Friday, January 23, 2015

Excerpt from William Penn and Other Famous Pennsylvanians

The founder of Pennsylvania started life in 1644 as the son of a prominent couple, Admiral William Penn and his wife Margaret who lived in London, England. Young William grew up in a rich home with lots of food, clothing, and fun things to do. His family dressed well and liked the current entertainments of singing, dancing, playing cards, and competing in sports. His father, an admiral in the English Navy, supported military actions. The family attended the established church of the time, the Church of England.

When William was a little boy, read more
a Quaker named Thomas Loe visited his home to speak with his father. William liked Mr. Loe and later, as a law student at Oxford University, took time to hear Mr. Loe speak several more times. During those talks, William heard about the gospel of Christ and what it meant to be a follower of Christ. William felt drawn to Loe’s words because of the instances throughout his youth when William had heard God’s spirit speaking to him.

After leaving school at Oxford, William Penn pursued a variety of activities. First, he traveled in Europe then served in the military. Later he lived in Cork, Ireland, to manage his father’s estates. Who should show up at Cork? Again, Thomas Loe!

The young Mr. Penn attended the Quaker meetings held by Mr. Loe and other Quaker leaders in Cork. Their words convinced Mr. Penn that these men knew the truth. He decided to forsake his father’s way of life and live as a committed Quaker. To be a follower of Christ as a Quaker meant confessing Christ as Savior and forsaking singing, dancing, playing cards, and competing in sports. He couldn't serve in the military again. William had to refuse to take off his hat as a sign of respect, bow before others, or swear an oath. He learned to address all people with the words, thee and thou, and wear plain clothing. Mr. Penn’s new way of life made trouble at home because his father did not understand….

Ruth Snyder invited me to be part of a blog tour that she is hosting. This week’s blogs contain excerpts from each writer’s current work. The above piece about William Penn is from my book about famous Pennsylvanians for homeschoolers. In the book I include a play about each famous person. William Penn's play centers on his embarking on a trip to Philadelphia by boat from Pennsbury Manor. Because the book is for homeschoolers to use for studying Pennsylvania history, each section has questions and writing assignments, along with map and timeline work. I’m so excited to be just about finished! 

Check out the other samples of writing on Ruth Snyder’s blog: Ruth L Snyder  
Update: Now it is finished and for sale! William Penn and Other Pennsylvanians

Klein, Philip Shriver, and Ari Arthur Hoogenboom. A History of Pennsylvania. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973. Print.

Trussell, John B. B. William Penn: Architect of a Nation. Harrisburg, Pa: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1980. Print.

Worthington, Hall V. "A Biography of William Penn ." Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <>


  1. Sandy,
    Thanks for sharing this snippet about William Penn with us. I'm sure you've had fun learning while compiling this resource. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Ruth! Yes, I did enjoy reading about William Penn. He was a godly man.

  2. I r3cognized him right away. Just saw him at the museum in Harrisburg the other week. Glad I'm not a Quaker!

    1. I agree, but I admire that he acted on his beliefs despite persecution.