Happy birthday to William Penn, born in 1644.Penn was born to a military father, but became a Quaker as a young man.Because his father was an admiral and a ‘Sir,’ William had the right (which ‘commoners’ did not) to wear a sword. Quakers were not only pacifists, but also did not recognize differing status among people and eschewed emblems of rank. William, as a Quaker, began to doubt whether the wearing of a sword was something he should continue to do. He asked George Fox, the founder of the Quaker faith and his mentor, whether he should wear it or stop wearing it.Fox’s answer, famously, was, “Wear it as long as thou canst.”(I love that.) William soon took off his sword, never to wear it again.And yes, he was the founder of the colony of Pennsylvania, the land of which was granted to him as payment of a debt from the Crown to his (deceased) father. He treated the Lenape people who land it was with fairness and respect, including negotiating his use of the land, and maintained good relations with the First Peoples.He fathered 16 children (with two successive wives), only 5 of whom achieved actual adulthood.Things didn’t always go very well for him, and one of his children was a disappointment to the extend to causing financial devastation to the family. His two sons who ‘inherited’ Pennsylvania after his death completely dismantled the Quakerly government and policies, and made it into a commercial and intolerant state. However, Quaker influence continues to exist there.Penn was imprisoned several times in the Tower of London due to his faith, and his book No Cross No Crown (1669), which he wrote while in prison, became a classic of Christian theological literature.Penn returned to England with his second wife, where he lived out his life and was buried at Jordans Meetinghouse. That Meetinghouse is still a place of Quaker worship. Penn is buried there, next to his first wife.[As far as I know, he never grew an oat. Quaker Oats has NOTHING AT ALL to do with Quakers, though it is said that the ‘standing Quaker man’ of that company’s logo is based on Penn’s appearance.]