The signature of Johan Paulus Vogt

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

278 Years

To all my Vogt/Vaught cousins out there, I wish you a Happy Arrival Day!

This day in October, 278 Years ago, Johan Paulus Vogt, his wife and children, sailed into the bustling colonial port at Philadelphia, passengers on the Charming Betty.  History records tomorrow as the day Johan Paulus and his eldest son, Johan Andreas, disembarked with the other men of age and Captain John Ball and walked to the courthouse where in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor, they swore allegiance to the British King.

But it was today, a brisk autumn day in 1733, October the 11th, that the Charming Betty ghosted to a stop at one of the numerous quays bristling from Philadelphia's riverside.

Two hundred and seventy-eight years.  The United States of America has only been in existence for 235 years.  That's something to reflect on.

So take some time today and tomorrow, think about your ancestors, the ones who huddled along the rails of the ship, or kept themselves (somewhat) drier in the shadowy bowels of the Charming Betty all those long days and weeks it took to cross the stormy Atlantic.  Think about what sacrifices they had made---giving up a homeland, friends, family, an entire life for their entire family...traveling to a land that was full of people who were increasingly fearful and hostile towards Germans (Ben Franklin was fanning the fires of intolerance through his newspaper at the time in Philadelphia, but it was a sentiment carried all up and down the English colonies---the Germans were coming in numbers large enough to scare most God-fearing Englishmen into thinking the entire continent would be speaking German in a generation).

And yet their adventure was just beginning.  Now they had to find winter quarters, because Philadelphia can have some pretty brutal weather for the uninitiated---especially for those who were no doubt weakened and malnourished from long, trans-Atlantic journey.  Then they had to find land and get to it.  Land was scarce around the safety of the colonial cities.  Foreigners, like the Germans, had to go even further west---into Indian disputed territory.  The dark unknown forest on the edge of civilization.

Remember them and thank them.  Without their courage, sacrifice and ambition, we would not be here today.

Here is our First Family and their ages, taken from the ship's manifest on October 12th, 1733.

Johan Paulus Vogt, 53
Maria Katerina Vogt, 46
Catharina Margaret Vogt, 18
Maria Catherina Vogt, 16
Johan Andreas Vogt, 12
Johan Gasper Vogt, 8

Just 12 years (2023), we can celebrate the 300th Anniversary of our family arriving on the shores of the New World.  Now that's something to party about!

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