GERMANNA History Notes Page #078

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This is the SEVENTY-EIGHTH 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 1926 through 1950.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 78

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Nr. 1926:

There is a list, already mentioned, of German petitioners in London who asked for financial aid to return to Holland and to their homes in Germany.  It is not clear that this aid was forthcoming, so the list should not be considered a list of returnees.  They may have returned to Germany or they may have remained in England.  One would imagine that some of them found their way back to Germany on their own.  Others probably remained in England and found their way to Virginia (or America) in the next couple of years.

It had always bothered me that a number of the Germans came to Virginia in 1719.  Considering that the vanguard of the Second Colony came very late in 1717, or even more likely in 1718 (NS), how did word get back to these people in time for them to make the trip in 1719?  It is conceivable that letters back would have informed people in Germany that the first people had gone to Virginia and not to Pennsylvania, but this seems to be stretching the possibilities.  In other words, how did Frederick Kabler, George Long, and Christopher Yowell know to go to Virginia?  If these three had stayed in England, it would have been much easier to communicate with them.  In particular, the contacts may have been made through the Lutheran Church in London, to which the Second Colony said they make their arrival in the New World known when they had arrived.

There were two more names on the petition of 1717 that provoke extreme interest.  Six of the consecutive names read:

Hans Martin Haman(2),
Kilian Rei� [Reiss or Reis](3),
Hans George Heer [Herr](5),
Hans Martin Volck (7),
Christofle Gemelich (5),
Zacharias Ehrhardt (1)
The numbers in parentheses indicate the size of the party.  The middle two names are of special interest at this time, for they can be considered as coming from two adjacent farms.

Hans Martin Volck is identified as being associated with the Wagonbach Farm.  Elke Hall made some study of this family, as did Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny in �Before Germanna�.  Hans George Heer may be possibly a son of Hans Herr of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Hans Herr is identified with the Unterbiegelhof Farm.  Now the interesting thing is that the Wagonbach Farm and the Unterbiegelhof Farm are very close to each other.  Both were estate farms in the early Eighteenth Century, with the work being done by hired labor.

The Herrs were Anabaptists, while the Volcks were not.  The association here on the list probably arises from their common physical origins.  The sizes of the original farms are unknown, but the distance from the center of one farm to the center of the other is only two or three miles.  As large estate farms, they may have readily abutted each other.  The fact that these two names can be associated with two close, if not adjacent farms, indicates to me the association above that I have made above is probably correct.  Thus, it would seem that a Volck family set out in 1717 but did not make it.  The Volck family may have remained in England for a while, and they may have gone to Pennsylvania for a while.  It seems, though, that this association helps to place the Germanna Walk family.  (Elke Hall believes that Walk is a derivative of Volck).

A Personal Note.  My daughter is married to a descendant of Hans Herr from Unterbiegelhof, while she is a descendant of George Utz from Wagonbach.  I have had the pleasure of being on both of these farms.
(19 Jul 04)

Nr. 1927:

The last twenty Notes or so have been directed toward a couple of very broad aims.

The first aim was to establish that the Germanna Colonies were a part of a much broader movement that started about 1709.  In fact, some of the people we call Germanna Colonists may have been in the 1709 emigration.  Whether they were or not, it is true that the 1709 emigration had a tremendous impact on the events of the following years.  In Nassau-Siegen, the residents could see in 1711, 1712, and 1713 that their neighbors and relatives had made it to America, and that the Nassau-Siegen residetns' own immigration was a possibility for them to consider.  And the same thing was happening in the Kraichgau, though perhaps it was not quite as intensive there.

The second aim was to perhaps broaden our definition of First Colony and Second Colony.  We clearly have seen that many left with known members of the Second Colony, but they did not make it to America in late 1717 or early 1718.  Were they members of the Second Colony?

Fred Zimmerman and Johni Cerny said the Second Colony was much larger than the traditional numbers.  We see now that one reason for their statement was that some of the people were delayed in transit.  To take an example, Frederick Kabler is usually counted as a later arrival.  But he started with the known members of the Second Colony.  Probably, our best answer, or classification, is something like "Delayed members of the Second Colony".

Both of these points indicate that we should take a more liberal view of what constitutes a Germanna Colonist.  We do not know, with any certainty, who exactly left Nassau-Siegen before 1713, who left in 1713, and who left later.  Of those who left in 1713, did some of them return to Germany after the discouragement of London?  We know traditionally that some of the later arrivals from Nassau-Siegen have never been counted as Germanna Colonists.  I have pointed out in these Notes that the Critz (Kreutz) family should be counted, but never has been except for my mention.

Of course, we have a long way to go to find the origins of some of the Germanna Colonists.  But that is another story.

I am inclined to believe that the later Germans who moved to the Germanna area (east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia) often had a good reason for moving there.  In many cases we have never identified even the possible reasons.

This is expected to be the last Note for a few days.  I have to prepare for the Germanna Reunion this coming weekend and the time is drawing nigh.  My talk is, in theory, written, but it needs reviewing.
(20 Jul 04)

Nr. 1928:

The 2004 Germanna Reunion has come and gone.  It always seems to pass by so quickly, especially when Michael Oddenino gets involved.  On Saturday night, the second annual auction to benefit the Germanna Foundation was held.  Michael served as auctioneer and one has no problem in believing that he missed his chosen career.  Perhaps the auction ran a little longer than would be desirable, but Michael had us all laughing so hard that it stretched out.  Still, it was a successful auction, as a goodly pile of change moved from the buyers' pockets to the Foundation's pockets.  As Michael said, that was exactly the purpose of the auction, and he was always encouraging still higher and more competitive bids.

Eleanor and I came away from the auction with four lobsters (more correctly, with a certificate for four lobsters, which will be shipped in overnight when we are ready for them).  The donor of this was Betty Prescott of Bangor, Maine, who likes to style herself as the only Beyond Germanna subscriber in the state of Maine.  We needed something to go with the lobsters, so we also invested in a bottle of wine from Schwaigern.

We also invested in some of the local products of Kansas, as provided by Suzee Oberg.  Before we were home, we used the gift certificate from Applebee's to have a light snack closing out the day.  Suzee is a great saleswoman.  She volunteered, after she had been a beta tester of the Beyond Germanna CD, to help sell it at the Reunion, and sell it she did.  Some might say it was the quality of the CD, but Suzee could sell refrigerators to Eskimos.  (She usually sells fashions to women.)

On Sunday the main speaker was Michael Oddenino again, but this time he was Patrick Henry.  If history was presented in school in such an interesting way, we would all be historians.  Michael held us spell bound, not so much with laughter this time, as with an engrossing story told by Michael becoming Patrick Henry in dress, manner, and speech.

I helped run the Seminar and thereby created an error in the program.  About a week ago, I volunteered to Thom to help run the Seminar, besides being one of the speakers.  As a speaker, I always like to have a maximum amount of time, so I told Thom that I would start the Seminar at 9:00 a.m..  I failed to observe that he had told registrants that it would start at 10:00 a.m..  Therefore, as my talk was concluding, the audience started arriving.  By way of atonement, I have decided that I will make the talk the subject of a few Notes.

The Germanna Foundation has sponsored tours of Germanna villages (in Germany), the second one, recently ended.  Many of the people on one or other of the two tours (some have gone twice) were present.  Never have I heard a single negative word about the tours (except for the comment that they were too short).  These are run, from this end, by Katherine and Madison Brown, but they are assisted by others here, and especially, in Germany.
(26 Jul 04)

Nr. 1929:

The title of my Germanna Seminar talk was something like "How the Errors Crept into the Record".  Actually, at first, the errors did only creep into the record.  There were a few serious errors early on, but, about the year 1900, the errors began galloping into the record.

My talk was confined to the general history, and did not touch on the family history errors, except to recognize they do exist.  On occasion, these family history errors spill over to the general history.  Klaus Wust once commented, "Eager family historians have added confusion through untenable conjectures."  Though he had a specific case in mind, it does apply to many family histories.

An extreme untenable conjecture in family history occurred in the case of Ludwig Fischer.  From the simple remark in his will, " estate in Germany", he became (in family histories) a Baron, the owner of a castle on the Rhine River, and the owner of Hanover.  All of these are false, and are figments of imagination of Fischer/Fisher family history writers.

In family histories errors, aggrandizement is one of the main culprits.  Certainly that was the case with the descendants of Lewis Fisher, and it illustrates how small statements and their incorrect inferences grow into giant falsehoods.

Deliberate distortions appear in family and general histories, again motivated by aggrandizement.  The distortions can take many forms, including omission of any apparent negative factors.  Germanna Record 7, in quoting the description of Germanna by John Fontaine, leaves out the sentence, "The Germans live very miserably."  If one wishes a full understanding of what life at Germanna was like, this is a necessary element.  (I lost some respect for the Germanna Records when I observed this to be the case there.)

Statements, in general, may be made in ignorance, when the author is unaware of the correct information.  The correct action would be to say nothing, but the mass of evidence may cause a falacious inference, and so one is made, which we might say is understandable.  Once made, though, it can never be erased.

Inferences are usually made when there is in insufficient evidence.  We vary as to what does constitute sufficient evidence.  Nearly every fact has some probability to its veracity, and so we must be careful not to convey too much certainty.

Many errors occur because of the failure to use material that was available, but in some cases it is obscure or not readily available.

On 24 Oct 1710 [four months after arriving in Virginia], Lt. Gov. Spotswood wrote to the Board of Plantations and Trade in London, "There is a project intended to be handed to this next Assembly for improvement of the Iron Mines lately discovered in the Country, which upon Tryal have been found to be extraordinary rich and good."  Was this an error on Spotswood's part?  Or, did he discover the iron ore?  Or, was it a falsehood? 
(28 Jul 04)

Nr. 1930:

Alexander Spotswood would have been correct, if had meant, by "newly discovered iron mines", that it was 130 years previous.  Iron ore was known to exist extensively in the territory that became Virginia several years before the first settlement at Jamestown.  A small trial had been made by "a metal man" about 1582, and it was so promising that twenty barrels of the ore were shipped home to England.  (See my references to Thomas Harriott/Harriot/Hariot at Germanna History Notes, Page 3, Note Nr. 52, Germanna History Notes, Page 6, Note Nr. 139, and Germanna History Notes, Page 6, Note Nr. 140.  Also see references to Harriott in connection with iron ore in Virginia at The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia, The Georgia Workshop in Early American History and Culture at the University of Georgia, Project Gutenberg, and North Carolina Historic Sites.)

The experiment was so promising that a subscription of five thousand pounds Sterling was raised on behalf of a charity (I don't remember now, but I think it was a school) for an iron furnace to be built in Virginia (about 1621).  The location was on Falling Run, a tributary of the James River, not far from the present site of Richmond.  The fire had been lit in this blast furnace by Easter of 1622, when the Indians attacked the site and killed all of the Europeans except two small children who had hid.  The furnace was destroyed and one-third of the European population of Virginia was killed.

Eventually, this land fell into the hands of the Byrd family.  When Alexander Spotswood came to Virginia, William Byrd proposed that an iron furnace be built with public money on the site.  He would donate the land to the agency if they would give him a job that he was capable of fulfilling.  Alexander Spotswood first proposed that this public agency be the Virginia Colony itself.  When the Burgesses opposed the action, then Spotswood suggested that the Queen might like to sponsor the furnace as a personal venture.  He was aware that the expense was more than a private individual could afford.

It was ignorance on the part of Spotswood that he had not understood the history of iron in Virginia.  He misunderstood Byrd and thought that Byrd was describing some iron ore that had been newly found.  The only thing that was new was the proposal.  The existence and the quality of the iron had been known for almost 130 years.

Spotswood's first letter on the subject had been written in October of 1710.  By December, he clarified the situation when he wrote to the Board of Trade and Plantations and said the land belonged to a private individual, who was willing to sign his interest over for public development if he could have a job.

At no point did Spotswood claim to have found the iron ore himself.  Nothing in his writings ever suggests this.  He was not to own any land with known iron ore on it until 1720.

These errors have led to the false claim that Spotswood owned iron mines himself as early as 1710.  He had no private interest in iron until much later.  He was interested, for good reasons, in promoting the public development of iron ore almost from his arrival in Virginia.
(29 Jul 04)

Nr. 1931:

At the same time that Alexander Spotswood was trying to persuade the Colony of Virginia to engage in smelting iron ore from the land owned by William Byrd, one Johann Justus Albrecht was having mining tools made and was trying to recruit miners for a venture in the New World.  Albrecht presents many faces to us.  First, he seems confused and, second, he seems like a con man.

He had been hired by Franz Ludwig Michel to recruit miners to exploit the silver mines which Michel thought he had found in Virginia, or perhaps Pennsylvania, or even Maryland.  No surveys had been made and any given location was hard to locate definitively.  Albrecht was to recruit miners, no particular type specified.  He happened to pick an iron mining region, Nassau-Siegen, but the emphasis was not on the iron but on the mining capability.

Apparently, the Germans were reluctant to sign up with Albrecht.  Therefore, he made a grandiose gesture of offering some of the profits from the mines for gold, silver, and other metals in Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the remaining provinces, to the three Reformed preachers in the City of Siegen.  This was a donation on his part; it was not a contract.  He asked nothing in return.  Historically, this has been reported as a contract, but it was not a contract, because there were not two parties to the agreement.  More exactly, it is best described as a Deed Poll.  [This was transcribed by Gerhard Moisel, translated from German by Andreas Mielke, and printed in Beyond Germanna, page 886.]

Back in London in 1712, Albrecht prepared a Shareholder's Book, which pertained to the gold and silver mines in South Carolina.  Apparently, he was trying to sell shares in this venture, of which he had been appointed as, he said, the Head Mine Captain, on 5 January of 1709.  He proposed in the Shareholder's Book to build and develop the gold and silver mines there.  [This Shareholder's Book is in the Spotsylvania Court House and was translated from the German by Elke Hall and printed in Beyond Germanna, page 241.]

Albrecht was the only contact the Nassau-Siegen Germans had with anyone who was connected with the New World.  Christopher von Graffenried mentions writing to the Germans, but since he knew none of them by name it is most likely that he wrote to Albrecht, who was in contact with the Germans.  Therefore, all news of the New World was filtered through Albrecht, and from his two written documents we can only conclude that he was confused about the intended destination in America.  Since Albrecht had been hired by a man who thought he had discovered silver-bearing ores, and since Albrecht mentions gold and silver prominently in his writings, we should conclude that he was telling the Germans they would be mining gold or silver.  Just where this mine would be is a mystery to us, as he mentions several different provinces.

The point now is that nothing was said about iron and the location of the mines was in question.
(30 Jul 04)

Nr. 1932:

Graffenried's adventures in America started in 1710 in North Carolina, and lasted until 1713, when he was discouraged by the lack of support from Switzerland.  He returned home in the Summer or Fall of 1713, and, after he was home, he wrote three similar manuscripts explaining why the failed enterprise was not his fault.  We would wish that he had given us more detail, because, of all the people, he perhaps knew the most.  These manuscripts were not generally available to the public until the North Carolina Historical Commission in 1886 published major parts.

We are indebted to John Fontaine for the most complete description of Germanna, but this was not available to us until 1853.  Therefore, the reports from two of the men who knew the most and who wrote about their experiences were inacessible for more than a hundred years.  Today, of course, we have access to their writings which are highly recommended.

The First Germanna Colony, as we have come to know them, hired Jacob Christopher Zollikoffer to raise funds in Europe for their benefit.  Usually it is said that this appeal was made jointly by the First and Second Colonies, but anyone who has read the original appeal signed by Haeger, Merdten, and Richter would see that it was an appeal by the Reformed members of the First Colony.  (The language of this appeal was translated by Andreas Mielke and published in Beyond Germanna on page 818ff.)

The petition that is usually cited is taken from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) Minute Book.  It is hard to recognize any similarity between this and the actual original petition.  Someone, perhaps Zollikoffer himself, changed the original petition (rewrote it for the Minute Book), and made it into an appeal that referenced both the First and Second Colonies, which were referred to as 12 Reformed families and 20 Lutheran Families.  At the same time, it was stated that the Germans wished to have the benefit of the Anglican rites.  Most people have very correctly doubted this clause.  Their doubts did not go far enough, though, as the two petitions, the original written at Germanna and the one submitted to the SPG, have hardly any points in common.

When Zollikoffer had gone on to Germany, he had printed an appeal in Frankfurt.  The 12 Reformed families and the 20 Lutheran Families have now been joined by 40 other families!  This was the origin of the Third Colony theory.  Once we see how the idea of forty more families came about, we should doubt the figures.  Yes, there were people who came in 1719, but in numbers they fell far short of forty, and they probably were not organized into any group.  Whether these false reports, the petition in London, and the statements in Frankfurt, should be blamed on Zollikoffer is uncertain, but he was the person on the scene at both locations.  We must remember, though, that he was a businessman and no doubt doing this for a percentage of the money he raised.
(31 Jul 04)

Nr. 1933:

[I decided to expand upon the petitions mentioned in the last Note.  The actual petition made in Virginia reads (as translated by Andreas Mielke):

To all pious Christian Readers of this in Europe, we wish God�s Mercy and Blessing through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Since in none other is salvation; and also since man is given no other name under the sky in which he can be blessed than in the name of Jesus Christ, Acts 4, It is therefore an unspeakable goodness of God, and to man a joyful message; that he gave man not only his son for our salvation but also that he has this gospel be preached to the entire world, Matt. 24, as initially in the Orient, so also now in recent times here in the Occident, in America; as we see various people come together from Europe and elsewhere almost daily: because we note with them a big difference in their divine service, we have concluded to establish also here in the land Virginia Christian churches and schools for us Germans, so that our children and off spring shall not get into heathendom, enthusiasms, or other sects and errors, and this would lose the blessedness so dearly gained by Christ: But rather maintain the true Evangelical-Reformed divine service after our death, and publicly preach in the German language according to the guide line of the divine word, administer the holy sacraments according to Christ�s order, teach the youth in schools (especially the catechism known in the Heidelberg lands), maintain the teacher; all to the fellow brothers in Christ him who shows this, the honorable Mister Jacob Christoff Zollickoffer, born out of the city St. Gall, of Switzerland, to pleadingly request a merciful contribtuion to above mentioned Christian endeavor in the hope that every Christian Reader of this shall contribute according to his ability and expect for it the blessing of God which we wish to all of you to enjoy constantly in this transitory and afterwards in the eternal life.

(L.S.)  Henrich H�ger/Servant of God with the Germans in Virginia 1719
           Johann Jost Merdten
           Hans Jacob Richter
                   Elders In the name of the congregation

(31 Jul 04)

Nr. 1934:

[The petition in the previous Note, when it was entered into the SPG books, reads as given here.  It is taken from a copy of the original SPG entry, transcription made by Sandra Yelton.]

The Case
Of Thirty Two Protestant German Families Settled in Virginia, Humbly Sheweth.

That Twelve Protestant German Families, consisting of about Fifty Persons, arrived April 1714 in Virginia, and were therein Settled near Rappahanek River; That in 1717 Twenty [Willis Kemper has seventeen, not twenty] Protestant German Families more consisting of about Four Score Persons came and sat down near their Countrymen; And many more both German and Swiss families are likely to come there to Settle likewise, That for the Enjoyment of the Ministries of Religion there will be a Necessity of Building a small church in the Place of their Settlement, and of Maintaining a Minister; who shall catechise, preach, [Kemper has "read", not "preach"] and perform Divine offices among them, in the German tongue, which is the only Language they do yet understand; That there went indeed over with the First Twelve German Families one Minister named Henry Hager, a very Sober Honest Man of about 75 Years of Age; But he being likely to be past service in a short time; They have empowered Mr. Jacob Christople Zollicoffer of St. Gall in Switzerland, to go to Europe, and there to obtain, if possible, some Contributions from Pious and charitable Christians, toward the Building of their Church; and bringing over with a young German minister, to assist the above said Mr. Hager in the Ministry of Religion, and to succeed him, when he shall Dye, to get him ordained in England by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of London; And to Bring over with him the Liturgy of the Church of England translated into High Dutch which they are desirous to use in the Publick Worship.  But this New Settlement, consisting but of Mean Persons, being utterly unable of themselves both to build their Church and to make up a Salary Sufficient to Maintain such assisting Minister, They Humbly Implore the Countenance and Encouragement of the Lord Bishop of London, and others the Lords the Bishops, as also the Venerable Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Places, That they would take their case under their Pious Consideration, and Grant their usual Allowance for the Support of a Minister; And if it may be, to contribute something toward the Building of their Church.
          And they shall ever Pray, that God may Reward their
          Beneficence both Here and Hereafter.

(31 Jul 04)

Nr. 1935:

[Willis Kemper reports that a part of the report, or appeal, published by Zollikoffer in Frankfurt in the Extraordinaire-Kaiserliche-Reichs Post-Zeitung (newspaper) reads as given in this note.]

Truthful Report of a High German Evangelical Colony at Germantown, in North Virginia in America.

"It will be remembered by everybody how some years ago several thousand people, of both sexes and different religions, emigrated from the Palatinate and neighboring places to be transported to America.  Although a part of this people died and a part returned to Germany, yet 700 persons were sent to Carolina, and 300 [ should read 800] families to New York.  But 72 families came to Virginia, the largest part of them, however had to pay the passage, according to the custom of the country, with several years of servitude among the Englishmen there.  The rest, being free, consisted of thirty-two families, of whom twelve are Evangelical Reformed and twenty are Evangelical Lutherans.  They, together with an old Reformed minister, Henry Hager, 76 years of age, have established a colony in the year 1714 in the said Virginia, called Germantown, on the Rapenhenck.  Here at a well situated place, under the sovereignty of Great Britain, they support themselves in all quietness by agriculture and the raising of cattle, hoping that they will increase and prosper more and more, especially when within the next year the remaining German families, scattered through their servitude, will obtain their freedom and settle at Germantown and thus strengthen the colony."

The advertisement then asks for contributions for a church and a school house to be used by the colony "which is served by the above named minister in common", and further states that the credentials of Mr. Zollicoffer were signed by Henry Haeger, "minister of the Germans in Virginia, John Jost Merdten, and John Jacob Richter, elders of the congregation."

Notice that there is no mention of iron mining, smelting, or any industrial work.  Zollicoffer emphasizes agriculture as their principal activity.

All of a sudden, forty families have been added to the appeal.  This is the origin of the Third Colony concept, but no count of the Germans yields any number close to forty.  In fact, Zollicoffer implies that many of these Germans had come long before 1720, the year in which he is writing.

Misstating "Germanna" as "Germantown" is natural.  Most Virginias called it Germantown.  Even John Fontaine uses the name Germantown more often than he uses Germanna.
(31 Jul 04)

Nr. 1936:

The Rev. Hugh Jones wrote the book, The Present State of Virginia, which was published in England in 1724, and which was based on experiences in Virginia from 1715 to 1722.  From the content, it appears that portions are not based on his personal observations, but are secondhand reports, and not always accurate.

He writes,

"Beyond Colonel Spotswood's furnace above the falls of the Rappahannock River, within view of the vast mountains, he has founded a town called Germanna from some Germans sent over thither by Queen Anne who are now removed up farther . . ."

We would not say the Germans were sent over by Queen Anne, though we understand why he might have thought this; however, their transportation was paid, in part, by themselves, and, in part, by Spotswood, without any contribution from Queen Anne.

About the Second Colony, he writes,

"Beyond this [Germanna] are seated the Colony of Germans or Palatines, with allowance of good quantities of rich land, at easy or no rates, who thrive very well, and live happily, and entertain generously."

The Germans he writes about might have been surprised to hear their life described in this way.  Their writings later are the complete opposite of this.  We know that it was the Second Colony he was writing about because he describes their work with grapes, wine, and naval stores.

Though I have distinguished between the First and Second Colonies, all of the early writers were confused about the distinctions and lumped them all together.

Jones mentions the expedition over the mountains and says,

"Gov. Spotswood, when he undertook the great discovery of the Passage over the Mountains . . . cut his Majesty's name in a rock upon the highest of them, naming it Mount George . . ."
He adds,
". . .the Governor, upon their return, presented each of his companions with a golden horse shoe . . . some of which I have seen studded with valuable stones, resembling the heads of nails. . ."

As to whether Jones is a reliable reporter is doubtful.  I have highlighted some of his errors already.  Also, Spotswood did not undertake the discovery of a passage over the mountains.  As Spotswood wrote, the passage had been discovered by some Rangers.  No stone or mountain has been found with Mount George engraved on it.  Fontaine who was on the trip does not mention this.

For reasons such as this, most modern writers hesitate to say there were Golden Horseshoes.  No one has ever seen a single one, and the only person, Jones, who has said he had seen one is in error on a number of points.  Most likely, the golden horseshoes are another "urban legend".
(02 Aug 04)

Nr. 1937:

We have commented already on one mistake of Alexander Spotswood.  Actually, in view of the large amount which he wrote, he did not do all that badly, but his writings were self-serving and filled with deviations from the strict truth.  His writings should only be accepted as a guide with a "buyer beware" clause.  In the 2003 Germanna Seminar, I discussed Spotswood's letter to Col. Harrison.  In this, he says,

"...during the six years they [First Colony] remained on the land I never offered to plant one foot of ground thereon."

Of course, we have to struggle with the strange terminology, but it seems to say that he never was at Germanna [in 1714, 1715, 1716, 1717, 1718, or 1719?].  We know clearly, though, that he was there in 1716, en route to the mountains, as John Fontaine tells us.

William Byrd left all too few words that apply to the Germans, which is unfortunate, as he was the best writer of that time.  In 1732, while visiting Spotswood at Germanna, he wrote,

". . where so many German Familys had dwelt some Years ago; but [are] now remov'd ten miles higher, in the Fork of the Rappahannock, to Land of their Own."

It was typical of writers in the early Eighteenth Century to confuse the different groups of Germans, and Byrd has done it here.  He was referring to the First Colony, but they lived outside of the Fork of the Rappahannock [the Great Fork], both while at Germanna, and later in their new homes at Germantown.  The Second Colony lived always in the Great Fork, both as tenants of Spotswood and later on their own land.

The first of the German writers to be called out here is Rev. John Caspar Stoever.  He wrote several short notes for publication while he was on the fund raising trip in Germany.  He described the members of the Second Colony as Lutherans from Alsace, the Palatinate, and neighboring places.  This statement was been widely quoted, but it is not the best that could be made.  It would have been much better had he written Wuerttemberg, Baden, and neighboring places, as we now know from the church records.  We must bear in mind that boundaries do shift, and many of the Second Colony came from places which defied classification.  Still, it hard to understand how Alsace was in the number one position in his statement.

For another hundred years, few civil historians wrote about Germanna or the Germans.  When they did reappear, the emphasis was on Germanna and not on the Germans.  In the 1800's [I have seen different dates], Dr. Caruthers wrote a story of the expedition over the mountains by Spotswood.  It was fiction all the way, as Fontaine's diary had not yet been published [and we have seen inaccuracies in Rev. Jones' book].  This was the first time that the phrase, "The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe", was used, and it eventually crept into the history books, without a warning that it was fiction, not history.
(03 Aug 04)

Nr. 1938:

John Wesley Garr started a book in 1844 of Garr/Gaar Genealogy with some points of general history.  It was finished and published in 1894 by his son, John Calhoun Garr.  Two points of general history on which the book errs are:

It is claimed that the title deed for the Old Dutch Church was made in 1720.  Actually, the land belonged to the King until 1727, when it was first patented to Andrew Kerker.  A deed to the benefit of the church was not made until late in the Eighteenth Century.  The result of the 1720 date error is to imply a settlement in the Robinson River Valley several years (five is the best estimate) before it did occur.

The Garrs also thought that the pipe organ in the church was a gift of Gustavus Adolphus, the King of Sweden, and that it was made at Lutzen, Sweden.  Perhaps the reason that the King of Sweden is mentioned is that Protestants in Germany revere the King of Sweden for his intervention in the Thirty Years' War on their behalf.  The place of manufacture was actually Lititz in Pennsylvania and the church purchased the organ from the builder, David Tannenberg.

The most serious errors in the general history of Germanna, which have been widely copied by other authors, were made by Willis Kemper, who, with Harry Lynn Wright, published the book, "Genealogy of the Kemper Family", in 1899.  This was one of the first attempts at a history of the Germanna Colonies, especially the First Colony, and, unfortunately, Willis Kemper was in error on many points.

Kemper's basic premise was founded on Spotswood's erroneous statement, quoted earlier, pertaining to the newly discovered iron ore.  Kemper wrote,

"Spotswood discovered evidences of iron ore in the district toward the Blue Ridge."

There is no evidence to support this contention, and there is a lot which says it is false.  Spotswood admitted that the "newly discovered iron" was in fact "old iron ore".  Spotswood never claimed, or even hinted, that he had found iron.

Kemper wrote his history by starting at the end, and then trying to find evidence that supported his ideas.  When he could not find the evidence, he simply made outrageous claims.  For example, Kemper observed that some Germans came from Nassau-Siegen, a region where there was iron mining.  He concluded, falsely, that they came because of their knowledge of iron mining.  Hence, there had to be iron mines in Virginia.  Actually they were recruited for their knowledge of mining, but not of iron.

(1) Contrary to what Kemper claims, the first patent of Spotswood for land with iron on it was issued in 1720.

(2) Though Spotswood had some initial interest in the Germanna area, it was for silver, not iron.

(3) When the silver mine failed to produce silver, Spotswood prepared to abandon Germanna.  At the start of 1716, he was actually building a home for himself at Fort Christanna, about 15 miles from today's North Carolina line.

(4) Fort Germanna was not located close enough to the 1720 iron mines and its eventual furnace to be realistic.  There was a distance of 13 miles between the two.

(04 Aug 04)

Nr. 1939:

Willis Kemper made two statements in his book on the Kemper Family Genealogy that can be discussed together.  He wrote,

"Spotswood authorized Graffenried to obtain skilled workmen out of Germany."
"Spotswood was expecting them [the First Colony]."

I have often wondered how Kemper could have made these statements because he was aware of what Graffenried had written.  The manuscripts, three in number, that Graffenried had written and deposited in libraries in Switzerland, were known by the time that Kemper wrote his book.  The North Carolina Historical Commission had published them in English in the 1880's, and Kemper makes reference to the material.

Graffenried, on returning to Switzerland, had passed through London, where he was surprised to see the Germans.  He berates them, in his writing at least, for coming to London, for he says that he had written that they were not to come because the [silver] mines had not been located.  Graffenried was, by this time, almost without financial resources, both in person and from his employer (George Ritter and Company).  So Graffenried advised the Germans to go home.  This would be a very strange thing for a recruiter to do.

The Germans felt that they could not go home, as they might not be readmitted to their homeland.  Rev. Haeger added as a reason that the war prevented them from returning.  They did not have enough money to pay their own way to America, but they volunteered to work in America for someone to make up the balance of their transportation costs.  With this as a bargaining tool, Graffenried contacted Col. Blakiston, the agent for Virginia, who no doubt had been mentioned by Spotswood to Graffenried.

Blakiston was hard at work on obtaining approval of the share of silver mines that the Crown expected in Virginia.  This was undefined at the time.  Spotswood had already invested in property that was thought to contain silver, and he had been working with Blakiston to get the royalty approved.

Apparently, Blakiston was hopeful of approval.  A petition had been sent to Queen Anne requesting her determination and she had "farmed" the question out to various subordinates to obtain comments, information, and recommendations.  Blakiston saw the Germans as the labor that Spotswood might soon be needing, so Blakiston decided that Spotswood would pay the 150 pounds sterling that was needed to complete the cost of transportation.  Once this was decided, Blakiston and Graffenried wrote to Spotswood and told him that the Germans were coming.  This was a COD shipment, of which, at the time of the departure of the Germans, Spotswood was unaware.  The Germans left in January, according to Graffenried, and arrived in April.  Spotswood learned about their coming only a very short time, probably measured in days, before the Germans arrived.  He was pleased, not about the labor, but that approval for the silver mine royalty must surely be forthcoming soon.
(05 Aug 04)

Nr. 1940:

I will continue with the historical errors in Willis Kemper's "Genealogy of the Kemper Family".  Kemper claimed that Johann Justus Albrecht did not come to America.  Albrecht is, in fact, the signer of a document in the Essex Courthouse in Will Book 16, page 180, which reads:

The Honable Alex Spotswood His Majesty's Leut. Governour & Commander in Chief of Virginia did put under my command Eleven Labouring men to work in Mines or Quarries at or near Germanna, and we began to work March One Thousand Seven Hundred and15/16 [i.e., by the new style calendar it was 1716] and so continued til Dec. One Thousand Seven Hundred & Eighteen.
          John Justice Albright
What is subscribed above by the Hofman is true, for I kept the accounts for him & was one of the men.
          Hs. Jacob Holtsclare
At a Court held for Essex County on Tuesday the 17th day of May 1720 -
Then sworn to by the above named John Justice Albright and Hans Jacob Holsclare & ordered to be recorded.
          Capt W. Beverley, Clerk

[The words Dec, Hofman, and Hs. seem to be the best readings consistent with the adjacent words.  (See Beyond Germanna, page 809.)]

The stockholder's book, which Albrecht had composed in London, is in the Spotsylvania Courthouse.  (A translation of this was made by Elke Hall in Beyond Germanna, page 241f.)

Another claim of Kemper is that,

"Spotswood was making a great effort to have the royalty on iron reduced."

There is no statement by Spotswood, or any agent acting for him, which talks about the royalty on iron.  Kemper misinterprets the actions of Spotswood to get the Crown's share of silver and gold mines defined.

This error of Kemper originates because Kemper falsely convinced himself that the Germans were recruited because of their knowledge of iron.  They were, in fact, recruited, on behalf of the George Ritter and Company, for their knowledge of mining.  Iron was not significant.  If you are seeking silver miners, which is a rare occupation, you would do better to seek miners in general.  I repeat also, the recruitment was not on behalf of Spotswood, but for the purposes of the George Ritter and Company.

As to whether the interest is in silver or iron, one might read the petition to Queen Anne to have the Crown's share out of silver mines fixed.  This was presented to the Queen on 30 Nov 1713.  (See Beyond Germanna, page 710.)  When one petitions the Queen, and one says "silver", then one better mean silver.  People who lie to the Queen are apt not to be people any longer.
(06 Aug 04)

Nr. 1941:

Kemper said,

"Spotswood had agreed with Graffenried to pay their passage."

The truth is there was no agreement, and Graffenried, in London, was at a loss as to what could be done for the Germans.  Graffenried wrote that he advised the Germans to go home.  The decision that Spotswood would pay a fraction of their transportation costs was made by Col. Blakiston, not by Spotswood, who was in the dark about the agreement.

Kemper also says that the Germans were to work the Governor's iron mines and build the iron furnace and make iron for him.  Spotswood had no iron mines in 1710, 1711, 1712, 1713, 1714, 1715, 1716, 1717, 1718, or 1719.  His first patent for land with iron on it was in 1720.  It is a question that is not yet answered whether the Germans built the iron furnace.  There is a good argument that they did not.  The Germans might have made very limited quantities of iron in a forge.

Remember that Spotswood wrote to London in 1716 that the Germans had done no work for him (and his partners).  The Germans were not located close to the eventual iron mine.  The Germans said they worked at quarrying and mining from March of 1716 (NS) to December of 1718.  In the early part of 1716 Spotswood was building a house at Fort Christanna (almost at the North Carolina border) and he was preparing to abandon Fort Germanna.

Kemper than arrived at another very strange set of conclusions with regards to the relationship between the First and Second Colonies.

First, he wrote,

"The remarkable thing is that these Reformed and Lutheran brethren were dwelling together in harmony."

He does not explain why it was so remarkable.  There is no reason to doubt the harmony, but it does seem strange why he felt it was necessary to comment on the situation.

Then later he writes,

"Perhaps the antagonism between the Reformed and Lutheran broke out - our colony of twelve families went north 20 miles while the Lutherans moved west to the Robinson River.  The latter seemed to have held onto the contribution from Europe.  They built Hebron church and still have an organ and a communion service contributed by their European friends."

Kemper is not aware that the 1719 and 1720 appeal originated with the First Colony, and the Second Colony did not participate in it.  All of the money raised by Zollicoffer went to the First Colony, while the Second Colony had their own fund-raising appeal, which was the source of the money for their church and later the organ.  The reason that the Second Colony went to the Robinson River was that land was free in the Great Fork.  The First Colony had purchased land outside the Great Fork before the free land became available.

Kemper adds,

". . . the differences in religious faith [was] undoubtedly the cause of the separation."

In saying this, he must have been unaware of the legislation which created Spotsylvania County, in which land was free.
(07 Aug 04)

Nr. 1942:

Other errors by Kemper are embedded in the statement he made,

"The members of 'Our Colony' did not leave their home not knowing where they were going, nor because they were compelled to.  They were engaged to go, and knew where they were going, and what they were to do."

Most of these statements are false.

Albrecht had been recruiting since 1710, but, by 1713, Graffenried had written that he had told the Germans not to come because the mines had not been found.  As to where they were going, the best guide would be in what Albrecht was writing.  He said he was the mine captain in South Carolina of the gold and silver mines.  He also wrote that he had been appointed the mine surveyor in Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other provinces.  At no point did he mention iron.  It is safe to conclude that when the Germans left home, they did not know where they were going, or what they would be doing exactly, except they expected they would be mining in some general sense.  Then, especially after they got to London, they were stranded and would have taken advantage of any opportunity that came their way.  It is true that they were not compelled to go, though it must be remembered that economic conditions around Siegen were terrible in 1713.

We now come to some general history as expressed by Raleigh Travers Green in "Genealogical and Historical Notes on Culpeper County, Virginia", which was published in 1900.  With respect to Germanna, he wrote,

"These Germans came from Oldensburg or were a remnant of a settlement planted under the auspices of the Baron de Graffenried in North Carolina . . . "

The first part is a mystery as to where he obtained this thought, though the second part is understandable.  Graffenried had attempted to relocate the survivors of the North Carolina colony in Virginia, but they declined to follow him.  This is clear in Graffenried's manuscripts, which had now been published in English, so Green had no excuse for second part of his statement.

Green writes,

"The Germans landed at Tappahannock and a dispute arose between them and the captain of the ship in which they sailed about the money for their passage . . . hence, the settlement at Germanna."

The last part implies the First Colony, but there was no dispute between them and the Captain, as it had been agreed what they would pay, and what Spotswood would pay.  Perhaps Green might have been thinking of the Second Colony, where there was a dispute between them and the Captain.  Since the Captain was fulfilling an "order" of Spotswood, he would surely have gone to where he would expect to find Spotswood, which would have been much more likely to have been at Williamsburg than at Tappahannock.

Green uses information from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Foreign Parts petition,

"Beyond [Germanna] is seated the Colony of German Palatine . . . [who]. . were probably the founders of Germantown in Fauquier."

This repeats the confusion as to the distinction of the First and Second Colonies.
(08 Aug 04)

Nr. 1943:

R. T. Green, in his 1900 book which was just a few years after Willis Kemper's first book, cites Kemper as follows,

"Several years prior to 1714 Gov. Spotswood discovered deposits of iron ore on the large tracts he had entered where Germanna was afterwards located."

Perhaps Green accepted Kemper's statement in good faith, though a historian should have checked the records himself.  Had Green checked, he would found that Spotswood did not have large tracts of land before 1714.  Nor did Spotswood find any iron ore.  When Spotswood did eventually patent land with iron ore on it, the year was 1720 (NS).  His first land patent was in 1716, and this was for the Germanna tract, but it had no iron ore on it.

Green also cites Kemper as,

"They went to mining [in 1714] for the governor and built the blast furnace the remains of which are to be seen in the neighborhood."

Spotswood wrote to London in 1716 and said the Germans had done no work for him up to then.  The Germans themselves said in the courthouse record previously cited that they started mining and quarrying in March of 1716.  There never was a blast furnace on the Germanna site.  It is not clear that the blast furnace on the mine site thirteen miles away from Germanna was built by the Germans.

Another very early book, "History of the Hebron Lutheran Church, Madison County, Virginia 1907", was written by the pastor, W. P. Huddle.  He made a few minor errors.  He thought the Second Colony lived on the south side of the Rapidan River, which is wrong.  Huddle also mentions the Third Colony of forty families, which is the result of the error or exaggeration by Zollicoffer in Frankfurt.  Also, Huddle thought that the Second Colony participated in the First Colony fund raising in 1719 and 1720 when the language of the original petition suggests otherwise.  Huddle said that the Second Colony people were employed in the Spotswood's iron mines.  The language of Spotswood, Jones, and Fontaine, and the evidence of their location some 15 to 20 miles away from the mines suggest overwhelmingly that this was not so.

In the year 1907, another book of history appeared, William W. Scott's "A History of Orange County, Virginia".  He, too, cites Kemper without checking the facts, and repeats many of Kemper's errors.  In particular he cites the statement,

"These colonists were induced to leave their home in Germany by the Baron de Graffenried, acting for Governor Spotswood who was then making preparations to develop his iron mines in the vicinity of Germanna, and this business enterprise of the Governor was the sole cause of their coming to America and Virginia."

I think I have answered these points before.

The point that we see is that semi-professional historians have been copying the fiction of Kemper.  Their published works are accepted by the readers as truthful because the authors are historians, are they not?  Green and Scott are quoted by many others who followed them, and so fiction becomes history.
(08 Aug 04)

Nr. 1944:

On the occasion of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Arrival of the Second Colony, A. L. Keith wrote an article, "The German Colony of 1717", which was published in three issues of the William and Mary Quarterly.  He copies the mistake of Johann Caspar Stoever as to the places of the origins of the Second Colony, putting Alsace at the head of the list.  Keith seems to be the first writer to name the Captain of the ship as Scott, which brought the Second Colony.  It is instructive as to how he phrased the statement,

". . . for the reason that its Captain (Captain Scott?) had been thrown into prison . . ."

In other words, he had his doubts since he wrote a specific name with a question mark.  After that, no one put in the question mark, but just stated the man was Captain Scott.  It appears that the name of the ship was the Scott and the captain was Capt. Tarbett.

Keith said that Col. Spotswood sued them [the Germans] and compelled most of them to serve another year.  The lawsuits were brought for money, not for an additional year of servitude.

Keith also thought the Second Colony had joined in the 1719/1720 fund-raising appeal.  Also, Keith said there was no evidence that any of the 1717 colony failed to go to the Robinson River.  The latter is slightly in error, as Christopher Zimmerman and Conrad Amberger went to the Mt. Pony area, which is outside the Robinson River area.

In 1926, C. L. Yowell wrote the book, "A History of Madison County, Virginia", which was revised and reissued in 1977 by Margaret Grim Davis as "Madison County, Virginia, A Revised History".  Both authors make the claim,

"Later Governor Alexander Spotswood patented land in what is now Madison County to Germanna settlers, believing this land to be his by a grant given by Queen Anne."

Alexander Spotswood had no land within the borders of today's Madison County.  He did not patent this land to the Germans (who obtained their patents in 1726), as he had been out of office for four years and could not issue a patent.

The statement is made that Governor Spotswood employed the Germans in his iron mines near Germanna, and also at odd times they did a little farming.  In fact they were 15 to 20 miles from the mines when the mines were eventually developed.  They were engaged in naval stores projects, grapes, and farming.  A major part of their time was spent in clearing land to farm.

Yowell says Hebron Church was organized by a colony of Germans who had emigrated from Germanna and a few years before from Holland.  It would have been more accurate to say "from Germany and through Holland".  By his reasoning he could have said they were from England.  Yowell follows Keith and says the captain's name was Scott.  He also says they were located by Spotswood on the south side of the Rapidan.  We now know they were on the north side of the Rapidan in the Great Fork.
(09 Aug 04)

Nr. 1945:

I was going to do a note on Lester Cappon's account of the iron making history of Spotswood.  First, I decided to see what Cappon's job position was.  He had been appointed a University of Virginia archivist, and, in 1945, he published a short book entitled, "Iron Works at Tuball".  While I was on the Internet, I saw that I had written two other Notes about the man and his opinions, and I have decided that I need not repeat myself here.  The two Notes in question are 926 and 927.  In short, Cappon made a start toward sorting the events out, but he was never successful.  He was influenced by conflicting statements on the subject, including those by Willis Kemper.  There is little that I can add to the two Notes and they are available on the web at the locations just above.

In the early 1950's, Brawdus Martin became interested in the history of Germanna and tried to raise the interest among the descendants.  He recognized that the story that Willis Kemper had written was not logical, or even reasonable, with the iron furnace and iron mine 13 miles away from Germanna.  If Spotswood had found iron before the Germans came, surely he would have settled the Germans closer to the iron.  Martin tried to resolve the difficulties in Kemper's history.

His correction was to postulate there were two Germannas, one at the furnace and one in the horseshoe bend of the Rapidan River that we know today as Germanna.  Martin said the Germans were first settled at the mine and that this was the first Germanna.  It was at this Germanna that John Fontaine visited and the expedition over the mountains started.  For some reason, they were relocated to the horseshoe bend of the Rapidan and this became the second Germanna.  His listeners had difficulty accepted this theory, so Martin attempted to reinforce his position by claiming to have found the nine houses and the block house at the mine.  Then he published his "finding" that the Germanna patent fitted the terrain at the mine.  This was a complete fiction.  In doing this, he alienated his readers even more.  Charles Herbert Huffman, who was to become the first President of the Germanna Foundation, would not even talk to Brawdus Martin.  Martin withdrew from the scene.

To give Martin some valid credit, he recognized the untenable hypothesis of Willis Kemper.  Martin's attempt to provide an alternative was also unrealistic.  It merely shows that both Kemper and Martin were both wrong.

After Martin withdrew, there was no organized activity by Germanna descendants.  The real start of the present Germanna Foundation was the arrival of Ernst Flender, who worked with C. H. Huffman.  The generosity of Flender enabled the Foundation to purchase a significant piece of property along Virginia State Highway 3.  The Foundation gave a portion of this land to Virginia for siting Germanna Community College.
(10 Aug 04)

Nr. 1946:

The Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonies in Virginia Incorporated came into existence on 8 February 1956.  It has published a series of booklets and books on family and general history.  There are several points that would not withstand a critical evaluation in the general history, but I will skip over the publications and go to the most recent writing as expressed in its web page at

One statement in the history says,

"When Baron de Graffenried returned to Europe, Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood requested him to recruit for him some German miners.  Graffenried persuaded 14 individuals with families totaling 42 persons from the town of Siegen and Muesen in the principality of Nassau-Siegen, Germany to come to Virginia."

There are several objections to this statement.

1. When Graffenried did arrive in London, he found the Germans were already there.  (Had he sent an email to meet him there?)  He was unable to help them, and he writes that he recommended that they go back to Germany.  This, in itself, seems to belie the statement that he was recruiting them.  Do recruiters say, "We don't want you; go home!"?

2. Graffenried said that he had written to the Germans and told them not to come, as the mines had not been found.  There was no work for them.

3. Expressing his opinions while he was in London, Graffenried wrote that it was impossible to assist so large a number.

4. That the Germans were being sent to Virginia was a surprise to Spotswood (see his letter to Blakiston on the subject).  If you are recruiting people, should you be surprised if they accept your offer?

5. Spotswood did make a statement in a letter to the Board of Trade that,

"These Germans were invited some years ago by the Baron de Graffenried."
But Kemper misinterpreted the intention of the invitation.  The Germans were being recruited by Albrecht to work in a silver mine that Michel had thought he had found.  They were not invited by Graffenried to work in a mine for Spotswood.  Kemper is mentioned because the Foundation's statement is a variation of the statements that Kemper wrote.

Another statement on the Germanna Foundation web page is,

"The First Germanna Colony arrived in Virginia at Tappahannock in the spring of 1714, and then came up the Rappahannock River where they settled 20 miles west of Fredericksburg at a location that would be called Fort Germanna."

R. T. Green wrote a variation of this, but he gave no source for the statement.  It is even doubtful that it is correct, because the Captain was to collect 150 pounds of money from Spotswood and he would have gone to where he would expect to find Spotswood.  The captain would not have discharged the Germans until he had his payment, as they were his security for the payment.
(10 Aug 04)

Nr. 1947:

The History Page at the Germanna Foundation web site, Section "Germanna, First Colony of 1714", has a sentence which reads,

"The 1714 Colonists did not leave their homes in Germany not knowing their destination, nor were they compelled to do so."

This is pure Willis Kemper.  The 1714 colonists were recruited by Albrecht, and his writings mention Carolina, and, specifically, South Carolina, but also Virginia, Pennsylvania and other provinces.  The Germans thought they were going to mine silver for George Ritter and Company as represented by Graffenried.  Graffenried said the mines had not been disclosed by Michel nor had he been able to find them.  As a result Graffenried told the Germans not to come.  At the time the Germans left their home, they had never heard of Alexander Spotswood.  Apparently the only ores that had been discussed were silver and gold.

The comments above also show the falsity of another sentence from the same web page, namely,

"They were engaged to perform a specific job in Virginia for Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood, knew where they were going, and what they were to do."

The same web page also adds, using Kemper's words,

"They came from one of the thriftiest and most intelligent provinces of Germany."

The only problem that I have with this statement is that I would not know how to measure the intelligence or thrift of a province.  A fourth sentence (same web page) is less troublesome to me.  It reads,

"They were master mechanics, and were an intelligent, progressive set of people."

I must note that not all of the people were master mechanics.  Several of the younger men were too young to have mastered any craft or trade, especially as the economic conditions were terrible, and it was difficult to find any work.  The people may well have been intelligent and progressive, though Kemper does not say how he was able to judge this to be the case.

I have observed earlier that in the description of Germanna by John Fontaine that the Foundation omits one statement made by Fontaine, namely, "The Germans live very miserably."

In another paragraph (same web page, Section "The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe"), the history reads,

"In August 1716, Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood led a group of men on a trip that has become known as the exploration to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  On their return the explorers were named by Spotswood as 'The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe' and given a gold horseshoe in commemoration of their famous journey."

The word 'Knight' was not used until a series of fictional works by Caruthers in the 1800's.  Spotswood would have avoided the use of the word as only the Crown can create a Knight.  For him to have used the word would have been a usurpation of the Crown's prerogatives.  As to the golden horseshoes, only Rev. Jones says this was the case.  Many writers, noting that he said several things which were not true, refrain from making this claim, especially as none has ever been seen.
(11 Aug 04)

Nr. 1948:

The Germanna Foundation web site repeats the error of Rev. Stoever that the Second Colony came from Alsace (and other places).  There is no known member of the Second Colony who came from Alsace.  (A region and former province of eastern France between the Rhine River and the Vosges Mountains.  Along with neighboring Lorraine, it was annexed by Germany in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War and returned to France by the Treaty of Versailles [1919].)  This would have been much more likely had the Second Colony members been Anabaptists, as many Anabaptists from Switzerland lived there before going on to America.  (Alsace, or Alsace-Lorraine, is too far to the West to have been a place from which the Second Colony members came.)

The web page also says that Spotswood paid the passage of the Second Colony Germans.  There is little doubt that the Captain extracted a payment from Spotswood.  According to a letter based on the telling of two members of the colony, it would appear that the Germans had paid their passage money to the Captain.  Thus, it appears that the Captain collected money from the Germans and Spotswood.  Therefore, the money from Spotswood was hardly their passage money, but was a "bonus" to the Captain for bringing the Germans to Virginia instead to Pennsylvania.

The web page also expresses the idea that another group of approximately forty Germans arrived in Virginia in 1719.  This is the result of the statement of Zollicoffer, who seems to have been using his imagination in order to improve the chances of collecting money in Germany.

The iron mine tract was patented by Spotswood's friend, Robert Beverley, on 20 February in 1719, according to the web page but this is very misleading, as the patents were written using the old style calendar.  By the modern calendar, this would have been 1720.  In other words, the iron mine tract was not patented until a year after the web page says that it was.  This is approximately six years after the Germans came in 1714.  The terms of their service were that they would work for Spotswood for four years to reimburse him for his payments on the transportation costs.  The argument is, that by the time the iron mine tract was patented, the Germans had left Fort Germanna for Germantown.  It may be that Spotswood delayed the patenting of the land but still it would appear that he would not want to make any significant investments until he had title to the land.

The web page quotes Sue Gordon that the Spotswood home was burned when melting lead to repair the roof.  This may be true, but according to Dr. Frost, a Spotswood descendant, the family had moved out of the home before it was burned.  They had transferred their possessions to other places.  The recital of Sue Gordon's statement may imply that the family was driven out of the home by fire, but doesn't seem to be the case.  Prof. Sanford, the modern-day archeologist on the site, also confirms the house was not occupied when it burned.
(12 Aug 04)

Nr. 1949:

What most students of Germanna history do not realize is how early the history of Germanna began.  Before Alexander Spotswood had left the Army, the events commenced which became the Germanna Community.

Back in Note 1 of this series, written 6 January 1997, two of the opening sentences read,

"The incident which was important to there being a locality called Germanna was the decision of Franz Louis Michel, a citizen of Bern, Switzerland, to go to America and investigate conditions there.  He left Basel on 8 October 1701 and arrived in Yorktown, Virginia, on 9 May 1702."

Eventually, after several years, the activities of Michel were merged into George Ritter and Company, a stock company of Bern.  Michel went to Holland, where he hired a "head miner", one Johann Justus Albrecht, to buy mining tools and hire miners to go to America to develop what Michel thought were silver mines in the Shenandoah Valley.  These plans were delayed by the decision to engage George Ritter and Company, of which Christoph von Graffenried was now a major partner, in a colonization scheme in North Carolina.  This last scheme went bankrupt, which left the activities of Albrecht hanging.  Apparently, Albrecht, in disregard of Graffenried's instructions, brought the "miners" along to London, where they were stranded for a lack of funds to continue.

Eventually, these people became the nucleus of Germanna, where the first (private) purpose was to mine silver not far from the Rapidan River.  After several years of delay, by which time the silver objective was abandoned, these Germans found iron ores.  From the records available to us, the indications are they did not build the iron furnace.  During this time, another group, the Second Colony, was imported by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood to be the settlers on a large tract of western land.

Where some people have erred was in assuming that Germanna started in 1710 with Spotswood's arrival in Virginia, or in 1714 with the arrival of the Germans.  The history of Germanna began earlier, more than a decade before the name Germanna had been coined by Spotswood.

I have told much of this early history in the first Notes, though I would modify now some of the statements I made then.  But, essentially, the history is valid and is recommended for review and study.  You can read these early Notes on this website, Note Nr. 1.

[I will be off the air for a short period.  When I return to these notes I will be impeded by a lack of reference material, but we will see what can be done.]

(Next Monday, 16 Aug 2004, we leave for Albuquerque to stay for perhaps four months.  Our son and daughter-in-law could use our help to care for our (only) granddaughter.  We can hardly refuse.  We have taken a small apartment there and so we expect to be leading a life of our own in various ways while being useful in our old age.

I am taking my computer with all of the unanswered email.  My email address will be the same as always.  Our USPS address will be the same except that mail will require forwarding.  I am taking a supply of the books that I sell and I expect to be able to fulfill orders for books and CDs.  We will be out of action though for a short time.  If someone wants to order something now, I will take an order by email and then I will invoice you.  It is much better to ship it now than from Albuquerque.

I hope to concentrate on reading some of the old German script.  I don't know what the library facilities are there.  My son is a part time teacher at the University of New Mexico so maybe I can use the library there.  The LDS Family History Centers should be a good resource.  However, I will be severely handicapped in responding to some questions as I can take very little in the way of personal resource material.

In order to try and finish the mini series on Germanna errors, I have been generating the notes at the rate of more than one a day.  Starting sometime late this week, I will be shut down on the net for a while.)

Nr. 1950:

I have mentioned the "German Life" magazine and James M. Beidler before.  The last issue of the magazine has an article by Dr. Beidler about a family which is known to descendants of the people in Nassau-Siegen, namely the Daub family.  Members of this family appear in the Church Books of several villages, including Oberfischbach, where Rev. Haeger was the pastor.

Beidler wrote a book about the Daub family several years ago, and this came to the attention of Rudolf Daub, who wrote to James and said he was interested in communicating with Daubs in America.  James soon found out that "Rudi" (Rudolf Daub) lived very close to Eiserfeld, the home of James' ancestor Daub.  James had researched four generations before his known emigrant ancestor by using the LDS microfilms of the Siegen Evangelical church.

James invited Rudi to attend the family Reunion to be held in a few months.  In response, Rudi showed interest and sent James much information that James did not have about the early Daubs.  Rudi had been able to extend the line back into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries using Guild Records, which were not available in America.

Rudi did announce that he would come to the Reunion.  On a Monday, Rudi's wife called and said that Rudi would arrive at the Washington airport on Thursday.  Then Rudi's wife, Helga, said that Rudi did not speak any English.  She had written all of the letters that had gone to America which appeared to be from Rudi.  James thought this would not be any problem as he expected Helga to come with Rudi, but she said that her duties as Chairman of the Free Democratic Party would prevent her coming.

At this point, James admits there was a long pause before he said, "Oh."  Helga responded, "Don't worry, Mr. Beidler, everything will arrange itself somehow."  Rudi did stay a week with the Beidlers and everything did work out, even though James' knowledge of German was almost as lacking as Rudi's knowledge of English.

There are several morals in this story.  First, do not avoid contacts with Germans.  You may be very pleasantly surprised by the friendships which can develop.  Second, due to their position and access to information, you may learn new information.  Third, you do not have to have a perfect knowledge of German.
(23 Aug 04)

(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 SEVENTY-EIGHTH set of Notes, Nr. 1926 through Nr. 1950.)

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