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, September 02, 2009

The Bolton Family's Sale of Bolton Priory in 1883

Forty-five years after building their beloved home in Pelham Manor, the Bolton Family sold Bolton Priory to Mrs. Frederic W. Stevens in 1883.  An interesting article describing the sale appeared in the August 11, 1883 issue of the New-York Daily Tribune.  The article detailed some of the significant contents of the home at the time of sale.  The text of the article appears immediately below.


Pelham Priory in Westchester County has been sold for $100,000 to Mrs. Frederic W. Stevens of this city.  The Priory was originally the house of the Rev. Robert Bolton, the historian [sic], a native of Savannah, Ga., and a son of Robert Bolton, a merchant of that city.  The house, which is of stone, is a good specimen of the old English style.  The interior arrangements correspond with the style of the house.  There are some family pictures by Etty, of the Royal Academy of England, and an original portrait of Bunyan, formerly in the possession of the Rev. George Whitefield.  The library contains the original Italian edition of Pisanese, collected for Napoleon, bearing his initial, and surmounted by the imperial crown.  There are also a copy of Macklin's Bible, the largest ever printed, in six volumes royal quarto; a copy of Eliot's Indian Testament, said to be the first work written and published in the United States, which was printed at Cambridge, Mass., in 1661, by Samuel Green, the first printer in America; and a valuable cabinet of coins, collected by the Rev. Bryan Hill, rector of Hodnet, Shropshire, England.  Among the most interesting of the coins is the medal of Adrian VI., upon the reverse is the inscription, 'Quem creant adorant.'  In a collection of autographs are those of Henry VII., Elizabeth, Mary, Oliver Cromwell and Richard Cromwell, besides a letter of Pope addressed to Lord Bathurst, and notes of Cowper, Chatterton, Lord Nelson, Napoleon, Sir Christopher Wren, Biship Burnet, Kosciusko and others.  Among the American autographs are those of William Penn and his sons; Francis Lovelace, Governor of New York in 1671; Jonathan Edwards, Increase and Cotton Mather, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Schuyler and Sterling.

There is a terrace in front of the house.  The gardens are laid out in the French style.  The grounds are ornamented with natural walks leading to various objects of interest, among which may be mentioned the 'rocking-stone,' a natural curiosity supposed to weigh about twenty tons so nicely poised that

'A stripling's arem can sway
A mass no host could move.'

In 1838 the Misses Bolton, sisters of the Rev. Robert Bolton, established and successfully conducted, until a few years ago, a young ladies' seminary in the Priory.  There many pupils from all parts of the country, including Mrs. Stevens, who was then Miss Sampson, passed many of their most pleasant girlhood days. 

The grounds connected with the Priory comprise about thirty acres of land."

Source:  Pelham Priory Changes Owners, New-York Daily Tribune, Aug. 11, 1883, p. 2, col. 2.

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