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, February 24, 2015

Location of Lot in Fairfield Purchased by Thomas Pell With Purchase Recorded in 1653

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog will attempt to pinpoint the approximate location of a building lot and home purchased by Pelham founder Thomas Pell in Fairfield (in today's Connecticut) in 1653.  

Immediately below is a map published in 1880 showing the ownership of lots in Fairfield in the mid-17th century.  Captioned as "THE FAIRFIELD PLAT BETWEEN 1648 AND 1657," the map is accompanied by text reflecting sales of various of the lots over time including the purchase of one by Thomas Pell in 1653.  Immediately following the image of the map, I have transcribed the accompanying text.  Thereafter I have included commentary in an effort to pinpoint the location of Pell's lot within the confines of today's Fairfield.

Source:  Source:  Schenck, Elizabeth Hubbell, The History of
Vol. I, p. 65 (NY, NY:  Published by the Author, 1889).
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

Immediately below is an excerpt of the text that accompanies the map immediately above:

"HAVING traced the principal events of the first decade of the settlement of Fairfield, the opening of the year 1650 introduces us to the early land records of the town.  Whatever of value was contained in the first thirteen pages of 'Letter A of Town Deeds" has been lost; but the following pages afford clues of the original plats of Fairfield and Pequonnock, which the diagram represent between 1648 and 1654, with the names of the settlers who occupied them during the period.

The movement of the Bankside farmers resulted in the sale of their home-lots in Fairfield.  This is recorded on the thirteenth page of Letter A of Town Deeds, where we learn that John Banks, who had previously lived east of Hide's pond, and sold his house and home-lot to Humphrey Hide, on the 12th of May, 1650, purchased Daniel Frost's house and home-lot, consisting of three and three-fourths acres.  On the 4th of March, 1650, Simon Hoyt, of Stamford, who had been granted a home lot west of Hide's Pond, between John Thompson's and George Goodwin's, purchased John Green's house and home-lot.  The sale of Thomas Newton's, on the Ludlow and Newton squares, are not recorded until 1653, at which time [Page 64 / Page 65] they were sold by Alexander Bryan, a lawyer and real estate agent, of Milford.  The same year the one on the Ludlow square was purchased of Bryan by Andrew Ward (who had previously purchased John Thompson's home-lot, west of Hide's Pond), while his place on the Newton square was occupied by Nathan Gold, who removed from Milford in 1649, and first occupied John Foster's lot in the Frost square.  Gold's purchase of this place was not recorded until the 5th of December 1653, he having previously sold it to Thomas Sherwood.  Soon after purchasing Thomas Newton's lot, Nathan Gold purchased the lot next above it first granted to Richard Perry in 1649, and he sold the Newton lot to Dr. Thomas Pell.  Henry Gray left the Frost homestead, the use of which, by William Frost's will, was given to him and his wife during their lives, and entailed to their son, Jacob Gray, and he also became one of the Bankside farmers.

The house and home-lot of John Gray, who appears to have settled at Newtown, Long Island, was purchased by Bryan and sold on the 18th of March, 1649, to Henry Rowland.  Richard Westcoat, who had owned the house and home-lot between  John Gray's and John Nichol's, died soon after he settled at Fairfield.  His widow married Nathaniel Baldwin, of [Page 65 / Page 66] Milford.  Baldwin removed to Fairfield, and by virtue of this marriage occupied the dwelling and lands of Westcoat.  The widow of William Hill, sr., whose husband had first been granted a home-lot on the northeast side of Dorchester street, is recorded in 1649 as living on the northwest corner of Newton square. [footnote omitted]  It was not an unusual thing for the planters to receive grants of home-lots, and also hold others purchased or exchanged.

The Purdy lot was sold to Moses Dimond May 2, 1670, at which time John Purdy, son of Francis Purdy, deceased, lived at Eastchester.  The Frost lot was owned by Jacob Gray until 1886 [sic], when it was purchased by the Rev. Samuel Wakeman for his son Samuel, and deeded to him the 6th of November of that year.

Henry Whelpley sold his lot to Alexander Bryan, who resold it to Alexander Knowles 17th January, 1653.  February 9, 1653, Dr. Thomas Pell purchased Nathan Gold's house and home-lot next the parsonage land. . . ."

Source:  Schenck, Elizabeth Hubbell, The History of Fairfield - Fairfield County, Connecticut From the Settlement of the Town in 1639 to 1818, Vol. I, pp. 64-66 (NY, NY:  Privately Printed by the Author through Press of J. J. Little & Co., 1889).

The foregoing describes two properties associated with Thomas Pell.  The first was a lot originally owned by Thomas Newman located within Newman's Square (as opposed to another lot originally owned by Newman within Ludlow's Square) that was purchased by Pell on an unspecified date but for which the deed was recorded in 1653.  The second was a house and home-lot next to parsonage land owned by Nathan Gold and purchased by Thomas Pell on February 9, 1653.  By following the above-quoted text, it appears that these two purchases by Pell involved the purchase of two adjacent properties fronting on Ludlow Avenue within Newton Square on the map shown above.

In today's Fairfield, Connecticut, Ludlow Avenue is now the Old Post Road.  Moreover, today's Fairfield Historical Society sits, approximately, on the lot depicted on the map shown above as the "JOHN BARLOW" lot that is directly across the street (Ludlow Avenue) from the two lots bought by Thomas Pell.  

This suggests the approximate location of the land and home owned by Thomas Pell in Fairfield in 1653 was roughly near the location of today's Fairfield Historical Society, the Fairfield YMCA, and the Fairfield Public Library.  The map below shows a rough area within which the lot and home likely were located.

Map Detailing Portion of Fairfield Near the Fairfield
Museum and History Center.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

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