Peter Jefferson's 1747 map of the Fairfax Grant included Germanna and the Tubal Furnace
Source: University of North Carolina, "Early Maps of the American South," A Map of the northern neck in Virginia (by Peter Jefferson, Robert Brooke, Benjamin Winslow, Thomas Lewis, 1747)
In 1713, Reverend John Henry Hager led 42 German immigrants from Siegen (near modern-day Bonn) to England. There they met Baron von Graffenried. He had returned from Virginia after the failure of his effort to settle 600 "poor Palatines" and 150 Swiss at New Bern in Carolina. The revolt of the Tuscarora in 1711 had forced Graffenried to use all of his resources to support survivors in the colony.
Before sailing back to Europe, Graffenried met with Governor Alexander Spotswood in Williamsburg and discussed possibilities of launching another setlement initiative. Graffenried thought, together with Frantz Ludwig Michel, that there were commercially-valuable silver deposits near where the Potomac River cut through the Blue Ridge. Graffenried anticipated recruiting skilled miners seeking to flee from what today is Germany, and using them to establish a new settlement in Virginia to extract silver.
Though Graffenreid had no funds, he still managed to arrange for the Germans to be transported to Virgina. They had experience as miners, and that made them especially attractive to the Virginian leaders seeking to discover and exploit silver, iron, and other minerals in the colony.
Graffenried introduced the miners to Colonel Nathaniel Blakiston, former governor of Maryland and the agent in London for the Virginia colony. They arranged a deal where Graffenried promised the ship captain that Spotswood would pay the transportation costs for the immigrants.
When the ship arrived, the governor was surprised to discover that he was responsible for the debt. The immigrants agreed to work for four years as indentured servants, and he sent them to start a new settlement on the Rapidan River.
Spotswood told the officials in London that the Germanna settlement was intended to fortify the frontier, but in reality Spotswood expected to get cheap labor to develop a speculative iron deposit.1
John Fontaine visited the Germanna settlement in November, 1715, reporting:1
Fontaine returned with the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe expedition in 1716. Though Spotswood expected to profit from iron production in the area, there were other possibilities. Mine Run was named because "there was an appearance of a silver mine by it."3
even at the start of the French and Indian War, there were few settlements between Germanna and the Blue Ridge - and even fewer west of the mountains
Source: Library of Congress, A general map of the middle British colonies, in America (Lewis Evans, 1755)
Source: AHHA Productions, Germanna America in Embryo
Germanna was located on the southern side of the Rapidan River, outside the area claimed by Lord Fairfax
Source: Library of Congress, A new map of the western parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina (Thomas Hutchins, 1778)