Pennsylvania Settled - History

Pennsylvania Settled - History

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William Penn became a member of the Society of Friends, otherwise known as the Quakers. They believed in a simple life style. They believed that all men were equal. Quakers refused to bow to the King or to fight in wars. They also refused to pay taxes to church. King Charles II tried to stop Penn from preaching in favor of Quaker beliefs by briefly imprisoning him, but that did not stop Penn from continuing to preach. Biography of Penn

Dutch and Swedes Arrive

The Indians of Pennsylvania — [Four] hundred years ago the region now known as Pennsylvania had never felt the tread of a [European person's] foot. White settlers had come to other parts of the country, but here dwelt only the [Native Americans], those natives of the land whom we call Indians. Chief among these were those known as Delawares, from the river on which they dwelt, but who called themselves the Lenni- Lenapes. The tribe of the Delawares was divided into three sections, or sub-tribes, the Minsi, or Minisink, the Unami, and the Unalachtigo, which had respectively for totems the wolf, the turtle, and the turkey. The Unami, or Turtle, section dwelt on the site of Philadelphia. Other tribes, separate from the Delawares, were the Susquehannocks, the Nanticokes, and the Eries, who lived farther west.

The Peaceful Delawares — The [European] settlers of Pennsylvania had most to do with the Delawares, who, by good fortune, were a peaceful people. They had been conquered by the warlike Iroquois of New York and forced by them to keep peace with all the tribes. Instead of making war they were to till the soil as women did, and to them was given the care of "the great belt of peace." At a later date another tribe, called the Shawnees, came to Pennsylvania, a few of them at first, but eventually there were many of them in the province. Such were the native tribes found by William Penn and his Quaker friends when they crossed the ocean to America.

Visitors before the Quakers — The Quakers were not the first [Europeans] to reach Pennsvlvania. Others were there before them. When we speak of how this province was settled we are apt to think first of William Penn, but long before he came many settlers had reached this locality. The history of these early settlers must be told before we speak of Penn. There were Swedes, Dutch, and English, about each of whom there is something to tell. The first man to sail up the Delaware was a Dutch captain named Hendrickson, who in 1616 went up this fine river as far as the mouth of the Schuylkill.

He was much pleased with what he saw there, for he had found a beautiful land, with a great forest full of deer, turkeys and partridges, and with vines clambering up the trees. There was also a Captain Mey, from whom Cape May got its name, who in 1623 sailed up the river and built a fort at a point four miles below the site of Philadelphia. This he named Fort Nassau. In 1630 a small party of Dutch settled near the lower end of Delaware. But a foolish quarrel soon put an end to their settlement.

They had painted the arms of Holland on a piece of tin and hung it up on a tree. An Indian took it down to make a tobacco pipe, and for this he was killed, either by the Dutch or by the members of his tribe in consequence of the angry protests of the settlers, to whom the act of the ignorant native, who knew nothing about the arms of Holland, seemed an insult to their country. The death of the Indian was quickly avenged by his friends, who attacked the settlement and killed every person in it. Thus ended in crime and blood the first settlement on the Delaware [River].

The Coming of the Swedes — It was not long before new settlers came. In 1637 two small vessels set sail from Sweden [arriving in 1638], loaded with Swedes and Finns, who sought a new home on the banks of the South River—as the Dutch called the Delaware. They were led by Peter Minuit, a Dutchman, who knew the country well, for he had been governor of the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam. He bought from the Indians all the land on the west shore of the Delaware as far up as the mouth of the Schuylkill, built a fort where Wilmington now stands, and named it Fort Christina, in honor of the Queen of Sweden.

A new governor, named Hollender, came in 1641, and bought from the Indians a large tract of land along the river, and in 1643 there came a third governor, named Johan Printz, who built himself a fine mansion and a strong fort on Tinicum Island, a few miles below Philadelphia, and lived there in much style. The Swedes called their colony New Sweden and claimed all the land on the west side of the Delaware from Cape Henlopen to Trenton Falls. They also claimed the east side from Cape May to Mantua Creek, nearly opposite Chester. They traded for furs with the Indians, planted wheat, rye, and tobacco, and built forts for defense.

The End of New Sweden — Bv 1650 the Swedes had a thriving settlement. Much land was cleared and planted, they had plenty of fruit, grain, and cattle, and built a mill on Cobb's Creek, which was kept busy grinding their grain. But the Dutch of New Amsterdam had been first on the ground, had built forts and bought land from the Indians, and though they had not settled the country they did not like to see the wav the Swedish Colony was growing. So they collected a little fleet with an army of about six hundred men and in August, 1655, set sail for the [Delaware] River. This was not a very large army, but the Swedes, not being strong enough to fight, gave up to the Dutch without firing a shot or striking a blow. They were left on their farms under the rule of Holland and the colony of New Sweden came to an end.

Relics of New Sweden — The settlements of the Swedes lay along the west side of the river from New Castle, in Delaware, to the site of Philadelphia. They had built a church on Tinicum Island in 1646, and a church was built about 1669 at Wicaco in what is now southern Philadelphia. This was rebuilt in later years, and still stands, known as the Gloria Dei, or Old Swedes Church. They had a small town at Upland—now Chester—and here their first courts were held, the first jury sat, and the first highway was built.

The English Claim — New changes were soon to come, for the English also claimed this region. In 1664 an English fleet appeared before New Amsterdam, the Dutch settlement on Manhattan Island, took it without firing a gun, and named it New York. Then they sent two ships to the Delaware and took the settlement there also, but not until some Dutch soldiers had been killed and wounded. This was the first bloodshed in all the quarrels of the [Europeans] in that region. The Swedes were quite willing to come under English rule, and so were the Dutch, for they were well treated by their new masters, their farms left in their hands, and all their officers left in their posts. There were not many of them, probably only a few hundred in all, and they were widely scattered along the river. New Castle was the centre of government and Upland the place of next importance. Philadelphia was still only a region of farms.

The Quaker colony

In March 1681 Charles II of England signed a charter giving any unoccupied regions to William Penn in payment of a debt owed by the king to Penn’s father, Adm. Sir William Penn. The charter, which was officially proclaimed on April 2, 1681, named the territory for Admiral Penn and included also the term sylvania (“woodlands”), at the son’s request.

William Penn intended that the colony provide a home for his fellow Quakers (members of the Society of Friends). While still in England, he drew up the first of his “frames of government” and sent his cousin, William Markham, to establish a claim to the land and also to establish the boundaries of what became the city of Philadelphia. Penn arrived in 1682 and called a General Assembly to discuss the first Frame of Government and to adopt the Great Law, which guaranteed freedom of conscience in the colony. Under Penn’s influence, fair treatment was accorded the Native Americans, who responded with friendship in return. When Penn returned to England in 1684, the new Quaker province had a firmly established government based on the people’s will and religious tolerance.

Early History of Native Americans in Pennsylvania

The names of the Pennsylvania tribes included the Lenapi Delaware, Erie, Honniasont, Iroquois, Saponi, Shawnee, Susquehanna, Tuscarora, Tutelo and Wenrohronon.

Native Americans lived in the area that became Pennsylvania hundreds of years before European settlers entered the region. The two primary groups were the Algonkian and Iroquois. Algonkian tribes included the Delaware, Nanticoke, and Shawnee. The Susquehannocks were an Iroquoian tribe that lived along the Susquehanna River.

These early inhabitants traveled by canoe or on foot. They lived in houses made of bark and wore clothing from the skins of animals. Arts such as pottery making and weaving were also practiced. Although some farming was done, most food was acquired through hunting and gathering.

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.

The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and the Seneca Nation occupied the lands now known as Erie. For a history of the Native Americans who occupied this land before Europeans, see Erie Indians.

The French built Fort Presque Isle near present-day Erie in 1753, as part of their effort to garrison New France against the encroaching English. The French word "Presque-isle" means peninsula (literally "almost an island") and refers to that piece of land that juts into Lake Erie that is now called Presque Isle State Park. When the fort was abandoned by the French in 1760, it was their last post west of Niagara. The British occupied the fort at Presque Isle that same year, three years before the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763. [1]

Present day Erie would have been situated in a disputed triangle of land that was claimed by the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut (as part of its Western Reserve), and Massachusetts. It officially became part of Pennsylvania on 3 March 1792, after Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York released their claims to the federal government, which in turn sold the land to Pennsylvania for $151,600 in Continental certificates. The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy released the land to Pennsylvania in January 1789 for payments of $2,000 from Pennsylvania and $1,200 from the federal government. The Seneca Nation separately settled land claims against Pennsylvania in February 1791 for the sum of $800. [2]

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania commissioned the surveying of land near Presque Isle through an act passed on 18 April 1795. Andrew Ellicott, who famously completed Pierre Charles L'Enfant's survey of Washington, D.C. and helped resolve the boundary between Pennsylvania and New York, arrived to begin the survey in June 1795. Initial settlement of the area began that year. [2] [3]

In 1795, Colonel Seth Reed and his family, natives of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, moved here from Geneva, New York, to become the first European settlers of Erie. Reed erected a log cabin at the mouth of Mill Creek, becoming the first permanent building in Erie. Reed's other sons, Rufus S. Reed and George W. Reed, came to Erie later in the year. [4]

Erie was established as a borough by act of the General Assembly on 29 March 1805. This act created a Borough and Town Council headed by a burgess. This form of government stood until the City of Erie was incorporated on 14 April 1851, when a mayoralty and Select Council were established. [5]

During the War of 1812, President James Madison ordered the construction of a naval fleet at Erie in order to regain control of Lake Erie. Noted shipbuilders Daniel Dobbins of Erie and Noah Brown of New York led construction of four schooner-rigged gunboats and two brigs. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry arrived from Rhode Island to command the squadron. His fleet successfully fought the British in the historic Battle of Lake Erie, which was the decisive victory that solidified United States control of the Great Lakes. [6]

Erie was an important railroad hub in the mid-19th century. However, the railroad north to Buffalo, New York used 6' track up to the New York border, while the railroad west to Cleveland, Ohio and that from the New York border to Buffalo from was on the narrower 4' 10" gauge. What this meant was that there was no line through Erie every passenger had to change trains, and every piece of cargo had to be moved by railroad stevedores and wagons between trains. While the trains were timed to connect, delays could cause passengers to miss their connection they then needed a meal and a bed in Erie.

The delays inconvenienced both passengers and cargo, adding to the time and therefore the expense of travel by rail between Buffalo to Cleveland. However, they provided much needed jobs in Erie. Travelers were patrons of Erie hotels, restaurants, and stores. Those shipping goods needed manpower, and some of this came from Erie itself there were many self-employed "men with a horse" and a wagon moving goods. The two railroads themselves provided jobs.

It was obvious to everyone except those from Erie that this was a ridiculous situation. The 6' section needed to be changed 4'10", the national standard, so trains could go through Erie, and passengers and goods would not have to change trains twice between Buffalo and Cleveland. However, this would have a substantial negative effect on employment and the economy in Erie, which benefited from the unavoidable train change. The citizens of Erie, led by the mayor, set fire to bridges, ripped up track, and in general did everything imaginable to prevent the change. [7]

Erie's congressional representative Milton W. Shreve supported the Volstead Act and the Eighteenth Amendment. Miles Nason, another Erie Prohibitionist, headed the Dry Block in the Pennsylvania State Senate. [8] But Erie was primarily a "wet" city. Being a border town, Erie was an important transportation hub in the rum-running of illicit liquor across the lake from Canada during Prohibition in the United States. John G. Carney, in his "Highlights of Erie Politics", says that many "laid in a large supply of liquor before the law became effective. Cellars, book cases, and closets were packed. " [9] Speakeasies opened across the city, the more popular being the Pickwick Club, the Killarney Yacht Club, Laura's, and 1008. Carney noted that ". about the only dry thing in Erie was the inside of a light bulb." [9]

Illicit liquor sales brought racketeering, violence, and houses of prostitution. Intervention by the state police was not welcomed by Mayor Miles B. Kitts, who went to Harrisburg and testified before well-publicized hearings conducted by Pennsylvania Governor William C. Sproul. But the actions of local and state law enforcement and the governor's hearings offered only a brief respite from all the excitement. As Carney concluded, ". and Erie 'roared' merrily on throughout the rest of the 'Roaring Twenties.' " [9]

Shreve fell from favor with the Republicans, who promoted attorney Robert Firman as their candidate in the April 1920 primaries. Shreve narrowly escaped removal from the United States Congress. State Senator Nason was also challenged by the Republicans in the primaries, but was defeated in the 2 November 1920 elections. [10]

The Great Depression deflated Erie's enthusiasm for lawlessness and prompted a solid political movement towards repeal of Prohibition. [11] Democratic Party chairman for Erie County and future mayor James P. Rossiter was able to promise strong local voter support for Democratic-Liberal candidate for state governor John Hemphill when he visited Erie with a strong agenda for repeal in October 1930. [12]

In 2007, the Erie Downtown Improvement District (DID) contracted a Philadelphia-based company (Kise, Straw, & Kolodner) to set up a "master plan" for the city of Erie's downtown. [13] The DID plan includes building several mid-rise and high-rise structures which will be used primarily for housing and retail expansion in the city center. Fourth River Development and Radnor Property Group were selected as the developers.

In January 2007, GAF, an asphalt shingle manufacturer announced plans to relocate to Eastern Pennsylvania, [14] thus making available several extremely valuable acres next to the Convention Center and hotel under construction. A local newspaper poll showed that the majority of local citizens desire a park-like setting, followed by retail development in the area. [15]

Pennsylvania German

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Pennsylvania German, also called (misleadingly) Pennsylvania Dutch, 17th- and 18th-century German-speaking settlers in Pennsylvania and their descendants. Emigrating from southern Germany (Palatinate, Bavaria, Saxony, etc.) and Switzerland, they settled primarily in the southeastern section of Pennsylvania, where they practiced any of several slightly different forms of Anabaptist faith, mostly Amish and Mennonite. Their descendants, some of whom participate only reluctantly in modern life, live mainly in Northampton, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Bucks, York, and other counties of Pennsylvania, as well as in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, and Florida.

Some groups—especially those who remain apart—still speak (in addition to English) a German dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German, a blending of High German (in reference to the altitude of their natal region), various German dialects, and English. The word Dutch (from German Deutsch, meaning “German”), which once encompassed all non-English speakers of Germanic languages, is in the 21st century a misnomer, as Dutch has come to be associated strictly with people from the Netherlands.

Many Pennsylvania Germans are thoroughly assimilated, though they may retain elements of their traditional culture such as special cookery (e.g., shoofly pie, an extremely sweet pie made with molasses and brown sugar) and a decorative tradition known as fraktur (which blends calligraphic and pictorial elements). Some groups, such as the Old Order Amish, wear plain, modest clothing and head coverings and drive horse-drawn buggies. Men wear beards (but not mustaches) after they marry. They live according to relatively strict religious principles.

The Pennsylvania Germans, many of whom had been persecuted in their native land, were attracted to Pennsylvania by the liberal and tolerant principles of William Penn’s government. Their immigration began with the Mennonite Francis Daniel Pastorius, who in 1683 led a group of German Quakers to Philadelphia, where they founded Germantown, the pioneer German settlement. The early German settlers were for the most part Mennonites, Amish, Dunkers (or German Baptists), Schwenckfelders, and Moravians (see Moravian church). After 1727 the immigrants were mostly members of the larger Lutheran and Reformed churches. Their farming skills made their region of settlement a rich agricultural area. By the time of the American Revolution they numbered about 100,000, more than a third of Pennsylvania’s population.


Philadelphia, a city in Pennsylvania whose name means City of Brotherly Love, was originally settled by Native American tribes, particularly the Lenape hunter gatherers, around 8000 B.C.

By the early 1600s, Dutch, English and Swedish merchants had established trading posts in the Delaware Valley area, and in 1681, Charles II of England granted a charter to William Penn for what would become the Pennsylvania colony.

Penn arrived in the new city of Philadelphia in 1682. A Quaker pacifist, Penn signed a peace treaty with Lenape chief Tamanend, establishing a tradition of tolerance and human rights.

But in 1684, the ship Isabella landed in Philadelphia carrying hundreds of enslaved Africans. Tensions over slavery, especially among local Quakers, resulted in the 1688 Germantown Petition Against Slavery, the first organized protest against slavery in the New World.

Penn’s colony thrived, and soon Philadelphia was the biggest shipbuilding center in the colonies. Among those attracted to the city was Benjamin Franklin, who in 1729, became the publisher of The Pennsylvania Gazette.

The Pennsylvania State House—later known as Independence Hall—held its first Assembly meeting there in 1735. State representatives ordered a large bell for the building in 1751 with a Biblical inscription: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

British Parliament passed a series of tax acts on the colonies in the 1760s, including the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, sparking colonial outrage. In response, the Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in 1774.

After Philadelphia resident Thomas Paine&aposs pamphlet Common Sense met with widespread acclaim, the stage was set to formally declare independence, which the Founding Fathers did on July 4, 1776. Philadelphians were the first to hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud in the State House yard.

In 1790, after the Revolutionary War (during which the city witnessed the Battle of Germantown), Philadelphia served as capital of the United States. By that time, it was the new nation’s biggest city, with 44,096 residents. The First Bank of the United States and the first U.S. Mint were founded in Philadelphia, and the U.S. Constitution was written there in 1787.

With the city’s history of civil rights—the Pennsylvania Abolition Society met there in 1775— Philadelphia was an ideal spot for William Lloyd Garrison to establish the American Anti-Slavery Society, which grew to nearly 250,000 members by 1838. Local abolitionists adopted the old State House bell as a symbol, renaming it the “Liberty Bell.”

Philadelphia rallied to the Union cause during the Civil War, and local industries profited by supplying weapons, uniforms and warships. In 1876, suffragette Susan B. Anthony delivered the Declaration of the Rights of Women outside Independence Hall.

The city grew in size and prestige during the Gilded Age, as wealthy suburbs sprouted along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. During the 1870s, the first U.S. zoo and the Centennial Exhibition fair opened in Philadelphia.

The city’s shipbuilding industries supplied the Allies in World War I, but Philadelphia was also a center of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919—over 500,000 citizens contracted the deadly disease.

After World War II, new highways allowed workers to easily reach bedroom communities outside the city. With suburbanization and industrial decline, Philadelphia lost population and jobs, and soon many of the city’s famed shipyards were shuttered.

Poverty and racial tensions soon followed, and in 1985 a police confrontation with the radical group MOVE ended with the bombing of a predominantly black neighborhood� people in the MOVE compound were killed.

New developments, such as the Philadelphia Navy Yard and Center City, have helped to revitalize the area, which is now home to more than 1.5 million residents. The city rejoiced when the Eagles won the 2018 Super Bowl. For visitors, a perennially popular destination is the statue of Rocky Balboa, depicting the fictional boxer, arms outstretched, at the top of the steps to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, famously runs up the 72 steps to train for a fight in the 1976 movie, "Rocky" (and in sequels). Now the stairs to the museum are simply known as the "Rocky Steps."


In 1681, King Charles II gave Penn a large piece of his newly acquired American land holdings to repay a debt the king owed to Admiral Sir William Penn, Penn's father. This land included present-day Pennsylvania and Delaware, though the claim as written would create a bloody conflict with Maryland (dubbed Cresap's War) over the land grant already owned by Lord Baltimore. Penn put together a colonial expedition and fleet, which set out for America in the middle of the following summer. Penn, sailing in the vanguard, first set foot on American soil at the colony at New Castle, Delaware. [1] An orderly change of government ensued, as was normal in an age used to the privileges and prerogatives of aristocracy and which antedated nationalism: the colonists pledged allegiance to Penn as their new Proprietor. The first Pennsylvania General Assembly was soon held in the colony.

Afterwards, Penn journeyed up the river and founded Philadelphia with a core group of accompanying Quakers and others seeking religious freedom on lands he purchased from the local chieftains of the Lenape or Delaware nation. [2] This began a long period of peaceful co-operation between the colony and the Delaware, in contrast to the frictions between the tribe and the Swedish and Dutch colonists. [3] [ page needed ] However, the new colonists would not enjoy such easy relations with the rival and territorial Conestoga peoples to the west for a number of decades [2] as the English Quaker and German Anabaptist, Lutheran and Moravian settlers attracted to the religiously tolerant colony [4] worked their way northwest up the Schuylkill and due west south of the hill country into the breadbasket lands along the lower Susquehanna River. [3] Lord Baltimore and the Province of Maryland had circa 1652–53 [3] finished waging a decade long declared war against the Susquehannocks and the Dutch, [3] who'd been trading them furs for tools and firearms for some time. [3] Both groups had uneasy relations with the Delaware (Lenape) and the Iroquois. [3] Furthermore, Penn's Quaker government was not viewed favorably by the Dutch, Swedish, and English settlers in what is now Delaware. They had no "historical" allegiance to Pennsylvania, so they almost immediately began petitioning for their own Assembly. In 1704, they achieved their goal when the three southernmost counties of Pennsylvania were permitted to split off and become the new semi-autonomous colony of Lower Delaware. New Castle, the most prominent, prosperous and influential settlement in the new colony, became the capital. During its brief period of ascendancy as an empire following the victory by Gustav the Great in the Battle of Breitenfeld Swedish settlers arrived in the area in the early 17th century to found a nearby colony, New Sweden in what is today southern New Jersey. With the arrival of more numerous English colonists and development of the port on the Delaware, Philadelphia quickly grew into an important colonial city.

During the American Revolution, it was the site of the First and Second Continental Congresses. After the Revolution, the city was chosen to be the temporary capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the federal and state governments left Philadelphia, but the city continued for some years to be the country's cultural and financial center. Its large free black community aided fugitive slaves and founded the first independent black denomination in the nation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Philadelphia became one of the first U.S. industrial centers with a variety of industries, the largest being textiles. It had many economic and family ties to the South, with southern planters maintaining second homes in the city and having business connections with banks, sending their daughters to French finishing schools run by refugees from Saint-Domingue (Haiti), selling their cotton to textile manufacturers, which in turn sold some products to the South, for instance, clothing for slaves. At the beginning of the American Civil War, there were many southern sympathizers, although most city residents became firmly Union as the war went on.

After the American Civil War, city government was controlled by the Republican Party it established a political machine that gained power through patronage. By the beginning of the 20th century, Philadelphia was described as "corrupt and contented." Various reform efforts slowly changed city government in 1950, a new city charter strengthened the position of mayor and weakened the Philadelphia City Council. Beginning during the Great Depression, voters changed from traditional support for the Republican Party to increasing support for the Democratic Party of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which has now been predominant in local politics for many decades.

The population grew dramatically at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, through immigration from Ireland, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Asia, as well as the Great Migration of blacks from the rural South and Puerto Ricans from the Caribbean, all attracted to the city's expanding industrial jobs. The Pennsylvania Railroad was expanding and hired 10,000 workers from the South. Manufacturing plants and the US Navy Yard employed tens of thousands of industrial workers along the rivers, and the city was also a center of finance and publishing, with major universities. By the 1950s, much Philadelphia housing was aged and substandard. In the post-World War II era of suburbanization and construction of area highways, many middle-class families met their demand for newer housing by leaving the city for the suburbs. Population decline accompanied the industrial restructuring and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the mid 20th century. With increasing poverty and social dislocation in the city, gang and mafia warfare plagued the city in from the mid-20th century to the early 21st century.

By the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, revitalization and gentrification of historic neighborhoods attracted an increase in middle-class population as people began to return to the city. New immigrants from Southeast Asia, and Central and South America have contributed their energy to the city. Promotions and incentives in the 1990s and the early 21st century have improved the city's image and created a condominium boom in Center City and the surrounding areas.

Before Philadelphia was colonized by Europeans, the area was inhabited by the Lenape (Delaware) Indians. The village of Nitapèkunk, "place that is easy to get to," was located in today's Fairmount Park area. [5] The villages of Pèmikpeka, "where the water flows," [6] and Shackamaxon were located on the Delaware River. The Delaware River Valley was called the Zuyd, meaning "South" River, or Lënapei Sipu. [7]

The first exploration of the area by Europeans was in 1609, when a Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson entered the Delaware River Valley in search of the Northwest Passage. The Valley, including the future location of Philadelphia, became part of the New Netherland claim of the Dutch. Dutch explorer Cornelius Jacobsen May charted the shoals Delaware Bay in the 1620s and a fort was built on the west side of the bay at Swanendael.

In 1637, Swedish, Dutch and German stockholders formed the New Sweden Company to trade for furs and tobacco in North America. Under the command of Peter Minuit, the company's first expedition sailed from Sweden late in 1637 in two ships, Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Gri. Minuit had been the governor of the New Netherland from 1626 to 1631. Resenting his dismissal by the Dutch West India Company, he brought to the new project the knowledge that the Dutch colony had temporarily abandoned its efforts in the Delaware Valley to focus on the Hudson River valley to the north. (The Hudson was known to the Dutch as the Noort, or "North" river relative to "South" of the Delaware.) Minuit and his partners also knew that the Dutch view of colonies necessitated occupation to secure legal claim. The ships reached Delaware Bay in March 1638, and the settlers began to build a fort at the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. They named it Fort Christina, in honor of the twelve-year-old Queen Christina of Sweden. It was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley. [8] Part of this colony eventually included land on the west side of the Delaware River from just below the Schuylkill River. [ citation needed ]

Johan Björnsson Printz was appointed to be the first royal governor of New Sweden, arriving in the colony on February 15, 1643. Under his ten-year rule, the administrative center of New Sweden was moved north to Tinicum Island (to the immediate SW of today's Philadelphia), where he built Fort New Gothenburg and his own manor house which he called the Printzhof. [9]

The first English settlement occurred about 1642, when 50 Puritan families from the New Haven Colony in Connecticut, led by George Lamberton, tried to establish a theocracy at the mouth of the Schuylkill River. The New Haven Colony had earlier struck a deal with the Lenape to buy much of New Jersey south of present-day Trenton. [10] The Dutch and Swedes in the area burned the English colonists' buildings. A Swedish court under Swedish Governor Johan Björnsson Printz convicted Lamberton of "trespassing, conspiring with the Indians." [11] The offshoot New Haven colony received no support. The Puritan Governor John Winthrop said it was dissolved owing to summer "sickness and mortality." [12] The disaster contributed to New Haven's losing control of its area to the larger Connecticut Colony. [ citation needed ]

In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannock in their successful conflict with Maryland colonists (led by General Harrison II). The Dutch never recognized the legitimacy of the Swedish claim and, in the late summer of 1655, Director-General Peter Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam mustered a military expedition to the Delaware Valley to subdue the rogue colony. Although the colonists had to recognize the authority of New Netherland, the Dutch terms were tolerant. The Swedish and Finnish settlers continued to enjoy a much local autonomy, having their own militia, religion, court, and lands. This official status lasted until the English capture of New Netherland in October 1664, and continued unofficially until the area was included in William Penn's charter for Pennsylvania in 1682. [13] By 1682, the area of modern Philadelphia was inhabited by about fifty Europeans, mostly subsistence farmers. [14]

In 1681, as part of a repayment of a debt, King Charles II granted William Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Shortly after receiving the charter, Penn said he would lay out "a large Towne or Citty in the most Convenient place upon the Delaware River for health & Navigation." [15] Penn wanted the city to live peacefully in the area, without a fortress or walls, so he bought the land from the Lenape. The legend is that Penn made a treaty of friendship with Lenape chief Tammany under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, in what became the city's Kensington District. [16]

Penn envisioned a city where all people regardless of religion could worship freely and live together. Being a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution. He also planned that the city's streets would be set up in a grid, with the idea that the city would be more like the rural towns of England than its crowded cities. The homes would be spread far apart and surrounded by gardens and orchards. The city granted the first purchasers land along the Delaware River for their homes. It had access to the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, and became an important port in the Thirteen Colonies. He named the city Philadelphia (philos, "love" or "friendship", and adelphos, "brother") it was to have a commercial center for a market, state house, and other key buildings. [17]

Penn sent three commissioners to supervise the settlement and to set aside 10,000 acres (40 km 2 ) for the city. The commissioners bought land from Swedes at the settlement of Wicaco, and from there began to lay out the city toward the north. The area went about a mile along the Delaware River between modern South and Vine Streets. Penn's ship anchored off the coast of New Castle, Delaware, on October 27, 1682, and he arrived in Philadelphia a few days after that. [18] He expanded the city west to the bank of the Schuylkill River, for a total of 1,200 acres (4.8 km 2 ). Streets were laid out in a gridiron system. Except for the two widest streets, High (now Market) and Broad, the streets were named after prominent landowners who owned adjacent lots. The streets were renamed in 1684 the ones running east–west were named after local trees (Vine, Sassafras, Mulberry, Cherry, Chestnut, Walnut, Locust, Spruce, Pine, Lombard, and Cedar) and the north–south streets were numbered. Within the area, four squares (now named Rittenhouse, Logan, Washington and Franklin) were set aside as parks open for everyone. Penn designed a central square at the intersection of Broad and what is now Market Street to be surrounded by public buildings. [19]

Some of the first settlers lived in caves dug out of the river bank, but the city grew with construction of homes, churches, and wharves. The new landowners did not share Penn's vision of a non-congested city. Most people bought land along the Delaware River instead of spreading westward towards the Schuylkill. The lots they bought were subdivided and resold with smaller streets constructed between them. Before 1704, few settlers lived west of Fourth Street. [20]

Philadelphia grew from a few hundred European inhabitants in 1683 to over 2,500 in 1701. The population was mostly English, Welsh, Irish, Germans, Swedes, Finns, and Dutch. Before William Penn left Philadelphia for the last time on October 25, 1701 he issued the Charter of 1701. [21] The charter established Philadelphia as a city and gave the mayor, aldermen, and councilmen the authority to issue laws and ordinances and regulate markets and fairs. [22] The first known Jewish resident of Philadelphia was Jonas Aaron, a German who moved to the city in 1703. He is mentioned in an article entitled "A Philadelphia Business Directory of 1703," by Charles H. Browning. It was published in The American Historical Register, in April, 1895. [23] [24]

Philadelphia became an important trading center and major port. Initially the city's main source of trade was with the West Indies, which had established sugar cane plantations. It was part of the Triangle Trade, associated with Africa and Europe. During Queen Anne's War (1702 and 1713) with the French, trade was cut off to the West Indies, hurting Philadelphia financially. The end of the war brought brief prosperity to all of overseas British possessions, but a depression in the 1720s stunted Philadelphia's growth. The 1720s and '30s saw immigration from mostly Germany and northern Ireland to Philadelphia and the surrounding countryside. The region was developed for agriculture and Philadelphia exported grains, lumber products and flax seeds to Europe and elsewhere in the American colonies this pulled the city out of the depression. [25]

Philadelphia's pledge of religious tolerance attracted many other religions beside Quakers. Mennonites, Pietists, Anglicans, Catholics, and Jews moved to the city and soon outnumbered the Quakers, but they continued to be powerful economically and politically. Political tensions existed between and within the religious groups, which also had national connections. Riots in 1741 and 1742 took place over high bread prices and drunken sailors. In October 1742 and the "Bloody Election" riots, sailors attacked Quakers and pacifist Germans, whose peace politics were strained by the War of Jenkins' Ear. [26] The city was plagued by pickpockets and other petty criminals. Working in the city government had such a poor reputation that fines were imposed on citizens who refused to serve an office after being chosen. One man fled Philadelphia to avoid serving as mayor. [27]

In the first half the 18th century, like other American cities, Philadelphia was dirty, with garbage and animals littering the streets. The roads were unpaved and in rainy seasons impassable. Early attempts to improve quality of life were ineffective as laws were poorly enforced. [28] By the 1750s, Philadelphia was turning into a major city. Christ Church and the Pennsylvania State House, better known as Independence Hall, were built. Streets were paved and illuminated with oil lamps. [29] Philadelphia's first newspaper, Andrew Bradford's American Weekly Mercury, began publishing on December 22, 1719. [30]

The city also developed culturally and scientifically. Schools, libraries and theaters were founded. James Logan arrived in Philadelphia in 1701 as a secretary for William Penn. He was the first to help establish Philadelphia as a place of culture and learning. [31] Logan, who was the mayor of Philadelphia in the early 1720s, created one of the largest libraries in the colonies. He also helped guide other prominent Philadelphia residents, which included botanist John Bartram and Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin arrived in Philadelphia in October 1723 and would play a large part in the city's development. To help protect the city from fire, Franklin founded the Union Fire Company. [32] In the 1750s Franklin was named one of the city's post master generals and he established postal routes between Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and elsewhere. He helped raise money to build the American colonies' first hospital, which opened in 1752. That same year the College of Philadelphia, another project of Franklin's, received its charter of incorporation. [31] Threatened by French and Spanish privateers, Franklin and others set up a volunteer group for defense and built two batteries.

When the French and Indian War began in 1754 as part of the Seven Years' War, Franklin recruited militias. During the war, the city attracted many refugees from the western frontier. When Pontiac's Rebellion occurred in 1763, refugees again fled into the city, including a group of Lenape hiding from other Native Americans, angry at their pacifism, and white frontiersmen. The Paxton Boys tried to follow them into Philadelphia for attacks, but was prevented by the city's militia and Franklin, who convinced them to leave. [33]

In the 1760s, the British Parliament's passage of the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, combined with other frustrations, increased political tension and anger against Britain in the colonies. Philadelphia residents joined boycotts of British goods. After the Tea Act in 1773, there were threats against anyone who would store tea and any ships that brought tea up the Delaware. After the Boston Tea Party, a shipment of tea had arrived in December, on the ship the Polly. A committee told the captain to depart without unloading his cargo. [34]

A series of acts in 1774 further angered the colonies activists called for a general congress and they agreed to meet in Philadelphia. The First Continental Congress was held in September in Carpenters' Hall. After the American Revolutionary War began in April 1775 following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress met in May at the Pennsylvania State House. There they also met a year later to write and sign the Declaration of Independence in July 1776. Philadelphia was important to the war effort Robert Morris said,

You will consider Philadelphia, from its centrical situation, the extent of its commerce, the number of its artificers, manufactures and other circumstances, to be to the United States what the heart is to the human body in circulating the blood. [35]

The port city was vulnerable to capture by the British by sea. Officials recruited soldiers and studied defenses for invasion from Delaware Bay, but built no forts or other installations. In March 1776 two British frigates began a blockade of the mouth of Delaware Bay British soldiers were moving south through New Jersey from New York. In December fear of invasion caused half the population to flee the city, including the Continental Congress, which moved to Baltimore. [36] General George Washington pushed back the British advance at the battles of Princeton and Trenton, and the refugees and Congress returned. In September 1777, the British invaded Philadelphia from the south. Washington intercepted them at the Battle of Brandywine but was driven back. Thousands fled north into Pennsylvania and east into New Jersey Congress moved to Lancaster then to York. British troops marched into the half-empty Philadelphia on September 23 to cheering Loyalist crowds. [37]

The occupation lasted ten months. After the French entered the war on the side of the Continentals, the last British troops pulled out of Philadelphia on June 18, 1778, to help defend New York City. Continentals arrived the same day and reoccupied the city supervised by Major General Benedict Arnold, who had been appointed the city's military commander. The city government returned a week later, and the Continental Congress returned in early July.

Historian Gary B. Nash emphasizes the role of the working class, and their distrust of their betters, in northern ports. He argues that working class artisans and skilled craftsmen made up a radical element in Philadelphia that took control of the city starting about 1770 and promoted a radical Democratic form of government during the revolution. They held power for a while, and used their control of the local militia to disseminate their ideology to the working class and to stay in power until the businessmen staged a conservative counterrevolution. [38] Philadelphia suffered serious inflation, causing problems especially for the poor, who were unable to buy needed goods. This led to unrest in 1779, with people blaming the upper class and Loyalists. A riot in January by sailors striking for higher wages ended up with their attacking and dismantling ships. In the Fort Wilson Riot of October 4, men attacked James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was accused of being a Loyalist sympathizer. Soldiers broke up the riot, but five people died and 17 were injured. [39]

At the end of the American War of Independence, many Patriot soldiers had not been paid their wages for their service during the war. Congress refused the soldiers' request for payment of their salaries. In what is known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, hundreds of Patriot veterans of the war who were owed back pay marched with their weapons on the Pennsylvania statehouse in Philadelphia. Congress, lacking in funds, fled from Philadelphia to Princeton, New Jersey. With their departure and the departure of their families and staffs, Philadelphia was left all but deserted. [40]

As a result of the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Congress fled Philadelphia, eventually settling in New York City, designated as the temporary capital. Besides the Constitutional Convention in May 1787, United States politics was no longer centered in Philadelphia. Due to political compromise, Congress chose a permanent capital to be built along the Potomac River.

However, Philadelphia was selected as the temporary United States capital for ten years starting in 1790. The United States Congress, founded in March 1789, occupied the Philadelphia County Courthouse, which became known as Congress Hall, and the Supreme Court worked at City Hall. Robert Morris donated his home at 6th and Market Street as a residence for President Washington, known as the President's House. [41]

Yellow fever 1793 Edit

After 1787, the city's economy grew rapidly in the postwar years. Serious yellow fever outbreaks in the 1790s interrupted development. Benjamin Rush identified an outbreak in August 1793 as a yellow fever epidemic, the first in 30 years, which lasted four months. Two thousand refugees from Saint-Domingue had recently arrived in the city in flight from the Haitian Revolution. They represented five percent of the city's total population. They likely carried the disease from the island where it was endemic, and it was rapidly transmitted by mosquito bites to other residents. Fear of contracting the disease caused 20,000 residents to flee the city by mid-September, and some neighboring towns prohibited their entry. [42] Trade virtually stopped Baltimore and New York quarantined people and goods from Philadelphia. [42] People feared entering the city or interacting with its residents. The fever finally abated at the end of October with the onset of colder weather and was declared at an end by mid-November. The death toll was 4,000 to 5,000, in a population of 50,000. [43] Yellow fever outbreaks recurred in Philadelphia and other major ports through the nineteenth century, but none had as many fatalities as that of 1793. The 1798 epidemic in Philadelphia also prompted an exodus an estimated 1,292 residents died. [43] [44] [45]

Slavery Edit

Pennsylvania, which had abolished slavery in 1780, required any slaves brought to the city to be freed after six months' residency. The state law was challenged by French planters from Saint-Domingue, who brought their enslaved peoples with them, but defended by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Through 1796, 500 slaves from Saint-Domingue gained freedom in the city. Because of the violence accompanying the revolution on the island, Philadelphians, many of whom had southern ties, and residents of the Upper South worried that free people of color would encourage slave insurrections in the U.S. [46]

During the city's 10 years as federal capital, members of Congress were exempt from the abolition law, but the many slaveholders in the executive and judicial branches were not. President Washington, vice-President Jefferson and others brought slaves as domestic servants, and evaded the law by regularly shifting their slaves out of the city before the 6-month deadline. Two of Washington's slaves escaped from the President's House, and he gradually replaced his slaves with German immigrants who were indentured servants. [47] The remains of the President's House were found during excavation for a new Liberty Bell Center, leading to archeological work in 2007. In 2010, a memorial on the site opened to commemorate Washington's slaves and African Americans in Philadelphia and U.S. history, as well as to mark the house site. [47]

The Pennsylvania state government left Philadelphia in 1799 and the United States government left in 1800. By this time, the city had become one of the United States' busiest ports and the country's largest city, with 67,787 people living in Philadelphia and its contiguous suburbs. [48] Philadelphia's maritime trade was interrupted by the Embargo Act of 1807 and then the War of 1812. After the war, Philadelphia's shipping industry never returned to its pre-embargo status, and New York City succeeded it as the busiest port and largest city. [49]

The embargo and decrease in foreign trade led to the development of local factories to produce goods no longer available as imports. Manufacturing plants and foundries were built and Philadelphia became an important center of paper-related industries and the leather, shoe, and boot industries. [50] Coal and iron mines, and the construction of new roads, canals, and railroads helped Philadelphia's manufacturing power grow, and the city became the United States' first major industrial city. [51] [52] Major industrial projects included the Waterworks, iron water pipes, a gasworks, and the U.S. Naval Yard. In response to exploitative working conditions, some 20,000 Philadelphia workers staged the first general strike in North America in 1835, in which workers in the city won the ten-hour workday and an increase in wages. [53] In addition to its industrial power, Philadelphia was the financial center of the country. Along with chartered and private banks, the city was the home of the First and Second Banks of the United States, Mechanics National Bank and the first U.S. Mint. [54] Cultural institutions, such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Athenaeum and the Franklin Institute also developed in the nineteenth century. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Free School Law of 1834 to create the public school system. [55]

Ethnic rivalries Edit

In the mid and late 1850s, immigrants from Ireland and Germany streamed into the city, swelling the population of Philadelphia and its suburbs. [56] In Philadelphia, as the rich moved west of 7th Street, the poor moved into the upper class' former homes, which were converted into tenements and boarding houses. Many small row houses crowded alleyways and small streets, and these areas were filthy, filled with garbage and the smell of manure from animal pens. During the 1840s and 1850s, hundreds died each year in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts from diseases such as malaria, smallpox, tuberculosis, and cholera, related to poor sanitation the poor suffered the most fatalities. Small rowhouses and tenement housing were constructed south of South Street. [57]

Violence was a serious problem. Gangs like the Moyamensing Killers and the Blood Tubs controlled various neighborhoods. During the 1840s and early 1850s when volunteer fire companies, some of which were infiltrated by gangs, responded to a fire, fights with other fire companies often broke out. The lawlessness among fire companies virtually ended in 1853 and 1854 when the city took more control over their operations. [58] During the 1840s and 50s violence was directed against immigrants by people who feared their competition for jobs and resented newcomers of different religions and ethnicity. Nativists often held mostly anti-Catholic, anti-Irish meetings. Violence against immigrants also occurred, the worst being the nativist riots in 1844. Violence against African Americans was also common during the 1830s, 40s, and 50s. Immigrants competed with them for jobs, and deadly race riots resulted in the burning of African-American homes and churches. In 1841, Joseph Sturge commented ". there is probably no city in the known world where dislike, amounting to the hatred of the coloured population, prevails more than in the city of brotherly love!" [59] Several anti-slavery societies had been formed and free blacks, Quakers and other abolitionists operated safe houses associated with the Underground Railroad, but working class and ethnic whites opposed the abolitionist movement.

The lawlessness and the difficulty in controlling it, along with residential development just north of Philadelphia, led to the Act of Consolidation in 1854. The act passed on February 2, making Philadelphia's borders coterminous with Philadelphia County, and incorporating various subdistrict within the county. [60]

Once the American Civil War began in 1861, Philadelphia's southern leanings were reduced. Popular hostility shifted against southern sympathizers. Mobs threatened a secessionist newspaper and the homes of suspected sympathizers, and were only turned away by the police and Mayor Alexander Henry. [61] Philadelphia supported the war with soldiers, ammunition, and war ships and its manufacturers produced many army uniforms. Philadelphia was also a major receiving place of the wounded, with more than 157,000 soldiers and sailors treated within the city. Philadelphia began preparing for invasion in 1863, but the Confederate Army was repelled by Union forces at Gettysburg. [62]

In the years following the Civil War, Philadelphia's population continued to grow. The population grew from 565,529 in 1860 to 674,022 in 1870. By 1876, the city's population stood at 817,000. The dense population areas were not only growing north and south along the Delaware River, but also moving westward across the Schuylkill River. [63] A large portion of the growth came from immigrants, still mostly Irish and German. In 1870, twenty-seven percent of Philadelphia's population was born outside the United States.

In February 1854, the Act of Consolidation made the city of Philadelphia inclusive of the entire county, doing away with all other municipalities.

By the 1880s, immigration from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Italy started rivaling immigration from Western Europe. Many of the immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe were Jewish. In 1881, there were around 5,000 Jews in the city, and by 1905 the number had increased to 100,000. Philadelphia's Italian population grew from around 300 in 1870 to around 18,000 in 1900, with the majority settling in South Philadelphia. Along with foreign immigration, domestic migration by African Americans from the South led to Philadelphia having the largest black population of a Northern U.S. city in this period. By 1876, nearly 25,000 African Americans living in Philadelphia, and by 1890 the population was near 40,000. [64] While immigrants moved into the city, Philadelphia's rich left for newer housing in the suburbs, with commuting made easy by newly constructed railroads. During the 1880s much of Philadelphia's upper class moved into the growing suburbs along the Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line west of the city. [65]

Politically the city was dominated by the Republican Party, which had developed a strong political machine. The Republicans dominated the post-war elections, and corrupt officials made their way into the government and continued to control the city through voter fraud and intimidation. The Gas Trust was the hub of the city's political machine. The trust controlled the gas company supplying lighting to the city. With the board under complete control by Republicans in 1865, they awarded contracts and perks for themselves and their cronies. Some government reform did occur during this time. The police department was reorganized and volunteer fire companies were eliminated and were replaced by a paid fire department. [66] A compulsory school act passed in 1895, and the Public School Reorganization Act freed the city's education from the political machine. Higher education changed as well. The University of Pennsylvania moved to West Philadelphia and reorganized to its modern form and Temple University, Drexel University and the Free Library were founded. [67]

The city's major project was organizing and staging the Centennial Exposition, the first World's Fair in the United States, which celebrated the nation's Centennial. Held in Fairmount Park, exhibits included Alexander Graham Bell's telephone and the Corliss Steam Engine. Beginning May 10, 1876, by the end of the Exposition on November 10, more than nine million people had visited the fair. [68] The city undertook construction of a new city hall, designed to match its ambitions. The project was graft-ridden and it took twenty-three years to complete. Upon completion of its tower in 1894, [69] City Hall was the tallest building in Philadelphia, a position it maintained until One Liberty Place surpassed it in 1986. [70]

Philadelphia's major industries of the era were the Baldwin Locomotive Works, William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Company, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Westward expansion of the Pennsylvania Railroad helped Philadelphia keep up with nearby New York City in domestic commerce, as both cities fought for dominance in transporting iron and coal resources from Pennsylvania. Philadelphia's other local railroad was the Reading Railroad, but after a series of bankruptcies, it was taken over by New Yorkers. The Panic of 1873, which occurred when the New York City branch of the Philadelphia bank Jay Cooke and Company failed, and another panic in the 1890s hampered Philadelphia's economic growth. [71] While the depressions hurt the city, its diverse array of industries helped it weather difficult times. It had numerous iron and steel-related manufacturers, including Philadelphian-owned iron and steel works outside the city, most notably the Bethlehem Iron Company in the city by that name. The largest industry in Philadelphia was textiles. Philadelphia produced more textiles than any other U.S. city in 1904 the textile industry employed more than 35 percent of the city's workers. The cigar, sugar, and oil industries also were strong in the city. [72] During this time the major department stores: Wanamaker's, Gimbels, Strawbridge and Clothier, and Lit Brothers, were developed along Market Street. [73]

By the end of the century, the city provided nine municipal swimming pools, making it a leader in the nation. [74]

In the beginning of the 20th century Philadelphia had taken on a poor reputation. People both inside and outside of the city commented that Philadelphia and its citizens were dull and contented with its lack of change. Harper's Magazine commented that "The one thing unforgivable in Philadelphia is to be new, to be different from what has been." [75] In his pioneering [76] 1899 work of urban sociology The Philadelphia Negro W. E. B. Du Bois had written, "Few large cities have such a disreputable record for misgovernment as Philadelphia." [77] Du Bois's study found, in addition to general mismanagement and neglect, severe racial disparities in employment, housing, health, education, and criminal justice. These disparities persisted for example, between 1910 and 1920 the proportion of black citizens of Philadelphia who developed tuberculosis was four to six times that of whites. [78]

Along with an image of "dullness" and of poor governance practices, Philadelphia was known for its political corruption. The Republican-controlled political machine, run by Israel Durham, permeated all parts of city government. One official estimated that US$5 million was wasted each year from graft in the city's infrastructure programs. [79] The majority of residents were Republican, but voter fraud and bribery were still common. In 1905, the city enacted election reforms, such as personal voter registration and the establishing primaries for all city offices. But, residents became complacent, and the city's political bosses continued in control. After 1907, Boss Durham retired and his successor, James McNichol, never controlled much outside North Philadelphia. The Vare brothers, George, Edwin, and William, had created their own organization in South Philadelphia. With no central authority, Senator Boies Penrose took charge. In 1910, infighting between McNichol and the Vares contributed to the reform candidate, Rudolph Blankenburg, to be elected mayor. During his administration, he made numerous cost-cutting measures and improvements to city services, but he served only one term. The machine again gained control. [79]

The policies of Woodrow Wilson's administration reunited reformers with the city's Republican Party and World War I temporarily halted the reform movement. In 1917, the murder of George Eppley, a police officer defending City Council primary candidate James Carey, ignited the reformers again. They passed legislation to reduce the City Council from two houses to one, and provided council members an annual salary. [80] With the deaths of McNichol in 1917 and Penrose in 1921, William Vare became the city's political boss. In the 1920s the public flouting of Prohibition laws, mob violence, and police involvement in illegal activities led Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick to appoint Brigadier General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps as director of public safety. Butler cracked down on bars and speakeasies and tried to stop corruption within the police force, but demand for liquor and political pressure made the job difficult, and he had little success. After two years, Butler left in January 1926 and most of his police reforms were repealed. On August 1, 1928, Boss Vare suffered a stroke, and two weeks later a grand jury investigation into the city's mob violence and other crimes began. Numerous police officers were dismissed or arrested as a result of the investigation, but no permanent change resulted. [81] Strong support among some residents for the Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith, who was Catholic, marked the city's turning away in the 20th century from the Republican Party. [82]

Philadelphia continued to grow with immigrants coming from Eastern Europe and Italy, as well as African American migrants from the South. [83] Foreign immigration was briefly interrupted by World War I. The demand for labor for the city's factories, including the new U.S. Naval Yard at Hog Island, which constructed ships, trains, and other items needed in the war effort, helped attract blacks in the Great Migration. In September 1918, cases of the influenza pandemic were reported at the Naval Yard and began to spread. The disease became widespread following the Philadelphia Liberty Loans Parade, which was attended by more than 200,000 people. Mortality on some days was several hundred people and, by the time the pandemic began to subside in October, more than 12,000 people had died. [84]

The rising popularity of automobiles led to widening of roads and creation of Northeast (Roosevelt) Boulevard in 1914, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1918, the changing of many existing streets to one-way streets in the early 1920s, and construction of the Delaware River (Benjamin Franklin) Bridge to New Jersey in 1926. Philadelphia began to modernize, steel and concrete skyscrapers were constructed, old buildings were wired for electricity, and the city's first commercial radio station was founded. [85] In 1907, the city constructed the first subway. It hosted the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition in South Philadelphia, and in 1928 opened the Philadelphia Museum of Art. [86] [87]

In the three years after the stock market crashed in 1929, 50 Philadelphia banks closed. Of those only two were large, Albert M. Greenfield's Bankers Trust Company and the Franklin Trust Company. Savings and loan associations also faced trouble, with mortgages of 19,000 properties being foreclosed in 1932 alone. By 1934, 1,600 of 3,400 savings and loan associations had shut down. [88] From 1929 to 1933, regional manufacturing fell by 45 percent factory payrolls fell by 60 percent retail sales fell by 40 percent. Worst hit of all was construction, where payrolls dropped 84 percent. Unemployment peaked in 1933, when 11.5 percent of whites, 16.2 percent of African Americans, and 19.1 percent of foreign-born whites were out of work. [89] Mayor J. Hampton Moore blamed people's economic woes, not on the worldwide Great Depression, but on laziness and wastefulness, and claimed there was no starvation in the city. Soon after, he fired 3,500 city workers, instituted pay cuts, forced unpaid vacation, and reduced the number of contracts the city awarded. This saved Philadelphia millions of dollars, and the efforts kept the city from defaulting on its debts, but were unpopular among the unemployed. The city relied on state money to fund relief efforts. Moore's successor S. Davis Wilson instituted numerous programs financed by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal's Works Progress Administration, despite condemning the program during his mayoral campaign. At the peak of WPA-financed jobs in 1936, 40,000 Philadelphians were employed under the program. [89] [90]

With encouragement from the state government and labor's founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), Philadelphia became a union city. Many trade unions discriminated against African Americans for years, and they were closed out of some labor advances. Workers' dissatisfaction with conditions led to numerous strikes in the textile unions, and the CIO organized labor in other industries, with more strikes taking place. During the 1930s, the Democratic Party began to grow in Philadelphia, influenced by the leadership of the Roosevelt administration during the Depression. A newly organized Independent Democratic Committee reached out to residents. In 1936, the Democratic National Convention was held in Philadelphia. The majority of voters in the city reelected the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt as president they also voted for Democratic Congressmen and state representatives. City government continued to be dominated by Republicans, but the politicians were elected by small margins. [91]

The beginning of World War II in Europe and the threat of the U.S. becoming involved generated new jobs in defense-related industries. After the U.S. became involved in the war in 1941, the city mobilized. Philadelphia consistently met war bond quotas and when the war ended in 1945, 183,850 residents were in the U.S. armed forces. With so many men serving in the military, there had been a labor shortage businesses and industries hired women and workers from outside the city. In 1944, the Philadelphia Transportation Company promoted African Americans to positions as motormen and conductors (from which they had previously been excluded) on public transportation vehicles. Resentful, other PTC workers protested and began a strike that nearly immobilized the city. President Roosevelt sent troops to replace the striking workers. After a federal ultimatum, the workers returned after six days. [92]

After World War II ended, Philadelphia had a serious housing shortage. Around half of the city's housing had been built in the 19th century, and many units lacked proper sanitary facilities, were overcrowded, and in poor condition. Competition for housing, as African Americans (many had come to the city in the Great Migration from the South) and Puerto Ricans moved into new neighborhoods, resulted in racial tension. The wealthier middle-class residents, often white, continued to move out to the suburbs in what became called white flight.

The population peaked at more than two million residents in 1950 afterward the city's population declined while that of the neighboring suburban counties grew. Some residents moved out of the region altogether due to restructuring of industry and loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the city. [93] Philadelphia lost five percent of its population in the 1950s, three percent in the 1960s and more than thirteen percent in the 1970s. [94] Manufacturing and other major Philadelphia businesses, which had supported middle-class lives for the working class, were moving out of the area or shutting down in industrial restructuring, including major declines in railroads.

The city encouraged development projects in University City in West Philadelphia and the area around Temple University in North Philadelphia, it removed the "Chinese Wall" elevated railway, and developed Market Street East around the transportation hub. Some gentrification occurred, with restoration of properties in historic neighborhoods such as Society Hill, Rittenhouse Square, Queen Village, and the Fairmount area. A non profit group Action Philadelphia was formed to improve and promote Philadelphia's image.The airport expanded, the Schuylkill Expressway and the Delaware Expressway (Interstate 95) were built, SEPTA was formed, and residential and industrial development took place in Northeast Philadelphia. [95]

Preparations for the United States Bicentennial in 1976 began in 1964. By the early 1970s, US$3 million had been spent but no plans were set. The planning group was reorganized and numerous citywide events were planned. Independence National Historical Park was restored and development of Penn's Landing was completed. Less than half the expected visitors came to the city for the Bicentennial, but the event helped revive the identity of the city, inspiring annual neighborhood events and fairs. [96]

In 1947, Richardson Dilworth was selected as the Democratic candidate, but lost to incumbent mayor Bernard Samuel. During the campaign Dilworth made numerous specific charges about corruption within city government. The City Council set up a committee to investigate, with findings followed by a grand jury investigation. The five-year investigation and its findings garnered national attention. US$40 million in city spending was found to be unaccounted for, and the president judge of the Court of Common pleas had been tampering with court cases. The fire marshal went to prison and an official in the tax collection office, a water department employee, a plumbing inspector, and head of the police vice squad each committed suicide after criminal exposures. [97] The public and the press demanded reform and by the end of 1950, a new city charter was drafted. The new charter strengthened the position of the mayor and weakened the City Council. The council would be made of ten councilmen elected by district and seven at large. City administration was streamlined and new boards and commissions were created.

In 1951, Joseph S. Clark was elected as the first Democratic mayor in 80 years. Clark filled administration positions based on merit and worked to weed out corruption. [98] Despite reforms and the Clark administration, a powerful Democratic patronage organization eventually replaced the old Republican one. [99] Clark was succeeded by Richardson Dilworth, who continued the policies of his predecessor. Dilworth resigned to run for governor in 1962, and city council president James H. J. Tate was elected as the city's first Irish Catholic mayor. Tate was elected mayor in 1963 and reelected in 1967 despite opposition from reformers who opposed him as an organization insider. [100]

As elsewhere in major US cities, the 1960s was a turbulent decade for the city. Numerous civil rights and anti-war protests took place, including large protests led by Marie Hicks to desegregate Girard College. [101] Students took over the Community College of Philadelphia in a sit-in, race riots broke out in Holmesburg Prison, and a 1964 riot along West Columbia Avenue killed two people, injured over 300 and caused around US$3 million in damages. Crime was also a serious problem. Primarily drug-related gang warfare plagued the city, and in 1970 crime was rated the city's number one problem in a City Planning Commission survey. The court system was overtaxed and the tactics of the police department under Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo were controversial. [102] Frank Rizzo was credited with preventing the level of violence seen in other cities at the time and was elected mayor in 1971.

The outspoken Rizzo, who was reelected in 1975, was a divisive figure who had loyal supporters and passionate opponents. Police and fire departments and cultural institutions were well supported under Rizzo, but other city departments like the Free Library, the Department of Welfare and Recreation, the City Planning Commission and the Streets Department experienced large cuts. [103] The radical group called MOVE formed in 1972, and tension soon developed with city officials. The first major clash occurred in 1978 at the group's Powelton Village headquarters, resulting in the death of a police officer. Nine MOVE members were convicted at trial and sentenced to prison. In 1985, a stand-off occurred at the group's new headquarters in West Philadelphia, whose residents were believed to be armed resisters. The police dropped a satchel bomb on the house from a helicopter it set off a fire that killed eleven MOVE members, including five children, and destroyed sixty-two neighboring houses. [104] Survivors sued the city in civil court and won damages.

Crime continued to be a problem in the 1980s. Deadly Mafia warfare plagued South Philadelphia, drug gangs and crack houses invaded the slums of the city, and the murder rate skyrocketed. William J. Green became mayor in 1980, and in 1984 W. Wilson Goode became Philadelphia's first African-American mayor. Development continued in areas in Old City and South Street, and large modern skyscrapers of glass and granite, designed by nationally known architects, were constructed in Center City. City employee labor contracts signed during the Rizzo administration helped set up a city financial crisis that Green and Goode were unable to prevent. The city was near bankruptcy at the end of the 1980s. [104] [105]

A group of Hmong refugees had settled in Philadelphia after the end of the 1970s Laotian Civil War associated with the Vietnam War. They were attacked in discriminatory acts, and the city's Commission on Human Relations held hearings on the incidents. Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, said that lower-class residents resented the Hmong receiving a $100,000 federal grant for employment assistance when they were also out of work they believed that American citizens should be getting assistance. [106] : 192 Between 1982 and 1984, three quarters of the Hmong people who had settled in Philadelphia left for other cities in the United States to join relatives living elsewhere. [106] : 195 Vietnamese and other immigrants from Asia have settled in the city, many near the Italian Market area. In addition, numerous Hispanic immigrants from Central and South America have entered the city, settling in North Philadelphia.

William Penn & Quakers Arrive

New Religious Sects — At the time when the English colonies in America were being settled many new ideas had risen in Europe on the subject of religion. The common people had begun to think very freely on this subject and a number of new sects were formed. Everywhere there were state religions, kept up by the governments, and by these the members of the new sects were often badly treated, but no treatment was severe enough to make them give up their beliefs. Many of them were put in prison—and the prisons of those times were horrible places, dens of filth and sickness—but despite this the new sects continued to grow. Those who suffered on earth were sure that they would be rewarded in heaven.

George Fox and His Doctrine — Among the new sects was one founded in 1648 by a poor shoemaker named George Fox, and preached by him throughout England at such times as he was out of prison. Great numbers came to hear him and soon there were thousands of converts to his doctrine. He did not believe in fighting, or in taking oaths, or that one man was better than another, or in show and ceremony of any kind, or in paying to support the state religion. His followers would not take off their hats before any man, even before the king, or speak of any man as "you," for they thought this was a sign of pride. With them every man was "thou" or "thee."

The Friends or Quakers — These people called themselves "Friends,"
or "Children of Light," for they held that all truth came to them through the "inner light," not through men's teachings. God spoke to their hearts, they said, and in so doing was their guide. They would tremble or quake when they felt that the inner light had come to them, and from this they were soon spoken of as "Quakers." This title was given them in derision, but it came to be that by which they were everywhere known. They are still Friends among themselves, but Quakers to the world at large.

How the Quakers Were Treated — Of all the sects the Quakers were treated the worst. The prisons were crowded with them and hundreds of them died in these dreadful places. Most of them were poor they would not resist the officers of the law if a prison door were thrown open they would not walk out but they would not obey any law that interfered with their religion, or pay to help support the state religion, and the government found them a difficult people to deal with. It is well that you should know something about the history and opinions of the Quakers, for they are the people to whom we owe the State of Pennsylvania.

William Penn — There were certain persons of importance among the Quakers, and chief among these was a man named William Penn. He was the son of an admiral in the British army, Sir William Penn, who had lent money to the king and had much power at the king's court. The young man was handsome, manly, and well educated, and like his father was a friend of the king also of his brother, the Duke of York, to whom King Charles had given all the land along the Hudson and the Delaware Rivers, in America. But young Penn was a man of strong mind. He had heard a Quaker preacher named Thomas Lee and was soon full of the new ideas, which he talked about at home and abroad. His father was so angry that he turned his Quaker son out of the house and the law officers soon put him in prison. But nothing could stop him he preached, he wrote, he was in and out of prison he taught Quakerism in Germany, and next to George Fox he was the leading Quaker in Europe.

A Refuge in America — There was only one place to which the ill-treated members of the new sects could look for peace and safety. This was in America. Many years before, the Pilgrims and Puritans of England had found homes in New England, where there was no one to disturb them. Later on the Catholics had come for safety to Maryland. And now, William Penn began to look across the sea to find a place of refuge for his friends and fellow sufferers.

Early Quakers in America — Some Quakers had already made their way to New England, but the Puritans would not have them there. Some they hanged and others they banished, and in this cruel way got rid of "the troublesome new-comers." Later on, a number came to New Jersey, where they soon became so numerous that Penn took part with other Quakers in the purchase of that province. Some of these settlers crossed the Delaware to its western side. Thus when Penn reached America he found Quakers in his new province.

The Indian Country — The time was now close at hand for the Quaker settlement of Pennsylvania. Some of the New Jersey settlers wrote to William Penn and told him that "the Indian country on the west side of the Delaware is most beautiful to look upon, and only wanteth a wise people to render it, like ancient Canaan, 'the glory of the earth." Penn wanted a home for his Quaker brethren where they would be quite free to worship God in their own way. Here was the land waiting for him. It had as yet only a few hundred settlers, Swedes, Dutch, and English. It might be made a great Quaker commonwealth.

Penn's Grant of Land — Admiral Penn was now dead and William had become the heir of his estate. The admiral had loaned King Charles II sixteen thousand pounds, a sum which the king, who spent all the money he could get, was not likely soon to pay back. In 1680 William Penn asked King Charles to grant him a tract of land in America in payment of this debt. This he found the king quite willing to do. It was an easy way to get out of debt by giving away land that belonged to the Indians. At the same time it would kelp him to get rid of those obstinate Quakers who kept his law officers so busy. So he readily gave Penn the land asked for, and by the 4th of March, 1681, the charter to the new province was drawn up and ready to be signed. Penn himself wrote much of it, partly copying from the charter by which Maryland was granted to Lord Baltimore.

Extent and Name of the New Province — The king proposed to give Penn a tract of land between Maryland on the south and New York on the north extending northward from the 40th to the 43rd degree of latitude, and five degrees in longitude from the Delaware westward. But what was then thought to be the 40th parallel of latitude did not prove to be so, and this mistake made much trouble in later years, since disputes arose as to the border line between Pennsylvania and Maryland. This trouble began at once, but its story must be told later on. As for the name of the new colony, Penn proposed to call it New Wales. When this name was rejected he proposed Sylvania, or "Woodland." To this "Penn" was added by those who drew up the charter. The new proprietor did not like this it was too much like worldly pride for his Quaker ideas but the king would not strike it out, and so the name stood as Pennsylvania, or "Penn's Woodland."

Markham Takes Possession — As may be imagined, the Quakers of England were greatly pleased by this transaction. The charter was barely signed before numbers of them prepared to cross the ocean to this new land of refuge. Penn at once sent out his cousin, Colonel William Markham, to take possession and act as his deputy. He reached the Delaware about July 1, 1681, landing at the Swedish village of Upland. There he visited some of the Indian chiefs and purchased from them a considerable tract of land, being part of what is now Bucks County. For this he gave the Indians a large variety of goods, such as wampum, guns, blankets, pipes, and many other things. The Indians were quite satisfied with this sale. They had plenty of land but little of these goods, and they were very willing to exchange part of their land for these useful articles.

Philadelphia Laid Out — During that year three ships loaded with settlers came up the Delaware. Commissioners were also sent over to select a suitable place for the large town which Penn proposed to build. They were told to examine Upland, but they chose for the new town a place farther north, where the Delaware ran close to a high bank, and another river, called Schuylkill by the Dutch, ran into it. Here was to be the city named by Penn [as] Philadelphia, a word which means 'Brotherly Love.' As laid out, it was two miles long, from the Delaware to the Schuylkill, and one mile wide, from Vine Street to Cedar (now South) Street. As is well known, the city many years ago extended beyond these narrow limits.

The Good Ship Welcome — On the 27th of October, 1682, the good ship Welcome, with William Penn and about seventy emigrants on board, came to anchor in front of New Castle, a settlement of the Dutch and Swedes in what is now Delaware. About one hundred passengers had set sail, but thirty had died of smallpox on the voyage and been buried at sea. Two days later Upland was reached. Penn is said to have changed the name of this place to Chester at the suggestion of his friend Pearson, who had come from Chester, England.

Penn Goes to Philadelphia — William Penn was very anxious to see the place where his new city had been laid out, and the story is told that he went up the river from Upland in an open boat in early November. Many settlers were there already, and as he passed up by the city front he could see the cave dwellings which had been dug in the river bank. Here [temporary] excavations were made and over them were built roofs of split trees, branches, and twigs, the whole usually covered with sods. The chimneys were made of stones, clay, and river grass. In these cave dwellings lived many of the settlers in some small degree of comfort while their houses were being built, and in one of them, at the foot of Sassafras (now Race) Street, was born John Key, the first English child born in Pennsylvania. Penn made the child a present of a city lot. Penn inspected the site of his new town, still covered with woodland, with much pleasure. Its streets were so far laid out only on paper, but he could see how well nature had fitted the site for a great city. His plan was to have every house built in the middle of a large plot, "so that there may be grounds on either side for gardens or orchards or fields, that it may be a green country town that will never be burned and always wholesome."’ There is little trace of this fine plan in the city today. Most of the early houses were of wood, but some were built of stone and had balconies and porches. The scene was a very busy one as the new town grew in size, the women helping the men in their building work, even sawing wood and carrying mortar.

Arrival of Settlers — During 1682 more than two thousand settlers arrived, most of them landing at Chester and Philadelphia. They had suffered on the long voyage, but they had brought much property with them from England—furniture, tools, building materials, and provisions—and were ready to begin housekeeping at once. There was plenty to eat, for fish, deer, turkeys, ducks and other wild fowl were supplied at low rates by the Indians, who got along very well with these quiet, peace-loving people.

Penn and the Indians — As for the Indians, we may be sure they were eager to see the great William Penn, of whom much had been told them. He was quite as glad to see them, with their alert forms and dignified faces. He walked about with them, sat in their wigwams and ate of their roasted hominy. And when they began to show how they could jump, it is said that he surprised them by out-jumping the best of them. Penn was then less than forty years of age and no doubt very active and agile.

The Treaty with the Indians — Not much can be said of the famous treaty with the Indians, though a picture of this has been made, with Penn in the centre and the Indians sitting all around. Very likely there was such a treaty, and it may have taken place under the elm tree at Kensington, where a treaty monument now stands. The elm tree blew down long ago and only the monument marks the spot. No record was kept of this famous treaty and we do not know just what took place. But many years afterwards some of the Indians said: "We shall never forget the counsel that William Penn gave us though we cannot write, like the English, yet we can keep in memory what was said in our councils." Not while Penn lived was a drop of Quaker blood shed by an Indian, and when he died his [Indian] admirers showed great grief at the loss of the great and good Onas," their best friend among the [English].

The Grant of Delaware — Penn was wise enough to see that it would be best to have his province extend to the ocean, and for this purpose the Duke of York gave him the territory now forming the State of Delaware. He had laid out three counties—Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester—and there were three counties in Delaware which for twenty years formed part of Pennsylvania. Afterwards Delaware got a legislature of its own, but it remained under the governor of Pennsylvania until the Revolution. Over all his grand domain William Penn had almost princely control, his charter giving him much more power than King Charles had kept for himself.

For this royal domain all he had to pay the king, aside from the sixteen thousand pounds of debt, was two beaver skins a year and one-fifth of all the gold and silver he should find. As these metals were not found, the beaver skins covered the whole rent. Penn, however, bought from the Indians all the land he used, and he gave the Swedes who had farms on the site of Philadelphia. As much good land elsewhere, for he was too honest to think that the King had any right to give away what did not belong to him, its true owners being the Indians.

The First Assembly — Penn had called a meeting of representatives of the people, to assemble at Chester on December 6. They did not all come, for many of them were too busy building and farming, but about forty came together on the day fixed. To this Assembly Penn offered a code of laws which he had drawn up before leaving England. There was to be complete religious liberty, though non-believers in Christ could not vote or hold office. Only property holders could vote but this excluded only servants and vagrants, since all others had property. All persons were forbidden to sell strong liquors to the Indians. The death penalty was limited to those guilty of murder and treason. Dueling was prohibited and the drunkard could be fined. Such was the "Great Law." It had much else in it, but these were its leading features. It formed the basis of the government of Pennsylvania during the colonial period. It was great in giving the people full religious liberty, which did not then exist in Europe. It also cut down the penalty of death to murder and treason. At that time there were many small crimes in England for which people could be hanged, and the laws everywhere were very severe. In this way William Penn proved himself a liberal and far-seeing man.

The Plan of Philadelphia — William Penn did much more than to make laws for his new province. He wished to have a fine and handsome city and laid out Philadelphia with streets crossing each other at right angles and much wider than the streets of the cities of England. Those that ran east and west were given the names of trees in the forest around, as Chestnut, Walnut, Pine, etc. Those running north and south were known by numbers. There were to be a High Street passing through the center from river to river, and a Broad Street through the center north and south. Each of these was to be one hundred feet wide. In the centre of the city, where these streets crossed, was to be a square of ten acres, and in each quarter of the city squares of eight acres. These squares still exist, except the central one, on which now stands Philadelphia's great City Hall.

Growth of the City — As has been said, not many settlers had come to the Delaware in the fifty years before Penn's arrival. Afterwards they came in large numbers. In 1683 nearly one hundred houses were built in Philadelphia, and two years afterwards there were six hundred houses with about three thousand people. Many others settled in the country between the Falls of Trenton and Chester and Marcus Hook. In the latter place the first Friends’ meeting-house was built. Most of the country dwellers planted Indian corn the first spring and had good crops in the autumn. Penn was proud of the promising growth of his colony, which increased more rapidly than any other in America. Before he returned to England, in 1684, there were about five thousand persons in the new province.

New Land Bought from the Indians — Immigration was so rapid that Penn soon saw the need of more land than that purchased by Markham, and he bought another large tract from the Indians. They were quite willing to dispose of part of their forest in exchange for the goods of the [Europeans], though they would have had no use for money. The story told about this purchase is a tradition and we cannot be sure of its truth. It is stated that in this (or perhaps some other) purchase the land bought was to go as far back as a man could walk in three days. Penn and his friends, with a number of Indians, set out from the mouth of Neshaminv Creek to make the walk, going along in an easy fashion, now and then sitting down to rest and eat their crackers and cheese, and for the Indians to smoke. At the end of a day and a half they had reached a large spruce tree near Baker Creek. The party by this time were tired, so Penn said he had land enough and would leave the remainder for a future day. It was a sad time for the poor Indians when that day came, as will be seen further on.

The Letitia House — In the summer of 1683 Penn built a house to which he gave the name of his daughter Letitia, also giving her name to the street on which it stood. This house has been moved to a beautiful location in Fairmount Park, where it has hosts of visitors. He lived in this humble mansion part of the time and here held the sessions of his Council, which was both a lawmaking body and a court. Here, in February, 1684, the Council tried a woman on the charge of witchcraft, William Penn sitting as judge. The jury of eight Friends brought in the verdict: "Guilty of having the common fame of a witch, but not guilty in form and manner as she stands indicted." That was the only trial for witchcraft ever held in Pennsylvania.

Education and Immigration — An important action of Penn and his Council was to establish a school in which the young people of the city might gain some degree of education, the master chosen being Enoch Flower, who for twenty years had been a teacher in England. New settlers were now coming rapidly, about fifty ships arriving in 1683. And these were by no means all Englishmen. Many Welsh came, most of them Friends, who settled through the country around. And there were many Germans also, some of whom founded the village of Germantown. Some of these were Friends, others belonged to German sects, though these were like the Friends in some of their religious views.

Pennsylvania During the American Revolution

Pennsylvania played an extremely important role in the American Revolution. The First and Second Continental Congresses were convened in Philadelphia. This is where the Declaration of Independence was written and signed. Numerous key battles and events of the war occurred in the colony, including the crossing of the Delaware River, the Battle of Brandywine, the Battle of Germantown, and the winter encampment at Valley Forge. The Articles of Confederation were also drafted in Pennsylvania, the document that formed the basis of the new Confederation that was created at the end of the Revolutionary War.

Watch the video: Pennsylvania Forest History (June 2022).


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