stefan Kohary Štefan II Koháry

The history of the family started to be written in 16th century by a simple land-owner Imrich Kohary and it was completed by Earl Francis Joseph Kohary in 19th century. The fame of the Kohary family began to rise in Krupina and at the castle of Cabrad where Imrich Kohary served as the deputy captain and later as the castle commander. His son, Peter Kohary (1564 – 1629) was a soldier and made his family famous by his heroic acts in anti-Turkish fights.

First he worked as a deputy notary in the county of Hont; however, he decided to change the office for battle field and became the deputy captain in the fortress of Nove Zamky. Peter Kohary fought near the town of Ostrihom under the leadership of archduke – later emperor – Mathew Habsburg. His bravery and heroic acts pleased the emperor; therefore, in 1616, the title of Earl was conferred on him. In 1622, he was given the Cabrad-Sitno manor as a provision and later, in 1629, it was put in his full ownership.

This was the starting point of the later great wealth of the Kohary family. His son Stephen Kohary continued in the military tradition of the family and was the heir of the family property. He was the hereditary commander of the Filakovo castle in 1657 and the chief officer of the Hont County in 1661. After Turks invaded the Hungarian Empire with 200 000 soldiers in 1664, the emperor Leopold I appointed Stephen I the commander of the anti-Turkish army.

The order was clear: to win back each of the occupied fortresses and to defeat Turks. Unfortunately, the battle by the town of Levice was the last one for him; July 14 1664 is the date of heroic death of Earl Stephen Kohary I. The heir of the property was his oldest son Stephen II. Kohary (1649 – 1731). He was only 15 when his father died. He studied at the Jesuit School in Trnava and continued by studying theology in Vienna where he acquired his doctorate degree.

Though deciding to live a military life, he never abandoned his life philosophy – for God and Emperor. He was only 18 when he became the commander of the front-Danube troops. Since he was the hereditary commander of the Filakovo castle, he had its walls repaired, as if sensing they will be badly needed in the upcoming years. In the course of his commandership, the uprising under the leadership of Imrich Thokoly burst. In 1678, Stephen II was successful in fighting back the attacks of both Turkish and Kuruc armies. In 4 years, Imrich Thokoly returned to Filakovo with Turkish support.

Mária Antonia GabrielaMária Antónia Gabriela
František Jozef KoháryFrantišek Jozef Koháry

The soldiers of Stephan II did not have the strength to endure the attacks of a stronger army and they capitulated. Stephen II was taken hostage by Imrich Thokoly, and it was only owing to his strong belief that he survived the harsh conditions in the prison. He was liberated only after Turks were defeated in 1685. After sufferings, he received the greatest honours from the Emperor - hereditary Earl title, hereditary chief officer of Hont County title and military title of Field Marshal were conferred on him. He died at the Cabrad castle at age of 82 and is buried in the family tomb in the monastery in Hronsky Benadik. Similarly, his brothers took part in anti-Turkish fights, too. His brother John was imprisoned with him and Wolfgang died in Croatia. Also two Wolfgang’s sons died young in anti-Turkish fights.

The history of the Kohary family is closed by France Joseph Kohary (1766 – 1826) who lived in times when Turkish attacks were over. Therefore, he chose the career of an officer not a soldier. He worked as a royal court chancellor, confidential advisor and chair of the Hungarian Royal Chamber. He, too, was the chief officer of the Hont County. He was given the Gold Fleece and Golden Cross awards. Also, he received the Earl title in 1815. Since he had no male descendants, the Kohary family dies out in male tale.

The only daughter of France Joseph Mary Antonia Gabrielle (1797 – 1862) married Ferdinand Georg Coburg (1785 – 1851), a member of German earl family, in 1816. The last descendant of the male line of the Kohary family, France Joseph, died in 1826. His death closes the history of this famous family.

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