Alfred Arthur Younkin was born on March 17, 1888 in Casselman, Somerset County, PA, the adopted son of Charles and Sarah (Artest) Younkin. He and his wife became pioneer apple growers in Washington State.
When he was 25 years of age, in about 1913, Alfred was united in holy matrimony with his cousin, 22-year-old Lillian Rhoads (1891-1983), the daughter of James and Minnie (Younkin) Rhoads.
The Younkins went on to produce a family of three sons -- Leland Alfred Younkin, James Melvin Younkin Sr. and Harold "Raymond" Younkin.
Alfred as a young man was a musician with the Casselman Cornet Band, made up of local citizens playing a variety of brass instruments. A photograph was taken of the group, and many years later was published in the book Down the Road of Our Past. Judging from the image, he and his friend Billy Scott played trombone. As seen below, the faces in the photograph are: back row, left to right, Billy Scott and Alfred Younkin (trombones), Harry Weimer, Harry Heil, Charlie Pritts, Roscoe Shank (cornet); middle row, left to right, Ray Mickey, Howard Heinbaugh, Orville Heinbaugh, S. Pritts, Harry J. Hechler, Frank Wiltrout (clarinet); and front row, left to right, Raleigh Whipkey (drum), Blair Kirpatrick, (?), Cal Liphart, Roy Mickey, (?) director (base drum).
In the early 1900s, prior to marriage, Alfred relocated to North Dakota, where he was employed on a farm. The United States Census of 1910 shows him boarding as a "hired man" in the home of W.E. and Blanche L. Kidder of Merricourt, Dickey County, ND. Their community in 1910 was filled with families from Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri and New York in addition to a host of Russian immigrant families apparently brought there to provide labor on the farms.
Later, hearing from friends that the western apple industry was booming, he went back east and married his sweetheart Lillian. Then with his father Charles, the group of three (and perhaps others) migrated to Washington State with an eye toward settling in the town of Wenatchee. Their destination was located at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers near the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range.
In Wenatchee, they were united with their longtime friends from Casselman, Walter and Mary Ann (Phillippi) Wilkins and their son Scott W. and his wife Lillian May Wilkins. In fact, Alfred and Scott were best friends. Walter and Ann and their married daughter and husband Dora and H.O. Mickey had arrived in Wenatchee before the Younkins in March 1910, on the No. 1 train from Casselman. Reported the Wenatchee Daily World, they were "the guests of L.S. Phillippi. The new arrivals expect to locate here."
(In an interesting twist, Lillian's mother and Walter Wilkins were step-siblings, their parents having married each other later in life.)
Alfred and Scott first tried their hand at planting apples at Hiawatha Valley west of Moses Lake, Grant County, WA. The soil there was dry and poor, and when that enterprise did not work out, Alfred and Lillian moved to Wenatchee, Chelan County, WA, where they settled for a time. Scott Wilkins and his family chose to remain in the Moses Lake area.
In Wenatchee, the world of the Younkins became focused almost exclusively upon apples. Circa 1914, they planted an orchard of 20 acres of apple trees. In about 1928, to meet an expanding customer need, they founded an apple sorting warehouse. The warehouse remained in the family for some 65 years, until the late 1970s.
Alfred is said to have been one of the first growers in the area to graft over some of his trees to Red Delicious, using tree branches sent from the eastern United States. He regularly sent crates of apples to his Younkin cousins in Pennsylvania at Christmastime, one of whom was John W. "Emory" Younkin in Rockwood, Somerset County, and whose daughter told the story many years later to the founder of this website.
The Younkins appear to have moved back east from time to time.
When the federal census was taken in 1920, Alf, Lillian and their four-month-old son Leland were enumerated in Ohio in the home of Lilliam's parents in Deerfield, Portage County. The census taker recorded Alfred's occupation as "apple orchard." The combined family dwelled on a farm along the Deerfield Yale Road in Deerfield.
In 1920, the family received sad word of the passing of their 49-year-old longtime friend Mary Ann (Phillippi) Wilkins in Wenatchee. The cause was believed to have been influenza. Mary Ann'shusband Walter lived for another 19 years in Hiawatha near Moses Lake. Then in October 1939, his dead body found by a son in a shed near home.
By 1928, at the birth of their youngest son, Alfred and Lillian once again had returned to Washington State, and were there for the remainder of their lives. The federal census enumerations of 1930 and 1940 show the Alfred and Lillian and their three sons in Sunnyslope, Chelan County. Alfred's occupation was listed in 1930 as "farmer-fruit farm" and in 1940 as "fruit grower" with son Leland as "laborer."
The Younkins worried as their sons Leland and Melvin joined the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Leland piloted a B-24 bomber in Europe as a member of the 15th U.S. Army Air Force Liberator group. He is known to have flown 100 missions over enemy territory and and often was cited for gallantry in action, earning 11 silver stars and 14 Oak Leaf Clusters. They received a letter from him in June 1944, from Italy, stating that he had been promoted from captain to major. He returned home for visits twice, including once in November 1944.
In turn, their son Melvin joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed aboard the U.S.S. LaSalle, a transport ship which capsized near Coos Bay, OR during a heavy storm. Melvin was saved from the ocean waters, and sent a telegram home, saying "Ship sank, I didn't," according to a story in the Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review.
Lillian's name was printed in the Spokesman-Review in July 1953 when she assisted with preparations for a wedding reception for Wilma Morene Gaston and William J. Jobb, held at Ohme Gardens near Wenatchee.
Alfred and Lillian celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1963, attended by their children and grandchildren.
After a long life of hard, outdoor work, Alfred passed away in May 1965, at the age of 77.
Lillian outlived him by nearly two decades.
She died in Wenatchee in January 1983.
~ Son Leland Alfred "Lee" Younkin ~
Son Leland Alfred "Lee" Younkin (1919-2011) was born on Aug. 11, 1919 in Washington State. As an infant, he and his parents returned for an extended stay with his mother's parents in Deerfield, Portage County, OH. They later returned to Washington.
Leland studied at Washington State College in Pullman.
During World War II, Leland piloted a B-24 bomber with the15th U.S. Army Air Force Liberator group. He is known to have been based in Italy in June 1944, when he wrote a letter home to his parents about his promotion to major. During his wartime service, he flew 100 missions over enemy territory and received the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters representing gallantry while in action.
On Jan. 12, 1945, while in the states, Leland was united in marriage with Mildred Ann "Milliane" Clarke ( ? - ? ). She was the daughter of Harry F. Clark of Santa Monica, CA and had studied at Santa Monica City College. News of their engagement was printed in the Los Angeles Times, and the wedding nuptials were held in her parents' home.
In about 1961, he served as a lieutenant colonel and wing operations officer in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Webb Air Force Base near what today is Big Spring in West Texas.
Later, Leland was wedded to Jane Ellen Phillips (1937-2011), a native of Benton, IL and the daughter of James F. and Nellie (Alexander) Phillips and step-daughter of Ethel Alexander.
They produced two sons -- Leland Alfred Younkin Jr. and James Younkin.
They made their home in 1999 in Danville, Contra Costa County, CA. They were members of the Community Presbyterian church, where Jane Ellen sang in the choir.
Jane Ellen died on Jan. 13, 2011. Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery. Reported the Contra Costa Times, "She was an amazing mother and friend to all who were blessed with knowing her. She had a warm heart and positive, loving spirit. Her hobbies included cooking, upholstery, traveling and spending time with her family.
Leland passed away 11 months later on Dec. 29, 2011. His remains were shipped east to Washington, DC for interment in Arlington National Cemetery. [Section 55, Grave 3044] Their marker, inscribed on front and back, was photographed by the founder of this website in July 2016.
Son Leland Alfred Younkin Jr. resided in Fairfield, CA.
Son James Younkin married Asha and lived in Sacramento.
~ Son James Melvin Younkin Sr. ~
Son James Melvin Younkin Sr. (1921-1999) was born on the Fourth of July 1921 in Wenatchee, Chelan County, Washington.
Melvin served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He married Carrie "Valena" Hansen ( ? - ? ).
The couple bore a family of children -- Diana Burnell Egan, James Melvin Younkin Jr., David Arthur Younkin and Mark Edward Younkin.
They belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Melvin took over the orchard business in about 1946 and operated it until 1987. He was pictured in front of the Younkin Warehouse in a 1965 article in the Wenatchee Daily World, seen here. Said a local newspaper, he "was a member of the American Legion, and was a past Grand Chef of du Washington 40 & 8. He was a past commander of Post 10, and a member of the VFW and was the Ninth District Commander. At the American Legion, Mel ran the Bingo for 16 years, and also one of his most enjoyable activities was serving as the Oratoracle Chairman for 20 years." He enjoyed Boy Scouts activity, fishing, traveling and woodworking.
He and Valena divorced in the late 1960s. He married again on May 15, 1971 to Sandy Leah (Draper) Tripp (1928-2014). She was the daughter of Zira and Elsie Draper and a native of Provo, UT. Sandy had been married before and brought two daughters to the marriage -- Elsie Fay Johnson and Martha "Marty" Stierlen.
Valena also married again to Robert Duvall (1924-2009), son of Guy and Frances (Nelson) Duvall of Everett, WA. Their nuptials were held on June 20, 1972 in the Los Angeles Temple of the LDS Church. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and a salesman for Goodyear Tires and Bowman Distribution. He had been married before and brought these children to the second union -- Rob Duvall of Edmonds, Jeannie Stockman, Kathy Smith, Connie Murray and Becky Shockley. They made their home in Wenatchee. Robert passed away at the age of 85 on Nov. 23, 2009. Valena outlived him by a decade and spent her final six years in Springville, UT to be near her son Jim. Valena was swept away by the Angel of Death on May 2, 2019.
In 1998, Melvin's children and grandchildren printed his memoirs in a a family booklet, World War II Through a Porthole, which is republished on this website.
Mel died on Jan. 12, 1999, at the age of 78. Burial was in the Wenatchee Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave] He was survived by 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Sandy survived her husband by 15 years. She passed away on Aug. 27, 2014 at Avalon Adult Care Home in East Wenatchee.
Daughter Diana (Younkin) Burnell Egan (1948-2006) was born on March 17, 1948 in Wenatchee. She was married several times and had these children -- Charles Anthony Fannan, Jeffrey Edward Burnell. Brandon Michael Burnell. Trisha Dawn Rutherford, Kelli Patrick Burnell, Ryan James Burnell and Elizabeth Ann Egan. The Egans resided in Salem, OR, and Diana was deeply interested in preserving the family's heritage. She was the chief organizer of the Younkin Reunion-West held in Turner, OR in 1996-1998 and 2000. She also attended the Younkin Reunion-East in 1992 and 1996 with her brother and daughter. Sadly, Diana passed away after a long illness on May 27, 2006. Interment was in the Campbell-Grier Cemetery in Stayton, Marion County, OR.
Son James Melvin Younkin Jr. ( ? -living) is a graduate of Ricks College in Resburg, ID. He has been married and with his first wife Eileen had a family of children, including Christopher Younkin, Kathy Ransom, Alex Younkin (Ashley Corinne). On Feb. 9, 2012, he wedded his second bride, Debbie ( ? -living). He has attended Younkin Reunions in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA and Salem, OR. With an adventurous spirit, he has been a mountain climber among other talents, and has displayed some of his photos on his own website. Jim is proprietor of Mapleton Automotive, and is a specialist in the maintenance of imported automobiles, with expertise in compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel systems. Visit his Younkin CNG site.
Son David Younkin married Glenna. He resided in Wenatchee in 1999 and in Cashmere, Chelan County in 2013.
Son Mark Younkin made his home in 1999 in Los Angeles and in 2013 in Simi Valley, CA.
~ Son Harold "Raymond" Younkin ~
Son Harold "Raymond" Younkin (1928-1995) was born on Feb. 19, 1928 in Wenatchee, Chelan County.
On Dec. 7, 1948, at the age of 20, he married Berdena Shell ( ? - ? ), a resident of Omak, WA. News of their marriage license application was published in the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper.
He is believed to have died in Cashmere, Chelan County on March 15, 1995, at the age of 67.
Nothing more is known.
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