Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Adventurer: Hans Caspar Kuhn

written by Esther Eley Jones

Map of the Swiss Kantons, circa 1749 from Google Images
Caspar KUHN was a young man full of life, and looking for a change in his life. He was willing to leave the old country and family to make a new life for himself, his wife and baby Anna. He was my 5th great grandfather. Caspar was a young man when he, his wife and infant baby left Switzerland to travel to the New World. He was a landowner, a patriot, a man of faith, and accomplished many things in his life in his new found world. He helped to establish the Lutheran Church in Charles Town and was one of the signers of the petition to establish the Church.

I knew very little about either side of my family as I grew up in rural Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. There were aunts, uncles, cousins, and one grandmother who I knew and visited with our family from time to time. There was a grandfather who lived in Texas named Clifton Columbus Coon. Mother also had brothers and sisters who were living in different parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Little did I know that my ancestors were trail blazers and adventurers? In researching the COON ancestors I found that these Switzer German ancestors were a part of making the colonies what it is today. They were Silk Weavers, Revolutionary War soldiers, Justice of the Peace, County Judge, jurors, land owners, church planters, War of 1812 Soldiers, Civil War Soldiers, and early settlers in Woodville, Mississippi. Caspar KUHN (COON) was the patriarch who was the ancestor that made all these events possible for his descendants.

The American Revolutionary War was from 1771 to 1783 and was also known as the American War of Independence. This war was between Great Britain and the thirteen colonies. My ancestor Hans Caspar KUHN was an important part of this war. He had been living in the new world twenty-two years when the Revolutionary War started

Caspar KUHN was baptized 10 October 1713. He first married Anna Magdalena MEJER. Caspar migrated from Switzerland in 1739, and arrived in the port of Charles Town and settled in the British colony of South Carolina in 1749. Caspar KUHN from Reiden, Switzerland,  his wife Anna Magdalena, from Rumlang,  Switzerland and infant baby girl, Anna, left Dietlikon, Zurich, Switzerland, boarded the ship “Greenwich” with Captain Randolph in command of the ship to sail for the new world.  They left their native homeland of Switzerland to make a new life in a new land called Charles Town, South Carolina in America.  Switzerland is a land lock country so the only way  the immigrants get out of the country were to travel down the Rhine River to Rotterdam, take a ship from there to England, and then across the Atlantic to America. There is a ten-year span from the time Caspar and his family left Switzerland to the time he arrived in the colony. There have not been any records to verify what the family did during that ten-year span.

One can only assume what they did during this time span. When Caspar and his family left Switzerland they went to Rotterdam and possibly worked along the way for ten years until Caspar had enough money to travel to the new world. Once there was enough for the voyage they boarded the ship for the colony. After many days, numerous trials, the death of their tiny baby, Anna, and the birth of two children, Caspar Jr. and Margaret, Caspar KUHN (COON) and his family arrived in the new world. 

After Caspar and his family arrived in the port of South Carolina he was able to purchase bounty land. He apparently had the money to pay for the voyage on the ship or to “redeem” himself and his family because he and his wife did not have to work as indentured servants when they arrived in South Carolina. Many of the people worked as indentured servants upon arriving in South Carolina.

The voyage to the new world was a long and dangerous trip. There was a lack of food, supplies, medical equipment, and the threat of disease on board the ship. Some people died before reaching the new world.  Shortly after the arrival to the new world Anna, Caspar’s beloved wife, died.   Caspar married his second wife Anna Barbara ERNST 28 June 1750 in Orangeburg Township in South Carolina.  Anna was the widow of the late George Adam ERNST.  George and Anna were also Swiss immigrants who sailed for the new world. Anna and Caspar were married only a few months when she died after a one day illness on 31 December 1750. Caspar was again a widower. He married the third time to Anna Maria about December 1753. Caspar and Anna Maria had three sons Adam, Conrad, and Lewis. Death to Caspar was a reality after losing a baby, his beloved wife Anna upon arrival to the colony, and his second wife Anna Barbara suddenly. However, life goes on and he marries and he and wife Anna Maria are prosperous in the New World.

Soon after his arrival in America Caspar petitioned for land and the surveyor general issued a warrant to lay out 200 acres of land in South Carolina in Orangeburg Township for Gaspar CUNN.  The Commons House of Assembly passed a resolution to pay a cash bounty for each head of the poor Swiss immigrants who sailed on the ship Greenwich and arrived in the port of Charles Town, South Carolina. Caspar and his wife received twenty-eight pounds each, and his two children, Caspar Jr. and Margaret, received thirteen pounds each.  Caspar KUHN (COON) purchased about five hundred acres of land all together in and around what became Richland County, South Carolina near the Congaree-Santee River. He owned two hundred acres of land on Bull Swamp in Orangeburg Township. Caspar COON owned a plantation, and he owned ten slaves.

In 1776 the American colonies were becoming restless due to British tyranny. On 28 June 1776 the British led by General CORNWALLIS and Clinton were headed to Charleston, South Carolina, however, the Americans led by General Charles Lee successfully defended Charleston against the attack
Caspar COON (KUHN) was over sixty years old when the Revolution began and did not have to serve in the militia. Caspar being dedicated to his new found homeland found another way to help to free the colonists from the tyranny of British control. In 1781 and 1782 Caspar supplied goods or provisions to the militia. Caspar COON issued a court petition and sworn statement in Camden District 04 September 1784 to be reimbursed for the goods/provisions that he supplied to the militia. On 19 October 1781 CORNWALLIS surrendered at Yorktown and the British were losing the war. On 14 December 1782 the British left Charleston, South Carolina and Congress signed the peace treaty and on 11 April 1783 the Revolution was officially ended.

On 15 February 1792 Caspar COON realized that his body was getting weaker due to the illness so he dictated his will and signed it in front of three witnesses, John WILSON, Samuel ETHERAGE, and Ruben JOHNSON. His three sons, Adam, Conrad, and Lewis were named executors. He probably died shortly after dictating the will; however the date of probate is not given. 


The Swiss Connection HansCaspar Kuhn (1713-1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants with Related Families of Kinsler, Nettles,and Wyrick by Gwedolyn Pryor, 1991, Gateway Press, Inc., 1001 N.Calvert Street,Baltimore, MD 21202.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Learning to Ride a Bicycle in Rural West Carroll

written by Esther Eley Jones

There are many kinds of bikes – girls, boys, racer, road, mountain, cruiser, cargo, folding and electric bikes. When I was growing up in rural Oak Grove in West Carroll Parish there was only one kind that I was aware of and that was a two wheel, plain, with no brakes, and a 24” which was large enough for me to ride when I was a teen. 

Learning to ride a bike is something that all young boys and girls dream to do. Living on the farm in West Carroll Parish in the 1950 s when I was about 10 or 11 years old, I really wanted to learn to ride a bike. There were eight of us children and one bike to be shared between us. I had plenty of help in learning to ride a bike; however, when would I get to learn to ride? I would learn but I’ll have to wait my turn and for someone to teach me.

It was autumn and the fields were plowed, the rows were straight, ready for the next crop and work was slowly coming to a standstill on the farm. During this down time was when my sister Mary who is five years older than me decided it was time for me to learn to ride a bike and she would teach me. She asked my sister Jean who is two years older than me to help her to teach me. Learning to ride a bike on the road in front of the house was not a good idea. Therefore, they decided that we needed to go to the field back behind our house where we lived on Mr. Lee Landrum’s place. There was a one lane dirt road that we could ride on.  Which meant that no one could see us. Little did we know that we would regret that decision.

Once we found a good place to start practicing, the lessons would begin. The advantage for choosing the one lane dirt road was that there would not be any obstacles in the way in case I had a run-a-way bike. The weather was pleasant with a cool breeze blowing that stirred up the dust in the field. On this straight one lane road I could go in a straight line and I wouldn’t have to make any turns. Learning the turns would come at a later date, but for the time being I would learn to ride in a straight path.
We found the right place and the lesson begin. I was sitting up straight, with my pretty dress on, my black and white loafer shoes on, I was holding on to the handle bars, my feet on the peddles and ready to go. So Marry and Jean gave me a push and off I went then down on the ground with the bike on top of me. What was I to do? What did I do wrong? What just happened? I realized my leg was hurting really badly and I couldn’t get up. My left leg was broken. The lesson was over. Mary and Jean tried to get me up and couldn’t. My leg was hurting too badly for me to be moved. Someone had to go to get Mother and Daddy to come help.

Well, help came and I was taken to the hospital in Oak Grove. I was laying on the bed and Dr. Biggs, Daddy and Mother were standing outside my room in the hall. Dr. Biggs was telling them what was going on, and my leg was broken in two places. He would set the bones and put a cast on it. I will have to wear the cast from the foot to the hip until the bone is mended back together. I heard this would be painful and a long healing process. My leg would itch inside the cast, but not to scratch it. The cast would make my leg sweat and it would be uncomfortable. All those things did take place, in addition, I scooted around on the floor, because the crutches made my arms sore. In spite of all the uncomfortable obstacles I made progress.

My leg healed after several months of wearing that white heavy leg cast. Learning to ride the bicycle was a feat that I would wait for another day another time period. I eventually learned to ride the bike; however, that was several years later in my teen years. 

Recently I mentioned the two places on my left leg that had an indentation and mentioned that must of been the two places where I broke my leg when I was a child. My daughter-in-law said, "You broke your leg? I didn't know that. I have never heard that story before." Therefore, I shared with them the story of breaking my leg and how uncomfortable it was. Then, there was the peanut pattie that an elderly black man brought to me that he somehow had put a quarter inside the wrapper. That amazed me how he did it. 

I never figured out how he did that neat little trick; however, I kept busy a while and my mind off my discomfort. And I was forever grateful for this elderly black man who brought me my favorite candy, peanut pattie,  in the world. That made all the suffering so much easier to bare. 
Photo from the Library of Congress

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Hazelwood Family from Virginia

My interest was piqued about the Hazelwood family recently when I came across a DNA match to a Hazelwood on Family Tree DNA. When I did a search for all the Hazelwood matches in the database there was only one match that  was in the search results, and that was a fifth cousin. That is match, even though it is a distance cousin that I will gladly look at. I will contact the fifth cousin match, share information, and try to identify our most recent common ancestor. I would like to identify the parents of Benjamin Hazelwood, and their births and places of birth and the DNA match might help to do that.  

Benjamin Hazelwood is a fourth great grandfather on my maternal line. Mother’s mother was a Ramsey, John Scott Ramsey married Nancy Hazelwood, daughter of Benjamin Hazelwood. I have researched Benjamin Hazelwood, and found censuses that were of value in placing him at a certain location at a certain time. However, Now, it is time to get out the Hazelwood research binder and look over the information to determine if there is any relevant information for this family.  There was little information of value that would help move this line back another generation. I need to come up with a plan for researching the Hazelwood family.

The information that I have for Benjamin Hazelwood is that he was born 15 Aug 1756 in Henrico County, Virginia, died 11 Feb 1832 in Knox County, Tennessee. Benjamin Hazelwood married his second wife 20 Sep 1790 in Campbell County, Virginia. Benjamin’s first wife was Catherine Harroway and they married 7 Aug 1780 - Charlotte County, Virginia.

The first thing was to make a list of what I know about the Hazelwood family. My Hazelwood maternal line is one that I haven’t researched for very long, and the reason is there are other family lines easier to research. What do I know about Benjamin Hazelwood? Benjamin Hazelwood’s daughter Nancy married John Ramsey. How do I know this? I found their marriage in the Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1740 – 1850. Very few records for Benjamin Hazelwood from Charlotte County, Virginia. I found censuses for 1810-1830 with Benjamin as head of house. However, as you know pre 1850 censuses only have the head of house and age categories on them. There isn’t a probate record for Benjamin on Ancestry, so what a dilemma! What am I to do? I know that Benjamin married Sara Cox because I found a marriage record for them where they married in Campbell County, Virginia 20 Sep 1790.

The records I have searched are: Compiled trees on Ancestry (I won’t use the information from them, there were no sources); census records for the years 1810-1830. a marriage record for Benjamin and Sara; a DNA Hazelwood History from the YDNA Hazelwood Project; a FTDNA YDNA Project list that was on Hazelwood Familial Lineage. What records do I need to look at next?  I have had success in the past when researching on the DAR database so I tried it again. Bingo!

William Hazelwood provided goods for the war that is called patriotic service. On the application for William his son Benjamin was mentioned, another son William and a daughter Catherine Hazelwood. Catherine Hazlewood married Ezekiel Ramsey according to the DAR application.  This information was on separate applications for William Hazelwood born in Virginia and died in Charlotte County, Virginia, 3 May 1824.   Now, I have names of children and birth dates, place of birth, and death dates I can research each of them. Armed with this information I will be researching the Hazelwood maternal line for a while.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Using Google Search to Fill in the Gap

Recently a question came up about Mother’s brother, George Doyle Coon. Uncle George served in the United States Army during WWII; however, where was he after he served four years in the Army?  There was discussion about where he was living 1951-1955.  I decided to go back, look through my records, and determine where he was during the years 1951-1955.

Here is what I found. In 1940, Uncle George was living in Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. He is on the 1940 census listed as a boarder. The family he is living with are Granddaddy Clifton Coon’s nephew and his family. On May 30, 1941, Uncle George enlisted in the Army in Jacksonville, Florida. After the service, where did he go? In 1958 Jean, my sister lived in Silsbee, Texas and Uncle George and his wife lived near Jean and her family. Uncle George was living there when Jean moved to Silsbee, Texas.

After going back through records for Uncle George, I then did a Google search for the 1950 Federal Census. Even though the 1950 Federal Census hasn’t been released and won’t be released until April 1, 2022, I thought possibly there is a hint for substitute records. One of the search results was for, a 1950 census substitute.

This “substitute” for the yet-to-be-released 1950 census is made up of about 2500 city directories. This morning, I spent two hours or so searching, as well as browsing through the collection, with some success. George D. Coon was in the U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989.

I found him in Texas, and living in Beaumont, 1953 – 1954. According to Uncle George’s daughter, he was married in Port Arthur, Texas. In 1953, his daughter was born and August 1954 his son was born. I am working on verifying the birth information from Uncle George’s daughter, Brenda. There should be a marriage license at the courthouse in Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas for George D. Coon and his bride if indeed this is the place of their marriage. There also should be a record of birth for the two children if they were born in the local St. Mary’s Hospital.
More work to do on this collateral line. ■

Note: George D. Coon headstone
George D. Coon burial is in Unionville Cemetery, Dubach, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana.