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 Fordham 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.