Gohn/Coon/Goan Family

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Gohn / Coon / Goan / Kone Family

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The earliest ancestor found for many of the GOHN/COON/GOAN/KONE descendants in the United States and Canada is Phillip Gohn. He is believed to be from Altdorf, Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany.  According to the records of the Reformed Parish Walsheim, Assemblies 1704-1778, a marriage record for Hans Adam Gohn, the son of Phillip, states that he was from "Altorff, Degenfelsischer Herrschaft". 

The German record shows:
        GOHN, Hanß Adam, von "Altorff, Degenfelsischer Herrschaft"
        oo 07.01.1738 in Walsheim
        Schäfer, Catharina, V: Paulus

       The English translation would be:
        Groom: Hans Adam Gohn                              Bride: Catharina Schafer
        Marriage Date: 7 Jan 1738                             Marriage Place: Walsheim
        From: Altorff, Degenfelsischer Herrschaft      Father: Paulus Schafer

Altorff Degenfelsischer Herrschaft has changed names many times since 1468. From 1717, the Counts of Degenfels became the owners of the village and therefore called the village "Altorff Degenfelsischer Herrschaft". Today, it is known as Altdorf, located in the German State of Rhineland-Pfalz.

It is assumed that the Gohn family moved from Altdorff to Rimschweiler, Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany sometime after 1724 since there are no Gohn families listed in the tax lists of Rimschweiler from 1698, 1701 and 1724.  According to the ship passenger records, all of the Gohn family members lived in the Rimschweiler area of Germany before sailing to America in 1738. It is interesting to note that many other residents of Rimschweiler traveled to America on the same ship. 

The following maps show the migration from Altdorf and Rimschweiler.

According to the "Coon-Goan Descendants from Chanceford Township, York County Pennsylvania" by Frances Davis McTeer (1979), the Gohn family arrived in America September 19, 1738, on the ship "Thistle" (John Wilson, Commander) and landed at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Rotterdam via Plymouth, England. 

The Ship's passenger list, published by ProGenealogists®, Gohn family & extended family members listed were:

  • Phillip Gohn [written as Fielip]

  • Johannes Gohn [son of Phillip Gohn]

  • Hans Adam Gohn and family members [son of Phillip Gohn]

    • Catharina (Schäffer) [Hans Adam Gohn's wife]

    • Father-in-law Paul Schäffer, Senior (written as Shiffer]

  • Heinrich Balthasar Schäffer [written as Henry Bartholome Shiffer; Catharina's brother]

  • Paul Schäffer, Junior [written as Shiffer; Catharina's brother]

  • Berhard Schäffer [written as Shiffer; Catharina's brother]

There was no reference to Phillip's second wife, Maria Sophia Braher, on the ship passenger list. They were married in 1737 in Hornbach, Zweibrucken, Pfalz, Germany. According to the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society Yearbook, Philip Gohn was the son-in-law of "George Brahr" who also came to America about the same time.

There are references that a John Ulrick Gohn is listed as boarding the ship "Thistle". He is believed to be the father of Phillip Gohn.  However, there is no record that he left the ship in Philadelphia. He was listed as "old and sick" and there is speculation that he died at sea. There are references that John Ulrick Gohn died in 1746 at sea near Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia, however, that is after the family arrival in 1738 in America.

 According to "A Historical Sketch of the Gohn Family in Canada", by Lloyd B. Gohn, published in 1989:

The name of his (Phillip) first wife is unknown. His second wife was Sophia Braher. Philip and his first wife had two sons: Adam, born 1718 and John, born 1720 who came with their parents to America aboard The Thistle. Philip Sr. died about 1746.

Philip and his second wife, Maria Sophia (Braher) Gohn, had three children:

  • Philip, born October 13, 1739

  • Catherine Elizabeth, born November 16, 1741

  • Catherine Elizabeth, born September 16, 1744. Apparently Catherine Elizabeth must have died since the third child was also named Catherine Elizabeth.

Different years have been posted for Adam's and John's birth than stated above. Based on information known, the following chart depicts the known children of Phillip Gohn.




As with many early families that settled in America, the spelling of names were varied. The original German spelling of Göhn evolved into other variations, such as Coon, Koon, Goan, Kuhn, Kohn, Kone, and Goon.

Some possible reasons for the name variations are:

  • People wrote the name the way it was pronounced. Lloyd B. Gohn, author of the book "A Historical Sketch of the Gohn Family in Canada" writes on page 3 that "In Pennsylvania to this day the name "Gohn" is pronounced "Goon"". Census recorders and others wrote the name the way they understood it and sometimes the alternate spelling was carried on.

  • One story passed on through the family was that some early Gohn settlers were so incensed over the Hessian soldiers coming to America and fighting against the Colonists during the Revolution, they changed their name to the Anglicized spelling of "Coon".

The most common other spellings used today of descendants of Phillip Gohn are COON and GOAN. There are also many descendants that use the KONE spelling.

  • Many of Peter Gohn's children used the GOAN spelling. Peter (b. abt 1804) was the GG Grandson of Phillip Gohn. Fava E. Goan outlines the GOAN descendants in her book "Gohn - Goan Descendants from Somerset County, Pennsylvania"

  • Many of Johann "John" Gohn's children used the COON spelling. John Gohn (Abt 1714-1769) was the son of Phillip Gohn.

  • Shortly after his first marriage in 1860, William Henry Harrison Coon (1842-1932) moved to Avoca, Iowa. He served on the Avoca City Council and was the Sexton of Graceland Cemetery for fifty years. In 1893, William's son, George William, had his name legally changed from Coon to KONE; his brothers followed suit. All William's descendants use the surname KONE.



According to the "Coon-Goan Descendants from Chanceford Township, York County Pennsylvania" by Frances Davis McTeer (1979), there were several Coon men that served in the Revolutionary War. The following 5 men are the sons of Johann "John" Gohn and his wife, Anna Rosina Crantzdorf and the grandsons of Phillip Gohn.

"During the Revolutionary War Michael Koon of Chanceford Twp. was listed in the York County, PA, militia; on 26 April 1778 in the 8th Co. (Capt. Thomas McNary), 6th Batt. (Col. William Ross), along with his brothers, Andrew, Adam, Jacob and John Koon; and 10 August to 10 September 1781 he served in Capt. Simon Copenhaver's Co. with Jacob and Adam Kuhn guarding the Convention Prisoners (Hessions captured with General Burgoyne) held at Camp Security near York. (Penna. Arch., Ser. 6, Vol 2, pp. 548, 632).



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A branch of the KUHN/COON family has been documented going back to John Heinrich Kuhn who was born about 1720 in Germany. Per the book "Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants in Pennsylvania," by Israel Daniel Rupp, John Heinrich Kuhn migrated via Rotterdam through Portsmouth, England to America with his brother, Christopher [Christof] Kuhn, on the ship Phoenix. They arrived in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania on 2 Nov 1752. John Heinrich Kuhn was listed on board as sick. Jacob Kuhn, the brother of John and Christopher, migrated from Germany on the ship Neptune a month earlier. Jacob arrived in Philadelphia on 4 Oct 1752.

John Heinrich Kuhn had a son named Henry. He spelled his surname COON. Henry Coon had a son Henry Coon, Jr.  who married Sarah Jane Brown and settled in Franklin County, VIrginia.  Henry and Sarah are known to have 6 children, 2 boys and 4 girls. They all used the COON spelling. However, one son, Joseph Jubal Coon (1830-1897), eventually changed the spelling of his surname back to KUHN and all of his 7 children used the Kuhn spelling.

Joseph Jubal Coon married Sarah Ann "Sallie" Calvert (1837-1909) in Kanawha County, (W) Virginia, where they settled. Sarah Calvert is a descendant of the first Lord Baltimore of America, who was George Calvert. Joseph Jubal was a captian and pilot of steamboats and flatboats and would transport Union and Confederate troops on the Kanawha River in West Virginia.

At this time, there are no documented connections between the John Heinrich KUHN family and the Phillip GOHN family.

Below is a report to view information of all the known descendants of John Heinrich Kuhn to the present. These reports are generated by the Legacy Genealogy program. (Reports with documentation also available)


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There are 4 Gohn family members that are interesting to note - Abraham Coon, Jacob B. Coon, Adam Gohn and David Gohn. Their stories follow below.



ADAM and DAVID GOHN - The Gohn Family in Canada

Adam Gohn (1781-1810), the great grandson of Phillip Gohn, emigrated from the United States to Upper Canada. Family lore indicates he traveled on foot for 3 months from Somerset County, Pennsylvania to Markham Township, County of York, Ontario where he settled on 100 acres.


David Gohn (1787-1861), Adam's younger brother, went to Canada in 1811 to settle Adam's estate. While there, the War of 1812 broke out between England and the United States. David was either conscripted or joined the British Army.  After the war, David Gohn remained in Upper Canada (now Ontario). Since he was an American citizen who served with the British Army during the war, he was not allowed to return to America. He went on to live on Lot 9, Concession 3 in Markham Township where he married Lucy Hederick and had nine children.


David Gohn rebuilt the house that was on the farm. It remained there until 1987. The house was moved to the Heritage Subdivision in Markham, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. The pictures below are courtesy of Wayne Gohn.



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ABRAHAM COON - The Coon Family in Utah

Abraham Coon, the GG Grandson of Phillip Gohn is credited with settling the Magna, Utah area as can be seen on the memorial below.

The inscription on the memorial reads, in part:


In Commemoration of the First Communities Established on the West Side of Salt Lake Valley and the First Major Industry of Utah

In 1853 Abraham Coon, an early Mormon pioneer, explored a canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains on the west side of Salt Lake Valley. He found an abundance of timber suitable for lumber and also a variety of oak tree the bark of which was useful in tanning leather. There was ample water to power a saw mill and a tan-bark processing plant. Abraham Coon obtained permission to open the canyon for these purposes, established a toll fee for access to the canyon, and used the revenue for the construction and maintenance of the road. The canyon was officially named Coon Canyon.

Abraham Coon and his family settled at the mouth of the canyon, and started a farming community that became known as Coonville. This was the first settlement on the west side of Salt Lake Valley and it covered a one-square-mile area south of this marker. The Coon, Deardon, Hardman, Shafer, Thomas, Sadler, Ek, Jenkins, and Larson families settled in the area.

In May 1839, Abraham Coon was baptized into the Church of the Latter-day Saints in Greene County, Arkansas. In 1845, he was ordained a Seventy and soon thereafter joined the Mormons' western trek, spent the winter of 1846-1847 in Winter Quarters (now Florence, Nebraska), where he was ordained a Bishop and called to look after the families of the men who went ahead with the Mormon Battalion.


Abraham actively participated in polygamy, having 4 wives and 16 known children. His grave marker indicates his marital relationship and the 1880 U.S. Federal Census shows 2 wives recorded.


1880 U.S. Federal Census, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah,

Enumeration District 46, Roll 1337, Page 116D, Dwelling 328, Family 330


       Name        Sex  Age Relation MS  PoB    FPoB  MPoB    Occupation

Coon, Abraham  M    70      Head     M   Ohio     Penn       Va          Farmer

Coon, Elizabeth   F     73     Wife      M   Tenn     Tenn      Tenn    Keeping House  

Coon, Sarah        F     68     Wife      M England England England Keeping House

Abraham Coon

Elizabeth Yarbrough


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JACOB B. COON - The Coon Family in Missouri

Jacob B. Coon (1814-1898), the GG Grandson of Phillip Gohn, was born in Madison County, Ohio to Henry Coon and Sarah Dickerson. On 21 Jul 1833, he married Mary Newcomb. Mary died 26 July 1840. Jacob then married Julia Caroline Blair on 27 May 1841 in Madison County, Ohio.  In 1849, Jacob and Julia Coon and family moved to Mercer County, Missouri by ox-drawn covered wagon.

Once in Missouri, Jacob was instrumental in developing a school, a church, and a cemetery, all given the COON name. The following 3 articles from the Mercer County Pioneer Traces, Vol. III, published in 1997 by Mercer County Genealogical Society describe the history of each.




Click on the following links to view information of all the known descendants of Phillip Gohn to the present. These reports are generated by the Legacy Genealogy program. (Reports with documentation also available)

  1. Gohn/Coon Family Descendant Book (1680 - Present) - a privatized (dates & places of living people omitted) 13 Generation Descendant Book (PDF), starting with Phillip Gohn - 708 pages plus index (Large file may take extra time to download)

  2. Hans Adam Gohn Family Descendant Book (1710 - Present) - a privatized (dates & places of living people omitted) 10 Generation Descendant Book (PDF), starting with Adam Gohn (son of Phillip Gohn) - 85 pages plus index. (This information is included with the Gohn/Coon report 1 above)

  3. Abraham Coon Family Descendant Book (1810 - Present) - a privatized (dates & places of living people omitted) 7 Generation Descendant Book (PDF), starting with Abraham Coon (GG Grandson of Phillip Gohn) - 41 pages plus index. (This information is included with the Gohn/Coon report 1 above)

Several books have been published on the GOHN/GOAN/COON family. Below are portions of 4 books that can be used for research.

  1. A Historical Sketch of the Gohn Family in Canada, by Lloyd B. Gohn (1909-1990). The book, published in 1989, outlines his research on the history of the Gohn family in Canada and their origin from the United States and Germany. (1st 7 pages - other pages will be added in the future)

  2. Gohn/Goan Descendants from Somerset County, Pennsylvania by Fava E. Goan (1898-1988). The book, published in 1980, outlines her research on the descendants of Philip Gohn (Abt 1680 - Abt 1744). (1st 5 pages)

  3. History of Chanceford Township, York, PA 1747-1997 by June Grove and Richard Konkel. The book, published November 1997, identifies the origin of Chanceford Township families, and ends with some that people in the township would recognize. With the Gohns, the book begins with the immigrants in Germany and ends with the children of Cyrus Martin Gohn. Page 145 contains this information.

  4. Places Near the Mountains [Botetourt and Roanoke Counties, Virginia] by Helen R. Prillaman. The book, published in 2002, focuses on the family and local history associated with within present-day Botetourt County including early families that located there. This excerpt is on the Coon family that settled in Botetourt County, VIrginia

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Last modified: October 17, 2022