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, June 29, 2007

Murder of a Member of the Secor Family in Pelham in 1843

In 1843, a local man named Abraham Devoe murdered Mary Secor, an elderly member of the distinguished Secor family of the Manor of Pelham. A brief account of the tragic event appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The article is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"SHOOTING A RELATIVE. - An awful tragedy occurred at Pelham, Westchester county, on Tuesday of last week. A person named Abraham Devoe loaded a foltowing piece [sic - fowling piece], and going to the residence of his aunt, named Mary Secor, a lady seventy-six years of age, deliberately shot her dead. He was taken into custody, and when asked why he committed the horrid deed, said he had been commanded so to do to atone for a grievous sin he had committed. He is doubtless laboring under monomania."

Source: Shooting a Relative, Brooklyn Eagle, Feb. 20, 1843, p. 2.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

19th Century Notice of Executor's Sale of "Hawkswood" After Death of Elisha W. King

In the early 19th century, Elisha W. King was a distinguished New York City lawyer. He also served as an alderman and an assemblyman. In the 1820s, he built a lavish home in Pelham on Rodman's Neck opposite City Island. According to one source, King purchased nearby High Island in 1829 and quarried stones from the island "which he used in the construction of a foundation" for the mansion he built on Rodman's Neck. See Twomey, Bill, The Bronx, in Bits and Pieces, p. 83 (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc. 2003). King named his mansion and the estate on which it stood "Hawkswood".

I previously have written about Elisha W. King and his estate known as "Hawkswood". See Wednesday, April 5, 2006: "Hawkswood", Later Known as the Marshall Mansion on Rodman's Neck in Pelham. Following Elisha King's death, his executors sold the estate. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes an excerpt of a notice published in 1846 offering the estate for sale. The excerpt is followed by a citation to its source.

"EXECUTOR'S SALE. - ESTATE OF THE LATE ELISHA W. KING. - The subscriber will sell at auction on Tuesday, 1st December next, at 12 o'clock, at the Merchants' Exchange (ANTHONY J. BLEECKER, Auctioneer,) the following property belonging to the estate of the late Elisha W. King, viz: . . . .

Also, 80 acres of fine land beautifully situated on Rodman's Neck, in the town of Pelham, county of Westchester, being a part of the homestead of the late Elisha W. King. The land fronts on East Chester Bay, and affords several beautiful building spots, with a fine water prospect and privileges. It is bounded north and east by the main road, south by property of Samuel Bowne, Esq., and west by the Bay. The premises will be sold in one or more parcels. . . . .


n7 2awts Executor, &c of Elisha W. King, dec'd."

Source: Executor's Sale, Estate of the Late Elisha W. King, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 10, 1846, p. 3. See also Executor's Sale, Estate of the Late Elisha W. King, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 13, 1846, p. 3.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dissolution of Firm of Black, Starr & Frost and Reconstitution of the Firm as Corporation After Robert Clifford Black's Death

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Robert Clifford Black of Pelham Manor served for many years as one of the principals of the internationally-renowned jewelry firm of Black, Starr & Frost. Both Black and Cortlandt W. Starr lived in Pelham Manor for many years.

I have previously written about members of the Black family in Pelham Manor and about Cortlandt W. Starr. See, for example:

Thursday, September 28, 2006: A Brief Biography of Mary Grace Witherbee Black of Pelham Manor.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006: April 20, 1875 Marriage Certificate of Robert C. Black and Mary Grace Witherbee Black.

Thursday, February 9, 2006: Cortlandt W. Starr of Black Starr & Frost.

Thursday, June 7, 2005: Obituaries of Robert C. Black and His Wife, Mary Grace Witherbee Black.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005: "The Dogwoods" - The Estate of Robert Clifford Black of Pelham Manor.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides an image of an announcement issued by the firm of Black Starr & Frost in 1908 stating that due to the deaths of Robert Clifford Black and Aaron V. Frost, the firm had been dissolved and that a corporation named Black Starr & Frost had been created to succeed to its assets and obligations. An image of the announcement appears immediately below, followed by a transcription of the text of the announcement. The original is in the collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

"Black, Starr & Frost
Fifth Avenue and Thirty-ninth Street
Incorporated February 1908.

Edward H. Peaslee President
R. Clifford Black [son of Robert Clifford Black] Vice President
Witherbee Black Treasurer & Secretary
William L. Rich General Manager
Mary G. W. Black
Lountine J. Frost
Theodore H. Silkman

Announcement is made that by reason of the deaths of Robert C. Black and Aaron V. Frost the late firm of Black, Starr & Frost is dissolved. A corporation has been formed under the above corporate name with the above named directors and officers, which corporation has taken over the entire assets and assumed all the obligations of the old firm. The business will be carried on at the same location and under the same general management as before."

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Herman Le Roy of Pelham Offers Reward for Stolen Ewe in 1814

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Today it may be hard to image a time when farmers in Pelham were plagued by sheep rustlers. However, a notice published by Herman Le Roy of Pelham in 1814 serves as a quaint reminder of Pelham when it was principally farmland.

I have written a number of times about Herman Le Roy (and Herman Le Roy, Jr.) of Pelham. See, for example:

Monday, June 26, 2006: 1834 Statute Authorized Herman Le Roy, Jr. to Dam Creek for an Oyster Bed.

Friday, December 9, 2005: Conveyance of Le Roy Lands in Pelham Between Pelham Bridge and New Rochelle in 1818.

Thursday, August 25, 2005: 1818 Sale of Lands to Herman and Hannah Le Roy of Pelham.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog provides the text of a notice published by Herman Le Roy in 1814 after one of his prized Ewes was stolen from his farm. The text and a citation to its source appear immediately below.


STOLEN from the Farm of the Subscriber, on the night of the 1st inst. a full blooded Merino Ewe, marked with tar on the right side with the initials P. L. and a hole pierced through the right ear. The above reward will be paid for the recovery of the Ewe alive and detection of the thief, or a suitable reward will be paid for either separately. HERMAN LEROY.

Pelham, Westchester County, State
of New-York, Dec. 12, 1814.} 4to"

Source: Fifty Dollars Reward, The Evening Post, Dec. 13, 1814, p. 3.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

1841 Notice of Administrators' Sale of Real Estate Including the So-Called "Sacket Farm" in Pelham

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There once was a large tract of land that lay, in part, in the northeastern reaches of today's Pelham Bay Park known as the Sacket Farm because it belonged to Joseph Sacket. Following Joseph Sacket's death, a Notice of Administrators' Sale of Real Estate (including the Sacket Farm) appeared in the Hudson River Chronicle. That portion of the notice relating to the Sacket Farm in Pelham Manor is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Administrators' Sale of Real Estate.

IN PURSUANCE of an Order made by Alexander H. Wells, Esquire, Surrogate of the County of Westchester, bearing date the eighteenth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, whereby it was ordered, among other things, that Philer Betts and Selleck Scofield, the Administrators of Joseph Sacket, late of the town of Greenwich, in the county of Fairfield and State of Connecticut, deceased, sell the following described Real Estate of the said deceased, to enable the said Administrators to pay the debts of the said deceased, . . . .

The subscribers will also sell, by virtue of the before named order, on the premises, in the town of Pelham in the said county of Westchester, at one o'clock in the afternoon of Friday the eighth day of October next, the farm of land and premises belonging to the said Joseph Sacket, deceased, which is described and bounded as follows: Situate in the said town of Pelham, bounded southerly in part by a certain Creek which divides the land hereby to be described from the lands of John Hunter, northerly by lands of Elbert Roosevelt, easterly by lands of said Elbert Roosevelt, and westerly by land of said Elbert Roosevelt and Caleb Pell, John Hunter and Herman Le Roy, as the same is now fenced, containing one hundred and fifty-four acres one road and fifty-four perches, with all the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging.

Terms made known on the day of sale.

Adminis'rs of Jos. Sacket.

August 18th, 1841, 45w7"

Source: Administrators' Sale of Real Estate, Hudson River Chronicle, Sep. 28, 1841, Vol. 4, Issue 50, p. 4, col. 3.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

1857 Real Estate Advertisement for Sale of "Country Seat" at Pelham Bridge

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The February 21, 1857 issue of the New York Daily Times contained an interesting advertisement offering a "country seat" at Pelham Bridge for sale. The rich description warrants transcription of the entire ad which appears below, followed by a citation to its source.

"FOR SALE -- A COUNTRY SEAT SITUATE AT Pelham Bridge, Westchester County, 6 miles from Harlem. The location cannot be surpassed, it being located immediately at the termination of Pelham Bridge, and has a water front of 600 feet; the house is 4 years old 3 stories with a two-story kitchen and 4 parlors on the first floor, built in the best manner; there is on the premises a good barn, boat and out-houses, with three acres of ground and plenty of fruit trees. To a gentleman desirous of a splendid country seat the property presents inducement seldom met with; two thirds of the purchase money can remain for a term of years on bond and mortgage. Apply on the premises, or of JACOB L. DODGE, No. 16 Charles-st., New-York."

Source: For Sale, N.Y. Daily Times, Feb. 21, 1857, p. 6, col. 5.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Information About "Aeronautic" Exploits of Clifford B. Harmon Who Developed Pelhamwood in Pelham

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The lovely neighborhood known as Pelhamwood north of the railroad station in the Village of Pelham was developed in the early 20th Century by Clifford B. Harmon and his company, Clifford B. Harmon & Co. I previously have written about Clifford Harmon. See, e.g., Thursday, May 12, 2005: Clifford B. Harmon, Developer of Pelhamwood.

A few years ago a full history of the neighborhood was published in The Pelham Weekly. See Bell, Blake A., The Early Development of Pelhamwood, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 37, Sept. 17, 2004, p. 12, col. 2.

Clifford B. Harmon was one of the nation's premier amateur "aeronauts" during the very infancy of airplane flight. Today's blog posting transcribes text from a book published in 1910 detailing some of Clifford B. Harmon's "aeronautical" exploits as of that date.


CLIFFORD B. HARMON has the double distinction of being not only the foremost amateur aviator of America, but his feats have also at times excelled those of the professional airmen. On July 2, 1910, [Page 401 / Page 402] Mr. Harmon made a continuous flight of more than 2 hours, breaking all American records, and this he held for several months.

Mr. Harmon's first experience in the air was as a balloonist, and in this capacity he held the duration record of 48 hours 26 minutes for a year. On this same voyage, at the St. Louis Centennial, he made a new record in America for altitude attained, 24, 400 feet.

At the Los Angeles aviation meet, in January, 1910, where he went with his balloon New York, he met Paulhan, and became his pupil. At that meet Paulhan made a new world's record for altitude with a Farman biplane, and this machine Mr. Harmon bought, and brought to Mineola, L. I., where he practised assiduously, crowning his minor achievements by flying from there across Long Island Sound to Greenwich, Conn.

At the Boston-Harvard aviation meet, in September, 1910, Mr. Harmon won every prize offered to amateur contestants."

Source: Ferris, Richard, How It Flies or, The Conquest of the Air - The Story of Man's Endeavors to Fly and of the Inventions by Which He Has Succeeded, pp. 401-02 (NY, NY: Thomas Nelson and Sons 1910).

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

John Pell's Early Public Service in the Late 1600s

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John Pell inherited the lands that came to be known as the "Manor of Pelham" from his uncle, Thomas Pell, following Thomas Pell's death in late September, 1669. John Pell arrived in America from England to claim his inheritance about a year later.

Within a short time, John Pell was a respected citizen of the area that came to be known as Westchester County. He became involved in public service.

A book published in 2005 summarized John Pell's public service. It noted that an examination of the earliest records of the Court of Sessions held in Westchester suggests that the first Court of Sessions was held on June 3, 1684. That year, according to the account, "it seems" that John Pell was appointed First Judge of Westchester County. Additionally, Pell "seems to have been recommissioned by James II in 1688, after the status of the latter had changed from the duke to the king."

In 1691, "John Pell represented Westchester in the 1691 General Assembly, which is known as the First General Assembly. He was also a member of the Second Assembly, 1692-93, and with Joseph Theal sat in the Third Assembly, 1693, also in the Fourth (1693-94), with Humphrey Underhill."

Source: Chester, Alden, Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History 1609-1925, Vol. I, pp. 1298-1299 (Clark, NJ: The LawBook Exchange, Ltd. 2005).

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Brazen Burglary at The Little Red Church in 1904

In 1904, the Little Red Church still stood at the corner of Boston Post Road and Pelhamdale Avenue in the Manor of Pelham. On December 4 of that year, the Rev. George W. Knox of the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church entered the sanctuary to prepare for services later that morning. To his dismay, he discovered that burgars had entered before him. The article below appeared the next day in The New York Times.



Steal Altar Bible -- Enter House and Cut Telephone Wire.

Special to The New York Times.

PELHAM MANOR, Dec. 4. -- When the Rev. Dr. George W. Knox of Pelham Manor went to hold services in the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church this morning he found that the large altar Bible was missing from its accustomed place. A hasty investigation showed that burglars had entered the church during the night by prying open a door in the basement and carried it away. The Bible was valued at about $50, and was the gift of the congregation.

The burglars also forced an entrance to the Sunday school room, where they stole the rugs and curtains.

The same burglars, after leaving Pelham Manor, went, it is believed, to the home of C. Everette Smith, at 82 Maple Avenue, New Rochelle. At any rate, burglars forced an entrance to that house while the family was asleep, collected all of the silverware and bric-a-brac, and carried it off. Before leaving the Smith cottage they took the precaution to cut the telephone wire, so that the family could not telephone to the police."

Source: Burglars In Church, N.Y. Times, Dec. 5, 1904, p. 2, col. 2.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Information About Slaves Owned by Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham

In 1837, the New York Committee of Vigilance published its first annual report regarding its efforts to fight slavery. Included in that report was a summary of some of the Committee's efforts to obtain recompense for former slaves whose property was taken by slaveholders. Among the entries in that report is one relating to Joshua Pell, Jr. who owned land in Pelham and New Rochelle. The entry is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"The efforts made by your committee to recover property due to colored persons, has been the means of developing some of the the odious effects of slavery in the free states. We select the two following cases as specimens of the existence of slavery in New York. Mr. Joshua Pell, of New Rochelle, hired from Pumpton, New Jersey, a man named James Trebout,* whom he held as a slave four years; he also bought the man's wife for seventy dollars, from his master in New Jersey, and kept her as a slave, till the facts came to the knowledge of your committee; we then endeavored to obtain wages for these poor people, but the slave holders had craftily caused them to put their mark to a paper as a receipt in full, specifying some supply of clothing,† and small sums of money, which prevented the prosecution of a suit against him.


* I do certify that Dianna, a black woman, was purchased of Mr. Andrew C. Zebuskie, of Kohocus, New Jersey, last November, that she is now a free woman, which facts I know of my own knowledge.

New Rochelle, 3st Oct., 1836. WM. W. McCLELAN.

† The following is the bill, et literatum. The reader may judge how correct it is.

John Trebout, to Joshua Pell, Jr., Dr.
Cash paid Andrew C. Zebuskie, for John Trebout's wife, $70,00
Cash and expenses in going for her at different times, 20,00
Two shirts $1,25, straw hat 25 cents, shoes $2,50, 3,37
Pantaloons $1,25, tobacco 12 1.2 cents, cash $10, 1,72 1.2
Cash 12 1-2 cents, do 25 cents, summer coat $3,00, 3,37 1.2
Cash at sundry times, 37 1.2
Coat $5, shoes $1,75, pantaloons $1,50 8,25
Mending 75 cents, stockings $1,50, tobacco 37 cents, cash 25 cents, 2,87 1.2
Pair of boots $4, hat $1, cash $3 8,00
Cap $1,25, shoes $2, shoes for Dina $1, 4,25
[Total] $122,60

A number of articles cannot be enumerated, because the bills have not come in.

John Trebout and his wife have served Mr. Pell after a fashion from last November, about 11 months, consequently making Mr. Pell pay them about $11,14."

Source: The First Annual Report of the New York Committee of Vigilance for the Year 1837, Together With Important Facts Relative to Their Proceedings, p. 78 (NY, NY: Piercy & Reed, Printers, 1837).

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Photograph of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester Published in 1914

Throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries, St. Paul's Church in Eastchester was the principal church attended by residents of the sparsely-populated Manor (later Town) of Pelham. A book published in 1914 included a lovely picture of the church and a brief account of its history. Both appear below, followed by a citation to the source.

"One of the most interesting small churches still in existence in the United States is St. Paul's at East Chester, near Mount Vernon, New York. The first church building at this town was erected in 1692, and the permission of the Governor of the province was asked for the installation of a rector. It was refused, and the congregation appealed to the Assembly for permission to separate from the parish, of which till then they had formed a part. This was granted, but by order of the Bishop of London, confirmed by Queen Anne, it was rescinded, and the church was continued as a chapel until 1795. The present building was begun in 1764, and completed in 1776; and the storms of war at once broke over the new building. It was used as a hospital by the British, who destroyed part of it. Its congregation was much scattered, and it was years after the war before it again became a strong organization."

Source: Embury II, Alymar, Early American Churches, p. 100 (NY, NY: Doubleday, Page & Company 1914).

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Report of Cholera Epidemic on Harts Island in Pelham in 1866

In 1866, a cholera epidemic ravaged those who lived and worked on Hart Island, then part of the Town of Pelham. The epidemic grew so bad that the Brevet Lieutenant Colonel and Surgeon John J. Milhau who treated post-Civil War U.S. troops on the Island asked the commander of the Island to move all healthy personnel to nearby David's Island "as early as practicable". His request, included in a report about the epidemic dated July 20, 1866, appears immediately below.


Brevet Brigadier General A. D. DOUBLEDAY, Commanding Hart's Island:

SIR: With a view of preventing the further spreading of cholera in this command I have the honor to recommend that the well men and officers be transferred to David's Island as early as practicable. Previous to leaving, the bed-sacks in use, with the straw, should be burned, the blankets and clothing thoroughly fumigated, and every precaution taken to prevent the transfer to the new quarters of any article of clothing, bedding, or baggage that has not been thoroughly disinfected by active chemical agents. I deem the above measures imperative to prevent the extension of the disease.

The fumigations were superintended by the officer of the day and the medical officer. Sulphurous acid, nitrous acid, and chlorine were all used in disinfecting.

On the evening of the 20th, six companies of the seventeenth United States infantry (520 officers and men) were transferred to David's island, leaving on Hart's island the sick, a detail of attendants, and the sixth company first battalion Veteran Reserve Corps, to guard property, in all about eighty-five officers and men. On the evening of the 20th Dr. Carey, contract surgeon, and Hospital Steward Brumer reported for duty. During the night Brevet Major Warren Webster reached Hart's island with seven cholera (?) patients, taken sick shortly after landing on David's island. The commanding officer of Hart's island, Captain Bayne, Veteran Reserve Corps, refused to receive them, and they were sent back to David's island. Fearing that the cholera would now continue among the troops at David's island, I sent Dr. Carey and Steward Brumer to assist Dr. Webster.

Notwithstanding the diminished garrison at Hart's island the disease still kept on, attacking the nurses about the sick and showing itself in the Veteran Reserve Corps company, which up to this time had enjoyed an immunity. Several teamsters fell ill with cholera, one after another; they had carried off the dead; but I think the cause of their illness was attributable to their living in the stables. The two stewards became ill, and were confined to bed. Their disease not being cholera, I sent them to David's island to recover. On the night of the 21st Dr. Browne, contract surgeon, and eight contract nurses reported for duty. On the 22d I recalled Steward Brumer from David's island. This enabled me to relieve and send to David's island a number of soldier attendants, who had been very faithful and required rest.

Being satisfied that, owing to irremediable local causes, the disease would still continue, I, on the 23d, recommended that every well person not needed on the island should be sent off. I reduced the hospital attendants to the utmost limit consistent with the care of the sick; but the officer temporarily in command sent off nearly the whole company of the Veteran Reserve Corps, thus leaving the island without proper guard or police party: consequently, on the 25th I was obliged to call for a detail from David's island, and on the 26th the Veteran Reserve Corps returned, and I had them encamped on the parade grounds, their morale and condition having been much improved by their short absence from the post.

The following is a tabular statement of the cases of cholera at Hart's island, New York harbor, from July 20, 1866, to July 26, 1896:

In hospital July 19, 6 1/2 p.m., cases . . . . . 8
New cases received up to July 26 . . . . . . . . 11
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Deaths. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Remaining in hospital July 26. . . . . . . . . . . 6

Of whom five are convalescing; three of these five were in the ward when I took charge. In addition to the above should be counted two citizens, both of whom died. [Page 25 / Page 26]

The disease was undoubtedly cholera Asiatica, presenting all the symptoms of a malignant form, viz., diarrhea, vomiting and purging of rice water, cramps, collapse, cold surface, cold extremities, cold tongue, cold breath, quick and weak pulse, leaden hue of surface, shrunken features, anxious expression, sunken eyes with dark hole, inelasticity of skin, incessant thirst, sensation of heat of body and extremities, entire suppression of urine, jactitation, nervous agitation, sometimes slight delirium, finally coma from anaemia, loss of pulse and death. After death, in many cases, the elevation of the temperature of the body and the muscular movements were very striking.

Owing to the multiplicity of duties imposed upon the medical officers in attempting to avert death and to prevent further illness, no autopsies were made. There being no microscope at the post, but little information would have been obtained in making simple post mortems.

The cholera ward became so infected with the cholera poison that every patient brought thither for several days died, notwithstanding the floors were kept covered with chloride of lime and sulphate of iron, and the utmost police enforced. I therefore, on the 24th, closed the ward, using the convalescent ward for choleraics, and removing the convalescent patients to the finest building on the island -- the library. The improved condition of all the patients on the following morning showed the propriety of the move.

Brevet Major and Assistant Surgeon McGill reported on the evening of the 24th. He immediately went on duty, examining the patients and records, and from him may be expected a very full report of all the cases since the insipiency of the disease.

July 26 I was relieved by Brevet Major McGill, in compliance with your order.

During my tour the medical officers had to be constantly in the hospital superintending the care of the sick and the police, the administration of medicines, stimulants, and food, and for a time had to dispense the medicines.

Although the medical officers devoted themselves to these duties, it was discouraging to see the patients die, one after another, in spite of their most assiduous efforts, the malignancy bing due to some endemic cause.

In reference to treatment, the results were unfavorable, owing to the fact that collapse came on so soon after the commencement of the choleraic symptoms that medicine had no time to act, and symptoms were treated as they arose. After faithfully trying ice bags, hot bags, heaters, sinapsisms, embrocations, &c, the plan of treatment which gave the most satisfaction was to follow the indications: First, a mustard emetic, then to allay vomiting by creosote, cracked ice; to arrest purging by injections of brandy, infusion of tea, and acetate of lead; to ease cramps and jactitation by hypodermic injections of morphia; to restore heat of surface gradually by gentle heat, extreme heat to be avoided; to restore secretion of urine by spirits of nitre or spirits of turpentine; to prevent collapse or avert death by stimulants, small quantities often repeated; when thirst is great, a little ice tea, or simply ice.

But nursing and constant attention are more important than medication. The patient should be kept in bed lightly covered, should use the bed pan, the stools and vomits should be immediately removed, and the utmost cleanliness observed about the patient and his bedding; a nurse should be constantly at his bedside attending to his wants.

I cannot lay too much stress upon the police and ventilation of the cholera ward, and the ward changed where there is evidence of an accumulation of the poison.

I cannot close this report without mentioning the untiring and zealous manner in which Brevet Major J. R. Gibson, Assistant Surgeon United States Army, discharged his duties. Brevet Major McGill and Acting Assistant Surgeon Browne deserve great credit for their prompt and efficient services. To Brevet Major Warren Webster, Assistant Surgeon United States Army, I wish to return thanks for his efficient and ready co-operation in furnishing stewards and nurses.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brevet Lieutenant Colonel and Surgeon U.S.A.

Brevet Colonel WM. J. SLOAN, U.S.A.,
Medical Director Department of the East."

Source: Circular No. 5 -- War Department, Surgeon General's Office, Washington, May 4, 1867. Report on Epidemic Cholera in the Army of the United States During the Year 1866, pp. 25-26 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office 1867).

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Brief Biography of James Jay Bolton of Pelham Published in 1886

In 1886, MacMillan and Company published the National Dictionary of Biography edited by Leslie Stephen. Volume V of that published work included a biography of James Jay Bolton, one of the sons of the Rev. Robert Bolton, rector of Christ Church and builder of Bolton Priory in Pelham. The biography appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"BOLTON, JAMES JAY (1824-1863), evangelical clergyman, was the fifth son of the Rev. Robert Bolton, rector of Christ-church, Pelham, U.S., his mother being a daughter of the Rev. William Jay of Bath. Bolton was born at Southdown College, near Weymouth, Dorsetshire, 11 Feb. 1824. His early years were spent at Henley-on-Thames, where his father was at the time minister of a dissenting chapel. At the age of twelve he went with his parents to America, where circumstances placed his father in charge of an episcopal congregation. He was educated at Dr. Muhlenburg's, College Point, New York, after staying for some time at Brook Farm, New Rochelle, and Pelham. Thence he returned to England and entered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he obtained a scholarship in his first year, and took his degree in 1848. From 1849 to 1851 he was curate of Saffron Walden, Essex; afterwards he removed to St. Michael's, Chester Square, Pimlico, as curate to the Rev. J. H. Hamilton, and was appointed later to the incumbency of St. Paul's Episcopal Chapel, Kilburn. Here he married, 30 June 1853, Lydia Louisa, third daughter of the Rev. W. W. Pym, rector of Willian, Hertfordshire. Bolton died, aged 39, at the parsonage, Kilburn, 8 April 1863.

Of Bolton's sermons some were arranged chronologically by his brother, and published, with a brief memoir, three months after his death. A second series of 'Selected Sermons' was published in 1866. As a children's preacher Bolton has perhaps never been surpassed. He contributed largely to the 'Family Treasury,' the 'Sunday Scholars and Teachers' Magazine,' and juvenile publications of a kindred tone. He also published 'The Church Missionary Operations vindicated,' 1854; 'Faith's Report to Mourning Parents, or How it fares with Holy Children when they die,' 1855; 'Our Celestial Guest, or Stirring Thoughts about the Holy Spirit,' 1855; 'Beleaguered but Defiant, an exposition of a precious verse,' 1858; 'Life Lessons,' 1862; 'The Yoke lightened, an address to servants' (a posthumous publication), 1873.

[Gent. Mag. ccxiv. 665, 801; Brit. Mus. Catal.; the Record, April 1863; Bolton's Selected Sermons, p. xii, &c.]

Source: Stephen, Leslie, ed., Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. V, p. 328 (NY, NY: MacMillan and Co. 1886).

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Amorous Exploits of Captain Samuel Tredwell Pell of the Manor of Pelham in 1778

A book published in 1850 that detailed the lives of New York trappers Nicholas Stoner and Nathaniel Foster included a coy narrative about the amorous exploits of Samuel Tredwell Pell of the Manor of Pelham in 1778. Stoner served under Pell who was Captain of a company of which Stoner was a member during the Revolutionary War. I previously have written about Samuel Tredwell Pell of the Manor of Pelham. See, e.g., Thursday, October 12, 2006: Biographical and Genealogical Information Regarding Revolutionary War Office Samuel Tredwell Pell of the Manor of Pelham.

The account details an incident in which Stoner and Pell slipped away from the American garrison and picked their way through Tory country simply to visit two teenage girls who lived with their mother in a small cottage near the home of Jeremiah Mason near Johnstown. The account appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"In the fall of 1778, the several regiments of New York state troops having become much reduced, a new organization took place, their number being lessened, at which time Nicholas Stoner joined the company of Capt. Samuel T. Pell, attached to Col. Cortlandt's regiment, which marched to Schenectada. The state troops were sent, during the winter months, to different frontier stations, and Capt. Pell proceeded to Johnstown for winter quarters. [Page 67 / Page 68]

Small parties of the enemy kept the inhabitants along the frontier of New York, in a state of almost constant alarm. While stationed at Johnstown Nicholas Stoner often went hunting and fishing with other lads, to provide a dainty morsel for some officer, who thought more of his palate than of his purse; and consequently paid liberally for their success. . . . .

[Page 72] I have remarked elsewhere, that young Stoner, when on duty at Johnstown, went hunting in the proper season. His pigeon hunting often gave him an interview with the young ladies named, and not infrequently did Anna, as the hunter was about to proceed farther from the garrison, with some anxiety and a reproving look, cast a caution in his path from her father's door, such as 'Nicholas, you'll be surprised yet at that tory house and taken off to Canada: you had better not got there.' . . . He was also quite partial to Anna, as he admits, and we think he must have promised her to limit his future excursions to a nearer range, else why the caution observed in another visit.

As the young musician [Stoner] usually hunted in the same [Page 72 / Page 73] direction, it was suspected by more than one at the station that he went sky-larking, and James Dunn, who was possibly in the secret of his destination, one day told Capt. Pell that 'if he did not look out he would lose his fifer, as he not only went upon dangerous grounds, but hunted two kinds of pigeons.' The captain, whose inclinations led him to follow all the fortunes of war, took occasion secretly to catechise the young hunter; and the latter, with his usual candor, owned up. The consequence was, the commander of the garrison concluded the hunting of pigeons must be rare sport, especially if they were not too lean, and soon obtained a promise from young Nimrod to take him where he could find one nestled.

Arrangements having been made for a hunt, secretly of course, a garment was thrown over the back of an old white mare belonging to the widow Shutting, which sought its living around the fort; and selecting a propitious evening, the hunter and his pupil -- under cover of a cluster of trees a little distance from the garrison, mounted their Rozinante and set off. The reader may be surprised that they started on a pigeon hunt in the evening, and . . . that they left their shooting [equipment behind]; since this is all owing to his ignorance of the policy of war, for he should know that game is easier taken on the roost than on the wing.

It was the wish of the master hunter to avoid passing on their way the house of Jeremiah Mason, and [Page 73 / Page 74] why, possibly the reader may infer; he says himself, however, it was from fear a watch-dog might betray the nature of their errand and thus startle the best game: consequently a blind and circuitous route was chosen, some distance from the public highway.

Whether the animal was too heavily loaded or not, we can not judge any better than the reader (sin is said to be weighty), but sure it is that in threading an intricate footpath carpeted by a web of briars and underbrush along a ravine, the mare stumbled and went heels over head, sending her riders far from her, if not pell-mell, certainly Pell and Nich. Bestowing some harsh epithets upon the poor beast, which probably had the worst of the bargain, they did not attempt to remount; but leaving the old mare to her fate, they proceeded on foot.

On arriving near the hunting-grounds, Stoner went forward to reconnoitre, and finding the coast clear, returned and conducted his captain into a neat little cottage, with two rooms below, and possibly as many above. The ceremony of an introduction once passed, the captain soon found himself quite at home. The time for retiring to rest at length arrived, and as the old hen roosted in the room they were in, it became necessary for the hunters to leave it: consequently the hunter most familiar with the premises followed the pullet in its flight to a chamber. The other bird soon after fluttered past the captain into an adjoining room, whither he pursued possibly to capture it. [Page 74 / Page 75]

I do not consider it important to the present narrative to stop and inquire of an ornithologist,

'If birds confabulate or no;
'This clear that they were always able
To hold discourse, at least in fable;'

and that the genus columba,

Soon are cooing when together
If they meet in coolish weather,

is a fact so well established, it must be obvious to the reader that pigeon hunting may be rare sport. Some time after the beautiful birds under consideration had flown to separate rooms, into which we can not think of introducing the reader, as the cooing was done agreeably to the most approved style then in vogue in western New York, the loud barking of Mason's dog fell upon the ears of the hunter closeted above. His apprehension was in a moment on tiptoe; for to be surprised by a party of the enemy and either slain or captured with his captain in such a place and at such an hour, without their having the least means of defence, he readily saw must bring scandal if not dishonor upon the American arms; and he descended (although his bird attempted with a delicate little claw to prevent) to take a midnight observation.

It turned out that Mason's sentinel was barking at the old mare the hunters had abandoned. Having collected her scattered limbs, she too had concluded to go browsing, and was, as the reader will perceive, on the right track. On the return of his pioneer, the [Page 75 / Page 76] captain was gratified to learn that there was no real cause of alarm, and pigeon hunting soon prospered again. Towards the dawn of day the sportsmen returned to the garrison; Capt. Pell exacting from his musician the most solemn assurances of secresy respecting his successful and only attempt at fowling among the Browse, until he should meet with me."

Source: Simms, Jeptha R., Trappers of New York, Or a Biography of Nicholas Stoner & Nathaniel Foster; Together with Anecdotes of Other Celebrated Hunters, and Some Account of Sir William Johnson, and His Style of Living, pp. 67-76 (Albany, NY: J. Munsell 1850).

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Biography of Rev. William Hague, Born in Pelham in 1808

William Hague was a noted clergyman who was born in Pelham, New York on January 4, 1808. He authored a book entitled "Life Notes or Fifty Years' Outlook" published by Lee and Shepard Publishers (Boston, Massachusetts) in 1888. The first chapter of that book is entitled "Old Pelham and New Rochelle, Revisitations" discusses his youth in Pelham in the earliest years of the 19th century.  

In 1900, James H. Lamb Company published Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States edited by John Howard Brown. Volume III of that publication included a biography and a portrait of William Hague. The portrait appears immediately below, followed by the text of the biography.

Rev. Dr. William Hague.  Source:  Brown, John Howard, ed.,
p. 458 (Boston, MA: James H. Lamb Company 1900).
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

"HAGUE, William, clergyman was born in Pelham, N.Y., Jan. 4, 1808; son of Capt. James and Ann (Bayley) Hague; grandson of William Hague, a celebrated Baptist clergyman of Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, and of Capt. William and Sarah (Pell) Bayley; great-grandson of Joseph Pell, fourth and last lord of Pelham Manor, Westchester, N.Y., and a descendant of Sir John Pell (born in London, 1643; died in 1702), who came to America as second lord of Pelham Manor. Through the Pell family he descended from a long line of English ancestry, and by the marriage of the third lord of Pelham Manor with Anna, daughter of the reigning chief of the Westchester Indians, he had a notable strain of native American blood. William Hague was graduated at Hamilton college in 1826; was a theological student at Princeton, N.J., 1826-27, and Newton, Mass., 1827-29, and was graduated at the Newton theological institution in 1829. He was ordained pastor of the Second Baptist church, Utica, N.Y., Oct. 20 , 1829, and served, 1829-30; was professor of Latin and Greek in Georgetown college, Ky., 1830; was pastor of the First Baptist church, Boston, Mass., 1831-37; of the First Baptist church, Providence, R.I., 1837-40; of the Federal Street and the Rowe Street churches, Boston, 1840-48; at Jamaica Plain, 1848-50; at Newark, N.J., 1850-53; of the Pearl Street church, Albany, N.Y., 1853-58; of the Madison Avenue church, New York city, 1858-62; of the Charles Street church, Boston, 1862-64, and of the Shawmut Avenue church, Boston, 1865-69. He was professor of homiletic's in the Chicago theological seminary and pastor of the University Place church, Chicago, 1869-70; was pastor of the First Baptist church, Orange, N.J., 1870-74; travelled in Europe, 1874-76, and was pastor at Wollaston Heights, Mass., 1877-87. He was a trustee of Brown university, 1837-87; of Vassar college, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1861-1887, and an overseer of Columbian university, Washington, D.C., 1874-87. He received the degree of D. D. from Brown in 1849 and from Harvard in 1863. He is the author of: Conversational Commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew (1835); Guide to Conversation on the Gospel of John (1840); Eight Views of Baptism (1841); Conversational Commentaries on the Acts of the Apostles (1845); The Baptist Church Transplanted from the Old World to the New (1846); Review of Drs. Fuller and Wayland on Slavery (1855); Home Life (1855); The Authority and Perpetuity of the Christian Sabbath (1863); The Self-Witnessing Character of New Testament Christianity (1871); Christian Greatness in the Minister (1880); Ralph Waldo Emerson (1884); and Life Notes (1888). He died in Boston, Mass., Aug. 1, 1887."

Source:  Brown, John Howard, ed., Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Vol. III, p. 458 (Boston, MA: James H. Lamb Company 1900).

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Photographs of Pelham Manor Station and the City Island Station on the Branch Line Published in 1916

On Tuesday, May 22, 2007 I published to the Historic Pelham Blog an item entitled "Photograph of Pelham Manor Station on the Branch Line Published in 1908". Today's posting includes a photograph published in 1916 that was taken from a different location of the same station. It also includes a second photograph showing the City Island Station published at the same time. Following the photographs is a brief transcription of pertinent text that accompanied the photograph and a citation to the source.

"A few examples of two-, four- and six-track stations, showing different arrangements for reaching the tracks and trains, are shown in the illustrations herewith. The pictures in Fig. 156 are views of the New York, New Haven & Hartford's six-track stations at Port Morris, Hunt's Point, Woodside, Pelham Manor, Morris Park, Westchester Avenue and City Island, N. Y. . . .

Pelham Manor was built of stone to harmonize with an existing retaining wall which was a feature of the station approach."

Source: Droege, John A., Passenger Terminals and Trains, pp. 258-59 (NY, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 1916) (text appears on page 259; two photographs shown above are part of Figure 156 appearing on page 258).

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Program Distributed at Dedication of the New Pelham Memorial High School on May 6, 1922

On May 6, 1922, Pelham residents gathered proudly for the dedication of the new Pelham Memorial High School. At that ceremony, the School District distributed a four-page program. Images of the pages of that program appear immediately below.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Proposed Layout of the Grounds of Pelham Memorial High School in 1920

Included in the files of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham is a copy of a portion of a page from the July 24, 1920 issue of The Pelham Sun showing a proposed layout of the grounds of the Pelham Memorial High School. An image of the item appears immediately below.

The map of the proposed grounds is entitled "General Plan of the Memorial High School Property and Roosevelt Field Union Free School District No 2 Town of Pelham Westchester County NY". According to the legend the map was prepared by the "Office of John F. Fairchild, Civil Engineer First National Bank Bld'g Mount Vernon, N.Y. July-8-1920". John Fairchild, of course, was a resident of the Village of Pelham (Pelham Heights) at the time.

The map shows what was labeled "Roosevelt Field" adjacent to the high school containing a 1/5 mile oval track with a 120-yard straightaway track adjacent to it. Within the oval track is a football field and a baseball diamond. Northeast of the high school building are five tennis courts.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Famed Flier Charles A. Lindbergh Visited Home on Highbrook Avenue in 1934

In early March, 1934, famed trans-Atlantic flier Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh visited Major and Mrs. William Robinson of Pelham Manor at their home located at 400 Highbrook Avenue. Later the same week, The Pelham Sun published a brief item about the visit. The text of that article appears immediately below.



Noted Flyer Makes Short Call at Residence of Maj. and Mrs. William Robertson of Pelham Manor.


Among the noted visitors to the Pelhams this week was Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, who called at the residence of Major and Mrs. William Robertson of No. 400 Highbrook avenue on Monday afternoon.

Major Robertson is a vice-president of the Curtis-Wright Aircraft Corporation and a member of the Robertson Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis. He was one of the backers of Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic in 1927, and has been a friend of the flier for many years.

Col. Lindbergh motored to Pelham to visit Mrs. Robertson's father, Mr. James Livingston, who is convalescing from a recent illness."

Source: Col. Lindbergh Visited Pelham Friends Monday, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 9, 1934, Vol. 24, No. 51, p. 1, col. 6.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Abstract of 1797 Will of John Bartow, Sr. Who Owned Land in Pelham and Whose Family Became Early Pelham Residents

In the late 18th century, John Bartow, Sr. owned land in Pelham and was an important member of the Bartow family that lends its name to Bartow-Pell Mansion in today's Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. Below is an abstract of John Bartow, Sr.'s will prepared in 1797 and proved in 1802.

"JOHN BARTOW, SENR., of Westchester; Mch. 21, 1797; devised to cousin John Bartow, son of brother Theophilus Bartow, dec'd, land in Pelham on Minford Island, commonly called City Island; to cousin Augustus Bartow, son of my sd. cousin John Bartow all that land 'where he and I now live' (bounded by road leading to the house 'where my cousin William Bartow now lives;' land of John Bartow, Junr.; land late belonging to Anthony Bartow) [etc.] upon condition that the sd. Augustus Bartow 'do pay unto John Gillespie to the use of his children he had by my cousin Susana, dec'd., daughter of my brother Anthony, dec'd.' the sum of 50 pounds; also that the sd. Augustus Bartow 'pay unto Benjamin Haviland to the use of Thomas Haviland's children he had by my cousin Helena, daughter of my sd. brother Anthony, dec'd.' the sum of 50 pounds; to my cousin William Bartow (which same William is one of the sons of my brother Anthony, dec'd., land where he now lives called the Roberts Field; a piece of land I bought of my brother Anthony [etc.] provided he pay my cousin Charity Wright, one of the daughters of my brother Anthony, widow, the sum of 70 pounds for the use of herself and her children; also on condition that he, my sd. cousin William Bartow pay unto John Gillespie [as before]; to cousins John Bartow, Junr., Theodosius Bartow and Theophilus Bartow, children of my brother Theophilus Bartow, dec'd.; 'All the rest of my farm in the occupation of the sd. William Bartow not herein before disposed of by this my will' 'to my cousins Anthony Bartow, and Robert S. Bartow, children of my brother Anthony, dec'd.' the sd. [cousin] Anthony Bartow to pay my kinsman Doctor Ebenezer White the sum of 15 pounds for his kindness to me when I lived with him; also the sd. Anthony Bartow to pay my kinsman Aaron Burr of the City of New York £5 as a token and in memory of his love and kindness to me and our Family; the sd. Robert S. Bartow to discharge his own debt to Punderson Bartow, dec'd. and to pay a sum to Dr. White; mentioned kinsmen Frederick Prevost and John Bartow Prevost', children of Theodosia, daughter of my brother Theodosius Bartow, dec'd.; cousin Thomas Bartow, the eldest son of my brother Anthony, dec'd.; to cousin Theophilus Bartow one of the sons of my cousin the Rev. Theodosius Bartow, my law books save one lent to my cousin Basil John Bartow and that I gave to him; devised all the rest of books to 'my Brother Theophilus' children, my brother Anthony's children and my Brother Basil's children that shall be living at the time of my decease;' mentioned cousin Theophilus Bartow, son of brother Theophilus, dec'd.; cousins Clarina Underhill the wife of A. Lispenard Underhill and Matilda White one of the daughters of Uzzpkama my cousin, dec'd. Executors, sd. cousins [Page 9 / Page 10] William Bartow and Augustus Bartow. Wit., John Valentine, Samuel Berrian, Elijah Williams, Codicil, Jan. 6, 1802; devised his watch to Clarina Bartow, wife of Augustus Bartow. Wit., John Valentine, Moses Secord, Oliver Secord. Probated Mch. 8, 1802."

Source: Bristol, Theresa Hall, Abstracts of Wills Recorded at White Plains, Westchester County, N. Y. in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. LVII, No. 1, pp. 9-10 (NY, NY: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Jan. 1926) (citing Liber C).

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Article About 1896 Robbery and Shooting of J. H. Bertine of Pelham Manor

During the evening of Tuesday, October 27, 1896, J. H. Bertine of Pelham Manor was traveling in his horse drawn carriage with his fifteen-year-old daughter and a coachman when the group was accosted by three highway bandits on a road near the Pelham Manor Depot. The bandits shot Bertine in the neck. His wound was not serious. The only reason he was not killed was because the coachman and the fifteen-year-old girl both leaped from the vehicle and ran into the darkness, frightening the horse which bolted. As the horse bolted, three of the bandits' shots struck the horse rather than Mr. Bertine.

A large number of newspaper articles appeared regarding the event and subsequent efforts to capture the bandits. Among those articles was one that appeared in the Middletown Daily Argus published in Middletown, New York. The article is transcribed in its entirety below, followed by a citation to its source.



Mr. Bertine Goes to New York To Try to Identify His Assailants.

Pelham Manor, N. Y., Oct. 29. - J. H. Bertine, the New York city stationer, who while on his way home in his carriage with his 15-year-old daughter and coachman, Tuesday evening, was attacked by three highwaymen at a lonesome spot not far from the depot, went to New York city this morning to try to identify three men under arrest there who are believed by the police to be his assailants. His daughter, who jumped from the carriage and escaped in the darkness at the time of the assault, will accompany him. The coachman, who deserted Mr. Bertine at the time, says that he did not run away from fear, but went for assistance. The horse, which really saved Mr. Bertine's life by tearing away from the bandits and dashing down the road to its owner's home, although wounded in the head, stomach and shoulder from bullets from the robbers [sic] revolvers, died yesterday from its injuries. Although the bandits fired a regular fusilade, Mr. Bertine received only a slight wound in the neck.

The Suspects Heavily Armed.

New York. Oct. 29 - Three men giving the names of Joseph Arlington, Joseph Chambers and Joseph Ferguson were arrested last evening at the Grand Central depot on suspicion of being the men who held up and attempted to rob J. H. Bertine at Pelham Manor. When taken to the police station in the depot and searched it was found that each man had two revolvers in his possession, one loaded and the other empty. The detectives are almost certain that these are the men wanted. Later on the men admitted that the names they had given were assumed."

Source: Pelham Manor Bandits, Middletown Daily Argus [Middletown, NY], Oct. 29, 1896, p. 1, col. 3.

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