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This is the NINETEENTH 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 451 through 475.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 19

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Nr. 451:

At the start of the half-centuries in these notes, it is customary to welcome old and new friends and to explain my philosophy in the preparation of these notes.  Many of you are probably not Germanna people by the strictest definition of the word.  I interpret "Germanna" very broadly.  Furthermore, much that would be of interest to strict Germanna colonist descendants is also of interest to all researchers of German ancestries.  Some of it may be of interest to other nationalities.  At the same time, some of these notes will delve into details of particular families which may not be of interest to all, not even to all Germanna descendants.  There are more than one hundred Germanna family names and sometimes it is hard to maintain an interest in someone else's families.

One of the things that our research is showing is that more families did have a connection to Germanna than we had previously counted.  Some of the families did not live for very long in the community before they moved on, or the line died out.  Some of them are allied only by marriage, but a complete story requires our attention to them as well.

Within the established families, one should be concerned that the family histories have been correctly told.  The recent history (the last ten years) of the Rector family is frightening for all families.  It had been thought that the early Rector history was well in hand, but then John Gott and John Alcock dug into the courthouse records and they found that some major revisions were necessary.  And these were the result of just a few pieces of paper.  In other families, how many pieces of paper have never been found?  Or how many important events were never recorded?

All of our "facts" should have a probability connected to them.  Nothing is certain.  At the same time, we need better documentation of what we have found.  We need more research.  In many cases, the evidence is clearly there; it just needs searching out.  As an example, in the last year, the children of Jacob Aylor (#5 in the Germanna Foundation Records) have had three of their four grandparents corrected.  For this research we have to give thanks to Nancy Dodge and Craig Kilby, and to the others who worked with them.

In my estimation there is too much emphasis on numbers (quantity) and not enough on research (quality).  I would be the first to admit that these notes are not research quality, but I do hope they are interesting and contain some valuable observations.  Nothing pleases me more than having a note lead to an extended discussion on the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List service at RootsWeb, which is for all to use.  It is not restricted to any subset of people.  Anyone may initiate a message, observation, or question.


Nr. 452:

Klaus Wust has studied the Germans in Virginia extensively and, in fact, he is the author of the award winning, "The Virginia Germans".  He makes the comment, applicable throughout the colonies, that whenever a sufficient number of German-speaking people had settled in an area, congregations began to form without assistance from denominational organizations.  As ministers ventured into the country side, they were amazed to find functioning congregations and sometimes simple schools.  These had been founded and led by the lay people themselves.

The First Germanna Colony was unique in that the immigrants brought a minister with them; he served the colony for about twenty years.  After that time, they were in the position of most frontier settlements and used lay resources.  Jacob Holtzclaw, the schoolmaster, was a lay reader at Germantown.  Over in the Little Fork, John Young was the reader at the church there.  The Second Germanna Colony had the benefit, for a year or two, of Rev. Häger of the First Colony; after that time they were without a pastor for fifteen years.  During this period, they built a simple cabin church and John Michael Smith was a reader.  Apparently they had a school also, though they had no professional teacher.

This pattern was repeated throughout the areas that the Germans settled.  In the Anabaptist areas, the norm was leadership by lay people, who had been elected to serve in this capacity.  One of the implications of lay leadership was that no records were kept of their actions.  Baptism did not require an ordained minister, as a lay person could baptize.  With a few exceptions, no church records exist for Virginia before 1760.  Marriages had to be performed by the Church of England and their records are also very scarce.

Peggy S. Joyner has compiled "Extant German Church Records from Virginia and West Virginia: A Checklist".  (This appeared in THE REPORT, A JOURNAL OF GERMAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, Vol. 38 (1982).  The State Library of Virginia has published a book describing their holdings of microfilms of church records for all of the denominations.

The early German records were written in German which detracts from their usefulness; however, a number of the records have been published in translation.  A leader in this activity has been Shenandoah History (P.O. Box 98, Edinburg, VA 22824), which has published about a dozen booklets of church records.  Shenandoah History's attention has not been confined to the Shenandoah Valley, though the majority of the churches were located there.

One of the books from Shenandoah History's series is the Hebron Church Register, which has information on the Lutheran Church outside Madison, Virginia.  This is the church founded by the Second Colony immigrants and later additions to their community.  The present version of this volume contains original dates from 1775, but the period 1750 to 1775 is recreated from other, now nonexisting records.  As such, it is the oldest record of German church activity in Virginia.


Nr. 453:

An inquiry on the Germanna Colonies list asked for information about an ancestor who went to North Carolina with Christopher de Graffenried, and who suffered an attack by pirates.  I responded by saying that the ship bringing Graffenried was not attacked.  A clarification is needed.

I interpreted the phrase "with Graffenried" as meaning "on the same ship".  Under this interpretation, I was correct; however, there were a total of three (?) ships.  Graffenried was on one of them, and one of the others was attacked by "pirates."  Graffenried writes:

The one ship which was filled with the best goods and on which those in best circumstances were traveling, had the misfortune, at the mouth of the James River, in sight of an English man-of- war, which however lay at anchor, to be attacked by a bold French privateer and plundered.

After the surviving colony had regained health in Virginia where they were received very kindly, they betook themselves about twenty English miles towards Carolina, all of which, along with the goods cost a great deal.

Graffenried, in the French version of his memoirs, said that more than half of the passengers had died during the Atlantic crossing.  In the German version, he says that after the passengers had reached North Carolina, less than half of them were left, but he says many of the deaths occurred in North Carolina.  He attributes these causes to the problems typical of Atlantic crossings in that time.  The number of ships involved in this crossing is not clear.  Some of the time Graffenried writes as though there were only one ship, but the quotation above says "the one ship" as though there were others.  From the number of passengers involved in the project, it would appear there were more ships.  This first contingent took thirteen weeks to cross, after leaving England in January of 1710, and Graffenried was not with this group.  Graffenried implies that the first group went by land to Carolina because they did not dare to take to the sea because of the privateers and the dangers to large vessels of the low waters in the mouths of the Carolina rivers.  At another point he says that the made the last part of the trip in smaller vessels.

Graffenried says that the ship he came on with his Bern contingent had a very favorable crossing.  This was a few months later in the year.  This ship also stopped at Virginia.  The first contingent seems to have been German, while on the ship that brought Graffenried, there were mostly Swiss.  So, anyone with a history of pirate attacks should look in Germany, not in Switzerland for their ancestors.


Nr. 454:

Do you have a German family in your ancestry?  Many times this is not an easy question to answer.  Some names may or may not give us a clue.  Consider the name Crow, which sounds as though it may be English.  As I drive by a local business named Kroh, then I am a little less certain that Crow is always an English name.

Some of the time it pays to look at the neighbors of the people you are researching.  Is there a pattern in the names of the neighbors in land deeds, patents or grants?  My theory is that a German gets to know his German neighbors before he knows his English neighbors, and vice versa.  A modern researcher, Louise Hodge, observed that her Charles Frady ancestor seemed to be living among Germans.  She went to the German church and armed with the phonetic equivalents she found her ancestor as Karl Vrede or Carl Wrede.

This last observation shows the value of knowing some of the phonetic equivalents, so that a name can be recognized when written by another nationality.

What are the first names of the children?  Certain names are favored by the Germans, while the English tended to use a different set.  If you have Catherines, Marys, Elizabeths, Barbaras, or Johns, Henrys, or Fredericks then you may have a German family, at least to the extent that the spouse who takes the leading role in naming the children is German.

I use another thought also.  How many different ways is the name misspelled in the records?  The more ways it is misspelled, the greater the chance that it is German.

The surest way to tell if a first generation man is English or German is to see his signature.  No Englishman would write in the way that a German is taught; however, sometimes a German will use Latin letters.  The best proof that a man is German is to find his signature in German script.

Maybe this note will spur you to contribute your ideas also.


Nr. 455:

[You should assume that this will be the last note until next week. I have not been feeling well this week with a very sore throat.  What energy I have will be devoted to getting out the November issue of Beyond Germanna.  Today, I thought we might look at what this issue contains.]

  • Robert Selig is the lead author with a story on George Daniel Flohr.  Mr. Flohr was a German in a French regiment which was fighting for the Americans in the Revolution.  Not all of the Germans in the Revolution were on the side of the British.  After the war, Mr. Flohr returned to America and studied theology under the Rev. William Carpenter at Hebron Lutheran Church.  Following this, he served several churches in southwest Virginia until he died in 1826.

  • Mary C. Paget has a note on Michael Klug and Elizabeth Fisher which fills in some of the gaps in the Klug history.  The Elizabeth Fisher who is the wife of Michael is a mystery.  That she was a Fisher is not solid information, being based on a note found in the archive of South Carolina, but it may be another piece in unraveling the Fisher family.

  • Craig Kilby corrects two erroneous genealogies, the Aylor and the Sparks, both corrections at a very early date.

  • I wrote a note on communication among the Germans.  We know that they were not living in isolation from each other and that hey were remarkably well informed.  Some of the information in the article comes from Fogelman's "Hopeful Journeys".  His illustrations are drawn from Schwaigern, the home of many Germanna people.

    In my article I include a drawing of a plot of about 112 parcels of ground in the Madison, Virginia, area.  The area covered is about fifteen miles north and south, from the Hughes River in the north, to the Rucker patent in the south.  The technique of producing this was different as it relied almost exclusively on DeedMapper software.

  • Nancy Moyers Dodge has a small correction to an earlier article.

  • Mary Doyle Johnson has a few paragraphs on Elizabeth Crutcher Weakley McNamara whom many of you will better recognize as Libby.

  • Finally, the issue closes with the Surname Index for Volume 10.


Nr. 456:

Fauquier County in Virginia was the home of many Germanna Colonists, though they moved there before it was Fauquier County.  Originally, parts of Stafford and King George Counties were cut off to create Prince William County.  On 1 May 1759, Fauquier was cut off from Prince William.  Physically, Fauquier Co. runs from the southeast, the oldest part, to the northwest, where the limits coincide with the northern extent of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The county lies in two watersheds, those of the Potomac to the east, and of the North Branch of the Rappahannock, more properly known as the Hedgman River.  These two rivers influenced the settlement pattern strongly.  Another influential factor was its location on the lands of the Northern Neck proprietors, who were the first owners of the land after the Crown.

It is uncertain who the first settlers were, and exactly where they settled.  In 1686, a group bought 30,000 acres, which became known as Brent Town.  No town was actually created, and whether any settlers were enticed into the area is debatable.  A block house was built on the lower side of Town Run to observe the movements of the Indians.  A survey of the tract was not completed until 1736, and development did not occur until settlers came up the Rappahannock.  The general area of Brent Town was in the southern part of Fauquier County.  Starting in 1704, there was a series of land grants, which showed that settlement of the area was commencing.  The general location of these grants was in the southern tip of Fauquier on the tributaries of the Rappahannock.  In 1715, grants were made to the Hedgman family along the Rappahannock, between Tin Pot Run and Great Run.  The presence of the Hedgman family led to the Rappahannock becoming known as the Hedgman River.  Not all of the grants of this period represented settlement, as several were undertaken as speculations.

Starting about 1712, grants were issued on the eastern side of Fauquier on the watershed of the Potomac.  Settlement had been delayed in this area because of the uncertainty of the location of Brent Town.  Elk Run was the general site of the new settlements.  A number of the people who were involved later interacted with the Germanna colonists.  In 1712, Capt. William Russell had grants on Marsh Run and on Elk Run.  The same year, John Marr, Jr., and John Hopper had a partnership branch on March Run.  Jefferey Johnson, the same year, also had a grant on Marsh Run.  Marsh Run flowed to the Hedgman River while Elk Run toward the Potomac.

In 1715, Robert Duncan, Morgan Darnell, John Smith, Rev. Alexander Scott, John Jackson, and Joseph Chambers had grants in the general area (southern fifth of Fauquier).  The next year Mark Hardin had two grants.  Other purchasers up through 1718 include James Berryman, Col. Barrow, the Hooe brothers, William Skrein, and Thomas Lee.  Lee's grant included the land where the town of Warrenton was eventually built.

Many of these early patents were speculative and do not represent a measurable step toward civilization.  And, as can be seen, the density was very low.  Going to the neighbors could involve a trip of miles.


Nr. 457:

The southern tip of Fauquier County, VA, as it was defined in 1759, was only a few miles from Fort Germanna.  From the Fort, cross the Rapidan River, then cross the narrow neck of land between it and the North Fork of the Rappahannock, known later as Hedgman's River, and then, upon crossing Hedgman's, one is in Fauquier.  The total distance is about five miles and the direction from the Fort is about due north.

The last note gave some of the settlers in this general region during the 1710's.  We should compare the settlement here with the comment of Alexander Spotswood that the Germans at Fort Germanna were fifteen (?) miles beyond the usual course of the rangers.  Generally, the extent of civilization at this time is taken as the area patrolled by the rangers.  So, either southern "Fauquier" wasn't patrolled or wasn't settled in 1714.  More likely, it was the former and it was an unpatrolled area.

This raises the more general question of how to tell when an area was first settled.  Generally, on the frontier, the first "foreign" people to enter are the traders, who, in many cases, work and live with the native populations.  Usually, the traders do not count as the first settlers.  Next, come the people who expect to build their homes and till the land.  How does one tell when they arrive?  The dates of the land patents and grants are often used, but they can be misleading, especially the larger ones which were of a speculative nature.  The owners of these larger tracts often live somewhere else and never intend to live on the land.  These tracts are considered as investments for the future.  In the last note, it appears that Brent Town was in this category, and it is not clear whether any development took place.  The smaller tracts, in the range of family sized farms of a few hundred acres, are often considered to be more indicative of development.

Thus, in 1718 when the First Colony Germans purchased their tract in Fauquier (Stafford at the time), there were already a few Europeans living in Fauquier.  I have been guilty of saying that the Germans were the first in Fauquier but they were not.  There were several things that could be said about the Germans.  Their new home on Licking Run was certainly a frontier community.  Probably there were no Europeans to the north or west of them.  The church and the school they established shortly after moving were probably the first to be established in Fauquier County.  Their neighbors were not numerous.  Probably weeks went by without any need to speak a language other than German.

Our Germanna colonists, both the First and Second Colonies, were pioneers because they moved into regions of almost no development.  In both cases, their presence strongly encouraged English settlers and speculators.

On the occasion of the Bicentennial of Fauquier County, the committee to mark the occasion sponsored a book, "Fauquier County, Virginia 1759-1957."  I have been using some material from this book.


Nr. 458:

In 1718, three trustees of the First Colony received a warrant for the 1805 acre tract that they had purchased.  A grant (deed) was not issued for this until 1724, five years after they, the Germans, had moved from Fort Germanna to their new home.  This shows one of the dangers of trying to date settlements by the dates of the patents or grants.  In many cases, the people have been living on the land before the patent or grant was issued.  In the case of the trustees for the Germans, they were delayed in receiving their grant because of the death of Lady Culpeper, which required a wait until her estate was settled.  In other cases, the settlement follows the patent or grant by a few years because the original owner did not move to the tract, and he was waiting for someone to buy it from him.

So, as the settlement of Fauquier County is discussed, the evidence today is the date of the grants.  These have to be interpreted carefully but it has been estimated that about 80 people lived in Fauquier Co. in 1714, and these were in the extreme southern tip of the county.  In 1718 there was a boost when the forty-odd members of the First Germanna Colony moved to their land on Licking Run.  In this area, the land was very unsettled.  Development continued rapidly throughout the region and by 1734 the population estimate of the future Fauquier county stood at 860.

It was still a number of years before the members of the colony received their individual deeds to the land.  To review the history of the land ownership in the area, the Crown in England claimed the ownership of the land by the right of discovery and purchase from the native Americans.  Charles II, at a time when his fortunes were low, gave the land in the northern part of Virginia to a group of loyal supporters.  Thus, the land passed into private hands, and eventually to Lady Culpeper and her son, Lord Fairfax.  Lady Culpeper sold the 1805 acres to the trustees of the Germans, but it was not until 1724 that Lord Fairfax issued the deed to the trustees.  They in turn did not issue the individual deeds until later in the decade.

There has been a considerable discussion as to how this 1805 acres was divided by the trustees.  About twelve divisions were required which has led to the school of thought that the land was divided into 150 acre lots; however, the later history of the land implies that the land was divided into about 18 lots, each of about 100 acres.  The reason for the 18 lots is not clear, and this lack of explanation has been used as an argument against the 18-lot division proposal; however, there are references to individual members getting a lot and a half, and this does require approximately 18 lots.  The location of an individual family lot is defined only by implication of later land transactions.  The proposal made by B. C. Holtzclaw is probably the best one that has been made.  The twelve-lot proposal of Charles H. Huffman suffers by comparison.


Nr. 459:

Shortly after the First Colony members were settled on their own land at what became known as Germantown, Col. Robert Carter renewed his relationship with the Northern Neck Proprietor as the local agent to issue grants.  This was to have an impact on the Germans, and, in fact, on the development of the Northern Neck.

In one year, 1722, he acquired 90,000 acres of land in the Northern Neck.  Since he was the selling agent, he could hardly sell the land to himself so the tracts were taken in the names of others, mostly his family members.  The number of acres and the timing suggest that Col. Carter was influenced by the action of Col. Spotswood who had acquired about 85,000 acres directly from the Crown below the Rappahannock.  Apparently Col. Carter wanted to be the tallest tree in the forest as it pertained to backwoods land in Virginia.

One tract, of about 10,000 acres, was directly on three sides of Germantown.  Thus, the Germans were blocked in these directions in acquiring additional land.  By the standards of the day, the initial acquisition of the Germans had been very modest, about 150 acres per family.  Before many years had gone by, they were anxious to expand, but the additional land had to be taken at some distance from Germantown.  Within about ten years, there were Holtzclaw and Fishback patents for land across the Rappahannock River in the Little Fork area, but generally the new lands were in Fauquier County to the north of Germantown.  By this time, the late 1720's, settlement had been occurring in the lower end of Fauquier and opportunities for land acquisition were limited.

Lord Fairfax, seeing the large tracts being taken up by others, decided to sell land from the proprietorship, which he owned, to himself.  The most famous of these was the Manor of Leeds, consisting of more than a hundred thousand acres in the northwest of Fauquier and adjoining counties, including portions across the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Thus his lands were in two categories, as the proprietor under the rights granted him by the Crown, and as a private citizen.  The distinction was to be important after the American Revolution, as Crown lands were not treated by the Americans as favorably as the land owned by private citizens.

Though I have used the name, Fauquier County, to describe this area, it must be understood that Fauquier did not come into existence until 1759, when it was formed from Prince William County.


Nr. 460:

The practice of making large grants was not conducive to the development of an area, nor was it attractive to the smaller landholders, who wanted to own family farms.  It encouraged settlers to go to other colonies.  Certainly the Northern Neck of the proprietors had its share of large grants, but the practice also occurred outside the Northern Neck as the Spotswoods and Byrds obtained their large tracts from the Crown's lands.

Most of the large grants were in the nature of frontier land speculation by Tidewater landholders, who had no intention of becoming residents on their new tracts.  In some cases they were not even interested in establishing a commercial farming operation in the form of an overseer and servants (called a "quarter").  What these holdings did become was a barrier against small freehold occupation.  After 1737, only the upper or northern lands within Fauquier were left available.

The great tracts were uniformly administered as manors where the settlers leased the land and did not own it.  This left most of the manor lands unoccupied as the potential settlers just kept going until they reached the Shenandoah Valley, where they could buy inheritable land for the same cost as leasing land.  For many years this left a pocket of undeveloped lands in Fauquier County.  These leases were for three "lives", where the lessee could specify three individuals, and the lease was to be valid for the life of the longest living of these three.  Of course, annual fees were required and the failure to pay these would invalidate the lease.  Besides paying the annual rent to the owner of the manor, the tenant had to pay his taxes to the colony.

As a general rule, the leases were not recorded in the local county deed books or in the Northern Neck land books.  In theory, the tenant could, with permission, sublet the premises, but this requirement was often neglected.  The new tenant had to take his chances as to how long the original "longest liver" would live for, when he died, the premises would revert to the manor owner who could sell the property to someone else.

In 1785, copies of the original land records of the Northern Neck were ordered transferred to the land office at Richmond for safekeeping.  These are available today, though in many cases the detail level is small, as the records do not specify what happened to the land after the first ownership.

[Tomorrow, it is time for another day of guiding visitors at the Hans Herr House so I do not anticipate writing a note.]


Nr. 461:

Fauquier County (as it exists today) was the first permanent home of the First Colony.  Some of the later relatives and friends of the Colony settled in Fauquier but the development pattern forced many of them to go across the Rappahannock River (also called Hedgman's), to the Little Fork district of what is now Culpeper Co.  Still others moved to more remote parts of Virginia or even to other colonies.

There were Germans in Fauquier other than the First Colony and their relatives.  At least these other Germans have never been identified with the First Colony.  But, since they were Germans living east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, they too would qualify, by my definition, as Germanna people.

The names to be given here were found in John P. Alcock's book, "Fauquier Families 1759-1799".  This book is an ambitious attempt to list every reference to a name to be found in the Fauquier County records in the first forty years of the county.  Some people, who have used the book more than I have, tell me that it is a wonderful resource.  The effort to prepare it is staggering.

In giving the names of potential Germans here, the criterion has been to take those names whose spelling seems to be Germanic.  Names such as Rouse, Slater, Snyder, or Smith, which could be German, but which could also be English, for instance, have been omitted.  Those who are listed were not necessarily Fauquier residents, though they probably resided for at least a while in the county.

The first name shows some of the spelling variations which were typical of German names.  The three variations are Brungard, Brunkhart, and Brankhart.  The interchange of the "g" and the "k" is typical of German names.  Also the interchange of the final "d" and "t" is typical when the English spell German names.  The first name of this individual, Adam, is a typical German name. It seems very likely we have a German individual.

George Crisman or Criesman had a marriage bond, dated 22 Feb 1796, to Sally Rector, the daughter of Benjamin Rector.  George had a retail license in 1798 and he bought two lots in Salem.  Maybe readers here who are familiar with the Rector history will be able to comment on this individual more.  The spelling of the name and the marriage to a "German" tend to place him as a German.

There was a group of names, Daniel Crider, David Crider/Cryder, and Frederick Crider, who were probably related.  Probably, the name is German with the "C" being a "G" in the original spelling.  This is a fairly common substitution.


Nr. 462:

Continuing the list of German names in Fauquier County who have not previously been identified as members of the Germanna community, there is John Crimbacher.  Perhaps he did not have a major impact on the affairs of the county since he has only one known record, but see the closing paragraph here.

There were two Everhards.  In Germany, the name would probably have been spelled as Eberhard or Eberhart.  The two were Jacob and Jasper.  Jacob married Elinder Cettle (Settle?) in Fauquier.

There were also two Funks, Conrad and Frederick.  Not only does the name Funk suggest a German origin, but Conrad and Frederick are good German names.

Another man who has a minimum of records in Fauquier is Adam Fink, which duplicates a known German name in the Second Colony.

Apparently there were three Shultz (probably Schultz) men in Fauquier, Benjamin, Benjamin, Jr., and Joseph.  The latter two married Thompson girls.

The Swartz name seems to have been undergoing a transition as one record refers to Abraham Swartz by the alias of Black.  Since Schwartz does mean "black" in German, the name can hardly be doubted as a German name.  Besides Abraham, there were Barrett and James.  Though the latter two given names are beginning to sound English, the name Barnett was used quite early in the Fischer family.

John Wasser was probably a German and, if so, his name means "water" in German.

The appearance of Frederick Zimmerman is a surprise as this is probably the Frederick Zimmerman who lived in Culpeper County and whose father (or grandfather) came with the Second Germanna Colony.  Frederick lived in the Mt. Pony area of Culpeper, in particular near to Stevensburg.

Some of these people may not have had a big impact on others in Fauquier County, but still they may have been responsible for a significant event.  To give an example from the Second Colony, George Trumbo had only one record, a baptism, in the Robinson River area.  Still from this baptism, it was possible to tell that he had married one of the Utz girls.  Other records show he was from the area now a part of West Virginia, but the important part is, that by tracking him down, another line of Germanna descent has been located.


Nr. 463:

Three of the men in the First Germanna Colony aggressively sought land, usually by grants or patents.  Perhaps it was not a random event that these three were also the trustees who purchased the original Germantown tract on behalf of the entire colony.  Looking at the land acquired by grant by Jacob Holtzclaw there is:

The first tract was for 496 acres and it was located on Broad Run adjacent to William Stone.  This was in 1724, only five years after the settlement at Germantown.  Broad Run would place the land a distance of several miles from Germantown.

In 1731, he obtained 362 acres on Goose Creek and Broad Run Mts. adjacent to John Fischback.

When Henry Watkins and Catesby Cocke obtained grants, the land was referred to as adjacent to Jacob Holtzclaw, a German.  It was very rare to refer to the nationality of a person, yet two grants refer to Jacob Holtzclaw as a German.

In 1742, Jacob Holtzclaw obtained a grant of 357 acres on Hungry Run which was adjacent to other property of his.

In 1748, Jacob Holtzclaw obtained a grant of 335 acres in Fairfax County adjacent to the Manor of Leeds.

In 1748, Jacob Holtzclaw had a grant in the Little Fork area (future Culpeper Co.) for 1300 acres.  This included a patent for about 650 acres which he had obtained back in 1729.

In 1750, Jacob Holtzclaw had a grant for 407 acres in Augusta County on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.  In 1752 he added 104 acres which was adjacent to this.

Much of this land was sold to other Germans who were later arrivals.  Holtzclaw seems to have been very active in recruiting new members to the community.  As they came, he often sold them land.  Different interpretations could be placed on his actions.  One was that recruiting was a way of finding purchasers for his lands.  I believe he was motivated by a combination of factors.  One, he wished to strengthen the community.  The community was too small to attract a pastor.  Unfortunately, the land he had for sale was scattered too far to build a close community.

Jacob Holtzclaw was also a member of the consortium which hoped to obtain a patent on the frontier for tens of thousands of acres.  Perhaps they thought they could recruit Germans to populate the tract, but it appears that nothing came from this project.

Though his lands were scattered among several counties, Jacob Holtzclaw remained a resident of Germantown until he died.


Nr. 464:

John Fishback, one of the three trustees for the original Germantown purchase, acquired several patents and grants for land in his own name.  It would appear that he worked closely with Jacob Holtzclaw, since their lands were often adjacent or at least in the same neighborhood.  One of his first acquisitions, in 1725, in the form of a grant of 592 acres on Broad Run and Bull Run, was assigned to John Deskins who took out a new grant.  Why this grant was abandoned is not clear.  It may have been that Deskins offered Fishback a quick profit.

In 1729, he had a grant of 280 acres in King George Co., on the Rappahannock above Great Run.

In 1731, John Fischback of Prince William Co. had a grant for 1028 acres on Broad Run in Prince William Co.  This land appears to border land of Jacob Holtzclaw.

Up to this time, the name is spelled as Fischback in the land records, but after this time the name is spelled Fishback.

John Fishback also had land, obtained initially as a patent in 1730, in Spotsylvania County in the Little Fork area.  Later the land fell into Orange and Culpeper Counties.  There was 400 acres in this tract, but John's son, Frederick, took a grant with Lord Fairfax in 1748, in which the tract was extended to 790 acres.  Probably John had posted the larger area as his.

The third trustee, John Hoffman, moved to the Robinson River Valley in the late 1720's.  His first acquisition was adjacent to the land of his second wife's mother.  Hoffman was able to extend his holdings in this area over the years until his final grant included total holdings of more than 3500 acres.  His motivation in land acquisition seems to have been the desire to be able to leave land to his children.  By his second wife, Mary Sabina Volck, he had nine sons and three daughters.  I believe also that there were three children from his first marriage.

I believe that John Fishback left his land to his children.  While Holtzclaw left land to his children, he sold some of his land to the new arrivals from Germany, but in all cases, the amount of land that the three men owned was far beyond any dreams that they might have had when they were still in Germany.

Germantown would have retained more of its German character had the original inhabitants been able to buy more land in the neighborhood.  Because of the land policies in the Northern Neck, additional land often had to be procured at some distance from Germantown.  This diluted the German nature of the community.


Nr. 465:

Recent notes have tossed around the words "patents" and "grants".  Grants were issued by the proprietor of the Northern Neck lands to the first purchaser of the property from him (or her).  Patents were used in the rest of Virginia and were issued to the first purchaser of the property from the crown.  The person who took title to the land paid an initial fee and later paid annual quit rents to either the crown or the Northern Neck proprietor.  Quit rents may be likened to real estate taxes, except that in the Northern Neck the payment went to the proprietor, not to the crown.  The proprietor provided no government services in return for the quit rents.

There was a long argument as to what constituted the lands of the Northern Neck.  Charles II had given the land between the Rappahannock River and the Potomac River to a group of supporters.  The question arose as to what constituted the Rappahannock River.  This river branched into two forks, the southern fork, called the Rapidan, and the northern fork, which was sometimes called the Rappahannock or the North Fork or Hedgman's River.  The land between these two branches was called the Great Fork and land in this area was said to lie in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock.

The change in the name of the southern fork, from the South Rappahannock to the Rapidan, seems to have originated with Alexander Spotswood.  One wonders if this name change was an attempt to whittle away some of the lands of the Northern Neck and return them to the Crown.  The argument as to whether the lands in the Great Fork were in the Northern Neck or not went on for more than thirty years.  During this time, the Crown issued patents for the land in this area.  The Second Colony lived in this area and so their deeds were in the form of patents.  The First Colony clearly lived in the Northern Neck at Germantown, so their deed to the Germantown tract was a grant.

The argument about the original ownership of the lands in the Great Fork was resolved in the early 1740's, with the decision that the lands of the Great Fork did belong to the Northern Neck.  (The question hinged on which branch of the Rappahannock was the larger,and this question did not have an obvious answer.)  This same decision said that the purchasers of the land in the form of the patent process had been innocent and their patents were declared to be valid deeds to the land.  But, anyone taking up unclaimed land in the Great Fork after this date had to obtain a grant from the Northern Neck Proprietor, not from the Crown.

Thus John Fishback had a patent in 1730 for land in the area, known today as the Little Fork, which was in the Great Fork.  Later, John's son, Frederick, wanted to extend the land to include some adjacent land that was unclaimed.  By then, he had to deal with Lord Fairfax.  He obtained a grant, which included all of the land that had been in the patent, plus the new unclaimed land.  Thus, he had one title to the entire 790 acres.  Presumably, he had to pay Lord Fairfax only for the new land.  After the grant was issued, he had to pay quit rents on the entire property to Lord Fairfax.


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The last note gave some of the history of land in the Little Fork on which John Fishback has originally taken a patent in 1730.  In 1748, his son, Frederick, took a grant for 800 acres which included the 400 acres in the original patent, plus 400 acres of waste land (all measures are approximate).

Waste land was not land that was no good; waste land was the code for land that had never been claimed.  Since the Little Fork area was actively under development and settlement at the time that John Fishback took his first patent, why weren't the 400 acres of waste land that Frederick claimed in 1748 taken up or claimed by someone in the 1730 time frame?  Stated in another way, how could 400 acres of unclaimed land escape someone's attention for almost twenty years?

This pattern is repeated over and over in the patents and deeds.  A man takes a patent or deed for a stated amount of land, and then, years later, finds that there are hundreds of acres of unclaimed land that adjoins his original patent or grant.  Andrew Kerker in the Second Colony had a patent for 800 acres.  Years later, his heir, John Carpenter, takes out a grant on the same property and he finds that the original 800 acres has grown to 1200 acres.  Sometimes the phrase "upon resurvey, the tract is found to contain _____" is used.  The new amount is nearly always larger than the original amount.

I believe that what happens is that the patentee or grantee has staked out a piece of ground.  When he has the surveyor come in to survey the property, he describes a smaller piece of the property.  For example, John Fishback had staked out a piece of ground containing about 800 acres which he tells his neighbors is his property.  John invites the surveyor in and describes a smaller piece, about 400 acres, which he says is his.  The surveyor measures this and, in John's case, a patent follows; but John continues to tell his neighbors, and anyone who comes around looking for property, that the larger tract is his property.  So for about 18 years, John only pays taxes or quit rents on the smaller piece.  Finally Frederick Fishback decides he has to 'fess up and he obtains a grant for the larger piece.  I am not picking on the Fishbacks in telling this; they just happened to be some people I was talking about when it seemed like a natural thing to describe these phenomena.

Plotting of land is difficult because the officially described property is not the de facto property.  The only way to tell the de facto land division in 1730 is to use the later descriptions.


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In recent notes, we have been traveling around in Fauquier County, Virginia.  John Gott has written what it was like to be a colonial traveler.  This note quotes him extensively.

Accommodations for travelers through Fauquier County in the colonial period were found at "ordinaries".  Attempts have been made to equate these with English wayside inns and taverns, but they were not the same.  Travel was infrequent and, for long periods, suspended altogether because of the condition of the roads.  No innkeeper could support his family or maintain a staff to take care of this erratic business.  A planter was, therefore, licensed to "keep an ordinary at his house", and that is literally what he did.  He provided food, drink, and a night's lodging for man and beast, but he could not disrupt his normal activities on that account.  European travelers were annoyed that they could not have food and drink on arrival, but had to wait until the next normal meal hour.

They could not expect a private room.  In fact, they could not expect even a bed to themselves.  Fastidious travelers might demand clean sheets and it was considered courteous to remove at least one's boots before going to bed.  There were no signs identifying an "ordinary", but handbills plastered around the entrance, usually under a long narrow porch, made them easy to spot.  Food was plentiful, but had a monotonous sameness.  The main difference in price depended on whether it was it was "hott" or cold.

Then, as now, the quickest and easiest profit was made at the bar.  West Indies rum and French brandy were sold by the gallon and usually was made into punch.  Peach or apple brandy of local manufacture was cheaper.  Imported Claret, Sherry, Madeira or Port was sold by the quart bottle and was more expensive, especially Claret at five shillings in 1760.

The County Courts set up a sort of price control to keep unscrupulous innkeepers from excess profits; however, the Court refused to grant licenses "to poor persons under the pretense of Charity, but to such only as kept good Houses and a constant supply of all necessary Entertainment".  Ladies were not expected to travel.  Those who did and wrote about it, seem to have spent most of their time in acute discomfort or mortal terror.

These remarks of John Gott were taken from the "The Fauquier Heritage Society News" of April/July 1998.  The Fauquier Heritage Society is dedicated to the history of all of Fauquier County's inhabitants.  They are currently working to save and adapt the Old Salem Meeting House, Marshall's oldest building, as a "monument to the spirit that created a new nation".  People interested in joining the Society should write to them at P.O. Box 548, Marshall, VA 20116.


Nr. 468:

Some history of the Germanna Colonies, but only a peripheral amount, was written by William Byrd II.  We have his "Progress to the Mines", which recounts his visit to Germanna and the Spotswoods (Spotswood had a family by this time), followed by his comments on the iron mines and furnace of Spotswood; however, he wrote this about thirteen years after the First Colony had left Fort Germanna for Germantown.  By then, Fort Germanna had disappeared to be replaced by Spotswood's home which was built on the same site.  William Byrd wrote a cryptic remark which has never been explained fully.  He spoke of a "baker's dozen" of ruinous tenements where Spotswood had housed workers.  John Fontaine wrote of nine homes when Fort Germanna was the home of the First Germanna Colony.

Because of the difference in the number of homes, there has been a difference of opinion as to whether the houses to which Byrd refers were the same as the ones to which Fontaine refers.  Probably they were.  The increase from nine to thirteen could have come about in several ways.  First, before the First Colony left Fort Germanna, it appears that several of the bachelors did marry.  Whereas the bachelors originally appear to have been living together in one house, the new couples probably set up housekeeping in their own homes.  Also, for a period of time, Francis Hume was Spotswood's supervisor of the Germans at Germanna.  Probably he qualified for a house of his own.  And then later, while Spotswood's home was under construction, he had many workmen on the site.  Some of the additional homes may have been required for them.

Within a few months after Spotswood arrived in Virginia to assume his duties as the Lt. Gov. of the colony, Byrd made a proposal to Spotswood which Spotswood thought had merit.  Spotswood followed up on Byrd's idea.  Byrd was the owner of land on the James River which contained iron ore.  In fact, it was in this area that the iron furnace of 1622 had been built.

Byrd said he would give up his claim to this land to the colony if the colony would build an iron furnace, and if the colony would give him a position or job in the operation.  Spotswood saw that there was merit in the plan, for England had denuded herself by cutting down its trees to make charcoal for its iron furnaces.  England was in the position of buying iron from the Baltic nations; however, Virginia had trees, water power, and iron ore.  It would make sense for England to encourage iron production in Virginia.  For a few months, Spotswood pursued these ideas.

(Willis Kemper, who wrote a history of two of the Germanna families, completely misinterpreted these actions of Spotswood.  Kemper would have us believe that Spotswood found iron ore and was pursuing the subject of iron for personal reasons.  Neither of these statements was true.)

In future notes, I will look at William Byrd II who was an interesting person, even though he had but little impact on the Germanna Colonies.


Nr. 469:

That Virginia was a land of opportunity was clear in the case of the Byrd family.  William Byrd I, the father of the William in the last note, was the son of John, a London goldsmith of moderate means.  John married Grace Stegg, the daughter of Thomas Stegg, a merchant and ship captain involved in the Virginia trade.  Through involved events, William Byrd I inherited good properties in Virginia from his mother's family.  (Inheritance can also improve one's opportunities.)  William married Mary Horsmanden in 1673 and William II was born within the year.  Four other children followed, including Ursula who married Robert Beverley, the historian.

William I, as a part of his inheritance, was deeply involved in the Indian trade from an outpost at the falls of the James River.  Traders from here ranged hundreds of miles.  Soon William I had expanded to buying and selling tobacco, slaves, and indentured servants with goods for his fellow Virginians from England and New England.  Though William I was a shrewd and enterprising trader, his correspondence never suggests that he was given to trickery, meanness, or sharp practice.  Very soon, William I became a prominent citizen and served in the government of the colony.  Much of his profit went into land so that he owned more than 26,000 acres at his death.

As time went by, William I spent more and more money and time on the education of his children and of himself.  The children were sent to school in England, including his daughters.  Besides an academic education, William II received practical training in business and in law.  In order that the Byrd name be carried on properly, William I left his entire estate when he died in 1704 to his namesake, William II.  When William II inherited Westover, the family estate, he was already a man of distinction.  At this time he was barely thirty but he had served in the House of Burgesses and he had been the agent for Virginia in London.  He had already been elected to the Royal Society for scientific investigations.

Shortly thereafter, William II married Lucy Parke which became a financial disaster for him.  When Lucy's father died, William agreed to take his lands and, in exchange, to pay his debts.  The full extent of the debts was unknown and they proved to be a burden to William for many years to follow.  Lucy died in 1716 and William married again.  The last child of the second marriage was the first male heir and he became William III.  He inherited Westover, but he dissipated the property, turned Tory during the Revolution, and ended his own life in 1777.  Thus the cycle of three, so common in family histories, was evident.  The family was securely launched by the first William.  The second William enlarged the family fortunes.  The third William Byrd squandered it all.

William II was a good writer.  He wrote with a touch of understated humor that make his writing a pleasure to read, but very little of what he wrote was published in his own lifetime.  By inclination he was given to polishing and rewriting his accounts with the result that most of his famous works were published after his death.  Among his writings, there were diaries written in code that were never intended for publication.

William II started on a good footing with Spotswood but he turned against Spotswood over the questions of the power of the crown versus the power of the colony.  In spite of the many years that Byrd spent in England, he thought of himself as a Virginian, a citizen of an independent country.  Eventually, Byrd and Spotswood reconciled their differences and Byrd could visit and write about his visit to the "Enchanted Castle," the home of Spotswood which has been built atop the site of the First Germanna Colony homes.  William Byrd II died in 1744, four years after Spotswood died.


Nr. 470:

Many of us have never been on a cruise.  So let's take one with Francis Louis Michel, who apparently wrote off the cost of his cruise as a business expense.  Actually, since he hoped to be in the business of settling Swiss emmigrants in the Americas, his claim was legitimate.  Though events did not turn out in the way as he had expected, the Germanna Colonies were one consequence of his trips.  Michel, like all good tourists, wrote letters home to his brother describing the trip.  The brother was kind enough to recopy them and to save them.

On 8 October 1701 Michel engaged passage on a ship down the Rhine from Basle, Switzerland.  (Michel was a citizen of Bern.)  Twenty-two days later he arrived in Rotterdam.  A bit of luck enabled Michel to take passage for London on the yacht of "Milord Galloway" which left Rotterdam on the evening of the 31st.  Four days later the ship was in London, not far from the Tower.  Before landing, the custom inspectors made their third inspection of the goods of the passengers, even the trunks of Milord.

Doing a little sightseeing in London, Michel singled out St. Paul's cathedral.  This building was not entirely finished but enough of it was completed that it stood out as the outstanding building in London.  Michel also mentioned two royal castles, Kensington and Grenwitsch.  We know the latter as Greenwich but then Michel did not speak the lingo of the locals, so he spelled names as he heard them.  For example, he spelled the name of the river which flows through London as "Tems."

To find a ship to America, Michel visited the dock areas every day looking for a ship to the West Indies.  After eight days of searching, he learned that several ships would be leaving in four weeks.  One ship, the Nassau, especially attracted him because of the King's liberality which allowed free passage on it.  Ordinarily, the fare west bound was five to six pounds and half of that on the return trip.

With the ship selected, Michel made inquiries as to what goods could be expected to sell well in America.  He purchased a mattress, linen, whiskey, ready-made clothes, hats, stockings, shoes, rifles, all kinds of household goods and implements, knives, scissors, shoe buckles, hair powder, perfumes and laces.  His expectation was that he would make a minimum of fifty percent on his goods.  On some goods, he claimed that one can double or even triple one's investment.  The large profits are due to the fact that residents of the Western World had to order everything from England.  At first, Michel thought this was because there were insufficient artisans in America but he later understood that the merchants in England had succeeded in having laws enacted which forbid the manufacture of finished goods in the Americas.

On December 15, Michel went on board the ship and found a cabin for himself.  There were 140 other persons on the same deck.  In spite of the anticipation of sailing soon, the ship was still in the harbor on January 14, 1702 (Michel used the new style calendar).  The delay was attributed to two factors, the adverse winds and the fact that the ship was subject to military service.  The owner of the ship substituted another one that he owned in place of the Nassau, so that the Nassau could be used as planned.


Nr. 471:

(Among the other people on board the Nassau were many "poor" English people who had been guilty of some crime and were, as a result, sold in servitude for four years.  Michel claimed that the majority of the people who lived in Virginia had arrived there under these circumstances.  The ones that were on board the ship Nassau with Michel created a spot of trouble.  While at the dock they prepared to take over the ship but made so much noise in the process that Michel and a few Frenchmen defended the access to the upper decks with their swords (at first, Michel and his friends thought they were the objects of the uprising).  As a consequence, the revolt failed and the grateful owner gave Michel and his friends free passage to Virginia.  The ringleaders of the revolt were put into irons for the duration of the trip.)

"On the 14th of January the ship left the dock.  On the 7th of February we sailed by Dover.  We made Cowes on the Isle of Wight where we stayed until the 18th of February.  So far, we were only 44 miles from London.  When we sailed on the 18th, there were many ships of different nationalities in the harbor who sailed with them but the Nassau was the only one who took a westward course.  The Nassau was a larger ship which was sometimes pressed into naval service so she carried 18 pieces of cannon.  There was a total of 218 souls on board of which 130 persons had been sold into servitude.  The balance of 88 was the crew and paying passengers.

"Food was distributed in this manner:  Five persons had to club together.  They received daily four pounds of biscuits, one quart of beer, two quarts of water, two pieces of beef or pork, weighing six pounds, and a dish full of large peas.  On Sundays and Wednesdays there was flour and pork lard (in place of the meat) which were cooked with meat.  Usually grape juice was added and the result was called pudding.  Sometimes beans and butter were handed out in lieu of meat.  The food and water were of a bad taste and the large number of mice spoiled the bread.  One could eat at the captain's table, but it was expensive:  ten pounds on the west trip and six pounds on the east trip.  Those who sat at the captain's table ate much better, with fresh meat, wine, and strong beer.

"Until the 8th of March, the winds blew strongly from the east and the captain kept as many sails up around the clock as the ship would allow.  We made about three miles each hour.  There was much sickness with the fever and a few people died each week.  For these, a sack would be filled with stones and tied to the person and they would be consigned to the deep.  An English lady of high family and great wealth died and for her a coffin was built with holes in it.  She was placed in it with some stones and buried at sea.  She had been sent to Virginia by her family because she had committed some indiscretion.

"Even though progress had been good, a long journey was anticipated; therefore, rations were diminished.  The reduction in water hurt.  On Easter day we had a big storm and could not cook.  On the 1st of April we had beautiful weather again.  We were overtaken by another ship which we thought might belong to pirates so we made ready for a fight, but the ship was another English ship to our great relief.  The captains consulted each other and agreed that we were about 250 to 300 miles from the Virginia coast.  They measured the speed in the water and, using this, calculated the distance we had gone."

(On the 16th, Michel lost consciousness due to a fever which he had.  He could not stand the ship's food.)


Nr. 472:

(On the 19th of April, after Michel had recovered some of his senses, another ship was spotted which was very worrisome, as the pirates were often found in this region.)

"As the ship overtook us we made ready with a defense.  All men had to participate while the women were locked in the hold.  Before the ship could overtake us night fell and we changed our course and never saw the ship again.  On the 22nd two large ships appeared but in the night we lost them.  On the 4th of May, we had a good wind after several days of adverse or no wind.  Again we met two ships which were friendly and the ships all hove to.  One of these ships had been captured by the pirates but had been retaken and most of the pirates had been hung in England.  All the captains agreed that we were within fifty miles of Virginia.  The clues were land birds and plants in the water.  The sailors caught a hundred pound fish but it was not very good eating.

"We started sounding for the bottom but we could find nothing at 200 fathoms.  We used a rope with a piece of lead for the sounding.  To the bottom of the lead the sailors put a piece of tallow and from this they could tell something about the bottom.  After a couple of days we struck bottom at 118 fathoms.  The water grew shallower; the next day the depth was 90, 78, and 52 fathoms.  We had to stop sailing at night for fear of running aground.  The next morning we sighted land.  Everyone appeared happy and gave thanks to God.

"The coast appeared like a forest standing in water.  As we got closer, we could see the different kinds of trees.  We sailed into [Chesapeake] Bay with four or five fathoms of water.  We found the York River and sailed up it to Yorktown where six ships were lying at anchor.

"In this fourth part of the world, the first colony was New York which is the principal province of the British Empire.  The capital in the west is called Boston.  It is ruled by the king of England.  Pennsylvania or New Netherlands, adjoining New York, was first settled by Hollanders and many of them still live there today.  The capital is called Philadelphia, a large, rich, commercial city.  Charles II gave it to the Baptists.  The government was taken away from William Penn because he harbored pirates.  Then follows Maryland, where they grow an inferior tobacco, and Virginia.  Carolina is to the south.  The country is so wild between Virginia and Carolina that people do not travel by land between the two."  [Obviously, Michel flunked his history and geography lessons.]

[Apparently, the ship "Nassau" reached Yorktown on the 9th of May.  Michel had boarded the ship in the middle of December and had lived on board since then.  The actual sailing commenced about the middle of January, though little progress was made at first.  Close to four months had been taken for the crossing.  According to Michel, the captain told him that this was the fastest crossing he had made in eight trips.]


Nr. 473:

[With Francis Louis Michel in Virginia as he writes to his brother in Bern.]  Michel described Virginia at some length.  In part, it was because the knowledge of Virginia was very poor in Bern.  Also, Michel had made the trip because he was looking for a place to set down Swiss colonists, so he was writing home about what he found.  To someone approaching Virginia from the sea, the Chesapeake Bay and the four rivers, the James, York, Rappahannock, and the Potomac are the most obvious feature.  They formed the transportation system of the colony.  Michel went into detail about the depths, lengths, tides, and fishing.

[Michel's observations were not always put down systematically.]  "Religious services are held according to the principles of the reformation but there are differences in the English churches.  The French at "Manigkintown", where the French dwell, have other differences.  Going to church at some places may mean a trip of thirty miles, but it is not a great hardship because the people ride horses there.  Horses, used for little more than riding, always run at a fast gallop.  No person goes to church except on horseback.  Most of the churches are built of wood."

"The clerical profession gets 16,000 pounds of tobacco per year as a salary.  In addition, one must pay for marriages, baptisms, and funerals."  [Michel erred in stating the Mr. Blair was the Bishop in the colony; there were no bishops in Virginia.  Blair was the Commissary (agent) of the Bishop of London.  He was also a prominent member of the Virginia government and on one occasion was the acting governor.]

Michel gives the structure of the government in Virginia and again he gets mixed up on some of the details.  He does recognize the three parts, Governor, Council, and Assembly.  In 1702, there were twelve counties.  He observes that the late King William ordered the seat of government moved to Middle Plantation, which is now called Williamsburg in his honor.  "There is a college, where the governor resides, and a capitol building is to be built.  A church, some houses, some inns, and the magazine make up the rest of the town.  Only the well-to-do parents can afford to send their sons to the college.  About forty students are in attendance there.  Previously, the wealthy parents sent their sons to England to school."

"Militarily, the governor is the general.  Then each county has a colonel.  These are conspicuous, rich men, who allow themselves to be used for police duties as well as military duties.  When on active service, they get a salary, but the rest of the time they get no pay, except the use of their titles.  There are no permanent soldiers and forts and the citizens must protect themselves.  They are very inexperienced in military training.  They hold two or three musters each year when the guns are examined."

[Michel then gives a description of how Virginia was discovered.]


Nr. 474:

[Michel continued his description of Virginia by noting that the land consisted of valleys and plains which were covered by high trees.]  "The soil is mostly light and partly sandy, except above the falls in the rivers where it is black and heavy.  It is good soil, especially at Falling Creek on the James River.  In Virginia, almost everything grows that is put into the ground.  Tobacco is the principal article there.  It passes for money because gold and silver are seldom seen there, especially among the common people.  It is planted in such quantity that 150 ships, large and small but not more than twenty small ships, left the country this year laden with tobacco."

"The merchants have great storehouses filled with all kinds of goods.  When an inhabitant needs something, he goes to a merchant.  The sale is recorded in the book and when the tobacco crop comes in, the people pay the merchants.  A hundred pounds of tobacco is usually recorded as twenty shillings (one pound of money)."

"When the rainy season comes, the tobacco is packed solidly, one leaf above the other, into a barrel which holds from 700 to 1000 pounds.  Growing tobacco demands much care.  First, the soil is prepared.  Then, using a broad hoe, the soil is loosened on top and made into little mounds, six feet apart.  It is planted in rainy weather.  When fully grown, the leaves touch each other.  It grows best in new soil but the land must be very good to grow tobacco for twenty years."

"The inhabitants do not live close together but are spread out so that they have lots of ground around them.  They must keep clearing new land to grow the tobacco.  A settler divides his land into three parts, the first for tobacco and corn, the second for meadows for the cattle, and the third part for woods.  When the land does not grow tobacco well anymore, corn is planted for six to eight years.  Then he lets the land stand idle for a while and uses new ground.  A settler often grows 1500 to 2000 pounds of tobacco a year plus six to eight barrels of corn."

"Corn is so productive that it yields fifty to a hundred fold.  It makes pretty good bread.  It is pounded and cooked.  They also make a hominy.  Servants make a mush from corn and they bake cakes from the grain.  Corn is planted by making a small hole in the ground and three or four grains are put into it.  The holes are six feet apart.  Much corn is raised for both people and cattle.  During the summer, the weeds must be removed in both the corn and tobacco.  The price of corn is about two shillings a bushel which is equal to about two measures in Switzerland."

"They also plant wheat in the same way as we do at home.  The fields for this are usually where the cattle have been penned which fertilizes the ground.  Wheat yields twenty-five fold and costs about three or four shillings per bushel.  They also plant oats and barley."


Nr. 475:

[Michel continues with his discussion of practices of the Virginia settlers.]  "Very few garden plants are planted except lettuce.  Fresh seeds must be imported every year, for if the seed of this country is planted, it turns wild again."

"The custom of the country, when the harvest is to be gathered in, is to prepare a dinner, to which the neighbors are invited.  There are often thirty to fifty persons cutting grain, so that they have work for only two hours.  This is one of the principal festivals or times of rejoicing.  When I was unable to travel at one time, because of the rain, I stayed at a house, where they intended to cut wheat that day.  It looked in the morning as if the weather was going to be favorable.  Ten persons had already arrived when the weather changed and turned to a violent rain so that the hope to harvest in a few days came to nothing.  Fresh meat cannot be kept in the summer longer than twenty-four hours, hence the good people were compelled, not wanting the sheep and chicken to spoil, to entertain us which lasted a day and a half."

"Fruit trees grow in great abundance.  The apple trees are very numerous though the trees are not very large like the pear trees.  In my travels I could not estimate the large quantities which were rotting.  Cider is made from them which is drunk mostly during the winter.  Without good cellars, this drink turns sour in the summer.  There are also pears and peaches and the people cannot eat more than one fourth of the peaches.  The rest are fed to the pigs.  Cherries are found in good abundance and wine is made from them."

"Berries grow wild and on the plantations.  There are many kinds and so many of them that one just helps himself to them.  They are also eaten by the pigs and the birds.  But not many are eaten because there is so much else to eat.  There are plums also but not so many of these.  And there are other kinds of fruit which I do not know.  One kind of bean is grown with the corn and it grows up along the corn stalks.  Another kind of bean grows on along the ground.  They also have peas.  There are many potatoes and different kinds of melons.  Some of these are cooked but the water melons are eaten raw and are very good in the summer.  Many of these are grown."

"The water is also very prolific and an indescribably large number of big and little fish are in the many creeks and in the large rivers.  They are easily caught to my surprise with a line or a spear.  Many fish are dried, especially those that are fat.  One unusual fish is the porpoise which, due to its jumping and large size, is a danger to canoes and swimmers.  There are many turtles and oysters.  The oysters are so thick that they build up shoals which are a danger to boats.  We once got stuck on an oyster bed and had to wait for the tide to free us.  The oysters are so large that I usually cut them up before eating them."

"There are frogs in the water and they make a wonderful noise.  Some are very large and sound like an ox bellowing.  Some of them are a foot long.  There are also water snakes and all kinds of costly animals in the water such as beavers, otters, and muskrats.  One can trade rum to the Indians for the skins of these animals.  The beaver skin brings a very good price in London where they are made into castors."

 


(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 NINETEENTH set of Notes, Nr. 451 through Nr. 475.)


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 451 through 475.


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