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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Football and Tennis Star George Adee Lived In Pelham

During the final decades of the 19th century, there was an area in the Town of Pelham known as Bartow (also known as Bartow-on-the-Sound, Bartow Village, and Bartow Station).  Bartow was a quaint and tiny settlement located on the mainland near City Island.  The settlement sprang up around the railroad station serving City Island that was built on the Branch Line that opened in late December, 1873.  The entire area -- as well as City Island -- was annexed by New York City in 1895, effective in 1896. Before then, however, Bartow became an important part of Pelham and its history.

One notable Bartow resident during the 1890s was George Adee.  At the time, Adee was a college All-American quarterback at Yale who attracted national attention as a celebrity athlete.  He later became a champion tennis star and tennis administrator who was named to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

1894 Mayo's Cut Plug Tobacco Trading Card No. 2 Featuring
College Football Player George Adee of Yale.  Source:
Wikipedia.  NOTE:  Click on Link to Enlarge.

George Townsend Adee was born January 4, 1874 in Stonington, Connecticut.  He was a son of George Augustus Adee (b. Apr. 11, 1847; d. Aug. 12, 1908) and Adelaide Palmer Stanton (b. Aug. 18, 1844; d. 1931).  By the age of six, George Townsend Adee had moved with his family to the town of Westchester (now part of the Bronx, but then in lower Westchester County, New York).  

He attended the Harrington School in Westchester.  At about this time, his family moved to Bartow in the Town of Pelham.  Adee's father, George Augustus Adee, long had been involved with the Country Club at Pelham located at Bartow.  He was a notable real estate lawyer and yachtsman.   When the Country Club at Pelham moved to Throgg's Neck in the late 1880s, George Augustus Adee (who was described as the "boating expert of the club"), supervised the construction of a "very substantial dock and float" to assure at least seven feet of water at low tide at the new club location on Throgg's Neck.  

Members of the So-Called "Fleeing Club" Who Fled The City
Whenever Possible to Enjoy Themselves.  Photograph Taken
in 1898.  Left to Right:  George Augustus Adee, Father of
George Townsend Adee, Julian Curtis, Otto Bannard (President
of New York Trust), Henry James, William Milo Barnum (Founder
of Simpson, Thacher & Barnum, Now Known as Simpson Thacher
& Bartlett LLP), and Thomas Thacher (Name Partner of Simpson
Thacher & Bartlett).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

George Townsend Adee attended Yale University during the mid-1890s.  Quite an athlete, Adee became a star quarterback for the Yale Football Team (1892-1894) and made the Whitney-Camp All-America team in 1894.  That honor earned Adee a card (Card No. 2) in the 1894 Mayo's Cut Plug Tobacco Card trading set (see image above).  While at Yale, Adee was also a celebrated oarsman on the Crew team and served as Team Manager as well.  From 1895 to 1911 (excepting his service service in the Spanish American War), Adee coached quarterbacks part-time for Yale and became an active member of the Yale Football Association and various Yale alumni associations for much of his life.

George Townsend Adee served as a private in the New York Volunteer Cavalry during the Puerto Rico Expedition of the Spanish American War in 1898.  He continued his military service during World War I, attending Officer Training Camp in Plattsburg, New York and serving as a commissioned infantry Major in the United States Army.  He served in the American Expeditionary Forces under Blackjack Pershing in France in 1917 and fought in the Battle of Saint Miheil and the Meuse-Argone Offensive.

Major George Townsend Adee in an Undated Photograph Taken
in About 1917 or 1918.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.  

After his graduation from college, George Townsend Adee joined the investment banking and brokerage firm of Culyer, Morgan & Co.  In 1899 he left the firm and formed the partnership Batcheller & Adee (1899-1905) operating on the New York Curb Exchange (a predecessor to AMEX).  He reformed the partnership as Batcheller, Adee & Rawlins operating on the New York Stock Exchange and continued working as an investment banker for the remainder of his life.

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, Adee became an outstanding tennis player.  He played in the United States Championships six times (1903-1909).  Thereafter, he became passionately involved with the sport and rose through administrative ranks to serve as President of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association from 1916 until 1919.  He became Chairman of the United States Davis Cup Committee, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association Amateur Rules Committee, and held other notable administrative positions in the sport of tennis.  Adee was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum for such endeavors.  

Even after Bartow was annexed from Pelham to become part of the Bronx, George Townsend Adee and his family remained for a time and are even reflected as residing in the Bronx in the 1900 United States Census.  The 1910 United States Census reflects George Townsend Adee living with his mother, an older sister, and two "servants" in The Knickerbocker Apartments at 247 Fifth Avenue at 28th Street in New York City.  The 1930 United States Census shows Adee living with his 85-year-old mother in an apartment in the building located at 50 East 58th Street in New York City.  

George Townsend Adee received an honorary degree from Yale in 1931.  Throughout his life he was an active sportsman who enjoyed sailing, shooting, tennis, and golf.  He was fond of opera and was a Republican and an Episcopalian.  Adee died in New York City on July 31, 1948.  

To read more about George Adee, see:

"George Adee" in Wikipedia:  The Free Encyclopedia (visited Jul. 17, 2016).  

"George Adee" in International Tennis Hall of Fame (visited Jul. 17, 2016).

*          *          *          *          *

(From Our Correspondent.)


-- Mr. Henry Castrop, the hotel keeper, and wife of this place have gone to Germany for the winter.

-- Mrs. Hogan a widow who has lived in this place for more than fifteen years, has moved to New York City.

-- The schooner Clara Waples which ran into Pelham Bridge some weeks ago has been newly fitted out and she looks as good as new.

-- An unknown man from New Rochelle went on the ice in Turtle Cove, on Saturday last, spearing eels and fell through the ice and was drowned.

-- Louis Ritter of Pelham Bridge has got the contract from the Riverside Steamboat Company to light the red light on Buck rock for the winter.

-- The Tallappoise Fishing Club has closed its summer home at Pelham Bridge, and opened their winter house at 150th street and Third avenue.

-- Mr. Barker of New York, a stockholder in the New York Central, has hired Goose Island from the Park Department and stocked it with water fowl.

-- Jos. Schock who found the body of the drowned man in East Chester Creek has received a reward of fifty dollars from the family of the deceased.

-- George Adee, champion quarterback football player on the Yale team arrived at his home in Bartow Wednesday night, for the first time since the season began.

-- The Westchester County Electric Light Company have got permission from the Park Department to put the electric light through the park.  It will not make driving very pleasant in the park in the evening.

-- At the last meeting of the Pelham Park Board it was decided to discharge the sixty men who have been employed in the park all summer and fifteen teams.  There are but one team and five men in service now. . . ."

Source:  NEWS FROM OUR ENVIRONS . . . BARTOW, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jan. 12, 1895, p. 8, col. 4.  

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