Seven different Kerns families (branches) settled in Old Frederick County, VA in the 1700s, representing English, Irish, German, and Dutch nationalities.The name was/is spelled in numerous ways in County records, such as:Carn, Carns, Carnes, Cairns, Karn, Karns, Karnes, Karren, Kearn, Kearns, Kerns, Kerin, Keern, Keerans, Kerans, Kerens, Keran, and Kirns. The writer has been researching Kerns families since 1960, and plans to publish.
Patrick Kerns (ca. 1728-1806), ofCounty Monahan, Ireland, lived in Hampshire County until the late 1790s, when he resettled in southern Ohio with two of his sons, William and Edward Kerns. William (1762-1840) was a minister of the gospel and settled in Ohio before 1800.An order book in the Frederick County courthouse shows that Edward Kerns (married Rachel Barnett in 1793) lived in Hampshire County, about 40 miles from Winchester. He, too, settled in Ohio. Another son of Patrick was Barney Kerns (1753-1840), who moved from Hampshire County to Randolph County, W.Va. about 1817.Kerens, W.Va., a town in the latter county was named for this family. Peter Kerns (ca. 1755-1799), son of Patrick, owned land in Hampshire County that later became Hardy County.Also, Peter was a businessman in the town of Petersburg (now in W.Va.). Four of the five sons of Patrick Kerns served in the American Revolution.
Thomas Keeran (1742-1799) came first in Frederick County, but settled in Shenandoah County. Before moving here, Thomas was a Quaker in Newcastle County, now in Delaware.He married Sarah Gillis in 1769, and raised 13 children. Some descendants spell the surname as Kerns.
Adam Kern (1730-1799) was of German origin, and migrated from York County, Pennsylvania to Frederick County in 1766. He settled just south of Winchester along the Great Wagon Road.The town of Kernstown was named for his son, Adam Kern Jr. (1773-1855).
Henry Kerns (1740-1780) married Catherine Hotsenpiler, who was a daughter of one of the first settlers along Opequon Creek. Henry served in the Revolutionary War, and possibly died in the service. His will was probated in Shenandoah County, and descendants went to Rockingham and Greenbrier Counties, Va.It is believed that Henry had a brother named Nicholas Carns (1736-1815) who settled in Rockingham County.Another brother is believed to have been one Michael Kerns (there were three of them in Virginia during that period).Also, a John Kerns lived in the Great Valley of Virginia for some time before settling in what is now Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He appears to have been from the same Germanic stock.
The best known and progenitor of most of the Kerns who now live in Frederick County was Jacob Kerns (1738-1811). His wife was named Sarah. They came to Frederick County in 1775, later purchasing a 200-acre farm on old Braddock's Road where it intersects with the present-day Virginia/WVa State line. I am a direct descent and have published information on this branch of Kerns.
I should also mention another Jacob Kerns who settled in what is now Berkeley County, WV about 1800 (came from PA). He married a Susanna, possibly Robinson. I have posted information about him on GenForum.
Wilmer L. Kerns
4715 North 38th Place
Arlington, VA 22207