On June 27, 1654, Thomas Pell signed a "treaty" with local Native Americans acquiring the lands that became Pelham and surrounding areas. A copy of that treaty, said to be in Thomas Pell's handwriting, exists. It is among the Pell family papers maintained by the Fort Ticonderoga Museum.
That document offers some of the best evidence we have of those who knew Thomas Pell. I have begun working to shed light on the lives of those Englishmen who witnessed the agreement on June 27, 1654. An image of that agreement and a transcription of its text is available on the Historic Pelham Web site by clicking here
Among those whose signatures or marks appear on the document as witnesses are "Richard Crabb", "Henry Accorly", "John Ffinch", "William Newman" and others. Inquiry into the backgrounds of these men, hopefully, may shed additional light on Thomas Pell and his purchase.
Less than an hour's worth of research suggests the conclusions set forth in this Blog posting. Accordingly, I note that today's posting should be considered exactly what it is -- research notes yet to be proved or disproved. These notes, based on such suspect resources as Web-based family genealogies will require a tremendous amount of follow-up. Yet, as always, I believe that where there is smoke there is fire. I further believe I can best serve the improvement of "knowledge" about the history of Pelham if I share what I know -- and provide references -- so that such "knowledge" can be tested in the future by those likely to have better resources and can affirm or deny my efforts!
Of the signatories to the treaty, "Richard Crabb" (also referenced in records as "Richard Crab") likely is the best known. He signed the treaty as "Magistrate" and as one of the "English Witnesses". Cursory research suggests that he is the individual whose life most likely will be revealed in the most detail with additional research.
Crabb family genealogical researchers seem uncertain, but have suggested that Richard Crabb was born in 1594 in Suffolk, England and died in Oyster Bay, Long Island in 1680. See The Message Board at The Oyster Bay Historical Society, Archive 01011202 posted by Robert Crabbe on Jun. 29, 2002 http://www.servenet.com/OBHistory/obhboard/archive01011202/902.html
(visited May 17, 2006).
It seems likely that Richard Crab owned property in Greenwich (Horse-Neck) in the mid-17th century and, later, moved to Oyster Bay, Long Island. He may have married Mary Coe in England. She reportedly was born about 1592 and died in 1618. Id.
He seems to have had two sons: Richard and Jeremiah. The younger Richard married Alse (Alice) Wright, widow of Peter. Id.
Richard Crabb reportedly came to America with his two sons in 1634. Id.
Of course, the fact that one of the sons was named after his father makes this research all the more difficult and the conclusions as to which Richard Crabb (or Crab) was involved in a particular circumstance all the more suspect.
The older Richard Crabb seems to have been a well-respected early settler in the Stamford and Greenwich areas. Indeed, shortly after free planters convened at Hartford on January 14, 1639 to introduce a new constitution, "Richard Crab" was elected by the freemen who convened at Hartford on the second Thursday in April to serve as one of the first deputies sent to the first general assembly in Connecticut. See
Trumbull, Benjamin, A Complete History of Connecticut Civil and Ecclesiastical From the Emigration of its First Planters, from England, in the Year 1630, to Year 1764; and to the Close of the Indian Wars In Two Volumes By Benjamin Trumbull, D.D. Volume I With an Appendix Containing the Original Patent of New England, Vol. I, p. 77 (New London, CT: H. D. Utley 1898).
According to one source, Richard Crab "was one of the original settlers of Stamford, and in November 1641 Richard was one of seven men selected as townsmen for Stamford, Connecticut." See
Husted Family Timeline - Timeline of the Robert Husted Family From Dorset, England To Massachusetts, United States in 1635 Updated January 07, 2006 http://gh455.tripod.com/
(visited May 17, 2006).
As early as 1646, "Richard Crab" seems to have been living in Greenwich. According to one source, he walked with neighbors from Greenwich to Stamford in June, 1646 to attend the wedding of Thomas Lyon and Martha Winthrop. According to that source:
Robert Husted, along with his home at Stamford, had another home in Greenwich, and walked three or four miles from Greenwich to Stamford, Connecticut along with his son Angell and Rebecca Heusted, and the families of Thomas Sherwood, Robert Feake, Richard Crab, John Coe, and the wife of Daniel Patrick to attend the wedding of Thomas Lyon and Martha Winthrop, who wanted to be wed in the English territory of Stamford, not in the Dutch territory of Greenwich. . . . "
Source: Husted Family Timeline - Timeline of the Robert Husted Family From Dorset, England To Massachusetts, United States in 1635 Updated January 07, 2006 http://gh455.tripod.com
(visited May 17, 2006).
Similarly, according to the same source, on October 31, 1647, "Robert Husted his wife Elizabeth, Angell Heusted and wife Rebecca, along with the families of Thomas Sherwood, Richard Crab Tobias Feake attend a Harvest Festival at the home of William and Elizabth [Feake] Hallett, who were now 'married'. . . . They were celebrating the Harvest Festival to give thanks for the years [sic] crop harvest and held it on All Hallows Eve to celebrate [Halloween]." Id.
"Richard Crabb" caught the attention of Dutch authorities, including Peter Stuyvesant, in September, 1649 when a letter was sent to Stuyvesant accusing Richard Crabb, Robert Heusted, Thomas Sherwood and John Coe of trying to convince Greenwich settlers who lived in Dutch territory to move to the English settlement in Stamford. See id.
(referencing later dated September 18, 1649).
In 1652, "Richard Crab" witnessed the will of Robert Heusted along with William Newman who was another signer of Thomas Pell's June 27, 1654 treaty. According to one source, the pertinent portion of the will read as follows:
"[vis] Namely I give unto my sonn Angell all my Lands Lying in Grenwich with thee howsing upon it. Also I give unto my Sonn Angell a third of my cattle, I give unto my Sonn Robert all my Lands Lying in Stamford & one third of my cattle with all ye howsing on ye Land this only expected yt my Wife is to have being there her life time & to her Mantanence for her cattle from of ye Land I give unto my Wife one third part of my cattle with all my household stuff & a stack of wheat standing on ye Land at Grenwich onely my Sonn Angell is to have 32 bushels of ye said wheat further I give unto my Sonn Angell halfe ye tackling belonging to ye working oxen as cart & plow & other things belonging there belonging to yt these with a third part of ye corne I have upon ye ground I give unto my Sonn Robert ye Wife ye other third part of ye corne upon ye ground & I give unto my Daughter Ann tenn pounds which my two Sonns are to pay her yt is to saye Angell & Robert also I give unto all my Sonns all my Deets this Will Dated this 8 day of July 1652 Sealed & Delivered in ye presence of these Witnesses
On June 27, 1654, of course, Thomas Pell signed his treaty with local Native Americans by which he acquired the lands that later became Pelham, Eastchester, New Rochelle and surrounding lands. According to that instrument, Richard Crabb was there that day in his capacity as "Magistrate" and signed the treaty as an English witness. See Bell, Blake A., Copy of Thomas Pell's Treaty with the Siwanoys, in Thomas Pell's Handwriting, June 27, 1654 <http://www.historicpelham.com/PellTreaty.htm
> (visited May 17, 2006).
During the next few years, "Richard Crab" seems to have had run-ins with Connecticut authorities. In 1656, the general court at New-Haven asserted a right to Greenwich and ordered the inhabitants of Greenwich to submit to their jurisdiction. Residents of Greenwich reportedly issued a letter to the court in May denying the court's jurisdiction and "refusing any sub-jection to the colony, unless they should be compelled to it, by the parliament." See Trumbull, Benjamin, A Complete History of Connecticut Civil and Ecclesiastical From the Emigration of its First Planters, from England, in the Year 1630, to Year 1764; and to the Close of the Indian Wars In Two Volumes By Benjamin Trumbull, D.D. Volume I With an Appendix Containing the Original Patent of New England, Vol. I, p. 188 (New London, CT: H. D. Utley 1898).
According to one source, Richard Crab was in the thick of this dispute. In response to the May 1656 letter to the court in New-Haven, the court: "resolved, that, unless they should appear before the court, and make their submission, by the 20th of June, Richard Crab and others, who were the most stubborn among them, should be arrested and punished, according to law. They, therefore, some time after, subjected their persons and estates to the government of New-Haven." Id.
Another source confirms that Richard Crab subjected himself to the government of New-Haven at this time. See Huntington, E. B., History of Stamford, CT from it's Settlement in 1641 Until 1820 (1868; reprinted Picton Press, 1992) (Oct. 6, 1656 John Austin was among eleven Greenwich men who acknowledged allegiance to New Haven. The others were Angel Husted, Lawrence Turner, Richard Crab, Thomas Steadwell, Henry Accorly, Peter Ferris, Joseph Ferris, Jonathan Reynolds, Have Peterson and Henry Nicholson). Interestingly, of these seven men, Henry Accorly was among those who signed Thomas Pell's treaty, along with Richard Crabb, on June 27, 1654.
Even if Richard Crab was among those who subjected himself and his estate to the government of New-Haven, he seems still to have criticized the New-Haven authorities. In fact, in 1658 the New-Haven authorities convicted Crab for "clamorous speeches against the ministry, government and officers". See
Eldridge, Larry D., Heritage - The Growth of Free Speech in Early America, p. 14 (NY, NY and London: New York University Press 1994) (citing "Crab - HAVEN-2:242 (1658)").
It seems likely that Richard Crab owned property in Greenwich (Horse-Neck) in the mid-17th century and, later, moved to Oyster Bay, Long Island. There seems to be a deed by which Richard Crab sold lands to John Mead in 1660. According to one source, the deed read as follows:
"These presents witnesseth an agreement made between Richard Crab of Grenwich, on ye one side & John Mead of Hemstead on Long Island on ye other side, viz: ye sd Richard Crab hath sould unto ye sd John Mead all his houses & Lands yt sd Richard Crab hath in Grenwich wit all ye Apurtenances. Rights & Privileges & Conveniences yt doth belong unto ye sd houses & lands or shall here after belong unto them namely ye house yt Rechard Crab liveth in. Ye house yt Thomas Studwell liveth in with ye Barne yt is on ye other side of ye hyewaye; also ye home lott ye house stands on being bounded with a fence about them Lying on ye North west side against ye home lott also Eightene Acres of Land in Elizabeth neck more or less being bounded on ye sea on ye East ans south east and a fence on ye west northwest & ye north. Also ye Rig being bounded by ye Sea on ye south east. Williamses Land on the east & a fence on ye northwest. Ye hye waye & hubert & angell Husted land on ye west; also three acres of meadow in ye Long meadow & one acre of Meadow by ferris bounded by Jeffere Ferris land on ye southwest and ye Cove on ye west and northwest: ye hyewaye on ye East & northeast & five acres of meadow in myanos neck. All these above spesiffied I do acknoledge to have sould unto ye above sd John Mead. His heaires & asignes fully & freely to be posses forever & for ye just & full performance hereof I have hereunto subscribed my hand Ann 1660 October 26 Daye.
In answer to ye Law Titale Possession page fiftie & six wee under written do Subscribe acknoledge ye above Meads title to sd Lands to bee good acording to what ye law Directs 1698
Samll Peck Justice of ye Peace
Robert Lockwood Towns Man."
Source: Gilbert, George Robert, My Genealogy Page - Mead <http://members.aol.com/ggilb10335/Mead.html
> (visited May 17, 2006).
Another source references the same sale of land by Richard Crab. See
Collins, Jr., R. Thomas, One Life at a Time, p. 57 (Oakton, VA: Ravensyard Publishing, Ltd. 1999) ("On October 26, 1660, after three years in Hempstead, John and Hannah [Mead] returned to the Connecticut shoreline to purchase 'several score' acres, some buildings and livestock from Richard Crab in Elizabeth Neck, today's Old Greenwich.").
It appears that upon the sale of his Greenwich land in 1660, Richard Crab moved to Oyster Bay, Long Island. For example, according to one source: "Peter's [Peter Wright's] wife was Alice . . . she was an active, energetic and prominent member of the little community [of Oyster Bay, Long Island]. She survived her husband, and subsequently married Richard Crab, one of the early Stamford settlers, who came to Oyster Bay in 1660." Latting, John J., The Wright Family of Oyster Bay, L. I. http://home.comcast.net/~jameslstokes/oyster.htm
(visited May 17, 2006).
Richard Crab seems to have died in Oyster Bay, Long Island in 1680. The following is an abstract of his will.
"'Oyster Bay this 5th day of Second month 1680.' This declares unto all that it may in any way concerne, that I Richard Crab of Oyster Bay, being sicke and weake, and know not how the lord may deal with me. Therefore while my understanding may remain, for settling my estate in Peace.' Leaves to his daughter in law Lide Wright, 'my house and Home lot on the east side of Samuel Andrews house lot,' the way being between, and all the common rights that belong to said house lot, with one share of meadow in Great Meadow. To John Townsend, son of James Townsend, of Oyster Bay, my whole share of Land on Hogg Island. Leaves the rest of his estate to his wife Alse Crab, and makes her executor, and Matthew Ryer and Henry Townsend, Sr., overseers.
Witnesses Anthony Wright, John Johns. Proved at Court of Sessions held in Jamaica, June 9, and confirmed, December 30, 1680."
Source: RootsWeb.com Dutch-Colonies-L Archives posting 0996792716 by WayneLII http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/Dutch-Colonies/2001-08/0996792716
(visited May 17, 2006) (citing "Abstracts of Wills Vol. I 1665-1707, page 106: Page 401. -- RICHARD CRAB, Oyster Bay.").Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
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