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.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

More on the 1916 Trolley Strike That Brought Violence to Pelham


All was ready.  Screens had been installed around the motorman's vestibule in the trolley car to protect the operator from stones and broken glass.  A police officer was on board with the few passengers brave enough to chance a trip between Mount Vernon and New Rochelle through Pelham.  The trolley strike of 1916 was underway.  There had been threats of violence.  

The little car began its trip that day, Saturday, October 21, 1916, down Fifth Avenue in the Village of North Pelham and onto Wolfs Lane in the Village of Pelham Heights.  As the trolley car bounced along Wolfs Lane, a crowd of fifty to seventy-five strikers could be seen in the distance.  As soon as the crowd appeared, the police officer reportedly leaped off the trolley car and fled across vacant lots to safety.  It was an ominous forshadowing of the violence about to befall the trolley car and those within it.  What happened that day?

Though difficult to imagine today, for a brief time during the Great Street Car Strike of 1916, the little Town of Pelham was the center of a maelstrom of violent labor unrest.  Trolley line workers throughout the region were on strike when management decided to break the strike with loyal company employees and non-union employees. Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Pelham, and New Rochelle were at the center of this maelstrom of violence that resulted in injuries to trolley car riders in Pelham and even a pitched battle with police on the Pelham and New Rochelle border. 

I have written before about the Great Streetcar Strike of 1916 and the violence that occurred in Pelham.  See Mon., Oct. 19, 2015:  Rioting Strikers Attacked Pelham Trolley Passengers and Fought With Pelham Police in the Great Streetcar Strike of 1916See also Wed., Dec. 23, 2009:  Attack on the Toonerville Trolley Line by Strikers in 1916.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog tells a little about the effects of the Great Streetcar Strike of 1916 and the violence that resulted in the little Town of Pelham.  Presented below is the text of an extensive article that appeared in The Daily Argus of Mount Vernon, New York detailing violence that occurred in Pelham during the lengthy strike on Saturday, October 21, 1916.  It makes fascinating reading for students of Pelham history.


Trolley car that ran from Pelham Station along Wolf's Lane
with a short stint on Colonial Avenue then along the length of
Pelhamdale to Shore Road where it turned around and
repeated the trip. The two trolley operators standing in front
of the car were Skippers Dan and Louie.

*          *          *          *          *

"MOB STOPS THE TROLLEY CARS IN TOWN OF PELHAM
-----
Strikers From New Rochelle Descend There on Saturday -- Trolley Company Insists That the Police There Gave no Protection and Insinuates Cowardice -- It is Said One Jumped.
-----
POLICE HEADS TALK ABOUT JURISDICTION
-----
Cars Stone -- Chief Marks of Pelham Manor is Said to Have 4 or 5 Men -- No Arrests Made Despite the Violence -- Trolley Company Will Not Resume Traffic Until Assured of Adequate Police Protection.
-----

Pelham Manor, Oct. 23. -- A mob of between 50 and 75 striking trolleymen from New Rochelle made good their threat to stop street car traffic between Mount Vernon and New Rochelle on Saturday afternoon at 4 o'clock.  While the police of Pelham Manor, headed by Chief Marks, who claimed the trouble was taking place in Pelham Heights and therefor he had no authority to interfere, witnessed their tactics, the crowd savagely attacked the cars and their crews, hurling stones through the windows.

The Pelham Manor police who up to that time had been riding on the cars got off and gave no protection, it is alleged.  Passengers on the cars were in a shower of splintered glass and it was reported that Roberta Manning and Mrs. E. Wright, both of 15 Glendale Place, Brooklyn, were cut, but the Westchester Electric Railroad denied this later.

The railroad company accuses the police of neglect of duty and insinuates cowardice.  One policeman is alleged by the company to have jumped off the car he was detailed to guard and to have left the scene via vacant lots when he saw the crowd of strikers approaching.  The company had not decided today, pending detailed reports and affidavits from the crews, as to what action would be adopted.

Not only were two Mount Vernon - New Rochelle cars stoned, but the Pelham Manor car was damaged.  All three cars were discontinued in service.  With the motormen behind the screened vestibules, the cars were finally run through the gauntlet of stones and sticks into Mount Vernon, a sanctuary.

Since then no cars have been run between Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, but the company announced today that it is ready to resume their operation as soon as adequate police protection is supplied.  The Pelham Manor line also has not been in service cince Saturday afternoon.

No arrests were made here, altho the trolley company officials claim that Chief Marks and four or five men, as well as Chief Holden of, of Pelham Heights with one other policeman, were witnesses of the happenings.

After leaving here the crowd of strikers returned to New Rochelle, where on Mayflower avenue the men at 5:15 o'clock bombarded a Webster avenue car, breaking six windows and denting the car.  The crowd evidently was after William Smith who had remained faithful to the company, but Smith came through unhurt.  Three New Rochelle policemen drew their guns and started after the crowd, but the strikers ran away.  As the police were pursuing them, they saw another crowd approaching the car from the opposite direction and had to give up the chase to protect the company's property.

In Saturday's demonstration by the strikers, the three cars were on Colonial avenue at the same time.  One car was bound from Mount Vernon to New Rochelle.  It had been escorted safely to the village line, where it ws boarded by a Pelham Manor policeman in accordance with the agreement made by Chief Marks to furnish protection from the city line of Mount Vernon to the city line of New Rochelle.  Colonial avenue is a continuation of Sixth street, Mount Vernon.

Coming in the opposite direction on a return trip from New Rochelle was another car, on which was also a Pelham Manor Policeman.  The Pelham Manor car which was being run thru Pelham Manor and Pelham Heights during the day had turned from Wolf's lane into Colonial avenue.  It also carried a Pelham Manor cop.  The crowd of strikers had come from 'church corner' in this village, seeking the trolley cars which the men had learned were being run thru here between the two cities.

The crew of the car from Mount Vernon, consisting of Motorman McGrath and Conductor Gavin, claimed
-----
(Continued on Page Six)

MOB STOPS THE TROLLEY CARS IN TOWN OF PELHAM
-----
(Continued from page one)
-----

that when the policeman with them saw the crowd coming he alighted and left, across lots.  Motorman McGrath run [sic] the car through the crowd and continued on his way to New Rochelle with a number of broken windows as the result of the rocks thrown from the crowd.

The crowd gathered around the two other cars, threatening the crews.  One of the conductors was Martin Woodbee, a striker who had returned to work.  Motorman Clough, on the other New Rochelle, was also an ex-striker, and the crowd was 'after' them.

When the Pelham Manor police stood still and refused to lift a hand to check the disorder, Leonard Monroe, chief clerk of the trolley company, went in an automobile for Chief Holden, of Pelham Heights.  Holden is alleged to have asked:  'What can I do with only one policeman?' and it was with reluctance and only after he had been told that rioting was in progress in his own village that he finally went with Monroe.

Even with another police chief on the scene the disorder continued and finally Monroe ordered the crews to run their cars across the Mount Vernon line, and they obeyed.

Chief Marks said today that the trouble happened in Pelham Heights and he was without jurisdiction.  He said there were 75 strikers in the crowd, and that they had been driven out of New Rochelle.  He met them at the 'church corner,' near the village line, and ordered them to keep on moving, he said, and they finally went into Pelham Heights.

'That is a lie,' said Chief Marks, in referring to the report that one of his men had deserted a car.  'A window had been broken on Pelhamdale avenue, near Witherbee avenue, and he jumped off the car to see if he could find the person who threw the stone.  Then he went back on the car.  It was Officer Ring, and he did not run away.'

An effort was made to communicate with Chief Holden, but without success."

Source:  MOB STOPS THE TROLLEY CARS IN TOWN OF PELHAM, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Oct. 23, 1916, No. 8197, p. 1, col. 1 & p. 6, cols. 4-5.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Massive Prohibition Raid in 1927 Netted Four Bootleggers and 225 Kegs of Beer


The work was back-breaking, almost certainly.  Early in the day on an early spring morning in May, 1927, four men in Troy, New York loaded a railroad freight car with thousands of pounds of freight consigned for delivery to "Reilly" at Pelham Station in Pelham, New York nearly 150 miles away.  As they worked, a sneaky fellow lurked nearby watching the men go about their work.  Once their work was done, the train departed.  So did the sneaky fellow.

Early on Thursday, May 26, the freight train sounded its whistled and pulled into Pelham Station where it uncoupled the freight car onto a freight line side track.  There the freight car sat for much of the day as another sneaky fellow lurked nearby, watching.

Late in the day, four young men appeared at Pelham Station with the necessary papers and accepted the freight consignment from the freight agent in the tiny little freight office that once was accessible via the western end of the station.  The men pulled two trucks near the freight car and began their own back-breaking work.  As Federal Prohibition Officer Curtin lurked nearby, the men unloaded from the freight car 225 kegs of beer and loaded it all onto the two trucks.

Quite cannily, Officer Curtin allowed the four men to finish off-loading all 225 kegs.  Once all the work had been completed, Officer Curtin sprang on the four men.  He arrested Clay Griffen (of 22 Goling St., Yonkers, NY), William McCann and John Murphy (both of 40 Palisade Avenue, Yonkers, NY), and Maurice Davis (of 558 Lafayette St., Brooklyn, NY).

Officer Curtin seems to have been as befuddled as many regarding the multiplicity of villages within the Town of Pelham.  He hauled the four bootleggers off to the Pelham Heights Police Department to have them jailed.  There he was told that he had made the arrests on the Village of North Pelham side of the railroad tracks and would have to take the prisoners to the Village of North Pelham lockup.  He took them to the Town Hall lockup where the four men were jailed.

That night local Justice Anthony M. Menkel imposed bail of $1,000.00 each pending their appearance before the United States Prohibition Commissioner in New York City.  The two trucks of beer kegs were taken to New York City the same night.

Officials believed that Pelham Station was the offload point for a large delivery of beer that was scheduled for distribution and sale in the City of Yonkers.  Prohibition violators, it seems, had been stopped -- once again -- in the little Town of Pelham.

*          *          *          *          *

"Prohibition Raid Nets 225 Kegs Of Beer; Four Men Held
-----
Federal Officers Trail Freight Car of Liquor From Troy to Pelham, Quartet Held In $1000 Bail Each
-----

Trailing a freight carload of alleged alcoholic beer from Troy, N.Y., to Pelham station a U.S. Prohibition officer seized 225 kegs of the beverage and two motor trucks at the New Haven main station here yesterday and four men into custody on charges of possessing and transporting liquor.  They were arrested after they had unloaded the freight car of its burden and had loaded the beer on the motor trucks.  Judge Anthony M. Menkel held the quartet in $1,000 bail each last night pending their appearance before the U.S. Prohibition Commissioner in New York City, Tuesday morning.  The seized trucks and liquor were taken to New York last night.

The defendants are Clay Griffen, of No. 22 Goling St., Yonkers; William McCann, of No. 40 Palisade avenue, Yonkers; John Murphy, of No. 40 Palisade avenue, Yonkers, and Maurice Davis, of No. 558 Lafayette street, Brooklyn.

After watching all day, Officer Curtin waited until both trucks were loaded and ready to move before he showed himself.  He then placed the quartet under arrest and took them to Pelham Heights police headquarters.  There it was explained that the arrest was made in North Pelham and the action shifted to the other village.  The four were locked up at the Town Hall.

Judge Anthony M. Menkel fixed bail at $1,000 each.  Morris Friedman, of No. 15 Overlook Terrace, Yonkers, was bondsmen for the four.

According to a statement made by the prohibition officer the beer was consigned to Pelham in the name of Reilly.  The first name was not given.  The name however is believed to have been fictitious.  He expressed an opinion that it was intended for distribution in Yonkers."

Source:  Prohibition Raid Nets 225 Kegs Of Beer; Four Men Held -- Federal Officers Trail Freight Car of Liquor From Troy to Pelham, Quartet Held In $1000 Bail Each, The Pelham Sun, May 27, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 13, p. 1, col. 2.





*          *          *          *          *

I have written extensively about Pelham's struggles with Prohibition and the enforcement of the unpopular laws that it spawned. See: 

Tue., Jan. 30, 2018:  Visit to the Wrong House Uncovered Massive Pelham Manor Bootlegging During Prohibition.

Wed., Jan. 03, 2018:  The Massive Illegal Still Discovered at 137 Corlies Avenue During Prohibition in 1932.

Wed., Jun. 21, 2017:  The Infamous Ash Tree Inn of Pelham Manor and its Prohibition Violations During the 1920s.

Thu., Feb. 02, 2017:  Bootleggers Began to Feel the Heat in Pelham in 1922.

Mon., Dec. 26, 2016:  Pelham Stood Alone in Westchester When It Voted to Go Dry in 1896

Mon., Aug. 22, 2016:  Pelham, It Seems, Became a Hotbed of Bootlegging and Illegal Stills During Prohibition.

Mon., Jul. 06, 2015:  Police Raided a Massive 300-Gallon Illegal Liquor Still on Corlies Avenue in 1932.  

Fri., Jun. 19, 2015:  More Liquor Raids in Pelham During Prohibition in the 1920s.

Wed., Jun. 17, 2015:   Prohibition Rum-Runners Delivering A Boatload of Booze Were Foiled in Pelham in 1925.

Fri., Apr. 24, 2015:  The North Pelham "Speakeasy Section" Created Quite a Stir During Prohibition.

Tue., Nov. 18, 2014:  More Bootleggers and Speakeasies Raided in Pelham in 1929 During Prohibition.

Fri., May 23, 2014:  How Dry I Am -- Early Prohibition Efforts Succeed in Pelham in 1896.

Thu., Apr. 03, 2014:  The Prohibition Era in Pelham:  Another Speakeasy Raided.

Tue., Feb. 18, 2014:  Pelham Speakeasies and Moonshiners - Prohibition in Pelham: The Feds Raid the Moreau.

Thu., Feb. 07, 2008:  Village Elections in Pelham in 1900 - New York Athletic Club Members Campaign Against the Prohibition Ticket in Pelham Manor.

Thu., Jan. 12, 2006:  The Beer Battle of 1933.

Thu., Aug. 11, 2005:  How Dry I Am: Pelham Goes Dry in the 1890s and Travers Island Is At the Center of a Storm

Bell, Blake A., The Prohibition Era in Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 25, June 18, 2004, p. 12, col. 2.


Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Establishment of the First Mason Lodge in the Town of Pelham


The Historic Pelham Blog has included articles before about the founding of the Winyah Lodge No. 866 F. & A. M.on November 1, 1908.  See, e.g.:

Mon., Jan. 19, 2015:  More on the Early History of the Mason Lodge of Pelham: Winyah Lodge No. 866 F. & A. M.

Wed., Jul. 09, 2014:  Record of the Celebration of the Silver Anniversary of the Mason Lodge of Pelham: Winyah Lodge No. 866 F. & A. M.

Mon., May 30, 2005:  Early History of the Winyah Lodge U.D. of Pelham, New York

Wed., Mar. 08, 2006:  The 1939 Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Masonic Temple in Pelham, NY.

Winyah Lodge No. 866 F. & A. M. was not the first Masonic Lodge established in the little Town of Pelham.  The first such lodge was Pelham Lodge No. 712, F. & A. M. established on City Island in the Town of Pelham in mid-July, 1871.  

On July 20, 1871, The Statesman of Yonkers published a brief notice that "a few evenings since" a group of local Masonic officials including R. W. Stephen S. Marshal (District Deputy Grand Marshal) and George E. C. Seaman (Grand Marshal) installed a group of officers of the new Pelham Lodge including:

John O. Fordham (Master)
James Hyatt (Senior Warden) 
Stephen D. Leviness (Junior Warden)

Source:  CITY ISLAND -- MASONIC, The Statesman [Yonkers, NY], Jul. 20, 1871, Vol. XVI, No. 805, p. 1, col. 4.

This installation was, of course, a formality.  The Lodge had been organized by Pelham citizens the previous year and had been fairly active before the formal installation of its Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden.

Pelham Lodge No. 712, F. & A. M. remains active to this day.  It provides an early history as follows:

"A group of City Island Masons on or about 1870 decided to form their own lodge. Thereafter, Grand Lodge sent them a dispensation and Pelham Lodge was born. The charter members were: D.W:. Billar, Jerome Bell, John Bowman, Wm. F. Billar, Oswald Bergan, David Carll, John O. Fordham, James Hyatt, Benjamin Hegeman, Stephen D. Leviness, Frederick Price, Charles H. Stringham, and A.B. Wood. 

The first meeting, attended by 12 members and 1 visitor, was held on Saturday, February 4, 1871 with John O. Fordham as Master. By-laws were drafted and it was voted to meet every Tuesday night. A dispensation cost of $80.00 was paid and Pelham Lodge became part of the Ninth Masonic District. The lodge rooms were over a carpenter shop south of where the Island Pub is now located, in a building owned by a Mr. Baxter who later became a Brother. Rent was $100.00 a year without heat and the cost of coal was $6.00 per ton. 

At the fifth meeting on February 28, 1871, By-laws were adopted, and at the eighth meeting, Pelham held its first Master Mason's Degree, at which 3 candidates were raised. The first application to be received was that of Edward L. Wooden, age 25, teacher at City Island's one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse. 

During Pelham's first year, 13 Brothers were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, making a total of 31 members, 2 Fellowcrafts, and 3 Entered Apprentices. W:. Bro. John O. Fordham was re-elected Master for another year on December 19, 1871. The second Worshipful Master of Pelham Lodge was S. D. Levenap, elected December 24, 1872. Elections were held for the offices of Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, Secretary, and Treasurer."

The detailed history of this first Pelham Masonic Lodge makes fascinating reading.  You may visit it here:  About The Bronx Masonic District:  Pelham Lodge #712 (visited Feb. 18, 2018).


Logo of Pelham Lodge No. 712, F. & A. M.  Note the Nineteenth
Century Sailing Ship and the Lighthouse Evoking the Maritime
History of City Island.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 19, 2018

I Can't Find Native American Artifacts in Pelham, Can I?


We proceed with our busy lives each day.  Pelhamites commute to and from New York City.  Pelhamites open businesses each day to welcome friends and neighbors into their shops.  Moms and Dads of our little Town escort youngsters to and from our local schools.  Yes, our lives are busy.  Lives were busy in Pelham one thousand years ago (and before) as well.  

Is there any evidence of those busy Native American lives readily apparent to us today?  Is it really possible to observe evidence of early Pelhamites from many hundreds or thousands of years ago as we go about our daily lives?  

Yes.

Only recently the Principal of a local Pelham elementary school was surprised when a passerby stopped by the Principal's office and presented a very large handful of Native American artifacts found nearby.

This author has reviewed hundreds of sources from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century describing Native American sites in our region.  One day, after reviewing such site locations, I told our son and daughter we needed to go to one of those local sites and find evidence of early Pelhamites. 

It took ten minutes.

Below is an image showing the obverse and reverse of a Pelham Native American blade we found almost immediately.  



Obverse and Reverse of Pelham Native American Blade Discovered
by Blake Bell, Jennifer Bell, and Brett Bell.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

I have had the good fortune of being a member of a number of email lists, Facebook Groups, and other online sources that permit me the opportunity to learn of numerous local Native American artifact discoveries.  There have been many in the last few years.  Actually, a surprising number.

I can't find Native American artifacts in Pelham, can I?  Yes, actually you can, no matter where you are or what you are doing in our little Town.


Labels: , ,

Friday, February 16, 2018

What Do Bill Kilgour Golf Clubs Have to Do With Pelham History?


Recently an unusual item popped up for auction on eBay.  It is a right-handed hickory-shafted antique golf club known as a "dot face Mashie Niblick" -- a club with a loft between those of a mashie and a niblick today's closest relative of which would be about a six iron.  The reverse of the club face is inscribed "BILL KILGOUR PELHAM BAY PARK, N.Y.     X     MASHIE . . NIBLICK"

With the opening of the auction, another Pelham history mystery was born.  Who was Bill Kilgour?  What, if anything, did he have to do with Pelham Bay Park?  Today's Historic Pelham article attempts to answer such questions.

In early April, 1900, the New York City Park Commissioner August Moebus of The Bronx, arranged for his engineer, Daniel Ulrich, to survey the area of Pelham Bay Park near the old Delancey Mansion opposite Hunter's Island for the construction of a proposed eighteen-hole course.   Only days later, on April 16, 1900, a gang of workmen began construction of the new course with the hope that nine holes would be open for play by the following June.

Portions of the course were planned for the area that once served as the polo grounds and steeplechase course of the old "Country Club at Pelham" that operated in the 1880s on land that it leased before the formal creation of Pelham Bay Park and the annexation of the park lands to New York City.   I have written about construction of the course a number of times.  See:  

Wed., Oct. 14, 2015:  More on the Beginnings of the Pelham Bay Golf Course in 1900.

Thu., Mar. 19, 2009:   More on the Early Efforts To Develop the First Nine Holes of the First Pelham Bay Golf Course.   

Tue., Dec. 20, 2005:   An Early Description of Construction of the First Nine Holes of the Pelham Bay Golf Course.  

Fri., Oct. 02, 2009:   Failed Efforts in 1900 to Build a Golf Course on Hunter's Island Rather than on the Mainland in Pelham Bay Park.

Construction of the original nine-hole course was slower and more chaotic than planned in 1900 and 1901.  The course opened, however.  It still exists, though somewhat evolved, as a portion of today's Pelham Bay Golf Course in Pelham Bay Park bordering the Village of Pelham Manor boundary.  The course later was joined by a second adjacent course known today as the Split Rock Golf Course.

William Kilgour, also known as "Bill" and "Willie" was a golf pro who began with the Pelham Bay Golf Course in 1911.  He was an early golf professional in the region.  Though virtually nothing has been written about him (and his professional accomplishments are little known today) he was a golf architect who designed several holes at the Mosholu golf course in The Bronx, redesigned several holes at the Van Cortlandt golf course in The Bronx, and even spent several months in late 1913 and early 1914 designing an entire course overseas in Prague.  

Bill Kilgour was instrumental in expanding the popularity of the Pelham Bay Golf Course in the years leading up to World War I.  As one article notes, although one hundred lockers had been built in the old Delancey Hunter Mansion (that later became Hunter Island Inn) when that structure was first co-opted for use as the Pelham Bay Golf Course clubhouse, Kilgour had to oversee construction of an additional 100 lockers and feared more would be necessary.  

Kilgour served as the golf pro at the Pelham Bay Golf Course until at least late 1917.  

Periodically Bill Kilgour golf clubs appear for auction.  Last night one such auction was ended when the "dot face Mashie Niblick" referenced above sold for about $40.00.  An image of that club appear immediately below.





*          *          *          *          *

"Going to Pelham.

As the season advances the congestion at Van Cortlandt Park links becomes more apparent.  Many who used to golf there have gone elsewhere, and among others 'Willie' Kilgour, who looks after the interests of the enthusiasts at Pelham Bay Park, is finding the truth of the saying that 'it is an ill wind that blows no one good.'  That the throng is wending Pelhamward is evidenced by the fact that more than one hundred additional lockers have been installed there, making a total of more than two hundred.  The early season rush soon accounted for the first batch.  Now it begins to look as if still more will soon have to be installed."

Source:  Going to Pelham, The Evening Telegram [NY, NY], Jun. 5, 1912, p. 10, col. 6.

"KILGOUR GOING ABROAD.
-----

'Willie' Kilgour, who has had the clubhouse and golfing privileges of the Pelham links for the past two years, has been engaged to lay out an eighteen hole course near Prague, in the heart of Bohemia.  He will leave on Saturday, but will spend some time in the British Isles, from which he graduated as a golfer.  His intention is to look over the field and to note the very latest developments there of links architecture."

Source:  KILGOUR GOING ABROAD, N.Y. Herald, Dec. 3, 1913, p. 14, col. 7.

"'BILL' KILGOUR RETURNS.
-----

Declaring that he had found golf fast becoming the king of outdoor sports wherever he had turned during his travels abroad.  'Willie' Kilgour, professional to the Manhattan Golf Club, of Pelham Bay Park, returned to this country on Monday and already is making his preparations for a busy season at Pelham.  Kilgour went abroad several weeks ago for the purpose of laying out a golf course at Prague, in the heart of Bohemia.  He is perhaps the first professional golfer connected with an American links and club to receive such a commission.

While away Kilgour found time to pay a visit to many of the leading British golf courses, noting the very latest developments there.  He tells an amusing story of how while looking over a links near London he was more than surprised to hear a familiar 'Hello Bill,' come booming over the links.

'Gee,' said Kilgour when telling the story, 'I thought for a moment I was back at Pelham.  Imagine my astonishment when I turned to behold 'Dan' Mackie, the same Dan who used to hail me when we would be running around New York on business of a Monday,.'

Mackie, who is professional at the Century Country Club, of White Plains, was married recently.  He and his bride are spending their honeymoon abroad."

Source:  "BILL" KILGOUR RETURNS, N.Y. Herald, Feb. 11, 1914, p. 14, col. 2

"WORKING ON LINKS AT VAN CORTLANDT
-----
Several Additional Traps To Be Installed -- Old Bunkers to Go.

Preliminary work relative to the improvement of the public golf links at Van Cortlandt Park began yesterday when Thomas W. Whittle, the Park Commissioner; William Kilgour, the professional, and Hamilton, the superintendent, went over the ground and decided to place a number of additional traps.  One or two old-time bunkers, including the zig-zag affair close to the first tee, will be removed.

Most of the work which the Commissioner expects to have started in the near future will consist of trapping about the greens.  In all probability a sand hazard will be dug a few yards short of the first green, thereby adding considerably to the difficulty of the second shot.  Going to No. 5, the bunker on the other side of the brook, will be knocked down and the green trapped.  The new tenth green will be trapped and so will the eleventh, while the plan is to have a sand hazard to the side of the twelfth green.

Mr. Whittle admitted yesterday that he expected soon to take up the game.  Before he appears in public, however, the Commissioner will have a few lessons at an indoor school.

The new Mosholu links also will be gone over.  Last season this course consisted of only nine holes, but Kilgour declares it will not be long before the entire eighteen holes will be playable.  The 'pro' is enthusiastic over the possibilities of this course, which, in his opinion, is destined to become more popular than the old.  There appears to be little doubt now that considerable time and money will be expended on municipal golf this year."

Source:   WORKING ON LINKS AT VAN CORTLANDT -- Several Additional Traps To Be Installed -- Old Bunkers to Go, N.Y. Tribune, Feb. 17, 1915, p. 10, col. 3

"NEW FIRST HOLE PLANNED
-----
Change Is Made In Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course.
-----

Golfers who frequent the public links at Van Cortlandt Park will be surprised to learn that it has been decided to make a new first hole.  The layout was staked off yesterday under the direction of William Kilgour, the professional at Pelham Bay.

The tee of the new hole is to be between the skate house and the boathouse.  The green will be near the clump of trees just beyond the drain that runs past the milk booth.

The line of play, about 170 yards, will be between the lake and the road that forms at the police booth.  This arrangement will make the present first hole, the beginning of the meadow holes, the second.  To make room for this extra hole the third and fourth holes (old tenth and eleventh) will be played as one, skipping the third green.  The distance of this combined hole, which was suggested in The Eagle three years ago, will be about 520 yards, a fine three-shot hole.

It is feared that sliced balls from the new first tee may hit persons on the sidewalk or that pulled tee shots will injure persons at the boathouse.  One idea of the authorities to avoid this danger is to build protective network along the roadside.

Other changes now under way are a moving of the water-hole tee (the eleventh) back to the railroad fence.  The marsh at the cop bunker of the tenth is being drained and the brush has been cut away, changes that will take away the dog's-leg character of the hole.  The green of this has been spaded up for new grass, and some of the cross bunker at the west end has been leveled down.

The cross bunker at the tee of the old first meadow hole has been taken away and a new gravelled path has been constructed where the old tee was.  The new tee will not be raised and will be about twenty feet nearer the lake.  The cross bunker at the first (old twelfth) hole, or water jump, just beyond the brook, was levelled yesterday, and a ring of shallow traps about as deep as the one back of the fourth green has been dug around the fifth green on three sides, the front being left untrapped according to present arrangements."

Source:  NEW FIRST HOLE PLANNED -- Change Is Made In Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Mar. 18, 1915, p. 2, col. 7.

"SOME SHOTS OFF THE FIRST TEE
-----

The public links situation looks more encouraging every day.  William Kilgour, the Pelham professional, who has been requested to complete the details incident to laying out the links at Mosholu, has been over the ground twice since the time Thomas W. Whittle, Park Commissioner for The Bronx, made the trip.  Kilgour will make another inspection and report his findings to the Commissioner.
-----

Some time ago some one referred to the socket club as being an American invention.  Kilgour is authority for the statement that the idea was the invention of Charles Spinks, of Leith, Scotland, and was brought out about twenty-five years ago.  Klgour was a youth then, but remembers the occasion. . . ."

Source:  SOME SHOTS OFF THE FIRST TEE, N.Y. Tribune, Mar. 12, 1915, p. 10, col. 6.

Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Baseball Battles Between Pelham Firemen and the Ossining All-Stars in 1926


Spring, and thus baseball, is just around the corner.  This week Pitchers and Catchers for both the Yankees and the Mets reported for Spring Training.  It is, therefore, time for another story regarding baseball of old in the little Town of Pelham.  

For many years in the early 20th century, firemen in the Village of North Pelham had a baseball team known as the Pelham Firemen (aka the "Smokeaters").  The team had a storied history and became a Pelham athletic institution that placed a number of ball players includiing Paddy Smith and Bob Cremins in the Major League and others such as Ed Lohman in what we would call today the Minors.

In 1926 and 1927, the Pelham Firemen repeatedly battled a team known as the Ossining All-Stars for bragging rights within Westchester County.  The baseball battles between the two teams were known as "old time feuds" and typically involved thrilling, and surprisingly good, baseball entertainment for very large crowds of spectators.  The local newspaper, The Pelham Sun, carried lengthy and breathless accounts of the games.

During the 1926 season, the two teams were evenly matched.  They played a series of five games against each other during the season.  At the end of the season the two teams played three of those five games as a three-game series.  The Ossining All-Stars won two of the games and, thus, claimed the Westchester County Title.

The storied history of the Pelham Firemen nine is ripe for telling and is now the subject of research so it can be told in detail as part of Pelham lore! 




*          *          *          *          *

"Ossining All Stars To Battle Firemen
-----

Old time feuds will be resumed again Sunday when the Pelham Firemen nine journey to Ossining to meet the Ossining All-Stars.  During last season, these two teams met no less than five times, and each contest proved to be a thriller.  In the final three game series, Ossining claimed the County title by virtue of their wins in the majority of the games in this series.

This season the contests should prove equal in every respect to the exciting exhibitions staged by these teams last year.  Manager Bill Broege will have Lohman ready for action on the firing line, having fully recovered from his accident at Mt. Kisco last Sunday.  Should these teams prove as evenly matched as last season, no doubt there will be another series staged.

On Memorial Day, the 'Smokeaters' will travel to Ridgefield, Conn. where they will meet the A. C. nine of that town.  Another hard battle is expected."

Source:  Ossining All Stars To Battle Firemen, The Pelham Sun, May 27, 1927, p. 14, col. 3


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

More on a Magical Long Distance Proposal Made to a Pelham Manor Belle in 1895


Happy Saint Valentine's Day Dear Pelham.

Saint Valentine's Day in 1895 was a particularly memorable one for two young people who met on that date in the home of a local resident. The story of their meeting, their brief long-distance courtship, and their subsequent marriage, brings warmth to the heart.  The story is that of beau George B. Gaston of Indianapolis and Ethel Mary Bishop, an English girl who lived temporarily in Pelham Manor in 1895.  The story of their engagement made the pair famous throughout the United States and has been the subject of an earlier Historic Pelham article.  See Fri., Feb. 13, 2015:  A Magical Valentine's Day in Pelham Manor in 1895.

In 1895, George B Gaston was a bashful 35-year-old confirmed bachelor who lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. In his early youth, Gaston was involved in an electrical business managed by Thomas Alva Edison and Edison's then-close friend, Ezra Torrence Gilliland of Pelham Manor. During that time, Ezra Gilliland grew fond not only of young Gaston, but also two of his sisters.  Fate, however, led George Gaston to Indianapolis where he served as the successful Secretary and Treasurer of the Indianapolis Transfer Company.

Ezra and Lillian Gilliland were particularly fond of the young bachelor whose business frequently brought him to New York City.  According to some accounts, George Gaston often stayed with or visited the Gilliland family in Pelham Manor during his business trips to New York City.  Other accounts suggest he kept putting such visits off because the Gilliland home was always filled with guests and Gaston was rather shy.

Ezra T. Gilliland was a very successful and affluent inventor in his own right and an associate of Thomas Edison who visited Gilliland's laboratory and lovely home in Pelham Manor on occasion.  Clearly the Gilliland home in Pelham Manor often was filled with guests.  See:

Tue., Aug. 04, 2015:  Ezra T. Gilliland, The Inventor of the Telephone Switchboard and Friend of Thomas Edison, Was a Pelham Manor Resident.

Tue., May 02, 2017:  More on Ezra T. Gilliland of Pelham Manor, Inventor of the Telephone Switchboard and Friend of Thomas Edison.

Thu., Aug. 13, 2015:  Lillian Johnson Gilliland's Memories of Thomas Edison and 19th Century Life in Pelham Manor.

As fate would have it, one of the guests in the Gilliland home in February, 1895 was a beautiful 22-year-old English woman named Ethel Mary Bishop, a daughter of Hon. James Draper Bishop of London.  By all accounts Miss Bishop was a beautiful young belle with dark hair and dark eyes with a lovely English accent that reportedly captivated young men throughout Pelham during her business.  

In February, 1895, Gaston's business on behalf of the Indianapolis Transfer Company called him to New York City. While he was there, Ezra T. Gilliland invited him to visit the Gilliland home in Pelham Manor. Gaston put off the invitation until the day before his scheduled return to Indianapolis. On the appointed day, February 14, 1895, he traveled to the Gililland home where he planned to visit for a few hours. Instead, he stayed there for two weeks.

In early 1895, George Gaston's two sisters visited the Gilliland home and met Ethel Mary Bishop.  The two young women seem to have been as captivated with the young English woman as many others in Pelham.  They began writing letters to their brother George extolling the virtues of the charming Miss Bishop.  According to one account:

"From those letters Gaston had learned that Miss Bishop had been born in Shanghai, while her father was serving the English government there as Consul.  As a child she had lived in Africa, her gather having been transferred to one of the South African States.  Later she had been sent to a convent in Paris whence she went to Heidelberg, and there she took a degree in music.  Then she went to London to continue her studies in music and the classics."

In early February, 1895, George Gaston had another business trip to New York City.  Upon his arrival, Ezra Gilliland extended his customary invitation to the young man to stay with his family at his Pelham Manor home.  Gaston put off the visit until Valentine's Day -- the day before he was scheduled to return to Indianapolis.

On Valentine's Day, 123 years ago today, Gaston visited the Gilliland home and met Ethel Mary Bishop.  The following day, he could not bring himself to return to Indianapolis.  Instead, he remained in the Gilliland home for two weeks before he returned to his home.  He was more than captivated with the young English girl.  He was in love.

The New York City newspaper The Sun later published an amusing account of how Gaston eventually proposed to the young girl.  Because the proposal was made over the relatively new-fangled telephone from "800 miles away," The Sun's account was picked up and reproduced in newspapers large and small throughout the United States making the young couple famous.  According to that account:

"When he returned to Indianapolis he wasn't able to do much business.  All he could think about was the English girl on the shore of Long Island Sound.  Two weeks went by and one morning while he was sitting in his office a letter came from one of his sisters.  It was largely filled with a description of a german she had danced a few nights before, and told how all the men had simply gone daft about Miss Bishop.  Gaston thought for a moment, and then rushed to the telephone, looked up the number of Gilliland's house telephone in the long-distance telephone book, and asked to be connected.  Pretty soon he heard a feminine voice at the other end of the line call, 'Hello!'

'Hello!  Who is that?' answered Gaston.  'Who?  Oh!  Miss Bishop?  Well, this is Mr. Gaston Miss Bishop.  Where am I?  In Indianapolis.  Yes, in Indianapolis.  I thought I'd call you up to -- to ask how my sisters are.  You'll call one of them and let her speak for herself?  Oh, never mind, I said 'never mind.'  N-e-v-e-r-never.  No, not mine; mind -- m-i-n-d.  Hello!  How are you?  Just going to the city?  Theatre party to-night?  Oh, not going in till the 4 o'clock train?  Wish I were going with you.  I said I wish I were going with you.  I don't know whether my sisters would like to have me or not.  I just wanted to go with you.  Don't be foolish?  Hello!  What did you say?  Hello!  Hello!  Say, Central!  Don't cut me off!  I'm not through talking yet.  Gone at the other end?  Well, ring up again.'

As Mr. Gaston said last night, he was bound to say something then or die in the attempt.  After waiting some time, he got the Gilliland house again and began talking with Miss Bishop.

'I beat about the bush for a long time,' he said, 'and then I came out with the question.  She evidently couldn't understand me, for this was the answer I got:

'Come a little nearer Mr. Gaston.  I can't hear you.'

'Then I moved about one inch nearer to her in that eight hundred miles and asked the question over again.  This time it was perfectly understood.  I was told that I might not be sure of myself, that I had better wait for a while, and some more things like that.  I said I had lived to be 35 years old, and I guessed I knew my own mind.  Finally I was told that she would give me an answer when she called me up in two weeks.'

That was on Feb. 28.  Two weeks after that Miss Bishop was in Brooklyn one day and stepped into the office of Mr. Gilliland.  She called up Mr. Gaston.

'Hello!  Is that you Mr. Gaston?  This is Miss Bishop.  Knew the voice, did you?  Your memory for sound is excellent.  I wonder if it is as good for other things.  One other thing?  What's that?  Oh, my answer?  Was I to give you an answer about anything?  Hello!  What's that?  I know very well I was?  Yes I guess I do.  Two weeks have seemed like two years?  You say that very nicely -- over the telephone.  Well, are you sure you knew what you were talking about?  Positive?  And you don't think you'll regret it some time?  Sure?  Well, then, if you want yes, here it is.  What's that?  Hello!  What did you say?  Oh!  Well, you can't have that over the telephone.  You must come for that yourself.  Good-by, George.'

It wasn't long before he came for what he couldn't get over the telephone, and the arrangements for the wedding were made."

Yes, indeed.  The couple married.  Their engagement story represents even to this day a lovely Pelham Valentine's Day story.












*          *          *          *          *

"PROPOSED BY TELEPHONE.
-----
GOT A 'YES,' TOO, OVER RIGHT HUNDRED MILES OF WIRE.
-----
One End Each of Two Conversations Between George B. Gaston in Indianapolis and Ethel Mary Bishop Right Here -- Married at Pelham Manor Last Tuesday.

A man deserved to win a wife who has the nerve to call up a girl, eight hundred miles away, over the telephone and ask her to marry him.  That is the way Miss Ethel Mary Bishop, the only daughter of the Hon. James Draper Bishop of London, became engaged to George B. Gaston of Indianapolis.  They were married last Tuesday night at the residence of Ezra T. Gilliland at Pelham Manor.

Mr. Gaston is the son of a retired physician and is the Secretary and Treasurer of the Indianapolis Transfer Company.  For several years he was associated in this city in the electrical business with Thomas A. Edison and Mr. Gilliland.  All of Mr. Gaston's friends had it settled in their own minds that he would die a bachelor.  His business frequently called hi to New York.  While in town he spent much of his time with Mr. Gilliland.  Every time he came to New York Mr. Gilliland invited Gaston to make his home at Pelham Manor.  Gaston invariably refused, saying that the Gilliland House was always filled with guests and that he hadn't time to play the agreeable to a lot of women.  Then the man from Indianapolis would picture to his old friend what large times the two might have if Gililland would only stay with Gaston in town.

'Break away, old man,' he would say, 'and we'll have some fun that deserves to be called fun!  I can't see anything in talking one's self black in the face of a houseful of women.'

One day last February Gaston arrived in New York on one of his business trips.  His two sisters had been visiting Mr. and Mrs. Gilliland for several weeks, and in their letters home they had frequently mentioned Miss Ethel Bishop, a very charming English girl, who was making her home at the Gillilands.  From those letters Gaston had learned that Miss Bishop had been born in Shanghai, while her father was serving the English government there as Consul.  As a child she had lived in Africa, her gather having been transferred to one of the South African States.  Later she had been sent to a convent in Paris whence she went to Heidelberg, and there she took a degree in music.  Then she went to London to continue her studies in music and the classics.  In fact, Gaston heard so much about Miss Bishop that, when he reached New York and Mr. Gilliland extended to him the usual invitation to visit Pelham Manor, the Indianapolis man said emphatically, 'Not much!'

Finally, on St. Valentine's Day, the day before he was to return home, Gaston consented to go out to Pelham Manor for a few hours, just to see his sisters.  He went and stayed two weeks.  He was done for, but he could not bring himself to the point of a proposal.  As he himself said last night:

'I came pretty close to it several times, but when I got just to the point I got scared.  I felt as if it would be a sort of sacrilege that I mustn't be guilty of.  I tell you, I never thought a woman could bluff me out; and so I went home.'

When he returned to Indianapolis he wasn't able to do much business.  All he could think about was the English girl on the shore of Long Island Sound.  Two weeks went by and one morning while he was sitting in his office a letter came from one of his sisters.  It was largely filled with a description of a german she had danced a few nights before, and told how all the men had simply gone daft about Miss Bishop.  Gaston thought for a moment, and then rushed to the telephone, looked up the number of Gilliland's house telephone in the long-distance telephone book, and asked to be connected.  Pretty soon he heard a feminine voice at the other end of the line call, 'Hello!'

'Hello!  Who is that?' answered Gaston.  'Who?  Oh!  Miss Bishop?  Well, this is Mr. Gaston Miss Bishop.  Where am I?  In Indianapolis.  Yes, in Indianapolis.  I thought I'd call you up to -- to ask how my sisters are.  You'll call one of them and let her speak for herself?  Oh, never mind, I said 'never mind.'  N-e-v-e-r-never.  No, not mine; mind -- m-i-n-d.  Hello!  How are you?  Just going to the city?  Theatre party to-night?  Oh, not going in till the 4 o'clock train?  Wish I were going with you.  I said I wish I were going with you.  I don't know whether my sisters would like to have me or not.  I just wanted to go with you.  Don't be foolish?  Hello!  What did you say?  Hello!  Hello!  Say, Central!  Don't cut me off!  I'm not through talking yet.  Gone at the other end?  Well, ring up again.'

As Mr. Gaston said last night, he was bound to say something then or die in the attempt.  After waiting some time, he got the Gilliland house again and began talking with Miss Bishop.

'I beat about the bush for a long time,' he said, 'and then I came out with the question.  She evidently couldn't understand me, for this was the answer I got:

'Come a little nearer Mr. Gaston.  I can't hear you.'

'Then I moved about one inch nearer to her in that eight hundred miles and asked the question over again.  This time it was perfectly understood.  I was told that I might not be sure of myself, that I had better wait for a while, and some more things like that.  I said I had lived to be 35 years old, and I guessed I knew my own mind.  Finally I was told that she would give me an answer when she called me up in two weeks.'

That was on Feb. 28.  Two weeks after that Miss Bishop was in Brooklyn one day and stepped into the office of Mr. Gilliland.  She called up Mr. Gaston.

'Hello!  Is that you Mr. Gaston?  This is Miss Bishop.  Knew the voice, did you?  Your memory for sound is excellent.  I wonder if it is as good for other things.  One other thing?  What's that?  Oh, my answer?  Was I to give you an answer about anything?  Hello!  What's that?  I know very well I was?  Yes I guess I do.  Two weeks have seemed like two years?  You say that very nicely -- over the telephone.  Well, are you sure you knew what you were talking about?  Positive?  And you don't think you'll regret it some time?  Sure?  Well, then, if you want yes, here it is.  What's that?  Hello!  What did you say?  Oh!  Well, you can't have that over the telephone.  You must come for that yourself.  Good-by, George.'

It wasn't long before he came for what he couldn't get over the telephone, and the arrangements for the wedding were made.  Mr. and Mrs. Gaston are now at the Imperial, but this evening they will leave for Indianapolis, their future home.  Mrs. Gaston is an unusually good-looking woman, perhaps 22 years old.  She has dark hair, large dark eyes, and a graceful figure.  She has a musical voice, and speaks with a decided English accent.  Speaking of her engagement, she said:

'I have travelled over a good bit of the world and heard of plenty of romances, but I never dreamed that I should come to America to get engaged by telephone.  And I shouldn't if George hadn't been such a dear fellow, with such an awful lot of cheek at long distance.'"

Source:  PROPOSED BY TELEPHONE -- GOT A 'YES,' TOO, OVER RIGHT HUNDRED MILES OF WIRE -- One End Each of Two Conversations Between George B. Gaston in Indianapolis and Etel Mary Bishop Right Here -- Married at Pelham Manor Last Tuesday, The Sun [NY, NY], Nov. 30, 1895, Vol. LXIII, No. 91, p. 1, col. 5.  See also PROPOSED BY TELEPHONE, The Shepherdstown Register [Shepherdstown, WV], Dec. 12, 1895, New Vol. 31, No. 8, p. 1, col. 4 (same text); Proposed by Telephone -- GOT A 'YES,' TOO, OVER EIGHT HUNDRED MILES OF WIRE, Shenandoah Herald [Woodstock, VA], Dec. 20, 1895, Vol. 70, No. 39, p. 1, col. 2 (same text). 



Labels: , , , , , , , , ,