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, April 17, 2009

A Brief History of the Early Years of "Riding to Hounds" by Members of the Country Club at Pelham

Those who visit the Historic Pelham Blog regularly know that recently I have tried to document the sport of "riding to hounds" by members of the Country Club located in Pelham during the 1880s. See:

Thu., April 16, 2009: A Serious Carriage Accident and Many Tumbles During the Country Club of Pelham's Riding to Hounds Event in November 1889.

Wed., April 15, 2009: More About the Country Club Sport of "Riding to Hounds" During the 1880s in Pelham.

Tue., April 14, 2009: 1889 Account of the Sport of Riding to Hounds by Members of the Country Club Located in Pelham.

I now have located a brief history of the early years of the sport at the Country Club located in Pelham published in Harper's Magazine. I have transcribed the pertinent excerpt from an article in that magazine below, followed by a citation to its source.

"From that time, about 1881, there was no hunting in Westchester until, in 1885, a pack of harriers was imported by Mr. James M. Waterbury, and by him given to the Country Club, then located at Pelham. To this pack the Country Club loaned its name and provided stabling and kennels, but the hounds were supposed to be maintained by an uncertain subscription list, and were hunted by different members of the club, who, in an informal way, were annually chosen at the hunt dinner.

Such a haphazard method, of course, proved very unsatisfactory, so that when the Country Cloub moved from Pelham to near Westchester town, the hunting members organized an independent club -- although the old harrier livery, green coats faced with canary, was retained -- called it the Westchester Hunt, and moved the kennels to the neighborhood of White Plains. New hounds were bought -- mostly from the Meadow Brook, which now had about thirty-five couples in its kennels -- the quality of the hunt improved througout, and Mr. T. A. Havemeyer, Jun., the first master, had an immediate and flattering success. Mr. N. C. Reynal succeeded Mr. Havemeyer, after the latter had served several years, and the pack continued to show good sport; but, alas, there came a cessation of interest, which last year caused the sale of the hounds, and to-day the only hunting in Westchester is done by Mr. William Iselin's superb pack of beagles. Of the names most closely identified with Westchester hunting are Messrs. T. A. Havemeyer, Jun., James M. Waterbury, Major Cooley, De Lancey Kane, Edward C., Howard, and Robert Potter, Charles Pelham-Clinton, Laurence Jacob, N. C. Reynal, and William Iselin."

Source: Whitney, Caspar, 'Cross-Country Riding in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. XCIV, No. DL, p. 832 (May 1897).

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