Casting Out Devils

Speaking Conservative Truth to Evil-Doers

5 Years an Indentured Servant

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I here make reference to the recent movie, 12 Years a Slave, for indeed my ancestry can be traced back to indentured servants.  My mother, lifelong family historian/genealogist (non-professional) has followed our lineage, on her father’s side, beyond Dutch Fork, South Carolina, to the Old Country.  Her father’s surname, after being Americanized, was Kinard.

Johann Keinath hailed from Winterlingen, a farming community located in west central Germany, east of Strasbourg.  Johann and his wife came to America as servants indentured to Henry Middleton in the 1740s, contracted to serve a five-year term at his plantation called Middleton Place.  As it happened, both Johann and his wife died during their indenture.  Fortunately, their sons survived, and took up residence in Dutch Fork.

Henry Middleton possibly by Benjamin West ca 1771

Henry Middleton possibly by Benjamin West ca 1771

Henry Middleton (1717 – 1784) acquired what came to be known as Middleton Place by marriage.  Henry was a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, and served briefly as president of the First.  His son, Arthur, was a revolutionary and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Arthur’s son Henry became Governor of South Carolina (1810–1812) and a U.S. Representative (1815–1819).  Middleton Place, 15 miles from Charleston, has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is a popular tourist destination.

I do not know how the lot of an indentured servant compared with that of an African slave.  I do know that runaway indentured servants were subject to pursuit by law enforcement officers and referred to as “property.”  Apparently, it was hard on Johann und seine Frau.  Life in the early colonies was certainly no bed of roses for the common folk.

Seems to me this whole story has the makings of a TV miniseries, perhaps an American version of “Downton Abbey.”

Perhaps some day I will get the opportunity to visit the site of my forebears’ indenture, and whiff the air of freedom postponed.  Interestingly, my granddad, Tom Kinard, descendent of indentured German servants, after serving in France in World War I, was afterward assigned to the Army of Occupation and quartered with a German family near Coblenz.

©2014 Paul A. Hughes


Written by biblequestion

March 11, 2014 at 5:05 AM

2 Responses

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  1. I am a direct descendant of Johann Keinath. As you mentioned, following their indenture, they moved to Dutch Fork (now the Prosperity/Pomaria region). In fact, the Kinard (name change) cemetery is located there with many of his descendants. It is of interest to me that the MIddleton name is carried on in the Kinard family. For example Michael Middleton Kinard and his son, Joseph Middleton Kinard. This seems odd since they were indentured servants with a family name. Do you have any information concerning this or any of the other descendants? Thank you, Ron Jackson (

    Ron Jackson

    August 31, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    • Now that is interesting. Where are you located? I cannot immediately lay hands on all my late mother’s genealogy records, but our branch of the Kinards was supposed to have come from Newberry County, SC, in the mid-19th Century, and many ended up in Polk County, East Texas, with many still remaining in this part of Texas. My mother was descended from David Kinard, Thomas Peter Langford (or Lankford) Kinard, Anderson Derrick Kinard, and then her father, Thomas Josiah Kinard I. TPL Kinard served in the Confederate Army in the Coastal Artillery, his exact grave location is now lost, but he has a Confederate marker in the City Cemetery in Livingston. T. J. Kinard I served in World War I, T. J. Kinard Jr., my late uncle, was a Marine in Korea, and my cousin, T. J. Kinard III, lives in Austin, as do his 2 brothers.

      Many Kinards are related to the Crawfords, and listed on their Web site:

      My father is incorrectly described on that site as James Barry Huges, when he is really James Barrie Hughes.

      Nice to run into you on the Web!


      September 13, 2015 at 8:47 PM

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