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.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A 17th Century Book Reference to "Siwanois" Natives in the Region of Today's Pelham



Research has revealed an early 17th century book that refers to "Siwanois" as natives that "dwell along the coast for eight leagues, to the neighborhood of Hellegat."  The area referenced in the book includes the region that later became today's Pelham and Pelham Bay Park.  

This fascinating reference may be added to the various editions of a number of 17th century maps that also included references to "Siwanoys" and "Siwanois" in various areas including the area north of today's Stamford, Connecticut and the area of northeast Massachusetts.  See Mon., Aug. 13, 2018:  There Seems To Be Another Early 17th Century Map that References Siwanoys.  Today's Historic Pelham Blog article describes and quotes the 17th century resource and addresses whether this reference disproves the conclusions that the local Natives who sold land to Thomas Pell were Wiechquaeskecks and that there were know Natives who should properly be known as "Siwanoys."

In 1625 a large folio volume in Dutch written by Ioannes de Laet (also, Johannes De Laet) was published by the "Printing House" of Isaack Elzevier in Leyden.  (Today's Leyden is in the Province of South Holland, Netherlands).  De Laet's work was entitled "Nieuvve Wereldt, Ofte, Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien Wt veelderhande schriften ende aen-teeckeninghen van verscheyden natien by een versamelt door Ioannes de Laet; ende met noodighe kaerten ende tafels voorsien."  Roughly translated, the book was entitled "New world, or, Description of West-India collected out of various writings and notes from various nations by Johannes de Laet, and provided with needful maps and tables."  


Title Page of "Nieuvve Wereldt, Ofte, Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien
Wt veelderhande schriften ende aen-teeckeninghen van verscheyden
natien by een versamelt door Ioannes de Laet" Published in 1625.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Johannes De Laet, born in 1582, was a director in the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch West India Company from the first organization of the firm until his death on December 15, 1649.  De Laet was passionately interested in geography and "was one of the chief workers for the [Leyden Printing House] of Elzevier in the composition of their popular series of manuals sometimes called Respublicae Elzevirianae, writing some eight or nine little volumes on the geography and government of as many different countries."  See Jameson, J. Franklin, Narratives of New Netherland 1609-1664, p. 31 (NY, NY:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909).  Although De Laet "seems never to have visited America," id., p. 32, he had not only a geographical interest, but also a personal interest in New Netherland.  According to Jameson:

"De Laet's most direct interest in New Netherland arose some years after he had published the first edition of the New World.  In 1630, soon after the institution of the system of patroonships, he became a partner in the abortive Dutch settlements on either side of Delaware Bay, and in the more permanent patroonship of Rensselaerswyck."  Id.

De Laet's folio on the "New World" published in 1625 was divided into fifteen "books."  Book III dealt with "Virginia" and included chapters 7 through 11 that dealt with New Netherland.  Chapter 8 was entitled "Situation of the Coast of of New Netherland from Pye Bay to the Great River of Mountains."  Pye Bay was a Dutch reference to a feature near Marblehead, Massachusetts.  The "Great River of Mountains" was a Dutch reference to the Hudson River.  Within this description of the northeastern coach between today's Marblehead, Massachusetts and today's Upper New York Bay off the tip of Manhattan was a description of the coastal area between Hell Gate below today's City Island and the Four Mile and Quinipiac Rivers in Connecticut.  Within the description of that area appears the following reference, as translated and published in 1909 by J. Franklin Jameson:

"Four leagues further to the west there lies a small island, where good water is to be found; and four leagues beyond that are a number of islands, so that Captain Adriaen Block gave the name of Archipelagus to the group.  The great bay is there about four leagues wide.  There is a small stream on the main that does not extend more than half a league in from the shore, when it becomes perfectly dry.  The natives here are called Siwanois, and dwell along the coast for eight leagues, to the neighborhood of Hellegat."
Source:  Jameson, J. Franklin, Narratives of New Netherland 1609-1664, p. 44 (NY, NY:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909) (reference appears in Book III, Ch. on "Virginia," p. 86, in original 1625 De Laet folio).


Detail from Book III, p. 86 of  de Laet, Ioannes, Nieuvve Wereldt, Ofte,
Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien Wt veelderhande schriften ende
aen-teeckeninghen van verscheyden natien by een versamelt door
Ioannes de Laet; ende met noodighe kaerten ende tafels voorsien
Leyden, Netherland:  Elzevier, 1625).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.
Red Arrow Points to Reference to "Siwanois" on Original Page.

An immediate reaction to this reference may suggest to some that de Laet, who seems never to have visited New Netherland, had some knowledge from some unidentified source that the Natives in the coastal region that includes today's Pelham and Pelham Bay Park were known as "Siwanoys."  The reference not, however, rise to the level of primary source evidence that there were Natives in the Pelham region that referenced themselves, and were referenced by others at the time, as "Siwanoys."

First, in both the 1625 edition and a 1630 edition of the same folio, de Laet included an assertion that among the Natives that inhabited an area along the "South River" (known today as the Delaware River) was a group named the "Sauwanoos."  See Jameson, J. Franklin, Narratives of New Netherland 1609-1664, p. 52 n.3 & p. 53 (NY, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909). This reference to "Sauwanoos" along the Delaware River joins 17th century map references to "Siwanoys" north of today's Stamford and to "Siwanois" in the northeastern part of today's Massachusetts as well as the earlier-described de Laet book reference to "Siwanois" near Hell Gate.  These four Siwanoy references tied to widely-disparate geographic locations together suggest either mistakes due to reliance on uninformed and inaccurate map references or -- more likely -- mapmakers' (and, perhaps, others') mistaken use of Native descriptive phrases intended to apply across different groups of Natives as though such descriptive phrases were the tribal names of the various groups of Natives.  (See below.)  

Second, others who have considered the matter closely likewise have rejected the notion that de Laet's work published in 1625 supports the existence of a group of Natives properly known as "Siwanoys."  For example, in his recent book on Wiechquaeskeck Natives, John Alexander Buckland argues extensively that "Siwanoy" was a descriptive term that meant the people who make wampum in this place.  He devotes a chapter in his book to the argument and begins as follows:  "Siwanoy means 'the place of sewan-making,' or 'the people who make sewan at this place.'  Sewan means 'wampum,' or 'shell beads.'  Oy, ois, or og means 'place.' There were Siwanoy all along the shore on both sides of Long Island Sound, in Delaware and in Massachusetts, north of Boston, when the Europeans arrived."  Buckland, John Alexander, The First Traders on Wall Street: The Wiechquaeskeck Indians of Southwestern Connecticut in the Seventeenth Century, p. 65 (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2009).  He further notes:

"It is very probable that, about 1630, someone charting the shore asked the people there the name of their tribe, through an interpreter.  The two languages were vastly different in grammar and structure, and the question was understood as 'who are you?'  The answer was simply 'Siwanoy,' the people who make sewan.

Use of the name Siwanoy was not unique to the north shore of Long Island Sound in early accounts.  Johan de Laet (deLaet: 53) mentioned the Sawanoos [sic] on Long Island [sic] in 1609.  Adraien Block's 1614 map of northeastern Massachusetts has Sywanois there.  That simply means that they also made wampum on Long Island and in northeastern Massachusetts.  The name also turned up on maos of Delaware.  Various early spellings of Siwanoy included:  Sewonkeeg, Siwanoos, Siwanois, Sywanois, and Siwanog."

Source:  id., p. 66.

Third and most significantly, research has not revealed even one New Netherland or New England colonial document that uses the term "Siwanoy" or any spelling variant of it as the name of an identifiable group of Natives in the region of today's Pelham or elsewhere.

Despite the single reference in De Laet's 17th century book indicating that coastal Natives near Hell Gate were named "Siwanois," no primary evidence supports the assertion.  De Laet certainly was mistaken. 

*          *          *          *          *

"CHAPTER 8

Situation of the Coast of of New Netherland from Pye Bay to the Great River of Mountains. . . . 

"Pye Bay is perhaps that of Marblehead, Massachusetts."  [NOTE:  The "Great River of Mountains" was how the Dutch, who came from a flat sea-level nation, first described the Hudson River in the earliest years of the 17th Century.  Thus, what follows is a relevant portion of a chapter that describes the northeast coastline from today's Marblehead, Massachusetts to New York Harbor and Upper New York Bay.]

[Page 43]

Next, on the same south coast, succeeds a river named by our countrymen Fresh River, 3 which is shallow at its mouth, and lies between two courses, north by east and west by north; but according to conjecture, its general direction is from north-northwest.  In some places it is very shallow, so that at about fifteen leagues up the river there is not much more than five feet of water.  There are few inhabitants near the mouth of the river, but at the distance of fifteen leagues above they become numerous; their nation is called Sequins.  From this place the river stretches ten leagues, mostly in a northerly direction, but is very crooked; the reaches extend from northeast to southwest by south, and it is impossible to sail through them all with a head wind.  The depth of water varies from eight to twelve feet, is sometimes four and five fathoms, but mostly eight and nine feet.  The natives there plant maize, and in the year 1614 they had a village resembling a fort for protection against the attacks of their enemies.  They are called Nawaas, and their sagamore was then named Morahieck.  They term the bread made of maize in their language, leganick.  This place is situated in latitude 41° 48'.  The river is not navigable with yachts for more than two leagues farther, as it is very shallow and has a rocky bottom.  Within the land dwells another nation of savages, who are called Horikans; they descend the river in canoes made of bark  This river has always a downward current, so that no assistance is drived from it in going up, but a favorable wind is necessary.  

From Fresh River to another called the river of Royenberch, 4 it is eight leagues, west by north and east by south; this stream 

[Page 44]

stretches east-northeast, and is about a bow-shot wide, with a depth of three and a half fathoms at high water.  It rises and falls about six feet; a southeast by south moon causes high water at its mouth.  The natives who dwell here are called Quiripeys.  They take many beavers, but it is necessary for them to get into the habit of trade, otherwise they are too indolent to hunt the beaver.

Four leagues further to the west there lies a small island, where good water is to be found; and four leagues beyond that are a number of islands, so that Captain Adriaen Block gave the name of Archipelagus to the group.  The great bay is there about four leagues wide.  There is a small stream on the main that does not extend more than half a league in from the shore, when it becomes perfectly dry.  The natives here are called Siwanois, and dwell along the coast for eight leagues, to the neighborhood of Hellegat.  At the entrance of this bay, as we have already mentioned, are situated several islands, or broken land, on which a nation of savages have their abode, who are called Matouwax; they obtain a livelihood by fishing within the bay; whence the most easterly point of the land received from our people the name of Fisher's Hook and also Cape de Baye. 1  This cape and Block Island are situated about four leagues apart, in a course east by north and west by south."

[Page 43, Footnote 3 Reads:  "3 Four Mile River."]

[Page 43, Footnote 4 Reads:  "4 Quinipiac River, near New Haven."]

[Page 44, Footnote 1 Reads:  "1 Montauk Point."]

Source:  Jameson, J. Franklin, Narratives of New Netherland 1609-1664, pp. 43-44 (NY, NY:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909) (Includes an English translation of those portions of de Laet's "New World" relating to New Netherland as one of a series of "Original Narratives of Early American History Reproduced Under the Auspices of the American Historical Association").   

"CHAPTER 11

Further Description of the Coast to the Second Great River, and from thence to Latitude 38°, [and what the free Netherlanders have done there]. . . . 

"Ed.  1630, which, at the passage below relating to Indian tribes, reads:  'On this South River dwell divers nations of savages, namely, the Sauwanoos, Naraticons, Ermonmex, Sankicans.  TheMinquaas, Capitanasses, Gacheos, Sennecaas, Canomakers, Konekotays, Matanackouses, Armeomecks, etc., dwell further inland and upon another river. . . ."

Source:  Jameson, J. Franklin, Narratives of New Netherland 1609-1664, p. 52 n.3 (NY, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909) (Includes an English translation of those portions of de Laet's "New World" relating to New Netherland as one of a series of "Original Narratives of Early American History Reproduced Under the Auspices of the American Historical Association").

"CHAPTER 11

Further Description of the Coast to the Second Great River, and from thence to Latitude 38°, [and what the free Netherlanders have done there]. . . . 

"Within this bay is the other large river, called the South River, of which we have spoken in the seventh chapter; and several smaller streams. . . which I shall omit to describe as their true bearing and situation have not reached me, although some of our navigators are well acquainted with these rivers, which they discovered and have visited for several years.  Several nations of savages inhabit the banks of these rivers, namely, the Sauwanoos, Sanhicans, Minquaas, Capitanasses, Gacheos, Sennecaas, Canomakers, Naratekons, Konekotays, Matanackouses, Armeomecks, etc., nearly all of whom are of the same character and condition as those we have already described.  They plant the land and have much maize, beans, and whatever else the other natives possess."

Source:  Jameson, J. Franklin, Narratives of New Netherland 1609-1664, pp. 52-53 (NY, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909) (Includes an English translation of those portions of de Laet's "New World" relating to New Netherland as one of a series of "Original Narratives of Early American History Reproduced Under the Auspices of the American Historical Association").

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Statue Based on Portrait from Life of Soldier Who Was With the Marblehead Mariners as a Private During the Battle of Pelham


The Battle of Pelham fought during the Revolutionary War on October 18, 1776 began early that day as British and German troops landed from barges and ships in Eastchester Bay and came ashore along the western edge of Pelham Neck.  Soon the troops began marching along portions of today's City Island Road and onto today's Shore Road.  It appears that the first shots fired were from New Rochelle based militia who fired a few warning shots from near today's Glover's Rock.  See Fri., Jul. 01, 2016:  Evidence the Battle of Pelham May Have Begun at Glover's Rock After All.  

The British and German troops proceeded along Shore Road to the entrance of today's Split Rock & Pelham Bay Golf Club and turned onto Split Rock Road that once ran across the area and now follows on (and along) portions of the golf cart path that passes beneath the Branch Line Railroad Overpass near the course.  American skirmishers met and temporarily halted the British and German troops on today's Split Rock Golf Course as Colonel John Glover of the famed Marblehead Mariners deployed various regiments behind stone walls to slow the advance of the enemy troops.  The British and German troops planned to cut across the mainland and cut off General George Washington and his Continental Army as they escaped from upper Manhattan toward White Plains.  

For much of the day, the Americans fought a delaying action as they engaged in a fighting retreat along Split Rock Road toward Boston Post Road.  (The retreat followed the Split Rock Road, a section of which no longer exists due to construction of the Split Rock Golf Course and Interstate 95, both of which lie atop portions of the battlefield.)  The Americans fought the delaying action as they retreated along Split Rock road and fanned out across Prospect Hill, headed toward (and onto) today's Wolf's Lane toward the old Boston Post Road (today's Colonial Avenue).  

When the Americans reached the old Boston Post Road (Colonial Avenue), they turned westward.  Because they earlier had torn up the planks of the bridge across today's Hutchinson River, the Americans forded the creek near today's Town of Pelham Public Library where Colonial Avenue crosses the Hutchinson River.  The Americans set up cannons on a nearby hill and began shelling the British and German troops who stopped without chasing them across the tiny river.  The British and German troops camped for the night along both sides of today's Colonial Avenue and shelled the American cannon emplacement all night with little effect.

One of the 450 or so American Patriots who was with the Marblehead Mariners led by Col. John Glover at the time of the Battle of Pelham was a Private named John Rhodes Russell (occasionally misspelled "Roads").  Russell was a son of Lewis Russel and Mary Savage Russel.  He was born in about October 20, 1728 and was christened on December 6, 1730 in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

John Rhodes Russell married Miriam (occasionally spelled "Meriam") Rhodes on October 17, 1751 in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  The couple had at least two children, a daughter they named Tabitha Rhodes Russell and a son they named John Rhodes Russell, Jr.  (Thus, the father is often referenced, as on his tombstone, as John Rhodes Russell, Sr.) 

During the Revolutionary War Russell rose to the rank of Captain.  After the War Russell returned to Marblehead where he lived until his death on May 20, 1811.  He is buried in the Unitarian Cemetery in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts.   An article published in The Boston Globe in 1892 provided details regarding Russell's service during the Revolutionary War.  It stated, in part:

"As told by Gen. Stryker, the battle monument which is to be erected at Trenton is to be adorned by a statue of John Roads [sic] Russell, who was a private in Col. Glover's regiment of Marblehead fishermen.  The Massachusetts Legislature appropriated $2500 last winter for this purpose.

Private Russell was born at Marblehead in 1754 [sic].  He enlisted in Glover's regiment in 1775.  He was with the regiment all through its famous career.  He helped ferry the army across the East river on the retreat from Battle Hill in Greenwood.

At Pelham Neck they held the British army at bay during the evacuation of New York.  In crossing the Delaware he took a conspicuous part.  At Saratoga under Arnold they led in the brilliant charge against the enemy, and convoyed Burgoyne's captured army through Massachusetts.

After the war he entered the foreign merchant service.  While he was in France he had his portrait painted on porcelain.  This portrait is now in the possession of his only living daughter, Mrs. Lyon, and is probably the only picture in existence of any of Glover's men. . . ."

Source:  NATION'S FATE DECIDED -- Anniversary of the Famous Battle at Trenton -- New England Club Celebrates the Event at Christmas Banquet -- Gen. W. S. Stryker of New Jersey Eulogizes Bay State's Sons, The Boston Globe, Dec. 25, 1892, p. 9, cols. 4-7 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).  

The "portrait painted on porcelain" of John Rhodes Russell, described in The Boston Globe as "probably the only picture in existence of any of Glover's men" is significant for a rather interesting reason.  It was used to create one of the statues unveiled with the Trenton Battle Monument unveiled on October 19, 1893 to commemorate the American victory at the first Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776.

Just as Private John Rhodes Russell guarded the liberty of Americans during the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776, today his statue guards the base of the Trenton Battle Monument and, hopefully, will for eons.


Trenton Battle Monument Located at 348 North Warren Street,
Trenton, New Jersey, 08625.  The Life-Size Statue of John Rhodes
Russell May Be Seen at the Lower Left of the Base, Holding a Rifle
That is Resting with the Butt of the Stock Near the Feet.  NOTE:
Click on Image to Enlarge.


Magnified View of John Rhodes Russell Statue at
Trenton Battle Monument.




"PRIVATE JOHN RUSSELL.  OF GLOVER'S REGIMENT
14TH MASS.).  (Portrait from life -- Statue on the Trenton
Battle Monument.)"  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


Tombstone of John Rhodes Russell Erected in the Unitarian
Cemetery in Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge and Read Inscription.

*          *          *          *           *

I have written extensively about the Battle of Pelham fought on October 18, 1776.  See, for example, the following 60 previous articles many of which, like today's, document research regarding the battle:  


Bell, Blake A., The Battle of Pelham:  October 18, 1776, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 41, Oct. 15, 2004, p. 10, col. 1.  

Bell, Blake, History of the Village of Pelham:  Revolutionary War, HistoricPelham.com Archive (visited Dec. 18, 2015).  

Mon., Feb. 28, 2005:  Glover's Rock on Orchard Beach Road Does Not Mark the Site of the Battle of Pelham.

Mon., Apr. 18, 2005:  Restored Battle of Pelham Memorial Plaque Is Unveiled at Glover Field.  

Fri., May 27, 2005:  1776, A New Book By Pulitzer Prize Winner David McCullough, Touches on the Battle of Pelham.  

Thu., Jul. 14, 2005:  Pelham's 1926 Pageant Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pelham.  

Wed., Oct. 26, 2005:  Remnants of the Battlefield on Which the Battle of Pelham Was Fought on October 18, 1776.  


Fri., May 19, 2006:  Possible Remains of a Soldier Killed in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Found in 1921.  

Fri., Aug. 11, 2006:  Article by William Abbatt on the Battle of Pelham Published in 1910.  

Thu., Sep. 21, 2006:  A Paper Addressing the Battle of Pelham, Among Other Things, Presented in 1903.  

Mon., Oct. 30, 2006:  Brief Biographical Data About Sir Thomas Musgrave, British Lieutenant Colonel Wounded at the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Wed., Nov. 1, 2006:  Two British Military Unit Histories that Note Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Tue., Jan. 16, 2007:  Brief Biography of British Officer Who Served During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Thu., Jan. 18, 2007:  Three More British Military Unit Histories that Note Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Wed., Jan. 24, 2007:  An Account of the October 18, 1776 Battle of Pelham and the "Grand Review" that Followed It, Published in 1897.

Fri., Feb. 09, 2007:  Extract of October 23, 1776 Letter Describing British Troops in Eastchester After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.  

Mon., Feb. 12, 2007:  Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site Opens New Exhibition:  "Overlooked Hero:  John Glover and the American Revolution."  

Mon., Jul. 16, 2007:  Mention of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 in Revolutionary War Diary of David How.  

Tue., Jul. 17, 2007:  Mention of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 in Writings of Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Aide-de-Camp to British General Clinton.  

Wed., Jul. 18, 2007:  Another British Military Unit History that Notes Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.  

Tue., Aug. 7, 2007:  An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Contained in the McDonald Papers Published in 1926.  

Wed., Aug. 8, 2007:  A Description of an Eyewitness Account of the Interior of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester During the Revolutionary War.  

Thu., Sep. 6, 2007:  Information About St. Paul's Church, the Battle of Pelham and Other Revolutionary War Events Near Pelham Contained in an Account Published in 1940.  

Mon., Oct. 8, 2007:  American Troops Who Guarded Pelham's Shores in October 1776.  

Fri., Oct. 12, 2007:  Images of The Lord Howe Chestnut that Once Stood in the Manor of Pelham.  

Fri., Oct. 27, 2006:  Orders Issued by British Major General The Honourable William Howe While Encamped in Pelham After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Thu., Jan. 22, 2009:  Another Brief Biography of Sir Thomas Musgrave, a British Officer Wounded at the Battle of Pelham on October 18 1776.  

Fri., Mar. 27, 2009:  Remains of 53 Individuals Thought to Be Revolutionary War Combatants Reinterred at St. Paul's Church on October 17, 1908.

Wed., Feb. 17, 2010:  British Report on Killed, Wounded and Missing Soldiers During the Period the Battle of Pelham Was Fought on October 18, 1776.  

Fri., Apr. 23, 2010:  Charles Blaskowitz, Surveyor Who Created Important Map Reflecting the Battle of Pelham.  


Thu., Feb. 06, 2014:  A Description of the Revolutionary War Battle of Pelham Published in 1926 for the Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Mon., May 19, 2014:  Biography of British Officer Who Fought in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Wed., Jun. 04, 2014:  An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Presented and Published in 1894.

Thu., Jun. 19, 2014:  Account of the Revolutionary War Battle of Westchester Creek, Leading Up to the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Mon., Jun. 23, 2014:  Excerpt of Memoir of American Officer Who, Though Wounded, Tore up the Planks of the Causeway During the Battle of Westchester and Joined His Comrades for the Battle of White Plains in October, 1776.

Wed., Jun. 25, 2014:  Image of Sir Thomas Musgrave, a British Officer Wounded During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Fri., Jun. 27, 2014:  Newly-Published Account Concludes Colonel William Shepard Was Wounded During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Mon., Jun. 30, 2014:  A British Lieutenant in the Twelfth Foot Who Fought at the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Wed., Sep. 17, 2014:  References to the Battle of Pelham in 18th Century Diary of Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College.

Fri., Sep. 19, 2014:  Abel Deveau, An American Skirmisher on Rodman's Neck as British and Germans Landed Before the Battle of Pelham.

Fri., Oct. 17, 2014:  First-Hand Diary Account of Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Mon., Oct. 20, 2014:  American Diary Account of Events Before, During, and After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Tue., Oct. 21, 2014:  November 1, 1776 Letter Describing the Battle of Pelham and Events Before and After the Battle.

Fri., Oct. 24, 2014:  October 21, 1776 Report to the New-York Convention Regarding the Battle of Pelham.

Wed., Dec. 17, 2014:  Installation of the First Memorial Tablet on Glover's Rock on October 18, 1901.

Wed., Feb. 18, 2015:  Young American Hero James Swinnerton, Badly Wounded in the Battle of Pelham.

Wed., Feb. 25, 2015:  Where Were the Stone Walls Used by American Troops During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776?

Mon., Apr. 27, 2015:  Obituary of British Officer Who Participated in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 as a Young Man.

Mon., May 18, 2015:  Cannonball Fired in The Battle of Pelham Found on Plymouth Street in Pelham Manor.

Tue., Sep. 08, 2015:  Pelham Manor Resident Makes Revolutionary War Discovery.

Fri., Dec. 18, 2015:  Brief Report on the Battle of Pelham Fought October 18, 1776 Prepared Five Days Afterward.

Fri., Feb. 19, 2016:  The 600-Year Old "Lord Howe Chestnut" Tree that Once Stood in Pelham.

Mon., Mar. 07, 2016:  Does Pelham Have a Connection to the Painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze?

Thu., Mar. 24, 2016:  An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Published in The McDonald Papers

Mon., Apr. 25, 2016:  Extract of December 3, 1776 Letter Addressing Battle of Pelham Casualties on October 18, 1776.

Wed., May 25, 2016:  Did the Pell Homestead Known as "The Shrubbery" Serve as General Howe's Headquarters After the Battle of Pelham?

Fri., Jul. 01, 2016:  Evidence the Battle of Pelham May Have Begun at Glover's Rock After All.

Fri., Jul. 22, 2016:  Extract of November 1, 1776 Letter Describing the Battle of Pelham.

Thu., Oct. 19, 2017:  Another 18th Century Account of the October 1776 British Campaign that Included the Battle of Pelham.

Fri., Mar. 09, 2018:  More on the 1926 Pageant Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pelham.

Tue., Apr. 03, 2018:  British Propaganda Downplayed the Battle of Pelham to British Readers in 1776.

Wed., Apr. 04, 2018:  More on British and Hessian Casualties During the Battle of Pelham.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What Can We Learn About Pelham's Priory School for Girls from the 1870 Federal Census?


The 1870 United States Census taken in the Town of Pelham reflects information about faculty, students, and workers who resided at the Priory School for Girls then conducted by sisters Anna and Adele Bolton in Bolton Priory which still stands at 7 Priory Lane, Pelham Manor, New York and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  What can we learn about the Priory School for Girls from the census data?

First, we must recognize the limitations of the data.  It reflects those who resided in Bolton Priory.  It is known that, over the years, some faculty members lived nearby (in New Rochelle, for example) and that there were so-called "day students" who did not reside in the Priory but nevertheless attended school there daily.  Additionally, in trying to assess where those reflected in the census data were from, the only geographical data provided reflects the birthplace of each.  While we may surmise that their homes remained in the states or countries of their births that, of course, might not always have been the case.  Still, the data provides rough information and some interesting insights about the faculty, students, and workers at Bolton Priory in 1870.

The census data reflects six faculty members, five "Domestic Servants," and forty seven students residing at the Priory.  The six resident faculty members were all women in 1870.  The youngest was 22 years old while the remainder ranged in edge from 31 to 40 years old.  The oldest was Anna Bolton (40 years old).  Three of the women (sisters Anna and Adele Bolton who ran the school at that time and Catherine Adams) were born in England.  The remaining three faculty members (Bonnie Riley, Lucy Garrigan, and Elizabeth Nelson) were born in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Alabama, respectively.

All five of the "Domestic Servants" were women.  Interestingly, four of the five -- like the Bolton sisters who ran the school -- were born in England (Mary Pierson, Rachael Baxter, Mary Cribb, and Anna Burke).  The fifth, Harriet Bryan, was born in Virginia.

Younger members of the Bolton Family were students, including the only boys who attended the school.  Thus, among the students taught at the school at the time were Robert Bolton, John Bolton, Annie Jay Bolton, Katy Bolton, and Nanette Bolton (who later became head mistress of the school and remained as such until the school closed and she departed for Europe twelve years later in 1882).  Accordingly, forty five of the students were girls and two were boys.  

Students at the Priory School for Girls ranged in age between eleven and nineteen years old.  The age breakdown of the forty seven students in 1870 was as follows:

11 Years Old:  3 Students
12 Years Old:  2 Students
13 Years Old:  7 Students
14 Years Old:  2 Students
15 Years Old:  10 Students
16 Years Old:  14 Students
17 Years Old:  2 Students
18 Years Old:  3 Students
19 Years Old:  4 Students

As one might expect, the largest number of students were born in, and likely remained residents of, New York (30 students, including the five Bolton family members who were students).  The remaining seventeen students were born in and, perhaps, still resided in the following fifteen states and two foreign nations:

Alabama:  1
Connecticut:  1
Maryland: 1
Massachusetts:  1
Ohio:  1
Pennsylvania:5
Rhode Island:  3
Virginia:  2

England:  1
Mexico:  1

In several instances (besides the Bolton children of course), students seemed to be related to one another -- perhaps siblings.  Two such students were Ann Vincent and Maria Vincent.  If related, the pair may have been twins because both were listed as 18 years old.  Other possibly related pairs included Gertrude Lefferts (13 years old) and Annie Lefferts (11 years old).  Another pair was Hattie Rop (13 years old) and Daisy Rop (11 years old).  



The Priory by William Rickerby Miller (1818-1893).
Watercolor on Paper, 1856, Showing the Terrace in Front
of the Home that Formed a "Promenade."  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


The Priory by William Rickerby Miller (1818-1893).
Watercolor on Paper, 1856, Showing Front Entrance with
"1838" Formed by Bricks Set Into the Stone Above the
Doorway.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


*          *          *          *          *

Below is a transcription of some of the most significant data contained in all Priory School for Girls entries from the 1870 United States Census taken in the Town of Pelham.

Name
Age
Sex
Race
Occupation
Birthplace
Anna Bolton
40
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
England
Adele Bolton
36
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
England
Catherine Adams
30
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
England
Bonnie Riley
32
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
Georgia
Lucy Garrigan
31
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Nelson
22
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
Alabama
Harriet Bryan
34
F
White
Domestic Servant
Virginia
Grace Pike
17
F
White
Attending School
Connecticut
Mary Marple
19
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Louisa Odin
16
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Florence Carter
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Julia Garner
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Kam
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nettie Esteppe
15
F
White
Attending School
Ohio
Katy Gaygaum
19
F
White
Attending School
Alabama
Robert Bolton
14
M
White
Attending School
New York
John Bolton
13
M
White
Attending School
New York
Annie Jay Bolton
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Katy Bolton
19
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nanette Bolton
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Harriet Nelles
19
F
White
Attending School
Massachusetts
Annie Washington
15
F
White
Attending School
Virginia
Julia Bloodgood
11
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Warden
12
F
White
Attending School
Maryland
Amanda Simpson
16
F
White
Attending School
Virginia
Julia Shomaker
17
F
White
Attending School
Mexico
Ada Strong
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Kate Seymour
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Eva Smith
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Louisa Johnson
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Hill
13
F
White
Attending School
England
Mary Pierson
51
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Rachael Baxter
52
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Mary Cribb
25
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Ann Vincent
18
F
White
Attending School
New York
Maria Vincent
18
F
White
Attending School
New York
Anna Burke
46
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Gertrude Lefferts
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nellie Bailey
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Kate Van Nest
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Lillie Pierce
16
F
White
Attending School
Rhode Island
Carrie Russell
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Hattie Burgess
14
F
White
Attending School
New York
Virginia Gunth
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Bowers
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Henrietta Temple
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Clara Wooster
16
F
White
Attending School
Rhode Island
Clara Smith
18
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nellie Bradford
15
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Kate Crande
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Eliza Tunis
13
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Annie Mairau
16
F
White
Attending School
Rhode Island
Elizabeth Chapman
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Arabella Thayer
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Hattie Rop
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Daisy Rop
11
F
White
Attending School
New York
Dolly Worden
12
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Annie Lefferts
11
F
White
Attending School
New York

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