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Early in the eighteenth century many inhabitants of the Lower Palatinate, lying on both sides of the Rhine, in Germany, were driven from their homes by the persecutions of Louis XVI. of France, whose armies desolated their country. England received many of the fugitives. In the spring of 1708, on the petition of Joshua Koekerthal, evangelical minister of a body of Lutherans, for himself and thirty-nine others to be transported to America, an order was issued by the Queen in Council for such transportation and their naturalization before leaving England. The Queen provided for them at her own expense. This first company of Palatines was first landed on Governor's Island, New York, and afterwards settled near the site of Newburg, Orange co., N. Y., in the spring of 1709. In 1710 a larger emigration of Palatines to America occurred, under the guidance of Robert Hunter, governor of New York. These, about 3,000 in number, went farther up the Hudson. Some settled on Livingston's Manor, at Germantown, where a tract of 6,000 acres was bought from Livingston by the British government for their use. Some soon afterwards crossed the Hudson into Greene county and settled at West Camp; others went far up the Mohawk and settled the district known as the German Flats; while a considerable body went to Berks county, Pa., and were the ancestors of many patriotic families in that State. Among the emigrants with Hunter a violent sickness broke out, and 470 of them died. With this company came John Peter Zenger (q. v.) and his widowed mother, Johanna.

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