Short Notes on GERMANNA History
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Though the Germanna Colonies are often
said to have started in 1713, the history commences many years earlier. The incident which
was important to there being a
locality called Germanna was the decision of Franz Louis MICHEL, a citizen of Bern,
Switzerland, to go to America and investigate
conditions there. He left Basel on 8 Oct 1701 and arrived in Yorktown, Virginia, on 8 May
1702. He remained only a short
time but was impressed enough to return home where he encouraged friends to join him in
forming a joint-stock company to go
into the business of recruiting and transporting emigrants to America.
afterwards, Michel left again for America
where he visited several of the colonies including the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and
Pennsylvania. This time, his explorations
were in more depth and included a long trip to the Shenandoah Valley which he mapped.
(His map still exists today and his
exploration of the Valley was in considerably more detail than Spotswood's later and very
hurried trip to the Valley.) Michel
decided that the Valley would be an excellent place to settle the colonists which he hoped to
He and his partners
petitioned the Crown in 1705 with a plan of colonization for the Shenandoah Valley which
received only a lukewarm reception
in London. The plan was kept alive until 1709 though. When Michel returned to Europe in
1708, he met an individual whose
own plans were similar to Michel's. Important to their future relationship was the fact that
Michel thought he had found
mineral wealth in the Shenandoah Valley in the form of silver.
Christoph von GRAFFENRIED
was a citizen of Switzerland who had plans similar to Franz Michel in that he also proposed
to establish colonies in America
for Swiss. Graffenried, who styled himself also as Christopher de Graffenried, had a
contract with the Bern city fathers
to take a number of Anabaptists to America. These political prisoners were being expelled
from Bern. Graffenried at the
time had no place to put these individuals and he went to London in an effort to find a home
for them in America.
London, Graffenried met Michel and compared notes. They both decided that looking for
silver was more profitable than colonizing
lands in America. Graffenried joined forces with Michel's organization and became, in
essence, the general manager. They
withdrew the pending application for colonization in the Shenandoah Valley and submitted a
revised application which was so
well worded that they received approval. The (Lt.) Governor of Virginia was instructed to
issue land on the Shenandoah River
to the enterprise. But first Graffenried had to fulfill his commitments to the Bern city
fathers. The large influx of Germans
in 1709 to England created an opportunity for him in that the proprietors of North Carolina
were anxious to obtain some of
these Germans. The proprietors would provide ships if Graffenried would lead a contingent
of the Germans in addition to his
group of Swiss Anabaptists. So the plan became that the colony would be established in
North Carolina while the minerals
would be located in the Valley of Virginia. Then the Shenandoah colony would be
To prepare for the mineral
enterprise which would involve mining, Graffenried and Michel decided to recruit miners in
Germany. They hired Johann Justus
ALBRECHT to procure the workman and tools. About 1710, Albrecht went to the town of
Siegen where there was a very active
iron mining and processing activity.
The proprietors of North Carolina, being very
anxious to settle families on their
land, offered the title of "Baron" to anyone who purchased 5,000 acres. This
was an opportunity that Graffenried
could not refuse. He purchased the necessary land and thereby became Baron Graffenried.
This lent some credibility to the
recruiting effort in Siegen.
In 1710, Graffenried and Michel sailed to
North Carolina, via Virginia, with
the Swiss Anabaptists (Mennonites). The German contingent had sailed earlier. Albrecht,
hired to recruit miners, went to
Siegen where he spent considerable time having mining tools made and in contacting
response to Albrecht was not good. Probably on his own initiative, on 15 Aug 1711, he
made an agreement with the pastors
of the (Protestant) church in Siegen in which he promised the pastors some of the income
from the mines if they would help
secure men to go to America.
Though Graffenried called Albrecht the "chief
miner", Albrecht was not bashful
about claiming to have been appointed to develop mines and smelters for gold and silver in
the Colonies on behalf of Her Majesty,
Queen Anne, and the proprietors of Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. (In actuality, the
proprietors of the Northern Neck
in Virginia, of Maryland, and of Pennsylvania were protesting that the proposed venture of
Graffenried and Michel infringed
on their lands.)
One factor which helped Albrecht was the mass exodus from
Germany which took place in 1709. Within
a 15 mile radius of Siegen, over 200 individuals have been identified who left the region
(Nassau-Siegen) and made it to America.
almost everyone in the region around Siegen was aware of people who had left for America.
The importance of these "ice-breakers"
should not be forgotten.
Communications between Albrecht and Graffenried must
have been limited. As will be seen, things
were not going well for Graffenried, so Albrecht had time on his hands. During this period,
Albrecht went back to London
(probably in part to have better communications with Graffenried). In London, Albrecht
spent time preparing a fancy document
(which still exists in the Spotsylvania County, VA Court House) and in trying to sell shares
in the mining venture. He must
have been frustrated because he appeared to have done his job and yet no word was
forthcoming from Graffenried to proceed.
In 1710, while Albrecht went to Siegen, Graffenried and Michel went to North
Carolina with their Anabaptists. The
ship stopped by Virginia and Graffenried paid a visit to Lt. Gov. Alexander SPOTSWOOD.
Graffenried showed Spotswood his letter
from the Queen stating he was to have land for his silver mining colony; however,
Graffenried could not immediately pursue
this objective in the Shenandoah Valley because he had to get his colony in North Carolina
started. Spotswood was very courteous
to Graffenried, as Graffenried was now a Baron, and Spotswood was always respectful of
nobility. The biggest impact of this
meeting is that Spotswood was set on to the idea that there might be precious metals in
Virginia. He started reading the
law on the subject.
Spotswood was nervous about having foreigners come into
Virginia. He was not sure of the precedents
and procedures. He asked his supervisors in London about this, suggesting that it might be
a good idea if the foreigners
were placed beyond the frontier to protect the English colonists from the Indians; however,
no guidance was given to him on
this subject. But he did not forget the idea.
Graffenried went on to North Carolina
where he found that events had
not gone as well with the Germans as could have been wished. These Germans had arrived
before Graffenried. Even worse, the
Indians attacked the colony and destroyed much. Graffenried himself was kidnapped by the
Indians and narrowly escaped with
his life. When Graffenried was free of the Indians, he began to think about relocating the
colony to Virginia. He visited
Virginia again with two purposes in mind, finding the silver deposits and relocating his
colony. In short, neither came to
Michel and Graffenried had a falling out. As Graffenried tells it in his
memoirs, Michel had acted very badly
toward the Indians and made life very difficult for Graffenried. So Graffenried had to locate
the silver deposits on his
own. He personally traveled up the Potomac and above the falls (vicinity of modern
Washington, D.C.). Though he never found
any deposits, it appears that his faith in the metal was not shaken. Other individuals in
Virginia seemed to share this belief
including Spotswood himself.
Back in North Carolina, the lack of adequate food
production in the first year plus the
havoc raised by the Indians meant that help for the colonists was needed. To procure
money to buy food, Graffenried mortgaged
the farm which was the basis of his title. He couldn't pay his debts though and was hounded
by his creditors who foreclosed
on his farm. His primary plan had failed and his backup plan to relocate the colony to the
silver mines in Virginia failed
also because he could not find the silver nor was there a desire on the part of the North
Carolina colonists to relocate.
By now two years had gone by in America and Graffenried was a fugitive from his creditors.
He escaped to Virginia.
While Graffenried had been down in North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Spotswood had
been busy reading the law on precious metals.
What he found was that the right of the Crown to precious metals was undefined. It was
customary for the Crown to reserve
a percentage when they issued a patent for land. In the Northern Neck there was such a
Spotswood was already
anticipating a partial ownership in a silver mine but he did not want to invest in the
development of the mine if there were
a possibility that the Crown could retroactively claim a large percentage. He sent many
letters to London, to the agent for
Virginia, Col. BLAKISTON, urging him to have this question resolved. He let Blakiston
know that he had an interest in a mine
but no action would be taken until the question was settled. From the urgency of the
correspondence, one can deduce that
Spotswood was beginning to taste silver.
In the land records of Virginia, we find
that 3000 acres were patented in 1713
and distributed to several partners. The largest owner was Spotswood, but others were
Graffenried and Lord ORKNEY, Spotswood's
nominal boss and the Governor of Virginia who never left England. Graffenried makes it
clear in his memoirs that the partners
believed there was silver on the tract (to be found today in Orange Co.).
spring of 1713, Graffenried had fled
from North Carolina and was preparing to go to Europe. He could not sail from either
North Carolina or Virginia because he
was a debtor and debtors could not leave the colonies. Eventually he escaped by going up
to New York where he was not well
known. If the mine could be developed into something profitable, perhaps he could recover
from his setback. But there was
little he could do. Or was there something he could do?
Sunday in 1713, Graffenried left Virginia
riding horseback to New York where he caught a ship to London. This round-about route
was necessary because he could not
leave from North Carolina or Virginia where he was known. It was probably late summer,
perhaps early fall, when he arrived
Upon his arrival there, he found Albrecht and forty-odd Germans from
the Siegen area who had paid their own
way to London. In London they were expecting to go on at the expense of Graffenried.
Graffenried claimed that he was completely
surprised at this turn of events (remember that he said this in his memoirs where he was
trying to make himself look good).
He admitted that he had written a letter from America in which he said that if one or two
wanted to come over and have a look
around they could come. Perhaps he had been filled with the hope that they could pay their
own way to America. He could
only advise them now to go home but they could hardly do this.
They pooled their
money and offered to indenture themselves
for four years to pay the balance. This spirit of determination on the part of the Germans
roused Graffenried to action.
He found them temporary work. Next he visited people who had been referred to him and
found a receptive ear in Col. Blakiston,
the agent for Virginia who was familiar with Spotswood's plans and hopes. An arrangement
was worked out. Merchants in London
would advance the one hundred and fifty pounds of passage money that remained above the
resources of the Germans. When the
ship arrived in Virginia, Spotswood would pay the captain the one hundred and fifty pounds
and he would reimburse the merchants.
The only possible hitch in this plan was that Spotswood was being committed to paying the
money and he knew nothing about
the plan. The Germans were being sent on to Virginia without the approval of Spotswood
who might balk at the outlay.
Graffenried wrote that the Germans left London in January of 1714 (new style).
He had already left for Switzerland,
again by sneaking out of the country. Before Graffenried left London, he wrote an
apologetic letter to Spotswood in which
he suggested that the Germans could be put to work on the silver mine that they had
together. Of course, Graffenried was
now out of the picture as a manager but he perhaps had hopes that the mine would prove
profitable and his one-sixteenth ownership
would be significant.
Col. Blakiston also wrote to Spotswood and outlined the deal
that had been made in Spotswood's
name. Spotswood received this letter before the Germans arrived. He had a mixture of
emotions. First, he interpreted Blakiston's
actions as meaning that Blakiston was near to a solution on the precious metal question.
For this reason, he was happy.
But he was also very nervous because the status of foreigners was not clearly defined and he
could be charged with importing
foreigners. In his answers, he was emphatic that they were Protestants. He also mentioned
that they were the Germans who
had been recruited by Graffenried for his mining enterprise which had been approved by the
Queen. After putting out these
disclaimers of any wrong doing on his part, he told Blakiston they would have to make the
best of the situation. He called
the Fort and the location Germanna after Queen Anne and the Germans. This might be
interpreted as another play on his part
to protect himself.
When the Germans arrived in April, Spotswood was ready with a
plan, namely the plan that he proposed
two years earlier. He would use the Germans to buffer the English from the Indians. Since
this could be considered a civic
duty to the state, Virginia should help pay for locating and maintaining the Germans. The
Council approved the plan and the
expense. The site, by today's features, is where Germanna Community College is located
along Route 3 at the Rapidan River
in northeast Orange County. At the time, Spotswood described the location as twenty miles
beyond the usual course of the
Rangers. A simple fort was built for them and it was nestled in the horseshoe bend of the
Rapidan River in that area.
described all of this is his letters to the Lord Commissioners, but he omitted one little detail.
He did not tell them that
the silver-mine patent in which he was part owner was only a few miles away from the Fort
and he hoped to have the Germans
work on this.
Spotswood was very adept at mixing public policy with his private
purposes. Since the Germans could be
considered his indenture servants, he would have to pay their tithes to the Church of
England. So he had Virginia set up
a special church district or parish for the Germans in which there were no tithes. Also he
could be expected to provide support
to the Germans. Again, he had Virginia designate the area around Germanna as off limits
for hunting to everyone except the
Germans. Thus they should be able to support themselves with their hunting.
Now that the Germans from
Nassau-Siegen are in Fort Germanna and presumably safe from the Indians, a short
deviation is possible in these notes.
history as it has been told here differs in several points from the usual history in the official
(e.g., schoolbooks) and
the family histories.
One thing that has made the study of the Germanna Colonies so
much fun has been the use of original
materials. As I have read these, I have come to realize that earlier histories are in error.
The historians, instead of
using original materials, copy each other and repeat the errors that have been made. When
one reads the original materials,
one sees that they contradict the published histories. It is not hard to reconstruct the stories
which are consistent with
the original facts.
Here are references that have proven especially helpful:
1. "The Official Letters
of Alexander Spotswood" in COLLECTIONS OF THE VIRGINIA HISTORICAL
SOCIETY, New Series, Vols. 1 and 2, 1882, R.A. Brock,
2. "Christoph von Graffenried's Account of the Founding of New
Bern" in PUBLICATIONS OF THE NORTH
CAROLINA HISTORICAL COMMISSION, Vincent H. Todd, Raleigh, 1920.
Miscellaneous courthouse records.
from the Public Record Office and the like in London. Many of these are available through
the Library of Virginia.
5. Wust, Klaus, "Palatines and Switzers for Virginia, 1705-1738: Costly Lessons for
Promoters Emigrants" in YEARBOOK
OF GERMAN- AMERICAN STUDIES, v.19 (1984), pp.43-55. Though this is not an
original document, it is a good summary and has
People talk about what Spotswood or Graffenried were doing
without checking to see what these men
were actually saying themselves. In many cases, what the actors themselves say is quite
different from what others report
they were saying.
Forty-two Germans arrived in Virginia in 1714.
Settled in Fort Germanna, they were the
western-most point of English civilization on the east coast of North America. Which made
them a truly frontier community.
One family in this group merits special comment and, in this family, the mother merits our
Friesenhagen married Johann Heinrich Häger who was known later as Rev. Henry
Häger (Hager). At the time of her
marriage she was fifteen and one-half years old while he was nineteen years older. Life
would never be the same for her.
Twelve children were born to them though the death toll was very high, leaving only three
known survivors, a son and two daughters.
1713, when Albrecht was recruiting people to go to Virginia, Rev. Häger was 69
years old (she was 50) and the two daughters
were eleven and fifteen years old. At this time, Rev. Häger had been retired from a
pastorate for two years because
of ill health. At home, there was a manservant and two maids to help care for the family.
There could hardly have been a
less likely family to go to the New World. But they signed on even though the chances
were high that the mother would have
to care for two young daughters in the wilderness by herself. But it appears that Anna
Catharina never shied away from a
There was one factor which favored their going to America. Their son
was an ordained pastor of the German
Reformed Church who had gone to New York in 1708. The parents probably saw this an
opportunity to see him though it is likely
that they underestimated the distances in America.
The group of Germans was small
and they were unusual in having a
pastor amongst them. Pastors for Germans were very scarce. As a consequence of there
being a pastor in the group, several
claims are made as to the group being the first German Reformed congregation in America.
Probably for strict accuracy, a
few adjectives should be added to the statement. Histories of the German Reformed Church
in America do not always agree.
all of the danger inherent in traveling to America with an elderly husband and two very
young daughters, the outcome was hardly
what could have been expected. Both parents outlived both daughters and the son. And
perhaps, but it is not clear, the father
outlived the mother. Rev. Hager did not die until 1737, a full 24 years after his arrival in
is implied in the writing of Col. Alexander Spotswood, Lt. Gov. of Virginia, that Fort
Germanna was built to house the 42
Germans. A contemporary description of the Fort exists in the writings of John Fontaine, a
French Huguenot, who visited Germanna
twice. He fortunately left a diary (ref. 1) which was preserved in the family and published
two friends, arrived at the German settlement on November 20, 1715, late in the day. They
went to the minister's house immediately
so Rev. Hager's existence was well known. Rev. Hager could offer his guests little food and
only a bed on straw. The next
morning they were up early and walked about the town which was palisaded with stakes
stuck in the ground and laid close to
one another. The size would have withstood musket shot. There were, according to
Fontaine, but nine families and they have
nine houses built all in a line. Before every house, about 20 feet away, they had small sheds
for their hogs and hens. As
a result the houses and sties made a street. The palisades made a pentagon, very regularly
laid out, and in the very centre
there was a blockhouse with five sides to answer the sides of pales. The blockhouse was
intended as a retreat if the outer
enclosure could not be defended.
The Germans made use of the blockhouse for
divine services. They went to prayers daily
and had two sermons on Sunday. Fontaine and friends went to services which they could
not understand but thought the service
was devout and the Psalms were sung very well.
Fontaine said the town lay upon
the Rappahannock River (actually the
south branch of it also called the Rapidan) thirty miles above the falls (now at
Fredericksburg). He thought the Germans
lived very miserably. (But this was the judgment of a man who was accustomed to life in
Williamsburg where he breakfasted
in the Governor's mansion.) Food at Germanna was sparse for the guests, but the three
visitors got some smoked beef and cabbage
from the minister. In return they took up a collection among themselves for the minister. In
the first three hours after
leaving Germanna, they saw three deer. It appears that meat for the Germans consisted of
beef, pork, chicken, venison and
surely other game. The cabbage was no doubt of their own growth.
also called the German settlement and
Germantown besides being called Germanna. Interestingly, the Center for Historic
Preservation at Mary Washington College
has probably located a section of the Fort, probably a length of the palings. By now, the
paling are gone and only their
"post holes" remain. (This archaeological work would proceed faster if
someone would make a good monetary donation
to the Center.) These remains were found under the home which Spotswood later built at
(Ref. 1: THE
JOURNAL OF JOHN fontAINE, edited by Edward Porter Alexander, The University of
Virginia Press, 1972.)
The second trip
of Fontaine will be deferred.
Who were the forty-two people who
were settled in Fort Germanna? Most of
the names are clear but one family is a surmise. The first individual is Johann Justus
Albrecht who recruited the miners
and described himself as the chief miner. He was known to be working with the group later
in Virginia so he should be counted.
After the stay at Germanna was ended, he was not associated with the group. For the
following names, the suggestion of B.C.
Holtzclaw, a modern writer, is used. He gave 42 names which would make 43 names with
the addition of Albrecht.
so, Holtzclaw's list is as good a starting point as any.
Names 2-5 Rev. Henry
Hager, his wife Anna Catherine Friesenhagen,
and their daughters, Agnes, b. 1697, and Anna Catherine, b. 1702. The two daughters were
16 and 11 while the parents were
69 and 50 when they arrived. This definitely made Rev. Hager the senior citizen in the
Names 6-9 Jacob
Holtzclaw, b. 1683, his wife Anna Margaret Utterback, b. 1686, and their two sons, John, b.
1709, and Henry, b. 1711. Besides
the German spelling of Holtzclaw, the spelling of Holsclaw and other variants are used.
Jacob Holtzclaw had been a teacher
in Germany. While he did keep school in Virginia, he was also involved in farming and
Name 10 Melchoir
Brumbach was a bachelor when he came, age ca. 28.
Names 11-15 Joseph (Jost)
Cuntze, b. 1674, and his wife Anna
Gertrud Reinschmidt, son, John, b. 1706; daughter, Ann Elizabeth, b. 1708; daughter,
Catherine, b. ca 1713/14. There is a
possibility that Catherine should not be counted in the 42 people. Two popular modern
spellings are Coons and Koontz.
Names 16-21 Philip Fischbach (now Fishback) was b. 1661 and came with his wife
Elizabeth Heimbach (Hanback); son, John,
b. 1691; son, Harmon, b.1693; daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b.1687; and daughter, Mary
Elizabeth, b. 1696.
Much of this
information comes from the church records in the Nassau-Siegen area. Many of the families
took out proofs of importations
at the Spotsylvania Courthouse in which they declared who came. And they bought land in
the region that eventually became
Rev. Hager and Jacob Holtzclaw were the best educated, but it
appears that all of the men had received
Continuing a list of the Germans who came to Germanna
Name 22 John Hoffman,
b. 1682, was a bachelor. A popular spelling in America is Huffman.
23-24 Peter and (Mary) Elizabeth Hitt.
The name in Germany was Heite but in Virginia the spelling was always Hitt. Peter was
thought to be in his young 30's.
Name 25 John Kemper was a 22 year-old bachelor. Sometimes the name is spelled as
Name 26 Joseph (Jost)
Martin was also a bachelor, a year older than John Kemper. The German form of the name
is Merden but Martin is universal
in America for this branch.
Names 27-29 Jacob Rector, b. 1674, his wife,
Elizabeth, b. 1685, (the daughter of Philip
Fishback above) and their son, John, b. 1711. The German spelling is Richter.
Name 30 John Spilman (Spielmann)
was another bachelor, about 35 years of age.
Names 31-35 The Weaver (Weber)
family consisted of John Henry Weaver,
b. 1667, his wife, Anna Margaret Huffman; son, John, b. 1693 (who appears to have died
young); daughter, Catherine, b.1697;
son, Tillman, b. 1701.
There is documentation for all of the preceding families.
About eight individuals are still
needed to make the official count of 42 persons.
Prof. Holtzclaw offered the
suggestion that one family, whom he named
and described, could have been the missing people. His reasons for selecting this family
include (1) they were related to
other families in the group, (2) they disappeared from the church records in Germany at the
right time, (3) and the family
has several women in it to provide wives for the bachelors. This family is:
Names 36-43 Harman Utterback (Otterbach),
b. ca 1664, his wife, Elizabeth Heimbach, b. 1662; son, John Philip, b. 1692; son, John, b.
1702; daughter, Elizabeth, b.
1689; daughter, Alice Catherine, b. 1697; daughter, Mary Catherine, b. 1699; daughter,
Anna Catherine, b. 1705. There is
no record of this family in Virginia including the two sons. (Later, other Utterbacks did
come which strengthens the argument
that some Utterbacks came in 1714.)
This count gives 43 persons but Holtzclaw
included at least two problematic people
and did not include Albrecht.
The forty-two Germans that we have
been talking about were called, in the
course of time, the First Colony or the Colony of 1714. Their general history has been
distorted badly at several points.
Largely this arose because of the following observations which are true:
Spotswood was eventually into iron mining,
smelting and refining.
2. The Germans came from a region in Germany which was
well known for its iron mining and
3. The Germans worked for Col. Spotswood.
individuals tried to put this all together
and they came up with a number of erroneous conclusions:
recruited the Germans." We have
seen that the Germans were on the sea and almost on his doorstep before he knew they
were coming. So it stretches one's imagination
to say that he recruited them.
2. "Spotswood had Graffenried recruit the
Germans." Actually Graffenried
started the process of recruiting before he had met Gov. Spotswood. Furthermore,
Graffenried was recruiting for the purpose
of the company he worked for, not Spotswood.
3. "The Germans were
recruited to mine iron." Actually the
Germans were recruited to mine silver.
4. "Spotswood had found iron on
his property and needed someone to develop
it." Spotswood did not own any property in his own name until a couple of years
after the Germans came. His earlier
and partial ownership of a tract of land was for the purposes of extracting silver.
5. "The Germans built the
first iron furnace for Spotswood." We have not discussed this yet, but the iron
furnace was not built until after the
First Colony had left the employment of Spotswood.
When the First Colony was
settled in Fort Germanna, their first
task was to clear land and ready it for farming. They had to support themselves by their
own efforts. They probably received
assistance in limited ways. Spotswood had a practice of loaning cattle to people who raised
them and bred more. At the conclusion
of the contract, the equivalent of the original cattle plus one-half of the increase were
returned to Spotswood. The second
way assistance was provided was by the ban on hunting in their neighborhood by everyone
except the Germans. Some flour was
probably granted them in the initial setup.
Though the Germans wanted to dig in the
ground to assay the silver potential,
Spotswood said no to this. (He never resolved the precious metal question as far as the
Crown was concerned.) Until this
was settled, development of the silver mine was verboten. So, for about two and one-half
years, the Germans were engaged
in farming but no mining. This must have been frustrating for them; they had a very bad
year in getting to America. Once
here, they were denied the opportunity to perform the functions for which they had been
Spotswood continued to push for a resolution of the precious metals question. Col.
Blakiston in London must have dreaded
opening letters from Spotswood which harped on the theme of getting approval for the gold
and silver mines. Queen Anne died
and was succeeded by King George I, a German himself. Spotswood urged Blakiston to try
the argument with King George that
he would be helping his fellow countryman if the question were resolved. In the meanwhile,
Spotswood complained about the
expense of the Germans (he mentioned partners) and said there was no chance to recover
these expenses until the Germans could
be put to work.
Actually, this was not true. Spotswood did recover his expenses
from the efforts of the Germans. On
31 Oct 1716, William Robinson patented 3,229 acres above the falls of the Rappahannock
in the parish of St. George in Essex
Co. This was the land where Fort Germanna was built. The true owner of the land was
soon divulged; no one was surprised
when the land was transferred by Robinson to Spotswood. Spotswood explained that a
third party was used because it did not
look good for him to sign a land patent as governor to the benefit of himself as a private
individual. While it is true that
Robinson paid the required fees for this (and no doubt was reimbursed by Spotswood), it
was also a requirement that the land
be proven up by building houses, clearing and planting crops and setting an orchard. This
the Germans did by their farming
activity. So Spotswood could consider that he clear title to the land thanks to the
There is, of course, a
minor question about who was the sponsor of the Germans. Spotswood had suggested, and
it was approved by the Council, that
the Colony ought to contribute to their expense since they were guarding the frontier. The
Fort, for example, would probably
be considered as property of the Colony, not of Spotswood. Nevertheless, he patented the
land on which the fort sat, giving
his approval as Governor to his actions as a private individual.
Germanna on only a few occasions
before he eventually decided to move there. By and large, he left the Germans on their
own, with little direct supervision.
For a while, he put a relative on the site as overseer. This was Frances HOME who was an
interesting tale in himself.
Home had revolted against the Crown and was sentenced to hanging but was able to get the
sentence changed to "transportation"
meaning he was to be banished to the colonies and sold as a servant. A kinsman purchased
his freedom and he went to work
for Spotswood as overseer at Germanna.
Unfortunately for him, he died not long
after this (in 1718) and was buried on
the shores of the Rapidan River at Germanna. Francis had a brother, George Home, who
was also transported to the colonies.
George, took up the trade of surveying and became very well known among the later
Germanna people. It merely shows that some
of the best people in Virginia did not come voluntarily. Some of George Home's
descendants married Germanna people, so Spotswood
could have claimed (had he lived long enough) that he was related to some of the Germanna
August 1716, John fontAINE arrived at "German town" for his second visit to
Germanna. He and many other men were
assembling here for a proposed trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains. The next day they
went to see the mines but Fontaine
was not convinced there was a good mine. He stated that the Germans pretended it was a
silver mine. He also stated that
several gentlemen of the country were concerned in this work. And once again, he
complained about the bed where he slept.
the men gathering at Germanna were two companies of soldiers, Indians and
"gentlemen". Many of the gentlemen were
known land speculators. And the group included two surveyors. The motivations for the
trip are mixed.
said that a pass over the (Blue Ridge) mountains had been discovered and that he resolved
to see it. The motivation that
seemed to have carried most of the men along was the desire to look for land that they
might patent. Spotswood himself was
in this group as he was to patent, in conjunction with others, 60,000 acres along the
Rapidan River and up to and including
the present city of Culpeper. All of this land lay to the west of Germanna, toward the
mountains. So it is hard to escape
the conclusion that the trip was made for the purpose of scouting the land. And once again
public policy was bent for private
Certainly the gathering of this many people was the biggest excitement that
Germanna had seen since it was
On 29 August 1716, the group left Germanna, following a route on the
south side of the Rapidan River. For
the first few days the route is clear enough, but then uncertainties develop. On 5
September, the group camped on the banks
of the Shenandoah River (they called it the Euphrates). On the 7 September, they crossed
back to the east side of the Blue
So the group had spent one whole day and two nights at the
Shenandoah River. No maps were drawn; no
reports were written. As an expedition with tangible results, there were none. The most
obvious result was that several
individuals were involved in future land speculation between Germanna and the mountains,
including Spotswood. What we know
of the trip was the result of what Fontaine wrote in his personal diary and that was not
published until decades later.
the 11th of September, the group was back at Germanna Town. Reportedly, the Governor
settled his business with the Germans
and accommodated the minister and the people (whatever that may mean). Fontaine
continued for a while at Germanna and attempted
to "run" some of the silver ore but he said he could get nothing out of it. On
the way home to Williamsburg, Fontaine
visited the mine again and took some of the ore with him.
History has dubbed this
trans-mountain expedition as the "Knights
of the Golden Horseshoe" after comments made by the Rev. Hugh Jones some time
later. On the whole, the motivations and
purposes of the trip have been badly distorted in the history books.
On 28 March 1724, from Germanna,
Alexander Spotswood wrote to Col Nathl. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue.
Portions are quoted here:
first tract that I became possessed of was that of 3,229 acres called the Germanna tract from
my seating thereon several families
of German Protestants, to the number of 40 odd men, women and children, who came over
in 1714, bringing with them a Minister
and Schoolmaster in order to be provided for and setled upon land in these parts by Barron
Graffenriede pursuant to an agreement
he had made with them in Germany. But before their arrival the Baron being nonpluss'd in
his affairs here, and forced to
return to Switzerland, those poor people would have been sadly distress'd, and must have
been sold for servants, had I not
taken care of them, and paid down 150 pounds sterling which remained due on their
passage: and ye Council Journals of 28th
April, 1714 will shew that to my charity for these strangers I joyned my care for the security
of the country against Indian
incursions, by choosing to seat them on land 12 miles beyond the then usual course of our
rangers, and making them serve for
a barrier to the most naked part of our frontiers: and so far from my thoughts was it, to take
up the land for my own use,
that during the six years they remained on the land I never offered to plant one foot of
next tract of 3065 acres which being contiguous, I thought of fitting to take up, the better to
accommodate those people when
I found them grow fond of having their settlemts. enlarged, it having been concerted that I
should convey to them by way of
lease for lives, because as aliens their possessions would not descend to their children: but
they being seduced away by greater
expectations elsewhere, left the land upon my hands; and so I was first engaged to purchase
servants and slaves for seating
plantations in this Colony.
"Soon afterwards I was drawn into another land
concern. In Feb. 1717 (1718 by
the modern calendar), Sr. Richard Blackmore writes to Mr. Secretary Cock to engage me to
favour a design, which he, with several
other considerable men at home, had to set up an iron works in Virginia, and desires people
might be imploy'd to find out
the oar, and some thousands of acres taken up for that purpose. Accordingly I set my
Germans to work to look for such oar,
wch. search cost me upwards of three score pounds: But about two years afterward I recd.
a letter from Sr. Richard telling
me had at length considered that he was advanced in years, that his health was of late
impaired, and that the undertaking
was at too great a distance, and therefore he was determined to drop the project. Where-
upon, rather than enter into a contention
for my reimbursements, I chose to joyn in with several Gentlemen here, who willing to carry
on the project, and bear their
proportion of the charges I had already been at; and so the mine tract, consisting of abut
15,000 acres of land, was in 1719
(1720 by the modern calendar) taken up by nine or ten Adventurers."
(parenthetical remarks added; paragraphing
The dates given by Spotswood to Col. Harrison (see
Note 16) do not exactly agree with other
statements. Johann Justus Albrecht made a statement, and Jacob Holtzclaw confirmed it,
which is recorded in the Essex Co.,VA
Deeds and Wills, v.16, p.180, that Spotswood put 11 men to work under him near
Germanna on March 1, 1715 (which by the modern
calendar would be 1716) and that the work continued until December 1718. The statement
said the work consisted of mining
and quarrying. This must correspond in a general way to Spotswood's search for iron oar
on which he said upwards of sixty
pounds (money) was spent.
Thus it appears that the Germans were not working for
Spotswood for almost two years after
they arrived at Germanna. Then the better part of the next three years were spent in a
search for iron ore and, probably,
in developing the ore beds into a productive mine. It doesn't suffice to locate ore; one must
prove that there a depth and
extent to the ore in order for it to be useful. Probably most of the sixty pounds was spent
on black powder for blasting
Since an iron furnace cost in the thousands of pounds, it would seem that
by December 1718 that no attempt
had been made to build an iron furnace. Spotswood had not even patented the iron mine
land by then. Based on his character,
he would not have invested any money until all of the legal factors were cleared
Probably the Germans moved to their
new home, away from Germanna, shortly after December 1718, probably in January of 1719
(modern calendar). By this time they
would have been at Germanna for over four years. Four years was the period of their
indenture by which they secured their
passage. These four years would have been up in the summer of 1718 but that is a very
poor time to relocate since time is
needed to clear ground to be ready to plant crops. So they stayed a while past four years at
During the summer
of 1718, they did buy land in the Northern Neck so they were anticipating a move. Jacob
Holtzclaw in his naturalization papers
(to be found in the Spotswood Co. records) which were executed in 1722 stated that he had
been a resident of Stafford Co.
for several years. This would be confirming of a move about January of 1719 (modern
So while the First Colony
Germans were at Germanna, they spent most of their time on farming including clearing of
ground for that purpose. Later they
spent some time in searching for iron ore but this activity was only a part time endeavor as
they still had to farm to supply
themselves with food. They had left for their new homes long before the iron furnace was
built and therefore they had no
part in this activity. Historians have erred in crediting them with this work. They did put
Spotswood into the iron business
as they did find the ore and probably they were even the ones that brought it to his
Colony Germans entered for or bought land from Lady Catherine Fairfax in the year 1718.
This was in the Northern Neck, a
parcel of millions of acres which the Kings of England had granted to private individuals.
So when the Germans bought their
land, they were not buying from the Crown but were buying it from the proprietors of the
At this time,
only three of the Germans were naturalized, Jacob Holtzclaw, John Hoffman and John
Fishback. Acting as trustees for the group,
they bought 1800 acres though it appears that the final plot contained a couple of hundred
acres more than this. In making
this purchase, they acted as a group and agreed to share equally in the expenses. It is said
that after dividing the land
into equally sized lots, they drew straws to assign the lots to the families.
this as a group, they were continuing
the cooperative behavior that had been evident since leaving Siegen. They shared expenses
in London and they pooled their
resources for the down payment on the transportation to Virginia. They left as a group to
their new land and shared the expense
in doing so. Along the way they contributed to the building of a home for the
Their new home quickly became
known as German Town though it must be remembered that other locations in Virginia
were also called German Town. The Germantown
which became the permanent home of the First Colony was first in Stafford Co., then in
Prince William Co., and finally in
Fauquier Co. Today Crocket Park lies in the midst of the original grant and furnishes the
best view of it. The landscape
is altered by the formation of lake now though.
As the families grew, additional land
was purchased, both in Fauquier
Co. and in the area which became Culpeper Co.
By the time of the move to German
Town, other Germans were also coming
into the region. Following notes will back up in time and look at these
German emigration was fitful, meaning it was very irregular. In 1709 there were thousands
who descended on London in hopes
of a trip to America but only a few thousand were accepted. The rest were returned home
and the Germans were discouraged
by the English in the following years from coming. A few came, such as the Nassau-Siegen
people who we have been talking
about, but by and large no Germans were coming in any appreciable numbers.
in 1717, there was a large group, perhaps
a thousand who left Germany with the intention of going to Pennsylvania. Most of these
were coming for economic reasons;
they were attempting to find a better life. One shipful of people did not make it to
Pennsylvania. Instead the captain of
the ship took them to Virginia. Though it has been widely reported that the name of the
captain was Scott, his name may be
confused with the name of the ship.
There were seventy odd Germans who were on
board. Collectively they became known
as the Second Germanna Colony but we need to back up in the story.
Germany quite late in the year as their
departure was in late July. These families had made a contract with the captain of a ship in
London to take them to Pennsylvania.
He was then thrown in debtor's prison and the passengers lingered on board, consumed their
supplies, and were forced to spend
their passage money on more food. The captain was released and the voyage was
undertaken, in essentially the late fall or
It is very doubtful that they arrived in Virginia before January 1. Until
March 23, they could still say 1717
(but we would describe it as 1718 if it was after January 1). Thus they also became known
as the Colony of 1717, besides
being called the Second Colony. I stick with 1717 as the year of arrival even though it
probably distorts history to say
Whether the landing in Virginia was due to weather (the captain's claim) or
due to collusion (the descendant's
claim), is not clear. Not just immediately, but later there will be additional
The letter from
Spotswood to Col. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue, and dated 28 March 1724
had something to say about the Second
"About the same time (the reference seems to be when
Richard Blackmore asked Spotswood to
search for iron ore which agrees quite well as the date was given as February 1717 which
would be 1718 by the modern calendar)
I fell into another partnership of land (etc.). Mr. Robert Beverly having discovered some
excellent land among ye little
mountains, and made a survey there of before the Proclamation issued in 1710, concerning
the granting of land, but not daring
to seat land so remote from all Christian inhabitants, and exposed to Indians, found it in vain
to take out a patent for the
same under the new terms of cultivation, until an oppertunity hapned of freeing a
considerable number of German families imported
in 1717, when he invited me to become a sharer in the land, and at the same time admitted
in some other partners, to the end
we might all joyn our abilities to made a strong settlement with a body of people at once.
accordingly I came into the proposal,
as judging it no ways unbecoming to me, in the station of Governor, to contribute towards
the seating H.M. lands, and paying
down the passage- money for 70 odd Germans, we settled them upon our tract as freemen
(not servants)in 20 odd tenements, all
close joyning to one another for their better defense, providing them there with a stock of
cattle and all other things necessary
for their support, without receiving (even to this day) one penny or penny's worth of rent
from them. The tract then consisted
of about 13,000 acres, but afterwards understanding that many others of the Germans, who
had been sold for servants in this
Colony, designed when the time of their servitude was expired, to come and joyn their
country-folks, we thought it needful
to inlarge the tract; and I finding, by the care which the Lord Commissioners of Trade to
send over the methods for making
hemp and tar, that the Ministry at home was for the encouraging the Plantations to raise
Naval Stores, judged it convenient
to take in a large quantity of piney lands, which lay contiguous and fit for tar and masts; and
so it was increased to a tract
of 40,000 acres."
So Spotswood confirms the arrival of the Second Colony,
its approximate size and the purposes
to which he and his partners hoped to put the group. Other documents confirm that the
group was to be involved in "naval
stores" and was not to be involved in iron mining or smelting. This is understandable
as there was no iron mine or iron
furnace at this time. So the project involving them had to be for another
Spotswood said the
Second Colony of Germans were settled on 13,000 acres of land which Robert Beverley had
hoped to claim or patent. But the
land was so remote that no one, as an individual, wanted to move there. The settlement
depended upon seating several families
at the same time so that they would provide mutual protection. The arrival of the
seventy-odd Germans provided the opportunity
that was needed. Spotswood and Beverley, with other partners, placed the Germans there.
(They could do this, even without
the German's permission, because the partners paid the German's transportation costs which
would make the Germans indentured
servants and bound to follow orders.) It is of interest to descendants, especially, to know
where this land was and the site
in particular. The 13,000 acres was increased to 40,000 acres and though Spotswood made
it seem that this was an after thought,
it probably was almost simultaneous with the settlement. One thing that Spotswood does
not mention is the land, when plotted,
amounted to about 65,000 acres, not the 40,000 acres claimed.
I have been able to
pinpoint the settlement site rather
narrowly in spite of the fact that the land totaled about 100 square miles (ten miles by ten
miles). Germanna itself is on
the south side of the Rapidan River which is the southern branch of the Rappahannock
River. The Second Colony was on the
northern side of the Rapidan River between the two branches of the Rappahannock River.
And it was about two miles west of
Germanna. Thus when it was settled in 1718, it became the western-most point under
English control and civilization. No
fort was provided. The houses were built close together for the twenty-odd families. Thus
it appears that the danger from
Indians was considered minimal but still requiring some precautions. Two features which
helped to identify the site are Fleshman's
Run and German Run. Cyriacus Fleshman was a leading member of the group. The site
was known at the time as New German Town
which distinguished it from the name German Town which was often applied to Germanna
Though the First and Second
Colonies were only about two miles apart, they were engaged in quite different activities.
Their adjacency lasted only about
one year because the First Colony moved away then. But during this period, the Second
Colony either went to Germanna for
some of their church services or else the Second Colony provide transportation to Rev.
Hager so that he could come to them
at "New German Town". They were of different faiths, the First Colony being
German Reformed and the Second Colony
being Lutheran. But ministers who could speak in German were extremely scarce,
especially in Virginia, and so there can hardly
be any doubt about Rev. Hager serving both Colonies.
Life for the Second Colony
was described as hard. Certainly there
was plenty of physical labor. The Rev. Hugh Jones wrote about them in 1724 based on his
five years in Virginia which ended
in 1722. Probably he was repeating comments that others made, including Spotswood
himself. He wrote:
this (Germanna) are seated the Colony of Germans or Palatines, with allowance of good
quantities of rich land, at easy or
no rates, who thrive very well, and live happily, and entertain generously."
(parenthetical remarks added; paragraphing
The closing two paragraphs in Note 21 were confusing,
so the following is offered. The Germans
(or their descendants) described life at "New German Town" as hard. An
incident which reinforces this view will
be described in a later note. The Rev. Hugh Jones, probably repeating comments in part of
Spotswood, seemed to say that New
German Town was a bed of roses or, as we shall see, a land of wine and roses in these
additional quotes from him:
"These (the Germans) are encouragd to make wines, which by the experience,
particularly, of the late Colonel Robert Beverley,
who wrote the history of Virginia, was done easily and in large quantities in those parts; not
only from the cultivation of
the wild grapes, which grow plentifully and naturally in all the good lands thereabouts, and
in other parts of the country;
but also from the Spanish, French, Italian, and German vines, which have been found to
thrive there to admiration."
"Besides this, these uplands seem very good for hemp and flax, if the manufacture
thereof was but encouragd and promoted
thereabouts; which might prove of wonderful advantage in our naval stores and
"Here may likewise
be found as good clapboards, and pipe-staves, deals, masts, yards, planks, etc. for shipping .
from Jones, taken with Spotswood's comments in the letter to Col. Harrison, with its
references to Beverley and to naval stores,
shows he was writing about the Second Colony of Germans and not about the First Colony
of 1714 as some writers have mistakenly
The Second Colony remained at New German Town for about seven
years, probably until 1725 from their settlement
in 1718. But before talking more about their history in Virginia, I'll go back and talk about
their origins in Germany and
P.S. Robert Beverley was seriously into wine making. He had a bet
with friends that within seven years
he could grow enough grapes to make 1,000 gallons of wine. Apparently he won this bet.
This was before the Second Colony
became involved so, after they were involved, perhaps he increased his production. The
Germans may have cooperated very willingly
in this as they came from a part of Germany that was into grapes and wine.
The Rev. Caspar Stöver,
the first dedicated minister to the Second Colony, wrote in 1738 that the group came from
Alsace, Palatinate and neighboring
areas. It now appears that the Rev. Stöver's knowledge of geography was weak,
perhaps in part because this region was
not his native area.
Individuals doing research in the German records found the
home of the Willheits and the Blanckenbuehlers
which were not too far from each other. While the Willheits were not members of the
Second Colony, they did come quite early.
On the theory that "birds of a feather flock together", Gary Zimmerman and
Johni Cerny decided it might be profitable
to search in neighboring villages for traces of families that might be identified with the
Second Colony Germans even if they
weren't exact members of the group. The hypothesis proved to be true; about fifty families
were found in the Neckar region.
If one were in excellent physical condition, you might run among all of the home villages in
one day (well, at least most
The Neckar region is not a political unit; it is a geographical definition.
On the Rhine River, find the
Neckar River which flows past Heidelberg to the west and toward the Rhine. Going
upstream on the Neckar, it flows from the
east first and then flows from the south. This makes a region bounded by the Rhine on the
west and by the Neckar on the north
and the east which is called the Neckar region.
In 1717, there were four major
political regions in this area. The
best name recognition goes to Baden and to Württemberg. There were also the lands
belonging to the Bishops of Speyer.
The Blanckenbühlers lived here.
Nearer to Heidelberg and also across the
Rhine River to the west was the Palatinate
region and a few of the 1717 Germans came from there. A few families came from just
outside the Neckar region and one, the
Harnsberger family, came from Switzerland.
In the course of time, the lands of the
church were turned over to civil
authorities and so the lands of the Bishops of Speyer became a part of Baden. This is the
definition used today to index
the records in the genealogical libraries. We could say that the biggest percentage of the
1717ers came from Baden-Württemberg
since these entities have been joined in one modern state.
The occupations tended to
the rural and trades. Thus there
were weavers, tailors, coopers, vineyard tenders and even a goose herder. This last job was
probably an entry level position
in the work force, akin to serving hamburgers at McDonalds.
The primary source of
the data in Germany is the church
records which usually contain births (more exactly baptisms), marriages, and deaths. These
are the easiest to read because
of the stylized format though the uneven handwriting in the German script challenges one
(people do learn to translate these
records even without a knowledge of German). There are civil records also but one needs
more knowledge of German here. Also,
since most of the research is done from here (USA), microfilms are necessary. Thanks to
the Latter Day Saints, many of the
church books, but not all, have been microfilmed.
Readers of these notes from
Germany (there are some) may wish to comment
with more authority than I can offer. And of course, everyone is welcome to send
comments and questions.
will be reader response day):
Tobias Kemper of Westphalia, Germany sends this
information about the meaning of the
name Kemper: In the dialects spoken in Westphalia, there is a word, "Kamp".
This word comes from the Latin "campus"
and means something like the ploughed land, a field of a farm near the village. Often a field
is called "Kamp".
A "Kemper" now is a farmer whose farm is not in the village but more in the
border of a village next to his land
or in the midst of his land. Based on the history of the Virginia Kempers, Herr Kemper has
decided that he is not related
to them in any detectable way.
Elke Hall, based on her early life in Germany,
offers this comment about goose herders:
In many villages, the job of the goose herder, swine herder, etc. was actually something like
a "government" job
as he was often paid by the village, just as a night watchman of the guard would be. Since
Germans tended to live in villages,
not on separated farms as here in America, there often was no place for them to graze their
animals. They had to be watched
by a trusty person, who would walk through the village in the morning. The farmers would
open their barnyard gates, and the
geese and swine or cows would just follow the herder through the streets and out the village
gate to the grazing grounds.
On wash day at the river side, the goose herder had to avoid the bedsheets drying and
bleaching on the grass. "Once
a goose ran after me when I was three or four and I have never been so scared in my
life." The herders often doubled
as veterinarians. They knew the animals well and could detect when they not right. They
might administer medications. In
the mountain areas, the herder might take the animals for an extended stay of weeks to the
higher elevations where the grass
was lush. In most German farm villages, cows, goats, geese and pigs are not left outside at
night as they are in America.
They are brought in every night and housed in the barn. On the whole the herder was
responsible for a precious commodity
as a farmer might have only a few cows and a few geese (but always a goose for
(Editor's note: I appreciated
these comments from Elke, maybe because I have a geese herder for an ancestor.)
Ted Walker, who has visited his
ancestor's lands in Virginia, notes the wide spread occurrence of cemeteries on the farms
themselves and asks a few questions.
Our Germanna people, but others also, for the first couple of centuries buried their people
on the farm. They all lived on
farms and all had land which they could use for the purpose. Field stones were often piled
up to mark the grave but the use
of stones with engraved names was very rare. As a consequence, no information is to be
gleaned at the cemetery. Because
details have been forgotten and people have moved, the plots have often gone to weeds,
brush and trees. When a stone today
is to be found with information on it, it was often made long after the facts and therefore
very liable to have erroneous
information. The Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison Co., Virginia is the oldest Lutheran
church building in continuous use
as a Lutheran sanctuary in America. Yet the cemetery associated with it is modern, having
been started about one hundred
years ago. It contains graves of an older date but these were moved from their original
location and re-interred. The hope
of finding information in the original cemeteries seldom meets with success. Sometimes,
just finding the cemetery is counted
as the biggest measure of success.
A church record in the
Gemmingen parish register (in Baden), gives
a lot of information about the Second Colony. The pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran
church wrote in the death register (in
"12 July 1717, the following listed parents, together with their
children, expect to move away
from here, wanting to take ship to Pennsylvania, and there in the hardship of the wilderness
better their piece of bread than
they could here. Not just from here, however, but many people are leaving other villages as
well, with the same intention."
We are indebted to Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny for bringing this to public
view. If you are interested in reading
their work, contact American Genealogical Lending Library, P.O. Box 244, Bountiful, UT
84011 and ask about the Before Germanna
With fairly high confidence, we can set the date of departure as July, a rather
late date in the year. With
the delays that were incurred in transit, this makes me believe that the group probably did
not arrive until after 31 December
1717. The destination was Pennsylvania, though the captain did take them to Virginia.
Their reason for going is economic,
not religious. The emigration was not just from this village but from nearby villages
Interestingly, the pastor
wrote all of this in the death register. This is indicative of the general attitude in Germany;
leaving Germany was likened
unto death. The church leadership also failed to support the emigrants in the New World
and they, the immigrants, were left
to devise their own solutions.
The pastor then proceeded to list six families with all
household members who were going
including their ages. Four of the six families are known later in Virginia. The fifth family is
known to have arrived Virginia
but there is no further record of them. The sixth family may have been able to get on a boat
going to Pennsylvania. The
Matthaus Schmidt, wife and two children.
Schmidt, wife, two children and two
Hans Michael Klaar, wife, two children.
wife, two children.
Bekh, wife, four children.
Hans Michael Mihlekher, wife, two children, wife's
The Smith, Clore and
Weaver families are members of the Second Colony (using their Anglicized
The Weaver family was a surprise as
they had been thought to be later comers. The two Smith men were brothers (from the
parish register). Also from the parish
register, it was learned that the wife of Joseph Weber was the sister of Michael Klaar. This
was the general pattern, there
were more relationships than had been suspected. They generally came in village and family
groups. The lone immigrant family
is rare, but they do exist.
When Alexander Spotswood repatented his 28,000 acre tract, he used the
headrights of 48 German immigrants. From
his comments, reported here earlier in a letter to Col. Harrison, we understood that he was a
partner with several individuals
in land speculation. He had been expecting to get the land for free, but that is another story.
He had to pay, and the headrights
were a partial payment in accordance with the law. Since some of the individuals were on
the Gemmingen list, it is assumed
that all of these names on this list are 1717ers. The names may be found in Virginia Patent
Book 15, p. 378ff. The immigrants,
structured into families were:
Pale (Paul or Balthasar) Blankebuchner, his wife
his wife Anna Maria Blankebuchner,
son Hans Jerich B.
Hans Jerich Chively, wife Maria Clora,
daus. Anna Martha, Anna Elizabeth,
Henry Snyder, wife Dorathy.
Hans Jerich Otes (Utz), wife
Barbara, son Ferdinandis,
step-daughters Sylvania and Anna Louisa (Volck or Folg).
Joseph Wever, wife
Fredich, daus. Maria Sophia, Wabburie.
Michel Cloar, wife Anna Maria Parva,
son Andrew Claus,
Agnes Margaret, son Hans Jerich.
Hans Michael Smiedt, wife Anna Creda
son Hans Michael Smiedt.
Hans Jerich Wegman,
Anna Maria Wegman, Maria Margaret
Wegman, Maria Gotlieve Wegman (relationships
Hans Nicholas Blankebuchner, wife Applona,
Coz Jacob Floschman,
wife Anna Barbara,
son John Peter, dau. Maria Catharina.
Michel Milcher (perhaps Milcker), wife
Catharina, (unk) Maria Parvara Milcher.
Since Spotswood said
there were seventy-odd people, this list
of names is only about two-thirds of that number. Presumably the balance of the names had
their transportation paid by the
Combining the Gemmingen list with this does not come close to the
seventy-odd names. Therefore, it
is necessary to look at other clues which we will in following notes.
In the list
above, there were more blood relationships
than even appears from the names. Anna Barbara Fleshman was the mother of all three
Blankebuchner men, plus Henry Schucter,
and also Peter Fleshman, and Catherine Fleshman. She was also the mother of Anna Maria
Blankebuchner, who had married John
Thomas, and was to marry later Michael Kaifer in Virginia.
More information about the names of the
Germans who came is provided by the Proofs of Importations, commonly called Head
Rights. These originated early in the 1600's,
when it was desired to encourage immigration (to Virginia). For every person, man,
woman, and child, who came into the colony
of Virginia, one could claim 50 acres of the Crown's land. These rights were transferrable,
and it quickly became the practice
that the person who paid the transportation would get the headright. To actually get the
headright certificate, one went
to court and swore to his arrival. A certificate was issued to whomever was
A number of these are recorded
in Spotsylvania Co., Virginia. Twelve heads of family from the First Colony went on either
the 7th Apr or the 3rd June, both
in 1724, and told who came and when they came; however, not all forty-two people are
identified; there are gaps.
the Second Colony families, the following made their proofs of importations:
John Motz, wife Maria Pelona (Appollonia)
Hans Herren Burgud (Harnsberger), wife Anna Purve, son Stephen
Zimerman, wife Elizabeth, sons John and
Henry Snyder, wife Dorothy
Matthew Smith, wife
Michell Cook, wife Mary
Andrew Kerker, wife Margeritta, dau. Barbara
Christopher Parlur (Barlow), wife
All of the above stated
they came in the year "one thousand seven hundred and seventeen". Next,
there are a group of people who stated
they arrived "nine years since in Capt. Scott". These statements were made 2
May 1727. Exactly nine years earlier
would have been May of 1718; however, just two months prior to that would have been, by
the calendar then in use, 1717. Thus
it would appear that the following people also arrived in 1717 with the others:
Jacob Bryoll, (alone, but a member
of the following family)
John Bryoll, wife Ursley, children Conrad and
Nicholas Yager, wife
Mary, children Adam and Mary
Phillip Paulitz, wife Rose, children Margarett and
Also, one man testified
in 1729 (October, actually) that he came "about twelve years since in the ship called
the Mulberry". Exactly 12
years earlier would have been October 1717 and it is very unlikely that the 1717ers had even
left London yet. For a couple
of reasons, including the above, it is doubtful that the following are 1717ers but for
completeness here are names:
Georg Lang, his wife Rebecca.
At this point the evidence is an embarrassment of
riches and there is evidence of still
Starting in 1724, and extending through 1726,
Spotswood sued many of the Germans, claiming
they owed him money, though the basis of the suits has never really been clear. Some
believe the suits were to prevent the
Germans from moving away from his land to land of their own. It does seem that the
foundation on which his claims were based
was weak. For example, he sued Conrad Amburger for 32 pounds sterling and a jury of
Spotswood's peers awarded Spotswood under
3 pounds sterling. More than anything, the suits say something about the character of
Right now, though,
we are more interested in whom he sued, and not the reason why. These are the
George Utz, and
There is quite a bit of
overlap between the Gemmingen list
and the importation list. Both of these are thought to consist of 1717ers. The assumption is
usually made that all of the
men who were sued by Spotswood came in 1717. This adds more names to the
Many of the men, who are on one or more
of the three lists above, received their patents to land in 1726. Therefore, the names of men
receiving land in 1726 adds
another dimension; however, only one new set of names is added, John Thomas and his
brother Michael Thomas, both of whom were
under age, but did receive land in 1726. It is not known whether their father, another John
Thomas, came or not. His wife
did, because she eventually became the wife of Michael Kaifer, by whom she had five
children. The argument that the Thomases
came with the 1717ers rests on the fact that Anna Maria Thomas was the sister of the three
Blankenbaker men, and the daughter
of Anna Barbara Fleshman, who all came. If Anna Maria and her family stayed a while
longer in Germany, they were the only
members to do so.
Among the land records, Conrad Amberger (Amburgey)
received his land patent in 1728, but it was located
in another area where the surveyor may have been delayed. He was sued by Spotswood.
Andrew Kerker did not get his patent
until 1728, but it may have been delayed by the fact that it was for more than 400 acres. In
these cases, approval of the
Council of Virginia was required. Kerker's land was in the midst of the 1717ers, and could
not have been staked after the
others had staked theirs. George Lang did not get his land until 1732, and this is another
reason that he is a doubtful Second
Spotswood, in his letter to Col. Harrison, said there were
seventy-odd Germans. I believe the Germans
later said about 80 had come in 1717, but they were notorious for simplifying their
presentations. The number of candidates
above for membership in the Second Colony is about 90. Getting the count down to 80
would be very hard because the rationale
for eliminating anyone is difficult. Some of the people have better evidence than others to
support their case but a definitive
list will probably always allude us.
Mention has been made
that the Second Colony members took up
land. This was located in two sites, one now in Madison County, VA, and the other, a
much smaller location, now in Culpeper
Co., VA. The location which is now in Madison Co., on both sides of the Robinson River,
was sometimes called the Robinson
River settlement. The church which they built eventually became known as the Hebron
Lutheran Church, and so some modern writers
call it the Hebron community. The other location, now in Culpeper Co., was a just to the
southeast of Mt. Pony, which itself
is just to the southeast of the town of Culpeper. This latter site was unrecognized as a
settlement location by the Germanna
Foundation writers until I showed it was the case. In both of these cases, the land at the
time was in Spotsylvania County.
where the First Colony settled, was at a little distance from the sites just mentioned. Willis
Kemper, in writing the Genealogy
of the Kemper Family in 1899, made much of the fact that the Second Colony did not chose
to settle beside the First Colony.
Searching for a reason, he finally ascribed it to the religious difference between the German
Reformed First Colony members
and the Lutheran Second Colony members. He missed the mark, though, in this belief.
What he did not realize is that land
was free in Spotsylvania County at the time the Second Colony was ready to
This free land was not due any altruistic
action by Spotswood toward the Germans. Instead, as a patentee of many square miles of
land in the area which was to become
to Spotsylvania County, he proposed legislation to create two new counties, Spotsylvania
and Brunswick, and in both of these
counties, land was to be "free of levies" for ten years. The term "free of
levies" was not clearly defined,
and it resulted in Spotswood's own claim to land being clouded for many years. But for the
smaller landowner, it meant free
land. The Second Colony Germans took advantage of this and patented their land in
Spotsylvania Co., and not adjacent or near
to Germantown, where the First Colony lived. Thus the decision of the Second Colony to
settle apart from the First Colony
was not based on religious questions, but it was based on economic questions. Most of the
people took out patents for 400
acres, some for more, and several for less. But many of them went back again and patented
The Robinson River
community was located about 25 miles west of Germanna and New Germantown. By 1725,
when it appears the move of the 2nd Colony
took place, the original New Germantown was no longer "New", since the 2nd
Colony's settlement was a still newer
Germantown, which caused the original "New" Germantown to be known
simply as Germantown. At the "new"
New Germantown, the Second Colony members were the western-most point of English
Atlantic seaboard civilization. After Germantown
was founded, it was a more remote location, if not a more western point. After the Second
Colony move to the Robinson River,
they were clearly the frontier community. Being the "frontier community" did
not last for long, though, as the
Shenandoah Valley was soon settled (from the north, not the east).
It is said that the
Indians were still living east
of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and that they interacted with the Second Colony people.
Probably, this was true. About the
time the Germans moved in, a few English moved in also, but the community was
dominated by the Germans. Some English speaking
people patented lands before the Germans (in modern Madison Co.), but these were
speculative ventures, not a settlement pattern.
Usually they were forfeited because of a lack of settlement.
Before the Second Colony had moved
from New Germantown to their new and permanent homes, more immigrants were moving
in. Some of these individuals came in a
remarkably short time. Remember that the Second Colony members had planned to go to
Pennsylvania, so if more Germans arrived
in Virginia within a couple of years, they were either accidentals (as the bird watchers say),
or they knew they wanted to
go to Virginia.
Apparently, the Second Colony members wrote home immediately
after their arrival, so their friends and
relatives knew where they were (in VA, not in PA, as originally intended). That they were
friends or relatives (or even both)
seems obvious by the case of Christopher Zimmerman and Nicholas Kabler. Both of these
families were from Sulzfeld. Christopher
said he came in 1717, while Nicholas said he came in 1719. Both settled in the Mt. Pony
area, and both were described as
being coopers. It would appear that Christopher Zimmerman wrote home as soon as he
arrived and told the folks in Sulzfeld
where he was. Considering the pace of mail then, which had a hit or miss aurora to it, it
seems that Nicholas Kabler must
have made his decision to go almost immediately upon receiving the news. It is certainly
hard to escape the conclusion that
he was influenced by a knowledge of Christopher Zimmerman's location.
writers have referred to a Third Colony,
and even implied that it was larger than the either of the first two colonies. It does not
appear that there was an organized
"3rd" group. There were several families that came in the time period of 1718
to about 1755. It is a mistake to
refer to a Third Colony, but the Germans did continue to come. By 1724, Spotswood could
say there were about a hundred Germans,
implying they were at New Germantown. Since the original contingent was seventy-odd (or
eighty-odd, or ninety-odd,depending
on whom you include), the increase would probably consist of two elements, natural net
growth of the original group, plus
The new comers are best described as a series of individuals who
either were coming at the invitation of
friends and relatives, or of accidentals, who, for one reason or another, found themselves in
Virginia. At the same time,
it appears that some individuals were already leaving Virginia, perhaps under the cover of a
dark night. On a net balance
the German communities grew steadily until the time of the Revolution, when both
immigration from Europe stopped, and migration
within the Colonies probably slowed.
Many, perhaps most, of these new individuals
never lived anywhere near the fort
at Germanna, which, strictly speaking, is the one spot that can be called Germanna. So the
question is raised and debated,
"What is a Germanna Colonist?"
Elke Hall points out that among the reasons
our ancestors came was "forced deportation". Sometimes a city council would
become so fed up with the behavior
of a family, or the cost of maintaining a family, that they sponsored a trip to the New World
as a cheaper alternative. (Christoph
von Graffenried got started in colonizing plans because he had a contract with the city
fathers of Berne to take a number
of Anabaptists out of Berne.) Elke also points out that when a person left Germany, he
surrendered his citizenship and could
not go back to his old home. This was the case of the First Colony members in London,
when Graffenried defaulted on his promises
and suggested they go home. At that time, they had no home.
Continuing the discussion of what
is a Germanna colonist, there were several more immigration movements from
Nassau-Siegen. A group came in 1734 and landed
in Philadelphia, which had become a favored landing spot. These people worked their way
down to the First Colony and took
up land in the adjoining county of Culpeper. Several of the names are recognizable for their
relationship to the earlier
members, as they were Fishbacks, Hoffman/Huffman, Otterbach, and Richter/Rector, but
also Youngs and Nays.
left Siegen in 1738. Individuals left in other years, again most commonly arriving at
Philadelphia, but sometimes in other
There was a whole series of individuals who came into the area of the Second
Colony settlements. For purposes
of illustration here, let's take the Reiner family. The wife of Michael Cook was Mary
Barbara Reiner, and they came in 1717.
In 1750, 33 years later, her brother, Hans Dieterich Reiner, and his family came to
Philadelphia. The youngest son purchased
530 acres of land in that same year in Culpeper Co. Two of the daughters were married
within the year in Culpeper Co.
names illustrate that immigration was planned with a clear objective of where the people
were going. It is obvious there
was communication taking place between Virginia and Germany. The newcomers were a
continuation of the movement started by
the earlier Colonists. Often they were members of the same families. Henry Huffman came
about 20 years after his brother
John had come. Dieter Reiner came 33 years after his sister had come. While Henry and
Dieter never had anything to do with
Fort Germanna, most people would say that they should be included in the group of
The common elements
of all of these individuals is that they were German, and they lived east of the Blue Ridge
Mountains in the modern counties
of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, and Rappahannock. West of the Blue Ridge Mountains
there was the Shenandoah Valley with its
own settlement pattern. There were some Germans east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in
I thought we might revisit the reasons that our Germanna ancestors came. The answers are
complex. And how do you read the
minds of people who lived almost three hundred years ago?
One of the best
treatments in book form is "Early Eighteenth
Century Palatine Emigration", by Walter Allen Knittle. The book has been reprinted
by Genealogical Publishing Company
and is available in many libraries. Don't let the title mislead you; the comments apply to all
areas of Germany.
one reads and studies the question of why did they come, the first comment is usually,
"Why didn't they leave sooner?",
and not, "Why did they come?".
Germany, in the first half of the sixteen
hundreds, was a land torn by war,
the Thirty Years War, which lasted from 1618 to 1648. All countries of Europe were
involved in that they sent armies, but
Germany was the battlefield. And Germany suffered most of the losses. It is said that areas
or regions of Germany were reduced
to one-third of their previous populations. Disease was the major reason, but this arose
from several causes -- lack of food,
crowded living conditions as civilian moved ahead of the armies, and the level of movement
which spread the diseases.
in the sixteen hundreds, and in the early seventeen hundreds, the armies of France ranged
over the Palatinate and Baden.
Though the area of battle was more restricted than for the Thirty Years War, the intensity of
the war was bad. The town of
Heidelberg was burned to the ground, with only a handful of buildings left standing. (One
of the effects of these campaigns
was the destruction of the church books, and of gaps of information in the
So "Germany" was not a
very peaceful place to live, and a person might well have wished that he were somewhere
As a consequence of war,
there were many migrations of people. Sometimes people moved to get out of the way of
the armies. More importantly, after
the war, there was vast, underpopulated regions, with vacant farms and vacant houses and
barns. The rulers of these regions
sent out "invitations" for people to settle there, emphasizing the favorable
conditions that could be had if one
moved into their Principality. Vast numbers of people did move, across the Germanic
regions, and from one country to another.
Many Swiss Anabaptists moved into Baden and Württemberg (also to Alsace and the
Palatinate). Some people moved from
the eastern regions, such as Austria, to the lands along the Rhine. One of the Germanna
families who moved from Austria to
Germany was the Blankenbakers (the move may have been motivated by religion as much as
anything, since Austria became a Catholic
country after the Thirty Years War). All of this movement had an important repercussion in
that families were, perhaps unknowingly,
being trained to relocate as a means of settling problems.
the last note, war was mentioned as
a contributing factor to the causes of emigration, but, perhaps more in an indirect way than
in a direct way. Today I discuss
another unusual factor in the early 1700's which was to have an influence on the early
decade period in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries has been called a little
ice age. Temperatures were
below the average for many years in a row. The lowest temperatures were reached late in
the year of 1708, and continued in
the ensuing winter season. The cold weather was in force by the beginning of October, and
by November 1 it was said that
firewood would not burn in the open air. In January the alcoholic beverages were freezing.
Birds on the wing fell dead;
saliva congealed before it hit the ground. The rivers were all ice bound. But most
surprising, the oceans froze along the
coast to the extent that a heavy wagon could travel on the ice. The cold was not just
intense, it lasted for several months.
of this cold were many. The grape vines were killed. The trees in the orchards were also
killed. The recovery from these
adverse affects took years. During the recovery, economic times were hard because
incomes were sharply reduced. There was
no wine to sell, there was no fruit to sell. Even such industries as iron smelting in the
Nassau-Siegen area were hit because
they needed trees to make charcoal to run the furnaces and forges. Growing enough trees
was always a problem. So even industry
felt the multi-year depression which resulted from the cold snap. Briefly, it was hard to
make a living in the years following
the winter of 1708/1709.
This is one of the reasons that emigration in the spring and
summer of 1709 reached epidemic
proportions. There were other reasons for the 1709 emigration fever, but certainly the
weather played a role.
our Germanna colonists did not leave in 1709, this cold wave had a strong influence on
them. The depression-like years of
the economy were a factor. There was another factor, perhaps almost as
Up to this point, few Germans had
been leaving Germany, and one reason was that the path had not laid out. No one was
familiar with what was required. How
much money would it take? How long would it take? What were the dangers? What
would the reception be in America? This
all changed in 1709, when lots of Germans did get to America. It could be done apparently.
One just had to take the first
If one draws a fifteen mile circle around the town of Siegen, over 200 people
have been identified who left in
1709, and did make it to America. Some of these names occur in the family histories of the
First Germanna Colonists. So
when Johann Justus Albrecht arrived in Siegen about 1710, the citizens were aware that
others were making the trip, and probably
even knew some of the people who had left. Knowing a few people who had left, and
facing a bleak economic outlook, a semi-receptive
audience was found by Albrecht.
The Second Colony, who came a few years after
the First Colony, would have been subject
to many of the same reasons. They too knew people who had left, and the economic times
were still bad. So, the cold weather
had a role, and people left, not because they were trying to find a warmer climate, but
because of secondary effects engendered
by the "little ice age".
Continuing our look at the
causes of the early 1700 German immigration,
religion has been cited as a reason. But it has been overemphasized by descendants who
wanted to give their ancestors a noble
purpose in coming to America. In fact, it is almost non-existent as a cause, certainly among
our Germanna Colonists.
there were groups, such as the Anabaptists, for whom religion was an important factor. We
know some of these people today
as Mennonites and Amish. In some cases, on a very significant level, they were forced
unwillingly to depart their homeland.
Earlier, the role of Christoph von Graffenried in finding a new home for the Berne
Anabaptists was mentioned. The city fathers
of Berne were exporting Anabaptists; Graffenried held the contract to find them new
Earlier, Anabaptists had
been expelled from Switzerland, or had chosen to leave, when land became available after
the Thirty Years War. Many of these
were living in Baden, Württemberg, The Palatinate, and Alsace. The special
restrictions upon them there were onerous.
These included, by way of examples, special taxes, no church buildings, and meetings
limited to a few people. The Anabaptists
were very receptive to William Penn's offer of cheap land, and the free exercise of
Among the Catholic, Lutheran,
and Reformed Germans, religion was not a significant cause of emigration. In fact, the
Catholics were not welcomed by the
English. While the existing treaties among the countries said the religion of the ruler would
be the religion of the country,
there was a varied degree of toleration of other religions, and in only a few cases was it
Of about 100
Germans who passed through London in 1708, none of them cited religion as a cause for
immigration. They were outspoken about
the ravages of the French armies in the Neckar region in 1707. Of about 1500 German
families tallied in 1709, they were about
equally divided among Catholic, Reformed, and Lutheran. Many of these came from The
Palatinate, which had a Catholic ruler.
If religion were the cause of emigration, then it would leave unexplained the large number
of Catholics. Many, perhaps a
majority, of these Germans, were under a Protestant prince.
A German pastor who
visited the families in London in 1709,
observed that prayer books and Bibles were not in evidence. A report at the same time
from Holland said the Protestants and
Catholics agreed with each other very well, with many mixed marriages. In this vein, I
believe it was Hank Z. Jones who said
he encountered (in the records, not in person) a man was born a Catholic, married in a
Reform church, and later was an elder
in a Lutheran church. The details of the religion did not seem to matter that
Also, the Germans learned quickly
that it was "profitable" to tell the English that they were persecuted as
Protestants. The English had their prejudices
and the Germans took advantage of this.
Except for the Anabaptists, religion was
not a major cause of emigration, and
probably it was not even a minor cause of emigration.
series discussing motivations for
going to America, mention must be made of a reason which is simple to understand. That
was a desire for adventure, most evident
in the single males.
Looking at the First Colony, there were several bachelors:
Melchoir Brumbach, John Hoffman, John
Kemper, Joseph Martin, and John Spilman. Two of the Fishback men could have qualified
as bachelors, but it would be unfair
to count them, since they came with their total family of six. The bachelors probably could
rationalize their investment
in the trip by saying they could always return if it didn't work out. When they left Germany,
they were under no particular
pressure to provide for a family. One has to feel that a spirit of adventure contributed to
their decision to go. That so
many young single men were in the party may also say something about the economic
conditions. Perhaps Albrecht, in his recruiting,
may have attempted to maximize the return on the investment by recruiting bachelors
without any overhead in the form of wives
and children. To the bachelors, who had probably accumulated little capital, it was a means
to get to America cheaply. On
balance, the desire for adventure surely paid some part.
In the Second Colony, there
were few bachelors. Mostly it
was young families of a husband, wife, and a few children. One true bachelor was Michael
Kaifer, and he was not totally alone.
It could be said that he came with his sister Appollonia Kaifer, who was now married to
John Nicholas Blankenbaker. Whether
she was to watch out for him, or he was to help his sister and brother-in-law, or he was
completely independent, is not clear.
family could hardly rationalize a trip to America as adventure. Individual members of a
family felt the pressure of the group.
Within my own namesake family, it was headed by an older couple with three subfamilies
from the wife's first marriage, an
unmarried son by her second marriage, and two children from her third marriage. There
may have been a daughter's family also,
but we have no proof of that. It is just that we feel the pressure would have been intense on
the daughter and husband to
join the group. In this situation, where all of the family was going except for one member,
pressure could have intense.
we continue to look at the reasons that people came, we see that no single reason applied to
all. Each individual had a mix
of reasons in varying proportions.
In the last note, adventure
was mentioned as possible reason
for immigration, especially among single males. In the families, a more conservative
outlook prevailed. They would more
likely have been motivated by a desire for land. In Germany, little land remained for
purchase. Sons had to depend upon
an inheritance. The Germans tended to divide their estates among all of the sons, or even all
of the children. There was
no primogeniture as in England, so the land had been divided to below an economically
profitable unit size. In the Siegen
area, where a more industrial outlook prevailed, the furnaces and forges could not be
physically divided, so a time division
was used instead. A son might inherit a right to a furnace for one day a month. Many of
the industrial jobs were only part
time while the family also farmed. So in all regions, the families wanted to acquire land for
their own use and they wanted
to be able to give farms to their children.
It was difficult to accumulate capital in
Germany. Taxes were high. Remember
that Germany was not a single entity; rather it was a collection of Principalities of all sizes
(it was not even called "Germany").
Many of these units or governments were too small to be economically viable, especially
when the ruler wanted to emulate
one of the Princes or perhaps even the "Sun Monarch". Still, this was probably
the only condition that many citizens
of the principalities had known. They had difficulty in imaging there could be a government
with low taxes. Later, relatives
and friends wrote home from the colonies and told how small the taxes were they paid, then
the citizens of Germany realized
it could be better. But the role of taxes did not become important until
Advertising was wide spread and sponsored
by many agents. One of the most active and best conducted campaigns was by William
Penn for his new colony. He personally
visited Germany and extolled his province of Pennsylvania. He also had pamphlets printed
and distributed. Some of these
would have put today's real estate promoter to shame. The pamphlets were printed with
covers of "gold" which made
them very impressive, and the booklets became known and referred to by these covers.
Penn used two major selling points,
free exercise of religion, and plenty of cheap land. Except for some sectarians who were
anxious to have more freedom to
practice their religion, cheap land was the stronger appeal.
Later, advertising was
conducted by the shipping companies,
i.e., the owners who were trying to fill their ships with people to take to the new world.
But at the times of the first
Germanna colonies, this was not an active process. When they did refine the process, they
made use of "newlanders"
who were living in America, but who had gone back to Germany on a temporary basis.
These newlanders were paid on a commission
basis and they were thought to be effective because they had a first hand knowledge of the
colonies which they could convey
to the prospective emigrant in his own language.
Of course, for the First Germanna
Colony, Albrecht would have fallen
into the role of promoter and salesman of the venture. I know of no evidence that he had
ever been to the Colonies, but he
was self-assured and confident. Still, he found it necessary to adopt a special measure to
obtain help in promoting the silver
mining venture. He signed an agreement with the church leaders of Siegen, promising to
provide them with income from the
projected mines in America. Presumably this would make the venture look more
to summarize the reasons for the emigration of the Germanna colonists, no single reason
will cover all people. Even more
strongly, hardly any individual had only a single reason for coming. But it seems to me that
the dominant reason for coming
was a chance to improve one's economic condition. For some people, they could be the
beneficiaries. For others, there would
be little opportunity to improve their own position in life; instead, they could look forward
to lots of hard work and few
rewards. They were probably more motivated to improve the opportunities for their
children and grandchildren.
we start handing out the awards, the blue ribbons go to the women. Being more oriented to
family and tradition, the decision
to go to America was probably harder for them than for the men. My blue ribbon to the
woman in the First Colony for fortitude
goes to Anna Catherine Friesenhagen, the wife of Rev. Hager (Haeger or Häger).
She was fifty years old, while Rev.
Hager was sixty-nine and retired because of ill health. Two daughters were sixteen and
eleven. She was leaving a home with
three servants in it.
In the Hager family, economics was less important than for the
other emigrants. Going to the
New World was a step down for them on the comfort scale, though they were perhaps
unaware of this. The Hager parents had
one motivation that none of the other emigrants had; they had a son in New York, their only
surviving child besides the two
daughters. Thus the journey could result in a reunion, not a split of the family.
the Second Colony, the blue ribbon
goes to Anna Barbara Schöene, to give her maiden name. At fifty-three years of age,
she packed up with her seven children,
and their children, and her husband, and set off for a new life. She made it to Virginia but it
is unknown whether she lived
past the seven years at New Germantown and made it to the lands which her family
purchased in the Robinson River Valley.
One would like to think that she made it to the promised land. In this case, I would think
the family was economically motivated
and Anna Barbara joined in to preserve the family as a unit. (I get weepy-eyed when I think
about Anna Barbara who an ancestor
of mine in three different ways.)
As the emigrants are examined, we could ascribe
many different motivations to them.
But we would keep coming back to the general theme that they were trying to improve
their own or their children's station
in life. Adventure and a discomfort level arising from war and cold weather could be
included. But the religious situation
was not that bad for Lutherans and Reformed people in Nassau-Siegen, the Neckar region,
and in The Palatinate. (Nassau-Siegen
was mixed in religion.)
After a few more years, in some cases only a very few years,
the situation changed. A new factor
appeared, letters started going back to Germany. More reports appeared telling how it
could be done. Generally the letters
were encouraging, and, with more information about how it could be done, friends,
relatives, and total strangers joined in.
Still they were motivated by the same old reason, there was a better life to be had across
Having decided to go to the Island, or Carolina, or Pennsylvania (the names
were used almost interchangeably as
synonyms for the New World), a departure was usually made in the spring of the year. For
the first two Germanna Colonies,
it was well into summer before they left. The trip was made almost exclusively by water.
The First Colony people went down
the Sieg, the Second Colony went down the Neckar, and in both cases they went to the
Rhine, which they took then on to Rotterdam.
Some of the Second Colony people were near enough to the Rhine that they may have
started on it.
made the trip in 1750, when emigration had reached the size that the operation was
becoming better "organized".
He wrote a small book which described the trip and his life in America.
took the usual route down the Neckar
(from Heilbronn) and the Rhine Rivers to Rotterdam in Holland. The trip from home to
Rotterdam, including the sojourn there,
took fully seven weeks because of the many delays encountered on the Rhine and in
Holland. The reason for this (seven weeks)
is that the Rhine boats must pass by thirty-six different customs houses between Heilbronn
and Holland. At each of these
all the ships must be examined and these examinations take place at the convenience of the
customs officials which hold up
ships for long times. This involves a great deal of expense for the passengers and it means
that the trip down the Rhine
takes from four to six weeks.
"When the boats with their passengers arrive
in Holland they are held up once
again from five to six weeks. Everything is expensive in Holland and the poor people must
spend nearly all they own during
"In Rotterdam, the people are packed as closely as herring, so
to speak, into the big boats.
The bedstead of one person is hardly two feet across and six feet long, since many of the
boats carry from four to six hundred
The Germanna colonists had a variation to the basic pattern
being described here. They had to catch
a boat in Rotterdam to London, and there they had to find another boat to cross the
Atlantic. By 1750, the ships which were
to carry the people across the Atlantic were calling at Rotterdam to find the
Herr Mittelberger notes that
it took from eight days to four weeks to cross to the final port in England, where stores
were taken on. During time in port
everyone had to spend his money and consume the provisions that he meant for the ocean
"When the ship
weighs anchor for the last time, then the long sea voyage and misery begin in earnest",
Mittelberg writes "This
portion of the trip takes from eight to twelve weeks to cross the ocean to Philadelphia. The
voyage from Rotterdam to Philadelphia
took fifteen weeks."
Herr Mittelberger was an
individual whose glass was half-empty. Others
might see the glass as half-full, but he tended to see the dark side, which he painted a bit
blacker than others did. Still,
I can't say that he made up any part of his description of the journey. Let's hear his story of
the crossing itself.
"...the long sea voyage and misery begin in earnest. (After weighing anchor) the
ships take eight, nine, ten, or
twelve weeks sailing to Philadelphia, if the wind is unfavorable. But even in the most
favorable wind, the vogage takes seven
"During the journey the ship is full of pitiful signs of distress --
smells, fumes, horrors, vomiting,
various kinds of sea sickness, fever, dysentary, headaches, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy,
cancer, mouth-rot, and similar
afflictions, all of them caused by the aged and highly salted food, especially of the meat, as
well as by the bad and filthy
water, which brings about the miserable destruction and death of many. Add to that the
hunger, thirst, frost, heat, dampness,
fear, misery, vexation, and shortage of food, as well as other troubles. Thus, for example,
there are so many lice, especially
on the sick people, that they have to be scraped off the bodies. All this misery reaches its
climax when, in addition to
everything, one must also suffer through two to three days and nights of storms with
everyone convinced that the ship will
all aboard is bound to sink. In such misery all the people on board pray and cry pitifully
wind and waves permitted it, I held daily prayer meetings with (the passengers) on deck
and, since we had no ordained clergyman
on board (Mittelberger was an organist), was forced to administer baptism to five children.
I also held services, including
a sermon, every Sunday, and when the dead were buried at sea, commended them and our
souls to the mercy of God.
"Among those who are in good health, impatience sometimes grows so great and
bitter that one person begins to curse the
other or himself and the day of his birth, and people sometimes come close to murdering
one another. Misery and malice are
readily associated, so that people begin to cheat and steal from one another. And then one
blames the other for having undertaken
the voyage. Often children cry out against their parents, husbands against wives, and wives
against husbands, brothers against
sisters, and friends and acquaintances against one another.
"...warm food is
served only three times a week,
and at that is very bad, very small in quantity, and so dirty as to be hardly palatable at all.
And the water distributed
in these ships is often very black, thick with dirt, and full of worms. ...toward the end of the
voyage we had to eat the
ship's biscuit which had already been spoiled for a long time.
"When at last,
after the long and difficult
voyage, the ship finally approachs land and one gets to see the headlands which had been
longed for so passionately, then
everyone crawls from below to the deck, in order to look at the land from afar. And people
cry for joy, pray, and sing praises
and give thanks to God. The glimpse of land revives the passengers ..."
There were voyages that were better than
Mittelberger's, and there were voyages that made his crossing look like he was on a cruise
ship. The facts that he describes
are probably typical; he has just one color with which to paint, black.
Mittelberger gave some prices
for the cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. To have a measure of what a pound Sterling was
worth, a carpenter's wages in Virginia
was two and one-half shillings per day. There are twenty shillings in a pound Sterling.
Thus, a charge of ten pounds for
the Atlantic trip represents 80 days of wages for a carpenter, who could be considered a
craftsman. To put these into perspective,
80 days today would be 16 weeks of work, which might represent a gross income of
From Rotterdam to Philadelphia,
anyone older than ten years had to pay ten pounds for the passage. Children between five
and ten paid half fare, or five
pounds. Children under five got free passage. For this they had their transportation across
the ocean and board while they
were at sea. But this was only the sea voyage.
The cost from home (in Germany) to
Rotterdam was six to seven pounds
no matter how economically one tries to live on the way. And this does not include the
expense of any extraordinary contingencies.
Mittelberger reports that some people spent thirty pounds from home to Philadelphia.
When one puts the parts together, say
for the parents and two children over five, one sees that the trip represents many months of
wages for someone who is a skilled
artisan. In short, the trip was expensive.
I have usually used the figure of six
pounds for the trans-Atlantic crossing
of our Germanna people, a figure somewhat less than Mittelberger is using. One of his
purposes in writing his book that I
have been quoting was to discourage Germans from emigrating. He believed they were
better off to remain in Germany. He may
have colored his facts to support his argument better. Also it should be noted,
Mittelberger's story is based on a crossing
in 1750, some thirty-odd years later than the earlier Germanna people. Prices may have
suffered some inflation in that time.
understand that ship captains still expected payment even if the passenger died in route.
Some people, where several members
of the family died, faced impossible financial burdens at the destinations.
reference purposes, the book by Mittelberger
is entitled "Journey to Pennsylvania", which was translated and edited by Oscar
Handlin and John Clive, and published
by the Harvard University Press in 1960.
A longer version of Mittelberger's report
will appear in the issue of Beyond
Germanna which is due out March 1.
What did our Germans
find when they arrived in Virginia? They
perhaps landed at Jamestown, the port for Williamsburg. Already this was thirty miles
inland up the James River. So before
they had landed they would have discovered two characteristics of Virginia. The one that
surprised them the most was the
number of trees. Chances are they saw some ground being cleared for growing tobacco,
and the trees were being burned. They
were not used to so many trees, nor were they used to seeing them being burned just to get
rid of them. This was difficult
for them to accept; trees in Germany were scarce and bordered on being
The trip up the James River would have
exposed them also to another aspect of life in Virginia. Civilization was based on the major
river systems. In the early
1700's, ships could sail up the four major rivers to the limits of settlement. From the north,
there was the Potomac, the
Rappahannock (to be very important to them later), the York, and the James. Commerce
took place on these rivers. Some of
the plantations fronted on the rivers (as Mount Vernon was to do later), but many were set
back slightly, with only a landing
to mark where ships could call.
It perhaps took a while for the Germans to
appreciate it, but there was only one town,
Williamsburg, the capitol city where the Governor had his home. The assembly, or the
House of Burgesses, met here and enacted
legislation. The Council was both an advisor to the Governor and a partner in the legislative
Outside of Williamsburg,
life centered on the larger homes which were surrounded by the buildings necessary for a
self-contained community of specialized
labors. A traveller would be welcome to stay in one of these homes, especially if he brought
news from the larger world.
If he could tell a few good stories, he might be invited to stay another night.
road network was limited, and tapered
off in quality as one moved away from Williamsburg. When Lt. Governor Spotswood went
to Germanna in 1716, he travelled the
first part of the way in a chaise. Then he transferred to a horse. The road network was
used mainly for people, not for
commerce. The largest amount of freight was tobacco going to market in England. From
the farms it was rolled in large casks
to a warehouse at a river bank. There it could be traded for a warehouse receipt, and the
warehouse receipt could be used
as money. Even the tithes of the church were assessed in pounds of tobacco and could be
paid with actual tobacco.
importance of tobacco would have been a surprise to the Germans but, as soon as they were
on their own, they too adopted the
culture of tobacco. It was the one cash crop in Virginia which dominated everything else.
Mini-depressions could result
if the crop was poor or the price was low. Tobacco even had its own network of roads,
called rolling roads. These had to
be laid out very carefully to avoid hills which would make the pulling hard or the braking
difficult. These roads also needed
to be smooth to avoid breaking up the casks.
description of early 18th century Virginia, some
contemporary accounts are good. The first is from John Fontaine's Journal (referenced
On November 9,
1715, (a Saturday) John Fontaine and (John?) Clayton left Williamsburg to go to Germanna.
The objective was not so much Germanna
as it was to scout for land, since Fontaine wanted to buy a farm there for his family. At nine
in morning, after breakfast
with Spotswood, they left by horseback and travelled 31½ miles that day, including
crossing the York River, which was
over a mile wide at the crossing point. They stayed that night with Mr. Augustine
On Sunday, they stayed
with the Moores. Fontaine's horse ran away and Moore loaned one to Fontaine.
On Monday, they continued, and crossed
the Mattapony River in a large dugout canoe, which was novel to Fontaine. (The horses
went in a boat.) Muskrats were a new
animal. That night they reached the home of John Baylor, prominent citizen.
Tuesday, a servant of Moore returned
the lost horse of Fontaine. They visited an Indian village. That night they reached Robert
Beverley's house. (He is often
called the "Historian", from the history of Virginia that he wrote.)
On Wednesday, they remained with
Beverley and visited his vineyard (he was a partner with Spotswood in the settlement of the
Second Germanna Colony, and he
encouraged the Germans to raise grapes). This year he has made 400 gallons of
Thursday, the weather was very
bad and they stayed over with Beverley and sampled the wine. Beverley is said to be rich,
but he lives simply, using stools
for chairs, for example. Everything he needs is made or grown on his land.
Friday, the weather was so bad Beverley
would not let the men go. Beverley describes his bet that he could make 700 gallons of
wine within seven years. It seems
as though he will win the bet. "We were merry with the wine.."
Saturday. They went hunting with Beverley
and saw deer, squirrels and partridges.
Sunday. Went to church, seven miles
distant, with Beverley.
Beverley's son, William, wanted them to stay and go hunting and so they did. Turkeys and
deer are mentioned. Visited neighbors.
Tuesday. They left, and William Beverley went with them. They made it to Mrs.
Woodford's, about ten miles below the falls
in the Rappahannock River, which are at today's Fredericksburg. Saw ducks, geese, and
water pheasants. Kindly entertained.
Wednesday. Mrs Woodford packed food for them and sent them on. About five they
crossed a bridge made by the Germans and
in another hour were at Germanna.
November 21, 1715, John Fontaine, John Clayton,
and William Beverley left Germanna about noon and went to Augustine Smith's house,
which is almost upon the falls of the Rappahannock
River. He was not home but his housekeeper entertained the men well and gave them a
turkey for dinner and beds to lie in.
From Germanna to Smith's house, nineteen deer were spotted.
On Friday, they
continued but met two huntsmen and
fell in with them. They shot a buck and a doe. About four in the afternoon they arrived at
Richard Buckner's place on the
Rappahannock. They had good punch and were very merry.
On Saturday, they
met Mr. Beverley and looked at land.
Later they continued on to the home of Beverley. Saw lots of turkeys. The next day, they
continued travelling from Beverley's
place, without William Beverley, until they reached Thomas Walker's place on the
On Monday, they
reached King and Queen Court House and spent the afternoon. Capt. Joshua Story invited
them to spend the night at his house,
which they accepted, but found the entertainment indifferent.
November 26, they crossed the York River
on the ferry and ate at Fourrier's ordinary. After lunch they continued on and reached
Williamsburg about five.
round trip journey to the Germanna settlement was estimated at 292 miles, which is
consistent with Spotswood's estimate of
the distance. Fontaine spent three pounds and ten shillings. Much of this money would
have been as tips to the servants
in the homes where they stayed.
Every night was spent by invitation at someone's
home, except at Germanna, where they
probably slept in the blockhouse. Outside a day's travel from Williamsburg, no inns or
ordinaries were mentioned, and probably
there were very few. There were no towns after leaving the capital. Overall, Virginia was
very rural and all opportunities
for visiting were welcomed.
On the average, in the settled parts, the number of
inhabitants per square mile was very
limited. Farms tended to be good sized, but varied considerably from the family farm, of
perhaps a couple of hundred acres,
to "quarters", of perhaps several hundred acres, on which the labor was mostly
servants and slaves. Without regard
to size, all farms were called plantations.
A report to the King in 1721 (see Beyond
Germanna, v.8, n.2) estimated the
number of white souls in Virginia at 84,000. In 1714, quit rents were paid on 2,619,773
acres. This would yield 30 acres
per white person. But no quit rents were paid to the King in the Northern Neck, which
consisted of five counties as compared
to twenty counties in the Royal domain. Also, much land was not taken up yet. Thus, in
the land divided into counties, the
population was probably about ten souls per square mile. One sees why Beverley travelled
seven miles to go to church.
In August of 1716, a party of men was formed, from several parts of
Virginia, to go over a pass recently discovered
in the Blue Ridge Mountains. John Fontaine joined in and left comments in his diary, which
is good because no one else left
any description of the trip. In this note I continue with selections which give some idea of
what Virginia was like. The
assembly point for the trip was Germanna. Fontaine left Williamsburg with Spotswood, and
the trip to Germanna was very similar
to the one described in the last two notes. Five days of travel were required to reach
Fontaine came down with a violent fever for which he took the bark. From the symptoms
and the cure, he had, as many newcomers
to Virginia did also, malaria. The second day out from Germanna they had venison for
dinner, in abundance, which they roasted
on wooden forks before the fire. Two days later they killed a bear and more deer.
The next day the troop was besieged
by hornets, which were very troublesome to the horses. On September 2, a Sunday, they
saw another bear, but, it being Sunday
they did not endeavor to kill anything. The next day, a thicket was so well laced together
that their clothles and baggage
were much damaged. At this point they were near the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Progress was very slow and they made
only eight miles.
On the fourth, one of the horses was bitten by a rattlesnake.
The sides of the hills were so
full of vines and briars that they had to clear a way for men and horses. As they ascended,
they killed four rattlesnakes.
The camp that night was called, familiarly, "rattlesnake" camp. The next day
they crested the Blue Ridge. They
found marked trees marking a trail which they presumed to have been made by the Indians.
Over the mountains, they found tracks
and bedding places for buffaloes and elk. They found grapes very good for the
At the Shenandoah (they called
it the Euphrates) they caught fish. Others killed deer and turkeys. On the way home, at one
camp, there were deer, bears,
and turkeys. On Sunday, September 9, they killed three bears. Fontaine could not easily eat
bear and says it would have
tasted better if he had not known what it was. He did compare it to veal. On the next day
they were back at Germanna. At
Germanna, Fontaine caught fish in the Rapidan (he calls it as it was originally named, the
Rappahannock). On several occasions
on the trip, Fontaine mentions large snakes which he seemed determined to kill.
Because the First Colony of Germans
arrived so late in the year, it was impossible for them to raise any crops in 1714. To help
them (and perhaps avoid having
to supply them with food), Gov. Spotswood had legislation passed declaring there was to be
no hunting by others within a five
radius of Germanna. Assuming the Germans took advantage of the game, they could have
been eating venison, bear, and turkey
meat. They could also have caught fish in the river. If they went farther afield they might
have had buffalo and elk. But
it sounds as if they would not have lacked protein in the vicinity of Germanna.
the First and Second Colonies would
have encountered, or met, Indians. As has been commented before, the Germans were the
vanguard of civilization, the western
edge, living under primitive conditions. Basically, if they couldn't grow it or make it
themselves, they did without.
On September 8, 1721, the Lord Commissioners for Trade and
Plantations sent a representation to the King [George
I] upon the State of His Majesties Colonies & Plantations on the Continent of North
The State of Virginia
"The Government of this Colony was at first under the direction
of a Company; but they being dissolved
upon the mal-administration, in the year 1626, His Majesty King Charles the first took the
Government into his own hands and
settled such laws and constitutions in that province, as were agreeable to those in this
Kingdom. Accordingly the nomination
& appointment of the Governors, as well as the Council which consists of 12 persons is
in your Majesty, & the General
Assembly consisting of fifty-two Burgesses has been always chosen by the
"The strength and security
of this Colony, in a great measure, depend upon their Militia; their plantations being usually
at too great a distance from
one another to be covered by forts and towns. James Town and Williamsburg are the only
Towns [they could be considered as
twin cities] in the whole Country; & there is no Fort of any consequence for the
security of their great navigation &
trade, but at James Town.
"However for their protection against the
Indians, who inhabit amongst them, &
that live to the Westward they have erected Christianna, & some other Forts; &
the Council & Assembly have lately
proposed to your Majesty a scheme for securing the passes over the great ridge of
Mountains which lie on the back of this
The militia in 1690 was 6,570; in 1703, 10,556; and in 1715,
about 14,000 in all. The report
used the ratio that the militia (all white males 16 to 50) were one-sixth of the whole
population; the total number of white
inhabitants was computed as 84,000. The entire province is divided into 25 counties but 5
of these counties belong to the
late Lord Colepepper. In the King's 20 counties, 2,619,773 acres of land have been taken
up. The holders pay an annual quit
rent of two shillings [about a day's wages] or 24 pounds weight of tobacco for every
hundred acres. The proceeds to the King
vary widely because the price of tobacco can vary almost two to one from year to
Levies are made upon every
person over 16 years of age except white women. In 1714 the number of tithables was
31,540. [From this, one concludes a
large fraction of the population was under 16 years of age.]
product of Virginia is tobacco
... the Virginia planters [have] exported to this Kingdom at least 30,000 hogsheads per
Annum ... The other branches of trade
between this kingdom & Virginia consist in pitch & tar, pipe & hogsheads
staves, skins & furrs, & a few
drugs... their dependence is almost wholly on the produce of tobacco."
material was taken from J.R. Brodhead,
"Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York", edited
by E.B. O'Callaghan, vol. V, p.591f,
Note that every member of the militia produced about two hogsheads
of tobacco. A good trade to be in
would be cooperage. Christopher Zimmerman and Frederick Kabler of the Germanna Mt.
Pony settlement were coopers. No iron
is mentioned in the trade items. Probably the furnaces had not come on line yet. The
Second Colony members were involved
in the Naval Stores. There is no mention of Fort Germanna, which probably had been
destroyed by then so Spotswood could build
his home. The trip to and over the Blue Ridge Mountains had been five years earlier and no
progress had been made on security.
Most likely the Virginians were more motivated by land speculation than by
with excerpts from the Representation to the King by the Lords Commissioners for Trade
and Plantations in London, the trade
with all of the plantations (colonies) was examined. Besides the colonies on the North
American continent, England was also
active in Antigua, Barbadoes, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Christopher. That these
were important is shown by the
amounts imported to England. There was more imported from Barbadoes and Jamaica each
than from Virginia and Maryland combined.
the North American plantations, Virginia and Maryland dominated the imports to England.
Together they exported to England
about four times as much as New England did. Most of this from Virginia was tobacco.
From Virginia and Maryland, the annual
value of their exports was about 250,000 pounds Sterling. New England ran a trade deficit
with England; as a consequence,
the merchants of New England developed a lively trade with other locations.
three years from Christmas of 1714
to Christmas of 1717, 340 ships cleared English ports for Virginia. This is almost exactly a
ship every three days. From
the total tonnage in this three years, one can compute that the average size of a Virginia
bound ship was 138 tons. This
is not very large; it compares in volume to a 2000 square foot house.
England imported a little less than
400,000 pounds Sterling from North American colonies, and over one-half of this was
tobacco. Other items in order of their
value were pitch and tar, logwood, other, rice, skins and furs, turpentine, brown sugar, train
oil, and whale fins.
goods exported to the colonies included woolen goods (147,000), worked iron products
(35,000), silk (18,000), wrought leather
(15,000), linens (11,000), cordage (11,000), and other (44,000), to the value given in the
parenthesis in pound Sterling.
These were goods of British origins.
Foreign goods sent to North America from
non-British sources include linens (86,000),
callicoes (10,000), and other (22,000).
The report noted that exports to the
Continent of America exceeded the imports
from there by about $200,000 per annum. The Lord Commissioners noted this imbalance
was an advantage to Great Britain. Also
the trade increased His Majesty's revenue from the Customs very considerably. Also it was
noted that many of the imports
to England from America were exported to other nations which helped the balance of trade
very considerably. For example,
about 8,000,000 pounds (weight) of tobacco were consumed annually in England while
17,000,000 pounds were re-exported to other
nations. (From this we deduce that a hogshead of tobacco weighed over 800 pounds, a
very cumbersome quantity.) Nearly all
of trade was carried in British ships.
When a European war developed, the impact
on Virginia was severe because the
demand for tobacco was reduced.
The Rev. Hugh Jones came
to Virginia in 1717 and returned to England
in 1722. In 1724, he wrote a small book, "The Present State of Virginia". It is
considered that he was writing
of events that occurred no later than 1722. He was at Williamsburg associated with the
College of William and Mary, and he
was a friend of Spotswood. On some occasions he goes overboard in his praise of
Suppose that we want to
go into the business of raising tobacco. Here is how to go about it.
a tract of land is seated, they
clear it by felling the trees about a yard from the ground, lest they should shoot up again.
What they have occasion for
they carry off, and burn the rest, or let it lie and rot upon the ground. The land between the
logs and stumps they hoe up,
planting tobacco there in the spring, inclosing it with a slight fence of cleft rails. This will
last for tobacco for some
years, if the land is good, as it is where fine timber, or grape vines grow.
"Land when tired is forced to
bear tobacco by penning their cattle upon it; but cowpen tobacco tastes strong, and that
planted in wet marshy land is called
nonburning tobacco, which smoaks in the pipe like leather, unless it be of a good age.
When land is tired of tobacco, it
will bear Indian corn, or English wheat, or any other European grain or seed, with
and Indian corn are planted in hills as hops, and secured by worm fences, which are made of
rails supporting one another very
firmly in a particular manner. Tobacco requires a great deal of skill and trouble in the right
management of it. They raise
the plants in beds, as we do cabbage plants; which they transplant and replant upon occasion
after a shower of rain, which
they call a season.
"When it is grown up they top it, or nip off the head,
succour it, or cut off the ground
leaves, weed it, hill it; and when ripe, they cut it down about six or eight leaves up a stalk,
which they carry into airy
tobacco houses; after it is withered a little in the sun, there it is hung to dry on sticks, as
paper at the paper-mills;
when it is in proper case, (as they call it) and the air neither too moist, nor too dry, they
strike it, or take it down,
then cover it up in bulk, or a great heap, where it lies till they have leisure or occasion to
stem it (that is pull the leaves
from the stalk) or strip it (that is take out the great fibers) and tie it up in hands, or streight
lay it; and so by degrees
prize or press it with proper engines into great hogsheads, containing from about six to
eleven hundred pounds; four of which
hogsheads make a tun, by dimension, not by weight; then it is ready for sale or
"There are two sorts
of tobacco, viz. Oroonoko the stronger, and sweetscented the milder; the first with a
sharper leaf like a fox's ear, and
the other rounder and with finer fibres; but each of these are varied into several sorts, much
as apples and pears are; and
I have been informed by the Indian traders, that the inland Indians have sorts of tobacco
much differing from any planted
or used by the Europeans."
When our Germanna ancestors came to Virginia,
it was essential to learn how to do this
to have a cash income. I made the observation here that, on the average, each militia man
would have grown two hogsheads
of tobacco. I didn't mean to imply that each man would have grown tobacco; the quotation
was only an average. From the size
of the hogshead above, this is a lot of tobacco.
We have seen
the principal means of earning cash
in early eighteenth Virginia. Today we examine Jones' comments upon raising
"The Indian corn is planted
in hills and weeded much as Tobacco. This grain is of great increase and most general use;
for with this is made good bread,
cakes, mush, and hommony for the Negroes, which with good pork and potatoes (red and
white, very nice and different from ours)
with other roots and pulse, are their general food. Indian corn is the best food for cattle,
hogs, sheep and horses; and
the blades and tops are excellent fodder, when well cured, which is commonly used, though
many raise good clover and oats;
and some have planted sanfoin, etc.
"In the marshes, and woods, and old
fields is good range for stock in the
spring, summer, and fall; and the hogs will run fat with certain roots of flags and reeds,
which abounding in the marshes
they root up and eat. Besides, at the plantations are standard peach-trees, and apple-trees,
planted out in orchards, on
purpose almost for the hogs.
"The peaches abound, and are of a delicious
taste, and apple-trees are raised
from the seeds very soon, which kind of kernel fruit needs no grafting, and is diversifyed
into numberless sorts, and makes,
with good management, an excellent cyder, not much inferior to that of Herefordshire, when
kept to to a good age; which is
rarely done, the planters being good companions and guests whilst the cyder lasts. Here
cherries thrive much better (I think)
than in England; though the fruit trees soon decay, yet they are raised to great
"As for wool,
I have had near so good as any near Leominister; and it might be much improved if he sheep
were housed every night, and foddered
and littered as in Urchingfield, where they have by such means the finest wool; but to do
this, would be of little use, since
it is contrary to the interest of Great Britain to allow them exportation of their woolen
manufactures; and what little woolen
is there made might be nearly had as cheap, and better from England.
for provisions, there is an excellent
variety of excellent fish in great plenty easily taken; especially oysters, sheepheads, rocks,
large trouts, crabs, drums,
sturgeons, etc. They have the same fowl as in England, only they propagate better; but
these exceed in wild geese and ducks,
cohoncks, blew-wings, teal,swans, and mallards.
"Their beef and veal is
small, sweet, and fat enough; their
pork is famous, whole Virginia shoats being frequently barbacued in England; their bacon is
excellent, the hams being scarce
to be distingused from those of Westphalia; but their mutton and lamb some folks don't like,
though others extol it. Their
butter is good and plentiful enough.
"Their venison in the lower parts of
the country is not so plentiful as
it has been, though there be enough and tolerably good; but in the frontier counties they
abound with venison, wild turkies,
etc., where the common people sometimes dress bears, whose flesh they say, is not to be
distinguished from good pork or bacon.
They pull the down of their living geese and wild and tame ducks, wherewith they make the
softest and sweetest beds.
"The houses stand sometimes two or three together; and in other places a quarter,
half a mile, or a mile, or two,
asunder, much as in the country in England."
The food picture above
probably reflects the German tastes also but
it does not show the vegetable preferences where there were differences.
The Rev. Hugh Jones had
a few comments about our German ancestors. Quoting him:
Colonel Spotswood's furnace above the falls
of Rappahannock River, within view of the vast mountains, he has founded a town called
Germanna, from some Germans sent over
thither by Queen Anne, who are now removed up farther; here he has servants and
workmen of most handycraft trades; and he
is building a church, court-house, and dwelling-house for himself; and with his servants and
Negroes he has cleared plantations
about it, proposing great encouragement for people to come and settle in that uninhabited
part of the world, lately divided
into a county."
Jones errs slightly in some of the facts. The Germans who
settled at Germanna had been invited
over by Baron de Graffenried to come to Virginia to a colony which he was planning to
form, but which failed (see earlier
notes). Queen Anne had authorized the governor to furnish the Baron's company, or
enterprise, with land upon their arrival,
but it can hardly be said that she sent them over. The passage of the Germans was paid in
part by the Germans and in part
by Spotswood, in return for which they agreed to work four years for him.
wrote this in 1724, but he left Virginia
in 1722, and most commentators believe he is describing Virginia as he understood it in
1722. This is consistent with the
building activity he describes at Germanna. Jones continues with a new paragraph,
"Beyond this are seated
the colony of Germans or Palatines, with allowance of good quantities of rich land, at easy
or no rates, who thrive very well,
and live happily, and entertain generously."
In this last paragraph, Jones is
describing the Second Germanna Colony,
who were at New Germantown on the north bank of the Rapidan River, about two miles
west of Germanna. At this time, Spotswood
was still hopeful that the Germans would remain on his land and lease it from him. Jones
makes it clear that this 'colony
of Germans or Palatines' was involved in wine making and the naval stores programs which
Spotswood himself had described as
the activities of the Second Colony. (See Note 22 for additional comments.)
bit about the government of Virginia
follows. Each county elected two burgesses (by the freeholders), plus another for James
Town and for the College. These
proceeded, as a General Assembly, in many ways similar to the House of Commons in
England. The equivalent of the House of
Lords was the Council (of 12), appointed by the King, who advised the Governor and
approved legislation. While Virginia was
self-governing, the King did not forfeit his right to veto legislation.
Ted Walker of Mesa, Arizona,
sent material on which this note is based. I thank him and all others who respond with
comments and questions.
aware of Johannes Hofmann of the 1714 Colony, and of his brother, Johannes Henrich
Hofmann, who came to Virginia in the period
1739 to 1745. We were aware from Germanna Record 5 that they had a brother Johann
Wilhelm Hofmann who was about three years
younger than Henry (Henrich) Huffman, and nineteen years younger than John Huffman.
What was not so well known was that William
(Wilhelm) also came to America, but to Pennsylvania, not to Virginia. Even more
interesting is that William wrote a short
account book, or diary, in which he recorded significant events over a period from Germany
to America. This has been translated
and microfilmed and is available as such as film 193014 from the Family History Library of
the Latter Day Saints.
chose to record scattered events which seemed to have had a major impact on him. He did
not record the story of his life.
Still what he has to say tells us a lot. For example, he makes the point once that the reason
he came to America was, "I
left the Principality of Nassau-Siegen in Europe several years ago [written in 1760] and
moved to Pennsylvania in this land
America in the hope of being able to live without the burden of war."
there was more to his decision to emigrate
than the question of war. In an interrelated way, there were also religious questions,
servitude questions, and taxation
questions. To expand on the "servitude" aspect, in 1733 when he was 22 years
old, John William recorded:
"God, the creator of all things has so ordained, for every land, great or small,
overlords to rule over the peasant
and [they demand] services from them at their command. Whereas it has pleased Thee, my
God and Father, to make me a peasant
in my fatherland, the Catholic part of which land has a government under the imperial
administrators ..., may God, therefore
grant health, good fortune, and abundance and permit me to live here in peace in this land
.... [I] intend to record the services
I give to the [overlords]."
There followed a long list of services which John
William had to render to the overlords,
such as mowing, making hay, hauling wood from the forest, hunting, military service. John
William owned a young horse, so
many of his duties revolved around the services he could render with a horse. For example,
he had to haul stones to be used
in casting a bell for the Catholic Church [the Hofmanns were German
As a member of the German Reformed Church,
living in a Catholic region, he felt the burden imposed on the Reformed members because of
their beliefs. When soldiers were
stationed in the village, it was the Reformed households who had to quarter the soldiers.
Also the Reformed people had to
conform to the Catholic holidays, and could not spin on the Catholic feast days. If they did,
they were fined.
of his outbursts of feelings were directed to the military, and to the burdens imposed by the
overlords, often in conjunction
with a military action. At the same time he felt these were directed against the Reformed
people just because they were Reformed.
Very severe penalties or fines were attached for failure to comply.
John William lived in Lancaster County,
PA, just west of the town of York. He had little to say about life here until the outbreak of
the French and Indian War,
and then he recorded many events in connection with it. Never once did he mention that he
had brothers living in America.
He came about the same time as his brother, Henry, did, but it is unknown if they traveled
coming to Pennsylvania, he mentions "Pastor Heltsklaw", which sounds like he
might have meant Holtzclaw, a family
in the First Germanna Colony. He also mentions his brother-in-law, "Heide", in
Siegen. This is the German name
of another First Colony member, Peter Hitt.
History has a lot to say about the Germanna Colonists and iron in Virginia and
much of it is incorrect. It is not
entirely clear where some of the erroneous facts originated. One early source, but perhaps
not the earliest, is W.W. Scott
in his book, "A History of Orange County Virginia" published in 1907. His
credentials have misled others into believing
he was an authority on the subject. The man was a member of the State Historical Society
and for ten years the State Librarian
of Virginia. But let him speak for himself,
"These colonists [the First
Germanna Colonists] were induced to
leave their homes in Germany by the Baron de Graffenried, acting for Governor Spotswood
who was then making preparations to
develop his iron mines in the vicinity of Germanna, and this business enterprise of the
Governor was the sole cause of their
coming to America and Virginia". [page 81]
There are errors in this
was not acting for Governor Spotswood." Graffenried, in his memoirs, makes it very
clear that he was recruiting miners
for his own purpose of developing a silver mine in Virginia above the falls of the Potomac
and into, or toward, the Shenandoah
Valley. Toward this end, he and Franz Michel presented a petition to the Crown and won
Queen Anne's approval for land to
be assigned to the silver project.
2. "Spotswood had iron mines in the
vicinity of [what was later] Germanna
at the time the Germans were recruited." The recruiting effort began in 1710 and
Spotswood had no iron mines until
almost 1720. There is a ten year error here. Spotswood's first land, entirely in his own
name, was not acquired until 1716,
a full six years after the recruiting of the Germans commenced and this property was taken
up, not because it contained iron,
but because it had been developed ("seated") by the Germans and was proven
land. This is the land on which Fort
Germanna was built.
3. "The iron mine business of the Governor was the
sole cause of [the Germans] coming to
America and Virginia." The Germans were recruited to mine silver for the company
of which Graffenried was the field
or general manager. When the Germans left Germany, they expected to be mining silver for
Graffenried and Albrecht (the general
manager and the "head-miner") within a few months.
Scott may have
erred due to the writings of Willis Miller
Kemper and Harry Linn Wright who published "Genealogy of the Kemper Family in
the United States" in 1899 [referred
to in short as Kemper]. Kemper noted many facts correctly including several facts that he
"uncovered". But at
the same time he invented facts out of thin air. He says, "It was not long [after
Spotswood's appointment as Governor
in 1710] until he discovered evidences of iron ore in the districts toward the Blue
Ridge." It is true that Spotswood
was writing back to England about iron ore in Virginia within three months of his arrival.
But this was not newly discovered
iron ore; the existence of it had been known for over 120 years and it was considered
quality ore. The ore had actually been
tested in England and found to be quite excellent.
The general plan here for a few
notes will be to develop the history
of iron in Virginia and correcting some of the errors. In contrast to the historians who copy
other historians, and these
are the most numerous kind, the attempt will be put original quotations or sources before
you. And, you can read what the
people at that time said, not what people two hundred years later
Iron ore was known to exist in
Virginia from the earliest dates. In 1588, Thomas Harriott published "A Briefe and
True Report of the New Found Land
of Virginia" in London. Two years later, it was republished, this time with
illustrations. The book makes it very clear
that considerable effort had been spent in determining the resources to be found in Virginia.
It had this to say about iron:
"In two places of the countrey specially, one about fourescore and the other six
score miles from the Fort or place
where we dwelt: wee founde neere the water side the ground to be rockie, which by the
triall of a minerall man, was founde
to holde Iron richly. It is founde in manie places of the countrey else. I knowe nothing to
the contrarie, but that it maie
bee allowed for a good marchantable commoditie, considerring there the small charge for
the labour and feeding of men; the
infinite store of wood: the want of wood and deerenesse thereof in England: & the
necessity of ballasting shippes."
[This book is interesting reading and the 1590 version was reprinted by Dover
Publications, Inc. in 1972. It has an
extensive description of Virginia and its inhabitants.]
Thus people in England were
knowledgeable about Virginia and,
in particular, about iron there. After the English settlements, Captain John Smith sent home
several barrels of bog ore in
1608 and Captain Newport shipped enough ore to England the next year to make over
fifteen tons of iron which proved to be
of good quality. [See Rutland, "Men and Iron in the Making of Virginia",
A group of investors, the Southhampton
Adventurers, raised 4,000 pounds sterling and sent a labor force of 80 skilled ironworkers
to build an iron furnace on Falling
Creek, a tributary of the James River, about seven miles below the present Richmond. At
the time, 1621, this was an extremely
exposed position within the natural range of the native Indians. The furnace was built and
while it was in its first firing,
the Indians attacked, killing all of the workers but allowing two children to escape. The
furnance was destroyed and the
tools and equipment were tossed into the creek.
Tobacco was a cheaper alternative
and economic activity was directed
into that line. Farsighted people throughout the sixteen hundreds saw that the dangers in
relying on tobacco alone and saw
also the need for iron. Pleadings were made to refine the ore in Virginia where wood, water
(for power) and the ore were
readily available. No Englishman was interested enough to supply the sizeable amount of
capital (thousands of pounds) which
was needed. A Virginian, the first William Byrd, kept the thought alive and made
preparations. He patented land containing
ore deposits and enough adjacent land to insure wood for a possible furnace. His son,
another William, continued his father's
work and invested in books for his library on the subject of minerals. Though the Byrds
were considered by their fellow Virginians
to be rich, they did not pursue the refining of their iron ore. Apparently, they felt that too
much capital was required.
have seen that the Southhampton Adventurers raised 4,000 pounds sterling for their project.
In the seventeen hundreds, a
Mr. Chiswell said that his partners in an iron furnace had put 12,000 pounds into the
enterprise before they reached the breakeven
point. With capital amounts of this magnitude required, no group came forward to sponsor
a furnace for refining iron ore.
Col. Alexander Spotswood arrived in Virginia as the new Lt. Governor in the summer of
1710, he met William Byrd, the owner
of tracts of land known to have iron ore. Spotswood saw there were immense advantages
to England in pursuing the refining
of this ore. He proposed to the Assembly that they sponsor the mines and the
One advantage to the people of
Virginia would have been a weakening of the dependence on the single commodity,
tobacco. Virginia had all of the necessary
resources, labor, iron ore, water power, and timber for making charcoal. If the ore were
shipped to England, it would help
there in several ways. First, they had been producing so much iron that they had consumed
the trees used to make the charcoal.
They were reduced to importing iron from the Baltic nations. This put them into an
untentable defensive posture. During
wars, their supply of iron, and naval stores also, could be limited. Also the off shore
purchases hurt their trade balance.
assembly declined to sponsor the iron mine and the furnace. There may have been some
politics involved. William Byrd, who
owned the land, voluteered to surrender the land if he would be given a managerial position
in the operation. The Burgesses
may have been voting more against Byrd than in favor of the soundness of the idea. After
the Assembly turned thumbs down
on the job, Spotswood wrote to the Council of Trade proposing that the Queen herself
undertake this task. No favorable reply
was coming from England.
The common characteristic of the Assembly and the
Queen is that they had deep pockets. Spotswood
knew that it would take a lot of capital or perhaps Byrd gave him estimates. A century
before, the Southhampton Adventurers
had raised 4,000 pounds sterling and, in the early eighteenth century in Virginia, it was
proven to take about 10,000 pounds.
the rebuff from the Assembly and the lack of a favorable response from England,
Spotswood let the subject of iron drop for
many years. He certainly could not afford to sponsor a mine and furnace. He lived on a
modest income and his expenses were
heavy. He kept about eight personal servants, such as a doctor and a private secretary. His
income was small, consisting
of half pay for the job of Governor (he split the pay with Lord Orkney, the Governor of
Many years later,
about 1717, Spotswood started getting interested in a personal way in iron. His comments
in 1710 about iron do not represent
a personal statement but are the voice of a Governor seeking an alternative to the ups and
downs of the Virginia tobacco economy.
Because he was a later iron industrialist, some people have thought that these early
comments about iron were expressing
a personal interest.
The letters of Spotswood on official business are collected in the
volume, "Collections of
the Virginia Historical Society", volume 1 published in 1882. In this R.A. Brock was
the editor for The Official Letters
of Alexander Spotswood. Bruce P. Lenman wrote a modern article, Alexander Spotswood
and the Business of Empire, in "Colonial
Williamsburg", Autumn 1990, p. 46. George Park Fisher in "The Colonial
Era", New York, 1910, p. 280 says Spotswood's
salary was 800 pounds.
Between the time of Spotswood's arrival in
Virginia in 1710 and the arrival of the
First Germanna Colony in 1714, Spotswood met with Graffenried. Graffenried was excited
about the prospects for silver. The
writings of Graffenried and Spotswood imply that others were also talking about silver in
the "back country", meaning
toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Spotswood didn't want to miss the boat on this,
but he was methodical enough to read
up on the law pertaining to gold and silver mines. He was not pleased at what he found. It
was normal for the Crown to reserve
a percentage of the gold and silver which might be found. What Spotswood found was that
no reservation had been specified
on the lands of the Crown available to patent. He was concerned lest the Crown might
retroactively make a claim and not limit
it to the usual ten percent or so. This became a burning issue with him since he and others,
including Graffenried, had identified
a tract of land which was thought to contain silver. Larkin Chew patented the land and sold
shares to the other partners.
pushed Col. Blakiston in London to resolve the question of the Crown's rights to gold and
silver. Progress was very slow
in London and, in the midst of the attempt to get approval, forty odd Germans arrived in
London expecting to go on to Virginia
at the expense of Graffenried's company. The company and Graffenried were both broke
and the company of Germans was stranded.
Knowing that Spotswood was very anxious to start the silver mining operation, Col.
Blakiston agreed to have Spotswood pay
the additional one hundred and fifty pounds sterling that was needed on their passage
money. Blakiston must have been optimistic
about getting the Crown's approval for the silver mining operation; at least, Spotswood
interpreted the action this way; however,
approval was not forthcoming. Queen Anne died. George I was crowned and the
arguments were renewed. In Virginia, where
the Germans were by now, they confined their activities to raising and growing
In February 1715/16, nearly two
years after the Germans had arrived in Virginia, Spotswood wrote to the Lord
Commissioners that the Germans had done no work
for him and his partners. He commented that the Germans wanted to explore more but he
would not allow it. The silver mine
tract has been identified and plotted in Beyond Germanna (v.8, n.1). It is only a few miles
from Fort Germanna and very likely
the mine had a considerable influence on where Fort Germanna was built. This is the mine
that fascinated John Fontaine so
About this time, the Germans were set to searching for iron ore. As
Spotswood explained it in a later letter
of 28 March 1724 Nathaniel Harrison, he said that he had been approached by Sir Richard
Blackmore, who, with partners, was
interested in setting up an iron works and desired that a search would be made for the ore.
Spotswood apparently became a
partner also and set the Germans to work. From his standpoint, it put the Germans to work
and it could supply the capital
he needed but did not have. From the later testimony of J. Justus Albrecht and Jacob
Holtzclaw, this work went from March
1715/16 until December of 1718 and consisted of mining and quarrying.
By the end
of 1718, more than eight years after
Spotswood arrived in Virginia, there was an iron mine.
In the last
note, recognition was taken of Albrecht's
and Holtzclaw's testimony that they were engaged in mining and quarrying from March
1715/16 until December of 1718. This
does not quite jibe with Spotswood's testimony as given to Harrison when he said the search
for iron ore began in 1717. It
may be that the Germans were first engaged in an active search for silver and that after
about one year this was changed to
a search for iron ore.
In either case, toward the end of 1718, the activity ceased for
two reasons. First, the English
partners of Spotswood dropped out and did not want to pursue the quest any longer.
Second, the time the Germans were to serve
had expired. In London, they had agreed to work four years and they arrived in April of
1714. Thus their time was up in
1718. From the testimony above, we know they stayed a while longer, until December, but
it would seem that they left about
What had been accomplished by December of 1718? The first clue is the
amount of money which was spent on the
project. Spotswood wrote that it had cost him and the partners upwards of three score
pounds. Such a paltry sum would just
have covered the cost of the black powder used in the mining and quarrying operation.
Thus at the end of the 1718, there
was no iron furnace. Spotswood probably had a proven iron mine though he had not yet
patented the land. Certainly he was
far short of the capital needed to build an iron furnace and for this he needed
So when the Germans (the First
Germanna Colony) left, there was no iron furnace. Though Spotswood at this time could
not yet say he was in the iron business,
he may have had hopes but he certainly had an unclear path to the future. In fact, he seems
at this time to be placing more
emphasis on land development than on iron smelting. Toward this end, he, with partners,
had placed seventy-odd Germans on
a large tract of land. When this Second Germanna Colony arrived, there was no iron mine,
yet alone an iron furnace. So there
was no intention to use them in the iron operation.
When he built his new home,
which didn't occur until the early 1720's,
he placed the new home so that it would be in the midst of his land holdings which extended
out to the west beyond the present
city of Culpeper. This home was about thirteen miles from the future iron furnace which
shows the state of his thinking when
he was building his home. He was thinking of his land and not of the iron prospects. The
former had been proven as a course
of success in Virginia while the latter was most uncertain.
As an additional
comment on yesterday's note, when the partners
in England asked Spotswood to seek out iron ore, Spotswood did not turn to the proven
source on William Byrd's land. He could
have answered to Sir Richard Blackmore by "return mail" that there was iron
ore. Instead, Spotswood started a search
on unpatented (unclaimed) land that he could patent if ore was found.
length of time spent in developing the
mine, it is not at all certain that a source of the ore was known when the search was started.
Rather than saying that Spotswood
had found iron when he came to Virginia and that he recruited people to mine it (which was
not even true), I would prefer
to say the Germans found the iron that eventually put Spotswood into the iron
When did the First
Germanna Colony relocate from Germanna to their new home? In 1718, they purchased
over 1800 acres of land in the Northern
Neck from the proprietors there. (This future home was to become known as
Germantown.) This date is not a proof of anything
but it does indicate that they were planning on moving. It is unlikely that they would have
purchased very far in advance
of their intention to use the land.
They had agreed to work four years to pay the
balance of their passage money. Their
time in Virginia commenced in April of 1714 and they probably did not arrive at Germanna
until May or June. There are good
reasons that they might have preferred to stay at Germanna for a few extra months beyond
the four years. They were responsible
for their own food and they had crops and animals which would not be ready to harvest or
butcher until the fall of the year.
In the fall the larder would have been at its maximum and this would have been the best
time to commence life at a new location.
testified that they worked at mining and quarrying until December of 1718 which would be
a few months past the end of their
service. From this we know they were active in the general vicinity of Germanna until 1718
so this fixes the earliest date
for moving. Since no labor beyond 1718 was listed, it is unlikely that there were any
services performed beyond 1718, especially
in view of the other factors.
Another clue is provided by the naturalization of Jacob
Holtzclaw. (He considered this
important and filed a copy at the Spotsylvania Court House so that it is available today in
Deed Book A, p.165.) This naturalization
was made on the 11th day of July 1722 by A. Spotswood, one of his last official acts as Lt.
Governor of Virginia. In this
naturalization, Holtzclaw makes the statement that he had been a resident of Stafford
County for several years. If the minimum
for "several" were three, then he must have moved shortly after December of
1718, say in January of 1719 by the
modern calendar. It would not be desirable to wait long past this time as there was a need
to build homes, clear ground and
plant crops for the growing season.
When the Germans left, Spotswood had a
proven mine. Through the use of a forge,
samples of the metal had been tested to prove the quality. There was also the task of
proving the extent of the ore. Since
the furnace would be expensive, thousands of pounds, and could not be moved, it was vital
to make sure that the quantity or
amount of the ore would be sufficient to run the furnace for many years. So most of the
time that the Germans spent on the
iron project was not in locating a source of the ore but in proving that the bed was large
enough to sustain several years
But, having an iron mine was hardly sufficient to solve Spotswood's
problems. He now needed money if he
were to have a furnace. William Byrd, from the richest family in Virginia, did not seem to
be interested. The capital sources
had to be from England and these arrangments took time. Also labor was needed. The next
note will offer a schedule for the
building and first firing of the furnace.
By December of 1718, it is
reasonable to assume that Spotswood
had proven iron mines but no furnace. The difficult part in this statement for most people is
the claim there was no furnace
by that date. The basis for this is Spotswood's own statement that the partners in the search
for the iron had spent about
three score pounds in the effort. This was a very small amoun.
The earliest mention
of Spotswood's iron furnace in
Virginia (actually he seems to have had partners) comes from Hugh Jones, cited here before.
He lived in Virginia from 1717
to 1722 when he returned to England. In 1724 he published a book in which he wrote
about the furnace:
iron has been proved to be good, and it is thought, will come at as cheap a rate as any
imported from other places; so that
'tis to be hoped Colonel Spotswood's work will in a small time prove very advantageous to
Great Britain . . ."
a couple of points, Jones uses the future tense. Still it seems as if the furnace has produced
some output because it has
been proven to be good. Most likely, in 1722, the furnace had had a first
"pour" which had been successful but
the operation was still on shaky grounds.
There was another event in 1722 that
bears on the subject. Spotswood purchased
land from the Smith heirs, below the falls of the Rappahannock, so that he could build a
wharf for loading ships with the
iron. So in 1722 he was getting serious about shipping iron.
About this same time,
in 1723, Lt. Gov. Drysdale, Spotswood's
successor as Governor, wrote to the Board of Trade:
"I judge it part of my
duty to inform your Ldspps. of an
affair, that is at present the common Theme of people Discourses, and employs their
thought. Coll Spotswood's Iron workes:
he had brought itt to that perfection that he now sells by public auction at Wm:burgh, backs
and frames for Chymnies, Potts,
doggs, frying, stewing and baking panns . . ."
Evidently, the "iron
works" was still something of a
novelty. Considering the implications of the iron works and considering Drysdale's negative
attitude toward Spotswood, had
the works been in existence for any great length of time, Drysdale would have written to
London sooner. It is said that in
1723 he shipped 20 tons of iron to England. Later his objective was to ship 1,200 tons of
iron each years. Therefore in
1723, the furnace was probably just coming into regular production.
First Germanna Colony had moved on to
Germantown in January of 1719 (NS) and it would appear there was a mine by then,
Spotswood did not patent the iron mine land
Putting this all together, the timetable looks like:
iron ore is discovered about 13
miles from Germanna;
1718: the ore beds are developed and proven;
the iron mine tract is patented
and construction of the furnace begins;
1721: trial runs occur at the furnace;
1722: while production amounts
are encouraging, flaws need to be worked out;
1723: the furnace is in regular and
summarize the activities of the Germanna Colonists towards Spotswood's iron industry, the
First Colony developed the iron
mines. Probably they found the iron ore but proof of this is lacking. They had left the lands
of Spotswood for their own
land in what is now Fauquier County before the furnace was built.
Colony had essentially nothing to do with
the iron mines or the iron furnace. They were engaged in other activities, principally
farming, grape culture and naval stores.
Still there is a hint that they may have been engaged in the iron industry briefly on a trial
basis. That is, they made
charcoal. This was "shipped" down the Rapidan River to the furnace site. The
clue that they may have done this
lies in a comment of Spotswood in which he advised William Byrd not to make the charcoal
at any great distance from the furnace.
He said he had tried to make charcoal across the river and it had not worked out (charcoal
does not ship well). The Second
Colony did live across the river. The activity is consistent with Spotswood's managerial
characteristics as described by
his furnace manager, Mr. Chiswell.
Who did build the furnace? Probably workmen
imported from England. Some of the
Germans who came after the First and Second Colonies might have been involved as labor.
Initially the general labor at the
furnace when it was fired was could have been a mix of English and German workers.
Spotswood soon replaced these with slaves,
saying he believed they could do all of the necessary tasks if they were properly
So the First Germanna Colony
could say they started Spotswood down the path leading to an iron idustry though they did
not build his furnace. The Second
Germanna Colony should not make any claim to having been involved in any part of the
activity. It is entirely unproven, but
some of the later Germans may have worked at the furnace.
Dr. Charles H.
Huffman, in Germanna Record Nine, published
in 1966, errs in a few points of his time schedule as given on page 110 there. He says that
within one year, in 1715, that
the Germans started mining. Spotswood said in 1716 that the Germans had been here two
years and they had done no work for
him and his partners. Huffman says the furnace was completed in 1717 while Spotswood
says that by December 1718 he had expended
"upwards of three score pounds" which would not have sufficed for a furnace.
The following point might be debated
but it seems to be in error by a year. The Germans left in 1719 (NS) while Huffman says
1720. Other evidence points to the
furnace being built about 1720 to 1721 and in its first firing in late 1721.
There is a
lesson from this. Do not trust
someone's interpretation of history just because someone says it is so. Check it out for
yourself. Mr. Scott, in his history
of Orange County, seems to have given his imprint to a misreading of the events which
others, who followed him, copied without
asking any critical questions. Scott seems to have been influenced by the earlier writings of
Willis Kemper, a descendant
of the Germanna families and so Scott may blame Kemper. A corollary to the principle of
trust is to be especially doubtful
of history when it is written by a descendant, especially when he writes it almost two
hundred years after the facts.
in the German church records is a good source of information and often very rewarding for
the information which it tells.
The records are not easy to use, being handwritten in a script which was peculiar to the
Germans; however, it can be learned,
as several descendants have proved. The following information is due to Mrs. Margaret
James Squires who found many of the
Second Colony Germanna families in Germany.
The story centers around the small
village of Neuenbürg in the Kraichtal.
Today the village is in Baden. To confuse the issues, Baden has two Neuenbürgs
which are only about twenty miles apart.
This has come about because the Neuenbürg in which we are especially interested
was originally on ecclesiastic lands
belonging of the Catholic Church as represented by the Bishops of Speyer. Early in the
1800's these lands were ceded to the
civil state of Baden which gave it two Neuenbürgs. If we regard Baden as a state (it
is now Baden-Württemberg),
then we can add the district or county name of Kraichtal to distinguish the Neuenbürg
we want. It is the smaller of
the two, having perhaps a few hundred inhabitants. The only church in town is Catholic and
it is not clear where the Lutherans
met. The following information is from the "Lutheran" records.
Barbara Schön was born there on
29 Sept 1664. Her father was Quirin(us) Schön(e) and her mother was Maria
Barbara, maiden name unknown. The letters
in the parenthesis indicate spelling variations sometimes found in the records. Besides Anna
Barbara, we know of three other
children for a total of four:
Anna Barbara Schön, b. 29 Sept 1664
Peter Matthaeus Schön, b. 31
Maria Barbara Schön, b. 17 July 1671, d. 3 March 1679
Jerg Martin Schön, b. 10 Jan 1682
father died 17 May 1683 not long after the birth of the last child. Anna Barbara
Schön, barely past her sixteenth birthday,
married Johann Thomas Blanckenbühler on 2 Nov 1680 in Neuenbürg. He was
the son of Matthias and Margaretha ( ?
) Blanckenbühler. This Matthias, a weaver, died 11 Aug 1691 at age 70 in
Four children of Anna
Barbara (Schön) and Johann Thomas Blanckenbühler were baptized in
Hans Niclas Blanckenbühler,
b. 2 Jan 1682
Hans Balthasar Blanckenbühler, b. April 1683
Matthias Blanckenbühler, b. 29
Anna Maria Blanckenbühler, b. 5 May 1687
fourth child was born, Anna Barbara was only
twenty-two and a-half years old. As we will see, she certainly had a full life.
of the four children above are
immediately recognized as Germanna 1717 immigrants. One of the surprises in the church
records is that they showed that the
fourth child, Anna Maria, was also a Germanna immigrant. But there were lots of other
The name Blanckenbühler
became many names in the colonies. Citing a few of them, there are: Blankenbaker,
Blankenbeker, Blankenbeckler, Blankenbecler,
Pickler, Bickler, Blank, Blanken and Baker.
After the birth of Anna
Maria Blanckenbühler in 1687,
there is a gap in the church records of a few years. The mostly likely cause was war,
probably due to an invasion by the
French. During such periods, the pastors often took the church books to a more remote
location (and perhaps took himself
also). When the church books resume, we find that Anna Barbara (Schön)
Blanckenbühler married Johann Jacob Schluchter
on 2 Nov 1691. Herr Schluchter acquired a ready made family of four step-children aged
four to nine years.
Schluchter was born about 1652 and some records indicate he was from
"Hollsultz". He died 13 Feb 1698 so Anna Barbara
was left as a widow for the second time when she was 34 years old. Her family had grown
by the addition of Henerich Schluchter,
born 7 May 1697.
Four years later, Anna Barbara married her third husband,
Cyriacus Fleischmann on 5 Mar 1701 in Neuenbürg.
Cyriacus is noted as "of Klings" and his father was Weltin Fleischmann. Three
children were born to Anna Barbara
and Cyriacus in Neuenbürg:
Maria Catharina Fleischmann, b. 8 Mar 1702
(presumably she died young)
Maria Catharina Fleischmann, b. 26 Jan 1704
Hans Peter Fleischmann, b. 10 April
At the birth of Hans Peter,
Anna Barbara has seven living children with a spread of 26 years in their ages.
Maria Blanckenbühler was the
first child to marry. On 18 Nov 1711 in Neuenbürg, at the age of 24, she married
Johann Thomas, the son of Albrecht
Thomas. They had three children born in Neuenbürg:
Thomas, b. 17 April 1712
b. 8 May 1714, d. same day
Anna Magdalena Thomas, b. 24 Nov
Johann Nicholas Blanckenbühler married
Apollonia Käffer in Neuenbürg on 6 May 1714. Two children were born in
Blanckenbühler, b. 22 Dec 1714, d. the next day
Blanckenbühler, b. 21 Oct 1715
of Apollonia was Wolfgang Käffer who seems to have originated in the region of
Ansbach, some distance to the east. Apparently
he lived in Zaberfeld, Kreis Heilbronn, Württemburg for a brother of Apollonia, Jerg
Niclas Käffer was born there
20 Jul 1701. Wolfgang died on 8 Aug 1728 in Zaberfeld. His wife was
The day after Johann Nicholas Blanckenbühler
married, Johann Mattheus Blankenbühler, tailor, married Anna Maria Mercklin on 7
May 1714 in Oberderdingen, Württemburg.
Anna Maria was born 12 March 1693 in Oberderdingen to Hannes Jacob Mercklin and
Königunda ( ? ). Mattheus and Anna
Maria may have lived in Oberderdinger for that is where the birth of one child is
Hannes Jerg Blanckenbühler,
b. --Feb 1715.
[Some of the details of this paragraph are courtesy of Mrs Jean
No marriage has been
found in Germany for Hans Balthasar Blanckenbühler though when he stepped off the
ship in Virginia he had a wife but
One other family came to Virginia from
Neuenbürg, the Sheible family which consisted
of the father, mother and three daughters. Mrs. Squires had the hunch that the family might
be related to the Blankenbakers
but she could not prove it. Of the five daughters born to the Sheibles in Neuenbürg,
two died there, leaving three to
A high percentage of the Neuenbürg residents eventually end up in
Virginia. It is instructive to compare
those leaving with those arriving. Cyriacus Fleshman and his wife Anna Barbara both
arrived in Virginia making two who left
and two who arrived. The name was only slightly distorted, being recorded as Coz Jacob
Floschman. Their two children, John
Peter and Maria Catharina, also arrived safely making four who left and four who arrived.
The eldest son of Anna Barbara,
John Nicholas, with his wife Apollonia and son Zacharias were three more to leave and to
arrive for totals of seven and seven.
Second son, Bathasar, had no known family on leaving but did arrive with a wife. Eight
and eight. Third son, Matthias,
with Anna Maria and George, left and arrived. Eleven and eleven. Fourth son, Henry
Schlucter had no known wife in Germany
(he was 20 years old) and he arrrived safely. Twelve and twelve.
Anna Maria with husband John Thomas
and children John and Anna Magdalena were in Germany but it is unknown if they came in
1717. In fact there is no absolute
proof that John Thomas, the father, ever did make it to Virginia. We do know that the
father and mother had two more children,
one of whom was a son Michael. Michael was not naturalized, suggesting he was born in
Virginia and suggesting that his father
did come to Virginia.
Just to round out the Neuenbürg crowd, let us add in
the Sheibles who arrived as the Chively
family, complete with all five. This brings the count up to sixteen and sixteen. (If we did
count the Thomases as probables,
they would add four more.) Thus the little village of Neuenbürg sent along 20 people
to the New World and all 20 arrived.
this, one concludes that the death rate on the trip was not as bad as some people have
stated. There was a wide spectrum
of ages included. George Sheible was 47 years old, and his wife was perhaps of a similar
age. Anna Barbara, now married
to Cyriacus Fleshman, was 53 years old. Among the younger members, the grandchildren
of Anna Barbara were very young.
little village was to have a far reaching impact on the genealogy of the Second Germanna
Colony. For example, three-quarters
of the Garr descendants can claim descent from Anna Barbara. We will explore more
examples of this later.
closing of the last note mentioned that three-quarters of the Garr/Gaars were descendants of
Anna Barbara Schön. A quick
survey of the Germanna families discloses at least the following families can also trace some
lines back to her.
of the Blankenbakers. (There was a son Henry Schlucter of Anna Barbara, but whether he
left descendants is unknown.) All
of the Fleshmans. All of the Fishers. Three quarters of the Garrs. Because so many of the
Finks family married Garrs, Fishers
and Blankenbakers, the Finks family has a good number of Schön descendants.
Anyone who has a Michael Kaifer ancestor
is a descendant of Anna Barbara. All of the Thomases are descendants. This means that all
of the John Michael Smith, Jr.,
descendants are included also. Many, maybe over half, of the Barlow descendants are
Jacob Broyles married Mary Catherine Fleshman.
John Clore marrried Dorothy
Adam Cook married Barbara
Nicholas Crigler married Margaret Kaifer.
probably married Barbara Tanner.
Jacob Holtzclaw, the son of the immigrant, married Susannah Thomas.
the immigrant Railsback married Elizabeth
Thomas, all of the Railsbacks are included.
Christian (or Christopher) Reiner
married Elizabeth Fleshman.
PERHAPS Mary Tanner married John Thomas.
At least two-thirds of the Utz
family married Schön descendants
and the other third is an unknown.
The Waylands are extremely well represented.
Two lines of the Peter Weaver family
come down through Anna Barbara. The line of John Zimmerman includes Ursula
These ties are in the early
generations. In the later generations there were many ties to other families. Still, the
descendants tended to hang together
and to remember their common ancestry. We will take a look shortly at an
In the last note, we
saw how Anna Barbara Schön, through her three husbands, tied together many of the
Germanna families. This association
among the families continued for many years. Today, I am going to jump forward to Easter
Sunday in 1776 when the Lutheran
Church (known now as Hebron) recorded a list of people taking communion. Many of us
are familiar with passing of the wine
and bread among the congregation. In 1776 at Hebron, the people filed out of the pews up
to the altar (communion bar?) where
they partook of the communion. In the process, a writer wrote down the names. Because
they went up in an orderly way, we
have a picture of the seating pattern. That is, we can see who was sitting next to whom.
Let's see who was sitting in the
First was Adam Weyland and his wife, Maria. Adam was in the group
because his first wife was Elizabeth
Blankenbaker, the daughter of Balthasar Blankenbaker. She had died and he married Mary
Finks. But he was still a member
of the group. Elizabeth was a granddaughter of Anna Barbara.
The next couple
was a grandson of Anna Barbara, Christopher
Blankenbucher, and his wife, Christina Finks.
Next was Adam Fischer and his wife,
Elisabeth Garr. His father, Lewis
Fisher, had married a granddaughter of Anna Barbara, another Anna Barbara, the daughter
of Balthasar Blankenbaker. Elizabeth
Garr was also a descendant of Anna Barbara Schön since her mother was Elizabeth
Kaifer and her grandmother was Anna Maria
Blankenbaker. So Elizabeth was a greatgranddaughter of Anna Barbara.
Johannes Weyland, Sr. and his wife, Rosina
Willheit. John was the son of Adam, above, by his wife, Elizabeth Blankenbaker. Therefore
he was a greatgrandson of Anna
Barbara. Rosina went along for the ride as she was the daughter of John Willheit and
The next couple
was John Flieschmann and his wife Elisabeth. Again, both were descendants of Anna
Barbara. John was a grandson and Elizabeth
was a granddaughter through John Nicholas Blankenbaker.
Following them in the
communion line were Michael Blankenbucher,
a son of John Nicholas Blankenbaker and therefore a brother to Elizabeth, preceeding.
Michael's wife was the daughter of
the immigrant, Andrew Garr.
Michael's brother, Zacharias (he was born in
Germany) with his wife, Els, or Alcy, were
the next couple. Zacharias was a grandson of Anna Barbara. Els maiden name is not
known definitely, but there is hint that
she may have been the widow Finks, perhaps of a brother of the immigrant, Mark Finks,
Then came George Utz, Sr.,
and his wife, Mary Kaifer, who was a granddaughter of Anna Barbara through Anna Maria
The next couple
were not descendants though they were the parents of Rosina Willheit, above, married to a
descendant. The couple was John
Willheit and Waldburga Weaver.
By now, we have gone through 18 people or
about three pews worth.
This sort of
analysis is fun just for the insight it gives into our ancestors and, on occasion, one can draw
conclusions. In the front
of the church, most often, people sat with their relatives, not with friends. But to them,
relatives were friends. After
marriage, you became one of your spouse's extended family and were treated as
(I used the spelling in the church
register to introduce people above.)
Margaret James Squires found
other Germanna families besides the ones
from Neuenbürg that we have recapped. In an act of serendipity, while looking for
one set of families, she found two
more Germanna families. She was looking in the church records of Hüffenhardt,
Mosbach, Baden, when her eyes happened
to fall on the names of Volck and Utz. To help keep the following story more intelligible,
here is a recap.
(?) married Johann Michael Volck. She died and he married Anna Barbara Majer. He died
and she married Johann Georg Utz.
Mrs. Squires recognized that the names Volck, which might be spelled Folg, and Utz were
Germanna names. Looking at the details,
Hans (or Johann) Michael Volck of Wagenbach married, ca. 1685, Anna Maria, maiden
name unknown. Wagenbach is an estate farm
of a few houses just a couple of miles from Hüffenhardt. Michael and Anna Maria
had seven children born 1687 to 1704.
The first three children died young. The other four have no known death records -- Hans
Adam, b. 26 Dec 1692; Maria Philippina
Rosina, b. 18 Feb 1695; Maria Charlotta, b. 27 Feb 1699; and Anna Christina, b. 22 Dec
1704. After a gap in the church records,
Johann Michael Volck married Anna Barbara Majer(s) on 29 Jan 1709. Three children were
born to this marriage -- Maria Sabina
Charlotta Barbara, b. 19 Mar 1710; Louisa Elisabeth, b. 23 Mar 1711; and Maria Rosina, b.
22 Aug 1712.
Volck died 7 Apr 1714 at the age of 51 years. The widow, Anna Barbara (Majer) Volck
married Johann Georg Utz on 10 July 1714.
Two children were born in Germany -- Ferdinand, b. 3 Apr 1715; and Johannes, b. 25 Jul
1716. Others were born in Virginia.
identity of these people is certain. George Utz was a member of the Second Germanna
Colony. Maria Sabina Volck became the
second wife of John Huffman, First Colony pioneer. She has the right name, the right
birthday, and perhaps even more telling
is that when John Huffman married Maria Sabina, he moved to land adjacent to George and
Barbara Utz who were Maria Sabina's
mother and step-father.
George Utz and his family are on the Spotswood list of
immigrants whose headrights he claimed.
By comparison, using the original spellings, he was Hans Jerich Otes, his wife was Parbara,
and his only son was Ferdinandis
and his step-daughters were Sylvania and Anna Louisa (their surnames were implied as
Utz). The son Johannes did not make
it, but we do not know where the death occurred. It may have been on board ship or it may
have been earlier. Among her daughters,
Sylvania was the transcription of Sabina. Why Louisa Elisabetha was called Anna Louisa is
not clear. And also it is not
clear what happened to Maria Rosina. The assumption is that the step-daughters of Barbara
Utz did not come. They might have
raised in another family.
In Virginia, Ferdinand must have died as there is no record
of him. What happened to Anna
Louisa is not clear.
Continuing with the Volck, Utz, Majer families
who have an appearance in Hüffenhardt,
the name Volck in Germany was transcribed in Virginia by John Huffman as Folg. Probably
John's wife and mother-in-law could
not write and so may have been uninformed on the spelling. John Huffman's spelling is
reasonable; it sounds almost the same.
Germany, the letter "j" was a vowell and was used almost interchangeably with
the letter "i" or "y".
Thus the name Majer might have been spelled by some as Maier or as Mayer. And it would
not be difficult to believe that
it might be spelled as Moyer in Virginia. It is interesting that the Moyer family had land in
Virginia that was close to
the Utz and the Huffman tracts. Therefore much interest has been expressed in the origins
of Anna Barbara Majer whose father
was Hans Majer of "Wolfartweyher". Though several villages might have this
variation of spelling, research has
been unsucessful in finding Hans Majer.
Another family in Virginia that seems
linked to the origins of Hans Majer and
his family is the Balthasar Blankenbaker family. Bathasar was a sponsor at the baptism of
all twelve children of John and
Mary Sabina Huffman which indicates that perhaps his wife was also a member of the Majer
The parents of Johann
Michael Volck are known; they are Michael Volck and Margaretha Albrect. The
grandfathers of Johann Michael Volck are also
known; they are Martin Volck and Hans Georg Albrect.
The marriage of Michael
Volck and Margaretha Albrect took place
in Hüffenhardt on 18 Nov 1656. The births of nine children are recorded at
30 Oct 1657;
Hans Martin, 29 Jan 1660;
Hans Jerg, 30 Nov 1661;
Hans Michael (the father of the
immigrant, Mary Sabina), 29 Jan 1663;
Georg Dieterich, 3 Sept 1666;
Maria Margareta, 23 Feb 1669;
Anna Margareta, 30 Nov 1670;
Maria Christian, 27 Jan 1679;
Barbara, 12 Aug 1680.
of Johann Georg Utz was Michael Utz who is identified with "Haundorff". This
seems to be located to the east where
several Utz family members have been located; however, due to a lack of records, no
positive identifications have been made.
(At some future time, I will recap the movements of several of the Germanna people from
the "east".) [In the 1700's,
there was a poet from this region by the name of Utz. He was so well thought of that his
works were reprinted a hundred years
The death of the sons of George and Barbara Utz, namely, Ferdinand and
John, may have occurred at a late date.
In the 1739 tithables, George Utz is charged with three which we presume to be the father
and two sons. The two sons might
have been Ferdinand and John or it might have been one of these and Michael who was born
in Virginia. In 1739, Ferdinand
would have been 24 and John would have been 23 so it is possible that they left heirs.
However, no evidence is known to support
We continue to be indebted to Margaret James Squires for
research into the German church records.
Today's subject is Christopher Zimmerman, member of the Second Germanna
The Zimmermann family came from Steffisburg,
canton of Bern, Switzerland, before 1665 to Ravensburg, Baden, Germany. Ravensburg is
very near Sulzfeld where John, the
son of Christopher, stated he was from. The Sulzfeld Evangelische Church Parish
(Lutheran) shows the birth of Johann Christoph
Zimmermann on 16 Mar 1692 and his baptism as the 17th. He was the third son of
Christian (Christian, Michael) Zimmermann
and Eva Dünstler of Langenbruck, the daughter of Michael Dünster (as
When Christopher was six years
old, his mother died. His father remarried nine months later. The new wife was Maria
Barbara Edel, the daughter of Englehard
Edel and his wife Anna Maria of Sulzfeld. A large second family followed.
Christopher, at the age of eighteen
years (on 27 Jul 1710), marrried a woman five or six years older than he was. This was
Dorothea Rottle, the daughter of Martin
Rottle of "Horndorff". Their first child, Johannes, was born 11 April 1711 and
was baptized the next day. There
were no other surviving children before Dorothea died on 16 January 1714 at twenty-seven
years of age. Christopher was a
widower at twenty-two years of age with a son Johannes of less than three years of
A year and a half later, Christopher
appears in the same parish with a wife, Anna Elizabeth, when their first child, Johann
Martin, was born 15 June 1715. Where
the marriage took place and Anna Elizabeth's maiden name are unknown. At the age of 25,
Christopher decided to leave his
father and several half-siblings and to go to America. He landed in Virginia with Elizabeth
and John and Andrew. It is presumed
that during the trip Johann Martin died and Andrew was born. Still there is no doubt that
this is the same family in Virginia
as in Sulzfeld.
Later in Madison Co., VA, John Zimmerman and Elizabeth Weaver
swore that Frederick Zimmerman was the
only brother of "the whole blood" and heir at law of Christopher Zimmerman
(II), deceased. This shows that the
John Zimmerman who came to Virginia was not the son of Elizabeth (see Madison Co., VA
Order Book #1-3, 1793-1798).
families came also from Sulzfeld in the typical pattern that the emigration of one family
often led, if not simultaneously,
to the eventual emigration of other families. One family that may have been from Sulzfeld
(or from the nearby villages) is
the Fisher family.
When the son, Johannes, of Christoph and Dorothea Zimmermann
was baptized in Sulzfeld on 12 April
1711, one of the godparents was Anna Barbara Fischer. On 16 June 1715, the parents,
Christoph and Anna Elisabeth Zimmermann
had their child, Johann Martin, baptized with one of the witnesses being Ludwig Fischer.
Though one of the later families
in Virginia was Lewis and Anna Barbara Fisher, this later family could not have been the
Sulzfeld family. They could be related
though. As noted it was often the tendency to travel together. Also it might be noted that
Johannes, b. 1711, married Ursula
Blankenbaker and that Lewis Fisher (in Virginia) married Anna Barbara
Zimmerman was a 1717 colony member from Sulzfeld in Baden. His father was Christian
Zimmermann (a Junior) who was christened
30 December 1669 and who died 22 May 1735 after the son above had moved to Virginia.
He had married on 28 January 1688 Eva
Dünstlerin who was the daughter of Michael Dünster and by whom he had four
Johann Georg, b.
23 April 1688, d. 8 May 1688
Johann Conrad, b. 22 January 1690, d. 18 April
Johann Christopher, b.
16 March 1692, will dated 30 November 1748 in Orange Co.
Maria Eva, b. 15 May
1697, fate unknown.
Zimmerman (Junior) was the son of Christian Zimmerman (Senior) and Maria
Depending upon the church records,
a history or ancestry can sometimes be carried back several generations, but information in
the 1500's is hard to come by.
In the following notes, one family will be carried back several generations in more than one
In the names above,
Eva Dünstlerin has the "in" added to her father's name. This is a feminine
ending showing that she was a female.
Her name and her father's name are also spelled differently, apart from the feminine ending.
This is not unusual.
family from Sulzfeld was the Kabler family as it sometimes spelled in Virginia. In Virginia,
Christopher and Frederick Kabler
lived close together in the Mt. Pony settlement. Thus an association which began in
Sulzfeld is continued in Virginia. This
is not an unusual pattern. Also, in Virginia, Christopher Zimmerman and Frederick Kabler
are both given as coopers. Christopher
was also a large land owner.
The family of Michael Willheit is one of
the most extensively researched of
the Germanna families. The genes seem to have imbued descendants with a desire to learn
more about their ancestors. The
research to be reported here comes from several private individuals including Mary Mickey,
Earl and Leona Willhoite, and Fred
Westcott. Their efforts have been amply rewarded as several lines of the German ancestry
have been traced back for the better
part of a couple of hundred years.
The immigrant Johann Michael Willheit was
christened 25 Jan 1671 in Schwaigern, Württemburg.
His first marriage yielded no children who lived. His second marriage was to Anna Maria
Hengsteler who had been christened
9 Oct 1685 in Oberbaldingen, Baden. Anna Maria was a widow with a daughter who
survived and who came to America after her
These facts already tell us that Germanna Record 13 is in error in its
Wilhoit history where the wife of
Michael Willheit is given as Mary Margaret Blankenbaker. Not only is there no such record
to be found in the Germany records,
there was no record found for the birth of Mary Margaret Blankenbaker in Germany. How
this error started is known; let it
be said that it is proof of the danger of suppositions.
Letting Micheal Willheit be
number 2 and letting Anna Maria
Hengsteler be number 3, I continue with the conventional numbering style.
Hans Michael Willheit was born ca. 1645
in Schwaigern and d. Sept 1711 in Schwaigern. He married first on 27 Dec 1689:
5. Anna Maria Riflin/Rüfflin,
who was christened in 1647 in Schwaigern. She d. 27 Dec 1689 in Schwaigern.
6. Matthias Hengsteler was born 24 Feb
1654 and he married first on 7 Oct 1683 in Oberbaldingen:
7. Maria Müller,
born 27 Feb 1667 in Oberbaldingen.
8. Johann Georg Willheit was christened 3 July 1616 (presumably in Schwaigern) and he
married first on 12 July 1640:
9. Barbara Lutz who was christened 4 Dec 1615 in Schwaigern.
Rüfflin, christened 8 Sept 1623, m.
4 July 1647 in Schwaigern:
11. Barbara Bartenschlag b. ca. 1628 in Hafnerhaslach,
12. Hans Hengsteler,
b. ca. 1625, d. 20 May 1699, of Oberbaldingen married:
13. Maria Küntzlin,
christened 21 Feb 1619, d. 11 Dec
1675, of Oberbaldingen.
14. Barthin Müller, b. ca. 1630, d. 28 Jan 1688, m.
18 Jun 1665:
15. Sulome Metzger,
b. ca 1635 in Altdorf, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
The name Willheit is spelled in
many ways but not as Willheit. Popular
ways include Wilhite, Wilhoit(e), sometimes with a doubled "l". A similar
spelling, Wilhide, originates with a
cousin of Johann Michael Willhite who came to America
Continuing with the Willheit family and following
the same numbering scheme:
16. Jeorg Willeyt, b. ca. 1590, d. 14 Aug 1635,
Schwaigern, m. 8 Mar 1615, in Schwaigern:
17. Rosina Michael, b. ca. 1585.
18. Hans Lutz,b. ca. 1580, d. before Feb 1623,
m. 30 Sept 1606 in Schwaigern:
19. Anna Flamm, b. ca. 1580, d. 8 Feb 1623 in Schwaigern.
Rüfflin, b. ca. 1580 Schwaigern, m.(2) 8
May 1610 in Schwaigern:
21. Barbara Kneer, b. ca. 1580 in Schwaigern.
22. Matthias Bartenschlag, b. ca. 1600,
of Hafnerslach, Baden, m.:
23. Catherina ______.
26. Martin Keinzlin, chr. 5 Feb
1589, öfingen, Baden, m.:
27. Agnes _____.
Müller, b. ca. 1585, Oberbaldingern, m.
ca. 1612 in Oberbaldingen:
29. Maria Küntalin, chr. Jan 1584 in
30. Sebastian Metzger,
b. ca. 1600, of Altdorf, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
Willert, b. ca. 1575, of Schwaigern, d.
before Mar 1615.
34. Hans Michael, b. ca. 1560, of
38. Hans Flamm, b. ca. 1550, of Schwaigern, d. 1608 to 1616,
40. Jeorg Rüfflin,
b. ca. 1550, of Schwaigern.
42. Jacob Kneer of
43. , 44., 45., 46., etc. until
56. Sebastian Müller, b. ca. 1550, Oberbaldingen, m. ca. 1579:
Sulzmann, b. ca. 1555, of Schwaigern.
58. Hans Küntalin who married:
59. Katherina ______.
60. , 61.,
WORD OF WARNING: Do
not use the information in this note or in any of these notes as an authority. The information
may be true but the presentation
for these notes is meant to be interpreted as "what might be done" by research
in the German church records, the
principal source of the data. Do not copy the information onto family group sheets without
more careful verification.
can be done is that many lines can be carried back into the 1500's, but at that point, progress
becomes very difficult. Tracing
the maternal sides is often more difficult. When another locality is involved, the spelling
seldom conforms to modern geographical
names. I have rendered the unlauted vowels by adding an "e". Thus
"ü" becomes "ue".
FROM WEB PAGE AUTHOR: Originally, in John's notes, he had rendered all
"ü" as "u", "ö"
as "o", etc. I have already changed most of John's American transliterations
back to the German characters. If
you find any I have missed, please let me know by sending me an e-mail. George W.
In later notes,
mention will be made of research in the German records by a professional research firm.
This pioneering work has opened many
doors for descendants. But as today's note will illustrate, perhaps it is best to regard this
type of activity as the starting
The source of data for this note is a 1991 copyrighted monograph by Stephen
H. Broyles entitled "Additional
Information Regarding the German Origin of the Broyles/Briles Family" and used here
with permission. When Steve started
this work, he publically stated that he had no qualifications for the task. Of course, that is
not totally true as he had
the essential qualification of desire. But he did admit that there was a learning curve to the
work which he insisted others
could duplicate also. Other individuals, who heard Steve describe his work, have agreed
The family in Germany
was Johannes and Ursula (Ruop) Breyel which came in the group that made the Second
Germanna Colony. In Virginia, the spelling
of the name became Broyles or Briles. Johannes Briel/Breyel was the oldest son of Conrad
and Margaretha and was christened
on 1 May 1679 in Dußlingen, Württemberg. Conrad Breyel died 8 October
1703 in Dußlingen, five days after
breaking his back.
This accident was described in the death register as the result of
falling "over" a crabapple
tree. How "over" (über in German) is to be interpreted is a debated but it
seems logical that Johannes was
in the top of the tree when he fell or it broke.
Less than a month after Johannes
Breil's father, Conrad, died, Johannes
married Ursula Ruop, daughter of Hans Jacob Ruop, gravedigger, on 6 Nov 1703. What
was so unusual or questionable is that
this marriage took place in a village, Ötisheim, that was forty miles away. Since
Johannes was 24, he was of a marriageable
age. But his father, Conrad, had been the miller and, as the eldest son, Johannes could have
expected to inherit the mill.
it seem unlikely that he would leave the village of Dußlingen, but he did. This had
bothered Steve Broyles and he wanted
confirmation that we were talking about the same Johannes. Fortunately, there is a notice in
the Dußlingen parish marriage
records of the marriage of Johannes and Ursula in Ötisheim which resolved this
question without any doubts.
and Ursula had the following children in Ötisheim:
1. Hans Jacob, twin,
christened 26 Mar 1705.
twin, christened 26 Mar 1705. Presumably he died young.
3. Mattheus, christened
24 Nov 1706, d. 24 July 1708.
4. Conrad, christened 2 Jan 1709.
5. Jerg Martin, christened 1 Aug 1711, no
Elisabetha, christened 5 July 1716.
The birth of Maria Elisabetha is the last record
found in the German records which
would be consistent with emigration in 1717. Later, in Virginia, more children would be
As a result of his research,
Steve discovered the birth of the twins which had been reported earlier as one son with the
three part name: Hans Jacob Conrad.
The twin, Conrad, is presumed to have died because the name was reused again in 1709.
Steve was also able to correct the
christening date for the 1709 Conrad.
The reuse of names is not
In recent notes, we have
looked at the information that can be found in the German church records. All of the work
that we have reported, had been
found, corrected, or verified by private individuals who were willing to release the
information into the public domain.
German ancestry of the First Germanna Colony members has been worked out just about as
far as is possible. Much of this work
was done by German residents who were interested in the Germanna Colonies. The
Germanna Foundation published this, as compiled
by B. C. Holtzclaw, as a part of Germanna Record Five, "Ancestry and Descendants
of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia,
1714-1750". Not nearly as much had been done for the Second Colony
Professional researchers saw a void
which they could fulfill. Knowing where the Willheits and the Blankenbakers and perhaps
some others were from, they adopted
the search strategy of looking at all of the churchs in villages that were close to the known
villages. The strategy was
extremely successful. The results, by Johni Cerny and Gary J. Zimmerman of Lineages,
Inc., were published in a series of
twelve booklets called "Before Germanna". I believe that all twelve booklets
can be purchased from them on a computer
diskette. If interested, contact Lineages, Inc. at PO Box 417, Salt Lake City, UT 84110. I
also believe that the booklets
can be purchased as printed matter from American Genealogical Lending Library Publishers,
PO Box 244, Bountiful, UT 84011.
all families have yielded the same amount of data for a variety of reasons. As we saw, the
Willheit family yielded a great
amount of data while other families have a minimum, such as the Utz family. Using a
modern spelling (but not necessarily
the only one), the following families were found:
which includes Blankenbaker, Schlucter and Fleshman,
4. Weaver, Utz, Volck
(known also as Folg),
Peck, Milker, Smith, Holt,
6. Broyles, Paulitz, Moyer, Motz,
Castler, Manspiel, Reiner,
8. Snyder, Amburger, Kerker, Kabler,
9. Zimmerman, Yowell, Mercklin, Wegman,
10. Yager, Stoltz,
11. "temporarily waylaid",
The church records
for these families are available on microfilm through the Latter Day Saints. Not all church
records have been filmed. There
are also civil records to be consulted. Almost all research so far has omitted the sponsors at
the baptisms, a veritable
font. Someone who wished to benefit his fellow researchers could undertake the task of
extending and augmenting what has
been found so far.
The individual who is interested in one family, say one whose
origin is unknown, would do best to
identify closely allied families in America and to see if they have known origins. This is the
basic "Hank Jones strategy".
One needs a detailed map and gazeteer, a willingness to consider spelling variations and
patience. There is a learning curve
for the German script, but as Stephen Broyles said here, "It can be done".
Some people would prefer to hire experts,
but others love the fun of the chase itself.
Gary Zimmerman of Lineages was not
related to the Germanna Zimmermans nor
to any of the Germanna people. Though he was the principal researcher and apparently
made some initial mistakes, he did start
from ground zero and he did succeed. I used the past tense in speaking of Gary as he died
on the morning of a Germanna Seminar
when his co-worker, Johni Cerny, gave a talk on the research
The road of Charles II toward the
throne of England was not easy. Oliver Cromwell prevented him from occupying the seat.
In this state, Charles could do little
to reward his supporters but he did grant seven loyal supporters the "land bounded by
and within the heads" of the
Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers (in 1649). While Cromwell remained in control, this
was a dubious claim.
was restored to the throne in 1660, the value of the claim was raised considerably. A son of
one of the original proprietors,
Thomas Second Lord Culpeper, saw the potential value and he acquired the total and
exclusive rights from the other proprietors.
His interest in the land went to his daughter and heir in 1689. She married Thomas the
Fifth Lord Fairfax. Their son, Thomas
the Sixth Lord Fairfax, inherited the grant. In 1730, he began a 15 year battle to assert his
claim in the broadest geographical
There was a dispute about how much land was to be included. The Crown
wanted a narrow definition, with the least
amount of land, because the land that Fairfax had could not be sold by the King nor could
quitrents be levied. Fairfax saw
the question in just the opposite light.
That there were questions hinged on the
definitions and their interpretations.
For example, the Rappahannock River splits into two parts just above the town of
Frederickburg. The northern branch was
called the Hedgman or the North Fork of the Rappahannock. The southern branch was
called the South Fork of the Rappahannock
until Alexander Spotswood came as Lt. Governor. He started calling this South Fork, the
Rapidan River. One wonders if this
was an attempt to disguise the issue and to weaken the proprietor's claim. That the two
branches were part of the same river
system is emphasized by land claims of the period which refer to the Great Fork, meaning
the land between the northern and
southern branches of the Rappahannock.
This was a question of some importance
to people who were buying land in the
Great Fork. Did one buy it from the King or from Fairfax? The King did preempt Fairfax
and was selling the land in the Great
Fork, but Fairfax was insisting that it belonged to him. Today this land constitutes the
modern counties of Culpeper, Madison,
and Rappahannock. Land to the north of the Northern Fork (Hedgman) and east of the
Blue Ridge Mountains was clearly in Fairfax's
domain. This included the original counties of Stafford, Prince William, and today's
Fauquier County. Thus the First Germanna
Colony was living, at Germantown, on land purchased from the proprietor, not from the
Crown. This region was called, in a
broad sense, the Northern Neck because it the northern tier of counties in Virginia. The
Second Germanna Colony lived on
land in the Great Fork they purchased from the King.
How does one settle
questions of the type raised by the proprietor's
claims? The Northern Neck proprietor and the Colonial government argued and measured
the relative flows of waters in the
branches. Was the northern branch larger than the southern branch? Commissions were
appointed and surveyors were put to
work. Recommendations were made and rejected. There was a little give and take but the
positions were, by and large, inflexible.
of the arguments used by the Colony of Virginia against Lord Fairfax were specious. For
example, the Potomac River divides
at Harpers Ferry into two rivers and Virginia argued that the Potomac came to an end there.
The same argument could have
been used with the Rappahannock when it splits into the North Fork (Hedgman) and the
South Fork (Rapidan). But all of this
river splitting was just splitting hairs.
Generally, it was agreed that the largest
branch was to be followed when two
streams of water merged. This process was to be continued until the headwaters were
reached. Then a line was to be drawn
between the headwater of the Potomac and the headwater of the Rappahannock and all of
the land bounded by the rivers and this
line were to be a part of the Fairfax or Northern Neck grant. But this did not solve the
question of which branch was the
Virginia, trying to enforce their decision, had George Hume survey a line
from the head of the Hedgman River
to the head of the Potomac. This was done in 1743. But Fairfax did not concede the issue
and boldly carried the issue to
the King in the form of his Privy Council. In 1745 they ruled that the Fairfax grant
extended to the south branch of the
Rappahannock (the Rapidan) and up it and the Conway River to its
There were several implications and complications
from this issue. All of a sudden, the landowners in the Great Fork (today's Rappahannock,
Madison and Culpeper Counties)
found they were to pay quitrents to a new person. Several people who were worried about
their titles had new surveys made
and filed with Lord Fairfax. There was little danger in losing the land as the Privy Council
noted that the land patents
had been made in good faith and were to be observed. New land, never taken up before,
was now to be granted from Lord Fairfax
and not patented from the Crown.
Over in the Shenandoah Valley, Hume's line,
which formed a county boundary, had no
meaning now and a new line, called the Privy Council line, was surveyed in 1745. This is
one reason that county boundaries
in the Valley changed as much as they did.
The Colony of Virginia certainly made
its share of blunders in this whole
episode. First, the King (Charles II) transferred land not knowing the extent of what he was
giving away. How the words
defining the grant were to be interpreted was an open question. Even after there was a
better geographical knowledge of the
extent, the Colony continued to patent land when it was rather clearly in the Fairfax grant.
This made lots of legal trouble,
especially in the Valley, for the land owners.
The transfer of land to the private
individuals occurred by two different
sets of procedures depending on whether the King (the Colony of Virginia) or Lord Fairfax
was selling the land. Lord Fairfax
wanted cash for his land while the Colony would accept other means of payment for the
in its history, the Virginia Colony decided it would be better if more people lived there. To
encourage people to come, everyone
who came into Virginia could have fifty (50) acres of land for "free". This
applied to men, women and children,
whites and blacks, English and non-English subjects. One had to go to court and swear they
were immigrants to Virginia.
The clerk of the court then issued a certificate entitling the person to 50 acres of land.
Since many people came in a family,
say one of four people, the certificate would be for 200 acres of land. These certificates
became known as head-rights.
The headrights were transferrable from one person to another. Very quickly, the practice
became that the headright went to
the person who paid the transportation.
When the First Colony was ready to move
away from Germanna, they bought land
in the Northern Neck from the owner. Now the proprietors in the Northern Neck did not
honor headrights. They wanted cash
or, at least, a promise to pay cash. So the Germans had no need for the headrights;
however, they did apply for them a few
years later though they were essentially of zero value in the Northern Neck. In some cases
they sold the headrights to people
who wanted to buy land from the Crown and could use the headrights.
Colony members did not apply for headrights
since Spotswood paid their transportation costs. But most of the land he was
"buying" or patenting from the Crown
was free. So he had little need for the headrights. Eventually he did need them and did use
them. For this we are grateful
since it gives us the names of 48 people for whom he paid the transportation. We believe
that all 48 of these people were
Second Colony members and several genealogical questions have been answered by these
These headrights appear
in two sources. One is in the court records when application was made for the headright.
But not all headrights appear here.
The other appearance of the headright is in the patents for land where it notes how the land
is being paid for. If by headrights,
the names of the people who took out the headright appear in the patents. The 48 names
mentioned above, appear in this way;
they occur in a patent of land taken out by Spotswood. Generally, the court records are
more complete and tell a lot more
than a name in the patent which is just that and nothing more. Still names can be very
The system was liable
to corruption. When Spotswood came to Virginia, he observed that procedures were very
lax. He complained that the captains
of the ships bringing people would claim headrights. Then the wholesaler who bought the
people from the captain to sell at
retail as servants would claim them. The person who bought the servant would claim them
also. Finally the person who came
into Virginia and had already been claimed as a headright three times would claim himself
also. So Spotswood set up a registry
of names to try and prevent the multiple use of names. Spotswoood also thought it was
unfair that citizens living in the
Northern Neck could have headrights which they could sell for use outside the Northern
Neck but there was little he could
do about his practice.
The purpose of headrights was to transfer
land at a fixed schedule of fifty acres
per headright. An immigrant to Virginia was entitled to one headright. Usually the
headright went to the person who paid
the transportation. But it wasn't always the case.
For example, Lawrence Crees of
the Second Germanna Colony patented
200 acres of new land in 1732 and paid for it with four headrights, those of John Cuntz,
Katherine Cuntz, Peter Hitt and Elizabeth
Hitt, all of whom were members of the First Germanna Colony. Did Lawrence Crees pay
the transportation of John and Katherine
Cuntz and of Peter and Elizabeth Hitt? No, he wasn't even in Virginia when the Cuntzes
and Hitts came.
From the application
for the Cuntz headright (in 1724), the testimony was that Joseph, his wife Katherine, and
children, John, Annallis, and Katharina,
came in 1714. The headright certificate was actually issued in 1729. Similar dates apply to
Peter and Elizabeth Hitt. (All
of this is in the Spotsylvania Order Book for 1724 to 1730.)
What happened is that
Joseph Cuntz applied in 1724 and
received five headrights in 1729. The five year delay was probably because he couldn't use
the headrights in the Northern
Neck so he did not push to obtain the certificates. The value was quite small, worth only a
few shillings per headright.
But eventually he did obtain them. Then he did nothing with them until a few more years
had gone by and then he sold two
of them to Lawrence Crees who used them in 1733 outside the Northern
Though the names appear in the Crees patent,
Crees did not pay the transportion costs. Nor was he here before the Cuntzes were
Also, one might form an erroneous
opinion about who was in the Cuntz family. From the headright, one might think that the
head of the family was John and that
Katherin was probably his wife. As we have just seen, this would be wrong. It remains a
question as why Lawrence Crees did
not buy all four of the four headrights he could use from Joseph Cuntz. Instead he split his
purchase with two Cuntz headrights
and two Hitt headrights.
On the same 1724 and 1729 dates, John Huffman applied
for headrights for himself and his wife,
Katherina, saying they came in 1714. You might conclude that John and Katherina were
married when they came. Since Katherina
was only twelve years old in 1714, you might also conclude that she had married very
young. Fortunately, we have John Huffman's
Bible record in which he records his wedding at a later date. In 1714, Katherina was still
the unmarried daughter of Rev.
There is a general lesson here. For a variety of reasons, we must be
very careful about drawing conclusions.
Headrights are not always what they appear to be. But we should extend this conclusion to
other types of records as well.
have, and you probably have also, read Virginia genealogies based on nothing much more
than an appearance of a name as an
importee. Makes you wonder.