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Dark History of Penn's Woods (Paperback)

Murder, Madness, and Misadventure in Southeastern Pennsylvania

World History > The Americas > USA

By Jennifer L. Green
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781955041003
Published: 15th December 2021

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When ships under the command of European settlers first sailed into the Delaware Bay in the early 1600s, Pennsylvania’s documented history of strange and macabre events began. Contrary to the growth of other colonies like Massachusetts and Virginia, the Philadelphia area became a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs that all served to shape the way its people related to the supernatural, to the treatment of their dead, and toward each other. While it provided a refuge for those seeking religious liberty and economic prosperity, cultural tensions also shaped the colony in sinister ways, leading to a level of violence in the eighteenth century unseen anywhere else in the world. How, in a place that was eighty percent pacifist, did Chester County, Pennsylvania, outstrip even London in the amount of murders and assaults committed? How did a judicial system hailed at the end of the 1600s as the best and fairest in the world, in which the death penalty only applied in cases of murder and treason, make the decision a century later to hang a man for burglary? Under what circumstances was it considered perfectly reasonable, even expected, to eat the dead?Jennifer L. Green transports readers through three centuries of murder, disease, witchcraft, cannibalism and botched executions in Chester and Delaware counties, using archival evidence and research to explain how such historical oddities and tragedies occurred.

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About Jennifer L. Green

As a writer and historian, Jennifer L. Green has contributed to digital history resources like ExplorePAHistory.com and the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, as well as conducting research and program development at museums throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. She lives in northern Delaware with her husband and two dogs.

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