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.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thomas Pell Offers City Island, Then Known as Minneford Island, for Sale in the Mid-18th Century

Thomas Pell, Third Lord of the Manor of Pelham, offered Minneford's Island (known today as City Island) for sale in the mid-18th century. The Town of Pelham did not yet exist. It was created in 1788.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting will provide a little background about Thomas Pell, Third Lord, and will provide the text of two advertisements offering the island for sale. One was published in 1750 and another in 1747.

According to Lockwood Barr in his book on the history of Pelham, Thomas Pell (3rd Lord) was born in 1675. He was the son of John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor, and Rachel Pinckney Pell. John Pell, in turn, was the nephew of Thomas Pell (First Proprietor sometimes known as First Lord of the Manor of Pelham). Barr based much of his research in this regard on Pelliana, a Pell family publication.

According to Barr, "Thomas, the first child [of John Pell and Rachel Pinckney], was born 1675. Thomas died 1752, although Pelliana, Vol. I, No. 1, says he died in 1754. Will of Thomas dated Sept. 3, 1739, shown in Bolton, pp. 63-64, was filed Aug. 18, 1752, Surrogate Office, New York Record of Wills, Vol. X, ong. pp. 155-156, dated 1751-54." Barr, p. 36.

Thomas Pell (3rd Lord) had a number of children including a son named Thomas. Thomas Pell (3rd Lord) reportedly was the first Pell family landowner in the Manor of Pelham who abolished the English rule of primogeniture by which a property owner's eldest son inherited the family estate. Thus, the younger Thomas Pell (son of the Third Lord) -- who was not the eldest son of the family (his brother Joseph was) -- received a share of the Third Lord's estate at the time of his death. Barr noted the following in this regard:

"(d) Will of Joseph I, son of Thomas, dated Aug. 1, 1752, proven Sept. 25, 1752. See Bolton, pp. 64-65. Joseph I, evidently died before his father, Thomas, and so did not inherit title of Lord. Title of Lord of the Manor was passed on to his son, Joseph II, who became the 4th Lord of the Manor, and the last.

(e) English rule of primogeniture, by which the eldest son inherited the family estate, abolished by Thomas, 3rd Lord, who divided this estate among all his children. As a result that part of the estate on which had stood the Manor House of Sir John, passed to Thomas, brother of Joseph II, the 4th Lord."

Barr, p. 36.

Based on the foregoing, it seems rather certain that the advertisement offering Minneford's Island for sale in 1750 likely was placed by Thomas Pell, Third Lord of the Manor. That advertisement read as follows:

"To be SOLD,

A Plantation, called Minefer's - Island, lying on the Sound, in Westchester County, containing about 250 Acres of choice good Land; ---whereon is a good Dwelling-House and Barn, and a very good young Orchard of upwards of 200 Trees, with a sufficient Quantity of Salt Meadow; and most of the Island may be turn'd into English Mowing-Ground; and is very convenient for Fishing and Fowling. Any Person inclining to purchase, may apply to Thomas Pell, living near the Premises : The Title is indisputable : And if any Person has any Demand or Claim on the said Island, they are desired to make the same known, that a Purchaser may not be deceived."

Source: To Be Sold, The New-York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, Mar. 19, 1750, p. 4.

Interestingly, it appears that Thomas Pell, Third Lord of the Manor of Pelham, attempted to sell a larger portion of his estate including Minneford's Island three years earlier in 1747. A series of advertisements appeared that year offering the estate for sale. One, for example, read as follows:

"To be SOLD.

A Plantation lying and being in the Mannor of Pelham, in the County of West-Chester, containing between 5 and 600 Acres of choice good Land, Part whereof is the Island called Minifer's Island, and the other Part is the Neck called Anhook's Neck : There is a sufficient Quantity of Salt Meadow on the Premises, and the Upland is as valuable and good as any in the Government of New-York : There is a very good Dwelling House, on each Part of it, with Barns, Stables, Out-Houses, Orchards, and all other Conveniences necessary for a Farm : There is also to be Sold with or without the said Plantation, a large Stock of fine Cattle, Houses, Breeding-Mares, Sheep, Hoggs, &c. Any Person inclining to purchase the said Plantation, may apply to Thomas Pell, living on the Premises, where they may view the same, and agree on reasonable Terms."

Source: To Be Sold, The New-York Gazette, Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, Mar. 30, 1747, p. 3 (same advertisement also appeared in the following issues of the same newspaper: Apr. 20, 1747, p. 4; May 25, 1747, Supp. p. 5; Jun. 1, 1747, p. 4; Jun. 15, 1747, p. 4).

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