GERMANNA History Notes Page #003

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This is the THIRD 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 51 through 75.

GERMANNA History Notes
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History has a lot to say about the Germanna Colonists and iron in Virginia and much of it is incorrect.  It is not entirely clear where some of the erroneous facts originated.  One early source, but perhaps not the earliest, is W.W. Scott in his book, "A History of Orange County Virginia" published in 1907.  His credentials have misled others into believing he was an authority on the subject.  The man was a member of the State Historical Society and for ten years the State Librarian of Virginia.  But let him speak for himself,

"These colonists [the First Germanna Colonists] were induced to leave their homes in Germany by the Baron de Graffenried, acting for Governor Spotswood who was then making preparations to develop his iron mines in the vicinity of Germanna, and this business enterprise of the Governor was the sole cause of their coming to America and Virginia".  [page 81]

There are errors in this statement.

  1. "Graffenried was not acting for Governor Spotswood."  Graffenried, in his memoirs, makes it very clear that he was recruiting miners for his own purpose of developing a silver mine in Virginia above the falls of the Potomac and into, or toward, the Shenandoah Valley.  Toward this end, he and Franz Michel presented a petition to the Crown and won Queen Anne's approval for land to be assigned to the silver project.

  2. "Spotswood had iron mines in the vicinity of [what was later] Germanna at the time the Germans were recruited."   The recruiting effort began in 1710 and Spotswood had no iron mines until almost 1720.  There is a ten year error here.  Spotswood's first land, entirely in his own name, was not acquired until 1716, a full six years after the recruiting of the Germans commenced and this property was taken up, not because it contained iron, but because it had been developed ("seated") by the Germans and was proven land.  This is the land on which Fort Germanna was built.

  3. "The iron mine business of the Governor was the sole cause of [the Germans] coming to America and Virginia."  The Germans were recruited to mine silver for the company of which Graffenried was the field or general manager.  When the Germans left Germany, they expected to be mining silver for Graffenried and Albrecht (the general manager and the "head-miner") within a few months.

Scott may have erred due to the writings of Willis Miller Kemper and Harry Linn Wright who published "Genealogy of the Kemper Family in the United States" in 1899 [referred to in short as Kemper].  Kemper noted many facts correctly including several facts that he "uncovered".  But at the same time he invented facts out of thin air.  He says, "It was not long [after Spotswood's appointment as Governor in 1710] until he discovered evidences of iron ore in the districts toward the Blue Ridge."  It is true that Spotswood was writing back to England about iron ore in Virginia within three months of his arrival.  But this was not newly discovered iron ore; the existence of it had been known for over 120 years and it was considered quality ore.  The ore had actually been tested in England and found to be quite excellent.

The general plan here for a few notes will be to develop the history of iron in Virginia and correcting some of the errors.  In contrast to the historians who copy other historians, and these are the most numerous kind, the attempt will be put original quotations or sources before you.  And, you can read what the people at that time said, not what people two hundred years later said.


Iron ore was known to exist in Virginia from the earliest dates.  In 1588, Thomas Harriott published "A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia" in London.  Two years later, it was republished, this time with illustrations.  The book makes it very clear that considerable effort had been spent in determining the resources to be found in Virginia.  It had this to say about iron:

"In two places of the countrey specially, one about fourescore and the other six score miles from the Fort or place where we dwelt: wee founde neere the water side the ground to be rockie, which by the triall of a minerall man, was founde to holde Iron richly.  It is founde in manie places of the countrey else.  I knowe nothing to the contrarie, but that it maie bee allowed for a good marchantable commoditie, considerring there the small charge for the labour and feeding of men; the infinite store of wood: the want of wood and deerenesse thereof in England: & the necessity of ballasting shippes."

[This book is interesting reading and the 1590 version was reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc. in 1972.  It has an extensive description of Virginia and its inhabitants.]

Thus people in England were knowledgeable about Virginia and, in particular, about iron there.  After the English settlements, Captain John Smith sent home several barrels of bog ore in 1608 and Captain Newport shipped enough ore to England the next year to make over fifteen tons of iron which proved to be of good quality.  [See Rutland, "Men and Iron in the Making of Virginia", p.3]

A group of investors, the Southhampton Adventurers, raised 4,000 pounds sterling and sent a labor force of 80 skilled ironworkers to build an iron furnace on Falling Creek, a tributary of the James River, about seven miles below the present Richmond.  At the time, 1621, this was an extremely exposed position within the natural range of the native Indians.  The furnace was built and while it was in its first firing, the Indians attacked, killing all of the workers but allowing two children to escape.  The furnance was destroyed and the tools and equipment were tossed into the creek.

Tobacco was a cheaper alternative and economic activity was directed into that line.  Farsighted people throughout the sixteen hundreds saw that the dangers in relying on tobacco alone and saw also the need for iron.  Pleadings were made to refine the ore in Virginia where wood, water (for power) and the ore were readily available.  No Englishman was interested enough to supply the sizeable amount of capital (thousands of pounds) which was needed.  A Virginian, the first William Byrd, kept the thought alive and made preparations.  He patented land containing ore deposits and enough adjacent land to insure wood for a possible furnace.  His son, another William, continued his father's work and invested in books for his library on the subject of minerals.  Though the Byrds were considered by their fellow Virginians to be rich, they did not pursue the refining of their iron ore.  Apparently, they felt that too much capital was required.

We have seen that the Southhampton Adventurers raised 4,000 pounds sterling for their project.  In the seventeen hundreds, a Mr. Chiswell said that his partners in an iron furnace had put 12,000 pounds into the enterprise before they reached the breakeven point.  With capital amounts of this magnitude required, no group came forward to sponsor a furnace for refining iron ore.


When Col. Alexander Spotswood arrived in Virginia as the new Lt. Governor in the summer of 1710, he met William Byrd, the owner of tracts of land known to have iron ore.  Spotswood saw there were immense advantages to England in pursuing the refining of this ore.  He proposed to the Assembly that they sponsor the mines and the furnace.

One advantage to the people of Virginia would have been a weakening of the dependence on the single commodity, tobacco.  Virginia had all of the necessary resources, labor, iron ore, water power, and timber for making charcoal.  If the ore were shipped to England, it would help there in several ways.  First, they had been producing so much iron that they had consumed the trees used to make the charcoal.  They were reduced to importing iron from the Baltic nations.  This put them into an untentable defensive posture.  During wars, their supply of iron, and naval stores also, could be limited.  Also the off shore purchases hurt their trade balance.

The assembly declined to sponsor the iron mine and the furnace.  There may have been some politics involved.  William Byrd, who owned the land, voluteered to surrender the land if he would be given a managerial position in the operation.  The Burgesses may have been voting more against Byrd than in favor of the soundness of the idea.  After the Assembly turned thumbs down on the job, Spotswood wrote to the Council of Trade proposing that the Queen herself undertake this task.  No favorable reply was coming from England.

The common characteristic of the Assembly and the Queen is that they had deep pockets.  Spotswood knew that it would take a lot of capital or perhaps Byrd gave him estimates.  A century before, the Southhampton Adventurers had raised 4,000 pounds sterling and, in the early eighteenth century in Virginia, it was proven to take about 10,000 pounds.

After the rebuff from the Assembly and the lack of a favorable response from England, Spotswood let the subject of iron drop for many years.  He certainly could not afford to sponsor a mine and furnace.  He lived on a modest income and his expenses were heavy.  He kept about eight personal servants, such as a doctor and a private secretary.  His income was small, consisting of half pay for the job of Governor (he split the pay with Lord Orkney, the Governor of Virginia).

Many years later, about 1717, Spotswood started getting interested in a personal way in iron.  His comments in 1710 about iron do not represent a personal statement but are the voice of a Governor seeking an alternative to the ups and downs of the Virginia tobacco economy.  Because he was a later iron industrialist, some people have thought that these early comments about iron were expressing a personal interest.

The letters of Spotswood on official business are collected in the volume, "Collections of the Virginia Historical Society", volume 1 published in 1882.  In this R.A. Brock was the editor for The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood.  Bruce P. Lenman wrote a modern article, Alexander Spotswood and the Business of Empire, in "Colonial Williamsburg", Autumn 1990, p. 46.  George Park Fisher in "The Colonial Era", New York, 1910, p. 280 says Spotswood's salary was 800 pounds.


Between the time of Spotswood's arrival in Virginia in 1710 and the arrival of the First Germanna Colony in 1714, Spotswood met with Graffenried.  Graffenried was excited about the prospects for silver.  The writings of Graffenried and Spotswood imply that others were also talking about silver in the "back country", meaning toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Spotswood didn't want to miss the boat on this, but he was methodical enough to read up on the law pertaining to gold and silver mines.  He was not pleased at what he found.  It was normal for the Crown to reserve a percentage of the gold and silver which might be found.  What Spotswood found was that no reservation had been specified on the lands of the Crown available to patent.  He was concerned lest the Crown might retroactively make a claim and not limit it to the usual ten percent or so.  This became a burning issue with him since he and others, including Graffenried, had identified a tract of land which was thought to contain silver.  Larkin Chew patented the land and sold shares to the other partners.

Spotswood pushed Col. Blakiston in London to resolve the question of the Crown's rights to gold and silver.  Progress was very slow in London and, in the midst of the attempt to get approval, forty odd Germans arrived in London expecting to go on to Virginia at the expense of Graffenried's company.  The company and Graffenried were both broke and the company of Germans was stranded.  Knowing that Spotswood was very anxious to start the silver mining operation, Col. Blakiston agreed to have Spotswood pay the additional one hundred and fifty pounds sterling that was needed on their passage money.  Blakiston must have been optimistic about getting the Crown's approval for the silver mining operation; at least, Spotswood interpreted the action this way; however, approval was not forthcoming.  Queen Anne died.  George I was crowned and the arguments were renewed.  In Virginia, where the Germans were by now, they confined their activities to raising and growing food.

In February 1715/16, nearly two years after the Germans had arrived in Virginia, Spotswood wrote to the Lord Commissioners that the Germans had done no work for him and his partners.  He commented that the Germans wanted to explore more but he would not allow it.  The silver mine tract has been identified and plotted in Beyond Germanna (v.8, n.1).  It is only a few miles from Fort Germanna and very likely the mine had a considerable influence on where Fort Germanna was built.  This is the mine that fascinated John Fontaine so much.

About this time, the Germans were set to searching for iron ore.  As Spotswood explained it in a later letter of 28 March 1724 Nathaniel Harrison, he said that he had been approached by Sir Richard Blackmore, who, with partners, was interested in setting up an iron works and desired that a search would be made for the ore.  Spotswood apparently became a partner also and set the Germans to work.  From his standpoint, it put the Germans to work and it could supply the capital he needed but did not have.  From the later testimony of J. Justus Albrecht and Jacob Holtzclaw, this work went from March 1715/16 until December of 1718 and consisted of mining and quarrying.

By the end of 1718, more than eight years after Spotswood arrived in Virginia, there was an iron mine.


In the last note, recognition was taken of Albrecht's and Holtzclaw's testimony that they were engaged in mining and quarrying from March 1715/16 until December of 1718.  This does not quite jibe with Spotswood's testimony as given to Harrison when he said the search for iron ore began in 1717.  It may be that the Germans were first engaged in an active search for silver and that after about one year this was changed to a search for iron ore.

In either case, toward the end of 1718, the activity ceased for two reasons.  First, the English partners of Spotswood dropped out and did not want to pursue the quest any longer.  Second, the time the Germans were to serve had expired.  In London, they had agreed to work four years and they arrived in April of 1714.  Thus their time was up in 1718.  From the testimony above, we know they stayed a while longer, until December, but it would seem that they left about then.

What had been accomplished by December of 1718?  The first clue is the amount of money which was spent on the project.  Spotswood wrote that it had cost him and the partners upwards of three score pounds.  Such a paltry sum would just have covered the cost of the black powder used in the mining and quarrying operation.  Thus at the end of the 1718, there was no iron furnace.  Spotswood probably had a proven iron mine though he had not yet patented the land.  Certainly he was far short of the capital needed to build an iron furnace and for this he needed partners.

So when the Germans (the First Germanna Colony) left, there was no iron furnace.  Though Spotswood at this time could not yet say he was in the iron business, he may have had hopes but he certainly had an unclear path to the future.  In fact, he seems at this time to be placing more emphasis on land development than on iron smelting.  Toward this end, he, with partners, had placed seventy-odd Germans on a large tract of land.  When this Second Germanna Colony arrived, there was no iron mine, yet alone an iron furnace.  So there was no intention to use them in the iron operation.

When he built his new home, which didn't occur until the early 1720's, he placed the new home so that it would be in the midst of his land holdings which extended out to the west beyond the present city of Culpeper.  This home was about thirteen miles from the future iron furnace which shows the state of his thinking when he was building his home.  He was thinking of his land and not of the iron prospects.  The former had been proven as a course of success in Virginia while the latter was most uncertain.

As an additional comment on yesterday's note, when the partners in England asked Spotswood to seek out iron ore, Spotswood did not turn to the proven source on William Byrd's land.  He could have answered to Sir Richard Blackmore by "return mail" that there was iron ore.  Instead, Spotswood started a search on unpatented (unclaimed) land that he could patent if ore was found.

From the length of time spent in developing the mine, it is not at all certain that a source of the ore was known when the search was started. Rather than saying that Spotswood had found iron when he came to Virginia and that he recruited people to mine it (which was not even true), I would prefer to say the Germans found the iron that eventually put Spotswood into the iron business.


When did the First Germanna Colony relocate from Germanna to their new home?  In 1718, they purchased over 1800 acres of land in the Northern Neck from the proprietors there.  (This future home was to become known as Germantown.)  This date is not a proof of anything but it does indicate that they were planning on moving.  It is unlikely that they would have purchased very far in advance of their intention to use the land.

They had agreed to work four years to pay the balance of their passage money.  Their time in Virginia commenced in April of 1714 and they probably did not arrive at Germanna until May or June.  There are good reasons that they might have preferred to stay at Germanna for a few extra months beyond the four years.  They were responsible for their own food and they had crops and animals which would not be ready to harvest or butcher until the fall of the year.  In the fall the larder would have been at its maximum and this would have been the best time to commence life at a new location.

They testified that they worked at mining and quarrying until December of 1718 which would be a few months past the end of their service.  From this we know they were active in the general vicinity of Germanna until 1718 so this fixes the earliest date for moving.  Since no labor beyond 1718 was listed, it is unlikely that there were any services performed beyond 1718, especially in view of the other factors.

Another clue is provided by the naturalization of Jacob Holtzclaw.  (He considered this important and filed a copy at the Spotsylvania Court House so that it is available today in Deed Book A, p.165.)  This naturalization was made on the 11th day of July 1722 by A. Spotswood, one of his last official acts as Lt. Governor of Virginia.  In this naturalization, Holtzclaw makes the statement that he had been a resident of Stafford County for several years.  If the minimum for "several" were three, then he must have moved shortly after December of 1718, say in January of 1719 by the modern calendar.  It would not be desirable to wait long past this time as there was a need to build homes, clear ground and plant crops for the growing season.

When the Germans left, Spotswood had a proven mine.  Through the use of a forge, samples of the metal had been tested to prove the quality.  There was also the task of proving the extent of the ore.  Since the furnace would be expensive, thousands of pounds, and could not be moved, it was vital to make sure that the quantity or amount of the ore would be sufficient to run the furnace for many years.  So most of the time that the Germans spent on the iron project was not in locating a source of the ore but in proving that the bed was large enough to sustain several years of output.

But, having an iron mine was hardly sufficient to solve Spotswood's problems.  He now needed money if he were to have a furnace.  William Byrd, from the richest family in Virginia, did not seem to be interested.  The capital sources had to be from England and these arrangments took time.  Also labor was needed.  The next note will offer a schedule for the building and first firing of the furnace.


By December of 1718, it is reasonable to assume that Spotswood had proven iron mines but no furnace.  The difficult part in this statement for most people is the claim there was no furnace by that date.  The basis for this is Spotswood's own statement that the partners in the search for the iron had spent about three score pounds in the effort.  This was a very small amoun.

The earliest mention of Spotswood's iron furnace in Virginia (actually he seems to have had partners) comes from Hugh Jones, cited here before.  He lived in Virginia from 1717 to 1722 when he returned to England.  In 1724 he published a book in which he wrote about the furnace:

"This iron has been proved to be good, and it is thought, will come at as cheap a rate as any imported from other places; so that 'tis to be hoped Colonel Spotswood's work will in a small time prove very advantageous to Great Britain . . ."

At a couple of points, Jones uses the future tense.  Still it seems as if the furnace has produced some output because it has been proven to be good.  Most likely, in 1722, the furnace had had a first "pour" which had been successful but the operation was still on shaky grounds.

There was another event in 1722 that bears on the subject.  Spotswood purchased land from the Smith heirs, below the falls of the Rappahannock, so that he could build a wharf for loading ships with the iron.  So in 1722 he was getting serious about shipping iron.

About this same time, in 1723, Lt. Gov. Drysdale, Spotswood's successor as Governor, wrote to the Board of Trade:

"I judge it part of my duty to inform your Ldspps. of an affair, that is at present the common Theme of people Discourses, and employs their thought.  Coll Spotswood's Iron workes: he had brought itt to that perfection that he now sells by public auction at Wm:burgh, backs and frames for Chymnies, Potts, doggs, frying, stewing and baking panns . . ."

Evidently, the "iron works" was still something of a novelty.  Considering the implications of the iron works and considering Drysdale's negative attitude toward Spotswood, had the works been in existence for any great length of time, Drysdale would have written to London sooner.  It is said that in 1723 he shipped 20 tons of iron to England.  Later his objective was to ship 1,200 tons of iron each years.  Therefore in 1723, the furnace was probably just coming into regular production.

Though the First Germanna Colony had moved on to Germantown in January of 1719 (NS) and it would appear there was a mine by then, Spotswood did not patent the iron mine land until 1720(NS).

Putting this all together, the timetable looks like:

1717: iron ore is discovered about 13 miles from Germanna;
1718: the ore beds are developed and proven;
1720: the iron mine tract is patented and construction of the furnace begins;
1721: trial runs occur at the furnace;
1722: while production amounts are encouraging, flaws need to be worked out;
1723: the furnace is in regular and consistent operation.


To summarize the activities of the Germanna Colonists towards Spotswood's iron industry, the First Colony developed the iron mines.  Probably they found the iron ore but proof of this is lacking.  They had left the lands of Spotswood for their own land in what is now Fauquier County before the furnace was built.

The Second Colony had essentially nothing to do with the iron mines or the iron furnace.  They were engaged in other activities, principally farming, grape culture and naval stores.  Still there is a hint that they may have been engaged in the iron industry briefly on a trial basis.  That is, they made charcoal.  This was "shipped" down the Rapidan River to the furnace site.  The clue that they may have done this lies in a comment of Spotswood in which he advised William Byrd not to make the charcoal at any great distance from the furnace.  He said he had tried to make charcoal across the river and it had not worked out (charcoal does not ship well).  The Second Colony did live across the river.  The activity is consistent with Spotswood's managerial characteristics as described by his furnace manager, Mr. Chiswell.

Who did build the furnace?  Probably workmen imported from England.  Some of the Germans who came after the First and Second Colonies might have been involved as labor.  Initially the general labor at the furnace when it was fired was could have been a mix of English and German workers.  Spotswood soon replaced these with slaves, saying he believed they could do all of the necessary tasks if they were properly trained.

So the First Germanna Colony could say they started Spotswood down the path leading to an iron idustry though they did not build his furnace.  The Second Germanna Colony should not make any claim to having been involved in any part of the activity.  It is entirely unproven, but some of the later Germans may have worked at the furnace.

Dr. Charles H. Huffman, in Germanna Record Nine, published in 1966, errs in a few points of his time schedule as given on page 110 there.  He says that within one year, in 1715, that the Germans started mining.  Spotswood said in 1716 that the Germans had been here two years and they had done no work for him and his partners.  Huffman says the furnace was completed in 1717 while Spotswood says that by December 1718 he had expended "upwards of three score pounds" which would not have sufficed for a furnace.  The following point might be debated but it seems to be in error by a year.  The Germans left in 1719 (NS) while Huffman says 1720.  Other evidence points to the furnace being built about 1720 to 1721 and in its first firing in late 1721.

There is a lesson from this.  Do not trust someone's interpretation of history just because someone says it is so.  Check it out for yourself.  Mr. Scott, in his history of Orange County, seems to have given his imprint to a misreading of the events which others, who followed him, copied without asking any critical questions.  Scott seems to have been influenced by the earlier writings of Willis Kemper, a descendant of the Germanna families and so Scott may blame Kemper.  A corollary to the principle of trust is to be especially doubtful of history when it is written by a descendant, especially when he writes it almost two hundred years after the facts.


Research in the German church records is a good source of information and often very rewarding for the information which it tells.  The records are not easy to use, being handwritten in a script which was peculiar to the Germans; however, it can be learned, as several descendants have proved.  The following information is due to Mrs. Margaret James Squires who found many of the Second Colony Germanna families in Germany.

The story centers around the small village of Neuenb�rg in the Kraichtal.  Today the village is in Baden.  To confuse the issues, Baden has two Neuenb�rgs which are only about twenty miles apart.  This has come about because the Neuenb�rg in which we are especially interested was originally on ecclesiastic lands belonging of the Catholic Church as represented by the Bishops of Speyer.  Early in the 1800's these lands were ceded to the civil state of Baden which gave it two Neuenb�rgs.  If we regard Baden as a state (it is now Baden-W�rttemberg), then we can add the district or county name of Kraichtal to distinguish the Neuenb�rg we want.  It is the smaller of the two, having perhaps a few hundred inhabitants.  The only church in town is Catholic and it is not clear where the Lutherans met.  The following information is from the "Lutheran" records.

Anna Barbara Sch�n was born there on 29 Sept 1664.  Her father was Quirin(us) Sch�n(e) and her mother was Maria Barbara, maiden name unknown.  The letters in the parenthesis indicate spelling variations sometimes found in the records.  Besides Anna Barbara, we know of three other children for a total of four:

Anna Barbara Sch�n, b. 29 Sept 1664
Peter Matthaeus Sch�n, b. 31 Aug 1667
Maria Barbara Sch�n, b. 17 July 1671, d. 3 March 1679
Jerg Martin Sch�n, b. 10 Jan 1682

The father died 17 May 1683 not long after the birth of the last child.  Anna Barbara Sch�n, barely past her sixteenth birthday, married Johann Thomas Blanckenb�hler on 2 Nov 1680 in Neuenb�rg.  He was the son of Matthias and Margaretha ( ? ) Blanckenb�hler.  This Matthias, a weaver, died 11 Aug 1691 at age 70 in Neuenb�rg.

Four children of Anna Barbara (Sch�n) and Johann Thomas Blanckenb�hler were baptized in Neuenb�rg:

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

When the fourth child was born, Anna Barbara was only twenty-two and a-half years old.  As we will see, she certainly had a full life.

Three of the four children above are immediately recognized as Germanna 1717 immigrants.  One of the surprises in the church records is that they showed that the fourth child, Anna Maria, was also a Germanna immigrant.  But there were lots of other surprises also.

The name Blanckenb�hler became many names in the colonies.  Citing a few of them, there are: Blankenbaker, Blankenbeker, Blankenbeckler, Blankenbecler, Pickler, Bickler, Blank, Blanken and Baker.


After the birth of Anna Maria Blanckenb�hler in 1687, there is a gap in the church records of a few years.  The mostly likely cause was war, probably due to an invasion by the French.  During such periods, the pastors often took the church books to a more remote location (and perhaps took himself also).  When the church books resume, we find that Anna Barbara (Sch�n) Blanckenb�hler married Johann Jacob Schluchter on 2 Nov 1691.  Herr Schluchter acquired a ready made family of four step-children aged four to nine years.

Johann Jacob Schluchter was born about 1652 and some records indicate he was from "Hollsultz".  He died 13 Feb 1698 so Anna Barbara was left as a widow for the second time when she was 34 years old.  Her family had grown by the addition of Henerich Schluchter, born 7 May 1697.

Four years later, Anna Barbara married her third husband, Cyriacus Fleischmann on 5 Mar 1701 in Neuenb�rg.  Cyriacus is noted as "of Klings" and his father was Weltin Fleischmann.  Three children were born to Anna Barbara and Cyriacus in Neuenb�rg:

Maria Catharina Fleischmann, b. 8 Mar 1702 (presumably she died young)
Maria Catharina Fleischmann, b. 26 Jan 1704
Hans Peter Fleischmann, b. 10 April 1708

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

Anna Maria Blanckenb�hler was the first child to marry.  On 18 Nov 1711 in Neuenb�rg, at the age of 24, she married Johann Thomas, the son of Albrecht Thomas.  They had three children born in Neuenb�rg:

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

Johann Nicholas Blanckenb�hler married Apollonia K�ffer in Neuenb�rg on 6 May 1714.  Two children were born in Neuenb�rg:

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

The father of Apollonia was Wolfgang K�ffer who seems to have originated in the region of Ansbach, some distance to the east.  Apparently he lived in Zaberfeld, Kreis Heilbronn, W�rttemburg for a brother of Apollonia, Jerg Niclas K�ffer was born there 20 Jul 1701.  Wolfgang died on 8 Aug 1728 in Zaberfeld.  His wife was Elisabetha.

The day after Johann Nicholas Blanckenb�hler married, Johann Mattheus Blankenb�hler, tailor, married Anna Maria Mercklin on 7 May 1714 in Oberderdingen, W�rttemburg.  Anna Maria was born 12 March 1693 in Oberderdingen to Hannes Jacob Mercklin and K�nigunda ( ? ).  Mattheus and Anna Maria may have lived in Oberderdinger for that is where the birth of one child is recorded:

Hannes Jerg Blanckenb�hler, b. --Feb 1715.

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

No marriage has been found in Germany for Hans Balthasar Blanckenb�hler though when he stepped off the ship in Virginia he had a wife but no children.


One other family came to Virginia from Neuenb�rg, the Sheible family which consisted of the father, mother and three daughters.  Mrs. Squires had the hunch that the family might be related to the Blankenbakers but she could not prove it.  Of the five daughters born to the Sheibles in Neuenb�rg, two died there, leaving three to emigrate.

A high percentage of the Neuenb�rg residents eventually end up in Virginia.  It is instructive to compare those leaving with those arriving.  Cyriacus Fleshman and his wife Anna Barbara both arrived in Virginia making two who left and two who arrived.  The name was only slightly distorted, being recorded as Coz Jacob Floschman.  Their two children, John Peter and Maria Catharina, also arrived safely making four who left and four who arrived.  The eldest son of Anna Barbara, John Nicholas, with his wife Apollonia and son Zacharias were three more to leave and to arrive for totals of seven and seven.  Second son, Bathasar, had no known family on leaving but did arrive with a wife.  Eight and eight.  Third son, Matthias, with Anna Maria and George, left and arrived.  Eleven and eleven.  Fourth son, Henry Schlucter had no known wife in Germany (he was 20 years old) and he arrrived safely.  Twelve and twelve.

Eldest daughter Anna Maria with husband John Thomas and children John and Anna Magdalena were in Germany but it is unknown if they came in 1717.  In fact there is no absolute proof that John Thomas, the father, ever did make it to Virginia.  We do know that the father and mother had two more children, one of whom was a son Michael.  Michael was not naturalized, suggesting he was born in Virginia and suggesting that his father did come to Virginia.

Just to round out the Neuenb�rg crowd, let us add in the Sheibles who arrived as the Chively family, complete with all five.  This brings the count up to sixteen and sixteen.  (If we did count the Thomases as probables, they would add four more.)  Thus the little village of Neuenb�rg sent along 20 people to the New World and all 20 arrived.

From this, one concludes that the death rate on the trip was not as bad as some people have stated.  There was a wide spectrum of ages included.  George Sheible was 47 years old, and his wife was perhaps of a similar age.  Anna Barbara, now married to Cyriacus Fleshman, was 53 years old.  Among the younger members, the grandchildren of Anna Barbara were very young.

This little village was to have a far reaching impact on the genealogy of the Second Germanna Colony.  For example, three-quarters of the Garr descendants can claim descent from Anna Barbara.  We will explore more examples of this later.


The closing of the last note mentioned that three-quarters of the Garr/Gaars were descendants of Anna Barbara Sch�n.  A quick survey of the Germanna families discloses at least the following families can also trace some lines back to her.

All of the Blankenbakers.  (There was a son Henry Schlucter of Anna Barbara, but whether he left descendants is unknown.)  All of the Fleshmans.  All of the Fishers.  Three quarters of the Garrs.  Because so many of the Finks family married Garrs, Fishers and Blankenbakers, the Finks family has a good number of Sch�n descendants.  Anyone who has a Michael Kaifer ancestor is a descendant of Anna Barbara.  All of the Thomases are descendants.  This means that all of the John Michael Smith, Jr., descendants are included also.  Many, maybe over half, of the Barlow descendants are Sch�n descendants.

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

Since the immigrant Railsback married Elizabeth Thomas, all of the Railsbacks are included.

Christian (or Christopher) Reiner married Elizabeth Fleshman.
PERHAPS Mary Tanner married John Thomas.

At least two-thirds of the Utz family married Sch�n descendants and the other third is an unknown.

The Waylands are extremely well represented.  Two lines of the Peter Weaver family come down through Anna Barbara.  The line of John Zimmerman includes Ursula Blankenbaker.

These ties are in the early generations.  In the later generations there were many ties to other families.  Still, the descendants tended to hang together and to remember their common ancestry.  We will take a look shortly at an example.


In the last note, we saw how Anna Barbara Sch�n, through her three husbands, tied together many of the Germanna families.  This association among the families continued for many years.  Today, I am going to jump forward to Easter Sunday in 1776 when the Lutheran Church (known now as Hebron) recorded a list of people taking communion.  Many of us are familiar with passing of the wine and bread among the congregation.  In 1776 at Hebron, the people filed out of the pews up to the altar (communion bar?) where they partook of the communion.  In the process, a writer wrote down the names.  Because they went up in an orderly way, we have a picture of the seating pattern.  That is, we can see who was sitting next to whom.  Let's see who was sitting in the front pews.

First was Adam Weyland and his wife, Maria.  Adam was in the group because his first wife was Elizabeth Blankenbaker, the daughter of Balthasar Blankenbaker.  She had died and he married Mary Finks.  But he was still a member of the group.  Elizabeth was a granddaughter of Anna Barbara.

The next couple was a grandson of Anna Barbara, Christopher Blankenbucher, and his wife, Christina Finks.

Next was Adam Fischer and his wife, Elisabeth Garr.  His father, Lewis Fisher, had married a granddaughter of Anna Barbara, another Anna Barbara, the daughter of Balthasar Blankenbaker.  Elizabeth Garr was also a descendant of Anna Barbara Sch�n since her mother was Elizabeth Kaifer and her grandmother was Anna Maria Blankenbaker.  So Elizabeth was a greatgranddaughter of Anna Barbara.

Next was Johannes Weyland, Sr. and his wife, Rosina Willheit.  John was the son of Adam, above, by his wife, Elizabeth Blankenbaker.  Therefore he was a greatgrandson of Anna Barbara.  Rosina went along for the ride as she was the daughter of John Willheit and Waldburga Weaver.

The next couple was John Flieschmann and his wife Elisabeth.  Again, both were descendants of Anna Barbara.  John was a grandson and Elizabeth was a granddaughter through John Nicholas Blankenbaker.

Following them in the communion line were Michael Blankenbucher, a son of John Nicholas Blankenbaker and therefore a brother to Elizabeth, preceeding.  Michael's wife was the daughter of the immigrant, Andrew Garr.

Michael's brother, Zacharias (he was born in Germany) with his wife, Els, or Alcy, were the next couple.  Zacharias was a grandson of Anna Barbara.  Els maiden name is not known definitely, but there is hint that she may have been the widow Finks, perhaps of a brother of the immigrant, Mark Finks, Sr.

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

The next couple were not descendants though they were the parents of Rosina Willheit, above, married to a descendant.  The couple was John Willheit and Waldburga Weaver.

By now, we have gone through 18 people or about three pews worth.

This sort of analysis is fun just for the insight it gives into our ancestors and, on occasion, one can draw conclusions.  In the front of the church, most often, people sat with their relatives, not with friends.  But to them, relatives were friends.  After marriage, you became one of your spouse's extended family and were treated as such.

(I used the spelling in the church register to introduce people above.)


Margaret James Squires found other Germanna families besides the ones from Neuenb�rg that we have recapped.  In an act of serendipity, while looking for one set of families, she found two more Germanna families.  She was looking in the church records of H�ffenhardt, Mosbach, Baden, when her eyes happened to fall on the names of Volck and Utz.  To help keep the following story more intelligible, here is a recap.

Anna Maria (?) married Johann Michael Volck.  She died and he married Anna Barbara Majer.  He died and she married Johann Georg Utz.  Mrs. Squires recognized that the names Volck, which might be spelled Folg, and Utz were Germanna names.  Looking at the details, Hans (or Johann) Michael Volck of Wagenbach married, ca. 1685, Anna Maria, maiden name unknown.  Wagenbach is an estate farm of a few houses just a couple of miles from H�ffenhardt.  Michael and Anna Maria had seven children born 1687 to 1704.  The first three children died young.  The other four have no known death records -- Hans Adam, b. 26 Dec 1692; Maria Philippina Rosina, b. 18 Feb 1695; Maria Charlotta, b. 27 Feb 1699; and Anna Christina, b. 22 Dec 1704.  After a gap in the church records, Johann Michael Volck married Anna Barbara Majer(s) on 29 Jan 1709.  Three children were born to this marriage -- Maria Sabina Charlotta Barbara, b. 19 Mar 1710; Louisa Elisabeth, b. 23 Mar 1711; and Maria Rosina, b. 22 Aug 1712.

Johann Michael Volck died 7 Apr 1714 at the age of 51 years.  The widow, Anna Barbara (Majer) Volck married Johann Georg Utz on 10 July 1714.  Two children were born in Germany -- Ferdinand, b. 3 Apr 1715; and Johannes, b. 25 Jul 1716.  Others were born in Virginia.

The identity of these people is certain.  George Utz was a member of the Second Germanna Colony.  Maria Sabina Volck became the second wife of John Huffman, First Colony pioneer.  She has the right name, the right birthday, and perhaps even more telling is that when John Huffman married Maria Sabina, he moved to land adjacent to George and Barbara Utz who were Maria Sabina's mother and step-father.

George Utz and his family are on the Spotswood list of immigrants whose headrights he claimed.  By comparison, using the original spellings, he was Hans Jerich Otes, his wife was Parbara, and his only son was Ferdinandis and his step-daughters were Sylvania and Anna Louisa (their surnames were implied as Utz).  The son Johannes did not make it, but we do not know where the death occurred.  It may have been on board ship or it may have been earlier.  Among her daughters, Sylvania was the transcription of Sabina.  Why Louisa Elisabetha was called Anna Louisa is not clear.  And also it is not clear what happened to Maria Rosina.  The assumption is that the step-daughters of Barbara Utz did not come.  They might have raised in another family.

In Virginia, Ferdinand must have died as there is no record of him.  What happened to Anna Louisa is not clear.


Continuing with the Volck, Utz, Majer families who have an appearance in H�ffenhardt, the name Volck in Germany was transcribed in Virginia by John Huffman as Folg.  Probably John's wife and mother-in-law could not write and so may have been uninformed on the spelling.  John Huffman's spelling is reasonable; it sounds almost the same.

In Germany, the letter "j" was a vowell and was used almost interchangeably with the letter "i" or "y".  Thus the name Majer might have been spelled by some as Maier or as Mayer.  And it would not be difficult to believe that it might be spelled as Moyer in Virginia.  It is interesting that the Moyer family had land in Virginia that was close to the Utz and the Huffman tracts.  Therefore much interest has been expressed in the origins of Anna Barbara Majer whose father was Hans Majer of "Wolfartweyher".  Though several villages might have this variation of spelling, research has been unsucessful in finding Hans Majer.

Another family in Virginia that seems linked to the origins of Hans Majer and his family is the Balthasar Blankenbaker family.  Bathasar was a sponsor at the baptism of all twelve children of John and Mary Sabina Huffman which indicates that perhaps his wife was also a member of the Majer family.

The parents of Johann Michael Volck are known; they are Michael Volck and Margaretha Albrect.  The grandfathers of Johann Michael Volck are also known; they are Martin Volck and Hans Georg Albrect.

The marriage of Michael Volck and Margaretha Albrect took place in H�ffenhardt on 18 Nov 1656.  The births of nine children are recorded at H�ffenhardt:

Hans Diether, 30 Oct 1657;
Hans Martin, 29 Jan 1660;
Hans Jerg, 30 Nov 1661;
Hans Michael (the father of the immigrant, Mary Sabina), 29 Jan 1663;
Georg Dieterich, 3 Sept 1666;
Maria Margareta, 23 Feb 1669;
Anna Margareta, 30 Nov 1670;
Maria Christian, 27 Jan 1679;
Maria Barbara, 12 Aug 1680.

The father of Johann Georg Utz was Michael Utz who is identified with "Haundorff".  This seems to be located to the east where several Utz family members have been located; however, due to a lack of records, no positive identifications have been made.  (At some future time, I will recap the movements of several of the Germanna people from the "east".)  [In the 1700's, there was a poet from this region by the name of Utz.  He was so well thought of that his works were reprinted a hundred years later.]

The death of the sons of George and Barbara Utz, namely, Ferdinand and John, may have occurred at a late date.  In the 1739 tithables, George Utz is charged with three which we presume to be the father and two sons.  The two sons might have been Ferdinand and John or it might have been one of these and Michael who was born in Virginia.  In 1739, Ferdinand would have been 24 and John would have been 23 so it is possible that they left heirs.  However, no evidence is known to support the idea.


We continue to be indebted to Margaret James Squires for research into the German church records.  Today's subject is Christopher Zimmerman, member of the Second Germanna Colony.

The Zimmermann family came from Steffisburg, canton of Bern, Switzerland, before 1665 to Ravensburg, Baden, Germany.  Ravensburg is very near Sulzfeld where John, the son of Christopher, stated he was from.  The Sulzfeld Evangelische Church Parish (Lutheran) shows the birth of Johann Christoph Zimmermann on 16 Mar 1692 and his baptism as the 17th.  He was the third son of Christian (Christian, Michael) Zimmermann and Eva D�nstler of Langenbruck, the daughter of Michael D�nster (as written).

When Christopher was six years old, his mother died.  His father remarried nine months later.  The new wife was Maria Barbara Edel, the daughter of Englehard Edel and his wife Anna Maria of Sulzfeld.  A large second family followed.

Johann Christopher, at the age of eighteen years (on 27 Jul 1710), marrried a woman five or six years older than he was.  This was Dorothea Rottle, the daughter of Martin Rottle of "Horndorff".  Their first child, Johannes, was born 11 April 1711 and was baptized the next day.  There were no other surviving children before Dorothea died on 16 January 1714 at twenty-seven years of age.  Christopher was a widower at twenty-two years of age with a son Johannes of less than three years of age.

A year and a half later, Christopher appears in the same parish with a wife, Anna Elizabeth, when their first child, Johann Martin, was born 15 June 1715.  Where the marriage took place and Anna Elizabeth's maiden name are unknown.  At the age of 25, Christopher decided to leave his father and several half-siblings and to go to America.  He landed in Virginia with Elizabeth and John and Andrew.  It is presumed that during the trip Johann Martin died and Andrew was born.  Still there is no doubt that this is the same family in Virginia as in Sulzfeld.

Later in Madison Co., VA, John Zimmerman and Elizabeth Weaver swore that Frederick Zimmerman was the only brother of "the whole blood" and heir at law of Christopher Zimmerman (II), deceased.  This shows that the John Zimmerman who came to Virginia was not the son of Elizabeth (see Madison Co., VA Order Book #1-3, 1793-1798).

Other families came also from Sulzfeld in the typical pattern that the emigration of one family often led, if not simultaneously, to the eventual emigration of other families.  One family that may have been from Sulzfeld (or from the nearby villages) is the Fisher family.

When the son, Johannes, of Christoph and Dorothea Zimmermann was baptized in Sulzfeld on 12 April 1711, one of the godparents was Anna Barbara Fischer.  On 16 June 1715, the parents, Christoph and Anna Elisabeth Zimmermann had their child, Johann Martin, baptized with one of the witnesses being Ludwig Fischer.  Though one of the later families in Virginia was Lewis and Anna Barbara Fisher, this later family could not have been the Sulzfeld family.  They could be related though.  As noted it was often the tendency to travel together.  Also it might be noted that Johannes, b. 1711, married Ursula Blankenbaker and that Lewis Fisher (in Virginia) married Anna Barbara Blankenbaker.


Johann Christopher Zimmerman was a 1717 colony member from Sulzfeld in Baden.  His father was Christian Zimmermann (a Junior) who was christened 30 December 1669 and who died 22 May 1735 after the son above had moved to Virginia.  He had married on 28 January 1688 Eva D�nstlerin who was the daughter of Michael D�nster and by whom he had four children:

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

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

Depending upon the church records, a history or ancestry can sometimes be carried back several generations, but information in the 1500's is hard to come by.  In the following notes, one family will be carried back several generations in more than one branch.

In the names above, Eva D�nstlerin has the "in" added to her father's name.  This is a feminine ending showing that she was a female.  Her name and her father's name are also spelled differently, apart from the feminine ending.  This is not unusual.

Another family from Sulzfeld was the Kabler family as it sometimes spelled in Virginia.  In Virginia, Christopher and Frederick Kabler lived close together in the Mt. Pony settlement.  Thus an association which began in Sulzfeld is continued in Virginia.  This is not an unusual pattern.  Also, in Virginia, Christopher Zimmerman and Frederick Kabler are both given as coopers.  Christopher was also a large land owner.


The family of Michael Willheit is one of the most extensively researched of the Germanna families.  The genes seem to have imbued descendants with a desire to learn more about their ancestors.  The research to be reported here comes from several private individuals including Mary Mickey, Earl and Leona Willhoite, and Fred Westcott.  Their efforts have been amply rewarded as several lines of the German ancestry have been traced back for the better part of a couple of hundred years.

The immigrant Johann Michael Willheit was christened 25 Jan 1671 in Schwaigern, W�rttemburg.  His first marriage yielded no children who lived.  His second marriage was to Anna Maria Hengsteler who had been christened 9 Oct 1685 in Oberbaldingen, Baden.  Anna Maria was a widow with a daughter who survived and who came to America after her mother did.

These facts already tell us that Germanna Record 13 is in error in its Wilhoit history where the wife of Michael Willheit is given as Mary Margaret Blankenbaker.  Not only is there no such record to be found in the Germany records, there was no record found for the birth of Mary Margaret Blankenbaker in Germany.  How this error started is known; let it be said that it is proof of the danger of suppositions.

Letting Micheal Willheit be number 2 and letting Anna Maria Hengsteler be number 3, I continue with the conventional numbering style.

  1. Hans Michael Willheit was born ca. 1645 in Schwaigern and d. Sept 1711 in Schwaigern.  He married first on 27 Dec 1689:

  2. Anna Maria Riflin/R�fflin, who was christened in 1647 in Schwaigern.  She d. 27 Dec 1689 in Schwaigern.

  3. Matthias Hengsteler was born 24 Feb 1654 and he married first on 7 Oct 1683 in Oberbaldingen:

  4. Maria M�ller, born 27 Feb 1667 in Oberbaldingen.

  5. Johann Georg Willheit was christened 3 July 1616 (presumably in Schwaigern) and he married first on 12 July 1640:

  6. Barbara Lutz who was christened 4 Dec 1615 in Schwaigern.

  7. Martin R�fflin, christened 8 Sept 1623, m. 4 July 1647 in Schwaigern:

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

  9. Hans Hengsteler, b. ca. 1625, d. 20 May 1699, of Oberbaldingen married:

  10. Maria K�ntzlin, christened 21 Feb 1619, d. 11 Dec 1675, of Oberbaldingen.

  11. Barthin M�ller, b. ca. 1630, d. 28 Jan 1688, m. 18 Jun 1665:

  12. Sulome Metzger, b. ca 1635 in Altdorf, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The name Willheit is spelled in many ways but not as Willheit.  Popular ways include Wilhite, Wilhoit(e), sometimes with a doubled "l".  A similar spelling, Wilhide, originates with a cousin of Johann Michael Willhite who came to America also.


Continuing with the Willheit family and following the same numbering scheme:

  1. Jeorg Willeyt, b. ca. 1590, d. 14 Aug 1635, Schwaigern, m. 8 Mar 1615, in Schwaigern:

  2. Rosina Michael, b. ca. 1585.

  3. Hans Lutz,b. ca. 1580, d. before Feb 1623, m. 30 Sept 1606 in Schwaigern:

  4. Anna Flamm, b. ca. 1580, d. 8 Feb 1623 in Schwaigern.

  5. Hans R�fflin, b. ca. 1580 Schwaigern, m.(2) 8 May 1610 in Schwaigern:

  6. Barbara Kneer, b. ca. 1580 in Schwaigern.

  7. Matthias Bartenschlag, b. ca. 1600, of Hafnerslach, Baden, m.:

  8. Catherina ______.



  11. Martin Keinzlin, chr. 5 Feb 1589, �fingen, Baden, m.:

  12. Agnes _____.

  13. Sebastian M�ller, b. ca. 1585, Oberbaldingern, m. ca. 1612 in Oberbaldingen:

  14. Maria K�ntalin, chr. Jan 1584 in �fingen.

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


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


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




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


  25. Jeorg R�fflin, b. ca. 1550, of Schwaigern.


  27. Jacob Kneer of Schwaigern.

  28. , 44., 45., 46., etc. until

  1. Sebastian M�ller, b. ca. 1550, Oberbaldingen, m. ca. 1579:

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

  3. Hans K�ntalin who married:

  4. Katherina ______.

  5. , 61., 62., 63.

WORD OF WARNING:  Do not use the information in this note or in any of these notes as an authority.  The information may be true but the presentation for these notes is meant to be interpreted as "what might be done" by research in the German church records, the principal source of the data.  Do not copy the information onto family group sheets without more careful verification.

What can be done is that many lines can be carried back into the 1500's, but at that point, progress becomes very difficult.  Tracing the maternal sides is often more difficult.  When another locality is involved, the spelling seldom conforms to modern geographical names. I have rendered the unlauted vowels by adding an "e".  Thus "�" becomes "ue".

(NOTE FROM WEB PAGE AUTHOR: Originally, in John's notes, he had rendered all "�" as "u", "�" as "o", etc.  I have already changed most of John's American transliterations back to the German characters.  If you find any I have missed, please let me know by sending me an e-mail.  George W. Durman)


In later notes, mention will be made of research in the German records by a professional research firm.  This pioneering work has opened many doors for descendants.  But as today's note will illustrate, perhaps it is best to regard this type of activity as the starting point.

The source of data for this note is a 1991 copyrighted monograph by Stephen H. Broyles entitled "Additional Information Regarding the German Origin of the Broyles/Briles Family" and used here with permission.  When Steve started this work, he publically stated that he had no qualifications for the task.  Of course, that is not totally true as he had the essential qualification of desire.  But he did admit that there was a learning curve to the work which he insisted others could duplicate also.  Other individuals, who heard Steve describe his work, have agreed with him.

The family in Germany was Johannes and Ursula (Ruop) Breyel which came in the group that made the Second Germanna Colony.  In Virginia, the spelling of the name became Broyles or Briles.  Johannes Briel/Breyel was the oldest son of Conrad and Margaretha and was christened on 1 May 1679 in Du�lingen, W�rttemberg.  Conrad Breyel died 8 October 1703 in Du�lingen, five days after breaking his back.

This accident was described in the death register as the result of falling "over" a crabapple tree.  How "over" (�ber in German) is to be interpreted is a debated but it seems logical that Johannes was in the top of the tree when he fell or it broke.

Less than a month after Johannes Breil's father, Conrad, died, Johannes married Ursula Ruop, daughter of Hans Jacob Ruop, gravedigger, on 6 Nov 1703.  What was so unusual or questionable is that this marriage took place in a village, �tisheim, that was forty miles away.  Since Johannes was 24, he was of a marriageable age.  But his father, Conrad, had been the miller and, as the eldest son, Johannes could have expected to inherit the mill.

Therefore it seem unlikely that he would leave the village of Du�lingen, but he did.  This had bothered Steve Broyles and he wanted confirmation that we were talking about the same Johannes.  Fortunately, there is a notice in the Du�lingen parish marriage records of the marriage of Johannes and Ursula in �tisheim which resolved this question without any doubts.

Johannes and Ursula had the following children in �tisheim:

  1. Hans Jacob, twin, christened 26 Mar 1705.
  2. Conrad, twin, christened 26 Mar 1705.  Presumably he died young.
  3. Mattheus, christened 24 Nov 1706, d. 24 July 1708.
  4. Conrad, christened 2 Jan 1709.
  5. Jerg Martin, christened 1 Aug 1711, no further information.
  6. Maria Elisabetha, christened 5 July 1716.

The birth of Maria Elisabetha is the last record found in the German records which would be consistent with emigration in 1717.  Later, in Virginia, more children would be born.

As a result of his research, Steve discovered the birth of the twins which had been reported earlier as one son with the three part name: Hans Jacob Conrad.  The twin, Conrad, is presumed to have died because the name was reused again in 1709.  Steve was also able to correct the christening date for the 1709 Conrad.

The reuse of names is not unusual.


In recent notes, we have looked at the information that can be found in the German church records.  All of the work that we have reported, had been found, corrected, or verified by private individuals who were willing to release the information into the public domain.

The German ancestry of the First Germanna Colony members has been worked out just about as far as is possible.  Much of this work was done by German residents who were interested in the Germanna Colonies.  The Germanna Foundation published this, as compiled by B. C. Holtzclaw, as a part of Germanna Record Five, "Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia, 1714-1750".  Not nearly as much had been done for the Second Colony members.

Professional researchers saw a void which they could fulfill.  Knowing where the Willheits and the Blankenbakers and perhaps some others were from, they adopted the search strategy of looking at all of the churchs in villages that were close to the known villages.  The strategy was extremely successful.  The results, by Johni Cerny and Gary J. Zimmerman of Lineages, Inc., were published in a series of twelve booklets called "Before Germanna".  I believe that all twelve booklets can be purchased from them on a computer diskette.  If interested, contact Lineages, Inc. at PO Box 417, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.  I also believe that the booklets can be purchased as printed matter from American Genealogical Lending Library Publishers, PO Box 244, Bountiful, UT 84011.

Not all families have yielded the same amount of data for a variety of reasons.  As we saw, the Willheit family yielded a great amount of data while other families have a minimum, such as the Utz family.  Using a modern spelling (but not necessarily the only one), the following families were found:

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

The church records for these families are available on microfilm through the Latter Day Saints.  Not all church records have been filmed.  There are also civil records to be consulted.  Almost all research so far has omitted the sponsors at the baptisms, a veritable font.  Someone who wished to benefit his fellow researchers could undertake the task of extending and augmenting what has been found so far.

The individual who is interested in one family, say one whose origin is unknown, would do best to identify closely allied families in America and to see if they have known origins.  This is the basic "Hank Jones strategy".  One needs a detailed map and gazeteer, a willingness to consider spelling variations and patience.  There is a learning curve for the German script, but as Stephen Broyles said here, "It can be done".  Some people would prefer to hire experts, but others love the fun of the chase itself.

Gary Zimmerman of Lineages was not related to the Germanna Zimmermans nor to any of the Germanna people.  Though he was the principal researcher and apparently made some initial mistakes, he did start from ground zero and he did succeed.  I used the past tense in speaking of Gary as he died on the morning of a Germanna Seminar when his co-worker, Johni Cerny, gave a talk on the research effort.


The road of Charles II toward the throne of England was not easy.  Oliver Cromwell prevented him from occupying the seat.  In this state, Charles could do little to reward his supporters but he did grant seven loyal supporters the "land bounded by and within the heads" of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers (in 1649).  While Cromwell remained in control, this was a dubious claim.

When Charles was restored to the throne in 1660, the value of the claim was raised considerably.  A son of one of the original proprietors, Thomas Second Lord Culpeper, saw the potential value and he acquired the total and exclusive rights from the other proprietors.  His interest in the land went to his daughter and heir in 1689.  She married Thomas the Fifth Lord Fairfax.  Their son, Thomas the Sixth Lord Fairfax, inherited the grant.  In 1730, he began a 15 year battle to assert his claim in the broadest geographical sense.

There was a dispute about how much land was to be included.  The Crown wanted a narrow definition, with the least amount of land, because the land that Fairfax had could not be sold by the King nor could quitrents be levied.  Fairfax saw the question in just the opposite light.

That there were questions hinged on the definitions and their interpretations.  For example, the Rappahannock River splits into two parts just above the town of Frederickburg.  The northern branch was called the Hedgman or the North Fork of the Rappahannock.  The southern branch was called the South Fork of the Rappahannock until Alexander Spotswood came as Lt. Governor.  He started calling this South Fork, the Rapidan River.  One wonders if this was an attempt to disguise the issue and to weaken the proprietor's claim.  That the two branches were part of the same river system is emphasized by land claims of the period which refer to the Great Fork, meaning the land between the northern and southern branches of the Rappahannock.

This was a question of some importance to people who were buying land in the Great Fork.  Did one buy it from the King or from Fairfax?  The King did preempt Fairfax and was selling the land in the Great Fork, but Fairfax was insisting that it belonged to him.  Today this land constitutes the modern counties of Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock.  Land to the north of the Northern Fork (Hedgman) and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains was clearly in Fairfax's domain.  This included the original counties of Stafford, Prince William, and today's Fauquier County.  Thus the First Germanna Colony was living, at Germantown, on land purchased from the proprietor, not from the Crown.  This region was called, in a broad sense, the Northern Neck because it the northern tier of counties in Virginia.  The Second Germanna Colony lived on land in the Great Fork they purchased from the King.

How does one settle questions of the type raised by the proprietor's claims?  The Northern Neck proprietor and the Colonial government argued and measured the relative flows of waters in the branches.  Was the northern branch larger than the southern branch?  Commissions were appointed and surveyors were put to work.  Recommendations were made and rejected.  There was a little give and take but the positions were, by and large, inflexible.


Some of the arguments used by the Colony of Virginia against Lord Fairfax were specious.  For example, the Potomac River divides at Harpers Ferry into two rivers and Virginia argued that the Potomac came to an end there.  The same argument could have been used with the Rappahannock when it splits into the North Fork (Hedgman) and the South Fork (Rapidan).  But all of this river splitting was just splitting hairs.

Generally, it was agreed that the largest branch was to be followed when two streams of water merged.  This process was to be continued until the headwaters were reached.  Then a line was to be drawn between the headwater of the Potomac and the headwater of the Rappahannock and all of the land bounded by the rivers and this line were to be a part of the Fairfax or Northern Neck grant.  But this did not solve the question of which branch was the largest.

Virginia, trying to enforce their decision, had George Hume survey a line from the head of the Hedgman River to the head of the Potomac.  This was done in 1743.  But Fairfax did not concede the issue and boldly carried the issue to the King in the form of his Privy Council.  In 1745 they ruled that the Fairfax grant extended to the south branch of the Rappahannock (the Rapidan) and up it and the Conway River to its headwaters.

There were several implications and complications from this issue.  All of a sudden, the landowners in the Great Fork (today's Rappahannock, Madison and Culpeper Counties) found they were to pay quitrents to a new person.  Several people who were worried about their titles had new surveys made and filed with Lord Fairfax.  There was little danger in losing the land as the Privy Council noted that the land patents had been made in good faith and were to be observed.  New land, never taken up before, was now to be granted from Lord Fairfax and not patented from the Crown.

Over in the Shenandoah Valley, Hume's line, which formed a county boundary, had no meaning now and a new line, called the Privy Council line, was surveyed in 1745.  This is one reason that county boundaries in the Valley changed as much as they did.

The Colony of Virginia certainly made its share of blunders in this whole episode.  First, the King (Charles II) transferred land not knowing the extent of what he was giving away.  How the words defining the grant were to be interpreted was an open question.  Even after there was a better geographical knowledge of the extent, the Colony continued to patent land when it was rather clearly in the Fairfax grant.  This made lots of legal trouble, especially in the Valley, for the land owners.

The transfer of land to the private individuals occurred by two different sets of procedures depending on whether the King (the Colony of Virginia) or Lord Fairfax was selling the land.  Lord Fairfax wanted cash for his land while the Colony would accept other means of payment for the land.


Very early in its history, the Virginia Colony decided it would be better if more people lived there.  To encourage people to come, everyone who came into Virginia could have fifty (50) acres of land for "free".  This applied to men, women and children, whites and blacks, English and non-English subjects.  One had to go to court and swear they were immigrants to Virginia.  The clerk of the court then issued a certificate entitling the person to 50 acres of land.  Since many people came in a family, say one of four people, the certificate would be for 200 acres of land.  These certificates became known as head-rights.  The headrights were transferrable from one person to another.  Very quickly, the practice became that the headright went to the person who paid the transportation.

When the First Colony was ready to move away from Germanna, they bought land in the Northern Neck from the owner.  Now the proprietors in the Northern Neck did not honor headrights.  They wanted cash or, at least, a promise to pay cash.  So the Germans had no need for the headrights; however, they did apply for them a few years later though they were essentially of zero value in the Northern Neck.  In some cases they sold the headrights to people who wanted to buy land from the Crown and could use the headrights.

The Second Colony members did not apply for headrights since Spotswood paid their transportation costs.  But most of the land he was "buying" or patenting from the Crown was free.  So he had little need for the headrights.  Eventually he did need them and did use them.  For this we are grateful since it gives us the names of 48 people for whom he paid the transportation.  We believe that all 48 of these people were Second Colony members and several genealogical questions have been answered by these names.

These headrights appear in two sources.  One is in the court records when application was made for the headright.  But not all headrights appear here.  The other appearance of the headright is in the patents for land where it notes how the land is being paid for.  If by headrights, the names of the people who took out the headright appear in the patents.  The 48 names mentioned above, appear in this way; they occur in a patent of land taken out by Spotswood.  Generally, the court records are more complete and tell a lot more than a name in the patent which is just that and nothing more.  Still names can be very valuable.

The system was liable to corruption.  When Spotswood came to Virginia, he observed that procedures were very lax.  He complained that the captains of the ships bringing people would claim headrights.  Then the wholesaler who bought the people from the captain to sell at retail as servants would claim them.  The person who bought the servant would claim them also.  Finally the person who came into Virginia and had already been claimed as a headright three times would claim himself also.  So Spotswood set up a registry of names to try and prevent the multiple use of names.  Spotswoood also thought it was unfair that citizens living in the Northern Neck could have headrights which they could sell for use outside the Northern Neck but there was little he could do about his practice.


The purpose of headrights was to transfer land at a fixed schedule of fifty acres per headright.  An immigrant to Virginia was entitled to one headright.  Usually the headright went to the person who paid the transportation.  But it wasn't always the case.

For example, Lawrence Crees of the Second Germanna Colony patented 200 acres of new land in 1732 and paid for it with four headrights, those of John Cuntz, Katherine Cuntz, Peter Hitt and Elizabeth Hitt, all of whom were members of the First Germanna Colony.  Did Lawrence Crees pay the transportation of John and Katherine Cuntz and of Peter and Elizabeth Hitt?  No, he wasn't even in Virginia when the Cuntzes and Hitts came.

From the application for the Cuntz headright (in 1724), the testimony was that Joseph, his wife Katherine, and children, John, Annallis, and Katharina, came in 1714.  The headright certificate was actually issued in 1729.  Similar dates apply to Peter and Elizabeth Hitt.  (All of this is in the Spotsylvania Order Book for 1724 to 1730.)

What happened is that Joseph Cuntz applied in 1724 and received five headrights in 1729.  The five year delay was probably because he couldn't use the headrights in the Northern Neck so he did not push to obtain the certificates.  The value was quite small, worth only a few shillings per headright.  But eventually he did obtain them.  Then he did nothing with them until a few more years had gone by and then he sold two of them to Lawrence Crees who used them in 1733 outside the Northern Neck.

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

Also, one might form an erroneous opinion about who was in the Cuntz family.  From the headright, one might think that the head of the family was John and that Katherin was probably his wife.  As we have just seen, this would be wrong.  It remains a question as why Lawrence Crees did not buy all four of the four headrights he could use from Joseph Cuntz.  Instead he split his purchase with two Cuntz headrights and two Hitt headrights.

On the same 1724 and 1729 dates, John Huffman applied for headrights for himself and his wife, Katherina, saying they came in 1714.  You might conclude that John and Katherina were married when they came.  Since Katherina was only twelve years old in 1714, you might also conclude that she had married very young.  Fortunately, we have John Huffman's Bible record in which he records his wedding at a later date.  In 1714, Katherina was still the unmarried daughter of Rev. H�ger.

There is a general lesson here.  For a variety of reasons, we must be very careful about drawing conclusions.  Headrights are not always what they appear to be.  But we should extend this conclusion to other types of records as well.

I have, and you probably have also, read Virginia genealogies based on nothing much more than an appearance of a name as an importee.  Makes you wonder.


(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 THIRD set of Notes, Nr. 51 through Nr. 75.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

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

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025