Johannes Georg Kornegay

Male 1680 - 1711  (31 years)

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  • Name Johannes Georg Kornegay 
    Born 1680  Upper Rhine, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 17 Sep 1711  Craven Co. NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Guide to Ghostwalk 2010 - the Best of 300 Years in New Bern, North Carolina

      John George Kornegay, who was born before 1660 in Germany . . . was killed in the 1711 Tuscarora Indian raids in New Bern, North Carolina. John George Kornegay came to America with other Swiss German Palatines in one of two Flotillas recruited by Baron Christopher Von Graffenreid in 1710.

      John George was massacred in the 22nd of September, 1711 raid along with all of his family, with the exception of his young son, George.


      Christoph von Graffenried, 1st Baron of Bernberg, was a British peer from Switzerland who founded New Bern, NC. The Lords Proprietors of Carolina granted to him ten thousand acres on the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers. Von Graffenried recruited a group of German refugees from the Palatine region, which had been ravaged by French warfare and an extremely harsh winter. They were willing to try starting over in Carolina.

      On the sea, the settlers were attacked by French privateers who stripped them of everything they brought. Once in the New World, the settlers sold everything that remained, except the clothes on their backs.

      John Lawson was the Surveyor General of Carolina. Lawson promised to show von Graffenried and his settlers a perfect place to establish a community. He took them to a site at the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, which they named New Bern. The first season, the settler's crops did not do well. Von Graffenried returned to Europe to get supplies and additional settlers. He returned to the colony unscathed.

      In addition to a lack of food and supplies, there was great tension between the settlers and the Tuscarora Indians of the Neuse River region. They were separated by language and culture, especially related to their differing concepts of land and property rights. The Tuscarora were an Iroquoian-speaking people, distantly related to the Five Tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy based in central and western New York. The settlers had unwittingly planned their new settlement on the site of an old Tuscarora village. In 1711, von Graffenried and the settlers evicted a group of Tuscarora from nearby lands without payment, and von Graffenried assumed the title "Landgrave of Carolina." Retaliatory raids by the Tuscarora, under Chief Hancock, led to deaths and damage to the settlement.


      They attacked homesteads along the Roanoke, Neuse, and Trent rivers and in the city of Bath beginning on September 22, 1711 and killed hundreds of settlers, including several key colonial political figures, such as John Lawson of Bath, while driving off others. Christoph von Graffenried was a prisoner of the Tuscarora during the raids, and he recounted stories of women impaled on stakes, more than 80 infants slaughtered, and more than 130 settlers killed in the New Bern settlement. [Von Graffenried and Todd, Christoph Von Graffenried's Account of the Founding of New Bern, p. 238]

      NC Governor Edward Hyde asked South Carolina for assistance. South Carolina sent Colonel John Barnwell with a force of 30 white officers and about 500 Native Americans from South Carolina, including Yamasee, Wateree, Congaree, Waxhaw, Pee Dee, and Apalachee. Barnwell's expedition traveled over 300 miles and arrived in January 1712. There the force was supplemented by 50 local militiamen and attacked the Tuscarora, who retreated to Fort Neoheroka in Greene County. The Tuscarora negotiated a truce and released their prisoners

      Documents preserved in the British Museum Library, London England , Board of Trade Misc., Vol 2, Pg.57.

      May 6th 1709 A list of all the poor German lately come over from the Palatinate (Rine River Area) into this Kingdom Tolsen in St. Catharines. (1) Hornigh (Kornegay now) John George , age 38 years, his wife (no age) , sons (2) 2 8 and 2 years old , daughters (2) 12 and 10 years old. Member of the Reformed Church . Husbandman and Winedresser.

      Sailed for America in Jan, 1710, with a group sponsored by Barron Christopher von Graffenreid and settled in Craven County , N.C. near the present city of New Bern.


      The Olde Kinston Gazette, March, 1998, "Indians Massacre Neuse and Trent River Settlers" Bonnie Edwards

      Although the records are incomplete and sketchy, historians have managed to gather enough information to piece together a general idea of what occurred and why it happened.

      Each family of settlers had been sent to the colonies with a promise of 250 acres and all the supplies they would need to live on the frontier. The settlement of "Palatines" had already been routed from Europe after being burned out of their homes in the Heidelberg vicinity of Palatinate on the Rhine River in Germany.

      Six hundred had sailed from England. Three hundred arrived in the New World only to be set upon by French privateers who ravaged their ship and took a lot of what they had left in the world. Next they came into what is now eastern North Carolina to find that the land they had been promised was not theirs (the property had been mortgaged). Neither were there any supplies waiting for them. Often, they had to sell what little clothing they had left in order to buy food.

      The 300 Palatines who arrived in the New World in 1710 were followed soon afterwards by Baron Christopher DeGraffenreid and about 1,500 Swiss settlers who started New Berne.

      It was the nearby Indians who befriended them and taught them how to raise crops indigenous to the area. That is why, a year later on the morning before the New Moon in September, they never suspected that a massacre was imminent. They not only believed the Indians to be harmless, but many of the settlers considered them friends.

      But the tribal councils across the region had spoken. The land had to be cleansed of the interlopers. All small settlements - with no exceptions - were to be hit on the same day, and no one was to be spared.

      No one knows why the Indians attacked so unexpectedly and so fiercely. Historian Walter Clark in his account entitled "Indian Massacre And Tuscarora War 1711-1713" speculated that two of the more feasible reasons for the "bloody and remarkable outbreak of 1711 were the steady encroachment upon hunting and fishing grounds that threatened their livelihood and forced them to move farther and farther from the burying grounds of their ancestors, and they saw the whites engage in conflicts between themselves. This made the settlers appear divided and weakened. It encouraged the Indians to seize opportunity to remove the intruders."

      One of the greatest grievances, however, was the white practice of kidnapping Indians, particularly women and children. The practice was carried on so extensively that, according to "The History of a Southern State North Carolina" by Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome of the University of North Carolina, the Pennsylvania legislature in 1705 passed a law against "the further importation of Indian slaves from Carolina."

      De Graffenreid, however, considered the main cause of the war to be the unfair treatment and trickery against the Indians by white traders. Lefler and Newsome quoted him as saying the whites "cheated these Indians in trading, and would not allow them to hunt near their plantations, and under that pretense took away from them their game, arms and ammunition," and that "these poor Indians, insulted in many ways by a few rough Carolinians more barbarous and unkind than the savages themselves, could not stand such treatment much longer, and began to think of their safety and of revenge."

      The Tuscaroras began their march to all points on September 21, sending scouts in among the whites to reconnoiter. In what appeared to be a coordinated attack, the Indians struck without warning all the small settlements nested along the Neuse and Trent Rivers and their tributaries.

      As the sky grew dark, larger numbers appeared at the white settlements, asking for food as they had often done since the whites had run off most of the game which had once been plentiful. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to the settlers.

      "At dawn on the 22nd the war whoop was heard throughout the colony," according to historian Walter Clark in his account entitled Indian Massacre And Tuscarora War 1711-1713. "The domesticated Indians in the homes of the whites answered the signal of those lurking in the woods, and the massacre began.

      "No age or sex was spared. The slaughter was indiscriminate and the wonder is any escaped. Each small band of Indians, after killing all the whites they could find in one small settlement, would proceed down the river to the next. By dark, they had reached New Berne, where one third of the population was wiped out."

      Stanley A. South in "Indians In North Carolina" described the attack as "swift and vicious." He found an account in the Colonial Records of North Carolina, that said the survivors were so terrorized they fled their settlements without burying their dead, leaving the bodies of their loved ones "a prey to wolves and vultures."

      Not all the area Tuscaroras attacked the settlers, according to East Carolina University Archaeologist Dr. John E. Byrd, who is currently excavating Neoheroka fort, a site in Greene County where the two-year war ended. From evidence unearthed at several archaeological digs at eastern North Carolina Indian settlements and analysis of historical records, Dr. Byrd has discovered that the majority of the area Tuscarora did not take part in the massacre, and many Indian communities actually opposed it. The leader of the massacre was a Tuscarora Indian who had assumed the name "John Hancock."

      Dr. Byrd explained that it was not unusual for the Indians to use assumed names of colonists when dealing with the settlers, because the settlers had difficulty pronouncing and spelling their Indian names.The Indian John Hancock was a major chief at a village called Catechna near present day Grifton who had enlisted help from Neusiok and Olgonquin speaking Indians. Neither of these two groups was Tuscarora.

      Dr. Byrd said traditional North Carolina-history has given the Tuscarora a "bad wrap," depicting them as blood thirsty murderers. "It's important that people understand the abuses endured by the Indians for a decade and the events that led up to the massacre," he said. "Had the tables been turned, had the Indians been kidnapping colonial women and children, the colonists would have resorted to violence very quickly."

      No one knows how people survived the massacre. All anyone knows is that the surviving children grew up, married and had many children of their own who became ancestors of prominent families in the area.

      George was the only one in his family to survive. Rescue teams from New Berne were sent to comb the region for survivors. The men took the orphans to New Berne where families took them to raise until their 18th birthday. All were taught to read and write and trained in the foster family's trade.

      George Kornegay was placed under guardianship of Captain Jacob Miller who served as one of the earliest magistrates and presiding justices of the Craven County Court. The orphans grew up on Captain Miller's plantation at Green Spring on the south side of the Neuse. The plantation was frequently used as a meeting place of court sessions.


      N.C. State Archives Craven County N.C. Court Minutes, 1712-1713.

      August 1713 Disposition of orphans. Jacob Muller (Miller) took into his care two orphans and promised to teach thenm to read and write and take care of them until 21 years of age , and to have them taught a carpenters trade. These orphans were George Kornegay and George Koonce. (George Koonce , Craven County Will, Prob. Abt 1772)
    Person ID I12055  Master File
    Last Modified 21 Dec 2020 

     1. George Kornegay,   b. 1701, Upper Palatinate, Rhine River, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1773, Craven Co. NC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
    Last Modified 26 Feb 2012 
    Family ID F7132  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart