Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration
A British Government Redemptioner Project to Manufacture Naval Stores
by Walter Allen Knittle, Ph.D.
Department of History
College of the City of New York
Published Philadelphia, 1937


Page 32: Since the founding of Germantown in Pennsylvania under the leadership of Francis Daniel Pastorius in 1683, no large groups of Germans had sought homes in the New World. Intermittently, individuals with their families may have made the voyage, but of larger movements there were none. Twenty-five years passed before another band of emigrants made their way down the Rhine on their way to America. The emigration of 1708 was the prelude to the later heavy German emigrations of the eighteenth century.

The leader of the band of emigrants of 1708 was the Reverend Joshua Kocherthal, referred to before as the author of a promising description of Carolina. Kocherthal had visited London two years earlier and canvassed the possibilities at that time. What arrangements were made and with whom is not known but that assurances of aid were given appears certain judged by the experiences of the little band. The group was originally composed of forty-one people; ten men, ten women, and twenty-one children, (1) ranging in age from six months to fifteen years. The heads of the families were Lorenz Schwisser, Henry Rennau, Andreas Volck, Michael Weigand, Jacob Weber, Jacob Pletel, Johannes Fischer, Melchior Gulch, and Joshua Kocherthal. One of the ten men was single, a young man of twenty-three, Isaac Turck by name. They came from the neighborhood of Landau in the Rhenish Palatinate and represented themselves as refugees of the war there. (2)

1 P. R. O., C. O. 323/6, 56. Also History Society of Pennsylvania Library Transcripts, B. T., Plantations General, VII, 54, hereafter cited as H. S. P. A fifteen year old girl was considered a woman evidently. B. T. Jour. 1704-1708, 482; C. C. 1706-1708, 722.

2 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 53; Doc. Hist., III, 543.

Page 33: On February 16, 1708, Kocherthal and his party applied to the English consular representative at Frankfort on the Rhine for passes to England. (3) Mr. Davenant, the representative, refused to give them passes, money or recommendations, for fear of displeasing the Elector Palatine. Instead of aiding them immediately, he requested instructions from London. Mr. Boyle, one of the principal Secretaries of State, replied that though the desire of those poor people to settle in the plantations was very acceptable and would be for the public good, the Queen could by no means consent to Mr. Davenant's giving encouragement in any public way, either by money or passes to the Elector Palatine's subjects to leave their country without his consent. (4) If the emigrants received any aid in Frankfort, it was secretly given.

Reverend Kocherthal and his party continued on their journey, however. On the way down the Rhine they received many gifts of food, money and even clothing from those charitably disposed. Their progress from town to town must have attracted considerable attention and acted as valuable publicity for the English colonies. Kocherthal's confidence that the English government might provide the passage from Holland to England was well-founded it seems. In a letter, which was written from London, July 31, 1708, and appeared as a third appendix to the 1709 edition of his Bericht, Kocherthal stated, "the city council in Rotterdam gave us twenty-five florins [4.3.4 pounds] and had us brought to Hellevotschliuss (5) at their own cost in a ship belonging to the city. At the Hague we obtained from the English envoy that a free pass was given us to England and so we were brought from Hellevotschliuss in Holland clear to Harwich in England without a penny's cost." (6)

3 H. S. P., B. T. Plantations General, VIII, 53.

4 C.J., XVI, 597.

5 Hellevotschliuss is about fifteen miles from Rotterdam on a large island close to the coast.

6 Kocherthal, Bericht (1709), 28.

Page 34: Immediately on his arrival in London, Kocherthal petitioned the Queen. This petition recited the cause of the emigration as the French ravages upon the Rhine and the Neckar Rivers in 1707. In the judgment of the immigrants, so severe was the destruction that they could not possibly attain sufficient means of livelihood during the hard times,which still continued. Although Kocherthal requested a dwelling place in the English West Indies (7) and aid in establishing the colony, he did not mention royal promises. (8) This fact may mean little, however, since he was a man of singular tact, and charity was not to be secured by demands, at least not in the eighteenth century. At any rate, the petition was sent to the Board of Trade for advice as to the most proper place to settle the Palatines, as to transportation and as to the subsistence necessary to provide for them meanwhile. (9) The Secretary of State apparently already had decided to settle the Palatines at government expense. Whoever had promised Kocherthal aid, as related in his Bericht already referred to, was moving the authorities as expected. Since matters of importance were decided often by the ministers in informal meetings without record (a practice which was to develop into the cabinet system), it is not surprising that it is difficult to determine how or by whom this early decision to help the Palatines was secured.

Meanwhile the Board of Trade was considering the matter. On the 22nd of April, the Board had Kocherthal before it, to report in more detail the condition of his band. At this time he described their occupations as follows: "One is a joyner, another a smith, the others all versed in gardening, husbandry, planting, and tillage, and the women were versed in and

7 The term "West Indies" appears to have been loosely used in the early eighteenth century to include the British colonies in the New World.

8 H. L., H. M. Mss., 1403.

9 C. C. 1706-1708, 720; P. R. O., S. P. 44/107, 14, 20.

Page 35: understood the same business." (10) The Board recommended immediate aid for subsistence. (11) At the next session on the Palatines, the Board of Trade was advised by a Mr. Lodwick, who had resided in New York for about fifteen years, that New York was a poor place to send them. He said that all land in the province had already been granted, except land which lay forty or fifty miles from the Hudson River. The three Lutheran ministers, who resided in London, accompanied Kocherthal before the Board. They told the Board that they had read the testimonials giving a good character to the said minister and others, and they had no reason to doubt their truth. The religious beliefs of the forty-one persons were given as fifteen Lutherans and twenty-six Clavinists. (12) On May 10th, two warrants were issued for the distribution of money to the Palatines; one for one hundred pounds, (13) the other for forty shillings a day from April 15th past until their transportation to New York. (14)

On the same day the Queen approved an Order in Council, which was considered the following year as they royal sanction for the government venture into the manufacture of naval stores. The Order recited the condition of the refugees and the Board of Trade's suggestion of settlement in Jamaica or "Antego" (Antigua), where large tracts of land were ungranted and a great need of white people exited. The fear that the hot climate would adversely affect the Palatines led to the proposal that they "should be settled upon the Hudson River, in the province of New York, where they might be

10 B. T. Jour. 1704-1708, 482. Among the six other families of Palatines who arrived in London shortly thereafter and joined the group were a stocking maker and a weaver; C. C. 1706-1708, 783; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 53. See complete list in Appendix A.

11 C. C. 1706-1708, 721.

12 B. T. Jour, 1704-1708, 483.

13 P. R. O., C. O. 5/1049, 6; C. C. 1706-1708, 744, 745.

14 P. R. O., C. O. 5, 67; In accordance with this order another 100 pounds was issued on June 10th, P. R. O., C. O. 5/1049, 69; C. C. 1708-1709. 35, 82.

<- Page 36: [First Half ] Denization Papers granted to Kocherthal's Party of Palatines in London in May, 1708. Courtesy of Pennsylvania-German Society.

<-Page 37: [Second Half] Denization Papers granted to Kocherthal's Party of Palatines in London in May, 1708. Courtesy of Pennsylvania-German Society.

Page 38: useful to this kingdom, particularly in the production of naval stores, and as a frontier against the French and their Indians." At the same time orders were issued to the proper authorities to provide 655 pounds for clothing, tools, etc., and to make the Palatines free denizens of the kingdom without charge. (15)

Before the departure for New York, Kocherthal acquainted the Board of Trade with the fact that fourteen more Germans (two from Holstein) had unexpectedly arrived and likewise desired to go to New York. (16) On the next day, May 28th, he presented a list of the new group. (17) The petition was considered favorably. In the meantime preparations went ahead for the settlement. Lists of tools and other necessaries were drawn up and submitted. The cost of the voyage was estimated at 333 pounds. (18) On the 28th of June Kocherthal submitted a complete roster of his company. The latecomers were Peter Rose and his wife, Maria Wemarin, a widow, and her daughter Isaac Feber with his wife and son, Daniel Fiere with his wife and two children, Herman Schuneman. (19) The other two Germans not listed had entered the services of Lord Lovelace, (20) the newly-appointed governor of New York. Their names are supplied from the list of May 28th, mentioned above, as Peter Hubertsen and his son Jacob, a lad of fifteen. On questioning, the Board learned that Kocherthal had made an agreement with the others to clear six acres of land for him the first year, to enable him to settle.

Reverend Kocherthal next petitioned for a salary as clergy-

15 P. R. O., S. P. 44/107, 67; C. C. 1706-1708, 727; Acts of Privy Council Col. 1680-1720, 553.

16 H. S. P., Jour. B. T., XX, 157; Doc. Hist III, 328; eccles. Rec., III, 1703

17 B T. Jour 1704-1708, 496; C.C. 1706-1708, 738; N.Y. Col. Docs., V, 44; P.R. O., C.O. 1049-57, 139. Pecularly only thirteen people are listed, the name of Herman Schuneman being absent. This is supplied from the list of June 28th.

18 C. C. 1706-1708, 744, 757, 783.

19 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 53.

20 H. S. P., Jour. B. T., XX. 222.

Page 39: man, but the Board of Trade "found no precedent of a salary being settled here upon foreign clergymen in the Plantations, only that at New York the French Minister there has a salary of twenty pounds out of the Revenue." But the Board recommended that Governor Lovelace grant him a reasonable portion of land for a glebe and that twenty pounds be allowed Kocherthal for clothes and books. This was accordingly done. (21) For these favors, Kocherthal thanked the Board of Trade in a letter from New York, dated February 15, 1709. (22)

About the middle of October, 1708, the Palatines sailed with Lovelace for New York, leaving behind them the family of Melchior Gulch (also known as Gilles or Hilg). His wife was ill with a "cancer of the breast," which the surgeons were hopeful of curing in three or four months. During this period the family was supported by the government. But Frau Gulch died, and on April 19, 1709, Melchior petitioned for an order to the Navy Board for transportation to New York (23) The voyage of the main party with Governor Lovelace in 1708 occupied over nine weeks. On board the Palatine ship, the Globe, two children were born to German families and were baptized by Kocherthal September 14th and November 28th. (24) Governor Lovelace landed at Flushing, Long Island. He wrote immediately on December 18th, "Our winter sets in very hard, the Ports and Rivers are full of Ice; I am in pain for the Germans and Recruits on board the Globe they wanting water and the Weather not permitting us to assist them. This coast is so terrible in the Winter I think no Ship ought to be sent

21 P. R. O., S. P. 44/107, 87; C. C. 1708-1709, 34, 61; N. Y. col. Docs., V, 63; Doc. Hist., III, 543.

22 C. C. 1708-1709, 222; B. T. Jour. 1708-1714, 67.

23 Ibid., 120, 184, 281; B. T. Jour. 1708-1714, 23,

24 Kocherthal Records, 4. A MS. record in the possession of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church at West Camp, N. Y. This has been translated and published in Olde Ulster, a biographical and historical magazine (Kingston, N. Y., 1907), III, 54. Another translation is J. C. Krahmer, The Kocherthal Records (St. Johnsville, NY., 1931).

Page 40: hither from England after August at Fartherest. . . . "(25) The Palatines spent the winter in New York City. Two more children were baptized there on January 23rd February 23rd. (26)

Governor Lovelace gave the Palatines land on the west side of the Hudson River about fifty-five miles north of new York City. The settlement was made at the mouth of Quassaick Creek. (27) Lots of from one hundred to three hundred acres were divided among the settlers, fifty acres per person. In pursuance of Lovelace's instructions, five hundred acres

25 N. Y. col. Docs., V, 67.

26 Kockherthal Records, 4.

27 Mr. Ralph A. Weed, for years President of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands, now deceased, collected considerable material on this Palatine settlement, which was "boxed and not available" for this study.

Page 41: were granted to Kocherthal for a glebe, and an additional two hundred and fifty acres for his family. (28) This settlement was the beginning of Newburgh, New York. The Palatine colony was to have been a frontier settlement, but Newburgh was fully a hundred miles from Albany, beyond which the frontier began. The Palatines, it had been suggested by the Board of Trade and echoed by the Privy Council, were to make naval stores, but no plans or preparations for that work were made.

During the administration of Lovelace, the Palatines at Newburgh were well taken care of. The allowance of nine pence per day for each person supplied them with food and other necessities. But Lovelace's administration was short. He died on May 6, 1709, "having never had a well day in his government." He had contracted a cold on the voyage over, which probably developed more serious complications. Pity the plight of Lady Lovelace, for one son died before his Lordship and the young Lord passed away a fortnight later. (29) Up to the time of his decease, Lovelace had expended two hundred and two pounds, seventeen shillings and eight pence in behalf of the Palatines, which sum was certified to by Kocherthal and Schuneman. (30) At the beginning of 1711, Lady Lovelace had not yet received the money due her on this account. (31) But before 1715 her husband's successor in the governorship, Colonel Robert Hunter, had reimbursed her out of the quitrent fund of the colony with a sum somewhere between 400 and 500 pounds. (32)

Soon after the death of Lovelace the Palatines were in actual want of provisions. They petitioned the Council of

28 N. Y. Patent Books, VIII, 333; N. Y. Land Papaers, V, 142, VI, 39, 57 and 188; N. Y. Council Minutes, XI, 89; Doc Hist., III, 572.

29 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 81. New York Historical Society, Hawks Transcripts of London Society for Propagation of the Gospel Records, I, 154, hereafter cited as N. Y. H. S.

30 C. C. 1708-1709, 459.

31 Cal. Treas. Papers 1708-1714, 233.

32 C. C. 1714-1715, 307.

Page 42: New York on May 26th, to provide for them as the Queen had intended. Colonel Nicholason, a colonial official with influence, who was in the province to take part in the 1709 expedition against Canada, testified to the intentions of the British government subsidy. (33) The Council thereupon requested Colonel Thomas Wenham to support the Germans until the expiration of the year as ordered, or until Her Majesty's desire became known. This request was made necessary by the lack of revenue in the province and by the colonial government's great debts. (34)

At the same time charges were made that nineteen of the forty-seven Germans in the settlement had turned "Pietists" and had withdrawn from communion with the minister and the others. A committee of the Council investigated these charges and was of the opinion on June 21st, "that nothing of the allegations suggested against those called 'Pietists' have been proved before them. . . ." Accordingly their subsistence allowance, which had been withheld on that account, was restored to them. This religious dispute indicated at least that the members of the settlement were not incomplete harmony with each other. Another cause for discord appeared,when Melchior Gulch arrived from London. He brought a variety of Joiner's tools and other supplies, including a barrel of lime, and two grindstones. The Germans by a common division took possession of all the tools. On April 29, 1710, Gulch asked fro an order against them to secure the joiner's sets,which he claimed had been given to him for his own possession, for his son, and for an apprentice. (35)

Near the end of June, Kocherthal found himself in financial straits. He was dissatisfied with the means afforded for his settlement. He therefore determined to return to England and

33 Colonel Nicholson had been consulted by the Board of Trade in London with reference to the Palatine settlement. B. T. Jour. 1704-1708, 496.

34 Doc. Hist., III, 545.

35 Ibid., 551.

Page 43: personally to please his cause with the Queen or her government. On June 29th Kocherthal most humbly implored Colonel Ingoldesby, Lieutenant-Governor of the province, then acting governor, to procure free transportation for him on one of Her Majesty's ships. (36) Having secured passage, on August 18th, he further requested Ingoldesby to give him a testimonial of the "civil life and behavior" of himself and his group since his arrival, inasmuch as this would very much contribute to the happy success of his mission. (37) Kocherthal did not return to London in order to lead the 1710 emigrants, as has been asserted. (38) He was unaware of the developments over there. He undertook his journey to secure further help from the Queen, principally for himself.

During his short residence in New York Kocherthal had contracted a debt of thirty pounds, among the items being house-rent, firewood, a table, a bedstead, a chest, three stools, candles and household goods. Other expenses were for teaching English to his children, and a physician and nurse for his wife's illness. While he had been assigned seven hundred and fifty acres of land, he had not received the capital to work it, as he desired. He had not found matters as pleasant as he had anticipated in his Bericht. He therefore determined upon the voyage to London, which cost him an additional twenty-five pounds to be secured from the Queen or her government. (39)

After Kocherthal's departure for London, the settlement's benefactor, Colonel Wenham, died and again the German colonists were in dire want. On September 23, 1709, they petitioned the Lieutenant-Governor and the Council in the hope

36 Ibid., 546.

37 N. Y. Col. MSS., LIII, 108.

38 C. B. Todd, "Robert Hunter and the settlement of the Palatines," in National Magazine (February, 1893), XVII, 292; Todd, "The Story of the Palatines," in Lippincott Magazine (March, 1883), XXXI, 244; B. M. Brink, "The Palatine Settlements," in N. Y. State Hist. Assoc. Proc. (Albany, 1912), XI, 139.

39 P. R. O., C. O. 5/1049, 155.

Page 44: that they might provide a gentleman, willing to support them with their allowance, until it expired on January 1st. By October 10th, the Palatines had obtained two men willing to provide the ready payment of the remainder due them, one hundred and ninety-five pounds and three shillings, Colonel Nicholas Bayard and Mr. Octavius Coradus. The arrangement was made, however, only after the Germans had entered into a penal bond fully to repay the money, should it not be received from the Royal Treasury within twelve months. The Council, approving of this, agreed to certify the amount to the Lord High Treasurer as they had done for Colonel Wenham. (40)

At all events, Kochertahl returned to London, and on December 27, 1709, he addressed the Board of Trade in a clever fashion. He drew up a paper on the subject of viticulture in America. He wrote that he had corresponded "with all such persons as have had the least experience in that affaire, and have actually undertaken a journey over the whole Continent." Kocherthal asserted that the planting of vineyards could "be the most proffitable labour which the newcomers there could ever desire, and more advantageous to this Kingdom than the America sugar or tobacco trade." After raising a series of questions and answering them, he concluded that "It would in a short Time evidently appeare That the English America is full as fit and capable for the said nursery and Wine Trade as any other Part or Place in the Whole Universe." (41) To this attractive dissertation, Kocherthal attached an abstract of letters,which it appeared were received by him from "friends," concerning his maintenance in New York. In this way he brought to the attention of the authorities what he desired, and even argued for it without appearing to do so.

40 Doc. Hist., III, 547 et seq.

41 C. C. 1708-1709, 565; P. R. O., C. O. 5/1049, 155. Today the hills bordering the Hudson River are covered with grapevines. Not Reverend Kocherthal, but a prohibition experiment two hundred years later was responsible for the industry.

Page 45: These extracts are most interesting, since they present some idea of what was considered necessary to set up a small plantation in 1710.

For such a modest enterprise over five hundred pounds were required. These are some of the items: to clear the ground for the house and barn, ten pounds; building a house, one hundred and eighty pounds; a barn, seventy pounds; tow Negro slaves to do the work, one hundred and twenty pounds; a wagon, cart, plow and (h)arrow, twenty pounds; three horse, four cows and two hogs, twenty pounds; (as it would take over a year to produce) subsistence for a family of seven, a man, woman, three children and two slaves, eighty pounds. To these items, Kocherthal added twenty pounds for incidentals and the seventy pounds he needed for immediate expenses and debts. (42)

Another "friend" apparently wrote Kocherthal that this sum of money would not suffice or be paid him in London, This "friend" advised Kocherthal to resign his seven hundred and fifty acres and petition Her Majesty for half of the money, three hundred pounds. This sum could then be used to pay Kocherthal's debts in New York and the expense of living there for for another year. He could in the meantime cast about for another place of living and leave it at the end of that time. A third "friend" cautioned Kocherthal to "take care to discharge his debts, otherwise his possessions would certainly be seized and his children sold for servants."

One of Kocherthal's "friends" wrote, "As to the Report Wee have had That there are so many High Germans in London Who are to come hither I doe look upon this to be false, But if the same be True There are 5 Dutch Ministers in the province, and the English Minister in Albania [Albany] the Reverend Mr. Barkley doth Sufficiently understand the

42 A gift of this kind could be expected by Kocherthal only if he felt that in justice something further was due to him for services rendered, perhaps in writing the Bericht, that most favorable description of Carolina, which he never visited.

Page 46: High Dutch Tongue. . . . " (43) It is difficult to understand how the decision of Secretary of State Sunderland on November 4th, which will be discussed later, to send more Germans to New York, could have reached the colonies and comments returned to England by December 27th.

Kocherthal's connection with the 1709 migrations is that of a press agent. It was his Bericht of 1706, which encouraged many of his fellow countrymen to consider the New World. His example in 1708, and especially the reception he and his band received at the hands of the English government, pointed the way for others to follow. An account of the aid, that could be expected by others and was received by Kocherthal, was added as a third Appendix to his Bericht, and disseminated in the Rhine Valley. The four impressions, made in 1709, are indicative of the demand for the pamphlet and of its influence in encouraging emigration. (44) But Kocherthal's accidental presence in London, late in 1709, has misled students of this movement to attribute to him a mythical leadership, even asserting that his return to England was for that purpose.

Kocherthal apparently received some aid from funds voted by Parliament in connection with the large Palatine immigration of 1709. At any rate he returned to New York and resumed his labors with his fellow countrymen. But it does not appear that he was provided with the capital for the plantation he envisioned. His history and that of the the Newburgh Palatines merged with that of the large immigration of 1709 and will be discussed later in a chapter on the dispersal of the Germans in New York. Meanwhile the various causes of Palatine emigration treated in Chapter I, were giving pause to many disheartened and dissatisfied Germans in the Rhine country. The well-established fact that Kocherthal had followed the course laid out in his Breech, gave further impetus to a movement of population, which for its brief intensity was incredible in that age. Let us follow the 1709 emigration from the Rhineland to London.

P. R. O., C. O. 5/1049, 155.

44 B. M., Strafford Papers, Add. MSS. 22202, 130.

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