Quenzel- Chapter 1 – text

ST. GEORGE’S PARISH was created in 1714 by an act of
the General Assembly.! This law, which received three
readings, several amendments and the Governor’s signature
in the fifteen days from December 10 to December 24, was
clearly an administrative measure.2 In his opening message to
the third session of the 1712-1714 Assembly Lieutenant Governor
Alexander Spotswood reported that, with the approval of the
Council, he had begun a settlement of approximately forty P~otestant
Germans on a branch of the Rappahannock some mlles
beyond the existing frontiers.s He called these Germans equally
as deserving of the Assembly’s benevolence as the Huguenots,
who in 1700 had been granted a seven-year tax exemption and
the right to form a separate parish.4.
For both public and private reasons, Spotswood was interested
in the little band whose settlement on the Rapidan he had
named Germanna. As he had advised the Lord Commissioners
of Trade in July, these experienced miners were valuable colonists
who would protect the part of the frontier that was to have been
covered by the Tuscarora Indians. Spotswood had a substantial
stake in their venture. He had personally paid for their passage
from London when Baron Graffenreid, the Swiss promoter who
had induced them to migrate, was unable to meet the transportation
Complying with the Governor’s wishes, the legislators had
granted the recommended tax exemption; defined the parish
1 Nicholas Trott, The Laws of the British Plantations in America, Relating
to the Church, and the Clergy, Religion and Learning (London, Printed for B. Cowse
. . . • 1721), pp. 133-134. The text of this law is also in Willis M. Kemper and
Harry L. Wright, Genealogy ofthe Kemper Family in the United States .•. (Chicago,
George K. Hazlitt & Co., 1899), p. 21.
2 H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Journals of the House of Burgesses of Yirginia (Richmond,
The State Library, 1912), V, 87, 101-102, 110, 116. Hereafter this will be
referred to as J. H. B.
3 Ibid., p. xxv, xxvii, 79; H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Executive Journal oftke Council
of Colonial Virginia (Richmond, Division of Purchase and Printing, 1928), III,
371-372. Hereafter this will be referred to as E. J. C.
4 J. H. B., V, 79; W. W. Hening, Tke Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of the
Laws . . . (New York, Philadelphia and Richmond, R. & W. & G. Bristow,
Thomas DeSilver, Samuel Pleasants, W. W. Gray et at, 1814-1823), III, 201.
Hereafter this will be referred to as Hening.
5 Charles E. Kemper, “The History of Germantown,” Fauquier Historical
Sociefy Bulletin, No. II (July 1, 1922), pp. 125-126; Alexander Spotswood, The
Officlal Letters of … with an Introduction and Notes by R. A. Brock (Richmond,
Virginia Historical Society, 1885), II, 70; Fairfax Harrison, Landmarks of Old
Prince William (Richmond, Privately printed, The Old Dominion Press, 1924),
pp. 207-209.

2 ‘The History of St. George’s Episcopal Church
limits as the town of Germanna and the land next adjoining and
extending five miles on each side thereof; and specifically exempted
this area from the jurisdiction of St. Mary’s Parish,
Essex County.6
The original St. George’s Parish was definitely German
rather than Anglican. The families that were planted there in
1714 belonged to the first German Reformed congregation in
Virginia; and their septuagenarian pastor, the Reverend Henry
Haeger, was the first clergyman to officiate in what was to become
Spotsylvania County. In addition to preaching, Mr. Haeger
had taught in the Latin School at Siegen, Germany. In fact,
he has been characterized as “one of the best educated m~n”
in the colonies in that period.7
In 1717 Spotswood imported about twenty families from
Alsace and the Palatine and in 1719-1720 he secured an additional
forty families. The second and third group of Germans
were Virginia’s pioneer Lutherans.s
A visitor to Germanna in 1715 reported that the inhabitants
were devout folk who “sang the psalms well” and had church
daily and twice on Sunday. He also noted that their services
Vi;ere conducted entirely in German.9 Both the Lutheran and the
German Reformed parishioners worshipped in the same pentagonal
block-house in the center of the village palisade. The
two denominations at Germanna cooperated in sending an agent
to solicit funds for a church from well-wishers on the Continent
and from the Venerable Society in England. Although the appeal
to the Society was seconded by English neighbors of the Germans,
it was politely rejected because of that organization’s policy of
refusing to make grants for missionary work in colonies where the
Anglican church was as firmly entrenched as it was in Virginia
and Maryland. The Society did, however, promise that envoy
twenty-five German language copies of the Book of Common
6 For the text of the act of 1714 see Appendix A.
7 Kemper, “The History of Germantown,” op. cit., p. 129; G. MacLaren
Brydon, “The Organization of Religion Among the New Settlers” from the manuscript
of his forthcoming Virginia’s Mother Church, II, 17-18.
8Ibid., 17-19; Harrison, op. cit., p. 216.
9 John Fontaine, “Journal of .•. ,” Memoirs of a Huguenot Family: Translated
and Compiled from the Original Autobiography by Ann Maury (New York,
G. P. Putnam & Co., 1853), pp. 267-268.
lac. W. Cassell, et ai., History of the Lutheran Church in Virginia and East
Tennessee (Strasburg, Va., Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1930), p. 188;
Brydon, “The Organization of Religion Among the New Settlers,” lac. cit., pp.
17, 19-20, note 58; “Case of German Families,” William S. Perry, ed., Papers
Relating to the Ht’story of the Church in f7irginia (n.p., Privately printed, 1870),
pp. 247-248; William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia
(Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott, 1861), II, 75-76; Kemper, “The History of
Germantown,” loco cit., p. 127.

The Colonial Period 3
Failing to convince Governor Spotswood that they were entitled
to the ore-bearing lands they were improving, the first
settlers at Germanna started looking for a place where they
might set up for themselves. They finally secured a patent to
more than 1805 acres of land on Licking Run and accompanied
by the venerable cleric Ha~ger, they moved to :vhat is now
Fauquier County. Appropnately they named their settlement
GermantownY .
When their terms of indenture were ended in the middle
Seventeen Twenties, the Lutherans also found a permanent home
elsewhere locating on the Robinson River and ‘Vhite Oak Run
in the pr~sent county of 11′:adison.12 Apparently they never gave
any reasons for their failure to join their compatriots at Germantown
but others have attributed their action to denominational
diffe;ences and especially to an unwillingness to settle in the
territory ;f Lord Fairfax. According to this explanation they
“preferred to live under the greater freedom and certainty of the
Virginia land tenure and tax laws.”l3 In 1725 they founded
Hebron, the oldest Lutheran congregation in Virginia.
Several years earlier, in November, 1720, the General Assembly
passed an act creating Spotsylvania County from parts of
Essex, King William, and King and Queen. A section of the
act, which is omitted from the incomplete text in Hening, specifically
repealed the 1714 statute and thus ended the seven years’
existence of the original St. George’s Parish. Instead, the whole
county was constituted as a new St. George’s Parish. This was
truly a vast parochial unit, as it included the frontier sections
of St. Mary’s Parish, Essex; St. Stephen’s Parish, King and
Queen; and St. John’s Parish, King William, or to put it in modern
terms, all of the territory of the present counties of Spotsylvania,
Orange, Madison, Culpeper, Greene and Rappahannock and
part of the present counties of Page, Rockingham and Warren.
All inhabitants were freed from public levies for ten years and
foreign Protestants were authorized to employ a minister of their
own choosing.14
The Spotsylvania act became effective on May 1, 1721, the
Governor fixed the seat of justice at Germanna and the first
court was held there on August 7, 1722. Vestrymen were selected
and apparently assumed their responsibilities, as the court records
show that Thomas Morley and John Shelton were “committed”
II Ibid., pp. 129-130.
12 Cassell, op. cit., p. 187.
13 Brydon, “The Organization of Religion Among the New Settlers,” loe.
cit., pp. 17-18.
14 Hening, IV, 77-79; Harrison, op. cit., p. 218; Morgan P. Robinson, Firginia
Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation • . . (Richmond, Davis
Bottom, Superintendent of Public Printing, 1916), pp. 94, 96-98; Meade, op. cit.,
II, 68.

4 The History of St. George’s Episcopal Church
on the complaint of a churchwarden for the lay baptism of the
child of one Ann Alsope. Morley was required to give bond for
his good behavior and when Shelton failed to appear at the next
term of court on September 1, 1724, he was committed to jail
and given thirty-one lashes on his bare back, sixteen in the evening,
and fifteen the following morning.15
There is something puzzling about the conviction of this man,
since churches of the Anglican Communion permit lay baptisms
in emergencies and they were possible in Spotsylvania in 1724
since a clergyman was not secured for the parish until 1726. A
student of the subject suspects that there was -something irregular
or blasphemous about the baptising which court records fail to
ShOW.16 .
At least three churches in St. George’s Parish were built or
under construction before a rector was employed. Rappahannock
Church was a simple frame building on the ChancellorsvilleEly’s
Ford road, approximately ten miles above Fredericksburg,
a mile or so from the south bank of the Rapidan and less than
five miles from the Rappahannock RiverP
Mattapony Church was on the west side of the present State
Route #51 and about six miles south of what is now Spotsylvania
Court-house. Court orders prove that this building was commenced
in 1724 and put in service in 1725, thus, substantiating
George Carrington Mason’s annihilation of the Reverend Philip
Slaughter’s thesis that Mattapony deserved the designation
“Mother Church” because it probably antedated the formation
of St. George’s Parish. Before the first Mattapony Church was
erected the inhabitants in that region worshipped in the home of
Captain Larkin Chew.18
According to a contemporary official, work was begun on
Germanna Church in 1724, and Colonel Spotswood stated it was
“almost compleated” before he went to England, probably in
1726}’ When the work had not progressed beyond the laying of
15 Henry Howe, Hiytorical Collectiony of Virginia . . • (Charleston, S. c.,
Published by Babcock, 1845), p. 475; Spotsylvania County Orders, 1724-30,
p. 15; Philip Slaughter, A Hiytory of St. George’y Pariyh in the . . . Diocne of
Virginia (New York, Press of John R. M’Gown, 1847), p. 8. Hereafter this will be
referred to as Slaughter, 1847.
16 Letter from G. MacLaren Brydon to Douglas S. Freeman, Jan. 17, 1949;
Letter from G. MacLaren Brydon to Carrol H. Quenzel, Jan. 26, 1949.
17 George Carrington Mason, “The Colonial Churches of Spotsylvania and
Caroline Counties, Virginia,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, LVIII,
(Oct., 1950), pp. 445-446; Minutes of the Vestry of St. George’s Episcopal Church,
Fredericksburg, Virginia . . . ,[I, 3, 12]. Henceforth this will be referred to as
Vestry Minutes. Strictly speaking the title lettered on the photostatic copy is
erroneous on several counts and a precise one would be the Minutes of the Vestry
of St. George’s Parish.
18 Spotsylvania County Orders, 1724-30, pp. 25, 31; Slaughter, 1847, p. 12;
Mason, loco cit., pp. 446-447; Vestry Minutes, [5J.
19 Commissary James Blair to the Bishop of London in Perry, op. cit., I,
258; Virginia Gautte, Dec. 17, 1736.

The Colonial Period 5
the foundation a complaint was made to Lieutenant Governor
Hugh Drysdal~ about Spotswoo~’s use of public funds to buil~ a
church in such a remote locatIOn. Apparently dlssatlsfactlOll
with the site persisted, as Colonel William Byrd visited Germanna
in 1732 and reported that the chapel had been “lately” burned
by persons who wanted one nearer home. Byrd’s charge seems
established by Governor Gooch’s offer of £100 for the apprehension
of whoever burnt the parish church.20
To the Reverend Theodosius Staige belongs the distinction
of being the first rector of the Anglican St. George’s Parish. This
Briton had church connections as the son of an Anglican clergyman
and as the brother-in-law of the Reverend James Marye,
Sr. who was destined to be St. George’s fourth rector. On June
4 ‘1725 he received the subsidy of £20 known as the King’s
Bounty’customarily granted rectors settling in America. Accompanied
by an unmarried sister, he moved to Virginia. In 1726
he took charge of St. George’s Parish at an annual salary of
16,000 pounds of tobacco-the legally established stipend for
Anglican clerics in Virginia from 1696 until the end of the colonial
period. In lieu of a glebe, he also received board and expenses.21
The Reverend Mr. Staige had hardly become comfortably
settled in his work before he applied for a year’s leave of absence
with pay so that he could go to England. Apparently the vestry
did not share his belief that the trip would sufficiently increase
his usefulness to justify his employers in paying him while he was
away, for they rejected his request on July 16, 1726.22
In 1727 the General Assembly founded the town of Fredericksburg
and named it in honor of Prince Frederick, the father
of George III. The next year Mr. Staige left St. George’s to
accept a caII to Charles Parish in York County, where he continued
his ministerial labors for nineteen years. He seems to have
been somewhat old-fashioned and strict, as the vestry and some
of the inhabitants of Charles Parish petitioned the Governor’ in
1743 to remove him for opposing the singing of the new version
of the Psalms and for refusing to baptize a child which he had
incorrectly suspected of being illegitimate. After a full hearing
the Governor and Council ordered the minister to comply with
20 Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, (Richmond, R. F. Walker, Sup’t of
Public Printing, 1875), p. 208; William Byrd, The Writings of “Colonel William
Byrd of Westover in Virginia Esqr.,” edited by John Spencer Bassett. (New
York, Doubleday, Page & Co., 1901), p. 356; William Gooch Papers, II, Virginia
Historical Society, pp. 297-298.
21 Edward L. Goodwin, The Colonial Church in Virginia . . . (Milwaukee,
Morehouse Pu~lishing Co., 1927), p. 308; Vestry Minutes, [I, 1]; R. A. Brock, ed.,
Documents, .Chujiy Unpublished Relating to the Huguenot Emigration to Virginia
. . . , Wzth an Appendix to Genealogies . . . (Richmond, Virginia Historical
Society, 1886), p. 183 and 183n.; Vestry Minutes, [1, 1-5]; Hening, III, 151-153.
22 Vestry Minutes, [I, 1].

The History of St. George’s Episcopal Church
the vestry’s demands or to find another parish within six months.
He apparently became reconciled, as he remained in charge of
Charles Parish until 1747.23
In 1728 a formal vestry order assigned one of the sets of
“books” imported by Colonel John Waller to Mattapony Church,
the second to the Rappahannock Church, and requested that
gentleman to secure a third set of books and communion plate
for Germanna. On October 7, the vestry included in the parish
levy an allotment for the salary of a lay reader and sexton at
each of these three churches.24
Hearing of the vacancy created by the departure of Mr.
Staige the Reverend Mr. Lawrence DeButts of Washington
Parish’, Westmoreland County, advised the vestry of his willingness
to move to St. George’s. The vestry was agreeable, and
asked the Honorable John Robinson, a member of the Governor’s
Council and one of the original trustees of the town of
Fredericksburg, to intercede with the Governor in DeButts’
behalf.25 This arrangement was not effected, a fact that may
have saved the parish interminable lawsuits similar to those in
which DeButts had charged George Washington’s father, and
other vestrymen in Westmoreland, with depriving him of his
rights and perquisites as minister.2

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