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America's History in the Making

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Pastures Can Be Found Almost Everywhere

South Carolina is one of the most fertile landscapes to be found . . . preferable in many respects to the terrain in Germany, as well as in England . . . Game, fish, and birds, as well as waterfowl such as swans, geese, and ducks, occur there in such plentiful numbers that . . . newcomers can sustain themselves if necessary . . . until they have cleared a piece of land, sown seeds, and gathered in a harvest . . . . . . . Among other things, there can be found in the wild so-called “Indian chickens” [turkeys], some of which weigh about 40 pounds or even more. These exist in incredible numbers . . .

Hunting game, fishing, and bird-catching are free to anyone, but one shouldn’t cross the borders of neighbors or of the Indians [who] live in complete peace and friendship with our families. In addition, their number decreases while the number of our people (namely the Europeans) increases . . . Lumber can be found there in abundance, especially the most beautiful oaks, but also many of the nicest chestnuts and nut trees which are used by many for building and are considered better than oaks. One can also find beeches, spruces, cypresses, cedars, laurels, myrtle, and many other varieties.

Hogs can be raised very easily in great numbers at little cost, because there are huge forests everywhere and the ground is covered with acorns . . . Above all, the breeding of horses, cows, sheep, hogs and many other kinds of domestic livestock proceeds excellently, because pastures can be found almost everywhere, and the livestock can remain in the fields the whole year, as it gets no colder in Carolina in the middle of winter than it does in Germany in April or October . . . Because of the multiplication of livestock, almost no household in Carolina (after residing there a few years) can justifiably be called poor.

As far as vegetables and fruits are concerned, Indian corn predominates, thriving in such a way that one can harvest it twice a year and grow it wherever one wants to. Our local cereals such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats do well, but above all, rice thrives there as excellently as in any other part of the world, and it grows in such amounts that it can be loaded on ships and transported to other places. And as the inhabitants use rice so much and make much more profit from it than any other cereal, they are most keen on growing rice and there has been very little cultivation of other cereals.

All kinds of our fruits can be planted there, but . . . future arrivals would do well to bring along seedlings of any kind, or at least the seeds . . . There can already be found different kinds of our local apples . . . As far as cabbage, beets, beans, peas, and other garden plants are concerned, not only do our local plants grow very well, but there are also many other varieties with excellent taste that are completely unknown to us . . . Newcomers will do well to acquire all sorts of iron tools and bring these along . . . If someone has lived in Carolina for a time and he wants to go to another country, he may do so freely at any time.

Joshua von Kocherthal, “Pastures can Be Found Almost Everywhere,” translated by Dorothee Lehlbach (Frankfurt: Georg Heinrich Oehrling, 2nd ed., 1709); Special Collections Library of Duke University. Courtesy of Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States (New York: Pearson Education Inc., 2003), 160–61.

Creator Joshua von Kocherthal
Context Some of the colonies were attempting to attract immigrants from many parts of Europe, including Germany.
Audience Germans who might be interested in leaving
Purpose To attract settlers

Historical Significance

Several of England’s North American colonies had very diverse populations by the mid-eighteenth century. English settlers had long mingled with indigenous peoples and African slaves, of course, but Europe’s economic dislocations and its growing population prompted more and more people to consider moving to North America.

Joshua von Kocherthal, who was from southern Germany, played a crucial role in leading struggling German farmers to a rural community on the Hudson River in the colony of New York. His 1706 tract on South Carolina succeeded in drawing many Germans to that colony.

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