Not long after King Charles II granted to William Penn the vast tract now known as Pennsylvania, the great Quaker began to lay plans for his new property. The decision was taken to offer “rights” to a specified number of acres, the purchaser receiving for his money a warrant. This would prove his right when, after he had come to America and selected desirable land not yet taken up, he applied to the Surveyor General for a survey. The surveying done, the purchaser might then apply for a patent. As might be expected, when the time came, a great many landholding problems arose calling for a decision by proprietary authority, in consequence whereof Penn established a Board of Commissioners of Property. This Board reviewed property claims and maintained a careful record of its proceedings.
In 1893 Dr. William H. Egle edited for publication as Volume XIX of the Second Series of the Pennsylvania Archives the Minutes of the Board of Property beginning with Book C, the earliest extant volume of the Minutes which was legible. It begins with the session of 13 3rd month 1687 and ends with the session of 30 3rd month 1732, naming thousands of persons–tenants and owners–associated with various land holdings. The proceedings of the Board of Property affected a considerable number of early Pennsylvania settlers; collected in book form, the Minutes of the Board constitute a formidable body of land records and must be considered one of the most valuable compilations in Pennsylvania genealogy as a whole.
“The volume now offered to the public is invaluable for any research into early Pennsylvania genealogy.”–from the Foreword, by Dr. George E. McCracken.
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