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, October 06, 2009

Death of the Captain of William B. Astor's Yacht in Pelham on October 8, 1888

William B. Astor, Jr. (July 12, 1830 - April 25, 1897) was a grandson of John Jacob Astor.  He inherited a substantial portion of the family fortune.  During the 1880s he had a steam yacht named the Nourmahal.  The Captain of that yacht for a time was Samuel Freestone of Bartow-on-the-Sound, a hamlet located in the Town of Pelham.  On October 8, 1888, Captain Freestone was overcome by gas from the coal used on the yacht and subsequently died at his home in Bartow-on-the-Sound.  A brief article appeared in The New York Times.  It read as follows:


Capt. Samuel Freestone, in command of William B. Astor's steam yacht Nourmahal, died suddenly at Bartow-on-the-Sound, N.Y., yesterday morning from apoplexy, resulting, it is said, from inhaling gas from the coal used on the yacht.  Capt. Freestone was found in a state of asphyxia on the yacht and taken home, but medical aid failed to rally him.  He was a fine seaman, and was brought to this country from England by Mr. Astor.  He was a member of Pelham Lodge, No. 712, F. and A.M., and will be buried with Masonic honors."

Source:  Sudden Death on a Yacht, N.Y. Times, Oct. 9, 1888, at p. 8.

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