Prior to German individuals immigrating to America, the Thirty Years’ War destroyed all of Germany's prosperity and it took two centuries to bring the village population to the state of civilization they had reached at the beginning. It was upon the commoners where the calamity of war landed the heaviest. When a city was besieged, the neighboring country was at first ravaged, fugitives fled within its walls, and then famine and pestilence set in. Making war became a career; the only pay soldiers received was what they could pillage; they cared not on which side they were engaged. Whatever the cause of the war, or nations engaged in it, the battleground was always more or less in Germany. Times were arduous. The "Palatines" is the name given to a group of commoners who hailed from the Palatinate, a group of districts spread out along the Rhine River in Western Germany. The Palatinate had some of the richest farmland in Europe and bad weather was a terrible hardship for these simple farmers. It is said that the winter of the 1708 was so cold in Germany that sparrows dropped from the sky, frozen to death. The oldest members of one parish said they could not remember a colder winter, and they had lived through eighty winters. The rivers froze, and with them, the mills so corn did not germinate, and people starved. Add to that the invading French and Swedes, who, when they weren’t trying to kill each other, were only too glad to sack and burn the little villages along the way. War costs money and the local princes made sure the commoners paid for it. The average Palatine farmer was saddled with a crippling tax burden. People were ready to relocate. When a book arrived from England promising milk and honey in America, it quickly caught everybody’s attention. This was the "Golden Book," called so due to the golden lettering in the first pages, circulated by the government of Queen Anne of England. Queen Anne’s ministers were in need of competitive labor. The Royal Navy needed naval stores, principally tar, which was made from pine pitch. Since the colony of New York had plenty of pine trees, and Germany had plenty of poor, freezing farmers in need of a break, a happy bargain was struck. If one wanted to immigrate to the New World, Queen Anne would pay the passage. Individuals contracted to work for a certain period of time to pay off the debt. This was called indentured servitude, and it was in this state that the first Löwe (later spelled Lape) family member arrived in America. They applied to Queen Anne for free passage to America which was granted, after much delay, and they were sent with Lord Lovelace who had been appointed Governor of New York.
Sons of Liberty from Rensselaerwyck
A story of the Lape family and their quest for freedom during the days of the American Revolutionary
Stories about Sons of Liberty from Rensselaerwyck
The German Immigration
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