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, October 07, 2009

1656 Native American Deed for Fairfield, Connecticut Lands Signed by Thomas Pell as a Witness

On March 20, 1656, almost two years after purchasing from Native Americans the lands that became Pelham and surrounding areas, Thomas Pell signed a different deed with Native Americans by which he witnessed a purchase by settlers of Fairfield, Connecticut of lands still claimed by local Native Americans. The text of the deed appears below (with a brief commentary), followed by a citation to its source.

Whereas there have been several Indians who have made claims to much of ye land yt ye Town of Fairfield have & doe possess, ye Town of Fairfield having taken ye matter into consideration, ordered & appointed Alexandre Knowles, Henry Jackson, Francis Purdy, with several others, should treat with Poquanuck Indians concerning, & upon ye treaty with those Indians, whose names are underwritten in ye behalf of all ye Poquan- [Page 93 / Page 94] uck Indians, they have agreed as followeth: First, they owne ye land yt ye Town is built upon, from ye Creeke yt ye Tide-mill of Fairfield, South Westward is called Sasqua which they owne, have been purchased from ye Indians, & is now ye Englishe's Land: Secondly, ye sd. Indians have acknowledged, consented to to & granted yt all that tract of land which they call Unceway (which is from the above sd. Creek Eastward unto ye bounds between Fairfield & Stratford) from ye sea, to run into ye Country seven or eight Miles for ye future it shall bee ye land & propriety of ye Inhabitants of ye Town of Fairfield: Giving & granting to ye sd. Town of Fairfield all ye above sd. tract of Land called Unceway with all ye Creekes, Rivers, Ponds, Woods & privileges thereto belonging or appertaining to bee to ye sd. Fairfield, ye Inhabitants thereof & to their heirs forevever, quietly to enjoy & possesse it: & they doe promise & engage yt neither they nor their heirs, nor any other Indians shall for ye future molest or trouble ye sd. English in ye quiet possession of ye sd. land: Only it is to bee noted yt ye field which ye Indians now possesse, called ye Indian field, which is a small neck of land or ye other side of ye Creek, is excepted, ye Indians still keeping their propriety in that small neck or field: ye Indians are to have ye priviledge of killing deer within ye above sd. tract of land: only they are not to set any traps within ye sd. tract of land: In witness of all which ye sd. Indians have hereunto set to their hands this 20th March, 1656.

Whereas ye above sd. Land is granted to ye town of Fairfield by ye sd. Indisans, we also manifest or respects unto them, yt wee doe engage upon sufficient warning, to cart them their stuffe for them to erect & build a fort, & upon this consideration ye sd. Indians have acknowledged ye above grant.

Umpeter Nosset, X his mark.
Nimrod, or Pocunnoe, X his mark.
Matamuck, X his mark.
Authonyes, alias Lotashau, X his mark.
Washau, X his mark.

Signed & delivered in presence & witnesses of us,
Alander Knowles.
Thomas Pell.
Henry Jackson.
Nathan Gold.
George Hull.

This is a true copy according to the original, compared by me & recorded this 25. February, 1685.
NATHAN GOLD, Recorder. * [Footnote * reads as follows: "Book A, Town Deeds, p. 437. It has been thought by some that Old Fort was situated on or near the Pequonnock River; but as that part of Pequonnock belonged to Stratford, the above deed of the purchase of that part of Pequonnock west of Mutton lane and Golden hill, with the testimony of William Wheeler's journal, who received his information from his grandfather, locates this fort on the creek running out of Black Rock harbor."]

This deed embraced all the lands lying west of the Stratford bounds, near the Pequonnock river, to the Sasco river, which runs between the Sasqua or Sasco fields and Frost point; and north seven or eight miles into the country."

Source: Schenck, Elizabeth Hubbell, The History of Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut from the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818, Vol. I, pp. 93-94 (NY, NY: Published by the Author 1889).

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