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.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Brief "History of Coaching" Published in 1891 Shows Ties of Sport to Pelham, New York

On May 1, 1876 "The Pelham Coach", known as Col. Delancey Kane's "Tally-Ho", began running between New York City's Hotel Brunswick and Pelham Bridge. Within a short time, The New York Times reported that "[t]he Pelham coach has commanded as much patronage as if it were the only means of communication between Pelham and this City." The inaugural run of the Pelham Coach ,was the introduction of Col. Kane's New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line.

Periodically I have written about Col. Delancey Kane and his "Tally-Ho". See, for example:

Fri., February 11, 2005: Col. Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach", Also Known as The Tally-Ho, Is Located.

Bell, Blake A., Col. Delancey Kane and "The Pelham Coach" (Sep. 2003).

Wed., July 27, 2005: 1882 Engraving Shows Opening of Coaching Season From Hotel Brunswick to Pelham Bridge.

Wed., September 28, 2005: Taunting the Tantivy Coach on its Way to Pelham: 1886.

Thurs., August 3, 2006: Images of Colonel Delancey Kane and His "Pelham Coach" Published in 1878.

Interestingly, the "Tally-Ho" was not the only coach that ran to Pelham during those years. A brief "History of Coaching" included in a book on coaching published in 1891 makes this clear. Below is the pertinent excerpt from that book, followed by a citation to its source.


The revival of coaching in England, some few years since, had no more enthusiastic admirer than Colonel I)elancey Kane. He not only took a principal part in it himself by running a coach, but conceived the idea of introducing this most attractive mode of travel to the people of the United States, and to him alone must be given the credit of inspiring the lovers of horses to indulge in this healthy recreation.

In the year 1875, the "Tally Ho" was running from London to Virginia Water, with Edwin Fownes, Sen., as professional Coachman, Guide, and Mentor. The Colonel soon became thoroughly initiated into all the little points and ideas, which are necessary to be learned to become a practical coachman.

The following year the Colonel returned to New York bringing the "Tally Ho" and Arthur Fownes, son of his former mentor, with him, to act as guard, in which capacity he has had no equal on this side of the water. It is a great pity that the example he set, regarding the proper time to sound a call, and the proper call to sound, was not followed as an established standard. It ought to be [P. 175 / P. 176] more clearly understood, that a guard is not merely one who can make a noise; he should know what to blow, and what he blows for.

The following is a brief history of "Coaching in America. In 1870 the ''Tally Ho" made its first appearance during the spring season, starting from New York (Hotel Brunswick) to Pelham (Arcularuis Hotel). The start each day being witnessed by admiring crowds of people, and it proved such a pronounced success, that it was decided to put it on the road in the fall, and the journey was extended to New Rochelle (Neptune House). The following season, 1877, a different road was selected. The "Tally Ho" running to Yonkers (Getty House), starting from (Hotel Brunswick), New York.

The "Tally Ho" was put back again on the New Rochelle road in 1878, running from (Hotel Brunswick) New York to New Rochelle (Hugenot [sic] Hotel), but in consequence of the bad condition of the roads, the coach had to stop running. During the foregoing season A. Fownes acted as guard and coachman. To show that the interest taken by the public in coaching was not allowed to abate, the following article copied from the "New York Herald," of April 3, 1880, may be interesting reading: "On Wednesday, April 21, Colonel T)eLancey Kane will start with his coach 'Tally Ho' for the season of 1880. From New York to New [P. 176 / P. 177] Rochelle is the route selected, and the same places as in former years will be passed through, viz., Harlem, Mott Haven, Fox's Corners, Westchester, Pelham. Bridge and Pelham. The changes of horses will take place as formerly. During the past winter the coach has been entirely reappointed, the original color having been retained. A glance at the official time table below shows that the "Tally Ho" will leave the Hotel Brunswick at 10 a.m. and arrive at New Rochelle at 12 m. Fully three hours and a-half may be passed at the Castle Inn, as the horn of the guard will not give notice of the return trip until half-past 3 p.m. At half-past 5 p.m. the Hotel Brunswick will be reached. Beside the attraction of the route, which is one of great beauty, always pleasant, often picturesque, and occasionally romantic, Travelers by the "Tally Ho" will find a most charming old-fashioned hotel in the Castle Inn. The house has been leased by the Queen's County Hunt, with forty acres of land surrounding it, for a hunting headquarters, and they have furnished it, so as to make it a regular old-fashioned country hotel of the first-class. Passengers will find on the grounds the Hunt model kennels, which have just been completed, containing over forty hounds, ten additional couples having arrived from England on Thursday last. There are now over thirty horses in the Hunt stables, and fox hunting in its best form is regular- [P. 177 / P. 178] ly carried on every Wednesday and Saturday at half-past 1 p.m. The field is open to all comers, and every body [sic] will be made welcome.

"Much has been done to the roads by the village authorities, through which the coach will pass, and the road between Pelham Bridge and New Rochelleis [sic] now being macadamized by the residents of the neighborhood in view of the 'Tally Ho's' return.

The coach, in short, will be well-horsed, admirably managed and capitally driven. It will as heretofore run regularly, rain or shine. The Coaching Book will be open in a few days, when places can be secured for weeks in advance.["]

As stated in the foregoing article, the roads had been repaired and the weather being exceptionally good, that season, everything proved very satisfactory.

In this year Frank Swales was professional coachman, and H. Distin acted as guard. It will not perhaps be out of place to mention that the name "Tally Ho" has been wrongly applied to every old ramshackle vehicle drawn by four horses. It would be equally reasonable to name a barge or rowboat "Mayflower" or "Volunteer," as to call all coaches "Tally Hos."

There being no new aspirant in 1881 to take up and follow in the footsteps of the Colonel, who during the time the "Tally Ho" ran, was sole proprietor, and bore [P. 178 / P. 179] the entire expense himself. A few members of the Coaching Club, at that time in its infancy, started the "Tantivy" by subscription, and starting from New York (Hotel Brunswick) made the (Tarrytown Hotel) Tarrytown, its terminus, A. Fownes, professional coachman, and E. Graham acted as guard.

The following are the coaches in chronological order and may be used for reference:
1882. The Tantivy's second appearance, running from New York (Hotel Brunswick) to Yonkers (Getty House), H. Evans, guard.

1883. No coach ran this year

1884. "The Greyhound" started on its first trip from New York (Hotel Brunswick) to Pelham (Country Club). C. D. Iselin, G. E. Eoosevelt, Proprietors. H. Distin, guard.

1886. The subscription coach "Tantivy" again made its appearance this season running to (County Club) Pelham, from New York (Hotel Brunswick). F. Cunard, guard.

1887. The "Tantivy" starting from New York (Hotel Brunswick) running to Pelham (County [sic] Club). F. Swales, prof. coachman, F. Cunard, guard. [P. 179 / P. 180]

1890. The "Tantivy" starting from New York (Hotel Brunswick) to (County [sic] Club) Westchester. H. Distin, guard.

The principal owners of the "Tantivy" were Colonel Jay, Frederic Bronson, Esq., Hon. Hugo Fritsh, Isaac Bell, Esq., T. R. Roosevelt, Esq., and Reginald Rives, Esq.

1891. In consequence of the bad condition of the roads there was no coach run this year."

Source: Swales, Frank, Driving as I Found It. What To Drive. How To Drive by Frank Swales. Illustrated by Walter Petter, pp. 175-80 (Chicago, New York: Brentano's 1891).

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