The Early Hunter/Ausmus/Bollinger
Connection in Claiborne County, Tennessee
Compiled by: William J. Hunter
66 Glencairn Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1S 1M6

Also from William J. Hunter - Early Hunter/Ausmus/Bollinger Marriages - Claiborne, Union, Grainger and Campbell Counties

A word from Jim Hunter of Utah to his cousins

Over the years much has been speculated about the inter- relationships of the families of Hunter, Bollinger and Ausmus who were early settlers on Davis Creek in Claiborne County. Unfortunately, much of this, errors included, has found its way into print and is thus treated as fact by many, and the errors go on forever. To quote from Lazarus Long, "I shot an error into the air, and it just keeps on going, and going, and going, and going, and going."

It seems most of these errors have been introduced by researchers into the Ausmus family. First, in submissions made to the late Lawrence Edwards for inclusion in "Old Speedwell Families" and second by the late Harry Ausmus in his book, History of the Ausmus Family. The first part of the Harry Ausmus book, in so far as it mentions the early Hunter family, is pure fiction. The early portion of the Philip Ausmus family history is little better. The errors of Harry Ausmus, Rosalie Keever and John F. Valentine, who were collaborators with Harry Ausmus, have been picked up by other compilers of family history and are continuing to be perpetuated.

This is not invidiousness on my part because I'm also a descendant of Philip Ausmus. It's meant to set the record straight and perhaps enjoin others who are compiling family histories to be more thorough in their research and more accurate in their presentation. All of us who enjoy the pursuit of family history owe it to our ancestors to be factual.

Most of our ancestors lived a simple hard working life and inaccuracies or embellishments would probably be the last thing they wanted or needed. By leaving their established countries, crossing a dangerous ocean on small sailing ships, and then by living on the frontier with a constant threat of Indian uprisings and other hardships, they demonstrated a courage and a hardiness that does not need to be embroidered or embellished.

Some of the claims made for Philip Ausmus that need to be further explored are:

1. He was a Dunkard Minister. Not true. He was Evangelical Lutheran as is demonstrated by the baptismal records of four children.

2. He was a founder of the Davis Creek Baptist Church. Not true. From the minutes of the Church he was never even a member.

3. He donated the land for the Church. Not true. The land was contributed by Henry Hunter, who owned land on both sides of Davis Creek and the site was deeded to the Church by his son, Joseph Hunter, in l827 ( Liber M:294).

4. He was a very early resident on Davis Creek. Not true. He resided on or near Little Cherokee Creek in Washington County Tennessee until after l800 and by then the community on Davis Creek was well established. His son, John Ausmus, was admitted to the Davis Creek Baptist Church on November 6, 1802 by experience, meaning he had not been previously baptized into the church, and his son, Peter Ausmus, was admitted through experience on February 12, 1803. Son Peter and Philip (Sr. or Jr.?) Ausmus first appear in the area of Claiborne county on a Grainger County Tennessee petition in l803 (Claiborne county was created from part of Grainger county in 1801). From Washington County Tennessee land records (Liber ll:60) Philip's son, Henry Ausmus, was still residing near the headwaters of Little Cherokee and Sinking Creeks in Washington County Tennessee until at least l806.

5. During Indian uprisings people congregated at his house for protection. Probably not true. By the time Philip was in the Davis Creek area of Claiborne county the Indian problems were essentially over. If people felt it necessary to assemble it was probably at the George Yoakum place as it was one of the earliest and most defensible in the neighbourhood.

6. The name of his last wife and the mother of his later children was Elizabeth Neva. According to the gravestone in the Ausmus Cemetery, Speedwell, her christian name was Elizabeth, but this wife is certainly not the mother of his children and NEVA was probably not her family name. In 1998 a check of the internet for the name NEVA reveals only about 100 familes of the name in the United States, but more significantly the name appears to be of Spanish origin, a nationality not encountered on the american frontier during that era.

Now, to establish the relationship between the families of Philip Ausmus, Henry Hunter and Frederick Bollinger.

A tradition has survived in the Speedwell area that Joseph Hunter, son of Henry and Barbara (Bollinger) Hunter, was a nephew of Henry Ausmus. It was probably an attempt to establish this relationship that led Harry Ausmus into the mistakes he published in the Ausmus family history. A similar tradition was preserved and recorded in an Arkansas branch of the family by descendants of a daughter of Henry and Barbara (Bollinger) Hunter. In this tradition the father of three Bollinger (original German spelling) children died when they were young and their mother married an Ausmus. It was through pursuit of this tradition that the relationship was established. Proof is still missing, but the evidence is very convincing. The father of these three Bollinger children was Isaac Bollinger, and they were born in York county Pennsylvania.

The three children of Isaac Bollinger were:

1. Mary Bollinger (June 26, 1764 - September 25, 1844), married Samuel Weaver October 7, l783 in Washington County Tennessee. Proof of the place and date is found in her application for continuation of the Revolutionary war pension of Samuel Weaver on file in Kentucky State Archives. Samuel Weaver was a founding member of the Davis Creek Baptist Church on October 1, l797. His wife Mary (Bollinger) Weaver and her sister, Barbara (Bollinger) Hunter, were admitted to the church by letter, meaning from another church of the same beliefs, on November 2, 1798. Susanna Ausmus, who was probably a half sister to Mary (Bollinger) Weaver and Barbara (Bollinger) Hunter, was admitted to the church by experience on the same day. On August 16, l8l5 Samuel Weaver sold his Claiborne County property to Henry Hunter (Liber D:412) and moved to Laurel County Kentucky.

2. Frederick Bollinger, (c1767-c1843), married Elizabeth Weaver. Frederick lived for some years on Davis Creek, but also sold his property to Henry Hunter upon moving to Illinois, possibly in company with Philip Ausmus Jr., Peter Ausmus or John Ausmus, his probable half-brothers. Frederick later moved to Madison County, Arkansas.

3. Barbara Bollinger (1769 - December 3, 1846) married Henry Hunter,, son of John and Barbara (Bowman) Hunter. This marriage probably occurred on Cherokee Creek in Washington County Tennessee about l788-89. Like most marriages of that area during that time it is not recorded. John Hunter had settled on Little Cherokee Creek in Washington County Tennessee in l783. He had lived on Linville Creek in Rockingham County Virginia since l773 when he moved there from the Conococheague Creek area of present day Washington County, Maryland. He'd married Barbara Bowman, daughter of Jacob and Varena (____) Bowman in Maryland about l760.

In 1790 all three of these Bollinger children, with their spouses, were living on Weaver Creek in present day Pickens County South Carolina, but returned to Washington County Tennessee about 1794 as established by the minutes of the Cherokee Creek Baptist Church.

In the l787 tax list for Washington County, Tennessee Philip Ausmus is enumerated on the same tax list with John Hunter and John Hunter Jr. They were all living on Little Cherokee Creek. John Hunter Jr. married (Lic.) Elizabeth Ozman in Rockingham County Virginia in May l78l. It should be noted that Ozman and Ausmus are separate families. Elizabeth Ozman was not the daughter of Philip Ausmus as stated by Harry Ausmus, but is probably connected in some way with the Ozman family of York county Pennsylvania, a well known family of that area.

Isaac Bollinger, father of these three Bollinger children, Mary, Frederick and Barbara, made his will April l, l770 in Codorus township, York County Pennsylvania and it was proven on May 7, l770. In his will he mentions wife Chatarina (Catharina W.J.H.), son Frederick, and two other children, unnamed.

Philip Ausmus was a neighbour of Isaac Bollinger in York County Pennsylvania. On June l7, l767 John Meyor [Moyer] Sr. was issued warrant No. 3875 by the proprietors of Pennsylvania, Richard Penn, son of William Penn, for l00 acres of land in Codorus Township, York County Pennsylvania. Adjoining properties were owned by George Ross, Isaac Bollinger and Philip Ausmus, spelled Asmus, the original and still accepted German spelling.

Philip Assimus, as spelled on the church records, and his first wife, Anna Elizabetha, were the parents of three daughters, Anna Elizabetha, born April 8, l762; Anna Maria, born October 30, l764 and Maria Catharina, born August l3, l768. These three daughters were baptized at the Stone (St. Jacob's) Union Church, (Evangelical Lutheran) Codorus township, Glenville, York County, Pennsylvania.

Philip Assimus and a second wife Maria Catharina had son, Johannes Heinrich, christened April 6, 1774 at the Middletown Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick County, Maryland. (This is Henry Ausmus of Claiborne County, born February l6, l774). So Henry Ausmus was not born in Augusta county Virginia as stated by Harry Ausmus.

It should be noted that German families almost always bestowed two given names and the person was called by the second name. This may account for the unidentified "Mary" Ausmus who appears in early Davis Creek Baptist church records who is possibly Anna Maria Ausmus, the daughter of Philip and Anna Elizabetha (_____) Ausmus, born at York County Pennsylvania October 3, 1764.

Another piece of the puzzle drops into place with the minutes of the Cherokee Creek Baptist Church in Washington County Tennessee. In a list of the founding members of the Church is "Cathy OSAMUS, deceased". Unfortunately, the date of the list is not preserved. The Church Covenant was adopted the first Saturday in September l783.

From the evidence available and giving due credit to the traditions that have been preserved, it seems probable that following the death of Isaac Bollinger in l770 and the probable death of Anna Elizabetha, first wife of Philip Ausmus, he then married Catharina, widow of Isaac Bollinger, and became step-father of the three Bollinger children, Mary, Frederick and Barbara. They accompanied him on his move through Maryland to Washington County Tennessee where they each married. This, of course, makes the children of Philip and Catharina (_______, Bollinger) Ausmus half-brothers and sisters of the three Bollinger children.

Now to review - traditions in both the Speedwell and Arkansas branches of the families have the mother of the Bollinger children marrying an Ausmus (in Speedwell by inference; in Arkansas by tradition recorded by a daughter of Henry and Barbara (Bollinger) Hunter who is most likely to know the correct story of her mother's family). From land records we have Isaac Bollinger and Philip Ausmus as neighbours in York County, Pennsylvania. We have Isaac Bollinger dying in York County Pennsylvania in 1770 and shortly afterward, in 1774, Philip Ausmus, who was a next-door neighbor of Isaac Bollinger, appears in Maryland with a second wife named Catharina, the name of Isaac Bollinger's wife at the time of his death. We have Philip Ausmus in Washington County, Tennessee before October 7, l783 where Mary Bollinger married Samuel Weaver and on the l787 tax list with John Hunter, father of Henry Hunter who married Barbara Bollinger. Additionally "Cathy" Osamus appears as deceased in an early Cherokee Creek Baptist Church list.

I'm very aware that reliance on traditions as a sole source of information is often a mistake; however, though all the facts may not be accurate there is usually a germ of truth in traditions. In this instance the facts support these traditions. Perhaps now some of our researchers can find proof. I'm convinced that Philip Ausmus married, as his second wife, Catharina (____) Bollinger, widow of Isaac Bollinger.

I'd be most appreciative of any additional information that may be located.

William J. Hunter
66 Glencairn Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1S 1M6

Subj:  Update
Date: 11/21/99 1:58:34 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Jim Hunter)
Hunter Cousins, I have some sad news, our host at the Springfield Reunion, Max Hunter has passed on.  We mourn his passing.  Our condolences to his immediate family.  His presence will be missed by all.  The first Reunion, and hence this Family Organization are in good part from his efforts.  Our cousin Bill Hunter of Canada gave us this link from Southwest Missouri State University chronicling his efforts as a collector of folksongs: .

Yesterday, I finished typing the hundreds of cards ( with the names of many of the descendants of John and Barbara) that Max had sent me, doing phone number lookups and entering the changes on the database.  Last night, I correlated the list with this email list.  I only have 8 that correlate of the 47 email addresses.  Could you send my your full name, address, phone number and any other information you think we could use, i.e.: website, hobbies, etc.  The database fields include (as example I will use myself): Ancestor: Henry, Name: Mr. James G Hunter, Occupation: Education Specialist, Employer: Carson & Assoc., Address: 580 N. 420 W. American Fork UT 84003,  Work Phone: 801 756 4844, Home Phone: 801 756 4844, Cell Phone: 801 368-3508, Fax Number: 801 756 5540, Email: , Reunion Committee: General, 1998 Reunion Dues: Paid, DOB:  2/14/1950, Marital Status: Married, Spouses Name: Susan, Number of Children: 5, Hobbies: Family History, Website: .  No field is required, they all are optional fields.  Any information will be for the exclusive use of the Family Organization, not for public viewing.

My intent is to put the database, password protected, on the website.  It will be used by family members to contact other family members in their area, or close relation.  The primary function of the database will be internal communication, to plan and advertise the reunion, to do fund raising for the John and Barbara Hunter Memorial Stone, and to build a closer relationship among the family in general.  The first password will be "bowman" in honor of John's wife and our common mother.  I hope to have the Database up during Thanksgiving Weekend.  Thanks for your consideration.  Your Cousin, Jim Hunter

P.S. The following week, I am traveling to East Tennessee to help our cousin Jim Hunter of Johnson City chose locations for the various reunion events.  I am hoping to visit the Speedwell area, Johnson City, Jonesborough, and will be staying at the Air National Guard base at McGhee-Tyson ANGB in Knoxville.  I will have the John & Barbara Hunter Family Organization chartered as a non-profit corporation by that time.  Those of you that have shown an interest in being listed as members will be noted on the organizational documents. 

The next reunion for the descendants of John Hunter is scheduled for 14 - 17 July 2004. Location will be in the Springfield, Missouri

More information, when available will be found at the Hunter Reunion Website .  Thanks.

James G. Hunter
Acting Director of Forensics
Adjunct Faculty in Speech & Debate
UVSC - Theater & Comm Dept
801 756 4844 (Utah)

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