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This is the FORTIETH 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 976 through 100.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 40

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Nr. 976:

(With the Commissioners at the Board of Trade and Plantations in London, on 4 May 1721).  They read the report of Mr. West, one of H. M.'s Counsel at Law, upon three named Acts of the Assembly of Virginia, passed in November 1720, and they decided to defer consideration of them to the next meeting.  Also, this same day they read a letter from Lord Carteret, Secretary of State, enclosing an Address of the Council and Burgesses of Virginia to His Majesty, on the subject of the three Acts of Assembly passed in Virginia in November 1720, which were then being considered by the Commissioners.

10 May 1721.  The Commissioners read two of the three Acts (just mentioned), one of which concerned the establishment of two new counties, Spotsylvania and Brunswick, on the western border.  The same day, the Earl of Orkney (Governor of Virginia) attended with Col. Blakiston (Agent for Virginia) and asked that the Commissioners submit their report upon the Address of the Council and Burgesses of Virginia to His Majesty as soon as possible.

16 May 1721.  The Commissioners discussed their answer to Lord Carteret relating to the Address (just mentioned) concerning the need for extending their settlements westwards and occupying forts in the passes of the mountains on their western borders.  Three days later, the Commissioners approved a draft of a letter to Lord Carteret relating to the need to secure the western frontier of Virginia by an extension of their settlements and by fortification of the mountain passes.

23 May 1721.  The Commissioners decided to warn Col. Spotswood that if his Majesty should comply with the wishes expressed in the Address from Virginia concerning the western frontier of Virginia, the Lt. Gov. was to ensure that settlers did not merely leave their existing land to take up new grants in the frontier counties to escape payment of quit rents for several years.  He also was not to make grants of "too great a quantity of land to any one person".  This same day, Mr. Walpole, Auditor of the Plantations, attended the meeting to protest the proposal that settlers in the two new frontier counties of Virginia should be exempted from payment of Quit Rents for a specified period.  He suggested that no such inducements were needed to attract settlers and that the Quit Rent revenue would suffer without compensating advantage.

[The Acts passed by the Virginia Assembly in November of 1720 created two new counties, Spotsylvania and Brunswick.  One of the reasons given for the creation of the counties is that they would help protect the western regions from the French.  Thus, they played upon the fears of the British concerning the French.  So the Acts were designed to suggest they would strengthen the western regions.  There was one very unusual feature in the Acts.  Land in the new counties was to be free of public levies for ten years.  Public levies were not defined but it was hoped that the public levies would be interpreted in England as the purchase price of five shillings per fifty acres, and of the quit rents (the annual "real estate tax").  Spotswood knew that such unusual legislation as this would require approval from England, and, therefore, he did not issue land patents under this legislation, even though applications were made for large quantities of land in the new counties.]
(13 Sep 00)


Nr. 977:

Events in London have been the subject of the review here.  In this note, attention is focused on events in Virginia.  Alexander Spotswood, Lt. Gov. of Virginia, had been planning for a few years (as of 1720) to base his fortune on land.  Toward this purpose, he had explored the land west of Germanna in 1716, even to and over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  His strongest interest, though, was in the land immediately to the west of Germanna.  He must have liked what he saw, for he staked out a claim to 65,000 acres (publicly declared to be 40,000 acres), which extended at its westernmost point beyond the present city of Culpeper.  To obtain settlers for this land, he abetted the machinations of Capt. Tarbett, who highjacked a ship load of Germans.  These were settled on the land in question, even though no patent had been issued for the land, nor would a patent be issued for several years.  At first, this land was in a partnership, in which Robert Beverley (the historian) was the largest partner after Spotswood.

The Germans were put to work on naval store projects, which were of much concern in England.  The source of naval supplies for the British navy was principally the Baltic nations, and Britain wanted to reduce this dependence.  Therefore, much attention had been devoted to the question by many people, from the King down to the members of Parliament.  Spotswood was always careful to say that the bulk of his land acquisitions was for the national purpose of producing naval stores.  This was to be one of the methods by which he tried to defuse any question concerning the size of his land holdings.  ("It wasn't for me; it was the national purpose as expressed by the King.")

Paying for the land would be a problem, as Spotswood was not a rich man.  He had an excellent salary by the standards of the day, but his expenses were heavy.  Other people were also very much interested in land, especially as they knew that Spotswood had opened the western gateways some three years earlier by settling seventy-odd Germans as the farthest output of civilization in Virginia.  They could see where the next area of expansion was going to take place.

Spotswood conceived a plan, whereby he could reduce the costs.  He would have the Assembly enact a law making land free of the head right fee and the quit rents.  The actual phrasing was "public levies" without interpreting what did constitute public levies.  But, to get the Act passed, he would have to have the House of Burgesses and the Council as friends.  So when William Byrd returned from England and told him what the sentiment was there about his "job security", he had no difficulty in making friends again with the Assembly.  And, the Council members were in a similar situation.  They were under review also in England and might not have a job much longer.  Everyone, by being friends again, could profit much more handsomely.

In November of 1720, when the House of Burgesses convened, they first created two new counties, King George and Hanover.  A little later the House took up the suggestion made by Spotswood, in his opening address of the session, for measures to strengthen the (western) frontiers.  Note again that the emphasis was on a national (British) purpose of offsetting the French.
(14 Sep 00)


Nr. 978:

Still yet in Virginia, on November 18 of 1720, the House started their considerations of Spotswood's suggestion that improved security on the western frontiers was needed.  The result was the creation of two new counties, Brunswick and Spotsylvania.  In order to encourage settlement in the new counties, which was to help secure the borders from the French, land was to be "free".  Actually, the language said they would be free of public levies for ten years, without saying what the public levies were.

As has been seen here, all legislative acts passed by the Virginia Assembly were reviewed in England where they were approved, voided, or modified.  This legislation would certainly be reviewed, so the force of the legislation would not be known for some time.  Furthermore, the Virginians were hoping for a liberal interpretation of the law, which would allow the head right fee of five shillings per fifty acres to be omitted, and would also allow the quit rents to be omitted.  The legislation created great interest, pro and con, in England.  We have noted already here some of the warnings that were being sounded in England (and it turned out, they were correct).

The legislation placed no restrictions on the size of the grants (patents) which could be made, and it was silent about old land in the new counties which had already been patented.  If the language of the Act were interpreted liberally, Spotswood would benefit enormously.  The language bore the earmarks of skillful craftsmanship by Spotswood.  The justification was for the defense of the English lands in the west, a question that was very much being discussed in England at the time.  And, the quantity of the land to be acquired by Spotswood was to be justified by the purpose to which it was to be put, the production of naval stores, which was another item being discussed in England.

The Act was approved in Virginia in December and ten applications for land were made immediately.  The smallest was for 3,000 acres, the largest for 20,000 acres.  Obviously, some advance planning had taken place.  All were in Spotsylvania County, where a spearhead of settlement had been made already by about eighty Germans.

The patent applications were not approved immediately, since Spotswood knew that the Act had to be approved in London.  A year and a half later, the Act had not been clarified and it was still ambiguous.  In the spring of 1722, rumors abounded that the Lt. Gov. would be replaced.  While he still had some authority to act, Spotswood started to issue the patents, including his own (in the names of others), in May of 1722.  His 40,000 acre patent was among the ones that he approved.  This tract actually contained nearer to 65,000 acres, but the sheer size of the proposed patent probably suggested to him that it would be best if it were understated.  When the patent was approved in 1722, the (Second Colony) Germans had already been living on it for more than four years.  And it was another three years before the patent was recorded.  Due to the delaying tactics, plus the ambiguity of the language in the Act (including the interpretation in England), Spotswood had been in procession of the land for several years, and had not paid anything for it yet.  It still was not clear whether he would have to pay something or not.
(15 Sep 00)


Nr. 979:

In London, the three Acts passed by the Virginia Assembly in November (December?) of 1720 received much attention.  Many consultations went on between H.M.'s Counselors and the Auditors who watched H.M.'s revenues.  The Secretary of State, Lord Carteret, was involved because of the westward extension of the settlements toward the French.  Lord Carteret favored the measure to secure the western frontier of Virginia by extending the settlements and by fortification of the mountain passes.

On 23 May 1721, the Commissioners of the Board of Trade and Plantations warned Col. Spotswood that if the Acts were allowed, he must ensure that settlers did not leave their existing land for lands which were free of the public levies.  He was also warned not to make grants of "too great a quantity of land to any one Person".  [Spotswood must have gagged when he read this, for he was planning to grant himself, through intermediaries, 40,000 acres of land.  This grant actually contained 65,000 acres, so it is no wonder that he trimmed the stated amount down to 40,000 acres.]

On 6 Jul 1721, the Commissioners were still drafting a reply to Lord Carteret on the two new counties on the western border of Virginia and the need to fortify the passes in the mountains.  On 12 July, the late Governor of Maryland, who had been designated the Governor of the Leeward Islands, emphasized the need for Virginia to secure the passes.  He advocated land grants of 100 to 1000 acres (or exceptionally 2000 acres).  He also suggested that the Quit Rents should be collected and applied toward establishing the new counties.  At the next day's meeting, Col. Blakiston attended by invitation and expressed the urgent need to settle the two new counties and to erect the forts to secure the passes.  He favored exemption from the Quit Rents for tens years to encourage settlement.  He would limit grants to 1200 acres.

18 Aug 1721.  Mr. Walpole, Auditor of the Plantations, attended the Commissioners and protested an Act passed in November 1720 entitled "An Act for the better Discovery and Securing of His Majesty's Quit Rents".

22 Aug 1721.  The Secretary of State requested (at His Majesty's invitation) the Commissioner's opinion for measures to encourage the importation of timber, mineral ores, and naval stores from the Plantations into Britain.  Three days later, the Commissioners heard Mr. Gee on the possibilities of producing copper ore, iron, hemp, and flax in the American Plantations.

On 8 Sep 1721, the Commissioners signed a letter to the Secretary of State on the "State and Condition" of the American Continental Plantations.  The same day they signed another letter to the Secretary of State relating to the encouragement to be given to promote the importation of naval stores and mineral ores from the Plantations.

On 9 Nov 1721, the Commissioners discussed, with Mr. Gee and with Mr. Gurney, the Bill passed by Parliament in 1718/19 entitled "An Act for giving further Encouragement for importing naval stores".

10 Nov 1721.  Mr. Byrd, who had returned to London from Virginia, discussed the production of naval stores in the Plantations.  He also reported that Virginia could cast pig iron but could not yet produce bar iron; some encouragement was needed.
(16 Sep 00)


Nr. 980:

The report by Mr. Byrd that Virginia could cast pig iron (but not yet bar iron), produced very little stir in government circles in London.  The biggest danger to iron manufacturing in the colonies was the opposition of the merchants and traders in England.

On 9 Jan 1722 (N/S), Mr. Gee sent a letter, originally sent from Virginia to Mr. King, a Bristol merchant, alleging that Col. Spotswood was taking up large tracts of land for himself in Virginia under other names.  The Commissioners at the Board of Trade and Plantations refused to consider the matter until positive proof was produced.  [Apparently some of the merchants did not favor Spotswood and were trying to put him in hot water in England.]

20 Apr 1722.  Major Drysdale presented to the Board his Commission, dated 3 April 1722, to be the new Lt. Governor of Virginia.  A copy was taken.  [Apparently, Lord Orkney had full control of specifying his deputy.  Why Drysdale waited from 3 April to 20 April to present his credentials is unknown.  Nor is it known clearly just what the grounds were for the removal of Col. Spotswood.  The best speculation is that Mr. Blair, the deputy for the Bishop of London with responsibility for the established church in Virginia (and an enemy of Spotswood), had won his case.]

27 Apr 1722.  All H.M.'s Plantations were notified that trade with the East Indies was strictly forbidden.  [English merchants did not want their empires disturbed.]

14 Jun 1722.  The Board met with Major Drysdale and Mr. Blair, who was also a member of the Council in Virginia, to discuss several outstanding questions pertaining to Virginia.  These discussions continued, and on 19 Jun 1722, they talked about the need to secure the passes over the mountains, settlement in the two new counties of Spotsylvania and Brunswick, the Burgesses' claim to certain rights, the proposed lighthouse on Cape Henry, the Indian problem, Spanish pirates, and how salaries were to be paid to the House of Burgesses.  The Board was to summarize its views and send them in a letter to Major Drysdale.

26 Jun 1722.  Captain Hyde and Mr. Harris, merchants, requested that they might be heard on the Cape Henry lighthouse question.  [They were opposed as they feared a raise in taxes.]

30 Aug 1722.  Col Spotswood, in a letter dated 23 Jun 1722, recommended John Carter to replace Col. Blakiston who had died.  [I feel as if I had lost a friend for it was Col. Blakiston who got the First Germanna Colony on the way to Virginia.]  [Note that Spotswood had lost his job two months earlier, but he still does not know it.  This was one of the difficulties imposed by the delays in trans-Atlantic travel.]
(18 Sep 00)


Nr. 981:

At the Board of Trade and Plantations in London, a letter was received, on 10 April 1723, from Mr. Walpole, asking for copies of the Act of the Assembly of Virginia, and of an Address relating to the establishment of two new counties in Virginia.  [It has now been two years since the people in London had become aware of the Acts.  There were differing opinions about the Acts and no resolution of them had been made.  The only things that had been said left the Virginians confused, but it was generally understood that land in the new counties would be free, with some limitations.  Accordingly, the Second Colony people were scouting for land in Spotsylvania County, and probably had located land in the Robinson River Valley.]

Apparently, the first letter from Major Drysdale, the new Lt. Gov. of Virginia, was received 13 Jun 1723, which was more than a year after his appointment.  It is not clear why, but the letter read this day in London was written by Drysdale on 20 Dec 1722.

26 June 1723.  Mr. Forward asked the Board for the repeal of the Act passed by the Virginia Assembly in 1722, entitled "An Act for amending the Act concerning Servants and Slaves and for the better Government of Convicts Imported and for the further preventing the Clandestine Transportation of Persons out of this Colony".  Mr. Forward was invited to attend the next meeting.  After the discussion with Mr. Forward, the Commissioners arranged for the disputed Act to be sent to Mr. West, one of H.M.'s Counsel at Law, for a legal opinion.

28 Jun 1723.  Approval was given to the draft recommending repeal of an Act of Assembly passed in 1720, entitled "An Act for the better Discovery and securing of His Majesty's Quit Rents".

2 Oct 1723.  The Board read an order of the Privy Council on the question of Quit Rents and the purchase of rights in two counties in Virginia.  [They were still debating the Acts.]

[In 1723, Lt. Gov. Drysdale wrote to the Board, "I judge it part of my duty to inform your Ldspps. of an affair, that is at present the common Theme of peoples Discourses, and employs their thought.  Coll Spotswood's Iron workes: he had brought itt to that perfection that he now sells by public auction at Wm:burgh, backs and frames for Chymies, Potts, doggs, frying, stewing and baking panns. . ."]

12 Nov 1723.  Mr. Lynn, Secretary to the Royal African Company, asked for a hearing in protest against a Virginia Act of Assembly laying a duty on the import of liquors and slaves.  The Commissioners agreed to hear the protest in more detail.  On the 19th of November, the Board heard Mr. Leheup, Agent for Virginia, Mr. Carey, Mr. Byrd, and Mr. Perry, and three directors of the Royal African Company, on the subject of the legislation.  The Commissioners decided to obtain a legal opinion.
(19 Sep 00)


Nr. 982:

At the Board of Trade and Plantations in London, orders were given (26 Nov 1723) for copies of all Acts of Assembly passed in Virginia to be sent to Mr. West for legal review.  He particularly wanted to see "An Act for the better securing the Payment of Levies, and Restraint of vagrant and idle People, and for the more effectual Discovery and Prosecuting of person having Bastard Children".

5 Dec 1723.  Mr. Carey, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Chamberlain (merchants) protested the Virginia Act imposing an import duty on liquors and slaves.

18 Dec 1723.  An Order of the Lords Justices in Council (dated 6 August 1723), pertaining to the settlement of the two new counties in Virginia, was read (the Act was passed in Virginia three years earlier).  The Board also read an Order of the Lord Justices recommending the repeal of the Virginia Act relating to Servants, slaves, and imported convicts.

7 Jan 1723/4.  Unnamed Bristol merchants, trading to Africa, protested the Virginia Act of Assembly laying an import duty on liquors and slaves.  Another meeting on the subject was set for three days hence.  The meeting was held with many merchants attending.  Mr. Byrd was not present, and another meeting was set so he could attend.  Arguments were heard when he attended, but no decision was reached.

21 Jan 1723/24.  Lt. Gov. Drysdale sent a copy of the peace treaty reached by Alexander Spotswood with the Five Nations of Indians.  [The agreement had been reached a year and a half earlier.] 22 Jan 1723/4.  Several Liverpool merchants protested the Virginia Act pertaining to liquor and slaves.  This same day the Board recommended the repeal of the Act (which lay a duty of 40 shillings a head on slaves).

13 March 1723/4.  Parliament passed an Act encouraging the importation of naval stores from the Plantations.

13 May 1724.  All of the Plantations were warned not to impose any duties on European goods.

15 May 1724.  Six named merchants representing Dutch, Hamburg, French, and Spanish trading interests attended a meeting of the Board to discuss the state of the sugar and tobacco trades.  Also, on this day, three merchants trading to Sweden submitted their views on sugar and tobacco.

[If you have the impression that the Board of Trade and Plantations existed to promote the interests of the British merchants and traders, you would not be greatly in error.  This class of people had the ears of the Board and many other powerful people in the British government, up to and including the King.  The views of the traders and merchants could be quite arbitrary from the standpoint of a disinterested party but it made sense to them.]
(20 Sep 00)


Nr. 983:

On 2 Sep 1724, Col. Spotswood, late Lt. Gov. of Virginia, sent a letter to the Board of Trade and Plantations which gave an accounting of how he had acquired land in Virginia.  Most of the information was enclosed in a second letter he had previously written to others, of which a copy had been made to send the Board.  [Spotswood's land holdings were being seriously questioned and he did not yet have title to much of his land.]

25 Nov 1724.  The Board reiterated its request to the Attorney General and to the Solicitor General for their opinions about the "exorbitant" grants of land made in Virginia by the late Lt. Gov. of Virginia, Col. Spotswood.

[At first, Spotswood had been correctly viewed as a strong supporter of the interests of the Crown.  Now, the suspicion was growing that Spotswood's primary interest was in himself.  The two new counties and the land grants that he was making in them raised concern in England.]

1 Dec 1724.  Col. Alexander Spotswood, late Lt. Gov. of Virginia, attended the Board meeting (in London) and asked that he should be given copies of any complaints which might be made against him.  The Board agreed to do so.  [Spotswood was in deep trouble in England over his land holdings, which were to be the cornerstones of his economic empire.  He went to England to pursue a resolution of these problems.  When he arrived, he almost immediately found a wife and they started a family.  Whether marriage was any part of his motivation for going to England is unknown.  He remained in England for four or five years before returning to Virginia.]

[The legislation which created the new counties of Brunswick and Spotsylvania contained very ambiguous clauses or was totally silent on some questions pertaining to land acquisitions in the counties.  Testimony was taken in London from people who recommended one or two thousand acres be the maximum for any one person.  Spotswood was in the process of filing for 59,000 acres in Spotsylvania County.]

[The interpretation, as it finally settled down, was for a maximum of 1,000 acres.  No previously granted land could be included.  There was a freedom for seven years from quit rents and the head right fee was waived.  Those who took more than this were not allowed the exemptions from the levies.  The two clauses said different things, that is, they were contradictory.  "You could not take up more than a thousand acres.  If you took up more than a thousand acres, you had to pay the full fees." This meant that Spotswood's claims were very much in doubt.  This Virginia Council was very confused and they stopped issuing patents and asked for a clarification.]

Meanwhile, our Second Colony Germans were looking at land and probably had tracts already selected.  Rumors must have been prevalent about the status of pending land acquisitions which would have left them wondering about their future.  In the end they got the land for free with no quit rents for seven years.  It is no wonder that Spotsylvania County grew by leaps and bounds.
(21 Sep 00)


Nr. 984:

We have been looking, for several notes, at a history of Virginia as seen through the eyes of people in London, especially at the Board of Trade and Plantations.  I will now stop that and give Alexander Spotswood the chance to reply to some of the charges being made against him.  On June 16, 1724, he wrote to the Board and enclosed a copy of another letter.  I will quote from both of these letters by paraphrasing his comments.  The text of the documents may be found in "Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1724-1725 (vol. 34)", as edited by Cecil Headlam, and published by the Public Record Office, London, in 1936.  The letters of Spotswood start on page 112.  [In the following, comments by John Blankenbaker are set off by the brackets as this is.]

June 16, 1724.  Germanna.  Col. Spotswood to the Council of Trade and Plantations:

      "During the twelve years that it was incumbent upon me to render an account of my administration to your Lordships' Board, I was never faulted for any remissness or impertinence in my correspondence.  On the contrary, our Lordships gave me many signal approbations of my conduct.  Permit me now to offer this to your consideration as I continue to be as devoted to the service of my Prince and country as when I ruled a Province.

      "I would have come to England but the pirates have placed a price upon my head and it has made travel by ship unsafe.

      "On my return from Albany [attending the Indian conference of a few months duration] I judged it prudent to retire from Williamsburg [the seat of government where a new Governor was present] and I took up residence a year and half ago here in the wild woods [that is, at Germanna where he was building a residence].  This is as far away as I could get from Williamsburg, 140 miles distant, and it is the extreme western settlement of H. M. Dominions [the Second Colony Germans were west of Germanna].  In my retirement, I applied myself to pursue the scheme which I had laid while I was Governor of raising in this part of the world all manner of Naval Stores.  I have now made such progress therein that I believe I will be able to render to your Lordships an agreeable accounting of that undertaking.

[Nowhere in the letter to the Board does Spotswood mention iron mines, an iron furnace, or an iron foundry.  First, these were so new that no notable progress had been made, which would be of special interest to the Board.  Second, it was politically correct to mention naval stores, which were high in the priority list of the King and Parliament.  Third, the land from which the naval stores were to be obtained was the kingpin of Spotswood's personal economic plans.]

[At this point, Spotswood complained about Larkin Chew, his bitter enemy, who, Spotswood says, is planning to take away the lands Spotswood is using for building a wharf and a warehouse for the naval stores he is shipping.  Chew wants to build a town on this site.  Though most people have said the wharf was for shipping iron, Spotswood says it is for shipping naval stores and, again, he emphasizes naval stores.  Probably the original motivation was for the naval stores, but he later used it for iron.]

      "I request that I will be fairly heard when I personally attend the Board.

      "With respect to the lands in the new counties of Brunswick and Spotsylvania, I am enclosing a copy of a letter I wrote to the Auditor which gives an accounting of the lands I have taken up".  [A. Spotswood]

(22 Sep 00)


Nr. 985:

When Alexander Spotswood, late Lt. Governor of Virginia, wrote to the Board of Trade on 16 June 1724, he enclosed a copy of a letter he had written to Col. Nathaniel Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H.M. Revenue.  Paraphrasing his comments in this enclosed letter:

      "Your letter of February 15 pertaining to the lands in the two new counties deserves a full answer.  Others have taken aim at my possessions and say that it is in the interest of H.M. for a restriction on the size of grants.  On the contrary I have abided by the laws.  My primary purpose in taking up the lands has not been to raise a mighty landed estate for my own profit or pleasure but that I have been led into the possession thereof by motives of charity, or securing the frontier, or by a public spirit in promoting Naval Stores.  I have also been drawn in some of the enterprises by incidents over which I had no control.

      "The first tract that I became possessed of was the 3229 acres called the Germanna tract from my seating thereon several families of German Protestants.

["Protestants" was a politically correct word.]
      "These forty odd men, women, and children, who came over in 1714, brought with them a Minister and Schoolmaster.  They were settled upon land in these parts by Baron Graffenried pursuant to an agreement he had made with them in Germany.  But before their arrival, the Baron being nonplused in his affairs here and forced to return to Switzerland, would have left them deserted and liable to become servants had I not stepped in and took care of them.  I paid 150 pounds sterling which remained due on their passage.  The Council Journals will show that to my charity for them I joined the concern for the security of the country against Indian incursions by choosing to seat them on land twelve miles beyond the then usual course of our rangers.  They served as a barrier in the most naked part of our frontier.  So far from my thoughts was it, to take up the land for my own use, that during the six years they remained on the land I never offered to plant one foot of ground thereon.
[Spotswood claimed that the Germanna tract was his first land acquisition, but, in 1713, he purchased one-quarter of a 4020 acre tract.  This particular tract lay only a few miles from Germanna, and it was thought to contain silver deposits.  Spotswood does not mention that the choice of Germanna may have been influenced by the presence of the silver mine which he hoped the Germans would be able to develop.  His claim that he never offered to plant one foot on the ground in the six years seems strange.  He was there in 1716, in the course of the expedition to explore the western lands up to and over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  His claim that the Germans were at Germanna for six years is not consistent with other evidence.  Four and a half years is a more realistic estimate.]
      "My next tract was for 3065 acres which was contiguous to Germanna.  When the Germans showed that they wanted to have their settlements enlarged, I procured this land for them so they could lease it.  But they were seduced away by greater expectations elsewhere and therefore the land was left on my hands and I was forced to purchase servants and slaves for seating land in this Colony."
(23 Sep 00)


Nr. 986:

Spotswood's comments to Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H.M. Revenue, had stopped with the statement,

"... but they [First Germanna Colony] were seduced away by greater expectations elsewhere and I was forced to purchase servants and slaves for seating plantations in this Colony."  This is followed immediately by, "Soon afterwards I was drawn into another land concern.  In Feb 1717 [1718 by the new style calendar], Sir Richard Blackmore wrote to Mr. Secretary Cock to engage me to favor a design, which he, with several considerable men at home, had to set up an iron works in Virginia, and desires people might be employed to find out the ore, and some thousands of acres were taken up for that purpose.  Accordingly I set my Germans to work to look for such oar which search cost me upwards of three score pounds."

If one reads this literally, the First Colony had left Germanna.  And, about this same time, he started a search for iron ore with "his Germans".  The Second Colony had not arrived yet.  This shows how Spotswood was confused in his timing of events, and it is best not to accept his statements too literally, without independent confirmation.  Notice also that the land taken up for the purpose of the iron ore "search" seems to have been already identified.  In other words, before the Germans started the search, Spotswood and the Germans seemed to be aware that iron ore was there.  [I believe that the Germans had found the ore already, before Spotswood received the request from England to look for it.  Spotswood was very careful to make it clear that the "thousands of acres" were taken up, not for his benefit, but for the benefit of several people in England.]

Spotswood added that there was an expenditure of upwards of three score pounds in the search endeavor, which is only a piddling amount for an enterprise of this size.  In other words, no iron furnace was built.  The search for ore was just that, and nothing more.  Spotswood adds that, about two years after the search commenced, Sir Richard said he would not proceed with it.  Rather than give up the endeavor, Spotswood said that he joined in with several gentlemen in Virginia, and took up the 15,000 acre iron mine tract in Feb of 1720.  Just previous to this, in his letter, Spotswood implied the land was taken up for the benefit of the people in England, but apparently no formal claim had been made on the land.

Spotswood continues in his letter to Harrison,

"About the same time I fell into another partnership of land . . . Mr. Robert Beverley having discovered some excellent land among the little mountains, and made a survey thereof before the Proclamation issued in 1710 concerning the granting of land [fees had to be paid at the time], and not daring to seat lands so remote from all Christian inhabitants, and exposed to Indians, found it in vain to take out a patent for the same under the new terms of cultivation, until an opportunity happened of freeing a considerable number of Germans families IMPORTED [emphasis added] in 1717, when he invited me to become a sharer in the land, and at the same time admitted in some other partners, to the end that we might all join our abilities to make a strong settlement with a body of people at once."

[This is a revealing paragraph as to how Spotswood attempted to confuse the issues.  He makes it appear that Beverley invited Spotswood into the land partnership after the (Second Colony) Germans arrived.  On the contrary, plans had been laid during the expedition to the western regions in 1716.  A fair amount of time was spent in examining Beverley's land.  And Spotswood, as a result of that expedition, laid claim to a tract, which, with Beverley's land, amounted to about 65,000 acres.  We know that this was case, because the Germans were not settled on Beverley's land, but on the expanded tract which Spotswood was claiming as a result of the expedition.  Notice how false the idea was that free land was necessary to encourage settlement in the new county of Spotsylvania.  Settlement to the west of Germanna had commenced three years before the county of Spotsylvania was created.]
(25 Sep 00)


Nr. 987:

[Spotswood’s letter to Harrison resumes with the arrival of the seventy-odd Germans in 1717, which could have been up to March 25, 1718 by the modern calendar].

          "We settled them upon our tract as freemen (not servants) in 20 odd tenements, all close joining to one another for their better defense [actually, they were about one-half mile apart].  We provided them with a stock of cattle and all other things necessary for their support without receiving from them one penny’s worth of rent.  The tract then consisted of 13,000 acres [which would have been Beverley’s tract on the south side of the Rapidan River] but understanding that many more Germans who were scattered in Virginia wished to join those on our lands, we expanded the tract.  [Spotswood reverses the actual sequence; the land was expanded first and the Germans were settled on the expansion area on the north side of the Rapidan River.]

          "I found that the people in England were very interested in naval stores so the tract was expanded to 40,000 acres.  [Thus Spotswood gives two reasons for expanding the 13,000 acre tract ­ to accommodate Germans and to enhance the ability to raise naval stores.  The 40,000 acres, which he mentions, is, on plotting, closer to 65,000 acres.]

          "The number of Germans now living on it [in 1724] is about 100 so the tract is not such an exorbitant possession as some persons have claimed.  [At 400 acres per man, woman, and child, it was larger than most grants in Virginia.]

          "If I am possessed of both this tract and the Mine Tract without any partners, I have been brought into that circumstance more by necessity than choice.  Two of my principal partners died and the executors, heirs, and original partners did not wish to continue so I was forced to carry on by myself alone.  I reimbursed everybody the utmost penny that they had expended.  [Col. William Byrd says he and Mr. Chiswell discussed Spotswood’s stratagems to shake off his partners and to secure all the mines to himself.]

          "The main inducement to enlarging my tracts by taking in the intervening lands was to accommodate several families of people whom we had imported in order to carry on so grand an undertaking as that of raising all manner of Naval stores.  The agreements I make with people whom I employ, will manifest that I have not taken up the land to sell it for gain."

[The letter continues with more comments, though these are the principal ones and are given here in so far as they pertain to Germanna people.  His arguments basically revolve around the idea that a public good is being obtained at a cost to him, in money and effort.  The latter was probably true, as it is doubtful that he had yet earned a profit on his enterprises.  At about this time, he was suing many of the Germans on baseless charges trying to obtain some money in that way.]
(26 Sep 00)


Nr. 988:

Alexander Spotswood knew that he was in trouble in 1724, with respect to his land holdings, and deemed it prudent to return to England to plead his case there.  He arrived in December of 1724, and made his presence known at the Board of Trade and Plantations.  Apparently, he was not winning his case, and made an appeal direct to His Majesty George I.  His petition has been preserved, and is filed in the Public Record Office in C.O. 5/1344, ff 1-2.  If anyone wishes to read it, a microfilm of it is available at the Virginia State Library in Richmond.  The petition is undated, but is filed next to a document dated 5 May 1726:

To The King's most excellent majesty in Council
The Case & Petition of Col. Alexander Spotswood
Late Lt. Governor of Virginia
fd Humbly Sheweth,

          That your petitioner, during his Administration of the said Government, being led by publick Spirit & a dutiful Regard to your Maty's Pleasure, did upon receiving Directions, from ye Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, for making Hemp & Tar; & also upon seeing your Maty's Speech to ye Parliament, for raising Naval Stores in the Plantations, judge it incumbent on him to promote the same within his Province.

          That design He incouraged the forming of Companies and Partnerships, for carrying on such undertakings, & deeply embarked himself with some Adventurers, who entered so far into the Project as to be at several Thousand pounds Charge in the Clearing & Seating large tracts of ye Crown's Desarts-Lands, & in importing materials and proper Workmen, for raising all manner of Naval Stores.

[This document is very hard to read, resulting from the writing in ink on both sides of the paper, which bled through.  Spaces in the text here indicate unreadable portions.  Some words, not identified, are my best estimates of what was intended.]
          That this grand undertaking proving to be attended with greater Difficulties, than his partners had Courage or Ability longer to struggle with, your Petitioner, while he was Governor ventured to take ye whole concern upon himself rather than such a laudable attempt should be given over, to ye certain discouragement of other Adventurers, & so having reimbursed his Partners the utmost penny of their Expenses, & after an excessive deal of Pains, Risque, & Charge, brought ye Undertaking such a length, as to ship home the first Pig-Iron, & ye first Hemp of Virginia growth, that were ever known to be imported into Great Britain: Beside proving by Experience that in these american Parts, neither ye Tar can be made according to the directions of ye act of Parliament, without ye peculiar Skill of Finland Tar-Burners, nor the Hemp ever be raised to any perfection from the English, or the East Country Seed.
[to be continued]
(27 Sep 00)


Nr.  989:

[Spotswood's petition to the King continues.]

          That not only such Discoveries, made at your Petitioner's Sole-Cost, may be deemed a Public Benefit but also ye _____ of his labor are found to be valuable to ye Nation: and his _____ iron has ______ ______ ______ Iron-Masters in England who have hitherto made trial thereof, and now Hemp is proved to be considerably Superior to the best Russian, _____ ______ ______ with the best Riga Hemp as may appear by the Report from ye officers at Woolwich yard ____ _____ of your Maty Navy.

          And your Petitioner is _____ed under the _____ _____of Representing that, according to the Plan laid down by ye aforesaid Partners for carrying on so extensive a Design, there had been Taken up, Surveyed, and Patented considerable Tracts of some remote and ungranted Lands in which no other subject, than your Petitioner, has at this time any pretense of Right; yet for certain Formalities omitted in passing ye Patent He finds his Title to part of those lands may hereafter be controverted, without your Majesty's special Grace in now confirming them all to him.

          And to the end your Petitioner may appear ____ _____ object of your Royal Justice & Favour on this occasion, He humbly begs leave to observe, That he has already very dearly purchased those lands from his Partners, & fully complyed with ye law of ye Colony in _____ sufficient Improvement _____: That they being such lands which for their Remoteness & dangerous Situation, nobody had before dared to venture upon, your Petitioner has been obliged to Seat with a formidable Strength, & so run a mighty Risque, as well as been at an extraordinary charge, in maintaining Possession of them, until he happily obtained of the Five Nations of Indians to relinquish their pretensions thereto: and that to accomplish this point, he Travelled twelve Hundred Miles,& not only underwent the Fatigue of a Three Months Expedition, but also have Six hundred Pounds of the Expense thereof, which he has never yet been reimbursed, or in any wise _____ considered ____.

          That he moreover remains to this day in disburse the like sum of Expenses, for his performing ye Conditions of certain treaties made in the year 1713 with Three Nations of Indians, and being laid before Her late Majesty, approved of, & assurances then given that the charge thereof should be defrayed by the Crown.

[Spotswood had considerable trouble getting his expense reports approved.  It would seem the Indian treaties and the expenses in those connections were justifiable.  But the Crown seemed to take the view that the Governor had to pay these things out of his own pocket.]

[It would have been appreciated if Spotswood had taking English 101; some of his sentences are atrocious.]

[The tract he is principally talking about is the 40,000 acre tract, which he describes as remote and dangerous.  This is where the Second Colony was settled in 1717.]
(28 Sep 00)


Nr. 990:

Spotswood concluded his petition with these two paragraphs,

          And ____ that your petitioner not only, in his Treaty with ye said Five Nations, obtained of them to give to your Majesty their Pretensions to all ye Lands, which they claimed between the Potowmach and James Rivers, but also, by new Regulations of his own forming while he was Governor, so improved His Maty's Revenue of Quit Rents in Virginia, that from an annual income of about One Thousand Pounds, they have been augmented to Three thousand Pounds per annum.

          Wherefore your Petitioner humbly Prays that in Consideration of his aforementioned just Claims of Twelve Hundred Pounds, of his obtaining a ______ ______ (Concession?) of about Three Million of acres of land to the Crown; of his improving your Maty's Revenue of Quitrents under his administration, ______ ______ _____ to promote ______; and of his endeavoring at his own cost to _____ by procuring tar burners from Finland; _______ to confirm to your petitioner of eighty-six Thousand acres of land in possession of ______ of the rights, that are demanded _____, acknowledgment, as they are most _____ of much larger tracts having been granted in America by your Royal Predecessors, upon less Motives or Considerations.

          And your petitioner A. in duty bound Shall ever pray etc.
          A. Spotswood (signature)

[It is interesting to note that the Indians are relinquishing their claim to land which the Crown has already given away to the Northern Neck Proprietors.  Did the Crown have the right to give away this land or did it belong to the Indians?]

[Notice that Spotswood refers to his job in Virginia as Governor, not Lt. Governor.  He often did this.  So, if writers today refer to him as Governor, I guess they can be excused.]

[There was no immediate resolution to this petition.  Several years went by before the issues were decided.  In brief, though, Spotswood had to pay something, and I do not think that he got any reimbursements on his expenses.]
(29 Sep 00


Nr. 991:

The last notes have included Spotswood's comments about being reimbursed for his expenses, especially travel expenses.  There is a copy of his letter, explaining some of these expenses for the period 1711 to 1717, in the "William and Mary Quarterly", in January 1923, pages 40-45.  With minor format and punctuation changes for improved clarity, extracts are given here.

"Upon the Tumults in North Carolina, Resolutions were taken in the Council, for quelling them, and preventing the Evil Consequences that the Commotions there might draw upon this Colony if Either of the Contending parties should give encouragement to our Servants and Slaves to Join them, & in order to effect the Same the Governor undertook (July 3, 1711) a Journey to Hampton (72 miles) to provide for the Design then in hand; (July 14, 1711) ditto toward the borders of this Government to meet Commissioners from Carolina (104 miles).

[The tumults in North Carolina resulted in the capture of Christoph von Graffenried, and the death of many of the settlers that he had brought to North Carolina.]

"Upon the Alarm of a French Squadron Sailed toward America to attack these parts, Measures were concerted in Council for the Defence of this Country, & to put the Same in Execution the Govern'r undertook Several Journeys, viz: Five times to Point Comfort (August and September) to trace out & Carry on the Line Battery there (400 miles); six times to Tindal's point & York Town for the like purpose (180 miles); six times to James Town for the like purpose (96 miles).

"Upon the Tusaroudo Massacre committed on North Carolina Measures were concerted in Council for securing the Frontiers of this Colony, & to put the same in Execution the Governor undertook (October 6, 1711); a Journey into Surry County (40 miles); a Weeks Expedition with the Militia to the Nottoway Indians Town (100 miles).

"Upon the Continuation of the Tuscaroudo War Measures were concerted in Council for Acting against the Indians & to Execute the Same the Gov'r undertook (April 30, 1712) a Journey towards the Borders of this Colony to meet the Gov'r of North Carolina ( (104 miles); (December 19, 1712) ditto to meet Commissioners from North Carolina; (September 13, 1713) ditto into Surry, Prince George & Henrico Countys to raise 200 Volunteers to go with him against the Indians who then Infested the Frontiers (135 miles).

[If these comments or reports make Spotswood sound as if he was of a war like nature, then they are in error.  Spotswood's attitude toward the Indians was very respectful, and he believed in justice for them.  - - - - Notice that most of his actions refer to a decision made in the Virginia Council, and thus he is attempting to show that it was official government policy.- - - -  I believe that anyone who lived on the frontier had a reason to be concerned about his or her safety.  Relations with the Indians were very unsettled, and military actions might occur at any time.]
(30 Sep 00)


Nr. 992:

Alexander Spotswood had troubles with his expense accounts, in particular in getting reimbursed.  We are looking at his explanation of his expenses, which furnishes us a clue as to the activities that he engaged in.  Continuing with his words,

"Upon projecting to lessen the great charge of Rangers & to settle a more lasting Guard for the Frontiers, Measures were concerted in Sundry Councils, & the Gov'r in order to put the same in Execution did undertake (May 17, 1714) a Fortnights expedition to Reconnoitre the Norward Frontiers & to fortify a place for Settling a Body of Germans above the Falls of Rappahannock (322 miles); a six Weeks Expedition (August 30, 1714) to Reconnoitre all the Frontiers from South to North far without the inhabitants, in order to find out proper places for fixing Forts (500 miles); a Three Weeks Expedition (March 30, 1715) to carry on the Fortifications of Christanna, and to meet Blunt with other Chief Men of the Tuscaroudoes for settling the Limits of theirs and our Indian Hunting Ranges (210 miles).

"Upon the general Revolt of the Southern Indians, and their attacking South Carolina, Measures were concerted in Council for putting a stop to their dangerous progress, & the Governor to effect the same undertook (June 25, 27, and 28, 1715) several Journeys to List Soldiers in Kent, Warwick, and Gloucester Countys (104 miles); two ditto (July 4 and 18, 1715) to Embark 150 Soldiers at York & Hampton ports (100 miles); (November 10, 1715) one ditto to give Directions about the Works of Christanna Forts (200 miles); (April 14, 1716) one ditto to give further Directions about the S'd Works (200 miles).

"Upon a Complaint made by the Tuscaroudoes to the Goverm't of Acts of Hostility & a Murder committed on their people by some of our Tributary Indians, the Gov'r to prevent a Rupture by Examining into the Affair & doing such Justice as might appease the Tuscaroudoes undertook (July 9, 1716) a Journey to Christanna (where Blunt the Chief Ruler of the Tuscaroudoes) with the Carolina interpreter had agreed to meet him, & in which Journey the Gov'r had his Two Serv'ts & his own riding Horse with all his Equipage drowned (200 miles).

"Upon Notice of a Passage being discovered through the great Western Mountains, the Governor advising with the Council, judg'd it might be for the Safety & benefit of this Colony if the Pass could be secured by a Fort, & a Trade opened that way with remote Indians, & therefore Resolving to view it himself, he undertook (August 20, 1716) a Monts Expedition with 63 Men and 74 Horses marching beyond the high Ridge of Mountains, until he arriv'd at a large River on the other side (445 miles)."

[It appears that Spotswood had a diary in which his travels were recorded.  He had no trouble at all in remembering the exact date of all of these trips.  This is in marked contrast to his account to Harrison (which we looked at), where he seems to get tangled up in his timing of the events.  Most likely, in the letter to Harrison he was trying to obscure the timing of events.  Here, in his expense justifications, he wants everything to sound exact. . . .  It was on the trip over the Blue Ridge that the land west of Germanna was explored, and Spotswood decided to take up 40,000 acres that stretched westward beyond the present city of Culpeper.  I believe that was the major reason for the trip, but he wanted to cast the trip as an officially sanctioned and so he gave the reasons that he did.]
(02 Oct 00)


Nr. 993:

The travels and expenses of Alexander Spotswood continue,

"The Law directing the Indian Company should take Fort Christanna into their keeping from the first of December 1716, the Gov'r in order to deliver the same up into their hands, undertook (November 27, 1716) a Journey to Christanna, where he happened to be confined for ten days by a dangerous Illness & deep Snow (200 miles).

Upon Notice given of Wichmetanche (a man in the greatest Repute among the Western Indians) & several Chiefs of the Sutarees, Sugahs, Pedees, Quiawaes, Chacees, Saxapahaes, Enoes, & Sawraes, being arrived at Christanna to comply with the Terms of such a Treaty as this Government had in several Councils insisted upon, & that accordingly they had brought in their children to be delivered up as Hostages, but refused to advance within the inhabitants, declaring that if the governor would not meet them there upon the Frontiers, they would return with their Children.  Wherefore the Governor undertook (April 8, 1717) a Journey to Christanna, where the next morning after his arrival a Body of the Mohocks, w'th other Northern Indians fell upon & Murdered Several of the Southern Indians, while were lying just w'thout the Gate of the Fort unarmed, having according to the Discipline observed there of giving up their Guns into the Custody of the English (200 miles).

Upon the Return of Capt'n Chr. Smith from Albany, whither he had been sent by the Governm't to Expostulate w'th the five Nations upon their late Behavior in those parts, & to learn whether those Indians design'd to be at peace or War with us, the Report of his Negotiations occasioned some Deliberations in Council how to prevent future Mischief from that Quarter, and it being then alleged by some of the Council that all the Measures they were concerting would prove fruitless, unless the Gov'r went himself to the Norward to convince and & persuade the other Gov'rs to concurr in them, he therefore undertook (September 11, 1717) two Months Travells Setting out with the Expectation of a Congress in Philadelphia, but the Govern'r of New York being hindred from meeting there by reason of the Assembly then Sitting, the Gov'r of Virginia was necessitated to continue on to New York, or must have Returned without answering the Main Design of his Journal (1000 miles).  Total 5026."

[Of the eleven episodes that have been named, ten are concerned with Indian relations.  They consumed a major portion of Spotswood's time and efforts.  For anyone who lived on the frontier, as our German ancestors did, the Indian question would have been a lively topic.]

[On Spotswood's first trip to Germanna, he put the mileage at 322, whereas John Fontaine put it at 292, a thirty-mile difference.  Some observers have thought that Spotswood went on to the Blue Ridge Mountains on this trip, but the mileage figures would not support them.  One concludes the objective of the trip was definitely Germanna, which at that time was nothing but woods.  One might observe that Germanna was only a few miles from the projected silver mine in which Spotswood held a 25% interest.  He failed to mention this in his expense report.  Spotswood's attitude toward the pass in the Blue Ridge ("Great Western") Mountains was casual.  He resolved, not to fortify, defend or extend the range of Virginia, but to see the place for himself.]
(03 Oct 00)


Nr. 994:

We have spent some looking into the activities of Alexander Spotswood.  In this note, I will look at activities specifically in the field of iron.

Iron is said to have been the principal activity whereby Spotswood aimed to establish his financial independence.  This is false.  Land to be used for agricultural and naval stores was his initial and major objective.  He approached iron in a tentative way.

Let's look at the schedule by which he did move to establish both his land and iron empires.  We will see that the iron came after the land.  First, we will look at the schedule on the iron.  According to his story, about the start of 1718 he was approached by Sir Richard and others in England to search out iron ore.  And he tells us that he did set his Germans to work looking for the ore.  I have no proof, but I suspect the Germans were already aware that iron was in the area.  In fact, they probably discovered it.  It appears that it took the encouragement and support from England to turn the venture into a serious activity, but still not the major activity.  Spotswood said that only upwards of sixty pounds was spent on the work, so it must be classified as the development of the mines.  This agrees with the testimony of Jacob Holtzclaw and J. Justus Albrecht, who said that they worked at mining and quarrying, and that the work ended in December of 1718.  At this time, Spotswood knew he had iron ore, but he had lost his support from England and the Germans had left.

It took Spotswood a while to seek partners, money, and people to build the furnace.  As a consequence, the Mine Tract was not patented until 1720.  Probably little or no work had been done on the furnace before then, as Spotswood was not inclined to spend money on projects where the title was not clear.  The title or patent for the land probably was issued about the time that construction of the furnace began.  In 1721, trial runs may have occurred at the furnace.  Production might be said to have started in 1722, but regular and consistent operation was probably not achieved until 1723.  Let's look at some of the evidence for this time table.

The earliest record of an iron furnace comes from Hugh Jones.  The Rev. Jones lived in Virginia from 1717 to 1722, when he returned to England.  In 1724, he published a book in London which is believed to be based on his experiences in Virginia ending in 1722.  He wrote, speaking of the furnace,

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

Thus the furnace was reported to be in production in 1722, though the observer seems to imply the work was in a beginning state.  The future tense is used to describe the hopes.
(04 Oct 00)


Nr. 995:

The close of the last note was the account of Rev. Hugh Jones, who described the iron furnace in the future tense (at least, the hopes for it), in 1722.  That this was a significant year is confirmed by the purchase of Spotswood of a 2,000 acre tract on the Rappahannock River below the falls.  On this land, he constructed a warehouse and a wharf for shipping the products that he was producing.  Without the warehouse and wharf, he was at a disadvantage in shipping, as there were no public facilities to speak of.  He needed to store his products somewhere until the next ship came in.  The ship also needed a place to dock when loading.  So, it appears he could start shipping naval stores and iron in 1722 or 1723 from his own wharf.

In the year 1723, Lt. Gov. Drysdale, who had replaced Spotswood as governor, wrote to the Board of Trade and Plantations:

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

Evidently, the "iron works" was still something of a novelty.  Spotswood shipped fifteen tons of pig iron to England that year (1723), his first shipment to England.  The next year, 1724, he shipped more than 200 tons of pig iron to England.  This is the year that he went to England himself, so it appears that he was remaining in Virginia until the furnace was producing significant quantities.  [He told the Board that he would have come to England sooner had it not been for the danger from pirates.  Perhaps he was using this as an excuse while he was delayed working out the problems at the furnace.]

Based on very good evidence, it appears that the iron furnace was not running before 1722, that small quantity production commenced in 1723, and that in 1724 the furnace was in more consistent operation.  If anyone wishes to look up the quantities of iron shipped to England from Virginia, information on this is in the House of Lords for the period up to the end of 1749.  When Spotswood went to England at the end of 1724, he had good hopes that the iron furnace would be practical and profitable.  But at this point, he had no profits nor would he have for several more years.

Spotswood's commitment to acquiring large tracts of land was made before the expedition across the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1716.  The major purpose of this trip was to explore the land with an eye toward acquiring some it.  A little more than a year later, in early 1718, he was settling Germans on the tract which he (and others) were to formally acquire in a few more years.  The fact that he was placing the Germans on this land shows that he had plans to acquire it even before they arrived.  This was before he had made any kind of commitment to iron.
(05 Oct 00)


Nr. 996:

I have made the point recently that Alexander Spotswood already had picked out the land on which the Second Colony Germans were placed before they came.  Spotswood's March 28 letter to Nathaniel Harrison, in 1724, says that the land was so remote and exposed to Indians that it was difficult to find settlers, until a considerable number of Germans "happened" to arrive.  This was the Second Colony, because Spotswood does say 1717 (which could have been up to March 23, 1718, by the modern calendar).

Spotswood makes it clear that the land included 13,000 acres that Robert Beverley was holding in reserve.  Actually, Beverley's claim to this land even preceded the establishment of Germanna, but he had not gone through the formal procedures of applying for a patent because he would have been required to pay his fees then.  He could not be sure of finding settlers for it because of the remoteness and the danger from Indians.

Spotswood went on to say that he joined with Beverley in a partnership and that, besides the original 13,000 acres of Beverley, they added 27,000 acres, for a claimed total of 40,000.  The intended economic activity was the production of naval stores.  Other writers also identify the Second Colony with naval stores.  All of the evidence, taken together, says that somewhere in the tract of 40,000 acres would be the first homes of the Second Colony.

The first patent on this tract was issued on 22 Jun 1722 to Thomas Jones, Gent., John Clayton, Esq., and Richard Hackman.  The Germans had already been living on the land for more than four years!  The delay in patenting the land was due to a variety of reasons.  People put off filing for a patent as long as they felt they could prevent claim jumpers or squatters from putting down roots on it.  Of course, the delay meant that they did not have to pay fees yet.  On this tract, Spotswood was hoping that the "free land" in the new county of Spotsylvania would apply.  So he held off from issuing the patent until the law was clarified.  Finally, it seemed (correctly) that he would be replaced as Lt. Governor, so he proceeded to issue the title to Jones, Clayton, and Hackman, who were proxies for him.  Of course, when the patent was issued, there was a description of the metes and bounds of the tract.  This furnishes us with a physical description of its location.  Somewhere within the confines of this is where the Second Colony was located.

Just describing a tract of 40,000 acres takes several pages in the metes and bounds system.  Plotting such a large piece of land is difficult, and had discouraged people from actually seeing where the land extended.  Fortunately, today, there is software for this purpose, and, using DeedMapper™ software, I did plot it.  The full extent had been lost as the years rolled by, so modern folk did not know what its measure was.
(06 Oct 00)


Nr. 997:

I'll give an outline of the 40,000 acre tract on which the Second Colony Germans first lived.  The tract became known as the Spotsylvania tract, so I may refer to it by that name.  First, I will give a rough geographical picture of this part of Virginia using a modern map such as a state automobile map.  Using modern features to help in the placement, proceed out state highway 3 to the west of Fredericksburg.  The city itself is on the Rappahannock River, and just above the city are the falls which were the absolute limits to navigation.  A few miles above the falls, the river splits into two branches, the Rappahannock proper, and the Rapidan, the northern and southern branches of the river, respectively.  The land between the two rivers is the Great Fork, and is referred to in patents as such.  The rivers are considered as running east and west, though there are stretches which do not follow these directions.  South of the Rapidan is not in the Great Fork.  North of the Rapidan and South of the Rappahannock is the Great Fork.  At the time in question, only the land "north" of the Rappahannock was a part of the Northern Neck.

Germanna was on the Rapidan River.  The Spotsylvania tract starts just above Germanna and runs westward, on the south of the Rapidan River, until the mouth of the Robinson River is reached.  All of the land in the Spotsylvania tract on this south side was Beverley's contribution to the partnership.  More exactly, the boundary of the Spotsylvania tract starts at the mouth of Russell Run and proceeds to cross Mine Run, Mountain Run, and on to the Robinson River, which is just past today's village of Rapidan.  This part of the tract contains about 13,000 acres.

The course then went up the Robinson River, to Meander Run (a.k.a. Crooked Run), and up it until it went across land to branches of Mountain Run, on the west side of today's town of Culpeper.  The course swung back to the east on the north side of Culpeper, and thence south again, and across branches of Bleu Cowslip Run, as it turned to the east.  Then, to the west side of Brook's Run, to the east side of the GERMAN Run (emphasis added), to the upper fork of Bray's Branch, to the Rapidan.  Since this German Run is a few miles west of Germanna, it seems unlikely that it was named for the Germans at Germanna, as they were not living that far west.  Studying German Run in more detail, it is seen that it does not flow into the Rapidan, but into Field's Run.  Field's Run is not the original name.  Earlier it was named Fleshman's Run, and residents in the area still call it Fleshman's Run.

The area centered around Fleshman's Run and German Run certainly commands attention, for we did have a bunch of Germans there, of which one family had the name of Fleshman.  It was of interest that this area, between German Run and Fleshman's Run, was within five miles of Germanna, and so fell into the old St. George's Parish, where Germans (or Spotswood) were exempt from paying taxes to the state church (at least initially).

The detailed area we are talking about is on the north side of the Rapidan River in the Great Fork.  Today it would fall into Culpeper County.  We will continue with further evidence in following notes.
(07 Oct 00)


Nr. 998:

The evidence as to where the Second Germanna Colony first lived in Virginia, when they arrived in 1717/18, points to the Great Fork between the Rapidan and the Rappahannock Rivers.  In particular, the names of two small watercourses, German Run and Fleshman's Run, point to an area of special interest, for it is extremely likely that Cyriacus Fleshman of the Second Colony lived by or near Fleshman's Run.

We have further evidence that we should be looking in the Great Fork.  In the Spotsylvania County records there is a lease from Alexander Spotswood to Thomas Byrn and Martha, his wife.  Two adjoining plantations in the fork of the Rappa. River in St. Geo. Par. were leased by John Grame, attorney for Spotswood, who was absent in England at this time.  The two plantations were a part of that land known as New German Town.  Specifically, lots 18 and 19, with 200 acres of adjoining land, were being leased.  The date on the lease is 4 Feb 1728/9.

This tells us that there was a community in the Great Fork named New German Town.  Since the First Germanna Colony never lived in the Great Fork, the reference to "Germans", strongly implied by the name, could not pertain to them.  Furthermore, they would not have needed lots numbered up to 18 and 19.  But Spotswood did say in his letter to Harrison that the second group of Germans were settled in about twenty tenements.  So the evidence of the lease is that there was a community of Germans, who appear to have left by 1729, consisting of at least 19 families.  Of course, all of this fits the Second Germanna Colony very well.

Not long ago we looked at comments of Hugh Jones, who wrote a book based on his experiences in Virginia, which ended in 1722.  Rev. Jones wrote,

"Beyond this (Germanna) are seated the Colony of Germans or Palatines, with allowance of good quantities of rich land, at easy or no rates, who thrive very well, and live happily, and entertain generously.

"These are encouraged to make wines, which by the experience (particularly) of the late Colonel Robert Beverley, who wrote the history of Virginia, was done easily and in large quantities in these parts; not only from the cultivation of the wild grapes, which grow plentifully and naturally in all the good lands thereabouts, and in other parts of the country; but also from the Spanish, French, Italian, and German vines, which have been found to thrive there to admiration.

"Besides this, these uplands seem very good for hemp and flax, if the manufacture thereof was but encouraged and promoted thereabouts; which might prove of wonderous advantage in our naval stores and linens

"Here may likewise be found as good clapboards, and pipe-staves, deals, masts, yards, planks, etc. for shipping . . ."

The comments from Jones with the references to Beverley and to naval stores shows that he was writing about the second group of Germans, and not about the Colony of 1714 as some writers have mistakenly assumed.
(08 Oct 00)


Nr. 999:

In the year 1992, I gave a talk at a Germanna Foundation Seminar on the subject of where the Second Colony first lived.  In the audience, there was a David M. W. Brown, who came up after the talk and told me that he was familiar with the area around Fleshman's Run that I was talking about.  His grandfather owned some land along Fleshman's Run which crosses State Route 3 about one and a half miles west of the Germanna Bridge.  He agreed to give a short presentation to the audience when the meeting resumed.  The gist of it follows.

"In the late 1950's, my grandfather owned and operated a lumber mill along Route 3.  Adjoining the mill property, on its western boundary, is a tract of pasture and woodland to which we always referred as Field's Place, as it had been purchased by my grandfather from the Field family.  This tract included land on both sides of Field's Run, formerly known as Fleshman's Run, and the property extended south, down the Run, toward the Rapidan River.

"My grandfather kept a small herd of Angus cattle pastured on the Field's Place, and occasionally I would accompany him to check the cattle.  On one such occasion, we went for a walk through the woods in a southward direction, paralleling Field's Run.  Being very interested in the Civil War, I asked him if there were any campsites in the area, to which he replied that he thought not, but that there had been a settlement in the area many years earlier, and that it had disappeared long before the war.  We found no evidence that day of human habitation, other than some odd designs carved into the bark of a large beech tree which might have been made by anyone at any time.

"I never went back to the area to explore, for I did not regard the alleged settlement as likely to be of any great historical significance.  Over the years I all but forgot the possibility, until I heard the theory just presented regarding the home of the Second Germanna Colony.  It was then that I recalled my grandfather's words and how they just may have held a hint as to the location of what is indeed a very significant historical site, the home of the 1717 Germanna Colony."

(Note from Webmaster:  I've been meaning to insert a definition for the word "run" somewhere in these Notes, and this is as good a place as any. 

REGIONAL NOTE: Terms for "a small, fast-flowing stream" vary throughout the eastern United States especially.  Speakers in the eastern part of the Lower North (including Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania) use the word "run", as in Bull Run.  Speakers in New York State are liable to call such a stream a "kill" (a Dutch borrowing).  "Brook" has come to be used throughout the Northeast.  Southerners refer to a "branch", and throughout the northern United States the term is "crick", a variant of "creek".    GWD)

This was the end of the comments by David Brown.  While he was making his presentation to the audience, I was also standing at the front of the room where I could observe the audience quite easily.  As he talked, I could see mouths drop open and stay open.  In other words, the confirmation that David was able to give to my earlier remarks really caught the attention of the audience.)

Some more evidence has come to light since that time which has required a modification to the original theory of how the "tenements" were located.  At that time, I was placing some stress on Spotswood's comments that their habitations were closely joined for their mutual protection, so I was expecting a tight little "city" of homes.  It has turned out that "closely joined" means they were about one-half mile apart, and so had none of the flavor of a village or city.
(10 Oct 00)


Nr. 1000:

Information made available to me by Joy Q. Stearns adds support to the idea that the Second Germanna Colony was first located in the Great Fork on the north side of the Rapidan River.  Whereas I had found some information in a Spotsylvania County lease, she found information in several Orange County leases.  Her information confirms strongly that there was a German settlement on the north side of the Rapidan.

Prior to her find, the information we had was Spotswood's comment,

" . . . we settled them upon our tract from our tract [the Spotsylvania tract] . . . in 20 odd tenements, all close joyning to one another for their better defense .  . ."
Based on this, I had imagined the colony was a compact group in the area between Fleshman's Run (now Field's Run) and German Run.  Separately, the Byrn lease showed they were in the Great Fork.

The first lease that Joy Stearns found was issued by Spotswood to John Bond, on 14 Jul 1735, when the land then fell into Orange County.  Unlike the Byrn lease cited earlier, which does not have metes and bounds, the Bond lease does.  It is said to start at the lower corner of lot 18 of the GERMAN TENEMENTS on the Rapidan River and runs north to Brook's Run.  The description by George Hume actually includes 140 acres, not the 110 acres stated.  Hume even included a small plot of the tract, and it shows that there were two homes.  One of them is next to the Rapidan River, and the other is about one half mile inland along Brook(e)'s Run.

Were the homes on the Bond tract built after the Germans left?  Probably not, because Spotswood leased land for two lifetimes.  Anyone who had leased the land would have remained on it for many years.

A 7 Apr 1740 lease to Roger Topp mentions the north side of the Rapidan, the Spotsylvania tract, a branch of Potato Run, and a lot 9 as an adjacent lot.  A lease to Jeremiah Strother, 7 Apr 1740, from the Spotswood executors mentions Potato Run, lot 8, north side of the Rapidan, 40,000 acres tract.  Still another lease in the same apparent area mentions lot 10.  A lease to Daniel Underwood, 7 Apr 1740, mentions the north side of the Rapidan, 40,000 acres, 150 acres, corner to lot 8, corner to lot 6, Brooks Run.  The John Asher lease, 7 Apr 1740, mentions 150 acres, the north side of the Rapidan, Spotsylvania tract, below the mouth of Spade's Run, corner to an old German lot on the river.

Thus, several leases reference the Germans on the north side of the Rapidan River, with some evidence that they were spread out from Fleshman's Run in the east to Potato Run in the west, a distance of several miles.  Thus, "closely joyned" was not as close as one might think.  The houses appear to been about one-half mile apart along the river, and with another row similarly spaced about one-half mile from the river.  Probably, the land that Christopher Zimmerman, Frederick Kabler, and Conrad Amburgey took up on Potato Run was just beyond the extent of the Germans.

The reason that so many of the leases above were dated in 1740 is that Spotswood had died and his executors were cleaning up his affairs.  Probably, the people were already settled on the land, but Spotswood had not executed leases to them.  He was inclined to do things this way.  For example, the earlier lease to Thomas Byrd had no defined metes and bounds.  It merely said that it was defined on the (personal) books of Alexander Spotswood.  There was no public record of the leased property.  For reasons such as this, I am not an admirer of the character of Alexander Spotswood.
(11 Oct 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 FORTIETH set of Notes, Nr. 976 through Nr. 1000.)


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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 976 through 1000.


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