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Peter Disbrow was instrumental in founding the town of Rye, New York. He and his brother ,Henry, operated a ferry to Oyster Bay.
Among these westward drifting settlers was a groupled by a Peter Disbrow who, after settling temporarily at Greenwich, led a small party still further west and settled on Manussing Island just off what was soon to be the site of the village of Rye. Just when he arrived on the island we do not know but in 1659 we find him associ-ated with his brother Henry operating a ferry between the island and Oyster Bay. And here, while it is Henry who founded our Disbrow line, let us spare a word for this Peter for he was an interesting lad. He was born in 1631 and died May 2nd, 1688 at Rye. “The successors of the Dutch West India Company in1660 were Peter Disbrow, John Coe, and Thomas Studwell.These were all residents of Greenwich at the time whenthe first Indian treaty was signed. Their leader wasPeter Disbrow, a young, intelligent, self-reliant youngman who seems to have enjoyed the thorough confidence ofhis associates; his name invariably heads the lists of the proprietors; and it is on all the treaties and declar-ations.” On January 3rd, 1660 he made a treaty with theIndians of Poningoe Neck for the purchase of that tractof land described as follows – “Lyeing on the Maine between a certain place called Rahonaness to the East and the Westchester Path to the 20 North and Southe to the Sea or Sound.” This includes the lower part of the present town of Rye on the east side of Blind Brook. On June 20th of that same year they concluded another treaty which gave them Manussing Island. With-in the next two and a half years they had acquired title to pieces of real estate that included, besides the area now covered by the towns of Rye and Harrison, much of the towns of North Castle and Bedford in New York, and Green-wich in Connecticut.
Peter Disbrow (1631 – 1688)
From The Rye Record
– By Paul Rheingold –
Every history of Rye, including mine, starts with three Greenwich men, Thomas Studwell, John Coe and Peter Disbrow, buying Manursing Island from the Indians in 1660 and starting to farm. A fourth, John Budd, joined them a year later, buying other sections of what was to become Rye. Thanks to Bolton’s and Baird’s histories and genealogy on the Web, we know quite about the four founders.
They were not just farmers looking for new fields, but land buyers — proprietors or speculators, styling themselves “successors of the Dutch West India Company.” As their stories unfold, they emerge as three-dimensional people with families.Thomas Studwell (1600-1670), sometimes spelled Stedwell, was born in England at the family seat near Kent. Lord Say and Seal (one man, a British lord, who was sympathetic to the colonist) along with Lord Brook obtained a grant from the King to found a colony in the Connecticut area now named Saybrook. Lord Say and Seal sponsored Studwell for the grant in about 1635. In the 1650s, Studwell bought land in Greenwich and is in their town records.
He was about 60 when he bought the land on Manursing Island, signing with an “X” on the purchase from the Indians. Rye records show that he built a rude house on the island and later a more substantial home in the Mill Town area. With Coe and Disbrow, he acquired more land from the Indians on the mainland and west into what is now Harrison. By 1663, he and others began to sell land to later settlers. One deed shows the sale of a home on Mill Brook, as Blind Brook was then known.
Problems with the other Connecticut colonies arose soon after for Hastings (Rye’s original name), as reflected in documents signed by Studwell and the other two first settlers. In July 1662 they sent a declaration to the General Court in Hartford of their allegiance to that government (so long there were “holsom laws that are just and Righteous according to God and our capableness to receive”).
Baird in his usual comprehensive fashion traces the Studwell genealogy. His wife was Elizabeth, and there appear to have been three sons, one of whom, Joseph, was living in Rye in the early 1700s. In 1667, Studwell went with one son to Stamford and then to Greenwich, where he died. Much more information and the family line can be found in Marion J. Stedwell, “Steadwell, Stedwell, Studwell,” Heritage Books, 1996.
John Coe (1622-1702) was born in Suffolk, England. The family moved to America, first settling in Watertown, Mass., then Wethersfield, Conn., and finally Greenwich. In 1650, he married Hannah Jenner, and they had two children, Andrew in 1654 and Hannah in 1656.
Coe and his family lived in Stamford and sold property there in 1651, moving to Greenwich. Then, in 1659, he sold his home in Cos Cob in preparation for his new enterprise, as one genealogist put it. His name on the 1660 purchase from the Native American Shenowell and others is spelled Coo.
His original lot on Manursing Island was described as 2-3 acres on the north end of the island (now protected by a gate house). Later he is recorded as owning 14 salt meadow lots, a valuable commodity for feeding livestock. In 1663, the first three settlers, plus John Budd, now organized as a syndicate, sold the land on Manursing Island to a new syndicate, in which Coe remained as a member. Later, Coe sold land on the mainland to Hachaliah Brown, who became the progenitor of a significant Rye family. In 1672 Coe and Budd were listed as two of the 12 town proprietors.
In 1683 Coe, with others, is mentioned in an expired writ of error in the Court of Sessions, Kings County. This probably related to the litigation involving whether Rye was in New York or Connecticut. Around 1689 he is listed as living in Byram Neck. Baird reports he moved to Long Island, then under the jurisdiction of Connecticut.
Baird’s genealogy lists five sons. The eldest, also John, took over the homestead on North Manursing Island (which was then separated from the southern end by “Coe’s Ditch”). This he sold in 1668 to Stephen Sherwood and lived for a while on Grace Church Street where present-day Kirby Lane is. Baird traces the Coe family down seven generations to descendants living in and around Rye at the time of his writing, 1871.
You can learn more by reading “Robert Coe, Puritan”, John G. Bartlett, 1911.Peter Disbrow (1631-1688) (also spelled Disborough and Disbro) was born at the family seat in Essex. One ancestor was Major General Disborough. Peter came to America and in 1638 he married Sarah Knapp, who hailed from Watertown, Mass. They had six children, four of them daughters.
Although only about 30, he appears to be have been the leader of the families coming south to Rye, as his name is usually first in legal papers. Apparently he was in land negotiations with the Indians as early as January of 1660, six months before the purchase of Manursing Island. Several biographers describe Peter as an “intelligent, self-reliant young man who seems to have enjoyed the thorough confidence of his associates.”
Disbrow, along with the other three founders, sold some of the land holdings he had in Rye. In 1676 he divided up property south of the Byram River into 10-acre lots which he sold to planters. Further land sales were recorded in 1681. After the early years, Peter had a house in what was called “the Plains” area of Rye, which Baird describes as the area between Milton Road and Blind Brook, probably around Rectory Street.
It is recorded in Connecticut public records for 1681 that Peter had a disastrous fire and the General Court “doe remitt unto him his country rate for the year ensuing.”
A Disbrow genealogy is presented in Bolton, which showed many descendants, some living in Mamaroneck, as of 1848.
John Budd (1600 to 1669) has been credited with being a founder of New Haven and Southhold on Long Island as well as Rye. His house on Long Island, a National Historic Landmark and the oldest English-style building in New York State, was built in 1649 and moved 50 years ago to Cutchogue, where it is now a public museum.
Southold records for 1657 list his profession as judge. He may have moved across the Sound to Rye due to religious problems with his neighbors — Budd was a Quaker.
Born in England, Budd married Katherine Brown and came to America aboard the “Hector” in June 1637 with his wife and three children, the oldest about 20. The ship came to Boston, and then Budd and others in the party moved on to New Haven.
Budd appears in Rye in 1661 with a purchase of a large amount of land from the Indians, known thereafter as Budd’s Neck, running from the west side of Blind Brook to Mamaroneck. The deed of purchase from the Indians was later confirmed by a patent. In 1665 he became a seller of lands west of Blind Brook, which led to objections by the town proprietors. One of the later purchases was to the progenitor of the Jay family.
In Oct. 15, 1669, Budd wrote a document called a will but which today might better be described as a trust, in which he left all of his property in Rye to his son, John Budd Jr. This included the mill on the Blind Brook, where Oakland Beach Avenue crosses today. His son was obligated to pay 30 pounds a year to John and Katherine, or the survivor of the two. The payment was to be in wheat, pork and peas.
His two sons, John and Joseph, stayed in Rye. Joseph, known as Captain Budd, was prominent in town affairs, according to Baird. Their descendants were living in Rye when Baird wrote his book in 1871. For more, see Robert Bolton, Jr., “ A History of the County of Westchester,” 184 and Charles W. Baird, “History of Rye”, 1871.
Any descendants of these founders living in the Rye area are asked to come forward and participate in the programs being arranged to honor Rye’s 350th anniversary.
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Do you have any evidence that Peter and Henry were brothers. Or any info as to their parents or other siblings, such as Thomas in Westport, CT. I am descended from Henry. I am Gary Disbrow, line in CT.
I got most of my tree from Michael Disbrow who ran the Disbrow family web page from Michigan.
Like you, I am a descendant of Peter Disbrow, who also happens to be my 9th great grandfather! Thank you for providing this fascinating write-up!