DELAWARE STREET AREA
Southwest side of the street from the River to Third Street -
and stretching back over the present Battery Park to the high ground beyond
During the Dutch period, the land stretching toward the south from
what is now Delaware Street to the high ground beyond the Battery Park
and extending from the river to present Third Street, was divided into
two large plots. The part from the river to a point opposite the east side
of Second Street belonged to Peter Alrichs, nephew of the Director of New
Amstel, Jacob Alrichs (1656-59). The upper part from the line of Second
Street to Third Street belonged to Nicholas deRingh. Along the river south of
Alrich's part, grants of various-sized plots were made ranging from 60 feet
wide on the river to a width of 25 perches or more. Beyond these plots was
the brickmaker's point.
When the English came in 1664, and the Dutch Peter Alrichs defiantly
resisted their occupation, his part of the land was confiscated and
given to the English William Tom. By 1669 Alrichs had won the
friendliness of the English, bought back most of his former plot from
William Tom that year, and was given a patent for it in 1670.
What he now got from Tom, was from the Strand to Second Street along
Delaware Street and was only 94 feet deep at the river end. This strip
is described as having the house of William Sinclair on the west and
the fence of Cornelius Wynhart's land on the east. Alrichs bought at the
same time from Emilius and Mathias deRingh the remainder of Delaware Street
up to Third, which broadened to about 600 feet at the Third Street end.
At the same time, he bought from an English sergeant, John Askew, an
adjoining strip of land along the back of these plots, between the river
and Third Street.
All of these plots were confirmed to Alrichs by patents in 1670 (York
Records p. 146), so that he then had all of Delaware Street and the marsh
and meadow behind it.
In 1670, Alrichs sold a strip of the land along Delaware Street between the
river and the line of Second Street to Martin Rosemont. It had one house on
it and perhaps two on the site of the present J. D. Bush property at the southwest
corner of the Strand and Delaware Street. This strip sold to Rosemont was of
uneven depth, not more than 80 feet at the Strand end, which left Alrichs a
wide stretch of meadow and marsh behind it.
Martin Rosemont, a warden of the Dutch church, lived on or near this
part of the Strand as early as 1656-57 in a house which had a cellar -
mentioned in a case before the Dutch court in February, 1657. Rosamond
at that time worked for a salary from Elmerhuysen Clause, a member of the
Dutch council. He was also "deacon or master of the poor", having charge of
orphans and others.
In 1675, Rosemont sold to John Edmundson, a merchant, and trader, the
part of his purchase from Peter Alrichs that was in the area between a
line of the east side present Colby's Alley and the Strand - as house and
lot "the right, title and interest to one part of the messuage or tenement
together with the out-houses and garden thereto belonging" bounded north
by the highway to the house of James Crawford (the northeast corner of
Second and Delaware), west by the new-built house standing upon part of the
said tenement, southwest by the house of Peter Alrichs, southeast by
As Rosemont's whole property extended from the River to Second
Street, this section east of the east line of Colby's Alley was
"one part" - and the new-built house was west of the line on the
other part. (This new-built house was the back part of the Colby
In 1677, John Edmundson sold to John Moll the property he bought from
Rosemont: "a certain house and lot of ground with the by-houses
standing upon and belonging to the same -- In the same manner as I
have bought the said house and by-houses from Martin Rosemont,
deceased," bounded "on the south with the house and land of Mr.
Peter Alrichs, on the north with the street, and backward with
the new house where the said Martin Rosemont after my said
purchase went to live."
It has been difficult to determine the location of Peter Alrichs'
house, but considering all the Indentures for surrounding
property in which it is mentioned as a boundary, it seems to have
been on that part of the land he retained when he sold the Delaware Street
strip to Rosemont, immediately behind the present houses at #112 to #118.
In 1688, John Moll sold to John Forat, ship-carpenter, who was then living
in the house, a part of the property he bought from Edmondson.' described as
"about half a lot of ground" with "house and by-houses". The original plot
was about 94 feet along the Strand, and by this division, Forat acquired
about 60 feet facing the Strand at the southwest corner of
present Delaware Street and Strand, the site of the J. D. Bush house,
running back to the approximate east line of Colby's Alley. John Forat's
heirs divided this 60-foot plot, which by later indentures shows two houses,
each with out-building on plots of 25 to 30 feet in breadth on
Meanwhile, Rosemont's heirs had sold the large plot that Rosemont still
owned at his death (from the present J. D. Bush house to #128, the Chase
property), and after several resales it was bought by Edward Blake Sr., who
left it to his son Edward and daughter Sarah in 1696. Edward Jr. did not
begin to sell off this land in lots until 1723 and had sold it all in five
plots by the end of 1730.
Peter Alrichs sold the whole of the upper part of Delaware Street to
Reynier Vanderculen in 1683, beginning at 58 feet deep
at the line of Second Street and widening to more than 500 feet
on Third Street. Vanderculen sold off this land in large plots
between 1686 and 1696. The back part of the Penn house, #206, was
on a plot sold in 1686, and there was a house on the site of the
Hotel Louise in 1668.
Peter Alrichs had acquired all this Delaware Street land in 1670 on
condition that he improve it and drain the marsh behind the eastern part of
the street. By 1690, he had permitted the marsh to become a nuisance to the
town, and the whole of the marsh and meadow south of Delaware Street,
but not Alrichs' house and garden which adjoined it, was
confiscated. In 1706, it was granted to George Deakyne, who
drained the marsh, built a dyke along the river and a cart-road
from the Strand to Third Street in the approximate location of
what was later the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad bed.
The drained marsh and meadow, the site of the Battery Park, changed
hands frequently during the eighteenth century and pieces were
sold off it to owners of Delaware Street houses, increasing the depth
of their land. The earliest indentures for Delaware Street properties
show that the land was wooded. Mention of timber and trees later disappears
from the deeds of sale.