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 02, 2006

January 2, 1888: The Day Residents of Pelham Manor Decided to Incorporate a Village

The Pelham Manor Protective Club was first established in 1881 as a "Vigilance Committee" to oversee the health and welfare of Pelham Manor residents. Its Executive Committee evolved into a virtual municipal government, using Association By-Laws and resolutions as substitutes for Village ordinances and Club dues and assessments as substitutes for Village taxes. It developed policing, street-lighting, snow-plowing, and other such services for the benefit of local residents. To learn more about the Club, see:

Wed. Jan. 25, 2006: The Pelham Manor Protective Club Flexed its Muscles in the 1886 Town Elections

Tue. Jan. 24, 2006: 1890 Circular of The Pelham Manor Protective Club on Lamp Lighting

Wed. Feb. 23, 2005: The Westchester County Historical Society Acquires Records of The Pelham Manor Protective Club from Dealer in Tarrytown

Mon. Jan. 23, 2006: The Beginnings of Organized Fire Fighting in Pelham Manor?

Bell, Blake A., The Pelham Manor Protective Club Founded in 1881, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 24, Jun. 11, 2004, p. 12, col. 1.

On January 2, 1888, the members of the Pelham Manor Protective Club gathered at the home of F. Carles Merry for the annual meeting of the Club. Members of the Club were angry that year. The condition of Boston Post Road was atrocious. As early as February 5, 1887, the Executive Committee of the Club instructed members of a subcommittee "to endeavor to obtain an appropriation from the Town to be expended in the repairing, regulating and grading of the Boston Road on Prospect Hill within the limits of the Town."

By the end of the year, the condition of the road remained poor. Members of the Club spent precious time during the Club's annual meeting on January 2, 1888 discussing this fact. They were fed up with the lack of attention to the matter shown by Town officials who mostly resided on City Island, quite some distance from Boston Post Road. According to the minutes of the meeting that day, the members of the Club took an historic step. They decided that they had had enough and would incorporate a Village to allow them better to control their own destiny. The minutes reflect the following:

"A motion was then made by Mr. Carson and seconded by Mr. Freeland, looking toward the improvement of an the roads in the neighborhood of the Manor. After considerable and a very general discussion of the subject matter of the motion and of the project of the incorporation of the Manor and some of the adjoining property as a village, the following resolution was introduced by Mr. Barnett as a substitute for the motion of Mr. Carson, and was seconded by Mr. Smith, viz:

Resolved that a committee of this Club, consisting of Messrs Carson, Merry, Black, Taft and Townsend, having power to provide for their own organization and to fill vacancies, be and hereby is appointed for the purpose of taking the necessary steps leading to the incorporation of a Village to include Pelham Manor and vicinity, and in the mean time, of making such repairs of the roads as shall be neglected by the Town authorities; with full power to make necessary disbursements for the above purposes; it being understood that the Committee shall, before making any repairs or incurring any expense, notify the Road Commissioners of the Town, of the work needed and endeavor to spur them to the performance of their duty.

After some further discussion this resolution was on motion adopted."

The deed was done, though it took more than three years to effect the incorporation that Pelham Manor residents decided to undertake on that winter day in early 1888.

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