The Story of William Penn William Penn was born October 24, 1644 in the country of England. Penn attended school until age 12. After that he had private tutors teach him.
Quaker Family During Penn’s college experience he joined a religious group called the Society of Friends, or Quakers.
Quakers’ Beliefs People who called themselves Quakers believed all people should be considered equal regardless of how much money they have, and that fighting was wrong. Quakers also felt everyone should be able to choose their own religion.
Church of England In the 1600’s the people of England did not have the option of choosing their own religion. It was a law that everyone had to belong to the Church of England, also known as the King’s Church.
Penn’s religious beliefs caused him to get kicked out of college and thrown in jail. When Penn was 23, he officially joined the Quaker religion.
Penn’s father was a rich Admiral in the King’s navy. The King borrowed some money from Admiral Penn. When he past away he left all of his money to his son, William. This included the money the King still owed his father.
Making a New Colony With this money and much planning, Penn decided to begin a colony in North America where everyone could choose his or her own religion. Penn needed to find a way to own land in America.
King Pays Off Debts The King was unable to pay Penn back the money he had borrowed from his father. Penn decided to ask the King for land in North America instead of the money.
Pennsylvania The land the King gave to Penn is now called Pennsylvania. At that time Pennsylvania was covered with many trees. Penn wanted to name the new colony “Sylvania,” meaning woods. The King wanted to name it after Penn’s father. They decided to combine their two thoughts and call it Pennsylvania (Penn’s Woods).
Colony Begins In 1681 Penn sent over a group of people to start the colony. This colony gave people religious freedom, a voice in the government, and all people were treated equally, no matter how rich or poor they were. In 1682 Penn arrived with 100 more Quakers on a ship named Welcome.
Housing When Penn arrived in Pennsylvania, there were only 20 houses built. There was no room for Penn or the settlers who came with him. They lived in dugout caves.
Luckily, the settlers of this new colony had wood to build new homes. They also had fresh water and many types of animals around. The problem was they did not know how to catch the animals. The Native Americans who were also living in the area taught the Quakers how to survive by fishing, hunting and growing vegetables.
Peace Treaties Penn got along with the Native American tribes and made peace treaties with them. Penn treated them as equals.
Building a Colony Many people heard about Penn’s colony and freedoms so they decided to travel to the colony. Penn passed two important laws to help the people in the colony.
New Laws are Passed The first law was known as the Great Law. This law gave people the freedom of religion. It also stated that everyone was born equally, no matter how much money was in the family. The second law that was passed was called the Frame of Government. This law outlined how to set up the government within the colony.
Penn chose to return to England because many Quakers were being put in jail. Fifteen years later, Penn returned to his colony because the people were having trouble managing themselves. He helped them to get back on their feet and set more laws.
More Laws Passed The laws, called Charter of Privileges, gave the colony the right to suggest their laws to England. Penn returned to England in 1701 because the Quakers were still having trouble there.
Never to Return • Penn never had the chance to return to his colony because he suffered a stroke in 1711. He was unable to govern Pennsylvania after his stroke. • His wife governed the colony from England.
In 1718 Penn passed away, but his colony was run by his family until 1775 when it was lost in the War of Independence. • Pennsylvania became a new state in the United States.