The New Jersey Kanouse Family

This family stems from two brothers who came to America about 1750 from Germany. Some histories incorrectly state that they came from Holland; one even incorrectly states that they came over about 1720, before they were even born! The two brothers were Johan Georg Knauss, known as John George "Honiery" Kanouse, and Jacob (?Jakob) Knauss, known as Jacob Kanouse. Honiery, also known as Yerry, settled in Bergen County, New Jersey. Jacob settled in Morris County.


Origins of the New Jersey Kanouse Family,
from Munsell's History of Morris County (New Jersey)

The Kanouse family were of German origin, the name being originally spelled "Knauss." All of that name in this vicinity and in the vicinity of Newfoundland are traceable to two brothers who came from Wurttemburg, Germany, about 1750. One, Jacob, settled in Rockaway Valley, near Powerville, and the other, called "Honiery," settled in Bergen County (now Passaic), near John P. Brown's hotel at Newfoundland; his old homestead farm is now the property of John P. Brown, who is his great-grandson.

There is a well-authenticated tradition pertaining to these two brothers that they emigrated to America before they had attained to full age, and were accompanied by a half-brother who was older, a son of their mother by her first marriage; that they were provided with a moderate amount of means, enough to give them a start in the world and pay their expenses. When the vessel arrived in New York their half-brother, in whose keeping the funds had been placed, under some plausible excuse, but possibly in collusion withe the captain, went ashore first, and failed to return. They were then told that their passage had not been paid, and that they would have to be sold to service to pay their expenses, which the captain proceeded to do. Such it appears was the practice with captains of ships in those days.

The brother Honiery was sold to Luke Ryerson, who resided on the east side of Pequannock River near Pompton Plains. While serving there he became acquainted with a German girl working with the same family, and who had been bought by Ryerson under like circumstances. Honiery after serving out his term also served for the balance of the girls' term, and took her for his wife. There are descendants of Luke Ryerson living, who distinctly recollect hearing their ancestors speak of this circumstance of young "Knauss" and the German girl, and that after they were married they went away and settled near Newfoundland, where in after years he became the owner of a nice farm.

Jacob after serving his term settled prior to 1766 at Rockaway Valley, near Powerville, in Pequannock township. The records of Pequannock township show that in 1766 a stray heifer was posted by him, and the county records show that he bought land in 1768, in the description of which mention is made of a brook running near the house of Jacob Kanouse, thus warranting the inference that he had previously bought land and built a house. That homestead, an old- fashioned frame building, is standing and occupied by the widow and children of Daniel Kanouse, who was a grandson. Jacob Kanouse died in 1821, at an advanced age.

Descendants of Johan Georg "Honiery" Knauss

Descendants of Jacob Knauss


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