Archival Record of the Last Will and Testament and Estate Inventory of Pelham Founder Thomas Pell
Thomas Pell, founder of the Manor of Pelham and so-called "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham" died in Fairfield, Connecticut between September 21, 1669 and September 30, 1669. His last will and testament as well as an inventory of that portion of his estate located in the Province of New York at the time of his death provide important glimpses into the life of the Pelham founder. Consequently, I have written about both his will and the inventory of his estate in New York before, including an extensive analysis of the inventory and what it tells us about Thomas Pell. See:
Wed., Mar. 07, 2007: Published Abstract of 1669 Will of Thomas Pell, Followed by Entire Text of Will of Thomas Pell.
Mon., Mar. 31, 2014: Inventory of the Estate of Pelham Founder Thomas Pell Taken Shortly After He Died in Late September, 1669.
As luck would have it, the archival copies of the will and an inventory of the New York estate of Pelham founder Thomas Pell still exist within New York probate records. It appears that Pell's will and inventory may have been filed in New York City rather than in Connecticut where he resided at the time of his death because at about the time of his death (actually, shortly afterward), New York City merchants successfully gained from the provincial governor an order providing that "wills proved at the courts of session must be reported in New York City so that creditors would know the details." See Ritchie, Robert C., DUKE'S PROVINCE -- A Study of New York Politics and Society, 1664-1691, p. 65 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1977).
Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog presents images of the archival records of Thomas Pell's Last Will and Testament as well as the inventory of his estate within the Province of New York. These materials shed interesting light on Pell's life in the Manor of Pelham during the 17th Century. Because my reading of these materials leads to a slightly different transcription of them than that published in Bolton, Jr.. Robert, A History of the County of Westchester From Its First Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I, pp. 522-24 (NY, NY: Alexander S. Gould, 1848), I have included my own transcription of the text of each page immediately beneath the image of each page.
Mr. Thomas Pell his Will. /
In ye name of God, Amen -- It hath pleased ye all wise God many years to exercise me wth. much weaknesses of body, & having lately taken to himselfe my beloved wife Lucy, it being ye good pleasure of God to deny me naturall issue of my owne body, his good hand of mercy continueing unto me to keep me in perfect memory, & my understanding in a comfortable measure, according to proportion of wisdom & knowledge, where he saw meet to proportion to me, I desire in faith to give up my soule to God wch. gave it, my body to a comely buriall that I may be decently buryed in such a comely manner that God may not be dishonored. It beinge my desire that peace may be attended in injoymt. of what God hath been pleased to give to me. This being my last will & testamt. I doe make my nephew John Pell living in ould England ye only sonne of my only Brother John Pell Doctor of Divinity, wch. he had by his first wife my whole & sole heire of all my lands, houses, in any parte of New England or in ye Territoryes of ye Duke of Yorke. I also give to my nephew John Pell (my whole and sole heire) all my goods moveable or immoveable whatsoever -- money plate chattells and cattles of all kinde, except such parcells and legacyes wch. I give & bequeath to psons [persons] as followeth (my just debts being first paid And if my nephew John Pell be deceased & hath left a sonne or sonnes surviving him then what I have above given to my nephew John Pell I give to such issue of his And in ye default of such issue it's my will that my brother John Pell's daught. shall injoy ye abovesaid portion & in case they or any of them be deceased, then it is"
Is my will that ye children of my Brother's daught. shall inheritt ye abovesaid portion to be equally divided amongst them. It is my will that in case my nephew John Pell my Broth.s sonne by his first wife be deceased & hath left no male issue, if my brother hath a sonne or sonnes by his last wife, he or they shall injoy ye abovesaid portion & in ye default of them or their male issue, then my broth.'s daughters or their children shall injoy ye above portion as is above expressed. I give to Abigail Burr ye wife of Daniell Burr ye best bed in my house in Fairfield & Boulstis, wth. Two Blancoates & a Rug & Dormink suite of curtains six cushions, Two paire of sheets, six chairs, The Brewing Kettle in use, Two new keelers, a brewing Tub, six silver spoons, wth. ye use of all ye plate in the house, if she desire of my Executors of Trust, till my heire or heires come or send his or their order how or wch. way all things shall be disposed of. Item I give to Daniell Burr all my horses & horse colts wch. I have in New England & in ye Territoryes of ye Duke of Yorke/ I except my Mares and Mare Colts wch. I doo not give him. I except my saddle gelding, wch. my heire is to have if he come over otherwise Daniel Burr is to have him. Daniell Burr is to take ye Horse Flesh as they Run wth. out any further delivery. Lett ye mares be disposed of according to ye understanding of my Executors of Trust. Item I give to my sonne Francis French all my Tobacco growing or not growing in caskes or otherways made up in Rolls or Twist. Item I give to Nathaniell French Two young Cowes & one young Bull. Item To Elizabeth White I give ye worst feather bed and Boulser, one Iron pott, six porringers,"
six spoons of alcamy, six pewter platters, one brass skellet, & fifteen pound more in goods or cattle current pay, & two comely suites of Apparell one for working days anoth.r for Sabbath dayes wth. two paires of shoes; Item to Mary White I give six pounds & one suite of Aparell of serge wth. Two Shifts & wool for stockins; I give to Nathaniell White, an apprentice to some handy craft Trade, & if it be for his advantage, to give Tenne pounds wth. him out of my estate, not diminishing his Twenty pounds, wch. is to be improved for his use. Item I give to Barbary, my servant, I sett her at liberty to be a free woman a month after my burial except my nephew John Pell, come in person she then to attend his occasions whilst he is here not exceeding three months. Further I do give to Barbary my servant one Flock bed & boulster and two Blancoats, a paire of sheets, and Cotton Rug, one Iron pott, an Iron Skellett, Six Trayes, and Chest wth. a Lock & Key to it six porringers Two pewter platters, six pewter spoones or ye value of them, Two Cowes or ye value of them I give to my Ancient maid, Katherine Rysten five pounds in Cattle or Country pay. I make, ordain, Constitute & appoint Daniell Burr & John Bankes to be my Executors of Trust, & order them to pay after my Burial all my just Debts & legacyes, & to make sale of any utensils wch. are subject to decay old Cattle, & to be accountable to my heire or heires & to keep up housing & Fences upon my heires' Charge that ye estate may not suffer. I give to my said Executors of Trust Twenty pounds a peice [sic], & to be"
I previously have provided an extensive transcription and analysis of the inventory of Thomas Pell's estate in New York. See Mon., Mar. 31, 2014: Inventory of the Estate of Pelham Founder Thomas Pell Taken Shortly After He Died in Late September, 1669. Accordingly, I have not re-transcribed the text following each image of the inventory presented today. For more information, go to the March 31, 2014 article.
Purposes Executors in Trust of ye last will & Testament of ye said Mr. Thomas Pell deceased haveing hereby full power & lawfull authority to Act & doo & Execute what in ye said will is required and comply & fully as Executors by ye Lawes of this Province and Empowered & allowed to doo Sealed wth. ye seale of ye Colony and given unto my hand at Ffort James in New York this 13th day of October in ye 21st yeare of ye Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord Charles ye Second by ye grace of God of England Scotland Ffrance & Ireland King Defender of ye faith &c Anno Dom 1669."