Historical Markers
Essex House Historical Marker
Mouse over for marker text

Essex House

Philadelphia and its Countryside/Lehigh Valley


Marker Location:
Wall at 102 Penn Street, Chester

Dedication Date:
October 28, 1932

Behind the Marker

On October 27, 1682, William Penn's ship, the Welcome, arrived at New Castle (in present-day Delaware) after a two-month voyage from England. After Penn presented his deed from the Duke of York, the Dutch, English, Swedish and Welsh residents of the "lower three counties" acknowledged him as their new proprietor and swore him their allegiance.
This detail from a map of early settlements on the Delaware River in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, shows the locations of Wade property and the Essex House.
This detail from a map of early settlements on the Delaware River in Delaware...

The following day, the Welcome sailed up the Delaware River to Upland, a Swedish village that also had a sizable population of English families from Cheshire. According to legend, Penn, upon landing, turned to one of his fellow passengers, a fellow Quaker named Pearson, and remarked, "Providence has brought us here safe. Thou hast been the companion of my perils. What wilt thou that I should call this place?" Pearson replied, "Chester," after his native town in England. Penn agreed, adding that when he divided the land into counties, one of them "should be called by the same name."

Shortly after his arrival, Penn was greeted by Robert and Lydia Wade, who invited the new proprietor to stay at their home, Essex House, on the west side of the Chester Creek, two hundred yards from the Delaware River. Wade had purchased Essex House in 1672 from Amegot Papegoja, the daughter of markerJohan Printz, governor of the former markerSwedish colony. There, each Sunday, Wade and his Quaker neighbors held a Meeting for Worship. Here, among fellow Quakers, Penn spent his first few weeks in the New World, before leaving for New York.

While lodging there, Penn met with his cousin and deputy-governor, William Markham, who had been engaged with negotiations with Lord Baltimore to settle a boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland. The meetings with Baltimore were unsuccessful, however, and the resolution of this unclear border required Penn to return to England to plead his case to officials in the royal government.
Back to Top