Signature of Thones Kunders
The Signature of Thones Kunders

Here it was that our ancestor Thones Kunders, in the plainest possible way, with scanty means, but possessing thrift and industry, settled down with his wife and three boys to work out for himself a livelihood in America. On June 18, 1683, before starting for America, he purchased from Lenart Arets, a weaver in the town of Crefeld, whose wife was a sister of Kunder's wife, for a consideration of £10, a warrant for five hundred acres of land to be located in Pennsylvania, which Arets had purchased from William Penn. Most of these Crefeld emigrants were weavers; they made "very fine German Linen, such as no Person of Quality need be ashamed to wear," and by strict economy and frugality succeeded in making a living, and laying by in the course of years a fair competency for that day.

Part of the walls of the house built by Kunders were still standing in 1891 and from part of the house known as No. 4537 Germantown Avenue, occupied for several years past as a barber shop by Christopher Kinzel. At one time it was known as Lesher's tavern. Kunders also owned "Side Lot No. 2," situated near the railroad l) Ridge at Wayne Junction on the west side of Germantown Avenue. Kunders house is no longer standing. Below is a likeness of the house as it stood in 1926. Notice the North wall of the building; while it has all been plastered over you will observe that a portion of it, about ten feet high and extending back, is of a different shade from the remainder of the wall. It is thought that this is the old wall of Thonas Kunder’s original dwelling; it has had many plastering they have never been able to get the old portion and the new to be exactly the same shade.

Kunders House

Picture courtesy of

In 1683, very soon after the arrival of this little band, the first Friends meeting in Germantown was held in the house of Thones Kunders, and likely was continued there until the first meeting-house was built in 1686, and it is reasonable to presume that the dignified Penn "sat in silence " under old Kunder's roof. That Kunders was a devout Friend, is evident from the provision in his will, where he gave to his son-in-law, Griffith Thones Kunders and his children— g Jones, "The bed and furniture standing in the New Room to be for the vise of friends." (Quakers)

The Friends at Germantown built their first meetinghouse of stone in 1705. It stood in their present graveyard on the street. Thones Kunders contributed £ 10 11s. toward it, presumably part in work and part in money.

While living at Crefeld, Thones Kunders carried on the trade of a blue dyer, and continued the same after settling in Germantown. In his will he speaks of his "out-houses, stills, and Dying Kettle, Worms and Wormtubbs thereunto belonging." At one time he was recorder of the Court. In 1688, the little band of Friends at Germantown, Thones Kunders being one of them, -raised their voices in opposition to the institution of slavery, it being the first recorded protest against slavery in America. There is a historical marker in front of the property that reads:

FIRST PROTEST AGAINST SLAVERY: Here in 1688, at the home of Tunes Kunders an eloquent protest was written by a group of German Quakers. Signed by Pastorius and three others, it preceded by 92 years Pennsylvania’s passage of the nation’s first state abolition law.”

First Protest Against Slavery Sign in Germantown

® The historical marker is a registered trademark of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the marker text is copyright protected. Used with permission.

In 1691, on a charter of incorporation being granted to the village, Thones Kunders was chosen one of the burgesses, and the records show him to have served as a juryman on several occasions. As early as 1701, steps were taken to start a school at Germantown with Pastorius as teacher. Thones Kunders, with sixty-three others, was naturalized, 3d mo. 7th, 1691, and his three oldest sons, Cunraed, Madtis and John, were naturalized February 20th, 1713, to hold and enjoy lands. He continued to live at Germantown the remainder of his life, in all a period of forty - six years, his death occurring in the fall of 1729, the exact date not being known, and his remains I presume were laid at rest in the graveyard adjoining the old Friends Meeting at Germantown. As no mention is made of his wife in his will it is to be supposed that she died before him. Seven children were born to Thones and Elin Kunders. Their names were Cunraed, Madtis, John, Ann, Agnes, Henry and Elizabeth. The first three were born at Crefeld, the others at Germantown.

Robert Proud, in his history of Pennsylvania says, "Among the first Germantown settlers was Dennis Conrad. The first religious meeting of the Quakers, in that place, was held at his house in 1683. He was a hospitable, well-disposed man, of an inoffensive life and good character. He died in the year 1729."

Will of Thones Kunders

In the name of God. Amen

I, Dennis Cunrads of Gerntown in the County of Philadelphia in the Province of Pensilvania being not of perfect health of body but of sound and Perfect mind and memory Praise be therefore given to almighty God Do make and Ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) first and Principally I Commend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God hoping through the merits of Jesus Christ to have full and free pardon of all my sins, and to Inherit everlasting Life, and my body I Commit to the Earth to be Decently Berryed at the Discretion of my Executors hereafter named —And as touching the Disposition of all such Temporal Estate as it hath pleased God to Bestow upon me I Give and Dispose thereof as followeth.

Imprimis: — It is my will that all my Debts and funeral Charges be paid and Discharged. Item. I Give and bequeath unto (my Son In Law) Griffith Jones The Dwelling house wherein I, (and the s-d Griffith Jones) now Dwell, and the Lot thereunto belonging Containing fifty acres of Land together with the Barns Stables Orchards Outhouses Stills (and Dying Kettle) Worms and Worm Tubbs thereunto belonging To have and to hold the sd Land with the Premises and appurtenances thereunto belonging to him the sd Griffith Jones his heirs and assigns To the only proper use and behoof of him the sd Griffith Jones and his heirs and assigns forever. He the sd Griffith Jones finding and allowing Anthony Loofe (now living with me) sufficient meat and drink, washing and lodging and apparrell So long as the sd Anthony Loofe Shall Live, And It is my will that my said Son In Law Griffith Jones Pay for the sd Liuid and Premises the sum one hundred and fifty Pounds of Lawful money of Pensilvania After the Death of the sd Anthony Loofe the said £ 150 to be equally divided amongst my children That is to say Cunrad Cunrads Mathias Cunrads, John Cunrads, Henry Cunrads, Ann Streepers Agnes Powell and Elisabeth Jones, Each to have an Equal Share and share alike of the sd One hundred and fifty Pounds To them and their heirs forever.

I Give and bequeath unto my said Children, Cunrad, Mathias, John, Henery, Ann, Agnes and Elisabeth All the Rest and Remainder of my Estate, both Personal and Reall to be Equally Divided amongst them Each of my sd Children to have and to hold an Equall Share of the Remaind of my sd Estate to them (inseverally) and to their heirs and assigns forever. Lastly, I do hereby nominate, Constitute and appoint my sd Son Cunrad Cunrads and my sd Son in Law Griffith Jones to be Joynt Executo s of this my Last Will and Testament hereby Revoking Disannulling and making void all former wills and Testaments by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this nineteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Twenty Two.

Beit Known That before the Delivery and Sealing hereof I Give and Bequeath to (my above named Son-in Law) Griffith Jones The bed and furniture Standing in the New Room To be for the use of friends.

Witness my hand and Seall the day and year above written.


Sealed Signed Published and Declared in the Presence of us




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Kunders, an humble wool dyer from the banks of the Rhine, who, settling in the untrodden wilds of America, and pursuing the even tenor of a modest and uneventful life, “builded better than he knew.”

Robert Proud, in his history of Pennsylvania says, “Among the first Germantown settlers was Dennis Conrad. The first religious meeting of the Quakers, in that place, was held at his house in 1683. He was a hospitable, well-disposed man, of an inoffensive life and good character.”