The earliest known owner was Ambrose Backer, a Dutch citizen who was naturalized by William Penn, 1683; he is mentioned in New Castle court records during the Duke of York period, when he and his son Adam are among those assigned to emergency work on the dykes, authorized in 1675. Ambrose was an overseer of work on a highway in 1679. His daughter-in-law was killed by a horse in New Castle in 1680. The son Adam disappears from the records. In 1681, there was re-surveyed for Ambrose Backer, the ground between Third and Fourth Streets beginning at DelawareStreet and running north 343 feet to the house and lot of George More (the little Dutch house site) . William Penn, by later surveys, confirmed this property to Backer. Backer's house had long been on the Kensey Johns site at the corner of this property when testimony is given in a court case brought by John Cann in 1682-3. The court record of the 1681 resurvey describes this Third Street plot of Ambrose Backer as "several lots lying together...by him bought of several persons." Record of the earlier owners has not been found in this search. Ambrose Backer, or Baker as he is called after his naturalization, sold off in 1692 and '93 the north part of this property, and at the time he died, 1696, owned from Delaware Street to the line of Silsbee's alley, extending 169' deep from Third to Fourth Streets. In the deeds, Third Street was then called "the Green or Market Place" and Fourth Street was Beaver street . In his will, made 1695 and proved in 1696, Ambrose Backer left his whole estate, real and personal (not itemized), to his wife Alchee for her lifetime; but if his daughter Hermina married, with her mother's consent, she was to have half the estate.* The daughter did marry during her mother's lifetime, Edward Cole, a cooper, of New Castle. The estate of Ambrose Backer included, besides the Third Street property plantation at Swanwyck.Just how the property settlement was made has not yet been clearly worked out in this search. But by a deed of 1701, Edward Cole and his wife property, a sold to Alchee Backer (Hermina's mother) and Adam Hay for 113 pounds 17 shillings 8 pence, all their right, title, and interest, claim etc. in and to "all the real estate mentioned in a will made by Ambrose Backer unto his daughter Harmainky".. The only mention of real estate in the will was that the daughter should have half of it when she married. The 113 pounds may have been a mortgage on Hermina's half, which was later paid off, or cancelled at her mother's death.In 1710, following the death of Adam Hay of Swanwyck (who then owned a 120-acre plantation there and left a substantial estate to his wife Gertrude and their seven children) - Edward Cole, no wife mentioned, executed an indenture of release of all claim to the Swanwyck plantation formerly of Ambrose Backer, and to three lots which Adam Hay had sold between 1701 and 1710 (on ThirdStreet ) to Samuel Silsbee, * An additional bequest was "10 pounds to the poor belonging to Mary Scott and Jonathan Savage (see summaries of #10 and #12, and #16). These lots were all north of the 140'x 169' corner plot. Edward Cole and Hester his wife in 1718 sold for 20 pounds to Jonathan Savage a 25'x 169'lot off the north end of the 140'x 169' corner plot. This would leave Cole's lot 115'x 169', with the house near the corner of Wood Street, where he lived, as this deed and his will, proved the next year, 1719, indicated. Cole left his whole estate to his second wife, Hester, until his daughter Ann should marry or reach the age of 18 years, when she is to have half the whole estate .In the will he suggested that his wife defray debts and charges by selling a 20'lot next to the one they had sold to Jonathan Savage. There is no record that Hester sold or mortgaged any part of the property. Whether Ann was the daughter of his first wife Hermina Backer or of the second wife Hester, whom he must have married after 1710, is not clear, but his will is like that of his first father-in-law, Ambrose Backer, to his daughter Hermina, Cole's first wife.Circumstantial evidence points to descent of the whole 140'x 169' plot through Cole's daughter Ann. How or by whom the Jonathan Savage lot is recovered has not been found, but this property, house and 140'x 169'lot, was owned in 1767 by Richard Griffith, yeoman and Sarah his wife and Mary Griffith ,spinster . Richard Griffith,Sr., father of Richard, by will of 1752,left his plantation to his wife Ann (who in this search is presumed on circumstantial evidence to have been Ann Cole), in the interest of herself, his daughters and a son Richard, a minor. To his older son Edward, two other properties in New Castle. Edward disappears from the records, and by Ann Griffith's will, 1761, she leaves her estate to Richard Jr. and his sisters. One of his sisters was Mary who appears in the deed with Richard Griffith Jr. and his wife Sarah when they sold to John Thompson Esq.in 1767 for 45 pounds that part of the former Ambrose Backer-Hermina and Edward Cole property which extended from Delaware Street 140' along the Green by 170' deep to Beaver Street. From John Thompson this property, without change in description, went to William McKennan of Red Lion Hundred, who in 1788 sold it to Kensey Johns Sr., attorney, for 350 pounds.William McKennan, son of William McKennan Sr., Presbyterian clergyman of New Castle County, was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Revolution in June or July 1776, served through the war and was a Captain in 1781. He took part in the siege of Yorktown and returned from there to Delaware early in 1783 with the Delaware detachment which camped "at Christina Creek near New Castle". He was the first Secretary of the Delaware State Society of the Cincinnati in 1784. He was elected to the State House of Representatives 1791, 1793, 1795. In 1797 he offered his Red Lion property for sale as he intended to leave the state. He died in 1803. Kensey Johns in 1789 sold a plot at the north end of the 140', which included the site of #8, to Joseph Boggs for 250 pounds. This plot then had on it a small brick house. In 1792 Kensey Johns bought back the Boggs property at public sale along with the adjoining 30' lot to the north which was also owned by Boggs; and two years later he sold the small brick house on a plot beginning 22' from the n.e. corner of the brick office adjoining his dwelling and running 42.5' north along the street , and back to a depth of 120' for part of its width and by a widening of the north lot part-way between the two streets, extended to Fourth Street at a width there of 38'. Kensey Johns Sr. probably began to build his house and office soon after his purchase of the old house and lot in 1788. This old house or part of it, which may have been more than a hundred years old in 1788 must have been incorporated in the kitchen wing of the new house. The location of the oldest back part of the present house corresponds with the line of the earliest houses on the street which were set back much further than the later houses. The Kensey Johns house descended to Chancellor Johns** grandchildren, children of Governor Thomas Stockton who died in 1846. Miss Fidelia and Miss Nancy Stockton, daughters of the Governor, did not marry, lived in the house until their deaths. Miss Lizzie Moore, a granddaughter of Governor Stockton, lived there in the early 1900's.