Changing the scope of the: William Penn and the Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project

+25 votes

Following the discussion William Penn and the Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project Update, I would like to propose a change to the scope of this project.

It seems that now, the project only covers the members of Penn's fleet that sailed in 1682.  The tag coding seems to match: {{Penn Fleet Passenger}} but not the project itself.  The name of the project describes William Penn and (his) Early Pennsylvania Settlers.  If the project only covers the fleet passengers (and I have no problem with that), then the project should be called William Penn Fleet Passengers or something to that effect.

But to what end?  It seems to me that the intent of the project creator was to classify a group of Quakers who were part of the original Penn expedition.  A group of settlers who differed from other religious refugees who and/or other Quakers who arrived in a different time frame.  Perhaps the project creator didn't realize that there were early (and most likely late) arrivals?

When I look at the profile tags for Penn's wives, I see:

Gulielma (Springett) Penn was part of William Penn's Pennsylvania Settlers Community.

But, it is linked to the Pennsylvania Project, not a "William Penn Pennsylvania Settler Community" project.

It seems that there is a gap here, one project too restrictive, one not enough.

I would propose that the project name be changed to William Penn Fleet Passengers Project or that the project be expanded to include any of the Quakers that:

1.  Came before the fleet at the request or direction of Penn, or those who came with his blessing intending to be part of the community, or those who bought land and were intended (by Penn) to be part of his new community.

For a hypothetical example: what if we found source documents showing that some families from Germany, who had been corresponding with Penn, heeded his call to come to Pennsylvania.  The arrived ahead of or after Penn's fleet, met up in the New World and helped Penn to build the new community.  Because they sailed in ships from a different port, are these folks not part of the Early Penn Settlers Community?

2. Any Quakers who were intended to come in the fleet but couldn't make it because of logistical concerns (grandma was sick and couldn't travel so Dad stayed behind and came later - or, someone who bought land from Penn and came later because they were still settling their accounts in England).  If a man sends his Wife and children and then comes 6 months after the fleet, he is indeed an Early Penn Community member (just as Penn's Wife should be).

I would think that (if the decision is made to expand the scope of the project) a simple change to the description would encompass all of my examples above.

Thank you for your attention and I invite your replies.

in Policy and Style by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
retagged by SJ Baty

I'd like to solicit feedback from all regarding the start time for this project.

There seems to be consensus on the end date "to include all settlers who arrived in Pennsylvania before the adoption on 28 October 1701 of the 2nd Frame of Governance." (see Allen's answer below).

It looks like a possible start date for the project is the moment when New Netherlands was ceded to England with the Treaty of Westminster on 24 October 1674, the date that the New Netherlands project ends.

The "top" historic resources are quite lacking in information from 1674 to 1681 (when Penn arrived).  Most, like Wikipedia and seem to treat the early Pennsylvania migration as beginning in 1681.  For example, Names their page, "1681-1776: The Quaker Province".  We know that Quaker (and other religious dissenters and colonists looking for religious freedom and/or available land) migration began earlier because Penn's commissioners, sent ahead to settle claims with Native Americans and other land holders, sailed for Pennsylvania in 1677.  The earliest Quaker migration to this area that I could find is an entry in the Wikipedia Quaker page that says, "The first Friends who settled along the Delaware River were John Fenwick, Edward Wade, John Wade, and Richard Noble. They formed a settlement at Salem, New Jersey, in 1675."

We know that the settlers (mostly Quakers) who arrived in 1677 aboard the Kent first, at first, lived in and among the Swedish - they actually slept in the living rooms and barns of the previous Swedish settlers until they could build their own homes.  Because these settlers established, at the first opportunity, their own settlements, they wouldn't be classified as New Netherland or New Sweden community members.  On the other hand, if a Dutch relative arrived to join family already in the area, they might be considered a New Netherland community member.

Currently, the New Netherland project has the following templates:

  • {{New Netherland Settler}}for those that arrived prior to 24 Oct 1674.
  • {{New Netherland Descendant}} for the descendants of the Settlers born between 24 Oct 1674 and 04 Jul 1776.
  • {{New Netherland Community}} for those that arrived prior to 1700 and were a part of the community but cannot be defined as a Settler.

The first template seems to match to this project without issue.  The second seems to overlap well also: the descendants of the Dutch would carry this template while the new settlers would carry the Penn template.

For the third template, I think that for those descendants of the New Netherlands community and migrants who came to join those colonies (for example, a Dutch relative who migrated to join Dutch family already there) this template works fine.

For those arriving 1674 to 1677 who were not allied to the New Netherlands community I think that the Early Pennsylvania settler template could be used.  I see no reason why - for this short intercession period - it couldn't be a case-by-case decision of which project to put a profile into.

Or we could just draw a line in the sand at 1674, 1677 or some other date if someone has other information regarding Quaker migration prior to 1677.

But, just my opinion - I invite to hear your opinion and discussion on this topic.

Thanks and I look forward to your replies.

I found this entry:

It appears that Quakers had arrived to Pennsylvania as early as 1675 (or earlier).  The first friends meeting is just 1 year after after the Treaty of Westminster and the end of Dutch rule.

One more reason to have the start date for the project at the treaty on 24 October 1674.
I've begun the task of modifying the project page and I've changed the scope of the project to end with the adoption of the Second Frame of Governance in 1701.

So far, we haven't had any objections about beginning the project with the treaty of Westminster in 1674.  If no objections in the next week I will seek the approval of the group leader & we will set this as the start date of the project.
The New Netherland Settlers Project does not need to be in the business of managing profiles for English Quakers (or similar settlers) who arrived (or might have arrived) in Pennsylvania before the Treaty of New Westminster (October 1674) unless there is some record of the person interacting with the Dutch West India Company or New Netherland government, previously living in places more central to New Netherland (e.g., New Amsterdam, Gravesend, Hempstead, or New Jersey), marrying a Dutch settler in New Netherland, or otherwise having a substantial interface with New Netherland.

BACKGROUND: As I understand it (this happened before I joined WikiTree), the primary initial reason for setting up the New Netherland Settlers Project was to deal with problematic New Netherland names. Project volunteers also are interested in people who are documented in the historical records of the settlement. Either or both of these situations apply to a number of the English Quakers who are included in the New Netherland project, but I don't see benefit of including people whose only known interaction with New Netherland was arrival in Pennsylvania in years before 1674.
Ellen, if I understand you, you're saying that you want the date earlier than 1674 ~ maybe an open date to include all non-Dutch settlers?
The 1674 start date shouldn't cause any problem for who manages the English Quakers. Persons born as early as 1552 are eligible for management by the Quakers project (100 years before the founding of the faith).

SJ, the start and end dates proposed work fine for the Quakers Project, especially considering we had already discussed the possibility of profiles being co-managed by Early Settlers of PA and the Quakers Projects.
Re: time frame for beginning/end dates of project - Sounds good to me!
The question of inclusion of settlers on the other side of the river - west New Jersey - has come up.  I have started a thread for it here:
And from this question has arisen another: Should the William Penn Fleet passengers be in the project?  Heather makes a good case against, please chime in here if you have any input to the matter:
it seems I did not understand the more narrow focus of the project and my own interests might not actually coincide?

10 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer
(Note: This was originally posted as a "Comment"; I received an offline request that I re-post as an "Answer")

I very much like the suggestion of adopting the broader definition of the `Early Pennsylvania Settlers project.  I would suggest that it also makes sense to have a Penn's Fleet category under the broader Early Settlers project.  I also agree that the year 1700 makes a reasonable general break-off point for the project, but I suggest that we modify that definition slightly to include all settlers who arrived in Pennsylvania before the adoption on 28 October 1701 of the 2nd Frame of Governance. This provides a date that is at once precise (making it easy to demarcate who's in and who's out) and far more historically significant as it was actually more or less forced on Penn by the settlers themselves (and thus marks an important transition toward self-rule), and it was the frame of governance that explicitly delineated the rights of the governed that were celebrated 50 years later by the casting of the Liberty Bell and that governed Pennsylvania up to the Revolution and that presaged the U.S. Constitution. Thus, it might aptly be considered equivalent to America's Magna Carta, and those who settled prior to its adoption were the people responsible for its adoption.

This would also allow for inclusion of other important groups under the broader Early Settler project -- for example, (as others have noted) the early Swedish settlers predating Penn, the founders of the Welsh Tract and Gwynedd, and the founders of Germantown, and I am sure others.  As has been mentioned, it would also enable us to recognize important figures like William Clayton who, by some accounts, was actually sent ahead of Penn to negotiate land purchases with the Lenape.
by Allen McGrew G2G6 Mach 1 (17.6k points)
selected by SJ Baty
I wholeheartedly agree.  I have Irish Quaker ancestors who were not part of the Penn group that arrived in Pennsylvania prior to 1700.
+13 votes

I would agree that the scope could be expanded. Things to think about:

  • What will be the specific criteria for inclusion?
  • Will profiles sometimes be managed by both the Quakers and Penn Projects so that both project boxes could be used?
by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (407k points)
Regarding a profile being listed in two projects, it wouldn't be the first time I've seen it:
William Penn Stamp
William Penn was part of the William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers community.
Join: William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project
Discuss: PENN
Activists and Reformers poster
William Penn was a part of the Abolitionist Movement.
Join: Activists and Reformers Project

One part of me want to leave to it's original goal which Kitty remarked upon "for any person that settled in PA before 1700" but that seems like such a large, borderless scope for a project with just an interim leader and an ( albeit extemely interested, remarkable ) project coordinator 

Another part of me wants to do what Debi mentioned with just the Penn Fleet Passengers List as the main criteria.

I went back and looked at the change history for the project page. From what I saw, the Penn Fleet portion was added to give the project a firmer direction during the very early days of Projects. It clearly says that it was intended to be a first step focus, not the goal of the project.
+12 votes

My thoughts on Penn and Early Pennsylvania were more about religious freedom and the PGM project concludes in 1640. Many realize that the colony of Pennsylvania was not given to Penn until March 1681.  The colony was named for the immigrant's father the Admiral. George Fox had established the Society of Friends in the 1640's and several were coming to the New World prior to William Penn. Yet, the immigrant Penn was instrumental in counsel for the land West Jersey and East Jersey. And several immigrants, many Quakers, are known to have arrived in West Jersey 1677-1678, prior to the Penn Fleet. John Bowne is also instrumental in early Quakerism in the colonies as noted by his arrest in New Amsterdam in 1662.  The movement of many coming to America for religious reasons has similarities to the Church of England removing all properties from the Pope under the rein of King Henry VIII -Act of Supremacy 1534.   

When we think about how William Penn conceived what is now known as our Bill of Rights, parameters become fuzzy.

See image at

by David Wilson G2G6 Pilot (124k points)
edited by David Wilson
+9 votes
So I skimmed most of this last week and caught some more of it today and I see lots of input - some great ideas and it just seems like it will not change until someone steps up into a leadership role as far as expansion goes - and I bet it is really hard to lead any project - as you would be looked to as expert on so many things - I hope that there is some gap filling project that develops quickly to aid the folks tracing to those who do not fall within the present qualifications - the need is there for help from those with good sources and how to show that to newer people who need that help
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (170k points)

Navarro - the project leadership is working on it and as it looks now, the project will likely include those who migrated after the New Sweden project & New Netherland parameters (read above) and before the 2nd frame of governance.

The New Netherland governance ended on 24 October 1674 with the Treaty of Westminster that turned over New Netherlands to the English.  This seems like a good start period for the Penn - Early Pennsylvania project start.  (I've solicited feedback on the start date as a comment to the original post - please add your feedback here or there regarding the start date).

Based on the previous posts and feedback, there seems to be consensus that the end date for the project should be the adaptation of the 2nd frame of governance wherein the Pennsylvania settlers demanded and took more control of their governance - see Allen's post above.

In other words, it looks like the Penn project could include all settlers (who arrived or were born) between: 

The Treaty of Westminister, 24 October 1674 &

the adoption on 28 October 1701 of the 2nd Frame of Governance.

Right now I'm trying to fix the project template & then will be moving on to developing the project page.

If anyone is interested in volunteering and working on the project, please send me message.

I'll be posting a G2G call for volunteers in the coming week.

That is wonderful - glad to hear it, sometimes these things get talked about but do not happen, - looking forward to the new project!  Thanks
Sj is doing a great job of holding the "Penn" fort! Although I am an interim leader, I already have quite a few projects to lead and hoping a new leader will take over since Kitty Smith's retirement. I have great confidence that the WikiTree Team will find someone shortly.
+8 votes
I am having trouble understanding how the New Netherland Settlers project connects into the Pennsylvania Settlers project? It would seem to me that each project should keep their focus on those two distinct groups of immigrants separately. Am I missing something?
by Patty Almond G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
I am pretty sure they will - although there will be some interaction too I am sure as the one above post shows - the two would only overlap if the people themselves overlap in that one from one group comes to the other and becomes part of that community
Patty, agreed, each group should maintain their own focus on the distinct groups.  But, as they shared the same geographic space and the communities overlapped, there is bound to be some "grey zone" in regards to who goes to which project.  But, as it seems that the concensus is for sharing (dual projects for profiles) when and where that might come up.

I guess my question is, who should be considered an early Pennsylvania settler versus an early Swedish or Dutch settler.  If we set a static date for the start of the project, say at 1675, how do we classify an Anglo Protestant who migrated and didn't join the Swedish or Dutch community?

The latest comments lead me to believe we should just leave the "start" date of the project open to include ANY settler to the geographic area of Pennsylvania - including the "lower counties" (Delaware) - and west New Jersey, who were not part of the Swedish or Dutch communities.
+8 votes
I'm away for awhile and my genealogy information is home, but I will try to add what I can at a later date.  My great grandfather, Abel Mills started his autobiography at 80 and his son(s) finished it.  The family were Quakers who once lived in Washington County, Pennsylvania and eventually moved up the Ohio River settling to farm in Illinois.  They were Hixite Quakers.  I was told that Oberlin College has a large repository of Able Mills' papers. I thought they came over with William Penn. Some of the family surnames are Mills, Raley, and Wilson.  Thank you. Barbara Tattersall
I will place you in early Pennsylvania settlers project and when you get back and add you Mills family connection to your tree, we will try to help get them categorize with Quakers project too, Barbara
I see your Abel Mills is already in your tree. Make sure to join Quakers project too.
+8 votes
I agree with this analysis and feel that all who came here as a result of William Penns's efforts, and who became a part of the same expansive comunity, should be incuded in the same project, whatever the name.
Hi Sherla, you should consider adding your comments to the more current thread also:
+8 votes

Re: West Jersey Penns

I have been working on many Quakers from England inspired by Penn that settled in West Jersey, specifically Gloucester and Deptford. I have no idea idea if Penn's Project should embrace the NJ counterparts. It's tempting to add them but I wonder if we should stick with original scope which is "early PA settlers which obviously covers some Penn Quakers" like Kitty mentioned.

However, maybe the NJ Penns, Quakers could have their own sub-project sticker? 

Here is an example of a profile I have been working on and they were totally West Jersey, and sailed on the Lyons:

by Maggie N. G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
They are all part of the Penn Project and Quaker Movement.  This appears to be clear cut as they traveled with the Penn Fleet and once settled in west NJ all of the Quaker meetings of W.J. were subordinate to the yearly meeting in Philly. Prior to William Penn being given the land of PA many of the same type of persecutions previously received by Puritans were now being placed on the followers of George Fox (Quakers).  Several Puritans became Quakers though the government of the Bay Colony attempted to minimize this by calling them heretics and hangings in Boston.  The famous Gov. Winthrop knew this was wrong!  Penn seized on all of this as he was well educated and had become a pain to the British crown.  The crown was unable to pay for his father's (the admiral) services and instead found giving Wm. Penn the parcel in the new land the best way to settle the issue. These settlers were an umbrella of the issues that created a strong nation against the British and their draconian laws against freedom of religion.  The similarities to King Henry VIII and his Act of  Supremacy in 1534 are interesting.
+6 votes

swiss Mennonites Michael and Christian

Lancaster/Chester Coventry Mennonite Church

I don’t know if their children fit the picture, some of them established Lower Salford.

I posted these links from ancestry in a post yesterday or wee hours this morning.

Germantown (already defined in the project) might be something I could legitimately work on related to the project and my ancestry.

Deed granted by William Penn is in my ancestor list.

by Anonymous Crewe G2G6 Mach 1 (11.2k points)
edited by Anonymous Crewe in my ancestors has s category tag for penn project but no sticker.

They were Quaker so possibly

+5 votes
I would like to join the project. My ancestors came from many different areas of Switzerland and Germany between 1690 and 1720 through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Several were landholders and in what was then Chester County. Another received a patent in the area that is now Elizabethtown.
by Cynthia Coletti G2G Crew (350 points)

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