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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham

It is easy to romanticize our national pastime of baseball, particularly when imagining how it was played in its earliest days.  Although 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, recent research makes it increasingly clear that the games and the unruly crowds they attracted were viewed as a nuisance by many in Pelham.  Nevertheless, it remains clear that 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.  

Recently I wrote that 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.  See Thu., Nov. 13, 2014:  Baseball Crowds in Pelham Got Out Of Hand in 1896.

Recent research has uncovered a brief news item published in 1884 that not only describes baseball games played by the City Island teams known as the Beldenites and the Muffers, but also describes another instance where local constables halted an effort to play a baseball game, this time on City Island, out of fear that fans would be drunken and unruly.  Indeed, the brief reference to the actions of the constables sheds interesting light on what such games could be like.

On Sunday, August 10, 1884, a sailing ship docked at City Island in the Town of Pelham.  It carried a base ball club from Yonkers with a band playing festive music.  As the team and its band disembarked in the hope of playing a game on the island, they were "promptly confronted" by three constables.  The constables made clear that it "would be unhealthy" for the team to attempt to play a game there.  The team "reembarked and sailed away."  According to a news account published a few days later, local bar owners were not particularly happy:  "Some of the gin dealers considered this action on the part of the constables an outrage, since they might have captured a few nickels, while the residents suffered from the noise and presence of drunken men."

The same news account noted that on Thursday, August 14, 1884, the Beldenites of City Island played a ballgame against the Clippers Base Ball Club of New Rochelle.  The Clippers roundly defeated the Beldenites 24 to 7.  

The news account also described a game halted by rain that was scheduled for later completion.  On Saturday, August 9, 1884, the Muffers traveled to Willet's Point and played a team from that place.  (The Muffers later disbanded with most players joining the Beldenites in a move that substantially strengthened the Beldenites.)  Before completion of the bottom half of the second inning, heavy rain halted the game.  The score stood Willet's Point 8, Muffers 6.  The game was scheduled for completion the following Saturday, August 16.  

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.

Below is the complete text of the news account referencing the various baseball events described above.  It is followed by a citation to its source.


--It is announced that there is to be an evening party given at Flynn's Pavilion, during the present month.

--The yacht Gracie is to be raffled at Mount Vernon during the present month.  There is to be one hundred chances at $2 each.

--The Clippers Base Ball Club, of New Rochelle, and the Beldenites of this place, played [a] game of ball here on Thursday, which resulted in favor of the Clippers by a score of 24 to 7.

--The Muffers visited Willet's Point on Saturday, and started a game of base ball with the picked nine of that place.  The game was interrupted by the heavy rain, after the Willet's Point nine had played two innings and the Muffers one.  The score stood Willet's Point 8, Muffers 6.  The game will be completed to-day.

--Astor's new steam yacht anchored a short time off here on Sunday.  Capt. 'Sam' Freestone made a flying visit to his home, after which the yacht proceeded to Newport.  All who saw this beautiful vessel were readily convinced that she is indeed the handsomest, as well as the largest steam yacht afloat.  People here naturally take a great pride in the vessel as she was designed by, and constructed under, the superintendence of Mr. Gustave Hillman, and is commanded by Capt. Sampson W. Freestone, both of this place.  

--A base ball club from Yonkers came to the Island with a band of music on Sunday last.  They were promptly confronted by three constables bold, and were convinced that it would be unhealthy to undertake a game of ball there.  They reembarked and sailed away.  Some of the gin dealers considered this action on the part of the constables an outrage, since they might have captured a few nickels, while the residents suffered from the noise and presence of drunken men.

--The excursion of the Merry Ten to Roton Point on Wednesday proved to be one of the most enjoyable occasions of the season.  The two barges and the steamboat were completely filled and the company was all that could be desired.  The music was good and the arrangement, for refreshment, were [sic] perfect.  As a pecuniary venture the club have no reason to regret the undertaking, and the people here will long remember the excursion and will be happy when they can go on another excursion under the same management."

Source:  PELHAM AND CITY ISLAND, New Rochelle Pioneer, Aug. 16, 1884, p. 3, col. 6.  

*          *           *          *          *

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.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Too Smart for Late 19th Century Scammers: Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls

As local developers and land owners worked to subdivide and develop properties in the sleepy little settlement known as Pelham Manor during the 1880's, one of the issues that arose was the adequacy of local public schools.  In an effort to attract potential residents and real estate purchasers, local citizens pressed for the development of private schools to supplement the public school system. 

The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York had a star teacher in the 1880's. Her name was Emily Hall Hazen.  A few Pelham Manor landowners coveted the teacher’s talents and experience.  They still were trying to develop the remnants of the subdivision planned by the Pelham Manor and Huguenot Heights Association founded in the early 1870's.  To attract “upper class buyers,” a Pelham Manor landowner named Silas H. Witherbee recruited Mrs. Hazen to open a girl’s preparatory school in Pelham Manor.  According to one account, “although Mrs. Hazen was urged to locate elsewhere, she yielded to the persuasion and promise of support given by the residents of Pelham Manor.”  In 1889 the little school opened, only to become one of the finest girls’ schools in the country before it closed twenty-five years later at the end of the 1914-1915 school year.  The school, officially named "Pelham Hall," was known far and wide as "Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls."  As the school reached its last years, it had served over a thousand students from forty-two States and over two hundred and fifty towns and cities throughout the country.

I have written about Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls on many occasions.  I have included a list of links to numerous such articles at the end of today's posting.  

As headmistress of an all girls school, Ms. Emily Hall Hazen had seen it all.  She was intelligent but, more importantly, she was crafty.  Most importantly, and her husband had imparted to their daughter, Miss Edith Cunningham Hazen, that same intelligence and craftiness.  The subject of today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog is an entertaining account that demonstrates just how savvy Mrs. Hazen and her daughter were after running Pelham Hall during its first decade.  It seems that unscrupulous scammers identified Edith Hazen as a potentially-easy mark.  They made their move.  Miss Hazen, however, was too smart for them.  The account of the attempted scam appeared in the New-York Tribune on July 16, 1897.  It is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

Undated Post Card Showing Mrs. Hazen's School, Circa 1906
(Between Esplanade and Edgewood Avenue).  Note:  Continue
Clicking on Image to Continue Enlarging Photograph.


A clever swindling scheme was attempted not long since upon Mrs. John Cunningham Hazen, principal of Pelham Manor School.  Through the quick wit of her daughter, Miss Hazen, the scheme proved unsuccessful, but it has been perpetrated with better success upon a nyumber of principals of girls' schools.  The plan was as follows:

A man, representing himself as a surgeon in the United States Navy, called upon Mrs. Hazen with a letter of introduction from the Rev. Dr. T. L. Cuyler, and said that he wished to place in her school a young girl whose father, also an officer in the Navy, was on a cruise, and whose grandfather was on the eve of sailing for Europe.  The plot was carefully planned and executed so as not to arouse suspicion.  Arrangements were made for the child to enter the school next term, and, as the terms in the best schools are always payable in advance, 'Dr. S. Shelden,' as he called himself, handed Mrs. Hazen a check for $350 drawn on the Chemical Bank of New-York, and signed by the alleged grandfather.  Mrs. Hazen reminded him that the tuition was only $300, and he replied:  'You may give me a receipt for $300 and your check for the balance.'  Miss Hazen, however, began to suspect something, so she wrote simply a receipt for the full amount ($350), saying she would give him the $50 when he brought the child.  

No more was heard of the expected pupil, who was to have been placed in the care of a governess during the summer, and when the check was presented it was returned with 'Fraud' written across the face.

The Chemical Bank has had many more of these checks from the same source, and Dr. Cuyler's name has been used in many other schools.  Miss Fisher, of New-Brunswick, N. J.; Mrs. Life, of Rye, and a number of others have been defrauded by the same man, and a large sum of money has been secured.  Detectives are at work on the case."

Source:  CLEVER SWINDLING SCHEME -- MISS HAZEN BLOCKS A PRETENDED NAVAL OFFICER'S GAME,  New-York Tribune, Jul. 16, 1897, Vol. LVII, No. 18,506, p. 5, col. 6.  

952 Pelhamdale Avenue, Once Part of Mrs. Hazen's
School for Girls and, Later, Part of the Taft School for Boys.
Photograph Taken in 2005 by the Author.  Note:  Continue
Clicking on Image to Continue Enlarging Photograph.

As noted above, I have written extensively about the private school known as "Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls."  For a few of the many examples, see:

Bell, Blake A., Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls: Pelham Hall, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 40, Oct. 8, 2004, p. 12, col. 1.

Tue., Mar. 11, 2014:  An Early History of Mrs. Hazen's School For Girls in Pelham Manor, Published in 1913.

Mon., Aug. 15, 2005:  952 Pelhamdale Served as a 19th Century School for Girls, Then a School for Boys. 

Fri., Oct. 14, 2005:  A Reunion of Alumnae of Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls

Tue., Aug. 22, 2006:  Early Advertisements for Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls in Pelham Manor.  

Wed., Sep. 6, 2006:  Pelham Hall Shelter, a "Refuge for Erring Girls", Founded by Alumnae of Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls in Pelham Manor.  

Thu., Jul. 12, 2007:  The Infamous Burglary of the Girls of Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls in Pelham Manor in 1905.  

Mon., Mar. 3, 2008:  1891 Advertisement May Reflect Summer Rental of One of the Dormitories of Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls.

Fri., Jul. 24, 2009:  Late 19th Century Photos of Students with Tennis Rackets at Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls in Pelham Manor.

Tue., Feb. 16, 2010:  Photograph of Only Known 19th Century Women's Baseball Team in Pelham, New York.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tablet Honoring Anne Hutchinson Placed on Split Rock on May 3, 1911

On May 3, 1911, the Colonial Dames of New York unveiled a memorial tablet honoring Anne Hutchinson.  The monument was affixed to Split Rock, a Pelham landmark.  An interesting account of the event and the efforts of The Colonial Dames of New York to get to Pelham Bay Park for the event appeared the following day in a New York City newspaper.  That account is quoted in its entirety below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Anne Hutchinson on Trial" by Edwin Austin.

Colonial Dames Unveil a Monument in Her Memory.

The Colonial Dames of New York unveiled in Pelham Bay Park yesterday a memorial tablet to Anne Hutchinson, whose religious beliefs led to her banishment from Boston by the Puritans in 1638.  The tablet is of bronze and is set in one part of Split Rock, which is about a mile above the Bartow station.  The inscription sets forth that Anne Hutchinson was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of her devotion to religious liberty, that she sought freedom from persecution in New Netherland, and in 1643 she and her household were massacred by the Indians.  Her home was not far from Split Rock.

About one hundred members of the Colonial Dames went from their headquarters in West Fortieth street to Pelham Park in sightseeing automobiles.  There was a delay in getting one of the autos started.  When it got to Forty-eighth street one of the women who had been chilled by the cold breezes as the others were too -- stopped for rugs and wraps.  Then the suggestion was made that the auto continue on up Fifth avenue.  This proposal was opposed by one of the Colonial Dames who insisted that she would not be seen on the avenue in a sightseeing car.  She carried her point, and the auto took the Seventh avenue route.  

On the return trip the steering gear of one of the machines began to misbehave near the Bartow station.  The driver was confident that he could coax it to run back without mishap, but the women were frightened and they desterted the machine.  Luckily the Bartow railroad station was handy.  

Mrs. William Robinson, State president of the society, presided at the exercises.  The speakers were William B. Hornblower, the Rev. James de Normandie of Boston and J. Edward Weld.  Mr. Weld is a lineal descendant of Joseph Weld of Roxbury, Mass., in whose house Mrs. Hutchinson was imprisoned before she was banished.  When the idea of the memorial originated Mr. Weld suggested that it should be erected by the descendants of the persecutors of Mrs. Hutchinson as a sort of atonement for the sins of their ancestors and the Colonial Dames took up the idea.

Mr. Hornblower in his speech said that we shouldn't be too harsh on the Puritans, that we should overlook their faults and give thanks for their virtues.  He reviewed the history of the life of Mrs. Hutchinson and of her time.  He said that she had failings and undoubtedly at times was an uncomfortable neighbor.  

Just before Mrs. Robinson removed the American flag that covered the tablet Archibald M. Howe of Cambridge, Mass., made a short and unannounced speech in which he praised William Hutchinson, Anne's husband, of whom nothing had been said hitherto.  Mr. Howe thought the occasion should not be passed without a mention of Mr. Hutchinson's 'modesty and humility' and he said it and was applauded."

Source:  TABLET TO ANNE HUTCHINSON -- Colonial Dames Unveil a Monument in Her Memory, The Sun [NY, NY], May 4, 1911, Vol. LXXVIII, No. 246, p. 8, col. 7.  

Labels: , , , ,

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.


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.  

Labels: , , , , ,

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.  

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.

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.

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

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

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
Source:  Recent eBay Auction Listing for the Post Card.

Reverse of Undated Real Photo Post Card (RPP) Showing
Source:  Recent eBay Auction Listing for the Post Card.

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

Labels: , , , , ,

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.  

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