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.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Bonnie Brae Inn Property Bought by the Pelham Country Club in 1920


There once stood on Boston Post Road in Pelham Manor and New Rochelle a beautiful tract of land with a lovely home known as "Bonnie Brae."  Indeed, as you leave Pelham Manor and enter New Rochelle via Boston Post Road, if you look to the right near the bus stop, two large rough stone columns that once were part of the estate still stand -- the only reminders of what once was.  The columns are visible on each side of the bus stop opposite Cleveland Avenue that turns off Boston Post Road and enters the New Rochelle neighborhood known as "Sycamore Park."  

The lands that formed the Bonnie Brae estate is now part of the Pelham Country Club golf course.  Though the estate straddled the border between Pelham and New Rochelle, the vast majority of the estate, and the home itself, were located across the border in New Rochelle.  

Today's Historic Pelham article is an effort to begin documenting the history of the Bonnie Brae Inn.  By no means is it a complete history.  Nor does it tell a complete story of the lovely home that eventually became a famous roadhouse before the land was acquired by the Pelham Country Club so it could build its golf course.  Today's article is merely an attempt to collect research regarding Bonnie Brae.  

The 1899 and 1908 maps of the area created by John F. Fairchild and included in the first and second editions of his Atlas of the City of Mount Vernon and the Town of Pelham both end roughly at the border between Pelham and New Rochelle.  Both show, however, that the property that came to be known as Bonnie Brae was owned by James L. Reynolds as early as 1899 and was still owned by him in 1908.

James L. Reynolds owned at least four markets in the region including one on Fourth Avenue in Mount Vernon, another in New Rochelle and two in White Plains.  A native of Stanwich, Connecticut, Reynolds started his first "meat and provisions market" in Mount Vernon and later started the remaining branches in New Rochelle and White Plains.  At these markets, Reynolds sold, among other things, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables.  

By 1902, Reynolds had turned his property known as "Bonnie Brae" into "one of the attractive garden spots in this vicinity."  The property had a lovely suburban home with meticulously-landscaped grounds and a rather astonishing "market garden" that he nurtured to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for his local markets.  It seems that Bonnie Brae was particularly well known for its "luscious" and "large, solid and fine in flavor" strawberries which Reynolds distributed among his markets for sale to local shoppers.  

In 1905, Reynolds' first wife, Georgianna, died.  Soon after her death, Reynolds "gave up the house and remodeled it for a hotel" which he named the "Bonne Brae Inn."  In 1908 the main home on the property opened as a restaurant and roadside inn.  As early as July 14, 1908, an advertisement appeared for "FRESH AIR DINING" at the new inn.  The advertisement read:

"FRESH AIR DINING.
-----

Get out and into the open!  Stop for lunch at the Bonnie Brae Inn, on the Boston Post road, New Rochelle.  Cooling breezes, scented by beautiful flowers.  Unexcelled table service.  Food from a culinary department not equalled [sic] elsewhere in the county.  Prices moderate."

Source:  FRESH AIR DINING [Advertisement], The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jul. 14, 1908, No. 4976, p. 1, col. 3.  

Only eight weeks later, the New Rochelle Pioneer reported that "Mr. L. Brady, of Reid & Brady, New York, and of 47 Meadow Lane, this city, celebrated his silver wedding at the Bonnie Brae Inn, on August 26th.  It was a true family reunion -- happiness prevailed and fullest satisfaction was caused by the excellent service given by Messrs. Lutzer & Kill of the Inn."  Source:  [Untitled], New Rochelle Pioneer, Sep. 12, 1908, Vol. 50, No. 24, p. 5, col. 3.  Moreover, the October 2, 1908 issue of the New York Herald contained an announcement affirming that the new establishment was "ready to open for business."  The announcement read:

"BONNIE BRAE INN.

The most beautiful and ideal dining and stopping place in Westchester county; house completely and beautifully furnished, ready to open for business; stable and garage; must be seen to be appreciated.  Apply JAMES L. REYNOLDS, owner, New Rochelle, N. Y."

Source:  BONNIE BRAE INN [Advertisement], N.Y. Herald, Oct. 2, 1908, p. 2, col. 5.  

Within only a matter of months after the Bonnie Brae Inn opened for business, it appears that James L. Reynolds leased the Bonnie Brae Inn to Mrs. B. F. Arnold for a five-year period and sold her the furnishings.  It appears that Mrs. Arnold, or a proprietor selected by her, continued to operate the business as a roadhouse and Inn on the Boston Post Road.  An announcement of the lease transaction in a New York City newspaper stated:

"COUNTRY LEASES. . . . 

Stewart C. Schenck leased for James L. Reynolds to Mrs. B. F. Arnold, for five years, the Bonnie Brae Inn, facing the Boston Post Road, just south of New Rochelle, and has sold the furnishings to the new lessees."

Source:  COUNTRY LEASES, The Evening Post [NY, NY], Mar. 15, 1909, p. 8, col. 2.  

Advertisements the following year in local newspapers advertised "service a la carte" at the establishment.  One stated:

"Special Dinner composed of nine courses of excellent cuisine at $1.50 per plate to be served at Bonnie Brae Inn, New Rochelle, New Year's Eve.  Reserve your tables in advance.  Music by Celebrated Col. Met. Trio [i.e., "Colored Metropolitan Trio]."  

Source:  [Untitled Advertisement], New Rochelle Pioneer, Dec. 25, 1909, p. 5, col. 1.   

Many if not most of the advertisements for the establishment in those early days touted the music provided at the roadhouse by a "celebrated" group known as the "Colored Metropolitan Trio."  Research has not, however, yet revealed anything about this group of musicians.  

At about this time, the first friction seems to have arisen between the increasingly-popular roadhouse and its residential neighbors.  When the roadhouse opened in 1908, the Bonnie Brae Inn put up a simple painted sign on Boston Post Road that read simply "Bonnie Brae Inn" with a giant pointed finger directing visitors into the entrance drive that led to the inn.  The following year, James L. Reynolds asked New Rochelle officials to permit him to place an electric sign on a post that stood on private property.  Reynolds arranged permission from the landowner where the post stood.

A homeowner from Sycamore Park which stood on the opposite side of Boston Post Road across from the Bonnie Brae Inn objected and claimed that a "majority" of his neighbors agreed with his opposition to the sign.  Reynolds decimated that claim.  He immediately presented a petition signed by owners of 46 of the 50 homes in Sycamore Park supporting his request to erect an electric sign.  He further noted "that two or three that have not signed, I am satisfied are not opposed to the sign, but decline to sign for other reasons."  It appears that the sign thereafter was erected.  

Advertisements at about the same time (1910) make clear that the Bonnie Brae establishment also included a commercial nursery that sold California Privet Hedge (Ligustrum ovalifolium), Koster Blue Spruce, Boxus, and "other shrubs or shade trees to beautify your place."  The establishment also included a "poultry department" that raised and sold to customers "WHITE LEGHORNS and Imperial Pekin[g] ducks for breeding purposes or their eggs."  Leghorn eggs were $6.00 per 100.  Duck eggs were $8.00 per 100.  Source:  [Untitled Advertisements], The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 12, 1910, p. 4, col. 5.  

From nearly the start, the Bonnie Brae Inn became a popular roadhouse that attracted New York City residents.  It was possible to take the Bronx subway to 177th Street and then transfer to a trolley car and ride trolleys to the entrance of the Bonnie Brae Inn on Boston Post Road.  

It is not clear what happened with regard to the five-year lease that Mrs. B. F. Arnold signed in 1909 to least the property from James L. Reynolds.  In 1910, a man named John J. Cowan signed a lease to take over the Bonnie Brae Inn.  After signing that lease, Cowan changed his mind and refused to occupy the establishment or to pay the required rent.  James L. Reynolds sued Cowan.

In December, 1910, the Court ruled in favor of James L. Reynolds.  The trial was notable because Reynolds never called a witness.  According to a local news account, his attorney proved his entire case and achieved a directed verdict in favor of Reynolds merely by cross-examining witnesses offered by the defense in the case.  


By mid-1911, the Bonnie Brae Inn had changed its live music entertainment from the group known as the "Colored Metropolitan Trio" to a group known simply as "The Quartette."  In addition, advertising for the Bonnie Brae Inn made much of the fact that the main dining room of the facility was "cooled by electric fans."  Source:  [Untitled], New Rochelle Pioneer, Jul. 15, 1911, p. 5, col. 1.  

The fortunes of the Bonnie Brae Inn changed for the worse on July 26, 1911.  James L. Reynolds died that day.  A week before, Reynolds felt a small pimple behind his left ear and scratched it.  The pimple became infected.  Within a week, the wound had become septic.  Reynolds quickly developed pneumonia associated with the extreme infection and died.  He left a widow (his second wife), one son (Herbert Reynolds) and a daughter (Mrs. Andrew C. Scott of New Rochelle).


Reynolds died without leaving a will.  Though he owned a great deal of real estate, it all was encumbered with mortgages.  Though he had personal property worth $47,365.03 at the time of his death, he owed creditors $42,275.82.  His second wife whom he married after his first wife died in 1905 became one of the administrators of his estate.  The administrators intended to continue to operate his markets for the benefit of the estate and in an effort to repay the creditors the $42,275.82 that he owed at the time of his death.  

Almost immediately the administrators of the estate began trying to sell the Bonnie Brae Inn.  An advertisement in a New York City newspaper only a few weeks after the death of James L. Reynolds stated:

"BONNIE BRAE INN; must be sold to settle an estate; prettiest and best furnished place in Westchester county.  Address ESTATE JAMES L. REYNOLDS, Mt. Vernon, N. Y."

Source:  BONNIE BRAE INN [Advertisement], N.Y. Herald, Aug. 13, 1911, p. 22, col. 4.  

Until the time of the death of James L. Reynolds, the Bonnie Brae property had been a fairly successful roadhouse, poultry farm, and nursery.  Reynolds' death, however, was not the worst blow.  

By 1912, the Bonnie Brae Inn was leased by a man named George Considine who was operating the establishment with his brother, James Considine.  The two brothers previously had operated the Hotel Metropole in New York.  According ton one report, by 1912 the establishment was "one of the best known road houses between New York and New Haven."  Advertisements that year referred to the establishment as "CONSIDINE'S BONNIE BRAE INN."  

On November 18, 1912, a fire erupted in the Bonnie Brae Inn.  James Considine was asleep on the second floor of the inn at the time.  He had a dog named "Mutt" who was elsewhere in the inn when the fire broke out.  Mutt dashed through flames to awaken and rescue Considine and was badly singed saving his master.  Considine, in turn, leaped from a second story window of the Inn and then raced back into the building to rescue two maids and three male employees of the establishment.  Considine suffered burns to his face and hands.  According to one report, the fire "destroyed" the Bonnie Brae Inn.  Authorities believed the fire was arson.  Though one report said the Inn was destroyed, it seems either to have been repaired or rebuilt since it was in operation at the same location in subsequent years.

For nearly six years after the death of James L. Reynolds on July 26, 1911, his widow and the other administrators of his estate tried to continue to manage his assets and operate his businesses for the benefit of the estate and to repay the $42,275.82 he owed creditors at the time of his death.  In effect, they made a true mess of things.

In the spring of 1917, a judicial accounting of the estate was conducted, led by a referee acting on behalf of the Surrogate overseeing administration of the estate of James L. Reynolds.  Creditors argued that after more than five years, they had been repaid only half of what they were owed.  They further argued that the estate had been negligently mismanaged in such a way to benefit the heirs of James L. Reynolds to the detriment of repaying the creditors.  The administrators denied the allegations, claiming they were continuing to repay the creditors and had administered the estate appropriately.  The administrators asked the referee to grant them commissions from the estate to compensate them for their years of work.

The referee agreed with the creditors, issuing an opinion in May, 1917.  The referee found that "No one can read the testimony without being impressed with the fact that the administrators have been grossly negligent and careless, and indifferent as to the interests of the creditors in the management of this estate.  They have acted with great laxity and altho there has been no personal misconduct and no intimation of improper motive, except that they seem to have acted more in the interest of the heirs than the creditors, yet they certainly have not exercised the diligence and attention that discreet business people would use in their own business; and because in certain matters of the estate they have been represented by attorneys, does not relieve them from the administrative duties which they are presumed and bound to know."

The referee denied the request of the administrators to be paid commissions for their work.

It seems to have taken the administrators additional time to close the estate of James L. Reynolds.  Nevertheless, the Bonnie Brae property became an important part of the history of the Town of Pelham and the Pelham Country Club in 1920.  

In 1919, one of the most influential members of the Pelham Country Club, Mont D. Rogers, pushed the club to develop a world-class eighteen-hole golf course.  The club set up the Pelham Leasing Corporation and sold stock in the small company.  The plan was to have two hundred people each pay $2,000 for twenty shares of stock in the newly-organized company.  

As money started to flow into the leasing corporation, the company acquired options on property owned by members of the Black Family, the Witherbee Family, the Edgar Estate, and the James L. Reynolds estate.  While the options for the Black, Witherbee, and Edgar lands were for fairly long periods of time, the option from the Reynolds estate for the Bonnie Brae Inn property was for a fairly shot period of time.  

In early 1920, the Bonnie Brae option was set to expire.  To make matters worse, a competitive buyer materialized and offered a higher sum to purchase the property than that required to exercise the option.  Without this roughly 22 or 23 acre tract, the Pelham Country Club would not be able to construct its planned eighteen-hole golf course.  According to one account:

"This option was fast expiring, and on a certain day (I am afraid it was a Sunday), twenty Pelhamites met at the clubhouse, and were advised that the Bonnie Brae option expired within 24 hours. Another would-be purchaser had loomed on the horizon and was ready to take over the property at a price in excess of our option figure. Without this tract of land, the golf course could not have been constructed.  When the situation was explained, we all sat and looked at each other bewildered -- until Elmore F. Higgins, took out his check book and wrote a check for $250, and 19 others followed suit. Our options were exercised and we were safe in starting the Pelham Country Club golf course."

Source:  The Pelham Country Club, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 14, 1960, p. 7, col. 1 (reprinting article from The Pelham Sun published on Aug. 4, 1954).

With the purchase of the tract by the Pelham Country Club, the history of the Bonnie Brae Inn and its surrounding estate evolved from that of a famous roadhouse to that of a famous golf course designed by famed golf architect Emmett Devereaux.




Undated Post Card Depicting the Bonnie Brae Inn in About
1909.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.




Detail from 1910 Map Showing Location of the Bonnie Brae Estate
and the "Bonnie Brae Inn" Near the Bottom in the Center of the Detail.
Source:  Bromley, George Washington, "Part of the Town and Village
of Pelham" in Atlas of Westchester County, New York, Vol. 1, p. 18
(Philadelphia, PA:  G. W. Bromley & Co., 1910).  NOTE:  Click on
Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *

"NATIVE BERRIES FROM BONNIE BRAE.
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The luscious strawberries that are now seen in the extensive market of James L. Reynolds on Fourth avenue, were grown on his beautiful suburban home 'Bonnie Brae,' on the Boston Post Road on the outskirts of New Rochelle, near Pelham Manor.  'Bonnie Brae' is one of the attractive garden spots in this vicinity, and under the supervision of its present owner, Mr. Reynolds, it presents a charming rural picture of modern art in landscape gardening.

Not only does Mr. Reynolds take pride in the beauties of nature and landscape, but also in the market garden, which he has developed to a high state of culture.  He begins early in the season and with fresh fruits and vegetables stocks his own markets with the best that nature can produce.

This year Mr. Reynold's markets fairly glow with the luscious strawberries that he daily gathers from his strawberry beds, and as the weather has been very favorable for this choicest of all the early fruits, these berries are beautiful specimens, large, solid and fine in flavor; in fact, it has been many years since anything like the Reynolds berries have been seen in this market.  

If you desire something extra choice in the strawberry line, take a look at the berries in Mr. Reynold's market, it will give you some idea of the perfection attained in raising high grade berries."

Source:  NATIVE BERRIES FROM BONNIE BRAE, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jun. 11, 1902, p. 4, col. 3.  

"CONTROVERSY OVER A SIGN
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James L. Reynolds and Sycamore Parkites Engage in a Talkfest.

June 28, 1909

To the Honorable Mayor and Common Council, City of New Rochelle, N. Y.

Gentlemen -- On May 25, 1909, I made application to your honorable body for permission to erect an electric sign on the pole near the entrance of Sycamore Park opposite the entrance to Bonnie Brae.  I also obtained permission from the owner of the property where the pole is situated for the erection of this sign and left that with your honorable body.

One of the reasons you assigned for not granting my request was that the residents of Sycamore Park were strongly protesting against it, and I am informed that at your last Tuesday's meeting, June 22nd, Mr. Alexander Hupplesburg addressed your meeting and said that 'he voiced the sentiment of the majority of residents in that locality in protesting against the erection of a sign by James L. Reynolds at the Park entrance, advertising the Bonnie Brae Inn.'  The speaker stated that 'the residents of the Park didn't want his sign in the park.'  With the permission from Mr. Flanigan, the owner of the lot adjacent to that pole, I stand in the position of that owner and his rights are my rights.

As to the truth of the statement as made by Mr. Hupplesberg, regarding the sentiments of the majority of residents of Sycamore Park, I submit a verified copy of a petition, dated June 25th, 1909, directed to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of New Rochelle in which 46 of the present residents of Sycamore Park petition your honorable Board to grant me the privilege of that sign at that place and I state further that there are but 50 occupied houses in the park.  In the 46 names that I submit, only in two cases I believe are there two families from one house.  I would further add that two or three that have not signed, I am satisfied are not opposed to the sign, but decline to sign for other reasons.

I trust your honorable Board will look over the names of signers and the standing of same in the community and grant my request for this sign.

Yours truly,

JAMES L. REYNOLDS.
-----

June 25, 1909.

To the Honorable Mayor and Common Council, City of New Rochelle, N. Y.

Gentlemen -- I, the undersigned, hereby request permission to place an electric sign on the pole at the entrance to Sycamore Park.  Same will not interfere with sidewalks in any way.

Yours truly, 

JAMES L. REYNOLDS.
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Letter Giving Consent of Park Residents to the Sign.

New Rochelle, N. Y., June 25, 1909.

To the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, City of New Rochelle, N. Y.

Gentlemen -- We, the undersigned, all either owners or tenants of houses in Sycamore Park, New Rochelle, consent that James L. Reynolds, owner of the Bonnie Brae property opposite Sycamore Park, be given the privilege to have an electric light sing on the electric light pole just west of the entrance of Sycamore Park in front of Mr. Flanigan's lot.  The sign to be about the same kind and sign as the one that was there last summer which read, 'Bonnie Brae Inn' and had a finger on same pointing toward the Inn.

Yours truly,

J. W. Russell, Jno. P. Bugden, M. C. Dreshfield, E. Kopff, Donald C. Brown, Elmer Doolittle, Samuel B. Rhodes, Andrew Larson, L. Hugle, F. G. Howard, Geo. H. Kuchler, C. T. Kuchler, William F. Hoffkins, George DeV. Clark, Elizabeth Chapman, E. J. Shaughnessy, A. H. Folger, Arthur N. Hosking, F. Schmid, Louise Rechen, Amy Connelly, H. D. Wallen, George Bavier, John J. Nesbit, J. G. Sherman, Jr., M. J. Luby, C. A. Sullivan, Gustave Eckstein, G. F. Hogenauer, Maria Victory, Rose M. Gillen, Henry Koch, George Grab, Jr., Frank E. Adams, R. Johnson, Maud A. Doty, Benjamin Hubbell, Agnes Beecher, John Hawley, John Kenyon, L. Lieberson, G. Eldred, Clarence Kelley, John Grossmann, Walter C. Tindell, Alfred C. Estes.

Certified to by James L. Reynolds, County of Westchester, ss.

On this 29th day of Juen, 1909, before me personally came James L. Reynolds, who hereby certifies that this is a correct copy of the original petition in his possession. 

William F. Hoffkins, Notary Public, Westchester County, N. Y."

Source:  CONTROVERSY OVER A SIGN -- James L. Reynolds and Sycamore Parkites Engage in a Talkfest, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jul. 3, 1909, Vol. 51, No. 14, p. 2, col. 3.  

"DEAD FROM PIMPLE SCRATCH.
-----
James L. Reynolds, New Rochelle Merchant, Contracted Septic Pneumonia.

James Lyon Reynolds, for years a prominent merchant in New Rochelle, died there yesterday of septic pneumonia as the result of scratching a pimple last Saturday.  Mr. Reynolds was 55 years old.  On Saturday he felt a pimple behind his left ear and scratched it.  It became infected and Sunday he called a physician, who lanced it on Monday.  A few hours after the operation pneumonia developed caused by blood poisoning.

Mr. Reynolds was a native of Stanwich, Conn.  In 1878 he established meat and provision markets in Mount Vernon and later started branches in New Rochelle and White Plains.  Bonnie Brae, his residence on Main Street, New Rochelle, was one of the handsomest in Westchester County.  Soon after the death of his first wife he gave up the house and remodeled it for a hotel, which is known as Bonnie Brae Inn.  He owned a large amount of property in New Rochelle.

Mr. Reynolds is survived by a widow, one son, Herbert Reynolds, and a daughter, Mrs. Andrew C. Scott of New Rochelle."

Source:  DEAD FROM PIMPLE SCRATCH -- James L. Reynolds, New Rochelle Merchant, Contracted Septic Pneumonia, N.Y. Times, Jul. 27, 1911, p. 11, col. 6 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).

"NEW YORK CULLINGS . . . 

New Rochelle. -- After being awakened by his mongrel dog 'Mutt,' who dashed through flames to his aid, James Considine escaped from a second-story window of Bonnie Brae Inn, New Rochelle, and later rescued two maids and three male employees.  The inn was completely destroyed by a fire which is believed to have been of incendiary origin.  It was leased by the Considine brothers, who formerly ran the Hotel Metropole in New York, and was one of the best known road houses between New York and New Haven."

Source:  NEW YORK CULLINGS, Portville Review [Portville, NY], Nov. 28, 1912, Vol V, No. 36, p. 3, col. 4.  

"SAVED BY DOG, HE SAVES FIVE.
-----
Brother of Geo. Considine Awakened by Mutt in Burning Inn.

NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y., Nov. 18. -- After being rescued by his dog Mutt who dashed through flames to his aid, James Considine leaped from a second story window of Bonnie Brae Inn in New Rochelle early to-day and rescued two maids and three male employees.

Considine was burned about the face and hands and his dog was badly singed.  The inn was destroyed.

Chief Ross believes the fire was incendiary and he is investigating.  

James Considine is a brother of George Considine, who formerly ran the Hotel [remainder illegible]."

Source:  SAVED BY DOG, HE SAVES FIVE -- Brother of Geo. Considine Awakened by Mutt in Burning Inn, The Sun [NY, NY], Dec. 19, 1912, p. 6, col. 4.  

"FINDINGS ARE MADE PUBLIC IN ACTION IN REYNOLDS ESTATE
-----
Are Denied Commissions by Referee -- Surcharges Are Imposed.
-----

The opinion recently filed with Surrogate Sawyer by Clifford Couch, referee in the judicial settlement of the account of proceedings of Eleanora Reynolds as administratrix and Paul R. Cutbill as administrator of the estate of James L. Reynolds, is of great interest to many Mount Vernon people having claims against the estate.  In this opinion the referee gives a history of the case as follows:

'James L. Reynolds died, intestate, July 26, 1911, leaving him surviving his widow, Eleanore Reynolds, and his children and only heirs-at-law and next of kin Jennie C. Scott and Herbert L. Reynolds.  July 31, 1911, letters of administration upon his personal estate were issued by the surrogate of Westchester county to Eleanora Reynolds, widow, and Paul R. Cutbill, who had been associated in business with decedent for several years as buyer and general manager of his several stores.

'Mr. Reynolds at the time of his death was a retail merchant having four stores, one at Mount Vernon, one at New Rochelle, and two at White Plains.  He also conducted a hotel or inn and nursery and poultry farm in New Rochelle and Pelham known as the 'Bonnie Brae Inn.'

'The inventory of his estate filed with the surrogate shows that he left personal property aggregating $47,365.03, not including his interest in the estate of Georgianna Reynolds, his first wife, who died in 1905.  He owed to his general creditors, exclusive of an annuity in lieu of dower to his widow, $42,275.82.  He owned many parcels of real estate, all of which were incumbered by mortgages.

'In an affidavit, which was submitted to the surrogate on October 27, 1911, made by Jennie C. Scott and Herbert L. Reynolds, the real property of which decedent died seized is described, together with their opinion of value, amount of incumbrance, and the estimated value of the decedent's equity therein.

'By it, it appears that they stated the total value of real estate to be $373,4000 [sic], mortgages $138,750, leaving an apparent equity of $234,650.  After the death of decedent, Mr. Cutbill, besides being administrator, was made manager of the markets continued by the administrators, at a salary fixed by them.

'At the beginning of the administration of the estate the situation appeared to be as follows:  Amount of inventory of personal property, $47,365.04; estimated value of equity in real property, $234,650; total value, $283,015.03.  Amount owing to general creditors, $42,275.82.

'Five and a half years have elapsed since the appointment of the administrators and this is their first judicial accounting.  The general creditors have been paid a fifty per cent dividend upon their original claims, amounting to $22,566.52.  During the administration period foreclosure proceedings have been instituted by mortgages and deficiency judgments entered amounting to $42,951.44.

'The administrators state in their account that they have a balance of $27,112.78 in their hands out of which they claim should be paid their commissions, the expenses of this accounting, and that the balance should be apportioned between the general creditors and foreclosure deficiency judgment creditors.

'The deficiency judgment creditors are the chief contestants upon this accounting.  The administrators in the proceedings to sell the real estate of the decedent to pay debts, realized the sum of $11,635.38, according to their account.  The administrators should have known who the general creditors were and the amounts owing to each one six months after decedent's death, which was in July, 1911, or at least by January, 1912.  They should have given some consideration to decedent's real property in view of the fact of his owning so many parcels, and ascertained the amount of the mortgages, taxes, interest, etc.

'The children of decedent have collected the income of all of the decedent's real property, and converted it to their own use, and they claim on this accounting that they paid the interest upon the mortgages and the taxes upon the property which they assert is in excess of what they received, which they ask should be paid from this estate.  It also appears that they collected the income of the interest of the decedent in the estate of Georgianna Reynolds, the first wife of James L. Reynolds.

'There is no charge against the administrators of personal misconduct or dishonesty, but the objections raised are based upon what the contestants allege as gross negligence in the administration of the estate.'

The referee here declares that it is the duty of administrators to collect the assets of the estate for the benefit of the creditors as a 'discreet business man would in his own business,' and 'if they do not and loss results, they become personally responsible to the parties interested.'  He then takes up the various objections by the creditors to the accounting, giving a decision in each of them.  He declared that the 'law is well settled that administrators may not continue the business of an estate and if they do so and a loss occurs, such loss is that of the administrators personally and not of the estate.'  The referee makes surcharges against the administrators which are considered sufficient to pay the other 50 per cent. owing the creditors and then he denies the claim of the administrators for commissions.  In concluding he states:

'No one can read the testimony without being impressed with the fact that the administrators have been grossly negligent and careless, and indifferent as to the interests of the creditors in the management of this estate.  They have acted with great laxity and altho there has been no personal misconduct and no intimation of improper motive, except that they seem to have acted more in the interest of the heirs than the creditors, yet they certainly have not exercised the diligence and attention that discreet business people would use in their own business; and because in certain matters of the estate they have been represented by attorneys, does not relieve them from the administrative duties which they are presumed and bound to know.  My conclusion is that they should be denied commissions.'"

Source:  FINDINGS ARE MADE PUBLIC IN ACTION IN REYNOLDS ESTATE -- Are Denied Commissions by Referee -- Surcharges Are Imposed, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], May 31, 1917, p. 8, cols. 1-4.  

"SUBURBAN TRANSACTIONS.

Harris B. Fisher sold to the Pelham Leasing Corporation the acreage known as 'Bonnie Brae' in the Boston Post road, partly in the village of Pelham Manor and New Rochelle.  The corporation acquired the property for the Pelham Golf and Country Club, recently organized, and will shortly exercise its options on the remainder of the tract necessary for the links. . . ."

Source:  SUBURBAN TRANSACTIONS, The Sun and New York Herald, Apr. 15, 1920, p. 20, col. 6.  

"New Country Club For Pelham Manor
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Bonnie Brae Property To Be Site of Golf Course and House of Pelham Golf Club

Harris B. Fisher sold to the Pelham Leasing Corporation the acreage known as Bonnie Brae, on the Boston Post Road, lying partly in the village of Pelham Manor and New Rochelle.  The corporation has acquired the property for the Pelham Golf and Country Club, recently organized, and will shortly exercise its options on the remainder of the tract necessary for the links."

Source:  New Country Club For Pelham Manor -- Bonnie Brae Property To Be Site of Golf Course and House of Pelham Golf Club, N.Y. Tribune, Apr. 15, 1920, p. 23, col. 3.  

"Pelham Club Buys Tract of 86 Acres To Complete Links
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$600,000 Involved in Project for Development of Eighteen-Hole Course at Town and Country Club
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Through the acquisition of an additional eighty-six acres the Pelham Country Club will have one of the finest eighteen hole golf courses in Westchester.  The property was bought yesterday by the Pelham Leasing Corporation, which is the holding company of the club, through Harris D. Fisher, from the Witherbee Real Estate and Development Company, Mrs. Robert C. Black and the Edgar estate.

Several weeks ago the company acquired through Mr. Fisher the Bonnie Brae property on the Boston Post Road, once the site of a well known house.  The tract contains twenty-two acres.  The clubhouse and grounds adjoin this property on the south.  It has been owned on a bonding plan for several years.

These two parcels and the eighty-six acres just acquired will give the golf course a tract of 114 acres, which will be developed by Devereaux Emmet [sic], golf course architect.

A feature of this links will be an elevation known as Mount Tom.  From it a good view of the country is to be had.  The tee for the sixteenth hole will be located there.

Entire project will cost about $600,000.  The organization will have a limited membership of 300."

Source:  Pelham Club Buys Tract of 86 Acres To Complete Links -- $600,000 Involved in Project for Development of Eighteen-Hole Course at Town and Country Club, N.Y. Tribune, May 18, 1920, p. 23, col. 3.  

"$600,000 Golf Course for Pelham Country Club
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The Pelham Leasing Company purchased a tract of sixty acres belonging to the Weatherbee [sic] Real Estate and Improvement Company and Mrs. Robert T. [sic] Black; also a tract of twenty-six acres from the Edgar estate, through Harris B. Fisher.  These two properties, incluuding the 'Bonnie Brae,' a plot of some twenty-two acres already sold to the same organization, together with the acquisition of the club house and grounds of the Pelham Country Club, will give the new club an area of 114 acres.  

Devereaux Emmett has been secured as golf architect, and work on the course has already been started.  It is anticipated to have the grounds ready for play in June, 1921."

Source:  $600,000 Golf Course for Pelham Country Club, The Evening Telegram [NY, NY], May 18, 1920, p. 6, col. 2.  

"Plan for Golf Course Started 

In the year 1919, the late Mont D. Rogers conceived the idea of converting the Country Club into a Golf Club. Mr. Rogers had courage and enthusiasm that bubbled like a spring. He was ably assisted by the late Edmund E. Sinclair, who acted as 'angel' for some prospective members who could not afford the entrance fee, which meant becoming a stockholder in Pelham Leasing Corporation. 

Since the golf course could not be easily built without funds, a plan was devised by the late Theodore M. Hill which turned out to be practicable. This called for 200 persons to pay $2,000 each, entitling them to twenty shares of stock in the new organized Pelham Leasing Corporation, the holding company for the Pelham Country Club. 

Options were taken on the property which was owned by members of the Black family, the Witherbee, the Edgar and the Reynold estates. The latter include Bonnie Brae, a roadhouse situated on the Boston Post Road, near the site of the present first green. It so happened that the options were for fairly long periods of time, except the option on Bonnie Brae. 

Bonnie Brae Proved an Obstacle 

This option was fast expiring, and on a certain day (I am afraid it was a Sunday), twenty Pelhamites met at the clubhouse, and were advised that the Bonnie Brae option expired within 24 hours. Another would-be purchaser had loomed on the horizon and was ready to take over the property at a price in excess of our option figure. Without this tract of land, the golf course could not have been constructed. 

When the situation was explained, we all sat and looked at each other bewildered -- until Elmore F. Higgins, took out his check book and wrote a check for $250, and 19 others followed suit. Our options were exercised and we were safe in starting the Pelham Country Club golf course."

Source:  The Pelham Country Club, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 14, 1960, p. 7, col. 1 (reprinting article from The Pelham Sun published on Aug. 4, 1954).

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