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This is the TWENTY-SECOND 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 526 through 550.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 22

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Nr. 526:

Robert Beverley, the historian, had claims on 13,000 acres along the southern edge of the Rapidan River, starting just above Fort Germanna (to the west).  At the time he originally staked out the land, there was no Fort Germanna.  He declined to file for a patent on the land as he would have been required to pay his fees then.  Once a patent was issued, there was a limit to the amount of time that it could remain idle before the land reverted to the crown.  Beverley had been so unsure of finding the necessary settlers, about forty families, that he had not paid his fees.

Beverley had approached Spotswood about joining in a partnership to develop this land.  The hope was that the two of them could find enough settlers to develop the land.  The land was near Germanna, as it started about two miles from Germanna and ran up the south side of the Rapidan River, to the mouth of the Robinson River, a distance of several miles.  Along the way it passed by the silver mine, of which Spotswood was a partner.  So, there were three tracts of land in which Spotswood could potentially be involved, all located on the south of the Rapidan, and nearly contiguous.

In August of 1716, Germanna was deluged with visitors including Spotswood himself.  He was the organizer and leader of a large troop of men who planned on crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains.  They were using Germanna as a staging area, where the party of about fifty men would gather.  Fortunately, John Fontaine was along on the trip and he made notes in his journal which give us some description of it.

Fontaine spent a lot of time, while he was at Germanna, in evaluating the silver mine.  He had traveled from Williamsburg in the company of Spotswood and they arrived at Germanna at nine o'clock in the evening of August 24.  Fontain says: 

"[On the next day,] we went to see the mines but I could not observe that there was any good mine.  We took some of the ore and endeavoured to run it, but could get nothing out it.  Many of the gentlemen of the country are concerned in this work."

From this and other similar events, one gathers that Spotswood had charged Fontaine with evaluating the silver mine.

On the 26th of August, a Sunday, several of the gentlemen rode out to view the land thereabouts.  On Monday and Tuesday, Fontaine was sick.  On Wednesday afternoon, they left Germanna but stopped about three miles from Germanna at Expedition Run, now called Russell Run.  The camp was called Beverley Camp, after the historian who was along on the trip.  It was especially appropriate as it marked the start of Beverley's 13,000 acre claim.  The next day, they made only six miles.  In part, it was due to some of Spotswood's horses straying during the night which caused a late start.  The party crossed Mine Run which ran through the projected silver mine.  They were now progressing through Beverley's claim, the land to be used in the projected Beverley-Spotswood land partnership.  This was probably another reason they made so little mileage that day.


Nr. 527:

On the third day outbound from Germanna along the Rapidan River, the party made better mileage.  For about five miles, they traveled on the north side of the Rapidan River.  In doing so they were traversing land which Spotswood was to patent.  From this and the first days' events, one sees the true nature of the expedition.  Spotswood and the other gentlemen were looking at the land with a view toward taking some of it up.

The camp at the end of the third day was near to the mouth of the Robinson River.  The route past this point is conjecture.  Randy Grymes, a current day writer and historian, thought they may have taken a southern route along the Rapidan because several members of the party took up land to the south of the Rapidan River.  But by the same reasoning, if one notes that Spotswood did take up 40,000 acres north of the river, one might argue that the route of the party might have been along the Robinson River.  But either way, it is clear that the men were looking for land and that this was the primary purpose of the expedition.

On September 10, late in the afternoon, the party returned to Germanna.  The next day seems to have been a day of rest for some while others took their departure.  Gov. Spotswood is said to have settled his business with the Germans and accommodated the minister and the people.  This is as much as Fontaine tells us on this subject.  On September 12, Fontaine and Mr. Robinson attempted to melt some ore in the smith's forge but could get nothing out it.  On the 13th, Fontaine and Spotswood left Germanna but went by way of the mine, where they gathered up samples of the ore to take back to Williamsburg.

This expedition marks a turning point in Spotswood's economic plans.  For more than three years, of which the Germans had been present for more than two years, Spotswood had been pinning his hopes on the silver mine.  Nothing had come from this because the crown failed to set the royal share which Spotswood regarded as essential.  Also, the mine failed to show any silver.  Spotswood had decided land was a better alternative.  Land had proven to be the route to wealth for many Virginians and Spotswood had decided to embark on a large scale land acquisition program.  The few thousand acres that he had taken up were to be nothing in comparison to his future plans.

The fantasy of the romanticized "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" name completely masks the true nature of the expedition.  The trek was a business venture to look for land.  Spotswood evaluated the land which Beverley wanted to use in a partnership.  And he was looking for additional land to the north of the Rapidan River to add to this.  While he was in the neighborhood of Germanna, he also had Fontaine make an assessment of the mine.  Fontaine makes it clear that there was no future in silver mining.

Ironically, in later years, in this general neighborhood, gold was found in commercial quantities.


Nr. 528:

Gov. Spotswood submitted expense reports to London.  He was asked for an explanation of these reports and he responded with a statement which has been printed in "The William and Mary Quarterly" for January 1923.  The period of time is from 1711 to 1717.  Two of his trips merit a mention at this time.

"Upon projecting to lessen the great charge of Rangers & to settle a more lasting Guard for the Frontiers, Measures were concerted in Sundry Councils, & the Gov'r in order to put the same in Execution did undertake [17 May 1714] a Fortnights expedition to Reconnoitre the Norward Frontiers & to fortify a place for Settling a Body of Germans above the Falls of the Rappahannock [322 miles]."

This establishes that Spotswood did go to the Germanna site and help in choosing a place to situate Fort Germanna.  But, this seems to establish that the action was an official one of the colony, not a private enterprise of his.  Therefore, one might be surprised to hear him at other times to speak of this as a private action.

With respect to the trip over the Blue Ridge Mountains, the governor wrote:

"Upon Notice of a Passage being discovered through the great Western Mountains, the Governor advising with the Council, judg'd it might be for the Safety & benefit of this Colony if the Pass could be secured by a Fort, & a Trade opened that way with remote Indians, & therefore Resolving to view it himself, he undertook [20 Aug 1716] a Monts Expedition w'th 63 Men & 74 Horses marching beyond the high Ridge of Mountains, until he arriv'd at a large River on the other side."

Again, the trip is cast with an official objective, though the objective of Spotswood and many of the 63 men was to look for land, especially just beyond Germanna.  This is another example of Spotswood interpreting a situation in two different ways.  In both of these cases, Spotswood was attempting to obtain expense money from the crown so it was necessary to cast his expense reports as the result of an official action which had been discussed and approved by the Council in Virginia.

As Spotswood went back to Williamsburg in 1716, he pondered over a big question.  Where was he going to get the settlers for the large tract or tracts of land that he planned on taking up?  Robert Beverley, the historian, had been stymied with his 13,000 acres.  No one wanted to live alone in such an isolated situation which was perceived as too dangerous.  The massacre in North Carolina just a few years back was fresh in the minds of the Virginians.


Nr. 529:

As Spotswood rode back to Williamsburg, he reviewed his economic plans.  The thoughts that were turning over in his mind probably went something like this:

"Land is the proven route to wealth in Virginia.  The big tracts are out west in the uninhabited regions.  If I owned the land, I could lease and not sell it.  Then if I ever have a family, I would have something to leave to them.  I need a group now to settle on the land and provide support and protection for each other while I prove up my title to the land.  Those Germans at Germanna have worked out well.  It was too bad the mines have not turned out but that wasn't the fault of the Germans.  They have kept the peace.  They stayed in place and did not create any problems.  Too bad they don't have more time left to serve.  I wonder why Virginia isn't getting more shiploads of Germans?  I must investigate this more.  Right now, I must get the surveyors at work on a tract of land above, to the north of the Rapidan River.  There was some good land there.  That would go well with the land that Beverley has, just across the river."

Within about six months, Spotswood had an opportunity to talk to a ship's captain.  Actually, in his capacity as the governor and the commander of His Majesty's naval forces in the region of Virginia, he had many opportunities to visit with the ship masters.  One of the problems that Spotswood had to deal with was pirates who openly operating at the mouth of the bay.  For example, when one of the ships bringing Graffenried's Germans stopped by Virginia, it was raided by a pirate ship right in the view of a ship of Her Majesty's navy which was at anchor.  It did not sit well with the merchants, ship owners, and the Crown for the pirates to be so busy right on the coast of Virginia.  Spotswood was very active in his pursuit of the pirates, and did more to eliminate piracy than any governor.  It was he who hung Blackbeard in the Williamsburg square as a lesson to other pirates.

On 17 April 1717, Spotswood took testimony from Andrew Tarbett, master of the ship Agnis, and from Robert Gilmer, super cargo on the Agnis.  The Agnis was bound from Barbados to Virginia with rum, sugar, molasses, and sundry European goods, on 7 April, when it was intercepted off Cape Charles by a pirate ship.  The cargo of the Agnis was plundered by the pirates, the crew of the Agnis was taken on the pirate ship, and the Agnis was sunk.  The pirates intercepted other ships and put the captured crews on board one of these.  They were able then to make land.  From the conversations with the crew of the pirate ship, it was learned that about ten pirate ships were operating in the Atlantic.

Andrew Tarbett is to be found in another record from Great Britain.  In 1724, two custom officials were convicted for accepting a bribe from Andrew Tarbett, master of the ship Scott, to allow some Virginia tobacco to pass without the payment of the usual customs (H. M. Customs and Excise Library, Class 1480).  There are several interesting things in this document but foremost is the mention of the ship of the name Scott.  "Scott" is a red flag in connection with another group of Germans who ended up in Virginia.


Nr. 530:

The name Scott has been said to be the name of the captain of the ship which brought a group of German Lutherans to Virginia in 1717.  B.C. Holtzclaw, writing in Germanna Record Six, says the importation statement of some of these Germans stated they came "about nine years since with Capt. Scott".  The statements, three in total and all saying the same thing, are to be found in Spotsylvania County Order Book 1724-1730.  When one reads the documents in their original form, one learns that the word "about" is not a part of the statement.  One also learns that they do not say "with Capt. Scott" but they say "in Capt. Scott".

It is unusual to refer to Captains in this way, which raises the question as to what was the intent of the statement.  Remember that these are Germans whose knowledge of English was limited.  Perhaps, in their bumbling way, they were referring to a ship by the name of Scott instead of a man.  They may have said something to the effect that they came with the captain of the ship named Scott.  The clerk misunderstood their meaning and wrote down something which was not their intent at all.

To answer whether "Scott" might not refer to a ship rather than a man, I examined the colonial records.  This is not as hard to do as might be expected in spite of the large volume of records in many depositories in Great Britain.  Shortly after World War II, the state of Virginia sent researchers to Great Britain to look for records which referred to Virginia.  When they found one, they microfilmed it.  The collection was brought back to Richmond, and an elaborate index was prepared.  In this age of computers, they have even made the index accessible via a computer; however, the microfilms must be read or copied at Richmond.

These microfilms are not a complete record of events but the extent of them is surprising.  For example, in looking for a captain named Scott, several were found.  But the civilians were either too many years before 1717 or too many years after 1717.  There were also military captains in the Navy but they would hardly seem to qualify.  The captain in question spent time in a debtor's prison in London which would not be typical of a military captain.  The lack of an appropriate captain named Scott in these records casts doubt there was a captain by this name.

Next, the records were examined for a ship named Scott and one was found.  It was the ship of which Andrew Tarbett was master.  The record in question says little about the ship except that it was engaged in trade with Virginia (it was carrying Virginia tobacco).  But the record said a lot more about the character of Andrew Tarbett.

Looking for more information about Tarbett, it was discovered that he had been talking, in the spring of the year of 1717, with Gov. Spotswood.  This occurred when he lost a ship to the pirates and had to give a disposition on the facts.  It is my belief that Tarbett was back in Virginia in less than a year with a group of seventy-odd Germans.  Tarbett's appearance on this occasion was not an accident of the weather.  It was a deliberate action and he was abetted in his criminal activities by Gov. Spotswood.


Nr. 531:

Alexander Spotswood had to explain his land acquisitions to the people in London who had oversight of the Virginia Colony (it was a royal colony).  He wrote, in 1724, to Col. Nathaniel Harrison, the Deputy Auditor of H.M. Revenues:

. . . "I fell into another partnership of land.  Mr. Robert Beverley having discovered some excellent land among the little mountains had made a survey of it before the proclamation of 1710.  But not daring to seat lands so remote from all Christian inhabitants, and exposed to Indians, found it in vain to take out a patent which would have required him to pay his fees then.

"An opportunity happened of freeing a considerable number of German families IMPORTED [emphasis added] in 1717 and he invited me to become a partner in the land, along with some others, to the end that we might all join in making 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 freeman in 20 odd tenements, close to one another for their better defense and provided them with a stock of cattle.  But afterwards, understanding that many other Germans wanted to join them, we thought it needful to enlarge the tract.  Because the Lord Commissioners of Trade were encouraging the raising of naval stores, we took in a large quantity of piney lands which lay contiguous and the total was then 40,000 acres."

Spotswood claims the increase in the size of the tract was after the Germans came.  He would have us believe that the Germans came first, then the tract was increased from 13,000 acres to 40,000 acres.  But the Germans were not settled on the 13,000 acres that Beverley had.  They were settled on the 27,000 acres of the increase.  That is, the plans for the 40,000 acres were in place before the Germans came.  They were settled on the north side of the Rapidan River, across from Beverley's original claim.  This shows that the partnership was active before the Germans arrived and that they were looking for settlers with an emphasis on Germans.

In the quotation of Spotswood above, I emphasized the word "imported".  Spotswood spoke of the Germans as something that one ordered from Europe, like furniture or clothing.  And I believe that is what he did do.  He let the ship's captains know that he wanted a ship load of Germans.  He wasn't speaking about one or two families but about "a body of people", whom the partners could settle all at once.  The plans of the partners had been in place since the expedition over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The additional land had been surveyed and was waiting.  The partners were seeking a body of people, but the search was not passive.  Spotswood became actively involved in it.

[Quotations from Spotswood have been modernized to conform more closely to our rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling though the words are essentially his.]


Nr. 532:

The claim was made here recently that the seventy-odd Germans of 1717 were settled by Spotswood (and his partners) on the north side of the Rapidan River.  This note starts the proof of that.  The Rapidan is the southern branch of the Rappahannock River while the northern branch is called simply the Rappahannock or Hedgman's River.  Between these two branches is the Great Fork (of the Rappahannock), a phrase that recurs in many patent and grant land descriptions.  Germanna is NOT in the Great Fork, since it lies to the south of the Rapidan.  Germantown (now of Fauquier County) lies north of the Rappahannock River and it, too, is not in the Great Fork.

The first clue that I had toward determining the home of the 1717 Germans was a lease executed by Spotswood to Thomas Byrn and Martha, his wife.  To quote from the abstract:

" . .in the fork of the Rappahannock in St. George's Parish of Spotsylvania County, part of that land known as New German Town, Nos. 18 and 19. . ."

At first, I did not connect it with the home of the 1717 group, but it did strike me as odd to have a New German Town in the fork of the Rappahannock.  Both Germanna (sometimes called German Town), and Germantown to the north, were outside the fork of the Rappahannock.  Therefore we had a third German Town which was unexplained.

Anyone looking for the first home of the 1717 Germans should look in a radius of five miles of Germanna because this is the area of the old St. George's parish, the one set up for the benefit of the Germans, or, more likely, for the benefit of Spotswood.  Germans in this area were relieved from paying tithes to the Church of England.  Actually, since Spotswood and partners paid the transportation of the Germans, it could be said they were exempt from the tithes.  (The mention of St. George's Parish in the lease was to the new parish which replaced the old parish.)

Prior to my search for the first home of the 1717 Germans, the universal opinion was that they lived south of the Rapidan.  Sometimes, it was said, at the iron furnace, where they were supposed to have worked.  Actually, the iron furnace was not in existence yet, and would not be for a few more years.  So, the claim that the 1717 Germans worked in the iron industry was false, but it was not so easy to discount the claim that the Germans lived south of the Rapidan, i.e., on the same side of the Rapidan as Germanna.

Taking the patent description of the 40,000 acre tract that Spotswood owned, which is where he said the Germans were settled, one finds that it starts on the south side of the Rapidan, just west of Germanna, runs west to the mouth of the Robinson River (this was the original Beverley claim), then up the Robinson to Meander Run, and up it for a ways and across land to the western side of the modern town of Culpeper, south for a while, then east, back toward Germanna.  All of the boundaries, starting with the Robinson River, are in the Great Fork.  At the close of the boundary description, there is a mention of a German Run.  This is a few miles from Germanna, and across the Rapidan from Germanna, so it is not obvious for what Germans it is named.


Nr. 533:

Using a Culpeper County historical map, German Run was found.  It flowed into Field's Run, which used to be named Fleshman's Run.  (The renaming of geographical features is a problem.  For example, Meander Run became Crooked Run.)

Fleshman's Run set off bells because Cyriacus Fleshman was a prominent member of the second group of Germans, the ones who came in 1717.  This immediately suggested that German Run and Fleshman's Run were the site of the homes of the 1717 group of Germans.  The pieces started to fall into place.  Going back to Spotswood's letter to Col. Harrison, he said the seventy-odd Germans were settled in twenty-some homes.  The Spotswood lease to Byrn mentions lot numbers 18 and 19.  This suggests that New German Town, in the Great Fork, was indeed the home of the 1717 Germans and gives a reason for a location which was called New German Town.

The only uncertainty in the location was the extent of it.  Spotswood said the Germans were closely settled for their protection.  Did this mean a compact village-like arrangement?  At first, the assumption was this.  Using the geographical features of Fleshman's Run and German Run, I contacted property owners in the area and arranged with some of them for permission to walk over the ground.  Some of the owners, people from Mary Washington College, and I explored possible sites.  (It was a very exciting day for me.)  Later, Prof. Sanford of the College explored more with his students and may have found an eighteenth home site.

I described my conclusions in a talk to about one hundred people at another time.  Following the talk, David Brown came up and said that he knew the land very well that I was talking about.  He went on to say that as a young man he walked over the ground with his grandfather.  David asked his grandfather if there were any Civil War sites around.  His grandfather said there weren't any but there had been a settlement in the area before the Civil War but it was gone before the War.  David hadn't asked his grandfather any more questions but the talk I had just given brought back the memory of his grandfather's statement.  David went on to say that his grandfather might not have understood the true nature of the settlement but surely he was referring to the homes of the 1717 Germans.  Interestingly, the residents of the area refer to the run as Fleshman's Run, not as Field's Run which is a modern name.  (It seems a shame that a little bit of history is being lost by the change of the name.  Cyriacus Fleshman may well have been one of the first settlers of Culpeper County.)

Events since that time have shed more light on the locations of the homes.  What Spotswood described as "closely settled" was not quite as close as I had imagined.  Thanks to Joy Stearns, we have more information.


Nr. 534:

In my search for the first home of the 1717 Germans, I assumed that all references to the Germans, such as I had found in the Byrn lease, would be in the Spotsylvania County records.  Joy Q. Stearns found several references in the Orange County leases.  Up to the middle of the century, the Great Fork lay in Orange County after it was formed.

Her first find was a lease to John Bond on 14 July 1735.  It includes metes and bounds, which the Byrn lease did not have, and the starting point is "the lower corner of lot 18 of the German tenements on the Rapidan River".  The Bond lease lay on the west side of Brook's Run, which is three to four miles up the Rapidan from Fleshman's Run.  Thus, the implication is that the tenements were spread out more than I had envisioned.  When Spotswood said "closely joined" he meant that the farms were next to each other, not the houses.  The Bond lease includes metes and bounds along with a map which shows that there are two houses on the property.  These would have been the homes of the Germans.

Several other leases in the 1740 time period, mostly made by the executors of Spotswood's estate, mention "north side of the Rapidan", "branches of Potato Run", "lot 9", "lot 8", "40,000 acre tract," "lot 6", "Spade's Run", and "old German lot on the river".  [When Spotswood went off to war, he had made several leases, but never recorded them in the county records.  After he died, the executors made public records of the leases.]

From the Bond lease, the locations of two of the tenements (homes) are known rather closely (on the west side of Brook's Run).  The eighteenth century evidence that Prof. Sanford found was nearer to Fleshman's Run.  And some lease references were found close to Potato Run.  The settlement pattern seems to be farms about every half-mile up the river and along the river, with another layer, or set, of farms to the north of this.  Thus, the homes were about one-half mile from each other.

It is to be hoped that a more active physical search can be conducted for evidence of these homes.

In telling the story of these homes on the north side of the Rapidan River, I got ahead of the main theme of the history.  I did this to prove that the expansion of the Beverly tract on the south side of the Rapidan River, to include another 27,000 acres on the north side, occurred before the Germans came.  In other words, the partners had made their plans for the 40,000 acres first, and were looking for settlers second.  Spotswood had claimed that the settlers came first and the land expansion came afterward.  In doing so, he was claiming the additional land had been for the purpose of accommodating the Germans, not himself.  But it is seen from the evidence that this was not so.


Nr. 535:

Going back in the story here to the trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains in the late summer of 1716, it is seen from the subsequent events that a major purpose of the trip was to scout land.  The 40,000 acre Spotsylvania tract took its initial form then as the party crossed over the portion contributed by Robert Beverley, the historian, and, on the other side of the Rapidan River, over a part of the expansion area.  The endeavor was a partnership with the major part of the ownership in the hands of Spotswood.

Back in Williamsburg, the work shifted to finding settlers for the tract.  What was needed was a whole group, much like the Germans in the Fort at Germanna.  Spotswood said they had been doing a good job and that Virginia would benefit if more of the countrymen of the Germans were to come to Virginia.  But the ships were not bringing Germans.  One reason was that the English had not encouraged the Germans after the disastrous year of 1709.  But luck was with Spotswood in the year of 1717.

In the spring of 1717 he talked with Andrew Tarbett whose ship had been taken from him by the pirates.  Part of the luck was that Tarbett's ethics were not the highest.  (It is a recorded fact he was willing to bribe customs officials to allow tobacco to pass without the payment of duties.)  Spotswood asked Tarbett whether it was possible to get a ship load of Germans.  That is, could Tarbett "encourage" a group of Germans to come to Virginia?  Tarbett couldn't promise anything as he no longer had a ship.  He did remember that Spotswood wanted Germans and would take an entire shipload.

Back in England in the summer of 1717, Tarbett managed to get another ship to command, one named Scott.  That fall, late in the season, a group of Germans appeared in London wanting passage to Pennsylvania.  It was a stroke of luck for Tarbett.  True, they wanted to go to Pennsylvania, not Virginia, but they would have to go where he took them.  The advantage of taking them to Virginia was that Spotswood would take the whole shipload without any hassles.  He would take the aged and infants along with the able-bodied workers.  In Pennsylvania, it would be time consuming to find someone to take all of the people and there would be lots of bargaining over the marginal elements.

After agreeing with the Germans to take them to Pennsylvania, Tarbett had a stroke of bad luck.  He was thrown into debtors' prison.  Possibly this was related to the lost of the ship Agnis and its cargo to the pirates.  He was able to obtain his release, perhaps on the strength of the contract he had to take the Germans to Pennsylvania.  The time had become very late in the year.  The Germans had not left their homes until toward the end of July.  The trip down the Rhine, the journey to London, finding a ship there, the delay while Tarbett was in debtors' prison consumed time.


Nr. 536:

The last note used the word "luck" several times.  This was deliberate, to emphasize the accidental nature of the whole Germanna experience, starting with Francis Louis Michel several years earlier.  The entire experience seems improbable yet it did happen.

With the second group of Germans leaving so late in the year from Germany and having a delay in London, while Tarbett found his way out of the clutches of debtors' prison, it is doubtful that they arrived in Virginia before December 31, 1717; however, if they arrived before the next March 25th, they still would have said they arrived in 1717 since, in the English colonies, the new year did not officially start until March 25.  In Germany, the year 1718 started on January 1 but the Germans were now on English soil where the old year lasted until March 25.

The Germans were very bitter on finding out they were in Virginia and not in Pennsylvania.

Spotswood put the number of Germans at seventy-odd, while the Germans put the number at eighty.  While it might be argued that Spotswood counted only those for whom he and his partners paid the passage money, the Germans would surely have counted every German on the ship.  Seventy-odd and eighty are too close to being the same number to argue there was a difference.  While the land in the 40,000 acres Spotsylvania tract had been for a partnership originally, each of the partners paid for specific people.  Spotswood paid for forty-eight whose names have been preserved.  There is good evidence that Robert Beverley was a partner in the enterprise and that he paid the passage money for some of the people, but the exact number is unknown.  How many other partners there were is unknown.  Probably Spotswood and Beverley were the major partners.

The Germans were settled on the north side of the Rapidan River in what Spotswood called a pattern of "closely joined" homes.  Subsequent deeds show that the homes were about one-half mile apart.  Progress with the Indians had been rapid, since only four years earlier the Germans on the other side of the river had been installed in a palisade for protection.  Now it was judged that isolated homes were adequate.

Spotswood said he provided them with a stock of cattle and other things necessary for their support without receiving any rent from them.  Though he said they were freemen, not servants, later events show that he claimed the opposite.  He also made it clear that a primary purpose of their settlement was to raise naval stores.  The Rev. Hugh Jones left a description, which was probably second hand, of their settlement.  Later we will give this.  It does not jibe very well with the Germans' description of life on the Spotsylvania tract.


Nr. 537:

When Alexander Spotswood wrote to Col. Harrison to explain his land acquisitions (in 1724), he said there were two events that occurred at about the same time.  One of them was the arrival of the seventy-odd Germans who made up the second group of Germans, later known as the Second Colony.  We know the time of this event very closely, it being either very late in 1717 or early in 1718.

The second event in Spotswood's own words was:

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

From other statements, there is some reason to question the date that he gives for the start of the iron work, but in his mind, it was about the time that the second group of Germans came.  He was writing about six years after the events and may have confused some events; however, it should be noted that he specifically cited the month and year when the iron search began as though he was quoting from a letter.

Spotswood's position in early 1718 was that he was committed to a course of action involving land.  He and his partners had taken up the 40,000 acre Spotsylvania tract and had sought and secured Germans to settle on it.  This was the kingpin in his personal economic plans.  The work with the iron was not launched and the iron mine tract was still two years into the future.

Spotswood emphasizes that the idea for the iron search came from England, not from Virginia.  He mentions "several other considerable men" who had joined Sir Richard in the enterprise.

I do not have proof but I believe the first Germans had found evidence of iron ore by 1718, which they had brought to Spotswood's attention.  No work was done because of the trade laws and the expense which would be involved; however, the support, both political and financial, which Sir Richard and his partners could provide, changed Spotswood's outlook, at least to the extent that he was willing to explore more, especially if someone else was willing to pay.  Spotswood was a believer in using "other people's money".


Nr. 538:

As the year of 1718 developed, Spotswood had two groups of Germans at work.  Each group was technically working for a partnership, but Spotswood dominated the partners.  The first group of Germans at last had a chance to put their mining skills to work as they were seeking iron ore.  Though they had probably detected the presence of iron ore before the time that Spotswood officially set them to work on this task, they had to prove there was a commercially sized deposit.  In the future, when the furnace started, it would need a nearby source of iron ore that would run for many years to "charge" the furnace.  At the same time the furnace had to be close to a source of water power.  Also the furnace needed to be near the trees from which the charcoal would be made.  Charcoal cannot be shipped or moved any appreciable distance for it is destroyed in the process.  So the miners were busy proving and developing a lode of iron that would be fairly close to where a furnace could be located.  It strongly appears that the miners did not build the furnace.  The evidence for this comes from Spotswood's statement that the expenditures were upwards of sixty pounds, a very trivial sum.  The cost of furnace construction was measured in thousands of pounds.  (The furnace built at Falling Creek in the early 1600's had been financed by a subscription of five thousand pounds.)

The second group of Germans was at work building their homes and clearing ground.  One of the best descriptions of their activity, though it was probably secondhand, was provided by Rev. Hugh Jones in his book, The Present State of Virginia, published in 1724 in London, but probably based on what he learned in Virginia which he left in 1722, well before the Germans had moved to their own land:

"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 the experience (particularly) of the late Colonel Robert Beverley, who wrote the history of Virginia, was done easily and in large quantities in those parts; not only from the cultivation of 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 . . ."

The references to naval stores, Beverley, and wine show that Jones was writing about the second group, not the first group as some have claimed.


Nr. 539:

According to Spotswood, the first group of Germans started searching for iron about February of 1718 (NS) but another record implies that they had started earlier, though perhaps less formally.  In other words, Spotswood's testimony does not agree fully with other commentators.  There is an agreement that the work came to an end in December of 1718, by which time it appears that the iron mine was a proven quantity.

By this time, the Germans had fulfilled their four years of service to Spotswood.  He had complained that, for at least half of this time, they had done no work for him and his partners.  This was not true as they had been the settlers for two claims of land by him, the Germanna patent of about three thousand acres, and an adjoining tract of a similar size.

For reasons that are not clear, a statement is recorded in the Essex County Deed and Will Book, v.16, (17 May 1720) that mining and quarrying continued until December 1718.  The statement was signed by J. Justus Albrecht and Jacob Holtzclaw.  Statements of Spotswood generally confirm this date.

The Germans' four years of service had ended in the summer of 1718, and they had purchased land in the Northern Neck.  While they should have been free at that time to move, it would have been a very poor time to move.  If they had moved in the summer, they could not have grown any crops in the year 1718.  By staying at Germanna, they could use the land they had cleared to grow food in the 1718 season.  Besides the mining operations, they had to farm and supply their own food.

It appears that they moved right after the December 1718 date, which was the end of the mining and quarrying.  Their four years of service were finished.  They had purchased land in the Northern Neck.  Their testimony implies the mining work stopped.  January of 1719 (NS) would be a logical time.  They would have time to build temporary shelters and to clear land for their first crops.  As they cleared land, they would have saved some of the trees for building their first homes (as opposed to shelters).

Therefore, the two groups of Germans overlapped by about a year at Germanna, though the second group was not really at Germanna.  They were spread out for two to seven miles up the Rapidan River from Germanna.  The biggest attraction for the second group to visit Germanna would have been the presence of Rev. Hager, who would be conducting religious services in German.  Another reason for visiting Germanna would be to learn how things are done in Virginia.  The first Germans had three years of experience already.


Nr. 540:

With the first group of Germans now settled on their own land and the second group busy along the north shore of Rapidan River, let's review the situation from Spotswood's viewpoint and put his thoughts into our own words:

"Those western lands are coming along.  There is plenty of room left for many more people.  If each family were to have two hundred acres, about two hundred families more could be there.  That would make a nice lease income.  The lands are rather exposed, even yet.  I need to shift people's attention in that direction.  Maybe I could develop a community around Germanna.  It's vacant now.  Most of the land is to the west of that.

"That was a lucky thing about the Germans finding the iron ore.  Developing that is going to take a lot of money, a lot more than I have.  I'll have to take in some partners.  That would help also to spread the risk.  I don't know if it can be made to pay.  And I wonder if people in England are going to give raise objections to an iron furnace.  I can't send the ore back to England; it's too heavy.  I don't want to set up a furnace and then be told that I can't do that.  Maybe I should get some powerful partners to help on this question.  That also have some money.

"I don't know why the Germans are having trouble making pitch.  I had my people explain how to do it according to the methods published by parliament.  I have heard that Finland has a lot of experts at doing this.  Maybe I should have a couple of them come over and show the Germans how to do it.  I'd surely like to get the naval stores program going and earn some money from that.  I'm not getting any income from those Palatines right now.

"I wonder if those Germans will stay on the land.  I can't make any money from them unless they stay there.  I have got to think how I am going to pay for all of the land.  The purse is a little thin right now.  The crown owes me expense money for the things that I did for them.  Why don't they pay up?  I have done a lot for the Royals; I increased the quit-rent income and the Indians are peaceful and we have made new treaties with them.

"I wonder how much longer I can keep the job of Lt. Governor?  The salary is nice to have and I can use the influence of the position to help me.  But Commissary Blair is raising objections back in England.  I really need the salary right now.  There is all of that land to pay for.  And if I do go ahead with the iron furnace, that will take a lot of money.  When I think of all that I have done for the Crown, like opening up more western lands for settlement and increasing the quit-rents, one would think they owe me something.

"If I lose the Governor's job, where will I live?  My fortunes are tied up with the western lands.  I ought to be close to them.  There is no good place to live out that way.  I will have to build a home.  I will show these Virginians how one ought to live.  Ouch, that is going to take money.  I need money."


Nr. 541:

Alexander Spotswood approached the iron business slowly and cautiously.  An argument could be made that it was a secondary priority of his, land being the first priority.  He explained to Col. Harrison that after Sir Richard Blackmore backed out of the iron project that he formed a partnership with several gentlemen to carry on the business.  One of the objectives was to secure title to the iron mine land which was not done until 1720(NS).  Earlier, he had approached the silver mine very cautiously and would not allow any work there until his legal share was clearly defined.  Applying the same caution to the iron mine land, he probably did no work there until he had the title.  This title (patent) was issued more than a year after the Germans had left and, presumably by the time they left, the mine was ready.  During the year, Spotswood was looking for partners to help finance the iron operation and perhaps seeking the labor which would be needed.  Apparently, he sought English labor to build and operate the furnace.

Some events in Virginia history help us with putting down the sequence of events.  The Rev. Hugh Jones lived in Virginia from 1717 to 1722.  When he returned to England, he published a book in London in 1724, The Present State of Virginia, in which he wrote about the iron project:

"This iron has been proved to be good, and it is thought, will come at as cheap a rate as any imported from other places; so that 'tis to be hoped Colonel Spotswood's works will in a small time prove very advantageous to Great Britain . ."

Thus, the furnace was reported to be in production by 1722, though the observer implies that the work was in a fledging state.  Another event in 1722 makes that year seem like a turning point in iron production.  The iron furnace was above the falls of the falls of the Rappahannock River and it was necessary to take the iron around the falls by land.  Spotswood had his own private road for doing this.  To gain access to the river so the iron could be transferred to ships, Spotswood purchased 2,000 acres along the river below the falls so he could build wharves to transfer the iron from land to the ships.  Until he did this, he really had no way of taking the iron to market, whether it be in Virginia or to England.

In 1723, Lt. Governor Drysdale, Spotswood's successor as governor, wrote to the Board of Trade:

"I judge it part of my duty to inform your Ldspps. of an affair, that is at present the common Theme of people's Discourses, and employs their thought.  Coll Spotswood's Iron workes: he had brought itt to that perfection that he now sells by public auction at Wm:burgh, backs and frames for Chymnies, Potts, doggs, frying, stewing and baking panns . ."

The tenor of this is that the iron works was a novelty in 1723.  In this year it has been said that Spotswood shipped twenty tons of iron to England, but I am not aware of the original source for this statement.  This would have been only a sample, as his later objective was to ship 1,200 tons each year.


Nr. 542:

To recap the schedule by which Alexander Spotswood became personally involved with iron, the Germans probably discovered iron ore in 1717.  Whether they were directed to this search by Spotswood is unknown.  After the frustrations with silver, and with a natural desire to do something useful, they probably roamed over the countryside looking for opportunities.  I strongly suspect that they discovered the potential beds or lodes of iron and brought them to Spotswood attention.  Spotswood may have given them the go-ahead for a low key exploration and development.  He was well aware of the political dangers and the economic risks that were involved, and it is unlikely that he gave any order for an all out attack on the iron ore.

In 1718, we have Spotswood's specific statement naming February as the month in which he was requested by Sir Richard in England to explore for iron.  Spotswood also tied this event, in time, to the arrival of the second group of Germans which generally confirms the February date.  Having partners in England who were politically powerful and monied was very important.  With allies like this, the search for and development of iron ore put a better cast on the possibilities.  Still it was a low key affair as only "upwards of sixty pounds sterling" was expended on the search.  By December of 1718, when the mining and quarrying ended, Spotswood was still not committed to any program of action in iron, especially since his English partners had dropped out of the venture.  We can judge his priorities by where he built his house though it was still in the future.  When he did build it, it was located not at the iron mine site, but thirteen miles to the west, at a point which was nearer to the center of mass of his land holdings.  For several years after 1718, his economic priorities were given to land, not iron.

There was little action in 1719 on the iron front, except for preparation.  Money and labor were needed.  Much of the money came from new partners and the labor probably came from England.  The first group of Germans had left early in the year for their new homes, and the second group of Germans were working on naval stores and vineyards to the west of Germanna.  Probably some of the partners were located in England for political and economic reasons.  Virginians were notoriously short on cash and their views were not especially respected in England.

It was not until 1720 that the iron mine tract was patented.  This alone shows the fairly slow pace at which the iron work was proceeding.  The character of Spotswood seems to be that he made no serious investments until the legalities were settled which protected his rights.  During 1720, construction of the furnace probably began.  A lot of other preparations had to be made also.  Labor had to be procured.  Wagons and oxen had to be purchased.  Colliers (charcoal makers) had to be secured and set to work to make a supply of charcoal.

During 1721, the first runs at the furnace were probably made.  With some initial success in the trial, more labor had to be obtained to maintain production.  Some adjustments to the procedures were probably necessary.

During 1722, the furnace was probably close to a sustained output.  With iron piling up at the furnace, Spotswood had to put the roads and wharves into place.  It was during this year that he purchased the tract below the falls where he could build the wharves.  So 1722 looks like the year in which production became really serious.

By 1723, production was regular and consistent.  In later years, production was not regular and consistent as Spotswood was not the best manager, and at times he put the furnace in the hands of people who were even poorer managers.

The role of Germans in this activity, I believe, was limited to finding the ore and developing the mines.  There is no evidence that Germans were involved in constructing or operating the furnace.  Initially, the labor for this purpose was probably "English" and very soon was replaced by slave labor.

I am at a variance with several other people on the timing of these events but at a later time I will discuss and trace how historical errors have been propagated.  As the story is usually told, it is loaded with errors.  The story I have presented is consistent with contemporary accounts of the events.


Nr. 543:

Recently in these notes, I wrote of the need of Spotswood for money to finance his many activities.  In the years around 1720, he needed money to pay for his land acquisitions, his home, and iron operations.  Seeing that his job as a governor was coming to an end, he decided to use his office to obtain another and perhaps last round of benefits.

In November of 1720, when the House of Burgesses convened (it was a Legislature, much like the House of Commons in England), it created two new counties, King George and Hanover.  The Burgesses then took up a measure which had been introduced by Spotswood.  Under the guise of securing the frontier, two more counties were to be created.  There was a difference though, in the second pair of counties, in that land could be acquired in them for "nothing down and no payments for ten years."  More exactly, the act stipulated that settlers in the new counties would be "free from publick levies" for ten years.  Now this was an ambiguous provision for it did not make it clear whether public levies were the annual quit rents (real estate taxes), or the initial purchase fee (the head right fee).  No size limit was placed on the amount of land that one individual could take up.  And, the act was silent on land that had already been taken up.  As unusual legislation, approval from England was necessary but the Virginians were hoping for a very liberal interpretation.  If it was interpreted liberally, the biggest beneficiary would be Alexander Spotswood.

The Burgesses named the new counties Brunswick, to the south, and Spotsylvania to the north.  The latter county included all of present Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, Madison, Rappahannock, and even over the Blue Ridge to the river on the other side.  The law creating Spotsylvania and Brunswick was to take effect on the first of May in 1721.  But, as soon as the Governor signed the measure in December of 1720, the Council (the upper house and advisory body to the governor) began approving land applications.  Ten were submitted, the smallest of which was for 3,000 acres and the largest for 20,000 acres. The governor himself did not appear as an applicant as he always used a cover, or a front, for his applications.  Only 3,000 acres were in present day Spotsylvania County, while 88,500 acres were to the west, in the area which had been explored during the trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1716.  It is clear that there had been some advance planning.

Spotswood did not approve the applications immediately because of the special features of the legislation which needed approval in England.  He was not sure that the legislation would be approved as the law would cost the Crown thousands of pounds in lost quit rents.  Also, the law was ambiguous and needed clarification.  The official date for the creation of the county came, but no word was received from London (ships could hardly have made the round trip by then).  A year later, in 1722, as Spotswood was preparing to attend an Indian conference, he decided that it would be best to take action.  Rumors said that he would be replaced and his replacement might balk at approving the applications.  In May of 1722, he moved to issue the land patents even though no clarification or approval had been received from London.


Nr. 544:

In the spring of 1722, as Spotswood was approving the applications for land patents in anticipation that he would be replaced as governor, he also appointed justices, a sheriff, and a clerk for the new county of Spotsylvania.  The original land patents had been redefined.  The 40,000 acre Spotsylvania tract was in the name of Thomas Jones, John Clayton, and Richard Hickman.

Because Robert Beverley, the partner of Spotswood, had died, and because Beverley's son did not desire to continue in the partnership, Spotswood bought out his interest.  He also procured the interests of the smaller investors and thereby became the sole owner of the 40,000 acre Spotsylvania tract.  This is the tract on which the second group of Germans was settled.

When the metes and bounds of the Spotsylvania tract are plotted out (they required several pages to specify) and the area of the tract is computed, which is easy to do with software for the purpose, it is found that the 40,000 acres were almost 65,000 acres.  Based on the legal specifications, Spotswood was the owner in total of 85,000 acres but with the extra 25,000 acres that was included in the metes and bounds of the Spotsylvania tract he was the owner of more than 100,000 acres of land.  Land was his prime objective in his personal economic plans.

By the time that the county of Spotsylvania began functioning in the spring of 1722, Spotswood had made substantial progress on his home at Germanna.  The archaeological evidence is that he tore down Fort Germanna and used the cleared area for his home site.  The legislation creating the county had said that the governor was to pick a site for the county seat.  Spotswood chose Germanna, the site of his new home.  In fact, the first courts were held in his home.

Germanna was not an ideal location for the county seat.  Only Germans lived to the west of Germanna and they were not even citizens yet.  Thus, all of the voting citizens of Spotsylvania County lived to the east of Germanna.  According to the usual rule in picking the site of a county seat, which is to make it the most convenient for the citizens, Germanna was a very bad choice.  Why then did Spotswood pick Germanna?  About half of his land lay to the west of Germanna and he was trying to draw attention to the west.

In choosing to place his home at Germanna, he was putting it thirteen miles away from the iron mine.  This also shows that his primary interest at this time was land, not iron.

As a side note, just before Spotswood left for the Indian conference at Albany, New York, one of his last official acts in Virginia was to naturalize Jacob Holtzclaw.  In the naturalization, Holtzclaw made the statement that he had been a resident of Stafford County for several years.  Since the time was now 1722, it tends to confirm that the first Germans had left Germanna about January of 1719 (NS).

When Spotswood returned from the Indian conference in the fall of the year, Hugh Drysdale had been installed as the new governor of Virginia.  Spotswood retired to his home at Germanna, the county seat of Spotsylvania, where he had appointed the sheriff, clerk, and justices and where he owned more than 100,000 acres of land.


Nr. 545:

Some time has been spent on the land acquisitions of Spotswood for two reasons.  First, it shows where his priorities were.  Second, it was to have an impact on the future homes of the Germans.  The legislation passed by the House of Burgesses was approved in England and land in the new county of Spotsylvania was free of the head rights and quit rents (for seven years) on smaller tracts.  Thus, when the time came for the second group of Germans to relocate to their own homes, they choose land in Spotsylvania County.  The alternative might have been to go to the Northern Neck where the first Germans had already established their homes but this would have required a purchase from the proprietor of the Northern Neck, plus quit rents for the first years.

Spotswood did not fare as well, and his land acquisitions were questioned and held up in England.  One of the advantages to us is that Spotswood wrote a letter in 1724 which outlined his history in Virginia up to that time.  This letter and its attachments are a major historical documents of the period.  Several quotations have already been made from it.

In this letter of 1724, Spotswood says there were about a hundred Germans living on the Spotsylvania tract.  Initially, seventy-odd Germans had been settled there in 1717/1718 so there was an increase of about 33 percent.  Part of this increase probably came from a greater number of births than deaths, but more Germans must have come to Virginia.  In fact, other documents mentioned there were Germans scattering over Virginia as servants.

Some historians have written that there was a third group of Germans of about forty families who came in these early years.  This would have been as many as the first and second groups combined.  And, we do know some people who came in these years.  But there is no evidence that they came as a group, and in fact they came in different years.  Also, there is no evidence that there were forty additional German families.  To say there was a third group of forty families is simply not correct, both for the implication that they came at one time, and that they numbered that many.

The original settlers on the Spotsylvania tract, the second group of Germans, were looking forward in 1724 to moving to land of their own.  They looked at land to the west and very likely they had staked their claims there.  They had to go a considerable distance to the west, right up against the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This was a byproduct of the legislation creating Spotsylvania County, which had made the land very attractive to speculators.  Also their own settlement on the Spotsylvania tract made the adjoining land attractive as Spotswood anticipated.  Spotswood's land itself ran to the west for fifteen miles from the Germans' home.  They had to jump over these lands and of the other speculators to find their own land.

While hope and optimism were running very high, the Germans were hit with a series of lawsuits which Spotswood filed against them.  The amounts of money for which he was suing were astronomical.


Nr. 546:

On any short list of the best governors of Virginia from Jamestown to the present, the name of Alexander Spotswood would be found.  For many though, his lawsuits against the Germans tarnished his personal reputation forever.  His motivations and the underlying reasons in filing the suits are not entirely clear.  The statement has been made that he was suing for the transportation costs but his own actions later show that this was not a valid claim.  Perhaps he was attempting to keep the Germans from moving.  His lands, to which he did not have clear title, were based on the settlement of the Germans.  If they left, his claim to the 40,000 acre Spotsylvania tract might be in doubt.  Perhaps he was in need of money and saw this as a way to pick up several hundred pounds of money.

The shock to the Germans can be judged by the first lawsuit which was brought against Jacob Crigler on 5 Sep 1723.  Spotswood claimed that Crigler owed him thirty-four pounds, eighteen shillings, and four pence.  To put this into perspective, a skilled wage earner working steadily for a year would only earn this much.  The personal estate of many of the early Germans was only worth about this amount.  Thus, Spotswood was suing Crigler for about a lifetime of savings.  Crigler pleaded innocence and asked for an extension which was granted.  Spotswood was granted time to consider the Crigler plea.  During the next March term at court, the suit was dismissed with the consent of both parties with Crigler agreeing to pay the cost of the suit.

At about this same time, Cyriacus Fleshman and George Utz, on behalf of themselves and fourteen other high Germans filed a petition in Williamsburg for assistance in the suits brought by Spotswood.  The Council decreed, on 24 Apr 1724, that the Deputy Attorney for the King in Spotsylvania County should be appointed to assist the Germans so that they may have the benefit of a fair trail.  The decree noted that the Germans had complained that Col. Spotswood had unjustly sued them in the Court for the nonperformance of a certain Agreement pretended to be made by them in consideration of money advanced them upon their transportation into this colony.  The Germans said they applied to Spotswood for a copy of the Agreement but he has refused to give them any such copy.  They said that they had done all of the work assigned to them.

The Germans should have been worried about getting a fair trial.  The lawsuits against them were filed in the court of the county named for the plaintiff.  The plaintiff had appointed the justices, the sheriff, and the clerk of the court.  Also, the juries would probably be composed of English people with no Germans.

The time from the Crigler lawsuit to the settlement of the last suit was more than two years.  The majority of the cases were heard before a jury though some were dismissed.  The amounts sought by Spotswood varied considerably, from thirty-five pounds against Nicholas Yager to three pounds against Michael Cook.  Certainly there was a long period of uncertainty and tension in the German community.


Nr. 547:

The lawsuits brought by Spotswood against the Germans dragged on because his attorneys delayed the trial dates.  The court repeatedly warned the attorneys that further delays would not be allowed.  But, it is a mark of the standing and favoritism shown the plaintiff that these warnings were not implemented.

Thirteen cases were tried before a jury and six other cases were dismissed, for a variety of reasons.  The second case tried was against Conrad Amberger.  Spotswood sought thirty-two pounds in damages.  The jury who heard the case awarded Spotswood the sum of two pounds, thirteen shillings, one and a half pence.  Even under the favorable circumstances for the plaintiff that the cases were being tried, the jury awarded Spotswood less than ten percent in the case of Amberger.  Only in four cases was Spotswood awarded more than half of what he asked.  The most severe judgment was against George Moyers who had been sued for more than twenty-four pounds and who was judged to owe more than fifteen pounds.  In this case, William Beverley, son and heir of Robert Beverley who was an original partner in the project, testified.  Moyers had not been one of the people for whom Spotswood paid the transportation.  Mostly likely, Beverley had paid his transportation.  When William Beverley sold his inherited interest to Spotswood, Spotswood picked up the claims of Robert Beverley.  When the suit came to trial, William Beverley was called to testify.

The last trial, of George Sheible, took place on 8 Dec 1726.  Four others were also heard on this same date.  By then, the Germans had moved to their new homes near Mt. Pony or in the Robinson River Valley.  (This meant that it was a twenty-five mile trip one-way to attend court.)  Most of the trials were conducted without Spotswood being present, since he went to England late in 1724 for an extended visit.

The trip of Spotswood was motivated in part by business.  His titles to major elements of his vast landed empire were clouded.  The patents he applied for under the legislation creating Spotsylvania County were not allowed.  He wished to clarify the titles and/or to reduce the cost.

Apparently, the other motivation of Spotswood was to find a wife.  In this he did succeed and when he returned to Virginia in about five years he brought a wife and two children to his home at Germanna.

To obtain his land titles, he had to pay headright fees on the larger tracts.  In part, he did this by using the headrights of forty-eight of the Germans.  Whereas he had declared earlier that the Germans were free, by using their headrights he was in essence claiming they were indentured servants of his.  It was typical of the man to change his statements and claims to best benefit himself.  This has complicated the understanding of his history and requires that multiple sources be used.


Nr. 548:

In England, Col. Alex. Spotswood submitted a petition to "The King's most excellent majesty in Council, the Case and Petition of Col. Alex. Spotswood, Late Lt. Governor of Virginia".  The original is filed in Public Record Office in London, under Colonial Office documents in C.O.5/1344.  A microfilm of this document is available in the Colonial Records Project (a very difficult document to read) at the Virginia State Library.  The apparent date is May 1726.

In the first paragraph, Spotswood emphasizes his efforts in promoting the naval stores project for making hemp and tar.  In the second paragraph, he tells that he formed companies and partnerships for that purpose.  The investors spent several thousand pounds in clearing and seating land and in importing materials and workmen for raising all manners of naval stores.

In the third paragraph, it is recounted that difficulties were encountered and his partners were discouraged.  So Spotswood says he took their part upon himself and reimbursed his partners for their utmost penny of expenses.  The result was that the first pig-iron was shipped home as was the first hemp and the first tar.

In the fourth paragraph, Spotswood claims these results were achieved at his own expense.  The result has been a public good.  The iron masters in England have tested the iron.  The hemp is superior to the best Russian hemp.

In the next paragraph, Spotswood says it was necessary to take large tracts of land to accomplish these ends.  As the partners have dropped out, he is the only claimant to the land but his title may hereafter be controverted without his Majesty's special Grace in confirming them to him.

In the sixth paragraph, Spotswood notes he has purchased the land from the partners and fully complied with the law of the Colony pertaining to improvements of the land.  These lands were very remote and dangerous and he had been obliged to seat them with a formidable strength [i.e., the Germans] and run a mighty risk in maintaining possession of them.  He had to obtain from the Five Nations of Indians the relinquishment of their rights to these lands.  To do this, he had traveled twelve hundred miles and underwent a three-month "fatigue" at the expenditure of six hundred pounds for which he had never been reimbursed.

In the seventh paragraph, Spotswood notes he was never reimbursed for his expenses in 1713 for the treaties he obtained with the Three Nations of Indians.  He had been promised his expenses would be paid.  (Queen Anne was on the throne then.)

In the eighth paragraph, Spotswood notes he obtained by treaty much land from Five Nations for the benefit of your Majesty.  Also he improved the collection of quit rents for his Majesty, from one thousand pounds to three thousand pounds per annum.

Summarizing, in the last paragraph, he noted that he spent more than twelve hundred pounds for which he has not been reimbursed, that he obtained a concession of three million acres from the Indians to the Crown, that he improved the collection of quit rents, and that it was at his expenses that tar burners were procured from Finland.  Spotswood asks that his title to eighty-six thousand acres of land be confirmed in consideration of all that he had done for the Crown.  He closes by noting that King George's predecessors had done more for others upon less considerations.


Nr. 549:

In his petition Spotswood mentions iron in the briefest of possible ways.  There were reasons for this approach.  Iron was a hot potato.  The trade laws might fall down on him and prevent him from continuing this enterprise.  So he did not want to make a big issue of it.  When he did mention it, it was in connection with the naval stores program and the support that it could provide for the defense of England.  Also, he had not shipped much iron to England by 1726.  It appears that only a trial lot(s) had been sent to England to see if it met the test of the more experienced workers in England.  He claimed, in the petition, that it had been tested by the iron-masters and found to be good.

The Indian conference of three months duration was the one that Spotswood attended in Albany, New York.  This was in 1722 and when he returned he found he had been replaced as Lt. Governor.  It was during this conference that the Five Nations of Indians yielded their claim to the land between the Potomac and James Rivers.  So the Germans had been living on land to which the Indians had some pretense, especially since it was beyond the frontier of European civilization.  But it was a credit to the Germans that peace had been maintained on the Northern frontier while they were the dominant European element there.

The agreement with the Indians was important to Spotswood in more than one way.  As governor, it was his job to make the frontiers safe.  As a citizen, he could not fail to note that much of his 85,000 acres of land lay in an area to which the claims of the crown were weak.  Since his title would be held from the crown, it was important to secure the rights of the crown there.

In his petition, Spotswood certainly makes it appear that being governor was a burden on his private purse.  If it was, there is a question to be answered.  Where did Spotswood get his money?  His business enterprises took thousands of pounds.  He makes it appear that being governor was a net loss.  As Lt. Governor, he had to share the salary with the Governor, Lord Orkney.  Spotswood's personal expenses were heavy.  He came to Virginia with a personal staff of about fifteen servants.  In the years around 1720, he had the added expense of his home, his iron venture, and his naval stores project.  I have never heard a good explanation of where he obtained his money.

The petition to the King did result in Spotswood getting a clear title to his 85,000 acres if he paid something for the land.  But it was a few years before he filed a patent on some of the larger tracts.  This may have been a stalling action waiting for the money to become available.  In part, he paid with the headrights of forty-eight Germans from the second group (whose names have thereby been recorded though with a few mistakes in spelling).


Nr. 550:

Using the events in the history of the Germanna Colonies as a typical series of events, one realizes how much of history is accidental.  More often then not, things turned out as they did because of unforseen events.  There would never have been Germanna Colonies had not Francis Louis Michel decided to go to America and have a look at it.  Michel had no intention of setting off a migration of Germans to the Virginia Piedmont, but, indirectly, he did.

When Michel thought he had found silver in Virginia, it was not clear that he thought this was anything unusual.  He was more interested in Swiss colonization.  Had there not been a Christopher von Graffenried for whom silver could be the solution of his problems, there would have been no Germanna Colonies.

Had there not been a miscommunication between Graffenried and the German miners, there would not have been any Germanna Colonies.  Given that the events up to the arrival of the German miners in London were accidents, at this point we see a deliberate action designed for a specific purpose.  The determination of the miners to go on and their willingness to indenture themselves for four years was a purposeful action, not an accident.

Spotswood was pleased with the Germans at Germanna and wanted more Germans for a vast expansion to the west.  He judged that Germans would be the ideal people for this.  But it appears that the arrival of the second group of Germans was the result of a series of accidents.  Had not the pirates taken the ship Agnis, then Andrew Tarbett would never have talked to Spotswood.  As a consequence of this though he came to understand that Spotswood wanted a shipload of Germans.  To add to the coincidences, had Tarbett's morals been higher, there would have been no second group of Germans.  By chance when Tarbett was back in England, a group of Germans appeared, even though it was late in the season and beyond the usual time for Germans to be emigrating.

Let's face it; except for a whole series of accidents of fate, I would not be writing this today.

The history of Germanna is often told somewhat differently than I have been telling it over the past couple of months.  How could the same story be told in such different ways?  In some future notes, I will examine these other versions and trace them to the source of their errors.

One of the things that we will learn is that historians spend more time copying each other than in doing original research.  As genealogists, we are already aware of this.  It is no different with professional historians.

 


(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 TWENTY-SECOND set of Notes, Nr. 526 through Nr. 550.)


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 526 through 550.


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