First Settlement in America 1710

Family Ancestry Journey Ronald L Fake

My ancestor’s ship James & Elizabeth sailed from London about December 5th, 1709 with a sailing fleet of 10 ships holding about 3,000 German Palatines. They arrived on 16 June 1710 in the Province of New York with new Governor Hunter. They were initially sent to Nutten Island for first settlement in America. Today this Island is known as Governors Island, New York City.

Nutting Island 1710
Governors Island,
New York City

My Ancestry family that took up Queen Anne of England’s invitation to settle in the new American colonies:

  • Johannes Schneider, age 89 (8th great-grandfather)
  • Johann Peter Schneider Feg, age 38 (6th great-grandfather)
  • His wife Anna Maria Risch, age 29
  • Anna Catherine, daughter, age 10
  • Anna Eve, daughter, age 10
  • Eva Elisabeth, daughter, age 8

First American-born family addition.

  • Birth of daughter Anna Margaretha 18 December 1715 at West Camp, today Ulster County, New York.
  • Baptism of Anna Margaretha 22 January 1716 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ulster County, New York.

First Settlement Providence of New York

Now let us recap why the German Palatines were needed by the English to make their first settlement in America the new world.

In the colonial  Province of New York, the British were up against the Dutch who settled first in New Amsterdam the present-day Wall Street area of New York  City.  Let us not forget the Indians who were the real first American settlers.

Governor Hunter convinced the Queen that the Palatine men were needed to help defend the Crown areas claimed by the English and cut down lots of trees to make roads, farmland and develop businesses to support the new settlers. All of this new development activity would mostly benefit the English businessmen that already owned considerable acreage.

Upon arrival, every Palatine was to be naturalized without fee or Reward. Before they sailed from England the Queen agreed to provide the impoverished Palatine families with a passage, food, tents, and other necessities for at least one year. The most important reason for their journey to America was  Queen Anne’s promise that the Governor grant the head of the household 40 acres of land for settlement in the Providence of New York.

First stop on June 13, 1710, about 3,000 German Palatine ancestors were embarked on Nutten Island (about 70 acres) now Governors Island. One can imagine this area as a very crude ship landing terminal. The survivors were encamped in tents that were issued to each family before departing London.

Disease, especially typhus, was responsible for an estimated 500 deaths on the voyage from London to America. Most of the arrivals were quarantined for typhus and other diseases until the Spring of 1711.  An unknown number of Palatines did not survive the quarantine period.

New Settlement West Camp

Three resettlement areas were established: 1) four villages on the east side of the Hudson River, today Germantown, Columbia County, N.Y. 2) three villages on the west side of the Hudson River, today is known as Saugerties, Ulster County, N.Y. ( Historians also refer to this area as the West Camp)  and 3) Nutten Island, now Governors Island, New York City where widows, sickly men, and orphans were settled.

The Hudson River land was acquired by trade with the Mohawk Indians while Robert Livingston was Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Next Livingston sold the land to the New York Province which fell under the jurisdiction of the new Governor Robert Hunter. Also, Governor Hunter awarded the businessman Livingston the contract for food and supplies.

My 8th great-grandfather, Johannes Schneider, settled into the East Camp, now Germantown, New York. He resided in the Germantown area until his death at age 103.

My first American ancestry family (Johann Peter Schneider Feg) made a settlement in the West Camp in the spring of 1711 about 100 miles north of Nutten Island along the Hudson River at the intersection with Schoharie Creek. Here they are hoping to work, grow their family, and build a new home.

In Europe, their communities consisted of groups of villages centered around a church-Reformed or Lutheran. Soon after arrival in October 1710, they organized the Church at West Camp. The first written record of worship service was on June 3, 1711.

Payment for Passage

The German settlers began to work down their debt of ten thousand pounds sterling advanced by a parliamentary grant for passage, food, and services by the manufacturing of tar and the growing of hemp to increase the supply of Naval Stores. Many new settlers were unhappy with this arrangement. They wanted their settlement to include the promised land to start farming and raise their families without government restrictions.

Thousands of pine trees were cut and prepared for the making of tar. Coopers made barrels and cauldrons, large metal pots were made to cook the pine bark. Roads were built to bring the tar to the banks of the Hudson River for shipment to England.

Sometimes the best plans fail to produce the anticipated results. Problem one was that Governor Hunter hired a local farmer, Hacket to run the production of pine tar. Hacket probably was a good talker but had no experience in making tar. Most likely no one had the required experience. It also has been suggested by tree experts that the best  Pine Tree for tar grows in the southern states, not this area of New York. The making of tar to increase the supply of Naval Stores was a complete failure by 1712.

Colonial Governor 1710-1720
Robert Hunter Governor Province of New York

Money and politics enter into the equation for Governor Hunter (Tory) and the newly settled German  Americans.  In 1711 the English Parliament switched from Tory to Whigs. Now the majority of Whigs promptly cut off subsistence funding for all German Palatine settlements in the Province of New York. Governor Hunter funded the settlers out of his own purse until the fall of 1712.

The Germans became upset and dissatisfied with their treatment and situation with their first settlement in America. They blamed Governor Hunter for their status- no way to repay the debt to the Crown, the loss of subsistence support, and no 40 acres to build their first American home.

Winter Trip to Schoharie

Some forty or fifty families made the winter trip to Schoharie Valley for another attempt at settlement about 60 miles northwest of the West Camp to claim lands that Queen Anne had set aside for them. Many additional families followed in the next several years. Some German families moved to other parts of the Province of New York, some found settlements in present-day New Jersey and some stayed in the West Camp area.

My ancestry family of Johann Peter Schneider Feg made the Trip to Schoharie Valley sometime in 1716.

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 We present researched stories about our European German families coming to America in 1710. They first settled in the Province of New York and In 1724 the Province of Pennsylvania. 

We create stories about ancestry heroes like William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, George Wilson, and the family Indian peace negotiator, my 6th great uncle Conrad Weiser Jr. These individuals of integrity and many more helped to push America to become the United States of America in 1776.


Ronald L. Fake

Pennsylvania native from York County. After graduating from Wrightsville High School enlisted in U.S. Navy. While in the Navy working in the field of Aviation Electronics decided to enroll in college. Selected San Diego State University with a focus on urban geography and environmental studies. After graduation in 1968 worked with county and state governments, and private industry on the environmental impacts of transportation projects. After retirement started my ancestry research and today I am writing that history as a blog at