The Explorer

The story of Cooling Springs begins with the Swiss explorer and humanitarian Franz Michel, son of the Lord of Ralligen, Switzerland. In 1704, Michel (the German mee-KEL) became the first European to explore deep beyond the English settlements along the 13 Atlantic coast colonies when he trekked far west of the Maryland colony's Chesapeake Bay. Michel's 1704 map of western Maryland here, annotated with modern place names, is the oldest known map of the region. This exploration went as far as the headwaters of Virginia's Shenandoah River, three ranges deep into the Appalachian Range, and opened western Maryland and the Shenandoah Valley to settlement. On this expedition, Michel scouted the location where today's Cooling Springs was founded by his son Andrew in 1768.

Frantz Michel and his wife Anna lived at King William, the colony he founded in 1702 in Virginia. In 1709, he took British citizenship and by 1718 had become Francis Michael, American. Francis spent his career rescuing European religious and war refugees by the thousands and arranging their transport to six colonies that he established for them in America. His story is told in Peter Michael's biography of him, First Explorer. See the Links page here.