A Proclamation

of the Board of Commissioners of Cheltenham Township

Whereas, The Chelten Hills community includes the village that later received national attention in 1863, when it was chosen as the site for Camp William Penn, as the country’s first and largest recruiting and training camp for black soldiers, known as the United States Colored Troops. Camp William Penn trained roughly 11,000 Black soldiers during its operation from June 26, 1863 to May 19, 1865.

Whereas, The Emancipation Proclamation enabled blacks to “be received into the armed services,” but there was no government mechanism to receive such troops until the founding of the Bureau for Colored Troops in May 1863. Camp William Penn was established in Chelten Hills because of its proximity to the North Pennsylvania Railroad and because sympathetic Quakers resided here. Camp William Penn was established in Chelten Hills on undeveloped land made available for the purpose by Quaker Abolitionist Edward M. Davis.

Whereas, Lucretia Mott, was a Quaker abolitionist who traveled with her husband James and preached against slavery. After the war, Camp William Penn was dismantled. Lucretia Mott’s son-in-law, Edward M. Davis, followed the Quaker belief in racial harmony, and set aside thirty acres to be sold to black and white purchasers. The village came to be known as Camptown, but was renamed La Mott in 1885, to honor the legacy of the esteemed friend, Lucretia Mott.

Whereas, The village of La Mott, was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and stands as an important landmark in American black history as one of the first communities in the country to embrace integrated living. The village represents a turning point in the social and racial development in the post-Civil War era. La Mott saw the participation of both blacks and whites in the development of this suburban residential community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DANIEL B. NORRIS, President of the BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP, do hereby proclaim Saturday, September 21, 2019, as “Camp William Penn and Historic La Mott Day in Cheltenham Township. In doing so, we remember the significance of La Mott Village in U.S. history and those who made contributions to create a racially harmonious community.

DONE IN THE VILLAGE OF LA MOTT, PENNSYLVANIA, under our hands and the Seal of the Township of Cheltenham, this twenty-first day of September, A.D., 2019, in the year of the Township of Cheltenham the one hundred and twentieth.

 BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP

USCT