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.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Isaac Roosevelt Stone Carved in 1833

Along the Long Island Sound shore, only a few feet south of today's boundary between the the Town of Pelham and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx is a large boulder that contains the following inscription in letters nearly one foot high:

Isaac Roosevelt

A photograph of the stone taken on Saturday, November 11, 2006, appears immediately below. The image shows a carving rendered faint by the ravages of time and tides. Thus, immediately below I have included a duplicate copy of the image on which I have outlined the carving.

Isaac Roosevelt was one of the organizers of Christ Church, in which a memorial tablet dedicated to his memory still exists. The boulder is believed to have been a boundary marker for a portion of the large acreage purchased in the area by Robert Roosevelt. According to Lockwood Barr in his popular history of The Ancient Town of Pelham:

“Another interesting [property] mark is ‘Isaac Roosevelt 1833,’ carved on a boulder at the edge of the Sound, just south of the Pelham Manor Line. As already related, the Roosevelt family, around 1800, purchased the great tract bounded by the Shore Road, Pelhamdale Avenue and what is now the Branch Line. On an eminence on the edge of the Sound, now in New York City, just south of the Pelham Manor line, Elbert Roosevelt built his home. In Christ Church, Pelham, there is a memorial tablet to Isaac Roosevelt (son of Elbert), who died in Pelham, September 30th, 1856, aged 43 years (born 1813). So, when Isaac Roosevelt carved his name on the boulder in 1833 he was just 20 years old. Records of the Church show that Isaac Roosevelt was one of the organizers of Christ Church, serving as Vestryman and as Treasurer from its formation, until his death. The site of the old Roosevelt home on the Shore Road is now included in Pelham Bay Park.”

Source: Barr, Lockwood, A Brief, But Most Complete & True Account of the Settlement of the Ancient Town of Pelham Westchester County, State of New York Known One Time Well & Favourably as The Lordshipp & Mannour of Pelham Also the Story of the Three Modern Villages Called the Pelhams pp. 125-26 (Richmond, VA The Dietz Press, Inc. 1946).

The Isaac Roosevelt stone is not difficult to locate. As you leave Pelham on Shore Road you will pass Shore Park on the left and a number of homes on the east side of Shore Road. Shortly after you leave Pelham and enter Pelham Bay Park, there is a small parking area on the left (east side) of the roadway. Its entrance usually is blocked with boulders. Several footpaths are accessible from that parking area. They lead down to the shoreline.

At low tide it is easy to walk along the shore line back toward the Pelham Town Boundary (northward). You will reach the "end" of the shore line where a fence blocks your continued progress along portions of the shore owned by private home owners. The last large boulder lying on the shore at that spot contains the carving, although it is difficult to see.


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