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, April 01, 2014

Significant Discovery: In 1680 and Before, John Pell Sought to Colonize Pelham With Settlers

Through separate purchases, I recently have assembled a set of the published papers of New York Provincial Governor Edmund Andros published as part of The New York Historical Manuscripts Series (THE ANDROS PAPERS 1674-1676, THE ANDROS PAPERS 1677-1678, and THE ANDROS PAPERS 1679-1680).  As I suspected, these three volumes have turned out to contain a wealth of information concerning the history of Pelham.  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog details a significant reference contained in THE ANDROS PAPERS 1679-1680.  It reveals that much earlier than previously thought, John Pell apparently was engaged in efforts to colonize his lands with new settlers.  

On December 23, 1680, a man named Thomas Kyrke (i.e., Kirk) submitted a petition seeking redress from New York Provincial Governor General Edmund Andros.  Kyrke alleged that John Pell, the nephew of Pelham Founder Thomas Pell who inherited all of Thomas Pell's lands and property after Thomas Pell's death in late September, 1669, reneged on a promise to allow Kyrke, his eldest son and their family to settle on lands in Pelham that Kyrke believed were special.  

Kyrke claimed in his petition that he was a poor petitioner ("poore pettons") who had received multiple letters written by John Pell containing "Large promisses" to induce him and his eldest son, together with their families, to settle on Pell's lands in the Manor of Pelham.  According to the petition, Kyrke claimed that Pell had promised that Kyrke could have all the upland and meadow at a place called Whitlock's Crook (actually, "Whttlocks Krooke"), a place name now lost in the mists of time.  Kyrke alleged that John Pell further promised to include with the land for Kyrke an area that included a little creek lying to the south of Whitlock's Crook.  Thomas Kyrke and his wife implored Governor Andros to enforce John Pell's promises and allow them and their family to settle on Pell's land.  The entire petition is quoted below.

The petition is significant because it suggests that well before Pell sold to Jacob Leisler the lands that became today's New Rochelle in 1688, Pell was trying to market portions of his lands and to encourage others to settle on them nearby.  Previously, one of the earliest instances of John Pell attempting to sell portions of his land was Pell's sale of today's City Island to John Smith of Brooklyn in 1685.  After Smith's death, John Pell purchased back the land by making a payment of 50 pounds to Smith's widow and her new husband to "void" the earlier sale.  See Fri., Oct. 20, 2006:  John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham, Sells City Island and Then Buys It Back.

It is believed that by the time that Thomas Kyrke and his wife filed their petition, John Pell was no longer living on today's Pelham Neck but had built his own manor house on a spot either just southwest of, or nearly on the location of, today's Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum on Shore Road in Pelham Bay Park.  

Portrait of John Pell of the Manor of Pelham.

Below is a transcription of the Kyrkes' petition, followed by a citation to its source.



To the Right Honorable Sir Edmond Andrewes Governour Generall of all His Majesties Terrettey In Amerrica etc.

The Humble pettion of Thomas Kyrke and wife

Humbly Sheweth

That your Honors poore pettons being by Severall Letters Under our Brother Pells hand which Cane bee produced For our Coming to Amarica and Large promisses for them of great preferment both to mee and my eldest son:  and the sattillment both of House and Land That wee should all Live Comfortable Apon and likewise Mr. Pell hath Declared bee fore wittnes That wee should have all the upland and Meedow to a place Called Whttlocks Krooke and soe to a Littill Creke Lyeing South etc. which the wittness have given under his hand Soe your poore pettoner with his wife and Childeren humbly Baggs that your honour would bee pleased to stand for theire Sattillment for them and theire Heires for Ever and wee shall Ever praye as In duty Bound


Tho:  Kirks Peticion
about Land att Mr. Pells.
December 23th 1680.
wrott to Mr. Pell by the
Governors Order concerning it.

The Humble
pittion of Thomas 

Source:  Christoph, Peter R. & Christoph, Florence A., eds., The Andros Papers 1679-1680 Files of the Provincial Secretary of New York During the Administration of Governor Sire Edmund Andros 1674-1680, p. 449 (Syracuse, NY:  Syracuse University Press, 1991) (The New York Historical Manuscript Series).  

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I have written extensively about John Pell, the nephew of Pelham founder Thomas Pell.  John Pell inherited from Thomas Pell, who died without children of his own, all lands and properties including the Manor of Pelham.  For a few of the many, many examples of such writings, see:

Mon., May 10, 2010:  1675 Sale of Horses Located in Norwalk by John Pell of "Ann Hook's Neck".

Mon., Oct. 12, 2009:  More Evidence that John Pell Died Well After 1702 or 1703 When Some Say He Died in a Boating Accident on Long Island Sound.

Wed., Nov. 7, 2007:  A Secondary Source To Follow Up On Regarding When John Pell, Nephew of Thomas Pell, Died.

Tue., Aug. 14, 2007:  Biographical Data About Thomas Pell, His brother, John, and His Nephew, John Pell of the Manor of Pelham.

Thu., Apr.26, 2007:  John Pell Obtains Permission to Allow Native Americans On His Land to Use Canoes in 1676.

Wed., Apr. 25, 2007:  1675 Order by Court of Assizes and Consequent Proclamation Ordering Native Americans to Remove from the Manor of Pelham.

Tue., Apr. 24, 2007:  John Pell Ordered Not To Sell Powder and Shot to Native Americans For a Time in 1675.

Mon., Apr. 23, 2007:  An Armed English Sloop Patroled the Sound Near Native Americans Settled in the Manor of Pelham in 1675.

Fri., Apr. 20, 2007:  1675 Order by Governor's Council Directing John Pell to Take Daily Account of Indians on His Land.

Fri., Apr. 06, 2007:  The Deed Reflecting John Pell's Sale of the Lands that Became New Rochelle.

Fri., Dec. 29, 2006:  Native Americans Ordered to Remove from the Manor of Pelham in 1675.

Fri., Dec. 22, 2006:  Brief Biographies of Thomas Pell, First Lord of the Manor of Pelham, and His Nephew, John, Published in 1912.

Mon., Nov. 20, 2006:  A Biography of John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham, Published in 1861

Mon., Oct. 23, 2006:  More Early Evidence That Thomas Pell Had a House Later Used by His Nephew, John Pell, on Rodman's Neck.

Fri., Oct. 20, 2006:  John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham, Sells City Island and Then Buys It Back.

Thu., Oct. 19, 2006:  The Governor of the Colony of New York Visits John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham in 1672.

Thu., Sep. 14, 2006:  Records of the Service of John Pell, 2nd Lord of the Manor of Pelham, in the New York House of Representatives in the 1690s.

Tue., Sep. 12, 2006:  Evidence Sheds Light on Location of An Early Home of John Pell, 2d Lord of the Manor of Pelham.

Mon., May 22, 2006:  Early References to Pelham Roads in the Road Commissioners' Book Maintained in the Westchester County Archives.

Thu., May 19, 2005:  Scholarly Book About the Father of John Pell, 2nd Lord of the Manor of Pelham, Is Published.

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