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, April 30, 2014

Gun Battle on Witherbee Avenue in 1904 Results in Wounded Pelham Manor Police Officer



Policing in the Town of Pelham has been a dangerous business for Pelham's Finest since at least the late 19th century.  Pelham Manor police officer John McGuire was shot and killed while trying to apprehend a burglary suspect on the Pelham Manor trolley in 1917.  The slaying has never been solved.  See Wed., Aug. 09, 2006:  The Saddest Day in the History of Pelham Manor's "Toonerville Trolley"


When murdered, Officer John McGuire was investigating a burglary that had occurred on Witherbee Avenue in the Village of Pelham Manor.  Only eight years earlier, another Pelham Manor police officer, A. D. Savage, was wounded in a gun battle on Witherbee Avenue after surprising armed burglars in the act of burglarizing the summer home of a New York City resident at the corner of Witherbee and Highbrook Avenues.  



 
Pelham Manor Police Department in 1910 Only Five Months
After Officer A.D. Savage, Standing Third from Right,
Was Shot.  Caption Reads:"R.H. Marks, Chief of Police (sitting)
Left to Right -- John J. Flanagan, George Booth, Joseph Colgan,
John McGuire, A.D. Savage, Phil. Gargan, James Butler."
Source:  Pelham Manor Police Dept., The Pelham Sun [Pelham, NY], 
May 21, 1910, Vol. I, No. 7, cols. 4-6.

Officer Savage went beyond the call of duty.  He was shot by one of the burglars during a fierce gun battle.  At first it was thought he was shot in the shoulder, shattering the bones.  It turned out, however, that he was shot beneath his left arm pit and the bullet lodged near a rib.  Despite his wound, Officer Savage grabbed and clung to one of the burglars, refusing to let go until another officer arrived.  Only then did the exhausted and wounded officer yell to his fellow officer "don't let him go.  He shot me!" then fainted.  Village officers swarmed the area and apprehended a second perpetrator.  Though the pair gave false names, it turned out that they were a rather nasty couple of thugs.  Within a few days, police apprehended a third member of the burglary ring. 

As might be expected, newspapers throughout the metropolitan region reported on the bravery of the Village of Pelham Manor police officers.  Thankfully, Officer Savage recovered from his wounds and even was photographed among the members of the Department, standing proudly, only a few months later (see below).  Amazingly, only seven months after he was shot, Officer Savage apprehended another burglar as he tried to jimmy open the kitchen window of another Pelham Manor home in the same area as the earlier incident (see below).  

Today's Historic Pelham Blog salutes Pelham Manor's Finest and transcribes various articles about the gun battle and the bravery of three Village Police Officers, A.D. Savage, James Butler, and John J. Flanagan. 

"CROOKS AND COPS IN A DUEL.
-----

Policeman Shot by Burglar Who Was Robbing Allan Robinson's Home.

MOUNT VERNON, Dec. 21. -- There was an exciting duel between two burglars and two policemen in front of the country house of Allan Robinson, a New York lawyer, on Witherbee avenue, Pelham Manor, to-night, in which Policeman A.B. [sic] Savage of Pelham Manor was shot through the right shoulder.  He is lying dangerously wounded in the New Rochelle Hospital.  

The burglars, who had packed three suit cases with silverware and other valuables, are locked up in the Pelham Manor police station.  Chief of Police Marks believes that they are the 'early Joe' burglars who have been operating in the early evening along the north shore of the Sound for some time.  The arrest of the men was brought about by the pluck of Policeman Savage, who after being shot clung to one of the prisoners until assistance arrived.

Policeman Savage was patrolling his beat when he discovered one of the front windows in the Robinson house -- which had been closed for the winter -- open, and he called Policeman Flannagan, who was near by, and the two officers started to crawl through the window, when they were fired on from inside.  The shots went wild and the burglars then leaped out of a rear window and started to run down the street, followed by the officers, who fired on them.  There was a fusillade of shots.

Although Savage received a bullet in his shoulder he managed to seize one of the intruders and clung to him.  The shots attracted Policeman Butler, who came up the street on a run, and Savage shouted 'Hold this fellow; don't let him go!  He shot me!'  Then he fell in a faint.  Butler was forced to knock the man down with his nightstick in order to get the handcuffs on him.

Policeman Flannagan held up the other burglar at the point of his revolver and both were taken to police headquarters.  They gave their names as Albert Wilson of 71 East 119th street, Manhattan, and William De Snow of Philadelphia.

Mr. Robinson is living at his town house and his Pelham Manor summer home has been closed for several weeks.  When the police visited the house after the shooting they found the suit cases filled with booty in the dining room and ready to be carried away.

After Policeman Savage was taken to the New Rochelle Hospital the bullet was probed for and then it was found that the shoulder was so badly shattered that it was necessary to perform an operation."

Source:  CROOKS AND COPS IN A DUEL, The Sun [NY, NY], Dec. 22, 1909, p. 6, cols. 6-7.  

"BURGLARS SHOOT IN PELHAM MANOR; WOUND POLICEMAN
-----
He is Officer Savage Who resides on Fourth Avenue This City.
-----
MARAUDERS CAUGHT
-----
Victim in New Rochelle Hospital and Recovery is Expected.
-----
DUEL IN THE DARK.
-----

In pistol duel last evening at 6:30 o'clock, at the residence of Allen Robinson, president of the Allied Real Estate Interests, at the corner of Witherbee and Highbrook avenues, Pelham Manor, between Police Officers A. D. Savage and [John J.] Flanagan and two burglars who were surprised after they had ransacked the place.  Officer Savage was shot in the right shoulder and is now in the New Rochelle hospital, where he will recover.  Savage resides in Mount Vernon, on South Fourth avenue.

Officer Savage showed great courage, when in spite of his wound, he caught one of the burglars after the latter had attempted to escape with his pal, who was also captured by Officer Flanagan.

Held the Burglars.

Savage held his man until Officer Butler arrived.  Butler felled the burglar with a blow of his nightstick after Savage had told him that he had been shot.  After being attended by Dr. Washburn the wounded officer was taken to the New Rochelle hospital, where he made a statement to Coroner Boedecker.  It was stated at the hospital this morning that Officer Savage was doing well and that there was every hope for his recovery.  The bullet in the wounded officer's shoulder has not been probed for as yet.

Booty is Found.

At the Robinson house were found two dress suit cases packed with jewelry and articles valued at about $1,000.  In one dress suit case was a pearl necklace valued at $400.  Near the open window was found a satchel filled with burglar's tools, which the burglars left behind them.  

Found Window Open.

It was at 6:20 o'clock that Officer Flanagan noticed one of the windows of the Robinson house on the first floor open.  He went to the nearest telephone box and reported.  He made another investigation and ascertained that the window had been pried open with a jimmy.

Fired on the Police.

Chief [R. H.] Marks sent Officer Savage, who was doing desk duty, to the Robinson house, where Flanagan was waiting, as there was someone inside.  He warned him to be careful.  

The burglars must have heard the officers talking outside for no sooner had Savage and Flanagan started to climb through the window than the burglars hurried down the stairs and in the darkness, opened fire upon them.

While partly leaning through the window the two officers returned the fire.

The burglars had the advantage over the officers.  Officer Savage was shot in the shoulder, but continued to fire into the darkness, and in an ante-mortem statement told Coroner Boedecker that he did not know how many times he shot at the men.

Taken to Hospital.

The neighborhood was aroused by the shooting.  Chief Marks hurried to the scene and then had the wounded officer taken in a Larchmont car as far as the Red Church corner.  The car was on its way to Mount Vernon at the time and was backed to the church.  The officer was then assisted to the office of Dr. Washburn and later taken to the New Rochelle hospital in an automobile.

Makes Quick Run.

It was 7:50 o'clock when Coroner Boedecker, of Mount Vernon, was notified of the shooting by telephone, and that Savage was at that time in the New Rochelle hospital.  The coroner broke all records for quick work in his department, for twenty minutes after he received word of the shooting, he was at the bedside of the wounded officer.  The run was made in an automobile.

Burglars in Custody.

The two burglars were brought to police headquarters and gave their names as John De Snow, of Philadelphia, and William Wilson, of No. 17 East 19th street, New York.  In the pockets of Wilson, who was the one 
-----
(Continued on Page Three.)

BURGLARS SHOOT
-----
(Continued From Page One.)

Savage caught and whom he declared shot him, were found 28 cartridges.  Wilson when he was brought to the station was in a bad condition and was bleeding from the head.  He did not appear to be more than seventeen or eighteen years of age.

Story of a Third Man.

About 11:30 o'clock Roundman Deveaux of New Rochelle police force, came to headquarters in company with a boy named Clifford Rivers of No. 18 Walnut street, New Rochelle.  The boy says that last night about 8 o'clock, while he was talking with another boy on the station platform in New Rochelle, a young man wearing a dark soft hat came, olive green suit, came running into the platform and said to him:  'We had a house pretty well cleaned out in Pelham Manor when the police caught us and I beat it.  The boy declares that the man took the 8:20 train on the Harlem river division for New York.  Chief Marks takes no stock in the boy's story.  The burglars declare there was a third man who did the shooting and that they knew nothing about it at all.  Chief Marks said that there were only two burglars in the house.  When the men were searched no weapon was found on them and none could be found in the locality."

Source:  BURGLARS SHOOT IN PELHAM MANOR; WOUND POLICEMAN, The Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Dec. 22, 1909, p. 1, col. 3 & p. 3, col. 1.  

"A THIRD MAN IN ROBBERY.
----

Pelham Manor, Dec. 23. -- That William De Snow and Albert Wilson, the two burglars who were captured at the Robinson house Tuesday evening by Officers Savage and Flanagan after a duel as a result of which Officer Savage was wounded, are criminals and have records is established.  The two men gave fictitious names and it is learned they are brothers.  The younger who gave the name of Wilson told Chief Marks that his older brother, known as De Snow, was the one who shot Savage.  A third man, who is believed to know something about the burglary was arrested at 1985 Lexington avenue last night by Detectives Clark and Mendelssohn.  He gave the name of Frank Costello, 98 East 114th street."

Source:  A THIRD MAN IN ROBBERY, New Rochelle Pioneer, Dec. 25, 1909, p. 5, col. 3.  

"PELHAM BURGLARS CONFESS
-----
Three Men Implicated in Crime Are Held for the Grand Jury.

Pelham Manor, Dec. 24 -- With the arrest of Joseph White, alias John Costello, alias John Codello, at his room at 1,895 Lexington avenue, New York, at midnight on Wednesday, by Chief Marks, Officer Butler, of Pelham Manor and Detectives Clark and Mendelssohn, of New York, Chief Marks has now in custody all of the burglars who broke into the residence of Allen Robinson Tuesday night.  All three of the men in confessions made to the chief, admit that they entered the house but each denies that he had anything to do with the shooting of Officer Savage, who is now in the New Rochelle hospital.

Both Joseph White and Albert Wilson, whose right name is Albert Barnett, alias Bender, declare that De Snow shot Savage, while De Snow says that he did not do the shooting, and declares that White shot the officer from the roof of the house.  

The capture of White in New York was effected in a sensational manner.  Chief Marks located the man by means of an address on a tag which was attached to a ring with two keys taken from one of the prisoners Tuesday night.  He went to 1,895 Lexington avenue on Wednesday, and ascertained that De Snow was living on the top floor with another man but that he had not been seen for several days.  

Late Wednesday night, Chief Marks and Officer Butler went to New York and after meeting Detectives Clark and Mendelssohn, went to Lexington avenue.  chief Marks had one of the keys with him and with it opened the front door.  He stationed Officer Butler in the back yard.  

The chief and the two New York detectives proceeded to De Snow's room.  Chief Marks rapped on the door and after he had answered to the name of 'Jack' when a voice inside of the room asked who was there, the door was opened.  The three officers entered the room and before De Snow's friend had an opportunity to recover from his surprise he was made a prisoner.

The room was searched by the detectives while Chief Marks held the prisoner.  On the bureau was found a clipping from a New York paper with the account of the burglary in Pelham Manor at the Robinson house.

White was taken to police headquarters in New York, where his picture was found in Rogues' Gallery.  Its number is 9,936.  He was identified by the detectives.  Early Thursday morning he was brought to Pelham Manor and locked up.  Last night the three burglars were arraigned before Judge Kilvert on a charge of burglary and assault on an officer with intent to kill.  Joseph White pleaded guilty to the charge of burglary and was held to await the action of the grand Jury.  De Snow, whose right name is William Barnett, and his brother, Albert Barnett, pleaded guilty to the charge of burglary, but would not plead to the assault charge.  Each man waived examination.  The were also held to await the action of the grand jury, and were taken to White Plains this morning.
-----Mount Vernon Argus."

Source:  PELHAM BURGLARS CONFESS, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jan. 1, 1910, p. 3, col. 4.  

"PERSONAL ITEMS.
----- 

*     *     *    

--Officer A. D. Savage, of Pelham Manor, a resident of South Fourth avenue, this city, who was shot by burglars surprised by him and Officer Flanagan while they were in the act of robbing the residence of Allen Robinson in Pelham Manor, December 21, was operated on Monday in the New York Graduate Hospital in New York by Dr. Samuel Lloyd.  It was supposed at the time of the fight with the burglars that Savage was shot in the arm but the bullet was found near a rib under the left arm pit."  

Source:  PERSONAL ITEMS, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jan. 20, 1910, p. 2, col. 2. 

"ROETTNER GETS A YEAR.
-----

Conrad Roettner, of New Rochelle, who was implicated in robberies with the burglars De Snow and Wilson, one of whom shot Officer Savage, of the Mount Vernon [sic] police force, after a robbery at Pelham Manor, was sentenced this week to a year in Kings County penitentiary, having pleaded guilty to petit larceny."  

Source:  ROETTNER GETS A YEAR, New Rochelle Pioneer, Feb. 19, 1910, p. 5, col. 7.

"CHAUFFEUR AND BURGLAR
-----
Pelham Manor Police Nab Arthur Tilford Trying to Enter House.

While attempting to force an entrance into the rear window of the residence of Miss Edith Haywood, on Monterey avenue, Pelham Manor, about 8 o'clock Friday night.  Officer Savage caught a burglar, who, when he was brought to police headquarters in Pelham Manor, gave his name as Arthur Tilford, of New Rochelle.  He is twenty-one years of age, and is a chauffeur during the day time.  He has been convicted of burglary and twice of larceny.  He is also responsible for the burglary committed in the Haywood barn two weeks ago.  At first he denied it, but when Raymond Ricardo, chauffeur for the Haywoods, identified a blue coat worn by Tilford, as his own property, the latter broke down and confessed and informed the police where he had disposed of the property.

Officer Savage was shot last December, by a burglar, not far from the spot where he ran across Tilford last night.  He was walking along Monterey avenue, when he heard a noise which sounded to him like that of some person working at a window.  He walked across the grass and discovered Tilford trying to pry open the window opening into the kitchen by means of a chisel.  Tilford did not know the officer was near him until the latter placed his hand on his shoulder and pulled him to the ground.

Officer Savage brought his prisoner to headquarters and when Chief Marks saw him he recognized a blue serge coat which answered the one Ricardo, the chauffeur for the Haywoods, in Pelham Manor, had reported to him as stolen.

'Where did you get that coat?' the chief asked.

'Oh, that is my coat.  I have had it for two years,' was the answer.

Chief Marks took Tilford to New York to-day, and will have his picture taken there.  He was arraigned before Judge Kilvert on a charge of burglary and was remanded until Tuesday."

Source:  CHAUFFEUR AND BURGLAR, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jul. 30, 1910, p. 3, col. 5.  

For other similar reports about the shooting of Officer Savage, see, e.g., OFFICER SHOT BY A BURGLAR, The Yonkers Statesman, Dec. 22, 1909, Vol. XXVII, No. 8005, p. 1, col. 6; PELHAM BURGLARS MAKE CONFESSION, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Dec. 24, 1909, p. 6, col. 4; SHOT BY BURGLAR, NY Tribune, Dec. 22, 1909, p. 1, col. 4. 

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More on Golf in Pelham During the 19th Century


Pelham has a long tradition of supporting the ancient sport of golf.  I have written before about golf in 19th century Pelham. For examples, see

Mon., Jan. 11, 2010:  The First Pelham Country Club's Plans for a July 4, 1898 Opening of its New Nine-Hole Golf Course Accessible by a New Trolley Line.

Thu., Nov. 26, 2009:  The First "Pelham Country Club" Established in 1898 Built a Nine-Hole Golf Course in Pelham in 1898.

Tue., Oct. 20, 2009:  Manager of Pelham Manor Golf Links Committed Suicide Over Debt to Club in 1899.

Mon., Mar. 09, 2009:  Another Brief Account of Golf at Pelham Manor in 1895.

Mon., Jan. 14, 2008:  Golf at Pelham Manor in 1895.

Thu., Jul. 19, 2007:  Members of The New York Athletic Club Were Duped Into Believing the Club Created a Small Nine-Hole Golf Course in Pelham Manor in 1897.  

Bell, Blake, The Early Days of Golf in Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 36, Sep. 10, 2004, p. 12, col. 2. 

I also have written on many other occasions about golf in the first decade or so of the 20th century as well.  I have listed examples of such additional writings with links at the end of today's Historic Pelham blog posting.

One of the early efforts to establish golf in the Village of Pelham Manor occurred in 1895 when Mrs. John Cunningham Hazen (of Hazen's School for Girls) and her daughter, Miss Edith Cunningham Hazen established a club and laid out a tiny course on Prospect Hill in Pelham Manor.  In truly "Trump-Like" fashion, the Hazen women decided to market the new golf club as an incredibly exclusive club limited to only one hundred members from Pelham Manor and New Rochelle combined.  

A brief article on the organization of the exclusive golf club and the opening of its new links appeared in the November 8, 1895 issue of the Daily Argus published in Mount Vernon, New York.  The text of the article is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Pelham's One Hundred to Play Golf.
-----

PELHAM MANOR, N.Y., Nov. 6.--The Golf links, on Prospect Hill, belonging to the Pelham Manor Golf Club were formally opened yesterday afternoon.  A big tent was put up at the grounds, and an informal reception was held from 2 o'clock p.m. until 6 o'clock p.m.  Several of the most prominent women of Pelham Manor and New Rochelle received the guests.  Altogether the event was very swagger.  Only the smartest set of Pelham Manor and New Rochelle were present.

The Pelham Manor Golf Club was organized by Mrs. John Cunninham [sic] Hazen and Miss Edith Cunninham [sic] Hazen.  It is a strictly society club.  The membership is to be limited to one hundred, and persons are admitted to membership only by invitation.  In fact it is intended that the Golf Club shall consist of the 'One Hundred,' of Pelham Manor and New Rochelle.  It is going to be quite dangerous to ask any one if he is a member of the Golf Club unless it is certain that he has been taken into the field.  Otherwise the question will prove embarrassing as no one will be able to admit with good grace that he is not a member.

The Golfers will play every pleasant day until cold weather sets in."

Source:  Pelham's One Hundred to Play Golf, Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Nov. 8, 1895, Vol. XV, No. 1101, p. 3, col. 2.  

 
Horace Rawlins, Winner of the Inaugural U.S. Open in 1895
Source:  Golf Illustrated & Outdoor America, Vol. III, No. 4,
"Photographs" Section (Jul. 1915).


 
*          *          *          *

For more examples of blog postings about golf in Pelham during the first years of the early 20th century, see:

Tue., Apr. 13, 2010:  The New Pelham Bay Golf Course Became Popular in 1903.  

Fri., Oct. 02, 2009:  Failed Efforts in 1900 to Build a Golf Course on Hunter's Island Rather than on the Mainland in Pelham Bay Park.  

Thu., Oct. 01, 2009:  Pelham Country Club Secures Land for New Golf Course in 1904.

Thu., Mar. 19, 2009:  More on the Early Efforts To Develop the First Nine Holes of the First Pelham Bay Golf Course.  

Tue., Jan. 15, 2008:  Golf at Pelham Manor in 1903.

Tue., Dec. 20, 2005:  An Early Description of Construction of the First Nine Holes of the Pelham Bay Golf Course.  

Mon., Sep. 26, 2005:  Brief History of The Pelham Country Club Published in 1954


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Monday, April 28, 2014

More on The Estate Known as "West Neck" that Once Belonged to Philip B. Schuyler

I recently wrote of Philip B. Schuyler and the estate that he once owned in the Town of Pelham.  He called his estate "West Neck" and built a lovely brick mansion on the grounds.  That home burned in 1895.  For more, see:

Wed., Apr. 23, 2014:  Philip B. Schuyler and the Burning of the Schuyler Homestead in What Once was Part of Pelham in 1895.  

After I published my brief account of Schuyler and the fire that destroyed the home he built, I received a message from Jorge Santiago of The East Bronx History Forum with a link to a map of the Town of Pelham published in 1853 that reflected Schuyler's West Neck estate.  I have included a detail from the map below showing the estate.  Jorge's note started me thinking about the topic again.  I decided to assemble a little more information about the estate.  Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting does just that.



Detail Showing Area of Philip Schuyler's Estate Known as 
"West Neck" and "Westneck" from M. Dripps & R.F.O. Conner,
Southern Part of West-Chester County, N.Y.
Map Published in 1853 (52 Inches in Width)

The 1881 edition of Bolton's two-volume History of Westchester County references Schuyler's estate briefly.  It states:

"West Neck, the estate of the late Philip Schuyler, Esq., joins the village [i.e., the "new village of Bartow"] on the north, originally belonged to John Pell, a grandson of John Lord Pell.  The old mansion, which formerly occupied the site of the Schuyler residence, was removed in 1850 and is now used as a carriage house and stable.  Here, during the Revolutionary war, the daughters of John Pell and Mary Totten were frequently in the habit of entertaining the British officers, who would drive up from New York."

Source:  Bolton, Jr., 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. 88 (NY, NY:  Chas. F. Roper, 1881) (edited by C.W. Bolton).  

Bolton's reference in the 1881 edition of his History of Westchester County is fascinating in that it claims that the structure that originally stood on the site of Schuyler's home was removed in 1850 and used as a carriage house and stable.  It further claims that the structure that became the carriage house and stable once belonged to John Pell, grandson of the original settler of Pelham, John Pell (the nephew of Thomas Pell who acquired the lands from local Native Americans.  The detail from the 1853 map depicted above clearly shows what may be the carriage house / stable near the main home.  This John Pell would have been the John Pell who was son of John and Mary Totten Pell and who became a Lieutenant and later Captain in the Queen's Rangers during the Revolutionary War.

During the Revolutionary War, West Neck lay at the heart of the so-called "Neutral Ground," a deserted waste land that separated various areas of operation between those supporting the British and those supporting the Americans.  According to Pell family tradition, the Pell family estate known as West Neck played a small role during the War.  One author writes that during the mid-winter of 1777, as raiding parties flooded over the Neutral Ground, refugees from the area began to stream out:

"Meanwhile the refugees at City Island were evacuated to New York City by ship, including the widow Mary Pell and her children, and there they were joined by scores of Westchester men who had fled overland.  Joshua Pell and his family were soon with them, and they were able to return  for a time under British guard to their stately house, West Neck, on the Sound.  Joshua II joined General Oliver de Lancey's Corps of Royalists as a Captain, and John, son of John and Mary Totten Pell, was a Lieutenant, later Captain, in the Queen's Rangers.  

Westchester by this time was a 'waste land,' as it was described by the Revertend Timothy Drayton who visited it at the year's end of 1778.  'The power of volition seemed to have deserted the few people who remained,' he wrote in his Journal.  'They have lost every trace of animation and feeling.'  Many people lived on weeds in 'desolated' houses, abandoned, deserted, so that 'not a single solitary traveler came down the Post Road.'

Throughout 1779, the American and British lines swayed back and forth in Westchester, and John Pell, Mary Totten Pell and their daughters were obliged to flee into New York City once more, where John Pell died.  Lieutenant Colonel  Aaron Burr occupied their mansion [i.e., the mansion on the estate known as "West Neck"] and 'bought' it, together with all their lands, when they were confiscated.  Colonel Philip Schuyler then 'bought' John Pell's property from Burr together with the confiscated house, farmhouses and land of Joshua Pell, the ancestor of Pells of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain.  By the year's end, at all events, General Washington concentrated on strengthening West Point, and the American lines were pulled back.  The British occupied at least half of Westchester County.  But they did not allow the civilians in New York City to return, declaring it to be a battle zone."

Source:  Pell, Robert T., Pelliana:  Pell Of Pelham, New Series, Vol. I, No. 3, p. 74 (Privately Printed, Aug. 1965). 

After Philip B. Schuyler's death on February 12, 1865, his estate passed under his will "for the use of [his] unmarried, children, as a homestead."  See Christoph, Florence A., Schuyler Genealogy:  A Compendium of Sources Pertaining to the Schuyler Families in America Prior to 1800, Vol. 2 (Friends of Schuyler Mansion, 1992).  

There also is an interesting connection between Philip B. Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton.  Alexander Hamilton's wife was Elizabeth Schuyler (born August 9, 1757; died November 9, 1854).  Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton was a daughter of Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler.  Elizabeth's brother, John Bradstreet Schuyler, was the father of Philip Schuyler who built the West Neck estate in the Town of Pelham.  As a youngster, after his father's death, Philip Schuyler attended school on Staten Island and resided with his uncle and aunt, Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton, on weekends.  As one source puts it:

"In the late 1790s, the unceasing demands of a growing family prevented Eliza [i.e., Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton] from a full-scale commitment to Christian charity work.  On November 26, 1799, she gave birth to her seventh child, Eliza, but she continued to shelter strays and waifs, a practice that she and Alexander had started in adopting Fanny Antill.  In 1795, Eliza's brother, John Bradstreet Schuyler, had died, leaving a son, Philip Schuyler II.  During the week, the boy attended school on Staten Island with the Hamilton boys and then spent weekends with Uncle Alexander and Aunt Eliza.  So Eliza's home was always bursting with youngsters demanding attention."  

Source:  Chernow, Ron, Alexander Hamilton, pp. 582-83 (NY, NY:  Penguin Books, 2004).

Although Philip Schuyler was virtually ruined in the panic of 1837, he and his wife, Grace Hunter Schuyler, were able to retain many of the family heirlooms and possessions that belonged to Schuyler's illustrious grandfather and Revolutionary War General after whom he was named.  The story as to how is fascinating.  The article below, published in 1959, details the circumstances, followed by a citation to its source.  

"Schuyler House History
Mother Rescued Furniture for Debt-Ridden Philip Schuyler in 1837

(This is the fourth in a series of articles on the Schuyler House consisting chiefly of a report by Worth Bailey, architectural historian in the Washington office of the National Park Service, which is attempting to restore the Schuyler House to its original state and to have it furnished in a fashion known to the inhabitants of Old Saratoga.)
-----

Philip Schuyler had married Grace Hunter in 1811 and the Schuyler House was home to his growing family until 1837.  Schuyler's financial troubles by that year had become so serious as to force him to empower his attorney to convert his property into cash to be applied in payment of debts.  

It was then that his mother stepped in to acquire the furniture, yielding it as a gift in the daughter-in-law's name and blocking attachment by his creditors.  Thus when the Schuylers left Schuylerville they were able to claim their furnishings through the generosity of Mrs. Bleecker. 

'The Schedule of Household Furniture' drawn up on May 4, 1837, affords a glimpse of the family household 42 years after the death of John Bradstreet Schuyler.  The document is incomplete, but is valuable for informational listings of items in parlor, piazza, garret and cellar.

*     *     *

IN 1824 an itinerant artist, Ambrose Andrews, painted the Schuyler family seated in their own hall.  The picture is a small water color with a rather crowded composition comprising mother and father with the five girls.  Its domestic details are of more than passing interest, for it possesses all the authority of a corroborative footnote to several items of furniture.  Shown is the handsome 'Constitution-type' gilt mirror with the Pembroke table beneath, which are glimpsed through the doorway into the parlor.

These items could very well be heirlooms dating from the general's period.  The chairs appear early 19th century.  In the picture the Hepplewhite style piano with its adjustable stool is a focal point in the hall.  The schedule of furnishings taken in 1837, while listing both in the parlor, also poses an unanswerable question.  Possession of two pianos firmly establishes the role of music in the family.  Likewise the guitar is an important witness to the fact.  

Reference to three sofas poses an intriguing problem of identity.  A single sofa had gone down to Albany in 1796.  Here is probable evidence that it returned.  Two sofas listed in the 'piazza' were later acquisitions.  The piazza, we are confident, meant the stairhall.

Without doubt these same three sofas figure again as the connecting link between the fragmentary inventory of 1837 and the document drafted by the appraiser on Agu. 31, 1865, following the death of Philip Schuyler II at the family homestead in Westchester County.  Researchers believe the furniture in the residence at New Rochelle comprised the same that had been devised by Philip to his children and according to their agreement had been kept intact.

Apparently this arrangement was maintained until the death of Fanny Schuyler in 1917, when th estate was dispersed.  Interlocking references that pass along from generation to generation convey not only a degree of supporting assurance, but corroboration.  The information definitely establishes the continuity.

*     *     *

IN THE REPORT Bailey has listed the furniture contained in the house in 1865, taken from the inventory and also the inventory in 1917 and, between the two, has come up with what furnishings he feels would have been in the house during Schuyler's time.

Every effort has been made to learn as much as possible about these individuals, in specific detail, and inventories have been meticulously followed as guides in furnishing.  

Consequently, as Bailey puts it, this will not be just another nice old house pleasantly filled with antiques, but the re-created home of a specific person or family where individual tastes and habits are intimately and convincingly revealed.  

The problem is, where can such period furniture be found?  The search goes on and will continue to go on, as long as there is a possibility that something may turn up that may be used in the Schuyler House."

Source: Schuyler House History - Mother Rescued  Furniture for Debt-Ridden Philip Schuyler, The Saratogian [Saratoga, NY}, p. 2, cols. 3-8.  

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Freight Train Wreck at Pelham Manor Station in 1896


There once stood on the New Haven Branch Line a lovely train station known as "Pelham Manor Depot".  The station stood at the end of today's Esplanade beyond Grant Avenue on the current Amtrak / Freight Line tracks near Manor Circle.  The station was razed in the 1950s in connection with the construction of I-95.

In 1896, a massive freight train wreck at the station smashed eighteen freight cars "into kindling wood".  The article below describes the wreck and is followed by a citation to its source.

"EIGHT CARS IN A WRECK.
-----
Eighteen of Them on the New Haven Road Smashed Into Kindling Wood.
-----
TRAFFIC DELAYED SEVERAL HOURS BY THE ACCIDENT.
-----
Train Hands Were More or Less Bruised, but No One Was Seriously Hurt.
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In a freight wreck at Pelham Manor this morning eighteen cars were reduced to kindling wood and traffic was delayed for several hours.  Fortunately no one was seriously hurt.

A bad freight wreck occurred early this morning at Pelham Manor, on the Harlem branch of the New Haven Railroad.

An extra freight train, known as No. 8 in charge of Conductor William Flannagan, was on its way from New Haven to New York, and while passing the Pelham Manor station at about 12:27 A.M. a king pin in one of the cars became loosened and threw the forward cars off the track.

Eighteen freight cars were smashed into kindling wood, and the freight and wreckage were strewn along the track for many yards.  A portion of the platform in front of the Pelham Manor station was torn away.  Several coal cars on a side track, consigned to Joseph English, were thrown over and partly wrecked. 

The train hands received a lively shaking up, and some of them were more or less bruised, but no one was seriously hurt. 

The Washington express train used the Harlem branch to reach 129th street, where the trains are transferred on Pennsylvania floats to Jersey City.  The Washington express came along at about one A.M., and could not get past Pelham Manor on account of the wreck.  The train had to back up to New Rochelle, where it remained on a side track until eight o'clock this morning, when the track was cleared.  The passengers on the Washington express were in their berths and got up to investigate the cause of the delay.  Many of them walked down to Pelham Manor to view the wreck.

The Washington express from Washington, after leaving the float at 129th street, also had to come to a stop on reaching Pelham Manor and wait until the track was cleared.

The accident caused a serious delay on all the trains running on the local tracks of the New Haven road.  The express trains had to use the local track and this stalled the local trains.  The damage caused by the accident will amount to several thousand dollars."

Source:  Freight Cars in a Wreck, The Evening Telegram - New York, May 7, 1896, p. 3, col. 3.


Scene of the Pelhamville Train Wreck that Occurred on the New Haven
Main Line About a Decade Earlier than the 1896 Freight Train Wreck 
Near the Pelham Manor Depot.  
Source: A Remarkable Railroad Accident, Scientific American, 
Jan. 16, 1886, Vol. LIV, No. 3, cover and pp. 31-32.

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at http://www.historicpelham.com/.
Please Click Here for Index to All Blog Postings.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Information About the History of Fire Departments in the Town of Pelham Published in 1927


I have written repeatedly about the histories of the various fire units that have served portions of the Town of Pelham since the late 19th century.  For an extensive list of such prior writings, see the listing with links at the end of this article.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an article published in The Pelham Sun in 1927 that described the two fire districts that served the Town at that time as well as the fire fighting units within those fire districts.  The article provides excellent insight into the nature of fire fighting in our Town shortly before the onset of the Great Depression.  The text of the article is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"PELHAMS FINE FIRE SERVICE
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Two Special Districts Are Protected by Four Large Companies
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MOTORIZED SERVICE
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New Fire Headquarters Soon to Be Erected On Fifth Avenue
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For reasons of safety and convenience, the Pelhams are divided to form two fire districts.  One district includes the village of North Pelham.  The village of Pelham Manor forms fire district 3.

There are three companies in the first fire-district, namely:  the Relief Hook and Ladder company 1, Liberty Engine and Hose Company 1 and Hose Company 2.  Each company has a piece of up-to-date fire apparatus.  Two of these pieces are shown in the doorways of the fire headquarters on Fifth avenue, North Pelham, in a picture reproduced elsewhere in this section.  There is also shown in this edition, a picture taken years ago, of the old fire headquarters which now forms only a rear wing of the present building.  The board of fire commissioners, with A.G.C. Fletcher, Pelham architect, are now studying the final sketches for the new $100,000 firehouse on Fifth avenue, North Pelham, on the plot adjoining the present headquarters, which will be demolished as soon as the new building is erected.

Construction is expected to start early this year on the new headquarters.  With the increase in number of apartment houses in the first fire district, there has been talk among the fire commissioners regarding the coming necessity of an aerial truck for the fire department.  While this is a possible development for the future, the commissioners are taking precautions at the present time, by cooperating with the building department in the matter of providing ample fire escape facilities in large apartments.  

The board of fire commissioners meets at the North Pelham headquarters at the North Pelham headquarters every month, following company meetings.  Dr. Walter H. Brundage is chairman of the board, assisted by the following other officers:  Louis F. Edinger, secretary; Frederick Head, clerk; William F. Dollny, treasurer, and John F. Larkin, Louis F. Edinger, Walter B. Caffrey, and Harold W. Davis, fire commissioners.

The popularity of Fire Chief Dominic Amato is shown by the fact that he was elected unanimously to that post without the formality of having acted previously as a deputy chief.  Chief Amato, who has been a member of the Pelham fire department for nine years, was formerly second lieutenant of the Hook and Ladder company for four years, and first lieutenant for two years.  He has figured in two rescues at fires, the latest being that of his aged father-in-law, the late Julius Winter, in the recent fire at the Bloom building on Fifth avenue, North Pelham.  There are now 150 volunteer firemen and two paid drivers in the department, which has made great progress in the past year.

Joseph Carraher is first deputy chief of the first district department, and Robert Young, second deputy.  The officers of the Relief Hook and Ladder company are:  Charles Foster, president; James W. Caffrey, vice-president, William Dollny, treasurer; Henry Velon, recording secretary; William Hamilton, financial secretary; John Roggaveen, captain; William Carson, first lieutenant; Edward Sims, second lieutenant.  

The following are the officers of the Liberty Engine and Hose company:  William Hartwell, president; William Reilly, vice-president; Anthony Adamo, recording secretary; James Black, financial secretary; Robert Powers, treasurer; John Amato, captain; Robert Powers, first lieutenant; Edward Lange, second lieutenant; William Daull, sergeant-at-arms.

The Pelham Hose company 2 officers are:  J.C. Peck, captain and president; B.D. Jennings, lieutenant; Roy Passmore, secretary and treasufer.

The Pelham Manor fire headquarters and apparatus are also shown in a picture in this special Pelham section.  The apparatus is the newest, and the headquarters is part of the Pelham Manor village hall, a modern and handsome structure.  This department was organized 53 years ago, and since that time has passed from the fire-bucket stage, to its present up-to-date state.  Henry E. Dey, now tax collector for the town of Pelham, had much to do with the early firemanic history of the Manor fire department.  General departmental affairs are now handled by Village Trustee Elliot C. House, fire commissioner.  Cornelius Hickey is department treasurer.

Although there are two pieces of apparatus, consisting of the ladder truck and the pumper, there is but one company, the Pelham Manor Engine company 1, whose members man both pieces.

Anthony Galati is now serving in his second year as chief of the fire department, having been a member of the department for the past 17 years.  Charles B. Clark is first deputy chief, and John Flanagan, second deputy.  The company officers are:  S.J. Fisher, captain; William Templeton, first lieutenant; Arthur Fawcett, second lieutenant; Clyde Howes, president; A.R. Fawcett, secretary; Burgess B. Fields, treasurer.

A firemen's benevolent organization, the Pelham Firemen's association, was organized in the Pelhams on January 21, 1911.  The present membership consists of 85 men, who receive compensation according to the rules laid down by the organization.  The officers are:  John B. Clegg, present; M. J. Murphy, vice-president; William Dollny, financial secretary; Louis Epple, treasurer; Irving J. Wallach, secretary.  The directors of the association are J.B. Clegg, M.J. Murphy, H. King, William Dollny, William Edinger, I.J. Wallach, Dominic Amato, Stephen Ryan, and Louis Epple.

Baseball and basketball are among the activities engaged in by the Pelham first district firemen.  Last summer's baseball team was one of the leading teams in the county, and the basketball team this season bids fair to take county honors, having won 16 games and lost 5 to date.  In addition to the regular Friday night game on the North Pelham fire hall court, the Pelham firemen's quintet has played as many as four outside games in one week.  The firemen are leading contenders for the county championship, and the Pelham juniors have maintained a splendid record, in their preliminary contests on the local court.  Abe Zernoski and William Feilly are managers of the firemen's quintet."

Source:  PELHAMS FINE FIRE SERVICE, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jan. 19, 1927, Special Pelham Section, p. 8, cols. 1-2.  


Fire Headquarters in Village of North Pelham, 1913.
Source: The Pelham Sun, 1913.

*          *          *          *          *

Below is a list of prior Historic Pelham Blog postings that touch on firefighting and the history of fire fighting units within the Town of Pelham.

Fri., Jan. 24, 2014:  Early Days of Organized Fire Fighting in Today's Village of Pelham.

Fri., Jan. 15, 2010:  Photograph of Augustine C. McGuire, President of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the First District Fire Department in 1913.

Thu., Jan. 14, 2010:  1913 Report of the Firemen's Benevolent Association in Pelham.

Thu., Dec. 10, 2009:  More 19th Century Baseball and Firefighting References.

Tue., Dec. 08, 2009:  The Darling Triplets: Three Brothers Among Pelham's Earliest Firefighters.

Thu., Oct. 08, 2009:  Firefighting Units on City Island in Pelham During the Early 1890's.

Mon., Aug. 31, 2009:  Contest in 1891 To Determine Which Steam Fire Engine Company Could Throw a Stream the Greater Distance.

Fri., Aug. 28, 2009:  Reorganization of the Minneford Engine Company on City Island in February, 1891.

Thu., Aug. 06, 2009:  Brief History of the Fire Department in the Village of North Pelham Published in 1913.

Wed., Aug. 05, 2009:  Pelham Manor Fire Chief Pleads for Taxpayers to Authorize Purchase of Village's First Fire Engine.

Wed., July 15, 2009:  Liberty Hose Company Election in 1898.

Thu., Jan. 19, 2006:  Pelham Manor's Earliest Fire Fighting Equipment.

Mon., Aug. 01, 2005:  An 1896 Inspection and Drill of the Fire Department in Pelham.






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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Philip B. Schuyler and the Burning of the Schuyler Homestead in What Once was Part of Pelham in 1895


Philip B. Schuyler of the Town of Pelham was a grandson of General Philip John Schuyler of Revolutionary War fame.  He was the only child of John Bradstreet Schuyler and Elizabeth Van Rensaelaer Schuyler and inherited his grandfather's and father's famed estate in Old Saratoga, New York (i.e., Schuylerville).  

Philip B. Schuyler was born in Albany, New York on October 26, 1788 and died in Pelham on February 12, 1865.  Philip B. Schuyler married Grace Hunter, sister of John Hunter of Hunter's Island.  The couple lived for many years in the spectacular Schuyler home in Saratoga, New York until the Financial Panic of 1837 ruined Philip B. Schuyler.  He was forced to sell the family estate.  Thereafter he served for a time as the U.S. Consul in Liverpool, England until he was recalled in 1842.  He then settled with his wife in a beautiful brick mansion that he and his wife had built on what is known as "West Neck" not far from Bartow Station on the west side of the New Haven Branch Line tracks on which the Bartow Station sat.  While living in Pelham, Schuyler worked to rebuild his fortune through real estate investing.  Philip B. Schuyler and his wife, Grace, were friends of such notables as General Lafayette and U.S. President Martin Van Buren.  

Grace Hunter Schuyler died in the home on West Neck on December 24, 1855.  Philip B. Schuyler died in the home on February 12, 1865.  The home remained occupied by Schuyler family members until about the late 1880's or the early 1890's when it was abandoned.  The home burned to the ground in the early morning hours on Wednesday, November 6, 1895.



Detail of 1881 Map of the Town of Pelham Showing
The Schuyler Estate and Mansion at Lower Left of Detail.
Source:  Bromley, George Washington & Bromley, Walter Scott, 
"Town of Pelham, (With) Pelham-Manor. (From Actual
Surveys and Official Records by G.W. Bromley & Co., Civil Engineers,
Published by Geo. W. & Walter S. Bromley, 1881)" in Atlas of Westchester
County, New York, From Actual Surveys and Official Records, Pp. 56-57
(Washington, D.C.: G.W. Bromley & Co. 1881).


Philip B. Schuyler, 19th Century Resident of Pelham.
Source:  Brandow, John Henry, The Story of Old Saratoga and 
History of Schuylerville, pp. 305 
(Albany, NY:  Fort Orange Press - Brandow Printing Company, 1900). 





Grace Hunter Schuyler, Wife of Philip B. Schuyler 
and 19th Century Resident of Pelham.
Source:  Brandow, John Henry, The Story of Old Saratoga and 
History of Schuylerville, p. 303
(Albany, NY:  Fort Orange Press - Brandow Printing Company, 1900).

Below is a brief biography of Philip B. Schuyler published in 1900.  It is quoted in full, followed by a citation to its source.

"PHILIP SCHUYLER, 2D.

Philip Schuyler, 2d, was seven years of age when his father, John Bradstreet [Schuyler], died.  His grandfather, the General, was appointed his guardian, who first placed him in a school on Staten Island, under the charge of Dr. Moore, afterwards Bishop of Virginia, and later he was sent to Columbia College.  During his collegiate course he lived in New York, and for part of the time in the family of his talented uncle, Alexander Hamilton; a rare privilege, that, for a young man in the formative period of his life.

Philip Schuyler, 2d, selected for his wife Miss Grace Hunter, sister of Hon. John Hunter, of Hunter's Island, N.Y.  They were married in New York, September 12th, 1811.  She was a beautiful and lovable woman, and she willingly left the charms of city life for the quiet scenes and more romantic life in the old historic home at Saratoga.[Footnote 135 - '135  Most of the above facts relating to J. Bradstreet, and Philip Schuyler, 2nd, were taken from the Schuyler MSS., in possession of Miss Fanny Schuyler, of Pelham-on-Sound.']

Being an only child, Philip inherited so much of the Saratoga estate as fell to his father, which ran for three miles along the Hudson River.  He also inherited from his father and grandfather a large measure of their public spirit, which manifested itself through an active interest in anything that tended to promote the public welfare, multiply common luxuries for the people, or increase the comforts of living.  He was an enthusiastic promoter of inland navigation, or the canal projects, which so stirred the public mind of this State from 1807 to 1825, at which latter date both the Champlain and Erie canals had been completed.  

It was through his influence that the great canal basin was built at Schuylerville and also the slip or back-set from the basin to the rear of the mills; and to guard against the evils of stagnant water he obtained a perpetual grant to tap the end of the slip and use the water for running a mill; the sawmill now operated by Mr. G. Edward Laing gets its power from this source.  This is the only place where the State allows water to be drawn from the canals to furnish power for a private enterprise.  This franchise was secured not only for sanitary reasons, but as part pay for the right to pass through Mr. Schuyler's estate.

He early became interested in cotton manufacture, and erected here at Schuylerville the second cotton mill in the State of New York -- the old Horicon, which still stands, though somewhat enlarged, as a monument to his enterprise.  

In 1822 his fellow citizens sent him to represent them as Assemblyman in the New York Legislature.  

Philip Schuyler, 2d, and his charming wife maintained the ancient family reputation for hospitality.  So long as a Schuyler lived here open house was kept for every one who could formulate a decent excuse for crossing their threshold.  During the summer season the old house was usually thronged with guests from everywhere, among which were sure to be a goodly sprinkling of notables of every type.

VISIT OF LAFAYETTE

Perhaps during the whole stretch of the nineteenth century the Schuyler mansion was never more highly honored than by the visit of the marquis de Lafayette, the friend of Washington, the one Frenchman who made the greatest sacrifices for American liberty.  On his last visit here, in 1824, he was voted the nation's guest, and was everywhere lionized and feted as no foreigner since has been.  Though it was quite out of his way, he could not resist turning aside to visit the old Saratoga home of General Schuyler, whom he had greatly loved, and the scene of the humiliation of one proud army of France's ancient foe.

Such details of this interesting visit have been preserved we here give verbatim from a manuscript in possession of Miss Fanny Schuyler of Pelham-on-Sound, N.Y., a daughter of Philip Schuyler, 2d. 136 [Footnote 136:  'The facts which the MSS. preserve were given to her by her eldest sister, Ruth, now, 1900, 88 years of age.']  

'The general came in the coach-and-four which my father had sent to convey him from the town beyond.  His son, who was with him, had a round face and wore gold spectacles.  His secretary and another gentleman filled a second carriage.  Lafayette received the villagers, who had assembled on the lawn in front of the house, with very courteous bows, and spoke some appreciative words. 

'Being greatly fatigued from his journey, Lafayette was shown into the guest chamber (on the southeast corner, first floor) where, having stretched himself on the bed, he slept for several hours.  After a collation was served, and before his departure, he stepped to the sideboard, and while resting one arm on its polished surface, with the other poured a glass of Madeira, which he drank to the health of 'the four generations of Schuylers he had known' -- the fourth generation was represented by his hosts three little daughters (Ruth, Elizabeth and Grace).  Just as he was about to depart, Lafayette lifted little Grace Schuyler up in his arms and kissed her.  Afterwards, being asked how she liked General Lafayette, she said:  'I don't like that man, 'his face pricked me.' ' 137  [Footnote 137:  '137  The above-mentioned mahogany brass-mounted sideboard, together with the high-post bedstead on which Lafayette slept, are now in possession of the family, at Pelham-on-Sound, in the house occupied by Miss Fanny Schuyler there, as are also many other interesting pieces of furniture once used by Gen. Philip Schuyler, including a mirror, which is known to have reflected the faces of most of the Revolutionary notables, among which may be mentioned General Burgoyne and his suite; also General Schuyler's silver spurs, pocket sun-dial, gold pen and pencil case, double-cased gold-embossed watch, silver-mounted pistol -- all used in his military campaigns.  A high, mahogany hall clock, French white marble and gilt parlor clock, white silk vest, embroidered in gilt thread, etc., are also in possession of the family there.']

HOSPITALITY OF THE SCHUYLERS

Quite early in the century Saratoga Springs became the most popular, indeed the one fashionable watering place in America.  Thither the blooded aristocracy, the merchant princes, the leaders in fashion and politics, flocked from all parts of the States.  One of the most popular drives in those days for those who had the entree of the mansion was from the Springs to Old Saratoga (Schuylerville).

Dinner parties were frequently given here by the Schuylers at the then fashionable hour of three or four o'clock;  the guests returning to the Springs in the early evening.  Among such, one might mention Martin Van Buren, President of the United States, who had become a warm personal friend of Philip Schuyler, 2d, accompanied by his popular son, 'Prince John,' as he was then called.

DEPARTURE OF THE SCHUYLERS

But changes came to the old homestead [in Saratoga] at last.  Perhaps the worst financial panic in our nation's history was that of 1837.  Commerce and manufactures were prostrate; hundreds of wealthy mercantile houses in every quarter of the country suddenly found themselves bankrupt, and the crash was consummated when the banks universally suspended specie payments.  Philip Schuyler, like thousands of others, was caught in this financial whirlwind and swamped.  To meet his obligations, the ancestral estate was sold.

President Van Buren ere long, having need of a man of Schuyler's calibre in an important position, unsolicited, sent him as consul to the port of Liverpool, England.  No better selection could have been made, if we can accept the judgment of the English press.  For example, the Liverpool Courier of June 1, 1842, has this to say, when it became known that Mr. Schuyler had been recalled:

'Among other removals we regret to announce that of Philip Schuyler, Esq., the late consul of this port.  The United States never had, nor never can have, a more efficient officer than that gentleman to represent their great nation; for besides the official capacities which are indispensable to the fulfillment of the multifarious duties of a consulate, he possessed in an eminent degree the no less necessary and agreeable faculty of ingratiating himself into the respect and esteem of our people.  Circumstances led us on several occasions to know these facts, and we feel it our duty, as it is our pleasure, to record them.'

He was recalled by President Tyler for purely party reasons, and that after he had been orally assured by him that he would be retained at the post.  

After his return from England, Mr. Schuyler was at one time on the point of repurchasing his old home and returning to Schuylerville [i.e., Old Saratoga]; but as their son John was in New York preparing for college, Mrs. Schuyler preferred to remain near him and so the project was abandoned.  They finally built a new house on a fine site, including seventy acres of land, at Pelham-on-Sound, a favorite residence of New Yorkers, and within easy distance of the city.  

As an indication that he retained an undying affection for the home of his fathers and the scenes of his boyhood, and that he was held in highest esteem by his neighbors, we here insert a paragraph from a letter of one of his daughters to the writer:

'One of my childish remembrances is a visit with my father to Schuylerville, on his return from England, when an ovation was tendered him in the evening, a serenade given and speeches made by the leading men of the place.  And there, surrounded by his early friends, and many of his former stalwart workmen, as he stood among them once more the tears coursed down his face, as well as down many other faces about him.  On another occasion, when present there, as one of the committee, with the Hon. Hamilton Fish, to select the position for the Saratoga monument, his son-in-law, Charles de Luze, Esq., of New York, who was also present, again saw him brushing away tears as he gazed over the old familiar scenes of his childhood.'

The departure of the Schuylers was an irreparable loss to the commercial, social and religious interests of Schuylerville.  In short, we have ever since had 'Hamlet' with Hamlet left out. 138  [Footnote 138:  '138  Grace Hunter, wife of Philip Schuyler, 2nd, died at Pelham-on-Sound, December 24, 1855.  Philip Schuyler died at the same place, February 12, 1865.']"

Source:  Brandow, John Henry, The Story of Old Saratoga and History of Schuylerville, pp. 302-310 (Albany, NY:  Fort Orange Press - Brandow Printing Company, 1900).  

The home that Philip B. Schuyler and his wife Grace Hunter Schuyler built 
"SCHUYLER HOMESTEAD BURNED.
-----
A Fine Structure It Was, Built in the Style of the Olden Time.

The old brick mansion in Pelham Bay Park, which was owned and occupied by the late Philip Schuyler, grandson of Philip Schuyler of Revolutionary times, was burned Wednesday morning before daylight.  The place was commonly known as the old Schuyler homestead.  It was on property that belongs to the City of New York.

The house was large and mansively built of brick.  It was very handsomely finished inside.  It had been unoccupied of late years and the gutters had become leaky and the piazzas dilapidated.

The house stood a little way from Bartow station on the Suburban branch of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.  It was built on the site of the old house occupied by John Pell [NOTE:  No evidence this is accurate], grandson of John Lord Pell.  The locality is known as West Neck, a narrow strip of land rising from Pelham Bay on one side and salt meadows in the other side.  

The house burned like tinder and made a fine show for a few moments.  Showers of sparks rose high above the oak groves and burning embers were sucked up by the draught and fell, still blazing, among the trees.  The entire scene was pictured in the waters of the bay.  The park policeman who discovered the fire was powerless to do anything, and watched the old house burn.

The portions of the brick walls left standing show their peculiar structure.  Every other course of bricks was laid with the ends of the bricks outward.  This mode of building was common many years ago.  The Pell house, which stood originality on the site of the Schuyler house, was moved back a long time ago and turned into a stable.  There are fifty-six buildings in Pelham Bay Park.  There is but one policeman to look after the entire property at night.  The origin of this fire is not known."

Source:  SCHUYLER HOMESTEAD BURNED, New Rochelle Pioneer [New Rochelle, NY], Nov. 9, 1895, Vol. XXXV, No. 33, p. 5, col. 1.  See also OLD SCHUYLER HOMESTEAD BURNED, N.Y. Times, Nov. 7, 1895 (nearly identical text).  


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