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Thomas Purcell's 17th-century Staten Island cattle mark

This post is shared by JF Purcell, who can be contacted at jfpurcell (at)

For those of you on the Thomas line, I was able to trace down the long known Cattle Mark to my 9x Grandfather Thomas Persells (Purcell). This occurred this last Wednesday [mid Jan 2019] when I visited The Brooklyn Historical Society for a seminar.

The Brooklyn Historical Society houses a world-renowned special collections and archives library on the second floor of its land marked building. Known as The Othmer Library, it has thousands of books, photographs, oral histories, maps and more.

I sat down with resource librarian Cicely and she recommended four sources, of which I got through two in the time I was there. Pictured below is the opening page for The History of Richmond County (for Staten Island), edited by Richard M. Bayles from 1887. Inside is a listing of Cattle Marks, which Cicely had never heard of. (It helps to have grown up on Billings Montana.) The listing reads as follows:

Dated May 15th, 1697 Thomas persells marks the same that was Elishea parkers (Parker's) with A halfe Crope in the top of the Right yeare (Ear)

This is a truly remarkable find that verifies our relatives lived on Staten Island in the late 1600s.

JF Purcell Oceanside, NY

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