1728 Naturalization Petition Next

Re: Declarations for Naturalization Signed by Mennonites of Chester Co., PA
1728 Apr 1

Request (2)

Initiation (3)

Declaration (4)
and Signatures


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In colonial Pennsylvania of 1728, it is illegal for resident aliens to convey title to land through sale or inheritance. For those privileges, naturalization is required. (1p367)

1727/8 Feb 27: Martin Meylin and Wendall Bowman make a request for naturalization to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Chester Co., PA "in behalf of themselves and the rest of their Congregation called Menists." (2)

Justices Henry Pierce and George Aston agree to meet this group April 1-2, 1728 to begin the naturalization process. (3)

1728 Apr 1-2, Thursday-Friday: About 200 "Menists" and a few others meet before Justices Pierce and Ashton at Conestoga at the house of Martin Meylin to sign the declarations required for naturalization. (1p367, 6p221)

Because their beliefs do not allow them to swear an oath, the Menists are allowed to sign a declaration that begins "Wee Subscribers do Sincerely promise and Solemnly Declare before God and the Word that ...." (4) Transcriptions of the signatures appear in (1p369) and (6p1135).

1729 May 29: Lancaster Co., PA is formed from Chester Co. (6p223)

1729 Nov 4: Another request for naturalization is sent to Pennsylvania Governor Patrick Gordon. (1p368)

1729/30 Feb 14: The General Assembly of Pennsylvania passes "An Act for the Better Enabling Divers Inhabitants of the Province of Pennsylvania to Hold Lands, and to Invest Them With the Privileges of Natural-Born Subjects of the Said Province." (1p368) It naturalizes 106 residents of Lancaster Co. (7p4) who arrived in Pennsylvania no later than 1718 (6p225), including 81 Mennonites who signed the 1728 declaration. (6p1135).

This act never is considered by the Privy Council of London, which is the customary procedure; and hence, it becomes law with the passage of time as allowed by the proprietary charter of Pennsylvania. (1p368)

?? When did the act actually become law? -- dg 2010 Aug 3

Copies provided by Romaine Stauffer from the archives (5) of Chester Co., PA, 2010 Jul 27.

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