Archiver > GERMANNA_COLONIES > 2003-04 > 1050053891

From: John Blankenbaker <>
Subject: [GERMANNA] (1642)Germanna Colonies, History of
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 05:38:11 -0400

The sixteen hundred and forty-second note in a series on the Germanna Colonies

Alexander Spotswood sued some members of the Second Colony but not all. The
number of Germans in total was put at seventy-odd by Spotswood and at
eighty by the Germans. But Spotswood only paid for the transportation of
forty-eight of these people. His partners, including Robert Beverley, paid
for the others. Therefore, when Spotswood sued the Germans his actions were
generally limited to those for whom he had paid the transportation costs.

However, he did sue several others and that came about because he had
bought out some of his partners in the partnership who had agreements with
the Germans. He picked up, by this route, the contracts for Germans such as
Amberger, Ballenger, Broyles, Moyer, Paulitz, Snyder, and Yager. We can be
fairly sure that this is the background of the lawsuit against Moyer, for
example, because the son of Robert Beverly came to court to testify for
Spotswood in the suit against Moyer.

There were nineteen lawsuits, all brought by Spotswood. The Germans did not
sue Spotswood as some historians have said. Spotswood initiated the actions
which were spread over time.

At no time, was the argument in the suits over the length of time the
Germans were to serve. Nor did the suits require the Germans to work an
extra year. The suits were brought for monetary damages and the awards, if
there were any, were in money, not in service.

The basis of the lawsuits, that is, the reasons that Spotswood thought he
was entitled to money, is murky. There seems to be no pattern to the
amounts that Spotswood sought and the amounts that the juries awarded him.
The very first suit, against Jacob Crigler, was ended with the defendant
agreeing to pay court costs. This is rather remarkable when one considers
that the amount sought was thirty-four pounds. How Spotswood could have
thought he was entitled to such a princely sum of money and then back down
with nothing is hard to fathom. In all, the suits against Crigler,
Bellenger, Holt, Utz, Clore, and Fleshman were dismissed.

Many of the awards in the cases that went to the juries were sharply
reduced from what Spotswood had sought. Conrad Amberger was sued for
thirty-two pounds and the jury awarded Spotswood two pounds thirteen
shillings one and a half pence. This was in the county named for the
plaintiff with judges appointed by the plaintiff and with jury members who
were friends of the plaintiff (well, some of them were). Surely the court
room was packed against the defendants.

John Blankenbaker

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