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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Young Thomas Pell Unjustly Accused of "Extortion or Sinfull Unrightousness"

Early 17th century records of the New Haven Colony contain a number of references to Thomas Pell, often referred to as the First Lord of the Manor of Pelham. Two of those references suggests that Pell was unjustly accused by a man named John Meggs of extortion or sinful unrighteousness. The dispute arose from a business deal in which Thomas Pell and two men named "Captaine Turner" and Thomas Robinson sold leather to a man named John Meggs. Meggs claimed that the men overcharged him for the leather. However, he failed to appear before the Court to prove his charges on one occasion. The next time he appeared before the Court, he acknowledged that his allegations were in "error". Consequently, the Court fined Meggs one shilling and ordered him to pay the costs of the three defendants who were required to appear in Court to defend themselves on three occasions.

The references at issue are within the records of "A Court Held Att Newhaven the 8th of Aprill 1645" and "A Court Held the 3d of June 1645" in the "New Haven Colony Records". Below is a transcription of the pertinent portions of the records.


. . . John Meggs accused Captaine Turner, Tho: Pell and Tho: Robinson of extortio or vnrighteousness in the prices of leather wch they sould to him, butt being nott prepared to make proofe of whatt he had charged them wth, the proceeding was respited vntill the next court."

Source: Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven, From 1638 to 1649, p. 161 (Case, Tiffany and Company 1857).


The difference betwixt Captaine Turner and John Hill concerning a Bull wch the Captaine conceived did dye by the default of the said John Hill in working him contrary to his ma rs express comaund, was referred by consent of both ptyes to John Wakeman and Mr. Robert Newma [Newman?] to arbitrate and determine if it may be, or else to report to the Court how they finde itt.

John Meggs having form r ly charged Captaine Turner, Thomas Pell and Tho: Robinson w t h extortio or sinfull vnrightousnes, and nott being able to make good the said charge agst them, did now acknowledg his erro r, w c h acknowledgmt was accepted as satisfacio, onely he was sentensed to pay 1 s fine for nott appearing att the last court, and to pay the charges of those who had attended 3 courts together by his meanes."

Source: Id., p. 163.

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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