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This is the THIRTY-EIGHTH 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 926 through 950.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 38

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Nr. 926:

Lester J. Cappon wrote a short book, "Iron Works at Tuball", which was published in 1945.  It is recommended reading, though it has its flaws.  One flaw was that he failed to resolve a number of ambiguities and open questions.  As a consequence, different people can read it and reach different conclusions.  To take an example, he writes on page 5:

"Therefore, being essentially a man of action, he [Spotswood] went into the iron business when circumstances seemed favorable for production and the market was promising in England and America."

Now, what would you conclude about when Spotswood built his iron furnace?  To those people who believed (falsely) that Spotswood had iron mines before the Germans came, they might conclude that the circumstances were favorable when the Germans arrived.  To those who observe that Spotswood was acquainted with the trade laws affecting the colonials, they might conclude he postponed any action until the climate was more favorable with respect to the trade laws.

Cappon correctly observes that Spotswood's interests were land speculation and iron mining.  His priorities were in exactly that order, land first, iron second.  Cappon comments:

"Only after ten years of persistent planning and opportunism stemming mostly from frontier circumstances did the iron venture begin to show some favorable results.  Even then its success remained in doubt for some time and brought better returns perhaps to his children and grandchildren."

Cappon is among those who believed that Spotswood did not have a furnace in 1716.

After these correct observations, Cappon goes astray in his thinking.  He repeats the erroneous statement to the effect that:

"Some time before the spring of 1713, evidently in the course of the Governor's survey of the frontiers for adequate defense against the Indians, valuable iron deposits were discovered in the wilderness above the falls of the Rappahannock."

This claim can be traced, not to any evidence, but to the brazen claim of Willis Kemper, which was repeated unquestioningly by later historians.  Cappon fell into the same trap.  He also repeats the claim of Kemper, who said that Graffenried recruited miners for Spotswood from Europe.  I have examined how Graffenried's own comments show that this was false.  And, Cappon seems to be unaware that Graffenried was engaged in a pursuit, since 1710, which did involve these miners.  Cappon notes that Spotswood was surprised and off guard when he was notified that forty odd miners were being sent to him.  If he was recruiting labor, why should he be surprised that someone was hired?

Cappon as a writer alternated between differing views without resolving the conflict.  Cappon correctly saw that the iron furnace produced few results until after Spotswood's return from England about 1730.  The primary purpose of the trip to England, besides finding a wife, was to settle the land question, the most important part of his economic program at this time.  Not until the 1730's did the iron furnace come into being as a profitable business.
(13 Jul 00)


Nr. 927:

Lester Cappon was, at times, more correct in his assessment than he realized.  He observed that the miners were a publicly supported program of frontier defense, which served to mask the Governor's private agenda.  This is correct, but he was in error as to what the Governor's private agenda was.  Cappon never realized that the silver mine was for real, and that it was only a handful of miles from Fort Germanna.  The fact that he came close to the truth many times is impressive, but the failure to find the full story weakens his story.

Cappon accepts the idea that Spotswood had iron before the Germans came, without considering the total lack of any evidence for this.  He also accepts the idea that "silver" was a cover up for "iron" and, again, he fails to consider the evidence which says this was not so.

He takes note of Spotswood's letter to Nathaniel Harrison in 1724, which he says was written in 1718, but the letter was written in 1724 and was describing conditions in 1718.  As of 1718, he says the Germans had discovered iron mines near the Rappahannock.  He adds that he planned on setting up an iron works with several gentlemen.  The iron mine land was not patented until 1720, so little investment in the iron works would have been made before then.

What Cappon is saying is, that before 1714, Spotswood had discovered iron, and that the Germans came in 1714.  By 1718, the Germans had discovered iron!  And probably, no serious investment was made until the iron mine tract was secured.  Cappon fails entirely to draw a time line with rational events on it.  For example, as I have just commented, he says that, with the iron already discovered, it took the Germans four years to find it.

Along with others, Willis Kemper included, Cappon says the patent for the iron mine tract was issued in 1719, WITHOUT stating a month.  The month was February, and the date was an old style date.  For the best comparison to a standardized calendar that is readily understood, this date should be converted to the modern calendar.  As such, the year was 1720, one year later than Cappon says.  Cappon notes also that after this time, Spotswood obtained land on the Rappahannock, where he could build a wharf from which he could ship his iron.

Cappon also adds that another group of Germans, who came in 1717, replaced the first group of Germans.  This is entirely false as the second group was assigned entirely different employments.

Cappon notes Gov. Drysdale's writing in May of 1723, which notes that the furnace is in operation and that it is considered a "novelty".  This is nine years after the first Germans came.  He (Cappon) never sorts out the events into a correctly defined time sequence.
(14 Jul 00)


Nr. 928:

One of the main purposes in Cappon's account of the Tubal furnace was to present the proposed lease of the furnace, which was made by Spotswood in July of 1939.  In October and November, he was advertising in the "Virginia Gazette" that the Germanna Plantation was for lease ,and that he would sell his personal property, because the family intended to leave Virginia in the year following.  Beyond this reason he was not explicit, but the guesses are that life at Germanna was too lonely and the children were coming to the age where they needed better educational advantages.

Before the property was leased, an opportunity arose for him to serve the empire again as a soldier.  In October, war broke out with Spain.  Spotswood proposed that a Colonial Regiment be raised and the idea was accepted.  In return, he accepted a commission as a Major General.  Then, in March 1740, he received his orders.  He was busy recruiting in Williamsburg from April 16 to 18, and on April 19 he wrote his will.  The Iron Mine Tract was set aside to support the iron furnace along with eighty slaves.  It continued for two generations as a source of income to the estate.  The other land went to the oldest son, John, who had to make payments to his brother and sisters.

Toward the first of May, General Spotswood journeyed to Annapolis to make final preparations before sailing to Cartagena.  He became ill and died on June 7 in Annapolis.  His family continued to reside in Virginia, where their assets were located.

A facsimile of the handwritten terms of the proposed lease follows in Cappon's book.  It runs for several pages, and is not the easiest thing to read, but it is a good copy.  The last requirement in the lease was for ten thousand pounds security.  Taken with his other land holdings and his home, it is clear that the Spotswood family had prospered since the arrival of the new Governor thirty years earlier.

This is a good point to reflect upon the man Spotswood.  He was intelligent and incisive.  Arguably, he was one of the best Governors that Virginia has had.  He came as a very strong supporter of the Crown, but the strength of this conviction was weakened as he paid increasing attention as to how he was going to support himself.  In character, he was imperial, which weakened his effectiveness as a governor, and soured his relationships with others.

With respect to the Germans, his treatment and attitude toward them was poor.  His first public comment about them was that they could serve as a barrier to protect the English citizens.  I believe that he connived with Capt. Tarbett to highjack a ship load of Germans.  His lawsuits against the Germans were so atrocious that even his appointed officials could only weakly support him.
(15 Jul 00)


Nr. 929:

Over the weekend, I met a person who was interested in the John Kains/Kines who lived in the Robinson River Valley.  The interest stems from his being a possible ancestor.  I was very happy to find someone who was interested in the man because he has been "under reported".  But unfortunately, I do not know if anyone can fill in the details.  There are some hints about this background, so let's look at what is known.

On 5 Jun 1736, John Kains had a patent for 400 acres on Comical Run, a branch of Deep Run, adjacent to John Huffman, Christian Clayman (Kleman), and Edward Ballenger.  On 19 Feb 1761, the estate inventory of John Stinesyfer was returned by Robert Hutcheson, John Kains, and Michael (MS) Smith.

John Kains wrote his will on 6 Jan 1767.  After the customary introduction, he gave to his grandson, John Harris, that part of the land that lies on the east side of Comical Run, together with the house and plantations on which he (Kains) lived.  Second, he gave to Joseph Harris and his wife that part of the land on the west side of Comical Run containing 150 acres, where Joseph then lived.  Hermon Spilman and John Stinesyfer, Junr., were nominated as executors.  Witnesses were Hermon (H) Spilman, John Stinesyfer, and John Henry Stinesyfer.

To this will, John Kains added a verbal amendment, apparently on the same day, to this effect:

The items not given to John Harris were to be divided, with Barbary Harris to receive one bed and cap box, and Eve Harris to have a small box.  Herman Spilman, John Henry Stinesyfer, and Anne Mary Huffman testified that they heard this from John Kains.  The nominated executors refused to serve and John Harris was appointed to serve as administrator.

From all of this, I would believe that John Kains had a daughter, name unknown, who married Joseph Harris.  They were the parents of John, Barbary, and Eve Harris.  When John Kains died, he had a grandson old enough to be the administrator.  Therefore, John Kains was born about 1700.  He outlived his wife.

Going through this whole story, John Huffman was from Eisern in Germany.  Anne Mary Huffman was the daughter of Henry Huffman of Eisern.  The Stonecyphers were from Eisern.  Herman Spilman was probably of a family that came from the Siegen area, but I do not have a positive identification of him.

I am not sure how the name would have been spelled in Germany.  There may be more records in Virginia under other spellings that I have not recognized.  It appears that John Kains left no sons, but with three grandchildren he probably did leave descendants.  Anything that can be added to the story would be appreciated.
(17 Jul 00)


Nr. 930:

We were discussing John Kains/Kines in the last note and I presented some information suggesting that he might have originated in Eisern, just south of Siegen.  I admitted that I did not know how the name was spelled in German.  Elke Hall made a suggestion for the spelling that it could be Kainz.  She added, "Lots of them there."

In my copy of Rupp, I find the name Kantz which is acceptably close, considering a couple of hundred of years have gone by.  Hans Georg Kantz came in 1749 on a ship, which also brought Johannes Steinseiffer, Hermanus Battenburg, Engelbart Jung, and Herman Schneider.  I won’t count the Müller and the Zimmerman names.  These names are found in Nassau-Siegen area and in particular in Eisern.  But this is not our man because he is too late.

Also, in 1749 another ship brought Jacob Kantz and Michael Kantz.  The other passengers do not particularly suggest Eisern.  In 1754 Johannes Kantz came, and again the passenger list does not suggest Eisern.

Our John Kains/Kines received a land patent in 1736.  He could have been here for a while before this time, perhaps even before the immigration records were being kept at Philadelphia (1727).  Or he might have fallen through the cracks in being reported.  Or, he appears in the lists as having another name.  But what I was attempting to suggest was that he probably did come from Eisern.

The George Kantz above does not appear in Virginia, that we know.  Again, that does not mean much.  Some people stayed in Pennsylvania, and some went on to Virginia.  John Huffman came directly to Virginia and lived there.  His younger brother, William, came to Pennsylvania and lived there.  Their brother Henry went to Virginia.

I mentioned there was a man looking for his Kines ancestor.  It does not appear to be the Virginia man but he might be a related person who lived in Pennsylvania.

The ship’s captain (for the ship bringing George Kantz) said his passengers were Palatines and people from the duchy of "Wirtemberg".  I would not put any faith in what the captains gave for a place of origin.  Very likely he had people from these places, but he could also have had people from the Alsace, Baden, Hesse, and Nassau-Siegen.

Going back to name changing in the Trupbach history, Battenberg has replaced Bottenberg, or is it vice versa? Not that it matters; it illustrates that changes do occur.
(18 Jul 00)


Nr. 931:

A reader states the members of the First Colony were not indentured, and asks whether the members of the Second Colony were indentured.  Before discussing the first point, I will take up the case of the Second Colony members.

One must remember that Spotswood could say two opposite things at different times.  The only rule is that what he said fulfilled the need of the moment.  As needs changed, what he said changed.  I will show this in some detail with the Second Colony members, whom he said were free and not servants (i.e., not indentured).  Later, his actions show that he thought of them as indentured.

In his letter to Col. Harrison in 1724, Spotswood wrote, ". . we settled them upon our tract as freemen (not servants) in 20 odd tenements. . ."  He added that not a penny's worth of rent had been received from them.  His description, in itself, casts some doubt upon the classification.  One did not charge rent to indentured servants, but a freeman would be expected to pay rent.  Later, he sued the Germans, seemingly to recover the cost of transportation.

An indentured servant did not pay for his transportation.  He worked for a fixed number of years for the owner of the indenture contract.  His labor during this period repaid the owner.  The owner of the contract also got the headrights.  This situation was used a lot in Virginia.  A free man might assign a contract of debt agreeing to repay the cost of transportation.  He would not be obligated to stay for any term.  And he would in theory be the owner of the headrights.  (This was not used much.)

Spotswood seemed to have set up a new classification.  The terms were fixed service for a period of years by the other parties, with the other parties paying for the cost of transportation.  Thus, Spotswood was trying to get both the fixed term of service, and a reimbursement for the cost of transportation.  And he got the headrights.

Thus, the Second Colony members were obligated for a fixed term (meaning they were servants); they apparently were to repay the cost of transportation (according to Spotswood, which would seem to say they were free); and they were to surrender their headrights (saying they were servants).  In fact, Spotswood did use their headrights to help pay for some of his land acquisitions.  From this view, and from the fixed term of service, they were indentured servants.  This stands in stark contrast to what he wrote to Col. Harrison.  All unbiased observers believe the Second Colony members should be classified as indentured servants.

In short, one has to be careful about what Spotswood said.  He sometimes "bent the truth".
(19 Jul 00)


Nr. 932:

Continuing with the question of whether the First Colony members were indentured or not, we looked at how reliable Alexander Spotswood was as a witness.  Our answer was that he was not very reliable.  But, now that we know he is not reliable, let us take a look at what he did say on a few occasions.  Here are a few phrases, all pertaining to the First Colony.

"they are still indebted for near two years"
"Charge of subsisting them"
"placing them as Tenants upon my Land"
"instead, they might have been my servants for five years"
"they have lived for two years upon this Land without paying any Rent"
"in the future, all which is demanded of them is twelve days' work a year for each Household"
"until they can be set to work"
"reimbursed by their labors"

This is a real grab bag of quotes, not all of which are consistent.  He did describe them as tenants, but in the same letter he says that he had charged them no rent.  That is a strange kind of tenant, one that does not pay rent.  That is the situation which describes an indentured servant.

From time to time, Spotswood describes them as "my Germans".  And, as he says above, "until they can be set to work" or "reimbursed by their labors." Again, all of these phrases suggest an indentured status.  They were people who took their work assignments from another.

What do other contemporaries say?  Graffenried was present with the Germans in London when they were discussing what could be done in the face of their own lack of capital and Graffenried's lack of money.  Graffenried's suggestion was that they go back to Germany, but they could not accept that.  It was their idea to agree to work for a period of time to pay the part of their transportation for which they did not have money.  The decision was to work four years to pay about four pounds sterling for each of the passengers.

Usually, Germans agreed to work in exchange for all of their transportation costs, if they were using this means to pay for their transport.  With the First Colony, there is a slightly different wrinkle; they were working for a part of the cost of their transportation.  For the four years they were at Germanna, they were working for someone else to pay off the unpaid balance of their transportation.  Most unbiased observers would call this being an indentured servant.

Their headrights were in a confused, or indeterminate, status.  ,they went to the person who paid the transportation, but, in this case, no one paid for all of any one person.  Hence, Spotswood could not collect the headrights.  By default, the headrights went to the Germans.  Several of them applied for theirs and got them.  This act though does not make them "un-indentured".
(20 Jul 00)


Nr. 933:

Who pays attention to who crosses the borders into a country?  Today, fewer and fewer countries pay attention.  For example, there is less fuss made crossing from Germany into Austria (and vice versa) than there use to be on entering California (remember what that was like?).  Centuries ago, little attention was paid to who was entering a country.

In Pennsylvania in 1717, so many Germans came into Philadelphia that it was enacted that they should register.  No one paid any attention to the law until 1727 when a number of ships arrived carrying very sick passengers.  The 1717 law was dusted off and enforced.  Of course, the registration of people would not, of itself, prevent the spread of any disease.  To the old law, a new one was added.  A captain could not bring sick people into Philadelphia.  He had to leave them outside the town until they were well (at least, that was the intent of the law).

As a consequence, the lists of whom ships brought into Pennsylvania start at the 1727 date.  If I am correct, this applied only to non-English nationals.  It did not apply to ships bringing people from England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland.  Other colonies did not start record keeping until later.

Prior to the 1727 date, lists of passengers were rarely made and kept.  Those that were made were usually in connection with some special event, such as the signing of a compact, or the importation of people on government work.  But these are rare events.

There is essentially no hope of reconstructing passenger lists from other evidence.  In Virginia, the headrights are evidence that someone came into Virginia, and the time may be estimated as approximately seven to fifteen years earlier.  But this tells nothing about the ship or the other passengers.  The best alternative record, with some hope of providing more information than just a name, is a naturalization record.  These are available for about two-thirds of the First Colony members.  I have never tried to estimate how many of the Second Colony people were naturalized.  Not everyone bothered to get their naturalization, even though there was a danger of losing their property if they died without being a citizen of Virginia.

Forty-eight of the people in the Second Colony were recorded at one time by Alexander Spotswood as headrights.  This is not a complete list, as Spotswood said there were seventy-odd, and the Germans themselves said there were eighty.  Beyond the forty-eight, the partners of Spotswood paid the transportation costs.  (For example, there is excellent evidence that Robert Beverley paid for the transportation of George Moyer.)

This is a most unusual situation and gives an excellent documentation of the names of more than half of the Second Colony members.  As to the ship that they came on ­ I claim it was the Scott.  The Captain was Andrew Tarbett.  The fact that we have estimates of the ship’s name, the captain’s name, and about half of the passengers is a very unusual situation and we can’t hope to repeat these kinds of findings.
(21 Jul 00)


Nr. 934:

(I may in over my head on this note but please bear with me or save me.)  How does one tell if a name is German?  First, there is little hope of telling the country of origin of many names here in the U.S.  "Thomas" could have originated in almost every language group.  Another one which could have many origins is "Garrett".  I am talking about a family name spelled in its native German by a German.  What are some of the characteristics?

A high percentage of German family names begin with the letters B, H, K, M, S, and W.  By the same measure, many letters are under represented:  C, Q, X, and Y, for example.  Letter combinations that are favored by the Germans include Sch, Be, Ha, He, Ma, and St.  A case in point is the name Schmucker in Germany, which became Smucker here.  The letter combination Wh, Ch, and Sh are very rare in German family names.  Some names probably have a foreign origin, such as Christian or Christopher.

We have all seen some of the popular vowel combinations, such as the forms ae, oe, and ue, which are popular.  They are so popular that the umlaut was developed to describe these cases, hence ä, ö, and ü.  Typically, these umlauts are simply lost in America.  For example, a noted Lutheran family in Pennsylvania was Mühlenberg in German.  At first, it was Muehlenberg in America, but before long it was simplified to Muhlenberg.

The vowel combination ei is a source of difficulty for English speakers, who often convert it to ie or to y.  Thus, Schneider become Snyder.  Sometimes, the German name is simply mispronounced, as in Neiman, which should be pronounced as Nyman.

Germans speakers love to combine words, either multiple nouns, or adjectives with nouns.  We have Oberfischbach which is a combination of three simple words, upper, fish, and brook.  Dashes are never used when combining words.  Family names in this form include Zimmerman, Steinmetz, Altgeld, and Hammerstein.

The suffix in a name often is a clue to the Germanness of the name.  Some very popular ones are -dorf, -heim, -man(n), and -stein, which are dead giveaways.  Others include, -bach, -bauer, -berg or -berger, -breit, -feld, -haus, and -müller.  These could easy go into Bright, Miller, or Stone, to show three examples.

To carry a name from English back to German may be impossible because of the multiple nationalities.  But when there are reasons to suspect that a name may have had German origins, it takes a good knowledge of German to be convincing.  Recently, we had an example when I asked about Kines and Elke Hall suggested Kainz.  But she had the advantage of knowing German, plus a phone book of some possibilities.

To get a flavor of German names, take the place name atlas for Germany and scan through it.  Some letter combinations seem to go on for pages.
(22 Jul 00)


Nr. 935:

A tendency in compound German family names is the use of -er, -en, -n, and -s, to separate noun-noun and adjective-noun names.  I had thought of an example to give you but instead I will give some from the book that I am quoting.  It suggests Falckenberg, Gutenberg, Habsburg (which was formerly Habichtsburg), Hohenzollern, Rockefeller (from Rockenfeld), usw (und so weider).  The connecting forms have no meaning and serve merely to facilitate pronunciation.

Some German names are deceptive in that they appear to be the combination of two simpler words but they are not.  The name Beinecke might seem to be a combination of Bein (leg) and Ecke (corner), but the name is more likely an American spelling of several other German names.

In going from German to English, German names sometimes undergo a major change, especially to the eye.  Here are some pairs, Broncard/Brokaw, Oehrle/Early, Tschudy/Judy, Rieth/Reed, and Schleiermacher/Slaymaker.

The letter suffix -er is often attached to occupations, or to localities, to form family names, and is termed a "derivative ending".  In Austria, the Plankenbichlers came from the Plankenbichl farm.  These derivative endings are most common in southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.  Some examples here in America are Frankfurter, Kissinger, and Schlesinger, all of which appear to derive form localities.  Some of the names started in this way in Germany but underwent an evolution there.  Originally, a maker of wagons was Wagenmacher but it became Wagner, eliminating some of the letters.  Another shortened form of an occupational name is Ziegelbrenner which became Ziegler.  The full name means brick burner, hence a brick maker.  Eisenhower is another occupational name, a worker in iron, or iron hewer.

One of the oldest known family names in Germany is Haller dating from 1140.  During the centuries since then, the name has evolved in different directions such as Heller, Holler, Höller, Hall, and Halle.  In America another variant is Hollar,but this does not occur in Germany.

Names ending in an "ig" are usually of German or Swiss origin.  Examples are Gehrig and König.  The later is sometimes spelled as Koenig and Konig, or as King in America.

Family names were not adopted in all parts of Germany at the same time.  The earliest areas were in the southeast and the use spread to the northwest.  There was a time lapse by position of the family.  First, the ruling families adopted family names, then the patriarch families, then the hand workers, and lastly the farmers.  Some of the first Germans to America, in 1683 to Germantown, had no family names and were given family names during the emigration process.  In some cases the process was not complete until the Napoleonic laws were adopted in 1805.
(24 Jul 00)


Nr. 936:

Family names in Germany were influenced by outside factors or civilizations.  In eastern Germany, a Slavic influence is shown by the endings of -ski, -ow, -ek, -ke(n), and -vic.  The writer, H. L. Mencken obtained his name through such a source.

Unattached prefixes are clues.  Along the lower Rhine, and in the Netherlands, prepositions meaning "of" or "from" are common.  The Op den Graaf family originated in Germany near Krefeld along the lower Rhine.  In other areas of Germany, "Von" for ordinary citizens and "von" for nobility denote "from" or "of".  Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun needed a big rocket to launch his name.  Occasionally Germans were honored with, or assumed, the French honorary labels of de, de la, and du before the family name.  Christoph von Graffenried was a German-speaking Swiss but he adopted the French form, Christopher de Graffenried.  Another noble German family was von Wrede.

In given names, several appear much more frequently in German lands than elsewhere.  Examples are August(us), Conrad, Friederich, Gustav(e), Johann(es), Maximilian, Otto, Ruprecht, and Wilhelm.  A combination of one of these Germanic given names and a family name as described earlier is a strong tip off that we have a German.  With their German spelling, the feminine names could be Anna, Elisabeth(a), Katharina, and Ursula.

Several German names were Latinized, or converted from their pure German form.  We have the Crecelius and Gudelius families in Germanna history.

A survey of the twenty-five most common family names in (West) Germany in 1970 gives in this order: Mueller/Müller, Schmitt, Schneider, Fischer, Meyer, Weber, Becker, Wagner, Schaefer/Schäffer, Schultz, Hoffman, Bauer, Meier, Klein, Schroeder/Schröder, Schmitz, Schwarz, Wolf, Neumann, Schmid, Braun, Zimmerman, Hofmann, and Koch.  About nine of these are in the Germanna community.

I have been using Charles R. Haller’s "Distinguished German-Americans", a paperback published in 1995 by Heritage Books.  The author has selected about 2,400 immigrants to America from German-speaking lands for further study.  The selection process has some uncertainties but he feels it is about 98% accurate.  Basic biographical data was obtained from published works such as "Dictionary of American Biography" and "Who Was Who in America".

Of the people included in the selection, 49% were first generation, 18% were second generation, and 16% were third or higher generation.  A balance of 17% was not characterized by generation.  In some of the professions of these people, the most significant contributions were made by the first generation people.  For example, in music the major contributions are made by first generation people, and the second (and third) generation people fall off sharply.  Probably this indicates better musical education and preparation in Germany than in America.  They came to America after receiving their training.
(25 Jul 00)


Nr. 937:

Mr. Haller, in his examination of more than 2400 German immigrants, found the largest occupational group was "music." The second and third generation German immigrants did not do as well in music.  The second largest occupational group was "clergy", but the numbers here emphasized the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The third largest was "finance and business", and this was followed closely by "printing".  Then "science" was not too far behind that.  The next groups were "artists", "government", "medical", and "military".  In the runner-up groups were "brewers", "educators", "engineers", and "entertainment".  The range was 208 in music, to 32 in entertainment.

In the second generation, the largest group was "finance/business".  The second largest was "government", at almost the same numbers as for the first generation.  In the third or later generations, the numbers for "music" and "entertainment" almost vanish.  The best staying power was "government" and "engineers".  A few individuals were assigned to two categories.  Dwight D. Eisenhower was in both "government" and "military".

In this data base, the dates of immigration are known for about 1416 individuals (58%).  Thirty-three of the individuals had arrived before 1700.  Going by the decades through the 1700's, the numbers were:  9, 27, 20, 47, 39, 57, 24, 22, 22, 17.  In the 1800's the numbers were:  18, 19, 33, 95, 236, 190, 103, 72, 82, 49.  In the first half of the 1900's the numbers were:  34, 11, 24, 103, 26.  The fluctuations in the last five of these decades are understandable.  I do not know the reasons for the large numbers in the 1840 and 1850 decades.  The decline in the latter decades of the 1700's was due to wars, here and in Europe.

The first German in the list above was Peter Minuit, who was born in Germany in 1580, just over the border from Holland.  He came in 1625 and became the governor of New Sweden.  Not many Germans came until 1683, when they settled Germantown.  Many of their descendants achieved prominence in America.

Many of the 17th century Germans in the list had names which resemble Dutch names (there were 33).  These people came from the lower Rhine next to the Netherlands, where there were cross border cultural influences.  But the people for this study were chosen by birthplace not by the appearance of their name.  Fourteen of these 33 names were chosen because they were the ancestors of persons making the list.
(26 Jul 00)


Nr. 938:

Where in Germany did the distinguished German-Americans originate?  There is a lot of variation in the size of the Germany states, so I will try to put this on a per capita basis (or something similar):

Baden-Württemberg sent 16 per million people.
Bavaria sent 10 per million.
Brandenburg, with Berlin, sent 7 per million.
Hesse sent 21 persons per million people, so far the record.
Mecklenburg sent 6.5 per million.
Lower Saxony, with Bremen, sent 14 per million.
North Rhine-Westphalia sent 6 per million.
The Palatinate just set a new record of 37 per million but one of the judges just ruled "foul".
The Saarland sent 4 per million.
Saxony sent 13 per million.
Saxony-Anhalt sent 7 per million.
Schleswig-Holstein, including Hamburg, sent almost 12 per million.
Finally, Thüringen sent 12 per million.

The judge’s ruling on the foul was that the term "Palatine" was applied to all Germans.  The net result is that the Palatinate’s contribution is larger than it should be.  Therefore, the number for the Palatinate standing may be seriously eroded.  Nevertheless, the contribution of the Palatinate was very large.  Taken with Baden-Württemberg, one can say that southwest Germany made a major contribution to American civilization.  Taken in another way, the strip of land along the Rhine was an especially heavy contributor.  These "Rhinelanders" were 28% of the study group.  The strip was considered to be twenty-five miles wide on each side of the Rhine.  For this reason, some have called the Rhine the "River of Destiny".  Before 1850, it was the dominant artery to America.

When one looks at cities which are German-speaking, the leading contributor was Vienna.  Hamburg-Bremen sent almost as many of their citizens.  The next two cities were Berlin and Frankfurt am Main.  Artistic talent came especially from Vienna and Berlin.

Across the spectrum, the vast number of these people were persuaded to emigrate by the search for a better standard of living, by the quest for political and religious freedom, and by dreams of good fortune.  Rarely did they travel alone.  The herd instinct was strong.  Often an entire family plus related families formed the nucleus for a community migration.  There was an outstanding case in 1853, when 85 of the 120 residents of Niederfischbach left the village.  Whether this is "our" Niederfischbach is something that I cannot say, but it is cited to show how strong the influence of neighbors and relatives could be.

I will give some of the names in the next note as a reminder of who was a German-American.  Strangely, I did not see my name in the lists.  I have been asked if a given name does occur, but it is not an easy question to answer, as there is not a unified list, but rather a series of lists according to the occupational groups that I gave previously.
(27 Jul 00)


Nr. 939:

The post office issued stamps honoring specific musicians.  If the people on the stamps were to answer a roll call, the response would be, "Ya", "Ya".

Here are three names from architecture:

  • Walter Gropius,
  • Mies van der Rohe, and
  • Richard Neutra.

Other occupations:

  • Do you think of Thomas Nast as a first generation German?  Well, I didn't, but he was.
  • Alfred Stieglitz was a well known photographer.
  • Caspar Wistar, who came before 1700, put a lot of hot air into his work, since he was a glass blower.

Quite a few Germans turned to baseball:

  • Starting at the top we have Ford Christopher Frick, Commissioner of Baseball for many years.
  • Henry Louis Gehrig needs no introduction.
  • Kenesaw Mountain Landis was prominent as a jurist before he took the leadership of baseball.  Landis is a good Mennonite name.
  • Then we have George Herman Ruth and Edwin D. Snider.
  • Charles Dillon Stengel never did master the English language.

Tell me, had you thought of these people as German?

One industrial field where the Germans were outstanding was breweries.  The names there need no introduction as we all recognize Anheuser-Busch (the largest in the world), Miller, Coors, Stroh's, Heileman, and Pabst.  In 1887, the proceedings of the newly formed Master Brewers Association of American were conducted entirely in German.  This condition lasted in its entirely until 1901 and then was phased out gradually.

In other sports, Amelia Earhart and Jack William Nicklaus are of German descent.  Also, we have the Unser family in auto racing.

In the clergy, we have many examples:

  • The earliest known book on school management in America was published by a Mennonite in 1770.
  • Since the clergy and the lay people are hard to distinguish in the Anabaptist tradition, we include here the names of Hershey, Hoover, Kraft, and Rittenhouse.
  • The first Lutherans came in 1638 to 1655, under the aegis of the Swedish branch.
  • German Lutherans were founding churches as early as 1700 in Pennsylvania.
  • No less than six Muhlenbergs make the list.
  • The Henkel family was especially prominent as Lutheran clergy.  Records show more than 100 clergy from this family and six of them made the list.  This, incidentally, is a near Germanna family because there were so many marriages with the Germanna Teter family (from Schwaigern).
  • The Moravians can count several people who made contributions to American life.
  • Perhaps the most famous German Reformed member was Michael Schlatter who was an ardent patriot during the Revolution.

A name I heard a lot as a youth was Billy Sunday, otherwise known as William Ashley Sunday (Sonntag).

I will close with a Lutheran name, John Caspar Stoever (Stöver), who was in the Robinson River Valley.
(28 Jul 00)


Nr. 940:

Not every name is a household word, though some of their products are.

  • Howard Snyder worked for the Maytag Co. in Newton, Iowa and developed the "Gyrofoam washer", which revolutionized clothes washing in the home.  Developed in 1919, the Gryrofoam washer was selling in millions of units per year within three years.
  • Apparently the vacuum cleaner was invented by James Murray Spangler, but he sold the rights to an in-law, William H. Hoover.
  • Isaac Merritt Singer made the sewing machine a practical device that could be used in the home.
  • Walter P. Chrysler’s German ancestors came in 1710 to the Hudson River.  The name was Kreußer and nothing at all like Christler/Crisler in the Germanna family.
  • There can hardly be in doubt where Düsenberg came from.
  • Then there was Henry J. Kaiser.
  • Don’t forget the Schwinn bicycles, Studebaker wagons and cars, and the Stutz Bearcats.
  • George Westinghouse came from North Rhein-Westphalia.
  • Ottmar Mergenthaler developed the linotype machines.
  • The Roeblings built steel cables and the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Karl August Rudolf Steinmetz was a major factor in the General Electric Co.
  • Charles Franklin Kettering was doing something similar at General Motors.

In the entertainment world, I will give the stage name and the original name:

  • Woody Allen ­ Alen Stewart Königsberg (King’s Mountain)
  • George Burns ­ Nathan Birnbaum (i.e., Pear Tree)
  • Douglas Fairbanks ­ Douglas Elton Ulman (probably Ullman or Uhleman)
  • James Garner ­ James Scott Baumgartner
  • Peter Lorre ­ Lazlo Löwenstein (combined Hungarian and German)
  • Clifton Webb ­ Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck
  • June Allyson ­ Ella Greisman
  • Lauren Bacall ­ Betty Joan Perske (showing a Slavic influence)
  • Doris Day ­ Original Surname was Kappelhoff
  • Marlene Dietrich ­ Maria Magdalena von Losch
  • Marie Dressle ­ Leila Körber
  • Betty Grable ­ Elizabeth Ruth Grable
  • Hedy Lamar ­ Hedwig Kiesler
  • Shelly Winters ­ Shirley Schrift
  • Jane Wyman ­ Sarah Jane Fulks
  • Loretta Young ­ Gretchen Belzer

Had you thought there were no German actors and actresses?  These names illustrate one of the problems of doing a study of this type.  Many of the names which are in current use are derived or assumed names and they mask the national origin.
(29 Jul 00)


Nr. 941:

(To clear up a misconception, the names that have been giving are predominantly German, but the criteria for inclusion is Germanic, a slightly different concept.  Citizens of Austria and Switzerland also speak the Germanic language.)

In the category of film directors and producers, we have:

  • William Dieterle,
  • Carl Laemmle,
  • Fritz Lang,
  • Ernst Lubitsch,
  • Friedrich Murnau,
  • Erich Pommer,
  • Otto Preminger,
  • Max Reinhardt,
  • Irving Thalberg,
  • Erich Von Stroheim,
  • Lois Weber, and
  • Billy Wilder.
(None of these lists are exhaustive but the people who are mentioned have been cited in several places for their contributions.)

I give some more names in pairs, first the name you may know best, and then the original name:

  • Fanny Brice ­ Her father was Charles Borach from Alsace
  • Bob Dylan ­ Robert Alan Zimmermann
  • John Denver ­ Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.
  • Hedda Hopper ­ Elda Furry
  • Harry Houdini ­ Erik Weiss (sometimes classified as a Hungarian)
  • George Jessel ­ George Jessel
  • Lotte Lenya ­ Karoline Wilhelmine Blaumauer
  • Louella O. Parsons ­ nee Oettinger von Trapps ­ the family was Austrian, but of course spoke German

Noted Broadway names:

  • Oscar Hammerstein, I, was born in an area that is now Poland.  He was raised in Berlin, though and died in the US in 1919.  He had a grandson who was even more famous.
  • The parents of Marcus Loew came from Vienna.  He owned theaters and later joined with MGM.  The name Loew is derived from the German word for lion.
  • Charles Ringling and his four brothers were born Rüngeling.
  • The "Rockettes" of Broadway are as American as apple pie.  Samuel Rothafel created the Rockettes and the Roxy theater chain.  He derived these names from his own name which means red apple.
  • Florenz Ziegfeld came to the US in 1863 and was head of the Chicago Musical College for decades.  His son, of the same name, is known even better for his work on Broadway.  Apparently the family name is derived form Ziegenfeld meaning goat field.

In the next note I will start with the world of business and finance where there were outstanding contributions by many Germans.  Again, in passing, I am using the book, "Distinguished German-Americans", by Charles R. Haller, which was published by Heritage Books, Inc. (31 Jul 00)


Nr. 942:

There are so many Germans who made contributions to American business and finance that I will keep the text brief and just give their names (which are the original names with perhaps a spelling change or two).  Here goes:

  • Walter Annenberg,
  • John Jacob Astor,
  • Jules Semon Bache,
  • Francis Drexel,
  • Henry Clay Frick,
  • Marcus Goldman,
  • Daniel Guggenheim,
  • Otto Kahn,
  • Arthur Lehman,
  • Carl Loeb, and
  • Joseph Sachs.
If you ever bought stocks and bonds, the chances are you have been introduced to one or more of these names.  Another name not on the list but in this category is Charles Schwab, which sounds as if it might qualify.

From industry, here are some names:

  • Adolphus Busch (always brewing up something) (Actually there are five Busches on the list.),
  • John Faber (made pencils),
  • Harvey Samuel Firestone (Feuerstein in German, so the family simply converted the elements of their name to English),
  • Harry Fruehauf (who trailered around the country),
  • Frank Gerber (who fed the babies),
  • Abraham Hart (as in Hart, Schaffner, und Marx),
  • Henry Heinz (who couldn't count past 57),
  • Richard Hellman (he spread it over Heinz),
  • Milton Hershey (from a sweet Swiss Anabaptist family),
  • William Henry Hoover (he didn't invent it but an in-law did, and Hoover made a go of it),
  • A couple of Kempers made a name for themselves in insurance,
  • Frederick Maytag (was he a lonely man?) (literally, May Day),
  • Gerhard Mennen (to keep you at your best),
  • George Merck (to keep you well),
  • John D. Rockefeller (richly deserving),
  • Ferdinand Schumacher (he made oatmeal, not shoes),
  • Milton Florsheim (he made shoes, not oatmeal),
  • Jerome Schmucker (it has to be good for this Pennsylvania Dutch family),
  • Claus Spreckels (kept it sweet),
  • Vernon Stouffer (packaged it and froze it),
  • Levi Strauss (he gave his name to the product),
  • Frederick Weyerhaeuser (he worked the trees up into lumber),
  • William Zeckendorf (he was for real),
  • Anthony Zellerbach (rolled out the paper).

In merchandising, here are some familiar names:

  • Benjamin Altman,
  • John Jacob Astor,
  • Louis Bamberger,
  • Edward Filene,
  • Isaac Gimbel,
  • Sebastian Kresge,
  • Carrie Neiman,
  • John Wanamaker,
  • David Lilienthal,
  • Lorenzo Delmonico,
  • Henry Morgenthau, and
  • Cezar Ritz.

Whenever I go through a list of German names, I am always impressed by how many of my high school classmates had German names.  At the time, I never thought anything about it.  And this was during World War II.

In giving the names, I generally did not give the multiple repeats of the same name.  Many of these names carried on through the generations, perhaps to a greater extent than in other areas.  Fathers took sons into the business and often the sons and grandsons made their own mark.

Could anyone tell the List whether the Kempers above are from the Germanna family? (01 Aug 00)


Nr. 943:

Many Germans made a mark as colonizers, promoters, frontiersmen, or politicians.  We know Christoph von Graffenried, Jost Hite, Johann Lederer, Franz Pastorius, the Weisers (father and son).  I have mentioned Hans Herr, and perhaps Martin Kendig.  I don't think that I have spoken of John Augustus Sutter, whose misfortune was to have gold discovered on his property.

In Governors, Pennsylvania leads with the most and Wisconsin comes behind that.  Both of these states had a large German population, so this is no surprise; however, Arkansas did not have a large German element, yet they have had four German governors.  Two of these we know well, William Meade Fishback and Henry Massey Rector (were there more than this from Germanna?).  Two other German governors in Arkansas were James Eagle and Winthrop Rockefeller, though it must be admitted that the latter is the eighth generation from the immigrant.  Another Germanna descendant who was in a governor's chair was James Lawson Kemper of Virginia.

A couple of famous jurists were Felix Frankfurter (the immigrant himself) and Louis Dembritz Brandeis (a second generation immigrant).  A Wanamaker is in this group also.  In the lawyers, we have Wendell Willkie (the Republican convention that nominated him was in 1940, which was my introduction to politics).

In this century we have had two Presidents of the United States of German descent, Dwight David Eisenhower and Herbert Clark Hoover.

In the category of Other, we have Bernard Baruch (second generation), Eugene Debs (2nd ), J. Edgar Hoover (6th), and two Henry Morgenthaus (1st and 2nd ).  The names that I have given in this note come from eight pages of names so there has been no lack of names.  I have chosen a few that people who listened to the Republican convention in 1940 might remember the best.

Many Germans had no particular desire to make a big mark in the world.  They wanted their own corner of the land that they could call their own and where they could raise a family.  Often they had little interest in government.  More likely, if they turned to anything besides farming, it was to the ministry.

One of the names that I gave today was Hans Herr.  His major motivation was to establish a community where he and his co-religionists could worship as they pleased without interference.  At the same time, they could set their roots down on ground that they controlled.

Germans left their names on towns all across the country.  Examples include Stuttgart, Brunswick, Germantown(s), Palatine, Schaumberg, Bern, New Bern, Frankfort, Frederick, Hagerstown, New Ulm, Hershey, Manheim, Berlin (and Berwin), usw.  (und so weiter = et cetera)  They even gave their name to some of the English royal families. (02 Aug 00)


Nr. 944:

[Amendments, corrections, and additions:  Joy Watkins filled in the vacancies in my mind and gave us the names of two of her uncles who were governors of Arkansas.  These were James Sevier Conway and Elias Nelson Conway, who were great-great-grandsons of John Jacob Rector, the 1714 immigrant.]

In going through these names of German immigrants and their descendants who made contributions to American life, we tend to overlook the ones who have acquired an English name or an English spelling.  The two Conway governors of Arkansas are good examples.

The next group on the list is the doctors.  There is no dearth of names here, but public recognition is low.  Therefore, I am going to skip over the group and go on to the musicians.  The selection of musicians has 247 names, of which 82% were European born.  This merely shows that the contributions of the second, third, and later generations were not on the same level as the immigrants.  In turn, this shows their talent arose from the training they received, not from the genes.

Fifty-two composers made the list.  The contributions ranged from hymns (Johann Kelpius), popular songs (Jerome Kern), to symphonic works (Arnold Schoenberg).  Among conductors, another fifty-two are listed.  Of these fifty-two, forty-eight were foreign-born, two were second generation, and two are unknowns.  In no other field, or even sub-field, is this attribute shown so strongly; however, composers and instrument makers are close behind the conductors.

Among the instrument makers are David Tannenberg, who built the organ, in 1802, for the Lutheran Church (Hebron) outside Madison, Virginia.  This organ, and about seven others that he built in the eighteenth century, are still playable.  As the leading organ producer of the eighteenth century, he produced about sixty.  The Hebron instrument is used regularly.  Henry Engelhard Steinweg made pianos.  Before he went into production, he changed his name to Steinway, which means the same thing.  Then we have the Wurlitzer organs.  Two particular units are well known, the theater organ, and the jukebox.

Recently, the United States Postal Service issued twelve stamps honoring Hollywood composers and Broadway composers.  The men honored were:

  • Max Steiner,
  • Bernard Herrmann,
  • Alfred Newman,
  • Dimitri Tiomkin,
  • Franz Waxman,
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold,
  • Ira and George Gershwin,
  • Lorenz Hart,
  • Meredith Willson,
  • Lerner & Loew,
  • Rogers & Hammerstein, and
  • Frank Loesser.

Are there any names in these combined lists which are not German?  Hart could have been Hardt, and Newman could have been Neumann.
(03 Aug 00)


Nr. 945:

The world of printing and publishing might be said to have started with Johannes Gutenberg, who was born about 1397 in the Palatinate.  Arguably, this was the most important invention of the second millennium.  (Some might argue for gunpowder, but I prefer the peaceful emphasis.)  An employee of Gutenberg hit upon the idea of publishing a list of the books that were for sale.  Volume production was a contribution of Martin Luther, who felt compelled to place religious works, especially Bibles, in the hands of as many people as he could.  In itself, this was an impetus to literacy.  By 1618, the date of the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, all of the elements of modern printing were in place.  A number of improvements remained to be made, but the Germans contributed their fair share.

In the eighteenth century, German-American printers and authors were established in America.  In the 1740's, the largest printing job, to that date in America, was done by a group of German-Americas at Ephrata, a German religious colony in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania.  They published 1200 copies of the "Martyr's Mirror", a history of several thousand Anabaptists who had been killed in Switzerland and Holland.  Perhaps you have an image of the large family Bibles which were popular some time ago.  The Martyr's Mirror was equally large.  (The Hans Herr House has a copy on display, and, when I ask visitors to guess where it was printed, I get answers ranging from Germany to London to Philadelphia.  Those who have visited the Ephrata Cloister are equally surprised, for nothing about the primitive conditions there suggest that it was a "printing factory", which shows again how hard it sometimes is for Germans to get the recognition they deserve.)

To aid in recognizing some of our German-America writers, here are some names:

  • Pearl Buck (nee Sydenstricker),
  • Edna Ferber,
  • Bertolt Brecht (you didn't need help on that one, did you),
  • Thomas Mann,
  • Dorothy Parker (nee Rothschild),
  • Edward Stratemeyer (Rover Boys),
  • Gertrude Stein,
  • John Steinbeck,
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.,
  • Thomas Wolfe,
  • Theodor Geisel (if I added Seuss, your chances of recognition would be better),
  • Fannie Hurst,
  • George Kaufman,
  • Elmer Rice (Elmer Leopold Reizenstein),
  • Conrad Michael Richter (won a Pulitzer Prize),
  • Irma Louise von Starkloff Rombauer (her most famous book went through eighteen printings by 1968), and
  • Thornton Niven Wilder.

Not all of these authors died in America.

The editors and critics don't have the name recognition that the authors do, nor are there as many listed.  The Oakes (originally Ochs) were known as newspaper publishers.

Journalists are well represented.  Theodore Dreiser was both a journalist and a novelist.  John Gunther reported on his travels over the world, including "Inside USA".  Those of you of my age cannot forget Hans V. Kaltenborn, Arthur Krock, and Walter Lippmann.  Henry L. Mencken was notorious for his defense of the Germans in both World Wars.  He did find time to critically review two thousand books, besides writing thirty books himself.
(04 Aug 00)


Nr. 946:

A subgroup of the printers and publishers is entitled photo-journalists, where there are some well-known Germans.  To give three, there are Alfred Eisenstaedt, Arthur Rothstein, and Edward Jean Steichen.

Papermaking was a skill of the earliest Germans.  Here in Philadelphia, one of the four park squares is named for paper maker William Rittenhouse, a very early German to Pennsylvania.  The Ephrata Press, which set a milestone in the size of a printing job, also made their own paper.

Next we come to the natural sciences and mathematics.  America was very lucky to obtain much of the talent which was needed from German emigrants.  In the decades of 1840 and 1850, the first wave came.  Other notable decades were 1920 and 1930.  Fifteen Nobel Prize winners found their way to America (the arrival and the award may have been reversed).

A couple of Germanna names are repeated among these emigrants, Moyer and Richter, though there is no close connection.  We are all familiar with the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes.  The inventor of this, Charles Francis Richter, would have been 100 years old this year.

In physics I recognize more of the names:  Bethe, Bloch, Einstein, Feynmann, Hofstadter, Michelson, Oppenheimer, Rabi, and another Richter.  Albert Einstein was selected by Time magazine as the man of the century.

Arguably, the contributions by this group of German-Americans were the most significant of any group.

On the military side, German has sent many soldiers or people who became soldiers.  First, the British auxiliaries in the Revolutionary War left several thousand people to contribute to life here.  Descendants of the Custer family, which included several military people, used to claim that Gen. Custer and others were descended from a British auxiliary.  Like a lot of family history, it was all wrong.  He was descended from a German, but it was one who emigrated before the Revolution, and who fought for the Americans, not the British.

Of the 3,394 individuals who had been awarded the Medal of Honor (since its inception in 1861), about 270 clearly have German names.  An unknown number remain unrecognized as such because of name changes.  The one name that we would all recognize is Edward V. Rickenbacker.  I will continue and conclude this series with the next note.
(05 Aug 00)


Nr. 947:

The previous note started the list of German-Americans who were in the military group.  First, I will give you the German name of another one, and let you give the American name.  The birth name is Mary Ludwig Hays, the father of whom was Johann Georg Ludwig Haas/Heis.  The father had come from the Palatinate in 1752.

A dramatic story connected with a German-American is told about John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, son of the very well known Lutheran minister.  The son had followed in his father=s footsteps, and was a minister.  When the war broke out, he closed a sermon (in Virginia) by removing his clerical robes and displaying a uniform underneath it.  He gave as an explanation, "There is a time for peace and there is a time for war.  Now is the time for war."  He became a major general.

Otto Bodo, born in Germany, came to America in 1755, and was the Senior Surgeon in the Continental Army, serving six years.  Several following generations of the Bodo family were physicians also.

Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben was a professional soldier, but perhaps not a Baron.  His outstanding contribution was to train the motley crew he found at Valley Forge into a fighting force.  His contributions were rated as second to none in the successful outcome of the war.

During the Civil War, German-Americans were found on both sides, sometimes pitting brother against brother.  Five Union generals of German stock, who died or were wounded, include Louis Blenker, Henry Bohlen, William High Keim, Alexander von Schimmelphennig, and Samuel Zook.  Four other German-America generals lost an arm or a leg.  Several of these generals had been on the losing side in the Baden Revolt of 1848-49 and managed to escape to America.  Over on the southern side, Major General James Lawson Kemper was a Germanna descendant (and future governor of Virginia).

A German-American woman of renown was the heroine depicted in John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, where she is described as a "Union flag waver".

The many Custers had a remarkable string of luck, until Little Bighorn.  There, in 1876, George, his brothers, Thomas and Boston, a brother-in-law, and a nephew were killed.

In World War I, there are two names to be especially mentioned, John Joseph Pershing and Edward Vernon Rickenbacker.  Eddie died in Switzerland, probably the country of his ancestry, as there are six localities named Rickenbacher there.  In World War II, the Americans had Dwight David Eisenhower, a descendant of Johann Nicol Eisenhauer, who landed at Philadelphia in 1741.  Chester William Nimitz's father was born in Germany, and came to America in 1884.

Finally, if you needed the names of the two women that were mentioned, they were Molly Pitcher and Barbara Hauer Frietschie, also known as Fritchie.

This concludes the review of "Distinguished German-Americans" by Charles R. Haller, Heritage Books.
(07 Aug 00)


Nr. 948:

Recently the question was asked whether we knew which ship brought the Second Colony members.  I believe that I know the answer, so I will go through the thought process which led me to this conclusion.  First, credit must go to James E. Brown, now deceased, for his part in the investigation.

Much earlier, A. L. Keith who wrote about the Second Colony in "The William and Mary Quarterly" said that the colony came with Captain Scott.  This was repeated by B. C. Holtzclaw in writings published by the Germanna Foundation.  The only factual piece of evidence which bears on this subject appears in the importation hearings, in the Spotsylvania Courthouse, in the statements of the Broyles family, the Yager family, and the Paulitz family.  They all say the same thing.  The duplication is clearly a case of copying, since they all appeared on the same day, the second of May in 1727.  The records do NOT say "with Capt. Scott", they DO say "in Capt. Scott".

That, of course, is a strange thing to say.  First though, we will look at the possibility that "in" was an abbreviation for "with".  This can be discounted because the statements do contain, in another location, the word "with" which is not abbreviated.

It is safe to say that the Germans did use a word much like "Scott", but the exact context or meaning of the word was not clear to the English-speaking clerk.  Very likely, they were referring to either the captain or to the ship.  So the next two questions become, "Is there a captain named Scott in that period?" and "Is there a ship named Scott in that period?"

There is one set of data that can help us, though it is admitted it is not 100% proof either way.  The English have been big on maintaining records.  In 1958, the state of Virginia sent people to England to look at these records and to photograph all of those which pertained to Virginia.  Back home, they compiled an index, and one can search by a personal name, by a ship's name, or by a keyword, though the last case the emphasis is on "key".  The card catalog, or index, is now on a computer, and one can search through the card index from home.  But like all card catalogs, this is not the record itself, but only a pointer to the record.  If you find something, you must go to Richmond and read the microfilm.

A search on the personal name Scott does not disclose any civilian captains in the period from about 1700 to 1740.  There are some military captains, but these can be discounted.  A search on a ship of the name of Scott discloses there was one, engaged in the Virginia tobacco trade, in 1724.  This is close enough to 1717 to qualify.  The record also tells us the name of the captain of this ship and it also tells us a lot about his character.

The Germans, when testifying in court, probably gave an answer, using the word order in their sentences which is peculiar to them.  The clerk misunderstood what they intended, and confused the ship with the captain.
(to be continued)
(08 Aug 00)


Nr. 949:

In the last note, the evidence for saying the Second Colony members came with Capt. Scott was examined.  There were three very serious weaknesses in this.  First, the record which is used to support this claim does not say "with" but rather it says "in".  Second, the colonial records do not show ANY Capt. Scott in this time period who was a civilian.  Third, the colonial records DO show there was a ship named the "Scott", which was engaged in the Virginia tobacco trade.

The record showing the ship Scott is in the Scottish Board Minutes of 29 September 1723 to 16 July 1725.  On 15 Dec 1724, the Council considered the letters of officials at the Port of Glasgow, in the action of David Auchrealony and Robert McBriar, and found that both of them were guilty of accepting gold from Andrew Tarbett, the Master of the ship Scott, for allowing tobacco to enter Scotland without the payment of the import duties.  There is even a hint that this was more than an isolated case, and had perhaps occurred on multiple occasions.  The men who were charged pleaded guilty.

From this, we learn that the captain was Andrew Tarbett (at least in 1724).  We also learn that Tarbett was not a very honest man.  Or putting it slightly differently, his morals were flexible and low.

With this knowledge of his name, we can do a search in the colonial records on the name Tarbett.  Another record appears, one in 1717, which shows that he was the captain of another ship in the spring of that year, the "Agnis".  On 7 April 1717, he was taking a load of rum, sugar, molasses, and sundry European goods to Virginia, when he was intercepted by pirates off the coast of Virginia.  They took off many of the goods he was carrying and sank the Agnis.  After intercepting some more ships, they put the original crews on board of one and released them.  The people made their way to Virginia, where they told their story.

In particular, we have a record of this because Tarbett was called on to give a disposition to Alexander Spotswood.  This disposition is recorded in the records at the Public Record Office in Class C.O. 5/1342.

In the spring of 1717, Spotswood was just eight months past his exploration of the lands to the west of Fort Germanna.  He had been looking for lands on which to secure his personal economic health.  He had found them, and he, with his partners, had staked out a claim of 40,000 acres (which actually was closer to 65,000 acres).  Because of the isolated position of this land, and the need for many settlers to seat it, plans were on hold.  What Spotswood wanted was another group of Germans, much like the first group, which had secured the frontier around Ft. Germanna, and permitted him to take up land in that area.  The problem was where to get the Germans.  I am sure that Spotswood asked a few leading questions such as "Why aren't more Germans coming to Virginia?"  He probably explained that he had a great opportunity for them and he would pay the transportation costs.  No one made any promises to anyone.  Tarbett did not even have a ship at the time.
(09 Aug 00)


Nr. 950:

Andrew Tarbett gave his disposition concerning the loss (to pirates) of the ship Agnis to Alexander Spotswood in April of 1717.  He returned to England by hitchhiking on a ship going that way.  Incidentally, the trips back to England were usually shorter than the trips to America.  The prevailing direction of the winds and currents were to the east.  A typical time for the east bound trip was about six weeks, compared to the ten weeks for the west bound trip.

With the occupation of being a ship captain or master, Tarbett would have proceeded to look for a ship to command.  This could have taken a few months.  Meanwhile, the group of Germans who would become known as the Second Germanna Colony were leaving their homes and traveling down the Neckar and Rhine Rivers toward Rotterdam.  The pastor at Gemmingen implies that they left toward the end of July, an unusually late time to be leaving.  At Rotterdam, the group found a ship going to London.

At this time, the trip was divided into two parts, the first from Rotterdam to London, and the second from London to America.  In London, the group looked for a ship going on to Pennsylvania.  This is when they met Tarbett, who was probably looking for cargo to fill up his ship.

Tarbett saw an opportunity of taking the Germans to Virginia, where he knew that Spotswood wanted a whole ship load of Germans.  He could have taken the Germans to Pennsylvania, which is where they wanted to go, but he could probably obtain a better price on faster terms for all of the Germans in Virginia.  Sometimes, a ship at Philadelphia would be tied up for weeks while contracts for the Germans were negotiated.  In Virginia, Spotswood would take the whole lot of aged, young, women, and working men, and he would pay top dollar.  A ship load would fulfill his needs perfectly.  If Spotswood should prove uncooperative, Tarbett could always go on to Philadelphia.

Tarbett agreed with the Germans to take them to Pennsylvania.  While waiting for the departure from London, Tarbett was thrown into the debtor's prison (was he in trouble because he had lost the ship Agnis?).  This caused a delay which was expensive for the Germans.  When he secured his release from prison, the trip commenced.  There is no question in my mind but that Tarbett navigated directly for Virginia.  He knew from the moment he cast off the lines in London where he was going.

The Germans were very bitter about his actions and sixty years later they described his actions in unflattering terms.  Spotswood merely winked at Tarbett's actions.  His purposes had been served.  He was to describe the Germans later as "imported", just as though he had ordered a ship load, and they had been delivered.  The plans to use them were already in place and they were seated on the land that he had explored during the previous August and September, on the trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains.
(10 Aug 00)

 


(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-EIGHTH set of Notes, Nr. 926 through Nr. 950.)


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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 926 through 950.


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