Historical marker: Warrenton, VA 1724

Site of original Holtzclaw 1724 homestead, near Warrenton, VA.

'Ashland Farm' Holtzclaw homestead in Virgina

The Holtzclaw family acquired Ashland Farm through a grant issued on Aug. 22, 1724 by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood. The Holtzclaw family lived on this land until the 1920s.

While a portion of the house dates to about 1725, the main residence was completed by 1889, and was remodeled and enlarged by architect William Lawrence Bottomley in 1929. Between 1861 and 1864, the Union army stationed pickets at Ashland, as it was used as a Federal medical dressing station.

Legend claims that a Union army payroll was hidden by a paymaster who died in 1862 at nearby Waterloo, Virginia, is still buried here.

In 1714,  German families immigrated via London to the colonies from the Nassau-Siegen region of Germany’s Ruhr Valley to work in silver mines and search for iron ore deposits in present-day Orange County. These first 42 people in 12 German families moved to Germantown in Fauquier County in 1719, as lot owners of 1,805 acres on Licking Run. They had completed their four-year commitment as minors to the Virginia colonial government.

This settlement had been claimed a year earlier by their trustees, John Fishback, John Hoffman, and Jacob Holtzclaw. Melchoir Brumback, Joseph Coons, Harman Fischback, Peter Hitt, John Kemper, John Joseph Martin, John Jacob Rector, John Spilman, and Tilman Weaver headed the other families.

With their pastor, the Rev. Henry Hager, they constituted the first German Reformed congregation in the southern colonies.

Descendants of the Germanna settlement will celebrate the 300th Jubilee anniversary of the first settlement, in 2014. The tricentennial is being organized by the Germanna Foundation, which begins its annual reunion festivities this weekend.

The foundation also has a fan page on Facebook.


About mountain barry

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., I grew up in a beautiful small town, where I could bicycle to the local golf course and to the Buffalo Bills training camp. My dad was from Kentucky and was a Naval officer in WW II. My mom was from a similar small town and could beat my dad at golf. I started my first publication, a weekly newspaper, in 9th grade, and have been at it ever since: college newspaper, graduate school, college press service, daily newspapers in New York, North Carolina and Kansas, business journals in Kansas and California; also corporate communications/p.r. in Kansas and the SF Bay Area. I have two beautiful children, one extraordinary grandson, three remarkable stepchildren and a patient, loving wife who also happens to be an eBay trading assistant. My dogs, cat, gardens and the basketball goal in the driveway round out the picture of my home in a small town in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where mornings are foggy and afternoons are sunny.
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2 Responses to Historical marker: Warrenton, VA 1724

  1. One of my Facebook friends raised the issue of slavery.
    I have always assumed that the Virginia plantation Holtzclaws owned slaves, since it was a small antebellum working farm, but I have not researched it. Most of the Holtzclaws in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi were teachers, preachers, shopkeepers and lawyers (i.e., not slaveowners), although the Missouri farmers were notorious slaveowners. The Holtzclaws in Kentucky and Indiana, and those who headed to California before the Civil War were not. And, of course, neither were the black Holtzclaws (more on them later). Holtzclaw cousins fought against each other in the Civil War, with perhaps the best known being Confederate war hero Gen. James Thaddeus Holtzclaw of Alabama.

  2. Patrick D Smith says:

    Hans Jacob Holtzklau is my 8th Great Grandfather. I grew not far from the Plantation. Yes…there were slaves at Ashland and the original slave house still remains and is connected to the main house via an enclosed walkway. There are two rooms with fireplaces which serve as guest rooms. The Estate is beautiful!

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