In Maryline Cauthen Westenhaver's excellent book "The Cauthen Family History" she explains how the name Cauthen evolved from the original English name of Cawthorne. By her theory when the family moved to South Carolina the people that lived there dropped the "r" sound. The "Caw" had became "Cau" and the silent "e" was dropped, thus "Cauthen". Most if not all of the people that spell the name "Cauthen" she theorizes are descendants of the "Cauthen" brothers that settled in Lancaster county South Carolina and are descendants of Richard Cawthorne who came to America from England around 1674
In my own research on William Alexander Cauthen here is what I find:
The "r" is present in the spelling of the first entries in the bible that belonged to Elizabeth and William. Thus we have in entries until 1843:
Alexandria Cothern ( yes his name was spelled Alexandria, go figure)
James N Cothren
William A Cothren
Then in 1845:
Sary Jane Cauthen
Mary Elizabeth Cauthern
Charity Cilveby Cauthen
Joslin Jordan Cauthen
Thomas A. Caithen
Benjamin Franklin Cauthen
David A. Cauthen
From David on out the name was spelled "Cauthen" in the bible.
But the earlier marriage record of February 1839 for William and Elizabeth has:
Wm. A. Cauthen
In 1842 William and Elizabeth were witnesses in a murder hearing of their neighbor Emily Jane Mullins.
The spelling given was William A. Cothen and Elizabeth Cauthan with no "r".
And the marriage record of 1861 for William and Patsy Lovell has:
Patsy M Lovell
Rufus Edward Cauthen, grandson of William Alexander states in Maryline
Westenhaver's book that "my grandfather and two brothers came to
Tennessee from South Carolina. He stayed in Tennessee one brother went to
Alabama and the other brother went to Texas". I do find several
Cauthens in Maury county in the early 1800s along with some Cothrans. I
don't think that William and his brothers came to Tennessee but William's
father and his brothers. Why? Because in every census William states he
was born in Tennessee. Also because I can only find one person in Maury county
after 1813 with the spelling of Cauthen with no "r" and that is
William A Cauthen. This William A Cauthen is listed in the tax records from 1834
until 1843 renting 75 acres of school land. This cannot be our William because
he was too young to rent land in 1834 ( he was 13!). But this
William A. rented land in the same district as our William A. ! Bible records also seem
to indicate there is a William A. senior as there is an old entry of a William A.
Cauthen with no date or a date to faded to read.
If the Cauthens came from South Carolina the spelling was likely "Cauthen". There is reason to believe also that the family came to Tennessee from North Carolina. Many of the people that lived near William and Elizabeth in Maury County came from North Carolina and in the early 1800's people traveled in groups. More research is needed.
You may notice that I spell the name differently for different people. I have done this out of respect for the way the descendants now spell the name. For example as far as I can tell all of Benjamin Franklin Cauthron's (Sr.) descendants spell the name Cauthron. If you see someone's name spelled incorrectly please email me at Admin@ponyjoe.com and let me know.