Digital Paxton: Digital Collection, Critical Edition, and Teaching Platform

Walking Purchase Collection

The following 58 manuscripts are available at Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens and at the Huntington Digital Library. The Walking Purchase collection contains correspondence and documents related to the Walking Purchase and the 1756-1758 Councils of Easton retained by the office of Pennsylvania's governor William Denny. Materials include abstracts, depositions, letters, maps, memoranda, notes, extracts, petitions, proceedings, responses, speeches, and various miscellany.

The Walking Purchase was an alleged agreement between the Penn family, the original proprietors of the Province of Pennsylvania in the colonial era, and the Lenape Native Americans (also known as the Delaware Indians). In 1737, Thomas and John Penn, Proprietors, presented the Delaware Indians with what they said was the 1686 treaty that entitled them to a tract extending "as far as a man can goe a day and a half." They then hired several men who ran, not walked, for a day and a half along a set course in the Lehigh Valley; this yielded a territory the size of Rhode Island (nearly 1,100 square miles or 1.2 million acres). The Delaware Indians tried to challenge the deal, only to be forced off their ancestral land in 1742. Their land was quickly sold off to settlers who poured into Pennsylvania, netting the Penn family a considerable fortune. Despite several inquiries at the Councils of Easton (1756-1758) as to the legality of the original Walking Purchase treaty it was declared authentic and on June 23, 1762, Chief Teedyuscung signed a statement acknowledging the legality of the Walking Purchase.

Special thanks are due to Gayle Richardson, Catalog Librarian and Archivist at the Huntington Library, who created the Walking Purchase Collection cataloging record and finding aid.

Materials are arranged roughly chronologically below.

Contents of this path:

Contents of this tag: