Phillip Fischbach and his family are listed among the first group of settlers to Germanna Colony in Virginia in April 1714:
Philip Fischbach (Fishback), 53, schoolmaster, b. 1661 and came with his wife Elizabeth Heimbach (Hanback); son, John, b. 1691; son, Harmon, b.1693; daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b.1687; and daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b. 1696.
PHILLIP FISCHBACH was born in the village of Seelbach, near the city of Siegen, in Nassau County, Germany. The county of Nassau-Siegen was located about 60 miles southeast of Cologne, in a line toward Frankfort, and was in, what was later (1815) to be, the Prussian Province of Westphalia. Philipp was brought for baptism at Siegen of Judica Sunday, 1661. His godfather was Philipp Heimbach of Seelbach. Seelbach was a small village of Trupbach and the city of Siegen. Siegen was first mentioned in documents in 1079, though it existed long before that date. It grew up around a castle that was one of principal residences of the counts of Nassau. It was, long ago, a walled city. The county of Nassau-Siegen dated back to the 13th century.
Philip and Elizabeth (Heimbach) Fishback, came to the Virginia Colony in America along with their seven children and other relatives in 1714. During the governorship of Alexander Spotswood from 1710 to 1722 iron ore deposits were discovered in what is now Northeast Orange Co., VA. Prior to this time there had been no iron ore mining and production of iron products in the Colonies. All much needed items made of this metal were imported from England at great expense. The Govenor fully realized that if this newly found and valuable resource could be mined and processed into farm implements, tools, household items, guns, etc. it would be of great benefit to the Colony. Swiss promoter/developer Baron Von Graffenreid was engaged by Gov. Spotswood to recruit immigrants from the old Principality of Nassau-Siegen area, now a part of Westphalis, Germany to mine and process this newly found iron ore. This area of Germany, about forty-five miles east of Bonn, was selected because iron ore had been mined, processed and iron products manufactured there for centuries. Twelve familites, consisting of forty-two individuals, with a knowledge of iron ore mining, processing, and iron products manufacturing from the Nassau-Siegen area were persuaded to immigrate to the New World. John Jacob Rector, his wife Elizabeth Fischbach and their son John were of these families..
In the summer of of 1713, the twelve families departed their German home land for the New World. Their first stop was Maidstone, England. On arrival they found their promoter was without money or provisions for the voyage to America. During the winter of 1713/1714 they worked to pay their own way and April 1714 landed not far from Williamsburg, VA, the then seat of government.
"Philip and Elizabeth came to the Virginia Colony in America along with their 7 children and other relatives in 1714. Today (1986) they are the ancestors of thousands of descendants including the following United States Governors (1) Henry Massey Rector, 6th governor of Arkansas -- see Record No. 5-115 of this Work; (2) James Sevier Conway, first governor of Arkansas--see record no 5-116; (3) Elias Nelson Conway, 5th governor of Arkansas; (4) James Lawson Kemper, governor of Virginia 1874/1878; and (5) William Meade Fishback, governor of Arkansas 1893/1895." 
"Philipp Fischbach was born in the village of Seelbach, near the city of Siegen, in Nassau County, Germany.  The county of Nassau-Siegen was located about sixty miles southeast of Cologne, in a line toward Frankfort, and was in, what was later (1815) to be, the Prussian Province of Westphalia.  Philipp was the son Johannes Fischbach II and Catharine Heimbach and was born in March 1661, for he was brought for baptism at Siegen on Judica Sunday, as recorded in the church register.  His godfather was Philipp Heimbach of Seelbach, his mother's brother. 
" When a Catholic ruler was in power cruel persecutions were inflicted upon their Protestant subjects. The family of Philipp Fischbach had long lived in the Nassau-Siegen area. His father, Johannes II had been born in Trubach in November 1631; his grandfather, Johannes I had died there by May of 1672.  He and his wife Leiss (Elisabeth), the mother of Johannes II, were living in Trubach by 1624. He is thought to have been born in Freudenberg about 1600. 
"While it cannot be stated, definitively, that the great grandfather of Philipp was Theiss Fischbach II, there seems little doubt that his family ancestry lay through the line of Theiss Fischbach I. The artisan skills of Philipp had been handed down through the iron-smelting interests of his early ancestors."
"It was because of the iron-mining, smelting skills of Philipp and his countrymen in Nassau-Siegen, that the Baron von Graffenried wrote to them. He had been instrumental in establishing a community called New Bern in North Carolina of miner-emigrants from Switzerland. The whole community had been destroyed and the inhabitants massacred by the Indians. Baron von Graffenried was captured, but was able to escape and make his way to Virgnia."
"Governor Alexander Spottswood had discovered iron on land that he owned, and deemed it of great value to himself and the colony of Virginia, to mine the ore. He had been unable to persuade either of the Trade Council of London, or Queen Anne, to fund his project of improving the iron mines discovered near the Blue Ridge Mountains."
"Thus on the heels of the renewed persecution of the Protestants, came the opportunity to escape the oppressive Catholic rule and to embark upon a new life. With the continuity of generations of family in Nassau-Siegen, it was a hard decision to make. Philipp and his wife, Elsbeth were living in Trubach, and had made their home there for some thirty years."
"Trubach was a little village, in a small valley, about a mile north of Siegen. It was a secure familiar place to live. It was not certain Philipp would improve his and Elsbeth's lot, but they might be able to offer their sons and daughters a more secure and prosperous life. While their province was a prosperous one in Germany, the political and religious unrest had taken its toll, and finally after much talk and soul-searching, Philipp and Elsbeth agreed it would be good to leave their home and make the long trip to the new colony of Virginia. Seelbach and Trubach were two villages quite close to each other and to Siegen. With so many family connections, it was not hard for Philipp and Elsbeth to meet. Philipp's mother had been a Heimbach, the daughter of Georg Heimbach and Elisabeth Neiss of Seelbach.  Philipp married Elsbeth Heimbach, the daughter of Johannes and Clara Heimbach of Trubach. She was born about 1662 and she and Philipp were probably third cousins. They married on May 20, 1683 and lived in Trubach. 
All of their children were born there. Clara, who was named for her Grandmother Heimbach was born in 1684. Anna Els (Elisabeth) followed in 1685 and their third daughter, Maria Els (Elisabeth) was born in 1687. Philipp and Elsbeth had a fourth daughter, Agnes, born in 1689, before they had a son. Johannes, their first son was born in 1691 and Hermann was born in 1693. A fifth daughter was born in 1696; she was the second Maria Els. This may not have caused confusion in their identity when they were living, but it certainly created problems several generations later.
"There were, in all, forty-two persons who reached the colony of Virginia. The family names, as they were to become in Virginia were: Brumbach, Coons, Fishback, Hager, Hoffman, Hitt, Holtzclaw, Kemper, Martin, Rector, Spilman, Utterback and Weaver. 
"The Nassau-Siegen emigrants arrived in London in the fall of 1713,  with no one to meet them or provide for their passage to Virginia."
"Baron von Graffenreid arrived after they did, penniless, and excused his lack of planning by saying they had come "inconsiderately", without orders.  It was too late in the year for a ship to sail to Virginia, so they were forced to remain in England for the winter. It is not known where they spent the winter, but they evidently left shortly before the close of 1713, for a letter dated March 15, 1713, from Governor Spottswood, told of the miners. 
"Governor Spottswood made plans to settle the miners on his land (where the iron ore had been found), at the frontier's edge. He was able to secure financial assistance from the colony under the guise of using the unsuspecting immigrants as a buffer fort against the Indians. This would, then, secure and expand the frontier. The location was above the falls of the Rappanhannock on a branch that came to be called the Rapidan River."
"To finance their voyage to Virginia, the immigrants pooled their money and accepted the advance of passage of two English merchants, additionally. When they arrived in the colony they were indebted, collectively 150 pounds, and in no position to demand what had been promised them.  They were innocent inhabitants of the dangerous frontier and tenants on the land of Governor Spottswood. Baron von Graffenried had hurriedly made plans for them in England as winter was coming on and he suffered from gout."
"The site Governor Spottswood chose for the settlement of the Germans, and thus, the fort against the hostile Indians, was located on the south bank of the Rapidan River in a big horseshoe bend of the river, about twelve miles above its confluence with the Rappahannock River and a dozen miles from the iron mines.  The colonial government agreed to finance the building of a fort and to provide ammunition and two cannons. The immigrants arrived in April 1714, in the Virginia Colony.  Their new settlement was in the western extreme of Essex County and was named Germanna. The area became Spotsvania County in 1720 and today, is located in Orange County, which was formed from Spotslyvania in 1734.  The occasion of their settlement is remembered by the contemporary Germanna Community College on Route 3, in Spotsylvania County. Just over the line in Orange County, beside the Rapidan River and Route 3, is a commemorative marker to the Germanna Colony. It was erected in 1953 by the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and lists the names of the immigrant families. It commemorated the site of the first German Reform Church in America, and its congregation that settled there in 1714. 
"Because of their indebtedness, or perhaps anyway, Governor Spottswood denied their claim to the land; and to repay the passage money that he had advanced, allowed them to live as tenants on the 1287 acres (which had been set aside for them and he had taken up). They did not serve as indentured servants, but paid rent to Governor Spottswood amounting to about 12 days work a year for each household. Since the immigrants arrived too late in the season to plant, they were exempted from the tax levy imposed on all of the colonists for 7 years. Governor Spottswood did not exact rent from them for the first 2 years."
"The Germanna Colony was an outpost of the Virginia colony, in the northwestern Piedmont. Because of its location where the fall line of the river came closest to the Valley of Virginia, Germanna became a natural gateway from the Tidewater to the Piedmont and the Valley region, and thence into the Allegany Mountains. It was the gateway to the west. 
"By the fall of 1715, the Nassau-Siegen families had built their palisaded settlement. They had formed a five-sided enclosure of stakes, or palisades. In the center they had built a pentagon shaped blockhouse, to which they could retreat were the Indians to breech the enclosure. They used the blockhouse as their assembly hall, but more importantly, as their church. The Reverend Hager regularly conducted divine services there. 
"Across two sides of the pentagon enclosure they built nine log houses in a line. Before each house, about 20 feet away, was a small shed for their hogs and hens. On the opposite two sides of the pentagon were vegetable gardens laid out.  The description of the Germanna settlement was later found in the diary of John Fountaine, which he kept when he accompanied Governor Spottswood on his expedition into the Blue Ridge Mountains, the famed "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe". 
"Philip and Elsbeth occupied one of the houses with their four adult children. The children were of marriageable age and each soon married and required space to live. Ultimately, there would be thirteen cabins. 
"All of the accounts of the Germanna Colony and the Fischbach family state that Philipp and Elsbeth Fischbach did reach the Germanna settlement on the Rapidan. It is not known how long they lived afterward. It is significant that the commemorative marker to the settlers names both John Fishback and Harman Fishback as heads of families of the immigrants and no mention is made of Philipp. It is thought that he died soon after they settled, and it is probable that this is so."
It is possible that Philipp did not make a will, for he had no property. . It is suggested that Elsbeth died shortly after their arrival, 
Seelbach was but a small village of Trubach and the city of Siegen. Siegen was first mentioned in documents in 1079, though it existed long before that date. It grew up around a castle that was one of principal residences of the counts of Nassau. It was, long ago, a walled city. The county of Nassau-Siegen dated back to the thirteenth century.
The rulers of Nassau-Siegen were among the first fruits of the Reformation, but the county was on the borderline between Protestantism and Catholicism. It always remained partly Catholic, and occasionally, a ruler was Catholic. When a Catholic ruler was in power cruel persecutions were inflicted upon their Protestant subjects. These did not cease even with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1649.
The families of Heimbach and Fischbach were Protestant, of the German Reform Church. Members of the Siegen Parish remained staunchly Protestant, and this was a source of continuing strife for many years.
By the time Philipp was a young man, the conflict had been fueled again by the accession of William Hyacinth as Catholic Prince. He rigorously enforced the Catholic control of the schools and levied high taxes.
When the Protestants signed a protest and submitted it to the Emperor, he became indignant, and arrested many of them. When he had one of the leaders beheaded, he was deposed. However, the situation did not improve, for foreign troops then occupied Nassau-Siegen, and they continued the policy of Catholic control of the schools. A further act of oppression against the Protestants was to refuse them burial of their dead in the cemetery of Weidenau, a small village near Siegen. By the year 1712, another conflict erupted on Corpus Christi Day when the foreign troops opened fire on the troops of the Protestant Prince and many lives were lost.
The family of Philipp Fischbach had long lived in the Nassau-Siegen area. His father, Johannes II had been born in Trubach in November 1631; his grandfather, Johannes I had died there by May of 1672. He and his wife, Leiss (Elisabeth), the mother of Johannes II, were Irving in Trubach by 1624. He is thought to have been born in Freudenberg about 1600.
The roots of Johannes Fischbach I were deep in Nassau-Siegen. His name had been derived from the place of Fischbach, the village Oberfischbach (Ober-upper), being one of the communities near Siegen. The village was probably by a brook abounding in fish and thus, the first settler was identified as "from the fish-brook".
Oberfischbach, Freudenberg, Neiderndorf and Trubach were among the villages in an iron ore producing area. As far back as the mid-fifteenth century Tyl va Fispe was the owner of the Niederndorf iron smelter. He was also Schultheiss, or the count's representative and the chief justice in the district of Freudenberg. He not only owned the Niederndorf Ironworks, but he leased the count's iron works at Freudenberg. He was a part owner of the copper and iron mines on the Lurzenbach.
The ownership of the Niederndorf smelter passed to his son, Johannes, former Schultheiss at Freudenberg and ultimately, to his five children, of whom Theiss was one. Theiss Fischbach was probably born about 1515 and had died before August 1566. His widow, Treina (Cathrina) stood in his place. He and Cathrina had seven children. Theiss Fischbach II, of Freudenberg is regarded as one of the sons. There were no other Fischbachs of the correct time and place.
After 1566, no express documentary records exist for three decades, to offer any firm evidence of relationships of the Fischbach family. Because of this, it cannot be certain that Johannes Fischbach, I of Trubach was the son of Theiss. In the universal special tax list of 1599, the family name of Fischbach occurred only in Oberfischbach, Freudenberg and Niederschilden. Theiss Fischbach of Freudenberg in 1599 had a new taxable property in Freudenberg of 188 1/2 Gulden.
While it cannot be stated, definitively, that the great grandfather of Philipp was Theiss Fischbach II, there seems little doubt that his family ancestry lay through the line of Theiss Fischbach I. The artisan skills of Philipp had been handed down through the iron-smelting interests of his early ancestors.
It was because of the iron-mining, smelting skills of Philipp and his countrymen in Nassau-Siegen that the Baron von Graffenried wrote to them. He had been instrumental in establishing a community called New Bern in North Carolina of miner-emigrants from Switzerland. The whole community had been destroyed and the inhabitants massacred by the Indians. Baron von Graffenried was captured, but was able to escape and make his way to Virginia.
When Governor Spottswood befriended Baron von Graffenried, he was encouraged to pursue his venture. Von Graffenried, not only felt certain of the presence of the iron ore, but of the possibility of obtaining skilled iron workers from Germany to carry on the mining. The two evidently entered into some kind of agreement, for it seems that von Graffenried must have been authorized to write the miners of Nassau- Siegen and offer them inducement to immigrate to the Virginia colony.
It is not known exactly what Philipp did for a living. It is certain that he was connected with the mining of iron, for he qualified as a member of the group of skilled miners who immigrated to the colony of Virginia. He and Elsbeth must have led a simple village life, centered around their family and their church. The dissention and ultimately, the persecutions inflicted upon them by their Catholic neighbors, created a constant anxiety in their lives.
When Philipp and Elsbeth Fischbach heard of the invitation of von Graffenried they were no longer young by standards of those days. Philipp was fifty-two and his wife about a year younger. Clara and Agnes had evidently died young, as there was no further record of them. 16 Anna Els had already married Hans Jacob Richter. Both Maria Elizabeth were still living at home, the older was twenty-six, while her sister was almost ten years younger. Johannes was still living at home at twenty-two, as was his nineteen year old brother, Hermann.
It was probably a family decision to travel to Virginia. Their son-in-law made the decision to travel with them, as Jacob Richter, his wife, Anna Elisabeth and their young son, Johannes also made the trip. It was very likely that the decision was made jointly with the Utterbachs of Trubach. The wife of Hermann Utterbach was Elisabeth Heimbach, perhaps related to Elsbeth Fischbach.
The number of miners grew; they came from the surrounding villages of Mucsen, Niederndorf, Oberfischbach and Eisen. Most of them were younger that Philipp and Elsbeth, that is, except their minister from Oberfischbach, the Reverend Henrich Haeger. He was born in September 1644 and was approaching seventy. He and his wife and two daughters joined the group. His daughter, Agnes was to marry Johannes Fischbach, after they left Nassau-Siegen.
There were, in all, forty-two persons who reached the colony of Virginia. The family names, as they were to become in Virginia were: Brumbach, Coons, Fishback, Hager, Hoffman, Hitt, Holtzclaw, Kemper, Martin, Rector, Spilman, Utterback and Weaver. A number of them were already related and more became related by marriage eventually. The list, and the family members, as researched carefully by Mr. Holtzclaw.
Jost Cuntze (Coons) (5), from Niederndorf, bora 1674, and his wife, Anna Gertred Reinschmidt; his son, John and daughters, Ann Elisabeth and Catherine.
Philipp Fischbach (Fishback) (6), from Trubach, born 1661, and his wife, Elsbeth Heimbach (Hanback); his sons, Johannes (John) and Hermann (Harman) and two daughters, Mary Elisabeth.
Rev. Heinrich Haeger (Henry Hager) (4), former pastor of Oberfischbach, born 1644, and his wife, Anna Catherine Friesenhagen, born 1663; his daughters, Agnes and Anna Catherine.
John Huffman (Hoffman) (1), from Eisen, born 1692, and a bachelor.
Peter Heide (Hitt) (2), from Rehbach, born c. 1680, and his first wife, Maria Elisabeth Freudenberg, born 1674.
Jacob Holtzclaw (4), from Oberfischbach, and his wife, Anna Margaret Utterbach, born 1686; and their two sons, John and Henry.
John Camper (Kemper) (1), from Muesen, born 1692, and probably a bachelor.
Jost Martin (1), born 1691, and probably a bachelor.
Jacob Richtor (Rector) (3), from Trubach, born 1674, and his wife, Anna Elisabeth Fischbach, born 1685, and their son, John.
John Spilman (1), from Oberschelden, born 1679, bachelor, who later married a Maria Els Fischbach.
Harman Utterbach (8), from Trubach, born c.1664, and his wife, Elisabeth Heimbach; their sons, John Philip and John and daughters, Elisabeth, Alice Catherine, Mary Catherine and Anna Catherine.
John Henry Weaver (5), from Eisen, born 1667, and his wife Anna Margaret Huttmann; his sons, John and Tillman and daughter, Catherine.
As has so often been the case, these educated, thrifty, intelligent people left their homes in good faith and were the pawns of others seeking self-gain. They were invited to the colony, by Governor Spottswood of Virginia, through Baron von Graffenried, both of whom hoped to gain mightily from the venture. The Nassau-Siegen emigrants arrived in London in the fall of 1713, with no one to meet them or provide for their passage to Virginia.
The Fischbachs and their countrymen lived frugally and simply, miserably, as described by Ensign Fountain. They had built the necessary homes for their families. Those who had come as bachelors did not warrant a house, at first. Philipp and Elsbeth occupied one of the houses with their four adult children. The children were of marriageable age and each soon married and required space to live. Ultimately, there would be thirteen cabins.
There is, today, a Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies that was chartered in March 1956. It owns 270 acres of the original Germanna tract and the area is being developed as a memorial to the early settlers and their descendants.
Historians and descendants alike can be especially grateful for the manner in which Willis Miller Kemper has presented the histories of the Kemper and the Fishback families. B. C. Holtzclaw has written a scholarly work, that is the official publication of the Germanna Foundation, about the ancestors and descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants. These sources should be explored for a more detailed account of these people, and both their homeland and their adopted home. 
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Philipp by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Philipp: