An American Family History

Kern Family




A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.
The Palatinate is a region in south-western Germany. Many thousands of Palatine immigrants were driven out of Germany by war, famine, despotic rule and disease. They were attracted to Pennsylvania by the first settlers who sent back favorable reports.
American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania is one of three original Pennsylvania Counties and was formed in 1682. Originally it was a large territory that included all of what would later be Berks, Northampton, and Lehigh.

Pennsylvania is one of the 13 original states and was originally founded in 1681 as a result of a royal land grant to William Penn, the son of the state's namesake.

History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania by Lehigh County Historical Society

Nicholas Kern, the ancestor of the Kern family, sailed from Rotterdam, Holland, on the ship Adventurer and arrived at Philadelphia on Oct. 2, 1727. The first mention of him in Lehigh region is on Sept. 23, 1734, when he and wife were sponsors to the child of Peter Troxell, baptized by Rev. John Philip Boehm.

He probably lived in Wihtehall township sometime before securing title to land...

On Feb. 27, 1739, Nicholas Kern and wife, Maria Margaret, sold these tracts to Lawrence Guth.

The names of Nicholas Kern and his wife appeared as sponsors in the Egypt Reformed church records in 1736, 1739, 1740 and 1741.
On Dec. 13, 1744, Cornelia Kern, daughter of Nicholas Kern, was a sponsor to the child of John Nicholas Schneider.
June 14, 1741, Nicholas Kern and his wife Margaret, were sponsors to John Nicholas, son of John Senders, and
Nov. 29, 1741, to John Nicholas, son of Ulrich Sensinger.

Lorentz Kern, son of Nicholas, was born March 5, 1741, and baptized May 7, 1741, at the Jordan Lutheran church. His sponsors were Lorentz Guth and wife, Salome...

After 1741, we find no mention of Nicholas Kern in Whitehall, and it is probable that at that early date he removed to his 500-acre tract and began to cultivate the land. He was naturalized April 10, 1742. At this time several of his sons were nearing manhood and with their assistance, at an early date, he erected a grist mill and a saw mill on his land, which he mentions in his will. He died in the early part of 1749 and his will was probated May 11, 1749. This will was one of the first will recorded by an inhabitant of this section and is recorded at Philadelphia in Book I, page 120. . .

Margaret, widow of Nicholas, was still living in 1770, and on Jan. 4, 1770, with Henry, Frederick, William, Nicholas, George and Lorentz Kerns, and Martin Singling and wife, Cornelia, released to John Kern for 200 pounds part of a tract of 226 acres of land, and to William Kern, a tract of 140 acres of land for 300 pounds.

Of the children of Nicholas Kern, as it was customary to name the children in order of their age in wills, we assume that Henry was the eldest.

He was taxed in Heidelberg township four pounds in 1762, and in 1763, when his brother William was tax collector, his name is marked Poor,

His name appears in the 1770 release. He may have moved to Maxatawny, as a Henry Kern lived there in 1768.

Frederick Kern, second son, was born in 1719, and died Jan. 27, 1790, aged 71 years. He was buried by Rev. Blumer. He and his wife Catharine had a son Frederick, baptized Oct. 6, 1765, and a son John, born May 21, 1772. Frederick Kern was taxed 10 pounds in 1762; three pounds in 1763; one pound for 200 acres in 1764, and in 1768 was taxed on 60 acres of cultivated and 200 of uncultivated land.

Maria Barbara Kern, daughter of Nicholas Kern, lived at Philadelphia.

Cornelia Kern married Martin Singling. In 1762 they lived in Lehigh township.

William Kern was born in 1725, and died August 18, 1800. He is buried at Unionville. He was twice married. In 1762 he was taxed 20 pounds, in 1763 he was tax collector and taxed 24 pounds, of which 14 pounds was abated. In 1764 he was taxed 6 pounds on 260 acres and in 1782, 2 pounds, 8 shillings on 40 acres of cultivated and 200 acres of uncultivated land, a grist mill, three horses and three cows.

His son, William [Kern], Jr., was born Jan. 16, 1751, and died Jan. 21, 1841, of old age, aged 89 years. William Kern and his wife, Maria Salome, had sons:
Nicholas, born Oct. 2, 1773;
John, born Nov. 2, 1777;
George William, born May 15, 1772, and
Elizabeth Catharine, born Oct. 3, 1775

Nicholas Kern, son of Nicholas, with his wife Eva, was sponsor to John Nicholas, son of William Kern, in 1773. In 1762, Nicholas Kern was taxed 16 pounds in Towamensing township; in 1767, 20 pounds; in 1774, he was taxed 2 pounds, 4 shillings, as a farmer, on 200 acres;, in 1786, he was taxed on 225 acres of land and grist mill. Nicholas Kern, Jr., was assessed in 1785 for a grist mill and 75 acres of land. He was a lieutenant colonel in the Revolution. His son Nicholas, born in 1760, and died in 1829, was sheriff of the county.

John Kern, fifth son of Nicholas, the first, acquired 226 acres of his father's tract by release in 1770. He was assessed in 1762, 13 pounds; 1763, four pounds; 1764, three pounds on 200 acres; in 1768, on thirty acres of cultivated and 200 of uncultivated land, two horses and two cows. He and his wife, Annie Margaret, had the following children:
Annie Catharine, born January 22, 1771;
Susanna Margaret, born Feb. 28, 1773;
George Kern, born June 6, 1774, married in 1802,
Elizabeth Sensinger and had two sons:
John George, born in 1807; and
Conrad, born June 2, 1808; and
Daniel, who moved to Indiana in 1839.

George Kern, sixth son of Nicholas, the first, was single in 1764. His name appeared in the tax list of 1785. Lorentz, youngest son of Nicholas Kern, born in 1741, is mentioned in the Heidelberg tax list in 1762 and 1764 as a single man.

John George Kern, eldest son of George Kern and his wife, Elizabeth Sensinger, was born March 7, 1807; died April 6, 1861. He was buried at Frieden's Church cemetery. His far covered 120 acres and is now the center of the slate region. He was a member of the old state militia and of the Frieden's Reformed church, in the building of which he took a prominent part. His wife was Margaret Wert, daughter of Christian Wert, born June 6, 1805. Their children were:
Mary, who married John Kreitz;
Thomas; Lucy, who died unmarried; and
Rufina, who married Jarret Farber.

Conrad Kern, the youngest son of George Kern, was born June 2, 1808, and married Polly Snyder [Schneider], and had sons: Paul and John.

Daniel Kern, brother of George and son of John, removed to Indiana in 1839, and had children: John, Lewis, Mrs. John Rex, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Mertz.

A sawmill was an important developmental step in a community. Before sawmills, boards could only be sawn by two men with a whipsaw. In a sawmill, the circular motion of a water wheel was changed to the back-and-forth motion of the saw blade with a pitman arm.
A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.

A Dower is a provision for a wife's support should her husband die before her. Her dower right was the use of ⅓ of her husband's estate. The dower was settled on the bride at the time of the wedding. A drowry was the property a bride brought to her marriage.

Lehigh County, Pennsylvania was first settled about 1730 and officially constituted in 1812 with the division of Northampton County.

The Boston Tea Party was on December 16, 1773. The Sons of Liberty destroyed an entire shipment of the East India Company's tea by throwing it into the harbor.

Most Americans were farmers in the 18th and early 19th centuries.



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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