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

(See bottom of this page for Links to all Notes pages.)
This Page Contains Notes 2026 through 2050.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 82

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Nr. 2026:

In the last note, we read the petition (or memorial) of the Earl of Orkney to Queen Anne asking for a determination of the share of silver and gold mines that the Crown should receive.  I included this almost as a part of the series of the letters written by Alexander Spotswood while he was Lt. Governor of Virginia.  Though Spotswood may not have written the actual language of the memorial, he was the chief instigator in having the memorial presented to the Queen.

To review the time line,

  1. In early May of 1713, Larkin Chew patented a piece of land,
  2. In late May, he sold fractional interests to a number of people, including one-quarter to Spotswood and one-sixteenth shares to Lord Orkney and to Graffenried.

Very shortly after this, Spotswood writes to Col. Blakiston in London pressing him for a resolution of the Royal share.  By November the memorial has been presented to Queen Anne.  In the typical way that business was done, Queen Anne asks the Lord High Treasurer for his opinion.  He in turn, after a delay, sent a request to the Board of Trade asking their opinion.  Though not shown here, the Board heard the responses of a number of people.  Queen Anne died before a final decision was reached.

That the piece of land patented by Chew was thought to contain silver is confirmed by the remarks of Graffenried in his memoirs, where he referred to the "land that we held together", which he said was a silver mine.

Some writers have said that the reference in Virginia to silver mines was a coverup for iron mines.  Now I submit that, if one writes a petition to Her Majesty and refers to a silver mine, the writer means a silver mine.

The discussion at the Board of Trade, after the Lord High Treasurer requested the opinion of the Board, referred to silver mines, not to iron mines.  From beginning to end, the subject was silver and gold, not iron.  When you are presenting your thoughts before the Queen and you say, “Silver”, you had better mean silver.

One of the best explanations by Spotswood about the Germans was written after he left office.  He wrote to Col. Harrison, the Deputy Auditor of the Crown's Revenue, to explain how it was that he came to be owning 85,000 acres.  We will review this letter in upcoming notes.

In quoting Spotswood, I have expanded most of the abbreviations but left the punctuation and spelling as he wrote it.  The hardest part in understanding his writings is the weak sense of sentence structure.
(09 Dec 04)



Nr. 2027:

[One of the better explanatory letters written by Alexander Spotswood was after he left the office of Lt. Gov.  His land titles were in dispute, including the amount of the fees which he would have to pay.  The Deputy Auditor of His Majesty's Revenue, Col. Nathaniel Harrison, asked Spotswood for an explanation of how he came to be in possession of the land which he claimed.  Shortly thereafter, Spotswood was writing to the Board of Trade and he enclosed a copy of the letter he had written to Harrison.  Major parts of this letter to Harrison are reproduced here.]

To Col. Nathl. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H.M. [His Majesty's] Revenue; Germanna, 28 March 1724.

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., Spotswood 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 profit 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 promoting 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., with more disclaimers].  The first tract that I became possessed of was that of 3229 acres called the Germanna tract from my seating thereon several families 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 settled 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 (pounds)150 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 on ground thereon.
[to be continued]

[Perhaps the six years referred to was part of 1714, the whole of 1715, 1716, 1717, 1718, and part of 1719, though other evidence suggests that the Germans were there less than five years from beginning to end.  It is hard to understand the claim that Spotswood was never on the land during this time because he was clearly there during the trip over the mountains in 1716.]
(13 Dec 04)



Nr. 2028:

[Continuing the letter of Alexander Spotswood to Nathaniel Harrison.]

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 the Colony.  Soon afterward I was drawn into another land concern.  In Feb. 1717 [this would 1718 by the modern calendar] Sir Richard Blackmore 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 imployed 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 upward of three score pounds: But about two years afterwards I received a letter from Sir 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 [by the modern calendar early 1720] taken up by nine or ten Adventures [speculators and partners].  About the same time [i.e., February of 1718(NS)] I fell into another partnership of land [etc.].  Mr. Robert Beverley having discovered some excellent land among ye little mountains, and made a survey thereof before the Proclamation issued in 1710, concerning the granting of 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 opportunity hapned of freeing a considerable number of Germans families imported in 1717 [which could have been up to March 25 of 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 that 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 now 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 joying to one another for their better defence, providing them 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. [to be continued]

(14 Dec 04)



Nr. 2029:

[Continuing the letter of Spotswood to Harrison.]

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 of 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 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 [i.e., leases], 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 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), 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 who I employ, 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 skilled in.  [Perhaps the reason that the 28,000 acres tract does not appear on the rent roll is that he held it up from being recorded to check a possible error.]  [Explains the land in Brunswick County was to support the school for Indian children.]  [Argues his case at more length using principally the arguments that the public good is being attained, and that it has been achieved at a cost to him in both money and effort.]

(15 Dec 04)



Nr. 2030:

[In ca. 1726, while he was in England, Alexander Spotswood petitioned the King for a clear title to his lands in Virginia.  The first part of this petition follows.]

To
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 whole 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]

(17 Dec 04)



Nr. 2031:

[Continuing the petition of Alexander Spotswood to King George (I).]

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 Confirm 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

[Spotswood was unfortunate in his timing of petitions.  The one to Queen Anne and this one to King George were shortly before they died.]
(19 Dec 04)



Nr. 2032:

While the sub-set of Notes based on material written or influenced by Alexander Spotswood is not yet finished, an insert of material written by another person will be made in a couple of Notes here.  The material here is in the Public Record Office (C.O. 5/1265) and a copy was obtained by Jim and Louise Hodge.  Andreas Mielke had suggested that a search might be profitable and Sandra Yelton found an abbreviated printed version in the book Colonial Papers, America and West Indies, p. 143.

The author of the material is Richard Beresford, an agent for the South Carolina Legislature.  On the subject of Indian trading, South Carolina and Virginia were strongly opposed.  The date of the letter is July 4, 1716, and it was written from Chowan, North Carolina, to friends or employers in South Carolina.  [Some paraphrasing is done in the report here.]

"I have just returned from Virginia where I was informed that the fort built at Christiana by Gov. Spotswood was finished.  It lies on Meherrin River about 50 or 60 miles from some part of James River and Appomatocks River.  The fort consists of five large pentagonal log houses which serve for bastions, and a curtain of mauled wood with earth on the inside from one house to another.  Each house has a great gun of about 1400 pounds.  It is constantly kept by an officer and twelve men at the charge of the Virginia Indian company which was incorporated by an act of the assembly for that purpose.

"There is a schoolmaster maintained there for instructing the Indians in the Christian religion.  He has a salary of 40 pounds sterling per annum.  The Honorable Mr. Boyle gave a considerable sum to pious uses, one of which is the conversion of the Indians and at his charge are taught several of the youth of the tributary Indians at Williamsburg.  One of them that can read and write is to be the usher at the school at Christiana.

"The governor is building a handsome house near Christiana where he intends to live when he shall be out of the government.  It will cost him about 5 or 600 pounds sterling and divers other people are encouraged by the governor's example to settle plantations that way.  I saw an abundance of iron, steel, and other utensils carried thither.  There are a couple of forges set up and it is expected that it will be a place of note."

[What Mr. Beresford is telling us is that Alexander Spotswood was preparing in 1716 to abandon Germanna, where there had been a pretension to silver in the neighborhood, and to stake his economic future on Indian trading with a base at Christiana.  In other words, Spotswood saw no future for Germanna except possibly as land to be leased to the Germans.]
(20 Dec 04)



Nr. 2033:

[Continuing the letter of Richard Beresford.]

"There is in three of the frontier counties of Virginia a company of twelve Rangers who make it their business upon the Governor's order to range and make discoveries.  One of these companies has made a discovery of a passage through the mountains between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers [which] is very easy for horses [note that Swift Run Gap does not lie between these two rivers].  The pass being of easy ascent and falls very easy to the westward.  They report they went about 40 miles to the westward of the mountains from whence divers runs and brooks of water made into small rivers.  They saw some new cabins and much sign of Indians being near; they did not perfect their discovery being so few in number.

"Upon this discovery, it is said the Governor will order the three companies of Rangers consisting of 36 men and some number more with a few goods to perfect the discovery very shortly.  They expect in Virginia 'tis not far from thence to the Cherokees and some other great nations of Indians for they say that the Sinnagars make war that way on great nations of Indians.  They named some of the towns to me but they have slipped my memory except those called the Connawas.  By viewing your list of the Cherokee towns you will easily perceive whether there be any of such like name.

"It is probably that those runs and brooks make into the head of the Potomac which it is said runs much further through the mountains than any other river.  Col. Moore assures me that there is no probability of a passage to the Cherokees that way which I heartily wish may be true for should there be any expectations of their being furnished with goods from Virginia it might prove of ill consequence to your government.

"These things cause many speculations in Virginia and some here [as] that governor is certainly a very political and ingenious gentleman and looks as far as any body.  Some imagine this only an amusement [in which], under the notion of discovering this pass, they make a more profitable discovery of a mine: For near thereabouts a parcel of Palatines are settled in a town called Germanna, some of which are miners.  Given some hopes of mines that way, and Col. Mitchell [Michel] your engineer has given in some propositions to the Treasury in England relating to mines which have been communicated to the governor of Virginia."

[Alexander Spotswood heard of the mines in Virginia from Graffenried, a partner of Michel.  It is true that Michel had filed reports and maps with the officials in England, and these people may have informed Spotswood, but more likely it was Graffenried that inflamed Spotswood with the thought of silver mines.]
(21 Dec 04)



Nr. 2034:

Suzanne Matson has pointed out that Richard Beresford was a South Carolina Indian agent and surveyor.  In his letter that I have recently quoted from, he was acting as an agent for the South Carolina Legislature.  Virginia had been very successful in Indian trading; this was a major component of the success of the Byrd family.  These traders ranged far and wide.  When South Carolina traders got into the business, there was severe competition between Virginia and South Carolina, and Virginia lost some of the business.  Additionally, there were many independent traders who found it necessary to give the Indians less than a fair price in order to remain in the business.  Alexander Spotswood conceived of a plan to have a monopoly of Indian trading in Virginia.  No one else would be allowed to trade with the Indians.  He believed that a strong trading entity would be better for both the traders and the Indians.  So Virginia passed legislation establishing a monopoly which was to be based at Fort Christiana.  Shares in this company were sold and Spotswood bought some.  He probably expected to be able to buy the shares of some of the other partners later.  South Carolina feared this venture because they thought it would impact their traders negatively.  Apparently Beresford had gone to Virginia to estimate what the impact of the Virginia Indian Trading would be.

Spotswood was very optimistic about the future of Indian trading through the authorized monopoly.  According to Beresford, he was even building a house near Fort Christiana.  The implication of this is that he was abandoning Germanna except that he hoped to lease land there to the Germans.  He had no other reason to tie himself to Germanna.

A hitch developed in the plans.  The legislation establishing the Indian Trading Company was vetoed in London.  The merchants there protested (probably because the concentrated power of the Virginia Trading Company would allow them to drive hard bargains for the trade goods and the furs), and the legislation was overturned.  This was a severe financial loss to the investors in Virginia, and it showed the dangers of enterprises that might be disallowed.  Earlier, in 1710, Spotswood had been warned by the Board of Trade that any legislation establishing an iron works in Virginia might be suspended or cancelled in London.  This is one of the reasons that Spotswood was not personally interested in iron for eight years after his arrival in Virginia.  He began to show a personal interest in iron only when powerful people in England wanted to become his allies.

One other point that Beresford made which contradicts future historians was to say that the pass over the mountains was between the Rapidan (south branch of the Rappahannock) and the Potomac.  Swift Run Gap, where later historians placed the crossing, is outside this region.
(22 Dec 04)



Nr. 2035:

[Alexander Spotswood was an energetic Governor (technically a Lt. Gov., but even he referred to himself as Governor) who never shied from participating in the public business of Virginia even if it lay at some distance from Williamsburg.  In doing so, he made expenditures for which he submitted expense accounts.  In turn, he was called upon for an explanation of these expenses.  His response emphasized the trips were necessary and that none had been taken capriciously.  Citations from the Journals of the Council showed that the questions had been discussed and concluded with calls for action.

His report on the public trips for the years 1711 to 1717 was reported in “The William & Mary Quarterly” in January, 1923, pages 40-45, and is reproduced here with minor punctuation and format changes for improved clarity.  (See also Beyond Germanna, page 406ff.)]

Upon the Tumults in North Carolina, Resolutions were taken in the Council, for quelling them, and preventing the Evil Consequences that the Commotions there might draw upon this Colony if Either of the Contending parties should give encouragement to our Servants and Slaves to Join them, & in order to effect the Same the Governor undertook [July 3, 1711] a Journey to Hampton [72 miles] to provide for the Design then in Hand; ditto [July 14, 1711] towards the borders of this Government to meet Commissioners from Carolina [104 miles].

Upon the Alarm of a French Squadron Sailed towards America to attack those parts, Measures were concerted in Council for the Defense of this Country, & in order to put the Same in Execution the Governor undertook Several Journeys, viz.  Five times to Point Comfort [August and September] to trace out & Carry on the Line Battery there [400 miles]; six times to Tindal's point & York Town for the like purpose [180 miles]; six times to James Town for the like purpose [96 miles].

Upon the Tusaroudo Massacre committed on North Carolina Measures were concerted in Council for securing the Frontiers of this Colony, & to put the same in Execution the Governor undertook [October 6, 1711]; a Journey into Surry County [40 miles]; a Weeks Expedition with the Militia to the Nottoway Indians Town [100 miles].

Upon the Continuation of the Tuscaroudo War Measures were concerted in Council for Acting against the Indians & to Execute the Same the Governor undertook [April 30, 1712] a Journey towards the Borders of this Colony to meet the Governor of North Carolina [104 miles]; ditto [December 19, 1712] to meet Commissioners from North Carolina [114 miles], ditto [September 13, 1713] into Surry Prince George & Henrico Countys to raise 200 Volunteers to go with him against the Indians who then infested the Frontiers [135 miles].
[to be continued]

(23 Dec 04)



Nr. 2036:

[Continuing the explanation of the trips Spotswood made from 1711 to 1717, from “The William & Mary Quarterly”.]

Upon projecting to lessen the great charge of Rangers & to settle a more lasting Guard for the Frontiers, Measures were concerted in Sundry Councils, & the Governor in order to put the same in Execution did undertake [May 7, 1714] a Fortnights expedition to Reconnoitre the Norward Frontiers & to fortify a place for Settling a Body of Germans above the Falls of the Rappahannock [322 miles], a six Weeks Expedition [August 30, 1714] to Reconnoitre all the Frontiers from South to North to find out proper places for fixing Forts [500 miles]; a Three Weeks Expedition [March 30, 1715] to carry on the Fortifications of Christanna, and to meet Blunt with other Chief Men of the Tuscaroudoes, for settling the Limits of theirs and our Indians Hunting Ranges [210 miles].

Upon the general Revolt of the Southern Indians, and their attacking South Carolina, Measures were concerted in Council for putting a stop to their dangerous progress, & the Governor to effect the same undertook [June 25, 27 and 28, 1715] three several Journeys to List Soldiers in Kent, Warwick, and Gloucester Countys [104 miles]; two ditto [July 4 and 18, 1715] to Embark 150 Soldiers at York & Hampton ports [100 miles]; [November 10, 1715] one ditto to give further Directions about the Said Works [200 miles].

Upon a Complaint made by the Tuscaroudoes to the Government of Acts of Hostility & a Murder committed on their people by some our Tributary Indians, the Governor to prevent a Rupture by Examining into the Affair & doing such Justice as might appease the Tuscaroudoes undertook [July 9, 1716] a Journey to Christanna (where Blunt the Chief Ruler of the Tuscaroudoes) with the Carolina Interpreter had agreed to meet him, & in which Journey the Governor had his Two Servants & his own riding Horse with all his Equipage drowned [200 miles].

Upon Notice of a Passage being discovered through the great Western Mountains, the Governor advising with the Council, judged it might be for the Safety & benefit of this Country if the Pass could be secured by a Fort, & a Trade opened that way with remote Indians, & therefore Resolving to view it himself, he undertook [August 20, 1716] a Monts Expedition with 63 Men and 74 Horse marching beyond the high Ridge of Mountains, until he arrived at a large River on the other side [445 miles].
(to be continued)

(23 Dec 04)



Nr. 2037:

[Continuing Spotswood's explanation of his "business trips", from the “The William & Mary Quarterly”.]

The Law directing the Indian [Trading] Company should take Fort Christanna into their keeping from the first of December 1716, the Governor in order to deliver the same up into their hands, undertook [November 27, 1716] a Journey to Christanna, where he happened to be confined for ten days by a dangerous Illness & deep Snow [200 miles].

Upon Notice given of Wichmetanche (a man in the greatest Repute among the Western Indians) & several Chiefs of the Sutarees, Sugahs, Pedees, Quiawaes, Chacces, Saxapahaes, Enoes, & Sawraes, being arrived at Christanna to comply with the Terms of such a Treaty as this Government had in several Councils insisted upon, & that accordingly they had brought in their children to be delivered up as Hostages, but refused to advance further within the inhabitants, declaring that if the governor would not meet them there upon the Frontiers, they would return with their Children.  Wherefore the Governor undertook [April 8, 1717] a Journey to Christanna, where the next morning after his arrival a Body of the Mohocks, with other Northern Indians fell upon & Murdered Several of the Southern Indians, while they were lying just without the Gate of Fort unarmed, having according to the Discipline observed there given up their Guns into the Custody of the English [200 miles].

Upon the Return of Captain Chr. Smith From Albany [NY], whither he had been sent by the Government to Expostulate with the five Nations upon their late Behavior in those parts, & to learn whether those Indians designed to be at peace or War with us, the Report of his Negotiations occasioned some Deliberations in Council how to prevent future Mischief from that Quarter, and it being then alleged by some of Council that all the Measures they were concerting would prove fruitless, unless the Governor went himself to the Norward to convince and & persuade the other Governments to concurr in them, he therefore undertook [September 11, 1717] two Months Travells Setting out with the Expectation of a Congress in Philadelphia, but the Governor of New York being hindred from meeting there by reason of the Assembly then Sitting, the Governor of Virginia was necessitated to continue on to New York, or must have Returned without answering the Main Design of his Journey [1000 miles].

(24 Dec 04)



Nr. 2038:

In the previous three notes, I gave a summary of the trips that Alexander Spotswood made as official business in the period 1711 to 1717.  Broadly, there were eleven episodes, some involving more than one trip.  Ten of these episodes were concerned with relations with the Indians.  We can see that a major part of his time and efforts were devoted to this broad question.  Incidentally, it appears to me that he had an enlightened attitude toward the Indians, especially for that time.

For anyone who lived on the frontiers, as our Germanna ancestors did, the Indian question would have been a lively topic.  There was an element of uncertainty in the relations with the Indians and it was not always predictable what they might do.

On Spotswood's first trip to Germanna (in 1714), he put the mileage at 322 whereas John Fontaine put it at 292.  Perhaps Spotswood wandered a bit more than Fontaine did.  Some observers have thought that Spotswood went on to the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains on this trip but the mileage statements would say that his excursions beyond Germanna were very limited.  One could conclude that the objective of the trip was definitely Germanna.  This was not surprising in view of his partial ownership of a projected silver mine a few mines from Germanna.  He probably explored that site some.

Spotswood's attitude toward the pass in the Blue Ridge ("great Western") Mountains was casual.  He resolved, not to fortify, defend or extend the range of Virginia, but to see the place for himself.  The one possible objective mentioned was to provide safety in a fort from which Indian trade could be conducted.  One should note that this could be a personal objective since he was an investor in the Indian Trading Company which had a monopoly on the Indian trade.  Though, at the time, people in Virginia thought that his real interest was in finding mines.  We now know that the principal outcome of the trip was his obtaining a tract of 40,000 acres which was broadly located in the region west of Germanna.

It would be entertaining to know what the expenses were for the trans-mountain trip with 63 men and 74 horses with their "supplies".

Apparently, Spotswood visited Germanna only twice before 1717.  Once was on the occasion of locating Fort Germanna, and the second was the occasion of the trip over the mountains.

One must sympathize with Spotswood over his attempts to recover his expenses.
(24 Dec 04)



Nr. 2039:

On the occasion of the Bicentennial of our American Independence, the Virginia Surveyors as a formal group decided to issue a book on the history of surveying in Virginia up to 1776.  They obtained the services of Dr. Sarah Hughes to research the material and to write a book of her findings.  Though the book has been in print since 1979, copies are still available [Virginia Association of Surveyors, Inc., 6001 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228, but beware that this is the 1779 address].

Surveying in Virginia has been closely connected with the College of William and Mary, which was chartered in 1693.  There were two basic reasons for this association.  The College certified men as trained in the theory and practice of surveying.  In return, the College obtained one-sixth of the fees collected by all of the surveyors.  This was a significant funding source for them.

From Jamestown until 1693, the practice of surveying was not always in the best of hands.  There were enormous difficulties in both theory and practice.  And the early surveyors were not always honest.  That there were problems was recognized in a Virginia Statute of 1705 which tactfully put the situation as, "The quiet of our estates, in a great measure, depends upon the faithfulness, understanding, and care of our surveyors."  The men who could measure the metes and bounds of the fields [usually forested] held the key to transforming a worthless uncultivated territory into individual farms.  Until it was surveyed, one’s claims were in doubt.  But still late in the 1600s, an English surveyor reported he had seen young men in America who were confounded by the problem of transferring a specified acreage and rectangular dimensions to a terrain cut through with creeks, marshes, and ridges.

In common with the European practice, each parcel of land could be of any size or shape.  It was described by metes and bounds running in arbitrary directions from a random starting point.  There was no grid of preexisting lines or grids to guide them.  There was a big difference between Europe and Virginia though.  In Europe, nearly all of the surveys were conducted over open lands.  In Virginia, most of the surveys were through forests, where it was difficult to see a desired end point.  After a survey was made, it was not easy for anyone to see whether a new survey conflicted with an old survey.

More difficult for the modern person to grasp is the state of mathematics at the beginning of the Seventeenth Century (say 1600).  The first simple arithmetic text in the English language was published only seventy years before the colonists landed at Jamestown.  Books on arithmetic and geometry were expensive and difficult to obtain and instruction was seldom offered.  Logarithms had not yet been discovered in 1607, while decimals and fractions were poorly understood.
(02 Feb 05)



Nr. 2040:

Before a surveyor gets called in, a private individual will have some reason to have a tract of land surveyed.  How does this individual find a tract, assuming that we are talking about virgin land which has never passed from the crown or from the proprietor to a private individual?  The individual must scout around looking for a piece of land that he would like to own, to which no one else has any pretensions.  The easier part may be finding some desirable land.  But does anyone else has any prior claim on it?  It might already be patented, but consulting the patent books would not be easy.  What one must look for are visible markers that tell the public at large that the tract has been claimed.  In conjunction with this, if any residents are present in the area, one asks people if the land is claimed.

When the Second Colony people were getting ready to move, they scouted land but found that large tracts of it to the west of Germanna were already claimed.  They complained about the practice of marking land without laying a formal claim to it or settling it.  The Germans had to go about 25 miles to find land that was available.  They presumably went with other Germans and made their claims taking the others into account.  Having found land they liked, they would mark it.

How much land were they to mark out?  A popular size was 400 acres, but, once one is on the ground, what are the dimensions of such a piece of property?  This was not a survey, it was the potential owner’s estimation of how much land he was claiming.  He probably erected markers and blazed trees to make his lines more clear to his neighbors, now and in the future.

Eventually, the surveyor was called in to survey the land.  The potential owner might say he wanted 400 acres in a neat rectangular parcel.  The surveyor would have some handy guides which told him how long the sides could be to get the 400 acres.  Whether the plot as surveyed and marked would actually contain 400 acres would be another story.  But, in general, the surveyor knew what he wanted to do.

The problem in running the courses was that a lot of forest intervened between the end points of the lines that would be the sides.  As the surveyor prepares to set out from one point, the only instructions he might have could be that the next point was a pine tree over the ridge and across the creek beyond that.  So how should he set the angle of the course?  Basically, the problem in running a line was in obtaining a line of sight which determined the angle.  Or the surveyor, after hearing the claimant’s desire, might suggest that the line ought to run, say, 60 degrees west of north.  There would be no certainty that this course would strike the pine tree.
(03 Feb 05)



Nr. 2041:

When a surveyor in the Seventeenth Century was faced with an irregular shaped piece of property, it would be hard for him to find the bounds that would yield the correct acreage.  Few people had the necessary education.  In Virginia, there was no school that would have taught the subjects of mathematics, algebra, trigonometry, or logarithms until the College of William and Mary was founded in the 1690s.

Most early surveyors in Virginia had two instruments to use, a mariner’s compass and a knotted rope or wire line.  Coupled with a lack of knowledge of just how to use the information that these might tell one, the early surveyors were working under a handicap.

From 1607 to 1776 there were considerable improvements in the tools and techniques.  The surveyors themselves can hardly be compared to one another over this time period.  In the 1650s the General Assembly of Virginia condemned the technical ability and the integrity of the profession.  As we judge the early work though we should remember the primitive tools and the lack of education that were common.

We must also remember the challenges that the early surveyors faced.  Men worked in regions without roads or bridges and encountered laurel thickets "whose Branches are all most as Obstinate as if composed of Iron."  Rivers had to be forded.  There was always a chance of becoming lost.  Snakes, Indians, mosquitoes, and vermin were hazards.  Nights were spent in tents but these were often preferable to the backwoods cabins of squatters.  The end of the day might find the surveying party very wet, dirty, and tired with no facilities to aid their comfort.  Being away from home, if a surveyor was feverish, he often just worked on.  Occasionally, an inhabitant living where the surveyors were working might feel that his claim was being challenged and take recourse to guns and fist to repulse the workers.

Land was plentiful and it was not considered a crime to be generous in staking off a piece of property so as to give the claimant more acreage than the patent stated.  It was considered better to error in this direction.

Though even in the early days surveyors were rebuked for sloppy and inaccurate work, the surveyors held a high social position.  Surveyors were often community leaders, sometimes politicians and military leaders.  For example, Robert Beverley the historian was a surveyor besides being a large plantation owner, a militia leader, and a politician.  The recognition that Virginia’s surveyors received in society was an unheard thing in England itself or in the New England colonies.
(04 Feb 05)



Nr. 2042:

There were many differences between the English surveyors and the Virginia men.  The best English surveyors of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries were competent men who devised methods for more accurately running property lines and computing the content of the acreage within them.  They invented better instruments and applied new mathematical concepts.  These English men laid a sound basis for the practice of surveying in the Nineteenth Century.

The Virginia surveyors fell behind in adopting the new methods and instruments available in England in the Eighteenth Century because the conditions they faced were very different.  Speed was more necessary than accuracy and simple instruments were more practical for men who tramped for miles into virgin forests.

Ironically, the technological superiority of the English surveyors was not translated into social recognition comparable to that of the Virginians.  Though land values were increasing and skills were improved, the social status of the English surveyor was not high.  Still, he had steady employment and good wages.  Members of the middle class, they were not admitted to governing class nor patronized by aristocrats, as were mathematicians and astronomers.  They had little personal access to ownership of the land they measured.

Land was the cheapest of the American resources and virtually free except for the charges of surveying and patenting it.  In Virginia the surveyor often held the key to the riches so widely coveted.  He had a discretion over recording entries.  His willingness to go into the field might determine which individual obtained title to choice tracts.  Frequently, the outcome of disputes rested upon his work and testimony.  As he worked, the surveyor had opportunities to spot good acres to patent for himself.  Before long, he might be a member of the landed gentry.

In Virginia, there was little difference whether one was getting land from the crown or from the Northern Neck proprietor.  There were vast differences in the process of land distribution between Virginia and New England.  The Puritan colonies controlled development by granting blocks of land to communities or towns whose boundaries were surveyed prior to division into tracts for smaller individual farms.  Virginians abandoned such planned growth in favor of indiscriminate location of larger private plantations.

When the Virginia Company was in charge of the early government of Virginia, they adopted the policy of dividing land into multiples of fifty acres as it was patented by individuals.  When the Company dissolved in 1624 and the land reverted to the Crown, this system of granting fifty acres for each person who settled in the colony was retained.
(07 Feb 05)



Nr. 2043:

Adoption of the fifty-acre head right also established a second characteristic of Virginia’s land policy:  The predominance of relatively large farms.  In the English colony of Bermuda, where land was limited, farms were divided into twenty-five acre tracts.  When the New England colonies were founded, although land was plentiful, it was parsimoniously granted to settlers on terms that made even a minimal fifty-acre claim near Jamestown seem large.  The ease of accumulating head rights in Seventeenth Century Virginia led people to normally patent more land they could clear or expect to farm in their lifetimes.  By 1650, and in the last half of the Century, a few ambitious men (including some surveyors) owned as much as 30,000 acres each.  In the Eighteenth Century, Virginia’s greedy appetite for land led the most avaricious to claim tracts of more than 100,000 acres.  One of the few effective restraints upon such land grabs was the fact that title could not be perfected prior to survey, and some enormous grants lapsed because they could not be surveyed within the time limits imposed.  But the desires of planters, large and small, to have as much land as possible had a great impact upon the surveying profession in both creating a demand for their talents and in elevating their status.

It is more difficult to pinpoint the origin of another fundamental aspect of Virginia’s land policy.  The prospective owner was allowed the privilege, prior to survey, of selecting the particular piece of land to be patented.  Tracts located at the discretion of the patentee were neither required to be contiguous to settled lands, nor to be of any regular shape.  As large regions were opened to settlement, choice fertile acres went to whoever first registered entry claims, while undesirable sections often remained in the public domain as wastelands for a generation or more.  Though there was some preference for laying out farms in rectangular form, many plats of strange, irregular shapes testify to the popularity of running bounds which conformed to the contours of an owner’s desire to encompass only the best arable fields, meadows, stands of timber, springs, or creeks within a specified acreage.  The procedures of indiscriminate location often made the surveyor’s task in laying out land more difficult.  But the discretion left to surveyors by the system enhanced their position in society.  Complaints throughout the Colonial years about the profession’s abuses in wielding the power to determine who obtained the most desirable lands are far more common than criticisms of land-measuring techniques.

The practice of indiscriminate location does not appear to have arisen from any conscious decision of the Virginia Company or its leaders in the Colony.  Initial settlement at Jamestown was a group project, and the ideal of the planned community with farms clustered about a central village prevailed in the minds of officials throughout the early years.  But the Company’s ideals framed in London were much modified in the disorganized conditions of Virginia.
(08 Feb 05)



Nr. 2044:

The first surveyor in Jamestown in 1621 was William Claiborne when English settlers had been in the colony for fourteen years.  Some owners had occupied their land for years prior to a survey being made.  Incidentally, this was five years after the Virginia Company had promised its Colonists that a surveyor would soon be sent to Virginia.  During this time, the people had chosen their own locations.

This precedent of irregular land plots might have been reversed by the decision of the Company to regularize the procedures, or in 1624 when Charles I dissolved the Company and made Virginia a Crown Colony.  There are no records that show any discussion of these questions, either in Virginia or in England.  The burning question was tobacco in the 1620s, when it was found that this was a profitable crop which might, in a good year, recover all of one's debts.  This only intensified the efforts of the strong against the weak, and the use of public offices for private gain.  No one considered what effect this course of events might hold.  Though tobacco prices did not remain high, individualism endured.  The effort to claim new lands on the frontiers was intensified as the market for tobacco grew and the older lands wore out.

In New England, the colonization followed a different path in distributing the public lands.  In both places, at first, the lands were farmed collectively.  When this policy led to dissatisfaction at Plymouth, individual plots of land were allotted to colonists at Plymouth following the pattern of contiguous settlement in close-knit villages with outlying fields.  This became the model for the larger colonies founded on the Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut.

In the New England model, the tracts of land were not normally given directly to individuals, but to groups, or proprietors of townships.  The legislature entrusted such leaders of new communities with huge blocks of territory which were usually laid out in rectangular form.  In turn this land was subdivided among those who covenanted to abide in the town.  Each male head of a household accepted as a citizen was also a joint owner of the town’s land.  These citizens joined together in a town meeting to decide how to use their lands.  Typically, house lots and small tracts of arable field and meadow land were given to families on the basis of their size and community status.  Most of the land was reserved for future generations.  The original grant to Dedham, Massachusetts, contained nearly 200 square miles, yet in the first twenty years less than 3,000 acres (less than five square miles) were allocated to individuals, and the average size of each farm was about 34 acres.

Professional surveyors were sometimes used in running the boundaries of these larger New England townships, but the usual practice was for the town meeting to appoint a committee of freemen to measure and mark lots prior to their distribution among the families of the communities.
(09 Feb 05)



Nr. 2045:

The contrasting land systems of New England and Virginia reflected profound differences in the societies of the two regions.  Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, and Connecticut were founded by Puritans who sought to create closed agrarian utopias in which they might practice their ideals of religious perfection.  Their beliefs dictated tight settlement in villages and condemned dispersed, isolated farmsteads which inevitably loosened ties to the community.  Although Puritans also migrated to Virginia, they did not dominate there.  No compelling ideal motivated those who came to the Chesapeake Bay.  The only bonds of community were the necessity of mutual protection from the Indians and the fear of Spanish attack.

There were also important demographic differences between the Northern and Nouthern Colonies.  The typical Virginia immigrant during most of the Seventeenth Century was a young unmarried man in his twenties, while families, composed of men and women of all ages and their children, went to New England.  Although the first women came to Virginia in 1608, throughout the Seventeenth Century there were at least three men for every woman in the colony, and in some decades the proportion may have reached four to one.  This disparity in the sex ratio slowed the growth of the number of native-born Virginians, because many men were unable to marry and establish families.  An exceptionally high mortality rate in the Chesapeake Bay region compounded Virginia’s population problem.  Even after the harsh initial years at Jamestown, when starvation, Indian attacks, and disease took an incredible toll of the English settlers, the colony remained an unhealthy place where survival depended upon the continuing flow of new immigrants.  Its total population did not reach 10,000 people until some forty years after Jamestown was founded.

In contrast, the New England colonies were rapidly peopled in the great wave of migration which brought more than 10,000 religious refugees to Massachusetts Bay in less than a decade.  Afterwards, immigration was an insignificant trickle and population growth depended upon the natural increase of the original settlers.  Mortality in the Puritan colonies was lower than that in England, so that it was possible for the families of the first generation to establish stable communities in which conservation of land resources for the future was held in high esteem.  The modes of settlement and resultant differences in distributing public lands which were established in New England and Virginia had long range implications far outside their immediate regions.  In the Seventeenth and early Eighteenth Centuries, the Virginia model was more influential.  Despite the attempts of the English officials to control development, the tendency in all of the colonies from Pennsylvania to Georgia was for settlement to outpace surveying, for the individual to locate land prior to survey, and for tracts to be patented in relatively large blocks.
(10 Feb 05)



Nr. 2046:

The scope of the work of surveyors was as different in New England and in Virginia as were the basic land systems of the two regions.  Despite the swift settlement of New England in the 1630's and 1640's, fewer opportunities existed there for professional surveyors than in Virginia.  Public lands, both the grants for the towns and the division of tracts within townships, were usually laid out by committees of citizens appointed by the legislature in one case, and by the town meeting in the other.  Once the great migration ended, the reluctance of New England communities to withdraw parcels of land from their future reserves limited demand for surveyors.  Disputes over property lines between neighbors were usually resolved through arbitration by village elders.  Private sales of land were discouraged or prohibited by an ethos which condemned treating land as a commodity.  This ethos also virtually banned the individual migration from town to town within the colony.  The opposites are necessary for a thriving real estate market.  As long as the Puritan ideal of agrarian utopias directed toward religious perfection prevailed ­ and in rural towns this remained viable throughout the Seventeenth Century ­ there was little encouragement of the development of the surveying profession.

In New England, it was only in the Eighteenth Century, when the pressure of population upon the land and the decline in religious motivation made land speculation respectable, that surveying committees were abandoned in favor of use of specialized professionals.  The relatively good education system in the region then enabled a corps of surveyors to develop rapidly.  But, by the time this happened, much of the area’s best land had passed into private hands.  Although surveyors were regulated by the Colonial legislatures of New England, they were not incorporated into the fabric of local government and did not have the prestigious place in the social structure of their counterparts in Virginia.  The difference in regional opportunities for surveyors even at the end of the Colonial period is indicated by the fact that, after the American Revolution, men from New England sought work in disproportionate numbers surveying the federal lands of the Northwest Territory, while Virginians scorned the low pay of the new government.

Virginia’s land policies, in contrast to those of New England, encouraged the development of the surveying profession.  The difficulties of measuring metes and bounds of large non-contiguous parcels shaped by the choices of the patentee created a demand for surveyors with specialized skills.  Their services were also needed to settle the boundary disputes that were inherent in the system of indiscriminate location.  Their workload was further increased by other aspects of the colony’s society, most notably the instability of its population and endemic land speculation.
(11 Feb 05)



Nr. 2047:

In the Seventeenth Century, high mortality rates and constant immigration meant that the original patentee often held land for only a few years.  If the requirements of developing the grant were not met before an owner died and the patent lapsed, the land was restored to the public domain.  Frequently, English heirs sought to sell a distant Colonial inheritance to new immigrants or local speculators.  Real property held in trusteeship for minor orphans eventually required surveying for the division that would settle the estate.

By the Eighteenth Century, complicated partitions of land among resident heirs were common routine for surveyors.  That century's highly mobile and rapidly increasing population not only pushed westward at a remarkable pace, but also flowed from county to county within the long established sections of the Colony, buying and selling farms with each move.  For instance, in Elizabeth City County, on the lower western edge of Chesapeake Bay, between 1782 and 1810 over one-third of all farm owners kept their land for five years or less, while 72% held the same property for fifteen years or less.  A minority of these people lived on the same land throughout their adult lives.  Although many of these private real estate transfers were accomplished without benefit of surveys, the volume of acres annually passing from one owner to another in Colonial Virginia provided substantial employment for surveyors.

Unlike New England, in the Old Dominion, where plentiful land was the basis of economic wealth and social status, there were no effective restraints to inhibit its marketing as a commodity.  English traditions of primogeniture and entail were written into Virginia statutes, but ignored or circumvented in practice.  Rich and poor alike haggled in private and in court over land parcels worth fortunes or a pittance.  Even though most individual acres were of small value, the frequency and importance of land transfers in the Colony hastened the growth of the surveying profession and enhanced the prestige of its practitioners.

But the Colony's policies for distributing the public domain and its citizens' preoccupation with acquisition of land do not entirely explain the special position of surveyors.  In Virginia, cadastral (official) surveys of public lands could only be performed by authorized official surveyors.  Their monopoly of the most lucrative work left little scope for development of private practice.  From 1624 to the end of the Eighteenth Century, virtually all surveyors were government officials paid by fees collected from their clients.

The origins of the custom of appointing surveyors in each county are difficult to trace in the sparse documents that remain from Virginia's earliest years.
(14 Feb 05)



Nr. 2048:

[Change of subject from immediately previous Notes.]

The Pennsylvania Chapter of Palatines to America has announced their Spring Conference on Saturday, 23 April 2005.  The place is Yoder's Restaurant banquet room in New Holland, PA.

There is one speaker for the day, Trudy Schenk, who was born and educated in Germany but who now makes her home in Park City, Utah.  She has become a leading author and research scholar on Germanic emigration to the United States.  Deciphering the old German handwriting is her speciality, as well as finding places of origin in Germany.  She is an Accredited Genealogist with the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the co-author of several books titled "Wuerttemberg Emigration Index".

The "Wuerttemberg Emigration Records" is a unique collection of papers and documents on applicants who filed for permission to emigrate from Wuerttemberg during the 19th Century.  The original documents are not indexed.  In the published books, you will find names in alphabetical order, showing the person’s date and place of birth with other information.

Her three topics at the Spring Conference are:

(1) "Wuerttemberg Emigration Indexes" and Beyond:  Records of 19th Century immigrants,

(2) Colonial Pennsylvania Germans:  Methodologies for Finding the Villages of Origin, and
(3) "Where Do I Find It?"  Overview of Where to Access German Record Groups.

Though there is an emphasis on 19th Century emigration, the techniques that she will be discussing should also have an application to 18th Century emigration.

There is a charge for the Conference:

For Chapter Members, $25 per person, and
For Non-Chapter members, $27 per person.

Full refunds up to 5 April and partial (almost total) refunds up to 18 April.  These prices include a very generous lunch.

Send an advance registration to:

Lois Wahl Decker
Spring Registrar
3011 Dundee Road
York, PA 17402-1016
with checks payable to PA Chapter PalAm.

The Pennsylvania Chapter was formed in 1977 when fourteen people met to organize a chapter under the national organization.  There are now about 1,300 members around the world.  For more information about joining, write to:

PA Chapter
Palatines to America
P.O. Box 280
Strasburg, PA 17579-0280.

I'll be there and should any of you go, please introduce yourself.
(15 Feb 05)



Nr. 2049:

In the last note, I gave a notice of the meeting of Pennsylvania Chapter of PalAm (Palatines to America) on the last Saturday in April.  In this note, I am giving some of the details on another meeting on that same day, an unfortunate coincidence of dates.  This meeting is sponsored by The Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (MAGS) and is to be held in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia Genealogical Society.  I would be going to the MAGS meeting, except that as a Board Member of PalAm (PA Chapter), I feel compelled to go to their meeting.

There is some overlap between the two organizations.  MAGS covers a broader geographical area, namely Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  MAGS also overlaps the Germanna Foundation.

The speakers at the MAGS meeting are Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg, Susanna E. Brooks, and John T. Humphrey.  If the name Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg sounds slightly familiar, there is a good reason.  After Dorothy lost her husband, Mr. Bush, she remained single for a few years.  But she met an airline pilot, Capt. Bragg, and the lure of free travel was too much for her.  Dorothy is a Chairperson and Professor of History at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  She has worked extensively on the Germans in the Shenandoah Valley.  She is also a member of the list here.  She will give two presentations at the meeting:

(1) "Colonial Probate and Inheritance:  Don’t Let It Drive You Crazy", and

(2) "Doing Research in Virginia:  Ten Things You Often Learn the Hard Way."

[If they had asked me to talk, I think that I could have enlarged upon the "Ten".]

Susannah E. Brooks will give "It’s All in the Details, Basics of German Research".

John T. Humphrey will talk about "Developing the Skills to Become a Genealogist".  Both are skilled in their fields.

The registration fee is $35.00 for Members.  (I have to assume that this is of either Society), and $40.00 for Non-Members.  This fee includes lunch.  If you wish to register, contact:

The Virginia Genealogical Society
5001 W. Broad St.
Suite 115
Richmond, VA. 23230-3023

Their web site is www.vgs.org.  Fredericksburg is not far from the Germanna Foundation Visitor’s Center, so anyone on this list should keep that in mind.

I have donated a complete set of Beyond Germanna issues to the MAGS Library, which is now maintained in the County Library in Edinburg, in the Shenandoah Valley [where Klaus Wust used to live].
(16 Feb 05)



Nr. 2050:

A few notes ago, there was an observation that the typical New England immigrant was different from the typical Virginia immigrant.  A similar comparison can be made between English and German immigrants to Virginia.  There were definite differences.

Using Nell Marion Nugent's "Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 3", which covers the period 1695 to 1732, I counted the male importations of the surname Thomas.  Assuming that none of the names were duplicated, then more than 36 different male Thomases were imported in the 37 year period.  (The actual importation date might be a few years earlier.)  The importation count is a lower bound on the number who came, as several might have come who were not claimed as importees.  That these Thomases were English is a judgment call based largely on the names surrounding them in the Lists.

In this period of time, 13 male Thomases patented land.  Some of these may have duplicate names, as only eight different first names occur.  Using the numbers 13 and 36, though, then 36% of the male Thomas importees made land claims resulting in Virginia land patents.  The actual percentage of the male Thomas immigrants who received land patents is probably less than 36%, as the number 13 should probably be smaller, and the number 36 should be larger.  One concludes that the majority of the English immigrants were not landed here, but followed trades and jobs which did not require land.

Among the German immigrants, the picture is completely reversed.  All of the members of the 1714 Colony owned land.  Almost all of the 1717 Colony owned land, which they obtained by Patents.  Even those Germans who had a trade still felt it desirable to own land.  For example, Christopher Zimmerman, who was a cooper, owned a large quantity of land.  Matthias Blankenbaker, who was a tailor in Germany, had about 470 acres of land.  That such a high percentage of the Germans obtained land must be a reflection of their desire to own land.  The desire of the English immigrants to own land was nearly as strong.

In the period when there were at least documented male Thomas importees, I counted 13 female Thomas importees.  If this ratio held true across all of the English importees, then almost three men came for every woman.  Among the Germans, the sex ration was probably better balanced as the Germans often came as families with approximately equal numbers of males and females.  Under these circumstances, the marriage of English men and German women should be expected in a higher ration than of English women and German men.
(17 Feb 05)


(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 EIGHTY-SECOND set of Notes, Nr. 2026 through Nr. 2050.)

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(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)
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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 2026 through 2050.

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