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Hans Michael Goodnight
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Hans Michael Goodnight was one of the many thousands of Germans who fled from intolerable conditions in his homeland and sought refuge in the British colonies of North America during the first three quarters of the eighteenth century. The exodus from Germany, and particularly for the south German states, began after the War of the Spanish Succession had devastated the Palatinate in 1707. By October 1709, thirteen thousand impoverished German emigrants were congregated in London. The English were kind to them and passed many of them on as settlers to their colonies in America. Later, William Penn invited oppressed Germans still in the homeland to come to his new colony where he could guarantee them religious liberty as well as cheap land. A tremendous immigration began, and it is estimated that by 1775, there were 225,000 Germans in the colonies. Michael was one of the "Palatines," as they came to be called here. He also was a Baptist and a refugee from religious persecution in his native land of Germany.

In 1727, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, alarmed at the vast numbers of continental foreigners being incessantly landed there, passed a law requiring all male continental immigrants between the ages of 16 and 60 to sign certain oaths of allegiance upon arriving at Philadelphia. Ship captains were also required to submit lists of all male adult immigrants imported in their ships. Michael came to America in the ship Neptune and signed the Oath on 4 Oct 1752.

The earliest record of Michael after his landing in 1752, seemed to show that he was a resident of Bedford County, Virginia in 1755. The tax list shows that Michael did not remain long in Pennsylvania and that he tarried awhile in Virginia. The family chronicles indicate that Michael Goodnight, whose wife had died, married Mary Landers. The removal of Michael and Mary to their residence in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, is however, clearly documented in a deed at some time between his marriage in 1762 and May 1, 1764. He unquestionably resided there approximately twelve years, and the Mecklenburg Convention, which is said to have adopted an early Declaration of Independence, met on May 20, 1775, precisely one year before Michael sold his land in that county. Michael Goodnight was appointed constable for one of the districts of Mecklenburg County in 1775.

After landing in Pennsylvania, living later in Virginia, removed thence to North Carolina, and finally migrated during Revolutionary days to the "dark and bloody ground of Kentucky," where he met death on the "wilderness road."


Account of Hans Michael Goodnight's Death

From History of the Goodnight Family in America by Mrs. W S Conover & Mrs. L F Ison

The family version of the removal to Kentucky and the killing of Michael Goodnight by Indians is told in this manner: "After locating and building a cabin on his land near Harlan's Station in what later became Mercer County, Michael Goodnight returned to North Carolina and then set out again to Kentucky in July 1781, with his family and household effects. They were a caravan composed of other pioneer families, who were guarded by 30 armed men. No serious mishap befell the emigrant train until it arrived within half a day's journey of Harlan's Station, where a camp was pitched for the night. All was secure but at midnight the fearful cry of the savage was heard, followed by gun shots, screams and confusion. Michael Goodnight was killed in the first onslaught and his son, John, was severely wounded, but he succeeded in making his escape. Mrs. Goodnight was expecting another child at the time. She fled into the dark forest. Many of the immigrants were massacred, but a few escaped to the station where the alarm was given. A party was made up to search for Mrs. Goodnight and she was found two days later in woods lying prostate upon the ground in a semi-conscious state, her face covered with a blanket. She was taken to Harlan's Station where four months later, Jan 1, 1782 a son, Isaac Goodnight was born. A curious circumstance, preserved in the family traditions, is that from his birth until the day of his death Isaac could never go to sleep without covering his face"

Lincoln Co, KY Appraisal Book 1 page 69-71

Sundry Articles belonging to the Estate of MICHAEL GOODNIGHT which was not sold, which MARY GOODNIGHT widow of said MICHAEL kept at the appraisement:

to 2 mares appraised at 15 each 30 - -

1 pair spoon mules 10 -

Iron Wedges and malli rings 18 -

1 pair steelyard 30pr 1 10 -

a parcel of pewter L 5.10 5 10

1 steer 23pr 1 3

4 Cows s25 1 Bason 7/6 15 14 6

1 frying pan 1 iron pot 16

2 barrels 1 churn 2 pailes 3 rasoos

1 hone & strop 5