You probably know Pennsylvania was named for William Penn. But you may not know that for some time, his wife, Hannah, was the one running the show.
Back in 2014, a new portrait of Hannah Penn was unveiled, placing her right beside past leaders in Pennsylvania, honoring her role in state history that is often not recognized.
Hannah came from a wealthy family, but life wasn’t easy. Married at 26 to William Penn, a man twice her age, leaving England for Pennsylvania pregnant in her last trimester, and being the highest status women in the colony gave her a great deal of responsibility, even if she didn’t have the same tasks ordinary women had.
After living in Pennsylvania for a year, she was given even more responsibility. William Penn returned to England and got sick, and Hannah served as Acting Proprietor of Pennsylvania, inheriting the job after his death.
But she would have to fight her oldest stepson, who challenged the will in court.
She did have some limitations because she was a woman, but still was able to make decisions that shaped Pennsylvania.