The Penn Family

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4th generation of Penns

Thomas Penn (b.1702 or 03 - d.1775)

1702, March 9th or on March 20th,1703, he born in Bristol, England, he was a son of William Penn and Hannah Penn (Callowhill). He grew up in his parents home at Ruscombe, Berkshire.

1715 or 1716, aged 13 he went to London to enter business. First employed by Michael Russell, mercer, and was later a partner in an unknown commercial business.

1718, his father died leaving all his propriety interests in Pennsylvania to his mother as the executrix for her four sons.

1727, he inherited one quarter of the proprietorship of Pennsylvania from his mother.

1732 - 41, he was in Philadelphia as manager of proprietary affairs of Pennsylvania.

1737, purchased, by fraud, Forks of the Delaware River from Native Americans. He managed this property through correspondence and made a huge fortune by selling it off, in plots, to immigrants.

1741, returned to England expecting to return to Pennsylvania but never did. He carried out his dealings with officials of the province and his business representatives there by correspondence. He obtained income by the selling of land to immigrants to Pennsylvania.

1743, wrote to Quakers saying that he "did not hold their opinions concerning defence" adding "I no longer continue the little distinction of dress".

1746, inherited a half of Pennsylvania from his brother, John Penn.

1751, August 22nd, married Lady Juliana Fermore, fourth daughter of Thomas, first Earl of Pomfret. He became a dissenting member of the Church of England. As a dissenter he was prevented by the Test Act and the requirements of taking oaths from assuming the actual Governorship of Pennsylvania. He and Juliana had 8 children five of whom, Julin, John, Granville, Sophia and Margaretta, survived into infancy.

1757, from September this year Benjamin Franklin was appointed as Pennsylvania's colonial agent in London. One of Franklin's first duties in his new post was to lodge an appeal to the Privy Council on behalf of Pennsylvania complaining about the refusal of the Penn family to pay tax on their vast landholdings as every other colonial settler had to do. Thomas Penn had already lobbied Lord Granville who was president of the Privy Council about his ongoing problems with Franklin and the Pennsylvania Assembly over personal land taxation. Lord Granville, thus gave Franklin a cold reception stating that laws and taxation in American colonies were the realm of the king and not of the colonial assemblies. Thus the ground was prepared for two decades of continual frustration of American settlers with the increasingly arrogant British establishment. Shortly after his meeting with Lord Granville Franklin met with Thomas Penn himself. This meeting soon became acrimonious. Franklin argued that the Charter William Penn had given to the assembly gave the assembly "all the powers and privileges of an assembly according to the rights of free-born subjects of England, and as is usual in any of the British plantations in America." Franklin recorded Thomas Penn's their conversation thus:

"Yes," says he, "but if my father granted privileges he was not by royal charter empowered to grant, nothing can be claimed by such a grant." I said: "Then if your father had no right to grant privileges he pretended to grant, and published all over Europe as granted, those who came to settle in the province on the faith of that grant, and in expectation of enjoying privileges contained in it, were deceived, cheated and betrayed."
He answered that they should themselves looked to that: that the royal charter was no secret; they who came to the province on his father's offer of privileges, if they were deceived it was their own fault. And he said with a kind of triumphing, laughing insolence, such as a low jockey might do when a purchaser complained on a horse. i was astonished to see him thus give up his father's character, and conceived at that moment a more cordial and thorough contempt for him than I ever felt for any man living."

Thomas Penn wrote from England to Richard Peters, the provincial secretary in Philadelphia, saying, "Mr Franklin's popularity is nothing here....He will be looked very coldly upon by great people. There are few of any consequence that have heard of his electrical experiments, those matters being attended by a particular set of people."

1759. Thomas and his brother Richard Penn became increasingly unpopular with the white establishment in Pennsylvania by instructing their Governors not to assent to any laws taxing their estates in common with the people. Amongst their opponents to this policy was Benjamin Franklin's son, William, who wrote in the Historical Review of Pennsylvania in 1759, that he estimated the Penn estates, then, to be worth ten million pounds sterling. One of Thomas Penn's letters, of 1767, spoke of the government's inclination to buy him out as proprietary, saying:

"It is the ill-natured project of Benjamin Franklin. They would agree to give us, by the hints of the minister, ten times the money they offered our father.
I have declined, and intimated we are not to be forced to it as Mr. Franklin would wish it".

1760, he purchased the estate of Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, England and virtually governed his lands in Pennsylvania from Stoke Park for the next 15 years. The estate was inherited by his son John Penn (1760 - 1834) who was born in this year. The estate remained in the Penn family's hands until 1848.

1775, March 21, Thomas Penn died.

William Penn Jr. (b.1681 - d.1720)

1681, March 14th, born, son of William Penn and Gulielma Maria Springett in County Cork, Ireland.

1696, witnessed the marriage, in Bristol, of his father to Hannah (Callowhill) Penn.

1699, January 12, married Mary Jones (1677-1733), daughter of Charles and Martha (Wathen) Jones. His father was present at the wedding.

The Bristol based Quakers who witnessed their wedding were:

Robert and Katherine Bound.

Richard Codrington,

of All Saints Parish.

Elizabeth (Jones) Coysgarne,

wife of Joseph a merchant.

Edward Jones,

glazier, St. James' Parish.

William Stafford,

mercer, St Nicholas Parish.

Lydia Hackett,

Francis Roach (Roch),

soapmaker, St Thomas Parish.

William Stafford,

mercer, St Nicholas Parish.

Nathaniel Wade,

(see entry under William Penn, 1696). They had two sons and one daughter.

He caused his father great embarrassment because of his dissolute behaviour.

1704, while he was in Philadelphia he declared himself virtually absolved from all connection with the Quakers. He was lavish in his lifestyle and fond of display and good living. He was brought to court for fighting in an inn. James Logan (see William Penn, 1699) said that he exceeded his father's limit on expenses, kept his kennel of hounds, and because "the whole town did not afford a suitable accommodation for the Governor's son, as a boarder," James Logan took William Clarke's great house; (afterwards Pemberton's in Chestnut Street) where James Logan, William Penn, Jr., Judge Mompesson, Governor Evans and others kept house "en famille", none of them having wives living there. It was thought that William Penn Junr was having an affair with at least one unmarried woman at this time. James Logan wrote,

"`Tis a pity his wife came not with him,
for her presence would have confined him within bounds
he was not too regular in observing".

1708, he signed the Pennsylvania Mortgage Agreement (see William Penn, 1708).

Around this time he formally renounced Quakerism and became a member of the Church of England.

1718, his father William Penn died. He attempted to take over his fathers proprietorship and Governorship of Pennsylvania and recommission Governor Keith and the Council in opposition to his mother who was in executrix. He said:

"I am, as his heir, become your proprietor and Governor,
and I take this occasion to declare to you my intentions of
strictly adhering to the interests of Pennsylvania.
I intend to be of no party, but am resolved to shake hands
with all honest men. Although I am of the Church of England,
and trust I shall die in her communion, I solemnly promise
the Quakers that I will on all occasions give them marks of my friendship,"

He inherited the Penn family estates in Ireland and England.
1720, he died at Liege, France.

Richard Penn I (b.1706 - d.1775(?))

We have no information on this member of the family.

John Penn (1699 - 1746)

1699, born in Philadelphia. Known as the 'American'.

He is thought to have been the favourite son of William Penn.

He was brought up in Bristol, England, by a cousin. He learnt the trade of Merchant in the linen trade.

He became a member of the Church of England.

1734, visited Pennsylvania.

He never married.

1746, June 30th, died in the South of France.


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