The Boones of Pennsylvania
IN peaceful Devon, loveliest of the English counties, a family of English Quakers was growing restless as the eighteenth century began. Queen Anne was on the throne; Marlborough was winning renown and cash for himself, and honor for the British arms; it was a wonderful period in England's history. In London, Dean Swift was being witty and extremely caustic. Mr. Dryden had recently died. Mr. Pope's poetry was beginning to be greatly admired. But none of these worldly vanities meant much to George Boone, a humble Quaker weaver in the village of Cullompton, near Exeter.
Dissenters of every sort had troubles of their own in those days, the Quakers not least. Stories began to spread among the Society of Friends about the new Province of Pennsylvania, founded by one of the few Quakers whom the Lord had blessed with wealth and social position. In the new colony religious toleration, they heard, was complete. The Friends were really in control of the government. Further, there was land.
They were an adventurous breed, the Boones. For the next four generations they were always to be pulling up stakes and moving westward. Once, centuries earlier, they had been Bohuns, Normans. Even then they had been fighters and adventurers, who had moved westward into the newly conquered England. Even then they went to acquire land.
With their adventurous nature went a singular caution.