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Full text of "The Pell manor : address prepared for the New York Branch of the Order of Colonial Lords of Manors in America"

F 128 
.68 

.88 P38 
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THE PELL MANOR 



THE PELL MANOR 



ADDRESS PREPARED FOR 
THE NEW YORK BRANCH 

OF 

THE ORDER OF COLONIAL LORDS OF 
MANORS IN AAIERICA./^^Mr^l^ 

BY 
CAPTAIN ROWLAND PELL 

1st. Provisional Regiment of Infantry N. Y. G. 



BALTLMORE 
1917 



Co^^^ 






^SS 




THE PELL ARMS 



THE LORDSHIP AND MANOR OF PELHAM, 
NEW YORK 

November 14, 1654— Thomas Pell of Fairfield, Conn., made 
a treaty with the Indian Sachems for the land subsequently 
created' into the Manor of Pelham. This treaty was signed un- 
der an oak tree, near a spring, long known as the Treaty Oak, 
and was instigated by the Connecticut authorities with the 
object of extending their boundary to the westward. The 
grant was about eight miles square, beginning at the present 
bridge over East Chester River in Pelham Bay Park, running 
outside City Island and the adjacent islands in the Sound to 
Larchmont,' thence inland and westward to the Hutchinson 
or East Chester River. 

October 6, 1666— "Richard Nicholls, Esq., Governor under 
His Royal Highness the Duke of York, of all his Territories 
in America" gave, granted and confirmed to Thcmas Pell, 
Gentleman, all the land purchased from the Indian proprietors 
and created the same into an entire enfranchised township and 
manor. October 20, 1687—" Thomas Dongan, Captain General 
and Governor in Chief in and over the Province of New 
Yorke and the Territories depending thereon, in America, un- 
der his most sacred Majesty James the Second by the grace 
of God, Kinge of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, De- 
fender of the Faith" etc., etc. to John Pell, Gentleman, nephew 
of Thomas Pell, confirmed the previous grant and constituted 
the Lordship and Manor of Pelham. This patent is very 
interesting, as it gives the exact bounds of the Manor, and 
among other rights, the patronage of all and every church 
erected or to be erected within the boundaries of the Manor. 
The Lord of the INIanor was obliged to send forward to the 
next town, all public packets and letters, and hue and cries 
coming to New York or going from thence to any other of his 
Majesties Colonies, and was given full power and authority 
at all times to hold one court leete and one court baron, and 
in fealty was required to render to the Duke of York or his 
heirs, one lamb on the 1st day of May, if the same shall be 
demanded in writing. These grants are all recorded and I 
have a copy from the original Nicholls patent made in 1767, 

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and one from the Dongan patent dated 1801. The original 
Indian Deed is believed to be in existence but its location is 
unknown. 

It is a long way from the Courts of Europe to the then wilds 
of Westchester County, but I shall tell the story as briefly 
as possible. The Pells of Pelham Manor are of the old English 
family of that name in the Counties of Lincoln, Norfolk and 
Sussex. The ancient Heralds visitations in the British Museum 
and Heralds office, London, signed by members of the family 
prove the arms and pedigree as shown to considerable extent 
in Bolton's History of Westchester County. There are but 
few American families having the good fortune to have pre- 
served masses of correspondence, public and private, memo- 
randa from State Documents, to mere scribblings such as ex- 
ist in the Pell Papers in the Landsdowne, Sloan and Harlean 
MSS. in the British Museum and in the Record Office, Lon- 
don. These papers have never been published, or even thor- 
oughly examined in recent times. Many of Dr. Pell's personal 
and public letters are found in Vaughn's Protectorate of 
Cromwell-— London 1838, and show him to have been a man 
of remarkable attainments. 

Several members of the Pell Family were Knighted or served 
in the English Court. Sir Richard Pell, Sir Bartholomew 
Pell and Sir Anthony Pell of Dymblesby County, Lincoln were 
Knighted bv James I. Sir Vafentine Pell, died 1658, and his 
grandson. Sir Valentine, died 1690, are buried in St. Nicholas 
Church, Dersingham County, Norfolk. Thomas Pell, the first 
of the family to come to America, was a Gentleman of 
the Bed Chamber to Charles I, and John Pell, his nephew, 
our ancestor, was a Sewer in Ordinary to Charies II— a sewer 
is a page who passes the meat to the King, and is an apprentice 
for a courtier's career. George III Knighted William Pell of 
the Royal Navy, and Sir Albert Pell of Wilburton Manor 
was rewarded for his ser\aces by Queen Victoria. 

The following extracts from the State Records may be of 
interest,— "Nov. 23-1622 — Commission to William, Earl of 
Salisbury, and Sir Anthony Pell to see to the Game Laws." 
''Mch. 25-1623— The King to the Lord Mayor, etc., of Lon- 
don requests them to pay 1500 pounds which they owe the late 
Alderman Rotherham, Sir Anthony Pell, having married his 
widow." 1624— "Sir Anthony Pell, Master Falconer, writes 
to ask if 20 falconers @ 1000 pounds will suffice the King and 
he wants 200 pounds a year fee as he bought his place dear. " 



"1631 — Extracts from accounts of payment to Sir Anthony 
Pell, Master Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Mews for 
Hawks — at thirty pounds per month for the wages of himself 
and others engaged in that service." 

" 1634 — Leaves to Her Majesty's fair Chamber Maid to 
write the boldness of Sir Anthony Pell which will prove a busi- 
ness of "pell mell" wherever it falls, on the issue is fixed great 
expectations, for the writer he loves innocence so well that 
he will hope it in all men. " 

"1654 — Jan. 16 — John Pell was paid 50 pounds one quarter 
as Lecturer en Mathematics. 

"Feb. 19-1655 — by Mr. Secretary, allowance of 800-pounds 
a year to Mr. Pell to commence from his arrival in Geneva" — 
this amount was increased to 1000-pounds. 

1665 — License to Sir Barth Pell for 31 years shooting with 
the long bow etc. 

The Rev. and Right Honorable John Pell, D.D., the last 
English ancestor of the Pells of Pelham Manor, and the only 
famous man of our Hne, was born March 1, 1610, at Southwick, 
a small town near Brighton, County Sussex, where his father. 
Rev. John Pell, was Rector of the Parish. His mother was 
Mary, daughter of George Holland of Halden, Kent. She 
died in 1615, and her husband fifteen months later. Rev. John 
Pell was the son of another John Pell descended from the an- 
cient family in County Lincolnshire. 

The last named John Pell was, in accordance with my in- 
vestigations, the second Lord of the Manor of Shouldham 
Priory and Brookhall, Mayor of Lynn Regis, born 1526, died 
1607, and buried in a large square tomb in St. Nicholas Church, 
Dersingham, with the effigies of himself and his wife, Mar- 
garet Overend, engraved on the top, while on the sides are the 
kneeling figures of his six sons and three daughters. The 
arms on this tomb and on other brasses or stone slabs adjoin- 
ing are, " Ermine, on a canton azure a pehcan or, vulned gules" — 
the crest being, "on a chaplet vert, flowered or, a pelican of 
the last vulned gules" displayed on a Knight's Helmet. These 
arms were granted October 19, 1594, by Richard Lee Clari- 
enceux, and have been used by Dr. John Pell and his descend- 
ants ever since. 

It would not be of interest to give here the detailed account 
of Dr. Pell's life, for it appears in all English Biographies, 
British Leslie's National Biography, 1895, and what is most 
interesting, the minute record in Woods Athenae Oxensis, pub- 



lished in 1691. He was educated in the School at Steyning, 
entered Trinity College, Cambridge, at the age of thirteen, 
and by 1630, became known as a Mathematician. He is said 
to have been the first to use the present signs for division, 
involution, evolution and ergo — his favorite subject was the 
Diophantine Analysis, and he was famous for his solution of 
the indeterminate equation, ax^—y^=l. He also published 
several pamphlets on mathematics. His friend, Sir William 
Boswell, procured his election to the Chair of Mathematics 
at Amsterdam in 1643. Three years later, on invitation of 
the Prince of Orange, he moved to the University of Breda, 
where he remained until 1652, when he returned to London. 
While in Breda, he rendered some considerable service to 
King Charles H — just what it was is not now known, but 
there are several references in the various MSS. The most 
interesting — (Sloan Coll. Vol. 4280 fol. 316, et seq.) re- 
ferring to Dr. Pell's petition for the Rectory of Orsetin Essex, 
which when approved by Gilbert Sheldon, Lord Bishop of 
London, was presented to Charles H, for confirmation. 

"Tuesday March 4, 1661— Mr. Sec. V*. told me that my 
business was done with the King, because I was so well known 
to His Majesty," the petition was read and "The King an- 
swered 'Yes, Yes, very truly, mine old acquaintance at Breda' 
and thereupon signed the warrant." He was proficient in 
ten languages and had a wide acquaintance in England and 
Europe. His great ability was recognized by Cromwell who 
gave him a salary of 400 pounds a year, to induce him to give 
up his professorship of mathematics in Holland, to lecture 
in London, and then sent him to Switzerland in 1654/5, as 
Minister Resident, where he remained until 1658 with an 
annual salary of 1000 pounds. A ship was sent to Flushing 
to bring him back, and a special card of in\ntationto Cromwell's 
funeral is still preserved in the British Museum, also an order 
for mourning cloth. When he came to London from Holland, 
a house was provided for his family where they lived while 
he was in the service of the state. 

In 1661 Dr. Pell was ordained in the Church of England, 
and his petition to Charles II for the living of Orset being 
granted, he also received the livings of Laindon and Fobbing 
in Essex. The old church at Fobbing is still used, and in a 
large box in the Rectory I saw receipts signed by him. His 
friend, Dr. Sheldon, when he became Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, appointed him his Domestic Chaplain, and his friends, 




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as it is stated, expected to see him receive a high rank in the 
Church, but he was indifferent to his personal advancement. 
In 1663, he was elected a member of the Royal Society and 
was later made a Doctor of Divinity. He died December 12, 
1685, and was buried in the Rectors Vault in the Church of 
St. Giles-in-the-Fields. He married, July 3, 1632— Ithamaria, 
daughter of Henry Reginolles of London, and his surviving 
son John became' the second Lord of Pelhani Manor. The 
following letters may be of interest. Dr. Pell to his Wife:— 
"To Mrs. Pell, at her House behind si.x trees in Gardiners 
Lane, near King Street, Westminster. April 14, 1656"— re- 
ferring to his daughter's wedding. Let her brother (the future 
Lord of Pelham Manor) write a letter to me in English de- 
scribing the marriage, time, place, company, &c. I would see 
what he can doe by his mother wit, in his mother tongue, 
without his mothers helpe. If he omit any considerable cir- 
cumstance, you may supply it in a letter from yourself. Al- 
mighty God^direct & bless you all. " His wife died in London 
Sept. '11, 1661. 

John Pell to Dr. Pell:— "Honored Father, Thursday last 
I sent you two letters. I hope they came safe to your hands, 
this is all at present from your dutiful son.— J. P. March 2, 
1663." 

Thomas Pell, the first Lord of the Manor of Pelham, and 
only brother of Dr. John Pell, was born in 1608 at Southwick, 
and came to America 1635 in the Ship " Speedwell. " He made 
his way through Massachusetts to the Colony of New Haven, 
among"^ the early records of which his name often appears. 
He served as Su'rgeon in the Pequot War under Captain Mason 
and was also with Lieutenant Lion Gardiner at Fort Saybrook. 
He afterwards settled in Fairfield, and for several years was a 
Delegate to the General Assembly. In 1654, as before stated, 
he purchased the land from the Indians which subsequently 
was created into Pelham Manor, and located several families 
on the plantation, which soon attracted the attention of the 
Dutch in New Amsterdam. The following spring the Court Mes- 
senger Claes Van Elslandt with a trumpeter and some soldiers 
proceeded to Vreedlant, as it was then called, but were not 
allowed to land by Mr. Pell's Lieutenant and men, who had 
attached the Arms' of England to a tree— probably the "Treaty 
Oak." In 1656 "the valiant Captain Frederick de Cormick, 
Captain Lieutenant Brian Naton and Fiscal Cornells van 
Tienhoven" with a larger force in the ship "Weigh Scales" 



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captured Lieutenant Thos. Wheeler and his men and took 
them to New Amsterdam, where they were soon after released 
upon an agreement not to war on the Dutch. 

Thomas Pell married 1646 Lucy, widow of Thomas Brew- 
ster, and died at his home in Fairfield in 1669, shortly after 
his wife. Having no children he left all his property (Will 
filed in New York and Fairfield) to "My Nephew John Pell 
living in ould England, the only sonne of my brother John 
Pell, D.D" "An inventory of ye Estate of Sir Thomas Pell 
late deceased" shows a long hst of personal property of con- 
siderable value for those days. 

John Pell, generally styled Sir John Pell, the Second Lord 
of the Manor, mentioned before, was born in London February 
3, 1643, and was carefully brought up and educated under 
the supervision of his learned father. When the news of his 
uncle's death reached London, he sailed at once for America, 
bearing proper credentials to prove his claim to the estate — 
among them was a letter from Lord Brereton to Governor 
John Winthrop of Connecticut. 

October 11-1670, Governor Winthrop wrote to "William — 
Lord Brereton, at his house in Deans Yard, Westminster, 
London." 

"Right Honorable 

I was at Boston in the Massachusetts Colony when Mr. 
John Pell arrived there. By whom I had the great favour 
of your Lordships letter. He came into that Harbour very 
opportunely for the expedition of his business; For one Mr. 
John Bankes a neighbour of Mr. Thomas Pell deceased; and 
one of those whom he had intrusted with the estate was in a 
vessel of Fairfield (the place where Mr. Pell had lived) return- 
ing thither; and met the ship coming in; & came back with 
Mr. John Pell to Boston: Where I spake with them both; & 
upon the reading of your Lordships letter, informed Mr. Bankes, 
that I had full assurance from your Lordship, and divers others, 
that the person there present, was Mr. John Pell, & he to 
whom Mr. Thomas Pell, deceased, had given his estate. And 
that very day Mr. John Pell imbarqued with Mr. Bankes 
and sailed towards Fairfield, carrying also with him my letters 
to the Magistrate and others there, certifying the same to them 
concerning him, with desires of all good loving respects to 
him and their helpfulnesse as his occasions should require, 
and that order might be taken forthwith for his quiet posses- 

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sion of that Estate. I have heard since of his safe arrival and 
welcome there; and that he hath accordingly the possession 
of the lands and houses and goods to which he had right, both 
at Fairfield, and Westchester; which is a place neere New 
York; where his Uncle had also a considerable plantation, 
with good accommodations belonging to it." 

The Governor and Secretary of the Colony of Connecticut 
issued a certificate of recognition, which read as follows: 

"At a meeting of the governor and assistants in Hartford, 
Dec. 9th, 1670, upon the desire of Sir John Pell, the governor 
and assistants thought good hereby to certify whom it may 
concern, that they are fully satisfied by several letters and 
testimonials that the governor hath received from persons of 
honor in England, that the bearer of them. Sir John Pell, Sewer 
in ordinary to His Majesty, and son of Dr. Pell of London, is the 
undoubted nephew of Mr. Thos. Pell, late of Fairfield, and the 
person whom he hath made his heir in his last will and testa- 
ment, to whom the inventory in trust ought to surrender the 
estate bequeathed to him by the said Mr. Thos. Pell, deceased 
and the just account thereof according to his will. Signed by 
order of the governor and assistants, per me, 

John Allen, 
Secretary of His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut." 

John Pell disposed of his property in Fairfield and lived in 
his Manor — the house being located near the stone building now 
occupied by the Garden Club of America. He was appointed 
the first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas 1688 and the 
first member of the Provincial Assembly for Westchester 1691. 
He was commissioned Captain of Horse 1684 and Major 1692, 
and was a Vestryman and Warden in St. Peters Church. In 
1689 he sold to Jacob Leisler what is now the City of New 
Rochelle as a Colony for the Huguenots driven from their 
City of that name in France by the revocation of the edict of 
Nantes. The Lord of the Manor gave 100 acres of land to 
the French Church for its support and maintenance. 

John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor, was drowned in the 
Sound from his yacht about 1702, leaving by his wife Rachael, 
daughter cf Philip Pinckney, his eldest son Thomas, who be- 
came the Third Lord of the Manor. He was born in Pelham 
Manor about 1675, and the date of his will is September 3, 

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1739. He succeeded his father as Vestryman in the church and 
held other offices of honor. He married Anna, by tradition said 
to be the daughter of the reigning Indian Sachem Ninham-Wam- 
page or Annahock. As his sons grew up he deeded them large 
tracts of land, some of the houses on which are still standing — 
my great great great grandfather Joshua Pell receiving Hun- 
ter's Island and several hundred acres on the mainland. 

On Thomas Pell's death, he willed the Manor property to 
his son Joseph Pell, the Fourth Lord of the Manor. He was 
born 1715 (probably the youngest son), married Phebe Dean; 
died 1752, and with his wife is buried in the railed-in enclos- 
ure on the Bartow place near the site of the Manor House. 
As mentioned before this property is in charge of the Garden 
Club of America. His son Thomas Pell, born 1744 and mar- 
ried Margaret Bartow, was the last owner of the property, 
which later passed into the possession of the Bartow family. 

Of the seven sons of Thomas Pell, Third Lord of the Manor, 
only Thomas and Joshua have living male descendants, so far 
as i know. Some years ago, Mr. Elbert Roosevelt of Pelham 
Manor, then over ninety years of age who remembered the 
English warships in the War of 1812, told me that Lord Pell 
had been bed ridden for many years, when a mad dog ran in 
his room, he jumped out of the window and climbed a tree for 
safety, and then enjoyed several years of active life. 

The Manor being in neutral ground during the Revolution 
was harassed on both sides, and the members of the family 
were divided in their allegiance. 

Major Samuel Pell was one of the first members of the " Cin- 
cinnati;" his brother Colonel Phillip Pell, Judge Advocate, an 
Honorary Member, rode with General Washington's Staff at 
the Evacuation of New York by the British. John Pell was 
an Ensign in the Queens Rangers and Joshua Pell, Jr., an officer 
with Burgoyne. Colonel D. Archibald Pell and Captain John 
Howland Pell served in the Civil War. Stephen H. P. Pell 
was a seaman on U.S.S. "Yankee" in the Spanish War, and is 
now serving in the American Ambulance in France. His brother 
is an officer in the U. S. Navy. Theodore Roosevelt Pell is 
a First Sergeant in the Veteran Corps of Artillery. Howland 
Pell is a Captain in the Depot Unit, 12th New York Infantry 
(detailed to the First Provisional Regiment of Infantry, New 
York Guard, now on active duty up the State) and his son 
Howland Gallatin Pell is a Quartermaster's Mate in the Naval 
Reserve, 2d District. Duncan C. Pell, Jr., is an officer on the 

16 

The following members of the Pell Family also 
served in the Great War — Captain Clarence C. Pell, U.S. 
M.C., Lieutenant Howland Haggerty Pell, U.S.N. , Ensign 
Walden Pell. U.S.N.. Howland Haggerty Pell, Jr., U.S.A.. 
and Rodman C. Pell. Jr., U.S.A. Herbert Claiibcjne Pell, 
Jr., was elected a Member of Congress in 1918. 




-.p^pr*^' 



g^-'^'^tiiiii-'Tni^ 







17 



Reserve List. In civil life several of the family have held 
important offices. 

The Manor for a hundred and fifty years has only existed 
in name — but many of the older inhabitants still speak of 
"Lord Pell," and the family arms is the seal of the town. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF NEW YORK (O'Callahan) 

Volume III, page 854 

Census of Slaves, Manor of Pelham, Westchester County 

A True List of all the Slaves Both Male & Female in the 
Mannour of Pelham above the Age of Fourteen Years, accord- 
ing to Report to me made in Submission to the present Malitia 
Act of General Assembly of this province. 

Joshua Pell's numbr males 2 

Caleb Pell's numbr males two Femals two 4 

Philip Pell's numbr males two Femals two 4 

Saml Rodman's numbr males two Femals two 4 

Bernard Rylander's males two Femals one 3 

Phebe Pell wd Jos Pell Deed one male one female 2 
Executors of Isaac Contine Deed Males one 1 

for my own possession males three Female one 4 

Number of the Whole 24 

From yours Honnours Most Humble Servant, 

John Pell, Captain 
of the Mannour of pelham. 
Aprill the 12th 1755. 

Slaves^ bones as Relics. While a force of workmen were 
making an excavation, yesterday, for the new fire headquar- 
ters in Church Street, New Rochelle, they dug up three skele- 
tons, which were about 10 feet below the surface. The property 
on which the fire-house is to be built was at one time owned 
by Lord Pell, who received it as a grant from King James I. 
It is believed that the skeletons are those of slaves of Lord 
Pell. The bones have been collected by the firemen, and will 
be kept as relics in the new headquarters. — Yonkers States- 
man, August 29, 1900. 

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Inscriptions on Tombstones in Pell Plot On 
Bartow Place 



HER LYES 
ISEC PELL DD 

EG 14 NO 1748 



IS 

HER THE 

BODY OF JO 

SEPH PELL EGED 37 

D 1752 



HERE LYES THE BODY OF 

SALOME PELL, BORN JAN Y'' 13tH 1759, 

AND DEPARTED THIS LIFE 

OCT. Y^ 10th 1760, AGED 1 YEAR, 

8 MONTHS AND 27 DAYS. 



In Memory 

of John, son of 

James and Phoebe Bennett, 

who died Augt 6, 1763 

Aged 21 months. 



In Memory 

of Sussanah, wife of 

Benjamin Drake, who 

Died March 4th, 1763 

Aged 22 years. 



In Memory of 

Phoebe Pell 

the widow of Joseph Pell. 

She departed this life 

On the 22d day of March, 1790 

In the 70 year of her age. 



Inscription on Tablet of Marble Five Feet High Erected 
in 1862 BY James K. Pell, of New York 

This Stone is placed here in token of respect for the memory 
of and to mark the spot where lie buried the mortal remains 
of several of the descendants of John Pell, who was born in 
the year 1643, and died in the year 1700. The son of the Rev. 
John Pell, D.D. and the nephew of Thomas Pell, the first 
proprietor of the Lordship and Manor of Pelham. born in the 
year 1608. 

This plot is supposed to contain gold and jewels hidden for 
safety by Lord Pell, and is periodically dug up by impecunious 
seekers of wealth. 



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