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, July 05, 2016

British Loyalist Jonathan Pell of the Manor of Pelham

Jonathan Pell was a British Loyalist who, prior to the Revolutionary War, lived in the Manor of Pelham. He was a well-known Loyalist who actively supported the British Crown and, thus, was hated by American Patriots in the region even before the War actually began. Thus, at the very outset of the War, Jonathan Pell fled the Manor of Pelham.  Though I have written of the exploits of many Pell family members who lived in the Manor of Pelham at the outset of the Revolutionary War, I never have written about Jonathan Pell.

Jonathan Pell was a son of Joshua Pell (born about 1710, died about 1786) and Phebe Palmer (born about 1710, died about 1796). Although before the Revolutionary Wary Pell clearly resided in the Manor of Pelham as period documents affirm, it is not clear if he owned property in Pelham. If he did, he apparently disposed of his Pelham real estate at or before the time he joined the British military as there appears to be no record of any confiscation of Pelham real estate belonging to him – only real estate in New York City. In any event, Pell fled to Long Island in 1776 where he joined the British Army. 

According to a Jonathan Pell filed with the Commissioners Appointed by Act of Parliament for Inquiring Into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists, shortly after he joined the British Army: 

“[A] Part of the Army . . . marched from New York to the White Plains under the Command of Sir Henry Clinton and your Memorialist being acquainted with the Country offered his services as a Guide which was accepted of, & he accompanied them on that Expedition & returned with them to New York, and thereafter acted as a Lieutenant of the Militia at New York until the Conclusion of the Peace.” Pell owned real estate on Bowery Lane in New York City worth 700 pounds that was confiscated and sold by the United States after the war. He also filed a claim seeking compensation for a large 80-ton sloop “burnt by the Rebells [sic] at Cowneck Harbour near Huntington in the year 1782 valued at . . . } £400.” It appears that Pell was an owner of the sloop but did not serve as its master. According to his claim filed for compensation for the loss of the sloop, a man named William Hunt was the ship’s Master. The claim stated “the said Vessel was in June One thousand seven hundred & Eighty two, lying at Cowsneck Harbour near Huntington, at which time a number of Armed Men, in whale Boats, came from the Connecticut shore, seized upon the said Vessel & Burnt her.” 

At some point before the war, Pell purchased a mare worth £37.6.8 from Joseph Rodman and a black horse purchased from Samuel Rodman worth £40. According to a claim Pell later filed, in 1783, Pell sent these two horses from New York City to Pelham Manor “to pasture there.” Shortly after he sent the horses to Pelham, “a person calling himself a Serjeant in the American Army came and carried away the said two Horses & Mare against the will & Consent of this Deponent who used every means to prevent him from taking them away. And that the said Horses were never returned to the said Jonathan Pell or any satisfaction whatever made him.” 

After the war, Jonathan Pell fled to, and settled in, Shelburne, Nova Scotia. He later moved from Shelburne to Stamford Township, Welland County, Nova Scotia. From Nova Scotia, Pell filed his claim for Revolutionary War losses. It was heard by the Commissioners on December 16, 1785 (AO 13, Vol. 25, pp. 418-26). In his claim, Pell sought compensation for his burned sloop, a mare and black horse, and a lot on Bowery Lane. He sought £1,190.16.8 in “New York Currency” or £661.10.3 in “Sterling.” Interestingly, Benjamin Palmer and Enoch Hunt, both “at present of Shelburne,” submitted oaths in support of Pell’s claim. SeeRevolutionary War Claims for Losses – Surnames ‘P’ Jonathan Pell” in Niagara Settlers (visited February 21, 2016) (scroll down to Jonathan Pell).

Low Resolution Image of Original Surveyor's Map
Surveyor.  22nd February 1798."  NOTE:  Click on
Link to Access High Resolution Digital Image of the Map.

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