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The King of England gave all the land in Pennsylvania to William Penn. The King made Penn a kind of king over Pennsylvania. Penn could make the laws of this new country. But he let the people make their own laws.

Penn wanted to be friendly with the Lenape (also called Delaware) Indians living in Pennsylvania. He paid them for all the land his people wanted to live on. Before he went to Pennsylvania he wrote a letter to the Indians. He told them in this letter that he would not let any of his people do any harm to the Indians. He said he would punish anybody that did any wrong to an Indian. This letter was read to the Indians in their own language.

Soon after this Penn got into a ship and sailed from England. He sailed to Pennsylvania. When he came there, he sent word to the tribes of Indians to come to meet him.

The Indians met under a great elm tree on the bank of the river. Indians like to hold their solemn meetings out of doors. They sit on the ground. They say that the earth is the Indian's mother.

When Penn came to the place of meeting, he found the woods full of Indians. As far as he could see, there were crowds of Indians. Penn's friends were few. They had no guns.

Penn had a bright blue sash round his waist. One of the Indian chiefs, who was the great chief, put on a kind of cap or crown. In the middle of this was a small horn. The head chief wore this only at such great meetings as this one.

When the great chief had put on his horn, all the other chiefs and great men of the Indians put down their guns. Then they sat down in front of Penn in the form of a half-moon. Then the great chief told Penn that the Indians were ready to hear what he had to say.

Penn had a large paper in which he had written all the things that he and his friends had promised to the Indians. He had written all the promises that the Indians were to make to the European settlers. This was to make them friends. When Penn had read this to them, it was explained to them in their own language. Penn told them that they might stay in the country that they had sold to the settlers. The land would belong to both the Indians and the settlers.

Then Penn laid the large paper down on the ground. That was to show them, he said, that the ground was to belong to the Indians and the settlers together.

He said that there might be quarrels between some of the settlers and some of the Indians. But they would settle any quarrels without fighting. Whenever there should be a quarrel, the Indians were to pick out six Indians. The settlers should also pick out six of their men. These were to meet, and settle the quarrel.

Penn said, "I will not call you my children, because fathers sometimes whip their children. I will not call you brothers, because brothers sometimes fall out. But I will call you the same person as the settlers. We are the two parts of the same body."

The Indians could not write. But they had their way of putting down things that they wished to have remembered. They gave Penn a belt of shell beads. These beads are called wampum. Some wampum is white. Some is purple.

They made this belt for Penn of white beads. In the middle of the belt they made a picture of purple beads. It is a picture of a white man and an Indian. They have hold of each other's hands. When they gave this belt to Penn, they said, "We will live with William Penn and his children as long as the sun and moon shall last."

Penn took up the great paper from the ground. He handed it to the great chief that wore the horn on his head. He told the Indians to keep it and hand it to their children's children, that they might know what he had said. Then he gave them many presents of such things as they liked. They gave Penn a name in their own language. They named him "Onas." That was their word for a feather. As the European settlers used a pen made out of a quill or feather, they called a pen "onas." That is why they called William Penn "Brother Onas."

Penn sometimes went to see the Indians. He talked to them, and gave them friendly advice. Once he saw some of them jumping. They were trying to see who could jump the farthest.

Penn had been a very active boy. He knew how to jump very well. He went to the place where the Indians were jumping. He jumped farther than any of them.

When the great governor took part in their sport, the Indians were pleased. They loved Brother Onas more than ever.

UTH Note: Unfortunately, those that came after Penn were not as kind as Penn. Forty years after Penn died, the Lenape Indians were relocated from their land to Ohio. Additional relocations followed, scattering the tribe across several states.


Study the lesson for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the story multiple times.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary words.
  • Learn the concepts.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Study the review questions.


The King of England gave William Penn the land of the state of Pennsylvania to rule over. Penn tried to be fair to the American Indians already living on the land. He paid the Indians for the land the settlers wanted to live on. He met with the Indians, and they made a deal to live together in peace. The Indians called Penn, 'Brother Onas', since Penn continued to visit the Indians, even playing games with them.


King: The male ruler over an area of land.
Sash: A long strip of cloth worn over the shoulder and around the waist.
Quarrel: An angry argument.
Beads: A small piece of glass, stone, or similar material, typically rounded and with a hole to thread them together or to sew onto cloth.
Wampum: Beads made from shells strung together to be worn or used as money.
Quill: A bird feather used for writing.


In the story, the Lenape Indians give William Penn a belt of wampum (shell beads). See a picture of the belt of wampum below.

  1. Indians used wampum as money, meaning they exchanged wampum for things they wanted or needed, such as food.
  2. In our society, we use dollars and coins as physical money.
  3. We also use computer systems to manage electronic money.

Sometimes people barter. They do not use money to get items they want or need.

  1. Bartering is exchanging goods or services without money.
  2. For example, two farmers might exchange chicken eggs for a bag of flour.
  3. A plumber might fix an electrician's kitchen sink in exchange for the electrician fixing the plumber's electrical outlet.


Activity 1: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the story events aloud using your own words.

Activity 2: Act Out the Story

Play the jumping game like Penn and the Lenape Indians.

  • See how far you can jump from a standing position.
  • If you are outdoors, see how far you can jump if take a running leap.
  • Which way can you jump the farthest?

Activity 3: Color the Story   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 9 of 'History Coloring Pages for First Grade.'

Activity 4: Study the Story Picture

Study the painting below, 'Treaty of Penn with the Indians.' Zoom in to see the details, and find the following:

  • The 'great elm tree' that they gathered under.
  • The white cloth being offered to the Lenape Indians as part of the peace treaty.
  • William Penn (He stands with his arms spread open and can be identified by his black hat, brown suit, and white neck cloth.)
  • What do you see in the background of the painting? (Houses and buildings, water, trees, clouds, the sky.)
  • Compare and contrast the clothing worn by the settlers and the Lenape Indians. (Settlers wore hats, suits, and cloaks in somber colors. The American Indians wore brightly colored and patterned clothing, headdresses with red feathers, headbands, armbands, and earrings.)


Question 1

What did the King of England give to William Penn?
1 / 5

Answer 1

The King gave Penn the land now known as Pennsylvania to rule over.
1 / 5

Question 2

Who is Brother Onas?
2 / 5

Answer 2

Brother Onas is William Penn.
2 / 5

Question 3

What did the Lenape Indians give to Penn?
3 / 5

Answer 3

The Lenape Indians gave Penn belt of wampum.
3 / 5

Question 4

What is wampum made from?
4 / 5

Answer 4

Wampum is made from shell beads.
4 / 5

Question 5

What game did William Penn play with the Lenape Indians?
5 / 5

Answer 5

They played a game to see who could jump the farthest.
5 / 5

  1. What did the King of England give to William Penn? The King gave Penn the land now known as Pennsylvania to rule over.
  2. Who is Brother Onas? Brother Onas is William Penn.
  3. What did the Lenape Indians give to Penn? The Lenape Indians gave Penn belt of wampum.
  4. What is wampum made from? Wampum is made from shell beads.
  5. What game did William Penn play with the Lenape Indians? They played a game to see who could jump the farthest.