unruly Crowd Outside a Seamen's Bank Shoving
and Gesturing.  A Ragpicker Can Be Seen Picking Up Worthless Stock
Certificates and a Pickpocket Can Be Seen Working the Crowd.

The brief entry quoted below is from an account of the Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Westchester following the Board's annual session in late 1857.  During that session, Pelham Town Supervisor George Washington Horton of City Island offered a resolution that was adopted by the Board authorizing the Town to raise $50 "for the temporary relief of the poor in said town" and to assess taxes to raise, among other sums, $20 "to defray the expenses for house for town paupers."  The entry suggests that, like many small communities in the New York region, only weeks after the panic the Town of Pelham was struggling to assist citizens who had been affected by the Financial Panic of 1857 and the subsequent financial downturn.

The pertinent entry appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors.
-----
ANNUAL SESSION, NOVEMBER, 1857.

Members of the Board:

Towns.             Names. . . . .

Pelham............George W. Horton. . . . 

Mr. G. W. Horton presented the Abstract of Town Accounts of the town of Pelham; and thereupon presented the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved.  That the Accounts of the town of Pelham, as audited by the Board of Town Auditors, Nov. 5, 1857, amounting to $247, be levied, assessed, and collected, in said town.

Mr. G. W. Horton offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, that the sum of $50 be raised in the town of Pelham, for the temporary relief of the poor in said town, pursuant to a resolution passed by the Board of Town Auditors.

Mr. G. W. Horton also offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, That there be levied and assessed upon the real and personal property in the town of Pelham the sum of $2,020, of which sum $20 was voted to defray the expenses for house for town paupers; $500 which was voted to be raised for working roads and building bridges in said town; also $1,500, which was voted according to the Act of the last Legislature, for the purpose of building a Town Hall for the town of Pelham."

Source:  Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors -- Annual Session, November 1857, Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], Dec. 18, 1857, Vol. XIII, No. 32, p. 2, cols. 6-7.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rare Early Image of the Congregational Church of North Pelham in the Early 20th Century


I have written on a number of occasions about the history of the Congregational Church of North Pelham that was organized by a group known as the Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville. For examples, see

Tue., May 06, 2014:  More on the History of the Congregational Church of North Pelham.

Fri., Apr. 18, 2014:  The Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville

Fri., Feb. 28, 2014:  Brief History of the Role Churches Played in the Growth of the Pelhams Published in 1926

Mon., Sep. 21, 2009:  January 1882 Account of the 1881 Christmas Festival Held at the Union Sabbath School in Pelhamville

Mon., Aug. 24, 2009:  1878 Advertisement for Services of The Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville

The Congregational Church of North Pelham was so important in the early history of the Village that a brief history of the Church appeared on the first page of the very first issue of The Pelham Sun (Vol. I, No. 1) published on April 10, 1910.

Recently there appeared an eBay auction listing for a so-called "Real Photo Post Card" (RPP) containing a rare image of the Congregational Church of North Pelham.  Images of the obverse and the reverse of the post card appear below.

The tiny little church was located on Second Avenue between third and fourth streets in the Village of North Pelham.  The history of the church was stormy and, late in its brief life, there were threats to split the congregation and build another structure just over the border in New Rochelle for those who wished to split off from the church.

The simple church building, shown immediately below, evokes a rural era in the history of Pelham.  



Obverse of Undated Real Photo Post Card (RPP) Showing
"CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.  NO. PELHAM, N.Y." Circa 1910.
Source:  Recent eBay Auction Listing for the Post Card.



Reverse of Undated Real Photo Post Card (RPP) Showing
"CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.  NO. PELHAM, N.Y." Circa 1910.
Source:  Recent eBay Auction Listing for the Post Card.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More Bootleggers and Speakeasies Raided in Pelham in 1929 During Prohibition


Congress implemented the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by enacting The National Prohibition Act of 1919, also known as the Volstead Act. The law became effective, along with the Eighteenth Amendment, on January 16, 1920.  

Thus, prohibition became the law of the land.  As I have written before, however, it was a law meant to be broken.  Private bootleggers and speakeasies sprang up everywhere to meet the seemingly insatiable desire for alcoholic beverages.  Pelham was no different than other suburban communities near New York City.  It had its share of bootleggers, moonshiners and speakeasies.  

I have written a number of times about bootleggers, moonshiners, speakeasies, Prohibition and earlier local prohibition movements in Pelham before national Prohibition.  See:

Fri., May 23, 2014:  How Dry I Am -- Early Prohibition Efforts Succeed in Pelham in 1896.

Thu., Apr. 03, 2014:  The Prohibition Era in Pelham:  Another Speakeasy Raided.

Tue., Feb. 18, 2014:  Pelham Speakeasies and Moonshiners - Prohibition in Pelham: The Feds Raid the Moreau Pharmacy in Pelham Manor in 1922.

Thu., Feb. 07, 2008:  Village Elections in Pelham in 1900 - New York Athletic Club Members Campaign Against the Prohibition Ticket in Pelham Manor.

Thu., Jan. 12, 2006:  The Beer Battle of 1933.

Thu., Aug. 11, 2005:  How Dry I Am: Pelham Goes Dry in the 1890s and Travers Island Is At the Center of a Storm

Bell, Blake A., The Prohibition Era in Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 25, June 18, 2004, p. 12, col. 2.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes two articles published in The Pelham Sun in November, 1929 -- only weeks after the stock market crash and the onset of The Great Depression.  The first article describes excellent detective work by Village of Pelham Manor police who uncovered a massive 50 gallon still in the basement of 580 Monterey Avenue only days after the new "owner" of the property installed the still.  The second article describes two speakeasies raided in the Village of North Pelham -- one at the "North Pelham Checker Club" located at 574 Seventh Avenue and the other at an unspecified address in an unnamed "cafe" located at Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street.

The first article is notable for its description of the police work used to capture the owner of the still.  The second article is notable for its detailed inventory of the alcohol that was discovered during the two raids in North Pelham.  Both articles demonstrate that, by 1929, in some locales Prohibition was more honored in the breach than the observance.

"Police Rout Bootlegger From Manor; 50 Gallon Still Found
-----
Chief Of Police Gargan Does Excellent Work in Locating Illicit Liquor Plant In Heart Of Residential District.  Bootlegger Has Criminal Record.  Thought To Be Counterfeiter Also -- Came Here A Week Ago
-----

A well laid plan to veil with a cloak of respectability a series of small distilleries in the center of residential districts of suburban communities was nipped in the bud Sunday when Chief of Police Philip Gargan routed a bootlegger our of his first plant in Pelham Manor.  Thomas Craven, owner of a dwelling house at No. 580 Monterey avenue, was arrested by Federal Prohibition officers, Monday night as he stepped into the house where the officers had laid [sic] in wait since a 50-gallon still was discovered in the basement of the residence the previous night.  Craven was released on $1,000 bail pending hearing of his case before the Federal Prohibition Commissioner.  

Chief Gargan has since been informed that Craven has a lengthy criminal record and is suspected of being a counterfeiter as well as a bootlegger.  Assistant United States District Attorney Robert Watts will prosecute the case.

Chief Gargan found the still while investigating vacant houses in company with Sgt. James McCaffrey Sunday night.  The officers found a window open at the Craven residence, which has been vacant for three months, and suspecting that there had been a burglary, they entered the house.  

A strong alcoholic odor permeated the atmosphere and on going into the cellar the officers found a complete distillery which had apparently been in action.  The still was warm, and a quantity of rye mash inside it.  In cans beside the still were fifteen gallons of newly run alcohol.  Around the basement room were arranged bottling apparatus, ,laboratory utensils and other liquor making paraphernalia.

Chief Gargan notified Prohibition Director Maj. Maurice Campbell, who was at his home on Prospect avenue.  Members of his staff were summoned and the trap set for the bootlegger.  
The remainder of the night and all the next day, detectives camped in the vacant house.  Early Monday evening Craven and Albert Georges, who gave his address at No. 2788 Kingsbridge Terrace, New York City,. from where Craven is also booked walked into the arms of the waiting Federal men and were placed under arrest.  Georges professed innocence.  He was released after he had satisfied the police that he was not implicated.  Craven arranged bail and was released late that evening.  

It is believe that Craven had installed the still in the Monterey avenue residence within the last week, as the house was inspected two weeks ago, and nothing found amiss.  

According to information gained through District Attorney Watts, Craven has been sought for several months.  He is suspected of operating an extensive liquor trade, preferring to scatter his small plants in several localities rather than to risk detecction through a big plant in one location.  

Attorney Watts also stated that Craven was convicted on a charge of conspiring to  violate the Prohibition Amendment in Massachusetts early last year and served a prison term at Atlanta, after which he was paroled.  He is believed to have been convicted under the name of Thomas C. Wallace in 1928 on a counterfeiting charge.  Watts said that he has [illegible] when they prove that Craven and Wallace are the same person."

Source:  Police Rout Bootlegger From Manor; 50 Gallon Still Found, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 15, 1929, Vol. 20, No. 83, p. 1, cols. 6-7.  



Undated Image, Circa 1921, Depicting New York City Deputy
Police Commissioner John A. Leach, Far Right, Watching Agents
Pour Liquor Into Sewer Following a Raid During the Height of Prohibition.
Source:  Photographic Print from the New York World-Telegram and
the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection Held in the Library
of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540
Reproduction No. LC-USZ62-123257 (b&w film copy neg.).

"Federal Agents Raid Speakeasies Seize Liquor; Three Arrests Made Capture Pelham Man In Mamaroneck
-----
Charles Brockman, John J. Sims, and Bartender Face Federal Prohibition Charges of Selling and Possessing Liquor.  John Ruperto Arrested In Raid In Mamaroneck.  Colored Agents Raid Pelham Checker Club.  All Released In $1,000 Bail
-----

Two speakeasies were raided by federal prohibition agents this week in North Pelham and a large quantity of beer, whiskey and gin seized.  Charles Brockman, proprietor of the North Pelham Checker Club, No. 574 Seventh avenue, John Sims, proprietor of a cafe at Fifth avenue and Seventh street, and Lazarus Dalfus, of No. 556 Willow avenue, the Bronx, barman for Sims were arrested on charges of violation of the Volstead Act.  All were released in $1,000 bail pending their appearance before Commissioner O'Neill in New York City.  Brockman and Dalfus will be tried December 4.  No date has been set for Sims' appearance.  

John Ruperto, who gave his address at No. 133 Sixth street, North Pelham, was arrested last Friday after a raid on a speakeasy in Mamaroneck.  Ruperto is alleged to have been one of the two men who fled through a rear door of the establishment when the police entered.  Ruperto's case will also be heard December 4.  

The raids at Brockman's on Tuesday and Sims' on Wednesday came as a surprise.  The former establishment was among those which were entered by federal men last March.  A quantity of beer was seized at that time, but the case was dismissed when it was learned that the raid had been made on a faulty search warrant.  Sims' place was also entered at that time, but no liquor was found.  

During the last few months many complaints have been registered with the police about disorder at Brockman's place, which it is said catered mainly to a negro clientele.  Mayor Edward B. Harder and Chief of Police Michael Fitzpatrick presented this case before Major Maurice Campbell a month ago, and since that time negro federal men have been visiting the place to establish evidence on which to secure a search warrant.  

On Tuesday, two negro agents visited the Checker Club, and called for a pitcher of beer.  According to their story they received it without any hesitation, and then served the warrant on Brockman and Dalfus, who acted as bartender.

Chief Fitzpatrick was summoned and with members of his department carted away a large quantity of veer in the street department truck.  Much of the liquor was destroyed on the premises.  

The Checker Club is a three-room bungalow, two rooms of which were piled high with empty bottles of every description.  A portable brewery had been installed in the kitchen and a fifty gallon barrel of beer mash stood beside the stove.  

The booze list of the federal agents was as follows:  one 5 gallon jug of beer; 35 one gallon jugs of beer; 800 quart bottles of beer; 1,800 pint bottles of the same beverage; a quart of whiskey and a quart of gin.

The raid at Sim's place was conducted by four agents under the leadership of John T. Murphy who conducted the raids here last March.  With Meyer Goldberg, Ernest Goldbach and Edwin O'Brien, Murphy entered the cafe, armed with a search warrant.  Murphy told the press that one of the agents had purchased a drink before serving the warrant.  

Search of the place yielded the following:  7 half barrels of beer; 4 cases of ale; four bottles of gin; 10 quarts of whiskey and 3 pints of rye, according to Murphy.  This was also taken to police headquarters in the village truck."

Source:  Federal Agents Raid Speakeasies Seize Liquor; Three Arrests Made Capture Pelham Man In Mamaroneck, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 22, 1929, Vol. 20, No. 34, p. 1, cols. 6-7.  


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Pelham Manor Captain of Passenger Cruise Ship Went Down with His Ship in 1929, But Survived!


The waning light of the late afternoon on December 18, 1929 seemed oddly ominous.  The fog at Ambrose Channel was like the stereotypical pea soup.  Although various accounts differ as to the numbers, the S.S. Fort Victoria, a 7,785 gross ton passenger cruise ship was carrying at least about 225 passengers and about 30 crew members.  The master, Captain A. R. Francis, could hear warning bells and sirens coming from several directions.  Although Captain Francis was in his element, he probably wished he were back home wrapped in the blankets of his warm bed in the Pelham Arms in the little Village of Pelham Manor, New York.

The Fort Victoria had departed the West 55th Street Pier earlier that day, promptly at 11:00 a.m., bound for Hamilton, Bermuda.  On board, according to some accounts, were 171 cabin passengers, an additional 35 passengers on what the liner proclaimed as the "Negro deck," and an additional 165 crew members.  Captain Francis brought the Fort Victoria to a halt at the beginning of the Ambrose Channel off Sandy Hook to allow the pilot to disembark to a waiting vessel scheduled to return him to Sandy Hook.  Captain Francis thought it best to refrain from sailing the busy channel until the fog conditions improved.  As the Captain and his crew surveyed the situation amid the clamor of the warning bell and sirens, the fog parted immediately before them as if cut by a knife.  A massive ship's bow burst forth nearly on top of the Fort Victoria.  The subsequent violent collision could not be avoided.

The British steamship liner Fort Victoria originally was known as the Willochra.  It was built in 1913 by Wm. Beardmore & Company Dalmuir, Yard No. 507 for the Adelaide Steamship Company, Port Adelaide.  The ship served as a troopship during World War I and, before that, as a transport that ran a route between the United States and Australia / New Zealand waters.  In about 1920, the ship was acquired by Furness, Withy and Company of London and was rebuilt to serve as a passenger cruise ship to run between New York and Bermuda.  The ship was 412 feet long with a 57-foot beam.



The Steamship Cruise Liner S.S. Fort Victoria
in Undated Photograph, Ca. 1920s. 

On that December afternoon in 1929, the cruise to Bermuda for 225 passengers was about to reach an early, abrupt, and tragic end.  The ship's bow that cut through the fog belonged to the Algonquin, a second larger liner based out of Galveston, Texas.  The Algonquin's bow smashed into the port side of the Fort Victoria at precisely 4:10 p.m. and mangled the Bermuda cruise liner.

Within moments of the collision, distress calls were broadcast by both ships.  From the crowded, busy waters of the Ambrose Channel, the U.S. Coast Guard and many smaller ships responded to the unfolding tragedy.  

At first, the passengers of the Fort Victoria failed to comprehend their danger.  According to one account:

"The passengers on the port side of the Fort Victoria watching the pilot disembark were shocked to look up and see the bow of another passenger steamer heading directly towards them. They quickly vacated the area, but not before the Algonquin rammed the Fort Victoria, resulting in splintered glass raining down on them, but fortunately injuring no one.  One doughty passenger, Howard Granel, simply grabbed the rail and held on for the ride as the Algonquin pierced her side and then pulled away. 

Another Fort Victoria passenger who enjoyed the whole affair was Andrew Dunk, who commented "I've had a wonderful time.  I was in bed when my wife spoiled my dreams by telling me that there was a wreck."  Even though Dunk and his wife were separated in the movement to the lifeboats, he afterwards expressed no worry for her safety.  Less sanguine was Mrs. V.G. Curry, who felt the bump, looked out her porthole and was aghast to see the letters "Algonquin" sticking out of the side of the Fort Victoria, attached to a large ship.  Another passenger had a similar experience; Mrs. Gardner Hendrie felt the ship tremble, and when she looked out her porthole, exclaimed "Goodness, there's a ship right next to us."

Source:  TheShipsList-L Archives:  Collision in New York Harbor 1929 (Oct. 24, 2009; citing various articles published in the New York Times) (visited Nov. 8, 2014).

The Fort Victoria was taking on water.  An emergency evacuation of passengers and crew began.  Precious minutes passed as water poured in a gaping gash in the port side of the ship.  Purely by happenstance, the passengers had just completed mandatory lifeboat training only minutes before the collision occurred.  Most were still milling about on deck when the wreck occurred.  Passengers were transferred quickly and efficiently to rescue ships that swarmed the area.

By 4:42 p.m., it became clear that the ship was foundering and likely would have to be abandoned.  Eight minutes later, all passengers had been safely evacuated from the ship and the ship sent a message saying "Crew abandoning ship.  Good Bye."  Five minutes later a further message at 4:55 p.m. reported "Master and twelve men remain on board.  All passengers safely transferred to pilot boat.  Skeleton crew on board.  Ship listing to starboard."  

What happened next became the stuff of maritime legend.  Though Captain A. R. Francis would later refuse to tell the tale, his crew member shipmates told the story to The Pelham Sun, the local newspaper in the small Town where the Captain lived.  The account detailed the final moments of the S.S. Fort Victoria before it sank beneath the waves.

"Capt. Francis gave an exhibition that has no parallel in local marine records.

'After Capt. Francis refused to leave his ship and sent his radio man, Robert Eustace, with his skeleton crew to our deck on salvage ropes, we thought the captain and Fred Fendt, the pilot with him would go down with the ship.

'But we did what we could -- threw lines to them and they fastened them around their waists.  Capt. Francis kept on his commandant's coat.  

'The listing Fort Victoria wallowed horribly.  We never want to see anything like it again.  Capt. Francis braced himself and held on as though he were holding the ship to the surface with his own hands.  

'There was a terrible rush of waters.  The Fort Victoria slid onto the sea.  Only the maelstrom showed above.  Capt. Francis and Fendt were under water.  We thought it was all over with them.  Suddenly their heads bobbed up under our lights.  The lines had held.  We pulled them aboard, drenched and shivering, and gave them dry clothes.'

Source:    Captain of Ill-Fated Victoria, Acclaimed Hero of Thrilling Sea Rescue, Back Safe In Pelham, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 20, 1929, p. 1, cols. 6-7.  

The full text of the above quoted article from The Pelham Sun appears immediately below.

"Captain of Ill-Fated Victoria, Acclaimed Hero of Thrilling Sea Rescue, Back Safe In Pelham
----- 
After Seeing All Passengers Rescued, Captain Francis Went Down With His Ship -- Was Saved from Watery Grave By Members of Crew
-----

Saving the lives of 225 passengers in the most recent tragedy of the sea, the sinking of the S. S. Fort Victoria, just off Ambrose Channel, Wednesday night, the world is acclaiming Capt. A. R. Francis, master of the ship, the greatest hero of the day.  Capt. Francis, who maintains his home at Pelham Arms, Pelham Manor, stuck to his ship until it passed beneath the waves.  He came to the surface again and was rescued.  The Pelham Sun endeavored to interview Capt. Francis this morning, but he preferred to remain incommunicado.

Shipmates told the story yesterday of how the little mariner saw his ship to the bottom after his seamanship, and whatever sailors call horse sense, had saved every one of his 255 passengers as well as his seamen in a crash off Sandy Hook in Wednesday's frightening fog.  The story overshadowed a welter of investigation and aftermath.

From the time the sharp prow of the liner Algonquin dealt its deadly blow to the For Victoria at 4:10 p.m. until a half minute after the foundering vessel slid into the murky sea at 7:30 p.m., Capt. Francis gave an exhibition that has no parallel in local marine records.

'After Capt. Francis refused to leave his ship and sent his radio man, Robert Eustace, with his skeleton crew to our deck on salvage ropes, we thought the captain and Fred Fendt, the pilot with him would go down with the ship.

'But we did what we could -- threw lines to them and they fastened them around their waists.  Capt. Francis kept on his commandant's coat.  

'The listing Fort Victoria wallowed horribly.  We never want to see anything like it again.  Capt. Francis braced himself and held on as though he were holding the ship to the surface with his own hands.  

'There was a terrible rush of waters.  The Fort Victoria slid onto the sea.  Only the maelstrom showed above.  Capt. Francis and Fendt were under water.  We thought it was all over with them.  Suddenly their heads bobbed up under our lights.  The lines had held.  We pulled them aboard, drenched and shivering, and gave them dry clothes.'

Capt. Francis has lived in the Pelhams for two and one-half years."

Source:    Captain of Ill-Fated Victoria, Acclaimed Hero of Thrilling Sea Rescue, Back Safe In PelhamThe Pelham Sun, Dec. 20, 1929, p. 1, cols. 6-7.  


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Friday, November 14, 2014

1888 Notice of Sale of Bonds to Fund Construction of Second Hutchinson School in Pelhamville


By 1887, the tiny one-room schoolhouse built in 1861 to serve the growing community of Pelhamville was so overcrowded that, according to one account, even the window sills were used to seat pupils.  On December 20, 1887, the Board of Education of the Union Free School District No. One of the Town of Pelham decided that a new school building was needed.  

A special meeting of the voters of the District was held in the Pelham Manor School on May 8, 1888. Rev. C. Winter Bolton was elected chairman, and Mr. Henry E. Dey as clerk of the meeting. 

The district voted $6,000 for the erection of a new school building at Pelhamville. On May 15, 1888, a building committee was appointed consisting of Mr. Robert C. Black, Mr. E. H. Gurney, and Mr. Henry N. Babcock.  The architect selected was Mr. F. C. Merry.  The new school was completed at a cost of about $6,500, the size of the building being 67.4 x 64 x 58.

I have written before about the history of the public schools that have served the community of Pelhamville, later the Village of North Pelham and, even later, the northern sector of today's Village of Pelham.  See, e.g.Thu., Sep. 18, 2014:  A History of the Hutchinson School and its Predecessors in Today's Village of Pelham Published in 1926.

The Board of Education sold $6,000 of ten-year school bonds with interest at four percent per annum paid semi-annually to fund the project.  On May 29, 1888, a "Notice of Sale of Bonds" appeared in at least one New York City newspaper announcing the plans to sell the bonds and soliciting proposals for purchases of the bonds.  An image of the Notice appears immediately below followed by a citation to its source as well as a transcription of its text to facilitate search.



1888 Notice of Sale of Bonds to Fund Construction
of Hutchinson School No. 2 to Replace the Original
One-Room Schoolhouse Built in 1861.  Source:  Union
Free School, District No. One, Town of Pelham, Westchester
Co., N. Y.  NOTICE OF SALE OF BONDS [Advertisement],
The Evening Post, May 29, 1888, Vol. 87, Last Edition, p. 5, col. 6.  

"Union Free School, District No. One, Town of Pelham, Westchester Co., N. Y.

NOTICE OF SALE OF BONDS.

Notice is hereby given, according to law, by the Board of Education of Union Free School, District No. One, of the Town of Pelham, County of Westchester and State of New York, that proposals will be received by the undersigned until Tuesday, June 12, 1888, for the sale of six thousand dollars ($6,000) of the bonds of said district.  These bonds are to be issued by the said Board of Education, by authority of law, for the purpose of building a new school house at Pelhamville, N. Y.

The bonds will be dated July 1, 1888, and will be for the term of ten years, with interest at 4 per cent. per annum, payable semi-annually.  They will be issued in sums to suit purchasers, and will not be sold below par.  

The district has no bonded debt, and no obligations of any kind beyond ordinary current expenses, which are amply provided for.

The bids will be opened at the Prospect Hill Schoolhouse on Tuesday, June 12, 1888, at 8 o'clock P. M.

The right is reserved to reject any and all bids.  

Further information will be furnished by the undersigned.  

By order of the Board of Education.

HENRY E. DEY, Clerk.

Dated PELHAM MANOR, N. Y., May 28, 1888."


Source:  Union Free School, District No. One, Town of Pelham, Westchester Co., N. Y.  NOTICE OF SALE OF BONDS [Advertisement], The Evening Post, May 29, 1888, Vol. 87, Last Edition, p. 5, col. 6.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Baseball Crowds in Pelham Got Out Of Hand in 1896


Over the last fifteen years, research has revealed that from the mid-1860's through the end of the 19th century, the Town of Pelham was a hotbed of baseball activity.  Citizens of the town embraced the national pastime with gusto.  There were baseball grounds at Pelham Bridge, Bartow, City Island, in today's Pelham Manor, on the western edge of the Heights, and in Pelhamville.  In short, there were baseball grounds all over the Town of Pelham.  

The baseball grounds in the Village of Pelham (known today as the Heights and later merged with the Village of North Pelham to form today's Village of Pelham) were particularly popular and heavily used.  Ballplayers from all over the region from as far away as Staten Island and Yonkers and as near as Mount Vernon and New Rochelle traveled to the Village of Pelham baseball grounds to play ball. 

Baseball, at the time, could be a day-long affair ending with a glorious meal either hosted by the home team or, occasionally, paid for by the losing team after losing a bet on their own baseball prowess. Clearly, during the last quarter of the 19th century, baseball games in Pelham were truly social affairs that drew large crowds.

By 1896, the crowds for Sunday baseball games had grown too large, too unruly and out of control.  The noise of the raucous crowds disturbed the tiny new village known as the Village of Pelham.  The entire population was fed up with Sunday baseball.  During the summer of 1896, the Citizens League of the Village of Pelham voted to take steps to stop Sunday baseball.  Pelham may have picked the wrong game to make its move, however.  

On Sunday, August 9, 1896, Village President S.C. Caldwell marched to the field with local officials, local citizens, and armed constables as two teams and their fans gathered for another big game.  They told the players and the fans that due to noise and disorderly crowds, no game would be permitted on the field and no baseball would be allowed on Sundays any longer.  One of the two team captains stepped forward and scribbled a note on a piece of paper and handed it to President Caldwell.  It read:  "But we are not noisy people."  It turned out that the captain led a team of "deaf mutes of St. Francis Xavier's Institute in New York."  The St. Francis Xavier's team was preparing to play a Yonkers team on the Pelham field.

The Pelhamites recognized that the situation "was a stickler" but stuck to their guns:  no more Sunday baseball in the Village of Pelham!  The players and crowds stayed until the evening to no avail.  Sunday would be a day of rest in the Village of Pelham.  The national pastime  would have to wait.

"Against Sunday Ball
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RESIDENTS OF PELHAM ARE DETERMINED TO PUT AN END TO IT.
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Sunday baseball playing in the town of Pelham reached a climax yesterday, as many expected that it would, after reading the decision which the Citizens League made at its last meeting to put an end to the practice.  Yesterday, as usual, the noisy crowds and their followers were on hand.  Every arrangement was made for a lively game between a Yonkers team and the deaf-mutes of St. Francis Xavier's Institute, in New York.  As the teams lined up on the grounds they were surprised to find that President Caldwell, of the village, Justice of the Peace Young, John Fairchild, brother of Congressman Fairchild, and other citizens, with a number of constables, had taken charge of the diamond.  The players were told that they could not proceed with the game, under penalty of the law.  The villagers said that they did not object so much to the playing of baseball as they did to the disorderly crowds.  Captain Lloyd, of the mutes, then wrote on a piece of paper.  'But we are not noisy people.'  This was a stickler.  A long wait followed, the villagers taking one side of the campus and the ball players and the audience the other.  But baseball playing was doomed, noise or no noise.  The large crowd waited patiently until six o'clock, and then left in disgust.  The Pelhamites were correspondingly happy, and declare that they have at last ushered in an era of peaceful and orderly Sundays. -- Yonkers Gazette."

Source:  Against Sunday Ball -- RESIDENTS OF PELHAM ARE DETERMINED TO PUT AN END TO IT, Deaf-Mutes' Journal, Aug. 13, 1896, Vol. XXV, No. 33, p. 2, col. 4.  



Undated Photograph (Ca. 1896) of the Pelham A.C. Jr. Baseball Team.
Although Difficult to See in This Low Resolution Version of the Image,
There Are Many Children Whose Eyes Can Be Seen Peering, and
Whose Fingers Extend, Through the Cracks Between the Boards Behind the Team.

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Below is a listing, with links, of my previous postings and a published article on the topic of 19th century baseball in Pelham.





Thu., Jan. 28, 2010:   News About Pelham Manor and Pelhamville in 1895 - Lighting Districts, Gas for the Village, Baseball and More.

Tue., Dec. 15, 2009:  Baseball Games Played by the City Island Beldenites and the City Island Rivals in 1884.  

Mon., Dec. 14, 2009:  Baseball Games Played by the City Island Shamrocks in 1889.  

Fri., Dec. 11, 2009:  Earliest Reference Yet to Baseball Played in Pelham.  

Thu., Dec. 10, 2009:  More 19th Century Baseball and Firefighting References

Wed., Dec. 9, 2009:  City Island Shamrocks Base Ball Club Changed its Name to the Minnefords in 1888.

Wed., Nov. 25, 2009:  Even More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham.

Tue., Nov. 24, 2009:  Yet Another Reference to Early Baseball in Pelham.

Mon., Nov. 23, 2009:  Additional Brief Accounts of Baseball Played in Pelham in the 19th Century.

Fri., Nov. 20, 2009:  More Accounts of Early Baseball Played in Pelham.

Fri., Nov. 13, 2009:  1894 Account of Developments in Pelham Including a Reference to a Baseball Game Played that Year.

Thur., Nov. 12, 2009:  More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham.

Wed., Sep. 30, 2009:   Score of June 1, 1887 Baseball Game Between the Country Club and The Knickerbocker Club.

Fri., Mar. 20, 2009:   Another Reference to 19th Century Baseball in Pelham.

Tue., Mar. 4, 2008:   Another Brief Reference to 19th Century Baseball in Pelham.

Mon., Nov. 26, 2007:  Box Score of a Baseball Game Played on Travers Island in Pelham Manor in July 1896.

Wed., Nov. 21, 2007:  Baseball on Travers Island During the Summer of 1897.

Fri., Jul. 20, 2007:  Account of Early Baseball in Pelham: Pelham vs. the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island in 1897.

Fri., Nov. 10, 2006: The Location of Another Early Baseball Field in Pelham.

Mon., Oct. 9, 2006:   Reminiscences of Val Miller Shed Light on Late 19th Century Baseball in Pelham and the Early Development of the Village of North Pelham.

Thu., Mar. 23, 2006:  Baseball Fields Opened on the Grounds of the Westchester Country Club in Pelham on April 4, 1884.  

Tue., Jan. 31, 2006:  Another Account of Baseball Played in Pelham in the 1880s Is Uncovered.  

Thu., Oct. 6, 2005:   Does This Photograph Show Members of the "Pelham Manor Junior Base Ball Team"?

Thu., Sep. 15, 2005:  Newspaper Item Published in 1942 Sheds Light on Baseball in 19th Century Pelham.  

Thu., Feb. 10, 2005:  New Discoveries Regarding Baseball in 19th Century Pelham.  

Bell, Blake A., Baseball in Late 19th Century Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 17, Apr. 23, 2004, p. 8, col. 2.

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