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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1664 Petition of Inhabitants of Westchester to Commissioners for the Affairs of New England Mentioning 1654 Purchase by Thomas Pell

In 1664, the inhabitants of the settlement known as Westchester sent a petition to the English Commissioners of the Affairs of New England outlining their sufferings since first purchasing their lands from Thomas Pell. The petition mentions the acquisition from Pell and, thus, is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.


To the Hono ble his Ma ties Com rs for the affaires of New-England The Inhabitants of West Chester Humbly Shew.

1. That the said Tract of Land called West Chester was purchased for large Sumes under the Title of England by Mr. Thos. Pell of the Knowne Ancient proprietors in ye yeare 1654.

2. The pretended power of the Manhatoes did thereupon continue protesting ag t and threating [sic] of the said Plantacon keeping the Inhabitants at continual watch and ward until at length the persons of Twenty-three Inhabitants of West Chester aforesaid were seized under Commission from the said powers, committed Prisoners into the Hould of a Vessell, where they continued in [Page 391 / Page 392] restraint from all friends for the space of thirteene dayes, fed with rotten Provision creeping with wormes, whereby some of them remained diseased to this day, after w ch they were carryed away in Chaines, and layed in their Dungeon at Manhattoes.

3. That the said Inhabitants had perished w th famine in the said Imprisonment, but for the relief obtained at other hands.

4. That all this suffering was inflicted on them under noe other pretence, but that they were opposers of ye Dutch Title to the Lands afores d.

5. That when the said pr tnded powers had freed the said Prisoners and introduced their own Governm t over the sd Platacon they drove away such as would not submit to their pr tendedAuthority, to their great Endamagem t and the enslaving of such as remained.

6. That when in May 1663 the said Plantacon was reduced to the King's authority, by virtue of his Ma ties Patent to Connecticutt, the pretended powers aforesaid, sent in hostile manner for certaine Inhabitants of West Chester, whom they confined in Manhatoes and the next day sent for one Mr. Richard Mills, whom they cast into their Dungeon and afterwards soe used him for thirty-eight dayes space, as there are yet strong and crying presumptions, they caused his death, which followed soone after.

7. That the unreasonable damage of the Purchaser and the low estate of the Plantacon occasioned by the premisses, hath had no other recompense to this day, but new threatenings and thereby an utter obstruction from the peopleing and improving of a hopefull countrey, all which as an unsufferable abuse to his Royal Ma tie and our English Nation is humbly offered to the consideracon of the Hon ble Commiss rs. Aug. 22, 1664 O.S."

Source: Source: Fernow, Berthold, Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Vol. XIII, pp. 391-92 (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons and Company 1881).

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