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This is the NINETY-FIFTH 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 2351 through 2375.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 95

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Nr. 2351:

Every fifty Notes, I take time to mention the purpose of these Notes.

Many of us are proud of our heritage in the Piedmont of Virginia, even if our ancestors intended to go somewhere else in America.  This heritage is very rich in its history.  We have banded together in a society to recognize the pioneering efforts of these ancestors.

This history did not start with Virginia, nor did it end with Virginia.  We have a history in Europe, probably extending back to Africa.  In Europe, many different locations were involved.  Somehow, we gathered together and found our way to Virginia, even if this destination were more an accident than a planned destination.  We practiced many trades such as tool making, carpentry, weaving, wine making, baking, coopering, and tailoring, besides our work on the land.  We brought our churches with us.  Some of us disbursed from our original settlements, while some remained on the original home sites.

What is fun is to see how we individually connect with this history.  One tool that we have is The Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonists in Virginia (The Germanna Foundation).  Another tool is the exchange of information such as the Rootsweb List Service provides.  To encourage people to read the messages on this List (*The GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List), I started these Notes some Two Thousand Three Hundred and Fifty Notes ago.

The subjects that I write about are very broadly defined.  Mainly, the criterion for inclusion is that the material should be interesting, even if it goes beyond the narrower history of our collective **Germanna ancestors.  Some of the notes have a narrow application in that they may pertain to one family’s history for a short period of time.  While you may not find the history of another family to be of interest to you, please remember that your family may be the subject another time.  And, you may introduce your own family and raise questions.  These Notes are intended to make sure that you will have many readers who may answer your questions.

The Piedmont (i.e., foothills) of Virginia is the land between the Tidewater (the coastal lands) and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Many of the Germanic settlers in the Piedmont came directly from Germany, though some of the German-speaking residents in the Piedmont came from Pennsylvania, or from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

Though sometimes I do write in a very general sense, e.g., writing about the contributions of German-speaking individuals in general, the essential nature of the list pertains to the Germans who lived in the Virginia Piedmont, the "Germannans".
(15 Aug 06)

(Note from GWD:  In case anyone reading this is a "newbie" to Germanna genealogical research, a quick reminder about the referenced List and a link to a definition of what "Germanna" means.

1. If you're not a subscriber to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List, and wish to join us, send an empty email to: "GERMANNA_COLONIES@rootsweb.ancestry.com" (without the quotes, of course), and put ONE word in the subject line and in the body: SUBSCRIBE.

2. If you want to subscribe to the Digest Format of the Mailing List, do exactly as above except send to GERMANNA_COLONIES-D@rootsweb.ancestry.com. [The difference between the Normal Mode and the Digest Mode is that in the Normal Mode the subscriber receives, in his/her email, each post as it is made to the List, while in the Digest Mode he/she receives a Digest which contains all the posts made to the List in one day, or when the size of the Digest reaches 18 Kb in size, whichever comes first.  The default for the Digest is "Plain Text", where all the posts are included in the body of the email.  A subscriber can request to receive the Digest in "MIME" format, where the body contains just a list of the posts and the actual posts are included as attachments to the email.  If a user wishes to receive the "MIME" format of the Digest, after receiving the Welcome Message indicating he/she is then subscribed, send an email to GERMANNA_COLONIES-admin@rootsweb.ancestry.com and request to be switched to "MIME".]

2. You can read John's excellent piece on what Germanna means, i.e., "What Does GERMANNA Mean", "Who Is a Germanna Colonist", "Who Is a Descendant of a Germanna Colonist", etc., at this website, or at John's own website.)



Nr. 2352:

Henry Huffman who lived in the Robinson River Valley seems to be identical to the Johann Henrich Hofmann who was a younger brother of John Huffman who had moved to the Robinson River Valley from Germantown.  In Germany, Henry Huffman had married Catherine Schuster in 1735, where the births of three children at the Roedgen Church are recorded.  The Hofmann home was in Eisern, and the residents went to church in Roedgen (or in Siegen) since there was no Protestant (Reformed) church in Eisern.  Both John Huffman and his brother Henry seem to have been carpenters by training.  Wilhelm, a younger brother, about the same age as Henry, moved to Pennsylvania.  Wilhelm’s “diary” leaves one with the impression that life for Protestants in Eisern, where the Catholics controlled the civil government, was not easy.  Henry Huffman wrote a letter to Johannes Steinseiffer in Eisern in which he said that he came to America in 1743.  The two men both married women of the surname Schuster though no connection has yet been found between the women.

Three daughters of Henrich Hofmann and his wife Catherine are known from the Roedgen church records:

1. Maria Elisabeth, born July 29, 1736,
2. Anna Catherina, born May 18, 1738,
3. Elisabeth, born June 14, 1739.

In Virginia, more children were born.  The will of Henry Huffman, probated 14 August 1765, mentions his wife Catherine and that he had recently returned from Germany.  This will is recorded in Culpeper Will Book A on page 419.  Unfortunately, this will does not mentioned the names of his children or even the number of children.  Some of the phrases from the will include:

a. “five pounds to each of the three eldest children”,
b. “the remainder to be divided among all of the children”,
c. “if Catherine dies, the eldest children are to take care of the youngest”,
d. “the land is to go to the boys who are not to sell it except to each other”.

There has been a discussion, almost a debate, about the number and the names of the children.  I will defer this question to the next Note.

The sources of information that I have given so far include Germanna Record 3, Germanna Record 5, and Beyond Germanna.  In particular, the latter has a facsimile of a portion of the letter that Henry Huffman wrote to Johannes Steinseiffer.  Also in Beyond Germanna, there is a picture of the bottle, see BG p. 715, that apparently came down from Henrich Hofmann which strongly suggests that he was a master carpenter.  This bottle bears the date 1735, which would agree with the first child born in 1736.



Nr. 2353:

With respect to the children of Henry Huffman, a correspondent of B. C. Holtzclaw said the children were Henry, Teter (Dieterich), Lewis, Ambrose, John, and Mary (who married William Taylor).  A second correspondent of Holtzclaw said the children were Henry, Anne Mary, Teter, Ambrose, Lewis, Daniel, Mary (who married William Taylor).  The Madison County records show Henry, Teter, Ambrose, and Lewis.  A deed in 1803 of Henry Huffman, the eldest son, shows that Lewis died young without issue.  Henry, Teter, and Ambrose all moved to Barren Co., KY (Teter in 1786, Ambrose in 1797, Henry in 1804).

Anne Mary Huffman witnessed the will of John Kaines in 1767.  He was a neighbor of the immigrant Henry.  Assigning Anne Mary to Henry would mean that she was one of the oldest children of Henry born in Virginia, since she has no record in Germany up to 1743.

Some of the children married Lutherans (the family itself was Reformed) and they appear in the Baptismal Register of the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.  This gives us some more insight into the family.

Peter Weaver II married Maria, who by tradition is said to be a daughter of Henry Huffman.  The baptismal sponsors of their children confirm Maria was a Huffman.  I would identify this Mary as the oldest daughter of Henry and Catherine, born in 1736 in Germany.  Her full name was Maria Elisabeth.  The other two daughters of Henry and Catherine who were born in Germany were named Anna Catharina and Elisabeth.  No other daughters are known before 1743, the year that the family emigrated.  If we identify Maria as the first child of Henry and Catherine, she would have been about 25 when she married Peter Weaver II.  Peter Weaver II is thought to have been born about 1736 (he is believed to be the fourth child of Peter I).  This would make the ages of Peter II and Mary Elizabeth about the same.

At the baptism in 1766 of Helena (later known as Eleanor) of Peter II and Maria Huffman, one of the sponsors was Anna Hoffman.  This would seem to be the sister of the mother.  She, Anna, witnessed the will of John Kaines in 1767 so we would believe her to be an unmarried daughter of Henry and Catherine.  Anna was also a sponsor for Diana born in 1768.  There was an Agnes Hoffman in 1778 (?) as a sponsor for Maria Barbara, and in 1774 for the twins, Moses and Peter Weaver.  This Agnes had a cousin Agnes, the daughter of John Huffman who married Stephen Harnsberger.  This Agnes was too old to be unmarried in 1774.  Dieter Huffman was a sponsor for Elias Weaver in 1773.

So the baptismal sponsors show the following siblings of Maria Huffman:  Anna, Agnes, and Dieter.  One other sibling in the sponsors will require a more involved analysis.
(17 Aug 06)



Nr. 2354:

I have been writing about the children of Henry Huffman and his wife Catherine Schuster.  For a moment, I must discuss the family of George Cook for whom there is a note in the Baptismal Register of the German Lutheran Church saying, “Second wife, Anna Maria born Hoffman, Reformed Religion.”

One confusing thing about this note is that it is not entirely clear when this second marriage took place.  Everyone would agree, I think, that the child Ambrosius (Ambrose) Cook was the son of the second wife.  The sponsors for Ambrosius were Philipp Schneider who was the brother-in-law of the first wife (Maria Sara nee Reiner); Magdalena Reiner Schmidt, who was the sister of the first wife, and also a cousin of the father George Cook; and the third sponsor, who was Maria Hoffman Weber, Peter Weber’s wife.

The baptism occurred in 1775 and was the third baptism by Jacob Frank, who had arrived in the community only days before.  The baptism is recorded twice in the Register.  The first time by Rev. Frank, the record says the wife of Georg Koch (Cook) is Anna Maria who belongs to the Reformed Church.  One of the sponsors was Maria Weber.  When this baptism was copied into the family section, the sponsor is Maria, the wife of Peter Weaver (the marital relationship was added).

One thing that is unusual about the baptisms of the George Cook family is that so many family connections and maiden names are explicitly given.  The two wives of George Cook are identified by their maiden names.  Maria Weber is identified explicitly as the wife of Peter Weber (in second copied record).

One statement says, “Second wife (of George Cook) Anna Maria born Hoffman, Reformed Religion.”  One sponsor, in the copied baptism, is “Maria Weber, Peter Weaver’s wife.”  The original baptism record for Ambrose says “the wife of George Cook is Anna Maria, she belongs to the Reformed Religion.”  This same record gives as one of the sponsors “Maria Huffman”.

I am led to the conclusions that Maria was the wife of Peter Weaver.  Also, Anna Maria Huffman married George Cook.  Also, I conclude that Maria and Anna Maria were sisters.  The names are very confusing but they are distinct.  The full name of Maria seems to be Maria Elisabeth.

There is still another question about the baptisms of the children of Peter Weaver and George Cook which will have to wait for another Note.  I hope that I have the information correctly in this Note.  With the similar names and multiple recordings it is easy to get confused.
(18 Aug 06)



Nr. 2355:

I am still writing about the family of Henry Huffman, the 1743 immigrant.  Much information about the family is to be found in the Baptismal Register of the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley, in particular for the families of Peter Weaver and George Cook, who married daughters of Henry Huffman.

There is an open question that is not easy to answer.  I won’t give a definitive answer here, but I wish to point out some potentially conflicting information, which, even though it does not agree, does not upset the general conclusions.  When Peter Weaver and his wife Maria (Huffman) had their daughter Helena (later called Eleanor) baptized in 1766, the sponsors were John Weaver (Peter's brother), Anna Huffman (Maria's unmarried sister, who is distinct from Anna Maria Huffman), and George Cook’s wife, who is not otherwise identified.

George Cook’s first wife was Mary Sarah Reiner.  By the “rules” used in choosing sponsors in this time period, Mary Sarah Reiner would be an illogical choice.  What we do know is that George Cook’s second wife was Anna Maria Huffman.  If George Cook’s wife had been Anna Maria Huffman in 1766, her choice would have been logical for she was a sister of Maria Huffman.

Looking at the baptisms of George Cook’s children, we have children baptized in 1751, 1753, 1756, 1758 and 1762.  The sponsors are logical (with the exception of Matthew Smith and Maria Smith) in the sense they are relatives of George Cook and his first wife Maria Sara Reiner.  After the baptism of Dorothea in 1762, a note is entered which says, “Dina has died.” Then four years after Dorothea was baptized, Ludwig is baptized in 1768.  According to the sponsors for Peter Weaver’s children, one of whom is the “wife of George Cook” in 1766, the mother of Ludwig should be Anna Maria Huffman.  The sponsors, though, for Ludwig (Lewis) do not suggest this, as they are all relatives of George Cook and his first wife Maria Sara Reiner.

To add to the confusion, there is a note in the Baptismal Register at this point which says, “Second Wife, Anna Maria born Huffman, Reformed Religion.”  The placement of this note suggests that it might apply to the birth of Ambrose Cook born in 1775.  This Baptismal Record was copied from the one made by Rev. Frank and it might have been at a much later time when the copyist had forgotten the exact details.

In spite of the fact that Ludwig has no sponsors from the Huffman complex, I am inclined to believe that he was the son of Anna Maria Huffman.  Only then would the choice of George Cook’s wife as a sponsor for Helena Weaver make sense.
(21 Aug 06)



Nr. 2356:

There are a few more Baptismal Records that shed light on the children of Henry Huffman.  The first one I will mention shows that there are unknowns, and it does not necessarily involve the Huffmans.  When Johannes Winegart and wife Anna Maria had Susanna baptized, the sponsors were Peter Weber & wife Maria, and also Susanna Rieser (Racer/Razor).

When George Cook and wife Anna Maria had Aaron baptized the sponsors were Nicholas Smith, Sr.; Phillip Schneider; and Maria Weber.

When Peter Weaver and wife Maria had Rosina baptized in 1777, it was noted that the mother was a “Calvinist”, i.e., Reformed.  One of the sponsors was Agnes Huffman, which is interpreted as the mother’s unmarried sister.

Peter Weaver was a sponsor for George and Anna Maria Cook’s daughter Sarah in 1777.  He, Peter Weaver, was also a sponsor for the same parents at the baptismal of Cornelius.  The date of this is uncertain.  The second sponsor at this last event was Barbara Smith, which was written with English letters, which normally indicates that she was of an English origin.

Dieter (Dieterich) Huffman was a sponsor for Elias of Peter Weaver and wife Maria in 1773.  Also, Agnes Huffman was a sponsor for Maria , and for Moses and ,Peter (twins).  The Huffmans are believed to be the brother and the sister of the mother.  (These were reported earlier.)

A Dieterich Huffman and wife Jemima had a daughter Sarah Anna (Saranna) baptized in 1777.  That the mother here, Jemima, was a Barlow is indicated when Adam Barlow and his wife Maria had Enoch baptized in 1777.  Two of the sponsors were Dieter Huffman and his wife Jemima.  Another of the sponsors was Maria Weaver.

When Conrad Genzle (Kuenzle) and his wife Rachel (Barlow) had Ambrose baptized in 1778, one of the sponsors was Dieter Huffman.

When Dieter Huffman and his wife Jemima had Ezekiel baptized (probably in 1782), the sponsors were Henry Huffman, Robert Fleit and his wife Agnes.  It is very probable that Agnes Huffman is now married to Robert Fleit.  Since the Fleit is the spelling given by German writers to perhaps an English name, we should be careful about saying what the name actually is.
(22 Aug 06)



Nr. 2357:

I believe the children of Henry and Catherine Huffman were:

1. Maria Elizabeth, born in 1736, married Peter Weaver (II).
2. Anna Catherine, born in 1738, used the name Anna, no marriage by the age of 30.
3. Elizabeth, born in 1739, no record in Virginia.

The births of the above three are recorded in Roedgen in Germany.  The birth order of the following is unknown.

4. Lewis, no marriage.
5. Anna Mary, married George Cook as his second wife.
6. Henry, married Margaret Harnsberger.
7. Ambrose, married Mary Railsback.
8. Teter or Dieter or Dieterich, married Jemima Barlow.
9. Agnes, married Robert Fleit (Floyd?).

I published a chart of the first three generations of this family in volume 8, number 4, page 438 of Beyond Germanna.  I would amend that chart in the following ways:

(1) I would eliminate Daniel as a son of Henry and Catherine.  There is no evidence in the Madison or Culpeper Civil Records or the Church Records at the German Lutheran Church for his existence.

(2) Teter Huffman married Jemima Barlow.

(3) I would add the child Agnes, who married Robert Fleit, where the surname might possibly be Floyd.  (The same day, April 20, 1787, that the tax collector visited 21 Huffmans, he also visited John and Robert Floyd, who were each independent heads of families.)

B. C. Holtzclaw in Germanna Record 5, page 364, gives the same set of children except that he does not give Agnes.  The Church Records establish rather clearly that she was another daughter.  The Church and Civil Records also indicate that Agnes married Robert Floyd.  Holtzclaw does not give the spouses of all of the children, in particular, none for Henry, Ambrose, or Teter.

One question for research in Germany is how Catherine Schuster, who married Henry Huffman, is related to Elisabeth Schuster, the wife of Johannes Steinseifer.  The history of the two families indicates that there must have been some relationship.
(23 Aug 06)



Nr. 2358:

The two immigrants to Virginia, John Huffman, the 1714 immigrant, and Henry Huffman, the 1743 immigrant, had a brother Johann Wilhelm (William).  Henry and William were 16 and 19 years younger respectively than John.  William also immigrated to America, to Pennsylvania in particular, and not to Virginia where his brother John was living.

While he was still a young man, Johann Wilhelm (William) started a Diary and Account Book, into which he made entries over many years.  It was not a true diary.  More exactly, it was an account book of labor and services he performed for others plus taxes and fines he paid.  The book begins with a prayer in 1733, when he was 21 years old.  His words show his dedication to the German Reformed Church.  He regarded the Catholics very unfavorably, even worse than "the Turks".  His choice of religion was stressful to him as he lived in Eisern where the rulers were Catholics.

He had a low regard for the “overlords” who levied fines and required that services be performed.  The overlords were Catholics and their position of power made life hard for the Reformed Church members.  For example, the Reformed members were required to pay a fine because they had been spinning on the Catholic feast days.  The Catholic hierarchy was against the Reformed members holding school on feast days.

William tried to rationalize life by saying that God had ordained overlords to rule over the peasants and to require services from them at the overlords’ command.  He continued that whereas it has pleased God to make him a peasant in his fatherland which his Catholic rulers, may he live in peace with good health and fortune.  “Therefore,” he wrote, “I, Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman from Eysern, intend to record the services I give to the overlords.”  He then listed many of the services he performed such as mowing, making hay, hauling wood from the forest, hunting, and military service.  Since he owned a horse, many of his services involved the horse.

Two services had a very negative effect on William.  He had to perform military service and he had to quarter soldiers in his home.  Quartering soldiers was a burden that fell almost exclusively upon the Reformed church members.  The wars were not clearly spelled out, but foreign troops and citizens from other regions were involved.

Though William makes it clear that he believed an extra burden fell upon him because he was a member of the Reformed church, he never wavered in his faith in the church.
(24 Aug 06)



Nr. 2359:

The original manuscript of the Johann Wilhelm Hoffman Diary and Account Book is in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.  A translation by Charles T. Zahn has been made available on microfilm by the Family History Library on film 193014.  The existence of the diary and account book was brought to my attention by Ted Walker of Arizona.

After William Hoffman came to Pennsylvania in 1741 (two years before his brother Henry went to Virginia), he arrived in Philadelphia on 1 Oct 1741.  Within the year he had moved to York County, across the “Sequahanna” to a place beyond Yorktown.

He records that, on 16 May 1741, he, his wife Anna Cadrina with their sons, Johannes and Johann Heinrich, left the village of Eysern (Eisern) in the Catholic part of the principality of Nassau-Siegen in his fatherland in Europe.  He left an incomplete statement, “After I left Europe and the servitude in Siegen, in the form of handwork and money, as the book shows again and again - -”.  In another place he gives as the motivation for coming to America, “the hope of being able to live without the burden of war.”

In America, he continued to record some of the same kinds of observations as he had made in Germany, namely, taxes, road building, road maintenance, and war.  The war in Pennsylvania was the French and Indian War, which was so hard on the frontier counties.  With his fatalistic spirit, he believed that God was punishing America by using war as the means.  He records the end of the war on a very happy note with a wish for a peaceful life under our King George the Second of Great Britain.

There are two names that Wilhelm mentions from Germany that may be of interest.  In 1739 and 1740, he mentions Pastor Heltsklaw from Wilmetogff.  Surely this is a variant spelling of Holtzklau or Holtzclaw.  On 5 Jun 1738, he speaks of his brother-in-law Heide of Siegen.  Johannes Wilhelm Hoffman’s wife was Catharina Pithan and none of his sisters married a Heide according to B. C. Holtzclaw in Germanna Record 5 (see page 342).  The reference to brother-in-law Heide is unexplained but most likely comes about because “brother-in-law” does not mean what we think it does.  Another brother-in-law is Heinrich Schute at Fuecknhette (?) whose relationship is also unexplained.  Maybe the references indicate there were more relationships than we know about in Germany.
(25 Aug 06)



Nr. 2360:

We have very few artifacts that had been in the possession of our immigrants.  Henry Huffman, younger brother of John Huffman, and resident of the Robinson River Valley, brought a bottle which had words and pictures on it, which implies that he was a master carpenter.  The date on the bottle is 1735 AD.  The words are, “Vivat dass Lehrbarhandwerch der Zimmerleuth.” This is reasonably translated as “Long live the skilled handicraft of the carpenter.” A flower is on the front of the flask-like bottle with the words and the date, while images of carpentry tools are on the reverse side.  The dimensions of the bottle are 14.6 centimeters in height, 9.2 centimeters in width, 4.1 centimeters in depth (5.7 inches by 3.6 inches by 1.6 inches).  The first impression of the bottle says it is black in color, but actually it is a deep purple.  A picture of the bottle was given in Beyond Germanna on page 716.  The bottle was, in the year 2000, in the possession of his descendant David Beatty.  Dr. Beatty’s father bought it at an auction of his father-in-law’s effects.  His father-in-law was Albert Huffman.  David Beatty lived in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

It is a safe conclusion that Henry Huffman was a carpenter who probably obtained his “Master’s” degree in 1735 at about the time he was married.

His brother, John, appears also to have been a carpenter.  When the Lutheran congregation in the Robinson River Valley built a church for their new minister, Johann Casper Stoever, they hired John Huffman for nine days of carpentry in building the house.  For this, they paid him one pound, two shillings, and six pence.  John Huffman was born in 1692 so he was only 21 when he emigrated to America.  This would not have been time enough to have completed the training for a carpenter which had three stages, apprentice, journeyman, and master.  However, he could have studied and worked enough so that he could be considered a carpenter.

Looking now at the occupations of some of the members of the 1714 immigrants, we know that Hans Jacob Richter was admitted to the Guild of Steelsmiths and Toolmakers as a toolmaker.

Heinrich Haeger was a minister in the German Reformed Church.

Hans Jacob Holtzklau was a school teacher.

Johann Hermann Otterbach was a "Fuhrmann", which Ernest Thode in his German-English Genealogical Dictionary translates as “freight handler, carrier, carter”.

Notably lacking in the records is any mention of the emigrants as “miners”.  If we were to be truthful, we whould stop referring to the 1714 immigrants as "miners".
(28 Aug 06)



Nr. 2361:

There were at least two Henry Huffmans in the Germanna area.  I have been writing about the Henry who was a brother of the 1714 John.  Before this Henry came in 1743, Han Henrich Hofmann immigrated to Virginia in 1734 as one of a group of people from the Nassau-Siegen area.  He settled in the Little Fork.  After Culpeper County was formed in 1748, the Robinson River Valley Henry and the Little Fork Henry both lived in Culpeper County.  Until 1792, the RRV people and the Little Fork people would have the Culpeper County Court House.  The appearance of records from the two localities in one place should not be taken as evidence that the two Henrys, for example, were close neighbors.

In the Culpeper Classes of 1781 there were Henry Hufman; Henry Hufman, Jr.; and Henry Hufman, Jr.; with no distinction drawn between the latter two names.  The personal property tax list of 1787 shows four Henry Huffmans.

A comment on the list here seemed to imply that Henry of the RRV was a cooper, since John Jacob Nay was apprenticed to Henry Huffman to learn the cooper’s trade.  Since the Nays lived in the Little Fork where the 1734 Henry Huffman also lived, I would think that two Henrys have been confused.  There is no evidence, I think, that the RRV Henry was a cooper.

Another comment of the list here implies that Henry of the Little Fork was the administrator of the (1714) John Huffman estate.  I would think that John Huffman has perhaps been mis-identified.  Additionally, the Little Fork Henry was said to be a cousin of John Huffman.  I would like to see an expansion of this comment showing the connections.  Again, the John Huffmans may be mistakenly identified.

The 1787 Personal Property Tax List shows three John Huffmans.  It is true that the will of 1714 John was probated in 1772 but still there were perhaps more than one John Huffman.
(29 Aug 06)



Nr. 2362:

Some discussion was made on the List about Daniel Hofman (Huffman).  Of the two, one Daniel was the son of George Huffman, the son of the 1714 John Huffman.  This Daniel appears once in the German Lutheran Church records.  The church was located in the Robinson River Valley (RRV) and became known quite a bit later as “Hebron”.

Daniel Hofman and his wife Magthalena had Dina, born 13 Oct 1784, baptized on 14 Nov 1784.  The sponsors were Joseph Hofman and Anna Margaretha Bangert.  (See page 22 of “Hebron” Baptismal Register by John Blankenbaker).  I interpret the two up-to-then unknown names as follows.

Anna Margretha [Margaret] Bangert would better be known today as Bunger.  I believe she was the unmarried sister of the mother Magthalena [Magdalena].  Joseph Hofman was the brother of the father.  This forms a very natural pattern in the church, as the sponsors are the brother and sister of the parents.

There is a coincidence in the marriage licenses issued in Culpeper County, where there is a license for the marriage of Daniel Huffman and Marg. Bingard in 1790.  This is a distinct Daniel from the first, and the Marg. in the license is the sponsor above.  Thus, two sisters married two Daniel Huffmans.

At one point, B. C. Holtzclaw confused the names Bunger and Baumgartner as being the same.  The families are quite distinct.  (See Germanna Record 3, page 46.)

The Daniel Huffman that Magdalena Bunger married about 1783 became a minister and he is known as Rev. Daniel Huffman.  Magdalena was confirmed in the German Lutheran Church in 1782 at the age of 18.  Probably she married shortly after this.

Margaret Bunger was confirmed in 1782 at the age of 15.  Her full name appears to have been Anna Margaret.  She married, on 19 Jan 1790, Daniel Huffman as given in the license above.  He was the son of George Huffman, the son of 1714 John.  Thus these Daniel Huffmans were first cousins since their fathers were brothers.  B. C. Holtzclaw has reported that the descendants of this Daniel and Margaret are traced out in a folder, “A Priceless Heritage”, which should be in the Library of the Germanna Foundation.

A short note on the Bunger family appears in Beyond Germanna on page 274.
(30 Aug 06)



Nr. 2363:

In the last note, I introduced the Bunger family which is a good example of one the later families.  An early record of them in the Robinson River Valley (RRV) was the purchase of 100 acres of land on a branch of Deep Run by Felta Bunger from Michael Wilheit and his wife Mary in 1775.  Felta was a nickname for the formal name Valentin(e).  Valentine Bungard or Bangert signed the Church Covenant of the German Lutheran Church May 27, 1776, and also the petition of the church members on October 22, 1776.  Both petitions had only the men.  The Covenant was a constitution which governed how the church was to be run and the petition was a request for relief from having to support the established Anglican church.

Veldun Bonger, or perhaps Banger, and his wife Elizabeth sold the 100 acres above to their son John on January 22, 1795.  The personal property taxes of Madison County show that “Felty Bunger” was levy free for the first time in 1800 indicating he was around 60 years of age and born about 1740.  Therefore, the first appearance of the family in the RRV was when the family was young.

Felty and Elizabeth Bunger purchased 100 acres of land on Hutcheson’s Mountain from Alex Tull in 1788.  This was sold in 1802 to John Henshaw.  Shortly after this time, the family moved away from the RRV.  The will of Felta Bunger was executed in 1806 in Greenbrier County, Virginia, which is now in West Virginia.  [Note that the November 2006 meeting of the Virginia Genealogical Society et al is in Lewisburg in Greenbrier County, see germanna.com.]

There seems to be some relationship between Valentine Bunger and his wife Elizabeth and the family of Matthew House and his wife Mary Margaret.  Valentine Bungert and Elizabeth were godparents (sponsors) of Salome, daughter of Matthew and Mary Margaret House in 1776, and of another daughter, Catherine Elizabeth House in 1778.  Matthew House’s sons, Michael and Jacob, and their wives, appear as sponsors of the children of Valentine Bungard’s son Jacob at the German Lutheran Church during 1790 to 1798.

The church records show active participation by the Bunger family.  Seven children were confirmed at the church and these are thought to be all of the children.  They are:

John Bunger,
Magdalena Bunger,
Margaret Bunger,
Jacob Bunger,
Philip Bunger,
Henry Bunger, and
Catherine Bunger.

(31 Aug 06)



Nr. 2364:

A discussion of the children of Valentine and Elizabeth Bunger (as the name has evolved today), follows:

John Bunger, born 1762 was confirmed at the German Lutheran Church in the RRV in 1782 at the age of 20.  He married Eva House about 1786/7.  Of the 100 acres deeded to John by his father and mother in 1795, this was sold in 1803 to John Batton.  This is the last year that John Bunger appears in the taxables.  Four children of John and Eve Bunger are recorded in the church where John was confirmed.  The years are from 1788 to 1794 and the children are Margaret, Barbara, George, and Anna.

Magdalena Bunger born 1763/4, was confirmed at the Lutheran church in 1782 at the age of 18.  She married, about 1783, Rev. Daniel Huffman, son of John Huffman and the grandson of 1714 John Huffman.  One child is recorded in the baptisms at the church.

Margaret Bunger, born 1766/7, was confirmed in 1782 at the age of 15.  Her full name seems to have been Anna Margaret.  She married, 19 Jan 1790, Daniel Huffman, son of George Huffman and grandson of the 1714 John Huffman.  Their children were Adam, Ambrose, Isaac, Margaret, Anna, Susanna, and Eva.

Jacob Bunger, born 1768/9, was confirmed in 1785, at the age of 16.  He married about 1788/9 Margaret House and had moved to Rockingham Co., VA, by 1799.  On 22 Aug 1799 Jacob and Margaret Bunger deeded land to Michael Aylor of Madison Co., VA  This is the last year that Jacob appears in the taxables for Madison Co.  His will was probated in 1855 in Bloomington, IN.  The births of five children are recorded in the Lutheran church in the RRV.  They are Suvina (Sabina?), Valentine, Michael, Philip, and Susannah.  Mrs. Sipes (see later) also gives these children of Jacob and Margaret:  Henry, Sophia, Elizabeth, John, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Margaret to make a total of thirteen children.

Philip Bunger was confirmed in 1789 without an age given for him but he was probably born about 1770/1.  He married in Madison Co., on 9 Jan 1798, Mary Garriott, the daughter of Thomas who gave his consent.  Philip and Margaret bought a farm of 170 acres of Davis Swank in 1814 in Hardin Co., KY, where they lived the rest of their lives.  Mrs. Sipes [see also Germanna Note 5, and Germanna Note 63] gives the children of Philip and Mary as:  Fielding, Thomas, James, Nancy, Elizabeth, Philip, Mary, William, and Jackson.  All were born in Kentucky.

(to be continued)
(01 Sep 06)



Nr. 2365:

A continuation of the children of Valentine and Elizabeth Bunger (as the name has evolved today), follows:

Henry Bunger was confirmed at the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley (RRV) along with his sister Catherine.  Though their ages were not given, Henry was probably born ca. 1772/3 and Catherine ca. 1774/5.  Henry Bunger married in Madison Co., Dec 18, 1798, Barbara Garriott with the consent of her father, Thomas Garriott.  Henry and Barbara moved to Meade Co., KY, where four children, William, Samuel, Elizabeth, and Mary, are known.

Catherine Bunger, confirmed in 1794 with her brother Henry, was probably born about 1774/5.  She married Samuel Mossbarger on Oct 16, 1806, in Greenbrier Co., VA (now WV ).  Their children included Elizabeth, Jacob, Simeon, Anthony, Eli, and Mary.

It is of interest that Catherine married a Mossbarger and her niece Mary, daughter of Henry, married a Mossbarger.  Catherine’s marriage was in Madison Co., VA, The marriage of Mary was in Kentucky.  This would suggest that the Bunger and Mossbarger families had a longer term association, perhaps from Madison Co., or even before.

These notes on the Bunger family have two sources.  B. C. Holtzclaw left a three-page typescript on the Bunger family.  Ina Ritchie Sipes wrote the book “Bunger, Ancestors and Descendants and Allied Families”.  This book has 295 pages.  I wrote an article for Beyond Germanna using these two sources, plus the Records of the German Lutheran Church.

Mrs. Sipes’ book is illustrated with her own drawings, a few photographs, reproductions of original documents, and some poetry.  Her story is typical of most of us.  She knew her grandparents and from there the search of their parents began.  She was able to take the family back to the RRV at the time of the Revolution.

B. C. Holtzclaw left several short typescripts.  An officer of the Germanna Foundation gave me permission to make copies and publish the material.  The originals were returned to the Foundation and I used the typescripts in connection with other sources of information to publish material in Beyond Germanna.  Very often I found the Holtzclaw documents were incomplete and needed work, which was not surprising since the work was done by Holtzclaw late in his life.  Some of the typescripts were very short, such as the three pages on the Bunger family.
(5 Sep 06)



Nr. 2366:

On the Internet, I found a copy of the book “The Knights of the Golden Horse-shoe”, subtitled “A Traditionary Tale of the Cocked Hat Gentry in the Old Dominion” by William Alexander Caruthers.  The book was only one dollar, in good condition, but the shipping cost more than the book did.  It is a reprint made in 1970 of a much earlier version.  If any of you are tempted to buy some of the other copies of the book, let me warn you that it is not easy to read six point type.

Most of the book is devoted to stories before and after the cross-mountain trip.  You will immediately discover that there are warps in Caruthers’ time line.  For example, before the trip begins, Alexander Spotswood is said to have two teen-aged daughters.  Since the trip was in 1716 and Spotswood was not married until 1725, events are out of sequence.  Caruthers had one handicap, he did not have the benefit of John Fontaine’s diary.

Examples of historical errors made by Caruthers include these:

[On the day of departure for the trip], “The Governor’s two daughters already had their horses saddled at the court of the Palace, intending to accompany the expedition for some miles on the journey.”

“. . .for the army once beyond the ruins of Germanna, every foot of the route had to be marked by him [Joe] . . ”

“. . . he [an Indian] was next interrogated as to his agency in the massacre and burning of Germanna.”

“Notwithstanding the horrors of the massacre at Germanna, many of the remains of which stared our adventurers in the face, upon their arrival there the night was spent pretty much as the others had been . . ”

“Two delightful weeks were spent in the valley of Virginia [the Shenandoah Valley] by the Governor and his followers.”

If we were to believe Caruthers, many members of the First Germanna Colony were killed by the Indians in a massacre.

[I will take the book with me to East Tennessee for the Reunion this weekend and perhaps I can read some more in it.  Until I return, there will be no more Notes.]
(7 Sep 06)



Nr. 2367:

William A. Caruthers’ first attempt at writing “The Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe” came to naught as the manuscript was destroyed when his house burned down.  He started again and rewrote his story.  It was first published in serial form in the Savannah magazine, “The Magnolia” in 1841.  Then he gave the manuscript to a southern book publisher of limited ability to publicize the final result, which limited the initial exposure.  It was Dr. Caruthers’ best work of fiction and his last also.

The novelist never used the phrase, but the ideal of American expansionism as a destiny is the basic subject.  Of course, by the time that he wrote the book, more than a century after the events he purports to describe, western expansion was obvious for the United States.  It is doubtful in 1716, that the Colonials would have foreseen the extent of this.  There were several books that Caruthers might have used to obtain the few facts which had been preserved of the 1716 trip over the mountains.  Of these works, only the books by Hugh Jones, “The Present State of Virginia . . . ”, and the book by Robert Beverley, “The History and Present State of Virginia”, were written at the time of the trip.  Caruthers would have Hugh Jones as a member on the trip but his knowledge of the trip was second hand.

Temple Farm, the scene of the opening pages of “The Knights”, has no proven connection with Spotswood or any of his family.  The year was 1716, not 1714.  The “army” was 63 men, 74 horses, and a few dogs.  The actual trip encountered neither Indian threat nor hunger privation.  It was not the earliest party to penetrate the Valley of Virginia (two individuals who could speak German were among the earlier explorers).

The source of the idea that Spotswood presented the gentlemen who accompanied him with small golden horseshoes was Rev. Hugh Jones.  This was not confirmed by John Fontaine who was also a good friend of Spotswood and who wrote a more detailed history of the trip which was unknown to Caruthers.  Caruthers listed thirty-one gentlemen with Spotswood which is much larger than the evidence shows.  The modern author of the introduction to “The Knights” lists among the gentlemen, two names of special interest to us, Stephen Harnsberger and Francis Hume.  The latter was Spotswood’s representative at Germanna.

As to the Golden Horseshoes, the author of the introduction states, “To date, not a single fully authenticated specimen has been found.”  There are lots of stories that generally say that a person knew a person who knew a person who had seen one.  The introduction to the book actually has a picture of what might be one of the horseshoes.  The flaw in this is that one of the words is misspelled and it would appear to be a later attempt to duplicate the limited description that Jones gave.
(12 Sep 06)



Nr. 2368:

What were the motives of Alexander Spotswood for making the trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains?  Some contemporary writers give us a few hints.  Richard Beresford notes that a company of Rangers had discovered “a very easy passage for horses” across the mountains between the Rappahannock and the Potomac Rivers.  (This would mean the marked passage at Swift Run Gap was NOT the passage.)  Beresford goes on to note this might be an easier way to reach the western Indians.

Beresford then notes the citizens are speculating, “Some imagine this [the proposed trip] only an amusement That under the Notion of discovering this pass they make a more profitable Discovery of a mine: For near thereabouts a parcel of palatines are Settled in a Town Call’d Germanna some of which are miners & Given Some hopes of Mines that way, and Coll. [Franz Ludwig] Mitchell Your Engineer has Given in some propositions to the Treasury in England relating to the Mines which have been communicated back to the Governor of Virginia.”

This letter by Beresford was written July 4, 1716, to inform the Assembly in South Carolina about what was happening in Virginia.  South Carolina was very interested in Indian trading while Virginia was attempting to intervene in South Carolina’s traditional area of influence.

Though many people in Virginia saw the motivation for the trans-mountain trip as a search for mines, I believe that the primary objective was a search for land.  In 1716, the silver mine of Spotswood was a bust.  The Indian trading company was nullified in London.  So these two prongs in Spotswood’s retirement plans had failed or were failing.  His next objective was to secure a large amount of land.  Robert Beverley was urging him to join in a land venture to the west of Germanna.  Under the guise of exploring the pass over the mountains, Spotswood was exploring the land between Germanna and the mountains.  His path is a clue to his interest.  The party went first along the lands claimed by Beverley while looking on both sides of the Rapidan River.  In the following year and a half, he settled about eighty Germans on this land.  He did not file for a patent until several years later, but his intentions were clear when the Germans were placed on the land that he had been exploring in the trans-mountain trip.

Spotswood often combined a public policy and a private objective.  He told the folks back in England that the trip was for the purpose of finding a new route to the [Great] lakes and of foiling the intentions of the French.  He hoped by this to obtain Royal approval including a payment for the expenses of the trip.  The question of his expense report dragged on for several years and he never won approval for the money he had spent.

The Beresford letter was made available through the efforts of Andreas Mielke, Sandra Yelton, and Jim and Louise Hodge.
(13 Sep 06)



Nr. 2369:

Christanna, the town and the fort, was an important step in the personal plans of Alexander Spotswood.  It was to be the center of the Indian trading operation which had been established by the Virginia Colonial government.  This act put all Indian trading into the hands of the newly established company which was to be privately owned.  Spotswood himself, plus some of his friends and employees, was an investor in this company.  No longer would it be permitted for individual Indian traders to operate.

In the letter from Richard Beresford to the South Carolina legislature, he states that the Governor is now (the letter was written July 4, 1716) building a handsome house at Christanna where he intends to live when he is out of the government.  It will cost him five or six hundred pounds sterling.  Many other people are encouraged by the Governor’s example are locating plantations that way.  Beresford says that he saw many iron, steel, and other utensils being carried there.  Already a couple of forges had been set up.  It is expected to be a place of note.

The “common” stock of the Indian trading company had risen to 112 & 120 (bid and ask prices, probably in shillings?).  The prospects for the company were very bright.  The Governor was the chief promoter of the company and others are encouraged by his example.

What we see is another case where Spotswood combined public policy (the Act establishing the Indian Trading Company) and his personal benefits.  The Act did limit the number of shares that a person could subscribe to but Spotswood had, besides the shares he personally bought, control of the shares of several other people.  The Virginians were optimistic about the company.

Spotswood, whose first enterprise at Germanna (i.e., silver mining) had yielded him nothing, was abandoning Fort Germanna.  He was building his private home at Christanna.

The enthusiasm of the Virginians for the Indian Trading Company was so high that they overlooked one item.  All legislation passed in Virginia had to be approved in London.  Some people there objected to the Act because it was a monopoly which upset the established trade patterns.  Legislation passed in Virginia was expressly forbidden to do this.  Upon the complaint of people in London, the Act was declared invalid and the Indian Trading Company went down the drain.

So the second of Spotswood’s four private endeavors failed.  He abandoned Christanna.  He started looking for a new endeavor.  It was long before he saw “land” as a profitable means to establish himself.  This led to the trip across the mountains as he explored an area where there were large tracts available.
(14 Sep 06)



Nr. 2370:

In the last two notes, we have examined some of the reasons that Spotswood had for the trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains (called at that time “The Great Mountains”).  Beresford said that Spotswood was looking for mines in which to employ his Germans.  The implication of this, of course, is that he had no mines at that time.  According to John Fontaine, when the expedition across the mountains stopped at Germanna, going and coming, the silver mines were explored by a number of people with the conclusion there was no silver.  Just to be sure, Spotswood took some ore back to Williamsburg to get further opinions on it.  Another implication is that there were no iron mines at this time.

One of the terms in the establishment of William & Mary College was that the college would deliver two original Latin verses to the Governor on every fifth of November.  The verse that was written just after the trans-mountain expedition referred to this trip.  At a later time the verses were translated into English and published in the newspaper The Maryland Gazette in 1729 (June 17 and 24).  Then the English verse was again published in the William and Mary Quarterly Historical Magazine in volume Seven, Number 1, for July 1898, on pages 30-37.  A few lines will be cited here to show how some people viewed the trip, especially with respect to Germanna.  A few lines read:

. . . . . he to Germanna came, which from new German planters takes it Name, Here taught to dig, by his auspicious Hand They prov’d the teeming pregnance of the Land, For being search’d the fertile Earth gave Signs That her Womb swell’d with Gold and Silver Mines This Ground, if faithful, may in time out-do Potosi, Mexico, and fam’d Peru.

Had the writer been on the trip or had he talked with John Fontaine, he might have been more restrained in his fulsome comments.  But at this time, it appears the citizens were impressed by Spotswood’s search for precious metals.  So it confirms Beresford’s comments that Virginians viewed Spotswood’s trip as a search for mines, presumably gold and silver.

In actuality, the trip was more of a search for land.  Spotswood needed something to sustain him when he would be out of office.  He was constantly aware that he might be evicted from the Governor’s office at any time.  To live as a private citizen, he needed income.  Silver mining and Indian trading had been busts.  The richest people in Virginia had a basis for their wealth in land.  Spotswood decided that it was time to get some and the trip over the mountains was a search for it.
(15 Sep 06)



Nr. 2371:

[I will return to Alexander Spotswood later.]

The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc., has been in existence for fifty years.  Recently, the Association of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia was organized (but not incorporated).  Not surprisingly, they will be known as the Foundation and the Association.

Why the two organizations?  The Foundation is governed by a Board of fifteen Trustees.  Technically, there are no members in the Foundation.  The Association is governed by a Board of fifteen Directors.  Individuals may be members of the Association.  Why the two organizations?

In my view, the Foundation controls the permanent assets.  This includes the extensive land, the Visitor’s Center, Salubria, and perhaps endowment funds.  The present real estate alone is worth millions and many outsiders would like to get their hands on it.  With the Foundation controlled by fifteen Trustees, of whom three are normally elected each year, it would be difficult for an outsider to gain control of the Board of Trustees.  By carefully choosing the Trustees, it should be possible to maintain control of the assets.  As grants, endowments, and large estate gifts are sought, it is important that the donor know that his monies will be used as intended.  A primary purpose of the Foundation is to care for the assets that it owns and to seek additions for the furtherance of the aims of the Germanna Colonies.  All labor on behalf of the Foundation will probably be donated, i.e., there are no paid personnel.

The Association is more concerned with day-to-day operations of the Germanna Colonies.  It is envisioned that the membership will be active in this regard.  Holding the Reunions with auxiliary tours and a Seminar would be appropriate.  Publishing material would also be appropriate, including a newsletter.  It would require money to do these things and they might be expected to earn some money.  I would envision that the Association has its own funds, checking account, and probably a paid director.  If it earns a surplus, from time to time the Association might transfer funds to the Foundation.  A tax expert will have to advise me on the following.  What are the implications of the Association earning a profit?  Are they subject to a tax?  The Association is not expected to receive gifts.  Gifts should be made to the Foundation, which is a tax exempt organization.  Contributions to the Foundation may be deducted by the donor on his tax return.  If the auction at the Reunion continues to be held, the proceeds would probably have to be designated as going to the Foundation so that the donor receives a tax break.

In the next Note, I want to look at the requirements for membership in the Association.
(19 Sep 06)



Nr. 2372:

The newly approved Bylaws of the Germanna FOUNDATION do not use the word “members” except with respect to the Board of Trustees, fifteen in number.  There is no at-large membership in the Foundation.  Technically, it could be argued that this was always the case.  There never was a membership in the Foundation except for the Trustees.  People made contributions to the Foundation but they were never members of the Foundation.

The initial Bylaws for the ASSOCIATION do define Membership:

“Membership in the Association is open to all individuals who are descendants of the Germanic people who settled in the Piedmont area of Virginia who may join as Single Members, or Family Members and who pay the specified dues.  Single Members are individuals who pay annual dues.  Family Members are related individuals in a single household who join as a single unit.

“A Life Membership may be extended by the Board of Directors, from time to time, based upon meritorious service to the Association.  Life Memberships which exist at the time these bylaws are adopted shall continue for the life of the previous life member.  Membership in the Association as an Associate Member is open to all individuals who wish to support the purposes of the Association.  An Associate Member shall not be entitled to vote in any membership meeting of the Association.

“A Single Member and a Family Membership shall be entitled to one vote and to receive a single copy of the newsletters issued by the Foundation.”

I would object to the clause “who are descendants”.  Who is going to check whether anyone is a descendant?  Will you have to have documentation to prove that you are a descendant?  Who is the judge of whether adequate proof has been furnished?  This is just not reasonable.

I would recommend a single class of membership without regard to whether one is a descendant.  In other words, anyone can join who pays the dues.  (My wife objects strongly to being a second class citizen who has to sit in the back of the bus.)  I can see a reduced price for additional members in a household who do not receive a copy of the newsletter.  Every member is entitled to one vote if a vote of the membership should be taken.

I don’t think there is any danger to the assets of the Foundation if an external agent should decide to buy an indefinite number of memberships.  The permanent assets of the Foundation are protected by the Trustees of it and an outside agent will have a difficult time influencing the choice of the Trustees.  The Association will need some operating money but it would probably be insignificant to outsiders.
(20 Sep 06)



Nr. 2373:

(Back to genealogy.)

The statement was made, not here, that the Christler or Crisler family was not a Germanna family because they were Swiss.  It is true that they had some Swiss ancestry, but many of the Germanna families had some Swiss ancestry.  The Zimmermans come to mind immediately as having some Swiss ancestry.  If the full story were known, we would find that many of the Germanna families had some ancestry outside of “Germany”.  I could say that my Blankenbaker family was Austrian and not German but that doesn’t detract from their German heritage by blood and language.

The immigrant to America, Johann Theobald Christler/Christele, was born in Lambsheim in what is the Palatinate on 18 Aug 1709.  His father, Leonard Christler, received citizenship in Lambsheim on 1 Mar 1709.  He married Anna Maria Bender and they had three children born in Lambsheim:  Johann Theobald, Tosanas, and Christianus.  Johannes Bender, Bender's son-in-law Leonhard Christler, and Bender’s son-in-law Christian Merkel sold their property in 1719 and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719.

Now it is interesting that Johann Casper Stoever, Jr., married Maria Catarina Merkle on 8 Apr 1733 at Trappe, Pennsylvania.  Her death record at Hill Lutheran Church in Cleona, Pennsylvania, says she was born 14 May 1715 at Lambsheim, the daughter of Christian Merkling and Maria Cath.  A Stoever genealogy gives her maiden names as Merkle and Merckel.

I have suggested elsewhere that Theobald Christler and Maria Catarina Merkel might have been first cousins.  There are points for and against this suggestion.  Against is the fact that the marriage record (in neighboring Frankenthal) for Christian Merkel says he married Anna Catherina.  The death record for the widow of Johann Casper Stoever, Jr., says her mother’s name was Maria Cath. Points in favor of the suggestion include the common elements of the location, Lambsheim, and the common name, Merkle/Merkel.  The Christler family settled in Franconia township, which is about eight miles from Trappe where the Stoever-Merkle marriage is said to have taken place.

Possibly Theobald Crisler/Christler became aware of the Robinson River community and church through the marriage of his cousin to Johann Casper Stoever, Jr.  The latter person’s father was a minister in Virginia.  Ministers in Pennsylvania were scarce at this time and perhaps the knowledge that a minister had a church in Virginia influenced the move.  (On the same day of the marriage, the Stoevers, Sr. and Jr., were ordained.)

The fact that the Crislers first lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Virginia does not subtract from their membership in the Germanna families nor does the fact that they had some Swiss ancestry.  (Theobald Crisler is an ancestor of mine twice over.)
(21 Sep 06)



Nr. 2374:

As an example of what might be freely reprinted with regards to the German ancestry of our people, take the case of Michael Holt, 1717 immigrant.  Volume 5 of the Before Germanna series has the information that Cerny and Zimmerman found for Michael Hold (and some other families).  Jimmy L. Veal, a descendant of Michael Hold wanted a verification of the Before Germanna information.  He hired a professional researcher in Germany (Rut Bosler) without mentioning Before Germanna.  He used some of the information that was found as the basis of an article in Beyond Germanna.  In doing so, he said that the information could be freely used.

In particular, Mr. Veal wanted to know if there were any mentions of Hans Michael Hold, or his mother, Anna Brueckmann Hold Spaeth, or her husband Joh. Spaeth, in the church records after 1717.  No records could be found which pleased Mr. Veal.  What the researcher in Germany found generally confirmed the findings of Cerny and Zimmerman, but there were corrections to the spellings of names.

The earliest ancestor found was Jonas Hold, born 1601, who died 9 Apr 1663 in Stetten.  He was mayor of Stetten am Heuchelberg.  He and his wife Anna were the parents of eight children.  The family lived in a very difficult time as The Thirty Years’ War raged from 1618 to 1648.

Frau Bosler reports one given name as Elisabeth, wife of (Old) Bernhard Brueckmann which differs from other reports.  The major differences which Frau Bosler found are the spellings of the names Brueckmann and Naegelin which had been given in the Before Germanna reports as Brickmann (or Brickhmann) and Haegelin.

The consensus of several people, whom I respect very highly, is that the Germanna Foundation/Association ought to issue a comprehensive report of the findings from the records in Germany/Switzerland/Austria.  It is recommended that the work be verified by experienced people who can read the records.  This should be a continuing effort which is constantly being revised.  If the findings were issued on a CD, the production costs are low enough to make the reissue of a revised CD reasonable.  The storage capacity of the CD is enough that reproductions of the records and photographs of the villages today could be included.  Such a CD should not be limited to Second Colony people but should also include the First Colony and later comers.  The emphasis should be on the German records, not on the history of the families in America.

Such reports could be made now for the Blankenbaker, Fleshman, Schlucter, Thomas, Scheible, Utz, Volck, and Hold families though the stories are not complete by any means.  Also by now, the history of the Gemmingen families (Clore, Weaver, and Smith) and the Sulzfeld families (Zimmerman, Uhl, Kapler) could be added.
(22 Sep 06)



Nr. 2375:

Keeping track of the various sovereigns or governments in one region of Germany is difficult.  Taking the example of Baden, which has existed for a thousand years, it has varied in size from 1300 square miles to 5823 square miles.  Some of the time it has united under one ruler while at other times it has been divided between different rulers.  Generally, it is on the east bank of the Rhine River from Switzerland almost up to Heidelberg.  On the west side of the Rhine, there are Alsace and the Palatinate; on the east side is (Württemberg) Wuerttemberg.  To the north lies Hesse-Darmstadt.  Geographically, Baden is dominated by two regions, the valley lands of the Rhine and the mountains of the south.  Within this area, wheat, maize, barley, spelt, beans, potatoes, flax, hemp, hops, beetroot, tobacco, oats, sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, grapes, and wine are grown.

About 1800, the population was only 210,000 of whom 60% were Catholics, 37% were Protestant, 1½ were Jews, and 1½% were Other.  During the Napoleonic era, boundaries were adjusted.  In particular, the church lands came under civil control.  At this time the Bishopric of Speyer ceded its extensive lands to the civil states.  Some of these church lands went to the Palatinate and some went to Baden.  The south east corner of these church lands included Neuenbuerg where John Thoma/Thomas lived.  Less than two miles away was the town of Oberoewisheim where the Blankenbakers, who also lived in Neuenbuerg, went to a Protestant (Lutheran) church.  In Neuenbuerg, there was, and is today, no Protestant church.

The church had in Medieval and the Middle Ages acquired much land.  In Austria, at one time they controlled 40% of the land.  The technique for acquiring this land was to promise the owner eternal salvation in return for the gift of land to the church.  To varying degrees, the church became the ruler of this land above and beyond the mere ownership of the land.

During the German upheavals of the late 1840's, Baden came under the control of Prussia in 1849.  In describing where a village lay, say Neuenbuerg, would you could say it was in the Bishopric of Speyer, or in Baden, or in Prussia.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in their extensive catalog of the church and village records, had a problem.  They decided to use the political boundaries just prior to the time that Germany became united about 1872.  At this time, the region that we usually call Nassau-Siegen was under the control of Prussia.  So many researchers list their Nassau-Siegen village in Prussia which confuses everyone because we think of Prussia as being over in the eastern part of Germany.

Many of my remarks in this note come from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 13th edition, 1910.
(25 Sep 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-FIFTH set of Notes, Nr. 2351 through Nr. 2375.)

John and George would like very much to hear from readers of these Germanna History pages.  We welcome your criticisms, compliments, corrections, or other comments.  When you click on "click here" below, both of us will receive your message.  We would like to hear what you have to say about the content of the Notes, and about spelling, punctuation, format, etc.  Just click here to send us your message.  Thank You!


There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 700 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.  If you are interested in subscribing to this List,

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

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


INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

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

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025
This Page Contains Notes 2351 through 2375.

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