The Chicago Tribune Lampooned Coaching to Pelham in 1884
In 1876 a horse-drawn road coach named the "Tally Ho" and known informally as “The Pelham Coach” began running between New York City’s Hotel Brunswick and the “Pelham Manor” of yore. This road coach was not a simple hired coach that ferried passengers between New York City and Pelham Manor. Rather, this road coach was driven by Colonel Delancey Astor Kane, one of the so-called “millionaire coachmen,” who engaged in a sport known as “public coaching” or “road coaching” as it sometimes was called.
The purpose of the sport was to rush the carriage between designated points on a specified schedule and to maintain that schedule rigorously. Colonel Delancey Astor Kane became quite famous for his handling of The Pelham Coach, a bright canary yellow coach that was cheered along its route from the Hotel Brunswick in New York City to Pelham Bridge.
Col. Delancey Astor Kane and the Pelham Coach made Pelham famous and played a critical role in shaping the nation's perception of Pelham as a playground of the rich and famous during the 19th century, just as the Town was beginning to grow explosively as a suburb of New York City. People seemed to love the pageantry and excitement of the canary yellow Pelham Coach, pulled by four grand horses, racing through the streets of New York City and across the countryside. Countless newspaper and magazine accounts describe crowds gathering at the Hotel Brunswick and along the streets to cheer the coach as it departed, arrived, or passed.
Yet, within a short time, some tired of the spectacle. Some viewed the daily travels of the coach, in season, as a pointless exercise intended more to bring attention to Col. Delancey Kane and the various other mutton-chop millionaires who formed the Coaching Club of New York City and occasionally drove the Pelham Coach and other such sporting coaches in our region.
Within a few years, some New Yorkers began to taunt and harass the various sporting coaches. Indeed, I have written before of such incidents as the one in 1886, when a prankster hired four mules and hitched them to an English-style coach with a gaudily-dressed crew. On the first trip of the Tantivy Coach to Pelham driven by Frederic Bronson that year from the Hotel Brunswick to the Country Club at Pelham, the mules pulled in behind the Tantivy as it rumbled over the streets of New York City and followed it as crowds along the roads roared with jeers and laughter, thoroughly humiliating the Tantivy, its coachmen, and passengers. See Wed., Sep. 28, 2005: Taunting the Tantivy Coach on its Way to Pelham: 1886.
Col. Delancey Kane and his Tally-Ho to Pelham were not immune from such taunts. Indeed, it seems that an earlier such incident involving the Tally-Ho to Pelham may have inspired the prank that humiliated the Tantivy in 1886. In fact, this earlier incident involving the Tally-Ho so thoroughly humiliated Col. Delancey Kane that he reportedly became ill and temporarily abandoned his beloved sport of coaching in New York choosing, instead, to pursue the sport in London during the following year (1883).
The incident, it seems, turned out to be a brilliant stroke of marketing by a soap seller who sought to make fun of the Tally-Ho while bringing attention to its soap products. One report described the incident that occurred in about 1882 in terms offensive to our sensibilities today:
"All went merry as a marriage-bell, till suddenly the Devil appeared to trouble our stage-driving aristocracy. He took the form of a four-horse coach almost exactly like the 'Tallyho' and 'Tantivy' which stood waiting for them when they came trotting down in the afternoon. This device of the Evil One lay in wait at the Central Park. It even outdid the two other coaches in genteel splendor. It was driven by two liveried negroes in high white hats and two other children of Ham similarly attired sat upright and perched high behind. They wore very high collars, and on these was the strange device '----- Soap.' When either the Pelham or the Yonkers coach came along the soap concern turned right in behind it and followed it down Fifth avenue and through the city, and when the professional guards on the real coach would sound their stirring horns the colored tooters blew an answering blast. Forrest was thrown into a fever once by seeing the negro minstrels caricature his Virginius. So did the African imitation annoy Col. Kane. It made him sick and nervous, and his doctor ordered him off the road. He left. The 'Tallyho' was withdrawn, no doubt to the great chagrin of the gorgeous advertising dodge, and soon thereafter Mr. Roosevelt ceased to play the Jehu." (See transcription of text of the full article below).
As the incident involving the Tally-Ho to Pelham suggests, by the early to mid-1880s, there were many critics who viewed the sport of coaching as a decadent display of the excesses of an out-of-touch wealthy class to be taunted, not admired. The Chicago Tribune seemed to adhere to this view. Indeed, in a lengthy article published on June 8, 1884, the newspaper lampooned the "Swell Drivers" and labeled Col. Delancey Kane and his sport of coaching a bunch of "English Society Nonsense."
The lengthy article by The Chicago Tribune is significant not only because it documents much of the early history of the sport of coaching in America, but it also included amusing caricatures of a number of the important millionire coachmen including Col. Delancey Astor Kane, Pierre Lorillard, Col. William Jay, Leonard Jerome, Lawrence Jerome, and August Belmont.
The article is well worth a read, rather than just serving as research documentation for today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog!
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The New York Coaching Club and the Characteristics of Its Members.
Col. De Lancey Kane and His Following of English Society Nonsense.
Pierre Lorillard, Leonard Jerome, August Belmont, Col. William Jay, and the Rest of the Boys.
NEW YORK, June 5. -- [Special Correspondence.] -- The New York Coaching Club, which has just had its spring parade with an uncommon flourish of trumpets and flash of rainbow hues, is an exotic -- and English institution transplanted (in rather thin soil) to our shores. By this characterization of the sort of soil in which it is set out I do not mean to depreciate either the character or the ability of the gentlemen who are trying to dig about the foreign plant and nourish it, but only to allude to the small motive for its being.
And before referring specifically to this let me say that the whole tendency of New York society of the present time is unmistakably English. As London in the days of Addison mimicked the French, so does Fifth avenue now delight in bowing down in servile deference to Regent's Park and Rotten Row. It imitates the English walk and the English talk, the way the Englishman dresses his butler, and the way he constructs his sentences. The fast and fashionable set who centre at the Hotel Brunswick even keep their hats on when riding up on the elevator with ladies because the English do it -- forgetting that boorishness is scarcely a thing for fashion to approve, even though the Prince of Wales lead off for it.
These people are not all dudes and dudines by any means; they have generally some sense, as well as much money; they do not suck the heads of their canes or turn their elbows out, and at least half of them lead reputable lives. But they say 'Good gwacious! Oughtn't the English to know best how to speak the English language elegantly?' So they allude to the 'nawsty, beastly weather,' and they intone their sentences to the Pall Mall inflection. They ape English manners in every way. There is not a bit of originality or manly independence in what calls itself high society in this city today.
These people are generally snobs and toadies. They 'wegwet' that they were born this side the ocean. They admit that Americans have no rights which English are bound to recognize. They do not believe in a republican form of government. They wish we had a nobility. They have no respect for real work or workers. And every year they are drawing closer the lines of exclusiveness and ordering out of their society everybody who is 'in twade.' No active merchant, be he ever so wealthy or worthy, is tolerated in New York upper-ten-dom today -- though his children may sometime be, if they lie low, refuse to do any useful work, and say as little as possible about where they got their money.
So after polo had become acclimated the coaching was imported from England. Its origin is due primarily to Col. De Lancey Kane, who was in England in 1877, and took part in the coaching there. He joined other gentlemen drivers in driving swell coaches out from Charing Cross to the suburbs and back. He procured a stylish turnout, and being a wealthy and fine-looking man, an enthusiastic lover of horses, and a good driver, his was one of the most prominent of the London coaches that season. They drove in all sorts of weather, never losing a trip, and as they carried whoever wanted to ride at about double fare it seemed quite like a revival of the old stage coach days.
Returning here he broached the matter at the clubs, and immediately found others who wanted to hang on to the tail of the English kite -- notably Col. William Jay, August Belmont, and Fairman Rogers of Philadelphia.
They imported coaches and harness from Englan, and Col. Jay began the first season by running a coach out to Pelham and back every day -- fourteen miles up towards Connecticut. It was started in May, and at the initial parade their were eight members and six coaches, five being for private use only.
Col. Jay's venture was a great success, and was followed the next year by Col. De Lancey Kane, who ran the 'Tallyho' over the same route. A fixed charge of $3 a seat, up and back, was made, and the 'Tallyho' went full every day. It was an institution of democratic aristocracy. Anybody could ride who engaged a seat in advance and paid the regular fare. Kane became a sort of society Weller. [NOTE: A reference to the fictional character of Sam Weller in Charles Dickens' "The Pickwick Paper," who served as Mr. Pickwick's personal servant and travel companion.]. He enjoyed the trips for they afforded him occupation and amusement. The scheme was so popular that at the close of the season he sold his horses and got out without loss.
A SPECTRAL TERROR.
All went merry as a marriage-bell, till suddenly the Devil appeared to trouble our stage-driving aristocracy. He took the form of a four-horse coach almost exactly like the 'Tallyho' and 'Tantivy' which stood waiting for them when they came trotting down in the afternoon. This device of the Evil One lay in wait at the Central Park. It even outdid the two other coaches in genteel splendor. It was driven by two liveried negroes in high white hats and two other children of Ham similarly attired sat upright and perched high behind. They wore very high collars, and on these was the strange device '----- Soap.' When either the Pelham or the Yonkers coach came along the soap concern turned right in behind it and followed it down Fifth avenue and through the city, and when the professional guards on the real coach would sound their stirring horns the colored tooters blew an answering blast. Forrest was thrown into a fever once by seeing the negro minstrels caricature his Virginius. So did the African imitation annoy Col. Kane. It made him sick and nervous, and his doctor ordered him off the road. He left. The 'Tallyho' was withdrawn, no doubt to the great chagrin of the gorgeous advertising dodge, and soon thereafter Mr. Roosevelt ceased to play the Jehu.
Last year no coach was run -- probably intimidated by the awful possibility of the African soap team falling in again.
This year Mr. J. R. Roosevelt and Mr. C. O. Iselin are running the 'Greyhound' every day from the Brunswick Hotel to the new clubhouse at Bartow on the Sound, near Pelham. It was put on early in April, and will be taken off June 7, after which it is supposed to be 'too hot for fun.' The price is reduced to $2.50, and the coach runs full every day.
It is but fair to say that the coach is run on the square; that the millionaire driver minds his own business and does not talk with the passengers unless first approached; and that, strange as it may seem, he is not above 'tips.' In fact, being a driver, and doing his duty, he expects the 'perkisits' which pleased Tony Weller's soul. [NOTE: Tony Weller, in Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers," was Sam Weller's father.] Some passengers do not 'tip' the driver, being restrained, perhaps, by the virtuous thought that it is demoralizing; but generally they give him $1 or 50 cents apiece. I haven't known anybody to venture to offer Col. Kane or Mr. August Belmont (who sometimes drives) a smaller piece than a quarter. Roosevelt, one of our nobby young men, with an income of $100,000, usually takes enough in tips to keep him in cigars and fluids. If the English style is to be strictly adhered to, it seems to me that Jehu ought not to be above 'thrippence' or even 'tuppence,' and that he ought, on arriving at his destination to sit in the stable on a wheelbarrow, drink a glass of 'alf and 'alf,' and smoke a black pipe.
Col. Kane is in Europe this year and the mantle of management has fallen on the Chevalier Hugo Fritsch, the Austrian Consul here, who does much to keep up interest in the club.
Other prominent members besides those already mentioned are Pierre Lorillard, Col. Isaac Reed (now 70 years old), F. A. Schermerhorn, George Beck, George P. Wetmore, F. R. Rives, E. D. Morgan (the millionaire grandson and adopted son of ex-Gov. Morgan), C. H. Joy, Leonard and Lawrence Jerome, and Theodore Havemeyer.
THE ANNUAL PARADE.
The spring parade of the Coaching Club is now one of the attractive sensations of the city. Members of the club all turn out and drive their own coaches, with their wives, sisters, sweethearts, etc., on the coach with them, dressed in their best. When I say 'best' I mean showiest. They are generally in silks and satins, of Worth's make and kaleidoscopic colors. This is in doubtful taste, even if these women are the leaders of society, but they have an idea that the ladies on coach-parade set the fashions for the summer, so they are somewhat elaborate -- delicate creations of lace and satin that would seem more at home in the drawing-room. I am sure a dark costume would be more appropriate for the top of a coach. In fact, the Princess of Wales has just set her face against this flamboyant style by appearing at the London coaching-parade in a dark-blue flannel dress -- or 'gown,' as New York society folks are now learning to say. Mrs. John Sherwood, too, admirably criticizes this absurd gear of the New York ladies in her new book, 'Manners and Social Usages.' After the wives and sisters of the 'gentlemen drivers' are seated, they reinforce themselves with the prettiest women in New York society, to whom the other seats are assigned. Perhaps the lady who attracted most attention this year was Mrs. James B. Potter, the amateur actress, who, in a marvelous robe of lilac silk, occupied the box seat with old Col. Reed. Among other noted belles and beauties who rode this year were Mrs. Maj. Wetmore, Miss Marion Langdon (who if New York had professional beauties would figure as perhaps the mmost attractive of them all), Miss Kate Bulkley (a tall and superbly-formed blonde), Mrs. E. D. Morgan, and Mrs. Frederick Bronson. Shall I say something about the personnel of the club?
Pierre Lorillard is about 44 years old and son of Pierre Lorillard, no longer living. He is a heavy, solidly-built man, with a very florid complexion, resulting from the Dry Monopole, of which he is so fond, shining through. He has a double chin, a bristly brown mustache, is always well dressed, and always in a perspiration. His wealth is so great that, although a good business-man, he seldom goes to the factory, and lets his father's tobacco estate run up to weeds, as it were, while he devotes himself to sporting and society. His father was not in society, of course, because he worked and made the money. His stud-farm out at Jobstown, N. J., is famous among sporting men throughout the country. His wife, with a superb neck and shoulders and raven-black hair is one of the handsomest women in New York society; her Worth dresses are the envy of all women, and her diamonds are second only to those of Mrs. Astor. She usually gives three balls each winter.
Lorillard's residence is the magnificent, spacious red-brick mansion on Fifth avenue and Thirty-sixth street. His son, Pierre Lorillard Jr., now about 26, and a chip of the old block, was married three or four years ago to Miss Cassie Hamilton. When their first child was christened the happy grandfather presented it with a massive silver cup bearing the device, 'From Pierre Lorillard 6th.' A society paper in announcing the event added, 'Doubtless some ill natured people will now send us the query 'Who was Pierre Lorillard first?' but we positively refuse to open a conundrum department in this paper.'
Mr. Lorillard has just sold his superb summer residence at Ochre Point, Newport, and he will hereafter live here and cruise around in his fine steam yacht, the Radha. If he runs into any more ferryboats with it, though, it may get to be an expensive vehicle.
Col. Jay, President of the Coaching Club, is a son of John Jay, statesman and diplomatist, and a great grandson of John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States. He is about 42, tall, well-built, and rather imposing in appearance. A man of sense in most matters and of some education, he yet imitates closely the manners and speech of Englishmen. Is fond of society, and society reciprocates. Puts a good deal of his surplus enthusiasm into coaching. His wife was Miss Oelrichs, sister of Hermann Oerichs. His home life is very quiet and comfortable. His wife is one of the prettiest married women in New York. He has an income of $50,000, and if he could only be born in England sometime he would be perfectly happy.
The first appearance of the Jeromes in New York was in 1856 or '57, I forget which. The sons of a farmer near Rochester, N. Y., they got a notion that they were born to better things; and, possessing a fair common school education and much natural shrewdness and ability, they struck out for New York City with a handsome team of horses of their own breaking -- almost their entire capital. These they managed to sell to old Diedrick Havemeyer, the first day of their arrival, for $800 -- a tremendous price in those days. Mr. Havemeyer drove out that afternoon to exhibit his prize, when the team ran away with him, broke the wagon into toothpicks, and came near killing day, when he got one leg broken by proxy. Then he sold the team for $150, but the Jerome boys did not buy.
They now had money enough to go into Wall street on margins. They made $1,000; more; then another $1,000; and so on till they had amassed considerable fortunes and become double millionaires. Leonard is the older of the two, and quite different to his brother Lawrence (as our superior British brethren would say.), being much more quietand reserved. He is about 62 or 63, tall, sinewy, with an intelligent face. He made very largely in Pacific Mail, and wasthe founder of Jerome Park and the American Jockey Club, which was merged into the Turf Club, and both perished in the mergence.
Leonard Jerome's daughter married Lord Randolph Churchill, after complying with a well-known English ceremony by executing a contract agreeing to pay $25,000 annually to the purse of Milud.
Lawrence (pronounced 'Larrence,' if you please) is the prince of good fellows. For many years no social gathering in New York was complete without him. As a successful diner-out and a brilliant talker he is almost as widely known as his confrere and intimate, W. R. Travers. He is an enthusistic yachtsman and coacher.
August Belmont is a Hebrew of the Wall street persuasion. When a witness in a celebrated trial, and asked his identity, he said boldly: 'I am a Jew.' 'Have you any other business?' inquired the lawyer blandly. He is a German and is said to bear some sort of blood relationship to one of the Rothschilds. He came to New York about forty years ago, and soon became the American agent of that family of Cruesuses, which gave him prestige and made it easy for him to gratify his social ambitions. He came widely known on account of his duel with Col. Heyward, which resulted from quarrel about a New York lady, and in which he received a bullet in his leg, from which he is still lame. He soon contracted marriage with Miss Perry, a grand-daughter of Commodore Perry, hero of Lake Erie.
Mr. Belmont is famous for his enmities. He is a man of about 60, short, thick-set, bullet-headed, of a most excitable temperament. He must have some friends, but there are many of the best-known men in New York with whom he is not on speaking terms. He is brusque, arrogant, and violent in much of his intercourse. He is worth $15,000,000, and dwells in a large brick house on Fifth avenue at Eighteenth street, opposite Chickering Hall. At the rear of the house is a rich gallery of paintings, but it is seldom seen. He is a member of the Manhattan and Union Clubs, and was the chief adviser of Turnbull in his recent unsavory trouble.
His oldest son is Perry Belmont, the bright M. C. from the First District. Another son, Oliver, was married a year and a half ago, and his wife has already obtained a separation from him on the ground of ill-treatment on the bridal trip. A divorce suit is now in progress. A third, Raymond Belmont, now in Harvard College, was arrested and locked up at Narragansett Pier for disorderly conduct; and a fourth, August Jr., has had to pay $2,500 damages for assaulting and beating a man named Tower down on Long Island, because when he rode over Tower's son Tower complained to him about it. There is a coolness just now between the Belmonts and Astors because Miss Carrie Astor had the temerity to stand as godmother to Mrs. Perry Belmont's child, after Perry had been discarded. The summer residence of the Belmont family is at Babylon, L. I.
COL. DELANCEY ASTOR KANE is a short, slight, and swarthy man of 45. Is thoroughly English in get-up, manner, and conversation. Never rides on the 'tramway,' and always has plenty of 'luggage.' No higher compliment can be paid him than to mistake him for an Englishman. Inherited a fortune, and has never soiled his hands with work. Until the last few years he spent most of his time abroad, but the Coaching Club now keeps him here. He is the best four-in-hand driver in the country, and handles the ribbons with consummate skill. For many years he was famed as a leader of the german, an Puck gave him the soubriquet of 'Dancy Kane.' At the F. C. D. C., the Patriarchs', and all the Delmonico balls, he was simply indispensable, and on West Thirty-fifth street; his summer retreat at New Rochelle. His faults are amiable ones, and most popular of the society men of the metropolis.
W. A. CHOFFUT."
Source: SWELL DRIVERS -- The New York Coaching Club and the Characteristics of Its Members -- Col. De Lancey Kane and His Following of English Society Nonsense -- Pierre Lorillard, Leonard Jerome, August Belmont, Col. William Jay, and the Rest of the Boys, N.Y. Herald, Jun. 8, 1884, p. 12, cols. 1-3 (NOTE: Paid subscription requited to access via this link).
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Below is a list of articles and blog postings that I previously have posted regarding the subject of "Coaching to Pelham."
Bell, Blake A., Col. Delancey Kane and "The Pelham Coach" (Sep. 2003).
Wed., Jul. 30, 2014: Yet Another Attempt in 1894 to Resurrect the Glory Days of Coaching to Pelham.
Tue., Jul. 29, 2014: Wonderful Description of Coaching to Pelham on the Tally-Ho's First Trip of the Season on May 1, 1882.
Wed., Apr. 14, 2010: Col. Delancey Kane Changes the Timing and Route of The Pelham Coach in 1876.
Tue., Sep. 08, 2009: 1877 Advertisement with Timetable for the Tally Ho Coach to Pelham.
Mon., Mar. 23, 2009: The Greyhound and the Tantivy-- The Four-in-Hand Coaches that Succeeded Col. Delancey Kane's "Tally-Ho" to Pelham.
Fri., Jan. 16, 2009: The Final Trip of the First Season of Col. Delancey Kane's "New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line" in 1876.
Thu., Jan. 15, 2009: The First Trip of Col. Delancey Kane's "New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line" on May 1, 1876.
Thu., Mar. 06, 2008: Auctioning the Tantivy's Horses at the Close of the 1886 Coaching Season.
Wed., Mar. 05, 2008: Coaching to Pelham: The Tantivy Has an Accident on its Way to Pelham in 1886.
Thu., Jan. 24, 2008: An Account of the First Trip of Colonel Delancey Kane's Tally-Ho to Open the 1880 Coaching Season.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008: Brief "History of Coaching" Published in 1891 Shows Ties of Sport to Pelham, New York
Thursday, August 3, 2006: Images of Colonel Delancey Kane and His "Pelham Coach" Published in 1878.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005: Taunting the Tantivy Coach on its Way to Pelham: 1886.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005: 1882 Engraving Shows Opening of Coaching Season From Hotel Brunswick to Pelham Bridge.
Thu., Jun. 09, 2005: Coaching to Pelham: Colonel Delancey Astor Kane Did Not Operate the Only Coach to Pelham.
Fri., Feb. 11, 2005: Col. Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach", Also Known as The Tally-Ho, Is Located.
Bell, Blake A., Col. Delancey Kane and "The Pelham Coach", The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XII, No. 38, Sept. 26, 2003, p. 1, col. 1.