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Martin Kirn (1790-1862)

Coming to America
The Kirn, Soell, Beuter Connection
A Biography of Martin Kirn, 1790-1862

By Peggy Link Green, 2007

Martin Kirn was born 8 Nov 1790 to Caspar Kirn and Agatha Matter(in) in Weildorf, Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany (then under the rule of Austria). He was baptized at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Weildorf, his godparents being Marc Fischer and Agatha Kirn.

Martin married Kunigunde Söll or Soell, as it was also spelled, daughter of Georg Soell and Caecelia Bischoff, at St. Peter and Paul Church in Weildorf on 24 Jan 1815. Their witnesses were Theodore Soell (brother of the bride) and Margaretha Kirn (sister of the groom).

At midnight on 18 Nov 1816, their daughter Elizabeth was born. She was baptized at St. Peter and Paul Church with her godparents being Henry Hurm and Mary Anne Soell.

Son Peter arrived 24 Jan 1819 and was baptized at 7 AM, and then son Jakob came into the world 25 Jul 1821. Another son Georg was born 28 Apr 1824, and daughter, Maria, was born 30 Nov 1826. Godparents to all of the children were Henry Hurm and Mary Anne Soell.

On 3 Jun 1836, Martin Kirn arrived at the Port of New York. He had emigrated from Bremen, Germany aboard the Bremen Brig Charlott with his wife Kunigunde. He was a man of 45 years, a farmer from the little town of Weildorf outside of Haigerloch in what was at one time the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Kunigunde was then 47 years old. The family probably first traveled to Sigmaringen in order to emigrate legally before heading north again toward Bremen, a trip of some 430 miles. The port, located on the Weser River, leads to the North Sea.

The couple's five children traveled with them. Elizabeth was then 19 years old; Peter, 17; Jacob, 15, Georg, 11; and the youngest Marianna, age 9. Relatives and friends also joined them on the journey. All were bound for the city of New York.

Other travelers from Weildorf included Carl Leibfried, 26, a linen weaver; Daniel Kirn, 22, master brick layer (I believe Daniel was Martin's cousin, the son of Joseph Kirn III and Priska Soell); Michael Reible, 20, also a master brick layer; Lacharias Horn, 25, a cooper; Windolin Horn, 21, master brick layer; Anton Hubert, 21, linen weaver; Raphael Fischer, 30, master brick layer; his wife Margaretha, 28, and their daughter Gizilia, who was 3 years old.

There were others traveling from the area who joined the group, as well. They included Theresa Minzer, 22, a maid servant from Gruol; Barbara Pelzer, 26, a maid servant, also from Gruol; and Augustin Kapper, 26, a master brick layer from Binsdorf. And there were still others who journeyed from the neighboring Gruol, such as Joseph Wolff, 60, a cooper, Johanna, (his daughter?), 26, and Marysilla, 21.

Within days following their arrival in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, Daniel Kirn married Theresa Minzer on 19 Jun 1836 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Hart's Sleeping Place, and “Carol” Leibfried married Barbara Belzer on 7 Aug 1836 at St. Joseph's. Raphael Fisher's wife apparently died shortly after their arrival in America as he married Margarita Klunse on 8 Sep 1836 at St. Joseph's.

Still there were other relatives who made the journey. Kunigunde's sister Marianne, aged 40, and her husband Casper Beuter, 44, stated their destination as Oh˙o Staat (the state of Ohio). Their nine children accompanied them including Veronica, 19, who later married Nicholas Freidhof; Johannes, 17, who married Mary Margaret Sanders; Matheus, 16, who married Catherine Hemp; Ignatz, 14, who married Rachel Nice; Marianne, 11, who married Valentin Cramer; Phylipp, 10, who married Tecla Bender; Susanne, 7, who later married Anthony Shiber; Otto, 4, who married Sarah Ann Eckenrod; and Danalhius, who married Mary Bell Amphlett. In spite of their original plans, this family also settled in Cambria County.

And yet one more traveler on the Brig Charlott would one day become Martin's daughter Elizabeth's husband. That man was Johann Teufel, 27, a wagoner from Diessen, another small town in Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen that lays on the edge of the Black Forest and near the Neckar River. The two were married on 4 Feb 1838 in Johnstown through St. Joseph's at Hart's Sleeping Place. They had the following children: John B, born 4 Jun 1838, who married Agnes Hitch; Cunegunde, born 14 Oct 1839, who died as an infant; Mary Elizabeth, born about 1840, who married Thaddeus Horne; Martin, born 7 Jan 1842, who died prior to 1850; Rosannah, born 1 Mar 1844, who married Frederick Hohlock; George W, born 23 Apr 1847, who married Catherine Ellen Murray and Mary E. Stevens; Mary A, born 12 Jan 1848, who married Edward F. Schilling; Joseph H, born 12 Feb 1850, who married two Marys; Catherine, born 23 Apr 1852; and Celestine Albert, born 24 Apr 1853, who married Mary Jane Troxell.

On 31 Jul 1836, Martin bought property in Washington Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania from Joseph Huber and Maria his wife.

Sometime between their arrival in America and the 1850 Federal Census, son Jakob died.

Searching through records of the Federal Census of 1840 for Cambria County, I found no listing for Martin Kirn or Kern, which became the Americanized spelling of the name. But he filed his intent to become a citizen of the United States at the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg on 5 Jun 1841. The declaration states that he born in Weildorf, Austria, and was 50 years old. His previous allegiance had been to Austria and he emigrated from Bremen. He and his son-in-law Johann Teufel now known as John Devil signed each other's Intent papers to affirm they knew each other well and that they had spent the required amount of time in the United States.

On 2 Apr 1842, Martin bought property, which was part of a parcel situated on the Little Conemaugh in Washington Township, from Patrick McManemy. Purchased for $227.20, the parcel, containing 28 acres and 65 perches was bounded by lands of Nicholas and Joseph Freithoff, Martin Kern, Patrick McManemy, and Timothy McElavaney. It was originally part of a larger tract that was patented and granted to Thomas Allen on 8 Jul 1796 and called the Retreat. It was situated on the northeast branch of the Little Conemaugh in Quemahoning Township, Bedford County, now Washington Township, Cambria County.

On 2 Oct 1843, Martin petitioned the Cambria County Court for naturalization.

Son Peter married Clara Elizabeth Heit/Haid at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Loretto 24 Nov 1845. They had the following children: Mary was born 13 Nov 1846 and baptized at St. Michael's in Loretto. Margaret was born 6 Dec 1853; Peter born 16 Jul 1856, and Elizabeth was born 22 Jul 1858. These children were baptized at St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Summit. Daughter Agnes was born about 1863 in Pa, but I have no further information on her.

Daughter Mary married Werner Bender at St. Michael's two and a half years later 9 May 1848.

The Federal Census of 1850 was taken in Washington Township, Cambria County, PA 16 Sep of that year. Martin is listed on page 66, line 40. He is 59 years old, a farmer, value of real estate $1100, and born in Germany. His wife is listed as Kinkunsel, 61 years old, and born in Germany. Son George is 26, a laborer, born in Germany, and the names of two others are omitted showing the first to be a male, age 20, and a female, 22 years. I don't know who the two unamed persons are. Martin's sister Mary and brother-in-law Caspar Biter and their children were living seven properties away in Washington Township.

On the same or neighboring property was son Peter and daughter-in-law Eliza. Peter was 31 years old, a farmer with real estate valued at $280, wife Eliza was 27 years old and both were born in Germany. Their daughter Mary was four years and born in Pa.

On the same or neighboring property was also daughter Mary and son-in-law Swiner (Werner) Bender. Werner was 32 years old and a carpenter, with the value of his real estate being $50, Mary was 24 years, and both were born in Germany. They later had the following children: David born 1 Mar 1851; William, born 11 May 1854; and Francis Martin, born 20 Sep 1856. All were baptized at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church, Summit, Pa.

In 1850, daughter Elizabeth and her husband John were living in Allegheny Township, Cambria, Pa. On page 51, line 23, he was listed as John Devel, 41 years old, a farmer, value of real estate $300 and Elizabeth was 33 years old and keeping house. Both were born in Germany. John was 12 years; Elizabeth, 8 years; Rosannah, 6 years; George, 4 years; Mary, 2 years; Joseph E, 4 months. All were born in Pa.

On 27 Jan 1851, Martin and sons Peter and George drew up a legal agreement in which Martin divided up his property. The property, which was valued at $1000, was divided equally between his four living children Peter, George, Elizabeth, and Mary. Peter received one-fourth of the property, which connected to his land, and George would receive three-fourths. George would then pay each of his sisters $250 through a yearly payment plan until the amount was paid off. Martin and Kunigunde would continue to live on the property until their deaths in their newly built home, while George would live in the older home. Martin would also receive one-third of everything produced on the land and would have sufficient room in the barn for any cattle and feed. Martin would also have half of the fruit produced by the orchards and use of half of the garden.

George married Elizabeth Behe, daughter of neighbors Anthony and Mary Behe, at St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Summit. Their witnesses were John Byter (Beuter) and Veronica Behe, her sister. They had the following children: Agnes Catherine born 29 Nov 1851; Rachel Veronica, born 12 Apr 1853; Thomas Anthony, born 1 Apr 1856; Mary Elizabeth, born 12 Dec 1857; and Joseph Martin, born 9 Jul 1859. All children were baptized at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church in Summit.

Between 1853 and 1860, daughter Elizabeth Kirn Teufel/Devil died.

Sometime between 1856 and 1858, daughter Mary Kirn Bender died. Her husband Werner then married Catherine Robine 26 Jan 1858.

The Federal Census taken in 1860 lists Martin Kern as 69 years old and a laborer living in Munster Township, Cambria, PA, page 393, line 36. His wife was listed as Canagonda, 72 years, both being born in Prussia. The value of their personal property was $150.

Son George and daughter-in-law Elizabeth were living in a different home on the same property with their children Agnes C, 8 years; Rachel F, 7 yrs; Thomas, 4 years; and Joseph, 1 year. Agnes and Rachel attended school within the year, and all of the children were born in Pa. George was 36 years old, a farmer, value of real estate $1500, value of personal property $600. He was born in Prussia. Elizabeth was then 42 years old and born in Pa.

Son Peter was living nearby. He was 44 years old, a farmer, with real estate valued at $1000, and personal property valued at $400. Wife Clarissa was 39 years, and both were born in Germany. Daughter Mary was 14 years; Margaret was 8; Peter was 4, and Elizabeth was 2. All of the children were born in Pa.

By 1860, daughter Elizabeth had died, but her husband and children were still living in Allegheny Township, Post Office Loretto, page 151, line 29. John Devil, 51 years old, a farmer, birthplace Prussia, value of real estate $500, value of personal property $300; Elizabeth 20 years, housekeeper; Rosanna, 16 years; George, 14 years; Mary A, 12 years; Joseph 10 year; Catherine, 9 years; and Celestine, 7 years. Except for Elizabeth, all of the children attended school that year and all of the children were born in Pa. In 1866, John Devil went to the Cambria County Courthouse and had his family surname legally and forever changed to Harvey because his son John B's wife Agnes Hitch was accused of being “hitched to the Devil.”

Kunigunde died the following year on 14 Apr 1861 at the age of 72. Her death is recorded in the church records of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Weildorf, Germany, which meant that the family still kept in touch with those back in the old country.

Martin made his Last Will and Testament on 1 Nov 1861 bequeathing his estate to his two remaining children Peter and George. The will and his signature were witnessed by Joseph Freidhof and Caspar Beiter. Martin died at the age of 72 years on 16 Nov 1862 (date recorded in the Souvenir of Loretto Centenary, 1799-1899). On 8 Dec 1862, a crying sale was held for the purpose of dispersing his personal property. He is buried in the main section of St. Michael's Cemetery.

There is no mention of daughter Marianne Kirn Beuter/Beiter in Martin's will, although she was alive. Marianne died 13 Feb 1863. I can find no further information on son George or his wife and children. Son Peter died 23 Mar 1881. The 1900 census states that his wife Clara was born Feb 1822, 78 years, widowed, mother of 1, 1 living, she and parents born in Germany, immigrated in 1840, in US 60 years, cannot read or write, but can speak English. She was living in Washington Township, Cambria, PA with son and daughter-in-law Peter and Mary Kearns. Peter was born Jul 1857, 42 years, married 6 years, he and parents born in PA, farmer, can read, write, speak English; Mary, born Aug 1868, 31 years, had 2 children, 2 living, she and parents born PA, can read, write, speak English; Lizzie, born Nov 1894, 5 years, born in PA; Lewis, born Aug 1897, 2 years, born in PA. I could find no further information about this family.

Page Created: 18 Sep 2007, Last Updated: