The Quakers who came to the Delaware Valley and especially to William Penn’s colony of Pennsylvania were primarily from England’s North Midlands. About two-thirds of this wave of immigrants came from the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Derby, Nottingham and Staffordshire. The remainder of the settlers were from Bristol and London. (Source: Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775. Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest Genealogical Services, division of AGLL, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-877677-69-8)
A notable exception to these geographic generalities is William Penn himself. The son of an admiral, Penn was born in 1644 and lived much of his first twelve years at his family's country house in Wanstead or at school in Chigwell, Essex. Later at Oxford, he was influenced by the Quaker Thomas Loe. Penn refused to attend chapel and was kicked out for nonconformity. His father eventually sent him to Ireland where he had another estate. While there, Penn connected with Loe again in Cork, and by 1667 he had become a convert and regular attender of Quaker meeting.
In 1675, the
first settlers came to the Delaware River’s eastern shore in what is now New
Jersey but was then known as West Jersey.
On 29 Aug
2012, I posted a blog entry about the origins and records kept by Quakers. You can easily find it in the list of
topics under, ‘UK Quakers.’