Biography of John W. Kahle
Clarion County, PA Biographies

KAHLE, JOHN W. Jacob Kahle and his wife Sarah, with the rest of the family, came from Huntingdon county to what is now Clarion county, and settled about two miles north of Shippenville, in Elk township, in 1826, and began clearing and improving a farm. At that time this locality was somewhat of a wilderness. Bears were quite numerous, and would sometimes come into the yard in broad daylight. At one time the family was interrupted, while eating dinner, by the squealing of a pig, struggling in the clutches of bruin, who wanted some dinner also. At another time, while on the road to Shippenvifie, then a little village of four or five houses, Mr. Kahle, accompanied by his sons George and John W., was again called to the rescue of a pig, squealing for life, at the mercy of two bears. After being chased away from the pig, the bears came out on the road near where the boys were standing. The situation became frightful. The boys began to utter such terrific cries, which were mistaken for fierceness, that the bears soon made their way into the forest. Wolves, deer, and other wild animals frequently made their appearance on the premises.

John W. Kahle, the subject of this sketch, was born in Huntingdon county, Pa., December 28, 1821, and lived with his parents until 1844. That spring he was employed as book keeper by William B. Fetzer, at Elk Furnace, and at the end of the first month was given the general management of the furnace. In 1859 he built on the Allegheny River, a few miles above Brady's Bend, for Samuel F. Plumer, the first coke furnace in the county. He has served as manager of furnaces for fifteen years.

In 1845 he married Ann Cheers, and has since raised a family of eight children, four boys and four girls, all of whom are living at present. He moved with his family to Lineville, in the northwestern corner of Clarion county, in 1860, and there engaged in mercantile business, and also in farming.

A company of bankers in New York city had purchased a large tract of land along the Allegheny River, between Oil City and Franklin, and in 1864 employed Mr. Kahle to superintend the development of the property for oil. During his connection with the company he was loyal to their interest. At one time he was offered one hundred thousand dollars if he would give certain facts concerning the wells tested to the party offering the money one week before he gave them to the company employing him. He was urged by some of his friends to accept the offer, and become rich at once. His reply was, "The company are paying me a large salary to attend to their business. If there is anything to be gained by the first information given, the company shall have the benefit of it," - a reply, under the circumstances, worthy of being repeated for ages. In 1865 he recommended the company to bring the operations for oil in that territory to a close. The company urged him to continue. After satisfying himself that the income would not pay expenses he resigned.

In 1878 Mr. Kahle was elected a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature. He was there, as elsewhere, faithful and true to his constituents. He served eighteen years as school director, and also was postmaster for several years; his last appointment being March 30, 1870. He resigned in October, 1880, and his daughter Mary was appointed to the vacancy October 25, 1880, and continued the office in his store until her resignation. He was a delegate to the National Convention of the Anti Monopoly and Greenback parties, which met in Chicago in 1883, and served on the committee to adopt a platform; also was a delegate to a National Convention of Greenback Labor party, which met in Indianapolis, Ind., in 1884, and State delegate to the convention of Greenback Labor party, which met in Erie, Pa., in 1885, serving again on platform committee.

Mr. Kahle has always been a faithful worker in the church; before 1862 in the M. E. Church, and since then in the Evangelical Association. His wife and all his children are faithful servants of their Master.

History of Clarion County, Pennsylvania
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of some of its prominent pioneers.
EDITED BY: A. J. Davis
D. Mason & Co., Publishers

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