Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

The First Baby

It was while we were thus working to the best of our ability, women and girls as well as men and boys, to have matters progressing when William Penn should visit us, that the settlement was excited by news that a baby had come to the family of John Key, who was yet living in one of the caves on the river bank.


I had never believed the day would dawn when I should go out of my way to see such a thing; but this little fellow was the first to come from Heaven to our half-built city of Brotherly Love, and it seemed as if it was the bounden duty of every one to visit John Key's cave at least once, to look upon Philadelphia's first baby.

He wasn't anything wonderful to see, so far as I could make out; but the girls appeared to think that nothing like him had ever come into this world before, and I dare venture to say John Key's wife was heartily glad when the fever for seeing the baby died away, as it did in the course of two weeks.

Jethro and I were among the very first visitors, and even then I felt somewhat of shame to be running around after a baby, and, two days later, when the excitement was at its height, wild horses couldn't have dragged me there, because of the cave's being filled with women and girls during every minute of the day, until one would have believed that we of Philadelphia had nothing better with which to occupy our time.

I may as well set it down here that when our William Penn arrived, he gave to this first baby a piece of land near that street which was called Crown.

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