Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Published Abstract of 1669 Will of Thomas Pell, Followed by Entire Text of Will of Thomas Pell

Thomas Pell, often decribed as "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham", died in late September 1669. Below is a published abstract of his will, followed by the full text of the same will. An extensive inventory of his estate, taken only weeks after his death, may be found by clicking here.

Immediately below is an abstract of Pell's will published in 1893. It is followed by a full citation to its source.


Page 39. -- THOMAS PELL, Westchester. 'It hath pleased ye all wise God many years to exercise me with much weakness of body, and having lately taken to Himself my beloved wife Lucy,' 'I give my body to a comely burial, that it may be decently buried in such a comely manner, that God may not be dishonored.' Leaves all real estate to 'my nephew John Pell, living in ould England, the only son of my only brother John Pell, Doctor of Divinity, he had by his first wife.' Legacies to Abigail, wife of Daniel Burr, Nathaniel French, Elizabeth White, Mary White, and Nathaniel White. Leaves 'to my son Francis French all my Tobacco, growing or not growing.' Remits debts due him from 'these four poor men, Joseph Patton, James Evens, Thomas Bassett, Roger Percy.' Makes Daniel Burr and John Bankes, executors.

Dated Septebmer 21, 1669. Witnesses, Nathan Gould, John Cabell. Proved September 30, 1669. Inventory mentions 'The housing, lands, barnes, and Islands adjoining, from Hutchinson's river westward, as so far eastward as were Mr. Thomas Pell's just and lawful right.' £500. The inventory, very extensive, amounts to £1,294 14s. 4 1/2 d, and taken by John Richbell, Wm. Haydon, Samuel Drake.

Page 46. -- Daniel Burr and John Bankes of Fairfield, Conn., admitted as executors of the will of 'MR. THOMAS PELL, of Ann Hook's Neck,' October 13, 1669."

Pelletreau, William S., Abstracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York, 1665-1707 in Collections of the New-York Historical Society For the Year 1892, p. 11 (NY, NY: The New-York Historical Society 1893).

Robert Bolton, Jr. first published the complete text of Thomas Pell's will in the first edition of his two-volume "History of Westchester County" in 1848. The text appears immediately below, followed by a citation.

"The last will of Thomas Pell.

In ye name of God, Amen -- It hath pleased ye all wise God many years to exercise me with much weakness of body, and having lately taken to himselfe my beloved wife Lucy, it being ye good pleasure of God to deny me natural issue of my owne body, his good hand of mercy continueing unto me to keep me in perfect memory and my understanding in a comfortable measure, according to proportion of wisdom and knowledge, where he saw meet to proportion to me, I desire in faith to give up my soule to God which gave it, my body to a . . . [Page 522 / Page 523] comely burial, that I may be decently buryed in such a comely manner that God may not be dishonored. It beinge my desire that peace may be attended in enjoyment of what God hath been pleased to give to me -- this being my last will and testament -- I doe make my nephew, John Pell, living in ould England, the only sonne of my only brother John Pell, Doctor of Divinity, which he had by hsi first wife, my whole and sole heire of all my lands and houses in any parte of New England, or in ye territoryes of ye Duke of Yorke. I also give to my nephew John Pell (my whole and sole heire) all my goods, moveable or immoveable whatsoever -- money, plate, chattells and cattle of all kinde -- except such parcells and legacyes which I give and bequeath to persons as followeth, my just debts being first paid : and if my nephew, John Pell, be deceased, and hath left a sonne or sonnes surviving him, then what I have above given to my nephew, John Pell, I give to such issue of his ; and in ye default of such issue, it's my will that my brother John Pell's daughter shall enjoy ye abovesaid portion ; and in case they or any of them be deceased, then it is my will that the children of my brother's daughters shall inherit the abovesaid portion, to be equally divided amongst them. It is my will, that in case my nephew, John Pell, my brother's sonne by his first wife, be deceased, and hath left no male issue, if my brother hath a sonne or sonnes by his last wife, he or they shall enjoy ye above said portion ; and in ye default of them or their male issue, then my brother's daughters, or their children, shall enjoy ye above portion as is above expressed. I give to Abigail Burr, ye wife of Daniell Burr, ye best bed in my house in Fairfield, and boulstis, with two blancoates, a rug and dormink suit of curtains, six cushions, two paire of sheets, six chairs, the brewing kettle in use, two new keelers, a brewing tub, six silver spoons, with ye use of all ye plate in the house, if she desire of my executors of trust, till my heirs or heires come or send his or their order how or whcih way all things shall be disposed of. Item -- I give to Daniell Burr all my horses and horse colts which I have in New England, and in ye territoryes of ye Duke of Yorke : I except my mares and mare colts, which I do not give him ; I except my saddle gelding, which my heire is to have if he come over -- otherwise, Daniel Burr is to have him, Daniell Burr is to take ye horse flesh as they run ; without any further dehinery, lett the mares be disposed of according to ye understanding of my executors of trust. Item -- I give to my sonne, Francis French, all my tobacco, grwoing or not growing, in casks, or otherways made u in rolls or twist. Item -- I give to Nathaniell French two young cowes and one young bull. Item -- To Elizabeth White I give the worst feather bed and boulster, one iron pott, six porringers, six spoons of alcamy, six pewter platters, one brass skellet, and fifteen pounds more in goods or cattle, current pay, and two comely suits of apparel, one for working days, another for Sabbath dayes, with two paire of shoes. Item -- to Mary White I give six pounds and one suite of aparell of serge, with two shifts, and wool for stockings. I give to Nathaniell White, an apprentice to some handicraft trade ; and if it be for his advantage, to give tenne pounds [Page 523 / Page 524] with him out of my estate, not diminishing his twenty pounds, which is to be improved for his use. I give to Barbary, my servant -- I sett her at liberty to be a free woman a month after my burial, except my nephew, John Pell, come in person ; she then to attend his occasions whilst he is there, not exceeding three months. Further, I do gibve to Barbary, my servant, one flock bed and boulster, and two blancoats, a pair of sheets, and cotton rug, one iron pott, an iron skellett, six trays and chest, with a lock and key to it, six porringers, two pewter platters, six pewter sppons or ye value of them, two cowes or the value of them. I give to my ancient maid, Katharine Rysten, five pounds in cattle or county pay. I make, ordain, constitute and appoint Daniell Burr and John Bankes to be my executors of trust, and order them to pay, after my burial, all my just debts and legacyes, and to make sale of any utensils which are subject to decay -- old cattle -- and to be accountable to my heire or heires and to keep up housing and fencesupon my heires' charge, that the estate may not suffer. I give to my said executors of trust twenty pounds apiece, and to be paid what first charge they are at upon any incumbrances. Item -- I give those poor men their debts upon my booke, whose names follow -- Joseph Pathon, James Evers, Thomas Bassett, Roger Percy : and that this is my last will. In witness whereof, I have hereunto sett my hand this twenty and one yeare of the raigne of our sovereigne lorde, King Charles, and the twenty first of September, 1669.


Signed in the presence of us, Nathan Gould, John Cabell.

John Cabell gives oath that he was witness to Mr. Pell signing this will, with Mr. Gould, as he hath entered his hand. Taken upon oath before me,

Nathan Gould, Assistant,

This 3d of -------------, in his Majestie's Colony of Connecticut, September, 1669."

Source: Bolton, Jr., Robert, A History of the County of Westchester From Its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I, pp. 522-24 (NY, NY: Alexander S. Gould 1848).

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