Allison-Antrim celebrating Pennsylvania’s birthday

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

March 9, 2014, marks Pennsylvania’s 333rd birthday!  On March 9, 1681, King Charles II of England granted the charter to William Penn for the land that we know today as Pennsylvania.

 Join in the Happy Birthday PA! celebration by stopping by Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle through March 18 to see the oldest, primary document in AAMI’s collection.  It is dated March 10, 1715, 299 years ago, and was signed by James Logan, in his capacity as Commissioner of Property. Pennsylvania was all of 70 years old when this document was signed. Logan was also the secretary to the Penn family and served as acting governor of Pennsylvania between 1736 and 1738.  This document is one of 51 primary documents with the signatures of 51 different governors of Pennsylvania.

The document is a William Penn document dated March 10, 1715/16 with James Logan’s signature. In Tom Brumbaugh’s words, “… a very rare document and considering its age, in fine condition.” The document is on animal skin parchment and the history of two contiguous plots of land in the City of Philadelphia dates back to June 1, 1707.  Both lots were eventually sold to Gabriel Wilkinson, a trader living in Philadelphia. Through research and by visiting Philadelphia, it’s been discovered that this piece of land is located in the heart of the historic Quaker district in Old Philadelphia City.  Extensive archaeological digs were done in this historic area, including the two plots of land for which this deed was written. During the end of January 2001, artifacts were found — the news of which made the Philadelphia headlines. Wilkinson’s land was bordered on the east by Sixth Street, on the south by Mulberry Street now called Arch Street, and on the north by lots that bordered Sassafras Street which is now called Race Street.

This land is located in the northeast part of the Independence National Historical Park area of present-day Philadelphia, just blocks away from Independence Hall. Today, these two plots of land no longer hold the early 18th century homes or businesses which were owned by Wilkinson in 1715. It is the National Constitution Center, which opened its doors on July 4, 2003, that now sits upon the two plots of land, which were sold to Gabriel Wilkinson 299 years ago.

Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S. Ridge Ave., Greencastle, is open weekdays, Monday to Friday, from noon to 4 p.m.  There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted. For more information, visit www.greencastlemuseum.org, Facebook, on Twitter @greencastlemuzm, or call 717-597-9010.

For more information on the Dr. Thomas Brumbaugh PA Governors’ Signatures Collection and more about the James Logan document, visit: http://greencastlemuseum.org/Special_Exhibits/signatures.htm.

For more information about the National Constitution Center, visit: http://constitutioncenter.org/about.

For more information about PA’s Charter Day and what the Commonwealth is doing to celebrate, visit: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1215346/333-years-of-history.