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Walking Purchase records

Identifier: HC.MC-950-175

Scope and Content note

Single folder of materials related to the 1737 purchase of land in Pennsylvania from the Delaware tribe. Included in this collection are accounts submitted by participants--Joseph Doan, John Chapman, Timothy Smith--for the trial walk of April 22, 1735 and the September walk; requests for payment of these accounts by the Proprietor of Pennsylvania, Thomas Penn to James Steel, Receiver General of Penna.; two accounts submitted for payment by Conrad Weiser, an Indian agent from N.Y., for his journey to Wyoming.


  • 1735-1738


Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17).

Historical note

Walking Purchase, (Aug. 25, 1737), land swindle perpetrated by Pennsylvania authorities on the Delaware Indians, who had been the tribe most friendly to William Penn when he founded the colony in the previous century. Colonial authorities claimed to have found a lost treaty, of 1686, ceding a tract of Delaware tribal land between the fork of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers that extended as far as a man could walk in 1 1/2 days—about 40 miles. William Penn’s son Thomas Penn (1702–75), who was proprietor of Pennsylvania in 1737, hired the three fastest walkers in the colony and offered a large prize to the one who could cover the most land. The winner, running on a carefully cleared path, crossed more than twice the land the Delaware had anticipated—causing the tribe to lose about 1,200 square miles (3,100 square km) of their land. At Thomas Penn’s request, members of the Iroquois Confederacy helped enforce this unpopular decision. In reaction to this and other frauds, the Delaware joined the French in the Ohio country and returned to ravage the Pennsylvania frontier during the last French and Indian War (1756–63). In 1758 the northern half of the purchase was relinquished to the Iroquois Confederacy; the Delaware received £400 in compensation for it four years later.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica


1 folders




The Walking Purchase records were donated to Quaker & Special Collections, Haverford College, in 1975 by the estate of Albert L. Baily, through Mr. and Mrs. Charels Brown of Westtown School.

Related materials

MC 1182 Dorothy Merriman Schall papers

Processing Information

Processed by Kara Flynn; completed March 2016.
Walking Purchase records, 1735-1738
Kara Flynn
March 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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