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By C. H. augur 


New Rochelle 


UbrtARY of C<»Nn' ifc^bSj 
two copies rttscwiv^J 




This stone is inscribed: "To commemorate the com- 
ing of the Huguenots. Erected by the Huguenot 
Association of New Rochelle and the Westchester 
County Historical Society, 1688—1898. The gift of 
Huguenot Descendants of New Rochelle. 

New Rochelle 


was fo an ded by 

French Huguenot Refugees 

in thejear 


^ n commemoration of 
W that event this 
Historical Sketch 
is published in theyear 
1908 and dedicated to 
the Citizens of the 
present Citjbythe 

of NewRochelle 

yew Rochelle 

New Rochelle 

From an old print of the Boston Road (now Huguenot Street) showing the 
French Church. 

F old-time residents of New Rochelle, 
and eager students of local his- 
tory, discover that many perti- 
nent facts are omitted from this 
little book, they will perhaps ac- 
cept the author's excuse — that the 
work is intended to be nothing 
more than an entree, not a banquet. In this 
modern city of fast-growing population old- 
time residents are relatively few, and those who 
were so ill-advised as to be "born and raised" 
elsewhere must be led by degrees to full and 
thorough appreciation of their early mistake 
and present good fortune. To such of our 
citizens we offer a fairly comprehensive story 
of New Rochelle in small compass — a taste of 
its interesting history. 

Sixty years ago it was said that "New 
Rochelle at an early period was a place of some 
resort, not only for the acquirement of the 
French language, but on account of the hos- 
pitality and politeness of its inhabitants."* 

♦Bolton's Guide to New Rochelle, 1842. 

Old French Church, 

T^eiD Rochelle 

More than two hundred years ago a gifted 
woman recorded her impressions of New Ro- 
chelle in these appreciative w^ords: "On the 
22nd of December we set out for New Ro- 
chelle, where being come we had good enter- 
tainment and recruited ourselves very well. 
This is a very pretty place, well compact, and 
good, handsome houses, clean, good and passa- 
ble roads, and situated on a navigable river; 
abundance of land, well fenced and cleared all 
along as we passed, which caused in me a love 
of the place which I could have been contented 
to live in,"\ 

This early reputation for beauty, thrift and 
hospitality we believe is consistently main- 
tained by the modern New Rochelle, and we 
may be glad to claim it as our inheritance. 

Huguenot House on the old Lester farm. North Avenue, still standing. 
tMadam Knight's Journal, 1704. 

New Rochelle 


1 1 ■ v'^--^ 

^^P "1 WK/KP:--'-- ; ' ^ 

Be fit-'' ■ 


Drake House. See page 31. 

Surrounded in Westchester County by 
Dutch and Enghsh settlements, New Rochelle 
came into existence as a distinctively French 
Community. Its founders were the sons and 
grandsons of those devoted Huguenots who in 
1628 stubbornly resisted the attacks of the 
French army in the beleaguered city of La 
Rochelle until reduced from twenty?'- seven 
thousand to five thousand souls, and who sur- 
rendered in this extremity only upon promise 
of future liberty to practice their religion un- 

Fifty-three years after this famous siege of 
La Rochelle, when King Louis XIV caused 
the renewal of Huguenot persecutions by the 
revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many citi- 
zens of La Rochelle fled to England. It was 
a body of these refugees who, about 1686, com- 
missioned Governor Leisler of New York to 
purchase a tract of land for them in America. 

The Governor bought from John Pell, 

New Rochelle 

Esquire, for this purpose, 6,000 acres of land. 
This was part of a tract which had been pur- 
chased in 1640 from the Siwanoy Indians by 
the Dutch West India Company, transferred 
by this Company to Thomas Pell in 1654 and 
ceded to John Pell in 1669. At the time of the 
Huguenot purchase it was a part of Pelham 
Manor. In addition to the tract of 6,000 
acres the purchasers received as a gift from 
*IiOrd Pell one hundred acres for the church. 

"The sum of sixteen hundred and seventy- 
five pounds and twenty-five shillings sterling, 
current silver money of this province" (about 
$8,000.00) and "one fat calf on every four- 
and-twentieth day of June yearly and every 
3^ear, forever if demanded" was the price for 
which Lord Pell, his heirs and assigns forever, 
quit claim to all of New Rochelle. As nearly 
as one can judge from records accessible a part 
of the tract was assigned to each family for cul- 
tivation in advance of payment to I^ord Pell, 
for many later deeds from Pell to individual 
settlers describe the land transferred as a part 
of the 6,000 acres originally bargained for. 

It is also on record that not onl}^ Lord Pell 
but his heirs "demanded" the fat calf on the 
appointed date for many years, and this date 
being the festival of St. John the Baptist the 
occasion was made a day of feasting and 

*A Provincial title, signifying not a Peer of Great Britain, but Lord 
of Pelham Manor. 

New Rochelle 

In Residence Park. 

Neir Rochelle 

There is evidence that farms were taken up 
by single families of Huguenots prior to the 
arrival from England of the main body of 
colonists. As the exact time of the latter's 
coming has been the subject of controversy it 
will be enlightening to publish here two letters 
written some years ago by Rev. Dr. Charles 
W. Baird to Mr. Henry M. Lester. Dr. 
Baird was an authority upon the Huguenot 
migration and Huguenot settlements in Amer- 
ica. At the time of his death he had in prepa- 
ration a history of the New Rochelle Colony, 
and there can be no doubt that his information 
was the result of more exhaustive research than 
am^ other writer has ever given to this sub- 

Ryi:, N. Y., 12 Nov., 1883. 
My dear Sir: 

My delay in replying to your note of the second Novem- 
ber has been due to the fact that the inquiry it contained 
needed a closer examination than I could give it. I have now 
gone over the evidence on the subject, and have convinced my- 
self that the year 1688 was the year of the formation of the 
Huguenot settlement of New Rochelle. Should you wish it, T 
could give you the leading points of that evidence: but it may 
suffice to say that there is positive proof of the existence of the 
settlement as early as September, 1688, and that I find no 
mention of it before that year, but on the contrary much to 
lead me to think that an earlier date is out of the question. 

Believe me yours very sincerely, 

Charles W. Baird. 
Henry M. Lester, Esq., 

628 Broadwa}^ New York. 

New Rochelle 

View from Hudson Park. 

New Rochelle 

Rye, N. Y., 12 Dec, 1883. 
My dear Mr. Lester: 

My principal reliance for the date of the settlement of 
New Rochelle is upon a statement that occurs in a letter of 
Dominic Henry Selyns of New York to the Classis of Amster- 
dam. Writing on the tenth of October, 1688, he mentions 
"Nova Rupella (New Rochelle), about five leagues from here," 
as "built up" or "being built up." I have been trying to get 
a copy of the original of Selyns' letter, which is quoted by 
Mr. Murphy in his Anthology of New Netherland. From the 
connection of the passage, I presume he meant that New 
Rochelle was then being built up. Tliis would give the autumn 
of 1688 as the time of the settlement. 

Yours very truly, 

Charles W. Baird. 
Henry M. Lester, Esq., 

New York. 

On the rocky point now called Hudson 
Park, adding dignity and interest to one of the 
most picturesque pleasure-grounds along the 
Sound, stands a memorial stone said to mark 
the spot where the refugees landed. 

It seems that about thirty families com- 

Davis House, Cooper's Corners. 

JVew Rochelle 

prised this colony of Huguenots. They im- 
mediately named the place New Rochelle in 
honor of their native city, and then apparently 
became too much engrossed with serious af- 
fairs to record the trivial incidents of daily life 
for the benefit of gossip-loving posterity. 
Very little is known of them at just this period, 
except that other Huguenots arrived from 
time to time in small numbers and that Dutch 
and English settlers occasionally joined the 
colony, so that by the year 1710 there was a 
total population of 261 persons, including 57 

Naturally, the affairs of the church occa- 
sioned the earliest literature relating to this 
colony of intensely religious people. They 
were exiled from home because of rebellion 
against the established church of France, but 
with entire freedom to worship as they pleased 
it developed that they did not all please to wor- 
ship in one way; and the circumstance engen- 
dered some bitterness of feeling, at least 
among the clergy and officers of the church. 

The fact that our colonists had sacrificed 
all their possessions in France and suffered 
exile for the sake of a principle, is evidence 
enough that they were men of strong charac- 
ter. That many of them were also highly edu- 
cated and intelligent is apparent even in the 
meagre records which show how their public 
and private affairs were conducted. 

yew Rochelle 

But they were few in number and without 
means. They organized a church at once and 
erected a small wooden meeting-house in 1692, 
on the Boston Road — now Huguenot Street — 
near the present Episcopal Church. They 
could not maintain a regular pastor, but were 
administered to by visiting clergymen from the 
French settlement in New York City and by 
pastors of the English Church having charges 
in other parts of Westchester County. When 
they had no pastor at all they walked bare- 
footed, shoes and stockings in hand, a distance 
of more than twenty miles to attend services 
at the French Church in New York. 

Clergymen of the English Church in 
America were maintained largely by funds 
sent from England, and these were the earliest 
settled pastors of the New Rochelle Church. 

^^ ^v ^ 



« 1 

.1 1 

^ - 1 1 , 



First Methodist Church. See page 30. 

Neio Rochelle 

It was inevitable that they should desire to 
conduct the service in conformity v/ith that of 
the English Church, and in 1709 the Reverend 
Daniel Bondet, then pastor at New Rochelle, 
obtained the consent of a majority of the 
French congregation to adopt that form of 
worship. A minority, however, adhered to the 
original service of the French Reformed 
Church, and these established a second congre- 

It was this division that occasioned the 
more or less acrimonious correspondence of 
various successive pastors with their church su- 
periors concerning the church at New Ro- 
chelle. Some legal controversy arose also 
over the hundred acres of land deeded to the 
church by Lord Pell. 

Aside from this clerical correspondence we 
do not find evidence that the people were much 
disturbed by religious differences. They were 
industriously building homes and laying the 
foundation of a city in which churches of many 
denominations are to-day conspicuously num- 
erous, prosperous, and harmonious. One has 
only to view the present beautiful Trinity 
Church on Huguenot Street and the equally 
imposing Presbyterian Church at the junction 
of Huguenot and Main Streets, to see that 
both the "original" congregations eventually 
thrived and left worthy successors. 

Xew Kochelle 

The oldest inhabited part of New Rochelle 
is in the vicinity of these two churches. 
Huguenot Street — variously denominated 
Kings Road, High Street and the Boston 
Road in the early records — existed when the 
Huguenot colonists arrived here. There they 
built their church and most of the first dwell- 
ing-houses. "There is one dozen houses round 
the church near each other," wrote one of the 
early chroniclers, "which gives the place the 
appearance of a town." 

When the New Rochelle tract was divided 
into farms in 1693, North Street was opened 
as a "division line." At the first recorded 
"General meeting of all the inhabitants" held 
Dec. 2, 1699, Peter Frederick and Joseph De- 
bane were named "for to be surveyors about 
the fences in all the plantations of this place 
for to preserve the place," and at the next sub- 
sequent meeting, March 1, 1700, it was voted 
that "as for the Kings Road from York to 
Boston the assembly has confirmed it as it is 
now settled, being a chain broad, and for the 
Water Road the assembly has also confirmed 
it as it stands now from Boston Road to the 
Water side betwixt John Jeffries and the 
Widow Market, and this to be also a chain 
broad too, and for the other roads to the water 
side it is ordered that they shall stand as they 
are now settled, provided they be 18 foot 

New Rochelle 

Salem Baptist. 

New Bochelle 

The earliest roads to the water- side were 
the streets we know as Centre Avenue, Echo 
Avenue, Drake Avenue and Weyman Avenue, 
which appear to have been opened in the order 
named. Echo Avenue, first called Cedar 
Street, ran a tortuous course from the Boston 
Road along the creek, probably including all 
of the present Pelham Road to the intersection 
of Centre Avenue. Drake Avenue was 
Drake's Lane and is still so called by the older 
residents of New Rochelle. The present 
Weyman Avenue, then called Parcott's Lane, 
joined the road to Kingsbridge and New York 
by way of Eastchester. 

A leisurely drive or walk through the vari- 
ous thoroughfares referred to will disclose 
some evidence still remaining of the compara- 

Old Pugsley House. 

^ew Rochelle 

tive antiquity of these portions of New Ro- 
chelle. Old buildings, bits of old fences, cor- 
ners of orchards and "home lots," here and 
there exist; but they are rapidly disappearing, 
and a few years hence there will be little to re- 
call the old French settlement. One may ap- 
preciate fully all the beauty that wealth and 
modern refinement lend to the present city, 
yet echo in his heart the impassioned words in 
which a descendant of one of the eminent 
Huguenot families deplored the destruction of 
the old stone church. "Alas," he says, "that 
this venerable relic of antiquity should now 
have to be numbered among the things that 
were! The changes incident to the lapse of 
years and the vandalism of progress — or shall 
I say the progress of vandalism — have so com- 
pletely annihilated every vestige of the ancient 
structure that even its exact situation is more 
or less a matter of conjecture. * * * * 
And why could not the grasping, all-absorb- 

New Rochelle 

ing spirit of change and novelty which char- 
acterizes the age have spared us this one hum- 
ble monument of the past to build which it is 
said that the men carried stones in their hands 
and the women mortar in their aprons.'* 

To see what landmarks do remain, suppose 
we drive through some of the old streets of 
New Rochelle, starting westward from the cor- 
ner of Huguenot and Mechanic Streets. 

Immediately we are at Trinity Church, it- 
self a beautiful, modern structure, but de- 
scended lineally from the old stone church just 
referred to. Some chroniclers assert that be- 
neath the busy highway where your vehicle 
stops the remains of the earlier pastors of the 
church lie buried; others dispute this, and you 
may choose between a conflict of testimony of- 
fered without satisfactory proof on either side. 
At the west side and back of the church are 
graves: some marked by stones bearing recent 
dates, others old as the town itself, many ^vith 
names and inscriptions obliterated by the pas- 
sage of time. 

Across the deep chasm through which the 
railroad trains are incessantly rushing, flashing 
and rumbling, are more of these ancient stones, 
and you note again the "vandalism of prog- 
ress" w^hich could not allow the old Huguenots 
to preserve in death the peace they loved so 
well in life, but must cut in two their quiet rest- 

New Rochelle 


Trinity Churchyard and Old Huguenot Cemetery. 

ing-place and make of it such a thundering, 
quaking region of everlasting torment as they 
never expected or deserved to inhabit. 

Across the way from Trinity Church you 
notice a commodious and comfortable-looking 
old dwelling-house, painted white and in very 
good repair. Only two or three years ago a 
row of enormous old trees stood before the 
spacious grounds of this "mansion," but to- 

New RocheUe 

Carpenter House on Huguenot Street. 

day its broad veranda looks upon the kitchen 
windows of smart, modern apartments for 
which the trees of a hundred years' growth had 
to make way. This is not one of the old land- 
marks of French New Kochelle, but as a for- 
mer dwelling of one of the Astor families It 
recalls the intermediate period when New Ro- 
cheUe was still a stage-coach journey from the 
metropolis and the Summer home of many dis- 
tinguished personages. 

A little further on, midway between Centre 
Avenue and the Presbyterian Church, stands 
a quaint little house almost wholl}'- obscured 
by trees, lilacs and thick-growing shrubs. 
Since pre-Revolutionary times this has been 
known as the Carpenter House, the home of a 
family long eminent and deservedly honored 
in New Rochelle. 

A short way beyond the Carpenter House, 

New Rochelle 

close to the street, stands a two-story shingled 
building in which the congregation of the Pres- 
byterian Church met for many years prior to 
1860. It was then moved to its present site to 
make room for the new church at your left. 

This handsome stone edifice may be called 
a monument to the "dissenting" French con- 
gregation referred to in the earlier pages. It 
became a regularly organized Presbyterian 
Church in 1812. 

You are now at the junction of Huguenot 
and Main Streets, beside the Soldiers' Monu- 
ment. At your left the beautiful winding 
thoroughfare called Pintard Avenue intersects 
with Main Street, and well back from the street, 
with an approach lined by aged trees, stands a 
well-preserved house originally occupied by 

Pintard House. 

New Rochelle 

Lewis Pintard, an illustrious New York mer- 
chant, who lived in New Rochelle in the early 
part of the last century. 

As you continue west on Main Street bear 
in mind that you are still traversing the old 
Boston Road. About the corner of Drake's 
Lane (now Drake Avenue) are clustered a 
number of small buildings apparently belong- 
ing to the old order of things, but none of his- 
torical importance. 

Between Drake and Weyman Avenues, 
close to the walk on your left is an old square 
house, half masonry, where a former citizen of 
New Rochelle, Thomas Ronalds, used fre- 
quently to entertain his distinguished brotlier 
Peter, United States Minister to France. The 
house and its environs are somewhat changed. 
One domiciled here at the present day might 
imagine himself minister to Italy. 

A little beyond the Ronalds house the old 
road turns to the right and proceeds through 
Eastchester and Kingsbridge to New York, 
while Main Street lies straight before you, 
leading to the same destination by way of Mt. 

You may now drive across to Pelham Road 
— the "water side" of the old documents — 
through either Drake or Weyman Avenues. 
There is nothing of oldest New Rochelle on 
either of these thoroughfares, though several 
imposing places on Drake Avenue, in melan- 

New Rochelle 

choly process of decay, attest the stately ap- 
pearance of this old "lane" some two genera- 
tions ago. 

Turning east on Pelham Road you see an 
attractive-looking old house, long and low, 
with veranda extending across the entire front 
and shaded by a single tree of venerable age. 
This house was built before the Revolution and 
is said to have been occupied at intervals dur- 
ing the war by British officers. 

Following the course of Pelham Road as it 
merges into Cedar Road, and finally into Echo 
Avenue, you find yourself on Main Street 
again, beyond the eastern boundary of the busi- 
ness section. At this corner, near the present 
Beacon Hall apartments, stood, until recently, 
the old residence of Vicount d'AUaire, a distin- 
guished French nobleman who made New^ Ro- 

New Rochelle 

chelle his adopted home at the time of the 
Huguenot settlement. 

Driving down Main Street to Rose and 
turning northward you arrive at Huguenot 
and North Streets. Here stands intact, 
though changed in appearance hy a latter-day 
superstructure, an old roadside inn built before 
1711, and kept by Captain Besley, a justice of 
the peace and man of many activities in the 
first generation of New Rochelle's existence. 
The old Boston stages changed horses here, 
and it is said to have been the stopping place 
of the flying messenger who carried from Bos- 
ton to New York the news of the Battle of 

Proceeding across the railroad bridge and 
out North Avenue perhaps half a mile, you 
notice at the right, close to the walk, a little 

Old Allaire House. 

New Rochelle 

Old "Berpo" House on North Avenue. 

whitewashed stone house so out of place and 
lonely in its wizened old age that passersby 
stop and examine it curiously. Legend says 
only that a Frenchman named Berpo lived 
here in the dim and distant past. It might not 
be a wild guess that "Berpo" became a vulgar 
contraction of Bonrepos, and that the little 
house really sheltered the one-time honored 
pastor of the old French Church. 

Driving further on to the region now in 
process of development by the real estate com- 
panies, and directly in front of one of the most 
sightly tracts, you are faced by a bronze bust 
and pedestal erected to the memory of Thomas 
Paine. Recalling Paine's great services in ex- 
citing and spreading the spirit of independence 
among the American people before the Revo- 

c Rochelle 


lution, his intimate association with the great- 
est men of that day, his later assaults upon 
the Christian faith and the fierce denunciations 
heaped upon him by its defenders — knowing 
something of the man's splendid genius and in- 
stability, his reputation and notoriety — you 
are interested in what evidence now remains of 
his connection with New Rochelle. 

The property before you is the old Paine 
Farm, confiscated by the Government because 
of the original owner's adherence to the Brit- 
ish cause in the war of the Revolution, and pre- 
sented to Paine in recognition of his patriotic 
services. Alone and in straightened circum- 
stances the broken old man lived here a few 
years, cared for by an old negro housekeeper. 
A short time before his death in 1809 he re- 
moved to New York City, but his remains were 

The Thomas Paine House, 

New Roche 

brought to New Rochelle and buried on this 
property near the site of the present monument. 
There is a well-authenticated story of their 
surreptitious removal from this resting-place. 
Some women of the neighborhood, it is related, 
saw a wagon driven up to the gate and the 
occupants alight carrying spades with which 
they began digging about the grave. The 
women ran to the house of Constable Seacord 
and excitedly told him what they had seen. 
When the Constable reached the place the 
grave was empty and the strangers gone. 
It is said that the body was transported to 
England, but the mystery of its final disposi- 
tion was never revealed. 

Drive up the long avenue that was but re- 

ew Rochelle 

cently an old-fashioned country lane, and over 
the crest of the hill you come upon a weather- 
beaten little house set in a small garden-plot 
with all that remains of its old orchard of 
apples and pears. This was Thomas Paine's 
dwelling-place. A half-constructed modern 
residence has its elbow planted in the ribs of 
the old house now, and probably before these 
lines are printed this ancient structure, like 
nearly all of New Rochelle's interesting land- 
marks, will have been elbowed off the earth. 

Returning to North Avenue and driving 
on past the Country Club grounds you pass a 
little stone church of decided^ modern appear- 
ance in noticeable contrast to the old cemetery 
beside it. This is the North Avenue Metho- 
dist Church, whose former meeting-house — il- 
lustrated on page 14 — was the first of that per- 
suasion in New Rochelle, and sheltered the 
third religious congregation established in the 

Just beyond, at the corner of North Street 
and Quaker Ridge Road is a pleasant old 
house of pre-Revolutionary times, now occu- 
pied by Mr. Niehaus, the artist. 

A short drive further on you come to the 
old Davis House, pictured on page 12. Mr. 
George Davis states that this was an old house 
when it was purchased by his grandfather in 

You have now reached Cooper's Corners, 

New Rochelle 

the end of this Huguenot thoroughfare. Drive 
back through North Avenue, past "Mahl- 
stedt's Pond," and at the south side of the ice- 
houses you will see the beginning of an old and 
little traveled road. This in earlier days was 
a lane leading from North Avenue to East- 
chester Road. Around the bend as you turn 
into this cross-road is one of the most an- 
cient and picturesque of all the old homesteads 
now remaining. It is the Drake House, pic- 
tured on pages T and 47. 

Continue along this road and stop a mo- 
ment before the Coutant Cemetery — a very old 
burying-ground where rest the first of this hon- 
ored New Rochelle family together w^ith a long 
line of descendants and connections. The 
original Coutant homestead, where peculiarly 
barbarous depredations were committed dur- 
ing the Revolution because of its isolated situa- 
tion, was doubtless near this burjang-ground, 
though its exact location is uncertain. 

Coutant Cemetery. 

iew Rochelle 

Old Inn. See page 26. 

You have seen most of the places that can 
now be identified with the earhest years of New 
Rochelle. Here and there along your route 
you have noticed old homesteads evidently dat- 
ing back several generations and with unmis- 
takable suggestions of old-time comfort and 
w^ealth (as wealth was measured then) in their 
generous proportions, pleasing architecture, 
and spacious grounds. Very few of them are 
occupied by descendants of the original own- 
ers, and many have been left to decay in neigh- 
borhoods now distinctly "unfashionable." 

In 1712 our polite and hospitable inhab- 
itants numbered 304. In seventy-eight years 
— down to the first National Census in 1790 — 
we had attained a population of 692. Ten 
years later, 1274. In 1840 we were 1816 
strong. In 1850 — one hundred and sixty-two 
years after the Huguenot landing — the popu- 
lation of New Rochelle was 2547 souls. 

New Rochelle 

This very moderate advance through the 
better part of two centuries would imply what 
diligent searching of records proves to be the 
fact. New Rochelle remained always a 
steady-going, industrious and eminently re- 
spectable community. From 1699, until we 
enter that momentous period preceding the 
Revolution, there is no indication of any dis- 
turbance in her placid existence. 

In 1701 the town records specify that the 
annual assembly was held for the nomination 
of officers "according to the use of this Coun- 
ty," our French-speaking colony conform- 
ing to the customs of their adopted land. 
Isaye Vallau, senior, Robert Bloomer, and 
Oliver Besly were named "Townsmen, for to 
look after and manage the prudential affairs of 
the place." 

Huguenot House, Recently Standing on North Avenue. 

Yew Rochelle 

In the same year we find recorded a receipt 
made by Lord Pell in the good old compre- 
hensive phraseology. It bears a date ten years 
prior to the date of entry. "November the 21, 
1691, then received full satisfaction, as well for 
all payments of land accounts as for all others, 
from Doctor John Neuf eille of New Rochelle ; 
I say received in full of all demands from said 
Dr. Neuf eille from the beginning of the world 
till this day, by me — John Pell." 

In that year (1701) Ambrose Sicard made 
his "Last wdll concerning the little it has 
pleased God to give me," and John Martin de- 
sired his wife Anne Martin "to have my body 
buried with decent simplicity." As they lived 
in the world so they would pass out of it. 

In 1702 the townsmen and part of the in- 
habitants examined the book of records kept 

An Old-Time Residence on Beauchamp Place 

New Rochelle 

Flandreaux House, on Premium Point Road. 

by Isaac Bertrand Dutuffeaux, found that 
"from folio two to folio twenty-three the book 
is full and without any cross or defectuosit}^" 
placed the book in the hands of Paul Bignoux, 
and thanked said Dutuffeaux for his adminis- 
tration. A faithful officer satisfactorily paid 
with thanks and commendation. 

In 1708 it is noted that "after next Christ- 
mas the hogs shall no longer be allowed outside 
the plantations." A severe restriction but re- 
laxed after a short trial; subsequent records 
repeat for many years the provision that hogs 
may run "in the commons" if pro^nded with 
rings in their noses ; horses, too, if shackled, but 
not sheep under any conditions. 

The fence viewer was admonished each 
year to see that all fences were of proper 

ew Rochelle 

strength and regulation height, and as the 
height was frequently subject to compulsory 
change the relations of the fence viewers and 
inhabitants should have been a beautiful object- 
lesson in "politeness and hospitality." 

Frequent entries record the "ear-marks" 
adopted by various cattle owners. Thus: — 
"To-day, May 12, 1726, Mr. Cesar has given 
the marks of his stock, which are a slit on each 
ear and on the right ear a spot." 

In 1719 a Bridge Tender was appointed to 
take toll- — for each horse 6 cents, each horned 
animal 6 cents, and for sheep "a price accord- 
ing to the amount they will shake the bridge." 
The bridge referred to was probably on the 
Boston Road crossing the creek near the pres- 
ent site of Stephenson Park. 

In 1720 the assembly voted Mr. Allaire a 
salary for keeping the records: — 20 shillings 
per year. 

In 1759, and each j^ear thereafter, high- 
way overseers were elected for the "Upper 
Quarter" as well as for the "low part" of New 
Rochelle, indicating a growing population 

So these chronicles of small events continue 
to 1776. In the year that the Declaration of 
Independence was signed, the}^ ceased abrupt- 

In 1783 they are resumed. We have then 
the first meeting under the new regime. It 


New Rochelle 

Linden Place. 

Sew Rochelle 


was no longer an ^'Assembly of All the Peo- 
ple" but a ''Town Meeting held for the regula- 
tion of said town and carrying into execution 
the Law of the STATE." It was held at the 
house of Gilbert Brush, "Innkeeper," in pur- 
suance of an ordinance of the Council appoint- 
ed by the Act of Legislature entitled: ''An 
Act to provide for the temporary government 
of the southern part of this state whenever the 
enemy shall abandon or he dispossessed of the 
same and until the legislature can he con- 

Here, of course, is the explanation of the 
temporary cessation of records: 

In the Summer of 1776, Washington and 
the Continental Army were forced to retreat 
from New York and Long Island to White 
Plains, leaving Howe's forces in control of the 
City. The whole of Westchester County ly- 
ing between the two armies became thence- 
forth disputed territory (or "Neutral 
Ground") . Occupied permanently by neither 
British nor Americans, it was the foraging and 
skirmishing ground for the worst elements of 
both armies. 

It was in October, 1776, that General 
Howe, in pursuit of Washington, united his 
forces at the point now called Pelliam Neck 
and marched toward New Rochelle. Here he 
was joined by General von Knyphausen with a 

New Rochelli 

On Piniard Avenue. 


^fe;" ^ ' /-'''^•'' "wjS '^S^^l^p 

-:, 1 

", '^ ' m ?r" -.3' -■■-'»»■ 

Locust Avenue. 

'New Rochelle 



New Roch( 


i-n ^^. 'Mm B 


Xew Rochelle 


body of Hessians and part of a regiment of 
Irish Cavalry. Skirmishes between parts of 
Washington's army and the British forces oc- 
curred in the vicinity of New Rochelle, but no 
important engagement took place until the 
main armies met at White Plains in the bat- 
tle of October 25. 

During the remainder of the war our vil- 
lage saw little of the "pomp and circumstance" 
attending it, but of its meanness and lawless- 
ness they saw enough. The "Cowboys," a 
regularly organized band of marauders attend- 
ing the British army, and the "Skinners," an 
equally choice companj^ of freebooters, identi- 
fied with the American forces, plundered and 
pillaged throughout the count}'' with cheer- 
ful impartiality^ Many of New Rochelle's 
inhabitants were doubtless despoiled of all they 
possessed. Family names appearing in the 
records of earlier days now drop out. The 
churches w^ere closed, local government sus- 
pended; our polite and orderly community 
merely existed, a powerless victim of circum- 
stances, ground between the upper and the 
nether millstone. 

During this period Admiral Howe was ad- 
vised by his superiors in England that — 

"As the County of Westchester is in a very unsettled 
condition and our troops are much harassed by the Rebels, 
whenever in that vicinity, you will send a couple of frigates 
up the Bronx River to protect our forces and fire into the 
enemv whenever seen." 

New Bocheli 

National Ciiy Bank and Masonic Temple. 

New Bochelle 

As every disaster came to New Rochelle 
except damage from the fire of the Bronx 
fleet, it is believed that the Admiral disobeyed 
orders and kept his frigates out of that purling 
trout brook. 

For three generations prior to the Revolu- 
tion the official records of the old settlement 
are as regular and peaceful as the ticking of 
grandfather's clock; and after seven years of 
silence the ticking goes on in much the same 
reposeful way. 

A smaller proportion of French names ap- 
pear in the subsequent records, though many 
of the oldest remain throughout the town's his- 
tory. At the first Town Meeting, in 1773, 
these officers were elected: 

James Willis, Town Clerk. 

James Ronalds, Constable and Collector. 

Benjamin Stephenson, Supervisor. 

David Guion and James WilHs, Overseers 
of Roads for the Upper Quarter. 

Main Street. 

Xew Rochi 


Wykagyl Country Club. 

Abram Guion and Isaiah Guion, Overseers 
of Roads for the Lower Quarter. 

Peter Flandreaux and EHas Guion, Dam- 
age Viewers. 

Stephenson, Ronalds and WilHs, Assessors. 

In the town records year by year one may 
see between the Hnes some reflection of events 
in the larger world. For example, the dis- 
tressing financial conditions prevalent through- 
out the country after the war closed are faith- 
fully indicated in the provision made by this 
little village for the poor fund. From less 
than $200.00 per year the sum appropriated 
rose gradually to $800.00, dropping back to 
smaller amounts with the slow return of gen- 
eral prosperity. 

The rising sentiment against slavery is 
faintly indicated in these quiet pages, as in 
1789 when the overseers and Justices of the 
Peace "certify that Plato, a negro, and Gate, 
a negro woman, late the property of James 

New Rochelle 

Pugsley of the said town of New Rochelle, is 
of sufficient ability of body to provide for 
themselves and under the age of fifty years, 
agreeable to a certain clause of an act of the 
State of New York, passed at the last meeting 
of the late session." 

The town meetings were long held at the 
citizens' houses, but a slight beginning was 
made in the direction of public housing facili- 
ties by a vote, passed in 1802, authorizing the 
town clerk "to provide a chest or tnmk for the 
purpose of keeping the town books in." 

At a little later date (1815) commissioners 
were authorized to petition the legislature for 
proper authority to receive an amount of 
money left by Wm. Henderson for building a 
town house. In 1824 suit was begun against 
the executors of Wm. Henderson's estate to 

The First City Hall. 

New Rochelle 

Drake House and Grounds. See page 31. 

secure this legacy. Three years later the 
money was paid, and the first Town House 
was built soon after on the site occupied by the 
present City Hall at Main and Mechanic 
Streets. The old building was moved a block 
eastward and is now a weather-beaten relic, 
facing Lawton Street a few steps from Main 

A little book called "A Guide to New Ro- 
chelle" was published by Mr. Robert Bolton 
in 1842. The date has something of a modern 
look until we subtract the figures from 1908 
and find that the intervening years make two- 
thirds of a century. Looking over the pages 
of the "guide" then, we are scarcely surprised 
to find that it is not exactly a guide to the New 
Rochelle we are living in to-day. The differ- 
ence is fairly indicated in the picture that we 
have reproduced from Mr. Bolton's hand-book. 
A complete full-size reproduction would have 
included the following legend : 

New Rochelle 

"This splendid establishment is delightfully situated on 
Long Island Sound, about a mile from the Village of New 
Rochelle and eighteen miles from New York. In point of 
salubrity and picturesque scenery it is not surpassed by any 
in America. The accommodations are of the most excellent 
description; warm and cold salt and fresh water baths ready 
at all times; and nothing is spared to promote the amusement 
and comfort of the inmates. Pleasure and fishing boats for 
aquatic excursions, and vehicles and horses for driving or 
riding provided at a moment's notice. The Steam Boat Ameri- 
can Eagle leaves New Rochelle early every morning and the 
foot of Fulton Street, East River, every afternoon, landing at 
the dock. The Harlem Railroad cars will convey passengers 
to Fordham from whence stages run twice a day to New 

July 1st, 1842. C. F. Rice.'' 

Where this flourishing hotel stood we now 
have the beautiful wooded park presented to 
the city a few years ago by Mr. Iselin. The 
store of Mr. Rice is a thing of the past. So 
are the anglers in skirts and beaver hats; so 
are the big farms stretching back to the vil- 
lage, then a mile away, now reaching to the 
water-side. The wagons, carriages and ex- 
pectant people at the wharf awaiting the land- 
ing of the "American Eagle" indicate that here 
was the chief point of communication with the 
outside world, and the New York steamer 
making one trip daily each way the readiest 
means of access to the great metropolis where 
so large a part of male New Rochelle now 
earns its daily bread. The old flag, with its 
twent}^six stars, is itself hopelessly out of date. 

"The advantages presented by the prox- 
imity of the Sound," says Bolton's Guide, "are 

N€^o Rochelle 

Beach at Hudson Park. 

^^p- lijijiiiiMi |M-<5 
-I - ' " • « ■ 

New Rochelle Rowing Club. 

New Bochelle 

of great importance to the Town. Besides 
the shipping of various market produce on 
board the sloops, there is the convenience of a 
daily steamboat to the city during the Summer 
months and three times a week in the Winter. 
By this means quantities of produce are sent 
to the New York markets at reasonable rates. 
There are several hotels which afford excellent 
accommodation to parties visiting New Ro- 
chelle for the amusement of fishing, the salu- 
brity of its air, or the beauty of its scenery. 

"The Le Roy House, in the town of New 
Rochelle, is an excellent and comfortable es- 
tablishment, well suited for those who prefer 
the small stir of a village, while they are not 
too far removed from the banks of the Sound. 

"There are also two other excellent hotels 
in the village, well managed — the Mansion 
House and New Rochelle Hotel." 

In passing, it may be noted that the hotel 
referred to as the Le Roy House was at a still 
earlier date the home of Herman Otis Le Roy, 
and not improbably the scene of Daniel Web- 

New Rochelle 


Elm Street. 

New Rochelle 

ster's courtship of Catherine Le Roy, who be- 
came the great statesman's second wife and 
who Hved in New Rochelle at the old home for 
many years after Webster's death. The house 
stood in large grounds, well back from Main 
Street, at the corner of Centre Avenue. 

The Mansion House was a commodious 
and popular hotel on the northwest corner of 
Centre Avenue and Main Street, with an ex- 
tensive garden running back to Huguenot 
Street. Its large ballroom was the scene of 
many brilliant social events, and the daily 
stages from Fordham brought to its doors 
many gay parties of Summer resorters and dis- 
tinguished visitors. A part of the old house 
still remains, partially obscured by small stores 
erected in front of it. 

The New Rochelle Hotel stood on the 
north side of Main Street, about midway be- 
tween Centre Avenue and Mechanic Street; a 
comfortable old hostelry with a double-deck 
veranda extending across the entire front. 

The advent of the railroad, which ran its 
first train through New Rochelle on Christmas 
day, 1848, foreshadowed changed conditions 
which were to accelerate the growth of the vil- 
lage, but without effecting any sudden or 
radical change in its general characteristics. 

Westchester County has been a favorite re- 
gion for the Summer homes and large estates 
of eminent families from early Colonial days; 


New Rochelle 

The Present City Hall. 

The New Rochelle Hospi^ 


New Rochelle 

and New Rochelle, possessing the advantage 
of a shore location not too remote from the 
city, had drawn much of its slowly increasing 
population from the same cultured and well- 
to-do classes of merchants and professional 
men who were settled in other parts of the 

Improved railroad service brought more 
and more people of this character; their Sum- 
mer residences became permanent homes ; after 
a time men of similar tastes with more restrict- 
ed incomes found that they, too, might estab- 
lish homes in this favored region, and these 
came in still greater numbers to swell the pop- 
ulation of New Rochelle. 

It is not necessary to record the details of 
this development which has now made of the 
old village a city of more than twenty thousand 

Old School House at Cooper's Corners. 

]^ev) Rochelle 




New Rochelle 

souls. The story is told impressively in the 
miles of beautiful streets that now intersect all 
the old Huguenot farms, in substantial public 
buildings, in thousands of tastefully ornate 
dwellings. The pictures of modern New Ro- 
chelle distributed through these pages are more 
significant than words. 

Perhaps the churches of any community 
afford the best visible indication of its moral 
tone ; the hospitals and charitable organizations 
are a fair index of its humanitarian standards ; 
the schools supply the measure of its general 
intelligence and civilization. One who knows 
these institutions as they exist in New Ro- 
chelle need not fear to have his city judged by 
their character and efficiency. 

The city has numerous if not aggressively 
prominent industries ; its mercantile houses are 
substantially prosperous, it contains within it- 
self all the features of an independent, self- 
sustaining municipality. Its financial institu- 
tions may be specially mentioned to illustrate 
this fact. The National City Bank — whose 
charter and that of the present city date from 
the same year — the New Rochelle Trust Com- 
pany and the People's Bank for Sav^ings are 
firmly established and ably conducted organ- 
izations competing successfully with the best 
of their metropolitan contemporaries. 

When the National City Bank opened its 

New Rockelle 


New Rochelle 

new building a short time ago, the visitors who 
came to inspect its banking rooms and safe de- 
posit vaults equalled in number one-fourth of 
the city's adult population — a circumstance 
that agreeably indicates the survival here of 
that "friendship in business" which it seems 
can still exist though the business be modern 
and progressive. 

But, creditable as its commercial institu- 
tions undoubtedly are. New Rochelle is not and 
does not aspire to be a typical "hustling" 
American city. Belching chimneys, a murky 
landscape and a babel of business are not 
among her distinguishing features. She offers 
a clean atmosphere, physically and morally 
healthful, and a congenial environment where 
the home is the center of attraction, and the 
means for making the most of life are as varied 
as differing tastes demand. 

It has seemed best to devote most of our 
descriptive pages to the earlier days because 
they have stamped New Rochelle with charac- 
ter. It is the prestige and dignity of early as- 
sociations, the mellow beauty of age, not less 
than the glory of flanking hills and flashing 
waters that beckon to New Rochelle and cause 
old residents and new ones alike to echo in 
slightly changed words the thought of Madam 
Knight — They cause in me a love of the place 
which I am contented to live in. 

New Bochelle 


Vaults, Offices and Reception Rooms. 

New Rochelle 

Family Names of French Huguenots Who are Known 

to have Settled in New Rochelle at Various 

Periods Between 1688 and ij^o. 














De Bane 




De Blez 



De Bonrepos 



de Ste. Croix 
De Veaux 



Du Bois 

La Dore 








Le Conte 




Le Fevre 



Le Jeune 
Le Mestre 












Le Roux 
Le Villaine 










































Guerinaut ^ 

















New Rochelle 


•**»t:«*^ ■ '^^;52!i?1K«'?^'*''*^-t*^^'S<SS^?^»d»^i***'' ' 

Huguenot Memorial Window in the First Presbyterian Church. 

New Bochelle 

1 he National City Bank 


Officers and Directors 


HENRY M. LESTER, President 

JOSEPH T. BROWN, Vice-President 









New Rochelle 

To Mr. Charles Fryer's "The Neutral Ground" and "Remi- 
niscences of an Old Westchester Homestead," and to Mr. Pryer 
in person, the author is indebted for much valuable assistance. 

To Mr. S. A. Stephenson, for access to valuable transla- 
tions of the old Huguenot town records, and to Mr. George T. 
Davis and Mr. Henry M. Lester for useful information thanks 
are gratefully tendered. 

For facts and legends which could not be incorporated in 
this brief sketch, the reader is referred to Mr. Fryer's books — 
published by Futnam's— and to Rev. Robert Bolton's History 
of Westchester County, and A Guide to New Rochelle, both 
of which are available at the New Rochelle Fublic Library. 

Lot 50 







N>' . ^1 

" o « o "