GERMANNA History Notes Page #009

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This is the NINTH 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 201 through 225.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 9

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Nr. 201:

In this, the first of the third "century" of these notes, I would like to review what these notes are all about.  Of course, they are about the Germanna Colonists, but I interpret the meaning of that phrase in a broad sense.  In part, that is because the Germanna Colonists have a lot in common with all of the Germans.  Secondly, many of the people that we call Germanna Colonists lived for a while, either before or after their Virginia Piedmont sojourn, in other colonies.  Some of these individuals are not well known.  To the extent that these notes interest others whose Germanna connections may be weak, we may learn more about our Germanna colonists.

To cite an example, the family of Mark Finks, is not well known.  I suspect he may have come to Virginia from Pennsylvania, as several of our people did.  If someone should have information on this family, I would like to hear it.  I know that Mark and his family were a little different from the usual Germanna family, but I am not sure why.

One of the disadvantages of this open-minded attitude is that people ask me questions about things or people for whom I know nothing.  So be it; if that is the price, then I pay it by at least trying to respond to their question.

I started in this Germanna business because I have a bunch of ancestors in it.  Perhaps you have heard me say that a grandfather was pure Germanna (some Austrian, some Swiss and a lot of different regions of Germany).  But, as I studied the families and the history, I found that the history was especially interesting.  Then I found that the history, as it is usually told, is incorrect.  Now, one of the hardest things to do is to correct a mistake in genealogy or history.  I am surprised that corrections to genealogy known now for several years are not known by everyone.  In part, that is due to the "power" of the written word.  For example, I still hear people saying that Michael Willheit's wife was Mary Blankenbaker.  And some of the things said about the Fisher family amaze me.  In the face of excellent evidence, people will persist in saying the opposite of what the evidence says.  One of my delights in publishing Beyond Germanna has been the correction of the early Rector family history (due to others, I may add).

I would wish that others would use this forum more for discussions and questions.  No one owns the content; it is an open list for all opinions presented in good taste.

(Here, John refers to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Discussion List. If you wish to subscribe to this List, see the subscription instructions below.  Web Page Manager)

So, join in the fun; it is a rewarding experience !

Nr. 202:

Continuing around the year with farmer-surveyor David Schultze, we pick up with April.

April 4: One and a half acres of oats sowed and by this time the pond cleaned.
April 7: Hauled some manure. Cleaned trees (?).
April 10: Sowed another half acre of flaxseed and two acres with oats.
April 14: Sowed one and three-quarters acres with oats.
April 18: Sold two cows. Seeded nine and one half acres with oats for ourselves.
April 19: Melchoir drove to Philadelphia. Returned on the 20th.  Price of wheat was 4 (shillings) and 1 (pence)-30 bushels.
April 20: Two and three-quarters acres of oats sowed.
April 25: Fed the last turnips to the cows.
April 26: Sowed oats for the last time this year.
April 27, 28: Made fence and plowed.
May 1, 2: Plowed up about one and a half acres of old meadow.
May 2: Received a bee swarm already!  Sheared sheep - 4 pounds of wood from four white sheep.
May 3, 4: Plowed the new land for buckwheat.
May 5: Fed the last oats straw.
May 7, 8, 9: Plowed for buckwheat.
May 9: Made rails and carried wood.
May 10: Began to plow in the field to the South.
May 18: Finished plowing.

[There is no explanation for a long break until the next date.]

June 22: Finished sowing buckwheat - more than five acres.  Finished making hay - twelve little fields.
June 25: Cut 580 sheaves of grain.
June 30: Almost finished harvesting - 1240 sheaves.  1100 sheaves of grain in the barn [unthreshed] and 140 bundles of hay.
July 4, 5: Cut grain and bound 1680 sheaves.
July 10: Finished picking flax.

[We called it pulling flax when I was a boy].
July 11: Began to mow oats.
July 12: Sold two sheep.
July 13: Bound 65 sheaves.
July 14: Bound 65 sheaves.
July 17, 18. Bound 113 sheaves. Till now, 370 sheaves.
July 21: Began the second plowing.
July 27: Hauled manure.

Gaps in the dates may be due to surveyor jobs.  David Schultze was also a very respected individual in the community.  There were major land disputes on which his testimony and opinions were solicited.  Some of the work above may have been done by relatives and hired hands.

Nr. 203:

Around the year with David Schultze,

August 9: Finished the second plowing and shifted the fences.
August 15, 16, 17: Threshed wheat.
August 21: Began to sow a little.
August 27 to 31: Continued seeding.
September 9: The brown cow had a calf.
September 11: Began to mow.
September 12: Finished sowing rye and wheat.
September 12, 13, 14: Joseph mowed.
September 26: Began to mow buckwheat.
September 29: Continued to mow buckwheat.
September 30: Rode to Philadelphia to the election.
October 1: Election day.
October 2: Returned from Philadelphia.
October 3: Hauled the second crop of hay home.
October 4: Cut buckwheat.
October 5 to 9: Threshed some buckwheat.
October 19, 20: Finished making the second crop of hay.  The cider from my apples was made this month.
October 26: Began to dig out the turnips:
October 30: Brought in the cabbage.
November 12: Cleaned the stables.
November 16, 17. Made a new bakeoven.
November 26. Had a flax breaker: Joseph.
December 9: Much rain and high water.
December 12, 13: Threshed rye.
December 14: Cleaned rye - fifteen bushels.
December 15: Cleaned stables.
December 17: Butchered the first hog - brought 95 pounds.
December 20: Threshed wheat.
December 21: Butchered at Abraham J�ckels.
December 23: Cleaned wheat - nine and a half bushels.
December 24: Sold the wheat.

So it went through the year with David Schultze.  In reading these dates, eleven days should be added to the days to obtain the actual point in the season.  That is, the dates are before the adjustment of the calendar which skipped eleven days.  So by the sun, the first hog was butchered on December 28.

There will be no note tomorrow as it is my turn to guide visitors at the Hans Herr House.  The Hans Herr House now has a web page,  This has a good picture of the house and a location map to find it.  See you there!

Nr. 204:

In 1830, John Wesley Garr, M.D., was at work on the Garr genealogy.  He was able to locate two original documents, letters of reference, which Andreas Gar had brought from Bavaria in 1732.  One was from his pastor and the other was from the civil authorities.  Of course, they were in German script which by this time was probably unintelligible to Dr. Garr.  But he was able to find a translator and so he learned the origins of the family.

This genealogical work continued until his son, John Calhoun Garr, published the Garr Genealogy in 1894.  Actually the book was entitled, "Genealogy of the Descendants of John Gar or More Particularly of His Son, Andreas Gaar, Who Immigrated from Bavaria to America in 1732".  With about 16,000 descendants identified, the work is the earliest major Germanna family volume.

The accuracy of the book is quite good, but not perfect.  The book has been reprinted several times and is still in demand.  In fact, I have just received an inquiry this past week from a person who is trying to locate a copy for sale.  If you know of copies for sale, perhaps you could advertize here.

The accuracy in the book is high enough that people have come to trust it blindly.  Today I want to put out a word of warning that the book does contains errors.  The ones to be discussed today are not major but they could have an impact on structuring families.  One family in particular is that of Michael Blankenbaker who married the daughter of the immigrant, Elizabeth Barbara Gaar/Garr.  Her birth, from the church records, was 11 Feb 1730 so that she was a wee girl when she came to America.  The authors gave each of their seven children, all daughters, a birth year which, it appears, they estimated without tangible evidence.  They did not realize that there was tangible evidence for some of the daughters.  All of these daughters appear in Michael's estate distribution.

Jemima was estimated at 1745; Mary at 1747; Margaret was given a specific date of 28 Nov 1749; Elizabeth 1753; Christina 1760; and Rosanna 1763.  What the authors did not realize was that three of the girls had confirmations at the Lutheran Church.  That the girls being confirmed were Michael's daughters comes from the estate distribution plus the lack of these names in other Garr families.  Rosanna was confirmed in 1785 at age 18 so her birth year would be 1766/7 and not 1763.  Eleanor was confirmed at 16 in 1782 so she was born 1765/6, not 1755, which is a ten-year difference.  Jemima was confirmed in 1777, age not specified, but say 17 which would yield a birth year of about 1760, not 1745.

Putting it all together and omitting some of the details here, I would put the birth years as:

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

Jemima's marriage(s) may need reexamination in light of these dates.  With the fifteen-year adjustment, her two marriages are suspect.  (It has been reported that she married first Michael Crigler and second, Absolum Utz.)

The moral of the story is that even the best of the researchers are suspect.

Nr. 205:

The last note discussed some errors in the Garr Genealogy, but as a whole the book is much to be admired.  Listing 16,000 descendants of Andreas Gar/Gaar/Garr, and some other families, it must be remembered that much of the book was researched in the days of handwritten letters.  The postage bill, even at the more economical rates of that day, was probably enormous.

One family that the Garrs scrambled was the Lewis Fisher family.  The son, who was the author of the book, writes, "This record is taken from an entry my father made in his book when he was in Virginia about 1849. . . ."  I always had the feeling that the information came second hand to the father, as opposed to being original work.  Certainly no original records are known which verify the information about the family as the Garrs give it.  On the contrary, several original records suggest that the Garr's information for the Lewis Fisher family is in error.

Since the events recorded would have been less than one hundred years old in 1849, one wonders how the errors were generated.  Generally, the memory of a person who is not yet senile still extends to some recollection of family events of less than one hundred years.

The errors include the wrong children in the family and the wrong name for one daughter.

The daughter who is called Elizabeth and who married Nicholas Wilhoit actually had the name of Mary Margaret (or vice versa, but most probably in the order given).  She was sometimes called Mary and sometimes Margaret at the church (other similar examples are known).  The church records are quite clear, with more than one reference, to the wife of Nicholas Wilhoit being Mary Margaret.  No reference is ever made to the wife of Nicholas being Elizabeth.  From the dates, it is not the case that two wives were involved.

The Garrs said that the daughter Margaret married ___ Watts.  From the will of the proven son, Adam, of Lewis Fisher, it is clear that this Margaret was the daughter of Adam.  Adam also had a daughter, Ann, who married Frederick Kalfus.  The Garrs had given a daughter of Lewis as ___ who married a ___ Kalfus.  Thus, two of the children which the Garrs assigned to Lewis, were actually grandchildren of Lewis.

What I suspect happened is that the elder Garr took someone else's word concerning the family of Lewis Fisher and did not check the facts.  There is a moral for us here.  One should check and recheck the information which one receives.  Or quality before quantity.

Nr. 206:

The last note discussed the Garr Genealogy, a book now more than one hundred years old, and the Lewis Fisher family in which the authors made a few mistakes.  This note continues the Lewis Fisher family discussion but the comments to be made here nothing to do with the Garr Genealogy.

Some people say that Lewis Fisher was the son of Sebastian Fisher of Tulpehocken, Pennsylvania.  Sebastian Fisher did have a son, Lorenz, but the name Lorenz is not to be equated with Ludwig.  Lorenz goes into its almost sound alike name, Lawrence.  Ludwig goes into Lewis.  Lorenz and Ludwig are not to be acquainted.  Say that they were equal would be similar to saying that John and Joseph were the same name.

Thanks to Hank Z Jones, the German history of Sebastian Fisher was discovered.  There is nothing in the story there to suggest that Sebastian should or could be connected with the Germanna Fisher family.

Lewis Fisher managed to attract the attention of his descendants when he wrote his will.  Of course, at the time of writing, he had only a few descendants but later ones had the will quoted to them over and over.  He used the statement, "Also, my will is if my Germany estate should be recovered it should be equally divided among all my children."  Those twenty words certainly caught the attention of his descendants down to the present.  About a hundred years ago, a committee of them attempted to track this estate down.  By then they had imagined it amounted to millions of dollars.  They actually sent a person to Germany and hired a representative there.  Not surprisingly, not a single shred of evidence was turned up.

What did Lewis mean by "my German estate"?  I don't have any doubt but that it was an inheritance of which he was entitled to a part.  It could be as simple as one-third of a cow.  Typically emigrants left parents behind who may have had some property holdings.  The emigrant often lost his rights just because he was not there.  I have read a copy of a letter in which a sister in Germany writes to a brother in America that they divided the parent's estate without considering him because they were not even sure he was still living at the time of the division.  And if he were, there was a question as to transfer the assets.  And she went on to say that the estate didn't amount to much anyway.  So this is most likely the story with Lewis Fisher.  He probably had some rights to property but his claim was proving difficult to press.  Even if the amount were very small, he could use the word "estate".  The word itself does not imply any amount.

So I am not holding my breath waiting for my share of the inheritance to come in.  If some of you think there is something to the story, you can buy my rights.  Make your best offer to the address below.

[P.S. Speaking of errors (which I have been doing recently), in note 191, Uriah Rector should be referred to as the eldest son since he was the heir of John Rector.  MY mistake.]

Nr. 207:

The last notes have discussed the confusion concerning the Lewis Fisher family.  There is more than has been given.  But to recap some, the Garrs gave the wrong set of children.  The claim that Lewis was the son of Sebastian Fisher of Tulpehocken, Pennsylvania is not born out by the facts.  And the estate worth millions of dollars did not pan out.  Or as the gold miners might say, "It showed only sand."

There is more potential confusion.  First, in the 1739 tithe list for Orange County, there are two Lewis Fishers, one living north of the Robinson River and one living south of the Robinson River.  Two different men wrote down his name as a tithe.  What is one to make of this situation?

One theory is that there was only one Lewis Fisher who had homes on both sides of the river.  Each roll taker thought he was responsible for the man and entered his name on the tithe list.  Presumably under this scenario, Lewis Fisher was absent when one of the tithe takers came around and this census reporter used information from neighbors.  Had Lewis been present, he surely would have made the point that he had been counted already.  After all, it did cost money to be counted or enrolled on the tithe list.

I know of no other evidence that there were two Lewis Fishers.  Except ---

Mrs. Margaret James Squires, in researching her Christoph Zimmermann in Germany, reports that at the baptism of one of the Zimmermann children the sponsors were Ludwig and Anna Barbara Fischer.  But since Christopher Zimmerman came with the Second Colony, this would make the sponsoring couple too old to be the Lewis and Anna Barbara Fisher that we have been talking about.  Now suppose that the parents in Germany, at Sulzfeld, to be more exact, had a son Ludwig who came with them to Virginia.  The son married Anna Barbara Blankenbaker and they were the parents of the family that we have been talking about.

Under this condition, there might be two Lewis Fisher families, each with a wife named Anna Barbara.  Except for the poll list where the duplicated names stand out, it would be easy to merge the two families into one and to think there was only one family.  Especially if the elder family was not too active in generating records.

I have put forth this suggestion before, but I must say it has not generated a lot of enthusiasm.  One reason is that people hate to see a family changed or upset.  The evidence in the Lewis family shows that people, even when presented with good, solid evidence are reluctant to accept new information if it upsets their previous conceptions; however, if I were a Fisher family descendant trying to find its German origins, I would start around Sulzfeld.  Presumably Cerni and Zimmerman of the "Before Germanna" monographs did look in the area.  They did not mention anything; however, not all church records have been filmed.  Also, a name as common as Fischer might have discouraged them.

Nr. 208:

The recent mention of the Orange Co. (Virginia, that is) tithe list for 1739 set me to thinking about some of the names there.  This in turn brought me around to my theory of convergent evolution.  Now I am talking about names, not species.  The theory is not novel and many people have observed the same result.

When the English wrote a German name, or even when they pronounced it, they were apt to use an English name which was fairly close to the German name.  Eventually, even the Germans adopted the English spelling and pronunciation.  Thus two names, one English and one German, which might have little in common originally, converge to one name.  Not surprisingly, in a community dominated by the English, at least in the record keeping, it is the English name toward which the gravitation takes place.

My favorite example is the name Barlow, a perfectly honest English name.  Now there was a Germanna family who became known as Barlow but who had German origins.  When spelled, the original difference may seem striking.  For example, the original German name was Parlur or something similar to this.  The German "P" often sounds like the English "B" so the substitution of the "B" is common.  In the course of time, the German name gravitated toward the better known Barlow until even the Germans were called Barlows.

I believe there was a German Slater (though this was probably not the original spelling) who became known as Slaughter.  For example, D.R. Carpenter's map of early Madison Co. patents shows a George Slaughter.  I believe this was another case of convergent evolution.  There were several English Slaughters then and now.  But I think one or more Germans have entered the Slaughter name pool.

The net result is that one cannot be sure what the national origin was solely on the basis of the present day name.  Yet I encounter, as you probably have, people who insist that their family must be English because the name is English.  I feel a little sorry for them for a variety of reasons but mostly because their research is apt to lead to blind alleys.

Spilman is another Germanna name which is also an English name.  Serious arguments have arisen because some people refuse to consider that there are at least two options for the source of this name.

Some names, such as Garrett, have a counterpart in many languages.  The German "Gerhard" leads naturally to Garrett (one instance of this occurred in the Germanna group).  But other nationalities also have counterparts.  Possibly Garriott comes from the Flemish language.  It was an effort to keep this spelling alive and well.  In some cases, the owners threw the towel in and adopted Garrett.  But most Garretts recognize that the possession of this name does not imply any one nationality.

Nr. 209:

What is the most distant relative that you have met and known as a relative? In my case, Mary F. Mickey, who lives just up the road from me a piece, is an eighth cousin.  Our common ancestor never left Germany.  Each of us descend from a different son of this common ancestor.  You could be descendant of Charlemagne (picking a person whose descendants are better known) along a path which is different from someone else.  Then you could be umpty-umpth cousins, such as thirty-third cousins just to pick a figure that is not unreasonable.

Mary Mickey, as a young child here in the colonies, learned to read and write the old German script using a German textbook as a guide.  This has put her in a good position to research the German records.  She has done more for research on the Willheit family than anyone else.  The Willheit family had not moved since the earliest church records were kept in Schwaigern.  This allowed her to reconstruct the family in an amazing amount of detail.

The earliest Willheit she found was Georg Willert/Willheit who was a member of the Lutheran Church of St. Anne and St. John the Baptizer in Schwaigern.  Using baptismal, marriage, and burial records she had reconstructed ten generations from Georg.

In the fifth generation, two men were born who would come to America.  One of these was Johann Michael Willheit, who was an early Germanna settler along with his wife, Anna Maria Hengsteler, and two children, Tobias and Johann (John).  His descendants are known primarily as Wilhoit or Willhite though there are variations of these basic forms.  (Since Johann Michael's baptismal name was Willheit, I avoid showing any favoritism toward one spelling or another by using "Willheit".)  In Schwaigern, there was another son but his fate is unknown.  In Virginia, four more children were born, Eva, Adam, Matthias, and Phillip.

Johann Michael had a first cousin Johann Friederich Willheit, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1731, several years after Johann Michael, with his wife and four children.  He settled in York County, Pennsylvania.  His descendants are known primarily as Wilhide or Willhide, although some use Wilhite.  Some of these children moved to Maryland.  Though the two cousins were not all that far apart physically, there is no evidence that they ever met in America.

A nephew of Johann Michael Willheit, Johann Friederich Baumgartner, came in 1732 via Philadelphia.  He settled in Virginia near his uncle Michael.  Friederich's younger brother, Gottfried Baumgartner, also came to America, at a later time in 1749.  Gottfried did not move to Virginia as his brother did.

Another cousin of Johann Michael, Anna Rosina Willheit, who was married to Samuel Abendsch�n, came in the same ship as Gottfried.  Since records are scarce for married women, there is no actual proof that she did arrive.  If she did come, they settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

These records show that relatives did not always join together in the new country.  Sometimes brothers, close in age, lived in different states.

Nr. 210:

In the one hundred and eighty-third note (Page 8), we gave the family of Matthias Blankenbaker and his wife Anna Maria Mercklin.  Matthias had a brother, Balthasar, who is the subject of today's note.

1. Hans Balthasar (Paul) Blanckenb�hler:

Born 29 Apr 1683 in Neuenb�rg, Baden (then a part of the territory of the Bishops of Speyer);

Married at an unknown date, but probably ca 1717, Margaret ____,   per the headrights of Spotswood (she is called Anne Margaret in Balthasar's will);

Came to Virginia in 1717 with Anne Margaret and no children;

Though Balthasar's will was written in 1762, it was not probated until 1772.

Children named in will:

2. Elizabeth now married to Adam Wayland;
3. Anna Barbara now married to Lewis Fisher.

[German research by Margaret James Squires]

2. Elizabeth Blankenbaker:

Born in Virginia as she is not on Spotswood's list;

Married Adam Wayland as his first wife;

Died after 16 May 1775 and before 7 Apr 1776, when Adam was married to Mary Finks.


4. Elizabeth, b. ca 1746/50, m. Morton Christopher;
5. John, b. ca 1750/52, m. Rosina Willheit;
6. Mary, b. ca 1753/55, m., <1775, Godfrey Yager;
7. Joshua, b. 1759, m. Rachel Utz;
8. Lewis, b. ca 1762, m. Elizabeth Link;
9. Anne, b. 1768/9, m. Nicholas Yager, she d. before 1790;

[By his second wife, Adam had Adam and Hannah]

3. Anna Barbara Blankenbaker (named after her grandmother):

Born in Virginia as she is not on Spotswood's list;

Married Lewis Fisher, ca 1735;

Moved to Kentucky after the Rev. War where her sons were living.  Died there.


10. Stephen, b. ca 1736, m. Mary Magdalena Garr;
11. Adam, b. ca 1740, m. Elizabeth Garr;
12. Barnett, b. ca 1752, m. Eve Wilhoit;
13. Eve, m. Mark Finks, Jr.;
14. Mary Margaret, b. ca 1743, m. Nicholas Wilhoit.

The families of Anna Barbara and Elizabeth are high confidence families based on the wills, church records, and court cases.

There has been a lot of SPECULATION about the maiden name of Balthasar's wife but it probably was not Utz nor Volck (Folg).  Still Balthasar acted as a sponsor for twelve of the children of John and Maria Sabina (Volck/Folg) Hoffman.  Since Balthasar came to Virginia without any children, it is quite possible that he married in transit.

Nr. 211:

The Germanna Henry H�ger family has always inspired my awe.  For their courageous decision to emigrate, they take the prize among the Germanna families.  Marc Wheat recently opened a discussion of the family and the note here today is intended to further that discussion.

Marc referred to Henry H�ger as the first German Reformed pastor in the Americas.  Perhaps the son of Henry, Johann Friedrich H�ger, has a better claim to this than his father.  The answer to this question depends on several questions.  Johann Friedrich left Nassau-Siegen in 1709 as a part of the large emigration of that year.  Apparently he was licensed as a preacher before he left.  In London, several of the German refugees petitioned to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts for one John Frederick H�ger to be appointed as their minister.  After he agreed to ordination by the Bishop of London of the Anglican church, he was appointed.  [See Walter Allen Knittle, "Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration", 1937, p. 142.]

Hank Z Jones refers to Johann Friedrich H�ger as the Reformed minister of the New York Palatines.  [See Jones, "The Palatine Families of New York, 1710", 1985, p. 322].  From the training of Johann Friedrich in the German Reformed faith, from the desire of the Palatines to have him as a minister, and from his appointment to the Palatines in New York, it would appear that he probably conducted services in the German language according to the order of worship used by the German Reformed Church.  His church members though were of a mixed faith, mostly Reformed and Lutheran with a sprinkling of Catholic.  For all practical purposes, Johann Friedrich would appear to qualify as a German Reformed minister.  As such he was early than his father.

I have read excerpts from the history of the German Reformed Church in America where the claim that Henry H�ger was the first German Reformed minister was not made.  That distinction was bestowed on others.

Some of Johann Friedrich's letters to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel have been preserved [see "Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York", Hugh Hastings, editor, 1901-1916; also the "New York Colonial Manuscripts", V. 55, p. 29b and p. 29c, and V. 58, p. 57a contain brief notes by Johann Friedrich].  In the two years, 1710 to 1712, Johann Friedrich baptized 61 children and married 101 couples.

The Rev. Johann Friedrich H�ger, High-German Pastor at Kingsberg, married Anna Catharine Rohrbach 13 Nov 1716.  He died in 1721.  Whether he had surviving children is not clear.  Jones does not give any but other sources have answered the question in the affirmative.  For a few more sources of information about, or by, Rev. H�ger, see Jones.

Two avenues of questions to be explored are:

1. Who do the historians of the German Reformed Church say was their first minister in America?

2. Did Johann Friedrich H�ger leave children?

Nr. 212:

The November issue of Beyond Germanna went in the mail yesterday.  This is the closing number in the ninth volume, which now makes fifty-four issues (of ten pages each) that have been published.

In this issue, Nancy Dodge has a short article in the lead position which discusses aspects of the lawsuit brought by Alexander Spotswood against George Moyer, early Germanna colonist.  William and Christopher Beverley had testified on behalf of Spotswood against George Moyer.  Their testimony is not given which had left open the question of why they testified.  Nancy uses the known history of the Second Colony to show that George Moyer had probably had his transportation paid by Robert Beverley who had been a partner with Spotswood in the enterprise which utilized the services of the members of the Second Colony.  Thus George Moyer's position as a 1717 colonist is strengthened (he had not appeared on Spotswood's headright list).

Isham Tatum was an early minister in the Culpeper/Madison area.  Some members of the Germanna community were married by him which lead to a question of which faith did he represent.  Joan Hackett dug into the records and found some history on the man who was known as "The Silver Trumpet" for his oratorical skills.  His way with words was so winning that he persuaded five women to marry him.

An earlier issue of Beyond Germanna carried Gottlieb Mittelberger's description of his trip to America.  As he continuation of this, he also left a description of the fate that befell the immigrants when they arrived, which is summarized in a note.

The earliest major Germanna family history was the Garr/Gaar genealogy, a monumental work listing about 16,000 descendants of Andreas Gar.  It had always been a puzzle to me how so much of the German history of the family was known.  Descendants so often have difficulty in finding the places where their ancestors came from that it amazed me that so much was known about the German history of the Garr/Gaars.  The answer to this question is told, at least partially, by an article on the early documentation of the family.

Stephen Broyles has studied how tracts of land are described.  From his articles on the subject, an extract was made on Virginia Land History.

Four more of the Culpeper Classes are presented.  In Class 88, there are Wilhoits, a Bunger and a Broils.  In Class 89, a Fishback and more Wilhoits.  In Class 90 a Crim.  In Class 91, a Yager, Southers, Berrys and Fleshmans.  Note is also taken of the presence of Garriott Vandyke following Peter Vandyke in another Class.  Previously this had been reported as Garrett Vandyke, a difference which is very significant.

The issue closes with the surname index for volume 9.  More than 600 surnames are listed.  As the new subscription season starts, the publisher has announced the price line will be held.

Nr. 213:

Tomorrow will be another day of guiding visitors through the Hans Herr House.  Hans Herr and the Germans with him were Anabaptists.  Today the Anabaptist umbrella consists primarily of the Mennonites, the Amish, and the River Brethren.  The name "Anabaptist" means one who rebaptizes.

At the time of the Protestant Reformation, several people felt that the reforms of Luther did not go far enough and they wanted to see more radical changes in the church.  In Switzerland, the German Reformed Church became the established church and as such it carried the reforms beyond what Luther had envisioned.  Still, there were people in Switzerland who felt that the German Reformed Church did not go far enough.

Within a short period of time, these reformers came to emphasize three principles.  The first point was that baptism should be an adult decision.  Infant baptism was not the means to salvation.  In accordance with this belief, the early adherents underwent baptism as adults.  Since they had already been baptized as infants (in the Catholic church), they were labeled as rebaptizers or as Anabaptists.  Of course, when their children were born, they were not baptized.  Later these children, on the basis of their own decision, were baptized.  So the term, Anabaptist, applied only to the first people, but still the name has stuck down through the ages.

A second point was a belief in pacifism.  They were not willing to join the army or participate in armed conflict.

The third point, which perhaps evolved more slowly, was a belief in the separation of the church and state.  The established church in Switzerland, now German Reformed, operated, as the Catholic church had, very closely with the state (or city or canton in Switzerland).  The state wanted children baptized at birth which enrolled the children as citizens of the state.  Thus, baptism served as a two-fold gate, admission to the church and admission to the state.

The state did not take kindly to the idea of pacifism either.  Therefore the state, in conjunction with the church, decided to eliminate Anabaptist thought by eliminating the Anabaptists.  A period of severe oppression followed in which hanging, drowning, burning at the stake were the techniques.  If you are a member of a church group under this kind of treatment, you would be inclined to believe in the separation of the church and state.  Of course, there was the theoretical admonition from the Bible for the separation of the church and state.

So, at the time, which would be the early 1500's, the Anabaptists were considered very radical.  But of the three ideas which tended to separate them from their fellow Christians, two are widely accepted today, namely, adult baptism and separation of church and state.  Pacifism may not be widely accepted but there is a more tolerant attitude toward it today.

(to be continued)

Nr. 214:

In the thirteenth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, an article on the Anabaptists by Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare, Doctor of Theology and one-time Fellow of University College, Oxford, states that the name Anabaptist means re-baptizer and is taken from the Greek.  Dr. Conybeare also states that in the time of Martin Luther the term was used derisively by the enemies of the Anabaptists because the Anabaptists denied the validity of infant baptism.  Consider also the German word for Anabaptist which is Wiedert�ufer.  This means one who baptizes anew or again.

Anabaptist thought spread rapidly from Switzerland down the Danube to Vienna and down the Rhine River to Rotterdam.  Though there was no central head of the body, individual groups cooperated.  In Friesland and Holland, a Catholic priest, Menno Simons, left the Catholic Church in 1536 and became very active in the Anabaptist movement.  Besides preaching, he wrote much, signing his own name to his tracts.  Adherents to the Anabaptist beliefs became known as Mennonists, which in English became Mennonites.  One elder of the Mennonites disagreed with the other leaders on the question of church discipline.  This was Jacob Ammann who finally broke away from the Mennonites in the 1690's.  His followers are called Amish.  Clearly, the Mennonites and Amish spring from the same common root which they fully shared for 170 years.  These two groups are the major divisions of the Anabaptist thought and practice but each has divided into smaller groups.

Though Anabaptists were in many countries of Europe, it is the Swiss Anabaptists who sent, directly and indirectly, the most people to America.  The first years were very hard for the Anabaptists in Europe with thousands of martyrs created by the combination of the established Catholic, Lutheran, or Reformed Church, in conjunction with the civil authorities; however, the Anabaptists remained a movement to be considered in Switzerland, southern Germany, and among the Dutch.  Something of an accommodation was reached between the Dutch civil authorities and the Anabaptists but the persecution in Switzerland continued for at least two centuries.  Had there been no persecution in 1709, there would not have been a Germanna.  How this came about is one of those strange twists of fate.

In the year 1709, the city fathers of Bern decided to rid themselves of a number of Anabaptists and hired one Christoph von Graffenried to forcibly take a number of the Bernese Anabaptists and find homes for them elsewhere.  Graffenried saw America as the logical outlet for these people and so he visited London that summer seeking a home for them.  While there he happened to met Francis Michel, just back from America.  Michel's tale of precious metals in the back country of Virginia spurred Graffenried to start a new endeavor in which miners from the Nassau-Siegen area would be useful.

Backing up to the time of the Thirty Years' War, 1618 to 1648, much of Germany lay in desolation, especially the areas along the Rhine and in south Germany.  The rulers saw their tax receipts fall sharply due to the population decrease.  They invited people from other regions to move in and occupy some of the vacant farm land and homes.  Some of the Anabaptists moved at this time to Germany while others were expelled by the Swiss.  Life was easier in Germany but restrictions still hurt the group.  They had to pay special taxes, serve in the army (very much against their principles), and restrict the size of their meetings.  Nor could they have a meeting place.  William Penn offered two things which these agrarian people wanted, cheap land and free exercise of religion.  Thus, was the great migration to Pennsylvania started.  Hans Herr and the other members of his party were in the forefront of this rural group when they left in 1709.  They came from Germany, very much in the heart of the area from which the Second Germanna Colony came.  Here was another coincidence between the Anabaptists and our Germanna colonists.

Nr. 215:

In note 204, I mentioned the Garr Genealogy, probably the earliest major Germanna genealogy to be published.  In the letters and statements written at the time of the Garr family's emigration, the pastor of Andreas Gar mentioned that three hundred people were leaving.  The evidence generally shows that such groups tended to travel together.  It would be usual for them, or a large part of them, to have used the same ship.  Since we know the ship that the Garrs used, it would seem that we should read the passenger list with an eye to discovering whether other passengers turn up in the Germanna community as Andreas Gar did.

So this past weekend I scanned the passenger list for the ship Loyal Judith which arrived at Philadelphia on 25 Sep 1732.  Several names certainly caused me to pause, but the most striking names on the list were Hans Georg Riser and Georg Adam Riser.  This sent me to Beyond Germanna, vol. 3, no. 4, where Gene Dear has an article on the George Razor Family.

Gene identifies the originator of the family as George Adam Ra�ser who came to America from Germany on the ship Mary and Sarah, arriving in Philadelphia on 26 Oct 1754.  Consulting Rupp's "Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants", one can confirm there was indeed a Georg Adam K�iser.  That this is a misreading of Ra�ser is likely when one considers the similarities in the German script between the letters K and R.  The K is written with a "knapsack" on its back which looks like the loop of the R.  Incidentally, this same ship which brought Georg Adam K�iser also brought Georg Lud. Nonnenmacher, another Germanna name.

Georg Ra�ser did not move immediately to the Germanna region but lived for a while in Sussex Co., New Jersey.  Twenty years after his arrival in America, he bought land in the Germanna community.

I would consider it extremely likely that the Hans Georg Riser and Georg Adam Riser who came on the same ship with the Gaars to be related to the later Georg Adam K�iser/R�iser of the later ship.  If I were wanting to research the origins of the Razor/Racer family, I think I would start with the communities in the area where the Gaars originated.  We know hundreds of people left with the Gaars and shipmates had often been neighbors.  This also furnishes a motivation for the George Adam Ra�ser who bought land in Culpeper Co., VA, to have moved to Virginia from New Jersey.  He probably had friends or relatives there.  Also, if I were searching the German records, I would keep a second eye open for Nonnenmachers.

Both the Gaar and Garr spellings appear in America.  If I have not used one or the other consistently, it is because I don't want anyone to think that I am showing favoritism.  The Gaars/Garrs emphasized in their book that there was no correct spelling of a name.  Any way that you choose to spell your name is right.

Nr. 216:

The Germanna Thomas family has more than its share of mysteries; however, thanks to the research of Mrs. Margaret James Squires, published in Beyond Germanna, vol. 1, no. 3, we do know something about the early Thomas history.  Anna Maria Blanckenb�hler was the sister of Matthias, Balthasar, and John Nicholas Blankenbaker, who came in 1717.  She was also the daughter of Mrs. Cyriacus Fleshman and the half-sister of the Fleshman children and of Henry Schlucter.  All of these individuals are known 1717 immigrants but there is no proof that Anna Maria came with her family in that year, though it would seem probable.

  1. Anna Maria Blanckenb�hler was born 5 May 1687 in Neuenb�rg (now in Baden) as the daughter of Johann Thomas and Anna Barbara (Sch�ne) Blanckenb�hler.  On 18 Nov 1711 she married, in Neuenb�rg, Johann Thomas, the son of Albrecht Thomas.  They had three children born in Germany:
    1. Hans Wendel Thomas, b. 17 Apr 1712
    2. Ursula Thomas, b. 8 May 1714, d. 8 May 1714
    3. Anna Magdalena Thomas, b. 24 Nov 1715

The son who was christened as Hans Wendel became known as John Thomas (Jr.) in Virginia.  Two more children were born to John, Sr. and Anna Maria in Virginia.  These were Michael and Margaret.

    1. Michael, b. ca 1718
    2. Margaret, b. ca 1720 (the order may be reversed since the birth dates are uncertain)

Before the Second Colony members had taken up their land patents, John Thomas, Sr., had died and Anna Maria Thomas remarried, this time to Michael Kaifer.  They had five children.  Michael Kaifer's will helps to clarify all of Anna Maria's children including the daughter's husbands.  One of the 1726 land patents was to John and Michael Thomas (both of whom were minors).  The name has been given erroneously as Tomer.

    1. John Thomas, Jr. (Hans Wendel) was apparently married twice.  The first time might have been to Mary Tanner based on circumstantial evidence but without any proof.  The number of children is uncertain; there were at least three, very probably four, and perhaps five.  Late in life, John Thomas, Jr. married Sarah ___ but it is doubtful that she was the mother of any of the children.

      The children of John and Mary were (no significance to the order):

      1. Susannah, m. Jacob Holtzclaw
      2. Mary, m. Joseph Holtzclaw
      3. Mary Barbara, m. Jacob Blankenbaker
      4. Elizabeth, m. John Railsback (very probable)
      5. Michael, (perhaps) who moved to North Carolina

    1. Anna Magdalena Thomas married Johann Michael Schmidt, Jr.  Very briefly, their family was:

      1. Adam
      2. Mary
      3. Susannah
      4. Zachariah
      5. John
      6. Anna Magdalena
      7. Catherine

    1. Michael Thomas was married twice and by oral tradition he had twenty-five children.  Not all have been identified. His will, in Kentucky, was partially burned and only some of the names can be discerned.  Furthermore, these children's names seem mostly to be of his second family.  His first wife was Catherine ____.  Though some have speculated that she was a Wayland, there is no proof and, in fact, there is some reason to doubt it.  His second wife was Eve Susannah Margaret Hart.  I will reserve numbers 12 through 36, inclusive, for the children but I cannot name all of the children.

    1. Margaret married Henry Coller or Collier.  This family is a complete mystery as they seem to have left the community at an early date.

(I sympathize with anyone researching the Thomas family.  One soon learns what a blessing it is to have a name as distinctive as, say, Blankenbaker.)

Nr. 217:

As another comment on the Thomas family of the last note, there was a Thomas family of English origins living in the Robinson River community near the German Thomas families.  And there were some mixed-nationality marriages by both the German and English Thomases just to confuse the issues.  Also, Thomas research has not been helped by the attitude of the researchers of the English Thomas family.

Some comments about the English Thomas family were published in Green's book, "Culpeper County Virginia".  Written by Mary Dunnica Micou, the opening statement she makes is, "Without doubt the Thomas family of Orange County, and also that of Culpeper County, is descended from the earliest emigrant of that name, who came to Essex County, . . . ."   The tone of the remark biases the discussion right away by saying, "in spite of my ignorance, I am sure about what I am saying."  In fact, the first Thomas family in the area which became Culpeper County was German, as a strong argument can be made that the first group of inhabitants of future Culpeper County was the Second Germanna Colony.

Without a doubt, people who are SURE of what they say, are often wrong.

Seriously, German Thomas research has been a problem.  Prof. Holtzclaw agonized over whether he had some individuals in the right family.  Perhaps his interest was heightened by the fact that two of his Holtzclaws married Thomas girls.

I have made one of two very minor contributions but quantum leaps in the evidence are needed.

On a different subject, Kim Umstadter at asks questions about her Garrs which I can't answer.  With her permission, here is the gist of her query:

Her husband's grandfather was Bernard Ashby Garr who was born in Richmond, Indiana, on 31 Mar 1889.  He died in Madison Co., Virginia about 1952 (in a reversal of the usual pattern).  He had moved to the Madison/Culpeper area about 1930.  The reasons are not clear, but they are thought to be occupational.  He had two brothers, Wayne, who died in a railroad accident, and Caspar who lived in Culpeper before he died in the 1970's.  Bernard married Virgie Louvine Taylor of Fletcher, Green Co., VA, sometime in the 1930's.  Three children are known:  Ruth, b. 7 Feb; Wayne Lewis, b. 29 Jun 1937; and Frances Mae, Kim's husband's mother, b. 28 May 1940.  The three children are still living, but know little about their father and mother.  If anyone can help Kim, please respond to her at her email address (by clicking on it above).

Nr. 218:

Recent questions here have touched on why our Germanna forebears turned from their original faiths to alternatives.  Quite aside from any questions of practice and theology, which I am not addressing, a major reason was the lack of pastors in the Lutheran and Reformed faiths.

The First Colony tried to find a replacement for Rev. H�ger who was growing old.  As Marc Wheat recently pointed out, there weren't too many Reformed ministers in America.  Therefore the search for a replacement for Rev. H�ger turned to Germany where they advertized.  And they were unsuccessful.  When Rev. H�ger died, the community went without a German pastor.

The Second Colony needed a minister and they sent two people to Germany about 1725 to find a Lutheran pastor.  They were unsuccessful.  They converted a school teacher, John Caspar St�ver, into a minister to solve their problem.  On the fund raising trip to Europe in the mid to late 1730's, they were lucky to have hired an assistant to St�ver.

When Rev. Franck resigned from the Hebron Lutheran Church in 1778, the church appears to have been without a regular minister for about nine years.  This was not their choice.  And, when they did get a minister, it was a local man, William Carpenter.  Actually this was probably a wise decision as he stayed for many years in the community.

The common problem was a lack of ministers.  There was no source at first except in Germany.  It was many years before a regular supply of pastors was developed in America.

On the other hand, the Baptists were almost entirely home-brew.  It was easier for a man to undertake the calling of a Baptist minister than it was to become a Lutheran or Reformed pastor.  This meant there were more Baptist churches available to attend.  If your regular Lutheran or Reformed Church is without a minister, you might be inclined to attend a Baptist Church.

Nancy Dodge sent a copy of an old Wayland record which is to be found in a book entitled, "Volls�ndiges Margurger Gesang-Buch" which had been printed at Germantown, PA in 1770.  In the front, is this inscription,

"John Wayland His Book
God give him grace therein to Look
Not to Look But Understand
that Learning is Better than House and Land
for when House and Land is gone and Spent
then Learning is Most Ex[c]ellent.

"John Wayland was born the 25th of March
in the year of our Lord one Thousand
Seven Hundred & Fifty Four."

In the rear is this inscription,

Dieses Gesang-Buch geh�ret Mir
Johannes Wayland
Den 7 Aug Yhr. 1792"

The book is in the Rare Book Collection of Randolph-Macon College and was intended for use in Lutheran worship services.  The Waylands were early Germanna pioneers.

Nr. 219:

Barbara Vines Little did an analysis of John Rectors in the Germanna community and found that two separate John Rectors had been merged into one individual.  First, a John Rector arrived in 1734 at Philadelphia on the ship Hope.  Though B.C. Holtzclaw thought this John Rector was a nephew of the 1714 immigrant, John Jacob Rector, James McJohn has refuted this argument in Beyond Germanna (vol. 4, n. 2).  That he was indeed from Nassau-Siegen seems certain judging by the large number of other immigrants from Nassau-Siegen on the same ship.

The 1734 John Rector married, shortly after arrival, an unidentified woman who is thought to have been the daughter of John and Mary Spilman of the 1714 group.  The records supply ample evidence that there were two sons, John, Jr., and Nathaniel.  There are no hints that there were any other children.  The 1734 John Rector died in 1742 so his span of life in Virginia was very limited.  The widow married Timothy Reading.

Nathaniel, the younger of the two sons, married Anne ?, and died by 20 February 1805, when his sales account was recorded in Fauquier County, VA.

A grant of 115 acres of land was made to John Rictor and Nathan Rictor.  This was paid by Tim Reading, father-in-law [sic] to the applicants.  On 22 Sep 1766, John Rector and Rebecka his wife, sold this 115 acres for nine pounds and five shillings to Nathaniel Rector.  John Rector of Culpeper Co. had purchased, in 1761, eighty acres lying on the north side of Bloodsworth's Road from Joseph James.  This land was sold to Nathaniel Brown in 1771 by John, with Rebecca's release.  In 1774, William Lodspik [Lotspeich] and his wife Magdaline sold 62 acres in Brumfield Parish in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock Rivers on a head branch of Crooked Run.  In 1776 this land was sold and this is the last record of John and Rebecca in Culpeper County records.

On 4 March 1831, Benjamin Rector of Iredell Co., North Carolina, filed an application for a Revolutionary War pension.  He said that he was born in Culpeper Co. in 1761.  In 1779 he entered the war as a substitute for his father John Rector in Surry Co.  Thus it appears that John, Jr. (son of the 1734 immigrant) moved from Culpeper Co. to Surry Co. between 1776 and 1779.  Benjamin is the only child that has been identified.  He died 11 Feb 1849 in Alexander Co., NC.

Holtzclaw stated that John, Jr. had a second wife, Mary, and that he left a will of 1815 recorded in Fauquier Co., VA, where he had nine children.  Clearly, Holtzclaw is speaking about another John Rector whom he has confused with John, son of the 1734 immigrant.  This second John Rector has been identified by John P. Alcock.  He is the son of Harman Rector, Sr., and is a grandson of the 1714 immigrant, John Rector.

Both of the articles, by Little and by Alcock, are in vol. 8, n. 2 issue of Beyond Germanna.

Nr. 220:

George Razor was introduced here a few notes ago.  He arrived on the ship Mary and Sarah in Philadelphia on October 26, 1754, from Amsterdam via Portsmouth, England.  No family was apparently with him and, in fact, he married Margaretha Butlinger 6 May 1755 at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.  Witnesses to the marriage were David Dewnlow, Johan Geo. Huber, Martin Schaht, Margareth Barb. Burchard(in), Margretha Kehrer(in) and Anna Maria Reig(in).  He settled in Newton township, Sussex Co., New Jersey.

On 14 May 1774, George bought 100 acres in the Robinson River area of Culpeper Co. (now Madison Co.) from Frederick and Sarah Baumgardner.  The Razor/R�ser family is found in the Hebron Church Register from 1776 to 1788.  About 1794, George Razor, Sr., his sons, Peter and Christian, son-in-law George Swindle, several members of the Swindle family and, possibly at the same time, Aaron Clore moved to the Abbeville district of South Carolina.  Family legend states that George, Sr. died during the move and was buried along the way.  In South Carolina, the family consistently became Rasor whereas the family name in Virginia became Racer.

Counting George Razor, Sr. as individual number 1, then his children are 2. through 7.

  1. Jacob (Racer) Rasor, b. ca 1756 in Sussex Co., NJ, d. ca 1824 in Madison Co., Virginia.  He married first, Susanna Snyder, 6 Feb 1786, in Culpeper Co., VA.  He married second Elizabeth Delph, 24 Jan 1801 in Madison Co., VA.  The issue of Jacob and his first wife, Susanna, is:

    1. Margaret Racer, b. 30 May 1788 in Culpeper Co., VA; m. George Delph, 30 Dec 1810 in Madison Co.

    2. Jacob Racer, b. ca 1790 in Culpeper Co., married Nancy Delph 3 Oct 1816 in Madison Co.

    3. Joseph Racer, b. ca 1792 in Culpeper Co., married Rebecca Delph 8 Feb 1816 in Madison Co.  He d. 1828 in Madison Co.

    4. Thomas Racer, b. ca 1793 in Madison Co., m. Frances Delph 17 Jan 1822 in Madison Co.

    5. Elizabeth Racer, b. ca 1795 in Madison Co.

    6. John Racer, b. ca 1797 in Madison Co., no further information.

    The issue of Jacob, no. 2, and his second wife, Elizabeth:

    1. Jonas Racer, b. ca 1801 in Madison Co., m. Virinda Weaver 19 Sep 1839 in Madison Co.  In 1850 he was living in Jay Co., Indiana.

    2. William Racer, b. ca 1805 in Madison Co., married Julia Snyder 6 Nov 1831 in Madison Co.

    3. Noah Racer, b. ca 1807 in Madison Co., no further information.

    4. Rhoda Racer, b. ca Jan 1810 in Madison Co., married John H. Snyder 24 Sep 1834 in Madison Co.

    5. Sarah Racer, b. ca 1817 in Madison Co., moved with her brother Jonas to Indiana; she remained unmarried and was living with Jonas in 1850.

[This information on the Rasor family comes from Gene Dear.]

(to be continued)

Nr. 221:

Continuing with the Razor family,

  1. Peter Razor, b. 10 Oct 1758 in Sussex Co., NJ, m. Frances Deer, ca Oct 1786 in Culpeper Co., VA, d. 4 Nov 1831 in Spencer Co., Indiana.  Peter moved in 1808 from Abbeville Co., South Carolina to Dearborn Co., IN, where he lived until 1818, when he moved to Spencer Co. where he lived until his death.  Issue of Peter and Frances:

    1. Simeon Rasor, b. 1 Sep 1787, in Culpeper Co., VA, m. Mary A. Allensworth, 10 Nov 1814 in Dearborn Co., IN, d. 11 Oct 1864 in Spencer Co., IN.

    2. Elizabeth Rasor, b. 10 Apr 1788 in Culpeper Co., VA, m. Samuel Hodges ca 1808 in Abbeville Co., SC; in 1850 living in Shannon Co., Missouri.

    3. George Rasor, b. 15 Apr 1791 in Culpeper Co., VA, m. Jane Rutledge; in 1850 living in Shannon Co., MO.

    4. John Rasor, b. 14 May 1794.

    5. Ann Rasor, m. James Gray.

  2. Christian Rasor, b. 14 Aug 1760 in Sussex Co., NJ, m. Sarah Sims 29 Dec 1780 in Culpeper Co., VA, d. 16 Dec 1848 in Abbeville Co., SC.  In 1794 he moved with his father George and his brother Peter to South Carolina.  Issue of Christian and his wife Sarah:

    1. James Rasor, married Sally ____, d. ca Feb 1821 in Abbeville Co., SC.

    2. Sarah Rasor, m. Ty Martin.

    3. Nancy Rasor, m.1, James Sims, m.2 Edward Rouey.

    4. Elizabeth Rasor, b. 23Aug 1790 in Culpeper Co., VA, m. Thomas Pharr ca 1809 in Abbeville Co., SC, d. 9 Dec 1882 in Abbeville Co., SC.

    5. Ezekiel Rasor, b. 24 Jul 1797 in Abbeville Co., SC, m. Permelia Barmore ca 1821 in Abbeville Co., SC, d. 2 Dec 1876 in Abbeville Co., SC.

    6. John Rasor, b. 25 Dec 1799 in Abbeville Co., SC, m. ____ ____ , d. 26 Sep 1846 in Columbia Co., Florida.  He left a wife and six children.

Nr. 222:

(Continuing with the Razor family,)

  1. Susannah Razor, b. ca 1762 in Sussex Co., NJ, married Andrew Deer ca 1779 in Culpeper Co., VA. Andrew d. in 1798 in Madison Co., VA.  Susannah moved with her children to Boone Co., KY in 1811.  Issue of Andrew Deer and his wife Susannah:

    1. Andrew Deer, b. 23 Feb 1780 in Culpeper Co., m. Susannah Delph 14 Aug 1799 in Madison Co.

    2. Susannah Deer, b. ca 1781 in Culpeper Co., m. Aaron Delph 30 Apr 1800 in Madison Co.

    3. Frances Deer, b. 3 Dec 1782 in Culpeper Co., m. Israel Clore 17 Feb 1805 Madison Co.

    4. Rosanna Deer, b. 31 Jul 1784 Culpeper Co., never married.

    5. Elizabeth Deer, b. 25 Aug 1787, m. John Ford 22 Jun 1816 in Madison Co.

    6. John Deer, b. 4 Mar 1786 in Culpeper Co., m. Margaret Clore, 28 Nov 1809 in Madison Co.

    7. Joel Deer, b. 7 Feb 1789 in Culpeper Co., m. Sarah Garnet 15 May 1817 in Boone Co., KY.

    8. Barbara Deer, b. 1790 in Culpeper Co., m. Christopher Wendel, 7 Mar 1837 in Boone Co., KY.

    9. Simeon Deer, b. 30 Dec 1792 in Culpeper Co., m. Mary E. Clore, 26 Dec 1819 in Boone Co., KY.

  2. Catherine Rasor, b. ca 1764 in Sussex Co., NJ, m. George Swindle 30 Jul 1786 Culpeper Co. In 1793 George Swindle sold his land in Madison Co. At that time his wife's name was Hannah. When George died 8 Sep 1812 in Laurens Co., SC his widow was called Hannah. The reason for the two different names is not clear [more comment will be made at the end of the series on the Rasor family]. The issue of George and his wife or wives is:

    1. Milly Swindle, m. ____ Drummond.

    2. Lucinda Swindle, m. ____Kendrick.

    3. Timothy Swindle, no further information.

    4. William Swindle, no further information.

    5. Rebecca Swindle, no further information.

    6. George Washington Swindle, no further information.

(to be continued)

Nr. 223:

(Continuing with the Razor family,)

  1. George (Racer) Rasor, b. ca 1766 in Sussex Co., NJ. He first married Frances Major on 8 Feb 1789 in Culpeper Co., VA. Second, he married Mary Brookings 7 Nov 1805 in Madison Co., VA. He died ca 1842 in Madison Co.

    Issue of George and his first wife, Franky:

    1. Lucy Racer, m. John Byers 5 Mar 1810 Madison Co.
    2. Laban Racer, m. Harriet Sims 15 Jan 1818 Madison Co.
    3. John Racer, m. Martha Sims 10 Sep 1818 Madison Co.
    4. George M. Racer, m. Lucy Brookings 28 Feb 1826 Madison Co.

    Issue of George (#7) and his second wife, Mary:

    1. William B. Racer. No further information.
    2. Frances M. A. H. Racer, m. John B. Thompson, 21 Mar 1842 in Madison Co.

The information that I have presented on the Rasor family was compiled by Gene Dear and published in the vol. 3, no. 4 issue of Beyond Germanna.  Gene acknowledges that a major source of information was the pension applications of Peter and Christian Razor.  Information from Pauline Bunner and from the notes of B.C. Holtzclaw was also useful.

Since the time that Gene wrote the article (1991), some information on the Swindle family has come to my attention.  This is courtesy of the Sutherlands, Thora and William, who wrote about the Timothy Swindle Family in Beyond Germanna, vol. 7, no. 4.  There were two George Swindles in the Robinson River community, one being a nephew of the other.  On 30 Jan 1786, George Swindle married Catherine Rasor and, on 21 Jan 1790, George Swindle married Hannah Cornelius.  It is believed that the marriage to Catherine was by the nephew, the son of Michael Swindle.  Thus the family of Catherine (#6) here should be examined carefully.

The geographical distribution of the family in the first few generations is interesting and typical of many early families.  The founder, George Razor, was born in Germany, came to America via Philadelphia where he married, settled first in New Jersey, moved to Virginia, and finally was in the process of moving to South Carolina when he died.  It is impossible to know all of his motivations for the moves.  I speculated earlier that the Raiser family may have known or been connected to the Gaar/Garr family.

The children of George moved about in several directions.  Jacob seems to have stayed in Virginia.  Peter moved to Indiana and his children were to be found in South Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri.  Christian moved to South Carolina and one of his sons died in Florida.  Susanna took the initiative and moved to Boone Co., Kentucky at an early date.  Until Catherine's husband is clarified, it is not clear where she lived.  George and his children seem to have remained in Virginia.

Based on the similar names among immigrants, there may be related branches of the family to the Germanna branch.

Nr. 224:

Plotting land patents and grants is a frustrating work but lots of fun.  Doing so today has led to a series of thoughts to share with you.

There is nothing permanent about the names of geographical features.  At one time there was a river called the Rappahannock which flows down toward the ocean from the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Going upstream, a little way above the modern town of Fredericksburg, the river divides into two parts.  These used to be called the North Fork and the South Fork of the Rappahannock.  When Alexander Spotswood came to Virginia, he renamed the South Fork the Rapidan (or Rapidanna, Rapid Anne).  Then the North Fork no longer needed to be called "North" and so it became simply the Rappahannock.  Later it was decided the Rapidan was the main fork of the Rappahannock River.

Now the land between the Rappahannock and the Rapidan Rivers is called the Great Fork of the Rappahannock or simply the Great Fork.  This was a fairly sizeable area taking in the modern counties of Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock.  So the history of many of our Germanna people occurs in the Great Fork which extends to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fort Germanna itself, the original home of the Germanna people, is outside the Great Fork but just across the Rapidan River.  Germantown in Fauquier County is also outside the Great Fork but not far from the lands of the Great Fork.

Returning to the Rappahannock River, i.e., the northern fork of the original Rappahannock River, it has undergone a few name changes.  The river, that is the northern fork of the original river, forks itself.  These two branches have a variety of names.  One is called the South River, the Elk River, Eastham River, and Hazel River.  The other fork is called the North River, the Hedgman River, or just simply the Rappahannock River.  The tendency to use one or another of these names depends on where you are along the river.

The land between the North River and the South River is called Little Fork.  The Little Fork is a part of the Great Fork.  A patent description may say the Little Fork in the Great Fork.  Unfortunately, though the term Great Fork seems never to be misapplied, the term Little Fork is also applied to splits in other water ways.

Many of the smaller waterways duplicate names.  Some names are extremely popular such as Beaverdam Run, Muddy Run, Crooked Run.  In the Great Fork, I can cite two Beaverdam Runs in the Great Fork though there are probably more.  One flows into White Oak Run, known originally as Island Run, and the other Beaverdam Run is in the Little Fork flowing into the North River.

My interest in the Little Fork lies in its being the home of several of our Germanna citizens.  Some of the people who owned land, either by patent, grant, or purchase, were Jacob Holtzclaw, Frederick Fishback, Tilman Weaver, Harmon Miller, Henry Hoffman, John Young, Harman Back, Jacob Fishback, James Spilman, George Wayman, John Crim, Joseph Coons, and Henry Otterback.

Nr. 225:

The second major family genealogy to be published that pertains to the Germanna people was "Genealogy of the Kemper Family in the United States" by Willis Miller Kemper and Henry Linn Wright.  It was published in 1899.  Willis Kemper went on to publish another Germanna genealogy, one for the Fishback family.  In the Kemper genealogy, Mr. Kemper found several source documents to aid him which advanced the state of the Germanna history.  Still, he made some mistakes.

I can only smile when he (Willis Kemper) insists that the proper spelling of the Kemper name is K E M P E R.  (This was in marked contrast to the opinion of the Gaar/Garrs who stated that there was no correct spelling of a name.)  I would think a large fraction of the Campers would not agree with Willis Kemper.  [Out of curiosity, how universal is the spelling Kemper and what other variations are there?]

Two Kemper brothers came to America.  John was in Virginia among the Germanna people.  His brother, (John) Henry Kemper came to Pennsylvania in 1738� the year of the Avenging Angels, a reference to the terrible problems encountered by emigrants that year.  A sister of these two brothers also came, some time after 1742, with her husband, Johannes Brumbach, and her family.  They settled in the Shenandoah Valley.

Willis Kemper, as with writers on Germanna history, assumes that the importation of the miners from the iron-mining region of Nassau-Siegen was because of an iron industry in Virginia.  Kemper also assumes they were recruited at the request of Spotswood with Christopher de Graffenried as the agent for Spotswood.  He was wrong on these points.  Graffenried, supported by the letters of Spotswood, makes it clear that he initiated the recruitment of the Nassau-Siegen people to mine silver for the enterprise of George Ritter and Co. in which Graffenried was an associate.

Willis Kemper did read the autobiography of Graffenried and did read the letters of Spotswood.  The mystery is, with all of this material at hand, how he could have erred.  But perhaps, more than anything, it demonstrates that, when a person has some ideas in his head, nothing can get him to see alternative views.

Kemper went on to identify the site of Germanna as we think it is located today.  He goes on to say this is where Spotswood had an iron mine and the first iron furnace in America was built and the first pig iron was made.  Later writers and researchers decided there was no iron mine or iron furnace at Germanna.  The led one individual, Broadus Martin, to insist that Fort Germanna was down the Rappahannock/Rapidan River some thirteen miles.  And so errors were piled on top of one another.


(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 NINTH set of Notes, Nr. 201 through Nr. 225.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

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

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025