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, December 29, 2006

Native Americans Ordered to Remove from the Manor of Pelham in 1675

In 1675, barely five years after John Pell inherited the Manor of Pelham from his uncle, Thomas Pell, King Philip's War broke out. "King Philip," also known as Metacom, was the leader of the Wampanoag Native Americans. War between Native Americans extended from New Hampshire to Connecticut.

That year New York Governor Edmund Andros issued a proclamation ordering the removal of Native Americans from the Manor of Pelham, apparently fearing that isolated groups might be able to band together undetected for an attack on New York City or settlements near the City. One account published in 1881 describes the order as well as the trials and tribulations of one band of Native Americans that tried to comply. An excerpt is quoted immediately below.

"Mid-autumn, 1675, brought new alarms. In vain had the Governor a few weeks before issued a proclamation to assure the people of 'the falsity of late reports of Indians' ill intents.' King Philip's Indians were said to be advancing westward in order to destroy Hartford and other places this way as far as Greenwich. This done, what could stay their onward march to New York? The Governor, to prevent any co-operation on the part of our Indians, immediately directed that their canoes on the shores of the Sound should be laid up where they could not be used, and ordered the Wiekquaskeeks at Ann's Hook, now Pelham Neck -- then on of their summer haunts, and where to our day are many Indian graves -- 'to remove within a fortnight to their usual winter quarters within Hellgate upon this island.'

This winter retreat was either the woodlands between Harlem Plains and Kingsbridge, at that date still claimed by those Indians as hunting-grounds, or Rechawanes and adjoining lands on the Bay of Hellgate, as the words 'within Hellgate' would strictly mean, and which, by the immense shell-beds found there formerly, is proved to have been a favorite Indian resort. That this was the locality referred to, seems indeed to follow from the fact that the Indians, removing in obedience to the above order, attempted to pass up the Harlem River, but were stopped at the village by Constable Demarest. They said they were 'going to Wickquaskee,' but could show no pass. Demarest thereupon detained them, and dispatched a letter to the Governor, to which came the following answer: [Page 366 / Page 367]


I have just now seen, by yours of this day sent express by Wm. Palmer, of your having stopt 10 or 12 Indian canoes, with women, children, corn and baggage, coming as they say from Westchester, and going to Wickers-creek, but nt any Pass mentioned; So that you have done very well in stopping the said Indians and giving notice thereof. These are now to order all the said Indians to stay in your Town, and that you send some of the chiefest of them to me early to-morrow, and one of your Overseers for further orders; and that it may be better effected, you are to order them some convenient house or barn to be in, and draw up their canoes until the return of them you shall send : and that you double your watch.

Your Loving Friend,

N. York, October, the 21st, 1675.

A long and restless night, we dare say, was that to some timid souls, with these Indians, friendly but always distrusted, perhaps prowling about their streets and their very doors, despite the utmost vigilance of the watchmen ; but the morning came without harm to any, and the unwelcome visitors soon departed."

Source: Riker, James, Harlem (City of New York): It's Origin and Early Annals. Prefaced By Home Scenes in the Fatherlands; or Notices of its Founders Before Emigation. Also, Sketches of Numerous Families, and the Recovered History of the Land-Titles. With Illustrations and Maps, pp. 366-67 (NY, NY: Privately Printed 1881).

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Description of Pelham Contained in "Gazetteer of the State of New York" Published in 1860

During the 19th century a publication entitled "Gazetteer of the State of New York" was published periodically. It purported to provide a comprehensive summary of the geography, geology and general history of communities throughout the state.

In 1860, John Homer French released one such Gazetteer. It included an entry for the Town of Pelham. That entry includes a number of errors about the history of the Town. Nevertheless, I have transcribed the entry below and have noted with "[sic]" errors in the data. I have quoted the footnotes, as well. They appear immediately after the body of the text.


PELHAM 12 - was formed March 7, 1788. It lies on Long Island Sound, in the S. part of the col., on the E. border, and it embraces several islands in Long Island Sound. 13 Pelham Neck 14 is a peninsula extending into the Sound; upon it are seveal elegant country seats. Its survace is undulating, the valleys randing N. and S. Hutchinsons Creek 15 forms the W. boundary [sic -- only a portion of the western boundary]. The soil is mostly of an excellent quality of sandy and gravelly loam. Pelhamville, near the N. angle of the town, is a newly surveyed village and station on the N.Y.&N.H.R.R. Pelham is a p. o. on the E. border. Prospect Hill is a locality near the center. Pelham Priory 1 is the seat of a young ladies' seminary, established by the late Rev. Robert Bolton and conducted by his daughters. A settlement was made in this town [sic -- actually, within the Manor of Pelham, but outside the boundaries of what became the Town of Pelham], 2 by Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, who was drived from Massachusetts on account of her religious belief. There is 1 church (Prot. E.) in town.

12 Named from Thos. Pell of Fairfield, Conn [sic -- unclear; may have been named after Pell's tutor and childhood father figure, Pelham Burton]. A purchase was made of the Indians by Mr. Pell, Nov. 14, 1654 [sic -- June 27, 1654]; and most of this was confirmed to him by Gov. Nicoll, Oct. 6, 1666. The quitrent reserved in this grant was a lamb annually. Pelham Manor originally embraced 9,166 acres [sic -- it actually encompassed a much larger area], and was confirmed by Gov. Dongan, Oct. 25, 1687, to John Pell, nephew of the first purchaser. This town is mostly owned by a few wealthy proprietors and, except Scarsdale, is the least populous in the co. Several acres of berries are cultivated for the city market. Pelham Bridge connects the town with East Chester.

13 The principal of these is 'City Island' -- formerly 'Minneford Island,' or 'Mulberry Island.' Its present name is derived from commercial establishments projected at an early colonial period and renewed subsequent to the Revolution. It was supposed that the India trade could be carried on from the place with peculiar advantage. It is now principally occupied by oystermen.

Hart's Island, or 'Spectacle Island,' has an area of 85 acres. Hunters Island, belonging to the estate of E. Desbrosses Hunter, has an area of 250 acres, and was formerly connected with the mainland by a stone causeway and bridge. High Island lies near the S. point of Pelham Neck.

14 Formerly 'Anne Hooks Neck,' from an Indian owner; and afterward 'Rodman's Neck.' It was a favorite place for Indian sepulture; and traces of graves are still seen. A ferry was established to Hempstead Harbor and to Matagarisons Bay in 1755, by Samuel Rodgman.

15 Named from Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, the first settler [sic -- she never settled within the boundaries of the Town of Pelham and was not the first settler within the original Manor of Pelham]. The Indian name was Acqueahounck, from a term descriptive of the red cedar tree. - Bolton's Westchester, I, p. 542.

1 Upon these premises is a rocking stone weighing about 20 tons.

2 This settlement was soon after broken up by the Indians who killed 18 persons [sic -- this number would include more than the Hutchinson family, some of whom survived], including the founder."

Source: French, J.H., Gazetteer of the State of New York: Embracing a Comprehensive View of the Geography, Geology, and General History of the State, and A Complete History and Description of Every County, City, Town, Village, and Locality. With Full Tables of Statistics., pp. 704-05 (Syracuse, NY: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860).

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Photograph of Grounds of New York Athletic Club Facility on Travers Island Published in 1904

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In November 1904, a tiny publication known as the "Burr McIntosh Monthly" published an interesting picture of the New York Athletic Clubhouse on Travers Island in Pelham Manor. The photograph shows men seated beneath trees outside one of the buildings on the grounds.

The New York Athletic Club acquired the 33-acre tract once known as "Hog Island" in early 1888. The Club built a new clubhouse that it opened in June 1889. That clubhouse was destroyed by fire on January 5, 1901.

The New York Athletic Club built a replacement clubhouse that opened in 1907 and recently was renovated in 2002.

The photograph below was published after the fire destroyed the main clubhouse but before the replacement clubhouse opened.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

1775 Statute Authorizing Samuel Rodman and Benjamin Palmer to Build City Island Drawbridge

Shortly before the onset of the Revolutionary War, New York's Lieutenant Governor, Council and General Assembly enacted a statute authorizing Samuel Rodman, Sr. and Benjamin Palmer to construct a toll free draw bridge between Rodman's Neck on the mainland and Minneford's Island (known today as City Island). The plans were part of Benjamin Palmer's grand scheme to develop the island into a seaport to rival New York City. The onset of the War dashed these plans. The draw bridge was not built. The statute is transcribed immediately below.

"[CHAPTER 1758.]

An Act to enable the Persons therein named to build a free draw Bridge over the Narrows from Mineford's Island to Rodman's Neck.

[Passed, April 3, 1775.]

WHEREAS a free draw Bridge over the Narrows from Rodman's Neck to Mineford's Island in the Manor of Pelham in the County of West Chester, will considerably shorten the Distance of the present Ferry from Rodman's Neck to Great Neck on Long Island, as the said Ferry may then with great Convenience be kept on Mineford's Island aforesaid; and will moreover afford a convenient and proper Station for taking great Quantities of Fish with Nets and Fikes, which will give considerable Employment and Relief to the Poor in the Neighbourhood of the said Bridge, and lessen the Price of that useful Article in the Markets of the City of New York.

Be it therefore Enacted by his Honor the Lieutenant Governor the Council and the General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the Authority of the same, That Samuel Rodman Senior, and Benjamin Palmer both of the said Manor of Pelham and County of West Chester shall be, and they are hereby impowered to erect [Page 879 / 880] and build a draw Bridge over the said Narrows from Rodman's Neck to Minifords Island as aforesaid in such Place as they the said Samuel Rodman Senior and Benjamin Palmer shall judge most fit, Provided that in such Bridge there shall be two or more Apertures of at least twenty five Feet each, for the Convenience of navigating the said River by small Boats: And the said Bridge when so built shall be and is hereby declared to be a free and public Highway for the Use Benefit and Behoof of all his Majesty's Subjects whatsoever.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Bridge shall be erected and built in the Space of Seven Years after the passing hereof, or in Default thereof, that this Act and every Thing therein contained shall be Null and Void, any Thing herein before contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding."

Source: The Colonial Laws of New York from the Year 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to Colonial Governors, The Duke's Laws, the Laws of the Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive, Vol. V, pp. 879-80 (Albany, NY: James B. Lyon, State Printer 1894).

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Early Organizations That Evolved Into the Pelham Parents Teachers Association (PTA)

The early history of the organization that we think of today as the Pelham Parents Teachers Association is quite fascinating. The initial predecessor organization was known as the "Mothers' Club of the Pelham Heights SchooL' founded in 1908. According to one account, the initial "constitution" of the organization described its purpose as follows: "To foster closer association of teachers and parents and the promotion of all educational, social, and communal interests in our village". The first president of the organization was Mrs. Harry Mulliken.

Less than a year later, the organization reportedly expanded to cover all three villages (North Pelham, Pelham and Pelham Manor) and changed its name to the Mothers' Club of Pelham. Soon there were further changes. According to a history of the organization:

"In 1911, with Mrs. E. H. Kingsland as president, it became the Women's Educational Club of Pelham, and in 1912, under Mrs. E. H. Burnett, it revised its constitution and became affiliated with the Housewives' League."

For a brief period beginning in 1915-16, the group became a section of the Manor Club, but soon became a separate organization again. Then, in 1923, the group voted to join the National and State Parent-Teacher Association".

According to the same history of the organization, the early years of the predecessor group were concerned largely with "maintenance" of the schools. For example, according to that account:

"About 1900, Mr. Ben Fairchild established a free school in Pelham Heights. He furnished the house, equipment, supplies, and teacher until the Board of Education took over and built the Highbrook School in 1905. The Mothers' Club took charge largely of its maintenance, and their minutes record two committees, - 'one to investigate a vacuum cleaner for cleaning, and the other to see about a piano for the school'."

Source: Pelham Parent-Teachers Association Is Descendant Of The Mothers' Club Of Heights School Founded in 1908, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 14, 1960.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Brief Biographies of Thomas Pell, First Lord of the Manor of Pelham, and His Nephew, John, Published in 1912

Below is brief biographical data regarding Thomas Pell, often referenced as "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham", and his Nephew, John. The biographies appeared in a book published in 1912. Immediately below the transcription is a citation to the reference from which the biographies are transcribed.

"John Pell.

The Pell family in America traces its descent from Walter de Pelham, who held the lordship of Pelham in Hertfordshire, England, in 1294, the twenty-first year of the reign of Edward the First. His son William settled at Walter Willingsley, Lincolnshire, in 1328. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the representative of the family was the Rev. John Pell, rector of Southwick, Essex, and grandson of Sir Richard Pell, Knight, of Dymblesbye, Lincolnshire. He married Mary Holland of Halden, Kent. He had two sons, Thomas, born in 1608, and John, born in 1610. Thomas was a gentleman of the bed-chamber to King Charles the First, and on the fall of that sovereign he was one of the early settlers in New England in the company of the Rev. John Warham, whoch settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1630, and afterwards, in 1635, at Windsor, Connecticut. Later in the same year he was associated with Roger Ludlow in the formation of a plantation with ten families at Unquowa, the Indian name for the present town of Fairfield, Connecticut. In 1642 he was a resident of New Haven. He engaged in commerce, and in 1647 had several vessels playing between New Haven and Virginia. In that year he married Lucy, the widow of Francis Brewster. In 1654 he purchased a tract of land in Westchester County from the sachems Maminepoc, and Annhoock or Wampage, and five other Indians. It included the land on what is now Pelham Neck owned by the unfortunate Madam Anne Hutchinson. This tract he erected into the manor of Pelham. It was confirmed to him by a patent from Governor Richard Nicolls, October 8, 1666. In 1653 he made extensive purchases in Fairfield, and in 1662 was made a freeman of the town. He represented it in the General Court in 1665. His wife died in 1668, and he survived her but a year, dying in September, 1669. By his will he made 'my nephew John Pell, living in ould England, the sonne of my only brother John Pell, Doctor of Divinity, which he had by his first wife, my whole and sole heire of all my lands and houses in any part of New England or in ye territoryes of the Duke of York.'

The Rev. Dr. John Pell was three years younger than his brother. He was educated under the supervision of his mother, -- for his father had died when he was only five years old, -- and then proceeded to Trinity, Cambridge, when only thirteen years old. After taking the [Page 233 / Page 234] degree of master of arts he went to Oxford to complete his studies. He is said to have been proficient in Arabic, French, Dutch, and Hebrew, as well as in Latin and Greek. He was an especially fine mathematician, and held the professorship of mathematics at Amsterdam, Holland, from 1643 to 1646. He then, at the request of the Prince of Orange, became professor of mathematics at the new University of Breda. In 1652 he returned to England, and in 1654 was made by Oliver Cromwell, resident minister to the Protestant Cantons of Switzerland. He lived principally at Zurich until recalled in May, 1658, and arrived in England in August, three weeks before the death of the Lord Protector, September 3. He was ordained in 1661, and was given the crown living of Fobing in Essex, to which the Bishop of London added, in 1663, the rectory of Laindon. He married July 3, 1632, a daughter of Henry Reginolles, or Reynolds in modernized spelling. Her Christian name appears in different documents as Tehamaria, Tamar, or Anthamar. They had four sons and four daughters. Dr. Pell died December 12, 1685. The eldest surviving son, John, was born in London, England, February 3, 1643. He arrived in Boston in the fall of 1670, and brought with him a letter of introduction to Governor Winthrop of Connecticut from Lord Brereton. A certificate of recognition was issued to him by the governor and assistants assembled in Hartford, December 9, 1670, which was confirmed by Governor Lovelace for New York. The new lord of the manor improved and developed his inheritance. Upon October 20, 1687, a new patent for the lordship and manor of Pelham was issued by Governor Thomas Dongan to John Pell, Gentleman. In 1688 he was made judge of the court of common pleas for the county of Westchester. In 1691 he represented the county of Westchester in the Provincial Assembly. He married in 1684 Rachel, a daughter of Philip Pinckney, one of the ten proprietors of the town of East Chester, and a descendant of the Pinckneys of Pinckney Manor, Norfolkshire, England. They had two sons and two daughters."

Source: Lowndes, Arthur, Archives of the General Convention Edited by Order of the Commission on Archives, Vol. IV: The Correspondence of John Henry Hobart September 27, 1804 to Augutst, 1805, pp. 233 - 234 (NY, Privately Printed: 1912).

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thomas Pearsall, Owner in 1723 of Harts Island, Also Known as Spectacle Island, Bequeaths it To His Son, Henry Pearsall

Early wills of Westchester County shed interesting light on the history of Pelham and surrounding areas. In 1898, F. P. Harper published by book by William S. Pelletreau that provided abstracts of nearly 800 such wills recorded in the New York Surrogate's Office and at White Plains, New York between 1664 and 1784.

Today's Historic Pelham blog posting transcribes one such abstract relating to the island near City Island known today as "Hart Island". The island, once known as "Harts Island" and also as "Spectacle Island" is among those islands that once were included within the "Manor of Pelham".

"91. Thomas Pearsall.

'Of Spectacle Island, otherwise called Harts Island.' Leaves Legacy to son Nicholas. Leaves to son Henry, 'a certain Island called Spectacle Island or Harts Island, situate in the Sound, in the Manor of Pelham.'

Legacies to son John, and daughters Eda wife of Walter Dobbs, and Hannah wife of John Lanyon. Makes Thomas Pell and Hermanus Rutsen, and son John executors.

Dated April 20, 1723.
Proved April 6, 1732.
Liber II. P. 229."

Source: Pelletreau, William S., Early wills of Westchester County, New York : From 1664 to 1784 : A Careful Abstract of All Wills (Nearly 800) Recorded in New York Surrogate's Office and at White Plains, N.Y. From 1664 to 1784 : Also the Genealogy of "the Havilands" of Westchester County and Descendants of Hon. James Graham (Watkinson and Ackerley families) : With Genealogical and Historical Notes, pp. 55-56 (NY, NY: F. P. Harper 1898).

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Brief History of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester Published in 1907

Throughout the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, Pelham did not have a church. The two nearest churches were Trinity St. Paul's Church in New Rochelle and St. Paul's Church in Eastchester (now within the City of Mount Vernon). Many Pelham residents are buried in the church cemeteries of these two institutions. St. Paul's Church no longer operates as a church, but is on the National Register as St. Paul's Church National Historic Site.

In 1907, Duffield & Company published a book by Nellie Urner Wallington entitled "Historic Churches of America". The book included a brief history of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester. That history is reproduced below.


THE original English settlers in Westchester County, New York, seem to have provided without delay for their spiritual needs. As early as 1665 such arrangements were made as secured to them the services of a rector, who watched over three or four parishes, none of them being sufficiently wealthy to pay for the exclusive services of a rector of its own.

In 1699 it was decided to erect a church building in East Chester, which was completed in 1700. So closely allied at that time were church and state in New York that the consent of the Governor was asked for the induction of a rector into this little parish. This being refused, an application was made to the 'General Assembly' of the State for permission to separate from the parish, which had till then embodied Westchester, Pelham, Yonkers and New Rochelle. This was granted in an act of the Legislature establishing East Chester as an independent religious State organization, with the name of 'the Parish of East Chester.' This Act was not, however, approved by the Bishop [Page 225 / Page 226] of London, and by order of Queen Anne was disallowed.

The little church building erected in 1700 is described as a frame building, twenty-eight feet square, about eighteen feet to the eaves, the sides of the building, as well as the roof, being covered with shingles. The building stood on the 'Green' and to-day is still discernible among such ancient trees as have endured the ravages of time.

Gradually the number of communicants increased, until in 1787 East Chester became an independent parish. In 1795, under the provisions of an act for the relief and maintenance of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, the parish was reorganized, according to the rulings which separated the Church in America from the Established Church of England, and then for the first time the parish in East Chester took the name of St. Paul.

By 1764 the little old chapel had so far succumbed to the elements as to be too cold for worship in winter, despite the piety of the early fathers. The foundations of a new church building were laid. Services in the meantime were conducted in the old building until October, 1776, when the new church was completed.

During the War of the Revolution, the new church building was used as a hospital for the British, who tore portions of it down from time [Page 226 / Page 227] to time and used them as fuel. Fortunately the church authorities had been clever enough to bury the bell and the communion service, which were thus preserved from the enemy. Four years after the close of the war the services were resumed, and have continued till the present day.

The churchyard about St. Paul's is closely connected with the history of the church. In its three and one-half acres it holds over six thousand bodies. The oldest inscription legible bears the date of 1704. The churchyard is surrounded by a substantial wall, in which are incorporated the vaults of the older members of the parish. Among those whose remains rest in East Chester churchyard may be found men whose names have been well known in commercial circles in New York City, as well as officers both of the Continental troops and of the British soldiery who died in the hospital."

Source: Wallington, Nellie Urner, Historic Churches of America, pp. 225-27 (NY, NY: Duffield & Co. 1907).

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Few Examples of Interesting Patents Issued to Pelham Residents

Yesterday I published to the Historic Pelham Blog an item regarding the earliest Letters Patent I have yet been able to locate issued to a resident of Pelham. See Monday, December 18, 2006: What May Be The Earliest Patent Awarded to a Resident of Pelham - Patent Issued to Elbert J. Roosevelt on May 29, 1866. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides information about a number of interesting examples of letters patent issued to Pelham residents over the years.

Patents Relating to Calculating Machines and Computing Machines

During the 1920s, Pelham Manor resident Arthur F. Poole received a number of patents relating to calculating machines and computing machines. For example, on April 22, 1924, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued Letters Patent Number 1,491,167: "Calculating Machine". According to the patent, it relates to: "calculating machines and especially to combined typewriting and calculating machines which contain clearance proof mechanism." The patent including its abstract, drawings, description and claims may be accessed by clicking here.

Arthur V. Poole received additional letters patent issued on September 29, 1925 for an invention described as a "Computing Machine". According to the abstract of that patent, the invention "relates to computing machines of that type in which the register wheels are actuated one at a time, and it has for its principal object to provide certain improvements in the means whereby the register or totalizer is set preparatory for actuation first in one denomination and then in another. This means is operated by the travel of a decimal-selecting carriage." The patent including its abstract, drawings, description and claims may be accessed by clicking here.

A Conveyer for Ice-Cakes

One quaint patent that reminds us of simpler times in Pelham and elsewhere is the patent issued to George E. Berna of Pelham Manor on November 29, 1892 entitled "Conveyor for Ice-Cakes" (Patent Number 487,001). According to the patent:

"This invention has reference to an improved conveyer for ice-cakes or other heavy articles of merchandise, by which the same can be quickly conveyed from the freezing or storage floor of the store-house to a loading platform or lower floor in such a manner that the load is automatically discharged from the conveyer and the latter then automatically returned into its former position for receiving the next charge."

The patent including its abstract, drawings, description and claims may be accessed by clicking here.

Telephone Central-Office System

Ezra T. Gilliland was an inventor who lived in Pelham Manor in the late 19th and early 20th cengtury. He may have received more patents than any other resident in Pelham history, though I have not yet confirmed this suspicion.

On April 30, 1895 the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued Letters Patent Number 538,327 for an invention by Gilliland called the "Telephone Central-Office System". According to the patent:

"The system herein described is particularly adapted for use with small exchanges and a magneto telephone system. It is of great importance that the apparatus should be simplified as much as possible and that the line should be kept as clear as possible so as to make the fullest use of the current developed by the voice, for its strength is necessarily limited and should be utilized to its full advantage. With these two objects in view I provide a system in which when two subscribers are connected the annunciator drop of one of them is retained in the circuits as a clearing out drop while the other is shunted out. Special clearing out drops are therefore unnecessary. To effect this I attach to an ordinary spring-jack and additional or auxiliary contact plate which is connected with the subscriber's leading-in wire before it passes through the drop, and I provide a pair of plugs on the opposite ends of two strands of wire, one of the plubs having a plate which contacts with the additional contact and excludes the drop from the circuit, the other having a plate which contacts only with the contact that is connected to line through the drop, thereby including the drop in the circuit. When two subscribers are connected through their spring jacks and such a pair of plugs, the result is that the annunciator drop of one of the subscribers is in the circuit and the annunciator drop of the other subscriber is out of the circuit. This apparatus embodies the main feature of my invention."

The patent including its abstract, drawings, description and claims may be accessed by clicking here.

Vehicle Bumper

A final example of interesting patents awarded to Pelham residents is Patent Number 1,389,229 issued on August 30, 1921 to Watson T. Thompson of Pelham Manor for a "Buffer for Vehicles". According to the patent:

"This invention relates to the buffers for automobiles and other vehicles which employ the usual leaf springs for resiliently supporting the bodies of the vehicles.

The object of the invention is to provide a buffer to be support by the opposite side members of the chassis, which usually project beyond the body of the vehicle. A further object is to provide cushion means for absorbing the lighter shocks of collisions, the said means consisting of coil springs, which are carried by reciprocating parts of the buffer. A further object is to provide novel, simple and effective means for utilizing the main springs of the vehicle for absorbing the heavier shocks of the collisions, the latter means being operated by the reciprocating parts only after the tension of the coil springs has been overcome. And a further object is to generally improve and simplify the construction and arrangement, as well as to lessen the cost and increase the effectiveness of automobile buffers."

The patent including its abstract, drawings, description and claims may be accessed by clicking here.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

What May Be The Earliest Patent Awarded to a Resident of Pelham: Patent Issued to Elbert J. Roosevelt on May 29, 1866

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On December 14, 2006, Google released a new search tool known as "Google Patent Search". The service may be accessed at http://www.google.com/patents.

Google Patent Search makes a mockery of the search functionality available on the Web site of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Google has created a superbly simplistic search interface capable of allowing users to find and review images of more than seven million patents issued in the United States since 1790.

One interesting way to search the database from the perspective of a local historian is to seek patents issued to residents of a particular locality. Though I have not yet had enough time to search the patent collection exhaustively, I have located quite a number of fascinating patents issued to Pelham citizens. The earliest I have found seems to be Patent Number 55,164 issued to Elbert J. Roosevelt of Pelham Manor on May 29, 1866. Befitting of Pelham's rural character in those days, the patent is for "Improvement in Machines For Cutting Succulent Roots For Feed" for farm animals.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides the text of the patent as well as an image of the drawing submitted with the patent application.






Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 55,164, dated May 29, 1866.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, ELBERT J. ROOSEVELT, of the town of Pelham, county of Westchester, and State of New York, have invented a new and useful Machine for Cutting Turnips and other Roots for Feeding Cattle; and I hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description of the machine, reference being had to the annexed drawings, making a part of this specification.

Figure 1 is a perspective view, Fig. 2 a transverse section, Fig. 3 a perspective view, of a part of the machine, showing the form of the knife, &c. Fig. 4 is also a part of the machine in perspective, with the two upper cross-ties of the frame, showing grooves in the lower edges of said cross-ties to receive the edges of the knife, and forming a lip to keep the space under the edges of the knife clear.

A A A A is the frame, consisting of four pieces of hard wood, two on each side, crossing each other and boxed together at their intersections, thus forming two X's, and secured to each other by four cross-ties, B B B B. A hopper, C, is fitted to the upper part of the frame, the lower part of said hopper, to the depth of eight inches, (more or less,) having perpendicular sides, Fig. 2, D D, and rests on the upper cross-ties, B B, the other two sides being cut to a circle to allow the knife E, Fig. 2, to revolve close under them as it is driven back and forth under the hopper C to the cross-ties B B. Under the bottom of the hopper C is a broad carved knife, E, with two edges, beveled on the under side and extending across from one side to the other of the inside of the frame. Said knife is fixed to the top of the arch F, Fig. 3, on a projection, G, so as to raise the knife above the survace of the arch one-half to five-eighths of an inch, or of the desired thickness of the slices to be cut as they pass under the edges of the knife. Said arch F is movable and works inside of the frame, and is secured in its position and works on the axis H, on which the knife E is made to revolve back and forth with a rotary motion under the hopper C by means of two levers or arms, I I, fastened to (or a part of) the under part of the arch F, and framed together by two cross-ties, J J, the round handle K uniting the two levers I I at their extremities, to cause them to act as one lever. The two circular side pieces or ends of said arch F and the two levers I I are of hard wood, one and three eighths to one and one-half inches in thickness, the arch having a radius of nine inches (more or less) from the center, the arch being formed of curved pieces of hard wood set in a rabbet on the inside circumference of the circular end pieces, a space, L, Fig. 2, being left under the knife of the same width as the knife, to allow the cuttings to fall through. The upper cross-ties of the frame are placed just far enough from the axis to allow the arch to revolve close under them, a groove, M, Fig. 4, being worked into them near the lower side, into which the edges of the knife are driven at every alternate motion as it cuts both ways, as shown in Fig. 4, the lip N under the groove keeping the throat under the edges of the knife clear.

The machine is operated by an up-and-down motion of the band at K.

In several parts of the machin iron, cast or wrought, may be used instead of wood.

What I claim as my invention, and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is --

1. The combination of the curved knife E, attached to the projection G of the arch F, with the hopper C, the parts being constructed and operated substantially as and for the purpose herein recited.

2. The groove M, for the entrance of the edge of the knife, and the lip N, under the groove, for clearing the throat or space under the edge of the knife, as herein described.




An image of the drawing that accompanies the Letters Patent appears immediately below. Click here to see the entire patent via Google Patent Search.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

References to John Hunter of Pelham Manor in the Papers of President Martin Van Buren

John Hunter, owner of Hunter's Island, was one of the most illustrious residents of the Town of Pelham during the 19th Century. I have published to the Historic Pelham Blog a number of postings detailing aspects of John Hunter's life including:

Friday, December 2, 2005: John Hunter of Hunter's Island in Pelham, New York

Wednesday, December 14, 2005: New Information About John Hunter's Acquisition of Hunter's Island in the Manor of Pelham

Thursday, April 27, 2006: Burial Place of John Hunter (1778 - 1852) of Hunter's Island

Monday, August 14, 2006: An Early Account of a Visit to Hunter's Island and John Hunter's Mansion in Pelham

Monday, August 28, 2006: John Hunter of Hunter's Island in Pelham Obtained Special Tax Relief in 1826

Tuesday, November 21, 2006: John Hunter Loses a Debate in the State Senate During the Winter of 1841

As reported in at least one local newspaper at the time, U.S. President Martin Van Buren visited John Hunter at his home on Hunter's Island in 1839. There is evidence of a friendship between the men in the presidential papers of Martin Van Buren. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting collects references to John Hunter contained in a published index of the papers of Martin Van Buren. A citation to the source appears below the quoted references.

"1832 OCT.
Hunter, John. New Rochelle, [N. Y.] To Martin Van Buren, Albany. The Ward party; political news from other counties; Hamilton's advice like that of the Opposition; his own candidacy. A. L. S. 3 p. 'Confidential. To be delivered immediately.'" [Page 188]

"1838 JULY 10
Hunter, John. New York. To Martin Van Buren, Washington. Bronson or Foster for the vacant judgeship; political aspects of New York; etc. A. L. S. 3 p." [Page 349]

[1838] FEB. [5]
Hunter, John. Albany. To Martin Van Buren, Washington. The passage of the [Act in relation to small bills] 'suspending the law of 1835,' in the New York Senate; its chances in the Assembly; the Assembly debate on Holly's anti-subtreasury bill; etc. A. L. S. 2 p." [Page 365]

1839 DEC. 31
Hunter, John. Albany. To Martin Van Buren, Washington. New York politics. A. L. S. 3 p." [Page 385]

"[1840] JUNE 2
Hunter, John. Hunter's Island, [New York]. To Martin Van Buren, [Washington]. The record of the State Legislature; the political situation; etc. A. L. S. 4 p." [Page 397]

"[1840] JULY 4
Hunter, John. Hunter's Island, [N. Y.] To Martin Van Buren, Washington. The political situation; the dangerous power of John C. Spencer through the [school] law of 1839; etc.; inclosing documents to be returned for the Rough Hewer. A. L. S. 3 p." [Page 401]

"[1840] AUG. 20
Hunter, J[ohn]. Saratoga Springs. To Martin Van Buren, Washington. Describing a Whig meeting at Saratoga, Aug. 19. A. L. S. 3 p." [Page 405]

"1841 JUNE 5
Van Buren, M[artin]. Kinderhook. To John Hunter and others, [Albany]. Reply to the address of the Democratic members of the New York Legislature, [May 25]. L. S. 9 p. (Correspondence printed: Globe, 1841, June 24)." [Page 427]

"[1842?] FEB. 4
Hunter, John. [Albany]. To Martin Van Buren, Kinderhook. Nominations for State officers in last night's caucus; lack of opportunity 'to introduce the name of my young friend' [John Van Buren?]; etc. A. L. S. 2 p." [Page 439]

"1844 JULY 9
Hunter, John. Hunter's Island, [N. Y.] To Martin Van Buren, Kinderhook. Divisions in the Democratic party of New York in 1843; Wright's request that he write the legislative address; the situation of the Legislature; his own wish to abandon politics; gratification at Van Buren's letter, [July] 1; etc. A. L. S. 3 p." [Page 538]

Source: West, Elizabeth Howard, ed., Library of Congress - Calendar of the Papers of Martin Van Buren Prepared from the Original Manuscripts in the Library of Congress by Elizabeth Howard West, Division of Manuscripts (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office 1910).

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Items from Bolton Priory in the Collections of The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture, The New-York Historical Society

The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture located at The New-York Historical Society headquarters at 170 Central Park West at West 77th Street in New York City contains a number of items from Bolton Priory in its collections. Today's Historic Pelham Blog Posting describes some of those items.

Bolton Priory is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built by Rev. Robert Bolton for his family in 1838. Also known as "Pelham Priory" and "The Priory", the home served for a number of years as a widely-renowned girls' finishing school known as "Pelham Priory" run by members of the Bolton family.

The Pelham Priory Bell

The Luce Center collections include a brass bell that is approximately 12 inches by 16 inches in size. It is a cast bell believed to have been made in Europe. It's description is as follows:

"Cast brass bell with loop at top with three pierces; bell is baned and has inscriptions made from applied square sheet-metal plates with letters and foliate decoration; applied sheet-metal cross on one side, and applied sheet-metal square with cross on hill on other."

The bell was the gift of Mrs. Augustus Van Horne Ellis. Its inventory number is 1940.672. The curatorial remarks for the item state as follows:

"According to the accession records, the history of this bell is unknown, except that it once hung in Pelham Priory, a girls school run by the Boltons (possibly Sarah Knowles Bolton) during the 19th century at Pelham, Westchester County, N. Y. The donor attended this school. The translation of the inscription is as follows: 'Hail Mary from the highest / and her son and the spirit.'"

The curatorial remarks seem to be mistaken. Sarah Knowles Bolton (Sept. 15, 1841 - Feb. 21, 1916) was active in the 19th century temperance and animal rights movements. She was a prolific author. Born in Farmington, Connecticut, the daughter of ZJohn Segar and Mary Elizabeth Miller Knowles, she married Charles E. Bolton, a Cleveland businessman and moved to Cleveland in 1866. She did not run the Pelham Priory in Pelham Manor, New York. That school was overseen by the Bolton Family of Pelham and, more particularly, Ms. Nanette Bolton, daughter of Rev. Robert Bolton. Nanette Bolton served for many years as the head mistress of the famed Priory School for Girls.

The Luce Center catalogue records for the brass bell may be accessed by clicking here.

17th Century Lock and Key

The Luce Center collections also contain an "Iron lock and key with pierced, scrolled border, wrought scrolled handles and key, and grotesque engraved on plate on obverse." A photograph of the lovely lock and key may be viewed by clicking here.

The lock is quite large. It is described as 9 inches by 20 inches by 10-1/4 inches. It also reportedly dates to "1650-1700". The inventory number for the item is 1940.673ab. The Luce Center's curatorial remarks about the item state:

"According to accession records, this lock was given with a 'manor bell' (1940.672) that once hung in Pelham Priory, a girls' school run by the Boltons in the nineteenth century in Pelham, in Westchester County. The donor attended this school."

The Luce Center catalogue records for the 17th century iron lock and key may be accessed by clicking here.

Five 19th Century Stained Glass Windows in Nine Pieces

Finally, the Luce Center collections contain a very intriguing collection of five stained glass windows, in nine pieces, that "may have come from Bolton Priory, Pelham, NY". These are particularly interesting because it is at least possible that they are early examples of the stained glass work by one of the sons of Rev. Robert Bolton: William Jay Bolton. It is widely believed that William Jay Bolton was the first American artist to design figural stained glass windows. His stained glass art has been the subject of much scholarly research. See, e.g., Clark, Willene B., The Stained Glass Art of William Jay Bolton (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1st ed. March 1992).

The Luce Center's principal catalogue record for these items reads as follows:

"Stained glass windows (5, in 9 pieces)

Wood, glass, lead

Gift of Mrs. Augustus Van Horne Ellis

Place made: U.S.A.

Once fixed stained glass window and four stained glass sash windows, the latter consisting of two parts each; all with diamond-patterned lead framework with yellowish glass segments and rose-colored border (some with fleur de lis); 'a' with insignia at center in circular frame.


Inventory Number: 1941.140a-i


Curatorial Remarks: These windows may have come from Bolton Priory, Pelham, NY."

The Luce Center catalogue records for the stained glass windows may be accessed by clicking here.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More About Isaac Roosevelt of Pelham Who Carved His Name on a Glacial Boulder in 1833

On November 13, 2006, I wrote about "The Isaac Roosevelt Stone Carved in 1833". In that posting I included a recent photograph of the carving. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides additional information about Isaac Roosevelt.

The records of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham include material prepared by Ed Browne when he served as Town Historian during the 1950s. Included among that material is a brief article entitled "Roosevelt of Pelham". The material is transcribed immediately below.


'. . . the residence of Elbert Roosevelt is pleasantly situated on the side of the Sound, and has a fine view of Long Island and the surrounding Shores.' was purchased in 1800's for $25 an acre by Elbert Roosevelt from William Bailey, He in turn sold the corner tract of 38 acres, at the Shore Rd., and Pelhamdale, to Rev. Robert Bolton just before 1837. The price the Rev. Bolton paid is not recorded.

Isaac Roosevelt Carves His Name

Elbert Roosevelt was descended from Claes Roosevelt was descended from Claes Martensze von Rosenvelt one of the early Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam. Elbert Roosevelt married Jane Curtenius, daughter of Col. Peter Curtenius, Commissary General of the American forces during the Revolution. The son of Elbert Roosevelt was Isaac (1813-1856) who was reared in his father's home on the Sound in the Town of Pelham. Near by, on the edge of the Sound lies a great glacial boulder, which at low tide is completely exposed. On this boulder is carved in letters nearly a foot high.

"Isaac Roosevelt 1833"

It must have been quite a laborious task even for a youth of then 20 years, to cut that in that boulder.

Isaac Roosevelt grew to be a man of prominence and importance in this community. In Christ Church in the walls are many handsome Memorial Tablets, dedicated to members of the Congregation who have passed to their reward. One of the outstandingly beautiful tablets reads; --

Isaac Roosevelt
Who Died
In Pelham September 30th A. D.
Aged 43 Years
An Honest Man. A Sincere
Friend, and a Humble Christ-
ian. He was an early Promoter
& Constant Friend of this
Church, Serving as Vestryman
& Treasurer from the time of
its foundation to his death.
Possessed of a Sound Mind,
a kind Heart & a Generous
Hand, He labored to Promote
The Welfare & Happiness of
the Neighborhood in which he
He died Respected, Beloved
and Universally Lamented."

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Did Thomas Pell Avoid Taxes by Maintaining a Medical Practice?

Thomas Pell, often referred to as "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham" was successful and wealthy at the time of his death. During his life, he seemed to have dabbled in everything. He served as a surgeon (i.e., physician). He traded by barque in Delaware and Virginia. He bought and sold land. He may have acted as an attorney. He served as an administrator and executor for a number of estates. He acted as agent by power of attorney for other merchants. He maintained livestock in Westchester. The list could go on and on.

Interestingly, it seems that Pell may have benefited in one important way from maintaining his practice as "a surgeon" for many years. It seems that he may have been exempted from certain taxes, described as "rates and assessments", for many years.

The evidence in this regard arises from testimony provided during a General Court session held at New Haven on May 7, 1662. During the session regarding an entirely unrelated matter, a physician named Jonathan Rossiter provided testimony to the effect that he had refused to pay "rates for his person". In a footnote, the author of the book in which the testimony was recounted included the following footnote, quoted in pertinent part:

"Mr. Rossiter had refused to pay rates for his person and horse, on the ground of his being an allowed physician, pleading that the laws of nations exempted such from personal services and their estates from rates and assessments -- that they were not required in the Bay, nor in New Haven of the French doctor and Mr. Pell, nor had been demanded of him while he lived in Connecticut. A letter of his, concerning his difficulties with N. H. Colony, to Gov. Winthrop, is in 3d Mass. Hist. Coll. x. 73."

Source: Hoadly, Charles J., ed., Records of the Colony or Jurisdiction of New Haven, From May, 1653, to the Union Together with the New Haven Code of 1656. Transcribed and Edited in Accordance with a Resolution of the General Assembly of Connecticut, pp. 429, 437-38 & n.* (Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood and Company 1858).

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Microsoft Releases the Beta Version of Its "Live Search Books"

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On Thursday, December 7, 2006, Microsoft Corporation released its answer to Google Books: "Live Search Books". The free service allows users to search the full text of books that have been scanned and loaded into the Live Search Books collection. Today's Historic Pelham Blog will describe the new service and its utility to those who research local history.

Live Search Books may be accessed at http://books.live.com. The search function is simple. There does not appear to be any form of "Advanced Search". An informative "Help" section is available via a link at the foot of the page.

As an experiment, type "Thomas Pell" (using quotation marks around the name) into the search box and click on the "Search" button. The system returns 24 results, many of which do indeed contain references to the Thomas Pell who is considered the so-called "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham". As would be expected, some of the resources are available based on using such a search via the competitive service known as "Google Books", but some are not. Thus, it is now possible to get a wider set of results by running the same search in both the Microsoft service and the Google service.

Select one of the search results and open it by clicking on the thumbnail image of the title page of the publication. I chose "Early History of New England by Increase Mather". An image of the result screen appears immediately below.

In this example, the book is actually an edited version of papers prepared by Dr. Increase Mather regarding 17th century New England. Like Google Books, Microsoft's "Live Search Books" allows a search of the content of the book you have selected. Unlike Google Books, however, there is no easy way to locate the table of contents of the publication. Nor does there appear to be any way to jump to a particular page of the book unless you have run a search for a term or phrase within the book and the search results allow you to jump to pages containing such term or phrase. Otherwise, you must move through the book one page at a time using the page forward arrow key at the top of the image.

One thing that Microsoft seems to have done better than Google relates to -- of all things -- search. If you download a copy of the entire book, the system generates a searchable PDF that you then can save to the hard drive of your computer. Google's service generates a non-searchable PDF.

Microsoft's service is limited to books in the public domain (i.e., out-of-copyright books). It reportedly already includes "tens of thousands of books" including materials from the collections of the British library and major universities in Toronto and California. Microsoft reportedly has entered into book-scanning partnerships with New York Public Library and the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine.

So far I have run an extensive series of searches using Live Search Books. The system certainly shows promise. I already have been able to locate numerous texts that I do not own and have not been able to locate in the Google Books collections.

As long as Microsoft keeps adding -- sufficiently quickly -- a substantial number of meaningful scanned books to its collections, the new service looks promising. It certainly should not be ignored by anyone who is performing serious research regarding local history issues.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

An Interesting Power of Attorney Executed in Favor of Thomas Pell on October 29, 1651 Plus Other Records

Records of real estate transactions for the County of Suffolk, Massachusetts contain a number of interesting references to Thomas Pell, often described as "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham". The first such record is a power of attorney executed on October 29, 1651 by a man named Edmond Leach appointing Thomas Pell his business agent throughout that part "of America called New England".

The document is particularly interesting because it refers to Pell as a "chirurgion" [surgeon -- i.e., physician]. Pell, of course, is known to have acted as a surgeon for the brutal Mason-Underhill expedition against the Pequots at Mystic that resulted in a massacre of Native Americans on May 26, 1637. The inventory of that portion of Pell's estate located within the province of New York taken shortly after his death in late September 1669 included a couple of medical texts: "Culpeper's dispensatory" and "2 of Cra dock's works in quarto". (Late in his life, Pell lived, worked and died in Fairfield.) Much has been written of Pell's work as a surgeon. See, e.g., Roberts, M., et al., Thomas Pell (1613-1669), Connecticut's First Physician and Surgeon, Conn. Med., Vol. 37, Issue 7, pp. 363-64 (Jul. 1973); Roberts, M., Connecticut's First Surgeon: Thomas Pell, Conn. Med., Vol. 40, Issue 12, pp. 856-57 (Dec. 1976); Bell, Blake A., Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak, pp. 4-5 (NY, NY: iUniverse, Inc. 2004); Thoms, Herbert, The Beginnings of Medical Practice in New Haven Colony, Yale-New Haven Medical Center Web Site (visited Nov. 15, 2006).

The 1651 power of attorney suggests that Pell continued to work as a physician for the fifteen year-period after the attack at Mystic -- in other words, for much of his adult life. It is quoted immediately below.

"I Edmond Leach gent doe heereby. constitute Appointe and ordajne Thomas Pell chirurgion (living and Inhabiting in that pte of America now Called New England my lawfull Attorney to Recejve for me and in my name and to my Vse all goods. wares marchandizes and Comoditjes to me belonging or any wajes appertajning or acrewing from any person or persons whatsoeuer living in that sajd pt of America called New England aforesajd. And also I doe further authorize him there to sue for and Recouer the same by : by one or more action or actions against them or either of them, or by any other lawfull wajes or meanes whatsoeuer, and to Recejve all and singular such. debts, dutyes sume and sumes of money or other things as are or shall be due, or owing to to me the sajd Edmond Leach by any pson: or. psons whatsoeuer as Aforesajd And vppon the Receipt of any such summe or sumes of money or other things as aforesajd to my Vse to be. Recejved. of any such person : or psons aforesajd to make seale and deliuer as my. deed or deeds acquittances or other lawfull discharges for the same for me and in my name and to Acte. and doe all. and. euery other thing and things which shall be needefull and necessary. to be donne in or about the p'misses. and whatsoeuer my sajd Attourney shall lawfully doe or Cawse to be donne in the p'misses I p'omise to Allow Confirme performe and establish. And I doe hereby Authorize my sajd Attorney to depute any vnder him to doe and execute all and euery thing which I have before Authorized him to doe or pforme to or for the vse before mentioned In wittnes whereof I have herevnto sett my hand & seale this nine & twentieth day of october. one thousand sixe hundred fifty & one

Edm: Leach & a seale

Sealed & deliuered in the p'sence of
Adam Houghton
Joseph ffish. f
frauncis Brewstar.

This was acknowledged to be mr leache his acte & deed to mr Pell by the sajd Tho: Pell ye day of entry : Entred & Recorded 28th may 1652

p Edward Rawson Recorder."

Source: Suffolk Deeds. Liber I., pp. 205-06 (Boston, MA: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1880) (County of Suffolk, Massachusetts Registry of Deeds).

The same records also reflect that in 1652 a man named "Thomas Pell" (likely Thomas Pell of Fairfield) was involved in unspecified business transactions that required the preparation and recording of certain powers of attorney and receipts. The records are transcribed immediately below:

"Bee it knowne vnto all men by these p'sents. that I Joshua : Woolnough Cittizen. and merchant taylor of London have Assigned, ordajned and made & in my and place. by these p'sents putt & Constituted Captajne John Leuerett [210.] of Boston. in new England merchang my true & lawfull deputy : & Attorney for. me, & in my name and to my vse to Aske, demand levy Sue for recouer & Receive of the heires execcutrs. Administrators, Goods and chattells of John. Duncumbe. of London. merchaunt the some of fiffty. and one pounds. nine shillings and tenn pence of lawfull money of England : due by one bil [ ] or. writing vnder the hand and seale of the sajd John Duncumbe bearing date the five and twentjeth day of february. now last past Giving and by these prsents graunting vnto my sajd Atturney my full and whole power Interest and Authoritje to and In the premises therein to doe say sue pursue Arest Attach. Impleade Imprison & Condemne and out of Prison. to deliuer and to Receive Compound and Agree and there vppon. acquittances or other discharges for me & in my name to make enseale. & deliuer and gennerally to doe. execute & pforme all and whatsoeuer. further. or other lawfull. and Reasonable acts and things shall be. meete and Requisite to be donne to & in the prmisses, and that in as large ample. and effectuall manner and forme to all Intents & purposes as I myselfe might or Could doe were I. then & there prsent and did the same personally Rattifying and by these prsents Confirming all & whatsoeuer my sajd Atturney shall lawfully doe. or Cawse to be donne to in & for the Recouery & Receipt of the prmisses by these prsents In wittnes whereof I have heerevnto sett my hand and seale dated the seven & twentieth day of october In the yeare of our Lord God one thousand sixe hundred fiffty & one.

Joshua Woolnough. & a seale

Sealed & delieuered in the prnce of
John Birt Ja: Needler. srvnts to Chist Townsend notr: publ.

This was Recorded at the Request of Thomas Pell. Capt John Lenerett acknowledging it to be the letter of Attourney he Recd from Joshua Woolnough. by virtue of which : he Recd mony of mr Thomas. Pell. Recorded. 29. June 1652.
p Edward Rawson Recordr.

Bee it knowne vnto all men by theise prnts that I John Duncombe of London marchan [ ] doe owe and Acknowledge myselfe to be Indebted Vnto Joshua Woolnough. Cittize[ ] and marchant Tayler of London. the some of fifty one pounds nine shillings and tenn pence of Currant and lawfull money of England to be pajd to the sajd Joshua Woolnough. his heires execcutrs Administrators or Assignes. at or vppon the seventeenth day of August. next ensuing the date heereof to the which pajment well and truly to be made and done the Aforesajd John Duncombe. doe binde me my heires execcutors Administrators firmely by these prnts in the paenall some of one hundred pounds In wittnes whereof I have heerevnto. sett my hand & seale this twenty fift day. of. february in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand six hun[ ]red & fifty :

Sealed & deliuered in the psnce of. vs :
Alex: Harbyn.
Robt. Gilpin.
who doe wittnes this to be a true Copie of a sealed bill in the hands of the sajd Joshua Woolnough.

Receved this 26 : of June. 1652 of mr Thomas Pell Assigne of John Duncom [ ] deceased the some of fifty one pounds nine shillings and tenn pence halfe pe[ ] by Virtue of A letter of Atturney from mr Joshua Woolnough. to whom the sajd Duncombe was Indebted the sajd some. by bill. of which this is a Copie. as sent from London. to me. I say Receaved. p me. Jno. Leuerett.

Wittnes Thomas Clarke. Edward Preston.

This Receipt was Entred & Recorded at the Request of mr Thomas Pell & acknow[ ]ged by Capt Jno. Leuerett. to be his act 29 June 1652.

p Edw: Rawson Rec [ ]"

Source: Suffolk Deeds. Liber I., pp. 209-10 (Boston, MA: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1880) (County of Suffolk, Massachusetts Registry of Deeds).

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Additional Authorities Supporting Assertions that Thomas Pell Conducted Trade by Ship Along the East Coast

Recently I wrote about evidence that Thomas Pell, so-called "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham", traded tobacco along the east coast of North America by Barque. See Friday, August 25, 2006: Thomas Pell, First Lord of the Manor of Pelham, Traded Tobacco Along the East Coast by Barque. I have located additional references that support the assertion that Pell traded by ship along the east coast of North America.

The first evidence is from the so-called "Clarendon Papers" published by The New-York Historical Society in 1870. The material was copied from original 17th century manuscripts in the collections of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, England. Among these significant papers is the following reference:

"The same yeare [1647] Mr Thomas Pell of Newhauen afforesd, furnisht & rigd oute a Vessell to trade with the Swedes and Natiues in Deleware riuer, and the vessell only retourning by the Manahatans the Comon & vsuall passage, the afforesd Dutch Gouernr [Stuyvesant] Compeld them to pay (as they call it) recognition what he pleased to demand, for whatsoever they had traded for in the riuer, although the Dutch had not then any Considerable interest in the sd riuer, not by the hundred pte att least to what the English had bought and paid for to the Indians the right owners, haueing likewise a better right to it then any other nation in Europe, neuertheless hee would not pmit any English vessell to passe by the said Isl: of Manahatans vnlesse they would first put him in securitie for the payment of the said recognition, & acknowledge him as proprietour of the sd riuer by accepting Comissions from him, which all refusing they lost the opportunitie of their intended voyages to theire very great damage

The Comissioners for the vnited Collonies of New Engld taking into theire considerations these and many [Page 5 / Page 6] other wrongs done to the English by their letters of seuerall dates directed to the sd Dutch Gouernr Styvesant protested against his sd violences & required satisfaction, to the which he would neuer answere in the generall, but by seuerall letters to the Massachusets & Plimouth Collonies in pticular, hopeing in regarde of some interest hee had in certaine merchants of either place that traded to the Manahatans hee might by their meanes gaine a ptie amongs themselues there to ballance (if not ouer) whatsoeuer Complaint the wronged Collonies should bring in against him, so that very confidentlie"

Source: Moore, George H., ed., The Clarendon Papers in Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1869, pp. 1, 5-6 (NY, NY: New-York Historical Society 1870).

Famed historian Edmund B. O'Callaghan provided an unsupported reference indicating that Thomas Pell "traded to the Delaware and Viriginia in 1647" in volume II of his History of New Netherland published in 1848. O'Callaghan wrote, in pertinent part, as follows:

"Thomas Pell, of Norfolk [sic], Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles I., emigrated to New England about 1642 [sic], in which year he appears by the Records to have been a resident of New Haven. He traded to the Delaware and Viriginia in 1647. . . . "

Source: O'Callaghan, E. B., History of New Netherland; Or, New York Under the Dutch, Vol. II, p. 283 n.1 (NY, NY: D. Appleton and Company, 1848).

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

When Did Thomas Pell Arrive in America?

When did Thomas Pell arrive in America? The question is simple. It may, however, be unanswerable.

The record is clear that Thomas Pell was born in England in 1613. It is further clear that Pell was in America by 1637. What is not so clear is how and when he arrived in America.

Lockwood Barr addressed the issue in his book regarding the history of Pelham published in 1946. He wrote:

"Accounts do not agree in all particulars; however, there seems to be no question but that Thomas Pell arrived in the Colonies in 1635. Pelliana, Vol. I, No. 3, May 1935, states: ". . . a Thos. Pell, Carpenter, aged 25 years, accompanied by Marie Pell, aged 26, and infant Marie Pell, aged one year, took passage for New England on the ship Planter on April 5, 1635. However, for some reason, the passage was cancelled so late that these Pells are not included in the passenger list--but are ruled out with a pen. A few weeks later, a Thos. Pell, this time giving our Thomas' correct age of 22 years (he was born 1613)--engaged passage on the ship Speedwell. He called himself a tailor."

Original Lists of Persons of Quality from Great Britain to the American Colonies, compiled by John C. [Page 16 / Page 17] Hotten, includes the Pell family of three on the ship Planter, as noted by Pelliana. However, this same book lists but one trip for the ship Speedwell, and that passage as of May 28, 1635, from London to the Virginias--not to New England. Thos. Pell was not listed as a passenger on that voyage of the Speedwell.

Founders of New England by Samuel G. Drake, shows the Hopewell, Wm. Burdock, Master, April 1635, bound for New England. Among the passengers there was a Thos. Pell, aged 22, listed as "A Taylor."

If Thomas Pell--the "Carpenter" and Thomas Pell the "Taylor" were one and the same person--then the question is still open as to what became of Marie, and the infant? Research has been made by the authors contributing to Pelliana, without result--so that story may never be told."

Source: Barr, Lockwood A., A Brief, But Most Complete & True Account of the Settlement of the Ancient Town of Pelham Westchester County, State of New York Known One Time Well & Favourably as the Lordshipp & Manour of Pelham Also The Story of the Three Modern Villages Called The Pelhams , pp. 16-17 (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, Inc. 1946).

A review of the sources cited by Lockwood Barr supports his assertions. The book edited by John Camden Hotten (cited below), contains the following reference, quoted in pertinent part:

"vje [Voyage] Aprilis 1635

THEIS pties heerevnder mencioned are to be transported to New England : imbarqued in the Planter NICO: TRARICE Mr [Master] bound thither : they have brought Certificate from the Justices of Peace & Ministers of ye pish that they are conformable to the orders of ye Church of England and are no Subsedy Men : they have taken the oath of Supremacie & Allegeance die et Ano prd. . . . [Page 47 / Page 48]

More for the Planter

* * *

[Page 48 / Page 49]

PHILLIPP ATWOOD........................12
BARTHOL: FALDOE.........................16
A Carpenter THO: PELL*.................26
MARIE PELL......................................26
MARIE PELL....................................... 1
WM LEA................................................16
A Carpenter FRANC'S BUSHNELL...26

* * *

[Footnote * Reads: "*[This and the three following names are crossed through in the original MS.]"]

IN the Hopewell WILLM BUNDOCK Mr [Master] bound for New-England &c.

JAMES BURGIS...........................................14
ALEXANDER THWAIT'S...........................20
JO: ABBOTT.................................................16
JO: BELLOWES............................................12
JO: JOHNES..................................................18
CHRISTIOM ‡ LUDDINGTON..................18
MARIE ABBOTT..........................................16
MARIE COKE................................................14
MARIE PEAKE..............................................15
A Tayler THO: PELL....................................22
A Glazier JO: BUSHNELL............................21

* * *"

Source: Hotten, John Camden, ed., The Original Lists of Persons of Quality; Emigrants; Religious Exiles; Political Rebels; Serving Men Sold For A Term Of Years; Apprentices; -- Children Stolen; Maidens Pressed; And Others Who Went From Great Britain To The American Plantations 1600-1700. With Their Ages, The Localities Where They Formerly Lived In The Mother Country, The Names Of The Ships In Which They Embarked, And Other Interesting Particulars. From MSS. Preserved In The State Paper Department Of Her Majesty's Public Record Office, England., pp. 47-49 (London: John Camden Hotten 1874).

As the footnote indicates, the above-quoted entry showing a list of some of the passengers for the Planter includes two diagonal lines drawn through the following names: "A Carpenter THO: PELL......26 MARIE PELL............26 MARIE PELL...........1 Wm LEA..........16". However, the name "WILLM LEA.......16" is rewritten in the next column. Those names of the Pells are not.

Lockwood Barr suggests that the entries from Hotten's book quoted above may indicate that something happened to prevent Thomas and, perhaps, a family consisting of 26 year old Marie Pell and a one-year-old infant also named Marie Pell from traveling on the Planter. Instead, Barr suggests, Thomas Pell traveled the same month to New England in the ship "Hopewell".

Such an interpretation seems, to me at least, to assume too much. Thomas Pell, born in 1613, would have been 22 years old in 1635. The man referenced as "A Carpenter THO: PELL" in the passenger list of the ship "Planter" is listed as 26 years old. Moreover, there is no known evidence linking a young woman named "Marie Pell" or a one-year-old infant also named Marie Pell with Thomas Pell.

The "THO: PELL" referenced on the passenger list of the Hopewell is listed as 22 years old. That man is listed as "A Tayler" [tailor].

The records related by Hotten, on their face, strongly suggest that these were two different men. Thomas Pell, a 26-year-old carpenter traveling with two members of the Pell family, and Thomas Pell, a 22-year-old tailor, traveling without any other members of the Pell family. Chances are, the 22-year-old man described as "A Tayler" is the Thomas Pell who eventually acquired the lands that became the Manor of Pelham, but this may never be established with certainty.

The second authority referenced by Lockwood Barr -- a book by Samuel G. Drake cited below -- sheds no further light on the matter. It purports to transcribe the same records quoted above. However, the book omits from the passenger list for the Planter the references to "A Carpenter THO: PELL.........26 MARIE PELL...........26 MARIE PELL............1 Wm LEA...........16", presumably because the references were struck through with diagonal marks in the original records. The same book, however, lists "Tho: Pell A Taylor 22" on the passenger list for the Hopewell.

Source: Drake, Samuel G., Result Of Some Researches Among The British Archives For Information Relative To The Founders Of New England: Made In The Years 1858, 1859 and 1860. Originally Collected For And Published In The New England Historical And Genealogical Register, And Now Corrected And Enlarged., pp. 17-19 (Boston, MA: The New England Historical and Genealogial Register, 1860).

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