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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pelhamville Rejected Gas Lighting in 1895 Amid Allegations of Questionable Dealings

In the mid-1890s, efforts were underway to bring gas lines to certain areas of Pelham to permit the installation of gas lights.  At the time, Benjamin Corlies was trying to develop a large tract of land near the new train station that had been built in 1893.  When he tried to arrange for gas lines in the area, he ran into opposition. Charges flew amid allegations of questionable dealings involving Congressman-elect Benjamin Fairchild and James Secor of Pelham who wanted to force the Gas Company to buy a company in which the pair allegedly had an interest. The article below details the incident.

Eastchester Gas Company Refused Permission to Lay Mains in Pelhamville.

The Eastchester Gas Light Company some while ago made a contract with Mr. Benjamin Corlies, who owns a large tract of land near the Pelhamville depot, which he is improving and laying out into villa plots, to lay a certain amount of supply mains.  The extension was to continue from the city line at Hutchinson's Bridge along the property owned by the Pelhamville Land Company and thence to the property of Mr. Corlies.

Pelhamville not being a city or village its highways are controlled by the Highway Commissioners in the town of Pelham.  Through the road which the company intended to lay its mains is a few hundred feet of gas mains, said to be the property of a company in which Congressman-elect Fairchild is interested, and which he wished to force the local gas company to buy at a high figure.  As the gas company had no use for this high priced plant, it refused to purchase.  Thereupon the Highway Commissioners, at the probable instigation of Messrs. Fairchild and Secor, the latter having some invisible interest in the sale of the old mains, refused to let the company proceed with the laying of its mains.  It is said an action may be brought restraining the Highway Commissioners from interfering with the work. -- Mt. Vernon News."

Source:  They Don't Want Light, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jan. 5, 1895, p. 4, col. 2.

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