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This is the SEVENTH 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.


(See bottom of this page for Links to all Notes pages.)
This Page Contains Notes 151 through 175.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 7

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Nr. 151:

[NOTE from John BLANKENBAKER:   Many of you take advantage of the capability on those pages to send comments to us.  We thank you for these, even if we do not reply to every one.  You can be assured that we read them and listen to your comments and questions.   Your input is a guide is a help in preparing these notes.]

[In putting together the web pages, these notes have been broken down into sets of twenty-five.  This note is the first of a new set.  It is appropriate to comment upon the aims of the notes.  The emphasis is on the Germanna people, or the Germans who lived in the Virginia Piedmont, in particular, in the modern counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, and Rappahannock.  The precedents of these counties include:  Orange, Spotsylvania, Essex, Prince William, and Stafford.  The notes have stirred interest in a broader range of people, so the discussions, in some cases, have been generalized.  Still, the primary source of examples is drawn from the Germanna people.]

The county of Spotsylvania, Virginia came into being in 1720-1721.  Initially it included all of the following modern counties:  Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, Madison, Greene, and Rappahannock.  It ran from east of Fredericksburg (which did not exist then) to the Blue Ridge Mountains, or for about fifty miles east to west.  Along the Blue Ridge it ran for about the same distance.  In the eastern parts, the extent was much less in the north-south direction, making for a very roughly shaped triangle.  At the time, there was no settlements or towns in this region.  Except for the eastern region, the area was not settled.  Toward the west, the First Germanna Colony had been at Germanna (sometimes called Germantown), and the Second Germanna Colony was still at New German Town, about two miles west of Germanna.  These were the pioneers of the frontiers.  The First Colony could be said to be the first settlers of modern Orange County, while the Second Colony became the first settlers of modern Culpeper County.

All of Virginia was divided into religious parishes by the Assembly.  The government was responsible for the administration of the affairs of the church in the absence of any bishops who lived in Virginia.  The religious parishes were solidly embedded into the fabric of the government.  When Spotsylvania County was created, it simultaneously decreed in the legislation that the parish of St. George would extend throughout Spotsylvania County.  This St. George's Parish is to be distinguished from the older, and much smaller, parish which had been created for the benefit of the First Colony Germans (or for Spotswood's benefit?).  This first St. George's Parish was dissolved when the new St. George's was created.

Church attendance at least once a month was legally required of every person 21 years of age or older.  This was a burden on many residents of St. George's Parish because the only church was located at Germanna.


Nr. 152:

When the parish of (new) St. George's was created, it was necessary to elect a vestry of twelve men to govern it.  These men were chosen by the vote of the parishioners.  (Besides the first election to the vestry, citizens voted for two members of the House of Burgesses, their only other democratic opportunity.)  After the first vestry was elected, it was self-perpetuating.  The vestry has been likened unto a board of supervisors with full autonomous power including the ability to tax.  The work was not hard though, as in many years only one meeting was required.  When a new church was being built or a new minister was being hired, more meetings might be required.

The legislation creating Spotsylvania County and St. George's parish specified the county seat and the church would be at Germanna, the home of Spotswood.  It was some time before a church was built at Germanna and apparently use was made of the blockhouse that the Germans used for church services.  The problem with Germanna, though it was the home of Spotswood, was that hardly any of the English lived to the west of Germanna.  Spotswood had used his influence to have these functions set up on the very frontier, at Germanna, because he was the owner of 40,000 acres (it plotted more closely to 65,000 acres though) to the west of Germanna.  He wanted the action to be near to his land which he hoped to lease to tenants.  It is for this same reason that he built his home, later called the Enchanted Castle, at Germanna.  It was nearer to his vast land holdings.  At this time, he knew there was money to be made in land but he was only speculating on iron which was unproven.  Hence, he did not build close to his iron furnace but he built closer to the center of mass of his land holdings.

The citizens and vestrymen were very unhappy with the choice of Germanna as the site of the parish church.  One of their first acts was to establish a new place of meeting to the southeast.  It just happened to be home of one of the vestrymen, Larkin Chew, an enemy of Spotswood.  (One can't help but notice that many political decisions were based on personal considerations, not on public needs.)  In 1724, two new permanent church sites were selected to the south and east of Germanna.  The buildings were primitive, in part because Spotswood had control of the colonial funds designated for building a church.  A minister was hired but he found life on the frontier to be hard and unpleasant and he did not stay.  In part he had to cover too much territory and he spent too much time in the saddle.  He was unhappy and his parishioners were unhappy with him and they parted company in 1728.  By then, there were chapels in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock River to the west of Germanna for the settlers who were beginning to move in there.  These were serviced by readers.  For seven years there was a succession of temporary ministers showing that it was not easy, even in the English community, to obtain ministers.

The vestry was required by law to provide a glebe or farm for the minister of 200 acres.  How the funds were obtained for this, the church building and the care of the poor will be discussed in the next note.  Ultimately, the funds came from the parishioners under the taxing power of the church.  This is why our German ancestors complained so bitterly.

[Sorry, I forgot to mention last Friday I would be working Saturday at the Hans Herr House again.  This is why I missed Saturday's letter.]


The church was responsible for the ill and the indigent and made annual appropriations to those who had to have help.  Often in emergency cases, Vestry members gave help from their own means and submitted a statement to the Vestry for reimbursement.  This might include burials, doctors' fees, nursing, boarding bastard infants, and caring for the helpless and incompetent.  In the early days of the Spotsylvania Vestry, these costs were low, less than 5 percent, which was typical of frontier communities.  As settlement increased, the figure commanded a larger percentage.

All of the expense of the parish was paid by a levy upon the tithables in the parish.  The Vestry met, usually in the fall of the year, and drew up a budget, a combination of expenses from the past year which had not been budgeted, plus anticipated expenses for the next year.  Expenses were denominated in pounds of tobacco, the working currency of eighteenth century Virginia.  From the levy of 1734, some expenses were 1000 pounds of tobacco to George Carter for being the reader at the Mattapony Church in the year past, 1000 pounds to Zachary Lewis for being Clerk of the Vestry, 200 pounds to Thomas Hill for burying a poor man, and 500 pounds for the support of Catherine Rice.  The total charges in 1734 were 74,520 pounds of tobacco.  There were 1035 tithables that year.  By a simple division, the Vestry decided that each "poll" owed 72 pounds of tobacco.

A poll was a white male 16 years of age or more or a slave or indentured servant.  The exempt category was the very young and the white women.

If a man had nine tithes, perhaps himself, two sons, and six servants, then he would owe 648 pounds of tobacco which was worth perhaps three or more pounds of currency.  This would have bought quite a bit of land, even a new town lot in Fredericksburg.

The Germans felt that the tithe to the colonial church left them with little discretionary income to support their own church.  So they were constantly seeking exemptions from the tithe.  The numbers quoted above for the year of 1734 would not have applied to the Germanna Colonies for they were living outside Spotsylvania County that year.  They are cited here as typical.


Nr. 154:

The last note looked at the high cost of religion in Virginia.  There was no option to supporting THE church in Virginia; it was mandated by law.  People who wished a church of their own faith had to do this above and beyond the tithes they paid to the Church of England.  The Germans in the Robinson River Valley were complaining about this up to the time of the Revolution.

The German Congregation of the County of Culpepper sent a petition, dated 22 October 1776, to the Honorable, the President, and Delegates of the Convention of the Common Wealth of Virginia.  (Notice the early support for the Common Wealth of Virginia as opposed to the Colony of Virgina.)  The language with some gaps due to reading difficulties goes:

"That our Fathers who lived under an Arbitrary Prince in Germany, and __ (invitation of?) ____ by the Honorable William Penn Esq., Proprietor of the Province of Pennsilvania to settle his Province, which, with the faith they had in the Provincial Charter, given and granted them from the British Crown, and that the Germans there, enjoyed freedom in the exercise of Religion as well as other ways, and that they only supported their own Church and Poor.  Our Fathers ventured their Lives and Fortunes to come into a Land of Liberty from a European Egypt, to an American Canaan, to enjoy those Sweets of Freedom which God created for all Men.  They journeyed from Germany to London, & there agreed with a Captain, to land them and their Families in Pennsylvania; but he proved false, and landed them against their will and agreement inVirginia, and sold them for Servants.

"On their Arrival, the loss of their Estates, and the Snare the Captain had draged them in, was not equal with the loss they were at, in not understanding the English Tongue, which rendered it impossible to join in the Worship of God; till they were Free, and the Lord directed a Door for them, where they could exercise themselves in the Christian Religion as they were taught by their Parents in Europe.

"Soon after they were gathered to the Place where we now live, they concluded to erect a Church and School House.  But 1st, they being just free, were too poor; 2nd, the laws of the Country was against them; & 3rd, the Arbitrary Power of Bishops _______ Prayer to God, that he would be merciful to them, they petitioned the Governor and House of Burgesses, acquainted them with theirDistress, and asked redress of all Grievance, which was so far granted that they had a License to collect Money, build a Church, call a Minister, worship God in a congregation, & practice the Christian Religion as they were taught by their Parents in Europe.

"Full of love and Gratitude for this advance, and trusting that the Lord would further give his Grace to this Religious design, they send Three of the Congregation to Europe, who acquainted their Brethen there, with the Mercy they received from God, through the Act of the Assembly, and asked them for Assistance.

"(The Reverend Ziegenhakem, Chaplain to the Royal Household in England) assisted them as much as was in his Power; sent letters in favor of them to our Brethren in Germany, which caused that they raised a tolerable Sum of German Money, of the free Gifts of the Germans and other People, with which they built a Church, School House, and purchasedd some land and Negroes as an Estate to the Church.  But that Estate is not near sufficient to support the Church expence and the Minister.

"And thro' our poverty we are obliged to pay Parochial Charges, as well as Support our own Church, which still leaves many of us distressed, and as we are fellow Citizens in common, and still can not understand the English tongue, and as we now, with our fellow citizens are obliged to bleed for Freedom, and contribute our proportional part of the Expence of the War, and are not breaking from the established Church, as do the common Discenders, we humbly pray, that we may hereafter be exempted from further payment of Parochial Charges, other than Sufficient to support our own Church and Poor.  And that our Ministers who we hitherto receive from the German Lutheran North-American Ministerii, under whose Direction we at present are, may have full right and Privilege in the Administration of their Office with their Brethen in Pennsylvania, or the established Church in Virginia, and your Petitioners in Duty bound shall ever pray:"

Signed by 121 male members of the church


Nr. 155:

The last note quoted the Petition of the German Congregation from the book by W.P. Huddle, "History of the Hebron Lutheran Church".  It was almost a hundred years ago that Rev. Huddle wrote the first edition which has been updated with an Epilogue much more recently by Margaret Davis.  Rev. Huddle made a sincere attempt to be honest in his writing but in some instances he simply did not have the information that we have today.

Taxes to the church have been discussed recently.  These were based on the polls or tithables of all males 16 and over and of all female servants 16 and over whether white or black.  The head of the household was responsible for paying the tax.  In many cases a young adult male would be living with another family besides his natural family though technically he was not a servant.  He would usually be enumerated separately and be charged to the head of household.

The tithe list, the same one in fact, would be used to collect two taxes.  One was for the costs of the county government.  The other tax was payable to the church.  The sheriff or his deputies collected these taxes.  In the case of the church tax, the church paid a percentage to the sheriff for the collection.  The collector's comments, when available, are interesting for they explain why the collector could not get the money.  They include "left the county", "imbecile", "committed suicide", "ran away", or "died".

One also had to pay something to the Colony of Virginia.  Called the "public levy", this tax was assessed for the benefit of the general government.  This annual tax could be supplemented by a special tax, perhaps for raising an army in a time of need.  If you owned land purchased from the Crown, quit rents at two shillings per 100 acres were due.  This corresponds to our property tax.

Tithe lists permit population estimates to be made.  For example, the Spotsylvania 1723 tithables numbered 630 which would be about 150 households based on four tithes per household.  The head of the family, two sons and one slave might constitute this.  Then count a wife, two daughters, and a young servant and the population, white and black, is about 1,250 persons in the county.  This was in the original county consisting of today's Spotsylvania, Orange, Greene, Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties.  So the population was very sparse, especially to the west of Germanna where it was essentially non-existent.  By 1726, the population was probably around 1,750, a growth of 500 people or 40 percent in three years.

Spotswood always described the First and Second Germanna Colonies as "freemen", not as servants.  This may have been an attempt to avoid responsibility for the payment of the taxes for servants.  At other times, he described them, at least by implication, as servants.  For example, he said they were tenants but that he didn't charge them any rent.  And, he used the names of 48 of the Second Colony members toward the cost of the land for which he had to pay.  Normally these headrights are associated with servants.  And he admitted paying their transportation costs.


Nr. 156:

Spotsylvania County was formed in 1721 and 1722.  By this time, the First Germanna Colony had left Germanna for their new homes in Stafford County, now Fauquier County.  The Second Germanna Colony remained near Germanna until after the formation of Spotsylvania Co.  And when they moved to their permanent homes they were still in Spotsylvania Co.  In this new location, they were at a considerable distance from the courthouse.  In terms of today's counties, they would have had to travel east across a portion of Madison, the full length of Culpeper, and into Orange where Germanna is located; however, the population center of the new county of Spotsylvania was to the east of Germanna and pressures soon developed to relocate the seat of the government from Germanna to the east.  This only increased the distance for the Robinson River people.  Going to court was not an easy matter.  They had to leave early in the day on the day before they appeared at court.  The First Colony people, who had moved from Germanna early in 1719 (new style) to Stafford, continued to come to Germanna and Spotsylvania to transact some of their business.  For example, their proofs of importation were made at Germanna, not at the county seat of Stafford.  Also Jacob Holtzclaw filed his proof of naturalization in Spotsylvania Co., not in Stafford.  This use of the court at Germanna was probably because of their familiarity with the location.

The formation of Spotsylvania County was not a clean, neat event.  In the fall of 1720, the House of Burgesses, under the sponsorship of Spotswood, created two new counties, Brunswick and Spotsylvania.  The legislative act gave as a reason for their creation that they would be a means of increasing the security of the frontier.  These were not routine creations though.  They contained clauses reducing the requirements for acquiring land in them.  The act stipulated that settlers would be "free from public levies" for ten years.  This in itself was an ambiguous and undefined statement.  Did the language mean free of the quit rents and of the purchase fee?  Also, there were no size limitations placed on the amount of land that could be acquired.  And the act was mute on the treatment to be accorded land already acquired in the county.  Could this be re-patented under the new terms?  It was very clear that the sponsor of the bill, Spotswood, could profit handsomely under the terms of the act, especially as he already owned much land in the new county.

The law was to take effect in May of 1721, but as soon as the measure was signed by the (Lt.) Governor in December, the Council began accepting and approving applications for patents.  Immediately, ten applications, the smallest for 3,000 acres and the largest for 20,000 acres, were approved.

But Spotswood knew that the special features of the legislation needed approval from London (as "unusual acts").  Therefore, he did not sign the patents approved by the Council.  And the new county of Spotsylvania was not installed at the date specified for its creation.  A full year went by and in the Spring of 1722, Spotswood was sure that he would be replaced as Governor.  Since the new Governor might balk at signing the patents, Spotswood proceeded in May 1722 to sign the patents including those where he was the hidden beneficiary.  One of latter ones was for 40,000 acres and included the land where the Second Germanna Colony was living.  More than 138,000 acres of land was patented plus 9,000 acres of old Spotswood patents.  From this land, Spotswood was to be found as the owner of more than 85,000 acres of land in the new county.


Nr. 157:

Besides signing the patents, Spotswood named the first justices to the new Spotsylvania court and appointed a Clerk of the Court and a Sheriff.  The new county came to life quickly at Germanna where Spotswood designated the county seat would be.  By this time, Spotswood had torn down Fort Germanna and used the cleared land as the site for his new home, which Col. Byrd was to call "The Enchanted Castle".  The legislative act gave Spotswood 500 pounds to build a church and a court.  These were not ready when the business of the new county commenced.  For a church, they used the blockhouse and the court met in a room of Spotswood's home.  The time was fifteen months after the date specified for the creation of the county.

Even the legality of the new counties was in question because their creation had been embedded in an act with unusual features.  But the counties were not questioned so much as the land patents.  The resolution of the questions left the titles to land clouded for many years, especially for the largest landowner, Alexander Spotswood.  In the end, he had to go back to England and petition the Crown for a clear title.

Spotswood did not get everything that he wanted in obtaining the title to his land.  The Privy Council, who had the last word, decided that Spotswood would be reissued the land as new patents and therefore he must pay headrights (purchase fees).  He was allowed a seven-year exemption of the quitrents though.

In spite of this resolution, clearly Spotswood was the beneficiary of the creation of Spotsylvania County; however, there was an impact on the Germanna settlers also.  The Second Colony was looking for land during the period when land was being issued "free of public levies".  Thus, they paid no headrights and no quitrents for seven years.  This is another instance where our Germanna people benefited as a result of legislation passed to aid Spotswood.

Willis Kemper, who wrote an early (a century ago) history and genealogy, said that the Second Colony moved to the Robinson River, and not to Germantown, where the First Colony was already living, because of differences between the two colonies.  He said these differences arose because of religion, the First Colony being German Reformed and the Second Colony being Lutheran.  He entirely failed to note that the Second Colony had the advantage of free land in Spotsylvania County, a more powerful motivation than joining other Germans.  He also failed to note that land around the First Colony was not readily available.

As a result of the decision that Spotswood would have to pay headrights, he used the names of 48 Germans.  These appear to be Second Colony members as most of them have excellent credentials for inclusion in the Second Colony.  The assumption is that all of these 48 people should be counted as Second Colony members.

(There will be a break in these "Short Notes", until John returns form his vacation.)


Nr. 158:

The eastern shore of Maryland is a pleasure to visit.  We had never really visited it, so last week we toured a bit in it.  One must be prepared for the unexpected.  In the midst of corn, soybean, or wheat fields, with perhaps a seasoning of timber, but all very flat, a town will appear.  Then one finds that it has been there for three hundred and fifty years.  Once, in its past glory, it was a customs port.

The eastern shore of Maryland is along the eastern edge of Chesapeake Bay.  It is a part of the Delmarva peninsula which derives its name from the fact that the three states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia all have a portion of the land between the Delaware River, or the Atlantic Ocean on the east of the peninsula, and the Chesapeake Bay on the west.  The settlement of the peninsula was from the Bay because of the harbors provided by the rivers which drain to the Bay.  Though the peninsula is not large, the rivers are broad and tranquil and sailing ships could progress far inland.  It is for this reason that the "inland" towns became customs ports.  Sailing ships could easily reach them.

When the Europeans came, the land was very woody but they cut down the trees and planted tobacco.  Settlement spread quickly because people could reach a lot of land easily along the numerous rivers.  Since tobacco was a regulated product, all shipments had to occur through an approved customs port.  The large quantity of wood led to another industry, ship building.  Since the area is protected from the worse of the ocean, the speciality became smaller ships used in coastal trading.  Later this ship building talent was turned to building boats and ships for harvesting the marine life in the Chesapeake Bay.  Today, tobacco is nonexistent, replaced by corn, wheat, and beans.  The harvesting of clams, oysters, and crabs continues.

Towns and buildings have been preserved.  Historical societies and museums abound.  The scenery is clean and neat with a minimum of commercial interference.  One item stands out in our memory, the Wye Oak.  This white oak tree was sprouting from an acorn when Henry VIII was on the throne.  Today, the Wye Oak is considered the oldest white oak in the United States.

If one continues south on the peninsula, eventually you will come to limit of the land.  At this point you can take a bridge over the water to the Norfolk area.  Then by traveling over the James River in Virginia, you can arrive at James Town and a bit more history.  Just a few miles away is replacement for James Town, the new city of Williamsburg which was still a borning when Col. Alexander Spotswood arrived to become the Lt. Gov. of Virginia.  We skipped Williamsburg and proceeded to Hewick Plantation, built ca. 1685 by Christopher Robinson.  We spent the night in the Robinson bedroom.  Fortunately, the ghosts of Christopher did not disturb our rest.

The next day we went to Richmond and visited the new Virginia Library.  Our experiences there were both frustrating and rewarding.  Frustrating because it is not easy to find material through their computer system.  Fortunately, I had in mind two categories that I wanted to see so I could enlist the aid of the very helpful staff personnel.  One item was the Culpeper Classes and before long a copy of the original document was sitting on my desk.  The library personnel were hovering near by and they suggested perhaps I would like to work with the microfilmed copy of it.  So I made my copies from the microfilm but it is still essential to have the original because the microfilm both fails to pick up some of the lines and it adds lines of its own.

One item I learned from the Classes was a hint as to the origin of the Garriott family.  Previous reports of the Classes gave two of the militia members as Peter Vandyke and immediately following as Garriett Vandyke.  The original shows clearly that the names are Peter Vandyke and Garriott Vandyke.  This suggests an alliance between the Van Dyke and the Garriott families.  The name Van Dyke suggests Flemish origins so perhaps the Garriotts originated there.


Nr. 159:

Last week there was a (profitable) discussion of the Rectors, especially Uriah and Maximillian.  Some points in their history were not noted.  Using the information presented by Tommie Brittain (1105 Pampa Road, Pasadena, TX 77504-1631) in an article in Beyond Germanna (volume 9, number 3), I can add a bit to the Uriah and Maximillian story.

Maximillian served in the Revolution and was taken prisoner at the siege of Charleston and marched to Greenville, SC, where he remained until the war was over.  A mystery occurs for the second marriage of Uriah in 1805.  He married Winifred ___ in South Carolina.  Perhaps it was related to the time that Maximillian was a POW in South Carolina.  Winifred made a pension application from Williamson Co., Illinois in 1854 in which she stated they were married, as best she could remember, in 1805 in Grinville (Greenville?) Co., SC.  She also thought the minister was Isaiah Lemon.  She was 78 at the time, so born ca 1776.  Uriah had been born ca 1756 according to his pension application.

The father of Uriah Rector has recently been found in a conclusive way by John P. Alcock, the author of the book, Fauquier Families, mentioned here several notes ago.  In the loose papers at the Fauquier Courthouse, John found that Uriah Rector had been sued by John Peyton Harrison in 1784 because Uriah's father, John, had been "killed by thunder" before he could execute a deed to Harrison for land Harrison bought of John.  Uriah was the eldest son of John Rector.  This John (killed by lightning) was the son of another John Rector and the grandson of the 1714 immigrant Hans Jacob Rector.

Last May's issue of Beyond Germanna contains the articles by Tommie Brittain and John Alcock mentioned above.  Any Rector descendant trying to sort out these branches can have a free copy of this issue by requesting it.  Since the time that I mentioned Fauquier Families, several people have written to confirm they thought the book was excellent.  So I will repeat John Alcock's address which is 3910 Lea Road, Marshall, VA 20115.

Louise F. Hodge sent information which apparently solves a mystery or at least gives a starting point for further investigations.  I have mentioned a Carl Vrede at the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, VA.  Louise writes that this may be her Charles Frady.  She is probably correct.  When a German pronounces Vrede and an Englishman pronounces Frady, they will sound almost alike.  Of course, Charles and Carl are equivalents.

In the Culpeper records of 1782 to 1790 the name occurs as Charles Frady/Veraity/Frawdy.  Known children in Virginia are Henry, John, Ephraim, and William.  They lived near Thoroughfare Mountain and moved in the early 1790's to Surry County, NC (now Yadkin Co.) near the Moravian settlements.  Charles' second wife was Elizabeth.  If you can tell Louise any more information such as the wives maiden names, the marriage records or the family origins, then please write to her at 2101 Oakengate Lane, Midlothian, VA 23113.


Nr. 160:

Fred Zimmerman and Johni Cerny found a list of people in the Gemmingen, Germany, church book who were going to Pennsylvania in 1717.  Altogether there were six families.  Four of the families are well known as Germanna families: Weaver, Clore and two Smith families (using their Anglicized names).  The fifth family made it to Virginia also; this was the Mihlckher family.  If you drop the two "h" letters, probably you would come closer to the "true" name.  Thus, Milcker might be better.

The eventual fate of the sixth family is totally unknown.  This was the Bekh family which has been spelled as Beck.  The family probably did not disappear entirely and, in fact, may have made it to Virginia along with the other five families above.  We only have the names of 48 of the immigrants in 1717, namely the ones for whom Alexander Spotswood paid the transportation.  He had partners in the planned naval stores project and they may have paid the way of the about thirty other people who arrived in 1717/18.  The Becks could have been in this subgroup.

What became known as the Second Germanna Colony left very late in the year, apparently in late July.  By the time they made it to London, most of the passenger shipping for the season had probably been closed out.  I mention this because it is possible that the Becks might have caught a ship that did make it to Pennsylvania.  But it is about equally probably that they made it to Virginia.  When the family left Baden, it consisted of Lorentz Beck (40), Anna Martha (same), Lorentz (14), Maria Margaretha (13), Hans George (10), and Anna Catharina (8).

Returning to the Milcker family, it consisted of Hans Michael Milcker (30), Sophia Catharina (same), Anna Margaretha (7), Anna Catharina (4), and Sophia's sister, name not given.  When this family arrived in Virginia, it consisted of Hans Michael, Sophia Catharina and Maria Parvara (Barbara).  The two daughters are missing and probably the sister is missing since Barbara's name is given as Milcker.  Maria Parvara might have been a daughter born on the way.

This importation record is the last time the family is mentioned in Virginia.  There are two theories as to what might have happened to them.  Theory One is that they left immediately for Pennsylvania which is where they wanted to go.  By the standards of the day, they were bound to Alexander Spotswood as servants because he paid their way.  Many servants escaped from their servitude by slipping out under a dark moon.  Since no record is known in Virginia for the family, perhaps the Pennsylvania records hold the key.

Theory Two for the Milckers, which also holds for the Becks, is that the head of the family died.  This creates a void in the records; however, the family may still be present.  An excellent example of this is the Joseph Weaver family, another Gemmingen family.  The father died very early in Virginia though the son, who eventually took the name Peter, remained to carry on the name.  Peter Weaver had been thought to be a later comer until the Gemmingen records were uncovered.

All of this long winded story is told for two reasons.  First, it illustrates the dangers of trying to find wives for men.  The pool of women who could be wives is larger than we generally believe.  Maybe one of the Milker or the Beck girls did become the wife of a Germanna settler.  Johann Hirsch (that is as close as I can get to John Doe in German) may have married a Catherine. How do we know that it wasn't Catherine Beck?

Second, I have had a run of luck in having people identify individuals.  Maybe if I put forth the Milker and Beck names, someone can tell me something.


Nr. 161:

In the eighteenth century, the vestries of the Church of England helped enforce many of the civil laws for which the court returned the favor by enforcing many of the church laws.  The distinction between civil and ecclesiastical laws was very blurred.  One of the duties which the vestry was charged to do by law was "precessioning".  In theory this was to be done every four years.  In theory, neutral parties walked the properties of boundaries in the presence of the owners to establish where the property lines were.  Thus, the neutral parties were witnesses to the fact that the boundaries were publicly declared.

Most of the time, the exercise was an empty gesture.  The property owners might not cooperate or would not be home.  But the practice went on throughout the century.  The precessioners made reports to the vestry but few of these have survived.  What few do survive suggest that the conscientiousness and accuracy of the team doing the precessioning were not the highest.  Where the reports do exist, they tell a lot about who was neighbor to whom.

One precessioner's report from the Northwest Precinct of Spotsylvania County was recorded in the vestry minutes for April 1732.  The report went as follows:

"According to an order of the Vestry Dated the 30th day August 1731 We the subscribers have precession all the Lands (viz)

Col. Alex. Spotswood Refused by Reason his land was in Dispute
Col. Henry Fitzhugh Refused by Reason his land was in Dispute
Capt. Robert Slaughter ther was no bodey to shew us the land
Capt. William Bledsoe refused by Reason Col. Alex. Spotswood Joyne on him
and he being from home could not give him word
Philimon Carter we was showde one corner by Lewis Yancey and we procession
one line and could find no furder"

Signed:  Thomas Smith, Thomas Reeves

One would conclude that it was not common to mark boundaries with fences.  Though in New England they might say that good fences make good neighbors, they apparently did not hold to that view in Virginia.  For one thing, the tracts of land were often very large and it would take much effort to fence a piece of property.  For example, Col. Spotswood's land west of Germanna, encompassing more than 60,000 acres, would have taken the better part of 100 miles of fence though that figure would have been reduced slightly by watercourses which marked portions of the boundary.

Colonial fencing used a different philosophy than we use today.  Today we fence animals in.  Then, they fenced animals out.  If you had a garden with many succulent plants, you might put a fence around it to keep the animals out.  If you wanted to keep the animals out of your cornfield, you might assign a child to watch the corn.  You allowed your pigs to roam the forest and forage for themselves.  They could do very well on their own.  You registered clip marks for the animals so you could tell yours from the neighbors.  In the fall of the year, you would round up the pigs from the forest and bring them into the orchard where they could fatten on the fallen fruit and nuts.

Property disputes and trespassing and actions arising from alleged claims of trespassing were common court cases.  Without an extensive net of public roads, it was often necessary to cross another man's land.  As a youth, I can remember situations of this type which were very troublesome.


Nr. 162:

The last note, in quoting from a precessioner's report, referred to five men of whom four were named with a military title, e.g., Col. Alexander Spotswood.  Though Spotswood earned his title as a member of the Royal British Army, the other men were members of the colonial militia which was organized along the lines of the formal forces.  At this time, Spotswood could have been called Governor in recognition of his past services in the capacity of Lt. Governor.

This use of military titles in civil address developed in the southern colonies, probably first in Virginia and spreading to the other colonies.  In England, titles were more common, but Virginia, that most English of the colonies, was populated by second and third sons who came without significant estates or any claim to a title.  In Virginia, there was the militia organization which had ranks.  Those who well placed probably encouraged the use of their title to set themselves apart from the rest.

The use of titles filtered down through the ranks to the Captains, Lieutenants, and Ensigns.  Eventually the use of military titles had little to do with any position in the ranks.  After a while, the use of terms such as Colonel was a matter of habit, not an earned right.  People who wanted to curry favor with someone else would use the salutation, Colonel.  The use of military titles took precedence over other titles.  Thus, our first President was Gen. Washington, not President Washington.

John Gott wrote a short note in the Fauquier Heritage Society News on the use of the term "Gentlemen".  I quote it here:

"Among the problems that bemused our colonial ancestors in Fauquier County was how to tell the "ordinary sort of folk" from the "gentlemen".  As that distinction was then of utmost importance, one did not want to make a mistake.  Unfortunately the ranks of the "gentlemen" shifted from time to time, and some of the "ordinary sort" became "gentlemen" for no apparent reason.  Much might depend on the whim of the county clerk.  Generally speaking rich landowners were gentlemen but not always.  Some men with very little land were included.  Elected officials were gentlemen almost automatically.  The Justices were called "Gentlemen Justices," so were the members of the Vestry of Leeds and Hamilton Parishes.  It was not by any means necessary to be able to read and write, but it helped.  Some, however, prided themselves on being able to pay to have such menial tasks performed.  Professional men, like doctors and lawyers, were gentlemen, but not surgeons who were classed with barbers and dentists.  Merchants were gentlemen if they dealt in large wholesale operations, but not if they were merely "shopkeepers".  To be "in trade" was not the mark of a gentleman, though obviously those in trade often did well enough to become landowners and merchants, this changing their status. Certain crimes could be committed by gentlemen and frequently were, but other crimes of the "lower sort" and, if a gentleman committed one, he soon found himself among the lower sort.  Having something on the county clerk was useful in maintaining one's position.  George Mason achieved the ultimate in one-upmanship by persuading a county clerk to record a deed in which he is called "George Mason, Gent" while the party of the other part is called mere "yeoman".  That coup-de-main must have given the party of the second part something like a stroke."


Nr. 163:

Today's note is intended to illustrate the remoteness of Germanna.  It came to life in 1714 when the Virginia Colony built Fort Germanna and installed forty-two Germans from the Nassau-Siegen region of Germany in it.  At this time, Alexander Spotswood described the location as fifteen miles beyond the usual course of the Rangers.  This is just about how far the Fort was to the west of the present town of Fredericksburg.  The region grew by the addition of seventy-odd additional Germans who lived about two miles to the west of Germanna in the "Great Fork" of the Rappahannock River.

Probably it was in January of 1719 (NS) when the Nassau-Siegen people moved to the north onto the land they had bought (which became known as Germantown).  Meanwhile, Spotswood was acquiring land in and around Germanna.  One tract alone to the west of Germanna contained about 60,000 acres (though it was described in the patent as 40,000 acres).  Germanna was more or less at the center of his land holdings and this no doubt influenced his choice of where to build his new home.

When Spotsylvania County was created in 1720, the seat of the government was to be Germanna which probably shows that Spotswood was already planning for his home to be there; however, the choice of Germanna as the seat of the county government was not popular with the citizens.  From their standpoint it was not centrally located.  In 1724 they filed a grievance with the new Lt. Gov. of Virginia (Drysdale) against Spotswood and the decisions that had been made.

They noted that the act creating Spotsylvania County provided Spotswood with 500 pounds of money for the building of a church and a court.  As of the date of the petition, satisfactory progress had not yet been made toward these objectives.  They did note that Spotswood had laid the foundation of a church but Germanna was so remote that few or none other than his menial servants could ever attend it.  Even the number of his servants was decreasing.  The majority of the people in the vicinity are foreigners and also tenants of Spotswood.  If the foreign Protestants employ a minister of their own which the creation of the county allowed, then they were exempted from attending the Church of England.  So perhaps there was no need for a church at Germanna.

The petition went on to complain that Spotswood had not built a courthouse yet, but instead he had fitted a room in his own house for that purpose.  Attending court is a great inconvenience for four-fifths of the inhabitants of the county.  With most of the land around Germanna belonging to Spotswood, there will never be any population around Germanna.

Therefore the petitioners stated that they labored under handicaps by reason of the great distance the court was from their homes.  They also noted that the one thousand pounds given to Spotswood for arms, ammunition, church and court house had not been distributed according to the good intentions of the Assembly in creating the county.

The petition did not ask specifically for any remedy except by implication they seemed to be asking for the county government to be relocated (to the east) where the majority of the population lived.  This argument over the location of the county government was to go on for several years.


Nr. 164:

T. L. C. Genealogy (Books and Search Services at PO Box 403369, Miami Beach, FL 33140-1369) has a Web Page, http://www.tlc-gen.com  (Click Here to go directly do it), which leads to information about Fauquier Co., VA.  They post, for the precinct of Thomas Marshall, the list of tithables in Fauquier Co. for the year 1759.  This is available to everyone who can access it.  By mail, they will sell the list for $3.00.

This note is based on that list.  Apparently there had been three lists and the list of Thomas Marshall is the Southern District.  There is another extant list for the Northeast District of George Lamkin.  The Northwest District list is missing.  The year 1759 is when Fauquier County was formed.  Germantown is in the Marshall list.

There were about 420 tithables in the Marshall list.  People entered on the tithable lists include all white males, sixteen years of age and above, and all servants, sixteen years of age and above.  The number of tithables on the list is approximately 420.  Of the 420 tithables, about 225 were Blacks.  Or, stated another way, there was about one Black, sixteen or older, for every white male, sixteen and older.  For every white male there was probably one white female.  We might say there was one Black person for every two white people.  The ratio of Blacks to whites seems high for the Piedmont.

It is not hard to discern the reason that the percentage of Blacks was as high as it was.  There were some large plantations manned almost entirely by servants.  On the Churchill Quarter, there were eight whites and forty-two Blacks.  On the Alexander Quarter, the numbers were one and five.  On the Blackwell Quarter, four and seven.  On the Carter Quarter, at Ludwell Park, one and nine.  This pattern extends to many more quarters.  (Remember these numbers are the tithables.)  In fact, it appears that the majority of the people were living on tracts designated as quarters.  (A quarter is a farm on which the owner does not live but has overseers and servants.)  A modern analogy might be corporate farms and family farms.

One of the implications of these large farms is that land was not so readily available for expansion.  Our German ancestors at Germantown found they were landlocked in the sense that they could not find land adjacent to their first farms.  This forced them to go some distance to find land for expansion.  They had enough land as they could farm with their own efforts but they wanted more for their children.  Also, more people were arriving from Germany and they needed land.  One expansion move was to the northern part of the county.  Another was across the Hedgman River into the area which became Culpeper County (Little Fork).  Before very long they were moving to the area which became southwestern Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley, southwestern Virginia, or to the Carolinas and Georgia.  Later, came Kentucky, Tennessee and points west.

Germanna names on the Marshall list include Catherine Holtzclaw (HOH or Head of Household), with Joseph; Henry Utterback with John; Harmon Rector, with John and Harmon; John Rector, with Jacob; Jacob Holtzclaw, with Jacob and Joseph.  Most of these families included Blacks who were tithables to the HOH.


Nr. 165:

One of the popular destinations for Germanna people, who lived in the Robinson River Valley, was Jefferson County, Kentucky.  Of course, migrations from Virginia occurred much earlier than these relocations to Kentucky.  And, immigrants to Jefferson County came from other locations than from Virginia.  Pennsylvania yielded up many of its citizens.  But there certainly was an influx of German ancestries to this area just outside Louisville.

There is a record of the Jeffersontown Lutheran Church from 1818 to 1885, which has been published by Virginia Vance Lovett.  One of the prominent citizens, both in civil affairs and in the church, was Samuel Blankenbeker, who appears on the tax rolls in Jefferson Co. in 1795.  Earlier he had been in other Kentucky Counties.  He was a son of Jacob Blankenbeker, the son of the 1717 immigrant, John Nicholas Blankenbeker.  All of Jacob's children moved to Kentucky, apparently before he moved.  Jacob had two wives and two families, separated widely in time.  When Jacob died, his youngest child was less than a month old.  Jacob's will stated that the estate was not to be divided up until this youngest child had reached his majority.  When the estate was settled, Jacob's oldest child, Elizabeth Garriott was seventy years old.

Other Germanna surnames in the church included Crisler (Christler was the preferred spelling), Garr, Nunnemaker, Wilhoite, Yeager.  Other names which duplicate Germanna names are House, Pence, Carpenter, Berry, Slaughter, Smith, Peck, and Miller.  But I can't immediately say whether this latter set of names are Germanna people or not.  Later the name Diehl occurs which also duplicates a Germanna name.

I would like to think that an index could be compiled of the major locations to which our Germanna people moved.  This index would try to collect the names of those moving and the dates of the move.  Let me give just a few of the general locations which were popular.  Southwestern Pennsylvania, though it was thought to be Virginia at the time, received several families.  Greenbrier Co., now in West Virginia, got several Culpeper families, both English and German.  Rowan Co. in North Carolina was very popular as an early destination.  (The original Rowan County was quite large though.)  Southwest Virginia received many.  And, of course, many just moved over the Blue Ridge to the Shenandoah Valley.  We have had several mentions of Boone Co., Kentucky, which received a whole colony en mass from the Robinson River Valley.  A little later in time, Missouri seemed to be the "in" spot for relocations.


Nr. 166:

In this note, I will outline a situation about which I have wondered for some time.  I have never seen any discussion of the questions which are raised.  The 1714 immigrants, Hans Jacob and Anna Margaret Holtzclaw, had a son John (who came with them), who was their oldest child.  John married a widow, Catherine (Russell) Thomas.  Apparently, Catherine had at least one son by her first husband, ? Thomas.

Jacob Holtzclaw was married twice, and the second wife was Catherine ?.  Anna Margaret was the mother of the first four of Jacob Holtzclaw's children, and Catherine was the mother of the last three of Jacob's children.  In between there are three children, Harmon, Elizabeth and Alice Katherine but it is not clear whether the mother was Anna Margaret or Catherine.

Among Catherine's three known children were two sons, Jacob and Joseph.  Jacob and Joseph moved from Fauquier County to the Robinson River Community where they married daughters of John Thomas.  This suggests to me that the move from Fauquier to the Robinson River, and the marriage there to the Thomas daughters, was because Jacob and Joseph knew the Robinson River Thomases.  The most probable reason that Jacob and Joseph knew the Thomas family was because that family was related to the ? Thomas who was the first husband of Catherine Holtzclaw.

To review a little of what is known of the Robinson River Thomases, John Thomas married Anna Maria Blankenbaker in Germany, where two children were born:  John (Jr.) and Anna Magdalena.  Later in Virginia two more children were born, Michael and Margaret.  John Thomas (Sr.) died shortly after he arrived in America and Anna Maria married, second, Michael Kaifer.  Michael Kaifer's will gives us the insight into the Thomas family.

John Thomas, Jr., had two daughters, among other children, and he gave land to their husbands:  Joseph and Jacob Holtzclaw which gives us the Holtzclaw-Thomas marriages.

This whole story would be wrapped up very neatly, if John Thomas, Sr., had a brother who became the husband of Catherine Russell.  No such brother has yet been found in the German records but not all records are available or have been examined.

If anyone can provide a rational explanation which would explain the situation that I have outlined above, I would be interested in hearing it.  Why did Jacob and Joseph Holtzclaw move from Fauquier Co. to the Robinson River community?

Mary Thomas, who married Joseph Holtzclaw, died before any issue is known.  Joseph married, secondly, Elizabeth Zimmerman who was related to Mary Thomas, as both have Blankenbaker ancestors.  Eventually, both Jacob and Joseph had large families.


Nr. 167:

Just prior to the Revolutionary War, the political situation in what is now southwest Pennsylvania was very confused.  Both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed jurisdiction.  Virginia, at first, seems to have the lead in granting land there.  A number of Germanna people found their way there in these early years.  Some stayed and some went on to Kentucky.  Those that went on to Kentucky generally built flatboats and floated down the Ohio River at no small danger to themselves from the Indians.  The early pioneers included a heavy mixture of Germans including several families from the Germanna communities.  In giving some of the names, I want to emphasize how incomplete the information is.

Many members of the Michael Thomas family apparently went to Kentucky.  Michael was the son of John Thomas, Sr., who died shortly after coming to Virginia.  The family of Michael is very imperfectly understood.

The Hupp, or Hoop, family from Culpeper went Kentucky also.  Everhard Hupp was married to Margaret Thomas, hence there is a Thomas and Hupp connection.  Margaret was the daughter of Michael Thomas, and the claim has been made that she was the first white woman west of the Monongahela River.  The center of this activity was Redstone Fort, which, with about 20 families, rivaled Pittsburgh, which was a center for trappers.  The year 1765 had been given as the date of arrival of George Hupp, one of several brothers.

Another Culpeper family was the Rowes who also intermarried with the Hupps.

In 1781, Abraham Teagarden was appointed guardian of Jesse Bumgarner's affairs in Washington Co., PA.  The Bumgarners were a Culpeper family.

From Fauquier Co. in Virginia, members of the Hardin family, who were associated with the Holtzclaw family, went to Pennsylvania.

The genealogical situation in southwest Pennsylvania needs major work.  It was attracting people from the Germanna communities.  The total set of people is not that well known nor are the relationships clearly understood.  Many of these people went on to Kentucky, using the Ohio River.

One person who left a record of his relocation from Culpeper Co. to Pennsylvania was Abraham Thomas, son of Michael Thomas.  His comments have been preserved in the Draper manuscripts.  His story is:

"The first of my recollections go back to the time when I was a chunk of a boy, sent out by my father, in company with an older brother, from Culpepper County, Virginia, to drive a flock of sheep to land purchased by my father at the mouth of Ten Mile Creek, above old Red Stone Fort, distant about 150 miles, we remained there along through the winter, living as best we could, principally from our own resources; some of our relations having before settled in the neighborhood.  The Indians came often to our cabin, and behaved civilly enough, as we were then at peace; but I both feared and hated them, for my young mind had thus early been alarmed and irritated by tales of their thieving and bloody barbarities, with our frontier settlements."

(Abraham goes on to mention later events in 1774, so his trip must have been made before that year.)


Nr. 168:

The area of Virginia that was to become Kentucky received many Germanna people at an early date.  Outside Danville, Kentucky, stood the old "Dutch Meeting House", which had its origins in the westward trek of several Germanna families before 1780.  Among those who came were Fishers, Garrs, Yeagers, Wilhoits and Smiths.  The Meeting House was in existence by 1783 as the District Supreme Court met there in that year.  The land on which the Meeting House sat was not deeded to the church until 1791 when Henry Innes and Stephen Fisher, Sr. each deeded land to Adam Smith, Adam Fisher, and Nicholas Wilhite, "elders of . . .the High Dutch Congregation".  As a pioneer settlement, the elders probably had difficulty in securing ministers.  Before long, many members of the High Dutch Congregation had joined the Baptist or Presbyterian Churches.  (From the book by Calvin Morgan, "Early Days in Danville", by Fackler, 1941.)

Stephen Fisher established one of the first stations in Lincoln County near Danville.  These stations were light duty forts with a palisaded outer wall and generally an inner ring of simple shelters on the inside against the wall.  In times of Indian troubles, the people would flock to the station, bringing their cattle also.  Fisher's Station stood near the present day site of the First Christian Church on Lexington Road.  Stephen Fisher is said to have visited Kentucky in the mid-1770's and returned permanently about 1778. (Based on a newspaper clipping)

A payroll of Lincoln Militia under Capt. Samuel Kirkham shows many Culpeper Co., Virginia names.  There is Abraham Thomas who was mentioned in the last note.  After members of the Thomas family went to "Pennsylvania", several of them went on to Kentucky via the Ohio River.  Another name in the militia is Jacob Holtzclaw who married Susanna Thomas, the cousin of Abraham.  Abraham's brother Jesse appears also on the list.  Next to Jacob is William Barbee, born in Culpeper Co., who married Mary Smith, daughter of Adam Smith of the Germanna community.  Peter Watts is a fellow private and probably a fellow Virginian.  The Lieutenant of the company was Henry Grider who married Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Zachariah Smith and Ann Elizabeth Fishback.  There were two Yager brothers, Abraham and Cornelius, sons of Nicholas Yager who married Elisabeth Fisher, daughter of Stephen Fisher.  Another possible Culpeper name is Crow.  The entire company consisted of 52 men and a significant portion of it had Culpeper Co., VA origins.

A son of Jacob Holtzclaw, Elijah, married Sarah Collier in 1801.  It is possible that Elijah had Collier cousins through his mother.  Michael Kaifer (whose wife was Anna Maria Blankenbaker and the mother of the Germanna Thomases) left a will in Culpeper Co. in which he mentioned his step-son-in-law Henry Collier.

Sarah Browder and Robert McDonald contributed information to the above.  Some relationships which are mentioned do not have the best documentation though I believe all are conventionally accepted.  As one will see if the family relationships are traced out, most of the people mentioned this time are related by blood or marriage.

Our Germanna people never shied away from the unknown or from possible danger.  They were a venturesome group.


Nr. 169:

A recent article about the Germanna Colonists contained many errors.  To quote one erroneous statement, "It was during the 1716-17 that many of the first colony moved near Midland in present Fauquier County and patented land on Licking Run, naming it Germantown."  First, to correct a minor error, the first colony had a land grant, not a land patent.  They purchased their land from Lady Fairfax and they were issued, after a delay, a grant by Lord Fairfax.  Prior to the Revolutionary War, land patents were issued directly by the Crown to the person taking up the land.  In the Northern Neck, on the lands of the Fairfax family, grants were used.  The more serious error is the date of 1716-17.  The use of this date shows a lack of understanding of the history of the First Colony.

When the First Colony went to London from Nassau-Siegen, they were expecting the George Ritter Company, of which Christopher de Graffenried was a field director, to pay their way to the New World.  But once they were in London, they found that the George Ritter Company and Graffenried were both broke and in debt.  The First Colony did not have enough money to pay their own way but they had some funds.  They pooled their money and agreed to work four years to pay the balance of their transportation costs.  Graffenried used this offer to shop around and found that Col. Blakiston, agent for Virginia, was willing to commit Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood to paying the balance of the funds, 150 pounds sterling, in return for the German's agreement to work four years.  The Germans arrived in April of 1714 so their four years were not up until the spring of 1718.  This was an inconvenient time to move as it was too late in the year to clear ground and plant crops for the growing season.  By staying at Germanna for a few more months, they could use the land that they had already cleared.

Spotswood gave a summary of these years in a letter to Col. Harrison in which he said that he had the Germans commence a search for iron ore in February 1717 (1718 on the modern calendar).  But about two years later he stopped the search after spending something more than sixty pounds sterling.  This would bring the time up to early 1719 or late 1718.  The small expenditure shows that the work could not have involved a furnace and so one would conclude the search had concentrated on finding a good source of ore.

The Germans left testimony in the Essex Court that they worked until December 1718 though they said they had started work earlier than Spotswood had said.  The implication is that this was the end of their endeavors for Spotswood.  This work, they said, consisted of mining and quarrying.  It was signed by Johann Justus Albrecht and Jacob Holtzclaw, two of the Germans at Germanna.

So we know that the Germans could not have left Germanna much before January 1719 (new style) because they were obligated to serve four years.  But even better, we have Spotswood's statement that they worked until late 1718 or early 1719.  The Germans themselves said they worked until December of 1718.

We also know that they purchased the land for their permanent homes in 1718 which appears to be in anticipation of their need.

The statement that the Germans moved in 1716-17 shows a lack of knowledge of the published records which are quite clear.  For instance, the memoirs of Christoph von Graffenried have been published in the "Publications of the North Carolina Historical Commission", by Vincent Todd in 1920.


Nr. 170:

This note continues with a discussion of a misleading and erroneous article recently published about the Germanna Colonies.  The primary topic this time is the role of Christoph von Graffenried in the emigration of the Germanna colonists to America.  (Graffenried styled himself Christopher de Graffenried.)

The statement is made,

"He [Spotswood] had an agent in London at the time whose name was Von Graffenried to whom he sent urgent messages to secure more help here in Virginia."

Later parts of the story imply the "time" was when the Second Germanna Colony was in London trying to get to Pennsylvania and that these were the people whom Graffenried secured for Spotswood.

This cited article fails to mention that Graffenried played a very active part in the emigration of the First Germanna Colony.  And he played no part in the emigration of the Second Germanna Colony.  So the history is wrong in its omission of the role of Graffenried with the First Colony and is wrong in attributing a role to him in the Second Colony emigration.

Graffenried had concluded his operations in America in 1713 and he returned that summer to London where he found the First Colony was waiting for him.  He, and the George Ritter Company, were broke and they could not assist the Nassau-Siegen people even though they had recruited them.  Graffenried in his memoirs tells how the problem was resolved by the efforts of the Nassau-Siegen people themselves, and his efforts in getting Col. Blakiston to commit Lt. Gov. Spotswood to paying the balance of the money needed for their passage.  Graffenried also helped the Germans find employment.  Graffenried says that winter was approaching and he did not like to travel in the winter.  So as soon as the general arrangements were completed for the Germans, Graffenried returned to Switzerland and never returned to London.  This was in the fall of 1713.

He noted in his memoirs that he heard later that the Germans had boarded a ship in January of 1714 (new style), implying that he had not been there at the time.  From his words, it could be inferred that he left London in the fall of 1713.  The Second Colony was in London in the fall of 1717 so that Graffenried missed the Second Colony by four years.  He never knew anything about the Second Colony.

Graffenried was not an agent for Spotswood.  He had nothing to do with the Second Germanna Colony.  He had a lot to do with the First Germanna Colony.  If Graffenried had not started recruiting them in 1709 or 1710, there would not have been a First Germanna Colony.


Nr. 171:

Continuing with the correction of errors in a recent article, the statement is made that:

"Spotswood now refused to release them [Second Colony members].  They sought common council and took their case to the Royal Governor at Williamsburg who released all but two families who later purchased their freedom."

It was not a question of bondage as Spotswood simply sued for money to which he, Spotswood, thought he was entitled.  The Germans felt that the conditions were poorly defined and that the money was excessive.  In fact, their first plea was that "by the law, they owed nothing".  They submitted a petition to the House of Burgesses [the Assembly of the people] who consulted with the upper chamber, the Council.  The Council issued a decision that the person acting as Deputy Attorney for the King in the said County of Spotsylvania do appear for the Germans [the Petitioners] in the suits so they the Germans may have the benefit of a fair trial.  All that was decided by anyone or any group in Williamsburg was the Germans should have a fair trial and that the King's attorney should assist them.

The Royal Governor did not issue any statement or decree.  He did not release any families.  Nor did any families have to purchase their freedom.  The majority had judgments against them and had to pay something.

There was a total of nineteen lawsuits.  Six of these were dismissed, either outright or with the defendant trivially paying court costs.  Thirteen of the suits went to trial.  Awards, on the average were far below the amount that Spotswood sought.  For example, he sued Conrad Amburge for 32 pounds.  The jury awarded Spotswood 2 pounds, 13 shillings, one and a half pence.  Several of the other suits had a similar result.  A few of the suits did yield Spotswood larger amounts.  The suit against George Moyer was for 24 pounds and 12 shillings plus a few pence.  The amount awarded was 15 pounds, 11 shillings and a ha' penny.  These decisions, by the jury, damaged Spotswood's reputation.

One must remember that these suits were being held in the court of the county which was named for Spotswood.  Also the jury consisted of people who were more nearly peers of Spotswood than of the Germans.  Even under these favorable conditions for Spotswood, he got only a fraction of the amount that he was asking for.

Spotswood wrote that the Second Colony members were freemen and not servants.  So, by his words, they were not his servants.  But everyone besides Spotswood has thought of them as servants who were obligated to serve a fixed number of years.  The actual basis of the suits has never been clear.  The records do not leave us any notes of the court minutes.  Two ideas have been put forth.  One is that Spotswood was trying to recover what he paid for transportation costs.  Another is that the Germans had cattle in a partnership with Spotswood.  At the end of the period, cattle equal to the original allotment plus one-half of the increase were to be returned to Spotswood.  He might have felt that he was not getting enough in return.

A summary of the cases by James E. Brown has appeared in "Beyond Germanna", in volume 5, number 3 (May 1993).  The men whose suits did not go to the jury were Crigler, Bellenger, Holt, Utz, Clore, and Fleshman.  Men having to pay something were Paulitz, Amburge, Jeager, the three Blankenbaker brothers, Snyder, Moyer, Cook, Bryol, Smith, Kaifer, and Sheible.


Nr. 172:

Continuing with the errors in a recently published article, the statement is made,

"It is also no coincidence that Alexander Spotswood of Virginia had discovered iron ore lying about the ground in the Rapidan River area of Orange County at Germanna.  It ran as ribbons of volcanic flow, which made it much easier to mine than the deep shaft mining of the Siegen area..... Spotswood was eager to obtain miners to begin his operation."

First, there is no evidence that Spotswood ever discovered any iron ore.  That there was a good quality iron ore in Virginia was public knowledge at least twenty years before Jamestown was settled in 1607.  A complete iron furnace employing hundreds of people was completed in 1622 on the general site where Richmond is now located.  Before Spotswood got off the boat in 1710, he well could have been aware there was iron in Virginia.  Certainly people in Virginia were aware there was iron ore.  One person who knew was William Byrd, who owned land in the vicinity of where the 1622 furnace had been built.  He immediately told Spotswood about this ore and offered to yield up his claim to it if it could be developed and he could have a job in the running of the operation.  Spotswood put forth a couple of proposals for the development of an iron industry by the colony and by the Queen herself.  Nothing came from these.

After a couple of years, Spotswood's attention was focused on a potential silver mine of 3000 acres which was located in modern Orange Co., about four miles from where the future Fort Germanna was built.  It probably was no coincidence that Graffenried was also interested in silver.  When the owners of this projected silver mine were disclosed in 1713, the owners included Spotswood for a one quarter interest and Graffenried for a one sixteenth interest.  Also the Earl of Orkney, Spotswood's boss in England, was in for a one sixteenth interest.  Several Virginians were in for a share also.

At no time did Spotswood recruit miners for this projected silver mine or for an iron mine.  The Nassau-Siegen people were recruited by agents for Graffenried on behalf of the George Ritter Company and Graffenried to mine silver in the Shenandoah Valley.  This operation went bankrupt and left the Nassau-Siegen people stranded in London.  Col. Blakiston knew that Spotswood had hopes for the silver mine, but Spotswood was not recruiting people for this yet.  Col. Blakiston bet that the potential problems could be resolved and committed Spotswood to paying something over one-half toward the transportation costs of the people.  The Germans paid the other part themselves.  Though the decision had not been Spotswood's, he did pay the balance due on the transportation costs.  He settled them in Fort Germanna about four miles from the projected silver mine.  At this time, it strongly appears that he had no specific knowledge of any iron ore.  In fact, when the ore was eventually found, it was thirteen miles from Germanna.  This shows that Germanna was located, not on the basis of any iron ore location, but by the location of the projected silver mine.

By 1716, Spotswood was writing to London that the Germans had done no work for him.  He had not allowed them to develop the projected silver mine, nor to work on any iron project.  In fact, he did not let them start a search for iron, according to his own words, until about 1717.

If Spotswood had found iron ores before the Germans came, it would seem that he would have located them near to the ore, not thirteen miles away.  This distance alone shows that he did not have any proven iron ore mine before the miners came.  For two years they did nothing for him.  During 1717 and 1718, they searched for ore and the search took them thirteen miles from Germanna.  When found, these ores were on the Rappahannock River and not on the Rapidan River which is a few miles from the Rappahannock proper.


Nr. 173:

A recently published article on the Germanna settlers in Madison Co., Virginia, has many errors.  Recent notes have tried to correct some of these.  This note continues the process.

The statement is made,

"The only two single males in the group were John Fishback and John Hoffman."

The writer of the article gives thirteen families which agrees with most other writers.  John Fishback was a member of the Fishback family of whom there were five others.  Then omitting John Hoffman on the grounds that he was a bachelor, there would have been a need for twelve homes at Germanna.  Yet John Fontaine is clear in his description of Germanna that there were nine houses.  If you make the reasonable assumption that each family would have its own house, it would seem that twelve houses would be required without providing any accommodation for John Hoffman.  The fact that there were only nine houses suggests there were more than two bachelors who lived together in one house.  B.C. Holtzclaw, another writer on the Germanna people, suggested that Melchoir Brumbach, John Hoffman, John Kemper, Joseph Martin, and John Spilman were bachelors besides the two Fishback boys who lived with their family.  On this basis, nine houses would work out just right.  From the thirteen families subtract the five bachelors (other than the Fishbacks) and then eight houses would be required for the families plus one house for the bachelors.

Both Holtzclaw and the writer of the article being discussed omit Johann Justus Albrecht, "the head miner," who, as the agent for the George Ritter and Company, recruited the Nassau-Siegen people and who came to Virginia with them.  (We know he was here because we have his statement and signature in a Virginia court house.)  Apparently he was a bachelor and so he could have lived with the bachelors.

Another statement made in the article is,

"Their trip [referring to the people from Nassau-Siegen] was to take them east to the Rhine River, north to the seas, then to London where they departed for Virginia."

If they left to the east from Siegen, they crossed Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, America, and the Atlantic Ocean before they got to Rotterdam, the usual point of departure for London.

But the biggest problem I have with the statement is that it makes events in London sound as they were perfectly normal.  On the contrary, the Germans were there an extended period of time, at least a few months, and perhaps a little more than a few.  The quoted statement completely overlooks this aspect which is a vital part of the story.  Unless what happened there is understood, the following history is apt to be completely distorted.

It is implied in the article that the Nassau-Siegen people make their living mining iron.  While this might have been true for a few, it appears that many of them did not make their living by mining.  We have the diary and account book by William Hoffman, brother to the Virginia immigrant, John Hoffman, which describes some of William's activities there.  He never mentions mining but does mention agricultural activities.

[There will be no column tomorrow.  It is the first Saturday of the month and I am slated to be a tour leader at the Hans Herr House.  On the way there, through Pennsylvania Dutch country, I expect to see all the tobacco in the barns.  Some corn will have cut for fodder but most will be standing.  A few late cuttings of alfalfa will be in progress.  The serenity of the trip itself is worth the effort spent at the house.]


Nr. 174:

There has been considerable misinformation published about the Germanna Colonies.  Trying to improve the record is a major job, especially when people and organizations who should know better put forth erroneous and misleading statements.  I am continuing with corrections that should be made to one recently published article.

In one part, the statement is made that the First Colony moved away from Germanna during 1716-17.  Later the statement is made, in the same article, that the First Colony moved away from Germanna in 1721 which is about a five-year difference.  Actually neither date is correct but the average is very close.  Very probably they moved in January of 1719 by the new style calendar.  Excellent arguments can be made for this specific month.

The author implied that Jacob Holtzclaw and John Hoffman took up land via the patent process in the Robinson River Valley.  Jacob Holtzclaw did not, as his September 27, 1728 patent was in the Little Fork region.  And the year was 1729, not 1728.  John Hoffman did take up land in the Robinson River Valley.  He also found his second wife there and it is not clear whether the wife or the land came first.

Among the people mentioned as taking up land in the 1726 patents, the name Tomer is said to be Tanner.  This is an error, as the name was really Thomas, not Tanner.  Also no land in the Robinson River Valley has been found for George Woodruff.  Likewise, some of the other names mentioned as patentees in the Robinson River area are dubious.

The article in question is generally concerned with the Second Colony but it fails to note that not all members of the Second Colony went to the Robinson River Valley.  There was also a settlement on the southeast side of Mount Pony.

An outward migration from Virginia to Boone Co., Kentucky is mentioned with the dates implying that the years were the 1730's and the 1740's.  This migration did not take place until about 1810.  A migration to Kentucky before 1750 would have beat the first explorers by 30 years.


Nr. 175:

In the last few notes, I have spent time critiquing a recently published article.  While this article may have had more than its share of problems, it is not unusual.  These problems in history extend to the professionals in the field.  Even they produce works based on what other workers are writing, not on what the participants wrote or said.  This uncritical copying is rampant.

I wrote to one man who had written a pamphlet on Spotswood and Iron, and pointed out some errors in his statements based on what people wrote at the time of the events.  This man replied to me, in essence, "Don't tell me the facts; I'm just going to repeat what so-and-so said."  Eradicating errors is not easy when people adopt such cavalier attitudes.

The lesson for us here is that much of what has been written is in error.  Don't trust what someone else says; do your own research.  It takes no unusual skills to be a historian.  I try, where I can, to improve upon the history of our Germanna people.  I have two outlets in general, the newsletter, Beyond Germanna, and such public talks as I am able to give.

(I will be giving three talks on Saturday, September 20, at the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia, under the auspices of the Virginia Chapter of Palatines to America.  In addition to the talks, there will be an organ concert on the 1802 Tannenberg organ (approaching its 200th birthday!!).  During the talks I will be reviewing the history of the Germans east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a special emphasis on the Second Colony who made their home around Hebron, and conclude with a discussion of the Hebron Church itself and especially of its more important documents.  Some of the thoughts I will be presenting are novel, but well grounded in the historical evidence.

Advance reservations at $25 per person must be made with the registrar, Monika Edick.  She would like to know how many people are coming by September 12 which is only three days away.  If you feel the time pressure, call her at (703)-591-3656.  Her address is 3249 Cambridge Court, Fairfax, VA 22030.  The early registration list is very impressive.  I am very much looking forward to meeting old friends and new people.)

 


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

(To see maps of villages in Germany and Austria from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated, click here.)


(This page contains the SEVENTH set of Notes, Nr. 151 through Nr. 175.)


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 to send us your message.  Thank You!


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.

If you are interested in subscribing to this List, click here.  You don't need to type anything, just click on "Send".  You will shortly receive a Welcome Message explaining the List.


(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 151 through 175.


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