Project: William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers

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



The William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers WikiTree Project was created to bring together WikiTreers interested in improving the profiles of the people who emigrated from Europe to William Penn's Pennsylvania aboard 23 ships in 1681 and 1682 with William Penn and the Society of Friends (Quakers).

How to Join

Are you interested in the William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project?penn.gif
  • Leaders: Maggie N, -- Leaders, if you're interested in helping with this project as a Leader or contact Abby

Additionally ...Project Coordinator for William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project is SJ Baty

  • ... you can add yourself to our members' list with your project-related interests


The main aims are to grow the trees of these early arrivals and learn more about their history and lives.

About the William Penn and Early Pennsylvania

From 1682 until 1776, early Pennsylvania included "Delaware Colony in the North American Middle Colonies" which was "a region of the Province of Pennsylvania although never legally a separate colony. . . . it was part of the Penn proprietorship and was known as the lower counties. In 1701 Delaware gained a separate Assembly from the three upper counties but had the same Governor as the rest of Pennsylvania."[1]

William Penn's Society of Friends, or Quakers, are the primary focus of this project. Specifically, those settlers who came in 1681 and 1682 with William Penn's fleet. Penn was among the 100 passengers who set sail aboard the Welcome on August 30, 1682. "Smallpox breaks out on board. Penn, who had already had the disease at age 3, administers to the sick. Penn lands at New Castle on 27 October (Delaware is also owned by Penn, and was at that time part of Pennsylvania)."[2] The project aims to grow the trees of these early arrivals and learn more about their history and lives.

However, the project could expand to cover other groups, as 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.[3]

Project Template for Profiles

Add this template to the top of the biography for your project profiles:

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{{Pennsylvania Settlers}}
William Penn
... ... ... was part of William Penn's Pennsylvania Settlers community.
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Discuss: pennsylvania

Profiles of Pennsylvania Settlers

Profiles that have been identified and marked as belonging to this project (by adding {{Pennsylvania Settlers}} template at the top of the profile's biography) are automatically included in the project's category page.

  • William Penn (WikiTree profile ID Penn-40) was pointed out as the lowest-numbered ID for William Penn in WikiTree. Duplicates should be merged into that profile.

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 Penn's Timeline
  3. 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

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