Three hundred years ago in 1716, the Germanna Colony was the western frontier of the Virginia Colony. Germanna, near confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers, was the edge of civilization.
Colonial Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood believed the colony needed to find and for settlement beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enlisted a band consisting largely of English plantation owners to explore a passageway. Leaving from Germanna, the expedition successfully found a route through the Blue Ridge and into what they called the Euphrates River (now recognized as the Shenandoah).
The exploring party claimed the western lands in the name of King George 1 and each rider was rewarded by Spotswood with a certificate of Knighthood along with a gem studded golden horseshoe stickpin. Thus, they became the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.
The expedition resulted immediately in a massive western migration resulting in 10,000 settlers in the Shenandoah valley within a decade. Western migration began long before Horace Greeley's famous speech and credit for initiating it is clearly due to Spotswood and the Knights.
On Tuesday of this week, the Expedition will be re-enacted by riders from across America. Kick-of will be Tuesday morning from the Germanna Foundation. On Thursday evening, the event depicted by the attached flyer will bring this historic event to Culpeper, curtesy of the Museum of Culpeper History.
The ride will culminate on Saturday atop the Blue Ridge. The riders will arrive about noon on August 27th for a public ceremony including a re-enactment Point of Proclamation ceremony at the Lodge at Big Meadows.
If you are available for the Thursday event, I encourage you to visit or call the Museum to avail yourself of the discounted advance ticket prices. In addition to the old fashioned country dinner, the program will provide a brief history and interesting anecdotal stories, photo-ops and colonial games.
Alternatively, take your entire family to the Big Meadows event. Saturday Park Service fees are waived for this special commemorative event.
Here is our history unfolding in your neighborhood. Please attend and enjoy it.