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Coldiron Family in America
Posted by: Otto Coldiron (ID *****8425) Date: December 17, 2003 at 11:24:57
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The Coldiron Family in America

The vast majority of Coldiron descendants have deep roots in Harlan County. In the continuing research of the family, the questions most often encountered are: Where are the Coldirons from? How did they get to America? What is the derivation of the name? This brief summary attempts to answer those questions.

Johan Georg Kalteisen, born 3 July 1730 in Goppingen, Wurttemberg, Germany emigrated to America in 1750. He sailed into the port of Philadelphia on 28 August aboard the ship Phoenix. This must have been quite an adventure for a 20 year old. Although there is a record of 334 passengers on this voyage of the Phoenix, Johan Georg was the only one from his family who made the trip to the new country.

He settled in Berks County, PA and married Anna Catherine Schumacher in about 1754 in Berks County. Catherine's family had come to America in 1749 from approximately the same section of Germany. Their first three children were born in Berks County. By about 1768, Johan and Catherine had moved their family to Rowan County, NC, and settled about four miles southeast of present day Salisbury where the rest of their children were born.

At about the time the family moved to N. Carolina, Johan changed his name to George Coldiron. We have found no documentation to explain why he did this, but we speculate it might have been because not all Germans were looked upon fondly during the colonial period and he might not have wanted to draw attention to his German name. Coldiron is a direct German to English translation of Kalteisen. Kalt in German means Cold in English. Eisen in German means Iron in English. Hence, Kalteisen becomes Coldiron when the name is anglicized. Tax and census records in Rowan County, NC refer to him as George Coldiron, but he signed his will prepared in 1803 as George Kalteisen. George died in Rowan County, NC in 1805.

All Coldirons whose genealogy we have traced in the past 30 years descend from Johan Georg Kalteisen (George Coldiron). We have never found an exception. We have therefore concluded that no other Coldiron family exists anywhere in the world, and that all known Coldirons are related. If other Coldirons exist who do not descend from JGK, we have not discovered them. To our knowledge, there is only one other person outside this family who has used the Coldiron name, and he was Michael Kalteisen. Michael was a prominent German in Charleston, SC in the late 1700's and early 1800's. For a brief time, he used the name Michael Coldiron in his business transactions. However, he was known then and is referred to today as Michael Kalteisen, not Michael Coldiron. We have not established a relationship between Michael and Johan although they may be related. They came from the same general area of Germany. Although Michael Kalteisen married, he never had children.

George Coldiron's second son, Conrad, married Rachel Hendricks about 1783 in Rowan Co., NC. Shortly before 1790, Conrad moved his family from Rowan County to Ashe County, NC. They lived there until about 1808, when the family moved to Knox County, KY. (They moved to the part of Knox County that became Harlan County in 1819.) Conrad's second son James stayed in Ashe County on the New River, where he and his wife Nancy (surname unknown) raised their family. We have recorded 1,643 descendants of James Coldiron, all with their roots in Ashe County, NC. Conrad's third son Henry settled in Lee County, VA and raised his large family there. Over 1,800 of his descendants have their roots in Lee County, VA. Conrad and Rachel's other sons George, John, William, and Jesse all raised their families in Harlan County, KY. In 1831, Conrad's first son George moved his family to Newton Co., MO. In doing so, it is believed he was the first Coldiron to migrate west of the Mississippi River.

The points along the migration path of the Coldiron Family up to the 1830's are therefore: Germany Berks Co. PA Rowan Co. NC Ashe Co. NC Lee Co. VA Knox Co. KY (later Harlan Co.) and then Newton Co. MO. In the latter half of the 1800's, the Harlan County Coldirons began spreading to other counties in eastern Kentucky. In the late 1800's and early 1900's the families from Ashe Co. NC and Kentucky began spreading out toward the more industrialized states in the mid-west, with many going to Ohio. Homesteads were also established in Oklahoma, Texas, and Oregon. As Dr. Daniel F. Coldiron so often said about this migration: "A covered wagon with it's tongue pointed West."

Otto G. Coldiron
1125 Arlanie Rd.
Brooksville, FL 34604


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