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Peter McAvoy & Son
Peter McAvoy 1880s-1929; Peter McAvoy & Son, 1930-1957; New Rochelle, New York
Associated Firms


Peter McAvoy, born about 1860 in Ireland, emigrated to the United States in 1881. The U.S. Census of 1910 indicates his wife Mary, also 50, was also born in Ireland, so they may have married before coming to the U.S. The ages of their seven children, as reported in the census, show that all were born here. The family lived in New Rochelle, a city in Westchester County some 20 miles north of mid-town Manhattan.

The census lists Peter’s occupation as “Proprietor” of a “wagon factory.” That year the New Rochelle annual report shows that the Streets Department made a number of payments to Peter McAvoy for repairs to their carts. Peter McAvoy is listed in the 1918 New Rochelle City Directory under “Auto Bodies,” at 30 Garden Street. His daughter Barbara is shown as “bookbinder” (sic, although bookkeeper seems more likely), daughter Helen as a stenographer, and son James a wheelwright. It is probable that most of them (and possibly all) were associated with the carriage and body business.

Peter’s occupation was given as “Carriage Maker” in the 1920 census. By this time, son James was listed as a “blacksmith.” The 1920 city directory calls Peter’s occupation “carriagemaker and automobile bodies.”

In the 1929 directory, James is an “auto body builder” at “Peter McAvoy, 30 Garden Street, commercial auto bodies.” Peter McAvoy apparently died around 1929. The 1930 census shows James, Mary and their three children living at 34 Garden Street. His occupation was “Auto Builder” in a “Garage.”

The 1930 directory shows James as president of Peter McAvoy & Son, Barbara as secretary-treasurer. Mary T. McAvoy, the widow of Peter, is vice president. The company is referred to as “auto body builders.” The same officers are shown in the 1938 directory.

In the 1940 census, James was listed as the proprietor of an auto repair facility, resident at 34 Garden Street. His sister Barbara, who lived next door with their mother at 30 Garden Street, was the secretary.

In 1947, James and Barbara still held their offices at Peter McAvoy & Son Inc. The 1952 directory shows James and Barbara running the business at 34 Garden Street. By 1955, John J. McAvoy, apparently the son of James, had become vice president of the family firm, described as “body building and auto repairs.” By 1958, the Garden Street site was occupied by another unrelated business.

No records or news reports pertaining to Peter McAvoy & Son have been found. The only known examples of the company’s automotive work are a surviving 1934 Packard Super Eight, rebodied from a LeBaron Town Car to a station wagon or hunting car, and a 1939 Studebaker station wagon pictured in the Crestline book Great American Woodies and Wagons by Donald J. Narus, published in 1977.

© 2017 Kit Foster for







Donald J. Narus - Great American Woodies  and Wagons

City directories at New Rochelle Public Library - U.S. Census data and other vital statistics

Report of the Comptroller, City of New Rochelle, Dec. 31, 1910

New Rochelle site visit, Mar. 22, 2016

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