GERMANNA History Notes Page #026

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This is the Twenty-Sixth 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 626 through 650.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 26

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Nr. 626:

John Thomas, the son who came as a small boy in 1717, sold land to John Railsback, who had married Elizabeth, gave land for love and affections to Jacob Holtzclaw, who had married Susanna Thomas, gave land for love and affections to Joseph Holtzclaw, who had married Mary Thomas, and gave land for love and affection to Jacob Blankenbaker, who had married Barbara Thomas.  John Railsback had twice as much land as the other men but he paid something also.

From this set of circumstances, it appears that John Thomas had five parcels of land, all approximately of the same size and was preparing to give these five tracts to his children.  In the midst of doing this, one of the tracts became surplus.  This extra, or fifth tract, was sold to John Railsback.  There is some reason to believe that this fifth tract was to go to a son, Michael, who instead of remaining in Virginia, moved to North Carolina.  For the present, let us make Michael the fifth child of John Thomas but with a big question mark.

By land deeds, the first wife of John Thomas is said to be Mary ____.  If she were the mother of the children, then their children are believed to be:

  1. Elizabeth, m. John Railsback,
  2. Susanna, m. Jacob Holtzclaw,
  3. Mary, m. Joseph Holtzclaw,
  4. Barbara, m. Jacob Blankenbaker, and
  5. Michael, unproven son, but some circumstantial evidence supports the idea.

There are several items to be noted which may be significant, but as of now are unknowns.  The two Holtzclaw men were the youngest sons of the 1714 immigrant, Jacob Holtzclaw.  John Railsback came from the Siegen area.  Since Mary, the wife of John Thomas, is from an unknown family, this might be the reason that there is a strong connection to the Siegen people.

There is also another fact to be observed.  The eldest son of the 1714 Jacob Holtzclaw, who was John Holtzclaw, married Catherine Russell, who was the widow of an unknown Thomas.  So the eldest son of Jacob Holtzclaw married a Thomas widow and the two youngest sons of Jacob married Thomas women.  Considering that Susanna and Mary Thomas lived in one county and the men, Jacob and Joseph Holtzclaw, lived in another county, one must ask the question, "How did they get together?"

In my own ruminations on this question, I have always been impressed by the fact that John Holtzclaw married a Thomas widow.  For this reason I conclude, the Holtzclaw and Thomas families were acquainted.  When the sons Jacob and Joseph Holtzclaw were looking for wives, they were acquainted with the family of John Thomas even though they lived many miles apart.  But if John Holtzclaw married a Thomas widow, who was the Thomas man?

[No note tomorrow.  The first Saturday of each month is my usual time to lead tours at the Hans Herr House.  The weather looks as if it will be a great day, so you all come on out and visit.]

Nr. 627:

As we move into the family of Michael Thomas, son of John Thomas and Anna Maria Blankenbaker, we are bordering on fiction.  By tradition, Michael is said to the father of twenty-five children by two wives.  His will, which emphasizes the second family, was partially burned.  So, even though I put some names down in black and white, don't believe that they are solid facts.  There is some evidence which will be discussed later.

The first wife of Michael was Catherine.  Many people speculate that she was a Wayland, as Thomas Wayland had a daughter of this name, of approximately the correct age, and a good circumstantial case can be built that this was the Catherine who married Michael.  The only weakness in the argument is that the same facts can also be used to show that Catherine married other men.  So I usually refrain from identifying Catherine as a Wayland.  The tradition is that Catherine was the mother of fifteen children.  A list of suggested children is:

Henry (said to be the eldest),
Margaret, married Everhard Hupp,
Anna Maria, m.1 Michael DeBolt, m.2 Michael Crisler,
Abraham, m. Susanna Smith,
Michael, m. Elizabeth Bennett,
Elizabeth, m. Anthony Berry, and
#11, #12, #13, #14, #15 (unknowns).

The second wife of Michael Thomas was Eva Susannah Margaret Hart.  The names of ten children of this union have been put forward:

George B., m. Lavina Scholl,
Sarah ?,
Israel, m. Catherine Halbert,
Daniel, Mary McQueen,
Solomon, m. ____ Barnhill,
Ann, m. Stephen Bowles,
Elizabeth, perhaps m. Mathias Rafelty, Jr.,

Nr. 628:

There was, in Culpeper County, Virginia, a John Thomas family of English descent.  Actually, there were probably other Thomas families.  Sorting all of these Thomases out by nationality is not easy.  One branch of the English descends from William (1613-1665) who married Rebecca.  Their son John (1648-1710) married Elizabeth.  Then their son John (1690-1782) had another John who left a will in Madison Co., VA 9 Sep 1793.  He names a wife Elizabeth and children Jesse, Massey, Elisha, George, William, Betsey, Rhoda Barlor, and Jemima Rush.  The last John had a cousin by the name of Rowland.

I would take the genealogies just cited with a bit of caution.  One of the workers in this area, Mrs. Mary Dunnica Micou, was prone to make statements such as, "Without doubt the Thomas family (meaning the English) of Orange County, and also that of Culpeper County, are descended from the earliest emigrant of that name . ."  She gives absolutely no hint that she is aware of a German Thomas family who, in fact, were probably in the area before the English Thomas family.

In the family of John ( -1793), there is a question as to whether the Barlor name is meant to be Barbour or Barlow.  There were Rushes in the Madison area.  One reason for trying to understand a bit about the English Thomases is to be able to separate the German Thomases.

As a general guide, John Thomas, Jr., (German), perhaps had a son Michael.  If he did, this Michael went to North Carolina.  Michael Thomas, John's brother and the father of the twenty-five children, went to Kentucky.  It appears that all of his sons went to Kentucky or to Pennsylvania.  By the end of the Revolution, there were probably no male German Thomases in the area which became Madison County.  So most of the searches for the male Thomases will be made in Pennsylvania (at the time, it was thought to be a part of Virginia), or in Kentucky.  Few of the records actually tie the Thomases in Kentucky to the Thomases in Virginia except by implication.

The search depends heavily on the people who are associated with the Thomases.  I have been emphasizing some of the relationships that exist among the people who are to be found in Kentucky or Pennsylvania.  This ties them together and shows what their origins were.  Some of the people are the three Smith boys who had a Thomas mother.  Then there were the Fishers who were cousins of the Thomases and Smiths.  Two of the Holtzclaw men married Thomas girls.  Branches of the Hardin family were closely connected to the Holtzclaws.  Another Culpeper family, the Hupps, moved to Pennsylvania.  Everhard Hupp had married Margaret Thomas.  Also, the Rows moved to Pennsylvania.

By the time that the story is told, you will see that many of the pioneers in Kentucky came from Culpeper County, Virginia.  They were among the first settlers in the region.

Nr. 629:

In note 612, the story of Abraham Thomas, taken from his own words, was told.  I decided he was born about 1756 and that he drove the sheep for his father up to Ten Mile Creek when he about 13 years of age.  (He was assisted by an older brother.)  Thus, his arrival might have been about 1769.  The story reads that his father (who would be Michael) had purchased land there and presumably moved there, perhaps in 1770.  Abraham said that the year he drove the sheep he already had relatives in the area.

The relatives in the area were probably the Hupps who had moved from Culpeper County.  In particular, Margaret Thomas had married Everhart Hupp.  Margaret was the older sister of Abraham.  One author, says that the Hupps, Bumgarners, and Teagardens moved from Virginia to Ten Mile Creek about 1766.  These families are among the earliest to file for land in this area.  The Rows were another early family from Culpeper.

When Philip Hupp died in Culpeper County in 1761, he named his wife Elizabeth and Henry Ayler as executors.  Henry Aylor had married Margaret Thomas, the sister of Michael Thomas.  Thus there may have been a closer connection between the Thomas family and the Hupp family than the Margaret Thomas (niece of the preceding Margaret) to Everhard Hupp marriage indicated.  The Hupps remained in Pennsylvania and Virginia and did not go on to Kentucky at this time.

Everhard and Margaret Hupp had eleven children.  Margaret was said to have the major hostess of the region who served meals to all manners of people.  George Washington is said to have visited on a trip to the region.  The claim is made that Margaret was the first white woman west of the Monongahela River.  Whether these stories have any basis in fact is difficult to say but it is clear, as following notes will tell, that the Thomas family was very early on the western frontier including the region which became Kentucky.  Other Culpeper families were also in the vanguard to the west.

Nr. 630:

Prior to the Revolutionary War, the area which is now southwestern Pennsylvania was in doubt as to which colony it was in.  Both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed it.  In the 1760's and perhaps up to the war, Virginia was allowing land claims to be made.  The French and Indian War had made the area much better known and the construction of Braddock's Road made the area much more accessible.

At Pittsburgh, two very respectable rivers merge together.  From the northeast, the Allegheny (spelled with an "e") flows.  From the south, the Monongahela River flows toward Pittsburgh, which at the time of the Revolution was Ft. Pitt, a military installation, not a city.  The combined river becomes the mighty Ohio which flows to the northwest before turning more westerly and then southwesterly.  The Ohio forms the boundary between the states of Ohio and Kentucky.

About thirty miles south of Pittsburgh, a creek flows from the west into the Monongahela River.  It has been named incorrectly; instead of being called Ten Mile Creek, it should have been called something more like Twenty Mile Creek.  If you have a Rand-McNally Atlas, you may be able to locate Ten Mile Creek.  It is large enough that it marked by name on my copy of the western Pennsylvania map.  If you draw a ten-mile circle centered on where Ten Mile Creek flows in the Monongahela, you would have the location of much of the action that has been mentioned.

In April of 1772, Abraham Teagarden, William Teagarden, John Death, Andrew Gutchell, Jacob Coleman, John Krupp, Michael Cox, George Myers, William Proctor, and Henry Thomas were arrested in Bedford County, Pennsylvania for riot and assault and battery.  This particular incident arose from the conflicting claims of Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Anyone who supported one colony was liable to arrest by officials of the other colony.  Sometimes this became an armed conflict.

In this list of names, the last three stand out especially for me.  The names Myers, Proctor, and Thomas all were mid-century names in Culpeper County, Virginia.  It does grab your attention to see familiar names in another area.  BUT, I do not claim that Myers and Proctor were from Culpeper.  Henry Thomas is said to be the eldest son of Michael Thomas of Culpeper County.  Michael's daughter Margaret was there as Margaret Hupp.  Abraham Thomas was there, as told in his own story.  By implication Michael Thomas was there.  I believe that probably all of his sons had made the move also though some of the daughters seemed to have stayed in Culpeper County.  Hardens were in the area.  They were associated with the Holtzclaws who had married Thomases.  I have mentioned other names recently and my "mentions" are probably incomplete.

Thanks to Bud Thomas, a descendant of Henry Thomas, I will follow Henry Thomas for a while.  In following Henry Thomas, we will be catching the early history of Kentucky.

Nr. 631:

On 25 May 1774, more than thirty men gathered at Fort Redstone, near present day Brownsville, on the Monongahela River.  They had planned a long journey by water to the region which became known as Kentucky.  Their craft were log canoes and the route was the Monongahela to the Ohio River, to the Kentucky River, which flowed from the south into the Ohio.  They ascended the Kentucky River more than ninety miles.  Overland from the Kentucky River a short distance, they built Kentucky's first permanent settlement of Europeans, later to be called Harrodsburg, after the leader of the group, James Harrod.  Obviously, the trip had been planned, the result of earlier survey trips.

The men built small cabins, staked claims, and surveyed land.  Before summer was out, James Knox brought news from the east that hostilities with the Shawnee nation were imminent and Lord Dunmore, the Virginia governor, was calling out the militia.  Fearing for the safety of their families the men had left behind around Fort Redstone, they returned home.  Hostilities were brief and the men returned to Kentucky in 1775.  By then others had joined them.

Back in North Carolina, Judge Richard Henderson saw Kentucky as an opportunity for private exploitation.  Joining with others in the "Transylvania Company", he pretended that he had purchased a large part of Kentucky from the Indians.  This was in direct violation of the 1763 order of the King that forbid private negotiations with the Indians for land.  Henderson had some good knowledge of the region because he had earlier hired Daniel Boone as an explorer.  Now he had Boone establish a permanent settlement at Boonesboro and blaze a trail to the settlement from the eastern regions (which became known as the Cumberland Gap).

Henderson set up a land office at Boonesboro and proceeded to sell land.  He regarded all settlers who had not purchased their land from him as trespassers.  One problem facing Henderson was that the group who founded Harrodsburg a year earlier had a prior claim.  In December of 1775, James Harrod and his group prepared a petition to the Virginia Assembly protesting Henderson's actions.  This was signed on March 15 and delivered to the Virginia convention on May 18 of 1776.  A similar action by George Rogers Clark to Patrick Henry the next month led to action by the assembly which ended the Transylvania company's actions.

Among the signers of the March 15, 1776, petition were the names Adam Smith, Henry Thomas, Michael Thomas, Samuel Thomas, and John Hardin.  There was another Thomas signer, a Moses, but he was probably unrelated to the previous Thomases who might be considered as sons of Michael Thomas, previously of Culpeper County, Virginia, but now a resident in the neighborhood of Ten Mile Creek.  Adam Smith was the son of Anna Magdalena Thomas, the sister of Michael Thomas (Sr.).  So Adam was a cousin to the Thomas men.  Adam had a daughter, Susanna, who was to marry (or was married to) Michael Thomas (Jr.) who was probably the name on the petition.  The march of Germanna citizens to Kentucky had begun.

Nr. 632:

Henry Thomas is said to have been the oldest son of Michael Thomas.  Michael Thomas himself was born in the neighborhood of 1720.  Before he was seven years old, he owned one-half of a good tract of land in Virginia.  Therefore, with a livelihood guaranteed and perhaps a home already built on his land, he probably did not wait long to be married.  It would be reasonable to assume that he was married by the time he was twenty.  Therefore, Henry might have been born about 1740.  The Thomas family probably moved to the Ten Mile Creek area in the latter part of the 1760's, perhaps when Henry was about 27.  About ten years later he was about 37.  His proposed brothers, Michael and Samuel, could readily have been adults also.  Adam Smith, the first cousin of the Thomas men, is thought to have been born about 1736, so slightly older than Henry.  Adam had two brothers, Zacharias and John, who like Adam, have no record in Virginia after 1777.  They are to be found in Kentucky.  (If memory serves me correctly, Zacharias claimed land on the basis of having grown a crop of corn before 1776.)  Zacharias married, for the first time, Anne Elizabeth Fishback, who was a granddaughter of two Germanna pioneers.  One of these was Jacob Holtzclaw, a family that had some connections to the Thomases.  The three Smith brothers, had four sisters.  One sister, Mary, married Adam Barlow whose name is to be found in Kentucky at an early date.  Of the other sisters, Susanna married John Berry, Jr. and she is to be found in Virginia for a long time thereafter.  Anna Magdalena, another Smith sister, married John George Crisler and they remained in Virginia.  The other daughter, Catherine, had a most uncertain future as her lifestyle was very unconventional.  There were more cousins from Culpeper County in Virginia who were early settlers of Kentucky.

In the last note, a claim was made that the first permanent settlement in Kentucky was made by people who had come from the Ten Mile Creek area of Pennsylvania.  This region was settled by people who came overland from eastern Pennsylvania (using Forbe's Road) and from northern Virginia (using Braddock's Road).  The French and Indian War had required these roads and as a consequence many people became acquainted with this new territory.  But no matter where the frontier is, someone will always go over the next hill to see what is there.  As the news filtered back to Ten Mile Creek, more people became curious.  It was fairly easy to get there as one only had to put some in the water that would float and the rivers would carry you there.  It was also very dangerous.

The other route to Kentucky was from southwest Virginia through the Cumberland gap.  This was an overland route and, if one had wagons and beasts of burden, it was a more natural route, especially from southern Virginia and the Carolinas.

Our Germanna citizens were well represented in the settlement of Kentucky.  The Germanna people were always pioneers.  The First Colony was, for a while, the westernmost point of English civilization in the Americas.  Then for a while, the Second Colony was the westernmost point of civilization.  There were never afraid of taking a position on the frontier.

Nr. 633:

A note from a correspondent, Mr. Thomas S. Rothrock, warns of the dangers of attempting to follow Thomases by name.  There are simply too many of them with the same name and one learns very quickly that there is no novelty to the name Thomas.  I have been attempting to follow the family of Henry Thomas of Culpeper Co., Virginia by the associations of other names which surround the Thomases.  So far, we have encountered Adam Smith in both Culpeper County and as the adjacent signature on the protest petition in Kentucky.  Adam and Henry were not only neighbors but they were first cousins.

We'll next consider some second cousins of Henry Thomas.  The ancestors that they had in common were John Thomas Blankenb�hler and Anna Barbara Sch�n.  The great-grandfather, JTB, never made it to America, as he died in Germany.  Anna Barbara married twice again in Germany and eventually came with her third husband, Cyriacus Fleshman.  The second cousins of Henry were Stephan and Adam Fisher.  Later their brother, Barnett, also came to Kentucky.

Stephan's wife is found in the Culpeper Co., VA, church records in 1777.  Stephan is described as going to and from Kentucky for a period of time, but apparently by 1777 he had not relocated his family.  Adam Fisher is recorded in Virginia in 1777, the last year he is to be found in the church records there.  Barnett, the younger brother of Stephan and Adam, is found in Virginia through 1785, though he too moved to Kentucky.

In 1784, we find that Stephan Fisher had been a party for a preliminary survey of a road in the neighborhood of Henry Thomas.  In 1786, we find a road order in Lincoln Co., KY, which mentions these names or places:  Stephan Fisher, A. Smith, John Smith, and Henry Thomas' Station.  In the same neighborhood, Abraham Thomas, Jesse Thomas, and Michael Thomas were signers of petitions.

Stephan Fisher was the owner of Fisher's Station which was located about two miles southeast of Henry Thomas's Station.  Because Fisher's Station was more elaborate and better prepared than most stations in Kentucky, it was sometimes called Fisher's Garrison. 

Stephan Fisher, in a later account, said that he visited Kentucky in 1775, returned to Virginia in 1776, came again in 1777, and stayed there a "great deal of time".

What we learn from all of this is that we need to study the community, not individuals.  In any frontier setting, records will be hard to find.  Evidence often comes circumstantially and, if enough of it can be piled up, it may be very good evidence.

Nr. 634:

Michael Thomas bought land near Fort Redstone (now Brownsville) in Pennsylvania and moved from Culpeper Co., Virginia in stages.  Two of his sons, Abraham being one, drove the sheep up from Culpeper.  The family was not alone in making this move as several others from Culpeper were making the same move at about the same time.  In the last half of the 1770's, some members of the Michael Thomas family moved to Kentucky.  It is not clear to me whether the early Michael, who is recorded there, is the father or the son.

Some say that the father Michael did go early to Kentucky, but that he returned to Mingo Bottoms, now in Brooke County, West Virginia.  By 1799, he was back in Kentucky with some of the children.  In that year, he died and left a will.  Before the ink was dry on the will, the courthouse burned.  Not all documents were completely destroyed.  Those which had been bound into books were burned on the outer edges while the centers of the pages were preserved.  So fragments of the will of Michael remain.

Sometimes three pages are distributed as the remains of Michael's will, but it appears to me that one of the three pages is not a part of Michael's will.  It is possible to discern a few names in the other two pages.  Most of the children seem be from the second marriage, but it recognizes a few people who originated in Culpeper County, such as Adam Smith (his cousin) and some heirs from the first family.  Sons mentioned in the will include George, Solomon, Abraham, Michael, Daniel, and Israel.  Daughters mentioned are Rachel, Eve, and Barbara.  For a man who was the father of twenty-five children, this leaves a big gap.  Some of the additional names are to be found at the estate sale.

This particular case shows the need to study the communities in which the subjects lived.  We need to know something about the Culpeper community where Michael lived for a while.  Here we find that he had a cousin, Adam Smith, of about the same age.  These two men go through much of life together and help to identify each other.  We find several other relatives in Virginia who are to be found later in Kentucky.  Study is required in the southwest Pennsylvania area whose records are found in the jurisdiction of more than one state and county.  The third community is Kentucky.  By studying the communities, we gain confidence that we are tracking the same man.  One could devote a lifetime to the study of the Michael Thomas family.  There is a lot of history to be found and written down, both for the family and for a developing nation.

Nr. 635:

The name of Abraham Thomas has appeared here in several recent notes.  He was a son of Michael Thomas and he helped drive the family's sheep from Culpeper Co., Virginia, to the farm Michael had brought near Fort Redstone on the Monongehela River, in present day Pennsylvania.  The certificate for the land of Michael was issued by Virginia, which thought that its jurisdiction extended this far.  Abraham lived here for about thirteen years.  When he arrived, it was very much the frontier.  In 1780 he moved to Kentucky where he had relatives.  Some of the stories which he told were written down by others.  (It is to be doubted whether Abraham was ever inside a classroom.)  A paragraph from him tells a bit about what a "station" was like.  These stations were a way of life in Kentucky:

"A station was an area inclosing from a half to an acre of ground built around on the four sides with cabins of logs fronting the center.  [T]here was no floor or window on the outer or back wall.  These cabins were connected together on their outer side by pickets or stockades of split timber, set firmly in the earth and rising from ten to twelve feet above it.  There was usually one large gate, sometimes two, occasionally small sally gates for the passage of a single man.  All the inhabitants lived within this enclosure or retreated to it on the approach of danger and sometimes cattle were driven into it.  Our household establishments were on the most simple footage, all had good beds but puncheons and benches served us for chairs.  [We used] trenches or plates, wooden noggins or gourd shells for drinking and milk vessels and cane fashioned to a point for forks.  Usually these were of each man's manufacturer or fabricated by some genius within the station.  Our diet was parched or bruised corn, fashioned into the shape of a hoe cake, dodge or ash bread, or sometimes the more luxurious hominy.  This with milk and forest game, garnished at the proper season with a dish of nettles or other salads, furnished our repasts.  There were eaten without the ordinary condiments of the kitchen and sometimes without salt but our supply of the latter article was tolerably well furnished from the natural salt licks in the country.  Our sugar was from the forest.  Coffee, tea and chocolate and the spices of India were never thought of or scarcely known.  Yet, we were healthy and contented."

For twenty-six years, Abraham lived in Kentucky and then, as he relates:

"In 1806, a small party of my neighbors removed to Ohio and we were again in the midst of Indians, who daily visited our cabins, but I felt no other sentiment toward them than pity for subdued and dejected foes.  We lived harmoniously together until they followed the game to more remote forests.  In our new residence, fat turkeys every where abounded, and at all seasons of the year, venison and bear meat were for a long time our common fare.  We raised houses full of healthy children, our stock gave us no trouble.  We enjoyed the best state of social intercourse with our neighbors and newcomers.  We knew none happier than ourselves; and I have yet to learn if any enjoy a higher state of substantial comfort, then the frontier back woods men."

Nr. 636:

Recent notes have talked about Michael Thomas and his descendants.  This Michael moved to Pennsylvania and thence to Kentucky.  Michael had a brother, John, two sisters, and five half-sisters (Kaifers).  This note touches on the brother John.  I have mentioned before that he definitely appears to have had four daughters and possibly had a son, Michael.  The evidence for Michael is not solid but of a character that I am inclined to believe there is truth in the story.  So the Michael to be discussed today is the nephew and the cousin of the Michaels that have been mentioned here recently.

The evidence for Michael is that his father seems to have created five tracts of land to give to his children.  Four of these went to sons-in-law.  One son-in-law received about twice as much and he paid something for it.  It is not a stretch of the imagination to believe that this son-in-law, John Railsback, had bought the land that had been intended for the fifth child of John Thomas.

Several people have reported that they can trace their ancestry back to a Michael Thomas in North Carolina, whose family was started before the Revolution.  His wife was Barbara.  The tradition that these people report is that Michael was a German from Culpeper Co., Virginia.  If this tradition is correct, it would seem that his family would be the John Thomas family, he being the immigrant who came as a young lad in 1717.  The family of John's brother, Michael, all seem to have gone north and west (some of the women stayed in Virginia).  Putting this tradition together with the John Thomas land transactions, it would seem that a plausible conjecture does exist.

If anyone does try to follow through on this, please note that English Thomases moved from Culpeper County to North Carolina about this same time.  Furthermore, there were some intermarriages between the English and German Thomas families.  So there is some opportunity for the German part to have entered the story.  The Culpeper part is hardly to be doubted.  For a while, the Michael Thomas of North Carolina was thought to have married Barbara Harnsberger, but this is false.  There was a Barbara Harnsberger, and Michael's wife was a Barbara, but Barbara Harnsberger is not quite the right age, and she already has a documented husband.  Attention had focused on her because a Michael Thomas had been a witness to the will of John Harnsberger.  More likely, the Michael who witnessed the will was the uncle of the proposed North Carolina Michael Thomas.

Some believe that John Thomas, Michael's father, also went to North Carolina.  There was a John Thomas, whose land was divided by William, Lewis, Joel, and Jesse Thomas, but this family seems to be English.  So it is not entirely clear that John Thomas, the German immigrant of 1717, did go to North Carolina.  However, this point is not critical to the question of whether the Michael Thomas in North Carolina was of German extraction.

Nr. 637:

A subscriber to the list here recently commented that a set of given names sounded as if the parent(s) might have had a German origin.  I agree that the thought is a valid concept.  In the last note I introduced Michael Thomas, who is found in North Carolina.  He is said to have had an origin in Culpeper County, Virginia, among the Germans there.  Michael's children are known.  Let's take a look at their given names.

  1. John, born ca 1772,
  2. Adam, born ca 1773, died ca 1853,
  3. Samuel,
  4. Mary,
  5. Joanna,
  6. Anna,
  7. Susanna,
  8. Catherine,
  9. Elizabeth, and
  10. James.

Do you think that the parent(s) of these children had a German origin? Yah?  With the exception of the "Joanna," these names are very German.  My standard is the names given to children in the Hebron Lutheran Church.  Just looking through the Register of births at the church in the time period the children above born, the names above are even more "German" than the typical names in the Register.

When I first heard the story of Michael and was given the names above, I said to myself that it was very believable that Michael was German.  Of course, the name Michael itself is very German and, in the German Thomas family of Culpeper County, it would have been very logical for John Thomas to have named a son after his brother Michael.

Of the family names associated with Michael Thomas in North Carolina, I compared them to the names found in Culpeper County.  Perhaps fifty percent of the names were in common, but that may not have been significant, since so many people from Virginia were moving to North Carolina in this time period.

I have not found it hard to believe that Michael Thomas of North Carolina may be the son of John Thomas of Culpeper County, Virginia.  Maybe someone will prove me wrong but until that time I am inclined to believe that Michael was the son of "German" John.

Nr. 638:

Yesterday, Craig Kilby asked if the names of Michael Thomas' children were German sounding.  I thought we might look at the question by seeing what names were used at the German Lutheran Church (Hebron) in Culpeper County (at the time).  My sample base is the list of baptisms of children from 1750 to 1775.  At that time, and in this particular church, the following names were given to the boys:

John (11),
Aaron (7),
Abraham (4),
Lewis (4),
Jacob (4),
Michael (4),
Joshua (3),
George (3),
Adam (3),
Samuel (3),
William (3), and
Zacharias (3).

I have given the English spelling of these names, but, more likely, the spelling would have been Johannes, Ludwig, Georg, Josua, and Wilhelm.  Many other names were used, but less frequently.  Ten names occurred only once.

A count of the girl's names shows these names were popular:

Elizabeth (19),
Mary (11),
Susanna (8),
Margaret (8),
Hanna (6),
Anna (6),
Barbara (4),
Sarah (4),
Rosina (3),
Magdalena (3), and
Catherine (3).

The actual spelling at the church would have been Elisabeth, Maria, Margaretha, and Catherina.  For the girls, there was more of a tendency to use the popular names rather than "one-of-a-kinders."

Looking again at the children of Michael Thomas, John, Adam, and Samuel, were on the popular list.  Jacob was popular at the church, but Michael used the name James instead.  Of the girls names, Mary, Anna, Susanna, Catherine, and Elizabeth, were from the eleven most popular names at the church.  With maybe one or two exceptions, at the most, the names that Michael Thomas used were popular at the Hebron Church.  Anyone who had read the names at Hebron would have felt at home with Michael's choice of names.

There were definite changes taking place in the naming of children.  In this same time and at the same place these were the names of the fathers:

George (4),
Michael (4),
John (4),
Christopher (3),
Henry (3), and
Peter (3).

The mothers were:

Mary (7),
Elizabeth (6),
Margaret (5).

Again, we see less diversity in the female names and more reluctance to change from the "tried and true."

In doing this study, there was a small problem because of the German practice of giving two names to the children.  The first name was usually a saint's name, and the second name, which was more commonly used, was the person's "call name", i.e., the name by which the person was known or "called".  Generally, the records show only one name, and that is the name used here.  If two are shown, I used the "call name".  Some of the women used their two names interchangeably, which confuses the following generations.  For example, Nicolaus and his wife Mary may appear at church at Easter, but Nicolaus and his wife Margaret have a child baptized in July.

Nr. 639:

Let's look at whether parents named their first born after themselves.  Using the families which started in the period 1750 to 1775 at the Hebron Church:

George and Maria Margaretha named their first girl Anna Barbara, and the first boy Johannes.

Johannes and Susanna named their first boy Josua, and the first girl Anna Magdalena.

Christoph and Christina named their first two as Maria and Ephraim.

Johannes and Barbara named their first two as Margaretha and Johannes.

Nicolaus and Margaretha named their first daughter Elisabeth, and the first son Aron.

Matheus and Elisabetha named the first boy Daniel, and the first girl Maria.

Nicolaus and Dorothea named their first two as Daniel and Elisabetha.

Heinrich and Susanna named the first girl Maria, and the first boy Johannes.

Michael and Elisabeth named their first son Johannes, and the first daughter Barbara.

Christoph and Catharina named their first daughter Maria, and the first son Ruben.

Peter and Maria named the first child Hanna, and (probably) a first son Moses.

Georg and Margaretha named the first girl Rahel, and the first son Johannes.

Peter and Maria named their first child Elisabetha, and the first son Elias.

Zacharias and Delia named their first child Benjamin, and the first daughter Elisabetha.

Christoph and Maria had Susanna and Josua as their first two children.

Wilhelm and Maria had Barbara and Samuel as their first two children.

John and Elizabeth had Elisabeth and Aron as their first two children.

Conrad and Rahel had a first daughter Elisabetha, and a first son Nimrod.

Georg and Maria Sara had Maria Barbara and Ludwig for the first of each sex.

Friederich and Maria had Elisabetha and Ephraim for their first girl and boy.

Michael and Mary had Salomon and Rebecca for their first two.

Johann Georg and Anna Magdalena had Julius and Elisabeth as their first.

Adam and Elisabetha had Ambrosius and Margaretha for first born.

Michael and Maria had Adam and Anna Magdalena for their first two children.

Henrich and Elisabetha had Dinah and Joseph.

Zacharias and Els. (probably Elizabeth) had Johannes and Maria.

Michael and Margaretha had Aron and Maria.

Peter and Elisabetha had Zacharias and Margaretha.

John and Margaretha had Lorenz and Elisabetha.

Henry and Barbara had Michael and Molly.

The parents were very reluctant to name their first children of each sex after themselves.  And, using some knowledge that I have of the grandparents, they were not named after them either.  So I have always been skeptical of the "rules" for naming children.

Nr. 640:

As others have pointed out, there was a considerable overlap between the given names of the English and the German families, perhaps even more than I had realized.  Using a few Thomas families in Virginia of English origins:

John Thomas (1648-1710) married Elizabeth, with children William, Peter, John, Elizabeth, Jane, and Richard.

Jane and Richard are not common German names, especially among the earliest Germans.

The son John was in Culpeper County (he died in 1782), and he had children William, Massey, John, Benjamin, Sarah, Margaret, and Ann.

Only the name Massey is a clue that the family might not be German.

The John in this family (the grandson of the original John) had children Jesse, George, Massey, William, Elisha, Betsy, Rhoda, and Jemima.

The first Massey mentioned had the family of Susanna, Massey, Jesse, Reuben, John, and William.

The latter William had a family of Elizabeth, Joel, Lewis, Ezekiel, William, Madison, Sarah, Mary, John, and Anne.

There is a considerable overlap with the names that the Germans gave their kids, though there are usually a few names in each generation which are a hint.

Richard was not popular with the Germans (this particular Richard had children Rowland, Catherine, Joseph, and Mary).

Massey seems to have its origins much earlier among the English.

Even the unusual names are not always a clue.  A grandson of the German immigrant, John Carpenter, was named Cornelius.  We have discussed the name Newton, which the Germans picked up, probably from the English, at an early date.  I am not sure when it was first used by the Germans, or by whom it was first used.  Nor are we sure as to why it was used.  What we do know is that it was widely used.

In the "Garr Genealogy", it is said that the father was in Virginia in 1849, and he obtained a report on the original Lewis Fisher family (with several errors) from Capt. A. Newton Finks.  The claim is also made that the Lewis Fisher farm joined the Garr farm.  This could have been possible as Lewis inherited land from his father-in-law, Balthasar Blankenbaker, who did have land adjacent to the Garrs.  As one reads the book "Madison County Homes", by Vee Dove, the name Newton is encountered in several places, usually as a given name but also as a surname.  Apparently, there was an early Newton family in the Madison County area.  Either through marriage, but perhaps because they liked the sound, the Germans adopted the name.

As a slight deviation, the Lorenz Gaar home, a log cabin, was built about 1740.  According to Vee Dove, a slate at the home says that he was the first to own the land, followed by Benjamin Crisler, Nelson Crisler, Robert L. Gibbs, and, fifth, Newton W. Gibbs, who died in 1961.  The Newtons are embedded in the German history more deeply than I understand.

(On one occasion, I had picked two homes in Madison County that I wanted to see, and I mentioned to Vee Dove that I wanted to see the old Lorenz Gaar home.  Her book had not been out very long then but she had to tell me that the home had disappeared from Madison County to be reassembled in another county.)

Nr. 641:

We had a short discussion about whether the Germanna colonists were the most westward point of European civilization along the Atlantic seaboard.  As nearly always, when the discussion turns to the "most," a few qualifying words are necessary.  The Atlantic seaboard eliminates the interior, where, it could be argued, the French were active.  Also, it eliminates the Spanish in the middle Americas.  Also, it is not stated, but the condition of being the most westward point arises because of the slope or slant to the east coast, which runs almost as much northeast to southwest as it does north and south.

Those of us who have occasion to drive up and down the coast are constantly reminded that the road runs east and west also.  U.S. Highway 1, that legacy of the King's Highway, runs almost past the door of my house.  At this particular point, when one is nominally traveling south, one is actually traveling slightly north for a short distance as the road turns generally to the west.  When I attended my high school reunion in Oregon, two of us were from the east coast, I from Pennsylvania and Ralph from North Carolina.  Yet I got the door prize for traveling the farthest.

So, the First Germanna Colony, when they were settled at Germanna in 1714, was the farthest west point of civilization.  As the opening paragraphs state, the geography of the coast line helped to make this possible.  Then, within Virginia, civilization had stopped at the "Fall Line", where the rivers from the west tumbled over the rocks in the transition from the Piedmont to the Tidewater.  Because the rivers were the principal means of travel, certainly for commerce, little civilization had occurred beyond the Fall Line.  Interstate Highway 95 follows the Fall Line approximately through Virginia.  At Frederickburg (nonexistent in 1714), on I-95 one can see the falls of the Rappahannock.  The falls of the James River occur at Richmond (certainly not in existence in 1714).

Germanna was about fifteen miles west of the Fall Line.  In this isolated region, a group of people was needed for settlement, to provide security and the labor for building the roads.  Isolated families were at a disadvantage.  With Gov. Spotswood's interest in a silver mine in the area, the Germans were a natural development of the region, with the strength of the group for security, and the talents of the miners to work in the silver mine (it would not have been necessary to go this far west just to find land).  And, so, when they were settled there, they were the westernmost point of civilization.  But being the westernmost point or the frontier settlement does not usually last long.  Soon others will leapfrog the previous frontier to become a new frontier.  This happened to the First Colony.  About four years after they came, the Second Germanna Colony was settled to the west of them.  True, it was only two to five miles, but still it was to the west of Germanna.

When the First Colony moved to their permanent home at Germantown in today's Fauquier County, they were certainly on the frontier but they did not inherit the status of being "westernmost.  " Germantown is almost due north of Germanna, so the move did not locate them any farther west, but it did put them into a very frontier position with few neighbors, in fact, almost no neighbors.

Nr. 642:

The Second Germanna Colony was an integral part of Spotswood's plans to become a large landowner to the west of Germanna.  Though he had been through the country and explored it along with other men (on the trip over the Blue Ridge in 1716), he had needed settlers.  These he got when Capt. Tarbett, of the ship Scott, delivered a whole ship of Germans, the Second Colony, to him.  Now he needed to pay for the land, and he concocted the scheme of the Crown giving the land to the developers.  There would be no purchase price, and quit-rents would be excused for ten years.  These ideas were embedded in the language creating two new counties, Spotsylvania and Brunswick, in 1720.

That there was a great deal of interest in Spotsylvania County is shown by the filing, on the same day that the legislation was enacted, for 30,000 acres (or so) within the future Spotsylvania County.  There was no filing for Brunswick at this time.  In fact, Brunswick County is regarded by many as a disguise or subterfuge to hid the true interest of Spotswood and others.

The counties did not come into existence immediately.  It was two years before the Spotsylvania court sat for the first time (which was typical).  That the formation of Brunswick County was premature is shown by the fact that it was more than ten years before the county government was organized.  So one has to conclude that development came earlier in Spotsylvania County than in Brunswick County.

The dates of patents are not reliable guides to when an area was settled.  When the Second Colony sought their land, they had to go a considerable distance to the west to find it.  Much of the intervening land had been claimed (formally) or staked (informally claimed).  But this did not mean that it was occupied and developed.  Joshua Fry had a large tract along the western side of the Rapidan (now it would be in Madison Co.), which he repatented twice.  This was because he did not settle and develop the land, which would have given him a clear title.  Without this, it would have reverted to the Crown, so he repatented the land.  This type of activity made it necessary for the Second Colony Germans to go much farther to the west until they were "at the mountains".

When the Second Colony moved to their lands in 1725, they were the westernmost point of civilization, but it did not last long.  Within a few years, people moved into the area west of them (which was the Shenandoah Valley) by using an entirely different route.  They came down from the north, especially from Pennsylvania and also from Maryland.

The Germans were good frontier citizens.  Of all of the nationalities, they lived more harmoniously with the Indians.  They competed the least with the Indians as they concentrated on farming, not on hunting and trapping which were typical Indian activities.  And they were more respectful of the Indians.

Nr. 643:

The early history of the Rector family in America is a lesson for family genealogists.  The family had been specified through the third generation and, though there were points which for which the evidence was weak, most everyone was in agreement.  If probabilities had been assigned to the truth of some of the facts in the story, most of the facts would have received a rating of 95% or more.  Usually, this is creditable rating to a statistician.  But then, John Gott, John Alcock, and Barbara Vines Little contributed their findings to the history and the world was turned upside down.  Two of the finds involved loose papers (the findings of the Johns), and the third find was the act of digging out records that were known and reinterpreting them (the mark of the true professional, which Barbara is).  Some other contributors will be mentioned along the way.

How do loose papers come about?  One way is that a court case is never resolved, and never ordered to be recorded in the books.  The case goes on and on without ever coming to a head.  Papers pertaining to it are held to one side, and finally it is clear that no further action will be occurring.  Then the papers are assigned to a box of incomplete cases.  As to what eventually happens to these is arbitrary.  Some are burned to heat the office.  Maybe they continue to gather dust.  Others are organized, indexed, and made available for research.

John Gott found a case among the loose papers in Fauquier County, Virginia, which went on from 1774 to 1791.  It was Robinson (sometimes written as Robertson or Roberson) versus Rector Executors.  Within the body of the suit, it becomes clear that it was a suit by the children of a women against her and another man, a half-sibling of the plaintiffs.  The suit started when George the Third was the head of judicial system and the last action occurred when the Virginia Commonwealth was the head.

The principal plaintiff was David Roberson (Robinson), though at one point it appears he was joined by his siblings, Ann, who had married Henry Rector; Joseph Roberson; and William Howell, who had married another sister of David.  William Robertson had married Catherine Taylor and they had five children, the eldest of which was David.  The father, William Roberson, died on or about the _____ day of _____ seventeen hundred and _______, leaving a personal estate of stock, furniture, tools, utensils, and crops of corn and tobacco.  Catherine, William's wife, took possession of these items, and before long married John Rector.  David claimed that John Rector intermingled the assets of his father, William Roberson, with his own assets, without ever making an account of the assets of William Roberson.

David claimed to be the heir at law to his father's estate.  While he was a minor, he worked for John Rector "like a slave and had no education", but when he reached his full age, he applied to John Rector for his share of his father's estate.  He was told by John Rector, with perhaps the help of his wife, Catherine, who was David's mother, that William Roberson's estate had been blended and intermixed with the estate of John Rector and it was impossible to distinguish them.

David's sister, Ann, married Henry Rector, and his sister Francis married William Howard.  They were invited to join with David's brothers, Joseph and William Robertson, in the suit as plaintiffs, but they refused to join.  David presumed that they had received some small satisfaction already.  Now it appeared to David that they had combined with Catherine and Henry Rector, who are the executors of the estate and the defendants in the case, to defeat and defraud David out of his share of his father's estate.

Nr. 644:

The last note might have been more meaningful with a cast of the players, especially with those two Henrys who played leading roles.  The immigrant was Hans Jacob Richter who came in 1714, with his wife Elizabeth Fischbach and very young son John.  Three more sons were born in Virginia, Harmon, Henry, and Jacob.  This Henry is the one who married Anne Robinson.

In the third generation, John Rector married Anna Catherina Fishback.  Anna Catherina died, and John, as we see from the lawsuit, married Catherine (Taylor) Robinson, who was the mother of five children, including the Anne just mentioned.  Catherine was the widow of William Robinson.

Altogether, John Rector was the father of nine children, and their sequence is usually given as:  John, Henry, Daniel, Jacob, Charles, Catherine, Elizabeth, Benjamin, and Frederick.  (The eldest son, John, is considered to be a son of Anna Catherine Fishback.)  Since Charles was Catherine Taylor Robinson Rector's father's name, Charles and the younger children are usually considered to be her children.  But what about Henry, Daniel, and Jacob who come between John and Charles in the sequence above? They are less certain and the court case sheds a little light, but not much.

If we assume that Catherine was the mother of five Robinson children, and then eight Rector children, she would be the mother of thirteen children.  This is definitely a possibility.  We will return later to consider when Catherine might have married John Rector.

The Henry who married Anne Robinson was the brother of John Rector and the son of Hans Jacob, the immigrant.  (Editors Note:  This would mean that Henry married his brother's step-daughter.)  The Henry who was an executor was probably the son of John Rector.  If Catherine had any influence with John Rector, she would probably have liked to have one of her children serving with her in administering the estate.  But then, John Rector may have included someone from his first family to balance things out.

The lawsuit was initiated in 1774, and the eldest son John (of John) was certainly experienced in the business world and assumed responsibilities readily.  Why was he not chosen as an executor? Was he not on the best of terms with his stepmother?

Nr. 645:

In a previous note, the complaint of David Robinson was given.  One of the strange things about it was that David did not seem to remember the day, month, or even the year of his father's death.  As the eldest of five children, he surely had some remembrance of the event.  Perhaps the omission came about because David told his story to his lawyer (Ellzey) who wrote it up, but found that David had omitted to tell him these details.  We would love to know this as it would help tremendously in fixing the time when Catherine married John Rector.

Apparently, David and his lawyer were not very active in pursuing the case which was filed in 1774.  But the bigger problem may have been that Catherine Rector and Henry Rector did not respond to the calls of the court to appear.  Some twelve years after the case was filed, it is recorded that the Sheriff was instructed to bring Catherine Rector and Henry Rector, Junior, into court on the 27th of May 1786.

There is filed the answer of Catherine Rector to the complaint of David Robinson.  This too, besides David's complaint, is obviously weak on the dates.  She appears to say that William Robinson died on the 15th day of April, in the year 1723.  However, the three items specifying when he died were left blank in the original statement.  The answer was signed Catharine Rector and this was written in the same hand as the body of the note.  At another time, someone else wrote in "15th, April, and 1723".  The year seems to be totally impossible because Catharine herself says that she was not a widow very long.  John Rector was not even married in 1723.  Also, in the supposed answer of Catherine, the given name of her father was left blank, and later was filled in by someone else.  So, what appears to be her answer was written by someone else, who did not have access to the facts.  This reply was made in 1787 when she might have been well into her eighties and perhaps her memory was not the best.

The gist of her reply was that William Robinson left no estate that was worth mentioning.  The only thing that emerges clearly from the complaint, and her answer, is that her maiden name was Taylor, that she was married to William Robinson, by whom she had five children, that William Robinson died, and that she married John Rector very soon thereafter.  But we are confused by the statements, which seem to be erroneous, as to when these things occurred.

David Robinson apparently replied to the statement, and he refers, in doing so, to the answer of Henry Rector.  It may be that what was purporting to be the answer of Catherine Rector was really the answer of Henry Rector.  The problem with this is that Henry is said to have died in 1781.  In short, there are problems with the dates, but the outline of the story is clear.

Nr. 646:

The court case found by John K. Gott (in the matter of Robinson vs. Rector Executors), and other material, was used by John P. Alcock to try to decide the mothers of John Rector's children.  John Alcock observed that was no reason to doubt the birth of John Rector, in 1711, so he was very young when he came to Virginia.  Salmans, who wrote a Rector history, put John's marriage at March 1731, without saying whether it was an old style or a new style date.  We have no evidence that this is a correct date, and, since John would have been only about twenty at this time, we are slightly suspicious.  We know that Catherine (Cattren) Rector was left fifty acres in her father's will, written in March 1733/34.  These dates do not seem consistent with the death of William Robinson.

Using the dates of birth of the Rector children, which are mostly conjectures, it seems that Catherine Taylor Robinson married John Rector about 1733, and not the implied 1723 from the lawsuit.  Some dates may be inferred for the dates of birth of the Robinson children.  The net conclusion is that the Rector children, starting with Charles about 1740, are hers.  John Rector's first child is another John who was born about 1733.  Between these dates there is no certainty.

One conclusion is that the 1723 date was meant to be 1733.  In line with this, perhaps John Rector married Catherine Fishback just before this time.  Perhaps she did not survive the birth of her first child, John, Jr.

After John Alcock had come to this conclusion, he found a birth record for Catherine Taylor, daughter of Charles and Anne Taylor, for 2 July 1707.  So, if she was married about the age of 17 this would be 1724.  If she had five children at about two year intervals, this would be about 1733 or 1734.  Remembering that she was the mother of thirteen children, five Robinson and eight Rector children, she must have married John Rector about 1734.

These comments are taken from a longer analysis by John Alcock in "Beyond Germanna, volume 6, number 6".

Nr. 647:

First, there were too many Henrys, but I hope we have that straight now.  Now we have too many Catherines.  John Rector, the eldest son of Hans Jacob Richter, was born in Germany in 1711, and left with his parents in 1713 for Virginia, arriving in 1714.  He married, first, (Anna) Catherine Fishback.  The evidence for this comes from the will of her father, written in 1733/34, who left her land.

When John Rector died in 1773, his wife was Catherine.  She was not the same Catherine; she was not even the same nationality as the first Catherine.  When John Rector died, his wife then was the Catherine who was born a Taylor, the daughter of Charles and Anne Taylor, and was born 2 Jul 1707 [George H. S. King, "Register of the North Farnham Parish, 1663-1814"].  At some unspecified time, Catherine Taylor married William Robinson and had five children.  William Robinson died and Catherine married John Rector, by whom, it appears, she had eight more children.

There is a lesson here for all families and for all genealogists.  In the situation where a man marries a woman whose name is Given, and when he dies his wife is Given, how many times do we say that she is the same woman?  And, that, if she is the same woman, then she was the mother of all of the children?  This is exactly what happened in the case of John Rector.  Since he married a Catherine, and his will mentioned his wife Catherine, we had been saying that he was married once and the first Catherine, whose maiden name was known, was the mother of all of his children.  But in this case, it simply was not true.

In how many other cases does this occur?  Over and over, we say that a man married Mary in Germany, and since he and Mary were signing deeds late in life, then it must the same Mary.  There are lots of cases of this nature.  We just happen to know, because of an incomplete lawsuit written on "scraps of paper", that it was not true in the case of John Rector.  So, before one starts saying his "tree" is true and valid, he should start looking at the probabilities at each step of the way.  It might cause him to temper the claims, and be a little more modest about what he thinks he has found.

There were some other problems in the Rector history, and we will continue in future notes with some of these.

Nr. 648:

In talking about the John Rector family, there has been some confusion because there were two Catharines and two Henrys.  In this note, the confusion will be compounded because there were more John Rectors.  All of our discussion has centered on the family of Hans Jacob Richter, the 1714 immigrant and his children.  He did have a son John, and this John has been deeply involved in the recent discussions.

Today we introduce John Rector who came in 1734.  He arrived at Philadelphia with nineteen other Nassau-Siegen colonists, on 23 Sep 1734, on the ship Hope.  This John did not live long in Virginia, as he died in 1742.  This fact is used to distinguish him from other John Rectors.  John Rector (d. 1742) was married by 1736, and B. C. Holtzclaw thought that he was married to a daughter of John and Mary Spilman of the 1714 group.  The records provide ample evidence that John (d. 1742) and his wife had two sons, John, Jr., and Nathaniel.  Nathaniel was the younger of the two; he married Anne and died sometime before 20 February 1805, when his estate was sold.

Until a few years ago, when Barbara Vines Little researched the question, John, Jr., was confused with another John Rector.  She pointed out that the records generated by John Rector would have been difficult for one person to generate.  She traced a path of land purchases and sales that led south for John Rector and another path which led north.  It would have been very unlikely that one individual would have been involved in these land deals which were not in the same region.

One John Rector purchased and sold land in Fauquier County, then in Culpeper County, and then appears in North Carolina.  He had a son, Benjamin, who said, in his Rev. War pension application, that he had originally been of Culpeper County, and that he had served as a substitute for his father, John Rector, in a North Carolina regiment.  Barbara Vines Little made a convincing case that this John Rector was the son of John Rector (d. 1742).

Meanwhile, there was another John Rector who was appearing in the records of Fauquier County, at this same time as the North Carolina John.  They must have different individuals, though in the past they had been treated as one person.  Holtzclaw, for example, said that the Fauquier John had a second wife, Mary, and left a will in 1815, and had nine children.  Holtzclaw also said that this Fauquier John and the North Carolina John were the same individuals.  The work of Little made it clear that this could not be the case.

With this challenge, John Alcock examined the records again (using his own book, "Fauquier Families, 1759-1799") and found the second John who had been overlooked.  The lesson for us is that we must examine the records outside of the action arena to find the anomalies.  John (d. 1742) came to Fauquier Co. in 1734 and left a son, John, Jr.  Because Little went outside of Fauquier Co. and looked at the records in other areas, she was able to prove there were two John Rectors whereas previously there had been thought to be only one.  Coming up, who was the second John Rector?

Nr. 649:

After Barbara Vines Little showed that it was necessary to find a slot for another John Rector, John Alcock reexamined his research.  He summarized the problem as follows (with paraphrasing):

John Rector, son of the 1734 immigrant, John Rector who died in 1742, had married Rebecca and moved to Culpeper Co. in 1761.

Later they moved to North Carolina.

Previous researchers had thought that this John, married to Rebecca, had remained in Fauquier County, where Rebecca had died and he had remarried a Mary.

The evidence for this was that John and Mary had sold land in Fauquier Co. in 1795, and John died in 1815.

Now it was evident that the Fauquier John, with wife Mary, was not the son of the 1734 immigrant.

Fauquier John needed parents.

John Alcock found evidence that this John Rector was the son of Harman Rector, Sr., the son of the 1714 immigrant, Hans Jacob Richter.  This was not an easy thing to do.  Harman, Sr., in his will, had not named more than one of his sons, a Harman, Jr., but did refer to three sons.  One problem was that too many names had been put forward as sons of Harman, Sr.  B.C. Holtzclaw even distorted a straightforward reading of the will, and said that there were three sons besides Harman, Jr.  And none of the candidates included a John.

John Alcock's evidence was the tithe lists and the land records.  He found that a 1759 tithe list for Fauquier contained Harman Rictor with three other tithes, John Rictor, Harman Rictor (Jr.), and a slave.  Among the lists which remain, John Rector is present down to 1810.  He was joined by his son in 1799 and they were the only Rectors in that part of Fauquier Co.  He is identified once as from Germantown, at some distance from the land which John and Rebecca sold.

This John Rector was probably born about 1740, since his first appearance in the tithe list was in 1759, under his father Harman, Sr., and above his brother Harman, Jr.  He first purchased land in 1765 which was probably about the time of his marriage.  He had six sons and three daughters and it can't be told whether Mary was their mother, since she did not appear until land sales were made in 1795 and 1796.  This entire family had previously been assigned to John Rector who came in 1734 and died in 1742, but they belong instead among the descendants of the 1714 Hans Jacob Richter.

Prior to finding that Harman, Sr., had a son John, he (Harman, Sr.) had been assigned three, four, or even five sons not including John.  Harman, Sr.'s will made it clear that he had one son by the name of Harman.  John Alcock found another son, John.  And by a strict reading of the will there were only three sons.  Some of the previous assignments needed to be kicked out of the nest and this leads to another research problem and solution.

[Tomorrow is another day of showing visitors around the Hans Herr House.  I do not know now whether there will be a note for the day.]

Nr. 650:

One Rector who had never been placed with certainty was Uriah Rector.  There had been no evidence as to who his father was.  B.C. Holtzclaw favored placing him as a son of Harmon (son of Hans Jacob Richter, the 1714 immigrant), which was making it crowded there.  Harmon, Jr. was clearly a son as he was named in Harmon's will.  The evidence for John was the tithe list in Fauquier Co.  (Jack Alcock was slightly chagrined that he had not detected this sooner, as John was listed in his book "Fauquier Families".)

Tommie Brittain was extremely interested in Uriah, as he was her ancestor.  So she collected evidence from everywhere (he was to be found in several states), but nothing identified his father.  What did seem to be clear was that he had a brother Maximilian, as the two of them seemed to go through life together.  With two sons that were positively sons of Harmon, to add Uriah as a son of Harmon would require adding Maximilian as a son of Harmon also, bringing the total count to at least four sons, possibly five sons.  This was hardly an acceptable reading of Harmon's will.

John Alcock, in his research at the Fauquier Court House, tells a good story.  It was the spring of the year, and normally John would have been working on the farm, but this day it was snowing.  He had phoned home from the courthouse to say he was coming in for lunch.  There was no answer so he decided he could spend a little more time in research.  He decided to spend some time with the loose papers in the courthouse that had not been indexed.  So he opened the book to one of its two hundred pages and spotted the name Rector.  It was Uriah Rector who was being sued by John Peyton Harrison.  Examination of the papers yielded the information that Uriah was the son of John Rector.  The basis of the complaint was that John Rector had sold land to Harrison, but before John Rector delivered the deed he (John Rector) was "killed by thunder".  Harrison was suing Uriah as the eldest son of John Rector, asking that Uriah deliver a deed.  John Rector had given a bond on 15 April 1773 that he would deliver the deed.  Harrison sued on 15 April 1784.  Uriah's answer was that Harrison had not paid.

Who was the John Rector who was killed by thunder?  He was the son of John Rector, who was the son of Hans Jacob Richter.  Therefore, Uriah and his brother, Maximilian, were great-grandsons of Hans Jacob Richter.

John, Jr., died before the end of June 1773, when the administration of his estate was granted to William Kincheloe (a relative?).  John, Jr.'s father had died just before this, for John, Sr., left 100 acres to his grandson, John, who would have been Uriah's brother.

After Harrison had filed his complaint and Uriah had answered, the Sheriff was ordered to bring Uriah into court, but the Sheriff could no longer find Uriah, as he was no longer resident in Fauquier.


(To see John & Eleanor Blankenbaker's May, 2000, and May, 2002, Germany and Austria photos, click here.)

(To see maps of villages in Germany and Austria from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated, click here.)

(This page contains the TWENTY-SIXTH set of Notes, Nr. 626 through Nr. 650.)

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