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, May 15, 2006

Resales of Lots in the 1760s on the Island Known Today as City Island

Recently I have been researching the early history of the island known today as City Island. That island was part of Thomas Pell's original land acquisition in 1654 and was part of the Manor of Pelham and, subsequently, the Town of Pelham until the island was annexed by the City of New York in 1896. One of the more interesting tidbits that I recently have uncovered concerns a reference that suggests that a couple who were acquitted of witchcraft after a trial on Long Island in 1665 subsequently fled to the Manor of Pelham where they lived for a time on "Great Miniford's Island" -- likely today's City Island.

Local historians generally consider City Island to have been settled by English settlers in 1685. If, as I suspect, this reference to a settlement by Ralph and Mary Hall in 1668 relates to Greater Minneford's Island, this would move back by nearly twenty years the date of the first settlement of today's City Island. To read a few of my Blog postings regarding the early history of City Island, see:

Friday, May 12, 2006: Possible Evidence that Residents of the Manor of Pelham Were Acquitted in Rare 17th Century Witchcraft Trial in New York

Thursday, May 11, 2006: Thomas Pell Offers City Island, Then Known as Minneford Island, for Sale in the Mid-18th Century

Friday, May 5, 2006: 1763 Announcement that City Island in the Manor of Pelham Has Been Laid Out in Lots for Sale

Tuesday, April 26, 2005: The Samuel Pell House on City Island, Once Part of Pelham

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides additional information regarding the 18th century history of City Island.

In 1761, Benjamin Palmer purchased Minneford Island. He planned to change the name of the island to "City Island", to sell lots and to develop a port intended to rival the nearby port of New York City. It appears that not long after Palmer purchased the island and began selling lots, a secondary market for such lots arose. Immediately below is the text of an advertisement published in 1767 offering such lots. It appeared on a number of occasions, although a citation to a single such instance follows the text of the advertisement below. (The advertisement first describes a number of homes and properties in New York City before offering the "Miniford's Island" lots near the end of the advertisement.)


At PUBLIC VENDUE, on Tuesday the 7th Day of April, at 2 o'Clock in the Afternoon, on the Premises. To be put in Possession the first of May.


Church Ground, belonging to the late David Ross, of the City of New-York, Carpenter, deceased; two Lots joining on the North River, each having a good Dwelling House, the one being a double House, having two Cellar Kitches, two Rooms, and two Bed Rooms, containing six Fire Places : The other joining to it, is two Story high, having three Fire Places, a large Room, Entry, Shop, and Bed Room, and three Rooms above : The said House has a large Kitchen, with a good Oven and Cellar. Both these Houses have a fine Prospect of the Bay and North River. The third House and Lot is fronting to the North River, a little to the Sourt-East of King's College, it being two Story high, having a good Room, Shop and Entry, and a large Kitchen and good Oven upon the first Floor ; two Rooms above with Fire Places, and a good Stone Cellar uner the House. The fourth House and Let in Barclay Street, having one front Room, Kitchen and Leanto back in the Yard, and two Fire Places in the Whole. - Likewise, Two Lots of Land, without any Improvement, in the new Settlement up the Sound, commonly called Miniford's Island, or Pell's Island, in the County of West-Chester, and Province of New-York, each Lot containing twenty-five Feet front, and one hundred Feet back, English Measure Any Person inclining to purchase any of them before the Day of Sale, may apply to JOHN STYMETS, and RACHEL ROSS, Administrators, near the College, who will give a good Title for the same. The Conditions to be known at the Day of Sale.

New-York, March 16, 1767."

Source: To Be Sold, The New-York Gazette or The Weekly Post-Boy, Mar. 19, 1767, p. 3.

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