Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

AHGP

 

 

Brandywine Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware

Early Settlements Villages Roads
Fort Christina List of Taxable, 1787 List of Voters, 1812
Religious Interests   Manufacturing Interests

Brandywine Hundred is the name applied to the northeastern section of New Castle County, and embraces all that territory comprised south of the State line and on the waters of the Delaware and Brandywine, excepting what has been joined to the city of Wilmington, in the southeastern part of these natural bounds. The surface partakes of the characteristics of Southern Pennsylvania and is, in general, well undulated. Outcroppings of rock appear in many localities, preventing a fertility of soil, while other sections have fine and highly improved farms, whose proximity to the markets have made them valuable property. Along the streams, whose descent to the level of the Delaware is precipitous in places, are valuable deposits of blue stone and granite, which are being profitably developed. On the hills are groves of natural timber, giving the country a pleasant appearance and no other section in the State excels this in the variety and beauty of its landscape scenery.

The territory embraced within the present bounds of Brandywine Hundred does not appear m a distinct division until the year 1687, when a list of taxables residing on the north side of Brandywine Creek was prepared.1

But at that time the name hundred was not applied to the division, that appellation not being adopted until a much later period. For many years different sections of the hundred were known by the old local names.

These were, beginning at the mouth of Christiana Creek and going northward, Vertrecht Hook Marsh (later Cherry Island Marah), Vertrecht Hook, the "Bout" or "Bocht," Grubb's Manor Lands, Naaman's Creek Lands and west from all of these, Rockland Manor.

The Swedes, as has been stated were the first settlers. They located on Vertrecht Hook (also called Trinity Hook), that being the first desirable fast land on the Delaware above Fort Christina, which was built in 1638, and which afforded them protection.

Fort Christina

Upon the surrender of Fort Christina, in 1654, the Swedes were much concerned as to their rights, as one of the terms of the capitulation was that they should leave their lands and locate in villages, which was distasteful to them. Accordingly, on the 19th of January, 1656, "There appears at the meeting of Council the free Swedes who live upon the second point2 above Fort Casimir and request that they may remain on the land and that they are not willing to change their place of inhabitation nor to build in the village which is to be established, but they adhere to the promise made to them by the Honbl'' Peter Stuyvesant,
that they should resolve what to do after the expiration of a period of one year and six weeks granted to them by the capitulation." This request was presented to the Governor, and on August 14th in that year the deputy sent by the Governor read the instructions and conditions which were delivered to Gregorius Van Dyck, sheriff. The exact purport of the conditions is not known, but the greater portion still resided on Vertrecht Hook, and on May 20, 1657, forwarded a request to the authorities to establish villages. The request was granted by letter, June 12th the same year, and Gregorius Van Dyck, was ordered to concentrate them in villages, either at Upland, Passayonck, Finland, Kingsessing, or on the "Verdritige Hook.'' It was at the latter place that the Swedes were then living without title to land, except the right of discovery and occupation, as no patents were granted by Queen Christina to anyone within the territory now embraced by the State of Delaware. Here they located in considerable numbers with their families, each having a narrow river front and running back into the woods, and using the marsh lands in common for wood and and pasture. Some of them obtained titles under the Dutch, and which, in 1664, were renewed by the English. In 1662 the place was known as the "troublesome comer'' and in that year Vice-Director Beekman, of Fort Altena, in a letter dated June 21st, writes, ''Sixteen or eighteen families mostly Fins, residing in our jurisdiction to whom great offer, have been made by Mr. d'Hinijossa, intend to move into the Colony; They are to have eighteen years' freedom of all taxes, with their own judges and decisions up to 100 guilders, also free exercise of their religion, these families intend nevertheless to hold on to their lands in our jurisdiction and to sow grain on them, until they have cleared land in the Colony. In my opinion we may seize the deserted land and settle Dutch farmers on it if it were possible to get them.'' These families remained on lands they had located, mostly on Vertrecht Hook and the "Bout;" a few, however, were at Tran Hook or Craine Hook and Swanwyck.3 Only one or two in the early days lived below New Castle, until about 1675-76, and then but few more settled there.

The English came into possession of this territory, by the surrender of the Dutch, February 7, 1663, on condition that the inhabitants, principally Swedes, should be protected in their rights. Their lands became escheated, but were restored again to them by patents from the English Governor, Richard Nicholls. The first grant on the Delaware, to individuals, after the surrender, was given March 5, 1663, about a month after the capitulation of the Dutch. It was granted to Niels Nielson, Sr., Hendrick Nielsen, Mathyes Nielson and Niel Nielson, Jr., "for each of them a plantation with a proportion of meadow ground for hay for their cattle on a certaine piece of land att Delaware situate, lying and being on the Trinity Hook or that corner of land so extending to the Stone Hook and obliging them to build their houses near unto one another.'' This grant was confirmed June 15, 1664, and reconfirmed, January 8, 1667. At the time of the first grant Fort Christina, although virtually surrendered, did not yield until forced to do so by the presence of an armed force under the command of Sir Robert Carr, August 27, 1664. This grant was probably the first issued by the English in this section of the country.

Fort Christina was near ''the rocks,'' now in the yard of the McCullough Iron Works, in Wilmington. Opposite, in Brandywine Hundred, was a piece of fast ground, which, in 1643, was called Cooper's Island, by reason of two Dutchmen living there and making barrels and casks. It later became known as Vandever's Island, and was the property of Jacob Van de Vere. He first appears in this country as a sergeant in the garrison at Fort Altena, in 1660, and in that year he asked that he might be discharged in the spring, "as he desires to leave with the first vessel after the river was open." He did not leave the country, but obtained title to property in New Castle April 8, 1661, and lived there a number of years. He probably took up his land in Brandywine soon after the above purchase, but received no patent until March 24, 1668. Later, he had a warrant, dated March 2, 1682, for one hundred and forty-seven acres, the tract containing the island. He also received another tract by warrant dated May 18, 1684. These tracts were all re-surveyed April 6, 1688, and contained five hundred and thirty-two acres, including marsh. The map of survey shows the land to be bounded on the southeast by Shellpot Creek, on the northwest by Brandywine Creek, and on the other aides by lands of Hans and Usin Peterson.

Early Settlements

"The Island," as it was called, appears to have been the neck of land where the railroad bridge now crosses, and the house was marked as being close to Brandywine Creek. The survey shows the King's road to have passed through the upper end of the tract. It runs from Philadelphia, in the rear of the river lots, to near the head of the island (whose eastern boundary was a marsh, rather than a stream), and then turned and ran nearly parallel to the creek, until it reached the ''Falls." It was at this place that the court, on May 13, 1675, ordered "a Ferry to be maintained at the Falls on ye west side." A bridge was built later by Jacob Vandever, lower down, which was called Vandever's Bridge, and was used until 1764, when it was ordered to be destroyed by the act of 1761, and a new bridge built where the present Market Street Bridge over the Brandywine now stands.

The Vandever tract embraced Brandywine Village (the lands formerly Edwin Bellah's), the settlement about Eleventh Street Bridge, on the east side, and where an old Vandever farmhouse still stands. The elevations on it have been known as ''Timber Island," "Thatcher's Hook," etc. It was for over one hundred and fifty years in the hands of the Vandevers, when it was subdivided, and passed into the hands of many owners.

A tract of land lying below the above, on Christiana Creek, and below Vertrecht's, or Trinity Hook, came into possession of Peter Alrichs, nephew of Vice-Director Jacob Alrichs, and who himself occupied many offices under both the Dutch and the English. Upon the occupation by the English Alrich's property was confiscated, but later he came into favor with the English and was a magistrate many years. This tract of land was also confiscated, and, with an island and plantation farther down the river, was granted to William Tom by Governor Richard Nicolls, June 20, 1665, who, after reciting that the land formerly belonged to Peter Alrichs, describes it as follows:

"I doe likewise hereby give and grant unto the said William Tom a certaine piece of meadow-ground, or valley, lying at the mouth of the said river of Delaware, between Christiana Creek or Kill, and Vertrecht's Hook, being bounded on the Back Kill, conteyneing by estimation five hundred acres."

This land Mr. Tom held until his death, when it was sold to Arnoldus De La Orange. During the occupancy of Mr. Tom, and at a special court held at New Castle, 13th and 14th of May, 1675, the inhabitants of Vertrecht's Hook complained that Mr. Tom "molests them in enjoyment of meadow-ground next to their plantations." The matter was compromised by Mr. Tom's proposal that the inhabitants and some other neighbors who stood in need, might have the same liberty and equal benefit of some of the meadow next unto them; he, Tom, reserving freedom of commonage for himself, and also opening his own meadow-ground, of which they complained.

The latter tract was all marshy and was rarely used. In the course of years it appears to have lost ownership, but, September 1, 1748, it was taken up and resurveyed in the name of William Bedford for the De Haes heirs. It is now (1888) known as the Cherry Island Marsh, and has been redeemed from its waste condition by an improvement company of the same name.

Vertrietege (or Vertrecht) Hook extended from the marsh lands upward along the Delaware one and three-fourths miles. The stream running through it terminated at du Pout's Landing. The name signifies grievous or tedious, owing to the character of the navigation in the streams here, which were more subject to tidal influences in those days than at present, and permitted the entrance of sloops. North were the lands of Charles Peterson, below the ''Bout," northwest was Rockland Manor, and west was a tract of land owned by Hans Peterson. His house was northwest of the forks of Shellpot Creek. This tract of land was resurveyed on a warrant dated May 20, 1688, and granted by William Penn to Henry Toosen, John and Pieter Mounsen, Anneke Lawsen, Jacob Clementsen and John Neilsen. The latter, it will be noticed, was the only one living on the original grant in 1663. Each of the above five places contained 165½ acres. The lower tract belonged to John Neilsen, and was narrow on the river, with a house on the first fast, land beyond and above Cherry Island Marsh. His land was wider in the rear, and ran back of part of Jacob Clementsen's land. Clementsen also had a house near the river front. The next division above Clementsen was Anneke Lawson, which was of equal width, as were also the other two above. In Lawsen's lot was a stream that ran down through it to the river, and his house was on the southerly side of the stream. The next lot was John and Pieter Mounsen, who also had a house by the river. Pieter Mounsen,4 November 1, 1609, bought the Crane Hook Church property, consisting of one hundred acres. Henry Toosen owned the upper lot and had upon it two houses, one on the river front and the other near the upper end and on the lower side of the old King's road, which ran through all the lots here mentioned.

Above the Vertrecht Hook tract was a belt of land having a front of one hundred rods along the river and extending back to the Rockland Manor Lands. It was patented May 28, 1669, to Barrent Egge, who disposed of it to other parties about five years later. A portion of it was assigned to Charles Petersen.

The "Bout" or "Boght" was a tract of land lying on the Delaware, above Vertrecht Hook, extending along the river about two miles and running back to the Rockland Manor Lands. It was first occupied by the Swedes without titles to their lands, but under the Dutch they were permitted to remain, and after the English accession warrants were issued and patents granted. One of the first was issued April 16, 1673, for three hundred acres, and was granted to Olle Fransen, Peter Mounsen and Neil Neilsen.

On the 15th of June, 1675, Governor Andros granted a patent to the above and Marcus Lawrensen for the three hundred acres already patented and four hundred acres additional, with a stipulation "that the inhabitants of Verdritege or Vertrecht Hook shall have and enjoy the privileges and freedom of Stony Creek and the mill which they have built on the same.''

The mill on Stony Creek (now Quarryville Creek) was owned by a company, and was sold February 10, 1688, by Hans Petersen, Niel Nielsen and Olle Fransen to Peter Boynton, who then owned part of the Bout tract. Boynton was a merchant at New Castle, and July 9, 1684, bought of Olle or Woola Fransen one hundred and thirty-four acres on the lower side of the tract, and bounded on the upper side by Stony Creek. Subsequently he bought more land in the Bout, and on the 14th of October, 1693, he sold to Ebenezer Perkins, ''late of New England, husband-man,'' a portion of this land; and on the same day Joseph Perkins, a brother of Ebenezer and also of New England, bought of the "Bout" lands adjoining of Thomas Noxon. The descendants of the latter still own and occupy part of the same premises.

The jurisdiction of the Upland Court extended down to the south line of the Bout, and September 13, 1681, Morgan Druitt was a juror at that court. He purchased five hundred and thirty-two acres of the Bout tract, tor which, under Penn, he received a warrant for survey in 1683. In the survey it was named ''Newport." He left the property to his son, William, who died there and left it to his son John, who lived at Salem, N. J., who, August 6, 1726, conveyed the Newport tract of five hundred and thirty-two acres to Reuben Ford. "On the 7th of May, 1737, he gave to his son, Reuben Ford, Jr., 96 acres; to his son Benjamin, 73 acres; to his son Joseph, 58 acres, and to his son John, 115 acres.''

Of the ninety-five acres of land of Reuben Ford, Jr., Jasper Justin, his executor, sold fifty acres to Samuel Lodge, April 10, 1742. Benjamin Ford later moved inland and resided there, his descendants being active in the early affairs of the hundred.

On the 13th of March, 1677, the court at Upland was petitioned for a warrant to Johannes De Haes for a tract of "land in the Boght between the land of Olle Fransen and company and ye creek called Naaman's Creek, which sd. land was not yet surveyed, so that the Petitioner is uncertain of the quantity of the sd. land, and therefore desired that the court would be pleased to give order, and withal a warrant, for the laying out of the sd. land." The court granted the request, and ordered a warrant for its survey.

De Haes had received a patent for this land, before this period, from Governor Lovelace; but being in the Upland jurisdiction, the survey had been delayed. A portion of this tract was later a part of Rockland Manor, and that part from the Bout to Stockdale's Run was divided into two parts, bearing the names of Stockdale's plantation and Mile's end. In 1785 these tracts were owned by the following: Adam Bulkley, ninety-five acres; Emanuel Grubb, ninety-five acres; John Grubb, fifty-six acres. On this tract was Grubb's landing, and that family long owned the improvements connected therewith.

Between Stockdale's Run and Naaman's Creek was a tract of three hundred and forty acres of land, included in the De Haes tract, but which was resurveyed January 21, 1721, and divided into three parts, of which John Bulkley was placed in possession of one hundred and fourteen acres, north of Stockdale's Run; Joseph Grubb, next above, had one hundred and eight acres, and Benjamin Moulder, still above, and on Naaman's Run, had one hundred and eighteen acres. Benjamin Moulder left his land to his two sons, Benjamin and William, who received patents July 12, 1746.

On the 18th of July, 1676, there was granted by patent to Charles Jansen, Olle Fransen, Olle Neilsen, Hans Hopman, John Hendrickson and Hans Olleson, a tract of land laid out for one thousand acres, the larger part of which was in what is now Delaware County, Pa., but it embraced all that portion of Delaware north of Naaman's Creek. Claymont is partly on this land and partly on the land owned in 1734 by Benjamin Moulder.

Hans Petersen, who lived southwest of the Vertrecht Hook settlers and on Shellpot Creek, was located before 1668, as his patent bears date November 14th, that year, and called for one hundred and fifty-seven and one-half acres. He later owned more property, and, in 1677, had a dispute which ended in a suit in court, over title to land claimed by others. He was a member of Crane Hook Church, and one of the founders of "Old Swedes'" Trinity Church. He was, with the most of the Swedes in the vicinity, mentioned as one of the confederates of the "Long Finn," who was tried, in 1675, at New Castle, for insurrection and banished.

Before 1681 he had other tracts of land warranted to him, most of it located along Shellpot Creek and on Chestnut Hill. One tract, which had been con-firmed by Governor Lovelace to Andreas Matson, November 14, 1668, was on a stream described as follows: "Whereas, there is land situate at place called the 'Indian or Wilde Hook,' in the tenure and occupation of Andreas Matson, a small run of water bounding on east, running by Shellpot Hill 100 rods in breadth, and back into ye woods 600 rods."

A part of the Hans Peterson lands was re-surveyed, December 1, 1748, for Mark Elliott. In this locality Henry Webster had a re-survey made before 1794, for seventy acres which were bounded by the lands of Mark Elliott, John Houston, John Allmond, Vertrecht Hook and John Penn. The heirs of the latter at that time owned the Shellpot Mill. Webster's other land lay farther northwest, and is still owned by his descendants.

Rockland Manor was set off by William Penn, in 1682, as one of the many manors in his vast domain. It embraced all the lands in Brandywine Hundred except those heretofore mentioned, including the narrow neck of land extending to the Delaware River, between the "Bout'' and Naaman's Creek, also above described. The first warrant for lands in the manor was made to Henry Hollingsworth, February 20, 1683, and was for two hundred acres lying on the south side of the headwaters of Shellpot Creek, and adjoined the lands of Thomas Hollingsworth, purchased about the same time. The next notable sale was to the Pennsylvania Land Company, of London, which bought of William Penn, "on the 17th of 6th mo., 1699," sixty thousand acres of land, four thou-sand one hundred and twenty acres of which were in New Castle and two thousand acres in Rockland Manor, in Brandywine Hundred. It was resurveyed in 1718 by Isaac Taylor, and a few sales are recorded after 1721, all the lands being closed out before 1765.

Reuben Ford bought, in 1713, seventy-five acres on the head- waters of Naaman's Creek and adjoining the land of Wm. Stockdale, from whom Stockdale Run took its name. Wm. Ford purchased lands in 1722, which were located both in Delaware and Pennsylvania. In 1734 Benjamin Ford, who had formerly lived on the "Bout" on the Delaware River, became the owner of one hundred and two acres on the Circle, in both States. July 10, 1759, he and Samuel Reynolds, of Chichester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, were owners of three parcels of land, whereon they built a grist-mill, saw-mill, and other buildings. These they sold to James Cummins, of Nottingham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They were all on the west branch of Naaman's Creek, one being at the fork of the creek with the west branch, and adjoining lands of Edward and William Cloud, "to contain as much land as was necessary to set up a mill-dam."

In 1722, Thomas Strode became the owner of one hundred and ten acres on the Brandywine and the county line, and the same year Emanuel Grubb purchased one hundred acres more in the interior of the hundred.

In May, 1760, the following purchases were made:

Richard Sanderson, 112
William Smith, 96
William Kirkland 82
James Stewart 94
Caleb Seal 40
Samuel McClintock 329
Nathaniel Kennedy 90
Thomas McKim 81
John Bird 175
William Bratton 176
Samael Grubb 100
William Watson 220
William Robinson 100
Samuel Stewart 240
Joseph Shallcross 76
William Tally 34
Samuel Tally 176
David Tally 84
Daniel McBride 101
William Smith 96
William Kirkland 82

In a number of instances descendants of the above remain on the purchases made by their ancestors more than a century ago.

Earlier than the above were the conveyance of two hundred acres of land, on Naaman's Creek, by Isaac Warner to Wm. Talley, in 1695; and Peter Lester to John Ford, one hundred acres on the Brandywine, in 1796. The Talleys were nearer the Brandywine than the Grubbs, who were on the road east towards the Landing, living on both sides of the highway, and were large land-owners. Isaac Grubb at one time possessed one thousand acres. Samuel was the father of Isaac and he was a son of John, who died in 1757. The family first lived on the Delaware, below the Landing, where Emanuel Grubb was born, one of the first English natives in the hundred. The Grubbs and Buckleys (Bulkley) intermarried, and the latter were also large land-owners. A part of their holdings now belong to Amor G. For wood. Sometime before 1700, Daniel Buckley built a brick house, on part of his estate, which remained in a well-preserved condition until it was rebuilt by William C. Lodge, about 1847. The Lodge family settled on the Druitt tract, a part of which is still owned by William C Lodge. The latter is a grandson of Samuel Lodge and son of George, who died early in 1880, aged eighty-three years. For many years five generations of this family resided contemporaneously in Brandywine Hundred.

The Forwood family has descended from William Forwood, who was born in Ireland in 1692. After immigrating to America he reared a family of ten children. Of these, William, born 1723, died in 1814, was the progenitor of the Forwoods of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The old homestead was on the Marsh road and is still owned by descendants.

Francis Day was also a purchaser of Rockland Manor lands, in 1760, and made improvements on the same, on the present Concord pike, which have remained in the family six generations. In 1887 this place was the property of John W. Day.

List of the Taxable of Brandywine Hundred returned to William Cassel, November 27, 1787:

 List of the Voters taken at the District Election, held at the house of George Miller, in Brandywine Hundred, the 6th day of October, a.d. 1812.

Roads

The first road in what is now Brandywine Hundred was an Indian path, later used as a bridle-path, along the river from New Castle to Tinicum. It was probably not much used, as the communication between distant points was mainly by sloops on the river and other streams. The second well-defined highway was the King's Road, inland a mile, more or less, from the river and on the higher lands. Its course was essentially the same as that of the Wilmington and Philadelphia Turnpike.5 "The road to ye ferry at Christina Creek," on the Vandever tract, was established 1680. The roads in the western part of the hundred were located at later periods. The Concord Pike subsequently took the course of the principal one from Wilmington to Chester County. Bearing off from this is the Faulk Road, running north into Delaware County. The principal roads from the river to the Brandy wine are the Naaman's Creek Road, the Grubb's Landing Road and the highway leading from Shellpot Creek to the Concord Pike. The latter was located prior to 1789, and the others very much earlier, possibly in the seventeenth century.

A bridge was built over Naaman's Creek, before 1682, as the road that passed over it was the first in the State and was used long before that time, it being the road from Fort Casimir or New Amstel (now New Castle) to Tinicum. The bridge had been rebuilt and repaired several times, and in 1800 the Levy Court commissioner appointed William Poole one of their number to contract for and superintend the erection of a stone arched bridge over the creek at the place now known as Claymont, which is nearly if not quite at the place where the old Indian path and King's highway crossed the creek. Mr. Poole wrote a letter to Thomas Robinson, residing at or near the place, July 30, 1800, informing him of the fact and requesting him to superintend the erection in his absence. The contract was made with Adam Williamson and the bridge was completed in 1802. Thomas Robinson, June 8, 1802, made the following indorsement on the back of the letter of Mr. Poole:

"Agreeably to the annexed Request, I have observed with satisfaction the attention of Mr. Williamson in Building the Bridge over Naaman's Creek, and 'Tis my Opinion that he has used every necessary care and industry in the erection thereof.

Thomas Robinson.
Naaman's Creek, June 8, 1802."

The bridge was made a toll-bridge by the county. Toll-gates and house were erected and a keeper appointed. It was continued by the county until the Philadelphia and Wilmington Turnpike was opened, when it was leased to the Turnpike Company, March 25, 1831, but ceased to be a toll-bridge in 1832. The bridge is still in excellent condition.

The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad traverse the hundred on lines almost parallel with the river, and about one mile apart.

Manufacturing Interests

The excellent water-powers afforded in early days by the Shellpot and Brandywine Creeks soon attracted the attention of the enterprising Swedish and Dutch settlers, who sought and obtained privileges to improve the same. In later years the various industries established and carried on at these sites were sources of great wealth to the State, and contributed more than any other means to augment the population of Brandywine Hundred. It is interesting to trace the development of these industries, and to compare the mammoth establishments of today with the small beginnings more than two hundred years ago. One of the first attempts in this direction was made in the spring of 1658 by Joost Andriessen and companions, when they forwarded to the Director-General of New Netherland the following petition:

"To the Noble, Honorable Director-General of New Netherlands, etc. Show with due reverence Joost Andriessen and companions that they are willing to erect a saw and grist-mill below the Turtle's Falls, for which the place and some land belonging to it has been granted to them by provisional Commissary ef the Honble W. I. Company, subject to your Honor's approval, therefore the petitioners respectfully ask that your Honor will please to improve the same and issue letters patent for it, which doing, etc.

(Signed) "Joost Andriessen &, Co."

On May 6, 1658, "The request is granted, provided that they shall not ask more for the grinding of grain than is paid at the Honor Company's grist-mill."

The place designated as Turtle Falls was Shellpot Creek (designated on the map of Lindstrom, the Swedish engineer, as "Skillpaddle Follet" (Swedish), and "La Cataracte des Tortues" (French), or Turtle Falls), in Brandywine Hundred.

It is evident from. the extract below given, from a letter of Director Beekman, dated Altena, May 12, 1662, that although permission was granted in 1658 to certain persons to build a grist-mill on Turtle Falls, it was not done at that time. He writes:

"With your Honorable Worship's approbation, I have granted last year to some inhabitants the Turtle Falls Kill, situate about half an hour's way from here to put up a flouring-mill there, which they now would carry out, provided they could get a title deed."

It was granted to them under the condition that the "Honorable Company should have free grinding for the garrison, which it would do well to insert in the title deed. We are very much bothered with the grist; very often we have to turn back disappointed from the old Swedish Mill (which lies about six leagues from here), and must take the grain at great expense for the Honorable Company to the horse-mill at New Amstel."

Soon after the "Proprietors of the Grist-Mill at the Falls of the Turtle Kill" Jan Stalcop, who resided at Altena, and owned land adjoining the fort; Hans Block, who resided at Swanwyck, on the river, above New Amstel; and Lucas Pietersen, forwarded the following petition:

"To the Noble very Worshipful Gentlemen, the Honorable Director General and High Council of New Netherland:

"Show with due respect and humility the undersigned petitioners, viz., John Stalcop, Luckas Pieterson and Hans Block that a certain time ago they erected a water grist-mill at the Falls of Turtle-Kill, for the accommodation of the community here and of those who might need it, and whereas it is necessary that a person should live near the said mill to take care of the same, who necessarily must have some land for cultivation and to secure the mill aforesaid; therefore the Petitioners request the letter-patent for the aforesaid land and mill might be granted them."

A Dutch patent was granted May 16, 1683, for land lying near ''Mill Creeke, that falls into Shellpot creek."

"Shellpot Mill Lands'' contains seventy-eight acres of fast land and was re-surveyed October 23, 1680, by Ephraim Herman for Jan Stalcop, Peter Dewitt, Mary Block, Hans Petersen, Peter Hendricks and several other persons.

It was at the head of the Shellpot Creek and on both sides and adjoined Vertrechts Hook. They were sold, June 2, 1685, by Mary Block, Barbara Maislander and Christian Stalcop to Cornelius Empson. On the 26th of May, 1688, Empson made an agreement with Salif and Erasmus Stidham "for free grinding of com for them and their horses forever."

"Under English Authority.

"A patent was granted to Andreas Andriessen & Company to erect a mill on a creek called Andries ye Fynnes creek on Delaware River.

"Francis Lovelace, Esq.,' etc.: Whereas, there is a certaine creek in Christina Kill, in Delaware Ryver, commonly called & knowne by ye name of Andries ye Fynnes Greek, whereupon there is a convenient place to erect a mill. The w is recommended by ye officers there to be set up by Andries Andriessen & 19 more in Company, whose names are here under written for an Encouragement to ye said undertaking, it tending to a publique good. Know ye that by virtue of ye Company & Authority under me given, I have given and granted & by these present doe give, ratify, confirm and grant unto ye said Andries Andriessen & Company, their heirs & assignee, liberty to erect a mill in ye most convenient place in ye Creeke afore menconed. To have and to hold, etc. The grist rent is Bushnell Wheat. The Patent dated ye 1st of October, 1669."

On the same date

"A patent was granted to Robert Scott, John Marshall, John Cousins & John Boyers for a parcel of land in Delaware River, by Francis Lovelace. Whereas, there is a certaine parcel of Land in Delaware Ryver lying & being on the East Side of ye Christina Kill, bounded on ye west with ye creek or Kill commonly called ye Hill Kill or Andries ye Fynnes Kill, on ye east with bounds of Christina Towne or John Stalcop's land, containing about four hundred acres be it more or less, which said parcel of land hath been layd out by ye officer at Delaware for four Soldiers... to the end that the said land may be measured and planted."

It is probable that this tract of land was below the "Mill Tract'' before mentioned, and that the mill had caused it to become a desirable location.

But a little earlier than this a patent was granted to Peter Alrichs, February 16, 1668, for two islands in the Delaware River, the largest of which was called Matineconek, the Indian of which was Koomenakanokouck. Near the smaller island was a small creek "fitt to build a mill thereupon.'' There was granted "the said island and premises appertaining, as also the small creek aforementioned near unto the lesser island, running up a mile within land to have liberty to erect and build a mill thereupon, where shall be found most convenient, as also a convenient proportion of land on each side of the said Greek for Egresse and Regresse to and from the Mill, and for other necessary accommodations thereunto belonging."

It does not appear that this mill was erected, and the locality even is in dispute, but it shows the interest in improvements of this nature and how eagerly the sites were seized upon.

In May, 1676, Governor Andross, in a letter to the "three several courts of Delaware Bay and River, recommended Justices of Courts to, without delay, examine all Mills and Banks to be well fitted up and repaired, and if they see cause to have others built, to do so in convenient and fitting places. To regulate Tolls for grinding, and to give encouragement to all owners of Mills, whether Public or private."

Two years later he issued an order in relation to "a complaint that ye owners of a certain mill standing on a creek in Christina Kill are debarred from cutting wood for reparacon thereof, by the parties owning the land on each side the said Creek. These are to give notice and order that ye persons to whom ye said Mill belongs bee no way hindered, butt are to have free liberty to cut wood for said use, upon any land not in fence according to law."

The country being now settled more densely, new mills were erected, and, in the early part of 1679, the court decreed: "Upon the petition of Charles Peterson desiring a grant for one hundred acres of Land for a new mill by the Petition" and some more persons built in the Run of the Schellpots Kill above the old mill. The Court granted the Petitioned his Request provided his honor the Governor orders and regulations be observed and yet this new mill and Land doth not prove prejudicial to the old first built mill; also that the Land be not granted or taken up before, and that the water be not stopped up or hindered from the lower mill." On the 6th of June, the same year, Olle Olleson petitioned to set up a water-mill "in ye run of Shellfalls Creek above the two Lower Mills." It is not known whether this was granted or not. Olle Olleson was one of the patentees of Vertrecht or Trinity Hook and the land on which he proposed to build this mill was on the rear of his tract. The other portion above, on the river, was known as Horse Neck or Parde Hook.

In 1682, Wm. Markham, the deputy of William Penn, made the following order relating to a mill on the Brandy wine: " At the request of Jacob Vandever, who is now about building a grist-mill on his land on Brandywine Creek in said county of New Castle, that we would grant him to make use of the water of the said creek on his own land for the service of said mill. We do hereby grant the same, he yielding and paying yearly to the proprietary, his heirs or assigns, half a bushel of wheat"

Many of these old mill-sites have been abandoned so long since that it is difficult to locate them. It is believed that the first mill on the Shellpot Creek was at the point called Herring Bocks, a place where large quantities of that kind of fish are caught, traces of the race-way may still be seen. The second site was probably above the turnpike, below the next natural falls, and required a long race-way. Here are the Webster Mills, which, after being burned down, were rebuilt and are at present operated as the property of John Webster. The Allmond Mill is on the power higher up the stream and is a very old structure, having machinery of limited capacity, but like the old Grubb mill, on the west branch of Naaman's Creek, proves an accommodation for the neighborhood in which it is located. The latter mill, after having been the property of the Grubb family many years, passed into other hands, and, in 1887, was owned by Lewis B. Harvey.

On the Delaware, near the city of Wilmington, are the extensive Sellers Iron Works, whose location at that point was the means of building up the industrial village of Edgemoor. A full account of this enterprise is elsewhere given in this work. A mile higher up the river, at Riverside Station, on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, the works of the Delaware Extract Company are favorably located, occupying buildings which had been erected for the manufacture of best sugar. That enterprise proving unprofitable, the present business was begun in January, 1887, by a company having the following management: William Pennypacker, president; Frank Pyle, vice-president; Frederick Pyle, secretary and treasurer; and J. Henry Grim, superintendent. The buildings have been supplied with machinery capable of extracting forty thousand pounds of licorice per week, whose operation gives employment to fifteen men. The motor is steam, from a ninety horse-power engine, and the material consumed is imported from Asia Minor.

Near Quarryville, Jacquet, Carr & Co. opened large quarries of Brandywine blue stone about 1827, shipping extensively for the Delaware Breakwater by means of sloops through a canal from the quarries to the river. Later the "Bellevue Granite Quarry Company" carried on operations at this point, making shipments by means of a track to the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. At one time as many as two hundred men were employed, and the quarries were equipped with all modern appliances. Work was suspended in the summer of 1886. On the Shellpot Creek, where the Philadelphia turnpike crosses that stream, P. P. Tyre opened a quarry of superior granite in 1885, from which blocks of stone four feet in thickness have been taken. The quarrying of granite in the hundred is still in its infancy, but will prove an important factor in adding employment and wealth to many of its citizens.

Other industries not here noted are given in connection with the villages in which they are carried on.

Religious Interests

As early as 1682 several families belonging to the Society of Friends, or Quakers, settled within the bounds of Brandywine Hundred, and held their meetings at private houses. But in 1687 Valentine Hollingsworth gave the ground for a meeting-house and burial-place, where was soon after built the Newark Meeting-house, a small structure of poplar logs, which served its purpose about sixty years. In this building the Newark Monthly Meetings were regularly held until 1704, when they alternated with Centre, in Christiana Hundred; but in 1707 they were wholly abandoned at Newark, though the name was long retained (until 1760), when it was changed to Kennett Monthly Meeting, the meetings having been held at the latter place since 1721.

Weekly Meetings of Friends continued to be held at Newark until 1754, when they were also raised, most of the members having removed or deceased. The burial-ground was continued, though it fell into neglect after the Revolution; but it is believed that the old log church was removed to near Centreville, in Christiana Hundred, where it served as an out-building in later years.

Within the last fifty years a movement was set on foot by the citizens of the central part of the hundred to restore the former conditions of Newark. Accordingly, the acre of ground was enclosed with a substantial stone wall, and a Union Meeting-house was built adjoining, in the upper part of the road leading to the highway. Active in this work were Thomas Babb, George W. Weldin, John Beeson, Henry Beeson, Edward Beeson, George Miller, Thomas Cartmell and others. The property, consisting of the cemetery and a plain stone church, is now controlled by a board of trustees, consisting of Henry L. Guest, William L. Wilson, Amor G. Forwood, Penn Lykens, Isaiah Mousley, John F. Sharpley and Joseph Miller. Services have been held in the church by nearly all the denominations worshipping in this part of the county, but no regular organization claims it as its exclusive home. The cemetery is tenanted by the dead of many of the oldest families of the central and southern parts of the hundred, and is fairly well kept.

The Calvary Episcopal Church, half a mile north of the old Newark Union Church, was built on land donated by Mrs. Barbara Carr. The corner-stone was laid September 25, 1862, and the dedication took place January 29, 1863. The organization of the congregation was effected earlier, in 1862, and before this Episcopal meetings were held in the Union Church for the accommodation of members of the Grace and Ascension Churches residing in this locality. Later, the rector of the latter church preached to a small membership, but it has been found impracticable to maintain regular worship, and for some time the church has not been occupied. It is a small but neat Gothic chapel of native stone, whose erection reflects credit upon the neighborhood in which it stands.

The Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church. The services of the Methodist Episcopal Church appear to have been established next after those of the Friends, and some of the most active members of the new organization were early members of that society. It is stated that Isaac Tussey, who lived on Shellpot Hill, was one of the first Methodists residing in the northern part of the county. But that faith was soon after professed by Thomas Webster and David Ford. The latter was an active thinking young Friend. In 1768, when but eighteen years of age, he visited Marcus Hook and there listened to the impressive preaching of Captain Thomas Webb, the pioneer expounder of Methodism in Delaware. His eloquence was so marvelous that men of all conditions were enchanted, John Adams saying of him, after hearing him preach in 1774: He is one of the most eloquent, fluent men I ever heard; he reaches the imagination and touches the passions well, and expresses himself with great propriety." David Ford became a convert to Methodism, and after he was married, a few years later, had preaching held at his house. Subsequently his son Jesse became a well-known Methodist minister.

In 1775 a Methodist Society was formed, which embraced among its members the above and William Cloud, whose sons, Robert and Adam, also became Methodist ministers. In 1780 a small church was built, on part of the Cloud place, near the State line, which was long known as Cloud's Chapel, but which, in later years, became Bethel Church. The original building was enlarged, in 1799, until it became quite a spacious stone structure, though very plain in appearance. It is still standing, though not used as a regular place of worship since 1873. That year the elegant new Bethel Church was erected on an adjoining lot at a cost of nearly fifteen thousand dollars, and has since been occupied. It is a commodious two-story brick edifice, with a front of serpentine green stone, and is very attractive in its general appearance.

But its completion at a time when the country was suffering from financial stagnation was a heavy bur-den to the membership. Lying between the two churches is a large and well-kept cemetery, and in the same neighborhood is a parsonage, which was completed March 1, 1886, at a cost of thirteen hundred and fifty dollars. This property was controlled, in June, 1887, by the trustees, Thomas Clayton, S. M. Talley, Thomas S. Talley, Lewis Talley, Charles Talley, J. L. Perkins, Robert Talley, Wm. G. Galbraith, Curtis Maxwell, Wm. H. Ridgley, Mills Forwood, Henry M. Barlow and Edward T. Wier.

In addition to the early membership already mentioned, Robert and David Pyle, Daniel Clayton, Thomas and Clark Webster, the Talleys, Isaac Grubb, Joseph Wier, Robert Johnson, John Day and Benjamin Day took an active interest in the affairs of the church in the early part of the present century. In 1887 there were one hundred and forty members, some residing in the State of Pennsylvania. The Revs. Wm. Miller, Samuel Hance, Mifflin Fraim and John Talley have served as local preachers.

One hundred years after the formation of the society Bethel Church became a separate charge, and, since 1873, the ministers have been the following: 1874, Rev. H. Sanderson; 1875-76, Rev. E. H. Nelson; 1877, Rev. T. B. Hunter; 1878, Rev. T. B. Killian; 1879-81, Rev. Wm. B. Gregg; 1882-84, Rev. L. W. Layfield; 1885-86, Rev. T. B. Hunter; 1887, Rev. J. W. Hamersley.

The previous circuit relations embraced connection with churches in Pennsylvania and other Methodist Churches in Brandywine Hundred, changes occurring with so much frequency that they cannot be here traced.

Grace Church, Protestant Episcopal, The preliminary meeting to organize this body was held at Talley's schoolhouse, December 30, 1835, Doctor A. Prince being in the chair and James A. B. Smith secretary, when the following heads of families agreed to form a church:

John Lodge, William Gray, Isaac Arment, Abner Vernon, Joseph Guest, James Dutton, John McKever, Valentine Forwood, Dr. A. Prince, James A. B. Smith, William Smith, Elihu Talley, James Smith, Jehu Talley, Isaac Smith, Thomas Robinson, John Gray, George Williamson, Nehemiah Delaplain and William F. Grubb.

On the 6th of February, 1836, the old schoolhouse near the ''corners" was purchased and fitted up for a church, and, about the same time, Isaac Smith and Dr. Abner Prince were elected the first wardens. The Rev. William J. Clark became the first rector of the new parish, serving in that relation several years. The subsequent rectors of the church have been the Revs. Samuel C. Shatton, L. H. Mansfield, J. B. Clemson, S. F. Hotchkin, C. M. Callaway, William H. Jeffries, N. G. Schon, Robert N. Wright and, since 1886, L. H. Jackson.

In the fall of 1872 the parish decided to purchase ten acres of land for church purposes, the same being finely located on the Concord Pike, north of Talleyville. Here a large tent was pitched September 12, 1872, to celebrate the anniversary of the Sabbath school, and it was an occasion of much interest, leading to a firm purpose to erect a fine house of worship on the grounds at an early day. The work of securing funds was begun, and on the 1st of October, 1874, the corner-stone of the new edifice was laid by Bishop Lee, assisted by Rector Hotchkin. Henry M. Barlow became the builder of the church, which was opened for public worship July 4, 1875. The farewell services in the old church had been held the previous Sabbath, and the building, no longer used, has gone to decay. In building the new church, generous aid was extended by Louis Smith, William P. Cresson, Francis Tempest and the subscriptions secured by the ladies, Laura Smith, Mary Forwood and Elizabeth Forwood, helped much to make it the beautiful structure it is. The material is native stone, in fine Gothic style, and, standing centrally in the spacious grounds, it is a very attractive object. Its cost was about eight thousand dollars. Entering the grounds, part of which has been consecrated to the dead, on the left-hand side is a good sexton's house, while on the right-hand is the spacious rectory, completed in 1885, and presented to the parish by Mrs. Mary Cresson. Altogether this is one of the most attractive church properties in the county.

In June, 1887, the church had fifty-two communicant members, and the following vestry controlled the affairs of the parish: William P. Cresson and Louis Smith, wardens; Benjamin Atwell, Hugh Ramsey, Christopher C. Righter, Robert Beatty, Jr., and Stewart Ramsey.

The Sabbath school maintained in the church is in a very flourishing condition and has more than one hundred members.

Church of the Ascension (Protestant Episcopal), at Claimant, The services of the Episcopal Church were held in this locality as early as 1843, the Rev. Alfred Lee, D. D., Bishop of Delaware, preaching at the school-house at Naaman's Creek. These meetings, held statedly several years, awakened a desire for a consecrated house of worship, and early in January, 1851, this purpose had been so far carried out that a building committee was appointed to super-vise the work of erecting a church which should bear the name of the "Ascension." This committee was composed of Thomas Clyde, George Lodge, Wm. Gray, George Williamson and William C. Lodge. At the same time the Rev. G. W. Ridgely, was elected rector of the new parish, serving eleven months, when he was succeeded by the Rev. L. W. P. Botch, whose rectorate continued several years. A lot of land was donated by the Rev. J. B. Clemson, rector of the church at Marcus Hook, who resided in this neighborhood, upon which the church was built and completed in 1854, being consecrated September 14th, of that year, by Bishop Lee. It is a Gothic frame structure, of simple beauty, and has an un-usually fine site. At this time sixteen communicants were transferred from the church at Marcus Hook, and the parish now entered upon a period of its history which proved remarkably prosperous. In the first twenty-five years of its existence three hundred and fourteen persons were baptized, one hundred and fifty-nine confirmed and one hundred and seventy-one communicants added to the membership. More than eight thousand five hundred dollars were raised for mission and charitable purposes. The rectory near the church was remodeled and much improved in 1884, making it an elegant home for the rector. Here have resided the later rectors, preaching also part of the time at the Calvary Church, several miles southwest from Claymont, but more recently the Church of the Ascension has been a separate parish. Its membership, through unavoidable circumstances, has been much reduced, numbering but thirty-five in June, 1887. At that period the vestry was composed of the following:

Wm. C. Lodge, Wm. Cloud, Thomas Habbert, George Lloyd, J. D. M. Cardeza and Charles Groff.

In 1852 the Rev. J. B. Clemson became the rector of the parish and served in that relation twenty-two years, having the assistance, the last fourteen years, of the Rev. F. Hotchkin. Their successors were the following: Rev. Chas. S. Betticher, 1876-78; Rev. R. Heber Murphy, 1879-82; Rev. P. B. Lightner, 1883-86; and, since June, 1886, the Rev. Edward Owen.

Claymont Methodist Episcopal Church is located about a mile from the station, on the Philadelphia Turnpike, on a beautiful tract of woodland. It is a fine stone chapel, built in Gothic style, in the summer of 1866, largely through the efforts of Thomas Kimber, an energetic member of the Society of Friends, whose home was in this neighborhood. He had the co-op-oration of John McKay, the Rev. Thomas T. Tasker, Wm. G. Valentine and the Rev. Wm. M. Dalrymple, as associate members on the building committee. The latter was the first minister of the congregation, which had been organized the previous May, in a small building, near the mills, of persons connected with the church at Marcus Hook, Pa. Among the most active members were Wm. G. Valentine, Enoch Ayars and Abner Vernon, and others soon connecting themselves formed a growing and vigorous class. The Sunday-school previously established proved very successful and aided in building up the church, which now began to sustain circuit relations with the neighboring churches.

In 1887 it became a separate charge, and, in June of that same year, reported a membership of thirty persons. In 1885 the church property was improved by the building of a sexton's house. The affairs of the church are in a prosperous condition.

The Mt. Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church, This old and well-known house of worship is on the west side of the Philadelphia Turnpike, four miles from Wilmington. The site is eligible and includes a grave-yard, where lie buried some of the oldest settlers of this section of the hundred. The building is a plain stone structure and was erected in 1838, but was thoroughly repaired in the summer of 1883, and reopened in October, that year, under the direction of the pastor, Rev. W. B. Gregg. The parsonage, on an adjoining lot, did not become church property until 1878.

Prior to the building of the church, worship was maintained in this neighborhood, among the early members being Jacob Weldin, William Phillips, Eliza J. Talley and their families, and the ministers were usually those of the old Chester Circuit In 1873 the church at Claymont and Mt. Pleasant became a separate charge, having the Rev. H. H. Bodine in charge. The following year the latter church be-came a station and has since so continued, the church at Edgemoor being connected as a preaching-place since the spring of 1887. Since being a station the ministers of Mt. Pleasant have been the following: 1874-75, Rev. J. E. Kidney; 1876-78, Rev. A. D. Davis; 1879, Rev. J. W. Pierson; 1880, Rev. G. W. Wilcox; 1883-84, Rev. W. B. Gregg; 1885-86, Rev. J. W. Hammersley; 1887, Rev. Julius Dodd.

The members of the church numbered sixty-five in June, 1887, and constituted three classes. The church property has an estimated value of four thousand dollars and was controlled by Trustees Jacob R. Weldin, John S. Beeson, Geo. W. Weldin, Geo. W. Talley, J. Atwood Weldin, Joseph Habbart, Joseph Talley, Joseph Miller and Isaiah Mousley.

A Sabbath-school of seventy-five members is connected with the church.

The Edgemoor Methodist Episcopal Church is a Gothic frame edifice, thirty-two by fifty feet, which was dedicated May 29, 1887. The lot on which it stands was donated by the Edgemoor Iron Company, and generous subscriptions made it possible to complete a very attractive place of worship, at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. This was placed in charge of Trustees John V. Bradbury, Thomas Steel, Robert M. Biddle, A. W. Young, Wm. H. Cook, R. A. Shipley and James B. Coleman. The church has twenty-five members and the same ministerial service as the charge at Mt. Pleasant.

The Rockland Presbyterian Church, Prior to 1800 William Young, a stanch Presbyterian and an eminently pious man, came from Philadelphia and erected a paper-mill at the locality which has become widely known as Rockland. Soon after he set up preaching services, bringing a minister from Philadelphia, and in 1802 a substantial stone church was built through his efforts on the hillside, above the mills. The church sustained an independent relation more than a dozen years, but before 1820 passed into the hands of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. In the latter year the Rev. John Smith became the stated supply and, after a period, was succeeded by the Rev. S. W. Gayley, who was the minister many years. Since 1854 the church has been united with the Green Hill Presbyterian Church of Christiana Hundred, having the same session of ruling elders and the same board of trustees. The church build-ing, though old, is in a fair state of repair.

The Mt. Lebanon Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Rockland in 1833. Soon after a lot of land was donated by Thomas J. Aldred, upon which was built, in 1834, a stone church, forty by sixty feet, by a board of trustees comprising T. Talley, Curtis Talley, Casper Mundew, John Fraim and Thomas Underwood. This building has been kept in good repair and is estimated worth three thousand dollars. In June, 1887, the trustees were Thomas Wilson, John W. Day, Robert Wilson, James E. Hornby, Charles W. Day, Evans Righter and James Davis. The church has sustained a number of circuit relations, and has also had a separate ministry. The membership is small.

Footnotes:
1. This list appears in the General History of this work.
2. The first point above New Castle, or Fort Casimir, was Crane Hook and the second was Vertrecht Hook.
3. In New Castle Hundred, above New Castle
.
4. He was a deacon In Crane Hook Church in 1675.
5. See general chapter on Internal Improvements.

 

New Castle County

Source: History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume I, by J. Thomas Scharf, L. J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, 1888.

 
Please Come Back Soon!!


This web page was last updated.
Monday, 01-Jun-2015 16:32:29 EDT

Back to AHGP

Copyright August @2011 - 2017 AHGP - Judy White
All rights reserved.
We encourage links, but please do not copy our work