MATHIAS KUEN, a retired farmer living in Norway, Benton county, Iowa, has been identified with this state for more than half a century. He was born in Alsace, France, March 6, 1818, a son of John Kuen, a representative of an old French family. John Kuen was a large land owner and by trade was a shoemaker. He was born in 1781 and died in 1841. He married Mary Ann Butz, an only child, who belonged to a family of long standing in France. Both John Kuen and his wife were well educated, and their religion was that of the Catholic church. They were the parents of ten children, five of whom came to the United States, and of this large family Mathias is the only survivor.
Mathias Kuen received his early training in the public schools of his native land. Later, feeling the need of more advanced education, he attended night school. Until his father's death he worked with him. In 1847, leaving his old home in France, he emigrated to the United States, and that same year took up his residence near Tiffin, Ohio, where for awhile he was engaged in farm work. Subsequently he rented and ran a sawmill. In September, 1852, he came to Iowa, and in Iowa county bought a tract of land consisting of one hundred and sixty acres and settled down ft) farming, in which he was successfully occupied for many years. About 1880, having rented his farm to good advantage, he came to Norway, Benton county, where he has since lived retired, enjoying a hale and hearty old age.
Politically Mr. Kuen's vote and influence have always been cast with the Democratic party. For a number of years he was township trustee of Lennox township, Iowa county, in which office he rendered valued service, always taking a deep interest in educational matters, urging the erection of school buildings and the maintenance of good schools. True to the faith in which he was reared, he is a good Catholic, and he took no small part in building the Catholic church of Norway. Generous and free handed, his kindly acts and substantial aid have helped many an unfortunate one over the rough places on the pathway of life. Mr. Kuen has never married.
When he came to Iowa county there were only two houses between his place and Cedar Rapids, twenty miles away. Wolves, deer, prairie chickens and wild turkeys were very numerous. A part of the land which he purchased was from the government at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre and the remainder was school land, which he purchased at five dollars an acre. Cedar Rapids, when Mr. Kuen came to Iowa had only three houses and one store. Mr. Kuen first built a log house, and in 1864 he built a two story sand stone house. He sold his farm to his nephew, George Hasley, whose mother was Mr. Kuen's sister, and he lives on the place.
Picture of Mathias Kuen