of the Month
c1753 d. 06 or 26 Dec 1831
Our ancestor Nicholas Koone is a
second generation American. His father, Benedictus Kuhn was “The Immigrant”
for our branch of the Kuhn family in America, but son Nicholas was born here.
Parents and Family
we do not know “The Immigrant” Benedictus Kuhn’s actual birth date, he was probably born c1725 in Dielstorff,
Germany. Nicholas’ paternal grandparents were probably Heinrich Kuhn and Regula Zebelf, but this, too, is unverified. As a young man Benedictus married Christiana Rook in Germany, and in 1744 the couple
had a son, George Adam Kuhn.
The Kuhn family was part of the great
Palatine immigration to America in the mid 1700’s. The Palantine region
of Germany and Switzerland fell under horrible wars and religious persecution. Queen
Anne of England offered sanctuary to the oppressed refugees and provided passage to the colonies in New England and in South
Carolina for many of them. Unknown to the refugees who would take up this offer
in SC, the sanctuary to be provided would be located in a buffer zone between the hostile Indians to the north and the already
established British colonists along the coast. In other words, the new German
immigrants would be the first line of defense for their British neighbors to the South.
In New England, too, the refugees were given land that would make them a line of defense against possible Indian attacks.
Journey to America
Nicholas’ father, mother, and
brother George Adam made the journey from Germany to Holland to England and finally to America. The journey was long and hard. Just crossing the Atlantic
usually took two months, and many died on the trip. (Legend has it that Nicholas
was born on the voyage to America, but that is basically just the kind of romantic tale we like to hear about our ancestors. He was actually born after his family arrived—exactly when, we’re not
South Carolina had advertised in
Germany and England for new settlers from the Palantine region. The state promised
50 acres to each head of household for each family member brought to SC to settle. The
Kuhn family traveled on the ship Upton and arrived in Charleston (Charles Town at that time) in 1752 just when a hurricane
was hitting the area. (Modern authorities have determined that the 1752 storm
was probably a Category 4 hurricane.) What a welcome to their new homeland!
the promised acreage, on 7 Nov 1752 Benadictus had to petition the government.
His petition contained his reason for wanting to live in SC. He said he had come to SC after “hearing of the benefits in settling in his Britannie Majs’ Dominions of America and [after hearing] that great
encouragement was given by the province to foreign protestants.” About
7 months later, on 13 June 1753, Benedict received his promised land. “Benedict Kuhn/Keetin. 150 acres 13 June 1753, near Crims Creek. [Plat
12:51) On UPTON wife & 1 son George Adam 8.” (If our Nicholas had indeed
been born aboard the Upton, the Kuhn family would have received 200 rather than 150 acres. His birth must have occurred after his father petitioned for the promised acreage.)
German settlers had already started a settlement in the Crims Creek area near Pomaria, SC, and had been there since 1749. It has been reported that Benedictus made the trip to SC hoping to join relatives who had already settled in the forks of the Broad and Saluda rivers in Newberry County. The land Benedictus and his family received
was located in this settlement area near St. John’s Lutheran Church. This
area would later become the Newberry District of SC. Because of the numbers of
German immigrants settled there, the area was also called the “Dutch Fork.”
Not long after the Kuhn’s arrival in their new homeland, probably 1753 or later, our Nicholas was born, and several
years later sister Susannah was added to the family.
Kuhns had been persecuted for their religion in Germany, and probably because of that, they kept strongly to their religion. In 1794 a petition from
“Sundry Inhabitants Minister Elders and Members
of a Christian Congregation Residing in that part of Orangeburgh and Ninety Six Districts called the fork of Broad and Saluda
Rivers” asked that they be incorporated “under the Name and Denomination of the German Lutherian [sic] Congregation
of St. John, in the fork of Broad and Saluda Rivers....” Among the signers of this petition was Benadict Kuhn. (Now that provokes a problem. Benadictus
Kuhn reportedly died in 1790. How did he sign a petition in 1794? Neither George or Nicholas had a son named Benedict, and as far as I could discover, none of their grandchildren
Life in South Carolina
Times were difficult in SC during
the 1700’s, and families had to be self sufficient. The German immigrants
were accustomed to adversity, however, and did well. They had to provide everything
for themselves. They cleared land, built homes and farms, planted seeds and grains,
raised cattle, pigs, and horses, wove their own cloth from cotton they had grown or sheep they had shorn. Education was whatever they were able to provide for their children themselves. Often their only textbook was the Bible.
Usually the families cleared 5
or 6 acres for their house and farm. We can expect that the Kuhn family did the
same. Most houses were only 1 or 2 rooms, and in the beginning they often had
dirt floors. Windows were usually not available and light was provided by an
open door. The houses were usually made of logs, which caused two problems
in construction: 1) the logs had to be about the same size in order to build
the walls, and 2) in order to find similar sized logs, the wood often had to be rolled or carried great distances. Building a settler’s cabin was hard, back-breaking work. Of
course, the longer the settlers lived in the area, the more the homes improved.
Luckily, for ten years after acquiring their land, the settlers in SC did not have to pay taxes; in lieu of taxes, however,
they were expected to perform certain civic duties. For example, travel in the
backwoods areas of SC was difficult. Roads were poor and, as in other colonies,
men who lived along the roads were expected to keep them in repair. This was
one of the required duties.
In addition to keeping roads passable, landowners
were expected to serve in the militia. Every white male settler was expected
to provide arms for himself and his white male servants (if he had any). These
a serviceable gun, a cover for the lock, a cartridge box and at least four ounces of powder, a shot pouch with shot in
proportion, a belt, a ball of wax sticking to the end of his cartridge box to defend his arms in rain, one worm and picker,
four spare flints, a bayonet, sword or hatchet
These arms were to be kept in the home for protection and were to be brought
to the muster field for inspection when called for. All able bodied men between
16 and 60 could be called to drill with their companies as many as 6 times per year.
Usually, however, unless there was an emergency, the men were called only once a year for a regimental muster.
Nicholas grew up in this “hard
life” situation. When he became a young man he realized that he could provide
a good service for his neighbors and a good living for himself if he could meet some of the settlers’ needs. He thus set out to acquire land on a river to build a grist mill.
In 1773 when he was about 20 years old, Nicholas purchased land on Crim’s Creek from George Hollman. On the deed, Nicholas is listed as a “millwright,” so he had either already worked in someone
else’s mill, or, since his father owned land on Crim’s Creek, his father Benedictus may have had a mill there
himself. In any event, by 1773 Nicholas was already known as a millwright.
Creek is near what was to become Newberry, SC. Sometime as a young man, Nicholas
met and married Maria Magdalena (Mary) DeWalt (b.1760-d. 1844) who had grown up in Newberry.
Mary was the daughter of Daniel and Susannah Krebil DeWalt. The DeWalts
had come to the Newberry area from Pennsylvania, and like the Kuhn family, were Germans from the Palantine area. (To find out more about the DeWalts, read the article about Daniel DeWalt in the Archives. ) Mary was the second of two DeWalt daughters to bear the name Maria Magdalena. The first Maria was born 15 Aug 1756 and died 22 Apr 1760. The second Maria (our ancestor) was born about 1760 and died about 1844.
Since the first Maria died at around 3 or 4 years of age, her new sister—who was born in Newberry—was probably
named in her honor. In her father Daniel DeWalt’s will—written in
1776 at the beginning of the war—Mary is mentioned as Magdalena. Later,
in her mother’s will and in her brother Peter’s will, she is called Mary Koone.
when Nicholas and Mary were wed is unclear, but son George was born in 1778, so the couple may have married around 1777 near
the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In addition, 1777 found Nicholas “and
wife” selling the Crim’s Creek property Nicholas had purchased earlier from George Hollman. This sale may have provided money to finance their move to North Carolina.
They may have wanted to start out on their own or they may have been moving further into the wilderness for land or
possibly to escape the Revolutionary War. (Some of the fiercest fighting in the Revolution was in SC.) In addition, Mary’s brother, Daniel DeWalt, Jr. was a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Not only did he appear on the list of Tory militia in 1783, he was actually an officer
in the British army. He served as a Paymaster and achieved the rank of Lieutenant
in 1779. He was evacuated from Charles Town with the British Army, went to England
and stayed there for about two years. Daniel’s association with the British could have caused problems with his relatives
and may have had a part in causing his sister and her husband to move to NC. Although Rutherford,
NC was on the Indian frontier when the Revolution began, in the beginning the settlers there were basically Loyalists. Most switched sides, however, when Royal Governor Martin incited the Indians
to raid pioneer settlements.
brother Daniel was back in Newberry by 1790, for he appears on the 1790 census and is listed as owning 9 slaves. His father died about 1788, so the Daniel on the census is Daniel, Junior, not Senior. Also listed on the 1790 census in Newberry were Benedictus Kuhn, George Kuhn (Nicholas’ brother)
and Ulrich Kuhn (Nicholas’ nephew.) Benedictus must have died shortly after
the census (although he was supposed to have signed the 1794 church petition.) Also,
Benedict’s wife sold her husband’s land to their son, George in 1791, so Benedictus was probably dead by then.)
Move to Rutherford County,
event, Nicholas and Mary did move to Rutherford County, NC where they purchased land on Cedar Creek and opened another grist
mill. They were there by at least 1784 at the war’s end, for son Peter
was born in Rutherford County that year. Nicholas was listed on the 1790 census for Rutherford County, NC.
County was a huge place. Originally the name of the area was Tryon County. It had been named after Royal Governor William Tryon (1729-1788), but people had come
to hate him. Thus, in 1779 the area was divided into two counties, and the name
was changed from Tryon to Rutherford and Lincoln. The land was desirable
and its western borders seemed to go to infinity. Today there are about 16 counties
that have been carved from the original Rutherford county. Modern day Rutherford
County is located on the border of NC and SC, but Nicholas and Mary may have lived a greater distance away. Buncombe County, which was their address for a while, was a former part of Rutherford, and is located near
present day Asheville.
Residents in western NC were expected to participate in civic activities just as they
had in SC. In addition, people who lived along the streams were expected to keep them passable for small boats. The First Broad, Second Broad, and Green Rivers presented a better method of travel
than the bad roads. These streams were used until the 1840’s as a method
of getting produce and farm products to market. Nicholas and his sons all probably had to work on the streams since all lived
on or near them. (In general, boats could only be used on some streams when the
water was high.)
and Mary eventually became the parents of at least five children.
- George Koone (b. 1778 in SC-d.19 July 1860 Mountain Creek, Rutherford County, NC) m. on 7 November 1804
in Rutherford County, NC. to Annester Ownby (b 14 Nov 1785-d.?) Annester
was the daughter of James and Joanna Sims Ownby, who are also our ancestors
- Peter Koone (b.1784 in Cathy’s
Creek, Rutherford County, NC-d. c1848 in Rutherford County, NC). m. on 19 October
1811 in Rutherford County, NC. to Susannah Ownby (b.12 Dec 1793-d.?) Susannah was the daughter of James and Joanna Sims Ownby. Peter served in the War of 1812.
- Rachel Koone (b. c1790/91-d.?)
Koone, (our ancestor) (b. 1793 Cedar Creek, Rutherford County, NC-d.1881 in Greenbrier, Sevier County, TN) m. on 17 February 1812 in Rutherford County, NC to John Ownby (b. 4 Apr 1791-d.3 Sep 1854). John was the son of James and Joanna Sims
Ownby. The nickname “Granny” usually meant that the woman so designated
was a midwife. John and Mary Jane moved to Sevier County, TN in 1833. They settled in the Glades community.
- Susannah Koone (b. 1796-d.?) never married
(Notice that at least three of Nicholas and
Mary’s children married children of James and Joanna Sims Ownby.)
Because of the harshness and severity
of life along the frontier, life within the family was doubly important. It was
the family that provided the settlers with social interchange. According to Rutherford
County Historian Clarence Griffin, "Church was a relief from loneliness. Families did not scatter widely as they do now, but
brothers and sisters settled near one another and helped one another in time of need and took care of their parents cheerfully.
Under such conditions the comradeship and affection growing out of family relationship did much to sweeten and enrich life….”
Not a great deal of information is available
about Nicholas and Mary from this point on. Nicholas did appear on the 1790,
1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830 census reports for Rutherford County, NC. His sons
George and Peter were on the 1830 census, too.
In 1802 Nicholas, Mary, and their son George
sold all their interest in Benedictus Kuhn’s estate in SC to Nicholas’ brother George Koone. George paid them $100. George himself died in 1821, leaving
all his land and possessions to his wife, children, and grandchildren. His brother
Nicholas was not mentioned in his will.
Nicholas died on either 06 or 26 December 1831 in Rutherford
County, NC. (Some sources say his death occurred 06 Dec 1831, but I lean toward the date in the death notice published at
the time.) He was 78 years old. (If he left a will, I was unable to find it.) Nicholas' death notice appeared in the North
Carolina Spectator and Western Advertiser, Rutherfordton, NC, 31 December 1831.
It reads: "On Bill's Creek, in this county, on the 26th inst., Mr. Nicholas Coon, aged 83 years." (Of course the age in the death notice is incorrect, as it would have placed his birth date before 1753. Had he been born in 1748 as this notice indicates, his father would have received
200 acres of land rather than 150 when the family arrived in SC. If he had been
born in 1748, Nicholas would also have been listed on the ship’s list of passengers from Germany in 1752. However, I trust the newspaper’s death date since that date was only a few days before the
issue was published. On the other hand, if Nicholas died one day after Christmas,
it seems reasonable that that date would have been easily noted and remembered; maybe 06 1831 is correct after all.) Nicholas’ wife Mary outlived him about 13 years and died about 1844 at age 84. The
couple is buried in Rutherford County, NC, at the Koone Cemetery.
Nicholas Koone was Papaw’s
great great grandfather. If you are Eli McCarter’s great, great grandchild,
Nicholas Koone is your 6 great grandfather.
of Descent from Nicholas Koone to Eli McCarter
Nicholas Koone (1853-1831) + Maria
Magdalena DeWalt (760-1844)
Mary Koone (1793-1881) + John Ownby
Mary Ownby (1814-186) + Thomas McCarter
Thomas Hill McCarter (1846-1923)
+ Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)
Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary
Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)
“Benedictus Kuhn.” Looking for a
(This website seems to have been removed from the web.)
“Benedictus Kuhn.” Smokykin.com.
“Benedict Kuhn Family.” http://dutchforkchapter.org/html/kuhn_1.html
Murtie June. Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War.
Vol. 1. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1981. p. 48.
“Crims Creek.” http://genealogytrails.com/scar/newberry/crims_creek.htm
GERMAN SETTLERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA”
by Siegbert Frick & Carl W. Nichols
in 1799, Rutherford County once covered all WNC” From The Forest City
Courier's Golden Anniversary edition August 1, 1968 http://remembercliffside.com/history/the_county/formed_in_1799.html
from Documents Relating to Indian
Affairs, May 21, 1750-August 7, 1754, a part of the Colonial Records of South Carolina series, edited by William McDowell,
Jr. in Columbia, SC Archives Department, 1958:
Garman, Gene. “The Poor Palatines” www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/palatine.html
“History of Rutherford County.” http:/www.rutherfordcountync.gov/history.php
“Koone.” The Common Thread http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:3037323&id=I589051851ss
Robert Stansbury. South Carolina Loyalists in the American Revolution. 284, 301
“Mary Jane “Granny”
Rachel. “Who Were the Palatines?”
“Nicholas Koone.” Smokykin.com http://www.smokykin.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I9398&tree=Smokykin
“Nicholas Koone and Mary DeWalt.” Looking for
a Horsethief www.horsethief.info (this website seems to have been removed from the web)
Sharpe, Bill. “Rutherford Swapped Farming for Industry.” From The State Magazine,
31 August 1963.
“South Carolina Battles in the American Revolution”
“The Last Will and Testament of George
A. Koon deceased” State of South Carolina, Newberry County, Recorded Will
Book H, pages 347-349
US Census—1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830