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.


  1. Thank you for this. I, too, am related to Hans Caspar Kuhn, and am trying to find a copy of The Swiss Connection for my own studies.

  2. Have you gone to the following website?
    You will find a copy of the book in several libraries maybe one is near you. The book is out of print. It is a great resource and well documented.