Historic Pelham

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

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Earliest Newspaper in Pelham?

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site


Pelham has a rich tradition of local newspaper reporting. Long before today's Pelham Weekly, there were such Pelham newspapers as The Gazette (1890), The Pelham Manor Tribune (1893), The Press (1896), The Record (1897), The Republican (1903), The Post (1901), The Democrats (1903), The Register (1905), The Pelham Sun (1910 - today), The Free Press (1921) and The News (1927). In addition, during the mid-19th century newspapers published in nearby villages such as New Rochelle included sections devoted to Pelham news.

The history of news gathering and news publishing in Pelham has not been well documented. For now it appears that the earliest newspaper published in Pelham may have been The Pelham Chronicle edited by William Jay Bolton and issued "about every other week" during the 1840s. See Bolton, Reginald Pelham, William Jay Bolton Associate of the National Academy, Artist, Author, Worker in Stained Glass and Minister of the Gospel, 9(2) The Quarterly Bulletin of the Westchester County Historical Society 25, 26 (Apr. 1933).

William Jay Bolton

William Jay Bolton was a son of the Rev. Robert Bolton who built Bolton Priory and founded Christ Church in Pelham Manor. William Jay Bolton was an exceptional artist who eventually was admitted to the National Academy of Design where he won prizes including a coveted "Silver Palette" for one of his works. Roberts, Anne Elliott, William Jay Bolton -- Artist in Glass, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 22, 1954. He put his talents to good use as he, his brothers and father worked to beautify Bolton Priory and the nearby church building they had constructed.

He became a master stained glass window artist assisted by his brother John Bolton. He began working with glass when he created some small panels "bearing the arms of the Pell family and those of his father's forbears" for windows in Bolton Priory, the family residence. See Bolton, Reginald Pelham, William Jay Bolton, supra, pp. 27-28.

Thereafter, he created for the little Christ Church building what is believed to be the nation's first figured stained glass window. The beautiful window, which depicts figures for the "Adoration of the Magi", may still be seen in the church.

The Pelham Chronicle

During the 1840s, William Jay Bolton began the publication of a tiny little newspaper distributed about every other week. The cost of the paper was a "donation" of the reader's choice.

No printed copies of the little newspaper are known to exist. Interestingly, though, the collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham contain two slim leatherbound journals filled with handwritten pages that appear to be William Jay Bolton's drafts for many of the issues of the little newspaper that he prepared and distributed. In addition, the journals contain a number of beautiful sketches of early Pelham scenes that appear to have been created by William Jay Bolton for inclusion in the little newspaper.

Over the next three weeks I will be photographing each page of the two journals as the first step in the process of transcribing and analyzing the contents of The Pelham Chronicle. As the project progresses, I will report on interesting developments.

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at


Post a Comment

<< Home