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.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Bridge Keepers of the Pelham Bridge from 1870 to 1872

Apparently due to record-keeping confusion at the county level, in 1872, the Committee on Roads and Bridges of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Westchester was charged with investigating precisely who served as keeper of Pelham Bridge in 1870, 1871, and 1872 and what they were paid.  On December 21, 1872, the Committee issued its report and its proposed resolutions dealing with the matter were entered in the records of the Board's General Orders on that date.

The issue, it seems, was that in 1869 the Board approved a resolution to pay the keeper of the Pelham Bridge for the year 1870 the sum of $500.  The sum was appropriated, but due to an error in the County Treasurer's books, the salary of the keeper of the Pelham Bridge was omitted from the books.  To make matters more suspicious, although the County properly appropriated $500 to be paid to Augustus Lawrence to serve as keeper of the bridge in 1870, David Blizzard arranged to have the money paid directly to him for service that year as keeper of the Pelham Bridge.  David Blizzard owned "Blizzards," a hotel and refreshment center located at Pelham Bridge.  

It turns out that investigation revealed that for whatever reason, David Blizzard served as keeper of the Pelham Bridge in 1870 while Augustus Lawrence served in 1871.  According to the Committee's report, all necessary duties that were required to be performed at the bridge had, indeed, been performed by Blizzard in 1870 and by Lawrence in 1871.  David Blizzard next performed the services as bridge keeper during the year 1872.  

For reasons not yet know, it appears that for a period of time the two men, David Blizzard and Augustus Lawrence, were alternating as bridge keeper of the Pelham Bridge during the early 1870's.  The time period involved is particularly intriguing because in 1869-1870, the second stone Pelham Bridge was replaced with a new iron bridge (the third Pelham bridge).  In 1870, 1871, and 1872, these two men were operating as keepers of the then-new iron Pelham Bridge.

I have written much about the history of the various bridges known as the Pelham Bridge that have crossed the mouth of the Hutchinson River at Eastchester Bay.  A list of such articles with links appears at the end of this posting.  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the text of the December 21, 1872 report of the Committee on Roads and Bridges, followed by a citation to its source.

"Mr. TEED, from the Committee on Roads and Bridges, to which was referred resolution relating to salary of keeper of Pelham Bridge, presented the following report thereon:

To the Board of Supervisors:

The undersigned Committee, to which was referred the matter of bridge keepers for Pelham Bridge, make the following report:

That in making said examination, we find that in the year 1869 there was a resolution authorizing the levying of $500 to pay the salary of bridge keeper of Pelham Bridge for the year 1870, but in the examination of the County Treasurer's books, and also of the list of county appropriations in the proceedings of the Board for that year, we find that the salary for the keeper of said bridge was omitted by the Clerk (probably through mistake); we also find that the appropriation of $500 made in the year 1870 for the salary of Augustus Lawrence as keeper of Pelham Bridge was misapplied and paid to David Blizzard on his order.

We also find that in the examination of that part more particularly referred to us, in the discussion that took place in the Board at the time of the reference to our Committee, viz.:  Whether the duties were performed by the said David Blizzard for the year 1870, and also of Augustus Lawrence for the year 1871:  [Page 372 / Page 373]

Report, that from all the information we have been able to obtain from the old and present commission of said bridge, have been performed in the keeping of the lights in order, ferrying people across the stream, and attending to the taking charge of, and having an oversight of, the property belonging to the county.

Resolved, That there be levied, assessed and collected, on the taxable property of the County of Westchester, the sum of $500, and paid to Augustus Lawrence for his services as bridge keeper of Pelham Bridge for the year 1871.

Resolved, That there be levied, assessed and collected, on the taxable property of the County of Westchester, the sum of $500, and paid to David Blizzard for services to be performed as bridge keeper for Pelham Bridge for the year 1872.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

WM. E. TEED,          )
THOS. LEARY,         }  Committee on Roads and Bridges
P. HENDRICK,         )   

Dated Dec. 21, 1872.

(Entered on General Orders, No. 45.)"

Source:  "Mr. TEED, from the Committee on Roads and Bridges," in Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Westchester, For the Year 1871 -- Charles E. Johnson, Clerk, pp. 372-73 (NY, NY:  E. Wells Sackett, Stationer and Printer, 1872).

Detail from Engraving Published in 1884
Showing Old Iron Pelham Bridge Where David
Blizzard and Augustus Lawrence Served as Bridge Keepers.
CHARLES GRAHAM.", Harper's Weekly, Vol. XXVIII,
No. 1442, 1884, pp. 514 & 521.
Note that the iron arches of the bridge are visible
in the distance on the right edge of the image.

*          *          *           *           *

Below are examples of previous postings that address the histories of the various Pelham Bridges that have spanned Eastchester Bay for the last two centuries.

Mon., Jul. 21, 2014:  Image of the Second Pelham Bridge Built in 1834 From a Sketch Created in 1865.

Thu., Jul. 17, 2014:  Sabotage Brought Down the 70-Ton Draw Span of Pelham Bridge in 1908 and Delayed its Opening

Tue., Jun. 10, 2014: Construction of the Concrete Arch Pelham Bridge.

Mon., May 12, 2014: The March 6, 1812 New York Statute Authorizing Construction of the Pelham Bridge.

Tue., Sep. 22, 2009: Names of Early "Keepers of Pelham Bridge" Appointed by Westchester County.

Thu., Jan. 08, 2009: Another Brief History of The Pelham Bridge.

Thu., Jan. 1, 2009: A Brief History of Pelham Bridge.

Wed., Jan. 2, 2008: New York State Senate Report on Petition by Inhabitants of Westchester to Allow Construction of Toll Bridge Across Eastchester Creek in 1834.

Tue., Aug. 28, 2007: The Laying Out of Pelham Avenue From Fordham to Pelham Bridge in 1869.

Wed., Jul. 4, 2007: 1857 Real Estate Advertisement for Sale of the Pelham Bridge.

Fri., Jul. 22, 2007: 1857 Real Estate Advertisement for Sale of "Country Seat" at Pelham Bridge.

Fri., May 18, 2007: Celebration at Pelham Bridge in 1872.

Wed., May 16, 2007: Board of Supervisors of Westchester County Vote to Build New Iron Bridge to Replace Pelham Bridge in 1869.

Tue., May 15, 2007: The Owner of the Pelham Bridge Hotel Sold it for the Princely Sum of $22,000 in 1869.

Mon., May 14, 2007: Plans to Widen Shore Road in the Town of Pelham in 1869.

Fri., May 11, 2007: A Sad Attempted Suicide at Pelham Bridge in 1869.

Thu., Dec. 08, 2005: The First Stone Bridge Built Across Eastchester Creek in Pelham, 1814-1815.

Thu., Aug. 18, 2005: The Opening of the New Iron "Pelham Bridge" in 1871.

Tue., Aug. 9, 2005: Cock Fighting at Pelham Bridge in the 19th Century.

Thu., Jul. 21, 2005: Today's Remnants of the Bartow Station on the Branch Line Near City Island.

Tue., Jun. 28, 2005: The Hotel and Bar Room at Pelham Bridge.

Thu., Mar. 24, 2005: The Bartow Area of Pelham in the 19th Century: Where Was It?

Wed., Mar. 23, 2005: Prize Fighting at Pelham Bridge in 1884.

For more about the Pelham Bridge and its history, see Pelham Bridge, Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelham_Bridge (visited May 6, 2014).

Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.
Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.
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