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.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Historic Pelham Trivia Test: One of the World's Most Difficult Exams!

Welcome to the Historic Pelham Trivia Test, one of the world's most difficult exams.  Hopefully, you will find the questions interesting and will learn some odd, unusual, and interesting things about Pelham history as well.  

Test your knowledge.  The answers to a number of the questions have appeared in some form or another on the Historic Pelham Blog or the Historic Pelham Web Site at some point in the past.  In all instances, the answers are available online.  Additionally, the answers to each question appear at the end of today's post.

Question 1:  For more than a century, the Pelham Country Club has had many illustrious members including captains of finance, industry, and the arts.  The Club boasts one President of the United States among its members.  Which President was once a member of the Club?

Question 2:  Which Vice President of the United States once owned property in the Town of Pelham? 

Question 3:  Famed aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island on July 2, 1937.  According to one newspaper account, Pelhamites have seen Amelia Earhart in person.  Under what circumstances did Earhart appear in Pelham?

Question 4:  Pelham has its own peat bog that once ignited and burned for many months, though no one knows how the conflagration began. The burning bog belched smoke from the ground for many, many weeks.  Where is the infamous Pelham Peat Bog located?

Question 5:  The current Supervisor of the Town of Pelham is Peter D. Dipaola who has been elected and re-elected resoundingly since he first became Supervisor.  Supervisor DiPaola, however, may never match the record of one of his predecessors.  One Supervisor of the Town of Pelham received every single vote cast by every single voter in the Town of Pelham in six successive elections for the post of Town Supervisor.  Alas, the string was broken in the seventh election when he received all votes cast by all voters except for two votes!  Who was this beloved Town Supervisor and when did he serve?

Question 6:  Before the newspaper The Pelham Sun was established in 1910, a few start-up local newspapers vied for lucrative advertising from the Town of Pelham when the Town was required to print tax sale notices.  In one instance, on the very eve of the publication of such tax sale notices, the Town of Pelham designated a "new" newspaper that had never even published a single issue as the "official newspaper" of the Town for such notices.  When the first issue of the newspaper came off the press "a roar of laughter" stretched across all of Pelham because the entire issue of the newspaper was nothing but the official tax sales advertisement without a single line of news.  The newspaper appeared three more times, as required for such notices, with the only change being the date of the "news" paper on each of those three occasions.  The publishers collected their advertising fees from the town and then suspended publication forever.  What was the name of this four-issue Pelham newspaper that never contained any news?

Question 7:  Samuel J. Tilden served as the 25th Governor of the State of New York and was the Democratic candidate for the United States Presidency in the disputed election of 1876, winning a popular vote majority but ultimately losing the Electoral College vote to Rutherford B. Hayes.  Tilden once delivered a series of speeches in Pelham.  When, where, and why did he deliver the speeches?

Question 8:  The Town of Pelham has one of the nation's most active so-called "high adventure" Boy Scout Troops.  The Troop's activities routinely include scuba diving, dog sledding, snow shoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding, zip lining, whitewater rafting, kayaking and the more routine camping, hiking, and more.  The Troop is the last remaining Boy Scout Troop of many such Troops that once existed in Pelham.  It is known as "Troop 1."  Troop 1, however, did not begin as Troop 1.  Its name was changed in 1923.  What was the original name of Pelham, New York Troop 1, Boy Scouts of America?  


Answer to Question 1:  U.S. President Warren G. Harding was made an honorary member of the Pelham Country Club in 1921.  Source:  Pelham Country Club Web Site, "History" Available Via "Visitor Information" and "History" (visited Nov. 28, 2004) ("One week after opening the new course here at Pelham, Jim Barnes [the Club Pro] went down to Columbia Country Club in Washington, D.C. and handily won the 1921 U.S. Open Championship. Barnes also bested the field in the first P.G.A. Championship played at neighboring Siwanoy C.C., and in 1916 was presented the U.S. Open Trophy by the President of the United States, Warren G. Harding. Instantly, Pelham Country Club was the center of the golfing world. President Harding was made an honorary member of the Club and a tremendous welcome home gala was held at the Club for Jim Barnes, the new 'Pride of Pelham'.").

Answer to Question 2:  The third Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, who served as Vice President during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson and who fought a duel with, and mortally wounded, Alexander Hamilton on July 11, 1804, married Theodosia Bartow Prevost of Pelham and bought a farm in the area near today's Split Rock Road on February 26, 1790.  Burr soon sold the farm to one of his stepsons, Augustine J. F. Prevost.  Sources:  Deed from Nicholas Wright and William Wright to Aaron Burr, Westchester County Archives, Elmsford, NY, Register of Deeds, Liber L, 363-66; Deed from Aaron Burr to Augustine J. F. Prevost, Westchester County Archives, Elmsford, NY Records of Land Conveyances, Liber G, Folio 367.  

Answer to Question 3:  Before her disappearance, Amelia Earhart and her husband, George Palmer Putnam, joined prominent Pelham citizens on June 10, 1934 to attend a theatrical event on a transformed cargo barge anchored in Eastchester Creek in the "Pelham Manor industrial district" in an area near today's BJ's Wholesale Club.  Source:  Days Of Old Melodrama Return With The Opening Of Periwinkle's SeasonThe Pelham Sun, Jun. 15, 1934, Vol. 25, No. 13, p.2, cols. 1-2 ("A prominent group of Broadwayites and social leaders of Westchester found their way to the Pelham Manor industrial district . . . They delighted in the novelty of attending an old-time theatrical production in the unique setting.  Their members included George Palmer Putnam and his wife Amelia Earhart").  See also  http://www.fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%2018/Mount%20Vernon%20NY%20Daily%20Argus/Mount%20Vernon%20NY%20Daily%20Argus%201934/Mount%20Vernon%20NY%20Daily%20Argus%201934%20-%202739.pdf 

Answer to Question 4:  The peat bog (or, at least, any that remains of it) is located beneath the ground at First Street and Pelhamdale Avenue.  Source:  Railroad Station Once at Sparks Avenue in Pelham, The Pelham Sun, Feb. 24, 1928, Vol. 18, No. 55, p. 4, cols. 1-2 ("Another interesting thing was the story of the peat bog which exists at First street and Pelhamdale avenue where apparently there is an unfathomable morass.  A few years ago the peat became ignited and smoke could be seen rising from the ground.  How it began no one knew but it continued to burn for many months.").

Answer to Question 5:  Democrat and City Island resident Benjamin Hegeman served as Supervisor of the Town of Pelham from 1862 until his death at the age of 46 on April 23, 1873.  He was considered a particularly strong Supervisor due to his leadership and support of the Union cause during the Civil War.  In his first six elections running for the post of Town Supervisor (such elections were held annually at the time), Hegeman received every single vote cast by every Pelham voter.  During the Town Supervisor election of 1868, however, he received "only" 158 out of 160 votes cast.  This was quite a feat at the time since there was a massive political divide between the "Islanders" of City Island and the "Mainlanders" of the remainder of the Town of Pelham.  Source:  Elections . . . PELHAM, Eastern State Journal, Apr. 3, 1868, Vol. XXIII, No. 49, p. 2, col. 3 ("PELHAM.  BENJAMIN HEGEMAN (Dem.) is returned to our next Board by 156 majority.  Says a correspondent:  'We return Benjamin Haegeman, Esq., from the town of Pelham to the Board of Supervisors.  We polled 160 votes -- of which Mr. Hegeman received 158.  Six of the years out of seven which Mr. Hegeman has been elected to the office of Supervisor, he has received all of the votes cast in said town for the office of Supervisor but two -- of which the color must have been variegated.'").

Answer to Question 6:  The Pelham Post  (no relation to the modern monthly newspaper distributed in today's Town of Pelham and also known as The Pelham Post).  Source:  Minard, J. Gardiner, MANY NEWSPAPERS HAVE ENTERED PELHAM FIELD SINCE PELHAM PRESS WAS PUBLISHED IN 1896, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 5, 1929, p. 9, cols. 1-6.  

Answer to Question 7:  Tilden delivered his Pelham speeches in 1855 at Fred Case's Hotel that once stood on Fifth Avenue near 3rd Street during his unsuccessful campaign for New York State Attorney General.  Source:  Montgomery, William R., DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN - ?, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 16, 1927, p. 3, cols. 1-2. 

Answer to Question 8:  Troop 3.  Source: Christmas Season Finds Scouts At End of Five Year Period Of Remarkable Growth and Progress, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 16, 1927, p. 10, cols. 1-6 ("From Christmas 1922, to Christmas 1923, was a year of suddenly awakened activity in Pelham Scoutdom. . . . Membership in the two troops began to increase and a third troop was organized, to meet in the Congregational Church with W. B. Brown as Scoutmaster.  This new troop was designated as Troop 3 and the old Troop 3 became Troop 1.").  

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