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American Revolution History by
American Revolution History by
Legend: Selected Site Area Merchant Site Historic Site Historic Marker Historic Shipwreck
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1776 Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War
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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West John Adams
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Selected Site

Amstel House - New Castle Historical Society

2 East Fourth Street
New Castle, DE, 19720

Click on heading to visit the website (excludes markers).

Nearby Historic Sites

Colonial New Sweden

819 E. 7th Street
Wilmington, DE, 19801

Day in Old New Castle

50 Market St.
New Castle, DE, 19720

Dutch House

32 East Third Street
New Castle, DE, 19720

Greenbank Mill

500 Greenbank Road
Wilmington, DE, 19808

Hale-Byrnes House

606 Stanton-Christiana Road.
Stanton, DE, 19713

Immanual on the Green

50 Market St.
New Castle, DE, 19720

Kalmar Nyckel: The Tall Ship of Delaware

1124 East 7th Street
Wilmington, DE, 19801

New Castle Presbyterian Church

25 East Second Street
New Castle, DE, 19720

Old Swedes Church

606 Church Street
Wilmington, DE, 19801

Willingtown Square

500 Block of Market Street
Wilmington, DE, 19801

Wilmington Friends Meeting House

401 North West Street
Wilmington, DE, 19801

Click on any heading to visit the website.

Nearby Historical Markers

Brandywine Village

Wilmington, DE, 19802

Around 1740 water-powered mills began to appear in this area where the Brandywine River ends its journey falling 124 feet in its final five miles. Small vessels carrying grain from nearby farms sailed directly to the mills. Other ships laden with flour sailed away to distant markets where Brandywine Superfine flour was known for it high quality.

In 1799 residents of the community erected a handsome building to serve as a community hall and school. By 1820 several fine millers' homes overlooked Market Street. The village was home to coopers, carpenters, blacksmiths, leather workers, and mill hands. In 1869 Brandywine Village became part of Wilmington.

Brandywine Village was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. The boundaries of the district were expanded in 1976. Well-preserved millers' houses, the Academy, and especially the sound of the rushing Brandywine, remain as reminders of a rich past.

Broad Dyke

New Castle, DE, 19720

Original dyke built by Dutch 1655. Centre of Twelve Mile Circle marking top of Delaware, surveyed 1701, by Empson and Pusey.

Caesar Rodney Monument

Wilmington, DE, 19802

This statue was dedicated in 1923 to commemorate Caesar Rodney's ride to Philadelphia, July 1-2, 1776. Despite ill health, Rodney rode through thunder and rain to cast the deciding vote in the Delaware delegation for independence.

Deer Park Hotel

Newark, DE, 19711

Since the mid-18th century an establishment for public hospitality has existed here. The first building, of wood construction, was known as St. Patrick's Inn. Famous visitors included surveyors Mason and Dixon. The property was purchased by James S. Martin in 1847, and the core of the present structure was erected by him circa 1851. The new building was named The Deer Park Hotel.
The coming of the railroad to Newark resulted in an increased demand for hotel and tavern accommodations. In the last quarter of the 19th century the building was expanded and otherwise improved. During its colorful past the Deer Park has provided the community with an array of social spaces. In addition to offering refreshments and lodging, the Deer Park has been used at various times as a public meeting place, ballroom, polling place, barber shop, and women's seminary. It continues to serve as a popular gathering place for college students, faculty, and other townspeople. In 1982 the Deer Park Hotel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

First Presbyterian Church

Wilmington, DE, 19801

This church originally stood at the corner of 10th and Market Streets and was the first Presbyterian church in the city. It was constructed in 1740, just after Wilmington received its charter from King George II. Following the Battle of the Brandywine on September 2, 1777, the British used the building as a hospital. After the congregation moved to a larger church in 1878, the Delaware Historical Society used the building until 1916. The church was then moved to this site in Brandywine Park to allow for construction of the Wilmington Library. The building is now operated by the Society of Colonial Dames of America in Delaware, serving as a reminder of Wilmington's role during the American Revolution.

Gunning Bedford House

New Castle, DE, 19720

Built about 1760. Home of Gunning Bedford, eleventh governor of Delaware. Born 1742. Lieut-Col. in Haslet's Delaware Regiment. Wounded in Battle of White Plains 1776. Presidential Elector 1788. Also home of Caleb P. Bennett, twenty-ninth governor of Delaware. Born 1758. Served in Haslet's and Hall's Delaware Regiments. With Washington at Yorktown. Commanded forces at New Castle 1812. Great grandson of Daniel Boone. Later residence of Andrew C. Gray. Birthplace of George Gray, lawyer, statesman and judge.

Hale-Byrnes House

Arbor Pointe Apartments, DE, 19713

George Washington's 'General Staff Headquarters' on September 6, 1777. Here Generals Washington, Lafayette, Wayne, Maxwell, Sullivan, and Greene planned defense of Wilmington. House built circa 1750 by Samuel Hale. Owner 1776 - Daniel Byrnes - a miller and preacher. Restored by Delaware Society for Preservation of Antiquities. Donated to State in 1971.

Holy Trinity Church

Wilmington, DE, 19801

In 1638 a colony from Sweden landed at the Rocks nearby. There they built Fort Christina, worshiped therein until 1667 and then built a log church at Cranehook on South side of Christiana River. In 1698, inspired by their pastor, Eric Bjork, they erected Holy Trinity Church. The tower was added in 1802. The Church of Sweden withdrew in 1791 and was thenceforth succeeded by the Protestant Episcopal Church.

John Dickinson

Wilmington, DE, 19801

Nearby is grave of John Dickinson, Lawyer, Scholar, and Statesman. Member Colonial Assemblies of Delaware and Pennsylvania and Legislative Council of Delaware State. Delegate From Pennsylvania to Stamp Act Congress. Representative in Continental Congress from Pennsylvania and Delaware, and President of both states. Signer for Delaware of Articles of Confederation. Member from Delaware and Chairman Annapolis Convention. Delaware delegate to Federal Constitutional Convention, and framer and signer of Constitution. Judge Delaware Court of Appeals. President Second Delaware Constitutional Convention. Rendered military service in Revolution. Author of famous "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania." A founder of Dickinson College. Lived in Kent County and at Eight and Market Streets, Wilmington.

John McKinly

Wilmington, DE, 19806

Delaware's only known foreign-born governor, John McKinly emigrated from Northern Ireland to Wilmington in 1742, began a medical practice and became actively involved in Delaware politics. McKinly served as a member of the Colonial Assembly, President of the Council of Safety, President (Governor) of Delaware, and helped establish the Delaware Medical Society. He died on August 31, 1796.

Meeting House 1816

Wilmington, DE, 19801

Grew from New-Wark Meeting established 1682. Present house is third in this vicinity. Friends School begun here in 1748 has operated continuously. Among 3,000 buried in yard are founders of Wilmington, John Dickinson, 'Penman of the Revolution,' and Thomas Garrett, Leader of Underground Railroad on Delmarva Peninsula.

Newark Academy

Newark, DE, 19711

Founded at New London, Pennsylvania, in 1741 by Rev. Dr. Francis Alison, removed in 1752 to Cecil County, Md., and in 1767 to Newark. Chartered by Thomas and Richard Penn 1769. Closed from 1777 to 1780 on account of Revolutionary War. Merged with Newark College (now University of Delaware) 1834. Separated from college 1869 and continued as independent academy until 1989. Many famous men were educated in this school.

Old Swedes' Church

Wilmington, DE, 19801

Erected by Swedish settlers 1698.

Old Welsh Tract Church

Cottage Mill, DE, 19713

Oldest Primitive Baptist Church in America. This marker was presented by Delaware Chapter - Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America.

Robert Kirkwood, Jr.

Eastburn Heights, DE, 19808

Born in 1756, Robert Kirkwood, Jr. spent his youth on the family farm several miles north of Newark. Kirkwood eventually enrolled at the Newark Academy, later to become the University of Delaware. When the American Revolution began, Kirkwood was commissioned first lieutenant in the Delaware Regiment under the command of Colonel John Haslet. He would be promoted to captain in December 1776. In the early years of the war, Kirkwood distinguished himself as a military officer at such battles as Long Island, Brandywine, and Germantown. During the latter part of the war the Delaware Regiment was sent to participate in the southern campaign. Under Kirkwood's steady leadership, the Delaware troops earned a reputation for discipline and hard fighting through their key roles at the battles of Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse. In 1782, he returned to Delaware and married Sarah England. Following his wife's death in 1787, Kirkwood was granted land in the Northwest Territory and moved to southeastern Ohio. Land disputes in the area led to armed conflict between the new settlers and Native Americans. Kirkwood re-entered the army and was killed in action at St. Clair's Defeat on November 4, 1791.

Site of Fort Casimir

New Castle, DE, 19720

One hundred feet to the East of this point is the site of Fort Casimir. Erected by Dutch in 1651. Taken by Swedes 1654, called Fort Trafaldigheets or Trinity, retaken by Dutch under Petrus Stuyvesant in person September 11, 1655.

The Delaware Continentals

Avalon, DE, 19804

On December 9, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that a body of troops be raised in Delaware 'for the defense of American liberty.' Commanded by Colonel John Haslet, the Delaware Regiment consisted of more than 500 battle-ready troops when they marched northward to join the Continental Army in August 1776. After expiration of enlistments and Haslet's death, the Regiment was reorganized in the winter of 1776-77 under the leadership of Colonel David Hall. Participants in many of the major battles of the Revolution, their conduct earned the praise of their enemies. Forced to endure great hardship, the Regiment was widely acclaimed for its discipline and bravery. Greatly depleted in number, they returned to Delaware victorious in January 1783. The Delaware National Guard's 198th Signal Battalion traces its lineage to the Delaware Continentals, and honors them today through their continued dedication and service.


Wilmington, DE, 19805

Founded by Swedes 1638 at Fort Christina, the first permanent settlement in Delaware River Valley. Called Altenae by Dutch 1655. Known as Willingtown 1730-1739. Incorporated as borough of Wilmington in 1739 and as city in 1832. Washington's headquarters here 1777. Became county-seat of New Castle County in 1881.

Community Histories

New Castle

New Castle

New Castle was originally settled by the Dutch West India Company in 1651, under the leadership of Peter Stuyvesant, on the site of a former aboriginal village, "Tomakonck" ("Place of the Beaver"), to assert their claim to the area based on a prior agreement with the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. The Dutch originally named the settlement Fort Casimir, but this was changed to Fort Trinity (Swedish: Trefaldighet) following its seizure by the colony of New Sweden on Trinity Sunday, 1654. The Dutch conquered the entire colony of New Sweden the following year and rechristened the fort Nieuw Amstel ("New Amstel"). This marked the end of the Swedish colony in Delaware as an official entity, but it remained a semi-autonomous unit within the New Netherland colony and the cultural, social, and religious influence of the Swedish settlers remained strong. As the settlement grew, Dutch authorities laid out a grid of streets and established the town common (The "Green"), which continue to this day.

In 1664, the English seized the entire New Netherland colony in the Second Anglo-Dutch War and changed the name of the town to "New Castle." The Dutch regained the town in 1673 during the Third Anglo-Dutch War but it was returned to Great Britain the next year under the Treaty of Westminster. In 1680, New Castle was conveyed to William Penn by the Duke of York and was Penn's landing place when he first set foot on American soil on October 27, 1682. This transfer to Penn was contested by Lord Baltimore and the boundary dispute was not resolved until the survey conducted by Mason and Dixon, now famed in history as the Mason-Dixon Line.

The spire on top of the Court House — Delaware's Colonial capitol and first state house — was used as the center of the Twelve-Mile Circle forming the northern boundary of Delaware and part of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Delaware River within this radius to the low water mark on the opposite shore is part of Delaware. Thus the Delaware Memorial Bridge was built as an intrastate span by Delaware, without financial participation by neighboring New Jersey.

The traditional Mason-Dixon line is actually west of the state, although all of Delaware's borders were established by this survey team. The line is the traditional dividing mark between the slave states of the south and the free states of the north. Delaware was a slave state, and voted with the south on all north/south issues. Delaware's northernmost county, New Castle, was more industrial and closely aligned with the north, while the southern two counties, Kent and Sussex, remained agricultural and based on slavery. During the Civil War, Delaware was a border state.

Prior to the establishment of Penn's Philadelphia, New Castle was center of government. After being transferred to Penn, Delaware's Swedish, Dutch, and English residents used to the relaxed culture of the Restoration monarchy grew uncomfortable with the more conservative Quaker influence, so Delaware petitioned for a separate legislature, which was finally granted in 1702. Delaware formally broke from Pennsylvania in 1704. New Castle again became the seat of the colonial government, thriving with the various judges and lawyers that fueled the economy. Many smaller houses were torn down and replaced in this era. In February 1777, John McKinley was elected the first President of Delaware (a title later renamed "Governor"). During the Revolution, when New Castle was besieged by William Howe, the government elected to move its functions south to Dover in May 1777, which pleased the representatives from Kent and Sussex, anyway. McKinley was captured by the British and held prisoner for several months. New Castle remained the county seat until after the Civil War, when that status was transferred to Wilmington. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence were from New Castle — Thomas McKean and George Read.

The 16-mile portage between the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay saved a 400-mile trip around the Delmarva Peninsula, so this brought passengers, goods, and business to New Castle's port. In the years following the Revolution, a turnpike was built to facilitate travel between the two major waterways.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article ",_Delaware ", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0


Newark was founded by Scots-Irish and Welsh settlers in 1694. The town was officially established when it received a charter from George II of Great Britain in 1758.

Schools have played a significant role in the history of Newark. A grammar school, founded by Francis Alison in 1743, moved from New London, Pennsylvania to Newark in 1765, becoming the Newark Academy. Among the first graduates of the school were three signers of the Declaration of Independence: George Read, Thomas McKean, and James Smith.

During the American Revolutionary War, British and American forces clashed outside Newark at Battle of Cooch’s Bridge. Tradition holds that the Battle of Cooch's Bridge was the first time that the Stars and Stripes was flown in battle.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article ",_Delaware", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0


The area now known as Wilmington was first colonized by settlers from Sweden who in March 1638 arrived on the Fogel Grip and Kalmar Nyckel. They established Fort Christina at the mouth of the Christina River at the area known as "The Rocks", located near the foot of present-day Seventh Street. Fort Christina served as the headquarters for the colony of New Sweden which consisted of, for the most part, the lower Delaware River region (parts of present day Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey), but few colonists settled there. Dr. Timothy Stidham (Swedish:Timen Lulofsson Stiddem) was a prominent citizen and doctor in Wilmington. He was born in 1610, probably in Hammel, Denmark and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. He arrived in New Sweden in 1654 and is recorded as the first physician in Delaware.

The most important Swedish governor was Colonel Johan Printz, who ruled the colony under Swedish law from 1643 to 1653. He was succeeded by Johan Rising, who upon his arrival in 1654, seized the Dutch post Fort Casimir, located at the site of the present town of New Castle, which was built by the Dutch in 1651. Rising governed New Sweden until the autumn of 1655, when a Dutch fleet under the command of Peter Stuyvesant subjugated the Swedish forts and established the authority of the Colony of New Netherland throughout the area formerly controlled by the Swedes. This marked the end of Swedish rule in North America.

Beginning in 1664 British colonization began; after a series of wars between the Dutch and English, the area stabilized under British rule, with strong influences from the Quaker communities under the auspices of Proprietor William Penn. A borough charter was granted in 1739 by King George II, which changed the name of the settlement from Willington, after Thomas Willing the first developer of the land who organized the area in a grid pattern similar to that of its northern neighbor Philadelphia, to Wilmington, presumably after Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington.

Although during the American Revolutionary War only one small battle was fought in Delaware, British troops occupied Wilmington shortly after the nearby Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. The British remained in the town until they vacated Philadelphia in 1778.

In 1800, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, a French Huguenot emigrated to the United States. Knowledgeable in the manufacture of gunpowder, by 1802 DuPont had begun making the explosive on the banks of the Brandywine River, just outside of the town of Wilmington. The DuPont company became a major supplier to the U.S. military.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article ",_Delaware", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0