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Biography of Elias Kuhn

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ELIAS KUHN. – The venerable pioneer of whom we now have the pleasure of speaking is an esteemed member of society and one of the real builders of Union county, being a worthy member of the sturdy men who drew a halt on the immigrant road here in 1862, since while time his toil and sagicity have been displayed here in a commendable manner and much credit is due him for the praiseworthy labors that he has performed in these years, while his record in long and faithful pilgrimage is untarnished and his example has been an exemplary one.

In Cambria county, Pennsylvania, we find the birthplace of our subject and his parents were David and Elizabeth (Good) Kuhn, who received the birth of this son on April 14, 1829, with joy, and five years later proceeded westward to the frontiers of Ohio, and thence to Iowa in 1851, where their pilgrim way closed and they went to their rest after having done faithful work in three states for their development and progress. The father was born in March, 1804, and died in May, 1884, while the mother was born in 1808 and died on the anniversary of her birth, March 19, 1887. In the Buckeye state our subject received his education that fortified him for the walk of life in his subsequent years. He also in that state learned the art of agriculture and then came to Iowa, where he and a brother took land and improved the same until 1862. In that year he was led by an adventurous spirit and by the reports from the gold fields of the west to fit out an ox team and join a train that rolled its slow and ponderous way toward the setting sun. The Salmon river gold diggings were the mecca of the pilgrim, and why he turned aside to dwell in the Grande Ronde valley can only be accounted for by the fact that he perceived the rich advantages that its soil and boundless fertility offered. Howbeit, in the later months of the year in which he started from Iowa we find our subject settled on a quarter-section of raw land busily engaged in making it a comfortable home for himself and little ones. This farm grew betimes to the extent of four hundred acres, three hundred of which are good producing ground and the balance is timber and pasture. The farm has been a good producer and has a four-acre orchard, and is one of the skillfully tilled pieces of the county.

On March 6, 1854, while in Iowa our subject married Miss Esther, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Cassidy, natives of Ohio, and to them were born the following children: Ellen, wife of S.D. Ficklin; Mary Ann, wife of F.S. Johnson and said to be the first white child born in Union county, the date of this event being November 27, 1862; David, in Wallowa. In 1871 death came into the household and took thence the beloved wife and mother and her departure was sincerely mourned by all who knew her as she was a gracious and faithful woman. In 1874 Mr. Kuhn married Miss Sarah J., daughter of James and Barbara (Toot)McElderry, natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Ohio and to bless this union there have been the following children: Viola, wife of W.W. Wade, of Wallowa: Peter C., Charlie, Irven, Willard and Bertie. Mr. Kuhn has served as constable of the Summerville district also in the capacity of road supervisor while for nearly one dozen years he has been director in the district and for fifteen years he served as clerk. Mr. Kuhn is not actively engaged in the affairs of his property, as the sons attend to the farm and he simply oversees, giving his time to the enjoyment of the fruits of his faithful labors.


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