"Whisenant" Ancestors

Ancestors of Esther Lou Owens  (1882-1956)


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The Whisenant branch goes back to the Swiss family name, Visinand.  Some surnames seem to change little over time while others have many different forms.   The Whisenant surname has many variations.  Some of these are Visinand (the original name of our earliest  French speaking ancestor from Switzerland), Visanant, Wizenhunt, Whisenhunt, Whissenant,  Whisnant, and Whisenant.  There are other variations and sometimes children in the same family spelled their surname differently and thereby started a new branch with that spelling.

We have two different ancestors from this family who were sisters.   Both appear to be the daughters of Henry Whisenant.(1770-1823).  Cassie Whisenant was born abt 1804 and married John Owens on 29 May, 1822.  Adaline Lydia Whisenant was born abt 1814 and married Redden Smith on 17 April 1831.  Another sibling of Cassie and Adaline, Abner Whisenant,  also had a descendent who married one of the Owens’ descendents.  John Owens’ 2nd great granddaughtrer, Juanita Owens married Abner’s descendent, Guy Whisenant, Sr.


Our earliest known ancestor from this line was Guillaume Visinand.  He was born in 1555 in Maracon, Lausanne, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland and died in 1584.  The next two generations, Jean Visinand and Estienne Visinand remained in the Vaud area of Switzerland throughout their life. 

Jean Visinand was born on October 20, 1583 to Guillame Visinand in Corsier, Canton Vaud, Switzerland. He died in 1625.   Jean married Eve Mellin on February 7, 1609 and had at least seven children, one of which was Estienne Visinand, our next ancestor.

Estienne Visinand was born on January 13, 1610 in Corsier, Canton Vaud, Switzerland.  He died in 1651.  He married Andreaz Daunet about 1644 in Maracon, Lausanne, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland and had at least three children.  One of these was Francois Visinand.

Switzerland to Germany

Francois Visinand, was born on January 18, 1647 in Marcon, Lausanne, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland.  Sometime between 1678 and 1684, Francois moved his family from Switzerland to Germany.   Once he left the French speaking Vaud area of Switzerland and moved to Germany, he was known by the German translation of Francois (Franz) Visinand.  He settled first in Edenkoben where he was a winemaker at Heilsbruck.  Before he died (about 1700) he moved to nearby Hasslock.   He had Phillip Peter Visinand, who was our immigrant ancestor.

Germany to Pennsylvania

Phillip Peter Visinand was the first of our ancestors in this lineage to arrive in America.  At the time of his arrival, what is now the USA was still under the control of the British.  He arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Europe aboard the "Snow Lowder" on October 14, 1731. The ship left Rotterdam, Holland with a stopover in Dover, England before its final destination in Philadelphia.   Phillip Peter was born on April 10, 1684 in Heilsbruck, Germany,  where his father, Francois (Franz) was a winemaker for several years.  He was christened in the Reformed Church in Kloister, Keilsbrick, Germany.  On July 9, 1710, he married Anna Helena Neff in Hassloch, Edenkoben, Palantine Province, Germany.   She was born before 1695 in the same town as her marriage and died about 1750 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Phillip Peter died about 1744 in Muddy Creek, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The third of their seven children, John (Johan) Adam Whisenhunt (notice the surname spelling change), became the next in our lineage for this branch.

Pennsylvania to North Carolina

John Adam Whisenhunt was born on September 2, 1719 in Hassloch, Edenkoben, Germany.  He was christened on September 8, 1719.  About 1734 he married Anna Barbara Eaker, born in Alsace Lorraine, France.   John Adam died on April 11, 1784 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.  The Whisenhunts came to North Carolina sometime between the birth of their last child Anna Barbara in 1751 and John Adam’s death in 1784.  The first of their eight children, George Michael Whisenhunt , became the next generation in our Whisenant ancestry.

North Carolina

George Michael Whisenhunt was born about 1734 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  He appeared in the census in 1790 in Randolph County, North Carolina. He was in Burke County, North Carolina by 1802.  He died about 1815 in Burke County, North Carolina.  He was buried at Quaker Meadows Presbyterian Church, Burke County, North Carolina.  He was a farmer and served in the military in Lincoln County, North Carolina as part of Captain Moses More’s Militia Company.  George Michael Whisenhunt and Eve Carmon were married on December 31, 1762 in Rowan County, North Carolina.  The third of their known children Henry Whisenant became the next person in our line of descent through this family name. 

North Carolina to South Carolina to Alabama

Henry Whisenant was born about 1770 in North Carolina.  His first child, Adam was probably born in Lincoln County, North Carolina in 1789.   By the time his second child, William Jenkins Whisenant, was born (March 19, 1795), they were in York District, South Carolina. So, sometime between 1789 and 1795 they moved from North Carolina to South Carolina. The rest of their children were probably born in South Carolina, the last being born about 1812.  Sometime before 1823, he and his family moved to St. Clair County, Alabama.  It was here he died on August 26, 1823 in St. Clair County and was buried in Hopewell Baptist Cemetery.   His daughter, Cassie, had already married John Owens the previous year.  Adaline was only nine years of age at his death and didn’t marry Redden Smith until 1831.