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 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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