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Thread: The German Americans: An Ethnic Experience

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    Post Re: German North America

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollon
    Great thread.
    Thank you. :tthumbsup

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollon
    I'll post the following here, since that's where I started. Ingrid Rimland wrote a fiction trilogy about the Mennonite experience in Germany, Russia and the United States; it is called 'Lebensraum'. I guess one could call it the Saga of the Mennonites.

    As Ingrid Rimland is Ernst Zündel's wife, you can purchase her book at :

    http://www.zundelsite.org
    Sounds interesting. Does it include the time spent by the Mennonites in the Netherlands?

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    Post Re: German North America

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus Excelsior

    Sounds interesting. Does it include the time spent by the Mennonites in the Netherlands?
    I'm not sure. I think it's about a German Mennonite family and their migrations, through several generations. I've still got to read it myself.

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    Post Hey my fellow Americans! Did you know October 6th is German-American day?!

    I sure didn't!

    In 1987 Congress enacted Public Law 100-104 designating October 6 as German-American Day. A proclamation was issued by President Reagan in a Rose Garden Ceremony calling on the American people to observe this day with appropriate celebrations and activities. The date was chosen because on October 6, 1683 the first group of Germans sailed into Philadelphia Harbor on the Concord. Individually Germans had arrived before that date.
    Whoa! No stamps, parades, or "365 German" ads from McDonalds, and this is the first time I'd heard of this holiday...since, well...ever.

    A fairly pitiful and ignored token gesture to the one of the most numerous and influential etnic groups in American history.

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    Post Re: Hey my fellow Americans! Did you know October 6th is German-American day?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Draco
    I sure didn't!

    Whoa! No stamps, parades, or "365 German" ads from McDonalds, and this is the first time I'd heard of this holiday...since, well...ever.

    A fairly pitiful and ignored token gesture to the one of the most numerous and influential etnic groups in American history.
    I only found out about German-American Day last October, but a week or two after the 6th. Actually, I think I first read about it in a thread on Skadi.

    It definitely wasn't mentioned in the national media; and, since I live in Atlanta (the former site of Freaknik), I will never hear mention of German-American Day in the local news here.

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    Post Re: German North America



    The first view most travelers see of Germany Valley is from the scenic turn-off at the historical marker on U.S. Rt. 33 near the top of North Fork Mountain. The lush rolling fields far below, broken by scattered woodlands, neat farm buildings, and scattered hills and knobs, arouse the traveler's interest about this high mountain valley and its history.


    The North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River in present-day Pendleton County was settled largely by Germans. The first family to arrive in the valley were the Hinkles, who migrated from North Carolina in 1761. John Jacob and Maria Magdelena Hinkle, with their 12 children and their families, came to what is now known as Germany Valley, hoping to find inexpensive agricultural land in an area free from hostile Indian attacks. They were also attracted to this locality by the fertile limestone soils and gently rolling topography of the valley's bottomland. The Hinkles were quickly joined by the Teters and other German (Pennsylvania Dutch) families, some having migrated southwest following the ridges and valleys from Pennsylvania's Lebanon and Lancaster counties. In addition, a few German families moved west from Spottsylvania County, Virginia. These settlers brought the custom of placing hex signs on their barns. I have been told that this was the only section of the state where hex signs could be found at an early date on farm buildings.

    Since these families preserved their language and Old World customs and because the topography and climate reminded them of their ancestral home, this valley became known as German Settlement or Germany Valley. During this same period, many Scotch-Irish families also migrated into Pendleton County from the Valley of Virginia, and some of them bought land in Germany Valley.

    Germany Valley was criss-crossed by the famous Seneca Trail. Nearby Fort Seybert and Fort Upper Tract had been destroyed in Indian uprisings led by Killbuck, a Shawnee chieftain, in 1758. During 1762, to protect border settlements from Indian raids, the Hinkles built a stockade fort, aptly named Hinkle's Fort.


    Today Hinkle's Fort no longer stands, but its site is marked by a large stone monument in the shape of an arrowhead which is enclosed by an iron fence. The site is located along the valley road leading east from Riverton.

    From the beginning, the economy of valley farms was based on forage crops and raising cattle, horses, milk cows, and sheep. The rich limestone soils and rolling farmland proved ideal to support a prosperous farm community. Poor roads and lack of turnpikes, however, made it difficult to reach markets in adjacent areas; thus, many farms became largely self-sufficient and settlers self-reliant and resourceful.

    During the Civil War, Pendleton County was a border area protected by neither Federal troops nor the Confederacy. Although areas around Seneca Rocks and the lower South Branch Valley were northern in sympathy, the upper North Fork, Germany Valley, and Franklin areas were strongly Confederate. Such divided counties, then so numerous in central West Virginia, were fragmented by internal strife, hardship, and uncertainty. Border county wars between partisan groups were continuous, and often county government ceased to operate effectively.


    Many Germany Valley men joined partisan units such as the Pendleton Scouts, Pendleton Rifles, and Dixie Boys, which fought for the Confederacy. In the northern parts of the county, the Swamp Dragons or ÒSwampsÓ were staunch defenders of the Union. Clashes between these units were common and bitter, with members of the same families often belonging to units with different political loyalties. Raids by Union army units and Union partisans such as the Swamps were common in the valley.
    Read the rest @ http://www.wonderfulwv.com/archives/sept00/fea2.cfm
    Last edited by Appalachian; Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005 at 05:22 PM.

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    Post Re: German North America

    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

  8. #88
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    Post Re: German North America

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollon
    Great thread.

    I'll post the following here, since that's where I started. Ingrid Rimland wrote a fiction trilogy about the Mennonite experience in Germany, Russia and the United States ; it is called 'Lebensraum'. I guess one could call it the Saga of the Mennonites.

    As Ingrid Rimland is Ernst Zündel's wife, you can purchase her book at :

    http://www.zundelsite.org
    Ingrid also wrote "The Wanderers" which is also about the Volga Deutsche which is the name given to these German Mennonites.

    The background of the Volga Detusche/Mennonites/ Germans from Russia, is interesting. I know a little about it since I am also a German from Russia descendent and so is my husband.

    They seem to have origionated in the Neatherlands, since they were pacifists they refused to allow their sons to enter the military so they often had to move to avoid this. They were excellent farmers and were used to clear swamps and farm inhospitable areas. That is why alot of their names refelct their jobs, Neufeldt ( new field", my husband's family) Gade ( , "street" my family) etc.

    They moved into the Ukraine area and then Catherine the Great offered them free land and automony to come and farm the harsh Volga river area. They immigrated in mass and formed villages in which they retained their religion, language and didnt marry outside of thier group for menay generations. You can see obvious evidence of this now in the very similar features of all the " Volga Deutsche" in this area ( California Central Valley).

    When Catherine's grandson decided they need to join the military many sold thier farms and migrated to America, Canada and South America. The story of their migration is the story that Ingrid tells in her books. My family moved to the midwest and my husband's family moved to Canada.

    When the Bolschevik revolution broke out the Germans were targeted because they had become prosperous kulaks ( farmers) and many were slaughtered or shipped to Siberia for worshipping the bible. SOme joined the retreating German army and went back to Germany. Some remained and survived in what became Soviet Russia.

    There is an American Historical Society of Germans from Russia in the US and it has chapters and museums all over the US.

    April Gaede

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    Post Re: German North America

    Very interesting, April Gaede.

    Mennonites have come to the US since the 19th century. A lot of them went to the Great Plains and to the North-Western States, such as Oregon and Washington State. Otherwise, the so-called Dutch County in Pennsylvania is also populated with Mennonites and Amish (The Amish sell their products on a market place in Philadelphia).

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    Post German-American Day

    It's tomorrow.

    How are you going to celebrate?

    Here are some resources,

    http://www.sigrdrifa.net/gad.shtml

    news article
    In the 2004 census, nearly 43 million Americans listed German as their primary ancestry, about 1.4 million Americans speak German at home, and about 38 percent of Indiana's populace is of German descent.
    Past President Bush announcements of German-American Day.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...011005-15.html

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0021005-4.html

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...031003-11.html

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...041006-17.html

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