Valley Forge FAQs

What kind of people lived in the northern colonies during this time period?

Q.What kind of people lived in the northern colonies during this time period, as in groups of people and what they did?
James Elledge, Age 14, California

A.Your question brings to mind the rhyme, "the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker..." The people that lived in the colonies in general were from all walks of life. Jobs were varied and specialized. If you needed a hat, you would go to a milliner. If you needed a barrel to store your rum, you would go to a cooper. We probably think primarily of England when discussing the origins of our nation, but there were immigrants from many nations arriving in the ports in the thirteen colonies. The encampment at Valley Forge is a particularly large multi-cultural event in history. English, Scottish, French, Polish, German and Native American were all just some of the people represented at Valley Forge!

Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn in the 17th century, and he was a Quaker. The Quakers were a large contingent of people in and around Philadelphia at the time of the Revolution. [There are a number of active Quaker Meeting Houses around this area still today, using many structures built well over 300 years ago.] Also, in Pennsylvania were a large number of Germans — where you hear today as the "Pennsylvania Dutch." The United States truly is a "melting pot" of people!

SAS, Courtesy The Valley Forge Historical Society

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