New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

Typed notes of Jeannette Eckman (1947)
With permission of Delaware Historical Society

The Van Leuvenigh House
Southwest Corner of the Strand and Delaware Street
Present Owner: J. D. Bush

The site of the present house was owned by a succession of important citizens
in the Dutch and early English periods. Peter Alrichs, nephew of the Dutch
director, Jacob Alrichs (1657-1659). was one of the earliest. His first tract??
including this site stretched up Delaware Street to the line of Second Street
and down the river shore. When the English came in 1664, the whole was confiscated
and given to the English William Tom. By 1670, Peter Alrichs had bought back from
William Tom, and others, the tract along Delaware Street, 94'?? deep at the river
side and wider above, along with all of the Battery to the high ground beyond it.

Alrichs in 1675 sold the plot from the river to Second Street along Delaware
Street, to Martin Rosemont (Rosemond, Roseman). Rosemont had lived nearby or on this
site, as early as 1656. He was a "deacon" of the Dutch church, in charge of looking
after the poor of the community and served the councillors in an official capacity.

There is record of a house on the site of the Van Leuvenigh property before 1675, in
which year Rosemont sold to John Edmundson, merchant, that part of his plot between
a line of present Colby's alley and the river. The back part of the Colby house was
Rosemont's "new-built house" mentioned in the deed. Peter Alrichs house is also mentioned
as being to the southwest. ?? Probably southwest of the back part of #110 - the Colby house

In 1677 John Edmundson sold house and lot to John Moll, describing the property as "a
certain house and lot of ground with the by-houses standing upon and belonging to the
same --- in the same manner as I have bought the said house and by-houses from Martin
Rosemont, deceased," bounded "on the south with the house and land of Mr. Peter Alrichs,
on the north with the street, and backwards (from the river) with the new house (back part
of #110) where the said Martin Rosemont after my said purchase went to live," indicating
that Rosemont had lived previously in the house on the Van Leuvenigh site.

John Moll owned the property for ten years (in addition to the two large dwellings
he owned on the north side of Harmony Street, one west and one east of Second Street)
and undoubtedly leased it as an excellent site for a craftsman, merchant or boatman.
In 1688 it was occupied by John Forat, ship-carpenter, who bought the property from Moll
that year, described as "about half a lot of ground with house and by-houses." As the
original plot was about 941 on the river Bide, Forat acquired more than half, as
indicated by the dimensions of the property, when It was inherited by his heirs,

on the Strand.

The heirs of Forat, two daughters, one married to Jacobus Alrichs and the other to
Peter Godwin, divided the property into two ???? lots facing the Strand. In 1697 Peter
Godwin and his wife sold their half, the south part, to Christopher Hussey with a
house on it. In 1702 Jacobus Alrichs and his wife sold their half, next Delaware Street, ???

Van Leuvenigh House

to Elizabeth Dyer, with what seems to have been the original house on the southwest corner
of Delaware Street end the Strand.* The Hussey and Dyer families intermarried and in 1708
Robert Dyer acquired the corner lot 30' wide with a bank lot 301 x 6001 running Into the
river on the opposite side of the street. Christopher Hussey acquired the adjoining 30' river lot opposite the south half of the 601 property.

Succeeding indentures indicate that this double lot, 601 on the Strand, extending
back to the present alley between the #110 and the J. D. Bush property, was gradually
built up almost solidly with houses, stables, smoke-house and other out-buildings.
The exact date of each building, Including the early dwelling houses is not known.
Whether the original house in the northeast corner of the lot Is the two-story
section on Delaware Street Incorporated in the present house is not known; the
house on the south 301 plot, might still exist in the kitchen wing on that side
of the present house. A small piece of ground which (as nearly as it can be plotted)
may have included part of the Delaware Street end of Colby's alley, and described
as bounding on Robert Dyer's property, was sold by Edward Blake Jr. In 1718, to
Nicholas Meers. Meers at the same time bought from Blake a piece of marsh to the
south of Wessel Alrichs' strip of drained marsh. The latter was directly behind the Van ??

If this corner house was the two-story back building of the present house on the
Delaware Street side, It would correspond with the earliest houses which were set
back from the Strand.

Van Leuvenigh House

Leuvenigh and Blake (Colby) properties and parallel with Delaware Street, that is,
it was a strip of the meadow ground, that is now part of the Battery. Meers may
have built the brick house, 121 on Delaware Street by 181 deep, which is mentioned
in succeeding indentures. By 1765, It had either disappeared, or having been
ambiguously located in the early deed, is the same brick house described in thi
s later year as 121 x IV, fronting 12' on Delaware Street and adjoining on its
long side (by a division wall) the corner brick house. If the two-story back part
of the present house on Delaware Street Is the original Rosemont-Moll-Forat house,
then It is likely that the Dyer's built the first house on the site of the main
241 part of the present house at the Delaware Street corner.

From Robert and James Dyer, the original property, 641 on the Strand, came into
possession of Parthena Dyer, widow of James and for her debt or of her inherited
estate to Daniel McLonen, the sherIff sold the property to the highest bidder,
Zachariah Van Leuvenigh, for 87 pounds 5 shillings, subject to the principal money
and Interest of a mortgage against it held by the trustees of the general loan office
prior to the judgment against Parthena Dyer.

The property at this sale Included the river lot opposite, 60' wide on the Strand,
but the bounds of the main plot exclude the small brick house adjoining the main
brick house on the Delaware Street side. This little house remained in the Dyer
family and descended to Robert Dyer's granddaughters, Catherine and Elizabeth

Van Leuvenigh House


Van Leuvenigh daughters of John Van Leuvenigh Jr., who married Rebecca Dyer.

The Van Leuvenigh purchase include use of the alley to Market Street next the
Colby property, and before the time of this purchase, Zachariah Van Leuvenigh
had acquired a strip of meadow adjoining the south side of his new property
and extending west behind the site of the Colby house.
Zacharaih Van Leuvenigh owned and operated a tannery. He owned the Colby house
and other property and was one of the leading citizens of New Castle. His
grandparents came to America from Amsterdam about 1700. Their three sons.,
John, Henry, and Philip, lived in and near New Castle. Zachariah was the son
of John, a shopkeeper; his brothers., John and Samuel were also shopkeepers.
Zechariah's father, uncles and brothers all died before the end of the 1750's

Zachariah was three times married, first to Ann Coombs in 1749, by whom he had
no children; second, Esther Lewis, 1754, by whom he had one child, a daughter
Rebecca who married Richard McWilliams Jr.; third, Ann Armitage, by whom he had
eleven children, of whom five died under one year of age, three others at 18,
26, and 30 years of age. Their mother, who married Mr. Van Leuvenigh when she was
17 or 18, lived to the age of 75.

Van Leuvenigh House

Zachariah Van Leuvenigh, at his death in 1789, left his property to his wife Ann,
the two-story frame dwelling #106 may already have been sold or given to his son
George with a stable behind It. The will instructed that Van Leuvenigh's surplus
property be sold as money was needed for the maintenance and education of his
children. Ann Van Leuvenigh sold the mansion house and main part of the property
to Mathias Keeley, who in 1799 with his wife Hannah, sold to John Mundall, a
merchant. As sold to Mundall, the property included the present plot except for
the small 121 x 181 brick house, "late of Catherine and Elizabeth Van Leuvenigh
and the two-story frame house with garden, #106, which was the George Van Leuvenigh
property - but still Included lend extending southwest behind the Colby house
containing gardens and smoke house.

When John Mundall advertises the Van Leuvenigh property for sale in the Delaware
Gazette, October 24, 1815, it is described as's Lot #1 -situated at the corner of
Delaware and Front Street, has on it a handsome two in garret, with good stone
cellar and a large two-story brick kitchen adjoining with three rooms above, also
a pump of good water at the door. Lot #2 - adjoining lot #1 won Front Street" has
on It a large two-story frame slaughter house, built expressly for that purpose
and has been employed as such to good advantage for 12 years past.

"Also a good two-story frame dwelling house and stable," ends the description of
the property for sale - whether this two-story frame house faced the Strand south
of the main house or was the house now #106 Delaware Street has not been determined.

In 1824, Sheriff David 'Wilson sold to Thomas Janvier out of the estate of
John Mundall. (I.)Messuage and lot of ground situated in town of New Castle on
the southwest corner of Delaware and Water Streets adjoining lots of John Crow,
Jacob Belville and others, with a two-story brick messuage and kitchen thereon
erected. (2.)Adjoining lot (1), lot of Dr. Henry Colesberry, Jacob Belville and
others., with a frame dwelling house and slaughter house thereon erected.

When the New Castle and Frenchtown railroad had been put in operation, the main house
bought by Thomas Janvier was occupied by an employee connected with the management
and operation of the railroad.

(Note:	An account of #106 Delaware Street will be added when Its ownership can be traced.)