The Only Chance

With Easter approaching I’d like to share this quote from Jill Briscoe regarding the cross:

We cannot be Christians without the Cross.  The cross tells us sin has been “crossed out” and dealt with.  The Cross tells us what a holy God thinks about our sinful nature — it had to be judged; someone had to be punished for our sin.  It was either going to be us or a substitute.  The Cross gave us our substitute:  Jesus Christ, who died in our place.  Most of the world doesn’t even know what it is doing to Jesus Christ.  To count him of no worth, to misunderstand his work at the Cross, to live as if he had never lived or died, to reject his claims to be master of our lives, or to relegate him to a brief hour on Easter or Christmas is to despise him as surely as the soldiers crucified him on that hill far away.  To reject Jesus is to throw away the only chance for forgiveness.  Jesus died in our place on a wooden cross two thousand years ago so we could be forgiven.  We only have to accept the Cross.  The Roman army officer realized that something extra-ordinary had happened and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”

We can attend church regularly, teach Sunday school, and sing in the choir, yet if we refuse to accept the Cross, we will be shut out of heaven.  You and I cannot get to heaven except through the door shaped like a cross.

One Year Book of Devotions for Women, Jill Briscoe




I’m really looking forward to meeting this young Compassion graduate from India this summer. He’ll be our speaker at the Compassion Experience conference in Colorado Springs June 27-28, 2014.

Watch this video and you’ll get an idea of how very special this young man is!

If you are a Compassion sponsor, and would like to attend this event, check out the website and let them know!


Today I’m sharing photos from my trip to Lexington, NC, several years ago.  This is where our German ancestors lived at the time of the American Revolution.  The first thing I saw when I entered town was this:


This is the old Court House which played such an important role in the lives of these people.


Sadly, I read that slaves were bought and sold on this porch.


Another thing that made me sad was seeing all the kudzu taking over trees and buildings.



But there were things in Lexington that also made me giggle.  Do you recall “Cows on Parade” in Chicago and Kansas City?  Well, we had horses and sheep wagons here, and guess what we saw in Lawrence, KS, a few years ago?


When I was in Lexington the pigs were on display, and it was pretty entertaining to see.





I hope I can go back to Lexington again sometime.  It was a very interesting place to visit.


Pierced Stones

And now, in this genealogical study of our Koontz family, we have come back to Johannes Kuntz/John Koontz — the one I first wrote about a few years ago.  His family settled in the village called “Welcome” near Lexington, NC.  You may want to read the 1837 letter that he wrote to his son, Philip.  We are descended from two of Philip’s brothers, David and Andrew, as many of the cousins married each other.  This family really covered a lot of territory — from Otterberg, Germany to Middleton, Ireland and back.  Then from Germany to Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Kansas.  It’s pretty amazing to think about.  A family historian — Ruth Sowers Owen — wrote this several years ago about the migration from Pennsylvania to North Carolina (She may not have realized that Lancaster Co., PA, York Co., PA and Frederick Co., MD were all in the same vicinity of Littlestown, PA, as the county and state borders changed):

Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania thence to York, Pennsylvania where it was necessary to ford the Susquehanna River, then to Frederick, Maryland, next to Winchester, Virginia through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They crossed the Fluvanna River at Looney’s Ford, then they migrated right on down the Staunton River through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Roanoke, Virginia…From Roanoke, Virginia they went southward to a crossing on the Dan River a little way below the mouth of the Mayo River, then to Salem (a German Moravian Settlement) in North Carolina. Then it was into the heart of the piedmont section of Carolina. This was a long and arduous trip which often book about two weeks to make, depending on what situations they encountered, such as Indians, weather conditions and wild animals…with them they brought their Bibles, Hymnals and such as they needed to make good use of themselves. This they did quite well. They mostly settled on a nearby stream of water and most of them became farmers because there was a need to exist. Thus Philip Sauer was a member of this large horde of what we would call today ‘New Americans.’ These sturdy pioneers made possible for us the good life we have today.

If you would like more information about the Koontz family in North Carolina (and elsewhere) you can still purchase David R. Koontz’ book, Johannes Kuntz, from the Davidson Co. Genealogical Society. Many records can be found here.  The Genealogical Society of Davidson County has a lot of publications.  David cautioned us about four principles that need to be considered when researching German families, especially in Davidson Co., NC:

  1. The name “Kuntz” has been spelled thirty different, anglicized ways!  [i.e. Kuntz, Koontz, Koonts, Koonce, Koons, Counts, Couns, Kun, Coonse, etc.  Take a look at the tombstones shown below, all in the same cemetery near Lexington, NC].
  2. The name has been confused with the “Kuhn,” “Koone” and “Koon” family of Davie County, NC, by several genealogists of Rowan Co. [They are not related].
  3. In the German families, a son named “Johannes” would always be known as “John” and a son named “Johann Jacob” would always be known as Jacob.  A son named “Johann Michael” was called “Michael.”  This mistake has led some family historians into disastrous results.  Our Johannes Kuntz was John and not Johan Jacob Kuntz [I think David was referring to a Johan Jacob Kuntz of Littlestown, PA, whose connection to our family has not been proved; thus we must think of him as separate from our family line].
  4. In Davidson County, NC court records when two men had the same first and the same family name, the court recorder would use the first letter of the maiden name of each one’s mother.  For example, Daniel W. Leonard’s mother’s maiden name was “Wagoner.”  His father was not Daniel W. Leonard, Senior!  [For another example — Philip H. Koontz — the initial stood for his mother’s maiden name, “Hedrick.”  After the Civil War, Philip apparently used the name “Hiram” for his middle name, in honor of a cousin he served with in the war.  However, it should be noted that his birth name was simply “Philip Koontz.”  The “H” was only added later to identify which Philip was being referred to.

Here are some of the (often beautiful) tombstones in the Lexington area of North Carolina.  Note all the different spellings of the name “Koontz!”  I think one side of the family there still goes by the name of “Koonts,”  but most have used the spelling “Koontz.”

















The beautiful design in the middle of many of these stones –the fylfot cross — stood for eternal life.  To learn more about these beautiful “pierced stones,” which are only seen in Davidson Co., NC, and were carved by a distant Clodfelter/Glattfelter cousin of ours, click here for an excellent article and here for my previous post about them.


The Koontz family served in the Revolutionary War on several fronts.  I have written previously about Johannes Koontz’ service in North Carolina.  There are several memorials to Patriots in Davidson Co., NC. IMG_0385 IMG_0397 IMG_0398 There is even one dedicated to John Koontz himself. RevSoldierJohnKoontz The birth year is incorrect, as it is on his tombstone, because although he was born in 1753 his christening was after the first of the year, in 1754.  This is the patriot from which so many people (including myself) have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. You may have noticed a DAR emblem on the grave of Johann Michael Kuntz, as well, in Littlestown, PA. Emblem His name is also on the DAR plaque at the cemetery. rev_soldiers_plaque_500 But when I contacted the Adams Co. Historical Society (in Gettysburgh) the historian told me there is no proof that Michael served in the Revolutionary War.  There is one record that mentions “Johann Michael Kuntz,” as returning from the war, but there is no way to confirm whether this is Michael Kuntz Sr. or Jr.  Unfortunately, there are no other known pension or military records to help us distinguish between the two men.  The historian explained to me that the DAR may have accidentally placed the emblem on the wrong grave.  If anyone can find any further information regarding this mystery, please let me know! Some of the other patriots from our Koontz line include


Returning Home

The next event in our Kuntz family comes by way of a man known as Andrew (Andreas) Koontz, whom we believe is also the son of Johann Michael and Maria Elisabetha Kuntz.  He and his wife, Catherine, christened the following children in Germany Township near Littlestown, PA, as follows:

  • Regina Barbara Kunz — Born Feb. 4, 1774 to Andreas Kunz and his wife Catharina; sponsors:  Christian Reck and his wife Regina Barbara.  [St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church near Litttlestown, PA]
  • Susanna Kuntz — Baptized January 22, 1777 to Andreas Cuntz and Catharina; sponsors:  Jacob Bender & Susanna Cuntzin (both single) [Christ Reformed Church near Littlestown, PA]
  • Anna Barbara Kuntz — Born June 22, 1785 to Andrew Kunz & Catharine; sponsors:  Zacharia Lautenbach and Anna Barbara [St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church near Littlestown, PA]
  • Catherine Kuntz — Born July 11, 1787, Frederick Co., MD; married Zacharia Laudenbach before 1806 [This was the same area of Littlestown, which came under the bounds of Maryland for a while]
  • Johann Philip Kuntz — Born March 13, 1789 to Andreas & Catharina Kuntz; sponsors:  Philipp Scholl & Magdalena (Christ Reformed Church near Littlestown, PA]
  • They also apparently adopted an orphan:  “Salome born Dec. 16. 1787, baptize March 16, 1788 — This child was laid on the door of the sponsor Andr. Kunz suddenly.  I know no parents at present.  Sponsors:  Andr. Kunz Cath.”  [St. Luke's Lutheran Church near Littlestown, PA]

In 1787 Zacharia Laudenbach (married to Michael Kuntz’ daughter, Anna Barbara) purchased land in Rowan Co., NC, from a Phillip Koonce.  This Phillip has not been identified by the North Carolina researchers, so I’m guessing he was a son of one of our Kuntz family members in Pennsylvania.  He purchased land in Rowan Co. May 14, 1787, then sold some of it to Zacharia Loudenbach August 7, 1787, and then to Rudolph Clodfelter/Glattfelder Nov. 3, 1787.  David R. Koontz has pointed out that Tennessee land was granted to North Carolina veterans of the Revolutionary War, and a Philip Koons of Rowan Co., NC, was given land in Washington County, TN (this is recorded both in Tennessee and in North Carolina). The next land deed of interest in Rowan Co. Deed Book 14:344-345 is for “Zachuriah Loudenbach and wife Barbara of Germany Township, York county, State of Penn,” Nov. 23, 1794, selling land to to John Kuntz of Rowan Co., NC (this is our Johannes Kuntz born in 1753 to Michael & Maria Elisabetha Kuntz).  Zacharia and Barbara were no doubt selling their land and heading home to Pennsylvania care for her ailing parents. Indeed, on May 11, 1795, Johann Michael Kuntz (born 1717 in Ireland) died intestate.  His son-in-law, Zacharia Laudenbach (married to Michael’s daughter Anna Barbara), and Andrew Kuntz (most likely Michael’s son) became Administrators of the estate (see York Co., PA Administrative Bond dated June 27, 1795).  Zacharia’s distinctive signature is the same on the Administrative Bond, on the deed records in Rowan Co., NC, and on a German script inventory dated June 27, 1795, for Michael Kuntz, deceased, of Germany Township, York Co., PA. Johann Michael Kuntz and his wife Maria Elisabetha were buried at Christ Reformed Church in Littlestown under tombstones with the high German script.  His tombstone agrees with the Irish birth record that is recorded in the German parish records of Otterberg, Germany. Unfortunately, the stone is broken but it has been translated thus:

Johann Michael Kuntz — Born Dec. 27, 1717 — Died May 1 1, 1795 — 77 years, 4 months, 15 days. IMG_3791_500

Maria Elisabetha’s tombstone says: Elisabet Kunsin — Born April 6, 1722 — Died Aug. 27, 1794 — 74 years, 4 months, 21 days IMG_3793_500 Some of the tombstones beside them are not legible; perhaps these are Johann Nicholas and Catharina Kuntz of Otterberg, Germany.  You can see the row of tombstones here: IMG_3797_500 On December 13, 1808, Zacharia Laudenbach petitioned for a patent from the Adams Co., PA, Board of Property.  In the words of researcher David R. Koontz, “Zacharia stated that he came into possession of the Michael Kuntz plantation after Michael died, that he was his son-in-law, and that he obtained the heirs’ releases to the property at that time.”  By now, he was married to his second wife, Catherine.  The petition mentions the Michael Koontz warrant in Germany Township, York Co., PA dated May 25, 1767; 100 acres originally owned by Nicholas Kuntz of Lancaster (York Co.) PA, and various other details.  It is signed by Zacharia Laudenbach in his unique signature as seen in Rowan Co., deed records. Zacharia is buried in the same cemetery in Littlestown, PA, beside his second wife, Catherine Laudenbach (we have not found the burial of his first wife, Anna Barbara Kuntz Laudenbach, daughter of Michael and Elisabeth Kuntz). From their tombstones:

Zacharia Laudenbach — Born May 17, 1754 — Died 1838. Catherine Laudenbach — Born 1787 — Died 1854.

This would indicate to me that perhaps she was Andrew and Catherine Kuntz’ daughter, also Catherine, born July 11, 1787 in Littlestown.  He may have married cousins, which we find quite common in the Kuntz family.  Next we will look more closely at the Koontz family in North Carolina.

Koontz Hill

The rest of records in Pennsylvania for our Kuntz ancestors are related to my 5th great-grandfather, Johann Michael Kuntz.  He was christened in Middleton, Cork, Ireland on December 27, 1717, and moved with his parents back to Otterberg, Germany, by 1719.  Then he and his parents, and at least two siblings — Jacob and Adam — immigrated to America by 1747.

He married a “Maria Elisabetha” sometime before November of 1751, when their first child’s christening and birth date is recorded at the “Conewago Reformed Church in York Co. (now Adams Co.), PA.  We have the records of two of their children as follows:

November 19, 1751 (birth);  January 25, 1752 (christening); Johann Michael.  Parents Michael Kuntz & Maria Elisabetha; sponsors:  Johann Michael Danner & Maria Eva

November 17, 1753 (birth); January 13, 1754 (christening) — Johannes. Parents Michel Kuntz & Maria Elisabetha; sponsors:  Johannes Schreyer & Maria Margaretha

Birth Date Unknown — Anna Barbara Kuntz

This church is now known as “Christ United Church of Christ” and is located at 131 Christ Church Road in Littlestown, PA, near Gettysburg.  I believe they were married some time before 1750, as there are at least three additional children whose birth/christening records have not been found yet — Andrew, Anna Barbara and Philip. It is most likely that they were born before Michael and Johannes.

In 1750 a Michael Kuntz was appointed tax collector for Heidelberg Township, York Co., PA.  This is the same area that later became the Conewago settlement of Adams Co., PA.  A look at this site will show that Adams Co. formed from York Co. in 1800.  But York Co. formed from Lancaster in 1749 and Lancaster formed from Chester Co. in 1729.  In addition, this area was a part of Maryland at one time and was originally a part of Digges’ Choice:

“Digges’ Choice” dates back to October 14, 1727, when a grant of 10,000 acres was made to John Digges. On the advice of an Indian chief named “Tom,” he located this grant in what is now Conowago and Germany Townships, this county, and Heidelberg Township in York County. A survey was made in April, 1732, when 6,822 acres were laid off, a patent for which was issued May 25, 1738. In August, 1745, a resurvey was made, and 3,679 acres added to the former survey. This tract was four miles north of the temporary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, surveyed in 1732. The subsequent disagreements led to the murder of Dudley Digges by Jacob Kitzmiller in February, 1752. From 1735 to 1752 Germans came by thousands. In the fall of 1749 no less than twenty ships arrived at Philadelphia, bringing 12,000 passengers, let hither by the Newlanders-older German settlers of Pennsylvania.  [History of Adams Co., PA, Chapter XXXIII, pg. 262-271]

Some of the other townships and burroughs near Littlestown are Germany, Heidelberg, Hanover, Conewago and Union.  Click here and here to read other histories of Littlestown. 

We know that Michael was on his land near Littlestown by 1762.  In the Adams Co., PA Deed Book A, page 64, it was described this way: “Michael Koontz; by the name of ‘Koontz Hill,’ 178 acres and 135 perches; situated in Germany Township, York County, PA; surveyed in pursuance of a warrant being dated May 26th, 1767.” The 1762 document also had references to the word “Dungannon.”  “Dun” is an Irish word referring to a fort.  This may have referred to his plantation house.  Isn’t it interesting that this may reference back to his two years in Ireland as a toddler?  Here is a photo of the plat of Michael Koontz land on Koontz Hill in Germany Township, York Co., PA, as surveyed and dated May 26, 1767.  This is the first place I’ve seen the name spelled “Koontz” rather than “Kuntz.”

2014-03-22 17.38.41_500

We’re going to see how this family connected with our ancestors in North Carolina, as proved by the excellent research of our cousin, David Reynolds Koontz, who wrote a book about Michael & Catherine’s son, Johannes Kuntz (John Koontz).  David said this about the Koontz property in Pennsylvania:

In colonial days, settlers may have been on their land long before warrants and deeds were registered in the 1760′s.  When counties were divided, records were also recorded in the new counties.  Adams County was formed out of York in 1800.

Johannes Kuntz, born in Littlestown in 1753 to Michael and Maria Elisabetha Kuntz, migrated to Rowan Co., North Carolina about 1774.  On November 28, 1775, he was was married in Rowan Co. at the “Ebbles Creek Church” to Dorothea Glattfelder, who was born June 25, 1755 in the town of York, PA to Felix and Maria Sarah Glattfleder.  Felix, of Glattfelden, Switzerland, had arrived in Philadelphia, PA,  August 30, 1743, on the ship “Francis and Elizabeth,” and had migrated to North Carolina by 1762.  One can only wonder if he and Dorothea (nicknamed “Charity”)  had met in York Co., PA (or earlier in their travels) and if this was the reason he moved to North Carolina.  In 1778 a “John Couns” was listed on Captain Lyon’s Tax District, Rowan Co., NC.  The next post will detail several other connections between the Koontz’ in North Carolina and the Kuntz’ in Pennsylvania.