One of the venerable citizens of LaSalle county is Jacob Kuney, now
living retired in the pretty town of Earlville. Though now well along in
years, he comes of families noted for longevity, and doubtless will live to
see many years of the new century so near at hand. Both of his grandfathers
were soldiers in the war of the Revolution, and patriotism has been a
notable characteristic of all of his relatives.
The Kuneys are of German descent, as the name indicates, but several generations have resided in America; and the grandfather of our subject, for whom he was named, was a Pennsylvania farmer, the father of a large family. Of these children, Samuel Kuney, a native of the same state, was engaged in farming in Perry county, Pennsylvania, until his death, at the age of sixty-five years. His wife, Mary, daughter of Jacob Bergstresser, survived him, attaining the age of eighty-six years. She, too, was a Pennsylvanian, though her father was a native of Germany. He was eighty-six years old at death, but his wife lived to be six months over one hundred years of age! For many years he served as the clerk of the county court, but the chief business of his life was agriculture. In religion the Kuneys were originally Lutherans, but later identified themselves with the Methodist church. Of the five sons and five daughters of Samuel and Mary Kuney, but three are now living, namely, our subject; Sarah, of Jackson, Minnesota, widow of John Bergstresser; and Daniel, of Baker, Kansas.
The birth of Jacob Kuney took place in Perry county, Pennsylvania, November 29, 1816, and when twenty years of age he left home and went to Niagara county, New York. At the time of the Canadian rebellion he was called into military service, but at the end of two weeks was allowed to resume his accustomed vocation. In 1838 he was married, and for a period was occupied in farming, later learning the blacksmith's trade, which he pursued about four years. In 1847 he went to Waukesha, Wisconsin, accompanied by his wife and three children. Locating near the town, he continued to reside there for twenty years, at the end of which time he sold his farm of three hundred and twenty acres and removing to Winneshiek county, Iowa, invested in one thousand acres of land. Two years later, in 1869, he divided six hundred acres of this tract among his children, and, selling the remainder, came to LaSalle county. Here he bought four hundred acres of land in Earl township, and subsequently disposing of this property he purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres situated about a mile north of Earlville. This place he still owns, though he rents it and makes his home in Earlville, in the enjoyment of well earned rest from toil.
As previously noted, Mr. Kuney was married in 1838, the lady of his choice being Miss Amanda, daughter of Joshua and Laodicea (Cotton) Slayton. Six children were born to our subject and wife. The eldest son, Cassius M. Clay, was graduated in the Bryant & Stratton Business College, and at seventeen years of age enlisted in the Union army, serving with distinguished bravery from the beginning to the close of the war of the Rebellion. He wedded Miss Ellen Guthrie and has five children, — Inez, Edith, Ralph, Carl and Max. The family is now living in Wasco, Oregon. Garrett Smith, the younger son, married Miss Alice Boozle, and is a resident of Earlville, his occupation being that of a farmer. He has five children, — Perry, Cora, Harry, Mabel and Agnes. Mary, the oldest daughter of our subject, now living at White City, Kansas, is the wife of Horace Harmon, and is the mother of four living sons, — Joseph, Horace, Guy and Ernest. Emeline, the second daughter, married Joseph Gauthie, of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Desire married Ellis T. White, of Earlville, and their children are Eria, Archie, Laura, Sadie, Radley, Clyde and Ralph. Josephine D. wedded Henry Boozle, a farmer, now of Des Moines, Iowa, and their children are: Grace, Angie, Kittie, Myrtle, Louise, John and Harry. Altogether, Mr. and Mrs. Kuney have thirty-nine grandchildren and thirty-one great-grandchildren; and it is a remarkable fact that of all their descendants only six have passed to the silent land.
For many years Mr. and Mrs. Kuney have been devoted members of the Congregational church. Politically he is a Republican, and though he has never desired public office he has served as township assessor four times, thrice in succession when he was living in Wisconsin, and once while in Earl township. In all of his relations with his fellow men, Mr. Kuney has been honorable and just, winning the respect of every one, and to his children he will leave what is better far than riches, the record of an exemplary life.
Extracted 17 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 478-480.