Eastchester Covenant, 1665

Often included by scholars as one of the country’s important founding documents, the Eastchester Covenant of 1665, which is part of the recorded Town Minutes of that year, joined the town’s original 10 farm families in a bond of religious and political fellowship as they pursued their lives in colonial Westchester. At the time, the town was a small settlement along the Eastchester Creek in what is now the City of Mt. Vernon. Thomas Pell had invited these settlers from Fairfield, Connecticut to make their homes along the Hutchinson River, as protection for his own property further to the east.

“Endeavoring to keep and maintain Christian love and civil honesty,” the Eastchester farmers crafted a compact that included provisions regarding the equal division of land, the construction of homes, sowing of crops, care for cattle and oxen, construction of fences, establishment of an inn, education for the children, support for the minister and an annual day in the spring for the destruction of rattlesnakes. One item that seems to presage the modern Town Board Meeting is the signers’ agreement “that when we are settled, we meet each other together each other week one hour to talk of the best things.”

This record is associated with:

Title Eastchester Covenant, 1665 Format Unbound Manuscript
Repository Office of the Town Clerk, Eastchester Number of Pages 2
Collection Town Minutes, Book I, 1665, pp. 74-75 Dimensions 7" x 9"
Call Number   Transcription Yes
Creator Richard Shute jpeg File Name covenant1/2.jpg
Creation Date 1665 tif File Name covenant1/2.tif

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