THE PELL MANOR
THE PELL MANOR
ADDRESS PREPARED FOR
THE NEW YORK BRANCH
THE ORDER OF COLONIAL LORDS OF
MANORS IN AAIERICA./^^Mr^l^
CAPTAIN ROWLAND PELL
1st. Provisional Regiment of Infantry N. Y. G.
THE PELL ARMS
THE LORDSHIP AND MANOR OF PELHAM,
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,
and one from the Dongan patent dated 1801. The original
Indian Deed is believed to be in existence but its location is
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,
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,
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"
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,
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-
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,
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,
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
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.
Reserve List. In civil life several of the family have held
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.
Inscriptions on Tombstones in Pell Plot On
ISEC PELL DD
EG 14 NO 1748
BODY OF JO
SEPH PELL EGED 37
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.
of John, son of
James and Phoebe Bennett,
who died Augt 6, 1763
Aged 21 months.
of Sussanah, wife of
Benjamin Drake, who
Died March 4th, 1763
Aged 22 years.
In Memory of
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
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.