Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

(This Page Was Last Modified Wednesday, 06-Apr-2011 15:52:23 MDT.)


Search John's Notes, or This Entire Web Site.


This is the SEVENTY-NINTH 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 1951 through 1975.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 79

(If the text on this and other pages on this website isn't large enough, click here to see how to increase the size.)
(If you wish to print only part of this page, and not the entire page, click here for instructions.)


Nr. 1951:

I went to the Genealogical Collection of the Albuquerque Library today and copied out a few things that struck my interest.  In Culpeper Will Abstracts, on the 19th day of September 1791, the estate of John Christian Seps was admitted to the record.  The estate had paid George Wheeler and Jno. & Susan Yager.  It had received money from Richard Jinkins, Henry Ayler, John Stonsifer, Martin Barnes, Daniel Beemon, James Howslay, Wm. Chapman, Geo. Utz, Joshua Barler, James Cowell, James Barbour, and John Gibbs.  The accounts were examined by William Wilkes, Mordecai Barbour, and Ephraim Rucker.  Does anyone recognize the name Seps? With six German names in the abstract, I was wondering if John Christian Seps was German.

The name Henry Aylor comes up in another way, presumably as a different individual.  The will of Jerome Rosson dated 19 Sept 1796 gives a Negro boy named Henry Ayler to Susannah and her husband, John King, during their lives and afterwards he is to go to Jerome's son James.  This struck me as an unusual name for a slave, in particular to have two names.

Presumably, it is the first of the Henry Aylors who were purchasers at the estate sale of Francis Duncan.  Enoch Huffman, Michael Snyder, and Samuel Wilhoit were also purchasers.

In the estate settlement of Edward Bush, Paul Hoffman had mended a wheel in 1758, Adam Barler was due money for three barrels of corn, and Jacob Barler was also due money.

The estate inventory and appraisement of Nicholas Yager was set at 502 pounds 2 shillings and 11 pence on 18 Jun 1793 by Christopher Crigler, John Thomas, and Lewis Render.  I was wondering who this John Thomas might be.  Christopher Crigler was a stepbrother of Nicholas Yager, if my memory serves me correctly.

The estate inventory and appraisement of John Crim were submitted to the court on 8 Sept 1801, by Baylor Banks, Francis Irwin, and Frederick Cline.  I was wondering if this Cline might not be a Klein in German.  In the 1798 appraisal of the estate of John Mitchell, one of the appraisers was Frederick Kline, which is getting closer.  The suggestion is that we have not identified all of the Germans east of the Blue Ridge.  As another example, the will of William Gaines in 1796, mentions his daughter Ann Steenbergen which sounds like a German name.

Also, in a similar vein, on 24 Nov 1743, Michael Thomas petitions the Orange Court to have Christian Mood added to his tithables.  This Michael Thomas might be the son of John Thomas and Anna Maria Blankenbaker.  Who is Christian Mood?
(27 Aug 04)



Nr. 1952:

I have with me print copies of the Marriage and Baptism Registers for Gemmingen (Baden, Germany), from 1696 to 1718.  I have spent some time looking for evidence of a name which might be considered the origin of the name Barlow in the Germanna community.  There was only one instance in which I found any evidence (though it might pay to search more).

On the fifth day of February in the year 1704, Johannes Bühla (Bühl? or Buehl?, where the ? mark indicates some uncertainty as to the letter) married Elisabetha Dorothea Boscher.  Johannes was a citizen of Gemmingen, and a brick maker plus an undeciphered occupation that seems to start “ges”.  Elisabetha’s father was Hanss, and he was denoted as a judge and other undeciphered activities.  Both Johannes and Elisabetha were legitimate children of their parents.  The banns were read three times.

After this start, there is no mention of the couple in the Baptismal Registers, as either parents or sponsors.

Whether the name Bähla could become Barlow eventually is not for me to say.  The fact that P and B were commonly used in Virginia as the first letter means very little.

The reason that I looked in Gemmingen is that the Barlows and the Smiths were associated in a land patent in Virginia, and the Smiths were from Gemmingen.

The church in Gemmingen had several people who were not Lutherans.  There were Reformed and Catholic people, and perhaps Anabaptists who might not have wanted to attend the Church but were forced to go to the Church, the only one in town, to be married.

I hope to do a more detailed study of the Gemmingen Registers to see if I can find more information on the several families that left in 1717; however, this will be time consuming.  I have already ordered the microfilms for Gemmingen so I can get a copy of the Death Register also.

In 1716, I did not find any marriage of a Smith with anyone as was suggested here recently might be the case.  There could have been a marriage in another village.
(28 Aug 04)



Nr. 1953:

I have some corrections and additions to make to the last note.  Johannes Bühle and his wife Elisabetha Dorothea Boscher had two children baptized at Gemmingen.  The first was Hans Michael, on 1 Nov 04.  The second was Eva Maria, on 29 Oct 05.

In both cases the sponsors were the same:  Fraulein Eva Maria von Gemmingen (for the child Eva Maria, it was given as Frau) and Herr Hans Michael _____ Hans Leonard B______

People denoted by Fraulein, Frau, or Herr are notable people of the community.

On the suggestion of Andreas I reread the occupation of Johannes Bühle at his marriage and it could be read as “Geselle und Ziegler”, or journeyman and brickmaker.

I have not seen anything yet to tie the Bühle family to the Schmidt family.
(28 Aug 04)



Nr. 1954:

Hans George Long (Lang), along with Christoph Uhl and Frederic Kapler, appeared on a petition in September of 1717 to the English government for funds to return to Holland from London.  All three of these men, plus Christopher Zimmerman, were from Sulzfeld (Baden, Germany).  We know that Zimmerman arrived in 1717 (or early 1718) in Virginia.  Lang, Uhl (Yowell), and Kapler came to Virginia slightly later.  Why did these three not get to Virginia in 1717 when it would seem clear that they wanted to go and had started on the way in 1717?

In the spring of 1717, Andrew Tarbett was the Captain of a ship which was lost to pirates off the coast of Virginia.  He was called to give a report to Alexander Spotswood who was very active in stamping out piracy.  The previous summer and fall, in 1716, Spotswood and others had explored the land from Germanna to the (Blue Ridge) Mountains.  Spotswood wanted to secure large tracts of land in this region but needed settlers.  Probably Spotswood let all of the ship Captains know that he wanted a shipload of Germans to be these settlers.  It would appear that he found an eager ear in Andrew Tarbett, who needed to make a comeback from having lost a ship.  Tarbett returned to England in 1717 where he found a ship, the Scott.  In his circumstance, he probably had to take a small ship so he was limited in the number of people that he could carry.

I believe that the reason that Lang, Uhl, and Kapler could not leave London then was that the ship Scott was too small.  Apparently, they were limited financially, since they petitioned for aid to return to the Continent.  Whether they ever obtained this aid is not known, but I suspect that they did not.  They remained in London and, when word was obtained that the 1717 departees had gone to Virginia, these stragglers sought transportation to Virginia.

On the petition list, the names Christoph Uhl, of a party of eight; Frederick Kapler, of a party of three; and Hans George Long, of a party of four, were consecutive names.  All of these men have been documented in the Church Records of Sulzfeld.

One other name on the list was Hans Martin Volck, in a party of seven people.

There is a question which is raised by this petition list which shows the people had started in 1717 for America.  Should they be counted as members of the Second Germanna Colony?  Or maybe we have gone overboard in trying to classify the Germans.
(30 Aug 04)



Nr. 1955:

Though I had read it before, I checked out the book, "The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood, 1710-1722", from the University of New Mexico (USA).  This was printed in 1882 from a manuscript in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society.  The earlier history of this manuscript is murky, but it seems to have been based on the original Letter Book of Spotswood, in which copies of the letters he wrote were entered.  The book is not based on the documents in the archives of such institutions as the Public Record Office in London.  Nor is the present work complete; it does not have all of the letters and reports of Spotswood during his term as Lt. Governor, and it omits some very important material that he wrote after he left office.  In all, the book contains 354 pages, showing that the man was a prolific writer.  I thought that I would copy a few selections that might be of special interest to Germanna descendants, though it may take several notes.

On 24 October 1710 [four months after his arrival in Virginia] he wrote to the Commissioners of Trade:

“There is a project intended to be handed to this next Assembly for improvement of the Iron Mines lately discovered in this Country, which upon Tryal have been found to be extraordinary rich and good.  It is proposed that the work be carried on at the Publick Charge;  That the Assembly raise a Fund for that purpose and have the disposal of the profits thereof when it comes to perfection, for answering the publick expenses of the Government, if the Assembly should proceed so far therein this Session as to prepare an Act for the encouragement of this Work, I hope I may give my Assent to it without infringing her Majesty's Instructions, which restrains me from passing Acts of an extraordinary Nature;  since I do not at present apprehend any Disadvantage which this may occasion to her Majesty's Service or the Trade of Great Britain, because the Nation is obliged to import great quantitys of Iron from foreign parts, which if this succeeds may be supplied from hence, at least if it should be found prejudicial, the Act may be repealed by her Majesty long before it can take any effect here, since they can enter in no part of the Work till they have their Workmen and Materials from England, and here I take occasion to beg Your Lordships' favourable interpretation of the earnest endeavors I shall always use in these parts to promote the interest of her Majesty and that of my Mother County.  So that when it may happen that I yield to the instances of the People and pass a Law of this nature (which if it be not acceptable to her Majesty, can be nulled ere it become in force), I hope Your Lordships' will conclude that such a complyance on my part may sometimes be necessary, in order to preserve a good Correspondence with them, and thereby compass some other advantage for her Majesty's Service.”

In copying this, I attempted to maintain spelling and capitalization but not the abbreviations.
(01 Sep 04)



Nr. 1956:

Interspersed with copies of the extracts from Gov. Spotswood's letters, I will add some commentary to help in the understanding.

The government of Virginia was vested in:

  1. the House of Burgesses (two per county and the College of William and Mary),
  2. the Council of twelve members appointed by the Crown upon recommendations of the Governor and other citizens,
  3. the Governor, and
  4. the Crown.

The Burgesses were elected by popular vote.  The Council had to approve the legislation passed by the House, and they might send an act back to the House with recommendations for changes.  (In addition, the Council was similar to present day Cabinets and was an advisor to the Governor besides being the foremost court in Virginia.)  Legislation, when approved by the House and the Council, went to the Governor, who normally would sign if he approved, and if it were not unusual legislation.  In all cases the legislation went to London where it might, or might not, be approved.  Sometimes, these approvals or disapprovals might take several years, even after the legislation had been put into force in Virginia.  In the previous note, much of what Spotswood wrote was directed toward this point.  He hoped it would not be considered unusual legislation and that it could be put into practice immediately.  But he made note that it would take so long to implement the work that the Crown would have time to reject it, if it was felt necessary, before any real progress had been made.  He hoped though to get started right away.

Not quite so evident is the impact of the trade laws which said that the colonies were to be suppliers of raw material, and were not to engage in turning raw materials into finished products.  For example, all wool was supposed to go to England, where it would be turned into yarn and made into clothing.  This clothing would be sold to the Colonists.  In the case of iron, it was not well established what the raw material stage was.  Everyone generally considered that wrought iron, the second stage of production, was a part of a manufacturing process and the colonists were to obtain their wrought iron from England.  Cast iron was still ambiguous.  Spotswood attempted to counteract any argument that all iron should be cast in England as he noted that it was necessary for England to purchase iron from foreign parts [the Baltic nations in particular].  It would make good sense for the iron to be produced in the Colonies.  The status of cast iron was so unclear that the Commissioners of Trade, in response to the proposals of Spotswood, said that no legislation should be passed in Virginia without a suspension clause.  This meant that if the powers in England should say no iron was to be cast in Virginia, then the production of cast iron in Virginia had to be stopped.  Since thousands of Pounds of money were involved this would have discouraged a person or the colony itself from even setting out to cast iron.  It was for this reason plus the great expense involved that Spotswood was not personally interested in iron furnaces until many years had passed by.
(01 Sep 04)



Nr. 1957:

On 15 December 1710, Spotswood wrote the Council of Trade:

“I gave your Lordships an account in my last of a project intended to be laid before the next Assembly [House of Burgesses plus the Council] for carrying on an Iron Work, but that design did not meet with the countenance which was expected from the House of Burgesses, it being the temper of the People here never to favour any Undertaking unless they can see a particular advantage arising to themselves, and these Iron mines, lying only at the Falls of James River [saying in effect that no other deposits were known], the rest of the Country did not apprehend any benefitt they should reap thereby.  Since therefore the Country hath so little inclination to make use of the advantages which nature has put into their hands, I humbly propose to Your Lordships' consideration whether it might not turn to good account if her Majesty would be pleased to take that work into her own hands, sending over workmen and materials for carrying it on, and imploying therein the Revenue of Quitt-Rents which should be a sufficient ffund to bring it to perfection.  I have been assured that the Oar has been tryed and found extraordinary Rich, and I have discoursed the Owners of the Land [the William Byrd family], and find them very willing to yield up their Right into her Majesty's hands without expecting any other consideration than such an Office in the management of the work as they shall be found capable of.  The Iron might even be sent home as Ballast to Ships without any other charge than of Sloops or Lighters to put it on board, and by this means her Majesty may prevent its being manufactured in this Country, which is the only ill consequence that might have been feared if this work had been undertaken by the Inhabitants . . .[a new subject starts without a formal end to the previous thoughts].”

[Commentary:  This letter makes it clear that the iron ore mentioned in the previous letter to the Commissioners was not on the Rappahannock or Rapidan Rivers, but on the James River.  Being at the Falls [i.e., near present day Richmond], it is the location where a smelting furnace had been built in the 1620's and destroyed in the general Indian uprising of 1622.  This is also the iron ore sent to England in the 1580's for testing.  It was found to be very good ore.  Therefore, it was not newly discovered iron, nor had it been found by Spotswood.]

[In this letter, Spotswood takes the position that cast iron, or, in particular, pig iron, was a raw material and not restricted by the trade laws between Great Britain and the Colonies.  He admits that wrought iron would be a manufactured project.  His proposal is that all of the cast iron be sent back to England as ballast on the ship.  The response of the Commissioners of Trade to his proposal shows that this view was not accepted by all.  His proposal that Queen Anne sponsor the project seems to have died aborning and, in fact, it is not even clear whether she ever heard of the proposal.]
(01 Sep 04)



Nr. 1958:

[From The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood . . .]

to the Council of Trade, 8 February 1712 (NS),

“The Baron de Graffenried being obliged, while he was a prisoner among the Indians, to conclude a Neutrality for himself and his Palatines, lives as yet undisturbed by the Heathen, but is sufficiently persecuted by the people of Carolina for not breaking with the Indians, though [they] will afford him neither provisions of War or Victuals nor Assistance from them.  He has always declared his readiness to enter into a War as soon as he should be assisted to prosecute it, but it would be madness in him to expose his handfull of people to the fury of the Indians, without some better assurance of help than the present confusions in that province gives him reason to hope for . . . that he has made some efforts to remove the Palatines to this Colony upon some of her Majesty's Lands; and since such a number of people as he may bring with him, with what he proposes to invite over from Swisserland and Germany, will be of great advantage to this Country and prove a strong Barrier against the incursions of the Indians if they were properly disposed above our Inhabitants.  I pray your Lordships' directions what encouragement ought to be given to their design, either as to the quantity of Land or the terms of granting it.”

[Already in early 1712, Spotswood is proposing to settle Germans on the frontiers as a barrier to the Indians.  It is also to be noted that Graffenried proposes to bring more Germans and Swiss come to America.  In fact, a fellow employee of George Ritter and Company, Johann Justus Albrecht, is recruiting at this time in Nassau-Siegen.]

to the Council of Trade, 8 May 1712

“According to what I had the honor to write to Your Lordships in my last, The Baron de Graffenried is come hither with a design to settle himself and several Swiss families in the fforks of the Potomack [i.e., the forks of the Shenandoah], but when he expected to have held his Land there of her Majesty, he now finds Claims made to it both by the Proprietors of Maryland and Northern Neck.”

[Graffenried was especially interested in the "Forks of the Potomack" because his associate, Franz Louis Michel, had spent many months exploring the Shenandoah Valley in the years around 1706, and he thought he had found silver there.  Graffenried was expecting to use the Swiss and Germans in founding a colony there and in mining silver.  The exploration by Michel was several years in advance of Spotswood's two day visit to the Shenandoah Valley.  Furthermore, Michel left a reasonably good map of the Valley which had been transmitted to London in 1707.  Still, the different proprietors and the Crown could not say for certain who had the rights in the Forks.]
(02 Sep 04)



Nr. 1959:

to the Board of Trade by Alexander Spotswood, 15 May 1712:

“. . . This Excursion of people into North Carolina, as well as into Lands of the other Neighboring proprietors, will be very much furthered by a general Opinion lately revived that there are gold and silver mines in these parts towards the Mountains, And because in the grants to the Proprietors the share of the Crown in Royal Mines is ascertained, and no such declaration made for those found in the Lands held incidentally of her Majesty, people propose to themselves a greater advantage by seeking after them in the former.  For this reason, I am told, some persons who formerly had, or fancyed they had made such discoverys here, were discouraged to prosecute them and died with the secret; but now that the same opinion is revived and the humour of making discoverys become universal I humbly offer Your Lordships' consideration whether so great a profitt as may redound from the discovery and working of such mines ought to be lost for want of a Declaration what share her Majesty expects out of them.”

[Notice that these comments come almost immediately after the arrival of Graffenried in Virginia.  Graffenried makes no secret of the fact that he thought there were silver mines and some circumstances that he writes about sound like the stories that Spotswood is passing along.]

to the Council of Trade, 26 July 1712, by Spotswood:

“I have, since the return of the Baron de Graffenried from Potomack [a short distance above the Falls], discoursed him concerning the probability of Mines these parts, he says, though he has no doubts of finding such from the accounts he received from one Mr. Mitchell [Michel], a Swiss Gentlemen who went on the like discoverys some years ago, Yet he finds himself much discouraged from prosecuting his first intentions, not only because of the uncertainty of the property of the Soil [i.e., who owns the rights to it], whether belonging to the Queen or the proprietors, but because the share which the Crown may claim in those Mines is also uncertain, and that after all his trouble in the discovery he may chance to have only his labour for his pains.  Whereas he would gladly imploy his utmost diligence in making such discoverys if it were once declared what share her Majesty would expect out of the produce of the Mines, or if her Majesty would be pleased to take the Mines into her own hands, promising him a suitable Reward for his discovery, and granting him the superintending of the works with a handsome Sallary, he says it is a matter not new to him, there having been Mines of the like nature found on his father's lands in Switzerland, which were at first wrought for the benefitt of the State, but turning to small account were afterwards Yielded to the proprietors of the soil upon paying a share out of the produce thereof; that he has some relations now concerned therein, and by their interest can procure skilfull workmen out of Germany for carrying on the works . . .”

(02 Sep 04)



Nr. 1960:

First, I will make some commentary upon the preceding Notes.  In the last Note, notice the emphasis on gold and silver.  There is no mention now of iron.  Iron has not been mentioned since 1710.  Some people have said that the mention of silver was a cover up for iron but anyone who has read Graffenried's story will know that he was interested, primarily, in silver, though he was not averse to gold.  When Spotswood said that Graffenried could procure workmen out of Germany, he left the wrong impression.  The word "could" implies the future; however, Johann Justus Albrecht, who worked for the same enterprise as Graffenried, had been recruiting in Nassau-Siegen since 1710.  Whether Albrecht had any commitments by the summer of 1712 is not clear.  It is known that Rev. Haeger wanted to go.  Graffenried writings show also he was thinking of silver (and gold) and not of iron.

In a slightly earlier note, I said that the iron which was discussed in 1710 was on lands belonging to the Byrd family near the James River near present day Richmond.  There is a good piece of evidence that this was the case by a comment that William Byrd writes in his "Secret Diary".  For September 24, 1710, he wrote,

“The company [guests] went away in the evening and the Governor and I took a walk on the river side.  The Governor was very willing to favor the iron works.”

In October, Spotswood was writing to England of his plan to have the Assembly approve an iron works based on the ore in the Byrd land on the James River.

In 1710, the metal for mining as discussed by Spotswood was iron.  This was not a discovery of Spotswood's, but was a known resource on the Byrd lands.  After 1710, for about six years, iron was not considered seriously by Spotswood.  Starting in 1712, due to the information from Graffenried, Spotswood became very interested in silver.  Additional notes here will make this point clearer.

On 11 June 1713, Spotswood wrote to Col. Blakiston in London:

“I writ to you about 2 Months ago about the discovery of another mine in which I am concerned, and have little now to add, except that all the Gentlemen concerned with me, depend very much on your prudent management of this affair, wherein you will please take the advise of my Lord Orkney to whom I have writt about it.  As to what expences you shall be at, you may be assured they will be reimbursed, and whatever you will find it necessary to engage for, in order to the obtaining of a Grant in our Favour, faithfully performed, though if (as you write,) it be so difficult to get it many otherwise than in general as a favour to the Country, The Charge will be but small, and must be defrayed at the public Expense . . . we cannot proceed till we know what we have to Trust to.”

When Spotswood said silver, he meant silver.  He did NOT try to cover up an assumed interest in iron by using the word silver.
(03 Sep 04)



Nr. 1961:

Something is missing from the record in the period from the summer of 1712, when Spotswood tells of his desire to get the royal interest in silver and gold mines determined, to the summer of 1713, when Spotswood writes to Col. Blakiston in London and strongly urges him to have the Crown's interest in silver and gold mines clarified.  At the latter time, Spotswood also writes that he is involved in "another mine".  We have no information as to what the other mines might have been.  The "another" mine, which is the subject of Spotswood's letter to Blakiston, is much better known.

Larkin Chew obtained a large land patent in 1713.  The abstract reads (from N. M. Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, v.3, Virginia State Library, Richmond):

“Larkin Chew, 4020 acres of new land, St. Mary's Parish, Essex Co.; on south side of the South River of Rappahannock River; 02 May 1713, (Patent Book 10, page 68). 20 pounds, 5 shillings.”

The South River of Rappahannock River is today called the Rapidan.  According to Ulysses Joyner who prepared a map of early Orange County patents, this patent is in the vicinity of Burr's Hill in present day Orange Co.  (It has been plotted in Beyond Germanna on page 423.)  On the next May 28 (this would be in 1713 and in the same month as the patent), Larkin Chew sold fractional interests in this patent (as recorded in the Essex Court at Tappahannock) as follows:

  • 1/4 to Alexander Spotswood
  • 1/16 to Christopher Graffenried
  • 1/16 to The Earl of Orkney (Governor of Virginia in England and Spotswood's nominal boss)
  • 3/16 to Gawin Corbin of King and Queen Co.
  • 1/16 to Jeremiah Clowder of King and Queen Co.
  • 1/16 to Richard Buckner of Essex Co.
  • 1/16 to William Robertson, Clerk of the Council at Williamsburg
  • 1/4 remained for Larkin Chew
Shortly thereafter, Buckner and Clowder each bought another 1/32 share from Chew reducing Chew's share to 3/16.

When the sales of the fractional interests were recorded, Graffenried was already on his way to England, so he was not present in Virginia when the transfers took place.  Graffenried later (to be quoted) identified this tract as a silver mine.  According to a private communication from Paula Felder, Larkin Chew had been the captain of a group of the militia who had been assigned to guard Graffenried on his explorations above the Falls of the Potomac River (in 1712).  Certainly Chew would have been informed about Graffenried's quest.  In patenting the 4020 acres, we do not know if Chew thought he had found silver which he was willing to share among friends or if Chew was merely a front man for a party of people headed by Alexander Spotswood.  It seems clear that this mine was the subject of Spotswood's letter to Blakiston in 1713.
(03 Sep 04)



Nr. 1962:

To Col. Blakiston, 17 August 1713:

“I have formerly advized you that I am embarked in a new project about the mines, of which there appears better hopes than the former, And therefore must request you that if any resolution be taken by the Queen and Council in relation thereto, that may be to my purpose, that you will not let it ly neglected for want of paying the necessary fees to the Clerks, which shall either be repaid you Out of the public revenue of the Colony, if it be a general Benefit, or by the persons engaged in the Design, if it be Only a private Order.”

To Col. Blakiston, 15 Mar 1714 (NS):

“About the beginning of January I received yours of the 3d 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 your Letter of the 9th of December, which I received the other day, I perceive you have altered your opinion by sending over those People, partly at my charge.  This makes me believe you have now greater hopes of her Majesty's Concessions in that Affair, for I'm confident you would not on any less encouragement engage me in such an Expence, when, besides, it seems, I run the risque of the same Censure, as you say others have undergone, for transporting Forreigners into these parts, but I hope the undertaking will not have the same consequences; however, 'tis in vain to look on the worst side of a business wherein one is so far engaged, and must go through.  'Tis therefore the more necessary to press an answer to the memorial presented to her Majesty, and in regard nothing must be undertaken here till that be obtained, without the hazard of raising so great a Clamour, especially when Mr. Nicholson arrives, Wherefore I request you will use your endeavours, and also quicken My Lord Orkney to dispatch her Majesty's answer as soon as possible, that we may have some prospect of being reimbursed the charge of maintaining so many people, which must remain idle in the meantime.”

[Commentary:  This letter shows that the decision to send the Germans over to Virginia was not made by Spotswood but by Blakiston, the agent for Virginia in London.  Spotswood had been writing so eagerly to Blakiston to get the question of the Crown's share of silver and gold mines specified, that Blakiston overestimated the potential of the mines and saw that the Germans might be the labor that Spotswood could be needing.  Additionally, Blakiston may have had information, or thought that he did, that a decision would be forthcoming from the crown.]
(03 Sep 04)



Nr. 1963:

From a report to the Lords Commissioners of Trade, 21 July 1714:

“. . .I have placed here [the frontier] a number of Protestant Germans, built them a Fort, and finished it with 2 pieces of Canon and some Ammunition, which will awe the Stragling partys of Northern Indians, and be a good Barrier for all that part of the Country.  These Germans were invited over, SOME YEARS AGO [emphasis added], by the Baron de Graffinreed who her Majesty's Letter to the Governor of Virginia to furnish them with land upon their arrival.  They 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 Oar, but that 'tis impossible for any man to know whether those Mines will turn to account without digging some depth into the Earth, a liberty I shall not give them until I receive an Answer to what I represented to your Lordships concerning your Ascertaining her Majesty's Share, which I hope by your Lordship's interposition be speedily signifyed.”

From a letter to Col. Blakiston of 1 Dec 1714:

“I desire you will be pleased to accept my [gratitude] together with my repeated acknowledgments for your endeavour in relation to the Affair of the Mines.  At the same time I hope you will please to renew your instances to His present Majesty, with whom, (as being a Prince of more knowledge in the nature of Mines than I believe any in Europe,) it may be much easier to prevail, and perhaps to obtain as moderate Terms as the Adventurers in his own Territorys of Germany had.  It may be also some Consideration with his Majesty that these Mines are to be wrought by persons of the same Nation and Religion, as I am sure it ought with us; and they will be a vast charge without any prospect of benefit till they can be set to Work.  I have obtained for them from the Assembly an Exemption of all Taxes for seven Years, which may be an encouragement to others of the same Country to come over, but I hope their passage will be at their own charge.”

[Commentary: Though Spotswood is a relatively good writer, his language certainly is strange at times and a little hard to understand.  This is not entirely his fault, as he writes in the style of the day.  Spelling was optional and punctuation is not clear.  Many of the sentences are too long and sometimes the same sentence speaks of entirely different subjects.]

Queen Anne has died at the time of the second letter above and George has been chosen to be the new King.  He was a first cousin of Anne, and, while he might not have been the closest relative of Queen Anne, he was a Protestant, which Parliament demanded.  His knowledge of English was minimal and during his reign the office of Prime Minister came into being.
(05 Sep 04)



Nr. 1964:

To the Lord Commissioners of Trade, 27 January 1715 (NS):

“The Act for exempting certain German Protestants from the payment of Levys, and is made in favour of several Familys of that Nation, who, upon the encouragement of the Baron de Graffinreed, came over hither in hopes to find out Mines, but the Baron’s misfortunes obliged him to leave the Country before their arrival.  They have been settled on the Frontiers of Rappahannock and subsisted since chiefly at my charge and the Contributions of some Gentlemen that have a prospect of being reimbursed by their Labour whenever his Majesty shall be pleased, by ascertaining his Share to give encouragement for working those Mines, and I hope the kind reception they have found here will invite more of the same Nation to transport themselves to this Colony, which wants only industrious people to make it a flourishing Country . . .”

To the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, 7 February 1716 (NS):

“As to the other Settlement, named Germanna [besides Christanna], there are about forty Germans, Men, Women, and Children, who, having quitted their native Country upon the invitation of the Herr Graffenreidt, and being greivously disappointed by his failure to preform his Engagements to them, and they arriving also here just at a time when the Tuscaruro Indians departed from the Treaty they had made with this Government to settle upon its Northern Frontiers, I did, both in Compassion to those poor Strangers, and in regard to the safety of the Country, place them together upon a piece of Land, several Miles without the Inhabitants, where I built them Habitations and subsisted them until they were able, by their own Labour, to provide for themselves, and I presume I may, without a Crime or Misdemeanour, endeavour to put them in an honest way of paying their Just Debts.”

[Later in the same letter there is also the following.]

"I have frequently mentioned how the Germans came to be settled on this Land, and ‘tis well known that when they arrived in this Country they were so far from being able to undergo the charge of taking up Land for themselves, that they had not wherewithal to subsist.  So that, besides the expence of one hundred and fifty pounds or their Transportation, they are still indebted for near two years’ Charge of subsisting them.  I cannot, therefore, imagine myself guilty of any oppression by placing them as Tenants upon my own Land, when I had pursued the common methods of the Country and taken the advantage of the Law here ­ instead of being Tenants, they might have been my Servants for five years.  Nor are the Germans insensible of the favour I have done them . . .  The terms upon which the Germans are settled will not appear very like oppression, seeing they have lived for two years upon this Land without paying any Rent at all, and that all which is demanded of them for the future is no more than twelve days’ work a year of each Household, which is not so much as the Rent of their Houses without any Land would have cost in any other part of the Country.”

(06 Sep 04)



Nr. 1965:

There were other documents which Alexander Spotswood wrote that could be considered "official" besides the ones in the book of his "official letters" which I have been using.  At least the person to whom the letter was addressed was still in an "official" position.  Here is an extract from one such letter.

March 28, 1724.  Germanna.  Alexander Spotswood to Col. Nathl. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H.M. Revenue:

“Your letter of 15th Feb., relating to the lands in the two new counties, is of such concern as ought to receive no slight answer from me, who have good reason to apprehend that aim has been taken at my possessions, by those who have first broached the notion that a restriction of lands, peculiar to these two counties, would be most for H.M. interest [etc].  [He claims to have abided by the laws.] My primary views in taking up land have not been to raise in this part of the world a mighty landed estate for my own proffit or pleasure; but that I have been first lead into the possession thereof, either by motives of charity, or by notions of securing the frontiers, or by a publick spirit in promoteing Naval Stores, or else I have been drawn in by some incidents or cogent circumstances to engage myself farther in those matters, than I ever intended at my first setting out [etc.] [More disclaimers] The first tract that I became possessed of was that of 3229 acres called the Germanna tract from my seating thereon several familes of German protestants, to the number of 40 odd men, women and children, who came over in 1714, bringing with them a Minister and Schoolmaster in order to be provided for and setled upon land in these parts by Barron Graffenriede pursuant to an agreement he had made with them in Germany.  But before their arrival the Baron being nonplussed in his affairs here, and forced to return to Switzerland, those poor people would have been sadly distressed, and must have been sold for servants, had I not taken care of them, and paid down 150 [pounds] sterling which remained due for their passage: and ye Council Journals of 28th April, 1714 will shew that to my charity for these strangers I joyned my care for the security of the country against Indian incursions, by choosing to seat them on land 12 miles beyond the then usual course of our rangers, and making them serve for a barrier to the most naked part of our frontiers; and so far from my thoughts was it, to take up the land for my own use, that during the six years they remained on the land I never offered to plant one foot of ground thereon.  My next tract of 3065 acres which being contiguous, I thought of fitting to take up, the better to accommodate those people when I found them grow fond of having their settlements enlarged, it having been concerted that I should convey to them by way of lease for lives, because as aliens their possessions would not descend to their children: but they being seduced away by greater expectations elsewhere, left the land upon my hands; and so I was first engaged to purchase servants and slaves for seating plantations in this Colony.  Soon afterwards I was drawn into another land concern.  In Feb. 1717 [1718 by the modern calendar] Sr. Richard Blackrnore writes to Mr. Secretary Cock to engage me to favour a design, which he, with several considerable men at home, had to set up iron works in Virginia, and desires people might be imploy'd 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.”

(06 Sep 04)



Nr. 1966:

Continuing extracts of the letter of Alexander Spotswood to Col. Nathaniel Harrison:

“But about two years afterwards I received a letter from Sr. Richard telling me 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 reimbursements, I chose to joyn 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 [1720 by the modern calendar] taken up by nine or ten Adventures.  About the same time I fell into another partnership of land [etc.].  Mr. Robert Beverly having discovered some excellent land among ye little mountains, and made a survey thereof before the Proclamation issued in 1710, concerning the granting land, but not daring to seat lands so remote from all Christian inhabitants, and exposed to Indians, found it in vain to take out a patent for the same under the new terms of cultivation; until an oppertunity hapned of freeing a considerable number of German families imported in 1717 [this could be 1717 or 1718 by the modern calendar], when he invited me to become a sharer in the land, and at the same time admitted in some other partners, to the end we might all joyn our abilities to make a strong settlement with a body of people at once.  Accordingly I came into the proposal, as judging it no ways unbecoming to me, in the station of Governor, to contribute towards the seating H.M. lands; and paying down the passage-money for 70 odd Germans, we settled them upon our tract as freemen (not servants) in 20 odd tenements, all close joyning to one another for their better defence, providing them there with a stock of cattle and all other things necessary for their support, without receiving (even to this day) one penny or penny's worth of rent from them.  The tract then consisted of about 13,000 acres, but afterwards understanding that many others of the Germans, who had been sold for servants in this Colony, designed when the time of their servitude was expired, to come and joyn their country-folks, we thought it needful to inlarge the tract; and I finding, by the care which the Lords Commissioners of Trade took to send over the methods for making hemp and tar, that the Ministry at home was for encouraging the Plantations to raise Naval Stores, judged it convenient to take in a large quantity of piney lands, which lay contiguous and fit for tar and masts; and so it was increased to a tract of 40,000 acres.  And considering the number of free people we have seated upon it (with whom we agreed to allot them out of it sufficient lands for their lives) and who are now about 100 Germans it will not appear such an exorbitant possession as some persons have been pleased to represent it.  And if I am now become possessed of both this and the Mine tract without any sharers, I have been brought into that circumstance more by necessity than choice; for it is well known here that two of my principal partners dying, the executors of the one, and the heir of the other positively refused to go on with the design; and that a third fell under such encumbrances as obliged him to give it over, and all the rest growing less sanguine upon the undertaking, than they were at first, I found myself reduced to the delemma of either seeing an hopeful project (which I firmly believed would prove a publick good) miscarry, or of taking the whole adventure upon myself, which last part I chose to act, and so reimbursed everybody the utmost penny that they had expended [etc.].  [Explains the source of the 28,000 acre tract.]  The main inducement to the inlarging my tracts by taking in the intervening lands, and adding some others contiguous to the Mine tract was to accommodate several families of people, whom we have imported, and must still import more, in order to carry on so grand an undertaking as that of raising all manner of Naval stores; and the agreements I make with the persons whom I imploy, will manifest that I have not taken up the land to sell it for their gain, but only expecting a moderate reimbursement of my charges, appropriate a great part thereof to the setling people near to the works they are skill'd in.”

(06 Sep 04)



Nr. 1967:

I will use material from Leonidas Dodson's book, "Alexander Spotswood, Governor of Colonial Virginia, 1710-1722", which was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1932.  Most people consider this the best biography of Spotswood.  Much of the material will be a direct quotation from the book but I will edit it for my purposes here.

The idea of a Company which would have a monopoly of Virginia's Indian trade did not entirely originate with Spotswood.  Though at times he denied being the author of the plan, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the scheme took place in the fertile brain of the governor.  The Indian trade was a profitable business, especially for the Byrd family who sent many traders out to the field.  Many of the traders were smaller, independent people who struggled to turn a profit.

By The Act for the Better Regulation of the Indian Trade, all commerce between the inhabitants of Virginia and the Indians, tributaries living north of the James River excepted, was confined to Fort Christanna, the southern fort on the frontier.  The Virginia Indian Company was to have a monopoly of this trade for twenty years, subject to final incorporation by the Crown.  In return, the Company was to undertake various public services, and, if it failed in these duties, it could be fined or even dissolved.  These duties were a contribution of 100 pounds toward building a munitions magazine at Williamsburg.  This was to be the source of the powder in the Indian trade, but the Company had to replace the powder they withdrew with fresh powder.  The Company had to erect a schoolhouse for the Indian children at Christanna.  At the end of two years, it was to assume the entire burden of maintaining the garrison and keeping up the fortifications there.  (Indians who had received an education either at William & Mary or at Christanna might be admitted to any place of trust or profit under the Company.)  The Governor was given wide discretion in establishing the new regime.

Even before the Indian Company was formed, Spotswood secured the services of a schoolmaster, Charles Griffin, to work among the Indians at Christanna.  His salary of 50 pounds a year was paid by the Governor from his own pocket.  For a period, there was a missionary working among the Indians.  Many settlers, attracted by the fertility of the soil, were located at Christanna, which was more than sixty miles from any Parish Church.  Soon, more than three hundred Indians were settled near Christanna, and Griffin's school had more than seventy students.

The act establishing the Virginia Indian Company was passed on 24 December 1714.  Even though the legislation had not been approved in London, the books were opened for subscriptions by the stockholders on that same day.  A person could buy one or two shares at fifty pounds per shares.  Spotswood bought two shares and his housekeeper bought shares also.  He was elected Governor of the Company.
(07 Sep 04)



Nr. 1968:

Opposition in Virginia and in England quickly developed against the Virginia Indian Company.  In Virginia, the opposition may have been mostly political; those who opposed the Company were against anything that had Spotswood’s name attached to it.  In England, the trader merchants were very upset by being cut out of the trade or by being forced to accept the prices of the Company.  The cry was raised that the business of the Company was monopolistic and against the instructions of the Crown.  Spotswood counteracted that anyone could buy a share in the Company and participate in the business, at least indirectly, if not directly.  Much conflicting evidence was submitted, which took a while to sort out.  The objections raised in London were sent to Virginia to obtain answers.  Finally William Byrd (in London then), Micajah Perry, and John Hyde threw their weight, which was considerable, in against the Company.  The Act which created the Virginia Indian Company was repealed 31 July 1717, two and a half years after it was established.  The news came at an unfortunate time in Virginia and the Council urged the Company to continue the work of maintaining the fortifications, the guard, the Indian “hostages”, and the trade at Christanna, at least on a temporary basis.

In London, Perry, Byrd, and Hyde testified that the Company had made great profits.  Apparently, Spotswood thought so also, for there is a letter of 4 July 1716 by Richard Beresford, which reads in part:

“The Governor is now building a Handsome house near Christ Anna where he Intends to live when he Shall be out of the Government.  It will Cost him about 5 or 600 £ sterlg and Divers other people Encouraged by the Governor’s Example are Settling Plantations that way.  I saw abundance of Iron, Steel, & other Utensils carrying thither, there is a Couple of fforges Sett up, and it is Expected it will be a place of Note.”

Spotswood had no hopes for Germanna (the silver mine was a bust), but he returned to it as a base for a new endeavor.  Part of his next strategy was to draw attention to that quarter of Virginia where he hoped to acquire land.  His upcoming trip over the Blue Ridge in the late summer, which was not the first to cross the Blue Ridge, was seen as a disguise for another purpose, namely a search for mines; however, his subsequent activities showed that his interest was primarily in land, as we have seen recently in his letter to Col. Harrison.

Richard Beresford was an agent for the South Carolina Colony, where there was a lot of agitation against the Virginia Indian Company.  His letter was the result of a specific search suggestion by Andreas Mielke.  Sandra Yelton found an abbreviated and printed version in Colonial Papers, America and West Indies, page 143.  The full document was obtained by Jim and Louise Hodge from the Virginia Colonial Records films.  The original Public Record Office copy is identified as C.O. 5/1265.  The complete Beresford letter was printed in Beyond Germanna on page 912.
(07 Sep 04)



Nr. 1969:

This note is a sketch of the endeavors that Alexander Spotswood undertook to ensure his own financial security.  Predominantly these were private motivations, not public motivations, though it is impossible to separate entirely his private motivations from the public motivations.  He was a master of using a public motive to secure a benefit for himself.  For example, he secured public funds to build Fort Germanna, which had the happy coincidence of being but a short distance from a piece of ground, of which he was a part owner, where it was thought there might be silver.

This silver mine endeavor was his first attempt to help himself financially.  It came to naught because no silver was to be found.  In his diary, John Fontaine, describes the efforts in 1716 to assay whether there was silver.  Probably by this time, there was some doubt, and it would seem that no major effort was made beyond then.

Before this time, the Virginia Indian Company had been formed and operations commenced almost immediately in early 1715 (NS).  This seems to have been going very well.  William Byrd, among others, says that the Company was very profitable.  According to Beresford's letter, Spotswood was building a good home at Christanna, where he planned on living if he lost his job as Governor.  He had plenty of reasons to suspect that he might lose his job, as the opposition in Virginia was strongly against him.  The rug was yanked from under him, though, by the suspension of the Act which had created the Trading Company.  By 1716 or 1717 he was looking for yet another alternative in which to invest.

He decided then that land was the medium he would use.  The major purpose of the trip over the mountains in 1716 was to explore the land to the west of Germanna, and to ascertain how safe it would be to establish settlers there.  He decided that the land was good but the need was for settlers and he wanted Germans.  He let the ship captains know this and one of them supplied him with seventy odd Germans to settle on the land west of Germanna.

At about the same time as these Germans arrived, a letter came from Sir Richard, and others in England, which requested Spotswood to search for iron ore.  Spotswood said he set his Germans to work to look for the iron ore about the start of 1718, though, probably, the Germans had found iron ore before this.  About two years later, Sir Richard and his associates backed out of this and Spotswood continued with others.  By this time, Spotswood says that he had spent more than sixty pounds sterling in the search.  This sum is too small to include a furnace, so that by the start of 1720 when the iron mine land was patented, the ore was located but no furnace had been built.

Spotswood regarded iron as a possible income source but it was still a second fiddle in his plans.  He was remembering that the Virginia Indian Company had been cancelled in London and he was afraid the iron venture might be also.  So he approached it slowly, with minimal expenditures.

I would appreciate hearing from all if they have comments to make on this.
(08 Sep 04)



Nr. 1970:

In the last note, I suggested that iron was the fourth and last element in Alexander Spotswood's attempt to secure his personal financial security.  I will attempt to approach this in another way by showing that Virginia iron was not as early as some writers have said.  I begin with a question, namely, “When was the first iron imported from a British North American colony into England?”

In 1717, one ton of bar iron was imported from Nevis and two tons of bar iron was imported from St. Christopher.  In 1718, one ton was imported from Barbados, one ton from Nevis, and four tons from either Maryland or Virginia (all of these quantities are bar iron).  These latter two Colonies were lumped together, so it is impossible to tell from which one it came.  In 1719, three tons of bar iron from St. Christopher, and one ton of bar iron from either Maryland or Virginia were imported.  In 1721, fifteen tons of bar iron were imported from Maryland or Virginia, while nine tons of bar from Jamaica and one ton from St. Christopher were imported.  [The references above to Nevis, St. Christopher, Barbados, and Jamaica refer to the British Colonies on those islands in the Caribbean.]

The difficult thing to say about all of this is how the bar iron came into existence.  Normally, bar iron is made from cast iron but there has been no mention of cast iron so far.  A discussion I had with a student of iron works indicates that the bar iron may have been made in a forge (as opposed to a furnace).  The forge cannot achieve sufficient high temperatures to melt the iron ore but it can get the iron hot enough that it can be worked.  At this stage though it contains many impurities, but with repeated hammering the iron can be worked into a solid mass while driving out or melting the impurities.  This is a very labor intensive effort.

Another possibility is that all of this early bar iron originated outside of the Colony from where it was imported.  Perhaps it came from Europe and was being sent to England.

The table of imports combines Maryland and Virginia exports into one number.  Since Maryland had a very early iron works (Principio was the name of the works, I believe), the credit might go to Maryland rather than Virginia.

Spotswood has been quoted for being aware that bar iron was a prohibited trade item, while he seemed to think that cast iron might be considered as a raw material.  If he was politically astute, it would appear that he would not have tempted the fates by sending bar iron to England.  The first clear evidence of iron from Spotswood's furnace was fifteen tons of cast iron in 1723.  This will be confirmed in another way.

The document from which the data here is taken comes from the House of Lords Archives.  It has been reprinted in Beyond Germanna on page 723.
(09 Sep 04)



Nr. 1971:

Though England had imported some iron from a North American colony in 1717, this came from Nevis and St. Christopher.  If these locations seem obscure, they were not at the time.  Great Britain did more trade with its Caribbean possessions than it did with the mainland Colonies.  The first iron imported from a continental Colony was four tons in 1718.  This came from either Maryland or Virginia.

A search on the web with the words, Principio, iron, furnace, gives a good story on the early iron making in Maryland.  Principio was a "bloomery" before 1718, where limited quantities of bar or wrought iron were made.  So Maryland claims to be the source of the first iron sent to England.  (There was an early bloomery in Massachusetts and I do not know if it exported any iron to England.)  Bloomeries were extremely limited in their output, about 100 pounds per day, and the Maryland people decided to convert their operation to a full-blown furnace for cast iron.  This process did not go smoothly and there was a delay of several years.  The one ton of bar in 1719 and the four tons of bar in 1720, from either Maryland or Virginia, were probably from the Maryland bloomery.  The fifteen tons of bar iron in 1721 is less certain.  William Byrd testified in 1720 before the Board of Trade that Spotswood could cast iron but he could not make bar iron.

William Byrd's testimony should be considered carefully.  He may have wanted to establish that Virginia could smelt and cast iron, as he had large holdings of iron ore.  This had the basis of the 1710 proposal to have the Colony of Virginia establish an iron furnace.  He may have been trying to put Spotswood on a hot seat.  The two men were not on the friendliest terms then.

The Table of Iron Imports to Great Britain does not clearly establish a time for the first production of cast iron in Virginia.  There are some events which help to establish a time table for such iron production in Virginia.

In 1720 (NS), the Iron Mine Tract was patented.  Its existence was well known to the public and there was no attempt to hide the physical tract, or the legal documents which transferred ownership from the King to Spotswood (indirectly through third parties).  In this year William Byrd was testifying that Spotswood could cast iron but whether this "could" had a sense of the future in it is unknown.  The suggestion of others is that Spotswood had commenced on the iron furnace, but that he had not been totally successful.
(10 Sep 04)



Nr. 1972:

The earliest written record pertaining to Spotswood's iron mine and furnace was written by the Rev. Hugh Jones who left Virginia in 1722 and wrote a history of Virginia in 1724.  He said:

“This iron has been proved to be good, and it is thought, will come at as cheap a rate as any imported from other places; so that 'tis to be hoped that Colonel Spotswood's works will in a small time prove very advantageous to Great Britain . . . ”

Rev. Jones was a friend of Spotswood and he was probably informed about the status of the iron works by Spotswood.

There are two themes running through this.  First, the furnace was producing iron.  Second, it was not going as well as desired.  There was still a "hope" that it would be successful.

In the year 1722, Spotswood completed the purchase of the Massaponox tract, where he constructed wharves for loading iron onto ships.  This suggests that he had very limited production up to this time if there were no good means to load the iron on ships for water transport.

In 1723, Lt. Gov. Drysdale, Spotswood's successor, wrote to the Board of Trade:

“I judge it part of my duty to inform your Lordships of an affair, that is at present the common Theme of peoples Discourses, and employs their thought.  Coll. Spotswood's iron works:  he had brought itt to that perfection that he now sells by public auction at Wm:burgh, backs and frames for Chymnies, Potts, doggs, frying, stewing and baking panns. . .”

Evidently the "iron works" was still something of a novelty.  Spotswood shipped some cast iron to England this year.

Probably, the construction of the furnace started about 1720, but problems were encountered as it was attempted to smelt iron.  Two problems that might have occurred are a lack of sufficient water power and a lack of charcoal.  We do know that eventually two streams or runs were eventually used to supply the water and it is likely that the operation started with only one flow of water.  Charcoal could be made in a sufficient quantity, but it takes a lot of labor.  Probably not enough labor was available.

We know from Mr. Chiswell's comments that Spotswood was not a good manager of men.  When he started, he may have thought the Second Colony people could make the charcoal.  Spotswood admitted though that the charcoal could not be transported any great distance and the Second Colony people were about 18 miles away from the furnace.  The iron works may have ground to a halt while sufficient labor was obtained to keep the operation running smoothly.  In an upcoming note we will look at the labor supply.
(10 Sep 04)



Nr. 1973:

We can learn more about iron casting in Virginia, especially by Alexander Spotswood, from information pertaining to the Bristol (England) merchants who were often ship owners and investors in enterprises.  I am indebted to Jim McNeil of Bristol who has studied the trade between Virginia and Bristol.  Much of the material came from the book by Walter E. Minchinton, entitled "The Virginia Letters of Isaac Hobhouse, Merchant of Bristol", which was published in 1958.  This was also the basis of an article in Beyond Germanna on page 875.

In the Eighteenth Century, a merchant, ship owner, and investor in Bristol, England, could be one and the same person.  A merchant might be a part owner of a ship and he might be an investor in enterprises in the Colonies besides being a partner in enterprises in Bristol.  A major trading location overseas of the Bristol entrepreneurs was Virginia.

Fifty of the seventy slave ships in the period 1718 to 1727 were Bristol ships, but only a fraction of these ships were active in any one year.  Most were involved in the "triangular trade" in which, on the first leg from Bristol, the ship carried trade goods to the west coast of Africa where the goods were exchanged for slaves.  On the second leg, the slaves were taken to the West Indies or to Virginia where they were sold.  Then the ships in Virginia were loaded with tobacco which they brought back to Bristol.  This triangular round trip took one year.

The 100-ton ship Greyhound, out of Bristol, armed with six guns and manned by a crew of twenty, carried 182 slaves to Virginia in 1718, 170 in 1719, 222 in 1721, and 166 in 1722.  When the slave ships arrived in Virginia, they called along one or two of the four major rivers.  The sale of the slaves in Virginia was carried out for a commission by agents who acted on behalf of the English ship owners.  One such agent was Augustine Moore, who was an agent on the Rappahannock River for several Bristol merchants.  Letters of the agents suggest that the slaves remained on the ship until they were sold.

Besides the triangular trade, there was a direct trade between Bristol and Virginia.  Bristol supplied household goods, tools, ironware, foodstuffs, and luxuries for Virginia citizens.  For example, the cargo carried to Virginia from Bristol by the ship Seahorse in January 1723 (NS) consisted of:

40 lbs haberdashery 34 gross tobacco pipes 9 leather chairs value £3.3s
3480 glass bottles 10 ½ doz felt hats 11 cwt 20 lbs wrought iron
22 pieces kersey 32 yards blanketing 2 cwt lead shot
120 ells English linen 500 goods of cotton 18 rugs
6 pairs of blankets 216 lbs shoes 2 feather beds value £3.2s
4 cwt cheese ½ cwt gunpowder 430 lbs worsted stuff
1 chest window glass 3 ton beer in bottles 2 cwt nails

(cwt = one hundred pounds)

Some of the goods, like the glass, beer, and tobacco pipes, were made in Bristol, and most of the rest was made in the hinterland of Bristol.  The cheese perhaps came from Ireland, the iron goods from the Severn Valley or the Midlands, the woolen goods from the Cotswolds or Devon.  Even in the direct trade between Bristol and Virginia, the ships made one round trip per year.
(12 Sep 04)



Nr. 1974:

(Continuing with the story of the Bristol merchants.)

The intention in England was that raw materials would flow from Virginia (or the Colonies in general) to England while finished goods would flow back to Virginia.  The Colonists were to be "drawers of water and hewers of wood".  Tobacco and lumber would come to England and a variety of goods as illustrated in the previous note would go back.

Of British-owned vessels trading to Virginia between 1733 and 1766, London was the home port of more than half, Bristol of about a quarter, and Glasgow of a tenth.  Early in the Eighteenth Century, Bristol was a leading importer of tobacco.  In the 1720s, Glasgow expanded its share of tobacco trade.  The Bristol merchants complained the Glasgow importers evaded the custom duties.  By 1742, the ports as ranked by their tobacco imports were Glasgow, Liverpool, Whitehaven, Bristol, and London in fifth place.  London still ranked number one for all trade.

As an interesting note on the tobacco trade, the Virginia shippers saw that if they stripped the center stem out of the tobacco leaf, they could pack more tobacco in a hogshead.  At the same time, they would not have to pay freight and custom duties on the stems which were not used in the final products.  The British government observed then that their import duties were falling because the weight of the imported tobacco was reduced.  It outlawed the practice of stripping.

Care had to be taken in the shipping of tobacco to prevent its exposure to sea water, or dampness in general.  It was not desirable to put the tobacco in the lowest parts of ships where water sometimes collected.  Sometime rocks were used as ballast.  During the 1720's, iron started to flow from Virginia to England.  Iron was an almost ideal ballasting material because of its density, weight, and immunity to dampness, besides being freight for which a charge could be made.  For example, the ship Greyhound in 1723 carried 10 tons of iron consigned by Alexander Spotswood to Charles Harford, a member of a prominent Bristol-based Quaker iron-merchant family.  (It is of interest to note that the ship carried also 400 pounds of ivory from Africa and 72 tons of tobacco.) This 10 tons of iron in 1723 was a part of the early pig iron production of Virginia.

The first man to build an operating iron furnace in Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, did not have sufficient money to finance it.  He needed partners to help with the financing.  The merchant adventurers of Bristol appear to be a part of this.  In Virginia, a major element of the cost of an "iron works" was the labor supplied by slaves who were needed to grow the food to support all of the workers, to make the charcoal for the furnace, to obtain the iron ore from the mine, and to cart the materials.  That many slaves were involved is evident from Spotswood's statement that he had lost 80 slaves while he was in England.  With this number of slaves, it would have been expected that when Spotswood paid for the Spotsylvania tract of land he would have used the head rights of the slaves.  Instead, he paid with the head rights of 48 Germans and cash.  One possible answer to this is that the slaves were not owned by him but instead they were owned by the Bristol merchants as their share of the partnership.
(12 Sep 04)



Nr. 1975:

It is known that Spotswood was involved with the Bristol merchants.  On 4 June 1723, Augustine Moore wrote to the owners of the Greyhound that a great number of slaves were expected from them (Isaac Hobhouse and his partners, merchants of Bristol) for Col. Spotswood.  Two days later, Moore wrote that Spotswood had sent his sloop to Moore's landing with about 20 tons of iron to freight to Bristol.  Apparently, the Captain of the Greyhound took about 10 tons of this.  Moore implies that Spotswood had also shipped some iron to "the Londoners" this same year.  It would have been advantageous for the Bristol adventurers to have participated with Spotswood in the iron furnace.  It was an outlet for the slaves they wished to sell, and supplied them, on the return trip, with iron for ballast, a chargeable freight, and raw material for their Bristol operations.

The Bristol adventurers were willing to take risks.  They are on record with a declared participation in one iron furnace in Virginia.  On 27 May 1721, John King, Jeremy Innys, John Lewis, Samuel Jacob, Lionel Lyde, Walter King, John Templeman, and Samuel Dyke, most of whom are known to have lived in Bristol, gave a power of attorney to three Virginians, John Tayloe, John Lomas, and Philip Elway, to manage an ironworks.  As a continuation of this in the next year, a property on the north side of the Rappahannock River was taken over.  The Company purchased indentured servants and began mining and continued operations for about eight years.  In February 1722 (NS), some of these servants were in the King George County Court on charges of unlawful assembly and other crimes.

Some of the investors in the Principio works in Maryland were from Bristol but this also included people not from Bristol.  Joshua Gee was a partner in this business in 1728 and the balance of his account was £329.  This iron was sent to London, Liverpool, and to Bristol.

The Lionel Lyde mentioned above as a partner in an ironworks was very active.  He was from Bristol and traded with Virginia in both slaves and tobacco.  He was also involved in the transport of felons to Maryland and Virginia.  Some of the time he was a partner with Isaac Hobhouse in ship voyages.  He had an interest in a glasshouse.  He served as Sheriff, Mayor, and Alderman of the City of Bristol.

With the support of the merchants in England, pig iron (cast iron) came to be viewed as a material which could be imported to England.  A few decades later, the Bristol iron merchants regretted this decision because the colonies had gone on to make finished iron products.  There was an attempt to prohibit rolling and slitting mills in the Colonies on the grounds that this was a finishing operation; however, the business was too well entrenched to be suppressed.
(12 Sep 04)


(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 SEVENTY-NINTH set of Notes, Nr. 1951 through Nr. 1975.)

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 700 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.  If you are interested in subscribing to this List,

(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 1951 through 1975.

Go To
Top.

  [Back to John's Notes Index Page]

  [Germanna Colonies Home Page]

  [GERMANNA Home Page]