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, August 17, 2005

More on the Village Blacksmith Who Won the 1906 North Pelham Election By Cornering the Market on Sleighs

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site

On Friday, July 8, 2005 I published to the Historic Pelham Blog a posting entitled "How Did a Village Blacksmith Win the 1906 North Pelham Election by Cornering the Market on Sleighs?". In that posting, I detailed how a local village blacksmith named James Reilly won election as Village President (i.e., Mayor) by cornering the market for sleighs during a snowstorm and encouraged his supporters to glide to the polls while his opponents' supporters sat glumly at home unable -- or unwilling -- to trudge to the polling place.

Research has revealed another article about the odd election published in The New York Times on March 20, 1906. The text of that article appears below.

Municipal Ownership Candidate in Pelham May Win To-day's Election.

There was gloom last night in the Republican ranks of Westchester County over the prospect for the village elections to-day. A severe snowstorm, the heaviest of the Winter, had blocked trolley cars, and it was feared that the Republican voters, mostly New York commuters, would stay away from the polls and thus turn over the towns to the Democrats.

At 7 o'clock last night all trolley lines in the county were at a standstill. The polls will be open from 6 to 12 o'clock this morning.

The Democratic Town Committee of Pelham had automobiles engaged for the day, but last night they canceled the order and endeavored instead to get sleighs. To their dismay they found that James Reilly, the village blacksmith, who is running on the Municipal Ownership ticket, had cornered all the sleighs in town.

There are elections in twenty-one villages in the county. Most of these villages have been overwhelmingly Republican, but the storm puts them in the doubtful column. Last night the Republican committees were busy trying to reach every commuter by telephone and get his promise to get out and vote."

Source: He Cornered the Sleighs, N.Y. Times, Mar. 20, 1906, p. 1.

James Reilly's ploy was successful. Municipal Ownership party supporters elected their whole ticket, defeating the Republican and Democratic nominees by a good plurality. Mr. Reilly was elected by a plurality of 26; W. G. Barker was chosen Trustee by a plurality of 43; D. Paul O'Flynn was chosen Treasurer and James Lyon Collector.

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at
Please Click Here for Index to All Blog Postings.


Post a Comment

<< Home