1763 Deed Executed by Executors of the Estate of Joseph Pell Accused Caleb Pell of Fraud
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On February 2, 1763, the Executors of the estate of Joseph Pell, son of Thomas Pell (Third Lord of the Manor of Pelham) executed a deed that included allegations that Joseph's brother, Caleb Pell, engaged in a fraudulent transfer of lands that did not belong to him. The same deed is particularly significant because it deals with 100 acres of land dedicated by John Pell (Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham) for use of a church at the time he sold the 6,000 acres of land to Jacob Leisler that became New Rochelle.
Mark Gaffney of Pelham Manor has worked tirelessly to unravel the history of land ownership in the Manor of Pelham for much of the land that comprises today's Pelham Bay Park and southern portions of the Village of Pelham Manor. He uncovered this deed in the Westchester County Archives in Elmsford, New York and provided me a copy. Today's Historic Pelham Blog Posting provides some background and transcribes the text of this signficant document.
On September 20, 1689, John Pell, and his wife, Rachel, sold to Jacob Leisler of New York City 6,000 acres of Manor land. See Barr, Lockwood, A Brief, But Most Complete & True Account of the Settlement of the Ancient Town of Pelham Westchester County, State of New York Known One Time Well & Favourably as the Lordshipp & Mannour of Pelham Also the Story of the Three Modern Villages Called The Pelhams, pp. 48-49 (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, Inc. 1946). See also Bolton, Jr., Robert, A History of the County of Westchester From Its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I, p. 540 (NY: Alexander S. Gould 1848). At the same time the couple dedicated an additional 100 acres for use as church grounds. Leisler reportedly was commissioned to acquire the land on behalf of French Huguenots seeking to relocate to North America, many of whom fled from La Rochelle in France. The land became today’s New Rochelle, named in honor of La Rochelle from which many of the Huguenots fled religious persecution by the French Catholics.
John Pell thereafter died intestate (without a will). His estate passed to Thomas Pell, his eldest son. By a will executed on September 3, 1739, Thomas Pell bequeathed to his son, Joseph Pell, "all and singular his land, meadows, houses tenements buildings, &c., which then belonged unto him by the means whereof the legal right and estate in and to the said One hundred acres of land". (See below.)
One of Joseph Pell's siblings was a brother named Caleb Pell. Upon Joseph Pell's death, the Executors of his estate had to deal with some form of land dispute that they claimed was due to a fraudulent conveyance by Caleb Pell of land that actually belonged to the estate of Joseph Pell. To raise money to pay expenses for dealing with the mess, the Executors sold Joseph Pell's interest in the 100-acre tract described above to David Guion of New Rochelle. The text of the deed reflecting that sale appears below.
"EXECUTORS OF JOSEPH PELL. :
DAVID GUION. :
THIS INDENTURE, made the second day of February in the year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King George the Third Anno. Dom. 1763, BETWEEN PHEBE PELL widow and SAMUEL SNEDEN, and JACOBUS BLEECKER, Esqr all of the County of Westchester Executors with Power to sell of the last Will and Testament of Joseph Pell, Esq., late of the Manor of Pelham, in the County of Westchester aforesaid deceased, of the one part and DAVID GUION of NEW ROCHELLE in the said County of Westchester of the other part, WHEREAS, John Pell formerly proprietor of the said Manour of Pelham was seized in fee of Six thousand one hundred acres of land part 1 of the said Manor of Pelham, and being so seized did sell the said Six Thousand acres of land to one Jacob Leisler and did set apart the said remaining one hundred acres of land for the use of the French Church erect or to be erected by the Inhabitants of the said Six thousand acres called New Rochelle, but the said John Pell never did dispose or divert himself of the legal estate and right to the said one hundred acres of land, AND WHEREAS, the said John Pell afterwards dies intestate and left Thoms Pell his eldest son and heir at law by means whereof the inheritence and legal right to the said one hundred acres of land became vested in him the said Thomas, AND WHEREAS, the said Thomas Pell on the third day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty nine, did in due form of law make his last Will and Testament and therein and thereby after several specific Legacies and after declaring that his other sons had received their shares and proportions out of the estate did give and bequeath unto his son Joseph Pell in fee simple all and singular his land meadows houses tenements buildings &c., which then belonged unto him by the means whereof the legal right and estate in and to the said One hundred-acres of land, became vested in him the said Joseph Pell Jun'r. AND WHEREAS, the said Joseph Pell, on the thirty first day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty two did make his last Will and Testament and thereof did ordain & constitute his wife the aforesaid Phebe Pell and his friends John Bartow (who hath since legally renounced the same) and the said Samuel Sneden and Jacobus Bleecker parties to these presents to be executors and did thereby give and grant unto them his full power strength and authority in and over all his goods chattels lands or tenements to take and use all lawful ways for the recovery and defence of the same, against any encroachments depredations claims or demands of any person or persons whatsoever and did likewise impower them if there should be any need thereof, to sell any part of his lands as to them should seem meet to enable them to carry on any suite for the defence of the rest, AND WHEREAS, after the decease of the said Joseph Pell a certain fraudulent deed was exhabited and set up by which one Caleb Pell a brother of the said Joseph did claim the chief part of the real estate of him the Joseph Pell as the gift of him the said Thomas Pell the father to him the said Caleb Pell, AND WHEREAS they the said Executors of the said Joseph Pell parties hereto of the first part in consequence of the said claim were obliged to layout and expend divers large and considerable sums sums [sic] of money to defend and secure the estate of the said Joseph Pell, against the same and there still remains due upon that account One hundred pounds which they have been obliged to borrow and take up at interest and they the said parties of the first part in order to discharge and satisfy the same do find it necessary to dispose of part of the real estate of their said Testator and have accordingly agreed to grant and release all the right and title of their said Testator in and to the said One hundred acres of Land before mentioned and hereafter described for the consideration hereafter mentioned, to him the said David Guion, NOW THEREFORE THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH, that they the said parties of the first part in pursuance and by virtue of the power and authority in them reposed and to them given by their said Testator for and in consideration of the sum of One hundred Pounds current money of the Province of New York, to them in hand paid by the said David Guion on or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereoft they do hereby acknowledge and themselves therewith to be fully satisfied contented and paid and thereof do acquit release and discharge the said David Guion his executors administrators and assigns, by these presents have granted bargained sols [sic] aliened released and confirmed and by these presents Do grant bargain sell alien release and confirm unto the said David Guion in his actual possession now being by virtue of a bargain sale and lease for one year to him thereof made by the said parties of the first part by Indenture bearing date the day next before the day of the date hereof and also by force of the statute made for transfering of uses into possession and to his heirs and assigns forever, , [sic] ALL that certain tract or parcel o fland situate lying and being in the said Township of NEW ROCHELLE, commonly called and known by the name of the Glebe, Beginning at the creek or salt water thence running running [sic] northwesterly by the road that runs between the land of Banjamin Brown [Editor's Note: Edit Marks Indicate "Banjamin Bowne".] and the tract hereby granted to the fresh meadow westerly by the road that runs along the said meadow southeasterly by the land now in the possession of John Arnaud and which was bought out of the commons easterly by the creek or salt water to the place where if first began, Containing One hundred acres be the same more or less, HITHER with all and singular the profits privileges advantages emoluments rig hts [sic] [illegible] Immunities liberties buildings improvements hereditaments and appurtenances, whatsoever to the same belonging or in anywise appertaining, and all the right title property possession reversion claim and demand whatsoever which he the said Joseph Pell at the time of his death had or which they the said parties of the first part by virtue of his last Will and Testament have of in or to the same, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said premises hereby granted or ment [sic] mentioned or intended to be hereby granted unto the said David Guion his heirs and assigns to the only proper use, and behoof of him the said David Guion his heirs and assigns forever in as full and ample manner to all intents and purposes as he the said Joseph Pell in his life time held and enjoyed the same and not otherwise, IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties to these presents have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals the day and year first above written,
Sealed and delivered
PHEBE PELL. (L.S.)
SAMUEL SNEDEN. (L.S.)
JACOBUS BLEECKER. (L.S.)
The words (unto the said David Guion) near the beginning of the thirty first line being first wrote on a Raezure, the words (second February) & (third) on the first line being wrote on a raezure also a razure being made between the words (& 7 & Samuel on the 2d line & another razure being made between the words (friends) & John) on the 12th line the words (who hath legally since renounced the same, & the said ) between the 11th & 12th lines & the words (hundred) between the 20th & 21st lines being first interlined.
In the presence of us.
Source: Deed, Executors of Joseph Pell to David Guion, Westchester County Archives, Liber H, pp. 362-65 (Feb. 2, 1763) (courtesy of Mark Gaffney, Esq.).
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