From Connecticut River to Lord Baltimore’s Maryland

Claims to the region were transferred to England, by the Dutch, as part of a peace treaty between two rival powers, September 1664.

Quaker William Penn is granted a Charter for English proprietary colony of Pennsylvania, 17 years later.

What year was   your  town and county begun?

Pennsylvania 334th

Philadelphia Co.  334th

Germantown’s  332nd

Bristol &

Bucks County 334th

Chester &

(known as Upland by the Swedes)

Chester County  334th

(present-day Delaware Co. was part of the original Chester County)

Delaware’s  333rd

(formerly known as the

Three Lower Counties of Penna.)


Wilmington’s 377th

(previously Swedish Fort Christina)

New Castle’s 364th

(known as Fort Trinity by Swedes

& Fort Casimir by the Dutch)

Dover’s  332nd

New Jersey’s 351st  created in 1664

West Jersey


founded 1667 now South Jersey

Burlington’s 348th founded 1667

(Originally called Bridlington

& earlier a Dutch-Walloon settlement)

Salem’s 340th                  

founded 1675

(site of Swedish Elfborg Fort)

East Jersey


founded 1683 now North Jersey

Elizabeth’s 332nd                  

founded 1683

Shrewbury’s 332nd                  

Newark’s 349th                  

founded 1666

The earliest European temporary settlements within the region were Walloons, under Dutch sponsorship, at Burlington Island & Ft. Nassau (near Gloucester City, NJ) in the 1620’s.

The Dutch had also funded Zwanendael, a plantation and whaling operation at the mouth of Delaware Bay in 1631 (Lewes, DE) but it was wiped out within a year by a local tribe.

The first permanent Delaware Valley settlement was begun by Sweden, under the leadership of Peter Minuit, in 1638, and was named Fort Christina (today’s Wilmington- renamed by the English).

The first appointed governor for the area that would eventually become Pennsylvania was Swedish Johann Printz, who lived at Tinicum, just south of today’s Phila. International Airport. When Peter Stuyvesant, over-powered the Swedish colony in 1655, they were permitted to continue as a Swedish colony, but under Dutch control.

The Dutch, in turn, ended up surrendering all their North American holdings to the English, just nine years later, after a successful English surprise attack forceably took over New Netherlands, resulting in continuing naval warfare with the United Dutch Republic.

Two large bronze plaques honoring the early Dutch and Swedish governors who preceded English settlement can be found at the entry to Philadelphia’s City Hall courtyard.

Statues representing those earliest settlers can been seen at the base of William Penn’s large statue atop City Hall’s tower, along with native Lenni Lenape tribesmen.

The Lenni Lenape natives living on both sides of the river were called the Delaware tribes, after the British had renamed the river and bay Delaware after English-man,  Sir Thomas, the Baron De La Warr, who was credited with saving the Virginia Company colony of Jamestown in the early 1600’s.

There was considerable trust and mutual respect between William Penn and the native population of the Delaware Valley.  It had been fostered by the earlier Swedish settlers and was enhanced by Penn’s own personal diplomacy and liberal philosophy.

Unfortunately, the early standards of peace and brotherhood were diminished by less sensitive colonial governors, rapid European settlement and colonial rivalry with France in North America.



March 4th 1681, William Penn received a grant from

King Charles II of England for what is now known as

Pennsylvania..........Penn’s Woods in honor of his

father Royal Admiral William Penn. 

Penn, a prominent Quaker, had requested that the new colony be named New Wales, a name he felt would accurately describe the landscape of his newly created

colony. Charles II overruled Penn’s preference, stating that PENNSYLVANIA would be a tribute to his father,

Admiral William Penn, who had served the crown with

distinction, lending personal wealth to the treasury for

the war effort against Holland and playing a key role in the naval victories against the Dutch fleets.  In part,

these contributions brought about Holland’s relinquish-ment of it’s New Netherlands land claims in North America, adding to Britain’s colonial presence. These holdings spanned from the Connecticut River, included the Hudson Valley, Manhattan, stretching south to Lord Baltimore’s Maryland.  New England was no longer separated from the colonies in the south.

The region would become New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.  (The Delaware River, which links these three states, was renamed by the English in honor of Thomas West, Baron de la Warr, who’d been responsible for saving the early Jamestown Colony.)  Before Pennsylvania’s creation, the entire region was under control of James, Duke of York, the king’s brother. He had been responsible for the entire English navy.  Penn’s father, Admiral Penn, was a principal officer to the Duke of York during the Dutch Wars, almost entirely naval engagements between the two rivals.   Manhattan, known previously as New Amsterdam, became New York

A similar charter granted by the Duke of York the following year for the Lower Counties is at  Delaware State Archive, Dover, DE

Although the King had granted Pennsylvania, it was the king’s brother, the Duke of York, who issued a second patent to William Penn for the Three Lower Counties of Delaware, considered part of Pennsylvania, until nearly a century later when colonists declared their independence from England. (Penn had granted the Delaware counties their own representative Assembly, while Pennsylvania’s governor retained executive authority over the territory.  That first step of semi-independence is still celebrated in Delaware as Separation Day.)


The Duke of York also granted the land, now called

New Jersey, to two noblemen who had aided him and his brother, sons of the former king, to escape to France, during the English Civil War.  John, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, of the Isle of Jersey, were granted proprietary rights to New Jersey.  Philip Carteret was appointed first governor. Both would soon after sell their rights to two separate privately financed colonial proprietorships, creating both  West and East JerseyWilliam Penn was instrumental in bringing all sides together to form the West Jersey Proprietorship, when it’s initial Quaker shareholders had difficulty finalizing its terms and conditions.  The Concessions and Agreement that resulted, established rights and free-doms which Penn would, soon after, incorporate into his own Charter and Frame of Government for Pennsyl-vania.  The early West Jersey constitutional document bears Penn’s signature and he was granted land in Salem Co. for his counsel and arbitration.  He was later offered options in the East Jersey Proprietorship shortly after being granted Pennsylvania, which he prudently declined.  When he selected land for his country estate, Pennsbury Manor, in Bucks Co., Penn chose the riverside site for its proximity to Burlington (NJ), then the provincial seat of government for West Jersey and a principal meeting place for Delaware Valley’s Quaker community.

The Jerseys, as they were once known, have always had two distinctive personalities, reflecting the dominating economic and cultural influences of the City of Philadelphia and Metropolitan New York City.

When Charles II died, the Duke of York became King James II, causing a rebellion in England (1688) that threatened Penn’s holdings in America and ended with Parliament replacing James with William of Orange (Holland) as the new king of England.

Following the reign of William & Mary, Queen Anne became England’s monarch in 1702.  She would grant William Penn with his famous Charter of Privileges that

specifically provided rights and guarantees of religious freedom for all who lived in colonial Pennsylvania and


Fifty years later, in commemoration of that event, the

Pennsylvania Assembly, under the sponsorship of

Speaker Isaac Norris, arranged for the casting of the

Liberty Bell, which was hung in the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly, today known as Independence Hall.

The bell was removed during the War for Independence

and taken to Allentown’s German Zion Lutheran Church where it was hidden from the British, who would have used it for cannonballs.  Once the former colonies were

granted independence, the bell was returned to its belfry

at Independence Hall and was used for announcing events of all types.  It cracked when it was tolling for the death of America’s Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall.  Although it has remained silent since that time, it has gradually became an American symbol for liberty and freedom.  It no longer sits at the base of the stairs, on the first floor of Independence Hall, but has its own visitors pavilion across the street from where it had been for more than 200 years.



Historians and educators often have to deal with different dates for the same event.

The English were among the last countries to finally

change from the old style Julian Calendar to the present

day Gregorian calendar.   The result of the calendar changes

is a 10 day difference between the Old Style and New Style dates.

For example, Penn’s Charter was originally dated March

4th in the Julian calendar.  But in the Gregorian calendar

the date is March 14th.

William Penn’s birthday, old style date is October 14th.

The present calendar shows the same day as Oct. 24th.

October 24th is also the date of the founding of the United

Nations, an institution Penn had envisioned during his lifetime

when he proposed a similar organization in his 1693 essay

On Peace in Europe”.

For more information about the politics, astronomy and reasons for the calendar differences, look up Gregorian Calendar in Wikipedia.


Historical Celebrations

Last year marked the 350th Anniversary of 

New Jersey

soon after to be Proprietorships of

West Jersey & East Jersey

then Royal Colonies before Independence

Of special national interest:

Last year was the 250th Anniversary of

The German Society of Pennsylvania

Chartered in 1764 by England’s George II

1677  Burlington, South Jersey

William Penn co-founder of the Concessions & Agreements of the West Jersey Proprietorship

1683  Perth Amboy, North Jersey

Investors adopt Concessions &

Agreements of the East Jersey


Site host Erik L. Burro as William Penn