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.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Abstract of Will Prepared by Joshua Pell, Sr. in 1758 Included Disposition of Slaves

In 1758, Joshua Pell, Sr. of the Manor of pelham prepared a will that covered holdings including a large tract within the Manor of Pelham. Included in that will were the dispositions he intended to be made of a number of slaves. As I have indicated before, for several years I have tried to piece together some of the tragic history regarding slavery in the early years of Pelham's history. For those also working to piece together this history, I provide below a brief list of a few of the available resources on the topic:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006: 1712 Census of Westchester County Documents Slave Ownership in Pelham

Monday, April 3, 2006: 1805 Will of William Bayley of Pelham Included Disposition of Slaves

Friday, February 17, 2006: Runaway Slave Notice Published by John Pell in 1748 Comes to Light

Monday, July 18, 2005: Pelham Manor Runaway Slave Notice in August 29, 1789 Issue of The New-York Packet

Bell, Blake A., Records of Slavery and Slave Manumissions in 18th and 19th Century Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 27, Jul. 9, 2004.

Harris, William A., Records Related to Slave Manumissions: Pelham, New York, Vol. 123(3), The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, pp. 145-47 (Jul. 1992).

Today's Historic Pelham Blog Posting provides the text of an abstract of the will of Joshua Pell created in 1758 and proved August 14, 1781. A citation to the source follows the text of the abstract.

"ABSTRACTS OF WILLS -- LIBER 34. . . . Page 270. -- In the name of God, Amen. The first day of March, 1758, I, Joshua Pell, of the Manor of Pelham in the County of West Chester, yeoman, being sick and weak in body. All my just debts and funeral charges to be fully paid as soon as conveniently be done after my decease. I leave to my well-beloved son, Joshua Pell, Jr., £5, to be paid within one year after my decease. Unto my well-beloved wife, Phebe Pell, the use and command of the best room in my house, a bed, bedding, and other household goods for her comfortable subsistence; also a sufficiency of provision and clothing for her and my younger children during her natural life or widowhood; to be provided and allowed her by my two sons, Joshua Pell and Edward Pell. Also £7 yearly under same conditions. In case she marries after my decease, £100 is to be paid her immediately, and the other above specified privileges to cease. Unto my son, Gilbert Pell, one negro boy slave named Michael to be delivered to him at the expiration of his apprenticeship, which he is now serving with Joseph Latham at New York, also £100, to be paid to him as follows: £20 at said expiration, and £80 as hereinafter specified. To my son Philip £100, to be paid as hereinafter specified; £100 to my son Benjamin under like conditions. To my daughter, Mary Latham, £20, likewise. To my daughter, Phebe Pell, £100 and one negro girl slave named Arabella, to be paid and delivered to her at the day of her marriage. To my daughter, Sarah Pell, £100, and £100 to my daughter, Jerusha Pell, and one negro slave named Hagar. None of the above-mentioned legacies, nor any part thereof (except such as are expressly limited to a time of payment) be liable to be paid until my youngest child arrives to full age, and then all to be fully paid and discharged. In case any of my six youngest children, viz.: Gilbert, Philip, Benjamin, Phebe, Sarah, and Jerusha, should die before they come to lawful age, or without lawful issue, their share to be divided among the survivors of them. All such parts of my moveable estate as my executors shall think necessary to pay all my just debts and funeral charges to be sold for that purpose; the use or profits of the remainder, if any, to be divided among my six youngest children. Unto my two sons, Joshua Pell, Jr., and Edward Pell, all my lands, meadows, and tenements in equal shares, in the following manner. To begin at a water-fence where a small creek puts up on the southermost side of a ditch commonly called Ben's Ditch, and to run an easterly line so as to divide the whole into two equal parts. The northermost half to my son, Joshua Pell, Jr., the southermost half part to my son, Edward Pell. Unto my son Edward the whole of a Hammock lying in the west meadows, commonly called the West Hammock. The lands to be freely possessed and enjoyed by my two sons immediately after my decease. In case either of them should die without lawful issue, his land shall go to my next oldest son upon the same conditions as is hereinafter mentioned. My son Joshua, in consideration of the above devise f one half part of my land, shall pay £500 as his part towards discharging the legacies bequeathed to my wife and other children; payable when due. My son Edward, under the same consideration, shall pay £220 as his part, for the same purposes. To Joshua, my cane and my large Bible. I make my said son, Joshua Pell, and my trusty and loving son-in-law Joseph Latham, of the City of New York, ship-wright, my executors in trust.

Dated March 1, 1758. Witnesses, Charles Vincent, Sr., of West Chester (yeoman), Philip Pell, Robert Rolfe. Proved, August 14, 1781."

Source: Pelletreau, Williams S. & Keller, John, Abstracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York, pp. (NY, NY: New-York Historical Society Publication Fund 1902) (citing Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York, Liber 34, p. 270).

Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."  


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