Penn, John (1729-1795) (DNB00)

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PENN, JOHN (1729–1795), colonist, born in London on 14 July 1729, eldest son of Richard Penn (d. 1771), and grandson of William Penn (1644–1718) [q. v.], was appointed by the proprietaries, his father and his uncle, Thomas Penn [q. v.], to be lieutenant-governor of the colony of Pennsylvania in November 1763; he retained this post until 16 Oct. 1771, and resumed it 1773–6. The chief event of his administration was the treaty with the Indians at Fort Stanwix in 1768. During the revolutionary contest he attempted to steer a middle course, with the result that in 1775 his council was supplanted by a committee of safety. In 1778 the royal charter was annulled, and the Penns were allowed 130,000l. for their unsettled lands in the state. This sum was supplemented in 1786 by an annuity on behalf of the residue of their estates; and of these amounts, besides the annuity of 4,000l. granted to the family by the British government, and only recently commuted, John Penn enjoyed a fourth part. He died at Philadelphia on 10 Feb. 1795, and was buried in Christ Church in that city, but his remains were afterwards removed to England. With him ended all administrative connection between Pennsylvania and the family of its great founder. Penn built Lansdowne House, on the Schuylkill river. The place was subsequently converted into the Fairmount public park, which formed part of the exhibition grounds of 1876. He married, on 31 May 1766, Ann, daughter of Chief-justice William Allen of Philadelphia, but had no issue. Portraits of Governor John Penn, his wife, and members of her family were included in a picture by Benjamin West [q. v.] which was in the possession of John Penn Allen, nephew of the governor, in 1867.

[Fuller information about John Penn is to be found in Gordon's, Proud's, and other histories}} of Pennsylvania; in Watson's Annals, Colonial Records, Hazard's Archives; in the publications of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and other works.]

C. F. S.