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, May 25, 2005

Clifford and Martha Weihman of Pelham (Part II of II)

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Yesterday's Blog Posting dealt with Clifford and Martha Weihman of Pelham. The Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park in Pelham Manor is dedicated to the memory of Martha Weihman. Today's Blog Posting will continue that discussion.

Clifford T. Weihman was clearly a wine and food connoisseur. The New York Times published a story about him in 1950 noting that "More extensive than the wine cellars of all but a few restaurants in this city is that owned privately by Clifford T. Weihman of Pelham Manor, who began his collection with some old Benedictine more than a quarter of a century ago. Asked the other day how many bottles he now had in his possession, the connoissuer [sic] declined, with a pleasant shrug, to estimate. But a wine importer, also there on the visit of inspection, guessed the number at 5,000." Nickerson, Jane, News of Food -- Who's Who of Superlative Wines, Spirits Crowds the Cellar of Westchester Man, N.Y. Times, Sep. 18, 1950, p. 35. The same article details some of the rare and valuable bottles of wine included in Weihman's collection including a brandy bottled in 1788. Id.

Similarly, a large photograph of Mr. Weihman appears in The New York Times published on January 21, 1969 showing Clifford T. Weihman as he "knighted" Justice David W. Peck in ceremonies of La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. Mr. Weihman, an official of the society, is dressed in a robe and floppy hat of cardinal red. According to the article "Mr. Weihman, a vegetable oil importer by day, is the Grand Pilier General of the Confrerie in the United States. Wielding his wineroot, he tapped each knight thrice." See Whitman, Alden, From Winebibber to Knight with Three Taps of a Wineroot, N.Y. Times, Jan. 21, 1969, p. 51.

Mr. Weihman was also a "conniesseur" of a different sort. He was a noted collector of rare gold coins. According to one account, Mr. Weihman was one of three collectors in the world who acquired a set of quarter eagles, half eagles, eagles and double eagles. According to one account:

"Col. E. H. R. Green was one of the richest men in America, being the son of the infamous Hetty Green, better known as 'The Witch of Wall Street.' He was a hoarder, and there were enough coins in his estate for two sets of quarter eagles, half eagles, and eagles. There were also numerous double eagles. Stack's [a company] reportedly acquired the coins from the estate slowly, over a period of years, circa 1943-1945.

The coins were sorted by Stack's into a 'number 1 set' and a 'number 2 set," with the number 1 set having the better pieces. Mr. Stack said the number 1 quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle sets were photographed circa 1945-1946 by Stack's staff photographer, Sam Andre, who also worked for PIC magazine (a large format competitor to Life), and were made up into individual photo albums. Mr. Stack believes that three sets of the albums were made. One went to his father, Morton, and one to his uncle, Joseph. The third went to an American collector named Clifford T. Weihman. Mr. Stack said they had misplaced his father's set, his uncle's set was in the Stack's library, and the location of the third set was unknown. . . . Stack's had occasion to handl the Weihman coins again in 1953 or 1954, selling them to pharmaceutical magnate Josiah K. Lilly. It is assumed that most or all of these coins would now be on display in the Lilly Collection in the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washingon, D.C." See Lester, Carl N., Numismatic "Gumshoe:" On the Trail of King Farouk (visited May 24, 2005).

Mr. Weihman lost his second wife, Marjorie Burns, on December 23, 1967. Before her death the couple had two children in addition to Mr. Weihman's son from his first marriage: Jane Ann Weihman and Edward Alan Weihman. See Deaths . . . WEIHMAN - Marjorie Burns, N.Y. Times, Dec. 24, 1967, p. 49. Another brief obituary appeared in the same issue of the paper. It read:

Special to The New York Times

PELHAM MANOR, N. Y., Dec. 23 -- Mrs. Marjorie Burns Weihman of 201 [sic] Monterey Avenue, wife of Clifford T. Weihman, secretary-treasurer of the Smith-Weihman Company of New York, importers of vegetable oil, died today in Mount Vernon Hospital. Her age was 59. Surviving, besides her husban, are two sons, New W. and Clifford E.; a daughter, Jane Ann; her mother, Mrs. Edith Burns, and a half-brother, Charles McCartney." Mrs. Clifford Weihman, N.Y. Times, Dec. 24, 1967, p. 49.

Clifford and Marjorie's daughter, Jane Ann, married Harold Martin Block, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand H. Block of Thibodaux, Louisiana. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Hear in Noroton, Connecticut and graduated in 1964 from the American School in Switzerland and from Sweet Briar College. Her husband, Harold Martin Block, graduated from the University of Virginia and Tulane University Law School. His father was the president and founder of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Thibodaux and President of Block Furniture stores as well as Delta Broadcasters, all in Thibodaux. See Jane Weihman Is Future Bride of Harold Block, N.Y. Times, Jul. 30, 1968, p. 42.

Clifford T. Weihman seems to have remarried a third time to a woman named Shirley. His brief obituary appeared in the June 17, 1983 issue of The New York Times. It read:


Clifford Tobias Weihman, a founder of the Smith-Weihman Company, vegetable-oil importers in New York City, died Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 88 years old.

Mr. Weihman is survived by his wife, Shirley; two sons, Clifford E. and Edward A., both of Greenwich, Conn.; a daughter, Jane Block of Thibodoux, La., and nine grandchildren." Clifford T. Weihman, N.Y. Times, Jun. 17, 1983, p. D17. A separate obituary appeared the next day. It read:

"WEIHMAN -- Clifford T. On June 16, 1983. Husband of Shirley. Father of Clifford E., Jane Block and Edward A. Grandfather of nine. Reposing at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Ave. at 81 St., Friday, 7-9 P.M. Funeral service at Christ Church, Pelhamdale Ave., Pelham Manor, N.Y., Saturday, 11 A.M. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Mt. Vernon Hospital would be appreciated." Deaths . . . WEIHMAN -- Clifford T., N.Y. Times, Jun. 18, 1983, p. 11.

Memorials appeared in the same issue of the paper. One such memorial read as follows:

"WEIHMAN -- Clifford T. Grand Piller General Emeritus Honoraire. The very heart and soul of our Noble Confrerie. His was the leading force from its early years and out cohesive guide as we became the great brotherhood we are today from coast to coast. Rest well, dear friend. We will go on always with your precepts. Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin John F. Stever Grand Pilier General d'Amerique Edward H. Benenson Grand Camerlinque d' Amerique". Deaths . . . WEIHMAN -- Clifford T., N.Y. Times, Jun. 18, 1983, p. 11.

When the old George M. Reynolds mansion located behind Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham Manor burned in the mid-20th century, Clifford T. Weihman stepped forward and funded the creation of a lovely park in memory of his first wife. The park is named the Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park. Beginning this Memorial Day weekend, The Junior League of Pelham, Inc. will kick off a restoration campaign to restore the park. They are looking for old photographs that might show the park shortly after it opened.

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