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, November 05, 2014

A Brief Biography of John Pell of the Manor of Pelham

John Pell, often referenced by members of the Pell family as the "Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham," was the nephew and principal legatee of Thomas Pell who bought lands that became the Manor of Pelham from local Native Americans on June 27, 1654.  Born in England in 1643, John Pell traveled to America in 1670 following his uncle's death to claim his inheritance that included the lands that formed the Manor of Pelham.  

John Pell became a notable and important figure in Westchester County before his death in about 1712.  (Many sources claim he died in a boating accident in 1702, although that does not appear to be the case.)  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes a brief biography with genealogical information for John Pell.  I have written extensively about John Pell.  Accordingly, at the close of today's post I have included links to two dozen previous articles about John Pell.

Portrait of John Pell.

"John Pelll, generally styled Sir John Pell, the Second Lord of the Manor, mentioned before, was born in London February 3, 1643, and was carefully brought up and educated under the supervision of his learned father.  When the news of his uncle's death reached London, he sailed at once for America, bearing proper credentials to prove his claim to the estate -- among them was a letter from Lord Brereton to Governor John Winthrop of Connecticut.  

October 11 -- 1670, Governor Winthrop wrote to 'William -- Lord Brereton, at his house in Deans Yard, Westminster, London.' 

'Right Honorable

I was at Boston in the Massachusetts Colony when Mr. John Pell arrived there.  By whom I had the great favour of your Lordships letter.  He came into that Harbour very opportunely for the expedition of his business; For one Mr. John Bankes a neighbour of Mr. Thomas Pell deceased; and one of those whom he had intrusted with the estate was in a vessel of Fairfield (the place where Mr. Pell had lived) returning thither; and met the ship coming in; & came back with Mr. John Pell to Boston:  Where I spake with them both; & upon the reading of your Lordships letter, informed Mr. Bankes, that I had full assurance from your Lordship, and divers others, that the person there present, was Mr. John Pell, & he to whom Mr. Thomas Pell, deceased, had given his estate.  And that very day Mr. John Pell imbarqued with Mr. Bankes and sailed towards Fairfield, carrying also with him my letters to the Magistrate and others there, certifying the same to them concerning him, with desires of all good loving respects to him and their helpfulnesse as his occasions should require, and that order might be taken forthwith for his quiet possession of that Estate.  I have heard since of his safe arrival and welcome there; and that he hath accordingly the possession of the lands and houses and goods to which he had right, both at Fairfield, and Westchester; which is a place neere New York; where his Uncle had also a considerable plantation, with good accommodations belonging to it.'

The Governor and Secretary of the Colony of Connecticut issued a certificate of recognition, which read as follows:

'At a meeting of the governor and assistants in Hartford, Dec. 9th 1670, upon the desire of Sir John Pell, the governor and assistants thought good hereby to certify whom it may concern, that they are fully satisfied by several letters and testimonials that the governor hath received from persons of honor in England, that the bearer of them, Sir John Pell, Sewer [sic, actually "Server"] in ordinary to His Majesty, and son of Dr. Pell of London, is the undoubted nephew of Mr. Thos. Pell, late of Fairfield, and the person whom he hath madfe his heir in his last will and testament, to whom the inventory in trust ought to surrender the estate bequeathed to him by the said Mr. Thos. Pell, deceased and the just account thereof according to his will.  Signed by order of the governor and assistants, per me,

Secretary of His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut.'

John Pell disposed of his property in Fairfile and lived in his Manor -- the house being located near the stone building now occupied by the Garden Club of America.  He was appointed the first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas 1688 and the first member of the Provincial Assembly for Westchester 1691.  He was commissioned Captain of Horse 1684 and Major 1692, and was a Vestryman and Warden in St. Peters Church.  In 1689 he sold to Jacob Leisler what is now the City of New Rochelle as a Colony for the Huguenots driven from their City of that name in France by the revocation of the edict of Nantes.  The Lord of the Manor gave 100 acres of land to the French Church for its support and maintenance.

John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor, was drowned in the Sound from his yacht about 1702 [sic], leaving by his wife Rachael, daughter of Philip Pinckney, his eldest son Thomas, who became the Third Lord of the Manor.  He was born in Pelham Manor about 1675, and the date of his will is September 3, 1739.  He succeeded his father as Vestryman in the church and held other offices of honor.  He married Anna, by tradition said to be the daughter of the reigning Indian Sachem Ninham-Wampage or Annahock.  As his sons grew up he deeded them large tracts of land, some of the houses on which are still standing -- my great great great grandfather Joshua Pell receiving Hunter's Island and several hundred acres on the mainland.  

On Thomas Pell's death, he willed the Manor property to his son Joseph Pell, the Fourth Lord of the Manor.  He was born 1715 (probably the youngest son), married Phebe Dean; died 1752, and with his wife is buried in the railed-in enclosure on the Bartow place near the site of the Manor House.  As mentioned before this property is in charge of the Garden Club of America.  His son Thomas Pell, born 1744 and married Margaret Bartow, was the last owner of the property, which later passed into the possession of the Bartow family.

Of the seven sons of Thomas Pell, Third Lord of the Manor, only Thomas and Joshua have living male descendants, so far as I know.  Some years ago, Mr. Elbert Roosevelt of Pelham Manor, then over ninety years of age who remembered the English warships in the War of 1812, told me that Lord Pell had been bed ridden for many years, when a mad dog ran in his room, he jumped out of the window and climbed a tree for safety, and then enjoyed several years of active life."

Source:  Pell, Howland, The Pell Manor -- Address Prepared for the New York Branch of The Order of Colonial Lords of Manors in America, pp. 12-16 (Baltimore, MD:  Privately Printed, 1917).

*          *          *          *          *

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., Nov. 3, 2014:  More on the 17th Century Location of the Manor Home of John Pell of the Manor of Pelham.  

Mon., Oct. 6, 2014:  Executive Council of Province of New York Urges Settlement of John Pell's Boundary Dispute with John Richbell on January 18, 1671/72.

Mon., Jul. 14, 2014:  References to John Pell in the Papers of Edmond Andros, Governor of the Province of New York, 1674-1676.  

Tue., Apr. 1, 2014:  Significant Discovery:  In 1680 and Before, John Pell Sought to Colonize Pelham With Settlers.

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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