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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Letitia’s Grave Secret

The tombstone of Wil­liam Penn’s daughter bears the name Letitia Penn – not her mar­ried name, Letitia Aubrey. One historian, given to conjecture, wondered, “Had she wished it so, remembering her hus­band’s bitter quarrels with her father, and the many other unhappinesses her husband had brought her?” What this woman “wished” on her tombstone no one...
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A Walk of Injustice

Just before sunrise on Monday, September 19, 1737, a strange gathering of Indians, white settlers and professional woodsmen assembled beneath a mam­moth chestnut tree along the Durham Road in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Indians were Minsi and Shaw­nee of the Delaware Nation, along with two of their chiefs, Tisheekunk and Nutimus; the white settlers were men anx­ious for Pennsylvania to...
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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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