Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

(This Page Was Last Modified Wednesday, 06-Apr-2011 15:39:26 MDT.)


Search John's Notes, or This Entire Web Site.


This is the THIRTY-FOURTH 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 826 through 850.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 34

(If the text on this and other pages on this website isn't large enough, click here to see how to increase the size.)
(If you wish to print only part of this page, and not the entire page, click here for instructions.)


Nr. 826:

Let's turn the tables and not ask from which village each of the immigrants came at the time of emigration, but let's list the villages and see who came from that village.  This initial sorting job may be incomplete and inaccurate, so speak up if you can improve it.

  • BOCKSEIFEN (FREUDENBERG):  Hofman (Little Fork)
  • EISERN:  Hofmann, Weber, Railsback, Steinseifer
  • FREUDENBERG:  Miller, Creutz, Wayman, Back, Hofman (Little Fork)
  • MÜSEN:  Brumbach, Kemper, Martin
  • NEIDERDORF:  Kuntze, Coons (Corrected to NIEDERNDORF, per Note Nr. 834.)
  • OBERFISCHBACH:  Holtzclaw, Häger
  • OBERSCHELDEN:  Spielmann, Crim
  • SIEGEN:  Rector (d. 1742)
  • TRUPBACH:  Rector, Fishback, Utterback, Young, Nay, Hanback

In preparing this list, I did not count multiple names, e.g., the Fischbach family which left Trupbach consisted of the father and two older sons who soon married in Virginia.

It is very difficult to tell where any of these families lived.  Where they lived, where they were married, and where they had children baptized may be different places.  I believe that some of the local historians in Trupbach can identify the houses where some of the families above lived.  The house of the Rectors was known, but it was destroyed by a bomb during WWII.

Had the ship Oliver been successful in bringing its passengers safely to Virginia, Freudenberg would have contributed the most heads of families to the First Colony, including its later additions.  There were eighteen families counting single men as a family.  Next in the line are Trupbach and Eisern.

The "towns" above were small; only Siegen was good sized, but only one family was living there when the decision to emigrate was made.  Johann Justus Albrecht had to travel around some as he was recruiting people to join Graffenried's mining venture, but the villages were not far apart.


Nr. 827:

Sorting the people by the village of origin who came from "southwestern Germany" to Virginia, the results are (numbers in parenthesis are the today's population when known):

  • BERG bei STUTTGART:  Castler, Crees
  • BONFELD:  Motz
  • BÖNNIGHEIM (6474):  Amberger
  • BOTENHEIM:  Snyder, Aylor
  • FALKENSTEIN (199):  Yager
  • FRANKENTHAL:  Lotspeich
  • GEMMINGEN (4121):  Smith, Clore, Weaver, Milcher
  • GROSS SACHENSHEIM: Moyer
  • ILLENSCHWANG (249):  Gaar
  • LAMBSHEIM (5431):  Crisler
  • NEUENBÜRG:  Blankenbaker, Fleshman, Schlucter, Scheible
  • OBERDERDINGEN (8346):  Blankenbaker (Matthias)
  • ÖTISHEIM (4264):  Broyles
  • OTTMARSHEIM:  Paulitz
  • SCHWAIGERN (9295):  Reiner, Willheit, Lederer, Cook, Baumgartner, Gabbard, Teter
  • SINSHEIM:  Ziegler
  • STETTEN am HEUCHELBERG:  Holt, Spade
  • SULZFELD (3880):  Zimmerman, Kabler, Yowell, Fisher(?)
  • TÄBINGEN (489):  Deer
  • THURGAU (Switzerland):  Harnsberger
  • WAGENBACH:  Utz, Volck
  • WALDBACH:  Wayland
  • ZABERFELD (3011):  Kaifer
  • ZAZENHAUSEN:  Kerker

Though most of these villages are from one small region which could be taken as the Kraichgau, there is some geographical diversity outside this region.  Some comparisons to the people from the Siegen area would show that more of the people from the Kraichgau region reached their decisions as independent families.  From the Siegen area, there was a tendency to travel in groups.  This group had its share of friends and relatives, but many of the villages were removed from the others and it's doubtful that was any interaction prior to departure.

Schwaigern contributed more people than any other village.  We will explore this more.


Nr. 828:

The area from which much of the Second Colony came was the Kraichgau.  In this area, there were dozens of separate, essentially independent, rulers.  Those who were independent of the Palatine Elector were in a precarious position.  The principalities were so small that a standing army was out of the question.  Instead, every peasant was subject to a call to duty in the time of danger.  The tiny principalities (some were only a few square miles in extent) were between the larger and much more powerful neighbors such as the Palatinate, Baden, and Württemberg.  To find friends, the rulers sought allies from afar.  They also banded together into a League of Knights.  The heavy burdens imposed by the rulers led to much friction between the peasants and the knights, while the knights were caught between the larger princes and their own subjects.

Before 1620, the Kraichgau was over populated, but, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648, and they had to stop the war in 1648 because the thirty years were up*) and the wars of the late seventeenth century, the armies of the larger powers nearly obliterated the villages in the Kraichgau.  Many of the peasants simply left for other regions.  Even the pastors usually left, and, if they did, they often left the church books behind, which were then destroyed by the invading armies.  Or, if the pastors did take them, the books became lost, or the congregation was scattered.  This is why the church records are so spotty in the late seventeenth century in this region.

By 1648, Adelshofen had lost half of its population, and then it was repeatedly plundered again in the late 1600's.  The population of Kleingartach dropped to 33 from 120 during the Thirty Years' War.  Massenbachhausen lost its entire population, and was resettled by outsiders, in some cases from a great distance.  In 1674, the French took Sinsheim, and fifteen years later they burned it to the ground.  Even the larger cities did not escape.  Heidelberg was left with only one standing building after the French occupied the city.  Regardless of one's political affiliation or side, in the wars, or one's religion, the opponents crossed back and forth over the land and both took a heavy toll on the infrastructure and population.  Disease and hunger and temporary living conditions were also the enemies of the people.  Two of the villages mentioned in the last note, Sinsheim and Zuzenhausen, were destroyed by fire.

After the nobility in the Kraichgau regained their authority, the peasants faced a new danger.  In most cases the peasants and nobility had contracts or agreements, some of which went back more than one hundred years.  The nobility felt they to rebuild their homes, churches, and villages.  This took extra money, but their tax base was sharply reduced because of the smaller population.  To build the tax revenue, the knights attempted to increase or to lay new levies.

(* My attempt at a little joke.)


Nr. 829:

All of the troubles that southwestern Germany had during the 1600's had an impact on the people who eventually made up the Second Germanna Colony.  More strongly, it impacted everyone over a wide range of geography.  With the vacant land, farms, and homes, that had been created by the wars, and the ancillary troubles, the rulers in the Kraichgau were hard pressed to raise the tax money that their dreams demanded.  They sent out the word that one could immigrate to their holdings with many benefits.  Many people from across a wide section of southern Germany and Switzerland responded, and moved in.  Several immediate ancestors of Second Germanna Colony people were participants in this movement.

The Käfers (Kaifer) came from Ansbach, some distance to the east and north in Germany, and settled in Zaberfeld.  Ansbach is to be found just to the west of Nurnberg.  Another family who came from the Ansbach region is the Utz family, in particular from the villages of Seiderzell and Haundorf.  Perhaps the Motz family came from Hecklingen in the Ansbach region also.  And, finally, the Crees family came from Öttingen in the same region.  Fred Zimmerman and Johni Cerny who did much of the research leading to these findings were stymied by the lack of microfilms for churches in that area.

Whenever a group of people emigrates from a region, we always look for the "ties that bind".  In this case, none are known, but that may be due to the lack of records.  In the western regions, they settled in somewhat different areas, which leads us to believe that they may not have much in common, except an approximate point of origin.

A more extreme example of a family on the move, in the seventeenth century, is the Blanckenbühler family who made two moves.  The first was from the small village of Gresten, in Austria.  During the Thirty Years' War, it had been impossible to move.  During this time, Austria was forcibly converted to a Catholic country (it had been about equally divided between Catholic and Lutheran up to this point).  At the conclusion of the war, the Blanckenbühlers may have been encouraged to move to an area where there were Lutheran churches.  So, the first move was made to the villages around Dottenheim and Oberrossbach, in Mittelfranken (a region in Bavaria).  The largest concentration of Blanckenbühlers (of the fifteen or so still in Germany) still live in this area.  But not long after the move here, some of them went on to the area which is now in Baden.  This family seemed to have many members who were among the first to move westward, but that is another story.


Nr. 830:

Another family, or perhaps more exactly, a person, who had moved within Germany prior to the emigration to America was Cyriacus Fleischmann.  The records at the church imply that he was from Klings, Fischberg, Eisenach, Henneberg, Saxony.  Some of these names are thrown in just to help located the area.  Before the modern reunification of Germany, this was just over the border in East Germany.  Also, almost no research has been done in the churches there, largely because no microfilming was permitted.

Cyriacus Fleshman's wife had earlier married into a family which also moved about, the Blankenbakers.  The combination may have encouraged her descendants, through the experiences handed down in the family from all sources (if not through the genes).  Anna Barbara Schöne's descendants, through her first husband, John Thomas Blankenbaker, included Margaret Thomas, who is said in some histories to be the first white woman west of the Allegheny Mountains.  Other histories say that the first white girl born in Kentucky was a Fisher, another Blankenbaker descendant.  I really won't say that I believe the stories just because the "first" of anything is so hard to prove.  It does show that the Blankenbakers in Austria, probably starting shortly after the end of the Thirty Years' War about 1650, were on the western frontier of America after not much more than a hundred years had passed.

Another family who moved from Mittelfranken to the Rhine country, as did the Blankenbakers, was the Bechk family.  This family left Gemmingen with other families, who were to eventually land in Virginia, but the fate of the Bechk family is unknown.  (In the early eighteenth century, many of the German pastors used what we would consider extra letters in writing.)

The Zimmermann family was from Steffisburg, Canton of Bern, Switzerland, before they lived in Sulzfeld.  Other of the early Germanna pioneers had ancestors from Switzerland.  One branch of the Willheit ancestry came from there.  John Harnsberger is said to be from Switzerland himself, as he was born there.  I have wondered if the family, or he in particular, had moved to Germany, but then decided to come on to America.

Just today, I was looking at a map to locate where Hans Herr (1710 Mennonite) had lived in Germany.  Surprises of surprises, the farm he lived on is only about two miles west of Wagenbach, where George Utz and Maria Sabina Volck lived (Folg was the way John Hoffman wrote Volck).  George Utz and Hans Herr could well have been acquainted with each other.  So it is no wonder that I, a descendant of George Utz, take a special interest in Hans Herr.


Nr. 831:

Of course, I find it interesting that George Utz and Hans Herr lived about two miles from each other.  George is an ancestor and the Hans Herr House is where I volunteer as a tour guide.  There is far greater significance to the proximity of George and Hans though.

We have seen that friends and relatives played a major role in influencing people to come to America.  Our story in the Kraichgau started in 1717, but there were others who came before this.  Not many, but I contend that these few were very important.  The phrase that I use is they "broke the ice".  A trip to America was to be feared, and I will develop this theme in a future note.  Pennsylvania had been asking for people for thirty years by 1710, but few had responded.  Hans Herr and his fellow Mennonites took the bold step of going to America, and they certainly recruited more of their compatriots to come and join them.  They even sent people back to Germany to recruit.  The members of what became the Second Germanna Colony saw their neighbors were going to America.  They too decided there could be a better future there.

Besides the Mennonites, there was a very large group that left Germany in 1709.  I have identified some of these people and found that they overlapped the homes of the 1717 and later people.  Most of these people were Lutherans, with some Reformed.  The Catholics were few in number.  Regardless of the religion, which usually did not matter too much, the people who were leaving in 1717 knew that people were getting across the ocean.  The letters back to Germany must have started early, because, within a year or two, other people from the Kraichgau were going to Virginia, which was not a usual destination.  That people like the Kablers went to Virginia is testimony to the correspondence that must have existed across the Atlantic.  How else were they to know that their neighbors, the Zimmermans, were in Virginia?

Up around Siegen, the mass migration of 1709 was very noticeable in its impact.  I have extracted, using Hank Z. Jones' study of the 1710 immigrants to New York, that more than 200 people left from a circle of about fifteen mile radius around Siegen.  Several of the names even repeat the name of the ancestors of our Germanna people.  When Johann Justus Albrecht came on a recruiting trip, probably in 1710, the departure of many neighbors and perhaps a few relatives was still fresh in the minds of the people they left behind.  That so many people had responded in 1709 to the lure of America is testimony to the economic conditions there in the Siegen area.  Probably this condition had not improved markedly by 1713.  Thus, we can postulate poor economic conditions, plus the knowledge that others had made the trip, toward the success of Albrecht's recruiting efforts.

It is profitable to study the exodus of 1709 in both general terms and the specific names of people.  It will certainly fill you with admiration for the boldness and bravery of the people who made the trip.


Nr. 832:

I have mentioned it before but let me give the name of a book again.  "Hopeful Journeys" was written by Aaron Spencer Fogleman, and it gives a great amount of insight into conditions in Germany in the first part of the eighteenth century.  It is based on a study of records from the villages of Germany, especially the Kraichgau from where so many of our Germanna people came.

One of the villages in the region of study, almost the most southeastern one, is Schwaigern.  If you draw a broad line, in the north westerly direction toward Heidelberg, you will cover many of the villages of the study.  This was no man's land.  Most of the territory was owned in small parcels by about 75 "knights", who were caught between the peasants and the electors, or dukes, of the much larger realms that surrounded them.  If you are thinking that it sounds medieval, I would agree.  There were differences, as the peasants had negotiated contracts, some more than a hundred years old, as to the obligations and rights of the parties.  The contracts were a hindrance to the knights, who needed to raise more money to support the life style that they wanted.  Especially after the wars of the seventeenth century, which reduced the population and destroyed much of the infrastructure.

The clash between the nobility and the villagers reached its zenith in the late 1710's and early 1720's, just before the large scale emigration to Pennsylvania began (with smaller numbers going to Virginia).  The village of Hoffenheim was owned by two families, the von Österreichs and the von Waldenburgs.  In 1618 they had reached an agreement with the villagers, and then they reissued it in 1705.  The von Österreichs had leased their half of the village to a poor noble family, the Äscher von Bünningens.  The ruling families were Catholic, while the villagers were Lutheran.  This, and an attempt to change the old agreements regarding privileges and dues, led to friction.  The villagers appealed, over the heads of the ruling families, to the imperial commissioners.

These appeals were repeated, but brought no success to the villagers.  A typical pattern ensued.  One of the villagers emigrated to Pennsylvania, and in the following three years at least thirty-two others followed.

The events in Ittlingen were a comic-drama.  A new ruling family, the von Kochendorfs, was heavily in debt and they sought to raise their revenues from the villagers, in order to pay for a new dwelling.  They installed a fence around the village commons, so that they could use it for their own purposes.  The villagers tore it down.  The same things were repeated again.  The villagers filed an appeal.  The von Gemmingens (the owners) and the von Kochendorfs (the lessees) considered the villagers to be in open rebellion.  Action was needed.


Nr. 833:

The von Gemmingens and the von Kochendorfs, determined to pull themselves out of poverty, took extreme measures against the villagers in 1720.  They raised the rates for grazing rights for the villagers' hogs, which had been set by an agreement in 1584.  The Ittlingers refused to pay and complained to Heilbronn again.  In retaliation, the von Gemmingens and von Kochendorfs brought in twenty armed men to take the villagers' hogs.  They put the plan into action on a Sunday morning, when the mandatory attendance at church required the villagers to be there.  The armed men took the whole lot of 160 hogs and drove them five miles to Gemmingen, about five miles away.  A number of the younger men followed the trail of the hogs and reported back to the village elders.  After much debate, another appeal was filed at Heilbronn which ruled in the villager's favor.

The "vons" ignored the imperial court's ruling and started selling the hogs at bargain prices.  Needless to say, this many hogs severely depressed prices.  The armed men next tried to steal the villagers' sheep but they were caught in the act and, after shots were fired all around, the armed men retreated.  Fearing imperial action, which might threaten their independence, the von Gemmingens and von Kochendorfs backed down and sought a truce.  They had to pay something for the hogs, perhaps more than they had realized at the sale.  The villagers were also net losers.

Within a few weeks, the von Gemmingens selected a new Lutheran pastor who preached obedience to the authorities.  Though various actions were discussed against the new pastor, nothing was done.  The Ittlingers, who had gained a favorable reputation among nearby villagers, were now the subject of verbal abuse for their indecision.  The villagers then carried their protest to the preacher who rejected their demands.  The von Gemmingens and von Kochendorfs could see more trouble on the horizon and they told the pastor to alter his approach and to change the subject of his sermons.  In the end he lasted twenty years.

Fogelman draws the conclusion that the Kraichgauers were hardly trained in democracy, but they were not apolitical either.  They reacted to any threat against their society which they felt had violated earlier agreements.  They tended to ally themselves with the Imperial power as a defense against the local aristocracy.  The intervention of the Imperial power was a threat to the independence of the knights.  So the peasants were beginning to learn how to organize to protect their interests.

At the same time, the conditions such as the Ittlingers endured were the reason for emigration.  Episodes such the "hog war" lead to renewed emigration.  Letters from America emphasized there were no petty princes there.


Nr. 834: Living in difficult, crowded conditions, in small parishes, with tense relations with the authorities, the villagers of the Kraichgau read the promotional literature on Pennsylvania, and the letters of previous emigrants from the village.  Many chose to seek a better fortune in America, especially in Pennsylvania.  There were peaks of migration in the early 1730's and late 1730's.  All of these had the benefit of the experience of the earlier immigrants, who had gone under different circumstances.  By the time of the second wave, the reports back from America indicated the preferred colony was Pennsylvania, as opposed to New York, North Carolina, or other colonies.  Some had gone as early as 1709, as a result of the climatic-agricultural catastrophe in the winter of 1708-1709.  The large numbers of 1709 soured the English, and they did not encourage further emigration.  The next large wave was in 1717, though it was nothing in comparison to 1709.  But, these initial waves were the forerunners of many more emigrants to America.

Factors which encouraged emigration in the later years were:  the general demographic-economic conditions, which resulted from overcrowding; the recruitment by the colonies, and by the shipping companies; and by the letters and visits of people who had gone earlier.

The village of Schwaigern sent large numbers of people to the Americas.  The following numbers are known to have left, by the years of the decade:

Year of Decade

Decade 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1710: 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 2 0 0
1720: 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 6
1730: 9 26 50 0 2 0 7 18 31 2
1740: 5 5 0 33 0 0 0 1 0 67
1750: 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
1760: 0 0 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 1


Where the first entry is for the year ending in a zero, and the last year in the row is for the year ending in a nine.

These are a count of those who left legally, or who at least left a record at the church.  In 1717, one of the families was the Kochs, a part of the Second Germanna Colony.  But the Willheits seem to be missing from this count.  Several Germanna families immigrated in the early 1730's.  And, we see that many people participated in the disastrous year of 1738.  The following year was minimum (2), and one wonders if the reports of the disaster of 1738 had time to filter back.

In a recent note (825) a correspondent from Germany, who knows better than I do, tells me that the correct name of the village is Niederndorf (with an "n" in the middle).


Nr. 835:

Let's take a break from the Kraichgau and go up north around Siegen and look at some of the conditions there.  The story to be given here is based on the "Diary and Account Book of Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman", for which a microfilm exists in the Library of Congress.  A translated copy (by Charles T. Zahn) is on Family History Library film 193014.  The existence of the document, and a copy of the material, were brought to my attention by Ted Walker.

Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman was a brother of the 1714 John Hoffman, and of the later (1743) John Henry Hoffman.  (Note from Web Page Manager and Editor:  As was usual in this time period, sons were usually given the "first name" of their father, with a different "middle name", which was the name they were actually known by.  In this case, these brothers all had the "first name " of "Johannes" [John].  For some reason, Wilhelm and Heinrich ended up with the traditional "middle" names of William and Henry, while the 1714 "John" ended up with his patronymic name  Wonder what his "middle name" was?).  Both William and Henry lived in Virginia, and were 19 and 16 years younger than John Hoffman, respectively.  William kept a book, not a true diary, but an account of labor and service he performed for others, plus the taxes and fines he paid.  The book begins with a prayer, when he was 21 years old in 1733.  His words make it clear that he was a dedicated member of the German Reformed Church, and that he regarded the Catholics very unfavorably, even worse than the Turks.  This was unfortunate, as he lived in an area of Germany where the Catholic rulers apparently used their power against the Reformed people.

William had a low opinion of the "overlords" who levied fines and required that services be performed.  For example, the Reformed members were required to pay a fine because they had been spinning on Catholic feast days.  The Catholic hierarchy was also against the Reformed members holding school on feast days.

These oppressive measures fell heavily on William, and he needed a rationalization to justify his beliefs.  He wrote that God had ordained overlords to rule over the peasants and to require services from them at the overlord's command.  He continued that whereas it has pleased God to make him a peasant in his fatherland, which has Catholic rulers, may he live in peace with good health and fortune.  "Therefore, I, Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman, from Eysern, intend to record the services I give to the overlords."  He then listed many of the services that he had performed, or expected to perform, such as mowing, making hay, hauling wood from the forest, hunting, and military service.  Since he did own a horse, many of the services involved the horse.

Two services had a very adverse effect on William.  He had to perform military service, and he had to quarter soldiers in his house.  Quartering of soldiers was a burden that fell almost exclusively upon the Reformed Church members.  Sometimes the soldiers demanded that William use his horse to convey them to other places.  William did not enumerate the wars in any detail, but it was clear that troops and citizens from other regions were involved.

Fines were levied for many different causes, and Wilhelm and his fellow church members seem to have spent a lot of time in appealing these fines.


Nr. 836:

Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman, citizen of Eisern, which is a couple of miles south of the town of Siegen, made it clear that he believed an extra burden fell upon him because he was a member of the Reformed Church.  There is no hint, though, that he ever waived in his faith in the church.  His writings consist mostly of the burdens that were placed on him by the "overlords."

There are some more personal notes which are tantalizing to us.  In the years 1739 and 1740, he mentions Pastor Heltsklaw from Wilmetogff.  Surely this is a variant spelling of Holzklau, which became Holtzclaw in America.  In 1738, he mentioned his brother-in-law, Heide, of Siegen.  William's wife was Catharina Pithan and none of his sisters married a Heide according to B. C. Holtzclaw.  He also refers to a brother-in-law, Henrich Schute, at Fücknhette (?), whose actual relationship is unexplained.  Apparently, we do not understand all of the relationships that the term brother-in-law might encompass (or else our history is flawed).

William records that on 16 May 1741, he, Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman and his wife Anna Cadrina, with their sons Johannes and Johan Heinrich, left the village of Eysern, in the Catholic part of the principality of Nassau-Siegen, in his fatherland.  He arrived in Philadelphia on 1 Oct 1741, and within the year had moved to York County, and across the "Sequahanna" to a place called Yorktown.

He left an incomplete statement, "After I left Europe and the servitude in Siegen, in the form of handwork and money, as the book shows again and again-."  In another place, he gives as motivation for coming to America, "...the hope of being able to live without the burden of war."

In America, he continued to record some of the same kinds of observations that he had in Germany, namely, taxes, road maintenance, and war.  The war to which he made reference was the French and Indian War, which was very hard on the inhabitants of the frontier counties.  With his fatalistic spirit, he believed that God was punishing America by using the war as the means of punishment.  He records the end of the war on a very happy note, with a wish for a peaceful life under our King George the Second of Great Britain.

There is no evidence that he ever saw his brothers, John and Henry, in Virginia.  Of course, William was only one year old when his brother John left Eisern.  However, he was only three years younger than Henry.  (William left Eisern in 1741 and Henry left in 1743.)


Nr. 837:

Returning to the Kraichgau region, and Fogleman’s book, "Hopeful Journeys", large scale emigration began in the middle third of the eighteenth century as the population pressure built to a critical stage.  In the Germanna Colonies, we are aware of the above average numbers of emigrants in the early 1730’s, the late 1730’s, and again around 1750.  Why these particular years were the time of emigration is not clearly known.  There were two destinations favored by the emigrants, America and the eastern regions in Prussia (Poland) and Russian.  Countries interested in obtaining new settlers knew that they could be recruited most easily in southwest Germany.  But, without recruitment of some kind, there would have been no large emigration.

Some of the recruitment was done by governments, especially where there was empty and under-utilized land.  A prime example of this is Pennsylvania.  As early as 1680, William Penn made personal trips along the Rhine River, seeking settlers for his newly acquired lands.  Pennsylvania was the most active of the colonies.  Georgia, for a short period, offered special inducements.  North Carolina was willing to sell a hundred thousand acres to the Moravians to attract them.  The Hapsburgs and Prussia had newly acquired lands in the east, and wanted German settlers.  Later, Russia was an active recruiter.  The French, the Dutch, and the Swedish had a presence for a while in America, but their failure to actively seek emigrants resulted in the lost of their possessions.

Other active elements were private organizations and individuals.  Land settlement by speculators attracted settlers.  People who were returning to Germany for a visit, or other purposes, were recruited as agents to procure settlers.  Called Neuländers ("New-Landers"), they often arranged for transportation, since many were hired by the shippers.  It was all part of the process of removing any obstacles that could prevent the trip.

In addition, incentives and encouragement to emigrate came from individuals such as friends, families, relatives, and neighbors, who had already successfully settled in the new lands.  We saw earlier the very active role that, apparently, was played by Jacob Holtzclaw, who concentrated on relatives.  Much of this was carried out by letters across the Atlantic.  The reports that went back to Germany often mentioned the factors which had led to the original decision to emigrate.  The letters would tell that how much better the new lands were in this regard.  Two topics which impressed people were the freedom from petty princes (who stole one’s hogs), and the freedom from oppressive taxes (fees for grazing rights of one’s animals).

With the growth of population in Germany, the land had been subdivided into uneconomical units.  It was of concern that one’s children would have sufficient land.  Imagine the impact of a letter telling of a purchase of four hundred acres of land!


Nr. 838:

In Germany, land was passed on to succeeding generations in many different ways.  Some regions, including the Kraichgau, in southwest Germany, practiced partible inheritance for much longer periods of time than in other regions.  There were several reasons for this.  During the 1600's, the wars reduced the population severely and land was plentiful.  This encouraged parents, who had acquired large parcels of land, to divide their holdings among several children.

Changes took place during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.  At the end of The Thirty Year's War, the population was so reduced that more land was available than could be used.  The villagers tended to use the land nearer to the village.  The outlying land, which formed a boundary to the next parish, was often not used.  Boundary lines between the parishes were forgotten.  Later, when the land was needed, it had been forgotten whose land it was, which led, in some cases, to "wars" between the parishes over their boundaries.

The rulers, wanting more tax money, invited, or actually recruited, people from farther away to move in.  (This was probably when several of our ancestors moved into southwest Germany, from other regions, maybe even from other countries.)  With fewer wars, and a more stable economy, the natural population grew and was augmented by the influx of people.  After one or two generations, the demand for land again exceeded its availability.  All during this period, up into the eighteenth century, partible inheritance was maintained in the Kraichgau, even though it had been abandoned in some regions of Germany.  Newer practices in farming helped some, as the average size of fields decreased, but the people in the Kraichgau hung on to partible inheritance.

By 1724, the government in Karlsruhe forbid immigration into the area controlled by it, just because the pressures were becoming too great.  Other measures adopted prohibited marriage before the age of 25, and the division of land into parcels of less than a certain size.  At the extreme, fields could not be less than one-fifth of an acre, and a garden tract could not be less than one-eighth of an acre.

These problems were nothing new.  For centuries, populations had built up to a level which could not be sustained.  The general solution in these cases had been emigration.  This had been going on for centuries before America was even dreamed of.  The emigration then had been to the east.  Even during the eighteenth century, as emigration increased to America, the levels of immigration to the east remained high.  This occurred in the early fourteenth century, and in the sixteenth century, before the better known emigration of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  So your German cousins are scattered from here to The Steppes of Russia or to the Ukraine. (Reference "The Volga Germans", who immigrated to Russia during the reign of Peter The Great.)


Nr. 839:

Let’s take a look at the history of one of the villages that we have talked about.  Thanks to a translation by Elke Hall, we can look at Dußlingen (Dusslingen), the home of the BROYLES/BRILES family.  It is located south of the city of Stuttgart.

In 1969, a stone age settlement was found in the region.  Other artifacts, from the Hallstatt age, from the Latene age, and from the Roman era, have been found.  The village itself existed in the 7th century as was proven by a grave discovered in Uffenhofen Street.  Parts of the village are still called ‘Uffhofen’ and ‘Niederhofen’ which suggest an origin resulting from the combination of two farms.  The first known appearance of the village in the written record is in 888, when it is called ‘villa Tuzzilinga.’  In 1135, it was called Tuzzelingin, and in 1216, Tusselingen.  With the conversion of the T to a D, the modern form appears.

Growth has been continuous.  In the 7th century, there were residences on both sides of the river Steinlach.  In 1729, there were 53 houses, combined with a barn under one roof, while 78 barns were separate from another 101 houses.  These numbers indicate a typically strong rural or agricultural influence.

In 887, the Emperor Karl gave the German King Arnulf a life interest in the church of Dußlingen.  Arnulf transferred this interest to his chaplain, Otolf.  Included with the church were a farm estate, house, acreage, meadows, fields, forests, creeks, tithes, and serfs.  After the death of Otolf, the property returned to the King.

Late in the 14th century, the Herters of Dußlingen owned the village as free property.  In 1393, Jakob Herter divided the property with his brothers, Hans and Friedrich, and obtained Friedich’s part in 1406/7.  In 1446/7, Jakob and his nephew sold the village, with all appendages, to Count Ludwig of Wirtemberg.  Jacob’s son Wilhelm rose in the services of Württemberg and was given the fief of Dußinglen in 1458 by Count Ulrich, as guardian of Count Eberhard.  This included the estate and the two residences, plus the castle barns and chapel.  The Herters owned the property until 1614, when the last male died.  The village then became part of the court and administrative district of Tübingen, where it has remained.

Little remains of the castle on the north side of the village.  A part of the wall which surrounded the old castle was incorporated into the foundation of the former mayor’s residence and the town hall.  A part of the moat is still visible.  The church in the village is mentioned first in the 9th century, when it was owned by the empire.  St. Petrus was named to be the Patron Saint in 1320.  Later, the church, its income, and other property belonged to the Herters.  They sold their rights, plus the right to the tithe, to Count Ludwig.

After the Reformation, Michael Beck became pastor; however, when it became known that his wife Margarethe, who came with him, had already been married once in Cannstadt, the town court of Tübingen had her drowned in 1537 for bigamy, even though a divorce decree by the Züricher marriage court of 1530 was presented.  Michael Beck was banished from Württemberg.


Nr. 840:

We will start a look at some of the history of the village of Schwaigern, home to many Germanna citizens.  The information was brought back to America by Earl and Leona Willhoite and was translated by Fred Westcott.  The material, written by Pastor Waldbaur, of the church in 1905, was not well organized, but Fred did the best he could with it.  It was printed in Beyond Germanna in volume 2, the number 3 issue.

The oldest document in which the village is mentioned dates to 765, when the village was given to the Lorsch Monastery.  Through the years, the name has appeared as Sueiger, Sueigeren, Swegern, and Swaigern (1302).  The church itself is mentioned for the first time in a document of Wimpfen from 1295.  It should be assumed that some church existed for centuries before this time.

In 1496, is a visitation report of the Diocese of Worms is written that Schwaigern is listed under the sedes, or seats, of the Deanery.  At that time, the following belonged to Sprengel:  Heimsheim, Mühlbach, Wimpfen am Berg, Wimpfen im Tal, Biberach, Oberriesesheim, Neckargartach, Frankenbach, Grossgartach, Massenbach, Hausen, and Neipperg.

The introduction of the Reformation in Schwaigern probably took place between 1520 and 1530.  In 1531, the Counselor of Heilbronn requests, from Wolf von Neipperg, a trained preacher.  Thereafter, B. Wurzelmann, the brother-in-law of Schnepf, was called to Schwaigern as the first evangelical pastor, probably in the second half of the 20’s.  He later became the pastor of Dinkelsbühl.

The Thirty Years’ War:  The year 1625 lists 222 deaths.  The high mortality number is connected with the march of Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach, who started out from here on the 25th of April, with 15,000 to 20,000 men, 20 marksmen, and 1800 pack wagons, to follow Tilly.  He was beaten on the 26th of April at Oberreissesheim.

The year 1635 numbers 691 dead.  Among them were 186 foreigners.  More than 500 deaths occur in the time between May and August.  In the month of September and half of October, no other deaths are registered, so it is to be assumed the residents had left town.  In the years 1634 to 1637, 1,005 persons died.

The vigor of the population is evident in the number of marriages subsequently.  After 1625 there were 30, at other times 15.  After 1635, there were 45, but otherwise there was an average of 12.  Many widowers married widows.


Nr. 841:

Continuing the history of Schwaigern, there was a net influx of people in the second half of the Seventeenth Century (after the Thirty Years' War).  These people came from many sources.  The written history that I am following mentions Reformed and Catholic people from France and the Salzburg areas, but we know it was broader than this.

Even though the Thirty Years' War was over (in 1648), wars continued in southwestern Germany.  In 1674 to 1679, in 1689 to 1698, and in 1702 to 1709, there were troops in the area making demands on housing (using the homes of the citizens), and on food.  The armies had to be supported by taxes, and discipline was maintained by shootings.  In 1713, Anna Maria Heinrich was burned as a witch.

In the period of 1719 to 1726, Reinhard von Neipperg, the Knight who ruled Schwaigern, felt the need for more personal security, and sought it from the Emperor in the east.  To win favor with the Emperor, von Neipperg converted to the Catholic religion, and won the title of Count, and a job with the Emperor.  He still maintained, until 1755, the right to name the Lutheran pastor in the local church.  In giving up the right, the Count transferred the choice to an expanded community representative body.  Gains in representation by the populace were slow.

Fire was an ever present danger.  On 22 Oct 1811, 90 buildings were destroyed by fire.  Major fires also occurred on the nights of 22 January and 5 Feb in 1849.  Even in "modern" times, as late as 1892 fire destroyed a major portion of the town.  As a result, there was a space to build new streets to meet the needs of an expanding population.  Not many years later, in 1905, fire destroyed a major part of the city again.

Hail storms wrought serious damage on several occasions.  In spite of many setbacks in the nineteenth century, the prosperity of the people improved noticeably in that time.

Building fires were to be feared, especially because they were difficult to control and put out.  One house on fire represented a danger to the whole city, because of the limited capability to fight fires.  Because a sleeping people do not always sense a fire in its early stages, it was important to have a night watchman, whose principal job was to be on the lookout for fires, and to give the alarm in case one occurred.  Some of the fires originated from faulty flues and the like, but lightning was another danger.


Nr. 842:

When we talk about the reasons that Germans came to America, we have a great difficulty because we were not there to sit in on the discussions in the homes where the ideas were discussed.  Some historical documents exist, and they are a help.  Our biggest problem is that we can name a dozen reasons why they came, but which one was dominant? It would appear that the reasons varied by group and year.  For the moment, let us keep the discussion very general without particular reference to the Germanna Colonies.

With some exceptions, religion was not the reason; however, for the Anabaptists and Moravians (and others), it WAS a reason.  In Switzerland and in Holland, the Anabaptists were persecuted to the extent that at least a few thousand, probably more, were killed for their beliefs.  They were also expelled from Switzerland, especially to the lands which bordered the Rhine River on both sides.  In Germany, they were free from the extreme forms of torture and death, but they were still subject to many rules and regulations that other people were not.

They could not own land.  They could not have a church.  They could not preach to others.  Not more than twenty of them could meet at one time.  They had to pay special taxes.  And something that really grated on these pacifists was that they had to serve in the army.  So, when William Penn and his agents roamed the countryside, they listened and acted.  The first Germans to Pennsylvania were Mennonites, a major branch of the Anabaptists, and they founded Germantown, now a part of Philadelphia.  The Moravians also chose to go to America.  Some groups, such as the Salzburgers (I need help here, Elke), were expelled from Germany.  So, there were groups for whom religion was a reason, but they represented a minority of the Germans.

In spite of the comments that people such as William Hofman made in Eisern, and which were quoted in excerpts here, religion was probably not a factor for the Lutherans, Reformed, and Catholic people.  Most of these people were flexible.  Hank Jones tells of one man who was born in the Catholic Church, married in the Reformed Church, and who became an elder in the Lutheran Church.

The old German Bibles, often weighing twenty or more pounds, have been cited as proof of the dedication of the Germans to their religion.  But, observers during the great influx in 1709 to London reported that printed religious works were very scarce among these people.  Religion was important to them but it was secondary after the needs of the body were satisfied.

It became popular to say that one's ancestor left because of religious problems or a desire for religious freedom.  This was founded not on fact, but on the simple desire to make the ancestors look as noble as possible.


Nr. 843:

A popular explanation for the cause of German emigration was war.  There is no doubt, especially using our hindsight, that this might have been a reason.  The major war, in the century preceding the start of German immigration for America, in the eighteenth century, was the Thirty Years’ War.  Some of the effects of that have been given here recently, in terms of the impact on Schwaigern.  At the conclusion of the war, southwest Germany ­ sometimes called the Rhineland ­ was left prostrate.

Growth was good, and it was augmented by immigration; however, there was a series of wars in the second half of the seventeenth century, which was a setback to recovery, and which must have been discouraging to the citizens.  Repeatedly, the Palatinate was the stomping ground of Louis XIV’s armies.  The armies' philosophy was that they should be able to live from what they could obtain from the area they were in, and they should be able to send a profit back to the King.

Marshall Turenne devastated the Palatinate in 1674.  The Palatinate at this time extended to the east bank of the Rhine, and included parts of the Kraichgau.  Lingering resentments between the minor princes over the Thirty Years’ War led to internal conflicts.  In 1688-1689, partly to vent his malice toward the Protestants, the Grand Monarch laid the Palatinate waste again.  During the War of the Spanish Succession, Marshal Villars crossed the Rhine in 1707, and terrorized the Rhineland, including the Palatinate, Württemberg, Baden, and the Swabian Circle.  The war was a political blunder for it helped to unite the German states against Louis.

For the people living in the war zones, these invasions wiped out the fruits of many of the advances made since the Thirty Years’ War.

One of the impacts of these wars is that the church records become very skimpy, or nonexistent.  Repeatedly, we note there are years when there are no records.  Or, we note that the records in a specific church start in 1690, picking a year for illustrative purposes.  Were all of the church records to be compared, we could recreate the zones of war.

To us today, it is a mystery why the Germans did not leave sooner than they did.  William Penn and his agents had been very active in the area recruiting people to settle in Pennsylvania.  William Hoffman’s account tells of the unpleasantness caused by war and religious intolerance.  Even though he lived to the north in the Siegen area, they were going through similar problems there.  But our answer may lie in other of his comments.  He believed that God had ordained that this was the life he was to live.  This was God’s will.  And who was he to challenge it?


Nr. 844:

Some of the causes of emigration were short term and affected emigration in a particular year.  Yet, sometimes the resulting emigration was so powerful that it had an effect for years to come.  One such incident was the winter of 1708-1709.

The first decade of the seventeen hundreds has been described as a little ice age.  For several years, temperatures ran below normal and culminated in an especially bad winter of 1708-1709.  Even in the fall of 1708, temperatures were below the usual, but they set record lows in the month of January, which were not abated until spring came.

By November 1, it is said, the temperatures were so low that wood would not burn outdoors in the open.  By January the wine and spirits were freezing into solid blocks of ice.  Birds on the wing fell dead.  Saliva from the mouth congealed before it hit the ground.

Most of Western Europe was affected.  Along the Atlantic coast, sea ice formed to a depth that it would support carts.  Most of the vineyards and orchards were killed.  The fall planting did not survive.  Many of the citizens could see nothing but disaster ahead.  It was impossible to imagine any other condition that would be worse than remaining in place.

From 1682 to 1708, the number of emigrants could be counted in the hundreds.  In 1709, thirteen thousand Germans, more or less, decided to emigrate.  Certainly the weather contributed to this, but, as is usually the case, it was not the only factor.  Whatever the causes were, these large numbers in this year contributed to future emigration.

The departure of the 1709'ers made it easier for people to leave in the future.  There were a number of mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon, and we have discussed a few of them here.  From the data in Hank Jones’ book The Palatine Families of New York 1710, there was probably a higher density of departures from the Siegen area in 1709 than from the Palatinate.  When Johann Justus Albrecht appeared in Siegen in 1710, the departure of many of the citizens from the area in the previous year was fresh in the residents' minds.  The people to whom he talked were more prone to listen to him than they would have been a couple of years earlier.

There was a negative factor in the years immediately following 1709.  The British had been burned by their efforts to aid the Germans, so emigration to British North America was discouraged.  The next big wave was not until 1717.

How much bad news can one stand?  Wars, religious arguments, and, then, a winter to end all winters ­ could it get any worse?


Nr. 845:

Before the Germans would reach the decision to go to America, it would be necessary that they hear about it.  How did they acquire their knowledge of the British colonies in America?

Modern day real estate developers could take a lesson from William Penn, who was an early, big-time, promoter.  He needed to be able to find people, and to persuade them to move to his colony.  Printed pamphlets extolling the climate and life in the New World were disseminated throughout the Rhine Valley.  Agents for all of the proprietors entered into negotiations with interested parties.  Adventurers, like Franz Lewis Michel and George Ritter, engaged to bring companies of colonists.  (As a byproduct of Michel and Ritter's efforts, the First Germanna Colony emerged.)

The Carolinas and Pennsylvania were the most active in recruiting.  Ulrich Simmendinger, who came to New York in 1710, wrote a booklet about his experiences.  (He had lost his children during the move to New York, and returned to Germany with his wife.  He was good enough to include the names of people who were in New York, a small blessing for genealogists.)  He assured everyone that his reason for the trip was not the excitement and adventure, but was the paternal necessity of providing for his children.  He says nothing of religious persecution as the reason for emigration.  He specifically mentioned the golden promises in 1709.

The "golden promises" were contained in a booklet published in England, with the picture of Queen Anne, and the title page in golden letters, a first class printing job.  This type of material, along with booklets such as Simmendinger's, shows that the printing press had become a powerful weapon in disseminating ideas, especially commercial ones.

Strangely enough, the author and the publisher of the Golden Book are unknown.  What is important is that the book gave the impression that Queen Anne would help them to cross the channel and the ocean.  The language on this subject was explicit, and left no doubt that people were wanted and would be assisted by Queen Anne.

The Golden Book was so popular in 1709, shortly after it came out, that three reprints of the book were made.  The inspiration for the Golden Book might have been the overtures by the Carolina proprietors in 1705, who made generous statements and promises about Carolina and how anyone could go.

The printed word was a powerful tool and works were in circulation in Germany during the winter of 1708-1709.  Thirteen thousand Germans responded in the spring of the year and converted a trickle into a flood.


Nr. 846:

The British government in the first decade of the 1700's was actively pro Protestant and favorable to the Germans, especially the Protestant branches.  One does not often hear it, but Queen Anne was married to Prince George of Denmark, a Lutheran of German stock.  Add the enmity between England and France, and the wars that Louis XIV was waging in the Palatinate, and one has the ingredients for an active policy of encouragement to the Protestant Germans.  Queen Anne's consort, Prince George, died on 28 Oct 1708 and the policy of the British government in the next couple of years may have been a memorial to him.

The encouragement offered in 1709 seems to have originated with Queen Anne, and certainly she took a part in relieving the Palatines who flooded London.  She approved the policy of sending large numbers of them to New York, as a part of an official effort to raise naval stores, and to provide employment for hundreds of families.  Some of the Germans were sent to Ireland, and many were distributed among English villages.  Six hundred went to North Carolina under the care of Christoph von Graffenried.

The numbers were so large that it was like maintaining a standing army of thousands.  The expense was huge, and the shifting political winds in Parliament forced a reversal of the policy for a few years.  When Queen Anne died in 1714, her successor was a German, George I.  Thus, the Germans could see that their people were in favor in London even though there was no active encouragement given to the Germans to migrate to the colonies.  There was no objection to small numbers of Germans who did not seek the sponsorship of the English government.  Small groups of Germans passed through London during the period 1710 to 1717, such as the Siegen people and the Mennonites.  The official policy in London favored immigrants to the colonies, because they believed the strength of a nation depended on the numbers of people.  One must remember that the French were in North America also and they were not looked on favorably.  Financial support was not a part of the encouragement to the Germans though.

William Penn advocated a bill in Parliament in 1709 for the naturalization of foreigners.  He argued that to thicken the population with people not our own should be encouraged.  Late that winter, a bill was passed by Parliament for the naturalization of foreign Protestants.  One of the provisions was that naturalized persons could pass their property on to their children.  The naturalized people could partake in trade and commerce also.  This act could hardly have discouraged the Germans.  First, William Penn had "cheap" land, and, second, they could leave the land to their children.

We are seeing that several things contributed to the flood of large scale German emigration to North America in 1709.  Once the dam gave way, there was no stopping the waters.


Nr. 847:

Much of what has been written in the past few notes is summarized by Walter Allen Knittle in "Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration", which was published in 1937.  Many other people have commented also, and it is worth reading the introductory pages in Hank Jones' book "The Palatine Families of New York, 1710".  If you read the latter pages, you are guaranteed to have wet eyes.

Knittle summarizes his reasons for the German emigration in 1709 as war devastation, heavy taxation, an extraordinary severe winter, religious quarrels (but not persecution), land hunger and a desire for adventure on the part of the young, liberal advertising by the proprietors, and a benevolent cooperation of the British government; however, I feel that he could have summarized the reasons in fewer words.

Pure and simple, they wanted a better life for themselves and for their children.  Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny found a quote in the Gemmingen death register which tells it all:  (Their translation)

"12 July 1717.  The following listed parents, together with their children, expect to move away from here, wanting to take ship to Pennsylvania, and there in the hardship of the wilderness better their piece of bread than they could here.  Not just from here, however, but many people are leaving other villages as well, with the same intention."

If one had to choose just one word, I would say the word is "economic".  We can embellish this with more, but this is the essence.  By their hard work, they were hoping to create a better life with more good things, if not for themselves, at least for their children.  For many of our Germanna people, the struggles began before the trip was hardly underway, but they persevered.  The First Colony was deserted by their sponsor, and the Second Colony was shanghaied by the ship's Captain.  Later people may have had their own misfortunes; we just are not aware of them.


Nr. 848:

Hank Z Jones writes about Henrich Ohrendorff, "Like so many other N.Y. Palatines, the German home of this Mohawk Valley family was Oberfischbach (8 km. w. of Siegen; church books begin 1670)."  The families that he refers to emigrated from the Siegen area in the year 1709.

In the year 1710, Johann Justus Albrecht appeared in the area seeking people to go to Virginia to mine silver.  Probably, stories had filtered back to Siegen of the problems that had been encountered in 1709 and 1710.  But the reporters could at least say that large numbers of people had been sent along to New York (and other places).  Therefore, there was an influencing factor on the people who had remained in Siegen and who were being recruited to go to Virginia.

Prior to this, the British colonies in North America had probably not been considered as a real possibility for the people who were seeking something better.  The Holtzclaw and Häger families who were to leave in the future from Oberfischbach had something new to think about.

Whether this had an effect on Jacob Holtzclaw I can’t say, but probably it did.  Certainly we know that when Jacob was in Virginia, he was instrumental in recruiting more people to come to there.  As we say, this is the snowball effect.  So the year 1709 was very important in getting emigration started and, once it was underway, the tempo increased.

Willis Kemper made a great distinction between "our people" (meaning the Siegerländers) and the Palatines.  Unfortunately, he was off-base in his comparison.  Whatever the reasons were that caused the Palatines to emigrate in 1709, the people from the Siegen area in that year must have had even more reasons, as a larger percentage of them emigrated than from the Palatinate, or any other region.  But let’s lay all of this aside and note the impact that the 1709 emigration had.  It was the start.

In some of the following notes, I will take a look at some of the Siegen, or Nassau-Siegen, history to see if it sheds any light on the reasons for immigration.  Even if it does not, the history is interesting.


Nr. 849:

From archaelogiocal evidence, we know that, in the Siegen area of Germany, iron working predates recorded history.  In fact, the earliest iron history precedes the Germanic peoples.  The Celts were there first, working the iron deposits, and they were driven out by the Germanic peoples.  Iron working was not continuous through the centuries, but it was intensive enough that special procedures had to be adopted.  The problem was not with the ore or the smelters, but was with the supply of wood for making charcoal.

Charcoal is the necessary fuel to obtain the high temperatures that are needed for smelting iron ore.  Because the ore and charcoal are combined in a chamber, it is a problem to introduce the oxygen into the chamber where it can burn with the charcoal (almost pure carbon).  In the olden days, i.e., centuries ago, the furnaces were constructed on hilltops where the winds could blow into the chamber and supply the oxygen.  The ovens had to be relatively small so that the air could get in.  Whether a good quality iron would be produced was problematic; it depended on the winds.

Perhaps six centuries ago, it was discovered that water power could be used to operate bellows to blow air into the oven chamber.  This was a big step ahead in iron production.  Also, the water could be used to operate hammers for beating the iron.  The iron coming directly from the furnace (cast iron) can be cast into pieces that do not require high stress tolerance.  Pots and kettles are a good example of this.  Better grades of malleable iron and steel, such as used in axes or shovels, had to be processed after the casting operation.  For this, more heat and a lot of hammering was needed.  So the heat took more charcoal, and the hammering used water power.

So far we have identified three elements that go into the making of iron.  Power was provided by falling water.  Heat was provided by charcoal.  Iron ore was the raw material.  The mills and furnaces had to be close to a water stream.  The charcoal could not travel far.  If it did travel, it became broken and converted to dust and did not work in the furnace.  The iron ore could actually be transported some distance, but the water and charcoal had to be present near the site of operations.

In the Siegen area, the problem that was faced was a lack of charcoal.  In order that iron making could proceed on a continuous basis, year after year or century after century, it was necessary to limit the number of days of production so that there would be enough trees to supply the charcoal.  England had a similar problem in the eighteenth century, with its hundreds of furnaces.  Charcoal was the limiting factor.  It forced England to import much of its iron from the Baltic nations, where wood was plentiful.  This is one reason that Alexander Spotswood favored iron production in Virginia.  Virginia had all of the necessary elements that the homeland did not.


Nr. 850:

Some students of Germanna history have an erroneous picture concerning iron.  They fail to realize the length of time that iron has been in use, and the widespread use of it.  The Bible credits a sixth-generation descendant of Adam, Tubal Cain, as the first ironworker.  Iron tools have been discovered in the pyramids of Egypt.  Homer said that the Greeks used iron by Fifteen Hundred BC (OK, he didn't phrase it just that way).  So the use of iron was early, and the manufacture of it was wide spread.

The problem that was occurring by 1700, was that wood for making charcoal was becoming scarce.  The wood had to be in the vicinity of the furnace, as it was too expensive to transport the wood, and the charcoal could not be transported.  Iron production in England had already been cut back for a lack of wood, and she was importing iron from the Baltic countries, where there were a thousand trees for every citizen.  Queen Elizabeth I in England had been forced to order that the trees could no longer be cut in some regions.

In the Siegen area, two measures were adopted to cope with the shortage of wood.  One was that furnaces could operate for only six to ten weeks per year.  As a consequence, the citizens around Siegen would have been hard pressed to say they worked in the iron industry, since that could only account for a couple of months of their labor per year.  Additionally, ownership of the furnaces and hammers had been subdivided by inheritance, so any one individual might only have the use of a furnace or hammer for a few days per year.  This led to a mixed economy in which agriculture or other industry was probably more important than iron.

The other measure, enforced by law and tradition, was a method of replacing the trees used for making charcoal.  An area would be subdivided into approximately twenty strips.  Each strip underwent a cycle, in which, in the first year, young trees would be planted.  While the trees were young, grain could be grown between them.  When the trees became too big, and competition for water and sun prevented the two from growing on the same site, the strip just grew trees.  But, even here, the strip could be used for pasture.  Finally, when the trees matured, the ones on one strip would be cut down.  The bark was peeled off and used in the tanneries for making leather.  The wood became the raw material for charcoal.  The small twigs and branches were gathered up for fuel in the homes.

In Virginia, it was a general rule that it took an acre of trees to produce the charcoal needed for one ton of iron.  The Tubal Cain furnace in Virginia, in its late years, might produce 1200 tons of iron per year.  Thus, the wood from about two square miles would have to be cut and converted to charcoal each year.  If the trees grew back in twenty years, then forty square miles would be needed, or an area of a little more than six miles by six miles, to support one large furnace.  From calculations such as this, one sees that there could not have been too many large furnaces around Siegen.

 


(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 THIRTY-FOURTH set of Notes, Nr. 826 through Nr. 850.)


John and George would like very much to hear from readers of these Germanna History pages.  We welcome your criticisms, compliments, corrections, or other comments.  When you click on "click here" below, both of us will receive your message.  We would like to hear what you have to say about the content of the Notes, and about spelling, punctuation, format, etc.  Just click here to send us your message.  Thank You!


There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 1200 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.

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


(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)

(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)

This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.


Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES
Pg.001-Notes 0001-0025
Pg.002-Notes 0026-0050
Pg.003-Notes 0051-0075
Pg.004-Notes 0076-0100
Pg.005-Notes 0101-0125
Pg.006-Notes 0126-0150
Pg.007-Notes 0151-0175
Pg.008-Notes 0176-0200
Pg.009-Notes 0201-0225
Pg.010-Notes 0226-0250
Pg.011-Notes 0251-0275
Pg.012-Notes 0276-0300
Pg.013-Notes 0301-0325
Pg.014-Notes 0326-0350
Pg.015-Notes 0351-0375
Pg.016-Notes 0376-0400
Pg.017-Notes 0401-0425
Pg.018-Notes 0426-0450
Pg.019-Notes 0451-0475
Pg.020-Notes 0476-0500
Pg.021-Notes 0501-0525
Pg.022-Notes 0526-0550
Pg.023-Notes 0551-0575
Pg.024-Notes 0575-0600
Pg.025-Notes 0601-0625
Pg.026-Notes 0626-0650
Pg.027-Notes 0651-0675
Pg.028-Notes 0676-0700
Pg.029-Notes 0701-0725
Pg.030-Notes 0726-0750
Pg.031-Notes 0751-0775
Pg.032-Notes 0776-0800
Pg.033-Notes 0801-0825
Pg.034-Notes 0826-0850
Pg.035-Notes 0851-0875
Pg.036-Notes 0876-0900
Pg.037-Notes 0901-0925
Pg.038-Notes 0926-0950
Pg.039-Notes 0951-0975
Pg.040-Notes 0976-1000
Pg.041-Notes 1001-1025
Pg.042-Notes 1026-1050
Pg.043-Notes 1051-1075
Pg.044-Notes 1076-1100
Pg.045-Notes 1101-1125
Pg.046-Notes 1126-1150
Pg.047-Notes 1151-1175
Pg.048-Notes 1176-1200
Pg.049-Notes 1201-1225
Pg.050-Notes 1226-1250
Pg.051-Notes 1251-1275
Pg.052-Notes 1276-1300
Pg.053-Notes 1301-1325
Pg.054-Notes 1326-1350
Pg.055-Notes 1351-1375
Pg.056-Notes 1376-1400
Pg.057-Notes 1401-1425
Pg.058-Notes 1426-1450
Pg.059-Notes 1451-1475
Pg.060-Notes 1476-1500
Pg.061-Notes 1501-1525
Pg.062-Notes 1526-1550
Pg.063-Notes 1551-1575
Pg.064-Notes 1576-1600
Pg.065-Notes 1601-1625
Pg.066-Notes 1626-1650
Pg.067-Notes 1651-1675
Pg.068-Notes 1676-1700
Pg.069-Notes 1701-1725
Pg.070-Notes 1726-1750
Pg.071-Notes 1751-1775
Pg.072-Notes 1776-1800
Pg.073-Notes 1801-1825
Pg.074-Notes 1826-1850
Pg.075-Notes 1851-1875
Pg.076-Notes 1876-1900
Pg.077-Notes 1901-1925
Pg.078-Notes 1926-1950
Pg.079-Notes 1951-1975
Pg.080-Notes 1976-2000
Pg.081-Notes 2001-2025
Pg.082-Notes 2026-2050
Pg.083-Notes 2051-2075
Pg.084-Notes 2076-2100
Pg.085-Notes 2101-2125
Pg.086-Notes 2126-2150
Pg.087-Notes 2150-2175
Pg.088-Notes 2176-2200
Pg.089-Notes 2201-2225
Pg.090-Notes 2226-2250
Pg.091-Notes 2251-2275
Pg.092-Notes 2276-2300
Pg.093-Notes 2301-2325
Pg.094-Notes 2326-2350
Pg.095-Notes 2351-2375
Pg.096-Notes 2376-2400
Pg.097-Notes 2401-2425
Pg.098-Notes 2426-2450
Pg.099-Notes 2451-2475
Pg.100-Notes 2476-2500
Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025


INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

(As of 12 April 2007, John published the last of his "Germanna Notes"; however, he is going to periodically post to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List in the form of "Genealogy Comments" on various subjects, not necessarily dealing with Germanna.  I'm starting the numbering system anew, starting with Comment Nr. 0001.)

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025

This Page Contains Notes 826 through 850.


Go To
Top.

  [Back to John's Notes Index Page]

  [Germanna Colonies Home Page]

  [GERMANNA Home Page]