New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

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

Excerpts from the Sources

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
	Amandus Johnson.

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
	from Manhattan.)

	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."

	Court House

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
	Jan Webber."

	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,
	p. 474
	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.

	New Block-house
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."
	Fernow, p.504.

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
	carried out.

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
	May ,

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
	and encouragement.
	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 Acrobat (Standard 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