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.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Preparations in 1954 for the Tercentennial Celebration of the Signing of the Pell-Siwanoy Treaty

In 2004 the Town of Pelham celebrated the 350th anniversary of Thomas Pell's June 27, 1654 treaty with local Native Americans by which he acquired the lands that became Pelham and surrounding areas. The year-long commemoration included dozens of events.

Fifty years earlier, Pelham celebrated the Tercentennial of the same event. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting will provide a few details regarding the organizers of the Tercentennial celebration and how they organized the events.

In early January, 1954, Town Supervisor Gordon Miller invited citizens to a meeting at Town Hall to organize committees to develop festivities for the Tercentennial celebration. The Pelham Sun announced that during that meeting committees were appointed. Lockwood Barr, Historian of the Village of Pelham Manor who also built the home located at 20 Beech Tree Lane, was appointed "Honorary Chairman" of the "Committee for the Observance of the Tercentennial Anniversary of Thomas Pell's Treaty with the Indians".

The Temporary Chairman of the organizational meeting was Dr. Donald Waugh of Pelham. Among the local organizations that sent representatives to the meeting were: the Manor Club, the Men's Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club, League of Women's Voters, The Junior League, Mount Vernon Hospital, Pelham Country Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Legion, Pelham Civic Association and its Auxiliary, the Pelham Comfort Society and the Degree of Pocahontas.

Dr. Waugh appointed a number of committees for the program that was held in late October, 1954. Early in the year, residents of the Town planned such events as an historical pageant, a parade, a reception for Pell family members and a religious observance. According to one news account, the following committees were appointed.

Plans and Arrangements - Chairman Donald Waugh; Vice-Chairman Carl Capra; Secretary Weston L. Roberts, Jr.; Town Historian Edgar H. Browne; Paul Reznikoff; J. Howard Hanway; Miss Dorothy Burgess; Miss Mary Ellen Burgess; Mrs. Robert Stout; Vincent Lopardi; Dr. Matthew Troy.

Pageant - Mrs. Robert C. Heyl; Mrs. Chauncey L. Williams; William J. Moore; Mrs. William J. Moore; Mrs. Irving Whitney Lynn; A. K. Ridout; Mrs. Amy Beam; Richard D. Mathewson.

Special Events - George Beaghen; Mayor Irving J. Wallach of North Pelham; and Nicholas Martinelli.

Publications - Mrs. Frank Gratz; Richard D. Mathewson; Mrs. Arnold Boyd; and Paul Reznikoff.

Historical - Edgar H. Browne; Mrs. Benjamin L. Fairchild; Francis Pace; and Mrs. Hilliard C. Birney.

Budget - Peter A. H. Voorhis; Joseph McDonald; Clifford Weihman; Mayor Irving J. Wallach; and Mayor Edward M. Freeman of Pelham Heights.

Public Relations - Ralph Kruse; Fred M. Wirth; Edwin J. Sweeney; James H. Pipkin; Adrian Murphy; James Bealle; Boyd Lewis; Butler Powers.

Committees reportedly began meetings almost immediately.

Source: Lockwood Barr, Honorary Chairman For Tercentennial Program Here, The Pelham Sun, Jan. 14, 1954, p. 1, col. 1.

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