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 14, 2018

What Can We Learn About Pelham's Priory School for Girls from the 1870 Federal Census?


The 1870 United States Census taken in the Town of Pelham reflects information about faculty, students, and workers who resided at the Priory School for Girls then conducted by sisters Anna and Adele Bolton in Bolton Priory which still stands at 7 Priory Lane, Pelham Manor, New York and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  What can we learn about the Priory School for Girls from the census data?

First, we must recognize the limitations of the data.  It reflects those who resided in Bolton Priory.  It is known that, over the years, some faculty members lived nearby (in New Rochelle, for example) and that there were so-called "day students" who did not reside in the Priory but nevertheless attended school there daily.  Additionally, in trying to assess where those reflected in the census data were from, the only geographical data provided reflects the birthplace of each.  While we may surmise that their homes remained in the states or countries of their births that, of course, might not always have been the case.  Still, the data provides rough information and some interesting insights about the faculty, students, and workers at Bolton Priory in 1870.

The census data reflects six faculty members, five "Domestic Servants," and forty seven students residing at the Priory.  The six resident faculty members were all women in 1870.  The youngest was 22 years old while the remainder ranged in edge from 31 to 40 years old.  The oldest was Anna Bolton (40 years old).  Three of the women (sisters Anna and Adele Bolton who ran the school at that time and Catherine Adams) were born in England.  The remaining three faculty members (Bonnie Riley, Lucy Garrigan, and Elizabeth Nelson) were born in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Alabama, respectively.

All five of the "Domestic Servants" were women.  Interestingly, four of the five -- like the Bolton sisters who ran the school -- were born in England (Mary Pierson, Rachael Baxter, Mary Cribb, and Anna Burke).  The fifth, Harriet Bryan, was born in Virginia.

Younger members of the Bolton Family were students, including the only boys who attended the school.  Thus, among the students taught at the school at the time were Robert Bolton, John Bolton, Annie Jay Bolton, Katy Bolton, and Nanette Bolton (who later became head mistress of the school and remained as such until the school closed and she departed for Europe twelve years later in 1882).  Accordingly, forty five of the students were girls and two were boys.  

Students at the Priory School for Girls ranged in age between eleven and nineteen years old.  The age breakdown of the forty seven students in 1870 was as follows:

11 Years Old:  3 Students
12 Years Old:  2 Students
13 Years Old:  7 Students
14 Years Old:  2 Students
15 Years Old:  10 Students
16 Years Old:  14 Students
17 Years Old:  2 Students
18 Years Old:  3 Students
19 Years Old:  4 Students

As one might expect, the largest number of students were born in, and likely remained residents of, New York (30 students, including the five Bolton family members who were students).  The remaining seventeen students were born in and, perhaps, still resided in the following fifteen states and two foreign nations:

Alabama:  1
Connecticut:  1
Maryland: 1
Massachusetts:  1
Ohio:  1
Pennsylvania:5
Rhode Island:  3
Virginia:  2

England:  1
Mexico:  1

In several instances (besides the Bolton children of course), students seemed to be related to one another -- perhaps siblings.  Two such students were Ann Vincent and Maria Vincent.  If related, the pair may have been twins because both were listed as 18 years old.  Other possibly related pairs included Gertrude Lefferts (13 years old) and Annie Lefferts (11 years old).  Another pair was Hattie Rop (13 years old) and Daisy Rop (11 years old).  



The Priory by William Rickerby Miller (1818-1893).
Watercolor on Paper, 1856, Showing the Terrace in Front
of the Home that Formed a "Promenade."  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


The Priory by William Rickerby Miller (1818-1893).
Watercolor on Paper, 1856, Showing Front Entrance with
"1838" Formed by Bricks Set Into the Stone Above the
Doorway.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


*          *          *          *          *

Below is a transcription of some of the most significant data contained in all Priory School for Girls entries from the 1870 United States Census taken in the Town of Pelham.

Name
Age
Sex
Race
Occupation
Birthplace
Anna Bolton
40
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
England
Adele Bolton
36
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
England
Catherine Adams
30
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
England
Bonnie Riley
32
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
Georgia
Lucy Garrigan
31
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Nelson
22
F
White
Ladies Boarding School
Alabama
Harriet Bryan
34
F
White
Domestic Servant
Virginia
Grace Pike
17
F
White
Attending School
Connecticut
Mary Marple
19
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Louisa Odin
16
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Florence Carter
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Julia Garner
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Kam
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nettie Esteppe
15
F
White
Attending School
Ohio
Katy Gaygaum
19
F
White
Attending School
Alabama
Robert Bolton
14
M
White
Attending School
New York
John Bolton
13
M
White
Attending School
New York
Annie Jay Bolton
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Katy Bolton
19
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nanette Bolton
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Harriet Nelles
19
F
White
Attending School
Massachusetts
Annie Washington
15
F
White
Attending School
Virginia
Julia Bloodgood
11
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Warden
12
F
White
Attending School
Maryland
Amanda Simpson
16
F
White
Attending School
Virginia
Julia Shomaker
17
F
White
Attending School
Mexico
Ada Strong
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Kate Seymour
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Eva Smith
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Louisa Johnson
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Hill
13
F
White
Attending School
England
Mary Pierson
51
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Rachael Baxter
52
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Mary Cribb
25
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Ann Vincent
18
F
White
Attending School
New York
Maria Vincent
18
F
White
Attending School
New York
Anna Burke
46
F
White
Domestic Servant
England
Gertrude Lefferts
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nellie Bailey
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Kate Van Nest
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Lillie Pierce
16
F
White
Attending School
Rhode Island
Carrie Russell
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Hattie Burgess
14
F
White
Attending School
New York
Virginia Gunth
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Mary Bowers
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Henrietta Temple
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Clara Wooster
16
F
White
Attending School
Rhode Island
Clara Smith
18
F
White
Attending School
New York
Nellie Bradford
15
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Kate Crande
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Eliza Tunis
13
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Annie Mairau
16
F
White
Attending School
Rhode Island
Elizabeth Chapman
15
F
White
Attending School
New York
Arabella Thayer
16
F
White
Attending School
New York
Hattie Rop
13
F
White
Attending School
New York
Daisy Rop
11
F
White
Attending School
New York
Dolly Worden
12
F
White
Attending School
Pennsylvania
Annie Lefferts
11
F
White
Attending School
New York

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