View Full Version : Germanna Colonies in Virginia

Saturday, January 1st, 2005, 11:30 PM
At Germanna, Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood built the first seat of government for Spotsylvania, consisting of a court house, gaol, stocks and pillory, and a church. He also built quarters for himself and his employees. In order to retain title to his lands, he needed to populate them, his chief products in this area were the production of iron, naval stores, and grapes for wine. This area of Piedmont Virginia was to become the first sector of industrialization.

First German Settlement in Virginia

In 1709, hundreds of Palatine refugees from the Rhineland had been driven from their homes by famine and religious persecution. Therefore, they sought refuge in England. Under the Swiss Baron Christopher de Graffenreid, some of these people were settled on the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers in North Carolina. German Iron MinerWhen Baron de Graffenreid returned to Europe, Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood requested him to recruit for him some German miners.

Graffenreid's recruiter John Just Albrecht had already persuaded 14 individuals along with their families totaling forty two persons from the towns of Siegen, Eisern, Trupbach, Oberfischbach, Freudenberg, Niederndorf and Muesen in the principality of Nassau- Siegen, Germany to come to Virginia to mine Silver. To Graffenreid's chagrin he found these Germans already in London. He first told them to return to Germany as there were no mines in Virginia. When they refused to return to Germany he related their plight to Nathaniel Blakiston, the Agent for the Virginia Colony in London. Blakiston formed a company to mine iron with Spotswood as a principle. He sent the Germans to Virginia and wrote Spotswood telling him they were on the way and obligating Spotswood to pay 150 pounds for their passage.

Spotswood wrote expressing his surprise that he would be obligated to pay the passage without his prior consultation. The First Germanna Colony arrived in Virginia in the spring of 1714, and then came up the Rappahannock River to Tappahannock where they disembarked and made their way overland to the place where they would be settled 20 miles west of present day Fredericksburg at a location that would be called Fort Germanna.

Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood wrote to the Board of Trade in London in May 1714 stating the Germans were invited to Virginia by Baron de Graffenreid who had Her Majesty, Queen Anne's letter to the Governor to furnish them land after their arrival.

Germanna, First Colony of 1714

The 1714 Colonists did not leave their homes in Germany not knowing their destination, nor were they compelled to do so. They were engaged to perform a specific job in Virginia for the Georg Ritter company who had approval for a silver mining scheme from The Board of Trade and Plantations with the approbation of Queen Anne, knew where they were going, and what they were to do. They came from the ancient iron making capital of Europe, located in one of the most industrious provinces of Germany. A few were familiar with mining and the mechanics of making iron, others were farmers, carters, colliers, teachers and clockmakers. They were an intelligent, progressive set of people.

Two German Colonies came to Virginia during the administration of Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood and settled at or near Germanna in 1714 and 1717. The first consisted of 14 men with a total of 42 persons, as shown by an order of the Virginia Council passed April 28, 1714. This order provided that a fort should be built for them, that two cannons and some ammunition should be furnished, and a road cleared to the settlement. The order also shows that the Colony had only recently arrived in Virginia. Mr. Charles E. Kemper, a Germanna descendant of Staunton, Virginia, contributed an article to the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Vol. XIII, pp. 367-70) and gives their names as follows:

Jacob Holtzclaw, wife Margaret, sons John and Henry
John Joseph Martin, wife Maria Kathrina
John Spillman, wife Mary
Herman Fishback, wife Kathrina
John Hoffman, wife Kathrina
Joseph Coons, wife Kathrina, son John, Annalis, daughter Kathrina
John Fishback, wife Agnes
Jacob Rector, wife Elizabeth, son John
Melchior Brumback, wife Elizabeth
Tillman Weaver, mother Ann Weaver
Peter Hitt, wife Elizabeth

However, not all of the men named above were married in 1714. For example, John Hoffman and Anna Catherine Haeger were not married until November 7, 1721, as shown by John Hoffman's bible record. John Hoffman was 22 years old in 1714. (Note: Rev. John Henry Hager, John Kemper, Harman Utterback, and John Just Albrecht are not on Mr. Kemper's list.)

Future Governors From Germanna

In later years, descendants of the 1714 Colony became prominent citizens in their country. Major General James Lawson Kemper CSA, was a descendant of John Kemper of the 1714 Colony. Kemper MansionJames L. Kemper was born in Madison County, Virginia on June 11, 1823, and in 1853 was elected to the House of Delegates where he served as Speaker of the House, 1861-63. He was wounded during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Kemper was elected Governor of Virginia in 1873. His home, the Kemper Mansion in Madison, Virginia is listed on the Virginia and National Register of Historic Places.

John Fishback (Johannes Fishbach] of the 1714 Colony, moved from Germantown to Jeffersonton, Culpeper County, Virginia. He was the progenitor of five governors of States:

James Lawson Kemper (Virginia)
James Sevier Conway (Arkansas)
Elias Nelson Conway (Arkansas)
Henry Massey Rector (Arkansas)
William Meade Fishbach (Arkansas)

First German Reformed Church

The first German Reformed Church in America was established at Germanna by the 1714 Colonists and their minister, the Reverend John Henry Hager. Germanna is first mentioned in a statute, that somehow escaped the vigilance of Hening when compiling the treasure of Virginia's history, the Statutes at Large. In the Virginia State Library is a volume, Acts of Assembly Passed in the Colony of Virginia from 1662 to 1715, printed in London in 1727. One of the last Acts in this is one to exempt certain German Protestants from the payment of levies for seven years, and for erecting the parish of St. George, passed in 1714:

"...whereas certain German Protestants, to the number of 42 persons or thereabouts, have been settled above the falls of the river Rappahannock, on the southern branch of the said river, called Rapidan, at a place named Germanna, in the county of Essex, and have there begun to build and make improvements for their cohabitation, to the great advantage of this colony and the security of the frontiers in those parts from the intrusions of the Indians, it is enacted that they shall be free from the payment of all public and county levies for seven years, as should be any other German Protestants who might settle there, always providing, however, that they did not leave Germanna and settle elsewhere."

Therefore, these German Protestants, who came in 1714, were the "First Settlers" of Orange County, first called Essex, and later

First Settlement in Piedmont Virginia

A 1720 map of the Germanna area in the New York City Library shows the location and called it "Douchertown". The Germanna Colony of 1714 was the first organized community in Piedmont Virginia, and was the western most settlement in British America. The first written description of the Germanna Colony was given by John Fontaine in the Journal, describing his 1715 visit as follows:

"November 20, 1715 Wednesday. "...About five we crossed a bridge that was made by the Germans and about six we arrived to the German settlement. We went immediately to the minister's house. We found nothing to eat but lived on our small provisions and lay upon good straw. We passed the night very indifferently.

November 21, 1715, Thursday. Our beds not being easy, as soon as 'twas day we got up. It rained hard, but notwithstanding we walked about the town which is palisaded with stakes stuck in the ground, and laid close the one to the other,Fort Germanna 1714, oil painting of substance to bear out a musket shot. There is but nine houses built all in a line, and before every house, about 20 feet from the house they have small sheds built for their hogs and their hens, so that hog-stys and houses make a street.

This place that is paled in is a pentagon, very regularly laid out, and in the very center there is a blockhouse made with five sides which answers to the five sides of pales or great enclosure. There is loop holes through it, from which you may see all the inside of the inclosure. This was intended for a retreat for the people in case they were not able to defend the pallisadoes if attacked by the Indians. They make use of this blockhouse for divine service. They go to prayers constantly once a day and have two sermons a Sunday. We went to hear them perform their service, which is done in their own language, which we did not understand, but they seem very devout and sing the psalms very well.

This town or settlement lies upon Rappahannoc river 30 miles above the Falls and 30 miles from any Inhabitants. The Germans live very miserably. We would tarry here some time but for want of provisions we are obliged to go. We got from the minister a bit of smoked beef and cabbage, which was very ordinary and dirtily drest. We made a collection between us three of about thirty shillings for the minister, and about 12 of the clock we took our leave of them and set out to return, the weather hazy and small rain. In less than three hours we see 19 deer..."

Note that Fontaine remarked that "The Germans live very miserably" and added that, "We made a collection between us of about 30 shillings for the minister..." On October 31, 1716, a grant of 3229 acres of land was made to William Robertson, Clerk of Council. One month later, title was transferred to Alexander Spotswood. This was the Germanna tract and the first land that Spotswood acquired in this area.

After 1719, the First Germanna Colony of 1714 moved to Stafford County (now Fauquier County) where they made the first settlement in this area called Germantown. This site is now largely occupied by Crockett Part with a large lake that has much of the original settlement of Germantown under water. An old cemetery, located on private property, is believed to have the graves of some families of the Germantown Settlement and the First Germanna Colony of 1714.

The Knights of the Horseshoe

In August 1716, Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood led a group of men on a trip that has become known as the exploration to the Blue Ridge Mountains Historic Markerof Virginia. This group of men later became known in fiction as "The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" and Reverend Jones in his history of Virginia says they were given a gold horseshoe in commemoration of their famous journey. No proof of this gold horseshoe has ever been found so the story was probably a creation of Jones and later perpetuated by Caruthers in his 1834 fantasy "The Knights of the Horseshoe". Fontaine's Journal makes no mention of any gift given by Spotswood at the end of the expedition.

From Fontaine's Journal: "...and at four we came to Germanna. The Governor thanked the Gentlemen for their assistance in the expedition. Mr. Mason left us at five. I went and swam in the Rappahannoc (sic) river and returned to the town."

The men in the party were Spotswood; John Fontaine, who wrote a journal of his observations of the journey that has been an invaluable resource for research by historians through the years; Beverley, the noted historian of Virginia in 1703; Colonel Robertson; Austin Smith; Todd; Dr. Robinson; Taylor; Brooke; Mason; and Captains Clouder and Smith. The entire party also included rangers, Indians, and numerous servants who made the total number of the party approximately fifty persons.

In Hugh Jones' fanciful "History of Virginia", published in 1724, the following is stated:

"Governor Spotswood, when he undertook the great discovery of the Passage over the Mountains, attended with a sufficient guard, and pioneers and gentlemen, with a sufficient stock of provisions, with abundant fatigue passed these Mountains, and cut His Majesty's name in a rock upon the highest of them, naming it Mount George; and in complaisance the gentlemen, from the governor's name, called the mountain next in height Mount Alexander.

For this expedition they were obliged to provide a great quantity of horse shoes [things seldom used in the lower parts of the country,
where there are few stones]; upon which account the Governor, upon their return, presented each of his companions with a golden horse shoe [some of which I have seen studded with valuable stones, resembling the heads of nails] with this inscription on the one side: SIC JUVAT TRANSCENDERE MONTES; and on the other is written the tramontane order."

Part of Jones' account is again contradicted by Fontaine when he states:

"The Governor had graving irons but could not grave any thing the stones were so hard. I graved my name on a tree by the river side and the governor buried a bottle with a paper enclosed in which he writ that he took possession of this place in the name and for King George 1st of England."

Germanna Second Colony - 1717

In 1717, a Second Colony of Germans came to Germanna and were settled across the river from Germanna in the Great Fork. They were Lutherans from the Palatinate and Baden-Wuertemburg regions of Germany. They paid passage to their intended destination, Pennsylvania, but the captain landed in Virginia where he demanded more money. Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood paid this extortion, in exchange for an indenture of 7 years on the Germans. The truth of the matter here is that the Captain, Andrew Tarbett was in cahoots with Governor Spotswood, and this additional money was the captain's "bonus" for bringing the Germans to Virginia rather than Pennsylvania. Spotswood used this indenture to secure for himself headrights for land based on his importation of these Germans.

Some members of this Colony were:

Jacob Broil
Matthew Smith
John Harnsberger
John Motz
Balthaser Blankenbaker
Michael Holtz
Michael Clore
Zerechias Fleshman
Andrew Ballenger
Nicholas Blankenbaker
George Sheible
George Utz
George Meyer
John Broyles
Michael Kaifer
Frederick Cobbler
Christopher Zimmerman
Henry Snyder
Michael Smith
Michael Cook
Andrew Kerker
William Carpenter
Christopher Parler
John Broil
Nicholas Yeager

More Germans continued to arrive at Germanna through 1719. Then on
February 20, 1719 O. s.(1720 N. s.), the 15,000 acre mine tract was
patented to Spotswood's friend, Robert Beverly. Soon Spotswood added
this land holding to his Germanna tract. Two months later on April
22, 1720, a tract of 1920 acres in the fork of the Rappahannock River
across the Rapidan from Germanna was conveyed to Spotswood from
Robert Beverly.

On November 2, 1719, another tract of 3065 acres adjoining Germanna land was patented by Richard Hickam and was transferred to Spotswood one month later. These land transactions had been granted several years earlier, but Spotswood held off patenting the land until the new rules passed in 1719./20 by the House of Burgesses, The Council and agreed to by the King, were in effect.

These new rules provided for settlement of the new county of Spotsylvania, by granting land free of quit rents and taxes for a period of seven years. Spotswood signed all these and many other patents for his friends in the summer of 1722 just before he was fired as Lt. Governor.

The Colonists of 1717 and 1719 remained in the Germanna neighborhood
untilHebron Lutheran Church, c. 1740 1725 or 1726 when they acquired
land in Madison County. Many of these names are prominent in Madison
and the surrounding area today. The Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison
County remains today with an active congregation after being built by
these Germanna Settlers in 1740. It is listed on the Virginia and National Register of Historic Places.

In 1724, the Reverend Hugh Jones published Present State of Virginia,
describing Germanna as follows:

"Beyond Governor Spotswood's furnace above the Falls of Rappahannock River, within view of the vast mountains, he has founded a town, called Germanna from the Germans sent over by Queen Anne, who are now removed up further. He has servants and workmen at most handicraft trades, and he is building a church, courthouse, and dwelling house for himself; and with his servants and negroes he has cleared plantations about it, proposing great encouragement for people to come and settle in that uninhabited part of the world, lately divided into a county that is now called Spotsylvania."

In August 1724, while Spotswood was in England, his home was still being completed. His housekeeper was a Mrs. Russell. William Frazier was building the stairway; John Finlason and his wife Katherina were operating the tavern; and other residents of the Germanna village were William Barnes, John Arnold, John Lee, and Peter Corbin.

On March 25, 1724, Alexander Spotswood married Butler Brayne while in
England. Two children were born to the Spotswoods while in England:
John in 1724 and Anna Catherine in 1728.

On August 6, 1729, William Russell was ordered to mend the bridge at the fountain and to clear a road up to the courthouse and keep same in good repair. Today, there is evidence that a road leading from the fountain to the top of the hill was once carved from the steep bank.

Alexander Spotswood returned to America with his bride and children to live at their home at Germanna which he named "Porto Bella".

In 1732, William Byrd II of "Westover", near Richmond, visited Germanna, and wrote his impressions of his visit in his diary, which survives today. He stated the town consisted of Colonel Spotswood's "enchanted castle on one side of the street and a baker's dozen of ruinous tenements on the other, where the Germans had lived." His description of the interior of the "enchanted castle" says that he was escorted into a room elegantly set off with pier glass. His account gives the impression of a gracious and hospitable plantation home. Then there were four children in the Spotswood
family and another was born the following year of 1733.

In November 1739, Spotswood advertised in the Virginia Gazette, "To sell his furniture, coach, chariot, chaise, horses, house, slaves, etc., and the lands reserved for his own seating to be leased out for lives renewable until Christmas, 1775." He also wished, "To lease his extraordinary grist mill and bolting mill lately built by one of the best millwrights in America, and both going by water taken from a long race out of the river Rapidanne, together with 600 acres of seated lands adjoining to the said mill."

While in Williamsburg, during the Spring of 1740, Spotswood made his last will and testament. Since his property was unsold, he arranged for his executors to dispose of the property. The original will of Alexander Spotswood is on record at Orange County Court House, Orange, Virginia.

From Williamsburg, Spotswood traveled to Annapolis, Maryland to arrange for the embarkation of his troops. The plan was for his soldiers to join an amphibious attack under Admiral Vernon, on the Spanish fort at Cartegena, Columbia, South America. While in Annapolis Spotswood became ill and died on June 7, 1740.

In 1714, while still Lt. Governor, Spotswood bought a summer house near Yorktown. Bishop Meade states in Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia, that "Governor Spotswood had his country home near York [Virginia], early in the last century, at Temple Farm, ... where he built a new and larger house, and where he is buried."

Recent archaeological exploration of Temple Farm has concluded that
Spotswood is not buried there. After his return from England he made his home at Germanna and no further mention is made of Temple Farm in Spotswood's affairs.

During the heat of summer, it would have been much closer to return the body of Alexander Spotswood inland to Germanna from Annapolis rather than further down the bay to Temple Farm. Speculation now centers on Germanna as the possible burial site for Spotswood's remains.

In the Temple Farm mansion then, as now, known as Moore Plantation, Lord Cornwallis met George Washington October 19, 1791, and signed the Articles of Capitulation that secured American independence.

Spotswood's widow, Butler Brayne Spotswood, continued to live at Salubria, Culpeper, VAGermanna until her marriage to the Reverend John Thompson, the Minister of St. Mark's Parish, on November 9, 1742. There are some reports they lived briefly at the glebe of St. Mark's on the old Stevensburg to Eley's Ford Road [Route 620], a few miles north of Lignum, where there is a spring known as Lady Spotswood's Spring. Reverend Thompson built "La Grange", now known as "Salubria", on the Germanna Highway, near Stevensburg for their home.

It is not known when the "enchanted castle" at Germanna was destroyed. Surely it was vacant at the time and perhaps repairs were being made prior to selling the property. Sue Gordon wrote that the Spotswood home "Germanna" was accidentally burned when melting lead to repair the roof. This is a likely explanation of the loss of the home. Such roof repairs would indicate the house had a roof covered with tin that was occasionally used on colonial mansions. Dr. Douglas Sanford, the archaeologist who uncovered the house confirms that the house was burnt and that it was not occupied at the time.

Later owners of the Spotswood site were the James Gordon family who built a large, two story frame home near the site of the Spotswood home in the late 1790's. The Gordon Family cemetery is located on these grounds.

This land was later purchased by Historic Gordonsville, Inc. for preservation and archaeological studies. Recently, they donated the land to the Mary Washington College, and the Center for Historic Preservation is now using the project for educational purposes.

Germanna - A Political & Business Center

Since Alexander Spotswood was Governor of Virginia at the time Spotsylvania County was created, and he owned Germanna, this was the location he selected for the seat of the Spotsylvania County government. Spotswood's chosen site was on a bluff overlooking the Rapidan River, north of the Germanna Village and northeast of the Germanna Ford on the Rapidan River. The land was well drained, with a gentle slope that afforded a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A plantation was cleared from Rocky Run on the South and extended along the east side of the Rapidan River.

Spotswood built his compound to serve as a personal home and as a seat of government for the new Spotsylvania County. Spotswood agreed to the use of certain premises by the county, but reserved certain rooms for his personal use. The Clerk of the Court used a room in the Spotswood home as an office. The Courthouse was most likely a separate structure that was located close enough to the Spotswood home to allow use by the Spotswood family when court was not in session.

Lelia Spotswood Willis, a fifth generation descendant of Lt. Governor
Spotswood visited Germanna as a child and recalled in her memoirs a large single room building in the yard used for "pow-pows". This could have been the Courthouse. It has been stated that "Governor Spotswood held the court of Spotsylvania in the parlor of his residence at Germanna". Such use was also made of "Stratford", home of the Lees as the first court of Westmoreland County.

When the first session of court for Spotsylvania County met at Germanna on August 1, 1722, the Spotswood residence had not been built. Thus, the "large single room building" could have been the first Courthouse. At the time Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood's home was in the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Germanna was a place of considerable importance in the local area. From the year 1721, when Spotsylvania County was organized, until 1732 when the courts were moved to Fredericksburg, Germanna was the county seat of Spotsylvania County. Meeting of the court, from month to month, or occasionally at two month intervals, certainly necessitated the presence of the county justices, county officials, clerk, sheriff surveyor, attorneys, as well as numerous citizens who had deeds to record, wills to probate, and disputes to settle. At that time, the county included a large area, and it is reasonable to assume the court day crowds were numbered by the hundreds. Naturally, some provision was made at the county seat for public entertainment.

Ordinaries, taverns, were no doubt located there, and almost certainly a blacksmith shop and small mercantile store, with liquid refreshments. There is evidence that Germanna was a place of settlement and industrial activities for a number of years after the courts were moved to Fredericksburg. For many years, there was a grist mill beside the river, just above the bridge, on the south side of the Germanna Highway. The chimneys that remain today in the picnic area of Siegen Forest belonged to the Urquhart family, which owned the mill in the 19th century.

Traditions tell of manufacturing and industrial establishments. It is probable that the settlement had small shops of carpenters, blacksmiths, wagon makers, saddler, gunsmiths, and others that were found in those days in every town and village.

John Finlason was granted the first license to operate a tavern in Spotsylvania County on November 6, 1722. He was later authorized to provide lodging and food for the justices, and to care for their horses while court was in session. This was probably the first business establishment at Germanna not owned by Spotswood.

In April 1723, a petition for a ferry at Germanna was approved. In April 1723, a number of headright certificates were granted including those of Jacob Holtzclaw, John Camper [Kemper], and Johannes [John Joseph] Martin, of the 1714 Germanna Colony, Frederick Cobbler of the 1717 Germanna Colony, and Meredith Holms, Godfrey Pidge, John Bell, Thomas Jackman, John B. Cowers of the 1719 group.

At the April 1724 court session, Spotswood 'surrendered' the courthouse, prison, pillory, and stocks to the county. He stated the courthouse was completed, except for some plastering over the justices bench which could not be done in cold weather. He offered the court the room over the prison for the use of the justices or jury. Spotswood did not "surrender" the room being used by the Clerk of Court as an office. The court thanked Spotswood for "so fine a courthouse". It is apparent the public buildings and the home of Spotswood were very close together, and that some of the facilities served a dual role.

In 1820, Charles Urquhart advertised in the Virginia Herald that due to advanced period of life and precarious health and an earnest wish to settle all his affairs, he planned to move from Germanna and wished to sell his 288 acre farm, which was highly productive and with extensive orchards of selected fruit.

The Germanna Mills were in complete order, running two pairs of 5 foot burrs and one pair of country stones. The burr stones were quite new and of first quality; the machinery and gears were complete and new. The Mill was located 20 miles from the port town of Fredericksburg and convenient to the fertile counties of Culpeper, Madison, and the Shenandoah Valley.

In 1806, William F. Gordon opened a school at Germanna where he taught Latin, spelling, reading, writing, English grammar, composition, geography, and arithmetic. The tuition was $25 for those who were taught Latin, $20 for the other subjects. His mother could accommodate two or three boarders.

At the court session on June 2, 1724, several more of the 1714 Colonists had their headrights certified: John Spillman, Thomas Fishback, John Huffman, Joseph Cuntz, John Fishback, Jacob Rickart [Rector], Melchior Brumback, and Tillman Weaver.

In July 1724, court met and Spotswood entered suit for debt against many of the 1717 Colony: Philemon Paulitz, Conrad Amburg, Nicholas Yeager, Balthaser Blankenbaker, Michael Clore, Michael Cook, Andreas Bollinger, George Sheible, John Bryal , Michael Smith, George May, Michael Kaiser, Matthias Blankenbaker, Michael H lt [Holtz], Cyrannes [Zerechias] Fleshman, Nicholas Blankenbaker, Henrich Snider [Henry Snyder], and George Utz.

A description of the home of Spotswood was given in Scott's History
of Orange, as follows:

"There was a 'palace there, with a terraced garden connected by an underground passage with a fort, there is no reason to doubt. Indeed, the terraces remain to this day. It was certainly the county seat of Spotsylvania, as the statute shows. In May 1732, a statute was passed, 'Whereas, the place for holding courts in the County of Spotsylvania, is appointed and fixed at Germanna, and it is found by experience that great inconveniences attend the justices and inhabitants of the said county and others whose attendance is required or who have business to transact at the said courts, for want of accommodation for themselves and their horses, which by reason of the fewness of the inhabitants for many miles around the said place cannot be had,' and enacting that these courts be held only at Fredericksburg from the ensuing first day of August."

The Urquhart Family of Germanna Mills

In addition to the mill site and the old chimneys located in the Siegen Forest area, there is a cemetery enclosed by a stone wall. Only one original stone remains today. The remaining tombstone:

"Finella Urquhart - wife of Charles Urquhart - departed this life May 23rd, 1816 in the 30th year of her age - this tomb is dedicated to her remains as a memorial of her worth by an affectionate husband. Her virtues are recorded in the memory of her neighbors and filial tears consecrate her resting place."

Carrol Garnett from Chester, Chesterfield County, Virginia presented
information to the 1982 Annual Reunion of the Memorial Foundation of
the Germanna Colonies In Virginia, Inc. regarding his research on the Urquhart Cemetery located at Germanna. Mr. Garnett reported that following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes
ooth, the assassin, was located on the Garrett Farm near Port Royal, Virginia. Garnett's great uncle, by marriage, Dr. Charles Urquhart of Port Royal attended to Booth after his capture and remained with him until his death. Dr. Urquhart was married to Louisa Care Urquhart of Port Royal, Virginia. Dr. Richard Mudd, grandson of Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, who set John Wilkes Booth's leg following his leap to the stage of Ford's Theatre after firing the fatal shot at President Lincoln, was a member of the Surratt Society which had been actively seeking for many years to clear the name of Mary Surratt who was hanged in connection with the Lincoln assassination.

Documented evidence was presented by Carrol Garnett that Dr. Charles
Urquhart was buried at Germanna next to his mother, Finella Urquhart, after his death on Saturday, July 7, 1866. After a sudden illness, apparently a stroke since it left him speechless, "He expressed a wish on paper, to be buried with his father and mother at Germanna."

Following Dr. Urquhart's death on July 7, 1866, a letter states, "He now reposes by the side of his mother. His ashes will mingle with his kindred whilst the sod which he trod in his infancy covers his remains. He is buried in a beautiful spot. The winds will not sigh through the big walnut which shelters his father's grave, and his, because a noble form is buried there."

The Urquhart cemetery is located on the grounds of Siegen Forest, about 150 yards in the woods from the back of the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center.

Germanna Mills

In 1799, Charles Urquhart's address was "Germanna Mills", and he informed the public there was sufficient water to grind constantly through the summer and fall months. He had Indian corn for sale at 20 shillings per barrel. In 1808, Urquhart offered to barter for one bushel of Indian corn at his Germanna Mills any one of the following:

1 bushel of Irish Potatoes
1 bushel of Turnips
3 bushels of Shorts
4 bushels of Bran

In 1809, he stated that he would be absent from the Mill during
August and September, but his son, John D. Urquhart would have full
authority to make all arrangements.

These Mills and the Mill Race that served them were undoubtedly the same as those advertised in the Virginia Gazette in 1739 by Lt. Governor Spotswood as he prepared to leave for Cartegena. That advertisement indicated that Spotswood wished to lease, for 21 years, the Germanna Farm and the extraordinary Grist and Bolting Mills, lately built by one of the best millwrights in America and going by water taken from a long mill race from the Rapidan River.

In 1807, Charles Urquhart and his son opened a general store where an
assortment of groceries and dry goods could be bought for terms as low as those in Fredericksburg. They were willing to accept payment in cash, wheat, corn, oats, rye, barrel staves, barrel heading, or hoop poles in exchange for their chocolate, tea, whiskey, ginger, pepper, allspice, cloves, indigo, fig blue, saltpeter, alum, tin ware, glassware, ink powder, pins, humbums, and onzaburg.

The only original marker remaining today in the Germanna Cemetery of the Urquhart family is the large flat, engraved tombstone of Finella Urquhart. Carroll M. Garnett, of the Urquhart family, expressed his desire that an appropriate marker for the grave of Dr. Charles Urquhart, Jr. be erected at Germanna with the suggested text:


Located 75 yards south, in private burial ground, is the grave of Dr. Charles Urquhart, Jr. of Port Royal, who examined John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin at Garrett's Farm, during the early morning of April 26, 1865, treated his gunshot wound and later pronounced him dead. The burial of Dr. Urquhart still remains an obscure fact in local and national history regarding Germanna and Virginia. In 1986 a ceremony was held at the grave and a granite marker was placed on Dr. Charles Urquhart's grave.

Germanna - The Revolutionary War

In June 1781, Lafayette's army came to Germanna and met the force of Mad Anthony Wayne while avoiding the British under Tarleton. Lafayette crossed to the north side of the Rapidan River by the Germanna Ford. The combined force then crossed southward at or near Raccoon Ford and moved against Cornwallis.

Germanna - The Civil War

During the fall and winter of 1863-64, the armies of the North and South faced each other across the Rapidan River west of Germanna, the Federals on the north side, the Confederates on the south. Clark's Mountain was a point of lookout.Germanna Ford, Civil War artillery crossing pontoon bridges At one time, the Yankees crossed the river and there were a series of engagements on Mine Run.

Early in May 1864, Grant's army, which had been collected and equipped near Culpeper during their Winter Encampment of 1863-64, crossed the Germanna Ford to engage in the desperate Battle of the Wilderness, a few miles south from Germanna. Across the neck of the Germanna peninsula, infantry trenches and cannon pits can still be traced. In 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville had been fought ten miles to the Southeast. During this, General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded.

Geographic Location of Germanna

The settlement of 1714 was made on a peninsula on the east side of the Rapidan River, which is the southern branch of the Rappahannock, nine miles above its confluence with the northern branch and 13 miles above the site of Governor Spotswood's iron furnace. George Hume and his young assistant, George Washington, surveyed this tract of land. In 1749, at the age of 17, George Washington received his first commission as surveyor for Culpeper County. Washington then officially established the Rapidan River as the boundary dividing the counties of Orange and Culpeper.

The Germanna peninsula, now near the northeastern end of Orange County, Virginia, is formed by a large loop, shaped like a horseshoe bend, of the Rapidan River, 50 to 60 yards wide at this location. The Rapidan is really the main stream of the Rappahannock, evidence of which appears in the fact that it was taken as the southwestern boundary of the Northern Neck, Lord Fairfax's extensive domain, when the boundaries were fixed in 1746. At that time, the line (76 miles long) was surveyed between the head of the Conway River, main headstream of the Rapidan, and the head of the northern branch of the Potomac.

The northern branch of the Rappahannock, heading in Chester Gap of the Blue Ridge, near Front Royal, was known from early times as Hedgman's River. It has since been designated simply as the Rappahannock.

The Germanna peninsula comprises an area of approximately two square miles, about 1200 or 1300 acres.Siegen Forest It is still surrounded on the south and west for the most part, by forests, in which the trees are probably of second or third growth. The peninsula was originally all heavily timbered, as much of it still is, with oak, hickory, pine, poplar, and other native trees. Since a clearing had to be made for the original settlement, the trees cut down for the clearing were likely used as logs for building the cabins and the blockhouse, and for erecting the five-sided palisade that enclosed the settlement, called Fort Germanna.

The Germanna peninsula is bisected by a four lane divided highway officially named Germanna Highway. Fredericksburg is 20 miles to the southeast, and Culpeper 15 miles to the northwest. Below the bridge is the historic Germanna Ford, no longer used. In early times the stream probably had greater volume than now. In 1726, a ferry was provided at Germanna, "The price for man, three pence; for a horse, three pence".

Source: Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia
http://www.germanna.org/ (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.germ anna.org%2F)