Kunkel, George, attorney-at-law, was born in Harrisburg, Pa., March 11, 1855. He was educated at the academies conducted respectively by Professors Gauze and Seiler, of Harrisburg, and at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, from which latter institution he was graduated in 1876 as second honor man of his class, having been designated to deliver the Franklin oration. Choosing the law fro his profession he pursued his studies in that science under the tutorship of Hon. J. W. Simonton. In 1878, two years after his graduation from college he was admitted to the bar of Dauphin county, and forthwith entered upon the active practice of his profession, and with successful results that ay once demonstrated his fitness for his chosen calling. Engaging in important cases his practice soon led him from the lower courts into the Supreme Court, where his comprehensive knowledge of the law and his extraordinary faculty for concise and forcible reasoning brought him exceptional success.
Some years after his admission to the bar Mr. Kunkel paid a visit to England and availed himself of the opportunity to study the conduct and methods of the English courts. He attended the session of every court from the Nisi Pruis to the court of the House of Lords. He familiarized himself with the knowledge in all of them and gathered knowledge that has stood him in good stead in his home practice. In 1885, after one of the most exciting contests ever had in the county, he was made the candidate for district attorney by the Republican party, and was elected by a handsome majority. His administration of the office exceeded the expectation of his friends and won him high commendations from his fellow members of the bar. In 1888 he was unanimously renominated and was re-elected by by the unprecedented majority of 3,700, receiving 1,600 majority in Harrisburg, his home. He brought to the administration of his second term the experience gathered in the first, conducting the business with marked ability and retiring from the office with the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens, which was shortly afterwards, in 1892, manifested by his choice as the candidate of the Republican party to represent the city of Harrisburg in the State Legislature. Although opposed by a most popular democrat for this office, and in the face of the fact that he had been placed on the ticket to fill a vacancy caused by the death only a few days prior to the election, Mr. Kunkel was elected by a majority of over seven hundred.
In the House he at once attracted attention by his courtesy, ability and attention to business, and soon won the esteem and confidence of his associates. His committee work has been of great service and his judgment upon legislation generally accepted by members with entire satisfaction. In 1894 he eclipsed all previous records by securing a plurality of over 2,400 for re-election. This more than anything else attested his high standing as both a legislator and a man. Mr. Kunkel was a formidable candidate for speaker of the House of Representatives at the last session. He gave way, however, to his opponent for the sake of harmony. His popularity was evidenced by his appointment as chairman of the committee on insurance and a member of the judiciary general, city passenger railways, ways and means, railroad committees. At present writing (1896) Mr. Kunkelís friends are rejoicing over another political victory won by him which gives him the Republican nomination for a third term as representative for the city of Harrisburg in the lower house of the Legislature.
If Mr. Kunkelís success has been phenomenal it is none the less permanent and deserved. His sense of honor, his perseverance, his honesty, his tenacity, all that render him effective and reliable, he has made the principal points of his lifeís work. He is a steady and uniform friend of humanity. Much of his success in public is due to his quick and ready perception of the facts and a memory unusually tenacious and retentive, and his remarkable power to rapidly draw logical conclusions, which is one of the strongest points of the lawyer. With his strong voice and splendid physique, Mr. Kunkel is deservedly popular as a public speaker. Naturally intelligent and widely read, he is rich in illustration and both professionally and politically he is classed among the first orators in the State. In his conduct in criminal cases, and he has been connected with those of the greatest importance at this and neighboring bars, his arguments show him to be a master in marshalling facts, while powerful and convincing in the presentation of the salient points to the jury.
The law firm of Kunkel and Millar, of which Mr. Kunkel is the senior and leading member, is recognized as the foremost at the Dauphin county bar. Politically, Mr. Kunkel is a Republican and has always advocated the principles of that party. He has considered it a duty to study the leading questions of the day, so as to be able to discus them intelligently; thus and through his his active participation in the contests of his party, he has come to be recognized as a leader in both local and State politics at the present time.
In his home life Mr. Kunkel is most happy. In the fall of 1891, he was married to Miss Mae Minster, of West Philadelphia, and their union has been blessed with three children, three bright boys: George, Jr., William Minster and Daniel Herr.