While living in London during the 1810s Blaettermann met many Americans and through them learned about the creation of the University of Virginia. In April 1819 he offered to join the faculty as professor of modern languages. The university's founder, Thomas Jefferson, was enthusiastic about Anglo-Saxon history, law, and language, and when the university's buildings were almost ready to receive students, he arranged for Blaettermann to be hired. Late in 1824 Blaettermann arrived in Charlottesville, where Jefferson described him as "rather a rough looking German, speaking English roughly, but of an excellent mind and high qualifications."
The Blaettermanns had a stormy marriage that concluded on September 8, 1840, with an agreement for a legal separation. George Blaettermann gave up an improved lot of about three-and-a-half acres located between the town and the university for Elizabeth Blaettermann's separate maintenance and relinquished his legal rights over her and her property, leaving her "as if she were unmarried." The separation was far from amiable. Either just before or just after the conclusion of the legal arrangements, he publicly beat her twice in the street. Rumors of domestic violence had already aroused the suspicions of other faculty members, and the chairman of the faculty immediately notified the board of visitors. On September 14, 1840, the board examined the evidence, heard Blaettermann's defense of his conduct, and then unanimously dismissed him from the faculty.
Blaettermann retired to his 700-acre farm in Albemarle County. In 1843 he considered opening an agricultural college in Charlottesville. Elizabeth Blaettermann lived in the town, where she operated a seminary for young ladies and survived her estranged husband by almost fifteen years. George Blaettermann died suddenly on January 1, 1850. The faculty consented to his burial in the University of Virginia Cemetery, but he was probably buried on his farm in an unmarked grave.
April 4, 1782 - George Blaettermann is born in the town of Langensalza, Saxony.
1812 - George Blaettermann serves in the commissary corps of Napoleon Bonaparte's French army during its invasion of Russia.
April 1819 - George Blaettermann offers to join the faculty of the University of Virginia as a professor of modern languages.
1820 - George Blaettermann and his wife, Elizabeth Charlotte Dean Blaettermann, adopt two of her grandnephews.
Late 1824 - George Blaettermann arrives at the University of Virginia.
1830 - The University of Virginia reduces the salary of George Blaettermann in order to hire a tutor to assist his students.
September 8, 1840 - George Blaettermann and his wife, Elizabeth Dean Blaettermann, agree to a legal separation.
September 14, 1840 - The University of Virginia board of visitors dismisses George Blaettermann, a modern languages professor who was accused of twice publicly beating his wife.
January 1, 1850 - George Blaettermann dies at his farm in Albemarle County, where he likely is buried.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Tarter, B., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. George Blaettermann (1782–1850). (2016, April 28). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Blaettermann_George_1782-1850.
- MLA Citation:
Tarter, Brent and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "George Blaettermann (1782–1850)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 28 Apr. 2016. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: January 26, 2016 | Last modified: April 28, 2016