The First Treasurer

Of Harvard University

Narrative assembled by D. A. Sharpe


Herbert Pelham was born in Lincoln County, England in 1602. 


It's exciting to me to know that the first Treasurer of Harvard College was my 25th cousin, eight times removed! This is on my Mother's side of the family.   Herbert Pelham is the father-in-law of Freelove Arnold, wife to Edward, Herbert's son through his second marriage, which was to Elizabeth Bosvile.  Freelove is the great grandaunt of General Benedict Arnold of American Revolutionary soldier fame and of his great traitor role played against the Patriots.


On my motherŐs side of the family, Herbert is related through my motherŐs Abney family line. 


Herbert also is the 11th cousin, once removed, of Edward Southworth, the first husband of my seventh great grandmother, Alice Carpenter, on my Father's side of the family, which descends from her second marriage to Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford.  Herbert also is the second great grandnephew of King Henry VIII (through the King's marriage to Anne Boleyn).


Herbert is the third great grandson of Thomas Boleyn, the father-in-law of King Henry VIII. Herbert is the 11th cousin, 14 times removed of my son-in-law, Steven O. Westmoreland.


Herbert Pelham is the 2nd great grandnephew of wife of 3rd cousin 5x removed of husband of stepdaughter of 6th great grand uncle of Dwight Albert Sharpe.


Harvard College was founded on October 28, 1636.   Harvard College was named for clergyman John Harvard on March 13, 1636.  It held its first Commencement in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 23, 1642.


Source: http: //

http: //



Herbert Pelham, colonist, was born in Lincoln county, England, in1602; died in Suffolk county, England, June12, 1673. He was graduated at Oxford in 1619, had an early interest in emigration to the New World, and, in 1629, became a member of the Massachusetts Company in England.  He visited the English colonies in 1638, resided in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was an assistant in 1645 -49.  He was entrusted by the colony with some of its most important affairs, and became first treasurer of Harvard in 1643.  He was a Commissioner of the United Colonies of New England, in making the treaty of 1646, with the Narragansett and Niantic Indians. 


Pelham returned to England in 1650, and engaged in the formation of a society for the religious instruction of the Indians. 


It is an honor to feel connected to the first college of education in the New World, noting that it was founded by Christian people with the vision of what is expected from education based on the principles of the Holy Scriptures and upon the beckoning in life expressed by the Lord Jesus Christ. 


My sense is that some of that property of spiritual values has faded over the centuries, but my belief is that our God is a God of miracles and revivals!




About the composer of this research:


Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712

Facebook:       Dwight Albert Sharpe