Captain Michael Koonce

Contributed by Claude T. Hardison, Jr.

Information submitted October 24, 2007 by:

Claude Thomas Hardison, Jr., President
Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter, Cleveland, TN
Tennessee Society, Sons of the American Revolution

Johann Koonce (1675-1711), his wife Alice, a young daughter, and two sons, George and Michael, were Palatines who came to the Colony of North Carolina from Germany.  They were with a group of Palatines and Swiss who settled near Core Creek, NC. On September 22 / 23, 1711 the Tuscarora Indians attacked the settlers and killed or captured many of them.  Johann, his wife, his oldest son and daughter were all killed. George was seven years old when taken prisoner and was later freed by a contingent of militia from South Carolina in 1712 that raided the Tuscarora camps and freed the Colonist who had been captured.

George Koonce (1704-1778) an orphan and assigned by the Courts to be raised by Esquire Jacob Miller. George obtained a sound family life structure and education living with Jacob Miller, (Muller in German). In 1720 George is shown on the tax list in Carven Co. NC in the household of Jacob Sheets, (Shultz in German), husband of Catherine Miller, daughter of Jacob Miller. About 1725 George Koonce married, became a large landholder, planter and raised a family of seven sons, one of which was Michael Koonce.

Captain Michael Koonce (1730-1782) was born in Craven Co. NC. Like his father and brothers, he lived in the vicinity of Great Chinquapin Creek, on the north side of the Trent River, in what was later Jones County, NC. He was a Planter, Public Official, Captain in the Jones County Militia, and he amassed a personal fortune in land and slaves, possessing some 4,000 acres at the time of his death.

As a young man, he served as Constable and as an Assessor of Property in Craven Co. and when Jones Co. was formed from Craven in 1778, he became one of the first Justices of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Both Michael Koonce and his brother John Koonce held the rank of Captain in the Jones Co. Militia during the Revolutionary War. Their names are included at an earlier date, along with those of George and Tobias Koonce, in a muster of the Carven Co. Militia for the years 1754-1756. The military rank of Captain Michael Koonce is recorded in a grant of land in 1779 and records pertaining to the Revolutionary War service of Captain Michael Koonce are found in the Revolution War Accounts of the Comptroller’s Office at Kinston, NC, 1776-1780 (Book A.P.45, State Archives.) “ The United States of America to the State of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, as allowed by a Committee of Claims, dated April 1780” …

”Voucher #275 to Michael Koonce, for a gun” …”Voucher $285, to Michael Koonce, for a gun.”

Mrs. Elizabeth Koonce, wife of Michael, was also allowed compensation for supplies furnished the Patriot Cause. (Book D. pp 197, 310.)  Captain Michael Koonce, Planter, Public Official, and Revolutionary War Patriot died at the age of 52. Captain Michael Koonce and his wives (1) Elizabeth Simmons, (2) Elizabeth Jarman had 7 children, one of which was Rev. Elijah Koonce.  Elijah Koonce (1780-1840), the youngest son of Michael, became a Reverend and lived on his land near Joshua’s Creek. He married twice. His first wife was Temperance Blackshear, daughter of Elisha Stout Blackshear. All of Elijah’s children were with Temperance. One of his sons was James Wiley Benjamin Koonce.  James Wiley Benjamin Koonce (1814-1855) was a Planter in Jones Co. NC and whose son was Richard H. Koonce. (1844-1855) who served in the Confederate Army and was wounded twice, prisoner of war, and who returned home to marry Eliza King and have several children, one of which was my Grandmother, Addie Berth Koonce (1879-1964) who married Edward Henry Hardison and they had a son Claude Thomas Hardison (1903-1970) who married Ila Mae Neese, who were my parents.

It was through the Revolutionary War Patriot, Captain Michael Koonce, that I was able to become a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. This year I was elected President of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter, Cleveland, TN, Tennessee Society, SAR. This linage has also enabled my two sons, Claude Thomas Hardison, III and Paul Michael Hardison to become SAR members, as well as my Grandson, Trent Thomas Hardison, to become a member of the Children of the American Revolution.

Claude Thomas Hardison, Jr  with sons Paul Michael Hardison (left) and  Claude Thomas Hardison, III (right)   holding Grandson Trent Thomas Hardison,  Son of Claude Thomas Hardison, III

Claude Thomas Hardison, Jr with sons Paul Michael Hardison (left) and Claude Thomas Hardison, III (right) holding Grandson Trent Thomas Hardison, Son of Claude Thomas Hardison, III