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Monuments Related to William Penn

Click here for Wikipedia article on William Penn [1644-1718].

"William Penn was unusual among Quakers in being of the landed upper classes. When converted, he became a leader of the Quakers & other Dissenters. He had the two related ideals of peace & religious toleration, and dreamed of realizing both ideals in the New World. A practical idealist, he took advantage of four factors: friends at Court made through his social position; King Charles II's gratitude for services rendered by his father, Admiral Sir William Penn; the King's desire to conciliate the City merchants, who were ready to invest in Penn's scheme; & above all the King's concern to get North America settled by British colonists. Penn received a charter to found Pennsylvania in 1681. In England he worked hard, especially in collaboration with James II, for toleration for the cruelly persecuted Quakers & other Dissenters. In Pennsylvania he was able to establish complete toleration, and his fair and friendly treatment gave the colony 70 years of peaceful co-existence with the Indians. In his 1693 essay on the peace of Europe, he virtually invented collective security & with amazing foresight planned in detail something very like the present European Union." -- W. M. Russell, University of Reading

Right click image to enlarge.

October 14, 1644 - Birth of William Penn, Tower Hill, London (England).


October 25, 1644 - William Penn memorial, All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London (England). Memorial shows date of Penn's baptism. The church is "labeled as 'the oldest in England.' That means really really old."

1652 - Pendle Hill, Borough of Pendle, Lancashire (England). Visited in 1652 by George Fox [1624-1691] leading to his foundation of the Quaker movement.
1930 - Pendle Hill, Wallingford, Pennsylvania (USA). Quaker educational center near Philadelphia named for Pendle Hill (England).

1657 - "After a failed mission to the Caribbean, Penn's father, Admiral Sir William Penn [1621-1670], & his family are exiled to his lands in Ireland. It is during this period, when Penn was about fifteen, that he meets Thomas Loe, a Quaker missionary, who was maligned by both Catholics & Protestants. Loe is admitted to the Penn household and during his discourses on the 'Inner Light,' young Penn recalled later that 'the Lord visited me & gave me divine Impressions of Himself.'"

1660 - "Admiral Sir William Penn has a rather obscure share in the Restoration: he is sent to fetch king Charles II from his exile in Holland over to England." /// "The younger Penn arrives at Oxford & enrolls as a gentleman scholar with an assigned servant. The student body is a volatile mix of swashbuckling Cavaliers (aristocratic Protestants), sober Puritans & nonconforming Quakers. The new governmentís discouragement of religious dissent gives the Cavaliers the license to harass the minority groups. Because of his fatherís high position & social status, young Penn is firmly a Cavalier, but his sympathies lie with the persecuted Quakers. To avoid conflict, he withdraws from the fray & becomes a reclusive scholar."

1662 - "At age 18, young Penn is sent to Paris to get him out of view, improve his manners & expose him to another culture. At the court of young Louis XIV, Penn finds French manners far more refined than the coarse manners of his countrymen - but the extravagant display of wealth and privilege does not sit well with him. Though impressed by Notre Dame & the Catholic ritual, he feels uncomfortable with it. Instead he seeks out spiritual direction from French Protestant theologian Moise Amyraut [1596-1664], who invites Penn to stay with him in Saumur for a year. The undogmatic Christian humanist talks of a tolerant, adapting view of religion which appeals to Penn, who later stated, 'I never had any other religion in my life than what I felt.'"

1662-1664 - William Penn [1644-1718] is a student in Saumur (France). See below for the renaming of a square for William Penn on May 21, 2011.


September 16, 1670 - Death of Admiral Sir William Penn. He is buried in the church of St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol (England). His helmet & half-armour are hung on the wall, together with the tattered banners of the Dutch ships that he captured in battle. His portrait [at right] by Sir Peter Lely [1618-1680] is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich.


1681 - Charter granted by King Charles II to William Penn for Pennsylvania, William Penn Memorial Museum & Archives Building, Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). "Out in the rotunda of the State Museum in Harrisburg there is a digital reproduced copy of the original charter. Well...this Saturday is Charter Day at the museum, and they have brought out the actual-original charter and had it set up in a room near the copy! I can honestly say that I could not read one word of the reproduced copy. The original? You can almost read it word for word. VERY cool!!! There is a video nearby that expains the history and how it was written. Neato cool! It was so elaborate and pretty."

1682 - "James Duke of York [1633-1701], the future James II of England, hands over a large piece of his American holdings to William Penn (age 38), including present-day Pennsylvania & Delaware. Penn immediately sails to America, and his first step on American soil takes place in New Castle [Delaware] in 1682. On this occasion, the colonists pledge allegiance to Penn as their new Proprietor, and the first general assembly is held in the colony. Afterwards, Penn journeys up the Delaware River & founds Philadelphia [which means "Brotherly Love" as derived from Greek]."


1682 - William Penn Landing Site, Penn & Front (1st) Streets or 2nd Street, near the banks of the Delaware River, Chester, Pennsylvania (USA). This marks the spot where Penn first stepped ashore in Pennsylvania on Oct. 28 or 29, 1682 (O.S.). The monument was erected 200 years later [in 1862?]. Industrial area & railroad behind it. On National Register of Historic Places since March 11, 1971.
1682 - Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). "The waterfront area of the Center City along the Delaware River. So named because the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, docked near here in 1682, along the now paved over Dock Creek, after landing first in New Castle, Delaware, and then at what is now Penn & 2nd Streets in Chester, Pennsylvania. The area is bounded by Front Street to the west, the Delaware River to the east, Spring Garden Street to the north & Washington Avenue to the south, and is primarily focused on the Christopher Columbus Boulevard (Delaware Avenue) corridor. Most of the area is covered in concrete and is cut off from the city by Interstate 95."


1682 - Great Elm Tree, Sackamaxon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Also called Treaty Elm. Unintentional monument. At place where proprietor William Penn [1644-1718] signed peace treaty with Delaware Indians. Blew down in a storm on March 5, 1810. Left image by Thomas Birch [1779-1851] was engraved in 1804. Right image by George Lehman [d.1870] was engraved by him in 1827 (note the new obelisk). An Elm Tree descendant was planted here on May 6, 2010. Also see 1827 (obelisk), 1893 (park), 1976 (marker), 1982 (statue) & 2010 (second tree).

1684 - "Penn returns to England to see his family and to try to resolve a territorial dispute with Lord Baltimore. Penn did not always pay attention to details, and had not taken the fairly simple step of determining where the 40th degree of latitude (the southern boundary of his land under the charter) actually was. After he sent letters to several landowners in Maryland advising the recipients that they were probably in Pennsylvania and not to pay any more taxes to Lord Baltimore, trouble arose between the two proprietors."

About 1686 - Pennsbury Manor, Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania (USA). Under construction on the Delaware River since 1682. "The American home of William Penn, founder & first Governor of Pennsylvania. Had already fallen into disrepair by 1736 when one of Penn's sons remarked that the house 'was very near falling, the roof open as well as the windows and the woodwork almost rotten.' Remained in the Penn family until 1792. Rebuilt in 1938. Now administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission in association with The Pennsbury Society & open to the public. `Placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 1969."

1693 - William Penn writes "An Essay towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe." /// "Among Pennís many achievements is a short but incisive proposal to establish a European Parliament as the best means to avoid future war." -- Peter van den Dungen, April 21, 2011.

1699 - "After agreeing to let Ford keep all his Irish rents in exchange for keeping quiet about Fordís legal ownership of Pennsylvania, Penn felt his situation sufficiently improved to return to Pennsylvania with the intention of staying. Accompanied by his wife Hannah, daughter Letitia & secretary James Logan, Penn sails from the Isle of Wight on the 'Canterbury,' reaching Philadelphia in December 1699. Penn receives a hearty welcome upon his arrival & finds his province much changed in the intervening 18 years. Pennsylvania is growing rapidly & now has nearly 18,000 inhabitants & Philadelphia over 3,000."

1699-1867 - "Slate Roof House," Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Built c.1687. Rented by William Penn 1699-1701. "In the 19th century, the house was altered for commercial use and, despite protests from historians, was razed in 1867. It was replaced by a commercial building that stood until 1976. In 1982, Welcome Park was built on the site & features Pennís plan of the city laid out in slate tiles as well as a bronze model of the house located at the rear of the park."

1701 - "When new threats by France again put Pennís charter in jeopardy, Penn decides to return to England with his family. Penn returns to England & immediately becomes embroiled in financial & family troubles. His eldest son William, Jr. is leading a dissolute life, neglecting his wife & two children, & running up gambling debts."



1703 - Fair Hill Burial Ground, 2900 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). "Founded in 1703 on part of a grant of land of 16 acres given to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) by George Fox [1624-1691], who is known as the founder of the Society. He received the land from William Penn [1644-1718] as a gift. The present burial ground was laid out in 1843 and enlarged in 1853, providing almost five acres of green space in this urban neighbohood. Most persons buried at Fair Hill are Quakers, many of them participants in the early abolitionist and women's rights movements. Some of the more renowned include Lucretia Mott [1793-1880], James Mott, Thomas and Mary Ann McClintock, Sarah Pugh, Ann Preston and Edward Parrish. Some colleagues in the anti-slavery movement, not Friends, are also buried there, most notably Robert Purvis [1810-1998], an African-American known as the President of the underground railroad, and his family. The site was recently placed on the National Register for Historic Places."

1711 - "The Abbot de Saint-Pierre [1658-1743] writes the first version of his own plan which will become the most famous of the many plans for perpetual peace. Recent research has revealed the influence of William Pennís ideas on Saint-Pierre, and also the latterís involvement in the translation & publication of what is today a bibliographical curiosity, namely the French translation of Pennís 1693 essay." -- Peter van den Dungen, April 21, 2011. The abbot wrote "Projet pour rendre la paix perpťtuelle en Europe," Utrecht, A. Schouten, 1713.


July 30, 1718 - Death of William Penn (age 73) at his home in Ruscombe, near Twyford, Berkshire (England). "Penn dies penniless & is buried in an unmarked grave next to his first wife in the cemetery of the Jordans Quaker meeting house near Chalfont St. Giles in Buckinghamshire (England). His wife as sole executor became the de facto governor until she died in 1726." Images show Penn's grave today & the meeting house (constructed in 1688).

December 14-27, 1763 - Penn's "Peaceable Kingdom" comes to an end with the Conestoga Massacre by the "Paxton Boys".

Both of the following paintings show proprietor William Penn [1644-1718] signing peace treaty with the Delaware Indians at Sackamaxon in 1682.
1771 (left image) - "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians when he founded the Province of Pennsylvania in North America," Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA (USA). Painted by Benjamin West [1738-1820] at request of Thomas Penn [1702-1775].

c1840-44 (right image) - "Penn's Treaty with the Indians," Philadelphia Museum of Art, west end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA (USA). Painted by Edward.Hicks [1780-1849]. Also at National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

July 4, 1776 - American independence is declared in Philadelphis, Pennsylvania.


November 1827 - Obelisk, Penn Treaty Park, Delaware (Columbus) Avenue & Beach Street, Fishtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Inscribed "Treaty ground of William Penn, and the Indian Nations, 1682, Unbroken faith. William Penn, Born 1644, Died 1713. Pennsylvania, Founded, 1681, by Deeds of Peace. Placed by the Penn Society, A.D. 1827, to mark the site of the Great Elm Tree." Right image is 1827 engraving by George Lehman [d.1870] -- with the new obelisk in bottom margin. The obelisk "remained tucked away in the NW corner of a lumber yard...until actions were taken to create Penn Treaty Park" (qv) in 1893. Also see 1682 (tree), 1893 (park), 1976 (marker), 1982 (statue) & 2010 (tree).


Circa 1833 - Peaceable Kingdon by Quaker artist Edward Hicks [1780-1849], Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts (USA). Click here for more information on the "kingdoms of Edward Hicks." Probably painted in Pennsylvania. One of a series of similar paintings by Hicks made over a span of several years. An alegory of of the "peaceable kingdom" established by William Penn in 1682.

Circa 1847 - "The Grave of William Penn" by Edward Hicks [1780-1849], National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (USA). Shows Jordans in England with a view of the old Meeting House & Grave yard.

1863 - Camp William Penn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Civil War print by P.S. Duval & Son (chromolithograph with hand-coloring). Published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, 1210 Chestnut Street. Engraved, "United States Soldiers at Camp 'William Penn' Philadelphia, Pa. 'Rally Round the Flag, boys! Rally once again, Shouting the battle cry of FREEDOM!'"

October 28, 1893 - Penn Treaty Park, Delaware (Columbus) Avenue & Beach Street, Fishtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Alleged site of famous peace treaty signed by William Penn [1644-1718] and the Delaware Indians in 1683. See associated virtual PennTreatyMusuem.org. Mentioned by Tom Flores (2008). Also see 1682 (tree), 1827 (obelisk), 1976 (marker), 1982 (statue) & 2010 (tree).


1901 - Statue of William Penn, City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). 1"1.3-m (37 ft), 27-ton bronze statue of Quaker and Philadelphia founder William Penn [1644-1718]. One of 250 sculptures created by Alexander Milne Calder [1846-1923] that adorn the building inside and out. The statue is the tallest atop any building in the world." City Hall is the world's tallest masonry building.


1902-1904 - "Penn's Treaty," State Capitol, Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). One of 368 mosaics made in Doylestown by Henry Chapman Mercer [1856-1930] for the new state capitol building.
1904 - William Penn Memorial Fire Tower, Fire Tower Hill, Mt. Penn, Reading, Pennsylvania (USA). Being restored. Near Japanese "Pagoda" (qv).


1913-1930 - Series of Paintings by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). "By 1895, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris [1863-1930] had gained a reputation as a historical painter, and he embarked on his dream of creating a series of paintings that told a historical narrative. The paintings showed idealized portrayals of famous moments from American history, but were often historically inaccurate. The Landing of William Penn, for example, shows Penn being greeted at New Castle by American Indians who are clothed in the tradition of tribes from the Great Plains.The complete series was shown at Independence Hall in Philadelphia from 1913 to 1930, then moved next door to Congress Hall. In later years it was shown in a number of locations, including the Smithsonian Institution, before being returned to the Ferris family." Images show "The Landing of William Penn" & "The Birth of Pennsylvania, 1680."


1964 - William Penn Memorial Museum & Archives Building, Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). Just north of the Pennysylvania State Capitol. "Contain exhibits of Pennsylvania's fine arts, decorative arts, crafts, history, natural history & archaeology. In the Archives Tower, historical and official state documents are preserved."


September 18, 1976 - Historical Marker, Penn Treaty Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Marker Text "Traditional site of a treaty between William Penn and the Indians, this park is maintained by the City of Philadelphia in commemoration of the Proprietor's peaceful relations with the Indians." Also see 1682 (tree), 1827 (obelisk), 1893 (park), 1982 (statue) & 2010 (tree).
1982 - Statue of William Penn, Penn Treaty Park, Delaware (Columbus) Avenue & Beach Street, Fishtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). "Daughters of the American Colonists commissioned Frank C. Gaylord, the sculptor who would later do the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC." Also see 1682 (tree), 1827 (obelisk), 1893 (park), 1976 (marker) & 2010 (tree).


1982 - Welcome Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Across from the City Tavern at site of the "Slate Roof House" (qv) rented by William Penn 1699-1701. "Built by Friends of Independence National Historical Park to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania by William Penn. Designed by world-renowned architectural firm Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown. Named for William Penn's ship, "The Welcome." This outdoor "museum" celebrates the life of the colony's founder. It was here as Proprietor of Pennsylvania that Penn penned the regulations for city & state government. It was here too that Penn promulgated the Charter of Privileges [in 1701], guaranteeing religious liberty & civil freedoms to the inhabitants of 'Penn's Woods.' /// "Features Pennís plan of the city laid out in slate tiles as well as a bronze model of the Slate Roof House located at the rear of the park."

1983 - The United Nations library in Geneva (Switzerland) publishes a facsimile of Penn's 1693 peace essay (with bibliographical introduction by Peter van den Dungen). "This is when I 'discovered' the contemporary French translation (of which I had a facsimile published in 1986)." -- PvdD 26Apr11.

May 21, 2011 - William Penn Square, directly behind the Protestant Church, Saumur, Maine-et-Loire (France). "A series of events in May 2011 will commemorate the presence of William Penn [1644-1718] as a student in Saumur [1662-1664]. A square directly behind the Protestant church Ė a scheduled national monument Ė on the edge of the old town near the quarter where the Protestant Academy used to be located is to be named after William Penn. There will be a public day of lectures, readings and other activities culminating in the naming." ("Saumur saw its climax during the 17th century as it became one of the centres of Protestantism.")

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