Francis Daniel Pastorius records

Collection Am.3714

(1.6 Linear feet ; 2 volumes)

Summary Information

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Pastorius, Francis Daniel
Francis Daniel Pastorius records
Date [inclusive]
1.6 Linear feet ; 2 volumes
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Newhouse
This collection was processed during the Digital Center for Americana Project Phase II, which was funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.
This collection contains the Grund und Lager Buch begun by Francis Daniel Pastorius to document the founding of the Germantown area of Philadelphia and its settlement. This volume includes "Rules and regulations for settlers" (1689-1697) and a copy of the charter for Germantown granted to Pastorius. This collection also contains an English translation of the German and Latin entries in the  Grund und Lager Buch made by Marion Dexter Learned for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1910.

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Biographical/Historical note

Germantown, Philadelphia was founded in 1683, when Francis Daniel Pastorius (September 26, 1651- c. January 1, 1720) bought land in Pennsylvania on behalf of the members of the Frankfort Company, a group of individuals who came together to purchase land in William Penn's new province. The Frankfort Company provided him with a letter of attorney, giving him power to oversee the lands on behalf of the company members. This initial contract was signed by Jacobus van de Walle (for himself and his wife, but also as attorney for Johann Wilhelm Peterson and his wife, Eleonore von Merlau Peterson), Daniel Behaghel, Johann Jacob Schütz, Caspar Merian, and Pastorius himself.

Pastorius came to Pennsylvania in 1683 and began the challenging task of overseeing a fledgling colony that lacked both the goods and skills to develop quickly. In November, 1685 he wrote to the company members and asked to be released from his responsibilities. This resulted in a reorganizing of the Frankfort Company, but not the release from service that Pastorius asked for. He would remain their agent until 1700, when he was replaced as principal agent for the company by three new men: Daniel Falkner, Johannes Kelpius, and Johannes Jawert. Johannes Kelpius was already living outside of Philadelphia in his hermitage, where he shepherded his group of mystics, the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness (also known as the Hermits of the Wissahickon). Perhaps due to his commitment to his spiritual life, he declared himself civiliter mortuus (civically dead) soon after being named the Frankfort Company's agent and withdrew from Germantown politics.

An early challenge to the community's unity occured in 1707, when Johann Heinrich Sprögel arrived in Philadelphia and fraudulently claimed that he bought out the Frankfort Company's interests before setting sail from Holland. He attained a "Writ of Ejectment" from the Court of Philadelphia County and proceeded to claim 25,000 acres of the company land. Sprögel bribed Daniel Falkner and the only four lawyers in Philadelphia to support him in his claim, forcing Pastorius and Johannes Jawert to go to the Provincial Council to plead their case. Ultimately, the Provincial Council did not reverse the writ.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection contains two volumes. Volume 1 is the Grund und Lager Buch begun by Francis Daniel Pastorius as he documented the settlement of the Germantown section of Philadelphia in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The records in this volume are in German, English, and Latin, and document the land transfers, titles, and mortgages granted from 1689 to 1707. These include records of the land purchased by the members and representatives of the Frankfort Company and the Crefeld immigrants. The title page includes a poem written by Pastorius, asking future generations of German immigrants to Philadelphia to remember the work done by Pastorius and his colleagues. The prefatory material also contains "Rules and regulations for settlers" (1689-1697) and a copy of the charter for Germantown granted to Pastorius.

Volume 2 is a typed and bound English translation of the German and Latin records from Volume 1, made by Marion Dexter Learned for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1910.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania February 2012

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.) general court records (Am .371)

Francis Daniel Pastorius papers (0745)

Germantown printer daybooks (Am .19904)

Upper Germantown Burying Ground record book (Am .3707)

Christian Lehman collection on Philadelphia colonial settlement (0362)

Copy of Mathias Zimmerman plan of lots in Germantown and Cresheim townships (Am .3721 folio)

William Penn Germantown Charter (Am .3038)

At other institutions:

Collections at the Germantown Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Deeds--Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa)--17th century
  • Deeds--Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa)--18th century
  • Germantown (Pa.)--Real estate
  • Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.)--History
  • Municipal charters--Pennsylvania--Germantown

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Adam, Thomas, ed. Germany and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005.

Lambert, Margo M. "Francis Daniel Pastorius: An American in Early Pennsylvania, 1683-1719." Dissertation, Georgetown University. 2007.

Learned, Marion Dexter. The Life of Francis Daniel Pastorius, the Founder of Germantown. Philadelphia: William J. Campbell, 1908.

Roach, Hannah Benner. Colonial Philadelphians. Philadelphia: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1999.

Weigley, Russell F., ed. Philadelphia: A 300-Year History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982.

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Collection Inventory


Grund und Lager Buch 1689-1707   1.0 volume


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Grund und Lager Buch: English translation by Marion Dexter Learned 1910   1.0 volume


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