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This is the FIFTY-SECOND 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 1276 through 1300.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 52

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Nr. 1276:

John W. Wayland, when he was a student at the University of Virginia in 1901, wrote a historical essay which won first prize in a competition.  Apparently he was a good writer for he also won the English literature prize for the best short story, the magazine prize for the best essay, and the Bryan prize for the best paper, The Theory of Government.  Later he was to admit that the historical essay did contain some errors.  The historical essay under the title "The Germans of the Valley" was published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography for April 1902.  Excerpts from that magazine follow, sometimes with slight wording changes.

Virginia from the beginning was essentially a commonwealth of Englishmen; and because of this fact we often fail to emphasize sufficiently the elements in her population that are not English.  After the English, perhaps the next place on the scroll of Virginia's glory can be claimed by the Scotch-Irish. . . .  On the other hand, it may be that the German element in our State life is frequently not accorded its due share of recognition.  In passing, let it be noticed there were several German artisans in the Jamestown colony from its beginning.  Later, German settlements were established in what is now Spotsylvania and Madison Counties [it would have been better to have said Madison, Culpeper, Fauquier, and Rappahannock Counties].

As early as 1635, the following German names appear on the register of Virginia Land Patents: Johann Busch, Thomas Spielmann, John Schumann, Ph. Clauss, Henry Kohlman, John Laube.  The oldest volume of county records, kept at Henrico Courthouse in Richmond, mentions as prosecutors, defendants, and witnesses persons that were evidently Germans such as John Bauman and Georg Krontz.  It is highly probably that Col. William Byrd, when he founded Richmond in 1733, sold the first lot to a German, Samuel Ege.

Why hasn't the German element been mentioned more prominently? In the first place, only a few of Virginia's historians have been Germans, or persons acquainted well with them.  Then too, the early disposition was to regard the Germans with contempt.  Not even their nationality was correctly recognized as they were typically called "Dutch." [Klaus Wust relates that when he took his book, The Virginia Germans, to the University of Virginia Press that they suggested the book be called the The Virginia Dutch.]

The Germans were not always quick to change their ways and language.  But in 1900, after 170 years, the distinguishing characteristics were largely gone.  The best memory is in the proper names such as Strasburg, Zapp, Hinckle, Chrisman, Hamburg, and Amsterdam.  Or in the surnames such as Smuckers, Lautzes, Koontzs, Lutzs, Dingledines, Zirkles, Rosenbergers, Kochenours, Garbers, Huffmans, and Hildebrands.  Of course, many of these no long followed the original German spelling.
(10 Oct 01)



Nr. 1277:

[From John W. Wayland, “The Germans in the Valley”.]

“Let us get a bird’s eye view of the Valley of Virginia ­ the home of the people we are studying.  Along the northwest border of Virginia run the southeast ranges of the Allegheny Mountains, with numerous outlying spurs.  Thirty miles within the State border, parallel in general with the Allegheny ranges, runs the single range of the Blue Ridge.  The long, narrow belt of country ­ thirty miles wide and ten times as long ­ between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies, is the Valley of Virginia.  The northeast half of it, from Staunton to Harper’s Ferry, is the Shenandoah Valley, and contains the counties of Augusta, Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, Warren, Frederick, Clarke, Berkeley, and Jefferson (the last two now fall in the state of West Virginia).  The southwest half, from Staunton to the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, is drained by the headwaters of four rivers, the James, Roanoke, Great Kanawha, and the Tennessee.  Counties contained in this half are Rockbridge, Botetourt, Roanoke, Craig, Montgomery, Floyd, Pulaski, Carroll, Wythe, Grayson, Smyth, and Washington.  The line between Augusta County and Rockbridge County, running at right angles across the Valley, is practically at the height of the land that divides the headwaters of the Shenandoah and the James.

“The whole Valley of Virginia was a part of Orange County until the year 1738.  In that year, the country west of the Blue Ridge was removed from Orange County and transformed into the two counties of Frederick and Augusta.  The southwest half of the Valley was settled by people of various nationalities, Germans, French Huguenots, etc., but chiefly by the Scotch-Irish.  The northwest half ­ the Shenandoah Valley ­ also numbered Scotch-Irish and Huguenots among its pioneers, but it was settled chiefly by the Germans [the settlement pattern was strongly localized and the different nationalities were not evenly distributed].

“About one-third of the Shenandoah Valley is included within the limits of Augusta and Rockingham Counties.  These are the largest two counties in the state, and each extends across the Valley.  Northeast of Rockingham, two rows of counties extend to the Potomac River.  The Massanutten Mountains and the Opequon River form the dividing line between these two rows.  The Massanutten Mountains run in a line for about fifty miles, with two-thirds of the Valley on their west side and one-third on the east side.  The Shenandoah River, with all of its branches, drains the Shenandoah Valley to the Potomac River.  The main Shenandoah River flows into the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry.  The north fork of the Shenandoah flows into the main, or south, fork of the river at Front Royal.

“If one crosses the Blue Ridge Range from Madison, one comes to the southern end of the Massanutten Range.  Some of the closest contacts between the Germanna people and the Valley people occurred along the South Fork of the Shenandoah between the Massanutten and the Blue Ridge.  Many of the land patents by the Germanna people were on the South Fork.”

(11 Oct 01)



Nr. 1278:

[With John W. Wayland]: Spotswood's Expedition to the Valley

“More than one hundred years elapsed, after the settlement at Jamestown, before a white man looked upon the Shenandoah Valley. . . . if any white man, either as a roaming hunter, or as a fettered captive, ever visited that part of the Virginia lying west of the Blue Ridge, previous to the year 1716, no record of that visit has been preserved; consequently, upon Alexander Spotswood, governor of Virginia from 1710 to 1722, is bestowed the credit of first exploring the Valley of Virginia.”

[Wayland is way off base here.  Already, by 1708, there was a map of the Shenandoah Valley in London.  This was drawn by Francis Michel, who spent a considerable time in the Shenandoah Valley and roamed over a major portion of it.  Spotswood, at the most, spent two nights there and made no maps himself, or left any written report of the trip.  There were others previous to Michel, but I cite him to show that Wayland was in error.]

“Having had their horses freshly shod at Germantown, ten miles below the falls of the Rappahannock, the company left that place on the 29th of August . . .”

[Wayland says "Germantown", by which he means the place we now call Germanna; but this is not an error, as Germanna was often called Germantown. Of course, Germanna is above the falls of the Rappahannock by about thirteen miles.]

“[On the trip over the Blue Ridge] a keen lookout had to be maintained both day and night; for hostile savages dogged the footsteps of the party almost from the time of starting, and several sharp fights occurred with these rude children of the forest, who looked with jealous eye upon the invaders of their wilderness kingdoms.”

[No editor today would allow language such as this, especially since the statements were false.]

[Wayland goes on to describe the actual path in great detail, but it is unknown, and even debated fiercely today.  He describes their exploration of the Shenandoah Valley, saying they reached the Alleghanies on the far side of the Valley.  In actuality, John Fontaine, who kept a record, says they spent two nights and little more than one day there.]

[What we learn is the historians have greatly distorted history.  They have a lot of events to write about, so they take up one or two items and expand them beyond what the facts would warrant.  Instead of reading what John Fontaine, who was on the trip, wrote, they read what other historians have written, ad infinitum.  With each telling of the story, it becomes embellished.  Wayland paints a very inaccurate picture of the trip across the mountains.  After it gets published in a respectable journey, it becomes the truth.  Our own Germanna history is also littered with the carcasses of false stories.]
(12 Oct 01)



Nr. 1279:

[With John W. Wayland]:

“The facts concerning the "Order of the Golden Horseshoe" . . are so well known that they need not be repeated here.”

[If only the facts were well known.  There still remains an element of mystery today about the "Golden Horseshoes".  The primary source of information which would vouch for their existence is Rev. Hugh Jones, who says they did exist.  He was a contemporary, or at least he arrived on the scene not long after the event.  He may be correct, but no substantiating evidence has ever been found, and he was sometimes wrong about what he said.  When one considers that the real purpose of the trip over the mountains was to find land on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the members of the party to take up, one wonders if such an event would have merited something like the Golden Horseshoes.]

[Wayland mentions that Spotswood was English when Scottish would have been a better description.  He, Wayland, returns to the German question by asserting Spotswood's wife was German, which is discredited today.  For this reason, Wayland says Spotswood took a keen interest in the German settlers in Eastern Virginia.  Of course, Spotswood was not married until after the Germans had left their first homes and had escaped his clutches.]

“(The first settlers of the Valley) were Germans from York, Lancaster and other counties of Pennsylvania.  Settlers from the east side of the Blue Ridge did not go to the Valley until about 1760 [several Germanna people had pushed over the mountains at least fifteen years before this, including John Paul Vaught].  The majority of the people came from the northeast over the Potomac River near its junction with the Shenandoah River.

[Some of the earliest settlers were Germans who preceded Beverley with his claims.  This led to several lawsuits as to who had priority.]

[At the start of the second part of the article, Wayland admitted there had been several errors in the first part.  He anticipated more errors, and asked for corrections.  So give the man some credit for his confessions.]

[Reference is made to the "lower Valley", which often confuses people.  Wayland was correct in his use of the term; some people do not understand the distinction between a lower valley and an upper valley, especially when the river which drains the valley flows to the north.  "Lower" refers to elevation and not to north or south.  So "lower valley" refers to the direction that the river flows.  Since the Nile, Rhine, and the Shenandoah Rivers all flow to the north, the lower valley is at the north, not the south.  I have read genealogies which said our ancestors went up the Rhine River to Rotterdam.  They, of course, went down the Rhine River toward a lower elevation.]
(13 Oct 01)



Nr. 1280:

I did not get all the way through Wayland's article on the Germans in the Valley, but I found less and less material that was of value, except in the negative sense, namely a chance to say that he was wrong.  Actually, he moved into material where I could not say whether he was right or wrong, and I felt it was better not to repeat what he was saying since I could not vouch for it.  Of course, I was attracted to quoting him because of his Germanna origins.  I believe that he was descended from the Waylands in the Second Colony.

I was just reading some material from another book, "Barons of the Potomack and the Rappahannock", by Moncure Daniel Conway, which was published in 1892.  There was interesting material in it.  The author makes the claim, which I cannot doubt, that there was a period of time when the British monarchy existed only in Virginia.

You will remember that Charles I, King of England, etc, etc., suffered one of the occupational hazards of being a king.  He lost his head to Cromwell and his supporters.  For a period of time, Great Britain had no king or queen.  In Virginia they pretended that Charles I was still king, and they issued decrees in his name, even though he was dead, and Cromwell was running things in London.  It is said, in the book, that Virginia was the only colony who did not recognize Cromwell.  For this reason, it is contended, Virginia is called the Old Dominion.

Virginia even sent Col. Richard Lee to Holland, where Charles II, son of Charles I, had set up his throne in exile.  Virginia requested Charles II to set up his throne in the colony of Virginia.  Charles II declined.  He did give away a large part of Virginia to a few people who were his supporters, and this was the origin of the Northern Neck territory.

At all times, the Governor of Virginia had great powers.  He acted as though he were the King in Virginia.  He appointed officers, dismissed the Burgesses, was chief of the Exchequer, dictated to the Council, directed the armed forces, disposed of prizes captured at sea, issued the land patents, collected the quit rents, licensed marriages, and settled ecclesiastical quarrels.  None of the governors exercised these powers more vigorously than Alexander Spotswood.  His legend probably shines more brightly than any other in Virginia.  [That is the author of the book speaking.]

The Germans he imported [that is a word which Spotswood used for this] had a curious story yet to be told.  The town Germanna, which he founded on the upper Rappahannock [Rapidan would be a better description], is the haunt of romance.  Spotswood was called the "Tubal Cain of Virginia", for he set workmen to mine its iron ores [but the Germans had only a minor involvement in this].  The iron age was transmuted into the golden age by his institution of the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe".  [Or was it the other way around?]
(15 Oct 01)



Nr. 1281:

[Continuing the quotations from the work of the last note.]

The earliest mention of the Golden Horseshoe was by the Rev. Hugh Jones, who, by Spotswood’s appointment, preached in pretty Bruton Church in Williamsburg, which the governor transformed from a small structure into what it now is ­ a monument of his good taste.  The clergyman wrote:

“Governor Spotswood, when he undertook the great discovery of a passage over the mountains, attended with a sufficient guard of provisions, passed these mountains and cut his Majesty’s name upon a rock upon the highest of them, naming it Mount George, and in complaisance to him (Alexander Spotswood), the gentlemen called the next mountain to it Mount Alexander.  For this expedition, they were obliged to provide a great quantity of horseshoes, things seldom used in the eastern part of Virginia, where there are no stones.  Upon which account, the Governor upon his return presented each of his companions with a golden horseshoe, some of which I have seen, covered with valuable stones, resembling the heads of nails, with the inscription ‘Sic juvat transcendere montes’.  This he instituted to encourage gentlemen to venture backward and make discoveries and settlements, any gentlemen being entitled to wear this golden shoe who could prove that he had drunk his Majesty’s health on Mount George.”

So unimpressive was the incident at the time that no hint of it is found in any of Spotswood’s letters, though he repeatedly alludes to the expedition; and although there were fifty persons in the exploration, and must have been a considerable number of golden horseshoes, not one has rewarded the long search of antiquarians for a specimen.  Nothing was heard in Spotswood’s time of any “Order” or “Knights”; possibly he and those whom he decorated feared to awaken royal jealousy in England by any such appearance of a gubernatorial fountain of honor.  This part of the legend was evolved and decorated by later generations.

The exploration of the Blue Ridge, which touched the imagination of young Virginia, had among its romantic episodes the return with the governor of an Indian maiden, Katena.  There are variants of the story: some said that she begged to be carried to the region of the paleface; others that she was taken as a voluntary hostage from her father, a chief, for his friendship.  At any rate I have been told by the descendants of Francis Thornton that Katena is not at all mythical, and that she became the devoted companion of their ancestor.  She used to carry the child into the woods, near the mansion now known as Snowden, on the Falls of the Rappahannock, and taught him the wild arts of her race. . . .  But when Katena died in her eighteenth year, Francis Thornton remained through life a melancholy man.

[If I, John, should lay my head down and never wake, please remember that I hardly believe a word of what I have written as taken from “Barons of the Potomack and the Rappahannock”.]
(16 Oct 01)



Nr. 1282:

I have been re-reading the notes of John Fontaine in his description of the trip over the mountains.  One would hardly recognize that the trip he describes is the same as that described by Wayland and by Conway (including quotation from Jones).

While there were Indian guides in Spotswood's party, this is the only mention of any activity by Indians.  There were no skirmishes with the Indians.  And Fontaine does not mention any Indian girl who returned with them.

Conway says the party graved the name of George on the highest mountain.  While Fontaine says that they had some graving tools, they found that the rocks were too hard to accomplish anything.  Fontaine does confirm they named the highest mountain after King George and the next highest mountain after Alexander (Spotswood).  Incidentally, there is no agreement concerning the route that the party took, including the identity of Mount George and Mount Alexander.

Since Rev. Hugh Jones was in error on some of his facts, was he in error about the Golden Horseshoes?

Spotswood was careful to describe the trip as having a defensive purpose (protection from the Indians and the French), and as extending the claims of His Majesty in the westward land.  This was an attempt to make the trip sound official, and, as such, to be an expense for which he hoped to be reimbursed by the crown.  However, he had no royal authority to make the trip, and he had to pay the expenses from his own pocket.  Apparently he never did recover his costs from the crown, as he was still trying to get his expenses paid ten years later.  The implication is that he paid for this from his own pocket.  My feeling is that he would have been hard pressed to pay for the "golden horseshoes".

It is unfortunate that there has not been any supportive evidence from other sources for the horseshoes.  I am inclined to think that the golden horseshoes, Indian maidens, names engraved in mountains, and skirmishes with Indians were all figments of the imagination.

Very few people have recognized the true purpose of the trip.  It was a private venture of Spotswood and some of his friends to scout for land that they could take up.  They found it and had the surveyors stake out a 40,000 acre tract which, when more accurately computed, amounted to about 65,000 acres.  It ran almost from Germanna to west of the present day Culpeper County Court House.  The trip was made in 1716 and a little more than a year later a group of Germans was settled on the land to secure the claim.  Incidentally these Germans became the first citizens of modern Culpeper County.
(17 Oct 01)



Nr. 1283:

We have talked some about books for which the standard of scholarship was not too high.  Some books were written as fiction, but a few readers have taken them as factual.  After a couple of quotations, the fictional basis is lost and the books become history.

I start now on another book which was a serious work by an Instructor in History at the University of Pennsylvania.  Leonidas Dodson wrote a biography of Alexander Spotswood in 1932, which I believe is considered the best biography of Spotswood that has been written.  It is a book to be read if you are interested in how Virginia was run in the early eighteenth century.

I have just consulted the index to see what references were made to Graffenried.  There are none, but stupid me, I should have looked under de Graffenried.  The first in-depth discussion of Graffenried notes that he, with other promoters, proposed to establish a colony of Swiss upon the southwest branch of the Potomac.  The merchants Perry and Hyde assured the Board of Trade that this would strengthen Virginia's frontiers and increase her trade, and the board recommended the proposal be accepted.

The proposal was approved by Queen Anne, and Graffenried went, in 1710, to America with Swiss and German settlers, mostly the latter, and with Queen Anne's letter telling the governor to allot the colony land.  However, the settlement project in Virginia was deferred while Graffenried went to North Carolina with the Germans and the Swiss.  After his terrible experience there with the Tuscarora Indians, Graffenried directed his attention again to Virginia.  The proprietors of Maryland, the Northern Neck, and Pennsylvania all took an active interest in what he was proposing, since they felt he might be on their land.  His principal interest was silver, and he found that if he settled on the lands of the crown, the royal share was not defined.  The crown could take all that he found if they chose to.

This activity had so inflamed the imagination of Spotswood that he directed a campaign to get the share defined.  Perhaps his interest was increased by the fact that he had invested in land, in 1713, which was thought to contain silver.  He worked through Col. Blakiston, the agent for Virginia in London, to define the royal share.  The two managed to get Orkney on their side, and testimony was taken by the Board of Trade, which generally was in favor of it.  Apparently the matter was never settled.  Meanwhile, recruiting was continuing in Germany for miners to develop the silver mines.

Eventually, the miners did come to Virginia.  But this whole process is filled with much documented history that has yet to be fully uncovered.
(18 Oct 01)



Nr. 1284:

Dodson, biographer of Spotswood, mentions Graffenried, but without giving the history of Graffenried, who was to have a pronounced effect upon the activities of Spotswood.  There was almost ten years of history behind Graffenried's arrival in America (at Virginia) in 1710.  One of the consequences of Graffenried's presence in America was that the miners he was recruiting to work the projected silver mines, on the southwest branch of the Potomac River, were diverted instead to a proposed scheme to mine silver for Spotswood and his partners in today's Orange County.  Apparently there we no silver in either place, and the German miners, who were chomping at the bit about their inactivity at Fort Germanna, noted there was iron down the river from Germanna and brought this to the attention of Spotswood.  The development of these iron mines went very slowly, but by 1718, or perhaps 1719, when the Germans left, Spotswood had an assured supply of iron ore.  He proceeded to bring in iron masters from England to build and operate his iron furnace (no Germans were known to be engaged in this activity).  Iron, in the end, was an important element in Spotswood's private ventures, but it appears he was in the iron business because of the Germans who where there because of the recruiting by Graffenried and others to mine silver because they had heard the glowing reports of another person, Francis Michel.  Since he is missing so much of this history, Dodson does not interpret the activity of Spotswood correctly.

Dodson thought there might be a silver mine in which Spotswood, Graffenried, and Orkney had an interest but he does not seem to be aware of the sale of a tract of land to several partners including the three men given here.  There were other men also, all Virginians.  (Later, Graffenried mentions this tract and the partnership, saying the Germans could work on the silver mine that he and Spotswood had.)  Spotswood later denied having any land ownership prior to the Germanna tract, but he was a one-quarter owner in the 4020-acre tract that was thought to contain silver.  This purchase, made of Larkin Chew in 1713, cost him fifty pounds.  It is recorded at the Essex Courthouse.  This tract was not too far from Fort Germanna, and it furnishes the best motive known for the settlement of the Germans at Fort Germanna.  Spotswood did want to settle the Germans on the frontier, but, of all the places on the frontier, why not next to his silver mine?

Dodson, with others, falls into the trap of confusing Spotswood's public interest in iron mining with his private interest in silver mining.  The two were quite different for many years, perhaps about seven.  When Spotswood mentions mining or mines, it is not always clear which mineral, iron or silver, he is talking about.  Furthermore, when Spotswood talks about iron, he sometimes is talking in a public sense and sometimes in a private sense.  He did not talk about iron as a private endeavor until very late in the decade.  It could be said that he was talking about iron for a private purpose when he took a patent on the iron mine tract in 1720(NS).
(19 Oct 01)



Nr. 1285:

Johny Cerny and Gary Zimmerman found the birth record of Hans Christoph Zimmermann (no relation) at Sulzfeld, Baden.  He was born 16 Mar 1692 (this might have been either an old style date or a new style date and they did not specify which) to Christian Zimmermann and Maria Eva Unknown.  His paternal grandmother was Maria Schuchter, a surname very similar to, if not the same as, the second husband of Anna Barbara Schöne, who married first a Blankenbühler and thirdly a Fleischmann.  (Cerny and Zimmerman have much more information in Before Germanna, volume 9.  For pictures of Sulzfeld, click here.)

Christoph Zimmermann married Dorothea Rottle, daughter of Martin Rottle, baker, on 27 July 1710.  Christoph was 18 years old and Dorothea was about 23.  They had one child, Johannes (John in Virginia), who was born in 1711.  Dorothea died in 1714 and Christoph married Anna Elisabetha Albrecht that same year.  Several children were born to this marriage, mostly in Virginia.

In 1725 Christopher moved to the first of his land patents in the Mt. Pony area of (today) Culpeper County.  A near neighbor of his was Friedrich Kabler, who also came from Sulzfeld.  These families had known each other in Sulzfeld.  John Zimmerman, the eldest son of Christopher, moved to Robinson River Valley, where he married Ursula Blankenbaker, the daughter of Johann Nicholas Blankenbaker.  The other children of Christopher lived near their father.  One wonders if John Zimmerman did not like his stepmother and if this was the motivation for moving to the Robinson River Valley.  It may be nothing more than John having a liking for the German language which was not used very much in the Mt. Pony area.

The Zimmerman family is to be distinguished from the Carpenter families of William Carpenter and John Carpenter who lived in the Robinson River Valley.  Generally, the Carpenter family used the name Carpenter but some of the writers at the German Lutheran Church would write the name as Zimmerman, which has confused investigators.  One must learn to distinguish the Zimmermans, who are Carpenters, from the Zimmermans who are Zimmermans.

The recent report about the Zimmerman family was in error on the location of Christopher’s birthplace.  It was Baden, not Alsace; the two towns are on opposite sides of the Rhine River.  They did not leave because of religious persecution, but because they wanted to make a better life for themselves.  Except for John Zimmerman, who lived in the Robinson River Valley, the other Zimmermans had nothing to do with the German Lutheran Church, which eventually became known as Hebron.  They were not opposed to the church; they simply lived too far away.

Christopher Zimmerman and his family who lived with him rapidly became English-like in their ways.  When Christopher wrote his will, he had no problem with having two English persons as witnesses.
(20 Oct 01)



Nr. 1286:

Christopher Zimmerman filed for a proof of importation in 1727 at the Spotsylvania Courthouse in which he said he came with his wife Elizabeth and sons John and Andrew.  The birth of John at Sulzfeld is recorded in the church books, but Andrew's birth is not recorded at there.  The proof of importation is the only record for Andrew in Virginia.  We presume that he died at an early age in Virginia, but he might have lived up to the time of his father's will in 1748.  This, though, is very improbable, as he would have been about thirty years of age and probably a parent himself.  Christopher would surely have recognized any heirs of Andrew.  Since he did not, there probably were not any heirs of Andrew (nor was there any Andrew).

The Andrew Carpenter who married Barbara Weaver was the son of John Carpenter, who lived in the Robinson River Valley.  Christopher Zimmerman lived twenty-five miles away (plus or minus) from the Robinson River Valley.  Incidentally, William Carpenter, brother of John Carpenter, said that he came in 1721 when he filed a proof of importation.  Christopher Zimmerman said that he came in 1717.  Christopher Zimmerman never had a land patent in the Robinson River area.

The statement that Andrew Zimmerman married Barbara Carpenter, the daughter of the Rev. William Carpenter, is wrong.  Rev. Carpenter was only a teenager during the Revolution, and he did not become a Reverend until about 1791.  The correct statement is that Andrew Carpenter, son of John Carpenter, married Barbara Weaver.  (John Carpenter was the uncle of the Rev. William Carpenter.)  Any references to Andrew Zimmerman at the church or otherwise should be read as Andrew Carpenter.  No one knows now where the "Carpenter" family came from in Germany.

None of the members of the Christopher Zimmerman family ever adopted the name Carpenter.  William and John Carpenter were apparently Zimmermans in the beginning, but, almost from the very beginning in America, they adopted the name Carpenter.  In their minds, there was never any doubt about what name they were using in America.  At the church, where they liked to use the German form of names, they were sometimes, but not always, called Zimmerman.

John, the son of Christopher Zimmerman, was born in 1711, by Christopher's first wife.  He did move from the Mt. Pony area, where his father was living, to the Robinson River Valley.  There he married Ursula Blankenbaker, the daughter of John Nicholas Blankenbaker.  When the Revolution erupted, John Zimmerman was 66 years of age.  It is doubtful that he served any military duties.  He might have sold some supplies to the Americans.  (He might also have sold some supplies to the British.)  When Christopher gave land to his children, it was in Culpeper County.
(22 Oct 01)



Nr. 1287:

The eldest son of Christopher Zimmerman, the immigrant, was John, who was born in 1711.  In Virginia, he married Ursula Blankenbaker, the sister of Zacharias Blankenbaker, who was also born in Germany.  Both John and Zacharias lived until Madison County was formed, so they lived in Germany, Essex County, Spotsylvania County, Orange County, Culpeper County, and Madison County; yet they moved only twice (John may have moved three times).

John died in 1796, the father of seven children.  In giving the children here, I am following Margaret James Squires who was a reputable researcher, and who spent some time on this family.

  • The eldest child of John was John, Jr., who was born about 1737.
  • The second child was Dorothy, b. ca 1742, who married Jacob Tanner.
  • The third child, Elizabeth, has a similar estimate for her birth year, and she married Joseph Holtzclaw, after his first wife, a Thomas, died.

  • About 1746, Christopher was born, and he married Mary Tanner.
  • The next child was Mary, born ca 1752, and she never married.
  • Another girl, Margaret, has an uncertain marriage.  She was born about 1755.
  • Rosanna, born ca 1757, married Moses Samuel.

Dorothy Zimmerman had a hard life, in that she lost her husband, Jacob, when she was about forty years old, with six youngsters in the home.  I believe she was also physically handicapped.  Jacob had been drafted in 1781, and died while he was in the army, just after the victory at Yorktown.  In 1794, Dorothy filed a petition with the House of Delegates of Virginia asking for a pension, which was granted.

Two of the Zimmerman children, a brother and a sister, married two Tanner children, a sister and a brother, respectively.  The Tanner and the Zimmerman families lived not far from each other, a couple of miles north of the German Lutheran Church.

Perhaps John Zimmerman outlived Ursula, his wife, by about ten years, since the last year she appears at the church is 1787.

Rosina (Zimmerman) Samuel appears at church with the Samuel surname starting in 1789 and extending through 1796.  She appeared as Rosina Zimmerman in 1775.  A Rosina Zimmerman appeared as late as 1787, which is probably her.  In the civil records, women who had the name Rosina at church usually were called Rosanna.
(23 Oct 01)



Nr. 1288:

I will close out my comments on the Christopher Zimmerman family with this note.  We discussed the family of John, the eldest son of Christopher, in the last note.  John was the son of Christopher's first wife.  There appears to be five surviving children of Christopher's second wife, who were Frederick, Barbara, Christopher, Jr., Elizabeth, and Katherine.  Their brother Andrew seems to have died before his father did and left no heirs.

Except for Christopher, Jr., all of the children appear to have married.  Frederick's wife is thought to be a Sarah, and three children, Reuben, Frederick, Jr., and Christopher, are usually assigned to Frederick, even though little is known about Christopher.  In fact, his existence is in question.

Barbara married Leonard Ziegler or Ziglar, and the descendants of this family generally moved to North Carolina (I believe).

Christopher, son of Christopher the immigrant, probably did not marry, to judge by his will.  In this will he mentions no wife or heirs, and leaves property to Kablers and Browns.

Elizabeth has mistakenly been assigned to Matthias Weaver as a husband.  It is more generally considered that Matthias married Elizabeth Finks, to judge by the will of Mark Finks.  One reason for doubting that Elizabeth married Matthias Weaver is that they lived about 25 miles from each other.  Elizabeth was southeast of Mt. Pony, almost next to Salubria.  Matthias was in the Robinson River Valley.  And there is some evidence that Elizabeth married a Conner.

Katherine married William Slaughter, but nothing is known about their family.  Nothing is known about the family of Elizabeth (Zimmerman) Conner either.

The best documented families are those of Frederick, Barbara, and John.

The reason that Christopher Zimmerman may have lived southeast to east of Mt. Pony is that he has been described as a cooper.  He may have chosen land where he thought the trees would give him the best wood.  But perhaps even more influential in his decision making was where the markets for barrels would be.  Most of the "barrels" were casks for packing tobacco for storage and shipment.  The Robinson River Valley would have been at the extreme edge of the market for barrels.  The yearly demand for barrels was very high, as more than 10,000 casks of tobacco were shipped to England each year.  Just building the casks kept many men occupied.  Frederick Kabler, Christopher's friend from Sulzfeld, was also given once as a cooper.
(24 Oct 01)



Nr. 1289:

[Returning to Spotswood, as reported in Dodson, and in Spotswood's own letters:]

Spotswood mentioned mining in three ways, iron as a public endeavor, silver (or precious metals) as a private endeavor, and iron as a private endeavor.  These three separate lines of thought have been confused and the history of Virginia has suffered as a result.  The three threads of thought above occurred in the sequence given and the thought of iron as a private venture did not even occur until 1716 to 1717, and even then it was many years before it became a reality.

Very shortly after Spotswood arrived as the Lt. Governor in Virginia in 1710, he and William Byrd discussed a proposed iron project.  Both men were young and both were involved in the colonial government.  Byrd was described as the richest man in Virginia, so Spotswood was anxious to meet him.  Byrd was anxious to meet Spotswood, as he had a proposal to make to Spotswood.

Byrd owned land on the James River, near the future site of Richmond, which contained iron ore.  The ore had appeared to be so good that a furnace to smelt iron had been built there to extract the iron.  This was in 1622 (I repeat, 1622, 88 years before Spotswood came to Virginia).  Almost one-third of the residents of Virginia were involved in this endeavor.  The fire had been lit in the furnace and the project was launched.  Then Indians attacked and killed every European except two children who escaped.  The furnace was destroyed.  There were no further attempts to smelt iron at this site.

The Byrd family came into possession of this property and William Byrd had in mind that another attempt to smelt iron could be made.  He did not have the money to finance it even though he was said to be the richest man in Virginia.  Actually Byrd was land poor, having much more land than money.  The shortage of money was due to his having taken on his father-in-law's debts when the father-in-law died.  The debts were much more than Byrd had suspected.

The proposal that Byrd made to Spotswood was that he, Byrd, would transfer the iron assets to the colony, if the colony would raise an iron furnace, and if the colony would give Byrd a job in the endeavor.  The salary from this would help his financial position greatly.  In this way he proposed to turn the asset of iron which he owned into a cash return without requiring him to lay out a large sum of money.

Spotswood was convinced that it was a good idea for a variety of reasons.  Spotswood proposed to finance it by having it done at the expense of the colony.  Therefore, he made a proposal to the House of Burgesses to consider the matter.  And he wrote a letter to the Board of Trade to tell them what he was doing.
(25 Oct 01)



Nr. 1290:

Spotswood saw lots of good reasons for the development of an iron industry in Virginia.  He could see that Virginia needed an income source other than tobacco.  Tobacco fluctuated too much in price and the production levels were at the whim of the weather.  It wore out the land also.

There was nothing that Virginia lacked to develop an iron industry.  It had proven deposits of iron ore of a good quality.  More than a century previous to 1710, the date of the proposal made by Spotswood to the House of Burgesses, a quantity of the ore had been shipped back to England where it had shown good results.  There were certainly plenty of trees from which charcoal could be made.  Virginians were burning up their trees just to get rid of them.  Water was needed for power and this was available readily at several locations, but especially along the fall line where Byrd's iron ore was located.  Technically, there were no limitations on the smelting of iron in Virginia.

On the other hand, the picture was just about the opposite of this in England.  So much iron ore had been smelted in England that the forests were depleted.  The shortage was in charcoal (this was before it had been learned how to make coke from coal).  There was still iron ore and water power in England, but without the charcoal little could be done.  By 1710, England had to import much of its iron from the Baltic nations.  Spotswood pointed out in his arguments that this dependence on a foreign nation was not the best security for England.  He also pointed out that the Pounds Sterling being sent to the Baltic nations could be sent to America where they were apt to be recycled back to England to buy English products.

Spotswood's thoughts were excellent.  He proposed to the House of Burgesses (where all legislation originated) that the colony of Virginia sponsor the iron industry.  The idea did not get too far there because of sectionalism.  Those Burgesses who lived in the counties away from the proposed iron works could see little advantage to their counties.  So the whole idea was essentially "tabled".

It will be noted that Spotswood did not ask any individual to undertake this enterprise.  He could see that there was no one in Virginia who could afford to do so.  So he had to find an agency with deeper pockets than any citizen in Virginia had.  In 1622, the iron furnace on the James River had been financed with a five thousand pound subscription.  It took a lot of money.

After the rebuff by the House of Burgesses, Spotswood suggested to the Board of Trade that perhaps Queen Anne might like to underwrite the venture as a personal endeavor.  Again, note that he was thinking of an agency with deep pockets.  There is no evidence that the Board of Trade ever sent the idea along to the Queen.  On the contrary, they were opposed to the whole idea.
(26 Oct 01)



Nr. 1291:

When Alexander Spotswood wrote to the Board of Trade about the proposal he was putting before the House of Burgesses to raise an iron works for the mining, smelting, and processing of the iron, he described the iron as "newly discovered".  On that point, he was in error.  At the time of writing to the Board, he may have thought the iron ore was newly discovered, but he later says it was on the land of William Byrd; therefore, it had been known for a hundred years.

His use of the words "newly discovered" has misled historians into thinking that he, personally, had found iron ore.  Willis Kemper, to be followed by Green and Scott, emphasizes the view that Spotswood found iron.  This was the start of the confusion and misinformation between iron as a public venture and iron as a private venture.

What was the reaction of the Board of Trade to Spotswood's proposal that an iron works be raised in Virginia?  Very negative.  To understand what "very negative" could mean, one must examine some of the laws and practices in England with regards to trade with the colonies.  One must also understand that no decision in Virginia was final until it was approved in England.

One of my favorite examples was the law passed in Virginia that no convicts were to be sent to Virginia as their sentence.  A merchant in England protested that this would interfere with his contract with the English government to ship convicts to Virginia.  The law was overturned in London.

The colonies existed for the purpose of furthering English trade.  The colonies were to pass no law which interfered with English trade.  The manufacturing and processing of raw materials were to be done in England.  The colonies could send raw materials, but they were not to process the raw materials into finished goods.  For example, the colonies could send wool to England, but there was to be no factory for making clothes in the colonies.  The colonists were to buy their clothing from England.

The processors of iron in England were very jealous of their "god-given" rights to process iron.  Even though the smelting of iron might be regarded as the production of a raw material, the manufacturers in England saw it as a challenge to their turf.  Many products, such as cast iron, were produced directly at the furnace.  Also, the next step of producing wrought iron (bar iron) was not far removed from this.

The Board of Trade told Spotswood that if any legislation with regard to an iron works was passed, it must contain a "suspension clause".  The Virginia legislation must note that the operation could be stopped in its tracks by a directive from England.  With iron works costing thousands of pounds sterling (which Spotswood did not have), and with a suspension clause, Spotswood had absolutely no interest in iron as a private venture in his early years.  He even dropped the subject, in his first year, as a public endeavor.
(27 Oct 01)



Nr. 1292:

The first phase of Spotswood's involvement with mining related proposals ended rather quickly.  The House of Burgesses declined to act on the proposal for an iron works.  Spotswood's suggestion to the Board of Trade that Queen Anne might like to sponsor the activity fell on deaf ears.  These proposals constitute what I call the public iron works phase.

His next phase of mining proposals seems to have originated with Christopher de Graffenried, who passed through Virginia in 1710 on his way to North Carolina.  Graffenried called on Spotswood and presented his letter from Queen Anne which instructed Spotswood to grant land to Graffenried's colony.  The colony was not formed yet, as it was to consist of miners from Siegen and the recruiting of them had barely started.  From Graffenried's memoirs, it seems that he was not reticent about telling people what he hoped to accomplish in Virginia, namely mine silver.  He had a set of reasons to believe that silver existed somewhere along the Potomac River.

In 1712, Graffenried came back to Virginia to look for (a) the silver mines and (b) to find a place for the survivors of his failed North Carolina colony to live.  On this survey trip up the Potomac River, Spotswood sent a company of militia commanded by Larkin Chew to protect Graffenried.  Spotswood had no illusions about the safety of Europeans deep in Indian country.  Graffenried returned to North Carolina, but came back to Virginia in 1713.  In the spring of 1713, Larkin Chew patented 4,020 acres around Burr Hill, in today's Orange County.  Within a month, he had sold a quarter interest in this land to Spotswood, a sixteenth to Graffenried, and a sixteenth to Orkney, the nominal governor of Virginia who lived in England.  Several other Virginians purchased interests in the proposed mine.  We do know from the memoirs of Graffenried that the land was thought to contain silver .

Spotswood noted that the purchasers of land from the crown had no rights to any precious metals that might be found.  Thus he began to write a series of letters to Col. Blakiston in London, who was the agent for Virginia, to see if the crown would agree to a split with the discoverer of the precious metals.  Clearly, Spotswood was thinking here of a mine owned and operated by private individuals.  He was thinking also of silver and gold, not of iron.  As a consequence of the urgent letters from Spotswood, Blakiston in London knew the importance that Spotswood placed on these projected mines.

When the miners and Graffenried converged on London in the fall of 1713 (why the miners were there was another story because Graffenried insisted that he had told them not to come), Blakiston thought that he saw the opportunity for Spotswood to procure the labor that he might be needing when the approval from the crown was obtained.  Instead, Queen Anne died and George (I) was installed.  The argument was carried on to George, with Spotswood arguing that the king would be helping his fellow countrymen.  But no decision was ever reached.
(29 Oct 01)



Nr. 1293:

When the German "miners" did arrive in Virginia in 1714, Spotswood settled them on the frontier, in a fort built with public monies.  He did not say that this location was only a few miles from the land where he thought he, with his partners, would find silver.  He did not allow the Germans to begin mining on the silver land because he was afraid they would find it before a division of the metals had been agreed to by the crown.

Johann Justus Albrecht and Jacob Holtzclaw said that they began mining operations in March of 1716 (new style calendar).  Apparently, judging from the remarks of John Fontaine, this was at the silver mine.  In August and September of that year, when the western exploration was underway, John Fontaine and Spotswood spent several days at Germanna.  Fontaine seemed to be very interested in the silver mine, to judge by the time that he spent there.  One begins to gather that one of his responsibilities on this trip was to examine the mine and determine whether there was actually any silver there.  Fontaine's description makes it appear that the Germans had done some work there.

On this trip, Fontaine says they arrived at Germanna in the evening of 24 August.  On 25 August, he went to the mine and collected samples of ore, and noted that the Germans pretend it is a silver mine.  On the return to Germanna (12 September), Fontaine and Mr. Robinson attempted to "run" some of the ore in the forge but could get nothing.  On the next day, Fontaine and Spotswood rode to the mine and collected more samples of the ore, which they took with them back to Williamsburg.

Fontaine paints a very negative picture of the prospects for silver.  Probably about this time, but perhaps shortly thereafter, Spotswood and his partners discontinued the search for silver.  By then, the Germans may have found iron ore several miles down the river.  Spotswood was not ready to pursue this as a private endeavor.  He was well aware what could happen to any enterprise of this type.  Merchants in England might protest to the Board of Trade, and the Board might tell him that he would have to discontinue the activity.  This was brought home to him in another venture he was engaged in, an Indian trading company, which was declared illegal.

Spotswood's private interest was now fixed on land.  That had been the chief purpose of the trip over the mountains, namely to explore the land up to the Blue Ridge.  His plans were laid for this as his major personal endeavor.  Probably, the Germans had told him of their finding iron ore, and he had let them continue their search; but iron was not yet in his private plans.  It would be several years before iron became a solid element in Spotswood's projects.
(30 Oct 01)



Nr. 1294:

Some opinions as to when Alexander Spotswood began to think of iron as a private venture can be formed from the letter he wrote to Col. Nathaniel Harrison, the Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue.

". . . In Feb. 1717 [by the new style calendar, this would be 1718] Sir Richard Blackmore writes to Mr. Secretary Cock to engage me to favor a design, which he, with several considerable men at home, had to set up iron works in Virginia, and desires people might be employed to find out the oar, and some thousands of acres taken up for that purpose.  Accordingly I set my Germans to work to look for such oar which search cost me upwards of three score pounds.  But about two years afterwards I received a letter from Sir Richard telling he had at length considered that he was advanced in years, that his health was of late impaired, and that the undertaking was at too great a distance, and therefore he was determined to drop the project.  Whereupon, rather than enter into a contention for my reimbursement, I chose to join in with several Gentlemen here who were willing to carry on the project, and bear their proportion of the charges I had already been at; and so, the mine tract, consisting of 15,000 acres of land, was in 1719 [1719 by the patent book, this was in 1720 on the modern calendar] taken up by nine or ten Adventures.  About the same time I fell into another partnership of land [this involved the Second Germanna Colony]."

Spotswood would have Harrison believe that the search for iron ore commenced in 1718, and perhaps it was not until then that it was undertaken seriously.  Albrecht and Holtzclaw said they started mining and quarrying in March of 1716 [new style].  From Fontaine's comments, the initial mining was probably at the silver mine, but it would seem that this was abandoned shortly after the expedition over the Blue Ridge Mountains (this was August and September of 1716).  For a year after this, up to February of 1718 (NS), I suspect the Germans were engaged in a low level search or survey of the area to see what they could find.  Probably, before February of 1718, they had found some iron.  After Sir Richard's request, the search was more intensive, though only a little more than sixty pounds was spent on the project.  The Germans left about December 1718, since that was the last date claimed by Albrecht and Holtzclaw for the work.

What happened to change Spotswood's mind about the prospect for iron?  The request from Sir Richard Blackmore and his partners, who were "considerable men", is the big factor.  Spotswood perhaps thought that the political power they could exert in England (and their financing) could influence sentiment in England in favor of an iron works in Virginia.  At any rate, there seemed to be little danger in the initial stages.  The search in the early stages was not expensive.  No furnace was built.  Even if the English merchants, working through the Board of Trade, should overthrow the project, the cost was low.

Spotswood timed the start of the search for iron ore as about the time the Second Germanna Colony arrived.  This would be very consistent with a February 1718 (NS) date for the start of the search for iron.
(01 Nov 01)



Nr. 1295:

There is, in the Public Record Office in Kew Gardens, a record of the quantity of iron imported to England from the British Colonies in America, from Christmas 1710 to Christmas 1749.  (In preparing reports, Christmas was often taken as the marker point in the years.)  This report was prepared by the Custom House in April of 1750.

The British Colonies in America were Antigua, Barbados, Carolina, Jamaica, Nevis, New England, New York, Pennsylvania, St. Christopher, Virginia and Maryland combined, and the West Indies.  (Two or three of these Caribbean islands were very important to England, as their level of general trade exceeded any of the North American colonies.)  The iron report was broken down by two types of iron ­ bar and pig.  Pig iron was cast directly from the furnace and, in fact, required a furnace.  Pig iron was brittle and its utility was limited.  Bar iron required further heating and working of the pig iron.  The resultant wrought iron could be worked into a variety of products such as nails, hinges, and wheel rims.

The first pig iron shipment from Virginia was 15 tons, in 1723.  This or the previous year was probably the first year that the Spotswood furnace was in regular production.  The next year, 202 tons of cast (pig) iron was shipped.  In the 1730’s, more than 2,000 tons were regularly shipped from Virginia to England each year.

Prior to 1723, no cast (pig) iron was shipped from Virginia to England.  There were some shipments of bar iron in the years 1718 to 1721.  The earliest was four tons of bar iron in 1718.  Experts in the iron industry tell me that this iron was probably not produced in a furnace.  With an oversized forge-like structure, it is possible to burn most of the non-iron constituents out of the iron ore, leaving a spongy iron mass.  It was not possible, nor necessary, to melt the iron.  Instead, labor was used to beat and work the spongy mass into bar iron.  Because of the huge amount of labor required, the process was inefficient.  The only reason for producing the iron this way was to test whether the ore was a good ore that would produce quality iron.  As a part of the mining and quarrying process that Albrecht and Holtzclaw mentioned, the ores might have been tested in this way.  This could have yielded the four tons of bar iron that was shipped to England in 1718.  Spotswood would have been very interested in the quality of the iron, so he may have sent it to England to obtain the opinions of experts there.

About 1722, the first furnace of Spotswood was probably entering regular production.  This was about three years after the First Germanna Colony members had left Germanna so it should not be claimed that they built the first iron furnace for Spotswood.

Some of the other British Colonies in North America shipped bar iron to England before Virginia did.  Nevis and St. Christopher shipped a small quantity of bar iron in 1717, the year before Virginia shipped the four tons.  In 1718, in addition to Virginia’s shipment, Barbados shipped a small quantity of bar iron.
(02 Nov 01)



Nr. 1296:

On 2 May 1713, Larkin Chew received a patent for 4,020 acres of new land in the parish of St. Mary in Essex County, Virginia, for a consideration of 20 pounds and 5 shillings.  The land was said to lie on (the watershed of) the South River of Rappahannock River, as the Rapidan River was then known.  The land lay on a great swamp of the said river.  We start the description of the metes and bounds at a white oak about four miles from the river.

The course runs west by northwest for 670 poles, crossing the main forks of the Mine Run, and ending at two white oaks.  The second course was north by northwest for 960 poles, to a pine tree.  The third leg was east by southeast for 670 poles, crossing the main run (of Mine Run), to a pine tree.  The last leg ran for 960 poles in a south by southwest direction (incorrectly recorded as south by southeast), to the beginning.  The main clue as to its location is Mine Run, but even this permits the tract to be moved around a little bit, say half a mile.

Today the location is in Orange County about a mile south and five miles west of Germanna.  The closest modern landmark is the village of Burr Hill, which would lie in the midst of the tract.

The same month that Larkin Chew received a patent (original deed) to the land, he sold shares in the land to:

1) Earl of Orkney, a sixteenth, for fifteen pounds;
2) Alexander Spotswood, a quarter interest, for fifty pounds;
3) Christopher de Graffenried, a sixteenth, for fifteen pounds;
4) William Robertson, a sixteenth, for fifteen pounds;
5) Richard Buckner, a sixteenth, for fifteen pounds.

All of these were recorded on the same day.  Orkney and Graffenried were not even present (and it is doubtful that Graffenried could spare fifteen pounds).

In the following month:

6) Gawin Corbin bought a three-sixteenths interest, for forty-five pounds; and
7) Jeremiah Clowder bought a sixteenth interest, for fifteen pounds; and, in February of the following year, he added another thirty-second, for seven pounds and ten shillings.  This left Larkin Chew with a three-sixteenths interest in the tract.

With Orkney and Graffenried as purchasers, it looks as the hand of Spotswood is present.  The role of Chew is uncertain, and perhaps he was only a front to disguise the true owners in the original patent.  Perhaps, he did have a major role in the plan.  We must remember that he was the captain of the militia that had been out with Graffenried on the Potomac exploration.  Though Graffenried was on his way to England when his purchase was recorded, he seems to be well aware of it.

Graffenried, in his memoirs, refers to the land that we (referring to himself and Spotswood) had together not far from the place where minerals were found.  He added also, that if there were not sufficient indications for a silver mine they (the German miners) were to look elsewhere, as there were iron and copper minerals.  The 4020 acre tract above is the only land known to be owned in common between Graffenried and Spotswood.  It is very consistent with the history that John Fontaine has written.  This tract is very consistent with the choice of the site for Fort Germanna.
(03 Nov 01)



Nr. 1297:

In looking at a patent (an original deed) from George (I) to Benjamin Rush, for land in St. George's Parish of Spotsylvania County in 1726, I find that no reservation is made by the King for minerals of any type.  (This patent is chosen just because it was the first one that I picked up from a pile of patents.)  Now, I am running on memory here, but I believe that Spotswood explained this situation as follows:

Originally the patents did make a reservation of minerals for the King.  At some point in time, the language was changed and the subject of minerals was omitted unintentionally in the patents.  In the Northern Neck, there was an agreed division between the patentee and the proprietor, and perhaps the crown.

The danger, as Spotswood saw it, was that minerals would be found and the Crown would stand on its ancient rights and demand all of them.  Spotswood pointed out that, in the Northern Neck, patentees were protected, and people were encouraged to look for minerals there because of the perceived protection.  They were neglecting to look on the lands of the crown because they perceived the danger of having it all taken away from them.  Spotswood's argument to the crown revolved on the point that, to encourage searches on the crown's land, the crown should make it clear that the finder would be protected to a least a certain percentage.

In London, Col. Blakiston pitched Spotswood's arguments before the Board of Trade.  Orkney even made an argument.  The Board of Trade had some of the Virginia merchants testify.  Generally, everyone seemed to be in favor of a fair division between the finder and the crown, as that would produce some revenue or income for everyone.  Strangely, the records become silent on the topic, and nothing more is heard.

This may be because this was about the time that Fontaine, Spotswood, and others had evaluated the proposed silver mine, and concluded that it was a bust.  Spotswood may have given up the effort because it was now a moot point as far as he was concerned.

When Spotswood thought, for a while, that he and fellow investors did have a silver mine, he was very insistent about getting their rights clarified.  Until there was an agreed division with the crown, he would not let the Germans work the mine; however, it appears he eventually did let the Germans work on the silver mine for a short while, because Fontaine seems to imply that some work had been done on it.

When Queen Anne was still living, she was presented with petitions which clearly stated there was an interest in silver, and which showed that a clarification of rights was needed.  Those people who say that "silver" was a cover up for "iron" have not counted all of the times that silver was specifically mentioned to the highest authorities.  Lying to one's monarch will cure head colds.
(05 Nov 01)



Nr. 1298:

The two documents below were sent on 4 March 1714 (NS) by the Lord High Treasurer, to the Board of Trade, with a request for their opinion.

[Public Record Office C.O. 391/24]

To the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
The humble Memorial of the Right Honorable George Earl of Orkney your Majesty's Captain General and Governor in Chief of Virginia
Humbly, Craves leave to Acquaint your Majesty that he has been greatly Importuned by your Majesty's Lt. Gov. of that Colony to Apprise your Majesty that within this 12 Month last past there has been some Discoveries made by Persons Versed in Mines, that they have met with some Ore that has Greatly the Semblance of Silver in it, And upon Tryall thereof have some Reason to hope if a due encouragement were given to one[?] Chargeable an Enterprise they might make some Progress in it But the Inhabitants of that Colony being Sensible that all Gold and Silver Mines, are your Majesty's Intire Property, and is Reserved for your Majesty's Peculiar use; they have Desisted making any further attempt til they are Encouraged by your Royal Proclamation or by what other Methods you shall think fitt to proscribe, and what Share you will please to Retain to your Self.  After which the Inhabitants there, are desirous to go in Quest of this Important Project at their own proper Charges, And if Attained may be a means that great Treasure may Accrue to your Majesty's Coffers.  All which is most humbly Submitted to your Most Sacred Majesty.
A true Copy
Wm. Blathwayt

####
At the Court at Windsor
the 30th November 1713
Present
The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
in Council
Upon reading this day at the Board the humble Memorial of the Right Honorable George Earl of Orkney Her Majesty's Captain General & Governor in Chief of Virginia relating to some Discoveries lately made in that Colony of An Ore that has greatly the Semblance of Silver in it, and Setting forth that it may be very advantageous to Her Majesty if proper Encouragement be given to the Inhabitants of the said Colony for making furthing progress therein, Her Majesty in Council is pleased to Order, That the said Petition, Copy whereof is hereunto annexed, Be and it is hereby Referred to the Right Honorable the Lord High Treasurer to Consider thereof and to Report his Opinion thereupon to Her Majesty at this Board.
William Blathwayt
####

[Some minor spelling changes were made.]
(06 Nov 01)



Nr. 1299:

In this note, a few comments from Alexander Spotswood are given.  They are taken from his correspondence with people in London.

15 May 1712, to the Board of Trade:  "(There is a) general Opinion, lately revived that there are silver and gold mines in these parts towards the Mountains, . . . (need) a Declaration what her Majesty expects out of them . . ."

11 Jun 1713, to Col. Blakiston (in London):  "I wrote to you about 2 Months ago about the discovery of another mine in which I am concerned . . . the Gentlemen concerned with me, depend very much (upon) your prudent management of this affair . . . we cannot proceed till we know what we have Trust to."

17 Aug 1713, to Col. Blakiston:  "I am embarked in a new project about the mines . . . if any resolution be taken by the Queen and Council in relation thereto . . . you will not let it be neglected for want of paying the necessary fees to the Clerks, which shall either be repaid to you Out of the public revenue of the Colony, if it be a general Benefit, or by the person engaged in the Design, if it be Only a private Order."

15 Mar 1714 (NS), to Col. Blakiston:  "About the beginning of January I received yours of the 3rd July, 20th of September, and 10th of October, which gave me an Account of your proceedings in relation to the Mines, as well as your sentiments of what the Baron [Graffenried] had proposed about transporting his Miners, but by your Letter of the 9th of December, which I received the other day, I perceive you have altered your opinion by sending over these People, partly at my charge.  This makes me believe you have now greater hopes of her Majesty's Concessions in that Affair . . ."

21 Jul 1714, to the Lord Commissioners of Trade:  "These Germans were invited over, some years ago, by the Baron de Graffenried, who has her Majesty's Letter to the Governor of Virginia to furnish them Land upon their arrival.  There are generally such as have been employed in their own country as Miners, and say they are satisfied there are divers kinds of minerals in those upper parts of the Country where they are settled, and even a good appearance of Silver Ore, but that it is impossible for any man to know whether these Mines will turn to account without digging some depth in the Earth, a liberty I shall not give them until I receive an Answer to what I represented to your Lordships concerning the Ascertaining of her Majesty's Share . . ."

1 Dec 1714, to Col. Blakiston:  ". . .my hearty thanks . . for your endeavor in relation to the Affair of the Mines.    . . . I hope you will please to renew your instances to His present Majesty . . . they will be a vast charge without any prospect of benefit till they can be set to Work . ."

(07 Nov 01)



Nr. 1300:

Andreas asked earlier if there was a silver mine in Virginia.  In the sense that I believe no one ever took enough silver out of the ground to mint a dollar, there never was a silver mine.  But Spotswood, Graffenried, Robertson, Clowder, Buckner, and Corbin had enough belief that a particular, identifiable piece of ground would yield silver that they invested in a partnership to explore or develop it more.  (I doubt that Orkney "invested" any money; he was probably given his share so the Virginian partners would have a friendly partner in England who would do things like deliver petitions to the queen.)  So, based on hope or belief, there was a silver mine.  It was a silver mine that just happened to yield zero silver.

The belief in silver mines on the upper Potomac watershed was strong enough that Michel, Graffenried, and their associates (in some variable proportions) sent Johann Justus Albrecht to Siegen in 1710 to recruit miners.  At the time that Albrecht went to Siegen, Alexander Spotswood was probably not yet in Virginia.  This recruitment had nothing to do with any use that Spotswood might have for the miners.

Within a few years, attention was directed to the mine which I described here recently.  Who was responsible for originating the belief that this land in present day Orange County would yield silver is unknown.  This is the land that the partners invested in.  Whereas Graffenried and Michel had been led to invest, based on a belief in the Potomac mines, the partners directed their interest to a site that was closer.  Silver fever was contagious, and perhaps the partners who had caught it had been infected by Graffenried.

Ironically, within a few miles of the silver mine that has been identified in Orange County, there were gold mines which were run profitably in the nineteenth century.  Had people been looking for gold in this area in the eighteenth century, they could have found it.  Probably our German ancestors were more familiar with iron ores than with gold ores, and they did not spot the gold ores.  They were certainly exploring the ground where the gold did exist.

Whether Michel had spotted gold is unknown.  He used the word "minerals" to describe his find.  Other individuals used the words "gold and silver", though most commonly only the word silver is used.  There may have been some basis to Michel's discoveries.  And, the silver mine close to Germanna might have been the result of some confusion as to the true nature of the ore.
(08 Nov 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-NINTH set of Notes, Nr. 1276 through Nr. 1300.)


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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 1276 through 1300.

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