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History of Freeland, Pa.


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John M. Cunnius, proprietor of the Freeland Planing mill, builder, and contractor, and dealer in all kinds of building material, Freeland, is a native of Drums, this county, and is a son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Michael) Cunnius. His father, who was a native of Butler township, was a carpenter and builder, and still, at the age of seventy-two years works at his trade. In the family there were two children: Lydia (now Mrs. Nathan Snyder, of Fairview, Pa.), and John M. The mother died when the latter was fourteen days old. Our subject was reared and educated in Conyngham Valley, and labored on a farm until he was sixteen years of age. He then worked with his father at carpentering for two years; he then did journey work at Ashburton and Yorktown, in all three years.

On March 6, 1866, he came to Upper Lehigh, and there worked at his trade a short time, and where he has since remained. In 1872, he engaged in contracting and building, which he has since successfully pursued. He makes a specialty of building contracts, and constantly employs from fifteen to twenty mechanics. In 1890 he purchased the Freeland Planing Mill, and has since utilized that institution to great advantage in his business. Mr. Cunnius was married in 1868 to Miss Laura Jane Santee, of Butler Valley, which union has been blessed with five children, viz.: Oscar Elsworth, Charles E., Calvin T., Alfred R. and Anna L. "By industry we thrive" is an expression which peculiarly covers the case of this gentleman. When he came to this locality he was scarcely worth the coat he wore, but today he is the owner of a great deal of property in Freeland and vicinity. He is a citizen of much worth to the community where he lives.

-- From Bradsby, H. C., editor. History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Selections. Chicago, S. B. Nelson & Co., 1893.

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