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, May 26, 2016

A Brief History of the Tuesday Afternoon Club Before It Merged Into the Manor Club of Pelham Manor


In about 1898, a small group of about a dozen Pelham Manor women gathered periodically to do "fancy work" (i.e., ornamental needlework including crocheting and knitting).  As they worked, a chosen member of the group read aloud a lecture by an historian "about some famous character in history."  These informal weekly gatherings occurred during the winter months of the year.  

Soon the women tired of the lectures that were read to them.  They opted for having a chosen member read novels during their informal gatherings.  According to one report, this period represented the "lowest ebb intellectually" of those who gathered to socialize.  

Such novels likewise failed to satisfy the intellectual yearnings of the Pelham Manor women who gathered weekly during the winter months.  An early history of the group noted they still had a "desire for more worthy things."

In 1900, the group organized formally as "The Tuesday Afternoon Club."  It elected as its first president Mrs. Joan E. Secor.  She was the only president the club ever had, serving until The Tuesday Afternoon Club merged with the Manor Club when Pelham Manor women took over that club in 1914.  Other early officers of The Tuesday Afternoon Club were Mrs. Charles B. Hull, vice-president; Mrs. Evelyn Randall, secretary; and Mrs. Charlotte E. Cowles, treasurer.

The club met in one of the alcoves of the original Manor Club building that once stood on the site of today's clubhouse.  At the time, the Manor Club was run by men of Pelham Manor and was experiencing difficulties including financial difficulties.  According to one account, the Manor Club "was glad to encourage the use, at a nominal fee, of the building by the women's club."  

At about the time the club organized more formally and installed Joan Secor as its president, members embarked on an initiative to raise the level of the studies embraced by members of the club.  As part of this initiative, members of The Tuesday Afternoon Club spent a winter season reading Homer's Iliad and studying the Hellenic period.  As part of the program, members of the club prepared a number of scholarly papers that were read to the club.  The enhanced program was deemed a success.

During the next two winter seasons, members of the club read and studied the Divine Comedy of Dante and then the Renaissance period in various countries.  During the winter season in which they studied the Renaissance, the women departed from their previous practice of centering their studies around a book.  Instead, they prepared a lesson plan that allowed them to study more broadly the Renaissance period.  

During this time, The Tuesday Afternoon Club thrived and grew while the male-dominated Manor Club continued with its difficulties.  Each year, during a four-month winter season, the women of The Tuesday Afternoon Club met weekly in an alcove of the Manor Club building.  One season they studied Goethe's Faust.  The following two seasons thereafter they studied works of Shakespeare, followed by a season when they studied a "group of leaders of modern thought."

By about 1909, however, things were beginning to change. First, the club was growing tremendously.  Within only a few short years it would reach one hundred members.  Second, the rise of the suffragette movement and the growth of feminism gripped members of the club and prompted a shift away from studies of the arts.  Instead, the club satisfied its "sense of responsibility toward practical mundane affairs" by embarking on studies of "Political Economy, Elementary Law and kindred civic subjects" for several winter seasons. 

Soon the tide turned again as members of the club hungered for studies of the arts.  During the winter season of 1912/1913, members of the club studied "the art of the Diana."

By 1913, The Tuesday Afternoon Club had reached more than one hundred members.  The quality of its programming likewise had grown.  During the 1913/1914 winter season, members of the club heard eight lectures on the Theory of the Theatre by Clayton Hamilton, of Columbia University.  They also conducted forums and discussions on "eight subjects of present day interest, such as socialism, suffrage, modern religion, modern literature, music and art."

In 1914, The Tuesday Afternoon Club joined with the Manor Club and the women replaced the men as officers.  Mrs. Joan E. Secor was elected president of the new Manor Club and continued her service as president until she moved from Pelham to the west coast in 1925.  The women of The Tuesday Afternoon Club oversaw a turnaround of the fortunes and finances of the Manor Club and even oversaw construction of the new clubhouse that still stands when the cornerstone was laid in 1921 and the clubhouse was completed the following year.  

Though The Tuesday Afternoon Club no longer exists, its heart and soul remain in the guise of today's Manor Club, still a social and cultural force in Pelham more than one hundred years later.



Photograph of the Manor Club's "Manor House"
Published in 1892. Source: Manor Club "Memory
Book."  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *

Below is the transcribed text of an article that appeared in the December 20, 1913 issue of The Pelham Sun providing a brief history of The Tuesday Afternoon Club.  The text is followed by a citation and link to its source.  

"The Tuesday Afternoon Club
OF PELHAM MANOR
-----

The Tuesday Afternoon Club is a woman's study club, which meets weekly for four months each winter to give its members an opportunity to come together and to study some subject more or less seriously.

Its aim is to give purpose to the reading of the busy housewife so that the years may not drift by in desultory fashion but with passing time may yield some substantial intellectual accomplishment, some definite spiritual gain.  

Of course, not every member can nor will give the time necessary for serious work, but lecturers and books are supplied, and members are encouraged to go as deeply into a subject as they can.

In the beginning, some fifteen years ago, the club was a little group of perhaps a dozen women who met to do fancy work while some one read aloud one of Dr. Lord's lectures about some famous character in history.  The women were too timid to write papers or to read them if they had been written.

In course of time the lectures proved tiresome and a novel was ventured upon which proved still more fatiguing.  The club was at its lowest ebb intellectually.  But a decided reaction set in which showed itself by a desire for more worthy things and which lasted for some years.

The first expression of this desire was a season spent in reading Homer's Iliad and in studying the Hellenic period, and excellent papers were not only prepared but read.

Refreshed by contact with virile Greek life the club women then pressed on to another great masterpiece and read the entire Divine Comedy of Dante which was followed by a season's study of the Renaissance in various countries.  This latter year was the first time that the club had ventured to do without a text book, depending entirely upon a plan arranged by itself.  Many of us remember with pleasure the hard work of these two seasons, especially the study of this medieval poem and its early Italian background.

Coming a little closer to modern times another great poem was chosen for study, and a season was well spent in reading both parts of Goethe's Faust.  This poem proved heavier reading than most busy women cared to undertake alone, but under the stimulus of weekly meetings and the companionship of earnest minds, many of them persevered to the end which brought its own reward.  

Two delightful seasons were then given to Shakespeare, which were followed by the study of a group of leaders of modern thought.  

A winter's study of Browning was to have rounded out the cycle of the masters of literature, but the club now grown large, decided to turn its attention away from the realm of the imagination and toward the problems of daily living.  The growth of feminism brought with it a certain sense of responsibility toward practical mundane affairs which caused the club to give several seasons to the study of Political Economy, Elementary Law and kindred civic subjects until after a time another current turned the tide in the direction of the arts.

Because it was the most vital and personal of the arts as well as one which combined not only literary and pictorial interest but the representation of human emotion and struggle, the art of the Diana was chosen as the subject both for last year and this.

It is gratifying to look back and to note the healthy development of the Tuesday Afternoon Club during the past fifteen years, from a dozen members to more than a hundred, and from the reading of a printed lecture to the program for the present season of 1914, when the members of the club will listen to eight lectures on the Theory of the Theatre by Clayton Hamilton, of Columbia University, and will themselves conduct discussions upon eight subjects of present day interest, such as socialism, suffrage, modern religion, modern literature, music and art.

The spirit of the club is most generous and kindly and there is shown a steadily increasing interest in the higher things of life, both intellectual and spiritual, which is due in large measure to the influence and inspiration of the President of the club, who has held that office since the beginning.

EVELYN RANDALL."

Source:  Randall, Evelyn, The Tuesday Afternoon Club of Pelham Manor, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 20, 1913, p. 8, col. 2.  

*          *          *          *          *

I have written about the Manor Club and its history on a number of occasions.  Seee.g.:  

Bell, Blake A., Early History of the Manor Club, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 20, May 14, 2004, p. 12, col. 2.

Tue., Dec. 13, 2005:  The Manor Club's First Clubhouse Built in 1887-1888

Wed., Dec. 28, 2005:  The Mystery of the "Manor Club Girl" That Set Pelham Tongues Wagging in 1913

Fri., Aug. 4, 2006:  Early Images of the Original and Current Clubhouse Structures of the Manor Club in the Village of Pelham Manor, New York.

Mon., Feb. 15, 2010:  Early History of the Manor Club in the Village of Pelham Manor.

Thu., Sep. 25, 2014:  The Manor Club's Celebration of its Golden Anniversary in 1932.

Mon., Feb. 08, 2016:  Laying of the Cornerstone of the First Manor Club Clubhouse on Thanksgiving Day in 1887.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Did the Pell Homestead Known as "The Shrubbery" Serve as General Howe's Headquarters After the Battle of Pelham?


We know very little about the Battle of Pelham fought on October 18, 1776 other than what Colonel John Glover described in his letter from Mile Square written on October 22, 1776.  Another document created at around the same time that can help us understand a little more about the battle is the so-called "Blaskowitz Map."  This map was prepared by British Engineer Charles Blaskowitz and is entitled "A survey of Frog's Neck and the rout[e] of the British Army to the 24th of October 1776, under the command of His Excellency the Honorable William Howe, General and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's forces, &ca, &ca, &ca." The map is considered by most historians and experts to be a fairly accurate depiction of the area in October, 1776 as well as a fair depiction of the progress of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.

Careful review of the Blaskowitz Map reveals the location of General William Howe's headquarters on October 18, 1776, the day of the battle.  The map also shows the nearby location of the "Quarters" of General Leopold Philip de Heister who commanded the German troops engaged by the British for service against the American colonies during the war.  A detail from the map showing the locations of Howe's "Headquarters" and de Heister's "Quarters" appears immediately below.



Detail from Blaskowitz Map Showing Locations of Howe's
"Headquarters" and de Heister's "Quarters" in Connection
with the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.  Source:
&ca, &ca. (1776) (Library of Congress Geography and Map
Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA; Digital Id
g3802t ar115200; Library of Congress Catalog Number gm71000648).
NOTE: Click to Enlarge Image.

At the bottom of the map detail, Split Rock Road passes structures denoted "gen l De Heister's Quarters."  This is a portion of Split Rock Road that since has been closed.  It crossed the Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Course grounds roughly in this area, then passed across an area now covered by I-95 (the New England Thruway), picking up again on the other side of today's I-95 where the roadway in the Village of Pelham Manor retains the name "Split Rock Road."  

As the roadway passes de Heister's Quarters and continues toward Howe's "Head Quarters," it reaches a little jog to the right that soon reaches a fork in the roadway.  At that little jog to the right are three structures denoted as "Headquarters 18 Octob r."  The little jog to the right and that portion of the fork that extends to the right and out of the map detail on the right are roughly where today's Boston Post Road (which did not yet exist) sits.  That portion of the fork that extends upward and out of the map detail is today's Wolfs Lane roughly where that roadway meets today's Boston Post Road.  

This means that the structures denoted as Howe's "Head Quarters" were located roughly near the intersection of today's Split Rock Road and today's Boston Post Road.  Only one estate was known to exist at that location at that time:  The Shrubbery, a farm and home built by Joshua Pell Sr. whose son, Joshua Pell Jr. fought for the British during the Revolutionary War.



The Shrubbery, Home of Joshua Pell, Sr., Isaac Guion,
and Augustine J. Frederick Prevost Before It Burned in the
1890s. NOTE: Click on Image to Enlarge.

The home known as The Shrubbery was built in the mid-18th century.  It was a Pell family homestead owned for many years by Joshua Pell Sr.  Joshua Pell Sr. had a son, also named Joshua, who served as a British officer in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War.  During the 1780s New York State's Commissioners of Forfeiture sold the 146-acre tract to Isaac Guion for 988 pounds.  The land had been confiscated from Joshua Pell Jr. after it was bequeathed to him by his father.  The will of Joshua Pell Sr. entitled his children to receive monetary legacies when his entire farm (including the 146-acre tract containing The Shrubbery) was divided in half and devised to two of his older sons: Joshua Pell Jr. (who was entitled to receive the northern half) and Edward Pell (who was entitled to receive the southern half, as work prepared by Mark Gaffney of Pelham Manor has demonstrated).

It seems likely that British Headquarters at the time of the Battle of Pelham was established in and/or around The Shrubbery.  Thus, for those who live on today's Split Rock Road in the Village of Pelham Manor, you should remain vigilant and observant as you perform your gardening tasks.  You never know what you may find!

*          *          *          *          *

I have written extensively about the Battle of Pelham fought on October 18, 1776.  See, for example, the following 47 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).  

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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."  

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

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.  

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.  

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.

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

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

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., 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?


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.


Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.

Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1899 Archaeological Excavation of Native American Remains in Pelham Bay Park


He was a trench-digging laborer.  He had been digging trenches for nearly a month, just doing his job as an "excavator."  The work, of course, was deadly dull.  Weeks of shoveling.  Weeks of shoveling.  

On Monday, May 15, 1899, his drudgery continued.  The anonymous laborer shoveled away until he noticed something odd.  It looked like . . . small bones . . . bones of a foot . . . a human foot!  

Ecstatic, the laborer notified his supervisor, a sixteen-year-old kid.  That sixteen-year-old kid was Raymond M. Harrington, already a well-known "authority on the subject of Indian archaeology."  Harrington was superintending a project on behalf well-known anthropologist, Professor Marshall H. Saville of the American Museum of Natural History, the brains behind the excavation.

Professor Saville had known for a long time, like virtually all Pelhamites, that much of the northeastern area of Pelham Bay Park was then -- and still is -- riddled with evidence of ancient Native American occupation.  Saville assembled an excavation project in 1899 to uncover "Indian Relics."  He chose an area along City Island Road overlooking Pelham Bay near Jack's Rock, known formerly as Van Cott's Grove.  There was a knoll there.  It was a mound in an area that overlooked productive waters.  The area was rich with shell heaps.  Professor Saville had a hunch.  His hunch turned out to be correct.

In April of that year, Saville assembled a group of laborers to be overseen by young Raymond Harrington.  The plan was to begin digging five-feet-wide trenches four feet deep, one after the other, contiguously, until the entire knoll had been stripped to a depth of four feet.  For about a month, the laborers dug two lengthy trenches across the knoll without uncovering anything.  Then, when about two-thirds of the third trench had been dug, one laborer discovered the foot bones. 

The bones of the human foot were only the beginning.  Slowly, an entire Native American burial was revealed with only a single item in the grave -- a "sharp stone instrument" or stone blade.  Some reports said it was clasped in the right hand.  Others said it was cradled within the right arm.  Professor Saville was able to determine that the skeleton was  that of an old man, some of whose teeth had worn down nearly to the jaw bones in which they were embedded.

Within two days, as the work expanded, a second burial was uncovered in the mound.  Though the skeleton was only partial and quite deteriorated, the grave was rich with relics that shed light on the life of inhabitants of the region long before the area in which the knoll sat became part of the Town of Pelham and, later, was annexed into New York City.  The excavators uncovered flints, pieces of pottery, antler arrow points, shells, stone net sinkers, a terrapin-back ornament, stone scraper, and a small diamond-shaped ornament of mica.

An article at the time in The World about the discoveries, brought to my attention by Jorge Santiago of the Northeast Bronx History Forum, included an interesting set of drawings of a number of the discoveries and of the first skeleton found.  I have included that image below, as well as the text of the article and several other articles about the discoveries.
*          *          *          *          *

Below is the transcribed text of a number of articles that address the archaeological excavation of Native American remains in Pelham Bay Park during April and May, 1899.  Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.



Items Found During Archaeological Excavations of Native
American Remains in Pelham Bay Park in April and May,
The World [NY, NY], May 21, 1899, p. 2, cols. 2-3.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

"INDIAN RELICS FOUND IN PELHAM BAY PARK

Through the efforts of Prof. Marshall H. Saville, of the Museum of Natural History, an addition of scientific value has been made to the collection within the past week.  This addition consists of bones and other relics unearthed within the limits of Greater New York in Pelham Bay Park.

The bones form the skeletons of two Indians, while the other relics are pieces of pottery, antler arrow points, shells, net sinkers, flint and mica and terrapin-back ornaments.

In years past human bones, Indian tomahawks, flint arrow points and other things indicative of an aboriginal settlement have been found in the upper part of Pelham Bay Park.  They found their way into the museum and so deeply impressed Prof. Saville that a search in the aid of science was determined upon.  The place selected is a knoll in the upper part of the park, on the shore of Le Roy Bay, near the fishing resort known as 'Jack's Rock.'

The excavations were begun more than a month ago, under the superintendency of Raymond Harrington, but there were no developments until the past week.  Then, one of the workmen came across a human foot and later unearthed nearly an entire skeleton of an Indian.

This, with a second one which was found on Wednesday, together with scores of small implements and trinkets that were dug up at different places in the knoll, are new at the museum.  The skeleton will be mounted, the relics labelled, the pieces of pottery glued together and the whole placed on exhibition within another week.

In regard to the method of excavation and the scientific value of his discoveries, Prof. Saville said to a World reporter:  

'This work was begun in the interest of the study of anthropology.  In order to cover every inch of the ground we planned to dig parallel and contiguous trenches four feet deep from one side of the knoll to the other.

'Two trenches had been dug only to be filled again before our labors were rewarded.  The third trench was nearly finished when one of the laborers came across a human foot.  I ordered the workers to proceed with care, and handful after handful of dirt was removed until a skeleton nearly complete was laid bare.  The skeleton was in a cramped condition, and the only other thing found in the grave was a sharp stone instrument, clasped in the right hand.  The left hand could not be found.

'An examination of the bones convinces me that the skeleton is that of a male long past middle age.  This I judge from the front teeth being worn almost even with the sockets.  I am sure that the skeleton is that of one of a tribe of Indians long since extinct, and that it had lain where found for more than 300 years.  I hope that it will aid materially in furnishing comparisons with the Indians of that generation, with some of later years and with those of to-day.

'The find will particularly interest the people of New York, as it was unearthed within the city limits and will show them the character of man that inhabited this section, his mode of life and the primitive utensils he used.'"

Source:  INDIAN RELICS FOUND IN PELHAM BAY PARK, The World [NY, NY], May 21, 1899, p. 2, cols. 2-3.  

"INDIAN VILLAGE UNEARTHED HERE.
-----
Skeleton of an Aboriginal Inhabitant of Greater New York Dug Up in Pelham Bay Park.
-----
BURIED 300 YEARS OR MORE.
-----
Treasure Discovered by Professor Saville and Added to the Museum of Natural History.
-----
SEARCHING THE SHELL HEAPS
-----
Many Fragments of Earthenware and Stone Implements Also Dug From Former Indian Settlement.
-----

There has just been added to the treasures of the Museum of Natural History a 'find' of the highest scientific value, in the form of the bones of an aboriginal inhabitant of Greater New York, which were unearthed on Monday in Pelham Bay Park.

The bones consist of the almost perfect skeleton of an Indian brave, and special importance attaches to the discovery on account of its affording one of the few instances of the finding of Indian bones within the city limits.

It has been known for many years that in the upper part of Pelham Bay Park there had once existed an important Indian settlement.  From time to time discoveries were made in the form of human bones, fragments of earthenware and stone implements, but the work of exploration was never conducted scientifically until it was recently taken in hand by Professor Marshall H. Saville, of the Museum of Natural History.

SELECTED KNOWL NEAR 'JACK'S ROCK.'

The spot selected by Professor Saville as most likely to repay a thorough examination was a picturesque little knoll, on the shore of Le Roy Bay, near the pretty fishing resort known as 'Jack's Rock.'  It is just off the City Island road, and about midway between that place and the railroad station at Bartow.

Judging by the enormous number of refuse shell heaps in the vicinity  of the mound, it must have formed the centre of a considerable settlement.

Professor Saville began systematic work about a month ago with a party of skilled excavators under the immediate charge of Raymond Harrington, who, although only sixteen years old, is an authority on the subject of Indian archaeology.  The plan of operations contemplated the digging of parallel and contiguous trenches, above five feet wide, from one end of the knoll to the other, so as not to leave an inch of ground within four feet of the surface unexplored.

Two of the trenches had been laboriously dug and filled in again, and two-thirds of the third had been finished on Monday afternoon, when one of the workmen discovered a human foot.  At once the utmost precautions were used, and the earth was removed bit by bit by hand, until, after several hours of hard work, a complete skeleton was revealed.

STONE KNIFE IN THE GRAVE.

In the hollow of the right arm lay a sharp stone instrument, evidently designed to serve as a knife.  This was the only object found in the grave.  

As soon as all the dirt had been brushed from the body it was photographed precisely as it was discovered, before any further examination was made.  It ws at first believed that both the hands were missing, but search revealed portions of the fingers of the right hand.  No trace was found of the left hand, and the presence of the knife gave rise to some interesting conjectures.  It was suggested that possibly the body might be that of a criminal who had been punished by the loss of a hand before execution, and that the weapon with which the mutilation was effected had been cast into the grave.

A careful examination of the bones showed them to be those of a male of advanced age, as evidenced by the teeth, which, in the front of the jaws were worn down level with the sockets.

Professor Saville said yesterday that he thought the bones had been buried at least 300 years, and possibly much longer.

The excavations on the knoll are being actively carried on, and Professor Saville and Mr. Harrington have very little doubt that many more skeletons will be found.

FRAGMENTS OF INDIAN POTTERY.

In addition to the exploration of the summit of the knoll the shell heaps in the vicinity are being thoroughly searched, and objects of high archaeological value are being daily discovered.  These consist for the most part of fragments of pottery, every shard of which, no matter how minute, is carefully preserved."

Source:  INDIAN VILLAGE UNEARTHED HERE, N.Y. Herald, May 17, 1899, p. 12, col. 1.

"BONES OF ANOTHER INDIAN FOUND.
-----
PROFESSOR SAVILLE THINKS HE HAS UNEARTHED AN ABORIGINAL VILLAGE IN PELHAM BAY PARK.

The search for archaeological specimens, which is being conducted in Pelham Bay Park by Professor Saville and Raymond Harrington, under the auspices of the Museum of Natural History, was infused with new zest yesterday by the finding of part of another skeleton, supposed to be the remains of an Indian buried there three hundred years or more ago.  On Monday a well-preserved skeleton of an Indian brave was dug up, and the uncovering of this second grave has led Professor Saville to believe that he has hit upon an ancient burying-ground and the site of an aboriginal village.  

The skeleton, or, rather, the part of one, found yesterday, was not in as good a state of preservation as the one unearthed last Monday.  Only the skull arm bones and a few of the ribs were found, and the skull was crushed, indicating that this Indian met a violent death.  From the size of the arm bones and other indications known to scientists, that person is believed to have been a woman.  The body was buried with the head north and the face to the east.  It was about six feet away from where the other skeleton lay.  In the grave were a few flints and shells, a stone scraper, a net-sinker and a small diamond-shaped ornament of mica.  The bones were cleaned and photographed and removed to the Museum, where they were placed beside the former 'find.'

Professor Saville has a force of four men at work in the trenches.  He thinks that more skeletons will be recovered in a few days."

Source:  BONES OF ANOTHER INDIAN FOUND -- PROFESSOR SAVILLE THINKS HE HAS UNEARTHED AN ABORIGINAL VILLAGE IN PELHAM BAY PARK, N.Y. Tribune, May 18, 1899, Vol. LIX, No. 19177, p. 1, col. 4.  

"INDIAN VILLAGE UNEARTHED IN PELHAM.
-----

Professor Marshall H. Saville has unearthed an Indian village in what was a part of the old town of Pelham, now a part of Greater New York.

The spot selected by Professor Saville as most likely to repay a thorough examination was a picturesque little knoll, on the shore of Le Roy Bay, near the pretty fishing resort known as 'Jack's Rock.'  It is just off the City Island road, and about midway between that place and the railroad station at Bartow.

Judging from the enormous number of refuse shell heaps in the vicinity of the mound, it must have formed the centre of a considerable settlement.

Professor Saville began systematic work about a month ago with a party of skilled excavators under the immediate charge of Raymond Harrington, who, although only sixteen years old, is an authority on the subject of Indian archaeology.  The plan of operations contemplated the digging of parallel and contiguous trenches, about five feet wide, from one end of the knoll to the other, so as not to leve an inch of ground within four feet of the surface unexplored.

Two of the trenches had been laboriously dug and filled in again, and two-thirds of the third had been finished on Monday afternoon, when one of the workmen discovered a human foot.  At once the utmost precautions were used, and the earth was removed bit by bit by hand, until, after several hours of hard work, a complete skeleton was revealed.

In the hollow of the right arm lay a sharp stone instrument, evidently designed to serve as a knife.  This was the only object found in the grave.

As soon as all the dirt had been brushed from the body it was photographed precisely as it was discovered, before any further examination was made.  It was at first believed that both the hands were missing, but search revealed portions of the fingers of the right hand.  No trace was found of the left hand, and the presence of the knife gave rise to some interesting conjectures.  It was suggested that possibly the body might be that of a criminal who had been punished by the loss of a hand before execution, and that the weapon with which the mutilation was affected [sic] had been cast into the grave.

A careful examination of the bones showed them to be those of a male of advanced age, as evidenced by the teeth, which in the front of the jaws were worn down level with the sockets.

Professor Saville said yesterday that he thought the bones had been buried at least 300 years, and possibly much longer.

The excavations on the knoll are being carried on, and Professor Saville and Mr. Harrington have very little doubt that many more skeletons will be found.

In addition to the exploration of the summit of the knoll the shell heaps in its vicinity are being thoroughly searched, and objects of high archaeological value are being daily discovered.  These consist for the most part of fragments of pottery, every shard of which, no matter how minute, is carefully preserved."

Source: INDIAN VILLAGE UNEARTHED IN PELHAM, The New Rochelle Press, May 20, 1899, p. 6, col. 2.    

"DUG UP INDIAN SKELETON.
-----
Professor Saville Unearths Many Indian Relics in Pelham Bay Park.

There has just been added to the treasures of the Museum of Natural History, a 'find' of the highest scientific value, in the form of the bones of an aboriginal inhabitant of the old Town of Pelham, which were unearthed on Monday in Pelham Bay Park.

The bones consist of the almost perfect skeleton of an Indian brave, and special importance attaches to the discovery on account of its affording one of the few instances of the finding of Indian bones within the limits of Greater New York.

It has been known for many years that in the upper part of Pelham Bay Park there had once existed an important Indian settlement.  From time to time discoveries were made in the form of human bones, fragments of earthenware and stone implements, but the work of exploration was never conducted scientifically until it was recently taken in hand by Professor Marshall H. Saville, of the Museum of Natural History.

The spot selected by Professor Saville as most likely to repay a thorough examination was a picturesque little knoll on the shore of Le Roy Bay, near the pretty fishing resort known as 'Jack's Rock.'  It is just off the City Island road, and about midway between that place and the railroad station at Bartow.

Judging by the enormous number of refuse shell heaps in the vicinity of the mound, it must have formed the centre of a considerable settlement.

Professor Saville began systematic work about a month ago with a party of skilled excavators under the immediate charge of Raymond Harrington, who, although only sixteen years old, is an authority on the subject of Indian archaeology.  The plan of operations contemplated the digging of parallel and contiguous trenches, about five feet wide, from one end of the knoll to the other, so as not to leave an inch of ground within four feet of the surface unexplored.

Two of the trenches had been laboriously dug and filled in again, and two thirds of the third had been finished on Monday afternoon, when one of the workmen discovered a human foot.  At once the utmost precautions were used, and the earth was removed bit by bit by hand, until, after several hours of hard work, a complete skeleton was revealed.

In the hollow of the right arm lay a sharp stone instrument, evidently designed to serve as a knife.  This was the only object found in the grave.

As soon as all the dirt had been brushed from the body it was photographed precisely as it was discovered before any further examination was made.  It was at first believed that both the hands were missing, but search revealed portions of the fingers of the right hand.  No trace was found of the left hand, and the presence of the knife gave rise to some interesting conjectures.  It was suggested that possibly the body might be that of a criminal who had been punished by the loss of a hand before execution, and that the weapon with which the mutilation was effected had been cast into the grave.

A careful examination of the bones showed them to be those of a male of advanced age, as evidenced by the teeth, which in the front of the jaws were worn down level with the sockets.

Professor Saville said yesterday that he thought the bones had been buried at least 300 years, and possibly much longer.

The excavations on the knoll are being actively carried on, and Professor Saville and Mr. Harrington have very little doubt that many more skeletons will be found.

In addition to the exploration of the summit of the knoll the shell heaps in its vicinity are being thoroughly searched, and objects of high archaeological value are being daily discovered.  These consist for the most part of fragments of pottery, every shard of which, no matter how minute, is carefully preserved."

Source:  DUG UP INDIAN SKELETON -- Professor Saville Unearths Many Indian Relics in Pelham Bay Park, Mount Vernon News [Mount Vernon, NY], May 25, 1899, p. 5, cols. 5-6.


Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.
Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,