GERMANNA History Notes Page #030

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This is the THIRTIETH 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 726 through 750.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 30

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Nr. 726:

I will start a mini series and it remains to be seen how many notes there will be in it.  I draw for my information upon the "Bicentennial Sketch of the Jeffersonton Baptist Church", published first in 1932, and reissued with new material in 1973.  The church is located in Culpeper Co., Virginia, in the district known as the Little Fork.  Many Germanna people were among the earliest settlers of this region.  The original 1932 notes were augmented by notes in 1973 by Woodford B. Hackley.

The community of Jefferson is close to the Hedgman River, a portion of the North Rappahannock River.  Just across the river is Fauquier County.  Much of the history of the Jeffersonton Baptist Church is tied to events in Fauquier County.  The river was not an insurmountable barrier to social and economic interchange.  (Germantown, where many relatives of the Little Fork Germans lived, was across the river.)

Several years before the Revolutionary War, a young native, John Pickett, of Fauquier County, was much given to dancing, gaming, and sports of every sort.  While he was on a trip to North Carolina, he was converted in his religious views by Joseph Murphy, and he returned to Fauquier in 1767.  At first he exhorted his friends privately, then he instituted family worship, and then he preached more openly.  Within the year, thirty-seven people whom he had converted were organized as Carter's Run Church.  He was not ordained until four years later and at that time he became their pastor.

His work drew the attention of the persecutors who did not look favorably on the Baptists (earlier notes have talked about the introduction of religions other than the Church of England).  Once, while preaching, a mob entered the church and carried him off to jail in Warrenton where he was confined for three months.  Never one to miss an opportunity, Pickett preached through the bars to everyone within an earshot.  When released from jail, he renewed his efforts and the Carter's Run increased its members significantly.  It became desirable to establish branch churches to reach more people and to reduce the traveling distance to church.  At least five churches were spawned from Carter's Run, all bearing the names of water courses.

Elijah Craig was the founder of Hedgman's River Church.  He was the pastor of Blue Run Church in Orange County, which had been founded four years earlier.  His greatest gifts were not his education but his melodious voice and his readiness of speech.  His contributions to the early Baptists in Virginia are not to be overlooked.  He encouraged the converts to hold meetings in their own neighborhoods.  While plowing one day, he was taken by magistrates in Culpeper Co. and lodged in jail.

Nr. 727:

After one month in the Culpeper Co. jail, Elijah Craig was released on good behavior but he continued the same activities which had landed him in jail.  This time he emphasized the adjoining counties to Culpeper.  On the east bank of the Hedgman, Craig met Pickett and they decided to form the Hedgman's River Church.  Craig organized the group but Pickett became their minister, a role he was to fulfill for seventeen years.

Initially the group met in private homes in the vicinity of Freeman's Ford, south of today's Jeffersonton in the Little Fork of Culpeper Co.  When the first meeting house was built is uncertain.  In 1790, James and Margaret Freeman conveyed five-eighthes of an acre to the Hedgman River Baptist Society.  Whether this was before or after the meeting house is unknown.  Nor does any description of the early meeting house exist.  In Semple's "History of Virginia Baptists", the statement is made that the meeting houses of the early Baptists were commonly plain, weather-boarded structures, without paint either on the outside or inside.  No heat was provided.  The seats were rude benches without backs.  Occasionally sheds were added to the basic structure which one observer said gave them a "barn-like appearance".

By 1819, most of the congregation came from Jefferson and its community.  Jefferson was a town which had been approved by the legislature in 1798.  The town was laid out on the property of one Joseph Coones, and comprised the lower, or southern, end of the present village of Jeffersonton.  Fifty one-half acre lots were laid out for sale to the highest bidder.  About this same time, the town of Springfield was approved and laid out on land of John Spilman.  Two towns were not enough, and the General Assembly approved also a third town, Wealsborough, hardly more than a stone's throw away.  In the course of time it became the upper end of the present village of Jeffersonton.

Between Wealsborough and Jefferson there was a tract of land which was never built up.  It formed the pommel of a saddle and the two towns were the pockets of the saddle.  The post office department did not put up with this two-headedness and put in only one post office, which went by the name of Jeffersonton.  Joseph Coones was appointed the first post master in 1799.  Though the two town concept was supported by the legislature for a few decades, the name of the post office eventually won out as the name of the community.

I have not discussed the move of the Hedgman's River Church across the river, but the Baptist association minutes locate the church in Wealsboro in 1819, in 1826 in Jefferson, and in 1834 in Jeffersonton.  A history from 1835 says this about the town on Jeffersonton:

"Jeffersonton is on the Piedmont stage route from Washington to Milledgeville, Georgia.  The town is built on one street and contains 43 dwelling houses, 1 Baptist house of worship, 1 Female association for the purpose of educating young men for the ministry [I can only quote what is written], 1 elementary school with 50 scholars, 3 mercantile stores, 3 taverns, 1 tanyard, 1 hat manufacturer, 3 boot and school factories, 1 wagon maker, carriage maker, and 3 house carpenters.  In the population of 300, there are two physicians."

[In the next note, I will return to the main theme.]

Nr. 728:

Returning to the discussion of Hedgman's River Church, in 1819 the majority of the members of the church were residents of Jeffersonton.  They bought one-sixth acre of land in their community on which they "lived" for the next thirty-three years.  Later, numerous additions of land make it difficult to locate the original plot.  The initial land was bought from the heirs of William K. Spilman.  The trustees who made the purchase were Martin Fishback, William Freeman, Thomas Luckett, Daniel Ward, Harmon Button, and Philip Spilman.  On this land they built a small wooden structure with one door.

In the new location, the church prospered, and in the next 30 years the membership more than doubled.  In 1848, a brick structure was raised which still stood in 1932.  Another acre of land was added to provide space for the church and a cemetery.  At the time of building, the trustees were John M. Young, James M. Button, Joseph Settle, Caleb Burnley, and John A. Armstrong.

In 1877, disaster struck when the church caught fire one Sunday morning from an over heated flue.  The pews were saved and the services were held in the Methodist church.  The Baptist pastor, Rev. Grimsley, preached from the text, "While I was musing, the fire burned."  He never admitted whether the text was chosen before or after the fire.  Using the same brick walls, the church was rebuilt and paid for within the year.  Mr. Spilman Armstrong was the contractor.  A baptistry was added at this time to replace the use of nearby streams for baptisms.

In 1890, a windstorm blew off the roof and damaged the gable end.  Until repairs were completed, the Methodist church was used.  In 1906, about one fourth of an acre was added to the property to enlarge the cemetery.  This had been purchased from John Holtzman.  In 1910 a parsonage was built on five acres bought for that purpose.

From John Pickett to 1932, there were only twelve pastors.  Cumberland George raised the average length of service as he was pastor for forty years.  Some people believe that Hedgman's River Church ceased to be an arm of Carter's Run Baptist Church and became independent in 1791 when Pickett was succeeded by another minister.

The first clerk is unknown.  The earliest known one is Frederick Fishback, who served until his death in 1848.  His successors were Joseph W. Button, George Dallas Coons, J. R. Coons, Woodford B. Hackley, and Robert E. Sudduth, down to 1932.  Henry E. Button of the congregation was licensed to preach but never ordained.

From the names, it is seen that a number of families of German descent were active in the church.

Nr. 729:

In 1974, Woodford B. Hackley wrote an update to the 1932 history of Jeffersonton Baptist Church.  He had to admit there were many questions pertaining to the earliest history of the church which could not be answered.  There were more unknowns than knowns.  Some facts, though they tended to be conflicting, can be gleamed from the Association minutes.  A major question was the role of John Pickett at the church.  Though he has been described as their preacher, it seems more likely that he was only an occasional speaker (and a co-founder), not a regularly elected minister.

The Little Fork region has a history of many years prior to the JBC.  The Little Fork was the region between the Rappahannock (also called the Hedgman River) and Hazel River, which has had many names itself.  Incidentally, there is not even an agreement on how Hedgman is to be spelled with some favoring the addition of the "e" as in Hedgeman.  Though Hackley spelled it consistently with the "e," good friends of mine insist the "e" should not be there.

The land in the very point of the fork was patented by Robert Beverley in 1719, not long after the trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains where the division of the Piedmont land was discussed.  His son, William, had the next patent to the north in 1722.  These tracts were called Elkwood and Ursulana [derived from his mother's name], respectively, and constituted a total claim of 6,500 acres.  This was not land on which the Beverleys expected to live; this was an investment, though perhaps of a speculative nature.  So far I have seen only a few other patents during the 1720's, and these were to Isaac Bledsoe and Jacob Holtzclaw (Hulsclaw).  Jacob's land was taken in the period when land in Spotsylvania County was free.  This was also before the land was declared to be in the Northern Neck.  It appears the primary purpose for purchase of this land was altruistic speculation.  Jacob wanted to invite friends and relatives to come over from Germany and he needed a place for them to live.  He expected to sell the land, hence the speculative part.  [In the Holtzclaw patent Major Henry Willis's line is mentioned.]

None of the people who have been mentioned so far expected to live on the land.  To all of them it was speculative.  So who was the first settler?  It is hard to say.  The first names mentioned in the patents were not settlers.  (There was a similar story in the Robinson River Valley.  The Germans were settlers on their own land.  Simultaneously, there were patents being taken in the name of English patentees, but it isn't clear as to when their land was settled.)

Another early German was John Fishback (Fishbey), who also got his land for free in 1730.  Technically, the offer of free land had expired by then but his application may have made the deadline.

The settlement pattern looks very thin in these early years.

Nr. 730:

In the last note, I referred to Jacob Holtzclaw's land patents in the Little Fork as altruistic speculation.  By this, I meant that he probably had two good motives for taking up the land.  The growth and success of the German community depended on getting more Germans to live in the neighborhood of those who were there already.  The number of people here already (at Germantown) could hardly support a pastor and more were needed for the support of the church.  Unless the congregation had a sufficient size it would be hard to entice a minister to come and live with them.

But it appears that Jacob was also thinking about his own welfare.  If he could obtain his land at low prices, as he did, then he could sell it to others.  To have buyers for the land, he seems to have written letters to Germany to the people he knew there.  Several of the people who responded were relatives of his, but not all of them were.  If he could entice people to come, it would benefit the existing community, himself, and probably the immigrants.

As the Germans wrote home, they tended to emphasize several things.  The freedoms in Virginia were not to be seen in Germany.  The taxes were lower.  There were no overloads.  Land was cheap and plentiful.  The exercise of religion was relatively free.  All of these points were powerful selling points as the opposite conditions prevailed in Germany.  So Jacob's pitch for Virginia was intended in part for the good of people in Germany.  In all of the German communities, these letters home were great motivators.  For people who were unsure just how to emigrate, these letters gave helpful advice.  They were filled with the spirit of, "If I can do it, you can do it."

Many of these letters were not written solely to individuals.  They were used as newspapers to inform and to advertise.  Even if one wrote to an individual, the letter was apt to be filled with news that would be of interest to other members of the community.  And very often it contained specific instructions or messages to deliver to other people.  "Tell Friedrich that he can have all the good land that he wants."

Seldom did an individual from Germany just drop in on the people already in America.  Usually letters preceded the trip, and people here were aware that an individual or family was coming.  In spite of the uncertainty of the time of a ship's arrival (September and October were favored months in Philadelphia), people already here probably sent someone to meet the boat to help the newcomers find their way to their new homes.  A newcomer arriving at Philadelphia would have had a hard time finding Germantown in Virginia unless he had some help.

We have consistently underestimated the communication between Germany and America.  Even though there was no postal service, there were methods for getting letters delivered.

Nr. 731:

Jacob Holtzclaw (the 1714 immigrant) patented 680 acres in the Little Fork in 1729.  After the land was declared to be a part of the Northern Neck, he took a grant on 1300 acres from Lord Fairfax, which was to include the previous land.  The grant reads, in essence, that, upon resurvey of the old tract, it was found to contain 620 acres of surplus land.  The implication is that the original survey is the same as the later survey but that upon the resurvey it was found to contain 1300 acres.

I do not believe that the surveyors made an error of this magnitude.  What was taking place was that there was a de facto land recognition and an official survey.  Before the first survey, the land was marked with visible signs such as marked trees and rock piles.  This told everyone else to "keep out".  Other potential land owners were told "hands off".  However, when the surveyor came in for the survey, a somewhat smaller piece of ground was laid out and described for the patent.  (This saved money and was the motivation.)  Later, as the land owner grew nervous about the larger de facto claim not being protected by a suitable patent or deed, he would have the whole works resurveyed and the new survey would find there was surplus land which had not been patented (or granted) before.

This is the only way that I can see that 680 acres could grow to 1300 acres when the entire tract was surrounded by the claims of other individuals.  The 620 acre difference had to be there all the time.  This is the best explanation that I can see for these tracts that suddenly grew to twice their size.  This was a game that lots of people engaged in; Jacob Holtzclaw was not alone in doing this.  He had lots of company all over Virginia.

John Fishback had an early patent for 400 acres in the Little Fork in 1730 (mentioned previously).  His son Frederick took a grant in 1748 for 790 which included his father's 400 acre tract.  This land was slightly to the northwest of Holtzclaw.  Between these two, the future village of Jeffersonton was situated.

On State Road 621, out of Jeffersonton to the north, one passes by a sign which says, "Fleetwood, Established 1732."  This was on the property of John Fishback.  The house still stands, now greatly enlarged, but it is in the ownership of a non-Fishback descendant.

Slightly later than Frederick, Martin Fishback lived in the area (Fleetwood?), and is buried in a cemetery adjacent to the Fleetwood marker.  Martin died in 1842 at the age of 78.  According to the "Religious Herald", Martin was born, married, and died in the same room.  Perhaps someone could clarify the relationship of Martin to the other Fishbacks that have been mentioned.

Nr. 732:

The land, for which Jacob Holtzclaw had a grant (including the earlier patent), was sold to other individuals.  According to Woodford B. Hackley, the purchasers included John Young, J. Henry Hoffman, George Wayman, Harman Back, Jacob Fishback, and Harman Miller.  The ownership of one other parcel from these lands is uncertain.

The J. Henry Hoffman here is not the Henry Hoffman who was the brother of the 1714 John Hoffman.

Apparently the Fishbacks kept their land for their own use.  Besides the 790-acre tract previously mentioned, there was another grant for 186 acres to the north along the Hedgman (Rappahannock) River.

A number of Germans had grants in their own name.  John Button had 100 acres in 1747.  Joseph Coants (Kuntz) had a 127-acre grant in 1747.  John Crim (Grimm) had a 127-acre grant also (on the day following Kuntz).  Henry Otterback had a 200-acre grant, also in 1747.  A James Spilman had a 400-acre grant in 1751.  Tilman Weaver had a 400-acre grant in 1751.  Also, Jacob Nay had a grant of 146 acres in 1752.  Several English grants and patents were interspersed among the Germans.

The Moravian missionaries visited the Little Fork area on their trips through Virginia.  Brother Gottschalk, on his trip in 1748 said:

"[Little Fork] is situated about twenty-two miles from the Great Fork toward the Potomac.  Twelve families of the Siegen district, being of the Reformed religion, live there close together.  They are fine, neighborly and friendly people, who love each other in their manner, and live together very peacefully.  The brother of our Matthew Hoffman, John Henry Hoffman, also lives there and I lodged with him.

"They built a small, neat and suitable church, and engaged one of their number, John Jung [Young] to be the 'Reader' in the church.  He conducts services for them every Sunday.  They cannot get a minister because they are so few in number.  Hence they cannot raise enough money sufficient to pay a minister's salary.  I preached for them, which they accepted with thanks.  They expect more visits.  They asked me to visit them again.  John Jung and Hoffman's brother seemed to understand me when I spoke to them of the savior."

Nr. 733:

John Young of the Little Fork community is believed to be the Johannes Jung who arrived at Philadelphia on 23 Sep 1734, on the ship Hope.  Other names on the ship include two Richters, a Fischbach, a Huffman, and a Noeh (as found in Rupp's "Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants).  B. C. Holtzclaw cites Strassberger's "Pennsylvania German Pioneers" and gives more information:

The family unit which arrived was:
  • Johanis Jung, 40;
  • Anna Maria Jung, 32;
  • Maria Gerderuth Jung, 5;
  • Harman Jung, 4;
  • Elizabeth Jung, 1;
  • Elizabeth Catherine Jung, 32; and
  • Anna Cathrin Jung, 20.

    (The latter two ladies are believed to be cousins of John Young.  John Young was the son of the eldest sister of Jacob Holtzclaw so he was a nephew of Jacob.  John Young settled in the Little Fork with some others who came on the same ship.)

Jacob Holtzclaw had patented his land in the Little Fork in 1729.  Apparently, he started writing letters back to the "old country" telling people there of the opportunities available in Virginia.  Communications being what they were in those days (slow), and the time for the emigrants to reach a decision, it would seem to be consistent with the delay from 1729 to 1734.

B. C. Holtzclaw has reported the research in the German church records done by others.  Highlights include the following:

  • Johannes Jung was born in Trupbach on 29 Feb 1693.  [I can offer no explanation for this strange date which is not a theoretically possible date except possibly it was a mistake for 1 March.]

  • He was the son of Johann and Anna Katherina (Holzklau) Jung of Trupbach.

  • The son married, for the first time, Else Maria Bender of Langenholdinghausen on 22 Oct 1720.

  • She died at Trupbach 21 Nov 1723 and was buried the next day at the age of 24 years.

  • Johannes Jung, widower, married 10 Oct 1726 Anna Maria Baeumer of Bockseifen.  (She was perhaps a relative of Henry Huffman of Bockseifen who came on the same ship to America.)

In Trupbach, the three children mentioned above were born.  They came to Virginia with the parents.  Though the Young family seems to have settled in the Little Fork, Jacob Holtzclaw did not sell them land immediately.  On the 6 Jun 1748, Jacob obtained his grant from Lord Fairfax.  On 22 Aug 1748, he and his wife Catherine sold 200 acres to John Young, Jr., and Katherine Young, children of John Young and his wife Mary.  The parents were to have a life interest in the property.  Three other children of John and Mary Young were John, Jr., Katherine, and possibly Samuel, though the evidence for Samuel is not clear.

Like his Uncle Jacob, John Young seems to have been well educated.  He served as reader in the church and is one of the two people mentioned by the Moravian missionaries when they visited the Little Fork.

Nr. 734:

The second man among the Little Fork Germans, besides John Young, that the Moravian missionaries mentioned was Henry Hoffman.  He was of special interest to the Moravians because the brother of Henry, Matthias, was a Moravian located at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  To us, Henry Hoffman is a trouble maker.  I say this with an apology to all of his descendants.  The problem is that we have too many Hoffmans/Huffmans and they sometimes get confused (by us, not by them).  I once made the mistake of confusing this Henry Huffman with another Henry Huffman who is an ancestor.

The other Henry Huffman is identified in two ways.  One is that he was a brother of the 1714 immigrant, John Huffman.  Second, this branch of Huffmans came from Eisern which is a small village just south of Siegen.  This Henry Huffman lived next to his brother John in the Robinson River Valley.

The Little Fork Henry Huffman lived in the Little Fork and he was from Bockseifen.  (I can't find the village of Bockseifen on my detailed atlas but it seems to be associated with Freudenberg.)  Though a few generations of ancestry seem to be known for this Henry, there is no known connection to any of the other Germanna people.  The full name of this Henry was Hans Henrich Hofmann and he was christened 22 Sep 1712.  He married Anna Margarethe Huettenhen of Seelbach on 4 Jun 1734.  Anna Margarethe has a longer pedigree in Germany than Henry Hofmann does.  The young couple arrived in Philadelphia on the same ship as John Young and other Nassau-Siegen emigrants (their honeymoon must have been spent in transit to America).

Henry Huffman of the Little Fork bought land of Jacob Holtzclaw in 1748.  Probably he had been renting the land.  He also purchased several other tracts and had one grant of 369 acres in 1768.  This last parcel had been granted to Deatherage earlier but he sold to Huffman who had it surveyed again and procured a new grant.

Henry and Anna Margaret had thirteen children.  John Huffman of the 1714 group had at least ten sons so one begins to appreciate the difficulty of tracing a Huffman genealogy.

The Little Fork Henry was the administrator in 1741 for the estate of John Huffman of Orange County (which is not very definitive because Orange still retained all of its lands in the Piedmont).  The identity of this John Huffman is uncertain but perhaps he was a cousin of the Little Fork Henry.  The Little Fork Henry wrote his will in 1767 but he did not die until 1783 (will probated then).

Nr. 735:

One of the inhabitants of the Little Fork was John Button.  B. C. Holtzclaw thought that perhaps he was the son of (Jan) Daniel Bouton, a 1739 immigrant.  Holtzclaw furthermore thought that Daniel Bouton was not from Nassau-Siegen but perhaps from Holland and of Huguenot descent.  Frank Dake, now deceased, did much research in Europe and probably identified the family.  This research was reported in Beyond Germanna in volume 7, the July issue (#4).  This research shows a possible connection between the Young and Button families.

During the Thirty Years' War, the Swedish forces were in control of the Nassau-Siegen for a while.  During this time, a member of the Jung (Young) family of Siegen, a Christoph Jung, was the Protestant Reformed pastor of Gundersheim (Kreis Worms) about eighty miles to the south.  He was last there in 1635, the end of the Schwedenzeit (Swedish time).  Christoph was of Siegen meaning he was born there.  He matriculated at Herborn, about 25 miles to the southeast of Siegen on 2 December 1615 and again on 2 July 1618 when a notation was made in the record that he was the pastor at Seelbach.  Later he served at Gundersheim and died at nearby Alzey some time after April 1635.  He perhaps also served at Altenkirchen, near Herborn, as his son Wilhelm, another minister, was "of" Altenkirchen.  Wilhelm Jung was the pastor at Ostheim (now Ostheim-Nidderau) 1650-1662 and Mark�bel (now Mark�bel-Hammerbach) 1662-1697.

Wilhelm Jung and his wife, Anna Maria Dietz, had eleven children, one of whom, Maria Margarete, married, as his second wife, Jacob Bouton (Jakob Boutton) of Hanau who was the son of the Huguenot David Bouton by his second wife, Rachel Haseur.  David was born in Metz, France, went as a young man to Hanau, in Hesse, married and became a businessman there (from the French Reformed Church in Hanau).  One of Jacob's sons was Jean Daniel, baptized in the French Reformed Church in Hanau on 25 Jan 1691.  His German name was Johann Daniel and the Bouton surname was occasionally spelled as Boutton and Button in the Hanau records.  Jean passed through Holland, where his first name would have been Jan, on his way to England and thence to Philadelphia on the ship Samuel where he arrived, age 48, and took the oath of allegiance on 27 August 1739.  The ship's captain spelled the surname as Buttong, which is an approximate phonetic spelling of the nasal sounding name in French, especially if the pronunciation were influenced by German.  He wrote his name as Bouton.  He was naturalized as a resident of Philadelphia on 1 Feb 1746 with the name Johann Daniel Bouton.

It was not unusual in the case of Johann Daniel that he was a city dweller as most of his ancestors had been city dwellers as opposed to farmers, the much more common occupation.  His father, Jacob, was a beer brewer in Hanau.  His grandfather, David, was a businessman in the Hanau suburbs.  His great-grandfather, Theodore Bouton was a hatter in Metz.  His grandfather and great-grandfather Jungs were city dwellers as ministers.

It is extremely probable that B. C. Holtzclaw was essentially correct and that the details have been supplied by Frank Dake through his research in the European records.  Frank was very cautious, as is the mark of a good genealogist, to make a positive identification but it seems to me to be very probable that John Button of the Little Fork, whose neighbor in the Little Fork was John Young, was the man identified by Frank.  It is seen that the Buttons do have a root in Nassau-Siegen.

Frank Dake, whose full name was Benjamin Frank Dake, III, wrote material in which the references took up as much space as the text itself.  And his notes were not trivial.  Most often the references referred to material written in German or English, two languages which Frank spoke.  He was a member of genealogical societies in Europe (three French, two Swiss, and one German).

Nr. 736:

We can obtain some indications of the inhabitants of the Little Fork area during the Revolutionary War by looking at a few of the Culpeper Classes.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it does give us some idea as to who was living in the Little Fork.

In Class 33, there were:

  • Jacob Coones, Lt.;
  • Henry Coones;
  • Joseph Hufman;
  • Joseph Weyman;
  • Nathaniel Spilman;
  • James Samuel;
  • William Matthis;
  • Stephen Jett;
  • Davis Holder;
  • Benjamin Holder;
  • Jesse Williams;
  • John Curtis;
  • James Hufman; and
  • Aquila Matthis.

    (John Curtis was the initial draft, but John Proctor was drafted in his place.  Perhaps Curtis had medical problems.)

In Class 34, there were:

  • Joseph Coones, Junr.;
  • John Fishback (son of Jacob);
  • Jacob Hanback, Junr.;
  • James Blackwell;
  • John Spilman;
  • John Matthis;
  • James Burkett;
  • Frederick Coones;
  • John Young, Junr.;
  • Frederick Fishback (son of Frederick);
  • John Coones;
  • Peter Kamper;
  • William Button; and
  • Harmon Button.

    (Frederick Coons was drafted, but Thomas Blackwell was a substitute for him.)

In Class 35, there were:

  • Robert Latham;
  • Capt. Richard Yancy;
  • Gavin Lawson;
  • George Bush;
  • Gollop Duncan;
  • John Graham;
  • William Green;
  • Jesse Smith;
  • William Arnold;
  • William Smith;
  • John Young;
  • Henry Hufman, Junr.;
  • William Sherrill; and
  • Simon Stone.

    (John Young was drafted, but Samuel Young was a substitute for him.)

In Class 36, there were:

  • Charles Spilman;
  • John Fishback (son of Fred);
  • John Whitesides;
  • Thomas Freeman;
  • Daniel McKenzie;
  • John Tapp;
  • William Cannon;
  • Amos Crane;
  • Zachariah Wood;
  • Robert Miller;
  • James Spillman;
  • Abraham Mershon;
  • Isaac Anderson; and
  • Absalom Adams (?), Junr.

    (William Cannon was drafted, but Elias Barbee was a substitute for Cannon, to serve 18 months.)

In Class 37, there were:

  • Elizmon Baysie;
  • Cornelius Scott;
  • Joseph Baysie;
  • Edmond Baysie;
  • William Baysie;
  • Jacob Nay, Junr.;
  • James Scott;
  • John Nay;
  • Harmon Otterback;
  • Benjamin Walker;
  • George Hammett;
  • William Miller;
  • Martin Gaunt; and
  • Joseph Otterback.

    (Jacob Nay, Jr., was the draft and he served.  The general locale of the people in this class was to the north.)

A few other names suggest Germanna people outside the immediate areas of the classes above.  Harmon Wisecarver was in Class 38.  Martin Hufman was in Class 43.

The source of the above data was "The Culpeper Classes" which was researched and published by John Blankenbaker.  (If I do say so myself, this is the most accurate, and the easiest to use, set of information on the Culpeper Classes.)

Nr. 737:

A series of questions form the basis for the present note.

1. "What was the port of departure, from Germany, for the 1717 Germanna Colony?"

There was no port of departure from the area later known as Germany.  They people probably left the European continent from Rotterdam in Holland.  Probably the colonists came down the Rhine River, but we do not even know that.  They may have walked from their homes to Rotterdam (if that were the point of leaving the continent).  More likely, they left from several small villages along the Rhine and Neckar Rivers.

2. "Is the exact date they left Germany known, like day and month?"

Again they left their individual villages at different times, but probably all within the general time recorded for the emigrants from Gemmingen.  The pastor there recorded, in the Death Register, the fact that several people, later considered to be members of the Second Colony, were leaving from that area.  The pastor gave the date as 12 July 1717.

3. "Besides London were there other ports they stopped at?"

It was not unknown for ships to stop at a second port.  The ship Oliver, in 1738, after stopping at Cowes, had to stop at Plymouth for repairs.  But this was an unusual case and the odds are that the ship did not stop at any other English port.

4. "Was the name of the ship, they came on, 'Constitution', and was its Captain Scott?"

The name Constitution would be an anachronism.  What would it have been named for?  There is no civil Captain to be found in the English records by the name of Scott, in the period from 1710 to 1730.  The people who say his name was Scott have been quoting Prof. Holtzclaw, who misquoted the record where the word Scott is found.  Essentially, there is only one record and it reads "in Capt. Scott".  This is hardly evidence that there was a man named Scott.  In fact, it could equally well be construed as the name of the ship.  There was, in fact, a ship named Scott in this time period.  Capt. Tarbett was the master of this ship, and it is a recorded fact that he was involved in conversation with Gov. Spotswood in the year prior to the coming of the 1717 Colony.

5. "Did the ship come from the USA?"

Again, aside from the anachronism, the ship Scott, or Capt. Scott, was engaged in sailing between the colonies and Great Britain, a fact verified by recorded evidence that the ship was engaged in the Virginia tobacco trade.

Nr. 738:

(Continuing with the questions, see last note.)

6. "What was the 1717 Germanna Colonists port of entry in Virginia?"

Most likely the port was Jamestown, the port for Williamsburg.  Capt. Tarbett, of the ship Scott, was anxious to make contact with Gov. Spotswood, because Spotswood had expressed interest in obtaining a large number of Germans as servants.  The best place to find Spotswood was in Williamsburg.

7. "Also is it known what day and month they arrived in 1717?"

The year is not even certain.  Most likely, by the modern calendar, the year was 1718.  The people left their homes so late in the year (1717) that arrival before January 1 was improbable.  The Germans also complained of a delay in London while the captain was in prison.  All of these things, plus the typical times for the different legs, means it is most probable that they arrived after January 1 when the modern year would be 1718 though had it been before March 25 they would have said 1717 (old style).

8. "Approximately how much money did they have upon arrival (individuals, or families, like the Broyles, Waylands, etc.)?"

They may have had enough money to pay their transportation, though most immigrants arrived with only their shirts on their backs.  People who were well off in Germany generally did not leave there.

9. "Were they limited as to the amount of poundage they could take per individual?"

Probably, but perhaps it was expressed as one chest per family.  For a surcharge, you could bring as much as you wished.  Remember the ship owners were in the business of transporting goods (and people whom they regarded as freight).

10. "In that they were sold to Governor Spotswood as indentured servants, for seven years, were they respected as people or treated like slaves?  Were some released before the seven years were up?  Did they receive pay for their work in the iron mines?"

Gov. Spotswood wrote that they were free people, not servants, but no one believes him, for good reasons.  His attitude toward them was that they were a good buffer between the English and the Indians, to take the brunt of any Indian attack.  Apparently all of them served seven years.  None of the Second Colony members worked in the iron mines.  Their purpose, from Spotswood's viewpoint, was to serve as settlers on land that he was claiming in the west, which was his major economic endeavor of that time.  He tried to establish them in naval stores projects, while his partner Beverley, the historian, tried to get them involved in vineyards.

Nr. 739:

Late in 1780, the Virginia Legislature passed "An act for recruiting this state's quota of troops to serve in the Continental Army".  This called for each county to supply a specific number of men.  Culpeper County, then consisting of present day Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties, was assigned to raise 106 men of the statewide total of three thousand men.  Assuming the assignments were in proportion to the population of the counties, Culpeper County had 3.5 percent of the state's population.

The act specified that the county Lieutenant, or Commanding Officer, should summon the field officers and the militia, including all the commissioned and noncommissioned officers under the age of fifty years, who were to be divided into as many divisions as the number of men required by the Act to be raised.  Each division, later called a Class, was to be numbered.  One man was to be drafted by the officers, "by fair and impartial lot", from each division.  Each man who was drafted was permitted to hire a substitute.

For Culpeper County, these lists of names have been preserved (except for two classes), and they are in the State Library of Virginia at Richmond.

Why are the lists important? The fourteen or thirteen men in each list are near neighbors.  One almost has the impression that the officers of the militia made a new inventory of the men in the county by going around the county.  As with the census taker, the names represent a neighborhood survey.  By consulting any one list, one finds a number of neighbors.  Recently in these notes, I gave the members of some classes living in the Little Fork.  From the land records, it is easy to confirm that they were indeed neighbors.

With more than 1400 names it is important to have an index to check whether a given name is in the classes.  Then one wants to have the makeup of each class because of the neighborly aspect of the people on the list.

The classes are a good representation of the people who were living in the county.  What family had the most members in the classes?  There were 25 Browns, 20 Hufmans, 17 Wilhoits, 15 Smiths, and 14 Jones.  Of the five most popular names, two were clearly Germanic in origin while the Smith name was a mixture of English and German.  The man who wrote down the names (only one man was involved) was careful to spell all similar names in just one way.  Thus, it was always Hufman and Wilhoit.

Nr. 740:

Service in the Revolutionary War was not popular.  Of the 106 men who were drafted in 1781, the Culpeper Class report gave the disposition of these men as:

Retained for the war 4
Entered for 18 months 47
Drafted 29
Refused 12
Absconded 12
Sick 2

I wish that I knew the exact meanings of these categories.  But, it appears to me that, after the selections or drafts had been made, four men volunteered to enlist for the war, and 47 agreed to serve 18 months.  Under pressure of the selection or draft, these men agreed to join the Army.  A somewhat smaller number, 29, went to war because they saw no alternative.  More than one in five, though, refused to go along with the draft.  I do not know what pressure or compulsion was used on the 12 who refused.  The 12 who absconded probably left the region (later two of these came back).

However, this is not the full story of the men in the classes.  Elias Barbee, in his much later pension application of 1832 from Kentucky, told that it was a regulation in the Militia of Virginia that the men would be classed.  Each class would furnish a man, either by draft from among the class, by the voluntary tender of service, or by a subscription procured by the class.  The class, to which Barbee belonged, employed him as their substitute, and then they made a draft among themselves to ascertain to whom the credit should be given for a tour of duty of one year and a half.  Barbee remembered that James Spilman was the person who was entitled to the credit.

Actually, Barbee's memory was faulty.  William Cannon was the designated draft, and Barbee was the substitute in the place of Cannon.  The class as a whole did not want to undergo the draft procedure so they hired Barbee as the substitute.  The draft was to see who would get the credit for the service.  (The reason for the discrepancy between Barbee's recollection and the official record may be that the record reflects the official selection of Cannon.  The class itself made another choice, probably by lot, to decide who was to get the credit.)

One concludes that membership in the militia was forced, not voluntary.  The men were in the militia because they had to be, not because of patriotic fervor.

Nr. 741:

In the Culpeper Classes, I have been struck by how often the substitute for the draft choice was a relative, marriage included.  There are several examples, but I will cite the only two that I know with some degree of certainty.

In class 76, which has a very strong German flavor to the men in it, John Blankenbeker was the draft.  The substitute was Lewis Nunnimaker.  Before thinking that this was a substitution based on money, which it might have been, it should be noted that Lewis was the brother-in-law of John, as Lewis married John's sister, Barbara.  Though I state this as a positive fact, it should be noted there were two John Blankenbekers and two Lewis Nunnimakers.  If Lewis were a married man, it is a good question to ask why he should volunteer to go to war.  But still, my money is on the fact that the two men were brothers-in-law.

I leave it to others to tell us the relationship between Jesse Wilhoit, who was the draft selection in class 89, and his substitute, Lewis Wilhoit.  The most likely Jesse is the son of Tobias.  Some people believe that Tobias was also the father of a Lewis.  Most likely, the substitute was a brother of the draft.  Lewis was younger than Jesse, and perhaps not married in 1781.

In class 93, the draft was Samuel Blankenbaker, and John Yeager was a substitute for Samuel.  According to the way that I read the charts, John was a first cousin of Amy Yeager, who married Samuel.  Amy did have a brother, John, who would be more logical than a first cousin, but my notes say her brother, John, wasn't born until 1775, which would prevent him from being a substitute.  If his birth year is wrong, then he could be a brother-in-law to Samuel, a more plausible relationship than a first cousin.  Perhaps we could have some comments on this question.

In class 35, John Young was the draft, and the substitute was Samuel Young.  I have little idea as to the relationship, though the names suggest there was perhaps one.

There seems to be a potential pattern going here.  When we read that, in class 34, Frederick Coons was the draft, and Thomas Blackwell was the substitute, we wonder if there was a relationship.  Any comments?

Going back to class 76, the names are Broyle (x4), Carpenter (x4), Milbank, Blankenbeker, Bledsoe (x2), and Wayland.  Noting that John Milbank married Mary Barlow, and so he was a "German" by inheritance, the question I ask is, "What was the nationality of the Bledsoes?"

Nr. 742:

The Culpeper militia was organized with officers and men.  In the draft of 1781, there were several officers listed.  Without their names, there were:

Colonels IIIII II
Majors III
Lieutenants IIIII IIIII I
Ensign III

There are 51 officers by my count (which should be close).  This is out of 1417 total personnel.  So, the odds of an officer being selected on any one draw or selection would be 3.5 chances out of a hundred, or, the chance of not selecting an officer would be 0.965 or 96.5 percent.  Now, in the actual draft, no officer was selected.  The chance that would happen on a random basis, across 104 classes, is only slightly better than two chances out of a hundred.  That is, it was very unlikely.

Either the officers themselves arranged that none of them would be selected, or the state headquarters arranged for this, because they did not want the officers to be selected.  Apparently, the men who were selected were not assigned as a unit, but were placed where they could serve, based on their civilian skills.  I am under the impression that they did not bear arms, routinely, but performed other duties which are essential to keeping an army on the move.  Blacksmiths were set to blacksmithing.  Experienced drivers of teams were assigned to the wagon crews.  Some of the men were assigned to guarding or transporting prisoners of war.  Several of them seemed to have sat on their hands.

Notice, in the list of the ranks above, that the militia seemed to be well supplied with colonels, but light on lieutenants.  Military ranks were one of the major forms of title in Virginia under the British.  There was no dearth of applicants for the positions of colonel.  To prevent bitter feelings, it was necessary to have lots of colonels.

Not many of the Germans turned up in the upper echelon of officers.  In the lower positions, there was Lt. Jacob Coones, Capt. Mark Finks, Ensign George Crisler, Lt. Michael Gaar, Ensign Adam Yager.  Remember that not all of all Germanna citizens lived in Culpeper County.  Germantown was across the Rappahannock River in Fauquier County.

Nr. 743:

[We had a big power failure, due to the wind yesterday.]

What it meant to be a member of the militia is not clear.  The traditional thought is that every able-bodied man had to belong.  This was an ancient prescription.  In Virginia, it dated from the first days of the colony.  Maintaining an army was expensive and the burden was shifted to civilians, who were supposed to train and be ready to protect the neighborhood.  The training was minimal.  The men met every three months, perhaps every month, where they received the most elementary training.  A gun was assigned to each individual, who kept it, and used it in normal activities, such as hunting.  So, they were pretty well acquainted with their weapons.  What they probably lacked was the discipline to act as a unit.

When one looks at the number of men in the Culpeper militia, it seems as if they are not enough.  Determining how many there should be can be done in several ways, such as counting the number of citizens, and allocating them to the age groups such as 16 to 50, the age when men were subject to service in the militia.  When one does this, the number listed in the militia seems short or too few.  Supporting this concept is the following fact.  In twenty-two of the Culpeper Classes, a substitute from each class was hired to act on behalf of the each class as a whole, or to replace the drafted person, and this substitute does not appear anywhere in the lists of men in the classes, which was supposedly the entire militia.  So it definitely appears that not all of the men in a specific area and class were in the militia, and one wonders if membership were voluntary.

On the other hand, the men in the militia do not appear to be supporters of the revolutionary cause.  They went to great lengths to avoid service.  Entire classes hired substitutes.  Or, note that many drafted people hired a personal substitute.  Then, twelve of the drafted men refused to serve, and twelve absconded (though two came back after thinking it over).

So it comes back to a question of what were the conditions of membership?  I wish that I knew better, but I have seen little that would enlighten me.  It seems as though this question could absorb the attention of a Ph.D. candidate for his/her research project.

I wonder if the list of men that made up the names in the classes was composed by an inventory taken for the purpose, and if this inventory was far from perfect.  The neighborhood concept shows strongly.  I cited the four consecutively numbered classes from the Little Fork area, and these four classes are rich in Little Fork names.  How often would one expect to find a list of military men listed by the neighborhood?

If anyone has ideas that might help resolve the questions, please post your answers.

Nr. 744:

It has been a problem to identify the nationality of some names.  I asked recently about the name Bledsoe and the answers which came in made it clear that the name was English, and perhaps quite early to Virginia.  I want to ask about some more names, one in particular, in this note.

The family name is Rucker.  This is both a geographical name in Germany, especially as a part of city or village name.  It is also a family name.  Sometimes it is spelled with a "u umlaut", i.e., �.  In the Virginia patent records, the first mention of John Rucker is in 1727 when he patented 977 acres of land, just to the south of Michael Holt.  The only neighbor that John Rucker mentioned in his patent was Michael, and I tend to think that the neighbors most likely to get mentioned are of the same nationality.  Michael was just to the south of John Broyles and these two are usually considered as the southern tier of the Robinson River German community, but perhaps we should extend our range to include the Ruckers.

In this same neighborhood there was a John Venton with 1000 acres in 1728.  He mentions as neighbors:

  • Michael Raffer (Kaifer),
  • Jacob Priall (Broyles),
  • Michael Holt, and
  • John Rucker.

Three of these four men are known Germans.

In 1730, Thomas Rucker patented 876 acres adjacent to John Rucker and Thomas Jackson.  There was, in 1704, a mention of a Peter Ruckett in the land patents.

Perhaps the previous Peter Ruckett is to be identified with the Peter Rucker who was naturalized in Virginia in 1704.  (I am now quoting from the "Underwood Family" by Ben Coke.)  His nationality is said to be unproven but apparently he was not English if he were naturalized.  The next most popular nationality was German, though at this date it might have been French (Huguenot).  Peter died in 1743 and left several heirs, one of which was John, who is mentioned above.  John was very active politically.  He (John) had a sister, Mary, who married William Offill which sounds a lot like the German Apfel (i.e., Apple).  A niece of John, Mary, married William Vawter, a family with connections to the Germans.  John Rucker's sister, Margaret, married Isaac Smith (English), and this family had many German connections also.

On the whole, the Rucker family is probably German, perhaps French, which rather quickly became anglicized, while maintaining some German connections.  (I am reminded of the Christopher Zimmerman family, in the Mount Pony area, which did much the same thing, and the reason was probably similar �- they were almost surrounded by the English-speaking citizens.)  Apparently, the Rucker family may have been here a while, longer than the other Germanna citizens.  If anyone can add to the comments that I have made here, I and other readers on the list would appreciate hearing them.

Nr. 745:

There was some interest in the Rucker family.  So I will cull some more information from the book or notes of Ben H. Coke entitled "The Underwood Family from Madison County, Virginia", which appears to have been published in 1986.  I have no idea how valid this information is, so, with that warning, here is a synopsis of Ben H. Coke's comments.  He refers to another book "The Rucker Family" by Sudie Rucker Wood and Edythe Whitley.

Peter Rucker d1734 was naturalized in Virginia in 1704.  This Peter had several children:

  • Mary Rucker, who married William Offill,
  • Ephraim Rucker,
  • John Rucker, d1742,
  • Thomas Rucker, and
  • James Rucker, who moved to Greenbrier Co., now in WV.

The above Mary, with William Offill (Offield, Aufil, etc.), had several children which include:

  • William,
  • Margaret (m. Jonathon Underwood),
  • Elizabeth (m. Joshua Jackson dc1797),
  • a daughter (married J. Cofer), and
  • Mary (m1. David Vawter, m2. James Renfrow).

This last daughter, Mary, had children who seemed to have followed the TN, KY, IN path.  Anyone studying the Rucker family will want to consult "The Vawter Family of America", by Bicknell, which has a short biography of Jesse Vawter, Mary's son.

Ephraim Rucker had two known children:

  • Mary (m. William Vawter) and
  • Elliott, who served in the Virginia House of Delegates.

John Rucker d1742 shows that he was a constable in Spotsylvania Co., from 1730 to 1738.  He petitioned for Ruckers Road in today's Madison Co., which was established with Peter Rucker as overseer.  John Rucker, on his own behalf, and several others petitioned for a division of Spotsylvania Co., which was accepted with the formation of Orange Co.  In 1740 John Rucker was made a captain in Orange Co. (of the militia?), hence this John is sometimes referred to as Capt. John.  John d1742 had children including:

  • Benjamin, later sheriff of Amherst Co., VA,
  • Col. Ambrose Rucker, and
  • Margaret (m. Isaac Smith d1802).

[This last family has been reported in these notes].

Thomas Rucker had at least the children:

  • John (m. Mary Burton) and,
  • Thomas (m. Unknown)

James Rucker (m. Margaret _____ ) had several children and three that are known are:

  • Mildred,
  • Lemuel, and
  • Ephraim.

Perhaps I can revisit the Ruckers later.  From what I have read, this is not the normal English family.  It is very doubtful that they were even English.

Nr. 746:

The Rucker family was just another family for me until some bits and pieces started pointing to the need for more investigation of the family.  I did know they lived on the edge of the German community and then I started wondering if they were a part of the German community.  Looking at the German atlas, I found the name Rucker, especially as a part of a combination name, was not unusual.  The telephone directory confirmed that it was a family name.  So when I saw that the name, in Virginia, occurred several times with German names (as I judged they might be), I begin to seriously wonder.  When I have read that Peter Rucker was naturalized in 1704 (though I have not seen the documents) I considered that it was extremely likely that the Rucker family was German.  I do not have any proof that John Rucker was the son of Peter.

Two of the associated families, who were probably Germans, but not normally considered in the Germanna literature, were the Offills and Cofers.

The Offill name is spelled in many ways, a fact which I often considered as indicative of a non-English origin.  Some of the ways for spelling the name include Offield, Aufil, and Oppill.  All of these are believable spellings by an English clerk of the German Apfel, meaning "apple".  This is not an unusual name in Germany.  William Offill married Mary Rucker, daughter of Peter Rucker, who died in 1743.

Another family, with multiple spellings, is the Cofer, Copher, Coffer family.  The Cofer family was perhaps not as early as the Rucker family.  Thomas Cofer bought 70 acres on Elk Run in 1745, just south of John Rucker.  One notable item, to me, about this name is the close similarity to the name K�fer.  This is a name that is known in the Germanna community for Michael Kaifer (as the name is often spelled) lived a couple of miles, perhaps slightly more, to the north of Elk Run.  In Germany, very little is known about the K�fer family.  We know that John Nicholas Blankenbaker married Appolonia K�fer, and that, when they came to America her brother, Michael, came with them.  Later he married Anna Maria Blankenbaker, after her husband, John Thomas, died.  Michael had five daughters but no sons, so the name died out with him.  Hence, the spelling in America is most uncertain.  The book, "The Boone Family", by Spraker in 1922, says that Thomas Cofer was born in Pennsylvania and settled in Virginia.

According to the Boone book, Thomas Cofer was born c.1715-1720 in Pennsylvania and moved to Madison Co., Virginia (then a part of Orange Co.).  He died in 1791, so apparently his final records would be in Culpeper Co.  George and Joel Cofer, attributed as sons of Thomas, were in the Culpeper Classes of 1781.

Nr. 747:

Recent notes have pointed up the lack of information that we have about some supposed German families.  There are several other families for whom information is scarce and several of these would seem to be German beyond any doubts.  One such family is John Michael Stoltz, whose name betrays his origins.

John Michael Stoltz had a patent in 1725 for 400 acres of land in Hanover County on both sides of Owens Creek.  From the date of the patent, it is possible that he came about the time of the Second Colony members, perhaps slightly later, and was indentured to people who lived some distance from the other Germans in Virginia at that time.  As a consequence, he may have become acquainted with land in Hanover County and found some that he could take up.  A few years later, in 1732, he patented 291 acres on the north side of the Robinson River.  This may have been a desire to be located closer to a German community.  A John Stolts is in the 1739 Orange Co. tithe list.  In Orange Co., on 25 Feb 1741/42, the bond of Jno. Michael Stolts was recorded as the administrator of John Michael Stolts.  The bondsmen were Henry Downs and Thomas Wood.  The two Stolts were probably father and son, but the abstract that I am reading does not make it clear which way this went.  At an inquiry in 1741, the land of the Robinson River patent was declared to be the property of the Colony again, and was sold to Michael Utz in 1745.  At this point, let us say that we would like to know more about the Stolts/Stoltz family.  They may not have been active members of the Robinson River community.

In 1728, William Vinegunt, of King and Queen Co., obtained a patent on 500 acres, adjacent to a patent of Michael Clore.  From the location adjacent to several Germans (the general location is known) and from the spelling, it suggests a German name.  But after the patent, the man drops from sight.  Maybe he never came up from K & Q Co.

What I am trying to illustrate is that our inventory of Germans is incomplete.  There were more than we usually count.  Some of these may have interacted with the ones that we know better.

Some progress has been made toward discovering some of these unknowns with a number of very interesting discoveries.  Many of these people are known to the families, but not to the Germanna community.  In some cases, the present day families are not aware that there was a presence in the Germanna community.  Some more work is needed to complete the inventory of Germans who lived for at least a while east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Nr. 748:

Recently, I have recounted some of the frustrations at finding information about families who lived in the Virginia Piedmont, especially those who are suspected of having a German origin.  This note summarizes a family, probably of German origin, which has not been reported in the Germanna Foundation literature.  The information is taken from two recent issues of Beyond Germanna, in articles written by Cheri Casper.

Peter Casper, the head of the family, first appears in a Culpeper Co. deed in 1778, when he purchased 381 acres from Moses Threlkeld.  He paid taxes on this property until his estate started paying taxes on it in 1820.  In 1781, his name is found in Culpeper Class 54 of the militia.  In this same class are men who were probably neighbors, including Anthony Griffin, Richard Parks, Zachary Griffon, William Brooks, William Baxter, John Kilby, [Peter Casper], Philip Gaines, Thomas Garriott, William Cruser, Michael Wilhoit, John Myrtle, Thomas Barnhysle, and James Cannon.  In the 1787 personal property tax list for Culpeper Co., Peter Casper was the owner of two horses and six cows, with no tithes besides himself.  The area is the south of the region which later became Rappahannock County.

Five children are given as his progeny.

  • Mary (1763 � 7 May 1817), married James Threlkeld in 1789.  Later she married George Coonze (Kootz, Koontz).  B.C. Holtzclaw, in his writings, notes that George Koontz married Mary Threlkeld without noting that she was a widow,

  • Ann Casper, married Austin Smith in 1802,

  • Catherine Casper, married Joel Smith in 1794,

  • Elizabeth Casper (20 Nov 1789 � 27 Nov 1851), married Hedgman Smith, 20 Aug 1810, and

  • William Casper (30 Jul 1784 � 4/5 Aug 1846), married Avarilla Durbin, 6 May 1809 in Knox Co., Ohio.

The three Smith men who married the daughters above were all sons of John and Elizabeth Triplett Smith.

After William and Avarilla were married in Ohio, they returned to Virginia and lived three years with his father.  Avarilla made a journal of history at that time, and the journal is extant as microfilm in Salt Lake City, in the Family History Library.  She recorded her belief that Father Casper had served in the Revolutionary War, but no record of his service has been found.  His service in the militia may have been confused with active duty.

Family tradition says that Peter Casper had married Mary "Huckleberry", and that both of them had been born in Germany.  Unfortunately, Avarilla recorded no detailed information.  She did say that Peter was the only son of his father.

William and Avarilla committed themselves to the Latter Day Saints, and, in 1837, moved to Missouri, where a large colony of Mormons was gathering.  Feeling against them was very strong and Gov. Boggs ordered the Mormons to surrender their property and to leave.  William sold his farm to Avarilla's brother and the Caspers then joined other Mormons in Illinois, where William died.  Eventually, Avarilla went to Utah to live with her son William, though she died in the east on a visit to other of her children.

Nr. 749:

Another family, besides the Casper family of the previous note, for which much more information has become available, is the Crecelius family.  Earlier, the extent of the information published by the Germanna Foundation was one sentence.  Clarice Jane Snyder, with several other researchers, has uncovered much information on this family which was reported in Beyond Germanna.

The name Crecelius doesn't even sound or look German.  It originated in the sixteenth century when there was a movement to convert German names to a Latin form, especially by the educated class of teachers, doctors, and lawyers.  The earliest individual in the Crecelius family for which it is possible to estimate dates closely is Dietrich "Theodore" Krekel, who lived about 1540 to 1628.  He was the last Catholic instructor at the Institute of St. Serverus at Gemunden, in the Duchy of Nassau, before the Institute became Evangelical Lutheran during the Reformation period.  It was the following two generations that adopted the spelling Crecelius.  The name remains in Germany today with about 175 listings in the German telephone directory.

The line can be traced down to Otto Rudolph Crecelius, who was the clerk of the court at the village of Reichelshiem in 1764.  In that year he applied for, and obtained, a certificate of the legitimate birth of his three children from the Mayor and Council of the village.  Even the imperial commissioner, Herr J. L. W. von Trillitz, added his seal and signature.

Shortly thereafter he came to America with his family.  For a while he was a teacher at the Frederick German Lutheran School in Frederick Co., Maryland.  At the start of the American Revolution, he was in Culpeper Co., Virginia.  In 1782 and 1784, he was in Rockingham Co.  Later the family moved to that part of North Carolina which became eastern Tennessee.  He died and is buried there.

In the Robinson River Valley in Virginia, Rudolph (as he commonly called himself), his wife, and his children have some appearances in the Hebron Church records.  One son, Johannes Crecelius, was born there on 14 Oct 1777, with John and Mary (Wilhoit) Yager as sponsors.  The daughter Elizabeth was confirmed in 1777, and the next two names in the list were Eva and Elizabeth Yager, daughters of John and Mary Yager.  Probably the Yager family had befriended the Crecelius family, but perhaps it went a bit deeper than friendship.  Elizabeth would have been reaching the age of marriage by the time that the family left the community.

One lesson from this is that it is possible to discover information even going back two hundred years before immigration.  One objective here is to make others acquainted with the people in the community.

Nr. 750:

Another person in the Germanna community about whom we know little is Wilhelm Kahl (this is how he signed his will in NC).  This will was witnessed by Henry Rulsbach, Jr. (Railsback), Fritzhorf Cub (?), and William Mitchell.

The earliest record of William Kahl (Cawl, Kall, Call, etc.) is in Culpeper County when he witnessed the will of John Snider.  Other witnesses were John Knesbay and Henry Hufhman.  John Snider was a German as were the other two men (it is believed).  On 6 Mar 1765, William Calle, James Graves, John Thomas, William Catton, Michael Smith, Christopher Moir (Moyer), and Adam Barlow were witnesses to a deed in Culpeper Co., VA, in which John Wayland and Katherine (Broyles) were the sellers and Henry Railsback was the buyer.

On 17 Oct 1765, William Call and his wife Catherine sold their land in Culpeper Co., VA, in Bromfield Parish to Charles Taylor.  This was 170 acres of land lying and being in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock River, being part of the patent granted to John Pall Focht (John Paul Vaught).  William and Catherine stated they were selling because they were moving.

William is found in Rowan Co., NC, in 1768 and in 1778.  He received a state grant on 10 Oct 1783 for 548 acres on both sides of Cedar Creek and Cub Creek.  The Huffmans and Railsbacks are found in Rowan Co.  Henry Railsback mailed one of the daughters of William and Catherine Call.  Another daughter of William and Catherine married a Stonecypher, but she is not mentioned in William's will.

The above information was sent to me by Eva Alford.  The following are my own comments.  The Kahl family seems close to the families of Huffmans, Railsbacks, and Stoneciphers.  These last three families are from the area of Siegen in Germany.  Henry Huffman and John Stonecipher married women whose maiden names were Schuster though they do not seem to be sisters.  The land that William Kahl bought from the original patent of John Paul Vaught is generally known and lies in today's Madison County, almost at the Culpeper Co. line.  John Thomas and John Snider owned land in this general area and their appearance with William Kahl may be geographical, not as relations.  Still, William Kahl may have lived in this area and may have married someone from this area.  So of the names above, let me give some of the relationships.

John Thomas' mother was a Blankenbaker.  John bought land from John Paul Vaught.  Michael Smith married a sister of John Thomas.  Adam Barlow married a daughter of Michael Smith.  So Thomas, Smith, and Barlow have a common thread genealogically.  One wonders about Christopher Moyer and William Kahl.  John Railsback, brother to Henry, married a daughter of John Thomas.

The Germanna Record is silent on the subject of William Kahl.  It would be my guess that William Kahl came from the Siegen area and that he married someone from the Robinson River Valley community.  These ideas are thrown out as hints for research, not as answers.


(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 THIRTIETH set of Notes, Nr. 726 through Nr. 750.)

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