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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

John Pugsley, An Early Owner of Appleby's Island Later Known as Hunter's Island

Research in colonial-era newspapers has, once again, revealed an interesting tidbit that seems to shed light on long forgotten facts regarding Pelham and surrounding areas. An advertisement for sale of lands at "public Vendue" (a public auction) appeared in New-York newspapers in 1770 and 1771. The advertisement is for lands located on "Applebe's-Island" and Pell's Neck. The reference to Applebe's Island, also known as Appleby's Island, is a reference to what later came to be known as Hunter's Island, now part of the Orchard Beach complex in Pelham Bay Park. The advertisement indicates that before his death, a man named John Pugsley owned the island.

Lockwood Barr traced the ownership of the island in his popular history of Pelham published in 1946. Although he noted that early ownership records could not be found, he attempted to trace ownership of the tract but made no reference to John Pugsley. The following advertisement, therefore, may be significant. Thus, I am reproducing it in its entirety.

"To be sold at public VENDUE, on Wednesday the 14th of March next, or at private Sale any Time before, on the Premises, at the Manor of Pelham ;

THE Farm whereon John Pugsley, deceased, lately lived, in the Manor of Pelham, in Westchester County, containing a certain Island called Applebe's-Island, containing 200 Acres on said Island, and 20 Acres on Pell's Neck, (so called) adjoining their Causeway leading to said Island ; which Land is well watered, and about 60 Acres of excellent good Timber Land adjoining the Sound, with two good Dwelling-Houses, two Barns, Cyder-Mill, Mill-House, and sundry other Out Houses, with a good Orchard and Meadows, and other Improvements ; there is plenty of fowling and fishing, oystering and claming, and sundry other Conveniences ; and lies within 22 Miles of the City of New-York. And also one other Tract, lying in the Borough Town of Westchester, on a Neck, called and known by the Name of Cow Neck, containing 200 Acres of Up-land, and Salt Meadow, well wooded and watered, and convenient for the Sheep Pasture; fit for a Gentleman's Seat, as there is the best fowling, fishing and oystering, and twenty Rights of undivided Lands of the Borough Town of Westchester. The Vendue to begin at 10 o'Clock of said Day, and to continue daily till all is sold. And a good Title will be given by us,



Source: The New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, Feb. 26, 1770, p. 3. (The same advertisement also appeared in the March 5, 1770 issue of the same newspaper.)

It appears that the all lands but the island were sold at the public auction. More than a year later on March 25, 1771, the same newspaper carried the following advertisement:

"To be sold at publick vendue, on the premises, on Tuesday the 16th day of April next, or at private sale any time before ;

THE Farm of the late John Pugsly, deceased, containing about 240 acres of good upland and salt meadow, 60 or 70 acres is good timber-land, 220 acres is an island known by the name of Appleby's-Island, and joined to the Manor of Pelham, by a causeway, on which Manor is the other 20 acres; There is on the farm, two good dwelling-houses, two barns, a mill-house, and other out-houses, three very fine gardens and an orchard, containing about 200 fruit trees, with a good well and excellent springs, and streams of water ; the whole lies on the Sound, about 21 miles from New-York, where is good fishing, fowling, and claming, and would be very suitable for a Gentleman or Farmer. A good title will be given by



Source: The New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, Mar. 25, 1771, p. 3. (The same advertisement appeared in the same newspaper on April 8, 1771.)

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