Margaret Mary McCormick was born on July 18, 1877, in Grand Rapids Township, LaSalle County, Illinois. She was the youngest child of Richard McCormack and Elizabeth Maher McCormick, both Irish Catholic immigrants. She had five siblings: Elizabeth “Lyda” (b. 1860), John Patrick (b. 1862), Andrew J. (b. 1864), Richard “Dick” (b. 1866), and Mary Ellen (b. 1867).
On February 19, 1901, she married John Kuhn, a farmer from DeKalb County, Illinois, in the village of Ransom, LaSalle County. The couple had three children: Margaret Elizabeth “Bessie” (b. 1902), Mary K. (b. 1905), and Arthur (b. 1909).
The couple farmed in Brookfield Township, LaSalle County. On March 15, 1910, at the age of twenty-seven, Margaret Kuhn died of pleurisy, an inflammation of the lung. Her husband, John, died on August 24, 1970, at Ryburn Hospital in Ottawa, Illinois. He was 103 years old and believed to have been the county’s oldest resident at the time of his death.
His obituary in the Ottawa Daily Republican Times recalled a story about John Kuhn from the same paper a decade earlier:
At that time, he still walked downtown to eat some of his meals and he came to the Times office so that his picture could be taken because “he didn’t want to inconvenience the photographer.” Comparing farming of 10 years ago with farming when he was a child, he said, “It’s as much different as day and night.” The new way “beats the old way,” he said, but “it costs too much money.” Mr. Kuhn recalled how a kerosene lamp was a luxury and homemade candles were the normal method of lighting. There were no overshoes, gloves were homemade and cobs helped provide fuel for the wintertime. A family did his marketing once a week, he said.
image: Undated photograph of Margaret Mary McCormick Kuhn (Ann McClary / Find a Grave)