Every American schoolchild knows something about William Penn. Probably this one: In 1681, the King of England, Charles II, gave William Penn an enormous amount of land in the New World to satisfy a debt owed to his father. As a young man, William Penn had converted to the Society of Friends (which aggravated his father to no end), and offered this land (modern day Pennsylvania and Delaware) to welcome any and all who had been persecuted for religious beliefs.
And oh…did they come!
In fact, my own German Baptist ancestors had purchased land in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania (at that time, it was known as Penn’s Woods) from land agents who had worked for William Penn.
As I researched William Penn’s life for Anna’s Crossing and the ‘Amish Beginnings’ series, I was astounded by how much impact he’d had on the development of our country. Pennsylvania had been heavily influenced by Quakers throughout the 18th century, and their fingerprints are all over the state’s charter and, later, the U.S. Constitution (unity! democracy! freedom for all!).
Studying William Penn’s life made me want to learn more about him. I came across many of his quotes, a window into how his mind worked. Below is one that made me smile. To think that William Penn felt the crunch of time in the 1600s, just like we do!
For the month of February, Amish Wisdom will be providing Quaker proverbs and sayings in our daily emails. Quotes by William Penn, George Fox, Margaret Fell (wife to George Fox), and many others. Penn Dutch proverbs will resume on March 1st. We hope you enjoy the change-up!
And if you haven’t subscribed to our daily Amish proverbs, consider yourself invited to give them a try! It’s easy to unsubscribe…but we think you’ll love them. Click here to subscribe.
Here’s a question for you: what’s one fact you remember learning about William Penn? Please share your knowledge in the comments below. We love to learn from readers!
More about Phoebe’s Light
Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Macy, a man whom she loathes.
Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way–just in time.
In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.