The Fearless Benjamin Lay by Marcus Rediker

The Fearless Benjamin Lay The Quaker Dwarf Who Became The First Revolutionary Abolitionist by Marcus Rediker Beacon Press, 224 pp., cloth $26.95 Who cares about Benjamin Lay (1682–1759), a 4-foot-tall, malformed, 18th-century member of a minority religious network known as the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)? Until recently, not very many people. But in seven gracefully crafted chapters...
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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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Herb Pennock, Baseball Hall of Famer and World War I Vet

Herbert Jefferis “Herb” Pennock (1894-1948) was born and raised in Kennett Square, Chester County. He was reared in the Religious Society of Friends, or Quaker, faith. He was the son of Mary L. (Sharp) and Theodore Pennock, a well-to-do businessman whose lineage in Pennsylvania stretched back to 1685, when Christopher Pennock immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland. Nicknamed the...
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The Parker Sisters by Lucy Maddox

The Parker Sisters: A Border Kidnapping by Lucy Maddox Temple University Press, 256 pp., cloth $28.50 The border where Chester County, Pennsylvania, adjoined Cecil County, Maryland, was contested territory in the conflict between “free” and “slave” states in the decades before the Civil War. Lucy Maddox provides a thoroughly researched account of one notable incident in this history, the...
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Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth

  Pennsylvania Icons is a landmark exhibition at The State Museum of Pennsylvania that tells the story of the commonwealth and its people, places, industries, creations and events with more than 400 artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collection. The State Museum contains the largest and most comprehensive Pennsylvania history collection in the world, with a diverse array of objects...
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Preserving Yesterday’s Life for Tomorrow

Historic preservation has taken on a new dimension in Bedford County. Old Bedford Village, just off the Pennsylvania Turn­pike at Bedford Exit 11, is a nonprofit venture helping to preserve the history AND economy of this central Pennsyl­vania county. Bedford County as it exists today, is bounded on the south by the Mason­-Dixon Line, on the west, north and east by Somerset, Cambria, Blair,...
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York County: A Most Treasured Land

Planted squarely above the Maryland border, the gigantic horse’s hoof, which is the out­ line of York County, covers an area of 914 square miles, supporting a popula­tion of 300,000. Its eastern contour is delineated by the “long, crooked” Sus­quehanna, its pastern cleanly cut off by Cumberland County on the north, its outer edge defined by Adams Coun­ty on the west. This...
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Lancaster County: Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy

When Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729, it became the proto­type for the sixty-three counties to follow. The original three counties­Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester – were created as copies of typical English shires. The frontier conditions of Ches­ter County’s backwoods, from which Lancaster was formed, presented knot­ty problems to the civilized English­men....
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Clearfield County: Land of Natural Resources

Clearfield County, believed named for the cleared fields found by early settlers in the area, belies its name; 83 percent of the county’s 1,143.5 square miles is still forested today. Its present timber, however, is second and third growth. Although its forest lands support some lumbering, the county’s economic life depends mostly upon coal and clay in­dustries and the manufacture of...
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The Vision of William Penn

“… that an example may be set up to the nations an holy experiment.” – William Penn   A few days after receiving his charter for Pennsylvania in the spring of 1681, William Penn sent off a letter to some Irish Quaker merchants, happily informing them of his good fortune, asking their assistance and explaining his motives for establish­ing a colony. Penn’s...
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