1651 - Peter Stuyvesant, Director general of New Netherland
for the West India Company claiming that the Swedes
had invaded Dutch territory by settling on the South
River, came to the Delaware with ships and men and
built Fort Casimir at the site of New Castle.
1654- The guard of soldiers and others left at Fort Casimir
by Stuyvesant in 1651 was joined by Dutch settlers from
Manhattan, so that by 1654, when the arriving new Governor
of the Swedes, Johan Rising, took the fort from
the Dutch and named it Fort Trinity, Dutchmen had erected
twenty-two houses near the fort.
1654- Peter Lindestrom, Swedish civil engineer, who came to the
Delaware with the Swedish Commander Rising, describes the
land along the river both north and south of Fort Casimir
as rich and fertile, and records that 21 Holland colonists
had erected their dwellings at Sandhook (New Castle),, . . ,
"the Hollanders have also fortified and built a fortress
with four bastions.....however when we arrived in New
Sweden, it had fallen into almost total decay.. . .,the
said fortress was built up anew (by Lindestrom et al)
practically from the foundation, much stronger fortified
and improved with bastions . "
Geographia Americae p. 1736 p. 87 translated by
1655- At the time Stuyvesant came to the Delaware and wrested
from the Swedes the whole of the Delaware River territory,
most of the 21 householders (who had been forced
to remain and work for Rising for a time after his arrival)
had returned to Manhattan, but came back with
Stuyvesant or later. Stuyvesant repaired the fort and
left soldiers and citizens there, including some Swedes
and Finns who lived nearby.
1655- Instructions for Vice-Director Jacquet at FortCasimir:
"He shall not grant building or farm lots on the edge
of the valley of Fort Casimir, to wit between the Kil
and the aforesaid Fort nor behind the Fort, 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 40 to 60 feet width and 100 feet length ,the
street to be 4 or 6 rods wide."
Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, Vol. VII, p. 523.
N .Y. Documents XII,p. 116,
1656- Report of the Commission (of DEC, 25, 1665) on the
condition of the fort: "We ....examined and found the fort
to be decayed in its walls and batteries and that the
same fort, if a good work is to be made of it, must be
run up from the ground, whereas the outwork has already
furtherance under foot and what is still
standing must necessarily fall, because it is burst and .
distended by water." Fernow, p.,. 135,
1667- August 22 Vice-Director Alrichs to Director Stuyvesant:
"We have no storehouse ready yet to store the goods (sent
September 16 Alrichs writes to Stuyvesant for as many
thousand bricks as Skipper Jacob Jansen Huys can carry
in the "galliot"and 300 or 400 boards,
(Penna, Archives, 2nd Series, Vol, VII, p, 551-2,)
November 14 - The "galiot" had arrived with bricks and
250 boards, There were a good many bricks - and Alrichs
gave 7000 or 8000 of them to the Commisary at Altena,
who had been demanding supplies to repair that fort ,
Archives, Vol,VII, p, 566.
1658 - March 18 - Director Alrichs had received about 300 boards
from Fort Orange by the Skipper, Huys, "which I needed
here extremely for carpenter-work in the store-house and
for a dwelling house for the Commisary, also the house
in the Fort, in which I live, which has been raised one
third for a chamber and a garret;, ,, . ,I have also been
obliged to make a new guard house, as the old one,,,,.
was entirely decayed,"
Penna. Archives, 2nd Series, Vol,VII, pa 577,
Fort and other buildings
1657-8 - By Jacob Alrichs: Fort repaired - and the following
erected: A magazine and store house, a guard house,
a "bake house in the square", (the square of the fort)
a forge, residences for the clergymen and other public
officers, a two-story log house 20"x20n to be a city
hall for the burghers - (on the square?), private
houses, Total buildings standing in 1658: 100,
Sources: Holland Documents, Vol, 15, pp, 12, 213,
233, 252, Vol 16, pp, 196, 200.
Colonial Records, Vol. 2, pp. 234 para, 4; 337,
See references to Fernow, Vol, XI1 on following data,
1658- March 30 - Alrichs wrote to Stuyvesant, that the Captain
of the soldiers had been so lenient with them that he
(Alrichs) is criticised for .a tyrant over the soldiers,
when I sometimes admonished them, that the square of the
fort should be swept clean on Sundays."
1658- June 26, New Amstel - Alrichs to Stuyvesant: 'In regard
to the distribution of lots: first at the time of my arrival
(April 1656) 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; for further reasons
and difficulties I refer to the decision on the petition
of Jacob Elders, sent herewith, and henceforth they were
distributed by drawing lots, Upon the arrival of the
ship DeWaegh (with more colonists) I let Fabryk Spelen,
now deceased, and Andries Hudde give out all by lottery
also.....and now at the arrival of the ship DeSonne?
the distribution and drawing of lots has been referred
to Lieutenant d'Hinojossa,
Hudde with a work-master called Briant has last June
surveyed for all and everyone, colonists, soldiers and
officers as much as each has asked and signed for" but
so few carpenters, so much sickness - many ere still
not finished making their houses,
1658 - July - Appointed by the West India Company: William
Beekman, Vice-Director on the South River in New Netherland
on behalf of the West-India Company, who is customs
officer also for the whole river with special duty at
New Amstel where most of the trade centers. Beekman
reports to his superior officer, Director Peter Stuyvesant
at New Amsterdam,
Population. Building Supplies
1658 - October 10 - Jacob Alrichs reported 600 souls in the
town and no store from which merchandise could be
bought; the brick maker was dead, there was much need
for quantities of tile, He requested sent to him: iron
padlocks, scythes, sickles, thatcher's knives, adges,
saws, crosscut saws, picks, iron pots and kettles, 6,000
pounds of iron, smith's coals, fire- brick, lime, steel,
powder, and two-inch nails,
Bake House and other public buildings enclosed
in the square of the Fort
1659 - Letter of Director Alrichs at New Amstel to Burgomaster
deGraaff in Holland -after describing other buildings
erected by him in or near the fort, says: "Afterwarde
in the square of the fort, a bakehouse of about 18 feet
wide, 31 or 38 feet long, the first story 10 feet, the
second, seven feet high, with a garret under the roof
which wade covered with borrowed tiles.....Item - had a
burgher watch-house built of logs; it is about 20 feet
square, the first story 9, the second 8 feet, and covered
with tiles. Other public lots were, likewise,set
off in the equate, so that this settlement is now pretty
good-looking and convenient. August 16, 1659.
1660 - February - To Stuyvesant - William Beekman, Stuyvesant's
Vice-Director at Altena (Wilmington) and also customs officer at
New Amstel, writes: The warehouse or magazine at
New Amstel,"which at present is very unfit and not tight,
also filled with hay and straw, cattle and sheep, so that
the goods are not at all protected, nor is it possible now
to bring goods to the storehouse, on account of the high
bank, Mr. d'HinoJosea has therefore to carry (the supp
lies sent him for the colony) a long distance with cart
and oxen; whereas no carman (carrier?) can b@ obtained,
therefore the sailor must work it all up on the Strand
from the boats, Consequently the discharging does not
progress,...,besides there has been storm, wind, frost
and snow-drifting, so that they have been compelled by
the floating ice to haul her (the ship dePurmerlander
Merck) up on the bank,
p, 720 Pena, Archives, 2nd Series Vol.VII
Court House - 2nd Floor of Fort
1660 - June 30 - N. Y Colonial Documents XII, p, 313
Vice-Director Beekman of Altena (Wilmington) quotes Vice-
Director d'HinoJossa of New Amstel as saying that "the
city (Amsterdam owners of New Castle) would take it very
ill that their court room was so despoiled of chairs,
books, pictures and other things."
1661 - Letter of William Beekman (The West India Company's Vice-
Director at Altena and also) Customs Inspector for the
Company at New Amstel - to Stuyvesant: Says he appeared
at a hearing at Court in New Amstel as attorney for Cornelius
VmGezel, "in the fort there - he was ushered
"upstairs into the court-room."
Van Gezel had been "summoned under ringing of the bell."
1662 - June 8 - Beekman to Stuyvesant: Because of his "official
position, honor and oath" Beekman finds himself bound to
inform Stuyvesant and the council "how Mr. d'Hinojossa
strips the fort of the palisades and burns them under his
brew kettle" D'Hinojossa had built a brew-house in the
fort. Penna. Archives, Vol.VII, p. 720 2nd series
1662 - March 18 Beekman to Stuyvesant: "Last Sunday, the 12th:
in the forenoon it was announced by the Precentor, upon
order of the Director and Council of New, Amstel that a day
of prayer and fasting should be held every three months,
to begin on the 16th inst. Regarding this, no mention
was made of your Honorable Worship's ordinance. The above
was also published in the fort under ringing of the bell
after the first sermon." Vol. VII, p. 722, Penna. Archives
1663 - February 1 - Beekman to Stuyvesant: D'HinoJossa offers to
sell some buildings in the fort to Jan Webber - D'HinoJossa
"has erected a brewery" in the fort . "He has lately sold
his house where the schoolmaster Arent Eversen lived in to
June 6 - "on the first of the month a letter was proclaimed
at New Amstel under ringing of the bell"
1664-68 - The fort, repaired by the English after cannon had been
shot into it from the ship of Sir Robert Carr, in taking
New Amstel from the Dutch - but not properly restored -
continued to deteriorate.
1669 - Glover nor Lovelace and his Council at New York establish
"the form of holding court at the Fort in New Castle" -
for the trial of "Long Finn."
Blockhouse - Courthouse
1670 - October - N. Y. Historical Records - Fernow, Vol. XII,
The magistrates at New Castle propose to the governor
and council at New York that "a suitable place be selected
to erect some fortifications," the" market place
where the bell hang" being in their opinion the best
place for fortified block-houses - the citizens of New
Castle to advance the money and help do the work. When
not needed for defense against the Indians, the blockhouses
to "serve as council house, prison and other publ
ic purpose." Captain John Carr was the commander on
the Delaware - whether the condition attached to the
foregoing, "provided Capt. Carr shall cede forever the
necessary ground there to" means that the site was within
the land granted to Carr by the Governor, or that as commander
he would insure that the ground chosen remain publ
ic property (as the market-place is supposed to have
been at the time) - is a question,
Capt. Carr writes to the governor and council that the
cost of a new block-house will be "no great matter" and
the inhabitants of the town will not be backward about
contributing to it - also - the fort is beyond repair;
the houses in it so decayed they cannot stand long -
their tiles, brick, iron, and other materials can be
saved to build new houses as opportunity permits.
1670 - Some time after the magistrates resolve to build the
blockhouse provided Capt. Carr would deed the land to
the town - Capt. Carr has a "great house, with block-house
and kitchen" on the north side of Harmony Street opposite
the Green, He may have built house and block-house earlier.
He had the land soon after 1664.
Size of Block-house
1671 - March 9 - New Castle - Letter of the magistrates to the
Governor: "Our intention here is to build a block-house
40 foot square with 4 (bastions?) at every end for flanks
... will be convenient for a court-house."
Penna. Archives 2nd Series, Vol.VII, p. 790,
1671 - March 9 - William Tom and Peter Alrichs write again to the
Governor describing in strong terms the danger from the
Indians and the defenselessness of the town - and says:
"our intention is to build a block-house 40 foot square
with 4 (bastions?) att every end for flancks, in the
middle of the Towne, the fort not being fit to be repaired
- and if repaired of noe defence lying at the extreme
end of the town and no garrison, therefore wee beg
that we may (have) libty to pull itt downe and make use
of the tiles, bricks and other materials for the use of
our new intended fortification- which if we have no occasion
for (as such) though I fear wee shall, will be
convenient for a Court house.
Penna. Archives 2nd Series, Vol. VII, p. 790.
1671 - June - Ibid - pp. 482-4
The Governor approved the building of the block house and
authorized the officers to put through and finish the
structure at once. He set" one guilder per can" on all
strong liquors brewed, as a tax to help pay for the new
block house or fort, or some other public work, and ordered
the materials of the fort to be cared for so that they might
1 be used for the new block house if needed.
Fernow, p. 482-4
1671 - Breviate - p. 266
In June, 1671, the governor and council at New York ordered
a tax of one gilder per can on all distilled spirits
at New Castle to go towards "the reparation of the new
blockhouse and fort."
1671 - November - Pernow, p. 487
As part of orders for defensive preparations against the
Indians, who have murdered several white men, the Governor
and Council send instructions that the officers at
New Castle are to determine the place for block houses
and places of defense to be erected in the town.
1672 - Proposals from Capt. Edmund Cantwell in behalf of the
1. "That his Honor would please to give his instructions
about the finishing the block house.. . . . which standeth
still in that posture his Honor left it; it is high time
that some speedy order bee taken therein, in regard not
only of the troubles now likely to ensue from the warrs
in Europe (England vs Holland) but that whet is already
expended thereupon will be as good as thrown away by
reason as it is now, it only stands and rots;'
Fernow XII, p. 502
1672 - August - Governor Lovelace to Capt. Cantwell and the
magistrates: "In answer to the first proposal about
the new block house at New Castle in Delaware; since
my former orders concerning the finishing thereof have
been no better observed;I do once more enjoin them...,.
the completing of it before the first day of November next
and that under penalty of one thousand gilders Seawant in
case of default, the way of raising money to be at the
discretion of the officers" Ordered: "That the great
guns be with al1 convenient speed sent up to the block
houses in Delaware River according to my former order."
Fernow XII, p. 501.
1672 - October -A further strong order from Lovelace to fit
up the fort ; he says if necessary to aid in defense of the
town he will come to New Castle in person."
1673 July - 1674 - New Castle is under Dutch control again for a year
and a half.
1673 - September - The Dutch Governor Anthony Colve and his
council authorized the building of a fort on a suitable
place and in view of the cost to the inhabitants of such
a fort they are "hereby granted freedom from all ground
taxes and from excise on beer wine, and distilled waters
consumed.. . . .until May, 1676.
Fernow XII, p. 508.
1673 - Dutch rule - September - Peter Alrichs is made Sheriff
and commandant on the South River - charged among other
duties, with seeing that the provisions for defense are
1674 - November 6 - Governor Edmund Andros (the English in cont
rol again) authorizes Capt. Cantwell and William Tom "to
take possession of the fort at New Castle.,..as also the
cannon and all other stores of war there..... "
FernowXII, p. 616
1674 - December (?) - The Governor has received word from Capt.
Cantwell that he "has taken possession of the fort " and
that the magistrates are settled at New Castle.,, ..also
the governor allows of CantwellIs "entertaining a man for
the fort" (probably poor translation.)
Fernow XII, p. 616
1675 - April - Governor Andros expects to visit New Castle in
1676 - May 13 - Governor Andros and the magistrates treat with
the Indians at Mew Castle -a special court held that day
and the next by the Governor - no mention of fort or
block house in minutes as reported in Fernow 625-27.
1676 - August 15 - The magistrates at New Castle write to the
Governor that they "desire the fort on the other side
(of Capt. Carr's valley?) may be removed.. ............
(defective original copy),.. ............ .making of a
Court House and that some other convenience may be made
by itt for a prison both being very necessary for this
town and river and where it stands rather detrimental
than otherwise to the place.. ... ")
N. Y. Col. Doc.XII, p. 639
1676 - September 16 - Governor and Council at New York -
"Ordered, that the Block-house at New Castle be removed
and built on the back side of the town about the
middle of it, at or near the old Block house wherein
there may be a court house and a prison also...,.
Ibid. p, 640
1676 - December 10 - Governor Andros to Capt. Cantwell -
"By Capt. Creiger's sloop I'll supply you with what
is fit for a garrison in your town at this juncture
for security of your parts and would have you take
order for removing the block house, about the middle
of your town above it, into the place I showed you when
there, so to command both ends. "
Ibid. p, 542-3
1676 -' November - Memorial from the magistrates at New Castle
to Governor Edmond Andros:
4, "There being no prison for securing of debtors,
fugitives and malefactors, who often make their escape
for want of it, we therefore desire hisHonor's order
for erecting a prison, which we imagine would be to
stand in the fort ..." They request authorization
to erect a public weigh house and store house for keeping
1676 - November 20 - The Governor and Council authorize the
building of a prison "in the Fort" -"also a weigh
1677 - February - The magistrates acknowledge the order to
build prison and weigh house - "to be built with all
possible expedition. "
Fernow 655 -66
1677 - February 8 .- Court Records I, 66
According to the Governor's order - "It was this day resolved
and concluded by the commander and court, that a
prison with a dungeon under it be built in the fort with
all expedition, also a weigh housetop be built with the
like expedition in some convenient place near the waterside.
The manner of building the same is left to the
contrivance and ordering of Capt. Collier and Mr. Moll."
1677 - June 8 - The magistrates write the Governor that there
are no soldiers to watch the fort - they request that
some be sent - for they think it "better to have no fort
than a fort without some to keep it."
1677 - "The prison hole or dungeon" under the fort was in use.
In September a special court was called by Capt. Christopher
Billop to make legal his commitment of a prisoner there.
N. C. Court Records I, p. 131
1677 - October 3 - The court resolved and desired of Mr. Moll
that he would "rembourse so mutch as for the making up
of the Court Room in the fort fit for the court to sit
in in the winter time, and that the same rembourement be
paid him again out of the levy to be laid. The Court
allows to the masons to finish the chimney in the fort
as it must be, 250 gilders."
N. C. Court Records I, p. 143
The following March, the court is citing Commander
Billop for stabling his horses on the ground floor of
the court and filling the court room with hay.
Ibid. p. 194
1677 - An order from Governor Andros "was published in court
and a true copy thereof in English and Dutch fixed up
at the fort gate in New Castle."
Court Records Vol.I p. 111
1678 - July 17 - Court at New Castle - In a list of questions
prepared by the court to be submitted to Governor Andros
for answer: No. 9: "To know his Honor's will and
pleasure, whether a levy or tax may belaid for paying
the debts made during the time of this Government concerning
the fort and the like."
1678 - November 18 - Governor E. Andross writes Capt. Edmund
Cantwell and Ephraim Herman at New Castle to submit a
particular account of the rated levyed "the last year"
toward defraying the "public charges". - "what it was,
how raised, what it amounted to and how disposed of" -
and a computation of what debts remain unpaid.....
Fernow Vol.XII, p. 612
1679 - March 4 - Court Records I, 302
Jacob Vandever is fine din court 200 gilders - which fine
Is assigned "for the use and repairing of the fort ."
1682 - November - William Penn asked the magistrates to vier
and look over and report to him the vacant land available
for accommodating and settling new-comers - traders
and handcraftsmen therein for the general public good
Court Records Vol. 11, p. 24
1682 - November - In accord with a commission from William Penn,
the justices resolved that every future Saturday be a
market-day, "when all persons are desired to repair with
their commodities to the fort in the marked place at present
appointed for the same."
Court Records Vol. 11, p, 26
1682 - Weekly public market established at New Castle -
"This market was a place known as the "Market Plaine"....
at the upper end, about where Immanuel Church now stands,
was the fort and improvements pertaining thereto. In
1689, the proprietor through William Markhem, 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 Col.William Markham,
who subsequently transferred it to Jasper Yeates, from
whom title has descended
Scherf, Vol. 11, p. 861, footnote.
This document was prepared by scanning a copy of the typed notes
at the New Castle Public Library and converting the scan to a pdf by Adobe
version) with optical character recognition (OCR) enabled,
Since the pdf is not easy to read and many words were not recognized, and thereby
would not be indexed, I converted the pdf to text and manually edited it. Mistakes
occur both in the pdf creation or text editing stage. For greater reliability,
consult the pdf (below) or
the original in the library.
James Meek 2008