Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




Town of New Castle, New Castle Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware

Early Exploration Dikes Settlers at Fort Casimir
New Castle Incorporated Hotels Citizens Property Owners
Professional Men .. Prominent Families
Assessment List, 1787 .. Assessment List, 1788

A period of nearly fifty years elapsed from the time Hendrick Hudson discovered the Delaware Bay and River, in 1609, before a town was regularly built. At various times prior to 1655 small military posts were established on the banks of the Delaware, around which clustered a few habitations. The settlement at Fort Christina began to assume a regular form, when it was almost destroyed at the time of its capture, September 25, 1655. The Dutch soon after rebuilt it more systematically. Under the Swedes this settlement was called Christinaham, but under the Dutch settlement to April 25, 1657, it became known as Fort Altena, and was known by this title until its abandonment, which was soon after the territory passed into the hands of the English, in 1664.

Early Exploration

Early explorers were quick to recognize the ad-vantages of this locality as the site for a town, and took measures to obtain possession of the same. On July 19, 1651, Governor Petrus Stuyvesant purchased from the Indians, in the name of the West India Company, all the land lying between the Minquas Creek (now Christiana Creek) and Bomties Hoeck (now Bombay Hook), or to tha mouth of Duck Creek. About one Dutch mile, or four English miles, below the mouth of Minquas Creek was a promontory of fast land, jutting out into the Delaware. This point, known as Sand Hoeck, and commanding an extensive view up and down the Delaware, was used by Governor Stuyvesant as a site for Fort Casimir, all traces of which have since been washed away. The fort is believed to have been between Harmony and Chestnut Streets, below Front, in the present town of New Castle.

The erection of this fort so near the Swedish settlement created dissatisfaction, which culminated in the conquest of the Swedes, September 16, 1655, when all this territory passed into the possession of the Dutch. When the fort capitulated, thirty Swedes took the oath of allegiance, together with a number who had settled near the fort.

On November 29, 1666, Jean Paul Jacquett,1 who had been in the service of the West India Company, was appointed Vice-Director on the Delaware Bay and River, with full civil and military powers, and became the founder and first ruler of New Castle.

Vice-Director Jacquett took the oath of office December 8, 1666, and soon appointed a Council, consist-ing of Andreas Hudde,2 Elmerhuysen Cleyn and two sergeants, Gysbert Bracy and Hans Hopman, who, in addition to their military duties, governed the town.

Among the instructions given to the Vice-Director, concerning the settlements, were the following:

"In distributing land he must, above all, take care that villages be formed of at least 10 or 20 families together, and in order to prevent the Immoderate desire for land, he shall, in place of tithes, exact from each morgan of land, provisionally, twelve stivers3 annually.

"He shall not grant building or farm lots on the edge of the valley of Fort Casimir, to wit: between the Kill and the aforesaid Fort, nor behind, but he shall reserve the land for reinforcements and outworks of the Fort; likewise, in order to favor more the concentrated settlements on the south side of the Fort, he shall upon occasion clear a good street behind the houses already built, and lay out the same in convenient order and lots of about forty to fifty feet in width, and one hundred feet in length, the street to be at least four or five rods wide."

 On December 28, 1666, the Council gave a hearing to several Indian sachems in the presence of the Honorable Vice-Director, Andries Hudde, Gysbert Bracy, Elmerhuysen Cleyn, Sanders Boyer and several others. The Indians presented the following propositions:

"First. That some promises had been made to them by the former Commander, Dirck Smith, in regard to the trade, that the prices should be raised.

"Second. They demanded, with great circumstantiality and ample volubility, changes in the trade, asking a piece of cloth for 2 deer and so forth of other merchandise in proportion.

"Third. They requested that whereas it had rather been customary to make some presents to the Chief, it would be proper now in confirmation of the treaty."

To these propositions the Council replied with pledges of friendship; giving the purchasers of Indian game the right to buy where they chose, and promising the presents in a few days. The following day the residents of Fort Casimir ''assented willingly to the propositions" of the Indians and signed the appended subscription "with the exception of Isaac Israel and Isaac Cordosa, who refused to give their consent and prepared to leave the river and give up their trade rather than assist, with other good inhabitants, in maintaining the peace of the highway."

The subsidy was as follows:

"By the Honorable Comp 4 - 50
Mr. Jacquet 14 - 10
Andries Hudde l0 - l0
Martin Jacob 13
Elmerhuysen Cleyn 14 - 10
Thomas Bruyn 9
William Mauritz 9
Jan Eckhoft 9
Cornelius Mauritz 13
Sanders Boeyer 9
Harmon Jansen 9
Jan Flammen 18
Jan Schaggen 9
Olff Steurs 6
Laurens Bors 6
Mons Andries. 4

On February 9, 1656, a plantation was granted to Jacobus Crabbe, on and near Steenbacker's Hoeck, (Brickmaker's Hook), below and adjacent to Fort Casimir. On February 12, 1656, the Council ordered "That by the middle of March every one shall have enclosed his plantation and lot under a penalty of six guilders, for all those who shall be found having acted against this order.''

On February 23, 1656, Constantinas Eronenborch was granted possession of the "lot of Claes Jans, the carpenter, next to the let of Reynier Dominicus, on the north side, before the first row," and Elias Guldengreis, was granted a piece of land under the fort where he could erect a house and gain a living.

On November 8, 1656, the whole community was called together at the fort, and informed that it was necessary to appoint two inspectors of tobacco. The meeting elected Moens Andriessen and William Mauritz. At the same time the people were informed that a bridge was necessary over the kill, running by the fort, and the following Monday was set apart to build it. It was decided that each inhabitant should fence his fields, and Herman Jansen4 and Jno. Eckhoft were elected overseers and surveyors of fences.

On January 10, 1657, the community was assembled at Fort Casimir, and informed by the Council that "some people do not hesitate to ruin the trade with the Indians, by running up the price of deer-skins by more than one-third their value to the great and excessive disadvantage of the poor community here."

The community fixed upon a scale of prices, and also decided that for the first violation of them, the person was to be deprived of trading for one year; for the second offense, punished according to orders; and for the third to be expelled altogether from the river, which the Council agreed to have promptly executed. The prices established were, "For a merchantable beaver two strings of wampum; for a good bear skin, worth a beaver, two strings of wampum; for an elk skin, worth a beaver, two strings of wampum; otters accordingly. For a deer skin, one hundred and twenty wampum, foxes, catamounts, raccoons and others to be valued in proportion.

The scale and agreement was signed by:

Jan Paul Jacquett
Andries Hudde
Isaac Allerton
Zenen William Mauritsen
Alexander Boyer
Thomas Broen
Gabriel De Haes
Jacob Crabbe
Herman Jansen
Cornelius Mauritz
Heyndrich Egbert
Jan Harmon
Constantinus Gronenborch
Isaack Mesa
Abraham Quyn
Jan Tibout
Herman Hendrycks
Lawrens Peters
Leandert Clasen
Jan Eckhoft
Lyman Stiddens
William Classen
Jan Schaggen
Luycas Pieters
Moens Andries
Ole Toersen
Matterson Laers Boers
Hendryck Vryman
Jurian Jaesen
Cornelius Teunissen
Elmerhuysen Cleyn

The patents granted to Settlers at Fort Casimir during the administration of Vice-Director Jacquett were as follows."

Thomas Broen (Bruyn), April 12, 1656, a plantation containing two thousand and forty-six rods, east of Cornelius Teunissen's land.

Jacob de Hinse, August 25, 1656, one lot on the first row No. 18, sixty-two by three hundred feet; and one on the second row, No. 67, fifty-six by three hundred feet.

John Picolet, September 1, 1656, a tract of land containing three morgens and eighty-five rods. A parcel of land south of Fort Casimir, near the Brickmaker's Point, along the strand between the plantations of Philip Jansen and Jacob Crabbe, and bounded on the northwest by the public road.

Philip Jansen Ringo, September 12, 1656, a lot for a house and garden above the Brickmaker's Point, south of Cornelius Mauritson, two hundred and eighty-six feet along the strand and on the public road.

Constantinus Groenenborch, September 18, 1656, No. 20, bounded south by lot of Cornelius Mauritsen and north by lot of Reynier Dominicus, sixty-three by three hundred and eight feet.

Hans Albertson, September 18, 1656, lot for house and garden in second row behind Claes de Smith and west and north by the lot of Roeloff de Haes fifty-six by three hundred feet.

Jan Hendricksen Von Struckhausen, September 22, 1656, lot No. 85 in second row, fifty-six by three hundred feet, bounded north by lot of Garret Jansen and south by lot of Sander (Stet) Boyer.

Widow of Roeloff de Haes,5 October 28, 1656, plantation near Fort Casimir, on north side of public road, behind the lot of Jan Gerrittsen, seven rods by thirty-one rods; also, a lot in the first row north of the public road, sixty-two by three hundred feet, bounded south by Claes Petersen.

Andreas Hudde, secretary of the Council, November 80, 1656, lot No. 15, bounded north by lot of Jan Andersen, south by Sander Fenix, sixty-three by three hundred feet.

Alexander Boyer, November 80, 1656, plantation containing twenty-four morgens north of Fort Casimir, on the hook between the first and second valley at south end of Frans Smith's land.

Lucas Dircksen, February 10, 1657, lot in first row contiguous to lots of Reyer Mol and Claes Petersen Smith.

Ryer Lammersen Mol, February 20, 1657, lot sixty-four by three hundred feet, between lots of Jon Eckhoff and Pieter Laurensen.

Claes Petersen, April 11, 1657, lot on the strand between lots of Roeloff de Haes and John Schutt, sixty-two by three hundred feet.

Barent Jansen Van Swal, February 20, 1657, lot behind the first row of lots between lots of Elias Enmens and Martin Rosemont, fifty-four by three hundred feet.

Pieter Hermens, February 24, 1657, plantation containing two thousand and twenty rods below Fort Casimir, east of Pieter Laurensen and west of Rosier Schot; also a lot sixty-two by three hundred feet between lots of Harmen Jausen and Reynier Dominicus.

Cornelius Steenwyck, February 80, 1657, lot sixty-two by three hundred feet, between lots of Arien Jacobs and Harmen Petersen, in partnership, and Ryer Mol.

Jan Gerritsen, February 30, 1657, lot in second row, sixty-two by three hundred feet, on the highway and behind the lot of Roeloff de Haes.

Pieter Laurensen, February 28, 1657, plantation containing two thousand and thirty rods, adjoining land of Cornelius Teunissen on north and Pieter Harmen's on the west.

Reynier Dominicus,6 February 80, 1657, lot sixty-four by three hundred feet, between lots of Claes Jansen and Pieter Harmens.

Pieter Ebel, February 80, 1657, plantation containing four morgens between the lot of Jan Eckhoft on the south and the fort on the north.

Jacob Crabbe, February 30, 1657, a plantation below Fort Casimir, between the first valley and the land of Jan Picolet, along the strand to the last hook, called the Brickmaker's Hook, thence to the hook of the valleys, extending northwest and southeast by south, containing four morgens, one hundred and thirty rods of valley land adjoining and southerly. Plantation adjoining land of Retrect Schot and Picolet, twelve morgens and one hundred and twenty rods of firm lands.

Sander Leendertsen, March 1, 1657, lot fifty-six by three hundred feet, between lots of William De Het and Jan Andriesen.

William Tailler, March 1, 1657, lot in first row, filly-six by three hundred feet, between lots of Thomas Broen and Sander Leendertsen.

Jan Eckhoft, June 17, 1657, lot No. 88 in the second row, fifty-six by three hundred feet, behind the lot of Jan Andriessen.

Jan Andriessen, June 17, 1657, lot No. 15 in first row, sixty- two by three hundred feet, between lots of Andries Hudde and Symon Laen.

Jan Schaggen, June 20, 1657, parcel of land above Fort Casimir, on the first hook, containing about forty morgens.

Peter Laurensen, September 3, 1657, lot northeast of the public road, being lot No. 4 from the fort, sixty-two by three hundred feet.

On December 19, 1656, the directors of the West India Company transferred by deed to the burgomaster of the city of Amsterdam all the land from Christina Creek to Bompties Hook (Bombay Hook). The account of this transaction was sent to Peter Stuyvesant, who wrote to the authorities of Fort Casimir, by letter dated April 12, 1657, that the new colony was to be called "New Amstel," and Jacob Alrichs was appointed the representative of the city. By this change, Christinaham became the fort of the West India Company, its name being changed to Fort Altena, and William Beekman was appointed commissary October 8, 1668.

On March 20, 1657, Jan Schaggen, one of the settlers at the fort, made a complaint to Director-General Stuyvesant against the Vice-Director Jacquett, charging him with driving him off from land where he lived with consent of Stuyvesant and of Nicholas Stille, Fiscal Schout, of New Amsterdam, thereby causing the loss of one thousand pounds of tobacco. A similar complaint was also made by others, and on April 20, 1657, Jacquett was removed from the office of Vice-Director by Stuyvesant and ordered to transfer and deliver the property of the company to Andreas Hudde, Jan Juriansen and Sergeant Paulus Jansen, who were to remain in command until relieved. Jacquett was placed under arrest and ordered to prepare his accounts for examination and his case for trial. After his deposition he continued to reside at New Amstel several years.

Under the directorship of Jacquett, the little village at Fort Casimir had grown to considerable importance as the shipping point for South or Delaware River. Wharves and storehouses had been built, streets laid out and many houses erected. Tobacco was the staple product, its manufacture the most extensive industry of the settlers, and it was largely used as currency. Drying and packing-houses were erected in the village, and there were inspectors to examine all tobacco and see that it was properly cured, packed and weighed.

The prosperity of the community attracted the attention of persons interested in emigration, and various schemes for its settlement were devised and encouraged by governmental support. Among others, a company of one hundred and sixty-seven Hollanders, under the auspices of the city of Amsterdam, organized a colony to settle in Delaware under the direction of Jacob Alrichs. An agreement was made between the burgomaster of Amsterdam and the colonists, whereby they were to be transported with their families and furniture to Delaware, where a fortified city or town was to be laid out on the river, with streets, lots and a market-place. A schoolmaster was also to be provided. The city was to make provision for one year's clothing, food and garden seeds and build a large store-house. Three burgomasters were to be chosen from the people and five or seven schepens, whom the Director was to select. When the town had two hundred families or more, they were to choose a Common Council, consisting of twenty-one persons, who were to act with the burgomasters and schepens in the government of the town. A schout or high sheriff was also to be appointed. The city agreed to divide the lands about the town into fields for plowing, meadow and pasture, every fanner to have as many morgens of land as he could improve and use for grazing. A failure to accomplish this was to result in the forfeiture of the land. Ships from Holland were to bring over com, merchandise, etc.

The colonists were to have the privilege of chartering private ships, but their cargoes were to be con-signed to the city of Amsterdam, which was to provide storehouses, sell the goods and return the proceeds, deducting therefrom two per cent. The colonists were also allowed to cut from the forests, not granted to settlers, any wood they might require for building purposes and to hunt and fish freely in the woods and waters. After the directors of the West India Company had sold to the city of Amsterdam the land below the mouth of Christiana Creek, they wrote on the 19th of December, 1656, to Petrus Stuyvesant, concerning the "Prins Maurits'' and the other vessels of the colony, that were intending to sail, "That you not only assist herein the Director of said Colony, but also help him in everything, with advice and deed. As we have heard that there lives on the Bowery of the late Mr. Markham a certain party, as being well versed in engineering and surveying, who consequently might be of service to the New Colony as well as laying out the lots chosen for the dwelling-houses of the Colonists as in other ways. Therefore your Honors will upon request, persuade the engineer thereto and let him make a good beginning and location there."

About the 1st of March, 1657, the colony embarked for New Amsterdam as follows: In the ship "Prins Maurits," about one hundred and twelve persons, including sixteen officers and sailors. On the ship "De Beer," thirty-three persons, on the "Bever," eleven persons, and some on the "Geldrose Blow." The "Prins Maurits," with Vice-Director Alrichs, on board, was stranded off Long Island and delayed for some time, but subsequently reached New Amstel, and Jacob Alrichs as Vice-Director assumed command about the 1st of May, the same year. On August 10, 1657, he appointed Andreas Hudde secretary and surveyor. On May 8, 1657, Alrichs reports to Stuyvesant the condition of the colony and says they are very much in need of oxen and horses. "As to cows there are but two which give milk and little at that." Pigs were few in number and wild.

Soon after the colonists had located, the ship "De Waegh" and the galliot "New Amstel" began making trips from Amsterdam to New Amstel, with merchandise and returning with tobacco. Alrich, in a letter to Stuyvesant, dated September 16, 1657, says" "As to sending the galliot to Fort Orange (now Albany, N. Y.), it would be very useful and necessary, for we need bricks here very much at least for the chimneys, and otherwise, and some boards to make the houses tight, and I have no objection that she were loaded with bricks and boards, to wit, as many thousand bricks as she can conveniently take in with three or four hundred boards." The "New Amstel" went to Fort Orange and returned to the colony of New Amstel on the 7th of November, the same year, laden with bricks in addition to two hundred and fifty boards. About eight thousand of the bricks were given to the commandant of Fort Altena to use in building the fort. On October 4, 1657, Vice-Director Alrichs wrote that he has purchased thirty cows; and November 14th, says: "For the present I need 8 or 10 barrels of bacon, 4000 lbs. of flour, 30 schepels of gray peas, 20 sch. of barley, also 100 schepels of good oats for the horses, as I am scantily supplied with forage for the animals during the winter and have received about 70 head of cattle from Virginia." At this time he was negotiating for a "Horse Mill," as they were "unable to grind corn and other grains."

The winter of 1657 and 1658 was passed in building a store-house, dwelling for the Commissary Gerrit Von Sweeringen (who was supercargo of the ''Prins Maurits" at the time she was stranded, and later sheriff of the territory), and adding another story to the house where he lived, in the fort, and in building a new guardhouse.

On March 30, 1658, Vice-Director Alrichs wrote that the farm lots were given by lottery in charge of Hudde and Fabryh Spelen, and June 26, 1658, says: ''In regard to the distribution of lots, first at the time of my arrival, about eight days or more passed before I could make progress in it, because there was scarcely one lot which could be disposed of, as one or the other or more laid claim to it, and henceforth they were distributed by drawing lot. Andreas Hudde, in June last, surveyed for all and every one, colonists, soldiers and officers, as much as each has asked and signed for. And now the men who wanted one hundred morgens, they were granted without the least objection. "

On September 5, 1658, Vice-Director Alrichs called for another order of Fort Orange brick and says: " I have given them out mostly to the inhabitants to make chimneys, also between seven and eight thousand for the building or the masonry in Fort Altena."

October 7, 1658, he says: "Jan Jouriens, the Commissary, at Fort Altena, has again, de novo, demanded eight thousand bricks for necessary buildings there, which I have partly delivered to him."

The ship "De Meulin" was then at the wharf discharging freight, a part of which was brick. But the following spring Cornelis Herperts De Jager established a brick kiln near New Amstel, in which four men were employed.

On May 14, 1659, Vice- Director Alrichs explained to the Governor that the cause of the backwardness of the settlement was failure of the harvest, scarcity of food and great mortality. He said, "I have found that of all the free Netherlanders who were settled here upon our arrival, have as yet, in our time, not gathered one schepel of grain. Those who came with and after us have not done much more, nor could they contribute anything, as the time in the first year was consumed with the erection of their houses and making gardens, as well as with the building and hauling together the materials, that the summer passed without bringing much seed into the ground."

He appealed to the Directors at Amsterdam for assistance, and in the course of time vessels arrived with the necessaries for which they suffered.

On September 4, 1659, Director Stuyvesant wrote to the Directors at Amsterdam, in Holland: "The city's affairs on the South River are in a very deplorable and low state. It is to be feared that if no other and better order is introduced it will be ruined altogether. It is certainly true that the people begin to run away in numbers, as, for instance, while I write this there arrived from there an English Ketch which went there with some provisions from Boston three weeks ago; the skipper of it, a well-known and trustworthy man, says, that during his stay of fourteen days at the South River, about fifty persons, among them whole families, ran away from there to Virginia and Maryland." This "running away" on the part of the people was caused by the "too great preciseness of Mr. Alrichs, who refuses passports to these places to the people, who offer to pay their passage."

An earlier letter of Vice-Director Alrich to Governor Stuyvesant represented matters in the colony as being in a still more serious way, and spoke of a panic, to which Stuyvesant did not even allude. He said: "We have heard here that Mr. Feudal, who is now in behalf of Lord Balthus Moor (residing in Old England), Governor of Maryland, has strict orders to make a close inquiry and investigation concerning the limits and jurisdiction in his district in these latitudes, and in case they are in some body's possession, to notify the same of it, summon to surrender it and do his further duties according to his power, and the circumstances of the case. This now having become public has caused such fright and disturbance among most of the inhabitants that thereby all work has been stopped and every one endeavors to fly, to remove and look out, for getting away in safety." He mentions three or four persons, carpenters, who ask for passports to Manhattan, pretending that they wish to purchase provisions, but who return to the "Fatherland," and requests that they be sent back, in the galliot, "to prevent damage and detriment which, through bad seasons, death and continuous sickness and pining, have pressed us here hard enough."

The Directors in Holland wrote to Stuyvesant in reply and urged him to endeavor to modify his "too great preciseness." The effort caused Vice-Director Alrichs to write to the Directors a long and detailed letter, reciting the affairs of the colony, which seemed to be satisfactory to the Directors, but not so to Stuyvesant, who continued to write against Alrichs. A long correspondence ensued between Stuyvesant and the Directors in Holland, on one part, and Alrich on the other, in which each attempted to evade the responsibility attaching to this state of affairs, but which failed to reconcile the matter before the death of Vice-Director Alrichs, December 30, 1659, put an end to the controversy.

Vice-Director Alrichs was succeeded by Lieutenant Alex. De Hinijossa, who summoned a new Council, John Crato becoming counsellor and Gerritt Von Sweeringen secretary, with others to act in extraordinary cases.

Under the directorship of Alex. Hinijossa, differences arose between him and the people, and also with William Beekman, the commissary of the West India Company at Fort Altena. Complaints against him were made to the proper authorities. A horse mill for grinding grain had been brought here by Director Alrichs, and the testimony in the trial on the complaints held June 8, 1662, at Fort Altena, by Commissary Beekman, brought out the fact that the ship "De Purmerlander Kerck," which arrived a few months previous, brought from the city of Amsterdam to the colony mill-stones, a brass kettle, etc., and that Hinijossa had sold these and other property of the company to some Englishmen from Maryland for one thousand pounds of tobacco. The witnesses in this case were all residents of New Amstel, and were in business there, Francis Creger, Cornells Martensen, factors; William Cornelisen Ryckvryer, merchant; Hendrick Kyp, brewer; and Fopp Jansen Outhout, tavern keeper. The complaints against Vice-Director Hinijossa continued, and he was recalled to Amsterdam, April 11, 1663, but returned and remained Vice-Director until the surrender to the English the next year.

In 1662, Jean Willems, Peter Peterson, Harder and Joos de La Grange were members of the Council of New Amstel, and Jacob de Commer was surgeon of the colony.

On September 27, 1662, Commissary Beekman, of Fort Altena, writes that some Englishmen went to Horekill for one Turck, who was then in the service of Peter Alrichs, at that time commissary at Horekill, who had run away, or was captured by the savages and bought of them by Peter Alrichs. The Englishmen carried him to New Amstel, and on the way Turck attacked them and wounded two of them. He was placed in prison at New Amstel, and Vice-Director Hinijossa refused to deliver him to the Englishmen, on the ground that he had committed a crime in the colony, and ordered that he be hung, his head cut off and placed upon a post or stake in the Horekill. But it does not appear that his sentence was carried out. During the administration of De Hinijossa, several new industries were established which extended the business of New Amstel. Prior to 1662 he erected a brewery in the fort, and a warehouse and storehouse were also built, which induced vessels to unload their goods at this point.

On July 28, 1663, "Skipper Peter Luckassen touched here, and landed about sixty farm laborers and girls, with a quantity of ammunition and other commodities."

In the early part of 1663 De Hinijossa sold his house, where the schoolmaster, Arent Everson, lived, to Jan Webber; and other important transfers of property were made.

After the capitulation of the Dutch, in 1664, New Amstel became the seat of government of the English. Sir Robert Carr was placed in command for a short time, and was succeeded, October 24, 1664, by Col. Richard Nichols. Sir Robert Carr, in his instructions, dated September 3, 1664, was commanded: "That for six months next ensuing, the same magistrates shall continue in their office, provided they take the oath of allegiance to his majesty."

Col. Richard Nichols, April 10, 1666, in a letter to the Secretary of State, England, asked, in consideration of the services of Sir Robert Carr, Capt. John Carr and Ensign Arthur Stock, that the ''Houses and lands of the principal Dutch officers "be conferred upon them as follows: "Gov. Hinijossa's Island to Sir Robert Carr; High Sheriff Garret Von Sweeringen's Houses and Lands, to Capt. John Carr; and the land of Dutch Ensign Peter Alrichs to Ensign Arthur Stock," which was granted. Under English rule the courts were organized according to the instructions given for the settlement of the government on the Delaware River, dated April 21, 1668, which designated as magistrates Hans Block, Israel Helme, Peter Rambo, Peter Cocke and Peter Alrichs, who, with the schout,1 or high sheriff, were empowered to hear and determine all cases.

On October 5, 1670, Capt. John Carr, the commandant of the fort at New Castle, the names of both Fort Altena and New Amstel having been changed by the English, made a proposal to the Council regarding fortifications, markets, etc., in response to which it was:

"Resolved, That the market-place where the bell hangs was the most convenient site on which to erect a block-house."

In June, 1671, the government, the town and country around New Castle received the attention of the Council at Fort James, N. Y., and several propositions were submitted by Capt. Carr. The Council was asked to protect the trade on the river; to regulate the distillation of liquor and supervise the "Victuallers or Tappers of Strong Drink;" to empower the authorities to appoint a "Corne Meter, who may not only ye come duly measure, but prevent sending it thereof abroad foul, by ordering it to be well cleaned; and, also, that ye officer have an inspection, to View the Beef and Pork, that it be well packed and merchantable." These propositions were granted.

On June 14, 1671, it was ordered that "No vessel shall be permitted to go up ye river above New Castle to Traffic," which prohibition was continued nearly two years, being removed January 27, 1673. Distillers were to give their names to the officers of New Castle, and to [pay one guilder per can for all strong liquor, to be applied to the building of a new blockhouse. A highway was to be cleared between New Castle and Augustus Herman,s plantation, Bohemia Manor, "provided Maryland would do her part."

The only road from New Castle, prior to this time, of which any mention has been made, was the one leading up to Tinicum. The first determined movement under English rule toward establishing high-ways, building bridges and creating ferries began at a special court, held by Governor Andross, at New Castle, May 13-14, 1676. The minutes of that session show that "Capt. Carr's meadow at the north end of the Towne being represented to the Court to be a general nuisance to the place and the country as it now is, there being neither bridge nor fitting way to pass by or through it, and that the Towne is in great straight for want of it, as they might improve it, it is ordered that the said meadow ground shall be apprized by indifferent persons and the Town to have the refusal; but whoever shall enjoy it shall be obliged to maintain sufficient bridges and ways through the limits thereof with a cartway; the apprizers to be two persons appointed by the magistrates of the place and two more by the Court of Upland and the apprizement to be returned in to the next court held in this Towne."

At the same court it was ordered "That these orders about highways and bridges be put in execution by the Magistrates within the space of three months after ye date hereof, or else the Sheriff shall have power to have it done and the Country to pay double the charge."

A ferry was also needed and it was ordered that "a Ferry Boat be maintained at the Falls on ye west side. A horse and man to pay 29 guilders, a man without a horse 10 stivers."


The town dike of New Castle was authorized to be built by the magistrates of the town June 4, 1675. But prior to this the small "Mistress Block's Dike" had been dug, but does not seem to have been kept in good repair. The order for the construction of the poure, or town dike, along the marshy lands was as follows:

"Whereas, Govr. Edm'd Andros, Lieutenant-General of all the Duke's of York dominions in America, has ordered that the marsh land on the north side of New Castle, on the Delaware River, belonging to Capt. John Carr, should be appraised by four impartial men to be appointed by the Magistrates, therefore they have unanimously chosen: Sr Peter Alrichs, Sr Johannes De Haes, Sr Peter Cocke and Sr Lars Andrieesen, who after inspection judged the marsh land to be of no value. Thereupon the aforesaid Magistrates have assembled today and considered that the Governor's order regarding the construction of a highway could not be carried out unless an outside dike, with sluices, was first made along the water and they commanded, therefore, herewith that all and every male inhabitant of the district of New Castle shall go to work next Monday and assist In making said dike and continue with his work until the aforesaid outside Dyke has been completed; and the men who do more than their share of the work shall be paid for their overwork by those who do not work themselves and hire no laborers; the inhabitants of New Castle shall do as much work pro rata, counting every head, as the country people work or pay for.

"It is further ordered that Martin Gerreteen, Pieter De Wit and Hendrick Sybratsen shall by turns be officers and have charge of this work and construct the aforesaid dike ten feet wide at the bottom, five feet high and three feet wide on top, providing it with well-made and strong floodgates, and the country people shall thereafter not be obliged to do any work on this outside dike or floodgates without being paid for it; while, on the other side, the inhabitants of New Castle shall be held to make necessary repairs on this dike and the floodgates from time to time under condition that they shall also derive the profits from the aforesaid marsh land and have it as their own.

"The Magistrates have also considered it highly necessary for everybody that the outer dike, running along Mr. Hans Block's Marsh should be repaired and strengthened; they order, therefore, that this dike, like the other, should for this time be repaired and strengthened by all and every male inhabitant of the district of New Castle, but that hereafter the said dike and flood gates shall be repaired from time to time and taken care of by the aforesaid Hans Block or his heirs.

"The working people shall be divided into three parties by the afore said three officers, and each party shall be under command of its officer, and work for two days at the dike, and whoever shall refuse to come to work in his turn, or to send a laborer in his place shall be held to pay to the said officer for each day which he loses the sum of ten guilders in wampum.

"The aforesaid work must be done and completed within the time of six weeks under penalty of threefold payment, in default whereof they are to remain under bail bonds for its payment. "This done and published in New Castle the 4th June, 1075.

Ed. Cantwell.
H. Block.
John Moll,
Dirick Alberteen

Against this order the country people protested to Gov. Andross accepting the construction of the town dike.

"But not any way willing to repair the dike which belongs to the flye of Hans Block without the privilege thereof, it being the said Hans his owne, and, therefore, belonging to him to make good the dike the whole Company of ye inhabitants or ye most part making the parties named, John Ogle and Dominie Fabricius their speakers, that they were willing to repair the Kings Highway through the flye as also to make and secure the Dike for a foot passage over the river side with sufficient sluices to drains the water out of the flye, but not to be slaves to Hans Block's particular interest, for which cause not only one but all in whose behalf these whose names are underwritten complayne. The flye being by yor Hon' apprizers accounted of no value, yet according to your Honord orders in New Castle, we humbly accept ye honors pleasure therein, and are willing to maintain both ways, so ye we may have the privilege of ye Commonage.

(Signed) Capt. Evertt Hendrickson (For the whole company of Crane Hooke.) Both for the whole company of Cristina Creek.

The inhabitants of New Castle also remonstrated and declared their unwillingness to improve private property. The order caused much bad feeling in the community and acts of violence were attempted. The condition of affairs is set forth by Willam Tom, clerk of the court, in a letter to Governor Andross, June 8, 1675. After speaking of the necessity for the dikes and the causes which led to the order, he says "That all the inhabitants as above should meet in the Towne, the fourth of June, there to hear read or determination which was accordingly done in the Church, but after the reading and being opposed (wee returning from the Church) by some of this Towne and a number of the inhabitants without in such a mutinous and tumultuous manner, being led on by Fabricus, the priester, Jacob Vande Vere, John Ogle, Bernard Egge, Thomas Jacobson, Juryan Bratesman, Matthew Smyth, Evert Hendricksen and several others, some having swords, some pistols others clubs with them which such despiteful language, saying they wont make neither the one nor the other, that they could no longer be forborne in so much that Capt. Cantwell, High Sheriff, by our consent, calling for the Constable, layd hold of the priester and Ogle, and sent them on board of the Sloope, with intention for New Yorke, to ye Honor, but the tumult thereupon arising, upon their going on board, cursing and some crying "fatt them on fatt them on" being most drunk and we not knowing what height it might come, they being in such a humor, still crying and all we were inforced to send for them from on board and discharge them, which said mutinous way of proceedings, we hope yo' bono' will not allow it and impossible for us to get justice according to the best of o' knowledge, when all of o' accounts shall be disputed by a plebeian faction which will not only force us to leave the bench, but will expose the country to great charges when upon every occasion their frenzical braynes pleases."

He further stated that Mr. De Haes would wait upon his honor in a few days and would transmit his answer and order in the matter, and suggested the propriety of sending two files of soldiers to the river to "keep the people in awe and us in security."

The magistrates gave to the Governor the following reasons for their orders about the dykes:

"First, To obey the Honorable Generals order concerning roads to be made from one village to the other. No wagon or cart roads could be made unless the aforesaid dikes and floodgates had been constructed to keep out the water.

"Second. There are only a few here, who have a knowledge of such work, especially among the people of New Castle, and they have been compelled to pay their workmen from 30 to 40 guilders a day for such work, so that the people who wanted to labor have earned much and nobody would have lost more than five or six hours work on the public dike and three or four hours on Hans Block's dike.

"Third. All inhabitants, country people and strangers, would have been compelled to go five or six English miles through the woods to reach Sweenewyck, which is not more than one English mile from here. Now that Mr. Hans Block's dike has been made, although he could make his hay without repairing his dike, as it can be made on other marches without dikes, he has nevertheless made sixteen parts of his dike at his own expense, besides one-fourth of the dike which had already been made, and has also paid the expenses of making a flood-gate and everything needed thereto; so that the mutineers had not the least reason or cause to make reflections about It or to vent their foul language.

"Fourth. In case of a war with the savages or other enemies, especially during winter, when the river is closed, it would be very dangerous for us and for our nearest neighbors to go 5 or 6 English miles through the woods in order to assist each other, we need each other in diverse emergencies every day. We request the Honor's sound judgment to decide whether we have given the least lawful reason to the community to resist our order and mutiny.
H. Block,
G. Moll.
Direk Alberteen

The Council at New York June 23, 1675, ordered "That some person be sent thither about it. The Governor will think of some fitting person. That with ye person to be sent to Delaware two fyles of soldiers or some other force will be sent likewise."

On the following day the Council ordered that warrants be sent to Delaware for "Jacobus Fabricius and John Ogle as Ringleaders to make their appearance here to answer ye misdemeanor objected agst. them, touching ye late disturbance." The warrants were dated June 26th and forwarded; and on September 26, 1675, it was ordered " That ye said Magister Fabricus, in regard of his being guilty of what is layd to his charge and his former irregular life and conversation be suspended from exercising his functions as a Minister or preaching any more within this government, either in publique or private."

The magistrates of New Castle, not in the least intimidated by the rebellion against their order, directed the people to obey it and, in case of refusal, the High Sheriff was to execute the work at the double amount of their expenses. It was delayed, however, for some time, and the order of the magistrates was confirmed by the Governor and the Council, September 15, 1675.

The dikes were built soon after and in November of the same year Walter Wharton was appointed to survey the same. He made report December 5, 1676, "of the length of the Town Dike and Mistress Block's Dike, it being the new worke" as follows: "Martin Grarretson's part, three hundred and six feet; Hendrick Johnson's part, three hundred and eighteen feet; Peter De Witt's part, five hundred and nineteen feet."

"The whole length of Town Dike, allowing twelve feet for the sluice, is eleven hundred and forty-three feet; Mistress Block's Dike eight hundred and fifty-two feet."

Ten years later the dikes were repaired at the expense of those having a proprietary interest in the commonage, as the former meadow of Captain Carr was then called, and the commonage was subsequently divided by lot, with the understanding that the dikes were to be kept in repair by those holding an interest in it.

In 1676 all vessels going up and down the river were required to load and discharge their cargoes at New Castle.

In the fall of 1681, James Pierson, bookmaker and bricklayer, was given a double lot for a brick-yard.

On November 9, 1682, the establishment of a weekly public market7 was ordered by the court. The old market-place at the fort was adopted as the site and each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the hours.

In 1726 leave was granted to Wessel Alrichs by Governor William Keith to establish a ferry from New Castle to Salem, in New Jersey, which increased the trade of the town to a considerable extent.

In 1729 another market was established, with Philip Van Leuvenigh as clerk, and Wednesday and Saturday were appointed market days. Every baker was required to mark, letter name or brand every loaf of bread he baked, each one to be of certain weight, or liable to seizure. The clerk was authorized to erect stalls, or booths, and to rent the same to those wishing them.

On April 5, 1748, the justices of the court at New Castle directed a letter to Richard Peters, one of the Council of the proprietors, stating that French and Spanish privateers were cruising about in Delaware Bay, and as New Castle was exposed to their attacks, and the records were in danger, they asked that John Mackey, prothonotary recorder, etc., be per-mitted and instructed to remove all the papers and books of the county to some safe and commodious house in Christiana Bridge. To this Richard Peters replied, April 14th, that if, in their judgment, it was best, to let it be done.

New Castle Incorporated

The authorities at Fort James gave New Castle its original independent local government on May 17, 1672, in the following order:

"That for ye better government of ye Towne of New Castle, for the future, the said Towne shall be erected into a Corporation by the name of a Balywick. That is to say, it shall be governed by a Bayley and six assistants, to be at first nominated by the Governor, and at ye expiration of a year four of the six to go out and four others to be chosen in their places, the Bayley to continue for a year, and then two to be named to succeed, out of whom the Governor will elect one. He is to preside in all of ye corts of the Towne, and have a double vote. A Constable is like wise to be chosen by ye Bench. The Towne Court shall have power to try all causes of debt or damage, to the value of ten pounds, without appeal. That ye English Lawes, according to the desire of the inhabitants, bee established, both in ye Towne and all Plantations upon Delaware River."

Captain John Carr was chosen bailiff and High Sheriff; William Tom was one of the assistants. Nothing of importance occurred until the Dutch again came into possession, from the middle of 1673 to the middle of 1674; then those who were in office when the Dutch were in power resumed authority until the recapture the following year, when the late English officials were restored. Subsequently the courts again controlled its affairs until June 3, 1797, when an act was passed establishing the boundaries of the town of New Castle, and its local history be-came more distinct. Five commissioners were appointed to carry out the provisions of the act. They were Dr. Archibald Alexander, John Crow, John Bird, Nicholas Van Dyke and George Bead, the younger, who held their first meeting July 14, 1799, and appointed Daniel Blaney surveyor. A map was made and the plat ordered placed in the recorder's office at New Castle.

The citizens living within the limits fixed by these commissioners were assessed, June 12, 1798, the entire levy being $800.09 on a valuation of $107,105.

The following Citizens Property Owners, more than four hundred dollars' worth of property.

1. A letter from the Directors of the West India Company, dated Stockholm, Nov. 25, 1664, to Petrus Stuyvesant, Director at New Amsterdam," now New York, says" "On the ship "De grote Christoffel" goes over as a free man, Jan Paule Jacquet, with his family, and as he is unacquainted in that country and intends to devote himself there to fanning, we have not been able to refuse him the desired recommendation, the more so because he has served the company in Brazil for many years; therefore we recommend your Honor to assist him as much as possible, without disadvantage to the Company, and after having indicated some suitable place, to allot, under the customary conditions as much land to him as he may be able to cultivate." Jacquette served the company in various capacities on the Delaware. After the capture by the English, in 1664, he became a subject of Great Britain, was appointed a justice of the peace, and served until the delivery of the territory to Wm. Penn, in October, 1682. He took up a tract of land containing two hundred and ninety acres on the south side of Christiana Creek, the warrant for which was granted "22nd of 12th mo., 1684," and lived here many years. The tract was known as Long Hook, lay south from Wilmington and was owned, until about the middle of the present century, by his descendants, of whom Major Peter Jacquett and Capt. Peter Jacquett wore well known in the Revolution.
2. Andreas Hudde, was chosen secretary of the Council and surveyor. He owned land on the South River, where he was appointed commissary October 12, 1645, and in 1649 resided at Fort Nassau, about a mile below the present city of Gloucester, New Jersey. He served the company many years and died at Appoquinimink, April 9, 1663.
3. A stiver is twenty-four cents.
4. The Herman Jansen mentioned here was one of the witnesses of an Indian deed, dated April 9, 1649, which conveyed to the Dutch all the land between Rancocas Kill and what is now Burlington, N. J. Alexander Boyer and Cornelius Mauritsen were parties to the deed, and Thomas Broen (Bruyn), Jan Andriessen, Antony Petersen were witnesses, and were all later identified with the settlement of New Castle.
5. The widow was "authorized to enter legally into matrimony "with Jacob Crabbe, of Brickmaker's Point August 5, 1056. She bad three children, Joannee de Haes, 10 years; Marrietze, 9 years; and Annetze, 3 years. Joannes de Haes became, in later years, a leading man in the county.
6. Dominicus came to the Delaware River as a carpenter November 16, 1649.
7. This market was at a place known as "Market Plaine," and occupied part of the square which has ever since been used by the public of New Castle. At the upper end, about where the Immanuel Church now stands, was the fort and improvements pertaining thereto. In 1689, the proprietor, through William Markham, ordered the bounds of the square to be established, and five years later titles to the lot on which the fort stood were given to Robert French and later to Colonel Wm. Markham, who subsequently transferred it to Jasper Yeates, from whom title has descended.

New Castle County

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

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