It was 162 years ago, 5 October 1857, in Navarre, Stark County, Ohio, that Casmear P. (CALL ME C.P.) Koontz [my great grandfather] was born to Ezra Peter and Mary Ann Allen Koontz. From Ohio, the family of Ezra Koontz removed to Noble County, Indiana were C.P. met and married Phebie Ann Gardner, daughter of William G. Gardner [nee Wilhelm Gotthardt Gaertner] and Mary Ann Cummings Gardner. Ezra Koontz was a cabinet maker and his son, C.P. followed in the family tradition. C.P. and Phebie were the parents of 5 children: Essie P (1887), Ethel Jeannette (1889), Florence Marie (1895) [my grandmother], William Peter (1898), and Henry Allen (1900). The two older children were born in Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana. Between the birth of Ethel and Florence, the family relocated to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, where the three later children were all born.
According to his daughter, Florence, C.P. Koontz was given solely the initials of C.P. as a name by his parents. Then, in response to pressure, while in the United States Army, to assign a name to the initials given him, he chose Casmear Permaski in honor of the Polish General that he admired. In later documents, he used the first name of Casmear and the name Camear P. is engraved on his tombstone. This appears to be a great bit of family lore, since the name Casmear appears in documents long before his service in the Army. The likelihood that the P. stood for Peter is also quite high, but unproven, due to the high use of the name throughout the Koontz male line.
Grandpa Koontz was a cabinet maker and while perfecting his craft, he spent time at he Ohio State Pen. learning the technique to cane chair seats. When this came up in conversation in later years, his daughter, Florence, was quick to point out, Papa came home every night! He was not an inmate!
I am fortunate to have two items that were Grandpa Koontz’. I have his rocking chair which family stories persisted that if anyone coming to the Koontz home dared to sit in it, Grandpa Koontz would just stand next to it until they got up!
Grandpa Koontz also was a cabinet maker, by trade, and it appears that he made the cedar chest for his youngest daughter, my grandmother.
The chest is made of pure cedar with copper fittings.
Grandpa and Grandpa Koontz had a New and Used Furniture Store on Broad Street in Columbus. Essie, Ethel, and Florence all put in time as clerks. I am not sure what chores were assigned to Bill and Heinie, but both of the boys graduated from Ohio State University.
Grandpa Koontz died on 12 December 1914. Grandma Koontz continued on in the store until her death in 1935.