Anna Elizabeth Armentrout’s Arrival

Posted in: 1731-1740
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Sep 23, 2008 - 10:32:35 AM

The Armentrout’s arrived August 27, 1739 in Philadelphia on the English ship Samuel from Dover England. On board was widow, with her seven children.

 

She had help from her older children on their voyage. Now the journey was almost over. At the time of the voyage, Anna Elizabeth was about age forty. The names and probable of her eight children were:

 

Johannes

22

Christopher

15

Anna Elizabeth

21

Johan Heinrich

13

Johan Phillip

19

Johan Georg

10

Johan Friederich

16

 

 

 

The four thousand mile trip started along the in Germany some two months earlier. The Armentrout’s traveled down the Rhine River to Rotterdam where the boarded the Ship Samuel. The ship departed Rotterdam with a stopover in Dover to pick up provisions before resuming the voyage to America. They had just endured a long, dangerous voyage sailing the stormy Atlantic. Everyone was now relieved they survived and happy that the voyage had ended.

 

The Pennsylvania Gazette printed the arriving and departing ships in Philadelphia each week. Notice of the arrival on August 27, 1739 of the Ship Samuel with Captain Hugh Peircy, can be seen in the Pennsylvania Gazette issue of August 30, 1739, under the Custom House, Philadelphia. Arriving also is the Snow Betsy from Deal, and the Brigantine, Lydia from Barbados.

 

As the ship arrives in port, crowds of merchants await their arrival. Vendors are dockside hawking their goods to the passengers on board, selling fresh fruit, bread and beer. Food they hadn’t tasted for months. Often in the crowd, were friends or relatives from Philadelphia awaiting news and mail arriving from the old county. The passengers were anxious to go ashore after the long journey. But first, immigration procedures must be followed.

 

The Port of Philadelphia the strict procedures clear a vessel and passengers before disembarking. The health inspector would come aboard to inspect the passenger’s health and to prevent any “sickly” vessels from anchoring at Philadelphia. The customs inspectors followed looking contraband, smuggled goods and merchandise requiring custom duties.

 

All male passengers, age sixteen and older disembarked and lead to the courthouse where they were assembled before a magistrate. Here, each man was required to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the English Crown and an Oath of Abjuration, which disavowed support for any pretender to the English Throne.

 

The final procedure called for settling the account book with the captain. Often passenger could not afford to pay their fare in advance at Rotterdam. Frequently, a relative would pay the captain upon arrival. If not, the captain sold the “poor” passenger” into indentured servitude to the highest.  To repay the owner of the indenture, the “poor passenger” worked for the owner for a period usually five to seven years.  Merchants used these passengers as clerks and labors; they were maids, and servants to wealthy homeowners and farm workers on plantations. For many, this was their only hope of ever reaching the new world.

 

With the accounts books settled, passengers could disembark. Only now could everyone take their belongings ashore, which included their entire possessions to start a new life. In their luggage would be clothing, household goods, tools of the trade, and maybe some farm implements. Taking the luggage ashore was the final step for good reason. If someone had not settled their account with the captain, their baggage would be seized.

 

When the Armentrout’s step from the gang plank onto the shore, they were labeled as “Newlanders” the name given to those who journeyed to from the Old Country, sailed the Atlantic and docked in Philadelphia. The widow, Anna Elizabeth, with her children could now to travel to the Hain farm, some seventy-five miles north west of Philadelphia. They probably hired a stage wagon or a Conestoga wagon that made regular trips down the Great Road, sometimes called the Harrisburg Turnpike, leading to Reading, then past the Hain farms several miles further. A stage wagon was the forerunner to the stage coach that carried passenger westward a hundred years later. The Conestoga wagon was often referred to as the “inland ship of commerce”. It was ruggedly built, with large wheels, which enabled it to haul large quantities of goods over the ruff, deeply rutted dirt roads. These Conestoga wagons mainly hauled farm produce to market in Philadelphia. On return trips the wagons would deliver merchandise to outlying communities.

 

Did one of the Hains boys meet the Armentrout’s at the dock in Philadelphia? This seems unlikely. The arrival time of a ship sailing the Rotterdam would vary two to three weeks, depending to winds and weather. Predicting the travel time sailing the Atlantic was an uncertain business. Then there is the problem of getting a message the Hain farm from Rotterdam on the ship arriving ahead of the ship Samuel’s. This is unlikely, at best.

 

The Hains and Armentrout family surely must have known each other in Germany; possibly there was a direct family relationship in the old county. Surely there were letters between the families prior to Armentrout’s leaving Germany. These letters from here would have informed them about the abundance of cheap land, freedom from want and opportunities awaiting their children.

Jeri Haynes, July 10, 2008