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This is an excerpt of the first few pages of Willard C. Kennamer’s book, Kennamer Genealogies, published in 1954.



After eighteen years of research and compiling records of the Kennamer Family we have accumulated considerable date and information, which we believe will be interesting to present and future generations of our large family.

The original meaning of the name Kennamer is "Inhabitant of Kinheim," and, therefore is a place-name. There are two Kinheims appearing in the early records, namely: (1) Kinheim, District of Wittlich, Trier, situated in Germany, near the Luxemborg line; (2) Kinheim, District in Northern Holland, now known as Kennemerland. The names of towns ending in -helm are typical Germanic (in particular Franconian) place-names. Dr. Otto Springer, Professor, German Department, University of Pennsylvania, believes that the name is derived from the place in Holland near Amsterdam, since we actually find the derivative in -er (Kennamer).

The first Kennamer record we have in this country is that of Staffa Kenama (Stephen Kennemar) age 60, and Jacob Kenama (Jacob Kennamer) age 16, probably father and son, arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 26, 1732, after sailing from Rotterdam, Holland, in the ship Mary. They were among 69 men and 122 women and children. The next records is that of Ann Varia and John, children of Jacob and Barbara Gannemer, being baptized by a Lutheran Pastor in 1741 and 1745, Codorus settlement, York County, Pennsylvania. Edward W. Hocker, Genealogist and authority on Pennsylvania German records stated on February 17, 1939, "I feel quite confident that the York County, Pennsylvania, Gannemer family was your family. The German "G" always has the hard sound, as in "get"’ and the "a" would be pronounced much like the English "E.." The next record of the family is that of Hance Kennemur taking deed to land on Rocky Creek, Fairfield County, South Carolina, in 1771. (Previous to the late 1750s and early 1760s lands were granted at a quit-rent basis of 4 shillings sterling for 100 acres, with the first 10 years free). Later on John Kennemur purchased land adjoining the Hance Kennemur land. Also, 1790 census show George Kennimore as residing in the same county. It is believed that the family moved from Vork County, Pennaylvania, upon the defeat of General Braddock in 1755 at Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which left the country districts defenseless against the Indiana, who were fighting with the French. They probably move southward by way of the Shenandoah Valley and North Carolina. Central and Western South Carolina obtained most of its early settlers via. this back country route. About 1792 George Kennimore moved to near Liberty, South Carolina, and died there in 1828. About 1794 John Kennemur moved to near Easley, South Carolina, and about 1810 moved to near Dalton, Georgia, where he was living with his son David in 1830. In 1807 Hance Kennamer with his large family moved to Flint River, Madison County, Alabama, and about 1815 moved to Kennamer Cove, Marshall County, Alabama, where he died about 1836. All Kennamers in America today are descendants of Hance, John and George, and they spell the family eight different ways, namely: Kennamer, Kennemer, Kennemur, Kennemore, Kennamore, Kennimer, Kenimer, and Kenemer.

Although there are traditions in the family that the Kennamer came from Holland, we think the preponderance of the evidence seems to indicate our forefather came from Germany. It is possible they may have originated in some other country and lived in Germany before coming to America. Our reasons for believing that the Kennamers came from Germany and not Holland are: (1) They settled in a region, York County, Pennsylvania, where there were virtually no Netherlanders, who liked to stay in settlements of their own people; (2) The Netherlanders are and were largely of the Dutch Reformed Church, few were Lutherans, and the first of our family were baptized by Lutheran pastors.


To make it easy to follow the lineage of the family we have adopted a system of letters and numbers. Descendants of John will have the letter "j" after their names, those of Hance the letter "H" and those of George the letter "G." The numbers appearing before these letters indicate the generations from John, Hance and George.


To all who assisted me in the compilation and publication of this work, particularly Mose J. Kennamer, Mrs. David Harvey Kennemur, Sr., Mrs. Margaret Elizabeth Taylor, Henry E. Dacus, Lawrence L. Smith, Mrs. Helen Murphee, Jurriaan von Toll, Edward W. Hocker, Dr. Otto Springer, Dr. Carl F. Haussmann, Ralph Kennamer, and the late John Robert Kennamer, Sr.


STAFFA KENAMA (STEPHEN KENNEMAR): b. abt. 1672; d. 17--.

m. 17--. -----------------: b. ----------------; d. ------------.


Staffa Kenama (Stephen Kennemar) age 60 and son Jacob age 16 were among 69 men and 122 women and children, Palatines, who sailed in the ship Mary from Rotterdam, Holland, landing at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Stephen took the oath of allegiance September 26, 1732. He probably came from the Rheinland and settled near York, Pennsylvania. It is believed that he is the progenitor of this large family in America.

JACOB KENAMA (JACOB KENNEMAR): b. abt. 1716; d. aft. 1742. m. 17--. BARBARA --------------: b. --------------; d. -----------.


Jacob Kenama (Jacob Kennemar) is listed as a passenger on the ship Mary from Rotterdam, Holland, which landed at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 26, 1732. He probably came from the Rheinland and settled near York, Pennsylvania, and about 1755 moved to Virginia or North Carolina, from which he moved to Fairfield County, South Carolina.

We have no information about Jacob Kennemar, except a record from the private records of Rev. John Casper Stoever, a Lutheran clergyman, reading: "Jacob Gannemer (Codorus) - Gannemer—Ann Maria, born Feb. 17, 1741; baptized Aug. 21, 1741. Sponsors: Ulrich Buehler and wife. Also, the private records of Rev. Jacob Lischy, Reformed pastor of congregations in Conewago, Bermudian, Kreutz Creek and York for about thirty years prior to 1769 carried this record: "John, son of Jacob and Barbara Genemer, Cordorus, baptized March le, 1745; sponsors: John and Barbara Becker."

Edward W. Hocker, Genealogist, Germantown, Pennsylvania, write: "The only persons having a name resembling Kennamer listed among Philadelphia arrivals in The Pennsylvania German Pioneers were Stephen and Jacob who came on the ship Mary, Stephen taking the oath of allegiance September 26, 1732. (Vol. 1, Pages 93, 94, 95). Jacob’s name appears only in the first list, which was that prepared by the ship’s captain. In this list the name appears Kenama. Misspelling is common in the list prepared by English captains. (John Gray was the captain of the ship Mary). In the two other lists the name is Kennemar. Ages appear in the first list. That of Stephen is 60 years and that of Jacob 16 years. Only those past the age of 16 were required to take the oath of allegiance. Birth dates as well as baptismal dates were usually entered in the church register. But the birth date of John, baptized in 1745, was not so entered. it is difficult to suggest a reason. While the Lutheran and Reformed people usually had their children baptized soon after birth, there are numerous exceptions, especially in early colonial times, when the minister served a wide extent of country, and some families lived far from the church and could not readily make it convenient to take their children there. So it would not be by no means exceptional if John had been 6 years old when baptized. I feel quite confident that the York County Gannemer family was your family. The German G always has the hard sound, as in "get". The a would be pronounced much like the English E. There was considerable migration of Germans from York County, Pennsylvania, southward through Maryland to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Some of these settlers continued farther south, to North and South Carolina. The York County family of the 1740’s might have done this. There is a strong likelihood that they migrated somewhere, since there is no further trace of the family in Pennsylvania after those two baptisms of the 1740’s. Philadelphia is the only eighteenth century port where immigrants from non-English countries had to subscribe to an oath of allegiance, and hence is the only American port where lists of arrivals were kept. The Georgia record, which states that the first of the family came from Germany to North Carolina, that the next move was to South Carolina and then to Georgia, is certainly worthy of consideration, but it is difficult to verify from records. North Carolina had few or no important seaports, but the immigrant might have landed in Virginia and gone direct to North Carolina. I have examined North Carolina historical records available here (Philadelphia), but find no name resembling Kennamer. There is a possibility that this George Kennemore, of North Carolina, instead of having come to the province from Germany, came from the Shenandoah Valley or from Pennsylvania, and having been reared in a German community, maintained the German speech and was thus regarded as a native of Germany. I believe the chances are stronger that this North Carolina pioneer came from some settlement farther north rather than direct from Germany to North Carolina. I have looked through various books at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania bearing on German settlements in North and South Carolina and Georgia, but they mention few names of early settlers. They seem to agree, however, that the North Carolina Germans came mostly from Pennsylvania. With regard to the possibility of origin in the Netherlands, this may be said: The Netherlanders are and were largely of the Dutch Reformed Church. Few were Lutherans. Here in Pennsylvania the first of the family had children baptized by a Lutheran pastor. Well, they might have done that in the absence of a Reformed pastor. But they settled in a region, York County, where there were virtually no Netherlanders. The Dutch immigrants liked to stay in settlements of their own people, in New York, Northern New Jersey and the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania. So far as I know the name is not encountered there. Not much weight as indicating Netherland origin can be given to the fact that one of the family was known as "the wild Dutchman." The English settlers called all Germans Dutchmen. The Germans themselves in early days would be likely to call themselves Dutch, because the German name for German is "Deutsch," pronounced as though spelled Dutch in English. The preponderance of the evidence you present seems to indicate that your pioneers came from Germany."

Dr. Carl F. Haussman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an authority on names says: "Although documentary proof in such cases is very often impossible to obtain, I agree with Mr. Rocker in believing that the York County, Pennsylvania, 1740’s Gannemer family is the same as the Jacob Kenama who came over in 1732. I happen to have a similar case on hand just now: A man of whose arrival and presence in Philadelphia about 1732 we have absolute proof but who disappears from the picture completely until 20 or 30 years later he appears in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. No record of him to be found anywhere - thus far."

The first white settlement of York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania, were founded by Germans, in 1730. The first German immigration was for the greater part from the Rhine Country. So many were from the Palatinate that all German immigrants were called Palatines.

The disaster of Braddock threw the undefended colony open to the murderous attacks by native enemies and in 1755 the savages over-ran the outlying settlements, causing thousands of them to flee into Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Between 1727 and 1775 over thirty thousand persons landed at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A very large number came to North Carolina, and by 1785 there were over fifteen thousand Germans from Pennsylvania in North Carolina. The immigrants came in wagons from Pennsylvania through Maryland and Virginia.

After a careful research extending over a period of fifteen years, the writer is of the opinion that our forefather was Jacob Gannemer (Kennemar) who came over in the ship Mary in 1732 with his father Stephen and settled in the Cordorus Settlement, York County, Pennsylvania, and that he migrated to North Carolina about 1755, and later to Fairfield County, South Carolina, where he probably died. That he had three sons, Hance, John and George, who are the forefathers of all Kennamers in America today.

HANCE KENNEMUR (1): b. abt. 1738; d. abt. 1836. m. abt. 1770. RACHAEL -----------: b. btw. 1740-50; d. btw. 1830-40.


Hance Kennemur was probably born in York County, Pennsylvania, about 1738, later moved to Fairfield County, South Carolina, and in 1807 to Madison County, Alabama, where he lived until about 1815 when he moved to Kennamer Cove, Marshall County, Alabama. He lived in the cove that bears his name until his death at the age of about 100. He and his wife, Rachael are buried at Pisgah cemetery, Kennamer Cove, Marshall County, Alabama.

The first record we have of Hance Kennemur is that on November 24, 1771, he bought 100 acres of land from Peter Rees located about two miles north of Salem Crossroad, Rocky and Beaver creeks, Fairfield County, South Carolina. February 7, 1789, he bought 95 acres from Moses Hendricks. December 18, 1804, son Jacob bought 70 acres adjoining land. October 8, 1807, Hance Kennemur, Sr., and son, Jacob sold 484 acres, which included the above land, to Thomas Means for 8200.00. March 6, 1786, Hance and John Kennemur witnessed a deed to land bought by John Lemley, Sr. The Fairfield County, South Carolina, census list Hance Cannemore as follows: 4 males under 10, 2 males 10-16, 1 male 16-26, 1 male over 45, 1 female under 10, 2 females 10-16, 1 female 16-26, and 1 female over 45. He is not listed in the 1790 census for some unexplainable reason. (The first census referred to is that of 1800).

In the fall of 1807 he moved his large family to the Maysville and Brownshoro neighborhood on the Flint River, Madison County, Alabama. A survey by Freeman for Madison County, Alabama, in 1809, list Samuel Cannimore with 15 in the family. As Samuel, son of Hance, had recently married no doubt he was living with his father in 1809. The next record is that of Jackson County, Alabama, census for 1830 listing the following: Hancel Cannimer 90-100, wife 80-90 and daughter Mary 50-60.

About 1815 Hance Kennemur built a log house about 600 yards south of Pisgah cemetery, near the Big Spring that runs from under Gunter’s Mountain, in Kennamer Cove, Marshall County (Jackson County until 1836), Alabama. Until 1830 this was Indian land. Page bought the land from the Government and Hance Kennemur moved to the home-place of Captain John B. Kennamer where he resided until his death. Jacob Kennamer, grandson of Hance, bought the land upon the Hance Kennemur house was built in the 1840s. There remains very little evidence of the old home, excepting small pieces of broken pottery and dishes. In 1936 the descendants of this pioneer erected a marker at his grave, and for 25 years have been holding their family reunion at Pisgah church, which is only a few yards from the cemetery.