Road to Monckton

(there are no roads)

A poor immigrant couple’s search for land in 18th-century Pennsylvania is stymied, forcing them to gamble the lives of their seven children plus those of all their companions on a dangerous ocean voyage to an unsettled wilderness.

Road to Monckton is a completed film script for a feature-length historical drama set in mid-18th century Europe and North America. The story centers on the eleven Pennsylvania-German families who emigrated from Philadelphia to Nova Scotia in 1766.

The main character in the story, the historic Heinrich Stief, was — and now is — a poor villager living in the south-German duchy of Württemberg. Beset by difficulties, in 1749 he and his young wife cross the Atlantic Ocean with their child (who dies on the voyage), and settle near Philadelphia where they raise a family of seven sons during an eventful span of 17 years. With a passionate desire to become a farmer, Heinrich is essentially pursuing the ‘American Dream’ — before there was such a thing.

Amid the barbarity of the French and Indian War and the turbulence of the nascent American Revolution, Heinrich’s family try to keep warm and stay fed — not easy when employment is tenuous and land is in short supply. With insufficient opportunities for farming and an aversion to violence, the family and several others throw in their lots with a group of Philadelphia businessmen, including the famed Benjamin Franklin, who have initiated a land settlement venture in colonial Nova Scotia. Against the odds of success and despite endless setbacks, Heinrich and the others prepare to depart for the Bay of Fundy and what they hope will be the final destination in their life’s journey. They almost don’t make it. Twice. Some of them never leave Philadelphia.

This is the story of Heinrich and Regina Stief — a poor immigrant couple whose quest for peace and stability in the new world leads to death on the high Atlantic, riots in Philadelphia, betrayal, a hanging, and a violent storm in the Bay of Fundy during which the passengers on the vessel fear they will all drown, and at the height of which the couple’s eight-year-old son decides to go home.

Fasten your seatbelt!

Les Bowser   625 Shamrock Rd  RR4   Omemee   Ontario   K0L 2W0   705-799-1728   cedargrove@gmail.com