William Penn was born October 14, 1644 in London too Admiral Penn and Margret Penn. William was an adventurous little boy catching and finding anything he could. He was an extremely fast runner and could run three miles nonstop. When William was very young he got smallpox and it left him bald; he always had to wear a wig. When William was four years old a group of rebels rose up against the King or Roundheads, as they were called, over threw King Charles and beheaded him. They went on beheading anyone loyal to the King. William’s father was one of the main leaders and was the captain over the rebel’s ships and he over threw the King’s navy. When the rebellion was over William’s father, now Sir William Penn, decided to move into the countryside. William grew up in the country horseback riding, hunting, and doing anything he wanted to. The Penn’s did not really have a religion and Sir William Penn liked it that way. One day William’s father heard about the peasants that worked the Penn’s land were having revivals. Penn’s father decided to invite the man who was heading these meetings to their home to preach and for anyone else that wanted to hear him.
The man’s name was Thomas Loe; he was a Quaker and Quakers were looked down upon through all of Europe. It was very dangerous for the Penn’s to have a Quaker preacher in their house. But as Thomas preached something happened inside of William he felt different he felt joy unspeakable. At that same minute he looked at his father and even he had a tear in his eye. Everyone in the room sniffled from time to time. William would never forget that day for it had changed his life forever. When William was old enough to go to college William decided to go to Paris to get a higher up education. William’s mother wanted him to go to Paris because it was the most romantic language and the best place to learn how to be a gentlemen. And to the women a fine bachelor with those characteristics was the best man to marry. While William was in Paris He still could not get the meeting with Thomas Loe, now six years later out of his head. And so one day he found out about a secret Quaker meeting being held near him. He found out once he got there that the man speaking was once again Thomas Loe and he was so excited that he kept on coming back again and again to these meetings.
He became so convicted at these meetings that he decided to become part of the most persecuted religion in Europe, a Quaker. William did not know how his father would feel about it and was very nervous. When William got home his family was happy to see him and they all fellowshipped. Later on in the evening William talked to his father alone. He told him that he decided to take on the faith of a Quaker. His father exploded saying, “I am an admiral of the sea and a royal knight of London and the King; and you my son have chosen to follow the beliefs of the most persecuted religion in Europe.” The next thing William knew his father’s hand was striking across his face. He started to beat William until he was black and blue and a bloody mess. His father than threw him out of the house with nothing but the clothes on his back, cursing at him, saying he never wanted to see him again, and cutting him off from his will.
William went around Europe going to Quaker meetings and most of the time staying with other Quaker families. One night William was found with other Quakers at a secret meeting and they were all taken before a judge and everyone except for William was sentenced to prison time. When the judge saw William he knew that he was the son of Sir William Penn. The judge told him that he was free to go. But William said,” no, I will go to prison as the rest of my brothers.” The judge gave him as he asked and William went to prison. When William got out of jail a couple months later he felt stronger than he ever had before. He had a new fire within him and he went back to traveling around going to Quaker meetings, but this time he had a much deeper zeal for the things of God. He started to write tracks about his religion and about spiritual matters. William as before stayed with other Quakers in his travels and there was one particular family he liked to stay with. They were one of the richer Quaker families that he knew and he fancied their one daughter Gullie.
She was pretty, sweet, loving, and she took a fancy to William too. Over a period of a few years William and Gullie talked a lot and spent a lot of time getting to know each other. They decided to get married and got Gullie’s parent’s permission. The wedding got postponed though when William got arrested. Penn was arrested for offending the Pope of England with one of his tracks. The Pope said that if William would renounce his faith in front of all London and stop writing tracks that he would have William set free. If William would not he would be spending the rest of his life prison. William wrote this to the Pope “Thou mayest tell my father, whom I know will ask thee, these words, that my prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot, for I owe my conscience to no mortal man.
I have no need to fear. God will make amends for all.” One of Sir. William’s friends, who had a position in the government, felt bad for William and thought he should do something. He talked to William about just renouncing his faith so he could get out of prison. William refused, but he did tell him that he did not mean to offend the Pope, but that he had just not explained the track well enough and so he told the man what he was trying to say in the track. The man then went to writing to the Pope telling him about the misunderstanding. The Pope thought on it for a little while and then decided that as long as William agreed not to write tracks on that certain topic again he would let William go. William agreed to it, and he was set free.
After getting out of jail William and Gullie got married. William still traveled but not as much once Gullie started having children. William and Gullie had a total of 7 children together of which a couple of them died at a very young age. William continued to write and share the gospel with other Quakers. At this point the king was just overwhelmed with trying to keep the Quakers and other religions under control from spreading their religion. It turned out the king was in debt to William’s father, but now that Sir. William died he was in debt to William. William asked for land in America instead of money. The king granted him his wish and gave him 45,000 square miles. William decided he would use the land as a place for people like Quakers, other persecuted religions, and for anyone to come and seek religious freedom. William started to get word out about it. He also had to pick a name out for his land.
He liked the name Sylvania, but the king wanted him to name the land after Sir. William Penn , so the king and William agreed on Pennsylvania. William got a group of people together to go over to start building a town which he named Philadelphia, and while he was over there Gullie got very sick. William left the vice Governor to take over with the building of Philadelphia so he could be with Gullie. Before he could get home she died. William and his children were very sad, and did not know what to do without his wife and their mother. William stayed in London and answered questions from everyone over in Pennsylvania through the mail. By the sounds of it Philadelphia was thriving and everything going well. 2 years after Gullie’s death and William at the age of 52 he got remarried. He and his new wife over a short period of time had a few children together.
William now getting to be older went back to America to see how Philadelphia was coming along. William decided it was time to step down from Governor and pass it on to his Vice Governor. The Government William had set up was going very well, it was fair to all religions alike, and there was much peace in Pennsylvania. William had accomplished much in his life; he had been a great example for all to follow. He always looked at persecution as a way to get stronger in God. He had developed the first state of land in America to be a free place for all religions and a place where all people were treated alike. William went back to the country- side in London to live the rest of life. He died July 30, 1718; he was 74 years old. People mourned his death all across Europe and America.