Monroe County CANSLERS

Submitted By: Ruth Hunt

Conrad Cansler, the youngest child of Phillip Cansler, a German immigrant who arrived in York, 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. Conrad was a man 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. Hugh Lawson 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, etc..

It was later rumored that Appius (AP) was Hugh's father. Appius was a free man of color who 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, Catherine 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 County, Tennessee 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. feehouse/5922/

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