King Ge­orge III of Eng­land was ac­tu­ally a Ger­man!

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - OPINION - Richard L.T. Orth

A few years back when the PA Ger­man Society and the of­fices of the Amer­i­can Folk­life In­sti­tute hosted a mod­ern Ger­manic tele­vi­sion film crew to tele­vise our cur­rent PA Dutch ter­ri­tory for an Euro­pean Broad­cast­ing Com­pany, we were glad to meet lo­cal PA Dutch­men, some of which were Palan­tine Ger­mans, who came from New Jer­sey and were cel­e­brat­ing their 300th an­niver­sary of ar­riv­ing in Amer­ica. As were French Huguenots in the Oley Val­ley also com­mem­o­rat­ing their Colo­nial an­niver­sary in the his­toric Oley Val­ley of Berks County.

How­ever, French an­ces­tors were seek­ing re­lief from free­dom of re­li­gion de­nied them un­der the French King Louis the XIV in the fer­tile Rhine Val­ley that they had shared with Ger­many. Iron­i­cally, the Shan­ers, were also re­joic­ing in their PA Dutch Her­itage. They were own­ers of the 1804 town crier’s home, where hangs an orig­i­nal oil por­trait of King Ge­orge

III who the 13 colonies had de­clared their in­de­pen­dence from in the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion to es­tab­lish our United States Repub­lic in 1776. But few Amer­i­cans re­al­ize that Ge­orge the Third was ac­tu­ally a Ger­man-born prince be­fore he be­came the King of Eng­land (1738 to 1820) at a time when royal fam­i­lies in­ter­mar­ried and the peas­ant class did not mean much to the monar­chs of Europe.

Thus, his kin­ship to the PA Ger­mans of Palan­tine and Huguenot eth­nic an­ces­try of the fa­bled Rhine Val­ley did not mean any­thing to King Ge­orge III, as he fought against PA Deitsch im­mi­grants to pre­vent the Thir­teen orig­i­nal colonies from achiev­ing In­de­pen­dence. He was now King Ge­orge the Third and the head of the Great Bri­tish Em­pire whose land the Sun never set on as its colonies were spread around the globe. He was now one of the most pow­er­ful monar­chs of the world whose eth­nic­ity had noth­ing to do with the peas­ant im­mi­gra­tion class or the Commonwealth of Penn­syl­va­nia; not even re­al­iz­ing that a third of the Colo­nial pop­u­la­tion of Wil­liam Penn’s pro­pri­etary colony was made up of Ger­man im­mi­grants from the his­toric Rhine Val­ley.

As early Amer­i­can colonists, they were a hun­dred per­cent be­hind the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, and later be­came full-fledged cit­i­zens un­der the United States Con­sti­tu­tion. Wel­com­ing th­ese mod­ern Ger­man cit­i­zens at our of­fices in Kutz­town’s Town Crier’s home with a num­ber of an­tique Ger­man ar­ti­facts was an Amer­i­cana treat. In­cluded in this col­lec­tion were a rare copy of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence at the front door, and the rare oil paint­ing of King Ge­orge III of Eng­land wear­ing his English Monarch medal­lions that was hang­ing over the front par­lor Ge­or­gian fire­place.

Ge­orge Ap­gar, a Palan­tine “Deit­sher” from New Jer­sey, eyed a PA Deitsch long ri­fle stand­ing be­hind a Kutz­town Amer­i­can Ea­gle tall case clock and called it to ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. It was one of the guns that made it pos­si­ble for us to win the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. Need­less to state, the Ger­man guests felt very much at home as they con­tin­ued to see other lo­cal ar­ti­facts at the Kutz­town His­tor­i­cal Society Mu­seum later that day. But most of all, con­vers­ing amongst them­selves with lo­cal na­tives in the Palan­tine Ger­man Di­alect of Colo­nial Amer­ica or the Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch lan­guage was very real to them, made more nos­tal­gic to them be­ing among the Amer­i­canGer­man ma­te­rial ar­ti­fact trea­sures.

This rare oil paint­ing of King Ge­orge III of Eng­land hangs over the front par­lor Ge­or­gian fire­place.

This is a rare oil paint­ing of King Ge­orge III of Eng­land wear­ing his English Monarch medal­lions.

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