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


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This Page Contains Notes 601 through 625.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 25

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Nr. 601:

It is customary as we start the half-centuries in these Notes to take a time-out and comment on the purpose of the Notes.  The Germanna Colonies Mailing List service is a medium for exchanging information about our Germanna ancestors.  These Notes were started to build interest in the list, and at the same time to provide information that might be helpful to users of the List.

Germanna is a geographical location in the Virginia Piedmont area, named for a group of Germans who left the vicinity of the town of Siegen in Germany to mine silver for a company headed by Christoph von Graffenried; however, the group arrived in Virginia under an obligation to seek silver for Lt. Gov. Spotswood.  Spotswood, being nervous about importing foreigners, thought it would appease Queen Anne if he used her name as a part of the name he gave to the location where the Germans were settled.  Today, the site is marked in part by Germanna Community College.

The Germans soon disbursed to other locations which were spread over the modern counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, and Rappahannock.  But in remembrance that the settlement in the Virginia Piedmont started at a place called Germanna, the individuals are collectively called the Germanna people or colonists.  The first Germans came in 1714 and they never stopped coming.  Even during the Revolutionary War, when normal immigration to the colonies was stopped, new additions were being made to the community by the German soldiers who had been fighting for the British.  Some of these became associated with the Germanna community.

Though some of the immigration was direct to Virginia, probably half of it was indirect and through other colonies.  In trying to learn about all of these people, the notes take a liberal view as to what constitutes a Germanna settler.  Our Germanna settler may have come from Pennsylvania, Maryland, the Shenandoah Valley, even New Jersey.  A lot of what can be said about Germans in general applies to the Germanna settlers.  And the opposite is also true.

The Germanna people left Virginia for other colonies and the story can hardly be complete without information from the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.  The range of interest in the notes recognizes these facts.  For example, the current mini series on Hans Herr will show that he came from an area in Germany that was within a day's walk of half of the Second Colony of Germanna citizens.  As someone who came early, in 1710, he helped to pioneer the way for those who came a few years later.  His story is relevant to the list here in more than one way.

I have been talking about the notes that I write.  Remember though that the list primarily exists for the use of all people.


Nr. 602:

(We are back in the master bedroom at the Hans Herr House.)  There was an attempt to provide some insulation in the ceiling.  The method is novel to us.  First, note that the floor above is supported by heavy beams with about 18 inches of space between them.  Between these beams, there are slats which you can see in the area where the plaster has been omitted.  These roughly fashioned slats were wrapped in rye straw and then daubed over with a mixture of mud and manure.  These were allowed to dry and the slats were inserted between the beams.  If you were doing this, it was especially important to remember one thing.  Rodents found rye bitter and they would not eat it.  With the slats in place, plaster was added.  On the first floor of the house, the walls were thick and interrupted only by a few small windows.  The ceiling overhead was insulated as described.  The floor boards would have allowed some leakage of air but the outer walls of the house were sunk into the ground so very little air blew under the house.  The net result is that on the first floor of the house a respectable temperature could be maintained.  It wasn't uniform, as the great room had the stube (stove), and the master bedroom had the benefit of only one wall of the stube.  The kitchen had the fireplace, though its purpose was cooking not heating.  The small bedroom had little or no heat.

Next, we'll go up to the second floor.  The original stairs have been replaced, not because the stairs were weak but because they were too steep for general public use.  The stairs from the second floor to the third floor are the original stairs.  Even though they are almost three hundred years old, they probably will be here in another three hundred years.  A tread and riser are carved from one log.  These rest on two heavy beams and are held in place by wooden pegs.  Though I have referred to them as stairs, they should be used as a ladder.  That is, one should come down them by facing into them so one obtains the maximum area for the foot to rest on.  Two of the hazards about colonial houses, especially for the women, were the fireplaces which let clothing catch on fire, and the stairs which were unsafe, especially for someone wearing long skirts.

The second floor of the Hans Herr House is essentially one large room interrupted only by the chimney from the fireplace and stube below.  If benches were used here, probably two hundred people could sit.  It may have been that church services were held here on occasions.  When used by the family, the space was multipurpose.  First, it was the children's bedroom.  And, it was work space for working flax into tow, spinning linen thread, and weaving the cloth.  The men may have done some wood working.  Though the space was dry, it was air-conditioned.  If you look at the roof, shingles are the only thing between you and the outside.  And it is not difficult to find cracks between the shingles.  Very little rain would get through the cracks but blowing snow would be a different situation.  In some of the recent winters with heavy snowfalls, it was necessary to shovel the snow out one of the two small windows.


Nr. 603:

The second floor at the Hans Herr House is essentially unheated space, which is not perfectly protected from the outside elements.  Snow sometimes blows through the cracks between the shingles.  Since this area was the children's bedroom, the question is how did they stay warm.  The favored technique in colonial times was to put as many children as possible into one bed and to cover them with all the blankets that were available.  It wasn't easy to live in those times.  At least, when you broke the ice on the bucket in order to get some water to wash your face, you were assured of a quick wake up.

There is a third floor to the house, the purpose of which is less clear, but it was probably used for light agricultural products.  There is an opening in one end wall at the level of the third floor.  Probably a beam protruded from this on which a pulley was hung.  With a rope through the pulley down to the ground (outside the house), objects could be lifted up to the third floor.  Some of the things they might store there include dried peas and beans, pumpkins, squash, dry onions, grain that had been threshed, and herbs that were drying.  Perhaps some of the older children might have preferred this as a bedroom space.

In addition to the above ground space that I have been talking about, there was a cellar which some of us might call a root cellar.  Being below the level of the ground outside, the floor of the cellar was dirt which maintained a rather constant and moderately cool temperature the year around.  The cellar was constructed by excavating a space below the ground.  An arched wooden form was built and a concrete roof was poured.  Then the house was built over this but it did not rest on the arch which formed the cellar ceiling.

If one visualizes the time is December, then the cellar would be holding the most.  At this time, it had to have enough food for twelve people for almost a year.  From the cellar's ceiling, the hams and bacon that had been smoked would be hanging.  Many vegetables would be evident, especially turnips and cabbages.  The cabbages could be in two forms, fresh heads and sauerkraut.  Apples were well represented, not as fresh frui, which did not keep well, but as dried fruit and as drink.  There were fifteen hogsheads of drink, based on the apple, in the cellar when Christian Herr died (he did own two stills).  Access to the cellar was by "stairs" down from the kitchen, but this was not practical for the hogsheads.  Heavy, bulky objects could be brought in by an outside entrance.

The fresh food would have included eggs and chickens, milk, cream, and butter, and, for part of the year, fresh vegetables.  A few geese might have provided holiday food.  The grains were well represented in the diet, especially in breads and dumplings.  Water, at first, was from a spring a few hundred feet away.  The house sits on higher ground which provided drainage and more importantly a solid footing.  A few feet below the surface, there are very large stones, almost bedrock.  This solid foundation has kept the house from settling unevenly.


Nr. 604:

When the Herr party arrived in Philadelphia, they did not stop there.  They took the roads that led to the west, and, when the roads gave out, they followed the Indian trails.  Several miles past European civilization, they judged the land was good by the height of the trees.  Here the individuals took patents on large tracts of land, some for one thousand acres, and some for five hundred acres.  The objective was to have enough land for their children and for the relatives and friends who would be coming later.

Most of the land remained in forest.  As such it was considered valuable for not only did one have the land but one had the trees also.  Actually only a small amount of the land was cultivated.  By the technology of the day, it was impossible to farm more than a few acres.  Some was turned into pasture and some became orchards.  Fencing was opposite to what we would do today.  We fence the animals in but they fenced the animals out.  Fences were put up around the garden plots and the grain fields to keep the animals out of these areas.  The animals were allowed to roam rather freely otherwise.  The pigs could fend for themselves very well.  Usually one called the pigs in every couple of weeks so they wouldn't forget where home was.  In the fall of the year they were encouraged to come into the orchard, where they eat the fallen fruit and perhaps get a ration of grain.

The Indians were in the neighborhood.  At one time, there was a cultural conflict.  The Indians had corn fields which the European cattle found was a tasty morsel.  The Indians complained to William Penn that the cows were destroying their corn fields.  Penn had fences built around the corn fields of the Indians.

The Hans Herr House was used as a home until about 1860.  Very few modifications had been made to it.  It was not yet the time for running water and electricity.  The house had ample space for one family, in fact, too much.  The biggest drawback was the upper floor which could not be heated.  So the house was unoccupied for more than a hundred years except for use in light agricultural activities such as a place to dry tobacco.  About 1970, the owners sold the house, and some of the immediately adjoining land and the modern buildings, to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.  They undertook an extensive restoration project to put the house and furnishings into a condition that was appropriate for 1750.  This was the year when Christian Herr died, and at which time an estate inventory was made.

From the beginning of April to the end of November, the house and grounds are open for visitors.  Several of the visitors are from Germany where the house has been written up in tour books for America.  Of those with whom I have had contact, they say that it is a worthwhile visit.


Nr. 605:

Hans Herr came from a farm, a small village in itself, in Germany that was not too far from the homes of many members of the Second Germanna Colony.  Since my map does not show the farm, I will use the nearby village of Eppingen as a proxy in the discussion here.

Eppingen was just about three miles from Gemmingen, the home of the Weaver, Clore, and the two Smith families, who came to Virginia in 1717.  Or, Eppingen was about four miles from Sulzfeld, the home of the Zimmerman, Kabler, and Yowell families.  To the south about five miles was Zaberfeld where the Kaifer family lived.  The Willheits, Deers, Reiners, Baumgartners, Cooks, and Teters lived about six miles away in Schwaigern.  At Oberderdingen, Matthias Blankenbaker was living about seven miles from the Herrs.  Eight miles away, around Brackenheim, was the area where the Aylors and Snyders were to be found.  About ten miles over, at Neuenbürg, the other Blankenbakers, the Fleshmans, the Scheibles, and the Thomases were living.

After the Herr party left in 1710, other Mennonites went to Pennsylvania in the next few years.  This stream of emigrants, though not large, was showing or pointing the way for those who were still in Germany.

How much interaction was there between the Lutherans, which most of the Second Colony was, and the Mennonites?  There was definitely some.  When some of the Lutheran pastors were recording the departure of members of their congregations, they added the names of Mennonites from the village who were also going to America.  Because the Mennonites were not allowed to have church buildings of their own, they used the Lutheran churches for their funerals.  There were some restrictions, as, for example, the Lutheran Bishop had to give his permission for the bells to be rung at a Mennonite funeral.  So funerals of the Mennonites might be recorded within the death register with the notation added "mit klangen", or "with bells".

When the Germans met together, they surely discussed what had happened to the emigrants.  News, in the letters from America, would have talked about how the immigrants were faring.  People became aware that there was an alternative to their plight in Germany.  There had been an exodus in the year of 1709, but the results had not been entirely satisfactory.  The movement of people in 1710 and the following years was smaller in scope and better organized.  The Herr party members wrote good stories home about Pennsylvania:  "I now own one thousand acres, though I have to work hard.  If you are willing to work, you can become rich here."

All of this was food for thought.  Others were making the trip.  The first ones had "won the lottery" and anyone could do the same.  Taxes were low.  Freedom was high.


Nr. 606:

The Herrs, representative of Mennonites (Anabaptists), were not long term residents of Germany.  We do not have proof or details, but it is likely that they moved to Germany at the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War, which ended in 1648.  The war had wrecked devastation on southwest German to the extent that in some areas the population was reduced to about one-third what it had been.  The rulers felt the loss of income from taxes.  To increase the taxes, they needed more people living in their area.  Some reasonably attractive offers were made to encourage people to move to their part of Germany.

The Anabaptists in Switzerland had been living under pressure for more than a hundred years.  The pressure was exerted on them by the state (the Cantons), and by the Reformed Church, which felt that Anabaptist thought and beliefs should be stamped out.  Some of the methods used were martyrdom and expulsion from the country.  The offer of the German princes after the Thirty Years' War, and the pressure exerted from within Switzerland, caused many Anabaptists to move to Germany.

The situation in Germany for the Anabaptists was better, but not ideal.  There were restrictions placed on them.  Owning property was difficult, if not entirely forbidden.  They could not have church buildings of their own, but had to meet in their homes.  It was forbidden to seek new members from outside the existing group.  If they grew too numerous in an area, some members of the group had to move to new communities.  There were taxes which only they had to pay.  There was always the chance that they might be called to military service, which their consciences forbid them to do.

Before 1680, a real estate promoter came through the area along the Rhine River and said that he had a lot of cheap land in America and that one could follow his conscience in religious matters.  Several Mennonites took William Penn up on his offer and founded Germantown outside Philadelphia in about the year 1683.  In the following years, several additions were made to this group.  These Mennonites were urban dwellers, not farmers.  Still, the word spread among the Mennonites in general.

But no mass movement ensued in the next thirty years among the Mennonites, or the Germans in general.  It was a big move across the Atlantic Ocean, and the reports from the first ones were limited.  A big exodus did occur in the year 1709, and then the Herr party left in the year 1710.  More people left in the next few years.  By then, the word was spreading that America was an alternative.  Germans became more open to the idea that they could move.


Nr. 607:

Recent notes have mentioned factors that influenced Germans to emigrate with an emphasis on the "ice breaker", or the "after you" attitude.  There was a bit of the "it's never been done".  In 1709, all of these thoughts went out the window and thousands of German decided to try for a new life in America.  For the present, I skip over the reasons the 1709ers may have had.  I wish to emphasize now the importance that the departure of the people in 1709 had on those who remained.

I did a study once on the 1709 migration involved the Nassau-Siegen people.  Though some people describe the 1709 migration as involving only Palatines from the Palatinate, the area from which they came was much broader than this.  There were people also from the area that we know as Baden-Württemberg and from Nassau-Siegen.  Thus, both the people in the First and Second Germanna Colonies had experienced the departure of neighbors and/or relatives and friends in 1709.

A significant number of people from around Siegen left Germany in 1709.  Thanks to Hank Jones and his work in researching the origins of the Germans who landed in New York in 1710, we have a tremendous research tool.  Using the index in his books "The Palatine Families of New York 1710", one can search for the mention of Siegen.  I found that the New York people included about two hundred people who had come from an area of about fifteen miles around Siegen.

The number who left was probably considerably higher than this, as only a fraction of the people who left Germany reached New York.  Of the names known to have reached New York, there are Bähr, Giesler, Häger, Heyl, Hoffman, Jung, Ohrendorff, Schramm, Weller, and Zeller.  Within the histories of these people in Germany, these family names are also to be found, Cuntz, Fischbach, and Holtzklau.  It seems that this number of people from a small area of about fifteen miles radius around Siegen would have provoked a lot of discussion.  One year after these 1709ers left, Johann Justus Albrecht appeared to hire miners for America.  Surely there was influence from the 1709ers on the next group which became known later as the First Germanna Colony.

We know of one specific influence.  The Rev. Häger, with his wife and two daughters, was hoping to join his son, who had left in 1709.  But the general influence of the earlier migrations has not been emphasized enough.  Also, the departure of so many people in 1709 shows that conditions in Germany were not good.  There were many dissatisfied people.  After some had left, those that had remained found it easier to go in the following years, especially after information started flowing back to Germany.


Nr. 608:

In colonial America, civilization was confined for many decades to the coastal areas, or to the waterways that flowed into the Atlantic.  Thus, civilization moved quickly enough up the Hudson, the Connecticut, the Delaware, the Potomac, and the James Rivers.  The major towns developed where there were harbors.  To go from one town to another was usually a trip by ship not by land.  Even as late as 1722, when Lt. Gov. Spotswood in Virginia wanted to attend a conference with the Indians at Albany, New York, he went all the way by ship.  Except for the penetration of the interior along the rivers, civilization was confined to the coast.  There was no desire to migrate to the west where travel was difficult and where the Indians lived.

The first road system in America was a coastal route which generally followed the course of the ocean.  It was not until Charles II decided in 1664 that there should be a road connecting New York and New England that any significant road was built.  But the first route was hardly a road.  It was more nearly a riding trail for a person on horseback.  The general route of this first "road" was west from Boston to today's Springfield, thence down the Connecticut River Valley to the ocean and along the coast to New York.  A route that followed the ocean more closely did not come until later because the ocean or its bays came inland so far in Rhode Island.

Though the name of Boston Post Road was applied early, the path was hardly a road.  It was meant to carry the post or mail, not cargo.  It would have been much cheaper to ship cargo by water.  In 1704, a woman on horseback accompanied the postman along this route and her comment was, "Unless someone followed a mail carrier, a traveler would not be able to find the Boston Post Road."  Ships remained the primary mode of travel.  From the main cities, located at the harbors, short roads branched to the interior.

By 1750, a road existed (with ferries) from Boston to Charleston; however, one should plan one's trip carefully because the weather might destroy the road and make it impassable.  In much earlier notes, we followed along with the Moravian Brothers, who were moving from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and we saw that in many places they had to make their own road as they went.  By the time of the Revolution, the coastal route (known up to then as the King's Highway) had been extended from Maine to Georgia.  The road was one link that helped to unite the colonies.

From New York City, the road went overland to Trenton (on the Delaware River), and hence to Philadelphia (also on the Delaware).  From there it went to Baltimore, where it turned to Annapolis, and hence to Alexandria (on the Potomac River).  The next city was Fredericksburg (at the head of navigation on the Rappahannock River), then back to the ocean at Williamsburg (between the James and the York Rivers).  From Norfolk, it turned inland a bit to avoid the major bays of North Carolina.  Then it went to New Bern, Wilmington, Georgetown and Charleston.  At many points, ferries had to be used.


Nr. 609:

Many new roads developed in the first part of the eighteenth century.  In Virginia, the King's Road turned toward the ocean at Fredericksburg and followed the coastal route.  But as people were moving west (the Second Germanna Colony was at the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1725), there was a need for interior roads.  The Fall Line Road started at Fredericksburg and followed the division between the Tidewater lands and the Piedmont.  This took it in a generally southerly to southwestern direction about one hundred miles inland from the coast.  It headed for the future Augusta, Georgia.

About 1740, as the Piedmont was more settled in Virginia and the Carolinas, a road to the west of the Fall Line Road was needed.  This Upper Road gave better communications to the higher Piedmont.  Towns that developed along its route include Salisbury and Charlotte.

These roads provided for north and south travel.  East-west roads from the coast were slower to develop as the rivers were still used to transport goods.  Some of the first inland roads were the Boston to Springfield road, which was a part of the King's Highway, and a road from Philadelphia to the West, first to Lancaster, then extending to Harrisburg and York.

The Philadelphia Road to Lancaster and York was diverted by the Blue Ridge Mountains to the south, and led to the Shenandoah Valley (Great Valley, or Valley of Virginia).  At first, it was only an Indian trail, but it developed into the most heavily traveled road in the Americas.  At Big Lick (Roanoke), it later divided into a western road and a southern road.  By the mid-century, a road extended up the Hudson River to Albany, and a road was beginning to appear along the Mohawk River to the west of Albany.  By then the road at Springfield, Massachusetts, had been extended west to the Hudson River Road.

Other east-west roads ran from Alexandria to Winchester (Pioneer's Road), to tie the Atlantic coast to the Great Valley at Winchester.  A road ran from New Bern in North Carolina to the west, and preliminary roads ran west (usually northwest) from Wilmington, Georgetown, Charleston, and Savannah in the Carolinas and Georgia.

In 1750, the colonial road system was predominantly a north-south network paralleling the coast.  A minimum of roads penetrated the interior.  When I say "road," I refer to a dirt path through the forests with hardly any bridges.  If two wagons were to meet, one of them had to find a wide spot in the road so it could pull over.  There were several essential tools for the wagon traveler.  Foremost was the spade and the axe so that emergency repairs to the road could be made.  It was also convenient to have a chain so additional draft animals could be used to pull out a mired wagon.  And the Moravian brothers used a chain to drag a log to serve as a brake going downhill.


Nr. 610:

Toward the middle of the 1700's, the road system in the colonies was predominantly a north-south system.  People moved in those directions, not east-west directions.  At first, the English Crown was not interested in the interior of America.  France, though, was interested in the interior.  That country saw an opportunity for trade with the Indians, though they did not establish colonies of French speaking people, except along the St. Lawrence River.

It began to dawn on the English that they should have more of a presence in the interior.  The seaboard was filling up with people.  There was a profit to be made in trading with the Indians.  To exploit this trade, the Ohio Company was founded by a group of Virginians.  In theory, several of the Colonies had claim to the lands to the west, all the way to the Pacific Ocean, but in practice no control was exerted over the western regions.  The private efforts of individuals soon changed that.  The traders of the Ohio Company went west from Alexandria, Virginia, to the forks of the Ohio River, where Pittsburgh now stands.  This was the start of a road to the western regions.  The French had constructed no roads, as they used the waterways to move around.  Occasionally, they built short roads to make portaging easier.

At first, the Ohio Company offered better prices for the furs that the Indians brought in.  The French retaliated by armed skirmishes against the Ohio Company's agents.  Then the French started building a new series of forts, including one at the forks of the Ohio (present-day Pittsburg).  The political influence of the Ohio Company, and of the Virginia officials, led to a war between England and France, the French-Indian War of 1754 to 1763.  One consequence of the economic rivalry, and subsequent war, was a major change to the road system, and in the control of the West.

In 1753, the 21-year-old George Washington was instructed by the Virginia government to find the best overland route to Fort Duquesne (the French fort), at the forks of the Ohio (i.e., Pittsburgh), then considered to be a part of Virginia.  The route followed, in part, the trails that had been used by the traders, but Washington stayed on the alert for a route that could be used by wagons.  Essentially, Washington was working for a private company with official government support, a very common tactic in colonial Virginia, where private and public endeavors were often mixed.  A road was viewed as one way of supplying and supporting a British outpost at the Fork.  The route that was planned went from Alexandria to Frederick, to Hagerstown, and to Fort Cumberland, in Maryland, and then continued in a westerly and northerly direction to Fort Duquesne.

Within a couple of years, a major effort was launched to construct a road along this route, especially west of Cumberland, where none existed.  The British General, Edward Braddock, began supervising the construction of the road.  At times, up to three thousand men were employed.  The road became known as Braddock's Road and it was the first to cross the entire Appalachian Mountain range.  It extended the range of horse-drawn wagons over a road which Braddock insisted must be twelve feet wide.  The road was a success, but the military campaign was a failure.  Braddock even lost his life when the British were overrun by the Indians.


Nr. 611:

The failure of Braddock's campaign to take Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio River was a setback, but not the loss of the war.  In 1758, British General John Forbes renewed the campaign, and he decided to build another road toward Fort Duquesne.  Forbes had Colonel Washington lead a diversionary force on Braddock's Road, while Forbes and his men built another road through central Pennsylvania from Harrisburg.  The route that he chose is roughly the same as today's Pennsylvania Turnpike.  There were major challenges in this route, including Laurel Hill, where four thousand troops were employed in road building at one time.  When Forbes did arrive at Fort Duquesne, he found that the French had abandoned it.  Forbes renamed it Fort Pitt after his Commanding General.

Though the continuation of the war prevented any civilian use of Braddock's and Forbe's Roads, it was not long until the civilians were traveling over these roads seeking new lands.  From Culpeper and Fauquier Counties in Virginia, we are aware of several families that migrated to that part of Virginia now known as southwest Pennsylvania.  Some of the families were the Hupps, the Rowes, the Thomases, the Smiths, the Holtzclaws, and the Hardins.

Besides the benefit of providing a new outlet to the west, the construction of the roads, and the battles with the French and Indians, had other important considerations.  Col. Washington gained his early military experience here and saw that it was an effective tactic to avoid a direct frontal attack on the British.

The new frontier of English control after the end of the war was the Mississippi River, as the French withdrew to the far north and far south.  From the east, there were now two roads to the forks of the Ohio River; then water transportation down the Ohio River was the route to the West.  This was the start of a hundred years of westward expansion; however, European migration was temporarily blocked by a declaration that no English settlements were to be made west of the Appalachian Mountains.  This area was designated as "Indian Hunting Grounds", and was a reward to the Indians who helped defeat the French.

If one remembers that Braddock's Road was initially started to serve the needs of the Ohio Land Company in developing the western lands, then one sees the potential for conflict between the Crown and the Colonials.  This conflict between those in England and the people in the Colonies was one of the causes of the Revolution.  In spite of the Crown's proclamation, individuals were exploring the area to the west of the Appalachian Mountains.  Most of the attention was focused on the land to the south of the Ohio River, in that part of Virginia known now as Kentucky.


Nr. 612:

Before continuing with the discussion of road building, let's look at one use of Braddock's Road.  The story is told by Abraham Thomas, who used the road at an early date.  He was the son of Michael Thomas and an unknown wife of Culpeper County, Virginia.  Michael was the son of John Thomas and Anna Maria Blankenbaker.  Abraham Thomas gave this report for a newspaper in Ohio late in his life, and it has been saved among the Draper manuscripts.  In Abraham's words:

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

"Early in the summer of 1774, that preceding the Revolutionary War, the Indians had made a new treaty at Ft. Pitt, but the settlers from their surliness of manner, dreaded some outbreak with them.  In the latter month of the year 1775, being then nineteen years old, I was married and set up for myself, as at that time, this or an earlier age, was deemed suitable for this interesting connection.

"From 1776 to 1779 the Revolutionary war was raging and the frontier inhabitants were in constant apprehension from Indians and Tories.

"The whole country was now ringing from one end to the other of the beautiful Kentucky and the banks of the pleasant Ohio; those who had been there gave the most enticing accounts of its beauty, fertility and abundance of game.  The Buffalo, Elk, Deer and Bear were said to be rollin fat and weary for the rifle shot.  Early in the spring of 1780, forty of us prepared a flat boat and descended the Ohio to the falls, where General Clark had established a strong fort and garrison."

It would be interesting to know how old a chunk of a boy would have been.  By implication, one did things at an early age.  If we said a "chunk" was equal to thirteen years, then Abraham arrived about 1769.  He already had relatives there, mostly likely his sister Margaret, who had married Everhard Hupp and moved from Culpeper County.  Hupp had a land grant there in 1766.  In this same year, George Bumgarner and Abraham Teagarden came from (lower) Virginia.  Margaret Hupp, wife of Everhard Hupp, is said to have been the first known white woman west of the Monongahela River.  The march to the west had begun from Culpeper County.


Nr. 613:

To continue the previous note, Abraham Thomas married Susannah Smith, the daughter of Adam Smith.  Since Adam's mother was Anna Magdalena Thomas, Abraham and Susanna were first cousins once removed.  Abraham's comments in the previous note can loosely be construed that the marriage of Abraham and Susannah took place at Ten Mile Creek, in present day Pennsylvania.  Susannah's father, Adam, and his brothers, Zachariah and John, were all early residents of Kentucky.  It appears that the Smiths went to Kentucky by first going to the vicinity of Fort Pitt, and then later down the Ohio River.  There are no records after 1777 in Culpeper County, Virginia, for the three Smith men.  Many members of the Thomas family also went to Kentucky.

Another early person in Kentucky was Jacob Holtzclaw, son of the 1714 immigrant Jacob Holtzclaw, who had married Susannah Thomas, the daughter of John Thomas.  John Thomas was the son of the immigrant John Thomas and his wife Anna Maria Blankenbaker.  Thus, Susannah Thomas, Abraham Thomas, and Susannah Smith had ancestors in common; or broadly speaking, they were fairly close cousins.  Taken together, all of these related people were acting upon a common theme of first relocating to "Fort Pitt", and then moving on to Kentucky.

There is another point which shows that these people were early in considering Kentucky as a future home.  Jacob Holtzclaw testified that he raised a crop of corn in Kentucky in 1775, a claim that was made by Zachariah Smith also.  Zachariah's (first) wife is said to be Anne Elizabeth Fishback, who was the granddaughter of the 1714 Jacob Holtzclaw.  Thus, these early immigrants to Kentucky had multiple relationships to each other.

The evidence, though scanty, says these people went to Fort Pitt, traveling a good part of the trip over Braddock's Road.  Beyond Fort Pitt, there were no roads yet and the journey continued by river.

At this same time, other men were seeking to exploit the fabled treasures of the Kentucky region.  A better method of travel was needed.  The Transylvania Company sent Daniel Boone and a party of woodsmen in 1774 to mark out a road through southern Virginia.  The work was successfully completed, at least to the extent that a trail was made.  It was not until 1796 that a road existed which a team and wagon could use.  This trail or road led to the vicinity of Boonesboro, Lexington, and Harrodsburg.  The route became known as the Wilderness Road.  Its eastern terminus was Big Lick, now known as Roanoke, on the Great Valley, or Great Wagon, Road in Virginia.  At Big Lick, one could branch toward Salem, North Carolina.  By taking the Wilderness Road from Big Lick, one had the option at Bristol of choosing between Tennessee or Kentucky.  (Though I name states and cities in these early days, they were not always in existence yet.)


Nr. 614:

While the routes to Kentucky were being developed, the people in New England and New York were seeking an outlet to the West.  The best east-west route across New York followed the Mohawk River, a tributary of the Hudson River.  Since the Hudson permitted river travel up to Albany, development in this area was early.  Road extensions along the Mohawk River permitted a western outlet toward Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and the state of Ohio.  Development was fairly rapid because the bounty land for soldiers of the Revolutionary War lay to the west, especially in Kentucky and Ohio.  The development of these lands became a national priority, encouraged by the Federal government.

After the French and Indian War and before the Revolutionary War, the English crown had forbidden the colonials to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains.  After the Revolution, the American policy became one of "Manifest Destiny", the self-proclaimed right to take possession of the continent by whatever means possible.  The loser in this was the Native American.  As a part of this policy, the seaboard colonies gave up their claims to western lands.  There was a selfish motivation in this.  The new Federal government had no established source of revenue except contributions from the states.  The sale of western lands gave it some income.  Land speculators bought the claims of soldiers to "western lands", which were combined into large tracts in Ohio.

In 1790, the gateway to the west was Pittsburgh, a thriving town of 400 homes with an industrial base.  People arrived via Forbes' Road and Braddock's Road.  At Pittsburgh, flatboats were built for travel as far as the falls of the Ohio (Louisville).  At the destination, the flatboats were taken apart and used for building shelters.  During the dry season, the Ohio River was often too low from Pittsburgh to Wheeling for the flatboats.  As a consequence, Wheeling grew in importance as the point of departure down the Ohio.  To reach Wheeling, an extension of Braddock's Road was created to go directly to Wheeling, bypassing Pittsburgh.  In 1796, Ebenezer Zane agreed to construct a road from Wheeling to Zanesville, in Ohio, and then south to Maysville on the Ohio River.  Already there was a road from Lexington up Maysville.

The first expansion across the mountains was to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio.  In the South, westward expansion was inhibited by the presence of the Indians, and by the reluctance of Georgia to yield her western lands to the Federal government.  In the middle area, the Nashville Road was built by the militia by 1788, to link Knoxville and Nashville.  In this region, this road became the primary route of east-west travel.

The lands in Ohio were extremely popular for their ability to grow grains of all types.  Many second generation citizens of Tennessee and Kentucky chose to cross the Ohio River to seek their lands.  People were definitely on the move, sometimes for considerable distances.


Nr. 615:

In the late eighteenth century, much of the traffic to the West was funneled through two points, the Cumberland Gap, for the Wilderness Road, and Wheeling, (now) West Virginia.  Traffic was becoming heavy on some of the routes.  To encourage more settlers, the state of Kentucky widened the Wilderness Road to twelve feet in 1796.  Road building was an expensive undertaking.

Toll roads, often operated by a private company, came into use.  One of the first was the Lancaster Pike in Pennsylvania, which ran from Philadelphia to Lancaster.  Past this point, the road branched into the Great Wagon Road to the south, and Forbes' Road to the west.  The state of Pennsylvania gave the right-of-way to a private company, which financed the construction of a new road.  The technique of the road construction itself was borrowed from England.  For the 70-mile length of the road, a trench was dug that was three feet deep.  Then this was filled with stones, large ones on the bottom and smaller ones on top.  On the surface, melted tar was poured on to make a hard, smooth surface that was water proof.  Water actually ran off the road instead of soaking in and making a mud puddle.  The cost of the construction was recovered by charging fees to use the road.

About the same time, toll roads were developed across upper New York along the Mohawk River.  This was another well-traveled route which opened the west even more so after the Erie Canal was built in the nineteenth century.

After the success of the private land developers, especially in Ohio, the Federal government decided that it should enter the business itself.  The first Government Land Office opened in Ohio in 1800.  The public domain lands excluded the land that had been reserved for the Revolutionary War soldiers, but there was plenty of land left to sell.  This successful system was repeated again and again as expansion to the west continued.  The typical pattern was that the Federal government would buy the land from the Indians, have it surveyed, and then sell farms and lots.

Congress decided to set aside five percent of the proceeds from the public land sales in the new state of Ohio for road construction.  Roads increased the market for land.  Land sales provided funds for new roads.  In 1806, the planning began for the National Road, the first interstate highway system financed by the Federal Government.  Construction was underway by 1815, having been delayed by the War of 1812.  If you check today's US-40 highway, from Baltimore to St. Louis, you will have a good idea of the route of the National Road.  Construction took several years and there were heated debates about who owned the road and who was responsible for its maintenance.  The positive effect was a big increase in the migration of eastern families to the frontier areas.  Have you ever wondered why so many Germanna families moved to Missouri in the 1830's?


Nr. 616:

The discussion in recent notes draws heavily upon the book, "Map Guide to American Migration Routes 1735-1815", by William Dollarhide.  The book is well illustrated with maps, but it also describes the old roads by reference to a modern road atlas.  (Many modern roads follow very closely to the original routes.)  The book is in a large page format to permit the maps to be shown better.  There are only 41 pages, but the essentials are there.  It was designed for the genealogist who wants to trace the migrations of families.

Roads to the southwest have not been mentioned so far.  In colonial times, the southwest was what we call today the "deep south".  Southern development lagged compared to the other colonies.  Georgia was not founded as a royal colony until 1732.  Even as late as 1790, most of the Georgian population lived within 25 miles of the South Carolina border.  Western Georgia was controlled by Indian tribes, especially the Creeks and Cherokees, who had recognized areas set aside for their use.  The one area that was developed early was the mouth of the Mississippi River which was strategically important since the river served as an important route of commerce.

The first land road to the Mississippi River was the Natchez Trace, an old Indian trail that ran from Natchez on the Mississippi to Nashville.  The first settlers of Kentucky and Ohio had only one way to reach the market for their grain.  That was down the Mississippi to New Orleans.  The people who made this trip in flat boats returned home by the Natchez Trace.  The road was extended from Nashville to Lexington to the Ohio River at Maysville very early.

Many of the Gulf Coast areas were claimed by and actually controlled by Spain.  From 1797 to 1819, the U.S. acquired the lands from Spain, mostly by purchase.  It was not until the end of the first quarter of the century that the Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas territories were all in place.  These were reached on land by extensions of the Fall Line Road; the Great Valley, or Great Wagon Road; and the Wilderness Roads.

If all of the roads that have been discussed in this series were plotted on one map, one would see that Philadelphia was an important hub or terminus for many of the routes.  The King's Highway, or Post Road, ran up and down the coast, and went through Philadelphia.  Access to the Fall Line Road, the Upper Road, the Great Valley Road, Braddock's Road, and Forbe's Road were all possible from Philadelphia.  Philadelphia had access to the sea and so the town became, within one hundred years of its founding, the second largest english-speaking city in the world.  At the same time, Hessian soldiers during the Revolution said it was like being at home.  Because it was a major center, many of our Germanna people came through Philadelphia even at an early date.


Nr. 617:

Two of the families who came to America through the port of Philadelphia were the Christler family and the Gaar family.  The Christler family came first, in 1719, and settled in Franconia Township, in what is Montgomery County today.  One of the members of the family was Johann Theobald Christele, aged nine years when he left Germany.  (The origins of this family are recounted in "Before Germanna," volume 11.)  The Gaar family arrived in 1732 and lived for a short period of time in Germantown, outside Philadelphia.

In 1732, Rosina Gaar was nineteen years old.  At this time, Theobald was about twenty-three years old.  The exact dates that the families moved to Virginia are unknown.  The first record in Virginia for Theobald Christler is a land purchase in 1736.  Theobald was the only member of his family to move to Virginia.  His father remained in Pennsylvania; in fact, his father's will is recorded in Philadelphia County in 1748.

I have often wondered where Rosina and Theobald were married.  Theobald's relocation to Virginia, away from his family, suggests that they may have married in Pennsylvania and moved with her family to Virginia.  On the other hand the Garrs are said to have remained in Pennsylvania only a short time.  In the "Garr Genealogy," the first child of Theobald and Rosina is given, by the Garrs, a birth year of 1737.  More exactly, only one child, Henry, is given a birth year, and he happens to be listed first in the sequence of children.  It is possible that the marriage took place in Pennsylvania and that would account for the relocation of Theobald to Virginia.  It remains a mystery as to why the Gaars moved to Virginia.

Earlier we reviewed the family of Theobald and Rosina as given by the Garrs.  They omitted the daughter Dorothy and added a son Andrew which later historians have corrected.  With these corrections, the Garr's list of children agrees with the will of Theobald Crisler.  In Virginia, the name was spelled Christler, Crisler, and Crisler.

The origins of the family were probably in Switzerland where the family name is to be found in Canton Bern.  The spelling of the name in some German records as Christele even suggests this as the ending "li" or "le" is a typical Swiss ending.  Probably the family relocated to Germany from Switzerland in the late seventeenth century when many Swiss and Germans moved into southwest Germany as a part of the repopulation efforts following the destruction of The Thirty Years' War.

Theobald's father, Leonard Christler, married Anna Maria Bender (in America, an equally good spelling of this would be Pender).  Johannes Bender, Anna Maria's father, Leonard Christler, and another son-in-law of Johannes Bender, Christian Merkel, sold their property in 1719 and immigrated to Pennsylvania ("Before Germanna").


Nr. 618:

In note 587, we looked at the family of Rosina Gaar and Theobald Crisler.  To the family as given in the "Garr Genealogy" we added Dorothy (#24), and noted that Andrew was dubious.  In this note we look at one of the members of this family, Henry Crisler, son of Rosina and Theobald, who married Elizabeth Weaver.  Using the baptismal sponsors for their children, I will show that there is no doubt that Elizabeth was a Weaver.  The Hebron Church Register gives seven children from 1762 to 1776, plus an eighth one in 1787.  The "Garr Genealogy" gives two more, Benjamin and Mary of unspecified birth dates.  In the book it hints that Benjamin was born before the first that is given in the Register.  I find this hard to believe as Henry and Elizabeth would surely have brought in their first born for baptism.  The book also gives Mary a birth date in the time frame from 1776 to 1787 when the church was not as popular or as well organized as Rev.  Franck had left it in 1778.  In 1787, William Carpenter, Jr. had taken over the helm and renewed the spirit at the church.

When Henry and Elizabeth brought in Dinah (b. 8 Feb 1762), the sponsors were George Crisler (Henry's brother), Peter Weaver (her brother), Mary Fisher (his cousin, Mary Garr, who married Stephen Fisher), and Elizabeth Weaver (two choices, either her mother or her sister-in-law).  This is a traditional set of choices.  For Joseph (b. 13 Nov 1763), the sponsors were Stephen Fisher (his cousin's husband), Matthew Weaver (her brother), Elisabeth Willheit (her unmarried cousin).  These were heavy favorites of the parents and were used over and over.  For Elias (b. 8 Feb 1766), the sponsors were all repeats from those for the first children.  For Jemima (b. 6 Apr 1768), a new sponsor is invited, Anna Crisler (sometimes called Magdalena), who is the wife of George.  This is also a typical sub-pattern, alternating between husbands and wives.  It also occurred with Stephen Fisher and Mary Fisher.

For Anna (b. 27 Oct 1771), another new sponsor is Barbara Carpenter, the mother's sister, who had first married George Clore, who died.  Barbara then married Andrew Carpenter.  I have not been giving all of the sponsors as I have omitted the "repeaters".  For Elizabeth (b. 28 Jul 1774), the new sponsor is Andrew Carpenter, the husband of Barbara.  For the namesake, Henry (b. 3 Apr 1776), the choices were all repeats of the previous selections.  For Rosina, the after thought, born 10 Jul 1787, there are two new sponsors.  One is Barbara Garhert whose identity is a total mystery.  It is thought that the last Gerhard left the community some forty years earlier.  The other new sponsor is Elizabeth Weaver, for whom there are multiple choices, such as sister-in-law, niece, or nephew's wife (of Elizabeth Crisler).

Henry, the father, came from a large family of eleven children.  Yet the only sibling that he asked to be a sponsor is his brother (John) George.  Elizabeth (Weaver) Crisler also limited her choices in her family but they were broader than Henry's choices.  This limitation in choosing sponsors is typical and is nothing that is unique to the Henry and Elizabeth Crisler family.


Nr. 619:

The family of Theobald and Rosina (Gaar) Crisler has been introduced.  A recent question about their son John George Crisler is the subject of this note.  His wife was Anna Magdalena indicating that both he and his wife were inclined to use their full names (but one cannot put any trust that this will always be the case).  Their children are given in two places, the "Garr Genealogy" and the record of baptisms at the Hebron church.  There are three differences.

The children with their birth dates were:

Julius, b. 12 Nov 1767,
Elizabeth, b. 30 Aug 1769,
Abraham, b. 25 Aug 1772, (Garr says 1771, probably correctly)
Benjamin, b. 24 May 1773, (not in Garr Genealogy),
Absalom, b. 24 Sep 1775,
Rosina, b. 3 Jan 1778,
Joel, b. 9 Jan 1780,
Juliana, b. 16 Nov 1781,
Susanna, b. 17 Nov 1783,
Jonas, b. 18 Sep 1785,
Lucy, b. 14 Sep 1787,
Nancy (not in the baptismal records),
Anna, b. 19 Jun 1790, and
Mary, b. 1 Dec 1792.

A tentative conclusion is that the Garr Genealogy is in error for omitting Benjamin.  Probably, the Garr book is in error on Nancy also.  The book notes two marriages for Nancy, so her existence can hardly be doubted, but she was probably assigned here as a default.  In fact, there was a Nancy Crisler born to a David and Elizabeth Crisler on 1 Oct 1780, and this is most likely the Nancy that was assigned to John George and Anna Magdalena by the Garrs.

Zacharias Smith was a sponsor for Julius, Elizabeth, Abraham, Benjamin, and Absalom.  This is partial confirmation that Anna Magdalena was a Smith.  Zacharias moved to Pennsylvania and Kentucky after Absalom, so he does not appear for the later children.  An Anna Smith was a sponsor for the first child, Julius.  This may have been Anna Fishback Smith, the first wife of Julius.  Catherine Marbes (or Marbles) was a sponsor for Abraham.  She was Magdalena's sister who married John Marbes.  However, she fell out of favor, probably because of her behavior.  Catherine had a child (Sarah), whose father was not her husband (by her own admission).

This (Catherine's behavior) should be a lesson to us as we enter names into a pedigree chart.


Nr. 620:

(To correct an error in the last note, Anna Fishback Smith was the wife of Zacharias Smith, not Julius Crisler.  Please correct your copy.)

The "Garr Genealogy" omitted Dorothy Crisler as a daughter of Theobald Crisler and Rosina Garr.  A recent note (from "Bob"), on the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List at Rootsweb, gave the family of Dorothy, but failed to mention any source citations for the data.  I repeat the names and the dates of births from the Hebron Church Register for eight of the children:

Daniel, b. 15 Aug 1757 (Bob says 18 Aug),
Elizabeth, b. 15 May 1760,
Abraham, b. 24 Sep 1762,
Sarah, b. 21 Jul 1764,
Mary, b. 17 Jul 1766,
Rosina, b. 23 Oct 1770,
Phoebe, b. 30 Jul 1773, and
Lea, b. 20 May 1775.

Bob's note also added a Reuben with a birth year of 1768.  There is a four-year spacing between Mary and Rosina, into which Reuben might very well fit.  Aside from this observation, I am not aware of the evidence for Reuben who is said to have married a Rosina Broyles born in 1769.

The baptismal records do not have the maiden name of Nicholas Broyles' wife Dorothy.  We can get some good clues from the sponsors.  Henry Crisler was a sponsor on four occasions.  His wife, Elizabeth, was a sponsor on three occasions.  That they were husband and wife (they are not identified as such in the list of sponsors) is suggested by the fact they never appear together.  What we have is the principal of alternation between a husband and wife.  Stephan Fisher and his wife Magdalena Gaar Fisher serve as sponsors a total of four times but never simultaneously.  By comparison to the family charts, we see that it is logical that Dorothy Broyles might have been the daughter of a Crisler and a Gaar.

On eight occasions, once for each of the children above, John Wayland or his wife, Catherine Wayland, were sponsors.  Again, they never served simultaneously.  Catherine was the sister of Nicholas Broyles.  Seven times, Mary Zimmerman or William Zimmerman served as sponsors.  As soon as we see the name Zimmerman, we have to ask, "Is this the family known as Zimmerman or is the family known as Carpenter who sometimes, at the church, was called Zimmerman?"  These are really the Carpenters and the William Carpenter is the senior William.  His wife was Mary Wilhoit.  Under the assumption that Catherine Broyles married Adam Wilhoit, then Mary was Nicholas Broyles' cousin.  The choice of Mary or William Carpenter was a very conventional choice then.  I did not cover all of the sponsors but the ones I have given support the thesis that Dorothy was the daughter of a Crisler and a Gaar.


Nr. 621:

How many ancestors do you have? At the first level, we each have two ancestors, the same as everyone else except for Dolly.  Most of us have us have four grandparents and eight greatgrandparents.  Let's say that for every century we have three new generations.  Going back to 1700, would require (for the older readers such as myself) about seven or eight generations.  If we count the generations as our parents being the number 1 generation and our grandparents as the number 2 generation and so on, then we can express the number of ancestors at any level as the number 2 raised to the number of generations back that we are evaluating.  When I say "raised to," I could substitute "multiplied by itself".

For example, to go back to 1700 would be about seven generations for me, so I would expect to have 2 multiplied by itself seven times.  This is 128.  Suppose we went back to the time of Charlemagne around the year 800, some 1200 years ago.  At three generations per hundred years, there would be 36 generations back to then for someone who was recently born.  The number of ancestors in a tree at that time or level would be 2 raised to (i.e., multiplied by itself) 36 times.  My calculator tells me that this would be about 68,719,000,000.  For Americans, that is almost 69 billion ancestors at the time.  (I said Americans because, for some other people in the world, a billion is a different amount.)

How many people were in Europe at the time of Charlemagne? Maybe one million people.  So how could I have so many ancestors, say 69 billion, when there were only one million people living then?  Some people had to serve as an ancestor more than once.  For example, on the average, each person living in 800 AD would be an ancestor 68,719 times.  The chances are quite excellent that you are a descendant of any given person that you could name from that time, assuming that the person did leave descendants.

(There is a society for descendants of Charlemagne.  To be a member, you need to have a proven line of descent.  This is possible for many people.  However, even if the odds are excellent that you are descended from Charlemagne, you cannot join the society on this basis alone.)

The convergence within any individual's family tree has to occur.  No one can escape this.  As one goes back, it is a necessity that your lines will converge, i.e., become the same.  To give an example, I have a few known cases in the immediate past three centuries.  Theobald Crisler and Rosina Gaar are in my tree by two different paths.  George Utz and Barbara Maiers are in a couple of times.  Convergence in a family tree has occurred any time that one can say he or she is their own cousin.  As the mathematics above proves, each of us is (must be) his or her own cousin.  It is not always clear just how or when it occurs, but it must occur.


Nr. 622:

As we go further back in time, the odds improve that any given individual living then will be an ancestor (assuming that the individual did leave some descendants).  Let's look at another question, namely, what are the odds that an individual ten generations in back of us is really our ancestor.  For example, what is the chance that Henry Krankenhaus is really my ancestor.  Let's just say that he is ten generations away from me.  I have some data about each generation which may or may not be true.  At each step in the line going back to him, I will say the data has a probability of about 0.9 of being true.  A probability of 1.0 leaves absolutely no room for doubt.  A probability of 0.0 is a complete lack of knowledge.  So at an assessment of 0.9, I am saying that the data looks good but there is an allowance for a mistake.

Going back ten generations with a certainty of 0.9 at each step, the odds that a person that far removed is really an ancestor are only 0.35.  Or stated in another way, the odds are only about one in three that he or she is truly an ancestor.  So as people start collecting ancestors, which is becoming a fad today, are they collecting facts or are they collecting junk?  It does not take much before the limbs become trash.

Errors arise in several ways.  A lack of knowledge leads to suppositions, which become embedded as facts.  I am surprised at how many trees come my way in which John Wilhoit married Margaret Weaver, the granddaughter of Peter Weaver.  Suppositions, not founded on proven fact, must be recognized.  They may be valuable as leads for research but the danger is that the supposition is quoted without the qualifications and limitations.  If there is a lack of knowledge, it is best to leave the line open than to state what is at best a guess.

In a recent note, I quoted the situation of Catherine who had a daughter whom she admitted was not her husband's child.  Not all people are as honest as Catherine.  A women on the web told her story of research which started with the generations just in back of her.  An unwed teenager was married to cover up the birth of a child by a man other than the one she married.  This same woman told also of finding that a birth certificate was false in the previous generation.  The true father was the priest but the birth certificate said something else.  Or a child may be adopted or reared in another family without the child being told.  (Or the hospital mixed up children.)

At each fork in the tree, one must attach some probability that the facts are indeed true.  Then to find the probability that the line from here to there is really true is the product (as in multiplication) of the individual probabilities.  As quoted above, a probability of 0.9 at each step, which to most people is almost a certainty, leads at the tenth generation to a probability of 0.35 on the path being correct.  That is less than the odds of a heads on a coin toss.  Increase the odds to 0.95 at each step and the probability of the path being correct is 0.6 which is only slightly better than tossing a coin.


Nr. 623:

Returning to the family of Theobald Crisler and Rosina Garr, another of their children was Adam Crisler, who married Elizabeth Crigler, the daughter of Nicholas Crigler.  The "Garr Genealogy" gives the family of Adam and Elizabeth as:

Ambrosius, b. 18 May 1769,
Margaret, b. 15 May 1771,
Eleanore, b. 18 Oct 1774,
Aaron, b. 23 Dec 1775,
Hannah, b. 10 Sep 1778,
Catherine, b. 19 Oct 1780,
Susanna, b. 3 Feb 1784,
Elizabeth, b. 7 Aug 1785, and
William, b. 28 Feb 1787.

Many of the children of Theobald and Rosina remained loyal members of the Hebron Lutheran Church, and Adam was one of them.  The baptism of all nine of the above children are recorded in the baptismal register of the church, which is the source of the birth dates above.

Adam and Elizabeth showed less imagination in choosing sponsors for the children than Adam's siblings did.  For each of the first three children the sponsors were Nicholas Crigler, Henry Crisler, Dorothy Broyles, and Mary Utz.  The choice of Henry Crisler and Dorothy Broyles was from within Adam's own family, as they were his brother and sister.

Nicholas Crigler was an unusual choice as he was Elizabeth's father.  Much more commonly, the sponsors are from the same generation as the parents.  Elizabeth was born in 1750 (the first child), and was about 18 when she married Adam Crisler.  The closest sibling to Elizabeth, Aaron, was born in 1756, so he was only 12 when Ambrosius was baptized.  When the eldest child in a family is having his or her own children baptized, they often were cut off from having their brothers and sisters as sponsors because the siblings were not yet old enough.  Under these circumstances, the choices for sponsors ranged more broadly.  The choice of the fourth sponsor, whom we would expect to be related to Elizabeth, seems also to be from the previous generation.

Elizabeth's mother was Margaret Kaifer, and she had a sister, Mary, who married George Utz.  Cousins of Elizabeth from within this family would have been very logical choices, but they were slightly younger than Elizabeth's own siblings.  Again, the choice was outside the parent's (mother's) own generation, as several of her most logical choices were too young.


Nr. 624:

The fourth child of Adam Crisler and Elizabeth Crigler (who was Aaron) was sponsored by Benjamin Gaar, who was the cousin of the mother, Elizabeth Crigler Crisler.  Elizabeth's mother was Margaret Kaifer, and Benjamin Gaar's mother was Elizabeth Kaifer.  The second sponsor for Aaron was Elizabeth Crisler, and this could have been one of several different people.  The first thought is that she was Adam's sister, Elizabeth, but she had married Michael Wilhoit before this time.  She was probably Henry Crisler's wife, Elizabeth (nee Weaver).

The fifth child of Adam and Elizabeth Crisler, Hanna, was sponsored by Aaron Crigler, Elizabeth Crisler, and Dorothy Crigler.  Aaron was the mother's brother.

For Catherine and Susanna, two children born to Adam and Elizabeth during the period after Rev. Franck left, and before Rev. Carpenter assumed his duties, there were no sponsors.  During this bleak period in the church's history, things were not always done as systematically as in other periods.

For Elizabeth and William, the last two children of Adam and Elizabeth, sponsors are given and they are basically repeats of the previous sponsors.  One new name in the sponsors is Margaret Gaar.  One would be suspicious that she was the wife of the only other Gaar to appear as a sponsor.  And in fact, she was the wife of Benjamin Gaar.  She was also the sister of Elizabeth Crigler, the mother.  She was nine years younger than Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth had her first child, she (Elizabeth) was only eighteen years old.  At this time, Margaret Crigler was only nine.  So it was several years before Margaret was old enough to be a sponsor for Elizabeth's children.

Some of the other children of Theobald Crisler and Rosina Gaar appear in the Hebron Church records.  The number of children within this family that appear there is remarkable.  In many families, only a few of the children appear, but the majority of Theobald and Rosina's children appear there.  This means that the church records are a major source of information about the early Crisler family.  This is reflected in the Garr Genealogy, where much of the information there comes from the church records.

In note 591, I discussed Christian and Henry Tivall.  Christian seems to have married Mary Barbara Gaar, a fifth surviving child of Andreas Gaar.  In doing some work with the Culpeper Classes recently, I noticed that two of the men in the classes were Henry Duvall and James Duvall.  Very likely, the name Duvall is to be equated to Tivall.  The two Henrys might even be the same man.  The original spelling of Duvall or Tivall is not clear but these two names pass the soundex test for equality.


Nr. 625:

The Germanna Thomas family has traditionally been obscure.  It was a big step forward when Margaret James Squires found the origins of the family in Germany (as reported in "BEYOND GERMANNA").  Anna Maria Blanckenbühler married Johann Thomas (or Thomae) in Neuenbürg on 18 Nov 1711.  At the time, she was twenty-four, since she was born to Johann Thomas Blanckenbühler and Anna Barbara Schön on 5 May 1687.  The first child born to Anna Maria and Johann Thomas was Hans Wendel Thomas, on 17 Apr 1712.  A second child, Ursula, born 8 May 1714, died the same day.  The third child, Anna Magdalena, was born 24 Nov 1715.

No other children are known from Germany.  From the will of Michael Kaifer, we know that Anna Maria had two other Thomas children, Michael and Margaret.  Both of these are believed to be Virginia born, especially Michael for whom there is no naturalization record in Virginia.  We know also from the will of Michael Kaifer that Anna Maria, who married Michael after John Thomas died, had at least five children by Michael.  Thus Anna Maria delivered at least ten children, and the first one was when she was 24 years old.  Therefore one postulates that she had her children at about two year intervals and there could hardly have been any breaks in this rhythm.  Therefore, Michael and Margaret were born about 1717 and 1719 but the sequence is uncertain.  Or stated in another way, we could say that Michael and Margaret were born ca 1718 and probably we would not be in error by more than one year for each of them.

We usually say that the Thomas family came to Virginia in 1717 but we have no proof of this.  It seems logical that they would have come with Anna Maria's mother, stepfather, three brothers, and her half-siblings, all of whom are documented as coming in 1717.  John Thomas, the father, must have died in Virginia about 1720.  Anna Maria was probably married to Michael Kaifer by 1721, when she was 34 years old, for she was the mother of at least five children after that date.

John Thomas (the son, Johann Wendel) and Michael Thomas had a land patent in their own name in 1726.  At this time, John was 14 years old and Michael was about 8 years old.  The patent says nothing about the boys being minors.  Probably their relatives assisted them in locating and claiming this land which was next to their uncles.  It was not adjacent to Michael Kaifer to whom their mother was certainly married by this time.  It is possible that the boys, John and Michael, were in the homes of their uncles or their grandmother and not in their stepfather's home.  However, the will of Michael Kaifer in no way suggests that the boys were estranged.

Contrary to the usual case, more is known about the families of Anna Magdalena and Margaret than about the families of John and Michael.  Anna Magdalena married Michael Smith and Margaret married Henry Aylor (thanks to the research of Nancy Dodge and others).  Since Michael Smith and Henry Aylor are the ancestors of all within their families, this means that the Michael Smiths and Aylor descendants have a Thomas ancestor (and a Blankenbaker ancestor).  The families of John (Jr.) and Michael Thomas are much less certain.

 


(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-FIFTH set of Notes, Nr. 601 through Nr. 625.)


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 601 through 625.


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