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Heritage Lecture Series Continues September 18th
How did travel literature spark a mass migration of German settlers to Dutchess County in the early eighteenth century?

Published: 9/10/2014

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie...The second presentation of the 2014 Dutchess Heritage Speaker Series will reveal the story of the Palatines, Dutchess County’s earliest German immigrants, and their exodus to the Mid-Hudson at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Professor Philip Otterness, author of Becoming German:  The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York, will trace the Palatine migration from the German Rhineland in 1709 through London and into the Hudson Valley between 1710 and 1712. The heritage lecture will take place on Thursday, September 18th, at 7:00 pm at the Historic Elmendorph Inn, located at 7562 Route 9 in Red Hook.

“While the Dutch and English are the best-known settlers of early Dutchess, the Palatines played a crucial role in carving a viable community from the eighteenth-century wilderness,” said County Historian William P. Tatum III.   “Their farms, descendents, and place names are still present throughout northern Dutchess today.”

Beginning with the “Golden Book” of 1709, Otterness will trace the Palatines’ path from the Rhineland to London, on board British Army transports. After plumbing the impact of their squalid stay in England, his presentation will examine their rough crossing to America, their mixed reception in New York City, and their arrival and settlement in Dutchess County. Otterness will conclude by tracing the subsequent Palatine Migration up to the Mohawk Valley and the Palatines’ long-term impact on New York and America.

“The Palatines’ story opens a vivid window into the early Atlantic Migrations and the formation of New York and American identities,” notes Prof. Otterness. “The 3,000 German emigrants who arrived in New York in 1710 experienced a different side of America from the better known English and Dutch colonists. Their travels and adventures offer new perspectives on labor, settling the country, and relations with Native Americans."

This presentation is offered in collaboration with the Dutchess County Historical Society and Historic Red Hook, which will host a reception following the program with refreshments.

Tickets are on sale through the Dutchess County Historical Society, 845-471-1630 or, $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets for the final two lectures in the series are available for $15. Donors wishing to support the lecture series may purchase the Heritage Patron Package, which includes two tickets, dinner with the speaker, and a limited-edition print of the 1804 Dutchess Turnpike map for $120.

This lecture series is part of the Dutchess Heritage Days celebration of 300 years of Democracy in Dutchess, sponsored by the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, and the Dutchess County Historical Society.