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


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This Page Contains Notes 1176 through 1200.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 48

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Nr. 1176:

The passage of the tobacco law in the Virginia assembly was uncertain.  Some small changes were made at the request of the burgesses, but the assembly was very leery of the power that Gooch would have in appointing Inspectors for the tobacco.  Gooch agreed to having the Inspectors appointed by the joint decision of the Council and the Lt. Gov.  And, if an elected official were appointed an Inspector, he had to resign his elective office.  After he had done this, he could run for reelection at the next election and let the voters decide whether they wanted an elected official to also serve as an executive administrator.  This was a significant erosion of the gubernatorial power, but Gooch felt the tobacco legislation was more important than the loss of power.

Gooch was concerned about another matter, namely the lack of capable people in Virginia.  He felt that some doubling up of functions was necessary, because there were not enough good men in Virginia to run the government.  But Gooch's role throughout the legislation convinced people that he was interested in them, not in himself.

The law was passed in Virginia, but this was only the opening skirmish, as it had to be approved in Great Britain.  Gooch had attempted to pre-sell the legislation there, and even to win support for the law, before it was enacted.  It had been demonstrated, time and again, that people in England, especially the merchants, could intervene long after a law had apparently been passed, and could get it revoked.

Opposition did develop in England against the law, but, thanks to the skillful handling of the matter by Gooch, the law was sustained.  This was not an easy thing to do, as the merchants were on the scene, and Gooch was four or five months away.  Gooch kept hammering away, in a rational manner, on the benefits for both the planters and the empire.  Not only did the merchants wage a secret campaign against the law, but Customs officials waged open warfare, on the basis that it was a threat to the King's revenues.  They even argued that the three shilling fee per hogshead, to be levied on the planters to pay for the inspection, would force the smaller planters out of production.  The Customs people also thought the inspection would be too strict and would cut out the middle grades of tobacco.

Finally, though, the Board of Trade was convinced that the act would be beneficial for all parties.  They recommended the approval of the act, at least on a probationary basis.

Another feature of the act was that only high-grade tobacco could be used to pay public debts.  Previously people had been paying their public debts with trashy tobacco.  So the legislation was launched, but it was not clear that it would endure.
(24 May 01)


Nr. 1177:

[I will take a break from the tobacco mini-series.]

Zacharias Blanckhenbühler was born to Johann Nicholas Blanckenbühler and Apollonia Käfer, in Neuenbürg, Germany, on 21 Oct 1715.  Before he was two years old, he left with his parents, (maternal) grandmother and her husband, cousins, aunts, and uncles, for Pennsylvania.  They never made it though, they did reach America at Virginia.  Actually, Zacharias was lucky to have survived the trip, because the ocean voyages were not kind to young children.

The family of Zacharias settled first in Essex County, but he lived in Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, and Madison County before he died.  He probably spoke his last words in German.  It appears that he was about 34 years of age before he married.  When he did marry, his wife was a widow with two young daughters.  We have little information about her, except that her nickname was Els or Alcy.  Probably, this was derived from Elizabeth.  She was faithful in attending the German Lutheran Church, and her name occurs in the communicant lists for several years after Zacharias died.  Ten children were born to Zacharias and Els, but only six of these lived.  Her two daughters lived to a marriageable age also.  The dates for her children suggest that she was several years younger that Zacharias.  One book suggested that her married name was Finks, but there are no clues as to her maiden name.

The second son of Zacharias and Els was Zacharias, Jr., who moved to southwest Virginia.  There he raised a family who, generally, but not exclusively, adopted the spelling of Blankenbeckler.  This weekend, in Willow Springs, Missouri, Blankenbeckler descendants are sponsoring a Reunion to which they invite all Germanna descendants.  Hallie Price Garner, who is a major Blankenbeckler researcher, will be one of the speakers.

I am going (with Eleanor) and will offer some comments on research in Germany and Austria on the family.  At about 1600 in Austria, it becomes very hard to find good information.  One reason, of course, is that not many records were kept then.  But another obstacle arises because the churches were undergoing the conversion from Protestant back to Catholic.  Not many years prior to this they had undergone the reverse conversion.

Around the world, we can find Plankenpichlers and Blankenpichlers in Austria, with the first being more numerous.  One member of the family was a mayor of Vienna.  Over in Germany, the names, in order of increasing popularity, are Plankenbühler and Blankenbühler.  Besides the versions that most of us know here in America, there are also Blankenbühlers and Blankenbehlers.  These latter families came much later than the original ones in 1717.  The name Blankenbühler also occurs in Holland.  The conversion from "bichl", meaning hill, to "bühl", also meaning hill, is merely the substitution of a more modern word for the older form.

This weekend IT is a Blankenbeckler Reunion in Willow Springs, Missouri.  We could hold a worldwide reunion but what name would we use to advertise it?
(25 May 01)


Nr. 1178:

[Back to the tobacco mini-series.]

In 1731, the Board of Trade recommended passage of the tobacco act requiring inspection of tobacco.  But even this approval was half-hearted; the recommendation was of the tone, "Let's pass it and see what happens, and if we don't like it we can repeal it."  Lt. Gov. Gooch in Virginia was now faced with the implementation of the act.  The large planters were on his side as they generally grew the best tobacco.  If the trash tobacco could be eliminated, they saw improved prices for the better tobacco.  The smaller planters were not as favorable, since they generally grew a poorer tobacco.  Some of the large planters saw overproduction as a problem, and they wanted a return to the stint laws.

The small planters were concerned that the large planters would dominate the inspection system and would use their power to condemn the tobacco of the small planters.  They thought the large planters would automatically have their tobacco passed while the tobacco of the small planters would be at the mercy of the inspectors.  The problem was compounded by the fact that the smaller planters often had marginal land which did yield inferior tobacco.  So the tobacco law was launched with considerable opposition.  The first crop under the new law was severely damaged by the weather.  Gooch told the inspectors to be lenient in their grading, or the opposition to the law would be overwhelming.

The planters in the Northern Neck were a major part of the opposition.  These small planters usually did not have slaves, and did all of the work themselves.  During the winter, rioters burned several government warehouses.  Gooch vigorously sought out the culprits to let them know that they could not hide under a lack of identification, but he was lenient in the punishment.  In the spring of the next year, Gooch wrote a pamphlet anonymously which extolled the inspection law.  It was aimed at the small planter who could not understand why burning part of the crop could be beneficial.  The pamphlet seemed to help stem the opposition to the law.  The large planters generally fell into line behind Gooch and supported the law.

At a session of the House of Burgesses, repeal and serious amendments were beaten down.  The Council (i.e., large planters) helped by punishing fourteen inspectors who had embezzled, shown favoritism, accepted bribes, or otherwise violated the law.

In 1734, Gooch asked the assembly to continue the law for another four years.  What was becoming evident was that the large planters controlled the assembly, and the government in general.  In the late 1730's, the battle was between the large planters and the small producers, many of whom were on the frontier and in the Northern Neck.  The closer a planter was to Williamsburg, and to the rivers, the more power he had.  In 1736, the House of Burgesses voted to repeal the tobacco act, and some of the larger planters made no opposition to this because they knew that the measure would not be passed by the Council which was dominated by the large planters.  In 1742, the renewal of the act passed the House.
(30 May 01)


Nr. 1179:

Generally, the new tobacco law, which was due to Gooch, worked and prices improved.  Of course, many factors affected the price of tobacco.  For example, the major market for tobacco was in Europe, not in England.  If there was a war going on, trade was not always possible.  So there could be severe cuts in demand.  Then there was the uncertainty of the supply.  In some years, not enough rain, or too much rain, would spoil the crop and cut the supply.  There were years where the supply was said to be one-tenth to one-third of the usual.

There were depressions in England, which cut into the demand.  In spite of the measures which were adopted to improve and limit the supply, prices could not always be predicted.  There was another factor which hurt the Virginia planter, and that was the limited number of merchants who bought tobacco.  In England these merchants could talk among themselves and set the market.  There was another way in which the merchants limited the planter's options.  The tobacco buyer was often a goods seller.  The merchant would offer a higher price for the tobacco if the planter bought the things he needed through the merchant.

In short, a planter had to work hard and could not be sure that he would have a good return on his efforts.  Growing tobacco was hard work which required keen judgment, both before and after its harvest.  In the spring of the year, seeds are placed in a hotbed and nurtured until they are a few inches high.  In May, the plants are set out.  Basically, the center stalk supports leaves that grow around the stalk.  In August, probably, the stalk is cut a few inches above the ground.  The plants are hung upside down over a pole and the pole is placed in a drying shed.  The stalk and leaves dry out, but total crispness is not desired as the tobacco would crumble and turn to dust.  At the right time, the leaves are stripped of their fibrous stems and stalks.  The leaves are then pressed into a large barrel by the use of mechanical devices to develop high forces.  The barrel is sealed and taken to market, either by wagon or by rolling.

[Had it not been for the running of tobacco around the customs inspector, we would not have known the name of the Captain that brought the Second Germanna Colony.  Custom officials were caught accepting bribes from Andrew Tarbett, Captain of the ship Scott, to allow tobacco to pass without the payment of customs duties.  This was in 1724.  Apparently, Tarbett was not apprehended for his part in this illegal activity.  It does serve, though, to define who the Captain was who had brought the 1717 group.  When other records are examined, Tarbett was found to have been talking to Alexander Spotswood in the spring of 1717, where he learned of Spotswood's desire to obtain a shipload of Germans.]

For this little mini-series on tobacco and tobacco legislation, I am indebted to "The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography." The most recent issue, volume 108, number 4, has an article by Stacy L. Lorenz on the subject.
(31 May 01)


Nr. 1180:

The Rev. Hugh Jones, who came from England to take a parish in Virginia, stayed a few years and returned to England in 1722.  There he wrote a book, "The Present State of Virginia", in 1724.  He recognized that Virginia had "its own temper and manners".  He recognized that people, such as himself, had to adjust to different circumstances.

His description of Virginia centered on the tobacco trade which dominated the thinking of nearly all Virginians.  The tobacco trade, in combination with the river system, dominated the mechanics of how and where people lived.  He noted the close bonds between the merchant who bought the tobacco, the ship owner, and the supplier of goods from England.  Very often all three functions were present in one person.  A purchaser of goods in Virginia paid no freight on his goods from England, but he was bound in gratitude to freight his tobacco back on the same ship.

Physically, Jones was very impressed by the woods and by the lack of towns.  "The whole country is a perfect forest, except where the woods are cleared for plantations."  Jones heartily approved that the gentry were beginning to use bricks to build their houses.  He noted the common planters were building pretty timber houses.  Blacks, he observed, lived in small cottages.

Though Virginia had its own way of doing things, it was dependent for its prosperity on the export of a staple to the parent society, and on the importation of manufactured articles.  With material dependence came also cultural and psychological dependence.  With the goods, came tastes, standards, and a whole set of assumptions about the proper way of living.

The main features that Jones discovered may be reduced to two:  easy access to and from the sea along natural waterways that ran deep into the country itself, and the disposition of the leading inhabitants to exploit the situation by settling strategically "near some landing place".  The roads and bridges were built to send tobacco to the water network so they could be sent to England and goods received in return.

In the courthouses, affairs were regulated and disputes were settled according to forms only slightly different from English law and ways.  The general dignity and decorum evident at Williamsburg were a reassurance of the colony's progress, according to Jones.  These were marks of civilized improvements according to him.

It seems to me that our Germans would not have fit easily into this structure.  First, they were voiceless by language and by the size of their operation.  Second, they were remote from Williamsburg, both physically and psychologically.  They had special problems in accessing markets, which required a special effort.
(01 Jun 01)


Nr. 1181:

This is a good time to discuss the Hans Herr House in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It just happens that I will be on duty there today giving tours.  A month ago, when I was leading tours, we had a couple from Germany and then a family of four from France.  It is not unusual to have foreign visitors.  The Hans Herr House has been written up and recommended in both a German tour guide book and in a French tour guide book.  One unusual thing is that each of these parties had not yet been in the United States for twenty-four hours when they came to the House.  And if you allow me to judge, I do believe they were satisfied that the tour book recommendations were justified.  The French party was a challenge because the two youngest ones, one a preschooler and one just into the school system, did not speak a word of English.  (That is even-steven, as I do not speak a word of French.) The German woman protested that she did not speak English, but she actually spoke some, and I gave her a writeup in German.  We actually got along fine by substituting a few German words such as Wiedertaufen for Anabaptist.

What does any visitor find of interest at the House?  There is quite a mixture of things, but perhaps the most obvious one is that it gives some insight into how people lived then.  I like to emphasize that it was a dream for a do-it-yourselfer.  If you did not do it yourself, then you generally went without.  If you wanted a poured concrete arch over your basement, then you started with fundamentals and proceeded from there.

I usually give visitors a measure of the origins of Anabaptist thought so that they will know why the Germans came.  And perhaps I tell them some of the difficulties they encountered along the way.  Some of the people who come have never heard of Anabaptists, or Mennonites, or Amish, though it is very few that have not heard or seen the Amish in Lancaster County.  Some of the people are well acquainted with the history, since they grew up in one of those traditions.  So, some of the time it is "preaching to the choir".

There are artifacts that were found on the property.  It usually gets the attention of the audience when you show them a coin with the picture of Charles II on it.  Of course, I may have to explain that Charles II came after Charles I, but only after a Cromwellian interlude.  (Of course you know it was Charles II that created the Northern Neck.  Could it be called a "Neck" after his father?)  A George II coin was after 1727.  A Mexican, or more truthfully a Spanish coin, is also in the collection.  Many people are surprised that Spanish coins were almost coins of the realm in the colonies here.  Virginia specified some of its fees in terms of Spanish coins.  And I do the bit about a Spanish coin being cut into eight parts.

Then, I like to have guessing games for audience participation.  Where did Christian Herr buy his German family Bible?  Where was the "Martyr's Mirror" printed?  What is the utensil on the table holding a reed?  What is the tool with a long handle and a heavy stick of wood swivelled on the end of it?
(02 Jun 01)


Nr. 1182:

Our German ancestors in Virginia were no different from the other people there.  They grew tobacco to earn money.  Stated even more strongly, tobacco was money.  There were lots of problems in raising tobacco, and let's take a look at some of them.

The work had no beginning and no end.  Before one crop was completed, work had to commence on the next crop.  (Thus the common comment about tobacco farming, "It's a 13 month a year job.")  Tobacco is raised from seed (I don't know if one kept plants to produce seed or if one bought the seed.)  The seed is very small, almost invisible.  A thimble full would probably be enough for a small planter for one year.  Before February, one carefully prepared a seed bed by pulverizing the ground.  This was done by repeatedly hoeing up the ground and raking it off.

Protecting the seed from the elements was a problem.  Heavy rains could wash the soil and seed away.  Frost could kill the plants.  So one had to be ready during March and April to spread straw and brush over the ground to protect the young tobacco plants.  Besides the danger of frost, there were tobacco flies that were always ready to eat the plants.  In some years, the fly was so bad that no tobacco was raised.

While the seedlings were developing, the fields into which they would be transplanted had to be prepared.  The usual procedure was to plow the ground, and then to hoe the ground up into hills about three feet apart.  (This meant one plant took nine square feet, or that an acre of ground could have about 5,000 plants.  Thus, one man could take care of one to two acres of tobacco.)  As the time came near to set out the seedlings, the workers would punch a hole in the crown of each hill they had made.

Toward the end of May, especially when a rain had put some moisture into the ground, the seedlings were set out.  One person could be expected to set out about a thousand seedlings in a day.  If the time and conditions were right for transplanting the plants, then all hands would be assigned to this task.  In our German families, this meant all individuals who could move responsibly, without regard to their sex or age.

If the plants grew, so did the weeds.  Sometimes the weeds were so many and strong that other farm chores such as mowing the hay had to be postponed so the hands could weed the tobacco (and corn).  Occasionally there was a conflict between the tending the tobacco (money) and tending the corn (food).

Rains, and lack of rain, were a problem.  The farmer could do nothing to control these.  Should he hope for rain which would help his tobacco and corn, but would hurt his wheat, oats, and flax?  Of course, there wasn't much he could do about it except to remain flexible and to work with whatever nature gave him.  Whether the uncontrolled rain was the worst enemy is debatable, for another enemy could be more destructive, and that was a siege of worms or caterpillars.  There was a simple answer for the worms.
(04 Jun 01)


Nr. 1183:

When the worms got too busy in the tobacco, it was all hands out to pick the caterpillars (Tobacco Hornworms) off.  There were no insecticides to kill them; it was a case of physically picking them off by hand and destroying them.  If the rain and the insects did not destroy the crop, then toward the end of August it was time to cut the tobacco down.  According to Rev. Jones, they cut it to leave about six or eight leaves on the stem.  It was allowed to wither briefly in the sun, and then was hung in tobacco houses to dry.  The method of hanging was to use a horizontal stick about six feet long as a support.  The stick, plus the tobacco, became the working unit and this stick was hung from the beams in the barn.

This work carried through September and into October.  About two months after the first cutting had commenced, then stripping commencing.  First, the tobacco had to be taken down from its perch in the drying barn.  Then it was piled up and covered up to sweat, probably to make it more pliable.  The leaves were removed from the stalk and the large fibers were removed from the leaves.  A number of them were tied together to form a hand.  Next, the hands were pressed into a large barrel, or hogshead, perhaps holding several hundred pounds.  To pack it in tightly, a mechanical press or lever was used to amplify the forces.

After the barrel was sealed with the end cover, it might be taken down a creek in a light boat.  Or it could be loaded on a cart, or even rolled to market.  The "market" was the government-approved warehouse where it was inspected and weighed (or sometimes burned as unfit).  As proof that the tobacco was in the warehouse and had been inspected, "tobacco notes" were issued which changed hands like money.  Finally, an individual holding a note would consign the hogshead to a ship's captain for export.  Very likely, it would be consigned to a person from whom it was desired to buy something.

The urge to establish a net credit abroad, and the need to clear debts in Virginia, drove the planter to ever more elaborate and larger operations.  Invariably this would involve clearing more land, or even obtaining more land.  As the eighteenth century came of age, land in the Tidewater regions grew scarce, and it was necessary to look to the west of the fall line.  In doing so, the rivers were essentially left behind, and it was necessary to depend more and more on a road structure.  To the west of the fall line, the authority of the colony was less obvious.  This became Indian country, and the title to lands was less clear.  The King, as the royal proprietor of Virginia, claimed the land all the way to the Pacific ocean (wherever that was), but he had to negotiate with the Indians to get them to relinquish their claims.  West of the fall line, as for example Germanna when it was established, was beyond the course of the Rangers.  The Germans settled at Germanna were in a no man's land.  People were reluctant to settle in these regions, since the Rangers did not even go this far west.
(05 Jun 01)


Nr. 1184:

A Virginia planter in the early eighteenth century made his living by growing tobacco, which was not always a certain road to wealth.  The weather might seriously harm the crop resulting in a low quantity.  Or the insects might eat the tobacco.  Another year the weather might be just right and a large crop of tobacco might result which could result in a surplus on the market, with low prices.

Large planters were usually in debt to their London agents who bought tobacco from him, and bought goods for him.  Small planters never had enough money to buy the things they wanted in life.  What was the reaction of the planters to this series of problems?  Generally, the decision was to grow more tobacco.  Growing more tobacco meant obtaining more land and more labor, but especially more land to replace the land that was worn out.

From the beginning, settlement had been encouraged by a grant of fifty acres of land for every person imported into the colony.  The custom very quickly became that the person who paid the transportation would get the head right, which could be sold, traded, or bargained.  This head right applied to all people, regardless of sex, age, or race.  Paying the transportation for a person from England would cost about six or seven pounds, and this made land fairly expensive.  But in addition, the one who paid the transportation would obtain the services of those imported from England as servants for about seven years.  Slaves were more expensive, but the period of servitude was indefinite.

About 1704, the law was changed so that, in addition to head rights, one could purchase land from the crown for cash.  Surprisingly, the price of the land was set very low, at five shillings per fifty acres for the lands of the crown.  This was about 3 percent of the previous rate.  For someone who had the labor available, this was an inducement to buy land.  So, in the early eighteenth century, a land boom started that was held in check only by the fall line, by the need for an accommodation with the Indians, and by the lack of roads to replace the rivers.  The opportunities lay generally in the Piedmont region since, after one hundred years, the better Virginia tidewater lands were nearly all taken up.  One had to think in terms of the western lands.

Progress in settling the Piedmont lands was inhibited by the reluctance of individuals to expose themselves to the dangers they perceived there.  A breakthrough came in 1713, when Lt. Gov. Spotswood settled forty-odd Germans in a simple fort, about twenty miles beyond the existing line of English settlement.  The Germans did a good job of maintaining peace at, and beyond, the frontier.  Spotswood was very pleased with their performance, and he saw an opportunity to repeat this performance on a much larger scale.  One problem was how was he going to get more Germans?  They were not coming to Virginia.
(06 Jun 01)


Nr. 1185:

About 1710, Robert Beverley, the historian, had marked 13,000 acres beyond the frontier, which he proposed to patent.  The size of the tract alone tells us that he was beyond civilization.  Otherwise, it would be impossible to find a tract of that size in one piece.  We know where the land lay; it was stretched out on the south side of the Rapidan River, above (to the west of) where the future Fort Germanna would be built.

Just a slight discourse here on the procedures that were involved.  First, one had to find land to which no one else had any pretensions.  What constituted a pretension?  Some markers with your name on them.  A common form of marker was to shave a spot on the side of a tree down to the wood and then to carve one's initials into this.  When an area was rapidly developing and several people might be looking for land, there could be an element of compromise.  Legally, one should file for a patent on the land as soon as possible.  This involved getting the land surveyed which cost money.  Then one paid the fees to the colony, which might be in the form of head rights or cash.  Once the patent was issued, your pretensions were now embedded in law.  Still, it paid to keep one's boundary markers in place so that all comers would know the extent of one's claim.  The more expensive part of proving up the land was the requirement that it be developed with a certain amount of land cleared, an orchard planted, and a house built.

When a person set his initial boundary markers, he had in mind that he wanted a certain number of acres.  But when he set his boundaries, he had only a crude idea of how much land was included.  The rule was probably to be generous to yourself and set the boundaries a little bigger than for the number of acres you had in mind.  When the surveyor came, you might tell him that you wanted 400 acres surveyed and he would find that amount in your claim.  Probably though there would be a little extra left over in that your initial claim was larger than the surveyor would measure out.  Just because your initial estimate was oversize, one did not retreat to the surveyed boundaries.  One left the original markers and told everyone who inquired that these markers were your boundaries, even though you did not have a legal claim to the extra land.

Later, when you were a little better off financially, you might call the surveyor in again for a resurvey that was made to the extent of the original markers which you had been claiming even though there was no legal title to this extent.  The term that the surveyors used was "on a resurvey surplus land of xxx acres was found."  On occasion, 400 acres would blossom into something like 800 acres as the surplus land was included.

Robert Beverley had probably ridden over the land he was interested in.  He had a surveyor mark the boundaries, taking into account other claims that might exist.  The normal next step would be to pay his fees at the rate of 5 shillings per 50 acres.  This would have given him a temporary title to the land.  Then he would have settled a number of people on the land and prove it up.  If the land were not proven up, the title could revert to the crown.  Until the land was proven, the title was only temporary.  If the colony took the land back for failure to prove it, they did not refund the monies which had been spent.
(07 Jun 01)


Nr. 1186:

Robert Beverley had his 13,000 acres laid out, and perhaps he had even had a surveyor go over the land and mark the boundaries.  His next step would be to pay his fees to the colony at the rate of five shillings per fifty acres, or one shilling per ten acres.  Thus, his fee would be 1,300 shillings or 65 pounds sterling.  Then, he had to think to about where he was going to find people who would be willing to live on this land.  This land was to the west of Fort Germanna, and the fort had not even been built yet.  He very correctly came to the conclusion that he should hold on to his 65 pounds and wait until his chances of getting settlers would be better.  (Meanwhile his markers would discourage anyone else from claiming the same land.)  This was about 1710, or the time that Alexander Spotswood arrived to take up his duties as Lt. Gov.

Probably in the first year that Spotswood was in Virginia, Beverley approached him and discussed what they might do on the western lands.  Beverley said that they might form a partnership with his land and some more land; however, this did not solve the question of where they were going to find settlers.  The dangers of settling on the frontier were brought home with wars in North Carolina between the Indians and the whites in 1711.  Indirectly, this led to a solution of where the settlers were to be found.  Christoph Graffenried proposed to move his North Carolina colony to Virginia where it would be safer.  Spotswood, on mulling this over, came up with the idea of settling these Germans and Swiss on the frontier to serve as a barrier between the Indians and the Virginians.  When another group of Germans landed on his doorstep in 1714, he settled them at the place now called Germanna, which served two purposes.  The official purpose was to be a barrier to the Indians in that part of the country.  The off-the-record reason was his proposed silver mine, which was only a few miles from Germanna (and adjacent to the Beverly 13,000 acre tract).

Very quickly, Spotswood, Beverley, and all of the large planters in Virginia saw what the impact of the Germans would and could be.  The land out to Germanna became very attractive and beyond was a possibility.  In 1716 several of the people who were interested in land organized an exploration beyond Germanna.  Again, there was an official reason, and there was an unofficial, or real, reason.  To the people back in London, the reason given was to see the pass over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This was described as a measure of defensive action against the hated French.

The real reason for the trip was to scout for land to satisfy the appetite for it.  The trip was barely over when Spotswood began having 40,000 acres of land laid out, land that stretched from near Germanna to beyond the present day courthouse in Culpeper County.  (The 40,000 acre tract was an understatement, for, when plotted, it shows about 65,000 acres.)  This included the 13,000 acres of Beverley.  Spotswood claimed that other people had joined in the enterprise, though their names never seem to have been recorded.

Though the land was laid out, there were still no settlers for it.  Within eighteen months, Spotswood had that problem solved.
(08 Jun 01)


Nr. 1187:

Spotswood, and his proposed partners in the western land enterprise, needed settlers for the large tract that they had their eyes on.  The Germans at Germanna had served admirably as peace keepers, and Spotswood wanted more of these people.  But Germans were not coming to Virginia.  The emphasis of the Germans was on Pennsylvania.  I would bet that Spotswood asked the Germans at Germanna if they could recruit many more people.

In his official duties at Williamsburg, Spotswood was in a good position to talk to the captains of ships.  Some of his official duties required him to talk to the captains.  On one occasion, early in the spring of 1717, he was investigating an act of piracy that had occurred not far off the coast of Virginia.  He took a disposition from the Captain, Andrew Tarbett, of the ship Agnis, which the pirates had captured, plundered, and then burned.

I believe that, after the official disposition was taken, Spotswood and Tarbett talked, and the Lt. Gov. asked Tarbett about Germans.  There is no reason to believe that Tarbett had any good information about them, since his speciality was taking tobacco back to Great Britain and bringing goods out for the Virginians.  He certainly could not promise to bring any Germans, as there were so few who had come prior to 1717, and these had gone to Pennsylvania.

Back in England, Tarbett obtained another ship, the Scott.  At least in a few years he was the captain of the ship Scott, and involved in bribing customs officials to let some of his tobacco pass by without paying the customary fees.  He had the right credentials.  A ship of the right name.  A man of low morals.  Someone who had talked to Spotswood.  Barely had Tarbett obtained a ship than a group of Germans appeared, wanting to go to Pennsylvania.  Tarbett had no hesitancy in promising to take them there.

When he landed the Germans, they were surprised that they were in Virginia, and not in Pennsylvania.  But Tarbett said the storms had forced him south.  Tarbett sought out Spotswood and made a bargain for the whole ship load of the Germans.  With this one effort, Spotswood and his partners had the settlers for their land.  The land where they were to be settled was already specified, but not yet patented.  It was even to the west of Beverley's contribution to the partnership.  With this one effort, a land rush was opened for bits and pieces around the partnership's land.  Again, the Germans were living beyond what would normally be considered the frontier of Virginia.

[I am going on a week's vacation and explore the land where Eleanor's German ancestors were first settled.  Actually, it is not a genealogical trip, but just a measure of relaxation.  After all of the grammatical errors I made in the last note, I need some rest.]
(09 Jun 01)


Nr. 1188:

The colony of Virginia was supposed to ship raw materials back to England, where the material would be fashioned into finished products, and then sold to the world, including back to Virginia.  Certainly, Virginia had plenty of raw materials, but one material stands out from all of the rest.  That item was wood.  England had used too many of her trees to make charcoal for her iron furnaces and iron processing.  She had been reduced to importing iron from the Baltic nations to meet the demand.  (No large forests left for making charcoal = no domestic iron production.)

Another item that Virginia possessed was water power, but there was a hitch in this.  Most of the water power occurred to the west of the fall line.  In the Tidewater lands, the streams had little or no fall to them.  Without a difference in two adjacent water heights, it is difficult to harness the power of the water.  This meant that the region to the west of the fall line was the prime source for mills.

Yet another item that Virginia possessed was iron ore.  That she did possess iron ore was known before Jamestown was settled.  Again, most of this was to the west of the fall line.  Logically, Virginia should have been producing iron to send back to England.  The problem was that these resources were to the west, in lands controlled by the Indians, and not by the Europeans.  In fact, the first iron furnace in 1622 (sixteen hundred and twenty-two!), near the present site of Richmond on the fall line, was destroyed by the Indians.

A fourth problem was capital, to support an iron smelting and finishing operation; however, this problem could have been settled by English investment, even if no one in Virginia had the capital.  Lt. Gov. Spotswood recognized the physical assets shortly after he arrived in Virginia in 1710.  He saw that the only missing ingredient was the capital to finance the operation, so he proposed two agencies to supply this.  The first was the colony of Virginia itself, but this was not accepted by the Assembly.  Next he proposed that Queen Anne might want to do this as a private venture, but she seems to have turned a deaf ear (if the proposal got as far as a hearing before her).

Spotswood's proposal was made at a very appropriate time, since civilization had reached the fall line, especially on the Rappahannock River.  For a hundred years, though, the Virginians had been directing their attention to tobacco.  This could be grown in the Tidewater lands.  The amount of capital needed was small.  Generally, land was available.  So, the principal export commodity was tobacco, and Virginians had difficulty in seeing that there might be alternatives to this, even though a single commodity economy is usually subject to wild fluctuations in supply and demand.  As has been recounted here, tobacco was the principal reason for the westward push of civilization.  The cultivation of tobacco required ever more lands.

Our German ancestors happened to get caught up in this westward expansion, even though such a thought had never entered their minds when they were leaving Germany.
(18 Jun 01)


Nr. 1189:

George I became King of England in 1714.  Three years later, he asked for a report on the amount of trade with the "plantations".  This was an important question for him, because the government collected monies as custom fees.  The plantation with the largest export trade to Great Britain was Barbados, but Jamaica was not far behind this.  Virginia and Maryland, as a combined unit, were in third place.  Fourth place went to Antigua.

What was imported from the Continental plantations?  The biggest item was tobacco, of which Virginia was the leading producer.  About two-thirds of the exports from the Continental plantations consisted of tobacco.  On a yearly basis, the value of the tobacco was approximately 235,000 pounds Sterling, which is to be compared to the total for all items of about 380,000 pounds Sterling.

What else did the Continental Colonies ship to Great Britain?  In second place was pitch and tar, at about 35,000 pounds, or about ten percent of the total.  For a related item, a smaller quantity of turpentine was shipped.  Skins and furs were about five percent of the total.  Rice stood at a similar value.

Tobacco was important to England because most of the crop was exported to other European countries, which earned foreign currencies for England.  Typically, Great Britain imported about 25,000,000 pounds (weight) of tobacco annually, and exported two-thirds of this to other European countries.  The figures also show how important tobacco was to the Virginia economy.

What did the continental colonies import from Great Britain?  About one-half of the value was in woolen manufactures.  Silks and linens were also important, but greatly reduced from wool.  Other imported items were cordage; gunpowder; leather, including finished goods; brass and copper products; iron products, including nails; lead and shot; pewter; and many other items, such as furniture and decorative goods.

Imports to the colonies exceeded their exports by a substantial amount.  This deficit fell hardest on the colonies to the north.  They compensated for the lack of exports by engaging in trade of items not prohibited by the Acts of Trade.

The colonies were hard pressed to meet their needs by the export of raw materials to England.  It would have been better for Virginia to have a broader range of export goods, and to have the ability to turn some of these materials into finished products.  This last point was prohibited by the Acts of Trade, which attempted to secure as much as possible of the benefit of the trade for the home market (i.e., the local British market).
(19 Jun 01)


Nr. 1190:

We looked at the numbers from a report prepared for King George I, pertaining to the trade with the plantations for the three years 1714 to 1717.  All of the figures given were annual figures, that is, the total numbers had been divided by three.  The annual amount of tobacco shipped was about 25 million pounds.  It would take many ships to ship that much tobacco.

The report for George I itemized the number of ships from England in these years by the destination of the ships.  More ships left for Barbados (347) than for any other destination.  But Virginia (without Maryland) was the destination for 340 ships.  Maryland was the destination for 108 ships.  (These are three year totals.)

The American plantations in the western hemisphere were not the only destinations for ships.  In fact, this area was the target for only one-sixth of the tonnage leaving Great Britain.  Another one-sixth was with Spain, Portugal, the Streights, Canaries, East India, Newfoundland, and Archangel.  Another one-sixth left for Norway, Denmark, and the Baltic ports.  Two-sixths of the tonnage was in trade with Germany, Holland, Flanders, and France.  Only one-sixth was in trade with Ireland and British islands.

Not all of these trips required the same amount of time.  Ships calling on Holland could make several trips per year, whereas ships to the Americas were pressed to make two trips a year.  So the number of ships trading with the Americas was more than one-sixth of the total number.

From the total tonnage to the Americas, and the numbers of the ships, it is possible to derive the average tonnage of the ships.  The average size of the ships to Maryland was 163 tons, and to Virginia was 138 tons.  These are not very big ships.  Generally, a ton is about 100 cubic feet.  Thus, a ship of 150 tons is about 15,000 cubic feet, or a space about 25 feet, by 25 feet, by 25 feet.  Equivalently, this would be about 12 feet of width, 12 feet of depth, and 100 feet of length.  Or to put the figures in another perspective, a house of 2,000 square feet would contain about 16,000 cubic feet, or the equivalent of 160 tons of ship tonnage.  Those ships were very, very small!

With a destination of Virginia for the three years, 340 ships were cleared from Great Britain.  Thus, a ship left on the average every three days for Virginia.  Between Virginia and England, a ship could not actually average two round trips per year, but let's say the average time was six months.  Thus, it would take about sixty ships to transport the goods to and from Virginia.

Returning to the 25,000,000 pounds of tobacco shipped annually, this would be 12,500 tons.  At 125 tons per ship, this would take 100 shiploads.  This jibes well with the size of the ships; however, these rough estimates mix up Virginia and Maryland, but they still show the estimates are in "the right ballpark".  Nearly all of the ships going to Virginia would have carried tobacco back to England.  Outbound to Virginia they would have carried finished goods and people.
(20 Jun 01)


Nr. 1191:

We have been looking at the importance of tobacco to Virginia and to England.  We looked at the problems of growing tobacco, and the ever expanding need for land to grow the tobacco.  We saw that by 1710 most of the land had been taken up in the Tidewater region.  Attention was now focused on the land to the west.  We saw that a major push was made into the Piedmont lands, which was spurred by the arrival of the Germans, who were willing to live there.  They could take some comfort in the fact that were several tens of them.  The first colony, of more than forty people of all ages, was barricaded behind a post fence of a substance to be able to withstand musket balls.  The Second Colony, perhaps of about 80 people, was farther west, without any barricade, with each house separated by about one-half mile from its nearest neighbor.  Neither colony experienced any trouble with Indians.

The time span from the First Colony's settlement, in 1714, until the Second Colony was in their permanent homes "at the mountains", was only about eleven years.  "Civilization" had advanced about forty miles in this time period.  The phrase "at the mountains" was used by the Germans themselves to describe where they lived, and it meant "at the Blue Ridge Mountains".  (At the time, the Blue Ridge Mountains were not called that.)

One of the difficulties of living so far west was the isolation from the markets.  When the Second Germanna Colony moved, in 1725, to their homes in the Robinson River Valley, there was no store within a hundred miles.  Not only was it difficult to buy anything, it was difficult to sell anything.  The major thing for which there was a market was tobacco.  Of a necessity, most everyone grew this.  It is recorded that Rev. George Samuel Klug was not home once because he had gone to Williamsburg to sell his tobacco (he was paid in tobacco).  So we see that the simplest of things could take a long time.

A few years later, it was recorded in the Shenandoah Valley that the men were not home because they gone over the mountains (i.e., over the Blue Ridge) on business.  This is one of the reasons that there was a social intercourse between the Valley people and those on the eastern side of the mountains.  And, then, people such as Rev. Klug went west over the mountains to preach, conduct confirmation classes, and to hold communion.  It just wasn't easy living at that time for anyone.  Anyone who is of the do-it-yourself frame of mind might have had fun, because that was the nature of life then.

Returning to the initial theme, the Germans played a major role in the western expansion of civilization (as we call it).  They happened to arrive at a time when there were forces in favor of the western expansion.  Their characteristic ability to live on the frontier made the expansion a success.
(21 Jun 01)


Nr. 1192:

How did the humbler people live in Eighteenth Century Virginia?  By humbler, I mean our German ancestors, who were neither more nor less humbler than the average citizen.  The large planters lived on the larger waterways; the smaller planters were inland from the large rivers, on the creeks.  The First Germanna Colony was on Licking Run, and the Second Germanna Colony was settled on the Robinson River and its tributaries, White Oak Run and Deep Run.

Starting about the first of the Eighteenth Century, the large plantations were building their houses of brick.  Lt. Gov. Spotswood did his part to encourage this, as he saw to the completion of the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg.  Then he built his own house at Germanna, which from the evidence was a stately place.  The great majority of the people were building with wood.  The Rev. Jones thought the Virginia houses were prettier than the farmers' houses in England, but others have doubted this, because of the need to constantly rebuild in relocations closer to the tobacco fields.  Some believe there was a temporary nature to the construction.

Observers have noted that the roofs were shingled with wood.  The side and ends were typically covered with thin boards, probably laid in a lapping arrangement as shingles are.  Apparently, the underlying structures were horizontal logs, to judge by some of the remaining old houses.  A better chimney would be brick or stone, but the more common chimney was wood, which was covered on the interior with clay for fire protection.  The typical early home did not have glass in the windows, only wooden shutters.

The more common houses fell into a standard geometric pattern.  Not a lot of imagination was shown.  Rules controlled the placement of doors, windows, and chimneys.  With the passage of time, and the availability of a bit of surplus labor, more attempts were made to separate "nature" and "culture".  The common planters of Virginia were declared to be sloven in their habits; however, there was probably a distinction between the English and German planters.  Some observers drew a sharp demarcation, as they said the Germans could make a rock pile bloom.

With respect to the English, it is said that they neglected their orchards (everyone was required to plant a substantial one).  They viewed these as feed lots for their animals, who de-barked the trees by rubbing against them.  The fruit tended not to be picked for human consumption, but was knocked down for the animals to eat.  One characteristic of the Virginia planter was to allow people passing by to pick fruit for their immediate consumption.  This was a typical hospitality trait of the region.  (A traveler who asked for a night's lodging would probably get it without any sense of financial obligation.)

Boundaries were marked by fences which ran irregularly.  "Making a Virginia fence" became a proverb for inebriation.  In short, the typical small plantation owner was often very informal in his arrangements.
(22 Jun 01)


Nr. 1193:

The Germanna Foundation, to use its short name, has been and probably will be in the news in the immediate months.  Some of you may not be familiar with the history of this organization, so I thought I would extract some of the comments of Charles Herbert Huffman, who was its first president, and very involved in the organization of the Foundation.

In 1953, some Germanna descendants erected a monument to commemorate the First Colony.  A newspaper article telling of the event had a good circulation and even reached Siegen in Germany.  A Mr. Luck, or Lück, in Germany, was particularly interested in this, as he was working on a history of iron in the Siegen area.  He requested permission to quote from the article, and permission was given.  In the ensuing exchange of letters, Mr. Luck mentioned that the Saint Nicolai church [see the photo page for Siegen] was being rededicated after being rebuilt from the severe damage caused during World War II.  At the invitation of Mr. Luck, Professor Huffman wrote a short note.

The article was read by a Hanna Flender in Siegen, who sent it on to her brother Ernst in New York City.  Mr. Flender wrote in 1955 to Professor Huffman, asking some more details about the colony of Germans.  Mr. Flender admitted to being only vaguely aware that such a migration had taken place.  In connection with a trip he had to make to Virginia, he asked if he could talk to Prof. Huffman and perhaps see the monument; however, due the force of circumstances, the first meeting between these two men took place in New York City.  The main conclusion of this meeting, in April of 1955, was an agreement to meet again.

This took place in early June, in Charlottesville, in the Monticello Hotel.  After dinner with the members of the Flender family, Prof. Huffman and Mr. Flender repaired to the hotel lobby and discussed the present and future prospects for Germanna development.  According to Prof. Huffman, there was no interest in evidence at that date, nor was there any future prospect.  Mr. Flender concluded by saying that he would send one thousand dollars as seed money.  He also suggested that Prof. Huffman contact owners of land where Fort Germanna might have stood to see if they were willing to sell.  He also instructed Prof. Huffman to obtain a good lawyer with a view toward establishing an organization to the memory of the Eighteenth Century emigrants.

Prof. Huffman sought the advice of Mr. J. B. Carpenter, Sr., of Culpeper, and Dr. John W. Wayland, of Harrisonburg.  Setting up the organization went more quickly than obtaining real estate.  The initial committee consisted of T. W. Fishback, C. H. Huffman, B. L. Stanley, Frank C. Switzer, and J. W. Wayland, plus Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Flender as interested parties.  Early in 1956, the trustees requested approval of a charter of incorporation.  That June, the Trustees met to discuss the offer of 270 acres of land, within the original Germanna tract, for ten thousand dollars.  The Trustees accepted the offer and also accepted the gift of Mr. Flender of sixteen thousand dollars.
(24 Jun 01)


Nr. 1194:

The generosity of Ernst W. Flender was told in the last note.  Here is more about the man, taken also from the Germanna Records.

Mr. Ernst W. Flender was born in Siegen in 1888.  He studied in Germany, Switzerland, France, and England before he came to New York in 1915.  He founded the Argentine Trading Co., which specialized in exports to South America.  Following World War I, Mr. Flender accepted a responsible position with the private banking firm of C. B. Richards and Co., and rose rapidly to general manager of the firm in 1923.  In two more years he was a managing partner.  He built up the investment division and the Stock Exchange business while liquidating the banking divisions.  In 1956, he became a limited partner, and in 1964 he went into full retirement.

He and his wife, Emily Gallagher, whom he married in 1928, were the parents of two sons and a daughter.

How he came to be associated with the group that became known as the Germanna Foundation was told in the last note.  It could be said that had it not been for him there would have been no Germanna Foundation.  His extreme generosity toward a group of people whom he hardly knew was the means which helped the Foundation get started, and to hold an important piece of real estate from the original Germanna tract.  His guidance was important.

At the start of the Germanna Foundation, he hardly knew any of the details about the emigrants from Siegen.  However, due to his efforts, much more was learned about the histories of the families in Siegen.  He found that he was a cousin to some of the emigrants.  His work was a contribution to the work of B. C. Holtzclaw, who wrote the book "Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia, 1714-1750."

Mr. Flender asked for nothing for himself, and was motivated solely by his personal satisfaction at seeing the memory of the Nassau-Siegen emigrants preserved along with their original home site.

As Dr. Charles Herbert Huffman, the first President of the Foundation, stated, "The Trustees, the membership, and especially myself, are deeply appreciative and most grateful for Mr. Flender's personal interest, for his mature counsel, and for his continual promotion and generous support of the purpose and objectives of the organization."

It would be of interest to know the later history of Mr. Flender and his family.
(25 Jun 01)


Nr. 1195:

When the Germanna Foundation bought the 270 acres in 1956, it was hoped that it would contain the site of Fort Germanna.  The 270 acres were located on the south side of State Route 3, beginning where the road crosses the Rapidan River, and extending eastward for about one and a half miles.  As time went by, the hopes to be the owner of the Fort Germanna site faded.  About ten years ago, Dr. Douglas Sanford and his crew of archaeology students discovered what looks like conclusive evidence that the Fort was on the north side of Route 3.  More exactly, Lt. Gov. Spotswood built his home on the site of the Fort.  Of course, he tore down the Fort first though apparently the houses of the Germans were left standing for several years.  It still remains to excavate the grounds more completely and to define the actual position of the fort.  It is a reasonable expectation that the fort could be partially reconstructed, and perhaps the location of the blockhouse and the homes could be determined also.  A very educational display could be the result.  The Foundation does not own this site though.

The Germanna Foundation did find a good use for a part of their land.  They donated approximately 100 acres to the state of Virginia as a building site for Germanna Community College.  This has been mutually beneficial, as the college facilities have provided a meeting space for the Foundation.  Unfortunately, the space is not really ample for the needs of the Foundation.

On a portion of the land still owned by the Foundation, they have erected a Visitor's Center, which appears destined to become the center of the Foundation's activities.  For the present, it will not provide the meeting space for a large group.  A recent addition to the real estate holdings of the Foundation is Salubria.  The land that the Foundation owns is its biggest asset.  I know of no reason that parts of it could not be sold.  On the north side of Route 3 in this area there are upscale homes and something similar could be done on the lands of the Foundation.

In its charter, the purposes of the Foundation are said to be threefold:

  1. To preserve and make known the history of the several Germanna Colonies, their operations under the patronage of Alexander Spotswood, his residence and activities at Germanna, and in the surrounding area.

  2. To purchase, hold, and improve real estate; to publish bulletins and other printed matter relating to the field of interest, and of a character to preserve and disseminate information for the general public, and to do any and all other acts which are necessary and proper to accomplish these purposes.

  3. To establish an endowment fund, or funds, for the acquisition, restoration, perpetuation, and maintenance of any real estate acquired by the corporation for its operating purposes.

(26 Jun 01)


Nr. 1196:

The Germanna Foundation is controlled by its Trustees.  It is specified that there be a minimum of five trustees, and a maximum of fifteen trustees.  All power is vested in these Trustees.  People may become members of the organization, but they have no power.  The Trustees elect a President, Vice-president, Secretary, and Treasurer as officers.  If not more than fifteen Trustees exist at a given time, the Trustees may elect a person to serve as a Trustee.  When I was a Trustee, they usually met in a full meeting twice a year, once in the fall, and once in the spring.  Some times the Trustees would meet on the occasion the Reunion.

A Trustee could serve an indefinite period of time within this self perpetuating group.

I had felt that the members should be empowered with at least the right to elect the Trustees, if not the officers.  As an organization grows, the amount of the work to be done becomes significant, and requires volunteer labor.  I had not liked the idea that people could be requested to donate time and labor, yet they had no possible way to cast their vote for the policy and aims of the group.  I use the past tense in this paragraph because I was working for this change at the time that I resigned as a Trustee.

The Foundation is approaching its fiftieth anniversary.  Change is occurring.  New solutions may be more appropriate.  One of the biggest changes is the advent of electronics.  New forms of communication are possible.  Should the Foundation maintain an electronic database?  Should the Foundation publish an electronic newsletter?  What about the people who do not have electronic access?  Is an active print publishing policy needed?

What are the important physical assets?  Should the Foundation sponsor research in Germany?

This is a short note, but the questions are weighty enough to make up for the brevity.  This is the time to be thinking about the items.

Why not speak out on what you would like to see in the future.  I think there are people who want to hear your suggestions.
(27 Jun 01)


Nr. 1197:

I just took the July issue of Beyond Germanna down to the post office.  Subscribers will see that it is being sent in a different way this time.  It is in an envelope which unfortunately requires more postage, due to the added weight.  But the advantage is that a heavier and better paper can be used.  Since the ink jet printers have come out, the paper for them needs to be heavier.  So the paper companies are turning their efforts toward making the better papers in a heavier grade.

Since this is the volume 13, number 4 issue, it makes the 76th issue that has been sent to subscribers.  Every one of these has been mailed by the advertised date.

One of the topics over the course of time that I have been the happiest about is the work on the Rector family.  More new information at the top (or the root of the tree?) has been published here in recent years than anywhere else.  As was announced by Thom Faircloth and J. M. Paden, I will be at Crockett Park midday Saturday, the 14th of July.  Then, a little later in the day I will shift over to the Fauquier Heritage Library.  It was suggested that I would be there at 9:00 a.m., but I must drive from Pennsylvania first, so it will be later in the morning.  Look for me in the Park from about 11:00 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m.  (If people are still coming in at 2:00 p.m., I will stay longer).

The issue of Beyond Germanna that was just mailed has a lead article, by Rebecca Hilbert, that corrects and adds to the information for Elizabeth Huffman, a granddaughter of Henry Huffman, the 1743 immigrant.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Ambrose Huffman, Sr., who married Mary Railsback.  The Germanna Records have incorrectly said that she married Ambrose, Jr., the nephew of Ambrose, Sr., but the author shows that she married Zacheus Button.

A short note, with photos, amplifies on the German heating and cooking methods.  Earlier, I had run the petition of Alexander Spotswood to King George, but the copy I was working from, which came from the microfilm at the Virginia State Library, simply could not be read in certain areas.  Recently I ordered a copy from the Public Record Office in Kew Gardens, and that copy was easily readable down to the last word.  This shows how bad some microfilm copies are.  In this case, the problem was due to the original filming.

Another article amplifies on the process of becoming a Master in a craft or skill in eighteenth century Germany.  Barbara Kolhoff describes another way to visit Germany, which leaves the driving to them, and she had a rewarding time.

The remaining titles are "The Johann Jacob Kneissle Family" and "Jonas Raser and Virinda Weaver" and "To Sleep, Perchance to Dream" and "Eighteenth Century German Passenger Traffic at Philadelphia."
(28 Jun 01)


Nr. 1198:

Quite a few of the people in the Germanna Colonies came via Philadelphia.  I have in mind right now not the people who got off the boat, asked where Virginia was, and started out for it.  Their story would be interesting, extremely interesting, but their motivations seem to be that they knew someone in Virginia with whom they wanted to join up.  As an illustration of this, consider John Steinseifer, whose wife's maiden name was Schuster.  Henry Huffman, the 1743 immigrant, had married a Schuster also, though the two Schuster women do not appear to be sisters.  Prior to John Steinseifer's departure, there had been an exchange of letters between Virginia and Eisern.  Henry had asked if John would collect some money due to him and bring it along.  John knew before he left Eisern where he was going.

On the other hand consider the Gaars who came to Philadelphia apparently with the intention of living in Pennsylvania.  They lived for a while in Germantown, next to Philadelphia, where Andreas Gaar worked as a weaver.  After a period of about a year, he moved to the Robinson River Valley.  Why?  What had he heard about the German community there that prompted him to make the move?  Why did this sound better than Pennsylvania itself?  It is no mystery as to how he had heard about the Robinson River community.  The Germans were remarkably well informed about the Germans in other colonies.  There was almost an organized network for the exchange of information.  The question that I ask, though, is what had Andreas heard that prompted him to pick this spot over other possibilities.

Take another family, the Christlers.  They emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719.  After about sixteen years, Theobald Christler moved from Pennsylvania to the Robinson River Valley.  In doing this, Theobald left his father in Pennsylvania.  He too must have heard something positive about Virginia to encourage him to make a move of this magnitude.

In Virginia, Theobald Christler married Rosina Garr, or did they marry there?  He had been born in 1709 and she in 1713.  The two of them would have been of a marrying age by 1733.  I believe it is correct that we do not know where they married, or when they married.  I have wondered if it were possible that they were married in Pennsylvania.  If so, this may have influenced Theobald Christler in deciding where to move.  Still, though, it does not answer the question as why the move took place.  It would seem easier to find a reason for the Gaars move, since they had not put down any roots.  Theobald may have had an excellent reason for the move, given that the Gaars were moving.  The problem with this scenario is that the Gaars and the Christlers were not living in the same county in Pennsylvania.

Perhaps I have been wondering "Why" too much and have felt compelled to find a reason.  All comments that anyone could make on these two families with regard to this question would be welcome.  And, we still have the general question as to why people moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia. (29 Jun 01)


Nr. 1199:

The thought presented on the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List, by Fred Wescott, as to a motivation to move from Pennsylvania to Virginia was good.  He suggested that it was the lure of cheap land.  In the early part of the eighteenth century, land could be obtained from the Crown at the rate of 50 acres for five shillings.  If you were thinking about 400 acres, it would cost forty shillings, or two pounds sterling.  The cost of the surveyor and filing fees were extra, but still it was cheap land.

But, how did the people in Pennsylvania learn about the opportunities in other Colonies?  I mentioned in the last note that the Germans were solidly into "networking".  You couldn't meet another German without taking time to tell him what you knew concerning your area.  And he would tell you about his.  A German traveling from Pennsylvania to North Carolina probably knew where the house of every German along the road would be found.  These travelers were the newspapers of the day.  They carried verbal messages and written messages to distribute.

Still I wonder how people like John Steinseifer found their way from Pennsylvania to the Robinson River Valley.  When John got off the boat, he knew nothing about the geography of America.  The only thing that I can imagine is that he started asking Germans how to get to Virginia, and he would soon find some who knew.  What means did he use?  Good question.  According to the reports we have had here, it was a time-consuming trip.  It is another reason to tip our hats to them for what they accomplished.

Here is another family who made the move from Pennsylvania to Virginia.  Susanna Sibler arrived at Philadelphia in the fall of 1752, as a lone female, who brought documentation attesting to her good character.  Not long after that she married Henry Miller, and they probably lived in Lancaster County.  Their first child appears to have arrived about 1755.  About ten years later they moved to the Robinson River Valley, along with Henry's brother George and his family.

By this time, land was not so cheap east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The area had become developed and little good virgin land was available.  If you wanted cheap land, you generally had to go to the frontier.

Descendants of the Miller family believe that the Millers came down to Virginia because they were tanners, and were in the need of oak trees for the tannic acid.  This may be true, but others of us are inclined to think that the Millers knew people, perhaps even as relatives, in the Robinson River Valley.  In general, and not just in the case of the Millers, we have lost track of the relations among the people.

Children of the Millers married a Berry, a Hitt, a Haines, a Warner, and a Wilhoit.
(30 Jun 01)


Nr. 1200:

The Henry and Susanna Miller family, mentioned here in the last note, has an interesting set of baptismal recordings for their children at the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley (often called Hebron). First, there are things recorded for them that no family in this time period has. For the first three children, the parents are the sponsors. This is in the 1750 decade and other families did not do this until about 1790. In fact, the church would not allow it in the 1750 decade. As to how this could come about is hinted at by the baptism of Sophia which took place in Lancaster County (PA). The children for whom the parents are sponsors were not baptized in the Hebron Church. However, four of the children definitely have sponsors from the Hebron Church. Two baptisms are indeterminate as to where they occurred.

For George and Margret, twins, the sponsors were Johannes Schwarbach (the pastor) and wife Margretha, Georg Utz and his wife Marg., and Adam Wayland. For the daughter Elizabeth it was Adam Wayland and his wife Elisabetha. The same sponsors were used for the son Adam. For Anna, the sponsors were Christoph Blankenb. and his wife Christina along with Adam Wayland. For two children, where the location of the baptism is less certain, the sponsor for one was Jacob Mayer and his wife Marg. Jacob possibly served also for another child (the records are indistinct).

The common thread among the sponsors is not obvious at first. But remember that George Utz, the immigrant, married a Mayer/Meyer. We do not know whom Balthasar Blankenbaker married but the circumstantial evidence is strongly in favor of her being a Mayer. How does Balthasar fit into the picture? Well, his daughter, Elisabeth, married Adam Wayland. It appears that the common thread is the Mayer name.

How does Christopher Blankenbaker fit in? He was a first cousin to Elisabeth Blankenbaker Wayland. So when Elisabeth couldn't serve with Adam, an almost-as-good-as-the-original substitution was made. Christopher took Elisabeth's place.

A secondary thread among the sponsors is Christina Blankenbaker who was born a Fink. By 1772 when Christina appeared at the church, one did not find many Finks at the church. That is another story in itself but it shows there was a powerful force urging Christina to act as a sponsor.

The reason that the Millers had been introduced into this picture is they were an example of someone who moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia. We weren't sure about the reason. I just want to suggest that family relationships, hidden to us now, may have played their part.
(02 Jul 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-EIGHTH set of Notes, Nr. 1176 through Nr. 1200.)


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.

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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 1176 through 1200.


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