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Some Paternal Ancestors
of Edwin Brown (“Big Doc”) KUGLER Sr

Some years ago I became afflicted by, addicted to, some would say obsessed with, family history research. I consider all ancestors of my grandchildren to be fair game, so, besides my own, I have investigated the forebears of my former wife, Elizabeth (“E-Bette”) Kugler Shidler, and those of my son-in-law. Unfortunately, for the longest time I have had little luck with my ex-wife’s Kugler ancestry beyond her father, “Big Doc”, and his father, Frank Cannon Kugler.

However, while surfing the Web, I stumbled on a website1 called “Our Family Tree”, hosted by Ray Gurganus and containing North Carolina Genealogies, with special emphasis on Beaufort County. The county seat of Beaufort County is Washington, E‑Bette Kugler Shidler’s home town. The genealogies appear to be largely based on a two-volume work, Some Colonial and Revolutionary Families of North Carolina, by Marilu Burch Smallwood2, which in turn refers to Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution lineage books and to census data.

Included are lineages for the parents of E-B’s father “Big Doc” Kugler. The data show that Big Doc’s father, Frank Cannon Kugler, had a grandmother who was Eliza Rittenhouse,3 which could explain why one of Big Doc‘s brothers was named John Rittenhouse Kugler. Eliza Rittenhouse was in turn a granddaughter of Daniel Bray, who was one of the officers responsible for providing the boats used for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776. Moreover, another of Big Doc's ancestors, Johannes/John Kugler Sr, rented some of those boats to Daniel Bray! Wouldn't they have been surprised to learn that Daniel's granddaughter, Eliza Rittenhouse, would one day marry John's grandson, James Kugler?!

Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emmanuel Leutze, 1851 Painting by Emmanuel Leutze, 1851, from http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~robert/Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware.jpg.

Washington Crossing the Delaware

On December 25, 1776, General George Washington led his troops in a surprise attack against the British, who had settled into winter quarters in New Jersey. The American forces crossed the Delaware River at night and defeated the British and Hessian troops first at Trenton and then at Princeton. These victories, although minor, dramatically improved the morale of the American forces. Your ancestor, Captain (later General) Daniel Bray, was one of those given the duty of procuring the boats used in the crossing.

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The progenitors given by Smallwood for Big Doc’s mother, Charlotte Caroline Brown (“Muryer”) include some of her Braun/Brown forebears, whom I had discovered earlier, as well as many residents of the Dutch colony of New Netherlands, including people who were in the very first boatload of colonists in 1624. One of these ancestors gave birth to the first non-Native-American child born in the new colony, though you are descended from a sister born later. I hope to deal with Muryer’s Dutch ancestors in the future.

Big Doc’s paternal ancestors consist of immigrants from England, Germany, and the Netherlands, who settled in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Among these, the earliest known immigrant was Thomas Pettit, who came from England in 1630; the last to arrive was Johannes Kugler from Germany in 1752. His descendants intermarried with families that had been in the New World for up to a century or more. Through the years these families all converged on Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Finally, in the 1850s, Big Doc’s grandfather, George Washington Kugler, left Hunterdon County for Maryland, though he later moved back to New Jersey, albeit not to Hunterdon. From there in the late 1800s, his son, Big Doc’s father Frank Cannon Kugler, migrated to Beaufort County, North Carolina.

These forebears include a wide assortment of individuals. Many were farmers, of course—in earlier times called “yeomen”. But there were also a preacher or two, tavern keepers, land speculators, millers, a tailor, a shoemaker, a seamstress, pacifists, and soldiers. A raid by Native Americans killed one of your forebears; his wife, also your ancestor, remarried and lost a husband to the Indians a second time. Another ancestor may have served as translator in dealings with the natives. There was a Quaker family that was hounded out of Salem, MA, by the Puritans, a Baptist minister who led a mob that beat up the county sheriff and seized and broke his weapons, and a presumably well-to-do landowner convicted of stealing his neighbor's pigs. Another forebear owned the land on which the New Jersey state capitol now stands. The brother of one of your ancestors was a Tory who fled to Canada when his property was confiscated at the end of the Revolution. His cousin, who also had Tory brothers, was said to have been a soldier on our side. You may not be thrilled to learn that some of your relatives (though not ancestors), described under a pseudonym, were the subjects of H H Goddard's The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness. On the other hand, there is a good chance you are descended from kings of England, including Alfred the Great and William the Conqueror, and of France, such as Charlemagne, as well as numerous other royalty and nobility (see Royal Ancestors?.). . . . Your ancestors are a mixed bag of people whose interesting stories I'll attempt to summarize.

Throughout the text, the names of direct ancestors are shown in teal. “Ancestor Chart” is a pedigree chart of some of Big Doc's paternal ancestors.


1 Gurganus (ws). [For the expansion of this and other citations, see the References page.]

2 Smallwood (1964), Smallwood (1969).

3 In fact, Frank Cannon Kugler‘s other grandmother was Margaret Rittenhouse, a second cousin once removed of Eliza!

Background pattern from Absolute Background Textures .