History From America's Most Famous Valleys
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
Governor Hunter could not believe that the project would be allowed to fail for lack of financial support from England, but his discouragement increased with the passing months. The Palatines, who had never received the full subsistence for which they were charged, petitioned the governor for more supplies. (1) Eight days later the blow fell. Although the pine trees had received their last preparation, staves prepared for barrels, the magazine almost finished, and a road nearly completed between it and the pine forest, the enterprise was halted. (2) On September 6, 1712, Hunter gave orders to Cast to inform the Palatines that they would have to subsist themselves until further, orders, his credit being exhausted. They were to hire themselves out if they could. They might go anywhere in New York or New Jersey, both under the jurisdiction of Hunter, but they had to secure a ticket of leave4 and register their destination. If they attempted to leave without these formalities, Cast was ordered to raise the hue and cry for them and imprison themuntil further orders. (3) The purpose of these conditions was to keep the Palatines in readiness upon the first public notice to return to work, as specified in the covenant. (4) This notice reached the Palatines about the middle of the month. The last day of the government subsistence for most of the Palatines was September 12th. (5) The Palatines were taken by surprise and ex-
1 Eccles. Rec., III, 2169. The order "to retrench in the article of beer" was issued late in July. Liv MS., letter of July 30, 1712.
2 N. Y. col. Docs., V, 347.
3 Doc. Hist., III, 683.
4 N. Y. col. Docs., V, 347.
5 P. R. O., C. O. 5/1085, 67.
Page 189: perienced some anxiety as to their ability to survive the winter. (6)
Many of the Palatines scattered about the neighborhood of the settlements, seeking employment to provide themselves and their families with food during winter. Some remained in the settlements where they had been placed by Hunter. During that winter without government aid their suffering was particularly pitiful. Their minister Reverend Haeger wrote to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel on July 6, 1713, that "they boil grass and the children eat the leaves of the trees. I have seen old men and women cry that it should almost have moved a stone. [Several] have for a whole week together had nothing but Welsh turnips which they did only scrape and eat without an salt or fat and bread." (7) Haeger had given what little he had so that he was in no better condition. Worse yet there was no hope of any alteration in their condition. Within the next five years many Palatines moved elsewhere. Several went to Pennsylvania, others to New Jersey, settling at Hackensack, still others pushed a few miles south to Rhineback, New York, and some returned to New York City, while quite a few established themselves on Livingston Manor itself. The last group had to accept Robert Livingston's terms and they were soon heavily in his debt. (8)
The more restless among them who resented their condition of serfdom, immeditely bethought themselves of the legendary Schoharie when they were thrown on their own resources. On October 31, 1712, Hunter wrote to the Board
6 Kapp, Die Deutschen, I, 44.
7 L. C., S. P. G. MSS. A-8, 189.
8 C. C. 1726-1721, 180; Simmendinger, op. cit., Appendix (see lists in Appendix F); Liv. MS., "Debt List of Palatines living in the Manor of Livingston," December 28, 1726. The Palatines who lived in the original settlement also fell into Livingston's debt but for more modest accounts. Liv. MSS., "Debt List of the Palatines living in the four villages in the Manor of Livingston," December 26, 1718, also January 1, 1721.
Page 190. <=Schoharie, New York, showing Old Fort Museum on the extreme right. Courtesty of the Pennsylvania-German Society.
Page 191: of Trade relating that "some hundreds of them took a resolution of possessing the land of Schoharee and are accordingly march'd thither have[ing] been busy in cutting a road from Schenectady to that place. . . . " (9) The governor was far from pleased at this removal without negotiation but was in a poor position to interfere, "it being impossible for me to prevent this;" in other words, Hunter thought of preventing it but of course saw no logical way to do so, since he could no longer subsist them.
It also appears that Hunter bore a real animus against the troublesome Palatines, especially those who had settled in Schoharie between September 12th and October 31, 1712, some forty or fifty families. In March, 1713, he remarked in a letter to Livingston, "Since nothing can restrain the madness of that people [the Palatines], I'm afraid I must apply an extraordinary severity." (10) On May 11, 1713, he wrote to the Board of Trade that he had used "all means imaginable to keep the Palatines together. . . .but many are gone of their own heads to settle at Scoharee and the frontier." (11) Two months later he wrote concerning the deprivation of "those who run to Scohare." (12) The governor had been bothered so much by the Palatines, attracted by the storied claims of the Schoharie Valley, that he had become irritable on the subject.
The Palatines who intended to settle in Schoharie Valley first sent a number of deputies to make arrangements with the Indians there. The Indians were easily persuaded to sell the land to the deputies. (13) The fact is that they parted with their claims to the same land son three separate occasions, once when Nicholas Bayard had purchased it about 1695, again by gift to Governor Hunter for the government as was related
9 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 347.
10 Liv. MS., letter of March 30, 1713.
11 N. Y. col. Docs., V. 364.
12 Ibid., 366.
13 Weiser Dairy, 15, in loc. cit., VIII, 798; Olde Ulster, II, 202.
Page 192: earlier in this paper, and now to the deputies for the Palatines. The land-title difficulties which the Germans encountered were partly due to such uncertain memory of the savages, who were not averse to selling their claims as often as they could get an offer.
The procedure by which title to land was secured was well established by this time. One had to apply tot he Governor in Council for a license to purchase from the Indians a tract of a certain number of acres in a particular locality. Fees of 20 shillings to the Governor, 6 shillings to the Clerk of the Council, in addition to 1 shilling, 6 pence for reading the petition in Council and 6 pence for filing it (all in colonial currency) were necessary. Then the purchaser made his deal with the Indians for a deed in English, practically always with the aid of "fire-water." After securing the Indian deed, the prospective patentee applied to the Governor and Council for a survey of the grant, and received a warrant of survey for a fee of 6 shillings. In the period of the early eighteenth century, these surveys were quite carelessly made and the land taken in was invariably many times larger than specified. A patent was then granted by the Governor and Council for the following fees in colonial currency: Clerk of Council, 3 shillings for drawing up a warrant or order for the patent; Attorney-General, 10 shillings for drafting the patent; Secretary of the Province, 30 shillings more or less for engrossing, sealing and recording; and the Governor, various amounts depending upon the size of the grant. (14) From this description of the method of securing title, it should be apparent that the Palatines engaging for land in Schoharie were buying trouble for themselves by their ignorance of procedure. It should be clear moreover how necessary the Governor's good will was for success in securing title.
Upon the return of the deputies from Schoharie about 150 families moved the same autumn (1712) to Albany and
14 Ruth L. Higgins, Expansion in New York with Especial Reference to the 18th Century (Columbus, Ohio, 1931), 30; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 511.
Page 193: Schenectady (15) Here in Schenectady, Conrad Weiser told us his father stayed during the winter with Johannes Meynderton. He also related that bread was extraordinarily high but that the inhabitants were very liberal to the Germans. If Weiser's Journal has been read aright, it was in Schenectady that the Indian Quaynant visited his father and as a result Conrad was sent to live with the Indians about the end of November. It also appears that fifty families could not wait for spring but cutting a rough road from Schenectady to Schoharie in two weeks, they settled there for the winter throwing up rough shelters. With the help of the Indians they weathered the cold winter but with great suffering. How different the experience of these hardy pioneers contracted with that of our complaining Matanuska Valley settlers sent to Alaska last year (1935).
At this time Governor Hunter sent orders, forbidding their settlement in Schoharie. Nevertheless, in March, 1713, the remainder of the 150 families joined their friends at Schoharie, traveling with roughly-made sledges through snow three feet deep. (16) The emigrants settled in seven villages, named as we are told for the deputies who made the arrangements with the Indians. The most northern village, Kniskerndorf, of which there are no remains today, was opposite the village of Central Bridge, nearly opposite the point where Cobleskill Creek empties into Schoharie River. Two miles south was Gerlachsdorf, of which there is no vestige left. Two miles further south was Fuchsendorf, later called Fox Town, where the Old Fort Museum of Schoharie now stands. Schmidsdorf, later called Smith's Town, is marked today by the little railroad station at Schoharie. Brunnendorf, later
15 Weiser Diary, 15, 17, 21, in loc. cit., VIII, 797. Weiser gives 1713 as the date of the migration but it is apparent from Governor Hunter's letters already cited that this movement took place in 1712. It is also plain from the diary, for Weiser gave 1713 as the year when the government subsistence was stopped, also an error.
16 Kapp, Die Deutschen, I, 56; Eccles. Rec.,III, 2170.
<=Page 194: Map of Central New York, showing the Palatine settlements in New York. Courtesy of New York Historical Society.
Page 195:known as Fountaindorf or Waterstown, was around the site now occupied by St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Schoharie. The last three mentioned were in what is now the incorporated village of Schoharie and were all three within a radius of one mile. Two and a half miles southwest of Brunnendorf was Hartmansdorf, of which an iron marker is the only indication now. Two miles further south was Weiserdorf on the edge of the present town of Middleburgh. Oberweiserdorf, a split off from Weiserdorf some years later, was the most southern settlement about three miles away. (17) In its early days Weiserdorf was supposed to have forty small rude huts, built of logs and earth, with bark for roofing and with skins covering the doorways.
The exact numbers moving to Schoharie do not appear in the records, but on October 26, 1713 Governor Hunter reported to an investigator of British projects in America, Colonel Nicholason, that 1,008 Palatines were in the Hudson River settlements, 500 in Schoharie Valley and about 500 among the various planters. (18) In 1718 a report of the Palatine ministers places 224 families of 1,021 persons along the Hudson River and scattered areas,while 170 families of 580 persons were in Schoharie. (19)
The first year in Schoharie (1713) was one of bitter struggle for the Palatines. Conrad Weiser in his Journal related how one borrowed a horse and another a cow. Someone else borrowed harness and a plow. Hitching the horse cow together they broke up so much land that in 1714 they had almost enough corn for their needs. Meanwhile they often went hungry or appeased their appetites with wild
17 See map of New York. Weiser Diary, 17, in loc. cit., VIII, 797. The locations of these villages is based on information secured from Mr. Chauncey Rickard, the director of the Old Fort Museum, Schoharie, New York. The German work dorf means village or town. Also see John Heustis French, Gazeteer of the State of New York (8th ed., Syracuse, New York, 1860), 601.
18 C. C. 1712-1714, 263.
19 Doc. Hist., I, 693.
Page 196: potatoes and strawberries which grew in abundance and which the Indians had recommended to them. For flour, Weiser said they had to go 35 or 40 miles, presumably counting to and from Schenectady, where on credit a bushel or two might be obtained. This journey, starting early in the morning, took all day, and then after their business was completed in the town, they make the return trip, lasting throughout the night. Women as well as men undertook the trip. Weiser wrote too of the pain and tears of the hungry ones awaiting their return. If they went to Albany, the journey took three or four days. (20)
But there were silver linings in the dark clouds of adversity. The charity of the good people of Schenectady has been referred to. In addition records tell us of several occasions in 1713 when the Dutch Church of New York sent supplies for the Palatines in Schoharie. In July of that year the communicants of the Dutch Church sent supplies for the Palatines in Schoharie. In July of that year the communicants of the Dutch Church sent to Albany 80 bushels of corn, fifty pieces of rookspeck (smoked pork), weighing about 500 pounds, 100 pounds of bread and six pounds of money for the purchase of flour. The Palatines were glad to go to Albany to receive these items and carry them home from there. (21) Hunting and fishing completed their scanty larder. Judge John M. Brown, in his History of Schoharie, largely based on tradition and published in 1823, wrote that Lambert Sternbergh of Gerlachsdorf purchased a skipple (three pecks) of wheat and sowed it in the fall of 1713. The yield of this most carefully cultivated wheat was said to have been 83 skipples. (22) But whatever the truth of the amount, we may be sure that it was most preciously treated and preserved. Within a few years regular over-day and night-trips
20 Weiser Diary, 23, in loc. op., VIII, 798; Simms, Frontiersmen, I, 129.
21 J. Munsell, Annals of Albany (Albany, 1856), VII, 236.
Page 197: were made to Schenectady to have the grain ground into flour at the grist-mill there.
The Palatines had not been permitted to bring to Schoharie the tools supplied them by the government in the Hudson Valley settlements. Indeed, they feared they might be charged with theft. Consequently, they were hard-pressed to fashion substitutes with which to start building their settlement. In the old Fort Museum at Schoharie re many relics of pioneer life in the Schoharie Valley and from these we can secure a fair idea of the difficulties of the settlers and the courageous way in which they met them. (23) One settler fashioned a shovel from a log end, painstakingly hollowing it out. Another used the branches of a tree for a fork to be used in hay-making. A maul was made from a heavy knot of wood, the protruding branch being used as a handle. A mortar for grinding corn was made by taking a log two feet high, and cutting a hole 12 inches in diameter about 18 inches to 20 inches deep into one end. The sides at the top remained about an inch thick. A cornbread mixer was constructed by nailing together two half logs, after the edges joined together had been cut by two spheriod holes of about 8 inches in diameter. The hole of the mixer was about 10 inches deep while the depth of the log itself measured 14 inches. Iron gouges had to be secured to bore holes and the process of frnishing their huts with articles of convenience must have been quite laborious.
Their furniture must have been very crude for the time of the men was occupied in clearing the land and securing food, while the women had not only their household duties to perform but farm work as well. A split log with four stout stick set in for legs was their table. Curde stools made in the same manner or rough sections of logs completed the furnish-
23 Much of this information on early life is derived from an examination of the Old Fort Museum relics so courteously and effectively explained by Mr. Chauncey M. Rickard, the director of the Museum.
Page 198: ings. These first huts apparently lacked fireplaces; cooking was done in stone ovens out of doors, built for the use of several neighboring families. As soon as more permanent dwellings could be built of log and stones, the fireplaces, so necessary in winter, were made by attaching a stone chimney to the outside wall and preparing a small stone floor and stone sides for fire protection. A bar across the fireplace and chains for hanging the pots gave the hausfrau a feeling of domestic security so desirable to these wanderers. Kitchen utensils were next acquired. Rocking chairs were the height of luxury and a prized possession the the settlements. As the years passed these early homes came to have benches with backs, solid tables and well-made chests, artistically decorated in bright colors and carrying Biblical verses in German worked into the design.
The earliest artificial light used by the Palatines were pitch pine knots. Tallow dips were scarce, necessitating rising at dawn and retiring at dusk. As the cheap clothing of kerseys, nap-shag and flannels, provided for the Palatines by the British government, wore out, the skins of the deer and beaver were fashioned into breeches, skirts and caps as protection from the elements. Shoes excepting the moccasin, were made of heavy leather studded with iron clips for hard wear, and fastened with a buckle, or tied with leather thongs near the top. The Palatines had large families as a rule, the children often numbering close to twenty or more, but the mortality was exceptionally high. The Maidens married quite young, increasing their fecundity. The Palatine women were generally robust and strong, for within one week of their arrival in Schoharie Valley four children were safely born. (24) Difficulties were encountered in entering the sacred bonds of matrimony. Since the preacher was an infrequent visitor,
24 Simms, Schoharie, 51; Simms, Frontiersmen, I, 127. The children were named Catharina Mattheus, Elizabetha Lawer, Wilhemus Bauch, and Johannes Erhardt.
Page 199: couples sometimes neglected the ceremony itself, but their marital faithfulness was well enough established to be proverbial.
Conrad Weiser's Journal tells us that "Here the people lived for a few years without preacher, without government, generally in peace. Each one did what he thought was right." Of course, part of this orderly conduct was due to the respect held by the people for their listmasters, placed over them in the Hudson River settlements and who retained their authority in Schoharie too. (25) Elderly John Conrad Weiser, a magistrate in old Wurtemberg in German, was perhaps the most eminent as well as the most fiery leader.
Governor Hunter in opposing their settlement in Schoharie, (26) probably feared that one there, they would never return to the manufacture of naval stores along the Hudson. He comforted himself somewhat as he told the Board of Trade that the Palatines at least strengthened the border, and that the Palatines "at Schoharee may be imploy'd in working in the vast pinewoods near to Albany, which they must be
25 Weiser Diary, 27, in loc. cit.,VIII, 799.
26 Eccles. Rec., III, 2146, 2170; C. C. 1712-1714, 82.
Page 200: obliged to doe they having no pretense to possession of any land but by performing their part of the contract relating to that manufacture." (27) In June, 1714, Hunter was interested in renewing the project. He had Sackett test the trees to see if they would do, observing, "If the trees answer I'll fall to work at my own Cost." (28) In August he informed the Board of Trade, "The trees are not ready for manufacturing, and I want nothing but money to imploy hands to make a very considerable quantity of tarr, having had the trees tryed which for the most part answer expectations." (29) Perhaps Hunter expected to drive the Palatines back into the Hudson Valley settlements.
Conditions were improving when in the summer of 1714 a colonial gentleman of prominence, Nicholas Bayard, visited the Palatines at Schoharie. He gave out that to every householder who would describe the boundaries of the land held, he would issue a deed in the name of Queen Anne. Tradition has described him as a royal agent. (30) This cannot have been the case, since he had no official connection at the time. In fact, Governor Hunter composed about that time an unpublished farce in three acts called "Androboros" in which Bayard is castigated in no uncertain terms. (31) Bayard belonged to the colonial opposition to the governor. His intentions with regard to the Palatines are unfortunately not clear. But, a consideration of his background (32) suggests that Bayard, whose grandfather had once purchased the Indian claim to Schoharie and whose patent had been disallowed by the Colonial and British authorities as an "extravagant grant"
27 C. C. 1712-1714, 82; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 347.
28 Liv. MS., June 15, 1714.
29 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 380.
30 Simms, Frontiersmen, I, 145.
31 Widener Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Hunter MS., "Androborus," 14, 20, 27; Higgins, op. cit., 53.
32 Mrs. A. P. Atterbury, The Bayard Family (Baltimore, 1928), 16. The elder Nicholas Bayard died in 1707.
Page 201: in 1708, was trying to save something of his relative's investment. In 1710 he had petitioned that either the charges and fees be refunded or that the former grant be confirmed. (33) He may even have envisioned an appeal to London for a confirmation of the patent as Captain Evans, another dispossessed grantee, was doing. (34) Had the Palatines accepted his deeds and claimed the land from him, his case would have been materially strengthened as he could then point then to improvements and settlement, the lack of which was a strong argument against the original grant.
Regardless of his intentions, Bayard was taken for a representative of Hunter and barely escaped the settlements with his life under the cover of darkness. He was besieged in John George Smith's house by an angry mob and shots were exchanged. Escaping after nightfall to Schenectady, Bayard sent word that if any would appear before him there, acknowledge him and name their boundaries, they should still receive a free deed and a lasting title. (35) How galling this experience must have been to Bayard and how it consequently must have pleased Hunter, but at the same time warned him of the temper of these German settlers.
The Palatine tradition has it that Bayard then sold the Schoharie title to five citizens of Albany. This may refer to his grandfather's Indian title, which had been voided as described in Chapter VI, for the Albany partners, who belonged to the governor's party in the colony, received their patent from Hunger on November 3, 1714. (36) This grand included 10,000 acres of Bayard's vacated grant upon which the Palatines were settled. The patentees were Myndert Schuyler,
33 Cal. N. Y. Land Papers (Albany, 1864), 97.
34 C. C. 1720-1721, 28. The Board of Trade recommended to Secretary of State Craggs that Evans be given an equivalent grant elsewhere, and issued orders accordingly. Eccles. Rec., III, 2194.
35 Simms, Schoharie, 61.
36 N. Y. Patent Books, VIII, 74; Cal. N. Y. Land Papers, 110; N. Y. Land Papers, VI 26, 80; N. Y. Council Minutes, XI, 245.
Page 202: Peter van Brugh, Robert Livingston, Jr., John Schuyler and Peter Wileman. When Lewis Morris, Jr., and Andrus Coeman surveyed these lands for the Five Partners, they found that the flats of Fox Creek and a large part of Kniskerndorf had been omitted. These lands they secured for themselves and joined forces with the Albany group. The Five Partners therefore became the Seven Partners. (37)
The Palatines were called upon in 1715 to purchase, lease or vacate their land. Hunter claimed (in 1720) that at his instance favorable terms were extended to the Palatines, offering the land free from all rent for ten years, and after that on only a very moderate quit-rent. (38) They refused, and grew violent. When Adam Vrooman, a resident of Schenectady, tired to settle on land in Schoharie which he had secured by purchase from the Indians in 1711 and government patent in 1714, (39) they tore up his fences and pulled down the stone walls of his home. The Palatines evidently thought that the land was theirs. When warnings failed to drive out Vrooman's son, he was pulled from a wagon and beaten. When Vrooman reported these incidents to Governor Hunter, he also informed him that John Conrad Weiser and several others spoke of going to Boston, intending to sail for England. (40)
Upon this information Hunter issued a warrant for the arrest of John Conrad Weiser. (41) Apparently attempting to serve this warrant a sheriff from Albany, named Adams, came into the Schoharie Valley. No sheriff of the name of Adams has been listed in the Civil List of the time, but Judge Brown who related this story in his History of Schoharie, informed Mr. Jeptha R. Simms, the historian of our New York
37 Simms, schoharie, 60.
38 Eccles. Rec., III, 2146.
39 N. Y. Patent Books, VIII, 92; N. Y. Land Papers, VI, 13, 37, 64; N.Y. Council Minutes, XI, 267; Simms, Schoharie, 55. Vrooman's Indian deed is in the Old Fort Museum, Schoharie, N. Y.
40 Doc. Hist., III, 687; N. Y. Col. MSS., LX, 3, 20.
41 Ibid., 688; N. Y. Col. MSS., LX. 26.
Page 203: frontier, that he had heard the story from Mr. Adams' own lips. (42) Perhaps Adams was deputized for the occasion. If so, it was most unfortunate for him, for the Seven Partners greatly underrated the bravery of these people. Adams, conscious of his own honorable intentions, passed up through the valley and made a halt at Weiserdorf. No sooner had he explained his business and attempted the arrest than a mob appeared. The women of that generation, it would seem, possessed Amazonian strength. Under the direction of Magdalena Zeh, a self-appointed captain, they took the sheriff into their hands and dealt rather harshly with him. He was knocked down, and inducted into various places where the sow delighted to wallow. After receiving many indignities in the neighborhood of Weiserdorf, Adams was placed upon a rail and ridden through several settlements. Finally, he was deposited on a small bridge across a stream along the old Albany road, a distance from the starting point of between six and seven miles, quite a lengthy journey for such a conveyance. The captain then seized a stake and laid it over the sheriff's person until two of his ribs were broken. He was rescued a little later and eventually recovered. (43)
Matters rested thus for two more years. Then in 1717 Hunter ordered that John Conrad Weiser, together with three men from each village appear before him. He told them that he expected orders from England to remove them to another region, unless they came to an agreement with the owners of the land. They protested that they had built their homes and had made improvements. Hunter agreed to send twelve men to estimate the value of their improvements and reimburse them, but he failed to carry out his promise. Meanwhile they were not to plow the land. Needing food that
42 Simms, Frontiersmen, I, 150, Brown, op. cit., 13. No sheriff of Albany County was named Adams until 1840. E. A. Werner, N. Y. Civil List for 1885, 455.
43 Brown, op. cit., 12; Simms, Frontiersmen, I, 146, et seq.
Page 204: winter, they sent deputies requesting permission to plow, and being refused, they disregarded the orders altogether. (44)
In 1718 the Palatines sent John Conrad Weiser, William Scheff and Gerhart Walrath (45) to London to ask for justice. They sailed from Philadelphia, but, were robbed of their money by pirates. The ship had to be put into Boston for new supplies, and upon reaching London the Palatine deputies were imprisoned for debt. By that time Hunter himself had returned to London to recoup his fortune. He falsely claimed that the Palatines had taken possession of lands in Schoharie already granted to others. (46) He pointed out that the proprietors had offered them easy terms--no rent for ten years and thereafter only a moderate rent. His suggestion that they be removed to other lands on the frontier was adopted. The Palatines' deputies were not in agreement themselves as to what should be done. (47) This and their lack of financial resources lent feeble opposition to the influence of Hunter. Walrath, homesick, sailed for new York but died before reaching his destination. Toward the close of 1721 Schef returned but he too died soon--in his case within six weeks of his homecoming. At last in November of 1723 John Conrad Weiser came back to New York still unreconciled to the government's proposals. (48)
Colonel Hunter's successor, Governor William Burnet was ordered to settle the Palatines on some suitable lands. (49) In 1721 Burnet gave a number of the Palatines license to purchase land of the Mohawks provided that it was at least
44 Eccles. Rec., III, 2171; Doc. Hist., III, 713.
45 C. C. 1720- 1721, 102. The letter of attorney sent by the Palatines in the autumn of 1719 gives us Walrath's name as Gerard, but it appears on the Subsistence List and in Simendinger's List as Gerhardt.
46 N. Y. col. Doc., V, 552.
47 Ibid.,574; Eccles. Rec., III, 2177.
48 Weiser Diary, 39, 43, in loc. cit., VIII, 800. Before his return Weiser had carried the fight unsuccessfully to the highest authorities, the Lord Justices. C. C. 1722-1723, 311.
49 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 582.
Page 205: forty miles above Fort Hunter and at least eighty miles from Albany. He explained to the Board of Trade that he had made this condition in order to have the frontier extended. He also stated as evidence of the good will now prevailing that some Palatines had actually taken leases from the seven Partners. (56) In 1722 Burnet purchased land in the Mohawk Valley (Burnetsfield) for the Palatines but they were slow in responding to he offers. About sixty families wanted to settle apart from the others and as they had been "most hearty for the government," Burnet permitted them to settle between Fort Hunter and Canada. (51) The leader of this group was John Christopher Gerlach. They petitioned for a patent in March, 1722, then realized that they had to do their own purchasing from the Indians, they made the necessary arrangement. (52) On October 19, 1723, the Stone Arabia patent was issued to twenty-seven persons. It contained 12,700 acres about two or three miles back from the Mohawk River. The annual quit-rent of 2 shillings, 6 pence per hundred acres and customary conditions were made. This settlement developed into Palatine Bridge and the town of Palatine. (53)
Tradition has it that in 1723 fifteen families of the Palatines removed to the Tulpehocken district just east of the Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. They migrated at the invitation of Sir William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania, who invited them on the occasion of his visit to attend an Indian conference in Albany in 1722. The Pennsylvania records confirm the fact that Governor Keith invited them then. In truth the Pennsylvania records suggest further that several Palatines from New York settled in Pennsylvania "about 171." (54) As Weiser wrote in his Journal, "the people received
50 C. C. 1720-1721, 468; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 634.
51 Eccles. Rec., III, 2196; C. C. 172201723, 168/
52 Cal. N. Y. Land Papers, 120, 138, 195, 196.
53 N. Y. Land Papers, VI, 138; Cal. N. Y. Land Papers, 120.
54 Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd series, VII, 78, 94; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 677.
<= Map of Eastern Pennsylvania, showing Tulpehocken ( Wormelsdorf) settled by the Palatines. Courtesy of Pennsylvania-German Society.
Page 206: news from the land at Swatara and Tulpehocken in Pennsylvania. Many of them came togehter, cut a way from Schoharie to the Susquehanna and brought their goods there and made canoes and journeyed down to the mouth of the Swatara Creek and drove their cattle overland int he spring of 1723. Thence they came to the Tulpehocken settlement; later others followed and settled there, at first without permission of the owner of the land or company, or from the Indians from whomthe people had not yet bought the land." (55) It seems
55 Weiser Diary, 45 in Loc. cit.,VIII, 801.
Page 207: that other Palatines preceded the 1723 emigrants from Schoharie to Pennsylvania, for a letter written in Albany on October 16, 1720, stated that some of the Palatines had gone "to [the] Philadelphia government, where they think they fare best." (56) But since Weiser wrote in his Journal that the settlement in the spring of 1723 was the beginning of the Tulpehocken settlement, it does not appear that the earlier group settled there.
The Palatine settlements at Womelsdorf in the Tulpehocken region made the Indians restless and caused the colonial authorities of Pennsylvania great concern. (57) Several other groups are said to have followed the 1723 emigrants. In 1725 there were thirty-three families settled there (58) and fifty more families expected. These moved in 1729 and among them was the family of Conrad Weiser, who served Pennsylvania and the colonies generally as a valuable intermediary with the Indians. (59) The elder John Conrad Weiser did not move to the Pennsylvania frontier with the first families as he had often threatened to do in earlier days. In 1726 he entered into an agreement with John Van Kampen of Huntington County, New Jersey to procure an Indian deed for land on the west side of the Delaware River. (60) The attempt to secure this land apparently failed, for Weiser later joined his son in Womelsdorf near the Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania.
Taking advantage of the offer made by Governor Burnet to settle the rest of the Palatines on the twenty-four miles tract above Little Falls, the family of Johan Jurgh Kast obtained in June, 1724, a patent for 1,100 acres. The patent included the usual reservations and required 27 shilling, 6
56 C. C. 1720-1721, 180.
57 Pennsylvania Provincial Papers, III, 51.
58 Col. Rec. of Pa.,III, 352. See lists of names in Appendix G.
59 Daniel Haberle, Auswanderung und Koloniegrundungen der Pfalzer in 18ten Jahrhundert (Kaiserlautern, 1909), 94.
60 Cal. N. Y. Hist. MSS., II, 497.
<=Page 208: The Conrad Weiser Homestead Womelsdorf, (Tulpehocken) Pennsylvania. Courtesty of Pennsylvania-German Society.
Page 209: pence for annual rent. (61) One of the Kasts was also included in the nearby Burnetsfield patent, granted a year later. Another group of Palatines settled west of the same falls on lands offered by the Governor. This land was purchased from the Indian by John Conrad Weiser and other Palatines on July 9, 1722. (62)
The Burnetsfield patent, (Burnetsfield Patent Map Burnetsfield Patentees ) granted April 13, 1725, assigned one-hundred-acre lots to some ninety individuals. Some received their land all in one place, while others had thirty acres in the river bottoms between the Mohawk River and the West Canada Creek just before it joins the Mohawk River and the West Canada Creek just before it joins the Mohawk, and seventy acres in woodland back of the river. As in the other patents they were required to pay the customary quit-rent. (63) The meadow lands south of the river were later known as the German Plats while the village opposite was called Palatine village and later Herkimer after the German-American general who won fame in the Revolutionary War. At last these Palatines occupied land to which they had undisputed possession. The Burnetsfield community prospered until the French and Indian War threatened the New York frontier.
In 1731, 8,000 acres, known as the Canajoharie patent, were granted to certain members of the colonial aristocracy. (64) These lands as well as certain others granted a little earlier were located in the present towns of Minden and Canajoharie. Palatines who early settled on these lands rented them from the Indians. There was considerable dispute between the Indians and the several colonial patentees in which the London authorities eventually intervened because of charges of fraud. (65) A compromise was finally effected in 1768 mainly
61 N. Y. Land Papers, IX, 75, 76; Col. N. Y. Land Papers, 173.
62 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 634; N. Y. Land Papers, VIII, 168; Cal. N. Y. Land Papers, 171.
63 N. Y. Land Papers, IX, 22, 48, 174; Cal. N. Y. Land Papers, 166, 169, 182; N. Y. Patent Books, IX, 139, 165.
64 N. Y. Patent Books, XI, 53; N. Y. Land Papers, 89, 103, 112, 122.
65 N. Y. Col. Docs., VI, 851, 1017, 1178; VII, 6;71, 876.
Page 210: through the good offices of Sir William Johnson, the great colonial trader of central New York and the Palatines eventually purchased the lands they were occupying. (66)
In similar ways other groups of Germans heeded the call of the new lands and the frontier was pushed westward. About 1710 a company of Palatines, in faith Mennonites, settled "toward the River Susquehanna" in Pennsylvania.
In similar ways other groups of Germans heeded the call of the new lands and the frontier was pushed westward. About 1710 a company of Palatines, in faith Mennonites, settled "toward the River Susquehanna" in Pennsylvania. Palatines continued to arrive in that colony in increasing numbers. For example, in 1717 on hundred "sold themselves for servants to Pennsylvania for five years." About 400 more were in London, awaiting disposition (67) when in 1717, the registration of immigrants was required by the Pennsylvania colonial authorities. (68) On September 14, 1727, a ship from Holland arrived in Philadelphia with 400 Palatines. It was then said a much greater number would follow. (69) This commanded the attention of the governor and council of Pennsylvania, who demanded a declaration of allegiance to the King and fidelity to the proprietary government. (70) In fact in the following year, John Penn, one of the heirs of William Penn, considered the advisability of prohibiting or restricting the German Immigration. (71)
The stream of Deutches Volk ran rather steadily to Pennsylvania. Writers touching on this subject have attributed the apparent preference for Pennsylvania to New York or other colonies, to the harsh treatment of the Schoharie settlers. (72)
66 Ibid.,VII, 850; VIII, 70, 78, 92, 94.
67 C. C. 1717-1718, 29.
68 Minutes of Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, III, 29.
69 H. S. P., Pennsylvania Misc. Papers, Penn and Baltimore MSS., 1725-1739, 27.
70 Minutes of Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, III, 283, Samuel Hazard, Register of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1828,), II 203
71 Pennsylvania Magazine of History, XXVII, 378.
72 Faust, op. cit., I, 105; Bolton and Marshall Colonization of Nort America (New York, 1920), 319, Greene, op. cit., 180, 230; M. W. Jernegan, American Colonies (New York, 1929), 308; Proper, op. cit., 39; Beidelman, op. cit., 60; Cobb, op. cit., 108.
Page 211: In this they follow the statement by the Swedish traveler, Kalm, who in 1748 wrote, "I am told of a very different reason which I will mention here [Kalm then describes the ill treatment, such as loss of land]. . . The Germans not satisfied with being themselves removed from New York, wrote to their relations and friends and advised them, if ever they intended to come to America, not to go to New York, where the government had shown itself so unequitable. This advice had such influence, that the Germans, who afterwards went in great numbers to North America, constantly avoided New York and always went to Pennsylvania. It sometimes happened that they were forced to go on board such ships as were bound to New York; but they were scarce got onshore, when they hastened on to Pennsylvania in sight of all the inhabitants of New York." (73) Kalm himself was careful to mention that he had been told this. (74) The last sentence, indeed, has the flavor of a story told for effect.
But Kalm was not satisfied with that, for his next sentence was, "But the want of people in the province [New York] may likewise be accounted for in a different manner." He then attributed the lack of settlers in New York to the large landowners and their reluctance to sell even at high prices. New York governors had made similar comments in earlier days. Governor Dongan called attention to the small number of immigrants who entered the province after its capture from the Dutch. (75) Governor Bellomont wrote in 1700, "The
73 Peter Kalm, Travels in America (Warrington, England, 1770, Forster Trans.), I, 271.
74 Kalm remarked about the importance of the French as neighbors in preserving the colonial loyalty. He made the startling prophesy in 1748 as told him by colonial gentlemen, which was fulfilled in 1776-1783, "that the English colonies in North America, in the space of thirty or fifty years, would be able to form a state by themselves, entirely independent of Old England," op. cit., I, 265. This is an early evidence of what Professor Jernegan has recently referred to sas "the Movement for Independence." Amer. Hist. Rev., XXXVI, 503.
75 Proper, op. cit., 39.
Page 212: people are so cramp'd here for want of land, that several families within my own knowledge are remov'd to the new country (a name given by them to Pennsylvania and the Jersies). . . What man will be such a fool to become a base tenant to Mr. Dellius, Col. Schuyler, Mr. Livingston (and so he ran through the whole roll of our mighty Landgraves) when, for crossing Hudson's river, that man can for a song purchase a good freehold in the Jersies." (76) On October 2, 1716, Governor Hunter advised the Board of Trade that, "it is apparent that extravagant tracts of land being held by single persons unimproved is the true cause that this province does not increase in number of inhabitants in proportion to some of the neighboring ones." (77)
Nevertheless, Hunter too had allied himself with the speculators and the large landowners. The Schoharie grant was given to the Seven Partners, young gentlemen, sons of the landed aristocracy, as a speculative venture. He also granted a large tract in Ulster County to his friend, Lewis Morris and others, in 1715, (78) for speculative purposes. Of all the New York governors, Hunter, though known as the most able, probably did most to perpetuate the land problem. The confirmatory grant with representation in the assembly to Robert Livingston for his over-large manor has already been described.
Hunter, however, was a party to a unique naturalization act, which naturalized the dead! The ulterior purpose of the New York Act of 1715 was to confirm the possession of large tracts of land to certain holders, whose titles might have been challenged as illegal. When the colony had been taken over finally by the English in 1674, the articles of surrender stipulated that all the people in the colony at the time should continue free denizens and enjoy their lands and houses and dispose of them as they pleased. An act of the assembly of
76 C. C. 1700, 678.
77 N. Y. col. Docs., V, 480.
78 N. Y. S. L., Frey Collection, MS. of the Grant, February 10, 1715.
Page 213: New York in 1683 naturalized all those of foreign nations then in the colony and professing Christianity. To further encourage the immigration of foreigners, it was also provided that any foreigners professing Christianity might any time after their arrival be naturalized by an act of the assembly, if they took the oaths of allegiance required. (79)
Now, there were at least two possible difficulties for the land proprietors of New York. The articles of surrender might not be fully carried out, and those who held lands based on patents issued before the surrender might have acquired land from aliens who had neglected to be naturalized by act of the assembly as required by the law of 1683. Such aliens could not sell or devise land legally and consequently such titles might be assailed. That there was a disposition on the part of the British authorities to challenge the legality of large grants has been mentioned earlier. The 1709 confirmation by the London Authorities (80) of the "Act for Vacating, Breaking and Annulling the several Extravagant Grants" made by Governor Benjamin Fletcher, passed in New York in 1699, appears to have alarmed the New York proprietors. The adoption of a new land policy by the Crown of restricting New York grants to 2,000 acres to any one person for a quit-rent of 2 shillings, 6 pence for every hundred acres and requiring the cultivation of at least three acres for every fifty acres held, within three years of receiving the grant, (81) also hinted at trouble.
When Hunter arrived in the colony with the Palatines and instructions to have them naturalized immediately by act of the assembly "without fee or reward," the assembly was
79 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 496.
80 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 25, 48. Indeed, on March 15, 1716, the Board of Trade suggested to Hunter that the New York assembly might be induced to vacate other extravagant grants of land. C. C. 1716-1717, 49.
81 Eccles. Rec., III, 1709.
Page 214: apathetic. (82) Years passed and nothing was done. In fact, the governor's salary was not paid and even the ordinary expenses of the government were not provided for, so that an act of Parliament was considered in London to establish a revenue for the New York government. These developments have been referred to in Chapter VII. Hunter grew tired of waiting for succor from England, and finding his credit so seriously impaired by the attitude of the assembly and the lack of financial support from London for the Palatine project to manufacture naval stores, he became more amenable to the suggestions of the New York proprietors in the assembly.
The naturalization act, passed July 5, 1715, (83) was part of a working agreement arranged between the governor and the assembly. The governor was to approve the naturalization act and was to receive in reward "an honourable support of the Government and not a scanty one" for five years, and the payment of the debt owed to the governor by the province. (84) This compromise was a culmination of a long struggle in the colony between the prerogative and the landowning class. (85) The prerogative gave way for a temporary gain and lost the more permanent threat it had held of revising the land grants possessed by the New York aristocracy. Hunter apologized to the British colonial authorities for his approval of the law. (86) In spite of Attorney-General Northely's opinion that it was contrary to the act of navigation, (87) the naturalization law of 1715 was not disallowed for some time largely because of Hunter's desires that such action by delayed so that his difficulties in New York might be eased. (88)
82 Charles Z. Lincoln, Messages from the New York Governors 1786-1906 (Albany, 1909), I, 146, 147.
83 Colonial Laws of New York (Albany, 1894), I, 858.
84 Jour. of the New York Legislative Council, 386; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 416; C. C. 1714-1715, 308; Osgood, op. cit., II, 113; C. W. Spencer, Phases of Royal Government in New York 1691-1719 (Columbus, Ohio, 1905), 146, 149, 155.
85 Greene, op. cit., 184.
86 N. Y. col. Docs., V, 403, 416.
87 Ibid., 497.
88 C. C. 1716-1717, 182; 1717-1718, 360.
Page 215: Ostensibly, the naturalization act was suggested by Hunter pursuant to his instructions to secure the naturalization of the Palatines. This suggestion took the form of a general naturalization act. (89) It was seized by the anxious landed gentry in the assembly as a foil for the protection of their ill-gotten possessions, for it provided that all persons of foreign birth alive in New York in 1683, possessing land, were naturalized by the act and their grants made good; all persons of foreign birth who had come and inhabited New York since 1689 and secured lands, or died in possession of them, were deemed to be naturalized; and all persons of foreign birth inhabitants of New York in 1715 and Protestants were naturalized, provided they took the oath of Allegiance and Supremacy and subscribed to the Test and Abjuration Oath. But if the latter class died without taking the oaths within the nine months grace allowed, they were naturalized. (90) It should be clear that by this act all weakness of land tittles, secured before the English took possession of New York or acquired from aliens since then, was legally removed. The Attorney-General of England, in recommending the disallowance of this act, suggested that instead of encouraging foreigners to settle in the colonies without naturalization, it would be better to confirm the titles of the subjects of New York even though they claimed from persons not naturalized. (91) His suggestion does not appear to have been accepted, however. (92) A large number of Palatines availed themselves of their opportunity for naturalization under the act. (93)
Turning for a last glance at the Newburgh settlement made by Kocherthal and his party in 1709, we find that they
89 Jour. of New York Legislative Council, 305.
90 Col. Laws of New York, I, 858.
91 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 497.
92 Carpenter, loc. cit., 302.
93 Munsell, op. cit., VII, 40-52 passim.
Page 216: had not prospered. It was a poor commentary on either the Palatines or New York that all of the people had sold or disposed of their rights and moved away by 1751, except a Margaret Ward. The latter was willing to conform to the Church of England and so the Lutheran Glebe was turned over to the Anglican Church. (94) Few Palatines were settling in New York. The stream of German immigration was flowing heavily into Pennsylvania and we may next seek reasons for this phenomenon.
That Pennsylvania was the beneficiary of a a large amount of publicity has been noted. The effects of the advertising were felt throughout the eighteenth century. In 1717 an agent of George I, then King of England, offered land to Germans beyond the Allegheny Mountains west of Pennsylvania. (95) A group of German immigrants in Pennsylvania in 1734 wrote that they had "heard when in our native Country the great Blessings of Peace and Liberty enjoy'd by the People of Pennsilvania under a good and Pious Proprietor." (96) Christopher Sauer, who came to Pennsylvania in 1725, remarked, "I wrote largely to my friends and acquaintances of the civil and religious liberties. . . My letters were printed and reprinted, whereby thousands were provoked to come to the province, and they desired their friends to come." (97) The land agents (or Neulanders) often repressed unfavorable news from the colonies. (98) In fact, advertising materials in various forms
94 Doc. Hist., III, 598-606.
95 J. D. de Hoop Scheffer, "Mennonite Emigration to Pennsylvania," in Pennsylvania Magazine of Hsitory (1878, no. 2), II, 119.
96 H. S. P., Misc. Papers, Streper, Buck County 1682-1772.
97 I. D. Rupp, History of Northumberland. . .Co. (Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1845), 55. How the friends in the Fatherland must have envied the New Jersey pioneer who wrote to them, "jeder hat 50 Morgen Land, halt 12 Kuh und 8 pferde, gibt jahrig einen Reichs thaler schatzund." Goevel, "Briefe," in op. cit., 188.
98 Mittelberger, op. cit., 42; Hallesche Nachrichten, II, 412.
Page 217: were issued throughout the greater part of the century. (99) An important consideration for those Germans contemplating settlement in British America was "that more German colonies have established themselves there [in Pennsylvania] than in any other single part of the English plantations in America, a thing which those people should note, who perhaps might be expecting some help and assistance upon their first arrival." (100) This became increasingly important as the arrival of religious sects began to swell the immigrant numbers. (101)
That the advertising received by Pennsylvania had great influence in causing the flow of migration thence, was admitted by Clarke, President of the New York council, and later Lieutenant-Governor. On Ma;y 26, 1736, he informed the Board of Trade that what New York needed was publicity of its land terms and opportunities. (102) A number of New York proposals were actually sent to Amsterdam, to be translated into "high Dutch," and disseminated. (103) Although New York had occasional German immigration, as the small group under Reverend John James Ehlig in 1722 (104) who settled at Canajoharie among the other Palatine settlers in the Mohawk Valley, it never was so well known and appreciated in the Germanies as was Pennsylvania.
It appears that writers have lost sight of the fact which explains the phenomenon of German immigration to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was the most widely advertised of the British colonies in America. The liberal terms offered, the promised religious toleration, the known settlements of Germans already there, were more important factors than
99 Geiser, op. cit., 14.
100 Das verlangte nicht erlangte Cannan, 4.
101 H. S. P., Misc. Penn and Baltimore MSS., 1725-1739, 28.
102 Eccles. Rec., IV, 2671.
103 Ibid., 2680.
104 Ibid., III, 2195; L. C., S. P. G. Mss., A-26, 68. This immigration also used Nutten Island (now Governor's Island) as an immigration station. Doc. Hist., III, 715.
Page 218: the resentment of the sixty families who moved to Pennsylvania from Schoharie. For to be truly effective, such letters, as Kalm mentioned condemning settlement in New York, must necessarily have been widely published in German. In 1750 a Reverend Peter Brunnholtz in Germantown, Pennsylvania, thought that the real difficulties in America should be reported in newspapers in German, but reconsidering asked, "Still what good would it do? The farmers don't get to read the papers, and many indeed would not believe it as they moreover have a mind to come." (105) The German readers too would have had to accept the statements at their full value rather than as German governmental propaganda to keep them in the Rhineland. Such an improbable sequence was unlikely and indeed unnecessary for New York was not widely known in the Palatinate and its neighboring district. Pennsylvania was the "promised land." The Palatine immigrations of 1708 and 1709 were diverted to New York by the British government for its own purposes. New York was a royal province and it was thought that the manufacture of naval stores could be promoted there. It was also considered quite important to strengthen the New York frontier, (106) and we may next consider how the Palatines fared in their relations with the French and Indians.
The relations between the Indians and the Palatines of the Schoharie Valley were usually quite friendly and satisfactory as has been pointed out earlier. Perhaps the chief reason was the influence with the natives held by Conrad Weiser, who it will be remembered was taken when a young man by the Indian chief Quaynant to live with him. Weiser lived with the Indians for several years, often hiding in fear of his
106 Hallesche Nachrichten (Oswald trans.), II, 413.
106 The December 5, 1709 representation of the Board of Trade on the New York experiment in the production of naval stores emphasized first of all the importance of strengthening the New York frontier, the "most advanced" of all the colonies and necessary" to the security of all the rest." N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 117.
Page 219: life from the drunken braves, but he learned their language and later served as interpreter and peacemaker between the settlers and their savage friends. (107) Indeed, the danger from drunken Indians was no small matter, as Reverend Frederick Haeger found on one occasion in October, 1717, while driving down from Schenectady to the Livingston Manor settlement. A party of Indians on a spree gave chase after the wagon. The driver whipped up the horses to such a speed that the pastor feared they would be dashed to pieces instead of being scalped. (108)
When the settling of Palatines in New York was first considered by the Board of Trade on August 30, 1709, the Board had hopes that they would not only serve as a frontier barrier to the French but that "in process of time by marrying with the neighboring Indians (as the French do) they may be capable of rendering great service to Her Majesty's subjects there." (109) While the frontier was pushed westward into the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys by these Palatine pioneers, it does not appear that they intermarried with Indians as the Board of Trade's matchmaking desires anticipated.
The participation of 300 Palatines in the failure of the joint English and colonial expedition against Canada in 1711 has been mentioned in Chapter VII. The Palatines had gone quite willingly, expecting to make the frontier safe for their eventual settlement there (110) and the failure was a grievous disappointment to them. When the French and Indian War broke out, the Palatines in the Mohawk Valley were concerned for their safety, although they had five blockhouses, and a fort was situated several miles away. They made overtures to the French Indians, complaining of the treatment accorded them by the English, and proposed an alliance for
107 Weiser Diar4, 17, 19, 25, in loc. cit., VIII, 798.
108 L. C., S. P. G. MSS., A-12, 341; N. Y. H. S., Hawks Trans., I, 532.
109 N. Y. col. Docs., V, 88.
110 L. C., S. P. G. MSS., A-7, 223.
Page 220: joint defense against the English. The Indians reported the proposal to the Marquis de Vaudreuil, the Governor of Canada, in a conference on December 24, 1756. (111) De Vaudreuil advised the Indians to inform the Palatines that if they were sincere, he would sustain them as soon as they joined the Indians, and "If it [the Palatine nation] will retire close to me, I shall receive it and furnish it with lands." But the warned that in case the proposal of the Palatines was offered only to guarantee their settlements against the French and their Indians, the trick would not avail them.
The French Governor's threat was not idle language, for in November of 1757 a strong force of 300 marine troops, Canadians and Indian braves descended upon the Mohawk Valley Palatines. On November 12th, they attacked with such vigor and blood-curdling war-whoops that the Mayor of the village of Palatine, Johan Jost Petrie, threw open one blockhouse and asked for quarter. After plundering for forty-eight house and standing off meanwhile and English attack from the neighboring fort, the French and Indians retired with nearly 150 men, women, and children as prisoners. They had great booty and lost not a single man, so they reported with glee. (112) The Germans remained in Canada until they were exchanged for other prisoners of the English in September of 1758. (113)
Our classic historian of the frontier, the late Frederick Jackson Turner, pointed out the non-English character of the frontiersmen of New York and Pennsylvania and the consequent typical "American" character of that part of the "Old West," with respect to tolerance and an easygoing cosmopolitanism. (114) Turner likewise appreciated that the difficulty New York had to surmount, because of the Indian barrier
111 N. Y. col. Docs., X, 513, 514.
112 Ibid., X, 673.
113 Ibid., X, 881.
114 Turner, The Frontier in American History (New York, 1920), 22, 28.
Page 221: presented by the Six Nations, was the sparseness of the European population, which may be said to have laced effective expansive power for that reason. (115) He also regarded the land system of the colony as a serious obstacle, not only because of the large grants of land to the Lords of Manors but also because of their insistence on leases or shares often, as opposed to outright sale. In this connection, he mentioned the experience of the palatines at Schoharie, feeling that had their experience been more successful, "the title of German settlement which finally sought Pennsylvania and the upcountry of the South might have flowed into New York." (116) This view supposes that Pennsylvania was settled by the Germans, because the bad land system of New York was well-known in German. That such was not the case has been indicated in this study, and it therefore seems that the appeal of Pennsylvania in the Rhineland lay rather in the effectiveness of the publicity put over by William Penn. On the other hand it is quite possible that had New York embarked on an advertising campaign similar to the pamphlet barrage of Pennsylvania and publicized the German settlements in New York, the Germans would have chosen the latter place for their destination.
Professor Turner's emphasis on the frontier as productive of individualism has served a useful purpose in calling the attention of American historians to an indigenous influence not fully appreciated before. In view of this study of the Palatine immigration, a small modification of the frontier's influence should be considered. In the first place the frontier did not only force modification on mankind by the need of conforming to natural environments, as described by Turner, but it also attracted only certain types of mankind to its area. These types were the unruly, the rash, the nonconformists who often refused to accept the regulations and
115 Ibid., 80.
116 Ibid., 82.
Page 222: obligations of more organized communities. The timid, fainthearted conformist usually favored the comparative safety of the established settlements. This was largely true of the Palatine immigration under discussion. Only one-fourth of the Palatines on Livingston Manor moved to the unprotected Schoharie frontier, and these were largely the trouble makers, so Governor Hunter and other officials often stated. (117) Regardless of the handicaps they suffered, three-fourths of the Palatines remained on lands, in the possession of which the Indians need not be challenged or the French incursions feared. Is it possible that the individualism produced by the frontier was largely due to the type of men it attracted? Was not the frontier influence a selective process as well as a creative power?
Furthermore,if we are to consider the Palatines in the Schoharie and the Mohawk Valleys as typical examples of the "Old West" frontier, (118) we should not that their individualism was tempered by much community co-operation. The very necessities of the hard frontier life produced a co-operation often lacking among the individuals of an older community. The joint purchase of a horse, the borrowing of harness, plows and other scarce articles and the combined effort to clear the land and win sustenance, to omit the requirements of joint defense against the savages, were examples of this co-operation. Individualism there certainly was on the frontier, but was it due to the frontier conditions or the caliber of the men, or to both? Is it not true that the frontier conditions called for a type of co-operation different from that required in more civilized communities, but even more essential for survival?
In passing it may be noted that the first limitations on the power of the crown as it reposed in the governor was made in eighteenth century New York by the colonial proprietors,
117 C. C. 1712-1714, 71; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 552; C. C. 1722-1723, 318.
118 Turner, op. cit., 28.
Page 223: who in their selfish desire to be free from direct control and taxes, were refighting the English constitutional battles of the seventeenth century, by controlling the purse strings, and laying down the conditions of political co-operation. (119) The coastal settlements and the great proprietors could hardly be considered as influenced by the frontier. But when the dominance of the hinterland by the coastal settlers became a political issue with the frontiersmen, Turner's thesis of democratic influence resulting from proximity to the frontier seems well established. Even then however, it may be considered as a continuation of the struggle of the underprivileged for rights corresponding to the political theories of the day. The occurrence of these phenomena is not peculiar to America, but ti may assuredly have been stimulated here and hence developed earlier than in Europe because of the nature of the settlers, repelled by European oppression and attracted by the free conditions of the New World. The environment of the frontiers, it seems to me, must share honors with the dissatisfied temperaments and the new-deal desires of the pioneers.
In summarizing the role played by the Palatine immigration in the history of the "Old West," it may be pointed out that the Palatines pushed westward the New York frontier into the Mohawk Valley, and the Pennsylvania frontier into the Great Appalachian Valley. They gave valiant service against the french and their Indians, while their friendly relations with the Indians of the Six Nations allied with the English was in sharp contract to the general hostility of the Scotch-Irish settlers, who invariably had trouble with the Indians. In their efforts to settle the frontier lands, the Palatines had may obstacles to overcome in addition to the hardships of pioneer life. The difficulties occasioned by the short sighted opposition of colonial authorities and the self-
119 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 552, C. C. 1711-1712, 228; P. R. O., C. O. 324-11, 177, 214.
ish exploitation by colonial land speculators were courageously, one might even say obstinately, fought by the Palatine settlers. The eighteenth century immigrant was the same fair game for exploitation by selfish interests as today. It should not be surprising then that immigrants often turned resentful and difficult to assimilate.
Copyright © 1998, -- 2003. Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.