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“So Mom Do You Like Him?”: Colonial Quaker Marriage

Ahhh February – the month of love and romance.  Many aspects of human relationships and marriage are timeless, but there are a lot of differences between modern couples and those who founded Pennsylvania!

"Satire on marriage," Anonymous, 1700
“Satire on marriage,” Anonymous, 1700

While there are some modern-day couples who might face some obstacles in gaining acceptance from their families, it’s nothing like what they would have encounter as a 17th-century Quaker.  Quaker couples had to undergo a series of moral tests and the scrutiny of the Quaker society prior to their marriage. Not only did Quakers need consent for marriage from both sets of parents, they sought the permission of the whole Quaker community as well.

Quaker customs encouraged marriage within their own population and often disowned or banished those who decided to marry outside of the faith. The culture of the colonial Quaker society aimed to maintain a tight knit spiritual community, so they encouraged Quaker matches in the hopes of growing that community.  This meant they needed to have a large population of diverse families, since they also prohibited marriages between blood relations.  This included cousins up to the fourth degree removed.

They also forbid widowed Quakers from marrying their spouses’ relatives. The relatives of their deceased spouse were considered to be an extension of their family and violated the colonial marriage customs.  These restrictions were a larger issue than they might be today, since in the 17th Century, death rates were high and individuals often had multiple marriages during their lifetime.

When a Quaker couple like William Penn and Hannah Callowhill first proposed marriage, they began by seeking the approval of their parents (even if they were mature adults). Their written consent was needed if a couple was to proceed with the marriage. After receiving a blessing from both sets of parents, the couple presented their proposal to the entire community at the Quakers’ monthly religious meetings.

 

By Melanie Hankins, Intern

Further Reading

Barry Levy, Quaker and the American Family, 1988.

Women’s Meetings Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Minutes, Bucks County 1683-1705.

J. William Frost, The Quaker Family: a Portrait of the Society of Friend.

Curioisities in Pennsbury Manor’s Garden

We have many vegetables and herbs growing in the Kitchen Garden that we still grow and use today, but what about the ones we don’t? 

For the adventurous visitor who loves to poke around and explore, there are some wonderfully unusual plants you can find tucked away in corners and along the side paths of the Kitchen Garden.  I love taking a tour with our gardener, he can point out all sorts of curiosities and the creative ways they discovered for using them in the 17th Century!

One of my favorite plants is definitely the marsh mallow… yes, you read that correctly!  The roots of this plant, when crushed up and beaten with sugar and egg whites, produces a gooey, white, mixture very similar to our modern marshmallows.  If you visit the garden, be sure to touch the leaves, which are amazing – they feel like a thick, luxurious velvet!

Along the right wall of the garden, you’ll find a very special plant  – jewelweed, also called lady’s purse. The juice in the stem can combat poison ivy and poison oak. Modern hikers and campers should definitely learn to recognize this plant, which is most distinctive when it starts to bloom in August.  The blossoms are bright orange, and can often be found near where the poison ivy is growing. The juice of this plant is often used to combat other problems, including bee stings and mosquito bites.

Be sure to stop by Pennsbury’s Kitchen Garden and check out what’s growing this season!

By Hannah Howard, Volunteer & Special Project Coordinator

Intern Reflections: Oral History

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!

 An Interview with Nancy Kolb

As we work to collect stories about Pennsbury Manor’s history and evolution, a major goal was tracking down and interviewing some of the staff and volunteers who worked with Pennsbury over the years. Their stories provide a great picture of Pennsbury as it grew and changed.

 

As site director for two years and a key component in developing the story of Pennsbury Manor, Nancy Kolb provided us with everything we had hoped for during a recent phone interview. She was a pleasure to talk to and had a surprising humor in her tone as she revealed, “I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun in my career than I did in the three years we were building that program.”

At the time of Mrs. Kolb’s appointment as Director of the site, Pennsbury was somewhat of a blank slate. With the assistance of the staff and outside resources, Mrs. Kolb re-furnished the Manor House, started up the school programs, and began the tradition of the tour guides dressing in period clothing. Her main goals were to create a more historically accurate Pennsbury that would interest children and adults alike.

Mrs. Kolb admits that there truly is no way to know what Pennsbury looked like to William Penn. She, like many others, used the small amount of historical evidence that she could find to better Pennsbury. She fondly admits, “When I was in England I actually went to Jordan’s [Crossing in Buckinghamshire] where he [William Penn] is buried and I expected a bolt of lightning to come out and hit me on the head, but it didn’t which was very reassuring”. This confirm to Nancy that she’d made Penn proud and hopefully he’ll continue to be as each site director adds to their own ideas and evolves Pennsbury into one of the most unique reconstructions in history!

By Nicole Smith, Intern

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.

Intern Reflections: Sailing in Style

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!

Over the past two months, I have been searching through the archives of Pennsbury Manor. My mission is to find points of interest that would help me in my proposal for a 75th anniversary exhibit. I must admit, the first time I looked through the archives I was overwhelmed. There were so many papers, maps, charts, and photos to look through that at times I have felt like I was going to drown with information!

Penn's Barge, 1982

 

But I have discovered some gems, and one of these gems is the Barge. A reproduction based on Penn’s original description, it’s currently located in an open shed right outside the Visitor Center. I noticed in following tours of the site, the barge was often glossed over, and I found myself doing the same in my own tours.  So I decided to focus much of my research on this fascinating boat. 

What I found really surprised me. The barge, which was completed in 1968, spent much of the late 70s and early 80s touring various museums and historical site as an important interpretation symbol of 17th century transportation. People even had the chance to use the boat in the water. I found dozens of documents detailing requests from other institutions such as the American Maritime Museum requesting the barge for various events. There was even a year (1988) where the barge took a month long journey across the Delaware River (for community events) with an additional trip to Erie.

One of the most interesting items I found was a Youtube video featuring the barge from a mini-series in 1986 called George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation. Check out the video at this link and look for the barge to appear around the 7:29 mark:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhkY25xfH9g

The Barge today is housed in the Boathouse behind the Visitor Center. Guests can read about the Delaware River transportation and try out knotting the ropes.

 

Unfortunately, all this travel took a toll on the barge, and by the early 90s it was time to either retire the barge or face the cost of major repairs. It just amazed and saddened me how the incredible journey of this object has gotten lost over the years. What I’m working on now is to answer how it came to be this way, and could anything had been done differently?

By Lindsay Jordan, Intern

Do you have memories of seeing the barge in action?  Please share in the comments!

Intern Reflections: An Evolving Story

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

If there is one thing I have learned interning here at Pennsbury Manor, it is that Pennsbury is constantly evolving. As new information is discovered and new eyes set upon a topic, a fresh interpretation is born and often implemented. Pennsbury has had as many as four different interpretation plans during its 75 years, which have changed the Manor from a place that focuses solely on William Penn and his belongings to focusing on the culture of Penn’s time, while still incorporating William, his family, and the different relationships he had at his manor.

Apple trees growing along the fence

Our interpretation is not the only thing that has changed over time. The physical layout of the site and buildings has also changed as well. Some changes were minor, such as furniture bouncing from room to room as spaces are updated with a more authentic look. Other changes were on a much larger scale. A few years after Pennsbury was open to the public in 1949, a new outbuilding was constructed. Another major change was the location of Penn’s barge. The barge was initially along the river, a necessity when docking one’s boat. Today, the barge is now located next to the visitors center to prevent water damage.

View of the back of the Manor House

Pennsbury Manor is doing something that many other museums simply cannot seem to do: adapt. Pennsbury is always adapting to new information that is uncovered, and strives to become as historically accurate as possible with the little information accessible. All while honoring the man who constructed the city of brotherly love, and who Thomas Jefferson once called “the greatest lawgiver the world has produced.”

By Kyle Lutteroty, Intern

Pennsbury Manor’s Summer Harvest

It’s been a great summer for our garden here at Pennsbury Manor! 

Because of all the rain, our summer harvest is growing quickly and will need to be harvested in the next few weeks.  This would have been fantastic news in the 17th Century.  By harvesting the summer crops quickly, they have more time to turn over the beds and replant the next crop. They wouldn’t want to waste a single day of warm weather, since what they can cultivate during the spring, summer, and fall will determine how much food they have to last the winter.

For those of us whose summer BBQ’s wouldn’t be the same without some tangy horseradish, check out the amazing crop growing near the garden cistern! Horseradish is one of those plants that can be continually harvested as needed, so it needs some good protection from the bunnies who like to tour our Kitchen Garden!  The fencing shown here is called “wattle fencing” and uses the flexible branches trimmed off of the apple trees in the spring. It’s a wonderful way to use the resources of the garden while also created a sturdy protection for your crops. 

Most of our field crops – barley, buckwheat, oats, wheat, and rye – were just harvested. Grains were an essential part of the colonists’ diet and could be dried and stored away to use throughout the winter.  The last one we’ll harvest will be the flax, which gets pulled up by the root and used as a fiber in making linen.  Most farms wouldn’t make their own linen, but they could grow it and sell it to the nearby cottage industries, who would then break the reeds, comb out the fibers, and weave on a loom. 

Our white pattypan squash has taken over one of the garden beds, it’s gorgeous!  Pattypan is an early squash, you can see they are starting to blossom and will hopefully have a large harvest.  Next up will be another planting of beans, radishes, beets, and yellow crookneck squash which wil be harvest this fall.

 Chives are a great plant to grow in the Kitchen Garden, since you can chop off the stalks and it will keep growing back all season.  Mustard Greens are another constant resource that can be picked anytime, and they are self-sewn and easy to grow. But some plants take a longer time to mature. Our asparagus is still in its first year of growth, so we’re not ready to harvest this year. Leaving the asparagus shoots alone for 2-3 years before harvesting means you will have a much bigger yield with larger stalks. But of course when living in the new colony, if the garden had a bad season and you were desperate for the food, you would have to harvest what you could to survive. 

 Stay tuned this fall for more updates on our Kitchen Garden’s progress!

 

Life in the Governor’s House: A Quaker Love Triangle!

Two young Quaker women conversing in Pennsbury's front court garden. Marriage was an important decision, one that would require serious discussion with friends and family.

Ann Shippen’s Story (Part II)

In an earlier post we shared the story of Ann Shippen, who at age 17 was living with the Penn family at Pennsbury Manor.  Ann was being courted by two men, James Logan and Thomas Story, both loyal confidantes of William Penn and fellow Quakers.  Ann’s father, Edward Shippen, voiced his opinion regarding the courtship and favored Thomas Story over James Logan. He thought Logan, who was 10 years older than Ann, to be too young, too naïve, and not successful enough to support his daughter. He preferred Thomas Story because he was more mature (20 years older than Ann), and as a Quaker minister and a member of the Provincial Council, was more established.

Despite the discouragement of Edward Shippen, Logan continued to court Ann at the same time as Story. Their competition for Ann’s hand in marriage became so well known in Philadelphia that William Penn wrote of his concern in this 1704 letter to James Logan –

“I am anxiously grieved for thy unhappy love for thy sake and my own, for T.S., [Thomas Story] and thy discord has been no service here any more than there.”

After several years of courtship from both James Logan and Thomas Story, Ann was finally convinced of Thomas Story’s love for her.  Story confessed his love to her by saying that he had “ the patience beyond what was common,” and that he would, “reasonably try all or stretch upon the rack, which had no common heart, nor soul could be able to endure.” Ann overlooked the 20-year age difference, listened to her father, and finally accepted Thomas’s proposal.

The couple married in July, 1706 and lived in Philadelphia. Sadly, their marriage was short-lived.  Ann died in 1710. There were no children. Thomas, who died in 1742, never remarried.

Melanie Hankins, Intern

Further Reading

John W. Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of America, 1978.

Albert Cook Myers, Hannah Logan’s Courtship: A True Narrative, 1904.

Craig W. Hortle, Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania: A Biographical Dictionary Volume Two 1710-1756, 1993.

Life in the Governor’s House: Ann Shippen’s Story (Part I)

Pennsbury Manor's Manor House

 Ann Shippen was the 17 year-old daughter of Edward Shippen, a prominent Philadelphia Quaker. She became acquainted with the Penn family when they stayed at her father’s home in Philadelphia. When William and Hannah Penn moved into their new country home along the Delaware River in the spring of 1700, Ann joined the household at Pennsbury Manor.

It was common in Quaker families to have their daughters live with another Quaker family to further their education. Here at Pennsbury, Ann learned from Hannah Penn how to manage the many responsibilities of a household, and became friends with Penn’s daughter Letitia, and Abigail Pemberton, the daughter of Phineas Pemberton, who was also living at Pennsbury for the same reason. The girls helped Hannah with household tasks and other responsibilities to keep Pennsbury running smoothly. Hannah had also just given birth to her first child, so the extra help from Ann and the other girls was certainly helpful.

Ann attracted several suitors while at Pennsbury Manor. James Logan and Thomas Story were both interested in courting Ann.  James Logan was William Penn’s secretary, and would later serve as the manager of Penn’s business affairs in the Pennsylvania colony.  Logan eventually became one of the most influential and wealthy Quakers in the colony, but at that time he was not so well-established. On the other hand, Thomas Story was already a prominent member of the community, a Quaker minister, and a member of the Provincial Council.

Picart, "Two figures for a fete galante," 1708
Picart, "Two figures for a fete galante," 1708

Although these men were friends and colleagues for many years, their interest in Ann strained their relationship to the point where the men publicly debated the courtship.  Story charged Logan with offensive behavior through spoken and written word that was against Quaker discipline. Logan claimed Story could not carry a conversation with him in a civilized manner. Young Ann was caught in the middle. Who would she select as her future husband!

By Melanie Hankins, Intern

 

 

Further Reading

John W. Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of America, 1978.

Albert Cook Myers, Hannah Logan’s Courtship: A True Narrative, 1904.

Craig W. Hortle, Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania: A Biographical Dictionary Volume Two 1710-1756, 1993.

Our amazing (rain-free) Holly Nights Spectacular!

We had such a wonderful time with our visitors on Holly Nights this year!!  The rain gave us a 5-hour window to enjoy our Friday night, and we were so excited to see so many visitors come out.  This has been a long-standing tradition at Pennsbury Manor for at least 30 years, and both evenings turned out to be beautiful and full of holiday spirit.

We wanted to share some awesome photos of this year’s event:

 decorations Putting up the decorations!

DSC_0065 Volunteers help offer demonstrations every year, including this fan-favorite – Pomander Balls are made by sticking oranges
with cloves and rolling them in a mixture of cinnamin, nutmeg, and other spices

cooking over an open hearth

 Cooking over the open-hearth for visitors – looks delicious!

21692_511636358855191_406912123_n

 Candlelight makes the 17th-century manor house come alive.

 william penn

William Penn defeats the notorious pirate Captain Kidd in our classic 17th-century Mummer’s Play!

blacksmith

Our awesome blacksmiths working in the warmest spot on site – lucky guys, but try doing this on a hot August afternoon!

the site with luminaries

Thank you so much to everyone who came out for Holly Nights!  We had between 80 and 120 volunteers participating each night
(not including all our amazing performers!), so we owe all our success to their dedication and joyful holiday spirit.

Have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to blogging with you in the New Year!

 

By Hannah Howard

Photographs courtesy of Tabitha Dardes, PR, and Joseph Long, volunteer

Pennsbury red
Please note Pennsbury Manor will be closed to the public January and February for the scheduled maintenance of our collections. Join us on Sunday March 10th 1-4pm  for our FREE Charter Day event!

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