Koonces of Henry County, Alabama

In my last post about Jeffrey Wayne Koonce,  I pondered the question of trying to figure out which white families his family may have been associated.   Jeffrey’s ancestors, Henry Koonce & Elizabeth Ellis were from Alabama and migrated to Malone, Jackson County, Florida.  I knew there some white Koonce families near there in Alabama and I’ve revisited my database to figure out whom.

This is a map of the area which I’m about to discuss:

John Franklin Koonce (1801-1859) was a pioneer of Henry County, Alabama having moved there in 1819.  He and wife Susan (from Georgia) would have 8 children and become established citizens in the community.  Their sons Jefferson S. Koonce & William C. Koonce became rather prominent as well.  William in fact was a druggist up in Abbeville (see it at the top of the map?).

I checked the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules for Henry County.  In 1850, John F. Koonce owned 24 slaves and Thomas Battle Koonce , his 3rd cousin, owned 33 slaves.  In 1860, I only found Thomas with the slaves.  When I checked black families in the area in 1870 and 1880, I saw many that were born in Georgia.  This is not surprising given that Susan’s family was from Georgia.

The descendants of John Fordham Koonce, as well as their likely former slave families,  then spread out to Cottonwood, Cowarts, Gordon, & Columbia, Alabama.

I’ve not found a specific association yet, but Jeffrey Wayne’s ancestors were in Jackson County by 1900, near the Malone area later on in the early 1900s.  Also, Henry & Elizabeth had a son named Jefferson Koonce, also – same as the family who lived around 30-45 miles away.   I am beginning to think there may be some association here.

Additionally, a niece of Jeffrey’s has informed me that their oral history passed down through the generations states that their ancestor Henry was actually white. In the 1900 and 1910 census, he is enumerated as black and mulatto respectively.  She sent me a picture of Henry’s son Sidney (Jeffrey’s grandfather) and you can definitely tell that Sidney is of mixed heritage.  She also informed me that the family tradition states that at some point, Henry changed the spelling of his name from Koontz to Koonce.

All of this provides more research clues, so more to come as I have time.

12 thoughts on “Koonces of Henry County, Alabama

  1. I am the grandson of Jake Hughes, who married a Lucile Koonce, both of whom lived in Cottonwood, Alabama. Her father was Henry Koonce. She had a brother named Sidney, who moved to New Jersey later in life. I met Sidney at a family reunion in Newark, NJ, and I have a family photograph showing him with members of the family.

    I cannot be sure this is the same Henry Koonce, but I would be willing to explore this connection to determine if this is a family link.

  2. Do you stil have the picture of Sidney, if so, I would like to see a picture of him. I believe that Sidney’s father, Henry, and my great, great grandfather, Clopton were brothers,

  3. Earl Henderson, the grandson of Jake Hughes, left a comment on your blog. I would like for him to email me at [email protected] to see if there is any connections with my Koonce family line. I also would like to know if he knows Henry Sanders of Jackson, County, FL?

    Please do forward the picture of Sidney that you have, it would be greatly appreciated and thank you very much.

  4. Henry Koonce is my Great Great Grandfather. My grandfather, Amos Sanders was the son of his daughter Plassie. My mother was raised by her grandmother and we have a large portrait of Henry hanging in our home. From What we understand or thought he and his brother came from Columbus, Ga. and settled in Jackson county. My family still owns and farms that land. Sidney was my great grandmother’s brother and my mother remembers him well.

  5. Also I also know the Hughes of Cottonwood,Patti, Azzie and Jake. We are family! The used to visit us when I was little.

  6. I am the great-great grandaughter of Clopton Koonce, My grandmother, is his daughter, Pearl Doreen Koonce. All I know is that my Grandmother came from Flordia, with her husband, Robert E. Lee. She did have a brother Henry, whom my Father carries his middle name. I dont know a whole lot , because my Father was only 10yrs old when his mother Pearl died in 1942. she was 52. She is buried here in Pennsylvania. I would love to know more.

  7. My grandmother was Dora Koonce married Richmond Pollock to whom my dad Henry Pollock was one of their 15 children

  8. My great great grand father is also Clopton Koonce, my grandmother is Dora Koonce Pollock married to Richmond Pollock, she had brother name Henry in which she also name her children which was my father Henry, my uncle Clopton Pollock also named after my grandma Dora Father. my grandparent kids were, Toreathea, Zelda, Audrey, Ellen, Ruby, Lillie Floyd, Hazel Ruth, Richmond Jr., Therial, Amos, Isiah, Clopton, Henry, James Hardy, she died in 1953. my grandmother mother was enslaved Angelina, her farther Clopton Koonce plantation owner, and the records show Angelina had 5 children from Clopton

  9. I am Machelle Koonce. I am the daughter of Joseph Koonce. My fathers father is Amos Koonce. His father was Henry James Koonce and his father was Clopton Koonce.

  10. This article was found on “Chronicling America” web site. I have not found any other information on Nero Koonce. Any connection?

    (From The Sun — New York, NY — 19 May 1888)
    Nine More Children Than He Is Years Old, and His Age Is 109
    Jonesboro, Ga., May 18. – Nero, an old negro here, who belonged, in slavery times, to the Koonce family of Henry Co, asserts that he is 109 years old, has been married nine times, and is the father of 117 children. He has been preaching eighty-six years, and still has all his senses, and moves about as active as a boy. His last wife is still living, 67 years old. Major Price has known the old negro for forty years, and says that he was an old man when he first met him.

  11. Clopton Koonce was my great grand father on my mom’s side. I remember Uncle Buddy Henry (what we called him) but I never met Clopton.

  12. My name is Sonya Dailey my great-gran was pearl koonce lee. I was adopted and met part or my birth mothers family in 2007. I am looking for pictures to share with my sons.

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