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My Coon/Kuhn Family Heritage

 

In the course of tracing my ancestors, I made an interesting discovery.  I knew that my father's parents -- Adolph Schlatter and Emma Waldner -- immigrated to the US from Switzerland.  What I did not realize was that one branch of my mother's family tree was also from Switzerland.  Here's a chart of relationships.

Name Relationship to me Remarks
Joseph A. Schlatter, Jr. 
(1944 -  )
Myself  
Annie Lee Richardson
( 1924 - 2007 )
My mother Married Joseph A. Schlatter, Sr., 14 Nov 1943, Centreville, MS
Clarence J. Richardson
b. 12 Mar 1896, Norwood, LA
d. 13 Feb 1972, Centreville, MS
My maternal grandfather Married Annie Lee Dudding, 15 Sep 1920, East Feliciana Parish, LA
Martha "Mattie" Coon
b. 28 Jan 1866, Wilkinson County, MS
d. 21 Jan 1901, Wilkinson County, MS
My maternal great-grandmother Married Reverdy Hunter Richardson ( 1864 - 1916 ), 26 Nov 1885.  They had seven children.
Charles August Coon
(Charles Augustus M. Coon II )

b. 26 Dec 1829, Woodville, MS
D. 13 Oct 1900, Woodville, MS
Mattie Coon's father; my maternal great-great-grandfather Married Martha Lanehart ( 1837 - 1883 ), 18 Sep 1855.  They had nine children.
After her death, he  married Carolyn Swayze ( 1831 - ?? ).  As far as I know, they had one child.
Charles August Coon
b. 25 Apr 1797, Richland County, SC
d. 1829, Wilkinson County, MS
Charles August Coon's father; my maternal G-g-g-grandfather Married Elizabeth McNeely ( abt 1801 - ?? ), 15 Feb 1824.  I am still researching them.
John Lewis Kuhn
b. 24 Sep 1757, Amelia Township, Orangeburg, SC
d.  22 Dec 1822, Wilkinson County, MS
Charles August Coon's father; my maternal G-g-g-g-grandfather Married Mary Fanning Fannon (no further information)
Hans Kaspar (Caspar ?) Kuhn
b. 10 Oct 1713, Dietlikon, Zurich, Switzerland
d. 15 Feb 1792, Richland County, SC
John Lewis Kuhn's father; my G-g-g-g-g-grandfather Married Anna Marie ?????
Part of Swiss migration from Switzerland to the South Carolina colony; may have arrived in SC around 1739.
 
The following information is from the book The Swiss Connection:  Hans Caspar Kuhn (1713-1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants, by Gwendolyn Pryor, 1991.  Contact information for Ms. Pryor is at this URL:  http://www.apgen.org/directory/search_detail.html?mbr_id=52
 

 Hans Jacob Kuhn
b.  10 Jan 1669
buried 23 Sep 1725, Rieden, Zurich, Switzerland

My G-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather Married:
 Anna Wintsch
 Jorg Kuhn
b. 1632-1635, Schwamendingen, Switzerland
d. ????
My G-g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather Married:
 (1) Susana Rahtgeb
(2) Magdalena Dantzler
 Hans Jacob Kuhn
Baptized 1608, probably  Schwamendingen, Switzerland
d. ????
My G-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather Married:
Anna Wismann

 

In October 2010, I visited the Coon family cemetery in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, near the town of Woodville.  Photos from the Coon family cemetery are on the next page.


My maternal grandfather Clarence J. Richardson was the son of Reverdy Hunter Richardson and Martha "Mattie" Coon.  Mattie Coon was one of eight children born to Charles A. Coon and Elizabeth McNeely.  One of Mattie Coon's sisters -- my grandfather's aunt -- was Ada Adair Coon (1879 - 1962); she married John Davis.

Mattie Coon died in 1901 and her husband -- Reverdy Hunter Richardson, my great-grandfather -- re-married, 10 June 1906 to Nettie Ethel DuBose.  They had five children.  This photo was taken in September 1961 and shows Aunt Ada Coon Davis, one of her nieces, and several of her nephews.

L-R:  Reverdy Hunter Richardson, Jr. (my grandfather's older brother, Uncle Hunter); Ada Adair Coon Davis (Aunt Ada); Everett E. Richardson (my grandfather's brother); Mabel Richardson (my grandfather's sister); Clarence J. Richardson (my grandfather); Gordon Richardson (son of R. H. Richardson and Ethel DuBose; my grandfather's half-brother).  Photo probably taken in the lawn of Aunt Ada's home in Woodville, MS.

(NOTE:  On the right edge of this photo is the notation SEP 67.  This is NOT the date of the photo -- my mother had a copy made from the original and SEP 67 is the date of the copy.)

Here is a link to an article about Ada Adair Coon Davis, "Aunt Ada."


Coon/Kuhn Family Legends

The "young men lured onto the British ship" legend:  Not true

There is a legend surrounding the Coon/Kuhn family and their arrival in the South Carolina colony.  The legend can be found on several Coon family websites -- here's the legend.

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War between the Colonies and Great Britain, a German was King of England, George III. The subjects of King George were opposed to fighting the Colonists, and refused to enlist under his colors. The standing army were sent against the Colonists, but were not strong enough to suppress them. Lafayette and 18,000 French soldiers had arrived to help the Colonists. Britain was pressed for men, so the King had a party, given for the young men, who were carried aboard ship for the festivities. Many nice things were served and the gaiety was at its height when the gang plank was pulled in, the anchor hoisted and the ship set sail for America, landing near the line between North and South Carolina.

The Young British were turned over to General Ferguson and marched to the top King's Mountain. Men from Tennessee crossed the mountains and attacked Ferguson. Ferguson was killed, as were many of the boys; others were taken prisoners.

On the ship were Great Grandfather Lewis Coon and Grandfather Robin White.

While this is a rollicking tale, it IS NOT TRUE.  In fact, the Kuhn family arrived in the US from Switzerland as part of a movement of approximately 12,000 emigrants from Switzerland to the American colonies between 1732 and 1744.  The Kuhn from whom I am descended is Hans Kaspar Kuhn who left Switzerland during that period, possibly around 1739. 

The legend of "Old Caesar" the slave:  True after a fashion

Here is a second Coon/Kuhn family legend; two versions of this legend appear at various places.

Old Caesar, ( a slave) who belonged to the Coons and was brought from South Carolina and set free in 1812, bought a tract of land by the Coon family's, and grew quite rich. This place is known today (1925) as the "Caesar Old Field."  He, too, is buried in the same cemetery with old master.

 

 

To escape harassment from Tories, the Coon family migrated from Orangeburg community of SC to Pike county, MS in the winter of 1811-12.  With belongings packed in hogsheads, they walked the entire way in one of the worst winters for centuries.  They brought with them one slave named Ciscero.  He was given his freedom upon arrival, settled near the family at Woodville, MS and became quite wealthy and prominent in the community.  Near Woodville, MS, there is a large tract of land still referred to as Ciscero's field.  Additional research on this man has thus far been fruitless since his surname is unknown.  He is buried in the Coon family cemetery near Woodville.
 


The Pryor book refers to a slave named "Caesar" owned by Lewis Kuhn in 1810.  In October 2010 I visited the
Coon Family Cemetery on Coon's Mill Road near Woodville in Wilkinson County, MS.  While it is certainly possible that the slave Caesar (Ciscero) is buried there, I found no such headstone. 

The Pryor book contains an excellent review of a court case heard in the Wilkinson County court in 1845 and 1846 regarding the status of the Coon Family slave Caesar. 

My discussion of the "Old Caesar" legend is on this page.

 


If you are interested in researching the Kuhn family, I highly recommend Ms. Pryor's book The Swiss Connection:  Hans Caspar Kuhn (1713-1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants with Related Families of Kinsler, Nettles, and Wyrick, by Gwendolyn Pryor, 1991; $40.00 plus shipping.  Contact information for Ms. Pryor is at this URL:
http://www.apgen.org/directory/search_detail.html?mbr_id=52

 

 

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