Prior to 1840 or so, most people in the United States were illiterate. I'm sure you're aware that the early census takers didn't know how people's names were meant to be spelled, so they just did the best they could.
My daughter, who is well versed in German, tells me that the G is pronounced as we would pronounce something between a "c" and a "g", so it was likely misinterpreted by the census takers. She also tells me that in German, no name or word is likely to start with a 'C'; they use a K for the hard 'C' sound. So, if it's a Coon and it came from Germany, it was likely spelled with a K originally. Gohn is a spelling that kept it's original spelling, apparently.
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