Accessible Archives

Accessible Archives is an incredible database of American primary source materials from the 18th and 19th century. There are two main sections of content, the first is of 19th century histories of Pennsylvania counties—dozens of them, the second of newspapers. You might already be familiar with some of the newspapers.

Read this on the early Quakers in Delaware County from Ashmead’s History of Delaware County, 1884:

“THE only hamlet in Pennsylvania which had received a distinctive name that was known to persons in England at the time Penn acquired title to the territory was Upland, and that that had done so was doubtless due to the fact that Robert Wade had already made it his home. He being a Friend in communication with members of that religious sect in the mother-country, that circumstance directed the attention of the Quakers, “a society,” says Acrelius, “that the realm could well spare,” to the little cluster of rudely-fashioned dwellings on the banks of the Delaware. Hence Friends (whom, fortunately for the United States, could be spared from Europe to plant on this continent those seeds of political truths and religious liberty which, germinating, have grown into a nation on the maintenance of which the future continuance of constitutional representative government on the earth largely depends), or Quakers, as popularly known, desiring to flee from persecution and ignominy at home, gladly availed themselves of the liberal conditions which Penn offered to persons anxious to leave England, and particularly did the latter meet the approval of those people whose poverty had been largely produced by reason of the heavy fines imposed on them simply because of the religious sentiments they maintained.”

The newspapers included in Accessble Archives include the Pennsylvania Gazette (the NYT of the 18th century), seven African American newspapers of the 19th century, a bunch of small Delaware County newspapers of the 19th century, and finally a genealogical catalogue from 19th century Chester County. Below is an 1854 advertisement for different sorts of buggies, you know, as in horse and buggy.

March 10, 1854

READY MADE CARRIAGES. – The subscribers have now on hand at
their Coachmaking establishment at Media, an assortment of
ready made vehicles, comprising one Germantown Wagon, a Jenny
Lind, three trotting Buggies, and one three post Boat Wagon,
which they offer for sale on reasonable terms. Also, several
second hand wagons of different kinds for sale. The
subscribers are constantly making to order, and have for sale
all kinds of vehicles now in use. Having none but good workmen
in their employ, they are able to turn out their work in the
best manner, and on terms as reasonable as any other
establishment in the county. Both the undersigned are
practical mechanics, and persons who purchase their work may
depend on its being as represented. Jobbing of all kinds, and
repairing done at short notice. DERRICK & FRYER.”

—Fred Rowland

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