Copyright 2001 Coy K. Johnston, his heirs and assigns, all rights reserved.





Coy K. Johnston

Not for publication




This report on the origins of the Goethe (Goettee) family formerly of St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, now Hampton County, South Carolina, does not carry the family beyond the third generation in South Carolina, except in an occasional instance. In that sense, this is not a directory.

My interest arises by descent from Catherine Goethe (1805-1881). She was my great-grandmother, a granddaughter of George Goethe, III, an immigrant from the Landgraviate of Hesse, now in West Germany, and the founder of the American branch of the family. A chart of the descent of the writer and his brothers is included at the outset for easily understanding the arrangement of the text.

It is necessary to work around the total absence of land, probate and other public records of St. Peter’s Parish and Beaufort District. They were burned by federal troops in late January, 1865. If they as well as Goethe papers, written in German, destroyed when the old Goethe homestead burned -- had survived, a clearer and more definitive account would have been the consequence.

I was encouraged in this task by Walter Wadepuhl, Ph.D., a scholar of world-wide repute as a Goethe student. He is without question the foremost authority on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), Germany’s most celebrated poet and man of letters. Formerly a professor in German and American universities, a Research Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, 1930-1932, Dr. Wadepuhl is now retired and residing in West Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He is the author of several works on Goethe and a volume on Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), a lyrical poet, and is presently engaged in the preparation of a comprehensive biography of Goethe, which, I believe, will include references to the South Carolina branch of Goethes. Without his assistance and counsel, this account would have been impossible.

Also, I should like to pay my respects to the late Wiley Washington Goethe (1851-1936) and reiterate my appreciation of his hospitality and the relation of Goethe traditions upon the occasion of a visit in the spring of 1924. Mr. Goethe pointed out to me the sites the original Goethe homestead, the mills, and the old Goethe Cemetery, indicating the unmarked (save for field stones) graves of the early Goethes. He explained more information would have been available were it not for a loss of an old trunk containing several books and a bundle of papers, all in German. What a story those old books and papers might have told:

Coy K. Johnston


February 1, 1979


Photocopy of photograph of Goethe’s house at the Frauenplan in Weimar, now in East Germany




(Keyed to text --- read downward)


1. Nathan J., Coy K. and Hooks K. Johnston

2. Coy Johnston and ten brothers and sisters


3. Louisa Catherine_Johnson m’d Nathan H. Johnston


4. Catherine Goethe m’d Josiah Daniel Johnson


5. George Goethe m’d Elizabeth Walzer


6. George Goethe m’d Anna Christiane Beckman


7. Georg Goethe --?--

8. Friedrich Georg_Goethe m’d Cornelia Schelhorn

(1657-1730) nee Walther (1668-1754)

9. Hans Christian Goethe m’d Sibylla Werner (died 1689)

(1633- ?)

10. Hans Goethe m’d Sibylla Werner (died 1652)**

( ?-1686)


* Louisa and Nathan were second cousins by descent from a common ancestor -- Capt. Nathan Johnston.

** The two Sibyllas were doubtless kinswomen.

Note. Keyed to the genealogical chart. Generations 1 through 4 omitted -- for these see Coy K. Johnston et al., William Johnston of Isle of Wight County, Va., and His Descendants, 1648-1964 (West Hartford, Conn., 1964).




5. George Goethe, III

George Goethe, referred to herein as the third, was born circa 1770 in St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, now Hampton County, South Carolina, the son of George Goethe, II, and wife Anna Christiane Beckman, German immigrants. His parentage is indicated by two circumstances.

George Goethe owned, lived and operated a mill upon land inherited from his father George, II. This land was granted to George Goethe, the father, in 1772, in three royal grants, technically patents requiring payment of quit-rents, and comprised 800 acres situated in St. Peter’s Parish astride a strong stream flowing in a short distance into the Coosawhatchie River, near the present Hopewell Church. S. C. Archives, Royal Patents, Vol. 16, pp. 125-6. The site of the mill, which milled lumber as well as grinding grain, is a marked location, as ‘Goatie’s Mills," on the 1820 Mills Atlas map of Beaufort District.

In 1786, George, II’s mother remarried -- to Martin Clyme, of Charleston, also a German immigrant -- and prior thereto, on Dec. 3, 1786, entered into a pre-nuptial agreement with Clyme. -- S. C. Archives, Marriage Settlement Agreements, Vol 1 (1785-1792), p. 292. Therein Anna Christiane Goette (sic) was described as the "Widow of George Goette," and reserved her right in certain specified property. No interest in land was mentioned; presumably the land had descended to George, III, their son, apparently an only child, not then having reached his majority.

In 1791, on Aug. 2, George Goethe, as administrator of the estate of Henry Gotee (sic), deceased, executed a claim along with an assignment thereof (because collection would have required traveling to Charleston) for moneys owed Henry Goethe, Lb. 3, 2. 4, Sterling, owed Henry Goethe for military service in the Granville County (which preceded Beaufort District) Regiment "from 19th June 1779 to Augt. follg," S. C. Archives, Audited Account No. 446Y, Revolutionary Soldiers. Henry’s duty was performed in the course of the passage of British troops through Beaufort District in the campaign against Charleston. He may have participated in the Battle of Four Holes, and it is probable he was killed in action. George, to be eligible for appointment, would have had to be at least 21 years old or older, and therefore would have had to be born at least by 1770.

George, III, was twice married. The identity of his first wife is not known; she, like his mother, was probably a product of the German community in Charleston District, where apparently his mother resided after her remarriage. In this marriage there were two children, daughters, whose names are also not known.

The first United States census, 1790, recorded George Gooty (sic), married but without children. In 1800 he was listed at 26 to 40 years of age; his wife, 16 to 26, with two daughters under 10 and four slaves. The two young girls apparently died in girlhood. Likewise, his wife must have died in this early period -- probably in 1800 or 1801. George married secondly Elizabeth Walzer, also of the community of Charleston Germans. (See Note on Walzer, post, p. 16.)

George re-appeared in the census returns from St. Peter’s Parish in 1820, at 45 or older, his wife (Elizabeth), 26 to 45, with seven males, three females (his daughters Catherine, Julia and Elizabeth), and owning 28 slaves; in 1830,at 70 to 80 (obviously an error and illustrating the unreliabilty of ages appearing in early census enumerations), his wife, 50 to 60, and with 42 slaves. In 1840, as George Goettee, Sent, at 60 to 70, owning 35 slaves. He was not recorded in 1850, probably having died in late 1840 or in 1841. He may have been survived for a brief time by Elizabeth. Both repose in the old Goethe Cemetery in unmarked (save for common stones) graves.

Two incidents in the life of George Goethe should be mentioned. According to the late Washington Goethe (1851-1936), a grandson of George and who resided upon the original Goethe premises, his grandfather held evening prayers at the mills at the close of the working day. He became rather expansive on one such occasion, and sought the blessings of the Lord upon everybody. Someone interjected, "Does that include John Youmans?" George yelled, "Absolutely not," followed by a shouted oath, and the prayer services ended that day.

It appears that Levi Youmans, an original settler, and his Sons spent the years of the Revolution in Barbados, B.W.I. They were Tories, and this apparently disturbed George. According to Washington, George, his grandfather, had fought in the Revolution (but no official record thereof has survived), and he apparently died during or shortly after the Revolution. (note FOC, I have corrected the spelling of "shortly.") It may be that George having lost his father and uncle Henry could not find it in his heart to forgive a Tory.

The other incident involved the excommunication of George Goethe by the Black Creek Baptist Church in the early 1820s. The reason for excommunication ascribed in the church book (a copy of the church book may be seen at the Caroliniana Library, University of S. C., Columbia): " . . . for the greater glory of God." (Black Creek, it should be noted, was constituted as a Regular Baptist Church, but withdrew from the Savannah River (Baptist) Association in the early 1840s and became a Primitive Baptist Church.)

There were eight children born of the union of George Goethe and Elizabeth Walzer, viz.:

1. George Goethe1, IV, born in 1803. His wife’s name is not known. George appeared in the 1840 census of St. Peter’s Parish as George Goethe, Junr, and was recorded at 20 to 30 years of age with his wife and one son, 5 to 10, and not owning slaves. In 1850, was listed without the "Jung, at 30 years of age; his wife Harriet, 38, with a daughter Elizabeth, 12. Age 30 for George would appear to be in error or due, to negligence, and as his brother-in-law Josiah D. Johns(t)on was the Deputy U. S. Marshall in charge Of the taking ,of the census in St. Peters is not understandable. He also incorrectly reported the, ages of two of his other brothers-in-law: John George at 43 (he was 40), and Wiley Washington, 30 (he was 29; he also misspelled a son-in-law’s name.) The name of only one child is known: Rosetta C., who married A. McBride Peeples.

2. Catherine Goethe, born March 5, 1805; died Feb. 16, 1881 (at the residence of her son-in-law, Nathan H. Johnston, M. D.), and is buried in Lebanon Churchyard beside her husband, Josiah D. Johns(t)on. -Josiah and Catherine were married in the early spring of 1821. Both were Methodists, members of Lebanon Methodist Church, and they lived to east of Lebanon upon a plantation. Their residence (burned by Sherman’s troops) would now be within the town limits of Furman (founded in 1900). Josiah, in the course of his life-time, was a trustee of Lebanon, a justice of’ the peace, tax collector for St. Peter’s, a Deputy U. S. Marshall, and a member of the South Carolina senate from St. Peter’s Parish (1844-1850). There were five children of the union.

3. Julia Goethe, born ---7---; married William T. Speaks. Of record -- indicating Julia married later in life than usually the case -- is a pre-nuptial agreement, dated June 10, 1841, between Julia R. Goethe (sic) and William T. Speaks. -- S. C. Archives, Marriage Settlement Agreements, Vol. 15 (1840-,1841), p. 67. The docu(ment) is interesting. Reference is made to her "… Considerable interest and Estate [her] Expectancy [evidently potential inheritance] . . . two deeds or Conveyances of George Goettee Senior [her father], to be found of Record in the Court of Common Pleas of Beaufort District and dated in August and 13th November 1804 … [and] as by the last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Walzer [Goethe] dated the Sixth day of April in the Year one thousand Eight hundred and Thirty-Nine. . ." (Emphasis added . )2 With respect to Julia, it is speculated that she remained in the home of her parents to care for them as they aged, and delayed her marriage for years.

4. Henry Goethe, born ---?---; died -?---; married Mary Tillinghast; resided in the old Gillisonville community (in St. Luke’s Parish). There were several children of the union. From 1847 through 1853 Henry was "High" Sheriff of Beaufort District.

According to Washington Goethe, Henry was the first to change the spelling of his name from Goettee to Goethe, He probably had examined the papers in the old trunk later destroyed when the original homestead was burned. Washington estimated the change in spelling was in the mid 1840s. Henry and his brother William, trustees in Julia’s pre-nuptial agreement, both signers, wrote their names "H. Goettee [and] Wm Goettee." According to Washington, Henry was the best educated and most widely read Goethe of his generation.


5. John George Goethe, born Nov. 9, 1809; died Dec. 26, 1850; married Elizabeth DeLoach (1815-1883) on Aug. 1, 1832. She was the daughter of David DeLoach (1774-1849) and wife Penelope Dickinson.3 John G., a schoolteacher and planter, a member of Lebanon Methodist Church (he supplied the columns, carved from tree trunks by his slaves, still supporting the roof of the porch of the church), lived in the vicinity of Steep Bottom. John G. and Elizabeth are buried in marked graves in Lebanon Cemetery. He was listed in the 1850 census of St. Peter’s Parish at 43 years of age; his wife Eliza (sic), 40, with eight children, ranging in age from one to 16 years old. In the census of 1840, he was credited with 18 slaves.


6. William Goethe, born Nov. 10, 1810; died Aug. 10, 1876; married Sarah B. ---?---. In the 1850 census, he was recorded in St. Peter’s Parish at 40 years of age, with his wife, a son, William H., and five more children.


7. Elizabeth I. Goethe, born Jan. 30, 1812; died Oct. 19, 1889; married Thomas H. Davis (1807-1860); lived In St. Peter’s Parish. There Were several children.

8. Wiley Washington Goethe, born in 1819; died in 1855; married Elizabeth (Eliza) Peeples; lived at the old Goethe homestead at "Goatte’s Mills. He lost his life in the explosion of the river steamer John G. Lawton in the Savannah River near Purysburgh. He drowned apparently projected overboard by the force of the explosion. There was a son and six daughters. In 1859, his widow (born March 26, 182l; died Sept. 5 1908) remarried to Ephraim Peeples and there was a son of the union: James I. Peeples.4 Children of Wiley Washington Goethe and wife Elizabeth Peeples

(a) Annie -- married Capt. --?-- Ruth.,

(b) Rosa Christina (1841-1919) married Duncan I, Peeples (1846-1891),

(c) Julia Ellen (1849-1920) --‘ married Homer H. Peeples (1842-1930).

(d) Wiley Washington, II (1851-1936) – married first Mamie N. Gill (1851-1879) and secondly Carrie F. Gill (1859.1924).

(e) Addie -- married B. J. Ruth.

(f) Callie (Ellen Catherine) - - married William Lee Roy Gill (Dowling reported L.F. Gill was a former official of Hampton County, and, further, that "Callie" Was a widow at the time of the death of her mother.

(g) Sudie -- married L. R. Dowling.


6. George Goethe, II

George (Georg) Goethe, II, first appears of record in South Carolina upon land -- 800 acres -- on the west side of Coosawhatchie River in St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, now Hampton County, in 1772 -- by virtue of three royal grants heretofore referred to and cited. He in company with a brother, Henry (Heinrich) doubtless settled upon this land in 1769, or possibly a year or two earlier, cleared an area upon a strong stream entering the river a few hundred yards away, and erected a mill, powered by water, known for many years as Goettees Mills, The mill (or mills) was owned and profitably -operated by his son and grandson (or grandsons) for a long time thereafter.

Efforts over several years were probably required before the formality of grants in 1772 -- a preliminary location of the desired land, a petition for a warrant of survey,’ the payment of fees, issuance of a warrant, a survey and the marking of boundaries, and finally the formality of grants --i. e., patents -- with a commitment for quit-rents. (all such grants were in the old feudal form of common soccage and quit-rent was in lieu of service to the feoffer, that is, the king or his representatives -- in these instances, the Provincial Council. As George was not English, an oath of allegiance to the king may have been additionally required, supported by a demonstration of good faith (usually by residence upon the land and the passage of time sufficient to satisfy the council). All details were handled in Charleston, a fairly distant point, except for the actuality of the survey and occupation of the premises, several trips were necessary, and as these things were dealt with in a new, strange language, more than the normal time would have been involved. (Bear in mind George and Henry were not members of a group of settling Germans - - such as the upcountry settlements or the "poor German protestants" of the London Committee.)

The year - - and the circumstances - - of the entry of George and Henry into South Carolina does not appear in extant records of South Carolina or in the Landgraviate of Hesse (or nearby Franconia) in Germany. There are strong implications - - usually simply characterized as a faux pas but significant by an absence of specificity - - that George and Henry were "shipped off "to America as the result of an incident involving the father and the sons vis-a-vis Johann Kasper Goethe, the father’s brother and the father of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), Germany’s greatest poet and playwright as well as her foremost man of letters.5

The name Goethe - - or a variation thereof -- does not appear in extant records of the Mt. Pleasant Lutheran community (Ehrhardt, S. C.) established by Rev, John George Bamberg in 1750; in the Salzburger (Georgia) church books (which are relatively complete); in transactions of the Moravians (who settled in Georgia before migrating to Pennsylvania); in the lists of Germans in the Purysburgh (South Carolina -- location of the established church for the organization of St. Peter’s Parish in the 1730s) settlement (a third was German); in so-called Palatine Germans settled in New Windsor Township (Beech Island, S.C.); in books and papers of the followers of Geissendanners brought into South Carolina in 1737 and a few years following; nor among the several lists of "the poor German protestants" sponsored by the London Committee. Of course, George and Henry may have come into Charleston under a nom de plume, or, perhaps, arrived at some other port (e. g., Philadelphia) and migrated into South Carolina.


George Goethe, II, married Anna Christiane

of "the poor German protestants"

George Goethe, II, married Anna Christiane Beckman, doubtless in Charleston, circa 1769. Anna Christiane, a youthful maid, was the daughter of Albrecht Beckman (sometimes Beekman in the English records) and wife Anna Barbara.

The Beckman family was one of several families, and others, of "the poor German protestants" who arrived in Charleston in 1764 aboard the ships Dragon and Adventure, out of London under the auspices of the London Committee "for the relief of the poor German protestants." In three petitions presented to the Provincial Council by the Agents for the London Committee (Messrs. Woodrop and Cathcart, Charleston merchants),. considered at sessions of Jan. 31st and Feb. 27th, 1765, seeking in the first two instances bounties of five pounds, Sterling, per immigrant twelve years or older and three pounds, Sterling, per immigrant two years and under twelve years of age (and four pounds and two pounds, respectively, depending upon age, for 45 of the German protestants who "are since deceased"), and in the second asking for warrants for survey of land at the expense of the Province (all of which were granted). -- S. C. Archives, Council Journal, Vol. 30, pp. 388-91 (as reprinted as a part of Janie Revill, A Compilation of the Original List of Protestant Immigrants to S. C., 1763-1773 (Baltimore, 1968), pp.

In the first two lists of the petitions, these immigrants appear:

Albreckt Beckman 44

John Fred Beckman 23

Anna Barbara Beckman 44

Susannah Beckman 21

Josias Beckman 16

Maria Dorethea Beckman 19

Maria Beckman 12

Maria Beckman (a repetition?) 2

Aibrick Beckman 8

Christian (Christiane) 6


Reconstructed, the Beckman family would thus appear:

Father: Albrecht 44

Mother: Anna Barbara 44

Sons: John Fred 23 Daughters: Susannah 21

Josias 16 Maria Dorethea 19

Albrick 8 Maria 12

Christian(e) 6


In the third petition -- for warrants for surveys of land in Londonborough Township (with fees therefor to be charged to the Receiver-General of Quit-Rents "agreeable to his Majesties most gracious instruction"), these Beckmans are included in the list:

Albright (Albreckt) 350 John Fred’k 100

Johan Mich’l6 100 Maria Dorethea 100

Susannah 100

In a latter petition, in 1772, a warrant for survey was issued to Mary Beckman (upon her verified affidavit she was one of the "Protestants {that} had arrived in this Province from Germany on the encouragement but that … never received [a] … Warrant for Land, " --- Ibid .. Vol. 36, pp. 242-45 (and of the reprint, pp. 120-1). She doubtless was Maria of the 1765 lists.

(Land was usually allowed on the basis of 100 acres to the head of a family along for 50 acres for each member of his household. This would seem to suggest that Susannah and Maria Dorethea were daughters-in-law and widows.)

As heretofore reported, George Goethe, II, died before 1786. His brother Henry at least by 1790. (The latter failed to appear in the census of that year, and the listing of George, III, included only a white female in his household -- his wife.) It does not appear how many years before these years the two brothers died. As there was no provision for the payment of moneys due for military duty by the state prior to 1790, there seemingly would have been no occasion for a formal estate for Henry. A specific date for the beginning of Henry’s duty but the word "foll& after August suggests he died while in service and that George simply did not know the actual date. George, II, may have died several years before Anna Christiane’s marriage in 1786. -- perhaps early in the years of the 1780s.

George’s bride -- Anna Christiane -- must have been rather youthful at the time of their marriage in circa 1769 or 1770. If she were six years old in 1764, as reported in the listing of immigrants, she, of course, would have been eleven in 1769, twelve in 1770. In the writer’s judgment, Anna Christiane was older than six in 1764, and that the record is simply in error. (In the old days girls married at an earlier age than now. In case of the writer’s great-grandmother Goethe (Catherine), she was fifteen or sixteen when she and Josiah were married.)

(Note. Dr. Wadepuhl believes George and Anna Christiane were married later than 1769 or 1770. He accepts six – more or less -- as the age of Anna Christiane in 1764. He rationalizes the appointment of George, III, as administrator of the estate of Henry in 1791 on the ground that he would have been eligible if he was sixteen or older, His assumption is not valid (unless a fraud was practiced upon the court). Dr. Wadepuhl points out the only heading in the 1790 census for males was "Free white males of 16 years and upward, including heads of families," and the recent dropping of age for voters to 18. In the lifetime of George, and for many years before and later, South Carolina followed the common law of Great Britain, and legal age was the age beginning on the day preceding the twenty-first anniversary of birth, and "up to the time of attaining full age a person is in law styled an infant." -- See Blackstone, 463.)

In the pre-nuptial agreement entered into by Anna Christiane Goette (sic) and Martin Clyme in 1786 in view of their impending marriage, she designated Bernard Beckman as her trustee. The document does not state the places of residence of the parties, but was executed in Beaufort District, nor, indeed, does it indicate the familial relationship of Anna Christiane and Barnard. It is believed Barnard was her brother. If George, III, had been of age he probably would have been the trustee for his mother. The agreement was witnessed by Charles Dexel Beckman and Samuel Beckman, and proved - - for recording -- on the oath of the latter. None of these’ names except for Anna Christiane (Christina, in family tradition) appeared in the list of the 1764 "poor German protestants." In the agreement, Anna Christiane reserved for her beneficial use her "three’ Negros Vizt Adam, Teeny, and Jenny, eight head of Neat Cattle, one horse, Twenty Barrels of clean Rice of the present Crop, Household furniture," etc. (There was no mention of an interest in land; land owned by George, II, had descended to George, III.) (A citation for the agreement may be found on p. 2, ante.)

Martin Clyme must have originated in the group of "poor German protestants" of 1764. He may have been the son of John Clamne (sic) and Eliz’h Clem (sic), 35 and 27 years of age, respectively in 1764. If Martin was in the "under 2 years old" category, he would not have been listed; in 1786, if just under two in 1764, he would have been 24. The name Clyme (or a variation thereof does not appear in South Carolina in the 1790 census. Samuel Beekinan (sic) and Bernard Beekinan (sic) were recorded in St. Phillips and St. Michael Parish in Charleston District, the former owning seven slaves, the latter 18.

On whether George and Henry Goethe may have been acquainted with the Beckman, Waltz (Walzer) and Clymne families in Germany, Dr. Wadepuhl thinks not. He writes that the background of the Goethes and these families was quite different, saying,

"George and Henry apparently came from well-to-do families, whereas the Beckmans, Waltzs, etc., were apparently very poor. 1 believe with you (meaning the writer) that George and Henry came to America one (at the most two) years before they settled in Goaties [sic] Mill. They had to go to Charleston to apply for a land grant from the English Crown. Undoubtedly they visited in Charleston; after all, where could they go. Such transactions took about one year. In my opinion, it was during such a year in Charleston that the Goethes became acquainted with the Waltzs [Walzers], Beckmans, etc. As Germans who spoke very little English, George and Henry would naturally associate with other immigrants of their nationality."


7. Georg (George) Goethe, I

Georg Goethe, father of George, II, and Henry, may have had an additional given name -- in full, Johann Georg Goethe. A great deal of mystery surrounds his identity and life in Hesse - - in Frankfurt am Main - - or possibly adjacent Franconia). George was an older brother of Johann Kaspar Goethe (1710-1782), father of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the celebrated poet, man of letters (and administrator of the Grand Duchy of Weimar, which, in fact, he managed under the authority of the Grand Duke Carl August). There were still two older brothers of George and Johann Kaspar -- actually half-brothers,viz: Johann Michael and Herman Jakob, who were both born shortly before 1700. In writing of this generation, Dr. Wadepuhi said:

 "The name of the older brother of the poet’s father seems to be unknown [referring to comtemporaneous writings and records in Germany - - both in Frankfurt, Weimar and elsewhere in Germany], and that this branch of the family produced the black sheep, George and Henry, who were shipped off to America . . . I surmise that the name of the brother of Goethe’s father was Georg, and that his children were Georg and Henry. The name Georg appears for three generations in Germany as it did for three more generations in America. My instinct which seldom deceives me leads me to believe that George and Henry are the black sheep in the Goethe -family that the poet just indicates [but gives no details] in Poetry and Truth."7


8. Friedrich Georg Goethe (Göthe (1657-1730)

Friedrich Georg Goethe (Göthe) was the father of the sons referred to in the preceding generation -- Georg, Johann Kaspar, et al. Friedrich Georg was born Sept. 6, 1657, in Cannawurf (in old Saxony, now in East Germany and under communist domination), and died Feb. 10, 1730, in Frankfurt am Main (in the Landgraviate of Hesse, in now West Germany). He became a burgher (citizen) of Frankfurt Feb. 24, 1687.8 He was originally a tailor by occupation, but after 1705 --and a successful marriage -- an innkeeper (the Weidenhof in Frankfurt,), His first wife was Anna Elisabeth Lutz (1667-1700 -- born and died in Frankfurt). By her there were two

Sons: Johann Michael (who in his will bequeathed 7,200 Florins, a Florentine gold coin of 54 grains -- having a value in the gold market of today of $194,400 -- to his half brother Johann Kaspar, and Herman Jakob (a tinsmnith). Friedrich Georg, in 1705, secondly married the Frankfurt widow Cornelia Schelhorn nee Walther. She was the mother of Georg (father of George and Henry who settled on the Coosawhatchie), and Johann Kaspar (father {sic - FOC-original ends just like this}

Cornelia was born in Frankfurt Sept. 27, 1668, and died there March 26, 1754. She was the daughter of Georg Wàlther (1638-1704), a Frankfurter burgher, an innkeeper, and his wife Anna Margaretha Streng (1638-1709). In turn, Georg Walther was the son of Jakob Waither and wife Barbara Durr. Anna Margaretha was the daughter of Andreas Streng (also a Frankfurter innkeeper) and wife Margaretha Auel.



9. Hans Christian Goethe (Göthe) (1633-post 1689)

Hans Christian Goethe (Göthe), father of Friedrich Georg, was born in 1633 in Artern (in formerly Prussian Saxony, but after 1945 in Saxony-Arthalt), now in East Germany

-- the original home of the Goethe clan. By occupation, he was a farrier, and in 1657 a resident of the nearby village of Cannawurf. He married first Sibylla Werner, daughter of Johannes Werner, also of Artern, and she was the mother of Friedrich Georg. Sibylla died in Artern, and she was buried Sept. 25, 1689. Hans Christian married secondly the widow Maria Wurtenberg (FOC - u is umlauted in original) nee Ludwig, of Langensalza (on the Salza River near its mouth on the Unstrut, and close by) on Feb. 16, 1690. She died in 1722. It is not known whether there was issue of the second union.



10. Hans Goethe (Göthe)

Hans Goethe (Göthe) was the father of Hans Christian. He was born in the late 1500s in Berka (Berka an der Werra), a town in the same general neighborhood of Artern, etc., and, of course, now in East Germany.

Hans Goethe was thrice married: first to Sibylla Werner (sic -- provably a kinswomen of Sibylla, first wife of his son Hans Chiistian), of Artern. She died in Aug., 1652. Hans Christian was born of this union, but whether there were other children is not known. Hans married secondly the widow Magdalena Patersdorf, of Sangershausen (a town also in Saxony-Anhalt) in 1657. She died in 1666. Thirdly, he married the widow Susanna Dome Nov. 10, 1667. She died after 1681. There was a son of the second marriage - - Heinrich George, baptized in 1657 in Cannawurf. (A son of Heinrich Georg, Johann Georg, born circa 1677, lived in Artern. His wife, Maria Catharina, worked in Artern as a washerwoman.)9



Origin of the name Goethe

The Goethe clan originated in Saxe-Gotha (Sachsen-Gotha), a duchy in Thuringia (in western central Germany), now in East Germany. Goethe is a mid-(or possibly late) fifteenth century change from Göthe, a derivation of Old High German Göta, in turn changing from Göte of Middle High German, and signifies pater spiritualis, (as used in baptismal rites), and is observed in modern English in such words as godchild. Goethe is far from a common German surname. -

(There are no surviving descendants of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the male line. Von in his name is an indication of rank, similar to the British sir in knighthood, and was accorded him through the auspices of Carl August, Grand Duke of Weimar.)


Note on Walzer

(From page 3, ante)

The parentage of Elizabeth Walzer is not known - - but there are specific implications. Dr. Wadepuhl points out that Walzer is an English corruption of the German Waltz. And there were Waltzs in the assortment of "poor German protestants" of 1764. In the group for which bounties were -claimed by the agents of the London Committee were Jacob Walts, age 50, and John George Walts, 20. In the petition for warrants of survey of land in Londonborough Township free of fees for the survey and subsequent grant (by reason of the poverty of the petitioners), Jacob Walts was given a warrant for 250 acres (indicating a family with a household of himself and three others -- a wife and two children or himself and three children (if a widower). Johan Jacob Walts, 100 acres (indicating he was unmarried or, if a widower, without child or children). As a Johan Jacob did not appear in the bounty list, the impression is he was the individual originally recorded as John George, and Walts, of course, is an English perversion of Waltz. Walzer, a softer word in English, must have soon evolved from the harsh German Waltz. (Of interest is that Elizabeth Walzer Goethe named her third son John George.)

From the foregoing, it is speculated that Elizabeth Walzer Goethe was the daughter of John George Waltz, shown at twenty in 1764, and the granddaughter of Jacob. The names Walts, Waltz, Walzer (or a variation) does not appear in the 1790 census enumerations.

(Mention must be made of a Walzer in the Jean Pierre Pury settlement at Purysburgh, the original settlement in St. Peter’s Parish. In a deed, dated Sept. 5, 1770, at Purysburgh, Gabriel Walser (sic), of Purysburgh, sold one Adrain Mayer, also of Purysburgh, a lot and other land in the Town of Frederica, on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The body of the deed recited that the lot and land was originally granted to and owned by the late John Walser, a shoemaker and brother of Gabriel. The deed is framed and displayed on the walls of the museum at Ft. Frederica. This lot and land, it appears, was first granted to Andrew Walser, a quartermaster in Oglethorpe’s Regiment garrisoned in Ft. Frederica, but had not been formally entered of record. After the death of Andrew (possibly killed in the Battle of Bloody Marsh in which the Spanish were driven from St. Simons Island), John, Andrew’s eldest son, applied to the council for issuance of the grant, and on Feb. 1, 1763, the grant was formally made. -- Colonial Records of Ga., Vol. 8, p. 694 (for John’s petition for the grant), and Survey-General’s Office (Ga.), Grant Book D, p. 283.

There is one other extant South Carolina reference to Gabriel Wallzer (sic). In 1778, his name appears in a panel of petit jurors of St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District. --Hendrix and Lindsay, The Jury Lists of S. C., 1778-1779 (Greenville, 1975), p. 64. Walzer, as indicated, does not appear in the 1790 South Carolina census.

There would not seem to be any connection between Elizabeth and Gabriel. There was no occasion for George, a German on the Coosawhatchie, to travel to or have business in Purysburgh, or, indeed, for Gabriel to appear in the vicinity of the Coosawhatchie - - unless George wished to worship, in French, as an Episcopalian, an inconceivable thought. On the contrary, his activities would have been directed towards Charleston.


Footnotes in the Original


1George was omitted in a list of the children supplied by Mrs. Mamie S. Henson, Furman, S. C. 29921. Mrs. Henson is a descendant of John George Goethe (1809-1850), another son who lived in the Lebanon community. She named seven, in this order: John George, Henry, Washie (Wiley Washington), William, Julia, Elizabeth, and Catherine. According to Mrs. Henson, Rev. Sam Davis, Box 1341, Myrtle Beach, S. C. 29577, owns an sold Goethe family Bible," presumably containing entries of births and deaths. I wrote Rev. Davis, seeking family data from the Bible; my letter was neither answered nor returned undelivered. Rev. Davis, I speculate, is a descendant of Elizabeth T. (1812-1889) who married Thomas H. Davis (1807-1860), and is a member of the Davis family owning and operating Davis Swimming Pool, near Scotia. Mrs. Henson is an octogenarian.


2Reference to the will of Elizabeth, her mother, indicates she was deceased, and probably died in late 1840 or early in 1841. It also indicates George predeceased her; otherwise there would have been no occasion for the will (as she would have had no property for disposition), yet George was re- -corded in the 1840 St. Peter’s census. The inference from the 1804 deeds is that Julia was born in that year or, more probably, that George executed deeds of dedication - -deeds of gift, as it were. testamentary conveyances -- in favor of his heirs, his children, born and unborn, an extremely unusual device in these suggested circumstances.


3Mrs. Mamie Sue Henson, previously referred to in a footnote, is a great-granddaughter of John George Goettee. In a feature article in Hampton County (S. C.) Guardian, Oct. 26, 1977, entitled "Furman Octogenarian Recalls War Stories and Punch Bowl [steep Bottom]," reported that Goethe Township, long a geographical and political subdivision of Hampton County was named in honor of John G. Goethe (incorrectly referred to as "J. J. Goethe"). She also said that the Steep Bottom community was known for many years as Goethe Town, She, further, recounted the camping of Sherman’s soldiers at Steep Bottom and described the destruction of the area.


4From a copy of an obituary by Rev. W. H. Dowling reporting the death of Elizabeth Peeples (Goethe nee Peeples), dated Sept. 16, 1908, supplied by Dr. O. Ennis Goettee, Jr., Atlanta, Ga., a descendant of Wiley Washington, II. The obituary is probably from The Hampton County Guardian -- perhaps, from the 1908 minutes of the Savannah River (Baptist) Association. Amended somewhat in respect to Ellen Catherine from information furnished by Mrs. Mildred H. Polk, Ridgeland, S. C., and from tombstone inscriptions in respect to Rosa Christina and Julia Ellen in Lawtonville Cemetery, Estill, S. C. Wiley Washington, II, reposes in Hopewell, (Baptist) Cemetery. According to Dowling’s obituary, Elizabeth was buried in the old Goethe Cemetery, and presumably interred beside grave of Wiley Washington, I. For the Peeples connection, see Ann Bradbury Peebles (sic), Peebles, Ante 1600-1962. Many descendants of Rosa Christina still are to be found in the Estill community.


5Dr. Wadepuhl, referred to in the foreword, a Goethe scholar, who has devoted years of research in Germany and in America as well (including S. C.) -- including a review and cataloging of original papers in the archives at Goethe House in Weimar -- was unable to discover either the facts or circumstances leading to reconstruction of probably what occurred. Goethe, the poet, was sometimes pressed for a statement --in his lifetime - - but always refused a discussion; he took the position he "would not dignify the rumors with a denial." Nowhere, now, can the details or nature of the rumors be determined. The writer -- and, I believe, Dr. Wadepuhl, too --believe an affaire de coeur was involved. Dr. Wadepuhl says a faux pas.

In 1924, Wiley Washington Goethe (1851-1936) in his account to the writer of the fire that destroyed the old Goethe homestead related that among the things lost was an old trunk or chest containing several books and a bundle of papers in German which apparently were brought over from Germany by George and Henry. Perhaps the explanation of why they left Germany lay in these books and papers -- and nowhere else!


6Johan Mich’l does not appear upon the bounty lists. He may have been overlooked, or he may have incorrectly listed as Josias. The clerk may not have been familiar with German accents. Indeed, the impression is gained of carelessness and an effort to expand the number of immigrants to increase the total of bounties paid. (Even the dead were not omitted, All immigrants were required to come in British bottoms.)


7Goethe was pressed several times in his lifetime to explain or dispel certain (but not specified) sinister "rumors. He always adamantly refused to discuss them, saying that he "would not dignify them by denial."



8Germany did not become a unified nation until 1879. Thereto -fore Germany was comprised of somewhat more than 1,000 "independent" principalities, duchies, and city-states although in the 1700s (mainly under Frederick the Great) Prussia embraced a vast area of the country. Religion was governed by the faith of the ruler in a particular locality. Few inhabitants, save for the elite and more affluent, were permitted to leave their native heath, and serfdom was the fate of the vast majority. To be a burgher -- a freeman -- was a real distinction, a privileged person. The "poor German protestants" probably escaped serfdom - - or a relaxed form thereof in which they "were bound to the land." Their departure for the new world and a new life doubtless required considerable negotiation and the consent of the dominant clergy (Lutheran, in this instance), and, of course, the beneficent intervention of the London Committee. These poor people probably originated in the territory along the Rhine south of the point of entry of the Main into the Rhine, and under the auspices of the London Committee moved from Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, to London, and thence to Carolina.


9Dr. Wadepuhl, in 1977, while visiting in Weimar, in East Germany, traveled with the former director of Goethe House, a friend of many years, to Artern, and established that George and Henry of the Coosawhatchie were not descendants of the Johann Georg branch -- ". . . the S. C. Goethes definitely DID [Dr. W.’s emphasis] not come to America from this original habitat."


Copyright © 2001 Coy K. Johnston, his heirs and assigns, all rights reserved.

I recently found "Goethe of Hampton County" by Coy Johnston (1979). I contacted the person who submitted the article to offer copies of correspondence I had with Mr. Johnston after he wrote the article. Attached are two letters from Mr. Johnston in 1994. He has since passed away. Jeff & Jeannie Goethe [] 31 March 2002.

4785 Cherrywood Lane, N. E.

Atlanta, Ga. 30342-2719 

                                                     April 30, 1994

Jeffrey S. Goethe, Esq.

406 13th St. W.

Bradenton, Fla. 34205

Dear Jeffrey;

I was pleased to hear from you - - your letter of April 16th. By the way, you omitted the Survey of Lebanon and Stafford Churches. Since we last exchanged letters, I have passed my 88th birthday and am now headed for my 89th!  Hope you are well.,

Sam Goethe’s statement, George Goethe was the son of Johann Kasper Goethe and wife or mistress is bound to be incorrect. Did he document the attribution? Implications are that J. K.G. had only one wife, Katherine Elizabeth Textor, and she survived him by twenty-six years. I don’t know about a mistress -- that’s news to me. If George were the product of an extra-marital laison,~I doubt he would have borne~Goethe as a surname; or if George and Johann Wolfgand von Goethe were brothers or half-brothers, would Johann referred to George and Henry (Heinrich) as cousins.  Note the third paragraph of ~the enclosed copy of a letter of Feb. 24th, 1979, of Dr. Wadepuhl to me.

Sam also credits George with Elizabeth Walza(Walzer) as his wife. That’s wrong, too! George's wife was Anna Christiane Beckman. That’s demonstrated beyond queston in the Marraige Settlement Agreement, dated Dec., 1786, entered into between Anna Christiane Goette (sic) and Martin Clyme, in which she is described as the "wodow of Goette Goette."  This agreement is of record in the S. C. Dept. of Archives & Hist., in Marriage Settlement Agreements, Vol. 1, at p. 292. (If I haven’t sent you a copy of my digest of the agreement -- and the 1843 agreement between Rosetta C. Goettee



and Alexr McB. Peeples -- drop me a card or letter, and they will be forthcoming.)

Further, Sam gives Ellen Terrell as the wife of Ger Goethe (II) and the mother of his children with Peggy Goethe apparently as a second wife. That's news to me, and, of course, is in errors George’s wife and the mother was Elizabeth Walzer.  Andrew, as a son, is a new name to me.

I doubt we will ever get this early Goethe genealogy straightened out.  - When Sherinan burned the land and probate records of Beaufort District he certainly didn’t dous a favor.  There is one possibility that remains to be explored. Before 1798 (when Beaufort Dist. was established) Granville County land and probate records were kept in Charleston. Land and probate records there should be checked, and Isuggest that you put that on your agenda. You might also want to go by Beaufort and check the records there at the courthouse.

I am puzzled by the article in German pub1ished in 1982.  Do you know who submitted the article?  If you have an English translation, I would like to have a copy.

I hope you will continue your interest in the Goethe puzzles. Good luck


Coy K. Johnston

P.S. I can hardly write.  Please excuse errors.

Jeffrey S. Goethe, Esq.                                        June 9, 1994

406 13th St. W.

Bradenton, Fla. 34205

Dear Jeff:

I recently made at effort to see Truth and Poetry, the autobiography of Johann Wolfgang von Geoethe, at the local office’s library of the Geoethe Institute. I wanted to identify approoriate passages relating to the family of the poet and with the help of a staff member decipher and translate important information relating to the family. The library doesn’t have a copy of the autobiography. The library is more like a chamber of commerce operation. But I did find Richard Friednthal, Goethe - His Life ‘and Times (The World Publishing Co. Cleveland and New York, 1963), a translation from the German edition,  and Goethe - The Poet and the Age, Vol I, The Poetry of Desire (1749-1790) (Clarendon Press, Oxford (England), by Nicholas Boyle. I send you herewith a few pages from both works. I tried to identify the source (the publication) of the article in German (of which you have a copy) Genealogische Nachlese zum Goethe jahr 1982 (in Hesseishche Familienkunde46 (1983), Heft 5) s. 263-268), apparently bylined von Siegfried Rosh. I am unable to read German, but I can get an occasional word and I should guess the article is a submission by Ella Mac Conner of Hudson, Fla. Do you know her? I am unable to find Hudson on any Fla. map I own, but I observe a reference to Hudson in the brief obituary of Mrs. Julia Pinder nee Goethe of Tarpon Springs wherein it is stated she died at the home of a daughter “at Hudson. My guess: Hudson is near Tarpon Springs, and further that Sam Paul Goethe, of Crystal River, which is only a few miles above Tarpon Springs, is a member of this branch of our Goethes.  Sam prepared the charts you have mailed me, and Katy on the page numbered 1 B, dated Feb. 8, 1982, is Catherine (1805-1881), my great-grandmother. Do you know Sam? I would like very much to learn where Ella Mac Conner and Sam get their information that Georg (the “e’ at the end was added after he reached South Carolina) as the son of Johann Kaspar 2 Goethe. It must be pure speculation - - but not nearly as broad as the claim in Mrs. Pender’s obituary that she is a descendant of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  

There is a very remote possibility George and Ella are correct in their attribution of Georg as an elder and half brother of the poet. Nothing in Friedenthal or Boyle or Wadepuhl’s enquiry supports the claim.  Let’s look at the known facts: Johann Kaspar G. was born in 1719, Wolfgang was born in 1749.  Iis father played around in Italy, accumulated books, a degree in law and, believe it or not a Ph.D. There is no indication or intimation he had two sons or other children or that he had ever been married before he married the Textor lass in 1748 or that he was plagued by a mistress. Where did Sam and Ella obtain the idea of a “wife or mistress?” I hope we can avoid any woodcolts!  I am beginning to believe I have one too many Georges in my Goethe of Hampton County. I refer to number 7 in the chart on page 1.  In his place should go Herman Jakob Goethe (1697-1761), a tinsmith, and after 1747 a Councillor of the Fourth Bench in Frankfurt am Main.  Not as much is known about him -- he didn’t have a son like Johann.  Herman and Johann Kaspar were half brothers. Old Johann was a lady’s tailor, who craved position and education. He married wealth, lived well. He had two sons, Johann Wolfgand and Herman Jacob (who died in ~his childhood). It doesn’t seem to me, to be possible Johann Kaspar could have gone into his marriage to the Textor girl (she was only 17 at the time of her nuptials) with any prior baggage. Now it strikes me as possible and probabl.e that that our George who came to South Carolina was named Friedrich Georg:for his grandfather (1657-1730). He like Johann K. was a tailor and it was he who brought the family to Frankfurt and estab1ished them quite well. He was a Frankfurt Burger.  Old Friedrich Georg spelled Goethe Göthe - - so did others in his generation and his ancestors. The ‘o” in Göthe carried an umlaut above it, and the change was in the boarding school days of Johann Kaspar. Evidently Herman Jakob kept Göithe. (See Boyle, pp.49, 50.)  We don’t know how George (I) spelled his name. The State of S. C. spelled it Gotee in 1791. The census taker in 1790, spelled it Gooty.   Henry, George (I)’s grandson signed his name in 1841 “H. Goettee,”  yet in 1847 as high sheriff of Beaufort District he appears as  “Henry Goethe.” You may find it spelled Goettee and Goethe in the same cemeteries in Hampton County. According to family tradition it was Henry who first made the change!  I should like very much to know the time, the details, etc., of the change. I would also like to know the years of the birth and death of Henry.

Note page 14 of Friedenthal a report of the birth of Joh. Wolfgang in the Frankfurt weekly paper. That would suggest that the births of George - - Friedrich George - - and Heinrich (Henry) would have been similarly reported. It occurs to me we should be able to get our consul in Frankfurt to make the check for us. What do you think? If they showed up in the papers, we would have our proof on dates and idenitiesl One more change I believe I am obliged to make in my 1979 summary.  See page 8, wherein I report the three royal grants in 1772 and intimate George and Heinrich - Henry) immigrated to South Carolina in 1770, or thereabouts. I report they were “shipped out.” The time of the difficulties --- the scandal,’ as noted on page 57 of Boyle was in 1763 -- when Johann, the poet, was 14 years old, etc. I don’t think Johann Kaspar, Herman Jakob or the Textors would have allowed George and Hienrich to wait around in Frankfurt until 1769 or 1770. I should like to revise the date downward -- to 1763, possibly 1764.  

Another little thing: Sam, in his chart, labeled page lA, dated April 17, 1980, stated George Goethe, I. / Moved to Charleston, S. C./ Prior to Revolutionary War.! Killed in this War. (Emphasis mine.) Now,  I found documentary authority to the effect Henry saw service in S. C. in the Revolution. What’s Sam’s authority for George?

So much for now. Hope you enjoy Friedenthal and Boyle.


Coy (Coy K. Johnston)


You missed my old great-grandmother, Catherine Goettee (1805-1881) in your inventory of Lebanon. She was the wife of Josiah D. Johns(t)on.

SCGenWeb - Beaufort Early Settlers

SCGenWeb - Beaufort County, South Carolina