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Sir William Penn
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SIR WILLIAM PENN
THOSE OF THE
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
CHRONOLOGY, ETYMOLOGY and GENEALOGY
RETIRING ADDRESS OF HUGH HAMILTON, M.D.,
PRESIDENT (1919) OF THE FEDERATION OF PENNSYLVANIA HISTORICAL
SOCIETIES ; DELIVERED AT HARRISBURG. PA..
JANUARY 15th. 1920.
Admiral Sir William Penn.
Father of \\*m. Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, painted by
Sir Peter Lily.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federation of
Historical Societies of Pennsylvania :
It shall be my endeavor to interest you in the sa-
gacious statesmanship of Sir William Penn; also, the
fascination of the Etymology and Genealogy of the
Counties of the Province and subsequently of the Com-
monwealth of Pennsylvania.
In Penn's Frame of Government, or Constitution,
for his Proprietory Province, is the following enuncia-
tion of principles:
"Liberty without Obedience is Confusion.
Obedience without Liberty is Slavery. To carry
the evenness is partly owing to the Constitution,
and partly to the Magistry. Where either of
these fail, Government will be subjected to Con-
vulsions; but where both are wanting it
must be totally subverted (Russia). Where both
meet the Government is Like to endure. W T hich
I humbly pray and hope GOD will please to make
the lot of Pennsylvania.
4th month, April 25th day, 1682,
(Signed) William Penn."
Vol. I., Colonial Records (Pa.) p. 30.
Now the world rejoices in the victorious refutation
of the Doctrine.
''Obedience without Liberty," born of the Devil,
ruthlessly pursued by that child of the devil, Wilhelm
II. of Germany ; overcome by tremendous sacrifices, in
our vivid memories.
Think for an instant how our peaceful, rugged for-
bearers, swung their axes in "a sun-rise to sun-set
day — " nature's own time limits! No clocks to fool
with, or fool us!
"A man was famous according as he had lifted up
axes upon thick trees." This was written 1026 B. C,
by the Psalmist David. Our ancestors must have been
Whose axes swung as a pendulum, carved out fertile
Eden-like farms; among them now busy towns do
hum, we have comforts, in place of rude alarms.
Remember the debt to-day owes yesterday and — to
the axes of our forefathers. Few, without some emo-
tion, can see on hill and dale the peace added in the
evening of a perfect day in Pennsylvania : — by the self-
denials of those ahead of us.
Dulled with the life of the city by the thought-
less throng estranged,
My thoughts go back to the woodland where
happily I ranged;
Again I wander in spirit where the cool spring-
And watch the changing hues of the speckled
In my heart comes a silent yearning almost akin
To know the peace and quiet of the Pennsylvania
In the busy heart of the city I am swept with the
But the ghost of a vanished pleasure is ever by
my side ;
The spirit of the woodland that haunts the dell
With the scent of the purple violet and the cool
of the noonday shade;
And the peace of a perfect day through my heart
for a moment thrills —
The peace of a perfect day in the Pennsylvania
"In the glare of the City twilight, when the stars
are hid from view,
And the Moon's pale beams shine dimly, the
'Lamp-lit' darkness through;
Come memories tinged with sadness, of a pensive
And the dancing-lights of fire-flies, thick in the
(Sir) William Penn at the age oE 22.
Absolute Proprietor of Province of Pennsylvania in 1682.
A copy of the only authentic portrait of William Penn for which he
sat, at the age of 22, when a Captain in the 18th (Royal Irish)
Regiment of Foot (Infantry); that Regiment made for itself credit, and
renown; in the recent war of 1914.
This portrait was painted before; he fully embraced the Doctrines of
Fox (Quakerism), or become (Sir) William Penn, Absolute Proprietor
of the Province (Commonwealth) of Pennsylvania. It can be seen in
tlfe State (Pennsylvania) Library and Museum at Harrisburg, Pa.
And the ever-creeping shadows, darkening the
Shadows cast by the Light-crowned, Pennsylvania
— C. B. Benson, in the Philadelphia Ledger.
Our persistent effort should be to exercise the senti-
ments of Sir William Penn, preserved and expressed
on his Proprietory seal: "TRUTH." "PEACE."
"LOVE." and "PLENTY." A logical sequence of
these assertions, originating from the opposite expe-
riences in the Cromwellian conflicts, which emphasized
the need of such stated principles of the brotherhood.
Are they not prominent issues of this day? Will the
schemes of our epoch ever be tangible?
"And what are we? An inter-stated nation!
What seek we now? An Inter-national State!
Who scoffs at this, decries our own creation,
Our League of Commonwealths which makes us great.
Yet there were little men when we were founded, (1791)
Who feared for selves and little bounties
Who would have kept the New World cramped and bounded
By puny jealousies of petty counties!
There is no Golden Rule of all the Ages,
But some self-seeking souls have called it brass!
There's no Beatitude of Wisdom's pages
But some have sworn its jewels were glass !
So now our Mole-eyed men of earth-bound vision
Who hold their heads within their burrow's night
But nibble at the roots of a decision,
And cry out that they cannot see the light !
They cannot hear the singing in the steeples
Which summons to fellowship of thought
Which summons to a Parliment of Peoples
Where Citizens shall teach and Kings be taught
Stand forth, America! Strike hands with those
Who face with Faith the new dawn, dewed and pearled.
Where men shall hail as neighbors, not as foes.
Under the greater Charter of the World.
— B. V. Cook, in the Patriot.
A sailor on a United States ship wrote his mother
during the late war from Aden, Arabia, that his vessel
had passed the most historic spot on the globe, greater
than Lexington or Bunker Hill ! It was the Red Sea,
in evidence of which he saw Pharaoh's chariot wheels
on the bottom. (The Egyptians had been washed into
the Indian Ocean long, long ago). It was a wrecked
aeroplane ; but real history as he saw it.
Our object is real history. A child was told the
Biblical account of the Deluge. She looked into her
Grandpa's face seriously, and asked, "Were you in the
Ark?" He answered, "No!" She followed it up by
this, "Why were'nt you drowned?" He maintained
discreet silence. The explanation, would have been a
longer story than that of the Deluge.
What does make history? Calvary is but a slight
elevation from the surrounding landscape; its con-
sequence increases through association.
History is not necessarily ancient :
I. It is a narrative of incident.
II. Growing into event.
III. In a locality.
IV. At a definite date.
V. Confirming God's universal government.*
In Lincoln's short Gettysburg speech he saw the
travail of the nation's soul in its Birthright of Free-
dom : "The Government of the people, by the people,
for the people shall not perish from the earth." That
speech shook thrones and gives cheer to people, even
now in 1920. The same idea was promulgated by
Penn, in 1681, in a letter of April 8th to the Dutch
on the Delaware, after the English had captured New
Amsterdam, now New York. "You shall be governed
by laws of your own making, live a free, and, if you
will, a sober and industrious life." These sentiments
of Penn and Lincoln combined were the cause and
fortunate result of Gettysburg in Adams County,
Pennsylvania. The reverse of these figures 1681 and
1861 will fix these historical events in your mind. That
letter of Penn, and Lincoln's speech made almost as
deep an impression, as the Victory of the Field of
Battle in Adams County, did for the Right. Chateau
Thierry forms a paragraph in the Dispatches of the
day and stands gloriously for the principles enunciated
at Philadelphia in 1776; i. e., "Liberty with Obedience!'
Are we in danger of losing it ?
What association is suggested in the names of
counties and places in Pennsylvania. "Valley
Forge," "Susquehanna/' "Wyoming," and "Gettys-
burg," ascending from local into National fame. Every
County in this Commonwealth has an Etymology and
Genealogy worthy of consideration.
I have here the blue print of a map by Capt. John
Campbell, of the Internal Affairs Department of
Pennsylvania, joining the County seats of the several
counties with indicating arrows and lines, depicts
graphically the divisions of the original and subsequent
ones with exact dates of their erection by Acts of
Assembly. His gracious kindness permits me to show
it to you. Pie receives my hearty thanks.
In Day's Historical Collection of the State of
Pennsylvania respecting Clarion County; its name
originated from the "clarion"-like echoes coming from
defeated Indians of the "Corn-planter" tribe in the
battle at Brady's Bend, likened to the description of
the skirmish of Roderck Dhu in Scott's "Lady of the
Lake" canto XVII : —
"At once there rose, so wild a yell,
Within that dark and narrow dell ;
As if, fiends that from heaven fell.
Had pealed the "Banner-cry of Hell!"
impressed the victorious white participants that they
concluded from the shrill shrieks of the Indians, their
yells were like clarion tones, hence in 1839 the name
"Clarion" appropriate, as well as historical, was given.
The Official Original County was Philadelphia form-
ally made previous to 10th of March, 1682-3.* From
* Due to the changes in the Calendar Year, then.
it all the counties sprung in a nomenclature at once
alluring and familiar to an Englishman. Surrounding
Philadelphia, somewhat like they did London in Eng-
land; Buckhamshire (Bucks), Cheshire and Lancashire
(our Lancaster) sometimes in the same relative north-
The Swedish Colonial town of Oopland was named
Chester from the deck of "The Welcome" by Sir
William Penn before he landed, in flattering tribute to
his friend and fellow passenger, Pearson, a native of
Chester, England. Subsequently it was confirmed at
Chester, Pennsylvania on the 2nd day of February,
1685, according to Hon. James Futhey and Gilbert
Cope in their history of Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia, at the junction of the Schuylkill River
with the Delaware River was a county spread like a
huge fan, North and West, afterward separated into
adjacent and more convenient jurisdictions limited by
creeks and other prominent landmarks. They were
named for immediate and domestic recognition by the
English immigrant far away from his ordinary envi-
ronment to make him feel "at Home" — with Lancaster
as the County-town of Lancaster and beside it Cum-
berland County with the familiar Carlisle as its judi-
cial capital; and so on, this close adjacency; carried
out had much to do with the peace, prosperity and
contentment of Penn's Domain.
Lancaster County was defined in 1729, forty-six
years from the founding of Chester County, divided
from it by the Octorara Creek ; from its mouth to near
its source ; thence eastward to the mouth of the
Monocacy on the Schuylkill River; north and west-
ward indefinitely — northernly from the future London
of the Province, PHILADELPHIA. The Susquehanna
River, then included in Lancaster County, formed such
a barrier to attending the court at Lancaster, a new
County was necessary. It was made in 1750 less
than twenty-five years after Lancaster County, and in
accordance with the plan, called York after Yorkshire
in England; that adjoined Lancashire there. It was
one of the few provincial Counties if not the only
one limited by provincial action, in its western bound-
aries by the line of the summits of the South Moun-
tains ; to their crossing of the northern line of Mary-
land. Within the limits of (this) York County was
a Commonwealth County, "Adams," made in 1800, des-
tined to become the scene of the crucial battle of the
Civil War, Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. Most of the
adjacent counties named by Penn were those in which
the "Quaker" or doctrines of Fox had been accepted
and withstood vile persecutions. These converts were
besought and urged to follow their "Moses," Sir Wil-
liam Penn, across the ocean to the "woods of Penn"
where there was to be no distinctive, titled, privileged
class ; acquired in Europe and Asia by a perversion of
"Divine Right;" known to them as the "Cain-variety"
— "kill all who don't agree with you." We hope have
now eliminated that variety forever.
These pioneers willingly fled from actual ills, came
over in flocks to worship as their conscience directed.
The wonderful vision of Sir William Penn — a veritable
Utopian idea in that period of prerogatives. Penn's
"Lighf inspired and blessed him and his immigrants
in their enterprises. — We enjoy them now.
All the counties in Pennsylvania previous to the
Revolution of the Colonies were named identically and
relatively after the counties in England, in this chron-
ological order in the Province: — Philadelphia, Chester,
Bucks, Lancaster, York, Cumberland, Berks, North-
ampton, Bedford, Northumberland and Westmore-
Wedged together, as they were in old England.
After the success of the War of Independence, three
*See accompanying Map and Table.
were named after English Counties for the same rea-
son ; to attract settlers. They were Huntingdon, Som-
erset and Cambria, — still adhering to the splendid and
comprehensive scheme of Sir William Penn.
Our Commonwealth made more counties, until they
now number, sixty-seven. They may be grouped*
Etymologically, as follows :
I. Sentimental; as Philadelphia (Brotherly-love).
II. Familiar and adjacent; as in old England ; such
as Chester (shire), "Bucks" (inghamshire).
III. In Gratitude, for national existence, in the
name "Washington" and "Dauphin."
IV. Aboriginal ; by poetical Indian tribal-names
as "Juniata" and "Wyoming."
V. Topographical, as "Centre," situated in the geo-
graphical centre of the Commonwealth ; also "Clarion"
from re-sounding echoes made by the steep sur-
VI. Faunal, as "Beaver," "Elk;" also "Schuylkill"
from Hollandish (Dutch) "schuil" in our word a ("y"
is substituted for the "i") it means shielded or hidden ;
and "kill" means a run or creek; hence hidden by
dense vegetation on its shores and enormous quanti-
ties of weeds in the stream.
VII. Political, as "Cameron" in 1860, and
In the midst of a Military furor, directly after the
War of the Revolution, a County was named Franklin
in 1784 — a glowing tribute to Doctor Benjamin
Franklin for his sparklingly brilliant experiments in
electricity, from them was evolved the "wireless" of
today. He was the Edison of his generation.
About half a century later, 1850, Fulton County was
called after Robert Fulton. Observe the coincidence
(both inventors) to the neighboring County: — "Frank-
lin." Fulton's invention of the steam-boat set the world
afloat, so that in 1918, 2,000,000 and more brave and
grateful Americans went "dry-shod" to France, be-
cause of our friendly Alliance with Louis XVI, that
saved the cause of the American colonies at the Siege
of Yorktown; resulted in the surrender of Corn-
wallis in 1781, subsequently founded the nationality of
the United States of America.
The southern tier of counties, being closer to
Philadelphia, in their naming seemed to have a livelier
sense of brotherhood in such names as Washington,
Franklin, Fulton and Greene.
Our own county, "Dauphin," shines among the
galaxy of the counties in being named for everlasting
gratitude to the "Fleur de Lis" of Louis XVI ; being
named in 1785, after the oldest son of Louis, Heir
Apparent, which the French called the "Dauphin."
A manifestation of Penn's gracious sentiments in the
Greek appellation Philadelphia, Brotherly Love ; Even
practical John Harris, the founder of this city, did call
for some time this primitive settlement "Louisbourg"
in grateful recognition for the vital French service
rendered the Nation. The Jail of this county has now
a stone "Fleur de Lis" over its portal. However, ego-
tism overcame Harris, and he affixed his own name;
that means "a comb of iron teeth" (a harrow). This
County has possibly been honored as the Capital of
Pennsylvania because of its appreciation of France's
attitude toward the infant U. S. — inculcated by Sir
William Penn's impassioned friendly suggestions.
How much has been wrought by the splendid states-
manship idea expressed by Sir William Penn in his
frame of government of the Province of which he
asserted himself as "Absolute Proprietor," absolute
because he desired his authority to come from popular
assent. The reverse of his seal bears the words
"MBRCY." "JUSTICE." The very essence of the
watch-word of today. (I have the seal here to show
you). Would that Sir William Penn could have seen
the fruition of some of his grand principles in the
haughty and proud-bearing of his great-great-grand-
sons "The Keystone Division," in victorious triumphal
march on their return from France in Philadelphia.
Without this incentive of brotherhood, that would have
been impossible ! What would have become of France ?
The bulwark of popular civilization ! Or without, also
the Pennsylvania invention by Robert Fulton on the
Conestoga Creek* in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
and the growth of static electricity in the trained
lightning of the "wireless" ? by Dr. Franklin.
♦Having read with care, the Lancaster County Historical
Societies Proceedings, to which I was referred, for the "Ful-
ton House Celebration" in Vol. XIII. No. 8, of its bound
transactions; Mrs. Sutcliff's book on "Robert Fulton and
The Clermont," and also the book of "Historic Inventions"
Hol'and, Phila. 1911, p. 112, beside private correspondence
from Lancaster, Pa. Regard the Conestoga creek; not the
Conowing Creek, the scene of the fourteen-year old boy Ful-
ton, to try propelling skiffs with mechanical paddles.
I. For the fact he was in Lancaster, at Isch and Messer-
smith's shops frequently, and found there a companion of 18
years of age, an apprentice ; whose father was a fisherman on
the Conestoga' s "quiet waters," used to take the son, Christo-
pher Gumpf with him ; Robert Fulton was with his boy-friend
and as they poled from place to place, got lazy and thought
they would work harder with their brains than their blis-
tered hands; so they taxed their ingenuity, to do Deter
Gumpf's bidding easier; this was accomplished; by aid they
could get at the shop where Christopher worked.
Lancaster at that time was the flourishing metropolis of
the County and had shops. In Little Britain Township where
Fulton was born the country is quite hilly so could not furnish
streams, that frequently placidly meandered in the Lower
A limestone formation, where streams flow lazily afford-
ing a still place for his uses. A flat-bottomed boat, at once
indicates a sluggish current.
III. "Henry" made his unsuccessful mechanically pro-
pelled craft experiments before Fulton on the Conestoga
(likely not unknown to Fulton). Lancaster was a place
where things were to be had; just like New York is now.
These facts make one decide that the Conestoga creek was
the stream upon which Fulton's mechanically self-propelled
skiff was tried.
There is no conclusive evidence found for considering
that the Conowingo Creek as the scene of any trials by Ful-
ton, because it was so far away from mechanical facilities
then only to be had at Lancaster. — H. H.
History lately took unrealizable treasure in the mak-
ing and in the downfall of an Empire founded on
"Obedience without Liberty." Penn's assertion caused
ultimately the diabolical European melee.
The recording pens in hosts of hands will soil tons
of paper, making books of this historical event in 1914.
"There is a moral in all human tales ;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past; —
First Freedom, and then glory — when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption — barbarism at last.
And History, with her volumes vast
Hath but one page !— "ROME !"
Owing to the means of communication, everything is
neighborly or quickly otherwise. Comparing the voy-
age of Columbus with recent aeroplane performances —
we look askance into the future. How did men live in
such monotony? No newspapers with their daily tele-
grams and all that it is to us. Only ponderous tomes.
Our forefathers made epochs deliberately. In the
Harrisburg "Chronical and Weekly Visitor" edited and
published by my Grandfather, Hugh Hamilton, Esq.,
quoted as "News" in November, 1815. the fact that
Napoleon Bonaparte had been defeated at Waterloo
on the 18th of June !
"This world is verily a passing show."
Good news then seems to have traveled slow.
We can keep this Anniversary where we may ; — we
will be thinking each in his heart of those not here.
It now affords one an agreeable pleasure to extend to
you a hearty welcome to our County, which has a
good French name in this state of Germanic influences
and to the grand Capital of the Commonwealth. — The
sylvan province of Sir William Penn ; also to view
from the "River Drive" on this side of the shore a real
"THE SUN-SET CITY.
There's a city that lies in the Kingdom of Clouds,
In the glorious country on high;
Which an azure and silvery curtain enshrouds,
To screen it from mortal eye.
A city of temples and turrets of gold,
That gleam by a sapphire sea;
Like jewels more splendid than earth may behold.
Or are dreamed of by you or by me.
And about it are highlands of amber that reach,
Far away till they meet in the gloom ;
And waters that hem an immaculate beach,
With fringes of luminous foam.
Aerial bridges of pearl there are,
And belfries of marvelous shapes;
And lighthouses lit by the evening star,
That sparkle on violet capes.
And hanging gardens that far away,
Enchantingly float aloof;
Rainbow pavilions in avenues gay,
And banners of glorious woof.
When the Summer's sunset's crimsoning fires,
Are aglow in the western sky;
The pilgrim discovers the domes and spires,
Of this wonderful city on high.
And gazing enrapt as the gathering shade,
Creeps over the twi-light lea;
Sees palace and pinnacle totter and fade,
And sink in the sapphire sea.
Till the vision loses by slow degrees,
The magical splendor it wore ;
The silvery curtain is drawn and he sees,
The beautiful city no more."
— Henry Sylvester Cornweil,
In "Home Book of Verse," Vol. VIII., p. 3460.
Henry Holt & Co., New York, 19 is.
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Chronological Order of English (familiarly) Named Counties of Province of Pennsylvania, and the Commonwealth
PHILADELPHIA Founders' Memorial Week 1909
Council of Penna., March 10,
Mayor Reyburn. Before 10th
Vol. I, Col. Record p. 57.
History of Chester Co.. Pa., | 1S81
J. Futhey Smith, Gilbert
Cope ; Evans, Primer, 18S1
A History of Bucks Co., by , 1853
W. J. Buck; Brown, Printer,
A little book bound in
LANCASTER I Bioren 1810
[ *"; sl ;
An old Law Book.
1749 ] YORK Bioren and Carey 1803
CUMBERLAND . Bioren 1803
BERKS , Statutes at Large of Penna., 1898
(Berkshire) | %£'$*'** R ^ ~ !
1752 NORTHAMPTON j Bioren 1803
9 j March
Carey and Bioren
Carey and Bioren
Carey and Bioren 1803
SOMERSET j Carey and Bioren 1803
Wales is very rugged; its
hills are called "Cam-
old name for Wales. They
were called by Cajsar when
in Britain "Cimri" or
Cambria or Welsh Tribes.