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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Obituaries of Jacob Heisser, a Pelhamville Pioneer and First Village President of the Village of North Pelham

Jacob Heisser and his father, Andrew Heisser, were pioneers of Pelhamville in the area that eventually became the Village of North Pelham.  The Heisser family had a farm that extended from today's Lincoln Avenue northward to today's Chester Park and eastward to the New Rochelle boundary with an additional large tract on the west side of today's Fifth Avenue.  The Heisser farm and the Anthony Wolf farm comprised much of the land of the tract that became the Village of North Pelham.

Although his father bought the Heisser farmlands in 1845, Jacob and his family did not move to Pelhamville until about 1861 when Jacob was about thirteen years old.  Jacob became a grocer and one of the most respected citizens in Pelhamville.  He centered his grocer business at the intersection of today's Lincoln and Fifth Avenues.  Over the course of his career he built three successive grocery buildings on three of the four corners at that intersection.  His grocery served as an unofficial gathering place for the residents of Pelhamville.

Jacob Heisser believed in public service and eventually served as the first President of the Village of North Pelham when the village was incorporated in 1896.  He also served as assessor of the Town of Pelham for a number of years and was heavily involved in Relief Hook and Ladder Company, the Board of Fire Commissioners of the First Fire District, and the Exempt Firemen's Association.  Among the many public improvements that Jacob Heisser oversaw were improvements to the area's sanitation services, lamplights for the streets, and the paving of many streets.  

I have written about Jacob Heisser before.  See, e.g.:

Tue., Apr. 15, 2014:  Notes on the Early History of Pelhamville by Jacob Heisser Published in 1927 After Heisser's Death.   

Wed., Sep. 23, 2009:  Jacob Heisser's Summary of the Early History of Pelhamville Published in 1913.

Jacob Heisser lived at 231 Sixth Avenue at the time of his death on Sunday, August 29, 1926.  Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an obituary and two memorials that appeared in the local newspaper after Heisser's death.  Each is followed by a citation to its source.

Jacob Heisser in an Undated Photograph.
Source: The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], 
Jan. 19, 1927, Special Pelham Section, p. 9, col. 2.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

"Jacob Heisser First Village President Of North Pelham Dies
Passed Away on Sunday After Suffering Stroke on Friday Afternoon

Failing to rally from a stroke which he suffered on Friday afternoon, Jacob Heisser, well-known resident of North Pelham died at his home 231 Sixth avenue on Sunday.  He was 78 years old.  Funeral services took place at his late home on Tuesday evening.  Interment at Beechwood on Wednesday.

Born in New York, Mr. Heisser came to North Pelham sixty-five years ago, North Pelham at that time consisted of two farms, the Heisser and Wolf properties, the former being owned by Mr. Heisser's father who first came to Pelham in 1845.

He engaged in the grocery business building a small store on the east side of Fifth avenue just above Fourth street.  This burned down and Mr. Heisser then built the store at the southwest corner of Fifth avenue and Fourth street, which was afterward sold to William Edinger when Mr. Heisser decided to erect a brick building at the northwest corner of Fifth avenue and Fourth street.

He was an active worker for the incorporation of the village of North Pelham and had the satisfaction of seeing his plans materialize in 1896 when he was elected first village president.  Mr. Heisser retired from active business seventeen years ago but until quite recently maintained his interest in real estate matters.  He was a charter member and for many years treasurer of Relief Hook and Ladder Company, and treasurer of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the First Fire District, holding that office until retiring  in favor of the present incumbent William Dollny.  He also served as treasurer of the Exempt Firemen's Association.  For many years he was assessor of the Town of Pelham and did much toward installing the standardized method of assessment on town properties.  

He is survived by five children:  Andrew, Mary, Violet, Rachel (Mrs. Walter Barker), and Elsie (Mrs. Elmer Davis.)  Four grandchildren.  Winifred, Walter and Iren Barker and Elmer Davis Jr. also survive.  Mrs. Heisser died about two years ago.

As a mark of respect to his memory the flag at the Town Hall was lowered to half mast.  Village President Thomas J. James, Trustees Edward Dillon, Edward Harder, Joseph Lawler, Village Attorney Lambert, Village Clerk R. C. Smith and former Village Presidents William Edinger and Michael J. Lynch with Fire Chief D. Amato, Deputy Chiefs Josepoh Carraher and Robert Young and a delegation of forty members of Relief Hook and Ladder Company and the Firemen's Association attended the funeral services which were conducted by Rev. Herbert H. Brown of the Church of the Redeemer."

Source:  Jacob Heisser First Village President Of North Pelham Dies, The Pelham Sun, Sep. 3, 1926, p. 6, cols. 1-4.


A pioneer of North Pelham passed to the Great Beyond on Sunday in the person of Jacob Heisser, an example of the sturdy, thrifty citizen who led an orderly well planned life, a large portion of which was devoted to public service.

Jacob Heisser lived 65 years in North Pelham and saw it grow from a farming community to a thriving suburban town.  He aided materially in its progress, as its first village president, as an official of its fire department and as an assessor of property in the town.  He was one of the earnest workers for the incorporation of the village of North Pelham when he realized that the growth of the community was such that it was better for its residents that a civic government be organized so that unity of action could bring about needed improvements in sanitation, street paving and lighting.

As the village grew so that many of its residents remained strangers to each other, Mr. Heisser was not the prominent figure he was in his younger days but he maintained his interest in the development as he did in the days when every resident of the village knew his fellow.

Of him it may be said he was a worthy citizen, respected in his community, honored by his fellow men.  He was head of a highly respected family, and during his lifetime amassed considerable wealth so that in his later years he was able to enjoy the fruits of his earlier thrift and business sagacity.  A fine citizen, many will mourn his passing."

Source:  JACOB HEISSERThe Pelham Sun, Sep. 3, 1926, p. 2, col. 1.

"Around the Town

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The passing of Jacob Heisser, who had lived in North Pelham longer than any other resident, called to mind many stories of the early days of the village.  Fifty years ago Williamsbridge was the point where hay and feed were procured for North Pelham farmers.  A horse and wagon would drive down one day and return the day following!  Kerosene lamps were the only form of street lighting in the early 90's and before that hand lanterns were carried.  Heisser's store was a regular cross-roads establishment.

*     *     *

Andrew Heisser, father of Jacob Heisser, came to Pelham 80 years ago.  His farm comprised all the land from Fourth street north to Chester Park east to the New Rochelle city line and a large tract on the west side of Fifth avenue.  In 1907 the Hudson P. Rose Company developed and sold most of the property above Fourth street on the east side and the Pelhamville Land and Homestead Association developed the westerly side of the avenue.  The other portion of North Pelham was the Wolf Far.  The Wolf homestead stood about where the Tierney lunch wagon is now."

Source:  Around the TownThe Pelham Sun, Sep. 3, 1926, p. 2, col. 1.

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