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Pennsbury Manor

The riverside home of William Penn, the founder of the colonial Province of Pennsylvania, Pennsbury Manor was a seat of power in colonial Pennsylvania and the residence of a number of enslaved men and women.

Although groups of Quakers held dissenting views on the morality of slavery, many landowners in Pennsylvania, like William Penn, were enslavers. Penn depended upon enslaved and indentured labor for the building and operation of Pennsbury Manor, which was not far from Philadelphia. Pennsbury served as the family home for William and Hannah Penn and their children, and as a center for colonial governing and a hub of estate activity.

Enslaved people including Sam, Sue, Yaff, Jack, and Peter formed an early African American community at Pennsbury and in colonial Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, in association with The Pennsbury Society, operates the historic site, where interpreters today tell the story of the enslaved husband and wife Jack and Parthenia during site tours. This story both conveys the harsh difficulties of life for a couple owned by different people, and offers one of the surprisingly scant pieces of documentation for this community.

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