The French Huguenots, in seeking religious freedom came to the Americas in the 17th Century after having been denied protection by King Louis IVth…. but where to live? The Governor of New York, Jacob Leisler, acted as the agent on behalf of the French Huguenots, and appealed to John Pell to see if he would sell 6000 acres to the Huguenots. In 1688, the Huguenots began settling in what became New Rochelle and so named after their French town of “La Rochelle.”
“A condition in the sale was that Leisler or his heirs would provide “John Pell his heirs and assigns, of the said Manor of Pelham … as an Acknowledgement to the said Manor one fatt calfe on every fouer and twentyth day of June Yearly and Every Year forever (if demanded),” as included by Swiatek and Breen.”
Today marked a momentous occasion. The Pell family reunited this weekend, and visited the Thomas Paine Cottage and Museum today for a special ceremony. Direct descendants of the original Huguenot settlers were also on hand today, together with Barbara Davis, New Rochelle Historian, delegates from “La Rochelle” France, Mayor Noam Bransom, John Wright, the Director of the Thomas Paine Cottage & Museum, and a very special calf! One of the Pell family members (and they seemed to bridge 4 generations) gave to our Mayor a genealogy chart of the Pell family.
After the ceremony, the family, (both Pell and Huguenot descendants) and the French delegates adjourned to the Jacob Leisler statue here there was a great photo op for all.
A wonderful event. A great idea. Another great event commemorating New Rochelle’s 325th Anniversary year long events
New Rochelle is GREAT!