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, February 09, 2006

Cortlandt W. Starr of Black Starr & Frost

During the 1880s two of the three principal partners of the internationally renowned jewelry firm Black, Starr & Frost lived in Pelham Manor: Robert C. Black and Cortlandt W. Starr. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting will provide a little information about Cortlandt W. Starr, known affectionately during his life as "Colonel".

Cortlandt Starr was born in Sag Harbor, Long Island in 1832. At about the age of 18 he moved to New York City and got a job as a clerk with the jewelry firm then known as Ball, Black & Co. By then, the firm already had a long and illustrious history in New York City. It traced its origins to a jewelry firm started by Isaac Marquand in 1810 known as Marquand & Company.

Over the years, the firm evolved as new partnerships developed. According to a brief history of the firm, "[b]y 1860, Ball, Black & Company was the most famous jewelry store in New York City, designing for royal families and dignitaries in both Europe and the United States".

Mr. Starr's work as a clerk was interrupted briefly in 1863 during the Civil War. He joined the Thirty-Seventh Regiment as an officer for a few months' service. He reportedly was present in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1863. That day Confederate Troops were converging on the little village of Gettysburg for what became a seminal battle of the War. In Carlisle that day, Confederate Troops led by Major General J. E. B. Stuart's Cavalry shelled downtown Carlisle. After his brief military service, the "Colonel" returned to his position as a clerk with Ball, Black & Co.

According to one source, Ball, Black & Co. "went out of business" in 1876. See Obituary Notes, N.Y. Times, Oct. 2, 1888, p. 2. That same year, Robert C. Black, Cortlandt W. Starr and Aaron Frost formed a partnership named "Black Starr & Frost". See id.

During the 1870s, Robert C. Black moved to Pelham Manor and, although it is not clear exactly when, his partner, Cortlandt Starr, seems to have followed within the next few years. Messrs. Black and Starr were significant members and important leaders in the Pelham Manor Protective Club, a precursor to organized the Village Government that developed upon incorporation of the Village of Pelham Manor in 1891.

The "Colonel" died suddenly on Sunday, September 30, 1888 in his home. According to his obituary, he died "of congestion of the lungs" and left a widow and three children.

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


Post a Comment

<< Home