Pennsylvania may be rather famous in its role in the founding of the United States from the Liberty Bell to the Constitution as well as for its own founding as well as its namesake.
Many may be familiar with the story of William Penn, how he came in possession of the vast expanse of land to become known as “Penn’s Woods” all due to a royal debt owed his father.
Penn landed in Chester almost 335 years ago and as Penn went forward granting portions of the land to create his Quaker community, his own seal became part of Pennsylvania’s legend.
At the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center, there is one such indenture given to Richard Crosby of Moore in the County Pallatine, dated March 16, 1681.
The indenture is written with flourishing, regal calligraphy on one sheet of paper.
Even a description of Pennsylvania is included, described in great exquisite detail to its latitude and longitude, as given by King Charles II in the 33rd year of his reign.
For 20 pounds, Crosby, and his heirs, received 1,000 acres of land so that they “may quietly and peaceably have hold and enjoy said One thousand acres and every part thereof.”
Crosby’s land was located in Middletown between the Chester and Ridley creeks, north of the border of Chester.
The famous William Penn seal is actually present and can be prominently seen at the bottom of the document.
Besides his hope that Pennsylvania would provide a refuge for those Quakers being persecuted in England, Penn also wanted Pennsylvania to be financially beneficial for his family. However, that was not to be as it was in his family’s possession until the American Revolution and Penn himself was penniless at the time of his death.
The Crosby grant itself is housed at Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The museum’s telephone number is 610-872-0502. Parking is free on the society lot behind the building or across the street in the municipal lot.
Membership in the Delaware County Historical Society ranges from $10 for students, $27 for individuals to $250 at the patron level. It includes free admission to the society’s Chester museum and library at 408 Avenue of the States, the society newsletter and preferred reservations and discounts for lectures and events. To join, please visit www.padelcohistory.org or call 610-359-0832.
William Penn signed this indenture for Richard Crosby for a slice of land in Middletown.