|This brass token with the bust of a jolly imbiber
was issued by Edwin, the owner of a bowling saloon at
Pearl and Dover streets in New York City between 1834 and
'39. Privately made hard-times tokens such as this one
were struck between 1833 and '43 as unofficial currency
during the political and financial upheaval that preceded
The Panic of 1837 and the seven-year recession that
followed. The token is the size of the "large
cent" piece of the time -- 1 1/8 inches in diameter.
These coins were replaced by our present-day size pennies
was probably born in Guilford, Conn. His father,
Jeremiah, and brother Horatio -- both cabinetmakers --
also lived in New York City, and the family had strong
ties on both sides of Long Island Sound. Edwin's mother,
Helen, was the daughter of Jonathan and Hannah Vail. The
Vails fled Long Island for Guilford in 1775 during the
Revolution, and he, being a ship captain, transported
other Long Island refugees across the sound throughout
||Edwin's first mention in New York comes
in the 1823 city directory at Bowery
Cottage, the storied
establishment at 298 Bowery that he would later
A decade later he was in the
Third War, at 13 Park, where the New York Man
reported the city's journeymen tailors gathered
June 23, 1835, to seeking a return to uniform
prices that had been abandoned by their
Two weeks later, on July 5, his
home was the target of a gang of English thieves.
The New York Spectator of July, 16,
1835, left, reports that "plate," or
silver, valued at $384 -- quite a haul back in
the day -- was stolen. The Aug. 21, 1835, edition
of the New-York American for the Country
reported that Smith, Johnson and Bailey were
sentenced to 10 to 11 years in state prison and
hard labor, and Showler was given time to
substantiate his claim that he'd struck a deal
with police and prosecutors before being
Edwin and Catherine A. Fine were married
Aug. 19, 1835, at the Second Reformed Dutch
Church in Somerville, N.J., by Pastor Charles
Whitehead.* Catherine sued him for divorce per
this clipping from the Nov. 24, 1846,
Schenectady, N.Y., Cabinet; she would
later marry Peter E. Covert in Somerset County,
N.Y., on New Year's Day 1851.
The 1836 and '37 New York City
directories have Edwin operating the Pearl Street
bowling saloon. Directories from 1839
through '42 show that he'd moved on to helming
the fabled Bowery Cottage; the 1840 edition also
gives their residence as 7 Bleeker St.
(Mass.) Republican of Sept. 6, 1852,
ran a death notice for Edwin Parmelee who
departed Guilford "on Saturday [a] week
[ago]," which would have been Aug. 28.
He died sometime before the boat reached Long
Island on Aug. 31 a the age of 40.
As far as I can tell, Edwin and Catherine
had no children.
* Pastor Whitehead recorded Edwin's
name as Edward.