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

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This Page Contains Notes 1976 through 2000.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 80

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Nr. 1976:

According to the Customs House Report prepared for the House of Lords (quoted here recently), the first cast iron from Virginia and Maryland was fifteen tons in 1723.  We saw in the last Note that this must have come from Alexander Spotswood's furnace, for Augustine Moore wrote that Spotswood had sent his sloop with about twenty tons of iron to Moore's landing.  Ten of these tons went to Bristol and some went "to the Londoners".

The first shipment of cast iron (pig iron) to England was made in 1723 by Spotswood.  According to Drysdale, the Lt. Governor in 1722, the iron works was a novelty, but it did seem to be producing cast iron products for consumption in Virginia.  This was also the last year that Rev. Hugh Jones was in Virginia, and he expressed the thought that Spotswood was having some difficulties, but that he could expect to overcome these problems.  There are simple reasons that there may have been problems.  Perhaps the water supply was limited and iron could only be produced for a few months.  Perhaps there was insufficient labor to make charcoal, mine the ore, and grow the food.  We do know that Augustine Moore says that the Bristol merchants were sending slaves to Spotswood in 1723.

The Tubal furnace (Spotswood's first) was expected, when it was in full operation, to make hundreds of tons of iron each year.  Therefore, the 15 tons shipped to England in 1723 could hardly have represented a furnace that was in full operation, even though some of the production was for local consumption in Virginia.  Again this brings us back to Rev. Jones' comments which suggest there were difficulties in 1722.

In 1724, 202 tons of cast iron were shipped from Virginia and Maryland.  Though other furnaces were appearing, this probably represents mostly Virginia production, especially by Spotswood.  If so, this shows that the 1723 shipment had been limited by the production capabilities, which were being ironed out in 1723 and 1724.

Spotswood had been stalling on returning to England, where his presence had been requested to clear up the titles of the tracts of land which he was trying to obtain.  The fact that he did not leave until 1724 probably shows that he was trying to get the furnace into a good operating condition before he left.

So, when did Spotswood become a producer of cast iron?  It depends on what you mean by "producer".  If you mean that the furnace was a regular and steady producer of iron, the answer could be 1723 or 1724.  If you mean the first pour of molten iron, even if the furnace had to be shut down afterwards, the date might be 1721 or 1722.  In no way, was he a producer of iron before 1720.
(12 Sep 04)

Nr. 1977:

[After Spotswood returned to England late in 1724, he pursued his claim to land in Virginia with various agencies.  In particular, he petitioned King George II.  The petition is undated but from adjacent documents it would appear to be in 1726.  This petition also shows that the official papers or letters of Alexander Spotswood as published in the book "Spotswood Letters" are incomplete.]

The King's Most Excellent Majesty
In Council
The Case & Petition of Colo. Alex. Spotswood
late Lt. Governor of Virginia
Humbly Sheweth,
That your Petitioner, during his Administration of the said Government, being led by a publick Spirit & a dutiful Regard to your Majesty's Pleasure, did upon receiving Directions, from the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations, for making Hemp & Tar; & also upon seeing your Majesty's Speech to the Parliament, for raising Naval Stores in the Plantations, judge it incumbent on him to promote the same within his Province.  That thereupon He incouraged the forming of Companies, or Partnerships, for carrying on such undertakings, & deeply imbarked himself with some Adventurers; who entered so far into the Project, as to be at several Thousand pounds Charge in the Clearing & Seating large tracts of the Crown's Desart-Lands, & in importing Materials & proper Workmen, for raising all manner of Naval Stores.  That this grand undertaking proving to be attended with greater Difficulties, than his Partners had Courage or Ability longer to struggle with, your Petitioner, while he was Governor ventured to take the hole Concern upon himself, rather than such a laudable attempt should be given over, to the certain discouragement of other Adventurers; & so having reimbursed his Partners the utmost Penny of their Expences, He after an excessive deal of Pains, Risque, & Charge, brought the Undertaking such a length, as to ship home the first Pig-Iron, & the first Hemp of Virginia growth, that ever were known to be imported into Great Britain: Besides proving by Experience that, in these american Parts, neither the Tar can be made according to the directions of the act of Parliament, without the peculiar Skill of Finland Tar-Burners, nor the Hemp ever be raised to any perfection from the English, or the East Country Seed.  That not only such Discoveries, made at your Petitioner's sole Cost, may be deemed a Publick Benefit, but also the early Fruits of his Labours are found to be valuable to the Nation: For his new Iron has continually grown in demand with all those Iron-Masters in England, who have hitherto made tryal thereof; & his new Hemp is proved to be considerably superiour to the best Russia, & equal in Strength with the best Riga Hemp: As may appear by the Report from the Officers of Woolwich yard to the Commissioners of your Majesty's Navy.  But your Petitioner is now laid under the necessity of Representing that, according to the Plan laid by the aforesaid Partners, for carrying on so extensive a Design, there had been Taken up, Surveyed, & Patented considerable Tracts of some remote & ungranted Lands, to which no other subject, than your Petitioner, has at this time any pretence of Right; Yet for certain Formalities omitted in passing the Patents, He finds his Title to part of those Lands may hereafter be Controverted, without your Majesty's special Grace in now confirming them all to him.

[to be continued]
(13 Sep 04)

Nr. 1978:

[continuing with the petition of Alexander Spotswood to King George (I ) in 1726]

And to the end your Petitioner may appear a worthy object of your Royal Justice & Favour on this occasion, He humbly begs leave to observe; That he has already very dearly purchased those lands from his Partners, & fully complyed with the Laws of the Colony in making sufficient Improvements thereon That they being such Lands which for their Remoteness & dangerous Situation, nobody had before dared to venture upon, your Petitioner has been obliged to Seat them with a formidable Strength, & so run a mighty Risque, as well as been at an extraordinary Charge, in maintaining the Possession of them, until he happily obtained of the Five Nations of Indians to relinquish their Pretensions thereto: And that to compass this Point, he Travelled twelve hundred Miles, & not only underwent the Fatique of a Three Months Expedition, but also bore Six hundred Pounds to the Expence thereof, which he has never yet been reimbursed, or in any wise considered for.  That He moreover remains to this day in disburse of the like sum of Expences, for his performing the Conditions of certain Treaties, made in the year 1713 with Three Nations of Indians, which being laid before Her late Majesty, were intirely approved of, & assurances then given that the Charge thereof should be defrayed by the Crown.  And lastly that your Petitioner not only, in his Treaty with the said Five Nations, obtained of them to give up to your Majesty their Pretensions to all the Lands, which they claimed between Potowmack & James Rivers; but also, by new Regulations of this own forming while he was Governor, so improved your Majesty's Revenue of Quit Rents in Virginia, that from an annual Income of about One Thousand Pounds, they have been augmented to Three Thousand Pounds the annum.  Wherefore your Petitioner humbly Prays that in Consideration of his aforementioned just Claims of Twelve Hundred Pounds; Of his obtaining a quiet Cession of about Three Millions of acres of Land to the Crown; Of his Improving your Majesty's Revenue of Quit Rents, under his Administration, about Two Thousand pounds the Annum; of his venturing so heartily to promote what had been Recommended from the Throne; And of his still endeavouring at his own Cost to render the Act of Parliament effectual, by procuring Tar Burner from Finland: Your Majesty would be Graciously Pleased to Confm to our Petitioner the Eighty Six Thousand acres of Land, which He is now in possession of there, with an intire Remission of the Rights, that are demandable for the same, & under such an easy Quit rent, or acknowledgement, as there are numerous Instances of much larger tracts having been Granted in America by your Royal Predecessors, upon less Motives or Considerations.
And Your Petitioner A. in Duty Bound Shall ever Pray & etc.
A. Spotswood

[Remember these are the lands where our ancestors were settled!]
(14 Sep 04)

Nr. 1979:

I have been reading "Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover".  The particular portion that I have covers 6 Feb 1709(NS) to 29 September 1712 and this takes 591 pages.  As published by the Virginia Historical Society, there are some additions by way of explanatory footnotes, but these take only a small percentage of the space.  The Diary is said to be "secret" because Byrd wrote it in a cryptic shorthand.

A typical entry (for 7 Aug 1710) starts:

“I rose at 6 o'clock and read three chapters in Hebrew and some Greek in Thucydides.  I said my prayers and ate boiled milk for breakfast.  [Byrd did not believe in eating two different dishes at any one meal].  I danced my dance.  My sloop came from Williamsburg and without staying proceeded to Appomattox.  The child slept but indifferently last night.  However, she was something better.  I wrote a letter to England and then read some French.  I ate boiled pork for dinner.  In the afternoon I settled my library and then read more French.  About 6 o'clock there was very loud thunder but no rain here.  However it hindered us [probably refers to his wife] from taking our evening walk.  We drank some syllabub.  [Syllabub is either a drink made of sweetened milk or cream curdled with wine or spirits, or a spiced hot milk with rum or wine.  The historic recipe holds that Syllabub was made with a mixture of whipped cream, whipped egg whites, white wine, sugar, lemon juice and zest of lemon.]  I said a short prayer and had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thank God Almighty.”

Though the remarks are often very cryptic, there is value in them.  I quoted in a previous Note Byrd's comments about his proposal to Spotswood for an iron works.  This certainly helps to establish the true nature of the iron works that Spotswood proposed in October of 1710.  One value of Byrd's comments is that he always has a date with the remark.

As an example, we can use Byrd to help date a few events in Graffenried experiences.

8 Oct 1711.  “ . . . After dinner we sat in council concerning the Indian and some of the Tributaries came before us who promised to be very faithful to us.  It was agreed to send Peter Poythress [Indian trader and interpreter] to the Tuscaroras to treat them and to demand the Baron Graffenriedt who was prisoner among the Indians . . .”

19 Oct 1711. “ . . . About 3 o'clock the Tuscarora Indians came with their guard and Mr. Poythress with them.  He told the governor that the Baron was alive and would be released but that Mr. Lawson was killed because he had been so foolish as to threaten the Indian that had taken him. . .”

22 Nov 1711. “ . . . He [Spotswood] had a letter from the Baron by which he had a relation of his being taken with Mr. Lawson by the Indians and of Mr. Lawson's murder . . .”

15 Apr 1712. “ . . . After dinner I took a walk to see the Governor's house where we found the Governor, who took us home to drink some French claret where I saw the Baron, who seems to be a good man.”

(15 Sep 04)

Nr. 1980:

One of the books in which I have been doing some reading is Leonidas Dodson's biography of Alexander Spotswood which was published in 1932.  I am not going into detail at this time.  Instead I am going to give the chapter titles with perhaps some commentary.

Chapter I is the genealogy of Alexander Spotswood (5 pages).

Chapter II is "The Colonial Governor" of 8 pages.  These are rather short and serve as introduction.

Chapter III is "Carolina".  North and South Carolina are grouped together, and the two of them were a significant source of trouble for Spotswood.  He received no thanks for his troubles.  In part, this was due to their being no government in North Carolina to thank him.

Chapter IV is "The Commerce of Virginia" and we are well aware that the major export from Virginia was tobacco.  Furs and lumber were also exported and some naval stores.  The price of tobacco varied with the weather, production quantities, and whether there was a war going on.  Spotswood attempted measures to insure the quality of tobacco, which prevented the dregs from being on the market.  Occasionally, production limitations were considered and tried.  Both measures were opposed by people in Virginia and in England.

Chapter V is "Indian Relations".  This took quite a bit of time.  Of all of the activities in which Spotswood engaged, I admire him the most for his outlook and practices toward the Indians.  He was fair and firm and the Indians recognized him for being so.

Chapter VI is "The People Oppose".  The people, as represented by the House of Burgesses, which was elected by the propertied free citizens, often opposed Spotswood.  He found it difficult to get measures passed.  The House even sent a bill of complaint to London complaining of his behavior and proposals.

Chapter VII is "The Land System".

Chapter VIII is "Governor and Council", and recounts the opposition by many of the Council members.  Often they were unanimous, which was not difficult, since the majority were related.

Chapter IX is "The Church", and tells of Spotswood's efforts to control and organize the clergy in Virginia.  One member of the Council, Mr. Blair, felt that Spotswood was impinging upon his territory, since he, Blair, had been appointed Commissary by the Bishop of London, who oversaw Virginia's churches.  [Since Queen Anne and King George were the head of the Church in England, and since Spotswood was their representative, it is easy to see how serious conflicts developed.]

The next four chapters are, "Defense on Land and Sea", "The West", "Reconciliation and Devolution", and "The Planter".

There was a great deal to keep Spotswood busy, and he did not shy away from what he considered his duties.
(16 Sep 04)

Nr. 1981:

There were three William Byrds.  The one that we know the best is William II.  His father was the founder of the family fortune in Virginia, and he sent William II to England for schooling at an early age and training.  William II returned to Virginia after his father died, where he became very active in politics and extended the family's fortunes.  William III was not as much a credit to the family as father and grandfather.  The letters of the three Williams have been collected into a two-volume book.  These came from the Byrds' own letter books, and from the collections of the people to whom they wrote.  I thought we might take a look at a few of the letters of William II.

Writing to John Bartram, a Philadelphia-based botanist, on the 30th of November in 1738:

“. . . I expect everyday the arrival of a little ship with Switzers and Germans to settle upon part of my land at Roanoke.  But they have been now 13 weeks at sea, so that I am under great apprehensions for them.  They have purchased 33000 acres only in one body so that there are 72000 still remaining, to which your friend Gaspar Wister [Pennsylvania glassmaker] is very welcome, if he or any of his countrymen are so inclined.  I am greatly obliged to you for your good character, and by the grace of God shall endeavour never to forfeit it upon any temptation of advantage.  The land is really very good for so large a quantity, the clymate moderate and wholesome, the river navigable to the great falls, and the road to James River very dry and level.  Besides I have now a bill depending before our Assembly, to make all foreigners that shall seat upon our frontiers, free from taxes for seaven years, which I have reason to believe will pass.”

“If these, and many other advantages which I have not room [to] mention will tempt any of your Germans to remove hither I shall be very glad, upon the easy terms mentioned in my paper.  And if you will be so good as employ your interest and kind offices with them for that purpose, it will be an obligation ever to be acknowledged by him who wishes every thing that is good to you and your household, and is without guile / Sir your hearty friend and / humble servant / W. Byrd”

Among the Germans on board this "little ship" were fifty emigrants from Freudenberg in Nassau-Siegen.  The ship was the Oliver and her story was told by Klaus Wust in Beyond Germanna.

The Oliver was "really" a little ship, intended primarily for coastal trading.  She was leased by a Swiss organization to transport Swiss citizens to Virginia, to settle on land which Byrd was attempting to populate.  At Rotterdam, it was decided to take on an additional fifty people, Germans, perhaps because of the similar destination, Virginia.  This was a mistake, as the ship was not capable of transporting about 300 people across the Atlantic Ocean.
(17 Sep 04)

Nr. 1982:

William Byrd II sent another letter to John Bartram on 23 March 1739(NS), which is a continuation of the events in the previous note:

“I sent an answer to your kind letter by the post several months ago, and congratulated your safe return to your family.  This kisses you hand by my friend Dr. Tscheffely, a Swiss gentleman, who is bound to Philadelphia to try if he can prevail with any of his country men to come and settle upon my land at Roanoke.  And if you will be so kind as to lend a helping hand towards it, I shall ever acknowledge the obligation.  The land is exceedingly good, with a fine river runing through the whole length of it more than a quarter of a mile wide, full of wild fowl in winter, and alive with fish all the year.  Very many rivulets and creeks run into it on both sides, which help to fertilize the soil, and will afford all manner of convenience for mills of every kind.  The situation is high and the air very wholsome, free from those aguish vapours, which infect the lower parts of the country.  And as the land lyes 40 miles on this side the mountains, the Indians have no manner of claim or pretence to it, by the last peace we made with them.  The price I sell this land for, you know is very easy, being no more than 3 pounds of our currency for every hundred acres.  The quitrent is but 2 shillings a year, and since I saw you I have prevaild with our Assembly, to make all forreign Protestants free from taxes for ten years, that shall come and inhabit that part of the country.  These I think are such temptations and encouragements as are not to be met with elswhere.  Or will the distance exceed seaventy miles to a ship landing, and the road will be very good and very level all the way, when we have cleard the ridge that we intend.  So that there will be little difficulty in bringing the fruits of their industry to market.  We have had the misfortune lately to lose a ship, either by the villany or stupidity of the master, which had 250 Switzers and Germans on bord with effects to a considerable value.  There were to seat on part of my land under the conduct of several gentlemen of fortune, who came along with them.  But these gentlemen perisht, and most of the people, and very little of their effects are saved.  Some few of these unhappy wretches are gone upon my land to make a begining, and will soon be followed by more. . .”

The ship that Byrd refers to is the Oliver which sank off the coast of Virginia.  From the effects of the very long voyage, plus the sinking of the ship Oliver, about two of every three people who had started on the ship died.  Of those who embarked on the Oliver at Rotterdam, there were fifty people from Freudenberg.  Whether these Germans had signed on with the Oliver because it was the only ship going to Virginia, or whether these Germans had been enticed by Byrd's agents in believing that a good opportunity existed on Byrd's land is unknown.  Though I am inclined to believe the former was the case, it is true that the German survivors left very few records in the following five to ten years.  Perhaps some of them did settle on Byrd's land.
(18 Sep 04)

Nr. 1983:

When the ship (the Oliver) bringing a number of Swiss to settle on William Byrd's land sank with a great loss of life (in the crossing of the Atlantic many other lives were lost), Byrd was left with unoccupied land, which by the terms of his grant from the Council was to be populated with a certain number of people.  He therefore attempted to recruit people in the Colonies to take up this land.  One instance of this was shown in the letters to Bertram.  There is another recorded instance of his recruiting which is a bit strange and raises some questions.

About the first of April in 1740, he wrote to Henrick Haeger.  Rev. Haeger was already deceased, but apparently in the mind of Byrd, Haeger was the spokesman for the Germans at Germantown.  This suggests that there may have been earlier correspondence on the same or other subjects.  Since some of the survivors of the Oliver "crossing" were Germans whose destination was probably Germantown, inquiries may have been made by someone at Germantown about the availability of land on Byrd's tract.  Byrd may have made a reply to Haeger thinking that he was the spokesman for the group.  The letter to Henrick Haeger reads:

“[some missing words] and there is no tyranny no oppression, neither is there any country where the poor have less dependence on the rich than here.  Besides all this the people are hospitable to strangers, nor is there that [envy] or aversion to them that I have observed in other places.  This Sir [is] the fair and honest truth, without any design to inveigle or deceive any people.  To what purpose shoud I endeavour to impose upon them, because they will certainly come and view the land before they purchase it, and will make all the other necessary enquirys.  If any person will take the trouble to come with powers to treat about it, I will take [. . . ] to have the land shewd to them from one end to the other, that so they may judge for themselves, and they shall find nothing but fair and upright dealing besides a great deal of kindness from Sir your most &c.”

“There will be one advantage in purchasing so large a quantity of land because then country folks and friends may live together without the inconvenience of bad neighbours.”

"Mr. Henrick Haeger"

[There is the possibility that Mr. Henrick Haeger is not the Rev. Haeger that we know.  But because there were Germans on the Oliver who were associated with the Germantown folks, I suspect this is a continuation of an effort to place them on Byrd's land.  Whether this was initiated by the Germans or by Byrd is not known, but there is a hint that it may have been started by the Germans at Germantown, perhaps even before the Oliver had set sail in 1738.  Byrd had been working on obtaining and settling the property for a few years before 1738.]
(19 Sep 04)

Nr. 1984:

Later in the year, on 20 Dec 1740, after the letter to Henrick Haeger, William Byrd (II) wrote a letter to Dr. Zwiffler, which sheds more light on the recruitment of Germans to settle on Byrd’s land:

“Sir, Several months ago I wrote to Mr. Henrick Haeger concerning the land I have to dispose of upon Roanoke River.  I coud dispose of it to Irish men, but I chuse rather to have a colony of Germans to settle that frontier.  I have a fine tract on the south branch of Roanoke River, which I discoverd when I ran the line between this colony, and North Carolina, and have since purchast it of His Majesty.  It contains in all 105000 [one hundred and five thousand] acres besides the river, which runs through the length of it, and includes a large quantity of good land with abundance of rivulets and creeks that empty themselves into Roanoke on both sides, so that no land can be better watered.  It lyes in a mild and temperate clymate, about 36 ½ [degrees] where the winters are moderate and short, so that there will not be much trouble to maintain the cattle.  The woods are full of buffalo’s, deer, and wild turkeys, and the rivers abound with fish and wild fowl.  It lyes 40 miles below the mountains, and a very levil road from thence to water carrage.  It is within the government of Virginia, under the king where liberty and property is enjoyd in perfection, and the impartial administration of justice hinders the poor from every kind of oppression from the rich and the great.  There is not the least danger from Indians or any other enimy, and we all know of war, is by hearsay.  The quit rents we pay to the king are no more than two shillings for every hundred acres, and our Assembly hath made all forreign Protestants that will come and inhabit this land, free from all other taxes for the space of ten years, reckoning from the year 1738.  And last winter the Parliament of England past an act to naturalize all strangers that shall live seven years in any of the British plantations, so that expence will be saved.  The happiness of this government appears in nothing more evident, than in its having gold and silver enough to supply it occasions, without the vexation of paper mony.  The people too are hospitable to strangers, nor is there that envy and aversion to them that I have observed in other places.  Besides all these recommendations of my land, there is the cheapness of it, which makes it convenient to poor people.  If any person or number of persons will purchase 20000 acres in one tract, they shall have it for three pounds the hundred, of this currancy.  Whosoever will purchase under that quantity, and above 10000 acres shall have it for four pounds a hundred of the same mony.  But if they will buy under that quantity and buy only smaller tracts they must pay five pounds the hundred of our mony, because of the trouble there will be in laying off such small quantitys.  There will be no charge about deeds of conveyance, because I have caused a great number to be printed, unless they will have them recorded, and then there must a small fee to the clark.”

[There is more to the letter.  I have no idea who Dr. Zwiffler is.]
(19 Sep 04)

Nr. 1985:

William Byrd II sent a letter to Micajah Perry [Jr., grandson of the Micajah Perry, Sr., who died in 1721], a trader/merchant/investor in London with whom Byrd worked.  The letter was dated about 3 July 1728 and the first part is missing:

“[. . . .] over a fair sample by the next ships, and shall be sorry if it [meet] not as good a character as that which Col. Spotswood sent formerly.  [The reference is probably to naval stores, particularly hemp].”

“ . . . Many here are runing mine-mad, which proceeds from a passion to grow rich very suddenly, as the South Sea phrenzy did with you, and tis well if the consequence don't prove the same.  Our govern[or] is engaged with 4 other gentlemen in an iron-work but the distance they will have to transport their iron to water-carriage will eat out all their profit.  Col. Spotswoods work is at a stand, all his cattel being dead, and his damm carryed away.  I am sorry for his ill-success, but believe it will not mend ti[ll] he comes over himself to look after it.  His mathematical relation I believe is taken up too much with the stars, to mind the business of this dirty [globe].”

“As for me, I intend to keep above ground as long as I can, and confine all my industry to the surface; and if hemp succeed, as I expect, I shall not envy the proprietors of the gold mines late discovered beyond the River Gerando [Shenandoah].”

Hugh Drysdale, governor after Spotswood, died 22 July 1726.  William Gooch was not appointed governor until 13 October 1727.  The reference by Byrd to "governor" in 1728 might well refer to Gooch.  I am not sure where these iron works were.  After the initial shipment of iron to England in 1723 by Spotswood, the trend of shipments to England was, with an exception of one year, increasing.  Apparently, iron furnaces in Maryland and in Virginia, other than Spotswood's furnace, were responsible as Spotswood's furnace output ground to a halt while he was in England.

The "mathematical relation" referred to above was a cousin of Spotswood, who was a mathematics professor at William & Mary College.  His personal interest seems to have been in astronomy, and he neglected to pay the proper attention to Spotswood's furnace with its attendant farms, slaves, water ways, dams, etc.  Byrd says that all the cattle died and Spotswood later said that he lost 80(?) slaves.

Dodson, the prominent Twentieth Century biographer of Spotswood said that the iron works of Spotswood probably paid a better return to the children and grandchildren of Spotswood than to Spotswood himself.
(20 Sep 04)

Nr. 1986:

I have been reading some in Philip Alexander Bruce's study, "Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century", which would be from the founding of Virginia to 1700, or slightly later.  Mr. Bruce claimed to base his study of more than 640 pages (published in 1896) on original documents.  The footnotes seem to justify this claim.  I will not repeat these footnotes while I give several excerpts on the history of iron in Seventeenth Century Virginia.

“One of the strongest motives that led to the colonization of Virginia by the English was the expectation that it would supply the mother country with a vast quantity of raw [cast] iron.  The demand for manufactured iron was rapidly increasing in England, and yet the ability of the English furnaces to meet this demand was declining on account of the diminishing quantity of fuel furnished by the local forests.  The English people could look forward to the day when they might be forced to rely on foreign nations for their supply of a material which was coming rapidly into greater use each year.  In 1621, the price of a ton of iron was about ten or twelve Pounds Sterling.  Virginia was expected not only to relieve England of its dangerous and uncertain dependence upon foreign nations for its supply of raw iron, but also to furnish that commodity at a cheap rate, owing to the abundance of wood that could be used as fuel in the manufacture.  These anticipations were justified y the numerous indications of the presence of iron ore observed by the earliest settlers.  Capt. John Smith, whose mind was always directed to the practical and sober aspects of his surroundings, was among the first to call attention to the adaptability of the new country to iron manufacture as one of the most promising of its sources of wealth, and in order to show the substantial ground on which his expectations were based, he forwarded to England during his presidency two barrels of stones rich in tracings of iron ore.  In 1609, Captain Newport transported a large quantity of the same kind of ore to the mother country on his return in the course of that year.  So excellent was the metal extracted from it, amounting to sixteen or seventeen tons, that it was purchased by the East India Company, according to whose statement it proved more satisfactory than any iron, procured from other countries, which they had as yet used.”

"The earliest attempt to manufacture iron in Virginia, if reliance can be placed on the testimony of Don Maguel, a Spanish witness, was made previous to 1610.  In the course of the first three years following the foundation of the settlement at Jamestown, machinery had been erected by the English settlers to work the iron mines."

(21 Sep 04)

Nr. 1987:

[Continuing with Bruce's "Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century".]

“The adventurers of Southampton Hundred were perhaps the first who undertook to manufacture iron in the Colony in a systematic way.  The circumstances in which this attempt had its origin were peculiar.  In 1619, some unknown person contributed five hundred and fifty pounds sterling for the conversion of Indian children living in the Colony, and this large sum was deposited in the hands of the Company to be used for the prescribed purpose in the manner which seemed to be most advisable.  That body after some deliberation decided to place the money with the adventurers of Southampton and Martin's Hundreds, in order that the wishes of the anonymous benefactor might be carried out, relieving itself thus of the burden of a very troublesome and perplexing trust.  The adventurers of Martin's Hundred, however, were too shrewd to undertake the difficult and thankless task; they declined to accept their share of the benefaction, on the ostensible ground that their property in Virginia was in a state of so much confusion as to render it impossible for them to expend the fund in the manner desired.  The adventurers of Southampton Hundred were as anxious as the Company to evade the trust, but being destitute of a plausible excuse such as that of the adventurers of Martin's Hundred, they expressed their willingness to add one hundred pounds to the gift on condition of not being required to assume the proposed responsibility.  Their offer was not accepted, although to that extent the conversion of Indian children would have been facilitated.  At a meeting held shortly afterwards, the adventurers of Southampton Hundred determined to confirm to the wishes of the Company, but in a manner somewhat different from what was anticipated by the unknown Indian benefactor.  Instead of deciding to use the money directly for the benefit of Indian children, they concluded to increase the amount by adding to it a large sum out of their own purse, and to employ the whole, in establishing iron works in Virginia, the profits of which, ratably to the benefaction, were to be expended in instructing thirty Indian children in the doctrines of the Christian Church.  Two purposes would be thus accomplished, one of which would promote the economic welfare of the colonists, and the other elevate the moral condition of the heathen.  A letter was addressed to Yeardley, who was not only Governor of Virginia, but also Captain of Southampton Hundred, in which he was urged to show the utmost care and industry in setting the projected works on foot, as upon those works were fixed the "eyes of God, Angels, and men." Captain Blewit, with eighty men, was dispatched to Virginia but he died soon after arrival.  Then Mr. John Berkeley, with twenty experienced iron workers, came to Virginia to reinforce the survivors of the original band.  The original purpose was to establish three iron works, but only one furnace appears to have been erected, its site being on Falling Creek.”

(21 Sep 04)

Nr. 1988:

[Continuing with Bruce's "Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century".]

“It is interesting to find that this spot [Falling Creek on the James River] as a place for iron-making had already been regarded with great enthusiasm by George Sandys, who declared that if Nature had intentionally prepared it with a view to this special manufacture, the advantages for that purpose which it possessed could not have been more remarkable.  In expressing this opinion, he had in mind the circumstances that there were present in proximity here not only ore and water, but wood, and stones with which to construct the furnace.  A mine was opened and a successful effort made to work it.  The cost of putting up the iron works was in 1621 calculated by Sir Edwin Sandys to be four thousand pounds, but it stated by other authorities to have been as much as five thousand.  [. . .] it was confidently anticipated in 1622 that in three months [the furnace] would be in a position to forward large quantities of raw iron to England.  Very soon, however, the massacre by the Indians brought destruction to the little settlement on Falling Creek.  The tools were destroyed or thrown into the river by the savages, and the workmen, with the exception of a boy and a girl, were killed.”

"The attack upon the iron works at Falling Creek and its results, disheartening as they were, did not at the moment diminish the interest in that undertaking felt both by the Company in England and by the colonial authorities.  [The revocation of the charter of the Company upset the plans for restoration of the furnace.] Five years after the massacre, William Capps was sent by the King to Virginia with a general commission to establish a number of industries, including the manufacture of iron.  The Governor and the Council expressed their utmost readiness to give Capps all the assistance in their power, but he became involved in trouble very soon and was forced to leave the country.  In 1628 the Governor and the Council stated they had sent ore to England, presumably from Falling Creek, while declaring that the cost of restoring the works and importing operatives was too great to be assumed by the Colony.”

“In 1630, Governor Harvey made a journey to the site of the old iron works on Falling Creek, with a view to discovering whether they could be restored.  He wrote to the authorities in England that all of the conditions of the locality were favorable to the reestablishment of the works; he sent over at the same time two specimens of ore from the vicinity.  A few years later, Sir John Zouch and his son seem to have taken steps to establish iron works in Virginia, but the project collapsed on account of the failure of their partners to come to their assistance.  The cost of reviving the manufacture of iron in the Colony was so great that practical interest in it died out for a period of many years.”

(22 Sep 04)

Nr. 1989:

[Continuing with Bruce's "Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century".]

“The author of the 'New Description of Virginia', published in 1649, recognized the possibilities of iron manufacture in the Colony.  He dwelt at length on the number of the streams there to furnish water for the works, the amount of the wood to supply fuel, the quantity of stone suitable for the construction of furnaces, and the abundance of ore.  He declared that works of this kind would be as valuable as silver mines, since their product could be used not only for plantation purposes but also in building ships, casting ordnance, and making armor and muskets.  There were many laborers in Virginia whose services could be easily secured, and it would entail but a small cost to provide for them, since food was plentiful.  He stated that it would require only six months to erect the works, and that the charge for importing skilled men and the necessary tools ought not to exceed four hundred pounds sterling [one tenth of the cost of the Falling Creek furnace!]”.

“In 1657-58, a law was passed by the General Assembly, prohibiting the exportation of iron, in addition to hides and wool.  This was expressly intended to apply to old iron only.  The object of the law, so far as that commodity was concerned, was to promote the blacksmith's trade, but as it did not accomplish this and it was repealed in 1658-59.  In 1661-62, it was again enacted, only to be repealed a second time in 1671.  There is no indication of the manufacture of iron in Virginia in the periods between the first enactment and the last repeal of this statute; in the interval, Berkeley had been instructed to report on the feasibility of establishing iron works in the Colony, the King having expressed a determination to erect these works at his own expense if the ore justified the great outlay necessary.  Berkeley in his reply discouraged the project on the ground that the quantity of iron ore in Virginia was not sufficient to keep one mill going for seven years[!].  Clayton, during his visit to the Colony, inquired into the practicability of carrying on iron manufacture there, and his conclusions were adverse to the undertaking.  No one there, he wrote, had money enough to bear the expense of starting and sustaining iron works, and in view of the great distance rendering personal supervision impossible, it would be equally impracticable for a resident of the mother country to assume the risks of the enterprise.”

"Much interest was sown by planters in the closing years of the century in finding out whether the ores in Virginia were adapted to iron making.  Both Fitzhugh and Byrd [William I] shipped specimens to England to be examined there.  In 1689, Fitzhugh sent a considerable quantity to Mr. Boyle for this purpose.  Byrd tested some of the lead ores by the use of a charcoal fire and a pair of hand bellows.”

(22 Sep 04)

Nr. 1990:

To summarize the last four Notes, iron was recognized very early in the history of Virginia and was considered important.  The smelting and casting of iron did not originate with Alexander Spotswood.  There was a serious attempt in 1622, on Falling Creek off the James River near present-day Richmond to smelt iron, costing about five thousand pounds Sterling.  Apparently there was every reason to believe that this could have been a very successful contribution to Virginia's and England's economic history, but the endeavor came to naught because of trouble with the Indians.

Why were not these iron works resurrected?

The disaster at Falling Creek did not encourage people to try again.

There was insufficient money in the hands of any one or group of people in Virginia to finance it.  When Spotswood did raise the subject, he proposed the Colony of Virginia in its entirety be responsible.  When the House of Burgesses refused to go along with this plan, Spotswood suggested that the Queen herself might like to finance it.  Clearly he was looking for deep pockets.  He personally did not have the money.

The distance from England with the slow communications of the day meant that capitalists there were not too eager to undertake the work.  One of the reasons that Sir Richard gave for dropping his venture, after asking Spotswood to search for iron ore, was that the distance was too far.

The trade laws were very unclear.  Whether cast iron would qualify as a raw material was not determined.  When Spotswood told the Board of Trade that he was proposing the Colony of Virginia sponsor an iron works, he was told by the Board that the legislation should include a suspension clause, meaning that if the endeavor was not approved in England then the activity in Virginia had to stop.  With an entry fee of five thousand pounds and the possibility of suspension hanging over the enterprise, it would take a foolhardy person to launch the venture.  (When iron was finally launched, a combination of powerful and rich people in England contributed.)

William Byrd was a promoter and he owned lands with iron ore (the basis for the original Falling Creek furnace).  He hoped to get iron smelting underway.  When he testified in 1720 that Virginia could cast iron, this could be considered as a hope for the future based on the century earlier work.  It might be considered as a statement of fact, based on the work of Spotswood; however, the testimony of people would suggest that Spotswood did not have a producing furnace in 1720.  It was not until about 1722 or 1723 that he was producing cast iron in any quantities.

The First Germanna Colony did not come to mine iron for Spotswood, nor were they recruited by him.  Eventually, they did find iron ore and developed an iron mine.  Their obligations were over and they had left for their own land before the furnace was operating.
(26 Sep 04)

Nr. 1991:

Johann Lederer was the first European to explore the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains and to leave a record of his discoveries.  He helped to open the great Indian Trading Path toward the southwest for the fur traders of Virginia.  His discoveries were not perfect and he reported features that simply do not exist (he may have depended on a poor understanding of what the Indians told him).  He was a bold and daring explorer who did leave a record.

Lederer had come from Hamburg and was about twenty-six years old in 1670, when he made an appearance in Virginia for reasons that are not clear.  He was a scholar and a student of medicine who was interested in Indians, in Indian trade, and in the native resources of the country, especially Virginia and the land to the south.  He was praised as a doctor of medicine by the officials of three colonies.

On his first of three expeditions, which was begun 9 March 1670, he struck a path along the Pamunkey River and reached the Blue Ridge Mountains northwest of the present site of Charlottesville, Virginia.  He wandered along the ridge for some days looking for a pass but found none.  He returned to the settlements.

The second expedition, starting 20 May 1670, took him into Carolina, possibly into South Carolina.  He turned back at this point because he feared that he might fall into the hands of the Spaniards.  His biggest error was that he thought he had found a large lake where none had been or was to be known.  For this reason, his work was discredited but it remains that many new discoveries were verified.

His third trip, begun 20 August 1670, Lederer tried to cross the Blue Ridge in a northwest direction from Jamestown.  He reached the crest and looked into the Shenandoah Valley where he saw more mountains.  This was very discouraging to him because he, with most Virginians, thought that the Pacific or Indian Ocean could be seen just over the mountains.

On the second and longest exploration, he had started with a party of Virginians.  They became discouraged and, probably fearful regarding the outcome, went home.  Lederer with one Indian continued on for a major exploration of the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  When Lederer returned home, he let it be known that the majority of the party had deserted him.  These individuals launched a campaign to vilify Lederer.  They claimed that his findings were made up.  The taxpayers were given to understand that their levy that year had been spent on the expedition and they were unhappy.  In this state of affairs, Lederer left Virginia for Maryland.
(29 Sep 04)

Nr. 1992:

It is not clear why Johann Lederer, apparently a citizen of Hamburg, went to Virginia.  It also appears that once he was there he rather quickly launched three exploratory trips to the western regions.  On one of these he had the commission of Gov. Berkeley of Virginia to explore the back country.  This was the second and major one on which nearly all of his companions turned back.  Lederer's return showed that the trip could be made and proved that the deserters were wrong.  Their reaction was swift and strong and they attempted to smear his reputation and report.  Very soon after this, Lederer went to Maryland.

That he wanted to become an Indian trader may have been a major reason for his explorations; however, by education he would have been a misfit in this endeavor.  Perhaps he realized this and abandoned the idea.  He moved from Maryland up to Connecticut where he was befriended by Gov. John Winthrop.  In all three of the colonies, Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut, in which he lived at least briefly, he was a friend of well-placed individuals and often practiced his medical skills which were highly valued by his patients.  After about five years in America, he said he was returning to Germany.

His reports of the explorations were written in Latin.  William Talbot, Secretary of the Province of Maryland, translated the reports and published them.  Talbot said his objective was to publicize the findings of Lederer.  Talbot fully believed the truth of Lederer's reports and felt that he had been mistreated in Virginia.  Lederer received citizenship in Maryland and was given a license to trade with the Indians.  Talbot left the province shortly after this and Lord Baltimore did not look with favor on friends of Talbot.  This was when Lederer went to Connecticut.

In 1675, Lederer returned to Germany, saying that he would return; however, there are no further reports on the man, either in Germany or America.  He had drawn maps, shown in Talbot's publication, and these maps were used in Germany for a few decades, even though there were errors.  It is not surprising that there were errors, for the trips of Lederer to the back country were relatively short.  He had a poor understanding of the Indian languages and probably misunderstood some of what he was told.

Because of the controversy surrounding him, much has been written about Lederer.  Generally, the trend of the research about him has been favorable.  In writing these two notes, I have used “The Discoveries of John Lederer”, with added letters by and about Lederer to Gov. John Winthrop, Jr.  This book was edited with added commentary by William P. Cumming and published in 1958 by the University of Virginia Press.

Lederer could not believe that the Pacific ocean was just over the (Blue Ridge) mountains.  Twice he was atop this ridge and all that he saw to the west were more mountains.  At this time, the opinion in Europe and America was that the land mass was not extensive and that it constituted an island, hence the references in Europe to the “Island of Carolina”.
(28 Sep 04)

Nr. 1993:

A century and a half of navigation along the Atlantic coast had generally dispelled the mirage of an easy Northwest Passage.  Nevertheless it was commonly thought that if one could find a good overland route to the Pacific, “The Sea of China”, a way might open to the riches of the East.  There were good reasons, to the minds of many American colonists as well as of armchair theorists in Europe, for believing that the shortest practicable route might lie at or near the latitude of Virginia.  One of these was a widespread belief in Verrazano’s Sea, a great bay or gulf of the “South India Sea” which, according to Verrazano and those geographers who followed him, left only a narrow isthmus between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  It is evident from Verrazano’s accounts that while sailing along the Banks of North Carlina in 1524, he mistook Pamlico or Albemarle Sound for the arm of an ocean extending to the East Indies and China.  Later maps of the Verrazano type usually placed the “passage” farther to the north and lengthened the distance to the Pacific, but throughout the Sixteenth Century and most of the Seventeenth, explorers from the east coast continued their search:  Governor John Lane made an expedition up the Roanoke in expectation of finding the passage, John White’s manuscript map shows it, and later writers comment on it.

Another theory was the North American continent was narrow and that the Sea of China lay just beyond the Appalachian range.  The most effective contemporary exponent of this idea was John Farrer, an official of the Virginia Company, who in 1650 drew a map placing the “the happy Shoers” of Drake’s New Albion (California) “in ten dayes march with 50 foote and 30 horsemen from the head of the Jeames River.”  Mercator had given a fairly accurate delineation of the width of the continent as early as 1569; but, although the determination of latitude by instruments by that time was quite accurate, longitude ­ the distance from one place to another east or west ­ presented unsolved problems.  Closely related to this theory illustrated by Farrer’s group was the belief that rivers flowed from the western slopes of the Appalachian “hills” into the Pacific.  Batts and Fallam left Fort Henry on the Appomattox River a little over a year after Lederer’s discoveries, with a commission from Major General Abraham Wood “for finding out the ebbing and flowing of the Waters on the other side of the Mountaines in order to the discovery of the South Sea.”  It was not until 1673 that the French Joliet and Marquette discovered that the river to which they had portaged from Lake Michigan flowed down to the Gulf of Mexico and not to the Pacific.  This news, and its full import, did not reach English ears for some years.

The above two paragraphs are quoted from “The Discoveries of John Lederer”, as edited with commentary by William P. Cumming, 1958, The University of Virginia Press.
(30 Sep 04)

Nr. 1994:

In my efforts to be able to read German script better, I have been using the Gemmingen Church Records.  The pastors there composed an Index to the Birth and Death Records in the Church.  I have not yet tried to use the Index as an aid to reading the original entries, but I have used it to see if I could read the names.  The dates are from 1694 to 1814.  In this note I will simply give some of the surnames that I have found.

The “K's”:

Keller, Knapp, Kastnern, Klar/Klaar, Kuhler, Klein, Kahler/Köhler, Klingenmeier/Klingenmeyer, Keapffer/Kuifer, Kärner, Kleinheinz, Knapplen/Knapplin/Knapplein/Knäppler, Kungmann, Kull, Kranberger/Kramberger/Kranberg/Kamberger/Komberger/Kammberger, Klingmann, Krautzer, Klenbihl, Kleinheinz, Krenbühe, Klenbusch, Kober, Knuffl, Kremmet/Kummet/Kümmet/Kemmet, Kuster/Küstner/Kastner, Kein, Kuzfer, Kachel, Kuar, Kuhe/Kuhl, Kehl, Kurster, Kuon (Cuon?), Kurzster/Kürstler, Kirschler, Kälb/Kalb/Kolb, Krebs, Knull, Kirn, Kustler, Kranfel, Klemm, Kranfel, Krauster.


Keller Knapp Kastnern
Klar/Klaar Kuhler Klein
Kahler/Köhler Klingenmeier/
Kärner Kleinheinz Knapplen/Knapplin/
Kungman Kull Kranberger/Kramberger/
Klingmann Krautzer Klenbihl
Kleinheinz Krenbühe Klenbusch
Kober Knuffl Kremmet/Kummet/
Kein Kuzfer
Kachel Kuar Kuhe/Kuhl
Kehl Kurster Kuon (Cuon?)
Kurzster/Kürstler Kirschler Kälb/Kalb/Kolb
Krebs Knull Kirn
Kustler Kranfel Klemm


In total there were about 360 names beginning with “K”.  Some of them occurred in every decade, such as Knapp.  Others occur only once and these may be errors on my part.

Some of the names seem to have many spellings, e.g., Kranberger, where six spellings seem to appear.  The Register or Index that was prepared had no space for a “C”, so one name which seemed to be spelled that way, Cuon, was entered in the “K” section.

In reading the names, the hardest part is in distinguishing the lowercase letters from each other.  The letters “a” and “o” are hard to distinguish.  The letters “e” and “n” are also hard to distinguish.  With a good magnifying glass, the letter “r” can usually be distinguished.  Umlauts and the “u hook” are difficult to distinguish.  The “u hook”, which is used to distinguish the “u” from the “n”, often seems to be indiscriminately used.

Many times the choice of how to read a letter was determined by:

  1. Whether the resultant name looked German, i.e, Klingenmeier, or
  2. By the reading in other locations.
Again, Klingenmeier is a good example, even though the last “i” was sometimes replaced by a “y”, with or without umlauts.  Except for this variation, it never appears any other way.  Some of the times it was written more clearly, and using these clearer expressions, one can reread and correct the doubtful expressions.

Besides the practice of reading the names, the list will help form a table of names that can be used as a reference in reading the original records.  Unfortunately, many of the names of the sponsors were from outside Gemmingen and may not appear in the list.

The names, Keapffer and Kuifer, which may or may not be same family, appear only once each.  Still, I wondered if they might be variations of Käfer, a Germanna name.  It does seem that in some cases the pastor was guessing at the name.
(01 Oct 04)

Nr. 1995:

For this note, I propose to go through the names in the Gemmingen index for the 18th century for the initial letter “M”. The sequence of the names indicates something about the first appearance. The register starts for 1696 and ends about 1818.

Massenhälder/Masenhälder, Müller/Muller/Miller, Muhläcker/Mühläcker/Mühlecker/MühlEcker (with a capital E in the middle), Mayer/Maÿer/Meier/Majer, Maurer, MichelEckher, Keller (misplaced name), Mahninger (only once)/Menninger/Manninger (the last is the most common), Michelhälder, Seelmann (misplaced also), Meerbeuhl (about 1723)/Meerbrei/Meerbani, Michelmichel (I did not stutter), Manheim, Marzmuller, Metzger (about 1749), Mack (about 1757), Michel, Michalt, Meinzger, Berg (von Berg, out of place, should have been in the “B’s”), Must, Mang/Meng, Maag, Murr, Mauch (about 1792), Maÿ, Mapger, Maff.


(with a capital E in
the middle)
Maurer MichelEckher
Keller (misplaced name) Mahninger (only once)/
(the last is the most
Seelmann (misplaced also) Meerbeuhl (about
Michelmichel (I did not
Manheim Marzmuller Metzger (about 1749)
Mack (about 1757) Michel Michalt
Meinzger Berg (von Berg, out of
place, should have
been in the “B’s”)
Mang/Meng Maag Murr
Mauch (about 1792) Maÿ Mapger


Telling the Müllers, Mullers, and Millers apart is not easy as the mark over the “u” often is, somewhere between the umlaut and the “u-hook.” Again, as in the previous note, there is a problem in distinguishing the lower case letters.  The name Menninger seems to become later Manninger.  This may have been a problem in distinguishing the “e” from the “a”.

Whether there is a set of names used for the same family as in Meerbrei, Meerbani, and Meerbeuhl is not possible to say.  I have grouped them together as I think the name was probably new to the community (Meerbuehl), but with the passage of time the pastors seem to favor Meerbrei.

Why one or two names were often written with a capital letter, “E”, in this case, in the middle, is a mystery.  The name Michelmichel was the first occurrence of a doubling of what seems to be an independent name.  Perhaps because Michel was used as a surname, the family wished to emphasize that it was a surname by doubling it.

I receive the Mock Family Newsletter and I was surprised to see three of the names that they follow, namely Maag, Mack, and Mauch.  There are some errors in the spellings that I have given, especially for the names which occur only once.  When a name usually occurs several times, this gives one a chance to correct a reading.  One wonders whether the name Mapger is a combination of poor writing and poor reading for the name Metzger.

A few names were very popular and occur many times in the index.

One of the names in the list above should be considered a Germanna family.  For your homework assignment, you are to find the family.
(05 Oct 04)

Nr. 1996:

Few names in the Gemmingen index start with the letter "N".  From 1701 to 1742, the only family name is Niclas/Nikklas/Nicklas.  Then in 1742, a Neubott appears, but this is the only time in the Eighteenth Century.

After this brief interruption by Miss Neubott, the index returns to the Nicklas family until 1777 when Friederika Catharina Necker appears once.  In the 1790's, there is a brief interruption by three Näsle/Nässle entries.  A Neidell appears in 1795 and a Närbel in 1808.  A misplaced Muff appears in 1813.  Altogether in the 1694 to 1815 period, there were 30 Nicklas in one form or another.


Niclas/Nikklas/Nicklas (1694-1815 Neubott (1742) Necker (1777)
Näsle/Nässle (1790's) Neidell (1795) Närbel (1808)


One of the purposes of going into this detail of the last few notes is to show how many different ways that a name can be spelled.  None of them are more correct than any other.  If one is doing research, then it is necessary to consider some variations which may even seem far fetched.  First names are a help in deciding if two surnames are to be considered the same.  Later, in the "B's", I will give an example which even Andreas found difficult to believe.

Because Gemmingen sent so many Germanna families, and because some other Germanna citizens seem to have a tie to these individuals, I have wanted to study the Parish Records in as much detail as I can master (it would be better to call me an 'apprentice').  I plan on being especially alert to names or families which could have been the source of the Moyers and Barlows.  As Nancy Dodge suggests in her response, the Moyers may have originated in the Maier, Mayer family.

In the homework problem, I had in mind another family which is often overlooked.  In the list of 48 head rights used by Alexander Spotswood there are three names, Hans Michel Milcher (or perhaps Milcker), Sophia Catharina Milcher, and Maria Parvara Milcher.  We can compare this to the list of names left in the Death Register by the Sexton of the Gemmingen Church in 1717 (see Beyond Germanna, page 907, as translated by Mielke and Hall).  There we have the family of Hannss Michael MichlEkhr, his wife Sophia Catharina, his daughters Anna Margarethe and Anna Catharina, plus his wife's sister.  The names of the two parents correspond.  The lack of the two Gemmingen daughters and the mother's sister may be due to death.  Maria Barbara may be an infant.

When we studied the "M" section of the name index (see the last note) we had the Mühläcker family with some variations.  Because the names appear on Spotswood's list, we believe that the family did arrive in Virginia with other members of the Second Colony.  They should also be counted as Germanna citizens.  What happened to this family?  No one knows.  The father may have died and, hence, there is a lack of records.  Or did the family skip out and go to Pennsylvania?
(07 Oct 04)

Nr. 1997:

I continue with the index to the Eighteenth Century names in the Gemmingen Church Registers.  The initial letters are “O” and “P” in this note.  Again, I give the names in the order of their first appearance from 1694 to 1813.

  1. Oberbachner (Never appears again.)
  2. Obeist (Never appears again.)
  3. Oheschatz (Never appears again, and my feeling is that a letter is missing here.)
  4. Obergruber
  5. Öhler (First in 1719, and then only one more time.)
    [Öhler is the name which became Aylor in the Germanna community.]
  6. Ödenhaufer (One time only.)
  7. Ohnmacht (This first appears in 1774, and until 1813 this is about the only name starting with an “O”.)


Oberbachner (Never appears again.) Obeist (Never appears again.) Oheschatz (Never appears again, and my feeling is that a letter is missing here.)
Obergruber Öhler (First in 1719, and then only one more time.)  [Öhler is the name which became Aylor in the Germanna community.] Ödenhaufer (One time only.)
Ohnmacht (This first appears in 1774, and until 1813 this is about the only name starting with an “O”.)    


The name Öhler is not unusual, as the villages associated with the Öhlers are not far from Gemmingen.


The letter “P” is more popular than “O”.

  1. The first name is Preisner and I am left wondering whether the name might not be Preissner or Preistner.  [We have a Preiss in the Germanna community but this is probably not the origin.]
  2. There are many members of the family Pfaff/Pfäffle.  This is the only name after 1696 until 1783.
  3. Then in 1783 the name Pfenninger/Pfanninger starts appearing.
  4. In 1799 another family starts appearing, the Prieler/Pailer family, and is present until 1813.  The first spelling here occurs only once and after that the name is always spelled Pailer.  [Since we do not know how the German name which became Barlow was spelled, the idea occurred that this (Prieler/Pailer) might be the spelling.  In Gemmingen, the appearance in 1799 is much too late for the Barlow family to have an origin there.  Still, it suggests that an adjoining village might be the locale from which the family originated.  If I can get the chance to see how the name first occurs in Gemmingen, it might identify the village from which the family came.  In turn this might be explored more.  Please note that I am NOT saying the spelling of Barlow in German was Pailer.  We do know that early spellings of Barlow seem to give the last syllable the sound of “lar” or “lur”.]


Preisner Preiss Pfaff/Pfäffle
Pfenninger/Pfanninger Prieler/Pailer  


I have many of my difficulties in reading the German script with the double “s” and the “st”.  I am often in the dark whether the letter combination which I have read as “s” might not be a “ss” or “st”.  This is a very bad problem in the next letter, “R”, to be reported. (09 Oct 04)

Nr. 1998:

The first reading for today will be taken from the letter “R” of the Gemmingen Index for the Eighteenth Century.  The order of presentation is the order of their first appearance.

Rügert, Reissner/Reistner/Reystner, Roth, Rindberger, Rusthardt/Rusthard/Rusthart, Renz, Rindinger, Reussner/Reustner/Reusner, Reÿsig/Rysig/Rasig/Resig/Rastig, Ruber/Rüber/Reber, Rust, Reuss, Rindel (The time is now about 1743.), Rindl, Ringer, Rästler, Riesch, Rümmelin/Rummele/Rümmele, Rössle, Rudi, Rummart, Reinart, Rastl(in), Reiner (1777), Rempmeier/Rampmeier, Rothmund, Rieber, Rupp, Rotter, Riefle, and Rand.


Rügert Reissner/Reistner/
Rindberger Rusthardt/Rusthard/
Rindinger Reussner/Reustner/
Ruber/Rüber/Reber Rust Reuss
Rindel (The time is now
about 1743.)
Rindl Ringer
Rästler Riesch Rümmelin/Rummele/
Rössle Rudi) Rummart
Reinart Rastl(in) Reiner (1777)
Rempmeier/Rampmeier Rothmund Rieber
Rupp Rotter Riefle


Of these names, Reiner is familiar to us because of the appearance in the Germanna community.  The Reiners that we know came from Schwaigern, which is only about three miles from Gemmingen, so it would not be unusual for the Reiner name to appear in Gemmingen.

Some problem was encountered by the failure of the writers to cross their “t”s.  Thus, I was reading Roth as RolhRoth looks better than Rolh.  The writers seldom put the dot for an “i” over the lower part of the “i”.  In a name like Reiner, where the lower case letters mostly consist of up and down strokes, the initial reading is apt to be wrong, especially if the dot is not correctly located.

The second reading for the day is from the Gemmingen Index Register for the Eighteen Century beginning with the letter “S”.

Schmid/Schmidt, Sam, Stösser/Stosser (a very popular name), Schonitzer, Steigand, Spengler, Strickler, Seiller, Stehlin/Stahlin/Stöhlin, Sauter/Saulter/Sauller/Sautter, Schenkhel, Schnäbelen, Strauss, Strand, Stephan, Sharedenfer, Schewelden, Saufele/Saufelin/Saufelen, Seus/Sais, Seelmann, Sailer, Seüss, Schäuffeler/Säufele(r), Steyer, Schultheiss, Schwartz, Schmidbauer, Senger, Schmallentan(in)/Schmällmann/Schmallmann, Schach (or Schoch), Steiner/Steinert, Stein, Schiller, Seger, Schastert, Schneider, Schatz, Schaber, Schenerg(?), Scheffert/Schaffert/Schafert/Seiffert/Seÿfert/Schufert, Stwiffler, Sachsenmeier/Sachsenmayer/Sachsenmajer, Schmidberg, Stadlbauer/Stadelbauer, Schlosstemft, Spar, Steller/Staller, Saidburg, Schwaiger, Schnallenwein, Steuenwald, Stimann, Stuffert, Sämann, Schweitzer, Steg, Scheuing, Schleiss, Senstert, Schäfer/Schäfe, Stuhling, Schaunig, Stegmeier, Stis, Stichling, Schuster, Sterg/Serg/Seng, Sammer, Stenger, Said, Steir (not Stein), Sinn, Steininger, Schmutz, Schuler, Steinberg, Stadhaufer.


Schmid/Schmidt Sam Stösser/Stosser (a very popular name)
Schonitzer Steigand Spengler
Strickler Seiller Stehlin/Stahlin/
Schenkhel Schnäbelen
Strauss Strand Stephan
Sharedenfer Schewelden Saufele/Saufelin/
Seus/Sais Seelmann Sailer
Seüss Schäuffeler/Säufele(r) Steyer
Schultheiss Schwartz Schmidbauer
Senger Schmallentan(in)/
Schach (or Schoch)
Steiner/Steinert Stein Schiller
Seger Schastert Schneider
Schatz Schaber Schenerg(?)
Stwiffler Sachsenmeier/Sachsenmayer/
Schmidberg Stadlbauer/Stadelbauer Schlosstemft
Spar Steller/Staller Saidburg
Schwaiger/b> Schnallenwein< Steuenwald
Stimann Stuffert Sämann
Schweitzer Steg Scheuing
Schleiss Senstert Schäfer/Schäfe
Stuhling Schaunig Stegmeier
Stis Stichling Schuster
Sterg/Serg/Seng Sammer Stenger
Said Steir (not Stein) Sinn
Steininger Schmutz Schuler
Steinberg Stadhaufer  


Any questions about what country that Gemmingen is in?  There are many names here that we know from our general knowledge, but that does not say that they came from Gemmingen.  Germanna names in the list above include Sauter and Schmid. (10 Oct 04)

Nr. 1999:

Gene Wagner points out that some of the characters I have been using recently are not coming through correctly.  The troublesome characters are the quotations marks, both double and single.  I use WordPerfect and have set it to generate the true quotation marks, not the inch marks.  Somewhere along the way, trouble is being encountered with the true quotation marks.  I will try to avoid them but you will have to work a little harder at understanding what I am saying.

The list of names beginning with a “T” in the Gemmingen Index is not long.  They are Tham (x1), Taimeckhler (x1), Thorman (x2), Theobald (x1), Treiber (x9), Thalmann (x23), Thielmann (x1), Treutwein (x4).


Tham Taimeckhler Thorman
Theobald Treiber Thalman
Thielmann Treutwein  


The names beginning with the letter “U” are not many:  Ulrich, Ungeröth, Unnölher, Ungarin, Ulmer, Urschler (this name occurs more often than all of the others combined), Uraneck, Umbachin.


Ulrich Ungeröth Unnölher
Ungarin Ulmer Urschler
Uraneck Umbachin  


The letter "V" is more popular.  Again, in order of the first occurance of the name, the names are:  Vidberger, Vischuber, Völker, Vischer, Volz, Volkhard/Volckard/Volckert, Vogel(in), Vogelmann, Voltert/Volkert, Vägelen, Vagelmann/Vogelmann, Valentin/Valkentin.


Vidberger Vischuber Völker
Vischer Volz Volkhard/Volckard/
Vogel(in) Vogelmann Voltert/Volkert
Vägelen Vagelmann/Vogelmann Valentin/Valkentin


One of the more popular letters is "W" for names.  Wislicen (he was the pastor), Wenzel, Weiss/Weis, Wolff/Wolf, Wagner, Weber (yeh, team), Weibel/Wäibel, Weikhur/Weickhum/Wickhur, Wintz/Würtz/Wärtz/Wuntz/Wüntz, Weng, Welch/Walch, Waldstein, Wenmkesel, Wengel, Wellet/Walleth/Wallet/Wollet, Walter, Weydelich/Weidelich/Weÿdelich/Waidelich, Wirth, Weitzmann, Wesinger, Weinzapf, Wachstätter, Weigum, Wild, Waller, Wüst, Wider, Weisert, Walz, Weisstert, Winder.


Wislicen Wenzel Weiss/Weis
Wolff/Wolf Wagner Weber
Weibel/Wäibel Weikhur/Weickhum/
Weng Welch/Walch Waldstein
Wenmkesel Wengel Wellet/Walleth/
Walter Weydelich/Weidelich/
Weitzmann Wesinger Weinzapf
Wachstätter Weigum Wild
Waller Wüst Wider
Weisert Walz Weisstert


My reading of some of the names may be in error.  When a name is written only once, and many of them do occur just once, it hard to estimate what the writer intended.  When the name occurs more than once, the later readings often shed some light on the earlier reading.  Sometimes I enter the names, along with the given names, into a computer list and then sort them to bring the similar names together.  The given names are very useful here.  Comparing names often tells me that a name has been read incorrectly.  As is indicated in these lists, names are not always spelled in the same way, so one must be prepared for similar names which are equivalent. (11 Oct 04)

Nr. 2000:

I had an easier time reading the "Z" names from the Gemmingen Index than any other letter.  First, the exposure to the handwriting made it easier to tackle the new names.  Second, the vast majority of the names were either Zimmermann or Ziegler.

It strikes one that both of these names were Germanna names and the two families had close connections in Virginia.  Both of the villages of origin for the two families have been identified and neither of them is Gemmingen.  It tells us to be careful in finding our people.  Some of the names appear in many villages.

The "Z" names in Gemmingen in the eighteenth century were Zimmermann, Zweiffel, Zeller, Ziegler, Zehedbauer, Zentbauer, and Zwing.


Zimmermann Zweiffel Unnölher
Ziegler Zehedbauer Zentbauer


I was comparing the Index names to the original records.  The list of the Index names, which was made later by people other than the original writers, was in a much better handwriting than the originals.  If you can find an Index, it is sometimes easier to start with it.  Basically, it is a list of names, usually cross referenced to the original page, without a lot of confusing verbiage.

The Index that I have been quoting from, for Gemmingen in the Eighteenth Century, was made from the Baptismal Register.  It may be regarded as the Birth Register.  There is another Index, which I have not used, for the deaths.  [I will spare you from having to read it.]

I had mentioned that late in the Eighteenth Century the name Pailer appears for the first time (this was in the Birth Register).  I backed up from the first occurrence one year and looked at the marriage records and I did find the Pailer name there.  He was a citizen and a smith in Gemmingen.  His father was given, and I believe that the record may have the father’s origin, but the record is so hard to read that I will have to study it more.  These early Eighteenth Century records are hard to read because the writer uses very small and indistinct letters.  Even the pastor’s name, which appears several times as a father, never appears to be the same. (13 Oct 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 EIGHTIETH set of Notes, Nr. 1976 through Nr. 2000.)

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 1976 through 2000.

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