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.

Monday, April 03, 2006

1805 Will of William Bayley of Pelham Included Disposition of Slaves

For several years I have tried to piece together some of the tragic history regarding slavery in the early years of Pelham's history. For those also working to piece together this history, I provide a brief list of a few of the available resources below:

Friday, February 17, 2006: Runaway Slave Notice Published by John Pell in 1748 Comes to Light

Monday, July 18, 2005: Pelham Manor Runaway Slave Notice in August 29, 1789 Issue of The New-York Packet

Bell, Blake A., Records of Slavery and Slave Manumissions in 18th and 19th Century Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 27, Jul. 9, 2004.

Harris, William A., Records Related to Slave Manumissions: Pelham, New York, Vol. 123(3), The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, pp. 145-47 (Jul. 1992).

William Bayley and his wife, Sarah Pell Bayley, owned the lovely colonial farmhouse that still stands at 145 Shore Road (partially in Pelham Manor and partially in New Rochelle). The home is known as the "Kemble House" because it was owned by members of the Kemble family for nearly a century.

Bayley acquired the home and surrounding farmlands from John Pell. William and Sarah Pell Bayley were the aunt and uncle of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first native-born American canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She spent portions of her childhood in the lovely home.

A number of landowners who lived in Pelham in the late 18th and early 19th centuries owned slaves. Among those were William Bayley. Today's Historic Pelham Blog Posting transcribes the text of William Bayley's will dated October 17, 1805 in which he included provisions relating to the slaves that he owned.


Liber G of Wills, page 274 (Typewritten Liber) Oct. 17, 1805

In the Name of God Amen, I william Bayley of the Town of Pelham in the county of Westchester and State of New York considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound and perfect mind and memory blessed by Almighty God for the same do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say)

First I order that all my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid.

I give to my beloved wife Sarah all my household furniture to be and remain at her disposal. I also give her the use and profits of the farm on which I now live so long as she remains my widow, but that during that time, no wood or timber shall be sold or carried off the farm. I also give and bequeath to my said wife the annual Interest arising on the Monies secured to be paid to me by Mortgage, Bond or Note excepting the sum of twelve hundred and fifty dollars which I give and bequeath to my son Joseph to be paid to him as soon as conveniently may be after my decease out of monies due me on bond or note. My said wife to be entitled to the Interest on the residue of my monies as aforesaid during the term of she shall remain my widow and at her death or remarriage whichever may happen I give and bequeath the principal sum due on such Mortgages bonds or notes to my two sons Joseph and William and my two daughters Susannah the wife of Jeremiah Schureman (*) and Nancy the wife of James Hague in equal parts. All my moveable property not already mentioned I order to be sold as soon as conveniently may be after my deceased either at public or private sale as my Executors may think best, and the monies arising from the sale thereof to be equally divided among all my children before named.

And further I do order and direct that at or upon the death or remarriage of my said wife whichever shall first happen that all my Real Estate be sold either at public or private sale as my Executors may think most beneficial to my Estate and the monies arising from such sale I do give and bequeath to my two sons and my two daughters before named in equal parts share and share alike. It is further my Will that my negro woman Sarah shall be supported and maintained by my said wife during the natural life of the said negro woman and in case she should survive my said wife that she be maintained in a decent and comfortable manner out of my Estate further I give the use of my negro boy Isaac otherwise called Ike to my said wife so long as she remains my widow and at her death or remarriage whichever first happen the Value of him to be ascertained by an equitable apprisement and that he have his Election to live with which ever of my said Children he may think proper such child paying the amount of such apprisisal [sic]. All the residue of my Estate if any not herein before bequeathed I give to all my said Children in equal parts. And lastly I do appoint my beloved wife Executrix and Jeremiah Schureman and James Hague Executors of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me made. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the seventeenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five.

William Bayley (L.S.)

Signed, Sealed, published and declared by the above named William Bayley to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses in the presence of the Testator.

Note the words bonds or notes on the first side interlined before signing and sealing

Jonathan G. Tompkins
Deborah Tompkins
Caleb Tompkins

Proved April 24, 1811 by deposition of Caleb Tompkins Esquire of the Town of Scarsdale. Letters Testamentary issued April 24, 1811 at a Court held at Poundridge to Sarah Bayley Executrix and Jeremiah Schureman Executor two of those in the will named. Recorded in Liber G of Wills page 273

(*) Jeremiah Schureman was the son of Jeremiah Schureman and his wife who was a DeVoe. Jeremiah, Sr. was the one who was killed in his doorway during the Revolution. See DeVow Genealogy, page 128.


NOTE: William Bayley, the maker of the above will, (Liber G, page 274) was born in New Rochelle on August 8, 1745 and baptized with the name William LeCount Bayley in the Anglican Church, now Trinity. His parents were William Bayley and his wife, Susanne LeCounte. He died March 3, 1811, aged 65 years. He is buried in Trinity Churchyard, Huguenot Street, New Rochelle. He was the owner of the 'Kemble Property' on Pelham Road, just on the line between New Rochelle and Pelham. The very attractive old house still stands on the property. He married June 10, 1771, Sarah Pell, daughter of Joseph Pell (third Lord of the Manor) and his wife, Phebe. Sarah Pell Bayley died March 10, 1819, aged 78 years. She also is buried in Trinity Churchyard."

Source: Old Wills of New Rochelle: Copies of Wills by Citizens of New Rochelle, N.Y., 1784-1830, pp. 70-71 (New Rochelle Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution 1951) (Mimeographed copy of 250 pp. typescript).

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