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Summary of City’s History
A Brief Overview of New Rochelle's History
Queen City of the Sound
By Barbara Davis, City Historian

From its earliest settlement to its present day status as a richly diverse and vibrant community, New Rochelle’s story reflects a remarkable array of national trends and social movements.

The first known inhabitants of the area were the Siwanoy Indians, of the Algonquin Nation, who encamped along the shores of the Long Island Sound. John Pell, “Lord” of the Manor Pell, acquired the land from the Siwanoys. 25 years later, he sold 6,000 of the acres to a group of French refugees known as Huguenots, persecuted Protestants in pursuit of a home in which they could worship freely. With Jacob Leisler as their agent, the handful of settlers signed the deed with John and Rachel Pell in 1689. They named their settlement after the last Huguenot stronghold in France, La Rochelle. French remained the predominate language until well into the 18th century.

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New Rochelle Public Library, Local History Collection
An extensive collection of research materials can be found in the attached index: New Rochelle Public Library Local History Collection, New Rochelle History Links, and by visiting the New Rochelle Public Library website.