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.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Charges in 1808 Against Lieutenant-Colonel David J. Pell of Pelham that He "Indulges in Inebriety and Habitual Drunkeness"

Occasionally I have posted information regaring David Jones Pell of the Manor of Pelham, a Revolutionary War Officer who lived in the home now known as "Pelhamdale", a portion of which still stands as part of the home located today at 45 Iden Avenue in the Village of Pelham Manor. Below are two examples of several postings that provide information about David J. Pell:

Thurs., October 26, 2006: Genealogical Data Regarding David Jones Pell of the Manor of Pelham, Revolutionary War Officer.

Mon., October 15, 2007: Town Proclamation Recognizes Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of Pelhamdale at 45 Iden Avenue.

Despite Pell's illustrious pedigree and career, as well as his service during the Revolutionary War, it seems that in 1808 he may have been the "David J. Pell" brought up on a charge of indulging in "inebriety and habitual drunkenness". The text of the charge appears below with further research necessary to determine its resolution.


G.O.: Headquarters, Albany, 16th Feby., 1808.

Application having been made to His Excellency, the Commander in Chief by Major Richard Ward of General (Thomas) Carpenter's Brigade of Militia in the County of Westchester for a Court of Inquiry into the conduct of Lieut. Col. David J. Pell on the following charges, viz:

1st, That the aforesaid Lieut. Col. David J. Pell, did in manner following treat this complaint in an unofficer and ungentleman-like manner, to wit: In a public store in the presence of a Number of Citizens in New Rochelle, in the County aforesaid, some time in the Month of November last past, by charging the aforesaid Major Ward with crimes an Offences which would justify an arrest; the said Lieutenant Col. Pell did not then, nor at any time since arrest, or furnish as the Law requires, the said Major Ward with a written charge of any Crimes or Offences, thereby degrading him in the estimation of his fellow citizens without affording him the means of defence;

2nd, That the sai Lieut. Col. Pell indulges in inebriety and habitual drunkenness, degrading to the office which he holds and injurious to the feelings of his brother officers; [Page 174 / Page 175]

The first Charge here adduced is not of sufficient weight to justify a Court of Inquiry to take any notice of it, and therefore is dismissed.

On the second Charge a Court of Inquiry is appointed, consisting of Lieut. Col's (Pierre) Van Cortlandt, (William) Vail, and (Joseph) Benedict of the Westchester Brigade, Lieutenant Col. (Peter) Van Zandt of the New York brigade of Infantry and of Major (Jackson) Odel of the Westchester Squadron of Cavalry, and will meet at such time and place as the Major Gen'l. of the first Division of Infantry shall direct and will report their proceedings to the Commander in Chief without delay.

By order of His Excellency:

Sol. Van Rensselaer, Adjt. Genl."

Source: Hastings, Hugh, ed., Daniel D. Tompkins Governor of New York 1807-1817 Military - Vol. I with an Introduction by Hugh Hastings, State Historian, pp. 174-75 (NY and Albany: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers, 1898).

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