John BLANKENBAKER's: Short Notes on GERMANNA History  

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Short Notes on GERMANNA History

GERMANNA History Notes
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Nr. 1:

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.

Very soon 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 obtain.

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.
(06 Jan 1997)

Nr. 2:

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.

In 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 established.

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.

Nr. 3:

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 prospective workmen.

The initial 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.

Thus 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.

Nr. 4:

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 pass.

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.

Nr. 5:

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 reservation.

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.).

In the 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?

Nr. 6:

On Easter 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 in London.

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.

Nr. 7:

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.

Spotswood 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.

Nr. 8:

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.

The 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, editor.
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.
3. Miscellaneous courthouse records.
4. Documents 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 many references.

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.

Nr. 9:

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 admiration.

Anna Catharina 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.

In 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 challenge.

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.

After 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 Virginia.

Nr. 10:

It 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 much later.

Fontaine, with 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.

Germanna was 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 Germanna.

(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.

Nr. 11:

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.

Even 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 group.

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 mining.

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 Fauquier Co.

Rev. Hager and Jacob Holtzclaw were the best educated, but it appears that all of the men had received schooling.

Nr. 12:

Continuing a list of the Germans who came to Germanna in 1714:

Name 22 John Hoffman, b. 1682, was a bachelor. A popular spelling in America is Huffman.

Names 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 Camper.

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.

Nr. 13:

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:

1. 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 processing.

3. The Germans worked for Col. Spotswood.

Well meaning individuals tried to put this all together and they came up with a number of erroneous conclusions:

1. "Spotswood 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 hired.

Nr. 14:

Lt. Gov. 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 Germans.

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.

Spotswood visited 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.

Francis 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 people.

Nr. 15:

On 24 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.

Among 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.

Officially Spotswood 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 benefit.

Certainly the gathering of this many people was the biggest excitement that Germanna had seen since it was founded.

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 Ridge Mountains.

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.

On 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.

Nr. 16:

On 28 March 1724, from Germanna, Alexander Spotswood wrote to Col Nathl. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue. Portions are quoted here:

"The 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 ground thereon.

"My 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 also added)

Nr. 17:

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 purposes.

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 up.

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 Germanna.

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 calendar).

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 attention.

Nr. 18:

The First 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 Northern Neck.

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.

In doing 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 minister.

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 Germans.

Nr. 19:

Early eighteenth-century 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.

Then 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.

They left 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 winter.

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 that.

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 comments.

Nr. 20:

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 Germanna Colony:

"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 purpose.

Nr. 21:

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 itself.

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:

"Beyond 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 also added)

Nr. 22:

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 linens."

"Here may likewise be found as good clapboards, and pipe-staves, deals, masts, yards, planks, etc. for shipping . . ."

These comments 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 assumed.

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 Switzerland.

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.

Nr. 23:

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 of them).

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.

Nr. 24:

(Today 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 Christmas).

(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.

Nr. 25:

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 translation):

"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 series.

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 also.

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 families are:

Matthaus Schmidt, wife and two children.
Hans Michael Schmidt, wife, two children and two unnamed in-laws.
Hans Michael Klaar, wife, two children.
Joseph Weber, wife, two children.
Lorentz Bekh, wife, four children.
Hans Michael Mihlekher, wife, two children, wife's sister.

The Smith, Clore and Weaver families are members of the Second Colony (using their Anglicized names).

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.

Nr. 26:

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 Margaret.

Mathias Blankebuchner, his wife Anna Maria Blankebuchner,

son Hans Jerich B.

Wolf Michel Kefer.

Hendrich Schucter.

Hans Jerich Chively, wife Maria Clora,

daus. Anna Martha, Anna Elizabeth, Anna Maria.

Michel Cook, wife Mary.

Henry Snyder, wife Dorathy.

Hans Jerich Otes (Utz), wife Barbara, son Ferdinandis,

step-daughters Sylvania and Anna Louisa (Volck or Folg).

Joseph Wever, wife Susanna Wever,

son Hans Fredich, daus. Maria Sophia, Wabburie.

Michel Cloar, wife Anna Maria Parva, son Andrew Claus,

dau. Agnes Margaret, son Hans Jerich.

Hans Michael Smiedt, wife Anna Creda Smiedt,

son Hans Michael Smiedt.

Hans Jerich Wegman,

Anna Maria Wegman, Maria Margaret Wegman, Maria Gotlieve Wegman (relationships unknown).

Hans Nicholas Blankebuchner, wife Applona,

son Zachariahs.

Coz Jacob Floschman, wife Anna Barbara,

son John Peter, dau. Maria Catharina.

Hans Michel Milcher (perhaps Milcker), wife Sophia

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 other partners.

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.

Nr. 27:

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 designated.

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.

Among 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

Christopher Zimerman, wife Elizabeth, sons John and Andrew

Henry Snyder, wife Dorothy

Matthew Smith, wife Katherina

Michell Cook, wife Mary

Andrew Kerker, wife Margeritta, dau. Barbara

Christopher Parlur (Barlow), wife Pauera

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 Elizabeth

Nicholas Yager, wife Mary, children Adam and Mary

Phillip Paulitz, wife Rose, children Margarett and Katherin.

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 others.

Nr. 28:

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 Spotswood.

Right now, though, we are more interested in whom he sued, and not the reason why. These are the men:

Conrad Ambergey,
Andrew Ballenger,
Balthasar Blankenbaker,
Matthias Blankenbaker,
John Nicholas Blankenbaker,
John Broyles,
Michael Clore,
Michael Cook,
Jacob Crigler,
Cyriacus Fleshman,
Michael Holt,
George Moyer,
Phillip Paulitz,
George Sheible,
Michael Smith,
Henry Snyder,
George Utz, and
Nicholas Yager.

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 list.

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 Colony person.

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.

Nr. 29:

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.

Germantown, 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 move.

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 more land.

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.

Nr. 30:

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.

Some 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 new comers.

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?"

Readers Comments:

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.

Nr. 31:

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.

Another group left Siegen in 1738. Individuals left in other years, again most commonly arriving at Philadelphia, but sometimes in other ports.

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.

These 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 Germanna Colonists.

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 other counties.

Nr. 32:

Today 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.

After 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.

Late 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 books.)

So "Germany" was not a very peaceful place to live, and a person might well have wished that he were somewhere else.

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.

Nr. 33:

In 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 Germanna colonists.

The several 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.

Consequences 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.

Though 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 important.

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 steps.

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".

Nr. 34:

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.

Still, 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 homes.

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 religion.

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 intolerable.

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 much.

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.

Nr. 35:

In this 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.

A 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.

As 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.

Nr. 36:

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 later.

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 attractive.

Nr. 37:

Trying 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.

When 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.

In 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 the Atlantic.

Nr. 38:

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.

Gottlieb Mittelberger 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.

"I 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 this period.

"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 passengers."

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 passengers.

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 voyage.

"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."

Nr. 39:

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 weeks.

"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 together.

"...when 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.

Nr. 40:

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 $16,000.

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.

I 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.

For 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.

Nr. 41:

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 precious.

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 process.

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.

The 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.

The 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.

Nr. 42:

For a description of early 18th century Virginia, some contemporary accounts are good. The first is from John Fontaine's Journal (referenced earlier).

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 Moore.

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.

On 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 wine.

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.

Monday. 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.

Nr. 43:

On Thursday, 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 Mattapony River.

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.

On Tuesday, 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.

The 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.

Nr. 44:

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 Germantown.

At Germanna, 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 eating.

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.

Both 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.

Nr. 45:

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 America.

The State of Virginia in 1721.

"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 freeholders.

"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 Province ..."

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 year.

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.]

"The principal 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."

This 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, Albany, 1855.

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 security.

Nr. 46:

Continuing 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.

Of 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.

In the 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.

Altogether, 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.

British 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.

Nr. 47:

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 Spotswood.

Suppose that we want to go into the business of raising tobacco. Here is how to go about it.

"When 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 wonderful increase.

"Tobacco 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 shipping.

"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.

Nr. 48:

We have seen the principal means of earning cash in early eighteenth Virginia. Today we examine Jones' comments upon raising food.

"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 perfection.

"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.

"As 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.

Nr. 49:

The Rev. Hugh Jones had a few comments about our German ancestors. Quoting him:

"Beyond 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.

Jones 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.)

A little 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.

Nr. 50:

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.

We are 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.

William 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."

Still 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 Reformed].

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.

Most 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.

In America, 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 together.

Shortly before 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 statement.

1. "Graffenried 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 said.


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", p.3]

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.

We 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.


When 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 furnace.

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.

The 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.

After 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 Virginia).

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.

Spotswood 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 food.

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 much.

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 then.

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 partners.

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.

From the 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 business.


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.

They 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 of output.

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:

"This 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 . . ."

At 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.

Though the 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 until 1720(NS).

Putting this all together, the timetable looks like:

1717: iron ore is discovered about 13 miles from Germanna;
1718: the ore beds are developed and proven;
1720: 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 consistent operation.


To 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.

The Second 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 trained.

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.


Research 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.

Anna 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 Aug 1667
Maria Barbara Schön, b. 17 July 1671, d. 3 March 1679
Jerg Martin Schön, b. 10 Jan 1682

The 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 Neuenbürg.

Four children of Anna Barbara (Schön) and Johann Thomas Blanckenbühler were baptized in Neuenbürg:

Hans Niclas Blanckenbühler, b. 2 Jan 1682
Hans Balthasar Blanckenbühler, b. April 1683
Hans Matthias Blanckenbühler, b. 29 Dec 1684
Anna Maria Blanckenbühler, b. 5 May 1687

When the 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.

Three 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 surprises also.

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.

Johann Jacob 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 1708

At the birth of Hans Peter, Anna Barbara has seven living children with a spread of 26 years in their ages.

Anna 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:

Hans Wendel Thomas, b. 17 April 1712
Ursula Thomas, b. 8 May 1714, d. same day
Anna Magdalena Thomas, b. 24 Nov 1715

Johann Nicholas Blanckenbühler married Apollonia Käffer in Neuenbürg on 6 May 1714. Two children were born in Neuenbürg:

Maria Barbara Blanckenbühler, b. 22 Dec 1714, d. the next day
Zacharias Blanckenbühler, b. 21 Oct 1715

The father 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 Elisabetha.

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 recorded:

Hannes Jerg Blanckenbühler, b. --Feb 1715.

[Some of the details of this paragraph are courtesy of Mrs Jean Strand.]

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 no children.


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 emigrate.

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.

Eldest daughter 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.

From 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.

This 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.


The 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.

All 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 Schön descendants.

Hans Jacob Broyles married Mary Catherine Fleshman.
John Clore marrried Dorothy Kaifer.
Adam Cook married Barbara Fleshman.
Nicholas Crigler married Margaret Kaifer.
Peter Fleshman probably married Barbara Tanner.
Jacob Holtzclaw, the son of the immigrant, married Susannah Thomas.

Since 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 Blankenbaker.

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 example.


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 front pews.

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.

Next was 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 Waldburga Weaver.

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, Sr.

Then came George Utz, Sr., and his wife, Mary Kaifer, who was a granddaughter of Anna Barbara through Anna Maria Blankenbaker.

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 such.

(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.

Anna Maria (?) 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.

Johann Michael 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.

The 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.

In 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 family.

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 Hüffenhardt:

Hans Diether, 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;
Maria Barbara, 12 Aug 1680.

The father 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 later.]

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 the idea.


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 Colony.

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 written).

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.

Johann 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 age.

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).

Other 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 Blankenbaker.


Johann Christopher 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 children:

Johann Georg, b. 23 April 1688, d. 8 May 1688
Johann Conrad, b. 22 January 1690, d. 18 April 1700
Johann Christopher, b. 16 March 1692, will dated 30 November 1748 in Orange Co.
Maria Eva, b. 15 May 1697, fate unknown.

Christian Zimmerman (Junior) was the son of Christian Zimmerman (Senior) and Maria Schucter.

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 branch.

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.

Another 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 mother did.

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.

4. 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.

10. Martin Rüfflin, christened 8 Sept 1623, m. 4 July 1647 in Schwaigern:

11. Barbara Bartenschlag b. ca. 1628 in Hafnerhaslach, Baden.

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 also.


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.

20. Hans 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 _____.

28. Sebastian Müller, b. ca. 1585, Oberbaldingern, m. ca. 1612 in Oberbaldingen:

29. Maria Küntalin, chr. Jan 1584 in öfingen.

30. Sebastian Metzger, b. ca. 1600, of Altdorf, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.


32. Hans Willert, b. ca. 1575, of Schwaigern, d. before Mar 1615.


34. Hans Michael, b. ca. 1560, of Schwaigern.




38. Hans Flamm, b. ca. 1550, of Schwaigern, d. 1608 to 1616, Schwaigern.


40. Jeorg Rüfflin, b. ca. 1550, of Schwaigern.


42. Jacob Kneer of Schwaigern.

43. , 44., 45., 46., etc. until

56. Sebastian Müller, b. ca. 1550, Oberbaldingen, m. ca. 1579:

57. Anna Sulzmann, b. ca. 1555, of Schwaigern.

58. Hans Küntalin who married:

59. Katherina ______.

60. , 61., 62., 63.

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.

What 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".

(NOTE 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. Durman)


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 point.

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 with him.

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.

Therefore 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.

Johannes and Ursula had the following children in Ötisheim:

1. Hans Jacob, twin, christened 26 Mar 1705.
2. Conrad, 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 further information.
6. Maria 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 born.

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 unusual.


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.

The 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 members.

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.

Not 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:

1. Willheit,
2. Clore, Kaifer, Thomas,
3. Schoen which includes Blankenbaker, Schlucter and Fleshman,
4. Weaver, Utz, Volck (known also as Folg),
5. Sheible, Peck, Milker, Smith, Holt,
6. Broyles, Paulitz, Moyer, Motz,
7. Aylor, Castler, Manspiel, Reiner,
8. Snyder, Amburger, Kerker, Kabler,
9. Zimmerman, Yowell, Mercklin, Wegman, Leatherer,
10. Yager, Stoltz, Crees, Beyerbach,
11. "temporarily waylaid",
12. Wayland, Albrecht, Cook.

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 effort.


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.

When Charles 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 sense.

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.


Some 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 largest.

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 headwaters.

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 land.


Very early 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.

The Second 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 names.

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 valuable.

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 Neck.

Though the names appear in the Crees patent, Crees did not pay the transportion costs. Nor was he here before the Cuntzes were here.

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. Häger.

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.

I 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.