The sufferings that fate inflicts on us should be borne with patience, what enemies inflict with manly courage. — Thucydides

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Choosing the Place for the City

When warm weather came again, we no longer had time for spoon-making, for shipload after shipload of people came over from England until, so my father believed, we had no fewer than nine hundred, counting men, women, and children, living as best they might along the river at whatsoever point seemed to them the most likely place for the building of the city.

Thomas Holme, who was to decide the matter, acting upon advice from William Penn, had already come among us, and went here and there, in the company of the chief men, until he was convinced that he had found the one place of all others for our city of Philadelphia.

We who had come over in the John and Sarah were more than satisfied with his choice, for, if you please, he had hit upon the very spot where we had dug our caves, and thus, by merest chance, had we come to that section of the country of Pennsylvania where we had most wanted to be.

William Penn had already made a plan of what the city should be, and Thomas Holme so marked it out that the location would stretch from river to river, as may be seen in the map which I have copied down here, with a plot in the very center where was to be left a space of ten acres to be used as a playground.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

It can well be understood that within an hour after Thomas Holme had laid out the city amid the wilder- ness, those who, like my father, had bought land within the limits of the town, were eager to settle upon such places as were to be theirs, and after these matters had been arranged there was no more spoon-making for Jethro and me, because of our fathers' being bent on building houses without delay, when, as a matter of course, we lads were to do our full share of the work.

The people began to name the streets as soon as Thomas Holme had them marked out, and father believes it has been done properly, since, instead of calling them for great people in England, they are named for whatsoever comes nearest to describing them.

Because of its being on the highest land, that road which runs through the middle of the new town is called High Street, and you may be certain there has been a good, sensible reason for all that has been done in the way of bestowing names, which is far more than can be said for some of the cities in England.


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