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Walking Purchase records


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Walking Purchase (August 25, 1737) was a land swindle perpetrated by Pennsylvania authorities on the Lenape or Delaware Nation. The Lenape had been friendly to William Penn when he founded the colony in the previous century. Colonial authorities claimed to have found a lost treaty, dated 1686, ceding a tract of land between the fork of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers that extended as far as a man could walk in one and a half days— about 40 miles. William Penn's son, Thomas Penn (1702–1775), who was proprietor of Pennsylvania in 1737, hired the three fastest walkers in the colony and offered a large prize to the one who could cover the most land. The winner, running on a carefully cleared path, crossed more than twice the land the Lenape had anticipated, causing them to lose about 1,200 square miles (3,100 square kilometers) of their land. At Thomas Penn's request, members of the Iroquois Confederacy helped enforce this fraud. In reaction to this and other frauds, the Delaware joined the French during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). In 1758, the northern half of the purchase was relinquished to the Iroquois Confederacy; the Lenape received £400 in compensation for it four years later.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

This collection consists of a single folder of materials related to the 1737 fraudulent seizure of land in what is now Pennsylvania from the Lenape or Delaware Nation. Included in this collection are accounts submitted by participants Joseph Doan, John Chapman, and Timothy Smith for the trial walk of April 22, 1735, and the September walk; requests for payment of these accounts by the Proprietor of Pennsylvania, Thomas Penn to James Steel, Receiver General of Pennsylvania; and two accounts submitted for payment by Conrad Weiser, an "Indian agent" from New York, for his journey to Wyoming.

The Walking Purchase records were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1975 by the estate of Albert L. Baily, through Mr. and Mrs. Charels Brown of Westtown School.

Processed by Kara Flynn; completed March, 2016.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Kara Flynn
Finding Aid Date
March, 2016
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Records , 1735-1738.
Box 37 Folder 1

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