Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Probate Court Decision Involving the Estate of Pelham Resident Joseph Palmer in 1797

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Joseph Palmer was an early resident of the Town of Pelham. Local historians who follow such matters likely will recall that on June 19, 1761 Joseph Palmer sold what was then known as Great Minneford Island to his brother, Benjamin Palmer, who devised a grand scheme to develop the island as a great port city to rival New York. Benjamin Palmer renamed the island City Island. City Island, now part of New York, long was part of the Town of Pelham.

Joseph Palmer, it seems, was a local farmer on City Island. He seems to have been involved with his brother's plans to develop the island as a grand port, presumably to increase the value of his modest real estate holdings.

Recent research has revealed a published Probate Court decision released in 1797 that may reflect settlement of Joseph Palmer's estate following his death. The text of the decision appears below.

"At a Court of Probates of the State of New-York held at the Probate-Office in the city of New-York, on the twenty-seventh day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven -- present, PETER OGILVIE, Judge of the Said Court :

WHEREAS THOMAS BAXTER, acting executor of the last will and testament of Joseph Palmer, late of the town of Pelham, in the county of Chester, yeoman, deceased, hath by his petition, presented to the said judge, set forth, That the said Joseph Palmer was at the time of his death seized of a real esate withing this state ; that the petitioner hath made a just and true account of the personal estate and debts of the said Joseph Palmer, as far as he has been able to discover the same, and that thereby it appears that the personal estate of the said Joseph Palmer was insufficient to pay his debts, and therefore requested the aid of the said judge in the premises, according to the directions of the act, entitled, "An Act for the relief of Creditors against Heirs, Devisees, Executors, and Administrators, and for proving Wills respecting Real Estate ; " and the said petitioner hath delivered to the said judge the account in the said petition mentioned : Hereupon it is ordered by the said judge that all persons interested in the estate of the said Joseph Palmer do appear before the said judge of the said court of probates at the probate-office in the city of New-York on the twenty-eighth day of June next, to shew cause (if any they have) why so much of the real estate whereof the said Joseph Palmer died seized should not be sold as will be sufficient to pay his debts.
April 29. S.5w"

Source: The Diary, or, Loudon's Register, June 3, 1797, p. 2.

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