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, December 15, 2005

Logging the Virgin Forest in Pelham in the Early 19th Century

It may be difficult to imagine, but there was a time when virgin forest covered much of Pelham. There is evidence that ship timbers and large amounts of firewood once were logged from lands in Pelham.

The most recently-uncovered evidence of such operations comes from a series of classified advertisements published in The Evening Post, a New York City newspaper, in 1813. An early Pelham resident named Augustine Frederick Prevost placed the advertisements. Prevost owned an estate with a grand home located in the area where today's Boston Post Road crosses the Hutchinson River. One such advertisement, published on November 17, 1813, read as follows:

"FOR SALE, the WOOD, standing on near 30 acres of land at Pelham in the county of Westchester, supposed to be about 800 cords, within 3/4 of a mile of the landings, whence it mayy be brought to New-York for one dollar per cord. The wood is walnut, birch, and near one hundred of the largest most valuable white oak for ship timber, all upland growth. Enquire of
Nov. 10 10t Pelham, West-Chester county"

The "landings" to which the advertisement refers were landings on the Hutchinson River where small boats could load and unload.

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