Palatine Roots: II. PALATINE ODYSSEY
Go west, Johan!
It would be interesting
to know how Johan Nicholas Rempi spent those fourteen years following his family's departure for Nova Scotia
in 1751. Did he remain in Landau? Did he learn the potter's trade like his father, or did he enter
military service as a mercenary? But unfortunately, no information has
come to light which would answer those questions. We are grateful, however,
that the record of his subsequent transit to America is preserved for those
of us who are fascinated by every glimpse into our distant past.
In 1764, Johan
Nicholas, age thirty-four, and his wife, Catherine, along with at least
400 other Protestants from their region of Germany,
believing they were going to Nova Scotia as colonists, became the victims of an ill-conceived
land development scheme promoted by one John Henry Christian de Stumpel. What happened to
these people is an interesting and well documented odyssey which resulted
in the immigration of the man who became the progenitor of all those in America who bear the name "Rampy" or
Colonel de Stumpel
appears in the British Admiralty records for July 22, 1763, as a mercenary
soldier in the service of the King of England complaining of financial
losses he had sustained because of the early end to hostilities in the
recent "Seven Years War." He had been forced to pay off the German marines he had recruited at
his own expense. The Lords of the Admiralty expressed no sympathy for his plight and responded
that they did "not feel that his pretensions were well founded."
in a foreign land and skilled in a profession for which there was no market,
de Stumpel probably saw the opportunity to develop land in Nova Scotia
as a well timed godsend. During the remainder of the year 1763, he
devoted himself to obtaining the approval of the Board of Trade and Plantations for a grant of 200,000
acres in that new territory. The records show that the grant was approved
and signed December 15th, but apparently the arrangement began to sour immediately afterward. In
the Privy Council records of February, 1764, de Stumpel is described to their Lordships as being of dubious
ability and unable to obtain the "number of people needed for so extensive a tract as 200,000 acres
of land and therefore that it would not be advisable . . . to grant him so large a quantity of land . . ."
great pressure from the government, the enterprising colonel prudently
reduced his request to a modest 20,000 acres and appears to have received
approval for that amount of land at the February meeting of the Council.
It was noted in the record of that meeting that he had already in London
forty-five families (128 persons) whom he had recruited from various countries,
so that it is clear that he had initiated his promotional activities while
believing that he had approval for the full 200,000 acres. Since the settlement
was to be based on a density of one person per hundred acres, he would have expected to recruit
about 2000 colonists. His subsequent misfortunes probably
resulted from the success of his promotional campaign. As many as 600 Palatines
would now be arriving in London expecting to occupy a grant which would
support only two hundred.
The London newspapers
announced June 16, 1764, that de Stumpel had arrived from Germany
with his officers and had been granted 20,000 acres in Nova Scotia where
he planned to build a city named "Stumpelberg." But just one month later,
on July 18th, "several foreign officers" petitioned the Board of Trade
and Plantations to provide passage for them to America and to grant them
lands in the colonies. They stated that they had been given false and improper
assurances by Colonel de Stumpel. These "assurances" apparently were that
the British government would provide transportation to Nova Scotia at no
expense to the colonists. There is no indication that such provisions were
ever made and the Board simply confirmed to the officers that any such
promises made by the colonel were without foundation.
It is tempting
to characterize this opportunist as unscrupulous, but it is possible that
de Stumpel was simply a victim, himself, of a giant bureaucratic snafu.
In any case, concluding that discretion was the better part of valor, he
apparently had already left the country by the time his officers went before
the Board of Trade, knowing that there were several hundred more of his
people on their way to London expecting free passage to Nova Scotia.
The route taken by the Palatines from
Germany to America in 1764
The Palatines in London.
The exact date
on which those "poor Palatines" actually arrived is unknown, but on August
29th, a letter was published in the London newspaper "Lloyd's Evening Post"
(see Appendix B) which described their "unutterable distresses" and challenged:
"For shame, Britons! Exert yourselves and lot a spirit of charity inspire
you to feed the strangers that are within your gates."
Dr. Anton Wachsel,
pastor of St. George's German Lutheran church also published an impassioned
plea for assistance to the 600 (there were actually about 400) refugees.
Two hundred of them did not have the means to pay their arrival fees and
were therefore confined and "rotting in filth and nastiness" aboard their
of the people of London to these letters was instantaneous and quite remarkable.
A committee of twenty-one gentlemen was quickly organized and by eleven
o'clock in the morning on which the pastor's letter appeared, relief in
the form of tents, food, clothing and money began to be distributed to
the suffering Palatines where they were assembled in an open area of East
London known as "Goodman's Fields." (Today, very little of the open area
remains, but just across Alie Street, on the northwest side of what was
once Goodman's Fields, you can still visit Dr. Wachsel's German Lutheran
church. The date 1763 on the front of the old brick structure shows that
it was new when the Palatines arrived. The location is just a few
blocks north of the Tower of London.)
The relief committee
held frequent meetings in the local coffee houses and remained active on behalf of the refugees, collecting about
4000 pounds sterling and arranging for a grant of lands in South Carolina
to be made available to them on favorable terms from King George III.
East London in 1746 showing the location
of Goodman's Fields.
All aboard for South Carolina.
contracted for two ships, the "Union" and the "Dragon," to carry 180 passengers
each. When it became apparent that these
were inadequate to transport both passengers and baggage, a third ship, the "Planters Adventure,"
was engaged to carry the baggage of the entire group and thirty-three of their number to watch
were also made with Messrs. Cathcart and Woodrop in Charles Town, South Carolina, to serve as agents for the committee.
They were charged with the responsibility of paying the ship captains and
seeing to the outfitting of the Palatines on their arrival. The immigrants
were to be supplied with tools, livestock and provisions as they were needed
until September 30, 1765.
A tearful departure.
During the several
weeks that the Palatines were under the benevolent care of Dr. Wachsel
and other members of the relief committee,
strong bonds of Christian love and friendship were formed, bonds which
resulted in what must have been an extremely painful experience when the
time came to part. The account which appeared in the London Magazine, Saturday,
October 6, 1764, gives us a glimpse of that emotional moment:
Palatines broke up their camp behind Whitechapel church. The tresurer,
and some other gentlemen of the very benevolent committee, attended on
that occasion and accompanied them to the water side and particularly the
Reverend Mr. Wachsell, who has been indefatiguable during their abode in
England and whose pious labours are above all praise. His taking leave
of them was a most moving spectacle, tears flowing plentifully on both
sides, especially from the sick, and pregnant women who were near their
time. Many of the persons present could not refrain from sympathizing with
them. They were carried in lighters to the ships lying at Blackwall, singing
hymns all the way, and a great number of boats filled with spectators attending
them, who seemed greatly affected with their devout behavior and demonstrations
of gratitude to the nation which had so hospitably treated them."
The ships Dragon
and Union sailed from Gravesend, England, on October 7, 1764, arriving
in Charles Town December 14th and 16th, respectively, after a passage of
ten weeks. The Planters
Adventure departed later and did not arrive
until February 12th, causing considerable inconvenience for the new arrivals
since they were without their belongings for nearly two months.
The Union suffered
the loss of three children during the ten week passage. Two were born.
Those who sailed aboard the Dragon were not so fortunate, however. Lt.
Governor William Bull reported in a letter to the committee that all arrived
sick and had to be placed immediately in an emergency hospital which was
established in the local barracks. Twenty had died aboard ship and twenty
more died shortly after arrival. It was concluded that the disparity in
the health of those aboard the two ships was no reflection on the quality
of care provided by the captain of the Dragon, but rather was due to the
fact that those who were taken on board included all those who were sickly
from their stay in London and that the sickness had then spread to the
A careful analysis
of the records (see Appendix C) shows that 374 Palatines sailed from London
aboard the three ships. The Union carried 181, the Dragon 160, and the
Planters Adventure, which also transported the baggage, carried 33 along
with unrelated passengers and goods. During the passage, twenty died on
the Dragon, three on the Union and none on the Planters Adventure. Two
children were born on the Union, so that 353 immigrants actually reached
their destination. Of those, 131 were under fourteen years of age.
Within six weeks
after their arrival in Charles Town, at least 44 more, including fifteen
children, would die from their illnesses, leaving
only 309 of the original group to find their way to the new life they had dreamed about and traveled so
far to experience.
A painful choice.
In the years
that followed, time and a preoccupation with survival no doubt dimmed the
memories of those hardy Germans and much of the hardship and bereavement
of the early days in South Carolina may have been forgotten. But they could
never forget the kindness, mercy and generosity of those who had cared
for them so unselfishly during their sojourn in London. Nor could they
forget the king by whose grace they were not forced to return to Germany,
but were instead provided with free land and protection in the New World.
So, when the time came just a few years later for the choice to be made
between Whig and Tory, it is not surprising that the majority elected to
support their benefactors. Those who made that choice lost their lands
and were forced again to leave their homes and their homeland.
The case of Christian
Zang is probably typical of those Palatines who elected to serve the British
rather than to take up arms with the rebels. In 1765, when they first
arrived in South Carolina, the Zang family consisted of Christian (40),
Juliana (32), Peter (9), Jacob (7), Christian (4), and Johannes (3). A
fifth son, Phillip, was born in January, 1765, shortly after the arrival
of the Union in Charles Town. Twenty-one years later, in July, 1786, Zang
told this story to the British authorities in Nova Scotia to support his
claim for recovery of losses suffered as a result of his choice:
first year of the Troubles took Arms, in the year 1775, & drove the
Rebels from the Town in Ninety Six, besieged them & they Capitulated,
but soon after got together and drove them away. Claimant was taken
prisoner & carried to Charles Town & afterwards released, being
an old man. In 1778 joined the British Army under Col. Robinson & Major
Maclauren, served as a Volunteer, went into Florida, then went to Georgia,
from Georgia came back to Charles Town, serving all this time & came
from Charlestown to this Province.
His eldest son,
Peter, was in a British Station & was taken by the Rebels & hung,
his 2 sons (second son?) died at the siege of Savannah, he was then in
the British Army, his 3rd Son, Christian, was shot in a Scouting Party,
he was then a Volunteer in the British Army."