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.

Friday, July 04, 2014

A History of Grand "Small-Town" Fourth of July Celebrations in Pelham

Let's Start With a Trick Question

Let's start with a trick question, the answer to which every Pelhamite should know!  

On what date was the Declaration of Independence signed?  Hint:  No, it was not signed on July 4, 1776. 

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.  Nearly a month passed before the actual signing of the document by most delegates.  (New York delegates did not even give their assent to the Declaration until July 9.)  It then took nearly two weeks for the Declaration to be "engrossed" -- i.e. written clearyly and carefully on parchment.  Most delegates signed the engrossed Declaration on August 2, 1776, but five delegates did not sign until much later.  Additionally, two other delegates -- John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston -- never signed it at all.

Pelham Long Has Elevated the Importance of Fourth of July Celebrations More than Most Communities

Fourth of July celebrations in Pelham have always been special because Pelham has been a quintessential representation of "small town America" for more than two hundred years -- despite being located on the very border of one of the largest cities in the world.  Pelham, however, long has elevated the importance of Fourth of July celebrations more than most communities.  For example . . . .

Pelham is the Site of the Nation’s Only “Centennial Church” Opened To Commemorate the Nation's Centennial in 1876

Pelham is the site of what is believed to be the nation's only "Centennial Church" -- a Church that was specifically opened in celebration of the nation's Centennial on July 4, 1876.  On Sunday, July 9, 1876, the "Huguenot Memorial Forest Church" (known today as the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church") held its opening services in the newly-completed "Little Red Church" on the first Sunday after the nation's Centennial specifically to celebrate the nation's Centennial.

A Glass Lantern Slide Created by Pelham Town Historian

William Montgomery Between December 10, 1916 and June 10, 1917.
It Depicts the "Little Red Church," the Predecessor Building to
Today's Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church Sanctuary.
The Little Red Church was a "Centennial Church" Opened in
July 1876 in Part to Commemorate the Centennial of the
Approval of the Declaration of Independence.

.A Classic Example of Fourth of July Pageantry in Pelham:  July 4, 1910

There certainly was something special about Pelham's Fourth of July celebration in 1910. For whatever reason, the pageantry was more extensive than most years. The celebration was better documented than almost any in the history of the Town. The crowds that watched the parade were quite large.  The Independence Day Celebration was sponsored under the auspices of the Pelham Village Club, a social club located in the Village of Pelham in the early 20th century. The day began quite early with a 4:30 a.m. "Sunrise Salute of 21 Guns".

Cover of the Program for the July 4, 1910 Celebration
Sponsored by the Pelham Village Club.  Source:  Original
Held in Private Collection, But Image Provided to The
Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

The highlight of the day was a grand parade. According to the program for the event, the line of march was as follows: "March on Esplanade to Boston Road; to Pelhamdale Ave., to Manor Lane, to Pelham St., past new High School; to Manor Lane to Pelhamdale Ave., to Witherbee Ave., to Highbrook Ave., past Pelham Heights School to Boulevard to Wolf's Lane, to 5th Ave., North Pelham to 2nd St., to 3rd Ave., to 3rd St., to 2nd Ave., past the 'Reviewing Stand' on 4th St., and disband."

The "Orator of the Day" was the Honorable William Sulzer. Among the many groups that marched were the Fife and Drum Corps of the Fire Department, Liberty Engine and Hose Compmpany No. 1, the Fife and Drum Corp of Relief Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 and the Fife and Drum Corps of Iroquois Tribe, No. 476 - Imp'd O.R.M.

The parade began at 10:00 a.m. The crowds reportedly were large. The program at the reviewing stand was as follows:

"Overture - Orchestra.
Song - God Bless our Native Land - Chorus.
Reading Declaration of Independence - Hon. Chas G. F. Wahle.
Song - Hail Columbia - Chorus.
The American Flag; Rodman Drake - Miss Lulu Young.
Song - Star Spangled Banner - Chorus.
Oration - Hon. William Sulzer.
Song - O God our Help in Ages Past - Chorus."

The day included athletic events at 2:00 p.m. There were track events as well as field events. The events were closed to residents of Pelham and included a 100 yard dash, a 220 yard run, a 440 yard run, a pole vault, a standing broad jum, a shot put (12 lbs.), a "7 obstacle race" and a sack race. There also was a "Fat Man's Race" and events for boys under the age of 16 including a 100 yard dash, a shot put (8 lbs.) and a 220 yard run. Other events included a "shoe race", a "ladies' race, 75 yards", a tug of war between Relief Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1 and Liberty Engine and Hose Company, No. 1, a girls' race (75 yard dash) and a potato race.

While these athletic events may have made for a full day, there were more such events: an 880 yard run, a one mile run, a two mile run, a running broad jump, a running high jump and a "hop, step and jump".

At 8:00 p.m. that evening there was a town-wide dance held at the Pavillion on 4th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues with the 10th Regiment Band (W. D. Craig, Bandmaster). At 9:00 p.m. there was an intermission during which a fireworks celebration was held. The dance then continued until the wee hours of the morning.

View of Portion of Parade Process, July 4, 1910.
Photo Taken by T. K. Reynolds of 1014 Hoe Avenue, The Bronx.
An article quoted below noted at the time:  "the engine
which was finely polished and decorated with
flags was driven by Village Trustee Daniel Maus"
Source:  Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

The image above shows the parade with crowds on an embankment lining the street as a horse-drawn fire department “pumper” passes. 

An early issue of The Pelham Sun urged the entire population of the Town to attend the July 4, 1910 celebration.  The article stated:


Independence Day comes but once a year.  It is fitting that the country should celebrate, for it is THE day of the nation.  The Pelhams have made elaborate preparations for a grand festival; an imposing parade, oratory, athletic contests, singing, dancing and fireworks being scheduled.

The patriotic citizens of the town have contributed liberally and the members of the Pelham Village Club, to whose hands the labor of preparation fell, have worked like bees the past fortnight to make the affair a success. 

We sincerely hope that all Pelhamites will find occasion to be present.  When it is all over, let us be in a position to say:  'We had a glorious Fourth.'"

Source:  OUR FOURTH OF JULY, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 2, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 13, p. 2, col. 2. 

The front page of the same issue of The Pelham Sun, the only extant copy of which is now so faded that much of it cannot even be read, contained another lengthy article entitled "AND NOW FOR A GLORIOUS FOURTH."  The sub-headings in the headline caption noted:  "ALL THE PELHAMS ANTICIPATING A GREAT DAY ON THE FOURTH -- COMMITTEES MET THURSDAY NIGHT AND ALL REPORTED EVERYTHING IN READINESS -- PROGRAM OF INVITING CHARACTER WILL BE CARRIED OUT WITHOUT A HITCH -- POLICEMEN TO BE IN PARADE."

Noting that the parade would begin from a location near Pelham Manor Village Hall, the article reprinted the line of march of the parade, the program for the event, and a listing of the athletic events that would be held.  The article noted that the celebration was funded by subscriptions and listed all the subscribers and the amounts of their donations to fund the event. 

I have made an intense effort to reproduce the text of the entire article which is exceedingly difficult to read.  As best as I am able to determine, immediately below is the text of the article.


A bright sky, a sunny day and a jolly day is what Pelhamites predict for the Fourth of July.  It can truly be said that herculean efforts have been made to try and make this celebration one to be remembered in the town.  We reprint the line of march, program and athletic events so that everybody may know what and when to expect scheduled things to happen.  The Redmen will turn out strong, and all the other civic organizations will promptly be on hand from beginning to finish.

The committee earnestly requests residents on the route of march to decorate their houses.

The presidents of the three villages in the town have agreed to let the policemen march together in procession which will swell the ranks.

Congressman Sulzer who will be the orator of the day will take part in the parade and will march all the way [illegible]

The people have responded well to the request of the Pelham Village Club [illegible] and have contributed over $600 toward the celebration [illegible]

Subscriptions to Date

Robert Beckwitt     $25
John H. Young     25
Harry S. Haupt     25
R. L. Fairchild     25
James W. Penny     25
Ed Rosenheimer     20
Paul [Illegible] Young     10
[Illegible] Wahle     10
Peter Ceder     10
Harry A. Anderson     10
Isaac C. Hill     10
Jacob Heisser     10
Clifford B. Harmon     10
B. B. Norman     10
E. I. Huber     10
Frank Scanlon     5
George Bridgman     5
W. Welcke     5
Eugene Lyon     5
Major Weiss     5
John Rohrs Jr.     5
J. F. Corman     5
F. J. Rush     5
Henry Stacey     5
Ezra Daggett     5
A. Wilbur Crane     5
J. J. Meyer     5
Seth T. Lyman     5
C. J. Wehke     5
D. J. Kennedy     5
Harry F. Coe     5
Kneeland S. Durham     5
John F. Secor     5
Wm. Edinger     5
Harold Penny     5
C. A. Holmes     5
M. J. Lynch     5
John T. Kallenberg     5
J. W. Stone     5
James Reilly     5
R. H. Marks     5
J. Camerano     3
A. T. Smith     2
J. Algie     2
G. Keller     2
A Friend     2
Chester Reynolds     1
Louis Kurtze     1
Al. G. Harris     1
John Keeler     1
F. J. Mulligan     1
A Friend     1
John F. Fairchild     25
Louis Epple     5
Dr. Henry E. Fritz     5
Emil Ericson     5
Claude Robinson     5
Gus Weidhaa[Illegible]     5
Dominick Sn[Illegible]     5
Henry L. Rupert     5
John B. Clegg     2
A. W. Munroe     2
Sanborn Map Company     50
B. G. Denzel     15
W. P. Redditts     5
Walter A. Lundstrom     5
George Rupert     5
W. C. Caleb     5
J. O. Stacey     3
H. Tucker     2
W. Weder     2
A Friend     2
G. Minecke     2
Miss Mary Marsel     2
Miller & Martin     2
H. Straehl     2
Chas. Smith     10
John Lowry     5
I. K. Davis     25
Chas. Homes     5
A. Heisser     5
C. Maney     5
H. Hacker     4
E. Champion     1

Total     [Illegible]

Other Gifts

[Illegible] a trophy [Illegible] a gold pen [Illegible] perfume bottle [Illegible].

Line of March

March from Esplanade to Boston Road to Pelhamdale Avenue to Manor Lane to Pelham Street past the High School to Manor Lane to Pelhamdale Ave. to Witherbee Ave to Highbrook Ave. past Pelham Heights School to Boulevard to Wolfs Lane to 5th Ave. North Pelham to 2nd Street to 3rd Ave. to 3rd Street to 3rd Ave. past the reviewing stand at 4th Street and disband.


Program at Reviewing Stand

Overture - Orchestra.
Song - God Bless our Native Land - Chorus.
Reading Declaration of Independence - Hon. Chas G. F. Wahle.
Song - Hail Columbia - Chorus.
The American Flag; Rodman Drake - Miss Lulu Young.
Song - Star Spangled Banner - Chorus.
Oration - Hon. William Sulzer.
Song - O God our Help in Ages Past - Chorus.

Order of Parade

Grand Marshal Maj. General Henry Hartman [Illegible]
Carriage containing Congressman Sulzer, Supervisor [Illegible] Young, C. G. F. Wahle.
10th Regtm Band
Staff officers
1st Regt. U. B. B. A.
Co. A., 5th Regt. B. B. B. A. Capt. H. DeBrun, 1st Lieut. H. Reid, 2nd Lieut. H. Steinmetz.
Co. A, 7th Regt. U. B. B. A. Capt. J. Fredericksen, 1st Lieut. J. Burrows, 2nd Lieut. F. Borneman.
Co. A, 8th Regt. U. B. B. A. Capt. E. Totten, 1st Lieut. A. Foster.
Co. B, 8th Regt. U. B. B. A. Capt. A. Calderwood.
Co. L, 16th  Regt., U. B. B. A. Capt. C. Asquith, 1st Lieut J. Orr, 2nd Lieut. H. Schneider.

Fife and drum corps.
Fire Chief K. S. Durham; Assistant Chief Louis Epple.
Libert Engine and Hose Co., No. 1 - Foreman D. O'Leary, Asst. Foreman [Illegible]

[Large portion illegible]


Athletic Committee.


Officials for Track Events


Officials for Field Events


Closed Events to Residents of Pelham


Fat Man's Race


Closed event for boys under 16 years


Ladies' Race 75 yards


Tug of War

Pelham Relief Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 and Libert Engine and Hose Co. No. 1.  Solid silver cup presented to George Lambert.

Girls' Races

75 yd. dash.  3 gold pins

Potato Race

Three gold pins.

Events Open to All

880 yd. run; 1 mile run, 2 mile run, running broad jum, running high jump; hop, step and jump.  Silver and bronze medals and cups.

All the singers are requested to assemble at the Pelham Village Club House to-day at 3 p.m. for rehearsal."

Source:  AND NOW FOR A GLORIOUS FOURTH, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 2, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 13, p. 1, cols. 4-6.

The following issue of The Pelham Sun included a number of articles about the parade and printed two photographs of the procession including not only the one above (with the caption "Crowds Lining the Route to Witness Parade") but also the ones immediately below.

Pelham Manor Policemen Leading Parade.
Photo Taken by T. K. Reynolds of 1014 Hoe Avenue, The Bronx.
GRAND SUCCESS, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 9, 1910,
Vol. 1, No. 14, cols. 1-2.

Advance Guard of the Boys' Brigade.
Photo Taken by T. K. Reynolds of 1014 Hoe Avenue, The Bronx.
GRAND SUCCESS, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 9, 1910,
Vol. 1, No. 14, cols. 4-5.

A Party of Happy "Haymakers"
Photo Taken by T. K. Reynolds of 1014 Hoe Avenue, The Bronx.
GRAND SUCCESS, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 9, 1910,
Vol. 1, No. 14, cols. 6-7.

Immediately below is the text of a series of articles about the 1910 Fourth of July celebration from the July 9, 1910 issue of The Pelham Sun.  Each is followed by a citation to its source.


'We had a glorious Fourth!'

All over the town this sentence has been a stereotyped one the past week.  And it is true in its fullest sense.  Early in the morning, to-wit:  4.30, Postmaster Lyman, Bert Logan and J. Ceder woke up the town by firing a salute of twenty-one roaring guns.  

The air was threatening, but later in the morning the clouds parted, the sun appeared, and the ideal weather prayed for became a reality.  

Everybody, and especially the young ones, were on tip-toe and expectant.

Automobiles were flying hither and thither, horsemen clattered through the streets in gold-braided uniforms, and the little Brigade Boys marched their small arms battery over to the starting place in Pelham with pleasing eclat.

Even the Manorites were aware that something unusual was on the tapis, for as soon as the paraders with their bands began to arrive, the natives over there also began to stir -- not that they all joined in the parade, but a great many of them came to see the fun.

The parade having been finally formed according to program, it moved at 10.30 from the formation point near the Pelham Manor Club house.  The formation of the column was as follows:

First division, automobiles -- No. 1, automobile containing Harry A. Anderson, Village President James Reilly, Village Trustee David Lyon and Street Commissioner Vinccent Barker; No. 2 automobile containing George Rupert and Tax Collector George Lambert; No. 3 automobile containing President Huber of the fire commission, Justice of the Peace Peter Ceder, Jouhn Young and Miss Lillian Young; No. 4 automobile containing Edward Rosenheimer, Justices of the Peace Kilvert and Curnen; No. 5, automobile containing Steven Rupert, Nina Rupert, the Misses Creed and William Creed of Peekskill.  These machines were very attractively decorated.

Police of the villages of North Pelham and Pelham Manor.  North Pelham officers, King and Mulligan; Chief Marks of Pelham Manor, Town Officers McGuire and Booth; Village Officers Savage, Flanagan, Gargan, Carrigan and Butler.  Under Chief Marks' command they made a very fine appearance.  

Grand Marshal, Major General Henry Hartman, commander of the New York division of the United Boys' Brigade of America; Aides, Col. Geo. B. Beale, colonel of the first regiment batter U. B. B. A.; Major J. T. D. Weiss, commander of the eighth regiment.  Guests of honor, first carriage, Congressman William Sulzer, Judge C. G. F. Wahle, Supervisor Edgar C. Beecroft and former Supervisor Louis C. Young; second carriage, John T. Logan, Isaac C. Hill, William B. Craig and Mrs. William Sulzer.

Tenth regiment band of Mount Vernon; staff officers of the U. B. B. A., in blue uniforms, fourteen men commanded by Lieut-Col. Charles H. Bohlen and Regiment Adjutant F. Beek; Company A, Fifth regiment, U. B. B. A., 28 men dressed in khaki suits, commanded by Captain H. Schultz DeBrun, First Lieutenant H. Reid and Second Lieutenant H. Steinmetz; Company A, seventh regiment, U. B. B. A., of New York, 16 men, commanded by Captain J. Fredericksen; First Lieutenant J. Barrows and Second Lieutenant F. Borneman; Company A, eighth regiment, U. B. B. A., of North Pelham, ten men, Captain E. Totten; First Lieutenant A. Foster; Company B, eighth regiment, U. B. B. A., 14 men, Captain A. Calderwood; Company L, 16th regiment, of New York, U. B. B. A., 27 men, Captain C. Asquith, First Lieutenant J. Orr and Second Lieutenant H. Schneider.

Second division -- Tuckahoe Fire and Drum Corps, fire department of the town of Pelham; Chief K. S. Durham, Assistant Chief Louis Epple, Liberty Engine and Hose Company No. 1, Foreman Daniel O'Leary, Assistant Foreman J. J. Meyer, Secretary J. Wirth, Treasurer F. W. O'Malley, Financial Secretary C. J. Welcke, 26 men dressed in regulation blue uniforms with white gloves; the engine which was finely polished and decorated with flags was driven by Village Trustee Daniel Maus; hose wagon driven by Bert Penfield; Bonny Brook Fife and Drum corps, No. 284, F. of A., of Mamaroneck, seventeen players in blue suits; Relief Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1, John Rohrs, Jr., foreman; C. E. McDonald, secretary; A. W. Monroe, assistant foreman carrying flowers; Jacob Heisser, treasurer; truck, William Doliny and F. Puckhaber on the seat, 23 men; Beal Drum Corps of Mott Haven, New York, eight men, E. H. Stoupe, of Wappanocca, New Rochelle I. O. R. M. on horse as Indian chief; Iroquois Tribe No. 476, I. O. R. M., of North Pelham, J. A. Wirth sachem, J. Klov-
(Continued on page four.)

(Continued from first page)

erkorn, junior sagamore; M. Schopp, junior sagamore; H. Klein, prophet and P. Dingledine, secretary; on horseback dressed as Indian warriors were following:  Chief trailer, John J. Schopp; scouts, E. J. Champlion, T. Robinson, George Auwaeter, Robert Head, Charles Himler, J. Mets, C. Edinger and W. Siebert.  The following were on foot as Indians:  G. Kurtze, Eugene Lyon, H. Klein, Paul Dingledine, J. Rohrs, E. E. Weller and Joseph Kloverkorn.  

In a small wagon were the following little boys dressed as papooses:  Richard O'Connell, John Schopp, Harold Schopp, Robert Becker, Edgar Hull, George Walsh, Ellsworth Weller, Edmund Van Benthuysen.  Visiting Redmen from Manhattan, Mamaroneck, ten guests in command of William Speechley, deputy past sachem of the tribe.  They wore red bands and citizens clothes.  Haymarkers' Association of Siwanoy Tribe No. 335 1/2 I. O. R. M., of New Rochelle, 24 men dressed as farmers in a wagon filled with straw.  David Skiff, Jr., chief haymaker; T. Hamilton, assistant chief haymaker; boss driver, Herman Benz.  

The parade was dismissed after it had passed the reviewing stand in front of the school house on Second avenue and Fourth street.

At the conclusion of the parade the exercises were commenced on the school common.  First came an overture by the Wartburg band.  After a song, 'God Bless Our Native Land,' by the chorus, Judge Charles G. F. Wahle read the Declaration of Independence in an impressive manner; the chorus then rendered 'Hail Columbia,' after which Miss Lulu Young recited in a taking manner Kodman Drake's 'The American Flag.'  The chorus sang 'The Star Spangled Banner,' after which Congressman William Sulzer was introduced by Peter Ceder and delivered an oration which was frequently applauded and which will be found in part in another column.

The exercises closed with the singing of 'Oh God, our Help in Ages Past,' after which Mr. Ceder proposed three cheers for the President of the United States, which were given with a will.

In the afternoon the sporting events took place, and in the evening beautiful fireworks was [sic] set off.

Dancing began at 8 o'clock and kept up until mid-night, when everybody went home tired but happy after a strenuous day of wholesome pleasure."

Source:  Certainly, Our Fourth A Grand Success, The Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 14, p. 1, cols. 1-2 & p. 4. col. 1. 

"Congressman Sulzer's Speech

Congressman William Sulzer was introduced by Peter Ceder in the following words:

'Down there I notice John Cammaro, who was born in Italy; here I see 'Billy' Edinger, who came from der Kaiser's Deutschland; there sits James Reilly, who hails from the Emerald Isle, and here stands a man, who came from Denmark.  While we may disagree about other matters, there is one thing upon which we are agreed, namely that the day we of our own free will swore allegiance to these United States, we became citizens as much as those who happen to have been born here, and our devotion to our adopted country is just as intense as theirs.  It is this wonderful assimilation and, welding together of nations that has made this country what it is to-day.  

'This being the nation's day, it is fitting that we should have secured the services of a man of national character and renown to address us.  Fortunately we secured one whose public life of twenty years stands out without a blemish on his character, one who as a member of the House of Representatives for sixteen years has lifted his voice in behalf of the plain people, the toilers, the workers, like ourselves, who has stood up for equal rights for all.  There may be higher honors in store for this man, and if so, I am sure he will be worthy of them.  I beg to introduce to you the Honorable William Sulzer.'

Congressman Sulzer's Speech in Part

"The Fathers builded better than they knew.  They were the wisest and most far-seeing men that ever formed a nation based on the consent of the governed, and that ever wrote a Constitution prescribing its limitations.  They knew the history of the past and the cause of the decline and fall of every previous republic.  They steered clear of the shallows and the shoals.  They built this great Republic upon a solid foundation that is as enduring as the love of liberty.

'The trouble with all previous Republics was the inability of the Government to execute its mandates, and enforce its decrees.  Such a government is only a rope of sand.  This was avoided in the adoption of our Federal Constitution -- the greatest charter of government ever devised by the ingenuity of man.  The Republic of the United States can legislate and adjudicate and execute.  Herein lies its greatness and its power.  It is the greatest, and the grandest and the most powerful government ever instituted among men, and it is destined, in my opinion, to grow greater and grander and more powerful as the years come and go.  It has met every crisis and surmounted every obstacle; and to-day it is the most feared and the most loved government on earth.

'No potentate in all the world wields and exercises the power and the influence of the Government at Washington.  With all other liberty loving people I want that power and that influence exercised for the good of humanity, for peace, for freedom and for the prosperity of all.  The Fathers made this a land of liberty and a country of equal opportunity.  They did their part; we must do ours.  On these anniversaries of our independence we pay tribute to their greatness, and commend the great work they and their successors have done.  What is out duty?  We must continue that work.  We must take no step backward.  We must do our share in our day and generation, to push the Republic onward and upward, and make it as it should be -- the greatest force on earth for the betterment of humanity and the advancement of civilization.  We must do our duty to make this Republic what the Fathers truly intended it to be -- a land of liberty -- liberty under law -- where every one shall have the same rights and every one equal opportunities.  

'We should stand for the rights of all -- for justice to all.  We should sternly oppose special privilege.  All should have an equal chance, and the door of opportunity remain open to all.  In this way will the people become better and happier and more prosperous, and the Republic endure forever.

'We must be careful that the States do not encroach upon the rights of the Cities; and that the Federal Government does not encroach upon the rights of the states.  The Republic is an indissoluble Union of indestructible States, and we must be ever watchful to prevent centralization at Washington that will jeopardize the inherent rights of the Sovereign States.

'We are the joint heirs of our glorious past and the trustees for future generations.  It is incumbent on us to hand down to those that come after us the rights, the privileges, the liberties, and the free institutions which we enjoy; and if we fail to do so, we are recreant to our trust and the Republic we love so well destined ere long to destruction.'  (Applause.)"

Source:  Congressman Sulzer's Speech, The Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 14, p. 1, col. 3. 

By Steen Cleveland Ceder

Eddie Coles ran a fine race in the 220 yard event, but was hard pressed.

Fred Johnston put that shot in great shap, winning this event by several feet.

Dommie Smith breezed in first in the hundred yard dash by a comfortable margin.

That potato race was great fun.  Never suspected those young Misses could sprint so fast.

Lester Welcke is a good timer.  I am glad to see that he can do something besides bowling.

Barrett didn't run in form.  He should take a little rest, and then practice for our next.

L. J. Lowery ran a pretty race in the 440 yard run, finishing second to W. Glover, less than a second behind.

Winifred Clarke has the makings of a sprinter in her.  She and Sis Kennedy are the two best runners in Pelham.

Lillian Young won the ladies event without half trying.  Blanche Kann just beat out Miss Whalen for second prize.

W. Monroe is a good middle distance runner.  He'll be a second Sheppard if he keeps at it long enough.

The girls' races were a screaming success.  One would think they were chasing an escaping beau the way they ran.

Our friend Mr. Forgie gave a surprise in the standing broad jump; he did 9 feet 3 inches in this event, which is good jumping.

George Lambert was second in the shot put.  He might have won had he had more time to practice.  Better luck next time, George!

Ed. Bridgeman had too much handicap on the scratch men in the 220 yards junior.  At that the second man almost caught him.

Ellsworth Totten's victory in the pole vault was quite unexpected; his vault of nine feet was as good as ten feet and over in a good field.

Jim Algie was going strong in the Fat Man's race and will now use a large stein instead of a glass.  He has now qualified as a fast fat man.

William Glover succeeded in breaking the record in the 440 yard run by four seconds.  His time was one minute and two-fifths of a second.

The Brigade Relay Team won.  Their time of 4.02 was wonderful.  Running around that block is as bad as running in water.  The sand at the turns prevents good time being made.

The Pelham Hook and Hose had a fiery three second session.  The Hose had the weight but the strength was evidently in the Hook crowd.  Several yards of dirt were excavated by the sliding tuggers of the Hose."

Source:  FOURTH OF JULY ATHLETIC NOTES, The Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 14, p. 1, col. 4. 


The pictures shown on this page were taken by an expert photographer, Mr. T. K. Reynolds, of 1014 Hoe avenue, the Bronx, and are reproduced here by his permission.  He took numerous other splendid views and will have them on sale at Donzel's Drug Store, Pelham, at 25 cents for large photograph."

Source:  PARADE PICTURESThe Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 14, p. 1, col. 4. 


Probably the most exciting event was the tug of war between Relief Hook and Ladder Co. and Liberty Hose and Ladder Co. and Liberty Hose and Engine Co., nineteen men on each side.  The first time they made an effort to decide which company had the most brawn resulted in failure because the half inch rope split a second after the signal was given.  Later an inch rope was procured and the Relief had little trouble in winning.  They were awarded a silver cup.  The relay race between the Pelham boys and a New York team was won by the Pelhams in 4 minutes, 2 seconds.  Ellsworth Totten won the point trophy, obtaining 13 points.

The following were the results:

Closed events to residents of Pelham -- 100 yd. dash, G. S. Storm, first; John Ceder, second; time 11 1-5 seconds; 220 yard run, E. D. Cloes, first and J. Ceder, second; time 26 seconds; 440 yard run, W. Glover, first, and L. Lowery, second, time, one minute and 2-5 seconds; pole vault, E. Totten, 9 feet, first, and Miller, second, 9 feet on the try off for second place; standing broad jump, Forgie, first, nine feet three inches, Calderwood, second, 9 feet 2 inches; 12 pound shot put, F. Johnson, first, 37 feet 7 inches, and G. Lambert, second, 37 feet 4 inches; obstacle race, L. Lowery, first and Totten second.  For each event in the above silver medals were awarded the winners of first place and bronze medals were awarded to those winning second places; sack race, L. Lowery, first and J. Reilly, second; fat man's race, first prize, stein, presented by Judge Wahle and a box of cigars for second prize presented by B. B. Donzel, winners J. Algie, first, Wendhass, second, and Durham, third, time 12 seconds.  Closed events for boys under sixteen years of age, prizes silver and bronze medals, 100 yard dash L. Totten, first and S. Stead, second, time 12 seconds; shot put, eight pounds, prizes, silver and bronze medals, G. Donnel, first, 38 feet 4 inches, Cottrell, second, 32 feet, 5 1/2 inches; 220 yard run, Bridgeman, first, Kearney, second, time 25 and 3-5 seconds; shoe race, Sullivan, first, T. Godfrey, second and Munson, third, prizes respectively, watch, pen knife and pin; ladies' race for 75 yards, first prize a chatalent bag presented by Mrs. A. J. Spafford, won by Miss Lillian Young, silk pillow case for second prize presented by Mrs. Peter Ceder and won by Miss Caine, cut glass bottle of perfume, for third prize, presented by W. A. Welcke and won by Miss Josephine Head, gold pin presented by A.N. White and won by Miss Nellie Whalen.

Tug of war between Reliefs and Liberties for silver cup presented by George Lambert won by the Relief Hook and Ladder Co.  Reliefs at the rope -- Jacob Heisser, Dollney, Bert Logan, Chief Durham, Buchanan, Hurtig, Cottrell, Eugene Lyon, T. Robinson, James Caffrey, C. McDonald, G. Godfrey, Sr., Hemingway, J. Rohrs, P. Godfrey, P. VanderRoest, H. E. Coe, and Andrew Heisser.  Liberties at the rope -- Daniel Maus, D. Whalen, Joseph Lyon, William Lyon, B. Imhof, Walsh, King, Kennedy, Champlion, Sporland, Petit, W. Welcke, Kloverkorn, Gruber, C. J. Welcke, Mackey, Monroe, and Louis Epple.

Girls' race -- 75 yard dash, first prize presented by Thomas Spafford, gold brooch, won by Winifred Clark, second prize gold brooch won by May Kennedy, third prize, gold locket, won by Olive O'Malley, fourth prize, gold locket won by C. Johnson, time 9 1-5 seconds.  Potato race, one brooch and three gold hearts, first, second, third and fourth prizes won by Winifred Clark, Alice Jetta, Miss Jackson and Miss Tracy, respectively.

Events open to all:  880 yard run, W. Monroe, Pelham, first, L. Bailey, New Rochelle, second and George Marer, third, time 2.21; one mile run, Bailey, New Rochelle, first, LeCount, New Rochelle, second, and Riehl, Mount Vernon, third, time 5.28; two mile run, Blackburn, Mount Vernon, first, W. Calderwood, second, Mayer, third; running broad jump, Thompson, New Rochelle, first, 18 feet 1 1-2 inches, Totten, Pelham, second, 17 feet 5 1-2 inches; running high jump, Totten first, five feet six inches; Altmann, Mount Vernon, second, 35 feet 9 3-4 inches.  Relay race between Pelham team composed of Calderwood, Barrett, G. Glover and Monroe and New York, composed of Dunlap, O'Brien, Hubert and Wheeler, won by Pelham in 4 minutes and 2 seconds.

The following were the officials for the athletic events, Athletic committee -- John Ceder, Albert W. Munroe; Fred Johnston and Charles Pinny.  Officials for track events:  Referee, Louis C. Young; judges, Harry Anderson, George Bridgman, John Young.  Clerk of course, Albert W. Monroe.  Assistant clerk of course, John Weiss.  Starter, Steen Ceder.  Timers., Bert Logan, C. J. Welcke, Walter Weiler.  Officials for field events, judges -- Frank Scanlon, Philip Godfrey, George Rupert, W. A. Welcke and George Lambert."

Source:  ATHLETIC EVENTSThe Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910, Vol. 1, No. 14, p. 1, cols. 6-7. 

Other Examples of Early Pelham Pageantry Celebrating the Fourth of July

This sort of celebration was certainly not unusual for Pelham.  Below is an image of the cover of a similar program reflecting similar activities held on July 4, 1907. 

Cover of the Program for the July 4, 1907 Celebration.
Source: Original Held in Private Collection,
But Image Provided to The Office of
The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

The 1907 Fourth of July celebration reflected in the program (the cover of which appears immediately above) was so important and so popular that there is evidence that -- at a time when cameras were not widely owned -- some Pelham families had their photographs taken and placed on post cards while dressed in their finery in honor of the celebration that day. The two images immediately below show the obverse and reverse of one such post card.

Obverse and Reverse of Post Card Showing Pelham
Family on July 4, 1907.
Source:  From the Author's Collection.

The Giant Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Battle of Pelham Held 1926:

Oddly enough, while most of the nation celebrated the U.S.A.'s Sesquicentennial and its Bicentennial on July 4, 1926 and July 4, 1976, Pelham celebrated a little differently.  It celebrated those milestones in October of 1926 and October of 1976.  Why?  Because Pelham wanted to honor the role it played in gaining the nation's independence in connection with the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.  As part of the nation’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1926, the Town of Pelham held a truly massive “Colonial Pageant” on October 16, 1926 to commemorate the Town’s history and the Battle of Pelham that occurred on October 18, 1776.  There were more than five hundred members of the cast.  Many, many thousands watched the spectacle. 

The event was held along Split Rock Road which, at that time, extended from today's Shore Road near the Bartow-Pell Mansion to the Boston Post Road. 

The pageant was an important and major commemoration in the life of the three villages that formed the Pelhams at that time. There is an ample historical record of the event which included one of the earliest uses of outdoor amplified sound using electrical speakers in Pelham. The event was well reported in local newspapers. Today's Blog posting will relate some of that coverage.

Plans for the pageant were reported in the October 9, 1926 issue of The New York Times. The report said:

500 Persons to Take Part in a Historical Spectacle on Old Battlefield.

Special to The New York Times.

NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y., Oct. 8. -- More than 500 persons will participate in a historical pageant to be given on Oct. 16 by High School students and organizations of the Pelhams.

The pageant will have four historical episodes besides a prologue and epilogue. The first episode will be the reception of Anne Hutchinson in 1640 by the Dutch and her massacre by the Indians. It will be given by the Degree of Pocahontas and the Comfort Society of Pelham under the direction of Mrs. Edwin L. Adair.

The second episode will depict the sale in 1654 by the Indians to Thomas Pell of the land comprising the present township of Pelham and vicinity, and will be presented by the students of the Pelham Memorial High School, under the direction of Miss Kathrene Ensign, Miss Anna Coleman and Miss Helen Homer will assist.

The third episode, 1700, will show Lord and Lady Pell receiving yearly tribute from their tenants and the reception of the British envoy as he presents the patent from King James to Lord Pell. This will be presented by the drama section of the Manor Club, under the direction of Mrs. G. Munro Hubbard.

An incident on Oct. 18, 1776, in the Battle of Pell's Neck between a detachment of Washington's Army under Colonel Glover and the British under General Howe will constitute the fourth episode. This will be directed by Colonel C. Sidney Haight, U. S. A., retired, who will be assisted by Major Philip Thurber, U. S. A., and Bruce Delette. It will be put on by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

The prologue was written by Mrs. Joan E. Secor, honorary president of the Manor Club, and will be read by Mrs. Henry E. Dey. The epilogue will be given by students of the Pelham Memorial High School under the direction of Miss Ensign.

The pageant will take place on the site of the former battle ground on the Split Rock Road near the Boston Post Road, Pelham Manor.

Miss Elizabeth B. Grimbell of New York is directing the pageant. Colonel C. Sidney Hight is Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements."

 Source:   Pelhams To Give Colonial Pageant, N.Y. Times, Oct. 9, 1926, p. 10.

The pageant was held as scheduled. Once again The New York Times provided a detailed account of the event. That account is related below.

Thousands of Persons See the Pageant Recalling Episodes of 150 Years Ago.
Colorful Picture of Revolutionary Incidents in Outdoor Setting at Pelham Manor.

Special to The New York Times.

NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y., Oct. 16. -- A gathering of several thousand witnessed this afternoon a pageant depicting incidents in the history of the Pelhams. The occasion was the Sesquicentennial celebration of the Battle of Pell's Neck, held on Prospect Hill, Pelham Manor, at the Boston Post Road and Split Rock Road, site of the battle.

A natural amphitheatre [sic] formed by a hill and a plateau afforded a fine setting for the pageant. A grove of trees brilliant in their Autumn hues and the colorful costumes made a perfect picture.

More than 500 residents of Pelham Manor, Pelham and North Pelham participated in the celebration, which started with a parade of the actors, musical organizations and members of the Fire Department.

The pageant's first episode, the reception of Anne Hutchinson in 1640 by the Dutch and the massacre in which she was a victim of the Indians, was given by the Degree of Pocahontas and the Pelham Comfort Society, under the direction of Mrs. Edwin L. Adair of North Pelham. The principal characters were: Anne Hutchinson, Mrs. Adair; Older Daughter, Mabel Schroder; Younger Daughter, Betty Flavelle; Chief of the Siwanoy Indians, Remington Schuyler; Chief of the Wikagyl Indians, Stacy Wood; Chief of the Shippan Indians, Fred Wirth.

The second episode was the sale by the Inidans in 1654 to Thomas Pell of the land comprising the township of Pelham and vicinity. It was presented by pupils of the Pelham Memorial High School under the direction of Miss Cathrin Ensign. The principal characters were: Thomas Pell, Milo Fritz; Dutch Official from New Amsterdam, P. Parker.

The third episode showed Lord and Lady Pell receiving the yearly tribute in 1700 from their tenants; also Lord Pell receiving from the British envoy the patent to the Lordship and Manor of Pelham issued by King James II. It was presented by the drama section of the Manor Club under the direction of Mrs. G. Munro Hubbard. The principal characters were: Lord Pell, Roger B. Hull; Lady Pell, Mrs. Robert Jacob; Miss Pell, Irene Longley; British envoy, William L. Bradley; major domo, Henry E. Dey; members of the gentry, Major and Mrs. Philip Thurber, Mrs. Edgar C. Beecroft, Mr. and Mrs. Northrop Dawson, Mrs. William L. Bradley, Mrs. Frederick W. Ingalls, Mr. and Mrs. Winifred B. Holton Jr. and others. Several coaches used in this episode were loaned by Mrs. Edward Penfield of Pelham Manor.

The fourth episode depicted an incident in the battle of Pell's Neck on Oct. 18, 1776, between a detachment of Washington's Army under Colonel Glover and the British General, Lord Howe. It was presented by the American Legion Post of Pelham, citizens of the three villages and troops of the regular Army. Colonel C. Sidney Haight, U. S. A., retired, was in charge, assisted by Major Philip Thurber, U. S. A. Bruce De Lette, O. R. C., was director. The cast was: Colonel Glover, Captain Del Fungo Griera; Hessian officer, Major Thurber; Colonel Glover's staff, J. M. Perly, G. Lambert, P. Griega and Colonel Haight; General Howe, Ralph C. Angell.

The prologue, a poem written by Mrs. Joan E. Secor, Honorary President of the Manor Club, was read by Mrs. Henry E. Day [sic]. The epilogue was in the form of an allegory. Young girls in classic costume represented Westchester County, the town of Pelham and the three villages, and presented a pantomime of civic and patriotic achievement.

The pageant was directed by Miss Elizabeth B. Grimball of New York. Colonel Haight headed the Arrangements Committee.

Many descendants of Lord Pell witnessed the pageant, among them Stephen C. H. P. Pell, John Pell, Waldron Pell, Miss Adeline M. Turnhull, Mrs. I. S. Lawrence and Ogden Pell. Representative and Mrs. Benjamin L. Fairchild and Mrs. William C. Story were also present.

Mount Vernon Celebrates.

Mount Vernon also celebrated in commemoration of the battle. The celebration was held this afternoon by the East Side Improvement Association, the Mount Vernon Rotary Club and Bronx Xhapter, D. A. R. It took place at Garden Avenue and East Sixth Street, not far from the battle's site. A staff and flag were presented to the city by the association, and a bronze plaque by the Rotary Club. Former Supreme Court Justice Isaac N. Mills presided. The Rev. Dr. O. F. Bartholow, pastor of the First Methodist Church, made the address and Mayor William D. MacQuisten accepted the gifts for the city.

A $10 gold piece, the prize for the best essay on the battle written by a pupil of the De Witt Clinton School, offered by the Improvement Association, was presented to Alan Steinhardt by Mrs. C. Lee Peck of the Bronx Chapter, D. A. R."

Source:  Pell's Neck Battle Fought Once More, N.Y. Times, Oct. 17, 1926, p. 28.

The Giant Bicentennial Celebration of the Battle of Pelham Held 1926:

During the nation's bicentennial celebration in 1976, Pelham hosted a massive and wonderful celebration that included, among many other activities, a reenactment of the Battle of Pelham that occurred on October 18, 1776. The reenactment was filmed and turned into a brief and informative documentary. Among many aspects of the celebration was a special postal cancellation held on October 17-18, 1976 also to commemorate the bicentennial of the Battle of Pelham.   I have included an image of the “Seal of the Battle of Pelham” created as part of the bicentennial celebration that year.

Pelham’s Fourth of July Celebration, 2014:

Tonight [Editors' Note at 11:57 a.m. - Please confirm your plans as I have heard rumors the NYAC fireworks may be held Saturday evening!]  will be another in a very, very, very long line of Pelham’s Fourth of July celebrations.  As the sun begins fade, you will see traffic from all over Town begin to head toward and concentrate near Shore Park on Shore Road in Pelham Manor.  Police officers will be in the streets, directing traffic.   Residents from around the area will be seen crowding sidewalks, tramping toward Shore park carrying folding chairs, blankets, radios, and snacks.  Additionally, the parking lot of the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island in Pelham Manor will fill and thousands will gather on the grounds there as well.  As the sun sets and people settle into place on Travers Island and in Shore Park, the first retorts will sound and the first blazes of glorious fireworks will explode forth from the New York Athletic Club – to the oohs and ahhs of young and old alike.  Much of the Town will be there tonight – as they are every Fourth of July – to watch this glorious fireworks display to celebrate our nation’s birth 238 years ago!

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