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This is the FIFTIETH 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 1226 through 1250.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 50

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Nr. 1226:

Finding where Uriah Rector hung on the Rector tree was not easy.  (Maybe that statement did not come out the way it should have.)  The question is, "Who was Uriah Rector’s father?"  For more than 200 hundred years he was assigned to Harmon, son of the John Jacob Rector, but there were problems in this assignment.  The will of Harmon was ambiguous and only named one of his sons.  In an effort to solve this problem, Tommie Brittain collected data on Uriah and Maximillian Rector to see if she could find a clue.

Uriah Rector was born about 1756, according to his pension application, and Maximillian was born a couple of years later, according to his pension application.  Uriah joined the company of Capt. John Ashby, in the regiment of Col. Thomas Marshall, in the line of the State of Virginia, in 1776.  He suffered by getting his knee out of place, and was discharged at the end of two years.  Maximillian joined the same company, and served at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.  Later he was taken prisoner at the siege of Charleston, which was his fate until the war was over.

Uriah was married to Elizabeth, perhaps a Hill, in 1777.  They sold land not long after they were married in Fauquier County, Virginia.  Maximillian has no land records in the county.  In 1779, Uriah made the county records again, when he was indicted for gambling.  From 1781 to 1787, Uriah appears on the tax lists of Botetourt Co.  In 1786, Maximillian appears in this latter county as a witness to the marriage of John Rector and Chloe McPherson.

The story gets a bit hazy for a few years, but eventually, both men appear in Tennessee.  From 1792 on, Uriah appears in a variety of records, in Tennessee, of every type imaginable.  In 1803, Uriah is in Washington Co., Tennessee.  A mystery occurs in 1805, when Uriah married Winifred, in South Carolina.  Uriah and Winifred moved to Roane Co., TN.  In one record, a John Kaebler is mentioned.  In 1823, Uriah Rector, age about 67 years, made a pension application from Roane Co. TN.  The pension was approved, and Uriah died in 1833, and is buried at Rockwood.

Winifred moved with some of the children to Illinois, from where she made a pension application in 1854.  Winifred's daughter, Nancy Rector, married a Harris.  Winifred's son, William Rector, also lived in Illinois.  Tentatively, there were three children of Uriah by Elizabeth, and four by Winifred.

Maximillian had a history similar to Uriah ­ the same company in the Revolution, ties to South Carolina, in Botetourt County, and in Tennessee.  He was in the Greene County tax list in Tennessee in 1804.  The similarity of experiences suggests that Uriah and Maximillian were brothers.  There is a lot more information that could be used to show other similarities, but this will establish that these two Rectors were in Tennessee (to go with some earlier Rectors).
(03 Aug 01)


Nr. 1227:

We have John Alcock to thank for finding where Uriah should be hung on the Rector tree.  When Jack sent me the results, he added a few comments.

"Since it was snowing this morning [March 19, 1997, in Fauquier County, VA], I went over to the courthouse instead of working outdoors.  I paid particular attention to the "loose" papers in the Fauquier Co. Courthouse which have been catalogued and indexed.  I was especially drawn to the name Rector but without any unusual finds.  When I finished, I called my wife Mariana to say I was on the way home for lunch, but there was no answer.  So I said to myself, 'It will take only a few minutes to look at the Chancery indexes.'  I turned to the index of plaintiffs and my eye caught the name Uriah Rector as defendant to John Peyton Harrison.  This was no accident; it was only one page out of perhaps two hundred.  Finally, a little bit of luck was with me, as the case identifies Uriah Rector’s parentage.  You can follow the details in the copies which I am enclosing.  The originals are ID 204 in Box 4, 1792 ­ item 007."

John Peyton Harrison filed a complaint on 15 April 1784 against Uriah Rector, the eldest son and heir at law to John Rector, who had been "killed by thunder" before he made a deed for his sale to Harrison of the lot on which John Clark then lived.  Uriah refused to honor the bond of his father that the formal conveyance would be completed.  Uriah said Harrison had not paid for the tract.  The bond was dated 15 April 1773.

The John Rector who was "killed by thunder" was the son of John Rector, and the grandson of the 1714 immigrant, Hans Jacob Richter.  John, Jr., died before the end of June 1773, when administration of his estate was granted to William Kincheloe (a relative?).  John Rector, Sr., had died before the end of March 1773, leaving 100 acres to his grandson, John, who would have been a brother to Uriah.

The sheriff was ordered to bring Uriah into court to answer the complaint, but he could not be found, since he was no longer resident in Fauquier County.  A final decree was issued in August 1792, but no copy was in the file.

John Alcock is the author of "Fauquier Families, 1759-1799", which has been acclaimed as an outstanding source of reference material on the people of Fauquier County.

We all have our little serendipity stories pertaining to our research.  Just think, if Mariana Alcock had been able to answer the phone, then John would have gone home for lunch and perhaps he would never have found this all important case.  It has been my pleasure to work with John (or Jack to most people) on other Rector problems.
(04 Aug 01)


Nr. 1228:

Recently, Harmon Rector (son of Hans Jacob Richter) was mentioned, and a question was raised as to who his wife was.  I believe the correct answer is that no one knows.  Even her given name is a mystery.  Harmon is thought to have had five children, three sons and two daughters.  If I remember correctly, John is the only child mentioned by name in his will.  He went on to say "my three sons", which led to a question of interpretation.  Did the "three sons" refer to people other than John, or did it refer to the total number of sons?  It was under the possibility that there were four sons, that some people thought that Uriah might have fit in here.  The current thinking is that there were only three sons in total, namely:

  1. John (married Mary ___),
  2. Harmon (married Mary, who probably was a Nelson), and
  3. Henry (married Elizabeth McPherson).
The two daughters were Caty, who married John Martin, and Elizabeth, who married Tilman Weaver.

Of the four sons of Hans Jacob Richter, Henry married Anne Robinson, not Anne Spencer.  Anne Robinson was the daughter of Catherine Taylor Robinson, who married, as her second husband, John Rector, the eldest son of Hans Jacob Richter.  Because one of the children of Henry was named Spencer, it had been an erroneous guess that Henry might have married Anne Spencer.

The youngest son of Hans Jacob Richter, Jacob, married Mary Hitt.

At the Germanna Reunion this past July I talked to someone who was not aware that John Rector, the oldest son of Hans Jacob Richter, was married twice, and very probably his second wife was the mother of most, perhaps with only one exception, of his children.  This second wife was Catherine Taylor Robinson, a young widow who had a few Robinson children.  One of these was the Anne who married Henry Rector above.

The mother of Henry, Daniel, and Jacob, children of John Rector, is not known with certainly, but most researchers are betting that Catherine Taylor was the mother.  After these three sons, most researchers say the next child is Charles, who would seem clearly to be Catherine Taylor's son, named after her father Charles Taylor.  The implication from the court case, which established that Catherine Taylor Robinson was the second wife, is that she married John Rector quite early, very probably not long after the eldest child of John, another John, was born.  This child had, as a mother, Anna Catherine Fishback.  Between John, the eldest child, and Charles born in 1742, the mother is uncertain.

John Gott and John Alcock have cleared up many questions concerting this family in recent years.  It is frightening to consider how unreliable many family histories must be.  Until John Gott found the court case in the loose papers, John Rector was considered to have had only one wife.  How many other families have a similar situation but do not have a court case which would make things clear?
(06 Aug 01)



Nr. 1229:

Descendants of all three of the Blankenbaker men to come in 1717 found their way to East Tennessee, but by much different paths.  Matthias, one the three brothers, came with a son George.  This George married Mary Gerhard in Virginia.  George and Mary were the parents of one child, John, before George died.  From the will of Matthias, the suggestion would be that John was the only child.  Mary married Michael Moyer, son of the 1717 immigrant, George Moyer (Meyer or Myer).  A sister of Mary, Catherine Gerhard, married Martin Walk (Walke, Valck, Vallick).  The Gerhard family moved to North Carolina including Michael and Mary Myer.

John Blanketpickler was the stepson of Michael Myers.  [After the research in Austria, the spelling as Blanketpickler is not strange; in fact, the name harkens back to some of the original spellings.]  John, in the course of time, had his own family, including five sons.  All of the sons agreed to simplify the spelling to Pickler.  At least one of these sons found his way to Tennessee.

A second path was started by a son of Zacharias, who in turn was the son of the immigrant, John Nicholas Blankenbaker.  This son, Zacharias Blankenbeckler, Jr., moved to the southwest corner of Virginia, where he spent the remainder of his life.  But, some of his children made a relatively small move and ended in Tennessee.  Hallie Price Garner recently recounted some of this story here on the list, showing there were further variations in the spelling.

The descendants of the third Blankenbaker man, Balthasar, were by the female line, one of whom, in particular, was Elizabeth, who married Adam Wayland.  We have discussed a Wayland descendant who made it to East Tennessee.

Descendants of the fourth Blankenbaker, Anna Maria Blankenbaker Thomas (and later Käfer), were more inclined to move north and west; however, there is a possibility that a Michael Thomas, who moved to North Carolina, was her grandson.  If so, this opens possibilities.

There was a path for yet another Blankenbaker to make it to Tennessee.  A great-great-grandson of the immigrant Matthias, one Julius Blankenbeker, moved to Missouri.  There, he was the father of John Henry Blankenbeker, who in turn was the father of my father, John Lovell Blankenbaker.  John L. moved to Oklahoma, but, as a young man, decided to go to Johnson Bible College in East Tennessee.  He did not remain long, but while he was there he was a representative of the following Germanna families:  Blankenbaker (thrice), Utz (twice), (Peter) Weaver, (Henry) Huffman, Käfer, Carpenter, Kerker, Christler (twice), Garr (twice), Finks, Fisher, Willheit, and Broyles.  I think you could say that East Tennessee and Germanna were no strangers to each other.
(07 Aug 01)


Nr. 1230:

The Hans Herr House Newsletter came yesterday, and it had a short note on preserving food in the eighteenth century.  By and large, I am going to copy the note without modification.

One of the most important tasks of the eighteenth-century housewives was to preserve food from the garden, orchard, and field, to feed their families over the winter.  This, before the days of refrigeration, was no easy job.  The canning process had not been invented yet.  Pickling, drying, and "salting down" were some of the most common preservation methods.  Even then, it was a matter of luck if the food stayed fresh for more than a few months before growing a fine crop of mold.

Fruit was frequently dried.  Apples, for example, were cut into pieces and either spread on boards or threaded together and hung in a dry place in the house.  Fruit could also be preserved in this way:

"To preserve Peaches.  Put your peaches in boiling water, just give them a scald, but don't let them boil, take them out, and put them in cold water, then dry them in a sieve, and put them in long wide mouthed bottles.  To a half dozen peaches, take a quarter of a pound of sugar, clarify it, pour it over your peaches, and fill the bottle with brandy, stop them close and keep them in a close place."

"To preserve Cherries.  Take two pounds of cherries, one pound and a half of sugar, half a pint of fair water, melt some sugar in it; when it is melted, put in your other sugar and your cherries; then boil them softly, till all of the sugar be melted; then boil them fast, and skim them; take them off two or three times and shake them, and put them on again, and let them boil fast; and when they are of a good colour, and the sirrup will stand, they are boiled enough."

At least that was how Amelia Simmons put it in 1796, in "American Cookery."

Fresh garden peas were as popular then as now, and resourceful cooks tried to find ways to keep them throughout the year.

"To keep Green Peas till Christmas.  Take fine young peas, shell them, throw them into boiling water with some salt in it, let them boil five or six minutes, throw them into a cullender to drain, then put a cloth four or five times double on a table, and spread them on; dry them very well, and have your bottles ready, fill them and cover them with mutton-fat dried; when it is a little cool, fill the necks almost to the top, cork them, tie a bladder and a lath over them, and set them in a cool dry place."

This was Hannah Glasse's advice in 1747, in "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy."

The bladder was exactly that:  an animal bladder, washed and dried.  The "lath" is probably a circle of leather tied on the top of the bladder to double seal the peas.

[I had forgotten how good the brandied peaches could be.  I like peaches.]
(08 Aug 01)



Nr. 1231:

Recently, a question was raised about (Rhoda) Ann Cook who had married a John Batten, or Battern.  For many weeks I have been transcribing the communion lists at the Hebron Church, and I remembered that the name Battern occurred once in the index.  This stood out because my first impression was that Battern was not a German name.  (Lots of names in the communion lists are not Germanic though.)

What we have in the communion lists is Anna Battern, who took communion on 11 September 1791.  This was exactly four months after she married John Batten, or Battern.  The names on each side of Anna Battern were:

Margaret Fleshman
Barbara Cook
Anna Battern
Magdalena Hirsch
Joseph Schneider

Ann would seem to be from the family of Adam Cook, who married Barbara Fleshman, but whether she was a daughter or granddaughter is not as clear.  The family of Adam's brother, George Cook, has no males old enough to be Ann's father, nor were there any daughters named Ann in the George Cook family.  An Anna Cook was confirmed in September of 1790, which could be the present Anna Cook.

If we try the idea that Ann was a daughter of Adam Cook, she would have to be one of the last children of Adam and Barbara.  Under that assumption, which may be a bit difficult to uphold, that Ann is a daughter of Adam and Barbara, then the names above take on the following significance:

  • Barbara Cook is either Ann's mother, or her sister;
  • Joseph Schneider is her first cousin;
  • Margaret Fleshman (Fleshman is a common name in this family, since two of Adam and Barbara Cook's children married Fleshmans, and Barbara's maiden name was Fleshman).

Looking at these possible relationships, one is tempted to say that Anna was the daughter of Adam and Barbara.

Looking at the years when the sons of Adam Cook and wife Barbara had their children baptized, it would seem to be difficult for Anna to be a granddaughter of Adam and Barbara.  Though Anna is not usually given as a daughter of Adam and Barbara, I would give serious consideration to this idea.
(09 Aug 01)


Nr. 1232:

Recently there was a discussion of Mary Blankenbaker, daughter of Christopher and his wife Elizabeth Finks.  Again, we have a court case to help us sort things out.

Christopher Blankenbaker died in 1781, leaving his Culpeper County, Virginia, estate to his wife, Christina (Finks) for the rest of her life.  Upon her death the estate was to be divided among his three sons, Ephraim, Lewis, and Jonas.  In May 1783, Ephraim, the eldest son, died intestate as a minor, without a wife or any direct heirs.  Christina stayed around for another 36 years after Christopher died.  As long as she was living there was no argument because the farm was hers.

When she did die, in 1815, Lewis, the eldest surviving son felt he should get Ephraim's third of the estate, in addition to the third willed to him by his father.  His siblings disagreed.  They favored dividing Ephraim's third among the eight surviving heirs.  In July 1816, Lewis filed suit against his siblings, to obtain full rights to Ephraim's share.  The lower court ruled in favor of the siblings, who were the defendants.

Lewis appealed to the State Supreme Court where he won.  In this suit, in 1817, the following people were named:

  • Lewis
  • John Deer and Molly his wife, late Molly Blankenbaker
  • Joseph Carpenter and Catherine his wife, late Catherine Blankenbaker
  • Samuel Carpenter and Peggy his wife, late Peggy Blankenbaker
  • Sarah Blankenbaker
  • Michael Broyles and Betsy his wife, late Betsy Blankenbaker
  • Henry Haines and Hannah his wife, late Hannah Blankenbaker.

These "lates" do not mean the person has died.  They merely mean that the name was extinguished when they married.

Mary Blankenbaker is said to have been born 29 September 1754.  In 1817, she was the wife of Jonas Deer, and was 64 years old.  It is dubious whether she married Adam Arbaugh after this date.

This case was uncovered by Gene Dear, who wrote a short note for Beyond Germanna on the case in 1991.  Prior to Gene's work, no marriage partner for Mary had been known.  It had been tempting to match her with one of the Arbaugh men, even though their ages were not a good match.  In view of these court cases, it is extremely unlikely that she married any Arbaugh.
(10 Aug 01)


Nr. 1233:

Do you recognize the name Johann Theobald Christele?  It has been the source of much confusion in America.  As you might guess, the name originated in the Germanic lands, when it was attached to the new son of Leonhard Christler, or Christele, and his lawful wife, Anna Maria Bender.  The place was Lambsheim, in the Palatinate, and the date was 18 Aug 1709.

The spelling as Christele gives a clue to where the family might have been found earlier.  It is well known in Canton Bern in Switzerland.  The ending "le" or "li" is a typical Swiss ending on names.  Probably, the family had moved not long before the birth of Theobald, for the Christele family only became citizens of Lambsheim on 1 Mar 1709.  They had lived in a nearby village prior to this.  Anna Maria Bender’s family was from the village of Lambsheim, where her father, Johannes Bender, was the blacksmith.

In 1719, Johannes Bender, Leonhard Christler, and Christian Merkel, the husband of Johannes Bender’s daughter, Anna Catharina, sold their property in Lambsheim and emigrated to Pennsylvania.  The families lived there for a number of years.  In the early 1730's, the Theobald Christler family moved to Orange Co., Virginia (becoming later Culpeper and Madison counties).  Theobald married Rosina Gaar, whose family also moved at about the same time from Pennsylvania to Virginia.
("Bender", in Germany, became "Painter", in America, usually.)

The family of Theobald and Rosina was quite large, eleven children, and ten of these have marriages to an assortment of Germanna families such as Weaver, Broyles, Carpenter, Smith, Crigler, Wayland, Wilhoit, Clore, Crigler, and Thomas.  Looking at the ancestry of some of these marriage partners:

  • Anna Magdalena Smith (wife of John George Christler) was the daughter of John Michael Smith, Jr., and Anna Magdalena Thomas.  Anna Magdalena was the daughter of Anna Maria Blankenbaker.

  • Mary Ann Thomas (husband of Michael Christler) was the daughter of Michael Thomas, who was the son of Anna Maria Blankenbaker.

  • Elizabeth Wayland was the daughter of John Wayland and Catherine Broyles.  Catherine was the daughter of Jacob Broyles and Mary Catherine Fleshman, whose father was the son of Anna Barbara Schöne.
    (That makes three for Anna Barbara’s descendants, since the Blankenbakers are her descendants also.  Let’s try for a fourth descendant.)

  • Catherine Christler married Aaron Crigler, who was the son of Margaret Kaifer, who was the daughter of Anna Maria Blankenbaker, who was the daughter of Anna Barbara Schöne.  Now we have four.  Are there any more?

I like to do this kind of thing just for the practice of remembering who married whom.
(11 Aug 01)


Nr. 1234:

In the last note we observed that four of the spouses of the children of Theobald Christler and Rosina Gaar were descended from one woman, namely Anna Barbara Schöne.  I asked the question of whether any more of the spouses were descended from her.  The answer is, I believe, "No."

Now I ask another question.  "Was there any other person who had more descendants among the spouses of the children of the Christler-Gaar union than Anna Barbara did?"  Since four is a fairly large number in this kind of situation, the answer may surprise you.  There was a person who had five descendants among the spouses.  Who was this person?

We will approach the answer indirectly.  Susanna Klaar (Clore in America, usually) married Joseph Weber (Weaver in America).  This couple, with three children, came to America, but Joseph died before long.  Susanna married then Jacob Crigler and they had at least two sons, Nicholas and Christopher.  Jacob Crigler died and Susanna married Nicholas Yager, but there were no children here.  So, all of the Clore (Susanna’s brother was Michael Clore), the Weaver, and the Crigler descendants in America have common ancestors in the parents of Susanna Klaar, who were also the parents of Michael Klaar or Clore.

  • Henry Christler married Elizabeth Weaver, the daughter of Peter Weaver, the son of Susanna.

  • Adam Christler married Elizabeth Crigler, the daughter of Nicholas Crigler, the son of Jacob and Susanna.

  • Leonard Christler married Margaret Clore, the daughter of John Clore, the son of Michael Clore (brother to Susanna).

  • Catherine Christler married Aaron Crigler, the son of Nicholas Crigler, the son of Jacob and Susanna.

  • Margaret Christler married Adam Clore, the son of Peter Clore, the son of Michael Clore (brother to Susanna).

What were the names of Susanna and Michael’s parents?  We have good reason to believe that their father was Hans Martin Klaar.  Their mother is Barbara, but her maiden name is unknown.

Some of the information in the past two notes has come from the work of Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman, who researched and wrote the "Before Germanna" booklets.
(13 Aug 01)



Nr. 1235:

In note 1217, I started to review an article by Klaus Wust, but I interrupted the presentation to put in a little promotional material for the East Tennessee Germanna Reunion.  I return to the Wust article now.

Franz Michel returned to America in 1703 (NS) and explored at a greater length than he had on the first trip.  His letters to his partners in Bern continued the optimistic tones of his first report.  Ritter and Ochs approached the English government with a proposal for an organized Swiss colony.  The plan formulated on 19 Feb 1705 contained some unusual requests.  They wished to have a free exercise of religion, to have the full privileges of citizens, to be independent of the provincial governors, and they wished to have the costs of their transportation to America paid by the crown.  The reaction at the Board of Trade and at the Court was less than promising, but still they did not kill the plan.  It was on the table for four years.  The Council of Bern endorsed it in 1706 but that had not helped.

The English were not happy about the uncertain location in the request and independence which was requested.  It was clearly undercutting the provincial governors.  In general, the land that Michel had selected was on the headwaters of the Potomac River and its branches.  It seems that he was thinking of Virginia for he had explored at some length in the Shenandoah Valley and left a map of the region (ten years before Spotswood).  The location was vague enough that the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania was concerned it was an encroachment on them.  The Northern Neck proprietors felt that it was on their land.  Even Maryland wanted more information.  No one in England clearly understood the geography of this area.

Michel returned to Bern in 1708 and his reports, which now included minerals, prompted him and his partners to renewed efforts.  They enlisted the aid of the Earl of Sunderland in England, who could approach Queen Anne.  The real turning point occurred when Christoph von Graffenried from Bern joined Michel in London.  Graffenried had a better understanding of what was necessary.  In July of 1709, the two men from Bern approached the Board of Trade with new proposals.  The requests were now very moderate.  They asked only that they be allowed to have their own minister who spoke their language.  And they added a very positive note by saying they would be a buffer between the English and the French.  They said there would only a small number of people.  Within about a month, they had the royal approval of their proposal.  An order of the Council, dated 22 Aug 1709, directed the governor of Virginia to allot the petitioners, upon their arrival in Virginia, lands on the southwest branch of the Potomac River, i.e., the Shenandoah River.

Of course, we have never heard of a Swiss settlement in the Shenandoah Valley.  We will soon see why.
(14 Aug 01)



Nr. 1236:

Just recently, I have been using material from Klaus Wust, "Palatines and Switzers for Virginia, 1705-1738:  Costly Lessons for Promoters and Emigrants."  The primary documents for this are in the Public Record Office in London, and in the Swiss libraries.  One can get the PRO records directly from your armchair.  For the Swiss libraries, it necessitates a trip.  Or, the easier way to get Graffenried's writings is to buy the book, "Christoph von Graffenried's Account of the Founding of New Bern" (available from Heritage Books).

Graffenried, a partner in George Ritter and Company, found that he could get the North Carolina proprietors to take his Swiss colony to North Carolina if he would also lead a contingent of several hundred Germans.  The proprietors also offered him the title of Baron if he would buy 5,000 acres of land.  Graffenried saw this a chance for both profit and status.  He believed that he could get the North Carolina colony established easily, and then he could devote his attention to the Virginia colony, which was to mine silver.  Albrecht was going to Siegen to recruit the miners and it would take him a little time to find the people.  So Graffenried said yes to the North Carolina proprietors.  Later, he was to admit in his writings that the diversion to North Carolina was not the wisest move.

For an account of what happened in North Carolina and in Virginia, we have information from Graffenried and Spotswood.  Spotswood became involved because of the Indian Wars in North Carolina, which were a threat to the Virginians.  So he wrote letters to the Board of Trade, telling it what the situation was, and what he was going to do about.  In fact, because Graffenried hardly ever enters any dates in his story, the writings of Spotswood become very important to help sort out the events.

When Graffenried did write his memoirs, after his American experience had ended, they had a special purpose.  In them, he was trying to say what went wrong, and whose fault it was.  Never was it his fault.  These memoirs are the principal documents in the Swiss libraries that form the basis for the book above (originally published in 1920).

Let us return to the events in London in 1709, when Michel and Graffenried were there, and also more than ten thousand Germans hoping to go on to America.  Graffenried did select five or six hundred of the Germans to go to North Carolina.  Ships were made ready and the ships did sail with the Germans, but Graffenried remained in London waiting for the Swiss contingent.  The Swiss had not been able to leave Bern because the plans for them were not ready.  Now that the plans were generally ready, the Swiss started down the Rhine River for London.  (Some reports say that a son of Graffenried was leading this contingent.)
(15 Aug 01)



Nr. 1237:

July 23, 1709 To the Right Honorable Earl of Sunderland:

My Lord, In obedience to Her Majesty's Command signified to us by your Lordship's Letter of 28th of June last, we have considered the Petition of several Inhabitants of the Canton of Bern, praying that they may be permitted to make a Settlement on the Frontiers of Virginia, and we have been attended by Mr. Christopher de Graffenried and Mr. Louis Mitchell, who have been sent from the said Canton to prosecute that affair here.

And Whereas by the above said Petition, Several Concessions were defined which would be chargeable to Her Majesty, and which are not granted to her Majesty's subjects who take up Lands to Settle and Plant there, the aforesaid Graffenried and Mitchell who are authorized from the Canton of Bern have withdrawn the said Petition and given Us another Proposal, a Copy whereof is hereunto Annexed by which they propose to Settle a Colony in Virginia of about five or six hundred persons at their own charge.  But at first they intend to carry over about sixty to prepare and begin a Settlement place there.  And they pray

That Her Majesty would be Graciously pleased to grant them Lands for such a Settlement upon the South West Branch of Potomac River.

That they may enjoy the same Advantages, Liberties and Privileges which her Majesties natural born Subjects do enjoy in their Parts.

That they may have a Minister from their own Country who, speaking their own Language, will be the better able to teach and instruct them in their Religious concerns.  They are willing to be subject to the Laws and Government of Virginia.  And in all Matters Ecclesiastical, Civil, and Military they will be conformable to the Constitution of that Colony.

Whereupon having consulted with some of the Principal Persons concerned in Virginia, who have testifyed to us their ready concurrence therewith.  We pray your Lordships represent to her Majesty our humble opinion That the Settlement of such a Colony in the Place desired will be a public benefit and advantage; By Strengthening the Frontiers of Virginia against the French of Canada and Missisipi; And by the Increase of Trade and Navigation and therefore we see no objection why Her Majesty may not be Graciously pleased to grant their desire . . .

*************************

(from the Public Record Office, C.O. 5/1362)

(to be continued)
(16 Aug 01)


Nr. 1238:

(continuing from the previous note)

[And by the Increase of Trade and Navigation and therefore we see no objection why Her Majesty may not be Graciously pleased to grant their desire . . .] and to direct her Governor upon their arrival to allot them Land on the Southwest Branch of the Potomac (which is a place not yet Seated by any of Her Majesty's subjects in such Manner & Form and under the like Condition & Covenants and Reservations of Quit Rents as are by the Charter and Laws of That Colony allowed and directed to be made; due care being taken in all such events of an equal distribution of the profitable and unprofitable acres; And particularly that every Patentee be obliged in the best and most effectual Manner to Cultivate and improve three Acres part of every fifty Acres granted to them within the Term of three years after the passing such Grant; And in Case of failure thereof, such Grant or Grants to be void and of none Effect according to Her Majesty's Additional Instruction to Collonel Hunter dated the Nineteenth of February 1708/9.  Provided always that in all things they always conform themselves to the Several Acts and Laws of Trade and Navigation heretofore made or which hereafter shall be made relating to her Majesty's Foreign Plantations.  We are

My Lord

Whitehall, July 25th 1709          Your Lordships most Humble Servants
Dartmouth
Ph. Meadows
Cha. Turner

***************************

This document was prepared by the Board of Trade, and it is a report back to Lord Sunderland, as he had requested, for the opinion of the Board on the request of Graffenried and Michel being made to Queen Anne.  Lord Sunderland used this report to go before Queen Anne with his recommendations.  The Board, to form its opinion, had several people who were interested in Virginia come in and testify as to what they thought.

The Board did not invite the public to testify.  Testimony was limited to a few people who, without any formal position, formed the corridors of power.  There was a tremendous amount of, "What do you think of this proposal?"

I like to have my history in the raw, based on the documents of the time, written by the participants themselves, though the participants are often biased, distorting the facts in a self-serving way.  We always have to watch for that.
(17 Aug 01)



Nr. 1239:

The memorandum that I have presented in the last two notes, from the Board of Trade and Plantations to Lord Sunderland, was preceded by a long series of other documents on the general subject.  The first proposal was made about 1706, in the French language.  I was going to give you the French text, but the filming was not good, and, since I do not read French, the result was apt to be poor.  One phrase from an earlier (English) document is repeated here:

"We shall ever carry the mark of Gratitude in our hearts as to discover and propagate what may be most suitable and Beneficial to the Interest of Great Brittain of which we hope and expect Minerals Hemp Flax Wine Salt and other necessary improvements will soon appear to the Crown's satisfaction and all our Interest which further requires of this Negotiations we refer to his Excellency Abraham Stannian, Esq., Envoy from her Majesty of Great Brittain to the Protestant Cantons of Switzerland."

Signed by Luis Michell

One reason that I gave this quote was to show what Michel and Graffenried expected to find, and/or produce, on the frontiers of Virginia.  I had not remembered whether they had informed the English that they hope to mine silver there.  Without being specific, they put "minerals" at the head of the list of things they hoped to produce.

Barely had they obtained the approval for the colony of Switzers in Virginian, than they decided to send the Switzers to North Carolina.  In Virginia, they were going to replace the Switzers by German miners.  This also shows the priority that they placed on the different items they could conceivably produce.

One might ask why Graffenried and Michel allowed themselves to be diverted from the Virginia colonization scheme by the North Carolina effort.  While several reasons might be put forth, I believe that Graffenried was swayed by the offer of the North Carolina proprietors to grant anyone who bought 5000 acres the title of Baron.  In second place of the reasons, I believe Graffenried thought it would be a profitable venture.

The decision to recruit miners from Nassau-Siegen was reached in 1709, which was a year before Alexander Spotswood arrived in Virginia.  They were to mine silver, not iron.  They were to do it for the company of which Graffenried and Michel were the field managers.
(18 Aug 01)



Nr. 1240:

The proceedings in London between the North Carolina proprietors, Michel, Graffenried, and the other interested parties (investors) went on for a year.  A formal agreement was not reached until 18 May 1710, almost a year after the first Germans had started to arrive in London.  On the date just mentioned, Graffenried and Michel signed an agreement with Georg Ritter and Peter Isot, by which they became members of the Georg Ritter Company.

Michel and Graffenried had been acting on their own without a formal agreement with the Georg Ritter Company.  Michel had, since the first trip he had made to Virginia, been aware of the proposal for a colonization company.  Now that the colony members were identified (the Germans and Swiss), and there was a place for them to go (North Carolina), and a means of transportation, it was necessary to formalize the agreement among the parties.  The Georg Ritter and Company was a stock company, with twenty-four shares of stock which were to be sold for 300 hundred pounds sterling each.  No one person was to hold more than one share.

Michel was given one share for his work and the discoveries he claimed to have made.  He had purchased 2500 acres from the North Carolina proprietors and he turned this in.  Graffenried was given a share for the 5000 acres he turned in (the basis of his barony) and for the work he had done with the Palatines in the previous year.  Georg Ritter had a share for his early expenses.  Of the remaining 21 shares, only one was paid up and that was from Albrecht Graffenried.  It is not clear that there was much cash in the bank and that was one of the major problems.  Apparently several shares were sold on a deferred payment plan and were never paid up.

The grant from the Queen for land above the falls of the Potomac, which is where the mines were thought to be, was assigned to the company also.  A rather complex section of the agreement covered the mineral rights.  Graffenried claimed the company had an agreement with Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania for mining rights, but only Carolina mining rights are known.  It was agreed that Baron de Graffenried and Mr. Lewis Michel were to have a lease for thirty years of all royal mines and minerals in the Province of Carolina that they should discover.  They were to be totally responsible for the expenses.  The produce of the mines was to be divided into eight parts.  Four of the eight parts were to be paid to the Lords Proprietors.  The other four parts were to go to Graffenried and Michel for five years after the mines were opened.  After five years, the division was five to three in favor of the Lords Proprietors.  It was not all profit to the Lords Proprietors as they had to pay the Crown the fourth part (apparently of their half), so the Crown was to get one-eighth of the total.

In the division between Michel and Graffenried, Michel was to have all of their joint share for three years.  After this time, the investors were to receive a share of the profits.

In the other colonies, besides Carolina, the agreements are unknown.  There is even a reason to be suspicious that there were agreements for the other colonies, because in one of them, Virginia, the crown's share was not even defined.  This was to be a problem for Alexander Spotswood for a number of years in his supposed silver mine.
(20 Aug 01)



Nr. 1241:

Klaus Wust has been mentioned here.  A much more significant recognition of his work was made by the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland when they elected him to the position of Honorary President of the Society.  Klaus has worked with the Society for many years.  He was the editor of The Report, the Journal of the Society, from 1957 to 1992.

Klaus was born in Germany in 1925.  He almost escaped service in World War II but did serve in the Navy transporting Germans escaping from the Russians in the eastern regions to the western regions late in the war.  His first civilian job was as editor of the Social Democratic Free Press, but he obtained a one year leave in 1949 for attendance as a scholarship student at Bridgewater College in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  It was here that he discovered the legacy the Germans had left in America, and especially in the Valley.  He decided to spend his life recording their achievements.  (In the process, his one year is turning into a lifetime.)

I hesitate to use the past tense since Klaus is alive and still working.  We are expecting more major books from him.  His first major book was the "The Virginia Germans", published first in 1969, and reprinted many times since then.  This book has won many awards.  Though writing and editing seem to be his first loves, he had done many other activities, nearly all of them in the German-American world.

He was editor of the weekly Washington Journal, from 1957 to 1967, and wrote articles on politics and immigration from German-speaking countries.  Klaus was one of the originators of the Museum of American Frontier Culture at Staunton, Virginia.  He was in charge of the selection and transportation of a Palatine farm to the museum.  He has been the guest curator of several German-American exhibits, notably at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg, and at the Pratt Graphics Center in New York City.

He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, James Madison University, and Nottingham University in England.  He has been a popular speaker at genealogical and historical society meetings.  I have heard him twice at Seminars sponsored by the Germanna Foundation, and his talks were always solid with original material.  (Klaus is a believer in using source material even if means traveling to archives half way around the world.)

He has served the German government in many ways.  He was an advisor on a commemorative exhibition honoring German immigration to America.  For many years he was an official interpreter for German delegations, including being the personal interpreter for the highest German officials.  For several years he worked with the U.S. Department of State.

The material today comes from an article by Gary Carl Grassl, in the "Washington Journal" for 11 Jun 2001.
(21 Aug 01)



Nr. 1242:

The Germanna Foundation, on its web page, or in its printed material, has some errors in the general history of the Germanna Colonists.  Let’s take a look at some of these mistakes.

"When Baron de Graffenried returned to Europe, Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood requested him to recruit for him some German miners.  Graffenried persuaded 14 individuals with families, totaling 42 persons from the town of Siegen and Müsen in the principality of Nassau-Siegen, Germany to come to Virginia."

Graffenried returned to Europe, by way of London, in 1713.  He arrived there in the fall of the year and found that the people from Nassau-Siegen were there.  Graffenried himself writes that he advised the Germans to go home to Nassau-Siegen, since George Ritter and Company was bankrupt.  This, of course, hardly sounds like the way that a recruiter goes about his work.  It also shows that was he not thinking about Spotswood but about the George Ritter and Company.

A recruitment activity did commence in 1710 under Johann Justus Albrecht, for the George Ritter and Company, which was planning on developing silver mines on the headwaters of the Potomac River, i.e., in the Shenandoah Valley.  This activity had commenced before Spotswood was even in Virginia.

We do not know exactly why the Germans were in London in 1713.  Graffenried denied strongly that he had in any way encouraged the group to come to London, and then to America.  He admits that he wrote that if one or two persons wanted to come to America to have a look, then they could come.  But he implied this would be at their own expense, and not a permanent move.

About the best that we can say about the situation is that there was a misunderstanding between Graffenried in America and Albrecht in Germany/London.  But the work that Albrecht had done, which resulted in the Germans going to London, was intended for the George Ritter and Company work.

Given the predicament into which Albrecht and Graffenried had put the Germans, they (the Germans) did manage to find a way of escaping, which was in line with their original intentions.  They counted their money and concluded they were short about four years of labor to pay for the trip.  So they said they would work for people in America if those people would pay the balance.  At the time they made this proposal, they had no particular person or persons in mind for whom they would be working.  Nor was there any specification as to what they would be doing.  This was merely a means to put their lives back into some resemblance of normality.
(22 Aug 01)



Nr. 1243:

A question was asked about the Scheible family which lived in the village of Neuenbürg, from where the Fleshmans, Schlucters, and Blankenbakers came.  In fact, Margaret James Squires, who found all of these families there in the Protestant church records, told me that she thought the Scheibles were related to the other families, but that she could not prove it.  The reason that one has suspicions is often that one family acts as baptismal sponsors for the children of other families.  The Lutherans prefer that the sponsors be relatives, but it is not an absolute necessity.  At the Hebron Lutheran Church outside Madison, Virginia, we observe the sponsors are usually related by marriage or blood to the parents.

A year ago when I was in Gresten, Austria, I was standing outside the house on the Pletzenberg farm watching the owner and an electrician install a new circuit distribution panel in the house.  I looked down on the ground at the discarded cardboard box which the panel had come in, and I saw that it was addressed to Scheible.  The name caught my attention, but I did not think much of it until I was back home and looking at a map of the farms where we generally had been.  It was then that I saw that the Scheiblau farm was only about one-half mile from the Plankenbichl farm, from where the Blankenbakers had come.  By accident, I do have a photo of the Scheiblau farm which is posted on the web page of Germanna photos.

When you look at the sequence of the original land patents in the Madison area, you will see these names in order:

  1. Balthasar Blankenbaker,
  2. Matthias Blankenbaker,
  3. John Nicholas Blankenbaker,
  4. John and Michael Thomas (their mother was Anna Maria Blankenbaker),
  5. George Scheible, and
  6. Cyriacus Fleshman.

When one considers the close physical association in Austria of the farms with appropriate names, the suspicions of Mrs. Squires in Neuenbürg, and the land associations in Virginia, one feels that indeed the families were related and that Scheibles came from Austria.  They probably left there about 1652 in the great exodus of Protestants from that land.

Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman (in "Before Germanna", vol. 5) found that Johann Georg Scheible and Maria Eleonora (perhaps Berger) were the parents of these five daughters:

  1. Anna Martha, chr. 8 May 1697,
  2. Anna Elisabetha, born 17 Sep 1700,
  3. Anna Maria, born 18 mar 1708, died 4 Apr 1708,
  4. Anna Maria, born 15 June 1709, died 12 Jul 1710,
  5. Anna Maria, born 24 June 1711.

The first two and the last one were immigrants to Virginia, as is attested by the importation list of Alexander Spotswood.  Anna Elisabetha married Michael Holt.  There is a suggestion that the other two daughters did not live, since George Scheible transferred all of his original land to his grandson, George Holt.
(23 Aug 01)


Nr. 1244:

[Forgive me for the slight interruption.]

I have been studying the 64 Communion Lists, which run from 1775 to 1812, at the Hebron Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.  These lists are an important tool in studying the community.  Of course, the people you are studying must have gone to the communion services.

Knowing the people that a person sat next to tells something about the person.  One of the people I am studying is Els Blankenbaker, who was the wife of Zacharias Blankenbaker, the son the 1717 immigrant, John Nicholas Blankenbaker.  Els outlived Zach by several years, and attended church by herself for eleven Communion Services.

Els' maiden name is unknown.  She was married, first, to someone besides Zach, and she had two daughters by that first marriage.  (One book says that her first husband was a Finks, but the author offered no evidence.)  My primary objective is to determine her maiden name.  So I am looking at the people with whom she sat to see if there is a pattern there.  I have not solved the puzzle yet, and may never solve it.

My current subproblem, in this particular maze, it to identify several Hofmann women who were sitting next to, or close to, Els:

At Easter 1797, Els was sitting next to Anna Hofmann and Rosina Hofmann.
At Easter 1798, Els was two away from Margaret Hofmann.
At Easter 1799, Els was two away from Elizabeth Hofmann.
On 18 Nov 1804, Els was next to Magdalena Hofmann.
On 18 May 1806, Els was two away from Magdalena Hofmann.

This is a rather unusual number of people from one family (taken in the broad sense).  There may be a reason.

Remember that these Hofmanns may have acquired the Hofmann name by birthright, or by marriage.  In the Huffman/Hoffman histories I cannot find all of these people.  If anyone thinks they can identify any of them, please let me know.

One of the interesting aspects of the 64 sets of names of people taking Communion is that there are no male Huffmans/Hoffmans.  This suggests that the males were adhering to their German Reformed beliefs.  The women, such as those above, may have been Lutherans who married Huffmans.  They had no objections to attending the Communion Services.  Another possibility is that in the generation previous to these women, a Hoffman man married a Lutheran and the children were raised in the Lutheran faith.  Therefore, these might be maiden names.
(27 Aug 01)


Nr. 1245:

In the last note, the subject was Els Blankenbaker and the Hoffmans who sat near her at some of the Communion Services at the Hebron Church.  I was a bit puzzled by who the Hoffmans might be, but, with the help of Jim Messersmith, and some more study, I have the following tentative identifications, though still not yet complete.

At one service in 1797, Anna and Rosina (or Rosanna) Hoffman were sitting next to each other.  Jim has identified these two as sisters, Millers by birth.  Elijah Hoffman, s/o William, s/o the immigrant John, married Rosanna, 28 Jan 1796.  This was a second marriage for Elijah, but he was still a young man.  His uncle, Henry, as his second marriage, married Ann, 15 Dec 1794.  Henry, though, already had a sizeable family from his first marriage to Elizabeth Blankenbaker.

The Magdalena Hoffman was probably Magdalena Cook, who married John Hoffman, s/o Nicholas, s/o John.  She was born in 1756 (Hebron Church records).  John Hoffman is sometimes estimated to have a birth year of 1761, but the odds would be that he was born a few years earlier than this.  Magdalena Cook took Communion under her maiden name from 1775 to 1778, but never after this date under the Cook name.  Under the name Magdalena Hoffman she took communion from 1783 to 1807.  (There were few communion services from 1778 to 1783.)  Her parents were George Cook and Mary Sarah Reiner.

The Elizabeth Hoffman was probably Elizabeth Tanner, who married Solomon Hoffman, in 1795.  The name Elizabeth Hoffman never occurs before 1795 in the Communion Lists.  Solomon was the son of Jacob Hoffman and Barbara Souther.  Jacob was the son of John, the immigrant.

The Margaret Hoffman in the lists is more of a problem.  I have not come up with a good candidate here.

Skipping Margaret, who is still an unknown, the other four are thought to have a history in the Hebron Church prior to their marriage.  They had an earlier history of Lutheran worship and they are keeping it up after marriage.

For identifying Els Blankenbaker, I do not see much help in these Hoffman names.  Many of the other names of people with Els fall into more of a pattern.

While doing this work, I note that the Hoffman/Huffman histories suggest that Michael, the son of the immigrant John, might have married Mary Fleshman.  But as I look at the Fleshman history I do not see any possibility of this.  Does anyone have an opinion on this?
(28 Aug 01)



Nr. 1246:

Continuing with the saga of Els Blankenbaker, in 1795 two of the people very close to her were Susanna Berry and Susan Holtzclaw.  Two of the others close to her were Christina Blankenbaker (nee Finks) and Elizabeth Blankenbaker.

In 1798 (after skipping two services), there were Magdalena Wayman and Mary Wayman, who were Els Blankenbaker's daughter and granddaughter, respectively.  There was also Susanna Berry and Margaret Huffman.

At the next service, there were two Holtzclaws, Susanna and Elizabeth.  Also, there was a Christina Ernst and Elizabeth Huffman.

At a service in 1801, Margaret Zimmerman, Elizabeth Smith, Ludwig Utz, and Mary Yager were with Els.

At the next service, the names were Ephraim and Jemina Koch, Joseph Holtzclaw, Catharina Barlow, and Margaret Delph.

In 1804, the names were Susanna Deer (Hirsch), Susanna Smith, Anna Yager, and Magdalena Hofmann.

At the next service Els attended, three names that were close were Magdalena Hofmann (one of two that day), Rachel Wayland, and Elisabeth Blankenbaker.

Four services later, the names near Els were Peggy Carpenter, Susanna Holtzclaw, and John Küster.

Five communion services later in 1810 (the last one that Els attended), the names were Matthew House, Elizabeth Blankenbaker, Elizabeth Blankenbaker, and Susanna Holtzclaw.

There is one family name that is common to many of these people (not the name they bear, but a near relative).  The name itself does not show up in the list.  Also, seeing that very little space is left in this note, I will just have to wait to divulge it; however, if you want to make your guess public, go ahead.  The prize will be public recognition.

This is a very interesting case, and there is no solution to the question to the maiden name of Els, but we do have some ideas.
(29 Aug 01)



Nr. 1247:

I am still with Els who married Zacharias Blankenbaker.  The question before the house is, "What was her maiden name?"  Toward that end, we are looking at the people with whom she sat during the Communion Services.  As I go through some of the names, I will drop little hints.

In 1795, Susanna Berry was sitting two away from Els.  Susanna was born a Smith, and that meant her father was J. Michael Smith, and her mother was Anna Magdalena THOMAS, the daughter of John Thomas, Sr.  The person two away from Els on the other side was Susan Holtzclaw.  This latter Susan was born a Thomas, the daughter of John THOMAS, Jr.  She married Jacob Holtzclaw, the son of the 1714 Jacob Holtzclaw.

In 1798, Els was sitting with Susanna Berry again (see the previous paragraph).  Els was also sitting with Magdalena Wayman, her daughter, and with Mary Wayman, her granddaughter.

On Easter of 1799, Els was sitting with Susanna (nee THOMAS) Holtzclaw.  Also, there was an Elizabeth Holtzclaw.  Of the two that Elizabeth Holtzclaw could be, neither is assigned a marriage partner, so apparently this was her maiden name.  The probability is that she is the daughter of Susanna Holtzclaw, so she can claim some THOMAS genes also.

In 1801, there is an Elizabeth Smith.  I do not know her identification.

In 1802, a Joseph Holtzclaw sat next to Els, and could be the Joseph who married Mary THOMAS as his first wife, or could be the son of Joseph and Mary.  Since the son Joseph would be only 18 years old, my vote goes to the father.

In 1804, there is a Susanna Smith, but again, as with Elizabeth, I am not certain about the identity.  I do note that there was a Smith family which had Thomas genes.

At two separate services following the one in 1804, Susanna Holtzclaw was again close to Els Blankenbaker.  Again, this Susanna was born a THOMAS.  For emphasis, since there were two appearances, I will list THOMAS again.

Not counting the Blankenbakers, I believe the most common surname is Thomas.  This is not really too surprising, since Els had a brother-in-law who married a Thomas (Jacob Blankenbaker married Mary Barbara Thomas).  So Els was acquainted with the Thomas family.

Any problem involving Thomas and Holtzclaw requires a further discussion on the interactions between these two families.
(30 Aug 01)



Nr. 1248:

We starting talking about Els (nee Unknown) Blankenbaker, but we have come around to asking some questions about the Thomas and the Holtzclaw families.  We have discussed, much earlier, the fact that the oldest son of the 1714-immigrant Jacob Holtzclaw was John, who married a widow.  Catherine Russell was her birth name, and she married a Thomas and had at least a son, Jacob.  What made this stand out was that the two youngest sons of Jacob Holtzclaw went to the Robinson River Valley and married two Thomas girls, daughters of John Thomas, Jr.  (At the same time, we must remember that the surname of their mother, the second wife of Jacob Holtzclaw, the immigrant, is unknown.  Maybe she came from the Robinson River community.)

I have always felt that the Thomas husband of Catherine Russell was related to the Robinson River Thomases.  Then, I believed that John Thomas and his siblings probably visited Jacob Thomas to see how their relative was doing.  In the process they became acquainted with the Germantown community, and, likewise, the Germantown community became acquainted with the Robinson River Thomases.

The maiden name of John Thomas’ (first) wife is unknown.  Did he meet someone from the Germantown community and marry her?  There is a little circumstantial evidence that says this could be the case.  The family of John Thomas, Jr., has a minimum number of appearances at the Lutheran church.  Just to cite one example, Jacob Blankenbaker married Mary Barbara Thomas, the daughter of John Thomas, Jr.  Their first child was born after 1750, the starting date for recording births at Hebron.  But none of the children are in the birth records there.  And Mary Barbara Thomas Blankenbaker has no appearances there herself.  Of the four known children of John Thomas, Jr., three of them married Reformed men (two Holtzclaws and one Railsback), and one married Jacob Blankenbaker.  This suggests that John Thomas, Jr., might have married a Reformed woman, presumably from Germantown.

One possibility is that Els Blankenbaker came from the Germantown community.  A little bit of a suggestion of this is, while she frequented the Lutheran church, she tended to sit in the back of the church, and to sit with people who had some near history with the Reformed religion.  But she did take communion, see later comments.

Another possibility is that Els was a Thomas, from a branch of the family of which we have no knowledge.  Possibly she was related to the Thomas who married Catherine Russell.

I believe that if I were a descendant of Els and wanted to learn more about her, I would try to learn more about the Thomas family in Germany, who seemed to have some presence in the Neuenbürg church.  And also, as a descendant of Els, or as a descendant of John Thomas, Jr., I would study the Germantown community for clues.  Note that spelling E-L-S is pronounced approximately as "Ales".

I would appreciate it if someone who knew the Lutheran church practices in the eighteenth century would comment on the serving of Communion to non-Lutherans.  I believe, but I am not sure, that they were not inclined to do this.
(31 Aug 01)



Nr. 1249:

The September issue of Beyond Germanna was mailed to subscribers Thursday.  A few received it Friday, more Saturday, and some will receive it after Labor Day.  On the whole, I am rather proud of the issue, for two very important stories that it carries.

Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman had found the Blankenbakers in Neuenbürg, as had several other people.  They went on to say that the family originated in Gresten, Austria.  From the similarity of the names in these two locations, it was not hard to believe that Gresten was the origin; however, there was no solid proof of this.

In the Gresten Catholic Church records, which was the only game in town after 1630, Cerny and Zimmerman constructed the outline of two families who might have been brothers.  Since Matthias of Neuenbürg was born about 1621, the Catholic church records could not be used to assign him to one of these Gresten families, with any assurance that the assignment was correct.  In fact, it was not even certain that Matthias did come from Gresten.

Thanks to the efficient and productive help of Eva May, I was put into contact with Richard Plankenbühler of Nürnberg (don’t confuse this big town with the village above).  Richard and his wife Gisela had the information that was needed to clarify the situation.  The information had not been easy to obtain, and had depended in part on the work of Pastor Kruh, who had photographed records in Gresten.

It is now known what the relationship was between Matthias of Neuenbürg (the ancestor of the American "Blankenbakers") and the people in Gresten.  He did come from there.

Along the way, I was in contact with Karl Blankenbühler of Karlsruhe, who is probably a cousin of the America Blankenbakers, perhaps to a degree closer than to Richard above.  Richard and John were able to work out their relationship, which is that they are half-ninth cousins.  We know our common ancestor, and we know the house he was living in, in 1600 (which still stands, I am told).

Also another man, whom I was able to contact, was William Blankenbehler of California, who is a closer cousin of Richard.

The second important story is that the communion lists at Hebron Lutheran church have been used to find the wife of Peter Fleshman, Sr., who was a young boy when he came to Virginia.  The arguments are involved with a lot of detail, but I have no doubts about the conclusions.  She is named in the story, so subscribers will be learning her name.

If you want to talk about these events, I am going to the East Tennessee Germanna Descendants Reunion next weekend.  I do not anticipate that these topics will be the subjects of my formal talk, but I will be around most of Saturday for discussions.
(Note from SgtGeorge:  John, several local "Germannans", and I will be at the church early on Saturday, even though the official start time is 12:00 Noon.  This "early" get-together will be a good time to get acquainted, compare ancestors, etc.)
(01 Sep 01)



Nr. 1250:

To understand why our ancestors might have made the decision to emigrate, we must understand some of the broader currents and events in Europe.  Events did not happen at the same time in all of the countries of Europe.  I will use the case of Austria to illustrate my remarks.

Prior to Martin Luther, several individuals had seen the desirability of reform in the Christian church in Europe, though in the person of Martin Luther these ideas came across most strongly.  In some countries, the impact was immediate, but in other counties there was a delay.  In Austria, reform did not come for about thirty years, until an outsider did missionary work.  Starting in 1750, Austria rapidly became fertile ground for reform measures.  In villages such as Gresten, the villages demanded, and got, the use of the church for the "protestors".  The majority of Austria was Protestant in 1575.  In Gresten, the home village of some of our Germanna people, it was almost one hundred percent.

A counter reformation was launched in Austria about 1577.  But the religious question became entangled in a larger conflict which resulted in a "Farmer's War" toward the end of the century.  Thousands of farmers throughout Austria rose up in revolt, but the better equipped, and better trained, forces of the emperor defeated the farmers, on whom a great loss of life was inflicted.  Several farmers, some from the village of Gresten, were executed after the war; however, the church in Gresten remained Protestant.

The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, whose base was in Austria, felt that it was a disgrace to have Protestants in the empire, and especially in Austria.  Out of such considerations, the Thirty Years' War commenced in 1618, and encompassed not only Austria, but what is now Germany as well.  Initially, it was a religious war, but it ended as a political war.  In 1630, Protestant churches were banned in Austria.  People still retained an identity as Protestants (Lutherans), but the only church for them to attend was the Catholic Church.

A very important consideration was what the war did to Germany.  Many lives were lost; in some areas the final population was one-third of the prewar levels.  Southwest Germany was especially hard hit.  In the north of Bavaria, by the end of the war, there were more than one hundred known farms, of which only three were occupied.  The rulers of these principalities were hit hard.  While most managed to escape with their lives, their income fell drastically, because of sharply reduced tax collections.  (There was almost no one left from whom to collect taxes!)

The war ended in 1648, with no clear winners.  It was hard to return to normalcy because of a labor shortage.  Draft animals were scarce.  Feeding even the reduced population was difficult, and for a few years the concentration was on getting enough to eat.

In Austria, in 1652, Ferdinand III declared that one must either convert to Catholicism or leave the country.  He was not prepared for the large number who wanted to leave.  In fact, he dearly needed the people to remain in Austria to help rebuild the country.  So he set up many roadblocks to prevent emigration, but he did not change his philosophy.
(04 Sep 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 FIFTIETH set of Notes, Nr. 1226 through Nr. 1250.)


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 1226 through 1250.

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