Hardison shares information on Revolutionary War ancestor
Sep 22, 2013 | 1131 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Vice President Claude Hardison presented the program  on his Revolutionary War ancestor at the  Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution meeting.
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On Sept. 12, the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) held its monthly Meeting at the Elks Club.

President Van Deacon called the meeting to order. Lynn Freeman gave the Invocation, Deacon led the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag. Dave Whaley led the pledge to the Tennessee flag. Stan Evans led the SAR flag pledge.

Several guest were in attendance who were introduced and recognized, including Ed and Vickie Lay and Glenn and Kay Martin. All wives and visitors were welcomed and recognized.

A new regular member, Randy H. Fox, was inducted into the chapter by Evans, and his membership certificate and Society rosette were presented to him by State Vice President Claude Hardison and Evans. He thanked all who helped him to get approved.

President Deacon presented Sam Allen the Bronze Good Citizenship Medal for services to the chapter the preceding year.

Deacon appointed two chairmen for the nominating committee this year. They are Whaley and Phil Newman. They were encouraged to get several other members to assist in developing the list of officers for 2014.

The president next recessed the meeting for a fine dinner and socializing.

The meeting was called back into session by Deacon, with Vice President Bob George introducing the program for the evening, which was presented by Hardison.

The program, a PowerPoint presentation titled “Narrative with Visual Effects of His Revolutionary War Ancestor” was presented by Hardison. He started talking about the migration of the Swiss and German Palatine who settled in North Carolina. His ancestor, Johann Koonce, was living in the Palatine area of Germany in 1708. That winter 1708-09 was the coldest on record. In fact it is said the Rhine River froze solid. All the livestock died, the wine casks burst and all the crops were destroyed. Out of desperation, Johann left the area and joined with a group under Christopher Van Graffenreid in Amsterdam, Holland, and sailed to England with ideas of making it to be the Colonies in America. They were held in a holding area at Fort Waltham where they swore allegiance to the Queen, paid one shilling, and received all the privileges of Protestant Englishmen.

The group left England in 1710 and sailed to the Colonies. They arrived in Chesapeake Bay at Maryland. There they got supplies from a man named Thomas Pollack, but had to put their future land up for collateral. They next sailed to the Neuse River area of North Carolina near present day New Bern. Koonce settled at Core Creek Landing. In September 1711 a Tuscarora Indian chief, Chief King Hancock, gathered approximately 250 Indians and killed most of the settlers in the area, including the Koonce family.

One son of the family survived, George Koonce, and was awarded to George Mueller who raised him as his son. George went on to be one of the founders of New Bern, N.C., and the famous High German Church in Jones County, NC.

The generations then came down to the Revolutionary War ancestor Michael Koonce. He was a captain in the Craven/Jones County militia during the war. Later he was constable and a justice, after the war. The remains of his home burnt in the 1950s. But boards were salvaged from the old home, and are still part of buildings today in the area.

Hardison brought the generations on up to present day talking about his parents and grandparents. Once he came to Tennessee he found out that Admiral Frank B. Kelso 11 was a cousin of his through Philip Koonce who was a Revolutionary soldier. Kelso was Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) 1990-1994. He just recently passed away.

The presentation was professionally prepared and well received by all in attendance.

Jerry Venable announced that he was substituting for a teacher at Polk County Middle School while the regular teacher was out on maternity leave. He reported that he was setting up a joint history program at the school between the National Society SAR in Louisville, Ky., and the middle school.

He interfaced with Colleen Wilson, the director of Education at National, and said that she has already sent him some material for the program. Several members in the meeting stated that they would support him in his venture by appearing in period dress and give living history programs to children.

Several announcements were made. Judge Carl Collums reported that the Cowpea Festival would be held Saturday, Sept. 14, in Charleston. A crowd of around 4,000 was anticipated to attend.

All proceeds made from the event will go toward completing phases II and III of construction, on the renovations to the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historic Society building.

Hardison reported on the upcoming “Gathering at Sycamore Shoals” events. On Friday, Sept. 20, there will be a ceremony honoring Revolutionary War soldier Robert Young’s grave in Johnson City. Young is credited with having fired the fatal shot that killed British Col. Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain, with his rifle “Sweet Lips.” That evening a 230th Treaty of Paris Dinner will commemorate the 230th Anniversary of the signing of The Treaty of Paris on Sept. 2, 1783.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, the ceremonies of The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals will commence at 10 a.m. at Fort Watauga in Elizabethton. This event is recognized by the National society SAR as a national event. All color guardsmen are encouraged to attend.

The National Society Fall Leadership Meeting (of trustees) will be held in Louisville Sept. 26-28. The business of the National Society and committees will be conducted that weekend, and the chapter members are encouraged to attend.

On Oct. 12, the Tennessee Society SAR will hold its Fall Board of Governors meeting in Franklin, at the Marriott Cool Springs Hotel. Several chapter members plan to attend.

With no further business, Deacon proceeded to close the meeting, and with Deacon leading the Recessional, and Joe Brock giving the Benediction, the closing gavel was struck and the meeting adjourned.