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, August 31, 2007

Announcement of the First Services Held in the Little Red Church of the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church on July 9, 1876


Periodically I have posted items to the Historic Pelham Blog regarding the fascinating history of the church known today as Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church in Pelham Manor. For a few of many such examples, see:

Thursday, August 16, 2007: Biographical Data About Rev. Charles Eliphalet Lord Who Served as Acting Pastor of Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1874-79

Tuesday, June 19, 2007: A Brazen Burglary at The Little Red Church in 1904

Monday, January 1, 2007: Dating an Undated Glass Lantern Slide Showing the Little Red Church (Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006: A Biography of the Rev. Henry Randall Waite, Ph. D., a 19th Century Pastor of Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church

Thursday, June 29, 2006: A Biography of Lewis Gaston Leary, Early 20th Century Pastor of Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church in Pelham

Thursday, March 2, 2006: A Lecture in 1877 to Raise Money for the New Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham Manor

Friday, January 27, 2006: Lectures to Raise Money to Build the "Huguenot Memorial Forest Church" Building in Pelham Manor

Monday, July 25, 2005: The Columbarium at Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham Manor

Today's Historic Pelham Blog Posting transcribes a brief announcement that appeared in the July 7, 1876 of the New York Times. It announces the opening services on Sunday, July 9, 1876 in the "Huguenot Memorial Forest Church", known today as the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church in the Village of Pelham Manor. The date of the opening services was significant. It was the first Sunday after July 4, 1876 -- the nation's Centennial. The Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church is believed to be the nation's only "Centennial Church" -- a Church that was opened, in part, in celebration of the nation's Centennial.

"WESTCHESTER COUNTY.

There will be opening services on Sunday next in Pelham Manor in the Huguenot Memorial Forest Church, by the acting Pastor, Rev. C. E. Lord, at 10:30 o'clock. Subject, 'The Religious History of the Huguenots of the United States.' And in the afternoon at 5 o'clock there will be addresses by different clergymen from Mount Vernon, New-Rochelle, and Pelham Manor."

Source: Westchester County, N.Y. Times, Jul. 7, 1876, p. 8, col. 5.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

More About the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School on the Border of Pelhamville


Yesterday I posted to the Historic Pelham Blog an item about the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School founded in 1866. The school began on a 200-acre tract along the border of the tiny settlement known as Pelhamville. See Wednesday, August 29, 2007: Construction of Main Building on Grounds of The Wartburt Orphans' Farm School Near Pelhamville in 1869.

Today's posting transcribes an article about the School that appeared in the May 30, 1874 issue of the New York Times. The article details the institution and its mission in the first decade after its founding.

"THE WARTBURG ORPHANS' FARM SCHOOL.

The anniversary celebration of the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, located near Mount Vernon, Westchester County, took place yesterday. The institution differs materially from all others, inasmuch as it never abandons its care and protection of those once admitted as inmates. The boys are retained until they are able to learn respectable trades and take care of themselves, and the girls until they are fully capable of performing all the domestic duties of a household. But in case any who may leave the institution should become sick or disabled, or get out of employment, they are again received with the same welcome as would be worthy sons or daughters into the home of their parents. They eat at the same table and otherwise fare as well as the family of the Director of the institution. It has now been established eight years, during which period seventy-five orphans and half orphans have been admitted and cared for; of these, sixty are at present in the institution, fourteen have gone forth to learn trades, and one death has occurred since its organization. It is supported entirely by donations and contributions from friends and Evangelical Lutheran churches. No City or State aid has ever been received or asked for. No distinction is made in the reception of orphans in regard to their nationality or religion of their deceased parents. All the branches of education taught in our public schools are taught in this institution in both the English and German languages. In addition to their intellectual training, all the children are taught to work. The boys are thoroughly drilled in the cultivation of the farm and garden, and the girls in all the duties of the household, including baking, washing, sewing, &c. The inmates are not kept constantly at work, however, being allowed ample opportunities for play and recreation. The result of eight years' experience, under the direction of Rev. G. C. Holls, is deemed very satisfactory. The intellectual education of the children and their training in habits of industry, it is believed, will compare favorably with any other institution, while the cost of thus providing them with all the comforts of a home and the advantages of a good education presents a favorable contrast with other institutions."

Source: The Wartburg Orphans' Farm School, N.Y. Times, May 30, 1874, p. 2, col. 6.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Construction of Main Building on Grounds of The Wartburg Orphans' Farm School Near Pelhamville in 1869


In 1866, the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School opened. Founded by Evangelical Lutherans of New York, it provided orphaned children with a home and an education. The school taught trades such as farming, printing and homemaking. The school acquired about two hundred acres of land near the Pelham border and slowly developed a major complex that has continued to serve the community for the last 140 years -- today as The Wartburg Adult Care Community.

Below is a map published by G. W. Bromley & C0. in 1914 that shows the grounds of the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School.



In 1869, the School began construction of one of the principal buildings on its grounds. A brief article in the July 22, 1869 issue of the New York Times described the construction efforts. The text of the article appears below.

"The Orphan Farm School at East Chester.

The Evangelical Lutherans of New-York, who recently purchased about two hundred acres of land in the town of East Chester, near Pelhamville, and the buildings thereon, for an orphan farm school, are preparing to erect a fine stone building 75 feet long by 50 wide, three stories high, with Mansard roof and basement. The contract for the work has been awarded to Messrs. WM. LE ROY and FREDERICK OPPENDICK. Digging for the foundation has already been commenced."

Source: The Orphan Farm School at East Chester, N.Y. Times, Jul. 22, 1869, p. 8, col. 4.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Laying Out of Pelham Avenue from Fordham to Pelham Bridge in 1869


In 1869, authorities laid out a more direct roadway from Pelham Bridge to Fordham. Known as Pelham Avenue, the roadway shortened the seven-mile circuitous route between Fordham and Pelham Bridge to a more direct distance of three miles. Below is a brief record of the planned roadway that appeared in the June 23, 1869 issue of the New York Times.

"Westchester County.

Pelham-avenue, now being laid out, and opened from Pelham bridge to the railroad depot at Fordham, will be 100 feet wide, and the Commissioners have decided to lay out a sidewalk on each side twenty feet wide; and also contemplate obtaining authority to plant shade trees along the centre of each sidewalk, and form a sloping lawn of the sidewalk between the shade trees and the gutter or edge of the carriage road. The distance between Fordham and Pelham bridge by the present circuitous route is about seven miles, while by the new avenue, it will be less than three miles, and will also open a new, and much shorter route to City Island."

Source: Westchester County, N.Y. Times, Jun. 23, 1869, p. 2, col. 5.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

1861 Judicial Decision Involving Collision of Two Ships in Pelham Waters


Pelham's maritime traditions have contributed to the body of legal knowledge known as maritime law. In 1861, a federal court in New York released a decision involving two ships that collided in Pelham Waters. See Randall v. The Zebra, 20 F. Cas. 241 (Cir. Ct., S.D.N.Y. 1861). The decision resulted from a collision between two ships named the Planet and the Zebra off the southern point of Hart Island. The owner of the Planet sued the Zebra in libel. The Court below dismissed the action. The Circuit Court affirmed, noting that there was evidence below supporting the proposition that the two ships approached each other in nearly opposite directions. Thus, it was not clear which ship was at fault.

The text of the decision appeared in the November 8, 1861 issue of the New York Times. The text appears immediately below.

"Decisions in Admiralty on Appeal.
UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT.
Before Judge Nelson.
COLLISION - LOOKOUT.

J. Orlando Randall vs. The Sloop Zebra. -- NELSON, C. J. -- The libel is filed in this case against the Zebra, to recover damages for a collision off the southern point of Hart's Island, at the head of the East River. Both vessels, the Planet and Zebra, were bound for the eastward; the latter had come out of Cow Bay on the Long Island shore, and was making her way to a point between City Island and Hart's Island, on the opposite side of the river. The Planet had passed City Island and the southern point of Hart's Island, making her way into the Sound.

The wind was strong from the northwest, or a little north of northwest, the Zebra close hauled to the wind, the Planet, perhaps, two points free on the larboard, and the Zebra on the starboard tack; and, while thus beating across the river, they came in contact, the stem of the Zebra striking the starboard side of the Planet, some twelve or fifteen feet from her stern.

It is claimed, on the part of the Planet, that the Zebra was to the leeward, and that she was justified in the attempt to pass her on her starboard side; and that the Zebra should have borne away, and not kept her course till the collision happened. The Zebra insists she was on the privileged tack, and was bound to keep her course, and had a right to assume that the Planet would obey the rule of navigation, bear away and pass on the larboard side. The Court below found that the line of the two vessels was in nearly opposited directions, head to head, and although there is some conflict in the evidence on this point, we are inclined to think the weight of it is with the finding below.

The truth of the case undoubtedly is, that the hands on board the Planet did not see the other vessel after she came out of Cow Bay, some half or three-quarters of a mile off, having been engaged in reefing the mainsail preparatory to entering the Sound, notwithstanding the strength of the wind. If they had seen her the collision could have been easily avoided by falling away before the wind. And the same may also be said of the hands on the Zebra, as they were engaged with the chains preparatory to coming to anchor under the shelter of the islands till the wind subsided. But we cannot say, if the Zebra had had a lookout who could have seen the opposite vessel, her course could have seen the opposite vessel, her course could have been properly changed; for, if she had fallen away before the wind, and the collision had occurred, the very manuever would have been decisive that she was in fault. It is possible, if she had seen the Planet, that in the pressure of impending danger she might have used her helm in a way to avoid, or, at least, to have modified the blow; and this she would have been bound to do, even if the other vessel was wholly in fault; but we think this possible ability to relieve the other from her own fault in the emergency, too slight a ground upon which to charge her with any portion of the loss. The duty of the vessel without fault at the moment of impending danger is an imperfect one, not capable of being reduced to any fixed rules; and can only be entitled to weight or consideration in a case where it is clearly shown that some movement had been omitted that might have been adopted to avoid the catastrophe at the moment of its occurrence.

The decree below affirmed.

For libelant, Mr. Stoughton and Jenness; for appellants, Mr. Morton."

Source: Decisions in Admiralty on Appeal, N.Y. Times, Nov. 8, 1861, p. 3, col. 2.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

More About the Wreck of the Steamer Plymouth Rock in Pelham Waters in 1856


Yesterday I published to the Historic Pelham Blog an item about the wreck of the steamer Plymouth Rock during a snow storm in early 1856. See Thursday, August 23, 2007: The Wreck of the Steamer Plymouth Rock in Pelham Waters in 1856. Additional information about the wreck appeared in the New York Daily Times a week later, on January 9, 1856. The brief article is transcribed below.

"The Plymouth Rock.

The report that this vessel, which went ashore some days since at City Island, went to pieces last Saturday night during the storm, is untrue. Instead of proving a detriment to the vessel, the storm very materially bettered her position. She was blown thirty feet farther on the shore from where she previously lay, and forty feet farther astern, so that at present at hight tide only a few feet of her hull is submerged. She lays level and perfectly easy, and by aid of ways which it is proposed to place under her at once, it is thought her safe removal can be effected within two or three days. Meanwhile some twenty of the officers and crew still remain on board. There were nearly fifty on board of her Saturday night during the storm. Yesterday as the Worcester, attached to the same line, passed by, the force on board gave indication by ringing the bell and waving of handkerchiefs, of having a very jolly time of it."

Source: The Plymouth Rock, N.Y. Daily Times, Jan. 9, 1856, p. 8, col. 1.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Wreck of the Steamer Plymouth Rock in Pelham Waters in 1856


Given that the City of New York annexed large portions of the Town of Pelham including City Island, Hart Island and much of today's Pelham Bay Park in the mid-1890s, it is easy to forget Pelham's rich maritime heritage. The Town's history is littered with unusual maritime incidents throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

One such incident involved the wreck of the Steamer Plymouth Rock on the shores of City Island in 1856. The article below appeared in the January 2, 1856 issue of New York Daily Times. It describes the wreck.

"Disaster to the Steamer Plymouth Rock.

The steamer Plymouth Rock, which left here on Saturday afternoon, for Stonington, came to anchor in company with the other Sound steamers, near Hart Island, owing to the severe snow squall. A schooner, lying at anchor near by, got loose, and by drifting into the Plymouth Rock, tripped her chain and anchor, and set her at the mercy of the wind and waves, so that she drifted ashore about 1 o'clock A.M., on Sunday, on City Island, where she still remained at the latest date, 6 o'clock Monday morning.

The steamer Bay State took off the mails and passengers. The freight has been brought to this City. Assistance was sent to the Plymouth Rock yesterday morning. Her place in the Stonington Line is to be promptly filled by another boat."

Source: Disaster to the Steamer Plymouth Rock, N.Y. Daily Times, Jan. 2, 1856, p. 3, col. 6.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Israel Pinkney of the Manor of Pelham, Held in Confinement for Debts in 1769


A brief notice that appeared in the June 5, 1769 issue of The New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury sheds light on an unfortunate debtor who lived in the Manor of Pelham at the time. His name was Israel Pinkney. The item suggests that he was held in confinement (perhaps debtor's prison) for debts owed to Thomas Rich of Westchester County. The item appears below, followed by a citation to its source.

"THE creditors of Israel Pinkney, of the manor of Pelham, in Westchester county, an insolvent debtor, are desired to meet at the house of Josiah Fowler, in Harrison's purchase, in Rye, on Thursday the 8th day of June, 1769, at one of the clock of said day, to shew cause (if any they have) why an assignment of the estate of said Israel Pinkney, should not be made to Thomas Rich, of said county, pursuant to an order of John Thomas, and Gilbert Bloomer, two of the judges of the court of common please, of said county of Westchester, and he the said Israel Pinkney, thereupon discharged from his confinement, according to the laws of this province in that case made and provided.

GILBERT BLOOMER."

Source: The Creditors of Israel Pinkney, The New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, Jun. 5, 1769, Issue 919, p. 4, col. 2.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

1752 Advertisement for Sale of Home on Boston Post Road in the Manor of Pelham


An interesting little advertisement offering for sale a home on Boston Post Road in the Manor of Pelham appeared in the May 11, 1752 issue of The New-York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy. The advertisement is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"To be Sold, a very good House with three fire-places in it, with a very good Lot of Ground belonging to said House, containing 25 Acres of good land, 4 Acres of good Orchard, 6 Acres of Wood-land, and 3 Acres of Meadow, the rest in two clear Fields, lying in the Manor of Pelham, fronting Boston Road, within 25 Miles of New-York, and about Half a Mile of a Landing for Boats; it is very convenient for either Shopkeeper or Tradesman : Whoever inclines to purchase the same, may apply to John Jobbien, living opposite to the Widow Rutgers's Brew-House in New-York, or to Abraham Guion, Black-Smith, in New-Rochell, where they may have an indisputable Title for the same."

Source: To Be Sold, The New-York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, May 11, 1752, Issue 486, p. 3, col. 2.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Canadian Records of Claim Asserted by Joshua Pell, Formerly of Pelham Manor, A Loyalist Who Fought for the British in the Revolutionary War


Following the close of the Revolutionary War, the "Commissioners of Forfeitures in the Southern District of New York State" conducted sale proceedings involving lands of those who were not loyal to the Patriot cause during the War. On August 23, 1784, the Commissioners of Forfeitures sold a 146-acre farm located in the Manor of Pelham that once had belonged to Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. Pell served as an officer in the Bugoyne campaigns during the War. (To read his diary, see October 2, 2006: The Revolutionary War Diary of Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham.)

Like so many Loyalists after the Revolutionary War, Pell fled to Ontario where he was among the pioneers who settled the area. Interestingly, after the War many such pioneers filed claims on account of services rendered during the Revolutionary War. Such claims were investigated by Special Commissioners appointed by the British Parliament, two of whom were sent to Canada (Col. Thomas Dundas and Mr. Jeremy Pemberton). These Commissioners met personally with claimants and collected evidence in support of their claims. The evidence was summarized in a number of manuscripts. Oddly, these manuscripts subsequently made their way to the National Archives in the United States.

Those papers were copied and printed in the early 20th century. Those within the "Second Report of the Bureau of Archives" published in 1905 included information about claims submitted by Joshua Pell, Jr. in connection with the confiscation of his farm in the Manor of Pelham at the close of the War. The information is transcribed below.

"462. Case of JOSHUA PELL, late of Pelham Manor, N. York, Esq.

Claimant Sworn Saith:

He is a native of New York. At Commencement of the troubles tried all in his Power to persuade the Rebels they were wrong in opposing Governmt.

Declared his sentiments & endeavoured to Convince people they were wrong, & had thereby made himself obnoxious. Before the Troubles was 1st Lieut. to the Militia of Pelham & New Rochell & when Americans took Arms his Compy. almost to a man chose him Capt. but he declined serving in the Cause of Rebel- [illegible] [Page 499 / Page 500]

Remd. in New York Province & made excursions to Collect Informn. which mt. be useful to Brit. Army. Always avowed his sentiments & declared against the Americans taking up Arms. Joined the Brit. Troops soon after they landed, & went to get information voluntarily. Went up the Sound to gain Intelligence. Remained in the Brit. Lines when Army Landed in Potts Neck, & during that Campaign acted as a guide to ye Army.

Commanded a Compy. of City Militia in New York. Remd. in New York till Evacuation & came to this Prov. & has continued here since.

Has recd. £200 from Govnt. in Spring 1777. He believes a reward for services.

Produces Certificates from Daid [sic] Mathews, late Mayor of N. York to his honesty & unshaken Loyalty & to his sufferings in the Cause. Produces an order from Govr. Tryon dated 2nd Novr., 1776, to embody the Militia at White Plains.

Property. -- 200 acres in Manor of Pelham in Co. of West Chester, with 3 Dwelling houses, 2 orchards & Improvmts. This he possessed under Father's Will. Father died 2 yrs. before Claimt. left N. York. His father remained at New York, not in his sound senses. Will made before the Troubles.

-----

Farm consisted of 3 houses & 20 orchards, Plough Fields & mowing ground, all enclosed with stone Walls. 20 acres soft Meadow, 40 acres Wood Land, Convenient for Trade. Thinks it would have sold at £15 pr. acre New Y. Cury at a a Vendue.

This farm has been sold lately under Confiscation since the Peace. Wright in Possession, who bought it of the first Purchase, Guyon Greevy, as Claimt. has heard.

20 Lots in the suburbs of New York, with a Brick house, Barns & Buildings, purchased of James Delancey after 1778 in Considn. of £2,975 N.Y. Cury. Bought a greater number of Lots and sold off all but 20 lots at £100 N.Y. Cury. a Lot, at price he purchased near 600.

Claimant laid out considerable sums in Improvts. purchased in the War, thinking we shd. carry the Day--paid the money--Delancey warranted, tho' not so fully as Claimt. wished.

The States have Confiscated this before the Peace & have sold it since the Peace, as the Property of Delancey.

Claimt. gave a fair price. Wd. not have sold it for that sum. Claimant's name not in the Act of Confiscn.

Claimt. produces Copy of Presentment by Grand Jury of West Chester Co. agst. Claimt. for adhering to the Enemies of the State at the General Session of Peace, 7th Nov., 1780.

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Indors'd Judgment entered 26th Octr., 1782.

When he was going away he had put Barls on Board Sloop, when the American Troops came down under Col on purpose against him as he understood. Claimt. made escape at the Back Door. The troops then took ye Barls of [Page 500 / Page 501]

Prov. Produces an acct. signed by Dier Troop certifying his having taken provs. from the Claimt. for use of Amer. Army.

54 Barrels of Pork at £6.10, Amt. . . . . £351.0.0
319 Pine Planks at 2/6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35.17.9
132 Boards, 1/9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.11.0
15 Leads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7.10
Sail & Gib. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.0.0
[TOTAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . .] N.Y. Cury. £413.16.7

This Certificate apprs. by affirm. of Henry Pell to have been procured from Col. Dier Troop when the Property was seized by him.

Claimt. saith these Prices are under the usual Price, but Claimt. claims now acc. to the Price in the Certificate & accord to that Quantity.

A mare taken by the Rebels, at what time Claimt. does not recollect, Val. 25.

150 Bushels of Wheat taken a yr. afterwards by a party of Rebels just escaped. Whr. they came on purpose cannot say. Val. 110 N.Y.C.

A Sloop 30 Tuns Burthn. which Claimt. kept for fetching

------

wood, burnt more than a year after he left his house. He made Profit by Employg. her in fetching wood. Burnt in Creek by the Americans. Val., 150 N.Y. Cur.

4 horses, 2 of them taken when the wheat was, other two taken from his son & wife by a party of Rebel Troops. Val., 25 each, 80.0.

A Schooner taken from Sound in 1782 by an American Boat in Hell Gate. Claimt. paid for Ransom, £160 N.Y.C.

States Dam. by Brit & Hess. Troops in 1776 & Stock, &c., furnished to them.

Claimt. never got anything from Govnt. but the £200. Cannot say what that £200 was for.

Damages to house, &c., £400 N.Y.C.

Converted into Barracks for Hess. Applied to Barrack Master but ed. get nothing.

As to 20 Tons of Hay & Cows, Ox, &c., Claimt. wavies his Claim now which Claimt., however, saith were taken by the Brit. Troops.

This house in New York had been Conveyed by Jekel Archer to Claimt. in discharg. of Debt & Claimt. had mortged. for £200 which saved it from Confiscation. Claimt. now Claims only for Dam. done. Produces affidavit by 3 persons who state the Damage 200 Stable & 200 to House.

In the yr. 1781 part of the Brit. Troops encamped & did

-----

him Damage on his farm, hired of Delancey, to amount of 500 N.Y.C.

Is told he shd. have applied to Quarter Master. Claimt. submits Dam. to anr. farm rented from Heron, by an encampment [Page 501 / Page 502] of Brit. Troops, to amt. of £200. Is told as above & submits Certificate is produced, 27th Novr., 1783, from Notary Public, stating that Claimt. swore to his Loss to the Val. of 1,393.4. N. York Cury., by the Hess. & Brit. Troops & that he had recd. from Govnt. only £200 Str., which he looked upon as payment for Loss of Shop goods & Cloathing taken by the Hessians, not included in the above charges.

(25)

MR. ISAAC WILKINS:

Claimt.'s Character in Loyalty established. In 1774 sided with the Loyalists openly. Always avowed his sentiments. Uniformly Loyal. Employed as a guide & was of Signal service to the Brit. Army.

Knew he was settled on a farm in Pelham Manor, such Land worth from £15 to 20 pr. acre, N.Y. Cury.

Bels. this Propy. is all lost."

Source: Fraser, Alexander, ed., Second Reort of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario by Alexander Fraser, Provincial Archivist, pp. 499-502 (Ontario, Canada: The Legislative Assembly of Ontario 1904).

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Advertisement Offering Alexander Henderson's Island Estate To Let Published in 1807


Alexander Henderson once owned the island that later became known as Hunter's Island (now connected to the mainland by the Orchard Beach parking lot in Pelham Bay Park). I have posted quite a number of items to the Historic Pelham Blog about Alexander Bampfield Henderson. For a few examples, see:

Thursday, April 6, 2006: Alexander Bampfield Henderson: "Lone Lord of the Isle"

Friday, March 31, 2006: Text of 1804 Will of Alexander Henderson, Owner of the Island Later Known as Hunter's Island

Friday, February 24, 2006: Notice of Settlement of the Estate of Alexander Henderson of Pelham in 1805

Tuesday, August 8, 2006: The "Old Stone House" on Hunter's Island

Alexander Henderson died in 1805. Two years later, his island estate was offered for rent in advertisements published in local newspapers. One such advertisement appears immediately below. Interestingly, the advertisement references "an excellent two story House (in the best repair" on the premises. The house, I believe, is the one about which I wrote on August 8, 2006 in my posting entitled "The 'Old Stone House' on Hunter's Island". I have included a photograph of that house following the quotation of the real estate advertisement below. The house was razed in the 1930s.

"TO LET, from the 1st of April next, a FARM in the town of Pelham, and county of West Chester, 19 miles from the City of New-York, lately the residence of Alexander Henderson, Esq. deceased -- containing 250 Acres of Land. On the premises is an excellent two story House (in the best repair) commanding one of the most extensive, beautiful, and variegated prospect on the Sound. Also, all the necessary Offices, with a good Garden and Orchard. For terms enquire of Mr. John S. McKnight, No. 62 Courtland-street, New-York, or of Robert Ross, Eas Chester [sic]. Jan. 5 1m*"

Source: To Let, The New-York Evening Post, Jan. 6, 1807, Issue 1584, p. 2, col. 2.

Below is a photograph of what I believe is the house referenced in the above-quoted advertisement.





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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Biographical Data About Rev. Charles Eliphalet Lord Who Served as an Acting Pastor of Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1874-79


A book published in 1906 included a brief biography of Rev. Charles Eliphalet Lord who served as an acting pastor in Pelham Manor while the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church was being formed. That biography is quoted below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Charles Eliphalet Lord, D. D., Presbyterian, son of John Perkins and Sophia (Ladd) Lord, was born Feb. 11, 1817. Preparatory studies at South Berwick (Me.) and Phillips Andover Academies, 1833-4. Graduated at Dartmouth College, 1838. Teacher, South Berwick Academy, 1838-9, and Kingston (N.C.) Academy, 1839-40. Studied for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary, 1839-41, Yale Divinity School, 1841-2, and Auburn Theological Seminary, 1842-3, graduating. Ordained an evangelist, Jonesville, Mich., May 8, 1844. Installed, Niles, Mich., Nov. 17, 1844-7. Acting pastor, Evansville, Ind., 1848-50; South Newmarket, March 1851-2; Westbrook, Me., 1852-3; Cape Elizabeth, Me., 1854-5. Installed, Mont [sic] Vernon, Feb. 11, 1857; dismissed, June 20, 1861. Installed colleague with Rev. Luther Sheldon, D. D., Congregational Church, South Easton, Mass., June 3, 1863; dismissed, May 1, 1867. Installed, Congregational Church, Chester, Vt., Aug. 8, 1867; dismissed, April 6, 1869. Acting pastor, Beverly, N.J., Oct. 1869-70. Without charge, Boston, Mass., 1870-3. Professor of Evidence of Christianity and Church History, Lay College, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 1874-82. Acting pastor, Pelham Manor, N.Y., 1874-9. Without charge, Newburyport, Mass., 1882-9. Acting pastor, Hope Chapel, Salisbury (Mass.) Beach, July 1889-90. Withouth charge, Newburyport, Mass., 1890-1902. Made fellow of the Society of Science and Art, London, Eg., 1887. D. D. from East Tennessee Wesleyan University, 1873. Died, Newburyport, Mass., Feb. 19, 1902."

Source: Carter, N. F., The Native Ministry of New Hampshire, p. 639 (Concord, NH: Rumford Printing Co. 1906).

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Plan of Pews in St. Paul's Church 1790



Throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries, St. Paul's Church in Eastchester was the principal church attended by residents of the sparsely-populated Manor (later Town) of Pelham. A book published in 1866 included a copy of the "Plan of Pews in St. Paul's Church, 1790". An image of the plan appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source and, then, a transcription of its text.





"Plan of Pews in St. Paul's Church, 1790.


[Starting at Front Door and Moving Clockwise Around the Exterior in Order of the Numbered Pews]


Front Door.
Charles Guion 1
James Morgan, Sr. 2
Lewis Guion 3
Sam'l Webb 4
East Window.
Communion Table.
Stephen Ward, Esq. 5
Philip Pell, Esq. 6
Minister's Pew. 7
Clark's [Clerk's] Pew
Reading-desk.
Pulpit
William Pinckney 8
Thomas Bartow. 9
Anthony Bartow. 10
Theodosius Bartow. 38
Steeple Door.
Benches
James N. Rosevelt 11
Gilbert Vallentine 12
John G. Wright 13


[Now Moving to the Interior Pews, First Below the "Middle Aisle" in the Center]


Lewis Guion 14
Charles Morgan 15
Aug s. V. Fred. Van Cortlandt 16 & 17
Israel Underhill 18
William Bartow 19
Lancaster Underhill 20
Alexander Fowler 21
David Huestice 22
Moses Fowler 23
William Standen 24
Moses Hunt 25


Middle Aisle


[Now Moving to the Interior Pews Above the "Middle Aisle" in the Center]


Philip Rhinelander 26
Benjamin Morgan 27
Elisha Shute 28
Daniel Townsend 29
Isaac Ward 30
Maj. Dan'l Williams 31
Israel Honeywill 32
William Fowler 33
Rem Rapeljay 34
William Crawford 35
Caleb Morgan 36
Benjamin Drake 37


Source: Coffey, William Samuel, Commemorative Discourse Delivered at the Centennial Anniversary of the Erection and the Sixtieth of the Consecration of St. Paul's Church, East Chester, West Chester Co., N.Y., October 24th, 1865, p. 43 (NY, NY: Perris & Browne, 1866).


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Biographical Data About Thomas Pell, His brother, John, and His Nephew, John Pell of the Manor of Pelham


A multi-volume work published in 1912 included biographical information regarding Thomas Pell who acquired the lands that later became Pelham and surrounding areas, and his nephew, John Pell (often referenced as "Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham"). The biographical information is excerpted below, followed by a citation to its source.

"John Pell.

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

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

Source: Lowndes, Arthur, ed., Archives of the General Convention Edited by Order of The Commission of Archives by Arthur Lowndes Doctor of Divinity Volume IV The Correspondence of John Henry Hobart September 27, 1804 to August, 1805, pp. 233-34 (NY, NY: Privately Printed 1912).

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Monday, August 13, 2007

1865 Comments of Rev. William Samuel Coffey of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester Regarding the Tenure of Rev. Robert Bolton of Pelham


On October 24, 1865, Rev. William Samuel Coffey of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester delivered a "Commemorative Discourse" during the Centennial Celebration of the erection of the church building. In the discourse, published by Perris & Browne in 1866, Rev. Coffey relates a brief account of the stewardship of the Church by Rev. Robert Bolton of Pelham. The pertinent excerpt appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"The year 1837 is distinguished in the history of our Church, by the settlement over it of a Clergyman, whom the people themselves, unassisted by other connection, undertake to support; and which arrangement, then permanently established, has continued to the present day. It cannot be doubted, that this in large measure was in consequence of Mr. Bolton's* [Footnote * From Page 23 Appears Below] very popular manners, and the attractiveness of his accomplished and widely known family.† [Footnote † from Page 23 Appears Below] The congregations assembling Sunday after Sunday, are described to me as very large, and that Mr. Bolton's effort was a determined and successful one to raise the religous tone of those receiving his ministrations. . . . .

* Mr. Bolton was ordained both Deacon (July 25, 1837) and Priest (November 19, 1837) in our Church. He had been previously a Congregational Minister.

† Mr. Robert Bolton [Jr.], eldest son in this family, is the author of the History of West Chester County. This work in two volumes gives evidence of the most active research, and of the great aptitude of this gentleman for such literary efforts. The County is farther indebted to him for a 'History of the Church' in her several towns, which is read with more than local interest. While the writer of this Discourse, has himself, in all points, consulted original sources, some of which are in his own care, he is only too ready to acknowledge his indebtedness to his esteemed friend, for whatever of guidance he may have received from these volumes in his preparations."

Source: Coffey, William Samuel, Commemorative Discourse Delivered at the Centennial Anniversary of the Erection and the Sixtieth of the Consecration of St. Paul's Church, East Chester, West Chester Co., N.Y., October 24th, 1865, pp. 23-24 (NY, NY: Perris & Browne, 1866).

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Information About William Newman: A Witness to the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654


Yesterday I published to the Historic Pelham Blog an item about "John Ffinch", one of the Englishmen who witnessed, and signed, Thomas Pell's "Treaty" with local Native Americans by which Pell acquired the lands that subsequently became Pelham and surrounding areas. I included in that posting a list of four other such postings I have published to the Blog about the various Englishmen who signed the Treaty.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes a reference to another of those Englishmen: William Newman. The reference also appears in "The Minutes of the Court of Sessions (1657-1696) Westchester County New York" published by the Westchester County Historical Society in 1924.

The reference relates to Newman's appearance as a witness in a lawsuit. It appears that the dispute was between John Archer and two other men: Anthony Gill and Robert Rose. It seems that Gill and Rose accepted money from Archer and that Archer took possession of a particular house and land. The dispute seems to have revolved around whether the transaction was an outright sale of the house and the land or whether the house and the land were merely security for a debt and that once that debt was repaid, possession would be returned to Gill and Rose. Newman testified as follows:

"march the 6th: 1659: the Testimony of william newman sayth that he heard John archare say that if Anthony gill & Robert Rose would pay the monys back again which the said archare had diburst then he would let them have their hous & ground Again"

Source: Fox, Dixon Ryan, ed., The Minutes of the Court of Sessions (1657-1696) Westchester County New York, p. 16 (White Plains, NY: Westchester County Historical Society 1924) (Publications of the Westchester County Historical Society Vol. II, Source Series, Vol. I).

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Information About John Ffinch: A Witness to the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654


On June 27, 1654, Thomas Pell signed a "treaty" with local Native Americans acquiring the lands that became Pelham and surrounding areas. A copy of that treaty, said to be in Thomas Pell's handwriting, exists. It is among the Pell family papers maintained by the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. That document offers some of the best evidence we have of those who knew Thomas Pell.

For about a year I have been researching the lives of those Englishmen who witnessed the agreement on June 27, 1654. An image of that agreement and a transcription of its text is available on the Historic Pelham Web site by clicking here. Among those whose signatures or marks appear on the document as witnesses are "Richard Crabb", "Henry Accorly", "John Ffinch", "William Newman" and others. Inquiry into the backgrounds of these men, hopefully, may shed additional light on Thomas Pell and his purchase.

Periodically I have published on the Historic Pelham Blog a little of the information of the massive amount of information I have assembled about these various Englishmen of the 17th century. For example, see:

Friday, November 03, 2006: More About Richard Crabb, the "Magistrate" Who Witnessed the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654

Friday, September 22, 2006: Henry Accorly: A Witness to the Signing of Thomas Pell's Treaty with Local Native Americans on June 27, 1654

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

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting collects references to "John Ffinch" that appear in The Minutes of the Court of Sessions of Westchester County (1657-1696). The minutes were published by the Westchester County Historical Society in 1924 and were taken from minutes preserved in the "Leggett Papers" maintained by the New York Historical Society. Each reference below is followed by a citation to its source.

It should be noted at the outset that references to "Easttowne" are references to the settlement once known as "Oost-dorp" and subsequently known as the Town of Westchester, now part of the Bronx. The references below tell an intriguing story. It appears that "John Ffinch" (Finch) ran up crushing debts and owed large sums to several citizens of the plantation of Easttowne. As the court repeatedly entered judgments requiring Finch to repay his debts, it appears that he conspired with an acquaintance named Edward Waters in which Waters filed a "false" lawsuit in which he fraudulently alleged that Finch owed him the large sum of twenty four gilders. Once he recovered the sum he surreptitiously returned the sum to Finch. When the court discovered the fraud, it fined Edward Waters twelve guilders.

"Eastowne april ye 5 1657.
The estate of John ffinch Sold at a out crey by vartu of a court Acte at a towns meting at a out crey according to Law [Page 1 / Page 2] to paye a debt dew upon bill to mary Cuggsshall of fluching [Flushing] to the value of twelf poun"

Source: Fox, Dixon Ryan, ed., The Minutes of the Court of Sessions (1657-1696) Westchester County New York, pp. 1-2 (White Plains, NY: Westchester County Historical Society 1924) (Publications of the Westchester County Historical Society Vol. II, Source Series, Vol. I).

"John finch in [torn] march ye I st 57".

Source: Id., p. 2.

"aprill the 5th: 1657
The sentans of the court is that John finch shall pay to mr John fleekes ye debt and damages and coast of couret twelf pounds and his * * * to be prised according to * * * of the bill ten days after the sentancs"

Source: Id., p. 3.

"Eastowne may ye 16: 1657
The estate of John Finch sold at a outcrey at atownes meeting his house and Lot and acomudations Sold for nine pounds (a leven shilings ten cowes at five pounds apeise and a cow sold at five pounds five shilings to pay a true [?] debte to mr ffeekes of flushing"

Source: Id., p. 3.

"September ye I : 1657
Edmund waters plantive against John finch in a aktion of debt to the valu of three pounds ten shilings

it being proved in couert that John finch is in deted to Edward Waters three pounds ten shilings therfor wee order that John finch shall pay to Edward waters three pounds ten shilings and cust of couert which amounts to twelf shilings -- to be performed in ten days
September
ye I : 1657 [Page 5 / Page 6]

A prizal off the goods of John ffinch sold at an out crey [auction] at a townes meting by vartu of a cuart acte to pay a dete dew to Edward waters

november the 24: 1657

to Robert baset £ sh
one Stockcloth [£] 00 [sh] 04 [pence] 02
2 botol rings [£] 00 [sh] 03 [pence] 06

to Richard ponton
one axe [£] 00 [sh] 05 [pence] 03
one iron pot [£] 00 [sh] 5 [pence] 03

To Edmand waters
one pare off tongs [£] 00 [sh] 08 [pence] 00"

Source: Id., pp. 5-6.

June ye 6 : 1658

it is by varto of A coarte acte heare Recorded that Edward waters having planted a sute in coarte in the yeare fifty seven against John ffintch and by ffals hood and defraud hath recuvered twenty foure gilders of John ffintches estate and hath in privut retourned the mony to John fintch againe by asinement of bill there fore wee soe caus and have ffined Edward waters twelfe gilders and to stand heare Recorded for a fals case"

Source: Id., p. 9.

"The 24th of march 1659 John Richesons bill of sale was recorded bearing date the 27th January 1658

know All men whom it may consern that I richard Ponton now inhabitant of West Chester or East Towne now within the jurisdict[ion] of the new netherlands have set over & sould [Page 9 / Page 10] unto John Richeson his heirs Executors Administrators or Asignes the home lot which was laid out to Samuel Westket & After sould to hendrick Cornelius & Roger wiles with All the Acomadations there unto belonging [words crossed out here] or which shall hereafter fall by lot with all Buildings & fencings thereunto belonging I say I the said Richard have sould unto the aforesaid John or his heirs Executors Administratrs or Asignes to have & injoy for ever the Aforesaid Acomadations & As witnes hereof I have set to my hand

Witness
Robert Basset
John ffinsh
Richard Ponton his mark [a cross within a rectangle standing on end]"

Id., p. 10.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Description of an Eyewitness Account of Interior of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester During the Revolutionary War


Following the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776, British and German troops occupied the still unfinished church building on the village green in Eastchester. On October 24, 1865, Rev. William Samuel Coffey of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester delivered a "Commemorative Discourse" during the Centennial Celebration of the erection of the church building. In the discourse, published by Perris & Browne in 1866, Rev. Coffey relates a brief eyewitness account of the church building during the Revolutionary War. That account has been excerpted from the Discourse and appears below, followed by a citation to its source.

"The War of the Revolution discovers to us the town of East Chester, with its people greatly divided in sentiment, a severe sufferer between the contending forces. Brothers separate from brothers -- sons from their fathers. Old Col. Jonathan Fowler with as loyal a hear as ever beat to the toast of the King, in sadness sees his son Theodosius a Captain in the American Army, and in recruiting service on this Green, throw down on the drum head the two shillings, which, received, binds the enlistment of some son of one of his old neighbors. Ward is arrayed against Ward, and the Pells across the Creek, best friends of the Church, take up arms against each other. By both the opposing forces, at several different periods, the new building was used for hospital purposes. An eye-witness, our informant, remembered the appearance of the interior during a British occupation of it. There is no floor, the sleepers are not even down, but along the sides of the building are seen large pieces of timberupon which the sick are sitting or reclining. Alas for the ravages of war! the shingle-sided old Church, now about eighty years old, is its victim, but blessed be God, under no more repulsive circumstances than being made use of for fire-wood for the sick and dying in the hospital. But some possible consequences of the destruction have been avoided; for faithful hands have conveyed away the old Prayer Book and Bible, and the bell, and perhaps Church papers, and have safely buried them from view until peaceful days shall again dawn. In what place can they be concealed with greater propriety than upon that of the Vincents? A tribute, to-day, to those secreting and guarding [Page 7 / Page 8] hands, and thanks to a merciful Providence, which has permitted us to be summoned this morning to the Services by that bell, and to conduct them from the pages of those venerable books."

Source: Coffey, William Samuel, Commemorative Discourse Delivered at the Centennial Anniversary of the Erection and the Sixtieth of the Consecration of St. Paul's Church, East Chester, West Chester Co., N.Y., October 24th, 1865, pp. 7-8 (NY, NY: Perris & Browne, 1866).

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Contained in The McDonald Papers Published in 1926


In 1926, the Westchester County Historical Society published a two-volume set of "The McDonald Papers". The papers were based on 19th century interviews of American Revolutionary War veterans who fought in and around Westchester County. The first volume includes and account of the Battle of Pelham. That account appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Finding it a difficult and uncertain game, to lead his army against the Americans by land, General, now Sir William Howe, determined to make a virtue of necessity, by turning a bad position to the best account. Works were thrown up at several places, along the creek and marsh between Throg's Neck, and the mainland of Westchester, as though he intended to force his way across. These feints were continued for five successive days. During this time, he was concentrating his troops upon Throg's Neck. Three brigades, three battalions of Hessians, and other forces were drawn from Flushing, Staten Island and Harlem, and great quantities of provisions and military stores were brought to the Point. On the sixth day after landing, the preparations of the British general for a movement were complete.

Before the approach of day on the morning of the 18th, Sir William reemberked several corps in flat boats, which passed around Throg's Neck, and landed at Pelham Point, below the mouth of Hutchinson's River. The royal guide, for a while suspected of treason, had found means to reassure the British commander of his fidelity. He accompanied the advance guard upon the present occasion.

Among the first of the King's officers that trod the shores [Page 14 / age 15] of Pelham, was Captain George Harris of the grenadiers, who in after days became General Lord Harris, and was celebrated as the conqueror of Seringapatam. In a letter to his uncle, written about this time, he says: 'On the 18th of October at one o'clock in the morning, the van of the army, consisting of the light infantry and grenadiers, embarked at Frog's Neck for the continent, and landed without opposition.'

Soon after daylight, the Americans who were at the Westchester causeway, found that the main body of the British army at Throg's Neck, was under arms, and seemed to be moving toward the pass at the head of the creek. Heath and Washington were soon upon the spot. The division commanded by the former, got ready for action and took up a position which appeared well suited for opposing the enemy. Presently, however, it was found that the Royal forces were marching to the east side of Throg's Neck, where they embarked on board their flat boats, crossing Eastchester Bay, and landing at Pelham Point, with their artillery and baggage, a few hours subsequently.

Colonel Glover of General Lee's division, with a brigade, which he temporarily commanded, lay at this time at Milesquare to watch the enemy's movements. The brigade consisted of four regiments, commanded by Colonels Read, Shepherd, Baldwin and by Glover himself, and numbered in all, less than eight hundred men. Early in the morning, Colonel Glover ascended an eminence that commanded a view of the Sound, and from which he was in the habit of reconnoitring the hostile forces with a telescope. He discovered at once that the King's fleet in the East River, was under way. In a short time upward of two hundred boats filled with troops, and formed into four grand divisions, embarked from the upper part of Throg's Neck and stood across Eastchester Bay in the direction of Pelham Point. Although a young and inexperienced soldier, Glover saw the urgency of the case and acted promptly. He made his drums beat to arms, and sent an express with intelligence of the movement to General Lee, who was three miles off. He then put himself at the head of his brigade, and with about seven hundred [Page 15 / Page 16] and fifty men, and three field pieces, hastened toward Pelham, to oppose the landing of the enemy.

A detachment of British light infantry, preceded by a small vanguard, was upon Pelham Heights before the American colonel had reached Hutchinson's River. He instantly detached a captain's guard of forty men, with directions to march rapidly and stop the enemy's advance. These orders were executed with celerity and skill, the men running the whole distance. When they approached the enemy, the latter halted. Having by this movement brought the British forces to a stand, Glover left his field pieces behind, upon a hill, crossed the river near Pell's bridge, already dismantled, and ascended the Heights of Pelham. He then made the most advantageous disposition of his followers. Colonel Read's regiment was posted on the left of the road leading to Pelham Point, with Shepherd's and Baldwin's in the rear upon his right. These troops for the most part, were well covered by stone walls. They were supported by Glover's regiment, which was stationed as a body of reserve, under the command of Captain Curtis.

With a modest appreciation of his own ability and a deep sense of the responsibilities about to be encountered, Glover watched in vain for the approach of General Lee or some superior of more experience than himself. The colonel was left to his own resources, and prompt action was requisite. He then rode forward to his advance guard, and led it against the enemy's detachment. When within fifty yards, he received the hostile fire, without the loss of a man, returned it instantly, brought down four of the British and maintained his ground till they had exchanged five rounds. By this time the Americans had two killed and several wounded, while they were much outnumbered by the British, whose two detachments having united, advanced to the charge with bayonets. Glover now ordered a retreat, and his bold captain led the men back without further loss. The enemy pursued with loud huzzas. In great excitement and some disorder, they ran forward to overtake the captain's guard, and in this state approached within thirty yards of the spot where Read's [Page 16 / Page 17] regiment lay undiscovered behind a stonewall. His men then rose up and fired a volley which sent the King's light infantry back to their main army at the Point.

The Americans remained in nearly the same position for about two hours. At the end of this time, a strong force approached, under Brigadier-general Leslie and Sir William Erskine, with seven pieces of artillery. Colonel Read was posted under cover as before. When the King's troops were about forty yards from him, the whole battalion again rose up and fired. The enemy halted, and returned the fire until seven rounds had been exchanged, when Read retreated and formed again, in the rear and on the left of Colonel Shepherd. The Royal forces shouted and pushed on, until they reached the post occupied by the latter, behind a thick double stone wall. Shepherd now ordered his men to rise and discharge their muuskets by grand divisions. By this means he kept up an incessant fire, and maintained his ground for a long while; causing his assailants to retreat several times a short distance off, where they formed again and returned to the combat. 'Once,' says Colonel Glover, 'they retured so far, that a soldier of Colonel Shepherd's leaped over the wall and took a hat and canteen off a captain, that lay dead on the ground they had retreated from.'

The officer thus despoiled, was Captain Evelyn of the light infantry belonging to the Fourth regiment, a gallant youth, not then dead but mortally wounded, who at the head of his company, was foremost of the enemy, when first they attacked Colonel Shepherd.

It was not long before the superior numbers of the enemy enabled them to dislodge Shepherd from his position. After their last repulse, they returned in greater force, brought forward their field pieces and completely outflanked the Americans, who were compelled to retreat and form in the rear of Baldwin's regiment. But they had now retired beyond the old Pell house upon the Heights, where the descending ground gave the enemy an advantage, and Colonel Glover found it necessary to retreat down the hill. He then forded Hutchinson's River and ascended the opposite height where he [Page 17 / Page 18] had left his artillery. The enemy halted upon the commanding eminence they had gained, placed their artillery in battery and commenced a cannonade which was answered, and was maintained by both sides until the approach of night. At dark, Glover received orders to take a new position in advance of the enemy. Here the weary soldiers of his brigade, after a hard day's fight, lay all night long as a picket guard in the open air by the roadside, without food or refreshment. The next morning they were relieved, and marched back to their encampment, where they broke a fast of more than twenty-four hours. Colonel Glover says, he had eight men killed, and thirteen wounded in the action. Some letters from officers of his brigade make the loss greater. From returns made to the British War Office, it would seem, that the King's troops had about eleven men killed, and forty-four wounded, the loss falling principally upon the First battalion of light infantry and on the Seventy-first regiment, the former belonging to Leslie's brigade, and the latter to that under Sir William Erskine.

The only American officer dangerously wounded, was the brave Colonel Shepherd, who received a musket ball in the throat, and underwent a long and painful confinement at Northcastle near Whiteplains, where he was immediately sent, for surgical treatment. Of the British officers, Captain Evelyn of the light infantry, belonging to the Fourth regiment was killed, and Lieutenant-colonel Musgrove and Lieutenant Rutherford were wounded.

General Lee reviewed Glover's brigade the next day, and returned thanks to both officers and soldiers for their adroit and daring conduct throughout the action. General Washington at the same time bestowed high praise upon them in his general orders.

The affair of Pelham Heights was in fact a stand made by Glover's small brigade, against the main body of the British army, and was conducted throughout by the Americans with the greatest skill, coolness and intrepidity. As the story of the skirmish spread abroad, fame exaggerated its importance, and when the news reached the headquarters of the Northern [Page 18 / Page 19] army, General Gates on the 27th, in the general orders of the day, dictated as follows, viz.: 'All the troops off duty to be under arms at one o'clock at their respective alarm posts, when, upon a signal given by the firing a cannon from the northeast angle of the covert way of the old fort, the whole will give three cheers for the glorious success with which it has pleased Providence to bless the arms of the United States on the 18th instant, in defeating the Army of the enemy near Eastchester.'

After this action, the British army marched across the Manor of Pelham, and encamped with the right wing near the village of New Rochelle, while the left extended to Hutchinson's River.

On the next day, the Americans extended their left, in order to keep in advance of the King's forces, and Washington with the main body of his army commenced moving up along the west side of the Bronx. He determined, if the enemy persisted in their attempt upon his rear, to concentrate his troops at once, in a fortified camp at Whiteplains. The retention of Fort Washington having been determined upon in the council of war, it now becamse necessary to occupy it with a strong garrison. General Heath was directed to leave behind one of his regiments for the defense of Fort Independence.

Stores to a large amount, intended for the American army, were at this time deposited in and near the Church in the village of Eastchester. General Lee was anxious to secure them before they fell into the hands of the enemy, and accordingly, sent for Colonel Glover on Sunday the 20th, communicated the fact to him, and requested him to devise some plan for bringing them off. Glover found that the enemy had not yet taken possession of them. He sent out to the neighboring farmhouses, pressed fifteen wagons, and when night came, went to the village with his whole brigade, and carried off two hundred barrels of pork and flour. They had to approach so near the British camp upon the occasion, that Glover's advance parties heard distinctly the conversation of the enemy and the music of their bands. The [Page 19 / Page 20] Royal forces received information, unfortunately, of Glover's exploit, and early the next morning, secured the residue of the stores.

About this time the King's army was joined by a strong force of light dragoons, consisting of the greater part of the Sixteenth regiment under Lieutenant-colonel Harcourt, and the whole of the Seventeenth, under Lieutenant-colonel Burch.

On the 21st, the right and centre of the Royal army moved to a position upon the high grounds, about a mile and a half to the northward of New Rochelle village, where they encamped for four days, on both sides of the road leading to Whiteplains. The British commander-in-chief left Lieutenant-general De Heister to occuy the former encampment for the present with three brigades, two of which were Hessians."

Source: Hadaway, William S., ed., The McDonald Papers Part I, pp. 14-20 (White Plains, NY: Westchester County Historical Society 1926) (Publications of the Westchester County Historical Society Volume IV).

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Monday, August 06, 2007

1714 Letter Reporting on the Establishment of the Church at East Chester Built in 1692


For more nearly two centuries after its first settlement, the sparsely populated rural settlement that came to be known as Pelham had no church of its own. Many Pelham residents traveled quite a distance to attend the church in East Chester. A church building was constructed in East Chester in 1692. That structure eventually was replaced by the structure known today as Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site.

In 1714, a report was issued to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in England describing the construction of the church in East Chester in 1692. That letter is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"(I) An Account of the building of the churches at East and Westchester enclosed in Mr. Bartow's letter of 14 April, 1714. (Letter Book S. P. G., IX., p. 226):

'May it please the venerable and honorable society for P. G. we whose names are subscribed doe hereby certify that the church of Westchester was built by a rate layed and levided on the inhabitants of the town in proportion to their estates in the year of our Lord 1700 and that Mr. Morgan a Presbyterian minister of East Chester did sometimes come to preach in it until such time as Mr. Bartow came and took possession of it in the year 1702 since which time it has been supplied by him. We also testifie that the church of East Chester was built in the year of our Lord 1692 by subscription of the inhabitants of the said town and that Mr Matthews a Presbiterian minister for about 3 years and after him Mr. Morgan a Presbiterian minister did preach till such time as Mr Bartow began to preach unto us in the year 1703 since which time it has been in his possession and he comes and preaches at East Chester once in 4 weeks during the winter and once in a week during the space of 6 months in the summer And we further testify that the town of East Chester was made a distinct parish from West Chester in the year 1700. Signed Joseph Hunt, Justice & Ch. Ward., West Chester; Thos Spel, Justice & Vestryman, Pelham; Noah Barton, Justice and Vestryman, Yonkers; Miles Oakley, Justice & Vestryman, West Chester; Dan Clark clerk D. Com. West Chester; Israel Honeyman Junr, Vestryman; Jno Drake of East Chester, Justice; Thos Pinear of East Chester, Justice; Jeremiah Fowler, Church Warden of East Chester; Isaac Taylor, Vestryman; Willm Pinckney, Vestryman.'"

Source: Briggs, Charles Augustus, American Presbyterianism Its Origin and Early History Together with an Appendix of Letters and Documents, Many of Which Have Recently Been Discovered, Appendix, p. lxv (NY, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons 1885).

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Abstract of Sale of Lands of Joshua Pell of Pelham Manor by the Commissioners of Forfeiture in the Southern District of New York State in August, 1784


Following the close of the Revolutionary War, the "Commissioners of Forfeitures in the Southern District of New York State" conducted sale proceedings involving lands of those who were not loyal to the Patriot cause during the War. On August 23, 1784, the Commissioners of Forfeitures sold a 146-acre farm located in the Manor of Pelham that once had belonged to Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. Pell served as an officer in the Bugoyne campaigns during the War. (To read his diary, see October 2, 2006: The Revolutionary War Diary of Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham.)

Below is a transcription of an abstract of the Commissioners' records of that sale from abstracts published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record in April, 1928.

"ABSTRACTS OF SALES BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF FORFEITURES IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK STATE

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COPIED AND CONTRIBUTED BY THERESA HALL BRISTOL. (MRS. ROBERT DEWEY BRISTOL), Life Member and Member of the Publication Committee of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

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* * *

August, 1784. . . .

No. 3. Sold to Isaac Guion of the City of New York, Merchant; a farm in Manor of Pelham; bounded N. by James Pell; W. by Eastchester Creek; S. by Edward Pell; e. by lands forfeited by conviction of John Pell; 146 a.; forfeited by the conviction of Joshua Pell [excepting and reserving thereout to Phebe Pell, widow and relict of Joshua Pell late of Westchester Co., farmer, her right of Dower]."

Source: Bristol, Theresa Hall, Abstracts of Sales by the Commissioners of Forfeitures in the Southern District of New York State in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. LIX, No. 2, pp. 108-09 (NY, NY: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, April 1928).

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Biography of Arthur Middleton Hunter of Pelham, A Descendant of John Hunter of Hunter's Island


Arthur Middleton Hunter was a descendant of John Hunter of Hunter's Island in Pelham. Like his noted ancestor, he became a noted amateur horseman who enjoyed horse racing and kept a stable of noted horses. Several years after his death in 1918, a brief biography summarizing his life appeared in a publication entitled "The Historical Register: A Record of People Places and Events in American History Illustrated with Portrait Plates". That biography appears immediately below.

"Arthur Middleton Hunter

ARTHUR MIDDLETON HUNTER was born at Annieswood, Eastchester Bay, Westchester County, June 19th, 1856; son of John Hunter, who in the sixties, raced a stable of horses in partnership with W. R. Travers, and Ann Manigault Middleton Hunter. The first of the family in this country was John Hunter, who came to America from Scotland with his two sons, Robert and George, in 1767. The two sons becamse successful merchants in New York. Ruth Hunter, widow of Robert, married John Broome, at one time Governor of New York. The next in line, John Hunter, married Elizabeth Desbrosses, and their son, Elias Desbrosses Hunter, was the grandfather of Arthur Middleton Hunter.

Henry Middleton was president of the first Continental Congress, and his brother, Arthur Middleton, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Arthur Middleton Hunter was educated at Hanover Academy. Shortly after graduation he entered Wall Street as a stock broker, and became widely known as an amateur sportsman. When races for amateur jockeys formed a part of the Coney Islnd [sic] Jockey Club and Jerome Park programmes, Mr. Arthur Hunter was considered the best of the gentleman riders on the flat, and many of the amateur fixtures of that period were credited to his skill in the saddle. He was the first owner of the great race horse, Eole. He was a member of the Union Club and the New York Athletic Club.

He married, June 6th, 1883, Katharine Remsen daughter of Frederick Gebhard and Mary Ann Leverich [Page 116 / Page 117] Schuchardt, of New York. Henry Remsen, her great-great-grandfather, was private secretary to Thomas Jefferson, and was president of the Manhattan Bank in 1755. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter had two sons: Arthur Middleton and Frederick Heyward Hunter. Both sons served in the United States Navy during the World War.

Mr. Hunter died April 25th, 1918. A man whose love for his country, constructive ability and integrity of purpose were constantly in evidence to those who were close to him, and moreover his kindly qualities endeared him to all his associates."

Source: The Historical Register: A Record of People Places and Events in American History Illustrated with Portrait Plates, pp. 116-17 (NY, NY: Edwin C. Hill 1920).

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

1805 Real Estate Advertisement Offering Prevost Estate in Pelham for Sale


A small advertisement appeared in the April 24, 1805 issue of the Morning Chronicle published in New York City offering the Prevost estate for sale in Pelham. The pertinent excerpt of the advertisment appears immediately below.

"BY A. & R. S. BARTOW, . . .

At private Sale, . . .

A valuable and pleasantly situated piece of land in the town of Pelham, in Westchester county, about 17 miles from this city, containing 47 1.2 acres, bounded on East Chester Creek, lies opposite a public landing from whence market and passage boats go to N York weekly, and within half mile of the turnpike road, the greater part of it is in good stone fence, a large portion of fresh and salt meadow, an excellent and fruitful apple orchard, and an elegant building spot, commanding a view of the Sound and the adjacent towns. The creek abounds with oysters, clams, fish and fowls, and is a very agreeable situation for a gentleman's country seat. For further particulars, apply to Frederick Prevost, near the premises, or at the auction room."

Source: By A. & R.S. Bartow, Morning Chroicle [New York, NY], Apr. 24, 1805, Issue 787, p. 3, col. 5.

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