The Colonial History to the War of the Revolution
grand juries of the residents along the Delaware "for selling beer, etc., without license, contrary to law." The proprietary himself is believed to have made his home at Chester during the greater part of the winter of 1682-83, and while here, it is said (on Nov. 25, 1682), he divided the territory theretofore known as Upland into the three counties, -- Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks.
William Penn, having called the city of Philadelphia into being, -- he had named it before it had any actual existence as a town, -- summoned the freemen throughout the province to hold an election on the 2Oth day of the Twelfth month, 1682 (February, 1683), to choose seventy-two persons of most note for their wisdom, virtue, and ability to serve as members of a Provincial Council, to meet on "the 10th day of the First month next ensuing" (March, 1683), at the new capital. From each county twelve men were returned under this order, but the several sheriffs also presented petitions from the people in their bailiwicks praying that only three of the twelve men returned as councilors be vested with the duplex character of councilors and assemblymen, and the remaining nine as simply assemblymen. The petition presented by the people of Chester County was as follows:1
|1 Hazard's Annals, p. 603.|
"To WILLIAM PENN, proprietary and governor of the province of Pennsylvania and territories thereof.
The assemblymen thus designated from Chester County were John Hoskins, Robert Wade, George Wood, John Blunston, Dennis Rochford, Thomas Bracy, John Bezer, John Harding, Joseph Phippes.
These petitions, although in direct violation of the charter, were favorably acted on, but in the formation of Council Ralph Withers appeared as credited to Bucks County, while Christopher Taylor represented Chester. It is not my purpose to make extended reference to the proceedings of the second Assembly further than to notice that the seal of Chester County at that session was established, bearing as its distinctive design a plow.
The influx of immigrants into Pennsylvania for the few years immediately after Penn acquired ownership of the territory is unequaled in the history of the British colonial possessions in North America, and can only be likened in recent years to the marvelous growth of settlements in the oil region of this State, or localities west of the Mississippi, where precious metals are supposed to yield almost certain fortune to adventurers who locate there. Within the limits of the present county of Delaware, before the close of the year 1683, the population began to preponderate largely of members of the Society of Friends, and at Chester, Marcus Hook, Darby, and Haverford permanent settlements of Quakers had been made, from which centres their influence extended outwards, giving tone and character to the whole people. The few Swedes and Dutch who had preceded these Friends were soon absorbed in, and their individuality of thought and action was merged into that of the more intelligent majority, greatly to the benefit of the former. The Welsh immigrants, who had secured a tract of forty thousand acres in a whole from Penn previous to leaving the Old World, found, on arriving in the colony, that they could not locate it within the city limits of Philadelphia, and were forced to push out into the then wilderness; and we find, in 1682, that their first lodgment with a few settlers was made in Merion and Haverford, from which they rapidly spread into Radnor, Newtown, Goshen, Tredyffrin, and Uwchlan.
It was the fixed policy of William Penn, in order to avoid all causes of trouble with the Indians growing out of disputed rights to the soil, to purchase from the aborigines, and extinguish the title to the territory as rapidly as civilization pushed outward into "the backwoods." The ownership of the land within Delaware County was released to William Penn by the Indians in two deeds, both of which are interesting, because of the consideration mentioned as having been paid to chiefs. The first deed was executed over a year before William Penn returned to England, in 1684. The old document is as follows:
We, Secane & Icquoquehan, -- Indian shackamakers, and right owners of ye Land Lying between Manaiunk, als Sculkill and Macopanachan, als Chester Rivers, doe this 14th day of ye fift month, in ye year according to English account 1683, hereby graunt and Sell all our Right & Title in ye sd Lands Lying between ye sd River, begining on ye West side of Manaiunk, called Consohockhan, & from thence by a Westerly Line to ye sd River Malopanackhan, unto William Penn Propriety & Governr of ye Province of Pennsilvania &c., hiss heires & Assignes, for Ever, for and in Consideration of 150 fatlhom of Wampum, 14 Blanketts, 65 yds. Duffills, 28 yds. stroud watrs, 15 Gunns, 3 great Kettles, 15 small Kettles, 16 pr. Stockins, 7 pr. Shoes, 6 Capps, 12 Gimbletts, 6 Drawing Knives, 15 pr. Sissors, 15 Combes, 5 Paper needles, 10 Tobacco boxes, 15 Tabacco Tongs, 32 Pound Powder, 3 papers Beads, 2 papers Red Lead, 15 Coats, 15 Shurts, 15 Axes, 13 Knives, 30 barrs of Lead, 18 Glasses, 15 hoes, unto us In hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have renounced all Claims & Demands for ye future from us or heires or Assignes, in or to ye prmises. In witness whereof we have hereunto sett our hands and seals ye day & year first above written.
|2 Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. i. p. 65|