Preserving the Historic Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia

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Germanna Foundation Conference and Reunion

July 13, 2017 - July 16, 2017


The 60th annual Germanna Foundation Conference and Reunion is Thursday, July 13 through Sunday July 16, 2017.

This is the most important Germanna Foundation event of the year and this year they are celebrating the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the 1717 Second Germanna Colony — the people who formed and built the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia.

Become a member of the Germanna Foundation. You do not have to be a member to attend. See their Reunion page for prices and the registration form.

See map of all locations of the reunion/conference

2017 Reunion/Conference Schedule:

Wednesday, July 12

Board of Trustees Reception – by invitation
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center
2062 Germanna Hwy (Route 3), Locust Grove, VA
This invitation-only event serves as a Thank You from the Board of Trustees to our most generous supporters and volunteers, and to introduce local officials to Germanna.
All donors at the Explorer giving level ($500 per year) and above will receive personal invitations.

Thursday, July 13

Registration Open House
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center
2062 Germanna Hwy (Route 3), Locust Grove, VA
All reunion attendees are invited to drop by the Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center to pick up registration materials, hike the trails, browse the library, and check out the interpretive display.

Clore Family Gathering
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Skip and Joy Poole
262 Washington Street, Locust Grove, VA
Germanna Foundation Trustee and proud Clore descendant Skip Poole and his wife Joy are graciously planning to open their house at Lake of the Woods for a gathering of all Clore descendants. Enjoy lakeside refreshments while becoming acquainted with your Clore cousins.

Germanna Oktoberfest Willkommen Abendessen
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
19173 Salubria Lane (off Route 3), Stevensburg, VA
Put on your dirndl and lederhosen and head to the grounds of historic Salubria for this casual, family friendly welcome dinner celebrating our German heritage. Tour the mansion during the pre-dinner cocktail hour and see the shiny new gutters installed over the winter. Traditional Oktoberfest fare catered by Bavarian Chef is on the menu. Schmeckt so gut!

If you have not already done so, registration materials may be picked up at the Welcome table.

Friday, July 14

Germanna Heritage Tour
8:15 am – 4:30 pm
Departs/Returns Best Western Culpeper
791 Madison Road, Culpeper, VA

Join your guides for a tour of the four-county Germanna Heritage area. We will start off the day by visiting the Fort Germanna site in Orange County. Archaeological staff will be on hand to guide us and answer questions about recent work. The nearby area of Culpeper County settled by the Second Colony during their indenture period will be explained. Next, we will head to Germantown in Fauquier County to see the area of First Colony permanent settlement. Finally, we will spend the afternoon in Madison County, permanent home of most of the Second Colony after their indenture. A delicious, family-style lunch will be served to us at Graves Mountain Lodge. After lunch, we will visit various sites in Madison County beginning with Hebron Lutheran Church where experts will share their knowledge and special exhibits will be set up in the parish hall. We’ll round out the day in the town of Madison visiting the Kemper Residence, Madison County Historical Society Museum, and Beth Car Baptist Church.

Seats on the bus tour are limited and have sold out in the past so please register early. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk up to half a mile, climb stairs, and stand. Boarding begins at 8:15 a.m. for a prompt departure. Tour will depart from and return to the Best Western, Culpeper.

Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle Archaeological Site Open House
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle Site
Gordon Farm Road, Locust Grove, VA
For those Reunion attendees arriving too late to take the Heritage Tour, the Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle site will be open this afternoon only for visitors.

Lakeside Dinner
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Lake of the Woods Clubhouse
205 Lakeview Parkway, Locust Grove, VA
After a long day of touring, join us in air conditioned comfort for a pleasant dinner in the Germanna Room overlooking Lake of the Woods. A social hour with cash bar will start the evening followed by dinner. Plenty of time to visit with your friends and family during this leisurely meal. Dress code is business casual.

Saturday, July 15

Kids Colonial Camp (ages 6-14)
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center
2062 Germanna Hwy (Route 3), Locust Grove, VA
Drop your children or grandchildren ages 6-14 off at the Fort Germanna Visitor Center for a fun day of activities provided by the staff of Camp Flintlock. Kids will spend the day participating in Colonial games and other period activities. A short German lesson with performance scheduled during the Banquet this evening is also on the agenda. Camp Flintlock will provide a Colonial Store where you and your children may shop for souvenirs at the end of the session.
Please dress your children appropriately for the weather in clothes and closed toe shoes that may get dirty. A waiver form must be signed upon drop off in the morning if not completed before. Prompt pick-up at the end of the session is expected.

Historical & Genealogical Conferences
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Germanna Community College Daniel Technology Center
18121 Technology Drive, Culpeper, VA
Start the day with coffee & donuts, socialize, shop in the Vendor Hall, and enjoy a full schedule of informative lectures. If you have not already done so, registration materials may be picked up at the Germanna booth in the Vendor Hall. Boxed lunch included.

Conference Sessions:

Cathi Clore Frost, Presenting Germanna Record #21: The First Four Generations of the Willheit Family

Unveiling the newest Germanna Foundation publication.

If you preordered a copy, you may pick it up at the Germanna booth n the Vendor Hall. Additional copies will be available for purchase.

John Blankenbaker, Germanna 101

Information lecture covering the basics of Germanna Colony history. Why did these groups of Germans settle in Virginia? Where did they live during their indenture period? Why didn’t the two colonies settle permanently in the same area? This presentation will answer these questions and more.

Eric Larsen, Germanna Archaeology – An Update on the Search for Fort Germanna

The Germanna Foundation took over stewardship of the Enchanted Castle Site at the end of 2013. Since that time, the Foundation has worked to stabilize and protect the remnants of Alexander Spotswood’s piedmont mansion. At the same time, they have begun building a new archaeology program to reopen archaeological research at the site. Over the 2016 summer, Germanna Archaeology undertook the first season of excavations at the site in over twenty years. The initial goal was to find more of a linear feature first identified in 1993. The feature, known as the palisade trench, is believed to have been part of the wooden palisade wall for the 1714 Fort Germanna. We have begun efforts to better define this feature on the greater landscape. If successful, archaeology can then begin to better target the Fort’s central blockhouse and the individual dwellings of the First Germanna Colonists. In the course of pushing archaeology beyond the foundations of Spotswood’s “Enchanted Castle,” we begin to expand the archaeological connections with the greater story of Germanna.

Cathi Clore Frost, Documents Used to Identify the Second Colonists

How do we know who were members of the Second Germanna Colony? Are your ancestors among this group? Explore records from Germany and Virginia used to document the seventy-odd or eighty Germans who sailed on the Scott with Captain Tarbett for “Pennsylvania.”

Ann Marie Ackermann, Germanna Murder Mystery: The German Assassin Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee

From the depths of German and American archives comes a story one soldier never wanted told. The first volunteer killed defending Robert E. Lee’s position in battle was really a German assassin. Lee wrote a letter home praising that soldier, not knowing his background. That man’s identity has been a mystery to American historians, only to have been recently unraveled.

That same soldier assassinated the mayor of Bönnigheim, Germany in 1835. It became 19th-century Germany’s coldest case ever solved — and the only case ever solved in the United States. Thirty-seven years after the case went cold, a Bönnigheim immigrant to America found evidence in Washington, D.C. and forwarded it to Germany. The German prosecutor corroborated the story and closed the case files in 1872, naming Lee’s defender as the murderer.

The assassin, who hailed from Stetten am Heuchelberg, fled to Philadelphia shortly after the murder, where he joined an all-German company of volunteers in the Mexican-American War. At the Siege of Veracruz, Robert E. Lee and the assassin had their fateful encounter.

The roles the volunteer and Robert E. Lee, a descendant of Alexander Spotswood, played at the Siege of Veracruz are part of American history, and the record-breaking, 19th-century cold case is part of German history. This presentation will combine the two stories in a historical true crime tale the Germanna Foundation can claim as part of its heritage.

Second Germanna Colonist Conrad Amberger emigrated from Bönnigheim and the Hold/Holt family from  Stetten am Heuchelberg.

Banquet & Fundraising Auction
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Germanna Community College Daniel Technology Center
18121 Technology Drive, Culpeper, VA

Return to the Daniel Center where we have plenty of room for the main social event of the reunion weekend. Start off the evening mingling and bidding on silent auction items during the cocktail hour. Purchase a bottle of “White Elephant Wine” to share with your table and a souvenir bottle of special label wine from Prince Michel to take home. Enjoy a tempting semi-formal dinner prepared by our favorite caterers, Shawn’s BBQ and Kitchen Gourmet. There will be plenty of time to sneak over and make sure no one has outbid you in the silent auction. Following dessert, we will have a short entertainment by the children who attended Colonial Camp earlier in the day and the opportunity to bid on a variety of items during the live auction.

Auction and Wine Donations Needed

Please help make our annual event a success by donating items. We are in need of bottles of wine for a “White Elephant Wine” sale, consider donating a bottle of local wine from your region. Gift certificates as well as themed baskets have been popular auction items in the past. Do you own a vacation home, time share or live somewhere fun? Donation of stays in interesting places also make great auction items. Please submit all donations by July 10 for inclusion in the auction booklet. If items cannot be mailed or dropped off at the Germanna Founda­tion office in advance, contact us by the above date would be appreciated and ensure inclusion.

Sunday, July 16

Worship Service
10:00 am – 11:30 am
Hebron Lutheran Church
899 Blankenbaker Road, Madison, VA
Even if you have already visited the Hebron Lutheran Church, you will want to attend this meaningful service. Ponder the importance of this church to your ancestors who worshiped with this congregation even before the original sanctuary was constructed in 1740. Take communion in the same spot as your many times great-grandparents and sing hymns that they sang.

Annual Meeting & Picnic Lunch
Noon – 2:30 pm
Germanna Community College Daniel Technology Center
18121 Technology Drive, Culpeper, VA
The original Germanna Reunion event. After the worship service, head back to Culpeper to join your friends and cousins one last time for an indoor “picnic” lunch. The Annual Germanna Foundation Meeting celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the organization will feature comments by Foundation President Marc Wheat regarding the accomplishments of the past year and plans for the future. An additional presentation will be made by Foundation Archaeologist by Dr. Eric Larsen on the importance of the Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle site as a historic landmark.

July 17 – July 19

I Dig Germanna logoPost- Reunion I Dig Germanna 3 Day Archaeology Workshop
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily
Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle site
Your chance to play in the dirt! Join staff archaeologist Dr. Eric Larsen and assist in supervised field work at the Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle site.
The fine print:  Due to necessary training which will be given the first day, participants must commit to all three days of the workshop. Participants must be 16 years of age or older (age 14-15 allowed if accompanied by parent/guardian), and in good health as field work is conducted outside with limited shelter and facilities. Due to required supervision, registration is limited to 4 total participants during each three-day session. If there are more registrants than spots available, a full refund will be made.

See map of all locations of the reunion/conference, including accommodations.

Germanna 2017 Reunion/Conference Registration Form (pdf)

Online Registration Form


A limited number of rooms at each of the following motels have been reserved at a special rate. To receive the discounted rate, you must mention “Germanna Foundation Reunion” and make your reservation by June 12, 2017. We recommend making your reservations early.

Best Western Culpeper – Wed & Thurs $79.99 + tax, Fri & Sat $99.99 + tax
791 Madison Road, Culpeper, VA, 540-825-1253

Holiday Inn Express Culpeper – Wed & Thurs $119.99 + tax, Fri & Sat $129.99 + tax
778 Madison Road, Culpeper, VA, 540-825-7444

Quality Inn Culpeper – $99.99 + tax
890 Willis Lane, Culpeper, VA, 540-825-4900

Holiday Inn Express Orange – Wed & Thurs $85 + tax, Fri & Sat 119 + tax
750 Round Hill Drive, Orange, VA, 540-672-6691

Hilton Garden Inn Fredericksburg – $169 or $228 + tax
1060 Hospitality Lane, Fredericksburg, VA, 540-548-8822

Best Western Fredericksburg – $91 + tax (mention Conference #2238 Group Germanna)
2205 Plank Road, Fredericksburg, VA, 540-371-5050

Quality Inn Fredericksburg – $94.59 + tax
2310 Plank Road, Fredericksburg, VA, 540-371-0330

Staff Recommended B&BsPlease call for rates and availability, no special rate for Germanna.

  • Fountain Hall B&B, 609 S. East St, Culpeper, VA, 800-298-4748
  • Inn on Poplar Hill, 278 Caroline St, Orange, VA, 540-672-6840
  • Mayhurst Inn, 12460 Mayhurst Lane, Orange, VA, 888-672-5597

 Local Tourism Websites


Past Germanna Reunions:




July 13, 2017
July 16, 2017
Event Category:


Germanna Foundation
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Germanna Foundation
2062 Germanna Hwy
Locust Grove, VA 22508 United States
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