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This is the FORTY-SIXTH 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 1126 through 1150.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 46

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Nr. 1126:

In the last note, in the middle of the next to last paragraph, I omitted the word "not" at one point.  Also the whole sentence was worded in a very clumsy way.  What I was trying to say was some Germans were sent to America so that their fellow citizens would not have to support them.  Some people led marginal lives and required financial help.  Sometimes the easiest out for their fellow citizens was sending them to America.

I closed the last note with the thought that Germanna resulted from the Swiss jailing the Anabaptists for their religious beliefs.  I know that it sounds strange but I will show why it is probably true.

For a century and a half, the city fathers in the Swiss towns had been expelling Anabaptists from the country, especially from Bern.  They also were holding them in jails.  Earlier they had tried executions, some of them of the worse kind.  In spite of these strong measures, the Anabaptists had grown in numbers, and were thorns in the side of the church (Reformed), and of the city fathers.  The trip that Franz Michel, from Bern, made to Virginia, starting in 1701, seems to have, as its primary objective, the location of a place for a Swiss colony.  Probably, Michel had in mind finding a place to which all Swiss could move, but especially the Anabaptists.

On Michel's second, and longer, trip he explored a lot more land, including going into the Shenandoah Valley.  This was about 1707.  He was not alone, but he was with other people who professed to know something about minerals.  The idea became embedded in his mind that the upper watershed of the Potomac River was the site of silver mines.

When he returned to Bern, Michel found a very willing listener in Christoph von Graffenried, who was in need of some enterprise to revive his sagging fortunes.  Michel was still pursuing the colonization scheme, and the city fathers had designated fifty to one hundred Anabaptists, whom they wanted to send to America.  Michel and Graffenried obtained a contract with the city fathers to take these people to America.  First, they had to negotiate with the English for land.  The early attempts to secure land had not yielded anything.  Apparently, Graffenried was able to help tremendously, and land was secured.

As Graffenried and Michel considered the possibilities, they decided they were in the wrong business.  Silver mining could be much more profitable than taking Swiss to Virginia; however, while they had commitments to fulfill for the colonization, they decided to start the silver mining project by recruiting the miners for the silver mines while they were getting the members of the Swiss colony settled.  So, accordingly, in 1710, they hired Johann Justus Albrecht to recruit the miners, and told him to start in the area around Siegen.

Had the Swiss not been persecuting the Anabaptists, it is likely that Michel would not have searched for land where they could be placed.  One of the byproducts of this search was the "discovery" of the silver mines.  Without the colonists, it is doubtful that Graffenried would have been involved.  Without him to promote the silver mining, there would have been no recruiting in Siegen.
(27 Mar 01)


Nr. 1127:

Looking at the motivations that the Germans who left the Siegen area in 1713 might have had, we were led back to looking at the significant number who left in 1709 from the area.  Why did they leave?  Religion was discounted as a major factor.  Though the Siegen area was, and is, divided basically by a line through it, with the Catholics on the east, and the Reformed people on the west, most of the 1713 emigrants lived in the Protestant area, and were Protestants.  The Hofmanns were an exception as they were Reformed and lived in the predominantly Catholic area; however, there is no evidence that this was a factor in 1709.

War is mentioned as a factor, and one would have to study the history in detail to know whether it was significant.  We do know that Johann Wilhelm Hofmann (brother to the 1713 emigrant, John Hofmann) felt that wars were oppressive and a burden.  Though this was in the 1740 time frame, it illustrates how little we know the political and military history of the area.

Farther south, nearer Heidelberg, we know that the period from the late 1600's to the early 1700's was a very bad period, when the French armies were in the area and living off the land.  (This is when the Heidelberg Castle [see the German photos] was destroyed, along with the whole town of Heidelberg.) Then, in the first half of the seventeenth century, the Thirty Years' War raged over all of Germany.  This had major repercussions throughout Germany.

Still, though we see the wars of the time as very bad, and as a cause for emigration, we do not have a good understanding of how the citizens felt about it.  Perhaps the attitude expressed by Johann Wilhelm Hofmann in his diary tells us something.  Wilhelm thought his role was that of a peasant who had no control over what happened.  He had to do what God and the overlords said to do.  Eventually, he broke out of this mind set and emigrated to Pennsylvania.  He does, though, express the idea of fatalism, and that this was his fate.  It is easy for us to see reasons, but the citizens of the time did not usually see it as we see it.

Remember that we are still focusing on the emigration of 1709, and the reasons they had for emigration.  Taxation was heavy in general.  After the Thirty Years' War, the population was reduced sharply, but the appetites of the rulers were not.  So the rulers saw the solution as having everyone pay more.  Again, though, the citizens may not have realized what the alternatives were.  We do know that those who went to America were surprised at how low the taxes were.  In 1709, not enough reports had come back from America for those in Germany to realize that taxes could be a lot lower than what they were paying.  So taxation is not a strong reason in the face of the fatalistic attitude of the German citizens.

Our problem in understanding the period is that we put ourselves into the physical situation then, and base our conclusions on our attitudes of today in that situation.  This tells us nothing about what people were thinking then.
(28 Mar 01)


Nr. 1128:

In the winter of 1708 and 1709, there was an unusual event in Europe.  It was a winter which would remind one of the Arctic region.  Coldness set in to the extent that the oceans along the coasts froze.  Grape vines and even trees were killed.  All the crops that been sown in the fall never survived.  It was not a matter of putting more wood on the fire to stay warm, because wood was a scarce item, and what there was, was seldom under the control of the people.  People who worked in the vineyards saw their livelihoods disappear.  Farmers lost crops.  The death toll of the animals was high.  In short, everyone was pessimistic about the outlook, and they could not be sure that more winters like this would not follow.

Parish records reveal comments like these:

"...horrible, terrible cold...through France, Italy, Spain, England, Holland, Saxony, and Denmark...people and cattle frozen to death...",

"Mills brought to a standstill and a lack of bread...many cattle and humans...birds and wild animals...froze",

"(27 Oct 1708)...an unusually heavy snow...broke many branches of trees, especially in the forests...lack of wood and flour...",

"...trees have frozen, the autumn sowing...great damage and this year there will be no wine..."

There was circulating about this time a printed book or pamphlet that extolled America, especially Pennsylvania.  It was a promoter’s dream.  Simultaneously, the idea spread among the Germans along the Rhine that the Queen of England would help Germans go on to America, if they went to England.  After a winter to end all winters, and with the vague idea that the Queen of England would help, emigration looked like a good idea.  Especially after a man discovered that his neighbor was thinking of doing the same thing.  Hysteria was the best description.

In the areas along the Rhine River, for fifty miles on each side, the response was tremendous.  This was the area where the promoters, especially for Pennsylvania, had been working.  The regions from which people came included what we call the Palatinate, Baden, Württemberg, and Nassau-Siegen.

Interviews with some of the Germans showed comments much like this:

"English agents at Frankfurt and writings brought by them."

"...heard of books about the Island...heard from people who were going."

"...people everywhere are talking about it."

"The Queen of England will give bread to the people until they can provide their own."

"The Queen will advance it to the people."

"From a book from English agents."

The quotations in this note come from Hank Z. Jones in "The Palatine Families of New York 1710."
(29 Mar 01)


Nr. 1129:

Hank Z. Jones tracked down more than 500 of the 847 families that came to New York in 1710 from Germany.  Using his index of geographical names, I looked up the ones that had "Siegen" in the name.  Apparently, the smaller villages were cross-referenced, or co-referenced, with Siegen.  These are the people that I found:

  1. Jacob Bähr of Oberfischbach.  When he was baptized, 17 Nov 1678, his sponsor was Jacob Cuntz at Oberfischbach.
  2. Peter Giesler of Oberfischbach.  Within his family there are mentions of Peter and Johann Fischbach, and of Oberholtzklau.  Peter Giesler married Anna Lucia, d/o Hermann Hoffman.
  3. Johann Friedrich Häger, b. in Nepthen, as s/o Johann Henrich Häger.
  4. Johann Heinrich Haeger of Anzhausen (see Maria Hagerin in Jones).
  5. Catharina Heyl of Wilnsdorf.
  6. Hermann Hoffman of Oberfischbach.
  7. Johann Eberhard Jung (Jones: "The association of names on lists suggests this may have been a Siegen family.").
  8. Henrich Ohrendorff of Oberfischbach.
  9. Henrich Schramm of Wilnsdorf.
  10. Hyeronimus Weller of Zeppenfeld.  There are mentions of this family at Oberfischbach.  A sponsor of Weller’s sister was Agnes Holtzklau at Salchendorf.  Hyeronimus Weller married Anna Julian, d/o Jacob Cuntz.
  11. Johannes Zeller who married at Siegen Anna Catharina Herber.

Also, 107 people emigrated from the Nassau-Dillenburg region in 1709, about 15 miles southeast of Siegen.  There are several mentions of Burbach, a village 10 miles south of Siegen, as the home of 1709 emigrants.

There are many Germanna names and localities in the above list.  [Oberfischbach is shown on the German Photo/Oberfischbach page.]  One of the people listed is actually the son of a couple who arrived in Virginia in 1714.  This is Johann Friderich Häger, who like his father, was a Reformed minister.  The other Haeger/Häger above is a cousin of Johann Friderich.

These were the first people from the area around Siegen to go to America.  Everyone in the whole district was aware of the migration.  Imagine the conversations that resulted from this.  "Did you hear...?"   "I wonder how Jacob Bähr is doing."   "Have you had any news?"   "Why do you think they went?"

Let’s try to answer that last question ourselves.  They went because they thought they would have a better future in America than they would have by staying home.  I have read, but I have not studied it in detail, that the economic life was depressed.  Jobs were scarce.  It had been a hard winter.  This was a chance to get a first or a new start.
(30 Mar 01)


Nr. 1130:

In the Siegen area, in 1709, a significant number of people left for America.  Everyone who remained in Siegen was perfectly well aware of the event.  It did not take a newspaper, radio, or TV to inform them.  By word of mouth, everyone knew, and the pros and cons were debated.

One year later, a man appeared in Siegen who said that he wanted to hire miners to work in America in silver mines.  We have no knowledge of the terms that he offered.  Again, his presence would have been known throughout the district within weeks, even though we assume that he was a stranger.  And the company he was working for, George Ritter and Company, of Switzerland, was totally unknown.  So Johann Justus Albrecht had a tough sell to interest people in this American mining adventure.

Two factors helped him.  The departure of so many people the previous year did create the sense that it could be done.  Here was another opportunity.  The fact that so many had left, the previous year indicates the economic life was poor.  So at least a few people listened to what Albrecht had to say.

Albrecht overstated things to the extent that he was not always believable.  His statements seemed so dubious that the agent of the Emperor (as in Holy Roman Emperor) had the man arrested.  It is said that he was released only with the intervention of the English ambassador.  Why the English ambassador should have been involved is not clear, except the proposed work was in the American colonies.

Albrecht changed tactics.  He signed a "contract" with the Protestant pastors in Siegen, in which he promised a payment from the mines to the pastors in return for their help in recruiting the miners.  This was in 1711.  By this means he was enabled to get tentative agreements from a number of people.  Albrecht then returned to London, where we find him in May of 1712.  He was engaged in writing a promotion for gold and silver mine(s) in South Carolina.  He described himself as the head miner, who completed his work in South Carolina by 5 January 1709.  One sees, when reading his language, why he may have fallen in trouble with the agent of the Emperor.

What is not clear is why he was writing this document.  It appears that he was trying to sell shares in the venture.  It does not appear that George Ritter and Company was involved in this and they were his nominal employer.  Nowhere is this company mentioned.

Apparently Albrecht was proud of his document, for he brought it to America.  It found its way to the Spotsylvania Court house, and the officials, not knowing what to do with this fancy document in German, simply put it in the back of the Spotsylvania Court Order Book for 1724-1730.  It probably remained untouched until Elke Hall translated it for publication in Beyond Germanna.  She admitted to some difficulties because there were more pages than sentences.
(31 Mar 01)


Nr. 1131:

In May of 1712, we know that Albrecht was in London, for we have a document written by him with that date, stating he was in London.  By the first months of 1713, he must have been back in Siegen to execute the next phase as he saw it.  As "Albrecht saw it" was not the way in which Graffenried said that "he saw it".  This is a mystery to us.  Graffenried said he had not advised them to come, certainly as a body, yet we do know that the "Siegen" Germans were in London, probably in the late summer of 1713.  What happened?

We do know that Graffenried made an investment in a projected silver mine before Easter of 1713.  His share was one-sixteenth.  We also know that Alexander Spotswood, the Lt. Gov. of Virginia, had a one-quarter interest in this mine.  We also know that Spotswood was very excited about the prospects for obtaining silver from it.

It may have been that Graffenried had written to Albrecht about this mine is such a way that Albrecht interpreted his remarks to mean that miners would be needed very shortly.  Albrecht had been engaged in this project for almost three years and he was perhaps getting a bit anxious.  Graffenried admits that he had written that one or two of the miners could come over if they wished to have a "look-see".  If one considers how broke Graffenried was, it would be hard to envision that he had offered to pay anything towards their passage.

[When one reads the writings of Graffenried, one notes that he was not the best writer as far as clarity went.  What seems like an obvious interpretation is not always correct.]

At the best, we might label the whole fiasco [there is no better word to describe it] as due to "communication error".  At the worse, we could attribute ulterior motives to Graffenried or to Albrecht.  The victims were the Germans, who acted in good faith, and closed out their lives around Siegen.  But however we label the actions, had they not occurred, there would have been no Germanna Colonies.  Period.

After the people found what the true situation was when they got to London, it is to their credit that they found the key to a solution to the problem.

But before continuing on, let's ask if we can assign any motivations that the Germans had for leaving.  We know some general reasons, and that may be the best that we can do.  We do know that it was a planned, not a spur of the moment, decision.  There were too many interrelated families for that.  It had been three years since Albrecht appeared at Siegen, so there had been some time to think about it.  They must have seen better opportunities in America than in Germany.  We do not know what Albrecht promised them.  We have reason to believe there were economic problems around Siegen.  Should we lean to the view that Albrecht had over-promised the rewards?  Or should be lean to the view that conditions in Germany were so bad that anything would look better?
(02 Apr 01)


Nr. 1132:

Looking at some of the individuals who made the trip from Siegen to London, there is one family to whom we might ascribe a motive with some certainty.  That is Rev. Häger, whose son had arrived in New York in 1710.  All of the family that remained in Germany consisted of Rev. Häger, his wife, and his two young daughters.  If all of these went to the New World, the living members of the family could be reunited.  This was certainly a motivation.  It was not an easy decision to make, for Rev. Häger was about 70 years old, retired, and, it was thought, not in the best of health.  If he died, then his wife would be left to care for the two daughters.

Possibly, Rev. Häger had been influenced by the Protestant pastors in Siegen.  They had signed an agreement with Albrecht in which they were to receive money from the profits of the mine.  Perhaps they, the Siegen pastors, had encouraged Rev. Häger to go as an encouragement toward the recruiting of the other individuals.  The Häger family seems to have been giving up a comfortable life as a retired family.  They had a house with servants.  If anyone in the group had a reason for not leaving, the Häger family could claim the prize.

Another family who would seem to have little reason for going was the Jacob Holzklau family.  He held a job as a school teacher, and was probably farming.  It would not seem that he was under any economic pressure.  But, like the Hägers, there were family reasons.  The family of Margaret Holzklau, Jacob’s wife, seems to have been going "in masse".  (These were the Otterbachs.) So, perhaps the Holtzclaws and the Hägers were primarily motivated by family reasons.  They went either to keep a family united, or to be reunited with family members.

Hans Jacob Richter earned his admission to the Guild of Steelsmiths and Toolmakers in 1712.  To be admitted, presumably as a Master, meant he had studied the craft for many years.  The existing members of the guild did not admit members freely to the guild, since the primary purpose of the guild was to ensure a comfortable living for the members.  They did not want too much competition.  Someone who had won the status of Master could expect a comfortable living.  So why did Jacob Rector leave Trupbach?  Again, one reason is family.  Jacob Richter had married Elizabeth Fischbach, and the Fischbach family was leaving.

So of the first three families that we have examined, it would appear that none of them had a pressing economic reason for leaving.  The three families seem to be trying to keep a family united, or to reunite a family.  This leaves the basic reasons with the Otterbachs and the Fischbachs, and we will look at them in another note, but I will not promise any answers.  Incidentally, both the Otterbach and the Fischbach families lived in Trupbach.  Trupbach itself, from the historical description, seems to have been a small, quiet village, basically of farmers.
(03 Apr 01)


Nr. 1133:

One of the largest families to emigrate from Siegen (Trupbach, more exactly) was the Fischbach family, which appears to consist of:

The father, Philipp (52 years old),
The mother, Elsbeth,
A daughter, Anna Elisabeth (probably as the wife of Hans Jacob Richter),
A daughter, Maria Elisabeth (ca 26 years old),
A son, Johannes (b. 1691),
A son, Hermann (b. 1693), and
Another daughter, also named Maria Elisabeth (b. 1696).

The book "Ortsgeschichte Trupbach" ["Local History of Trupbach"], by Tröps and Bohn, says this about the above family:

"(1712) Philipp Fischbach mit Familie wandern nach Virginia aus."  ["(1712) Philipp Fischbach, with his family, moved from here (Trupbach) to Virginia."]

Why they put the year at 1712 is not clear, because it seems that they left the area in 1713.  This same book, in a list of occupations in the village, gives Philipp Fischbach, Hermann Fischbach, and Johann Fischbach as carpenters ("Zimmermänner").  I believe that most of these occupations were taken from the church books.  Probably, the father would not have been entered as a carpenter unless he were a Master in the carpenter’s guild.  Though the sons are given also as carpenters, I doubt that this information came from the church book.  First, your name doesn’t get entered in the church book unless you are born, married, or dead (or a child married).  So, it would seem there was no reason to find an appropriate entry for the sons.  Second, Johannes was only 22 years old, and his brother Hermann was only 20 years old.  This would have been too young to have the status and title of "Carpenter".  They might have been journeyman carpenters.  [The book also says the sons married in 1714, which is doubtful, though perhaps possible.]

So, we have a family, the Fischbachs, who left as a complete group.  One daughter was already married to Hans Jacob Richter, and they came also.  But it would seem more likely that the Richter family went because the Fischbach family was going than the other way around.

Though we have probably identified a key family in the emigration, it still does not tell us why they left.  The only reason which looks valid is that the economic times were bad.  The number of people that left in 1709 tells us as much.  But the reason had to be compelling because, from our view, it seems the Fischbachs had a home and a job, at least the parents did.

Perhaps the parents were thinking of the sons and daughters.  The oldest unmarried daughter was 26, the youngest was 17.  The two sons were 22 and 20.  It was probably the case that the parents were thinking more of the children than of themselves.  Maybe the prospects for them were dim in Trupbach, and the parents envisioned a brighter future in Virginia.  It is hard to say what their vision of Virginia was.  The jobs they were expecting to find were in silver mining.  It is doubtful that mining would be appealing to "carpenters", even though there is a need, to some degree, for carpenters in mining.
(04 Apr 01)


Nr. 1134:

Another large family, also from Trupbach, was the Otterbachs.  There is no documentary evidence in Virginia that this family did, in fact, make the trip.  But there is excellent circumstantial evidence that this is the case, and we might review some of the principal points.

The family disappears from the church and civil records in Germany about 1714.  In the book, "Ortgeschichte Trupbach" ["Local History of Trupbach"], by Tröps and Bohn, the house Welmes was inhabited by Hermannus Otterbach in 1707.  They say about the family that (it), "ausgewandert nach Virginia USA."  ["emigrated to Virginia USA."]  The house was taken over (in 1712) by Johann Jacob Schneider, who had married Maria Cath. Heide.  Again, as in the last note, I do not understand why they use the date 1712.

The names of the daughters in the family seem to appear as wives in Virginia.  The family was related to some of the people who did go to Virginia.  A family, or families, is/are needed to add to the known Virginia immigrants to come to the right count.  The Otterbach family would fulfill that need correctly.

Hermann Otterbach was a "Fuhrmann" ("Fuhrleute" is the plural form), which is a wagoner, carter, teamster, or coachman (a person who carted goods or people from one location to another).  As such, he would have been very sensitive to the economic conditions.  If economic life were depressed, his work would be reduced.  (In the emigrating group, there was another man who was the son of a "Fuhrmann", and that was John Hofmann.)

Hermann Otterbach had married Elisabeth Heimbach, and they had these children:

John Philip (21),
John (11),
Elizabeth (24),
Alice Catherine (16),
Mary Catherine (14), and
Anna Catherine (8).
It is necessary to say that the father, and the two sons, died before the move to Germantown, in Virginia (from Germanna), because no land was distributed to a male Otterbach/Utterback at Germantown.  This is the weakest point in the "Utterback argument", as it requires the death of three individuals.

Again, much like the Fischbachs, it would seem that the parents were motivated by finding a better life for the sons and daughters.  It was a major undertaking for eight people to uproot their life in Trupbach and to go to America.  One wonders if the prospects in and around Trupbach for finding husbands for the daughters, and jobs for the sons, were poor.  Philip was old enough to be looking for a job and a wife.  Elizabeth was old enough to be thinking about marriage.

On the German Photo page, look at the drawing of the village of Trupbach and locate the Chapel School in the center.  You can identify the school by the pictureof it on the photo page also.  In the drawing, the first building directly or straight to the right of the Chapel School should be the Otterbach home.  In 1713, the school was not there, as it was built in 1750.
(05 Apr 01)


Nr. 1135:

So far, in discussing the people who emigrated from the Siegen area in 1713, I have emphasized the families and shown there were some relationships among them.  I can only guess about the reasons that the core families, the Otterbachs and the Fischbachs, left.  Mostly likely, the reason was economic.  In this note, let’s look at some of the individuals who may have had a different motive.  These are the bachelors.

Melchior Brumbach was about 28 years old.  He came from Müsen, to the north of Siegen, where one of the largest iron mines was located.  His mother was a Kemper, so there was a relationship to someone else in the group.  Melchoir left without obtaining permission which probably required a fee to be paid.  He, or, more exactly, his family who stayed behind, was fined, and one of the documents in the case helps to establish his identity.  I have no occupation for the man, but it would not be surprising if he had worked in the mines.  One wonders if the motivation for a young man such as this might not have been for the adventure.

John Hoffman, about 21 years old, came from Eisern, just to the south of Siegen.  Apparently, he was in training as a carpenter, for in Virginia he was hired by the Robinson River Valley people to do carpentry work on the house for the minister, John Caspar Stöver.  John’s father was a Fuhrmann, one who transported goods.  The Hoffmans lived in the Catholic region, which led to some tensions.  John’s younger brother, Wilhelm, clearly expressed his negative feelings about living in the Catholic region as a Reformed person.  Probably, though, John had not sensed this discrimination yet.  He, too, might have motivated by the desire for adventure, but perhaps depressed economic conditions influenced him.

John Kemper was also from Müsen.  He, too, was about 21 years old, and was a first cousin of Melchior Brumbach, above.  John’s father is identified as a church elder, but that was probably a volunteer position, not a livelihood.  His grandfather, Johannes Kemper, was a smith.  John may have worked about the mines at Müsen, which were very prominent in that region, but there is no evidence on this subject.  It sounds as if Melchior Brumbach and John Kemper may have made a joint decision to go to America.

Jost (Joseph) Martin was 22 years old, and a resident of Müsen.  The Martins (Merten in German) and the Brumbachs were related, so we have three of the young bachelors who were related.  So, it sounds as if a third bachelor joined his two relatives in making the emigration decision.  Probably all three were thinking, "Let’s try it.  If it doesn’t work out, we can come back."

John Spilman (Spielmann) was an older bachelor, about 34 years of age.  He lived in the Oberfischbach parish, to the west of Trupbach.  An occupation is unknown for this man, and when he came he seems not to have been related to any of the other members of the group.  Later, this all changed as several of his relatives came to Virginia.  Not much is known about him in Germany.
(06 Apr 01)


Nr. 1136:

I am going to interrupt the mini series on the emigrants from the Siegen area for a special note on Hans Herr and the Hans Herr House.  The tourist season starts on April 1, but since the Mennonites go to church on Sunday, there are no tours on Sunday.  In accordance with my volunteering schedule, I am usually to be found there on the first Saturday of each month, and that is where I will be found today.

I would not be surprised if a German national visits today.  Last year on the first Saturday, a German student came.  I invited him home for dinner and an overnight stay with us, which he accepted.  Then he volunteered to show us Heidelberg when we were there last May.  And we did meet him.  We had dinner and walked the philosopher's walk which we could never have done on our own.

Hans Herr was an Anabaptist, though by 1710 he probably distinguished himself as a "Mennonite" (as opposed to the Amish branch).  The Anabaptists had originated in Switzerland, but they were not appreciated there.  In fact they were severely persecuted in a variety of ways, including death.  A very common reaction to them was to export them out of the country.  For a while, in the last half of the seventeenth century, they were welcomed in Germany, because the voids in the populations created by the Thirty Years' War.  By the time 1700 came, exportation to Germany was not an option because of the growth of population there.

At this time, Franz Michel started looking for places in America to form Swiss colonies to have a place to send the Anabaptists.  Christoph von Graffenried, needing a venture to recover from his debts, joined Michel and his associates in this colonization scheme.  In addition, Graffenried promoted the idea of developing the silver mines that Michel thought he had found.  For this purpose, they sent Johann Justus Albrecht to Siegen to recruit the miners.  This was the start of the exodus that took place in 1713.  Had it not been for the Anabaptists which Switzerland wanted to expel, there would have been no Germanna Colonies.

Sometime prior to this, Hans Herr appears to have left Switzerland and settled on a farm called Unterbiegelhof, not far from Wagenbach.  If you walked across the back of the farms, it would be only about three miles from the farm where George Utz and Johann Michael Volck lived to Unterbiegelhof, where Hans Herr was living.  Hans Herr, and other Mennonites, left in 1709, and the news must have circulated around the neighborhood to Wagenbach.  So, in a way Hans Herr influenced the Germanna Colonies.

My interest in Hans Herr originates with my sympathy for the reformers.  It could not have anything to do with the fact that my daughter married a descendant of Hans Herr, or that the marriage was in the Hans Herr House.

So plan on coming out to the Hans Herr House in Lancaster County (in Pennsylvania).  It is southeast of the town of Lancaster, and west of Strasburg. Until next fall, it is open every day, except Sundays.
(07 Apr 01)


Nr. 1137:

We looked at some of the motivations the Siegen area people had for leaving their homes.  Next, I thought we would compare their motives to the motives of those who left in 1717, but ended up in Virginia.

All of those who left in 1717 intended to go to Pennsylvania.  Understanding this helps to make their motives clearer.  In the advertising for Pennsylvania, and in their limited knowledge of those who had gone to Pennsylvania, they saw an opportunity to improve their lives in an economic sense.

After the large exodus of 1709, the English had made it clear to the Germans along the Rhine River that they (the English) did not want more Germans to come.  They actively discouraged emigration.  In the first few years, only a few, not many, Germans went to Pennsylvania.  Mostly they were Anabaptists, who were following the Hans Herr party.  The Mennonites in Pennsylvania were actively recruiting more co-religionists to come to Pennsylvania.  [The Siegen party did pass through London during this period headed for Virginia.]

In 1717, about one thousand Germans, from many different principalities, did decide to go to Pennsylvania.  Their reasons were summed up by the pastor at Gemmingen, when he wrote in the death register:

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

[Translation by Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman in "Before Germanna".]

The pastor then listed six families, including the two Smith families, the Weaver family, and the Clore family.

Just as the Siegen group ran into trouble in London, this group of about eighty people ran into trouble in London.  These 1717 people signed on with Andrew Tarbett to take them to Pennsylvania in his ship, the Scott.  Tarbett knew that Alexander Spotswood was looking for a shipload of Germans to populate his large land holdings beyond the western frontier.  He, Tarbett, could obtain a good price for all of them by selling them as indentured servants.  Spotswood winked at Tarbett and raised no questions about the injustice of the situation.

Several of these families had been on the move from Austria to Germany, and probably were not yet permanently settled in Germany.  Going to Pennsylvania was a way for some of them to establish themselves.  But all of them saw a brighter future in Pennsylvania, one that would justify the risk in going.
(09 Apr 01)


Nr. 1138:

It was noted that some of the 1717 German emigrants wanted to go to Pennsylvania, but were taken by the captain of their ship to Virginia instead.  There were sold as servants to Alexander Spotswood, who was wanting people to work for him very badly.  If we are to understand why Spotswood was wanting Germans, we have to go back to the 1713 German emigrants, who arrived in the spring of 1714, in Virginia.

When the 1714 Germans arrived, they were settled by Spotswood, beyond the usual course of the Rangers, in a simple fort.  He had two intentions when he did this, one was a public one, and one was private to him and a few partners.  The public one was to be a barrier between the Indians and the English settlers.  The private one was to work the silver mine in which he was an investor with a few other people, including Christoph von Graffenried (or de Graffenried as he liked to be called).

Two years later, nothing had been accomplished at this silver mine except the investors had become discouraged about the prospects.  The Germans had hardly been allowed to scratch the surface.  By 1716, the prospects for silver had been totally discounted.

From Spotswood's viewpoint there had been one failure and one success.  The failure, of course, was the silver mine.  The success was that peace had been maintained on the frontier.  The Germans had stayed at Fort Germanna in agreement with their understanding with Spotswood.  As keepers of the peace, they excelled and Spotswood appreciated this.  Probably also they had been hard workers, clearing the land for the farming they had to do, and building the roads for access to Fort Germanna.  Even though life there was very hard for the Germans, they had not balked or skipped out.

In 1716 Spotswood was considering how he was going to support himself and live like the Virginia Gentlemen that he wanted to be.  Nearly all of the German men were oriented to the land.  Land was relatively cheap, but the labor was expensive.  In a joint venture with Robert Beverley and others, Spotswood formed a land partnership, and they staked out about 60,000 acres, from Germanna to the far side of the future Culpeper town.  The problem was where to get the labor.  If at all possible, Germans were desired.  It is very likely that he asked the Germans at Fort Germanna whether they could obtain fifty to a hundred more Germans.

Spotswood talked to the ship captains also as to whether they couldn't find some Germans.  One of them that he talked to was Andrew Tarbett, who did not forget that Spotswood wanted Germans.  In 1717, when a group of Germans fell into his clutches, he promised them what they wanted to hear (he would transport them to Pennsylvania), but proceeded to take them to Virginia instead.

Had there not been the first group at Fort Germanna, Spotswood probably would not have tried for more Germans.  He liked them as willing and stable workers.  These were the kind of people he wanted.  They did not make trouble, especially with the Indians.

The first group would not have been there except for the colonization plans of Michel, Graffenried, and the investors in George Ritter and Company.
(10 Apr 01)


Nr. 1139:

I will start calling the early Germans as the First and Second Germanna Colonies.  Events did not turn out as expected for either of these colonies.  The First Colony expected to be mining silver for George Ritter and Company in Virginia.  They at least ended up in Virginia, even though were times on the trip when they may have had their doubts whether they would see any part of the New World.  When they did arrive, they were settled in the neighborhood of a silver mine, but they were not allowed to dig.  They must have thought the Virginians were crazy.  A man had paid one hundred and fifty pounds Sterling on their passage and then he set them down in a fort and told them to watch the Indians.  They were encouraged to clear land, grow crops, build roads, and hunt.  They were essentially on their own.

Two years later, Lt. Gov. Spotswood was writing to England that they had done nothing that could be counted as compensation for the money he had spent.  This, of course, simply was not true.  He obtained the land on which they were located, and automatically met the seating requirements.  Therefore, he was amply reimbursed.

The Second Colony was very surprised to find themselves in Virginia.  When they first sighted land in Virginia, they probably thought they were seeing Pennsylvania.  There was probably some strong language spoken when they learned the truth.  Tradition has it that the Captain refused to release their possessions until they agreed to work for Spotswood.  No doubt it was with some difficulty that their position (or the weakness thereof) was explained to them.

As they moved to the westward frontier, which was probably by ship to about the site of present day Fredericksburg, and then by land the rest of the way, they encountered more Germans in the vastness of the wilderness.  This was almost certainly a surprise.  Any conversations with the First Colony members must have left the Second Colony members confused.  About all the First Colony members could say was that they were watching a silver mine, watching the Indians, and watching their crops grow.

The Second Colony members must have wondered why a fort was necessary.  What did that imply?  Why weren't they getting a fort also?  They were being spread out at about half-mile intervals in a general direction toward the Indians.  Was this really safe?

Taken together, all of the Germans must have had many questions about what was being done.  And probably their role was confusing to them.  The Second Colony members learned that, in addition to clearing land to grow crops, they were expected to produce naval stores.  This was not exactly their expertise.

Ach, those crazy English.  Were they really to be trusted?
(11 Apr 01)


Nr. 1140:

Let's review the activities of the First Colony Germans.  When they arrived in Virginia, they were taken to the site where the fort (called later, if not then, Fort Germanna) was to be built.  Someone in the employ of the colony, or of Alexander Spotswood, went with them to select the site and to explain what was to be done.  Probably all of the labor was supplied by them.  They cleared the ground, removed the trees, selected and cut some more trees that would make suitable building materials for the palisade, the blockhouse, the houses, and the animal pens.

Fort Germanna was a simpler version of Fort Christiana, which had already been built, but still the two forts had many features in common.  Perhaps the guidance for building it was provided by a "military engineer" in the employment of the colony.  The general site was picked by Spotswood, and was determined by the silver mine in which he was an investor.  The detailed site was probably chosen by examination of the terrain and the configuration of the Rapidan River.

Perhaps they came simultaneously, or perhaps later, but there were animals to tend, such as cows, pigs, and chickens.  Another very important task was to clear ground, since the natural state of the region was forest.  This was very important as the Germans had to grow much of their own food.  The Colony had arranged that no one else was to hunt in the area, so the hunting rights were reserved to the Germans.  Considering how late in the year it was when they settled in (summer already), the Germans could not raise any food that first year.

It seems the Germans were shown the silver mine, but they were instructed not to dig there.  Spotswood had to determine first who owned any precious metals that might be found.  The activities of just getting settling in at Germanna, and preparing for the year ahead, would have kept the Germans busy for several months.  They were probably very few visitors, and it could be that the Native Americans were the most numerous.  That would have posed a language barrier because the German's knowledge of English was weak and the Native American's knowledge of German was even weaker.  There is no evidence of any troubles between the Germans and the Indians.

About two and one-half years after the fort was built, John Fontaine, a Huguenot, visited with two other men.  Fontaine left a diary with a description of the place.  This is about the only piece of evidence as to what Fort Germanna looked like.  Also, it gives some clues as to the daily activities at the fort.

He notes there were daily worship services which all hands attended.  Fontaine made a special comment about their singing, which he thought was good.  Apparently the men did not leave the fort for any great distance because they were present for the worship services.  Fontaine did not note any unusual activity by the men so they must have been doing things that he would have expected at a frontier fort.
(12 Apr 01)


Nr. 1141:

Some writers have claimed that the First Germanna Colony was recruited by Graffenried at the request of Lt. Gov. Spotswood for the purpose of mining iron ore which he had discovered.  There are at least three errors in this statement.

There was no known iron in the vicinity of Fort Germanna when the Germans arrived.  Later there was, but that was a few years down the pike.  Had there been iron ore when the Germans arrived, Spotswood would not have settled the Germans at an appreciable distance from it.  This later iron ore was thirteen miles away from Fort Germanna.  If the ore been known when the Germans came, they would not have been settled thirteen miles away from it.

When I was first introduced to Germanna history, most of what I read was published by the Germanna Foundation.  The claim they made that the Germans had been imported to mine iron ore, and that they were settled thirteen miles away from this ore, just did not make sense.  It did not make sense to Brawdus Martin in this century either.  His answer was to manufacture and to publish false evidence showing that the "first" Germanna had been located at the mines.  He should have recognized, of course, the problem lay with the original claim which was false.

Also, the claim that Spotswood had found iron ore is not justified or supported by any evidence.  This latter claim is usually made to support the concept that Spotswood had asked Graffenried to recruit miners when he returned to Europe.  What we do have as real evidence is that Graffenried started recruiting these people in 1710, before he had met Spotswood, and that, when he returned to England and found the Germans there, he advised them to go home to Germany.  This does not support the idea that Graffenried was recruiting for Spotswood.

What we do have as evidence are deeds in Essex County showing land sales in 1713 to Spotswood, Graffenried, and others.  And we have written testimony by Graffenried that this land was thought to contain silver.  There was written testimony in Virginia by several people who believed in the silver mine.  This silver mine was only a few miles from Fort Germanna and is the reason that Fort Germanna was located where it was.  The projected silver mine is the reason that the Germans were even in Virginia.

Why were the Germans not actively working this silver mine?  It was not established who would own the silver, if, indeed, silver were found.  Would it belong to the Crown, or would it belong to the developer of the mine, or would it be split?  Customarily, the Crown reserved the gold and silver that could be present on a tract of land.  The patents that were issued were quiet on this subject.  Spotswood was trying to obtain a reasonable split of the metals between the developer and the Crown.  Until the division of the metals was defined, he would not allow any work at the mine.
(13 Apr 01)


Nr. 1142:

Let me try a recapitulation of the activities of the people in the first Germanna Colony when they were at Fort Germanna.  At first, they were in a holding pattern.  There was hope the royalty question on the silver mine would be resolved.  Until it was, they had two things to occupy them.  The hard labor was clearing ground for farming.  They were not supplied with food; they had to grow their food.  The second thing, their official duty, was to watch for the Indians and to impress them that the Colony of Virginia was serious (and wanted peace).

When the expedition through the western lands and across the Blue Ridge Mountains was assembling at Germanna in 1716, John Fontaine seems to have been assigned the task of determining whether the silver mine did, in fact, contain any silver.  He visited the mine more than once, and even collected some ore to take back to Williamsburg.  Fontaine is clear that he did not believe there was any silver to be found.

At this time the Germans had been at Germanna a little more than two years, almost two and a half years.  You would expect them to explore the countryside and to look around.  I believe, that during the period leading up to Spotswood's visit, they had found iron ore, though they might not have been very positive about the quality and extent of it.  While Spotswood was there, they discussed this with him.

I do not think Spotswood was very excited by the news.  He was already committed to land acquisition as his retirement plan.  (The major purpose of the people on the western trip was to find land.)  This was a proven route to financial independence.  There was an excellent reason not to be too excited about iron, and that was the trade law which England enforced on the colonists.  Spotswood had already been warned once that an investment in iron production might have to be abandoned because of these laws.  Also there was the little question about how to finance any iron production.  He probably told the Germans to keep looking to quantify their findings better.

The Germans were primarily farmers at this point and they continued to farm.  They probably did intensify their search and broaden it, but they were not at the point of developing any mines.  According to Spotswood, about the time the Second Colony came (most likely, early 1718), he received a letter from Sir Richard in England asking if Spotswood could look for iron ore.  Sir Richard and some friends thought they might go into the iron business.  Spotswood saw this as an opportunity to be pursued.  The people in England might provide the political support and the financial support that he lacked himself.

Still, it was not a change in his investment plans.  He had just launched a partnership with a claim on more than 60,000 acres of land.  This was still priority number one.  He had the labor for this in the seventy-odd Germans that Capt. Tarbett had brought.

Still, the iron might be interesting, and, so, more serious exploratory work was undertaken.  In 1718 (by Spotswood's statement), the Germans commenced a serious search for the iron ore.  Of course, Spotswood knew they would be successful as they had already informed him of their finds.  But now the work became more intensive, and upwards of sixty pounds was spent in the iron mine development.
(14 Apr 01)


Nr. 1143:

According to Spotswood, he set the Germans at Fort Germanna to looking for iron ore about the time the Second Colony came.  More likely, the First Colony did not have to "look", as they probably had some good ideas about the location of the ore.  In fact, I believe they were the ones who brought it to Spotswood's attention.

Jacob Holtzclaw and John Justus Albrecht made testimony, recorded in a courthouse, that they worked at mining and quarrying, which ended in December 1718.  In other testimony, Spotswood said he had spent upwards of sixty pounds on this work.  I believe the Germans were proving there was a good body of ore, which could support a furnace for many years.

What happened in December of 1718?  The four years that the Germans had agreed to work had been finished the previous summer, and it was now four and one-half years after they had arrived.  Their service for Spotswood was ended.  In line with the end of their service, they had agreed to purchase 1800 acres, more or less, from the Northern Neck Proprietor, in 1717.  Moving to this land in the summer of 1717 would not have been a good idea.  They had been through such an experience once.  It is too late in the year to clear any ground for crops.  By staying at Fort Germanna, they could grow another crop there.  Then, leaving there the next January, they could move to their land and clear ground for the next growing season.

That is what I believe they did.  In January of 1719 (by the new style calendar), they moved to their land, which became known as Germantown.  With this, they commenced their life on their own.  Essentially, now they had no one to answer to except themselves.

With proven iron mines, Spotswood had to find financial help to help build the furnace.  Apparently, some of this help came from England, and some may have been in Virginia.  The most likely sources were the trading houses and merchants in England.  These were very powerful people.  Labor to build the furnace came from England, most likely.  By 1721, the furnace was smelting iron, but it was having problems.  It was not until about 1723 that it was producing iron on a consistent basis.

In Spotswood's account of his activities, his time table does not always agree with the statements of some other parties.  For example, Spotswood said that he set the Germans to searching for the iron about the start of 1718.  More likely, the Germans had been working some on the ore before this time.  But Spotswood probably wanted to disguise when he and the Germans had started the effort.

His approach to iron was cautious because of the known opposition to iron manufacturing in the colonies.  England wanted the colonies to ship raw materials back to them, where they would be worked up into finished goods, and shipped back to the colonies.  Wool was to be sent back to England, where it would be worked into clothing and blankets.  Lumber was to be shipped to England, where furniture would be made.  The colonies were not to do any finish work.
(16 Apr 01)


Nr. 1144:

Next, let us consider the colony of 1717, which may not have been a colony of 1717.  That is to say, by the modern calendar, they may have left Germany in 1717, but it is possible that they did not arrive in Virginia until 1718.

Start with the time that they left Germany, which the pastor in Gemmingen pinpoints for us very exactly.  He wrote, on 12 July 1717, ". . . expect to move away from here, wanting to take ship to Pennsylvania . ."  This was very late in the year to be leaving Germany.  One wonders what the delay was (assuming the pastor was correct, and the translation is correct).  It probably took about a month to get to Rotterdam.  Even though this trip was "downhill", as one took advantage of the flow of the Rhine River, there were about thirty to fifty principalities that one had to pass through.  Each one of these had a customs house, where they wanted to inspect the goods, and to levy a customs fee.  So let's put the people in Rotterdam in early August.

Then, they had to find a ship to London.  This was probably not too hard, since there was quite a bit of cross-channel traffic; however, space had to be found for about eighty people, which may have taken a little while.  By the end of August, they were probably in London.  Finding a ship to take them across the Atlantic was probably time consuming, as the passenger season was essentially past.  Also, passenger traffic was not a big enterprise in 1717.  So finding a ship may have taken a little while.

When they did find a ship, say in early September, they had the misfortune to find one for which the master was Andrew Tarbett.  They struck a bargain, and he said he would take them to Pennsylvania.  Then a small disaster struck when Tarbett was thrown into Debtor's Prison.  We have no information on how long he was there.  The Germans said they had consumed much of their food before he was released.  It becomes impossible to assign any times at this point.

Once the westbound trip had started, an average time was ten weeks.  An excellent time was eight weeks, and three months was not unusual.  All of these times could bring us up to the end of the December, and the beginning of January.  Even if the arrival time had been in the range or January 1 to March 25, they would have said, by the calendar in use in Virginia, that their arrival was in 1717.  As we can see though, there is a possibility that it could have been in 1718 by the modern calendar.

In discussing this point with Klaus Wust, he said it would be impossible to change the date because "1717" was cut into too many stones!

Many of the Debtor's Prison records still exist, but, unfortunately for us, there is a two-year gap from 1716 to 1718.  If the records were available, it would help to fix who the captain was and the dates he was in prison.
(17 Apr 01)


Nr. 1145:

When the Second Germanna Colony got over their initial shock at finding themselves in Virginia, not Pennsylvania, they probably wondered what to think about this turn of events.  One wonders if what they heard from the agents for Alexander Spotswood was as satisfying as they expected to find in Pennsylvania.  They probably landed at Jamestown, where Capt. Tarbett would have expected to find Spotswood, whom Tarbett knew wanted German labor.  Then, they would have made a trip by ship up the Rappahannock River, to just below the future site of Fredericksburg (as far as a ship could go because of the falls in the river).  Then, it was a trip over the roads built by the First Germanna Colony up to Fort Germanna.  To find Germans here in the wilderness was probably a surprise.

Spotswood and his partners wanted the Germans settled on farm-sized acreages along the north shore of the Rapidan River, i.e., across the river from Germanna, and up the river a few miles.  It appears the houses were to be laid out at half-mile separations along the river, with another row paralleling these, but about a half-mile back from the river.  Since there were twenty odd houses, this would have extended about five miles up the river.  The western extremity might have been about Potato Run.

It has to be assumed the Germans built the houses, but they needed instructions on the style of construction to be used.  Probably, the English supervisors showed the Germans how to build one house, and then they were left to build the rest of them.  Probably no boundaries were laid out for the farms.  The supervisors probably specified the home sites, and the Germans probably chose from among the sites to satisfy, as best they could, the desires of families to remain together.

So what were they to do with this land?  The first objective would be to clear some of it so they could grow food.  Spotswood and his partners supplied them with cattle on a partnership basis.  The Germans would have to return the equivalent of the original cattle, plus one half of the increase.  They could keep one half of the increase for themselves.

Then, the Germans were given a conflicting series of tasks to perform.  Primarily, they were to make naval stores, a task in which they or the Virginians were not particularly well versed.  Parliament had published some instructions on how to raise naval stores, and these were tried.  But, as Spotswood noted later, these instructions were not applicable to the conditions in Virginia.  To remedy this situation, Spotswood imported people from Finland to act as instructors, apparently at his own expense.

Why the emphasis on naval stores?  England was beginning to realize that she no longer had the resources to produce naval stores, and she was having to import them from the Baltic nations.  It became important to have the ability in the colonies.  Spotswood understood that this was a good product to produce because of the desire in England to become self-sufficient.  This would be the justification for taking up 40,000 acres of land, which would be used to produce naval stores.  He could tell the King, "That is what you wanted, wasn't it?  To satisfy your wishes, I had to take up 40,000 acres."
(18 Apr 01)


Nr. 1146:

The Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations prepared a report for King George (I), showing the trade with the colonies in the three years from Christmas 1714 to Christmas 1717.  I am selecting the parts which can clearly be identified with naval stores.

From all of the colonies, for these three years, there was turpentine (£12,082), pitch and tar (£34,990), and train oil (£7,680).  (I don’t believe the last item is really a naval store, but I couldn’t omit the chance to throw in it to see if you were paying attention.  If you are curious, it is whale oil.  In addition, masts, poles, and the boards used below decks to lock the cargo into place were also considered naval stores.  And hemp was a naval store.  Linen for sails might also be considered a naval store but it usually was not counted.)

It was about this time that a push commenced for more of England’s naval stores to be produced in the colonies.  I have mentioned that Spotswood was taking advantage of this desire to justify his large land holdings.

He returned to England late in 1724 to clarify the titles to his lands which were in doubt.  His appeal was made to King George in 1727.  The opening paragraph of his petition reads:

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

"That design he encouraged by the forming of 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 and Seating large tracts of the Crown’s Desart-Lands, & in importing materials and proper Workmen, for raising all manner of Naval Stores.

"That this grand undertaking proving to be attended with great Difficulties, than his partners had Courage or Ability longer to struggle with, your Petitioner, while he was Governor ventured to take the whole concern upon himself rather than such a laudable attempt should be given over, to the 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 the Undertaking such a length, as to ship home the first Pig-Iron [in 1723], & the first Hemp of Virginia growth, that were ever known to be imported into Great Britain.  Besides proving by experience that in these american Parts, neither the Tar can be made according to the directions of the act of Parliament, without the peculiar Skill of Finland Tar-burners, nor the Hemp ever be raised to any perfection from the English, or the East Country Seed."

Spotswood made the core of his petition the idea that he was only doing what the King asked to be done.  Furthermore, the directions that came from London were no good.  To remedy this, he had to hire talent from abroad, at his own expense [this last point is brought out more clearly in other writings, I believe].  The Finnish tar-burners are not otherwise identified.
(19 Apr 01)


Nr. 1147:

The petition that I quoted from (partially) in the last note can be found in the Public Record Office in Kew as C.O. 5/1344, pages 1 and 2.  A microfilm copy of these pages can be found in the Virginia State Library, but this microfilm copy has some passages that are impossible to read.  I have on order, from the PRO, an original copy and I hope it will help clarify a few points.  The parts that I quoted are legible, at least to the point that I did not have to guess at more than one or two words.

Since writing the previous note I have thought of the name of the boards or planks that were used below decks to secure the cargo so that it would not rock or slide around.  These boards are called "deal" boards.

It seems obvious that one or more English supervisors must have been present in "New German Town" to help them get settled and to do the assigned work.  The major part of this work was "naval stores" and apparently much trouble was encountered in trying to produce the naval stores.  As Spotswood indicated, he had partners, one of whom was Robert Beverley.  From the comments of Rev. Jones, it would seem that Beverley encouraged the Germans to grow grapes for wine.

It seems also there was a short-lived experiment, in which the Second Germanna Colony made charcoal.  This is at least the implication of Spotswood's comments to William Byrd, who was investigating the iron industry.  Spotswood recommended that the charcoal be produced as close as possible to the furnace.  Spotswood said he had tried to make charcoal across the river, but that it had not traveled very well.  This would fit the location of the Second Colony, and the distance would have been about twenty miles.  Even though most of the trip was by water, it was still a long distance to ship charcoal.  Except for the delivery of the charcoal, no one in the Second Colony was at the furnace site.

In addition to all of these assigned tasks, the Germans would have been growing their own food.  It is doubtful that any of the Germans grew tobacco while they were at, or near, Germanna.  It does not seem as though they would have had time enough.

Returning to the use of the word "Germantown", above, the first settlement at Germanna was called Germantown.  To verify this, consult John Fontaine who says "Germantown" more often than he says "Germanna".  To clarify the locations of the homes of the Second Colony settlers, who were a few miles away from Germanna, their homes were called "New Germantown".  The 1800 acre site, to which the First Colony moved, was also called Germantown, but it was the third Germantown in Virginia.  In the end, though, it was the only locality to which the name stuck.
(20 Apr 01)


Nr. 1148:

One of the longest statements about the Second Colony, while they lived on the Spotsylvania Tract, i.e., the 40,000 acres in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock, was written by the Rev. Hugh Jones, who lived in Virginia for a few years.  His visit ended in 1722 when he returned to England.  There he wrote a book, "The Present State of Virginia", which has been reprinted.

It is not clear that his observations about the Second Colony were based on a personal visit, as opposed to second-hand information.  John Fontaine's remarks about Fort Germanna were clearly personal, but Jones' comments lack that sense of being present.  What he wrote was:

"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 those 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 manufacturer thereof was but encouraged and promoted thereabouts; which might prove of wonderful 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 . . ."

These comments of Jones, with the references to Beverley and to naval stores, show that he was writing about the Second Colony, and not about the First Colony of 1714, as some writers have mistakenly assumed.  These writers were misled by the reference to "beyond this" and assumed that anything past Germanna must refer to the First Colony, who had moved to their new homes.  They were assuming that the Second Colony was at the furnace, thirteen miles below Germanna.  They did not realize that the Second Colony lived beyond Germanna, and essentially had nothing to do with the iron operation.

The members of the Second Colony did not regard their life on the Spotsylvania Tract as the Garden of Eden.  They might well have disagreed with the assessment of Rev. Jones.  I believe they described their life there as "hard".  And, of course, Rev. Jones had not heard about the lawsuits which Spotswood filed against the Second Colony members.  If he had, he might not have written "at easy or no rates".
(21 Apr 01)


Nr. 1149:

When one studies what things cost in Spotswood's time one wonders where he was getting his money.  His salary as Lt. Gov. was not sufficient (this salary was the result of splitting the usual salary with Lord Orkney, the Governor, who remained in England).  Spotswood was retired from the Army, but retirement pay has never been a gold mine.  About 1720, he was building his house at Germanna, building his iron furnace, and buying out his partners in the Spotsylvania Tract.  There is no doubt that he was using "other people's money".  He must have been seriously in debt to be undertaking all of these things at approximately the same time.

He attempted to raise some money by suing the members of the Second Colony [for "money advanced them" when they came].  The first of these originated on 6 Sep 1723, in a suit against Jacob Crigler, for almost thirty-five pounds, before Spotswood had gone to England.  Since Jacob Crigler is usually considered to have been a bachelor, thirty-five pounds does not seem to have any relationship to Crigler's transportation costs.  The defendant pleaded that he did not owe the money and asked for an extension.  Then Spotswood was granted an extension to consider Crigler's plea.  The following March, both parties agreed to drop the lawsuit and the defendant agreed to pay the cost of the suit (this in itself, sounds like coercion).

Zacharias Fleshman and George Utz filed a petition with the Virginia House of Burgesses, and the Germans were granted [by the Council] the right to be represented by the King's deputy attorney in the lawsuits.

The suits against Michael Holt and George Utz were dismissed when the plaintiff failed to appear to prosecute his cases.  The suit against Michael Clore was dismissed when he agreed to pay the costs of the sheriff and the clerk.  The amounts in these three suits are unknown.  Altogether, the known amounts that Spotswood sued for totaled more than 243 pounds (including Crigler).  The amount that Spotswood was awarded by the juries in the cases that went to trial was approximately 65 pounds or, roughly speaking, 25% of what he asked for.

Was Spotswood to be entitled to anything?  By my understanding, the Germans were essentially indentured servants, and indentured servants did not pay for their transportation.  At the end of their service, they could depart free and clear.  On the contrary, many times the contracts provided that the servants would be given new clothes and a small sum of money at the end of their service.

Speaking of contracts, the Germans repeatedly asked Spotswood for a copy of the contract that applied to them, but he would never give them one.  In some of his testimony to London, he said the Germans were free men (I presume as opposed to servants); however, he used their names to pay for land, a procedure more typical of servants than free people.

The lawsuits by Spotswood reflect very negatively on his character.
(23 Apr 01)


Nr. 1150:

To recapitulate some of the history of the Second Germanna Colony, they were in Virginia in spite of the agreement they had with Andrew Tarbett, the captain of the ship Scott, on which they had booked passage for Pennsylvania.  In Virginia, they found themselves working for a man, (at least, most of them did) whose aims and objectives must have seemed confused.

They were set to making naval stores, probably pitch, tar, and hemp.  Only, the instructions given to them did not work.  Then another boss (Robert Beverley) wanted them cultivate grapes.  They might have had more sympathy with this project than naval stores.  But, while all of this was going on, they had to farm to have food to eat.

After a few years, Spotswood wanted them to make charcoal.  They made some and took it down the river to the furnace site, but it was found that the journey was too long.  So the charcoal-making sub-project ended.  About five years after they came, lawsuits were filed against them by Spotswood.  And the amounts were not trivial.

The Germans tried to obtain copies of the written contracts from Spotswood, but he never supplied any.  Fortunately, they found a few friends in Williamsburg to help them.

Taken together, the first years could not have been very happy for them.  There were lots of disappointments and frustrations.  One can imagine there were a few sharp words among the members of the group.  Apparently though, they survived all of this and went on to found a community that was more to their liking.  But the assessment by Rev. Hugh Jones that their life was a "bed of roses", and this was while they were still at "New Germantown", does seem far too cheerful.  Or, the Germans were better natured people than we can easily believe.

A discussion on the subject will have to wait, but some of the people who came in 1717 apparently left Virginia and did not stay.  No doubt, they went to Pennsylvania where they probably had friends and relatives.
(24 Apr 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-SIXTH set of Notes, Nr. 1126 through Nr. 1150.)


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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 1126 through 1150.


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