New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

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

Houses Adjoining Amstel Property Garden
#10 and 12 Fouth Street

When the adjoining Amstel house property was resurveyed to Roeloff deHaes II in 1701, this site belonged to Joseph Griffin. When Griffin sold the lot in 1704, it extended from Beaver to Otter Streets (4th to 5th) adjoining Roeloff deHaes on the south and was 120' wide on Fourth Street and 300' deep. In his deed he gives a recital that this is the property he bought from Andrew "Coeck" (which may have been "Cectle", the Dutch for Kettle), and that it is the same "house and lot" granted to Zacharias Vanderculen by Governor Penn in 1691. By his will in 1694 Zacharias Vanderculen left the property to Cornelius Kettle. How it came from Cornelius Kettle to Andrew "Coeck" has not been determined - Cornelius Kettle lived until 1736, so he must have disposed of it between 1794, when he inherited it and the time Oriffin bought it.

Joreph Griffin in 1704 sold the property to three New Castle property owners: John Hussey Sr., Oeorge Hogg Sr., and Benjamin Sweet. These owners or later owners evidently divided the 120' x 300' plot, for in later transfers the parts of it ran only 176' deep from Fourth Street, and adjoined Fifth Street plots 124' deep. The 120' on Fourth Street was also divided, for in 1714 when Samuel Silsbee I died, he owned and lived on the north part of the 120' plot on Fourth Street. It then became the property of his wife Elizabeth and was inherited by her son, Nathaniel, the bricklayer, or came into him posession by division of the estate between him and him sister Mary Silsbee Janvier, after their mother's death. In 1734, Nathaniel Silsbee bought from James Moore of New Town, Maryland, the adjoining plot to the south next to the Amstel site - 67' on Fourth Street, by 176' deep. Indentures for the property adjoining north of his father's house and lot indicate that both the Samuel Silsbee plot and the 67' plot bought by Nathaniel came within the 120' on Fourth Street of the original Griffin plot.

Nathaniel Silsbee would then own, 1734, a plot 120' x 176' ad- joining the Amstel site, with what may have been a small log or frame house (or it might have been brick by 1714) on the north side of it. That he built a brick "mansion house" on part of this plot is shown by his will 1772 and by an indenture by his daughter Ann Silsbee Miller, 1809, conveying to George "Pearce" for $650 one-half the mansion house and lot devised to her by her father. The width of the property is blank in the recorded copy of the deed - but it extends from the s.w. side of the house occupied by James Crawford (the other half of the mansion house which had belonged by inheri- tence to her sister Mary) to a lot of the estate of Joseph Tatlow (Amstel property).

The subsequent transfers of the two houses, #12 and #10 have not been found so far in this search. George "Pearce" was probably George Pierce of Philadelphia, who bought and sold a number of plots in New Castle, but none of his sales found, describe this property. Nathaniel Silsbee, bricklayer, who built the brick mansion house on this site after 1734, was the Silsbee who bought the site of #18 and #20 Third Street In 1767, and laid off the south line of that plot, Sllsbee's Alley, Tor the use of the public forrever.