As of this afternoon, May 23rd, John and Tyler have completed 2,905 of cycling.  The total cycling and walking mileage for John is now 3288.  

As one of the original Colonies, Pennsylvania has a history that is both long and important in the creation and development of the United States.  Below is some of the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with links to sources and websites that will provide MUCH more.

A close friend of ours has provided a link to the very early arrival of Swedish settlers in New Sweden, which ultimately became Pennsylvania.  Because of his thorough study of the genealogy of his family, our friend has been able to make this very interesting information available to us.  As you will see, Swedish Colonial history dates back to 1641.

Here are other links and history that came after the Swedish settlers.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia:

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:

As you will see below, the website of the Pennsylvania General Assembly provides history from the eve of colonization through 1997:   

“PENNSYLVANIA ON THE EVE OF COLONIZATION:  When first discovered by Europeans, Pennsylvania, like the rest of the continent, was inhabited by groups of American Indians, people of Mongoloid ancestry unaware of European culture. The life of the Indians reflected Stone Age backgrounds, especially in material arts and crafts. Tools, weapons and household equipment were made from stone, wood, and bark. Transportation was on foot or by canoe. Houses were made of bark, clothing from the skins of animals. The rudiments of a more complex civilization were at hand in the arts of weaving, pottery, and agriculture, although hunting and food gathering prevailed. Some Indians formed confederacies such as the League of the Five Nations, which was made up of certain New York-Pennsylvania groups of Iroquoian speech. The other large linguistic group in Pennsylvania was the Algonkian, represented by the Delawares, Shawnees, and other tribes.

“EUROPEAN BACKGROUND AND EARLY SETTLEMENTS:  The rise of nation-states in Europe coincided with the age of discovery and brought a desire for territorial gains beyond the seas, first by Spain and Portugal and later by England, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Wars in southern Germany caused many Germans to migrate eventually to Pennsylvania. The struggle in England between the Crown and Parliament also had a pronounced effect on migration to America. The Reformation led to religious ferment and division, and minorities of various faiths sought refuge in America. Such an impulse brought Quakers, Puritans, and Catholics from England, German Pietists from the Rhineland, Scotch Calvinists via Ireland, and Huguenots from France. Also, great economic changes took place in Europe in the 17th century. The old manorial system was breaking down, creating a large class of landless men ready to seek new homes. An increase in commerce and trade led to an accumulation of capital available for colonial ventures. The Swedish and Dutch colonies were financed in this way, and William Penn’s colony was also a business enterprise.


“William Penn and the Quakers:  
Penn was born in London on October 24, 1644, the son of Admiral Sir William Penn. Despite high social position and an excellent education, he shocked his upper-class associates by his conversion to the beliefs of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, then a persecuted sect. He used his inherited wealth and rank to benefit and protect his fellow believers. Despite the unpopularity of his religion, he was socially acceptable in the king’s court because he was trusted by the Duke of York, later King James II. The origins of the Society of Friends lie in the intense religious ferment of 17th century England. George Fox, the son of a Leicestershire weaver, is credited with founding it in 1647, though there was no definite organization before 1668. The Society’s rejections of rituals and oaths, its opposition to war, and its simplicity of speech and dress soon attracted attention, usually hostile.

“The Charter:  
King Charles II owed William Penn £16,000, money which Admiral Penn had lent him. Seeking a haven in the New World for persecuted Friends, Penn asked the King to grant him land in the territory between Lord Baltimore’s province of Maryland and the Duke of York’s province of New York. With the Duke’s support, Penn’s petition was granted. The King signed the Charter of Pennsylvania on March 4, 1681, and it was officially proclaimed on April 2. The King named the new colony in honor of William Penn’s father. It was to include the land between the 39th and 42nd degrees of north latitude and from the Delaware River westward for five degrees of longitude. Other provisions assured its people the protection of English laws and, to a certain degree, kept it subject to the government in England. Provincial laws could be annulled by the King. In 1682 the Duke of York deeded to Penn his claim to the three lower counties on the Delaware, which are now the state of Delaware.

“The New Colony:  
In April 1681, Penn made his cousin William Markham deputy governor of the province and sent him to take control. In England, Penn drew up the First Frame of Government, his proposed constitution for Pennsylvania. Penn’s preface to First Frame of Government has become famous as a summation of his governmental ideals. Later, in October 1682, the Proprietor arrived in Pennsylvania on the ship Welcome. He visited Philadelphia, just laid out as the capital city, created the three original counties, and summoned a General Assembly to Chester on December 4. This first Assembly united the Delaware counties with Pennsylvania, adopted a naturalization act and, on December 7, adopted the Great Law, a humanitarian code that became the fundamental basis of Pennsylvania law and which guaranteed liberty of conscience. The second Assembly, in 1683, reviewed and amended Penn’s First Frame with his cooperation and created the Second Frame of Government. By the time of Penn’s return to England late in 1684, the foundations of the Quaker Province were well established.

“Although William Penn was granted all the land in Pennsylvania by the King, he and his heirs chose not to grant or settle any part of it without first buying the claims of Indians who lived there. In this manner, all of Pennsylvania except the northwestern third was purchased by 1768. The Commonwealth bought the Six Nations’ claims to the remainder of the land in 1784 and 1789, and the claims of the Delawares and Wyandots in 1785. The defeat of the French and Indian war alliance by 1760, the withdrawal of the French, the crushing of Chief Pontiac’s Indian alliance in 1764, and the failure of all attempts by Indians and colonists to live side by side led the Indians to migrate westward, gradually leaving Pennsylvania.


“English Quakers were the dominant element, although many English settlers were Anglican….Thousands of Germans were also attracted to the colony and, by the time of the Revolution, comprised a third of the population….Another important immigrant group was the Scotch-Irish, who migrated from about 1717 until the Revolution in a series of waves caused by hardships in Ireland….Despite Quaker opposition to slavery, about 4,000 slaves were brought to Pennsylvania by 1730, most of them owned by English, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish colonists. The census of 1790 showed that the number of African-Americans had increased to about 10,000, of whom about 6,300 had received their freedom. The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 was the first emancipation statute in the United States….French Huguenot and Jewish settlers, together with Dutch, Swedes, and other groups, contributed in smaller numbers to the development of colonial Pennsylvania. The mixture of various national groups in the Quaker Province helped to create its broad-minded tolerance and cosmopolitan outlook.

“Pennsylvanians may well take pride in the dominant role played by their state in the early development of the national government. At the same time that Pennsylvania was molding its own statehood, it was providing leadership and a meeting place for the men concerned with building a nation.” 



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