The Last Days of William Penn

“My poor Dearests last breath was fetchd this morning between 2 & 3 a Clock.” So wrote a distraught Hannah Penn to longtime friend and advisor Thomas Story on July 30, 1718. The remains of her husband were taken to Jordans Meeting House in Buckinghamshire and buried there on August 5 beside his first wife Gulielma. Quakers and non-Quakers alike attended the funeral. Jordans is a quiet place,...
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“Restless Progress in America”: Drawing the Mason-Dixon Line

“When I found I had crossed that line,” recalled Harriet Tubman, “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything . . . I felt like I was in Heaven.” Such was the power of the Mason-Dixon Line. Within 75 years of its completion to resolve an eight-decade-long dispute between two colonial proprietors, a boundary line drawn in the 1760s by two English...
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Young William Penn

There’s an old idiom that says “the child is father of the man,” but this is complicated by the stage between childhood and adulthood – adolescence. The usual image of William Penn is of a pious, peaceable Quaker who rejected anything loud, proud or worldly. But his upbringing took place in the extremism, violence and carnality of mid-17th-century England. By the end of...
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Executive Director’s Letter

To this day I can distinctly remember the palpable excitement I felt as a child going up to the attic with my grandmother to explore all the wonderful old treasures secreted there. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and The State Museum of Pennsylvania have recently initiated a project to rediscover and examine the Commonwealth’s hidden gems that have long been stored away....
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William Penn’s Constitutional Legacy

In his proclamation marking the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of William Penn in 1944, Gov. Edward Martin described him as “one of the truly great men of history … whose tolerance, wisdom, enlightenment and vision as a statesman of the common weal render him an outstanding figure among the builders of states.” The tercentenary celebration of his glorious...
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Bradford County: Sanctuary in the Meadows

It seemed as implausible as it was urgent: that French aristo­crats, the select inner circle closest to King Louis XVI, and perhaps even Marie Antionette herself, would flee the conti­nent and take refuge in the immense and isolated wilderness of what is now Bradford County. Implausible or not, a band of brave French exiles – the crown’s endangered courtiers and office­holders,...
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Wyoming County: A Portrait of the Picturesque

The Endless Mountains region of northeastern Pennsylvania contains the rurally unspoiled and uncrowded Wyoming County, attracting both visitor and sports enthusiast with its picturesque valleys and charm­ing villages. Fed by the waters of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, which diagonally bisects the three hundred and ninety-six square mile county, this county lies at the northern end...
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William Penn’s Colony of Cave People

Of all the stories and accounts relating to the significant role Quakers played in the settlement of the New World, none better illustrates their extraordinary determina­tion and capacity to endure and live for freedom than the way they approached the housing shortage in Philadel­phia in the 1680s. They simply resolved the problem by living in caves along the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill...
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Transportation in Pennsylvania in 1776

During the Revolution, Pennsylvania was a central stage from the standpoint of geography, leadership, manpower, and supplies. Therefore, its transportation facilities were of special significance. The southeastern part of the State produced large quantities of the very materials needed by the Continental Army. A modest network of roads made possible the transporting of those materials to Valley...
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Historical Sketch of Luzerne County

The Proclamation Line of 1763 was a stopgap devised to give England a chance to gather her forces and to adopt a policy for further expansion of the American colonies along the Atlantic seaboard. The Treaty at Fort Stanwix in 1768 resulted in a pre-revolutionary division of Indian land to establish a boundary between the Indian hunting grounds and the white settlements. The treaty was the last...
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