GERMANNA History Notes Page #067

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This is the SIXTY-SEVENTH 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 1651 through 1675.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 67
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Nr. 1651:

The numbers for these Notes are beginning to approach recent history.  For example, in the year 1651, the Treaty of Westphalia had been signed for three years.  Obtaining this Treaty had not been easy; it took four years to conduct the negotiations with the Catholic faction meeting in one city, and the Protestant faction meeting in another city.  The effect of the Thirty Years' War was the dominant factor in the history of the 1600's.  It even carried over to the following century, and was important to understanding the events of the 1700's, when our ancestors left Germany.  In its various ramifications, it was very important to there even being Germanna Colonies.  Some people say that Germany was set back 200 years by the war.

I use this commentary as a way of introducing another half-century Note in which I try to explain what the Notes are all about.  They are about our German ancestors who generated the Germanna citizenry.  The fact that these people even came to America had many of its roots in the history of what was happening in Germany.  The Germans perceived, rightly or wrongly, that there could be a better life in America.  To each of them, "better" may have meant something differently.

So, the Notes will, from time to time, look backward to conditions in Germany even before our emigrating ancestors had thought of coming, or even before they had been born.  This is one aspect that these Notes may cover.  How they got here, both psychologically and mechanically, is of interest to many.

Most of the Germanna people did not land in Virginia.  Philadelphia, especially, and other ports outside Virginia were used.  Once they were on America shores, why did they decide to go to Virginia?  Why east of the Blue Ridge Mountains instead of the Shenandoah Valley?

So far, I have not mentioned genealogy.  Of course, we are interested in that also.

My primary concern is the people of a whole or partial German ancestry who lived east of the Blue Mountains in Virginia.  This concern might start in Germany and follow them until they were settled in Virginia.  There they mixed with other Germans.  After a while, a large number of them decided to leave.  Some went to other regions in Virginia, but more left the state.  Being a Germanna citizen is a fact of some German (or German speaking) ancestry, and of living east of the Blue Ridge for a period of time.  But, I regard this as an inheritable trait and so one's descendants retain their Germanna identity.

However, just because someone does not meet the specifications does not exclude them from participating.  We have our honorary members.  Not everyone can have the pride of being a Germannian but we should not treat them unkindly.
(22 Apr 03)

Nr. 1652:

Recently, the question was asked if certain individuals were Germanna citizens.  Three of the names were Nicholas Wilhite, Zachariah Smith, and Henry Blankenbecker.  The year was 1794.  I can say that:

All three of these individuals were from Germanna, and Descendants of these three men all had a Blankenbaker ancestor.

Nicholas Willheit was the son of John Willheit and Walburga Weaver.  John was the son of Michael Willheit.  Walburga was the daughter of Joseph and Susanna (Clore) Weaver.  Nicholas married Mary Margaret Fisher, whose father was Lewis Fisher, and whose mother was Anna Barbara Blankenbaker.  Anna Barbara was the daughter of Balthasar Blankenbaker.  So the descendants of Nicholas are Blankenbaker descendants.

Zacharias Smith was the son of John Michael Smith, Jr., and his wife Anna Magdalena Thomas.  Anna Magdalena was the daughter of John Thomas and Anna Maria Blankenbaker (sister to Balthasar above).  Zacharias and Mary Margaret Fisher, wife of Nicholas Willheit above, were second cousins.

Henry Blankenbecker/beker/baker was the son of Jacob Blankenbaker, who was the son of John Nicholas Blankenbaker.  John Nicholas was the brother of Balthasar and Anna Maria.  So Henry was a second cousin to Mary Margaret Fisher, and to Zacharias Smith.  Since Jacob Blankenbaker had married his first cousin, once removed, Barbara Thomas, this gives another connection and makes Henry a cousin of some degree by another path to Mary Margaret Fisher and to Zacharias Smith.  Henry married Phoebe Yager.

Zacharias moved to Kentucky about 1777 with other individuals from Germanna, including his brothers Adam and John.  He was in the church records fairly often up to the year 1777, but he does not appear after that year in the church records.  Suggestions have been made that his wives were Anne Elizabeth Fishback, the first wife, and Sarah Anne Watts, the second wife.  I believe it is correct that we would like better proof of both of these women.

One other individual who moved at the time of Zacharias Smith was Jacob Holtzclaw, son of 1714 Jacob.  Jacob (Jr.) married Susanna Thomas, the sister of Barbara Thomas, who had married Jacob Blankenbaker.  These women were daughters of John Thomas (Jr.) and granddaughters of Anna Maria (nee) Blankenbaker.  Henry Blankenbaker and the wife of Jacob Holtzclaw, Jr., were first cousins.

Isn't there a saying, "Birds of a feather flock together."?  Or put another way, the Blankenbaker genes got scattered around Kentucky.
(23 Apr 03)

Nr. 1653:

After some of the names mentioned here recently, the Pension Application (S8311) for Rev. War service of Martin Deer may be of interest.  Actually, the major items of interest are two Affidavits by Joseph Carpenter and by Benjamin Hoffman.

The first Affidavit was by Jospeh Carpenter.

Virginia Madison County To Wit
I Joseph Carpenter aged eighty three years next May certify under oath I was born and raised in the neighborhood in which old Mr. Martin Deer was raised and have known him ever since my infancy.  The house in which he was born is in sight of my present residence.  I am a Revolutionary soldier myself and served a full tour as volunteer in 1781 under Captain Elizah Kirtley in the spring of that year.  I did not enter the army afterwards.  On my return from the same another company was immediately raised and Martin Deer went as private and served a tour in the lower country.  I was not with him but know that he went and returned and further I have always understood from old soldiers that Mr. Deer was at York Town and Petersburg and he is reputed by every body so far as I know to have been in the war as a soldier.  I never heard his service doubted and he is regarded by every person in my acquaintance as such.  And I do not believe a more honest man ever lived.  I say again that Martin Deer served a tour in the lower country after my return which was early in the spring 81.  I know nothing of other tours performed by him but believe any statement made by him to be strictly correct for he is an honorable man and known as such by the people of Madison.

Joseph Carpenter Aged 83 next May

Joseph Carpenter's credentials were testified to by E. G. Chapman, who says he saw "his family register".  Mr. Chapman adds that the said Carpenter was a man of respectability and one of our oldest citizens.
Dated 23 July 1846.

(If one compares the story for Joseph Carpenter in Germanna Record 11 [pages 8 and 18 for Joseph Carpenter], B. C. Holtzclaw was correct in saying that he was born in 1764, and that he was a Rev. War soldier.)

The second affidavit was by Benjamin Hoffman.

I Benjamin Hoffman a Revolutionary soldier aged eighty nine years next October certify under oath I served three tours in the Virginia Militia.  My last tour was in the spring of 1781 under Capt. Ambrous Bohanon which continued for three months.
(continued in the next Note, Nr. 1654)
(24 Apr 03)

Nr. 1654:

(continued from preceding Note, Nr. 1653)

[Continuing with the testimony of Benjamin Hoffman.]  We was at Mobing Hills Williams Burg Richmond and other places during said tour.  Joseph Carpenter was also out in a nother company and so was Martin Deer my old friend and acquaintance whom I have known from my infancy up.  I know that said Martin Deer served a full tour in the summer of 1781 under Capt. Mark Finks I think.  I am positive as to the tour for I saw him frequently in the lower country at Richmond James Town and several other places.  I have understood Mr. Deer served a tour or two before this of which I know nothing for I was not with him.  He is reputed now, and always has been as a soldier of the Revolution and I have never heard it doubted in my life.  Mr. Deer is a very old man and I have always understood him and my self were born in the same month and the same year.  To wit in the month of October 1757 as be seen by my register above "1757" in full was put there by my self many years ago because the original entry had become defaced as will be seen; the words "57" are nearly gone.  I am positive as to the tour Mr. Deer served in 81; but I may mistake as to the officers; him and my self were laids in the neighborhood not far from Madison Courthouse then Culpeper; I never have applied for a pension before the application I shall soon make for I did not know that I was entitled to the benefit of the Law.

Benjamin Hoffman
Aged 89 years next October


Virginia Madison County to Wit

This day personally appeared before me as Justice of the Peace in the County a fore said Mr. Benjamin Huffman aged 89 years next October and made oath to the truth of the foregoing Affidavit and I certify the said Huffman is personally known to me; as a man of respectability and one of our oldest citizens and is beleaved to be a soldier of the Revolution from what I have always heard.  Given under my hand and seal this 23 day of July 1846.
Elliot Blankenbeker JP
The Bible page referred to by Benjamin Hoffman was attached to his affidavit (the first six lines are in German, the last three are in English):
Benjamin Hoffman was born in the year 1757 on the 6th of October
Heinrich Slaith was born on April 1st in the year 178?
Diana Hoffman was born on March 19, 1781
Meri Hoffman was born on August 18, 1783
Elizabeth Hoffman was born on October 7, 1785
Johann Gottfried was born June 11, 1788 [simplified translation]
Polly Early was born on the 25 of May 1805
B. Mary Early was born on the 25 of May 1805 [apparently a twin]
James Good was born on March 31, 1811(?)
(25 Apr 03)

Nr. 1655:

The Benjamin Huffman of the last two notes was a son (probably eldest) of Jacob Huffman and (according to my notes, but uncertain as to the source) Barbara Souther, or Sauder.  Jacob was a son of 1714 John Huffman and his second wife Maria Sabina Volck.  He appears to be the only Benjamin Huffman of the approximately correct age.  B. C. Holtzclaw, who wrote about the family, seemed to be unaware of the Rev. War pension statement of Benjamin in support of Martin Deer, but suggested a birth year close to what Benjamin himself gave, which was 1757.

It is unfortunate that Benjamin Huffman did not enter his wife's name into his Bible record, for we are not positive who she was.  Her given name was Caroline, and there is evidence that she was a Lipp.  This suggestion arises because Jacob Lipp and Margaret, his wife, assigned 33 acres of land to Mary, daughter of Benjamin and Caroline, in trust for the use of Caroline.  Another daughter of Benjamin, Sally, married Thomas Lipp; however, the connection may be through Margaret, not Jacob Lipp.

The Bible Record (of which Holtzclaw was not aware) and Holtzclaw agree on four children:  Diana, Mary, Elizabeth, and John Godfrey.  In addition, Holtzclaw gives Sally and Susanna.  Marriage records for Sally and Susanna suggest that they may have been younger children, and perhaps the entry of their names into the Bible was neglected.

The two Early twins in the Bible record are a mystery.  Perhaps they were the daughters of Mary by a first husband.  Mary married Jonas Good in 1827, and the James Good entry suggests the Bible was in her possession.  The date for James Good is very suspect as it was extremely hard to decipher and the 1811 given is probably in error.

The big mystery is, "Who is Heinrich Slaith?"  Was he a first born son who died?  Was Slaith a middle name or a surname?  The reason I am nervous is that a Sleit occurs as a surname in the Baptismal Lists (�Hebron�), and this Sleit is associated with Huffmans.

Benjamin Huffman was a Revolutionary War soldier, but he never filed for a pension.  He did file an Affidavit in support of Martin Deer, from which the information here is taken.  For this reason, the information may have been overlooked by Huffman researchers.

I thank Gene Dear, who found this information and submitted it for publication in Beyond Germanna in Volume 3, the Number 1 Issue of January 1991.  Not only does his information fill some gaps in history, but it has a human interest side as well.  (I believe it also answers the questions here recently about a Diana Huffman, whose ancestor, i.e., father, was in the Revolutionary War.)

[I am sending this early; it would normally be sent Saturday morning.]
(25 Apr 03)

Nr. 1656:

One can never say enough about Headrights, which are a relatively strange concept.  Originally, they were conceived in the Seventeenth Century as a way of encouraging people to move to Virginia.  It was soon found that the biggest obstacle was the cost of getting to Virginia.  Very soon the practice developed of assigning one's Headrights to another person, plus a period of indenture, in return for transportation expense.  "If you pay my way, I will work as an indentured servant for x years and give you my Headright."

These Headrights appear in Land Patents (from the Crown), where one Headright, i.e., for one person, would pay for fifty acres.  The Land Patents, when written up by the Colony of Virginia, would include the names of the people whose Headrights were being used.  So let us look at a hypothetical Land Patent for 100 acres which John Jones obtained and paid for with the Headrights of Fred Fredericks and Frieda Fredericks.

Quiz time: Which of the following are necessarily true?

  1. John Jones was in Virginia before the Fredericks.
  2. John Jones paid the transportation costs of the Fredericks.
  3. John Jones paid his way to Virginia.
  4. The transportation of the Fredericks was paid by someone else.
(Before you answer, you may wish to note that Headrights are transferable.  They could be bought and sold.)

Of the four statements above, none of them are necessarily true.  Consider the following.  The Fredericks came in 1720 and paid their own transportation.  They purchased land in the Northern Neck, where the use of Headrights was not recognized.  They could obtain Headrights though.  Perhaps they did not obtain these Headrights until 1730.  John Jones came as an indentured servant in 1722 and assigned his own Headright to the person who paid his way.  After his indenture period was over, John Jones purchased land from the Crown in 1731.  He paid for it with two Headrights that he had purchased from the Fredericks, who could not use their own Headrights in the Northern Neck (they might have found it awkward to patent land from the Crown outside the Northern Neck if they were living in the Northern Neck).

In the situation that I have just described, all of four of the statements above are false.

Early in the Eighteenth Century, an alternate method for purchasing land from the Crown became available.  This was a treasure warrant at the rate of five shillings for fifty acres.  Though Headrights remained valid, their use diminished, and many people did not bother to get their Headrights, which involved going to court.
(28 Apr 03)

Nr. 1657:

The question was asked, "How did you get a headright originally?"  The general procedure was to go to the County Court and tell them that you wanted to make a Proof of Importation (I assume it is for yourself).  Generally, you stated who came, when you came, and made a statement that this was your first opportunity to declare your importation.  I do not believe that any real proof was necessary; the court would take your word for the facts.  The amount of detail that people gave was varied, but as a rule it was a simplified story (perhaps the clerk was not interested in writing too much).

John Huffman said he came in 1714 with his wife Katherina.  He applied June 3, 1724.  Apparently, he did not bother to tell the court that he was not married to Katherina in 1714.  To John, it was sufficient that they both came in 1714 though they were not married then.  He did not get his certificate until May 30, 1729, which was five years after he applied.  Probably he did not feel that it was that important to pick up the certificate.  (During these five years, land was free in Spotsylvania County, so headrights had little value.)

The certificate said that it could be used to purchase 100 acres of land from the Crown.  John Huffman sold his headright for 100 acres to William Moore who used it with others to pay for 380 acres of land in Spotsylvania County, in a patent issued on September 27, 1729.  Seeing that there was often a delay in issuing patents for land, John probably had a buyer in hand when he picked up the certificate.  Moore also used the headrights of John Camper, Alice Catherine Camper, Jacob Richart, Elizabeth Richart, John Richart, and Katherine Cunk, in addition to those of John and Catherine Huffman.

The applications of John Broyle, Jacob Broyle, Nicholas Yager, and Phillip Paulitz all said that they had arrived nine years since "in Capt. Scott".  Since their applications were made in May of 1727 this would translate to 1717 or 1718, depending on how you rounded the numbers.  Quite early, perhaps a hundred years ago, a researcher (probably A. L. Keith), seeing the difficulty of the statement, "in Capt. Scott", said that it read "with Capt. Scott", which made more sense to him.  Other researchers who followed after him used his wording.  But the original documents are quite clear that they say, "in Capt. Scott."

Frederick Cobler said that he arrived in the month of January in 1718.  Assuming he was used the calendar correctly for that time, then he came in January of 1719 by our calendar which is only one year after the Second Colony came.

Proofs of Importation must not be confused with the naturalization process.  The two were separate and distinct.
(29 Apr 03)

Nr. 1658:

Early in the history of Virginia, the English Crown claimed all of the land which constituted Virginia.  This was a personal holding of whomever sat on the throne.  Land by itself was not worth much; it took people on the land to pay for it initially and then follow up with a year-by-year fee called the quit rent in colonial Virginia.

When Charles II was pretending to be the King of England in the mid-1600's, he needed help very badly.  A few friends provided this, and in gratitude to them he gave them all of the land between the Rappahannock River and the Potomac River.  The lands between the rivers were called "Necks" and this one was the most northern one.  So it became known as the Northern Neck.  Now the Crown no longer owned the land there.  It belonged to someone else who eventually, in the Eighteenth Century, was Lord Fairfax.

Outside the Northern Neck, if land had not yet been "claimed", one applied to the Crown for a patent or deed and paid at the rate of one headright or five shillings per fifty acres.  The yearly quit rents went to the Crown.  The Crown used some of the money it earned in this way to pay the costs of the Virginia government.  When you got a patent, you were the first owner after the Crown.  You had to make improvements on the land in order to keep it.  It was not allowed to stockpile land for later development.  It had to be developed now.

In the Northern Neck, one bought land of the proprietor, who for most of the Eighteenth Century was Lord Fairfax.  He was the owner of millions of acres.  If you bought land from him, he gave you a grant.  Then you were the second owner after the Crown, since Fairfax was the first owner after the Crown.  The processes of getting patents and grants were slightly different.  The money you paid for the land in the Northern Neck went to the proprietor, Lord Fairfax, and into his pocket.  He would not honor headrights because he wanted to sell his land.  Afterwards, on a yearly basis, you paid a quit rent to Fairfax and this too went into his pocket.

It would have made sense for Fairfax to have sold his land cheaply.  The real money was to be earned in the quit rents which went on year after year.  I do not know what he charged as a selling price.  Of course, he could charge different people different amounts, especially as might reflect the quality of the land.  (If anyone knows what Fairfax generally charged for land, both for the initial purchase and for the quit rents, I would like to hear the numbers.)

Whatever you call it, a patent or a grant, it was essentially a deed which some covenants attached to it.  The quit rents are to be compared to our property taxes, except that in the Northern Neck they went into the proprietor's pocket.
(30 Apr 03)

Nr. 1659:

The headright names in patents are a research tool, though perhaps the quality of the data is not the best.  One can do a lot with these names.  Using Nell Marion Nugent's "Cavaliers and Pioneers", Volume 3 for the years 1695 to 1732, I counted the male importations of the surname Thomas.  There were 36 occurrences of the name in this 37 year period.  The years of actual importation would have been slightly before this.

Did 36 male Thomases come during this time?  Because of the duplication or multiple use of any given name, there might have been fewer who actually came.  Because not everyone got a headright or used it, this would say there might have been more.

I did judge that all of these Thomases were citizens of Great Britain to judge by the surrounding names.  What percentage of these Thomases actually filed for Land Patents?  Only 13 Thomases with 8 different given names applied for Land Patents.  It appears that only a fraction of the English Thomases actually applied for land.

On the other hand, we know that nearly all of the Germanna citizens applied for land.  There were some exceptions, such as the minister, the young, and old, who did not.  We see that the Germans were more motivated to obtain land than the English were.  The Germans did not come looking for a job.  They wanted land.

In the period of time when the 36 male Thomases came, I counted 13 female Thomas importees who claimed headrights.  Sex (or color) had no bearing whether a headright could be obtained.  An almost three-to-one ratio of men to women (again, all are English) in the headright lists suggests that actually many more men came than women.  Finding a wife was probably a problem.  When we compare the sex ratio for the Germans as compared to the English, we see that it was nearly equal for the Germans instead of being so male biased for the English.  The reason that it was equal for the Germans is that they tended to come as families.  For the English, there must have been a lot of single people, especially men.

One would expect that the marriage of German women and English men would be more common than the marriage of German men and English women.  I have no statistics on this.  (The other reason given for English men to marry German women was their willingness to work in the fields.)

The full and complete study of headright names could be a difficult and tedious task.  But the numbers here suggest that it might be a fruitful field.
(01 May 03)

Nr. 1660:

I had been asked a couple of years ago to write a forward to the book of Swindol research being written by Hannah E. Swindoll.  Mrs. Swindoll died this past February and her husband, Fred, plans to complete the book, which looks as though it may be essentially done.  He asked me to do the foreword which I had been waiting to do.  My thoughts are expressed in the following and, if any of you can think of additions or improvements, please give me your opinions.

(The Swindol Tale as 'Twas Said to Me)
Wherever the Swindol family originated, one branch found its way to the Robinson River Valley in Virginia.  There, the five children of Timothy Swindol and Rebecca Crees found mates from among the Germans who lived there.  The parents of Rebecca Crees (Grays) were from Wuerttemberg, a principality in the southwest of Germany, so that the grandchildren of Timothy Swindol were three-quarters German.  It may have been necessary for Timothy to learn some German so he could talk to the grandchildren.  Since Lawrence (Lorentz) Crees, the father of Rebecca, had only one surviving child, namely Rebecca, his descendants are identical to the descendants of Timothy Swindol.  As such, the present book is a strong contribution to the history of these Germans.

The Swindol family had lagged behind in studies and the husbands and wives of three of the children of Timothy Swindol had not been well known.  I am happy that I have been able to help a bit with finding these people and in clarifying their history.  The records at the German Lutheran Church, then in Culpeper County, Virginia, but now in Madison County, have several entries that were helpful in clarifying the relationships.

I hope this book will be helpful to Swindol researchers in tracing their ancestry.  They are welcome to visit present day Madison County and see the lands including the specific land of Lawrence Crees which is known.  The church, Hebron, still stands where people in this Swindol family worshiped and it can be visited also.

The whole process of writing and using books of genealogy is a trip of discovery.  May it be a rewarding experience for you also.

(02 May 03)

Nr. 1661:

In 1711, in Siegen, Johann Justus Albrecht executed a document with witnesses and the seal of a Notary Public.  I am looking for references in the Germanna literature to this document.  It is sometimes spoken of as a contract or agreement.  The distinguishing characteristics are Albrecht's name, the date of 1711, and mention of Siegen.

I have seen some references to this document but I am trying to determine in how many places in the literature it is mentioned or discussed.  If you know of any mentions of this in the Germanna Records, or in any family histories, or in general histories, I would like to receive the name of the source and, if possible, the citation or statement that is made about it.  I think that it may have been quoted incorrectly, but I need to know what was said about the document.

I thank you for your cooperation in this.


It wasn't too long ago, one month to be exact, that I mentioned the tour season had started at Hans Herr House, where I would be on the first Saturday of April.  We have now come to the first Saturday in May and it is time again for me to be a guide.  In April, the weather was miserable and hardly anyone wanted to come out for a discretionary activity.  Friday would be a perfect day but I am told that it may not be so nice today.  Rain or shine, the house will be open.

This, of course, is a volunteer activity.  It is true that more volunteers are needed.  Not only at the Hans Herr House but in the Germanna Foundation.  Since most of us live at some distance from the Visitor's Center, there is a restriction on what we can do.  I think there are activities that could be parceled out that one could do at home.

For example, I am on the library committee and we have several boxes of letters that were in B. C. Holtzclaw's collection.  Perhaps someone could sort these and prepare hanging folders so they could be put into a file cabinet in the library at the Visitor's Center.  I am sure that Thom has other suggestions.

Organizations such as Hans Herr House, the Germanna Foundation, or Winterthur depend on the assistance of volunteers to keep the doors open.  The last of these three has an endowment that runs into the millions, but budget woes are a major problem.  Certainly the Hans Herr House and the Germanna Foundation lack the endowment that can be so helpful.  The lack of resources can be compensated in two ways:  by donations of one's money or time.
(03 May 03)

Nr. 1662:

The man arrived in America with seven flutes in his possession, his total material wealth.  When he died, here in America, he was the richest man in the country.  What was his name?  OK, I'll add some dates.  He arrived in March of 1784, and he died on 29 March 1848.  Need some more help?  He was born in Franconia (northern Bavaria).  His first name was Johannes, but that may not help very much.

His first job in America was as a delivery boy for a bakery.  (When he told his life story later, he usually failed to mention this job.)  Though his plans had been to open a musical instrument shop, he found a good job in a furrier's shop.  The owner, Robert Bowe, sent him northward with a backpack loaded with trade goods with which he bought furs from the Indians.  He then married Sarah Todd who brought along a $300 dowry.  Our man went into business for himself, dealing in pianos and furs.  Very soon he concentrated on the furs and developed markets for them in London and in China.  By 1810, he had made his first million dollars.  People such as John Adams, our second President, deplored the idea that our "aristocracy" consisted of moneyed individuals.  Our man became an outstanding example of this group.

As is typical of the many people in this class, he sometimes considered himself above the law.  Against the wishes of President Jefferson he sent a ship, the Beaver, to China, making $200,000 on the voyage.  But he won Jefferson's praise for establishing a trading center in the Pacific Northwest and in the process named a town for himself.  But this was not a profitable venture.  In the region he was considered a power greater than the government.

In 1834, he sold his fur interests and devoted himself exclusively to real estate speculation and was equally successful in this endeavor as he had been in the fur trading business.  He was soon known as the "Landlord of New York".

He did find time for some enterprises of a charitable nature.  From 1837 to 1840, he was an active President of the Deutsche Gesellschaft (German Society), which aided poor immigrants.  He gave a handsome endowment to the Society.  In his will he left a large sum of money for the establishment of a library on Lafayette Street.  This was the start of the New York Public Library (in another location).  In his hometown he founded an orphanage.  The man is seldom omitted from the history books.  Considered ruthless by some, he exhibited traits which were typical of the era.  In his private life he practiced thrift and was a faithful family man.  He did love music and the theater.  He and the old line politicians in New York found little in common but our man was welcomed in the courts of Europe.  His friend, Washington Irving, wrote the story of his life in "Astoria".
(05 May 03)

Nr. 1663:

This note is concerned with a German who showed that he could adjust to totally new environments.  He was on the losing side in the (German) Revolution of 1848 and was forced to flee Germany to save his life.  He spent a while in Switzerland, but, hearing that a friend in Germany was imprisoned, he obtained a relative's passport and went to Germany where he helped the friend escape from prison.  They escaped to England via Rostock.  He sailed for America, arriving at Philadelphia in 1852.  He spent three years there and then bought a farm in Wisconsin.  Politically, he adopted the cause of abolition.

Already he had learned to speak English without a trace of an accent.  By a speech in 1859 he helped defeat the "Know-Nothings" which made him a widely acclaimed speaker.  After 1858 he was practicing law in Milwaukee and joined the young Republican Party.  He was nominated for Lt. Governor but lost the election, perhaps because he was not yet a citizen.  Having met and impressed Abraham Lincoln, he was appointed by Lincoln at the start of the Civil War as ambassador to Spain in an effort to prevent the European nations from recognizing the South.

Our man was very disappointed at this assignment as he wanted to be on the battlefield.  Eventually he was appointed a Brigadier General and given command over a division formed mostly of German immigrants.  On the battlefield he had mixed success, but his reputation was stained by jealous rivals.

He recommended a policy of reconciliation with the South.  He became a newspaper publisher in St. Louis.  Shortly after his 40th birthday he entered the US Senate from Missouri.  From 1877 to 1881, he held the office of Secretary of the Interior under President Hayes.  He worked to preserve the natural resources of the nation and tried to bring order and dignity to the relations with the severely pressed Indian tribes.  He introduced a system of qualifications to the civil service to remove lower and middle level civil servants from political influence.  Later he became an editor of the New York Evening Post and for several years he was the chief editorial writer for Harper's Weekly.

Carl Schurz, revolutionary warrior, farmer, lawyer, orator, candidate for political office, ambassador, brigadier general, publisher, senator, Secretary of the Interior, and writer died on 14 May 1906 and was mourned by friends and admirers on both sides of the Atlantic.  He has been called the greatest American of German birth.

Carl's wife Margaretha Meyer, a fellow immigrant from Germany, whom he married in London just before coming to America, is credited with introducing the first kindergarten in the United States (at Watertown, Wisconsin).
(06 May 03)

Nr. 1664:

In 1905, the pastor at Schwaigern wrote some notes on the history of the parish.  Someone typed them up, and Earl and Leona Willhoite brought a copy of the notes back to the US, where Fred Westcott translated it.  With the permission of these people, a short note ran in Volume 2, Number 3 issue of Beyond Germanna.  I paraphrase from that article now.

The oldest document known is from 765 in which the parish is donated to the Monastery Lorsch.  Through the ages, these are some of the spellings that have been used:  Sueigera, Sueigeren, Suegern, Swaigern, until it arrived at the present form of Schwaigern.

There is a long gap in the history until 1496, when the report of the Diocese of Worms lists Schwaigern as one of the seats of the Deans.  Other seats listed with Schwaigern were Heimsheim, M�hlbach, Wimpfen am Berg, Wimpfen in Tal, Biberbach, Obereisesheim, Neckargartach, Frankenbach, Grossgartach, Massenbach, Hausen, and Neipperg.  Several of the names, perhaps all, are recognizable as neighbors of Schwaigern.  The introduction of the Reformation in Schwaigern perhaps took place about 1530 based on the evidence that the Counselor of Heilbronn requested a trained preacher from Wolf von Neipperg in 1531.  B. Wurtzelmann was the first evangelical (i.e., Protestant) pastor.  He later became the pastor of Dinkelsb�hl. 

During The Thirty Years� War, there were 222 deaths in the year 1625.  Georg Friedrich of Baden Durlach started from Schwaigern with more than 15,000 men to follow Tilly.  Almost immediately, he was beaten at Obereisesheim by Tilly.  The year 1635 was another bad year when 691 people died.  This included 186 "foreigners".  Five hundred of these deaths occurred between May and August.  The death register is empty for September and part of October, so it is assumed that everyone, included the pastor, left the town.  Still, many deaths occurred even later when more than a thousand people died in the three years of 1634 to 1637.  The marriage register shows many marriages after 1635 in the form of widows marrying widowers.

In the seventeenth century, probably after the war, there were many immigrants to Schwaigern.  Some came from as far east as Salzburg in Austria and from France.  Those from Austria were probably exiles who chose to emigrate rather than convert to Catholicism.  Those from France may have been Anabaptists and Huguenots.  With the French invasions, there was more war.

(07 May 03)

Nr. 1665:

In Schwaigern, the head of the von Neipperg family was the Lord of the town and surrounding areas.  At first, the family generally had the status of Knights.  About 1719, and certainly before 1726, Reinhard von Neipperg was elevated to a Count.  At about the same time, he converted to Catholicism.  In his residence, he built a Catholic chapel.  The community remained largely Protestant (Lutheran) and the Count had the right to name the pastor.  In 1755, he transferred the right of choosing the Protestant pastor to an expanded community representative body.  (The von Neippergs still have a presence in Schwaigern, with their Schloss on the main square, next to the Lutheran church.)  Pictures are available on the Germanna Colonies Family History home-page of this web site.  The son of Reinhard was a career diplomat in the Vienna Court of the Emperor.)

Fire was always a problem in the towns and villages.  Schwaigern had its share.  In 1811, 90 buildings were destroyed.  Barely had the town been rebuilt, when in January and February of 1849, 18 main buildings and 27 outbuildings burned down.  Because the two fires that were closely spaced in time, perhaps they had been incendiary.  Then in 1892, fire destroyed one section of the city and, in the reconstruction, the Bahnhofstrasse (Railroad Street) came into being from the Marktplatz (Market Square) to the Wassergasse (Water Lane).  Another fire, in 1905, burned between the Schlosskirche (Castle Church), Heilbronner Street, and the Markplatz.  The town hall on the main square was destroyed along with 13 residences and 30 barns.

Hail storms have created havoc also.  In recent times they occurred in 1883, 1897, and 1905.

A good source for reading about the conditions in Schwaigern in the eighteenth century is Aaron Spencer Fogleman's "Hopeful Journeys".  This discusses the Kraichgau region, which roughly runs from Schwaigern to Heidelberg.  Our most recent discussion of this area was when we talked about Pastor Henkel, who emigrated to America.
(Fogleman's book is discussed more on
Page 68, Note 1677, and on Page 68, Note 1686.)

In our visits to Schwaigern, Eleanor and I have not been very impressed.  Perhaps one reason is that there are few good photographic opportunities.  The buildings are close to each other and getting a good visual setting is difficult.  The city is also confusing in its layout.  One resorts to sheer memory in finding one's way around and does not try to apply any logic.

The question was asked, "Would the family name Schwiger be related to Schwaigern?"  I doubt it.
(08 May 03)

Nr. 1666:

From the Harrisonburg, PA, "Daily News Record":

Klaus German Wust, 77, died Tuesday, May 6, 2003, at the Woodstock Memorial Hospital.

From the obituary in the paper, from the discussion that Andreas and I had with him this past winter, and from some of the stories which have circulated about him, I offer the following.

He was born in 1925 at Bielefeld, in Northern Germany.  During World War II, he turned 18 in 1943.  Every time that the army approached him about service, he kept saying that he was entering the Navy.  Eventually, the Navy did take him and he was assigned to ferrying refugees from the regions on the eastern Baltic Sea to the west.  The British were aware of what his ship was during and they sent word to their Navy and Air Force not to disturb the ship.  With the fall of Germany, he was a Prisoner Of War for a while in England.  His ability to speak both German and English caused him to be assigned in Germany as a liaison.

When he was able to pursue personal activities, he became a reporter for the Bielefeld Freie Presse.  When an opportunity arose for a one year scholarship at Bridgewater College in the Shenandoah Valley, he applied and was accepted.  His newspaper gave him a leave of absence for the year.  John Gott, who also attended Bridgewater College, says that when Klaus got off the train for Bridgewater that his first question was, "Where can I buy a beer?"

As a part of his scholarship, he was to give talks to interested groups.  His first assignment came the day after he arrived.  He proved quite good at this and impressed the Dean of the school who urged him to continue beyond the one year at Bridgewater.  He arranged with his paper in Germany to be a Washington reporter for them.  He bought a used car and traveled down to Washington, D.C., every week to obtain a story.

When he arrived in the Shenandoah Valley, he was amazed at the influences of German culture that he saw.  He asked himself how this came about and proceeded to find out by reading and talking to people.  Research and writing were his main activities.  (I was always amazed about the obscure documents that he found in Switzerland and Holland.  There were facts about which I could say, "I read it first in Wust.")  His book, "The Virginia Germans", was outstanding and has gone into several printings.

As time went by, he expanded the scope of his research.  At his death, he was at work on a book on the whole process of German emigration.  He said that he had brought it to the point that it was essentially complete and lacked only the final footnotes and references.  Whatever condition it is in, I want to obtain a copy of it.

Perhaps his last public appearance was the Germanna Foundation Reunion last July.  In the Shenandoah Valley, it seems as if everyone knew the man and wished him the best.  It was like they were saying, "He was one of us."  They had nothing but the best wishes for the man.

All other stories and tales about the man are welcomed here.

(09 May 03)

Nr. 1667:

I began to obtain my first good picture of how the Germanna Colonies came about when I read the article by Klaus Wust in "Yearbook of German-American Studies, Volume 19 (1984)".  The article was entitled "Palatines and Switzers for Virginia, 1705-1738: Costly Lessons for Promoters and Emigrants."

After a few Huguenots and Swiss had emigrated to Virginia around 1700, a young adventurous man from Bern, Switzerland, namely Franz Louis Michel, decided to follow their trail and sample the opportunities for trading and settling in Virginia.  His preparation for this was that he was the son of a former member of the Great Council of Bern, and a former soldier on duty with the French.  Due to him we have the first authentic report on the Swiss and Huguenots in Virginia.

He boarded a Rhine boat on 8 Oct 1701, which reached Rotterdam on 30 Oct.  It took him another month to reach London, where he landed 4 Nov.  This path was to be followed by many others in the next decades.  After six weeks of looking for a passage to America, he found, by chance, the ship Nassau.  He boarded it on 15 Dec and found a bunk among 140 other persons on the same deck, many of whom were English indentured servants and some convicts.  Two months later they were still in England though they had advanced to the Isle of Wight (Cowes).  From here, they left on 18 Feb.  The wait until then was for favorable wind and weather conditions.  Seventy-nine days later (eleven weeks) on 8 May, the Nassau sailed into Yorktown harbor in Virginia.  Thus, the trip from Bern had taken seven months.

Michel remained only a few months in Virginia, but in that time he saw a lot which he wrote about.  His account is still available and gives some excellent glimpses into life in Virginia.  (I used some of this material in much earlier notes.)  He was back in Bern by the following December.  (The east bound trip took less time than the west bound trip did.)

Michel wrote that craftsmen were scarce in Virginia and could command good wages.  Skills that he saw in demand were carpenters, joiners (cabinet makers), coopers, shipbuilders, masons, smiths, locksmith, tailors, and glassblowers.

Michel described how an artisan could finance his trip to America for very little money.  He said that any Captain in London heading for Virginia would take a man for the labor he could provide on the ship, plus what could be obtained in Virginia by agreeing to work for someone there for a period of time.  This would cover the cost of the transportation and after the period of service was over, the person would be free to do as he pleased.
(10 May 03)

Nr. 1668:

Michel's report in Switzerland was eagerly awaited by two of his friends, Georg Ritter and Johann Rudolf Ochs.  They quickly came to a decision that they should go into the emigration business.  At first, it appears they did not formalize the relationship, but let it stand as a verbal agreement among friends.  With the encouragement that Ritter and Ochs gave him, Michel returned to America within a few months.  His philosophy seems to have been to see as many places and things as he could before making any recommendation.  Apparently, he visited the Carolinas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, besides returning to Virginia.  He financed much of his trip by selling the goods he had brought along for that purpose.

The most notable sub-journey of Michel was to follow the Potomac westward, and the Shenandoah southward in the Valley.  Michel especially liked the Shenandoah Valley and the letters he wrote home encouraged Ritter to make a proposal to the English government.  This plan, formulated on 19 Feb 1705, contained some unusual requests, such as an independence from the government of Virginia.  The proposal requested the free exercise of religion, and an equality among the citizens.  Beside the free land, they asked that Queen Anne pay for the transportation from Rotterdam.  At the Court and at the Board of Trade, they found the proposal interesting (it was a barrier to the French), but too demanding.  So no action was taken for a few years, while the proposal was tabled.  The Canton of Bern liked the plan and they endorsed it, since they saw it as a place to send Anabaptists and convicts.  Michel saw four or five hundred people being settled here.

The problems in London were the uncertain location of the colony, and the desired autonomy.  On the whole, they were favorably inclined to Protestants settlers.

After Michel had made his initial report, and his Swiss friends were pursuing the proposal, he seems then to have turned his attention to minerals.  The Provincial Council of Pennsylvania became alarmed at the reports by Indians that Michel and others were building cabins on branches of the Potomac.  Michel was reported as saying that they were searching for ores.

Lord Fairfax, the Northern Neck proprietor, and Lord Baltimore and William Penn were monitoring all schemes for western settlements closely.  The truth was that none of these people nor the Board of Trade in London knew the extent of the claims and, therefore, whether Michel's proposals were infringing on their rights.

Michel returned to Europe in 1708 and his enthusiastic reports and its alleged mineral wealth encouraged the Bernese promoters to make a more massive effort.
(12 May 03)

Nr. 1669:

I am following Klaus Wust's description of the events which led up to their being any Germanna Colonies.  He talks at some length about the causes of the 1709 emigration of large numbers of Germans.

Michel was joined in London by Christopher von Graffenried, and the latter persuaded Michel to admit him into the plans.  In July of 1709, the two men appeared before the Board of Trade with a new proposal for a settlement in Virginia.  One of the points which most impressed the Board was the promise that the colony would be between Virginia (as it was settled then) and the French.  The new proposal omitted the special requests.  It won immediate approval, and, in August, an order of the Council directed the Governor of Virginia to allot the petitioners, upon their arrival in Virginia, certain lands upon the Southwest Branch of the Potomac, i.e., on the Shenandoah.  Earlier, a map of this region had been submitted by Michel to the Board of Trade.  This Swiss settlement in the Shenandoah Valley never came about.

Of the thousands of Germans in London in 1709, the proprietors of North Carolina obtained the right to have about six hundred of them shipped to North Carolina.  They reached an agreement with Graffenried that they would transport a small contingent of Swiss if Graffenried would lead the Germans also.  This was a change of plans for Graffenried, for he still held the approval of the Queen for land in Virginia.

While waiting for the Swiss to arrive in London, Michel and Graffenried had time to plan another phase of their enterprise.  This second part seemed more exciting than settling Germans and Swiss in North Carolina.  The new project was to develop the silver mines that Michel thought he had discovered in the back country.  Michel was perhaps confused about the political jurisdiction in which the silver lay, though he had a reasonably good geographical location in mind.  They engaged a man by the name of Johann Justus Albrecht to procure workmen and tools from German mining areas.  (Wust expressed the thought that Albrecht was a first-class imposter.)

Albrecht chose Siegen as the area from which to procure the tools and miners.  Getting the tools was the easier part of the job.  Getting the miners was harder, even though Albrecht described himself as a man who had been appointed by the Queen and the Proprietors of Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to develop mines and smelters for gold, silver, and other metals.  [Perhaps he over did it.]  To build good will among the prospective miners, Albrecht promised to make a donation to the three Reformed ministers in Siegen from the proceeds of the American mines.  Wust said that Graffenried later had some second thoughts about Albrecht who apparently had to be bailed out by the English envoy after the imperial authorities had apprehended him.
(13 May 03)

Nr. 1670:

The donation which Albrecht made in Siegen in 1711 is his last recorded appearance in the Siegen area.  We do know that he was in London in May 1712 where he composed a shareholder's book for the mines.  This original copy was brought to America, presumably by him, and is on file in the Spotsylvania Court House.  [The document was not recognized for what it was because it was written in the German language and in German script.  In modern times, a translation by Elke Hall has been published.]

Albrecht seems to have been growing impatient, for no orders to proceed to America were coming from Graffenried or Michel.  How well informed Albrecht was about the events affecting Graffenried and Michel is not clear.  The news from North Carolina would have been very bad.  An Indian attack had practically wiped out the colony, and Graffenried was personally bankrupt.  He had mortgaged his own farm, and the farms of the settlers, and was receiving no support from the company in Bern.

Wust says that Michel met with Albrecht in Holland and advised Albrecht to come over to America with one or two of the miners and see for himself.  Graffenried admits that he had written the same thing with regards to the miners.  Somehow, these instructions became a general invitation to a party of twelve families or individuals from the Siegen area to go to America.

Graffenried, now very broke, left the North Carolina colony to return to Europe, where he perhaps had hopes of obtaining the funding which had been promised.  When he arrived in London, he was surprised to find the party from Siegen who expected him, Graffenried, to finance the balance of the trip to America.  Graffenried wrote that he advised them to return home, i.e., go back to Germany.  They felt that they could not do this and they volunteered to work four years to pay the part of their passage money that they did not have.  There were no conditions attached as to whom the party had to be who financed the balance of their trip.

Graffenried helped them get temporary work and he looked for people who wanted four years worth of labor.  His search brought him to Col. Blakiston, the agent for Virginia, who was aware that Alexander Spotswood was an investor in a mine thought to have silver ore.  Though the status of silver mining in Virginia was very much in doubt, Blakiston believed the opportunity of obtaining labor to work this silver mine was too good to turn down.  So he, Blakiston, committed Spotswood to paying the 150 pounds Sterling needed to complete the trip.  Then Blakiston and Graffenried wrote Spotswood and explained that they had just spent 150 pounds of his money, which he would have to pay to the ship's Captain.  In return the Germans agreed to indenture themselves for four years to Spotswood.  [At the moment of their departure from England, probably in January, Spotswood was not aware that he was a party to a bargain which others had made in his name].
(14 May 03)

Nr. 1671:

The party from Siegen, accompanied by Albrecht and Haeger, arrived in Virginia on 28 Apr 1714.  [This date comes from Klaus Wust.]  Spotswood had received the letter from Col. Blakiston in London and he knew that he was to pay the 150 pounds on their transportation costs.  Thus, they became his personal indentured servants for four years, the term that had been negotiated in London.  He placed them on the frontier to serve two or three purposes.  First, he had a potential silver mine not far from the location where he put them.  Second, they were a general barrier to the Indians.  Thirdly, they would make the land in that region more valuable.  He told the Board of Trade about the second of these reasons but he certainly omitted the first reason which was probably the main reason for choosing that location.  That was a personal reason, not a public reason.  He told the Board about the public reason because he used public monies to build them a fort.  Thus, began the first of several shady deals involving German immigrants [Klaus' words].

Life was very hard for the Germans.  Fontaine, in 1715, said they lived very miserably.  It was not until March of 1716 (NS) that the Germans started to do any work for Spotswood.  At that time, Albrecht specified that Spotswood did put eleven laboring men to work in mines or quarries at or near Germanna; the work continued until December of 1718.

The Siegeners, well aware of their four-year contract, began to grow restless in 1718.  Spotswood had acquired the Germanna tract in 1716 and he would have been happy to let them lease land from him after their service was over.  The Germans, though, chose to buy more than 1,800 acres of land in the Northern Neck.  Tobacco farming became the means by which they prospered.

[Spotswood had liked the Germans while they were at Germanna and he saw profitable opportunities if he could obtain more Germans.]  For the fact that a ship landed in Virginia (instead of Pennsylvania, which was the original destination of the ship) with about 80 Germans, we have the word of the Captain that storms were responsible, as opposed to the impression of the Germans that the captain had a prior understanding with Spotswood.  The survivors of the trip became Spotswood's indentured servants for seven years.

Later court documents reveal that Spotswood refused to give them copies of their indentures.  [The purpose that Spotswood had for these Germans was to acquire land on which to base his economic future.]  This second group of Germans would have been welcome to live on Spotswood's land as tenants, but, as with the first group, they moved away to land of their own.

Spotswood seems to have been irritated by the Germans who insisted upon their rights and who left him.  He turned to slaves as the solution to his labor problems.
(15 May 03)

Nr. 1672:

Klaus Wust alerted us to many obscure documents and some that were not so obscure.  For example, he mentioned in the article, that I cited a few notes back, a man by the name of Philip Jacob Irion, who left, for personal reasons, Baden-Durlach, where he was the Commercial Secretary and became an agent for a Scottish merchant firm.  Irion lived in Culpeper County in 1766 when he wrote a letter to his brother in Kaiserlautern:

"Everyone enjoys such great liberties as may not be found anywhere else.  I would not mind if there were a thousand times as many inhabitants here, who, if it could be, should all be Germans.  Inasmuch as these are reputed for their diligence and industry, whereas others indulge in idleness, doing nothing but riding about and planting scarcely so much as to provide for their households, the saying probably came about that a German could thrive on a rock." [The complete Irion letter is translated in Don Yoders book, Rhineland Emigrants.]

Incidentally, Philip Jacob Irion should appear somewhere in our Colonial records.  If anyone knows of the man, please speak up.

Many of the errors that Klaus made were the result of copying from other historians.  Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to verify every fact against the original sources.  He accepted that Scott was the Captain of the ship which brought the Second Germanna colony because several major Germanna writers had said so.  After he read the findings of James Brown and the reproduction of the statement in Beyond Germanna, he had his doubts.  When I wrote that Scott was the name of the ship and that perhaps Tarbett was the name of the captain, he went to the colonial records and searched for himself.  He agreed with me that no Captain by the name of Scott could be found.  He seemed to accept my arguments; at least, he asked permission to quote me.

For the Oliver story, i.e., the story of the ship Oliver which was a disaster for so many potential Germanna colonists from Freudenberg, Klaus researched in the notarial files of the City Archives of Rotterdam.  He published this material in the Newsletter of the Swiss-American Historical Society in 1984, and several years later in Beyond Germanna.

He seemed to be at home in the archives of Bern, Rotterdam, M�nster, and the America sources.  His findings, as I have given them here, were the first time that I felt that I was getting the correct story on the Germanna colonists.  There were errors, but he had the sense to recognize that a lot that had been written was bunk.
(17 May 03)

Nr. 1673:

Alexander Spotswood formulated the idea of placing foreigners on the frontier as a buffer between the Indians and English even before the First Germanna Colony came.  When Christopher von Graffenried ran into his troubles with the Indians in North Carolina, he made inquiries of Spotswood about settling the Germans and Swiss in Virginia.  Spotswood sent a letter to the Board of Trade in which he suggested they might very usefully be placed in Virginia on the frontier as a buffer and asked the Board for their comments upon this as a policy.  I believe this was in 1712, two years before the First Colony arrived.  I don't know if the Board ever replied, but at least Spotswood could say that he had alerted the Board to the possibility.

On 7 Feb 1716 (NS), he wrote to the Board of Trade,

"As to the other Settlement, named Germanna, there are about forty Germans, Men, Women and Children, who having quitted their native Country upon the invitation of the Herr [notice he is no longer a Baron in Spotswood's eyes] Graffenriedt, and being grievously disappointed by his failure to perform his Engagements to them, and they arriving also here just at a time when the Tuscururo Indians departed from the Treaty they had made [with] this Government to settle upon it[s] Northern Frontiers, I did, both in Compassion to those poor Strangers, and in regard to the safety of the Country, place them together upon a piece of Land, several Miles without the Inhabitants, where I built them Habitations and subsisted them until they were able, by their own Labour, to provide for themselves, and I presume I may, without a Crime or Misdemeanour, endeavor to put them in an honest way of paying their Just Debts."

In placing the Germans at Germanna, Spotswood was putting into practice a philosophy or plan which he formulated two years previous to their coming.  Officially, he told the Board of Trade that their primary purpose was to provide for the security of Virginia along the northern areas.  This was rather important to justify the money that the Colony of Virginia had spent on building the fort and the homes for them.  To everyone in England, he wanted it to look as if they were doing a public function.  Among the several things that they did do, they did fulfill this function.  Spotswood bragged that this policy had been more economical than the previous plan of using Rangers.

He had a private reason for locating Germanna in the horseshoe bend of the Rapidan River, where the fort was built.  About four miles away, he was a one-quarter owner of a 4000-acre tract from which it was hoped silver could be produced.  He was planning on using the Germans if he could get a clarification on how the silver would be split between the Crown and the partners in the mine.
(19 May 03)

Nr. 1674:

Maybe I can amplify on some of the recent remarks on Alexander Spotswood.  He seldom wrote to Lord Orkney (formerly George Hamilton), since Orkney seldom answered.  It was to be likened to writing to a black hole.  Nothing came out.  Instead, Spotswood wrote to Col. Nathaniel Blakiston, who was the agent for Virginia in London.  Blakiston went scurrying around to visit many people including Orkney.  I have seen one document written by Orkney and that was to the King.  In it, he explained he was laid up and could not move about.  The letter to the king asked that the Lt. Gov. of Virginia (who was then Drysdale) to be allowed to return to England for reasons of health.  Orkney never called Drysdale by name and the Colonial Records Project filed the letter as referring to Spotswood but is not consistent with that interpretation.

Very early in Spotswood's appointment as Lt. Gov., he had an Act passed giving a monopoly of the Indian trade to a private company.  He invested in this company.  As with many of his endeavors, this was a mixture of public motives (quite good) and private motives.  In England, the traders and merchants testified against the legislation citing its monopolistic character.  They won out, the law was overturned, and that was the end of the monopoly for trading with the Indians.  This was Spotswood's first attempt to secure his future financially.

Spotswood's second attempt to secure his place financially was silver mining when he invested in 1713 in a projected silver mine.  It was for this reason that Col. Blakiston committed Spotswood to paying the 150 pounds on the passage money of forty odd Germans.  He had been working with Spotswood in obtaining a clarification of the division of spoils with the Crown.  The percentage that the crown would get of silver and gold mines was not stated and by implication they could get all.  Spotswood urged Blakiston to pursue the question.  Testimony was taken in London, but Queen Anne died before a decision was reached.  It took a while for King George to settle in on the English throne, and by then the silver mine was proven to be a bust.  So this was strike two against Spotswood.

The third effort of Spotswood was in land.  He observed that this was a proven route used by many people in Virginia.  He started very modestly with the Germanna tract (after the failure of the silver mine tract) and added to it.  He saw that it would take many acres to succeed on the scale he desired.  He also saw that the land would lie to the west of Fort Germanna,, since no big tracts were available to the east of Fort Germanna.  The major purpose of the trip to and over the Blue Ridge was to explore possible land.  With Robert Beverly and others he formed a partnership, staked out 40,000 acres (actually closer to 65,000 acres), and sought Germans to occupy it.  Capt. Tarbett delivered a shipload of them.  It was still years before he filed for a patent on this and still more years before he obtained a title to it.  He fought hard on this question, which was the major point in his economic self sufficiency program.
(20 May 03)

Nr. 1675:

Spotswood's land acquisition program really got underway about the start of 1718 when seventy-odd Germans were settled on what was to become the Spotsylvania tract.  This was described in the patent as 40,000 acres, but when plotted and measured by the DeedMapper software it turns out to be much closer to 65,000 acres.  This was to the cornerstone of Spotswood's economic independence.  He very wisely concentrated on naval stores to be produced on this land because it was politically correct.  England had used up many of its trees in making charcoal for its iron industry and naval stores had to be imported from the Baltic nations.

In a tentative way, Spotswood started a search for iron about the time the Second Germanna Colony came, which could be given as the beginning of 1718 by the new calendar.  Spotswood had had some interest in iron, especially as an enterprise to be run by the Colony itself, but it had been voted down.  At the same time, he had been warned by the Board of Trade that such an endeavor might be against the trade laws.  As a violation of the trade laws, it might be shut down with a total loss of the considerable investment.  Not having the money in the first place and facing a potential challenge from England, Spotswood only maintained a side interest in iron.

He says, though, that in 1717 or 1718 he started a search for iron at the request of Sir Richard and his friends in England.  Probably because he regarded these people as powerful and wealthy allies, he gave the Germans the go-ahead to look (that is his statement for official purposes).  The search was very low key as all of his mining and quarrying from the spring of 1716 (starting with silver) to December of 1718 required upwards of sixty pounds of money, a trivial amount for an operation of this significance.  This search was made by the First Colony, and the Second Colony had nothing to do with it.  By the time that the First Colony left his service, around the start of 1719, he knew that he had iron ore.  He did not take a patent out on the iron mine land until February of 1720(NS).

Spotsylvania County was formed by legislation enacted in 1720.  Shortly after this, Spotswood started constructing his house at Fort Germanna.  Now Fort Germanna and Spotswood's home (built over the fort) were about 13 miles from the iron mine.  Why did he build so far from his furnace which was near the iron mines?  If iron had held the number one position in his thinking as his economic security, would he not have built his home closer to it?  Instead, he built so that he was much closer to the immense Spotsylvania tract because that was his priority in 1720 to 1723.

Brawdus Martin, an individual active about fifty years ago, was troubled by the fact that Spotswood built his home so far away from the mines.  He, in essence said, that if iron was so important to Spotswood, he would have built his home closer to the furnace.  His conclusion was that there were two Germannas, one at the mine and one at the location that we know today.  He was laughed at for this conclusion but the people laughing could not answer Martin's original question.  Both sides were wrong, because, to put it simply, iron was not a major factor in Spotswood's thinking when he built his home.
(21 May 03)

(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 SIXTY-SEVENTH set of Notes, Nr. 1651 through Nr. 1675.)

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 700 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.  If you are interested in subscribing to this 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