Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Colonies: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Colony was founded in 1681 when William Penn was granted a charter by King Charles II. The colony was named in honor of Penn's father. The charter remained with the Penn family until the American Revolution.

Penn was a real estate entrepreneur and Quaker. His colony was a haven for the Quakers being persecuted in Great Britain. The colony also welcomed people of other faiths, among them Mennonites and Amish.  In 1688, Mennonite Wilhelm Rittenhouse opened the first paper mill in British America near Germantown.

Penn ordered fair dealings with the Lenape and other local tribes. Although, what amounted as an approximately 1.2 million acre land grab, tested the limits of fair play in 1737. A treaty allowing the colonists to acquire all of the land to the west that could be walked in a day and a half was agreed to. The fastest runners available were recruited to run a already marked and cleared. The land became a large part of NE Pennsylvania and was called the Walking Purchase. Although the Lenape fought for 19 years to have the treaty annulled, they lost and were forced to join other displaced tribes in the Shamokin and Wyoming Valleys.

Philadelphia would become a primary port of entry for many of the colony's settlers. It would also develop as one of the most important and largest cities in the colonies. The Pennsylvania Hospital [1st in the British American colonies] and the Academy and College of Philadelphia [University of Pennsylvania] opened in 1751. These joined the volunteer fire department as contributions of Benjamin Franklin.

During the French and Indian War, Britain battled France for control of the Ohio country and the lands west of the Allegheny Mountains. General Braddock's command was massacred in the forests of western Pennsylvania near Fort Pitt [Pittsburgh]. George Washington, then a Virginia militia colonel, helped save the survivors of Braddock's troops.

As settlers moved into the Allegheny country, there was little or no military aid from the colony, since the Quakers were pacifists. Western Pennsylvania had to rely on help from Virginia Militia and the resourcefulness of her own frontier families.

Read on:

Family connections: Prall [we moved a lot!], Faucett, Rittenhouse, Miller, Rogers, Rinker, Shultz, Wright, Harding, Evans, Pugh, Fry, Clark, Crousore and a few others. [Many of these were Quaker families who migrated to Virginia.]

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