|The Deep South
|Tens of thousands of Germans left their homes in the years following the end of the Seven Years’
War. An offshoot of that war also took place in the New World and this is when Canada became
British. In October of 1763, George III, eager to plant more Protestant colonists in his distant realms,
offered land to officers and soldiers of the British Army and Navy if they settled there, from 3,000
acres for a captain to 50 acres for a private.
Scoundrel stories abound in early immigration sagas and this one might be about a scoundrel, but it
might be simply a tale of an unlucky man who panicked and ran. One of those who responded to the
King's offer was a former army officer born in Hanover in 1736 named Johann Heinrich Christian
von Stümpel who had previously served in the army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. In 1763, he applied
for a land grant in Nova Scotia for 220,000 acres of Canadian land.
His petition was to take 4,000 poor Palatine German settlers to what would be called "Stumpelburgh"
with about a dozen former officers as staff who would organized them into a militia under his own
command. They would raise revenue for the crown, improve trade between Canada and Europe and
help defend Canada from French and Indian attacks. On August 30, 1763, the Lords of Trade
granted him two 100,000-acre townships between the St. John and St. Croix rivers. The settlers
would have the land tax free for ten years and lands not settled after ten years would revert to the
Von Stümpel immediately found his first 400 eager German colonists, accepted their money and
took them to London to see them off and collect his new deed. Unfortunately for von Stümpel, the
Privy Council had changed the terms and reduced the grant to 22,000 acres instead of the 220,000,
and had also added the caveat that Stümpel was to plant at least six acres of land with hemp and flax
for use by the Royal Navy within three years, and that all mines would be property of the king. The
acreage was not enough for the number of settlers he had intended. His group of officers informed
the Board of Trade that von Stümpel had vanished with all of the money, leaving his helpless victims
stranded in London.
The Germans emigrants recruited by Stümpel remained on their ships moored at the Customs House
quay, unable to pay for their passage and using up the meagre provisions they had brought with
them. Reverend Georg Anton Wachsel, the minister of the German Lutheran St. George's Church in
London, published a letter on August 29, 1764 relating their plight in Lloyd's Evening Post. Tents
were sent over and the emigrants took shelter on land. Between August 8th and October 4th, ten
emigrants died and were buried in the cemetery of St. George's, but over the next few weeks, more
than 1,200 donors had contributed over £ 4,000, led with £ 300 from King George III himself.
In "An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the Colonies of South Carolina and Georgia"
published in London, Dr. Alexander Hewatt wrote that the Germans were in London "without
money, without friends, exposed in the open fields and ready to perish through want when a humane
clergyman, who came from the same country, took compassion on them and published their
deplorable case in the newspaper." Help came from "a great personage" (the king) with "a bounty of
three hundred pounds and tents from the Tower." Wealthy Londoners donated medical attention,
food and money. But the settlers would not go to the snowy Canadian lands. "His majesty, sensible
that his colony of the South Carolina had not its proportion of white inhabitants, and having
expressed a particular attachment to it, signified his desire of transporting them to that province".
Finally, around the time Stümpel, who claimed he had been robbed, was finally caught and arrested
in Ansbach in December of 1764, enough donations had been raised to transport the settlers. The
committee contracted three ships to carry the emigrants and their baggage: the Union took 181
people, the Dragon 160, and the Planters Adventure 33 people and all of the provisions and baggage.
"A hundred and fifty stand of arms were ordered from the Tower, and given them by his majesty for
their defense, after their arrival in America," Hewatt wrote.
The October 1764 issue of 'Gentlemen's Magazine', published in London, said this: "The Palatines
broke up their camp behind Whitechapel church. The treasurer, 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 indefatigable 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 behaviour
and demonstrations of gratitude to the nation which had so hospitably treated them."
374 Palatines sailed from London, 131 of them under the age of fourteen. Three children were lost
and two were born on the Union during the ten week passage, twenty people died aboard the
Dragon, with twenty more dying shortly after arrival in Charleston. At least forty more, including
fifteen children, died within six weeks after their arrival from illness, leaving only 309 out of the
original group of 353. In the spring of 1764, the first two shiploads of the Germans arrived at
Charleston, South Carolina. They were guided up-country through dark forests and damps swamps
to the 25.000 acre township allotted to them which was named Londonborough in honor of the
colonists' benefactors. Once there, the haggard and worn out Germans struggled through illness and
lack of food to make a new life. They built a church called "St. George on Hard Labor Creek"
where the sermons were preached in German.
In 1769, Lieutenant Governor Bull wrote a report saying: "They (the Germans) have surmounted the
difficulties which naturally attended all new settlers, especially to strangers to the climate and
language. By their industry they now enjoy all such conveniences as are to be found with the humble
state of life-comfortable houses, orchards, plenty of provisions, stock of cattle, hogs, poultry, horses
for labor. They now raise more than they can consume and consequently add to their capital. Some
raise flour and some raise hemp. They are loyal and very useful and orderly members of the
community". Bull wished that they "should prepare for a future staple of silk by planting mulberries."
Additional Germans came in 1770, but they would be among the last German settlers there. Even
before the Revolution, many had left to join older and more prosperous German settlements in
Newberry, Richland, and Orangeburg counties and the colony did not last long. Some served in the
Revolution, many on the British side out of a sense of gratitude, and those who made that choice
were forced again to leave their homes. Many Anglicized their names at that point and relocated to
the Canadian Maritime provinces. During this period, the church and settlers just faded away.