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, April 10, 2018

Crash of Col. Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach" During its First Season in 1876


In 1876 a horse-drawn road coach known as “The Pelham Coach” (also known, informally, as the "Tally Ho!") began running between New York City’s Hotel Brunswick and the “Pelham Manor” of yore. This road coach was not a simple hired coach that ferried passengers from New York City.  Rather, this road coach was driven by Colonel Delancey Kane, one of the so-called “millionaire coachmen,” who engaged in a sport known as “public coaching” or “road coaching” as it sometimes was called. The purpose of the sport was to rush the carriage between designated points on a specified schedule, with quick changes of horses at strategic points along the way, and to maintain that schedule rigorously. 

Colonel Delancey Kane became quite famous for his handling of The Pelham Coach, a bright canary yellow coach that was cheered along its route from the Hotel Brunswick in New York City to Pelham Bridge in the Town of Pelham and, later, along Shore Road into New Rochelle. The iconic image of the Tally Ho! immediately below appeared on song sheets, in etchings and engravings distributed throughout the United States. It shows The Pelham Coach. 


Click on Image to Enlarge.

Colonel Kane changed the terminus of the Tally Ho! a number of times. In various years the coach traveled to the Lorillard cottage (Arcularius Hotel) at Pelham Bridge, the Pelham Bridge Hotel, the Huguenot House in New Rochelle, and a number of other locations in the region in and around Pelham. The Tally Ho! route always, however, either terminated at Pelham Bridge or continued through Pelham along Shore Road past the settlement of Bartow and Bolton Priory on its way to New Rochelle.

The first "Coaching Season" for the Delancey Kane's Tally Ho! was in 1876.  I have written before about the first trip of the Pelham Coach on May 1, 1876 as well as the last trip that ended the season on November 30, 1876.  See:

Thu., Jan. 15, 2009:  The First Trip of Col. Delancey Kane's "New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line" on May 1, 1876

Tue., Jul. 29, 2014:  Wonderful Description of Coaching to Pelham on the Tally-Ho's First Trip of the Season on May 1, 1882.

Fri., Jan. 16, 2009:  The Final Trip of the First Season of Col. Delancey Kane's "New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line" in 1876.

All was not rosy during that first Coaching Season for the Tally Ho! in 1876.  Research has revealed that early in that first season, the Pelham Coach crashed into a vehicle while traveling through Central Park.  The crash turned into a public relations disaster for Colonel DeLancey Kane as he tried to promote the "Sport of Coaching."

It seems that the Pelham Coach was "thundering through Central Park at a rate of speed prohibited by law" when it "ran into a private conveyance and overturned it."  One of the two occupants of the vehicle that was overturned was injured.

It is impossible, of course, to know today precisely what happened at the time of the accident.  Newspapers in New York and elsewhere, however, seem to have excoriated DeLancey Kane, "the Millionaire Coachman."  According to one account, the New York City newspaper The World reported that after the accident, DeLancey Kane simply tossed his calling card to the driver of the overturned vehicle, an act that the newspaper reported with some disgust.  The story reported by The World was picked up in newspapers as far away as Deer Lodge, Montana (see below). 

Colonel DeLancey Kane and the Pelham Coach survived the public relations problems of that first season of coaching.  Although there were many such seasons to follow, the public seemed to tire of the notion of "Millionaire Coachmen" promoting a "Sport" of coaching.  Newspapers parodied coachmen including DeLancey Kane.  See, e.g.Thu., Jul. 28, 2016:  The Chicago Tribune Lampooned Coaching to Pelham in 1884.  Publicity seekers took to taunting coachmen by following them in mule-drawn vehicles with drivers and passengers dressed to make fun of the coachmen and their passengers.  See, e.g.Wed., Sep. 28, 2005:  Taunting the Tantivy Coach on its Way to Pelham: 1886.  Still, the Pelham Coach continued its historic route from the Brunswick Hotel to Pelham and the surrounding region for many years of coaching!

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"NEW NOR'WESTERS. . . 

-- The New York press is coach mad.  Because the Pelham coach, thundering through Central Park at a rate of speed prohibited by law, ran into a private conveyance and overturned it, injuring one of the two occupants, the World criticises [sic] the latter for their carelessness and the unfashionable appearance of their turnout, and blames the park police for not keeping the road clear.  The courtesy of the coachman, 'Col.' Delancey Kane, in throwing his card to the driver of the overturned vehicle, it regards with evident approbation."

Source:  NEW NOR'WESTERS, The New North-West [Deer Lodge, Montana], Jun. 16, 1876, Vol. 7, No. 51, p. 1, col. 4 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).

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Below is a list of articles and blog postings that I previously have posted regarding the subject of "Coaching to Pelham."

Monday, February 12, 2018:  Is This a Rare Photograph of the Famed Pelham Coach?

Tue., Aug. 15, 2017:  1877 Advertisement for Colonel Delancey Kane's Pelham Coach Known as the "Tally Ho".

Bell, Blake A., Col. Delancey Kane and "The Pelham Coach" (Sep. 2003).

Thu., Jul. 28, 2016:  The Chicago Tribune Lampooned Coaching to Pelham in 1884.

Wed., Jul. 30, 2014:  Yet Another Attempt in 1894 to Resurrect the Glory Days of Coaching to Pelham.  

Tue., Jul. 29, 2014:  Wonderful Description of Coaching to Pelham on the Tally-Ho's First Trip of the Season on May 1, 1882.

Wed., Apr. 14, 2010:  Col. Delancey Kane Changes the Timing and Route of The Pelham Coach in 1876.

Tue., Sep. 08, 2009:  1877 Advertisement with Timetable for the Tally Ho Coach to Pelham.

Mon., Mar. 23, 2009:  The Greyhound and the Tantivy-- The Four-in-Hand Coaches that Succeeded Col. Delancey Kane's "Tally-Ho" to Pelham.

Fri., Jan. 16, 2009: The Final Trip of the First Season of Col. Delancey Kane's "New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line" in 1876.

Thu., Jan. 15, 2009:  The First Trip of Col. Delancey Kane's "New-Rochelle and Pelham Four-in-Hand Coach Line" on May 1, 1876.

Thu., Mar. 06, 2008:  Auctioning the Tantivy's Horses at the Close of the 1886 Coaching Season.

Wed., Mar. 05, 2008:  Coaching to Pelham: The Tantivy Has an Accident on its Way to Pelham in 1886.  

Thu., Jan. 24, 2008:  An Account of the First Trip of Colonel Delancey Kane's Tally-Ho to Open the 1880 Coaching Season.

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008: Brief "History of Coaching" Published in 1891 Shows Ties of Sport to Pelham, New York

Thursday, August 3, 2006: Images of Colonel Delancey Kane and His "Pelham Coach" Published in 1878.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005: Taunting the Tantivy Coach on its Way to Pelham: 1886.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005: 1882 Engraving Shows Opening of Coaching Season From Hotel Brunswick to Pelham Bridge.

Thu., Jun. 09, 2005:  Coaching to Pelham: Colonel Delancey Astor Kane Did Not Operate the Only Coach to Pelham.

Fri., Feb. 11, 2005:  Col. Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach", Also Known as The Tally-Ho, Is Located.

Bell, Blake A., Col. Delancey Kane and "The Pelham Coach", The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XII, No. 38, Sept. 26, 2003, p. 1, col. 1.


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