Saturday, October 26, 2013

Surname Saturday - Philip Reymer Kuhn

Philip Kuhn is one of my favorite ancestors and I don't care who knows it. His life is well documented from beginning to end and I know something about the man, not just his facts.

Philip Reymer Kuhn was born August 9, 1836 in Shelby, Richland County, Ohio. He was the first son for Samuel and Julia Ann (Reymer) Kuhn and the third of eleven children.
Samuel and Julia Kuhn were farmers in Richland County, Ohio. Three of their ten known children did not make it to adulthood, which would have made the 1850s a trying decade in the Kuhn household. Shortly after Philip's birth the family moved 8 miles north to Plymouth, Ohio, where they settled.

In the late 1850s Philip met Bertha Cutler, his future wife. It is not clear how they met, but I'm betting the church was involved. Proximity doesn't hurt either: according to the 1856 atlas for Richland County, Ohio, the Kuhn and Cutler farms were a stone's throw apart.
Philip and Bertha were married September 19, 1860 in Richland County, Ohio.
The couple had their first child, Frank, 9-months later...almost to the day. And soon there after the Civil War came to Ohio. Philip was mustered into the 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a musician on October 17, 1862, just two weeks after his second child, Ada, was born.

Philip served as a musician in Company I, 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. In 1863 he was promoted to "primary" musician, which made him a member of the field and staff for the regiment. As a member of the staff, Philip would have had a leadership role in the regiment with daily contact with the key leaders. Philip served as musician for the regiment until May 3, 1864 when the regiment was attacked while aboard the transport, City Belle, on the Red River in Louisiana. Many of the regiment were killed and those that survived, including Philip, were sent as POWs to Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas.

Philip survived the war, though in his later request for a pension it is clear that his time in the POW camp greatly affected his health. He returned to Ohio in 1865.

Philip and Bertha would have eleven children, all of which lived to adulthood.
The Kuhn family would move from Ohio to Missouri and finally settle in Kansas. Philip was a farmer, but it appears that he had a hard time making a go of it...hence the many, many moves. He was a passionately religious man and member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was also very intent on ensuring his children received a good education. In fact, he moved his family from Nemaha County, Kansas to Baldwin City so that his children could take advantage of Baker University. In fact, at least 7 of their children attended university, two of which ultimately earned medical degrees.

Philip was also passionate about participating in the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union Civil War veterans. He was a founding member of the Seneca, Kansas chapter and also an active member in the Centralia, Kansas chapter. He would also share his prisoner of war story at GAR functions and continued to play in bands the rest of his life.

Philip died suddenly while taking a walk in Baldwin City, Kansas on June 29, 1899. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Baldwin, Kansas, where he has two headstones. He was almost 63 years old. He left his wife with little money and she was forced to take lodgers to cover costs.

I have been able to find so much information on Philip that he has left a large impression. His reliance on his religion was clear. He also very much valued public service and education. And his desire to work hard to ensure his family had what they needed to succeed, despite health issues, is a very valuable lesson indeed.

Due outs:
- Continue the hunt for a photograph of Philip.

Other posts about Philip Reymer Kuhn:
Breaking down a genealogical wall with (Philip's Civil War letters home)

- Atlas of Richland County, 1856, Plymouth Township, Richland County, Ohio. Richland County, Ohio GenWeb Project.
- "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Oct 2013), Phillip Kuhn and Bertha Cutler, 19 Sep 1860; citing Richland, Ohio, United States, reference p 329 # 653; FHL microfilm 388738.


Wendy said...

I can't think who my favorite ancestor is. I'm usually drawn to the bad boys, but I'm reluctant to claim any of them as my fav.

(And by the way, did you leave a name out of that first chart or am I missing something? Maybe this is a test to see if we're really reading.)

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thank you for the feedback, Wendy. No, I didn't forget a name, I don't include my parents in my charts! I think that is what you are referring to. But now I know you read my posts! ;)

Wendy said...

OK, I must be reading the chart upside down. I was looking for Samuel. Now I get it.