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.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Consolidation Involving Pelham Has Been Discussed Since at Least 1824

During the mid-1970s, the Village of Pelham and the Village of North Pelham were consolidated to form today's Village of Pelham.  From the 1920s to the present, residents of Pelham have debated the pros and cons of consolidating various of the villages.  Others have been debating for decades whether to consolidate or annex into greater New York City various of the suburban governmental units including Pelham.  Interestingly, it seems that such considerations were being proposed as early as 1824.

The excerpt below if from the Gazetteer of the State of New-York published in 1824.  In it, the author of the entry for Pelham indicates that "it would be well, perhaps," to consider consolidating some of the small Towns in the area including the Town of Pelham.

"PELHAM, a small Township of Westchester County, on the East river, or Long-Island Sound, 18 miles from New-York, and 9 S. of White Plains; bounded E. by New-Rochelle, W. by East-Chester, S. by the Sound, and including several small but valuable islands.  On the N. it terminates in a point.  It is washed on the W. by East-Chester, or Hutchinson's, or Hutchins' creek, and like the other towns of this County, is confined to a very small area.  The land is very stony, but productive, and the surface has little diversity.  The turnpike toward Boston, from New-York, leads across this town, and there are some handsome country seats along the Sound.  Pell's Point is at the S. end, and the islands are Minneford's or City Island, Hart's Island, and High Island.  Rodman's Neck and Pell's Point are the same.  Population, 283; 50 farmers and 1 mechanic; no slaves; 31 free blacks; taxable property $164764; 1 school district; school kept 5 months in 12; $50; 65; 35; electors, 48; 2947 acres of improved land; 254 cattle, 46 horses, 212 sheep; 182 yards of cloth made in the domestic way.  In some of the freaks of our legislation, it would be well, perhaps, to consolidate some of these little towns, though it might diminish the number of those little-great-men, who derive all their importance from an office.  But -- 'the more teats the more puppies,' a fact perfectly understood by all the managers, as well on the smaller as on the greater scale, and division and subdivision are the order of the day.  So many alterations have already been made, in the boundaries of Counties and Towns, so many have been subdivided, and new ones erected, even since the 2 late Censuses, of 1820 and 1821, that in very many instances we have to substitute guessing for enumeration, while yet the Census is hardly dry from the press.

See Civil Divisions.
S.M., J.W., S.D."

Source:  Spafford, Horatio Gates, A Gazetteer of the State of New-York:  Embracing an Ample Survey and Description of its Counties, Towns, Cities, Villages, Canals, Mountains, Lakes, Rivers, Creeks, and Natural Topography, p. 406 (Albany, NY:  B.D. Packard, 1824).

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