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.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

1775 Statute Authorizing Samuel Rodman and Benjamin Palmer to Build City Island Drawbridge

Shortly before the onset of the Revolutionary War, New York's Lieutenant Governor, Council and General Assembly enacted a statute authorizing Samuel Rodman, Sr. and Benjamin Palmer to construct a toll free draw bridge between Rodman's Neck on the mainland and Minneford's Island (known today as City Island). The plans were part of Benjamin Palmer's grand scheme to develop the island into a seaport to rival New York City. The onset of the War dashed these plans. The draw bridge was not built. The statute is transcribed immediately below.

"[CHAPTER 1758.]

An Act to enable the Persons therein named to build a free draw Bridge over the Narrows from Mineford's Island to Rodman's Neck.

[Passed, April 3, 1775.]

WHEREAS a free draw Bridge over the Narrows from Rodman's Neck to Mineford's Island in the Manor of Pelham in the County of West Chester, will considerably shorten the Distance of the present Ferry from Rodman's Neck to Great Neck on Long Island, as the said Ferry may then with great Convenience be kept on Mineford's Island aforesaid; and will moreover afford a convenient and proper Station for taking great Quantities of Fish with Nets and Fikes, which will give considerable Employment and Relief to the Poor in the Neighbourhood of the said Bridge, and lessen the Price of that useful Article in the Markets of the City of New York.

Be it therefore Enacted by his Honor the Lieutenant Governor the Council and the General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the Authority of the same, That Samuel Rodman Senior, and Benjamin Palmer both of the said Manor of Pelham and County of West Chester shall be, and they are hereby impowered to erect [Page 879 / 880] and build a draw Bridge over the said Narrows from Rodman's Neck to Minifords Island as aforesaid in such Place as they the said Samuel Rodman Senior and Benjamin Palmer shall judge most fit, Provided that in such Bridge there shall be two or more Apertures of at least twenty five Feet each, for the Convenience of navigating the said River by small Boats: And the said Bridge when so built shall be and is hereby declared to be a free and public Highway for the Use Benefit and Behoof of all his Majesty's Subjects whatsoever.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Bridge shall be erected and built in the Space of Seven Years after the passing hereof, or in Default thereof, that this Act and every Thing therein contained shall be Null and Void, any Thing herein before contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding."

Source: The Colonial Laws of New York from the Year 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to Colonial Governors, The Duke's Laws, the Laws of the Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive, Vol. V, pp. 879-80 (Albany, NY: James B. Lyon, State Printer 1894).

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