Intern Reflections: The William Penn Farm

Pennsbury Manor’s interns have been hard at work researching new stories for our 75th anniversary. As they continue to explore Pennsbury’s history, we’ll be sharing their reflections on what they’re discovering!

For having lived here only 4 years, Penn’s ties to the land and its people seems to have lasted long after the buildings had disappeared. Not only did they work the land, but people continued to remember him by naming landmarks and businesses in his honor. In fact, I discovered there was a William Penn Farm located in the same area as Penn’s original estate!

Barns near the Crozier Farmhouse

The Warner Company owned most of the land in the area where Pennsbury is today, and the acreage they weren’t using to mine sand and gravel was rented out to the King’s Farm Company, who owned and operated William Penn Farm.  The Crozier Family’s farmhouse, which had been built on Penn’s original Manor House foundations and was home to 3 generations of the Crozier family, was left standing and become home to a whole new generation of Pennsylvania farmers. The tenants and families who worked the Penn Farm created a community of their own.

Crozier Farmhouse


In 1900, William Morris Leedom was in charge of overseeing the farm. His grandson, Rev. George C. Leedom, Jr. recalls the Crozier house as being home of both his grandparents and parents. There have even been several Leedom family reunions held on the grounds at Pennsbury Manor. William Leedom also built an earthen wharf in 1900 named “Billy Penn Wharf.” This wharf served as a place for river traffic to bring goods for the Penn Farm and its neighbors, and as a way to ship farm produce for sale upriver to Trenton or down to Philadelphia. You can see the wharf, along the layout of the farm property, in the aerial shot below:

aerial view of Pennsbury, 1932


Seymour Yardley Warner, a Quaker, was the last owner of the farm under the steward system that had been in place. George Caulton Leedom, Rev. Leedom’s father, became in charge of the William Penn Farm when his father died in 1919. Rev. Leedom’s mother, Ethel Leedom, worked under Warner as a cook to feed him and his guests as well as overseer of the economic aspect of the farm. Warner sold the farm for gravel interests in 1926. Rev. Leedom believed that the land deeded to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was through the purchase from Warner.

 By Sarah Lepianka, Intern 

Source: “Belated Impressions of Pennsbury” by Rev. George C. Leedom, Jr.

Our Newest Resident: Meet Romeo!

Pennsbury is pleased to welcome a new addition to our “Living Collections”: meet Romeo!

Romeo is a 26 year old white Arabian horse who moved in on Friday, January 6.  He comes to us after a long and uncertain road. He worked as a school horse teaching children to ride, which explains his calmness and sweet nature.  He spent some time at Special Equestrians in Warrington, then retired about a year ago.  

His next owner was, unfortunately, not responsible in the care for Romeo.  In October the staff at Special Equestrians learned that he was to be sent to slaughter.  One hero in particular, Kaitlin, rushed over and literally took him off the truck and loaded him into her own trailer for a return to Special Equestrians.  Kaitlin found that Romeo had lost 300-400 lbs. and that his ribs were showing.  Furthermore, he had rain rot (from not being sheltered properly) and an (thankfully easily treatable) fungal infection that was out of control.  Kaitlin nursed him back to health, and special equestrians offered use of a stall.  But they could only offer the stall until the beginning of January.  Romeo’s future was more uncertain than ever.

A Pennsbury volunteer who also spends time with Special Equestrians told us about Romeo.  With time running out, we went over to meet Romeo and found a delightful, calm, and people-oriented gentleman.  Some generous donors offered to help pay for his upkeep, Romeo’s health was cleared, volunteers worked overtime to ready his new stall, and everything came together for the big move.  At first, as Romeo walked off the truck, Maraaca (our current horse), took off in fear.  But she soon remembered her manners and the two horses were instant friends.  We’ve never seen such a smooth introduction! 

Romeo was selected not only for his temperament, but for his looks as well.  Arabians are small horses, and our research indicates that many of the horses in early Pennsylvania were under-sized.  Romeo is also white and a gelding (castrated male).  Records show that William Penn had 2 white mares and a white gelding at Pennsbury Manor. 

It is a truly remarkable accomplishment that so many people came together to save a horse, keep Pennsbury’s popular animal program running, and ultimately help our visitors understand the strong link between early settlers and horses.   Please stop by this spring (we re-open in March) to meet Romeo and the other residents of Pennsbury’s stables!




Written by Mary Ellyn Kunz, Museum Educator

Skip to content