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, April 15, 2014

Notes on the Early History of Pelhamville by Jacob Heisser Published in 1927 After Heisser's Death

Jacob Heisser was an early settler in the tiny hamlet of Pelhamville.  He became the first President (i.e., Mayor) of the Village of North Pelham when that village was incorporated in 1896.  Following Heisser's death, a brief account that he wrote of the early days of Pelhamville were found among his personal papers.  That account was published in The Daily Argus, a Mount Vernon newspaper, in 1927.  

I previously have transcribed a similar account of Pelhamville's early history written by Jacob Heisser and published in 1913.  See:

Wed., Sep. 23, 2009:  Jacob Heisser's Summary of the Early History of Pelhamville Published in 1913

Heiser's account, published in 1927 after his death, is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.  

Jacob Heisser.
Source:  The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jan. 19, 1927,
Special Pelham Section, p. 9, col. 2.

Article Written By Late Jacob Heisser Contains Graphic Description
Found Among Personal Effects of Late Official -- Is of Value

An interesting account of the early days of old Pelhamville, now North Pelham, is given in an article written some years ago by the late Jacob Heisser, first village president of North Pelham.  The paper, telling of the early railroad history and of various improvements in North Pelham, and was found among the personal effects of the late Mr. Heisser by his daughter, Mrs. Elmer S. Davis.  Mr. Heisser died on August 29, 1926, exactly thirty years after the village of North Pelham was incorporated.  Mr. Heisser being made the first president on the same date.  Mr. Heisser's account of old Pelhamville follows:

'From 1862 to 1873, railroad accommodation was out of the question, as there were no regular stops; two trains in the morning, two in the afternoon, at 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 and 7 p.m.  These trains only stopped upon waving a red flag.  It this was not done, there were no stops.  In the year 1873, the company placed a ticket agent at the station who sold tickets from that time to date.  Train service has increased to date.  At that time, the wagon road went across the railroad track with lift bars for safety [i.e., hand-operated crossing gates that were managed by the ticket agent or his designee, often a local youngster paid by the ticket agent], the station being at Fifth avenue.  A fifty cent fare each way; Charles Merritt, first agent.

The first improvement in the old village of Pelhamville was done by an improvement association started by E. A. Gurney in 1886.  A plank sidewalk was laid from First street to Second street on Fifth avenue.  Lamps were put up at the different residences of such parties as would care for them.  If two families lived near each other, the one would keep the lamp clean and light it, the other furnished the oil.  In fact, there were no permanent improvements until the year 1908, when the village of North Pelham issued bonds to an amount of $39,000.  The improvements began in earnest and have kept pace since.

Up to the year 1877, there were 42 families in the village.  

The active members for the incorporation of the old village to North Pelham in 1896 were:  Otto E. Stroetzel, Charles A. Barker, Jacob Heisser, Alex. Kennedy, G. I. Karbach, James Penny, George Glover Pearson, Augustus Godfrey, Mrs. Broege, S. T. Lyman, John H. Young, Louis C. Young, William J. Evert, Michael J. Woods, William Edinger, Isaac C. Hill, John Case, S. Gregoor, James S. Greer, John M. Shinn, S.E. Field.

The cost of Incorporation was $210.50.

Village officers, first year:  Jacob Heisser, president; George A. McGalliard, Louis C. Young, Samuel E. Lyon, trustees; B.F. Crewell, treasurer; William Edinger, collector; John Case, clerk."

Source:  THE OLD DAYS IN PELHAMVILLE, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jan. 19, 1927, Special Pelham Section, p. 9, col. 4. 

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