In 1717, a small group of Germans left their homeland in an attempt to sail to the new colony in Pennsylvania. The ship which was to make the crossing first stopped in London where the captain was taken into custody and imprisoned for several weeks due to unresolved debt issues. This delay caused the passengers to consume much of their provisions while in port, resulting in many dying from hunger during the crossing.
Those who survived never made it to Pennsylvania. A storm blew them off course and they landed in Virginia. The captain then sold them as payment for their transportation charges. They were bought by Governor Spotswood and became his indentured servants. He put them to work in the iron mines near Germanna.
One of these immigrants was Thomas Wayland who with his wife and young son Adam, when released from servitude and seeking land of their own, decided to push further into the wilderness. In 1724, they settled in the area now known as Culpepper (Madison County). Adam, when grown, married Elizabeth Blankenbaker, the daughter of another German immigrant, and had eight children. His will left his estate to Elizabeth and “all his children.” After she died, he remarried and had two more children but never updated his will. Upon his passing, his will went into probate and was contested by the children of his two wives. Several lawsuits ensued which eventually came to the attention of Thomas Jefferson who wrote his opinion on the case. His two page letter can be found in the archives of the Library of Congress. In summation, the two children from his second wife were granted an equal portion of his estate.
Adam Wayland is the great-grandfather of my sons’ 2nd great-grandaunt.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.
Speaking of immigration stories… here’s one attached to my wife’s paternal great grandparent, who immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s.
This came at a time when America was enthralled by the entertainment provided by military brass bands. Gilmore’s Salem Band proved to be very popular with the general public and that popularity fueled a fire that burned in the hearts of other musical entrepreneurs. John Philip Sousa, who was given the lead of the Marine Band, was certainly a force at this time. But when Giussepe Creatore burst on the scene with his Italian band, his insane popularity with the ladies, (who reportedly would swoon at his energetic performances), started a flood of Italian musicians heading across the Atlantic for the promise of fame, success, riches, and perhaps romance that was to be found in America.
Now, as our family story was told to me, Erminio was discovered by John Philip Sousa during one of his tours and, being in need of a euphonium player, encouraged Erminio to move to the United States to join him. I haven’t been able to document that this exact scenario ever took place. We do have evidence that Erminio did indeed play in the Sousa band in the early 1900s but before that, there are reports of him playing for one of Sousa’s contemporaries and competing bandleaders, Alessandro Liberati and his Grand Military Band, where he was often featured as a soloist to considerable acclaim.
Whatever brought Erminio to the shores of New York, what is clear is that he and his euphonium had a long and successful musical career. He also managed to pass his musicality on to his two sons, Arthur and Frank, both of whom became working professional musicians in the NY theater and symphony halls. In fact Arthur landed a seat on what was to become the New York Philharmonic playing with and for Arturo Toscanini.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.