Jacobs Arrival in America, 1750

Jacob Brumbaugh arrived at the dock of Samuel McCall’s wharf in the port of Philadelphia on Monday, August 31, 1750, aboard the Nancy captained by Thomas Coatam, out of Rotterdam, Holland.[1] This ship was one among fourteen shiploads that year of German so-called “Palatines” docking in Philadelphia.[2] Palatines were German emigrants from what they called the Palatinate, an area in southwestern Germany. Upon the ship’s arrival, Captain Coatam, as required by Pennsylvania provincial law, immediately took his passengers to the courthouse. There, before Jacob Brumbach and the other German passengers could be admitted to the province, they were required to pledge and sign their allegiance. Examining this document closely, one can tell the percentage of male immigrants literate enough to sign their name versus non-literate immigrants. Of the eighty-two males age sixteen and over, eighty-six percent, including Brumbaugh, signed their full name, instead of a simple “X,” a fairly high rate for any eighteenth-century society. 

The pledge of allegiance repeated at the courthouse sounded innocuous enough: “We…[d]o solemnly promise and engage that we will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his present Majesty King George II, and his successors, and will be faithful to the Proprietors of this Province…to the utmost of our power and best of our understanding.”[3]

[1] See http://www.cowes.co.uk .

[2] See http://www.progenealogists.com/palproject/pa/

[3] William Henry Egle, Names Of Foreigners Who Took The Oath Of Allegiance To The Province And State Of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, With The Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808 (Harrisburg, Pa.: E. K. Meyers, 1892).

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