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The Courtney/Haun Family

Three families in Greene County, Tennessee, the Hauns, the Courtneys, and the Andruss family, were very close. Haun sons married Courtney daughters, Andruss daughters married Courtney or Haun sons, and these close ties were maintained through generations, even when they were living far apart. On December 23, 1845, Stephen Courtney married Diannah Dorthulla Andruss. Stephen's sister, Sarah, married Jacob Haun on April 7, 1835, and his brother John married Elizabeth Haun on December 24, 1835.

By 1850, Stephen and Diannah had three children, James Lafayette, Harriet Elizabeth and Theodore Napolean. In 1852 they left Tennessee to settle in the southeast corner of Johnson County, Missouri. Stephen had become a Methodist minister as well as a farmer. In a tribute to this family in Morris County, Kansas much later, it was said that at the time of this move, they were heartbroken to have to leave little Harvey's grave in Tennessee, so they had lost an infant prior to this move. Robert Wesley was born in Johnson County in 1855 and John Adolphus was born there in 1858.

Life became very difficult in this part of Missouri prior to the Civil War. Stephen and Diannah were staunch supporters of the Union while many of their neighbors supported the South. On January 21, 1864, Stephen signed the paper necessary for his seventeen year old son, James Lafayette, to join the Union army. Later that same year, Stephen and Diannah sold their farm in Johnson County, Missouri and moved to Johnson County, Kansas where her parents lived. Soon thereafter, they purchased a farm nearby in Miami County, Kansas. After the war was over, James and a number of his fellow soldiers were tired, hungry, and were badly mistreated by their commander. With the audacity that comes with youth, they left their post and just went home. They were charged with desertion but were never tried and, through correspondence with an understanding officer, James' desertion charge was removed in 1899. The family stayed together there in Miami County until Harriet Elizabeth married Peter Frederick Black on April 11,1867.

Shortly after the wedding, Stephen, Diannah and the four boys abruptly left their home in Miami County and moved to Morris County, Kansas where there were few settlers, and they built a home on what later became known as Haun Creek. Stephen Courtney had changed his given and surnames and was now Andrew Jackson Haun. Diannah and the boys kept their given names, but the entire family now called themselves the Haun family. Much research has been done to find the reason for the name change and the move to Morris County. My husband's Aunt Frances and Lee Haun, grandson of Theodore, who had never met, remembered hearing stories about it being because of a stolen horse. Jane Haun of Ponca City, Oklahoma remembered her mother telling, very quietly, that they were "really supposed to be Courtneys, but don't tell anybody." Kathy Lyons, a great granddaughter of Robert Haun, said that her mother remembered hearing that either Robert Haun or his father had shot and killed a man during an argument, and they had to move quickly in order to keep him from being arrested. This gave me something to go on, and I went to the State Archives in Topeka to go through the newspapers of this time period. I found an interesting article in the Johnson County paper in mid-May 1867 that told of a man shooting his brother during a heated argument. He was arrested, held for just a few hours, then released. And then in the middle of the night, the entire family had packed up and left. No names were mentioned. There is just one problem with trying to link this incident to the Courtney/Haun family -- neither Stephen nor Diannah had a brother that had died in May 1867, in Kansas or anywhere else. There are no police or court records for this time period, so I think this is as close as as we are going to get in solving this mystery. The Hauns went to great lengths to protect their new identity; even the probate records of Stephen and Diannah mention their son James L. Haun living in Texas, although James had resumed the use of the Courtney name when he moved to Texas in 1871. No one knows why he did this. He sold the farm he had purchased in Morris County to his father, and also sold land that he had purchased in Johnson County, Missouri as James L. Courtney.

It is interesting, I think, to look at how the descendants of JLC and the descendants of his three Haun brothers have gotten together. There had been whispers about a name change, and about twenty years ago Max Courtney of Fort Worth and Harold Haun of Council Grove began to research their family history. Max uncovered the Haun connection, and Harold uncovered the Courtney connection. While on a business trip, Max traveled through Kansas and decided to take a short detour to Council Grove. He looked through the phone book and found a listing for an attorney, Harold Haun. They got together, and one of the first things Max saw was the original, undamaged picture of Diannah and her four sons. This, of course, confirmed the relationship to their satisfaction, and since that time, information and pictures have been exchanged. It does bring a lot of satisfaction to be able to expand your family history, but most people rely on documented facts, not hopes and dreams.

 

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