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FROM KREFELD... TO PHILADELPHIA
     
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~  A BRIEF EXPLANATION  ~

        The history behind Original 13 settlers of Germantown, Pennsylvania is interesting, involved, and at times mysterious, but the primary incentive that induced them to leave their homeland was based simply on principles of freedom. America was the perfect solution to an ongoing problem... "religious persecution".

Note: The issues of religious conflict during this time period are deep and involved, and are not expounded upon in this "brief" explanation. Look for other links to sources on topics mentioned in this website where you can find more in-depth information.

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        In 1681, William Penn had been granted land in America from the King of England, and began a search for candidates to inhabit his new world. Penn was looking for righteous, pious, God-fearing men and their families to fulfill his dream of a land where people were free to worship without fear of retribution. This noble project was referred to by Penn as his "Holy Experiment".

        He encountered the German people in the lower Rhine Valley, who were in need of relief from oppression, hostility, and religious persecution, and found they filled his requirements for religious, moral, and economic status perfectly. As a result, 13 families from the lower Rhine region were invited by William Penn to come to the new land of opportunity, to be a part of the creation of a new type of world... at last, freedom of worship... in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

        These are the families who we now refer to as "The Original 13".

       The Original 13 "Krefelders", who set sail in July 1683 COMMERATIVE STAMP ISSUED IN HONOR OF THE ORIGINAL 13 FAMILIESand arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October, 1683 on the Concord, are considered to be the first "group" or mass-emigration to America. They were also the original settlers of Germantown, Pennsylvania.

       We invite you to scroll down the page to view three photographs of Krefeld, Germany... today's streets... upon which our forefather's had once walked over 300 years ago.

Images of William Penn's phamphlet and Concord stamp above were contributed by Frank DeHaven, a member of the "Original 13" List Group.

All of the Krefeld, Germany photos shown below were contributed by, and are the property of Tom Updegraff, who traveled to Krefeld, Germany to research the "Op den Graeff" family ancestry.

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Krefeld, Germany - Philadelphia Street
     
   



Philadelphia Street in Krefeld, Germany to honor the 13 families who left Krefeld for Philadelphia in 1683.

     
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Krefeld, Germany - Mennoniten-Kirche Strasse
     
   



The portal of the "newer" Mennonite church built in 1693 a few years after Herman Op den Graeff's death. The portal was the entrance to the original church that Herman Op den Graeff belonged to. It faces an alley.The new church (see below) faces the opposite direction. So if you were to enter through the portal, you would be in the back yard.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
   
   
   
   
 
     
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Mennonite Church - front entrance
     
   

Front view of of the "newer" Mennonite Church (built in 1693) attended by Herman Op den Graeff (b. 1585), in Krefeld Germany. The newer church faces a more modern street. The"alley" is named Mennoniten-Kirche Strasse.

   
     
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The Original 13 group extends it's deepest gratitude to Tom Updegraff for these excellent present-day photos of a time-gone-by. Thanks Tom! Back to Text

 

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