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.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Henry DeWitt Carey Of City Island in the Town of Pelham

Henry DeWitt Carey served as a Justice of the Peace in the Town of Pelham during the nineteenth century and was a resident of City Island when that area was part of the Town of Pelham.  I have written about Henry DeWitt Carey before.  See, e.g.:

Mon., May 28, 2007:  Brief Biography of Henry DeWitt Carey, 19th Century Pelham Justice of the Peace

Despite his own accomplishments, Henry DeWitt Carey became best known as the father of Henry DeWitt Carey II, better known as "Harry Carey," one of the most famous early western movie stars.  Harry Carey was the son of Henry DeWitt Carey and Ella J. Ludlum.  He was born on 116th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on January 16, 1878.  In a book written by his own son, also named Harry Carey, published in 1994, there is a description of his early life that states:

"My father's real name was Henry Dewitt Carey, and he was born on January 16, 1878, on 116th Street in New York City.  It's Harlem now, but at that time it was a rural neighborhood.  His father was a Judge of Special Sessions in White Plains, New York, and also president of the New Home Sewing Machine Company, so they were pretty well off.  When my father was six, the judge move the family up to City Island [in the Town of Pelham, County of Westchester], which is above the Bronx near Pelham Bay Park.  It was a wonderful life for my dad, growing up there.  City Island's trades were boat building and fishing.  He learned early that if you needed a little pocket money, you dug a bucket of littleneck clams and sold them to a housewife for her old man's dinner."

Source:  Carey, Jr., Harry, Company Of Heroes:  My Life As An Actor in the John Ford Stock Company, p. 44 (Lanham, MD:  Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1994). 

In 1911, a friend introduced Harry Carey to movie director D.W. Griffith, for whom Carey eventually starred in many, many films.  Before his death in 1947, Harry Carey starred in hundreds of films.  He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He received an Oscar nomination for his role as President of the Senate in the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."   He was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame and has his name enshrined along the Walk of Western Stars.  For a complete biography of Harry Carey, see IMDb - Harry Carey Biography, available at <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002503/bio> (visited May 30, 2014).

1920 Movie Poster for "Human Stuff" Starring Harry Carey.
Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

I recently ran across an image of Harry Carey's father, Pelham resident Henry DeWitt Carey, in an issue of The Eastern State Journal published on October 27, 1888.  It was printed with an article announcing that Carey had been nominated by the Democratic Party of Westchester County as its candidate for justice of the sessions.  Immediately below is Carey's image, followed by a transcription of the article and a citation to its source.

Henry DeWitt Carey in 1888.
Source:  For Justice of the Sessions HENRY D. CAREY,
The Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY],
Oct. 27, 1888, p. 2, col. 3.

The gentleman who has been honored by the democratic party of Westchester County with a nomination for justice of the sessions is a resident of the town of Pelham.  He is known there as a man of great business enterprise, full of enlightened public spirit, and a man of substance and high personal character.  He was born in Orange County in 1844, but his business career has been in the city of New York.  His grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and his relatives are some of them men of note.  He is a nephew of Stephen Carey of the supreme court of Ohio, a brother of Dr. J. M. Carey several years a member of the legislature of Pennsylvania.  Mr. Carey is now, and has been many years, president of the Metropolitan Dispensary of New York city, a useful and important benevolent institution.  He is vice-president of the Pelham Park Railroad Company.  He holds an important and lucrative place in the New Home sewing machine company of New York.  Mr. Carey is an exempt fireman, having served his full time in Middletown, Orange county.  His education in the line of American citizenship, therefore, seems about complete.  In Masonry he has traveled far, being a sovereign grand inspector general of the thirty-third and last degree.  Mr. Carey is well-informed, self-possessed, and of fine presence.  He will be a credit to any position about his ambition or interest may prompt him to secure.  Of course his nomination is equivolent [sic] to an election.--"

Source:  For Justice of the Sessions HENRY D. CAREY, The Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], Oct. 27, 1888, p. 2, col. 3.

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