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 29, 2006

Intriguing Evidence of the Amount Thomas Pell Paid Native Americans for the Manor of Pelham


Historians long have believed that there exists no record of the amount Thomas Pell paid Native Americans when he acquired the lands that became the Manor of Pelham and surrounding areas on June 27, 1654. I have located an obscure 17th century document published in a journal released in 1869 that says that Thomas Pell paid "£500 starlinge" for the lands he acquired. Moreover, the source is very intriguing because it suggests something long suspected by historians who have studied the matter -- Thomas Pell acted at the behest of English authorities when he bought the land in an effort to block the Dutch from asserting dominion over the lands.

The text of the treaty by which Pell acquired the lands sheds little light on the mystery of how much he paid. Pell's copy of the treaty says only that the sellers received “trou valew & just Satisfaction” for the land.

Westchester Historian Thomas Scharf reported in 1886, without citation to authority, that the “Indians received, it is said, as an equivalent for their deed of the land, sundry hogshead of Jamaica rum.” Scharf, Thomas, ed., History of Westchester County, New York, Including Morrisania, Kings Bridge and West Farms, Which Have Been Annexed to New York City, Vol. I, p. 707 (Philadelphia: L.E. Preston & Co. 1886).

There is evidence from Thomas Pell's own mouth, however, that he paid "large sums of money" -- and did not barter goods -- in exchange for the land. This evidence is from a court proceeding in which Pell was involved in 1665. At that time he testified briefly regarding his original land purchase. He testified before a court of assize “that he had obtained a license to make the purchase, from the authorities of Connecticut, and had paid large sums of money for the same.” See Bolton, Jr., Robert, A History of the County of Westchester From Its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I, p. 516 & n.b (NY: Alexander S. Gould 1848).

The newly uncovered evidence supports Pell's testimony that he paid "large sums of money" for the land. In 1869, the Massachusetts Historical Society released its periodic publication documenting its proceedings for the years 1867 - 1869. Included in the publication were papers presented to the Society during its December 1868 meeting. The papers were described as "Colonial Papers copied from the Public Archives in London". They included "Original Notes relating to New England, Written about 1663" by Sir Joseph Williamson. At that time Williamson was Under-Secretary of State in England. He later became Secretary of State and Keeper of His Majesty's State Papers.

Williamson's notes reference an incident in which Dutch authorities entered the Village of Westchester and arrested Enlish settlers who had settled the area later known as the Town of Westchester shortly after Pell's purchase of the lands. Williamson wrote, in pertinent part:

"they entred forcebly upon a towne purchased by one Pell (an English gentleman) of the native Prince, at the charge of £500 starlinge, who had peopled the same with English at his & their very great charge, many of which people were imprisoned by the said Dutch for refusinge the Oath imposed by them, & others wounded yt opposed the Dutch usurpation, and many have been since fined considerable somes, soe that our Countrymen being overawed and inslaved by them are constrayned to stand still & see this high dishonor done to his Maj tie & the trade wrested out of the hands of the Merchants of England, as may be seen by this briefe account of the returne made by the Dutch the last yeare, 1662, from thence into Holland viz : the shipp Otter, this being the miserable estate of the English interest & affairs in that part of the world its humbly conceived it calls aloud upon us for remedy that we may noe longer sustaine the intolerable disgrace done to his Maj ty (as far as his Ma tie is culpable of suffringe by the intrusion of such monsters and the exceedinge dammage to his subjects by these bold usurpers."

Source: Sir Joseph Williamson's Papers, 1663. Colonial Papers. No. 45 in Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 1867 - 1869, pp. 386-87 (Boston, MA: 1869, Privately Printed for the Society).

It is fascinating to consider that a high government official in England responsible, in part, for English relations with the Dutch, was aware not only of the circumstances surrounding Pell's efforts to populate the area with English settlers but also of the amount Pell paid for the land.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Brief Biography of Mary Grace Witherbee Black of Pelham Manor


Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes a brief biography of Mary Grace Witherbee Black of Pelham Manor published in 1914. Mrs. Black was one of the most influential women in the development of the Village of Pelham Manor. The brief biography appears immediately below:

"BLACK, Mary Grace Witherbee (Mrs. Robert Clifford Black), Pelham Manor, N. Y.

Born Port Henry, N. Y., May 18, 1853; dau. Silas Heminway and Sophie Catherine (Goff) Witherbee; ed. governesses and at Farmington, Conn., and Miss McAuley's School, N. Y. City; m. N. Y. City, April 20, 1875, Robert Clifford Black; children: R. Clifford Jr., Witherbee. Interested in West Side Nursery, Jewell Day Nursery and Babies' Ward (N. Y. City), Miriam Osborn Memorial Home, Harrison, N. Y.; Pelham Summer Home for Children and several musical societies. Favors worman suffrage. Presbyterian. Republican. Recreation: Yachting. Clubs: Manor (Pelham Manor), N. Y. Yacht, Sleepy Hollow, Larchmont Yacht."

Source: Leonard, John William, ed., Woman's Who's Who of America - A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada 1914 - 1915, p. 103 (NY, NY: The American Commonwealth Company 1914).

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Abstract of 1779 Will of Samuel Rodman of the Manor of Pelham in Westchester County


Prior to the Revolutionary War, Samuel Rodman owned Rodman's Neck (also known as Ann Hoock's Neck and Pelham Neck) on the mainland near City Island. In 1779 Rodman prepared a will. He died shortly thereafter and the will was proved May 8, 1780.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes the text of an abstract of that will published in the early 20th Century. The text appears immediately below:

"ABSTRACTS OF WILLS -- LIBER 32. . . . Page 240. -- 'I, SAMUEL RODMAN, of the manor of Pelham, in Westchester County. I leave to my son Joseph one half of my island called Hart Island, lying in the Sound before the manor of Pelham; also £300, and my wearing apparell and one English mare. I leave to my sons, William and Samuel, all my Neck of land and meadow where I now live, with all buildings, which I bought of Thomas Pell; also my stock of horses and cattle. I leave to my daughter, Sarah Bleecker, £300. To Miriam Hicks, daughter of Deborah Hicks, £50; to her sister, Elizabeth Hicks, £25. To my granddaughter, Sarah Bertine, £100, and the money due me on a bond from Peter Bertine and his sons, Peter and John. To my grandson, Samuel Bertine, £200. To Joshua Hunt, Sr., £5. To Miriam Hicks the bed I lye on, with all bedding. To my son William a pair of silk stockings and a bosom Gold Buckell. To my son Samuel a pair of Gold sleeve buttons. To my granddaughter, Sarah Bertine, one good feather bed, with furniture. I leave to Richard Hicks my square of land on Miniford's Island where Deborah Baxter now lives. All the rest of my movable estate I leave to my three sons, Joseph, William, and Samuel, and my daughter, Sarah Bleecker. I appoint my sons, William and Samuel, and John Bartow, Sr., executors.'

Dated September 10, 1779. Witnesses, James Pell, Sr., Thomas Pell, Elizabeth Pell. Proved, May 8, 1780.

[NOTE. -- Minifords Island is now City Island.]"

Source: Pelletreau, William S. & Keller, John, Abstracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office: City of New York, pp. 108-09 (NY, NY: ) (Volume Containing Abstracts of Wills in Libers 31, 32 and 33 in New York Surrogate's Office and Letters of Administration from January 17, 1779 to February 18, 1783) (citing Liber 32, p. 240, New York Surrogate's Office).

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

John Pell's Sister-in-Law, Bathsua Makin


For many years scholars and genealogists believed that Thomas Pell, often referred to as First Lord of the Manor of Pelham, had a sister named Bathsua. A few years ago Frances Teague authored a book about Bathsua entitled "Bathsua Makin, Woman of Learning" (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press 1998). In that book Teague notes that the lives of Thomas and John Pell, are "remarkably well-documented". Teague lamented the lack of such documentation regarding Bathsua, but completed a masterful job of piecing together her life and presenting it in the wonderful book.

Bathsua Makin was first mis-identified as the sister of John Pell and Thomas Pell on the basis of a letter that she wrote to John Pell, probably in 1653. The letter read:

"Most learned Brother, I pray send me a few lines of the position of the late Comet, out of the three papers you showed me, that were sent you from beyond the sea, and your observation if you please: if it shall be too much trouble for you to transcribe of these papers, if you send them to me, I wil write it out and return your papers very safe.

Your loving sister
Bathsua Makin.

I send you some raisins, which are the best breakfast you can eat, if you spit out the stones.
January 23"

On its face, the letter suggested that Bathsua Makin was John Pell's sister. However, it appears that the term "sister" applied both to sisters and sisters-in-law in 17th century England. Teague pieced together old papers to establish that Bathsua Makin was the sister of John Pell's wife, Ithamaria Reginald Pell.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

As the Hutchinson River Grew More Fetid, James F. Secor Jr. of Pelham Manor Raised a Stink in 1901


By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Hutchinson River that borders parts of Pelham had grown fetid from the discharge of raw sewage by Mount Vernon, the Village of Pelham (now known as the Heights), and the Village of Pelham Manor. In about early 1901, the representative of the estate of one large landowner in Pelham Manor joined with others to submit a formal complaint to the Secretary of the State Board of Health in Albany. The petition of complaint as well as the report of the health inspector who investigated the situation appear immediately below.

"STATE BOARD OF HEALTH

MOUNT VERNON SEWAGE

-----

The Honorable State Board of Health, Albany, N. Y.:

Gentlemen -- The undersigned, residents and property holders on and near the Hutchinson river and canal, partly in the city of New York and partly in the city of Mount Vernon and town of Pelham, Westchester county, New York, protest most urgently against the emptying of sewage into said river and canal by the city of Mount Vernon, the villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor, as the current is so sluggish that the sewage never reaches the sound, but remains in said river and canal, and has become a terrible nuisance and a great danger to the health of the inhabitants of the valley in which said river and canal are located, and your petitioners request that your Board take prompt action, in having pollution of said river and canal stopped at once.

John Scharff
John Ebling, Sr.
George B. Heitzman
George Ploner
Edward Maloy
Chas. Dempster
Andrew Mortz
Cassimir Ploner
Tije Ploner
Thomas H. Hodge
Wm. F. Johnston
W. V. Thompson
Joseph Merkel
John Welsh
John Ruser
Jacob Sohl
Wm. H. Holley
Samuel G. Brundge
Richard J. McGowan
P. Garvey
David Foley
John Hanson
Thomas Beattie
Paul Kohn
John Burke
Willard Clendenin
Frank Waker
C. Langenstein
Lea Raynor
W. J. Elliott
H. Doyle
E P. Miller
Charles H. Zorn
Fritz Rumpf
A. S. Wildey
John Corrigan
Joseph E. Nosworthy
Stephen D. Hunt
Stephen P. Hunt
John W. Maloy
J. H. Bryant
R. Willims
J. McMullen
Thomas Manning
William Kenney
Thomas Matthews
Anton Kammerer
James F. Secor, Jr., for estate of Anna M. Secor

SCHENECTADY, N. Y., January 17, 1901

BAXTER T. SMELZER, Secretary State Board of Health, Albany, N. Y.:

Dear Sir -- I have to submit the following report on the examination into the matter of the alleged discharge of sewage into the Hutchinson river by the municipalities of Mount Vernon, Pelham and Pelham Manor, made in accordance with your instructions of January 4th, transmitting the complaint signed by John Scharff and numerous other residents of Mount Vernon, Pelham and Pelham Manor.

I visited the locality on January 8th and called on James F. Secor Jr. one of the gentlemen who had submitted the complaint referred to, and with him inspected the Hutchinson river and canal from the river to the sound. I found the facts to be as stated, viz., that the sewage from the city of Mount Vernon and the villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor is being discharged directly, and without purification, into the river and upper end of the U. S. government canal recently opened to the sound. Although at the time of my visit the weather was quite cold and the ground frozen solidly, there was a decidedly perceptible odor from the stream, which was reeking with sewage in all stages of decomposition. The natural flow of Hutchinson river, or East Chester creek as it has been called in the past, has been nearly all appropriated for the water supplies of New Rochelle and Mount Vernon leaving only the slight amount of drainage occurring below the intake of the Mount Vernon water supplies above mentioned as the present flow in the stream. On the day of my visit the flow of the stream was about 30 cubic feet of water per minute, and this was stated to me to be considerably above the summer flow and not far from the ordinary flow.

The present work of the U. S. government canal has been extended to a point just above the principal sewer outlet of the Mount Vernon system, but below the outlets of the Pelham and the Pelham Manor systems.

Although the volume of standing water into which the Mount Vernon sewage discharges is much greater than before the excavation of the canal, the amount of water flowing out to the sound is no greater and, in fact, the linear velocity of movement toward the sound is very much less than when the stream occupied its natural bed, so that less sewage actually reaches the sound and more is deposited in the reach of the canal near the sewer outlet than before the canal improvement was made. The flow and ebb of the tide in the canal from the sound simply causes the sewage-laden water to swing back and forth above and below the sewer outlet, and but little if it gets out to the sound.

From the conditions which I found to exist in the water of the canal both above and below the main sewer outlet of the Mount Vernon sewer system and in the natural stream itself below the sewer outlets from both Pelham and Pelham Manor, I do not see how it could be otherwise than as the complainants in their petition describe it during the summer season. One of the citizens residing near the stream above the end of the canal has brought an action against the city of Mount Vernon asking an injunction against the continuation of the discharge of sewage into the stream on the ground that it has been the cause of sickness in his family. I endeavored to see the health officer of Pelham Manor to ascertain the condition of the health of citizens along the stream, from an official source, but found him away from home for the day, and have written him for this information, but have received no reply.

An examination of the reports of the State Board of Health shows that plans for a sewer system for the city, then village, of Mount Vernon were approved by the State Board on December 16, 1887, and that plans for a system of chemical precipitation disposal works were approved by the State Board of Health on November 17, 1893. Subsequently a number of changes in the sewer lines, particularly in the location of the outlet sewers, have been approved by the State Board without reference to the plans for sewage disposal.

Plans for a system of sewers and chemical precipitation disposal works for the village of Pelham Manor were approved by the State Board of Health on June 29, 1894, and plans for a change in the location of the disposal works were approved by the State Board on September 17, 1896, and on November 12, 1896. Neither of these disposal works for Mount Vernon nor Pelham Manor have been constructed, nor any steps taken toward their construction, and the present complaint is but one of a series of similar ones that have been before the State Board on previous occasions.

In view of this fact and the fact that plans for the disposal of the sewage from both these municipalities have been approved for several years, and no steps have yet been taken to build the works, it would appear clearly within the province of the State Board to direct the two municipalities to carry out the execution of the plans for the disposal system or, as an alternative, to procure and execute without further delay an efficient system or means of disposal by some other plan. This alternative is suggested in view of the fact that the plans for chemical disposal works would not be considered antiquated, and no engineer of standing would now recommend chemical treatment in this situation, and in view of the further fact that effects have been made during the past year or two to procure construction of a trunk sewer through the valley of the Hutchinson river to and through the Borough of the Bronx, at the partial expense of the city of New York.

I am, dear sir, very truly yours

OLIN H. LANDRETH

Consulting engineer"

Source: State of New York In Assembly No. 65, Twenty-First Annual Report of the State Board of Health - State of New York, pp. 305 - 08 (Albany, NY: State of New York 1901).

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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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Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Paper Addressing the Battle of Pelham, Among Other Things, Presented in 1903


In 1903, the President of the Marblehead [Massachusetts] Historical Society presented a paper to the Society entitled "General John Glover and His Marblehead Regiment in the Revolutionary War". In it he addressed the Battle of Pelham (also known as the Battle of Pell's Point). The Society published the paper in 1903. A transcription of that portion of the paper that dealt with the Battle of Pelham appears immediately below followed by a citation to the source.

"October 16. Glover's brigade (in Lee's division) was on the East Chester Road near Pelham to watch the enemy.

PELL'S POINT.

Early in the morning of October 18th, General Glover with his spy-glass went out upon a hill-top near Hutchinson River to scan Long Island Sound and the coast, to know if the enemy was in sight. To his surprise he saw a fleet of British ships off Pell's Point disembarking troops and moving towards the Point. Glover was alone in command of his brigade with no reënforcements or support to fall back upon. Glover, in a letter written soon after this said: 'I would have given a thousand worlds to have had some experienced general at hand to tell me what to do. He immediately sent William R. Lee to General Samuel Lee, three miles distant, for orders. But there was no time to be lost. He quickly made his plans and prepared to meet the enemy. Glover's Brigade at this time consisted of four regiments: The Fourteenth Continental (the Marblehead Regiment of which he was Colonel) one hudred and seventy-nine men fit for duty; Thirteenth Regiment, Colonel Joseph Read, two hundred and twenty-six men, (Read was born in Uxbridge, March 6, 1731); Third Regiment, Colonel William Shepard, two hundred and four men, (Shepard was born in Westfield, December 1, 1737. Died, November 16, 1817); Twenty-Sixth Regiment, Colonel Loammi Baldwin, two hundred and thirty-four men. (Baldwin, born in Woburn, January 21, 1745. Died, October 20, 1807. He was the propagator of the Baldwin apple.)

General Glover, with his brigade of four Massachusetts regiments, in all, eight hundred and forty-three men, fit for service, met General Howe and his army of over four thousand British regulars at Glover's Rock, Pell's Point. The road leading from Pelham to Pell's Point had, for a fence, on each side, at this place, a heavy stone wall. General Glover, with great skill, placed his men where they would do the best service, taking every advantage offered of position and defense. He placed Colonel Read on the right of the road, near the great rock, (since known as Glover's Rock,) with the stone wall for breast-works. A little farther back, on the left of the road, he placed Colonel Shepard, and still farther back on the right, Colonel Baldwin, each behind the stone wall. On the hill in the rear, where he had planted his three guns, he posted the Marblehead Regiment. Then Glover with forty men moved down the road to meet the British. After a little skirmish with their advance guard, which was quickly reënforced, he fell slowly back until the enemy were within the range of Read's guns; when he and his men each rose from behind the wall, took aim and poured a terrible raking fire into the ranks of the advancing enemy, from which, after a few rounds, they recoiled and fell back. Being reënforced, the enemy again moved forward but to meet Read's guns as before. Read held them until he had fired four rounds, then it was his turn to retreat and he fell back. The British pushed forward, but only to meet the raking fire from Shepard's Regiment on the left. Shepard held them for an hour and then retreated. The British thoght they then had a free field and moved forward with a quickened step, but were soon brought to a halt by the guns of Baldwin's Regiment on the right that had been reënforced by Read. A severe battle followed, night was coming on, Glover fell slowly back to the hill where his guns were stationed. The British fell back to the road to New Rochelle, went into camp and waited until the 26th instance for reënforcements.

General Carrington, in his account of this battle, page 235, said: 'On the 17th instant, the First, Second and Sixth Brigades and the Third Hessian Battalion, with General Howe, were transferred from Flushing to Pell's Point at the mouth of Hutchinson River. When they advanced toward New Rochelle, Colonel Glover with his regiment made so persistent a resistance with a force of seven hundred and fifty men behind a stone wall as to check the advance guard until it was strongly reënforced, and earned for himself honorable mention in orders.'

General Glover in a letter to his mother, written the next day after the battle, said: 'Our loss yesterday was seven killed and thirteen wounded, the enemy's loss, as near as I can learn was between two hundred and three hundred. * [Footnote * States: "See Appendix A and B."] Abbatt of Pelham, who has made a special study of this battle, and of the English and German records (the Hessians reported to their home government) said: 'The British loss at Pell's Point was over eight hundred men; Glover's loss was eight killed and thirteen wounded.'

October 19. Glover and his brigade received in General Orders thanks from General Lee; and on the 21st, in General Orders thanks from General Washington, as follows:

MILE SQUARE, October 19, 1776.

General Lee returns his warmest thanks to Colonel Glover and the brigade under his command, not only for their gallant behavior yesterday, but for their prudent, cool, orderly and soldierlike conduct in all respects. He assures these brave men that he shall omit no opportunity of showing his gratitude. All of the wounded to be immediately carried to Volantine's Hill, at the second liberty pole, where surgeons should repair to dress them; they are afterwards to be forwarded to Fort Washington.'

HEADQUARTERS, October 21, 1776.

The hurried situation of the Gen. the two last days having prevented him from paying that attention to Colonel Glover and the officers and soldiers who were with him in the skirmish on Friday last that their merit and good behavior deserved, he flatters himself that his thanks, though delayed will nevertheless be acceptable to them, as they are offered with great sincerity and cordiality; at the same time, he hopes that every other part of the army will do their duty with bravery and zeal whenever called upon, and neither dangers nor difficulties nor hardships will discourage soldiers engaged in the cause of Liberty and while we are contending for all that freemen hold dear and valuable."

Source: Sanborn, Nathan P., Gen. John Glover and his Marblehead Regiment in the Revolutionary War A Paper Read Before the Marblehead Historical Society May 14, 1903, pp. 24-29 (Marblehead, MA: Marblehead Historical Society 1903).

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Brief Biographical Data About Elbert Roosevelt of the Manor of Pelham


Slowly I have been collecting data regarding early pioneer settlers in the Manor of Pelham. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes biographical data regarding Elbert Roosevelt who lived in the Manor of Pelham in the late 18th century. The information appeared in a book, cited below, privately published in 1902.

"ELBERT (Cornelius) [ROOSEVELT], b. October 9, bap. October 28, 1767, in the Reformed Dutch Church of New York.

Mr. Roosevelt removed to Pelham, Westchester County, N. Y. Married, December 29, 1794, in the Reformed Dutch Church of New York, Jane Curtenius, b. December 22, 1770, daughter of Peter Theobaldus Curtenius, Commissary General with the rank of Colonel, under the Provincial Congress, who fought throughout the Revolutionary War. He m. Miss Goelet. He d. in 1798, of yellow fever. He was buried in the Middle Dutch Church of New York, where the post-office now stands. His remains were removed in 1817 to Beechwood Cemetery in New Rochelle, N. Y. (Old Mchts. of N. Y.)

Mrs. Roosevelt d. January 31, 1846. Mr. Roosevelt d. in 1857.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt were:

400 PETER CURTENIUS, b. Sept. 30, 1795; d. unmarried, Dec. 29, 1891.
401 ELBERT JONES, b. Sept. 12, 1797; d. unmarried, June 7, 1885.
402 HENRY, b. Aug. 18, 1800; m. July 29, 1828, Eliza Louisa Champlin. No. 622. No issue; daughter of W. O. and Elizabeth S. (De Peyster) Champlin. No. 311; d. Nov. 6, 1848.
403+WASHINGTON, b. Nov. 14, 1802; m. 1st, Mary A. Swift; 2d, Jane M. Young.
404 CLINTON, b. Nov. 3, 1804; d. unmarried, Aug. 1, 1898.
405 JANE ELIZA, b. Oct. 13, 1807; d. unmarried, Dec. 4, 1892.
406 MARY, b. July 10, 1810; d. June 13, 1822.
407 ISAAC, b. Nov. 27, 1812; d. Sept. 30, 1856."

Source: Whittelsey, Charles Barney, The Roosevelt Genealogy, 1649-1902, pp. 41-42 (Hartford, CT: C. B. Whittelsey 1902) (126 pp. with "Addenda, six leavs inserted at end).

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Toonerville Trolley Cartoons Available For Free Viewing Online


Trolley tracks once criss-crossed lower Westchester County carrying clattering streetcars throughout the region. By 1899, travelers could journey between the Battery and any of New Rochelle, Pelham, Mount Vernon or Yonkers for a single fare of eight cents.

Early last century, one of those trolley lines in Pelham inspired the creative genius of a man named Fontaine Talbot Fox (1884-1964). He created one of the most popular comics in the United States – “Toonerville Folks”.

The cartoon centered around the quirky inhabitants of a town called “Toonerville” and its rickety and unpredictable trolley. The operator of the trolley was “The Skipper.”

Fontaine Fox, as he stated a number of times in published interviews, based the comic on his experience during a trolley ride on a visit to Pelham on August 8, 1909. “Toonerville Folks” ran in hundreds of newspapers from about 1913 to 1955 and brought national attention to Pelham.

The cover article that will appear in the next issue of Westchester Historian, the quarterly magazine published by the Westchester County Historical Society, will be an extensive story about Pelham and the Toonerville Trolley. Moreover, I previously have written about the Toonerville Trolley and have published a number of postings to the Historic Pelham Blog about it. See:

Bell, Blake A., Pelham and the Toonerville Trolley, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 11, Mar. 12, 2004, p. 10, col. 1.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005: Pelham Manor Residents Fight Construction of the Toonerville Trolley Line

Friday, June 17, 2005: "Skipper Louie" of Pelham Manor's Toonerville Trolley

Tuesday, September 20, 2005: Pelham's "Toonerville Trolley" Goes to War

Tuesday, October 11, 2005: The Toonerville Trolley Pays Its Bills -- Late!

Wenesday, August 9, 2006: The Saddest Day in the History of Pelham Manor's "Toonerville Trolley"

As the popularity of the comic created by Fontaine Fox grew, even animated cartoons were created to trade on its popularity. For example, at least three Toonerville Trolley animated shorts were released theatrically in 1936. Each of the three remains available today in VHS and DVD formats. The three cartoons, all released by Van Beuren Studios, are:

“Toonerville Trolley” featuring the Toonerville Trolley, The Skipper and Molly Moo Cow; released on January 17, 1936 in TechniColor and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures.

“Trolley Ahoy” featuring the Toonerville Trolley, The Skipper, Mr. Bang! And Powerful Katrinka; released on July 3, 1936 in TechniColor and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures.

“Toonerville Picnic” featuring the Toonerville Trolley, The Skipper and Powerful Katrinka; released on October 2, 1936 in TechniColor and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures.

Two of these three animated shorts are now available for free viewing online: "Toonerville Trolley" and "Toonerville Picnic". Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides information on how to access and view these wonderful examples of the work of Fontaine Fox.

RealPlayer for Windows Media Viewer

To view these two cartoons, you will need the free version of the RealPlayer for Windows Media Viewer. (Your computer likely already has the viewer on it.) If you do not have the viewer on your computer, downloading it is simple. It may be downloaded by clicking here and following the instructions.

The cartoons are offered by LikeTelevision.com. To view them, you first will have to view very, very brief advertisements that last a few seconds. (This Blog has no affiliation with LikeTelevision.com.)

Burt Gillette's Rainbow Parade Cartoon Featuring Fontaine Fox's "Toonerville Trolley"

If you have the RealPlayer for Windows Media Viewer installed on your computer, you may view the first cartoon, "Toonerville Trolley", by clicking here.

The animated short begins "RKO-Radio Pictures Presents Burt Gillette's Rainbow Parade Cartoon Featuring Fontaine Fox's "Toonerville Trolley'". It features the "Toonerville Trolley", Skipper, Powerful Katrinka and Molly Moo Cow. Released in 1936, the short is in color and is eight minutes long.

"Toonerville Picnic"

If you have the RealPlayer for Windows Media Viewer installed on your computer, you may view the first cartoon, "Toonerville Trolley", by clicking here.

The animated short begins "Commonwealth Pictures Corp. Presents 'Toonerville Picnic'". It features the Terrible Tempered Mr. Bang, the "Toonerville Trolley", Skipper and Powerful Katrinka. Also released in 1936, this short is in color and is seven minutes long.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

A Brief Description of Oystering in Eastchester Bay and at Pelham Published in 1881


During the 19th century, many in Pelham including those who resided on City Island (then part of the Town of Pelham) derived their livelihood from oystering and fishing. In 1881, the Department of the Interior oversaw the preparation of "The History and Present Condition of the Fishery Industries". As part of that study, Ernest Ingersoll prepared an analysis of "The Oyster-Industry" that included a brief discussion of the industry near City Island and along the Pelham shoreline. A transcription of that brief discussion appears below.

"EAST CHESTER BAY. -- The first oyster-ground of any consequence, however, going up the [East] river, is found in East Chester bay, which surrounds City Island. Off Throgg's point, at the southern end of this bay, are great natural banks, which have withstood long and steady raking. In these waters are the oldest artificial beds in the East river, for the regular planting of oysters (inaugurated, according to tradition, by Mr. Orrin Fordham) was begun here half a century ago.

The planters all have their homes on City island, and are almost sixty in number. In addition to these sixty planters, there are perhaps a dozen more men who get their living out of the business. It is safe to say, at any rate, that half a hundred families derive their support from the oyster-industry in this one community.

The total production of East Chester bay, last season (1879-'80), may be placed approximately at 55,000 bushels. In order to catch the seed of these oysters and carry them to the New York market, where all the crop is sold, there is owned here a fleet of one steamer, specially fitted, almost 45 sloops, some 25 floats, and at least 100 skiffs. All of these craft are of excellent quality, and represent a value of something like $35,000, which, with an addition of about $5,000 for shore-property, may be taken as the amount of the investment in the industry at City island, exclusive of the value of the stock now lying under the water, on the various beds, and which is a sum hardly possible even to guess at.

PELHAM TO MILTON. -- At Pelham, New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, Rye, and Milton, the business does not attain much dignity, although a large number of families, fully 100, are supported partly by it and partly by digging claims (mainly Mya arenaria), catching lobsters, and in other sea-shore occupations distinct from regular fishing. The ground occupied is embraced in little bays and sheltered nooks, for the most part, and is not of great extent. There are about 20 planters, who, at an average of 250 bushels -- a large estimate, probably -- would furnish a total of 5,000 bushels a year. Nearly if not quite all of this goes into the hands of peddlers, who dispose of it from wagons throughout the adjacent villages. Many of the planters, and some of the summer residents in addition, lay down seed wholly for private use. There is a large seed-bed off this part of the coast, which furnishes small stock, not only for local use, but for the towns both east and west. About $5,000 would no doubt cover the investment between City Island and Port Chester."

Source: Ingersoll, Ernest, The History and Present Condition of the Fishery Industries, pp. 88-89 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office 1881).

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Friday, September 15, 2006

William Newman: 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 post: 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. I have been fairly successful in developing information regarding Henry Accorly and will share that on the Historic Pelham Blog shortly. I have been less successful developing information regarding William Newman. However, I recently ran across some intriguing information that may relate to the William Newman who signed the treaty. I have documented that information and present it below.

Recently I reviewed Volume V of "The Records of New Amsterdam From 1653 to 1674 Anno Domini: Minutes of the Court of Burgomasters and Shepens Jan. 8, 1664, to May 1, 1666, Inclusive". In that volume is a transcript of the trial of a rather unsavory character named William Newman (referenced in the records as "William Niuman", "William Neuman" and "William Nieuman") conducted in 1665. The defendant in the case had ties to Westchester County and local Native Americans. I have not yet been able to ascertain with certainty that this is the same "William Newman" who signed Thomas Pell's treaty on June 27, 1654, but I suspect he may be one and the same. Given that possibility, I have transcribed the material from the volume below.

As background, it seems that Newman had an Indian indentured servant or, perhaps, slave named Thomas Senequam. The pair was accused of involvement in two schemes. In the first, Newman "sold" his slave to Carel van Brugge and his wife. (Though the records reference a sale of the slave, the context suggests that Newman sold his slave's services for a two-week period -- more of a lease, in a sense.) Apparently, Newman and his slave were suspected of a scheme to place the slave in the couple's home to enable them to steal items from the couple. It seems that during the course of the scheme men's and women's garments, a fabric for making garments called "serge", a wig and knives were stolen from the couple. In the second scheme, the authorities accused Newman of selling his slave to Sara Bridges while planning to return and steal him back and spirit him out of the Dutch territory to Boston or Virginia. Newman and his slave stole items from Sara Bridges such as shoes and a musical instrument. Newman and his slave were accused of theft, tried and convicted as indicated immediately below.

"Tuesday, being the 21st March 1665: In the afternoon, at the City Hall. Present the Heeren Allard Anthony, Cornelis Steenwyck, Tyomtheus Gabry, Joannes van Brugh, Joannes de Peister, Jacob Kip. . . .

Vpon the complaint of Charles Bridges, and Sarah his Wife against William Newman and Thomas Senequam an Indian now in Custody Jou are hereby Required to simmon a Court to meete to morrow to Examine heare and determine the matters in Controversy betweene the said Partyes and to proceed therein according to Equity and good Conscience; Given under my hand at fort James in New Jorcke this 23d day of March 1664: was signed Richard Nicolls. At the Side Stood: -- To the Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens of New Jorcke. . .

"Saturday, 25th March 1665. In the City Hall. Present the Heeren Allard Anthony, Cornelis Steenwyck, Olof Stevensen van Cortlant, Tymotheus Gabry, Joannes van Brugh, Joannes de Peister, Jacques Cousseau.

Interrogatories whereon William Niuman, a prisoner, is heard and examined in Court:--

First. How old are you? First. Answers, Thirty Eight Years.

2. Where were you born? 2. Ans: In England; in the County Foy in Cornwal.

3. Have you not sold an Indian to Carel van Brugh as a West India Indian? 3. Ans: The Indian said, he was a West India Indian.

4. Did you not promise the Indian to come and bring him back fourteen days after he should have been clothed? 4. Ans: No; but received him from Mr. Jackson and the Indian so states to get his freedom thereby, knowing he has no writings by him.

5. Have you not stolen men's and women's garments? 5. Ans: No: I have not seen any.

6. Have you not stolen any serge [ed. note: a type of clothing fabric]? 6. Ans: No; Tho' the Indian says it; I have never seen any serge of hers, except what she gave me for the Indian.

7. Have you not stolen a wig from a chest? 7. Ans: No; I have never seen any wig.

8. Have you not stolen knives? 8. Ans: No:

Interrogatories on which is heard and examined in Court the Indian whom William Niuman sold to Carel or Sara Verbrugge, named Thomas Senequam.

First. How old are you? First. Answers, Twenty four years.

2. Whence are you? 2. Ans: Was born at Boston.

3. Has not your Master William Niuman sold you to Carel van Brugge or his wife? 3. Ans: Yes.

4.Was it not with your free will? 4. Ans: Can answer nothing thereto.

5. Have you stolen any man's or womans garments? 5. Ans: No; nor do I know that Master has done so, and if I knew of it, I should say it.

6. Have you stolen any serge? 6. Ans: No; but my master Niuman has given it to me and promised to give more, when he should fetch me.

7. Have you not stolen a wig from a chest? 7. Ans: Master gave it to me and said he should cut his hair off, and put it on, when he ran away, and no one else would know, but he was an Englishman.

8. Have you not stolen knives? 8. Ans: Yes, three knives.

9. Is he not Mr. Jacksons servant? [Ed. Note: Apparently a question directed at Newman, not his slave.] 9. Ans. No agreement was ever made between me and Mr. Jackson, but he is a free Indian and was never bound to him.

10. How comes it that you went away from Mr. Jackson, when you was his servant? 10. Ans. Because he beat me and then he took my clothes and went away.

11. How is it you came to William Neuman and where? 11. Ans: I came to him at Warryck, and William Niuman asked me, if I would go with him to Hertfort he should give me ten shillings.

12. Did he give you the ten shillings when you came to Herfort? 12. Ans: He came not there, but brought me here; also did not pay for the canoe sold to him.

13. How came it, that you resolved to accompany him here after you told him, that you would go to Herfort? 13. Ans. We agreed together, that he was to teach me the trade of a tinker, and he should furnish me food and clothes for a long time.

14. Where is the written agreement entered into between you and Niuman? 14. Ans: 'Twas left at Paketocq with Tomas Stanton to keep.

15. Did not you and William Niuman agree together to cheat whomsoever he should sell you to, and make a profit through you? 15. Ans: No.

16. How came it then, that William Niuman sold you to Sara Bridges and you consented thereto? 16. Ans: I consented thereto, because Will: Niuman promised to take him back in his boat, and bring him to a place where this government had nothing to say; either to Boston or in the Virginias.

17. How comes it that you acted so dishonestly by your neighbors, as to endeavor to cheat another for Niuman's profit? 17. Ans: My master ordered him so to do.

He further declares voluntarily, that he saw his master take a new pair of mens shoes from Mistress Bridges room, and carry them off, and saw his master have a dozen of copper Jews harps but does not know where he got them; but they were tied like those of Mistress Bridges. Carel van Brugge and his wife entering, the aforesaid interrogatories and the answers made thereunto were communicated to them, after which they request to have their own property back which remains in the hands of the constable at Westchester, with costs thereon incurred and still to accrue; and that the Indian shall remain so long bound to them, until he shall have served out the remainder. William Niuman also entering and further heard and examined relative to the serge, wig and knives, answers -- that Tomas Senequam told some soldiers, that he bought the serge at Boston. To which Tomas Senequam answers, It is not true; but said that the cloth cost seven guilders at Boston; and as for the wig (which Tomas Senequam declares that William Niuman gave him, and said, he should cut off his hair, and put it on when he came to fetch him, and when he ran away no one should know, but he was an Englishman) he denies such again, and what relates to the knives denies that. William Niuman is asked, where he got Tomas Senequam. Answers, at Warryck and bought him from his master and gave forty pound sterling good pay for him, but not to Mr. Jackson but on his order to another: says further, he made an agreement at Packetocq at Tomas Stanton's with the above-named Tomas to learn a trade with him for seven years, and after the seven years he should be free. Burgomasters and Schepens having heard Carrel and Sara van Brugge against William Nieuman and Tomas Senequam and examined both on interrogatories and verbal debates; and confronted the aforesaid Niuman and Tomas above named with each other, decree that Carel and Sara van Brugge shall have to ask an order from the Hon ble Governor Nicolls, whereby they may again get the property now in the hands of the Constable at Westchester. Meanwhile, that the abovenamed William and Tomas the Indian shall remain so long apprehended; and what it shall afterwards be found, that Carel and Sara may come short, that William Niuman and Tomas Senequam shall have to pay that, with the costs incurred thereon and still to accrue, either in money or service, saving the right of the Officer."

Source: Fernow, Berthold, ed., The Records of New Amsterdam From 1653 to 1674 Anno Domini Volume V. Minutes of the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens Jan. 8, 1664. To May May 1, 1666, Inclusive, pp. 201-06 (NY, NY: The Knickerbocker Press 1897).

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Records of the Service of John Pell, 2nd Lord of the Manor of Pelham, in the New York House of Representatives in the 1690s


Though they have been difficult to locate so far, there are records of the service of John Pell, 2d Lord of the Manor of Pelham, as a member of the House of Representatives in the Assembly of the Colony of New York in the early 1690s. The records located so far are sketchy because they are contained within a "Journal of the Legislative Council of New York". A number of those records reflect visits to the Council in his capacity as a member of the House.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes pertinent excerpts of the available records located so far. Each excerpt is followed by a citation to its source.

John Pell Gives Thanks to Governor for a Speech and for Suppressing Disorder at the Time of His Arrival

"At a Council held at ffort William Henry the 10th of April, 1691. . . .

Vpon the vote of the Assembly that the thanks of that house should be returned to his Excellency for the favourable speech made by him and the President by his direction and also for the effectuall and speedy care that his Excellency has taken for the suppressing the many disorders and disquiets that were in the Government on his arriveall here, the same was accordingly delivered by Will m Merritt, John Pell, Dirck Wessells, Henry Pierson, Ellis Duxbury, John Poling and Henry Beeckman . . . order of that house."

Source: Journal of the Legislative Council of the Colony of New-York Began the 9th Day of April, 1691; and Ended the 27 of September, 1743., p. 2 (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons & Co., Printers 1861) (Published by Order of the Senate of the State of New-York).

John Pell Seeks Sergeant of Arms for the House of Representatives

"At a Council held at ffort William Henry Aprill the 15th, 1691. . . .

Mr Pell and Mr Duxberry having attended his Excell and Council and moved that a Sergeant arms may be appointed to attend service of their house,

Ordered, That Mr Benjamin Phipps Sergeant at arms doe attend that house accordingly."

Source: Id., p. 3.

John Pell Appointed to Set Fees for All Officials in the Province

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry 18th Aprilis, 1691. . . .

There was also presented unto this board an Order of the house of Representatives wherein they have appointed Johannes Kip, Dirck Wessells, Henry Beeckman, Col Pierson, Capt Stillwell, Mr Whitehead, Mr Duxbury and Mr. Pell, or any five of them, to be a Committee to Establish the ffees of all the Offices throughout this Province, and that they move the Governour and Council that a Committe of the Council be joyned with them and they call to their assistance all Persons and Papers that are needfull and to make returne thereof to this board munday morning next by Eight a Clock, which was considered &

Ordered, that Coll Nicholas Bayard, Step V. Cortlandt, Chidley Brooke, Will m Nicolls & Wil m Pinhorne Esqrs, or any three of them, be a Committe of this board to joyne with them accordingly and that they call unto to their assistance all person and persons that are needfull, and that a copy of this Ord r be Delivered to Johannes Kip by Coll Nich Bayard that they may be in readyness to make returne accordingly And that Coll Bayard doe appoint the times and places of meeting."

Source: Id., p. 4.

John Pell Complains to the Governor in Council That Bills Are Being Delayed in the House Because the Attorney General Has Not Provided Enough Assistance in Drafting Them

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry the Eighth of May, 1691. . . .

Mr Pell, Mr Wessells, Alderman Kip, Mr Howell, Mr Whitehead, Mr Poling, Cap t Demyre, Mr Ranslaer and Mr Duxbery attended His Excellency in Council and Read an address and Report of their house wherein they doe Complain that their Bills are delayed for want of the Attorney Generall to assist them in the drawing of them.

His Excellency Expressed himself Concerned that the business of that house should be retarded, told them that he had appointed the Attorney General to attend them and that he suffered him not to goe to Boston without their leave, that he believed it was the businesse of that house to Draw their own Bills but that he would advise concerning the same and notwithstanding would take care all help should be given them."

Source: Id., p. 7.

John Pell Seeks Information to Help Prepare Letters To Be Sent to Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, & Boston Asking for Funding Assistance for Reinforcements at the Fort in Albany to Defend the Frontier

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry, the 22th of Aprill, 1692. . . .

Mr Pell and Mr Van Schayck waited upon this board to signify that the house of Representatives could not proceed untill they had the list of the Fusileers employed at Albany with the Account of the Incidentall Charges that have accrued thereon; which was again immediately ordered to be dispatched.

Coll Courtland, Coll Bayard & Chid Brooke Esq r are appointed a Committe forthwith to auditt the Accounts of the 3 Comp es of fusileers late at Alb.

Adjourned till morrow morning."

Source: Id., p. 15 (for necessary background to understand the entry excerpted above, see id., p. 14).

John Pell Presents House of Representatives Bill for Raising Two Hundred Men To Reinforce Albany

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry, the 27th of Aprill, 1692. . . .

Jacobus Courtlandt, John Pell, William Demyre &c did waite on this board with a Bill from the house of Representatives intituled, A Bill for the raising of two hundred men with their proper Officers for the securing and Reinforcing of Albany in the ffrontiers of this Province, which was read the first time."

Source: Id., pp. 15-16.

John Pell, Now Appointed a Major, Serves on Committee to Prepare an Address

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry, the 7th of September, 1692. . . .

Maj r Pell, Col Pierson, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Van Schayck, Cap t Courtlandt & Cap t Demyre from the house of Representatives did notifye that they are appointed a Committe of the house of Representatives to joyne the Committe of the Councill to Concerte of an Address to their Matys."

Source: Id., p. 21.

John Pell's Bill Providing for Pilotage (Presumably Pilotage in the Lower Long Island Sound) Is Passed Unchanged by the Council and Signed by the Governor

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry, the 9th of March, 1693/4. . . .

Mr Pell from the house of Representatives brought up the Bill for pilotage being three times read & passed their house.

The Clerke of the Council did return in answer that they have sent up the Bill for pilotage by Mr Pell and have nothing further at present to offer.

Ordered, the Bill for pillotage be three times read.

The Bill for pilotage being three times read, is assented unto by the Governour & Council & his Excell did sign the same."

Source: Id., p. 51.

John Pell Presents House Bill To Raise 170 Men To Reinforce Albany

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry, the 24th of March, 1693/4. . . .

John Pell & Daniel Whitehead presented a Bill from the house of Representatives passed the house Intituled: A Bill for the raising & paying 170 men &c, & prayed the assent of the Governour & Council thereunto

Ordered, the same be read the first and second time;

Ordered, a third reading of the Bill for ye raising & paying 170 men &c.

Vpon the third reading of the sd Bill, His Excell and Council desire an amedment that in pag 8. 3d line, be inserted: -- and such other forces as shall be obteind and His Excell think fitt for the defence aforesaid; and some other small literall corrections which the Clerke will perceive.

Ordered, Chidley Brooke Esq r and William Pinhorne Esq r do deliver the Bill with amendments and desire the consent of the Representatives thereunto.

Mr Van Ekelan & Mr Blackhall, in answer to his Excell message to the house concerning his Expedition to Albany to meet the Indians with presents, Desire that the necessary Charge be taken up upon the Creditt of the revenue for that expedicon.

Ordered, Thomas Willet Esqr desire the Speaker of the Assembly will appoint a Committe of the house to conferr with four of the Council about the charge of his Excell Journey to Albany & presents to the Indians, who are to meet at 3 a clock this afternoon in their Maties Custome house at the Coll n office.

Ordered, Coll Cortlandt, Coll Bayard, Chidley Brooke Esqr and William Pinhorne Esqr be a Committe of the Council to confer with a Committe of the Assembly to be thereunto appointed, at the Coll n office in the Custome house at 3 a clock afternoone, concerning the charge of his Excell Journey & presents to the Indians."

Source: Id., pp. 55-56.

John Pell Delivers House Bill to Continue Special Tax Duty

"At A Council held at ffort William Henry, the 23rd of October, 1694.

Afternoone.

PRESENT-

His Excell BEN FLETCHER, &c.,

COL. STEPHEN CORTLANDT,
GAB. MONVIELLE,
CHIDLEY BROOKE,
WILLIAM NICOLL,
WILLIAM PINHORNE,

Esqrs.

Maj r Pell from the Assembly delivered to his Excell in Council a Bill Intituled, a Bill for continuing the additionall duty for one year longer for the raising 600£ towards the rebuilding the Chappell and mounting of sixteen great guns &c.

Ordered, the sd Bill be read the first time.

Ordered, A second reading.

His Excell desired the opinion of the board, whether to adjourn, prorogue or dissolve the Assembly.

The Council give their opinion that the Assembly be prorogued till the first of March next, which they humbly submitt.

Ordered, the Bill for continueing the additionall duty &c be read a third time.

His Excell the Governour & Council do consent unto the sd Bill being three times read, without amendment.

His Excell ordered the Cl. of the Council to tell Mr Speaker that His Excell commanded the Speaker and the whole house forthwith to attend his Excell in Councill Chamber.

The Speaker and Assembly being present,

His Excell signed to the Bill for continuing the additionall duty for one year longer &c; Enacting it & ordered it to be enrolled under the seal of the Province Then told them that this Act being their kindness to their Maties, in obedience to the Kings Letter, he was obleiged as a faint Representative of so great a Prince, to returne thanks for it; wishing they had expressed their kindnesse earlyer, and after many arguments used to diswade the Assembly from groundlesse jealousyes & ill opinions conceived by mistakes against their Superiours, and of the misapplication of the Revenue; did perswade them to be unanimous and to have a good understanding with the members of Council who were all interested in the prosperity and welfare of the Countrey as much as any of them; and wished that as they are now to part in love & friendship, so they meet again with a joynt resolution for their Maties service & the prosperity of the Countrey. Then prorogued the Assembly to the first of March next ensueing.

the end of the 2d Sessions of ye 4th Assembly."

Source: Id., p. 66.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Early Efforts of the Town of Eastchester To Obtain Cooperation of John Pell For Construction of a Saw Mill


During the 1960s, the Eastchester Historical Society transcribed the records of the Town of Eastchester. Included in the early records of Eastchester are numerous references of interest to those who study the history of the neighboring community of Pelham.

One series of records created in the 1690s deals with efforts by the Town of Eastchester to find a suitable location for a saw mill. Among those records are references to John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes those records.

"Allso at and upon the 15th of March 1694/5 at & in a Meting of the Inhabittans of Eastchester helld on the 15th of March 1694/5 the said Inhavitt did agree and chosen William Haiden Justice Thomas Pinkny & Lift [sic; probably "Capt"] John Drake to find a place concerning the seting up and caring on a sawe mill & the conveaniancy or unconveniency of & for the said sawe mill"

Source: Records of the Town of Eastchester, New York, Book Three, p. 5 (Typewritten manuscript of records transcribed by the Eastchester Historical Society Jan. 1964).

"Allso the sam Day [December 10, 1696] the Inhabitants have agreed by voat that the men which are agreed on the 10th day of Dec 1696 to alter the artikell mad the sam tim with Col Calleb Heatcut is Mr Thomas Pinkny Capt John Drake Joseph Fowller and Richard Shute that is to say they are to acte in the behalfe of themselves & the rest of the freeholders & inhabitants of the Town of Eastchester

At a Town metin of the Inhabittants of Eastchester helld on the first of february 1696/7 It is voat & agreed that provided Mr John Pell Snr and Coll Cealleb Heatchut can not agree conserning Coll Calleb Heatcute bring up a mill or mills on huchesons river Creeck according to an agreement mad with the Town of Eastchester and the said Heathcote Baring Dat is the 10th of Dec 1696 that then the said Heathcut shall have free liberty to erect a Mill or mills on rattell snak Brook Creck provided he perform all & every part of the above menshoned agreement with the Inhabitants of Eastchester and that the said mill or mills shall be built and erected and completed within"

Source: Id., p. 7.

The area proposed for the "mill or mills" referenced in the last of the entries transcribed above is the area where the mill later known as Reid's Mill was built in 1739. See Tuesday, August 1, 2006: Reid's Mill Built in 1739 on Eastchester Creek Adjacent to Pelham.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Evidence Sheds Light on Location of An Early Home of John Pell, 2d Lord of the Manor of Pelham


John Pell, often referenced as the "Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham", was the nephew and principal legatee of Thomas Pell, First Lord of the Manor of Pelham. Born in England in 1643, John Pell traveled to America in 1670 following his uncle's death to claim his inheritance that included the lands that formed the Manor of Pelham.

Pell lived in the Manor of Pelham. It is believed that he built a Manor Home worthy of his vast land holdings. Its location has long been lost in the mists of time. Some authorities have suggested two possible locations for Pell's Manor House: (1) near today's Bartow-Pell Mansion; and (2) on Rodman's Neck, also known as Pell's Point and Anhooke's Neck. See, e.g., City History Club of New York, Historical Guide to the City of New York, p. 210 (NY, NY: 1909) ("Not far away [from the Bartow-Pell Mansion] is the site of the original Pell Manor House, though some say that it was on the extreme end of Pelham Neck.").

Although it cannot be known with certainty, an analysis of the available evidence suggests that John Pell may have lived in two homes in the area. He may have lived for a time in the early 1670s in a home built by his uncle, Thomas Pell (First Lord) located on Rodman's Neck. It seems possible that John Pell later built a Manor House near today's Bartow Pell Mansion.

Some Evidence John Pell Lived in a Manor House Near Today's Bartow-Pell Mansion

There is at least some evidence that John Pell built a manor house within the boundaries of today’s Bartow-Pell Estate. Its precise location, however, has never been established with certainty.

The area certainly would have been suitable for such a manor house. As Lockwood Barr noted in his History of the Ancient Town of Pelham published in 1946:

“[a]ccess to the water was essential in those days, since the principal mode of travel was by boat, there being no roads through the virgin forests – only Indian trails. When he selected this site, Sir John must also have been influenced by the magnificent view of the Sound – an unbroken sweep of water between Hunter’s Island to the north, and Ann Hook’s Neck on the south. Nearby his mansion Sir John built a small family burying ground, where still rest many of the Pells.” Barr, Lockwood, 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 & Mannour of Pelham Also the Story of the Three Modern Villages Called The Pelhams, p. 38 (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, Inc. 1946) (hereinafter “Barr”).

Robert Bolton’s History of the County of Westchester, first published in 1848, is one of the few published works to record a location for the manor house. Bolton wrote that it “stood south-west of the present residence” known today as the Bartow-Pell Mansion. See Bolton, Jr., Robert, A History of the County of Westchester From Its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I, p. 552 (NY: Alexander S. Gould 1848) (hereinafter "Bolton, 1848").

Based on information including Bolton’s reference, a later author concluded “the old manor house is believed to have stood closer to the shore near the site of the Bartow-Pell Mansion.” See Kestenbaum, Joy, The Bartow-Pell Expanded Landmark Site: A Historic Landscape Report, pp. 4-5 (1991) (copy in the collections of The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham; hereinafter “Kestenbaum”). The same author noted that a “map of . . . 1708 which shows land in Eastchester granted to a William Peartree and associates by Queen Anne includes the area of Pelham Manor, New Rochelle, Eastchester; a mark which would seem to connote the general location of the Pell Manor house is roughly in this vicinity.” Id., p. 5.

It turns out that at least two early maps seem to show one or more structures located in essentially the same place – a location only a few yards to the southwest of the location of today’s Bartow-Pell Mansion. The earliest map, created in 1708, is entitled “A Draft of the Lands In Controversy between the Inhabitants of East Chester joined with William Pear Tree & Surveyed & Laid Downe 7th August Graham Pell”. The map shows a structure located in an area that would be slightly southwest of today’s Bartow-Pell Mansion. (A copy of the map transcribed by hand may be found in Hufeland, Otto, Anne Hutchinson’s Refuge in the Wilderness – The Second Settler in Westchester County – Where She Settled in 1642 and Died in the Following Year in Publications of the Westchester County Historical Society, Vol. VII, pp. 18-19 (1929) (one of two maps between pp. 18 and 19; it has the caption “Copy of map of land in Eastchester granted to William Peartree and Associates by Queen Anne in 1708. Original in Secretary of State’s Office, Albany, N.Y.”)).

In addition, a very famous map created by an English engineer and cartographer named Charles Blaskowitz in 1776 also contains an interesting reference. The map is entitled “A Survey of Frog’s Neck and the Rout [sic] of the British Army to the 24th of October 1776, under the Command of His Excellency The Honorable William Howe, General and Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Forces”. The map is maintained in the Map Division of the Library of Congress although a very high resolution image of the map is available via the American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress. Go to http://memory.loc.gov/ and search for Frog’s Neck to access the bibliographic data about, and images of, the map. It was intended to show troop movements leading up to the Battle of White Plains and is considered by historians to be a particularly accurate map of the area for the time. The Blaskowitz Map seems to show a structure with at least two additional outbuildings located in the same place – southwest of the area where today’s Bartow-Pell Mansion is located.

Even without considering the Blaskowitz Map, historian Joy Kestenbaum concluded in 1991 in a report she prepared for the City of New York Parks & Recreation as follows:

“Thus, the old manor house is believed to have stood closer to the shore near the site of the Bartow-Pell Mansion and within the boundaries of the Expanded Landmark Site.” Kestenbaum, pp. 4-5.

Some Evidence that John Pell Lived on Rodman's Neck

The evidence cited above seems compelling. There is interesting evidence, however, that shortly after his arrival in the Manor of Pelham John Pell, 2d Lord of the Manor of Pelham lived on what is known today as Rodman's Neck -- an area long called "Pell's Point", a description quite revealing.

The Records of the Town of Eastchester contain a document dated May 17, 1671 that references "Mr John Pell of ye manor of Annhocks neck". The document reads, in its entirety

"Whereas there is a new road laid out for the common highway into New England neare Eastchester the which is sayd to be much more conveniant than ye former as well for strangers and travelers as ye inhabitants But yet by some persons hath been objected against and a right understanding may be had hereupon in having ye sayd wayes viewed by knowing and indifferent persons Mr John Pell of ye manor of Annhocks neck and Mr. John Richbell of Momoroneck are hereby appointed and desired either by themselves or some understanding persons in such affairs who they shall employe to take a view of ye said roads or highways within three weeks after ye date hereof and to make reports unto me which of them they shall judge most conveniant to be maintained the which thereupon shall be confirmed and allowed of accordingly Given thereupon shall be confirmed and allowed of accordingly Given nder [sic] my hand at Forte Jeames in New York this 17th Day of May 1671

Fran Lovelace

This presenc testifieth Moses Hoit Snr have several parcels of upland as herein certified which their butts and bounds one pec [piece] of land by the second meado"

Source: Records of the Town of Eastchester, Book Two, p. 24 1/2 (Typewritten manuscript of records transcribed by Eastchester Historical Society 1964) (copy in author's collection).

There seems little doubt that Anhooke's Neck (referenced as "Annhock's neck" in the document quoted above) encompassed the area now known as Rodman's Neck. The area around today's Bartow-Pell has never been recorded as part of Annhooke's neck. Rather, that label has long been applied to what is known today as Rodman's Neck but has also been called Pell's Point.

Interesting, there is evidence that Thomas Pell, First Lord of the Manor of Pelham, built a house on Annhooke's Neck before his death in the fall of 1669. On October 13, 1669, the Court of Assize issued an order appointing John Richbell, William Leyden and Samuel Drake to take an inventory of the estate of Thomas Pell. The order referenced Thomas Pell as being of "Ann Hook's Neck". It contained the following reference: "Whereas, Mr. Thomas Pell of Ann Hook's Neck, is lately deceased, and left a considerable estate in this government, of which no inventory is as yet returned." See Bolton 1848, Vol. I, p. 524 (citing Assize Rec. Albany, vol. ii. 78).

The reference to Thomas Pell as being "of Ann Hook's Neck" seems to take on more significance upon review of the inventory of the Pell's estate at the time of his death. That inventory includes a reference to Pell's "House and land in Westchester". Id., p. 527.

Considered in its entirety, this evidence suggests that Thomas Pell, First Lord of the Manor, built a home that stood on Annhooke's Neck at the time of his death in the fall of 1669. John Pell, his nephew, is referenced in the records of the Town of Eastchester as being "of ye manor of Annhocks neck" less than two years later. This suggests that when he arrived in the Manor of Pelham to claim his inheritance after his uncle's death, he lived -- at least briefly -- in the house his uncle had built.

Yet, tradition says that John Pell had a manor house near today's Bartow-Pell Mansion. Moreover, there is some evidence to support that a structure stood in that area on lands owned by John Pell near the turn of the eighteenth century. A reasonable conclusion, it seems, would be that John Pell lived in his uncle's home on Annhooke's Neck until he built his manor house near today's Bartow-Pell Mansion.


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