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The distinguished family name Kessinger has been traced through time to the ancient region of Saxony. Saxony was originally the name of a territory in the north-west of Germany, that also included the duchies of Westphalia and Brunswick until the 12th and 13th centuries. When the region was divided up in 1180, the name remained with the territories of Wittenberg and Lauenburg, but soon applied to the eastern regions of Meissen and Thuringia. The center of this ancient territory is the Mark (border region) Meissen, which Otto I established in 929 as a bulwark against the incursions of the Slavic tribes. Since a large portion of this region used to be a Saxon possession, this territory became known as Saxony. The Saxon dukes began a process of planned expansion and immigration in order to settle and develop all the lands between the Elbe and Oder rivers. Madgeburg became a bishop's seat by 968, and the Madgeburg system of laws "Madgeburger Recht" was adopted in both Russian and Polish cities.

During the medieval period the family name Kessinger found itself in Saxony, where it became noted for its many branches within the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the region. In their later history the name became a power unto themselves and were elevated to the ranks of nobility as they grew into this most influential family.

Throughout the history of a name, its spelling and pronunciation often undergo a series of changes over time, as the name becomes more widespead in different regions and becomes a part of standard usage. In the German language, additions were often included in a name to tell something of the bearer's character, place of origin, or religious beliefs. Also, since only the scribes in the Middle Ages could read and write, they often recorded the name based only on its sound, which would vary from the dialect of other regions. Therefore, the variations of the name Kessinger,Kissinger, Kesinger, Kisinger, to name a few examples.

Saxony enjoyed a period of intense devlopment, the fertile regions in the north forming the wheat belt. Under Frederick, margrave of Meissen and member of the Wettin house, Saxony achieved status and power. However, Saxony was wracked by religious conflicts; the Hussite rebellion ruined most of this region, and it was in the Saxon city of Wittenberg that Martin Luther, an unknown monk, started the Reformation and gave the common people the first German translation of the Bible. Saxony became the cradle of the Reformation and one of the most influential states of the Empire, but did not escape the devastation of the following Peasant's War..

During this period of transition the name was found in Saxony, holding many interests as the population of the family grew in the same dimensions as the general population explosion in the 16th century. They were seated in Saxony from very early times and the name was originally Kessinger. In Saxony they were elevated to the nobility as Barons of the Holy Roman Empire on 21 April 1880. As the family broadened they moved, following their special interests either in religious, military or political occupa- tions. They also branched into Germany. Their status and financial holdings were inproved by intermarrying with distinguished families. Notable among the bearers of this name were The Barons Kessinger.

Saxony refused to be involved in the Napoleonic Wars and remained neutral towards the expanding French Empire. Although Saxon troops fought on the side of the French, they expressed their German sentiment by independent kingdom. Following Napoleon's defeat and exile, Prussia took control of the northern region, reducing the size of Saxony by over half, and the remaining independent part of Saxony joined the German Confederation in 1815, and the Reich in 1871.

Throughout the history of a name, its spelling and pronunciation often undergo a series of changes over time, as the name becomes more widespread in different regions and becomes a part of standard usage. In the German language additions were often included in a name to tell something of the bearer's character, place of origin, or religious beliefs. Also, since only the scribes in the Middle Ages could read and write, they often recorded the name based only on its sound, which would vary from the dialect of other regions. Therefore, the variations of the name Kessinger include Kesinger, Kissinger, and Kisinger to name a few examples.

Notable cities in Saxony include Leipzig, its largest city, which features Europe's largest railway station and a famous university, and Dresden, a yewel of Baroque architecture that was completely destroyed in the Second World War, but fortunately restored after 1945. Saxony was a province in the former German Democratic Republic.

Many Germans left their homeland in order to seek a better life in the New World, start- ing a flow of migration across the Atlantic after 1650 that continued well into the 20th century. Primarily, the settlers grouped themselves in the regions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, New York, California, and Texas, While German settlements in Canada centered around Ontario and the Prairie provinces. Among these settlers of the name Kessinger, we find Anthony Kessinger settled in Mississippi in 1844; Michael Kissinger settled in Lancaster Pennsylvania in 1717; another Michael Kissinger settled in Penn- sylvania in 1764. In the modern period, notables with the surname Kessinger were many of the name contributed greatly to the society on both sides of the Atlantic, in- cluding Henry Kissinger, noted US Diplomat and Secretary of State.

Andreas Kessinger was the Progenerator of the Kessinger/Kissinger/Kassinger Family according to a report written and researched by Ila Deloris (Kasinger) Chestnut. The Kessinger name, in one form or another, has been reputed to be traced back to the time of the Roman invasion of Germany in the first century A.D. During this period of history, families settled near their kin for the usual social and defensive reasons. As the story goes, the family derived their name from the fact that they had settled near an area called "Kissen Springs" which is said to have been near the current site of Essen, Germany. Through the centuries, the name has been recorded with more than 33 different spellings, including: Kessinger, Kesinger, Kiesinger, Kissinger,Kisinger, Kassinger, Kaysinger, Caysinger, Casinger, and Kasinger. In several different instances the name was spelled differently by the father and his son on the same document. Several Kessinger family researchers have attempted to piece together the true history of the Kessinger family. Where documented proof is available, the source is noted.

Stories about the Kessinger/Kassinger Origins: For more than 75 years, the "Kessinger Clan" letters have circulated among several generations of the Kessinger family. No one really knows from whom the information originated, or where it began. There are, at least, five different letters of this type. One of these letters is titled: History of the Klan of Kessingers, as given Herman E. Kessinger by his Grandfather, Silas Zachariah Taylor Kessinger on Nov. 15, 1923. A slightly different version is attributed to Bertha (Kessinger) Towles; granddaughter of Silas, as it was related to her, by Zachary Taylor Kessinger, in 1923. One of these letters is attributed to Archie Roy Kessinger of Bend, Oregon (a son of Solomon Colfax Kessinger). Still another letter was written by Richard Kessinger of Hart County, Kentucky; in response to an inquiry from a lady in Texas. The longest version in circulation, was written by L.R. Grimm, who identified himself as the Principal of the Butler, Illinois, school in Montgomery County in 1916-18. They all contain basically the same story; -- and many of the same errors.

Story: One prevalent story was given to Ila Kasinger Chestnut in a 2-page paper, which was entitled: "History of the Klan of Kessingers, as given Herman E. Kessinger by his Grandfather, Silas Zachariah Taylor Kessinger on Nov. 15, 1923". Date of transcription: 1/29/1941.

"Solomon (Sr.) and his eldest son John, fought seven years under Washington, and after the war he and his family with twenty-six other families, built two large rafts, and, loading their possessions on them, floated down the Ohio River in search of suitable home-sites. Among these families were other families of Kessingers, and the only other family groups in the aggregation were Logsdons and Haycrafts." Grimm has this to say on the same subject: "When the American Revolution came in 1776 Solomon answered the call to arms and set out for Washington. When about to enter the camp he looked behind and there was son John with a gun also. They fought together throughout the period of the revolution." Known facts: Allen Belden comments that Contrary to Roy's and Grimm's statements, there was no cathedral in Essen prior to 1958, when it became the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop. Mr. Belden goes on to state that: "This writer has perused these materials (The National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Library of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, state archives and county courthouses) in depth with special attention to Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia in an effort to account for Solomon's whereabouts before and during the Revolutionary War and to confirm the military service of Solomon and his son John or Andrew, but no record of Revolutionary War service by a Solomon Kessinger prior to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781 has been found." Fact added by Michael Kassinger: Abstracted from the Virginia State Library in Richmond is the following record- "Solomon Kersinger (mis-spelled on original document) is listed as a Private on a payroll for Captain James Samuel's Company of Jefferson County Militia. The Company engaged in an expedition against the Shawnee Indians led by General George Rogers Clark." Also at the Jefferson County, Kentucky Courthouse Solomon is listed in the Jefferson County Index to Minute Book A 1780-1783 under those eligible for 400 acres of land for military service along with John and Joseph Greenywalt(mis-spelled on original document). Perhaps a father or brothers of Solomon's wife Elizabeth. So we know without a doubt that Solomon did serve under General George Rogers Clark in the Revolution.

 

Andreas Kessinger and Johann Georg Kessinger, As we had stated earlier, from 1600 to as late as 1870, we could only find a record of one (1) Kiessinger, two (2) Kessingers and two (2) Casingers arriving in the American colonies. ( And the 2 Casingers were actually misspellings of Andreas Kessinger and Johann Georg Kessinger's names by the Mate on board the ship WILLIAM) There were 70 men (over the age of 16) that were listed on the WILLIAM. There were 180 passengers in total. As there is no list of women and children, there is no way to know for certain if Andreas had a wife or children with him. However, we do find a record of his settling in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as early as 1743. In the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Warrick Congregation, Baptisms Book, page 12. (From the Warrick Congregation, Warrick Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Now it is known as the Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brickerville, Elizabeth Township, Lancaster Co., Penn.) Father: Andreas Kessinger Son: John Jacob Kessinger, born 16 August. 1742. Baptized 22 Aug. 1743. Sponsors: John Hauzam & wife; Jacob Klein & wife. Son: Solomon Kessinger, born 3 March 1745. Baptized. 24 March, 1745. Sponsors: Conrad Brarun & wife, also Ursula Fischerin (this may be the sister of Andreas' wife - Susanna Fischerin.) Son: Joseph Kessinger, born 27 March, 1747, Baptized 28 Jan. 1748 Sponsors: Conradt Braun. Daughter: Susanna Elizabeth Kessinger, born 11 June, 1748. Baptized 17 July, l748. Sponsors: Christian Lentz & Susanna Elizabeth Hanaga; both single.

A copy of the document "RELEASE FROM SERVITUDE" and a very rough translation appears below.

THIS DOCUMENT IS A RELEASE FROM SERVITUDE: The Baron and Landholder, by the grace of God, to Baden and Hachberg, Landholder of Sausenberg, Lord of Spanheim and Ebershein, Lord of Roteln, Badenweiler, Lahn and Mahlberg. We announce herewith, after the humble request by the applicant ANDREAS KESSINGER of Welschneureuth, government employee, wed honorable born, his wife Suzanna, given to him in marriage and their four (4) children: George Michael age 9 years; Mathias age 6 years; Andreas age 4 years; and Catherine Barbara age 1 year; and all being of sound mind, will be released of servitude to us, through our grace by our Lordship. But in the case of return to any of our holdings, they automatically return to their original servitude. With this document we announce that A. Kessinger as of now is released from servitude to us, this has been signed at the Residence of the Duke in the front of Karis Kuhden, on April 9, 1737.

In addition to the RELEASE FROM SERVITUDE document, there was another document which listed the SPECIFICATION.

SPECIFICATION, or monetary worth, of Andreas' property and belongings. They included a house, a spring, an orchard and vegetable garden, hunting grounds, 4 pastures, 1 cow, 600 pounds of hay and 6 bundles of straw; plus a half wagon and plow.

My Kessinger Line

Andreas Kessiner & Suzanna Fischerin

Solomon Kessinger & Elizabeth Greenwalt

Jacob Kessinger & Rebecca Clendenan

Isaac Kessinger & Mary Daugherty

Virgil Kessinger & Martha Ann Daugherty

William Netter Kessinger & Martha Jane Hicks

James Jackson Kassinger & Mahala Ann Daugherty

Darrell Kassinger & Rhoda Betty Stone

Michael Eugene Kassinger