Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. — Vladimir Lenin

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Busy Days

I suppose because of our having shown ourselves good nail makers, some of the people believed Jethro and I might be able to do the work of men, therefore on this winter when the Friends' meeting-house was to be built near the river, we were asked to lend a hand.

It was to have a framework of logs, covered with good, fair boards on the outside, and with clapboards inside. Until this time the Friends' meetings had been held in this house or that, as was most convenient; but when Governor Penn had come, it seemed certain we ought to have some regular meeting-house.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

Save for the fact that this inviting us to take part in the labor seemed to show we were looked upon as nearly men, instead of boys, I should not have felt pleased at being thus remembered; but we could not well refuse, since all the nails were bought from us, and, as our share, we put in three full days of work far more wearying than standing at the forge hammering iron.

By the time we had done with this job, Samuel Carpenter took it into his head to build a dock just above Walnut Street, and, instead of buying his spikes in England, he proposed to Jethro and me that he would furnish us with the iron at cost price, if we would fashion it into such shape as he desired, paying for the finished work the same amount of money that he would be forced to give in London.

Surely that was a contract to be proud of, when you consider that we were but little more than fourteen years old, and I swelled considerably when father, hearing of Samuel Carpenter's proposition, said he was glad to know I had shown myself worthy to be trusted by my elders.

How Jethro and I worked making those spikes! Again and again, when the men at the wharf were getting ahead of us, were we lads at the forge when the watchmen went their rounds looking for idlers or brawlers, and at such times the only light we had was that given by the red-hot iron we pounded into shape.


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