Saturday, October 31, 2009

Surname Saturday - HOLTZCLAW

Hans Jacob Holtzclau [later most often spelled as Holtzclaw] was one of my most interesting ancestors. He was my seventh great-grandfather, baptized in 1683 at St. Nicolai Church, Siegen, Germany. Godfather at his baptism was Han Jacob Spiess. Quite possibly Holzclau was named for his Godfather, but any familial relationship is unknown. Parents of Hans Jacob Holtclau were Hans Heinrich Holtzclau and Gertrud Solbach.

Hans Jacob took over the position of schoolmaster at Oberfischbach when his brother died; he was then age 24. He married the following summer on 7 Aug 1708, to Anna Margaret Otterbach, daughter of Hermann Otterback and Elizabeth Heimbach. Margaret died in Virginia sometime prior to August 1729 when Hans Jacob's wife is listed in records as Catherine, surname unknown.

The first organized body of Germans who came as permanent settlers to Virginia included Jacob and Margaret his wife, and sons John and Henry [my descent is through their son Henry]. Twelve families went first to London to await passage; they were there about a year, arriving in Virginia in April of 1714. They all came from the principality of Nassau-Siegen (Westphalia) and most were skilled workers in iron. The families were John Spillman & wife Mary, Herman Fishback and wife Kathrina, John Henry Huffman and wife Kathrina, Joseph Coons and wife Kathrina and son John, John Fishback and wife Agnes, Jacob Rector and wife Elizabeth and son John, Melchior Brumback and wife Elizabeth, Dillman Weaver and Ann Weaver his mother, Jacob Holtzclaw and wife Margaret and sons John and Henry, John Kemper and wife Alice Kathrina, John Joseph Martin and wife Maria Kathrina, Peter Hitt and wife Elizabeth.

Hans Jacob Holtzclaw also functioned as the schoolmaster for the small German colony and was evidently able to converse and write English as he appears in several records on behalf of the entire group.

From Essex Co VA, Will Book 16, p.180 is the following statement: The Honable Alex Spotswood His Majesty's Leut. Governour & Commander in Chief of Virginia did put under my command Eleven Labouring men to work in Mines or Quarries at or near Germanna, and we began to work March One Thousand Seven Hundred and 15/16 and so continued til Dec. One Thousand Seven Hundred & Eighteen.
Signed: John Justice Albright
What is subscribed above by the Hofman is true, for I kept the accounts for and was one of the men.
Signed: Jacob Holtsclare
At Court for Essex Co on Tues the 17th May 1720 - Then sworn to be the above named John Justice Albright and Hans Jacob Holsclare & Ordered to be recorded. Capt. W. Beverly, Clerk.

Johann Justus Albrecht was the recuiter of the Germans in Nassau-Siegen and thought to have come with them to Germanna [he is not in the above list of families]. It is believed the first two years the men labored in clearing land, building houses, and guarding the Virginians against the Indians. They first looked for silver, but found iron and spent approximately two years developing iron mines, but this first group did not build a furnace. They moved to Germantown, 20 miles to the north of Fort Germanna, probably in January of 1719. The above document does confirm that the Germans labored for Gov. Spotswood for four years to pay for part or all of their passage.

Jacob was naturalized Jul 11, 1722 and the copy is in Deed Book A, p.165 of the records of Spotsylvania County VA.
It states "Jacob Holtzclow a native a Nassace-Sieger in Germany having settled and inhabited for several years in the County of Stafford in this Colony and now made application to me for the benefit of Naturalization and before me taken the oaths precribed by Law and subscribed the test." Signed A. Spotswood [Governor of VA] This application direct to Gov. Spotswood suggests perhaps a measure of friendship between the Gov. and Jacob. This act was one of Spotswoods last official duties. [This naturalization has been reprinted in VA Historical Magazine and Beyond Germanna and is in my files.]

The Holtzclaws had sons. Here is the distribution of the surname today as found on Dynastree: