William Penn Signed Land Grant.


William Penn Signed Land Grant.

PENN, William.

Item Number: 121655

Rare early American land grant signed by the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn as the new province’s first governor. One page, script on vellum, the document is dated January 26, 1684 and grants s tract of land to one of the earliest Quaker colonists to settle in Philadelphia county, Thomas Simmons and reads in part, “Know yee that I have given granted & confirmed & by these present for me my Heirs & Successors, Proprietor of Pennsylvania do give grant & confirm unto ye s’d Thomas Simmons his heirs & assign for ever ye s’d Two Hundred Acres of Land to have & enjoy ye s’d Land to ye only & behoof of ye s’d Thomas Simmons to be holden of me my Heirs and Successors Proprietaries of Pennsylvania… In Witness to hereof I have caused these my Letters to be mad Patents, witness my self at Philadelphia ye Six & Twentieth day of ye First Month One Thousand six Hundred Eighty Four Being ye Sixth Year of ye King’s Reign & ye Fourth of my Government, William Penn.” Signed by William Penn at the conclusion of the document. Retaining the paper seal. In near fine condition. Elaborately double matted and framed with two lithographic portraits of Penn, and a large lithograph of his early residences. The entire piece measures 32.25 inches by 29.25 inches. An exceptional presentation.

In 1677 a group of prominent Quakers that included Penn purchased the colonial province of West Jersey (half of the current state of New Jersey), and soon East Jersey in 1682. With the New Jersey foothold in place, Penn pressed his case to extend the Quaker region. Whether from personal sympathy or political expediency, to Penn's surprise, the King granted an extraordinarily generous charter which made Penn the world's largest private (non-royal) landowner, with over 45,000 square miles. Penn first called the area "New Wales", then "Sylvania" (Latin for "forests" or "woods"), which King Charles II changed to "Pennsylvania" in honor of the elder Penn. Penn then traveled to America and while there, he negotiated Pennsylvania's first land-purchase survey with the Lenape Indian tribe. Penn purchased the first tract of land under a white oak tree at Graystones on July 15, 1682 and, drawing heavily from John Locke, drafted a charter of liberties for the settlement creating a political utopia guaranteeing free and fair trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom from unjust imprisonment and free elections.

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