John McNamara, the great historian of the Bronx (who also walked every street in the Bronx!), wrote a book called History in Asphalt that explains the origin of every street name in the borough. I stopped by a library on my walk today to see what he had to say about Featherbed Lane:
There are three well-known versions of the origin of this name. During the Revolution, residents padded the road with their feather beds to muffle the passage of the patriots. Another story is that the spongy mud gave riders the effect of a feather bed. Still another tale is that the farmers found the road so rough, they would use feather beds on their wagon-seats to cushion themselves.Amusingly, there is a small park just off of Featherbed Lane — nothing more than a collection of a dozen or so benches arranged in a triangle — named "Featherbenches".
There is a fourth supposition advanced by a native of Highbridgeville that Featherbed Lane was a sly allusion to ladies of easy virtue who lived there. In short, it was the local Red Light district during the 1840's when work on the nearby Croton Aqueduct was going on. Unsuspecting real estate developers of a later time liked its quaint name and retained it.