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.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

1805 Advertisement Reveals Much About the Pelham Farm of Rem Rapelje

Rem Rapelje was born in Brooklyn, New York during the mid-1700s.  He lost his father as a young child.  His mother remarried but his relationship with his stepfather was quite poor and, according to his son, George Rapelje, Rem "sought for friendly aid elsewhere."  As a young man, Rem Rapelje hustled for his living.  As a very, very young man, he was a ship owner.  He also dealt in general merchandise and kept a store on Maiden Lane in New York City "directly in rear of his dwelling."  An uncle who was in the "corn, grain, and flour business" and owned a store for the business took him into the store "which was at the fork of Maiden Lane and Crown Street."  Soon, on behalf of the business, he was sent in a schooner to Curacao. 

Rem Rapelje was a Loyalist, but he remained in the New York region after the Revolutionary War.  When the war ended, he purchased a farm known as "Glass House Farm" located along the Hudson River about three miles from New York City. 

By 1790, according to both the 1790 U.S. Census and a plan of pews for St. Paul's Church in Eastchester, Rem Rapelje had moved to Pelham.  See Wed., Aug. 15, 2007:  Plan of Pews in St. Paul's Church 1790.  He purchased a massive 300 acre farm on Pelham Neck and the surrounding region.  He had a brother-in-law named John Hardenbrook who also resided in Pelham.  He lived in Pelham on that farm until his death in about 1805.

I have written about Rem Rapelje, his son George, and the Rapelje farm on Pelham Neck a number of times.  See, e.g.:

Fri., Jan. 08, 2016:  Pelhamite Rem Rapelje, a Loyalist, Was "Rode on Rails" During the Revolutionary War.

Wed., Oct. 03, 2007:  Book by George Rapelje, Pelham Resident Along With His Father, Rem Rapelje, Published in 1834

Mon., Feb. 27, 2006:  Another Description of the Farm of Rem Rapelje of Pelham Published in 1806

Wed., Aug. 24, 2005:  1807 Advertisement for Sale of Property of Rem Rapelje in Pelham.

A very interesting and detailed advertisement offering Rem Rapelje's Pelham farm for sale was published in early January, 1805, shortly before Raelje's death.  The advertisement sheds fascinating light on the farm, its layout, its farmhouse (and the layout of that home), outbuildings and more.

According to the advertisement, the Rapelje farm contained 350 acres, "70 of wood, 60 of salt meadow, 50 of fresh meadow, 30 of arable land, and 40 of pasture."  The advertisement touts the farm's 60 acres of salt meadow.  During the colonial era, proximity to salt marshes was considered important because the salt hay grass that grew there was harvested for bedding and fodder for farm animals and for use as garden mulch.  Additionally, in those days ordinary hay was much less likely to be bailed and stored under cover.  Consequently, when the hay stacks were left in the fields, salt hay grass was used to top the hay stacks to help protect the underlying hay from the elements.

The farm included extensive apple and peach orchards.  According to the advertisement, there were three "young" apple orchards containg about 450 trees "of the best grafted fruit."  Additionally there was "a large peach orchard, and large garden, filled with every kind of fruit in its season of the most delicate sort."  There also was an orchard nursery grafted the previous year (1804) containing "500 apple trees, fit to be transplanted."  

The main home on the farm was described in detail in the advertisement.  It was described as "commodious" with a cellar and two stories with a garret (small attic) above.  There were four rooms on the ground floor and "several rooms" on the second floor.  

The outbuildings were surprisingly numerous and extensive.  There was a kitchen with a servant's room.  There was a bake house.  The farm also included a dairy house and an overseer's house that had "several rooms and kitchen, and dairy room."  There also was a "large" barn that was 105 feet long, "with every convenience for hay and cattle."  In addition there was a "large coach house and stable" as well as a wagon house, a cart house, a work shop, a fowl house, a corn crib, a granery and "other out houses."  In short, in addition to the main house, there were more than a dozen outbuildings on the extensive Rapelje farm.  

The advertisement touted the farm as perfect for the farmer or a gentleman.  As the ad put it:  "The farm altogether has a superior advantage to most others, either for the farmer or gentleman, being surrounded with fish and game."  The ad also offered for sale the stock, the farming utensils, and "part" of the household furniture in exchange for a "fair valuation."  

In short, the advertisement published on January 8, 1805 sheds fascinating light on a large Pelham farm constructed over the period from roughly 1790 -- only two years after the Town of Pelham was formed by statute -- to about 1805.   

1805 Advertisement Offering Rem Rapelje Farm in Pelham
for Sale.  Source:  FOR SALEThe Evening Post [NY, NY],
Jan. 8, 1805, p. 4, col. 2 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access
via this link).  Text of Advertisement is Transcribed Immediately Below
to Facilitate Search.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

"FOR SALE, the Farm of the subscriber at Pelham, West Chester county, 19 miles from New-York, and 2 miles from the Boston post road, nearly surrounded by water, East Chester Bay on the southerly side, and New Rochelle Bay on the northerly and easterly side.  The Farm contains about 350 acres, 70 of wood, 60 of salt meadow, 50 of fresh meadow, 30 of arable land, and 40 of pasture.  The land is superior to most in the state, wanting no manure.  There are 3 young bearing apple orchards, containing about 450 trees of the best grafted fruit; also, a large peach orchard, and large garden, filled with every kind of fruit in its season of the most delicate sort.  There is also a nursery, grafted a year ago, of 500 apple trees, fit to be transplanted.  On the premises is a commodious dwelling, containing 4 rooms on the lower floor, a cellar underneath, several rooms upstairs, and a garret above; also, a kitchen and servants room, a bake house and dairy house, an overseer's house, with several rooms and kitchen, and dairy room, a large barn, 105 feet long, with every convenience for hay and cattle, and a large coach house and stable, a waggon house, cart house, work shop, corn crib, fowl house, granery, and other out houses -- The farm altogether has a superior advantage to most others, either for the farmer or gentleman, being surrounded with fish and game.  Any person purchasing, may have the stock and farming utensils, and part of the household furniture at a fair valuation.  A small part of the purchase money to be paid on delivery of the deeds, the residue secured by bond and mortgage.  Apply to

On the premises, or
13 Hudson-st head of Jay-st. New-York.

Who has also for sale,

A full blooded three years old stud HORSE, 18 hands high, the largest horse of his age ever seen in America.  For pedigree and terms apply as above.

Also, to Rent, from the first of April nexxt, the Country Seat where the subscriber formerly resided at Greenwich, joining the North-river, about a mile above the state prison, occupied last summer by Mr. Gilbert Robertson.

Also to Rent, joining the above, about 16 acres of Land, with house and barn, occupied several years past by a gardener.  They will be let separate or together.  Apply as above, to 

Jan. 3 cad 2w"

Source:  FOR SALE, The Evening Post [NY, NY], Jan. 8, 1805, p. 4, col. 2 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).  

Detail of Map Prepared in 1853 Showing Pelham Neck and Lands
Owned by the Rapelje Family. Source: Dripps, Matthew & Conner,
R.F.O., Southern Part of West-Chester County N. Y. (1853) (Museum
of the City of New York, No. 29.100.2628). NOTE: Click on Image to Enlarge.

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