William McAllister, Supervisor of the Town of Pelham 1893 - 1894
Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.
Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."
William McAllister served as Supervisor of the Town of Pelham from 1893 until 1894. He was a City Island yacht builder who worked at William H. Webb's City Island shipyard and constructed important Union gunboats during the American Civil War.
According to one source:
"William McAllister came to this country as a ship's carpenter from Scotland around 1850 in the ship City of Brooklyn which was wrecked by false light of pirates in the West Indies. William McAllister came north to City Island and as years rolled by became one of the best known shipbuilders on the Atlantic Coast."
Source: Build Cargo Ships Now to Care For Boom Trade Says Sea Dog -- Capt. McAllister Fears U.S. Shipyards Will Be Idle by End of 1932 If New York Doesn't Start, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 29, 1931, p. 8A, cols. 1-3 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
McAllistair married a woman named Abigail. The couple's son, Charles Albert McAllister, was born in Dorchester, New Jersey on May 26, 1867. Id. Charles McAllister became President of the American Bureau of Shipping. Id. The couple also had daughters including Emma L. McAllister and Mary E. McAllister.
William McAllister was a republican who defeated multi-term Town Supervisor Sherman T. Pell in the Town election held in March, 1893, setting off a chain of events that led to Sherman T. Pell's disappearance. After Pell disappeared, it was discovered that he had embezzled Town funds and had even forged and sold tens of thousands of dollars of fake Town of Pelham bonds to investors in New York City. Sherman Pell was never heard from again. Some said he absconded to Canada. Others claimed he had headed to Mexico and, from there, to South America. He was never brought to justice. His whereabouts and eventual death are among the greatest Pelham mysteries of all time. William McAllister worked hard to clean up the financial mess and string of lawsuits against Pelham that were left by the dastardly thief, Sherman T. Pell.
McAllister was unable to run for an additional term after ending his service in 1894 because the City of New York annexed City Island, where he resided. Consequently, John M. Shinn of Pelham Manor succeeded him as Town Supervisor.
I have written before, briefly, about William McAllister. See Tue., Mar. 30, 2010: Obituary of William McAllister Who Built Civil War Gunboats in Pelham. He became sufficiently well-known to have a steamer named after him (the William McAllister) that was operating in the years before his death.
Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the text of several additional obituaries of William McAllister. Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.
"FUNERAL TOMORROW OF RETIRED YACHT BUILDER
William McAllister Saw All the Races for the America's Cup.
William McAllister, a retired yacht builder, formerly of City Island, N. Y., died yesterday morning at his home, 332 Indiana avenue northwest, after a long illness. Until his death he was said to be the only man living who had seen all of the international yacht races for the America's cup.
Funeral services will be held tomorrow morning at 10:30 o'clock at the undertaking establishment of J. William Lee, where the body will be cremated. Rev. J. S. Montgomery, pastor of the Metropolitan M. E. Church, will officiate.
Mr. McAllister was a Scotchman and as a lad learned shipbuilding in the Delaware river yards while living in Philadelphia, and then sailed on the old 'Black Ball' packet line of clipper ships. In William H. Webb's famous shipyard, in New York, he was employed on the construction of many federal gunboats during the civil war.
When a young man he happened to be in England when the Yankee yacht America captured the queen's cup, an event which he witnessed. Subsequently he saw every international cup race in this country.
In 1888 [sic] he was elected supervisor of the town of Pelham, which included City Island, Pelham Manor, Pelham Bay Park and Pelhamville, and it was largely through his efforts that the greater part of the township was annexed to the city of New York.
He was a republican in politics, and the late Lawrence Delmour, a Tammany sachem, and Richard Croker were his intimate friends.
He leaves a wife, two daughters, Mrs. A. A. Maxim of Washington and Mrs. H. E. Day of Jersey City, and a son, Charles A. McAllister, engineer-in-chief of the revenue cutter service."
Source: FUNERAL TOMORROW OF RETIRED YACHT BUILDER -- William McAllister Saw All the Races for the America's Cup, Evening Star [Washington, D.C.], Mar. 25, 1912, p. 18, col. 6.
"WILLIAM M'ALLISTER DEAD.
Noted City Island Yacht Builder Expires in Washington.
WASHINGTON, March 24. -- William McAllister, a retired yacht builder of City Island, New York city, died here to-day after a long illness. Until his death he was said to have been the only man then living who had seen all of the international yacht races for the America's Cup.
McAllister was a Scotsman and as a lad learned the shipbuilding trade in the Delaware River yards when living in Philadelphia, and then sailed on the old 'Black Ball' packet line of clipper ships.
He was employed in William H. Webb's famous shipyards in New York on the construction of many Federal gunboats during the civil war.
He was a Republican in politics, and once supervisor of the town of Pelham, N.Y. Lawrence Delmour, a Tammany sachem, now dead, and Richard Croker were his intimate friends. One of his sons, Captain Charles A. McAllister, is engineer in chief of the United States revenue cutter service."
Source: WILLIAM M'ALLISTER DEAD -- Noted City Island Yacht Builder Expires in Washington, The New York Press, Mar. 25, 1912, p. 10, col. 5.
Death of William McAllister.
William McAllister, who in 1888 [sic] was elected supervisor of the town of Pelham, which included City Island, Pelham Manor, Pelham Bay Park and Pelhamville, died Sunday after a long illness at his residence, No. 332 Indiana avenue, Washington, D. C."
Source: PELHAM MANOR -- Death of William McAllister, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Mar. 28, 1912, No. 67,802, p. 9, col. 3.
"WILLIAM McALLISTER, a retired yacht builder of City Island, New York, died of heart disease at Washington, D.C., March 24. During the Civil War he was at the shipyard of Mr. William H. Webb in New York, and there was employed in the construction of many of the gunboats built for the Federal Government. He was subsequently employed in the construction of many famous yachts. He is survived by a widow, two daughters and one son, Mr. Charles A. McAllister, engineer-in-chief of the Revenue Cutter Service."
Source: "Obituary . . . WILLIAM McALLISTER" in International Marine Engineering, Vol. 17, Apr. 1912, p. 168.