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, December 10, 2007

Data Regarding the Town of Pelham in 1898

A multi-volume work published in 1898 included an interesting description of the Town of Pelham. That description had a wealth of data about the town and a brief history. Accordingly, I have transcribed the text below, followed by a citation to the source.



The town of Pelham was formed March 7, 1788. The name, conferred upon the town by the Pells, is said to be derived from the lordship of Pelham, Herefordshire, England. The town is bounded on the east and north by the town of New Rochelle, on the west by the Hutchinson's (Aqueanouncke) river, and Eastchester, and on the south by Long Island Sound. The Hutchinson's river, which separates the town from Eastchester, was named in honor of the heroic Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, who was the leading spirit in a colony of sixteen persons which settled in the vicinity of Pelham Neck, and who was, with several of her friends, murdered by Indians.

The town is situated on the line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and on the Harlem branch road of same railroad, about fifteen miles from New York city.

Thomas Pell, said to have come from Fairfield, Connecticut, eleven years after the Hutchinson massacre, in 1654, succeeded in buying from the Indians a large tract of land covering a good part of what was afterward the town, and also the towns of East and West Chester. In 1666 a large portion of the Indian grant of 1654 was confirmed by Gov. Richard Nicholls, of New York.

The Pells, who succeeded each other as lords of the manor, were Thomas Pell, who died in 1669. John Pell, a nephew of the former, who represented the county in the Provincial Assembly, and was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas from 1688 to 1695; he was drowned while sailing a pleasure boat which foundered in a gale off City Island; his eldest son, Thomas, succeeded him as lord of the manor, and died in 1739 at the manor house. Joseph Pell, grandson of Thomas, was the fourth and last lord of th emanor, and [Page 238 / Page 239] died in 1776. The town has an interesting history connected with the American Revolution.

City Island, a locality of considerable pretensions, with another section of the town, was annexed to the City and County of New York by an act of the State Legislature passed in 1895. Hart's Island, which lies to the east of City Island, is occupied by the Department of Charities and Correction of New York city for hospital purposes. High Island is located near the south shore of Pelham Neck. Pelham Bridge connects Pelham Neck and the Westchester shore. Pelham Bay Park, belonging to New York city, is situated within the old town limits.

The population of the township as shown by various census enumerations has been as follows: In 1830, 334; in 1835, 255; in 1840, 789; in 1845, 486; in 1850, 577; in 1855, 833; in 1860, 1,025; in 1865, 1,043; in 1870, 1,790; in 1875, 1,538; in 1880, 2,540; in 1890, 3,941. The present population of the town is estimated 1,600; the decrease can be credited to loss of territory recently annexed to Greater New York city.

The assessed valuation of property in the township, fixed by assessors last year, was as follows: Real, $2,161,259, personal, $59,950. The town tax rate this year is $12.98 per $1,000 of assessed valuation outside the villages, $12.80 per $1,000 in side village of North Pelham, $11.82 insider village of Pelham, $10.327 per $1,000 inside village of Pelham Manor. Last year the rate was, in the order given, $38.55, $18.27, $16.14, $12.77 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The present town officers are as follows: John M. Shinn, (of Pelham Manor,) Supervisor; Louis C. Young, Frank M. Lyon, Theodore M. Hill and A. G. C. Fletcher, Justices of the Peace; P. J. Marvil, (of North Pelham,) Town Clerk; John T. Logan, (of North Pelham,) Collector of Taxes.

Within the town's limits are three villages, Pelham Manor, Pelham and North Pelham. Each of these villages are distinctively residence localities, containing the choicest of residence sites, affording desirable homes for many prominent business men of New York city, as well as for others.

Pelham Manor was incorporated as a village in 1891. According to a census enumeration taken in January, 1898, it has a population of 436. The village is a station on the Harlem Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, ten miles from New York city. Travers Island, on which is located the Club House and ground of the New York Athletic Club, is in this village. The [Page 239 / Page 240] present village officers are: E. P. Gillaland, President; William K. Gillette, and W. B. Randall, Trustees; John Doty, Clerk; C. F. Rupert, Collector of Taxes, and John H. Day, Treasurer.

The village of Pelham was incorporated in 1896, and has a population, according to census of January, 1898, of 142. The village is a station on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, fifteen miles from New York city. The present village officials are: S. Cushman Caldwell, President; R. K. Hubbard and Howard Scribner, Trustees; George K. Perry, Clerk; William Webster, Collector of Taxes, and John Butler, Treasurer. This village is supposed to be the smallest in the country; it was incorporated by special act of the Legislature, at the request of seven persons.

The village of North Pelham was incorporated in 1896, and has a population, as shown by census enumeration of January, 1898, of 627. The village lies on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, fifteen miles from New York city; the villages of Pelham and North Pelham share the one and the same railroad station at Pelham. These two latter villages are connected with Mount Vernon by trolley cars."

Source: Manual of Westchester County Past and Present Civil List to Date 1898, pp. 238-40 (White Plains, NY: Henry T. Smith, Publisher, 1898).

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at http://www.historicpelham.com/.
Please Click Here for Index to All Blog Postings.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home