Early Nova Scotia History
After the discovery of the New World, there was little effort made by any of the European states to validate their conflicting territorial claims in Nova Scotia. During the 17th century, Nova Scotia (“New Scotland”) or Acadie, as the French called it, welcomed a trickle of European settlers and the colony changed hands repeatedly between England and France.
At the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, France ceded to Britain all claims to Acadie, while retaining Cape Breton and St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). Most French inhabitants of Acadie pledged to leave, but most actually stayed. Thus, England owned a colony far off its shores, surrounded by French provinces, and inhabited by individuals allied with France.
After the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 -- following yet another French/England war -- England realized that they needed to create a counterbalance to Louisbourg. Halifax was founded as a naval and military station in 1749, but, given the fact that the population of Nova Scotia was still predominately French, it alone, was not going to be a sufficient deterrent. If England couldn't produce enough subjects to provide a widespread settlement, then a large number of foreign people loyal to British interests would be the next best thing.
From 1750-1752, the British government through their agent John Dick, enlisted families from all over Germany, Switzerland, and the principality of Montbeliard to settle in Nova Scotia. These immigrants came to be known as the Foreign Protestants who, shortly after their arrival in Halifax, were settled in nearby Lunenburg County.
The Palatinate, Or German PFALZ, was, the lands of the count palatine, a title held by a leading secular prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Geographically, the Palatinate was divided between two small territorial clusters: the Rhenish, or Lower Palatinate, and the Upper Palatinate. The Rhenish Palatinate included lands on both sides of the Middle Rhine River between its Main and Neckar tributaries. Its capital until the 18th century was Heidelberg. The Upper Palatinate was located in northern Bavaria, on both sides of the Naab River as it flows south toward the Danube, and extended eastward to the Bohemian Forest.
After Martin Luther published his 95 Theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, many of his followers came under considerable religious persecution for their beliefs. Perhaps for reasons of mutual comfort and support, they came from many places in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and beyond, gathering in the Palatinate region.
According to ship manifests, our Northern SILVER/SILBER lineage derives from the Palatinate region of what is now Southwestern Germany.
First Silvers in Nova Scotia
On June 6, 1752, the "Pearl" left Rotterdam with 251 souls on board, the last of the Protestant ships. Of the 212 passengers who survived the landing at Halifax, NS on August 10, 1752, two SILBERs were listed in the ship's registry.
30 Trade: Farmer
Silber, Johann Michael Age: 16 Trade: Farmer
Both these ages are probably in error. Because Mr. Dick was charged to ship healthy, young families who could help provide for the security of the province, he was prone to "deflate" the ages of his older passengers. Similarly, since those under 16 only received half-rations, it behooved younger teens to "inflate" their ages.
The most reasonable scenario that we've been able to piece together is that Nicolaas SILBER, age 38, and his wife Maria Catherine, traveled with three children, Johann Michael, aged 13, John George, aged 1, and Maria Louisa, who may have been born in Germany, aboard ship, or soon after reaching shore. Maria Catherine died soon after completing the journey (possibly giving birth) and John George died soon after, buried on September 2nd.
Nicolaas never remarried; he was granted land in NorthWest district of Lunenburg County, attended Zion Lutheran Church of Lunenburg, and died in 1789. All the Northern American SILVERs have come down from his son Michael and wife Catherine KNELLER.
|Updated 11 August 2013, Barney Kaufman