William Penn deed from 1701 given to Delaware

The state of Delaware now owns several historic documents, including the 1701 land deed signed by William Penn.

The documents have been on loan to the state for nearly 30 years, but now, they have been permanently donated by the owners, the family of former Governor and U.S. Senator Clayton Douglass Buck.

Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock met with the family at their ancestral home, Buena Vista, and thanked them for the gift.  

The land deed is for the property of Buena Vista and includes William Penn’s signature and his royal seal.  Other documents include several 19th century land deeds, an 1830 agreement for a railroad right-of-way through Buena Vista, and the 1849 commission of John M. Clayton as U.S Secretary of State, signed by President Zachary Taylor and U.S. Secretary of State James Buchanan, who later became president himself.

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The Delaware Public Archives will soon be conserving the documents with plans to eventually put them on display at Buena Vista, where Buck was born and lived his entire life.

Governor Markell expressed the state’s appreciation of the family’s generosity.

“Because of the Buck family’s kindness, we are able to share the rich heritage of our state and the beauty of Buena Vista, which continues to serve as a special gathering place for many.”

The home and property at Buena Vista was sold to the state for one dollar, after the death of Govenor Buck, who led the state from 1929 to 1937.  He served as one of Delaware’s U.S. Senators from 1943 to 1949.  Buena Vista is now used as a conference and event facility.  For more information about Buena Vista, visit the facility’s website at buenavista.delaware.gov.

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