William Penn Grants 1,500 Acres to a Founding Member of the Colony
WILLIAM PENN. Document Signed, “Wm Penn,” with his seal, also signed by Harbt [Harbert] Springett, Ben. Griffith, Tho. Coxe, Worminghurst, Sussex, England, April 11, 1682, 1pp.
On March 4, 1681, William Penn received a huge land grant from Charles II and proceeded to carve it up in hopes of turning a profit while establishing his colony. The following year, John Blunston and other English Quakers arrived in Pennsylvania from England, and settled Darby Township, Pennsylvania.
LOT SOLD: $5,750
“Know all men by these presente, that I William Penn of Worminghurst in the county of Sussex Enge have had and received of and from John Blunston of litle Hallam in the county of Derby~//~//~Husbandman~//~//~//~//~the sume of Thirty pounds Sterling going for the purchase of one thousand five hundred Acres of Land in Pensylvania~ and the Consideration money mentioned to be paid in and by one paire of Indentures of Release and confirmation bearing even date herewith and made between me the said William Penn of the one part and the said John Blunston of the other part ~//~according to the purport of the same Indentures Of and from whith said summe of Thirty pounds sterling I the said William ~ Penn . Doe hereby for my selfe my heires ~ Executo: Administrato: and Assigns Release quit :claims and for ever discharge the said John Blunston his ~heires Executo: Administrato and Assigns and every of them by these presente~ Witnesse my hand and scale this Eleventh day of –April –Anno Dmni 1682 Annoq RRs Carstdimmi Anglicezt xxxiiii °/
Sealed and delivered
Wm Penn [red wax seal] In the presence of Harbt Springett/Ben. Griffith/Tho. Cone”
Docketing #1 “No 1 Wm Penn Rect for 30£ Sterling to John Blunston”
Docketing #2 “Belongs to Thomas H. Powers Philada 1846 April 4”
Docketing #3 “Recorded in the Office for Recording Deeds &c. for the city and County of Philada in Deed Book T.H. No. 71 page 430/Witness my Hand & Official Seal this Fourth day of April A.D. 1853. Thos. Helm Reca”
John Bluston (1644-1723) A founder of Pennsylvania, Bluston was born in Little Hallam, Derbyshire, England and came to Pennsylvania after receiving this land grant from William Penn. He helped found Darby, Pennsylvania, donated the land for a burial ground and meeting house, and helped establish the Darby Friends Meeting. A friend of Penn’s, Bluston served on the Governor’s Council, as an Assemblyman from Chester County, and as Justice of the Peace. As settlement of Pennsylvania increased, he sold off some of his grant. In 1715, he joined fellow Friends in protesting against slavery and the slave trade in the colony.
William Penn (1644-1718) rejected his Anglican faith and joined the Society of Friends when he was 22 years old. His chagrined father, Admiral William Penn, had hoped his son would curry favor in the court of England’s King Charles II; instead, he saw his namesake persecuted and imprisoned during the confusion following the Interregnum and Restoration of the monarchy. Because they would not swear a loyalty oath to Charles II, persecution of Quakers continued and helped sway Penn towards establishing a North American colony where religious rights would be protected. In 1677, he and other Quakers received land in West New Jersey. Penn remained in England, but worked writing a charter for the colony that included free elections, jury trials, and freedom of religion.
Fortunately for Penn, his father had provided Charles II a large loan, and the King settled accounts with the elder Penn’s estate by granting his son a huge tract of land south and west of New Jersey on March 4, 1681. The direct grant to the Penn family established Pennsylvania as a propriety colony, because the King granted land to an individual rather than to a company such as the Massachusetts Bay Company. As a result, Penn had considerable latitude to govern—and distribute land—as he saw fit. Technically, Penn’s power was limited by the Crown, but he created a system of government that would have all the hallmarks of the U.S. Constitution including complete freedom of religion for any believers (unique for the era), representative government, and separation of powers. Hoping to convert his lands into wealth for himself and his family, he aggressively marketed the colony and quickly attracted a diverse group of settlers. Unfortunately, he never actually made any money and died in debt.