Pennsylvania in Colonial Times

By Aiden Seeman


Did you ever wonder what colonial Pennsylvania was like? What the industry was, different immigrant groups, and what the agriculture was? You may not know but there was an immigrant group called the Quakers. They were an immigrant group that came here in 1765. Also, Pennsylvania was full of pioneer agriculture. Pennsylvania had a fast growing domestic industry. Pennsylvania also had the first paper press. Colonial Pennsylvania was full of cool and wonderful things, but that's not all, there's way more to it.

Who were the Quakers?

The Quakers were very friendly people. As a matter of fact they welcomed several different immigrant groups to share there settlements. The Quakers were settlers from the midlands. They found the Delaware Valley full of promise. Most Quakers lived on family farms. An average Quaker home had a fireplace on each floor of there house. They did this so their whole house would be warm. Also, most Quakers homes were made of fieldstone and had slate roofs. Their houses were made of these materials because those were resources that were easily found. All of the Quakers found raising children something of great importance. They did this so that there religion would keep on going in the new world. The Quakers were just an immigrant group but their religion went on for a long time. In fact the way Quakers spoke is still spoken by the Amish people today.

Pioneer Agricultuer

Pennsylvania was full of character and agriculture. Even though it was hard in many areas they still managed to get some agriculture there. In places where agriculture was hard people grew rye. Rye can easily adopt to dry and rocky dirt so it was grown in a lot of areas. Corn was also grown a lot. It required a lot less labor and it wasn't as vulnerable to distructive insects. Another plant that was grown in Pennsylvania is tobacco. Mostly the tobacco that was grown was for home consumption. There was also tobacco on just about every farm. There was also very few vegetables grown on farms. Even agriculture wasn't easy in the New World.

Pennsylvania's Domestic Industry

The pioneer's time wasn't all absorbed in agriculture, they were also busy trying to build a industry. Pennsylvania's first paper mill was built in 1693. By 1775 there were nine paper mills. Seven of them were in Philadelphia, one in Germantown, and one in Lancaster. By the 18th century Pennsylvania led the nation in making paper. Burning charcoal was perhaps the most wasteful thing. Pennsylvania's first glass factory was established in 1762. The manufacturing of beer and liquor were both important to pennsylvania's economy. Pennsylvania sure did have their hands full with all the work it took to keep the industry up and running.


Pennsylvania was a very busy state with all one had to do. The Quakers were friendly but there were other immigrant groups that hated them. It is still a mystery how the pioneers got agriculture all around the colony. The pioneers have never stopped building Pennsylvania's domestic industry. Now you can tell that Pennsylvania was a rather busy colony in colonial times.


Agriculture - the science or occupation of farming

Bushel - a unit of measuring an amount of fruit and grain that is equal to about 35.2 liters

Establish - to put someone or something in a position role etc. that will last for a long time


Online Resources

"Pennsylvania" Compton's by Britamica 01 Aug. 2011 n.p. SIRS Discover web 19 2015.

Book Resources

Pennsylvania E Willard Miller 1986

The Pennsylvania Colony Dennis B. Fradin 1988