The American Connection:

1683 marked the beginning of concentrated German settlement into Pennsylvania with the arrival of 13 families under the leadership of Daniel Pastorius. They founded Germantown outside of Philadelphia.

By the year 1709, massive german settlement waves arrived from the Palatinate region of Germany to the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys. As early as 1711, German settlers were repeatedly used as soldiers and frontier defenders by the English in the war against France for the possession of Canada, in return for free land on the Mohawk and Schoharie rivers.

One such noted incident is the storming of the fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia in 1745. The ironic twist to this story is that on the French side there were also Germans. A part of the Louisbourg garrison consisted of German-Swiss of the regiment "Karrer". On the English side, German-American militia men from Maine who had originally come from the Palatinate. It is also worth mentioning that at this time there existed in the immediate vicinity of of Louisbourg the first german village in Canada " Village des Allemands", eventhough it disappeared after the british conquest of Louisbourg.

These instances of Germans fighting Germans will repeat themselves many times in the course of north american history. The next one being the American Revolutionary War.

One such tragic story surrounds Peter Weber, anglicised to Weaver. His family came from the Palatinate and settled in German Flats in the Mohawk Valley. 1756 Peter was born there. 1777 at 21 years of age he joined the King's Loyal Americans. In the battle of Oriskany he stood with his brother Nicholas opposite Jacob Weaver, George J. Weaver, George M. Weaver and Peter James Weaver, all relatives, fighting on the revolutionary side.

Peter Weaver survived the war and received for his loyal services land near present day Morrisburg. He also received land on the St Lawrence river, some of this land was flooded in the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. It was situated very close to the present site of Upper Canada Village.

I have illustrated Peter wearing pioneer garb and loading a Pennsylvania, also known as a Kentucky Long Rifle. It was German craftsmen from Pennsylvania who made these rifles. These men had learned to rifle weapons in Germany - that is to cut spiral grooves within a gun barrel to give the bullet a rotary motion for more accuracy and twice the travelling distance than that of a smooth bore musket.

It was because of these rifles that during the Revolutionary war, General Howe had to evacuate Boston and retire to Nova Scotia until he could secure Hessianand Brunswicksoldiers from Germany who were equipped with this type of rifle.

It was not until the Napoleonic Wars that similar rifles were made in England.

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