History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is. — Thomas Jefferson

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Building the City

It seemed more like magic than the sober, everyday work of making homes, for straightway all that portion of the country which was to contain our city, had upon it men, women, and children, each eager to destroy the last vestige of forest that the land might take on a semblance of England.

Now you must understand that there were no fewer than two Indian villages within the limits of the town as marked out "by Thomas Holme, and some of our people were eager to settle in those places, because of there not being so much of labor required in cutting down the trees; but this could not be.

William Penn had given strict orders to all who bought land of him, that the savages were not to be molested in any way; but should be sent away from the country which had been given him by the king, only when they were well inclined to go. Therefore it was that we began to make our city around these villages, being forced to wait until our governor came to cleat in his own way with the Indians.

At one, time, after spring had come, I could see no less than eighteen log houses being set up, and, as if that was not evidence enough that our city would soon be built, one could hear the ring of an hundred or more axes, while every few minutes the crashing of a huge tree, as it was felled, told how rapidly the forest was giving way before this army of home-hunters.

The work of building did not go on without interruptions, however, and the first came when our people decided that if we were to keep the few pigs which had been brought from England, it was necessary that steps be taken to lessen the number of bears.


Front Matter

The Name of My City
My Own Name
Why We Went to London
Bound for America
On Board Ship
Unknown Country
The End of the Voyage
Going Ashore
Our First Shelter
A Tedious Task
Our Cave Home Completed
How We Kept House
Savages Come to Town
What the Savages Wore
Game in Plenty
Sea Food
News of the Factor
Arrival of the Amity
Going to Meet the Factor
A Tiresome Journey
Meeting Old Friends
Roasting Turkeys
Turning an Honest Penny
A Place for the City
Building the City
A Bear Hunt
The New Home
Penn's Care for Colonists
The First Baby
How the Indians Live
Indian Utensils and Tools
Canoes of Bark
Making Wampum
The Beehive Huts
Finishing the Cure
Starting a Fire
Cooking Indian Corn
News of Penn's Arrival
Our Humble Preparations
The Welcome to Penn
A Day of Festivities
Penn Joins in the Sports
More Serious Business
What a Bake Oven Is
Baking in the New Oven
Penn Plans to Buy Land
Penn and the Indians
The Price Paid for Land
Gratitude of the Indians
Trapping Wild Turkeys
New Arrivals
Government by the People
The Promise of a School
Dock Creek Bridge
The Nail Business
Buying Iron in New York
No Merrymaking after Dark
Busy Days
Enoch Flower's School
End of Our School Days
Settlement of Germantown
New Laws in Our Own Town
A Division of Opinion
A Matter of History
Boundary Lines
The Governor's Following
A Proud Departure
The Settlement of Chester
Dining in State
Anchored off New Castle
An Uncomfortable Night
A Dull Journey
In Lord Baltimore's City
A Splendid Home
A Question of Duty
Amy of Maryland
The Shops of Maryland
The Result of the Visit
Philadelphia Progresses
Penn Goes Back to London