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, September 17, 2007

Articles About the 19th Century Boundary Dispute Between Pelham and New Rochelle

I previously have written about Pelham's 19th century boundary dispute with neighboring New Rochelle. See, e.g., Thursday, March 16, 2006: 1869 New York Herald Article About Pelham's Boundary Dispute With New Rochelle. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes a number of additional articles that appeared in the New York Times regarding the dispute. They shed additional light on a matter that took decades to resolve.

"Boundary Line Difficulties - Pelham vs. New-Rochelle and East Chester.

The Citizens of New-Rochelle are greatly excited at the present time in consequence of the town of Pelham laying claim to a large slice of their territory, and of which they have held undisputed possession since 1711. In the year 1703 a survey was made and a map prepared by the official Surveyor of the Colony of New-York, and in 1711 another survey and map was made by a Captain BOND, a City Surveyor of New-York, which gave New-Rochelle a boundary line commencing at a rock on Hunter's Island, known as the 'Gray Mare,' thence running to Shoal Harbor, on the main land; thence running northerly until the line strikes Hutchinson River; thence along the course of that stream to the Scarsdale township line, and under that line New-Rochelle has had jurisdiction ever since that period. Pelham makes the present claim on the ground that the map by which they are guided in the matter was made by a State officer, and therefore takes the precedence over all others, although both maps referred to were made at the instance and request of the people of New-Rochelle. It is understood that the people of Pelham also claim a goodly slice of territory now held by the town of East Chester, away north to the Bronx River, and a certain tree marked in 1703. The question is now before the State Engineer for investigation, and before it is settled, the lawyers engaged will probably have some fine pickings. A special meeting of the citizens of New-Rochelle has been called for Saturday evening to take such action in the matter as may be deemed necessary."

Source: Boundary Line Difficulties -- Pelham vs. New-Rochelle and East Chester, N.Y. Times, Jul. 14, 1869, p. 8.

"Pelham and New-Rochelle Difficulties.
To the Editor of the New-York Times:

In your issue of this date, under the heading 'Boundary Line Difficulties, Pelham vs. New-Rochelle and East Chester,' I find the following: 'It is understood that the people of Pelham also claim a goodly slice of territory now held by the town of East Chester, away north to the Bronx River.'

If such an understanding exists it is entirely without foundation; the town of Pelham does not claim any portion of East Chester, neither does it claim any portion of land that belongs to New-Rochelle. The only matter in dispute is as to the true location of the dividing line between New-Rochelle and Pelham. The dispute is the result of an illegal assessment made by the Assessors of New-Rochelle upon land that has always been within the jurisdiction of the town of Pelham.

Counsel for Pelham.
ALLWOOD, Pelham, Wednesday, July 14, 1869."

Source: Pelham and New-Rochelle Difficulties, N.Y. Times, Jul. 18, 1869, p. 3.

"Pelham-New Rochelle Boundary.

WHITE PLAINS, March 16. -- The disputed boundary line between the towns of New Rochelle and Pelham was decided to-day when the Westchester County Board of Supervisors adopted the report of the Judiciary Committee, which decided that the correct boundary line is that made by the steon walls now in existence as laid down on a map made by Capt. Bond in 1711. There was about 200 feet difference between the disputants. This line has been recognized since 1872."

Source: Pelham-New Rochelle Boundary, N.Y. Times, Mar. 17, 1898, p. 3.

Pelham Gets Fifty Acres on Which New Rochelle Collected Taxes.
Special to The New York Times.

PELHAM, N. Y., Nov. 25. -- A decision has been handed down by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, which, it is believed, will permanently settle the boundary line between New Rochelle and this town, which has been in dispute for nearly a hundred years. The decision confirms Pelham's right to fifty acres of land upon which New Rochelle has for years levied taxes. The original line between the two places was established by Capt. Bond, a surveyor employed by Lord Pelham, who originally owned all the land now known as New Rochelle and Pelham. Lord Pelham reserved Pelham as his manor and sold the other land to the Huguenots, who fled from France after the signing of the edict of Nantes. They cut it up into small farms and built stone fences to separate them from the estate of Lord Pelham. These fences are still standing, and the authorities of Pelham have always claimed that they were the true monuments representing the original boundary line.

In 1897, through the efforts of John M. Shinn, member from Pelham, the Board of County Supervisors took the land away from New Rochelle and gave it to Pelham. The taxpayers of New Rochelle then began an action in the courts, based upon the claim that the Supervisors had no legal right to establish the boundary line. A number of houses have been built upon the disputed strip, and with the land and other property they are assessed for about $60,000. The taxes which have been previously enjoyed by New Rochelle will now go to Pelham."

Source: Boundary Dispute Settled, N.Y. Times, Nov. 26, 1900, p. 1.

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