Alexander Spotswood

 

Alexander Spotswood had ambitions and dreams beyond those of just a Lt. Governor in a British Colony. He desired not only status but wealth. He heard of possible silver mines and began to enquire of London what percentage of the silver would be the Crown's share. No answer came from the Crown, but Spotswood did receive a letter from Colonel Blakiston, the agent for Virginia in London, informing him that a group of Germans would soon arrive and he (Spotswood) was responsible for the remainder of their passage cost, approximately £150.

Spotswood took this as a hopeful sign that the Crown would be forthcoming with an answer that would be advantageous to him regarding his proposed silver mining venture. This group of Germans arrived in April 1714 (referred to later as the First Colony) and were obligated to work for Lt. Governor Spotswood for about four years. Spotswood began talking with various ships' captains and letting them know that he would pay good money for German workers. Captain Tarbett of the ship Scott heard this offer and arrived in late 1717/1718 with a group of Germans (referred to later as the Second Colony) who were expecting to go to Pennsylvania, but were instead taken to Virginia by Tarbett to become indentured servants for Spotswood.  Tarbett received monetary compensation for this "delivery of goods."

Some have thought unkindly of Lt. Governor Spotswood for his actions regarding these two groups of Germans but others have been more positive in their view. Pause for a moment and think what would have happened to these two groups of Germans if Lt. Governor Spotswood had not paid their passage or even part of their passage. As indentured servants, they would have been selected individually to work for different people. Families would have been broken apart and friends from the villages back in Germany would have been separated from those they knew and with whom they felt most comfortable. As unpleasant as indenture often was, these two groups were fortunate to remain intact within their respective communities.

Explore Alexander Spotswood's story from the perspective of history from his childhood, his military service, his time as the Lt. Governor of the Virginia Colony, as husband and father, and as lord of the manor at his "Enchanted Castle" at Germanna. Explore the story of the First Colony and the story of the Second Colony whose lives would have taken a decidedly different turn had they been separated from their friends and family in the usual manner in which indentures were handled. And there would have been no Germanna.

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