a title held by a leading secular prince of the Holy Roman Empire. During the Thirty Years War,
the Palatine country and other parts of Germany suffered from the horrors of fire and sword as
well as from pillage and plunder by the French Armies.
Many unpaid armies and bands of mercenaries, both of friends and foe, devoured the substance
of the people and by 1633,even the catholic French supported the Elector Palatine for a time for Political reasons.
During the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-97) the troops of the French Monarch Louis XIV ravaged
the Rhenish Palatinate, causing many Germans to emigrate. Many of the early German settlers of America
(e.g. the PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH)were refugees from the Palatinate.During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic
Wars,the Palatinate's lands on the west bank of Rhine were incorporated into France, while its eastern lands were
divided largely between neighbouring Baden and Hesse. The Count was driven from Bohemia during the 30 years war,
the Palatine's fled to London during the period between 1689-97.
While the land of the Palatinate was good for its inhabitants, many of whom were farmers,
vineyard operators, etc., its location was unfortunately subject to invasion by the armies
of Britain, France, and Germany. Mother Nature also played a role in what happened, for the
winter of 1708 was particularly severe and many of the vineyards perished. So, as well as
the devastating effects of war, the Palatines were subjected to the winter of 1708-09, the harshest in 100 years.
The scene was set for a mass migration. At the invitation of Queen Anne in the spring of 1709,
about 7,000 harassed Palatines sailed down the Rhine to Rotterdam. From there, about 3000
were dispatched to America, either directly or via England, under the auspices of William Penn.
The remaining 4,000 were sent via England to Ireland to strengthen the Protestant interest.
In 1710, three large groups of Palatines sailed from London. The first went to Ireland, the second to Carolina
and the third to New York with the new Governor, Robert Hunter. There were 3,000 Palatines on
10 ships that sailed for NY and approximately 470 died on the voyage or shortly after their arrival.
In NY, the Palatines were expected to work for the British authorities, producing naval stores (tar and pitch)
for the navy in return for their passage to NY. They were also expected to act as a buffer between the French
and Natives on the northern frontier and the English colonies to the south and east.
They settled in the Mohawk Valley in which Onieda is located.
Another GREAT source for more info is Palatine & Pennsylvania-Dutch Genealogy
We believe a Henry Betsinger was among the third group of Palaine's, which came
to New York state. His son, John Betsinger, was born Maych 16, 1754, at Canajoharie (Montgomery),
New York.He had another son, Chris-John. John volunteered in the spring of 1780 to serve
in the Revolutionary War. He joined Captain Lawrence Gross' Company of Colonel Willett's NY regiment.
After experiencing some of the fighting, he transferred to the bake-house at Fort Plain.
He served until 1786. Since he had not served at the front, he was not granted a pension.
John Betsinger married Elizabeth Ochsen in 1792, and this seems to be the main family that
the Betsinger's are descended from. John bought land in 1794, on the south side of the
Mohawk River in Montgomery County. When he died, in 1848, he left his "homeestead farm of
sixty-nine acres" as well as twenty-five acres of swamp and thelve additional acres in the
town of Lenox. All this was inherited by his eldest, at the time, Nicholas, with John's second
wife, Hanna, being given the use of the real estate.
To return to INDEX