American Pioneer Chronicles:
Colonial Women: the heart, sweat, soul—the foundation of our Nation
Please support our research and view our books for purchase at
An exodus is a decisive act to leave one place for another. But to leave an established community like Reading, England for an absolute wilderness takes extraordinary courage. Sarah had that type of courage, having suffered as a Quaker, spending a terrible year imprisoned for her beliefs. Likely giving birth to a child while jailed; her husband Joseph was also routinely imprisoned. The relentless harassment and poor living conditions caused Sarah to lose three children as youngsters. In 1682 Sarah would gather her inner strength, her family, and another child in utero, abandon Reading and board the ship “Welcome” bound for the Pennsylvania Colony, first settling in Chester and finally to Philadelphia. William Penn had granted the Phipps over 1000 acres; land without anything but how the good Lord graced it. It was late October, weather was growing colder by the day, and resilient Sarah had to make a home where there was none. She and the other families dug caves in the riverbank for temporary respite until wood cabins could be built. While Sarah cared, protected, feed, and educated her family she still found time to become an active and shrewd leader in her new community and church. This gave her family some security, and stalwart Sarah supported her husband duties as tax collector and property owner. She outlived Joseph by a decade and was buried in Philadelphia’s Abington Friends Cemetery. Sarah’s tenacity and hardy constitution were passed to all of her children and in turn to her many grandchildren.