Peter Hitt Biography 1683-1772   Page Two
Germantown, Faquier County, Virginia Colony
The Hittson Project
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PETER HITT  was born circa 1683 at the area of Rehbach-Kaan, Nassau-Seigen, Germany.  The estate of Rehbach is near Kaan in the Nassau-Seigen area in Germany; at one time part of Holland. He
married Maria Liessbeth Freudenberg on 6 Jan 1707 at Reachback, Germany. He married Elizabeth Otterback (285), daughter of Johann Herman Otterback (400) and Elizabeth Heimbach, circa 1714 at
Virginia. He died before Jul 1772 at Fauquier Co., Virginia; Peter Hitt's will was dated 23 March 1772, and was proved 27 July 1772.    Peter Hitt died some time between these dates.  

There is some question as to Peter Hitt's name Heite/Hitt and his origin. Peter was an immigrant to VA in about 1714. Most people doing his Genealogy trace his origin to Germany. He lived in
Germanna, Virginia in a community of German immigrants who came from the same area that Peter Heite/Hitt was found in Siegen-Nassau Germany. We know that Peter Hitt was not able to read and
write English.  Perhaps he could read and write the German languages since either would have been acceptable to the colonial officials. This probably explains the change in the spelling of his name to a
English version (it was not uncommon for German names to be changed to an English version).

**Mary Johnson found book by Dr. Lothar Irle in Siegen library stating Peter Heide/Heite of the farm Rehbach near Marienborn, emigrated from Trupbach to Virginia in 1714 and called himself Hitt.

THE 1714 GERMANNA COLONISTS IN VIRGINIA
Peter Hitt was one of the heads of the twelve pioneer families in the first colony (1714) from Nassau-Seigen, Germany who immigrated to Germanna in Virginia. These colonists were imported from
Nassau-Siegen in 1714 by the royal Governor Alexander Spotswood to start and operate an ironworks. Until 1815 Nassau-Siegen, now a part of Westphalia, West Germany, belonged to the House of
Nassau from Holland. The Counts of Nassau had large possessions in Germany from very early times, perhaps as early as the age of Charlemagne. Siegen, the hub city of this province, is situated on the
river Sieg, which flows into the Rhine from the east side. (Siegen is located 49 miles east and slightly south from Cologne 45 miles east and slightly northeast from Bonn and about 40 miles northeast from
Coblenz all these distances measured in air miles. Nassau-Siegen rich in iron ore, frequently very near the surface of the ground, and there is evidence to show that there was active production of iron in
this principality from 500 B.C. to about 100 A.D., carried on by early inhabitants, who were probably Celts. For some reason this activity seems to have ceased during the early years of the Christian era,
possibly because the earlier inhabitants were driven out by Germans. From the time of Charlemagne and the Franks, however, there are numerous evidences of iron production by the so-called forest
smiths. That Nassau-Siegen was famous for the production of iron even in the early years is evidenced by the fact that in a Welsh poem of the 12th century, written by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the home of
the legendary Wieland the Smith of the Arthurian saga, is located in the city of Siegen. There is a village in the south of Nassau-Siegen called Wilnsdorf, which in the middle ages was called 'Wilandisdorf',
or village of Wieland. During the 13th century the iron industry was revolutionized in Nassau-Siegen by the discovery that water power could be used to operate the smelters and drive the hammers that
worked the iron further. The Count and the nobility were at first active in founding such water-powered ironworks, but they very soon passed into the hands of worker-owners, who banded together in the
Guild of Smelterers and Hammer smiths, The members of this Guild mostly lived in the country near their plants, unlike most of the members of others guilds who lived in the cities. Due to a lack of water
power in the dry seasons and to a frequent scarcity of charcoal needed for heating the ore and pig iron, the ironworks could not be operated continuously throughout the year. Thus the ironworks owners
nearly always farmed in addition to their work in iron. Also the farmers frequently became part owners of the iron works, through intermarriage. (B.C.Holtzclaw, ANCESTRY AND DESCENDANTS OF
THE NASSAU-SIEGEN IMMIGRANTS TO VIRGINIA 1714-1750, Germanna Record No. Five,( Culpeper, VA: The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc.,1964)) Three German
groups of colonists came to Virginia during Governor Spotswood's administration and settled at or near what became Germanna. The first group consisted of 12 families numbering 42 persons, as shown
by an order of the Virginia Council, passed April 28, 1714. Included in this group were some of our direct ancestors, as follows: Hans Jacob Holtzclaw. his wife Margaret ,their son John Holtzclaw , and
Peter Hitt. The settlers at Germanna in 1714 were fairly well educated people by the standards of the time. Compulsory schooling was introduced in Nassau-Siegen in the middle of the 16th century. All of
this colony excepting Haeger and Holtzclaw, were raised on farms, and undoubtedly farmed land owned by them when they emigrated. Farm work was done by the women and children and at special
seasons by the men who were taught mining and iron-making. The original Germanna settlement consisted of a fort, furnished with two cannon, including ammunition, and a road cleared to the settlement.
This settlement not only served as living quarters for these colonists who were to work in Governor Spotswood's ironworks , but was also regarded as security for the Virginia frontier from Indian attacks. It
was located on a peninsula on the south side of the Rapidan River, which is the southern (more properly the western) branch of the Rappahannock, nine miles above the confluence with the northern
branch and 13 miles above the site of Governor Spotswood's iron works. The twelve families of the 1714 colony finished their work for Governor Spotswood in December 1718. Apparently they felt that
they were being imposed upon by the Governor and wished to take advantage of the opportunities for bettering their lot in their new country. Therefore, sometime in 1718 John Fishback, John Hoffman,
and Jacob Holtzclaw, the three members of the colony who had been naturalized, made an entry of approximately 1800 acres of land in the Northern Neck of Virginia. There a settlement was eventually
founded which became known as German town. The colonists probably moved to their new location sometime in 1719 however, the actual patent for German town was not made until August 22, 1724,
due to the death of Lady Fairfax. German town, which no longer exists , was located in what is now Fauquier County, Virginia.  

B.C.Holtzclaw, ANCESTRY AND DESCENDANTS OF THE NASSAU-SIEGEN IMMIGRANTS TO VIRGINIA 1714-1750, Germanna Record No. Five,( Culpeper, VA: The Memorial Foundation of the
Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc.,1964))

The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies, Inc., Box 693, Culpeper, Va. 22701, established in 1956, purchased the original site of Germanna Colony and has instituted an archaeological dig on
this site. The Corporation owned 270 acres, 'Siegen Forest,' of the original Germanna tract. That acquisition of the property was made possible by the generosity of one of the trustees of the Foundation.
Approximately 100 acres of this was given in 1969 to the State of Virginia for the erection of the Germanna Community College. By authority of the Virginia State Highway Commission, issued March 26,
1969, Virginia Route #3 from Culpeper to Fredericksburg has been designated GERMANNA HIGHWAY. This highway borders 'Siegen Forest' and traverses the area where the first colony of 1714 was
settled by Governor Spotswood. The Foundation has published 13 different Germanna Records containing a wealth of information on the colonists, including much on the Hitt's and the Holtzclaw's. All of
the information included in this genealogy on Germanna Colony and the ancestry of the Hitt's and the Holtzclaw's which follows was obtained from the following Germanna Records: Holtzclaw, B.C. Peter
Hitt, John Joseph Martin, and Tillman Weaver of the 1714 Colony and heir descendants, Germanna Record No.1. Holtzclaw, B.C. and Hackley, W.B. German town Revived.  Germanna Record No. 2.
Holtzclaw, B.C. Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen immigrants of Virginia, 1714-1750. Germanna Record No. 5. Holtzclaw, B.C. and Wayland, John W. Germanna, Outpost of Adventure.
Germanna Record No.7. The above publications are available from the Germanna Foundation


THE HITT-HEITE FAMILY OF GERMANNA VIRGINIA The ancestry of Peter Hitt, the 1714 colonist, is more uncertain than that of the other Nassau-Siegen immigrants to Virginia, but it strongly appears
that he was connected with the Heites of Rehbach near Kaan, just east of Siegen in the Catholic part of the county. Although the Heites lived in the Catholic part of the county, they were Protestant. The
name Heite is related to the English word 'heath,' and probably the name came from an original ancestor who live on a moor of heath. In the same way that the name of Kemper perhaps came from an
ancestor who lived on a 'Kamps,' or large open field. Of the 12 1714 colonists, the surnames Fishback and Holtzclaw are place-names from large villages and parishes in Nassau-Siegen Brumback is
also a place name from a brook called Brom or Brum. Martin and Cuntze are derived from the Christian names of ancestors, Martin and Chun (Conrad). Hoffman, Rector (Richter), Spilman and Weaver
(Weber) are trade or professional names. The name Hoffmann comes from a man who was lessee or tenant of a manor. Spilman or Spielmann means piper or fifer, one who was probably a fifer in the
militia. Richter means a judge. Weaver or Weber speaks for itself. Rehbach was an estate near Kaan which is first mentioned in 1555 in the records and last time in 1707, at the marriage of Peter Heite
and Elisabeth Freudenberg, probably the 1714 immigrants. The occupants of the estate were as follows: (1) The widow Spiess in 1555. (2) Johann of Rehbach 1568 and 1575. (3) Hans Rehbach of
Marienborn (a village close to Kaan) in 1600, 1601, and 1602. (4) Balthasar Heite in 1631. The baptismal register of the Siegen church shows that on the 1st Sunday after Epiphany 1631, Cathrin,
daughter of Balthasar Heite of Rehbach, had a son christened, the godfather being Johannes, son of Balthasar Heite. (5) In 1632 the Siegen baptismal register mentions 'Peter Bell of Rehbach, now of
Fickenhuetten' (an iron-works settlement in the Weidenau township near Siegen). (6) Jacob Heite of Rehbach, who had children christened 1652-1665. The above mentioned lessees of the manor of
Rehbach are from Dr. Lothar Irle's 'Kaan-Marienborn,' p.252. They were probably all related. Johann of Rehbach may have been a son-in-law of widow Spiess, or possibly a son. Hans
Rehbach(1600-1602) was probably a son of Johann. Balthasar Heite was probably a son or son-in-law of Hans Rehbach. Peter Bell, who was godfather of Jacob Heite's son Peter in 1665, was probably
a son-in-law of Balthasar Heite, occupying the farm from about 1640-1652, until Jacob Heite married, at which time Peter moved to Fickenhuetten. Jacob Heite of Rehbach was probably born about 1625,
the youngest son of Balthasar Heite. Among the eight children Jacob and his wife Cathrin brought for christening at Siegen, was Johann Jacob, the sixth child. Johann Jacob Heite was christened on
Trinity Sunday, 1660. It is not improbable that the Hitt's or Heites of Rehbach (Peter Hitt's family) were related to the Heites of Trupbach and Seelbach. There was certainly a relationship of the Heites to
the Heimbach family (ancestors of the Kempers, Holtzclaw's, Fishbacks, Rectors, and probably of the Martins of the 1714 colony this is indicated by the sponsorships of Heites to Heimbach children for
several christenings. This possible kinship of Peter Hitt to so many families of the 1714 group may be one of the reasons he emigrated to Virginia. PETER HITT (HEITE), born ~1680-83, was believed to
be the son of Johann Jacob Heite (b.1660) of Rehbach and grandson of Jacob Heite whose children were born 1652-65. In 1707 Peter married Maria Elizabeth Freudenberg , born in 1674, a woman
several years older than he. They came to Virginia without children in 1714. Maria Elizabeth probably died soon after arrival in Virginia, and Peter Hitt married (2) another wife named Elizabeth ( who also
came over in 1714, according to the 1724 certificates of importation of the German town group). If this the case, it is not too difficult to discover an Elizabeth who came over in 1714 - she was Elizabeth
Otterback, born in 1689, daughter of Herman Otterback, sister of Mrs. Holtzclaw and Mrs. Kemper, and probably also the sister of Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Herman Fishback of the 1714 group. Herman
Otterback seems to have been the father-in-law of at least five of the 1714 colonists. When the 1714 colonists moved from Germanna , Peter Hitt and his wife Elizabeth acquired 100 acres which made up
Lot #8 of the 20 lots surveyed for the German town location.

According to the best information available, Peter Hitt and his wife Elizabeth had the following children: I. John Hitt, (our direct ancestor), was born in Germanna in 1715, and died in Fauquier County, VA.
in 1782. He first married a Sarah Pace and later Mary ______ in about 1755. II. Joseph Hitt, born in 1717, married Mary Cuntze, daughter of Joseph Cuntze, the 1714 immigrant. III. Henry Hitt was born in
1719 and died in South Carolina after 1783. He married Alice Katherine Holtzclaw, a daughter of Jacob Holtzclaw, the 1714 immigrant. IV. Harmon Hitt was born in 1721 and died in Fauquier Co., VA in
1820, aged 99 years. His wife was Mary Weaver, a granddaughter of the 1714 immigrants Weaver and Cuntze. V. Mary Hitt, born in 1723, married Harmon Rector. VI. Peter Hitt, Jr. was born in 1726 and
died in Fauquier Co., VA. in 1810. He married Sarah James on 27 April 1759. Peter Hitt kept an ordinary or general store in Fauquier Co., and his account book is still extant. The original is in the
Warrenton Library, but a photostatic copy is in the library of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society at the University of Richmond. It indicates that he was a prominent member of Carter's Run Baptist
Church.

It is believed that Peter and Elizabeth had six children born between 1715 and 1726. The birth dates seem to be about right based upon the fact that all of Peter's sons were of age and married in the
1740's.  Three of Peter's children were most likely born at Germanna and three at Germantown based upon their birth dates and the dates when the Virginia counties were formed. Germanna was in
Essex County until about 1721 when it was part of Spotsylvania County; it remained a part of Spotsylvania County until Orange County was formed in 1734. Also considered is the fact that the families
moved to Germantown in about 1721.

Information on the Germanna Colony location. Since Fauquier Co., VA wasn't formed till 1759 it appears the County it was in at that time was Stafford Co., VA.  Germantown is now under a lake at
Crocket Park on Meetze Rd., approximately six miles from Warrenton Va. (Fauquier Co.) The old museum on Main St. in Warrenton has some information on Germantown and the Lake.
Biography
Born:  1683 ~ Rehbach-Kaan, Nassau-Seigen, Germany
Died:  27 July 1772, Germantown, Fauquier, Virginia Colony
Father:  Johann Jacob Heite (1660-1720) Rehbach Estate
Mother:  Catherina (1663-1720) Rehbach Estate
Married:  6 Jan 1707 Maria Liessbeth Freudenberg
(1679-1714)
Married:  1714 Elizabeth Otterbach (1689-1772)
Son:  John Hitt(son) (1745-1782)
Son:  Joseph Acorn Hitt(son)
Son:  Henry Hitt (1719-1783)
Son:  Harmon Hitt (1721-1820
Daughter:  Mary Ann Hitt (1723-1813)
Son:  Peter Hitt Jr. (1726-1810)

Timeline
1683:  Until 1815, Peter Heite's birthplace, Rehback Estaste,
Nassau-Siegen, belonged to the House of Nassau from
Holland.  The Counts of Nassau had large possessions in
Germany from very early times, perhaps as early as the age
of Charlemagne.

1707:  6 Jan, Peter Heite marries his first wife Maria
Liessbeth Freudenberg.  Maria is about 8 years older and
they have no children.

1713:  Late spring, Peter Heite and Maria Liessbeth
Freudenberg Heite left Nassau-Siegen with a group of 14
original families for a total of 42, emigrating to Virginia
Colony, America.

1713:  Summer, arrived in London, England. Between the
time of arrival and the leaving in January 1714, Maria
Liessbeth Heite dies.  Peter Heite changes his name to
Peter Hitt.

1714:  January, group of 14 original families of
Nassau-Siegen left for Virginia on an unknown ship.

1714:  Late March, Governor Spotswood first learns from
Col. Nathaniel Blakiston, the agent for Virginia in London, that
the Germans are soon to arrive.

1714:  April, the emigrants arrive in Virginia.  Peter Hitt
marries Elizabeth Otterbach.  Dr. Lothar Irle in Siegen library
states Peter Heite of the farm Rehbach near Marienborn,
emigated from Trupbach to Virginia in 1714 and called
himself "Hitt."

1715:  Birth of John Hitt

1716:  Mining operations begin at a silver mine

1717:  Birth of Joseph Acorn Hitt

1718:   Early in 1718, the miners were instructed to look for
iron.

1718:  The search for iron continues.  A courthouse
documents states they worked until December at mining and
quarrying.  A commitment is made to buy land at
"Germantown."  Spotswood declares expenses of 60 pounds.

1719-1772:  Moved to Germantown with completion of their
London agreement to four years of committed service,
acquring 100 acres which made up Lot #8 of the 20 lots
surveyed for the German town location.  Peter and Elizabeth
Hitt remain in Germantown, Fauquier County.

1719:  Birth of Harman Hitt

1723:  Birth of Mary Ann Hitt

1726:  Birth of Peter Hitt II

1772:  Peter Hitt's will is dated 23 Mar 1772, proven 27 July
1772.  Peter Hitt died sometime between these dates at the
age of 89.

Memorial
Last Will & Testament of Peter Hitt

In the name of God, Amen, this 23rd day of May in the year
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-two
(1772): I Peter Hitt of the County of Fauquier, being of weak
of body, but of perfect mind and memory, Thanks be to God
for it, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament,
That is to say I give and devise in the following manner and
form: Imprimis: I give and bequest to Elizabeth, my beloved
wife, all of my estate to use during her natural life. Item: I give
to my son, John Hitt, my Negro woman Judy and My Negro
boy George. Item: I give and bequeath to my son, Joseph
Hitt, my Negro man called 'Young Tom'. Item: I give and
bequeath to my son, Harman Hitt, my Negro girl, Hannah,
and my Negro man called 'Old Tom.' Item: I give and
bequeath to my daughter, Mary Rector, one hundred acres
of land, being the plantation where I now live, and my Negro
boy named Moses. Item: I give to my son, Henry Hitt, one
hundred pounds cash, which is all he is to have of my estate.
Item: My will and desire is that after the decease of my wife,
that all my estate not herein mentioned be sold to the
highest bidder, and the money arising therefrom be equally
divided among all my children hereafter named. That is to
say, John, Joseph, Harman, Peter, and Mary, and lastly, I do
nominate and appoint my eldest sons, Harman Hitt and
Joseph Hitt, executors of this my Last Will and Testament. In
Witness I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and
year above written. In the presence of Harman (X) Rector,
Joseph Taylor, & John Morgan. Signed: Peter (P) Hitt

Probate: Teste H.L.Pearson, clerk, Circuit Court of Fauquier
County, Virginia, Will Book #1 page #200,Circuit Court of
Fauquier County, Virginia.

In the court of Fauquier County this 27th day of July 1772.
This will was proved by the oaths of Harmon Hitt and Joseph
Hitt, executors thereon, who made oath and executed legal
bond. The law directs certificate be granted them for a
probate through due form. The law directs certificate is
granted them for attaining a probate therof in due form.

Teste:  J.W.Burkett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Children of Peter and Elizabeth (Otterbach) Hitt:

John Hitt(son).  B. ca 1715, married Sarah Day Pace.  They
had ten children.  John was a Baptist Church organizer and
is listed as a DAR "patriot" for his allegiance to Virginia
Colony rather than the English government.  Virginia Militia;
French & Indian War 1853-1863

Joseph Hitt(son) B. ca 1717, married Mary Cuntze (Coons),
daughter of Joseph Cuntze (Coons, Koontz), one of the 13
Nassau-Siegen immigrants.  They had seven children.  
Virginia Militia; French & Indian War 1853-1863

Henry Hitt.  B. 1719, married his first cousin, Alice Katherine
Holtzclaw, a daughter of Hans Jacob Holtzclaw and Anna
Otterbach, Germanna immigrants.  Henry and Alice
Katherine Hitt moved from Culpepper, Virginia to Halifax
County, Virginia in 1779 and on to Edgewood County, South
Carolina ca. 1783.  Presumably, they both died there before
the 1790 census.  

Harmon Hitt.  B. 1721, married Mary Weaver, daughter of
Tillman Weaver, a Nassau-Siegen immigrant.

Mary Ann Hitt.  B. 1723, married her first cousin Harmon
Rector, son of Jacob Rector, a Nassau-Siegen immigrant

Peter Hitt, Jr. B. 1726, married first Sarah James, and
second, her sister Hannah James.  Peter, Jr. is a
Revolutionary War soldier who was imprisoned at Camden
early in the war and remained there until the close of the war.
HOME

Copyright © 1996 The Hittson Project, Pathfinder Ltd., Boulder, Colorado
All rights reserved.
Bibliograpy

ANCESTRY AND DESCENDANTS of the NASSAU-SIEGEN
IMMIGRANTS TO VIRGINIA 1714-1750; Author B.C. Holtsclaw

GERMANNA RECORD #1:  Peter Hitt, John Joseph Martin and Tillman
Weaver of the 1714 Colony and their Descendants; Author B.C. Holtsclaw

Peter Hitt Family Journal Report as prepared by JD Hitt 1998