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This is the EIGHTY-SEVENTH 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 2151 through 2175.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 87

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Nr. 2151:

At the Century (xx01) and the Half Century (xx51) Notes, I take time to express what I attempt to do in these Notes.  They are distributed by the Germanna Colonies Mailing List service at Rootsweb, but my comments should not be taken as a definition of the content of that service.  What I am giving are my personal views of my efforts for the List, not an "official view" of the List contents.

Remembering that more than two thousand of these notes have been written, and that I do not like to repeat myself, what I am left to write about is largely history that has not been reported before.  That is the ideal; I do repeat myself.  You will have to forgive me for these duplications in which I hope an alternative approach will help to clarify questions.  Also, for fun, I sometimes give little stories that have no connection with Germanna, but have some connection with Germany.  When I say Germany, that is a short hand notation for all of the regions where German is spoken including Austria and Switzerland.  Many of our citizens have a heritage that goes back to these latter two countries.

To define the scope that I emphasize, I consider a Germanna citizen to be anyone who lived on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Eighteenth Century, and who has "German blood" in their veins.  To give one example, Richard Burdyne was probably not German but he married Catherine Tanner, a Germanna citizen.  Therefore, all of the descendants of Richard Burdyne may be considered Germanna citizens by my definition.  Richard Burdyne did make a contribution to the early fund raising effort of the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.  (This alone would show that he was not a Lutheran, as the only people who were listed were the non-Lutherans.)

Broadly, the history in general, or specifically, of our Germanna citizens, or the history of even one family is fair game.  I am a little hesitant to write about genealogy because others know so much more than I do.

I do use the term "Robinson River Valley" to describe one area in which so many of our ancestors lived.  Not only do we have the Lutherans of the Second Colony, but we have members of the First Colony who were of the Reformed faith.  Also, many people who came later were Reformed, and some may have been Anabaptists or Catholic.  So, I use the geographical term Robinson River Valley and not a term such as Hebron, which has religious affiliation connotations.  For those of you who are not that familiar with the geography of Virginia, the Robinson River Valley is roughly, but not exactly, equal to the present day Madison County.

In the next Note I will return to the retirement plans of Alexander Spotswood where so many of our ancestors had a role.
(29 Jul 05)



Nr. 2152:

In 1724, Alexander Spotswood had to justify his land acquisitions in a letter to Col. Nathaniel Harrison, the Deputy Auditor General.  This letter is in the Public Record Office in England.  Spotswood makes it clear, that, in his mind, two things occurred about the same time.  One was the arrival of the Second Colony of Germans.  These were put into tenements along the north side of the Rapidan River above Germanna.  The second thing which Spotswood regarded as happening at the same time as this was a letter from Sir Richard in England.  He wanted Spotswood to search out iron ore so that an iron works might be established.

It appears that Sir Richard was the spokesman for a group.  Spotswood, in his letter to Harrison, says that he set his Germans to looking for the ore.  About a year later, another letter from Sir Richard said that he wanted to cancel his part in this.  He said that was too old and the works would be too far away.  Spotswood claims that above sixty Pounds Sterling had already been expended in the effort so far, but, rather than submit a bill to Sir Richard, he took the enterprise into his own hands.  This paltry sum would indicate no major work had been done.

The Germans, through Albrecht and Holtzclaw, claimed that they worked at mining and quarrying until December of 1718.  This would be about the time that Sir Richard dropped out of the enterprise, but the fact that the work ceased then probably had nothing to do with Sir Richard.

The Germans had agreed in London to work four years for Spotswood and the four years would have been up in the summer of 1718.  A factor that tends to confirm this date is their purchase of land in the Northern Neck in the summer of 1718.  And Jacob Holtzclaw, in his naturalization by Spotswood in 1722, says that he had been a resident of Stafford County for several years.  The Germans did not leave Germanna in the summer of 1718, as they would want to wait until the harvests were in.  We will see when we look into the comments of Kerri Berile, a seminar speaker, that the Germans might have been engaged in quarrying the raw materials for Spotswood's house during their last few months.  This perhaps was the intent of the word "quarrying" in their statement.

Spotswood still was not, as of December 1718, committed to an iron works.  He was still under the sword of Damocles as the enterprise could be judged detrimental, or upsetting, to the trade pattern with England.  Also, he needed money, since an iron works was very expensive.  It appears that he sought partners in England who were influential and wealthy.  (Some of these were the slave traders of Bristol, England, who furnished the slaves.)  He knew that he had the iron ore.  There was nothing novel about that.  All of the raw materials and energy which were needed were there.  He had to import labor to build the furnace and run it.  He patented the iron mine land in February of 1720 on the new style calendar, but, as people in Virginia did, he probably was delaying on this to save money.
(01 Aug 05)



Nr. 2153:

The time table that I see for the development of Spotswood’s "Tubal" furnace is as follows:

1717:  I suspect that the Germans had discovered iron ore before Spotswood said that he put his Germans to work searching for the ore.  When Sir Richard wrote circa December of 1717, I believe that Spotswood knew there was iron ore in the approximate vicinity of, but not immediately at, Germanna.

1718:  The Germans develop the iron mines at a cost upwards of sixty Pounds Sterling.  The activity was probably not a full time one as they had to farm to have food to live on.  There were, in theory, still Rangers so some of the men probably remained near the Fort while others went to the mine area about twelve miles away.  Later in the year, they may have been assigned to other tasks besides iron.

1719:  Early in the year, the Germans leave Fort Germanna.

1720:  The Iron Mine Tract is patented by Spotswood and partners.

1721:  William Byrd testifies (November 10) in London that Virginia could produce iron.  This is an ambiguous statement where the "could" might mean that it would be possible if they tried.  Or it could mean that they had already smelted iron.  We must remember that Byrd owned land with iron ore on it which he wanted developed.  So was he trying to get people in England interested in producing iron?  I suspect that trial runs had been made at the Tubal furnace, but problems had occurred.

1722:  Production commences but is limited in quantity.  The Rev. Hugh Jones in his book, "The Present State of Virginia", wrote, "This iron had been proved to be good, and it is thought, will come at as cheap a rate as any imported from other places, so that 'tis to be hoped Colonel Spotswood's works will in a small time prove very advantageous to Great Britain . . ."  There is a tentative note with hopes for the future here.

1723:  Sixteen tons were shipped by Spotswood to England.  In this year, Lt. Gov. Drysdale of Virginia, wrote to the Board of Trade and Plantations, "I judge it part of my duty to inform your Lordships of an affair, that is at present the common Theme of peoples Discourses, and employs their thought.  Coll. Spotswood's Iron workes:  he had brought it to that perfection that he now sells by public auction at Williamsburg, backs and frames for Chymnies, Potts, doggs, frying, stewing and baking panns . . ."

1724:  203 tons of cast iron were shipped to England.  This suggests limited production in 1723, with much better results in 1724.  Spotswood feels confident enough to go to England in the Summer/Fall of the year.  Unfortunately, he leaves the iron works in the hands of a poor manager.

(02 Aug 05)



Nr. 2154:

Why did the Germans leave Siegerland in 1713?  The best answer to that question was given by the late Heinz Prinz at a Germanna Reunion and in an article by him in "Beyond Germanna".  The article in "Beyond Germanna" was on page 855, if you wish to read it there.

In the late 17th and early 18th Centuries, Siegerland belonged to the Nassau-Orange Principality.  There were two Princes of Nassau-Orange, one of whom was Catholic and the other was Protestant.  They had divided the Siegerland into two parts and were constantly struggling against each other.  Both of them used the town of Siegen as their Capital with the Catholic prince in the Upper Castle, and the Protestant prince in the Lower Castle.  The close proximity of the two made matters worse.

At the beginning of the 18th Century, the people of Siegerland were subjected to extreme living conditions due to the rule of the Catholic Prince, William Hyazinth.  After the death of his cousin King William III of England, Hyazinth claimed to be the heir to the throne of England.  In pursuit of this effort, he visited many monarchs of other countries hoping to gain official recognition.  The taxes of Hyazinth's subjects were frequently being raised due to his constant travel and high standard of living.  The subjects of Prince Adolf, the Protestant prince of Nassau-Siegen, were being burdened with high taxes which were levied for the reconstruction of the Lower Castle which had been destroyed by fire in 1695.

The Catholic Prince, Hyazinth, banned the delivery of charcoal to Protestant areas in the Siegerland, bringing the iron working to a halt due to a lack of this vital resource which was used in the smelting furnaces and the forges.  In addition, the sale of iron products was banned.  The miners, ironworkers, and their families were particularly affected by these developments and thus found themselves falling into a deeper state of misery.  On December 6, 1706, the subjects of the district of Weidenau (just north of Siegen) rebelled against Hyazinth while he was in Vienna trying to convince the German Emperor to officially recognize him as the heir to the principality of Orange in the southern part of France.

Prince William Hyazinth seized Friedrich Flender, who was supposedly the leader of one of the rebellions of the miners and ironworkers in Weidenau.  Flender was taken to the Upper Castle, convicted without a trial, and beheaded.

Josef I, the Holy Roman Emperor, intervened in this tumultuous state of affairs by turning over the administration of the Siegerland to the Archbishop of Cologne.  This placed Siegerland under the rule of the Jesuits and living conditions did not improve in the Protestant region.  On May 26, 1712, the situation became more violent when the imperial guards of the Upper Castle clashed with those of the Lower Castle.  Cannon fire was exchanged, which resulted in a large number of military and civilian casualties in Siegen.  The Protestant Prince Adolf requested support form the King of Prussia and the Counts of Hesse in the hope of restoring peace to the Siegerland.
(03 Aug 05)



Nr. 2155:

Heinz Prinz concluded his remarks by saying,

"In summary, at the beginning of the 18th Century, the living conditions of the miners and ironworkers in the Siegerland became worse and worse due to the political, economical, and religious circumstances there.  The reigning Princes demanded more and more taxes from their subjects.  Large sums of money were demanded from the Protestant areas for the reconstruction of the Lower Castle.  The Catholic Prince Hyazinth cut off the delivery of new materials to the Protestant parts of the Siegerland, thus bringing the iron industry in those areas to a standstill which resulted in a large unemployment rate."

The emigrants from Siegerland in 1713 left their homeland, not only in response to an invitation to work in North America as miners, but with the strong motivation to escape the repressive political, economical, and religious conditions in the Siegerland at that time.

In the Kraichgau, where most of the Second Colony originated, there were very similar reasons.  In Schwaigern, the ruling Prince was building a new castle, much larger than the size of his principality warranted.  But as the Church Book at Gemmingen records, the motivation was to earn a better living by hard work clearing the forests of Pennsylvania.  Or I believe it has been stated, "They wanted to better butter their bread."

Religion was important to both groups.  Even though the First Colony had a pastor with them, they could not expect him to live much longer.  The Second Colony made a sincere attempt in London to have in place the means for obtaining a minister when they were prepared.  In both cases, there was no certainty that their religious needs would be met in the New World.  In Germany, perhaps imperfectly, their religious needs were being met.  They did not leave to improve their religious life.

More than anything, an improvement in their economic life was sought.  Certainly, on the whole, they succeeded in fulfilling this need.
(04 Aug 05)



Nr. 2156:

The best looking speaker at the recent Germanna Seminar was Dr. Kerri Berile but of course her competition was nothing.  She was also the youngest.  As a student at the University of Mary Washington (nee Mary Washington College), she worked on the Germanna home of Spotswood.  Later, in her doctoral studies at the University of Texas, she did a more involved analysis of Spotswood's home.  There are limitations in doing this as so much of the house is gone.

What she did was to classify and count all of the objects found such as 27,000 nails.  Using a computer, she plotted the locations where they were found which yielded density maps.  The highest density can be associated with stairs which use a lot of nails.  She also plotted the distribution of some other classes of objects.  This led to some thoughts about the interior of the house and how it was used.

There were many different materials used in the construction.  What she found was that all of these could have been provided by nearby sources, i.e., within ten miles.  This is the only major house of this era in Virginia which is constructed only of local materials.  This suggested to her that the builders were a different group than the ones who built the other houses.

She was able to show pictures of the floors in the basement.  These floors were original.  When the house was burned, parts from above fell into the basement and covered up the floor which had protected it over the course of time.  When these photos of the sections of the basement floor were projected, there were some gasps.  Many people in the audience thought they had seen something similar before.

It is the hypothesis of Dr. Berile that Germans had played a role in the early construction of the house.  The pattern in which stones were laid in the floor suggested work done by Germans.

Her work gives a possible new meaning to the description of the work by Albrecht and Holtzclaw.  They said they were engaged in "mining and quarrying" up to December of 1718.  This quarrying might have been the finding and extracting of several kinds of "rock" to be used in the construction.  It was all from the near vicinity and of types not commonly employed in house construction.  Actual construction might have occurred later and might even have used the labor of some of the Second Colony people.  Though this latter group was supposedly involved in naval stores, Spotswood was notorious for pulling people off one project and assigning them to other projects.

I must move Dr. Berile to the head of the class for an interesting talk.
(05 Aug 05)



Nr. 2157:

Recently I went to a Germanna Reunion in Haubstadt, Indiana, where the emphasis was on the Wilhite family.  Before the meeting, Eleanor and I wandered in a cemetery in Haubstadt.  My comment to Eleanor was that I was seeing more German names there than I saw in any cemetery in Germany.

Keith Wilhite (with his wife) and Gerald Wilhite have written a note of more than a hundred pages which gives their findings and conclusions with respect to the southern Indiana Wilhites.  The earliest Wilhite family in Gibson County was Woodson Wilhite who bought land on 22 December 1825 from Alex Johnson.  Woodson Wilhite had married Christina Myers in Mercer County, Kentucky, on 26 August 1820.  Woodson was the son of Barnett and Nancy (Broyles) Wilhite and a grandson of Nicholas and Mary E. (Fisher) Wilhite of Mercer County, Kentucky.  Woodson is believed to be the great-great- grandson of Johann Michael Willheit and his wife Anna Maria Hengsteler who were early Germanna pioneers.  Woodson and Christina had two sons, Lawrence born 1821 and Jefferson born 1823.  While these boys were very young, Woodson, their father, died before 16 April 1827.

The estate of Woodson was typical of a young family.  There were a cow, calf, and heifer; one horse; and twenty-five head of hogs.  His crops seemed to have included corn (55 barrels); perhaps cotton, as there one "tub" of it; wheat; and perhaps flax, as there was a (spinning?) wheel, reel, and heckle (sickle?).  The administrators of the estate included James Smith and Christena Wilhite.  The appraisers were John Embree and Nicholas Yager.  The only purchasers with Germanna names were Christena Wilhite, who purchased a saddle, pots, bacon, cotton, piggin, a chest, a lot of books, and a looking glass; and Nicholas Yager, who bought ten barrels of corn.

A second Wilhite family of Gibson County, Indiana, is Joseph Wilhite, who, with his wife and ten children, is listed in the 1830 census in Patoka Township, IN.  Unfortunately, no will or Bible identifies these ten children but other records hint strongly at who they were.  This Joseph is believed to be the Joseph Wilhite who married Polly Spilman on 27 July 1813 in Woodford County, Kentucky.  In 1810, in Woodford County, there is a Michael Wilhight with one son and one daughter in the 16 to 26 range.  Next, in the list to this Michael is the James Spilman family; James had a daughter in that same age range.  The John Spilman who is listed as bondsman on the marriage license for Joseph and Polly could be an uncle or older brother.  Though the Joseph Wilhight family in the 1830 census is still in Kentucky (in Henry Co. with two sons and three daughters), there is already two Spilman families in Gibson County, Indiana, in the 1820 census.

Also, in 1820, there were three Yager brothers in the Owensville, IN, area.  These families, especially the Spilmans, may have contributed to the Indiana attraction.
(08 Aug 05)



Nr. 2158:

One of the purposes of these Notes and of GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List at Rootsweb (GERMANNA_COLONIES@rootsweb.ancestry.com) is to facilitate communications among different family researchers.  In the just previous Note, several Germanna families were mentioned.  It is hoped that people who are familiar with these families may have something to add.  So don't be bashful; speak up.

I was intrigued by the mention of Nicholas Willheit who married Mary Fisher.  Though Germanna Record gives her middle name as Elizabeth, this is incorrect as she was Mary Margaret Fisher and a Germanna descendant.  Since the immigrant Fisher, Ludwig or Lewis, married Anna Barbara Fisher, this line can add the Fishers and Blankenbakers as Germanna ancestors.  One of the daughters of Nicholas Wilhoite (as the name is spelled in GR13) was Nancy who married Elisha Embree.  One of the appraisers of the estate of Woodson Wilhite in Gibson Co., Indiana, was John Embree.

In looking through the Yager genealogy in GR10, I see that Sarah Yager married Julius Broyles and they moved to Posey Co., Indiana.

Joseph Yager who married Margaret Wilhoite, the daughter of Nicholas Wilhoite, had a son, John, who married Nancy ____ and they moved to Gibson Co., Indiana.

My point is that one needs to study the community in the broadest possible sense including the "English".  Don't isolate yourself to one family, study the community and the history of the people in the community.

We have mentioned a Polly Spilman in Woodford Co., Kentucky, in 1813.  Is this a Germanna Spilman?

Returning to the question of the name of the woman that Nicholas Willheit married.  I showed that, based on the church records, her name was Mary Margaret.  (See page 471 of Beyond Germanna.)  Ellen John, who is a descendant, had her name as Elizabeth based on the Garr Genealogy.  Ellen undertook a more thorough research to settle this question.  She found a consent for a marriage of Elisha Embree and Nancy Willhite by a Margaret, who is believed to be the widow of Nicholas in Mercer County, Kentucky, loose papers.  Another Nicholas Willhite/Wilhoit gave a bond and attested to Nancy Wilhoit's age.  It is believed that this is a brother acting for his sister.  The father, Nicholas, had a daughter Margaret, who was married to Joseph Yager in 1792, so that she could not be the Margaret who gave her consent.  Ms. John has other evidence which she cites in an article starting on page 805 of "Beyond Germanna".
(09 Aug 05)



Nr. 2159:

I have examined whether the children and grandchildren of Johann Michael Willheit and his wife Anna Maria Hengsteler had a presence in the German Lutheran Church ("Hebron") Records, particularly the baptismal records, in the period 1750 to 1800.  There were six children, Tobias, Johannes, Adam, Matthias, Eva, and Phillip (ordered in increasing date of birth).

Probably, Tobias married Catherine Walke and they had five children, perhaps ten (read later comments).  Only two of these five are in the Church Records (i.e., Baptismal Records).  They are Conrad, who married Elizabeth Broyles, and Mary, who married Zirikias Broyles.  Of the other three, Michael married Mary ____, Jesse married Mildred ____, and William married Elizabeth Shirley.  Perhaps these partners were not Lutherans, which might account for their absence.

Johannes Willheit married Walburga Weaver, and, of their eleven children, there is a good representation at church.  Mary married John Yager, Nicholas married Mary Margaret Fisher, Susanna married Nicholas Yager, Eve married Barnett Fisher, Daniel married Mary Blankenbaker, Margaret married John Garr, Christena married Andrew Garr, and Rosina married John Wayland.  All eight of these appear in the Church Records.  The three who do not are John, who married Mary Fishback (Reformed), Elizabeth, who married John Gant, and Joseph (no marriage).

The third son of Michael and Mary, Adam, married Catherine Broyles and all of their five children appear numerous times in the Church Records.  These are, Mary, who married William Carpenter (Sr.); John, who married a Smith and a Blankenbaker, Elizabeth; who married Michael Garr; Michael, who married Elizabeth Crisler; and George, who married an Utz and a Harvey.

None of the three youngest children of Michael and Mary appear in the Church Records, and only one of their children appears there.  The single appearance is Catherine, d/o Matthias, who married Michael Cook.

We must remember that the Baptismal Records were rewritten ca.1775, and, if a family had left the community before this time, they were omitted from the revised records.  This might account for the absence of Eva, who married Nicholas Holt, Jr., and of Phillip, who married Rachel ____.  I believe these two had emigrated to North Carolina before the rewrite.

Apparently Matthias, a son of Michael and Mary, who married Mary Ballenger, left Virginia after the baptismal rewrite.  Five of his children are disputed.  One of these five, Catherine, does have a mention there.  This would be very weak evidence that she might have been a daughter of Tobias.  This study could be amplified but it is doubtful that it would resolve the parentage of Catherine.
(10 Aug 05)



Nr. 2160:

A letter from Johann Henrich Hoffman of "Oranien Caunti" (Orange County) to Johannes Steinseifer in Eisern has interesting bits of history in it.  Hoffman had written to Steinseifer asking him to collect money that was due to Hoffman.  Actually what we have are two documents, the letter and a "notarization" of the payment of the money.

Hoffman had moved to America in 1743, but, before going, had sold some goods to Henrich Jung of Eissern (Eisern).  The debt had not been paid probably because of the physical difficulty of doing so.  Knowing that Steinseifer was coming to America (in 1749), Hoffman asked him to collect and bring the money.  Jung wanted an official record that he had paid so that he could show in the future that he had paid.  They went to the City Hall in Siegen to have it recorded officially that he had paid.  For this reason, the document has been preserved.

Why did Hoffman know that Steinseifer was coming to America?  Our clue, which is incomplete, is that both of the men married women surnamed Schuster.  No records have been found which show any relationship between the Schuster women, but it would seem that there would be some.  We would generally think they were sisters.

The recording was done on the 10th of May in 1749.  Steinseifer must have left Germany shortly after this, for he arrived in Philadelphia 19 September 1749, a time of four months or about 17 weeks.  The trip on the ocean from Rotterdam to Philadelphia probably took 10 weeks and the other 7 weeks were probably taken with departure delays, the time to Rotterdam, and a delay in Rotterdam.

Johannes Steinseifer has 9 children in the Church Records at Roedgen, the nearest Protestant church to Eisern.  The eldest son of Johannes, who was 24, did not come with this parents, though he did come 4 years later.  Two of the sons were named Johannes Henrich and Johann Heinrich.  The will of John Steinseifer was probated in 1757 and his four sons are named as John the Elder, Henrecus, John the Younger, and Henry.  So one must be careful in distinguishing the boys.  The witnesses to the will were Johannes Hoffman and John Towles.  His neighbors in the will were Michael Smith, John Kains, Major William Roan, Henry Hoffman (who had requested that Steinseifer bring the money), and Jacob Manspile.  This general area is on the eastern edge of the Robinson River Valley Germans.

These very interesting comments were published in "Beyond Germanna", on page 583, and were due to the efforts of several people:  Ryan Stansifer, Mary Doyle Johnson, Friedhelm Menk, and Margret Menn.
(11 Aug 05)



Nr. 2161:

Recently on the Germanna Colonies List there were comments and questions about the Staehr (Stähr) family.  From the evidence in the Culpeper Civil and Church Records, we know very little.  The family seems to be typical of several families who moved into the area but left in a short time.  This was not unusual.  Some families started to migrate without knowing positively what their destination was.  They might settle in one area for a short period and then move on.

The little that we know about the Staehr family is this:

Caspar Staehr and his wife Catherina brought Adam for baptism on 2 November 1777 in the German Lutheran Church.  The sponsors, who are usually considered very significant, were Adam Wayland and his wife Maria Finks.  In this case, the sponsors may not be significant, except in a negative sense.  Adam Wayland was a lay leader in the Church and he may have responded just because the Staehrs had no relatives, which were the typical sponsors, in the area.  This suggests that the Staehrs were not related to anyone in the Church.  On the other hand, it is possible that the sponsors were related, so this should not be forgotten; but, most likely, Adam Wayland was responding because of his role in the Church.

Elizabeth Staehr, age 17, was confirmed on the 25th Sunday after Trinity in 1782.  This was the first Confirmation Cervice in four years and there was a large number of people being confirmed.

There is a name in the Culpeper Classes which is intriguing.  This is Jasper Starr.  Since these lists were made up by English-speaking individuals, it would not be a severe stretch of the imagination to believe that Jasper Starr was Caspar Staehr.  If this were true, the neighbors of Caspar Staehr were William Dickens, John Clore, Henry Lewis, Joseph Holtzclaw, Jacob Rouse, Henry Weyman (not to be confused with Wayland), Harmon Weyman, Daniel Railsback, Elijah Berry, John Stonesyfer, Henry Creamore, John Tanner and William Smith.  On the whole there are a lot of German names in these neighbors.  The Culpeper Classes were made up in 1781.

Vicki, who made the original comments, said the family was in Rowan County, North Carolina, by about 1783.  There is nothing in the Culpeper evidence which says that this would not have been possible.
(12 Aug 05)



Nr. 2162:

A correspondent writes that his ancestral family was Herbold(t), who arrived in Philadelphia in the year 1738 in late October on the bilander Thistle.  There were many delays in 1738, a year noted for the great loss of life in the Atlantic crossing.  More normally, ships arrived in late August or in September.  The Herbold family arrived without an adult male, perhaps due to the poor circumstances during the crossing.  Two brothers, Nicholas and Adam Harpole surface in Augusta County, Virginia, about 1760.

The correspondent is attempting to locate the German home of his ancestral family.  He is inclined to think it may be Baden, but the Württemberg or Palatinate states would be good candidates also.  If the family were Anabaptist in religion, then Alsace would be another candidate.

This is a typical problem of many people, trying to find the German home.  One of the first things that I would do is to plot, using the modern locations of the name Herbold and similar names such as Harbold, Herbolt, etc. from the telephone book.  Since the ship is known, and therefore the other passengers are known, I would also plot some of the other names in the ship's list, especially the names which are close to the family in the list.  Some names are too common to be useful but some names can be very useful.  [The name Steinseifer is bunched today around Siegen and is an excellent example showing that modern descendants have not moved far afield.]

There is a good chance that Adam and Nicholas might be married by 1760, so I would look for marriages in Pennsylvania.  Check the names of the wives, if known, against the ship's list.  Were they marrying someone from the old village?  Wherever possible, study the community and see with whom members of the Herbold family associate.

Several books have been prepared with the names of emigrants.  The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is a good source for these.  Also, there are people on the staff there who specialize in helping people find their village of origin.  Be sure and check families who seem to be associated with the Herbold.

Baden has several Ortssippenbuechen, which are printed lists and analysis of the Church Records in villages.  Some of these are to be found in the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and in the FHC.

Finding the old home village is not easy and, in most cases, a quick search will prove to be disappointing.
(15 Aug 05)



Nr. 2163:

Through George Durman, I received the following message:  "I was wondering if you have a list of the Blankenbeckler families that settled in Virginia.  I came across a George B. Blankenbeckler of St. Clair, VA, who married my cousin Mary Tilson on Feb. 1, 1867.  [. . .] I was wondering if they could be part of John Blankenbaker's family.  I know the name has several spellings."

The inquirer was certainly correct on one point.  The name does have several spellings.  A person recently told me that she had found 44 different spellings for Willheit and I told her that if there were as many as letters as in the name which became Blankenbaker, et al, that her record would not stand.

One of the immigrants of the name Blankenbuehler was Johann Nicholas.  He had a son Zacharias (born in Germany) who had a son Zacharias.  This grandson of John Nicholas moved, probably after the Revolution, to southwest Virginia in the area which became Wythe County.  So Zacharias had no relatives with the same surname living in the area.  He had considerable freedom to spell the name in any way that he chose.  Two main variations developed, Blankenbeckler and Blankenbecler.  These are not all that far from the original name.  Several descendants felt that these were too long and so they shortened the name to such variants such as Blanken and Beckler, and other variations of these.

There is in the larger Blankenbuehler family a similar situation which arose in the line of the 1717 immigrant Matthias Blankenbuehler family.  Matthias has a son George, who married Mary Gerhard.  After a son was born in the decade of the 1740's, named John, and George died, Mary remarried and went with her new husband to North Carolina.  Of course, John Blankenbuehler, George's son, went also.  In North Carolina he was the only one with the name.  In due course, he married and had four sons.  Within in the family there was a tendency to regard the surname as a compound name.  Within the compound name they chose to use the last part, Pickler, as the surname.  What is remarkable is that all four sons adopted this spelling.

These two instances tell us that, if a man has an unusual name and is the only bearer of it in his neighborhood, then the probability will be high that he will adopt a variant spelling.  In this instance, both men harkened to a common theme, namely Blankenbeckler and Pickler, where the Picklers adopted a shorter form.  The "p"'s and "b"'s are interchangeable and the vowels do not count.

In Germany today, the name is spelled in two ways, Blankenbuehler and Plankenbuehler.  In America, it ranges from Baker and Blank to Blankenbeckler.
(16 Aug 05)



Nr. 2164:

I have some dead ends or brick walls in my ancestral tree.  For example, I do not know the villages of origin for John Carpenter (nee Zimmermann), Mark Finks, and Lewis Fisher, among the men, nor do I know the name and source of Mrs. Balthasar Blankenbuehler.  I would like to know more about Mrs. George Utz (Anna Barbara Maier).  I am not a genealogist.  I own no genealogy program for keeping track of ancestors.  Still, I have solved more brick walls and corrected more genealogical mistakes than anyone and many of these are not on my tree.  In addition, I have published a lot of research done by others.  I say all this so that you can tell where I come from.

I just received a note from a Lewis Fisher (Ludwig Fischer) descendant in which a few questions were raised.  Let me attempt to answer some of these.  Where did I obtain the information about Ludwig and his kin in Virginia?  Among the sources that are often overlooked are records at the German Lutheran Church (Hebron Church) in Culpeper County, VA.  These go a long way toward identifying the family.  The Baptismal Records are especially useful, but the Communion Lists are helpful also.  [The best source of the Baptismal and Communion Records are two books by myself and Andreas Mielke.]  These Records do not explicitly state who was the sons and daughters of Lewis Fisher, but a study of how things were done at the Church gives us the rules for implicit deductions.  Much of this, as pertains to the family of Lewis and Anna Barbara Fisher, was summarized in Beyond Germanna in volume 8, number 6 (page 471).  Several other sources, including the Garr Genealogy, are in error as Wills and the Church Records show.

In the Will of Lewis Fisher, he leaves a life interest in the home place in Culpeper County to his wife, with the place to go to son Barnett at her death.  First, Barnett's two brothers disappear from the records in Culpeper County, while Barnett and his mother remain.  Then Barnett and his mother disappear, apparently at the same time.  I believe the farm was sold by Barnett and his mother at about this time.  Barnett appears soon in Kentucky, and I would assume that his mother went with him.  Most likely a motivation for moving was to reunite the family, that is to join Barnett's two brothers, who had apparently left Culpeper County.

The will of Lewis Fisher is available.  In this he names three sons but not daughters, though they would have been included in the phrase "all my children".  This phrase was used to describe the disposition of his estate in Germany if it should be recovered.  This estate was never defined and in the imagination of his descendants it grew until it included Hanover, a castle on the Rhine, and his Barony.  The belief was persistent until an effort was made about 1900 to see if there was anything to the story.  This effort was told by James E. Brown in Beyond Germanna, volume 9, number 3, (page 501).  What is overlooked is that many Germans in America had claims on estates in Germany, though they were usually modest.  The event was so common that German printers here made forms, with blanks to be filled in, to be sent back to Germany.
(17 Aug 05)



Nr. 2165:

Matthias Castler was known as Gessler in Enzweihingen, Württemberg, where three children were baptized.  Only one of these three lived and that was Anna Magdalena, who became the wife of Conrad Delph in Virginia.  Another child was probably born in Virginia, Susanna, who married Rev. Samuel Klug.  It is possible Susanna might have been born en route, especially because the trip for them might have been longer than usual.

The information in this note comes from Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny in their Before Germanna Booklet Number 7.  The last child of Matthias Gessler mentioned in the German Church Records, Anna Magdalena, was born in the year 1716.  The Matthias Gessler name does not appear in the Church Records after this date.  This led Zimmerman and Cerny to postulate that Gessler came with the Second Colony.  We now know that several people did leave in 1717, but did not pass London until a later year.  Since Matthias Gessler has his original Land Patent in 1728, two years later than the majority of the Second Colony Patents, this tends to confirm that the family was delayed in coming.

The wife of Matthias, whom he married in 1711, was Susanna Christina Schnell, the daughter of deceased school teacher Joh. Michael Schnell.  Matthias' father was also deceased.  His name was Ulrich Gessler, and he had been a weaver.  The marriage of Matthias and Susanna took place at Berg bei Stuttgart in Württemberg.  Because this is the only time that the wife of Matthias Gessler is mentioned, we assume that she was the mother of Susanna Gessler/Castler.

The parents of Susanna Christina Schnell were Hanns Michael Schnell and Anna Susanna Pictorius.  Johann [Hanns] Michael Schnell entered the University of Tübingen where he graduated.  He then earned a Master's Degree.  He entered on a career of teaching, and was last at the ducal Gymnasium at Stuttgart.  The parents of Hanns Michael Schnell were Michael Schnell, butcher, and Sophia Keller.  The father of Anna Susanna Pictorius was Johannes Pictorius, an Under Bailiff.

Sophia Keller, above, was the daughter of Georg Keller and his wife Barbara Haslacker.  This latter Georg Keller was the son of another Georg Keller, who was a tent maker.

None of the immediate ancestors of Matthias and Susanna Gessler were involved with earning a living from the land.  The name Pictorius suggests that the German name Fischer had been converted to a Latin form, a practice which appealed to teachers, doctors, and other educated persons.
(19 Aug 05)



Nr. 2166:

Most of us are familiar with the accounts of John Fontaine describing his trips to Germanna, one for the purpose of finding land, and the other describing the trip over the mountains.  In his diary that we have, he had other reports.  One was the trip to Fort Christanna that he took with Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood in the spring of 1716.  I will take a few notes to give his report on this event.

"From November 1715 to October 1716.  I remained at Williamsburg and put out notes [advertised] for my horse and in some months after I got him, but in the meantime which is February 7, 1715/16 I bought a horse which cost me £10 and March 20, trucked [traded] the horse which cost me £10 for another which I gave forty shillings in money to boot and the Governor proposed a journal to his settlement, on Meherrin river called Christanna.

"April [13,] 1716.  Williamsburg.  The first day, Governor Spotswood and I set out from Williamsburg about 8 of the morning and we went to James Town, in a four wheel Chaise, which is situated close upon James River, eight miles from Williamsburg.  This town chiefly consists in a church, a Court House and three or four brick houses.  This was the former seat of the Governor[s] but now ‘tis removed to Middle Plantation which they call Williamsburg.  The place where this town is built on an island all surrounded with water and was fortified with a small rampart with embrasures, but now is all gone to ruin.  Our horses were ferried over the river before us.  We left the Chaise at Jamestown and about 10 of the clock we were in the ferry boat and crossed the river.  They reckon this place to be about two miles broad.  When we arrived to the other side of the river, we mounted our horses and set on the journey.  It rained all this day very fast and we were well wet.  About two of the clock we put into a planter's house and dined upon our provisions and fed our horses, and about three we mounted our horses and came to a place called Simmons' Ferry upon Notoway River.  There was a great fresh [fresh marsh?] in the river so that we were obliged to swim our horses over and we passed in a canoe.  Then we mounted our horses and put on till we came to one Mr. Hicks his plantation upon one of the branches of Meherrin River called Herrin Creek.  The man of the house was not at home, so we fared but indifferently.  We made in all this day 65 miles."  [A very good day's travel with two river crossings.]

[Sometimes Fontaine’s language is not the clearest but we can make out his intention usually.  When Fontaine writes of "his (Spotswood's) settlement" called Christanna, we wonder in what sense he means "his".    We know that Virginia Indian Trading Company was making this their base, and we know that Spotswood was an investor in this Company, and we know that Beresford says that Spotswood was building a home here, but we are still uncertain about the meaning of "his".]
(22 Aug 05)



Nr. 2167:

[With John Fontaine and Lt. Gov. Spotswood, on a trip to Christanna.]

"April [14,] 1716.  The second day.  In the morning we set out with a guide for Christiana.  For this house is the most outward settlement on this side of Virginia which is the south side.  We have no roads here to conduct us, nor inhabitants to direct the traveller.  There were several Indians that met us and about twelve we came to Meherrin River opposite to Christianna Fort.  We see this day several fine tracts of land and plains called Savannas which lie along by the river side, much like unto our low meadow lands in England.  There is neither tree nor shrub that grows upon those plains, nothing but good grass, which for want of being mowed or eat down by the cattle grows rank and coarse.  Those places are not miry, but good and firm ground.  Those plains are subject to inundation after great rains and when the rivers overflow, but there is seldom above 6 or 8 inches over them, which may be easily prevented by ditching it.  In about half an hour after twelve we crossed the river in a canoe and went up to the fort which is built upon a rising ground.  It is an inclosure of five sides, made only with palisades, and instead of five bastions, there are five houses which defend the one the other ­ each side is about one hundred yards long.  There are five cannon here, which fired to welcome the Governor.  There are 12 men continually here to keep the place.  After all the ceremony [was] over we came into the fort and we were well entertained.  The day proving wet and windy, we remained within doors and we employed ourselves reading of Mr. Charles Griffiths his observations on the benefits of a solitary life.  We reckon that we made this day 15 miles.  In all from Williamsburg 80 miles.

"April [15,] 1716.  The third day.  Christanna Fort.  About 9 in the morning we got up and breakfasted.  Mr. Griffiths who is an Englishman, he is employed by the government to teach the Indian children and to bring them to Christianity.  He remains in this place and teaches them to read the Bible and Common Prayers, as also to write, and the English tongue.  He hath had good success amongst them.  He hath now been a year amongst them.  He told the Governor and the Indian Chiefs, or Great Men, as they style themselves, were coming to the Fort to compliment him.  These Indians are called Saponey Indians, and are always at peace with the English.  They consist of about 200 persons, men, women and children and live within musket shot of this fort and are protected by the English, and under covert of this fort from the insults of the other Indians, who are at difference with the English.  Those Indians pay a tribute to the Governor every year to renew and confirm the peace and shew their submission.  This nation hath no king at present, but are governed by twelve of their old men, which have power to act for the whole nation, and they will stand to every thing that those twelve men agree to, as their own act." [This day's account is to be continued.]

(23 Aug 05)



Nr. 2168:

[Continuing John Fontaine’s account of April 15, 1716.]

"Those twelve men came to the Fort about 12 of the clock, and brought with them several skins, and as soon as they came to the Governor they laid them at his feet, and then all of them as one man made a bow to the Governor, and then desired an interpreter, saying they had something to represent to him.  Notwithstanding some of them could speak good English, yet when they treat of any thing that concerns their nation, they will not treat but in their own language, and that by an interpreter, nor will not answer to any question made to them without it be in their own tongue.  So the Governor got an interpreter, after which they stood silent for a while, and after they had spit several times upon the ground one of them began to speak and assured the Governor of the satisfaction they had of seeing him amongst them and assured him of the good will they had towards the English ­ and that some of the English had wronged them in some things which they would make appear, and desired he would get justice done to them, that they depended on him for it, which the Governor promised he would, and thanked them for the good opinion they had of his justice towards them.  Whereupon they all made a bow and so sat down on the ground all round the Governor.

"The first complaint they made was against another nation of Indians called Genitos, had surprised a party of their young men that had been out a hunting and murdered 15 of them without any reason, and desired the Governor to assist them to go out to war with these Genitoes Indians until they had killed as many of them, but this the Governor could not grant them, but told them he would permit them to revenge themselves, and help them to powder and ball, at which they seemed somewhat rejoiced.  They also complained against some of the English, who had cheated them, but the Governor paid them for what they could make out they were wronged of by these English, which satisfied them.  Afterwards the Governor made them several presents and so dismissed them.

"About three of the clock came fifty of the young men with feathers in their hair, and run through their ears, and their faces painted with blue and vermillion, and their hair cut in many forms.  Some left one side of their hair on, and others had their hair cut on both sides and on the upper part of the head, made it stand like a cock’s comb, and they had blue and red blankets wrapped about them.  They dress themselves after this manner when they go to war the one with the other so they call this their war dress, which really is very terrible and makes them look like so many furies.  Those young men made no speeches, only walked up and down and seemed to be very proud of their most abominable dress."  [The account of April 15 will continue in the next Note.]


(24 Aug 05)



Nr. 2169:

[Continuing John Fontaine's account for April 15, 2005.]

"After this came the young women.  They have all long straight black hair which comes down to their waist.  They had each of them a blanket tied about their waists, and it hung down about their legs like a petticoat.  They have no shifts or any thing to cover them from their waists up, but go naked.  Others of them there was that had two deer skins sewed together and they threw it over their shoulders like a mantel.  They all of them grease their bodies and head with bear's oil, which with the smoke of their cabins gives them an ugly hue.  They are very modest and very true to their husbands.  They are straight, well limbed, good shape and extraordinary good features as well the men as the women.  They look wild and are mighty shy of an Englishman and will not let you touch them.  The men marry but one wife and cannot marry any more until she die or grow so old that she will not bear any more children.  But when she hath done bearing, then the man may take another wife, but is obliged to keep them both and maintain them.  They take one another without ceremony."

[At this point, Fontaine gives a list of Indian words and phrases and their English meaning.  Many of the words seem to be chosen by their applicability to the English life, not the Indian life.]

"April 16, 1716.  At Christiana.  The fourth day.  [Fontaine varies the spelling of the word 'Christiana'.]  In the morning I rid out with the Governor and some of the people of the fort to view the lands which were not yet taken up.  We see several fine tracts of land, well watered and good places to make mills on.  I had a mind to take some of it up, so I asked the Governor if he would permit me to take up 3000 acres of land.  He gave me his promise for it.  I went through the land I designed to take up and viewed it.  It lies upon both sides of the Meherrin River, and I design to have it in a long square [rectangle], half one side and half the other, so that I shall have at least three miles of the river in the land.  I am informed that this river disgorgeth itself into the Sound of Currytuck but this river tho' large and deep is not navigable because of the great rocks it falls over in some places.  There is a great deal of fish in this place.  We had two for dinner about 16 inches long which are very good and firm.  I gave ten shillings to Captain Hicks for his trouble of shewing me the land, and he promises me he will assist me in surveying of it.  We see several turkies and deer, but we killed none.  We returned to the Fort about 5 of the clock."

[John Fontaine did not take up the land and patent it.  Following Spotswood's example, Fontaine let his land claim on the Meherrin River lapse.  Spotswood lost interest in the area and turned to Germanna when the legislation establishing the Virginia Indian Trading company was overturned.]
(25 Aug 05)



Nr. 2170:

[With John Fontaine at Christanna on April 17, 1716.]

"The fifth day.  After breakfast I went down to the Saponey Indian town, which is about a musket shot from the fort.  This town lieth in a plain by the river side.  I walked round the town to view it.  The houses join all the one to the other and altogether make a circle.  The walls of their houses are large pieces of timber, which are squared and being sharpened at the lower end, they are put about two feet in the ground and about seven feet above the ground.  They laid them as close as they could the one to the other, and when these posts are all fixed after this manner then they make a sort of a roof with rafters and cover the house with oak or hickory bark, which they strip off in great flakes, and lay it so closely that no rain can come in.  Some of their houses are covered in a circular manner which they do by getting long saplings and stick each in the ground and so cover them with bark, but there is none of the houses in this town so covered.  There is three ways of coming into this town or circle of houses which are passages of about 6 feet wide between two of the houses.  All of the doors of the houses are on the inside of the ring and it is very level withinside which is in common with all the people to divert themselves.  There is also in the centre of the inside circle a great stump of a tree.  I asked the reason they left that stand, and they informed me it was for one of their head men to stand on when he had any thing of consequence to relate to them, that being raised, he may the better be heard.

"The Indian women bind their children to a board that is cut after the shape of the child.  There is two pieces at the bottom of this board to tye the child's legs to, and a piece cut out behind so that all that the child doth falls from him and he is never dirty nor never wants to be changed.  The head or top of the board is round, and there is a hole through the top of it, through which there is a string so that when the women are tired holding of them or have a mind to work they hang the board on which the children are tied to the limb of a tree or to a pin in a post for that purpose, and there the children swing about and divert themselves and are out of the reach of any thing that may hurt them.  They keep those children this way until they are almost two years old, which I believe is the reason they are all so straight, and so few of them that are lame or odd shaped.  Their houses are pretty large, never have no garrets or no other light than the door and the light that comes in from the hole in top of the house, which is to let out the smoke.  They make their fires always in the middle of the houses.  The chief of their household goods is a pot and wooden dishes and trays they make themselves.  They seldom have any thing in their houses to sit upon, but sit commonly on the ground.  They have small divisions in their houses to lie in.  This is made with mats which they make of bullrushes.  They also have bedsteads which raise them about two feet off the ground, upon which they lay bear and deer skins instead of a quilt.  All the covering they have is a blanket.  Those people have no sort of tame creatures [i.e., cows], but live altogether upon their hunting and corn, which their wives cultivate.  They live as lazily and miserable as any people in the world."  [This day's account to be continued.]

(26 Aug 05)



Nr. 2171:

[With John Fontaine, on April 17, 1716, at Christanna, continued.]

"Between the town and the river upon the river side there are several little huts built with wattles in form of an oven with a small door in one end of it.  These wattles are plaistered without side with clay very close, and they are big enough to hold a man.  They call those houses sweating houses, for when they have any sickness they get 10 or 12 pebble-stones which they make very red in a fire and when they are red hot they carry them in those little huts and the sick man or woman goes in naked, only a blanket with him and they shut the door upon them and there they sit and sweat until they are no more able to support it and then they go out naked and immediately jump into the water over head and ears.  This is the remedy they have for all distempers.

[April 18, 1716.] "The sixth day.  Christiana.  The Governor sent for all the young boys, and they brought with them their bows, and he got an axe which he stuck up and made them all shoot by turns at the eye of the axe, which was about 20 yards distance.  The Governor had looking glasses and knives which were the prizes the boys shot for.  They were very dexterous at this exercise and very often shot through the eye of the axe.  [Does anyone know what the eye of an axe is?]  This diversion continued about an hour.

[Note from GWD, Webmaster:  The boys were evidently shooting at the head of an axe that did not have a handle in it. The "eye" is the hole in the metal axe head into which the wooden handle is fitted. In other words, the axe was stuck into something wooden with the empty hole facing the boys.  Some were able to put the arrow through the hole, which probably measured about 1x2 inches.  Not an easy target.]

"The Governor asked the boys to dance a war dance so they prepared for it and made a great ring.  The musician being come he set himself in the middle of the ring, and all the instrument he had was piece of a board and two small sticks.  The board he set upon his lap and began to sing a doleful tune, and by striking on the board with his sticks he accompanied his voice and made several antic motions, and sometimes shrieked hideously, which was answered by the boys.  According as the man sung so the boys danced all round endeavouring who could outdo the one the other in antic motions, and hideous cries.  Their motions answered in some way to the time of the music.  All that I could remark by their actions was that they were representing how they attacked their enemies, and would relate the one to the other how many of the other Indians they had killed, and how they did it, making all the motions in this dance as if they were actually in the action.  By this lively representation of their warring one may see the base way they have of surprising and murdering all their prisoners, and what terrible cries they have when they are conquerors.  After the dance was over the governor treated all the boys, but they are so little used to have a belly full that they rather devoured their victuals than any thing else.  So this day ended."

(29 Aug 05)



Nr. 2172:

[Apparently, the eye of an axe is the space in the iron where the wooden handle is inserted.  Probably the iron part, without the handle, was affixed to a tree or similar support.  If an arrow went through the eye, it could embed itself in the tree showing that it had, in fact, gone through the eye.]

[With John Fontaine at Christanna on April 19, 1716.]

"The seventh day.  Christiana.  After breakfast we assembled ourselves, and read the Common Prayer.  There was with us eight of the Indian boys who answered very well to the prayers and understood what was read.  After prayers we dined and in the afternoon we walked abroad to see the land which is well timbered and very good.  We returned to the Fort and supped.  Nothing remarkable.

[April 20, 1716.] "The eighth day.  Christiana.  About ten in the morning there came to the fort ten of the Meherrin Indians to trade, laden with beaver, deer and bear skins, for our Indian Company have goods here for that purpose.  They delivered up their arms to the white men of the fort, and left their skins and furs there also.  Those Indians would not lie in the Indian town but went in the woods where they lay until such time as they had done trading.  The Governor and I we laid out an avenue about a half mile long, which gave us employment enough this day.

"April [21,] 1716.  Christiana.  The ninth day.  About seven in the morning we got a horseback and were just out of the fort when the cannon fired.  We passed down by the Indian town, where they had notice that the Governor was returning, so they got of their young men ready with their arms, and one of their old men at the head of them, and assured the governor they were sorry he would leave them, but that they would guard him safe to the Inhabitants, which they pressed upon him so that he was forced to accept it.  They were all a foot, so the governor to compliment the head of the Indian party lent him his lead horse, but after we had rid about a mile we came to a ford of the Meherrin River, and we put in, but being mistaken in our water mark, we were sometimes obliged to make our horses swim, but got over safe.  The Indian Chief seeing that, he unsaddles his horse, and strips himself all to his belt and clout that covered his nakedness, and forded over the river leading the horse after him.  The fancy of the Indian made us merry for a while.  The day being warm and the Indian not accustomed to ride, before we went two miles, the horse threw him down, but he had courage enough to mount again, and by the time we had got a mile further he was so terribly galled that he was forced to dismount and desired that the Governor to take his horse, and could not imagine what good they were for, if it was not to cripple the Indians.  We were forced to ride easy that we make [might] keep company with our Indian Guard, who accompanied us as far as a river called Nottoway river, which taketh its name from the Nottoway Indians, who formerly lived upon this river."

{Note from GWD, Webmaster:  "Galled": The Indian Chief was riding bareback, with his bare buttocks on the horse.  The friction between his buttocks and the horses back "chaffed" or "blistered" the skin, making it look like a terrible rash.  Very, very painfjul!]

(30 Aug 05)



Nr. 2173:

[Continuing with John Fontaine, on April 21, 1716, returning to Williamsburg from Christanna.]

"This place is about 15 miles [the Nottoway River] from the fort.  Here we parted with our guard of Indians and the Governor ordered them to have a pound of powder, and shot in proportion, to each man.  So they left us.  We crossed this river and rid fifteen miles farther until we came to a poor planter's house, where we put up for that night.  They had no beds in the house, so the Governor lay upon the ground and had his bear's skin under him.  I lay upon a large table in my cloak, and thus we fared until day which was welcome to us.

"April [22,]1716.  The tenth day.  On our way to Williamsburg.  At 5 we got up and at 6 we mounted our horses and we took a guide who pretended to know the way and bring us a short cut, but instead of that he brought us out of our way about seven miles.  When we found that he was lost, we dismissed the guide.  The sun shined out clear, so the Governor he conducted us and about four of the clock we came to James River and took the ferry and about 6 of the clock we mounted our horses and went to Williamsburg, where we arrived about 8 of the clock.  I supped with the Governor, and being well tired, after went to my lodgings and to bed.  This journey coming and going comes to one hundred sixty miles."

This account was taken from "The Journal of John Fontaine" and covers some events in the time frame 1710 to 1719.  It was edited with an introduction by Edward Porter Alexander.  The editing consists mostly of added notes to explain in more detail some of the things that Fontaine mentions but briefly.  It was published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and distributed by the University Press of Virginia.  My particular copy was copyrighted in 1972.

The Journal is divided into nine parts.  Usually, two of these, entitled Land Hunting to Germanna and Over the Blue Ridge, are well known to Germanna students.  We have just covered The Indians at Fort Christanna.  In future notes, I will cover some of the comments made by E. P. Alexander.
(31 Aug 05)



Nr. 2174:

Comments of Edward Porter Alexander in "The Journal of John Fontaine" include: 

"Fort Christanna was situated on the south side of the Meherrin River.  Its site is about one-quarter miles east of the monument erected by the Colonial Dames of Virginia at Fort Hill in Brunswick County on Route 686 southwest of Lawrenceville, the county seat.  Governor Spotswood made a treaty with the Saponi, Stenkenocks, and Tutelo at Williamsburg on Feb. 27, 1713/14 by which they agreed to live on a six-mile square tract on the Meherrin protected by the fort and twelve rangers and an officer.  That spring Spotswood laid out five large log houses as bastions connected by a curtain of wooden palisades and earth and with a great gun of about 1400 pounds at each house.  The fort contained a trading post of the Virginia Indian Company which had a monopoly of the Indian trade for twenty years.  It was ultimately to maintain the garrison of the fort and a school for Indian children.  Spotswood took a large land grant to help support the school and paid 50 [pounds] from his own pocket to Charles Griffin as teacher.  In 1716 Spotswood was reported building a house for himself worth 500-600 [pounds] sterling and hoping to attract other settlers.

"Many of the members of the Council of Virginia were already engaged in the Indian trade, and with the help of British merchants who disliked the monopolistic aspect of the arrangement, they managed to secure the disallowance of the Indian Company Act in 1717 by the English authorities in London.  Spotswood then tried without success to persuade the Assembly to assume the cost of the fort.  He argued that the frontiers were being protected economically and that the Indians had never been so peaceful.  Mr. Griffin was instructing and catechizing 78 Indian children including 11 hostages from the southern tribes.  [These hostages were the children of the tribal leaders and their retention at Fort Christanna was intended to secure the cooperation of the southern tribes.]

"But Spotswood's efforts were in vain.  Mr. Griffin moved to the College of William and Mary in 1718 to tech Indian lads at the Brafferton school, built and supported by the chemist Robert Boyle's foundation.  Spotswood abandoned his house and allowed his land grant to lapse.  Iroquois raiders in 1719 ravaged the cornfields of the Christanna Indians and lay in ambush before the gate of the fort.  Still, Spotswood's treaty with the Iroquois in 1722 was largely effective, and it was really the white man's encroachment, rum, and diseases that ruined the Indians.  They abandoned Christanna about 1740."

[References for Alexander’s remarks are "Calendar of State Papers, America and West Indies 1714-1715, nos. 188, 320, 449; 1716-1717; nos. 146, 243, 452; 1717-1718, no. 699; 1719-1720, nos. 357, 535i; 1724-1725, no. 210"; Rev. Hugh Jones, "Present State of Virginia", pp. 12, 59, 162-63, 167.
(01 Sep 05)



Nr. 2175:

Edward Porter Alexander notes that the land patent for 3,000 acres on the Meherrin River that Fontaine said that he wanted was never issued.  Whether Fontaine proceeded beyond his wish is not clear but he certainly never prosecuted his claim to the land.  Most likely, in my estimation, was that he lost interest when the Indian Trading company was declared illegal.  Thus, there was less incentive for Spotswood and others to pursue their land claims and the region appeared less attractive to Fontaine.  As we have seen from Fontaine's account, Fort Christanna was remote and isolated from the Tidewater civilization.

John Fontaine never acquired any land in Virginia for his own use.  He did get a farm in King William County for his brother, James, and Matthew Maury.  Peter Fontaine became the Rector of Westover Church, while Francis Fontaine became the Rector of Yorkhampshire Parish.

Fontaine was wrong about where the Meherrin discharged its waters.  It flows into Albemarle Sound instead of Currituck Sound.

The Hicks or Hix who assisted Fontaine in laying out Fontaine's 3,000 acres was probably Capt. Robert Hicks (ca. 1658-1740), who was a prominent Indian trader.  Perhaps he commanded the twelve rangers at Fort Christanna.  He later accompanied Gov. Spotswood to Albany (NY) in 1722 to negotiate with the Indians.  He assisted briefly in surveying the line between Virginia and North Carolina in 1728 when he was seventy years old.  William Byrd II admired his cheerful energy and "his disdaining to be thought the worse for threescore and ten years."  [Hear! Hear!]

Alexander believes that the avenue that Spotswood and Fontaine laid out at Fort Christanna was probably for the purpose of showing the proposed house of Spotswood to the best advantage.

Spotswood put the distance from Williamsburg to Christanna and back at 200 miles, about 25% higher than the 160 miles that Fontaine estimated.  Spotswood was undoubtedly closer, for on the modern maps a straight line indicates 90 miles one way.
(02 Sep 05)


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(This page contains the EIGHTY-SEVENTH set of Notes, Nr. 2151 through Nr. 2175.)

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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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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 2151 through 2175.

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