Out of The Rhineland
In October of 1683 the first thirteen German
weavers and their families from the Rhineland
town of Krefeld
arrived in America.
Letters sent home by these and later Pennsylvania Germans brought forth an
exodus from all the war-battered Rhineland
states. By the eve of the American Revolution, German-speaking immigrants and
their descendants numbered more than 300,000, accounting for more than a third
people and ten percent of the entire colonial population.
My daughters, Jennifer and Jessica O'Connell,
have several early German ancestors, including Gottfried Knauss who was
baptized 15 NOV 1707
as "Gotho Grodus" at Dudelsheim,
Germany, and who
came to America
with his parents Johann Ludwig and Anna Margaretha Knauss in 1723.
My son Jeff Anderson's German ancestor Peter
Moyers arrived from Switzerland
My fatherís Shullaw ancestors may very well have
started in this country with one Frederich Schola and his wife Catharina, who
show up in the records as early as 1756. And my motherís ancestors, as we will
see, included many early German/Swiss families.
John Tonjes Diekens and his wife arrived in America in 1866
and Herman J.A. Bartelle and his wife arrived in the 1870s.
More than 1.5 million Germans reached America before
the Civil War. Still another four million have settled here since. Today, at
least one out of every six Americans can trace all or part of his/her ancestry
to German-speaking immigrants.
has absorbed many German traditions. Christmas celebrations as we know them,
the Easter egg, county and state fairs, coffee cakes, potato salads, dill
pickles, hamburgers, and frankfurters are all ours because of our German
Most of the colonial Germans were farmers. They
were known as hardworking, thrifty and careful people. The land they first
farmed in Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, is still among the
most productive of all American farmland, even though it has been under the
plow for more than three centuries.
Germans were intent upon building a permanent way
of life, for themselves and for their children, rather than accumulating hasty
profits. Their farms were often smaller than most, at least at first. But they
saved the fruit of their toil and usually were able to buy a nearby farmstead
for every son as he married. By the end of the 19th century, German Americans
had developed or purchased more than a hundred million acres, parts of which
were located in almost every state of the union.
Germans and Swiss gunsmiths of Lancaster also developed the long Kentucky rifle with
which the soldiers of the continental Army out shot the British. The
Pennsylvania Dutch also developed the broad-wheeled, boat-shaped Conestoga
wagons than helped win the Revolution and were the mainstay of the push westward.
Let us begin with the Krider family in that they
may have been among the first of our German ancestors to arrive inAmerica. Another reason for beginning here is that
this is my motherís (Ellen), motherís (Alma), motherís (Carrie Catherine), motherís
(Eliza), motherís (Catherine) family.