The Museum of the City of New York has a wonderful collection of photographs, maps and prints many of which are now available online.
I thought I would see if there were any pictures which showed what Harlem might have been like when our Colbert family lived there.
John Colbert arrived in the U.S in 1843 and was in Harlem by 1850 – he lived on East 119th Street, near Avenue A (now Pleasant Avenue). After his marriage he lived on 116th Street and Avenue A.
He died in 1865 and his widow, Mary Coleman Colbert, leased a lot on East 121st Street, between Avenue A and 1st Avenue. She had a one story framed house with a store, possibly the same house John had built on 116th Street. The Colberts had a horse and wagon and possibly a cow and other animals. They were milk dealers.
Did John Colbert’s horse and wagon look something like this?
Here are some pictures I found online – you can see the animals wandering around.
Harlem squatter settlements in 1858.
The Colberts lived on 116th Street at this time. Is this what their area looked like? There were so many hogs in Harlem that the area around 125th Street was called “Pig’s Alley”
116th Street and 4th Avenue
This is the south east corner of 116th Street and 4th Avenue in 1889. Our family lived at 116th Street and Avenue A (Pleasant Avenue), about 4 blocks east of here from about 1855 to 1865.
This is the south west corner of 116th Street and 4th Avenue in 1895.