Person Sheet

Name Jost Koontz
Birth 22 Mar 1674, Germany
Death 1731, Stafford, VA
Father Johannes Koontz (1640-1675)
Mother Elsa (Elisabeth) Schuster (1643-)
1 Anna Gertrud Reinschmidt
Birth abt 1685, Nassau-Siegen, Lower Wilden, Germany
Death bef 1724
Father Martin Reinschmidt (~1660-)
Marriage 7 Feb 1704, Nassau-Siegen, Germany
Children: Johannes (1706-)
Anna Elizabeth (1708-1778)
Anna Catherine
2 Katherina Weber
Notes for Jost Koontz
also ÒJosephÓ

Coons/Koontz Family Page

Koontz History in Germany Koontz Family History in Germany

The earliest known ancestor of the Kuntze, Coons, Coonces that settled in Virginia is
Hechin Cuntze (abt.1500)*. He lived in Niederndorf of the Nassau-Siegen region of
Germany in the early to mid 1500s.

This was in the time of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. The Roman
Catholic influence, a part of German history for centuries, vied with Lutherans and
members of the Reformed Faith for support in government. The country was also
constantly at war with peoples on all sides. This was a time of shifting borders and

Hechin's son Arnold Cuntze (abt. 1525) and his grandson Johann Cuntze (abt.
1570) remained in the region during the time of the Thirty Year War. It was a war brought
on by religious differences and land hungry neighboring countries. At this time the
Nassau-Siegen region fell under the control of Catholic King Ferdinand as well as
Protestant influences. It fared better than other areas during the war however due to the fact that it was divided and ruled by two brothers, John Maurice and John the Younger,
each on opposite sides of the conflict. Each claimed the entire region as their own and so
neither ally attacked the area*.

By the time the Peace of Wesphalia of 1648 brought the drawn out conflict to a close,
Germany had lost about half of her people to the ravages of war and the accompanying
plagues and famine. It was around this time that Gotthard Kuntze (abt. 1610), son of
Johann, and his son Johannes Kuntze lived. The brief peace was a compromise of sorts
that allowed the Southern and Western lands to remain Catholic while allowing
Protestants to retain the land they had acquired and recognizing the Reformed faith.

However, shortly afterward Germany was plunged into yet another series of wars. The
French wars to the west, the Northern Wars with Sweden and the Baltic and The Turkish
wars to the South. This was in addition to the internal conflicts always present.

The Thirty Year War left the Siegen region divided between the Protestants and
Catholics but for the most part, at peace. Then, in 1679 with the death of John Maurice, the conflict arose again resulting in escalating violence and death*.

It was in the midst of this in 1714 that One of Johannes sons, Johannes Kuntze
(1671) watched his brother, Jost Cuntze, leave for America. And, as the conflict
worsened, Johannes' son, Johann Jost Kuntze (1712), who had been only a toddler
when his uncle left, went to join him in America in 1737*.

Coons, Cuntze, Kuntze, etc. in America

The Coons (Cuntze) family originated in Germany and can be traced to one Henchin Cuntze about 1500. They came from Musen, in the Province of Nassau-Siegen, where Cuntz were still living around the turn of the century.

Rich iron deposits were discovered in the New World in large tracts in a region of Spotsylvania, now Orange County, Virginia. The German Governor, Alexander Spotswood, sought to develop the deposits and enrich himself, as well as ingratiate the same to the Crown.

Governor Spotswood counseled with the Baron de Graffenreid, who was in Virginia, and decided to get miners from Germany to build the facilities, extract the ore, operate furnaces, and all other employments involved in iron works. Through his influence the Baron arranged to get miners to Virginia from the Village of Musen, a mining locality since the 14th century, in Nassau-Siegen.

Dispositions were effectuated and the miners arrived in Virginia in 1714. They were settled by the Governor in Germania by April of that year and became the first German Colony to settle in Virginia. There they built cabins, a blockhouse, furnaces and dug ore for the Governor.

The Governor's methods occasioned their move, in about 1720, to Germantown, later Fauquier City, where they acquired land and began farming. Meanwhile, other German Colonists arrived in Virginia. Each group brought its religious faith and gradually those of the German Reformed Church settled in Germantown Fauquier and those of the Lutheran Faith moved eventually to Robinson's River.

The first group of miners, twelve heads of families, to reach Virginia were of the German Reformed Faith, one of which was Jacob Cuntz (Coons), uncle of "our" Joseph Coons, who emigrated to Virginia in 1737. (Working in the Governor's mining operation was an obvious way to get to the New World, but other employments for the Governor also brought many to Virginia.)

1. Joseph Cuntz
Joseph Coons was an iron worker in Germany, and through arrangements with Governor Spotswood came to Virginia, as an iron worker, in 1737.

2. Jacob Coons
Jacob, his son, and father of 3. Martin Coons, was born in Virginia. He was also a soldier of the Revolutionary War. Deed records show a John Davis sold a tract of land, 150 acres, to Jacob Coons and heirs on the 12th day of October 1796, for the sum of one hundred and sixty five pounds in gold and silver. The land was in Clark County, Kentucky, and part of a military claim.

(Clark County, Kentucky was formed in 1793. Records in Montgomery County, cut out of Clark County in1797, were destroyed in 1863, but Clark County records were preserved.)

Martin Coons was likely born in Virginia about 1775. It is not certain when his father left Virginia, but from the deed reference above he was in Kentucky, buying land in 1796.

By that time Martin was a young man and during this period met and married Mary "Polly" Lock in Jefferson,Kentucky, near present day Louisville. Shortly thereafter they migrated to the Missouri Territory and settled in the New Madrid District, in what became known as the "bootheel" region.

By February 27, 1806 he made claim to 1100 arpents* of land situated on bayou St. John, district of New Madrid. Testimony taken March 15, 1806 revealed he had a wife and five children in 1803 and cultivated eight or nine acres. After further testimony, the Board denied his claim.

He probably continued to reside on the premises and cultivate the fields he claimed, but without ownership. When the violent earthquake occurred in 1811 it destroyed what property and work they had achieved and may have induced their departure from Missouri. They arrived some time before 1821 to make their new residence in
Jackson County, Tennessee.

For unknown reasons Martin and part of his family quit Jackson County and proceeded to Illinois (Probably to get some of that cheap Government land in southern Illinois; some of the family already had.), but he later applied
for a land grant through the state of Kentucky.

Martin received the grant, but before it was finalized (so one version of the story goes), embarked on a trip to Hamilton County, Illinois, down the Mississippi River from St. Louis, aboard a paddle boat. He disappeared en route and was apparently never heard from again. It is presumed he fell overboard and drown. His body was
never recovered

(Note: A record of a Private Martin Coons from Hamilton County, Illinois in Capt. Halls Company, 3 Reg't, 1 Brig., Ill. Mtd. Vols, during the Black Hawk War (1832) was probably Martin, Jr. He would have been about the right age then.)

Martin and Mary Coons engendered 13 children. Elizabeth E. Coons, their second child, married Obediah Hudson, Jr. (III), about 1821 in Jackson County Tennessee.

Obadiah was a farmer and in 1825 received a grant for 100 acres of land in Jackson County, Tennessee. He and Elizabeth lived near North Springs, Jackson County, Tennessee where they raised their family and lived out their days.

Weaver family tree on Southern Traveler website,

From John BlankenbakerÕs ÒNotes on the Germanna Colony (Virginia)Ó 1997

ÒWho were the forty-two people who were settled in Fort Germanna? Most of the names are clear but one family is a surmise. The first individual is Johann Justus Albrecht who recruited the miners and described himself as the chief miner. He was known to be working with the group later in Virginia so he should be counted. After the stay at Germanna was ended, he was not associated with the group. For the following names, the suggestion of B.C. Holtzclaw, a modern writer, is used. He gave 42 names which would make 43 names with the addition of Albrecht.

Even so, Holtzclaw's list is as good a starting point as any.
2-5. Rev. Henry Hager, his wife Anna Catherine Friesenhagen,
and their daughters, Agnes, b. 1697, and Anna Catherine, b. 1702. The two daughters were 16 and 11 while the parents were 69 and 50 when they arrived. This definitely made Rev. Hager the senior citizen in the group.

6-9. Jacob Holtzclaw, b. 1683, his wife Anna Margaret Utterback,
b. 1686, and their two sons, John, b. 1709, and Henry, b. 1711. Besides the German spelling of Holtzclaw, the spelling of Holsclaw and other variants are used. Jacob Holtzclaw had been a teacher in Germany. While he did keep school in Virginia, he was also involved in farming and mining. 10. Melchoir Brumbach was a bachelor when he came, age ca. 28.

11-15. Joseph (Jost) Cuntze, b. 1674, and his wife Anna Gertrud
Reinschmidt, son, John, b. 1706; daughter, Ann Elizabeth, b. 1708; daughter, Catherine, b. ca 1713/14. There is a possibility that Catherine should not be counted in the 42 people. Two popular modern spellings are Coons and Koontz. 16-21.

Philip Fischbach (now Fishback) was b. 1661 and came with
his wife Elizabeth Heimbach (Hanback); son, John, b. 1691; son, Harmon, b.1693; daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b.1687; and daughter, Mary Elizabeth, b. 1696.

Much of this information comes from the church records in the Nassau Siegen area. Many of the families took out proofs of importations at the Spotsylvania Courthouse in which they declared who came. And they bought land in the region that eventually became Fauquier Co. Rev. Hager and Jacob Holtzclaw were the best educated, but it appears that all of the men had received schooling.

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Continuing a list of the Germans who came to Germanna in 1714:

22. John Hoffman, b. 1682, was a bachelor. A popular spelling
in America is Huffman.

23-24. Peter and (Mary) Elizabeth Hitt. The name in Germany was
Heite but in Virginia the spelling was always Hitt. Peter was thought to be in his young 30's.

25. John Kemper was a 22 year-old bachelor. Sometimes the name
is spelled as Camper.

26. Joseph (Jost) Martin was also a bachelor, a year older than
John Kemper. The German form of the name is Merden but Martin is universal in America for this branch. 27-29. Jacob Rector, b. 1674, his wife, Elizabeth, b. 1685,
(the daughter of Philip Fishback above) and their son, John, b. 1711. The German spelling is Richter.

30. John Spilman (Spielmann) was another bachelor, about 35
years of age.

31-35. The Weaver (Weber) family consisted of John Henry Weaver,
b. 1667, his wife, Anna Margaret Huttman; son, John, b. 1693 (who appears to have died young); daughter, Catherine, b.1697; son, Tillman, b. 1701.
There is documentation for all of the preceding families. About eight individuals are still needed to make the official count of 42 persons. Prof. Holtzclaw offered the suggestion that one family, whom he named and described, could have been the missing people. His reasons for selecting this family include (1) they were related to other families in the group, (2) they disappeared from the church records in Germany at the right time, (3) and the family has several women in it to provide wives for the bachelors. This family is:

36-43. Harman Utterback (Otterbach), b. ca 1664, his wife,
Elizabeth Heimbach, b. 1662; son, John Philip, b. 1692; son, John, b. 1702; daughter, Elizabeth, b. 1689; daughter, Alice Catherine, b. 1697; doughier, Mary Catherine, b. 1699; daughter, Anna Catherine, b. 1705. There is no record of this family in Virginia including the two sons. (Later, Utterbacks did come which strengthens the argument that Utterbacks came in 1714.)
This count gives 43 persons but Holtzclaw included at least two problematic people and did not include Albrecht.

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The forty-two Germans that we have been talking about were called, in the course of time, the First Colony or the Colony of 1714. Their general history has been distorted badly at several points. Largely this arose because of the following observations which are true:

1. Spotswood was eventually into iron mining, smelting and refining.

2. The Germans came from a region in Germany which was well known
for its iron mining and processing.

3. The Germans worked for Col. Spotswood. Well meaning individuals tried to put this all together and they came up with a number of erroneous conclusions.

"Spotswood recruited the Germans." We have seen that the Germans were on the sea and almost on his doorstep before he knew they were coming. So it stretches one's imagination to say that he recruited them. "Spotswood had Graffenried recruit the Germans." Actually Graffenried started the process of recruiting before he had met Gov. Spotswood. Furthermore, Graffenried was recruiting for the purpose of the company he worked for, not Spotswood.

"The Germans were recruited to mine iron." Actually the Germans were recruited to mine silver.
"Spotswood had found iron on his property and needed someone to develop it." Spotswood did not own any property in his own name until a couple of years after the Germans came. His earlier and partial ownership of a tract of land was for the purposes of extracting silver. "The Germans built the first iron furnace for Spotswood." We have not discussed this yet, but the iron furnace was not built until after the First Colony had left the employment of Spotswood. When the First Colony was settled in Fort Germanna, their first task was to clear land and ready it for farming. They had to support themselves by their own efforts. They probably received assistance in limited ways. Spotswood had a practice of loaning cattle to people who raised them and bred more. At the conclusion of the contract, the equivalent of the original cattle plus one-half of the increase were returned to Spotswood. The second way assistance was provided was by the ban on hunting in their neighborhood by everyone except the Germans. Some flour was probably granted them in the initial setup.

Though the Germans wanted to dig in the ground to assay the silver potential, Spotswood said no to this. (He never resolved the precious metal question as far as the Crown was concerned.) Until this was settled, development of the silver mine was verboten. So for about two and one half years, the Germans were engaged in farming but no mining. This must have been frustrating for them; they had had a very bad year in getting to America. Once here, they were denied the opportunity to perform the functions for which they had been hired.

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Lt. Gov. Spotswood continued to push for a resolution of the precious metals question. Col. Blakiston in London must have dreaded opening letters from Spotswood which harped on the theme of getting approval for the gold and silver mines. Queen Anne died and was succeeded by King George I, a German himself. Spotswood urged Blakiston to try the argument with King George that he would be helping his fellow countryman if the question were resolved. In the meanwhile, Spotswood complained about the expense of the Germans (he mentioned partners) and said there was no chance to recover these expenses until the Germans could be put to work.

Actually, this was not true. Spotswood did recover his expenses from the efforts of the Germans. On 31 Oct 1716, William Robinson patented 3,229 acres above the falls of the Rappahannock in the parish of St. George in Essex Co. This was the land where Fort Germanna was built. The true owner of the land was soon divulged; no one was surprised when the land was transferred by Robinson to Spotswood. Spotswood explained that a third party was used because it did not look good for him to sign a land patent as governor to the benefit of himself as a private individual. While it is true that Robinson paid the required fees for this (and no doubt was reimbursed by Spotswood), it was also a requirement that the land be proven up by building houses, clearing and planting crops and setting an orchard. This the Germans did by their farming activity. So Spotswood could consider that he clear title to the land thanks to the Germans. There is, of course, a minor question about who was the sponsor of the Germans. Spotswood had suggested, and it was approved by the Council, that the Colony ought to contribute to their expense since they were guarding the frontier. The Fort, for example, would probably be considered as property of the Colony, not of Spotswood. Nevertheless, he patented the land on whichthe fort sat, giving his approval as Governor to his actions as a private individual.

Spotswood visited Germanna on only a few occasions before he eventually decided to move there. By and large, he left the Germans on their own, with little direct supervision. For a while, he put a relative on the site as overseer. This was Frances HOME who was an interesting tale in himself. Francis Home had revolted against the Crown and was sentenced to hanging but was able to get the sentence changed to "transportation" meaning he was to be banished to the colonies and sold as a servant. A kinsman purchased his freedom and he went to work for Spotswood as overseer at Germanna. Unfortunately for him, he died not long after this (in 1718) and was buried on the shores of the Rapidan River at Germanna. Francis had a brother, George Home, who was also transported to the colonies. George, took up the trade of surveying and became very well known among the later Germanna people. It merely shows that some of the best people in Virginia did not come voluntarily. Some of George Home's descendants married Germanna people, so Spotswood could have claimed (had he lived long enough) that he was related to some of the Germanna people.

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On 24 August 1716, John FONTAINE arrived at "German town" for his second visit to Germanna. He and many other men were assembling here for a proposed trip across the Blue Ridge Mountains. The next day they went to see the mines but Fontaine was not convinced there was a good mine. He stated that the Germans pretended it was a silver mine. He also stated that several gentlemen of the country were concerned in this work. And once again, he complained about the bed where he slept. Among the men gathering at Germanna were two companies of soldiers, Indians and "gentlemen". Many of the gentlemen were known land speculators. And the group included two surveyors. The motivations for the trip are mixed. Officially Spotswood said that a pass over the (Blue Ridge) mountains had been discovered and that he resolved to see it. The motivation that seemed to have carried most of the men along was the desire to look for land that they might patent. Spotswood himself was in this group as he was to patent, in conjunction with others, 60,000 acres along the Rapidan River and up to and including the present city of Culpeper. All of this land lay to the west of Germanna, toward the mountains. So it is hard to escape the conclusion that the trip was made for the purpose of scouting the land. And once again public policy was bent for private benefit. Certainly the gathering of this many people was the biggest excitement that Germanna had seen since it was founded.

On 29 August 1716, the group left Germanna, following a route on the south side of the Rapidan River. For the first few days the route is clear enough, but then uncertainties develop. On 5 September, the group camped on the banks of the Shenandoah River (they called it the Euphrates). On the 7 September, they crossed back to the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. So the group had spent one whole day and two nights at the Shenandoah River. No maps were drawn; no reports were written. As an expedition with tangible results, there were none. The most obvious result was that several individuals were involved in future land speculation between Germanna and the mountains, including Spotswood. What we know of the trip was the result of what Fontaine wrote in his personal diary and that was not published until decades later.

On the 11th of September, the group was back at Germanna Town. Reportedly, the Governor settled his business with the Germans and accommodated the minister and the people (whatever that may mean). Fontaine continued for a while at Germanna and attempted to "run" some of the silver ore but he said he could get nothing out of it. On the way home to Williamsburg, Fontaine visited the mine again and took some of the ore with him. History has dubbed this trans-mountain expedition as the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" after comments made by the Rev. Hugh Jones some time later. On the whole, the motivations and purposes of the trip have been badly distorted in the history books.

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On 28 March 1724, from Germanna, Alexander Spotswood wrote to Col Nathl. Harrison, Deputy Auditor of H. M. Revenue. Portions are quoted here:

"The first tract that I became possessed of was that of 3,229 acres called the Germanna tract from my seating thereon several families of German Protestants, to the number of 40 odd men, women and children, who came over in 1714, bringing with them a Minister and Schoolmaster in order to be provided for and setled upon land in these parts by Barron Graffenriede pursuant to an agreement he had made with them in Germany. But before their arrival the Baron being nonpluss'd in his affairs here, and forced to return to Switzerland, those poor people would have been sadly distress'd, and must have been sold for servants, had I not taken care of them, and paid down 150 pounds sterling which remained due on their passage:

and ye Council Journals of 28th April, 1714 will shew that to my charity for
these strangers I joyned my care for the security of the country against Indian
incursions, by choosing to seat them on land 12 miles beyond the then usual course of our rangers, and making them serve for a barrier to the most naked
part of our frontiers: and so far from my thoughts was it, to take up the land
for my own use, that during the the six years they remained on the land I never
offered to plant one foot of ground thereon.

"My next tract of 3065 acres which being contiguous, I thought of fitting to take
up, the better to accommodate those people when I found them grow fond of having their settlemts. enlarged, it having been concerted that I should convey
to them by way of lease for lives, because as aliens their possessions would not
descend to their children: but they being seduced away by greater expectations
elsewhere, left the land upon my hands; and so I was first engaged to purchase
servants and slaves for seating plantations in this Colony.

"Soon afterwards I was drawn into another land concern. In Feb. 1717 (1718 by
the modern calendar), Sr. Richard Blackmore writes to Mr. Secretary Cock to engage me to favour a design, which he, with several other considerable men at home, had to set up an iron works in Virginia, and desires people might be
imploy'd to find out the oar, and some thousands of acres taken up for that purpose. Accordingly I set my Germans to work to look for such oar, wch. search
cost me upwards of three score pounds: But about two years afterward I recd. a
letter from Sr. Richard telling me had at length considered that he was advanced
in years, that his health was of late impaired, and that the undertaking was at too
great a distance, and therefore he was determined to drop the project. Where-
upon, rather than enter into a contention for my reimbursements, I chose to joyn
in with several Gentlemen here, who willing to carry on the project, and bear
their proportion of the charges I had already been at; and so the mine tract,
consisting of abut 15,000 acres of land, was in 1719 (1720 by the modern calendar)
taken up by nine or ten Adventurers."
(parenthetical remarks added; paragraphing also added)

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The dates given by Spotswood to Col. Harrison (see Note 16) do not exactly agree with other statements. Johann Justus Albrecht made a statement, and Jacob Holtzclaw confirmed it, which is recorded in the Essex Co.,VA Deeds and Wills, v.16, p.180, that Spotswood put 11 men to work under him near Germanna on March 1, 1715 (which by the modern calendar would be 1716) and that the work continued until December 1718. The statement said the work consisted of mining and quarrying. This must correspond in a general way to Spotswood's search for iron oar on which he said upwards of sixty pounds (money) was spent.

Thus it appears that the Germans were not working for Spotswood for almost two years after they arrived at Germanna. Then the better part of the next three years were spent in a search for iron ore and, probably, in developing the ore beds into a productive mine. It doesn't suffice to locate ore; one must prove that there a depth and extent to the ore in order for it to be useful. Probably most of the sixty pounds was spent on black powder for blasting purposes.
Since an iron furnace cost in the thousands of pounds, it would seem that by December 1718 that no attempt had been made to build an iron furnace. Spotswood had not even patented the iron mine land by then. Based on his character, he would not have invested any money until all of the legal factors were cleared up.

Probably the Germans moved to their new home, away from Germanna, shortly after December 1718, probably in January of 1719 (modern calendar). By this time they would have been at Germanna for over four years. Four years was the period of their indenture by which they secured their passage. These four years would have been up in the summer of 1718 but that is a very poor time to relocate since time is needed to clear ground to be ready to plant crops. So they stayed a while past four years at Germanna. During the summer of 1718, they did buy land in the Northern Neck so they were anticipating a move. Jacob Holtzclaw in his naturalization papers (to be found in the Spotswood Co. records) which were executed in 1722 stated that he had been a resident of Stafford Co. for several years. This would be confirming of a move about January of 1719 (modern calendar). So while the First Colony Germans were at Germanna, they spent most of their time on farming including clearing of ground for that purpose. Later they spent some time in searching for iron ore but this activity was only a part time endeavor as they still had to farm to supply themselves with food. They had left for their new homes long before the iron furnace was built and therefore they had no part in this activity. Historians have erred in crediting them with this work. They did put Spotswood into the iron business as they did find the ore and probably they were even the ones that brought it to his attention.

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The First Colony Germans entered for or bought land from Lady Catherine Fairfax in the year 1718. This was in the Northern Neck, a parcel of millions of acres which the Kings of England had granted to private individuals. So when the Germans bought their land, they were not buying from the Crown but were buying it from the proprietors of the Northern Neck. At this time, only three of the Germans were naturalized, Jacob Holtzclaw, John Hoffman and John Fishback. Acting as trustees for the group, they bought 1800 acres though it appears that the final plot contained a couple of hundred acres more than this. In making this purchase, they acted as a group and agreed to share equally in the expenses. It is said that after dividing the land into equally sized lots, they drew straws to assign the lots to the families.

In doing this as a group, they were continuing the cooperative behavior that had been evident since leaving Siegen. They shared expenses in London and they pooled their resources for the down payment on the transportation to Virginia. They left as a group to their new land and shared the expense in doing so. Along the way they contributed to the building of a home for the minister.
Their new home quickly became known as German Town though it must be remembered that other locations in Virginia were also called German Town. The Germantown which became the permanent home of the First Colony was first in Stafford Co., then in Prince William Co., and finally in Fauquier Co. Today Crocket Park lies in the midst of the original grant and furnishes the best view of it. The landscape is altered by the formation of lake now though.

As the families grew, additional land was purchased, both in Fauquier Co. and in the area which became Culpeper Co. By the time of the move to German Town, other Germans were also coming into the region. Following notes will back up in time and look at these Germans. Ò

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