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, September 23, 2015

Yet Another Tale of Buried Treasure in the Town of Pelham

Likely due to the storied history of our town, there are a surprising number of legends and stories about buried treasure, forgotten treasure, and found treasure in our region.  For a few of many such tales, see:

Thu., Aug. 20, 2015:  Pre-Revolutionary War Pewter Plates Were Discovered in Pelham in 1938.

Mon., Jan. 26, 2015:  Hidden Treasure that Once Belonged to the Father of John Hunter of Hunter's Island in Pelham Found in a Discarded Chest in the 19th Century.

Thu., Feb. 19, 2015:  Another Account of Gold and Silver Treasure Found in a Pelham Manor Backyard in 1889.

Wed., Jun. 11, 2014:  Buried Treasure Off the Shores of Pelham: The Legend of Pirate's Treasure.

Wed., Oct. 14, 2009:  1879 News Account Provides Additional Basis for Some Facts Underlying Ghost Story of Old Stone House in Pelhamville (tells legend that Mrs. James Parish hid gold on the grounds of the home).

Mon., Apr. 06, 2009:  Paper Recounts Burial of the Bell of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester To Save it from the British During the Revolutionary War.

Mon., May 01, 2006:  The Legend of the Recovery of Pirate's Treasure on an Island Off Pelham.

Mon., May 16, 2005:  The Discovery of a Gold and Silver Treasure in the Backyard of a Pelham Home in 1889.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog recounts yet another local legend regarding buried treasure.  Indeed, this legend has ghostly overtones and might otherwise be more appropriate for a Halloween posting.

It seems that in 1930, the owners of Pelhamdale (also known as "Pelham Dale" and "the old Pell House"), a home on the National Register of Historic Places located at 45 Iden Avenue, entertained a few guests at the home.  Much of the evening's conversation regarded the history of the pre-Revolutionary War home and a legend that its owners hurriedly buried their treasure to keep it from falling into the hands of the British, Germans, and marauders who roamed the area during the "Neutral Ground" years.

As the evening progressed, they dimmed the lights and pulled out a Ouija Board.  All were shocked when "a psychic message was received via" the Oija Board that "called upon some of those present to go to the north end of the building and dig" where "an arrow would be found pointing to the hidden box of gold."

The partiers laughed and enjoyed themselves until it was time for the guests to depart.  According to the local newspaper, however, no sooner had the guests departed than a shovel was located and "digging commenced."

As the owners dug near the north end of the building, they located what looked like an arrow, just as the spirit had said it would be found.  At that point, the digging became "feverish," according to the newspaper.  About four feet below the surface, the owners struck something and excitedly unearthed a box.

The newspaper story below contains the entire account, and recounts what was in the box.

"Tales of Three Villages

Part of the Trade.

With interest centered on the preservation of the old Pell House, it is interesting to recall that the original deed to the Pells was obtained from the Town of New Rochelle [sic], and one of its provisions was that each year a calf should be slaughtered and a feast provided for Lord Pell.  It is a long time since a calf of that variety has been seen in the neighborhood of the Pell House.
*     *     *
There is, of course, the usual legend of treasure buried to prevent it falling into the hands of British soldiers during Revolutionary days.  The story is told that while the legend was being discussed before some guests of the present occupants, a psychic message was received via that great old-fashioned institution -- the ouija board.  It called upon some of those present to go to the north end of the building and dig.
*     *     *
Such Treasure.

No sooner had the guests departed, than a shovel was requisitioned, and digging commenced.  According to the message an arrow would be found pointing to the hidden box of gold.  (The arrow was located, and digging became feverish.  About four feet under ground a box was found.  But the story ends miserably for the box was empty."

Source:  Tales of Three Villages, The Pelham Sun, Oct. 17, 1930, Vol. 21, No. 29, p. 2, col. 2.  

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