Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Low Dutch Colony of Kentucky

They say you're not much if you're not Dutch. Well, I think that's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it is a good thing to be Dutch. My Dutch ancestors settled in the 19th-Century Iowa Dutch colonies at Pella and Orange City. Yours perhaps went to Michigan or Chicago, or maybe Wisconsin. I think of the Midwest Dutch as the "New Dutch." That would make the 17th-Century Dutch in New York the "Old Dutch."

I don't have any "Old Dutch" ancestry, but I've become particularly interested in a slice of the New York-Pennsylvania-New Jersey Dutch who struck out for Kentucky in the 1880s. They formed a tight-knit colony in Mercer County, Kentucky, not far from the better known Shaker community at Pleasant Hill (to which a few Dutch defected). A group of descendants from this so-called "Low Dutch" colony is holding its third Dutch Cousins Gathering September 23-27 in Harrodsburg.

I'm going to attend. Why? Because I have been researching an elusive Methodist minister who married a daughter of the Dutch Cozine family about 1817. I don't know where John Fawkner was born, but he was married at least once before he married Ida Cozine. The Fawkner-Cozine marriage apparently didn't end very happily. I suspect religion might have played a part. At any rate, on my way to the Dutch Cousins reunion, I'm going to spend some time in the Kentucky state archives researching Ida's divorce suit against John.