(Culpeper Star-Exponent) The headstone of an infant who lived and died in the 18th Century was recently unearthed in the town of Culpeper.
The unassuming marker for one Johanes Walk, who was born and passed away in 1769, is directly linked by blood to the earliest organized settlement of Germans in colonial Virginia and likely one of the earliest settlers of old Culpeper.
Volunteers cleaning up in the town of Culpeper’s Southridge neighborhood accidentally found baby Walk’s headstone in December and turned it over to public works who notified the Germanna Foundation, according to a news release Friday from the town of Culpeper.
The Germanna Foundation, based in Orange County, has a sole purpose to preserve and make known the history of the Virginia Germanna Colonies, their operations under the patronage of Gov. Alexander Spotswood, his residence and activities at Germanna and in the surrounding area.
The Germanna Foundation has since conducted considerable research about the infant whose headstone was mysteriously discovered in the town of Culpeper.
Germanna Foundation President Marc Wheat said they are grateful for the Southridge residents who found the historic object and Culpeper Public Works for returning it for conservation.
“Johannes Walk lived only for a few months, but we remember him – he is related to nearly half of our members,” Wheat said.
EVENT: Germanna Foundation to Receive Historic Grave Marker: The headstone will be presented to the Germanna Foundation Board of Trustees at 2 p.m., Friday March 21, 2014 at the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center.
Records indicate that the dates on the baby’s headstone exactly match the birthday (March 4) and death date (Nov. 13) of the son of Martin Walk Jr. and Elisabeth Fiscus Walk.
A No. 2 engraved on the marker indicates the baby’s second burial in a Moravian cemetery – a grave marker for Johannes Walk, born and died in 1769 was found at Friedberg Moravian God’s Acre, a cemetery in North Carolina, according to the news release.
Baby Walk’s grandmother was Catherine Clore, daughter of Germanna colonist Michael Clore of Wurttemberg, Germany.
Michael Clore was among those forcibly settled at Germanna in the year 1717, according to Eugene Scheel’s “Culpeper.”
The trip by sea was surely not easy.
“While in port, the passengers ate many of the provisions that would have sustained them in their three-week-long journey across the Atlantic; many died from hunger at sea,” Scheel writes in his 1982 book published by the Culpeper Historical Society.
“Contrary to the captain’s promise to land his passengers in Pennsylvania, he headed for Virginia, blaming his change of course on unfavorable winds.
Surviving passengers, though, claimed the captain ‘proved false and landed them against their will and agreement in Virginia and sold them for Servants,’ and then kept their belongings.”
The apparent buyer of the 20 passengers, including Michael Clore, was Spotswood, who consented to the captain’s demand to pay for their passage over provided the Germans lived at Germanna and worked for him for eight years, according to Scheel.
By 1725, the indentured Germans were allowed to leave with some taking lands along the Robinson River and White Oak Run in old Culpeper and present day Madison County.
Among them was Mr. Clore, according to Scheel.
Next week, Culpeper officials will turn over the historical grave marker of baby Walk to the Germanna Foundation at a formal presentation March 21 at 2 p.m. at the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center in Locust Grove.
Infant’s headstone from 1769 unearthed in town of Culpeper
By Allison Brophy Champion
Culpeper Star-Exponent, March 17, 2014
– – – – – – – – –
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON / THE FREE LANCE–STAR / March 14, 2014
Cleanup crews are accustomed to finding almost anything, but seldom do they come upon the grave marker of a child, especially one who died almost 250 years ago.
That’s what happened just before Christmas in Culpeper’s Southridge subdivision, which is near the U.S. 29 Bypass.
While picking up litter, a volunteer group from Southridge happened on the stone marker of Johannes Walk, a 6-month-old child who died on Nov. 13, 1769.
It is unclear just how the marker got into the subdivision area since there’s no record of a cemetery ever being there.
According to town public information officer Wally Bunker, the Germanna Foundation has traced the child’s lineage to the Clore family, which has been prominent in Culpeper, Orange and Madison counties since the settling of Germanna on the Rapidan River in 1714.
“There is a direct relationship with Germanna descendants and the infant’s family,” Bunker said. “His grand-mother was Catherine Clore, daughter of Germanna colonist Michael Clore of Gemmingen, Baden–Wuertemberg, Germany.”
The land on which Southridge was built was part of the J. Carleton Clore farm before the subdivision was built.
Clore, a prominent local funeral home director for three decades, was a member of the Germanna Foundation until his death. Any connection between Clore and the grave marker is unclear.
The Southridge volunteers turned the marker over to the town, which then informed the Germanna Foundation of the find. The foundation immediately began to research the name and what it discovered was interesting.
“A grave marker for Johannes Walk, b[orn] and d[ied] 1769 was found at Friedberg Moravian God’s Acre, a cemetery in Davidson County, N.C.,” Bunker said. “Moravian records for Johannes Walk buried in Friedberg exactly match the dates on the marker found in Culpeper.”
The marker also begins with the number “2.” The exact meaning of that is unclear. Was this a reburial? At this point, no one knows for sure.
Culpeper officials will present the marker to the Germanna Foundation board of trustees at 2 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center on State Route 3.
“The recent find shows the rich historical heritage of the Culpeper area,” Culpeper Public Works Director Jim Hoy said.
– – – – – – – – – –
Town of Culpeper
400 S. Main Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wally Bunker, Public Information Officer
March 14, 2014
Germanna Foundation to Receive Historic Grave Marker
An accidental and valuable historical find by volunteers from the Southridge Village and Town Homes subdivision will be presented to the Germanna Foundation Board of Trustees at 2 p.m., Friday Mar. 21 at the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center.
A crew cleaning up the neighborhood on Dec. 19, 2013, discovered a 1769 infant’s grave marker near the subdivision.
The Southridge Homeowner’s Association notified town public works officials, who retrieved the marker and safely stored it until it could be turned over to the Germanna Foundation, which has conducted considerable research about the person on the grave marker.
The marker is engraved:
“No. 2, Johannes Walk, b(orn) 4 March 1769, d(ied) 13 November 1769.”
Museum of Culpeper History Director Lee Langston-Harrison was instrumental in referring town public works officials to the Germanna Foundation.
For months after being alerted to the find, Germanna Foundation officials have been researching the information contained on the grave marker.
“We are grateful to the residents of Southridge Village and Town Homes band the Culpeper Department of Public Works for bringing this endangered grave marker to the Germanna Foundation for conservation and a replacement marker,” said Germanna Foundation President Marc Wheat. “Johannes Walk lived only for a few months, but we remember him – he is related to nearly half our members.”
According to records, the dates on the marker match exactly the birth and death dates of Johannes Walk, infant son of Martin Walk Jr. and Elisabeth Fiscus Walk.
Officials are attempting to sort out historical information and conducting further land records research.
However, it appears that the number two on the marker indicates the second burial in a Moravian cemetery.
A grave marker for Johannes Walk, b(orn) and d(ied) 1769 was found at Friedberg Moravian God’s Acre, a cemetery in Davidson County, N.C. Moravian records for Johannes Walk buried in Friedberg exactly match the dates on the marker found in Culpeper.
There is a direct relationship with Germanna descendants and the infant’s family. His grandmother was Catherine Clore, daughter of Germanna colonist Michael Clore of Gemmingen, Baden-Wuertemberg, Germany.
Culpeper officials plan to turn over the historical grave marker to Germanna Foundation officials for conservation and safekeeping.
“The recent find shows the rich historical heritage of the Culpeper area,” said Public Works Director Jim Hoy.