Thanks to Gary Kinner who submitted this family material for presentation online in February 1998
This family history was prepared by John Kinner. Now 72 years old, christened Jacob Edwin Kinner--from memory, pictures and documents handed down from deceased family members and accumulated over my lifetime--in the hopes that other members of the family and my children, as well as their children will continue to keep a record of the highlights and events in the lives of this Kinner clan.
It is important that it be written down and kept in some form of record book in a safe place where it cannot be destroyed by fire or other catastrophy.
Great appreciation by this writer is acknowledged to my sister-in-law, Agatha Criss Kinner, and her daughter, Janice Kinner Bliss, for the considerable documentation they provided to make possible the following 31 pages of history in the lives of part of the Kinner family; ancestors originally from Fifeshire, Scotland and related by marriage, people from about the 1585 to June 4, 1971.
Copies of this story are going to be given to members of the family who have indicated interest or contributed material for this story as well as my own three children with a request that some or all of them contribute and insert more pages of other interesting incidents and/or research clearing up more accurately dates, names of people and places mentioned in this document and to carry it on from this date forward.
(Signed) John Kinner
June 4, 1971
at Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
HUSBAND: Nathaniel Kinner-John Kinner paternal Great Great Grandfather
born 21 Apr 1774 at Orange Co NY (NY crossed out and New Jersy inserted)
married (no date) at Orange, Co NY (NY crossed out and New Jersy inserted)
died 14 Feb 1838 at Pine City, NY and buried at Millerton, Tioga Co, PA (Alder Run Cem)
WIFE: Sally Ryder (? sp)
born 10 May 1774 at Orange Co NY (NY crossed out and New Jersy inserted)
died 19 Sept 1859 at Pine City, NY and buried at Millerton, Tioga Co PA (Alder Run Cem)
CHILDREN: William, born 4 Oct 1791, place unknown. died 14 Feb 1843. married to Patriece Miller
Rebecca, born 17 Apr 1803, place unknown. died 27 Sept 1872. married to James Miller
Lewis, born 17 Oct 1810 at Millerton, died 10 June 1878. married 6 Nov 1830 to Mary Ann Miller
Mary, born 15 Sept 1821 at Millerton, died 15 June 1904. married in 1838 to George K. Miller (Nathan Miller's son)
Miles, born-unknown date- at Orange NY, died 10 Aug 1895. married Polly Kinner- unknown date
Sources of Information: Lucy Kinner Jones in 1940; also tombstone
inscriptions; history of Chemung Co, New York by Ausburn (?sp illegible)
Fournier (?sp illegible) published by D. Mason + Co. 1892 page 427.
Explanations: Notification by John Kinner June 6, 1971-these seven charts came into my possession quite some time after I started to write this history.
(PAGE 3 IS AN OFF-SHOOT OF PAGE 2 WITH SOME INFO ON IN-LAWS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THIS)
HUSBAND: Lewis Kinner-John Kinner Great Grandfather (paternal)
WIFE: Mary Ann Miller, born 1811 at Millerton, died 1891 (unknown place), buried at Alder Run, father and mother were Joshua and Dorothy Rider (? sp). Dorothy's other husband was a Mr. Hoffman (no dates of marriage or other details)
CHILDREN: Nathaniel, born 3 Sept 1831 at Millerton, died- date unknown, married to Georgiana Wood-date unknown
John, born 15 Aug 1833 at Millerton, died-date unknown, married-unknown
Jacob M., born 15 Feb1835 at Millerton, died 8 Mar 1900 at Jackson Township, (Millerton) Tioga Co, PA, buried at Alder Run, married to Charlotte Daggett Elliott Bryant.
Dollie, born 1 Aug 1839 at Millerton. died-date unknown, married to a Mr. Piper (no dates of marriage or other details)
Giles, born 10 June 1842 at Millerton, died-date unknown, married to Lydia D. Irelan (no other details)
Mahala, born July 1844 at Millerton, died Sept 1926. married to Chester Wheeler, Monroe Clair, and Al Stevens (no dates or other details)
Huldah (? sp), born 17 Sept 1845 at Millerton, died 1933, married to John E. Wheeler (no dates or other details)
Sources of Information: Mrs. Lucy Kinner Jones-Broadacres, Wellsboro, Tioga Co, PA;Mrs. Murna Kinner Wheeler, Millerton, PAA; tombstone inscriptions; copy of Mary Ann Miller Kinner's bible obtained from Lucy Kinner Jones.. Records now destroyed
(PAGE 5 IS THE SAME AS PAGE 3)
HUSBAND: Jacob M. Kinner-John Kinner Paternal Grandfather.(no date of marriage)
WIFE: Charlotte Daggett Elliott Bryant, born Jun 5, 1844 at Daggett Hollow Tioga Co, PA. died 5 June 1931 at Jackson Township (Millerton). buried at Alder Run. father was Aaron Gilbert Bryant and mother was Eliza Applegate.
CHILDREN: Lucy, born 4 Aug 1865 at Millerton, died 1 July 1962 married Thaddeus Jones (no date of marriage)
Leman Max, born 17 Oct 1872 at Bear Creek, PA, married to Ann Wood and divorced (no dates) and Irene Baker (no date)
HUSBAND: Leman Max Kinner-John Kinner father, born 17 Oct 1872 at Millerton, died 20 Feb 1949 at Elmira, Chemung Co, NY, buried at Alder Run.
WIFE: Irene Elizabeth Baker, born 14 Sept 1878 at Lawrenceville, Tioga Co, PA. father was Edwin Harry Baker and mother was Clara Augusta Elliott (no other details)
CHILDREN: Jacob Edwin, born 20 Apr 1899 at Millerton.married Frankie Scudder (divorce) and Velma O'Dell (no other details)
Giles Hugh, born 9 May 1901 at Millerton, died June 1904
Lee "M", born 15 Oct 1902 at Millerton, married Agatha Margaret Criss 12 Mar 1923 (no other details)
Myrtle Murna, born 15 Feb 1905 at Elmira, NY, married John Groom Wheeler 26 Aug 1935 (no other details)
Elizabeth Frankie, born 2 July 1918 at Corning, NY. married Clair Rexford Criss 20 Aug 1935 (no other details)
Doris Virginia, born 25 Aug 1919 at Corning. married Arleigh Burdett Criss 26 June 1941 (no other details)
Donna Rae, born 15 Mar 1922 at Corning. married Robert Ralph Wheeler 9 Aug 1937 (no other details)
(PAGE 8 IS THE SAME AS PAGES 3 AND 5)
page 9 (this is my insert. page 8 ends my father's tree pages- jgk)
HUSBAND: Jacob Edwin Kinner (John-my father), born 20 Apr 1899, died 5 Sept 1974 at Orlando, Fla, buried at Orlando.
WIFE: Frankie Scudder (no other details) and Velma Laura O'Dell, born 3 June 1917 at Tuscaroara(sp), NY.married 1 Jan 1938.
CHILDREN: Juan Gary, born 1 Feb 1939 at Corning.
Wanda Marie, born 25 Oct 1940 at Corning
Aaron Gurnsey born 20 May 1942 at Corning
The following information from Agatha Criss Kinner was received from Oliver Smith Kinner who served as District Attorney of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania for 17 years. Also as Law Librarian at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania nearly 4 years; also as Solicitor of Tunkhannock Borough, Pennsylvania and as Solicitor of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania; admitted to the bar at April term of court 1896; was also a member of U. S. Courts and the Scranton, Pennsylvania Bar. He has traced the Kinners to Connecticut, but Agatha has not found his records yet.
The ancestor of the Kinner Family in America enlisted in the Army of General Davis Leslie who made an effort to set Charles II on the English throne. He was one of the young men who was taken prisoner at Dunbar Scotland, where Leslie's troops were defeated by Cromwell and the vanquished were sent to New Castle Fort from whence a large number were transported to service in the New World, notwhithstanding Cromwell's injunction that they be well treated and allowed their liberty at the cessation of hostilities.
Six hundred of these prisoners of war arrived at Boston to work in the iron works. But the iron works were not a success and the authorities were rather glad to get rid of them. Many returned to Scotland and others remained and were distributed among the colonies. One group got together some cash and bought a tract of land at Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, where they settled and made homes, intermarrying with the colonial families. In this group was Young (name or reference to age?) Kinner. From there the Kinners migrated to Goshen, Orange County, New York. The Kinners were a landed family in Fifeshire, Scotland and had a coat of arms. The family name is spelled variously Kinnor, Kinnaire, Kinneir, Kinner, Kinnear and Kenner. However, the last is not to be found in Scotland. The ancestor of Kinner came to Boston between 1651-1658. He was born before 1635.
The following information was from Agatha Kinner:
Nathaniel Kinner was born 21 April 1774 in Orange County, New York one year before the battle of Lexington, Massachusetts that opened the American Revolutionary War. His early childhood was filled with the turmoil of a country fighting for its' independence. He was 14 years old when the Constitution of the United States was ratified. At the age of 18 in 1792 he married a girl by the name of Sally. She was also born in Orange County, New York on 10 May 1774.
The newlyweds joined a group of neighbors who were going to the Indian infested wilderness of north central Pensytlvania to settle. Among the group was 35 year old Garrett Miller, his wife the former Mary Smith, their 14 year old son Samuel, 18 year old Nathaniel and Sally Kinner, Samuel Smith and others.
They left their homes to cut a road through the unbroken forest, up Seely Creek from Newtown (now Elmira, New York) to a point near the state line now called Kinner Hill, about 4 miles north of the site of Millerton Pennsylvaina.
A rude log cabin was built and Nathaniel and Sally setup housekeeping while Garrett Miller and his family pushed on 4 miles farther south to settle on the site of what is now Millerton, Tioga County, Pennsylvania.
The two families visited back and forth and two of Nathaniel's children married into the Miller family. We do not have a complete record of the children of Nathaniel and Sally, only the following: Lewis Kinner born 17 October 1810, Mary Rebecca and a son, Miles. ( PLEASE SEE PAGE 2).
As the years passed. a settlement grew up around the Miller homestead on Millerton, but Nathaniel and Sally's home drew no close neighbors. They spent their married live wrestling a living from the virgin wilderness, raising their children and taking part in the pioneer social life in Millerton with their friends.
On the 14th of February 1838, at the age of 64 years, Nathaniel Kinner died at his home on Kinner Hill, Chemung County, New York from a wound of some sort He was carried the 4 miles to Millerton where he was laid in the small cemetary where his friends and helpers Garrett and Mary Miller also lie. Sally Kinner died 19 September 1859 at the age of 85 years and is buried beside her husband. Many of their descendants still live in the area around Millerton.
Notation to John Kinner by Agatha Kinner: Jack, (my father was born Jacob Edwin, he called himself John and his family called him Jack) I have heard that when Garrett came to Millerton there had been a big flood in that area and Garrett did not care for the prospect of others so he settled somwhere on the switchback, not on the land he was supposed to. He had received this grant of land in Millerton for his services in the Revolutionary war.
page 12 He lived where he settled for about four years and then a surveying party came through and he was ordered to settle on his own grant, which he did and his original home is contained in Hugh Houser's house there in Millerton. I could not prove it.
Jack, I just thought of something my grandfather Criss told me. The farm I was brought up on was cleared by Grandfather Jacob Kinner and his brother, Giles. Alec Lewis (from whom my grandfather bought the farm where we lived) had a large tract of virgin timber at least 150 acres and Giles and Jacob were hired to clear it. They walked 10 miles night and morning-the farm is in Clark Hollow above Seeley Creek where Pat and Beth live. (my father's sister Elizebeth(Beth) and her husband Clair(Pat). They walked from the stone house at Trowbridge, Pennsylvania to there and back home at night and worked all day for 50 cents a day. They planted the first crop of wheat around the huge stumps from which we got our firewood when I was a girl. Some are still standing. They must have cut the trees with a cross cut saw by hand and some were three or four feet in diameter.
Another memory I have is when your dad (Leman) came home for a weekend, he brought a hugh bundle of meat. All kinds. Ham, beef, pork, lame, etc. Mother Kinner put it in a large kettle and cooked it all together. The flavor was out of this world. She cooked it until it all came off the bones and disintegrated in the broth. Your mother baked pancakes and we used the meat and broth to put on our pancakes. Ambrosia!! I think a;; the younger kids would remember it. I don't know if he always did it or not, but in my memory it still was a happy memory.
FAMILY HISTORY BY JANICE KINNER BLISS FROM MOTHER IRENE KINNER AND MURNA WHEELER,
Jacob "M" Kinner was born 15 February 1835 to Lewis and Mary Ann (Miller) Kinner in a small town named Trowbridge, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. The town has now vanished (1963) but in 1835 it consisted of a general store, a blacksmith shop, post office and several houses. It was located between Millerton and Jackson Summit, Pennsylvania on Route 328.
We know nothing of his early childhood, but he must have had an adventurous outlook on life because as a young man he ran away and joined the circus. He followed the profession of a circus tightrope walker for a time.
Then he married Charlotte Daggett Elliott Bryant (her family gave all their children 4 names) anbd settled down on a farm just outside of Millerton, Pennsylvania.
Jacob never traveled far from home after his marriage. He spent his time farming and trapping animals for their furs which he sold. He was nicknamed "Skunk Kinner" because of the numerous skunk pelts which came from his traps. He was honest, industrious and had the reputation of always telling the truth.
One of the greatest joys of Jacob's life was his violin. His being left handed posed a problem when he first started to play but being determined, he overcame this obstacle. He had the violin strung backwards.
In time he became a skilled violinist. He occasionally played for community dances but the more classical compositions gave him his personal pleasure. On warm summer evenings he would sit on the porch of his house and play his violin as though his soul was seeking expression through his music. His violin was his soul's companion. (I have heard Grandma tell how he made up his music as he went along and she said she has cried many times at the sadness and beauty of it.)
One thing I remember Grandma (Irene Baker) Kinner telling me (Janice Kinner Bliss) about Grandfather Jacob. Grandma lived down in Alder Run and Jacob came down to cut wood for her. He hadn't spoken to his sister Mahala for years. It was Christmantime and Grandma decided to do something about it. She invited Jacob for supper the next night and also Aunt Mahala and Uncle John. Jacob came early to cut wood and she stalled about supper until Mahala and John came. Grandpa Jacob jumped up when they drove in and started to go home. Irene put her arms around him and pleaded with him to not be mad any longer and finally they shook hands and were friends, but he told Irene it was only to please her and not that he felt any different. But she said they had a gay supper and she
thought he really enjoyed it.
Two nights before he died he came down to Alder Run to cut wood for Irene and she asked him if he had any supper. He said no, he hadn't had anything to eat all day. She had ham and honey and he loved hot biscuits so she cooked him a good supper and she said he ate like he was starved. It was the last meal he ever ate. He was burning up with fever and she wanted him to stay and let her take care of him but he went home and two days later in the morning he died.
INFORMATION AS PROVIDED BY JANICE KINNER BLISS AS TOLD TO HER BY IRENE KINNER OR MURNA KINNER WHEELER
Charlotte Bryant came from a prosperous family and was very much the lady; small and petite she was always immaculately groomed.
It was her custom when her daughter-in-law Irene was expecting a baby, to come to stay for a week or two before the baby was born. She didn't help with the work--Irene had to wait on her--but she was there! In fact, in interviewing members of the family, I was unable to find anyone who had seen her do much work. Perhaps her wealthy background, with hired help to do the work was responsible for this attitude.
Charlotte's married life was rather quiet. She and her husband would go for weeks without speaking to each other. When Jacob was called to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War, Charlotte didn't want to be left alone so Jacob paid his brother Giles three hundred dollars to take his place. This was commonly done at that time.
Two children were born to this marriage, Lucy and Leman. Charlotte was inclined to spiritualism and she and the children (after they were older) often conducted a kind of seance. They would sit around the table and join hands and Charlotte would summon the spirits. Unfortunately they never made contact. Jacob died 8 March 1900. Charlotte lived 31 years after his death but remained a widow. Finally on 5 June 1931 she joined Jacob in death. Three days later she was laid to rest at his side in the Alder Run Cemetary a few miles from Millerton, Pennsylvania.
Now about this not working bit. I think she must have done the usual hosework same as anybody else. Grandma (Irene) used to tell about her making cookies and hiding them under her bed so Grandpa couldn't find them. She made butter and sneaked it out to sell so she could have the little lace jabots that she loved and Grandma had to admit Grandpa wouldn't give her a cent to spend for herself. I don't think your mother liked her. I never heard really good things about her either. Personally from my own experience I don't think her life was too gay.
ACCORDING TO JANICE KINNER BLISS;
My grandfather, Leman Max Kinner (Janice Kinner Bliss is/was my father's brother's daughter-my cousin) was born 18 October 1872 to Jacob and Charlotte (Bryant) Kinner in Jackson Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania at a little village called Trowbridge. He was born with a character that was all too human. In his adult life he was a mason by trade and a rover by nature. He followed construction jobs all over the United States, leading a gay life of wine, women and song.
This gay existence was not so gay for my grandmother, but she had the stamina to survive it and raised her children. In the process she developed a humorous, self-reliant, vigorous spirit that is the wonder and envy of all who know her. In her life story she has recorded what she wants her descendants to remember about her life. I'll respect her wishes and end by saying Leman Max Kinner died 20 February 1949 at Elmira, Chemung County, New York and is buried at Alder Run Cemetary, Millerton, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. My grandmother, Irene Elizabeth Baker, daughter of Edwin and Clarissa (Elliott) Baker is alive at the present time (20 January 1962) and is 83 years old. I'd like to say as a mother-in-law and grandmother I could ask for no better. Kind, loving and always ready to help. Wharever was needed she was there regardless of her own inconvenience. Life with Grandma was never dull--something doing every minute and if there wasn't anything doing, she made it do something. Illove her very much and the spice of the devil she had was not the least of her charms.
GRANDMA, 17 YEARS OLD BY JANICE KINNER BLISS
Right after Grandpa and Grandma were married, he went to Colesburg (around Coudersport) although he was a mason, he worked as a bark peeler in the woods. So Grandma went down each night through the woods to meet him (Corduroy Road). There were bears, panthers and wild cats, etc. Trees made a solid canopy overhead. Blue sky and clouds, lots of big juicy blackberries. People lived in shacks made of green lumber that shrank and warped in the sun leaving large cracks that let the light out after dark making the shacks look like jack-o-lanterns. The boss of the men warned Grandma not to go thru the woods because it was dangerous after dark, but Grandma did anyway. One night Grandma was followed. She heard the dry twigs crack. She started out singing but soon stopped and was afraid. She ran and so did the footsteps. Grandma finally made the camp but Grandpa was afraid to go home (3 miles) so he made the man hitch up the wagon and drive them home. Grandma said it must have been one of the men trying to scare her so she wouldn't walk thru the woods alone after dark. There were omly two cabins on the road. (I remember Grandma telling about picking a big pail of berries two or three times a week and making them into pies and taking them to camp. They sold for five cents a piece. One man always took a whole pie. Made quite a bit that way).
WHEN GRANDMA GOT MARRIED BY JANICE KINNER BLISS
She had not made up mind at 12;30 in the morning. She talked with Grandpa Elliott and Grandma and Uncle Will. Uncle Will says, stay with Old Unc and you'll never wear rubies and diamonds if you stay. Grandmother's mother said she thought Leman was converted. He was baptized but never went to church again. Her engagement ring was beautiful. She had it about four years, found it had belonged to Hattie--another of his old flames--and she returned it to her.
She wore a green and black checkered dress with an Eton jacket. Had two long braids with red ribbons and a red sailor hat. Went home from Grandpa Elliott's at 12;30 and went to bed. Grandma Elliott wanted her to stay and think about it awhile longer, but she decided to go. Grandpa Leman had been in a scrape and had left Wellsburg and came up to Trowbridge to get out of the state. Grandpa Jacob had put in a patch of onions where Roy Criss lives and Leman had promised to help him. So Grandma went out and pulled onions till 11:30 and Leman stayed in with his mother. He went down to Jasper Woodford's, whose wife was Charlotte's cousin, and borrowed a horse and buggy and drove to a place above Lindley and were married. They came back and she picked up potatoes till dark. Grandpa Jacob, in the morning before they were married, took her up under the old pine tree and told her to go home. Leman was no good now, never had been and never would be. Leman came back from returning the horse and said they were invited to stay at Suze Dewitts. When she got there, she found Suze in bed with pneumonia and needed someone to take care of her. That was her honeymoon. Incidentally Suze was one of Leman's "has beens".
THE SKETCH OF MY LIFE, IRENE BAKER KINNER, WRITTEN NOVEMBER 8, 1960:
Born in the year 1878 in Lawrence Township which is called Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania today, I was born in the same log house my great-grandparents and my own grandfather Samuel and John Baker Sr. built and where my father, Edwin Harry was born, the youngest of John, my grandfather. There were 5 boys and 4 girls in my father's family. The boys all settled on the same state line road. There was only one outside family on the 10 mile road between Nelson and Lindley road except Uncle James. He went to war with Grandpa and Uncle John and never returned. We were a very happy family. They all owned their own homes and helped one another. I can never remember a fight among them. When daddy was 21, he married Clarissa Elliott, daughter of David and Hester Ann (Rogers Lane). The old homestead fell to my father and there was where my sisters and brothers were all born in the same log house. My father built on an addition of lumber but the part we lived in was the corner where the large fireplace built out of firestone and covered one whole side of the room. It had wide deep seats on each side and swing stands fastened so we could pull them over our laps. We could pull them over our legs and eat our lunches or do our writing. There were foot rests in front and the beautiful fire that lit the whole room. There was an iron rod that held the iron kettle that we used for many a tasty linch and sugared off in the spring when we had the sap buckets nung on the trees. Always there was a pan of apples, plums, and cherries, both sweet and sour, and pears fall and winter. I was the third in our family. Alice was the eldest and little Ann died when she was four days old. Her heart was weak at birth and she never rallied. A year and 2 months latter I was born.
Then when I was two my baby brother, Leroy, was born and I can remember how proud we were but God took him when he was three years old. The day of his funeral Bessie was born and Mama's two twins were three years later--a sweet little boy and girl. They only lived one year and a few days; then there were only the three girls left.
Mama turned to her church work and was gone a lot of the time when there was church work to do. So my oldest sister and I had the work to keep up. Daddy helped us and we were so happy. He was a good cook. Mamma had never been very strong and devoted her time to the church work.
At this time we all started to learn our ABC's and our first counting in the Bible. I can see it yet standing on a large willow stand. We used to weave them down by the creek and bronzed them. It was fun to dust them and a bit of dust never missed Grandma or Mama's eyes--you can bet on that. When we started to school, we had to walk 3 miles but before the snow got too deep we could go across and it was about 2 miles, but oh it was beautiful through thr woods; squirrels,
chimunks, rabbits and foxes all so free and happy. Never in my life of 82 years have I been envious of the life you young people live now. I know you are no happier or more free than my childhood lefe. I sit and wonder how people can be in such a mad rush to get going on and nor enjoying what they have. I've driven to church every Sunday and prayer meeting once a week. When we girls, my oldest sister and I were 7 we rode our horses to church seven miles.. We loved horses and there were always horses at our place as Daddy's brother John was the only one not married until his late 50's. He always lived with us and bought and raised horses to sell and we loved to try them and ride them to school when the roads were bad. After our work was done, we passed many unforgettable hours with them. Those were the days before this mad rush and hurry and strife and greed. We enjoyed what our God made for us--the beautiful forest. I loved to think what it must have been 100 years before my time. Not that I am not more than glad my children and grandchildren have the lovely things to make their work so much easier but I don't think they take time to really enjoy the life God meant us to live, love and enjoy.
We were happy and when Dad came in the year I was 10 years old. I never will forget the night Mama had been away on a tour of Revial meetings and she was so quiet after our brothers and sisters went that being home again brought it all back to her more clearly. Daddy came in for supper and said, "Mom and kidoes, how would you like to go on a 2oo acre farm and a large mill"? You could have heard a pin drop.
We only stood and looked at one another and then he said get ready. We never dreamed of any other home than where we were so there came the first stage (change). It was six miles on the Clendenning Creek from home. Mr. Casson owned a large farm and saw mill. There were 2 brothers, Mordicai who ran the farm and John, who ran the mill. They had six tenement houses all alike for their help. We were a very lonesome household, believe you me! But after a week we got settled and began to take up our lives again. After 10 years of our family, to be among perfect strangers seemed rather strange. It was not long before we became acquainted with our neighbors, who were very nice. There was only one girl who was six months older than I; all were younger, and there were no others for awhile below.
Mr. Casson had 300 sheep, and only four horses and we missed our own hoeses as we used to have then to ride to church. Our own horses also took us to church and all the parties we went to. Alice had hers and I had
mine. By the time school opened in the fall, we were a little more content and used to the new home. But no house would ever take the p;ace of our own dear home. We had been so free and happy there. We had to walk three miles.
There were three Mayos. Alice and I and two girls 8 and 9. And 2 Culvers below us. We all enjoyed our school days. Two terms then I was out of grammer school except my Regent's on two subjects. Alice quit school and went to work. Daddy had so many doctor bills as Mama was no better and she was traveling so much and not home. Bessie was not strong at all so there was plenty to keep me busy. I made up my mind if I could get Mama to come home from traveling on the road as she did with an evangelical group.
Mr. Casson built a schoolhouse for his help, so Bessie, who was starting in school, was right at home. The hopes I built on going to Nelson to my Grandmother's for high school all but fell through. A teacher at the mill arranged for me to take an examination if I chose to take up a business course, which I never did. And all I had was two subjects to do, so I took them and passed. Mama was not so well and came home and went under the doctor's care at different places, so I got one of the neighbors to keep an eye on Bessie, and when it came fall in my 15th year I started to school. My sister, Alice was married that year and lived in Lindley.
Mama was not so well and there were no more thoughts of high school for me. It was rather quiet for me after that as there were no horses to ride and we were never allowed to go far from the house. Only on Sunday we would walk six miles to Sunday School. We were not allowed to go any place or do anything on Sunday. One Sunday after dinner and our work was done, we coaxed Mama to let us go into the woods. The woods were beautiful and by walking across three miles we came to a large farm and a lovely orchard of prize apples. The farmer shipped them to New York and well knew he would never give us one on our way to school to eat so by going through the woods we came in back of the orchard. We were just bubbling over for adventure. So with peaceful church memories forgotten, Cassie tied her apron a little tighter and I took off my petticoat and took my lastics from my stockings and made quite a nice sack and we went to work on the Pound Sweet apple tree.
The two brothers of Cassie, Clint 9 and Ross 11, on the King--a large beautiful apple that would melt in your mouth. We got a nice lot and started back. There was a large pasture field we had to go through and if we had our minds on anything we would have been watching out but kid fashion, we had asked Mr. Stead for one apple to take to school one day and he had refused as he said he could not be bothered. We paid no attention to the root fence when we had crossed the pasture. On our way to the orchard there were two rows of barbed wire on top of roots and we had taken our time when they yelled, "look behind you". Well we only needed one look. The boys made the fence but
there was only a large dividing chestnut tree for us. We made it but we could not coax Mr. Bull to go on. We threw an apple to roll down the hill but he never looked at it. He pawed and hooked the ground and tree and the fence. We were scared and it was getting late. Boy fashion, they laid on the ground and laughed having the time of their life on the other side of the fence. Finally we coaxed and threatened and begged and finally we got them to go way down to the other side of the field and climb over the fence and mock Mr. Bull and get him to chase them. He obliged them and we made the fence. Then for home. We hid the apples that were left. It rained for 2 days and when we sent the boys to get the apples, they were all eaten by squirrels, rabbits, and birds so you never profit by getting what doesn't belong to you. You will find a lesson all along the road that honesty is the best policy.
While Mama was at Alice's I had to gather sumac bobs to color some carpet rags that I was sewing for my room so I got ready and walked to Lindley to see them all and on the hill was a lot of the bobs. I took my basket and went to gather them. When I came back there was a man sitting there by the gate I went through. He had been hunting and had a gun. (He had been hunting woodchucks.) He said "let me carry your basket". I never spoke; I started on the run and never stopped until I got to the house and Alice and Mama laughed and said it must be Lucy's brother Leman as he is staying with her and went hunting this noon. I said that did not give him permission to speak to me.
He came right down and that was the beginning of another chapter in my life. Many changes come in one's life that until you grow old and look back, you can see how the pattern goes together. You don't know how it will look until you try it on. My advice here at 83 is to look your pattern over good. If you choose it, see that it fits and sew your seams and fasten the ends and it won't ravel.
I went home and Mama remained a week then she came home and soon received a letter asking permission to write to me and of course she said no. It opened up a writing between them and she thought he was interested in her letters and Bible which she was more that willing to impart. Leman wrote to me and I showed the letter to her. She wrote back I could write and sent it with hers which I did.
Next spring more meetings started so I wrote more on my own. We then decided to get married. I told daddy and he did not want me to but did not fight me any, but told me not to say anything to Mama until
we were ready.
One day we decided and now, girls just imagine as you get in your beautiful gown, a lovely car all decorated, lovely bridesmaids and all the finery. Just think who was the happiest, the girl in all the finery or the one in the blue linen suit with her valise in her hand walking nine miles on a warm summer day. I told Daddy and Mama that day. They did not say anything. I went to a cousins and was married the next day. We went to his home and I met his father and mother to stay for a while as I thought, but it turned out he decided to go to the woods. This sounded good to me as I loved the woods, the birds and all animals which I had used to all my life.
There was only his father and mother and they were lovely to me. Soon Leman gave up his job in Elmira and got this job peeling bark and cutting logs in a large belt of timber which would go miles in deep forest. The job lasted two years and then we came back to his father's and were there until the next year. I found I was going to have a baby and tried to get him to get me a place of my own as I wanted my baby to be born in our own home. I went to work and found a place and surprised my husband very much. I got the thing all together and when he came in one Friday night I told him. I only got rooms but we lived there until a month before our little son was born. We then moved in a house by ourselves. In one year father Kinner died. Then back on the farm with his mother we went. Max went on the road, never staying very long in one place and he did nor change his habits. I tried to get him to work at his trade so he could be home on the farm with the children. In two years we had another boy--a darling and seven months more another boy so I was busy. There were only 3 rooms in mother's home and attic so I wanted more room. We got the field stones gathered up and he put an upright part out of solid fieldstone so we had 4 rooms and I never worked harder to get it all finished as he said he would not roam anymore. But he would get a job then go and a week or a month later would phone or write, sorry but I like to see the world. So it went! I finished the room, even got a job landed where he could come home every night. The next door neighbor drove every day to the bank in the city and I was happy. I got my carpets tacked in every room, curtains hung and waited for his train. He sure was some surprised but he said he had a job all lined up for Monday a.m. Well, I said o.k. You leave on the morning train and I'll be in your room Monday night. He only laughed and said that is a joke. I said o.k. we will nor discuss it and said no more but on Monday a.m. at 8:45 he left. I sent for my father and went to where he was boarding and there was where he found his family when he quit work. That was the beginning of a long travel. We lived in Elmira, New York 1 1/2 years. While in Elmira my little girl was born.
Now with four little ones it was time I thought of the farm and a stationary home. Si I coaxed and pleaded with him to give up the travel, but no soap! He just would not give up the travel of the road. I thought I would, but it was hard job with 4 babies and alone. So one morning he went to work as usual and did not return. In a day or two he came home and said, Honey, I have a years job in Big Flats with a large business firm. All the work I want. So to Big Flats we went. There our little boy was taken sick with his ears and throat. All winter he was under the doctor's care and June of the next year he died. The botton seemed to drop out of my life but one has to take up their burden and go on. In less than a year Mack was gone again and in about a month a telegram came saying that at last he had found a job that would last two years on government work with a large construction company in Wheeling, West Virginia. Then I was down so I studied the situation from all sides and worked out the angles and I said to myself I owed myself a visit home. I had not had time to visit my father and mother or sister and her family since I began traveling. I packed my things, stored them and said to myself and babies, "Well, I don't pack and settle every new moon" and went to see my family and left no forwarding address. I answered his telegram. I was ready any time he was and I would be home for awhile in two weeks. He said in his letter I might better go and get all we needed of goods and come as the job looked promising. So we left for West Virginia where I worked where he boarded for the room and my and the babies board. There we stayed until he got a room where it cost $15.00 a week. We could only get one cir and pulled the table up for a bed and to eat. My hot plate, as they were called, had 3 burners and sat on my trunk. Every time I got clothes for the children I had to remove the stove and then put it back We had a folding bed just large enough for the two boys and a folding carriage for my baby. Then I wanted a sewing machine; I had to earn money to help out. The boss was very good to Max as he was not too prompt about getting on the job and it was a government job.
We only had open gas jets for lights so it was bad on the eyes. I had to be careful in my sewing. I sewed for two department stores and what I could get from private ones. We were there for a year. I used to go across the large swing steel bridge and look up and down the foggy Ohio River where the old steamboats blew their fog horns and I did a lot of work across the Ohio side. The kids loved to see the great steam boats but were afraid of the fog horns that were so dismal.
When Max had been off work 3 days I knew his feet had begun to itch and one morning he said, Skip, as he called me, you and the kids get ready and we will go out to lunch and go to the movie which was right next door to where our room was. I did not make much ado over getting ready as I was not sure he would be anywhere near. Just as I had expected he did not come to supper nor the next day either or the next. His boss came and wanted to know where he was. I said, "That is what I am waiting to hear and then I will tell you". Well, in a week I was making up my mind whether to go home or to go on there. Then the telegram came. He had the ideal place in Hammond, Indiana where they were starting the big steel works in Gary, Indiana, just out of Chicago about 2 miles and about 2 miles from Hammond is where we settled as there were no homes in Gary. The company was putting up a large boarding house for the help and offices so Max was there. I used to take the children on the street car which the company put through and carry him a warm dinner. It was about all the freedom we had as we lived in a fourth floor apartment and all business places were around us. They had no place to play so before their afternoon nap I gave them an hour on the ground. As I remember, it must have been a swamp as the place looked. I had my picture taken on the first roof board of the first building in Gary, Indiana which I read is now one of the greatest steel companies in the country. I would love to go see the place now. We were close enough to Lake Michigan so the belt of pure white was plentiful. It was so nice for the children to play in and it would brush right off their clothes. I used to take the children to a bank of white sand where they had a hole big enough so 7 or 8 could get in and someone had put a timber to hold up the opening. I was always afraid of a cave-in so I did not take the boys out very often. I was more content here that I had been since leaving my home. On this fourth floor was six apartments the boss had rented to the floaters. We were all called that; the men the contractor hired from outside. There were a lot of men just like an Army clearing this piece of ground. I don't know how many acres and a lot of houses finished. Then in about a year Max's feet began to itch again and he did not return one night. I waited to see where this time. I had taken six boys to board on the beltline out of Chicago so I told them next morning, "Get a new place to board" and waited. Max was getting $8.00 a day there and some man from Oklahoma drifted in and told of another little town just out of Indian Territory and there was a rush and there was where he wrote his first line.
I had almost made up my mind to go home as the boys had to start school
soon. I could see no way as it would start in a week or two and there was no day nursery outside of Chicago and no sewing. so wwhen he sent for us, on we went. It sure was a lot of fun traveling on slow trains with 3 babies. If you girls don't believe me, try it! When we arrived through Indian Territory, I commenced to get cold feet. Such stern, dark faces watching at every stop. The government had only just taken Oklahoma so they were not all reconciled to the change and one couldn't blame them. Where we landed there only a few of our own whites.
All nations had flocked in--colored, Mexicans, a plenty of them and different ones amidst the Indians. It was a clan new to the whites.
Well, he got the sum of $3.00 and 5 of us in 2 little rooms. That was as large as they built most of the houses. The Indians still had their teepees. The colored and Mexicans who married the Indian women for their piece of land that the government gave each squaw, lived as they did, in wigwams. I kept my children close and would take them on long walks and if I could tell you how we would come to the beautiful scenery. Just as far as the eyes could see not a rise in the ground and large places covered with beds of wild primroses of all shades of color and the large flowering cactus. There were tall corn shellers. We burned corn cobs 10 cents a bushel. It was all we had to burn. That Christmas we ate our breakfast out-of-doors. We did not have any snow and in February the roses were in bloom and we had tomatoes. There we had to go down in underground cyclone cellers. Buildings would roll like balls. I have seen great rolls of wire up in the air going right along as if it had been paper.
Well, Max got scared and I had about as much trouble as with the babies, The last of April they kept coming and Max took French leave and I was there alone with the children to deal with the storms. In a couple of weeks I got a letter saying he was in Terre Haut, Indiana and would send as soon as he could get the money for us to come. A few days after this came a terrific storm. I had not had any clothes off for a week or more. That night was beautiful. It had been so hot the humidity was about all one could stand any time outside. Well, I watched for that was the way with storms. I went out and looked and there was only one cloud in the west and that was not large but dark. I sat by my babies all the time, but I must have dozed off as the next thing I knew I heard a crash and felt the shack tremble. It did not take me long to have the babies in a bunch and started when the next lull came. After that it would blow harder than ever.
I got to the door, 2 kids in my arms and the other holding my skirts. We got the door open to make for the celler. Just as I opened the door, a large roll of barbed wire dropped in the door. I sprang back and pushed the door shut, and just then our kitchen tore loose from our room. I grabbed the mattress off the bed and got the kids down under me and stood there it seemed hours. Then I heard someone screaming. I thought someone was killed for someone
kept calling "Please my God answer" and I knew by their voices and such a noise they were Negroes. They kept screeming please answer so I knew the storm had passed so I was trying to quiet the babies and I said to myself, "Old man here I come"! At daybreak I was out to find what I could of food from the kitchen which laid flat. I gathered my bedding and belongings and put them up for sale to see what I could get for them. I sent a telegram to Max's job to meet the train coming in from Texas and Oklahoma. We were near the border and at 9 that night, I and my three babies were on our way. The next day we were going over the Missouri River when a tornado struck. It turned over boxcars on the switch and roofs and trees. We could see all along and was I glad when we reached Terre Haut. There was no one to meet me at the train and it was between 1 and 2 a.m.. Well, I called up the boarding house where he wrote me from and she said the night before he had found rooms at Kelly's Rooming House but she did not know their first name.
I woke up 3 Kellys before I got the right one and there we found him and Mrs. K made up her mind to stay.
Then in a year, I don't think it was a year, he made another jump back to Oklahoma. He sent a registered letter as I did not answer the other one and I told the boy it must have been the family before and he went away. Then in 2 or 3 days a telegram came. I told the boy it must be a mistake so that was returned. Then I came home from sewing a day or two after and there he sat. I told him I was going home. I was going no further so we came to Corning, New York.
When in Corning when Murna as 14 years old, my other little girl was born. Then my third girl was born and then we went back on the farm.
In 2 1/2 years my Donna Rae was born and now I had 6. Three of them are happily married and live close by except my oldest (Jacob Edwin (John (Jack as his family called him-the author and my father)) who like his daddy had the yen to travel and was on the road most of the time.
I never could tell were he was. The boys both learned their father's trade. Mason work in all branches, stone, brick and plastering and all kinds of ornamental work. My eldest boy was never content in one place while the youngest boy (Lee-?Janice or Janet's? father) and three younger girls never wanted to drift. All four of my girls lived where they were never far from home. I could get to any one of them most all their lives in an hour so I have had my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to love and cherish in my long road of life. God alone knows how much I love them all.
My oldest son, Jack had 5. Now for the past 21 years I have made my home when nor working (I was never happy idle) which I have most of my life with my youngest daughter, Donna. I have been busy with my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I don't believe I could live without them. I never was sick in bed, only when my seven children were born until I was 61 years old. Then I had a toxic thyroid and had to have it removed. Then after a year I took up my work but I found I was not quite as spry as I had been but I never was down. And the first of the year, my 83rd will be in September, 1961. About this time I was taking care of my grandson about a year old and I passed out and when I realized where I was, I found myself in an oxygen tent in the hospital where I had been for 4 days. They all said I never would come out of it. In six weeks I came out of the hospital and here I am, rather shakey but thank God I can walk and wait on myself when I get achance--which is not often. My children watch every move I make. I don't see why they don't realize I am old but I dare not tell them for they will not listen. God must have something more for me to do. This is the one thing my daughter whom I love as them all has coaxed and asked me to do and for all the moving and living and the care of an invalid mother during my childhood God has been good to me. So in my heart I have been staunch to do the best I could. God has kept ones so here in my old age they can't do enough for me. God must have something for me to see too. I have been putting off writing this. I thought I did not have time but I think we all have time if we take it so here I am will all the happy times and some rather rocky ones waiting for the great day of departure from this earth.
Ther are a few things on my trip around with my children that I have not mentioned that might interest my grand and great grandchildren.
While in the Indian Territory in Oklahoma and Texas, there are no trees that are large. It was so terrible hot I used to take the kids up a ravine toward Belma pond where the sportsmen from Tuscon and Elreno had stocked with all kind of fish and when the terrible storms came, it would wash many fish over the banks. They settled in holes and we used to get many a fish fry. No one was allowed to catch fish, only member of the club. One day we took a new route around the pond. I came on several wigwams and there seemed to be a settlement of Indians and we went in beyond the teepees and came upon a large piece of ground dug out like a celler, all plastered with clay that was as smooth as a floor. We were out of sight of the Indians so we wnt down in it and there were holes like cupboards dug back inside like ovens with grates. While we were there I never heard a sound and I was wondering what it was used for as there were long tables of the same stuff. I turned around and there stood two big Indians. I spoke and smiled and motioned my hands around and they knew I meant what did they use it for. They made clay dishes. The holes in the sides were fire places where they baked the dishes made
from clay, and now one can see where that idea first orginated with the Indians. And of course all the new improvements have come since. There were no uprisings while we were there, but that fall as I left that year, they went on a wild rampage and quite a few were killed as the papers stated. I sure was glad I was out although the storms, not the Indians drove me out. It was so strange. No matter how hard we tried to get the little Indian children to play or smile, they wouldn't. They touched no fruit or candy or cookie. They would look you right in the eye and never move. You could put your gift where they could reach it but when you came back, it would still be there. The new houses going up seemed to fascinate them. They would sit for hours out in the middle of the road and watch the men work. If our children tried to talk or look at them, they were gone like the wind.
Before we reached the Oklahoma line there was a large stretch where we passed through high mountain country. I glimpsed people away up on the ledges. We were on the train going so fast I only saw a few but I asked about it and it was a settlement of Indian cliff dwellers. When I came back through, although it was rather tiresome to be on a train with 3 babies and stranded about 2 1/2 hours. I was pleased as long as we had to wait for another engine as ours had broken down. We were about in the middle of this mountain and we watched the people. It was awful high with large rocks. The kids playing out on them and they were coming out of the side of the mountain. It sure was a sight one can remember and it made me scared to see those children running out and in. They had railings but down where I was they sure did not look like much.
I never have felt envious of what others had. I have always been so glad for them. I have enjoyed all I had and been so happy with my children. I have had good health and at 81 am taking care of my grandchildren and great grandchildren and am cooking and washing most of the dishes. I am thanking God every day for the strength to do it with. Max did not work for a good many years before he died but never stayed in one place long. The old farm is gone. Sometimes I go by the old pine tree where I went that morning so long ago. I went by there the other day and it was most dead--only a few green limbs. I guess I am in better health than that for surely all my limbs can still work. Here is my advice to all of you. Stop in your mad rush to get more out of life and beat the other guy and halt and enjoy what God has put in your way and hands. All around is beauty if you only look. I am not going to write more so much of all I have seen I could not write. If my family is well is all I want. This is the sketch of my life. I have alwas tried to do what was right. I have not always done but done the best I knew how. Irene Kinner
The prededing 10 pages, 19 through 29, were either dictated by my mother, Irene Baker Kinner, or written up from notes made by Mrs. Agatha (Criss) Kinner--my brother Lee's wife, or his daughter, Janice (Kinner) Bliss and sent to me for use in this biography.
Anyone who reads this manuscript will note there are some conflictions of dates, times and places, largely because of different people recording incidents from memory, rather than from actual documentation which is scarce.
As of this date, June 1, 1971, I am going to close the story, in so far as I am concerned, hoping someone else will carry it on from here.
I was 72 years old last April 20, 1971; pretty good health, living happily with my beloved wifr, Velma, at 3904 E. Finch St. in Orlando, Florida and quite active in various business pursuits with plenty of time for reminiscing.
One thought I would like to leave for the future generations to come--
This is the greatest and best country to live in of all the places in the world, with whatever faults and inequities it may have, it is still the greatest and deserves the loyal support and allegiance of every man, woman and child within its boundries. It has been very good to me and the older I get, the more I realize it; also I am convinced beyond all else the good Lord has been watching over my shoulder these past 72 years with a guiding hand at every turn of the road. Let nobody ever forget that God alone is the only real ruler and king of this planet, judge and jury of every little detail concerning the life of everyone of us and my firm conviction is every person's Heaven and/or hell is right here on this earth and is determined by each of his or her own action and adherence to, and respect of the 10 guide lines, commandments which God gave Moses centuries ago on the mountain and set forth in the Bible.
"As ye sow, so shall ye reap". No more truth was ever spoken and it is applicable to events and activities of people in this 20th century.
Another thing that will ease your mind is a saying of Mark Twain mor than 130 years ago--"All my life has been filled with troubles, most of which I never saw".
Whatever the hereafter "spitit world" holds for me, I do not know or worry about. I do not even conjure up thoughts of what it will be like for I know the same guiding hand will be steering me through it the same as has been the case for this past 72 years and I am ready to start the trip any time He blows the whistle.
(signed) John Kinner, June 4, 1971
KINNER FAMILY HISTORY By John Kinner January 26, 1971:
Jacob Edwin Kinner, born Millerton (Tioga County), Pennsylvania on April 20, 1899 in a farm house on Alder Run, 1 1/2 miles west of Millerton Village.
Father--Leman Max Kinner, born at Trowbridge (Tioga County), Pennsylvania on October 18, 1872, 2 miles west of Millerton in a farm house built in about 1858 by my grandfather Kinner.
Mother--Elizabeth Irene (Baker) Kinner born September 14, 1878 at Nelson (Tioga) County), Pennsylvania on the Cownesque River, 8 miles west of Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania.
My father's father--Jacob Kinner (my grandfather) born March 4, 1828, in a log house near Millerton, Pennsylvania.
My father's mother--Charlotte Bryant, born June 5, 1842 on a farm near Seely creek, New York, west of Elmira, New York.
Grandfather Kinner (Jacob) bought 4 acres of woodland at Trowbridge, Pennsylvania, cleared it and built a two room house while he courted Grandmother Kinner. He had one black ox which he used to clear the land and on the road with a two wheeled cart in summer and bob sled in the winter to court Grandmother Kinner. This went on for four years. They were married on June 5, 1862, Grandmother's 20th birthday. Grandfather was 34 years old at the time. Directly after that, Grandfather was drafted and his brother, Giles Kinner, volunteered for Army duty and went away to the Civil War then in progress. Grandmother made such a fuss over Grandfather going away to war. She became very sick and bedridden with symptoms of losing her mind. This information was transmitted to Grandfather and his commanding officer by the doctor attending my grandmother which upset grandfather very much. In those days the Army draft law was such that in cases of extreme hardship on a family that a drafted man could pay the government $300.00 and get an honorable discharge and be released from service. This is what grandfather did.
Their first child, Lucy Kinner, was born August 4, 1866. My father, Leman was born 6 years later October 18, 1872. Grandfather died March 8, 1900 and Grandmother died May 30, 1931.
My father died in February, 1949 at age 76 and Aunt Lucy (his sister) died July 2, 1962 at age 95. All of them are buried in Alder Run Cemetary northwest of Millerton, Pennsylvania in a family plot.
Uncle Giles Kinner, my Grandfather's brother, spent 11 months as a prisoner of war at Libby Prison and 4 months at Andersonville Prison after he was captured by the Confederate Army at the Battle of Manasses in Virginia; very badly shot up, he survived on one pint of corn meal, ground cob and all, and one pint of water once a day for the entire 11 months in Libby Prison. When he was released in late 1865, he could not walk; was carried
out of prison and sent back home to Millerton in a cattle car. He lived until 1908 on a 40 acre farm halfway between Trowbridge, Pennsylvania and Jackson Summit Pensylvania about 1 mile west of where Grandfather Kinner had built his house.
As a small child, I listened to Uncle Giles tell me the horrors and hardships of his Civil War experiences which extended over a period of more than 3 years.
My Grandfather Jacob Kinner left his home in his late teens, joined the John Rice Circus and became an acrobat, tumbler, trapeze and high wire walter, traveled by horse drawn and ox drawn wagons over much of the northeast section of the United States during which time he met and fell in love with another circus performer by the name of Betsey(?sp) Palmer; she was killed in a circus accident about 1850. Grandfather left the circus shortly thereafter and never fully got over the sadness of that first love affair. He was a very intense man with firm convictions, very stuborn and set in his way; a great fox hunter. His life with Grandmother Kinner was a very stormy affair--not speaking to each other for weeks on end even though living together in the same house.
Grandmother's favorite way of getting along with him was, was, after she got a meal ready, to go out on the back porch of their little house and blow the dinner horn (normally used to bring the farm workers in from the field) even though Grandfather might be sitting right there in the kitchen watching her.
Aunt Lucy, my father's oldest sister, was Grandfather's pride and joy and very much like him. My father was Grandmother's pet--not too popular with Grandfather because he was inclined to be lazy and wayward--wich had no place in Grandmother's makeup. He, being a strict tightlaced, hard working and very honest farmer with strong convictions on politics and human behavior.
Grandmother protected my father--no matter what he did--and he got into quite a few escapade that were very humiliating to Grandfather. My father's behavior and conduct were a big source of trouble between Grandfather and Grandmother Kinner.
Finally my father married Anna White about 1891. a neighbor girl whom he went to school with, eldest daughter of Maylon White who settled in that country about the same time Grandfather did.. Two children were born to that marriage of my father and Anna White--Evangeline and Leroy. This marriage broke up within 4 years. Evangeline went to my Aunt Lucy to live and Leroy went with his mother and our family lost track of them.
Aunt Lucy, father's sister, had become a school teacher and married to Thadius Jones, a poultry and fur trader. She raised Evangeline to maturity and she (Evangeline) married Chester Wheeloer, oldest son of Sherman Wheeler another farmer neighbor. Evangeline ran away from Aunt Lucy's home to get married in 1908 and Aunt Lucy was furious over it. She would not let either Evangeline or her husband come into her house for several years and would not speak to them when she met them on the road.
By this time Aunt Lucy had become a very cynical woman--a real old battle ax--and Grandmother were living alone at the old homestead and I spent all my summers and some of my winters with them, from 1908 to 1911.
On my Mother's side of the house Grandfather Edwin Baker was born on October 21, 1856 on a farm north of Nelson, Pennsylvania ITioga County).
Grandmother Clara (Elliott Baker was born in Nelson, Pennsylvania April 21, 1860 and died in June, 1943 at age of 83 and is buried at the Big Flats, New York cemetary. My mother died February 20, 1964 at age 85 and is also buried at Big Flats, New York cemetary.
Grandmother and Grandfather Baker raised 3 girls, Aunt Alice, my mother Elizabeth Irene, and Aunt Bessie.
Grandfather Baker died October 12, 1925 and is buried in a family plot on the same farm where he was born north of Nelson, Pennsylvania, which was owned at the time by Clarence Dates, a nephew of Grandfather Baker.
Grandfather Baker's mother's maiden name was Lane. Her ancesters were some of the early settlers who came from England and Holland.
The Baker and Elliott families all lived in around Nelson, Pennsylvania. Grandfather Elliott was a circuit rider preacher who traveled by horseback over the hills preaching the gospel.
The Baker side of Mother's family had quite some Indian and French blood in them--acquired during the revolution and French and Indian wars--just by which ones of those ancestors I have never learned, but it was very noticeable in Grandfather Baker, my Mother and her two sisters, Alice and Bessie. My Mother was a very beautiful woman in her younger days with a firey temper to match and her marriage to my Father was a stormy affair. They separated many times and finally legally divorced in 1927.
Seven children were born to the marriage of which I was the oldest. Giles was born May 5, 1901; Lee Jr. born October 15, 1903; Murna Myrtle born February 7, 1905; Elizabeth born July 3, 1918; Doris born August, 1930 and Donna Ray born March 15, 1922.
My father worked periodically in the lumber woods of Potter County, Pennsylvania in what was called the "Black Forest" with virgin growth of hemlock and white pine timber, sprinkled with maple, beech, birch and ash hardwood, which they did not cut at that time. They only cut the hemlock and pine and peeled the bark off the logs before they sawed them into lumber. The bark was sold to leather tanneries for tanning cow hides for more money than the log it was peeled from.
People who knew my father in those days have told me my Father was an expert bark peeler, but he would only work 2-3 months at a time. He was also quite a fox hunter, the same as Grandfather Kinner was. It was on one of these fox hunting expeditions that he met my Mother. She was visiting her older sister, Aunt Alice, who had just been married to George Fredricks and lived at Lindley, New York--a small village on the Tioga River about 10 miles west of Grandfather's homestead and 12 miles south of Corning, New York.
Aunt Alice and my Mother were sewing carpet rags together in preparation to weaving a rag carpet for Aunt Alice's rented house. They conceived the idea of coloring or dying some of the carpet rags, so Mother proceeded to go out in the fields and gather a bushel or so of schumacke seed bulbs which grew plentiful in the area. It was while she was gathering these schumake bulbs that my Father, on a fox hunting expedition, met my Mother for the first time in the fall of 1895. She was just past 16 years old.
Eventually they were married, just when I do not know, but they setup housekeeping in a small log cabin not far from Seven Bridges, west of Galeton in Potter County, Pennsylvania and Dad worked quite steady for the next 2 years in lumber woods, peeling bark.
Just before I was born in 1899, he decided he would learn the stone mason trade and went to Elmira, New York to get started. He did all right at work but he left Mother at the old homestead--Grandmother Kinner's home-- where Dad had built a four room solid fieldstone addition to the house. Mother did not like that.. She raised cain about it, so, after Giles was born, Dad moved us all to Elmira in a rented house on Hopkins St. where Murna Myrtle was born.
Sometime in 1904 we moved from Elmira to Big Flats while Dad continued to work around Elmira. During 1905 Giles died with mastoid trouble in the Arnot Ogden Hospital in Elmira. We moved to Corning, New York and
lived at the corner of William and Wallace Sreets on the north side of the city. I went my first term of school to the old North Side Grammar School, corner of Sly and Jennings St. (the same school I started in in 1944 and on the same street- Jennings where I grew up) in September, 1905. My teacher was Alice Dodge.
In late 1906 Dad heard about lots of mason work in Wheeling, West Virginia. So away he went leaving the family in Corning with very little money. After a few weeks Mother heard from him and eventually he sent mony for us to move to Wheelling where we lived for about six months. Then Dad heard of another boom in East Chicago, Illinois. Away he went leaving us all behind. Eventually after some weeks had passed, he sent money and we all moved to Hammond, Indiana which is just southeast of Chicago.
We were there a few months when Dad waas off again to El Reno, Oklahoma which was still a territory (not a state). Eventually we moved there and stayed more than one year. There were more Indians than white people there at the time. The school I went to had twice as many Indian children as white children.
Eventually the wanderlust fever caught up with Dad again. He took off for Terre Haute, Indiana and eventually Mother and the three kids followed. They rented a house on Tippy Canoe Street where we lived a few months again.
Mother and Dad had many family arguments and in 1908 they decided to accept an invitation from Aunt Lucy and Grandmother Kinner, who now lived alone at the old homestead at Trowbridge, Pa., to come back east where all their relatives were, which is what we did.
They rented a farm house--just across the valley within sight of Grandmother Kinner's house--from Willis Belknap and there we stayed for about 1 1/2 years while Dad worked in Elmira and chased other jobs all over the country working in Cortland, New York, Rochester, New York, Buffalo, New York, and Ithaca, New York; also Detroit, Michigan.
My brother Lee, sister Myrtle and I went to the old cotton one room school house where my Father and Aunt Lucy went to school in their early days and which was 1/4 mile from where we lived. I spent much of my off school hours at Grandmother and Aunt Lucy's house, which was a time that I learned much of this history that I am recording here.
Aunt Lucy, my Father's sister, was a born trouble maker. She contributed a lot to my Father's and Mother's--especially my Mother's unhappiness. So about 1911 Mother dedided she had had enough of that and went over to Corning, New York which was closer to her Father and Mother, then living at Cassons Mills on the upper Clendenning Creek about 15 miles from Corning. I do not remember where we moved from.
I went to third and fourth grades of school at Northside Grammar School in Corning, N. Y., raised rabbits, worked on a milk route before and after school and in winter time shovled snow off sidewalks for spending money, first with a borrowed shovel from a neighbor until I earned money enough to buy my own shovel. I received 15 cents a sidewalk 100 feet long by four feet wide.
She rented a house at 180 Sly Avenue and she moved us all over there while my Father was away somewhere on a job. Eventually he came back and lived with us there periodically between jobs.
In 1913 a big job started up in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, 16 miles from Reading, Pennsylvania. A company (Mosier and Summers) who Dad worked for in Buffalo and Detroit, Bill Bancroft superintendent of the outfit, asked him to go there. It was supposed to be a two year job. So after much talk between Mother and Dad, many promises of good behavior on Dad's part, she consented to move again and away we all went to Hamburg.
The job lasted more than two years for me and it was on this job I started to learn the mason trade. I was 14 years old, worked for one dollar a day, 6 days a week.
Dad had an accident in late 1914 and lost one eye. Mother had a miscarriage and nearly died. So they decided to go back to the old homestead while Dad was in and out of hospitals and eventually had his injured eye removed, while I stayed in Hamburg and worked until the job was done. It cost $3.50 a week for board, room and washing. I sent $2.00 a week to Aunt Lucy to put in the bank for me. I had fifty cents a week left for spending money.
The loss of the eye by Dad handicapped my Father so he did not work for quite a period of time. Again the friction developed between him and Mother. She went to work at the Langdon Hotel in Corning, N. Y. to support herself, Dad and Lee and Myrtle. They were living in furnished rooms. As for me, I was on my own.
In 1915 Dad got me indentured into the bricklayers, masons and plasterers union #23, Elmira, New York to Pulford and Dempsey Construction Co., Elmira, N. Y. He was working for them at that time on a Methodist church job in Waverly, N. Y. We both worked there and other jobs for that company until about September, 1916 when he went to work for H. O. Dorman Co, Constructuin Co. of Corning, N. Y. on a Methodist Church at Galeton, Potter County, Pa. While on that job, I met Beatrice Benson of Galeton, a telephone operator, whom I fell madely in love with; more about this, later in this story.
During the period of around 1915-1916 after Dad's eye was removed, he only was able to work periodically but I worked and lived in boarding houses wherever the jobs were. World War I had started; construction jobs bacame scarce--I stayed on in Galeton until March, 1917 even though the job was completed because of my infatuation with Beatrice Benson. However, I got sick. My Mother came to care for me 2 weeks at the boarding house where I stayed. Soon after she left, the love affair cooled off as far as Miss Benson was concerned. My Mother, unknown to me, paid Miss Benson and her Mother a visit at their home while I was sick in bed and it was nearly 10 years later that I learned about it and what she told them, but I instinctively knew that the breakup had a connection with my Mother's trip to Galeton and I was very sad and bitter about it even though it was not until 1926 that Beatrice Benson told me the details of my Mother's visit to her home in 1917.
Communication between my family and I after I left Galeton in early 1917 was practically non-exestent. It had been very infrequent for the prior 3 years. I never knew whether Dad and Mother were living together or not or even where they were living if they were. I knew Lee and Myrtle would be with her and as for Dad, he might be anywhere. I trust either Lee or Myrtle can fill in this period of time as to the details where they lived and under what conditions, so it can be incorporated in this manuscript later on.
After leaving Galeton in the Spring of 1917, I went to work for the Lowman Construction Co., Elmira, N. Y. at Elmira College (known at that time as the Female College) and in due course became acquainted with Frankie B. Scudder, youngest daughter of Roxey Scudder, Covington, Pa., who was working her way through that school. A fast and furious courtship wound up in us getting married August 14, 1917.
I continued to work for Lowman Construction Co. in Elmira and Hammondsport, N. Y. Wm. P. Sheen was the superintendent. We lived in furnished rooms wherever the jobs were until late fall of 1917 when work became very slack due to World War I, now in progress.
Roxey Scudder, mother of Frankie, had a large house in Covington, Pa. where she lived alone; very hard of hearing and in poor health, she prevailed on us to come live with her and help take care of her, which we did. I went to work in a cheese factory located in Covington and owned by the Muroe Cheese Co., Monroe, N. Y., near N. Y. City.
Eventually two girls were born to our marriage. The first in January, 1919 named Marie died at birth. The second, Syble Marie, born February 28, 1921.
This marriage did not work out too good. Frankie was several years older than I, our personalities were as different as day and night. She was one of the finest and best women I have ever known, good cook, good housekeeper, very high moral standards, but a distinct introvert with a faculty of the clinging vine type of person with very little experience in getting along or mixing with other people in the world.
We maintained a semblance of living together until 1924 after purchasing two homes in Elmira--first one on Woodlawn Ave., the second on (blank) Street.
In April, 1919 I was initiated into the B.M.& P.I.U. Union in Elmira as a full fledged journyman mason. Union scale of wages was 60 cents per hour and I continued to work for various contractors until 1922 when I went into the contracting business for myself in Corning, N. Y. Soon after that I started bidding on construction jobs all over the northeastern part of the country which took me away from home most of the time. I did real good financially but was living my life fast and furious with many very unhappy thoughts over my marriage.
This went on intil 1936. While on a job at Elkland, Oennsylvania, I met Velma O'Dell, oldest daughter of Floyd and Mabel O'Dell. She was the nicest and most gentle person I had ever met. After a year of courtship, I went to my first wife, asked for a divorce which she
obtained and in 1938 Velma and I were married.
Now after 33 years of life with her and the raising of three children,
we are as much in love as when we were married back in 1938.
11 February 1998 I have tried to copy exactly as the manuscript was written by my father, typos and all. I may have made a few typos myself, but have tried to be very careful not to. I realize some of the narration is confusing with conflictions. I did not include 2 of the "tree" pages because most of the information on them is repetative. However, there are some references to persons that had married into the family and I will gladly furnish that information if any one is interested. You are welcome to use this information as you see fit and if you have any corrections, questions, additions, deletions or comments please let me know via e-mail <gary@imicom> and I will try to help. JUAN GARY KINNER.
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