December 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm #805
The Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park was once the Putnam Railroad. As workers built the roadbed for the railroad, they exhumed skeletons by Van Cortlandt Lake that were believed to be the remains of locally enslaved Africans. I have been looking for a newspaper article that describes the event when it happened but I don’t know the exact year that the railroad was constructed. So I have been scanning local newspapers starting in 1867 and have been working my way forward through time.
The newspaper I have been looking at is The Yonkers Statesman (Kingsbridge and Riverdale were part of Yonkers at the time). The Yonkers library in Getty Square has it on microfilm. It was a partisan paper of the Republican party. Much of the paper covers politics, which were vicious even by today’s standards. Rival parties just attacked one another on the street ahead of the 1868 election of U.S. Grant:
A Democratic Outrage
Not being able to drum up any very imposing number of men, the Democratic party of Yonkers have turned their particular attention to children–dear little innocent, harmless Democratic children, down from Hog Hill and up from the Flats. These dear little children they march in their processions, call the “White Boys in Blue,” [the Boys in Blue were a Republican pro-Grant club] and the great chiefs of the Yonkers Democracy lead them because they have no other “Boys in Blue” to lead. At the head of these children these chiefs of the Yonkers Democracy look grand and magnificent. Some ill-natured people might say that they look ridiculous, but it is all a matter of taste–that is Democratic taste. And, these chiefs of the Yonkers Democracy incite these Democratic children of tender age–say from twelve to fourteen years–to attack Republicans.
Because they have been so incited, these Democratic innocents on Thursday night last threw stones at a party of Republican Boys in Blue who were on their way to attend a Republican meeting at Spuyten Duyvil. The stones were big ones, although the Democratic children were little ones. The Boys in Blue endured the stone throwing as long as they could, and then alighted from their wagon and one or more, it is said, fired at the stone-throwing Democratic children and wounded two of them in the leg.
Most of the articles aren’t nearly that exciting though. Much of the news from the Riverdale area is of drunk people getting hit by trains. But there are some odd stories too:
That area–Mosholu refers to a cluster of homes and businesses near 242nd Street and Broadway. One fun thing that the papers are full of are quack cures, tonics, and serums for “dropsy” and common ailments:
Too bad they don’t sell that stuff anymore! There are also some early reports of baseball games–this one is from September 12, 1867. It was a close game with Nepperhan eaking out a 44-27 victory!
I wonder where they played baseball at Spuyten Duyvil in 1867.
January 3, 2019 at 8:51 pm #818
The baseball box score is interesting. Based on the Knickerbocker rules of baseball, back them foul balls and fly balls to the outfield could be recorded as outs if they were caught on a bounce. This is believe to be because it predates the use of gloves.
BTW, Joseph Coffin needs to find a better way to pitch. But another rule was the batter could tell the pitcher where he wanted the pitch.
January 5, 2019 at 4:50 pm #819
That is pretty wild–baseball was a very different game. Those Knickerbocker rules were intriguing. I like rule 9 even if I don’t know exactly what it means:
“9TH. The ball must be pitched, not thrown, for the bat.”
I was back at the Yonkers library yesterday and looked through the Yonkers Statesman for 1869. I saw the below entry in the June 3rd edition:
“FORDHAM Base Ball – Today Thursday the Bashfords will visit this village, and play the St. John’s College Club. A very interesting game is expected.”
St. John’s College was the original name of Fordham University. I think the Bashfords were a Yonkers team. I wonder if the Fordham Rams are the oldest baseball team in The Bronx?
January 5, 2019 at 11:09 pm #820
Fun fact estevan bellan was on the Fordham team and was the first late player in mlb
January 6, 2019 at 1:18 am #821
I looked up Estevan Bellan, who was the first Latino player in MLB and played for Fordham. I think you got autocorrected.
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