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This is the FIRST page of John BLANKENBAKER's series of Short Notes on GERMANNA History, which were originally posted to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Discussion List.  Each page contains 25 Notes.


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This Page Contains Notes 1 through 25.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 1

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Nr. 1:

Though the Germanna Colonies are often said to have started in 1713, the history commences many years earlier.  The incident which was important to there being a locality called Germanna was the decision of Franz Louis MICHEL, a citizen of Bern, Switzerland, to go to America and investigate conditions there.  He left Basel on 8 Oct 1701 and arrived in Yorktown, Virginia, on 8 May 1702.  He remained only a short time but was impressed enough to return home where he encouraged friends to join him in forming a joint-stock company to go into the business of recruiting and transporting emigrants to America.

Very soon afterwards, Michel left again for America where he visited several of the colonies including the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  This time, his explorations were in more depth and included a long trip to the Shenandoah Valley which he mapped.  (His map still exists today and his exploration of the Valley was in considerably more detail than Spotswood's later and very hurried trip to the Valley.)  Michel decided that the Valley would be an excellent place to settle the colonists which he hoped to obtain.

He and his partners petitioned the Crown in 1705 with a plan of colonization for the Shenandoah Valley which received only a lukewarm reception in London.  The plan was kept alive until 1709 though.  When Michel returned to Europe in 1708, he met an individual whose own plans were similar to Michel's.  Important to their future relationship was the fact that Michel thought he had found mineral wealth in the Shenandoah Valley in the form of silver.
(06 Jan 1997)


Nr. 2:

Christoph von GRAFFENRIED was a citizen of Switzerland who had plans similar to Franz Michel in that he also proposed to establish colonies in America for Swiss.  Graffenried, who styled himself also as Christopher de Graffenried, had a contract with the Bern city fathers to take a number of Anabaptists to America.  These political prisoners were being expelled from Bern.  Graffenried at the time had no place to put these individuals and he went to London in an effort to find a home for them in America.

In London, Graffenried met Michel and compared notes.  They both decided that looking for silver was more profitable than colonizing lands in America.  Graffenried joined forces with Michel's organization and became, in essence, the general manager.  They withdrew the pending application for colonization in the Shenandoah Valley and submitted a revised application which was so well worded that they received approval.  The (Lt.) Governor of Virginia was instructed to issue land on the Shenandoah River to the enterprise.  But first Graffenried had to fulfill his commitments to the Bern city fathers.  The large influx of Germans in 1709 to England created an opportunity for him in that the proprietors of North Carolina were anxious to obtain some of these Germans.  The proprietors would provide ships if Graffenried would lead a contingent of the Germans in addition to his group of Swiss Anabaptists.  So the plan became that the colony would be established in North Carolina while the minerals would be located in the Valley of Virginia.  Then the Shenandoah colony would be established.

To prepare for the mineral enterprise which would involve mining, Graffenried and Michel decided to recruit miners in Germany.  They hired Johann Justus ALBRECHT to procure the workman and tools.  About 1710, Albrecht went to the town of Siegen where there was a very active iron mining and processing activity.

The proprietors of North Carolina, being very anxious to settle families on their land, offered the title of "Baron" to anyone who purchased 5,000 acres.  This was an opportunity that Graffenried could not refuse.  He purchased the necessary land and thereby became Baron Graffenried.  This lent some credibility to the recruiting effort in Siegen.


Nr. 3:

In 1710, Graffenried and Michel sailed to North Carolina, via Virginia, with the Swiss Anabaptists (Mennonites).  The German contingent had sailed earlier.  Albrecht, hired to recruit miners, went to Siegen where he spent considerable time having mining tools made and in contacting prospective workmen.

The initial response to Albrecht was not good.  Probably on his own initiative, on 15 Aug 1711, he made an agreement with the pastors of the (Protestant) church in Siegen in which he promised the pastors some of the income from the mines if they would help secure men to go to America.

Though Graffenried called Albrecht the "chief miner", Albrecht was not bashful about claiming to have been appointed to develop mines and smelters for gold and silver in the Colonies on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Anne, and the proprietors of Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.  (In actuality, the proprietors of the Northern Neck in Virginia, of Maryland, and of Pennsylvania were protesting that the proposed venture of Graffenried and Michel infringed on their lands.)

One factor which helped Albrecht was the mass exodus from Germany which took place in 1709.  Within a 15 mile radius of Siegen, over 200 individuals have been identified who left the region (Nassau-Siegen) and made it to America.

Thus almost everyone in the region around Siegen was aware of people who had left for America.  The importance of these "ice-breakers" should not be forgotten.

Communications between Albrecht and Graffenried must have been limited.  As will be seen, things were not going well for Graffenried, so Albrecht had time on his hands.  During this period, Albrecht went back to London (probably in part to have better communications with Graffenried).  In London, Albrecht spent time preparing a fancy document (which still exists in the Spotsylvania County, VA Court House) and in trying to sell shares in the mining venture.  He must have been frustrated because he appeared to have done his job and yet no word was forthcoming from Graffenried to proceed.


Nr. 4:

In 1710, while Albrecht went to Siegen, Graffenried and Michel went to North Carolina with their Anabaptists.  The ship stopped by Virginia and Graffenried paid a visit to Lt. Gov. Alexander SPOTSWOOD.  Graffenried showed Spotswood his letter from the Queen stating he was to have land for his silver mining colony; however, Graffenried could not immediately pursue this objective in the Shenandoah Valley because he had to get his colony in North Carolina started.  Spotswood was very courteous to Graffenried, as Graffenried was now a Baron, and Spotswood was always respectful of nobility.  The biggest impact of this meeting is that Spotswood was set on to the idea that there might be precious metals in Virginia.  He started reading the law on the subject.

Spotswood was nervous about having foreigners come into Virginia.  He was not sure of the precedents and procedures.  He asked his supervisors in London about this, suggesting that it might be a good idea if the foreigners were placed beyond the frontier to protect the English colonists from the Indians; however, no guidance was given to him on this subject.  But he did not forget the idea.

Graffenried went on to North Carolina where he found that events had not gone as well with the Germans as could have been wished.  These Germans had arrived before Graffenried.  Even worse, the Indians attacked the colony and destroyed much.  Graffenried himself was kidnapped by the Indians and narrowly escaped with his life.  When Graffenried was free of the Indians, he began to think about relocating the colony to Virginia.  He visited Virginia again with two purposes in mind, finding the silver deposits and relocating his colony.  In short, neither came to pass.

Michel and Graffenried had a falling out.  As Graffenried tells it in his memoirs, Michel had acted very badly toward the Indians and made life very difficult for Graffenried.  So Graffenried had to locate the silver deposits on his own.  He personally traveled up the Potomac and above the falls (vicinity of modern Washington, D.C.).  Though he never found any deposits, it appears that his faith in the metal was not shaken.  Other individuals in Virginia seemed to share this belief including Spotswood himself.

Back in North Carolina, the lack of adequate food production in the first year plus the havoc raised by the Indians meant that help for the colonists was needed.  To procure money to buy food, Graffenried mortgaged the farm which was the basis of his title.  He couldn't pay his debts though and was hounded by his creditors who foreclosed on his farm.  His primary plan had failed and his backup plan to relocate the colony to the silver mines in Virginia failed also because he could not find the silver nor was there a desire on the part of the North Carolina colonists to relocate.  By now two years had gone by in America and Graffenried was a fugitive from his creditors.  He escaped to Virginia.


Nr. 5:

While Graffenried had been down in North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Spotswood had been busy reading the law on precious metals.  What he found was that the right of the Crown to precious metals was undefined.  It was customary for the Crown to reserve a percentage when they issued a patent for land.  In the Northern Neck there was such a reservation.

Spotswood was already anticipating a partial ownership in a silver mine but he did not want to invest in the development of the mine if there were a possibility that the Crown could retroactively claim a large percentage.  He sent many letters to London, to the agent for Virginia, Col. BLAKISTON, urging him to have this question resolved.  He let Blakiston know that he had an interest in a mine but no action would be taken until the question was settled.  From the urgency of the correspondence, one can deduce that Spotswood was beginning to taste silver.

In the land records of Virginia, we find that 3000 acres were patented in 1713 and distributed to several partners.  The largest owner was Spotswood, but others were Graffenried and Lord ORKNEY, Spotswood's nominal boss and the Governor of Virginia who never left England.  Graffenried makes it clear in his memoirs that the partners believed there was silver on the tract (to be found today in Orange Co.).

In the spring of 1713, Graffenried had fled from North Carolina and was preparing to go to Europe.  He could not sail from either North Carolina or Virginia because he was a debtor and debtors could not leave the colonies.  Eventually he escaped by going up to New York where he was not well known.  If the mine could be developed into something profitable, perhaps he could recover from his setback.  But there was little he could do.  Or was there something he could do?


Nr. 6:

On Easter Sunday in 1713, Graffenried left Virginia riding horseback to New York where he caught a ship to London.  This round-about route was necessary because he could not leave from North Carolina or Virginia where he was known.  It was probably late summer, perhaps early fall, when he arrived in London.

Upon his arrival there, he found Albrecht and forty-odd Germans from the Siegen area who had paid their own way to London.  In London they were expecting to go on at the expense of Graffenried.  Graffenried claimed that he was completely surprised at this turn of events (remember that he said this in his memoirs where he was trying to make himself look good).  He admitted that he had written a letter from America in which he said that if one or two wanted to come over and have a look around they could come.  Perhaps he had been filled with the hope that they could pay their own way to America.  He could only advise them now to go home but they could hardly do this.

They pooled their money and offered to indenture themselves for four years to pay the balance.  This spirit of determination on the part of the Germans roused Graffenried to action.  He found them temporary work.  Next he visited people who had been referred to him and found a receptive ear in Col. Blakiston, the agent for Virginia who was familiar with Spotswood's plans and hopes.  An arrangement was worked out.  Merchants in London would advance the one hundred and fifty pounds of passage money that remained above the resources of the Germans.  When the ship arrived in Virginia, Spotswood would pay the captain the one hundred and fifty pounds and he would reimburse the merchants.  The only possible hitch in this plan was that Spotswood was being committed to paying the money and he knew nothing about the plan.  The Germans were being sent on to Virginia without the approval of Spotswood who might balk at the outlay.


Nr. 7:

Graffenried wrote that the Germans left London in January of 1714 (new style).  He had already left for Switzerland, again by sneaking out of the country.  Before Graffenried left London, he wrote an apologetic letter to Spotswood in which he suggested that the Germans could be put to work on the silver mine that they had together.  Of course, Graffenried was now out of the picture as a manager but he perhaps had hopes that the mine would prove profitable and his one-sixteenth ownership would be significant.

Col. Blakiston also wrote to Spotswood and outlined the deal that had been made in Spotswood's name.  Spotswood received this letter before the Germans arrived.  He had a mixture of emotions.  First, he interpreted Blakiston's actions as meaning that Blakiston was near to a solution on the precious metal question.  For this reason, he was happy.  But he was also very nervous because the status of foreigners was not clearly defined and he could be charged with importing foreigners.  In his answers, he was emphatic that they were Protestants.  He also mentioned that they were the Germans who had been recruited by Graffenried for his mining enterprise which had been approved by the Queen.  After putting out these disclaimers of any wrong doing on his part, he told Blakiston they would have to make the best of the situation.  He called the Fort and the location Germanna after Queen Anne and the Germans.  This might be interpreted as another play on his part to protect himself.

When the Germans arrived in April, Spotswood was ready with a plan, namely the plan that he proposed two years earlier.  He would use the Germans to buffer the English from the Indians.  Since this could be considered a civic duty to the state, Virginia should help pay for locating and maintaining the Germans.  The Council approved the plan and the expense.  The site, by today's features, is where Germanna Community College is located along Route 3 at the Rapidan River in northeast Orange County.  At the time, Spotswood described the location as twenty miles beyond the usual course of the Rangers.  A simple fort was built for them and it was nestled in the horseshoe bend of the Rapidan River in that area.

Spotswood described all of this is his letters to the Lord Commissioners, but he omitted one little detail.  He did not tell them that the silver-mine patent in which he was part owner was only a few miles away from the Fort and he hoped to have the Germans work on this.

Spotswood was very adept at mixing public policy with his private purposes.  Since the Germans could be considered his indenture servants, he would have to pay their tithes to the Church of England.  So he had Virginia set up a special church district or parish for the Germans in which there were no tithes.  Also he could be expected to provide support to the Germans.  Again, he had Virginia designate the area around Germanna as off limits for hunting to everyone except the Germans.  Thus they should be able to support themselves with their hunting.


Nr. 8:

Now that the Germans from Nassau-Siegen are in Fort Germanna and presumably safe from the Indians, a short deviation is possible in these notes.

The history as it has been told here differs in several points from the usual history in the official (e.g., schoolbooks) and the family histories.

One thing that has made the study of the Germanna Colonies so much fun has been the use of original materials.  As I have read these, I have come to realize that earlier histories are in error.  The historians, instead of using original materials, copy each other and repeat the errors that have been made.  When one reads the original materials, one sees that they contradict the published histories.  It is not hard to reconstruct the stories which are consistent with the original facts.

Here are references that have proven especially helpful:

  1. "The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood" in COLLECTIONS OF THE VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, New Series, Vols. 1 and 2, 1882, R.A. Brock, editor.
  2. "Christoph von Graffenried's Account of the Founding of New Bern" in PUBLICATIONS OF THE NORTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL COMMISSION, Vincent H. Todd, Raleigh, 1920.
  3. Miscellaneous courthouse records.
  4. Documents from the Public Record Office and the like in London.  Many of these are available through the Library of Virginia.
  5. Wust, Klaus, "Palatines and Switzers for Virginia, 1705-1738: Costly Lessons for Promoters Emigrants" in YEARBOOK OF GERMAN- AMERICAN STUDIES, v.19 (1984), pp.43-55.  Though this is not an original document, it is a good summary and has many references.

People talk about what Spotswood or Graffenried were doing without checking to see what these men were actually saying themselves.  In many cases, what the actors themselves say is quite different from what others report they were saying.


Nr. 9:

Forty-two Germans arrived in Virginia in 1714.  Settled in Fort Germanna, they were the western-most point of English civilization on the east coast of North America.  Which made them a truly frontier community.  One family in this group merits special comment and, in this family, the mother merits our admiration.

Anna Catharina Friesenhagen married Johann Heinrich Häger who was known later as Rev. Henry Häger (Hager).  At the time of her marriage she was fifteen and one-half years old while he was nineteen years older.  Life would never be the same for her.  Twelve children were born to them though the death toll was very high, leaving only three known survivors, a son and two daughters.

In 1713, when Albrecht was recruiting people to go to Virginia, Rev. Häger was 69 years old (she was 50) and the two daughters were eleven and fifteen years old.  At this time, Rev. Häger had been retired from a pastorate for two years because of ill health.  At home, there was a manservant and two maids to help care for the family.  There could hardly have been a less likely family to go to the New World.  But they signed on even though the chances were high that the mother would have to care for two young daughters in the wilderness by herself.  But it appears that Anna Catharina never shied away from a challenge.

There was one factor which favored their going to America.  Their son was an ordained pastor of the German Reformed Church who had gone to New York in 1708.  The parents probably saw this an opportunity to see him though it is likely that they underestimated the distances in America.

The group of Germans was small and they were unusual in having a pastor amongst them.  Pastors for Germans were very scarce.  As a consequence of there being a pastor in the group, several claims are made as to the group being the first German Reformed congregation in America.  Probably for strict accuracy, a few adjectives should be added to the statement.  Histories of the German Reformed Church in America do not always agree.

After all of the danger inherent in traveling to America with an elderly husband and two very young daughters, the outcome was hardly what could have been expected.  Both parents outlived both daughters and the son.  And perhaps, but it is not clear, the father outlived the mother.  Rev. Hager did not die until 1737, a full 24 years after his arrival in Virginia.


Nr. 10:

It is implied in the writing of Col. Alexander Spotswood, Lt. Gov. of Virginia, that Fort Germanna was built to house the 42 Germans.  A contemporary description of the Fort exists in the writings of John Fontaine, a French Huguenot, who visited Germanna twice.  He fortunately left a diary (ref. 1) which was preserved in the family and published much later.

Fontaine, with two friends, arrived at the German settlement on November 20, 1715, late in the day.  They went to the minister's house immediately so Rev. Hager's existence was well known.  Rev. Hager could offer his guests little food and only a bed on straw.  The next morning they were up early and walked about the town which was palisaded with stakes stuck in the ground and laid close to one another.  The size would have withstood musket shot.  There were, according to Fontaine, but nine families and they have nine houses built all in a line.  Before every house, about 20 feet away, they had small sheds for their hogs and hens.  As a result the houses and sties made a street.  The palisades made a pentagon, very regularly laid out, and in the very centre there was a blockhouse with five sides to answer the sides of pales.  The blockhouse was intended as a retreat if the outer enclosure could not be defended.

The Germans made use of the blockhouse for divine services.  They went to prayers daily and had two sermons on Sunday.  Fontaine and friends went to services which they could not understand but thought the service was devout and the Psalms were sung very well.

Fontaine said the town lay upon the Rappahannock River (actually the south branch of it also called the Rapidan) thirty miles above the falls (now at Fredericksburg).  He thought the Germans lived very miserably.  (But this was the judgment of a man who was accustomed to life in Williamsburg where he breakfasted in the Governor's mansion.)  Food at Germanna was sparse for the guests, but the three visitors got some smoked beef and cabbage from the minister.  In return they took up a collection among themselves for the minister.  In the first three hours after leaving Germanna, they saw three deer.  It appears that meat for the Germans consisted of beef, pork, chicken, venison and surely other game.  The cabbage was no doubt of their own growth.

Germanna was also called the German settlement and Germantown besides being called Germanna.  Interestingly, the Center for Historic Preservation at Mary Washington College has probably located a section of the Fort, probably a length of the palings.  By now, the paling are gone and only their "post holes" remain.  (This archaeological work would proceed faster if someone would make a good monetary donation to the Center.)  These remains were found under the home which Spotswood later built at Germanna.

    (Ref. 1: THE JOURNAL OF JOHN fontAINE, edited by Edward Porter Alexander, The University of Virginia Press, 1972.)

The second trip of Fontaine will be deferred.


Nr. 11:

Who were the forty-two people who were settled in Fort Germanna?  Most of the names are clear but one family is a surmise.  The first individual is Johann Justus Albrecht who recruited the miners and described himself as the chief miner.  He was known to be working with the group later in Virginia so he should be counted.  After the stay at Germanna was ended, he was not associated with the group.  For the following names, the suggestion of B.C. Holtzclaw, a modern writer, is used.  He gave 42 names which would make 43 names with the addition of Albrecht.

Even so, Holtzclaw's list is as good a starting point as any.

Names 2-5  Rev. Henry Hager, his wife Anna Catherine Friesenhagen, and their daughters, Agnes, b. 1697, and Anna Catherine, b. 1702.  The two daughters were 16 and 11 while the parents were 69 and 50 when they arrived.  This definitely made Rev. Hager the senior citizen in the group.

Names 6-9  Jacob Holtzclaw, b. 1683, his wife Anna Margaret Utterback, b. 1686, and their two sons, John, b. 1709, and Henry, b. 1711.  Besides the German spelling of Holtzclaw, the spelling of Holsclaw and other variants are used.  Jacob Holtzclaw had been a teacher in Germany.  While he did keep school in Virginia, he was also involved in farming and mining.

Name 10  Melchoir Brumbach was a bachelor when he came, age ca. 28.

Names 11-15  Joseph (Jost) Cuntze, b. 1674, and his wife Anna Gertrud Reinschmidt, son, John, b. 1706; daughter, Ann Elizabeth, b. 1708; daughter, Catherine, b. ca 1713/14.  There is a possibility that Catherine should not be counted in the 42 people.  Two popular modern spellings are Coons and Koontz.

Names 16-21   Philip Fischbach (now Fishback) was b. 1661 and came with his wife Elizabeth Heimbach (Hanback); son, John, b. 1691; son, Harmon, b.1693; daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b.1687; and daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b. 1696.

Much of this information comes from the church records in the Nassau-Siegen area.  Many of the families took out proofs of importations at the Spotsylvania Courthouse in which they declared who came.  And they bought land in the region that eventually became Fauquier Co.

Rev. Hager and Jacob Holtzclaw were the best educated, but it appears that all of the men had received schooling.


Nr. 12:

Continuing a list of the Germans who came to Germanna in 1714:

Name 22  John Hoffman, b. 1682, was a bachelor.  A popular spelling in America is Huffman.

Names 23-24  Peter and (Mary) Elizabeth Hitt.  The name in Germany was Heite but in Virginia the spelling was always Hitt.  Peter was thought to be in his young 30's.

Name 25  John Kemper was a 22 year-old bachelor.  Sometimes the name is spelled as Camper.

Name 26  Joseph (Jost) Martin was also a bachelor, a year older than John Kemper.  The German form of the name is Merden but Martin is universal in America for this branch.

Names 27-29  Jacob Rector, b. 1674, his wife, Elizabeth, b. 1685, (the daughter of Philip Fishback above) and their son, John, b. 1711.  The German spelling is Richter.

Name 30  John Spilman (Spielmann) was another bachelor, about 35 years of age.

Names 31-35  The Weaver (Weber) family consisted of John Henry Weaver, b. 1667, his wife, Anna Margaret Huffman; son, John, b. 1693 (who appears to have died young); daughter, Catherine, b.1697; son, Tillman, b. 1701.

There is documentation for all of the preceding families.  About eight individuals are still needed to make the official count of 42 persons.

Prof. Holtzclaw offered the suggestion that one family, whom he named and described, could have been the missing people.  His reasons for selecting this family include (1) they were related to other families in the group, (2) they disappeared from the church records in Germany at the right time, (3) and the family has several women in it to provide wives for the bachelors.  This family is:

Names 36-43  Harman Utterback (Otterbach), b. ca 1664, his wife, Elizabeth Heimbach, b. 1662; son, John Philip, b. 1692; son, John, b. 1702; daughter, Elizabeth, b. 1689; daughter, Alice Catherine, b. 1697; daughter, Mary Catherine, b. 1699; daughter, Anna Catherine, b. 1705.  There is no record of this family in Virginia including the two sons.  (Later, other Utterbacks did come which strengthens the argument that some Utterbacks came in 1714.)

This count gives 43 persons but Holtzclaw included at least two problematic people and did not include Albrecht.


Nr. 13:

The forty-two Germans that we have been talking about were called, in the course of time, the First Colony or the Colony of 1714.  Their general history has been distorted badly at several points.  Largely this arose because of the following observations which are true:

  1. Spotswood was eventually into iron mining, smelting and refining.

  2. The Germans came from a region in Germany which was well known for its iron mining and processing.

  3. The Germans worked for Col. Spotswood.

Well meaning individuals tried to put this all together and they came up with a number of erroneous conclusions:

  1. "Spotswood recruited the Germans."  We have seen that the Germans were on the sea and almost on his doorstep before he knew they were coming.  So it stretches one's imagination to say that he recruited them.

  2. "Spotswood had Graffenried recruit the Germans."  Actually Graffenried started the process of recruiting before he had met Gov. Spotswood.  Furthermore, Graffenried was recruiting for the purpose of the company he worked for, not Spotswood.

  3. "The Germans were recruited to mine iron."  Actually the Germans were recruited to mine silver.

  4. "Spotswood had found iron on his property and needed someone to develop it."  Spotswood did not own any property in his own name until a couple of years after the Germans came.  His earlier and partial ownership of a tract of land was for the purposes of extracting silver.

  5. "The Germans built the first iron furnace for Spotswood."  We have not discussed this yet, but the iron furnace was not built until after the First Colony had left the employment of Spotswood.

When the First Colony was settled in Fort Germanna, their first task was to clear land and ready it for farming.  They had to support themselves by their own efforts.  They probably received assistance in limited ways.  Spotswood had a practice of loaning cattle to people who raised them and bred more.  At the conclusion of the contract, the equivalent of the original cattle plus one-half of the increase were returned to Spotswood.  The second way assistance was provided was by the ban on hunting in their neighborhood by everyone except the Germans.  Some flour was probably granted them in the initial setup.

Though the Germans wanted to dig in the ground to assay the silver potential, Spotswood said no to this.  (He never resolved the precious metal question as far as the Crown was concerned.)  Until this was settled, development of the silver mine was verboten.  So, for about two and one-half years, the Germans were engaged in farming but no mining.  This must have been frustrating for them; they had a very bad year in getting to America.  Once here, they were denied the opportunity to perform the functions for which they had been hired.


Nr. 14:

Lt. Gov. Spotswood continued to push for a resolution of the precious metals question.  Col. Blakiston in London must have dreaded opening letters from Spotswood which harped on the theme of getting approval for the gold and silver mines.  Queen Anne died and was succeeded by King George I, a German himself.  Spotswood urged Blakiston to try the argument with King George that he would be helping his fellow countryman if the question were resolved.  In the meanwhile, Spotswood complained about the expense of the Germans (he mentioned partners) and said there was no chance to recover these expenses until the Germans could be put to work.

Actually, this was not true.  Spotswood did recover his expenses from the efforts of the Germans.  On 31 Oct 1716, William Robinson patented 3,229 acres above the falls of the Rappahannock in the parish of St. George in Essex Co.  This was the land where Fort Germanna was built.  The true owner of the land was soon divulged; no one was surprised when the land was transferred by Robinson to Spotswood.  Spotswood explained that a third party was used because it did not look good for him to sign a land patent as governor to the benefit of himself as a private individual.  While it is true that Robinson paid the required fees for this (and no doubt was reimbursed by Spotswood), it was also a requirement that the land be proven up by building houses, clearing and planting crops and setting an orchard.  This the Germans did by their farming activity.  So Spotswood could consider that he clear title to the land thanks to the Germans.

There is, of course, a minor question about who was the sponsor of the Germans.  Spotswood had suggested, and it was approved by the Council, that the Colony ought to contribute to their expense since they were guarding the frontier.  The Fort, for example, would probably be considered as property of the Colony, not of Spotswood.  Nevertheless, he patented the land on which the fort sat, giving his approval as Governor to his actions as a private individual.

Spotswood visited Germanna on only a few occasions before he eventually decided to move there.  By and large, he left the Germans on their own, with little direct supervision.  For a while, he put a relative on the site as overseer.  This was Frances HOME who was an interesting tale in himself.

Francis Home had revolted against the Crown and was sentenced to hanging but was able to get the sentence changed to "transportation" meaning he was to be banished to the colonies and sold as a servant.  A kinsman purchased his freedom and he went to work for Spotswood as overseer at Germanna.

Unfortunately for him, he died not long after this (in 1718) and was buried on the shores of the Rapidan River at Germanna.  Francis had a brother, George Home, who was also transported to the colonies.  George, took up the trade of surveying and became very well known among the later Germanna people.  It merely shows that some of the best people in Virginia did not come voluntarily.  Some of George Home's descendants married Germanna people, so Spotswood could have claimed (had he lived long enough) that he was related to some of the Germanna people.


Nr. 15:

On 24 August 1716, John fontAINE arrived at "German town" for his second visit to Germanna.  He and many other men were assembling here for a proposed trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The next day they went to see the mines but Fontaine was not convinced there was a good mine.  He stated that the Germans pretended it was a silver mine.  He also stated that several gentlemen of the country were concerned in this work.  And once again, he complained about the bed where he slept.

Among the men gathering at Germanna were two companies of soldiers, Indians and "gentlemen".  Many of the gentlemen were known land speculators.  And the group included two surveyors.  The motivations for the trip are mixed.

Officially Spotswood said that a pass over the (Blue Ridge) mountains had been discovered and that he resolved to see it.  The motivation that seemed to have carried most of the men along was the desire to look for land that they might patent.  Spotswood himself was in this group as he was to patent, in conjunction with others, 60,000 acres along the Rapidan River and up to and including the present city of Culpeper.  All of this land lay to the west of Germanna, toward the mountains.  So it is hard to escape the conclusion that the trip was made for the purpose of scouting the land.  And once again public policy was bent for private benefit.

Certainly the gathering of this many people was the biggest excitement that Germanna had seen since it was founded.

On 29 August 1716, the group left Germanna, following a route on the south side of the Rapidan River.  For the first few days the route is clear enough, but then uncertainties develop.  On 5 September, the group camped on the banks of the Shenandoah River (they called it the Euphrates).  On the 7 September, they crossed back to the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

So the group had spent one whole day and two nights at the Shenandoah River.  No maps were drawn; no reports were written.  As an expedition with tangible results, there were none.  The most obvious result was that several individuals were involved in future land speculation between Germanna and the mountains, including Spotswood.  What we know of the trip was the result of what Fontaine wrote in his personal diary and that was not published until decades later.

On the 11th of September, the group was back at Germanna Town.  Reportedly, the Governor settled his business with the Germans and accommodated the minister and the people (whatever that may mean).  Fontaine continued for a while at Germanna and attempted to "run" some of the silver ore but he said he could get nothing out of it.  On the way home to Williamsburg, Fontaine visited the mine again and took some of the ore with him.

History has dubbed this trans-mountain expedition as the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" after comments made by the Rev. Hugh Jones some time later.  On the whole, the motivations and purposes of the trip have been badly distorted in the history books.


Nr. 16:

On 28 March 1724, from Germanna, Alexander Spotswood wrote to Col Nathl. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue.  Portions are quoted here:

"The first tract that I became possessed of was that of 3,229 acres called the Germanna tract from my seating thereon several families of German Protestants, to the number of 40 odd men, women and children, who came over in 1714, bringing with them a Minister and Schoolmaster in order to be provided for and setled upon land in these parts by Barron Graffenriede pursuant to an agreement he had made with them in Germany.  But before their arrival the Baron being nonpluss'd in his affairs here, and forced to return to Switzerland, those poor people would have been sadly distress'd, and must have been sold for servants, had I not taken care of them, and paid down 150 pounds sterling which remained due on their passage: and ye Council Journals of 28th April, 1714 will shew that to my charity for these strangers I joyned my care for the security of the country against Indian incursions, by choosing to seat them on land 12 miles beyond the then usual course of our rangers, and making them serve for a barrier to the most naked part of our frontiers: and so far from my thoughts was it, to take up the land for my own use, that during the six years they remained on the land I never offered to plant one foot of ground thereon.

"My next tract of 3065 acres which being contiguous, I thought of fitting to take up, the better to accommodate those people when I found them grow fond of having their settlemts. enlarged, it having been concerted that I should convey to them by way of lease for lives, because as aliens their possessions would not descend to their children: but they being seduced away by greater expectations elsewhere, left the land upon my hands; and so I was first engaged to purchase servants and slaves for seating plantations in this Colony.

"Soon afterwards I was drawn into another land concern.  In Feb. 1717 (1718 by the modern calendar), Sr. Richard Blackmore writes to Mr. Secretary Cock to engage me to favour a design, which he, with several other considerable men at home, had to set up an iron works in Virginia, and desires people might be imploy'd to find out the oar, and some thousands of acres taken up for that purpose.  Accordingly I set my Germans to work to look for such oar, wch. search cost me upwards of three score pounds: But about two years afterward I recd. a letter from Sr. Richard telling me had at length considered that he was advanced in years, that his health was of late impaired, and that the undertaking was at too great a distance, and therefore he was determined to drop the project.  Where- upon, rather than enter into a contention for my reimbursements, I chose to joyn in with several Gentlemen here, who willing to carry on the project, and bear their proportion of the charges I had already been at; and so the mine tract, consisting of abut 15,000 acres of land, was in 1719 (1720 by the modern calendar) taken up by nine or ten Adventurers."

(parenthetical remarks added; paragraphing also added)


Nr. 17:

The dates given by Spotswood to Col. Harrison (see Note 16) do not exactly agree with other statements.  Johann Justus Albrecht made a statement, and Jacob Holtzclaw confirmed it, which is recorded in the Essex Co.,VA Deeds and Wills, v.16, p.180, that Spotswood put 11 men to work under him near Germanna on March 1, 1715 (which by the modern calendar would be 1716) and that the work continued until December 1718.  The statement said the work consisted of mining and quarrying.  This must correspond in a general way to Spotswood's search for iron oar on which he said upwards of sixty pounds (money) was spent.

Thus it appears that the Germans were not working for Spotswood for almost two years after they arrived at Germanna.  Then the better part of the next three years were spent in a search for iron ore and, probably, in developing the ore beds into a productive mine.  It doesn't suffice to locate ore; one must prove that there a depth and extent to the ore in order for it to be useful.  Probably most of the sixty pounds was spent on black powder for blasting purposes.

Since an iron furnace cost in the thousands of pounds, it would seem that by December 1718 that no attempt had been made to build an iron furnace.  Spotswood had not even patented the iron mine land by then.  Based on his character, he would not have invested any money until all of the legal factors were cleared up.

Probably the Germans moved to their new home, away from Germanna, shortly after December 1718, probably in January of 1719 (modern calendar).  By this time they would have been at Germanna for over four years.  Four years was the period of their indenture by which they secured their passage.  These four years would have been up in the summer of 1718 but that is a very poor time to relocate since time is needed to clear ground to be ready to plant crops.  So they stayed a while past four years at Germanna.

During the summer of 1718, they did buy land in the Northern Neck so they were anticipating a move.  Jacob Holtzclaw in his naturalization papers (to be found in the Spotswood Co. records) which were executed in 1722 stated that he had been a resident of Stafford Co. for several years.  This would be confirming of a move about January of 1719 (modern calendar).

So while the First Colony Germans were at Germanna, they spent most of their time on farming including clearing of ground for that purpose.  Later they spent some time in searching for iron ore but this activity was only a part time endeavor as they still had to farm to supply themselves with food.  They had left for their new homes long before the iron furnace was built and therefore they had no part in this activity.  Historians have erred in crediting them with this work.  They did put Spotswood into the iron business as they did find the ore and probably they were even the ones that brought it to his attention.


Nr. 18:

The First Colony Germans entered for or bought land from Lady Catherine Fairfax in the year 1718.  This was in the Northern Neck, a parcel of millions of acres which the Kings of England had granted to private individuals.  So when the Germans bought their land, they were not buying from the Crown but were buying it from the proprietors of the Northern Neck.

At this time, only three of the Germans were naturalized, Jacob Holtzclaw, John Hoffman and John Fishback.  Acting as trustees for the group, they bought 1800 acres though it appears that the final plot contained a couple of hundred acres more than this.  In making this purchase, they acted as a group and agreed to share equally in the expenses.  It is said that after dividing the land into equally sized lots, they drew straws to assign the lots to the families.

In doing this as a group, they were continuing the cooperative behavior that had been evident since leaving Siegen.  They shared expenses in London and they pooled their resources for the down payment on the transportation to Virginia.  They left as a group to their new land and shared the expense in doing so.  Along the way they contributed to the building of a home for the minister.

Their new home quickly became known as German Town though it must be remembered that other locations in Virginia were also called German Town.  The Germantown which became the permanent home of the First Colony was first in Stafford Co., then in Prince William Co., and finally in Fauquier Co.  Today Crocket Park lies in the midst of the original grant and furnishes the best view of it.  The landscape is altered by the formation of lake now though.

As the families grew, additional land was purchased, both in Fauquier Co. and in the area which became Culpeper Co.

By the time of the move to German Town, other Germans were also coming into the region.  Following notes will back up in time and look at these Germans.


Nr. 19:

Early eighteenth-century German emigration was fitful, meaning it was very irregular.  In 1709 there were thousands who descended on London in hopes of a trip to America but only a few thousand were accepted.  The rest were returned home and the Germans were discouraged by the English in the following years from coming.  A few came, such as the Nassau-Siegen people who we have been talking about, but by and large no Germans were coming in any appreciable numbers.

Then in 1717, there was a large group, perhaps a thousand who left Germany with the intention of going to Pennsylvania.  Most of these were coming for economic reasons; they were attempting to find a better life.  One shipful of people did not make it to Pennsylvania.  Instead the captain of the ship took them to Virginia.  Though it has been widely reported that the name of the captain was Scott, his name may be confused with the name of the ship.

There were seventy odd Germans who were on board.  Collectively they became known as the Second Germanna Colony but we need to back up in the story.

They left Germany quite late in the year as their departure was in late July.  These families had made a contract with the captain of a ship in London to take them to Pennsylvania.  He was then thrown in debtor's prison and the passengers lingered on board, consumed their supplies, and were forced to spend their passage money on more food.  The captain was released and the voyage was undertaken, in essentially the late fall or winter.

It is very doubtful that they arrived in Virginia before January 1.  Until March 23, they could still say 1717 (but we would describe it as 1718 if it was after January 1).  Thus they also became known as the Colony of 1717, besides being called the Second Colony.  I stick with 1717 as the year of arrival even though it probably distorts history to say that.

Whether the landing in Virginia was due to weather (the captain's claim) or due to collusion (the descendant's claim), is not clear.  Not just immediately, but later there will be additional comments.


Nr. 20:

The letter from Spotswood to Col. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue, and dated 28 March 1724 had something to say about the Second Germanna Colony:

"About the same time (the reference seems to be when Richard Blackmore asked Spotswood to search for iron ore which agrees quite well as the date was given as February 1717 which would be 1718 by the modern calendar) I fell into another partnership of land (etc.).  Mr. Robert Beverly having discovered some excellent land among ye little mountains, and made a survey there of before the Proclamation issued in 1710, concerning the granting of land, but not daring to seat land so remote from all Christian inhabitants, and exposed to Indians, found it in vain to take out a patent for the same under the new terms of cultivation, until an oppertunity hapned of freeing a considerable number of German families imported in 1717, when he invited me to become a sharer in the land, and at the same time admitted in some other partners, to the end we might all joyn our abilities to made a strong settlement with a body of people at once.  accordingly I came into the proposal, as judging it no ways unbecoming to me, in the station of Governor, to contribute towards the seating H.M. lands, and paying down the passage- money for 70 odd Germans, we settled them upon our tract as freemen (not servants)in 20 odd tenements, all close joyning to one another for their better defense, providing them there with a stock of cattle and all other things necessary for their support, without receiving (even to this day) one penny or penny's worth of rent from them.  The tract then consisted of about 13,000 acres, but afterwards understanding that many others of the Germans, who had been sold for servants in this Colony, designed when the time of their servitude was expired, to come and joyn their country-folks, we thought it needful to inlarge the tract; and I finding, by the care which the Lord Commissioners of Trade to send over the methods for making hemp and tar, that the Ministry at home was for the encouraging the Plantations to raise Naval Stores, judged it convenient to take in a large quantity of piney lands, which lay contiguous and fit for tar and masts; and so it was increased to a tract of 40,000 acres."

So Spotswood confirms the arrival of the Second Colony, its approximate size and the purposes to which he and his partners hoped to put the group.  Other documents confirm that the group was to be involved in "naval stores" and was not to be involved in iron mining or smelting.  This is understandable as there was no iron mine or iron furnace at this time.  So the project involving them had to be for another purpose.


Nr. 21:

Spotswood said the Second Colony of Germans were settled on 13,000 acres of land which Robert Beverley had hoped to claim or patent.  But the land was so remote that no one, as an individual, wanted to move there.  The settlement depended upon seating several families at the same time so that they would provide mutual protection.  The arrival of the seventy-odd Germans provided the opportunity that was needed.  Spotswood and Beverley, with other partners, placed the Germans there.  (They could do this, even without the German's permission, because the partners paid the German's transportation costs which would make the Germans indentured servants and bound to follow orders.)  It is of interest to descendants, especially, to know where this land was and the site in particular.  The 13,000 acres was increased to 40,000 acres and though Spotswood made it seem that this was an after thought, it probably was almost simultaneous with the settlement.  One thing that Spotswood does not mention is the land, when plotted, amounted to about 65,000 acres, not the 40,000 acres claimed.

I have been able to pinpoint the settlement site rather narrowly in spite of the fact that the land totaled about 100 square miles (ten miles by ten miles).  Germanna itself is on the south side of the Rapidan River which is the southern branch of the Rappahannock River.  The Second Colony was on the northern side of the Rapidan River between the two branches of the Rappahannock River.  And it was about two miles west of Germanna.  Thus when it was settled in 1718, it became the western-most point under English control and civilization.  No fort was provided.  The houses were built close together for the twenty-odd families.  Thus it appears that the danger from Indians was considered minimal but still requiring some precautions.  Two features which helped to identify the site are Fleshman's Run and German Run.  Cyriacus Fleshman was a leading member of the group.  The site was known at the time as New German Town which distinguished it from the name German Town which was often applied to Germanna itself.

Though the First and Second Colonies were only about two miles apart, they were engaged in quite different activities.  Their adjacency lasted only about one year because the First Colony moved away then.  But during this period, the Second Colony either went to Germanna for some of their church services or else the Second Colony provide transportation to Rev. Hager so that he could come to them at "New German Town".  They were of different faiths, the First Colony being German Reformed and the Second Colony being Lutheran.  But ministers who could speak in German were extremely scarce, especially in Virginia, and so there can hardly be any doubt about Rev. Hager serving both Colonies.

Life for the Second Colony was described as hard.  Certainly there was plenty of physical labor.  The Rev. Hugh Jones wrote about them in 1724 based on his five years in Virginia which ended in 1722.  Probably he was repeating comments that others made, including Spotswood himself.  He wrote:

"Beyond this (Germanna) are seated the Colony of Germans or Palatines, with allowance of good quantities of rich land, at easy or no rates, who thrive very well, and live happily, and entertain generously."

(parenthetical remarks added; paragraphing also added)


Nr. 22:

The closing two paragraphs in Note 21 were confusing, so the following is offered.  The Germans (or their descendants) described life at "New German Town" as hard.  An incident which reinforces this view will be described in a later note.  The Rev. Hugh Jones, probably repeating comments in part of Spotswood, seemed to say that New German Town was a bed of roses or, as we shall see, a land of wine and roses in these additional quotes from him:

"These (the Germans) are encouragd to make wines, which by the experience, particularly, of the late Colonel Robert Beverley, who wrote the history of Virginia, was done easily and in large quantities in those parts; not only from the cultivation of the wild grapes, which grow plentifully and naturally in all the good lands thereabouts, and in other parts of the country; but also from the Spanish, French, Italian, and German vines, which have been found to thrive there to admiration."

"Besides this, these uplands seem very good for hemp and flax, if the manufacture thereof was but encouragd and promoted thereabouts; which might prove of wonderful advantage in our naval stores and linens."

"Here may likewise be found as good clapboards, and pipe-staves, deals, masts, yards, planks, etc. for shipping . . ."

These comments from Jones, taken with Spotswood's comments in the letter to Col. Harrison, with its references to Beverley and to naval stores, shows he was writing about the Second Colony of Germans and not about the First Colony of 1714 as some writers have mistakenly assumed.

The Second Colony remained at New German Town for about seven years, probably until 1725 from their settlement in 1718.  But before talking more about their history in Virginia, I'll go back and talk about their origins in Germany and Switzerland.

P.S. Robert Beverley was seriously into wine making.  He had a bet with friends that within seven years he could grow enough grapes to make 1,000 gallons of wine.  Apparently he won this bet.  This was before the Second Colony became involved so, after they were involved, perhaps he increased his production.  The Germans may have cooperated very willingly in this as they came from a part of Germany that was into grapes and wine.


Nr. 23:

The Rev. Caspar Stöver, the first dedicated minister to the Second Colony, wrote in 1738 that the group came from Alsace, Palatinate and neighboring areas.  It now appears that the Rev. Stöver's knowledge of geography was weak, perhaps in part because this region was not his native area.

Individuals doing research in the German records found the home of the Willheits and the Blanckenbuehlers which were not too far from each other.  While the Willheits were not members of the Second Colony, they did come quite early.  On the theory that "birds of a feather flock together", Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny decided it might be profitable to search in neighboring villages for traces of families that might be identified with the Second Colony Germans even if they weren't exact members of the group.  The hypothesis proved to be true; about fifty families were found in the Neckar region.  If one were in excellent physical condition, you might run among all of the home villages in one day (well, at least most of them).

The Neckar region is not a political unit; it is a geographical definition.  On the Rhine River, find the Neckar River which flows past Heidelberg to the west and toward the Rhine.  Going upstream on the Neckar, it flows from the east first and then flows from the south.  This makes a region bounded by the Rhine on the west and by the Neckar on the north and the east which is called the Neckar region.

In 1717, there were four major political regions in this area.  The best name recognition goes to Baden and to Württemberg.  There were also the lands belonging to the Bishops of Speyer.  The Blanckenbühlers lived here.

Nearer to Heidelberg and also across the Rhine River to the west was the Palatinate region and a few of the 1717 Germans came from there.  A few families came from just outside the Neckar region and one, the Harnsberger family, came from Switzerland.

In the course of time, the lands of the church were turned over to civil authorities and so the lands of the Bishops of Speyer became a part of Baden.  This is the definition used today to index the records in the genealogical libraries.  We could say that the biggest percentage of the 1717ers came from Baden-Württemberg since these entities have been joined in one modern state.

The occupations tended to the rural and trades.  Thus there were weavers, tailors, coopers, vineyard tenders and even a goose herder.  This last job was probably an entry level position in the work force, akin to serving hamburgers at McDonalds.

The primary source of the data in Germany is the church records which usually contain births (more exactly baptisms), marriages, and deaths.  These are the easiest to read because of the stylized format though the uneven handwriting in the German script challenges one (people do learn to translate these records even without a knowledge of German).  There are civil records also but one needs more knowledge of German here.  Also, since most of the research is done from here (USA), microfilms are necessary.  Thanks to the Latter Day Saints, many of the church books, but not all, have been microfilmed.

Readers of these notes from Germany (there are some) may wish to comment with more authority than I can offer.  And of course, everyone is welcome to send comments and questions.


Nr. 24:

(Today will be reader response day):

Tobias Kemper of Westphalia, Germany sends this information about the meaning of the name Kemper: In the dialects spoken in Westphalia, there is a word, "Kamp".  This word comes from the Latin "campus" and means something like the ploughed land, a field of a farm near the village.  Often a field is called "Kamp".  A "Kemper" now is a farmer whose farm is not in the village but more in the border of a village next to his land or in the midst of his land.  Based on the history of the Virginia Kempers, Herr Kemper has decided that he is not related to them in any detectable way.

Elke Hall, based on her early life in Germany, offers this comment about goose herders: In many villages, the job of the goose herder, swine herder, etc. was actually something like a "government" job as he was often paid by the village, just as a night watchman of the guard would be.  Since Germans tended to live in villages, not on separated farms as here in America, there often was no place for them to graze their animals.  They had to be watched by a trusty person, who would walk through the village in the morning.  The farmers would open their barnyard gates, and the geese and swine or cows would just follow the herder through the streets and out the village gate to the grazing grounds.  On wash day at the river side, the goose herder had to avoid the bedsheets drying and bleaching on the grass.  "Once a goose ran after me when I was three or four and I have never been so scared in my life."  The herders often doubled as veterinarians.  They knew the animals well and could detect when they not right.  They might administer medications.  In the mountain areas, the herder might take the animals for an extended stay of weeks to the higher elevations where the grass was lush.  In most German farm villages, cows, goats, geese and pigs are not left outside at night as they are in America.  They are brought in every night and housed in the barn.  On the whole the herder was responsible for a precious commodity as a farmer might have only a few cows and a few geese (but always a goose for Christmas).

(Editor's note: I appreciated these comments from Elke, maybe because I have a geese herder for an ancestor.)

Ted Walker, who has visited his ancestor's lands in Virginia, notes the wide spread occurrence of cemeteries on the farms themselves and asks a few questions.  Our Germanna people, but others also, for the first couple of centuries buried their people on the farm.  They all lived on farms and all had land which they could use for the purpose.  Field stones were often piled up to mark the grave but the use of stones with engraved names was very rare.  As a consequence, no information is to be gleaned at the cemetery.  Because details have been forgotten and people have moved, the plots have often gone to weeds, brush and trees.  When a stone today is to be found with information on it, it was often made long after the facts and therefore very liable to have erroneous information.  The Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison Co., Virginia is the oldest Lutheran church building in continuous use as a Lutheran sanctuary in America.  Yet the cemetery associated with it is modern, having been started about one hundred years ago.  It contains graves of an older date but these were moved from their original location and re-interred.  The hope of finding information in the original cemeteries seldom meets with success.  Sometimes, just finding the cemetery is counted as the biggest measure of success.


Nr. 25:

A church record in the Gemmingen parish register (in Baden), gives a lot of information about the Second Colony.  The pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran church wrote in the death register (in translation):

"12 July 1717, the following listed parents, together with their children, expect to move away from here, wanting to take ship to Pennsylvania, and there in the hardship of the wilderness better their piece of bread than they could here.  Not just from here, however, but many people are leaving other villages as well, with the same intention."

We are indebted to Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny for bringing this to public view.  If you are interested in reading their work, contact American Genealogical Lending Library, P.O. Box 244, Bountiful, UT 84011 and ask about the Before Germanna series.

With fairly high confidence, we can set the date of departure as July, a rather late date in the year.  With the delays that were incurred in transit, this makes me believe that the group probably did not arrive until after 31 December 1717.  The destination was Pennsylvania, though the captain did take them to Virginia.  Their reason for going is economic, not religious.  The emigration was not just from this village but from nearby villages also.

Interestingly, the pastor wrote all of this in the death register.  This is indicative of the general attitude in Germany; leaving Germany was likened unto death.  The church leadership also failed to support the emigrants in the New World and they, the immigrants, were left to devise their own solutions.

The pastor then proceeded to list six families with all household members who were going including their ages.  Four of the six families are known later in Virginia.  The fifth family is known to have arrived Virginia but there is no further record of them.  The sixth family may have been able to get on a boat going to Pennsylvania.  The families are:

Matthaus Schmidt, wife and two children.
Hans Michael Schmidt, wife, two children and two unnamed in-laws.
Hans Michael Klaar, wife, two children.
Joseph Weber, wife, two children.
Lorentz Bekh, wife, four children.
Hans Michael Mihlekher, wife, two children, wife's sister.

The Smith, Clore and Weaver families are members of the Second Colony (using their Anglicized names).

The Weaver family was a surprise as they had been thought to be later comers.  The two Smith men were brothers (from the parish register).  Also from the parish register, it was learned that the wife of Joseph Weber was the sister of Michael Klaar.  This was the general pattern, there were more relationships than had been suspected.  They generally came in village and family groups.  The lone immigrant family is rare, but they do exist.

 


(To see John & Eleanor Blankenbaker's May, 2000, and May, 2002, Germany and Austria photos, click here.)

(This page contains the FIRST set of Notes, Nr. 1 through Nr. 25.)


John and George would like very much to hear from readers of these Germanna History pages.  We welcome your criticisms, compliments, corrections, or other comments.  When you click on "click here" below, both of us will receive your message.  We would like to hear what you have to say about the content of the Notes, and about spelling, punctuation, format, etc.  Just click here ?subject=Comments on our Web Site">click here to send us your message.  Thank You! John.Blankbaker@comcast.net


There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 1200 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.

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(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)

(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)

This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.


Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES
Pg.001-Notes 0001-0025
Pg.002-Notes 0026-0050
Pg.003-Notes 0051-0075
Pg.004-Notes 0076-0100
Pg.005-Notes 0101-0125
Pg.006-Notes 0126-0150
Pg.007-Notes 0151-0175
Pg.008-Notes 0176-0200
Pg.009-Notes 0201-0225
Pg.010-Notes 0226-0250
Pg.011-Notes 0251-0275
Pg.012-Notes 0276-0300
Pg.013-Notes 0301-0325
Pg.014-Notes 0326-0350
Pg.015-Notes 0351-0375
Pg.016-Notes 0376-0400
Pg.017-Notes 0401-0425
Pg.018-Notes 0426-0450
Pg.019-Notes 0451-0475
Pg.020-Notes 0476-0500
Pg.021-Notes 0501-0525
Pg.022-Notes 0526-0550
Pg.023-Notes 0551-0575
Pg.024-Notes 0575-0600
Pg.025-Notes 0601-0625
Pg.026-Notes 0626-0650
Pg.027-Notes 0651-0675
Pg.028-Notes 0676-0700
Pg.029-Notes 0701-0725
Pg.030-Notes 0726-0750
Pg.031-Notes 0751-0775
Pg.032-Notes 0776-0800
Pg.033-Notes 0801-0825
Pg.034-Notes 0826-0850
Pg.035-Notes 0851-0875
Pg.036-Notes 0876-0900
Pg.037-Notes 0901-0925
Pg.038-Notes 0926-0950
Pg.039-Notes 0951-0975
Pg.040-Notes 0976-1000
Pg.041-Notes 1001-1025
Pg.042-Notes 1026-1050
Pg.043-Notes 1051-1075
Pg.044-Notes 1076-1100
Pg.045-Notes 1101-1125
Pg.046-Notes 1126-1150
Pg.047-Notes 1151-1175
Pg.048-Notes 1176-1200
Pg.049-Notes 1201-1225
Pg.050-Notes 1226-1250
Pg.051-Notes 1251-1275
Pg.052-Notes 1276-1300
Pg.053-Notes 1301-1325
Pg.054-Notes 1326-1350
Pg.055-Notes 1351-1375
Pg.056-Notes 1376-1400
Pg.057-Notes 1401-1425
Pg.058-Notes 1426-1450
Pg.059-Notes 1451-1475
Pg.060-Notes 1476-1500
Pg.061-Notes 1501-1525
Pg.062-Notes 1526-1550
Pg.063-Notes 1551-1575
Pg.064-Notes 1576-1600
Pg.065-Notes 1601-1625
Pg.066-Notes 1626-1650
Pg.067-Notes 1651-1675
Pg.068-Notes 1676-1700
Pg.069-Notes 1701-1725
Pg.070-Notes 1726-1750
Pg.071-Notes 1751-1775
Pg.072-Notes 1776-1800
Pg.073-Notes 1801-1825
Pg.074-Notes 1826-1850
Pg.075-Notes 1851-1875
Pg.076-Notes 1876-1900
Pg.077-Notes 1901-1925
Pg.078-Notes 1926-1950
Pg.079-Notes 1951-1975
Pg.080-Notes 1976-2000
Pg.081-Notes 2001-2025
Pg.082-Notes 2026-2050
Pg.083-Notes 2051-2075
Pg.084-Notes 2076-2100
Pg.085-Notes 2101-2125
Pg.086-Notes 2126-2150
Pg.087-Notes 2150-2175
Pg.088-Notes 2176-2200
Pg.089-Notes 2201-2225
Pg.090-Notes 2226-2250
Pg.091-Notes 2251-2275
Pg.092-Notes 2276-2300
Pg.093-Notes 2301-2325
Pg.094-Notes 2326-2350
Pg.095-Notes 2351-2375
Pg.096-Notes 2376-2400
Pg.097-Notes 2401-2425
Pg.098-Notes 2426-2450
Pg.099-Notes 2451-2475
Pg.100-Notes 2476-2500
Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025


INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

(As of 12 April 2007, John published the last of his "Germanna Notes"; however, he is going to periodically post to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List in the form of "Genealogy Comments" on various subjects, not necessarily dealing with Germanna.  I'm starting the numbering system anew, starting with Comment Nr. 0001.)

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025

This Page Contains Notes 1 through 25.


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