Project: William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers

Categories: Middle Colonies | 17th Century American Immigration | Pennsylvania | William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project | Fleet of William Penn | Pennsylvania Projects


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Project Information


The settlement of Pennsylvania by Quaker and other European settlers marks an important chapter in American history. It is the intent of the William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project to record each early Pennsylvania settler who arrived after the New Sweden and New Netherlands settlements, and to make sure that each profile accurately reflects the known historical record.

The goal of the William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers WikiTree Project ("Penn") is to identify each profile that fits within the scope of the project and to protect it by adding the project profile as a profile manager and including a template on the profile. Please see this page for more info about project protection and this section of the Project FAQ page for information about management of project profiles.

To have the project profile added as a profile manager, add {{Pennsylvania Settlers}} to the biography, and add to the trusted list of a New Netherland Settlers project profile.

Once a profile has become part of the project, the project will work to improve the profile in every possible way: sourcing, connecting, merging, and more.

Additionally, project leaders and volunteers will strive to make sure that each of the Early Pennsylvania Settlers ("Penn") profiles are:

  1. Updated with the best research and are fully sourced properly: each Penn profile will have sources that support the facts and are written in Wikitree style & format.
  2. Each Penn profile will have a fully developed biography.
  3. Each Penn profile will be free from errors. The project will monitor the error report and correct errors as they appear.
  4. Profiles will be created for historic figures of the early Pennsylvania Provincial settlement if no profile already exists, as they are discovered.
  5. Duplicate Penn profiles will be merged and cleaned.
  6. Penn profiles marked for maintenance will be corrected and improved.
  7. Disputed and disproven profiles will be annotated and resolved with a focus on the sources.
  8. Penn project leaders an volunteers will regularly check the Penn activity feed.
  9. Ideally, G2G threads tagged "Penn" will be addressed within 24 hours and disputes, merges, and other situations will be addressed within 30 days.
  10. Penn project volunteers will sign up for specific activities and update their progress.

Project Scope

The definition of a William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers is:

  • Any immigrant who came to and settled in or was born in the historical area that was or would become Pennsylvania to include Delaware that was at the time a part of Pennsylvania:
  • On October 24 October 1674 the Treaty of Westminster was signed ceding control over the Dutch colony to England. Most Anglo settlement to the area that would become Pennsylvania began after this date. Most of the profiles of this project probably arrived after 1674. However, settlers who arrived before this date and who are not part of the New Sweden or New Holland communities may be admitted to the project.
and ending:
  • 28 October 1701 - the date of the adoption of the Second Frame of Governance. It was on this day that the Pennsylvania settlers changed the governance of Pennsylvania that delineated the roles of the government and its relation to the governed.

About William Penn and Early Pennsylvania

The earliest European settlement of the lands that would eventually become Pennsylvania were the New Sweden settlements along the Delaware River valley. Later, this area was annexed by the Dutch and finally ceded to England with the Treaty of Westminister on 24 October 1674. The first recorded Quaker migration to Pennsylvania was probably when Robert Wade migrated from England in 1675/1676. Wade helped to establish the first Friends meetinghouse in Chester. While most Anglo settlement to the area began after the treaty of Westminister; participation is open to all Pennsylvania profiles that do not fall under the scope of the New Sweden or the New Netherlands Settlers projects.

Prior to the Royal grant of Pennsylvania lands to William Penn, Quakers were encouraged to migrate to the area and in 1677 Penn commissioners sailed aboard the ship Kent with the mission to obtain land for Quaker colonists and to clear Indian land titles. From 1682 until 1776, Delaware was part of Pennsylvania and was referred to as the "lower [Pennsylvania] counties." In 1701 Delaware gained a separate Assembly from the three upper counties but had the same Governor as the rest of Pennsylvania."[1] While Delaware maintained a quasi-independent status from Pennsylvania, it was technically still a part of Pennsylvania until the American Revolutionary War.

While William Penn established the colony with the intent of establishing a refuge from religious persecution, the Society of Friends, or Quakers, were not the only migrants who came to settle the area. Penn's stance on religious freedom attracted a wide variety of settlers:

Long before Penn's death, Pennsylvania ceased to be a spiritual place dominated by Quakers. Penn's policy of religious toleration and peace--no military conscription--attracted all kinds of war-weary European immigrants. There were English, Irish, and Germans, Catholics, Jews, and an assortment of Protestant sects including Dunkers, Huguenots, Lutherans, Mennonites, Moravians, Pietists, and Schwenkfelders. Liberty brought so many immigrants that by the American Revolution, Pennsylvania had grown to some 300,000 people and became one of the largest colonies. Pennsylvania was America's first great melting pot.[2]

Current discussions about the project

Project Templates

This project uses a project box to mark William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Profiles. The project's project account will need to be a Profile Manager (you can read more about project accounts here: project accounts).

William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Profiles

Add this project box above the Biography heading on your William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers profiles and add the project account as manager ( Project Boxes should not be used without also adding the project as a manager of the project:

Add this To get this
{{Pennsylvania Settlers}}
William Penn
... ... ... was a part of William Penn's Pennsylvania Settlers community.
Join: William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project
Discuss: penn

Fleet Passengers

This sticker can be put on those people who were passengers on the ships that were part of the Penn fleet. Stickers go below the Biography heading.

Add this To get this
{{Penn Fleet Passenger}}
... ... ... was a William Penn fleet passenger.


Related Category Pages

  • Fleet of William Penn category page.
    • When categorizing a profile, use the category for the ship they arrived on. For example [[Category: Welcome, sailed August 1682]] at the top of the bio.
  • Quakers Project category page.
    • When categorizing a profile, add a category for each Monthly Meeting to which they belonged.
  • WikiTree page showing Canterbury passengers
    • The 1699 voyage transported William Penn. Passengers with a WikiTree profile should have the category added to their biography: at the top add [[Category:Canterbury (1699)]] and in the text of the bio replace "ship Canterbury" with "ship [[:Category:Canterbury (1699)|Canterbury]]"
  • WikiTree page "Quakers"
    • Add to profile bio at top [[Category:Quakers]] and perhaps in bio section [[:Category:Quakers|Quaker]]

Useful Pages

  • Dates: Two things to be aware of - Quakers didn't use the names of months, just the numbers (7 8m 1742 for example), and until 1752, "8m" would have been October, not August, since the year started in March (1m).

Potential Leads

  • Quakers in Delaware in the Time of William Penn, by Herbert Standing 26-page pdf
  • The Quaker Corner, Joanne Todd Rabun's Quaker Genealogy website, now hosted by Rootsweb (still free at the moment though)
  • Ships
    • The Thomas and Anne, posted by Donna E. Ristenbatt and referencing Passengers and Ships Prior to 1684, Penn's Colony: Volume I by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., 1970.
  • Ships (also has links for The Thomas and Anne)
  • PA Roots, report on William Penn's 1681 deed
  • Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has a wealth of information about early Swiss and German Mennonites who immigrated to Pennsylvania in the early 1700s because Penn offered them a safe haven from religious persecution.

Related Projects

Additional Reading

  1. from a note on Founding Fathers:Signers of the Declaration of Independence
  2. from William Penn, America's First Great Champion for Liberty and Peace, by Jim Powell
In addition to the sites at footnotes 2 and 3 above, I found the following sites of interest:

On-Line Free Published Pennsylvania Resources:

The Bowne Family Biographies

Pennsylvania 1630-1700 on

Annals of our colonial ancestors and their descendants, or, Our Quaker forefathers and their posterity

The Colonial Homes of Philadelphia and Its Neighborhood By Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Horace Mather Lippncott

Hendrick Pannebecker, Surveyor of Lands for the Penns, 1674-1754 By Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, 1894

Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania, Vol I By John W. Jordan

The Settlement of Germantown, Pennsylvania: And the Beginning of German Emigration to N.A. By Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, 1899

William Penn Ships and Passengers (pdf posted for the US Southern Colonies project on August 28, 2014)

Daughters of the American Revolution Search Engine to find Revo War Patriots and their descendants.

Genealogical Data Relating to the German Settlers of Pennsylvania by Edward W. Hocker

Pennsylvania: The German Influence in Its Settlement, Vol III by Henry Jacobs

The German and Swiss settlements of colonial Pennsylvania by Oscar Kuhns

Historic Background and Annals of the Swiss and German Pioneer Settlers of Pennsylvania by Henry Frank Eshleman

Welsh Settlement of Pennsylvania By Charles Henry Browning

History of Lycoming Co., PA editing by J. F. Maginness

Before the Constitution and Bill of Rights West Jersey and William Penn leading the way!

Records of the Kingwood Monthly meeting of Friends

Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library has a Quaker History and Genealogy digital library, including explanatory documents like "Quaker Burial Grounds in Philadelphia, 1683-present."

Sippel, Peter. The Quaker Writings Homepage,

Futhey/Cope History of Chester County. "SHIPS TO PA area BEFORE 1720" (and, hints/clues of others)

Also, Kitty's Library on WikiTree

Linked Pages

Project development and maintenance

Project development

  • Add the project template to all profiles that fall within the scope of the project.
  • Add the Penn Fleet sticker to the profiles of individuals who sailed in Penn's Fleet.
  • Make sure that each known Penn Fleet Passenger profile has a project template, a Fleet sticker, has Penn Fleet category and the appropriate ship category.
  • Add Fleet of William Penn category to all Fleet passenger profiles so that they appear in the category and searches can be made from that page rather than by searching ship by ship.

Known project profiles with missing elements

If you would like to help the project, select a category, choose a profile and see if you can find some additional information or sources:

Missing profiles

Known historical individuals for project inclusion who have not been added to the project or who do not yet have a profile made:

Project Maintenance

The following maintenance feeds should be monitored and corrected as issues arise:

(Add link for Penn suggestions)

This page was last modified 19:54, 14 October 2018. This page has been accessed 31,942 times.