River Side of Strand Between Delaware and Harmony Streets
#21 - 23
#21 now the property of Horace Deakyne and
#23 now the property of Mrs. H.-M. Cavanaugh
In the Dutch period, the major part of the site of #21 and 50
feet in width along the Strand from the line of what became Packet
Allen, faced the 50 foot lot of Sander Fenix on the west side.
Sander (Alexander) Fenix disappears from the available Dutch records
before the English period, unless his name is wrongly spelled in the
translation with an F instead of an S. If he were Sander Fenix,
Senex, Sennex, then the Senexsen's of the English period, one of
whom was naturalized by William Penn, may well have been his
sons, and it may have been Senex who sold his "house and lot" to
Nicholas and Mathias deRingh. The property was confirmed to them
in 1773. It adjoined the property of the Dutch church, where
Amilius deRingh was the reader for a number of years.
When John Brewster, innkeeper, acquired from the heirs of
Nicholas deRingh in 1701, the property on the west side of the
Strand, he secured from William Penn the bank lot opposite, 50'
by 600'. Brewster who died In 1719, had previously conveyed his
inn with its ground and buildings to Richard Halliwell. Whether
Halliwell acquired the bank lot also has not been determined in
this search. In 1726, the bank lot was owned by Richard Grafton,
merchant. Grafton bought or gave mortgages on a good many
properties in New Castle In the 1700's up to the time of his
death in 1743. With George Ross, he owned the Gilpin House from
1722 to 1727.
Search for Grafton's disposition of the bank lot #21 and #25 is
still to be completed. ln 1761, Thomas McKean, statesman of
revolution and early state, bought from John Sayer and Dr. Jacob
Ross the bank lot 50' x 600'. for 201 pounds 10 shillings. He
bought at the same time the property on the opposite side of Strand,
50' x 250'. In 1791 Thomas McKean sold both properties to
Archibald Alexander and John Stockton who were partners in a real
estate business. Their partnership was dissolved in 1795 by
mutual consent and the necessary conveyances made to divide the
property they held. In this division, John Stockton became
possessed of the whole of the bank lot, 50' on the Strand end
extending back 600' to the channel of the river, bounded by an
alley on the north and by the house and lot on the south in which
Archibald Alexander than had a half interest.
John Stockton must have built the three-story brick house that is
on this 50 foot lot In subsequent indentures, he sold it in 1804 to
John Betson, innkeeper, who some time previously had a tavern at the
s.w. corner of Third and Delaware Streets. Betson lived but one
year after he bought the property, and he left it to his wife
Mary Betson who continued the inn for several years. Mary Betson,
was the widow, Mary Cannon of New Castle, whom Betson married in
1795. She bought from John Stockton #22 across the street facing
the Inn, with house and driveway, and sheds and stables used by
In 1815, George and Hannah Hand and Thomas Janvier, who then
owned this property, sold it to the Union Line Transportation and
Steamboat Company as "a three-story brick house and lot of land
with frame store house and wharf." The house was conducted as an
inn, but whether it was known at this time as the Stockton House does
not appear in any records or newspapers so far searched. it was
badly damaged by the fire of 1824, but judging from available
records, may not have been completely destroyed. In 1826 the
tavern of Bennett Lewis is on this site and is referred to in one
later account as a one-story brick building. The bar association
met in the Lewis tavern, and the first meeting of the directors
of the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad Company was held here.
In citing the foregoing occasion, Alexander Cooper in his history
of New Castle (written for and published in the Sunday Star,
1907) wrote: "This tavern was on the precise spot upon which the
Stockton House afterward stood."
In 1846, the property is "a three-story brick house and lot of
land with a frame storehouse and wharf" as in the indentures
before the fire. In that year the Union Line Transportation and
Steamboat Company sold it to Isaac H. Register (who owned
property across the street) together with all the unenclosed and
unbuilt portion of the Ritchie property, adjoining to the south.
Later owners were Archibald A. Ritchie, son of Dr. Hugh Ritchie
and William Brumfield.
At the time of the fire which destroyed the tavern on the night of July 7,
1870, the property was owned by Edward B. Hance and Jonathan Draper.
The following year, as "terre tennants" they conveyed the property
by a deed, which as written, took account of the fire, to The New Castle
County Mutual Insurance Company as, all that three-story brick tavern
house and lot of land, 50' on the Strand, running back 152' "being the
land and premises which Benjamin C. Pierce and Ann Jamima his wife
did grant unto the aforesaid Edward B. Hance and his heirs."
Concerning the fire, the Delaware Gazette of 12 July, 1870,
published the following account: "on Thursday at about ten o'clock
at night, a fire broke out, it is said in the rear of the upper
part of the Stockton house, on Water Street in New Castle. The
flames spread to the adjoining house occupied by J. Henry Rodgers,
Esq. and it with the hotel was completely destroyed. A greater
destruction of property was prevented by the rain. When the fire
was discovered, Captain John A. Webster of the U. S. Revenue cutter
"Miami" lived off the town and detached ten men in a boat to assist the
citizens and firemen in extinguishing it. The hotel
had not been occupied for some time. It was partly insured."
Later in the month the Gazette published the amount of the partial
insurance as $3,500, and the owner of the property as Jonathan Draper, Esq.
The Part of this property lot next to Packet Alley sold by the New
Castle Mutual Insurance Company to Harriet W. Cavanaugh, the
owner and builder of the present house, #23, is described as 25'
wide on the Strand and 152' deep. The site of #21 was bought by Herbert
Deakyne, father of Deakyne, the present owner.
(Dates of purchase of ground and of construction of these two houses to be