History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of
procured in Holland, England and France
by John Romeyn Broadhead, Esq., Agent,
UNDER AND BY VIRTUE OF AN ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE ENTITLED "AN ACT TO APPOINT AN AGENT TO PROCURE AND TRANSCRIBE DOCUMENT IN EUROPE RELATIVE TO THE COLONIAL HISTORY OF THE STATE," PASSED MAY 2, 1839. VOLUME V., ALBANY;
Weed, Pasons and Company, Printers, 1855.
(Note the spelling is from the 18th Century)
Petition of Johannes Wilhelm Schefs, Agent for the Palatines.
[New York Papers, Cc., 86.]
To the Right Honble the Lords, Com(rs) of Trade & Plantations
The humble Petition of William Scheef, in behalf of himself & the Germans commonly called Palatines Dwelling in Schorie in New York
That there are at present about one Hundred & sixty Families, consisting of about One Thousand Souls, in that part of New York, called Schorie, in which they have built Hutts, Houses & some Mills for grinding of Corn where, also they have improved the Ground; & have cleared away (besides an other mentioned in their Case) [a road] that runs down from their Habitations as far as Albany being about twenty four Miles in Length, for a free communication with Albany
That there are also about five Hundred German Families, consisting of about Three thousand Souls dwelling in dispersed habitations in the said Province of New York
That the said German Families have impowered your Petitioner as also John Conrad Weiser; (1) to implore the Kings gracious favour for granting the free possession of the said Valley of Schorie to the said 160 Families, or as many others as should find Room to settle therein ; And to pray that His Majesty would be pleased to extend His bounty to the remaining 500 families, by securing a settlement for them, either above, below or round about, the valley of Schorie in those parts, formerly in the possession of M(r) Godfrey Dellius or in Mackworth (2) Land
But your Petitioner (hearing with grief that John Conrad Weiser has petitioned your Lordships, for obtain(g) a tract of land called Chettery(3) ) most humbly entreats your Lordships, to dismiss the said Weiser's Petition as being directly contrary to our Instruct(ns) & the inclinations of our people who earnestly desire to lead a quiett & peaceable life and are utterly averse to expose their tender Children, and child bearing Women to another Transportation by Water as still remembering the loss of most of their young children at their going from home to America; all which may appear in our case,(4) now laying before your Lordships, which is signed by M(r) Weiser himself
If your Lordships should think fit to remove the said 160 families to any other part of the said Province of New York, They hope their Houses, their Mills, & their labour in clearing the Ground and making the said way of 24 Miles shall be appraised by impartial persons to be chosen by each party, & the value thereof made good unto them before their Removal from thence
And considering, that the grant of the valley of Schorie supposed to be given to some Gentlemen of Albany, being made some time after the said Germans had seated themselves therein at first to one & afterwards to two other persons, was as they humbly conceive against the Plantation Laws for the truth of which they humbly appeal to the proceedings of the
(1) JOHN CONRAD WEISER, son of Jacob Weiser, was a magistrate of the village of Great Anstach, in the Duchy of Wirtemburg, in Germany, and married Anna Magdalena Uebele, by -whom he had fifteen children. She dying in 1709, he left his country, and landed, -with the major part of his family, in New York, in June, 1710. Thence he was sent, -with a number of other Palatines, to Livingston Manor, -where he again married in 1711l. Government having withdrawn all assistance from the Palatines, in 1713, they sent John Christ. Fuchs, Hartman Winedecker, John Peter Kneskern, John Christ. Gerlach, Hans George Schmidt and Mr. Weiser, as deputies to the Mohawk Indians for permission to settle in Schoharie, whither about 150 families removed in 1114. The lands having been granted to others, great confusion ensued, as the Palatines refused to hold under the patentees, and appealed to the Government in England, to which country Captain Weiser, William Scheff and -- Walrath proceeded, to lay their Case at the foot of the Throne. They secretly embarked at Philadelphia in 1718, but on the voyage fell into the hands of pirates who robbed them of their all and then set them free, when they put into Boston to procure necessaries. On arriving in London thay found themselves penniless and forced to contract debts. The consequence was, Weiser and Scheff were thrown into prison, from which they were afterwards released only by a remittance from New York. Scheff and Weiser quarreled whilst in London. The former returned to America in 1721 and died shortly after. Weiser returned in 1723. Some of the Palatines removed to Stone Arabia, some remained at Schoharie, but the major part of them crossed the forests to the head waters of the Susquehanna where they built canoes and floated down that river to Swatara, on the head waters of which and of the Tulpehocken they settled on Indian lands now comprising part of Berks and Lebanon counties. Captain Weiser died on the 13th July, 1760. Abridged from Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, I., 1-6. - ED. (2)Mackwaa, i. e., Mohawk. (3) Swatara, Penn. See note 1. (4) See ante, p. 553.
Assembly of the Province, and those of the Governor & Council; In case they shall be maintain(d) in the said Valley of Schorie they will cheerfully pay all such charges for the support of the government as other subjects there are used to do.
Therefore Your Petitioner humbly Prays your Lordships will be pleased to confirm the said 160 Families in the Possession fo the Valley of Schorie & the mountainous parts thereof, & allot to the other 500 Families such Lands somewhere near about the valley of Schorie as your Lordship in your great wisdom shall think fit.
And that your Lordships would further vouchsafe to grant a Coppy of Colonel Hunters Memorial relating to our Case that the underwritten may have an opportunity to vindicate his principals from any mismanagement alledged ag(st) his Collegue M(r) Weiser
And Your Petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray &c &c.
Nov: 1. 1720
(signed) Johan Whilm Schefs.
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