Spottswood paid for their passage and in return the Germans settled on Spottswoods land and worked for him as tenants for a few years. This practice, followed widely in Rhineland, caused the colonists to be called "Redemptioners"--selling their services for a term of years to obtain transportation and initial support.
Johannes (John) Kemper, grandson of Johann Kemper of Musen, was among the colonists. After he arrived in Virginia, his name is recorded as John Kemper. The immigrants founded Germanna, the first German settlement in Virginia, the first town of Spotsylvania County, where the first iron furnace in America reportedly was built, the first pig iron was made, and the first German Reformed Congregation in the United States was organized. Germanna was located in the extreme northeastern corner of what is now Orange County (reminiscent of Nassau-Orange dynasty in Germany), on a horseshoe peninsula of about 400 acres, with the Rapidan River to the north, west, and east of it. The Compendium of American Genealogy refers to the Germanna settlers as "Palatinate colonists" Fe 1899 Kemper book said Musen was not in the Palatine region, but a study of the map shows it certainly was near.
The colonists were settled on the tract by Spottswood ostensibly to protect the frontiers from the Tuscarora Indians (of the Iroquois confederacy), but in reality to work the governors iron mines, build the iron furnace, and make iron for him. His American colonial project had the consent of the British crown, Queen Anne (ruled 1702-1714) and George I (ruled 1714-1727). George, a German, could not speak English, but succeeded to the British throne.
During their first year at Germanna, members of the colony packed all their provisions from Fredericksburg on their heads, and raised their first crop with their hoes, in both of which the women took part. They were exempt from taxes to the British crown for seven years. They spoke High German. They were always referred to as Protestants, and sometimes as Lutherans, Reformed Calvinists, Reformed Calvinistic Presbyterians, Evangelical Reformed, Evangelical Lutherans, and German Reformed Congregation. The Kempers of the colony were identified as Presbyterians.
Perhaps these sturdy Germans wanted to own their own lands; perhaps antagonism between Reformed and Lutheran broke out. Whatever the reasons, the Germans left Germanna in 1720, and the members of the Reformed faith, "our colony" of 12 families, went north about 20 miles into the Northern Neck, Stafford County, later called Prince William County, now called Fauquier County, and engaged in agriculture along the Rappahannock River at the settlement called Germantown. The seat of government was removed from Germanna to Fredericksburg in 1732.
The early records of Stafford and Prince William Counties were destroyed during the Civil War, but a citation was given of a patent from Lady Fairfax of Scotland, proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia, for 1 ,805 acres of land along Licking Run (creek) near the present town of Midland, to the German settlers in 1724. Johannes (John) Kemper, the immigrant, was allotted 200 acres. He kept up the example given him in settling his sons but not his daughters on tracts of their own at the time of their marriages.
Last updated 02/24/08