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.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Henry Accorly: A Witness to the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654


For quite some time I have been researching the backgrounds of a number of the English settlers who signed Thomas Pell's "treaty" with local Native Americans by which he acquired the lands that became Pelham and surrounding areas. See, for example, the following:

Friday, September 15, 2006: William Newman: A Witness to the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654

Thursday, May 18, 2006: Richard Crabb, the "Magistrate" Who Witnessed the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654

An image of Thomas Pell's handwritten copy of the treaty as well as a transcription of its text may be viewed here. The treaty consists of two parts. The first half involves an agreement by the Native Americans to transfer lands to Thomas Pell. The second half is entitled "Articles of Agreement". In this part of the document, the parties agreed to maintain peaceful and loving relations and to send two men on an excursion once a year in the spring to agree upon and "remark" the boundaries of the land purchase.

Two English settlers signed as witnesses the "Articles of Agreement" section of the treaty: Henry Accorly (by his mark) and William Newman. In today's Historic Pelham Blog posting I am providing a summary of the results of the research I have assembled so far about Henry Accorly.

There is conflicting information available for "Henry Accorly" in the 17th century Colony of Connecticutt. This blog posting is not intended to resolve such conflicts. Rather, it is intended to record the information. Today's posting should be viewed essentially as research notes.

Brief Background on Henry Accorly, Ackerly, Accorley, Accorlie or Acrely

The Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers contains the following listing:

"Ackerly, Accorley, or Acrely, Henry, New Haven 1640, Stamford 1641 to 53, Greenwich 1656, d. S. 17 June 1658, wh. is the date of his will. His wid. Ann, was 75 yrs. old in 1662. Haz. II. 246. ROBERT, Brookhaven, L. I. 1655, adm. freem. of Conn jurisdict. 1664. See Trumbull, Col. Rec. I. 341, 428. SAMUEL, Brookhaven, 1655, perhaps br. of the preced."

Source: Savage, James, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692 on the Basis of the Farmer's Register, Vol. I, p. 7 (Boston, MA: 1860).

According to one genealogical researcher, Henry Accorly (most often referenced as "Henry Ackerly") married a woman named "Ann". He lived in the Colony of New Haven in 1640 and 1641. He signed a will on June 17, 1658 in Stamford. Henry and Ann had at least one child, a daughter named Mary (ca. 1623 - 1710). She married William Oliver in about 1655 in Stamford, The couple had at least six children (Mary, David, Samuel, Elizabeth, Sarah and William, Jr.). See Martin, David Kendall, The Oliver Connection, Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, vol. 56, pp. 617-626.

A different source indicates that a man named Vincent Simpkins who lived in Stamford in 1641 married an unnamed daughter of Henry Ackerly, also of Stamford at the time. Vincent and his wife "had Daniel, John, and, perhaps, other ch. and d. bef. 1671. We kn. of the two s. only that Daniel liv. in the adjoin. town of Bedford, d. there 1699; and that John, soon aft. d. of his f. sold his est. and rem."

Source: Savage, James, A Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers of New England, Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register, Vol. IV, p. 101 (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company 1862).

Yet another source adds information about the man who married Henry Ackerly's daughter and names that daughter as "Mary". That source states:

"MICHAEL SIMPKIN was from Stamford, Ct. Nicholas Simkins, in 1634, was Capt. of the Castle at Boston. Vincent Simkins [Smiking], a son or brother, probably, of the Capt., accompanied the early colonists to Wethersfield, and was one of the Company that bought, Oct. 30, 1640, Rippowams [Stamford] from the New Haven people, where he married, 1641, Mary, a daughter of Henry Ackerly. He had, at least, two sons, Daniel and JOHN; most likely, Michael, also. He had died in 1656. Daniel settled in Bedford, N. Y., and John, with his widowed mother, removed to thi town, where the mother, soon after, became the wife of William Oliver. He had an allotment of 80 acres of upland, on the W. brook bounded by William Cramer and William Oliver, a swamp and the two mile brook; also, 4 acres of meadow adjoining Aaron Thompson; also 3 acres of meadow adjoining Aaron Thompson; also 3 acres of meadow adjoining Aaron Thompson; also 3 acres of meadow on 'Rawack River;' also 2 acres of meadow adjoining Jacob Melyen and George Pack: in all 89 acres. John died unmarried before Sep., 1679, and his mother administered on his estate. Michael must have died soon after his coming, as no further mention of him is found."

Source: Hatfield, Edwin F., History of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Including The Early History of Union County, pp. 93-94 (NY, NY: Carlton & Lanahan 1868) (citing "Hinman's P. S. Ct., I. 232. Savage, IV. 101. E. J. Records, II. 41, 102; 24. o. e.; III. 159. E. T. Bill, p. 109.")

Additonally, a "Henry Accorley" appears in the following reference: Huntington, Eliijah Baldwin, History of Stamford, Connecticut, from its Settlement in 1641, to the Present Time, p. 82 (Privately Printed by the Author 1868; reprinted Picton Press, 1992).

Henry Ackerly Rebuked for Building a Cellar in New Haven in 1639

According to one source, Henry Ackerly was in New Haven even earlier than 1640. In fact, according to this source, he built a cellar in the colony of New Haven in 1639 and then sold it. For this officials publicly rebuked him on April 3, 1640. This source states:

"Capt. Underhill, Henry Ackerly, John Budd, Thomas Osborne and others, afterward of Southhold, were at New Haven as early as 1639. Henry Ackerly built a cellar there and afterward sold it. On 3d April, 1640, Ackerly was publicly rebuked for this, which we cannot think was wrong, if he preferred to go somewhere else, or went as a soldier. In 1666 he was at Greenwich, Conn. We find Robert Ackerly in 1651 at Southold (probably a son of Henry), having a home lot which adjoined our Pastor Young's and which also was soon sold. In 1660 he and several others from New Haven and Southold were at Setauket."

Source: Whitaker, Epher, Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the Formation of the Town and the Church of Southold, L. I., pp. 127-28 (Southold, L.I., NY: Aug. 27, 1890) (printed for the town).

Accorly Forced to Acknowledge Allegiance to Colony of New Haven

There is evidence that on October 6, 1656, Henry Accorly was among the eleven men forced to acknowledge allegiance to the Colony of New Haven. Here is the context.

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, Henry Accorly 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 Henry Accorly subjected himself to the government of New-Haven at this time. See Huntington, Eliijah Baldwin, History of Stamford, CT from it's Settlement in 1641 Until 1820 (Privately Printed by the Author 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).

Accorly Involved in Incident That Brings English and Dutch to Brink of Warfare in America

In 1652, the English and Dutch were at war, though the war was being fought on the high seas -- not as a ground war in America. English settlers north of New Amsterdam constantly feared attacks by the Dutch to the South. To add to these fears, rumors circulated of Native American involvement in Dutch plots to kill English settlers.

Officials of the United Colonies took testimony from a host of individuals about a rumored plot revealed by a Mohegan Native American named Uncas and his supporters. Uncas alleged that one of his arch rivals, Ninigret, and other Narragansett Native Americans had entered a conspiracy with Dutch officials to attack English settlements, burn homes and structures and kill English settlers. Among those who testified about the conspiracy was "Henry Ackerly of Stamford". According to one source he "pointed out that [Dutch Director General Peter] Stuyvesant had approached Indians in the vicinity of Manhattan and 'did sett them on to burne the houses poison the waters and kill the English.'" See Oberg, Michael Leroy, Uncas First of the Mohegans, p. 134 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 2003).

The testimony of Ackerly and others brought the English settlers of the United Colonies to the brink of warfare with the Dutch settlers of New Netherland. Though tensions grew and troops were raised, peace was reached by early 1654.

Additional Information About the Life of Henry Accorly

It seems clear from early records that Henry Ackerly (Accorly) was in New Haven as early as April 1640. See Hoadly, Charles J., ed., Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven, from 1638 to 1649, p. 32 (Hartford, CT: Tiffany and Company, 1857).

Additionally, it seems clear that he died in 1658, only four years after witnessing the signing of Thomas Pell's "treaty". See Stamford Town Records, Vol. I: 1640-1806, pp. 65, 71 (Microfilm Copy of Manuscript, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

Was Henry Accorly a Carpenter Who Built a House for Thomas Pell in the Manor of Pelham?

A genealogical Web site currently maintained by a member of the Ackerly family contains the following references:

"Henry Accorly, died at Stamford, June 17, 1650. The Inventory of his estate, dated Jan. 4th, 1658. He was by trade a 'house-carpenter and farmer.'"

Source: The Ackerly Family Website, http://www.ackerly.com/, visited Sept. 21, 2006 (The History of Modern Day Ackerlys, http://www.ackerly.com/page2.html).

I find the above reference MOST interesting. Henry Accorly is noted in the reference above as a "house-carpenter and farmer". Thomas Pell may never have lived in Pelham, but he built a "house" in Westchester as the 1669 inventory of his estate indicates. Logical speculation suggests that Pell likely would have built his house to anchor the new estate that he acquired in 1654 soon after he acquired the lands. Logical speculation further suggests that the man once described as a "house-carpenter" who signed Thomas Pell's deed for the lands he acquired from local Native Americans -- Henry Accorly -- may very well have been the man who built Thomas Pell's house referenced in the inventory of his estate taken after his death in late September, 1669.

Another reference from the same Web site states as follows:

"The lines of descent are from HENRY ACKERLY, who was of the Colony of New Haven, Conn., 1640; in Stamford, Conn., 1641-53, and at Greenwich, Conn., 1656. He died at Stamford, June 17, 1658, which is the date of his will, and he left a widow, Ann, who was seventy-five years old, in 1662, hence she was born about 1587. It may be be [sic] assumed HENRY ACKERLY was born about 1585 and that they were married, say, 1606, which will give us some chance of estimating the birth date of the daughter, MARY ACKERLY, to be named below.

HENRY had a brother, ROBERT ACKERLY, wh was first of the New Haven Colony, but soon removed to Long Island, settling first at Yennicock, afterwards the town of Southold, and later became a freeman of the township of Brookhaven, just adjoining. Both were taken into the jurisdiction of Connecticut in 1661. Authorities place Robert as at Southold in 1651 and Brookhaven in 1655. He was admitted a freeman of Connecticut in 1664 and he was a signer of the petition in behalf of Cromwell Bay, called Setauke, later Brookhaven, addressed to the General Court of Connecticut in 1659. He had a son Samuel registered at Brookhaven in 1665. It was claimed that the two ACKERLY brothers, HENRY AND ROBERT, came to Connecticut from Lancaster or Lancaster, England. ROBERT ACKERLY was living as late as 1675, when his name appears in a Brookhaven tax list. He was dead before 1683 because the list for that year does not mention him but does name his son, SAMUEL ACKERLY."
Source: The Ackerly Family Website, http://www.ackerly.com/, visited Sept. 21, 2006 (The History of Modern Day Ackerlys, http://www.ackerly.com/page2.html).

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