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This is the NINETY-FIRST 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 2251 through 2275.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 91

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Nr. 2251:

Every fifty Notes, I take time out to comment on the purposes and aims of these notes.  After all, there must be some reason for writing them if I have devoted the labor, so far, in writing two thousand, two hundred, and fifty-one of these Notes.  That raises a point.  I am running out of subjects that are fresh, interesting, and appropriate.  There are many subjects that I wish I could write about, but for which I do not have enough information.  So that is one limitation.

My primary aim is to discuss the Germans who lived on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, primarily in the counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock, and their parent colonies.  Many people who ask questions would do well to look at a topological map of Virginia and fix in their minds where the Blue Ridge Mountains are.  As an alternative, the route of the Sky Line Drive follows closely to the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Some other prominent geographical features are the Great Fork, which is the area between the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers; the Little Fork, which is present-day Culpeper County, and is the area between the Rappahannock and the Hazel (or Elk or South Fork) Rivers; and the Robinson River Valley, which is close to being the present boundary of Madison County.  Germantown is in Fauquier County, about eight miles to the south and east of Warrenton.

German-speaking emigrants came to this region for more than sixty years, from 1714 to the time of the Revolutionary War.  They came from diverse locations in Germany such as Nassau-Siegen, the Kraichgau (southeast of Heidelberg), and from several other areas of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.  Primarily, they came for economic reasons.  They wanted a better living for themselves and especially for their children.  Though they often left little behind in the way of material goods, they did leave relatives, friends, and a known environment, for the unknown toils of the New World.  For this, the New World must be thankful, for they were a major force in creating a new civilization here.  Of course, I speak here of all of the German emigrants who settled in the Colonies.

It is hard, at times, to separate the Germanna people from the other Germans in the same general area.  So, some of my discussions in these Notes is very general, to help set the flavor and the themes of the emigrants and their contributions.  Certainly, the Germanna people made their contributions in several areas.  We also must recognize that the German emigrants worked within a system that was already established.  Sometimes, I will discuss this framework.  For example, the Germans did not establish tobacco as a medium of exchange, i.e., money.  But they did accept it and they did grow tobacco.
(13 Feb 06)



Nr. 2252:

In drawing maps of the original patents, there should be gaps between the patents, which are the difference between the original unofficial claim and the patent as surveyed.  This difference is the usual explanation for the "waste land" that is found in following surveys.

When the land in the Great Fork, i.e., between the Rappahannock and the Rapidan Rivers, was declared to be in the Northern Neck, this meant that the patents, now called grants, were obtained from the Northern Neck Proprietor.  Many people, undertook to have their property resurveyed by an agent of the Proprietor, as though they wished to perfect their deed.  At this time a lot of waste land was discovered.  People who had been holding land, as yet unpatented, felt that they had better get it included in a Northern Neck grant.  The conversion of the land in the Great Fork to the Northern Neck was in the 1740's, so the finding of waste land at this time was an indication that they had been reserving the land without paying the taxes on it for up to twenty years.

When I drew the several maps of patents and grants in the Great Fork, I used the later patents and grants as my principal guide.  These were better definitions of the land that a man effectively controlled.  The original patents did not fill up the land use, and had gaps between them.  The later patents tended to take up all of the space.  I have also found that the later patents reflected some horse trading.  Two men might swap some of their claims to land to effectively improve the basic value of the tracts.

There was some overlap in the patents which was most likely due to confusion about the extent of the individual tracts.  There were insufficient markers to show clearly the boundaries.

That land could be divided into a series of claims with gaps and overlaps was pointed out to me by the original land patents in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania.  Many of these were issued by Virginia but the process was independent of the governing body.  In the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, below present Pittsburgh, coal was found underneath the soil.  The mining companies wanted to know to whom they had to pay royalties or, if the land was unclaimed, whether they might not claim the mineral rights.  So the companies sponsored a remapping of the land claims.  It was a mess with many gaps.  Overlaps were probably resolved by assigning the land to the first claim.  It was an eye-opener to me to see what a chaotic mess these land claims could be.

Anyone who has worked with the patents issued by the Colony of Virginia in the name of the King, and the grants issued by the Proprietor of the Northern Neck, will generally acknowledge that the grants were done better than the patents.
(14 Feb 06)



Nr. 2253:

Nancy Dodge sent a note to the list concerning a land dispute between George Moyers and Adam Broyles which seemed to involve waste land.  (As with so many law suits, I can’t say that I understand the details, which were not reported.)  A well-known land dispute arose between John Wayland and John Broyles.  John Broyles had a 1726 patent for 400 acres.  John Wayland had a 1728 patent for 504 acres, which overlapped the Broyles to the extent of 384 acres.  If one used only the original patents and failed to note the ensuing dispute, it would be very hard to plot the Wayland and other patents.

Two of the lines in the Wayland patent were extensions of the Broyles patent and they shared one line in common.  It would appear that Wayland could not have laid out his patent without a good knowledge of the Broyles patent yet he managed to encroach on the Broyles patent to the extent of 384 acres.  After the lawsuit, which he lost, Wayland had only 120 acres.  This shows that one must take the original patent language cautiously.

I have seen maps of land division based on later sales.  Whereas the northern corner of the John Rucker patent of 977 acres appears to be a line in common with Michael Holt, the later land sales show that the Rucker land extended into Holt land.  This may have come about in several ways, including trades or sales.  Or possibly it was the result of land use; he who occupies and uses the land has some claim to it.

Disputes about boundaries were a problem and lawsuits were a major method of resolution if the two parties could not reach a private agreement.  Another way of establishing boundaries was precessioning.  This was done under the supervision of the established church.  A committee of men and the two adjacent land owners would walk along a boundary line.  The presence of the owners and the witnesses established that this was a boundary.  There was no requirement that the line they walked was defined in any legal terms.  The line that they walked was the de facto boundary.  On one occasion Alexander Spotswood was invited to precession his land (which would have taken days if not weeks) and he declined, saying that some of the boundaries were in dispute and he would not precession the land until the disputes were resolved.

A map of the original patents should not be taken too literally.  It is a guide only.  The original patents had waste land around them.  The surveys were inaccurate and incomplete themselves.  There were overlaps.  There was some horse trading after the fact.

There were very few patents that can be cleanly and definitely matched to the land use today.  One of the best was the original Conrad Amberger patent in the Mt. Pony area south of Salubria.  Some of the others were the Blankenbaker-Utz-Fleshman-Thomas riverine patents across the Robinson River which, until recently, were marked by hedges along the boundaries.
(15 Feb 06)



Nr. 2254:

I have presented the thought that maps of original patents should be taken as guide lines but not as the gospel truth.  Few patents have preserved their essential outlines.  In some cases, it is possible to point to a tract of land and to be confident that the original boundaries can be identified.  More typically, it is possible to describe the general area of the land.  For example, the final John Huffman grant of more than 3,000 acres is not clearly defined in its exact outline but the area is about 90% certain.

With the passage of time and the removal of physical features, it becomes more difficult to exactly define the tracts.  The original Blankenbaker tracts were defined by hedge rows and fences until about ten years ago but they have been removed as the individual tracts have been combined into one.

The well-known Carpenter map of 1940 has some errors in it.  He reversed two of the tracts, one belonging to Scheible and an adjacent one.  However, even so the general locations are correct.  He also made some placement errors around Garr’s Mountain, but the general drift of the tract locations was correct.

Why are there these uncertainties?  The surveys were hastily done, and with approximations.  I have seen a line defined as bearing 60 degrees in one patent and said to be with the line of a neighbor.  In the neighbor’s patent, the same line is said to be 50 degrees.  There were many errors in recording the patents.  North and south were reversed.  In the Spotswood patent for the Spotsylvania tract, one long line omitted 1,000 rods in the recording.  Then the handwriting in the patent description is sometimes very hard to read.

Some of these errors are corrected in resurvey.  That is why it is important to use them as they tend to clarify the earlier patents.  But since the boundaries are often different, there is still an element of uncertainty.  The large John Huffman patent mentioned earlier is difficult to read.  In "Cavaliers and Pioneers" one of the waterways was misread, just to show how even experienced readers can go astray.

What is needed is an extension of the land records beyond the original tracts to see who owned and sold what.  The tracts are often redefined in these records.  It also permits the owners of a tract of land to be determined.  This is a very major job.

I have wondered if the satellite photos would be helpful.  It is possible to identify a few of the original tracts but whether they would be generally useful is unknown.
(16 Feb 06)



Nr. 2255:

The patents and grants allow us to make sociological studies.  For example, the dates tell us when settlement occurred and by whom it was made.  One point needs explanation immediately though.  Some patents were made in the spirit of speculation and some were made for the purpose of living on the land.  This has been recognized in Nell Marion Nugent’s books and their successors which are entitled "Cavaliers and Pioneers".  The Cavaliers were the speculators who did not want to work the land themselves.  Instead, they either sold the land in a very quick time, or leased it, or purchased slaves to work on it.  The Pioneers took out their patents with a view to living on and working the land themselves.  The pioneers sometimes took up more than one tract but it was usually with a view to having land for their sons and daughters.

The first patents in the modern county of Culpeper commenced in the last half of the 1710 decade.  Some of these were in eastern Culpeper, especially along Mountain Run and southeast of Mt. Pony.  There were a few in the northern part of the county in the Little Fork area, especially close to the Rappahannock River.  The trip over the Blue Ridge Mountains by Spotswood led to speculation in land in the Great Fork, the land between the Rapidan and the Rappahannock Rivers.  As a result of this trip, he and friends claimed about 65,000 acres.  Another spur to this land fever was the establishment of a group of Germans, the Second Colony, on the north side of the Rapidan River.  It is arguable that these Germans were the first settlers of modern Culpeper County.  If not the first, they were among the earliest.  It is true that at the end of 1718, there were more Germans living in the Great Fork than there were English.  And this was the most western point under the control of the English along the Atlantic seaboard.

Who were the first settlers, actually living on their land, in the modern county of Madison?  This area is almost the same as the Robinson River Valley.  The first patents that I find on the Robinson River or its tributaries are in 1726 when two patents were issued to Rush and Rush.  In this same year, twenty-two patents were issued to Germans.  (Because the Rush patents were on the fringe of the German patents, it appears that the German claims were the first.)  At the end of 1726, the area around what we might call the Hebron Valley was strongly German in nature.  This encouraged some Englishmen to settle in the area.  In 1727, Downs, Southall, and Phillips had patents, while only one individual, who was possible German, namely Rucker, took a patent.

The year 1728 reflected an increased interest in the area.  In this year, eleven patents were issued to Englishmen and nineteen patents were issued to Germans.  Through 1736, patents were issued to the English and Germans in about equal numbers.  With the numbers strongly showing the Germans were first with the largest numbers of people, the Robinson River Valley had a strong German flavor in its first decades.
(17 Feb 06)



Nr. 2256: [There may be days next week when I don't write any Notes, so I thought I would write some extra ones this week.]

In studying the patents that apply to the Robinson River Valley with a view to classifying the patentees as German or English, it is necessary to know something of the origin of the German names.  For example, there were Carpenters among the early patentees.  Were they English or German?  Some descendants of the Carpenters think of themselves as being of an English origin since Carpenter seems to an English name.  When one looks at the history in detail, one sees that the story is more complicated.  We find that the Carpenters were naturalized, which would only be necessary if they were not English.  In German, the Carpenter name would be given as Zimmerman, since that means the same thing.  That there is a family called Carpenter seems to have come about because when a second Zimmerman family arrived there was already a Zimmerman family here who was not related.  The second and later Zimmerman family decided to adopt the Carpenter name to distinguish themselves.

Many other of the German names were changed into English equivalents.  The Schmidt family became Smiths.  The Koch family became the Cook family.  Again, these were occupational names meaning the same thing.  Thomas is both an English name and a German name.  The German origins of all these families have been traced.  The German name Hold became Holt in English because the German pronunciation sounds more like Holt.  The German Barlows adopted that spelling since the German was close to an English spelling and sound.  Another German name that changed into parts that sound more English is Blankenbaker.

German names appearing in the 1726 patent list are Clore, Snider, Crigler, Cook, Fleshman, Scheible, Yager, Carpenter, Thomas, Blankenbaker (three times for three different men), Smith (twice for two different men), Barlow, Utz, Smith, Motz, Harnsberger, Moyer, Kaefer, Broyles, and Holt.  In the 1728 patents, the names include Holt, Rouse, Wayland, Castler, Moyer, Blankenbaker (again three times), Willheit, Carpenter, Kerker, Yowell, Clore, Vinegunt, Thomas, Broyles, Fleshman, Crigler, and Tanner.  Some of these names are duplicates of the 1726 names.  A little later, the German names, Hoffman, Long, Stoltz, Crees, Bloodworth, Amberger, Ballenger, and again Blankenbaker and Carpenter appear.  Still later names include Manspile, Zimmerman, Clemans, Garr, Schlater, Thomas, Tanner, Kains, Vaught, Baumgardner, Weaver, Willheit, and Walk.  This only comes up to about 1736.

Because several of the German names are duplicates of English names, the early German contribution to the settlement in the Robinson River Valley has not been recognized.
(17 Feb 06)



Nr. 2257:

Another way of recognizing the contribution of the Germans to Madison County as it exists today is in the legacy of the proper names they have left behind.  The Finks left a Hollow, in fact, some of them still live in the Hollow today.  The House family left a Hollow also.  The Broyles left a Gap as did the Fishers.  The Tanners left a Ridge as did the Deals (Diehls), but the Garrs and Aylors left Mountains.

The waterways have been marked with several names, including Cook’s Run, Wilhoit Branch, Carpenter Run, Carpenter’s River, Blankenbaker Branch, Yeager Run, and Fleshman Run.  Along streams you can cross at Wayland’s Ford, at Rucker’s Ford, or at Utz’s Ford.

To get around, you can take Weaver Road (more than one), Blankenbaker Road, Yeager Road, Tanner’s Road, and probably many more known to the citizens but not on a map.

You can go to school at the Yowell school or at Wayland’s.

You can do business at the Fishback Distillery, Carpenter’s Furniture Shop, the Clore Furniture Factory (still going strong), or Fleshman’s Shop.  You can take your grain to Crigler’s Mill.

You can live in Criglersville or on the German Ridge.

You might have gone to the Hoffman Chapel or you may still go to the Dutch Church which is better known today as Hebron.  Hebron has a history which is so rich that it desires its own special treatment.  The German pastor, George Samuel Klug, who served more than twenty years starting in 1739, performed services for the English when they were without a minister.  He did so much in this way that he received a payment from the Colony of Virginia for his services.

Some of the proper names that I have mentioned, especially the businesses, are no longer operating.  Many families have left their names behind as they moved on to new regions.  In the course of time some geographical names are changed and we lose sight of the original reasons.  For example, in eastern Culpeper County, the Fleshman’s Run there was changed to Field’s Run.

If readers are familiar with other names that I should add to the list above, please send them along to me in the next day or so.  I would appreciate it.  In preparing this material, I have found Eugene Scheel's Historical Map of Madison County very helpful.
(18 Feb 06)



Nr. 2258:

I will deviate in this Note from a pure discussion of the Germanna Colonies to some related material that may be of interest and a help to you.  The Pennsylvania Chapter of Palatines to America will hold its spring meeting on 22 April 2006 at Yoder’s restaurant in New Holland, PA.  There will be only one speaker, namely John Humphrey.  I have mentioned him before and many of you may have heard him.

John has written many books but he is certainly known for his sixteen-volume set of "Pennsylvania Births" which lists more than 200,000 births in eastern Pennsylvania counties before 1825.  This includes all religions and nationalities where there is a birth record.  He is certainly recognized for his book, "Understanding and Using Baptismal Records" from which I have quoted some material here in these Notes.

John’s three talks to the PA Chapter of PalAm are entitled:

1. German Research:  Using Underutilized and Unknown Resources.
2. Documentation:  It’s Essential.
3. German and American Church Records.

If anyone is interested and wants some more information, please send me an email.  I will scan the two-page announcement and send you a PDF copy of it.

With early registration, members of the PA Chapter will pay $27 and non-members will pay $32.  This includes a Pennsylvania Dutch noon dinner that will fill you.

Back to John Humphrey.  He is the current president of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, a vice-president of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and a past vice-president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Palatines to America.  He was the former Learning Center Director for the National Genealogical Society.  He has appeared on national television and public radio where he discussed various aspects of genealogy.  He has led a research trip to northern Germany.
(27 Feb 06)



Nr. 2259:

[Pardon me if I repeat material in some recent notes.]  A few years ago, someone sent me a photograph of a Madison County High School graduating class in the 1930s.  As I looked at the names of the people, I could say that I was related to more than one-half of the people in the class even though I did not know any of the individuals.  My own connection to Madison County is that I am descended from a dozen of the Germanna families who were the earliest settlers of Madison County.  In fact, my grandfather Blankenbeker could be said to be pure German since he was descended only from these German immigrants.

If I am related to more than half of a class of the 1930s, and some of the names were unknowns for whom I could not make any decision, then it would be a tentative conclusion that the Germans had a powerful influence in Madison County.  Even two hundred years after the first settlement, the German influence was strong.

Who were the first settlers in Madison County?  We must note that Madison County did not come into existence until 1792.  Prior to that it was in Culpeper County, Orange County, and Spotsylvania County and its ancestors.  In trying to answer the question just posed, we must also note there is a difference between settlers and speculators.  Settlers lived on the land, while the speculators were hoping for a quick sale, or lease of the land, or use of the land as quarters where slaves tended the land.  The speculators did not intend to live there.  Very often the speculators were able to obtain large tracts which are clues to the intended use since these tracts were too large to cultivate by one family.  For example, Joshua Fry appears to have had a large tract in eastern Madison County in 1726.  The first Fry did not live on the land until 1754 though.  Before then, the land was undeveloped as is shown by the need for him to re-patent the land on two later occasions.

Who owned the land originally?  Between the Rappahannock River and the Rapidan River, which is where the future Madison County lies, the land was considered initially to be the property of the Crown.  There were procedures whereby people could obtain this land from the Crown and the culminating event was a patent, a legal document which conveyed title to the patentee.  These original patents have been preserved.  Nell Marion Nugent started preparing abstracts of all of these patents and the Virginia Genealogical Society continued the work of publishing these abstracts in book form.  Copies of the original patents are at the Virginia State Library and they are available on-line.  The land between the rivers was a part of Spotsylvania County after it was formed in 1721.  As a part of the founding legislation, land in this area was to be free with no quit rents for ten years.  This made it very attractive to both Germans and English.
(28 Feb 06)



Nr. 2260:

One way to discern who the first settlers were of the area which became Madison County is to study the original patents.  The counties are mentioned in these patents but that information is misleading because the counties have different shapes today.  Madison and Culpeper are not mentioned because they did not exist until later.  It is better to use the waterways as a guide to where the patents are located.  For the discussion here, the Robinson River and its tributaries are the best general guides.  The largest single plotting of these patents was done by me and shown in Beyond Germanna in volume 10, number 6 issue.  About 110 patents were shown for both English and German patentees.

To do this plotting, I read the original patents and later patents and grants to improve upon the layout.  Because of the imperfect nature of the patent descriptions and locations, there is some uncertainty but the overall result is good.  The patents range from along the Hughes River at the northern end of today’s Madison County to below the Michael Holt and Rucker patents in the south.  These latter patents are almost at the southern edge of Madison County.  In the east-west dimension, the range is slightly less.

Whether a name was German or English is fairly easy to tell because we know the origins of many of the Germans and we know something about how the German names change into English.  We understand that Carpenter, Smith, and Cook are the names of Germans.  We can classify the names with only a small error.  There are a few names for which there is evidence that the person was German but we lack the details.  Rucker is a good German name.  Ballenger seems to behave as a German.  Bloodworth could go either way but on balance they seem to be German.

Among the first settlers whose patents issued in 1726 there are these twenty-two names:  Clore, Snider, Crigler, Cook, Fleshman, Scheible, Yager, Carpenter, Thomas, Blankenbaker (three times for three different men), Smith (twice for two different names), Barlow, Utz, Motz, Harnsberger, Moyer, Kaefer, Broyles, and Holt.  In these 1726 patents there were two English names:  Rush and Rush.

The Germans moved as a group.  They wanted to establish a German community.  Their duties as servants were finished at the same time.  So they sought land as a group with each member taking some land that he wanted.  Their numbers provided security though it did not entirely eliminate the danger.  The Germans said that they had to come this far to find land that was not taken up by the speculators such as Spotswood, Beverley, Carter, and Fry.

Though the Germans were in an exposed position when they moved to the Robinson River Valley, they had been living in an exposed position for seven years.  In their first homes along the Rapidan River, they were the western-most point of "English" civilization.  So it was nothing new when they moved to the RRV where they continued to be the most-western point of "English" civilization, even though the language spoken in their neighborhood was German.
(01 Mar 06)



Nr. 2261:

If we look at the locations of the 1726 patents in the Robinson River Valley, we see that they stretch from the upper end of "Hebron" Valley down along the Robinson River and up along White Oak Run (sometimes called Island Run).  If you look at a topological map for the region, you will see that these are the river bottom lands with gently rolling hills.  Arguably, this is the best land in Madison County.  As the adage says, "The best goes to the first."

In the 1727 patents, there were three English names:  Downs, Southall, and Phillips.  Only one German name appears:  Rucker (The origins of the Rucker family are unknown but the name is to be found in Germany.)

In the 1728 patents, the names include twenty German names:  Holt, Rouse, Wayland, Castler, Moyer, Blankenbaker (again three names), Willheit, Carpenter, Kerker, Yowell, Clore, Vinegunt (Winegart?), Thomas, Broyles, Fleshman, Crigler, and Tanner.  Some of these names are duplicates of the 1726, as the Germans took up second parcels of land.  (I have given the names in a modern form as the spellings in the patents are very confusing.)  The English names in the 1728 patents include these eleven:  England, Duff, Stonehouse, Evans, Malden (twice), Banks, Taylor, Eddings, King, and Beverley.

Looking at the locations of the 1728 patents, the majority lie around the 1726 patents.  A few to the far north lie outside the earliest patents.  What we see is that the 1726 patents, almost exclusively German, formed the core around which additional Germans and now some English settled.

In 1729, only a German name, Hoffman, appears.

A little later, the German names, Long, Stoltz, Crees, Bloodworth, Amberger, Ballenger, and again Blankenbaker and Carpenter appear.  Still later names include Manspile, Zimmerman, Clemans, Garr, Schlater, Thomas, Tanner, Kains, Vaught, Baumgartner, Weaver, Willheit, and Walk.  During this later period, there were about a similar number of English names.  All told, by 1732 there had been 68 patents issued to Germans and 33 patents issued to English in the area along the Robinson River.  It is granted that if all of Madison County were included, some of which does lie outside the Robinson River Valley, the numbers would improve for the English but the majority of the names would still be German.

It can be concluded that the Germans were first.  They expanded outward.  As they expanded, the English came in also.  The English were encouraged to move out to the "Great Mountains" (as the Blue Ridge Mountains were called then) by the presence of the German settlers.
(02 Mar 06)



Nr. 2262:

Here are some more early German names (using English spellings) in the Robinson River Valley:  Back, Baker, Baumgartner, Bender (Painter), Benneger, Beyerback, Beeman, Broyles, Bungard, Chelf, Crisler, Crecelious, Crees, Diehl, Deer, Finks, Fisher, Fite, Frady, Frank, Fray, Garr, Gerhardt, Holtzclaw, Hupp, House, Hoffman, Jacoby, Klug, Kinslow, Leathers, Lehman, Leyte, Lipp, Lotspeich, Manspiel, Mauck, Miller, Nonnenmacher, Racer, Railsback, Rinehart, Reiner, Slaughter, Snider, Southern, Spilman, Staehr, Stonecipher, Stoever, Swindel, Teter, Urbach, Vaught, Walk, and Ziegler.  (The origins of the Swindel family are unclear; it is a German name.)

There were some men who were not German but who married German women.  Their families may be considered German because half of their genes were German.  These include Burdyne, Millbanks, and Oddenino.

These Germans left many marks in the Robinson River Valley.  The Finks left a Hollow as did the House family.  The Broyles and the Fishers left Gaps.  The Tanners left a Ridge as did the Deals but the Garrs, Carpenters, and Aylors left Mountains.  Collectively, the Germans left a Ridge.

You could go to church at Hoffman’s Chapel or at the Old Dutch Church.  The latter is known now as Hebron Lutheran Church.  Its cemetery overflows with German names though English names are becoming more prominent.  (Incidentally, this cemetery has had to expand as the original cemetery is filling up.)

Though the contributions of the Germans have diminished with time as more English moved into Madison County, there was still a strong German presence at the time of World War II.  The following German names were found in the ranks of their adopted country then:  Aylor, Beahm, Blankenbaker, Broyles, Carpenter, Clore, Crigler, Delph, Finks, Fishback, Gaar, Hitt, Hoffman, Leathers, Mauck, Rucker, Smith, Tanner, Utz, Weaver, Yager, and Yowell.

To summarize, in 1725, land in Spotsylvania County, which then included the Robinson River Valley, was free.  Our thrifty German ancestors took advantage of this and settled as a group in the Robinson River Valley without letting the dangers of being in such an exposed position deter them.  The presence of the Germans encouraged others, the English in particular, but other nationalities also, to move in and become their neighbors.  The German numbers were large enough that a distinct German flavor was preserved for a long time, which encouraged new German immigrants to settle there up to the time of the Revolution.  After that, the normal ebb and flow of the tides lead to a changing mixture.
(03 Mar 06)



Nr. 2263:

I have commented here before that it was not certain that the Second Germanna Colony arrived, by the new calendar, in 1717.  They perhaps arrived in the period from January 1 to March 24 of what was then English year 1717 but which today would be called 1718.

Though this seems late in the year, they did start from their homes very late.  In the case of the emigrants from Gemmingen, it was the 12th of July by the German calendar then which was the same calendar as we use today.  Some of the people making up the Second Colony were in London by August 5, for Christopher Zimmerman and George Scheible were sponsors for a baby at St. Mary le Savoy in London.  They were still there on the 8th of September, for the daughter Dorothea of Michael Koch (Cook) was baptized at St. Mary with sponsors Henry Schneider and Eleanor Scheible.  (All of the names mentioned so far are good Germanna names.)  As late as September 30, the pastor at St. Mary was marrying a couple of "Palatines" going to Pennsylvania.

Voyages took, on the average, about ten weeks, but they could be longer.  So it was nip and tuck whether the Second Colony arrived before January 1.  As long as they arrived before the next March 24, they would say, by the English calendar then in use, that they arrived in 1717.  Using the modern calendar, it might have been in 1718.  I used to worry about this date and the universal comment that the Second Colony arrived in 1717.

I now feel more comfortable about saying the Lutheran congregation, which constituted the bulk of the Second Colony if not all of it, can be dated to 1717.  We know now that they participated as a body at St. Mary le Savoy Church in London.  They took communion there.  They had children baptized there.  They thought they had an agreement with the pastors in London for a pastor to be sent to them when they were ready.  This last signifies that they expected to be together in America as a unified body.

I do not feel that it amiss to say that the body of people who formed the "Old Dutch Church" in Virginia, which became later the present Hebron Church in the Robinson River Valley, formed as a congregation in 1717.  This was done in London and most of the people started for America in 1717.  Some of the people were delayed for two years by the lack of transportation.

Why did the Second Colony start so late in the year?  The people who left Freudenberg in 1739 left their homes in March, which was more typical.  I have some thoughts on this question which I will go into in the next note.
(06 Mar 06)



Nr. 2264:

Up to and including 1717, the number of Germans who emigrated that year was the second largest.  The largest by far was the number who came in 1709/1710.  Klaus Wust estimated the number who emigrated in 1717 was about one thousand which far exceeded anything since 1709.  The number who came into Philadelphia so worried the officials in Pennsylvania that they decreed that all such people must register; however, the decree came after the fact so there is no record of the immigrants that year to Pennsylvania.  For a few years after that, everyone forgot the law and no records were kept until 1727, when the Colonial officials in Pennsylvania started enforcing the registration law.

A party of Mennonites managed to make their way to London in 1709 and on to Pennsylvania.  In this mass migration, these were the only Germans to make their way directly to Pennsylvania.  Once that they saw how it could be done and the advantages of Pennsylvania, which included cheap land widely available and the free exercise of religion, these Mennonites started seeking more of their brethren to come.  This recruitment was by two means, letters and the sending of a man back to Germany to talk to the Mennonites in Germany.  Many of these Mennonites were living among our people, for example, Hans Herr of 1709 fame lived only a few miles from Hueffenhardt.

What I suspect was the case is that our Second Colony people saw the Mennonites were leaving for America in 1717.  For a few years, they had probably been hearing from the Mennonites living among them of how wonderful Pennsylvania was.  Klaus Wust told me once that "war" was the reason so many left in 1717.  So with the pressure to escape poverty and war in 1717, to establish a new beginning for themselves, and to see the Mennonites leaving for Pennsylvania, the Second Colony people decided, somewhat late in the year, to go also.  This was why they did not depart until July when typically the German emigrants would already be on the sea.

These conjectures would hold together better if we knew that the decision to leave was mutual among all or most of the Germans who left in July.  There are hints that this was the case.  When the Sexton in Gemmingen wrote his note in the death register of who was leaving in 1717, he mentioned that not only were these people (from Gemmingen) leaving but that many others were leaving from other villages.  Their departure was a planned activity among many people.  Why had the emigrants from the different villages coordinated their decisions?  I suspect there were more relationships among the people than we are now aware.  We know that, intra-village, there were relationships but I suspect there were more inter-village relationships than we know.

Please do not take these remarks as fact when they are conjectures on my part.  Still, the thoughts are something to think about.
(07 Mar 06)



Nr. 2265:

It is reasonable to say that the Lutherans who found themselves in London in August of 1717 formed a congregation and agreed to move together to America.  What is not clear is whether there was a decision to coalesce even before their departure from Germany.  But it is clear that by the summer of 1717 in London that they were acting as a body.  As a group they intended to go to Pennsylvania which was widely discussed in Germany by 1717.  We now know that they were highjacked by Andrew Tarbett and taken to Virginia where they became servants of Alexander Spotswood and a few other partners.

According to the letter which John Casper Stoever, Michael Smith, and Michael Holt wrote in December of 1734 to explain their fund-raising trip to the London Lutherans, they said that they had arrived in London in 1717 and had themselves transported to Virginia [they omitted the reference to Pennsylvania] on their expenses.  Before they left, they consulted with the Reverend Protestant-Lutheran German preachers then present with regard to the future care of their souls.  They requested the Lutheran ministers assist them by sending a pastor and making a contribution toward the construction of a church when they were ready.  The body of emigrating Germans believed that the Reverend Clergy were inclined to do this.  The Clergy distributed the Holy Communion and admonished them to remain faithful to the Protestant-Lutheran truth.  [The source for this news must have been Smith and Holt since they were present in 1717.]  After their arrival in Virginia they became feudal tenants on Gov. Spotswood’s land because they were unable to pay their transport.

They (the immigrants to Virginia) began with divine services by reading the divine word, singing and praying, in particular asking untiringly with tears and sighs for a pastor who could refresh and revive their starving and thirsting souls in this wilderness with the divine word and the holy sacraments.  They claimed they wrote to London asking for help in obtaining a preacher.

In 1726, they sent two of the Congregation, Cyriacus Fleischman and Johann Mutz (Motz) to London to personally present their case.  The two succeeded only in obtaining verbal promises of help and some books.  The group in Virginia had moved 40 English miles (actually it was somewhat less than this) into the wilderness to the foot of the high mountains on the River Rappehannak (the Robinson River is a tributary of the south branch of the Rappahannock River).  Here they found their physical nourishment but because of their distance from the markets they could not turn anything to money.

And here at this new place, they immediately built a meeting house in the midst among them.
(08 Mar 06)



Nr. 2266:

[The history of the 1717 Colony in the previous Note and in this comes one from a letter, "Brief von Johann Caspar Stoever an die Geistlichen der deutschen lutherischen Gemeinden in London", which Andreas Mielke found in Francke-Nachlass der Staatbibliothek zu Berlin-Prueussischer Kulturbesitz on microfilm 18, 363-365.  He was assisted by Petra Stallboerger there.  Andreas translated the letter and it was published in Beyond Germanna, volume 15,

The congregation continued their services in the meeting house along the Robinson River on Sundays and Holidays and Apostle days.  They also ordered each first Friday of every month to be a day of repentance and prayer and seriously implored the Master Shepard Jesus to give their souls’ needs a divine hearing, both in public and private, with tears and signs, as this testimony can give them the truth.

For seventeen years they experienced the kind of misery it is when one wants bread for the soul and nobody is there who breaks it.  It happened by divine direction that Stoever came to them one and half years ago.  He was asked and accepted their invitation to be their pastor under the promise of ordination and call.  This was done and he administered the office by teaching and holding the sacraments.

The congregation promised him an annual salary of 3,000 pounds of tobacco which makes about 12 pounds sterling which was not sufficient for the maintenance of a preacher and his family.  There were no fringe benefits [income from weddings and funerals] because of the poverty of the congregation since they have to contribute to the English Church.

Therefore the congregation has asked me and two members of the congregation to undertake once more the dangerous and difficult journey across the ocean, and to ask submissively and obediently all reverent preachers and clergy in the name of the entire congregation that they may be helped in the maintenance of the present preacher and his successors, and in the construction of a church and school and such.

London
13 December 1734
Johann Caspar Stoever
Michel Hold
Michel Schmid

(09 Mar 06)



Nr. 2267:

Stoever, Smith, and Holt went from London, via Holland, to the German states along the Baltic Sea.  Why they chose this area for their fund raising is not clear but most likely they hoped to take advantage of the heavy concentration of Lutheran churches there.  As they proceeded, entries were made in a book of the amount donated, the wishes of the donor, and the signature of the donor.  (This book has been preserved except for the first four pages which were cut out.)

The trip was going well and Rev. Stoever decided that the church could afford a second preacher.  In any case there would certainly be a position for a Lutheran minister in the Colonies.  Some have said that his intended purposes for a second preacher was to conduct school and to be a missionary to the Indians and the slaves but these points are not certified.  Stoever did find a young man who had completed his studies and was willing to be ordained and serve as a minister in the Colonies.

Some people have written that Michael Holt had been responsible for the hiring of this young man whose name was George Samuel Klug.  It is clear that was friction between Stoever and Holt, but it was not because of the hiring of Klug, which was done at instigation of Stoever.  Stoever gave Klug some money and sent him on his way to London and the Colonies.  Klug, though, stayed in London for a long time, perhaps to learn the English language.  He applied for a vacant post of a pastor at one of the churches in London but did not get the job.  Eventually, he went on to Virginia where he probably arrived in late 1738 or early 1739 but the exact date is unknown.  When Holt arrived home is unknown but it must have been before Klug arrived.

Stoever took some time to further his theological education.  Smith remained also in Germany and presumably he went to Gemmingen, his former home.  During this time he would have been telling the Germans what Virginia was like.  It seems that a few Germans returned with Smith when he and Stoever left late in 1738.

On the way home, at sea, Stoever died.  He wrote his will which was filed for probate at Philadelphia.  John Caspar Stoever, Sr., thought that John Caspar Stoever, Jr., would take his place in Virginia.  Stoever, Sr., perhaps had heard about Klug’s attempt to find a position in London and had become disillusioned about Klug’s commitment to the job of preaching in the Robinson River Valley to a bunch of poor Germans.

When Smith returned to the Robinson River Valley, his news resulted in Klug’s being appointed as the pastor of the church there.  The church elders carefully checked the money that Smith brought back and laid their plans for the future.  They did write a letter of thanks to their benefactors in Germany.
(10 Mar 06)



Nr. 2268:

Before we go on with the history of the German Protestant-Lutheran Church in Essex, Spotsylvania, and Orange Counties in Virginia, it would be good to elaborate about the sources of information that have increased our understanding of this congregation.

Chronologically, we have the departure statement in the Gemmingen Church Books which tells who the group was that left there and when they left.  This statement also makes it clear that the Gemmingen people were aware of others from outside Gemmingen who were going also.  This statement was translated from the German by Andreas Mielke and Elke Hall, and was published in Beyond Germanna, vol. 15, n.6.  This was first brought to the attention of the Germanna community by Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny.  It was translated again by Mielke and Hall who were born in Germany.  It does show that a translation published by Hank Z. Jones contains minor errors.

The record of the 1717 emigrants in London in the St. Mary Church was found by Sandra Yelton on a trip to London and she copied a few pages.  (It is also available on microfilm from the LDS library.)  Mielke and I worked on the translation.  It clearly shows the group used the facilities of the German Lutheran Church St. Mary le Savoy/Strand.  Several Germanna people are named and the suggestion is that there may have been some relationships among the people in the different villages in Germany.  It helps to fix dates also.  This translation was published in Beyond Germanna in the vol. 15, n.1 issue.

A petition of some of the Germans in London in 1717 shows that not all of them were able to go immediately to America.  Some of these names are in the three volume book by Hank Z. Jones, Jr., and Lewis B. Rohrbach, entitled Even More Palatine Families (Picton Press, 2002).  The information was brought to my attention by Sandra Yelton and Andreas Mielke.  The interpretation of the list is uncertain in that the filing in the Public Record Office implies these people were returned to Germany but it is not proven.  See the vol. 15, n. 6 issue of Beyond Germanna.  The information clearly establishes that some of the 1717 emigrants were delayed in getting to America.

The trip to London made by Fleshman and Motz in an effort to obtain a pastor was told in Beyond Germanna, vol. 14, n.5, by Andreas Mielke.  The manuscripts are in Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz.Handschriftenabteilung, "Friedrich Michael Ziegenhagen, letters to August Hermann Francke, 24 November 1724; 20 September 1726; 4 November 1726".

Some records from Craven County, NC, pertaining to John Caspar Stoever were found by Sandra Yelton and published in Beyond Germanna, vol. 15, n.4.

The fund raising by the group in the Robinson River Valley to support the hiring of Stoever including the purchase of a farm for him and the building of a residence for him was told in Beyond Germanna, vol. 6, n. 4 and 5.  The courthouse research for this was done by James E. Brown.
(13 Mar 06)



Nr. 2269:

In the last Note, which was attempting to go through some of the documentation in chronological order, I might add the head right list of Alexander Spotswood.  This had been given once by Nell Marion Nugent in her digest of the patents in volume III of Cavaliers and Pioneers, but she had a few errors.  I read the names from the original patents and printed the forty-eight names in Beyond Germanna in vol. 7, n.3.  From a variety of sources, these would all appear to be 1717 immigrants, though it is not an exhaustive list of them.

A series of articles in Beyond Germanna reveals where the Second Colony lived when they arrived in Virginia.

The names of the 1717 immigrants also appear in their patent applications.  Most, but not necessarily all of these, have been plotted in Beyond Germanna.

Going back now to the previous Note and continuing the sequence of information sources there, Sandra Yelton found a note in London which shows that Rev. Klug was in London in 1738 when he applied for a position as pastor in one of the Lutheran churches there.  He did not get the position and then decided to go on to Virginia.  This note has not been published.

When Stoever and Smith returned home has been given as 1738 and 1739.  Stoever died during the trip and was buried at sea.  Andreas Mielke in an analysis in vol. 14, n.3 issue of Beyond Germanna, fixes this date as early December of 1738.  Before he died, he wrote his will (in German).  This was filed in Philadelphia with John Caspar Stoever, Jr., and Michael Smith named as executors.  Unfortunately, several versions of the English translation of this will exist and they do not all agree in the details.  One copy, by Rev. Hinke, was published in vol. 14, n. 2 and 3 of Beyond Germanna.

With the return of Michael Smith, Rev. Klug and the elders set about putting the money to use that had been subscribed.  They built a church, purchased a farm, and bought slaves to work the farm.

We know a little about the pastorate of Rev. Klug from the comments of the Moravian missionaries who visited, and from the comments of Rev. Muhlenberg in Pennsylvania.  We know also that Virginia assembly voted him twenty-five pounds for his assistance to the members of the Anglican Church when they were without a minister.
(14 Mar 06)



Nr. 2270:

We know a little bit about Rev. Klug’s ministry which started about 1739 at the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.  One source is the diaries of the Moravian missionaries who visited in the area in the 1740's.  When Bro. Gottsschalk visited in the spring of 1748, he wrote, "I arrived at his house late in the evening when it was already dark.  He received me with much love and courtesy."

After first telling Bro. Gottschalk that the Moravians had no permission to travel or preach in the country, they moved on to other topics.  Rev. Klug was said to be very courteous and conversed very intelligently.  Gottschalk noted that Klug’s supply of original sermons was exhausted and he was using sermons from other sources.  Gottschalk went to a Sunday service by Klug and stayed with him that day.  The next day, Klug went a half mile with Gottschalk and encouraged the missionary to visit again.

Gottschalk noted that eighty families in the neighborhood "At the Mountains".  They were mostly Lutherans from Wuerttemberg who had a beautiful church and a school, a parsonage, a glebe of several hundred acres with seven slaves to cultivate the minister’s land.  Gottschalk noted that some of the people in the congregation were not satisfied with Klug, especially because he drinks too much.

The Moravians Spangenberg and Reutz also visited in 1748.  They noted the district was called the "Great Fork of the Rappahannock".  The pastor is Klug and his predecessor was the father of the well-known Stoever.  Klug was not home but had gone to Williamsburg to take his tobacco, which was part of his salary, to market.

The Moravians once noted that they could make no headway in Virginia, especially in the Shenandoah Valley, because Klug had preached there against them.

He served his English neighbors in the area of Hebron.  His services in this capacity were recognized by the Council of Virginia on 16 April 1752 when they voted to award him the sum of Twenty-five Pounds for "his Services for Many years past to the Neighbouring English inhabitants of (Culpeper) County . . . and for his Good Character and on Consideration of his small Allowance and indigent circumstances."

In 1749, Klug attended a meeting of Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  This was his only visit to the Ministerium, which was a difficult and tedious trip for him to make.
(15 Mar 06)



Nr. 2271:

In 1749, Rev. Klug attended a meeting of Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  Though he was not connected with the Ministeriurn, he attended to pay his respects to his Lutheran brethren.  On this occasion he lamented his loneliness and lack of opportunity for fraternal association.  Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the organizer of the Lutheran Church in America, had reservations about him.  He did not agree with Klug's manner of living and his attitudes toward opportunity and learning.  On the first point, Muhlenberg observed that Klug was a slave owner and had adopted the fine and easy living of the Established clergy.  It is true that he rated well with his Anglican neighbors and he provided services for them in the absence of Anglican pastors.  Muhlenberg was especially provoked that Klug had discontinued the German school.

Whatever Klug's shortcomings, let it be remembered that he went around the Massanutten (Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley) two or three times a year and kept the faith alive in the earliest Valley congregations.  The Moravian Schnell wrote, "He is much praised," in reference to the lonely pioneers along the Shenandoah River.  When Rev. Klug died in 1764, his body was interred beneath the Hebron chancel.

The elders of the church appealed to the Pennsylvania Ministerium for assistance in finding another pastor.  This resulted in the appointment of Johannes Schwarbach as catechist and he served from 1764 until 1774.  At this time he resigned, stating that the work load was too heavy for him.  When he was initially appointed, he had not yet been ordained.  This was done in 1766 so that there were two years in which he could only provide partial services.

For a short period of time, catechist Heinrich Moeller from Pennsylvania served the church.  He was not yet married and his fiancee did not want to move to Virginia.  When Moeller had an offer from a church in Pennsylvania, he took it.  This left the church in the Robinson River Valley without a pastor again.  Apparently, Moeller did organize the Baptismal Records into a more meaningful form.  The evidence is that the church had Baptismal Gecords from 1750 (and perhaps earlier) which he organized in a book by families.  This would have enabled him to understand the structure of the families better.  He omitted the families who had moved out of the neighborhood.

Again, the elders appealed to the Ministerium for help.  At this time, Muhlenberg, Sr., had a man, Jacob Franck, in Philadelphia who was proving troublesome to a church there.  Muhlenberg called an emergency session of himself and his two sons, both ministers, and ordained Jacob Franck with the agreement that Franck would serve the "country church" in Virginia for three years.
(16 Mar 06)



Nr. 2272:

Jacob Franck started work in "Culpeper County" in the fall of 1775.  He baptized Aaron Breil (Broyles) on 5 Nov 1775.  The same day he baptized Mose Carpenter.  At some time after 28 October of this same year, he held a Communion Service for which he started a new feature.  He recorded the names of the people who partook of Communion (this was sometimes done in Germany).  At this time, the Lutheran church in the Robinson River Valley would only serve Communion to confirmed Lutherans.  Though Reformed or other religious affiliations might attend church, they could not partake in the Communion Services.  Because the Lutherans had a prescribed way of serving the congregation, the order of people in the Communion Lists approximates the seating order.

Rev. Franck was popular in the community.  He apparently was an organizer, for not only did he keep good records of his ministerial acts (baptisms and communions) but led the church in writing a Constitution in May of 1776 and in sending a petition in October of that year to the President and Delegates of the Virginia Commonwealth requesting relief from supporting the established church which still had the force of law.

When Franck’s three years were up, according to his agreement with Muhlenberg, he resigned from the German Evangelische-Lutheran church in Culpeper County and returned to Philadelphia where he returned to secular work.  Thus, his three-year stint in the Robinson River Valley was his only work as a pastor.

The elders of the church were very frustrated and apparently taken by surprise.  They thought they had been doing everything that Franck wanted and his decision to leave them was a blow.

A very dark period of ten years in the church followed after 1778.  For four years there is no evidence that any pastor was in regular attendance.  In 1782, for about three years, J. Michael Schmidt was the preacher.  I am inclined to think that this J. Michael Schmidt was the son of Michael Schmidt who came in 1717.  (My arguments are in Beyond Germanna on page 862f.)

He was divisive and of dubious ability.  Certainly the record keeping was very poor.  It was necessary to expel him in 1785.  For about four years, Rev. Christian Streit was a supply minister.  During this period William Carpenter began his religious studies and in 1789 he was appointed the pastor with very limited powers; however, he was not ordained until 1792 (in Pennsylvania).

Rev. Carpenter was unfortunate in that his pastorate was during a period of turmoil in the church.  Was the church German or English?  Many people in the congregation spoke only German while others had made the shift to English.
(18 Mar 06)



Nr. 2273:

There were notable physical changes in the German Lutheran Church, now in Madison County, during Rev. Carpenter’s pastorate.  The building was expanded.  The original 1740 building was a simple rectangle with the altar and pulpit in the middle of one long side.  A wing was added opposite to the altar which now makes the major seating area.  Unfortunately, we do not have a date for this wing but probably it was early in the Carpenter pastorate.  Then, in 1802, an organ was purchased from David Tannenberg in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  At the time, Tannenberg was the best known and most popular builder of organs in America.  This organ, now more than two hundred years old, is still used actively.

Rev. Carpenter held Communion Services twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.  The names of people taking Communion were recorded, so we have a history of attendance at the church.  These figures show that a steady decline in attendance throughout his pastorate which lasted until 1813.  The cause is uncertain but the choice of the language seems to have been a major factor.  There was a need for the use of English, but Carpenter was not a good preacher in English.  So, it may have been that the decline in attendance was due to the lack of English services.

Shortly after 1800, Rev. Carpenter made a trip to Kentucky and he liked the area in Boone County, the northern most county in Kentucky.  Based on his recommendation, a group of Germanna citizens moved to Boone County.  For several years they were without a minister but held lay services.  They had built a log church and had a constitution based on suggestions of Rev. Carpenter.  In 1813 Rev. Carpenter moved his family to Boone County and became their pastor.

While Rev. Carpenter was still in Virginia, the church hired Friederich Schad as organist and as schoolteacher.  He served from 1804 to 1806.  Probably with the declining attendance, the church could no longer afford him.

After Rev. Carpenter left, the church had ministers who could preach in both English and in German.  At first, one Sunday a month was in English, then the language alternated each Sunday until one service a month sufficed for those who wanted German.  Before long, the church became English, even though the names of the majority of the members were German.

About 1850, the minutes of the church first record the name "Hebron".  A history of the church was written by W. P. Huddle in 1907 and updated by Margaret Grim Davis in 1990.  There are a few points on which the story here differs, largely because of the new documents that have been found.
(20 Mar 06)



Nr. 2274:

The Hebron Lutheran Church has respectable written records in the Eighteenth Century.  They are not complete but they do contain, either explicitly or implicitly, much information that would be otherwise unavailable to us. 

These Baptismal Records appear to start in 1750.  No doubt, there were earlier records, perhaps going back to the short time that Rev. Stoever served.  Rev. Klug surely kept Baptismal Records from 1739 to 1750, but we have no evidence of this today.  The beauty of the records for baptisms from 1750 to 1778 makes the absence of any records earlier than 1750 all the more striking.  The extant records have some anomalies in them.  It took me a while but eventually it dawned on me that there was a logical explanation.  In 1775, the records up to that time were rewritten, probably by Moeller, who was to become the pastor.  Since the object was to help him understand the present community better, he omitted the earlier records (if any) and he omitted the information on families who had moved away.

Sponsors are given, usually four for each child.  In a remarkable number of the cases, the sponsors have the same name as the father suggesting they might be relatives.  When the relationships are worked out for a number of the known families, it is seen that nearly always the sponsors are related to the father or mother as siblings, cousins, or their spouses.  Thus, the sponsors are related and broadly of the same age group.  This suggests, once the rule is established, that the sponsors might be some clues to the names of several of the mothers who had not been identified.

The rule or regulation that the sponsors were to be related is not a tenet of the Lutheran faith, for in the German Lutheran churches at this same time this was not the case.  There, in most of the cases, the sponsors were not related or at least no relationship is known.  It should never be assumed that the rule applies in all churches.  A large number of cases should be worked out in any one church before it is decided what rules might be in use.

The records are written in the German script and therefore are not readily useable by all.  Transcriptions have been published, but they failed to note the implied names.  I obtained a copy of the microfilm and made my own transcription with the help of previous work, Andreas Mielke, and Nancy Dodge.  In a few cases I consulted the original records at Hebron.  Then I worked out the implied names of the wives using a variety of sources including the baptismal records themselves.  I published this in a booklet entitled "Hebron" Baptismal Record.  This is the best work now available on the subject, which can only be improved by filling in some of the blanks (and correcting errors!).
(21 Mar 06)



Nr. 2275:

The last note discussed the Baptismal Records at the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.  There was another group of records, the history of who took Communion.  These essentially started with Rev. Franck in 1775 and lasted through Rev. Carpenter in 1812, though there are a few later than this.  The keeping of the names of who took Communion is not a universal practice, either in Germany or in America.  Aside from informing the pastor as to who was coming to Communion, there was a need in Colonial times in Virginia for a record to substantiate the fact that a person had taken Communion in the three months prior to being naturalized.

There is a minor value today in informing us about the history of the early churches.  A major value is not so obvious.  In the "German Chapel", it can be seen that the communicants were very apt to be related to their adjacent neighbors in the list.  This is perhaps not surprising since people do tend to associate with their relatives, especially if they have not seen them for a period of time.  There is a more mechanical reason in that the Lutherans had a prescribed methodology to determine the order in which people took Communion.

Take Easter Sunday in 1776 as an example.  Of the first eleven couples in the Communion List, at least one of the partners in ten of the cases was descended from the same woman (Anna Barbara Schoene).  In one couple, an earlier wife was the descendant.  In one couple there was no relationship that we know.  This tendency was the strongest in the case of the first names in the list.  The later names tend less to be related but this is understandable as these were the people who sat in the back pews.

Again, as with the baptisms, having worked out the relationships for many families in many of the lists, the information can be utilized to help in finding the relationships among some unknown people.  While not as powerful as the Baptismal Lists, the Communion Lists are a help.

For example, I used the Communion Lists to find the wife of Peter Fleshman.  The lists were useful, even though they were made after Peter Fleshman and his wife had died, because the associations continued into the following generations as first and second cousins tended to associate.

The information was useful in naming the daughters of Jacob Crigler.  The Communion lLists helped tremendously, beyond what was a mystery in the Baptismal Lists, to identify two daughters of Jacob Crigler.  Mark Finks had a daughter, Elizabeth, whose behavior seemed abnormal in the light of all of the other cases.  But when the information was combined with the observation of Nancy Dodge that Mark Finks seemed to have been married more than once, the abnormal behavior in the Communion Lists became understandable and then confirmed Nancy’s observation.

In all of the records of this type, I caution that they must be studied in totality before assuming any rules apply.  Don’t go to another church and try to apply the rules which hold for the German Lutheran Church in Culpeper and Madison Counties.
(22 Mar 06)


(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 NINETY-FIRST set of Notes, Nr. 2251 through Nr. 2275.)

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(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)
(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)
This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.

Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments
INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES
Pg.001-Notes 0001-0025
Pg.002-Notes 0026-0050
Pg.003-Notes 0051-0075
Pg.004-Notes 0076-0100
Pg.005-Notes 0101-0125
Pg.006-Notes 0126-0150
Pg.007-Notes 0151-0175
Pg.008-Notes 0176-0200
Pg.009-Notes 0201-0225
Pg.010-Notes 0226-0250
Pg.011-Notes 0251-0275
Pg.012-Notes 0276-0300
Pg.013-Notes 0301-0325
Pg.014-Notes 0326-0350
Pg.015-Notes 0351-0375
Pg.016-Notes 0376-0400
Pg.017-Notes 0401-0425
Pg.018-Notes 0426-0450
Pg.019-Notes 0451-0475
Pg.020-Notes 0476-0500
Pg.021-Notes 0501-0525
Pg.022-Notes 0526-0550
Pg.023-Notes 0551-0575
Pg.024-Notes 0575-0600
Pg.025-Notes 0601-0625
Pg.026-Notes 0626-0650
Pg.027-Notes 0651-0675
Pg.028-Notes 0676-0700
Pg.029-Notes 0701-0725
Pg.030-Notes 0726-0750
Pg.031-Notes 0751-0775
Pg.032-Notes 0776-0800
Pg.033-Notes 0801-0825
Pg.034-Notes 0826-0850
Pg.035-Notes 0851-0875
Pg.036-Notes 0876-0900
Pg.037-Notes 0901-0925
Pg.038-Notes 0926-0950
Pg.039-Notes 0951-0975
Pg.040-Notes 0976-1000
Pg.041-Notes 1001-1025
Pg.042-Notes 1026-1050
Pg.043-Notes 1051-1075
Pg.044-Notes 1076-1100
Pg.045-Notes 1101-1125
Pg.046-Notes 1126-1150
Pg.047-Notes 1151-1175
Pg.048-Notes 1176-1200
Pg.049-Notes 1201-1225
Pg.050-Notes 1226-1250
Pg.051-Notes 1251-1275
Pg.052-Notes 1276-1300
Pg.053-Notes 1301-1325
Pg.054-Notes 1326-1350
Pg.055-Notes 1351-1375
Pg.056-Notes 1376-1400
Pg.057-Notes 1401-1425
Pg.058-Notes 1426-1450
Pg.059-Notes 1451-1475
Pg.060-Notes 1476-1500
Pg.061-Notes 1501-1525
Pg.062-Notes 1526-1550
Pg.063-Notes 1551-1575
Pg.064-Notes 1576-1600
Pg.065-Notes 1601-1625
Pg.066-Notes 1626-1650
Pg.067-Notes 1651-1675
Pg.068-Notes 1676-1700
Pg.069-Notes 1701-1725
Pg.070-Notes 1726-1750
Pg.071-Notes 1751-1775
Pg.072-Notes 1776-1800
Pg.073-Notes 1801-1825
Pg.074-Notes 1826-1850
Pg.075-Notes 1851-1875
Pg.076-Notes 1876-1900
Pg.077-Notes 1901-1925
Pg.078-Notes 1926-1950
Pg.079-Notes 1951-1975
Pg.080-Notes 1976-2000
Pg.081-Notes 2001-2025
Pg.082-Notes 2026-2050
Pg.083-Notes 2051-2075
Pg.084-Notes 2076-2100
Pg.085-Notes 2101-2125
Pg.086-Notes 2126-2150
Pg.087-Notes 2150-2175
Pg.088-Notes 2176-2200
Pg.089-Notes 2201-2225
Pg.090-Notes 2226-2250
Pg.091-Notes 2251-2275
Pg.092-Notes 2276-2300
Pg.093-Notes 2301-2325
Pg.094-Notes 2326-2350
Pg.095-Notes 2351-2375
Pg.096-Notes 2376-2400
Pg.097-Notes 2401-2425
Pg.098-Notes 2426-2450
Pg.099-Notes 2451-2475
Pg.100-Notes 2476-2500
Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025


INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

(As of 12 April 2007, John published the last of his "Germanna Notes"; however, he is going to periodically post to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List in the form of "Genealogy Comments" on various subjects, not necessarily dealing with Germanna.  I'm starting the numbering system anew, starting with Comment Nr. 0001.)

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025
This Page Contains Notes 2251 through 2275.

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