(Taken from Our Kunkel Family In America, 1980 edition compiled by Wallace M. Kunkel pp.13-15)




John Henry Kunkel was born, circa 1750 in Darmstadt, Germany --- capitol city of the Province of Hesse.  In the company of two brothers, Michael and David, he was one of thousands of Hessian soldiers hired by England to fight for the crown against George Washington and his army.


For a more factual account, the following was written on the back of his son’s family record.  Though it is not signed, we can only presume it was hastily written as the story was recounted by an elder.  At least it is the oldest (hopefully most accurate) record of what happened:


“King George sold the three boys, Henry, Mike and David for transportation.  King of Hessen – were sent to fight.” (Editor’s note:

I believe this is meant to read:  King George bought the three boys from the King of Hesse for the cost of transportation – and they were sent to fight.  Now to continue…) “When they arrived they found they were people of their own so they refused to fight.  Kleinfelter (see account which follows) bought Henry – Would take seven years to pay King George the debt.   Kleinfelter owned large tracts of land – the King placed such heavy duty on the landowners they could not pay it so Kleinfelter went for days trying to borrow money to pay his heavy tax, but was unable to do so, so he thought he would have to lose his land.  Henry Kunkel asked how much it would take.  He opened his vest – around him he had a belt in which was enough money to pay the tax.  At that, Kleinfelter deeded half his land to Henry and he married Kleinfelter’s daughter, Elizabeth Christina.  Michael was sold to a man in Pennsylvania and David to a man in Virginia.”

Thus Henry Kunkel was married to Elizabeth Christina Kleinfelter in York County, Pennsylvania.  She was born on January 3, 1763 – and was christened on March 3, 1765.  Her father’s name was Michael Kleinfelter.  Her Mother’s name was Appollonia.


Henry and Elizabeth had seven children – all born in York County, Pennsylvania.  The mother died at Warrington, York County, Pa., March 28, 1815 – age 52.  She was buried in Fissel’s Cemetery, Shrewsbury Township, York County, Pa., where her tombstone still stands and is legible.  Henry lived until 1827.  The exact date is either April 13 or December 13 of that year.


*NOTE OF INTEREST:  Appollonia Kleinfelter was the mother-in-law of Henry.  But much more important to the fantasies of our Kunkel grandchildren, Appollonia was an Indian princess – the daughter of an Indian chief.  This has not been verified but early generations insisted it was true.


For certain, Indian features and coloring have always been a part of the Kunkel “look” –especially in our ancestors—even today.”