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Johann 'Herman' Youngken


Status of Hermann ("Arminius"), Germany
Johann "Herman" Junghen
 -- Americanized to "Youngken" and other variants -- was born in 1720 in Germany. His parents, as identified by the late Donna (Younkin) Logan, were Johannes and Elisabeth (Wagner) Junghen of the town of Niederasphe in Hesse.

In ancient German lore, the name "Hermann the Cherusker" -- "Arminius" in Latin -- is revered as a fierce chieftain who in 9 AD convinced warring tribes to set aside their differences and repel an invading army of Romans in the Teutonburg Forest. Some historians go so far as to say the battle led to Rome's permanent withdrawal from the German region and was the Roman army's greatest defeats. In blocking a Roman takeover of German-speaking people east of the Rhine River, the victory is thought of as one of the most decisive in European if not all of human history.

Thanks to Hermann, writes Neil MacGregor in Germany: Memories of a Nation, "a nation was born out of resistance..." For many ensuing centuries his persona created deep patriotic stirrings within the German soul for a nation that did not yet exist. Today, a 90-feet-high bronze statue of Hermann stands near Detmold.

And so our Herman was honorably named. As a teenager, he migrated from the Palatinate section of Germany to the American colonies, sailing on the ship Charming Nancy, sometimes referred to as the Charming Polly. The vessel is known to have arrived in port in Philadelphia on Oct. 8, 1737. 

Herman settled 40 miles north of Philadelphia in Tinicum Township, Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, PA. At some point he acquired a farm of about 100 acres.

In about 1741, he was united in matrimony with his first bride, Magdalena ( ? - ? ), said to have been of French/Bourbon origin.

The seven known offspring produced by this couple were John Youngken, Abraham Youngken Sr., Daniel Junghen, George Yonkin Sr., twins Herman Junghen Jr. and Magdalena Junghen, and Maria Catharina Haupt/Houpt.

Herman became a naturalized citizen of the American colonies' England in 1743. He retained this citizenship for three-plus decades, until the United States was formed through the Declaration of Independence and outbreak of the American Revolution. He then took an oath of allegiance to the new nation in Philadelphia in the summer of 1777 or in 1778.

Circa 1750, Herman's elder brother Johann Heinrich made his own ocean voyage to Philadelphia, also putting down roots in Bucks County.  

Herman's second wife was Eva (Kressler) Shill ( ? - ? ), widow of George Shill. Their marriage took place sometime after 1749.

Two children produced by the second marriage were Killian Youngken, born in 1780, and a daughter who wed (?) Ileff/Eyliff and relocated to Canada.  

Early view of the port of Philadelphia.  - Courtesy Google Books

Herman is known to have purchased a farm of 89 acres, with the tract surveyed in his name on Dec. 3, 1754. This fact is noted in the book The History of Bucks County, authored by William Watts Hart. In the entry, his name is spelled "Younghon." The tract was sited on the Durham road and extended south into the upper end of Bucksville and later was inherited by grandson John Nicholas Youngken and then in 1792 acquired by Nicholas Buck.

Book naming Herman
Courtesy Google Books
As well, Herman and his neighbors are prominently mentioned in the book Account of the Buck Family of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, edited by William J. Buck (Philadelphia, 1893). 

It can now be regarded as somewhat remarkable as the records prove that the Youngkens, Overpecks, Pearsons, Bucks, Gruvers, Frankenfields, Pursells, Hoffmans, Zeigenfooses, Zeiglers, Clemmers and some others originally settled in Springfield, and later their descendants moved southwards on the line of the Haycock Run valley and the old Durham road, instead of having arrived from below, as would have been generally expected. This was brought about through the arrival of the early immigrants at Philadelphia, proceeding up the valleys of the Schuylkill and Perkiomen, and from thence either moving directly eastwards or higher up by a semicircle southeastwards into the township of Springfield, and then later into Nockamixon and Haycock. This can be readily understood, that on a direct line from Philadelphia to Reading and to the eastward of the same was much earlier settled by the Germans than the adjacent parts of northern Bucks county, thus first following the direction of improvement and subsequently wheeling around eastwards to secure wild or unoccupied lands at lower rates, which to an industrious and frugal people with limited means was an object.

The family belonged at one time in the Nockamixon Lutheran Church, but Herman's membership privileges were revoked in 1766. The church elders did grant him the right to attend services.

The Durham Road next to the Youngken farm in 1732 is known to have been extended north from Bristol to Newtown, through Buckingham and on to the Tohickon Creek. It was lengthened again 14 years later through Bucksville and Stony Point to Durham Furnace. Then in 1755, it was cut through to the Lehigh River at Easton. "These facts are interesting and go to show that the first settlements in Nockamixon must have been made between the years 1738 and 1750," wrote Buck. "The McCartys were here in 1743, if not, somewhat earlier, Peter Keyser before 1750, and Herman Youngken and George Overpeck four years later; we possess no evidence to this date of others having preceded them in this vicinity... Another road was laid out from Herman Youngken's house on the Durham Road by way of 'the German meeting house,' now St. Luke's Church, to Gallows Run, thence to the river Delaware. The Court, in September, 1767, ordered it to be speedily opened. Herman Youngken resided nearly half a mile above the present village and said road extended eastwardly through where is now Kintnersville."

Herman placed an announcement in the Pennsylvania Gazette in June 1769 that a black mare had strayed or been stolen from his farm at Nockamixon. The mare was four years of age, and:

...paces, trots, and hand gallops, fhod before, with old fshoes, has a remarkable running wart at the root of h er near ear, light bodied, and about 14 hands high. Whoever takes up faid mare and thief, fo that the owner may have her again, and the thief brought to jufstice, fhall have FOUR POUNDS reward, or Twenty Shillings for the mare only, and reafonable charges, paid by THOMAS BARTON, in New Britain townfhip, or faid HARMAN YOUNGKIN.

He died in Nockamixon on Feb. 28, 1788. His sons Abraham and Killian jointly inherited the farm, and with Abraham already deceeased, his son Abraham Jr. sold his share to Killian. 

Eva's fate is not yet known. In an interesting twist, the author Buck added this in his history: 

The early settlers excepting the McCartys were from Germany. Very few are found who cannot speak both English and German. The latter as spoken may be regarded as rather a dialect and to be despised by critics, yet we feel proud of it, and with our limited vocabulary of the English, we are enabled to converse with all whom we come in contact with, while our English brethren for the want of a knowledge of any other must confine themselves entirely to their own language.

Herman's will and other Bucks County and church records were researched circa 1937 by Anita L. Eyster, a double Youngken and member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. These findings were summarized and published in the Christmas 1937 edition of the  Younkin Family News Bulletin. Many years later, her records were donated by her heirs to the Spruance Library and Museum in Doylestown, Bucks County. She was the great-granddaughter of John and Anna "Elizabeth" (Youngken) Houpt, he the Johann "Heinrich" Junghen line and she of the Herman line. In 1941, she wrote a letter published in the YFNB, saying: 

I wish I had something that could be of use to you in the News Bulletin but I know of nothing that would help. Of course my personal interest in the family stops with the death of my greatgrandfather's wife, Elisabeth Youngken, in 1831... My activities in the past few years have been largely in lines far removed and not often amongst the German element. Really genealogical work is very slow at present and when I have no very active clients I busy myself with research in Philadelphia and nearby. I live very quietly since my children are all married and out of the city but I have a comfortable house and few cares and I take life easy and try to view approaching old age with equanimity.

At least eight of his direct descendants bore the name "Herman." 

~ Son Daniel Junghen ~

Son Daniel Junghen ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). 

Daniel was still a bachelor when named in his father's last will.

During the American Revolutionary War, in the 1775-1881 timeframe, he served in the Bucks County Militia. This service is referenced in the Pennsylvania Archives Series 5, Volume 5. 

~ Son Herman Junghen/Younkin Jr. ~

Son Herman Junghen/Younkin Jr. (1748- ? ) was born on Feb. 5, 1748, a twin with his sister Magdalena.

He was a bachelor as of 1782 when listed among taxable men in Tinicum Township. 

Nothing further is known.

~ Daughter Magdalena Junghen ~

Daughter Magdalena Junghen (1748- ? ) was born on Feb. 5, 1748, a twin with her brother Herman.

Nothing more about her life's story has been found on the research trail. 


Copyright 2023-2024 Mark A. Miner

Research for this page conducted by Della Shafer and the late Donna (Younkin) Logan