Runaway! Runaway Horse Accidents on Shore Road During the 1890s
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By the 1890s, one of the principal recreational drives for New Yorkers hoping to escape the city was Shore Road through Pelham Bay Park into Pelham and New Rochelle parallel to the Long Island Sound. Known variously as Shore Road, Pelham Road, New Rochelle Road, Pelham Bay Avenue, and by other names, the scenic roadway was a favorite of bicyclists (known as "wheelmen"), carriage riders, and those on horseback out for a scenic ride.
As one might suspect, the busy roadway between Pelham Bridge and New Rochelle was the scene of countless carriage accidents and runaway horse incidents that injured many. Today's Historic Pelham posting describes several of the runaway horse accidents on Shore Road during the 1890s.
May 18, 1894: "Wheel of Misfortune" as Bicyclist Causes Chain Reaction of Runaways
Attorney Martin J. Keogh lived on the Pelham - New Rochelle border during the 1890s. He was a successful lawyer who represented many Pelhamites in high profile matters and became a New York Supreme Court Justice. He had a son named Alexander Keogh who was an avid wheelman who enjoyed riding his bicycle along Shore Road.
On Friday, May 18, 1894, Alexander Keogh was riding his bicycle along Shore Road into New Rochelle, not far from Neptune Park. He decided to pass a cart driven by a daughter of H. B. Stokes, President of the Manhattan Life Insurance Company. As the bicyclist passed Miss Stokes, her horse was spooked and took off as a runaway. The horse bolted to Centre Avenue from Pelham Road where the wheels of the cart struck a curb and threw Miss Stokes out. She landed on a lawn and was only slightly injured, but her horse and cart continued all the way onto Main Street where the horse ran into a carriage driven by Mrs. H. M. De Thyssiedert. Her team was spooked and took off, throwing her out of her carriage. She likewise suffered slight injuries, but her team "ran plump into a fruit store opposite the Town Hall, and her carriage was wrecked." In the meantime, the horse and cart that belonged to Miss Stokes continued all the way through New Rochelle frightening horses along the way until he finally stopped. The horse and cart were undamaged.
June 20, 1896: Two Emmet Girls Dangerously Injured on Shore Road
Saturday, June 20, 1896 was a joyous day for Mrs. R. S. Emmet, Jr. Her cousin, Miss Rosina Emmet, was visiting from San Francisco. Mrs. Emmet decided to take her cousin on a lovely ride in a runabout wagon along Shore Road to Pelham Bridge.
As the women neared Pelham Bridge, they passed a sprinkling cart that sprinkled water on the dusty roadway to keep the dust down. Their horse was spooked and stopped suddenly in the middle of the road, beginning to kick.
Mrs. Emmet tried to manage the beast but one of his legs became entangled in the reins, pulling them out of Mrs. Emmet's hands. Sensing freedom, the horse became a runaway, pulling the wagon furiously behind as the two women tried desperately to keep their seats in the bouncing wagon. Finally the wagon drifted toward the side of the road and its wheels struck a roadside obstruction throwing both women from the wagon "with great force."
Mrs. Emmet landed on her shoulder and the side of her head. Her cousin, however, "plunged head foremost to the ground" and was knocked unconscious. Passersby helped and the two women were taken back to the Emmet cottage on the Pelham - New Rochelle border where Miss Emmet remained unconscious for several days as Mrs. Emmet recuperated.
November 14, 1897: Another Bicyclist Involved in Runaway Accident
On November 14, 1897, Frank Herbert of Wakefield was riding in his buggy on Shore Road near the Bartow Mansion. The road was crowded with bicyclists enjoying the autumn weather and the scenic road.
Near Bartow Mansion Herbert's horse spooked for an unknown reason and began galloping along Shore Road at a furious pace with Frank Herbert bouncing behind in the buggy trying desperately to stop the animal. Wheelmen scattered in every direction as the out-of-control horse and buggy thundered along the roadway.
One wheelman, however, simply could not get out of the way. John Reynolds of Pelham Manor was slowly climbing a hill on his bicycle as the galloping horse and buggy overtook him, smashing into his bicycle and throwing him ten feet into a ditch by the roadway. The horse also was thrown to the ground, upsetting the buggy and throwing Frank Herbert to the ground.
According to one account: "Park Policeman Donovan caught the horse, which had scrambled to its feet and started off again. He tied it to a tree and directed his attention to Reynolds, who lay groaning in the ditch. He was evidently badly hurt. His left leg was broken and he complained of internal injuries. He was removed to his home in a carriage. Mr. Herbert was suffering from cuts on the head and face. He was taken to the Fordham Hospital in an ambulance. The doctors believe he is also injured internally."
May 22, 1899: Two Cousins, Once Again, Injured in a Runaway Accident
On May 22, 1899, E. Hamford Sturges of New Rochelle and his cousin, Catherine Leonard of Mount Vernon were driving along Shore Road in a runabout behind a "spirited horse." On Shore Road in Pelham Manor the horse became excited and, as Mr. Sturges tried to control him, one of the reins broke.
Sensing potential freedom, the horse began galloping down the roadway with the two cousins bouncing in their seats. Soon the runabout was upset. Miss Leonard was thrown from her seat and rendered unconscious. Mr. Sturges was badly bruised and suffered a broken wrist.
The pair were taken to the nearby home of Charles Burrill on the Pelham - New Rochelle border where they were treated, then taken to the home of Mr. Sturges.
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Below are a number of news stories that form the basis for today's article. Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.
"A WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE.
It Belongs to Bicyclist Keogh, and It Caused Two Runaways.
Alexander Keogh, a son of Martin J. Keogh, a lawyer of New Rochelle, while riding a bicycle at Neptune Park, on Friday afternoon, started a succession of runaways that spread fright through the whole village of New Rochelle and endangered the lives of two women.
It all began when Keogh passed Miss Stokes, a daughter of H. B. Stokes, President of the Manhattan Life Insurance Company, who was in a village cart, driving a pony. The pony ran away. From the Pelham road she turned Centre avenue, where the cart struck the curb and threw Miss Stokes out. She landed on a lawn and was only slightly injured.
The pony kept right on, and turning again into Main street ran into a carriage occupied by Mrs. H. M. De Thyssiedert. Her team ran away and she was thrown out. She also escaped serious injury. Her team ran plump into a fruit store opposite the Town Hall, and her carriage was wrecked.
The pony ran clear through the town, scattering teams right and left. He came out practically unhurt. The village cart also escaped damage."
Source: A WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE -- It Belongs to Bicyclist Keogh, and It Caused Two Runaways, The Sun [NY, NY], May 20, 1894, p. 4, col. 2 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
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"TWO HURT IN A RUNAWAY.
Lawyer R. S. Emmet's Wife and Her Cousin Thrown Out Headlong Near Pelham Bridge.
HORSE SUPPOSED TO BE GENTLE.
Mrs. R. S. Emmet, jr., wife of a lawyer at No. 53 Wall street and sister-in-law of Supreme Court Justice Martin J. Keogh, is in a serious condition at her home in New Rochelle as the result of a carriage accident on Saturday. Her cousin, Miss Rosina Emmet, of San Francisco, was even more dangerously injured at the same time, and has been unconscious almost continuously since the accident.
It was at first believed that Miss Emmet's skull was fractured, but an examination made yesterday showed that this was not the case. She is suffering, however, from internal injuries, and the physicians are not wholly sanguine of her recovery.
Mrs. Emmet had taken her cousin out for a drive. The horse she had was bought about two months ago and she had driven him almost daily. He seemed docile and tractable and never gave any sign of viciousness until Saturday.
Mrs. Emmet said that she was driving leisurely along the Pelham road when the horse showed a little fright at passing a sprinkling-cart. A little further on, when near the Pelham Bridge and the old Lorillard mansion, the horse suddenly stopped in the road and began to kick. Mrs. Emmet tried her best to manage him, but the horse continued unruly. Finally one of his legs became entangled in the reins pulling them out of Mrs. Emmet's hands.
Finding he was free, the horse started to run. The women tried to keep their seats in the runabout wagon in which they rode, and succeeded until the wheels struck an obstruction on the roadside. Then both of them were thrown with great force.
Mrs. Emmet struck upon her shoulder and side of her head. Miss Emmet plunged head foremost to the ground and was picked up unconscious. Mrs. Emmet was able to tell where she lived to Dr. Droogan, who was summoned by Park Policeman Smith, and both women were taken home in an ambulance."
Source: TWO HURT IN A RUNAWAY -- Lawyer R. S. Emmet's Wife and Her Cousin Thrown Out Headlong Near Pelham Bridge -- HORSE SUPPOSED TO BE GENTLE, The World [NY, NY], Jun. 23, 1896, p. 5, col. 6.
"TWO HURT BY A RUNAWAY.
Horse Struck a Wheelman, and Upset the Driver, and Both Men Were Seriously Injured.
Two men were seriously injured in a collision at the junction of New Rochelle avenue and Prospect Hill road, in Pelham Bay Park, yesterday afternoon.
A horse driven by Frank Herbert, of Fulton street, Wakefield, ran away in front of the old Bartow mansion and started down the avenue at a lively pace. Wheelmen were out in force in the avenue, and as the runaway tore along there was a hasty scattering for safety.
The avenue makes a sharp turn near the Pleasant Hill road, where there is a steep hill. The horse thundered down this at a furious pace. John Reynolds, of Pelham Manor, was climbing the hill on his bicycle at the time. He was struck by the horse and hurled ten feet into a ditch by the roadway. The horse was also thrown, upsetting the buggy and throwing Mr. Herbert violently to the ground.
Park Policeman Donovan caught the horse, which had scrambled to its feet and started off again. He tied it to a tree and directed his attention to Reynolds, who lay groaning in the ditch. He was evidently badly hurt. His left leg was broken and he complained of internal injuries. He was removed to his home in a carriage.
Mr. Herbert was suffering from cuts on the head and face. He was taken to the Fordham Hospital in an ambulance. The doctors believe he is also injured internally."
Source: TWO HURT BY A RUNAWAY -- Horse Struck a Wheelman, and Upset the Driver, and Both Men Were Seriously Injured, N.Y. Herald, Nov. 15, 1897, p. 11, col. 2.
"SERIOUS RUNAWAY ACCIDENT.
Two Young People Badly Injured Near New Rochelle.
NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y., May 22. -- E. Hamford Sturges of this city and his cousin, Miss Catherine Leonard of Mount Vernon, were injured in a runaway accident last night. They were driving behind a spirited horse in a runabout along Pelham Bay Avenue in Pelham Manor when the horse became excited. While Mr. Sturges was trying to quiet him one of the reins broke. The horse ran and the runabout upset. Miss Leonard was badly bruised and rendered unconscious. Mr. Sturges was also badly bruised and one of his wrists was broken. The injured were cared for by Dr. Wells at the residence of Charles Burrall [sic], near where they were injured, and then taken to Mr. Sturges's home."
Source: SERIOUS RUNAWAY ACCIDENT -- Two Young People Badly Injured Near New Rochelle, N.Y. Times, May 23, 1899, p. 2, col. 5 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
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