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.
The immigrants settled on Livingston Manor, NY, 160,000 acres of wilderness across the river and a ways south of Albany. When Lord Livingston heard of 3,000 Palatine Germans headed for New York, he cut a deal with Her Majesty’s Governor, Robert Hunter. In exchange for 6,000 acres of pine tree-laden Livingston Manor, Livingston would undertake the care and feeding of the Germans who settled there, and reap the profits from their government contracts. Andries (Löwe) Lape was born between 1723-1730 in East Kamp, New York, the son of a German palatine immigrant. It is not known who the parents of Andries Lape were, or whether or not he was reared by relatives due to his parents' early deaths. Andries lived in Germantown, NY, from about 1730-1755, marrying Anna Margaretha Müller in 1749. Many of the Palatine families, like Andries, who originally settled on Livingston Manor to make tar for the British navy, a totally unsuccessful venture, moved into the "Lower Manor" of Rensselaerwyck or Claverack Manor. They preferred the Van Rensselaer perpetual leases, which could be passed on to their heirs or sold, to the lifetime leases of the Livingstons. Andries & Anna Margaretha Lape settled on their 302 acre farm near Claverack Creek and the property of Henry Van Rensselaer, with an original lease date of October 1774.
The American Revolution brought great hardships and divisions to the residents of Rensselaerwyck. A year after the battles at Lexington and Concord, Claverack district was represented as part of a committee, meeting in Albany, to determine the attitude of Albany County toward the Revolution. In 1776, Lape family members joined the ranks of many other New York colonialists in the decision to fight for liberty. While it would be hard to point to any one event as as the leading cause to the American Revolution, there is no doubt that the American Colonialist view that they were entitled to the full democratic rights of Englishmen, while the British view that the American colonies were just colonies to be used and exploited in whatever way best suited the Great Britain, insured that war was inevitable. The New York Militia normally provided support in skirmishes and battles in their area and controlled areas that would of otherwise have fallen to the British. They could be called upon at any time, for any length of time, but could be required to serve only three months out of state. Any able-bodied man had to serve when "warned" unless he was incapacitated. If incapacitated he had to contribute toward furnishing and equipping another man. The New York militia was comprised of approximately seventy-two regiments in 1776 – 1783. Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the British crown during the American Revolution. They were often referred to as Tories, King's Men, or Royalists by the rebels. Historians have estimated that about 40% of the population were Loyalists (that is, about 900,000), but because their existence has been all but ignored since, there are no exact numbers. The Northern theatre of the American Revolutionary War also known as the Northern Department of the Continental Army was a theatre of operations during the American Revolutionary War. It was originally called the New York Department, and consisted of all of New York State including the Mohawk and Hudson River valleys. The Northern Department then stopped 30 miles south of Albany. Since then it was always referred to as the Northern Department. General Philip Schuyler took command of the Northern Department in 1775, but was relieved by General Horatio Gates in 1777, just in time for the defeat of British General Burgoyne's invasion at the Battle of Saratoga.
Lape family members in early Albany County (later Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schoharie counties), New York, supported the cause of the rebels of the Revolution and served with honor. They exclusively soldiered within the commands of the New York Militia in the Northern Department. Andries Lape who as Andries Lew served in the French and Indian War and was noted in Captain Jeremiah Hogeboom's Company in 1767, also served in the Revolutionary War and fathered three sons who also served: Samuel, Thomas and George (Jurry). Andries, Thomas and George Lape during 1775 – 1783 lived in the Claverack area of New York State, thus served in local militia groups of Claverack. Samuel Lape had moved to Greenbush in 1770 and thus served with the local militia groups of upper Rensselaerwyck Manor. Andries Lape mustered with CPT John Oosterhout's Company, Robert Van Rensselaer’s Eighth Regiment (1st Claverack Battalion), NY Militia, in 1778. Andries Lape died July 7, 1800 and is buried at St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, Churchtown, NY. He filed a Last Will and Testament.
Thomas Lape, twin brother of Sergeant Samuel Lape, was a Private in the Revolutionary War, member of Shaver's Co., Livingston Regiment (10th), Albany County Militia, paid on an unknown 1780's date, £1.8.5. He was married to Maria Batz, had eight children and is buried at St Thomas Lutheran Church Cemetery, Churchtown, Columbia County NY. He shows on the 1790 Census of Claverack, Columbia, NY, 1800 Census of Claverack, 1810 Census of Claverack: as Thomas Lape. His tombstone reads: "Sacred to the Memory of Thomas Lape who departed this life May 2, 1813, aged 61 years, 1 month & 1 day."
George Lape, younger brother of Thomas and Samuel Lape, was a member of Captain Shaver's Company, Livingston Regiment (8th & 10th), Albany County Militia (as Jurry Lape and George Laap). He shows up on the Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War on Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application and the Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots He is buried at St. Thomas Lutheran Church Cemetery, Churchtown, Columbia Co., NY. He shows on the 1810 Census of Claverack Columbia NY.,1820 Census of Claverack Columbia NY, and the 1830 Census of Claverack Columbia NY: George Lape. His tombstone reads: "In Memory of George Lape who died Feb. 22, 1839, aged 85 years". He filed for a Revolutionary War pension.
State of New York Columbia County SS I, George Lape of Claverack in county & state aforesaid aged 82 years and 11 months, being duly sworn deposeth and saith & make the following Declaration for the purpose of obtaining the benefits of the Act of 7th June 1832 passed by Congress. That he has no record of his age. That he was born in Claverack aforesaid & has always up to the present time resided in the same Town of Claverack. That in the beginning of the Revolutionary War, but in what year he cannot now particularize, he was ordered out under Colonel Henry or Henry I. Van Rensselaer of Claverack aforesaid. That this applicant at the time went to the north of Albany to the Town of Johnstown, then Tryon County, now Montgomery County, later to Caughnawaga & were gone about 8 days, it was in the winter season & they went in sleighs. Casparus Conyn was the Captain of applicant. The expedition was undertaken against John Johnson.This declarant in his second expedition went to Johnstown aforesaid, the year he cannot tell, the above named Van Rensselaer was his Colonel & said Conyn was his Captain, Abraham (sic) Elting was Lieutenant. He lay at Johnstown about 4 weeks, he in this Expedition first went to Fort Ann, Fort George & Fort Edward and returned to Johnstown & then remained about 4 weeks as herein before stated. This declarant thinks that he was gone from home in this expedition about two months. This time there was an alarm that the Indians and English were about Fort George.This declarant further states that he was after the two expeditions above specified, called out under the above named Colonel Van Rensselaer several times and went up to Saratoga, Lake George, Fort Ann, Fort Edwards, Johnstown & other places in all including the above two first expeditions as long as one year. At all times said Van Rensselaer was his Colonel & his Captains were the above named Casparus Conyn and John Osterhout who was the successor of said Casparus Conyn.This declarant is now old & infirm and his recollection is bad. That there was no other person by the name of George Lape in his Company besides himself. This declarant several years ago applied to Charles Esselstyne, Esq., to make application for him & he did not attend to it, but put it off from time to time & this is the reason of his not making application before this time.This declarant does not know that he can prove his services by any of his comrades now living, his brother Jacob's affidavit is annexed. This declarant hereby relinquishes all claims to any other pension & his name is not on the Pension Roll of any state, and that he is unable from bodily infirmity to appear before any court of Record.Dated January 15, 1838.(Signed with his mark) George Lape Witnesses Present: Wheeler H. Clarke, Michael De Lamater, Jacob Lape
Samuel Lape was one of many soldiers involved in the foraging wars. Samuel Lape, then aged 25, was on the payroll of Captain Cornelius Noble's 5th Company, in Col. Henry K Van Rensselaer Regiment of the Albany County Militia and was promoted in 1777 to the rank of Sergeant. He was involved with a noted order to help prevent foraging by the British while under the command of Maj. Floris Bancker at Fort Edward, N.Y. Since Sergeant Samuel Lape did not file for a Revolutionary War pension, therefore his chronological military history is not known. However, other members in his battalion did file for a pension and in so doing left an account of the battalion’s military history. One such soldier of the 4th Rensselaerwyck Battalion was Private Abraham Coons, born in 1748 in Livingston Manor, New York. While a resident of Sand Lake, NY, where Samuel Lape lived, Abraham Coons enlisted in January 1776, and served at various times until the close of 1781, amounting to about two years and seven weeks in all, a private and then first corporal with the New York Militia under Captain Jacob De Freest’s 6th Company with George Schartz, and Peter Woodbeck, and Colonels Henry Van Rensselaer. Sergeant Samuel Lape was involved in the lookout and apprehension of persons in the Hudson Valley and he had served on a great many scouting & reconnoitering parties in pursuit of Tories and their savage associates. Ensign Philip Bortel in his pension application describes the Militia’s duties of scouting for Tories and other “suspicious persons.” Bortel was the commanding officer, an ensign, who commanded a squad sized element of soldiers in the Claverack area during the war. Private William Defreest, born in Greenbush, NY, was seventy-two years old when he applied for a pension in 1832 while living in Ira, NY. He was a young man when he enlisted as a private in the 6th Company of the 4th Rensselaerwyck battalion under the command of Captain Jacob Defreest and Lieutenant Martinus Sharp.