ORTH: Pres­i­dent John Adams on the PA Dutch.

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - Richard L.T. Orth * For a more de­tailed look at the lo­ca­tion of Kemp’s Woods where the rest of John Adam’s trav­el­ing party bed­ded down in farm homes, see Dr. Arthur D. Gra­eff’s re­search in 1959 on the mat­ter.

When Pa­triot John Adams stopped over at Kutz­town, Pa., he re­marked in his di­ary he was pleas­antly im­pressed with the cook­ing and lodg­ing among th­ese lo­cal Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch at Kemp’s Tav­ern on his re­turn trip to Mas­sachusetts.*

Whether the true Dutch of New York state were con­fused by this English col­lo­qui­al­ism of PA Dutch with Penn­syl­va­nia be­ing at one time un­der Dutch Colo­nial rule along the Schuylkill River, we can­not say. But English vis­i­tors who were given di­rec­tions through the Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch Coun­try eas­ily latched on to this Amer­i­can­ism, and ev­ery huge barn they passed had no­tice­able Dutch sta­ble doors on their pioneer homes! The fact that the English of Philadel­phia knew both terms, Dutch and Ger­man, is ver­i­fied in they used the term Ger­man­town to des­ig­nate the eth­nic char­ac­ter of this early sec­tion of cit­i­zens in their city.

One PA Dutch his­to­rian in the last cen­tury re­fer­ring to gov­ern­ment in Europe that did not al­low free­dom of re­li­gion, stated, “All their de­cent, good peo­ple im­mi­grated to Amer­ica in its early Amer­i­can pe­riod. Only the stub­born or in­hu­mane ones re­mained to start World War I and II.” How­ever, it was PA Dutch im­mi­grants who em­braced the ideals of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion and were the back­bone of our Democ­racy, lit­er­ally pro­tect­ing Philadel­phia’s Lib­erty Bell in 1777 from the Bri­tish melt­ing it down. We, as a na­tion, do not en­dorse any re­li­gion but in­stead be­lieve in free choice of in­di­vid­u­als to wor­ship. The stead­fast Deitsch work ethic of th­ese dili­gent-work­ing Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch peo­ple can be traced to their fron­tier ex­pe­ri­ence as im­mi­grants who fell in love with the Amer­i­can free pri­vate en­ter­prise sys­tem.

When they lived in the Old World, they were part of a prim­i­tive Guild sys­tem that de­nied many of them the abil­ity to de­velop skills and tal­ents. Lucky were a num­ber of those PA Dutch im­mi­grants who were farmer re­demp­tion­ers sold into the iron ore and iron fur­nace in­dus­try, whose plight may have been just as bad in the Old World, but th­ese in­dus­tri­ous souls had a bet­ter chance of skill­fully pay­ing their in­den­tures and be­com­ing en­ter­pris­ing skilled cap­i­tal­ists and buy­ing their own farms. Th­ese true-grit Ger­manic im­mi­grants did not take long in pay­ing off their in­den­tures and be­come free pri­vate busi­ness­men who owned their own Amer­i­can farms or grist­mills, as the young Amer­i­can Repub­lic rat­i­fied the United States Con­sti­tu­tion, and our agrar­ian Repub­lic pros­pered in the Amer­i­can In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

No longer hin­dered by an an­ti­quated Euro­pean Guild Sys­tem, skilled PA Dutch­man in­vented Con­estoga wag­ons and other agrar­ian achieve­ments to be­come Amer­ica’s largest bread­bas­ket, where their hard-work­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity had no equal. It is dif­fi­cult for mod­ern Amer­i­can im­mi­grants and cit­i­zens to re­al­ize the chal­lenges fac­ing those Colo­nial re­demp­tion­ers, hav­ing signed con­tracts to work off their ocean pas­sage to Penn­syl­va­nia and help tim­ber th­ese vast vir­gin forests to cre­ate a civ­i­lized na­tion. Fur­ther­more, avoid­ing death de­fy­ing In­dian mas­sacres and sur­viv­ing the French and In­dian Wars (1754-1763) dur­ing North Amer­i­can Colo­nial­ism. Th­ese Deitsch im­mi­grants who had gone through so much in their lives were de­ter­mined to join Wil­liam Penn’s Holy ex­per­i­ment in cre­at­ing a civ­i­lized Amer­i­can so­ci­ety and vowed to them­selves to be­come his most pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens. Sold as in­den­tured ser­vants just to reach the shores of Penn­syl­va­nia, they were a hu­man­i­tar­ian class of hard-work­ing, agrar­ian cit­i­zens, ded­i­cated to God and Coun­try, as ref­er­enced by Pres­i­dents Adams.

Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch­man turned Penn­syl­va­nia into Amer­ica’s largest bread­bas­ket.

Pa­triot John Adams stopped over at Kutz­town and wrote that he was pleas­antly im­pressed with the cook­ing and lodg­ing among th­ese lo­cal Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch at Kemp’s Tav­ern.

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