Religion is the key to understanding a narrative about the Scots and Irish and their betters, the English. In the Pennsylvania experience, the Quakers were foundational to our history. Some Quakers were English, Welsh, Irish and Dutch. The Welsh Quakers remained in towns called Bryn Mawr, Penn Wynne, Berwyn and Bala Cynwyd. Today these towns for what is called “the Main Line.”

William Penn was English and the developing and nascent City of Philadelphia, laid out by Penn, was the well spring of Pennsylvania civilization in the first decades of the 1700s. Here one would encounter a growing class of English Anglicans who were members of the Church of England. As time passed, the English class began to become outnumbered by the ship loads of German speakers that now appeared at the docks in Philadelphia. James Logan, Penn’s Secretary and Governor Keith, a Scotsman, were becoming alarmed at the great numbers of Germanic people who were landing on Pennsylvania’s shores, but Penn knew their industrious character and chose his people well. As indicated in earlier publications, the first wave of immigrants were German speaking Mennonites, who first established Germantown and the then traveled into the hinterlands of now Lancaster County in the first two decades of the eighteenth century.

James Fritz is a member of HGAC.

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