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.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Large Distillery Once Stood on the Prevost Farm in Pelham During the 1790s

In 1795, Augustine J. Frederick Prevost placed an advertisement in The Daily Advertiser published in New York City. The advertisement offered his farm including a a significant distillery with an associated dwelling for sale.

I have written about Augustine J. Frederick Prevost and the home in which he lived -- called the Shrubbery -- before. (Prevost was the step-son of Aaron Burr.) For examples of such earlier postings, see the following:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006: Aaron Burr Tries to Pull a Fast One in the 1790s and Must Sell His Farm in Pelham

Wednesday, June 14, 2006: Text of Deed by Which Aaron Burr Acquired Pelham Lands in 1790

Thursday, April 14, 2005: The Pelham Home for Children that Once Stood on Split Rock Road

Monday, October 2, 2006: The Revolutionary War Diary of Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham

A photograph of the home that stood on the Prevost farm may be found here: "The Shrubbery Before its Destruction by Fire in 1890s".

The fascinating and descriptive advertisement offering the Joshua Pell / Augustine J. Frederick Prevost Farm for sale appeared in the February 9, 1795 issue of The Daily Advertiser. It is quoted in its entirety below, followed by a full citation to its source.

"Farm and Distillery for Sale,

A Handsome well improved FARM, containing about 160 acres of excellent land, and twelve acres of salt meadow, situate on a navigable river, opposite the town of East Chester, in the town of Pelham, 20 miles from New York; forty tons of good English hay are cut annually, besides a large quantity of salt grass and sedge; there is on the premises an orchard of the best grafted fruit, and a great variety of every kind, a good dwelling house and a new barn; Also, a large Distillery 56 by 46 situate on the shore of the said creek with 5 stills, one of 1200 galloons [sic], and 5 of 400 gallons each; in this building are apartments for a distiller and a small family, a continual stream of water leading through the upper story of the house renders all pumping uncessary [sic], and one hogshead of cyder brandy or rum, and 60 gallons of gin may be made daily; the country around yields an abundance of cyder which may be purchased, at a low price, the distillery being the only one in the southern part of West Chester county, is the best and nearest market.

If any one should incline to purchase the distillery, and dwelling house, with an acre of land adjoining, it will be disposed of in that way in preference. Apply to the subscriber on the premises, or to J. B. Prevost, No. 30 Partition Street, New York.


Jan. 28. 3aw 4w"

Source: A Farm and Distillery for Sale, The Daily Advertiser, Feb. 9, 1795, Vol. XI, Issue 3116, p. 4, col. 2.

Clearly a distillery of the size described in the advertisement was a commercial venture that likely served surrounding communities and, perhaps, New York City. No known trace of the distillery has yet been found, although there are interesting areas along Eastchester Creek (the Hutchinson River) where possible remnants may exist.

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