Monroe County CANSLERS
Submitted By: Ruth Hunt
Conrad Cansler, the youngest child of Phillip Cansler, a German immigrant who
Pennsylvania U.S.A. during 1749. The family later moved to North Carolina.
Conrad Cansler had six daughters, all born in Lincoln County North Carolina.
of immense bulk, weighing about 300 pounds with a pronounced German accent (brogue). His
neighbor's barely understood him. So, he employed an English-speaking woman to teach his
children to speak English well.
Conrad, was very liberal man and though he owned several slaves, he treated his
slaves with much
more liberty than other slave owners. Conrad's daughter, Catherine, born about 1805, became
infatuated with one slave and later became a mother to a mulatto baby boy. However, before
giving birth, she moved to Monroe County to have her baby with dignity. Conrad and his
daughter Catherine Cansler settled in Monroe County during the early 1830's. Conrad bought his
land from John Carson in 1843. Prior to this, he lived near Hiawassi College.
Catherine Cansler had a total 6 sons, 3 or 4 of them were mulatto. All born free.
Cansler b. 1835, Andrew Jackson Cansler, b. 1836 and Martin Van Buren Cansler b. 1838 all
listed in Monroe County Census 1850. Catherine was a devoted mother who kept her family
together. She looked after their education and her descendants became highly regarded
educators, lawyers, farmers, engineers, business leaders, social workers, fashion professionals,
It was later rumored that Appius (AP) was Hugh's father. Appius was a free man of
was well known in the community in Monroe County. He was medium height and of dark brown
color with hair almost straight in texture, to which he gave considerable attention. AP lived alone
in a small house some several miles in distant from the home of Catherine Cansler. His speech
and language was much more superior to the average Negro at that time.
According to Monroe County deed book O pager 201 and 202, dated 6/13/1850,
purchased a Negro slave from her father Conrad, the slave's name was Appuis. Therefore, I
concluded that Ap was the father of Catherine's mulatto sons.
Hugh Lawson Cansler, b. 1835, was raised in Monroe County. He studied three
years with Tom
Peace and learned to be a wheelwright. Tom Peace was an Outright Unionist and antislavery man.
He was a magistrate and Blacksmith. He shop also included woodwork and wheelwright. Hugh
worked as a wheelwright as Tom Peaces' shop before the Civil War.
Hugh and his family enjoyed a happy life in their Quaker town until the Civil war.
In 1861 Hugh
took his family and in-laws the Scotts , and swiftly departed for Knoxville, Tennessee. There, it
was more assurance for protection for free men of color in Knoxville. There was a greater
possibility of southerners that were bitter towards them because their mother was white.
Martin Van Buren Cansler was registered as a free person of color in Monroe
in July 1859 (Monroe County Tennessee Records 1820-1870 Volume II, by Reba Bayless Boyer,
1870 Page 53). This record states that Martin was a Free Boy, dark mulatto aged 20 and that he
was born and raised in Monroe County. It also stated that he was the son of Catherine Cansler
and G.M. Cusom employed him.
Hugh Lawson Cansler's father in law was W.B. Scott who was a newspaper editor.
W. B. Scott and Son
Editor of the Colored Tennessean
Established in Nashville, the first newspaper edited and published by Negroes in Tennessee after a
little more than a year they moved the plant to Maryville, Tennessee.
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