William K Kuhns


WILLIAM K. KUHNS, a veteran of the Civil war, long a farmer of Gilpin township, Armstrong county, was born in Allegheny (now Gilpin) township, Sept. 19, 1839, son of David and Hettie Esther (Steck) Kuhns.

Bernard Kuhns, great-grandfather of William K., was one of the early settlers of Northampton county, Pa. Prior to 1780 two of his sons, John and Philip, settled on a 600-acre tract of land which their father had patented years before, two miles from what is now Greensburg, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania.

John Kuhns, son of Bernard Kuhns, was born in one of the eastern counties of Pennsylvania, and came to Westmoreland county in young manhood. A business man of ability, he became a large landowner. His death occurred at Greensburg, Pa. His wife, whose maiden name was Marchand, also died at Greensburg. Their children were: Jacob, who died at Saltsburg, Pa.; David, father of William K.; Samuel, who died in Greensburg; Daniel, who died in Harrison City; John, who died in Ohio; Reuben, who died in Harrison City; Eliza, who married William King; and Hon. Joseph, who served as Congressman of his district in Westmoreland, and was a very prominent man (he died at Greensburg).

David Kuhns, son of John Kuhns, was born in Greensburg, Pa., in 1791. He was a tanner by trade, but later became a farmer. Coming to Allegheny township, this county, he took up a tract of 400 acres of land, a portion of his father's estate, which is now included in Gilpin township. On this property he built a log cabin, and began clearing off his land. Later he replaced the primitive home with one more pretentious, and built a substantial barn. The remainder of his useful life was spent on this property, which he operated until his death. Until the formation of the Republican party, he was an old-line Whig, but following 1856 was a strong advocate of the principles of the new party. Although active in politics he would never accept public office. He and David Leech, the founder of Leechburg, were warm personal friends. A Lutheran in religious matters, Mr. Kuhns was a charter member of the Hebron Lutheran Church of Leechburg. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. David Kuhns were: John died at Oil City; Eliza married Daniel Hill; Lewis, who died in Washington, D. C., was a Lutheran minister; Esther (Hettie) is the widow of Salem Hill; Rebecca married Benson Shrader and lives in South Buffalo township, near Freeport; William K. is mentioned below; David is deceased. John Michael Steck, the maternal grandfather of this family, was a minister in Westmoreland and Armstrong counties.

William K. Kuhns was reared in his native township, where he attended the local school, and later engaged in farming, having been taught the rudiments of that calling in boyhood. In 1862 he bought the homestead farm, where he now resides, which now comprises ninety acres of fine land for agricultural purposes. This property is located in the forks of the two rivers, the Allegheny and Kiskiminetas. His entire life has been spent in Gilpin township, and he is now the oldest living citizen who was born there.

In August, 1864, Mr. Kuhns was married to Susan Townsend, a daughter of Isaac Townsend. The Townsends are a substantial family of Westmoreland and Armstrong counties. The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kuhns: Mary E., who married Joseph Millen; Hettie H., who married John Smail; Emma R., who married H. J. Wagaman; Lewis M., who is at home; and a son that died in infancy.

Politically Mr. Kuhns is a Republican. He belongs to Hebron Lutheran Church at Leechburg, which he has served as deacon and elder. The Lutheran Church has received valuable support from the Kuhns family, a brother of Mr. Kuhns having been a minister of the faith, while the maternal grandfather, Rev. Mr. Steck, was long connected with the denomination in Westmoreland and Armstrong counties during the early days of the religious history of this section. Mr. Kuhns is a member of Capt. J. A. Hunter Post, No. 123, G. A. R., of Leechburg. He is one of the best known men in his location, and is held in high esteem by all. He numbers his friends by legions, for he is always willing to do a kindly deed. His life has been worthy, and governed by the principles of practical Christianity.

Source: Pages 821-822, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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