GERMANNA History Notes Page #010

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This is the TENTH page of John BLANKENBAKER's series of Short Notes on GERMANNA History, which were originally posted to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Discussion List.  Each page contains 25 Notes.

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This Page Contains Notes 226 through 250.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 10

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Nr. 226:

Willis Kemper seems to have been bothered by the fact that the Second Germanna Colony did not relocate to the neighborhood of the First Second Colony.  The reason he concocted to explain this is false.

The First Colony left Fort Germanna, probably in the month of January in the year 1719 (NS) and moved to Stafford County, which became a part of Prince William County later and is now Fauquier County, all in Virginia.  They bought land from Lady Fairfax (though the grant was confirmed by her son, Lord Fairfax, after her death).  The location became the best known Germantown in Virginia but is now identified as the location of Crocker Park.  The Second Colony left their home in New Germantown (the "New" was to distinguish it from the "Old" which was Fort Germanna itself).  This original home was in modern Culpeper Co. on the Rapidan River about two miles upstream from Fort Germanna.  They moved to the upper reaches of the Robinson River in what is now Madison Co.

Since the Second Colony did not move to the neighborhood of the established First Colony, Mr. Kemper sought a reason.  To quote him from the Genealogy of the Kemper Family,

"The remarkable thing is that these Reformed and Lutheran brethren were dwelling together in harmony, and Pastor Hager was 'ministering to them in common.'  This did not long last, as will soon be seen."

The quotation used by Kemper refers to an advertisement in Europe seeking a minister to serve both the First and Second Colony in common.

A second quotation from Willis Kemper goes,

"Perhaps the antagonism between the Reformed and Lutheran broke out;  Whatever the reason, certain it is the Germans left Germanna and the members of the Reformed faith, 'our colony' of twelve families, went north abut twenty miles into the Northern Neck, into Stafford county, and engaged in agriculture; while the large body, the Lutherans, soon after went west, also into the Northern Neck, on Robinson's river, into what is now Madison county.  The latter seemed to have held on to the contributions from Europe. They built Hebron church, still in existence, and still have an organ and a communion service, contributed by their European friends."

In writing about what historians had said about the Germans, Kemper writes,

"None of them know anything about the difference in religious faith, which undoubtedly was the cause of their separation."

These false statements, now over a hundred years old, have prejudiced the study of our Germanna people.  They have prevented an objective analysis of the situation.  There are at least two good reasons that the Second Colony did not join the First Colony, neither of which has anything to do with religion.  The next note will explore these.

Nr. 227:

Willis Kemper said the reason for the geographical split in the first two Germanna Colonies was that they were antagonistic toward each other because of the religious differences.  Why he even felt there must be a reason is a mystery, though he does show a tendency to display a "chip on his shoulder."  In any case the reason that he invented is a complete fabrication.

After the First Colony left Fort Germanna and before the Second Colony left, legislation was passed by the House of Burgesses in Virginia and approved by the Council and Governor which created two new counties, Spotsylvania and Brunswick.  As a part of this, land was free in the two new counties for ten years.  Thus the Second Colony could use an advantage that was not available to the First Colony members when they moved.  They could obtain free land in the new counties.  At the time the legislation was passed, the new county of Spotsylvania included all of the present counties of Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock.

The First Colony was outside this area in the lands of the Northern Neck which belonged to the Fairfaxes.  Had the Second Colony moved to the region where the First Colony was living, it would have been necessary to buy the land from Thomas Lord Fairfax.  By staying within Spotsylvania County, the land was free.  Our ancestors tended to be a thrifty lot.

There was another problem with moving to Germantown.  The land around Germantown was quickly taken up.  In one fell swoop, "King" Carter took a large patent on three sides of Germantown which made it difficult to settle next to Germantown.  This lack of land forced the First Colony, in seeking an expansion for their growing families, to go beyond Germantown.  Principally they went in two directions, to the north on lands not yet sold by Lord Fairfax or across the Hedgman River (also known as the North River or as the North Fork of the Rappahannock).  In the latter case, the region is known as the Little Fork which I discussed a few notes ago.  Jacob Holtzclaw obtained a patent for several hundred acres here in 1729 which was free because the time limit on free land had not expired.

Also, about this same time period, John Hoffman took a land patent on the Robinson River amongst the Second Colony people.  He was not averse to mixing with them; in fact, he took his second wife from among them.

Early colonial history is replete with examples of cooperation between the Lutherans and Reformed church members.  They tended to build one church building in common and to share the use of it.  When problems did break out, the root cause was not the difference in religion, it was a case of personal attitudes and feelings.

The cause of the separation of the First and Second Germanna Colonies was, first, economic, and second, unavailability of land.  There is no reason to ascribe any differences of opinion to religion.

Nr. 228:

I quoted statements from Willis Kemper in recent notes, without commentary, even though there were erroneous statements embedded in them.  First, I would like to correct these comments.

Mr. Kemper said that the Second Colony moved into the Northern Neck.  At the time of the move, this area was not considered to be a part of the Northern Neck.  Only after the boundaries of the Northern Neck were clarified in England in the mid-1740's, was this area known as a part of the Fairfax domain, i.e., the Northern Neck.  But it would be unfair to say as of the time of the move that it was the Northern Neck.

A reference was made to the joint appeal of the First and Second Colonies in Germany which stated they needed assistance.  This was about 1720 and the appeal is usually associated with Zollicoffer who carried the message to Germany.  Kemper assumes this appeal was, to some degree, successful, and that some money was raised.  He goes on to say,

"The latter [Second Colony people] seemed to have held on to the contributions from Europe.  They built Hebron Church, still in existence, and still have an organ and a communion service, contributed by their European friends."

The implication is that the Second Colony got their hands on the money and refused to share it with the First Colony.

First, there is absolutely no evidence that the Zollicoffer appeal raised any money.  Hebron Church was not built until 1740, twenty years after Zollicoffer.  The fund raising in 1734 to 1738 for this is well documented and the original book of the contributors (most, at least) still exists.  This fund raising was entirely done by the Second Colony, as augmented by several new immigrants, and none of the proceeds were intended for the First Colony.  The organ was purchased (in Lititz, Pennsylvania) in 1802, so it is a stretch to say that it was contributed by European friends.

In quoting Rev. Jones, (p. 29 of the Kemper Genealogy), Kemper takes a sentence from one paragraph which talks about the Second Colony and merges it into a paragraph which talks about the First Colony.  This has confused historians.

At another point, Kemper says that the Kollicoffer advertisement referred to all of the Germans living at Germantown on the Rappahannock.  Kemper faults the writers of the petition saying that they meant Germanna, not Germantown.  Actually, the one individual who wrote more about Germanna than anyone, John Fontaine, called the place Germantown more often than he called it Germanna.  He does use both names showing that it was the same place, but it is clear that Germanna was known also as Germantown.  And to distinguish the home of the Second Colony people, it was called by Spotswood (or at least his agents) New Germantown.  Thus, the name of Germantown is not unique in Virginia history.  There is no question that this has confused the interpretation of history but we can hardly correct what was said almost three centuries ago.

Nr. 229:

There is a point on which I believe that Willis Kemper has been given a bum rap.  If my memory is correct, he wrote that Rev. H�ger of the First Germanna Colony did not move north to Germantown with the rest of the First Colony members.  He came later according to Kemper.

This thought seems strange to observers but there are two good reasons that it very well may have been true.  Consider the age and health of Rev. H�ger in 1719, the year that I believe the group moved.  He was 75 years old.  Six years earlier, when he was still in the Siegen area, he was retired because of ill health.  The need in 1719 at Germantown was for labor to clear land, build temporary shelters, and then more permanent homes.  He could contribute nothing to this activity.  In fact, had he been present, he would have been a net drain on the resources of the colony.  He could help most by staying away.  It was perhaps several months or even a few years before a home was built for H�ger and a church was built.

Second, he may have had a job at Germanna as an employee of Alexander Spotswood.  The area around Germanna constituted the old St. George's parish, which was set up as a German parish.  It extended for five miles around Germanna.  If the Germans living in this area had a minister, they were exempt from the payment of tithes since they were supporting their own minister.

When there were indentured servants, it was normally the master who paid the tithe.  Since Spotswood had paid something on the transportation of the First Colony members, it could have been argued that he would have been responsible for the tithes.  One way of skirting around this question was to have legislation passed which exempted the Germans.  The question might have arisen again with the Second Colony members.  To avoid the tithes, it was necessary to have a minister for them.  Spotswood might have seen it would be cheaper to hire a minister than to pay the tithes.

So it seems to me that Kemper may have been correct when he said that Rev. H�ger did not move with the rest of the colony.  I think it is very probable that he did not.

Kemper implies that the establishment of the old St. George's parish (for the Germans) was an act of favoritism on the part of Spotswood toward the First Colony folk.  I think a better interpretation is that it was an act of favoritism on the part of Spotswood toward Rev. H�ger. He was biased in that direction.

Nr. 230:

I found the quotation, which I could not quote yesterday, pertaining to Rev. H�ger's move to Germantown.  Backing up though, Willis Kemper used the notes of Rev. James Kemper, a grandson of the immigrant, John Kemper.  These notes were never published as an entity by themselves.  Willis Kemper used them in his book.

James Kemper was born at Cedar Grove, in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1753.  When he was thirty years old, he migrated with his family to East Tennessee and within a couple of years went on to Kentucky.  In Kentucky he studied theology and was licensed in the Presbyterian church in 1791.  He remained active in the work of the church until his death in 1834.

James Kemper wrote,

". . . My grandfather, John Kemper, was born in the County of Nassau Siegen, on the river Sieg. . . owned a small landed property there and also carried on the blacksmith's business.

"My grandfather in his reflections on the severity of the government of his country, and the vast differences between that and the liberties enjoyed in America, . . . resolved to embark for the New World.

"Their minister in Germany, who, though he did not come with them, [the reference seems to be to the move to Germantown] soon followed; his name was H�ger.  They were Presbyterians, and soon raised a house for public worship...."

James Kemper also wrote,

"My great-grandfather by my mother [Rev. H�ger] came in after them, and was their minister several years. . . He was of the Reformed Calvinistic Presbyterian church.

"I spoke a dialect of the German language as used in my father's house fluently, till I was ten or twelve years old, but have now almost entirely lost it."

There is some uncertainty as to whether James Kemper was referring to the emigration to Virginia and/or to the move to Germantown when he says Rev. H�ger came later.  But it seems that the inclusion of Rev. H�ger in the group's move to Virginia is certain.  Most likely the reference is to the Germantown move.  For the reasons that I gave in the last note, it is probably correct that Rev. H�ger did not move with the group.

Nr. 231:

[With the special activities this week, there will be no more "notes" until next week.]

In the Second Germanna Colony, there were three brothers and one sister, named Blankenbaker, who came as adult members of the group.  Actually, this does not exhaust all of the members of this family, as there were also parents and half-siblings.  First I will take the remaining brother, after his siblings Balthasar Blankenbaker, Matthias Blankenbaker, and Anna Maria Blankenbaker, who have been mentioned here.  This was Hans Niclas Blanckenb�hler, born 2 Jan 1682, as recorded in the church records for Neuenb�rg, then a part of the lands belonging to the bishops of Speyer.  Hans Niclas' (Johann Nicholas) parents were Johann Thomas Blanckenb�hler and Anna Barbara Sch�n.

  1. 1. Johann Nicholas Blanckenb�hler married Apollonia K�ffer in Neuenb�rg on 6 May 1714.  Apollonia's brother, Michael Kaifer, came to Virginia with the Second Colony and was to marry Anna Maria Blankenbaker (who married a Thomas as her 2nd husband, after Michael's death).  Thus the children of Michael Kaifer and of John Nicholas Blankenbaker were double first cousins.  The children of John Nicholas and Apollonia were:

    1. Maria Barbara Blanckenb�hler, b. 22 Dec 1714, d. 23 Dec 1714,
    2. Zacharias Blanckenb�hler, b. 21 Oct 1715.

    The two above birth events were in Neuenb�rg (a small village, now in Baden).   Later in Virginia, more children were born (order of birth of these is unknown):

    1. Michael Blankenbeker, m. Elizabeth Barbara Garr,
    2. Jacob Blankenbeker, m.1, Mary Barbara Thomas, m.2, Hannah Weaver,
    3. Dorothea, m. Lawrence Garr,
    4. Ursula, m. John Zimmerman,
    5. Elizabeth, m. John Fleshman.

    The will of John (Johann) Nicholas was written 10 August 1743, with a codicil on the next day (probated in September).  His wife Apollonia was still living, who would certainly appear to be his only wife.  He appointed Zacharias, his son, and Jacob Broyles to serve as executors.  He called Jacob his dear friend without noting that Jacob was his brother-in-law.

    Reports that Jacob (#5) was married three times, seem ill founded and without any evidence.  On the contrary, the only evidence was a misreading of a will.  Ursula was reported to have married a John Broyles but it is now known that this was not true.  (Please return to the BROYLES/ BRILES Family History home page for a discussion of the erroneous assumption that "Ursula BLANKENBAKER" was a wife of John BROYLES, and of the fallacy of a "second" John BROYLES.)

    Descendants of John (Johann) Nicholas have spelled the surname in several ways, with Blankenbeker, Blankenbecler, and Blankenbeckler being some of the choices (there were others also).

(German research on the Blanckenb�hler family was done by Margaret James Squires.)

Nr. 232:

In driving home to Pennsylvania after Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta, we decided to take an entirely different route to vary the scenery.  On the way down we had passed through countryside to which many of the Germanna people had moved.  It was with regret that I noted I did not know more about the physical land, the political boundaries, and the lives of these individuals.  On another trip, to an area that had involved parts of the old Rowan County, North Carolina, I had been amazed when my host took me on a tour of the old German churches.  Every time one delves a little deeper, it seems that one learns more.

In coming home, we decided on an entirely different route which duplicated nothing of the trip down.  It is worthwhile to spend a little extra effort and to see more and to learn more.  From Atlanta, we went up to Chattanooga and through Knoxville.  The road continued on to southwest Virginia, through Wytheville, Roanoke, Lexington and on into the Shenandoah Valley.  We continued on toward Harrisburg in Pennsylvania and then came back down to Chadds Ford which is almost at Wilmington, Delaware.

In Greene County, TN, I believe we were passing through Broyles and Willheit country and umpteen other Germanna family outlets from Virginia.  In southwest Virginia we passed through the land of Zacharias Blankenbeckler.  One can see that I certainly felt at home.  One asks, "I wonder what it was like here late in the eighteenth century?"

As we came to Staunton, VA, we decided to stop at the Museum of American Frontier Culture.  They advise allowing two hours to visit. Even though the day was drizzly and cool, we were there more than two and one-half hours so you can see the kind of impression it made on us.  We recommend a stop there if you pass by.  If you are just coming close, a detour to the site is recommended.

The main attraction at the Museum is four farms, one from Germany, one from Ulster, one from England and a more modern blend of American architecture.  When I say "from Germany, etc.", I literally mean that.  They found a building complex in Germany including a home, barn and tobacco shed and packed it up and brought it along.  The building dates to 1688 and is important because it shows the influence of German architecture that the Germans would have brought.

The Ulster building is from Northern Ireland, the home of the Scotch-Irish.  This building was typical of Scotland and Ireland in the eighteenth century.  The English building dates to 1630 and is typical of late seventeenth century architecture.

The American farm is more modern as it dates only to 1835.  It was from Botetourt County.

Besides the physical buildings, there are interpretive guides who act the roles of the persons living in the building.  Because the day was miserable weatherwise, there were few other visitors.  This meant more time was available to spend with the guides though.  Perhaps one of the strongest conclusions that I reached was that life could be very uncomfortable.  Getting warm using only a small fireplace is not easy.  Especially when the wind is blowing through the cracks.

Nr. 233:

We take transportation for granted today.  Someone to whom I was talking recently recounted how they had driven 1700 miles in order to have Thanksgiving Day with their family.  We forget how difficult it was to travel in days of yore, when a trip today to the opposite coast is only a few hours of flying or a few days of driving for us.  Contrast this with the weeks or even months our ancestors spent in crossing the Atlantic, or the few months spent on the Westward trail.

Some trips in the eighteenth century were not finished in the year in which they were started.  A family might start out from Pennsylvania and stop in Virginia for the winter and perhaps another year to grow crops.

Where there was the easier transportation, the first development occurred.

In Virginia, the first settlements were along the rivers, the Potomac, the Rappahannock, the James, and the York Rivers.  Civilization in the first century proceeded inland as far as ships could sail.  In other colonies, the Delaware and the Hudson Rivers attracted civilizations along their shores.

When river access reached its limits, limited roads were built.  But usually, settlement came first and then the roads came.  When the First Germanna Colony settled at Germantown, they reached the site by walking, probably following trails used by the Indians.  Then they built roads. The Second Germanna Colony was entrenched in the Robinson River Valley before roads reached the area.  As to how difficult it was to travel in the early eighteenth century, one has only to read John Fontaine's description of the expedition, in 1716, over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What determined where roads were built?  Several factors influenced the choice.  Most roads originated with a petition by the settlers to the county courts for roads.  They wanted roads that reached their homes and then reached commercial outlets for the goods they were selling and buying.  Many times, a mill was one terminus, or a point along the road.  So usually the pattern of settlement and commercial activity was the primary influence.  As to the course that a road took, it was influenced by geographical factors such as hills and waterways.

In physically laying out a road, which often involved clearing trees and leveling ground, an existing trail was often the basis.  Very commonly, these had been laid out and used by the Indians, perhaps for centuries.  Many of our early roads were an elaboration of the early Indian trails.

To give an example from Pennsylvania, the Hans Herr party landed at Philadelphia in 1710 and paused there only long enough to ask where there was land for sale.  To the west they were told.  They went as far as they could using the available roads.  As civilization thinned out, the roads became poorer until they were essentially non-existent.  Then they followed Indian trails until they were past the bounds of civilization.  Their settlement and the like settlement of others were the impetus for building roads.

Nr. 234:

Traveling north recently over Interstate 81 led me to think more about the roads that many of our ancestors used.  To further my education, I invested in a book by Parke Rouse, Jr., called "The Great Wagon Road", on the cover of which it also has the phrases, 'From Philadelphia to the South' and 'How Scotch-Irish and Germanics Settled the Uplands.'

The Great Wagon Road left Philadelphia in a westerly direction and ran through the communities with large German populations in Lancaster, York, Montgomery, Berks, Lebanon and, Adams.  This is the flattest part of Pennsylvania and the path of least resistance was diverted to the south by the Blue Hills which are an extension of the Appalachian Mountains.  Across the necks of today's West Virginia and Maryland on an easy route, the road reached northern Virginia.  The road split then into routes on the west and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Technically, the Great Wagon Road ran on the west of the Blue Ridge Mountains into the upper Shenandoah Valley and on into hills of southwest Virginia.  It was the population pressures of Pennsylvania in the early eighteenth century that started settlers of all nationalities along this road.  Later in the century, the Pennsylvanians were joined by the Marylanders and Virginians.

Before the Great Wagon Road was a road, it was a heavily traveled path used by the Indians from New York to the Carolinas.  There were several purposes to which the Indians put the trails.  One was intertribal trading.  Another was hunting.  Perhaps as important, it was the means by which the Iroquois confederation of nations exerted their dominance up and down the east coast.  But for whatever reason they used the forest trails, the Indians found the best routes.

To keep some perspective on the number of people, it is estimated that the Five Nations of Indians ranged from 5,000 to 15,000.  The Five Nations ended their internal struggles and fighting and united against the other tribes.  Their forays ranged from their home ground in upper New York to the regions later known as Georgia and Alabama to the south and Ohio in the west.  Depending upon the time, one might one remain for an extended period on the Great Road and not see an Indian.  Another day though might show a party of hundreds of Indians.

Initially, the routes south from New York spread over many paths.  By the early 1700's, the growth of European population east of the Blue Ridge led to a desire for separation of the Indians and Europeans.  Gov. Spotswood, in conferences with the Five Nations Indians, sought and obtained their agreement to remain on the west side of the Blue Ridge.  This led to a period of peace along the Warriors' Path.  But after 1722, the date of the conference, white men began to use the Warriors' Path and thus started the process of converting it into the Great Wagon Road.

Nr. 235:

Thom Faircloth asked a good question, "What were the roads like that we have been talking about?"  At the beginning, they were trails.  When traversed by humans, not much improvement was needed as a person is very adept and can overcome many obstacles by his skills.  When horses were used, little additional improvement was needed, perhaps some widening.  When wagons entered the flow along the road, definite improvements were needed.  Trees had to be cut to widen the road, some of the roughest spots had to be smoothed out.

But after all was said and done, the surface was still dirt and the tree stumps remained.  The wagons rolled over the stumps.  The tools that were used were the axe, the spade and the pickax (used for loosing up soil and rocks and for prying up roots).  To quote Charles Teeter in a similar situation, "The pick and the shovel were frequently brought into use to grade down the sides of deep gutters (gullies) so that they might be crossed."  He additionally says that the shovel and the pickax were the two tools that have done more toward developing the West (in the nineteenth century) than all others combined.  But still, as you may imagine, little work was invested into the roads because the people doing the "investing" were not going to reap any rewards after they got their party or their wagon through.

So initially the roads were minimal, with unimproved surfaces.  I have some personal experience with the conditions of such roads.  I was born in Oklahoma in the first part of this century on a farm which was accessed by a dirt road.  Periodically, the dirt was leveled or smoothed out to fill in the holes.  But holes and ruts developed with regularity, especially after the rains which loosened or softened the soil.  Then attempts to use the road by car, wagon, or tractor, would create ruts that were axle deep.  Progress became next to impossible.  Pity the poor mailman trying to make his rounds.  He often found that the best roads were through the pastures or farmland.

Back in eighteenth century Virginia, rolling roads were used to get the tobacco to market.  Very large casks, I believe about 800 pounds with tobacco was typical, were used.  Imagine oversized barrels made of wood.  The tobacco was packed into them firmly to relieve the stress on the cask.  The barrel was tipped on its side and an axle was fashioned through the barrel.  Shafts were fixed to the axle and the cask was pulled by animals,  probably oxen.  The road had to be a good road if the barrel was to survive the trip.  It needed to be smooth so that the cask would not be destroyed or punctured by rocks and tree stumps.  It needed to be dry to keep the tobacco dry.  The road had to be reasonably level so the animals could pull it uphill and avoid be run over by the cask on the down slopes.  So the economic necessity of getting the goods to market forced the best roads to be the tobacco rolling roads.

Overall, the state of the roads was primitive.  Their design prevented travel many weeks during the year.  Any one road would evolve toward something better as more people worked on it.  To carry heavier loads, some surfacing was desirable but it was expensive.  Later, to help with these expenses, tolls were charged.  Perhaps the best image to have in one's mind is the picture of the two ruts of the Oregon Trail as it crossed the prairie.  That was a typical road.  In Virginia, I have visited the ruins of a road where the road bed has sunk or eroded so deeply into the earth that a wagon on the road would not be visible from a short distance away.  You might say the early roads were a concept, not a reality.

Nr. 236:

Elke Hall's suggestion of visiting the Great Wagon Road through the eyes of the Moravians was a good idea.  It was so good that I am going to horn in with another Moravian contribution.

In 1743, two Moravians, Leonhard Schnell and Robert Hussey set out for Georgia from Pennsylvania.  The journey was to take five months (but that included waiting for their baggage).  They left on November 6, so the trip was definitely in the winter.  From Bethlehem, they went to Philadelphia, thence to Lancaster and to York.  In York, they recorded that all the inhabitants were "High Germans."  They were going by foot, carrying what they needed with them.  The trip was of a missionary nature.  Because of the scarcity of ministers, it was not hard to obtain an audience.  For example, at York, an innkeeper asked Schnell to preach a sermon which he did for an assemblage of villagers rounded up by the innkeeper.

Leaving York, the two pilgrims descended into Maryland and forded in succession three shallow rivers.  At the third river, the Monacacy, Schnell had to carry his companion across because the two had walked forty miles since sunup and were very tired.  Near Frederick, Maryland, they found many Lutheran and Reformed members who wanted a sermon and they were obliged by the missionaries.  Between Frederick and the Potomac River they encountered only two houses in this twenty-mile stretch.  They had gone without eating because no food could be obtained.

Near Winchester, in Virginia, the two stopped at the inn of Jost Hite.  Jost described the road ahead as 150 miles of Scotch-Irish settlements (this would have been the route which became the Great Wagon Road), which discouraged the missionaries.  Learning of an alternative way, they went east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and passed close to Warrenton, Virginia.  This, we know, brought them close to Germantown, where the First Germanna Colony was living.  One man here told them that a recent ship, bringing immigrants, had lost 150 of its passengers due to drowning.  Schnell was requested to stay and preach in the church they had but for which they had no minister.  The sermon was so well received that Schnell was requested to stay and become their minister, but he declined.

In the November rains, the two Moravians started southward again.  Creeks were swollen.  They crossed the Rappahannock in a canoe and stopped at an inn kept by Christopher Kuefer [who was this?].  They plodded along slowly, but were stopped near the Orange County Courthouse, where an English settler demanded to see their passports.  Schnell declined and then several farmers of the region took him to a justice of the peace.  Here Schnell and Hussey produced their passports and were allowed to leave.  By early December they had reached southern Virginia.

In North Carolina, a German Reformed member persuaded them to give a sermon in German, saying that it had been several years since they had heard a sermon in German.  Continuing the trip, the missionaries encountered snow, which at times forced them to remain indoors.  Turning to the east, they reached Charles Town, South Carolina, on Christmas eve.

Along the way, the missionaries were discouraged that letters had been circulated by the Lutherans and Reformed people, which spoke of the Moravians in an evil manner.  By January 21, they were still twenty miles from Savannah.  In Savannah, they boarded a sloop, the John Penrose, for the return trip to Pennsylvania.  They returned home to Bethlehem on April 10.  Thus the trip by sea was almost as time consuming as the walk had been.

Nr. 237:

This note fills in details that I omitted in the last note.  I am using "The Great Wagon Road", by Parke Rouse, Jr.  The source of the Moravian story is "Moravian Diaries of Travels Through Virginia", edited by The Reverend William J. Hinke and Charles E. Kemper in the journal, "Virginia Magazine of History and Biography," XII:375 (1903-1904).

As Leonard Schnell and Robert Hussey (an English convert) walked to the south, sometimes covering up to forty miles per day, they encountered difficulties.  Food was often scarce because they depended largely on residents along the road.  Sometimes they encountered very few homes.  Furthermore, food was not always available because the householders themselves had no bread.

At some of the larger rivers, ferries were necessary.  At the Shenandoah, the ferryman was reluctant to take them across until he saw their money.  At one point, Schnell used his hatchet to clear the vines from the pathway which was often overgrown.  Once he felled a tree to serve as a footbridge across Goose Creek.  At night they heard the howls of wolves and other wild animals.

In short, travel was primitive and often very unpleasant.  Still, we have underestimated the degree of intercourse between the north and the south, most of which was provided by travelers going back and forth.


I close with an invitation to visit the Hans Herr House tonight, starting at 5:30.  The "candlelight" tour held last night will be continued tonight.  Visitors on arrival will be introduced to the background of the Anabaptists in general and to the Herr party in particular.  (Doing this tonight will be my job.)  Guests will leave the visitor's center in an ox-drawn wagon for the short ride to the Hans Herr House.  "Christian Herr" will greet his visitors and tell them something about a farmer's life in the eighteenth century.  In the kitchen, food will be in preparation to tantalize one's nostrils.  In the stube (living room),  the Christmas story will be read in German and hymns will be sung in German.  Then back outdoors, a large bonfire will warm up at least one side of you.  You can sip cider and eat pretzels and perhaps sing some more.  Be sure and dress warmly for the outside of yourself while the spirit of the season warms you inside.

Tonight's candlelight tour marks the end of the season for visiting.  The House opens again on April 1.

Nr. 238:

At the conference between the Governors of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York, on the one hand, and the Indians of the Five Nations on the other hand, which was held outside Albany in 1722, the Indians agreed to stay on the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  There was no provision which limited the Europeans to the east side of the Mountains so that, for a period of years, both groups were in the Shenandoah Valley.  At another major conference held at Lancaster, PA in 1744, the right of the Europeans to use the trails on the west side of the Blue Ridge was reaffirmed.  At this time, the route on the west side was known as the Great Warrior's Path.  In the famous map of Peter Jefferson and Joshua Fry, printed in England in 1754, the map showed the "Indian Road by the Treaty of Lancaster."

By the time the 1775 edition of the map was issued, this Appalachian pathway was labeled "The Great Wagon Road from the Yadkin River through Virginia to Philadelphia distance 435 miles."  From the Yadkin River, several other routes extend the total length.  The growth of the Moravian settlement of Wachovia after 1753 increased travel from Virginia into that region.  This led to the establishment of Rowan County in North Carolina 1753.  The Governor of NC could write in 1755 that Salisbury, the county seat of Rowan, is but just laid out, with a courthouse and seven or eight log houses erected.

Growth and development were not instantaneous.  Needs were met in a variety of ways.  Some enterprising citizens established ferries.  In 1744, Virginia ordered that a ferry be maintained across the Potomac (the site is now Williamsport, Maryland).  The first ferries were of limited capacities, later expanded so that wagons could be carried.

Year after year, along this narrow-rutted inter-colonial thoroughfare, there was a procession of horsemen, footmen, and pioneer families with horses, wagons, and cattle.  The rumble of wagon wheels in the 1750's and 1760's mounted along the Wagon Road.  In the last sixteen years of the colonial area, southbound traffic along the Great Wagon Road was numbered in the tens of thousands.  It was the most heavily traveled road in all America and had perhaps more traffic than all of the other main roads together.

A point to be made here is that when the first of our Germanna ancestors moved south in the eighteenth century, conditions along the road were still very primitive and the development in the western areas of the southern states was very limited.  It was almost like starting over again at Germantown or at the Robinson River.

P.S. When Alexander Spotswood went to the Indian conference at Albany, New York in 1722, he went by the ship H.M.S. Enterprise.  It was easier to go by water than it was by land.

Nr. 239:

[This should be the last of the Great Wagon Road.]  In 1768, a chain of events was launched which was to lead to a spur or new branch of the Great Wagon Road.  John Finley, an itinerant peddler, had told Daniel Boone that there was a big gap in the mountain range which the Indians used.  That was all Daniel Boone needed to hear.  Boone, Finley, and four others hacked their way through dense underbrush to prove that a route was possible.

Colonel Richard Henderson, a North Carolina lawyer, saw the possibilities.  He purchased land from the Cherokees along the Ohio River in Kentucky.  To provide access, he hired Boone and thirty workers to cut a road through.  His actions were not universally acclaimed but Boone completed the road in short order.

This modest beginning quickly became the Wilderness Road, leading to what became Kentucky and Tennessee.  The new road branched to the southwest at (today's) Roanoke, VA, leaving the Great Wagon Road, which continued in a southerly direction.  In terms of today's locations, it passed Christianburg, Wytheville, and Abingdon, in Virginia, before branching in a westerly direction to pass through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and branching in a southwestern direction toward Knoxville.

By 1776, Henderson's company, Transylvania, petitioned the Continental Congress for admission as the fourteenth colony.  Conflicting claims and rivalries doomed the request.

However, colonists from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas were undeterred by the political status of the new area.  The lure of the new lands in the west added to the volume of the traffic on the Great Wagon Road.  By 1790, when the first United States census was taken, 70,000 people had made new homes across the Appalachians.

"The opening of Tennessee and Kentucky deflected much of the traffic on the Wagon Road for several decades, but the road continued to grow in importance.  Indeed, the great years of the Deep South's settlement were yet to come.  The ancient path which had led through the Carolinas to Georgia would continue to lead to green lands and golden opportunity.  The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road would grow with the years." (Frank Rouse, Jr., "The Great Wagon Road," The Dietz Press, 1995.)

This history of the Wagon Road is of interest for its own story, but it was also the route by which many of Germanna people moved on to new life's away from Virginia.  Germanna people were among the first in nearly all of the new areas.

Nr. 240:

I have two questions to which readers might respond.  I do not know a definitive answer to either one so I am asking, hoping to get answers.

There are two books which perhaps cover similar ground.  One is Strassburger, Ralph Beaver; and Hinke, William J., who wrote "Pennsylvania German Pioneers", in three volumes.  Published in 1934, one volume has facsimile reproductions of the signatures of the immigrants.  The other book is Rupp, Israel Daniel, "A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French, and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776."  Apparently this book was not indexed, and a companion index has been published.

My question is, "What is the difference between these two books?"  I know that Rupp used lists from sources other than the manifest lists of the shippers or the oaths of allegiance.  Also, some of his names have been called into question as doubtful.  Are the two books complementary and does each of them has something the other does not have?  What are the opinions on the general scholarship of the books?  Is one more accurate than the other?

The other question pertains to eighteenth century land sales in Virginia between private parties.  Is it true that Virginia had the odd practice of recording a land sale in two parts?  Did the first part read as a lease and was the amount always for five shillings?  I have heard that the real transaction is usually recorded on the following day and it presents a better picture of the transaction.  Have people been misled by thinking that the five shilling recording was the complete story?

I have looked at hundreds of land patents and grants but not many deeds.  Do the deeds always contain a description by metes and bounds of the property?  What is the quality of these descriptions?

Send your answers to the Germanna_Colonies Mailing List.  If you send a good answer direct to me, I may copy or summarize your comments for retransmission to the list.  I know some of you have been reluctant to send to the list, but it is as easy as sending email to a friend.

Nr. 241:

I have given here four of the children of Anna Barbara Sch�ne, namely, John Nicholas, Balthasar, Matthias, and Anna Maria.  These children were by her first husband, John Thomas Blanckenb�hler, who died ca 1687-1691.  Anna Barbara then married Johann Jacob Schlucter on 3 Nov 1691 in Neuenb�rg, now in Baden (more exact, now in Baden-W�rttemberg).  One son of this second marriage is recorded in the church records, Henerich, who was born 7 May 1697.

Henry Schluchter came to Virginia, where his name is recorded as a headright by Alexander Spotswood.  No other Schluchter is recorded as a headright and, since the members of the 1717 Colony were divided by family among the partners in the "land company," it must be assumed Henry had no brothers or sisters and no wife.

He had no land patents, which is strange for a young man, yet he appears to be present in the 1739 Orange Co., VA, tithe list as Henry Sluter, a possible variation when written by the English.  That this is the person, seems all the more likely since he appears between his nephews, John Thomas and John Zimmerman, the latter by marriage.

Just before the 1739 tithe list was drawn up, Cyriacus Fleshman deeded land to Sarah Schlucter in 1737, which seems to indicate that Henry had married Sarah.

Henry was here, he seems to have married, and by 1739 he would have been old enough to have several children.  Where are the children?  Why didn't Henry have a land patent?

The failure to have answers to these questions is a big hole in enumerating the descendants of Anna Barbara Sch�ne.  Perhaps someone has heard of the name and can shed some light.  I am not going to hold my breath waiting for an answer, but if someone has information please send it along.

Nr. 242:

In the last note, I discussed Henry Schlucter, born 7 May 1697.  Before he was a year old, his father died on 13 Feb 1698.  About three years later, Anna Barbara Sch�ne married her third husband, Cyriacus Fleischmann on 5 May 1701.  At this time, she was thirty-six years old.  Two surviving children were born in this third marriage in Neuenb�rg, the small village where Anna Barbara had lived her life.

  1. Maria Catharina Fleischmann, b. 26 Jan 1704,
  2. Hans Peter Fleischmann, b. 10 Apr 1708.

Anna Barbara was now forty-three years old.  Her eldest son, John Nicholas "Blankenbaker" was twenty-six years old.

In 1717, Anna Barbara, her third husband, Cyriacus, and her seven children, and four grandchildren left for the new world, Pennsylvania to be more exact.  Surprisingly they all seem to have survived the trip.

  1. Maria Catherine Fleshman married (Hans) Jacob Broyles in Virginia.  They had eleven children:

    1. Adam Broyles, b. 1728, m. Mary Wilhoit,
    2. Nicholas Broyles, b. c1730, m. Dorothea Crisler,
    3. Cyrus Broyles, b. c.1732, m. Mary Wilhoit,
    4. Jacob (Jacob 2) Broyles, b. 1735, m. Elizabeth Yowell,
    5. Peter Broyles, b. 1737, m. Elizabeth Blankenbaker,
    6. Catherine Broyles, b. c.1740, m. John Wayland,
    7. Michael Broyles, b. Jun 1740, m. Elizabeth Klug,
    8. Elizabeth Broyles, b. c.1740, m. Conrad Wilhite,
    9. John Broyles, b. c.1745, m.1, Margaret ___, m.2 Frances ____,
    10. Zacharias Broyles, b. c.1744, m. Delilah Clore,
    11. Mathias Broyles, b. c.1746, m. Eve Klug.

The German history is courtesy of the research of Margaret James Squires.  The Fleshman history I have taken from "Our Families" by Larry G. Shuck.  Larry was assisted ably by Ardys Hurt.

As is often the case, not all researchers agree, and I would say that Peter Broyles married Elizabeth ____ (perhaps Finks) who was a stepdaughter of Zacharias Blankenbaker.

    1. Peter Broyles, b. c.1745, m. Elizabeth ____ (perhaps Finks).

The later birth date for Peter arises from a late 1740 birth date for Elizabeth. A discussion of this case will have to wait.

Nr. 243:

The youngest child of Anna Barbara (nee Sch�ne) and her third husband, Cyriacus Fleischmann, was Hans Peter Fleischmann, born 10 April 1708  When he was nine years old, Anna Barbara and all of her descendants left the lands of the "Bishops of Speyer" for Pennsylvania.  It appears that all of her family who left Neuenb�rg did arrive in Virginia.

We do not know whom Peter Fleshman married.  There were six children:

  1. John Fleshman, born c1731,
  2. Barbara Fleshman, b. early 1730's,
  3. Robert Fleshman, b c1735,
  4. Catherine Fleshman, b c1736,
  5. Elizabeth Fleshman, b c1738,
  6. Peter Fleshman, Jr., b c1740.

  1. John Fleshman died in Culpeper Co., VA 1787.  He married his (half) first cousin, Elizabeth Blankenbaker, daughter of John Nicholas Blankenbaker.
  2. Barbara Fleshman married Adam Cook, the son of Michael Cook and Mary Barbara Reiner.
  3. Robert Fleshman married Dorothy Baumgardner, the daughter of Frederick and Catherine (___) Baumgardner.  After 1787 they lived briefly in Shenandoah County but were in Greenbrier County by c1790.
  4. Catherine Fleshman married Christopher Barlow.  Apparently Christopher and Catherine moved to Boone Co., Kentucky where his will is recorded (besides in Madison Co., VA).
  5. Elizabeth Fleshman married Christian Reiner and they were living in the Hebron community where they worshiped from 1777 to 1782.
  6. Peter Fleshman, Jr., m.1 Winifred Smith, the daughter of Isaac Smith, Sr.and Margaret Rucker.  By 1803, Hannah ____ was the wife of Peter Fleshman, Jr.  The latter two moved to Monroe County in 1804.

Nr. 244:

Over the course of several notes, I have recited one family that came to America.  The common element is Anna Barbara Sch�ne, a last name that is otherwise unknown in Virginia.  When the family came in 1717, she was 53 years old.  Her husband of the time was Cyriacus Fleischmann, who was probably younger than she was.  The party, or the family, was made up of Anna Barbara, 53; Cyriacus, c.47; her son, John Nicholas, 35; and his wife Appollonia, ?; and their son, Zacharias, 2.

Then there was Anna Barbara's second son, Balthasar, 34, who may have acquired a wife in transient, Anne Margaret.  The third son of Anna Barbara, Matthias, was just turning 33, and he was married to Anna Maria, 24, and they had a son, George, almost 3.  Anna Barbara's daughter, Anna Maria, 30, was married to John Thomas, age unknown, and they had two children:  John, almost 6, and Anna Magdalena, 2.  (That the Thomas family came at this time is an assumption but it seems likely.)

In Anna Barbara Sch�ne's second family, Henry Schlucter was 20 years old.  No marriage is known for him in Germany.

In Anna Barbara Sch�ne's third family, Mary Catharine Fleshman was 13 and Peter Fleshman was 9.

The age makeup of the party was:  53, 47, 35, 35, 2, 34, 34, 33, 24, 3, 30, 30, 6, 2, 20, 13, and 9, if the spouses of an unknown age are assigned the same age as the known partner.  If I have done my counting correctly, there were 17 people in the party (counting Anne Margaret, the wife of Balthasar).  The amazing thing is that all seventeen of these people arrived in Virginia.  The general history which the Second Colony members gave would imply there was a serious loss of life.  And in some other families, there were losses.  But, based on this one extended family, there were no losses.  (I can't tell about possible births en route who did not live.)  To the group above, Michael Kaifer could be added.  He was single and attached only to the rest of the Second Colony by the fact that his sister, Appollonia was married to John Nicholas Blankenbaker.

One wonders about the leaders of the group.  I am inclined to believe the leader was Cyriacus Fleshman.  He exhibited leadership roles in Virginia whereas the Blankenbaker men assumed a more retiring role in Virginia.  But what role did Anna Barbara play?  How long did she live?  We have no proof that she ever lived in the Robinson River area.  As the common link among these individuals, I would like to think that she lived to see all of her family settled in their new homes.

And who was the leader in Germany in promoting the emigration to Pennsylvania?  They certainly had their bad days, even bad weeks or months.  Who were the healers?  Who were the complainers?  We will never know the answers to these questions, but the ingredients are there for a good story, albeit fiction.

Nr. 245:

Whom Did Adam Yager Marry?

     Adam Yager was the son of Nicholas Yager.  Except for the possibility that Adam's sister Mary did live and have heirs, all of the descendants of Nicholas J�ger are through Adam.  Adam is said to have married Susannah Kabler, the sister of Frederick Kabler.  The last point is quoted very widely by descendants and by historians.  However, evidence for this is unknown (to me).  Let's examine pro and con points for this purported marriage.

AGAINST:   Fred Zimmerman, in his research into the German church records, found the birth record for Frederick (Hans Friedrich) Kappler. but evidence on other family members is extremely poor.  It is not clear why this is so.  Frederick Kappler called on Christoph Zimmermann to be a sponsor (godfather) for Kappler's son, Christoph.  This tie between the Kabler and Zimmerman families continued in Virginia as these were two of the very few families who lived in the Mt. Pony area.  Also, both men were coopers.  No where in the church records in Germany does Susannah appear.  Because the Kabler and Zimmerman families were associated in Germany and later in Virginia, it seems that the right families have been found.

Before looking at one piece of positive evidence, a short digression on Mt. Pony is warranted.  When some of the Germans moved to the Robinson River area, a few of them moved to a distinctly different area, the Mt. Pony region.  Most historians had failed to recognize there was a geographical difference which was significant.  In my own research, I noted the difference and plotted some of the land.

FOR:   Adam Yager lived in the Mt. Pony area for more than ten years.  He had one hundred acres on the southern slope of Mt. Pony not far from the tract that Frederick Kabler owned.  Adam's father, Nicholas, had moved to the Robinson River area.  It seems likely that Adam lived in the Mt. Pony area, because his wife would be near to her family.  This, in itself, does not make her a Kabler.  The people, though, who had been calling Adam's wife a Kabler had not realized that Adam was living apart from his father.  They failed to recognize that geography did support them (though it was not proof).  Perhaps Susannah was named as a Kabler in handed-down family lore and the source of the information has been lost.  In short, the idea that Adam Yager married Susannah Kabler is supported by geography but this is very weak evidence.

It pains me to say that Susannah Kabler was Adam Yager's wife because the evidence is practically nonexistent.

Mt. Pony has been the news recently.  During the cold war, the Federal Reserve Board dug out an underground bunker in Mt. Pony as a haven for federal officials in case there was an atomic attack.  With the thaw, it has been decided to discontinue the use of it.

Nr. 246:


For registering surnames of interest to you so that others can see them, RootsWeb (who makes this list possible) has a registry and search service. First, the URL for this is:
(Click on the above URL to go immediately to the Search Service.)

and, if you start with this, you will be presented with a search form.  Another page, accessible from this starting point, tells how you can entry names.  I have registered more than one hundred Germanna names.  If you search and find that "germanna" is interested in the name, that is my registry.  I hear from quite a few people in this way.  Incidentally, have you sent your Christmas present to the people who make Germanna_Colonies and the Roots Surname List possible?  Christmas is an appropriate time to send something.  Running these operations put them in the Red and it takes a lot of the long Green to offset the expenses.

(Note from this Web Page Manager:  If you are interested in becoming a contributor to RootsWeb, the fantastic Genealogy Mailing List Server, you may go to this URL   (click on "URL") to find out how to contribute and all about the great benefits of being a contributor.  George W. Durman, AKA "SgtGeorge")


Do you have trouble understanding colonial documents?  Frankly, I do. Even though I classify myself as reasonably intelligent, I sometimes read sentences in a colonial document and find myself saying, "What did he say?"  Usually, I understand each word but when I put them together I am left wondering if all of the words between the two periods have a subject or have a verb.  Along the way I may encounter several phrases which each have a subject and a verb but the overall sentence lacks what I was taught were the requirements for a good sentence.

There is also a tendency to use commas when periods would probably be more appropriate.  Elke Hall, who translated a 1712 document from the German for me, said that it had more pages in the document than there were sentences.  Alexander Spotswood was as guilty of this as were clerks.  Of course, he did not write himself.  He had a private secretary.

Land patents and grants are the easiest to read.  Before starting, one knows just about what to expect as they used standard phrases and structures.

The worse offenders are the wills.  After reading many of them, I say, "I'm, glad I'm not the executor because it is not entirely clear to me what the intention is."

I suspect that others may have the same problem as I do.  Nancy Dodge sent a copy of something to the list recently asking for an interpretation.  She asked what the "something" was.  Well, I am confused about the answer and perhaps you were also.  I am inclined to the view that the "something" was a lease, but I do not find anything in it that confirms to me that this is the case.  What did you make Nancy's submission to be?

Nr. 247:


The Germanna_Colonies list service is open to all, both for reading and sending messages.  If you have a question, but are hesitant, then jump in, get wet, and learn as you go.  If you are reading this directly as a recipient of the list service, you are signed up and ready to go.  Just send your message to [email protected].  If you are reading this on the Germanna History web page maintained by George Durman, he provides an easy way to sign up for the list service.  Just scroll to the bottom of the page and use the service he provides there.


Sheryl Ware Tuck asks about some of her family members which include the Peniger family.  I have no knowledge that her Penigers are the same as the Germanna Pinnegar family, but I will recite some information on the Pinnegars.  On 12 Aug 1778, Peter Pinnegar purchased 275 acres of John Deer and wife Catherine of Culpeper Co., VA, in the Gourd Vine Fork of the Rappahannock River, part of a grant to Francis Brown in 1749.  Peter moved to Stokes Co., North Carolina, before 1793, in company with the Finchums, Zimmermans, and Ziglars, where they lived together and intermarried.

William Pinnegar and Elizabeth Pinnegar were apparently the son and daughter-in-law of Peter.  They were witnesses to the will of Richard Ship of Culpeper Co. in 1781.  Elizabeth was the daughter of John Zimmerman (Jr.) and a granddaughter of John and Ursula (Blankenbaker) Zimmerman.

The German origins of Peter Benninger of Epfenbach (Kreis Sinsheim) are given in Don Yoder's "Rhineland Emigrants."  He was permitted to emigrate in 1751 with his wife and four children.  In the previous year, Johann Leonhardt Ziegler, blacksmith, of Sinsheim, was denied permission to emigrate to Pennsylvania.  The coupling of the names, Pinnegar and Ziegler, in Germany, and in Virginia, increases the chances that these German families are the Virginia families.  Epfenbach is about 15 miles north of Gemmingen and Schwaigern, the homes of many Germanna families.

The variation in spelling, substituting a P for a B, is very acceptable.  Probably the Benningers and the Zieglers immigrated to Pennsylvania, and later moved down to Virginia before going on to North Carolina.  Researching the families may cover a lot of geography.  I reiterate that I have no data that the Germanna Pinnegars are the Penigars of Sheryl Tuck.

Information on the Germanna Tanners has been added to Leatrice and Gene Wagners' web page.  Many Germanna names are indexed.  I have cross referenced the Wagner's home page on my Germanna web page.  Leatrice Wagner was the author of "Robert Tanner and His Descendants."  The URL for the Wagners' page is

Nr. 248:

With December 25 approaching rapidly, it is a good question as to how our German ancestors spent Christmas day.  Some of the ideas here are definite, some are probable, and some are very speculative.  Perhaps you can help clarify the ideas.

In the Robinson River Valley, it is definite that the Germans went to church on Christmas day.  And, of the three or four times a year they held communion services, Christmas was one of them. From the list of communicants at Hebron on December 25, 1775, we have representatives of these families:  Carpenter, Weaver, Crisler, Crigler, Kaifer, Willheit, Gaar, Wayland, Broyles, Yowell, Rouse, Smith, Reiner, Blankenbaker, Finks, Moyer, Hart, Clore, Urbach, Neuenmacher, Snider, Fleshman, Beeman, Bender, Lehmann, Yager, Deer, Redman, Cook, Swindle, Berry, Delph, Barlow, Fisher, and Christopher (using maiden names in some cases).  I may have missed a few but the representation is quite broad.

One of the more probable things is that there were special dinners.  Extrapolating backwards in time from the present, a roasted goose was the center place of the dinner.  Probably there were special treats from the "bake oven."

Christmas was probably a social time.  The church served that function in part, but the day was probably an occasion for having very close relatives to dinner.

Gift giving was limited, more probably it was the occasion for special food treats which might be considered as gifts.

There could have been special decorations in the house, especially evergreen boughs and perhaps wild plants with berries.  I do not believe there would have been a tree as we think of a Christmas tree.

From what I have heard and read, Christmas was a social time.  Occurring near the shortest day of the year, it was not a good time for work.  It was a better time to join around the fire and to renew friendships.

If there are better opinions than this, let's hear them.

Nr. 249:

In this season of goodwill, I will mention a case where goodwill lost out and the family took their problem to court, actually to two courts.  The decision in the first or lower court was not accepted by one of the sides and they appealed.  The final decision was made by the Virginia Supreme Court after independence.  The case started during the Revolution while laws were in transition from the English system of jurisprudence to the Virginia statutes.  This note will only present the facts and you can be the judge or jury.

In May 1781 Christopher Blankenbeker died leaving, by his will, his Culpeper County, Virginia, estate to his wife, Christina Finks Blankenbeker for the rest of her life.  Upon her death, the estate was to be divided among his three sons, Ephraim, Lewis, and Jonas.  In May 1783, Ephraim, the eldest son who was still a minor and unmarried, died intestate without any heirs.  Christina lived many more years until December of 1815 when she died in Madison County, VA.

Lewis felt, that as the eldest surviving son, he should get Ephraim's third of the estate in addition to the third willed to him by his father.  Jonas, the youngest son, and his six sisters disagreed.  In their opinion, the original third that was to go to Ephraim should be divided equally among all of the eight surviving children.  Lewis brought suit against his siblings and husbands.

A decision was reached in the lower court which was appealed.  I will omit, for the present, the decision in each court to give you a chance to mull over your decision.  Genealogically, the case is important because it details all of the children of Christopher and Christina and the husbands of the daughters. They were:

Ephraim (the eldest, he died as a minor, unmarried, with no will)
Lewis Blankenbeker
Jonas Blankenbeker
John Deer and Molly his wife, late Molly Blankenbeker
Joseph Carpenter and Catherine his wife, late Catharine Blankenbeker
Samuel Carpenter and Peggy his wife, late Peggy Blankenbeker
Sarah Blankenbeker
Michael Broyles and Betsy his wife, late Betsy Blankenbeker
Henry Haines and Hannah his wife, late Hannah Blankenbeker

These lawsuits were found by Gene Dear and he presented the material in Beyond Germanna in May 1991.  (The German name of Hirsch is spelled as Deer and Dear by descendants.)

Nr. 250:

Lewis, the eldest surviving son of Christopher Blankenbaker, brought suit against his siblings because he thought he was entitled fully and wholly to the one-third of his father's estate that had been designated for his brother Ephraim who died intestate without heirs.  The dates are important to know.  The will was written in 1781 and Ephraim died in 1783.

The first court ruled for the defendants, that is, the siblings of Lewis.  Ephraim's one-third interest was to be divided among his surviving siblings.  Note that Christopher had left a life interest in the farm to his widow Christina.  Until she died, the question had no relevance.  She died in 1815 and this is when the lawsuits began.

Lewis was not satisfied with the ruling of the court.  He appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.  They overturned the lower court decision and awarded Ephraim's one-third interest to Lewis.

Apparently, by their reasoning, the law of primogeniture still held.  This was the right of the eldest son to the estate of his father, if the father has not specified otherwise.  Thus, when Ephraim died, his interest reverted to the estate of his father which was in trust for the benefit of Christina.  At this moment, when Ephraim died, Lewis acquired his interest but had to wait for Christina's life interest to expire.

Telling these events at this time of the year, one is reminded of the Dr. Suess' story, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."  However, the grinch relented and returned all that he taken. Lewis, though, kept the property he acquired.

One wonders what happened to family relationships after this.  What price did Lewis and his siblings pay?  Was it worth it?  Wouldn't an attitude of peace and goodwill have served them better?


(To see John & Eleanor Blankenbaker's May, 2000, and May, 2002, Germany and Austria photos, click here.)

(To see maps of villages in Germany and Austria from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated, click here.)

(This page contains the TENTH set of Notes, Nr. 226 through Nr. 250.)

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

There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 1200 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.

If you are interested in subscribing to this List, click here.  You don't need to type anything, just click on "Send".  You will shortly receive a Welcome Message explaining the List.

(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)

(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)

This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.

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

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

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

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025