Germanna Research Group

Germanna Research Group

Germanna Research Group Spotswood desired workers for his and his partners’ proposed silver mines. Approval never came, but the Germans did.

This is the telling of several intertwining stories of different people who were brought together from different parts of Germany and settled into the Virginia frontier under the auspices of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood. Not wishing to begin mining without knowing the percentage of silver that would be owed to the Crown, the partners waited for approval from Queen Anne and then from King George I.


On the Prince William County, VA, Hamilton Parish Rent Roll for the time from Michaelmas 1738 to Michaelmas 1739, Fishback and Holtzclaw are recorded as paying the tax on 1805 acres. The amount was one pound, 16 shillings, one pence. If the land had already been divided and parceled out to the various 1714 Germanna families, why in 1738-1739 were Fishback and Holtzclaw still paying the tax on the entire tract?


Two books written by William C. Davis, The Rogue Republic and Three Roads to the Alamo, provide insights into the lives of some of our Germanna descendants. In this case, Reuben Kemper, a colorful individual to say the least, was very involved in the settlement and unrest in West Florida. Late in his life, Kemper was acquainted with James Bowie who later was known for his exploits at the Battle of the Alamo. At the time he met Kemper, Bowie was involved in various fraudulent land schemes near the area where Kemper had retired to live out his later years. Kemper's approval was essential for success in such ventures and Bowie became friends with Kemper for that reason.

It is always necessary to research carefully the times and situations in which all of our ancestors lived. One bit of information is not evidence of anything; it is only one small part of the much larger body of research that should be conducted to construct as accurate a history as possible. Historians like William C. Davis can assist us in that quest.


Muster roll of the Virginia 2nd Militia Division, 1st Brigade is available online at in their digital collections within the War of 1812 Bicentennial Collection covering Orange, Culpeper, and Spotsylvania Counties. Listed are officers and enlisted men, both volunteers and draftees. We will publish here if permission is received from LVA to do so. Access is unlimited which means you may look all you like, but permission is needed to publish even online. Germanna Research Group adheres to all applicable copyright law.

Virginia Memory Virginia Memory is...

Retracing history one path at a time 15/09/2015

Christoph von Graffenried was traveling with John Lawson when they were captured by the Tuscarora Indians. John Lawson was murdered and Graffenried escaped. Germanna descendants from the 1714 colony should recognize these names.

Retracing history one path at a time Anybody who lives in the Triangle hates giving directions to Cary Towne Center. It’s in a Bermuda Triangle of crisscrossing highways, it’s obviously not at the center of anything, and it’s on Maynard Road, a Dantean circle.


The Earl of Orkney and Colonel Alexander Spotswood together attended the Board of Trade's meeting on 21 February 1709/1710 in London. The Earl of Orkney had nominated Colonel Spotswood as Deputy Governor of Virginia. [Note: The wording in the Board of Trade minutes is Deputy Governor, not Lieutenant Governor as Spotswood was known in Virginia.]

On 3 April 1710 Colonel Spotswood left observations made by the Commissioners of Customs concerning the Earl of Orkney's instructions relating to acts of trade. The minutes do not indicate what the observations were, but it may well have been concerning the difficulties of defending the coast of Virginia against pirates.

Pirates and privateers along the coast of Virginia would have been a serious concern for Colonel Spotswood since his predecessor was captured at sea on his way to Virginia and spent a number of years in Paris as a prisoner of war.


On 13 July 1709 Francis Lewis Michel and Stanyan, English consul in Switzerland, presented a petition to the Board of Trade in London for a settlement in Virginia for Swiss colonists. On 15 July 1709 the Board of Trade ordered that Perry [Micajah], Hyde, other Virginia merchants, and Colonel Nathaniel Blakiston to attend the Board of Trade at a later date to discuss this. These individuals attended the Board of Trade meeting on 19 July 1709 and encouraged the Board of Trade to grant the petition because it would strengthen the frontier borders and increase trade. Thus began the backstory of the beginnings of the Germanna First Colony. The "First Colony" designation is used for clarity only. Those Germans who comprised that group never called themselves by such a name. It is a twentieth century invention.


What usually happened to an indentured servant who arrived in the American colonies? What is unusual about both the First and Second Germanna Colonies' indentured service? [Technically, the Germanna First Colonists were redemptioners.] What would have happened to the Germanna families if they had not been placed by Lt. Governor Spotswood at a common task? It is a reasonable surmise that the families would have been separated and sent to different plantations. Even husbands and wives might have been separated.


Did you know that Dr. Benjamin Clark Holtzclaw, Jr, was a WWI veteran? A majority of the U. S. Army records were destroyed in a fire in St. Louis on 12 July 1973 and detailed information is often no longer available.
According to Oxford University records, B. C. Holtzclaw began his studies at Queen's College in 1914 and graduated with a M. A. 27 August 1917. He returned to the United States before his graduation, arriving in New York City on 18 July 1917.
He is shown as registering for the draft in Houston County, Georgia on 30 June 1917, more than two weeks before his arrival in New York City!
B. C. Holtzclaw enlisted in the U. S. Army 27 November 1917 as a second lieutenant and served overseas in France from 7 August 1918 until 9 June 1919. He was honorably discharged 1 July 1919.
If just the WWI registration card is consulted, the conclusion would be that B. C. Holtzclaw was living in Houston County in June 1917. If just the passenger list is consulted, the conclusion would be he returned to the U. S. in mid-July 1917. The Oxford University records indicate he graduated in August 1917, although the records do not indicate he was present. So how do you analyze the information to determine B. C. Holtzclaw's most likely location at different times and resolve the apparent conflicts? It is obvious he could not have registered in person and signed his name in Houston County if he was still in England.

Blood and sawdust 06/06/2014

Great story and photos on the E.A. Clore Furniture business in Madison, Virginia:

Blood and sawdust The Clore family has been producing furniture in Madison, Va., since 1830, and E.A. Clore Sons carries on as one of the oldest businesses in the state. The rise of imports from Asia has been crushing to the industry in recent decades, and the Clore business has seen the lean years, the layoffs, the…

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