Did the Pell Homestead Known as "The Shrubbery" Serve as General Howe's Headquarters After the Battle of Pelham?
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We know very little about the Battle of Pelham fought on October 18, 1776 other than what Colonel John Glover described in his letter from Mile Square written on October 22, 1776. Another document created at around the same time that can help us understand a little more about the battle is the so-called "Blaskowitz Map." This map was prepared by British Engineer Charles Blaskowitz and is entitled "A survey of Frog's Neck and the rout[e] of the British Army to the 24th of October 1776, under the command of His Excellency the Honorable William Howe, General and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's forces, &ca, &ca, &ca." The map is considered by most historians and experts to be a fairly accurate depiction of the area in October, 1776 as well as a fair depiction of the progress of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Careful review of the Blaskowitz Map reveals the location of General William Howe's headquarters on October 18, 1776, the day of the battle. The map also shows the nearby location of the "Quarters" of General Leopold Philip de Heister who commanded the German troops engaged by the British for service against the American colonies during the war. A detail from the map showing the locations of Howe's "Headquarters" and de Heister's "Quarters" appears immediately below.
At the bottom of the map detail, Split Rock Road passes structures denoted "gen l De Heister's Quarters." This is a portion of Split Rock Road that since has been closed. It crossed the Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Course grounds roughly in this area, then passed across an area now covered by I-95 (the New England Thruway), picking up again on the other side of today's I-95 where the roadway in the Village of Pelham Manor retains the name "Split Rock Road."
As the roadway passes de Heister's Quarters and continues toward Howe's "Head Quarters," it reaches a little jog to the right that soon reaches a fork in the roadway. At that little jog to the right are three structures denoted as "Headquarters 18 Octob r." The little jog to the right and that portion of the fork that extends to the right and out of the map detail on the right are roughly where today's Boston Post Road (which did not yet exist) sits. That portion of the fork that extends upward and out of the map detail is today's Wolfs Lane roughly where that roadway meets today's Boston Post Road.
This means that the structures denoted as Howe's "Head Quarters" were located roughly near the intersection of today's Split Rock Road and today's Boston Post Road. Only one estate was known to exist at that location at that time: The Shrubbery, a farm and home built by Joshua Pell Sr. whose son, Joshua Pell Jr. fought for the British during the Revolutionary War.
The home known as The Shrubbery was built in the mid-18th century. It was a Pell family homestead owned for many years by Joshua Pell Sr. Joshua Pell Sr. had a son, also named Joshua, who served as a British officer in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War. During the 1780s New York State's Commissioners of Forfeiture sold the 146-acre tract to Isaac Guion for 988 pounds. The land had been confiscated from Joshua Pell Jr. after it was bequeathed to him by his father. The will of Joshua Pell Sr. entitled his children to receive monetary legacies when his entire farm (including the 146-acre tract containing The Shrubbery) was divided in half and devised to two of his older sons: Joshua Pell Jr. (who was entitled to receive the northern half) and Edward Pell (who was entitled to receive the southern half, as work prepared by Mark Gaffney of Pelham Manor has demonstrated).
It seems likely that British Headquarters at the time of the Battle of Pelham was established in and/or around The Shrubbery. Thus, for those who live on today's Split Rock Road in the Village of Pelham Manor, you should remain vigilant and observant as you perform your gardening tasks. You never know what you may find!
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I have written extensively about the Battle of Pelham fought on October 18, 1776. See, for example, the following 47 previous articles many of which, like today's, document research regarding the battle:
Bell, Blake A., The Battle of Pelham: October 18, 1776, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 41, Oct. 15, 2004, p. 10, col. 1.
Bell, Blake, History of the Village of Pelham: Revolutionary War, HistoricPelham.com Archive (visited Dec. 18, 2015).
Fri., Feb. 19, 2016: The 600-Year Old "Lord Howe Chestnut" Tree that Once Stood in Pelham.
Fri., Dec. 18, 2015: Brief Report on the Battle of Pelham Fought October 18, 1776 Prepared Five Days Afterward.
Tue., Sep. 08, 2015: Pelham Manor Resident Makes Revolutionary War Discovery.
Mon., May 18, 2015: Cannonball Fired in The Battle of Pelham Found on Plymouth Street in Pelham Manor.
Mon., Apr. 27, 2015: Obituary of British Officer Who Participated in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 as a Young Man.
Mon., Feb. 28, 2005: Glover's Rock on Orchard Beach Road Does Not Mark the Site of the Battle of Pelham.
Mon., Apr. 18, 2005: Restored Battle of Pelham Memorial Plaque Is Unveiled at Glover Field.
Fri., May 27, 2005: 1776, A New Book By Pulitzer Prize Winner David McCullough, Touches on the Battle of Pelham.
Thu., Jul. 14, 2005: Pelham's 1926 Pageant Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pelham.
Wed., Oct. 26, 2005: Remnants of the Battlefield on Which the Battle of Pelham Was Fought on October 18, 1776. Fri., May 19, 2006: Possible Remains of a Soldier Killed in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Found in 1921.
Fri., Aug. 11, 2006: Article by William Abbatt on the Battle of Pelham Published in 1910.
Thu., Sep. 21, 2006: A Paper Addressing the Battle of Pelham, Among Other Things, Presented in 1903.
Mon., Oct. 30, 2006: Brief Biographical Data About Sir Thomas Musgrave, British Lieutenant Colonel Wounded at the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Wed., Nov. 1, 2006: Two British Military Unit Histories that Note Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Tue., Jan. 16, 2007: Brief Biography of British Officer Who Served During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Fri., Feb. 09, 2007: Extract of October 23, 1776 Letter Describing British Troops in Eastchester After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Mon., Feb. 12, 2007: Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site Opens New Exhibition: "Overlooked Hero: John Glover and the American Revolution."
Thu., Jan. 18, 2007: Three More British Military Unit Histories that Note Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Mon., Jul. 16, 2007: Mention of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 in Revolutionary War Diary of David How.
Tue., Jul. 17, 2007: Mention of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 in Writings of Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Aide-de-Camp to British General Clinton.
Wed., Jul. 18, 2007: Another British Military Unit History that Notes Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Tue., Aug. 7, 2007: An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Contained in the McDonald Papers Published in 1926.
Wed., Aug. 8, 2007: A Description of an Eyewitness Account of the Interior of St. Paul's Church in Eastchester During the Revolutionary War.
Thu., Sep. 6, 2007: Information About St. Paul's Church, the Battle of Pelham and Other Revolutionary War Events Near Pelham Contained in an Account Published in 1940.
Mon., Oct. 8, 2007: American Troops Who Guarded Pelham's Shores in October 1776.
Fri., Oct. 12, 2007: Images of The Lord Howe Chestnut that Once Stood in the Manor of Pelham.
Fri., Oct. 27, 2006: Orders Issued by British Major General The Honourable William Howe While Encamped in Pelham After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Thu., Jan. 22, 2009: Another Brief Biography of Sir Thomas Musgrave, a British Officer Wounded at the Battle of Pelham on October 18 1776.
Wed., Feb. 17, 2010: British Report on Killed, Wounded and Missing Soldiers During the Period the Battle of Pelham Was Fought on October 18, 1776.
Fri., Apr. 23, 2010: Charles Blaskowitz, Surveyor Who Created Important Map Reflecting the Battle of Pelham.
Thu., Feb. 06, 2014: A Description of the Revolutionary War Battle of Pelham Published in 1926 for the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Mon., May 19, 2014: Biography of British Officer Who Fought in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Wed., Jun. 04, 2014: An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Presented and Published in 1894.
Fri., Jun. 27, 2014: Newly-Published Account Concludes Colonel William Shepard Was Wounded During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Mon., Jun. 30, 2014: A British Lieutenant in the Twelfth Foot Who Fought at the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Fri., Sep. 19, 2014: Abel Deveau, An American Skirmisher on Rodman's Neck as British and Germans Landed Before the Battle of Pelham.
Wed., Sep. 17, 2014: References to the Battle of Pelham in 18th Century Diary of Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College.
Fri., Oct. 17, 2014: First-Hand Diary Account of Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Mon., Oct. 20, 2014: American Diary Account of Events Before, During, and After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.
Tue., Oct. 21, 2014: November 1, 1776 Letter Describing the Battle of Pelham and Events Before and After the Battle.
Fri., Oct. 24, 2014: October 21, 1776 Report to the New-York Convention Regarding the Battle of Pelham.
Wed., Feb. 18, 2015: Young American Hero James Swinnerton, Badly Wounded in the Battle of Pelham.
Wed., Feb. 25, 2015: Where Were the Stone Walls Used by American Troops During the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776?
Thu., Mar. 24, 2016: An Account of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 Published in The McDonald Papers.
Mon., Apr. 25, 2016: Extract of December 3, 1776 Letter Addressing Battle of Pelham Casualties on October 18, 1776.
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