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


(See bottom of this page for Links to all Notes pages.)
This Page Contains Notes 1101 through 1125.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 45

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Nr. 1101:

At the start of the half-centuries in this note series, I give some explanation about them.  I interpret their purpose liberally.  That is, no restrictions are placed here on good, honest inquiries or statements of facts.  I welcome the discussion of what is evidence and sometimes write about the problems of evaluating evidence.  That is a valid subject for everyone, including Germanna citizens.

A first point to be made is that these notes are not evidence.  In many cases I do think that they come closer to the truth than what has been published before.  But I know how fallible I can be.  Please recognize that many of them are written from memory alone.  (Need I say anymore?  Now, what was I writing about?)  So, having established that they are not evidence, what are they?  They are intended to be some pointers to a wide range of facts and literature that you may find useful.  Some of them pertain to one specific family and some of them apply to a much broader range of people.  In fact, some of the notes go far beyond what we call Germanna.

I hope that no one gets the idea that the notes pertain only to the families which have been discussed as Germanna families.  I do not want to do this, as I do not know what families are to be included in "Germanna".  New families keep popping up.  I am not usually the one to find them; others have sent information along.  I am very happy to report on some of them.

Perhaps the most common theme that people tell me is that they appreciate learning something about the times and the history of the regions from Virginia to Germany (or Switzerland or Austria).  Information from the "old country" seems to be especially welcomed.  After all, we are so far removed in time from the events that we no longer have any recollection of what it was like.

One of the aims of these notes is to present enough information that is interesting so that people will want to listen to what is said on the list, and will be ready to contribute when others ask questions.  A productive list takes a certain "critical mass" to reach the useful stage.  I think that we have one of the largest and most productive lists.  My aim is to keep it interesting.  Our partner in this, George Durman (SgtGeorge), works hard to keep it running smoothly and to keep an archive of these notes.

Did you notice in the last paragraph how I slipped from "my" to "our"?  Again, I emphasize that this is our list.  Each of us needs to work to make it run smoothly.  Some things do appear here which do not belong here, as measured by the information content, or by the attitude taken.  So let us each ask if what we say does improve the list.
(21 Feb 01)


Nr. 1102:

The Spotsylvania Court [Order Book 1730 to 1738, page 337] notes that Michael Holt, Michael Smith, and Michael Clore, on behalf of themselves and the rest of the Germans, seated by the great Mountains on the Robinson River . . . have set forth that they have a minister (the Rev. Augustine Stover) who(m) they accommodate . . .

The court order goes on to state that the Germans want a letter of recommendation to the Gov. in order to obtain a recommendation from him for the planned trip to Germany.  They did get both the court recommendation and the recommendation from the (Lt.) Gov.  The mystery for us, is why Rev. Stöver is referred to as Augustine.  Explanations have been put forth but I was never satisfied with the reason offered.  Recently I heard another explanation, from Andreas Mielke, which to me is the best explanation that I have heard.

Our Germanna Lutheran people usually did not refer to themselves as Lutherans.  That term was strange to them.  They used instead the word "Evangelical".  This spelling is the English word, but the German word would be recognized immediately as it is quite similar.  This distinction was applied to all of the Protestant branches.  If one wished to distinguish the Reformed Church, one would add "Reformed" after Evangelical.  The Lutherans usually added nothing to Evangelical.

The "Lutherans" in the Robinson River Valley made reference to their adherence to the "unaltered Augsburg confession".  This was how they distinguished themselves.  They were followers of the original Augsburg confession.  The suggestion was made, and I believe that it merits honest consideration, that Stöver probably had referred to himself as an adherent of the Augsburg confession.  Down at the courthouse, they were confused (there are other instances where the English clerks were confused by the statements of the Germans) and mistook the allegiance for his name.  Since Augsburg was not a name they knew, they changed it into something that sounded more probable, namely Augustine.

Take or leave it.  It is the best explanation that I have heard and, with a high probability, is the correct explanation.

Talking of ministers, I was reading bits of the day book, or diary, of Rev. Kocherthal, who ministered to the Germans along the Hudson River.  He came the year before the influx of Germans in 1710, in which Johann Friedrich Häger, son of Rev. Johann Henrich Häger of the First Germanna Colony, came.  Because Frederick Häger had been ordained by the Church of England, there is a question as to whether he should be called a Reformed minister (his original ordination).  Rev. Kocherthal is quite clear about how he viewed the situation.  He calls Rev. Häger "Reformed".

There was a term which is confusing.  Rev. Kocherthal refers to people as being "Episcopalian" which meant Catholics.
(22 Feb 01)


Nr. 1103:

An interesting discussion on the German Life List was concerned with what is "Germanic"?  Today we do say that Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are Germanic nations because they speak the same basic language, German (with variations).  But if you ask the deeper question of what are the German nations by race, you will get some surprising answers.

One person ventured to name the most Germanic nation by race, and it was not Germany.  Before we give this person's answer, let us look at the general migrations which have swept over Europe in the last two millennia.  The population pressures generally came from the east out of the region that lies at the European-Asia boundary.  Some of the pressures came from the south at the time of the Romans.  All of these people were not Germanic.

It could be said that the Germanic people were those living in northwestern Europe before these migrations took place.  The pressures from the east and south forced these people to move further west and north.  Eventually, they reached the Atlantic ocean and its ancillary branches.  They crossed these waters and forced the people in England to move to the west and north there.

The nation of the purest Germanic stock is England.  Great Britain includes Scotland and Wales, but these are the people who were descendants of the original people in England.  These Picts and Celts were pushed to the limits by the influx of Germans to England.  It is no accident that the English describe themselves, among other things, as being Saxon which is in the name of two states in Germany.

Consider the Normans who came to England.  Where did they get their name?  It derives from "North Men", meaning the Vikings from Scandinavia, who, in their sea travels, colonized the northwest corner of today's France.

Meanwhile, what was happening in Germany?  Those people who were descended from the original German stock were being diluted by the migrations from the east, while the percentage of German blood in England increased.  Today, it can arguably be said that England (but not Wales or Scotland) is the most Germanic nation.

All of these distinctions are fading though, as both England and Germany are taking in significant numbers of peoples from other nations, even other regions, of the world.  And nearly all of us, if we carried our ancestry back to the time of the Romans would find an extreme mixture of genes from a wide background.

Still, we "Germans" should show a little more tolerance to the English.  After all, they may be more German than we are.
(23 Feb 01)


Nr. 1104:

A reader reminded me that the "National Geographic" recently had an article on the Vikings.  The exact issue is May 2000.  The home bases or sites of the Vikings were decentralized under a multitude of small chieftains.  Today, these sites are to be found in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

In the middle of the first millennium, central Europe lay divided after the tribal migrations that had followed the collapse of the Roman Empire.  People were on the move and pressure was exerted on the earliest inhabitants, who generally tended to move to the north and west.  One such original group consisted of the autonomous tribes who spoke Norse, a Germanic language.  Their arable land had become scarce, and the people turned to the sea to find their livelihood.  Pillage became a way of life.  In fact, the word Viking is the Norse word for piracy.

The range of their excursions is fantastic, even by today's standards.  They covered what was called the civilized world then, plus other regions.  With population pressures, and with some political consolidation, many chieftains turned to forming colonies in other parts of the world.  Today the Viking legacy is to be found in fourteen nations, even though the Vikings themselves left few written records.

As to whether the Vikings were borrowers or lenders of cultural traits, it is now recognized they were some of both.  They left a permanent mark in Iceland, England, Normandy, and along the coasts of the Baltic Sea.  They visited Greenland, North America, the Mediterranean, and Russia, and closed the loop through Russian to their compatriots who had taken the southern route through the Mediterranean Sea.

The interaction of these northern Germanic tribes with England was the invasion and domination of England in the fifth and sixth centuries.  They remained in power until the Norman conquest in 1066.  But, the Normans merely brought another strain of the Vikings out of northwestern Europe.  Groups who contributed blood lines to England were the Frisians, Dutch, Danish, and the more general Vikings.

The native Brits were the Cornish, Welsh, and Scotch people, who were widely different in language and race from the European invaders who settled in the southern, central, and eastern parts of England, chiefly from the low German tribes.

Those of us who came from places such as Austria have a more varied genetic background and perhaps fewer German genes than the English.
(26 Feb 01)


Nr. 1105:

I have a list of Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Germanna Community.  I am not sure from whence it came.  I do know that it is not accurate.  I am sure that it has omissions.  The appearance of a name is not a guarantee that the government recognized the service.  And, of course, the patriotic societies may have different opinions.  In searching for a name, remember that names are spelled in different ways.  I have made no attempt to standardize the spellings.  To this list, I hope that others can add and subtract names along with some information about the service that was claimed.  Service with the armed forces is intended.  The names are:

John AMBURGER Abraham AYLOR Jacob AYLOR John BACK
Ambrose BARLOW Ephraim BARLOW Joshua BARLOW Lewis BARLOW
William BARLOW Nicholas BLANKENBEKER Michael BROYLES John CAMPER
Moses CAMPER John CARPENTER George CARPENTER Joseph CARPENTER
Michael CARPENTER Samuel CARPENTER Solomon CARPENTER William CARPENTER, Sr.
William CARPENTER, Jr. George COOK John COOK Michael COOK
Frederick COOK Jacob CRIM Harman CRIM James CRIM
Joseph CRIM Martin DEER Daniel DELPH Mark FINKS

Jacob FISHBACK John FISHBACK Adam FISHER Stephen FISHER
Moses FLESHMAN Samuel FLESHMAN John FRAY Lewis GAAR
George HITT Mathias HITT Nimrod HITT Peter HITT
George HOLT             Jacob HOLTZCLAW         James HOLTZCLAW John HOLTZCLAW     
Nathan HOLTZCLAW Adam HOUSE George HOUSE Ambrose HOFFMAN
Benjamin HOFFMAN Joseph HOFFMAN Reuben HOFFMAN Peter HUFFMAN
Samuel HUFFMAN Tilman HUFFMAN Daniel JACOBEY Charles KEMPER
Daniel KEMPER John KEMPER Peter KEMPER Tillman KEMPER

Philip KOONTZ           Paul LEATHER                  Peter LEATHER Aaron MARTIN          
Benjamin MARTIN John MARTIN Reuben MARTIN Samuel MARTIN
Adam MANSPILE Edmund MANSPILE John MILLBANK Henry MILLER
Jacob MILLER Michael MAYER Christopher MOYER Jacob NAY
John NAY John OTTERBACK James RECTOR Jesse RECTOR
John RECTOR Maximilian RECTOR Jacob ROUSE Lewis ROUSE
Martin ROUSE Samuel ROUSE Michael SMITH Charles SPILMAN
Henry SPILMAN John SPILMAN Thomas SPILMAN William SPILMAN

John SNIDER                       Henry SNYDER                           John SNYDER                    John SWINDLE                   
Abraham TANNER Christopher TANNER Frederick TANNER Jacob TANNER
John TANNER Michael TANNER William TANNER Abraham THOMAS
Benjamin UTTERBACK Joshua WAYLAND Tillman WEAVER Henry WEAVER
Jessie WILHITE John WILHITE Lewis WILHITE Tobias WILHITE
Gabriel WILHOIT Absalom YAGER Elisha YAGER John YAGER
Moses YAGER Aaron YEAGER Moses YEAGER Samuel YEAGER
Solomon YEAGER Samuel YOUNG Samuel YOWELL Thomas YOWELL

William YOWELL                    Leonard ZIGLAR                            Christopher ZIMMERMAN Frederick ZIMMERMAN       
John ZIMMERMAN Reuben ZIMMERMAN    
(27 Feb 01)


Nr. 1106:

John Amberger was a name on the list of Rev. War participants.  He was the grandson of the 1717 immigrant, Hanns Conrad Amberger.  Conrad came from Bönnigheim in Württemberg, where he had been born to Johann Conrad Amberger and Anna Magdalena Lederer.  Conrad (Jr.) is described as a vine dresser, or a worker in a vineyard.  In 1714 Conrad, Jr., married the widow of Hans Georg Rohleder (nee Anna Catharina Schuhnig).  She was, at this time, the mother of a six year old daughter, Maria Magdalena.  Two children born to Conrad, Jr., and Anna Catharina died at an early age.

There is no record in Virginia for Anna Catharina or her daughter.  Conrad was settled by Lt. Gov. Spotswood at New German Town, where, among other activities, the colonists were encouraged to make wine.  Conrad’s skills would have been very useful in this endeavor.  Even though Spotswood sued Conrad for thirty pounds of money, he was awarded less than ten percent of that amount.  Conrad did not move to the Robinson River Valley, but lived southeast of Mt. Pony for a while, where Christopher Zimmerman and Frederick Kabler also lived.  Apparently, a son, John, was born about the time of the move to the Mt. Pony land in 1725 or 1726.  At this time, it seems that Conrad’s wife was Barbara.  She was perhaps of English origin.  About ten years later, Conrad moved to land in the Robinson River community, though it was on the northeast periphery.  In 1742, the widow, Barbara, was appointed the administrix of Conrad’s estate, with Christopher Zimmerman as security.  About this same time, Barbara was appointed by the Orange County Court to teach Anne Stuart the fine arts of reading, writing, and spinning.

The only known male descendant of Conrad was John, who first appears in the records as a witness of the will of James Gillison in 1759.  He frequently appears in the land records after that date.  He married Anne ? in 1750.  Their children include Anne, William (perhaps), and John, Jr., who was born in 1758 (from his Rev. War Pension Application).  After the mother Anne died, John, Sr., was married to Margaret in 1769, when they owned land previously owned by Francis Lucas.

About 1775, the family moved to North Carolina, to land now in Wilkes County.  John, Jr., the grandson of the immigrant, filed for a pension (R174) for Revolutionary War service, but he was denied the pension.  He said that he had searched for Indians and Tories, and was at the Battle of King’s Mountain.

A more popular spelling of the name today is Amburgey.  Much of the information here came from Dorothy Amburgey Griffith, who is the premier historian of the family.

P.S.  Last May, during a visit to Bönnigheim, Eleanor and I dropped in to the church, which was open for the organist to practice and the cleaning people.  One other man was present and he wanted me to follow him.  Communication was limited as he spoke no English and I little German.  But we climbed the stairs in the tower to about the third floor and he proudly showed me his responsibility.  It was the bell ringing mechanism which is an elaborate clock mechanism, but separate from the clock.  My guide took care of this rather elaborate mechanism, and he oiled and adjusted it as needed (with Teutonic efficiency?).
(01 Mar 01)


Nr. 1107:

Thanks to the research of Gene Dear, here is more information on Revolutionary War soldiers from the Germanna community.  Gene had been reading the application of Martin Deer (S 8311), and it contained two affidavits, one by Joseph Carpenter, and the other by Benjamin Hoffman.  The affidavit by Carpenter follows:

Virginia, Madison County      To Wit I Joseph Carpenter aged eighty three years next May certify under oath I was born and raised in the neighborhood in which old Mr. Martin Deer was raised and have known him ever since my infancy.  The house in which he was born is in sight of my present residence.  I am a Revolutionary soldier myself and served a full term as a volunteer in 1781 under Captain Elizah Kirtley in the spring of that year.  I did not enter the army afterwards.  On my return from the same another company was immediately raised and Martin Deer went as private and served a tour in the lower country.  I was not with him but know that he went and returned and further I have always understood from old soldiers that Mr. Deer was at York Town and Petersburg and he is reputed by every body so far as I know to have been in the war as a soldier.  I never heard his services doubted and he is reguarded by every person in my acquaintance as such.  And I do not believe a more honest every lived.  I say again that Martin Deer served a tour in the lower country after my returned which was early in the spring of 81.  I know nothing of other tours performed by him but believe any statement made by him to be strictly correct for he is an honourable man and known as such by the people of Madison.  Joseph Carpenter    Aged 83 next May    23rd day of July 1846

E. G. Chapman, JP, testified to the respectability of Mr. Carpenter, who was one of the oldest citizens.  He verified that Carpenter had brought his family register to prove his age [the register or a copy of it was not included].

Joseph Carpenter was born in May of 1764, and enlisted when he was 16, or almost 17 years old.  This birth year is confirmed by his stated age in the 1850 census.  He was a parent for the first time in 1783, when Alexander was born 7 Jan 1783 (the mother was Catherine Blankenbaker).  Alexander never appears later in the records after this baptism, but he may have had, or used, the name Elliott, which is otherwise not a recorded baptism at the church.

Joseph was the son of Andrew Carpenter, who in turn was the son of the immigrant John Carpenter.  Andrew married Barbara Weaver, the widow of George Clore.
(05 Mar 01)


Nr. 1108:

In support of Martin Deer's application for a Rev. War pension, Benjamin Hoffman submitted a statement, to wit:

I Benjamin Hoffman a Revolutionary soldier aged eighty nine years next October certify under oath I served three tours in the Virginia Militia.  My last tour was in the spring of 1781 under Capt. Ambrous Bohanon which continued for three months.  We was at Mobing Hills Williams Burg Richmond and other places during said tour.  Joseph Carpenter was also out in a nother company and so was Martin Deer my old friend and acquaintance whom I have known from my infancy up.  I know that said Martin Deer served a full tour in the summer of 1781 under Capt. Mark Finks I think.  I am positive as to the tour for I saw him frequently in the lower country at Richmond James Town and several other places.  I have understood Mr. Deer served a tour or two before this of which I know nothing for I was not with him.  He is reputed now, and always has been as a soldier of the Revolution and I never heard it doubted in my life.  Mr. Deer is a very old man and I have always understood his and my self were born in the same month and the same year.  To wit in the month of October 1757 as be seen by my register above "1757" in full was put there by my self many years ago because the original entry had became defaced as will be seen; the words "57" are nearly gone.  I am positive as to the tour Mr. Deer served in 81; but I may mistake as to the officers; him and my self were laids in the neighborhood not far from Madison Courthouse then Culpeper; I never have applied for a pension before the application I shall soon make for I did not know that I was entitled to the benefit of the law.  Benjamin Hoffman Aged 89 years next October

There followed a testimony by Elliot Blankenbeker, JP, as to the credentials of Benjamin Hoffman, one of the oldest citizens who was considered by all to be a soldier of the Revolution.  Dated 23 July 1846.

Benjamin Hoffman attached a Bible page to support his testimony which read as follows: Benjamin Hoffman was born in the year 1757 on the 6th of October.  Heinrich Slaith (?) was born on April 1st in the year 1787 Diana Hoffman was born on March 19, 1781 Meri Hoffman was born on August 18, 1783 Elizabeth Hoffman was born on October 7, 1785 Johann Gottfried was born June 11, 1788 [a simplified translation] [All of the above entries were in German; the next three are in English] Polly Early was born on the 25 of May 1805 B. Mary Early was born on the 25 of May 1805 James Good was born on March 31, 1811 (?)

I will return later to some questions raised by the submission of Benjamin Hoffman.
(06 Mar 01)


Nr. 1109:

The last two notes have been talking about Martin Deer, though we have learned more about Joseph Carpenter and Benjamin Hoffman than about Martin Deer.  We did learn that there was no one living more honest than Martin Deer.

Martin was born in 1755 to Martin Deer (Hirsch) and his wife _____.  We have three first names associated with the elder Martin:  Frances (in 1756), Veronica, and Anna Maria.  There are no surnames for any of the three.  Martin, Jr., married Susannah _____, and he died in 1853.  He had six children, Sarah (no m.), Margaret (m. Felix Yager), Frances (m. William Zachary, and then ___ Skinner), Nancy (m. John Loyd, Jr.), Absalom (m. Elizabeth Wilson), and Fielding (who is said to have been born in 1809, with no marriage known.  Since the first child, Sarah, was born in 1791 (Hebron Church Register), it appears that Martin, Jr., married rather late in life, perhaps when he was about 35 years of age.  His wife Susanna must have been somewhat younger.  This is about all that I know pertaining to Martin Deer, Jr.

Returning to the family of Benjamin Hoffman in the previous note, it does not agree with what B. C. Holtzclaw reports in Germanna Record 5, see page 350.  The names that Holtzclaw gives agree for Dinah, John Godfrey, Elizabeth, and a Mary.  He does not mention Henry, but he does give a Sally and a Susannah.  It seems strange that two children would be missing from a Bible record.  Holtzclaw says that Mary Huffman married Jonas Good on 22 Oct 1827.  Perhaps this is an illusion to the James Good in the Benjamin Huffman Bible record.

Two names in the Hoffman Bible record are unaccounted for.  The twins, Polly and B. Mary, seem to have a father with the surname Early.  But no marriage of any of the daughters of Benjamin to an Early is known.  Thus, there are several points of difference between the Holtzclaw account and Bible record.  On one point, Holtzclaw is clearly in error, for he surmised that Benjamin Hoffman died about 1825/26, the last year that he appeared in the Tithables.

####

Of the three men we have been talking about recently, Martin Deer, Jr., and Benjamin Hoffman are in the Culpeper Classes.  Joseph Carpenter is not, but we saw that he was only sixteen when the Classes were drawn up.  Neither Martin nor Benjamin was selected, but both volunteered to serve later.
(07 Mar 01)


Nr. 1110:

The next Rev. War soldier seems to have left no descendants.  Daniel Delph, who was born about 1749, give or take a few years, was a son of Conrad Delph and Magdalena Castler.  The basis of a claim for Rev. War service is Gwathmey's "Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution".

That Daniel did exist is shown by the church records.  He signed the 1776 petition at the German Lutheran Church, which asked for relief from supporting the state church.  He appears to have been confirmed 27 Mar 1777, but this date is probably in error as he would not have been a signer until he was a member of the church (confirmed).  He was a sponsor at church at the baptism of some of his nephews and nieces in '71, '75 (twice), and '76 (twice).  But aside from these church records, there is no civil record in Culpeper County.

Maybe a reader can comment on the basis for inclusion in Gwathmey's work.  Did he use Muster Lists of Virginia military units?

Daniel had a brother, David, for whom there are no civil records either.  David is a name in the church register also, once in 1772, as a sponsor.  One wonders if we have a pair of brothers that went to war and never returned.  Or did they migrate?

The family of Conrad Delph is known.  There were seven sons who were born before the war long enough to have been eligible for the 1781 draft, as represented by the Culpeper Classes.  How many of the names appear there?  The sons are Adam, Michael, Samuel, Henry, George Conrad, Mathias, Daniel, and David, in the apparent sequence of their ages.  The three names in the Culpeper Classes are George, Henry, and Mathias.  Adam, Michael, and Samuel (the oldest three but not older than 50) do not appear in the Classes.  This is one of the reasons for saying that the Classes was not an exhaustive list of the men 16 to 50 years of age in Culpeper County.  Too many names are missing without any known reason that they might be exempted.

The name seems to be most commonly spelled Delp in both the church and civil records at about the time of the Revolution.

A Daniel Delph who married Anna Millbank in Madison Co., in 1796, was the son of George Conrad Delph.
(08 Mar 01)


Nr. 1111:

Gene Dear sent me, several years ago, an abstract of the Revolutionary War pension file, R3562, of Jacob Fishback, grandson of Harmon Fishback, the 1714 colonist.  The wife of Jacob was Hannah Huffman, the granddaughter of the 1714 colonist, John Huffman.

Jacob Fishback was born ca 1750 and was living in Culpeper Co., when he joined the army during the Revolutionary War.  After his service he remained in Culpeper, where he married Hannah Huffman, on 3 Oct 1788.  They had two children, John, born ca 1797, and Rosannah, born ca 1800.  The family moved to Greenbrier Co., VA (now WV), and in 1817 moved again to Highland Co., OH.  In 1820, Jacob and his family appear in the Highland Co. census.  He died there on 30 Mar 1826.  Frederick Kesler was the administrator of Jacob's estate.

In the 1830's, Rosa died, followed by Hannah, who died in Sep 1839 (in Highland Co.).  Two affidavits, filed 11 Jul 1857, in Highland Co., from George Shoemaker and Humphrey Huffman (no relationship given), stated they had known Jacob and his family since they lived in Virginia.

For some unknown reason, Hannah never received her husband's military pension after his death.  John Fishback, in an affidavit (2 Nov 1857), attempted to collect the pension money due his mother.  John said he was one of two children.  His sister Rosa, now deceased, was never married, though she did have a natural child, Mary Ann, who is a current resident of the county.  John requested payment as an heir (to money that should have been paid to his mother?), but it was denied by the government.

####

Another Fishback pension application was made by John Fishback's wife, Patty Pickett.  The file number is R3563.  John was the son of Philip Fishback, who lived on the Little River in Fauquier Co., VA.  Patty was the daughter of William S. Pickett, also of Fauquier Co.

Patty was born ca 1760, at her father's home in Prince William Co., VA.  When she was seven years old, her father moved his family to Fauquier Co.  Their new home was about three miles from that of Philip Fishback.  During the Revolutionary War, John joined the army, and after his service he returned to the family home on the Little River.  On 24 Nov 1785, John married Patty in Fauquier Co.  In 1796, John moved his family to Mason Co., KY, and then, in 1805, John moved his family to Bracken Co., where he died on 24 Jan 1810.  Patty remained in Bracken Co., where she filed for a pension, due to John's military service, on the 18 Sep 1839.  Six people made affidavits in support of Patty (also called Martha) Fishback's pension claim.
[to be continued]
(09 Mar 01)


Nr. 1112:

[Continuing with the pension application of Patty (Martha) Fishback]

Patty's application was supported by no less than six affidavits from others.  On 29 Jan 1839, from Athens Co., OH, Anna Reade, b. 19 Jan 1760, on the Little River in Fauquier Co., VA, said John [Patty's husband] was her brother, and Philip Fishback was her father.  She married 18 Feb 1785 in Fauquier Co. [no husband's name given], and moved to Loudon Co., VA, in 1791.  She later moved to Ross Co., OH, and then to Athens Co., OH.

On 2 Feb 1839, from Meigs Co., OH, Leticia Pilcher filed her affidavit.  She was the sister of John Fishback, and was also born on the Little River.  She married (husband not specified), 27 Apr 1797, and later that year moved to Hampshire Co., VA.  She later moved to Athens Co., OH, and then to Meigs Co., OH.

Eli Metcalf filed on 7 Aug 1839.  He was born on 13 Nov 1768, on the Little River on the farm of his father, John Metcalf, who lived about three miles from Philip Fishback.  Eli married (wife not named) in Fauquier Co. on 6 Jan 1788.  He moved to Mason Co., KY, in 1794, and later moved to Fleming Co., KY.

Reuban Gill filed on 15 Aug 1839, apparently from Bracken Co., KY, and said he was born ca 1773, and the said John Fishback became his neighbor about 1805, and he had known John's family ever since.

Alexander Fishback was born July 1789, and said he was one of the children of John and Patty.  He filed 18 Nov 1839, from Bracken Co., KY.

Mary Strother filed 17 Jun 1841, from Fauquier Co., VA, and said she was John Fishback's sister, and a daughter of Philip Fishback.

There is quite a bit of genealogy in her application.  Notice the spread of filing dates in the affidavits.  One wonders if the pension authorities had been giving Patty a hard time and she kept adding amendments and additional affidavits.  [I do not know the final outcome.  Does anyone?]

####

I asked about the reliability of Gwathmey's lists of Revolutionary Soldiers.  E. W. Wallace responded and cited Mary McCampbell Bell, to the effect that it was not a reliable work.  She (Ms. Bell) also adds that another work sometimes cited, Eckenrode's "Virginia Soldiers of the American Revolution", was not reliable either.
(10 Mar 01)


Nr. 1113:

Mary Barlow was born ca 1756 in Culpeper Co., VA (later Madison Co.), as the daughter of Christopher Barlow, Jr., and Catherine Fleshman.  On 10 Apr 1773, at about the age of 16 years, Mary married John Millbank in Culpeper Co.  Their first child, Eleanor, was born 16 Apr 1774.  Mary was confirmed in the Hebron Church on Easter of 1776, as Mary (Maria) Millbanks, and was a communicant on Easter 1777.  It is not the usual case for marriage to precede confirmation but it does occur.  The next two children of Mary and John, Elizabeth and Charles, were also confirmed at the church.

Mary filed an application for a pension in Scott Co., KY, in 1836, saying her husband was a "salir on Virginia line" during the Revolution.  No military record was found for him and the pension was denied.  Looking at other evidence in the case, it is probable that John Millbank had performed no service that would have entitled Mary to a pension.

Without having positive proof, it is believed that John Millbank may be the John Millbank tried for robbery at Old Bailey in London, England, 12 July 1770, and sentenced to death.  The sentence was commuted to transportation for life.  This meant that he was sentenced to be sent to the colonies where he was to spend the rest of his life.  He was brought to America on the ship Scarsdale.  Typically, such people were auctioned off as indentured servants to pay the cost of their transportation.

When John was tried at Old Bailey, he was one of four people, the other three of whom where sailors.  Apparently, John talked about his earlier experiences to Mary, at least to the extent that she understood that he was a sailor.  Perhaps, without having the details, she filed for a pension on the hope that John had served in the Revolution.

Another possibility is that John Millbank, being a sailor, joined one of the ships which had a letter of authorization to be a privateer.  Such service was private and not as a member of any official armed service.  If so, he would not have qualified for a pension.

Would such service have qualified a descendant for membership in one of the patriotic societies?  In the past, descendants of Michael Garoutte, a privateer, have been admitted to the DAR, but I do not know their current opinion on such service.

Returning to the Millbanks, they moved, ca 1806, to Kentucky, Scott Co. in particular.  He was in the 1810 and 1820 census from Scott Co.  His will was approved in 1826.  Her place and date of death are unknown.  She was named in the will of her brother, Joseph, in 1845.  This is the last record known for her.  John and Mary were also the parents of three other children, Anna, Mary, and Sally.
(12 Mar 01)


Nr. 1114:

Some of our potential Germanna Revolutionary War heroes are difficult to identify positively.  Henry Miller, to be discussed this time, is one.  There was a Henry Miller among the Germanna people.  There was a Henry Miller who enlisted from Culpeper Co., on 10 Jul 1780.  (See Register 21, Vol. 1 of "Papers Concerning the Army of the Revolution", which exists in manuscript form at the Virginia State Library.)

Are these the same two Henry Millers?  Probably they are.  Before we examine a bit of circumstantial evidence to support this, we might note that Henry was 53 years old, with a physical description of 5 feet, 5 inches in height, black hair, dark complexion, hazel eyes.  According to the enlistment record, Henry was born at "Keipoltz".  (Thus, he was probably a German German, not an English German.)

Henry lived in Pennsylvania prior to Virginia.  He had married (in Pennsylvania) Susanna Sibler, daughter of Michael Sibler, citizen and master carpenter, and of Barbara, who were husband and wife in legal and honest wedlock.  Susanna was born at Auerbach and the birth was recorded in the Lutheran Church at nearby Langensteinbach, in Baden.  Susanna brought a certificate describing herself when she came to America (apparently she traveled alone), which said she was born 21 Feb 1731.  Thus, in 1780, she would have been 49 years old.  This supports the idea that "Henry of the army", at age 53, was the Henry who lived in the Germanna community.

Of course, the origin of Henry in Keipoltz also supports the idea that he was in the Germanna community.  Family tradition suggests he was an immigrant to Philadelphia about 1748.  Shortly before the Revolution, he moved to Virginia with an established family.  Several of his children are recorded in the Lutheran church register, though it seems clear that not all of them were born in Virginia.  More likely, when the register was being rewritten in 1775, they attempted to show his family completely, even though not all of the original records were in Virginia.  In the process, they obviously got some of the dates wrong, as they are mutually impossible.  One of the daughters, Sophia, is clearly indicated as baptized in Lancaster, which probably means Pennsylvania; however, some of the children older than Sophia were clearly baptized in Culpeper Co., as they have known Germanna sponsors.

At about the time of the Revolution Henry purchased some land near the Hebron Church, but his big land purchase was 1536 acres at the foot of Peaked Mountain, in what became Rappahannock Co.  He is said to have operated tanneries in both Pennsylvania and Virginia.  He died at his home in Madison Co., in June of 1801.  His will had been witnessed in 1796, and it was settled in November of 1807.  Of his twelve children, nine were still living, as was Susanna.

There were other Henry Millers in the county, but none of them fit as well as the Henry described above.
(13 Mar 01)


Nr. 1115:

I could claim that my forgetfulness in writing a note yesterday for today was due to the genes which I inherited.  My story would go back to Mark Finks, Jr. (mentioned here previously as an officer in the Revolutionary militia).  In his senior years, when the pensions were being granted, he could not remember any of the events surrounding his service.  Probably he could not even remember that he had served.

His family filed on his behalf saying that he had lost "his mind" and could not remember any of the events.  His application consisted of affidavits from others who testified that he had served.  I do remember reading the application, but it is filed somewhere that I can't remember.  So I will have to be content with just noting that there was an application.  Probably Mark was suffering from one of the forms of senile dementia.

My real excuse for not writing yesterday was that the day was filled with too many "must attend" events.

In the last note, pertaining to Henry Miller, I should have noted that the original story on the Millers appeared in Louise Keyser Cockey's book, "History of the Descendants of Charles Keyser and Henry Miller".  Excerpts from this appeared in Beyond Germanna, vol. 1, number 5.
(14 Mar 01)


Nr. 1116:

Gene Dear was the source of more information from Revolutionary War pension files.  In the case of this note, it is file W8774 for John Swindle, who was the son of Timothy Swindle and Rebecca Crees (Greys in Germany).  John married Hanna Weaver, the daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Weaver.

John Swindle was born ca 1746, and married Hanna Weaver, b. ca 1753, in 1770 (no month or day given), in Culpeper Co., Virginia.  They had three sons and three daughters.  During the Revolutionary War, Samuel Rouse, a soldier himself, was a witness to the service of John Swindle.

Only two daughters were identified in the file.  Elizabeth was born ca 1774, and married Peter Daniels.  Mary, baptized 7 Jul 1776, married, in 1795, Michael Rouse in Madison Co.  These families moved from Virginia to North Carolina about 1797, and about 1809 they moved from North Carolina to Boone Co., Kentucky.  John Swindle died there on 20 Aug 1839.  Hannah was living in September of 1843, but beyond that date no further information is known.

####

There was a request for the children of Henry and Susanna Miller.  A short sketch follows.

  1. An unknown child.  A child is placed here because tradition has stated that the following child was the second oldest.
  2. Mary, b. 17 Sep 1756, m. Isaac Haines,
  3. Sarah, b. 7 Nov 1757, no further information,
  4. Henry, b. 4 Jan 1759, d. 7 Jan 1833, m.1 Achsah Warner, m.2 Margaret ___
  5. John, b. 5 Feb 1762, d. 3 Aug 1841, m. Nancy Hitt,
  6. Susanna Catherine, b. 4 Dec 1763, no further information,
  7. George (twin) b. 6 Feb 1766, little known about this person,
  8. Margaret (twin), b. 6 Feb 1766, no further information,
  9. Elizabeth, b. 8 Dec 1767, m. Francis le Campion (in Philadelphia),
  10. Adam, b. 17 Dec 1768, d. 5 Jul 1813, m. 11 Nov 1790 Mary Wilhoit,
  11. Sophia, b. 23 Oct 1771, baptized in Lancaster, m. 15 Oct 1792 Burgess Rogers,
  12. Anna, b. 27 Jan 1773, m. 5 Jul 1790 Jesse Berry, nothing more known of them.

There are dates in the German Lutheran church register which have obvious inaccuracies.  Either Sarah, Susanna, or Margaret married Jesse Backster (Baxter).  Most of the family history came from John Wesley Miller, the son of Adam and Mary (Wilhoit) Miller, who was born in 1809 and lived for 96 years.  He knew many of his Miller uncles and aunts and had access to the family Bible.
(15 Mar 01)


Nr. 1117:

Information from the Revolutionary War pension file of William Yowell (W5551) was sent to me by Gene Dear.  Gene presumes that William Yowell was the grandson of the 1717 immigrant, Christopher Uhl.

William Yowell, b. May 1763, and Nelly Crane, b. 15 Apr 1763, were born and raised in an area of Culpeper County, Virginia, which became Madison Co. in 1792/3.  They were married in July of 1782, in the neighborhood where they lived.  The marriage took place at the home of the parson who attended and preached at the brick church near a place called Slate Mills, now in Madison Co.  Mrs. Yowell thought the parson's name was Mildrum but is not certain.  William and Nelly had four children:

  1. Judith, b. 15 May 1783, d. before July 1847,
  2. Daniel,
  3. Charity,
  4. James, b. 14 Sep 1789.

In July 1832, William Yowell and Dennis Crow signed affidavits that they served together in the Revolutionary War, and that they lived in the same neighborhood since that war.  William was granted his pension.  He died 6 May 1845 in Madison Co., VA.

25 May 1847.  The Clerk of the Culpeper Court signed a certificate stating that no record could be found for the marriage of William Yowell and Ellen or Nelly Crane.

19 Jun 1847.  In Madison Co., VA, Humphrey Leathers (William Yowell's nephew, who was born December 1767) said he was raised in the same neighborhood as Nelly Crane and William Yowell and that they were married.

22 Jul 1847.  William Finks, b. 5 Sep 1780, said he was raised in the same neighborhood as Mr. and Mrs. Yowell, and that the believed they were married.

24 Aug 1848.  In Madison Co., John Jones (b. 5 Aug 1764, m. 2 Nov 1791, but the wife was not named) said he worked for Joshua Leathers, who was a neighbor of the Mr. Yowell.  John knew Mr. and Mrs. Yowell and their children.

16 Mar 1855.  In Madison Co., Nelly Yowell signed an affidavit claiming bounty land for the Revolutionary War service of her late husband, which was witnessed by John Yowell and F.H. Hill.

Bounty land warrant #26208, Act of 1855, was issued to Mrs. Yowell for 160 acres.  The location and disposition of the land was not given.
(16 Mar 01)


Nr. 1118:

Gene Dear found several Revolutionary War pension applications for members of the Germanna community.  Several were rich in genealogical information.  One of these notes, W4107, relates to the Ziegler/Ziglar family.  [A member of this family is the current Sergeant of Arms in the US Senate.]  Information previously published in the Germanna Records was brief and also in error.

The immigrant Johann Leonhart Ziegler came through Philadelphia in 1732 and moved on to Virginia, where he married Barbara Zimmerman.  Leonard (I) died at a young age (46) and his will, probated in 1757, mentions children Christopher, Leonard (II), Elizabeth, Ann, and Susanna.  Leonard (II) died young also (in 1772), and his will, not mentioning children, leaves all of his estate to his wife Ann.

The pension application adds considerable information to this.  The application was made on behalf of Leonard Ziglar (or his widow), who was born 2 Jul 1762 and died 10 Aug 1849.  This Leonard, the third in the sequence, married Nancy Zimmerman (b. 3 Jan 1766), the daughter of John.  In 1789, Leonard moved to Surry Co., North Carolina, to a part which became Stokes Co., in 1789, and became and Forsyth Co., in 1849.  He and Nancy Zimmerman had fourteen children:

Elizabeth (b. 1786),
John,
Anna,
Christopher,
William,
Leonard (IV),
Susanna,
Mary,
Reuben,
Michael,
Zimmerman,
James,
Daniel, and
Benjamin.

The latter two died before their father did.

In 1851, the following lived in Forsyth Co., NC:

Elizabeth Ziglar, b. ca 1765, sister of Leonard III,
James Ziglar, b. ca 1771, cousin of Leonard III,
Susanna (Zimmerman) Ziglar, b. ca 1776, wife of James, and sister of Nancy Ziglar, wife of Leonard III.

Thus it appears that Leonard II had at least two children, Elizabeth, who never married, and Leonard III.

In compiling this information, some information was received from Kathy Sullivan, whose husband is a descendant of Leonard IV.

Leonard I had two sons, Christopher and Leonard II.  Christopher had a son, James (above), and Elizabeth, who married Reuben Zimmerman.  Leonard II had two children, Elizabeth and Leonard III, both of whom are mentioned above.  There was a Leanna, who married Elisha Thomas, in 1788, who might be assigned to either Christopher or Leonard II.

North Carolina would be the starting point for further research on the Ziglar family.  I would not advise starting out until I had a good road map showing who the players were.  With all of those Ziglars and Zimmermans, one could get confused.
(17 Mar 01)


Nr. 1119:

More information from Gene Dear came from the Revolutionary War pension file, W8374, of Frederick Zimmerman.  He is believed to be the grandson of the 1717 immigrant Christopher Zimmerman, through Frederick, Sr.

Frederick Zimmerman served in the Revolution from Culpeper Co., VA, though his service was in the western campaigns under George Rogers Clark.  He served 19 Jan 1779 to 1 Jun 1780.  The Zimmermans lived just south of Stevensburg, which is between Culpeper and Germanna.

On 14 Jun 1784, Frederick obtained a Culpeper Co. license to marry Judith Bourn, daughter of Andrew and Jane (Morton) Bourn(e).  They were married by John Leland, a Baptist minister.  During some of the time after his marriage, Frederick kept a school.  He moved his family from Culpeper Co. to Jessamine Co., KY, about 1792.  Several other Culpeper families, including the Finneys, Lowens, and Bourns may have also moved at the same time.  In Kentucky, Frederick is known to have had surveying assignments.

On 10 Dec 1804 Frederick was riding his horse to Lexington.  On the way, in Fayette Co., he was thrown and killed.  He was buried the next day in Jessamine Co.  Frederick and Judith had nine children:

Sarah Zimmerman, b. ca 1785, m.1 Andrew Bourne,
William Zimmerman, b. ca 1787, m. Frances Read,
Morton Zimmerman, b. ca 1797, m. Mildred Barnett,
Polly Zimmerman, m. John Lessly,
Jane P. Zimmerman, m. Thomas C. Jennings,
Fanny Zimmerman, m. Robert Dinwiddle,
Agustis Zimmerman, m. Betsy Barnett,
Nancy Zimmerman, m. John Coiner,
Judith Zimmerman, m. Francis H. Combs.

Some of these children were very young when Frederick died.  Judith remained unmarried for a few years, and then married George Bourn, by whom she had one child who died in infancy, George Bourn, who died 12 May 1836.  Judith, still living in Jessamine Co., died 29 Jun 1844.

On 25 Jun 1839, in Green Co., Illinois, Morton Zimmerman, William Zimmerman, and John Coiner applied to the state of Virginia for bounty land on the service of the late Frederick Zimmerman.  The land claim was rejected.
(to be continued)
(19 Mar 01)


Nr. 1120: (Continuing the Rev. War Pension application for services by Frederick Zimmerman.)

Before Judith Bourn Zimmerman had died in 1844, two of her children, and a son-in-law, applied to Virginia, from Green Co., IL, for bounty land on the service of the late Frederick Zimmerman.  The claim was rejected.  (See Rev. War Land Grant Claims, Box 58, Virginia State Archives.)

In 1855, Morton Zimmerman applied for a pension.  At this time the only living children of Frederick and Judith Zimmerman were Sally, William, and Morton.  Heirs of the deceased children were:

  1. Jane P. Jennings:
    1. Benjamin (Berryman?),
    2. Maryanne (m. Morton McCarver),
    3. Huldah (m. Simpson S. White),
    4. Theodore.
  2. Fanny Dinwiddle:
    1. James (m. ____ Prophet),
    2. Elen,
    3. William.
  3. Augustus Zimmerman:
    1. John Barnett,
    2. Ambrose Dudley,
    3. James,
    4. Frederick A.,
    5. Riland T.D.
  4. Nancy Coiner:
    1. Martin,
    2. James B. (m. Catherine ____),
    3. Elizabeth,
    4. Robert,
    5. Archibald.
  5. Judith Combs:
    1. Georgeann (m. Green Seay).

In sending this information along, Gene Dear noted that descendants had added minor extensions to the basic pension data.

I believe that this exhausts the data that I have on the Rev. War soldiers.  As you have noted, Gene Dear supplied much of the information.  Over the course of time, he supplied several items.

####

I do not believe that I have any Rev. War ancestor from the Germanna community; however, I offer a story of a Rev. War ancestor of mine.  Not only was he at Yorktown, but his wife, who had gone to war with him, was at Yorktown also.  How many of you can say you had a G...Grandmother at Yorktown when the British surrendered?
(20 Mar 01)


Nr. 1121: The Germanna Colonies came into existence as the result of the desire by Christoph von Graffenried and Franz Michel to recruit miners for a silver mine in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  These two men, then in London, were working for George Ritter and Company, a stock company headquartered in Bern, Switzerland.  They hired another man, Johann Justus Albrecht, to do the recruiting and instructed him to go to Siegen in Germany where he was to purchase tools and to hire miners.

Albrecht seems to have gone to Siegen very promptly but he encountered some difficulty in recruiting the miners.  As a promotional tool, he signed an agreement with the Protestant pastors in Siegen, in which they were to receive monies from the mines.  Presumably, in return he expected their help in finding and encouraging people to go.

Within the year, Albrecht was back in London, where he wrote a Charter for a mining company to find and produce silver and gold in America.  Apparently, he was trying to sell shares in this venture even, though it is not identified as associated with George Ritter and Company.  Communication with Graffenried, who was in North Carolina, was probably slow and erratic, and perhaps less than clear.  Either late in 1712 or early in 1713, Albrecht went back to Siegen and suggested it was time to go to America.  The forty-odd Germans that he assembled paid their own way to London, but they understood that funds would be available there to finance the rest of the trip.

In the late summer, or perhaps the early fall of 1713, the Germans were in London, but Graffenried, who was to have the funds to pay for the rest of the trip, was not there.  In the face of his uncertain arrival, the Germans sought work to support themselves.  Perhaps about October, Graffenried did arrive in London.  There was a mutual surprise by each of the parties, Graffenried and the Germans.  Graffenried wrote that he had not asked them to come to London.  The Germans were sorely disappointed that Graffenried was not able to live up to his word.

Graffenried's initial reaction, in his own words, was that he advised them to go home.  The Germans saw it differently, because from their standpoint they had no homes to which they could return.  In their minds, they had to go on, as they saw no future in England.  With just their own money, they did not have the necessary funds to pay their transportation to America.  But they did volunteer that they would work for four years to pay the part of their transportation that they could not afford.

With this as a bargaining tool, Graffenried visited people in London, including Nathaniel Blakiston, who, as the agent for Virginia in London, was well acquainted the Lt. Gov. in Virginia, Alexander Spotswood.  He knew that Spotswood had a fractional interest in a mine that was thought to contain silver.  Spotswood had not proceeded with this mine because the share that was to go to Queen Anne had never been specified.  Blakiston, on the assumption that this question would be resolved shortly, decided to commit Spotswood to paying the 150 pounds sterling that would be required, in addition to what the Germans would contribute, for their transportation costs to America.
(21 Mar 01)


Nr. 1122:

When the people from Siegen arrived in Virginia in 1714, Spotswood had already been told they were coming.  He paid the one and fifty pounds sterling, and put a plan into action that he had formulated a couple of years earlier, when the Indian unrest in North Carolina had left an uneasy feeling in Virginians.  Spotswood put the Germans into a simple fort that was beyond the frontier of English civilization.  By this means he was providing a barrier to Indian incursions in this region.  Because of the public duty the Germans would be providing, he obtained the Council's approval to defray some of the expense.  He did not publicly enter into the record that this location, in a horseshoe bend of the Rapidan River, was about four miles from land in which he owned a fractional interest.  This land was on Mine Run on the south side of the Rapidan River.  Mine Run derives its name from the fact that the land along it was thought to contain silver ore.  Spotswood did not give the Germans permission to dig at the site because the rights of the Crown were not defined.  For at least two years or longer, the German farmed and built roads and bridges.

Spotswood was looking for ways to establish his personal economic base.  An Indian trading company was established and he was an investor in this, but it was not of a significant size.  As he looked around, he saw that the basis of wealth in Virginia was land, as the Byrds and Beverleys had shown.  Robert Beverley even invited him to join a land partnership.  With the intent to acquire land, Spotswood set up a western exploration trip in 1716 to explore land to the west of Germanna, up to and beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The trip was even set up as an official venture of the Colony so that costs could be reimbursed.  As a consequence, Spotswood and Beverley identified and staked out land amounting to more than 60,000 acres.

Because of the exposed position of this land, a large group of people was needed to settle as a body on it.  The Germans at Germanna had been a success, a very good success, as keepers of the peace.  Spotswood wanted to duplicate this on the 60,000 acres, but more Germans were not coming to Virginia.  He started talking to the captains of the ships which called at Jamestown, and, in the spring of 1717, he had an occasion to talk to Andrew Tarbett.  Tarbett, at the time, had no ship, since the pirates had taken and burned the one he had.  When he got back to England, he became the master of the ship Scott.  Very shortly thereafter, a group of Germans appeared in London looking for transportation to Pennsylvania.  Tarbett promised to take them as they wished, but, knowing there was a need for the Germans in Virginia, he took them to Virginia against their wishes.  In this way, these Germans became the indentured servants of Spotswood, and his partners, and they were settled on the 60,000 acres.  Among the projects they were given was the raising of naval stores, which were needed in England.

So, in 1718, Spotswood's personal economic base was to be founded on land.  Already he knew that the first group of Germans would be leaving, since their four years of service would be up in 1718, and they had purchased land elsewhere.
(22 Mar 01)


Nr. 1123:

The first group of Germans had been looking around in the district surrounding Germanna.  They found iron ore and brought it to Spotswood’s attention.  At about the time the second group of Germans came, Spotswood received a letter from Sir Richard in England, who wanted Spotswood to search for iron ore with the objective of establishing an "iron works".  This would have been about the beginning of 1718 (NS).  Spotswood replied that he would have his Germans look, and, of course, it was not difficult to find something of which they were already aware.  Still, Spotswood did not deviate from his main thrust which was to acquire land.  He added iron as another possibility, but only as a possibility.

The first group of Germans left Germanna about January of 1719 (NS), to go to their own land in the Northern Neck, which became known as "Germantown".  With money from partners, and with labor that probably came from England, Spotswood built an iron furnace, but it did not go smoothly.  William Byrd could tell the Board of Trade in November of 1721 that iron could be cast in Virginia, but that they could not make bar iron.  A small shipment of cast iron was sent to England in 1723, and a more significant shipment was made in 1724.  By then, Spotswood felt confident enough that he could go to England to pursue the titles to his lands and to find a wife.  Before he left, he gave instructions to his agents to continue the lawsuits against the members of the second group of Germans to recover the monies he had spent on their transportation.  Spotswood remained in England about five years, while his iron furnace was sending a modest stream of iron to England.

Probably in 1725, the second group of Germans left their homes along the north bank of the Rapidan River, just above Germanna, and moved to land of their own.  Most of them went to the Robinson River Valley, but a few moved only a few miles to the southeast of Mt. Pony.  They obtained a generous quantity of free land, as a result of the legislation that had been by initiated by Spotswood to reduce his own costs of acquiring land.

By 1725, most of the Germans were living on land of their own, and were independent of Spotswood or others.  They viewed one of their most pressing problems as that of obtaining ministers.  While the first group had brought a minister with them, the Rev. Häger, the second group was located at some distance from him.  Rev. Häger was old and the number of years remaining for him could not be many.  So, all of the Germans felt the need for ministers.  As there were few ministers in the colonies who could speak German, attention was focused on Germany.  The second group went so far as to send two of their members to Germany to seek a minister, but they were unsuccessful.

Even before the second group had moved to their own lands, they were joined by friends and relatives, usually from the same villages from which the original second group had come.  This same phenomenon occurred also with the first group, but it did not commence until later.  Whereas the second group had been given as about 80 people in 1717/18, it had reached the number of 300 by 1733, due to the new people from Germany, as well as there being more births than deaths within the group.  Apparently, both groups were feeling better about the situation in Virginia.
(23 Mar 01)


Nr. 1124:

Starting about 1730, there was a growth in both the first and second groups by new members from Germany, or from other German colonies, especially from Pennsylvania.  These additions never abated, even up to the time of the Revolutionary War.  During that war, a few non-German additions were made to the groups from the British auxiliaries; however, by this time, descendants of many of the original families had moved to other colonies, especially southward at first, and then to the west.  In the Germanna home area there were several pockets of settlements.

Perhaps the smallest settlement, in terms of the number of Germans, was the Mt. Pony group.  Because they were so few, they quickly adapted to the surrounding English civilization.  For example, Christopher Zimmerman became an officer in the militia within ten years, and all of the Germans were inclined to the Anglican church.

At Germantown, the site of the first permanent homes of the first group, the settlers were landlocked on three sides by the large claims of "King" Carter.  No expansion in those three directions was possible.  Across the Rappahannock River, in the Little Fork, land was free.  Jacob Holtzclaw and John Fishback acquired land there quite early.  John Hoffman acquired land in the Robinson River Valley and moved to it.  Other members of the group acquired land to the north of Germantown.

The majority of the second group acquired their land "at the mountains", around present day Madison, Virginia.  There were several very large claims between Germanna and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and they had to jump over these.  Even though the English were also quick to come into this area, there was enough land available to allow expansion for quite a while.  For example, John Hoffman kept expanding over a period of years until he had more than 3,500 acres, all in one parcel.

Life quickly settled down into farming.  Though many of the individuals were trained in other occupations in Germany, they were principally farmers in America.  As time went by, they built better and larger homes.  The one problem that they all faced was having a church.  In the early 1730’s, Rev. Häger died, and the first group was without a minister.  They tried to obtain one from Germany, or from another colony, but the small size of the group worked against them.  At Germantown, Jacob Holtzclaw was a reader.  In the Little Fork, John Young was a reader.  At Mt. Pony, they joined with the Anglicans.  In the Robinson River Valley, they had no minister for about sixteen years, and were very anxious to obtain one.  When Johann Caspar Stöver, a schoolteacher, visited the community, they saw an opportunity, and convinced him to become their minister.  He went to Pennsylvania to be ordained.  They found it would be difficult to support him, and to pay their tithes, required by law, to the Church of England, so they sent Stöver and two members to Germany to raise money.  As a consequence of the success of the trip, they were able to build a church and keep a minister on a permanent basis.
(24 Mar 01)


Nr. 1125:

We have covered a lot of history in the last few notes.  Perhaps it is time to go back and look at some of the details in more depth.

First, why did the first group of Germans, who left Germany in 1713, leave?  What were their motivations?  They surely saw the potential for something better in America, but what did they see?  The answers are not clear.

We do know that a large number left from the region around Siegen in 1709, including the son of a couple who were to leave in 1713.  It had not been appreciated that so many had left then, until Hank Z. Jones did his monumental study of the 1710 Palatines to New York.  He and his research assistants found the homes of many of these people in Germany (and changed the face of research into German origins).  Many reasons have been advanced for the mass migration of 1709 from Germany, and most of them can be discarded; however, we should look at them, since many of these reasons continue to be given.

One of the most popular reasons proposed is religion.  Now, it is true there was a group of people for whom this was important, namely the Anabaptists who were living in Switzerland, Alsace, the Palatinate, Baden, and perhaps Württemberg.  They were severely hampered in the exercise of their religion, and in their daily living.  These people were a minority, and not very many came in the 1709 group.  The majority of these people could more typically be described as one individual was described ­ born a Catholic, married in the Reformed church, and an elder of the Lutheran church.  Descriptions of the emigrants in 1709 make it clear that they brought no religious books with them, in the form of Bibles, hymnals, or prayer books.  They had their religious principles, but these were minimized while they were in the process of getting to America.

A dispatch from Holland, in June of 1709, reported that the Palatines, both Protestants and Catholics, seemed to agree with each other very well, with many mixed marriages.  The report went on to say they were "fleeing not so much for religion" as for other reasons.

In later years, particularly in the last century, it became popular to say that one ancestor’s left for religious reasons.  This seemed like a noble purpose, which made the ancestors look better.  In fact, more of our German ancestors came because their fellow citizens didn't want them to stay, than came for religious reasons.  Town Councils, who were having to support families, saw emigration as a cheaper alternative.  The Town Councils paid the emigrants' way to America.

I did draw an exception to the Anabaptists earlier.  They were severely restricted in the practice of their religion.  They could not have a church building.  Not more than twenty could meet at one time.  They could not recruit new members.  Even as pacifists, they had to serve in the Army.  They could not own land.  They had to pay special taxes.  And, in Switzerland, they were in danger of being thrown in jail.  (It could be argued, justifiably, that there would not have been a Germanna had the Swiss not been putting the Anabaptists in jails and exporting them from Switzerland.)
(26 Mar 01)


(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 FORTY-FIFTH set of Notes, Nr. 1101 through Nr. 1125.)


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

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

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025

This Page Contains Notes 1101 through 1125.


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