The Kerns Family

Burlington Gazette – History by Helen Langford

The Kerns Family
Tues., March 14, 1978

Nicholas Kerns was the first settler to purchase land in Brant’s Block (1803). Some families have already researched their ‘roots’, but the Kerns’ in Burlington, as far as I can find out, know only smatterings of their family history. Third and fourth generations of Kerns’ were extremely well known in Wellington Square – Colonel William and his son William had a store on the lakeshore. Colonel William built the Estaminet as his residence and was our member of parliament in Toronto. Now back to their beginnings! 

Nicholas Kern’s family were German descent who left the Palatine because of persecution. Most of these displaced people went to England and then to America. John Jacob Kern arrived in America in 1739 aboard The Jamaica Galley. Many of John Jacob’s grandchildren came to Upper Canada and married people whose surnames are familiar in our area. We assume that Nicholas was a grandson – we know that he named one of his children Jacob. 

Nicholas is likely to have known or served under some of our earlier settlers perhaps he assisted Joseph Brant. It would not be unusual if Nicholas’ family spoke only German. In 1803, Brant sold 200 acres to Nicholas Kern. The site is now on the east side of Brant Street extending from Upper Middle Rd. to north of Mountainside Plaza. No remnants of the original log home or a later brick home remain.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 14 Mar. 1978. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. Reel 50.

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