Chester County Welcomes Thee

The history of Chester County constitutes a significant part of the history of Pennsylvania, both province and commonwealth, and of the history of the United States of America. At the beginning of our nation’s Bicentennial and on the threshold of our state’s and our county’s tricentennial celebrations, Chester County looks proudly upon its past accomplishments and with...
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A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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Lehigh County: The Land and Its People

Lehigh County encompasses the western half of the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. Bounded on the east by the Lehigh River, the main geographical feature of the larger valley, and on the north by the Blue Mountain range, the land is a mosaic of lime­stone plain, sinks and rolling hills. While the southern region of the county lies astride the so-called South Moun­tain and the hills of the...
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John Dickinson, Reluctant Revolutionist

Students of American history will recognize John Dickinson as the Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress who had the temerity to speak against separation from Great Britain and the obstinacy to refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence. Paradoxically, Dickinson had been an early leader of the patriot cause in Pennsylvania, author of the “Farmers’ Letters”...
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Spain’s Diplomats in Philadelphia

When, on July 2, 1776, the Congress at Philadelphia voted for independence, Spain adopted toward the British Colonies an attitude that could be described today as “recognition of billigerency,” until the Spanish Crown declared war on Great Britain in June, 1779. Although at the beginning of the Revolution there were no formal relations between the two countries, Spain not only...
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Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Liberty Bell – capped by an eagle from Peale’s Museum – was enshrined in Independence Hall.   Each year thousands of Americans, as well as foreigners, travel to Philadelphia to visit the dozens of historic sites, structures and complexes associated with the nation’s independence. For many, their first stop is a small glass pavil­ion...
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Independence Hall, The Birthplace of a Nation

September 1824 was a busy month for Phila­delphians. The Mar­quis de Lafayette returned to America for the first time since the Revolution­ary War, and it was rumored that the high point of his tra­vels would be a visit to Penn­sylvania’s venerable State House. Naturally, much of the preparation for his visit cen­tered on the old red brick building where the events of the Revolution had...
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Howard L. Barnes, Dean of Philadelphia’s Amateur Historians

Howard L. Barnes claims that Frankford is the oldest settlement in Philadelphia. Historians in neighboring Germantown dispute him, contending theirs to be the oldest community in the Quaker city area. How­ ever, no one has proven him wrong – nor can one, especially when he produces the original land deed of his beloved home­town, which dates to 1660. That would make Frankford not only the...
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Letters to the Editor

You Can Go Home Again! I so enjoyed the interview with James Michener in your winter 1993 edition (see “You Can Go Home Again: An Interview With James A. Michener” by Michael J. O’Malley III), which gave me a fascinating new insight into the life of this complex and great writer. I had been aware of his intense interest in art and artists, but prior to this interview, I had...
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New Sweden and The New World – History Lessons From the Morton Homestead

Years before William Penn and his Quaker followers set foot on America’s shores, Swedish settlers had established a settlement along the Delaware River and Bay. On this land, now part of both Pennsylvania and Delaware, stands the Morton Homestead, an emissary from a past, an emissary that tells the story of a powerful Swedish king, a white, sandy shore and primeval forest, peaceful fur...
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