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.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Businesses that Operated in Pelham in 1868, Shortly After the Civil War Ended


Fewer than 1,800 people lived in the Town of Pelham in 1868.  There were four principal population centers in the little settlement at the time:  (1) City Island; (2) Pelham Neck and the mainland around Pelham Bay opposite City Island; (3) Prospect Hill; and Pelhamville.

By 1868, the population of Pelham had grown sufficiently to support a number of small businesses.  It is possible to identify a number of those businesses, although today's listing is, by no means, exhaustive.  

Many residents of Pelham conducted what would be thought of today as "sole proprietorships."  For example, many on the mainland (and even a few on City Island) farmed their lands and maintained orchards.  In addition to the food they raised for themselves and their families, local farmers often sold surplus fruit and vegetables to the New York City market.  Such was also the case with oystermen and fishermen on City Island.  

There were a few local businesses.  Indeed, a map published in 1868 by F. W. Beers included a short "BUSINESS DIRICTORY" [sic] that listed a handful of Pelham businesses including a grocery, a meat market, an oyster dealer, two hotels, and a lumberyard that also sold building supplies, coal, and firewood.  Close inspection of the same map, however, reveals that there were other businesses besides those listed in the "BUSINESS DIRICTORY" which reads as follows:

"BUSINESS DIRICTORY [sic]
Billar W & S. Groceries, Flour Feed & Ships Stores
Benedict S. J. Prop r. of Bay View House
Hyatt James Prop r. of Meat Market & Dealer in all kinds of Fresh & Salt Meats
Horton J. B. Oyster Dealer & Collector
Leviness Cap t J. Prop r of City Isl d Hotel
Disbrow, Hudson & Lockwood Dealers in Lumber, Building Materials Coal & Wood Echo Bay"

Below is what little we know of these few businesses (plus a few more indicated on the map and otherwise) that existed in the little Town of Pelham shortly after the Civil War ended.

W & S Billar Groceries

The tiny "BUSINESS DIRICTORY" [sic] quoted above references this business as "Billar W & S. Groceries, Flour Feed & Ship Stores."  It is a little difficult to identify the proprietors of this little grocery store with certainty.

From the 1850s through at least the early 1880s, members of the Billar family of City Island were notable residents of the Town of Pelham.  Most of the men in the family appear to have been oystermen.  Among the residents by that name were Wilson Drake Billar, William Billar, and Samuel P. Billar.  

Drake Wilson Billar (who appears to have been known as "Wilson Billar") had a son named Samuel P. Billar (who was 22 years old in 1868).  Thus, it is possible that this business may have been operated by Wilson and Samuel Billar as a father and son "family grocery."  However, the 1870 Federal census lists both D. W. Billar and Samuel P. Billar as oystermen.  To make matters more intriguing, William Billar of City Island is listed in the 1870 Federal census as a retired "Merchant."   

According to the 1868 Beers map (see detail immediately below), the store was located on the eastern shore of City island on the northern side of a narrow roadway that ran parallel to, on the north side of, Prospect Street (today's Carroll Street).  The narrow lane was known as Banta Lane (shown, but not labeled on the 1868 Beers map).  Banta Lane ran parallel to Prospect Street for a block or so to Minnieford Avenue (originally Billar Place, also shown but not labeled on the 1868 Beers Map).  The entire area is shown on the 1868 Beers map as part of, or adjacent to, the old Fordham estate.  The grocery establishment apparently served as the local post-office in 1868.  As the map detail shows, the structure is shown adjacent to a reference that reads:  "W. & S Billar Store & PO."



Detail from 1868 Beers Map Showing "W. & S. Billar Store & PO" on
Far Right Near End of "PROSPECT ST." (Today's Carroll Street).
New York and Vicinity, p. 35 (NY, NY:  Beers, Ellis & Soule, 1868).
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

S. J. Benedict's Bay View House Hotel

The same business directory on the 1868 Beers Map contains the following reference:  "Benedict S. J. Prop r. of Bay View House."  This, of course, is a hotel known as the "Bay View House," proprietor S. J. Benedict.  The hotel should not be confused with the Bay View Hotel that later overlooked City Island Bridge.  This "Bay View House" in the same general area as the W. & S. Billar Grocery near the foot of Prospect Street (today's Carroll Street), on the southern side of the roadway.  

James Hyatt's Meat Market and Dealership

During the 1860s, James Hyatt served as Town Clerk of the Town of Pelham.  In 1873 he was elected Town Supervisor and was re-elected eleven times successively.  He also served as a Town Constable for one year and had service as Collector of School Taxes in Pelham.  According to one biography, Hyatt:

"first entered as a clerk the shop of James Kent, in Tompkins' Market, at the corner of Sixth Street and the Bowery, New York. Here he remained during four years, at the expiration of which he removed to Mott Haven, and was engaged in the business with his uncle there for five years. He then left Mott Haven for the town of Westchester, and entered the butcher store of William Cooper, which he left after five years to open a market for himself in the same town. One year afterward he removed the concern to City Island, where he still remains [i.e., as of 1886]"

See Mon., Jan. 05, 2009:  Brief Biography of James Hyatt, Town Clerk and Town Supervisor of Pelham in 19th Century (quoting Scharf, J. Thomas, ed., History of Westchester County, New York Including Morrisania, Kings Bridge and West Farms Which Have Been Annexed to New York City, Vol. 1, Part 2, Chapter XX. Westchester Town by Fordham Morris, p. 714 (Philadelphia, PA: L.E. Preston & Co. 1886).

The 1868 Beers map business directory references Hyatt's meat business as follows:  "Hyatt James Prop r. of Meat Market & Dealer in all kinds of Fresh & Salt Meats."  It is somewhat unclear, but it appears that Hyatt's meat market and dealership was located on the southern side of Banta Lane (shown, but not labeled on the 1868 Beers map) between  Banta Lane and Prospect Street which ran parallel to Banta Lane.  The map simply references a "Meat Market" at that location (see map detail above) without specifying whether it was Hyatt's business.  There is, however, no other reference to Hyatt (or another meat market) on the map.  (There is a property referenced as that of "J.R.H." but Hyatt's middle initial was "H.")  

J. B. Horton's, Oyster Dealer & Collector

The business directory included in the 1868 Beers Atlas references one Pelham business as "Horton J. B. Oyster Dealer & Collector."  Clearly J. B. Horton was an oysterman -- as were dozens and dozens of other City Island men.  This reference suggests that he had developed a business that was more than that of a mere "collector" of oysters but, indeed, a "dealer" -- likely wholesale.  

City Island Hotel and Leviness Hall, Joshua Leviness, Proprietor

There are suggestions in local newspapers that the City Island Hotel had existed at least since 1856 and was operated, for a time in the 1850s and early 1860s, by Charles McClennon.  For example, Charles McClennon of City Island Hotel placed an advertisement for a sailing regatta off the shores of City Island in 1856.


1856 City Island Regatta Advertisement Placed by "CHAS.
McCLENNON, City Island Hotel."  Source:  REGATTA
[Advertisement], N.Y. Herald, Jul. 17, 1856, No. 7261, p. 8,
col. 6.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.  Transcription:
"REGATTA. -- A GRAND REGATTA WILL TAKE PLACE at
City Island, on Monday, July 21.  Said regatta to consist of
three classes of boats.  First class, 26 feet to 24 feet; second
class, under 24 feet to 20 feet; third class, under 20 feet,
for which a splendid silver cup will be awarded to the winning
boat of each class.  The usual allowance of two minutes to
the foot.  All entries to be made before 12 o'clock on the day
of the race.  The race to be twenty miles.  Entrance fee, first
class, $5; second class, $3; third class $2.  CHAS. McCLENNON,
City Island Hotel."

McClennon was still affiliated with the City Island Hotel in the late 1850s and early 1860s.  See The Great Oyster Placer, New-York Daily Tribune, Oct. 1, 1859, p. 5, col. 2 (stating "And Duffy, too, discovered the oysters.  He told Charley McClennon, of the City Island Hotel, that he had found a bed of oysters, which seemed to him five miles long, off Eaton's Neck. . .").

By 1868, Captain Joshua Leviness (a rough character, but a leading oysterman and hotelier of City Island for several decades during the nineteenth century) operated the hotel.  By that date, there had been built an adjacent events hall called "Leviness Hall" located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Main Street and Prospect Street (the intersection of today's City Island Avenue and Carroll Street).  The location can be seen in the first map detail presented earlier in this article.  

The City Island Hotel had a bar that apparently could be a rather rough place.  Indeed, Leviness himself had his share of altercations in the bar of his hotel.  One such unusual altercation was described in 1874 by a local newspaper as follows:

"One of the Coroners We Have Annexed.

On the night of the 5th inst. Mr. Joshua Levinis [sic], of the City Island Hotel, and Mr. Valentine Reinhardt had a little skirmish in the hotel barroom, wherein Reinhardt was worsted.  The next day some of the injured man's friends sent for Coroner Miller of Morrisania to take Reinhardt's ante-mortem deposition.  When the Coroner arrived the man who had been injured was walking around with his jaw tied up, and apparently in no more danger of death than the Coroner was.  Coroner Miller was not to be trifled with.  He impaneled a jury and took testimony regarding the fight, just as a court does when a prisoner is on trial, with the exception that there was no prisoner present.  Levinis had not been arrested.  After the testimony was all in the Coroner charged the jury, and they rendered the verdict that 'Mr. Reinhardt received his wound at the hands of Joshua Levinis.'  The wound consisted of a small lump on Reinhardt's jaw, which only interfered with his chewing hard bread or tough steak.  The Coroner received the verdict, discharged the jury, arrested Levinis and sent him to the county jail without bail, on charge of 'feloniously wounding.' &c. The proceeding was so extraordinary that Judge Gilford discharged the prisoner as soon as his attention was called to it."

Source:  One of the Coroners We Have Annexed, The Sun [NY, NY], Feb. 14, 1874, Vol. XLI, No. 143, p. 3, col. 5.  

In early 1877, Leviness sold the City Island hotel to James M. Liming & Co. of City Island.  According to a local news account at the time:

"The business of the City Island Hotel, formerly conducted by Joshua Leviness, has been sold out to James M. Liming & Co., of City Island, and a formal opening was held last Thursday.  The premises are undergoing extensive repairs and improvements, and when completed will, no doubt, present a very fine appearance."

Source:  [Untitled], The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Mar. 23, 1877, Vol. VIII, No. 392, p. 3, col. 1.   

Although Leviness sold the hotel in early 1877, he kept control of Leviness Hall located behind the hotel.  Apparently, shortly after James M. Liming & Co. began operating the City Island Hotel, Leviness threatened that he was going to retrofit Leviness Hall with a room beneath the hall to serve as a "restaurant and dining-saloon," the main hall as a billiard parlor with a half dozen billiard tables, and the upper story as a hotel that would compete with City Island Hotel next door.  A local newspaper reported:

"Capt. Josh Leviness is gong to engage in active business again.  Messrs. Vail and Liming have the City Island Hotel, but Capt. Josh has not relinquished command of what was known as the hall, situated about 100 feet to the rear of the hotel, on the side street.  Mechanics are busy fitting up the room underneath the hall as a restaurant and dining saloon, with all the modern conveniences.  The hall is to be furnished with half a dozen billiard tables, settees, etc. for the accommodation of billiard players, and the upper story is to be fitted up with hotel accommodations."

Source:  Pelham and City Island, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Aug. 2, 1878, Vol. IX, No. 463, p. 2, col. 6.  

In late 1881, the City Island Hotel reportedly was leased to a member of the Barstow family (B. Barstow) for a period of twenty years.  See City Island, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Dec. 16, 1881, Vol. XIII, No. 639, p. 2, col. 4 (stating "Mr. B. Barstow has leased the City Island Hotel, for twenty years.").  About a year later, in December, 1882, Leviness opened a popular restaurant "under" Leviness Hall behind the City Island Hotel in a bid to attract some of the hotel guests, suggesting he had not so as he threatened in 1878, although that is not known with certainty.  See CITY ISLAND, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Dec. 8, 1882, Vol. XIV, No. 690, p. 3, col. 4 (stating "Capt. Joshua Leviness has opened a restaurant under the hall, in the rear of the City Island Hotel.").

The City Island Hotel operated for many years.  Indeed, long after Joshua Leviness first sold the hotel, George Leviness, a son of Joshua Leviness, served as proprietor of the establishment and was serving in that capacity when he was sued in 1885 by a beautiful young woman named Mary Amelia Ross, also of City Island, for breach of promise to marry.  See Tue., Jul. 11, 2017:  A Pelham Scandal and Resultant Lawsuit Set Pelham Tongues Wagging in 1885.  

Disbrow, Hudson & Lockwood

The 1868 Beers map "DIRICTORY" lists Disbrow, Hudson & Lockwood as "Dealers in Lumber, Building Materials Coal & Wood Echo Bay."  The "Lockwood" in the firm name appears to reference John M. Lockwood who is listed in the 1870 Federal census of Pelham as a 41-year-old "Merchant" of some means who, according to the census, owned $10,000 worth or real estate and $30,000 worth of personal property.  

The reference to Disbrow in the firm name is somewhat murky.  Civil War draft registration records covering Pelham and New Rochelle reference two men with the last name of Disbrow:  Thomas Disbrow and Livingston Disbrow, both of whom apparently lived in New Rochelle rather than Pelham.  Likewise, there seems to have been a "John Hudson" who lived in New Rochelle -- not Pelham -- at about the same time, though there is no indication whether these were the men who worked with John M. Lockwood in the firm of Disbrow, Hudson & Lockwood.  



Detail from 1868 Beers Map Showing "Disbrow, Hudson & Lockwood"
on Far Left on North Side of Boston Post Road Near the Hutchinson
River (Where it Likely Unloaded Supplies from Barges and Boats Brought up
the River).  Source:  F. W. Beers, "City Island, Pelham Township, Westchester
New York and Vicinity, p. 35 (NY, NY:  Beers, Ellis & Soule, 1868).
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Other Pelham Businesses

Earlier research as well as careful review of the 1870 Federal census for the Town of Pelham demonstrates (in some cases) and suggests (in others) that there were a number of other local businesses in the Town of Pelham in about 1868.  For example, it is well-established that David Carll's shipyard was in operation on City Island at the time.  Consequently, below are examples of additional businesses and a few instances referenced in the census that suggest other additional local Pelham businesses existed in the late 1860s (or, at a minimum, in 1870).

     Carll's Shipyard

One of the largest businesses in the Town of Pelham in 1868 likely was Carll's Shipyard located on City Island.  The business has been well researched and has been the subject of a number of previous Historic Pelham Blog articles.  See, e.g.:

Fri., Jun. 16, 2017:  Origins of Ship Repair and Shipbuilding on City Island in the Town of Pelham.

Mon., Nov. 16, 2015:  David Carll's Shipyard in the Town of Pelham on City Island.

     New York & New Haven Railroad Station in Pelhamville

Remember, of course, that the New York & New Haven Railroad maintained a station, ticket office, and freight station in the little settlement of Pelhamville in 1868.  The station and its station agent represented the railroad to its customers in Pelham by, among other things, selling tickets, arranging freight transfers and deliveries, etc.  

     New York Lock Company

The New York Lock Company maintained a facility across the railroad tracks from the New York & New Haven Railroad Station in Pelhamville in 1868.  The New York Lock Company, as the name implies, sold locks.  One of its sales agents, Joseph Seth Hoard, invented the famed "Hoard & Spencer Burglar-Proof Door Lock."  It seems likely that the facility was a freight facility for offloading the company's products for sales in the region, but no record yet has been located to indicate the precise purpose(s) of the facility.  



Detail from 1868 Beers Map Showing "N.Y. Lock Co" on Lower Right Across
the Railroad Tracks from the "Depot" of the New York and New Haven Railroad.  
Pelhamville" in Atlas of New York and Vicinity, p. 36 (NY, NY:  Beers, Ellis
& Soule, 1868).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

     Commercial Dock (at Foot of Main Street, Today's City Island Avenue)

As recently noted in an article posted to the Historic Pelham Blog, it appears that members of the Horton family of City Island established a commercial dock at the southern tip of City Island in 1855.  See Mon., Jul. 23, 2018:  Horton Family Application for Underwater Land Grant in 1855 to Build a Dock in Pelham.  The dock appears to have been in operation in 1868.  (See map detail immediately below.)



Detail of Map Published in 1868 Showing Dock Extending from
Stephen D. Horton's Land at Southern Tip of City Island in the
Town of Pelham. Source: Beers, F. W., "City Island, Pelham
Co., N. Y." in Atlas of New York and Vicinity, pg. 35 (NY, NY: Beers,
Ellis & Soule, 1868). NOTE: Click on Image to Enlarge.

     Charles Sholtz Shoe Store

Near the W. & S. Billar Grocery located on Banta Lane (see supra including first map detail), there was a business reflected on the 1868 Beers Map as "Chas Stoltz Shoe Store."  The last name "Stoltz" is a little difficult to read and may be something else, but browsing the 1860 and 1870 federal censuses for Pelham do not shed any light on the individual who is referenced on the map.  It appears that a shoe store existed in 1868, but so far nothing is known of it.

     Bar Room & Bowling Alley

In essentially the same area in 1868 there was a business described as "Bar Room & Bowling Alley" on the Beers map, shown between, and at the ends of, Banta Lane and Prospect Street.  The map reference is very confusing.  It appears as though there was a single structure consisting of two wings with a long, narrow connector between them (presumably the bowling alley).  The reference "Meat Market" (presumably Hyatt's Meat Market discussed above) appears adjacent to the northern wing of the structure.  "A. Browning" appears adjacent to the southern wing of the structure.  Taken together, the references suggest that "A. Browning" may have operated the "Bar Room & Bowling Alley" at that location.  

     Vickery Grocery Store

In the 1870 Federal census for the Town of Pelham, William Vickery is listed as a 35-year-old "Merchant" who owned about $1,000 worth of real estate and personal property valued at $500.  It is known from other sources that shortly after Vickery and his wife, Jane, moved to City Island in the 1850s, William Vickery purchased land from City Island oysterman Joshua Leviness and built a home on City Island's Main Street (now City Island Avenue).  According to one account, "Soon after locating there Mrs. Vickery engaged in storekeeping, and two years later purchased the lot and store adjacent to the old house" and conducted the business there for nine additional years after her husband's death on October 27, 1871.  See Tue., Jan. 27, 2009:  Biography of William Vickery, a 19th Century Resident of City Island in the Town of Pelham (citing Pelletreau, William S., Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Family History of New York, Vol. IV, pp. 249-51 (NY and Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Co., 1907).

     Rapalyea Blacksmith

The census lists 40-year-old William Rapelyea as a "Blacksmith."  Perhaps even more significantly, it lists 17-year-old James Coleman, living in the William Rapelyea household, as a "Blacksmith Apprentice," suggesting that the two likely worked together in a nearby business, perhaps in Pelham.  

     "Fancy Store"

The 1870 Federal census for Pelham also suggests that there may have been a "Fancy Store" operated on City Island by a 26-year-old woman whose name is somewhat unclear.  The census reference indicates that her first name was Ellen but the last name is illegible.  The last name may be Sinsing or Sining or something similar.  It lists the woman's occupation as "Fancy Store" and shows that her household included three young children (James, 7; Charles, 5; and Imogene, 3) as well as a 20-year-old woman listed as a "Domestic."

     Other Possible Local Small Businesses

The 1868 Beers map contains references to a few other possible local small businesses.  For example, there are references to "L. Leviness Boat House," "S. Pell Store," the "Ferry and Ferry House" for crossing to and from the mainland, and "P.A. Patterson Carpenter's Shop" in northern Pelhamville.

It is not known if such businesses might best be viewed as sole proprietorships or more significant commercial enterprises.  Simply reviewing the 1860 and 1870 federal censuses for the Town of Pelham makes clear that many Pelham residents worked on their own out of their residences as seamstresses, dressmakers, shoemakers, farmers, oystermen, boat builders, ship captains, Hell Gate Pilots and the like.  Moreover, there were other substantial Pelham employers that have not been included in this brief article on Pelham businesses after the Civil War including the Priory School for Girls that employed faculty and others, the educational facility on Hart Island for delinquent boys that also employed faculty and others, local churches, and the like.  Still, today's Historic Pelham Blog article hopefully sheds some light on the growth of local businesses that served the 1,800 or so residents of the little Town of Pelham shortly after the Civil War ended.  

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Whereabouts of the Pelham Coach: Colonel Delancey Kane's Famed 19th Century Tally-Ho Road Coach


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.  According to a number of sources, Delancey Kane ran his Pelham Coach at least during the coaching seasons of 1876, 1877, 1880, and 1882.  

Kane, who reportedly was the first to "put on a public coach" in sport, inspired others.  For example, as I have noted before, On April 25, 1881 a coach named the Tantivy was put on the road to Tarrytown by Colonel W. Jay, George Peabody Wetmore, T. A. Havemeyer, Hugo O. Fritsch, Isaac Bel, Jr., and F. Bronson.  The Tantivy ran at least six months that year and, the following year, was put back on the road to Yonkers.  In 1884, 1887, and 1889, public coaches were run by J. Roosevelt Roosevelt, C. Oliver Iselin, F. Bronson, R. W. Rives, and the Coaching Club (of New York).  See Whitney, Caspar W., "Evolution of the Country Club" in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. XC, No. DXXXV, pp. 16 & 28 (Dec., 1894).  

I have written for many years and on many occasions about the Pelham Coach established by Col. Delancey Kane in 1876.  For dozens of examples, see the list of articles with links at the end of today's Historic Pelham Blog article.

A fascinating article about the current location of the Pelham Coach appeared in the August, 2009 issue of The Carriage Journal, the journal of the Carriage Association of America.  The article describes recent events leading to a change in the ownership and location of the Pelham Coach since I last visited that issue more than thirteen years ago in 2005.  See Fri., Feb. 11, 2005:  Col. Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach", Also Known as The Tally-Ho, Is Located.  The wonderful article, by Ken Wheeling is available within Google Books.  See Wheeling, Ken, "The Tally-Ho:  A Road Coach," in The Carriage Journal, Vol. 47, No. 5, p. 261 (Oct. 2009).  

Although, as one would expect, Ken Wheeling's article focuses on the coach itself, the article also includes fascinating information about the color lithograph of the Pelham Coach included above (and in a number of other Historic Pelham Blog articles).   The lithograph was published by J. B. Brewster & Co., a New York City firm.  It was taken from a massive five-foot-long painting on the coach created by Philadelphia artist Henry C. Bispham who was "more known for his western art."  According to Ken Wheeling's article:

"It was also in 1876 that the Tally-Ho made its first appearance in art.  The Philadelphia artist Henry C. Bispham (1841-1882) painted a five-foot canvas depicting the coach and gave a reception at the Brunswick Hotel to unveil it.

'The picture . . . represents the coach and four-in-hand in a swinging trot out on the road, the Colonel driving and the horses well in hand, the nigh leader pacing and the others trotting.  The seats and top of the coach are filled with passengers, the box seat occupied by Colonel Kane and his wife, and just behind are seated Colonel Jay, the president of the Coaching Club; Mr. Sherman and Colonel Kane's brother, with the guard standing and sounding the horn.  The back seats are occupied by several passengers denoting the business element of the establishment.  Inside is one of the old-fashioned elderly women who have seen enough of this world to be content with quiet and retirement.  The horses are portraits and careful attention has been paid to the details of the gold mounted harness.  The extra straw collar hangs at the side of the coach, to be used in emergencies, and on the side under the window is painted in gilt letters the sign, 'Mott Haven and Pelham Bridge' . . ."

Id., p. 264 (endnotes omitted).  

According to Ken Wheeling's article, the Pelham Coach was built by Holland & Holland of Oxford Street in London.  The article states:

"John Holland was Master of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers in 1873, exhibiting his carriages five years later at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.  Ten years later the company was owned by V. Kesterton.  In 1912, Thrupp & Maberly bought out the business along with Wyburn & Co. and Silk & Sons.  Holland & Holland coaches were highly desirable then and very much prized today."

Id., p. 261.  

The Pelham Coach, as the Tally-Ho was called by many, was a striking sight.  As the image at the outset of today's Historic Pelham Blog posting shows, it was a striking canary yellow (with matching risers).  As noted by Ken Wheeling, the "lettering was red, highlighted in black.  When used for public coaching, the names of the terminal cities were painted in the crest panels, and the New York terminus points were altered accordingly".  Id., p. 262.  

When last I wrote (in 2005) of the whereabouts of the Pelham Coach, it was in the possession of the Museum of the City of New York.  At the time, I noted:

"The Pelham Coach still exists. I have corresponded with Ms. Melanie Bower, Collections Access Associate of the Museum of the City of New York.  On February 10 she wrote me saying '[t]he Museum does own the Tally-ho coach used by Col. Delancey [Kane]. The coach is currently stored in the Museum's off-site curatorial facility. While it is possible to schedule an appointment to view the coach in storage, it is currently not on display at the Museum.'"

Since then, ownership of the coach has changed, as has its location.  Ken Wheeling has detailed the provenance and location of the Pelham Coach as follows:

"Colonel DeLancey Kane died on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1915, ironically preceded in death by Colonel William Jay on March 28.  The two founders of the Coaching Club, both of whom had contributed so much to its success, died within days of each other.  The Tally-Ho remained at 'The Paddocks,' Colonel and Mrs. Kane's home in New Rochelle, New Jersey, until 1933, when Mrs. Kane donated it to the Museum of the City of New York.  In September 2008, ownership of the coach was transferred to the Long island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages. . . . Any subsequent chapters remain to be 'written.'"

Id., p. 267 (endnotes omitted).

The Pelham Coach that played a role in making Pelham famous in the 19th century as a playground of the rich and famous lives on.  Indeed, its "subsequent chapters remain to be written."

*          *          *          *          *

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

Tue., Apr. 10, 2018:  Crash of Col. Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach" During its First Season in 1876.

Mon., Feb. 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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Monday, July 23, 2018

Horton Family Application for Underwater Land Grant in 1855 to Build a Dock in Pelham


In 1855, the tiny little Town of Pelham had a population of only about 600 people, most of whom lived on City Island.  City Island only then was becoming a small maritime center for oystermen, ship repair, fishing, and regional amusement and resort fishing.  Much of the southern tip of the island was still held by members of the Horton Family including Stephen Decatur Horton and George Washington Horton.

Stephen Decatur Horton and his wife, Caroline Lucilia (Skidmore) Horton, were important early settlers of City Island in the Town of Pelham.  Stephen D. Horton, born January 18, 1821 and died October 23, 1900, became a notable Hellgate Pilot during the mid-1870s.  Stephen and Caroline Horton, an affluent local couple, eventually built a lovely mansion on Belden point at the southern tip of City Island known simply as "The Mansion."  See Fri., Jul. 10, 2015:  The Mansion Built by Stephen Decatur Horton and His Wife on Belden Point, City Island, Town of Pelham.


"Stephen Decatur Horton" and "Caroline Lucilia (Skidmore)
Horton" Source: Pelletreau, William S., Historic Homes and
Institutions And Genealogical and Family History of New York,
Vol. II, p. between pp. 204-05 (New York and Chicago: The Lewis
Publishing Company, 1907). NOTE: Click Image to Enlarge.

Stephen Decatur Horton's father, George W. Horton, was born February 21, 1786. He died September 22, 1860.  He married Elizabeth Horton, April 24, 1813. She, in turn, was born April 6, 1794 and died in June, 1861. Among the children of the couple was Stephen Decatur Horton (see above) and George W. Horton, Jr. who was born June 27, 1827.  See Tue., Oct. 28, 2014:  Genealogical and Biographical Information Regarding George Washington Horton and His Family, Early Settlers of City Island in the Town of PelhamSee also Tue., Jul. 11, 2006:  Genealogical and Family History Information Regarding Members of the Horton Family of City Island, Once Part of Pelham.


"Old George W. Horton Homestead. Foot of Main Street, City
Island. Borough of Bronx. New York." Source: Pelletreau,
William S., Historic Homes and Institutions And Genealogical
and Family History of New York, Vol. II, p. between pp. 202-03
(New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907).
NOTE: Click Image to Enlarge.

In early 1855, it appears that the two brothers, George W. Horton, Jr. and Stephen D. Horton joined forces to develope one of the first commercial docks in the Town of Pelham at the southern end of what then was called "Main Street" at the southeastern tip of City Island.  The pair repeatedly published a legal notice in regional newspapers dated February 28, 1855.  (It must be noted that George W. Horton, Sr. was still alive at the time, so it is possible that it was him and his son who published the notice, although evidence suggests it was the two brothers.) The notice provided public notification that the pair would appear before the Commissioners of the Land Office at the Office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York in Albany on April 10, 1855 to seek a "grant in perpetuity" of "land under the waters below high water mark" in Long Island Sound at the southern tip of City Island.  The purpose of the grant they sought, according to the legal notice, was "the purpose of promoting the commerce of the State, by erecting a Dock thereon."

The underwater land the pair sought was described in the notice as follows:

"adjacent to land bounded southerly and easterly by the waters of the Sound, northerly by land belonging to the heirs of Samuel Bowne, deceased, and westerly by the waters of the Sound and land of Franklin Arcularius -- of which the subscribers are the owners and proprietors and the actual occupants, for the purpose of promoting the commerce of the State, by erecting a Dock thereon, viz:  Beginning at a point at ordinary high water mark, 34 feet south-east of Main avenue, on City Island; thence from a point at high water mark, opposite the south-easterly termination of Main avenue on City Island, south 28 degrees 35 minutes east, 170 feet into the Sound; thence south 61 degrees 25 minutes west, 40 feet; thence north 28 degrees 35 minutes west, 40 feet; thence north 61 degrees 25 minutes east, 14 feet; thence north 28 degrees 35 minutes west, 126 feet, to a point on the shore, at ordinary high water mark; thence north 54 degrees east, 26 1/4 feet, to the place of beginning -- containing eleven one hundredths of an acre of land."

Of course, a dock was, indeed, built at that location.  The map detail below, from a map published in 1868, shows a dock at that location, perhaps the first commercial dock built in the Town of Pelham.


Detail of Map Published in 1868 Showing Dock Extending from
Stephen D. Horton's Land at Southern Tip of City Island in the
Town of Pelham.  Source:  Beers, F. W., "City Island, Pelham
Co., N. Y." in Atlas of New York and Vicinity, pg. 35 (NY, NY:  Beers,
Ellis & Soule, 1868).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


Legal Notice for Application to Obtain Underwater Lands
Dated February 28, 1855.  Source:  NOTICE OF APPLICATION
[Legal Notice], The Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY],
Mar. 9, 1855, Vol. X, No. 43, p. 4, col. 6.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *

"NOTICE OF APPLICATION for

GRANT OF LAND UNDER WATER -- Notice is hereby given, that application will be made by the subscribers to the Commissioners of the Land Office, at the office of the Secretary of State in the city of Albany, on the 10th day of April, A. D., 1855, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, for a grant in perpetuity of the following described land under the waters below high water mark of the waters of Long Island Sound, at City Island, in the town of Pelham, in the County of Westchester, adjacent to land bounded southerly and easterly by the waters of the Sound, northerly by land belonging to the heirs of Samuel Bowne, deceased, and westerly by the waters of the Sound and land of Franklin Arcularius -- of which the subscribers are the owners and proprietors and the actual occupants, for the purpose of promoting the commerce of the State, by erecting a Dock thereon, viz:  Beginning at a point at ordinary high water mark, 34 feet south-east of Main avenue, on City Island; thence from a point at high water mark, opposite the south-easterly termination of Main avenue on City Island, south 28 degrees 35 minutes east, 170 feet into the Sound; thence south 61 degrees 25 minutes west, 40 feet; thence north 28 degrees 35 minutes west, 40 feet; thence north 61 degrees 25 minutes east, 14 feet; thence north 28 degrees 35 minutes west, 126 feet, to a point on the shore, at ordinary high water mark; thence north 54 degrees east, 26 1/4 feet, to the place of beginning -- containing eleven one hundredths of an acre of land. -- Dated Feb. 28, 1855.

GEORGE W. HORTON,
STEPHEN D. HORTON.

42w7"

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