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This is the SIXTY-THIRD 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 1551 through 1575.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 63

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Nr. 1551:

We have reached another half-century mark in this series.  It is customary to review and comment on the larger objectives of these notes.  (It is not because of the pay that I do it!)

These are not research notes.  Another endeavor of mine, Beyond Germanna, comes closer to fulfilling that function.  (I am looking right now at one page for the upcoming issue which has nineteen references in it.)  All too often in these notes, I do not give sources, whether from printed material, or from my memory.  Sometimes I stray from a restricted view of the purposes, as in the last note on the Steiff bears.  My hope is that you stay "tuned" to the list so that when a question comes through you might be able to respond.  To get answers, takes a lot of people.  To have a lot of people takes material that is of interest to them.  I constantly have in mind, "Will someone be interested in this?"  Foremost to me, is the question of whether the material that I am writing will keep you reading.

This is an open list.  Anyone may write to the general audience.  I am thinking here, in particular, of E. W. Wallace, who often writes a comment bringing source material to the attention of readers.  Others may do the same thing.  Have you found a book with good information?  Tell us about it.

Just reading these notes is not sufficient.  Responses are needed.  Here, I might think of Craig, who is not bashful.  Don't think of replies as critical; maybe an error has been committed which should be brought to the attention of the list.

Sometimes, a person has special knowledge about a subject.  Here I might mention Elke Hall and Andreas Mielke, who have a better knowledge of the language and living conditions in Germany.  Maybe you only lived there three years but perhaps you have knowledge of something.

What can you contribute?  Remember that the only stupid question is the one that you did not ask.  What does this Deed mean?  Did you have to be of age to obtain land?  Did a wife always have to sign a release on the sale of property?  Did Herbert Hoover's ancestors live with the Germanna people?  What is the connection of Herbert Hoover with Germanna?  Why did he have a camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains?  Who was Franke Blankenbaker who lived about the time of the Revolution?  (I don't know the answer to this one.)

In short, use the list and the resources of the people who are readers.

Let me take this opportunity to apologize to those of you who ask me a question privately, or on the list.  Sometimes my replies are short.  Perhaps I could write more, but time is a factor.  If my answer is too short to satisfy you, hit me again and ask for more.
(20 Dec 02)

Nr. 1552:

I do not have the answer on Catherine Huffman, the daughter of Little Fork Henry Huffman.  In 1960, B. C. Holtzclaw said that she married John Ashby.  John Alcock in “Fauquier Families” shows a marriage bond was issued 27 Oct 1783 to Ashby and Catherine Huffman.  Humphrey Brooke was the bondsman.  Then in 1964, Holtzclaw, in “Ancestry and Descendants . . . ” says that she appeared as not being married in 1791.  He did not cite any evidence.

***** John Frederick Miller came in 1738.  He married Anna Maria Arnd 4 Jul 1737, and they had one child, Matthias, who was born on 2 Jan 1738.  Four years earlier, in 1734 in Germany, John Frederick had been accepted as an apprentice in the Guild of Steelsmiths and Toolmakers.  Normally, the training program would probably have run many years during the apprentice and journeyman stages and a man was not allowed to marry during this time.  Perhaps he considered marriage more important and left the program.  Thus, the trip to America could have been an economic alternative.

There is no record of the son Matthias in America.  Since the family traveled on the ship Oliver, which departed in July 1738 and on which about two of every three people died, and since ocean voyages were especially hard on the young ones, it is very unlikely that Matthias arrived in America.  Note that he was only about six months old when the ship left.  In America, John Frederick had a wife Mary, but whether this is the woman, Maria (German form of Mary), that he married in Germany is uncertain.  Considering that Mary was a popular name and considering the death rate on the ship's voyage, it is only a probability, perhaps about one chance in three, that she is the same person.

What John Frederick did for the first ten years that he was in America is uncertain.  The first record for him occurs in 1748.  He acquired 400 acres on the North Fork of Mayo River in the Patrick-Henry County area, which was then Lunenburg County.  The very next entry in the record book was made by Harman Crites, who is undoubtedly the Hymenäus Creutz on the Freudenberg emigration list of 1738.  Sometimes, this last name is given as Critz.  This is a family who has never been recognized as a Germanna family.

When Halifax County was formed in 1752, John Frederick Miller and Harman Critz were added as tithables.  Both of these men were naturalized in 1753.  It appears that these two were the first naturalized citizens of Halifax Co.  John Frederick often used both of his given names but not always.

By 1755, the effects of the French and Indian War were felt.  A series of forts were erected in the area.  Fort Mayo was built on the plantation of Miller.  In 1759, Miller filed for damages due to the fort.  The garrison had cut down a large orchard, burned one house and 1600 fence rails, and used 518 feet of planking in building the fort.  In addition he lost the use of his property.  It was decided that he was entitled to something more than twenty pounds money as damages.  During the war, Miller purchased property to the east.  Apparently he issued mortgages and bonds, since he was in court several times seeking money due him.  By 1780, he appears to have been the owner of two thousand acres in the Patrick and Henry County areas.
(21 Dec 02)

Nr. 1553:

John Frederick Miller acquired his first land in Virginia, almost down to the North Carolina border, in 1748.  He was joined by his brother Harman, in 1763 or 1764, who came down from the Little Fork area in Culpeper County.  Harman had married Elizabeth Holtzclaw, the daughter of the 1714 immigrant Jacob Holtzclaw.  Elizabeth's mother is uncertain as Jacob was married twice, and the mother of children number four, five, and six (counting Elizabeth as six) is indeterminate.  Jacob Holtzclaw gave land to Elizabeth in the Little Fork, which is probably where she had been living with Harman.  They sold the land and moved to the south of Virginia.  A Hitt moved at the same time (was this Henry Hitt who had married Alice Katherine Holtzclaw?).

Because John Frederick Miller was so active with land transactions after he moved south, the question arises as to why was he was so quiet for the first ten years, from, 1738 to 1748.  It would appear that he was in Virginia, probably in the Little Fork area, where his brother Harman seems to have been.  Did he rent land there?

I have wondered if the 1738 immigrants were indentured to someone, such as Jacob Holtzclaw, who was probably responsible for bringing them over.  In the case of John Frederick, there is a strong contrast between his behavior for the first ten years in America and in the period after that.

John Frederick Miller made his will in 1787.  To his wife Mary he left his plantations, two slaves and other items.  To his sons, Haman and Harman, and his daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, he left one shilling each.  Jacob was bequeathed forty pounds.  John, Jr., was left a slave girl, Jane, after Mary's decease.  Frederick was to receive a slave boy, Simon, and fifty pounds.  Martin, the remaining child, was to inherit the plantation and two slave boys, after Mary's decease.  The will was probated in 1787.  John Frederick's wife came into Court and relinquished all claim to the will and demanded instead her third interest.  The estate was appraised at 369 pounds, 11 shillings and 6 pence.

There is speculation that Mary may have been a second wife.  And whether she was on the best of terms with the sons has been questioned.  In 1790, there is a marriage of Mary Miller to Hugh Bragg, but it is not clear if this is the same Mary Miller.

Starting with Matthias in Germany, there seems to be nine children of John Frederick Miller.  They dispersed widely, and places of death of the children include North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia, with three unknowns.  (The county records often confused Haman and Harman but the will shows clearly these were two separate individuals.)
(23 Dec 02)

Nr. 1554:

The family last discussed, John Frederick Miller's, had a son Haman.  All of the surviving children of John Frederick were born in Virginia.  Haman was born ca 1739, to judge by his age at death.  John Frederick's family appeared in Lunenberg County in 1748, when Haman was approaching the age for some serious chores on the farm.

Haman served in the French and Indian War, which started in 1754, so he would have been quite young at the time.  In 1759, a receipt signed by John Frederick acknowledges receipt of three pounds earned by Haman for his services in the war.  When the family moved to Halifax Co. (as it exists now), Haman went with the rest of the family and purchased 220 acres on the north side of the Dan River.  This was not far from the present community of Pace, which is close to the North Carolina border.

Haman married Frances Roberts.  Six children are known:

  1. Peter,
  2. Haman, Jr.,
  3. James,
  4. Jacob,
  5. Martha, and
  6. Sarah.
To the extent that spouses for these children are known, they all have English surnames.

On 19 Feb 1778, Haman sold his land for one thousand pounds, which reflects the severe inflation caused by the Revolutionary War.  Haman then moved southwest about one hundred miles into North Carolina in the Piedmont region.  He appears in the 1779 tax list for Randolph, the first list for the newly created county where he purchased land.  Later, there were grants from North Carolina for 1,342 acres, but some of these acres might have been to Haman, Jr.  Wherever Haman's name appears in the land records, the name of this father-in-law, William Roberts, is apt to be found also.

A little later, he had permission to build a mill on his own land.  He might have had a mill already by the time that he had permission.  He died in 1814 at his residence in Randolph County in his 77th year.  A newspaper account of the time, describes him as a Patriot of the American Revolution.  His wife and sons (Haman and James) were executors of his will.  The will mentioned six children and two grandchildren.  Before he died, he had deeded 1,376 acres to five of his children.  There were sixteen slaves in the estate.

Descendants are spread across the U.S., with a few still living in Randolph County, NC.
(24 Dec 02)

Nr. 1555:

The Post Office brought my Winter 2002 issue of the Germanna Foundation Newsletter called "Germanna".  I can remember the days when the Foundation put out what seemed like one page once a year.  So the current issue was all the sweeter.  One could gather an impression of what the Foundation was doing.  It has been very active.

The newsletter had a good feature article by Heinz Prinz on what the Siegerland was like at the time of the departure of the First Colony.  His story was very enlightening and filled with information where you may see the reasons the First Colony had for leaving the Seigerland in 1713.  It corrects a number of misconceptions that have been floating around.

Two cemeteries have been located in the Germantown area.  It would be nice to have aerial infrared photographs to define them better.  If any of you want to finance the endeavor, which will cost many nickels, talk to Thom Faircloth and tell him how you can help.  Infrared photographs detect soil disturbances even though the disturbance was three centuries ago.

Thom writes some about the ways in which Salubria might be put on a financially sustaining basis.  The property can be rented for weddings, reunions, and group meetings.  Those of you at last summer's Reunion, will remember how the group was able to meet there.  If you are having a group meeting in Northern Virginia, remember Salubria as a possibility.

Orange County and the Foundation have reached an agreement by which Orange County will provide help in manning the Foundation's Visitors Center, which will be help to the Foundation.  And the Visitors Center provides an extension of the service points that the county can use to acquaint visitors with both Orange County and with the site of the first settlement in what became Orange County.

If you are not a part of the Germanna Foundation, perhaps it is time to consider joining.  You can help or you can just meet cousins.  But either way, your financial support is desired and needed.
(28 Dec 02)

Nr. 1556:

Recently, I purchased a book which I think will prove to be worth more than its cost.  Here is the pertinent information:

  • Title:  "A Social History of Hesse: Roman Times to 1900".
  • Author:  Dan C. Heinemeier.  (He researches, writes, publishes, and sells on his own.)
  • The book sells for $29.95 plus $5.00 S/H (plus 5% for Virginia residents for the sales tax).
  • The address is:
    • Dan C. Heinemeier
    • 4401 N. 33rd Road,
    • Arlington, VA 22207-4423.
The book contains 375 pages, each 8.5" by 11" so you can see it is a big book, albeit with a soft cover.  While we (Germanna List members) did not have many ancestors from Hesse (only one that I know of), much of what is reported would be applicable to all our Germanna ancestors.

I will use some of the material here.

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier

In the Eighteenth Century, some 300 separate political entities still ruled in Germany, frustrating the efforts of the "Holy Roman" German emperor in Vienna to exercise fully his imperial authority.  Most Germans were still land-bound peasants, who toiled to provide for themselves, and supported a class of noble, ecclesiastical, state and/or town-based lords who compelled them to provide the dizzying array of taxes, tithes, special fees, and personal services that held the social order in place.

In the fifty years prior to 1700, the "national" effort had been expended on recovery from The Thirty Years' War (which ended 1648).  By 1700, commerce had just about recovered and the population levels had returned to those of 1600.  At the end of the war (1648), Germany had perhaps 13,000,000 citizens, and by 1730 it had reached perhaps 20,000,000.  Some of these people had come from outside the Holy Roman Empire, including Swiss, French, Dutch, and Scandinavian immigrants.  The primary cause of the growth was a high fertility rate which overcame the high level of infant mortality and epidemics.  In a few areas, the growth had been so strong that population pressures on the means of production reached unsustainable levels.  This was a factor in the decision of many to emigrate.

Perhaps the memory of The Thirty Years' War was responsible, but the first part of the Eighteenth Century saw a reduction in the number and severity of wars.  This reduced one attrition factor in the population and allowed agriculture to produce more.  The climate improved in the Eighteenth Century and better cereal grains were grown.  Yet another agricultural factor was the shift from grains to potatoes.  Meat in the Eighteenth Century was not an important factor in diets, as it was to become in the next century.

One of the side effects to this over-population was the force on emigration and the creation of a labor force for the industrialization of the Nineteenth Nentury.  The dreaded plague almost died out in the Eighteenth Century, but plenty of other diseases took their toll.
(30 Dec 02)

(As of 13 March 2003, John has written 17 Notes relating to the History of Hesse.  These writings are scattered and are not contiguous.  If you are interested in collecting them all together, here are the numbers of the other Notes he has written so far about Hesse [they are also clickable links]:  Note Nr. 1557Note Nr. 1558Note Nr. 1559Note Nr. 1560Note Nr. 1568Note Nr. 1569Note Nr. 1572Note Nr. 1579Note Nr. 1580Note Nr. 1582Note Nr. 1584Note Nr. 1585Note Nr. 1586Note Nr. 1587Note Nr. 1588Note Nr. 1616.  GWD, WebMaster)

Nr. 1557:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier

The nobility took as their ideal the courts of France and they tried to ape the customs of the French courts.  Few of the German nobility could really afford to do this as their principalities were too small to give them the necessary financial means.  The result is that many of the nobles became impoverished after a few generations or else they raised the taxes to increase their income.  However, in some of the principalities, the tax rate and fee structure had been negotiated between the nobles and their subjects.  The nobles were not entirely free to change these.

Some of the rulers recognized that their interests coincided with those of the people.  If the people prospered, the rulers did also.  If the people did not prosper, the rulers would not prosper.  Thus, rose the term "enlightened despotism".

Some of the rulers saw that the people should be freed from the requirements to perform certain services for the nobles.  In the place of service, they substituted cash payments.  Thus, the workers were left on their own farms to produce crops and goods for sale, from which they would pay their taxes.  This was a major agricultural reform in the last half of the 18th Century, which was copied by the areas adjacent to those who had tried it out first.  A man would work three times as hard on his own land as he would on the Lord's land.

The more cash-like economy showed a shortage of capital on the farms.  Starting in Prussia, a Rural Credit Bank was created to help the farmers finance their production.  This idea was slow to catch on in other parts of Germany, though.

The measure of a state's strength was the ability to impose its will.  Many smaller German rulers developed standing armies and an increasing elaborate and centralized state administration.  These were expensive, and it took increased taxes to pay for them.  One way of paying for these armies was to rent the armies out to others.  During the American Revolution, this became a favorite tactic to earn a profit.  Recruiting often concentrated on the poorer agricultural regions, especially where there was surplus of labor.  It was thought to be better to get the unemployed off the roads and alleys in the homeland and have them earning money, which would come back to the rulers.  Many states used troops in peacetime to crush minor local rebellions and to keep order like policemen.

On the whole, there was a rigid society and change came slowly.  Some of the most conservative individuals were the peasants themselves.  Their attitude was, "This is the way my father did it and this is the way that I am going to do it."

(31 Dec 02)

Nr. 1558:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier
(Still in 18th Century Germany with Dan C. Heinemeier)

Class distinctions were emphasized in most of the German states, in part as a technique of social control.  Nobles, clergy, army officers, professional men, merchants, and peasants constituted separate classes, and the last were more numerous than all of the others together.  Within each category there were grades, each of which stiffened itself with scorn on the next grade beneath.  Marriage outside one's class was almost unthinkable, but some merchants and financiers bought nobility.  The nobles had a monopoly on the higher posts in the army and the government, but many of these earned their privileges by bravery or competence.  Perhaps more common were the uniformed parasites who competed for social precedence at the court.

The nobles, especially, tended to mimic the French court which was their model, even if they could not afford it.  As one moved to the end of the scale represented by the peasants, life was more German in its outlook.  After the turn of the century, the middle classes found an improvement in the social, economic, and political conditions.

There were universities, generally good by European standards.  The education system in general was not good.  Initially, most education was the responsibility of the churches, but it eventually passed to the control of the state.  With this shift, there was less Latin and more German taught.  School teachers were not well paid, and were not well regarded.  With the inflation of the late century, teachers were extremely hard pressed to make a living.  The teachers often had to go from house to house asking for meals and back wages.

Some of the inflation came about because the swelling population overtook agricultural production, and foods were scarce and expensive.  For example, rye prices rose 80%, from 1740 to 1800, while wages generally increased only 10%.  There was a glut of manual labor, so wages were held in check by the willingness of some of the labor force to work for their bare sustenance.

Cattle plagues were a problem in the century.  This also put pressures on the food prices.  These plagues could be severe, as in 1711 to 1714, and in 1744 to 1745, when 50% to 90% of the stock died.  Most cattle were small and poor draft animals.  Selective breeding had not produced superior breeds.  Milk yields might be measured in cups per day.

Reforms in agriculture were slow to come, in part because of the conservatism of the peasants.  Production failed to keep pace with population growth.  In the third quarter of the century, potato culture was introduced as a desperation measure and it proved to be a successful advance.

(02 Jan 03)

Nr. 1559:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier
(We are still in the Eighteenth Century in Germany)

I mentioned the potato as a food item.  Europeans were slow to adopt this staple, and there was much opposition to it.  (At the Hans Herr House, which really belonged to Christian Herr who died in 1750, I ask visitors to name the foods that we would find in the cellar in Christian's time.  Nearly always someone will answer the potato.  This was not a food that Christian would have used.)  In 1781 in the Elbe region of Germany, it is recorded that servants would rather change masters than be forced to eat potatoes.  Dr. Kuby said in a speech once that in 1700 it was bread for breakfast, bread for dinner, and bread for the evening meal (assuming there were three meals per day).  In 1800, he went on to say that it was potatoes for breakfast, for dinner, and for the evening meal.  The introduction of the potato was one of the positive food revolutions of the Eighteenth Century.

After The Thirty Years' War, the economy of Germany was less of a world economy than its neighbors had, and even less than it had been before the war in Germany.  Germany had no colonies or maritime activity.  Spain, France, England, Portugal, and Holland developed a world trade base.  German markets were local or confined within Germany.  Much of the economic strength of Germany was based on agriculture whose practices were not keeping pace with the demands.  There were few markets that earned foreign currencies.  The most prominent was the practice of hiring out armies to other nations.

Production of goods was generally based on the guilds, which at the best utilized a very small shop.  An exception was military goods.  As the century wore on, the guilds lost power and social standing.  The inflation required the master and his helpers to work long days.  Much of the textile manufacturing, such as spinning and weaving, was placed out in the hands of the peasants, especially women and children, who were trying to earn some extra money for the family.

After The Thirty Years' War ended, the landlords tried to gain more control and to increase their income.  This led to severe conflicts with the peasants who had agreements with the landlords about their rights and taxes.  The Lords periodically asserted their rights to the common areas (pastures and wood lots) and the peasants insisted they owned these.  These led to court cases and to appeals to higher Lords.  These higher Lords would take up the case of the peasants because it would weaken the lower Lords and strengthen the claims of the higher Lords.  The Gemmingens and the von Neippergs in the Kraichgau were not anxious to have the Duke of Wuerttemberg enter their squabbles with the peasants.

(03 Jan 03)

Nr. 1560:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier
(Hesse in the Eighteenth Century)

Hesse, as we know it today, runs south of Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, west of the Rhine River, north toward Westphalia, east over to Bavaria and to Thüringia.  It was not a particularly powerful German state in the Eighteenth Century.  A part of Hesse known as Hesse-Kassel was especially involved in providing mercenary troops to various European powers in exchange for subsidies.  One of their favorite partners was Prussia which the emperor in Vienna opposed because he saw the Prussians as a competitive force to himself.  At the first part of the century, Hesse-Kassel controlled Rheinfel Castle on the Rhine, the largest castle along the Rhine.  The emperor decided to take Rheinfel Castle away from Hesse-Kassel and to give it Hesse-Rotenburg, a much weaker state.  For years, the Landgrave Karl in Hesse-Kassel refused to surrender the castle.

(As an aside, the Photographic Essay on the CD that I have done has a few photos of Rheinfel Castle.  It was an enormous place which covered hundreds of acres.  It withstood all assaults until the French gained control in 1797 and blew the place up.)

Not only did the German states forge alliances and oppose states inside the empire, but they were in conflict with states outside the empire.  Karl, just mentioned, opposed the French and offered a refugee to the Huguenots when they had to leave France.  One of the side benefits of this policy was that the Huguenots were extremely skilled workers.  Their presence in Hesse was an aid to the economy in the thirty settlements of Huguenots.  Their presence was beneficial to banking and finance institutions and to commerce in general.  (Not long ago I wrote about the Button family who generally fell in the Huguenot category.)

The guilds had an ancient set of rules and rights, and were a governing body, to a degree that they were responsible to no one.  Some of their practices were anti-competitive and restrictive.  Karl, in 1693 and 1730, set aside some of their regulations and opened up commerce up to a degree.  Karl also tried to establish a road system, canals, and a limited postal service.  He also undertook several cultural improvements, which included new residences for his family and seats of higher education.

Karl’s son, Frederick I, ascended in 1720 to the Swedish throne through a fortunate marriage into the Swedish ruling line.  Frederick gave up his Hessian possessions to his brother William when their father died in 1730.  As we have seen in other contexts, the ruling houses of Europe were closely intertwined.

The Landgraves in Hesse-Kassel obtained Rheinfel Castle back and then they controlled a major portion of the Rhine River.
(04 Jan 03)

(This discussion of Hesse continues in Note Nr. 1568, dated 14 January 2003.  GWD WebMaster)

Nr. 1561:

In volume 5, the number 4 issue (July 1993), of Beyond Germanna, I published a short note on the Bunger family which was based on information from B. C. Holtzclaw and Ina Ritchie Sipes.  I would, of course, be interested in any refinements to this information.

Felta Bunger bought 100 acres on a branch of Deep Run from Michael Wilhite and Mary, his wife, on 1 Aug 1775 (Culpeper Co. DB H, p.111).  Valentine Bungard, or Bangert, signed the Church Covenant of the German Lutheran Church 27 May 1776, and also the petition by the male members of the church 22 Oct 1776, asking that they be freed from levies to support the Anglican Church.  Veldun Bonger/Banger and his wife Elizabeth sold this 100 acres to their son John on 22 Jan 1795 (Madison Co. DB 1, p. 172f).  His signature is a classic German script.  The personal taxes of Madison Co. show that Felty Bunger was levy free for the first time in 1800, indicating that he was around 60 years of age and born about 1740.  On 26 Aug 1802, Felty and Elizabeth Bunger deeded to John Henshaw 100 acres (DB 3, p.211) on Hutchesons Mountain, which they had purchased of Alex Tull on 8 Dec 1788 (Culpeper DB P, p.52).  He appears in 1803 for the last time in the personal taxes, and his family seems to have moved away from Madison Co. about then.  The will of Felta Bunger was probated in Greenbrier Co., VA (now WV) on 11 Mar 1806.

Felta's wife was named Elizabeth and there seems to have been some relationship to Matthew House and his wife Mary Margaret.  Valentine Bungert and Elizabeth, his wife, were godparents of Salome, daughter of Matthew and Mary Margaret House in 1776, and of another of their daughters, Catherine Elizabeth, in 1778.  Matthew Houses sons, Michael and Jacob, and their wives, appear as sponsors of the children of Valentine Bungards son Jacob at Hebron (the German Lutheran) Church from 1790 to 1798.  The lists of confirmations at Hebron indicate that Valentine and Elizabeth Bungard had these seven children:

  1. John, b. 1762, confirmed 1782 at age 20.
  2. Magdalena, b. 1763-4, confirmed in 1782 at age 18.
  3. (Anna) Margaret, b. 1766-7, confirmed in 1782 at the age of 15.
  4. Jacob, b. 1768-9, as he was confirmed in 1785, age 16.
  5. Philip, who was confirmed in 1789 without any statement of age, but perhaps he was born 1770-71.
  6. Henry, who was confirmed in 1794 at the same time as his sister Catherine.  Perhaps he was born about 1772.
  7. Catherine, who was probably born about 1774.  Girls were often younger when confirmed than the boys/men.

Probably, there were no children older than John since there were no confirmations of Bunger children from 1776 to 1782.
(06 Jan 03)

Nr. 1562:

The oldest child of Valentin Bunger and his wife Elizabeth was John, b. ca 1762, confirmed 1782 at the age of 20.  He married Eva House about 1786/7.  John was deeded 100 acres by his father in 1795.  On 22 Sept 1803, John Bunger and Eve his wife deeded this land to John Batton of Culpeper County (Madison Co. DB 3, p.451).  This same year is the last year that John appears in the tithables.  The records at the Madison Lutheran Church show the births of four children of John and Eve Bunger:

  1. Margaret, b. 8 Oct 1788,
  2. Barbara, b. 1 Feb 1790,
  3. George, b. 16 Dec 1791, and
  4. Anna, b. 20 Jul 1794.
John and Eva were frequent communicants at the church.  Their first recorded attendance as a couple was Easter in 1787, when Rev. Christian Streit held a communion service.  At the Easter service in 1797, Eva did not attend with John, who sat with Susan House.  In 1802 (17 Oct), an Eva Bungard was confirmed.  This would seem not to be the wife of John Bunger, since Eve Bunger (wife of John) had been taking communion previously.  The name Eva/Eve here is a mystery, since she is unplaced.

That the Eve who married John Bunger was a House is indicated by the baptismal records for their children.  Sponsors for Margaret were Michael House and Margaret Bunger.  Sponsors for Barbara were Jacob Bunger and his wife Margaret.  Sponsors for George were Mathais House and his wife Margaret.  For Anna, the sponsors were Valentin Bunger and Elizabeth Bunger.

Magdalena Bunger, b. ca 1763, to judge by her age at confirmation, married, about 1783, the Rev. Daniel Huffman, son of John Huffman and grandson of John Huffman, the 1714 colonist.  The Hebron church records show that the sponsors for Dinah, the daughter of Daniel Huffman and wife Magdalena, was Joseph Huffman, the brother of Daniel, and Anna Margaret Bunger, who would be the mother's sister.

(Ann) Margaret Bunger, b. ca 1766, married, on 19 Jan 1790, Daniel Huffman, son of George Huffman and grandson of John Huffman, the 1714 colonist.  This Daniel Huffman was a cousin of the Rev. Daniel Huffman.  A note by Mrs. L. R. McDonnell, said to be in the Germanna Foundation library, traces the descendants of this family.  In the first generation there were (children of Daniel Huffman and [Ann] Margaret Bunger):

  1. Adam,
  2. Ambrose,
  3. Isaac,
  4. Margaret,
  5. Anna,
  6. Susannah, and
  7. Eva.

In addition to the work of Holtzclaw and Sipes, use was made of the Hebron Church Register and the Hebron Communion Lists.  The second edition of this latter work is now available.
(07 Jan 03)

Nr. 1563:

The Bunger and House families were close, perhaps related.  Let's look at four baptisms of House children.

Matheus Haus & wife Maria Margaretha (parents)
Saloma, born 28 Feb 1776 (child baptized)
Valentin Bunger and wife Elisabetha (sponsors)

Matheus Hauss & wife Maria Margaretha (parents)
Cath. Eliz., born 14 Feb 1778 (child baptized)
Valentin Bunger and wife Elisabetha (sponsors)

Matheis Haus & Margretha (parents)
Moses, born 20 Apr 1787 (child baptized)
Joseph Holskla, Elisabetha Holskla (sponsors)

Matheis Hauss & Margaretha (parents)
Sara, born 4 Jul 1789 (child baptized)
Christopher Zimmerman & wife An. Maria

These are the only baptisms recorded at the German Lutheran (Hebron) Church for Matheus House.  Immediately, some questions are raised.  Are all the four fathers the same person?  Matheus Haus, Sr., did have a son, Matheus Haus, Jr.  The younger Matheas was confirmed in 1785 at the age of 19.  While he might have been a parent in 1787 and in 1789, the sponsors do not seem appropriate.  They were at least middle aged.  Also there is a civil record of a marriage in Culpeper County of Matthias to Susannah Floyd in 1792, which would also suggest that the father of Moses and Sara above was Matheis, Sr.  I conclude the father of all four children above was the same.

The mother's name above is slightly different but not enough different to raise concerns.  The difference merely suggests, "Look out."

The problem that raises my concerns to the serious level is the choice of sponsors for the last two children.  We know that the Bunger and House families seem to be related.  Just the consecutive sequence of five names being confirmed in 1782 of John Bunger, Adam House, Michael House, Margaret Bunger, and Margaret Bunger would alert us to the possibility.  (See "Hebron Communion Lists," second edition, by Mielke and Blankenbaker.) Many other records tell us a similar story.

What do Joseph Holtzclaw, Elisabeth Holtzclaw, Christopher Zimmerman, and Ann Mary Zimmerman have in common?  And what does that suggest about Margaret House, the mother?

This is your homework assignment.  Send in your answers.
(08 Jan 03)

Nr. 1564:

Elizabeth Holtzclaw was born Elizabeth Zimmerman.  She was the sister of Christopher Zimmerman.  The two of them were the children of John Zimmerman and Ursula Blankenbaker.  John Zimmerman was born in 1711 and Ursula was born after the arrival of her father, John Nicholas Blankenbaker, in 1717.  It is thought that Christopher was born about 1746, and Elisabeth was born about 1742.  Joseph Holtzclaw was the son of Jacob Holtzclaw, the 1714 immigrant, and his second wife Catherine.  Joseph married first Mary Thomas, the daughter of John Thomas.  There is no known issue of this marriage.  He married secondly, Elizabeth Zimmerman before 1770.

By 1787, when Joseph Holtzclaw and Elisabeth, his wife, were sponsors for Mathias House and his wife, Margaret, we would see that Joseph and Elisabeth were middle aged.  The interesting thing about Christopher Zimmerman and Elizabeth Zimmerman is that they had a sister Margaret.  The name of Mathias House's wife in the last two baptisms in the last note is Margaret.  Thus, we have the very typical pattern that the sponsors at a baptism are chosen from the siblings or cousins of the parents.  Spouses would also be included in the set from which sponsors were chosen.

The wife, Maria Margaretha, of Mathias House had died after the birth of Catherine Elizabeth.  Mathias House married a middle-aged woman, Margaret Zimmerman.  They had two children, and, at the first baptism, a sister of Margaret, and Margaret's husband, were chosen as sponsors.  At the second baptism, the mother's brother was chosen with his wife.

We must, though, discuss another point.  Germanna Record Six, in discussing the Zimmerman family, says that Margaret Zimmerman married Jacob Lipp, 26 Jan 1787.  There is a Culpeper Co. license for a marriage of two people of this name.  I believe this is another Margaret Zimmerman.  According to the Communion Lists for the German Lutheran Church (Hebron), Jacob Lipps was confirmed at age 17 in 1782.  So he was born ca 1765.  He would be of an appropriate age to marry in 1787 when he was 22.  But Margaret Zimmerman, the daughter of John Zimmerman and Ursula Blankenbaker, would probably have been older than 30.  A Margaret Zimmerman took communion, as a single person in 1775, so she was confirmed earlier.  This is probably the Margaret Zimmerman who later married Mathias House.

To sort these people correctly, it is useful to have the records from the church.  The baptismal lists have been published (with some of the early communion lists).  In addition, the communion lists are now available in a published format.
(to be continued)
(09 Jan 03)

Nr. 1565:

Still referring to the wives of Matthias House, let me emphasize that it was not the change of names of his wives which was important, but it was the change of sponsors.  A given name might even be written down in error but it would be very hard to change the sponsors.

Several of the names that we have discussed in the last couple of notes are interrelated.  They are interesting in themselves.  You might ask, "What was Joseph Holtzclaw doing in the Robinson River Valley?"  This is a good question.  His brother Jacob was there with him.  They had land among the First Colony people; why did they come down to the area of the Second Colony?  I would like to know the answer to this better as it might help me understand the Thomas family better.

Jacob Holtzclaw married Susannah Thomas, while Joseph Holtzclaw married Mary Thomas.  Mary and Susannah were daughters of John Thomas (Jr.), who was the son of John Thomas (Sr.) and Anna Maria Blankenbuehler.  There is no written record for John Thomas (Sr.) in Virginia.  The evidence that he came to Virginia consists of the two children that were born here.  He died before the 1726 land patents were issued.  The widow, Anna Maria, married Michael Kaefer.  Whom John Thomas, Jr., married is uncertain.  There were four, possibly five, children.  Two of the girls married the Holtzclaw men.

There was no known issue of Joseph Holtzclaw and Mary Thomas.  She died and he married Elizabeth Zimmerman.  Elizabeth Zimmerman was the daughter of John Zimmerman and Ursula Blankenbaker.  Ursula was a first cousin once removed of Mary Thomas since Ursula's father, John Nicholas Blankenbaker, was the brother of Anna Maria Blankenbaker, who was the grandmother of Mary Thomas.

Jacob Holtzclaw and Elizabeth Zimmerman had, according to my records, eight children.  One of these, Jacob Holtzclaw, married Salome House in 1796.  Salome was one of the children that were given in the recent notes.  Three of the Holtzclaw girls seem not to have married, namely, Susannah, Elizabeth, and Eve.  Possibly the son, Joseph, never married either.  Susannah Holtzclaw was confirmed in 1785 at the age of 19.  Thereafter she appears for 38 communions, a near record.  The son, Joseph Holtzclaw, was confirmed in 1800.  Probably all of the Joseph Holtzclaws (three) in the communion lists are this Joseph.  The father, of the same name, was of the Reformed faith and was not permitted to take communion in the Lutheran church then.  (This rule has changed in the Hebron Church where communion is open to all professed believers.)  Another daughter, Jemima, married Reuben Tanner in 1799.  She appeared at communion fairly regularly.  Two sons, Henry and John, make the seventh and eighth children.

The Jacob Holtzclaw who married Susannah Thomas moved to Kentucky at an early date.  He appears only once in the church records.
(10 Jan 03)

Nr. 1566:

The question was asked whether I had discussed my House findings with Susie House Cooper.  Yes, about fifteen years ago, I wrote a note on the subject and sent it to her.  She objected, mostly because the note upset some of her work.  In particular she objected to the three-wife concept; however, from the tone of her letters I could see that a further discussion on this subject would be fruitless and so we only communicated socially in the years since then.

My thoughts were based on the sponsorship pattern at the baptisms.  If you had relatives in the neighborhood, preferably of the same age, they were to be used, as opposed to people who were merely friends.  It is interesting that I discussed this concept with the Lutheran minister in Dietenhofen in Bavaria.  He said the rules that I had deduced from the study of the German Lutheran Church in Culpeper Co., Virginia, were exactly the rules they to use today in his church.  There were exceptions, because some people did not have any relatives in the area.  For example, when Rev. Franck and his wife had a child baptized, Adam Wayland, Nicholas Crigler, Andrew Carpenter, and wife Barbara were sponsors.  But this was solely because the Francks had no relatives in the area.

Three of the children in the Matthias House family did not have their baptisms recorded.  George, John, and Susanna were confirmed, but they did not have any baptisms recorded in the Hebron records.  The older children, born before the House family came to the Robinson River Valley, were baptized elsewhere.  The mother of the three named ones above is uncertain as of this moment.

There is a comment or two that could be made about the appearance of the children in the church record.  Adam House and Michael House were both confirmed on the 25th Sunday after Trinity in 1782.  Both were listed as 18 years old.  I thought this might be evidence that they were twins but Susie said they were not.  These were the first House children to be confirmed.  On the first Sunday after Trinity in 1785, Adam House took communion and an added note says that his wife was confirmed.  In the list of communicants, he is the only Hauss.  In the list of people being confirmed, there are Matthias Haus, Eva Hauss, Catharina Hauss nee Farnbach, and Margretha Hauss.  The only one of these that would seem to be married to a Hauss is Catharina.  Reading her last name is very difficult in the records.  Eisenberg, who read the lists once, thought that he could read Farnbach.  (Mielke and Blankenbaker were not so sure, but accepted Eisenberg's reading.)  This is an awkward name in the sense that no Farnbachs lived in the neighborhood.

Dinah Holtzclaw married a Mr. House and had one daughter, Inga.  She married a second time in 1783/4, John Van Meter (from Holtzclaw, "Nassau-Siegen").  If we attempt to place Mr. House in the Robinson River Valley Houses, it would be Adam, as all of the other older sons of Matthias House have definite marriage partners and lived.  Perhaps this is not pertinent here but I would note that the timing is about correct and that Adam is not to be found in the church records after 1785.  In fact he is not in the personal property tax lists for Culpeper Co. in 1787, though his father and Michael are.  He either had died or moved away.  (Comments are very much invited.)  In short, I am not very satisfied with the story for Adam House.
(11 Jan 03)

Nr. 1567:

I am continuing the discussion of Matthias House who had three wives, the second of which was Margaret Zimmerman, the daughter of John Zimmerman and Ursula Blankenbaker.  This Margaret had two nieces named Margaret, both of which were younger.  Using the "Hebron Communion Lists", we see that a Margaret Zimmerman attended communion services in 1775.  She was sitting next to Mary Zimmerman, her sister.  In order to participate in a communion service, one had to be confirmed.  We have no record of this but it would not be unreasonable to put her age at about twenty considering a number of factors.

She attended the communion on the 17th Sunday after Trinity in 1776, sitting next to Rosina Blankenbaker.  For the Easter 1777 communion she attended and sat next to Anna Barbara Fisher (nee Blankenbaker).  Then she attended the 25th Sunday after Trinity in 1782.  Don't think that she was lax or not attentive to her church going, since in those years 1778-1781 there was no minister.

The next appearance of a Margaret Zimmerman is the 19th Sunday after Trinity in 1800, when a Margaret Zimmerman was confirmed.  This, of course, is a different Margaret.  Or to put it differently, for eighteen years there was no Margaret Zimmerman at church.  She either died or changed her name, and I suggest that she changed her name to House.

Matthias House and his wife Mary Margaret had children baptized in 1776 and 1778.  In 1787 and 1789, Matthias House and his wife Margaret had two children baptized (for the details on the baptisms, see Note 1563).  In between these events there were, apparently, three other House children who were baptized but not recorded.  For the spacing of the House children, which was rather "tight", probably the oldest, or perhaps the two oldest, of these three children was the child of Mary Margaret.  It could have been that all three of the children who were unrecorded children were the children of Mary Margaret Unknown (some say Jeckel).  As I have been writing this note, the last statement is the conclusion I have came to.

To understand the events at the church, one needs to know what was happening there in the decade after 1778, which was the last year that Jacob Franck was present as pastor.  Briefly, though, one should not be concerned too much about an appearance, or nonappearance, of people at the church during this period.  There was one other appearance of Margaret Zimmerman (d/o of John and Ursula) in the church records.  That was in 1778 when she was a sponsor with her brother and sister for a child of Joseph Holtzclaw and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was another child of John and Ursula.  Joseph and Elizabeth returned the favor in 1787 when they were sponsors for a child (Moses of Matthias House and Margaret).
(13 Jan 03)

Nr. 1568:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier
(Rural Life in Hesse-Kassel)

(I return to "A Social History of Hesse", by Dan C. Heinemeier.)
(This discussion of Hesse is continued from
Note Nr. 1560, dated 04 January 2003.  GWD WebMaster)

Rural life in Hesse-Kassel in the Eighteenth Century was fraught with challenges.  Natural disasters, social change, and economic dislocations came in waves through the century.

In contrast to the widespread practice of the Seventeenth Century of landlords letting out their lands for specific contract periods, during the Eighteenth Century, land use practices evolved to the point where almost all peasant holdings became inheritable.  Barring misuse of the land, inability to work it, or some other extraordinary circumstance, the peasant family could rely on holding a given parcel of farmland for generations.  As long as the designated dues and obligations were paid to those controlling the land, the family could continue to hold the land.  In some cases, the peasant holder could mortgage or sublease parts of the land with the landlord's permission.  This type of landholding provided the incentive to make the land as productive as possible.

Two types of practices were used in passing the land on the next generation.

With one type, a single offspring would receive almost all of the land and house.  The other children received a small sum of money, which was intended to help them get a start in something elsewhere.  The parents were permitted to choose the child that would receive the land; it did not need to be the oldest child.  (In north Germany, in one area, the farm would go to the youngest daughter whose husband had to adopt the family or farm name.)  Often the favored child would be designated before the death of the parents, and title often passed to this child when she or he married.  The wife of an inheriting son became a 50% owner of the property.  If she brought a dowry, it became shared property with her husband.

The inheritor of the land had to pay amounts to the brothers and sisters which became known as the "brothers and sisters tax".  Payment was due them when they married, or when the parents died.  Younger brothers and sisters might stay on the farm until they reached the age of maturity.

(A digression.)  When Kilian Planckenbuehler's first wife died in Austria (in the early 1600s), he had to pay monies to her children (his also) which represented the children's inheritance from their mother.  In other words, the mother was considered to have been a part owner of the place.  Kilian's eldest son became the owner of an adjacent farm, but it is not clear whether this was a totally new farm or a part of the original farm.  When Kilian and his second wife died at about the same time, the eldest son of the second marriage inherited the original farm.  He had to make payments to his brothers and sisters.  It is the recording of these payments with the local Lord that furnish the proof today of family relationships.  In the payment to Matthias, it was noted that he was living in Langenbrucken in Germany.  It is this piece of information that gives us the proof that the "Blankenbakers" did originate in Austria.)

(14 Jan 03)

Nr. 1569:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier
(Rural Life in Hesse-Kassel)

(I return to "A Social History of Hesse", by Dan C. Heinemeier.)
(Continuing with Rural Life in Hesse-Kassel:  Inheritance Practices.)

When the peasants obtained the right to pass land on to their heirs, two basic plans evolved.  In the procedure of the last note, the property generally went to only one heir, with the other heirs receiving cash or goods from the estate.  The second plan was to divide the property among the heirs.  Even the house might be divided between some of them.  The net result of this form of distribution was the fracturing of the physical assets into smaller and smaller pieces, often below the sizes necessary to support families.

(In the Nassau-Siegen region, the furnaces and hammers could not be subdivided.  The alternative was to divide the output.  A man might have the right to seven days of output, say per year.  At this rate, one lost the skills necessary to work the assets.)  Everywhere, this tendency was observed by the rulers, who preferred economically viable units in strong hands.  Some rulers forbid the division of property into units below a certain size.

The Landgraves, or Landlords, or Lords (take your pick), were usually landowners themselves.  They, in essence, put the land into the long term custody of the peasants, and exacted taxes in return.  From the peasants, they earned a major part of their income.  Prosperous farmers were solid taxpayers; economically weak farmers made little contribution to the state's coffers.  The state sought to keep the land together in plots large enough to sustain a family and ensure a surplus.  Laws were enacted to prevent too much division and too much debt.  The Kassel authorities held that a farm should be more than 18 acres to provide an adequate living to its owner.

The net effect was to inflict hardship on the disinherited.  Parents were unable to provide for some of their children.  Many complaints were raised against this policy.  Children cut out of an inheritance were not willing workers on the farm.  A class of impoverished people was created who became dependent on the state.  Officials passed the word along to the top that the policy was creating a burden on local governments as the relief rolls grew.  Finally, the government relented and allowed limited division.

Pressure for multiple heir inheritances grew in the eighteenth century.  After The Thirty Years' War ended in 1648 there were surplus production facilities.  The population grew, and by 1730 the old levels had been reached.  The wars and epidemic diseases which had held the population in check were minimal in the eighteenth century.  Village after village reported doubling populations, which doubled again.  The means for production were strained beyond the limit of what they could produce for the population.

By the end of the eighteenth century, the farms were so small that many of the farmers had to have another job to make ends meet.  They became part-time weavers, potters, nail makers, turners, etc.

(This discussion of Hesse continues in Note Nr. 1572, dated 17 January 2003.  GWD WebMaster)

(15 Jan 03)

Nr. 1570:

There are three patents with head rights of First Colony members.  William Moore (Patent Book 14, p. 362) has John Camper, Alice Catherine Camper, John Huffman, Katherine Huffman, Jacob Richart, Elizabeth Richart, John Richart, and Catherine Cunk.  These are imaginative spellings of Kemper, Huffman, Rector, and Cuntz.

William Hallaway (P.B. 14, p. 521) has Johannes Martin, Margaret Halscrow, Henry Halscrow, John Halscrow, and Maria Katherina Martin.  These are Martins and Holtzclaws.

Laus Crest has Katherine Cuntz, John Cuntz, Likewin Peter Hill, and Elisa. Peter Hill (P.B. 14, p. 528).  These are two Cuntzes and two Hitts.  (Nugent who transcribed these had a difficult time in distinguishing the letter "l" and the letter "t" in several cases.) Lawrence Crest was a member of the Second Colony.

These are all that I found, even though there surely was a head right for Jacob Holtzclaw.

It was the law of Virginia that anyone who came to the colony could claim 50 acres of the crown's land.  Because the rights were transferrable, they could be sold.  In fact, it soon became the practice that anyone who paid the transportation of a person would get the use of the head right.

In the case of the First Colony, the members paid part of their transportation and Lt. Gov. Spotswood paid part of the transportation.  This was an unusual situation since no one individual had paid the entire cost for anyone.  Spotswood could not claim them.  By default, the members claimed the head rights.

They could not use the head right in the Northern Neck because the Northern Neck was no longer the land of the Crown.  The proprietors of the Northern Neck were not going to give away their land.  The head rights were useful outside the Northern Neck, so residents of the Northern Neck often obtained their head rights and sold them for use outside the Northern Neck.  This is what we have in the three cases above.
(16 Jan 03)

Nr. 1571:

(Continuing with Inheritance Practices.)

The practices followed in any one area for the preferred method of inheritance varied.  Germany was a collection of hundreds of principalities, and each of these probably had its rules.  These changed in the course of time also.  When I said that in northern Germany the land went to the youngest daughter, I was quoting Roger Minert, a researcher (I think that is the name).  He was telling his own personal story.  In Eighteenth Century Germany, the most common rule was that there was a freedom to divide one's estate in any way that one saw fit.  It was never as rigid as it was in England.  There were localities and periods of time where the rules were more rigid.

Craig is right about the home place going to the youngest son.  He was often still at home and he was charged with taking care of his mother.  He was given the home place.  Many times the oldest children receive nothing because they have already been given something, probably when they left home.

There is a map of the Little Fork area on my web site.  It shows the original patents that were broken up by the later subdivision of the land.  Holtzclaw, for example, divided his land into several parts and sold or gave the pieces.  The web site address is  If any of you have my book, The Culpeper Classes, the centerfold is a map of Culpeper County showing the location of the Little Fork.

The rate at which Germans were assimilated into the community depended upon the percentage of them in the community.  In the Mt. Pony area, there were very few and they very quickly became a part of the English community, speaking English, attending English churches, etc.  In the Robinson River Valley where the concentration was much higher (and where there was an active German church) they were still arguing in 1800 about which language to use at church.  In the Little Fork, we have a situation somewhat in between the previous two, but the lack of an active German church meant they would be inclined to switch to English more easily.  They were receptive to switching to the newer denominations, such as the Baptists.

The Germanna residents were generally NOT exempt from the established church.  There were periods of time when the Germans were exempt, but the law always required that they be supporting a minister of their own.  The Little Fork group had no minister, only a reader.  The Germantown group had no minister after Rev. Hager died.  They had to support the Anglican Church.  There were no separate German Parishes, except for a few years there was a limited St. George Parish around Germanna.  The St. Mark's Parish Vestry Book is the record of business transactions, not vital records.  It shows the monies levied and the expenditure of monies.  There are some interesting things in it, such as who was on relief and who was providing the relief, who asked to be excused from the tithe, etc.  Very few of the vital records for any Anglican Parish have been retained but there are some.  The Library of Virginia (LoV) has published a book showing their holdings of church records for all denominations.
(17 Jan 03)

Nr. 1572:

Place:  “Germany”
Time:   18th Century
By:       Dan C. Heinemeier
(Rural Life in Hesse-Kassel)

(I return to "A Social History of Hesse", by Dan C. Heinemeier.)
(We are back in Kassel in the eighteenth century.)
(This discussion of Hesse is continued from
Note Nr. 1569, dated 15 January 2003.  GWD WebMaster)

As the century went on, the reduced assets available to some of the citizens made for sharp distinctions.  The village of Grandenborn was not large, about 350 people in 1745.  The wealthiest group here made their living from farming alone and their land holdings averaged about 40 acres each.  They numbered 17% of the population.  The next group owned slightly less land (average was about 30 acres each) and they supplemented their income with part-time work at some trade.  They were 27% of the population.  Third were the farmers who had enough land to provide some food for themselves, but they depending strongly on their earnings from a trade.  This group had 25 acres on average and constituted 19% of the population.  Next was the group who owned a house, but had only five acres of land.  This was a quarter of the population.  The lowest group owned no house, and worked as laborers for someone else.  It was definitely a small minority who could make a living from a farm alone.

The villagers enfranchised with land dominated the disenfranchised people who got by on their dependence on the better-off people.  The villagers, as a whole, had a legalized system of authority and domination (“clients of the nobles”).  The village corporation or body had authority to use sanctions as they saw fit.  The village government could prevent undesirables from taking up residence and they protected the common property from use by the poor.

Taxes, tithes, and compulsory service owed to the Lords continued to exist and to play a big role in the common man’s life.  The nobles assessed the village as a whole, and the village government had to apportion the assessment among the citizens.  As an example, in one village (Körle), the Lord personally owned about 156 acres of land.  The meadow, farmland, and the garden land were actually worked by the villagers for the benefit of the Lord.  The assignment of this unpaid labor was by the village.

Later in the century, the tendency was for the Lord to rent the land, either yearly or a long-term basis, and to collect money.  There was a shift from labor services to monetary services.  Often, though, this land was used by the village as a whole, so the government of the village had to collect the total sum, by assessments on the users, and pay the Lord.

There were still services the enfranchised villages had to perform.  They had to haul wood to the Court.  In this particular case, it was sent by water, not by road.  They also had to haul “his lordship’s produce” to the Capital.  Building materials had to be hauled for the Lord (many of the farmers were freighters for a variety of customers for added income).  Mills and buildings had to be repaired, forests had to be maintained, mail had to be carried.  In wartime, five horses had to be provided by farmers in the village.  The village government was becoming an agent of the Lord and responsible for the detailed supervision, while the Lord merely made the overall assessment.

(This discussion of Hesse continues in Note Nr. 1579, dated 25 January 2003.  GWD WebMaster)

(17 Jan 03)

Nr. 1573:

As I have been discussing social conditions in Hesse, perhaps you have felt that it did not apply to “your people”.  We do have the comments of one Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman, which might be taken as “closer to home”.  Wilhelm Hoffman was the younger brother of John Huffman (1714 Colony) and of Henry Huffman (1743 immigrant who lived close to John in the Robinson River Valley).  Wilhelm also emigrated to America, but he chose to live in Pennsylvania, not in Virginia.  Our interest in him centers on his diary and account book, which has been preserved (now in The Library of Congress).  I am using a translation by Charles T. Zahn.

The book is better described as an account book, not as a diary.  William was very selective about what he entered into the book.  He especially entered the services he performed for others plus the taxes and fines he paid.  The book begins in 1733, when he was 21, with a prayer, which makes it clear that he was a dedicated member of the Reformed Church and that he regarded the Catholics very unfavorably, as even worse than the “Turks”.  The source of much of his grief was that he lived in Eisern in an area which was controlled by the Catholics.  The head of the government had been the Catholic prince of Nassau, who lived in the Upper Castle in Siegen.  (After the prince had beheaded one of the citizens early in the century, the administration of the area was given to the Archbishop of Cologne by the Emperor.)

William tried to rationalize life by saying that God had ordained overlords to rule over the peasants, and to require services from the peasants at the overlord's command.  He continued that, whereas God had made him a peasant in this fatherland which had Catholic rulers, he hoped to live in peace with good health and fortune.  "Therefore, I, Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman, from Eysern, intend to record the services I give to the overlords."  Among the services he had or expected to perform were mowing, making hay, hauling wood from the forest, hunting, and military service.  Since he did own a horse, many of the services involved the horse.

Two of the services seemed to have a very adverse effect on Wilhelm.  He had to perform military service and he had to quarter soldiers in his house.  Quartering of soldiers was a burden that fell almost exclusively upon the Reformed Church members.  He did not spell out the wars clearly, but foreign troops and citizens from other regions were involved.

Fines were levied for different causes.  Wilhelm and his fellow church members spent a lot of time in appealing these fines.  Great turmoil ensued whenever an overlord died and before the successor was determined.  The Reformed Church members were fined whenever they held school on Catholic saint days.  Though much of the burden which befell Wilhelm was because he was a Reformed member, he never wavered in his faith, or considered changing it.

(From number 3 issue of volume 9 of Beyond Germanna.)

(18 Jan 03)

Nr. 1574:

Wilhelm Hoffman mentions a few names which are intriguing.  We wish that he had said more than he did.  Remember that he started writing his account book in 1733.

In 1739 and 1740 he mentions Pastor Heltsklaw from Wilmetogff.  This man must surely be a Holtzclaw.  In 1738, Wilhelm writes of his brother-in-law, Heide of Siegen.  Just how this came about is unknown, as his wife was Catharina Pithan.  According to B. C. Holtzclaw, none of Wilhelm’s sisters married a Heide.  He also refers to a brother-in-law, Henrich Schute, at Fücknhette (?), whose actual relationship is not explained.

He records that on 16 May 1741, he, Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman and his wife Anna Cadrina, with their sons Johannes and Johan Heinrich, left the village of Eysern in the Catholic part of the principality of Nassau-Siegen in his fatherland in Europe.  He arrived in Philadelphia on 1 Oct 1741, and within the year had moved to York County and across the “Sequahanna” to a place beyond Yorktown.

He left an incomplete statement, “After I left Europe and the servitude in Siegen, in the form of handwork and money, as the book shows again and again -----.”  In another place, he gives as motivation for coming to America, “the hope of being able to live without the burden of war.”

In America, he continued to record some of the same kinds of observations as had in Germany, namely, taxes, road building, road maintenance, and war.  He was caught up in the French and Indian War which was so hard on the frontier counties.  With his fatalistic spirit, he believed that God was punishing America by using war as the means.  He records the end of the war on a very happy note with a wish for a peaceful life under our King George the Second of Great Britain.

(I said previously that the diary was in The Library of Congress.  More correctly, I believe a copy is there on microfilm.  The translation by Charles T. Zahn is in the LDS library on film 193014(?).

Was it so unusual that a man in the position of Wilhelm could read and write?  No.  A high percentage of the German immigrants in the eighteenth century could read and write.  A quick look at the 70 male passengers on the ship Molley in 1727 arriving at Philadelphia shows only about 15% had someone else write their names.  In this group were several Mennonites (Anabaptists).  Another ship in 1729 shows about a 75% literacy rate among the passengers.
(20 Jan 03)

Nr. 1575:

(In response to a query on the list, I deviate from the ongoing series.)

Zacharias Blankenbaker, the son of the 1717 immigrant, married a widow with two daughters.  There are two threads of evidence, but the best one is the church record of baptisms.  About 1775, the baptismal list was rewritten and in the process three rules were used:

  1. If a family had children before 1750, their records were not included.
  2. If the record was incomplete for the family, prior to 1775, no records were included.
  3. If the family had moved away, no records were included.

As the record was being rewritten, a case arose which had not been anticipated.  The scribes hesitated and put the case aside.  Toward the end of the process, they had to make a decision.  The essence of the problem was that a man married a widow who had two children (daughters) born before 1750.  All the children of the man were born after 1750.  Is anyone to be included?  The decision was to include the man (Zacharias) and his wife and their mutual children but not her daughters.  The wife’s given name may have been Elizabeth but she seems to be called Els most of the time.  Her maiden name is totally unknown from the church records.

The other thing that tells us that Els had been married before is that Zacharias, in his will, refers to a daughter of my wife.  This was Elizabeth, and Zacharias was not her father.  The other daughter was Mary Magdalena, and she married Henry Wayman as his first wife.  She died and he married Magdalena Blankenbaker, the daughter of John Blankenbaker.  Zacharias did not mention Mary Magdalena in his will.

I had arrived at these conclusions when a statement from the book “Some Martin, Jefferies, and Wayman Families and Connections of Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky and Indiana” came to my attention.  It said, “Henry Wayman, b. ­, d. ­; m.1, ­ , m.2 before 1776 Mary Magdalena Finks [according to a descendant].”  I had already arrived at the two marriages for Henry Wayman, but I believe that the author and his source got the sequence of the two wives backwards.  The first marriage was to Mary Magdalena Finks and the second marriage was (Mary) Magdalena Blankenbaker (d/o John Blankenbaker).

This says that Els married a Finks, probably a younger brother of the senior Mark Finks.  He died and she married Zacharias Blankenbaker.  Els’ maiden name is unknown.  I am of the opinion that she was not from one of the families who attended the German Lutheran Church regularly.  I came to this conclusion from an examination of whom she sat with in church after Zacharias died.  She was probably several years younger than Zacharias, who was born in Germany and lived in Essex, Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, and Madison Counties.
(21 Jan 03)

(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 SIXTY-THIRD set of Notes, Nr. 1551 through Nr. 1575.)

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 1551 through 1575.

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