GERMANNA History Notes Page #024

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This is the TWENTY-FOURTH 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 576 through 600.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 24

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Nr. 576:

The sixth annual reunion meeting of the Society of Germanna Colonies, in conjunction with the Society of Golden Horseshoes was held 29 Aug 1954.  Not only was this the last meeting for which a Journal was issued, but it was also the last meeting of the Society of Germanna Colonies.  The nominating committee had put up the name of Dr. C. H. Huffman, of James Madison University, for president, and Brawdus Martin for chairman.  Though the "Germanna Journal" (as it was now called) fails to say so, it is presumed that both were elected.  The issue of the Journal for the year was dedicated to Willis Kemper, the author whose ideas had been leading Martin astray in his research.

Martin had not found it easy to convince people there were two Germannas.  He needed more evidence, so on 23 May 1954, with Edward Embrey and Noah Brooks, he made a physical tour and found the site of the Spotswood Fort, which is where he said the miners were first settled in Virginia.  He said the fort was on the north hill parallel to the furnace stream below the furnaces on the Rappahannock River.  Martin claimed this was where John Fontaine, in 1715, visited and described by the palisade fence, blockhouse, and nine houses.  Also, the trans-mountain expedition of 1716 left from this site.  This was thirteen miles away from where the sixth reunion was being held at the other Germanna.

Martin drew a picture showing Spotswood Fort and assigned a location to each major feature which had been mentioned in the histories.  This map included an outline of the Germanna tract which was issued in 1716.  I have plotted the tract (a description of this tract is readily available in Richmond) and know that it fits the Rapidan River in the area of Spotswood's home.  But Martin drew quite a different plot and said it was located on the Rappahannock River (though the patent itself says the Rapidan River).  His version was published in the Journal.  His archaeological research, of one day, also claimed to have located nine piles of stones to correspond to the nine houses in the fort.

Dr. Huffman could not stomach the blatant assertions of Martin, which were at variance with the facts.  It is said, and at least one individual still lives who remembers the situation, that Huffman and Martin would not talk to each other.  Had Martin attempted what he did in the academic environment of Dr. Huffman, he would have been dismissed.

Martin may have deluded himself into believing the situation even though he had to manufacture evidence.  He failed to convince others that his views were correct.  The net result was that he withdrew from any further activities of the Society of Germanna Colonists.  The organization failed to meet again after this sixth reunion in 1954.  Probably the Journal issue that he prepared after the reunion was his last bow.

Nr. 577:

Not many copies of the Journal of the Society of Germanna Colonies were ever issued, and the distribution lists that were printed indicate that the issues went to individuals and not libraries.  I know of only one library that has a copy of the Journal, and that is the Fauquier Heritage Society in Marshall, Virginia.  As a research tool for information, the Journal is worse than worthless.  (The late Elizabeth McNamara recommended that the copies be burned because there were so many errors.)  It does have some value for a researcher who is doing a study of Germanna thought as I have been doing in recent notes.

I have published some of the erroneous thoughts which are contained in the Journal, but I had not mentioned the table of kinship among cousins.  In it, we learn that the children of first cousins are third cousins.  What the rest of the world calls a first cousin once removed is called a second cousin in this table in the Journal.

The poor organization and presentation of thoughts, as shown in a recent quotation from the Journal, may have bothered Dr. Charles Huffman, who was a professor of English at James Madison.  But, overlooking the details of the presentation, the basic ideas were erroneous.  While some variation in interpretation is possible, the unforgivable offense was the deliberate presentation of "facts" which had been made up out of thin air.

After the demise of the Society, Dr. Huffman was instrumental in the formation of the Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc.  There is no record that Brawdus Martin had any role in this group.  More recently, a descendant of Brawdus Martin gave the Memorial Foundation money and they have agreed to name a new Visitor's Center after Martin.  This is an ironic event as Brawdus Martin had insisted that Germanna was thirteen miles away from where the Center is to be built.  It is also a slap in the face to Dr. Huffman who was for many years the President of the Memorial Foundation.

What we have is an example of how egos and money attempt to shape intellectual thought.

[I expect not to issue any more notes until next Monday at the earliest.]

Nr. 578:

Charles Herbert Huffman wrote a monograph on the history for the first ten years of the Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc.  Prof. Huffman had been the last elected president of the Society of Germanna Colonists.  He described how the Foundation happened to come into existence in "The Germanna Record Number Nine", which was published in 1966.  As is true of so much in the history of our Germanna Colonists, there was an accidental or happenstance aspect.

In 1953, a monument to many of the families in the First Colony was unveiled at Germanna.  A newspaper story and photographs reached the town of Siegen in Germany.  An author and journalist, Mr. Alfred L�ck, was writing a history of iron ore mining and manufacturing in Siegen.  He saw the possibilities of tying in the Virginia story.  He asked and was given permission to use the story.  Discussions continued and Mr. L�ck informed Prof. Huffman that the Saint Nicolai church in Siegen, which had been destroyed during World War II, had been rebuilt and would be reconsecrated in December of 1954.  He asked Prof. Huffman as President of the Society to write a message of greeting to the Saint Nicolai church, which Prof. Huffman did.  The story appeared in the German press, and Hanna Flender of Siegen sent a copy of the article to her brother, Ernst Flender, in New York City.  Mr. Flender contacted Prof. Huffman and asked some questions and expressed an interest in seeing the Germanna site.

On the occasion of Prof. Huffman's passing through New York City for a meeting of the College English Association Institute, he was able to have dinner with Flender.  Later in the year of 1955, Flender was to be visiting his son, who was in school at Charlottesville, and he arranged to meet with Prof. Huffman.  The Flender family and Huffman had dinner together in the Monticello Hotel and afterwards the two men talked in the lobby.  Flender asked about the prospects for Germanna development.  Huffman told him, "No interest among descendants at this date is in evidence, and activity on the matter is static." Presently, the climax of the evening's conversation was reached, and, with it, the new concept of the Germanna-Siegen story emerged.

Mr. Flender told Prof. Huffman, "When I return home, I shall send you a check for one thousand dollars to be used as you have need.  I suggest that you contact, respectively, holders of such original, Germanna real estate as is desirable for us, sound them out on the possibility of an option, with the view to purchase.  Also, select the best attorney you know, inform him that the establishment of a Foundation to the memory of our 18th century immigrants from Nassau Siegen is being contemplated, and enquire concerning his willingness to direct the legal phases necessary to achieve this end."

The check arrived in short order and Huffman contacted J.B. Carpenter, Sr., and Dr. John W. Wayland to seek their counsel.  An organization was formed and the first meeting was held at James Madison College, with these people present:  T. W. Fishback, C. H. Huffman, B. L. Stanley, Frank C. Switzer, and J. W. Wayland.  Two interested individuals, J. B. Carpenter and E. W. Flender, could not attend.  The name, "The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc." was adopted.  The date of this meeting was 7 Jan 1956.  Following legal work in establishing the Foundation, all of the men named above were elected trustees.  As established, the work of the Foundation was devoted to the "several Germanna Colonies", and not just the First Colony.

Nr. 579:

In accordance with the suggestion of Ernst Flender, property owners in the area of Germanna were contacted by the officers of the Germanna Foundation and one of them, with a desirable piece of property, agreed to sell land to the Foundation.  This tract of 270 acres was located on the south side of state highway 3, between the highway and the Rapidan River.  The purchase price of $10,000 was met by the generous gift of Ernst Flender of stock worth about $16,000.

Mr. Flender was born in Siegen in 1888 and his ancestry includes families allied to, or in common with, the members of the First Germanna Colony.  He came to New York in 1915 and founded the Argentine Trading Company, but he was soon active in banking, investment, and stocks.

"Germanna Record Nine" credits him for the existence of the Germanna Foundation, the purchase of the land at Germanna (sometimes called Siegen Forest), and for research on the ancestry of the families from the Siegen area.  His work made possible the book, "Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1717-1750".

His generosity was motivated by the personal satisfaction arising from assurance that the first home-site of his national kinsmen from Nassau-Siegen was preserved.  Dr. Charles Herbert Huffman, the first president of the Germanna Foundation, was especially appreciative and grateful for Mr. Flender's personal interest, for his counsel, and for his continual promotion and generous support of the Foundation.

Recent notes here have told of the activities of Germanna related activities of another person whose efforts are a marked contrast to the accomplishments of Ernst Flender.  One could wish the name of Ernst Flender was the one to be honored by a Visitor's Center.

Nr. 580:

History is distorted for many reasons.  One reason is tradition which is not a reliable guide, even if it does sometimes hint at the truth.  Germanna history has its share of this.  Imagination to fill in gaps was widely utilized by Willis Kemper.  Ego trips fill pages.  Copying, without verifying, what another person said, perpetuates the errors.  History is revised to meet the needs of the authors.  Consider this example of historical errors which appears in the Winter 1997 copy of the "Germanna" newsletter of the Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc.

Quoting from this issue of "Germanna,"

"Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center.  An anonymous donation of $100,000 from a Kemper descendant has been made to the Germanna Foundation with the request that the new building be named for Brawdus Martin, a founder of the Germanna Foundation.  Through the initial efforts of Brawdus Martin, who organized the first meetings at Germanna in the 1940's, the Germanna Foundation was formally organized in 1956.  Brawdus Martin served as the President of the initial Germanna meetings."

Recent notes have examined how the Germanna Foundation came into existence.  The comments of C. H. Huffman, taken from the "Germanna Record," show that Brawdus Martin had no part in the founding of the Germanna Foundation.  At the time that Huffman met with Ernst Flender, there was no group which was active.

There is a false implication in the quotation that the 'Germanna meetings' were a part of the Germanna Foundation which is not true.  Brawdus Martin was active in an earlier, unincorporated group which called itself "The Society of Germanna Colonists" but there was no formal connection between this group and the Germanna Foundation.

Brawdus Martin never had the title of president in the Society of Germanna Colonists.  The "Journal" for the group, for which he was responsible, always listed him as chairman.  He never held any position in the Germanna Foundation.

Ironically, there was no connection between the old Society and the new Foundation, because the activities of Martin were so disruptive to the Society.  His poor scholarship and his generation of false material and evidence led to the rupture between Martin and Huffman and the falling apart of the Society of Germanna Colonies.  After the Society ceased to function, the Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonies in Virginia was organized through the efforts of C. H. Huffman and Ernst Flender, of which the latter was a very generous benefactor.

Nr. 581:

What is a Germanna settler?  It is not easy to write a definition.

Usually the Germanna settler is given as a married German, who is the head of a household, but let's look at some examples.  The Fishback family in 1714 was headed by Philip Fishback and his wife, Elizabeth Heimbach.  The children consisted of John, Harman, Mary Elizabeth I, and Mary Elizabeth II.  Philip died soon after arrival and the children married before long.  When the move to Germantown was made, John and Harman each had a division of the land.  Technically, it would appear that the Germanna settler was Philip Fishback and that John and Harman were members of the family and not to be counted separately.  (If the sons are counted, do we say that three Fishback families came?)

Another similar example occurs with the case of Joseph Weaver, who came with his wife, Susanna (Clore), and small children, Peter (as he was later known), Maria Sophia, and Walburga.  Joseph died before many years had gone by.  Because Joseph had not been recognized in the Germanna history, the Germanna settler has customarily been said to be Peter, but it would be more appropriate to say the settler was Joseph.  But, if we say that Joseph is the settler, without giving the name of Peter Weaver, then for consistency we should say Philip Fishback is the settler, without saying that John and Harmon are settlers.

On the other hand, the three Blankenbaker brothers and their sister, married to John Thomas, were all married and, with one exception, parents.  Their mother and stepfather also came with their Fleshman children, who were still minors.  We usually count all of these people as five families because they were independent when they came; but, what about Henry Schlucter, 20, who was Mrs. Fleshman's son by her second marriage.  Is he to be considered a bachelor head of family, or a member of the Fleshman family?

Michael Kaifer was a single male, 22, who was the brother of Apollonia Blankenbaker, the wife of Nicholas.  Was Michael an independent person or was he a member of the Nicholas Blankenbaker family by virtue of his relationship to Apollonia?

Perhaps we should not be emphasizing the settlers as individuals but as families.  Should we just list the Fishback name, the Weaver name, the Blankenbaker name, the Fleshman name, and so on as the settlers?  But we would need to distinguish the John Henry Weaver of the 1714 immigrants from the Joseph Weaver of the 1717 immigrants.  These two Weaver families were independent.

If we were to adopt the strategy of listing family names instead of the individuals, should we also list the maiden names of the women?

Your comments are invited; this is your list for you to express your opinions.

Nr. 582:

Nearly all of our Germanna people eventually married people whose nationalities were not German.  Do we count these other people as Germanna settlers?  To give an example, taken from the "Germanna Settlers" list published on the Internet by the Germanna Foundation, one of the families is "Aker".  The only mention that I can find of the Aker family is that Elizabeth Holtzclaw married, on 22 Jan 1823, John Aker, Jr.  If this is the history of the Aker family in so far as it interacts with our Germanna people, then I cannot conceive how the family is to be counted as a Germanna settler family.

There are a few families, of non-German origin, which might be considered as Germanna settlers with some justification.  One that comes to mind is the Richard Birdine/Burdyne family where Richard married, it appears, one of the Tanner (Gerber) daughters.  Richard's history is not that well known but some speculation says he may have been a Huguenot who came very late in the seventeenth century, or very early in the eighteenth century.  It is possible that he is the ancestor of most of the Burdynes in America through his Germanna marriage which would mean that the Burdynes have a Germanna ancestor.  If this were so, then it might be desirable to highlight the Burdyne involvement in the Germanna community.

What I have given are two extreme cases.  The Aker family does not merit inclusion while the Burdyne family might merit inclusion.  In between these two extremes there are many other cases.  It would appear that there is only one clear answer to the inclusion of non-Germanic families which would cover all cases.  Non-Germanic names, or families, should not be included.  A family, or individual, who is to be included in the Germanna list should be born in a Germanic area, including all of the principalities of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (or en route).

(People who are born in America would generally not qualify as settlers.  Very strangely, the Germanna Foundation's list of settlers includes Jacob Holtzclaw and Joseph Holtzclaw who were born in Virginia.  If these two are included, why aren't all of their brothers and sisters included?)

But this "birth in Germany" factor has to be modified because some of our Germanna settlers were born in another colony and then moved to the Germanna area.  So now we would be looking for the first of a Germanic family to live in the Germanna area even if they were born in the colonies.

Any list of settlers is subject to revision and especially to additions.  We are still finding people who qualify.  Some have been omitted because not that much is known about them by the students of Germanna history.  One such family is Wolfenberger.  Another family about which we are learning something is the Frady family.  At first, there seemed to be a lack of information on Charles Frady (using his English name) but in depth investigations are showing a rich history.  Some of our settlers came after the Revolutionary War, showing the settler's list extends over the better part of a century.

I continue to invite comments on the general topic of whom should be included in a settler's list.

Nr. 583:

There are two individuals who were involved with our Germanna Colonists whose eventual fate is unknown.  One is Johann Justus Albrecht or Albright.  The other is Francis Louis Michel.  Without Michel's efforts there certainly would have been no Germanna and his involvement may be deeper than has been recounted.

Graffenried left notes after his return which indicate that Michel died among the Indians; however, communication between Graffenried and Michel, in the later years that Graffenried was in America, was strained, perhaps nonexistent.  I have seen, in the early Spotsylvania County records, the name Francis Mycall, especially in land records.  The spelling "Mycall" in Virginia would be a good approximation of the name Michel.  There is, in the Germanna area, a Prince Michel winery.  Since Francis Michel did come from a family with pretensions to nobility, this name suggests him.  I have encountered persons who claim descent from him.  While there is much to be worked out in this history, it is entirely possible that Michel could be counted as a true Germanna settler.  At least he should have an "honorary" position.  Perhaps someday we can learn more and report it.

Albrecht has been slighted in the Germanna history.  There is every indication that he was in the 1714 group of Germans.  In fact, he is referred to as the "head miner".  Graffenried says he was in London in 1713.  We know from two documents that he was later in Virginia.  Surely he came with the other Germans and was at Germanna in 1714, even though B. C. Holtzclaw, and others, did not count him as one of the original people.

One of the two documents is a statement in the Essex Co. Deed and Will Book, vol. 16, dated 17 May 1720, which says that eleven laboring men had been put under his command by the Governor to work in mines or quarries, and they continued until December of 1718 (which was the time that they moved to Germantown).

The other document was written by Albrecht in London after the preliminary recruiting had been done in Germany.  This shareholder's book was in essence a charter for a mining company.  It was obviously written by Albrecht, and the presence of it in Virginia would also indicate that Albrecht did come to Virginia; it has been preserved in the Spotsylvania County records.  A translation of this German document has been made by Elke Hall and published in "Beyond Germanna".

There is no reason to believe that Albrecht was married at the time he recruited the Germans, or even when he came over to Virginia.  Apparently though, he was living at Germanna.  It is entirely conceivable that he married one of the single women.  Against this thought is the possibility that he was not on the best of terms with the other Germans who may have regarded him as the source of some of their troubles.  His eventual fate is totally unknown.

Nr. 584:

There are some names that have been put forth as Germanna settlers which should not be included.  A few of these are reviewed in this note.

It has been said that John Broyles, Jr., came slightly later than his father, mother, brothers, and a sister.  This "fact" has been repeated by several writers, but it appears to be a clear case that the authors were simply copying each other.  James E. Brown took the time to search through the Spotsylvania County records which were cited as the source.  What he found was that there was no John Broyles, Jr., in the time frame that had been cited.  Instead, he found a record of John Bell.  From the German records, we know that no John Broyles, Jr., was to be expected.

Another name to be removed from the lists of Germanna settlers is Henry Coller.  Searches for a Henry Coller, who lived among the Germans, or even near to the Germans, proved fruitless.  The only mention of the name was in the will of Michael Kaifer.  Finally, a consortium of researchers, led by Nancy Dodge, found the answer.  Coller was a mistaken writing for Aylor, and Henry Coller should be identified as Henry Aylor.  Margaret, the wife of Henry Aylor, was the daughter of Michael Kaifer and Anna Maria Blankenbaker.

The name Flender could hardly be counted as a Germanna settler.  While Ernst Flender in this century was very much a friend and benefactor of the Germanna people, he himself never lived in the Germanna area and certainly not in the time frame of the settlers.

The name Kyner was a misreading of Riner.  In the German script, the capital letters "K" and "R" look very much alike, at least the capital K suggests the capital R.  In German, the letters "y" and "i" often substitute for each other.  The German spelling of the name is actually Reiner.

Another name which should be struck from the lists of Germanna settlers is John Langenbuehl.  Again, the name Langenbuehl reflects the inability to distinguish the German script "L" from the "B".  To the untrained eye, the B looks very much like an L.  The correct reading of the name is Blankenbaker (to use a modern spelling), or Blankenb�hler in German.

With the exception of the name of Flender, the examples above arise from reading, writing, or spelling problems.  There are several other names on the list of Germanna settlers, published by the Germanna Foundation, about which one wonders.  Several of these might be nonexistent if the true name were detected.

In the last note, some of the evidence for Francis Michel was discussed.  His arrival time could be given as 1702, if you use his first arrival time, or 1710, if you use his last arrival time.

Nr. 585:

Recent notes on the list have given some names and relationships which I do not believe are true.  One note said that the wife of Johann Michael Willheit, early Germanna immigrant, was Mary Blankenbaker.  This is definitely false.  His wife was Anna Maria Hengsteller, and she was the mother of all of Michael's children.

The senior Willheit had a son John, who married Walburga Weaver.  Often her name is given as Margaret, or Peggy, which is not correct.  At the Hebron church she was known as Burga.  This, and her nickname as a headright, suggest strongly that her formal name was Walburga, which is also sometimes spelled as Waldburga.  Her birth is not recorded in the German records, yet she was living at the time of importation; so, one must assume that she was born at sea; the age of her parents, and siblings, suggests that this is the case.  She had a brother, slightly older, who became known as Peter Weaver.  Her father was Joseph Weaver, and her mother was Susanna Clore, who later married Jacob Crigler, and then Nicholas Yager.

Nicholas Wilhoit, the son of John and Walburga in the preceding paragraph, married Mary Margaret Fisher, not Elizabeth Fisher, or Mary Elizabeth Fisher.  Nicholas and his wife are mentioned in the Hebron church records, in the Robinson River Valley, where her name appears as Mary AND as Margaret.  This was not unusual, as several similar cases are known in the church records.  The odds are in favor of the name sequence being Mary Margaret (as opposed to Margaret Mary) since Mary is more popular as a first name than Margaret.

It has been said here recently that Michael Souther married a Mary Fisher.  I would not argue against this, but I would claim that she is not a daughter of Lewis Fisher and Anna Barbara Blankenbaker.  An analysis that I have done, of the children of Lewis and Anna Barbara, clearly suggests there was no daughter Mary, except for the Mary Margaret who married Nicholas Wilhoit.  (See paragraph above.)

Here is an idea to think about.  In the Orange County tithe list in 1739, there were two Lewis Fishers, one of whom lived north of the Robinson River and one of whom lived south of the river.  In the baptism of Zimmermann children in Sulzfeld, Germany, one set of sponsors is Ludwig and Anna Barbara Fischer (as found and reported by Margaret James Squires).  While this couple would be too old to be the Lewis and Anna Barbara that we commonly know in Virginia, the Sulzfeld couple might be the parents of the Lewis Fisher.  The senior Lewis may have had more children than Lewis, Jr., and the nephews and nieces of Lewis, Jr., may be confused with his own children.  Nothing is proven here yet but I pass along these ideas and facts for someone who wishes to search in more detail.

Finally, a few correct spellings are Baden, W�rttemberg or Wuerttemberg, and Schwaigern.

Nr. 586:

Andrew Garr has been discussed in these notes before and a search on the name may be made by the use of the RootsWeb capabilities.  Twelve children were born to Andreas Gar and Eva Seidelmann, but only four of these survived.  Three of the children died in July of 1727, in Bavaria, where the family originated.  The six surviving members arrived on the ship Loyal Judith at Philadelphia on 25 Sept 1732 (Rupp, "Thirty Thousand Names").  The family lived for a while in Germantown outside Philadelphia, but moved within a short time to the Robinson River Valley in Virginia.  Their reasons for this move are unknown.

The four surviving children were:

  1. John Adam,  b. 24 Dec 1711,  m. Elizabeth Kaifer,
  2. Rosina,  b. 11 Aug 1713,  m. Dewald Christler/Crisler,
  3. Lorenz,  b. 29 Nov 1716,  m. Dorothy Blankenbaker,
  4. Elizabeth Barbara,  b. 11 Feb 1730,  m. Michael Blankenbaker.

John Adam married Elizabeth Kaifer, several years younger than he, and she was the daughter of Anna Maria Blankenbaker and Michael Kaifer (see the will of Michael Kaifer).  Anna Maria was the widow of John Thomas, who died perhaps about 1720.  John Adam and Elizabeth were the parents of six children:

  1. Michael,  m. Elizabeth Wilhoit,
  2. Ludwig or Lewis,  m. Catherine Weaver,
  3. Benjamin,  m. Margaret Crigler,
  4. Elizabeth,  m. Adam Fisher,
  5. Rosannah,  m. Benjamin Dickens,
  6. Mary Magdalena,  m. Stephen Fisher.

Elizabeth Wilhoit was the daughter of Adam Wilhoit and Catherine Broyles.
Catherine Weaver was the daughter of Peter Weaver and his wife Elizabeth ?.
Margaret Crigler was the daughter of Nicholas Crigler and Margaret Kaifer.
Adam Fisher and Stephen Fisher were the sons of Lewis Fisher and Anna Barbara Blankenbaker.

I know very little about the Dickens family and perhaps others could add some information about Benjamin Dickens.  I do not even know if the Dickens family was German or English.

The Gar/Garr/Gaar family and the Blankenbaker family shared a number of ancestors at this early time, as three of the four children of Andrew Gar and Eva Seidelmann married individuals who had a Blankenbaker ancestor.  Since all of the descendants in America who are named Gar/Gaar/Garr have either John Adam or Lorenz (Lawrence) as an ancestor, they also have a Blankenbaker ancestor.  Those Garr descendants, through the Fishers, have two Blankenbaker ancestors, Balthasar and Anna Maria.

Nr. 587:

John Adam Gaar, or more simply Adam Gaar, and his wife Elizabeth (Kaifer) were recorded as communicants at the German Lutheran Church in Culpeper County, Virginia, in late 1775.  In fact, they were the first names on page 1 of the volume used to record communicants, confirmations, minutes, and financial records.  This probably meant they were sitting in the front pew.  Adam's will was written in 1790, and probated in 1793 in the new county of Madison.  He would have been 81 or 82 years old at his death.  His wife Elizabeth is not mentioned.  With the exception that the son Benjamin received some extra goods, the estate was divided evenly among all six children.  No grandchildren were mentioned.  Among the special items that Benjamin received were a Dutch Bible and a Sermon Book.

It is interesting to see who owed Adam Gaar money:

Absalom Utz owed 16 pounds;
Peter Witham owed 9 pounds;
George Wilhoit (son of Adam) owed almost 55 pounds;
Adam Yager owed 5 pounds;
Lewis Gaar (son) owed 9 pounds;
Moses Deer owed 2 pounds;
Stephen Fisher (son-in-law) owed 9 pounds;
David Crisler (grandson) owed 3 pounds;
Andrew Gaar (nephew) owed almost 3 pounds;
John Miller owed 5 pounds;
Adam Crisler (grandson) owed 9 pounds;
James Haynes owed almost 4 pounds;
Benjamin Dickens (son-in-law) owed 53 pounds;
Benjamin Gaar (son) owed 7 pounds;
Adam Rouse owed 7 pounds.

These obligations were in the form of bonds and notes.  Along with eight slaves, the estate of Adam was significant.

The second child of Andreas Gaar and Eva Seidelmann was Rosina, who married Theobald Christler.  Theobald's name has been troublesome in the records, probably because it is an unusual name.  Pick a spelling and it has probably been used.  In fact, I would make no claim that Theobald is the correct form.  The last name of Christler is usually simplified to Crisler.  Rosina and Theobald were the parents of:

  1. Henry,  m. Elizabeth Weaver,
  2. (John) George,  m. (Anna) Magdalena Smith,
  3. Adam,  m. Elizabeth Crigler,
  4. Leonard,  m. Margaret Clore,
  5. David,  m. Elizabeth Wayland,
  6. Andrew,
  7. Michael,  m. Mary Ann (Thomas) De Bolt,
  8. Catherine,  m. Aaron Crigler,
  9. Mary,  m. Michael Carpenter,
  10. Elizabeth,  m. Michael Wilhoit,
  11. Margaret,  m. Adam Clore.

I am following the "Garr Genealogy" in this information.  If readers detect an error, please bring your question or statement forward.  There are some uncertainties in the above family.

Nr. 588:

The family of Theobald Crisler and Rosina Gaar was left in doubt in the last note.  Consulting the will of Thebald Christler, which was written 20 Feb 1776, we find that he names a wife Rosanna, and sons Henry, George, Adam, Michael, Leonard, and David.  He did not name Andrew, perhaps because of an earlier death.  He named daughters Catherine Christler, Dorothy Broyles, Mary Carpenter, Elizabeth Wilhoit, and Margaret Clore.  The will was witnessed by Michael Souther, Jacob Souther, and Adam Garr.  Adam was probably his brother-in-law.  Whether the Southers were chosen for any reason other than their convenience is unknown.

So, the Garr Genealogy errs by omitting the daughter Dorothy.  Andrew is in limbo.  No claim of children for Andrew is made, either, by Garr or by mention in the will.  Dorothy will be assigned number 23 in the numbering scheme here.  There is some question about the husband of Margaret Clore, but that will be deferred for the present.

Going back to Andreas Gar and his wife Eva Seidelmann, their second son to survive was Lorenz, b. 29 Nov 1716.  He married in Virginia, Dorothea Blankenbaker, the daughter of John Nicholas Blankenb�hler and his wife Apollonia Kaifer.  Four children of Lorenz (Lawrence) and Dorothy are given by Garr, but information beyond the name is given only for two of them.  The four were

  1. John Gaar,  b. 1744,  m. Margaret Wilhoit,
  2. Andrew Gaar,  b. 1750,  m. Christina Wilhoit,
  3. Eve,
  4. Elizabeth.

The births and baptisms of these third generation children are not recorded in the German Lutheran (later known as Hebron) Church Register, where entries start for a family only if their first child was born after 1750.  (Barbara Claxton and Joyce Libes were contributors to this note.)

[The tour season for the Hans Herr House has started and tomorrow I will be a guide there; therefore, I am sending this note early, as I will not have time in the morning.]

Nr. 589:

The fourth surviving child of Andreas Gar and his wife Eva Seidelmann was Elizabeth Barbara Gaar who was born in Bavaria 11 Feb 1730.  In Virginia, she married Michael Blankenbaker, the son of John Nicholas Blankenbaker and Apollonia Kaifer.  Michael was the brother of Dorothy Blankenbaker, who married Elizabeth Barbara's brother Lawrence.  Seven daughters are given in the book "Garr Genealogy" with estimated birth years (one seems to be known exactly).  Using the dates from the book, the seven daughters were:

  1. Jemima,  b.1745,  m. Michael Crigler (?),  m. Absalom Utz,
  2. Mary,  b. 1747,  m. Daniel Wilhoit,
  3. Margaret,  b. 28 Nov 1749,  m. John Clore,
  4. Elizabeth,  b. 1753,  m. John Wilhoit,
  5. Eleanor,  b. 1755,  m. Elias Crisler,
  6. Christina,  b. 1760,  m. Ephraim Utz,
  7. Rosanna,  b. 1763,  m. Lewis Wilhoit.

Several of the estimated birth dates above are in error, some by a significant number of years.  Some information on this subject comes, not from birth and baptismal records, but from confirmations at the church.  Three of the girls have recorded confirmations, and two of these give the ages of the girls.  The confirmation record does not give the parents' names, but the women can be assigned confidently to Michael and Elizabeth Barbara, because no other Blankenbaker family duplicates these names.

Rosanna was confirmed in 1785 at the age of 18 so she was born in 1766/7, not 1763.  Eleanor was confirmed at 16 in 1782, so she was born in 1765/6, not 1755.  Jemima was confirmed in 1777, age not specified but say 17 which was a typical age.  This would make her birth year ca 1760, not 1745.

There is no reason to assign a birth year of 1747 to Mary since her children appear from 1774 to 1788.  The birth date given for Margaret is consistent with the appearance of her children.  Elizabeth was the second wife of her husband, and children appear from 1768 to 1793.  Christina's husband was born ca 1762/3 and they were married in 1783.  From the confirmations, the one specific date, ages of the husbands, and appearance of the children, the birth dates that I would assign are:

  • Margaret 1749,
  • Elizabeth 1752,
  • Mary 1754,
  • Jemima 1760,
  • Christina 1763,
  • Eleanor 1765, and
  • Rosanna 1767.

Under this assignment, Elizabeth Barbara, the mother, would have been 37 when Rosanna, the last child, was born.  Also the mother would have been 19 when Margaret was born, not 15 as the Garr Genealogy would have her.

Nr. 590:

The last note reported that one of the daughters of Michael Blankenbaker and Elizabeth Barbara Gaar was Jemima, who was said to have married Michael Crigler.  Researcher Cynthia Crigler has conducted a search for this Michael Crigler and could find no evidence in the civil or church records (see Beyond Germanna, v.10, n.1).  We know that the "Garr Genealogy" was in error by fifteen years in the birth date for Jemima.  Apparently, the story for her, with respect to a marriage to Michael Crigler, was an error also, and Arthur Crigler, who wrote a Crigler genealogy, carried forward the mistake that had been made in the Garr Genealogy.

In addition to the four children of Andreas Gar and Eva Seidelmann that have been given, there was another daughter, Maria Barbara, born 15 Jul 1728 (in Bavaria), who is said, in the Garr Genealogy, to have died in Philadelphia.  Next some evidence will be examined which says that she lived long enough to move to Virginia where she married.

Land grants in the Northern Neck followed a slightly different procedure than land patents from the Crown.  In the Northern Neck, a person applied for a warrant and paid his fees.  The warrant specified how many acres he had paid for.  He took the warrant to a surveyor who measured off the ground for him.  (The land may have been marked already as a claim even though it was not officially recognized.)  After the warrant was issued, and before the land was surveyed, the warrant, which was a valid claim or title, might be sold or given away.  The surveyor often added notes to the warrant.  The warrants have been preserved and published by Peggy S. Joiner in several volumes as "Virginia Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys".  In volume 2 of this series (for Frederick County), we read the following entry:

"Debold Christler, assignee of Christian Tival, assignee of Andrew Garr 2 Oct 1751 - 6 Jun 1752; south side of South Fork of Shannandoah River adjacent Zachory and Micall Blancumbaker.  Chain carriers: Lawr. Garr, Peter Cree."

"Above was a warrent to And. Garr and given to his son-in-law Christian Tival.  Surveyed for C. Tival of Culpeper Co."

Andrew Garr could only be Andreas Gar, the patriarch.  The next Andrew, his grandson, has an estimated birth date of 1750.  Theobald Christler was the son-in-law of Andreas Gar, as was also Michael Blankenbaker.  Lawrence Garr was the son of Andreas and a brother-in-law of Theobald and Michael.  This much we understand, but the two names, Christian Tival and Peter Cree, are not discussed in the Germanna literature.

If we are to believe the warrant in its obvious reading, Andreas Gar had a son-in-law, Christian Tival, who married a daughter who could only be Maria Barbara.  The husbands of the other two daughters, Theobald Christler and Michael Blankenbaker, are given in the warrant and its notes.

In 1751, Maria Barbara would have been 23, which meant that she could have been a mother a few times already.  And perhaps she lived longer, as there is little reason to believe that she died then.  Possibly there is another whole branch of the Garr family which has been overlooked.  The next note will continue this theme.

Nr. 591:

There seems to be no escape from the conclusion that Andreas Gar had another daughter, Maria Barbara, in Virginia who married Christian Tivall.  I would feel better if I could find more records pertaining to Christian Tivall besides the references in "Warrants and Surveys".  There are other references in Joyner besides the one in the last note.  In volume 1 (Augusta County):

"Lawrence Garr of Culpeper, 4 Jan 1749/50, 3 Feb 1750, on South Fork Shannondoah.  Chain carriers:  Tivall & Zacharias Blancumbaker."

From volume 3 (Culpeper County) of Joyner:

"Debold Christler, assignee of Christian Tivall; 12 May 1752 - 17 Mar 1752/3; 62 a. On brs. of Robinson River; adj. his own land, Michael Smith, Andrew Gar. CC - Lawrence Gar & Henry Tivall."

Except for the name of Tivall, the names are readily recognizable and logical.  My attempts to learn more about the Tivalls, Christian and Henry, have been failures.  Searches through indices fail to show the name under either "T" or "D".  Perhaps readers have some information.

There was a name in these extracts that was a surprise though it was not unreasonable.  That was Peter Cree.  Presumably, he was the son of Lawrence Cree.  Previously, we had known that Lawrence Cree had a daughter, Rebecca, who received all of his property in 1758 and 1762.  Peter must have been a son who was one of the two tithes in the Lawrence Cree family in 1739, hence at least 16 at that time.  Eleven years later (see the previous note) he would have been 27 years old.  Probably he was married and the chances are excellent that his wife was from within the Garr/Christler/Tivall complex.  Since his father, Lawrence Cree, did not leave property to any grandchildren in 1758 or 1762, it might be assumed that Peter Cree had no heirs.  But such assumptions make bad genealogy.

The warrants and surveys given in Joyner usually specify the chain carriers.  The iron chains were heavy and the chain carriers needed to be strong.  The person for whom the survey was being made had to supply the chain carriers.  Very often, he chose sons, sons-in-law, or brothers-in-law for this job.  Theobald Crisler chose Lawrence Garr, his brother-in-law, and Peter Cree, of an unknown relationship.  The land was adjacent to Michael Blankenbaker, who, like Crisler, married a daughter of Andreas Gar.  Zachory Blankenbaker was Michael's brother.

Lawrence Garr chose Tivall and Zacharias Blancumbaker as chain carriers.  Probably Tivall was a brother-in-law.  Theobald Crisler chose Lawrence Garr and Henry Tivall.  Lawrence was Theobald's brother-in-law.  Henry (and Zacharias) were brothers of brothers-in-law.  One wonders about Zacharias Blankenbaker, as his known marriage was when he was well into his thirties.  Did he have any earlier marriage?  As you might judge, "Virginia Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys" is fascinating reading.

Nr. 592:

Several good suggestions were made by readers for the name "Tivall" but I lean to selections from Rupp's "Thirty Thousand Names".  In particular, two names strike me as possibilities, Diwall and Dewalt.  The German's "D" was often heard as a "T" and the "w" would be sounded as a "v".  Either of these names could be the source of Tivall.  Rupp's names are immigrants through Philadelphia, and that is to be expected.  The Garr family and the Crisler came through Philadelphia and lived for a while in Pennsylvania.  So it would not be a surprise to have the Tivall family living in Pennsylvania for a while also.

Lawrence Garr, son of Andreas Garr, was born in 1716.  In Virginia, he married Dorothy Blankenbaker, who was born in Virginia, probably in the 1720's.  Their four children have been given.  The names were probably taken from the will of Lawrence, which was written in 1753 and witnessed by Lewis Fisher (cousin-in-law of Dorothy), Theobald Crisler (his brother-in-law), and Zachary Blankenbaker (Dorothy's brother).

The son, John, was born in 1744, and the son, Andrew, was born in 1750 (according to the Garr Genealogy); the birth dates of the two girls are not specified.  At his death, Lawrence was about 38 years old.  The family was quite young.  His wife, Dorothy, apparently never remarried, as she appeared in the church records for another thirty years or so.  She must have been responsible for the farm(s) and raising the children.  No information is known on the future of the two girls, Eve and Elizabeth.  Each of them was left land and the eventual fate of the land might disclose something.

I thought it would be interesting, as a part of the search, to see if there were any references to Eve and Elizabeth in the Hebron Church records.  Of course, they probably would not appear under the name of Garr but under a married name.  A prime location would be the sponsors at the baptisms of the children of Andrew and John, their brothers, since siblings were often chosen as sponsors.

The births of seven children of John Garr and his wife Margaret Wilheit are given in the Hebron Register.  There were five more children who are not recorded at the church.  One of the reasons may have been that the church fell on "hard times" at about the time the last child of John and Margaret is recorded.  The church was without a well-defined leadership for several years and John and Margaret may have drifted away from the church.  The birth date of one child does not agree when comparison is made between the Garr genealogy and the church records.  In the next note, I will examine the records for the children at the church.

Nr. 593:

Looking at the birth and baptismal records at the German Lutheran Church for the first seven children of John Gaar and his wife Margaret Wilhoit, we have:

  1. Lawrence, b. 16 Nov 1767.  The sponsors were Michael Gaar (his cousin), George Crisler (his cousin), Eve Fisher (her sister), and Mary Carpenter (her cousin).  [In the relationships here, the reference is always to the parents so "his" refers to John and "her" refers to Margaret, the parents of the child.]
  2. Abraham, b. 28 Feb 1769.  The sponsors were Michael Carpenter (his cousin-in-law, married to Mary Crisler), and Eve Fisher (her sister, who married Bernard Fisher).  It was unusual to have only two sponsors, but perhaps the baptism was rushed.
  3. John, b. 16 Mar 1771.  The sponsors were Nicholas Yager (her brother-in-law who married Susanna), George Crisler (his cousin), Eve Fisher (her sister), and Mary Carpenter (her cousin, who married Wm. Carpenter).
  4. Aaron, b. 20 Jan 1773.  The sponsors were Michael Carpenter (his cousin-in-law), George Crisler (his cousin), Susanna Yager (her sister), and Eve Fisher (her sister).
  5. Elizabeth, b. 25 Jan 1775.  The sponsors were Nicholas Yager (her brother-in-law), Bernard Fisher (her brother-in-law), Magdalena Crisler (his cousin-in-law, who married George Crisler), and Mary Carpenter (her cousin).
  6. In the church records, the sixth child is unnamed, but was born 8 Nov 1776.  In the Garr Genealogy, this child is Leanna, with the same birth date.  The sponsors were George Crisler (his cousin), Michael Carpenter (his cousin-in-law), Susanna Yager (her sister), and Eve Fisher (her sister).  The record for this child is duplicated in the church register (but that is another story).
  7. The seventh child in the church records is Lea, b. 16 Apr 1778.  No child appears in the Garr Genealogy with this birthday.  The sponsors were Bernard Fisher (her brother-in-law), Nicholas Yager (her brother-in-law), Mary Carpenter (her cousin), and Anna Crisler (his cousin, whose full given name was Anna Magdalena).

The Garr Genealogy says there was a total of twelve children, but only the seven here are in the church register.

Note some points about the choice of the sponsors.  They were all of the same generation as the parents.  They were chosen from siblings or cousins of the parents or from spouses of the siblings or cousins.  Of the twenty-six choices made for sponsors, half of them were from cousins or the cousin's spouses.  Nine of the twenty-six were related by marriage and not by blood.  This is the classic pattern of sponsorship at the church.  Knowing this, we can often detect or confirm relationships among people.

Andrew Garr was never a sponsor for his brother John's children, a situation which makes one wonder.  The situation is even more strange when one considers that Andrew's wife was Christina Wilhoit who was a sister of Margaret.

This little exercise started primarily to see if Eve and Elizabeth, John Gaar's sisters, could be detected.  They do not appear as sponsors.

[There will be no note tomorrow as I will be leaving early for the Pennsylvania Chapter meeting of the Palatines to America.  A few weeks ago, the Virginia Chapter meeting of PalAm was mentioned which was a very good meeting.]

Nr. 594:

In the last note, I gave the baptisms in which John Gaar was a parent and we looked at his choice of sponsors.  This note looks at the baptisms where John Gaar was chosen as a sponsor.

  1. Michael Zimmerman (who was a Carpenter), and his wife Mary Crisler, for their son, Solomon (born 20 Nov 1761), chose John Gaar (her cousin), Henry Crisler (her brother), Mary Carpenter (his sister-in-law, who was the w/o Wm., Sr.), and Elizabeth Fisher (her cousin, the w/o Adam).
  2. Again, Michael and Mary, for their son, Moses (b. 5 Nov 1775), chose Wm. Carpenter (his brother), John Gaar (her cousin), Elizabeth Fisher (her cousin), and Elizabeth Crisler (her sister-in-law, who had married Henry).
  3. Nicholas Yager and his wife Susanna (Willheit), for their daughter, Rosina (b. 9 Oct 1778), chose John and Margaret Gaar (her brother-in-law and sister), and Eva Boehm.  For Eva, I not ready and/or able to make any statement.
  4. John Wayland, Jr. and his wife, Rosina (Willheit), sometimes called Rosanna, chose for their son, William (b. 20 Jun 1783), Joshua and Rachel Utz Wayland (his brother and sister-in-law), and John Gaar (her brother-in-law).

Fourteen choices were made.  Five were related by marriage, not by blood.  Four were siblings.  Four were blood cousins.  One is an unknown.  All were of the same generation as the parents.

Andrew Gaar, John Gaar's brother, had one child baptized, Simon (b. 26 Apr 1777).  Andrew's wife was Christina Willheit.  Their choices of sponsors were Bernard Fisher (her brother-in-law), Eva Fisher (Bernard's wife and her sister), John Wayland, Jr. (her brother-in-law), and Mary Willheit (her sister-in-law, the wife of Nicholas).  To classify them, one choice was related by blood and three were related by marriage.  John Gaar, his brother, and Margaret (Willheit) Gaar, her sister, were not chosen.

Andrew Gaar was chosen by Bernard Fisher and his wife.  Andrew was the brother-in-law of Bernard's wife, Eve Willheit, who was Christina Gaar's sister.  Andrew Gaar was chosen by John Blankenbaker and his wife, Barbara Cook.  Andrew was John's cousin.  Twice, Daniel Willheit and his wife Mary Blankenbaker chose Andrew Gaar.  Daniel and Andrew were brothers-in-law, as Daniel was Christina's brother.

Though the details are not given here, eight of the sponsors, when Andrew Gaar was involved, were related by marriage out of the total of eighteen choices.  Only seven of the choices were siblings of the parents.  But all of them were of the same generation as the parents.

The choices of sponsors which I have been illustrating here recently are very typical of the sponsorship patterns at large.  There are exceptions, few in number, to the patterns I have been showing.

Nr. 595:

Recent notes dealing with the record of baptisms at the German Lutheran Church, now known as Hebron, have prompted questions such as, "Where are the rest of the kids?" and, "Why weren't my people recorded?"  We saw a good example of the first question in the case of John Gaar and his wife Margaret Willheit.

Until about 1739, twenty-two years after they came, the Second Colony had had the services of their own pastor for only about a year and a half.  When Rev. St�ver died on the return home from the trip to Germany to raise funds, his place was taken by George Samuel Klug.  Rev. Klug served for twenty-four years in the new church building.  He was followed by John Schwarbach who served until about 1775.  Both of these men served the community well.

The next pastor, who came as a provisional pastor, was Jacob Franck, a layman turned cleric.  He served a little less than three years starting in November of 1775.  He was a hard worker and a good salesman for the church and the congregation was pleased with him.  In his short term, the number of baptisms averaged more than ten times the numbers for 1750 to 1775 when computed on an annual basis.  The length of the communicant lists grew.  In short, the church was revitalized in his three years but he resigned and went to silversmithing in Philadelphia.

For a period of nine years following his resignation, the church history is murky.  There was no regular pastor, but a succession of supply or temporary ministers.  Some say John Michael Schmidt, from within the congregation, attempted to lead the church for a few years, but with disastrous results.  In the church register of births and baptisms, the record keeping became very poor.  It appears that people stayed away from the Hebron church.

At the same time, old ways were being subverted.  The power of the state church (tied to England) was weakening during these Revolutionary years.  More tolerance was being shown to other religious groups such as the Baptists.  Many of the Lutherans started attending that church.  Other Lutherans just opted out of the religious picture.  The net result is that people such as John and Margaret Gaar brought no children for baptism after 1778.

It wasn't until 1787, when William Carpenter, Jr., became the pastor, that record keeping in the church was returned to normalcy.  His pastorate was honorable, though not without some disagreements with the elders and the congregation.  By then, many of the members were beginning to use English as a working language while the church remained solidly German in its outlook.  So cultural change took its toll also.

Nr. 596:

The Hebron Church Register is not quite what it seems to be.  It appears to have been started in the year 1750 as the earliest births start in that year.  However, the internal evidence shows that the oldest writing in it dates from 1775.  One cannot escape the conclusion that it was rewritten in that year and that it did not include all of the births from 1750 to 1775.  This is one reason that the number of births in these twenty-five years is low.  Not all of the births that had occurred in the community were recorded in the rewritten Register.

In the year 1775, just before the new pastor, Jacob Franck, came, the congregation decided to put their baptismal and birth records into a better and more systematic order that would be a help to Rev. Franck.  They collected their data together and sorted it by families.  Basically, each family was given one page in the Register on which the parents were listed at the top and their children were listed below them.  Some families were not included in the rewrite though.  They had moved away and Rev. Franck would not need a knowledge of them.  In the rewrite, only those families who were still living in the community were included.  So if your family moved away in the period before 1775, it will not be found in the Register.

The rule was made that no family would be included who had children born before 1750.  This may have been an arbitrary rule or it may have arisen from the fact they had no records from before 1750.  The families that are included do not seem, from other sources, to have had children born before 1750.

When the original records started is not clear.  The practice from Germany was to record baptisms, deaths, and marriages as they occurred.  Since a Lutheran minister could not legally perform a marriage, it would be reasonable that they did not include these.  Whether they ever kept a record of deaths is not clear, but by 1750 they were keeping a complete record of births, baptisms, and the sponsors at baptisms.  Probably they were keeping these before 1750 but they did not use the data in the rewrite.

The 1750 rule lead to a quandary as what to do about the family of Zacharias (John Nicholas) Blankenbaker.  Zacharias had his first child in 1750 so he should have been included in the very first pages since a rough chronological sequence was maintained in the rewrite.  But his family is entered on page 22, far out of the sequence in which it would be expected.  At first, during the rewrite, his family was omitted because Zacharias had married a lady who had two daughters, both born before 1750.  Then it was observed that none of Zacharias' own children was born before 1750 so, in the end, they included him.  But, no mention is made of his stepdaughters.

One of the tipoffs that the Register was not quite what it appeared to be was that some of the children in a family were not in the proper sequence.  And the pages were not assigned to the families in the proper sequence.  It was just noted that the family of Zacharias should have been one of the very first pages but it was entered on page 22 instead.

Nr. 597:

In 1775, when the congregation of Hebron Church rewrote their records of births and baptisms, they purchased a fifty-page book in which to make the entries  The used the first 24 pages for family records, devoting one page to a family  Some pages had two families though, which was a puzzle to me  How did they know that they would not be needing all of the space on the page for the first family?  This was one of the oddities that tipped me off that the Register was not quite what it seemed to be  Another thing that was strange about the record of baptisms was that the date of baptism was not given though the date of birth was given  Remember the book was meant to be a record of baptisms.

When the Rev. Franck arrived in 1775, he found the Register in a beautiful condition with the data neatly organized in sections (a page or part of a page) for each family  What did he do?  He kept the records in a strict chronological sequence  Starting on page 25, he entered each baptism immediately after the previous one giving the parents, the child, the sponsors, and the dates  So there is an abrupt change in style, starting with the baptism of Aaron Broyles, son of Peter Broyles and his wife Elizabeth  Sponsors were Zacharias Broyles, John Blankenbaker, and Mary Blankenbaker.

Many of the records were copied from the chronological section back into the family section  The baptism just cited was one that was copied back into the Peter Broyles family section  In the process, the date of baptism was omitted and the sponsors become Zacharias Broyles, John Blankenbaker, and his wife Mary  Notice that the Mary Blankenbaker, whom I believe was the sister of John Blankenbaker, became the wife of John Blankenbaker in the copying process  In general, for these duplicated records, the one in the chronological section is to be trusted more than the one in the family section.

By October of 1778 when Rev. Franck resigned, the entries were being made on page 36, showing that he had a very busy three years (the previous 25 years had been summarized in 24 pages)  The last entry on page 36 is 19 Oct 1778  The first entry on page 37 is for Elizabeth Wayland, who was born on 24 May 1779  The third baptism on this page appears to be in 1781  The following entries skip around in the dates and often omit the year  One sees that record keeping became very erratic in the years following the departure of Rev. Franck  The number of baptisms falls off sharply and the data is organized poorly  At the same time, the fifty-page book was being exhausted  The last four pages of this book had been reserved for special events such as the baptisms of children born to unwed mothers and the baptisms of slave children.

In 1787, when William Carpenter, Jr. started his pastorate, another book was purchased  Records in this second book were kept by family, not chronologically  In the process, some records from before 1787 were entered in this book to make the record more complete  In this second book, the first family is Samuel Carpenter and his wife Diana and their children, who start in 1780  Rev. Carpenter was giving his brother's family here.

At a later time, book one and book two were bound together in one volume  In this binding process, some of the pages were reordered  The page with the handwritten page number of 1 became page 3 and the original page 3 became page 1 in the new rebound book  Probably this was because the original page 1 had become so worn that it was deemed safer to interchange the first two sheets of paper.

Besides volume one, there is also a volume two which contains records of communicants, confirmations, minutes of meetings, financial records, the constitution, and general information.

Nr. 598:

Tomorrow will be another day for me to guide visitors at the Hans Herr House.  So come along with me.

The Hans Herr House is the oldest building in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and it is the oldest Mennonite Meeting House in the Americas that still stands.  It was a dual purpose building, used as a residence for the Herr family, and as a meeting house for the Mennonite community.  Built in 1719, it followed southwestern German styles.  The builders copied what they knew in Germany.

The roof is very steeply pitched and covered with doubly lapped shingles that lap top-to-bottom and side-to-side.  The walls are stone, in a very heavy masonry construction.  There is no emphasis on style, polish, or symmetry.  The windows are small and irregularly placed.  The front door is to one side on the front.  The chimney is not centered, being set to one side, but still well within the interior of the building.

As we approach the front door, notice the inscription over the door which says "17 CHHR 19".  There is also another symbol, which cannot be reproduced here, which says "AD".  The letters CH stand for Christian and the HR stands for Herr.  The building was actually owned by Christian who was the son of Hans and Elizabeth Herr.  These parents were elderly at the time the building was built and they lived with their son.  Both Hans and Christian were religious leaders of the community and Hans is sometimes referred to as a bishop.  Christian was a minister, while at the same time he was a farmer, orchardist, and distiller.  Hans and Elizabeth, being old, had no desire to build any elaborate structure in which to live and so they lived with Christian and his family.  The house became known as Hans Herr's even in the early days.

The house is much too large for the needs of one family, even with the grandparents, the parents, and the eight children.  It was made larger for the needs of the community, as a meeting house or place to worship.  The size also indicates that the community pitched in to construct it.  The use of homes for worship was common in the Anabaptist tradition, because of the restrictions placed on them which forbid them (in Europe) to build churches.  A branch of Anabaptists, known as the Amish, continues this tradition today, though the Mennonites now use church buildings.

As we enter the house, we come into the combined kitchen and hallway, functional uses typical of German design.  The room is dominated by a large fireplace.  Most people visualize a large fire with lots of flame but this was not the case when the Herrs lived here.  The fireplace was not used for heating.  Heating was done by the "stube" which was fed from the fireplace.  The stube or stove was in the next room and might be visualized as a beehive oven with a small opening to its interior from the fireplace.  Fires were built in the stube and this radiated heat through its masonry walls into the next room.  So most of the heat was caught by the walls of the stube and radiated into the interior of the house and not released up the chimney.

Nr. 599:

(We are standing in the kitchen of the Hans Herr House.)  The fireplace has a raised hearth, or cook top, about two feet in height above the floor level, that takes up about one-half of the fireplace.  In one corner of the fireplace, a bed of coals was developed.  When it was time to cook, coals were scooped up and placed on the hearth under a trivet.  By the amount of the coals and the height of the trivet, one could have a low, medium, or high "burner".  The raised hearth was a German innovation (as compared to the English), which had two big advantages over cooking on the floor of the fireplace.  It was much easier on the back.  It also tended to keep the floor length skirts which women wore out of the fire.  Because the space heating was done within the stube where the flame was separated from the people doing the cooking, the whole design helped to make cooking a more pleasant experience.

The kitchen is also a hallway.  Stairs lead to the upper floors and down to basement, or root cellar.  Doorways lead to a small bedroom in back of the kitchen and to the great room across the front of the house.  Food was prepared in the kitchen but eaten in the great room.  When the Herrs sat down to the table there were twelve of them, two grandparents, two parents, and eight children.  But let's leave the kitchen and go to the small bedroom in back.

One of the things that we know is that every room in the house was multipurpose.  We have the estate inventory of Christian Herr made in 1750.  From this we are able to reconstruct the placement of items about the house.  Though it is a surprise at first, we find that a horse saddle and a crosscut saw were stored in the large (master) bedroom.  There is a certain logic in this as it would be the safest place and the driest place on the farm.  Likewise with the small bedroom; it was used to store food to be used in the next few days, and tools.  Some of the tools to be found on a farm would include a scythe and a flail.  The scythe(s) would be used during the summer when the grains and hay were harvested.  Threshing did not occur at this time.  The grain was stored in the barn and it was threshed during the winter, perhaps over the course of several weeks.  The flail was used for knocking the grain out of the head.

Going back through the kitchen, we can enter the great room.  The dominant feature of the room is the stube, the heating element.  The best visualization is a bake oven which is fired from the fireplace in the kitchen.  This stube protrudes into the great room and would have made the room quite cozy.  Around three sides of the room, there a permanent bench against the wall.  By removing whatever furniture the family would have been using and adding benches, the seating capacity of the room could become quite large.  (On a recent Saturday, I had forty-five people in the room while I talked to them.)  In this way, the room became a meeting room for worship services.

The great room is currently furnished with a table on which is located an object that was a prized possession of Christian Herr.

Nr. 600:

The Hans Herr House is fortunate to have the family Bible of Christian Herr.  This is the actual Bible that Christian bought in the 1740's and the one in which he recorded his own family.  Since he would have had a Bible already, the quality of this Bible must have appealed to him.  The Bible was in German and it could have been purchased in Philadelphia.  By this time Philadelphia had a large German population with many new arrivals each year.  Stores stocked goods from Germany.

The Anabaptists had two other books which ranked very close to the Bible in importance.  The "Martyrs Mirror" tells the stories of many of the six thousand Anabaptist martyrs created in Switzerland and in Holland during the sixteenth century.  The Reformed churches in these countries, in conjunction with the state authorities, were zealous in persecuting the Anabaptists.  The collected stories were essential to remind everyone of the sacrifices made by the early Anabaptists.  The copy that the Hans Herr House has was printed at the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County during the 1740's.  Christian Herr was probably a party to the decision to have twelve hundred copies of the book printed there.  At the time, this was the largest printing job ever attempted in the Americas.

The third book which was important to Anabaptists was the Ausbund or hymnal.  Many of the hymns were written by the martyrs in prison.  None of the songs have printed music.  It was necessary to have a song leader who knew the tune.  One of the hymnals at the House bears an inscription which states it was being donated for use in worship at Hans Herr.  So the Hans Herr House has three books which were printed before Christian Herr died in 1750.

One other object in the great room is a "clock and case", as it was called in Christian's estate.  The clock was of German manufacture and could have been procured in Philadelphia.  Christian would have brought his home and had a local joiner make a case for it.  As two separate purchases, the estate listing is "clock and case".

In back of the great room is the large or master bedroom.  The bed furniture is fitted out with a straw tick for a mattress and a feather cover.  The large box in the corner is a traveling chest that a German immigrant used in 1737 when he came from Germany.  Fortunately, he (not related to the Herrs) left his name, the ship's name, and the date on a slip of paper.  The chest is heavily constructed with wood one inch thick, banded with iron for strength, and provided with four double handles so a crew of men could lift it.  In the approximately twenty-four cubic feet of this box, a family packed most of their worldly goods that they were bringing to America.

The crib in this room illustrates that the youngest child in the family slept in the room with his mother.  All of the older children were upstairs.  The final piece of furniture is a walnut shrank, or clothes closet.  This was perhaps the nicest piece of furniture in the house.  The one presently in the house was not original to the house, but dates from that period.


(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 TWENTY-FOURTH set of Notes, Nr. 576 through Nr. 600.)

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.

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(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