William Penn Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1644 - 1718 *** Full Name: William Penn *** Occupation: English Real Estate Entrepreneur, early Quaker, Philosopher and founding the Province of Pennsylvania *** Date of Birth: William Penn was born on October 14th 1644 *** Place of Birth: William Penn was born in Tower Hill, London, England *** Family background: His father was Sir William Penn an English Admiral and his mother was Margaret Jasper the daughter of a wealthy merchant from Rotterdam and previously widowed. His father had served in the Commonwealth Navy under Cromwell during the English Civil War and was rewarded with land and property in Ireland *** Early life and childhood: He grew up London, he contracted smallpox as a young boy and lost all of his hair which prompted his parents to move out of London and to an estate in Essex, he would wear a wig until he completed college *** Education: William Penn began his education at Chigwell School, private tutors taught him while in Ireland and later he attended Christ Church in Oxford
William Penn Fact 1: William Penn was born on October 14th 1644 during the 17th century and a time of political unrest between those that were loyal to the Royals and those that stood behind Cromwell.
William Penn Fact 2: When he was a young boy of five years old King Charles I was tried and executed.
William Penn Fact 3: Life for him as a young boy was treacherous as his father served in the Royal Navy and had supported King Charles and after an unsuccessful undertaking in the Caribbean, Admiral Penn and his family were forced to live in Ireland.
William Penn Fact 4: At fifteen years of age, in Ireland, William Penn met a Quaker missionary, Thomas Loe, for the first time.
William Penn Fact 5: The year was 1658 and Cromwell was dead. The royalist were up in arms and the Penn family returned to their home in England by which point his father was sent on a secret assignment to bring Prince Charles back from exile for which Admiral Penn was given a leading role as Commissioner of the Navy and he was knighted.
William Penn Fact 6: By this time he was attending college and to a unpredictable array of Cavaliers, Quakers and Puritans and because of his fatherís position he was firmly in the camp of the Cavaliers but in spirit he sided more with the mistreated Quakers so he kept more and more to himself to avoid an conflict.
William Penn Fact 7: Not only was there unrest in the wider world but in the Penn household as well. William would find himself expelled from school for siding with a member of staff recently fired, his father even evicted him from his home for a short time, until his mother made peace between father and son. But she too would come to see that Williamís behavior was not conducive to a harmonious home and he was shipped off to Paris.
William Penn Fact 8: William Penn would return home after some two years, a more mature young man, well-mannered and sophisticated. His father was pleased and although he returned to his education, as war approached with the Dutch he decided to follow his father and became an emissary between the King and his father.
William Penn Fact 9: With his father restored to the family once more, although laid low with gout, young William Penn was dispatched to settle affairs in Ireland and there he would become a soldier and would take park in defeating a local Irish rebellion.
William Penn Fact 10: On his return to England and home, William Penn expressed his wish to join the military proper but his father turned him from that path and so he return to Ireland to contemplate his future.
William Penn Fact 11: It was at this time that William Penn finally, having tip toed around the inevitability of the situation, he fully understood he wanted to become a Quaker.
William Penn Fact 12: Over the next six years he would find himself travelling back and forth to mainland Europe on Quaker business, he found himself imprisoned, which much distressed his father but nevertheless his father came to respect him and his principles.
William Penn Fact 13: After the death of his father and with the continued persecution of the Quakers, young William Penn approached the King and Duke of York directly requesting a solution to the dilemma, a mass emigration of English Quakers to America, specifically New Jersey.
William Penn Fact 14: The King was in agreement and surprisingly went so far as to make young William the most land wealthy, non Royal, private landowner of America at the time.
William Penn Fact 15: The deed done a name was to be found for this new area, William Penn happened upon Sylvania being Latin for forests or woods and the King put the final stamp on it by calling it Pennsylvania in honor of his loyal servant Admiral Penn.
William Penn Fact 16: Although progress was slow William Penn finally managed to convince Quakers to risk the dangerous journey to a new home in exchange for the religious freedom that they did not have at home currently.
William Penn Fact 17: William Penn created a working Framework of Government with the inclusion of amendments to enable the evolution of the Framework.
William Penn Fact 18: A dispute developed with Lord Baltimore over boundaries, William was not always as punctilious with details as he should have been and this caused major conflict.William Penn Fact 19: William Penn returned to England in 1684 to try and resolve this dispute which in reality would continue for many decades but was initially settled by the newly crown King James II formerly the Duke of York and who would rule in his favor.
William Penn Fact 20: William Penn finally decided to return to Pennsylvania in 1699 and found much changed particularly in the arena of religious diversity, this area was succeeding together with the growing retail market as well as all the green spaces he had planted coming to fruition.
William Penn Fact 21: His wife was not wholly happy in America leading the life of the hostess and governorís wife and so with the threat of conflict with France, he decided to return to England with his family.
William Penn Fact 22: As was his problem always with finances he had neglected financial matters and so was taken advantage of in the worst way. He died penniless at his home in Ruscombe, in Berkshire on July 30th 1718 and his body laid to rest in a cemetery of the Jordans Quaker meeting house.
Influence & Legacy: Although Pennsylvania did not maintain the religious freedom in the way Penn had envisioned what it did managed to achieve was a secular state lead by commence. What was also event were his political and legal innovations that took root. The Quaker school, later to be renamed the William Penn Charter School would go on to become the oldest Quaker school in the world and a very reputable school.
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