Introduction (Page 2)
From the earliest days the
Pennsylvania German settlers, in their homeland, had built
protection of food against their atavistic dread of wars and
invasions. For centuries, barbarians ravaged their German homes,
feudalism devastated their homeland, and religious controversy
caused them despair. Somewhere along the weary course of their
history they had become Christians and had evolved in to a
variety of sects, many with mystical quality. For these people
of piety believed in deed rather than creed and were determined
to live according to their religious convictions. Then in the
seventeenth century France�s King Louis XIV invaded the German
Low Countries. At the time, William Penn sough colonist his New
World colony. They made their decision they would go to America.
In 1683, the Mennonites were
the first of the Plain Sects to sail for Philadelphia. The
Amish, Seventh-Day Baptist, Dunkards, Schwenfelders, and
Moravians soon followed. Later came the Lutherans and Reformed.
Many experts believe that at the time of the Revolutionary War,
Pennsylvania Germans outnumber the English.
The German newcomers spread
over the southeastern part of the colony of Pennsylvania. The
English had already taken most of the easily cleared land.
However, Germans preferred the woodlands. They knew that black
walnut trees indicated the presence of limestone. The limestone
meant that the land would be fertile farmland. They searched for
the black walnut trees and where they found them, they cleared
the forest and established their farms.
Theses German farmers
understood planting routines, crop rotation, and soil
conservation. They were such excellent farmers, they believed
that they were doing what they liked to do, and it became easy
work (Mangert ist keine Arbeite). They were willing to
work hard in the wilderness, to sacrifice, if they could be at
last free. They were determined to so secure their families in
the New World that their children and grandchildren, generation
after generation, would always be free.
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