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, August 29, 2014

Announcement of Two-Day Fair in Pelham in 1842 to Raise Money to Build Christ Church

Today's Christ Church, Parish of Christ the Redeemer, in the Village of Pelham Manor was built in 1843 of native granite.  The cornerstone of the sanctuary was laid on Friday, April 28, 1843.  The church building was completed and was consecrated on September 15, 1843.

The opening of the church building was the culmination of a dream long held by the first rector of the church, The Rev. Robert Bolton.  Father Bolton was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1788, the son of a prominent merchant also named Robert.  As a young man, Robert Bolton traveled to England and became a merchant in Liverpool, England.  

In 1836, Robert Bolton returned to the United States with his family.  They settled at Bronxville, in Eastchester, on a beautiful farm.  Robert Bolton became the rector of the parish of East Chester.  The Rev. Robert Bolton had a large family including five sons (each of whom became Episcopal priests) and eight daughters.

In 1838, the Bolton family built Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor.  The home still stands and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1840, Bolton -- in addition to his ministerial duties in Eastchester -- began holding a Sunday service in his residence, Bolton Priory.  By 1842, an effort was underway to organize a parish and construct a church building.  According to the second edition of Robert Bolton Jr.'s History of Westchester County published in 1881, prior to consecration of the new church building:

"the Reverend Founder prepared a deed transferring the church, and a quarter of an acre of land on which it is situated, to a parochial corporation, when one should be there formed -- reserving, however, six free seats, the southeast and northwest transepts, and two vaults beneath the floor of the church; and, further, it provides that no rector or minister can be called or employed to officiate in the said church without the written consent of a majority of his heirs residing in America be given thereto.  The act of incorporation bears date 25th of September, 1843.  Richard Morris and Henry Grenzabach [sic], church-wardens; Isaac Roosevelt, George F. Mills, John Bolton, William J. Bolton, Peter V. King, Jacob LeRoy, Cornelius Winter Bolont, and Robert Bolton, Jun., vestrymen."

Source:  Bolton, Robert, The History of the Several Towns, Manors, and Patents of the County of Westchester, from its First Settlement to the Present Time Carefully Revised by its Author, Vol. II, p. 95 (NY, NY:  Chas. F. Roper, 1881).

Robert Bolton, of course, became the first Rector.

Christ Church, Shortly After It Was Constructed, as
Depicted in the 1848 First Edition of Bolton's History
of Westchester County, Volume 1.

Recently I ran across a fascinating announcement published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of a fair to be held in the summer of 1842 on the grounds of Bolton Priory to raise money for the construction of an "Episcopal Chapel for Pelham" -- i.e., Christ Church.  Immediately below is the text of that brief item published on July 25, 1842.  

"A FAIR.-We are informed that a Fair will be held on the grounds of the Rev. Robert Bolton, Pelham Priory, near New Rochelle, on Wednesday the 27th, and Thursday the 28th inst., to aid in the erection of an Episcopal Chapel for Pelham.  If the weather should prove unfavorable, the Fair will be opened on the first fair day, and continue two days.  The steamer Fairfield will convey such as are desirous of attending, leaving Fulton Market slip, New York, at 7 A. M. and returning at 5 P. M.  Many of the fair will doubtless embrace the opportunity to contribute to so worthy an object, and such of the sterner sex, too, as believe this method of raising funds for benevolent objects to be the fair thing, of which, we confess, we are not one:  Provided always, that the articles offered at said fairs, are such as come in competition with those produced by that large and worthy portion of the fair, whose object is a livelihood for themselves and children."  

Source:  A FAIR, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jul. 25, 1842, Vol. I, No. 191, p. 2, col. 2.  

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