Good Morning, Rick:
I just ran into your message on the Capener Genealogy Forum. As a descendant of the Capener family that settled in Baraboo, Wisconsin in roughly 1839 (it could have been earlier), I am fairly well versed in our family's history.
Two brothers, John and William Capener, came to England in the mid-1830's. John eventually moved to Baraboo, Wisconsin and set up shop as a musician and instrument maker. He was also partially responsible for the establishment of the dairy industry that grew up in the Breezy Hill area, and a few years ago, I visited the old Capener farm at Breezy Hill. It was pretty run down at the time, and I have no idea if it still stands.
Anyway, John had a son, Alfred, who was both a dairy farmer and Congregational Minister. Alfred had several sons -- one of whom was Howard Henry Capener. He moved about for many years farming in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, and serving as a Methodist Minister (for perhaps 20 years). Howard had two sons, Everett and Alvin. Alvin was my father. Both Everett and Alvin attended Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri. However, after a short period as an Evangelist, Everett Capener joined the military where he spent some 30-odd years, finally settling and establishing a home in the Seattle, Washington area. Calvin Capener, the NW landscape artist, is his son. Alvin Capener (my father) moved to Ilwaco, Washington (on the mouth of the Columbia River) and established a church for the Assemblies of God. In 1944, with two boys in tow (my brother, Howard, and I), he moved to Nome, Alaska, where he began a 40+ year history of building mission stations among the Eskimo villages. (Hence, I grew up among the native Eskimos.)
William Capener parted ways with his brother and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois to organize the westward movement of the Mormons following Joseph Smith's death. These two branches of the Capener family really lost track of each other for a good hundred years until my uncle, Everett Capener (who was a Colonel in the Strategic Air Command) visited Salt Lake City in or around 1948 and stumbled onto the names of many Capeners in the phone book. After contacting Dr. Jex Capener, research began and they shortly discovered the relationship dating back to the two brothers.
In 1953, we had a family reunion in Salt Lake City that incorporated both U.S. branches of the family. There were more than 3,000 Capener family members in attendance. We returned again in 1955 for another large family reunion, and again there were some 3,000 to 5,000 Capener family members in attendance. All were descendants of either William or John Capener.
My aunt, Dorthy Capener Argue, who lives in Madison, has compiled a huge genealogy of the Capener family, along with photos dating back a couple hundred years. She is in somewhat failing health (at 86 or 87 years of age), but has many fascinating stories to tell of the family. When I was living at Point Hope, Alaska with my folks, we received at letter from Ralph Capener-Hurst in England in response to an article my father had written that was published in the Pentecostal Evangel magazine. Ralph Capener-Hurst said that he was no doubt a direct relation. He gave us additional background on the family, and told us that the Capener family dates back to the Doomsday (Domesday) Book in 1050 A.D. which compiled a list of all the original landowners in England who paid taxes to William the Conqueror. Our ancestor (whose first name escapes me at the moment) came from Normandy with William the Conqueror to aid him in his quest to subdue the Saxons and take over the British Isles. Further research indicates that the Capeners in Normandy were among the Jews of the Diaspora: Jewish Christians who fled from the persecution of the Roman Emperors in the first century.
In any event, as near as I have been able to ascertain, all Capeners -- anywhere in the world -- are all related to one another; and most seem to stem from a single ancestor who joined William the Conqueror during his conquest of England. Our family Coat-of-Arms dates to the Doomsday Book.
A few tidbits for you: In the mid-1400's, there was a Daniel and Elizabeth Capener. Daniel was Chief Musician to the King of England. Elizabeth was Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen. By an odd coincidence, once again in the 1800's, another Daniel and Elizabeth Capener served virtually identical functions. This Daniel served as Chief Entertainer to the English court. His wife, Elizabeth, served as Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria.
The Capener family has been an extraordinarily gifted and blessed family throughout the centuries. Our history is replete with more than a thousand years of musicians, ministers, doctors, scientists, lawyers, and artisans of virtually every trade who have distinguished themselves contributing to society.
Although I also have some 40+ years in the ministry as a pastor, teacher, author and songwriter, I am also a television broadcast engineer with a long background in scientific studies and research (along with 3 years with NASA); and am currently serving as Chief Engineer for KTLM-TV (a Spanish-language broadcaster) in McAllen, Texas.
Wheww......hope I didn't bore you to death with irrelevant facts.
If I can help you fill in any details, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Regner A. Capener
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