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Dutch Origin

Dutch Reformed cultural


are so embedded

into American daily life 

that their origin

is hardly considered.

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The Dutch

brought along their folklore,

most famously Sinterklaas --

our modern Santa Claus --

first called that in 1733 in a New York newspaper.

The Dutch Reformed, along with Huguenots, Moravians, Lutherans, Quakers, and Mennonites,

whether they lived in New York or Pennsylvania,

can be considered one ethnic group, sometimes referred to as Pennsylvania German.


 Ask me no questions I’ll tell you no lies.                                Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

A place for everything and everything in its place.               You can’t get blood out of a stone.  

Elbow grease.                                                                          One man’s loss is another man’s gain.   

If you want a thing well done do it yourself.                          Clothes make a man.

One good turn deserves another.                                          Do as I say and not as I do.                  

Strike while the iron is hot.                                                     They fight like cats and dogs.  

Clothes make a man.                                                               It goes in one ear and out the other.  

Make hay while the sun shines.                                              Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Never too old to learn.                                                            What goes up comes down.   

There’s a screw loose somewhere.                                       To pull the wool over one’s eyes.


                                 You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.


From Edwin Miller Fogel’s Proverbs of the Pennsylvania Germans

Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009


apple pie with double crust     cinnamon buns    cookies     waffles   doughnuts      animal cookies

 sauerkraut    cottage cheese      coleslaw (from the Dutch term koolsla meaning "cabbage salad’)  



From G. Elmore Reaman  The Trail of the Black Walnut 

McClelland & Stewart Ltd, Canada, 1974 

No one before them had discovered

how delicious raw potatoes could be

when cut into thin strips

and fried over a slow fire. 

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This custom grew from the excellent wagons made in the Conestoga Valley of Lancaster County Pennsylvania, 


"The driver, instead of having a seat inside, rode on the lazy board, a sliding board . . .  that was pulled out on the left side of the wagon body, when he was not walking beside his team or astride his saddle horse.  From the lazy board he could operate the brake or call to his horses.  The saddle horse was the wheel horse on the left-hand side.  The wagoner was the first driver to drive from the left side.   


Driver's Side on Left/Drive on the Right:

Coaches and all other vehicles of his day were driven from the right side; but the wagoner, for whom all other traffic had to make room, sat on the left and inaugurated the American custom of passing approaching traffic to the right instead of following the English rule of driving to the left."

                                                                                                                                                                                               From G. Elmore Reaman 

Enjoying the blessings of liberty?  You have this gun to thank.

Pennsylvania German immigrant craftsmen made this gun.  They had learned how to “rifle” weapons, that is to cut spiral grooves within a gun barrel to give the bullet a rotary motion and thus render its flight more accurate and enable it to travel twice as far as guns with a smooth bore.

The accuracy achieved by the long rifle made it an ideal tool for hunting wildlife for food and It had a range of 200 yards which was unheard of in colonial times

Rifled firearms saw their first major combat use in the American colonies during the French and Indian War


During the Revolutionary War, General Howe had to evacuate Boston and retire to Nova Scotia until he could secure some Hessian soldiers who were equipped with this type of gun.  It was not until after the Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815 that similar rifles were made in England.

This rifle changed the whole course of world history;

made possible the settlement of a continent;

and ultimately freed our country of foreign domination.

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George Washington had his top marksmen during the war use these rifles to sit back and pick off soldiers as well as generals at long range.  This was a change in the way war was fought.

Light in weight; graceful in line; economical in consumption of powder and lead; fatally precise; distinctly American; it sprang into immediate popularity; and for a hundred years was a model often slightly varied but never radically changed.  


rule of thumb used by some gunsmiths was to make the rifle no longer than the height of a customer's chin because of the necessity of seeing into the muzzle while loading. 


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