A 1855 migration from Somerset County, PA to Kansas by fearless brothers Jeremiah, Moses and William Younkin and their cousin John T. King triggered a series of Younkin family relocations to the Sunflower State in the latter half of the 1800s and first decade of the 1900s. They clustered together in the communities of Wakefield and Timber Creek in Clay County and Junction City and Milford in neighboring Geary (formerly Davis) County.
In fact, the Kansas Historical Society has cited the original three brothers as "the first white men to settle within the present limits of Clay county." Moses' wife Lavila (Mitchell) Younkin is acknowledged as the "first white woman in that locality," and their son Edwin Leander Younkin, born in 1858, is considered the "first child of American parentage in Grant township." Many of these moves took place immediately upon marriage. In the example of Uriah and Catherine "Cassie" (Younkin) Myers, they were married in 1860 in Somerset County and right away "embarked by boat from Pittsburgh, Pa., landing at Leavenworth, Kan., after a tedious journey of five weeks," said the Clay Center (KS) Times. "From Leavenworth Mr. and Mrs. Myers came by ox-team to Clay county and settled on a ranch near Wakefield."
Kansas prairie life was rife with struggles, both natural and manmade. The wind and dust never stopped blowing. Uriah and Cassie Myers "endured all the privations of pioneer life, hauling the lumber with which their first house was built from Atchison and building it with his own hands; also bringing their groceries from Leavenworth by ox-team." Alfred Younkin joined a Kansas regiment during the Civil War and died of "bilious fever" while in the army.
This page documents the known migrations by Younkins from Pennsylvania to Clay and Geary Counties in the latter half of the 19th century and early decade of the 20th century. By the 1930s, these families had grown dramatically in headcount but retained their interest in their family roots and in 1937 held a Kansas Younkin Reunion in Wakefield, Clay County.
Copyright © 2015, 2016 Mark A. Miner