Historic Pelham

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Text of January 1, 1885 Annual Report of the Pelham Manor Protective Club

The population of Pelham grew quickly after the Civil War. With development came problems, particularly as “tramps” found the area enticing and hitched rides to Pelham on trains running on the New Haven Main Line and the Branch Line. Before the Village of Pelham Manor was incorporated in 1891, local residents founded the Pelham Manor Protective Club as a means of working together for the good of their community. Nearly the entire adult male population of the area – 52 local residents – subscribed as members.

The purpose of the club was “to assist the public authorities in maintaining law and order within a radius of one mile from Pelham Manor Depot....” The club raised money to fund its work, which included guarding against tramps, petty thieves, stray livestock and other local problems. The records of the club, which was disbanded once the village of Pelham Manor was incorporated, provide documentation of the development of a local government in lower Westchester County in the 1880s. The page shown below is the cover of the annual report for the year 1884. It was read to members of the Club at a meeting on January 1, 1885. The entire text of the report follows the image below.


Pelham Manor Protective Club.

January 1st, 1885.

Members of the Protective Club of Pelham Manor.


Another year has gone passed and you are again gathered together as you have been wont to do to elect your officers for another the ensuing year, and to hear from our Executive Committee – what of their doings during the year just closed, and to counsel together as to what should be done for your mutual benefit and protection during the year to come. The most important thing perhaps which your Committee has to report is, that they have done but little, and that mainly because there has been but little to do. During the year your Committee have held ten regular meetings. The first meeting being was held January 5th, at this meeting Geo. H. Reynolds was elected Chairman and David W. Johnson Clerk and Treasurer. On the first of July, Mr. De Witt, who was one of the chief promoters of the Club and has almost continuously since its organization been a member of the Executive Committee, retired from service upon the Committee. His associate members greatly regretted his retirement and the consequent loss to the Committee of his zealous, efficient and untiring aid in the transaction of the Club business. Mr. [Page 1 / Page 2] Wm. Allen Smith was elected to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. De Witt’s resignation. On the night of January 9th, two burglars forced an entrance to into the depot and post office, and while at their burglarious work were surprised by Mr. De Witt. His report to the Committee is as follows:

‘Mr. De Witt reported that the depot at Pelham Manor was broken into at about 2.30 A.M., January 9th. That he and others were aroused to the Station and endeavored to arrest the burglars, but they were well armed and escaped by jumping through a window, after exchanging several shots with Mr. De Witt. One of them was a tall man and the other was a short man. They left behind, a hat, a key and a blanket. The blanket was returned to Mrs. Condon of New Rochelle, from whom it was stolen that same night. No clue was found by which the burglars could be traced or identified.’ No other burglaries or misdemeanors have been committed within the jurisdiction of the Club during the year.

The tramp notices have been kept posted and we have issued a pamphlet containing our articles of association and suggestions to members. We have had placed in the Depot a Telephone which the members have the free use of to new Rochelle and to the whole Telephone District by paying small extra charges to points beyond New Rochelle The membership at your last meeting was 41, during the [sic]

Two members have resigned and six have been dropped from the rolls, making the present membership 43. [Page 2 / Page 3]

The Treasurer reports as follows: --

Amount on hand Jany. 1st, 1884, $151.62
Received for dues, 66.00
“ “ initiation fees, 30.00
Received for extra use of Tele-phone, 8.55
Total $256.17

Paid for Record Book and engrossing records of the Club 20.50
Paid for arrest of two tramps 20.00
Paid for impounding one cow 1.00
Paid for 100 copies of Pamphlet of Instructions to Members 11.75
Paid for Telephone Service 47.15
“ for Watchman’s Detective Clock 40.00
Paid for postage stamps 1.00
“ “ printed notices of Special Meeting 1.75
Total Expenditures $143.15
Leaving a balance on hand of 113.02


And uncollected dues
Uncollected dues $2.00

At a meeting of the Executive Committee held September 13th, Mr. Wm. E. Barnett and Mr. Wm. Allen Smith were appointed a Committee to prepare a plan for bringing [Page 3 / Page 4] the night watchman and lamplighting service within the control of the Protective Club.

Their report was as follows: --

To the Executive Committee of the Pelham Manor Protective Club.

The undersigned, your Committee appointed at the meeting held September 13, 1884, to prepare a plan for bringing the Watchman and Lamplighting service, now existing in PELHAM MANOR, within the control of the PROTECTIVE CLUB, beg leave to report as follows: -

We have given the matter committed to us full consideration. At the outset, we find that the expense of the service amounts to about $2.35 per month to each of the twenty-five subscribers to the service. It would be obviously inappropriate to assess all the members of the Club for this service, which is of immediate benefit to a limited number. And those immediately benefited could not be thus specially assessed, under the ARTICLES of ASSOCIATION, without amending the ARTICLES so as to cover this case. An objection at once arises, that some members of the Club residing within the benefited district might, for various reasons, be unwilling to pay the necessary assessment.

Your Committee are of the opinion that, with a slight change in ARTICLE IId., of the ARTICLES of ASSOCIATION, there would be no question that, under ARTICLE IVth, [Page 4 Page 5] the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE would have full power to establish and maintain, under the auspices of the PROTECTIVE CLUB, such private Watchman, or other services as may be desired for special districts within the jurisdiction of the CLUB, provided that the expenses of such special services are all met by voluntary subscriptions; and it is evident that whenever there is a real demand for such service the voluntary subscriptions will be forthcoming.

In order to make it perfectly clear that the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE shall have power to provide any special services under voluntary subscriptions of the persons benefited and for the purpose of better defining the object of the CLUB we recommend that Article IId., be amended by the insertion, after the words ‘law and order’, of the words: ‘And otherwise to provide for the safety of members of the CLUB, their families and property’.

If the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE shall see fit to present this Amendment to the members of the CLUB for their adoption, we recommend that, for the sake of clearness and to provide for the proper expedition of Amendments which may subsequently be offered, the following be presented to the members of the CLUB at the same time.

Amend ARTICLE IXth., so that the ARTICLE shall read as follows:

‘These ARTICLES may be amended at any [Page 5 / Page 6] meeting of the CLLUB specially called for that purpose, by an affirmative vote, in person or by proxy, of two thirds of all the members of the CLUB’.

Respectfully submitted

Wm. E. Barnett )
} Committee.
Wm. Allen Smith )

Pelham Manor, November 29th, 1884.

This report was accepted and the recommendations therein contained were approved by the Executive Committee,

All of which we beg most respectfully to submit.

[Signed] Geo H Reynolds
[Signed] D. M. Johnson
[Signed] Robert C Black
[Signed] Wm E Barnett
[Signed] Wm Allen Smith

[Page 6 / Page 7] [No text on page 7]"

Source: Collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

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