The Valley Forge Park Commission was created in 1893 to preserve, improve, and maintain as a public park the site on which General George Washington’s Army encamped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778. The Park Commission operated the state park independently until 1923 when the Commission was placed under the Department of Forests and Waters. In 1971, the Park Commission was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Administrative and operational responsibility for Valley Forge Park was formally transferred to the federal government in 1977.

Minute Books, 1893-1977. (35 volumes) Arranged chronologically by date of meeting. A record of the meetings of the Valley Forge Park Commission from its inception in 1893 until it was turned over to the federal government in 1977. In the minute books for 1975 are facsimile copies of the "Bicentennial Broadside from Valley Forge Park," No. 4 and 5, dated July 1775 and August 1775, respectively. In the July 2, 1777 broadside Alexander Hamilton declares: "The Congress has declared that no slaves should be enlisted, but several have already played an active part. The southern colonies most dependent on slavery have put no blacks in the field, while men in the northern and middle states frequently send slaves as substitutes, giving them their freedom with their muskets." In a biographic note on James White, it states "tax records for Chester County show James White owned property from December 17, 1771 to September 10, 1778, to include ownership of one Negro slave." The August 2, 1775 issue states, "Slaves try to enlist: Returned by British—Norfolk—the town has been greatly disturbed lately by the behavior of the slaves, who run off in the mistaken notion of finding shelter on the British men of war in the harbor. The naval officers have repeatedly assured the populace that no encouragement is given to slaves trying to join the English forces, and Captains McCartney and Squires receive the thanks of the community for the many they’ve returned."

Return to Index | PHMC Home | State Archives |