The story of German emigration to America following the Reformation


The individual stories of all pioneer German families seem to follow a similar thread. From their departure from Alsace-Lorraine, Rheinland-Pfalz, and other German states, they suffered unbelievable privation during their travel up the Rhine River, to Rotterdam. There they boarded ships which eventually brought them to the "Promised Land."

Genealogical and historical accounts fail to provide the vital accounts of family life during those turbulent times. Many books have been written that attempt to portray the circumstances of family life and the difficult sea voyages that brought these expectant émigrés to American shores. Until now, most lack color and fall short of the mark.

ONE GERMAN EMIGRANT provides a priceless bridge between documented events and the most likely circumstances faced by these heroic families. Best described as a historical novel, Peggy Chapman is the first person to present a coherent narrative of the times and events that have been missing from the otherwise dull reports of names, dates and place names.

Using well over 300 references and and a multitude of sketches to document her work, Peggy has remained true to her German heritage. She provides the unique view of a first-person witness to their daily lives. The brilliant pen-sketch illustrations provide a closer feeling of indentification with the colorful characters of ONE GERMAN EMIGRANT.

As a student of German pioneer families, I can’t begin to imagine any fellow researcher without this book in their personal library. It will not only capture the imagination but will provide the feelings of joy and disappointment, fear and confidance, as well as caution and achievement.

I had difficulty putting this book down after turning the first page. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with a desire to experience the daily lives of those willing to sacrifice everything for the "American dream."

--Derick S. Hartshorn

is a culmination of 7 years of research.
It is actually two books in one.

Volume 1 tells the story of the Germans being called out and the terrible time they had with the emigration system. They were actually a part of the trans- Atlantic slave trade.

Volume 2 tells the story of how they were sold as bondservants, redeemed themselves and entered the struggle to build a new nation.

The book is casebound, smythe sewn with an illustrated laminate hardcover.

One German Emigrant
ISBN-10: 0-9793608-0-3

Only  $39.95,  direct from the author
+ NC Sales Tax & $6.95 S/H Fee to All U.S. addresses


Books also available for local residents at:
- Burke County Visitor's Center (in the old court house) in Morganton, NC
- Caldwell County Museum of History in Lenoir, NC

Please visit the author's website


Early German emigration sprang form Martin Luther's Reformation. One German Emigrant tells the true story of Pietist German emigration for the first time. The Reformation embodies the practice and principles of Pietism. The movement stresses a personal relationship with God and Bible study, instead of the forms and dogma of religion. It can be argued that America was founded as a result of the Reformation. Chief among the emigrants were common Pietist Deutsch citizens who recognized God as supreme authority over the New Land. They were caught up in the exodus to flee feudal Germany. These people passed their Pietist beliefs down through the generations to reach this present time.

One German Emigrant is the story of the German slave trade set in 1733. Early German emigration was a part of the transatlantic slave trade. The story follows one Pietist youth through feudal Germany in his attempt to find a better life. He arrives in Pennsylvania with his family group to discover that he is to be sold in the slave trade.

He works clearing land to redeem himself, establish a new life in a new world, and take part in the first southwestward movement to finally settle on the south fork of the Catawba River in western North Carolina.

Descendants of German immigrants account for the largest number of citizens in America for the past three hundred years. Every state has a large population of German Americans, and their forefathers' contribution to building America has heretofore been largely ignored. Those who have often longed to know what their ancestors went through are now able to travel along with one German emigrant and feel what the journey was like.

Descendants of English, Lowland Scots, African, and Native Americans who are interested in their heritage and the contributions of their forefathers in building a great nation may also find the book interesting. One German Emigrant is based on a well documented seven year research involving reliable first-person accounts, rare books, and journals. It captures the true spirit of the German and Irish slave trade.

One German Emigrant is a massive seven-part well researched multigenre historical novel.

Endnotes were used for documenting references and enlarging on certain parts of the text. The book contains sixteen pages of endnotes. It also contains an epilog that leaps forward to the present.

Although the manuscript was intended as one book, it was divided into two volumes with one cover. The division between parts four and five was made in order to separate the German crossing from their arrival in America.

A prolog was written for each division. A suggestion is given in part seven that a sequel could follow at some point.


Genealogist Peggy Dale Chapman (second from right) presents her book to Catawba County Genealogical Society president Leslie Keller (far left). Also pictured are Janey Deal, Hickory Public Library Genealogist and Patrick Daily, director of Hickory Landmarks Society.

Genealogist to sign books at library

Author Peggy Dale Chapman will be in Hickory on July 30, 2007 to sign books and answer questions about her recently released book, "One German Emigrant: A Story of Emigration to America Following the Reformation."

Chapman will be in the North Carolina/Local History Room of Patrick Beaver Memorial Library from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to meet and talk with the North Carolina genealogist about her research and her writing. Her book will be available for sale at the event.

"One German Emigrant" is a seven-part well researched, multigenerational, historical novel. It begins with a family of Diehls (Deals) in Germany right after Martin Luther's reformation and follows the family to America's northern shores and down the Wagon Road into Catawba County. Readers can discover their ancestors throughout the pages: the Kellers, Diehls, Zieglers, Kliens, Heyls, Fryes, Reins, Willis, Yorks and Elrods.

Chapman is a retired registered nurse who lives in Morganton. She is a descendant of German, Scotch-Irish and English Pietist emigrants. She is a Diehl descendant by way of her father, the late Homer Dale, also of Morganton.

She has written two genealogical family histories, a number of genealogical and historical entries for Lincoln and Burke County historical Heritage books, and several articles for the book, "Burke County Tales." She abstracted Burke and McDowell County court records for her book, "Diehl Descendants." Chapman began researching early German immigration to fill in the gaps of official records. She familiarized herself with the history of the times, including white and black slavery, lifetime slavery and Indian removal.

Research for her book took nearly seven years. Having studied art at times during her life, Chapman decided to illustrate the book herself, using pencil and pen drawings.

The North Carolina Room is on the second floor of the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library at 375 Third St., NE, on the SALT Block in Hickory. For information, call 304-0500 X7283.

[Courtesy of Hickory Daily Record, July 14, 2007, pg. A3]