de Sille
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De Sille  wrote the  List of 1660a list of every citizen of New Amsterdam with their address in the Castello Plan.   This list is what has made the Castello Plan so fascinating for scholars and researchers in the following centuries, and has been used extensively in this project. 

He was an avid gardener, poet, and clearly loved the land he arrived to settle in 1653.  

“He who comes from Patria with farm laborers can in one year cultivate enough [land] to support himself on what he gains…The rivers are full of fish…also fruit..The Indians offer these for sale. Likewise fat as mutton..Oysters we pick up before our Fort, some so large one must cut them in two or three pieces.  The weeds consist mostly of strawberries, catnip, and blackberries.  The Indians bring us wild geese, turkeys, wild pigeons, ducks,….in fine, one can live here and forget Patria. Beer is brewed here as good as in Holland, of barley and wheat..Oats,peas and corn are fair.  In the way of fish we have perch, sturgeon, bass, herring, mackerel, weakfish, stone bream, eel…My children already begin to speak the language of the savages and can trade with them.” - JSTOR - Letters of Nicasius de Sille , 1654,


Nicasius de Sille was born September 23, 1610, in Arnhem in the Netherlands. He studied in Leyden and at the University of Orleans from which he graduated as a Doctor of Law. While still in Holland, De Sille served as an Advocate before the Court of Holland, and was a Captain in the service of the Dutch parliament. Known as a “man of no ordinary attainments in literature and science,” and as “a man well versed in the law, and not unacquainted with military affairs, of good character, and satisfactory acquirements,” De Sille was commissioned by the Dutch West India Company in 1653 as First Councillor to Director General Petrus Stuyvesant.

But Stuyvesant did not welcome de Sille’s experience and made life difficult for him.

De Sille wrote to the Company on July 24, 1653, to complain. The Company, he wrote, had given him a letter to carry to Stuyvesant to acknowledge him, de Sille, as first political and military councilor of the Director, there, to reside in said quality in the fort, to deliberate with and in conjunction with his Honor concerning all matters that transpire. . . .” But in fact Stuyvesant and his fiscael, Cornelis van Tienhoven, mocked these instructions, and de Sille was repeatedly “laughed at.” Within a few years, his capabilities allowed him to surmount this treatment, and in 1656 he replaced the disgraced van Tienhoven as fiscael, an official charged with upholding the rights of the Company. The same year he was also appointed sheriff to the New Amsterdam court.

His stone house, in Brooklyn, was occupied by his descendants for generations.

Source: Bontemantel Letters, found in translation on New Netherland Institute website.


The de Sille Family bible was gifted to the  New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) in 1957, and the First Families of NY funded its restoration.

See Stokes  L12 for bio info

Additional reading: 

Letters of Nicasius de Sille at JSTOR:



Below you can listen to an audio clip from a 2009 exhibit.