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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Explaining William Penn on the 350th Anniversary of His Birth: An Interview with Richard S. Dunn

In his journal entry of December 29, 1667, noted seventeenth century English diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) wrote that his young neighbor William Penn “has returned from Ireland a Quaker – or some very melancholy thing – that he cares for no company, nor comes into any.” For Pepys, who despised the noncon­formist Quakers, Penn’s reclusiveness was “a...
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This Venerable Document

The famous patient in Harrisburg needed treatment immediately. Dismembered, suffering gaping wounds, and literally growing weaker day by day, the situation was critical. The Pennsylvania State Police provided special escorts to and from Philadelphia to ensure safe transport. Once there, in the city this patient helped create, trained technicians administered highly effective restorative...
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Letters Patent from King William and Queen Mary

Letters Patent from King William and Queen Mary Restoring Wm. Penn … Proprietor of Penssilvania, to the Government of the Said Province, dated August 20, 1694, is just one of many documents of the Commonwealth safeguarded by the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. Like other charters, constitutions, deeds, and treaties that define territorial boundaries, the authority of state...
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Hannah Penn, Pennsylvania’s First Woman Governor

On October 1, 1712, William Penn (1644-1718) and his second wife Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671-1726) left their large country house at Ruscombe, near Reading, England, and made their way to Bristol, located along the south­west coast. Theirs was a bittersweet journey. Just four months earlier, Penn had convinced the Crown to purchase the proprietary rights to Pennsylvania, his beloved – and...
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Susquehannocks, Catholics in Seventeenth-Century Pennsylvania

With its seemingly endless vistas of shopping malls, housing developments, technology parks, truck terminals, and warehouses, it’s hard to imagine Pennsylvania’s lower Susquehanna River valley a vast, undisturbed wilderness. Yet, little more than two centuries ago, the region was home to a group of Native Americans generally called the Susquehannocks, but also known as the Minqua, the Andaste,...
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