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This is the TWELFTH 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 276 through 300.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 12

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Nr. 276:

Another description of Fort Christianna comes from the pen of Richard Beresford who wrote in a letter of July 1716,

"The fort consists of five large pentagonal log houses which serve for bastions and a curtain of mauld wood with earth on inside from one house to another, aft of four enclosed. Each house has a great gun, about 1400 pounds each."

In case the word "mauld" is not clear, it means split from a larger piece.  Thus the descriptions of Fort Christanna and Fort Germanna are similar in some respects, especially in the pentagonal structure.  As a working guide, excavations at Fort Germanna will probably use the initial assumption that the sides are 300 feet.  But Fort Christanna had five houses to serve for bastions at the corners whereas Germanna had none.

At Fort Christanna, two archaeological surveys, from 1978 to 1981, found physical evidence supportive of the contemporary written descriptions.  Artifact-wise, the archaeologists recovered a variety of objects related to the fort's construction and occupation.  Nails, iron hardware, ceramics, gunflint, clay tobacco pipes, and animal bones were the material remains of life on the frontier.  Some goods, such as knives and brass trinkets, comprised the physical remnants of the Indian trade.

Compared to Fort Germanna, Fort Christanna is at the opposite end of the frontier fort spectrum.  Though they share the same basic design, the Christanna fortification was more substantial and more trade and military-oriented.  Fort Germanna had a military aspect but the limitation as such is indicated by the fact that it was the Germans who were denoted as Rangers, and even this was perhaps motivated by tax avoidance.  Germanna remained more of a protected domestic settlement.

The German settlers of Germanna, in the absence of Indian trade and a need to continually guard against attack, went about the business of settling the land.  They cleared ground, tended gardens and livestock, built roads and at least one bridge, and prospected for minerals in the neighborhood.  A clue to the nature of the living there lies in Fontaine's references to it.  More often than not, he refers to it as a town, not as a fort.  He called it German Town more than anything else.  Once or twice he called it Germanna, but never Fort Germanna, or any other name which implied a military nature.

Much work remains to be done at Germanna by the archaeologists and there will probably be excellent rewards.  Descendants will follow this work with much interest.


Nr. 277:

Fort Germanna was a settlement of short duration, about four years.  The limited indenture period of the First Colony Germans affected the fort's life span.  Once it lost its military character, strategic function, and its inhabitants, Fort Germanna was abandoned and purposely demolished.  Within a few years, Fort Germanna had fulfilled a primary frontier role of opening the non-European west to settlement and at the same time legally satisfying Spotswood's land claims.

The best evidence of the fort to date consists of a short length of the palisade trench.  The palisade was formed by stakes, or mauled posts, which were set close to one another in the ground.  These were not driven into the ground as they were too large to do that.  Rather a trench was dug, the posts were set into this trench, and then the trench was backfilled with an emphasis on backfilling on the interior side.  The trench at Germanna, unlike Christanna, was wide at the top, about two feet, forming an U-shaped profile.  (At Christanna and most frontier forts, the trench was very narrow.)  At the bottom of the larger trench, a smaller and narrower trench of about one foot width was dug.  The posts were set into this smaller trench.

Within the ditch, soil stains result from the organic material of the posts.  These identify the location of the posts.  These stains often indicate a triangular post was used, that is, the post had been split from a small tree.  As the posts were set, the ditch was refilled to hold the posts in place.  The stains today are not present all the way to the top which indicates the posts were dug up and the trench was refilled.  This destroyed the stains except at the very bottom.  This action is consistent with the destruction to make way for Spotswood's home.

The soils that have been excavated in the one trench section are largely free of artifacts, an expected result.  These soils are to be dated and interpreted from the construction phase of Spotswood's home.  The artifacts include a few nails, some ceramic shards, and a small number of some green wine bottle fragments.  However, nothing can be dated specifically to the 1714 to 1718 time period.  In the upper layer of the trench refilling at the time of its destruction, there was intriguing evidence in the form of industrial slag, often called clinker.  These bits of glassy refuse may be waste products resulting from black smithing, smelting, and testing of ores.  These are known activities of the Germans.

In the future, it is hoped to trace out the outlines of the fort even though portions of it may have been destroyed by Spotswood's home and the surrounding landscaping.  Rather than dig laboriously along the full length of the palisades (perhaps 1500 feet in total), ground "radar" will be used to look for soil disturbances and test pits will be used for confirmation.  Once the perimeter is delineated, the interior can be tackled.  The first objective would be the blockhouse which should be simple given the perimeter.  Next, and very exciting to Germanna people, a search would be made for the nine (or more?) homes.  Potentially this could uncover, besides the homes and sties, animal pens, gardens, wells, and trash pits.  But it must be remembered, the site was occupied for only four years which does not generate a lot of debris.  Confusing the issues during the search will be the remains from the period when Germanna was the county seat with businesses and a church.

What is the schedule for these projected activities?  The Center for Historic Preservation is not rich and funding is a problem.  The main labor pool of the Center is the classes at Mary Washington College.  There is no clear answer.

Here is a question which should have a clear answer.  How many acres does a pentagon which has 300 foot sides enclose?


Nr. 278:

Recently notes have discussed the prospects of locating the first homes of the First Colony Germanna settlers who came in 1714.  One portion of the boundary of a 3.5 acre plot seems to have been discovered.  It remains only to search within the 3.5 acres.

There is also some hope that the first homes of the Second Germanna Colony settlers will be discovered.  If not in total, then at least some of them.  Since I have played a part in the discovery, I will recount here how that discovery came about.  First, the Second Colony site is not where everyone else had been saying it was.  But then it was obvious that "everyone else" was talking through their hat and had no evidence on which to base their pronouncements.

Twenty years ago I read the following item in Crozier's "Spotsylvania County," which is an abstraction from Deed Book A:

Decr. 17, 1728. The Honorable Alexander Spotswood, Esqr., by John Grame, Gentl., his attorney, to Thomas Byrn and Martha, his wife, for certain considerations of tobacco each year, etc., a lease for two adjoining plantations in the fork of Rappa. River in St. Geo. Par., Spts. Co.- part of that land known as New German Town, Nos. 18 and 19, with 200 a. adjoining the sd. plantations. Witnesses: Henry Collins, Elliott Benger, Robt. Macculloch. Rec. Feby. 4, 1728/9.

There were small mysteries connected with this.  First, was the mention of New German Town which I had never heard of before.  There was a German Town, but it was not located in the fork of the Rappahannock River.  This fork of the Rappahannock is usually referred to as the Great Fork of the Rappahannock.  But there can be little doubt about the intended general location.

At the time of the reading the book, I marked interesting items in the back and this was certainly one of them.  After a while I learned that Germanna itself was referred to as German Town, but as the original German Town it would not be called New.  Also it is not within the Great Fork.  So the mystery only deepened.

The conventional wisdom said the Second Colony lived south of the Rapidan River, which is one of the branches forming the Great Fork.  But to be in the Great Fork, one would be on the north side of the Rapidan.  Others said the Second Colony lived near the iron furnace because they were working at the mines and/or furnace.  This was thirteen miles down the Rapidan and Rappahannock, and certainly was outside the Great Fork.

As so often occurs in the process of discovery, the route or path is not steady progress.  One learns a fact and, seeing no way to fit it in, one lays it aside for the moment.


Nr. 279:

A breakthrough in understanding the Second Germanna Colony came when I found (with the assistance of others) a statement of Alexander Spotswood.  My first exposure to this was from the book by Paula Felder entitled Forgotten Companions. Spotswood wrote:

". . .About the same time (1717) I fell into another partnership of land (with) Mr. Robert Beverley, (he) having discovered some excellent land among ye little mountains . . . but not daring to seat lands so remote . . . and exposed to Indians . . . until an opportunity hapened of freeing a considerable number of German families imported in 1717, when he invited me to become a sharer in the land . . . This tract then consisted of about 13,000 acres, but afterwards understanding that many others of the Germans . . . designed . . . to come and joyn their country-folks, we thought it needful to inlarge the tract; and I finding . . . that the Ministry at home was for 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."

Where was this land?  Beverley's initial plot has never been described as it did not result in a patent.  It would appear from the statement above that it was a part of the 40,000 acre tract which has been described in a patent.  If one plots the tract, one sees that it runs parallel to the Rapidan River a few miles south of the river until the Robinson River is reached.  Then the metes and bounds cross over the Rapidan to the north side of it and proceed up the Robinson River and the Crooked (Meander) Run until they leave it and head north for branches of Mountain Run.  The course turns east, having encircled the site of the modern town of Culpeper, and then turn south before heading east on the southern side of Mount Pony to the beginning.  In the last stages of the description, there is a reference to German Run.  This is on the north side of the Rapidan, in the fork of the Rappahannock, called the Great Fork.

The reference to German Run is intriguing, especially since it is in the Great Fork.  The general site is only a couple of miles from Germanna, albeit across the Rapidan.  However, it is possible that the reference in the name was to the First Colony Germans at Germanna.

The land on the south side of the Rapidan is believed to be the land that Beverley had in mind.  Since his interest in the land dates from 1710, or even earlier, it would have been very remote from any civilization or development.  Anything more to the west or north of this is out of the range of being a reasonable site.

When the expedition over the Blue Ridge was undertaken in 1716, the route from Germanna was along the south side of the Rapidan.  The very first camp after Germanna was named Beverley Camp.  The slow pace of the expedition in this general area probably indicates they were traveling over the land which Beverley had staked out.  Beverley was showing the land to Spotswood, trying to convince Spotswood to join him in a partnership.

Still, 40,000 acres is a lot of land to be searching over for the site of the first homes of the Second Colony.


Nr. 280:

The mention of German Run on the north side of the Rapidan River in the Great Fork fascinated me.  A topographical map indicated that German Run ran into Fields Run shortly before Fields Run emptied into the Rapidan River.  Still, as I commented in the last note, this would not be conclusive because it was only about two miles from Germanna.

On a historical map of Culpeper County which is marked with old and new names of features, I found that Fields Run was the modern name.  In times past, it had been called Fleshmans Run.  This changed the outlook drastically.  Fleshman was not a member of the First Germanna Colony at Germanna but he was a member of the Second Colony.  Thus, when German Run flows into what had been Fleshmans Run, it tended strongly to say that the name "German" was probably associated with the people around Fleshman who were the Second Colony.

Eventually I got a more complete statement of Spotswood's description of how the Second Colony came into being and its early history.  From the "Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1724-1725," v.35 edited by Cecil Headlam and published by the Public Record Office, London in 1936, Spotswood wrote in 1724 these statements which add to his previous quotations,

". . . [Beverley] invited me to become a sharer in the land, and at the same time admitted in some partners, to the end we might all joyn our abilities to make a strong settlement with a body of people all at once. . . . 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 with 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."

I draw your attention to the 20 odd tenements.  Remember that the lease to Byrn, in note 278, mentioned that Byrn was to have parcels number 18 and 19.  This sounds very much as if these tracts were a part of the 20-odd that Spotswood is mentioning here.  Remember that the development in the Great Fork was very limited and probably, outside the potential German settlement, there were less than 18 houses in all of the Great Fork at this time.

The Byrn lease mentioned "New German Town."  Spotswood says the Germans were "close joyned for their better defense."  Now closely joined would probably trigger a designation as a town.  Because Germanna was close by and because it was also called German Town, it was necessary to add "New" to distinguish the two German Towns.  This is in itself would suggest the Germans in total were living in two different towns.


Nr. 281:

Continuing with comments by Spotswood from the same letter as the last quotation, he said:

"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 took to send over the methods for making hemp and tar, that the Ministry at home was for 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.

Again, it is clear that the Second Colony Germans are to be associated with naval stores and with the 40,000 acre tract.  We still seek evidence as to where in the 40,000 acre tract they were settled.  Yesterday's quotation made it clear that they were clustered in a small area, perhaps to be thought of as a town.

It is instructive to hear the comments of Rev. Hugh Jones.  Written in 1724, they are based on five years of experience in Virginia ending in 1722.  Jones was a good friend of Spotswood (and an admirer of him).  Jones 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.

"These are encouraged to make wines, which by the experience (particularly) of the late Col. 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 encouraged 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 . . ."

Jones was writing from a location in Tidewater Virginia.  Thus to him, "beyond Germanna" would be to the west of Germanna.  By comparing the comments of Spotswood and Jones, it is clear they were talking about the same Germans, i.e., the Second Colony.


Nr. 282:

Perhaps you might have observed that Joy Stearns, in a note on the Germanna Colonies list, has made my day.  She asked for information to fill in some details of a 1735 lease in Orange County.  By then, Orange County had been formed and included present Orange Co. and the land in the Great Fork (more than that also).  She quotes from a lease from Spotswood to John and Mary Bond, which uses these words are phrases:

Brooks' Run,
German Tenements on the Rapidan River
North side of the Rapidan (i.e., Great Fork)
Part of 40,000 acre tract of Spotswood
Lot No. 18

These are the words and phrases that I have been using very recently to describe the first home of the Second Germanna Colony.  Thus the information provided by Joy Stearns is very broadly a confirmation of what I am in the process of describing.  There is one new element in her description and that is Brooks' Run.

Brooks' Run empties into the Rapidan about two miles above where Fleshman's Run (now called Field's Run) empties in the Rapidan.  But this lease to the Bonds makes it clear, I believe, that the Second Colony was in the Great Fork (as early as 1717).  As such, they are candidates to be considered as the first residents of modern Culpeper County.

Pinpointing the location even more exactly remains to be done, but we have the water courses of Brooks' Run, German Run, and Fleshman's Run, to help us.  Two miles just about covers this span so, at least a considerable reduction has been made in locating the site out of the 40,000 acres of the tract.

None of the writers contemporary with the Second Colony ever identify them as working in the mines or furnace or iron endeavors.  In fact, as we are seeing, they were located in the opposite direction from Germanna to the location of the iron furnace.  Rev. Jones gives a good description, and it is roughly confirmed by Spotswood, that they were engaged in farming, grapes, and naval stores.  Spotswood does not mention the grapes, but then naval stores was a more politically correct topic to discuss.  He was trying to describe why his acquisition of 40,000 acres was a good thing for England so he talked about naval stores and not about wine.

Joy Stearns' remarks make it clear research needs to be done in Orange County.  I had thought that by the time that Orange was formed (1733), any reference to the Germans would have been omitted.

If anyone has abstracts of the early Orange Co. deeds and abstracts, they might scan them for references involving words similar to the key phrases above.  It would be appreciated.


Nr. 283:

A few years ago, I became convinced that the first home of the Second Germanna Colony was in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock, in the region defined broadly by Fleshman's Run and German Run.  I gave a talk on this conclusion to a group of people interested in Germanna.  Perhaps I did not win everyone over, in part due to the fact that my conclusion was opposite to the generally accepted, but totally unproven ideas of the past.

At the conclusion of my talk, David Brown from the audience came up and said to me that he knew the area I described very well.  It seems that his grandfather had used land along Fleshman's Run to run cattle.  David used to accompany his grandfather on some of the inspection trips that were made.  David was interested in the Civil War, not in Germanna.  He asked his grandfather if there were any Civil War camps or relics in the area.  His grandfather said there was nothing from the Civil War, but that there had been a settlement in the area.  He went on to say that the settlement had been abandoned long before the Civil War.

A settlement abandoned long before the Civil War?  That was exactly what I was looking for.  And here, in the oral tradition, without a prompt, was confirmation that the area I was thinking about did have a settlement quite early.  David, at the time of his grandfather's telling him, immediately lost interest and had not even thought about it in the intervening years.  When I told my story, he recalled his grandfather's comments, and immediately made the connection that his grandfather and I were talking about the same thing.

When the meeting resumed, I got permission for David to tell the audience the story that he had told me.  He and I were both standing in the front.  I could concentrate on the audience as he told his story.  I have never seen a better demonstration of "gaping" than shown by that audience.  The lower jaws were dropping all over the place.

Of course, David's story only convinced me more that I was on the right track.  I had to see the area for myself.


Nr. 284:

I became very anxious to see the region defined by Fleshman's Run and German Run.  A look at a map showed there were no roads and little development in the area.  So I contacted property owners and asked their permission to do a walking survey in the region.  I also asked them to join in the walk.

Prof. Sanford (Center for Historic Preservation) and a few of his students came along.  Several owners gave us permission but did not join us.  Three individuals representing one property owner did join us.  Prof. Sanford's advice had been to choose a day in October when the leaves were down and visibility was up.  Also, the snakes will have hibernated for the winter.

Armed with our cameras and maps, we toured for several hours and held a discussion session afterwards.  The weather, though initially chilly and windy, turned out to be delightful and I had one of the most enjoyable days of my life.  In preparation I had been looking at a topo map and formed some preliminary estimates.  On the site though, I modified my opinions.

An objective had been to see if we could locate an area which would have been appropriate for a settlement of "closely joyned" homes.  There were many factors to be considered, including a water supply and an escape route to Germanna in case trouble would have developed.  We did identify one likely area before calling it a day.

Later, and I did not participate, Prof. Sanford returned with several students and with the permission of one owner to conduct a survey beneath the surface.  This consisted in digging small test pits, looking for unusual items in the soil.  Apparently the estimate of what constituted a desirable area was correct, or at least it was popular with the Indians.  But more to the point here, at least one test pit did disclose artifacts consistent with European origins in the eighteenth century.  None of the fragments were against the idea of a settlement in the early 1700's.  But it must also be said that nothing confirmed that this was the site of the Second Germanna Colony, though it remains a probable event.  Possibly a better estimate of the extent might be through records in the courthouses.  Joy Stearns recently sent information to the Germanna Colonies list of this type.

If I have hedged about describing more exact locations, it is deliberate because the property owners are not anxious to have people trespassing on the property.  Success in archaeological explorations requires the cooperation of the owners.  The best hope is that a responsible organization can conduct a search on the ground.  Meanwhile, the bystanders can try to find more information to refine the estimates.


Nr. 285:

Not all things that I am discussing concerning the home of the Second Germanna Colony occurred in a logical sequence.  The thing that I will write about in this note, the 40,000 acre tract taken up by Alexander Spotswood, William Beverley, and other unnamed partners, should have occurred earlier.  But because I did not have a plotting program, the actual study of the 40,000 acre tract came after the decision about the location of the home.

The program that I used, DeedMapper (TM) was created by a Germanna descendant, Steve Broyles.  It makes it reasonable to plot large tracts such as the 40,000 acre patent (but it is equally useful for small plots).  The patent, with its metes and bounds, is described in two patents which read almost identically (Virginia Patent Book 11, p. 145 and Book 14, p. 378).  With a description running to pages, the plotting would be difficult without the benefit of DeedMapper.

The question to be answered was whether the patent included the area where I believed the first home of the Second Colony was located.  On the first plotting, there was a moment of disappointment as the patent did not seem to close properly.  Since the patent started on the south side of the Rapidan River, just a short distance up from Germanna, and closed on the north side, it was very important to have these details correct as this was the area in question.  (The total perimeter runs for about 50 miles.)

The problem was that the last legs seemed to fall short by about three miles.  As such, the area in question would have been outside the tract.  But the look of the plotting would tell one that the description was in error.  Also, the patent referred to German Run and the description in the patent did not bring the bounds up to German Run.  Believing in the simplest explanation possible, I found that one simple error could account for the trouble.  One distance was too short by 1000 poles (close to three miles).  Apparently, one digit had been dropped in describing the length of one side.  This digit just happened to be a "1" in the thousands position of the number of poles in one length (one pole equals 16.5 feet).  Perhaps the copyist overlooked it; it is extremely unusual to have a length more than 999 poles.  With the correction made, the plot looks very reasonable all the way around.

To the point here, the tract does include the first home of the Second Colony.  Strangely, while the tract comes close to the Germanna tract, it does not border on it.  I have not yet found who took up the intervening land.

One by-product of the plotting is that I discovered that the 40,000 acre tract was near to 65,000 acres.  That is a big error and the surveyors were capable of better work than that.  I am inclined to believe that Spotswood had the tract described as smaller than it was.

(I am the "caretaker" of John Blankenbaker's "Short Notes on Germanna History", and also the List Administrator of the GERMANNA_COLONIES mailing list at RootsWeb.  Ocassionally, a subscriber to the mailing list will offer an additional view, or even a differing view, of a subject in one of John's "Notes".  Such was the case after Note Nr. 285 was posted.  Worth S. Anderson sent the following and I think it important enough to add here to the bottom of John's Note.  George W. Durman, aka "SgtGeorge".)

Actually, I'd suspect the opposite -- that the warrant was for 40,000 acres, but that with the collusion of a possibly venal surveyor Spotswood managed to obtain a survey containing far more acreage.   When the supply of land seemed virtually endless, surveyors would frequently throw in, sub rosa, a few "extra" acres while preparing surveys of grants for their friends.   For those not already friends with the surveyor, something might be arranged for some extra compensation on the side.   Land-grabbing was already an old Virginia practice when Spotswood got there.

As time went on, the too-largely-surveyed tract might be sold off in pieces.  In a few generations a family might be living on land to which they believed they had valid title, but the entirety of which had, in fact, never been granted.   Or the land might have been granted to someone else, with the state believing the land was vacant.   Or surveys may have overlapped inadvertantly.   Or fraud and forgery might have cropped up.   By the 19th century these problems caused an explosion of litigation over land titles.  See Lawrence M. Friedman, "A History of American Law" (2nd ed. 1975), p. 241 ("Title became as vexatious and intractable a subject as the abolished law of tenure.   Nobody planned it that way.   But sometimes the chain of title had defective or mysterious links.   It depended, perhaps, on the terms of some vast, ambiguous grant -- from the federal government, or the King of Spain, or some long-dead proprietor.   Or it had to take into account the patents (grants) of American state governments, possibly equivocal, possibly corrupt.")

A new unscrupulous generation sometimes benefitted from the unscrupulousness of earlier generations.   Sharp operators would search land records, looking for places where the description of the land in the grants did not match up with the land actually occupied.   Such operators would then obtain the theoretically "vacant" land and bring a trespass suit against the occupant.  The occupant might be evicted, and lose all improvements on the land (house, barn, crops, etc.) or the occupant might be extorted to buy at an exorbitant price land he believed was already his.   The usefulness as a defense of the doctrine of adverse possession (to grossly oversimplify, the idea that squatting can ripen into title after a number of years) might be limited where the land had theoretically remained in the public domain.

The author O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) wrote a wonderful, wonderful short story, "Georgia's Ruling", that deals with precisely this topic.   It was originally published in his book, "Whirligigs" and is available in any number of compilations of his works.

Worth S. Anderson
wsa@crosslink.net


Nr. 286:

Originally, I had intended the last note to be the end of present discussion of the homes of the Second Germanna Colony members.  Then yesterday, Joy Stearns sent me a copy of the lease from Alexander Spotswood, Esquire, to John Bond, planter.  So instead of writing a note, I spent the time in research.  This note discusses the conclusions.

What Spotswood meant by "closely joyned" was not known.  Does it mean that the houses were very close, perhaps on the order of Fort Germanna where nine houses were on one street in an enclosure of three and a half acres?  Or does it mean that the farms (the Second Colony is engaged in farming) were close together?  In the first case, we would visualize a village from which the men (and women) would go out to the fields.  In the second case, we would visualize farm houses in the midst of fields.

I had been inclined to the view they were very close, the village concept.  The information that Joy sent has changed my mind.  I believe now we should be thinking in terms of the second concept where each house was in the middle of a field, say about 50 acres.  Here are the factors that influenced me.

I plotted the Bond lease on a background of the waterways in the region.  It specifically mentions Brook's Run and the Rapidan River.  With some small adjustments to the metes and bounds, it is not difficult to get a plot of high confidence.  The starting point is on the Rapidan at the lower corner of "Lot 18" (an adjacent lot) and this point is almost four miles above the point where Fleshman's Run flows into the Rapidan.  Since Fleshman probably had a patent on Fleshman's Run and since it almost at the eastern boundary of Spotswood's patent, Fleshman's lot number was probably very small, perhaps even Lot 1.  There were twenty-odd homes which I assume can be equated to the number of lots.  Therefore, there may have been twenty-odd homes in a stretch of about five miles along the Rapidan River.

Some key words or phrases from the lease include, "north side of the Rapidan River", "part of the 40,000 acres tract", "[a part of] the German tenements on the Rapidan River", and "Great Fork".  The surveyor, Geo. Home, [or Hume] included a plot of the 110-acre tract on which two homes are shown.  Since Spotswood leased his land under long term leases, it would appear that these homes were probably the homes of two of the German families.  One home was on the Rapidan and the other home was inland about two-thirds of a mile.  The tract actually includes 143 acres.  So perhaps the tract size of the Germans was about 50 to 100 acres.

So I now believe we will not find a village but we may find a few individual homes that are separately by perhaps quarter-mile distances.  If George Hume accurately showed the locations of homes on his map, it might help to pinpoint the locations.  So far I have only maps showing two of the houses but more may be on record in the courthouses.


Nr. 287:

Recent notes have discussed the first homes of the First and Second Germanna colonies.  In addition to the first two colonies, a Third Germanna Colony has been mentioned.  It seemed necessary to postulate the existence of this colony to account for the number of Germans who appeared not long after the Second Colony arrived.

Alexander Spotswood had comments on the subject.  In his March 28, 1724 letter to Col. Harrison, he explained why he had thought it would be good to extend his holding of 13,000 acres to 40,000 acres.  He wrote,

". . . 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 . . ."

Here the country-folks would have been the Second Colony who were living on his land.

In 1719, the First and Second Colonies joined together in an appeal to be printed in Germany asking for assistance, both financially and in securing an assistant to Rev. Häger.  This appeal was taken to Germany by the Swiss merchant, Jacob Christopher Zollicoffer, and therefore the appeal is often tagged with his name.  The number of people mentioned in it was so large that it seemed necessary to have a Third Colony of Germans, one that was larger than either of the First or Second Colonies.  So the individuals who came in the years immediately after the Second Colony were said to be members of the Third Colony.

Upon reflection, it now seems that there was no Third Colony.  The numbers used by (given to?) Zollicoffer must have been an exaggeration.  The numbers who came in the two years just after the Second Colony were much smaller than Zollicoffer implied.  It may have been that the Germans were anticipating future arrivals and so they used inflated numbers to make their appear stronger. 

The number of Germans did increase year-by-year due to new arrivals, but it does not appear that they were any part of an organized group.  They were individuals acting as individuals.

It is, of course, true that the Germans often traveled as multiple families, either related or from the same village.  But the story is best expressed by saying a few families came each year.  We have only very general statements as to where the new people lived.  In the quotation above, Spotswood implies they were scattered over Virginia.  Also, by implication, he seems to say a few moved onto his property where the Second Colony was living.  He says, in 1724, that the number on his (40,000 acre) tract was about a hundred, up from the seventy-odd he had mentioned as the initial contingent.  The net of births and deaths would not seem able to provide a one-third increase so a few must have moved in.


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What is a Palatine?  First the name is of English origin to denote someone who lived in the Palatinate (another English word).  Where is the Palatinate?  Classically, it is the German lands on the west bank of the Rhine River for about one hundred kilometers above and below the city of Wiesbaden (which is on the east bank).  The Palatinate extends to the west from the Rhine for more than one hundred kilometers.  The German name for the modern state is Rheinland-Pfalz.  During its history, the Palatinate has shifted its boundaries and has included lands to the east of the Rhine River including some that were not included with the western lands.  At one time the town of Heidelberg, on the east bank of the Rhine, was the seat of the government.

During 1709, thousands of Palatine Germans fled destruction from the invading and marauding French.  Of the thousands who sought refuge in England with the hope of transportation to America, a large percentage were Palatines.  So many of the Germans were from the Palatinate, the English started calling all Germans "Palatines", regardless of the region of their origin.  Thus the word Palatine, besides denoting a citizen of the Palatinate, is used by in the english-speaking world to mean "German."  One cannot tell, when the word Palatine is used, whether the reference is to all Germans, or to specific Germans.

Willis Kemper, who wrote Kemper and Fishback genealogies, seemed to feel that Palatines were inferior, especially to the people from Nassau-Siegen.  At one time, I did a study, not for the purpose of comparing people but to answer other questions.  Some of the results though bear upon the question of the comparison that he made.

One of the questions that I asked was whether any people left the region of Siegen during the mass immigration of 1709.  The answer is that a very large number did.  I made a count in the following way.  I used Hank Z Jones, Jr.'s "The Palatine Families of New York 1710", which gives the German origins of the New York families (that he could find).  Since he indexed the German geographical names, it was fairly easy to locate the names.  What I found was about two hundred people around Siegen who had come from a circle of perhaps 15 miles.

Since about 15,000 people left Germany for London in 1709, and only about 3,000 made it to New York, it would appear that the number of 200 people should be multiplied by a number in the order of five to arrive at the number who left the vicinity of Siegen.  Thus the number who left should be measured in the several hundreds.  Whatever the reasons were that the Palatines had for leaving, it would seem that there must have been similar reasons for the Siegenlanders.  When one considers this, it weakens the comparison that Kemper drew between the Palatines and the Siegenlanders.

This number of people would have had a big impact on the emigration of 1713.  First, they broke the ice and showed that it could be done.  It is entirely possible that they sent letters home which were encouraging, though the experience in New York was not the best in the early years.  Every member of the First Germanna Colony must have known someone who went in 1709.  In fact, several of them were probably relatives.  The names of the emigrants' duplicate names in the family trees of the 1713 people.  Here are some of the names:  Bähr, Giesler, Haeger, Häger, Heyl, Hoffman, Jung, Ohrendorff, Schramm, Weller, and Zeller.  As one reads the ancestry of these people, one encounters names associated with the Germanna people.


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In 1709, Christopher de Graffenried (using the French version of his name) had a contract with the city fathers of Bern to find homes outside of Switzerland for a group of Anabaptists whom the fathers wished to expel.  The Anabaptists were political prisoners of the state who had no vote in the expulsion decision.  Their feelings on the matter may not have been all that negative, but in the beginning there was no specified location for them to go to.  They could not have been too happy about the decisions concerning them on which they had no input.

Graffenried went to London to see if he could find a home for them in the English colonies.  The year 1709 was not the best year for quick decisions as London was inundated with about 13,000 Germans ("Palatines").  While waiting, Graffenried met Franz Michel, another Swiss citizen, who was just back from the colonies, especially Virginia.  Michel, too, was in the business of colonization, or finding land and people to settle on the land.  Therefore, Graffenried and Michel had some common interests.  But Michel had a report which interested Graffenried even more than the discussion of land.  And that was that Michel thought he found silver in the back country of Virginia.  Michel had spent a lot of time in exploring Virginia and other colonies.  His most notable exploration, complete with a map that still exists today, was of the Shenandoah Valley.

Graffenried, usually on the outlook for a scheme to enrich his pockets, decided that he wanted to be a part of Michel's operation and so they joined forces for the purposes of finding and developing silver mines, apparently in Virginia.  Silver mines needed miners and so Graffenried and Michel hired Johann Justus Albrecht to recruit miners from the area around Siegen.

Graffenried found a home for his Swiss contingent in North Carolina.  But the offer from the proprietors of North Carolina required him to lead also a few hundred of the Palatines who were in London.  The proprietors provided the transportation which involved more than one ship.  One other thing attracted Graffenried and that was a purchaser of five thousand acres in North Carolina could take the title of Baron.  He bought the required land and became Baron Graffenried.

In 1710, Graffenried and Michel left London for North Carolina while Albrecht went to Siegen to begin his recruiting campaign.  The area around Siegen had sent a very large contingent of people to London in 1709.  Thus, when Albrecht reached Siegen, there would have been a lot of talk about these emigrants.  Now, Albrecht arrived in Siegen recruiting miners.

The recruiting was on behalf of the George Ritter Company of Switzerland, of which Graffenried was now the managing field director.  It is not clear that the stockholders back in Switzerland had been appraised of the change of direction from simple colonization to silver mining.  But the memoirs of Graffenried do make it clear, that from his standpoint, silver was the major objective.  (Graffenried had a contract with the George Ritter Company in which silver is clearly stated as an objective.)

Willis Kemper's remark in the Kemper and Fishback genealogies, that "the Siegen people came at the request of the rulers of Virginia", is shown by Graffenried's memoirs to be false.  The Siegen people were recruited to mine silver for George Ritter and Company, for which Graffenried was directing operations.  This was the reason they (later known as the First Germanna Colony) emigrated.


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The last note discussed the reason that the First Germanna Colony was recruited.  They were recruited to mine silver by an agent for Christopher Graffenried and the company with which he was associated.  They were not recruited at the request of the "rulers of Virginia" as Willis Kemper claimed.

Since the company and man who hoped to employ them were broke, it is a mystery as to why the Germans actually left their homes.  Graffenried claims that he had not been writing encouraging letters to them.  He claimed that the Indian troubles had created havoc and exhausted his resources and that Michel had not shown the location of the silver mines.  He admitted publicly that he had written that they (the Germans) could send one or two of their people over to have a "look-see."  But he professed that he was shocked when he returned to London in the late summer or early fall of 1713 and found forty-odd people waiting for him.  Well, when he told them his story, they were the ones that were shocked.  The impact of this turn of events was much harder on them than it was on him.

The Germans though, to their credit, proposed a solution.  Feeling that they could not return to Germany nor stay in England, they decided they wanted to go on to America.  Counting their money, as a group, they found they did not have the necessary transportation costs.  So they told Graffenried they would work for four years in America for someone who would pay the balance of the transportation costs.  This spurred Graffenried to exert some effort on their behalf.

Graffenried contacted Col. Blakiston, the agent for Virginia in London, and discussed the problem with him.  Blakiston was not a random choice.  He was aware that Spotswood was the partial owner of a projected silver mine in Virginia (whether Blakiston knew it or not, Graffenried was also a partial owner in this mine).  Though there were obstacles to mining operations to be overcome, Blakiston thought Graffenried's offer was too good to turn down.  Unfortunately there wasn't time to consult Spotswood on this question, so Blakiston committed Spotswood to paying one hundred and fifty pounds sterling on the transportation costs in return for four years of service by the Germans.  At this point, Graffenried left London for Switzerland.

Blakiston found a ship leaving in January (1714 NS) and found space for the Germans on it.  So the Germans were on the sea headed for Virginia before Spotswood learned that he had "hired" the services of a party of Germans.  It is a stretch of the imagination to say that Spotswood had invited the Germans to come to Virginia; however, he welcomed the Germans, because he thought this was a signal that Blakiston would soon resolve the questions relating to silver and gold mines.  It was a falsely placed hope, though.

Willis Kemper's claim that it was Spotswood who was responsible for bringing the First Germanna Colony to Virginia does not bear up well.  The Germans left home expecting to mine silver for Graffenried.  They entered Virginia with only the hope that they could work four years to pay their debts.


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Willis Kemper got several of his facts wrong or, perhaps more exactly, he interpreted the data available to him wrongly.  He says that iron was discovered upon land which Spotswood and his associates owned.  If you do not count the partial ownership in the projected silver mine, Spotswood did not own any land in Virginia for several years.  And prior to his coming to Virginia, iron had been a known resource in Virginia for over a century.  In fact, in 1622, a large iron furnace was constructed at about the location of today's Richmond.  This location was too exposed to the Indians who destroyed the furnace before it could produce any iron.

When Spotswood arrived in Virginia in 1710, he was introduced to William Byrd.  Byrd owned land on which there was proven iron.  He, Byrd, knowing that iron furnaces cost a lot of money, proposed to Spotswood that the Virginia Colony sponsor an iron works.  All that Byrd asked in return was a position in the iron company.  Spotswood was aware of the state of iron production in England.  Most of the timber had been felled there to make charcoal to use as a fuel in the smelting process.  There was plenty of ore but a scarcity of wood.  As a consequence, England had to import both iron and naval stores from the Baltic countries.  Therefore, it made excellent sense for England to encourage the Virginia Colony to produce iron.  Spotswood proposed to the Virginia Assembly that they undertake this.  The Assembly, seeing this as an expense and as higher taxes, voted it down.  Then Spotswood proposed the Queen herself undertake it as a personal project.  He did not get a favorable reply.  But the common feature of the two entities to whom he made his proposal was "deep pockets." Budgets for self-sufficient iron furnaces ran into thousands of pounds sterling before the furnace became profitable.  Spotswood did not have this kind of money himself.  He dropped the subject since he could not afford it, and the Assembly and the Queen were not interested.

There was one other factor, besides the economics, which would have discouraged a potential investor in iron works.  The policy of England was that the colonies were to produce raw materials, and English merchants and labor would convert the raw materials into finished goods.  The Board of Trade alerted Spotswood to this policy and told him it would be a risk on the part of owners to have an iron furnace in Virginia.  Since most iron furnaces produced finished goods as well as pig iron, any furnace could get into political trouble.

The net result was that Spotswood dropped the subject of iron and looked for other interesting projects.  He did hold meetings with Graffenried on more than one occasion.  First, remember that Graffenried was now a Baron and Spotswood was respectful of titles.  Second, Graffenried had a letter from Queen Anne which instructed Spotswood to allocate lands to Graffenried for his colony.  And Graffenried told Spotswood that the reason he was interested in land in Virginia was that his associate, Michel, thought he had found silver there.  Spotswood became very interested in silver but whether it was Graffenried or another source that was responsible is not clear.  Three thousand acres of land were patented in 1713 in the neighborhood of what became the future Germanna.  Several people had an interest in this land.  Spotswood had a quarter interest and Graffenried had a sixteenth interest.  We now know it was a projected silver mine because of Graffenried's description of it.

Simultaneously with this, Spotswood was investigating the status of silver and gold mines on lands patented from the Crown.  What he found did not please him.


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When Alexander Spotswood investigated the potential status of silver and gold mines on lands patented from the Crown, he found the answer was clouded.  Traditionally, the Crown reserved a percentage of the gold and silver found on lands which they conveyed by patent to others.  For example, the lands in the Northern Neck had such a clause.  And early on in Virginia there was such a clause, but in one of the reorganizations of the Virginia government this reservation was omitted.  Spotswood was afraid that if he had a silver or gold mine which was productive, the Crown might step in and demand a percentage on the basis that it was only by an error that the right had been omitted.  Or they might take the extreme position and say they were entitled to all gold and silver.

There was a long correspondence between Spotswood and Col. Blakiston in London in which Spotswood urged Blakiston to get the question resolved.  The question was never resolved even though it pursued for years.  Queen Anne died and King George came to the throne.  Spotswood told Blakiston to use the argument with King George that he would be helping some of his countrymen, i.e., the Germans, if he settled the question.  Apparently there never was a resolution.

With the question unresolved, Spotswood would not let the Germans work on the silver mine.  Therefore, he could write two years after the Germans had arrived, that they had done no work for him to reimburse him for his expenses.  The Germans set to work at something resembling mining only after people in London invited Spotswood to join them in a search for iron ore.

Willis Kemper came to the wrong conclusions about why the Germans left and what they did in Virginia because he was guilty of a logical fallacy.  In logic, if it is true that event A implies event B, then if event A occurs, B must follow.  Kemper's error in reasoning was that B is true, so A must be true also.  This is a fallacy.

To Kemper, event B was the fact that Spotswood was eventually in the business of iron mining and smelting.  Event A was the Germans were recruited by Spotswood to mine and smelt iron.  Kemper did not know whether A was true or not but he did know that B was true.  By putting the argument together backwards, and falsely, he concluded that the Germans were recruited by Spotswood to mine and smelt iron.  Having arrived at this false conclusion, he tried to interpret all evidence to justify this conclusion.  But along the way he chose to ignore evidence that said his conclusion was false.

If the Germans were recruited to mine and smelt iron, why were they settled thirteen miles away from the furnace and iron mines?  If the Germans were recruited to mine and smelt iron, why did Spotswood write that they did nothing for him for the first two years?  One answer is that they were not recruited by Spotswood.  They were recruited by Graffenried to mine silver.  When Graffenried and his company went bankrupt, the Germans transferred their service to Spotswood in return for four years of labor on their part.  Spotswood could not use them immediately.  Eventually they did direct their efforts to finding iron, an enterprise in which they were successful.  But shortly thereafter, their four years were up and they moved to their lands in the Northern Neck.

One man who saw the lack of logic in the statements about the history of the First Germanna Colony was Brawdus Martin.  So he concocted a scenario in which the Germans were not at the Germanna we know but at the site where the furnace was later built.  He felt the answer required putting the Germans next to the furnace.  His compounding of the errors is perhaps understandable but he cannot be forgiven for his attempts to concoct false evidence to support his view.  Poor scholarship is one thing, but making up evidence to support an argument is not forgivable.


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An English version of Graffenried's memoir or autobiography is available in "Publications of the North Carolina Historical Commission" by Vincent H. Todd, 1920.  In the original manuscript form there are three versions, two in French and one in German, in three different libraries in Switzerland.  They do not all tell the same story.  Some of the manuscripts seem to have marginal notes added by Graffenried.  One frustrating thing about reading Graffenried is that he seldom mentions the date.

If you want to read the letters of Alexander Spotswood, see "The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood" in the Collections of the Virginia Historical Society, New Series, Vol. 1 and 2, 1882, as edited by R. A. Brock.  Not all letters were included there.

Willis Kemper expressed surprise that there was no record of J. Justus Albrecht in Virginia especially since Albrecht referred to himself as the head man in the colony (of Germans).  Actually there is a record of Albrecht.  And the record is very important to the history of the First Germanna Colony.  In the Essex County records there is a memo signed by John Justus Albrecht and Jacob Holtzclaw to the effect that Spotswood put eleven men to work from March 1715/16 until December 1718 in mining and quarrying.  This work did not start until two years after the Germans came and this supports Spotswood's claim that the Germans did nothing in their first two years to repay him for his expenses.  Also Spotswood noted that the expense during the time up to December 1718 amounted to a little more than sixty pounds sterling.  This shows that the work did not involve building a furnace.  Also, the date of December 1718 can be taken as the end of the Germans' stay at Fort Germanna.

Since Albrecht was in Siegen recruiting the Germans and later in London and finally in Virginia, he surely was traveling with the Germans and should be counted among those who lived at Fort Germanna.

Kemper seemed to think that the Germans spent the winter in England.  Even more than that, he believed eight marriages of the Germans took place there.  According to one note of Graffenried, the Germans sailed in January of 1714 (new style).  And it could not have been much later than that since they were in Virginia in April.  Sea voyages of ten weeks or three months were typical.

As to the marriages, Kemper may have been misled by the proofs of importations of the Germans.  For example, in 1724 John Huffman testified that he and his wife came in 1714.  How should this remark be interpreted?  Was John married when he came?  Or is he noting that his present wife, who was not his wife in 1714, came in 1714?  Actually his statement could be true in both cases.  Apparently Kemper interpreted the testimony to mean that he was married when he came.  Since he was not married when he left Germany, then he must have married in England.  Well, he was not married when he came.  John Hoffman left a family Bible in which he noted his marriage after he arrived in Virginia.


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There is no easy answer as to where our Germanna Colonists came from except that the First Colony people came from a very concentrated region.  Their homes were in an area of about ten miles by ten miles.  In addition to the first contingent that came in 1714 to Virginia, several more came over the following years from the same region.  Had travel conditions been better, there would have been many more.  Unfortunately, eighteen families (or bachelors) decided to come in the year of 1738.  This was a bad choice of years because about twice as many people as normal, or perhaps even more, decided to come from Germany that year.  This overtaxed the abilities of the shippers to transport the people who responded by overloading the ships.  One captain, after leaving, turned around, went back to port, and resigned his commission, saying the ship was overloaded.  The response of the shippers was typical:  get another captain.  One other thing was bad during the fall of 1738 when many ships were at sea, and that was the weather and winds which were not cooperative.

The majority of the Second Colony mostly came from a small region southeast of Heidelberg, though the region was larger than the region of the First Colony.  In part this was due to the difference between a primarily agricultural area and an industrial area, with differing concentrations of populations.  Looking at a map, the Second Colony area is primarily in the area defined by the Rhine River and the Neckar River.

The population here was not homogeneous. The reasons for this have to do mostly with the Thirty Years War, which lasted from 1618 to 1648.  Much of the infrastructure and the population in southern Germany was destroyed.  Taking advantage of the opportunities, many people moved into the region from the east and from Switzerland.  Some of the people in the Second Colony are described as citizens of remoter places, which means they were born there.  Some families who had been on the move, include the Blankenbakers, Fleshmans, Kaifers, and Utzes (these come to mind immediately but they are not an exhaustive count).

In this same region there were many Anabaptists who had either elected to move there from Switzerland, or been expelled from Switzerland.  Though none of our Germanna Colonists are known Anabaptists, I cite this to show that there was a considerable movement of the population in southern Germany.

Some of the Germanna Colonists came from the Palatinate which we were discussing a few notes back.

One Germanna Colonist appears to have come directly to Virginia from Switzerland.  His motivations in moving are not clear, but there is a record of his birth there.  This was Hans Heerensperger, better known as Johns Harnsberger.  He immigrated in 1717, and from his proof of importation we know he came with his wife Anna Purve (Barbara) and his son Stephen.  The same day that he made his proof of importation, John Motz also made his proof, stating he came with Maria Pelona (Appollonia?).  Both of these men stated they arrived in 1717.


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We were introduced to John Harnsberger in the last note, who was baptized in the Evangelical (Protestant) Reformed Church of Bussnang, Thurgau, Switzerland on 1 April 1688.  He came in 1717 to Virginia with his wife Anna Barbara and son Stephen.  We presume that he was married at the time to Anna Barbara.  John would have been 29 years old at the time, so Stephen was probably very young.

This information, and more to be given, comes from Wanda Miller Cunningham who generously gives credit to John Echols Hansberger and Robert Torkelson for their contributions.  Mr. Torkelson is responsible for the Swiss information and I expand upon that now.

Hans Heerensperger (to use his name in Switzerland) was the seventh child of Jacob Heerensperger, who had been born in April 1648 in Affeltrangen, Thurgau, and of Maria Hoerdlin, who been born ca 1655 in Switzerland.  Jacob's parents are Hans Jacob and Susannah Wohnlich.  The parish book of Bussnang lists seven children from 1673 to Hans in 1688.

The name Heerensperger gave both Englishmen and Germans alike some trouble as to its spelling.  Early variations are common and sometimes it is hard to know if a name is to be identified with Heerensperger.  Two of the most popular variations that have evolved are Hansberger and Harnsberger.

John Harnsberger was not sued by Spotswood nor was John Motz.  However, from the date they gave for their importation, it would appear probable that they were members of the Second Germanna Colony.  Also, they had a joint land patent in the Robinson River area (Hebron) on the same date as many Second Colony members did.  Usually, a joint patent indicates some relationship between the men, perhaps through one or both of their wives.  In this case, no relationships are known.

Sidetracking to discuss John Motz, very little is known about the man.  His marriage record is in the Lutheran Church of Bonfeld, Baden for 28 Feb 1716.  He too was a young man but the information from Germany does not help solve the riddle connected with him.  He must have died early for he does not appear in the Orange Co. tithables for 1739.  From later records, he may have left a daughter Elizabeth who married Philip Nelson.  If it is true that he left only one child, a daughter, this may be the reason that so little is known about him.

Anna Barbara Harnsberger died and John married Anna Magdalena Aylor, a widow, some time after 30 Nov 1742.  The will of John Harnsberger, dated 15 Jan 1759, probated in Culpeper Co. on 20 Mar 1760, mentions Anna Magdalena, grandchildren John, Barbara, Elizabeth, and Margaret Harrensparger, children of Stephen by his first wife Agnes; leaves a small bequest to Stephen; mentions "my wife's children" Henry Aylor and Elizabeth Tanner.


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In John Harnsberger's will, the name is given as Harrensparger, which is close to the Swiss spelling of Heerensperger.  Witnesses to the will were George Samuel Klugg, Michael Thomas, and George Mayer, members of the German community in the Robinson River Valley.  John Harnsberger left only one heir, Stephen, and the relationship between the two was strained.  The legacy to Stephen was meager in comparison to the legacy to others.

John's statement with regard to Stephen was, "I do forgive to my son Stephen Harrensparger the Debt he owes me.  Likewise I give to him, for his Portion of the Heritage, the Brandy Still, about 15 Pounds worth, which he fetched from my house and I desire that he should be content with this Portion."  John's legacies to his grandchildren by Stephen's first marriage to Agnes were ample, but he made no mention of the five grandchildren of Stephen's second marriage to Ursula Scheitle.  This may have been a basis of disagreement between them.

The inventory of John's estate indicated he had done well as a farmer.  There were livestock, furniture, books, beehives, brandy and cider.

Stephen married Agnes about 1740, when he was perhaps about 24 years old.  Her maiden name is unknown.  Agnes died some time before 1750, for near that date Stephen married Ursula Scheitle.  Stephen was a chain carrier for a survey for Henry Souther in 1748 along with Daniel Crisler.  Chain carriers were often related directly or through their wives to the survey owner, but in this case no information is shed.  By 1752, Stephen was living in the Shenandoah Valley, because he appears on a road crew there.  Over the decade following, he acquired land by purchase and patent in the Valley.

A court case in 1766 in Augusta Co. sheds light on the history of Ursula, Steven's wife.  Ursula's father died in Germany.  The widow and young children left for America.  In America, the mother married John Fotch who took possession of the remains of the Scheitle estate, which it was contended, amounted to almost one hundred pounds.  After Ursula and her sisters were married, their husbands appealed to John Fotch for the girl's share of their father's estate.  They received some money but Fotch contended that the balance of the estate was used in their support.  Testimony was taken in the case but no decision appears in the records perhaps indicating that the case was dropped.

In 1775 Stephen wrote his will in the presence of John Zimmerman, George Zimmerman, Adam Carpenter, Jacob Miller, and Conrad Zimmerman.  Though all of these names are Germanna names, the individuals themselves are believed to have sources other than Germanna.  The will was proved in 1776 in Augusta County.  Only the wife Ursula and sons, Adam, Henry, Stephen, Conrad, and Robert are mentioned.


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How does one know if a name is German?  The question is a good one which can be illustrated by an example.  In the next paragraph, I believe we are talking about one person.

In 1726, Joseph Cooper patented 400 acres of land in the Fork of the Rappahannock (in the area of Mt. Pony).  In 1728, as Joseph Kooper, he patented 404 acres on Potato Run in the same general area.  A Barbara Cooper died in Orange County, Virginia in 1735.  Jacob Prosie gave bond as her administrator in 1735 with Jacob Miller and John Vaught as securities.  Her estate was appraised by Christopher Zimmerman, Frederick Cobler, and Charles Morgan.

John Vaught (he lived several miles away), Christopher Zimmerman, and Frederick Cobler were certainly Germans.  Jacob Prosie and Jacob Miller are less certain.  Charles Morgan was probably English.  The question though is whether Joseph Cooper was German.  The surest way of telling would be his signature but we have no examples of that.

The spelling Kooper suggests a German origin.  And the fact that so many Germans were in the administration of his wife's estate suggests that she, at least, was German.  Probably Joseph Kooper (sp?) was a German but we do not know for certain.  At this point, we could only hope to find the name in some of the German church records, especially records where Zimmerman, Cobler, or Vaught were to be found.

Here is another name, Charles Frady.  Is he English or German?  On the surface, the name looks English.  But down at the Hebron church they were writing one name there as Karl Vrede.  Now if Vrede were pronounced by a German, it would sound very much like Frady.  Or vice-versa, if a German heard the name Frady,  he would write it down as Vrede.  Another name at the church was Preiss which an Englishman would probably write as Price.  So was he German or English?

One of the rules I use in estimating nationality are the names used by the person as neighbors.  For example, When John Kains or Kines patented land on a branch of Deep Run, the neighbors were given as Christian Clayman (Clements), John Huffman, and Edward Ballenger.  My theory is that a man most often lives with his own nationality.  And when he gives neighbors, he is most apt to name people of his own nationality.  The grounds for this latter claim are that a man becomes acquainted sooner and better with people who speak his own language.  However, I am not sure about Kains.  The spelling with the K also suggests a German as the name would more likely be Caines in English (I would think).

In the last paragraph, there was a Ballenger.  This is a good English name (I think).  But was Edward Ballenger English?  An Andrew Ballenger was sued by Spotswood when he sued many members of the Second Colony.  In a similar category is Joseph Bloodworth.  I assume he was German.

I have thrown out examples or questions.  I would appreciate responses as to the rules you use to estimate whether a man is German or English.  Reply privately or to the list.


Nr. 298:

John Paul Vogt was born ca 1680 in Frankfurt, Germany.  He married Maria Catharina some time between 1704 and 1714.  Their children were Catharina Margret, Mary Catherina, John Andrew, and John Caspar.  All six arrived at Philadelphia in October 1733.  The only German name on the ship's roster that was later associated with John Paul Vogt was Burger.  Spellings for the Vogt name in the old records include Vaught (perhaps the most common form today), Vaut, Vought, Vot, Faut, Faught, Fought, Wacht, Wocht, Nacht, and Bellfaut.  Apparently John Paul insisted on using both of his given names, i.e., John Paul, which confused the listener.

John Paul moved almost immediately to the Germanna community for he was allowed a patent for land in 1735.  This land was in the northeast part of modern Madison Co., Virginia on Deep Run.  His neighbor to the south was Christian Clements, who married one of John Paul's two daughters.  Which one is not certain, since she was called Catherine.

John Paul and his wife Mary Catherine sold 170 acres, part of the original patent, to William Caul on 7 Jul 1744.  In the same year he also sold 470 acres, the rest of the patent to John Thomas for five shillings.  [This is probably one of those troublesome sales which was written in two parts, the first as a lease for five shillings and the second as a release.]  Late in that same year, he appears to have moved to the Massannuten Mountain area in the Shenandoah Valley, where he purchased 400 acres of David Logan.  Next year, he patented land on a draft of the North River of the Shenandoah.

Christian Clements patented land on the southeast side of the South River in 1746.  The two men had a joint survey run on land on South River.

John Paul died at his home in 1761.  (When he moved there, the county was Orange.  When he died, it was Augusta and today it is Rockingham.)  His will was written 9 Oct 1759, and was proved 18 Aug 1761.  His estate sale was dated 10 Sep 1761.  Besides the sons, Andrew and Gaspar, only one daughter, the one who married Christian Clements, is mentioned in the will.  It is assumed that the other daughter died without issue prior to October 1759, the date of the will.

[These notes are taken from "Descendants of Christly Vaught," 429 page spiral bound book which was in the evolutionary stage.  The compilers were Helen Spurlin and her sister Mickey Martin.  Since a series of articles by Helen appeared in Beyond Germanna, about eight years ago, she has died.  It was my pleasure to have met Helen on several occasions.  One word that comes to mind to describe her was exuberant.]

(A note here from the curator of these web pages:  John has alluded several times in these "Notes" to the variations in spelling and pronunciation of German names, and I thought it might be of help if I offered a little explanation.  In the German language, the letter "V" is pronounced as "F".  Therefore, it is easy to see how the German name VOGT could easily be transliterated into the English FAUT or FAUGHT or FOUGHT.  Just remember that the German "V" is pronounced as "F", and the German "W" is pronounced as "V".  Thus, the German "Wilhelm Vogt", would be pronounced "Vilhelm Faut".)


Nr. 299:

Christian Clements was mentioned in the last note.  He lived for a short while in Orange Co., now Madison Co., where he had 600 acres of land by patent in 1734.  But in a little more than ten years he moved to the Shenandoah Valley.  He married a daughter of John Paul Vogt and the decision to move seems to have been motivated by the Vogt's move to the Valley, though it may have been a joint decision of the families.

Christian's will was dated 13 Feb 1780, and it was proved 18 Mar 1783 in Augusta Co.  The will names his wife Catherine, the eldest son Gaspar, a son John, a daughter Catherine, who is the wife of George Trout, a grandson David Trout and mentions, but does not name, daughters married to Henry Liner and Philip Burger.  The last surname occurs also as Barger and Barrier.  Catherine Clements' will was probated in 1793.  She mentions the son John, daughter Catherine, and a Jacob Barrier who may be a grandson.

The five children of Christian and Catherine (Vogt) Clements are:

  1. Gaspar.  He left a will dated 25 May 1813 in Rockingham Co., VA, which names his wife Mary and six children, Christian, John, Nancy (who married George Crawford), Catren, Polly, and James.

  2. Mary Catherine.  She married George Trout.  They had at least a son David who married Susannah Whetsel.  George Trout was the brother of Nicholas, who was killed by accident in a fight in 1753.

  3. John.  He married Elizabeth ?.  He perhaps is the John Clemons who was in Washington Co., VA in 1800.

  4. Margaret Clements.  She married Philip Barrier.  They had sons Casper, Jacob, and John.  Both of these individuals died very young.

  5. Elizabeth Clements.  She married Henry Lyner (or Liner).  A list of Rockingham tithables in 1783 has Henry Liner and his sons Christopher and Adam.


Nr. 300:

Wanda Cunningham posted the will of Jacob Early on the Mock (Mawk/Mauk/Mauck) discussion list.  Her source of information was USGenWeb Archives, where it had been deposited by Shirley Palmer ( shirley@azstarnet.com).  In accordance with the Archives policy, this note is included:

"USGENWEB NOTICE:  In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be freely used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material.  These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by other organizations."

(I [John Blankenbaker] am not including all of the information but I am retaining the note above.  My motivation for devoting a note to this subject is that it an excellent illustration of the problem of identifying our German people.)

What nationality do you think Jacob Early was?


**********Will of Jacob Early, 1777**********

In the name of god Amen, the 27th Day of April in the year of our Lord 1777.  I Jacob Early of the Township of Donnegal in the county of Lancaster and State of Pennsylvania . . . my Wife, Christina Early free and peaceable Possession of the House where I now live, . . . , she is also to have Two Pounds in Honey, fifteen Bushels of Wheat or shelled (?) and Ten Bushels of Rye every year, she is also to have her Choise of the Cows and Fodder for said Cow is to be provided for her yearly, she is to have the Use of one Acre of Land to manage as she shall think proper, she is further to have One hundred Pounds of Pork for her own Use given to her yearly, she is to also have her Bed, Bed-clothes and Bedstead, her Chest and Table, she is further to have Liberty to take such Things as she stands in need of about the Dresser, she is also to get the Use of a Pipe-Stove which is now in the House, she is further to have Priviledge of a Horse to ride when needful, she is to have her Choise of Six Apple Trees in the Orchard every year, it is my Will that all these Things be given to her during her Life or Time of Widowhood, but if she marries she is to be kept up no longer in any of the Articles before mentioned.

Item:  I give and bequeath to my Sons John and Jacob Early the Plantation I now live on which I bought of the Christian (?). . . Daughters Lutey [Sutey?] Smith, Agnes Winogle, and Eve Early

And I do nominate and appoint Nicholas Ridsaker and John Wiland of the Township and County aforesaid sole Executors and the next

Signed sealed and delivered in the Presence of us:

Michael Bower (his mark)

(unreadable)

George Snaper (his mark)

Jacob Ehrle (unreadable)

(Seal)

Lancaster County on the Fifth Day of May Anno Domini 1777 before me the subscriber personally appeared.   Henry Willhelm and George Snaper two of witnesses . . .

[John, again. It seems me that Jacob Early was German.  The reason those names were unreadable is that they were written in German script.  Jacob's name in the Germanic language was Ehrle, which would be mightly close to the English "Early" when pronouced.  One of the special reasons that I included this, was that I had never considered the name Early to have German origins.  We have skipped some people in counting our Germanna 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 TWELFTH set of Notes, Nr. 276 through Nr. 300.)


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.

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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 276 through 300.


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