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, March 16, 2010

More on 19th Century Oystering in Pelham - Descriptions of Oyster Beds Off Hart Island, City Island and in Pelham Bay Published in 1887

I continue my efforts to research 19th century oystering in the waters off the Town of Pelham.  At the end of this posting I have collected links to the Historic Pelham Blog postings that deal with the topic to date.

Today's posting transcribes a description of oyster beds off Hart Island, City Island and in Pelham Bay that appeared in a report published in 1887.  The excerpt of the report below is followed by a citation to its source.

"25.  Hart Island Bed. -- Extends from east end of Hart Island around in a curve to the south end and into the shore; it contains seed oysters and clams.  Dark blue and grayish blue mud mixed with sand.  Area, seventy-one (71) acres.

26.  City Island Bed. -- Large and seed oyesters [sic] and claims.  (See fig. 26 B, plate 3.)

The limit lines of this bed extend from the south ends of Hart and City Islands along Hart Island to the cove, from there to the small island in the middle, thence south by east about four hundred and seventy-five (475) metres, thence W. S. W. to City Island and along the shore to southern end.

It furnishes work for oystermen all year round.  When they cannot work anywhere else in the vicinity they can work here.  Some of the northern part and all of the north-western is staked out.  Area, three hundred and thirty-one (331) acres.

27.  Pelham Bay. -- In one haul at northern end we got a large number of seed oysters and clams, shells with young seed, and a dredge half full of crabs.  Nothern third contains oysters, the rest are claims.  (See fig. 27B, plate 4.)  Dark olive colored mud mixed with sand; probed four feet without any change.  Specimen, slight odor of sulphuretted hydrogen.

The bed runs from south-west end of City Island twenty-three hundred (2300) metres, S. S. W. 3/4 W., and is about two hundred (200) metres wide.  Area, one hundred and eight (108) acres."

Source:  Report of Fred Mather, Second Report of the Oyster Investigation and of Survey of Oyster Territory for the Years 1885 and 1886 by Eugene G. Blackford, Commissioner of Fisheries -- Transmitted to the Legislature January 20, 1887, p. 43 (Albany, NY:  The Argus Company Printers 1887).

Below are links to previous postings regarding the 19th century oystering trade in the waters near the Town of Pelham:

Mon., Mar. 15, 2010:  More on 19th Century City Island Oyster Industry - City Island Oystermen Complaint of Pollution.

Fri., March 12, 2010:  Early History of Oystering in the Waters Off City Island in the Town of Pelham.

Thu., March 11, 2010:  The "Great Oyster War" Between City Island and Tarrytown in 1877 and 1878.

Mon., July 30, 2007:  1885 Report Notes Decline of Oyster Industry Near City Island in the Town of Pelham.

Thu., July 26, 2007:  Pelham's City Island Oystermen Feud with Long Islanders in 1869.

Fri., July 27, 2007:  Possible Origins of the Oyster Feud Between City Islanders and Huntington, Long Island.

Fri., April 13, 2007:  Oystermen of City Island (When It Was Part of the Town of Pelham) Pioneered Oyster Cultivation.

Mon., September 18, 2006:  A Brief Description of Oystering in Eastchester Bay and at Pelham Published in 1881.

Fri., January 26, 2007:  A History of the Early Years of City Island When it Was Part of the Town of Pelham, Published in 1927.

Thu., December 3, 2009:  Pelham News on May 30, 1884 Including Allegations of Oyster Larceny and Meeting of the Pelhamville Improvement Association.

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