On Easter Sunday in 1776, John
Willheit and wife Burga attended the (“Hebron”) Lutheran Church in
Culpeper County, Virginia, where their attendance was recorded as
communicants. The names adjacent to John and Burga were George Utz, Sr.
and wife Mary (Kaefer) and Henry Aylor and wife Anna Margaret (Thomas).
Henry Aylor was born in 1718 and his wife was born at a similar time.
The other two individuals are thought to have been born in the 1720s.
Thus John Willheit was probably the son, born in 1713, of the immigrant
Johann Michael Willheit since individuals who sat together were often
of a similar age. Also the grandsons of Johann Michael Willheit who
were named John had wives whose names do not suggest the name Burga. On
Quasimodgeniti Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter) in 1778, the
name, Burga Wilheit, was recorded another time in the church Register,
so we are confident that the name did exist and that she was the wife
of John Willheit, the son of Johann Michael Willheit. Though Burga’s
husband is identified, it had been a problem to identify the birth
family of Burga.
Germanna Record 13 says the wife of
John (son of Johann Michael) Willheit was Margaret (Peggy)Weaver, the
daughter of Peter and Mary (Huffman) Weaver, Jr. This account, perhaps
as a token acknowledgment that there is a problem in this assignment,
notes that she may have been a second wife. The source for the
claim that John Willheit’s wife was Margaret Weaver is the Garr Genealogy published in 1894.
However, the Garr Genealogy
does not claim that she was the daughter of Peter and Mary (Huffman)
Weaver, Jr. This later claim was added after the Garrs did their work.
The problem that is introduced by the later claim is that Margaret
Weaver, as a daughter of Peter and Mary Weaver, Jr., would have been
much too young. In fact, she would have been younger than some of her
The assignment of Margaret
Weaver as the wife of John Willheit remained in place, though
questioned, because there was no good evidence as to who she was. An
analysis of the families that the children of John and Burga associated
with at the church draws attention to the Carpenter and Weaver
families. Within these families there seemed to be no individuals who
might have been Burga. Except for two pieces of evidence, one from
Germany and one from Virginia, the wife of John Willheit might have
The first piece of evidence,
written by the sexton in Gemmingen, Baden, on 12 July 1717, gives the
members of one family who were leaving for Pennsylvania as
Joseph Weber, age 30
Susanna, age 25
Hans Dietrich, age 7
Sophia, age 4
Other recorded families who were
leaving at the same time with the same destination include Matthaus
Schmidt, Hans Michael Schmidt, Hans Michael Klaar and Hans Michael
Mihlekher. The first three of the latter four families are well known
as members of the Second Colony who were first settled near Germanna in
Virginia by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood.
Spotswood's list of fifty inported Germans gives the Wever family
as Joseph Wever, Susanna Wever, Hans Frederick Wever, Maria Sophia
Wever, and Wabburie Wever. This same list also includes the two Smith
families, the Clore family and the Milcker family so the identity to
the Gemmingen list is certain. Either the pastor in Gemmingen forgot to
list Wabburie in the emigration list or Wabburie was added to the
family enroute. Most likely, she was "born at sea,” especially since
the Spotswood list enumerates people within a family by age. Both
Wabburie and Burga suggest they are familiar forms of the German names
Waldburga or Walburga. Thus Burga Willheit was born Waldburga Weber
(Wever or Weaver). She was a sister of Peter Weaver who has been
described as a later immigrant but who was a 1717 immigrant as was
Burga Weaver. The assignment of her to the Weaver family was correct.
How the other details originated is unclear. Burga was related to many
individuals in the Robinson River community. Her brother, Peter, has
been mentioned. Her mother was born Susanna Klaar, the sister of
Michael Clore. Susanna married Jacob Crigler after the death of her
first husband, Joseph Weaver. By Jacob she had four children. After
Jacob's death, she married Nicholas Yager.
We pluck a woman from the tomb of unknown mothers by identifying Burga.
In this particular case, it took a bit of luck. Without Spotswood's
importation list it would have been nearly impossible. The Gemmingen
list of emigrants established the family. Luck was with us in that no
other Waldburgas lived in the community. Other records, not cited here,
trace the transformation of Dieterich to Peter (Dieterich > Dieter
> Teter > Peter).
Finding the identity of Burga
was first done by Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman.
The family of John Willheit and
Burga Weaver included eleven children, nine of whom married into
Germanna families. They were:
Mary *≈1737 ∞ John (blind) Yager
Nicholas *≈1739 ∞ Mary Margaret Fisher
Susanna *≈1740 ∞ Nicholas Yager
Eva *≈1742 ∞ Barnett Fisher
Daniel *≈1744 ∞ Mary Blankenbaker
John *≈1745 ∞ Mary Fishback
Elizabeth *≈1746 ∞ John Gant
Margaret *≈1748 ∞ John Garr
Christina *≈1750 ∞ Andrew Garr
Joseph *≈1752 (probably no marriage)
Rosanna *≈1754 ∞ John Wayland
where the symbols mean: * born; ≈ circa; ∞ married.
For further reading, see Before Germanna, vol. 4, pages 11
and 19f. See also Beyond Germanna,
vol. 3, page 141, and vol. 6, page 321. Note the distinction in Before and Beyond in these two references.