Henry Pearsall of Hempstead

From "History and Genealogy of the Pearsall Family in England and America

Chapter 27

The American Genearch

Section I

...(p. 975) It may be well to state here, so as not to break the continueity of the story that with one exception, that of the youngest brother Samuel, the next generation of the Thomas Pearsall family had at this time arrived in America. With one exception they came in dutch bottoms or in their own boats. The only ones coming directly from an English port wa Thomas Pearsall, aged 26 years, who sailed October 24, 1635, from ye port of London, abouard the ship Constance, Clement Campion master, bound for Virginia, and Samuel who came later with the Brents. The others, who came from the Dutch ports of Flushing and Middleborough, were Henry Pearsall, George Pearsall and Nicholas Pearsall sons of Thomas Pearsall, while some years later the sons of Robert Pearsall, the oldest son of Edmond Pearsall, citizen and grocer of London, became interested in the tobacco business along with some of the associates of Claiborne, and at that time William Pearsall, son of Robert Pearsall, located in Henrico County, Virginia, and Robert Pearsall, Junior, sailed in and out of New Amsterdam and New England ports, but that was some time after the center of the tobacco trade had been transferred to Long Island, near Amsterdam....

[This was subject to the Dutch West Indies Company and their trade agreements and shipping.

(p,983)...the Dutch authorities, om 1638, abolished the monopoly of the New Netherland trade which the West Indies Company had enjoyed for fifteen or sixteen years and the trade as well as the cultivation of the soil was thrown open to every person whether denizen or foreigner who chose to embark in it. It was now possible for a Virginia planter to take his tovacco in his own boat to an absolutely free market, particularly was this so when the factor or merchant had his own harbor on that part of Long Island which was tibutary to New Netherland. [Broadhead's London Documents, at Albany, vol. 1, page 57-58] There was at this time such a removal of Dutch-Englishmen from Virginia to Long Island as to amount almost to an exodus, .... Here againThomas Pearsall had to divide his forces. He retained the Virginia home. His younger son Samuel took charge of the business in Kent Island, and the other sons of Thomas Pearsall, manely Thomas, Nicholas, Henry and George, removed to Long Island. Samuel Pearsall, on his father's death, removed to Virginia where he died. Thomas Pearsall Sr. divided his time between Virginia, Kent Island and Long Island.


Chapter Thirty

Henry Pearsall of Hempstead, Long Island, New York


This chapter has been in part deleted.


Section I

HENRY PEARSALL, son of Thomas Pearsall of England and Virginia, Chpter 27, Section 1, resided at Pearsall, Hellgate Neck, and Hempstead, Long Island, New Netherland. He married Ann Valentine [see postscript] widow of Moyles Williams [see postscript]. The Valentines were Dutch-English traders. They were associated with the Pearsalls in Virginia in Isle of Wight County, where they were also closely related by marrieage with the Marshall family, so much so that it is generally acccepted that from the marriage of a Valentine and a Marshall descended John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States, and Thomas Marshall, Vice-President of the United States.


1. Nathaniel Pearsall, born 1649

2. Daniel Pearsall

3. George Pearsall

4. Thomas Pearsall

His will is among the records of the Surrogate's Office of the City of New York. There is also a release to his estate from the children of Michael (Moyles) Williams, which reads as follows: 'This may certify to any whom these presents doth concerne That wee John Williams, Joseph Williams and Timothy Halsted doth by these presents for us our heyres Executors or Administrators Acquit & discharge forever our late ffather in law Henry Persall him, his heyers, Executors, Administrators or Assigns from all dues or demands of Houses, or Lands of Inheritance or any other Lands known by any other title soever, And all other Goods & Chattles whatsoever, that formerly were our owne ffathers Michael Williams deceased. [Father-in-law is a person married to a woman who had children by a former husband &c. to which children he is said to be a Father-in-law.]

Moyles Williams was one of the original Dutch-English traders and one of the first settlers at Hempstead. Upon the patenting of the town, in 1644, he became one of the Proprietors. He died in December, 1644, which was before Dr. Denton and his party arrived from Stamford. The entry in the old Record Book of the Town discloses that there was laid out for the proprietary right of Moyles Williams ye following parcels of land, viz. To Thomas Williams, land lying northward of Herricks. To James Pine land lying at ye palin edge near ye pond ye east side of the highway and land lying at ye North end of Pines Hundred acr Lott in ye North woods. To Joseph Smith, land Lying Where he Now Liveth Between Herricks and Success. To the family of Pearsalls at Herricks, that is to say the children of Moyles Williams, and their assigns land Lying to ye Westward of Herricks. This was merely a confirmation of the plot of land selected by Moyles Williams before the patent and occupied by him at the time of his death....

[The connection with his parents is sketchily brought in at this point with little detail and the only real documentation starting with his business and family dealings in the earliest days of Hempstead]

As Henry Pearsall grew to youth he began to take a part in the exciting warfarfare which was incident both to the tobacco tradeand the peltry trade with the Indians, until in early manhood he was a member of the party who attempted to found a trading post on the Delaware, where he, with his brothers and others was captured and taken as prisoner to New Amsterdam only to be shortly released. In a few months he and his brothers returned and founded the townof Pearsall, later called Hellgate Neck, and which place utimately became an outlying tributary of the patented town of Middleburg. Immediately the Pearsall brothers expanded into large cattle owners, owning herds which grazed upon the plains of Long Island. This branch of the business was delegated to Henry Pearsall, who with others of his neighbord, moved over to the open country, where, in 1640, they started the town of Hempstead. But, until, as a result of the civil war of the Commonwealth in England, they lost their fleet of merchant vessels, Henry Pearsall was always more of less in touch with those maritime trading expeditions which made the name of the family known in every part of the world. After the misfortunes of the civil wars had materially limited the influence of the Pearsalls in this world-wide trade, Henry Pearsall devoted himself to Hempstead.

...It will be noticed that nothing was laid out to Henry Pearsall himself, although he held large landed possessions. The record books of Hempstead disclosing that he was rated as the sixth largest land-holder in the town, and that his wealth in cattle and personal property had the same relative rank. The reason for this omission in the allotment book being that Henry Pearsall obtained his lands under the old town and before the new town was patented.

Clarence Pearsall found the original home of Henry Pearsall of Hempstead still standing and occupied at that time by Italian renters. When the renters had moved in, they found boxes of old papers, some of which bore the date 1803. " The Italians informed us that they had carried out and burned a clothes basket full of old letters, documents and papers, some of which they remembered bore the date of 1803. Hopeful tht some of the papers might have escaped the flames I asked the children of the house to make a search outside, but to our regret they found only fragments of letters that had been blown aside by the wind." (p. 1053)

I have found no evidence of records by Henry Pearsall or anything to dispute my impression from the document I copied which was among the New York Public Library collection of the Bayard, Pearsall Campbell archives among the papers of Thomas Pearsall of Flushing. The portion of the legal document that was included in Thomas Pearsall, shipping and trading merchant of Flushing and New York City, was part of a will for Henry Pearsall. It was signed with "his mark" indicating he did not write.


Will of Henry Pearsall of Hempstead, from the papers of Thomas Pearsall of Flushing

Object Seven

The Last Will and Testament of Henry Persall of Hempstead 24, July, 1667 (Partial)

[Old longhand document. I did not copy it at that time, not realizing it would become of great interest later on.]

The last will and testament of Henry Pearsall of Hempstead was written and copied for him by another. it was signed with a swastika like mark and "Henry Pearsall, his mark".

Witneses were Joseph Sutton, Clerk

Thomas Rushmore

Timothy Haltreed

Untitled paper (from the same archival box of the Pearsall collection)

"Robert Williams buys of Robert Forman 22 Decem 1652 his House and Lands at Hempstead-'

Henry Pearsall buys of Robert Williams his House and Lands at Hempstead 10 June 1665

Henry bequeathes to his eldest son Nathaniel 1/3 of his Estate-

Nathaniel bequeathes to his eldest son Thomas, the better half of his Estate 2, March 1703

Thomas bequeathes to his son Thomas, the Lands at Harbor of the Hills= the former by Mets Hounds.

Thomas bequeathed to his eldest son Israel the Lands at the Harbor of the Hills. Israel bequeathed to M&M (Mary and Martha) Pearsall The Harbor Hills.

Mary and Martha left to Thomas 6 th April 1804 their brother-

Thomas bequeathed to Thomas C. the lands conveyed- Thomas C. dies intestate and the Chancellor allows a sale of the property and under his order I was one of the conveying parties, I always consideredthat the point or landing was as much conveyed as the house or any other part. Besides at an antecedant period during the times of my uncle Thomas C. I wished to purchase this farm of him and had made up my mind what sum I would be willing to give but I found him unwilling to sell but he said if he sold that he would give me the first offer. I also am this ...considered the point as a part of the property-I would have made a material difference in price if I had supposed that the point had not belonged to the farm.

I never seen in the records of the family any circumstance which would had me to doubt that the family always considered the property as wholly theirs- or have I ever heard of any tradition which would invalidate their claim- but so far as I have any knowledge on the subject, the neighbors have always held the same opinion.


Hempstead Harbor

Declaration of Title


The original is in the office of Matthias Nicholls




More Current Information From James Pearsall

"Much valuable information has come to light in the past months, and it would be useful to mention some of it here, so all can profit by the research of others.

l) "English Notes on Ann Pankhurst, Ancestress of Certain Williams, Pearsall, and Halstead Families of Long Island." Written by John G. Hunt and published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume l p.20, October l989. This is a must for anyone seriously interested in the very early years of the Pearsall family on Long Island.

2) "Thomas Ireland and Henry Pearsall: An English Clue from Amsterdam."Written by Harry Macy, Jr. of New York and published in the NYG&BR for April l990. Although a short piece--two pages--it throws more light on the origin of Henry Pearsall than has ever been shown before; another "must" piece of reading.


It should be recognized by all Pearsall descendants that the maiden name of Henry Pearsall's wife, Ann, who was the widow of Moyles Williams, was NOT Valentine but Pankhurst. I encourage everyone to seek out these two articles and study them carefully.The information they contain is of the utmost importantance to all of us if we are to have an accurate understanding of the facts.The... thrust of all our efforts... should be directed toward research to find out for certain from whom Henry Pearsall of Hempstead was descended. It is a matter of record that he died July, l667. There is no evidence to support the claim that he was the son of Thomas Pearsall, the son of EdmondPearsall/Pershall/Parshall, merchant of London.This is the important missing link between the Pearsall family in America and the Pearsall-Pershall-Peshall ancestors in England."

.Jim Pearsall, 
East Millstone, NJ USA

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