Philip Pell of the Manor of Pelham Was a Commissioner to Partition Manor of Scarsdale Lands
Care must be taken in the review of 18th century Pelham records that reference Philip Pell. There were three successive Philip Pells, each prominent in the history of the Manor of Pelham and, later, the Town of Pelham. Philip Pell I of the Manor of Pelham was a son of Thomas Pell (referenced by members of the Pell family as "Third Lord of the Manor of Pelham) who died between December 21, 1751 and May 27, 1752. He married Hannah Mott.
Philip Pell I and Hannah Mott had a son they named Philip. Philip Pell II (b. 1732; d. 1788) married Gloria Tredwell and is believed to have built the original Pell farmhouse that forms a portion of the home that still stands at 45 Iden Avenue known as Pelhamdale, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Philip Pell II and Gloria Tredwell had a son they also named Philip. Philip Pell III, often referenced in some records, confusingly, as Philip Pell, Jr. as is his father, occasionally), became an illustrious citizen of Pelham. He served as Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Continental Army. Some have claimed he served for a time, as Acting Judge Advocate General during the Revolutionary War. He rode triumphantly with George Washington into Manhattan on Evacuation Day at the close of the War. He served as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, a member of the New York State Assembly, a Regent of the University of the State of New York, and Surrogate of Westchester County. Philip Pell III lived in a home that he built near today's Colonial Avenue (the old Boston Post Road) and today's Cliff Avenue on a farm that encompassed much of today's Pelham Heights and the grounds of the Pelham Memorial High School.
Today's Historic Pelham article concerns Philip Pell II (husband of Gloria Tredwell) who is believed to have built the home known as Pelhamdale. He was not only a notable citizen of the Manor of Peham but also of the County of Westchester.
In the mid-1770s, Philip Pell II of the Manor of Pelham was one of three commissioners appointed to partition lands that once belonged to famed Westchester resident Caleb Heathcote that later became today's Scarsdale, part of Mamaroneck, part of Rye, the greater part of White Plains, and portions of New Castle and North Castle.
Colonel Caleb Heathcote, who assembled the massive parcel that became the Manor of Scarsdale, died suddenly on February 28, 1721. For the next few decades, his lands passed as follows, according to one Scarsdale historian:
"Colonel Heathcote died suddenly in New York on the 28th of February, 1721, leaving all his estate to his two surviving daughters, Mrs. Anne deLancey and Mrs. Martha Johnston. By indentures of lease and release, in 1738 Martha Johnston conveyed her half of her father's estate to Andrew Johnston, a relative of her husband, and he in turn reconveyed it to Lewis Johnston and his heirs in fee. By James deLancey and wife, and Lewis Johnston jointly all the lands in the manor were sold and conveyed or leased up to the death of James deLancey in 1760. From that time to 1774 all deeds and leases ran jointly in the names of Anne deLancey and Lewis Johnston. During this period a great deal of the Manor was sold both to tenants and strangers."
During the 1760s, for unknown reasons, Anne deLancey and Lewis Johnston decided to partition their jointly-owned lands. A legal proceeding to partition the lands was begun, but Lewis Johnston reportedly died shortly after the proceeding began. The "heirs of Lewis Johnston" were substituted in his place as parties to the partition proceeding. By "act of the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, and General Assembly" of New York, three commissioners were appointed to partition the lands: Philip Pell II, Jacobus Bleecker of New Rochelle, and William Sutton of Mamaroneck. The three Commissioners were sworn in by Judge Thomas Jones, of the New York Supreme Court. In addition, according to some sources, the three Commissioners appointed Philip Pell II's son, Philip Pell III, as clerk to the Committee. They also appointed Charles Web as surveyor.
According to one account: "[t]he work of surveying the lands occupied the time from June 7th to August 16th, 1774. As a result of this survey all the land was divided into numbered lots equally matched in pairs, as nearly as could be conveniently done."
The mechanics of the partitioning process implemented by the three Commissioners was quite fascinating. According to one account:
"On the 11th day of October, 1774, the Commissioners, together with John Harris Cruger, in his capacity as a member of the Council of the Province, met at Hull's Hotel on Broadway in New York in New York to carry out the balloting or drawing of the lots to the two owners. A boy, John Wallis by name, was blind-folded, and he then proceeded to draw lots in the different divisions seriatum, beginning first at the north division, taking out first a ticket with the number of a lot and then a ticket with the name of the owner. The latter tickets bore the name of 'Anne deLancey,' or the words 'Heirs of Lewis Johnston.' The Commissioners carefully recorded each drawing as it was made and when the whole was completed the proceedings were duly certified to by the signature of John Harris Cruger, as the Councilor of the Province, present."
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"WHEREAS Heathcote Johnston, John Burnett, Anne Burnett, Bowes Reed, and Margaret Reed, did make, and with their hands subscribe, a certain writing bearing date the 30th day of December, in the year of our Lord 1773, and published the same, for twelve weeks successively, in Rivington's New-York Gazetteer, or Connecticut, Hudson's River, New-Jersey, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser, printed by John Holt, being two of the public news-papers of this colony; which said certain writing is, by the tenour thereof, directed to all persons interested in the lands hereafter mentioned, and recites that, Whereas Francis Lovelace, Esq.; Governor General, under his Royal Highness James Duke of York, Albany, &c. of all his territories in America, by his letters patent under his hand and seal, bearing date at Fort James, in New-York, on Manhattan Island, the 16th day of October, in the 20th year of the reign of his late Majesty King Charles II, annoque domini 1668, therein reciting, that there was a certain tract or parcel of land within the government of New-York, upon the Main, contained in three necks, of which the eastermost is bounded with a small river, called Mamaroneck river, being also the east bounds or limits of the said government upon the Main, and the westermost with the Gravelly or Stony Brook, or river, which makes the east limits of the land known by the name of Mr. Pell's Purchase, having to the south the Sound, and running northward, from the marked trees upon the said necks, twenty miles into the woods; which said tract, or pracel of land, had been lawfully purchased of the original Indian proprietors, by John Richbell, of Mamaroneck, Gentleman, in whole possession then it was, and his title thereunto0 sufficiently proved, both at several Courts of Sessions, as also at the General Court of Assize. For a confirmation, therefore, unto the said John Richbell, in his possession and enjoyment of the premises, he, the said Francis Lovelace, did, by virtue of the commission and authority unto him given by his Royal Highness, give, ratify, confirm, and grant unto the said John Richbell, and to give his heirs and assigns, for ever, all the before recited tract or parcel of Land.
And whereas Caleb Heathcote, Esq.; aftewards became seized in fee of the greatest part of the lands contained in the eastermostof the said three necks, granted by Francis Lovelace, unto the aforesaid John Richbell, in manner and form aforesaid.
And whereas his late Majesty King William III by letters patent under the great seal of the colony of New-York, bearing date on the 21st day of March, in the fourteenth year of his reign, Anno Domini 1701, did grant and confirm unto Caleb Heathcote, Esq.' and to his heirs and assigns, for ever, all his right and title of, in, and to such lands as he was entitled to in the said East Neck; in which said confirmation the said lands are described to be a tract of Land in the county of Westchester, beginning at a marked tree by Mamaroneck river, which is the eastermost side of the northern bounds of Mamaroneck township, being abouut two miles from the country road, and to run along the said river to the head thereof; and thence, on a north line, until eighteen miles from the said marked tree are completed; westerly at the marked tree, or Great Rock, being in the westermost part of the said northern bounds of the aforesaid township, being about two miles from the said country road; and thence to run northerly eighteen miles, as the line on the eastermost side of the said land runneth, including therein his eighth part of the two miles laid out for the town of Mamaroneck, with the lot he then lived on, and the lot bought of Alice Hatfield, with the lands and meadow below, westerly to a path to him belonging by virtue of his deeds and conveyances, part of which lands within the bounds aforesaid, was purchased by John Richbell, from the native Indian proprietors, which said John Richbell, from the native Indian proprietors, which said John Richbell had a grant and confirmation for the same, from Colonel Francis Lovelace, late Governor of the said province, and the right of the said John Richbell therein was legally vested in the said Caleb Heathcote, and other part had been purchased by the said Caleb Heathcote of the native Indian proprietors.
And whereas William Penoyer, and Thomas Penoyer, of Mamaroneck, in the county of Westchester aforesaid, did, on the eighth day of December 1708, for a valuable consideration, grant, bargain, and sell unto the aforesaid Caleb Heathcote and to his heirs and assigns, for ever, all their rights, title, and interest in lands and meadow in the township of Mamaroneck; being the home lot where the said Penoyers, by the inhabitants of Mamaroneck, that is to say, the lots number two and three, together with all the salt and fresh meadows, or any lands or meadows any ways appertaining or belonging to them, within the town of Mamaroneck aforesaid: And whereas Thomas Penoyer, of Stamford, in the county of Fairfield, and colony of Connecticut, in New Engand, did, on the 26th day of December 1716, for a valuable consideration, grant, bargain, and sell unto the aforesaid Caleb Heathcote, and to his heirs and assigns, for ever, a certain right or tract of land ying within the bounds of Mamaroneck aforesaid, to wit, the one twelfth part of all the lands lying west of the river called Mamaroneck river, and east of a brook which runs down into a creek that parts or runs between the East Neck, so called, and the neck which Mr. Samuel Palmer then lately lived upon, and between the country road and a line extended two miles northerly, or north from said road, bounded with other rights of land, whether laid out or not laid out, or both together, by the said river called Mamaroneck river on the east, and by the brook abovesaid on the west, and by the said line extended two miles north, or northerly, on the north; and by the said country road on the furth, or how otherwise the said lands may be bounded, or reputed to be bounded. And also a certain right of meadow situate within the bounds of Mamaroneck, lying below, or southerly of the country road; and one twelfth part of one third part of all the meadows, both salt and fresh, lying on or adjacent to the neck commonly called the East Neck, whether laid out or to lay out, and however the same is bounded or reputed to be bounded.
And whereas the said Caleb Heathcote died seized of a certain tract of land in Harrison's Purchase, in the said county of Westchester, now in the possession of Coenradt Coon, which said tract of land last mentioned begins at an oak tree by Mamaroneck river, and runs from thence to a chestnut tree on the same river, and adjoining to the lands of the said Jacob Gidney, and from thence, still northerly, to a heap of stones, thence southerly to the road leading from Job Haddens to Mamaroneck; thence northerly along the road to a black oak tree, thence northerly along the lands of Caleb Gidney to the lands of Joseph Haviland, thence south westerly along said Haviland's land, to Mamaroneck river aforesaid; and from thence along the said river, as the same runs, to the place of beginning, containing 227 acres, one quarter of an acre, and thirty three rods. -- They, the said Heathcote, Johnston, John Burnett, Anne Burnett, Bowes Reed, and Margaret Reed, did, in and by the said writing, declare that they were part owners of all the lands contained in the boundaries of the several tracts before mentioned, which remained unsold and undisposed of by the said Caleb Heathcote in his life time, or by his descendants after his death, and did thereby give notice that Philip Pell, of the manor of Pelham, Jacobus Bleecker of New Rochelle, and William Sutton, of Mamaroneck, and all of the county of Westchester, Esquires, were appointed to make partition of the said lands, pursuant to one certain act of the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, and General Assembly, entitled 'An act for the more effectual collecting his Majesty's quitrents in the colony of New York, and for partition of lands in order thereto,' passed the 8th day of January 1762; and to one other certain act of the Governor, the Council, and General Assembly of the colony of New-York, entitled, 'An act to continue an act, entitled, 'An act for the more effectual collecting his Majesty's quitrents in the colony of New-York, and for partition of lands in order thereto;' and also to continue one other act, entitled, 'An act to explain part of an act entitled, 'An act for the more effectual collecting his Majesty's quitrents in the colony of New-York, and for partition of lands in order thereto,' passed the 30th day of December 1768. -- And that the said commissioners would meet on Tuesday the 5th day of April then next, at the house of James Besly, at New Rochelle, in the county of Westchester aforesaid, to proceed to the partition of the said lands, as by the said writing so published as aforesaid, reference being thereunto had will more fully and at large appear.
NOW, THEREFORE, WE, the said Philip Pell, Jaccobus Bleecker, and William Sutton, the commissioners appointed as aforesaid, do hereby signify our appointment, and give notice that we will meet at the dwelling house of William Sutton, Esq.; at Mamaroneck, in the county of Westchester aforesaid, on Monday the 6th day of June next, at ten of the clock in the forenoon of the same day, to proceed to the partition of the lands aforesaid. And we do hereby also desire all persons concerned to attend accordingly. Given under our hands, at New Rochelle, in the county of Westchester aforesaid, this 5th day of April, 1774.
Source: WHEREAS Heathcote Johnston . . . [Notice], The New-York Journal; Or The General Advertiser [NY, NY], Apr. 14, 1774, No. 1032, p. 3, col. 3.
"THE PARTITION OF THE LANDS OF COL. CALEB HEATHCOTE.
(Alvah P French.)
The commissioners appointed to make partition of the lands of Col. Caleb Heathcote, which finally became the property of Anne de Lancey and Martha Johnston, were: Philip Pell, Jr., Jacobus Bleecker, and William Sutton. The legal notice appeared in Rivington's New York Gazetteer and Holt's New York Journal. This was in March, 1774, and on the 5th of April of the same year the Commissioners met and organized at the house of Thomas Besby, in what is now the city of New Rochelle. The clerk, Philip Pell, Jr., and the Commissioners were sworn in by Judge Thomas Jones, of the Supreme Court. The Commission next met at the house of William Sutton, in Mamaroneck, June 6, 1774, and the proceedings in due course were completed under them according to law and the custom of the day."
Source: French, Alvah P., THE PARTITION OF THE LANDS OF COL. CALEB HEATHCOTE, Magazine of American History, Vol. IXL, No. 3, p. 24 (Mar. 1912).
"Picturesque History of the Manor of Scarsdale Is Told by Mrs. Harrington
The History of the County of Westchester and, more particularly, the Town of Scarsdale is especially interesting to those familiar with these charming places. In the days when the eastern seaboard was under the dominion of Great Britain there were established in Westchester County six Manors granted by Royal Patents from the Crown which definitely bounded in one great tract all the land belonging to the patentee who became Lord of the Manor.
The Manor of Scarsdale was one of these and was formed by Colonel Caleb Heathcote, the sixth son of Gilbert Heathcote, Mayor of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, Colonel Heathcote came to this country in the year 1691 and was Mayor of the City of New York from 1711 to 1714. He was a shrewd business Man; deeply interested in the settling and development of the new world. Prior to Heathcote's coming to America, Mr. John Richbell had secured title to large tracts of land in Mamaroneck and Scarsdale. In 1697 Colonel Heathcote purchased from Mrs. Anne Richbell, widow of John, all the lands which she had inherited upon the death of her husband. John Richbell had originally purchased them from the Indians, but it is apparent that the Indians still had some claim to these lands, as Colonel Heathcote obtained from them a deed as well. On March 21, 1701, Colonel Heathcote, by these various purchases and acquisitions of land having become the owner of a vast farming territory, was granted by King William III, a Royal Patent which he named the Manor of Scarsdale after that division of the beautiful County of Derby in England, where he was born. 'Scars' meaning 'rocky craigs' and 'dale' meaning 'valley.'
The Manor of Scarsdale comprised what now constitutes all of the Town of Scarsdale, part of the present Town of Mamaroneck, part of the present Town of Rye, the greater part of White Plains and portions of the Town of New Castle and North Castle. Accurately set out by metes and bounds, the description of the boundaries of Scarsdale Manor, as taken from the original Letters Patent -- in other words the Crown Confirmation of the lands, which is recorded in the Book of Patents, Albany Records No. VII, 226, are as follows:
'Beginning at a marked tree by Mamaroneck River, which is the eastermost side of the northern bounds of Mamaroneck, being about two miles from the country road, and to run along the said River to the head thereof, and thence in a north line until eighteen miles from said marked tree or a great rock, being the westermost part of the said northern bounds of the aforesaid township, being about two miles from the country road, and thence to run northerly eighteen miles, as ye line on the eastermost side of ye land runneth, including in ye said Manor his eight part of ye two miles laid out for ye Town of Mamaroneck, with ye lot he now liveth on, and ye lot bought of Alive Hatfield, with ye lands and meadows below, westerly to a path to him belonging by virtue of his deeds and conveyances, part of which lands within the bounds aforesaid, was purchased from John Richbell, from ye native Indian proprietors, which said John Richbell had a grant and confirmation for ye same, from Francis Lovelace, late Governor of said province, and ye right of ye said John Richbell therein is legally vested in ye said Caleb Heathcote, and other parts have been purchased by ye said Caleb Heathcote of ye native Indian proprietors.'
Also Got Deed from Indians
One of the first movements of Colonel Heathcote after he obtained the Manor Grant, was to obtain the confirmation deed from the then Indian Chiefs for Richbell's two mile township tract. This instrument, dated June 11, 1701, gives us the names of the then owners of the tract, which was divided into eight house or home lots. It is executed by two chiefs: Patthunk and Wapetuck, and confirms the tract 'unto Col. Caleb Heathcote, Capt. James Mott, William Penoir, John Williams, Alice Hatfield, Henry John and Benjamin Disbrough.' Henry Disbrough's deed from John and Anne Richbell, of the 16th of February, 1676, for his eighth part, gives us the precise boundaries of this tract, which it terms 'Mamaroneck limits,' 'Being in length two miles and in breadth one and one-half miles and twenty-eight rods. (The length was north and south, and the breadth was east and west. The object was to show that no difficulty with the natives might be apprehended by persons desirous of settling at Mamaroneck.)
Slavery Was Diminishing
It is interesting to note the conditions in which slavery existed in the manor, our first information dating back to 1712. At this date the inhabitants numbered only twelve, of whom four were whites, all being males and over ten years of age, the remaining eight were slaves of whom two were females over sixteen years of age, two males under sixteen and the remaining four males over sixteen. Rather inaccurate information, some forty years later, shows that the number of slaves had only doubled in all that time. According to the census of 1800, the total number of slaves in the town of Scarsdale was twenty-four, while there were at the same time in the town twenty-three free colored persons. From this time onward the number of slaves slowly diminished until in 1820 there remained but seven. In 1835 not a single slave remained.
Colonel Heathcote died suddenly in New York on the 28th of February, 1721, leaving all his estate to his two surviving daughters, Mrs. Anne deLancey and Mrs. Martha Johnston. By indentures of lease and release, in 1738 Martha Johnston conveyed her half of her father's estate to Andrew Johnston, a relative of her husband, and he in turn reconveyed it to Lewis Johnston and his heirs in fee. By James deLancey and wife, and Lewis Johnston jointly all the lands in the manor were sold and conveyed or leased up to the death of James deLancey in 1760. From that time to 1774 all deeds and leases ran jointly in the names of Anne deLancey and Lewis Johnston. During this period a great deal of the Manor was sold both to tenants and strangers.
In the year 1773 the owners decided, for some reason not now known, to have a partition of their lands. A proceeding to accomplish this was commenced under the law, as it then existed, but soon after Lewis Johnston died, and proceedings were begun anew, and the heirs of Lewis Johnston were substituted in his place as parties thereto. Commissioners, three in number, were appointed to carry out the proceedings. They were Philip Pell, Jacobus Bleecker and William Sutton, and they appointed Philip Pell, Jr., as clerk and Charles Webb as surveyor. The work of surveying the lands occupied the time from June 7th to August 16th, 1774. As a result of this survey all the land was divided into numbered lots equally matched in pairs, as nearly as could be conveniently done.
On the 11th day of October, 1774, the Commissioners, together with John Harris Cruger, in his capacity as a member of the Council of the Province, met at Hull's Hotel on Broadway in New York in New York to carry out the balloting or drawing of the lots to the two owners. A boy, John Wallis by name, was blind-folded, and he then proceeded to draw lots in the different divisions seriatum, beginning first at the north division, taking out first a ticket with the number of a lot and then a ticket with the name of the owner. The latter tickets bore the name of 'Anne deLancey,' or the words 'Heirs of Lewis Johnston.' The Commissioners carefully recorded each drawing as it was made and when the whole was completed the proceedings were duly certified to by the signature of John Harris Cruger, as the Councilor of the Province, present.
From the respective owners who received their particular lots under this final partition of the Manor lands of Scarsdale in fee, those lands have passed to the great number of parties now owning and occupying them, with of course, all the rights and privileges of all the lands granted by the Crown of England prior to the 14th of October, 1775 and guaranteed and confirmed by all the successive constitutions of N.Y. both as an Independent Sovereignty and as one of the United States.
Source: Picturesque History of the Manor of Scarsdale Is Told by Mrs. Harrington, Scarsdale Inquirer, Apr. 26, 1929, p. 4, cols. 2-4.