Herrn Klaus Eckhardt
Vorsitzender, Heimatverein Eisern
In der Peeke 28
Federal Republic of Germany
Dear Herr Eckhardt:
On behalf of The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, I bring greetings to you and the Heimatverein Eisern, and congratulate you for your work to commemorate the 725th Anniversary of Eisern.
Just as the people of the Siegerland in will be celebrating the 725th anniversary of Eisern on June 1, members of the Germanna Foundation throughout the United States will be joining in on the festivities from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Many of our members call Eisern their ancestral home.
The families of the first colonists who arrived at Germanna in 1714 were connected with Eisern: Johannes Hoffman and Tilman Weber/Weaver. They were followed by later emigrants of Eisern, including the Rählsbach/Railsback and the Steinseifer /Stansifer/Stonecipher families.
Just this week, 300 years after Governor Spotswood left Williamsburg in mid-May for “a Fortnight’s Expedition to Reconnoitre the Nor[th]ward Frontiers & to fortify a place for Settling a Body of Germans above the Falls of Rappahannock,” the Germanna Foundation has deployed a team of archaeologists to begin the effort to rediscover Fort Germanna, the home of the first people of Eisern to settle in America.
Thanks to the generosity of your countryman, Ernst W. Flender of Siegen, the Germanna Foundation owes its founding in 1956 to the purchase over 100 hectares of the original Germanna settlement along the Rapidan River. Since then, generations of financial support by Germanna’s “family of families” has made the rediscovery of Fort Germanna a real possibility in the near future – an event that will be as meaningful to us as it will be to you.
We are enriched more than you know by the friendships across space and time we enjoy with Eisern. Sharing in your celebration of 725 years of family life lived in community, and wishing you well on our journey together over the next 725 years, I offer you a gift of the words of one of America’s greatest poets, T.S. Eliot, which we at Germanna have adopted as our own:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Happy 725th anniversary, and Glueck Auf!
J. Marc Wheat
The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia
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