1673 Enabling document that created the Court of Upland providng "Freedom of Conscience."
Uppland.. a musical based in the Court
of Upland, later moved to Kingsessing,
In 1673, (the year George Fox passed through the area,) inhabitants of the “South River” (as
the Delaware River was then known) journeyed to New Amsterdam (New York) and met with the
Dutch Council of War, in charge after Holland briefly regained sovereignty over the
Colony. The deputies, “entering and delivering their credentials, further declaring their
submission to the sovereignty of their High Mightinesses the Lords States-General of the
United Netherlands and his Serene Highness, the Prince of Orange, with request that they may
be granted and allowed some privileges, handing in, to that effect, some articles ……

“And whereas it is highly necessary for the maintenance of good order, police
and so forth, that the inhabitants of the South river be provided with some
courts of justice, we have therefore deemed it necessary to order and instruct
the inhabitants of said river to nominate by plurality of votes, for each court,
eight persons as magistrates…….”

I first became interested in the Count at Upland in 1984 when I was in law school and working
on the Blue Bell Inn project. I did a paper for a class because the Blue Bell location was also
the site of Printz’s Mill (c 1645) and was once known as Kingsess or Kingsessing.

In regard the Upland Creek where the Court hitherto hath sat is at the lower end of the County
_ the Court therefore for the most ease of the people have thought fit for the future to sit &
meet at the Town of Kingsess in the Schuylkills. ….Records, June 8, 1680

What follows is a fascinating look at a frontier colonial court with jurisdiction over Swedes,
Dutch, Finns, and an increasing number of English. The Count was plagued by lack of funding
and fractious people (a bit like today, eh?).

Fines were levied in Guilders unless the infraction was serious, in which case the fine was in
pounds sterling….. This is an ongoing project to tell an interesting story in a new way; we
hope you will agree

John Haigis, September 2016