335 years ago today, William Penn sold 500 acres of land in Pennsylvania to John Kirton.
The date was recorded as 1681, but as the new year in England at that time began on March 25, this is actually February 1682 according to the present calendar system. The deed recording this transaction is one of seven documents gathered in a volume some time after 1916 as examples of the signatures of four generations of the family of William Penn, founder and proprietor of Pennsylvania. The deed has William Penn’s own signature and seal.
The volume, a recent gift from Caroline F. Schimmel, is now Ms. Codex 1809 at the Kislak Center for Rare Books, Manuscripts and Special Collections. The signers of the other documents range from William Penn’s father in 1667 to one of his grandsons in 1787. Along with six men of the Penn family appears Hannah Callowhill Penn, William Penn’s second wife. At the end of William’s life, Hannah conducted his business from England and continued to manage his estate and their affairs between his death in 1718 and hers in 1726. Her manuscript in the collection is a business letter, entirely in her hand, written to James Logan in Philadelphia in May 1718, a few months before William’s death.
To conclude this post with her closing words, “Which is the present needfull from Thy Loving Friend H. Penn.”