Pennsylvania Trails to the Past

This state and many of its counties are available for adoption. If you are interested in hosting any county or this state, please let me know. If you have anything that you would like to share, please let me know.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the tribes of Delaware, Susquehannock, Eriez, Shawnee and others called this their home. In the 1600s, both the Dutch and English claimed both sides of the Delaware River as their possessions, but the Dutch were the first to actually arrive. The Third Anglo-Dutch War saw the English as victors of this territory and in 1681, King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn to repay a debt of 16000 pounds owed to his father, Admiral Penn. The charter was called Pennsylvania, meaning Penn's Woods, named after Admiral Penn.

Between 1730 and when it was shut down by Parliament with the Currency Act of 1764, the Pennsylvania Colony made its own paper money to account for the shortage of actual gold and silver. The paper money was called Colonial Scrip. The Colony issued "bills of credit", which were as good as gold or silver coins because of their legal tender status. Since they were issued by the government and not a banking institution, it was an interest-free proposition, largely defraying the expense of the government and therefore taxation of the people. It also promoted general employment and prosperity, since the Government used discretion and did not issue too much to inflate the currency. Benjamin Franklin had a hand in creating this currency, of which he said its utility was never to be disputed, and it also met with the "cautious approval" of Adam Smith.

After the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, Delegate John Dickinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. The Congress was the first meeting of the Thirteen Colonies, called at the request of the Massachusetts Assembly, but only nine colonies sent delegates. Dickinson then wrote Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, To the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, which were published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 2, 1767, and February 15, 1768.

When the Founding Fathers of the United States convened in Philadelphia in 1774, 12 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress.[39] The Second Continental Congress, which also met in Philadelphia (in May 1775), drew up and signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, but when that city was captured by the British, the Continental Congress escaped westward, meeting at the Lancaster courthouse on Saturday, September 27, 1777, and then to York. There they drew up the Articles of Confederation that formed 13 independent colonies into a new nation. Later, the Constitution was written, and Philadelphia was once again chosen to be cradle to the new American Nation.

Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the US Constitution on 12 Dec 1787.

Although the state legislation met in and around Philadelphia for a many years, making it's home in Independence Hall for a half a century, a more central location was desired and in 1799, the state legislators began meeting in the Lancaster Court House. In 1812, the state legislators began meeting in the Old Dauphin Court House in Harrisburg until the completion of the Old Redbrick Capitol was finished in Dec 1821. The building burned down in 1897 and the state legislation met in the Grace Methodist Church on State Street until 1907 when the new capitol was completed.

State Motto: Virtue, Liberty and Independence
State Tree:  Hemlock
State Bird:  Ruffed Grouse
State Flower:  Mountain Laurel
State Insect:  Pennsylvania Firefly
State Animal:  White-tailed Deer
State Dog:  Great Dane
State Fish:  Brook Trout
State Beverage:  Milk
State Song:  Pennsylvania
State Dance:  Polka
State Toy:  Slinky
State Ship:  United States Brig Niagara
State Soil:  Hazelton

Surnames on Our Family Tree