The "Shrubbery" Mansion in Pelham Once Owned by Aaron Burr Burned Down on December 31, 1880
I have written before about the Prevost Mansion known as "The Shrubbery" and the family that owned it. (The family name often is misspelled "Provost." It is "Prevost.") See:
Thu., Jun. 23, 2016: Original Record of Forfeiture Sale of Lands of British Loyalists in the Manor of Pelham.
Thu., May 21, 2015: Pelham Manor Romance: A Tale of Aaron Burr and His Love, Theodosia Bartow Prevost of the Manor of Pelham.
Thu., Apr. 23, 2015: Augustine James Frederick Prevost of The Shrubbery in Pelham Manor.
Tue., Sep. 30, 2014: Pelham Resident Recorded His Impressions of Meeting Aaron Burr.
Fri., Feb. 7, 2014: Early History of The Pelham Home for Children, an Early Pelham Charity (Notes that The Pelham Home for Children was located on a portion of the old Prevost Farm).
Wed., Aug. 1, 2007: 1805 Real Estate Advertisement Offering Prevost Estate in Pelham for Sale.
Mon., Jun. 4, 2007: Abstract of 1797 Will of John Bartow, Sr. Who Owned Land in Pelham and Whose Family Became Early Pelham Residents.
Wed., Jan. 31, 2007: A Large Distillery Once Stood on the Prevost Farm in Pelham During the 1790s.
Thu., Jul. 27, 2006: 1799 Notice of Foreclosure Sale of Pelham Manor Lands Owned by Augustus James Frederick Prevost, Stepson of Aaron Burr.
Tue., Jul. 18, 2006: Aaron Burr Tries to Pull a Fast One in the 1790s and Must Sell His Farm in Pelham.
Wed., Jun. 14, 2006: Text of Deed by Which Aaron Burr Acquired Pelham Lands in 1790
Thu., Apr. 14, 2005: The Pelham Home for Children that Once Stood on Split Rock Road
Mon., Oct. 2, 2006: The Revolutionary War Diary of Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham.
At the time "The Shrubbery" burned on December 31, 1880, George A. Prevost, a brother of the owners, and members of his family lived in the mansion. According to Bolton:
"George A. Prevost, Esq., the brother of the present owners [of The Shrubbery], is the only surviving son of the late Mayor George William Prevost. This place was formerly the property of Joshua Pell, Esq., whose son, Joshua, sold it to Colonel Aaron Burr, from whom it passed by purchase to his step-son, Augustine James Frederick Prevost. c [NOTE: Footnote "c" reads as follows: "c Augustine James Frederick Prevost was the son of Colonel Frederick Prevost by his wife Theodosia Bartow, who afterwards married Colonel Aaron Burr."] The latter, subsequently conveyed it to Major General Prevost. The Prevosts were originally from Geneva in Switzerland, being descended from Major General Augustine Prevost, of that place, who married Anne, daughter of the Chevalier George Grand, of Amsterdam, Holland. The father of the late proprietor was Major General Augustine Prevost, brother of Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost, Baronet, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the British North American Colonies now represented by the Rev. George Prevost, Baronet of Belmont, Hampshire, England. The brothers of the late proprietor were Colonel Augustine Prevost, lost at sea, and Capt. Henry Prevost, who fell in the storming of Cindad Rodrigo, in Spain."
Source: Bolton, Robert, The History of the Several Towns, Manors, and Patents of the County of Westchester from its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, p. 69 (NY, NY: Chas. F. Roper, 1881).
In late 1880, George A. Prevost and his wife lived in The Shrubbery with "two maiden sisters." The grand home was two and one half stories high with massive, grand Corinthian columns in its front. It was filled with the Prevost family's "furniture, paintings, statuary, and many ancient relics which were highly prized."
In the evening, a fire was discovered in the room of one of the maiden sisters. Reports later indicated that the fire may have begun from an overheated flue in the room. In any event, the fire spread until it completely destroyed the mansion and all its contents. Reports indicated that the property destroyed was valued between $15,000 and $20,000, the equivalent of about $487,000 to $649,000 in today's dollars.
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Below are news reports describing the destruction of The Shrubbery in Pelham on December 31, 1880. Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.
"THE PROVOST MANSION BURNED.
The Ancient Home of a Tory Family and Once Occupied by Aaron Burr.
New York Sun., Jan. 1.
The Provost mansion, in the town of Pelham, near the bridge over East Chester creek, was destroyed by fire on Thursday night, together with the furniture, paintings, statuary, and many ancient relics which were highly prized. The mansion was very large, two and a half stories high, with massive columns of the Corinthian order along the front. it is said to have been occupied at one time by Aaron Burr. The present Provost family holds the land upon which the mansion stood under a patent granted to their ancestors by the English crown. One of the ancestors and former occupants of the mansion defended Savannah successfully against an attack of Count de Grasse, commanding the French fleet. Another of the family was governor of Nova Scotia, and his portrait is on the wall of the parliament house of that province. Two other brothers were officers in the British army. To the memory of one of the ancestors of the present family a tablet was erected in St. Paul's church, East Chester; but, after the war with Great Britain the patriotic feeling of the people in Westchester County became so manifest that the wardens and vestrymen of the church were obliged to remove the tablet from the inside of the edifice to a less conspicuous place outside, where it still remains. The occupants of the mansion up to the time of its destruction were George A Provost and his wife, the daughter of the dean of Carlisle, and two maiden sisters, who own considerable land in Albany, Greene and Ulster counties by virtue of patents granted in colonial times. The fire of Thursday night was discovered in a room occupied by one of the ladies, and is supposed to have originated from excessive heat in a flue."
Source: THE PROVOST MANSION BURNED -- The Ancient Home of a Tory Family and Once Occupied by Aaron Burr, Buffalo Daily Courier [Buffalo, NY], Jan. 3, 1881, Vol. XLVI, No. 3, p. 1, cols. 7-8.
"The Provost Mansion Burned.
A FIRE THAT BRINGS UP RECOLLECTIONS OF A DISTINGUISHED COLONIAL FAMILY.
The Provost mansion in the town of Pelham, near the bridge over East Chester Creek, was totally destroyed by fire on Thursday night last, together with the furniture, paintings, statuary, and many articles of historic value. It is said to have been occupied at one time by Aaron Burr whose signature to a subpoena hangs up in the vestry of St. Paul's (Episcopal) Church near by. The Provost family holds the land upon which the house stood under a patent granted by the English Crown. One of the ancestors and former occupants of the house defended Savannah successfully against an attack of Count de Grasse, commanding the French fleet. Another of the family was the Governor of Nova Scotia, and his portrait is to be seen on one of the walls of the Parliament-House of that province. The other brothers were officers in the British army and took part in the Peninsular war under the Duke of Wellington. To the memory of one of the ancestors a tablet was erected in St. Paul's Church at East Chester, but after the war with Great Britain the patriotic feeling of the people of this county obliged the Wardens and Vestrymen of the church to remove the tablet from the inside of the edifice to a less conspicuous place outside, where it still remains. The house latterly was occupied by Mr. George A. Provost and his wife, who is the daughter of the Dean of Carlisle, and two maiden sisters, who own considerable property in Albany, Greene, and Ulster counties by virtue of patents granted in colonial times. The fire of Thursday night was discovered in a room occupied by one of the ladies, and is supposed to have originated from an overheated flue. The property destroyed is estimated to be worth from $15,000 to $20,000."
Source: The Provost Mansion Burned -- A FIRE THAT BRINGS UP RECOLLECTIONS OF A DISTINGUISHED COLONIAL FAMILY, Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], Jan. 7, 1881, Vol. XXXVI, No. 39, p. 3, col. 4.
Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.