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Williams T. Blair
INTERNATIONAL TEXTBOOK PRESS
The German Palatines, who came to America late in the seventeenth century and early in the eighteenth century, need no modern apologist. Their record is written in the pre-natal history of the American Republic. It is a record which compels admiration. Industry and thrift, religiousness and patriotism, hardihood and adaptability, are written upon its every page. Dr. Sanford Cobb, in his “Story of the Palatines In Episode in Colonial History," has told, in wholesome fashion, the tale of the New York Palatines, who were settled, first, in 1708–10, on the Hudson River. He has graphically described their pioneer settlements in the "Schoharie Country and in the Mohawk Valley. He has also written the story of the exodus from "Schoharie" to Pennsylvania of the large companies of Palatines who, in 1723 and 1728, under the leadership of Conrad lleiser, Jr., and Captain Hartman l'indecker (ll'inciecker), passed down the Susquehanna River and settled permanently on the Swatara and Tulpehocken, tributaries of the Susquehanna. The Honorable Samuel ll. Pennypacker, noted jurist, eminent historian and Governor of Pennsylvania, performed a similar service for the Palatines who settled early in Pennsylvania, many of whose children moved over the line into Sew Jersey.
Impartial students of American history gladly concede that the German Palatine was a valuable element in the American “Melting Pot." He was loyal to the government of the country which adopted him, and his children and grandchildren were also loyal to the newly-bom Republic. in the W'ar of the American Revolution. There were, it is true, some Tories who were descendants of German Palatines. The nefarious Windecker, who ruthlessly murdered Lieutenant Elijah Shoemaker, at Il'yoming, Pa.. July 3, 1778, was, without any doubt, a meniber of the Il'indecker family of Trvon, now Montgomery Co., J. V. But it should be noted that a number of the members of this same family were among the bravest and most devoted defenders of the very cause in which Lieutenant Shoemaker lost his life. Sims, the Jlontgomery Co. historian, in his “Frontiersmen of New York,” recites a similar story in his reference to the Countryman family. (Family No. 471Countryman). Many of these Palatine families were thus divided, just exactly as families of English, Irish. Scottish, and Welsh origin were divided. Perhaps the best possible answer to the query "Was the Palatine stock loval to the American Republic in the Revolution of 1776?" may be discovered as a result of a close, diligent and critical comparison of the family names appearing on the “Jluster Rolls of Soldiers of the Revolution." as they appear in 'the "Pennsylvania Archives," the “Sew York Archives," and also in “New York in the Revolution," with the family names appearing in the New York
and Pennsylvania volumes of the Federal Census oi 1790. Such a study will convince the most skeptical that no single element in America was more wholelicartedly loyal to the cause of American liberty than the descendants of the Palatines. The Militia Lists of Tryon Co., V. Y., -doubtless the most frightiully desolated region on the American Continent in the War of the Revolution-read almost like passenger lists of incoming German ships. And the same thing is true vi the Jilitia Lists oi lurthampton, Bucks, Berks, and Jontgomery Counties, in Pennsylvania.
The economic value oi the German Palatine has not always been recognized and July appreciater. The settling of the Palatines on the Hudson River was, essentially, an economic enterprise. It was a failure as such because it was wholly impracticable. Attempts to "Gather grapes from thorns" always liave resulted in jailure. The failure on the banks of the Hudson was not due to any lack oi ability or adaptability on the part of the Palatines, who were expected to "Be employed in the making of terpentine, rozzin, tarr and pitch," ior the whole transaction was foredoomed to failure, because involving the presumption that laval Stores could be produced in places where the natural conditions forbade.” (Cobb, Story oi the Palatines, pp. 116–17.) The great yearning oi the Palatine was for land he might call his own—for land upon which he could build his humble honie and establish his family. This secured he could. as his subsequent history abundantly proves, "Work out his own salvation.”
The early Palatine immigrants to America are, almost invariably, described as "poor." In the early official records of the Colony of New York they are sometimes referred to as “Poor Germans." and sometimes as “Poor Palatines.” And there is every reason to believe that, in so far as the phrase expresses the idea of poverty in a financial sense, they were poor indeed. The lands oi their iathers had been ravaged again and again. Their homes had been Jestroverl. their cities burned, their growing crops plundered. They were poor like Belgian and French peasants are poor in this year of Grace, .t. D. 1918. And, without any doubt, their poverty had arisen irom similar causes. Their poverty was not seli-inflicted. They were neither lazy nor shiftless. They were not poor in the sense that they lacked either ability or adaptability to make their own way in liie ii a fair opportunity might be found for them. In iact it is very doubtiul whether any other nation in Europe contributed to the stream of immigration Howing into America. from about 1690 to 1730 a better qualitied type oi immigrant than the German Palatine. From May 5, 1709, to June 11, 1709, there arrived at St. Catharine and Walworth, in England, 6.520 Palatines. The company consisted oi 1,278 men, 1,234 wives, 89 widows, 38+ men not married, 106 women not married, 379 sons over 14 years oi age, 1,143 daughters over 14 years of age, 598 sons under 14 years of age, and 1.309 daughters under 14 years of age. Thousands of these Palatines were sent by the British government as colonists to various British possessions and most of them, undoubtedly, finally reached America. In