A Story About the Tally Ho Coach To Pelham That Reminds Us of a Simpler Time
There was a time in New York City (and other cities) when fish-mongers wandered the streets blowing a horn to announce their fish for sale. Such horns seem to have been related to fog horns blown by mariners to warn of their water locations during heavy fog. Some have described the sound of the fish monger's horn as "sweet music." Others claim it was "doleful." In either case, the sound of the fish monger's horn brought many a nineteenth century New York resident to the street to buy fresh fish from the fish monger.
Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog tells a brief tale that serves as a reminder of simpler times in our region when the fish monger's horn still evoked a Pavlovian response and brought prospective customers to the street looking for fresh fish.
In the spring of 1880, Col. Delancey Astor Kane was running his canary yellow Tally Ho coach from New York City through Pelham to the Castle Inn located in New Rochelle. (Leland Castle was built as the 19th century country residence of Simeon Leland and now is part of the campus of the College of New Rochelle).
On one trip in May, the Tally Ho was rumbling along the road near Pelham Bridge. Col. Delancey Astor Kane held the four-in-hand reins. Also on board, as always, were coachmen dressed in fine garb occasionally including white box coats, top-boots, high hats and large nosegays on their breasts. One such coachman used a coaching horn as the coach rumbled along. Traditional coaching horn calls were used for everything from clearing the road ahead to signaling an upcoming change of horses.
On this fateful day as the Tally Ho neared Pelham Bridge, a coachman sounded the coaching horn. A New York City woman who had rented a local home for the summer in the neighborhood raced into the roadway and brought the four horses and the coach to a screeching halt. Long trained by -- and attuned to -- the blasts of fish mongers' horns in New York City, the lady informed Col. Kane, the coach driver, that she "would like to have some shad."
As one might expect, the passengers and coachmen burst into "boisterous laughter" and Col. Delancey Astor Kane explained to the insistent woman that he was not a fish monger and had no fish to sell.
As the woman stepped aside, Col. Kane "whipped up his horses" but, nevertheless, arrived at the Castle Inn five minutes late -- a mortal sin in the sport of coaching.
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Below is the text of a brief item that appeared a few days later in a White Plains newspaper describing the events of that day. It is followed by a citation and link to its source.
"Col. Kane Taken For a Fish-Monger.
An amusing incident is related in New Rochelle as having occurred to the Tally-Ho coach excursion on its way from New York city to Castle Inn a few days ago. An old lady of New York city, who had taken a house for the Summer in the neighborhood of Pelham Bridge, had always associated the sound of a horn with a dealer in fish, and hearing the guard of the Tally-Ho announcing his approach for the first time by a few blasts from his trumpet, sallied forth into the road, stopped the coach, and remarked to Colonel Kane, who was driving, that she would like to have some shad. The gallant Colonel explained as well as the boisterous laughter of his passengers would allow, that he was not a fish-monger, and whipped up his horses, arriving in New Rochelle five minutes behind schedule time."
Source: Col. Kane Taken for a Fish-Monger, Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], May 28, 1880, Vol. XXXVI, No. 7, p. 3, col. 3.
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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).
Thu., Jul. 28, 2016: The Chicago Tribune Lampooned Coaching to Pelham in 1884.
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.