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City of New Rochelle

Westchester County

Zip: 10801

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Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.

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The praise that comes from love does not make us vain, but more humble.
By James M. Barrie  1860 - 1937

Scottish dramatist & novelist best known for "Peter Pan". Also wrote autobiographical novels "A Window in Thrums" 1889 and "The Little Minister" 1891.

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New Rochelle
Westchester County
Hudson Valley

History of New Rochelle, Published 1886
The following covers "History and Antiquities", a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, and anecdotes about Westchester County and its towns. When reading the following, keep in mind that this information was written many years ago. Population statistics and events have not been revised to reflect current events and perspective. We think this adds to the historical flavor and interest of the writings, giving a different perspective on much of this information and written in an "older world" writing style.

    New Rochelle
    "John Pell, the successor of Thomas in the " lordship " of Pelham Manor, was born on the 3d of February, 1643. He arrived in America and entered into his proprietorship in the summer of 1670 . . . The most notable event of John Pell's administration of his manor was the conveyance by him through the celebrated Jacob Leisler of six thousand acres as a place of settlement for the Huguenots - a transaction out of which resulted the erection of the Town of New Rochelle.

    "The Edict of Nantes, a decree granting a measure of liberty to the Protestants of France, promulgated in 1598 by King Henry IV., was on the 22d of October, 1685, revoked by Louis XIV., and by that act of state policy the conditions of life in the French kingdom were made quite intolerable to most persons of steadfast Protestant faith. For some years previously to the revocation numerous French Protestants had begun to seek homes in foreign lauds, especially America; and after 1685 the emigration grew to large proportions. A great many of the Huguenots came to New York City. Several of the leaders of the sect abroad entered into correspondence with Leisler (known to them as a responsible merchant and influential citizen of New York and, moreover, a man of strong liberal principles), with a view to the purchase by him as agent of eligible laud for the establishment of a Huguenot colony. It happened that a number of the Huguenot immigrants in New York City, looking about them for suitable places of residence, had in 1686 and 1687 chosen and secured from John Pell parcels of land in that portion of Pelham Manor now occupied by the present City of New Rochelle. From this circumstance Leisler, as the constituted agent of the Huguenots, was led to locate the settlement at that place. He entered into negotiations with Pell, and on the 20th of September, 1689, "John Pell and Rachel his wife'' conveyed to him,

      ". . . in consideration of the sum of sixteen hundred and seventy-five pounds sterling, current silver money of this province," "all that tract of land lying and being within said Manor of Pelham, containing six thousand acres of land, and also one hundred acres of land more, which the said John Pell and Rachel his wife do freely give and grant for the French church erected, or to be erected, by the inhabitants of the said tract of land, or by their assignees, being butted and bounded as herein is after expressed, beginning at the west side of a certain white oak tree, marked on all four sides, standing at high water mark at the south end of Hog Nock, by shoals, harbour, and runs northwesterly through the great fresh meadow lying between the road and the Sound, and from the north side of the said meadow to run from thence due north to Brouckes river, which is the west division line between the said John Pell's land and the aforesaid tract, bounded on the southeasterly by the Sound and Salt Water, and to run eastnortherly to a certain piece of salt meadow lying at the salt creek which runneth up to Cedar Tree brook, or Gravelly brook, and is the bounds to Southern. Bounded on the east by a line that runs from said meadow northwesterly by marked trees, to a certain black oak tree standing a little below the road, marked on four sides, and from thence to run due north four miles and a half, more or less, and from the north side of the said west line, ending at Broncke's river, and from thence to run easterly till it meets with the north end of the said eastern most bounds, together with all and singular the islands and the islets before the said tract of land lying and being in the sound and salt water, . . . "

    "This was an absolute deed of sale of the property. The sum paid for it, £1,675, was extraordinarily large, in comparison with the usual amounts given in those times for unimproved landed property, and is a demonstration of the entirely substantial character of the settlement of New Rochelle at its very foundation. In addition to the purchase money, "said Jacob Leisler, his heirs and assigns," were to be held and pay "unto the said John Pell, his heirs and assigns, lords of the said Manor of Pelham, to the assigns of them or him, or their or either of them, as an acknowledgment to the lords of the said manor, one fat calf on every four and twentieth day of June, yearly and every year forever - if demanded." This proviso was incorporated conformably with the customs of the times, which required the vouch safing of peculiar courtesies to the lords of manors on the part of individuals upon whom they bestowed their lands. The ceremony of the presentation of the fat calf was duly observed for many years, and was always made a festival occasion.

    "Although the deed of sale specified the Bronx River as the westernmost boundary of the tract, its bounds as finally established stopped at Hutchinson's River or creek. The six thousand acres comprised the whole northern section of the manor, Pell retaining the southern portion, a wedge-shaped territory, about one-half less in area than the part conveyed to Leisler.

    "Shortly after the consummation of the purchase, Leisler began to release the lands to the Huguenots, and the place was settled with reasonable rapidity. It was called New Rochelle in honor of La Rochelle in France, a community prominently identified with the Huguenot cause in the religious wars. From the first the French refugees proved themselves most desirable additions to the population of our county, and the entire history of New Rochelle is a gratifying record of progress."

    Source: History of Westchester County: New York, Including Morrisania, Kings Bridge, and West Farms, which Have Been Annexed to New York City, John Thomas Scharf, Editor John Thomas Scharf, Publisher L. E. Preston & co., 1886.

History of New Rochelle, Compiled 1940

    "New Rochelle is situated on Long Island sound, 20 miles northeast of New York. Pop. 1,816 Settlements were early made in this town by Huguenots, who fled from France after the repeal of the edict of Nantz. The village of New Rochelle is delightfully situated in sight of the sound, on the turnpike road from New York to Connecticut, and contains 4 churches, several hotels, and about 60 dwellings. There is a small settlement at the landing on the sound containing an elegant hotel."

    "New Rochelle, 10.5 m. (72 alt., 57,415 pop.)
    Left from New Rochelle on Echo Avenueto the junction with Pelham Road; R. on Pelham Road to State 1B (the Shore Road), which closely follows the shore of Long Island Sound to New York City. Bolton Priory (R), 2.1 m., was built in 1838 by the Reverend Robert Bolton, whose friend, Washington Irving, gave yellow bricks from the old Dutch church at Sleepy Hollow to outline the construction date on the wall above the door. A bloody battle between the Matinecocks and the Siwanoys took place on Cedar Knoll (L). The Siwanoys were routed and prisoners were decapitated. Legend has it that when the moon is full, the spirits of the headless Indians perform a war dance, holding their heads in their hands.

    "The New York Athletic Club (L), 2.4 m., Italian Renaissance in style, stands on deep, landscaped lawns at Travers Island.

    "At the New York City line, 2.5 m., State 1B becomes Pelham Parkway."

    Excerpts from "New York, A Guide to the Empire State" , Compiled by workers of the Writer's Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of New York, 1940 Albany

About New Rochelle
There are many things to do and wonderful places to visit in New Rochelle, New York. Enjoy activities, attractions, and fine dining opportunities in New Rochelle. Plan an evening at a concert in New Rochelle by the Westchester Chamber Orchestra. For golfers, select a golf course in New Rochelle and enjoy a day of golfing. If antiquing is your passion, spend some time at antique stores in New Rochelle.

Children love going to the park and New Rochelle is flush with local parks for the kids and family.Select one of the many beautiful parks in New Rochelle and enjoy watching the kids in the playground, or on a nature walk, or just relax and read a book. Hudson Park is located in the South End on Hudson Park Road and features a grassy recreation area with a cameo playground, seating areas, bathing, beaches and more.

Plan a day of fun for the whole family and go ice-skating with the kids at New Roc Ice. New Rock Ice skating rinks offer The Central Park Skating Pond, with a sculptured ice surface, complete with iron rails, park benches, lampposts and a city feel. If you are looking for a good movie, visit movies in New Rochelle. For a complete day of fun for the kids and the whole family, visit New Roc City, a great destination for the New York metro area. Go shopping in New Rochelle's New Roc City before heading for home.

When its time to eat, select from a wide range of New Rochelle restaurants.

New Rochelle in New York has beautiful homes and beautiful areas in which to live. Learn more about buying a home in New Rochelle, NY, Westchester County.

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