Barbara Jean (Younkin) Swarner was born on July 15, 1846, near Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Frederick F. and Sarah (Faidley) Younkin. She grew up on her parents' farm and is known to have "often played together" with her sister Salome Liston.
At the age of 19, on May 10, 1868, she was united in holy matrimony with Civil War veteran Henry S. Swarner (1848-1911), son of Adam and Polly (Marker) Swarner. Officiating was Rev. J. Zimmerman of the Lutheran Church. Among the witnesses were the bride's brother William "Henry" Younkin, sister Salome Liston and Noah and Isabella (Tressler) Phillippi.
Their six children were Cora Etta Younkin, Salome Snyder, Minnie B. Swarner, Sarah J. "Sadie" Blubaugh, Susan "Susie" Wiltrout, Mary A. Swarner, John H. Swarner and Martha Ella Vought (Vough).
Sadly, daughters Minnie (born 1873) and Mary (1877) may have died young but this needs to be confirmed.
Henry stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and weighed 160 lbs. In June 1863, responding to President Lincoln's call for troops, he went to New Centerville to join the Union Army, recruited by Barbara's step-cousin, Capt. William Meyers Schrock. The Somerset Daily American said that "It was the only occasion during the course of the Civil War that any unit was mustered within the area of Somerset County." The new infantrymen were assembled in the flat field at what today are the grounds of the annual Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee. Four other Younkin cousins and spouses joined the company as well. Friend Robert Nickelsen once noted that at the time of enlistment, Henry was "a man of good health and seemingly very rugged."
Initially known as Capt. Schrock's Independent Company of Volunteer Infantry, it later became part of Company H of Ramsey's Battalion, Pennsylvania Infantry. The soldiers remained in New Centerville, The regiment had no weapons, so it remained in camp until July 6, 1863, when it moved to Berlin, Somerset County and drilled there, quartering in a vacant house on East Diamond Street. After a few days there, the company was sent to Huntingdon, PA, and served on provost duty during a military draft. In early September 1863, recounted the History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania, the company marched to Harrisburg and thence to Gettysburg, where "they guarded the field hospital on the battlefield until it was dispensed with in the latter part of October. This company was also in active service at Lewisburg, Sunbury and Selins Grove."
Henry received his discharge from that unit in October 1863. Then, in February 1864, he enlisted again, in the 61st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B. Capt. Casper Koffman was commander of the company. Henry's messmates were henry Lape and Peter Lanning. While on duty in Petersburg, VA on March 13, 1865, he sprained his back badly while digging and moving earth to build a breastwork at night. Fellow soldier Robert Nickelsen (also spelled "Nicholson") was present and recalled:
I know that one night one picket he got hurt in the back. This was in front of Petersburg sometime in March just before we started in pursuit of Lee. Our whole picket line was captured that night but how he escaped capture I don't know. I saw Swarner as soon as he got to camp, and he said that when the enemy shot into the picket line he let himself fall and he hurt his back but he did not know what he fell on.
Henry was not treated in a hospital -- in fact he wrote that he "Did not want to go into a hospital" -- but received care from the regiment's surgeon.
He remained in the 61st Pennsylvania until his honorable discharge in July 1865 following the war's completion. He returned home to Rockwood. His mother gave him garden teas for his back and applied homemade linament for relief. Once they married, Barbara took over his treatments.
In about 1875, Barbara and Henry migrated to Clay County, Kansas, following other family and friends who had ventured there as pioneers. He is known to have labored with Henry W. Bartell and C.L. Parker, both of Milford, Davis/Geary County. Bartell, married to Barbara's cousin Barbara Ellen Faidley, once noted that he had known Henry "to be confined to the house for 3 or 4 days and sometimes a week after he had exerted himself at farming." At one point circa 1876-1878 they made their home in Milford, where Henry received medical care from Dr. W.R. Bard. Double cousins Ross and Emma (Rush) Younkin, also from Somerset County, lived as near neighbor to the Swarners in Milford, and in Ross's recollection often was called to help to turn Henry in bed while infirm. During their baker's dozen years in Kansas, they visited back home every so often.
While in Kansas, Henry applied for an invalid soldier's pension from the federal government. It was awarded on Nov. 14, 1887. [Invalid App. #629015 - Cert. #582.458]
In about 1888, the Swarners made the decision to return to their old home of Rockwood, where Henry resumed farming, and eventually retired from the occupation. Circa 1890, when a special census of Civil War veterans was taken, they received their mail at Casselman. Circa 1894, Henry served as a supervisor of Black Township.
Henry never recovered from his wartime maladies. His former Milford physician, Dr. Bard, noted in 1905 that Henry's stomach, kidneys and liver were so bad that "for weeks at a time" he was "unable to move about at all and causing him to be bedfast." He also claimed to be in pain in his rectum and heart, and wrote that he could not "walk up a grade, except creep along."
His Rockwood physician, Dr. George B. Masters, wrote this in 1905:
I have known [Henry] for the last 15 years and during that time he has consulted me about one half dozen times for his stomack + liver trouble and back, for which I prescribed. I pronounced his trouble chronic congestion of stomach + liver and his back trouble as lumbago. I have this day Jan. 19th 1905 made a physican examination of him and find him again suffering from his complaints of stomach liver + lumbago.
He applied for an increase of his pension and received testimony of support from other fellow soldiers Jacob C. Miller of Somerfield, PA and Sebastian Tissue of Markleysburg, PA. Other neighbors and friends gave comments in writing, among them Simon S. Snyder of Rockwood and John Romesburg of Ursina, PA. All of them attested to the fact that he frequently complained of severe pain in his back, limiting his ability to perform manual labor.
He suffered a stroke of paralysis and passed away at the age of 63 at 2 a.m. on April 19, 1911. He was laid to rest in the IOOF Cemetery in Rockwood, and Jacob Marker of Rockwood was the informant for his death certificate.
Barbara survived her husband by nine years. She began receiving Henry's pension on April 28, 1911. [Widow App. #963.884 - Ceret. #726.817] At the end of her life, her monthly payments were $25.00.
She was felled by a stroke and died at her residence in South Rockwood at the age of 73 on May 14, 1920. Interment was in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery. A local newspaper noted that "The family resided in Black township for many years, and also spent several years in the west.... There are also several daughters living in the west."
Many years later, on Oct. 2, 1966, the Somerset County Historical and Genealogical Society dedicated a monument to honor the company, inscribed with Henry's name and placed on the site of the mustering ground. Local attorney Robert Keim served as master of ceremonies and Rev. Gene Abel gave the invocation, Judge Thomas F. Lansberry the principal address and Rev. Henry B. Reiley Jr. the dedication prayer. Lansberry remarked in his comments that the local recruits "had ears to hear the call of Father Abraham," said the Daily American. "This was not hearing in the ordinary sense but it was that 'inner ear' through which they heard the call that challenged them to answer the call to colors. He said that they had real courage, not the false type which causes some beatnik to throw a molotov cocktail into a store window, or causes a riot in Watts or Cleveland, but that kind of courage which sends a man through the valley of the shadow of death for the sake of a cause which he considers to be bigger than himself." Also present at the event was George Hoburn, who designed and built the monument, and Bradley Cramer, grandson of Charles Cramer who first developed the monument idea.
~ Daughter Salome (Swarner) Snyder ~
Daughter Salome Swarner (1871-1955) was born on Feb. 13, 1871 in Black Township near Rockwood, Somerset County.
She married David W. Snyder (Aug. 5, 1863-1950), son of Peter and Julia (Hechler) Snyder. They made their residence in rural Black Township and Milford Township near Rockwood, where David earned a living as a farmer..
They had at least two children, Edna Speicher and Lloyd M. Snyder.
In 1950, the Snyders resided at 411 West Main Street in Rockwood.
David fell and fractured his ribs on May 22, 1950 and was admitted to Somerset Community Hospital. He suffered a massive heart attack and died there at the age of 86 on June 13, 1950. Burial was in the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockwood.
Salome suffered from hardening of the cerebral arteries for the last five years of her life. Having fallen and fractured her left hip, she was admitted for treatment to Somerset Community Hospital in mid-August 1955. Sadly, at the age of 84, and after two weeks in the hospital, she suffered a heart attack and died on Aug. 28, 1955. Interment was in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery.
Daughter Edna G. Snyder (1893-1974) was born on April 23, 1893 in Black Township. In about 1919, she married Clyde E. Speicher (1897-1982), a native of Lincoln Township and the son of Morris W. and Cora (Hemminger) Speicher. Clyde was a veteran of World War I and went on to a lifetime of farming. Edna was a member of the World War I Auxiliary, Milford Grange, Kingwood Rebekah Lodge and Messiah Lutheran Church in New Centerville, where she was active with the Faithful Bible Class. Clyde was a Milford Township Republican Committeeman and a member of the American Legion, World War I Veterans of Somerset County, the Kingwood Odd Fellows Lodge and the Eagles Lodge. They had three children -- Dorothy Stahl, Mary Jane Reiman and a son who died in infancy. In her final years, Edna made her home with her married daughter Dorothy Stahl in Somerset. She died at their home at the ae of 81 on Nov. 23, 1974. In an obituary, the Meyersdale Republic noted that "Her passing ends a marriage union of 55 years." Burial was in the Rockwood Odd Fellows Cemetery, with Rev. Herbert G. Hohman leading the funeral service. Clyde survived for another eight years as a widower. He died on Feb. 9, 1982 in Altoona Veterans Hospital. Rev. Herbert Schimpf preached the funeral sermon, followed by burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery.
Son Lloyd M. Snyder (1899-1984) was born on May 2, 1899 in Black Township near Rockwood. He was twice joined in holy matrimony. Eva Edna Weimer was his first bride ( ? -1937). They lived in the outskirts of Rockwood and are believed to have produced these 11 known children -- Marie Gross, Harold Snyder, Homer Snyder, Myrna Landis Keyes, Lester Snyder, Lloyd M. Snyder Jr., Cleda Brant, Blanche Sanner, Elaine Brugh, Nelda Fox and Shirley Shultz. Heartbreak shook the family when Eva Edna died on May 21, 1937. After six years alone, Lloyd in 1943 married a second time to Edna Mosholder ( ? - ? ). Their marriage lasted for 41 years. Lloyd and Edna were longtime farmers in Black Township and were members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Lloyd was a longtime member of the Tri-County Horse and Mule Association. Sadness again swept over the family at the death of their son Homer in 1980. Lloyd succumbed to death on Nov. 23, 1984 in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 85. Burial was in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery, with Rev. James Roth leading the service.
Great-granddaughter Judith Sanner married Terry Pletcher and lived in Rockwood.
Granddaughter Roberta Sanner was joined in wedlock with David Wyant. The couple dwelled in Berlin.
Grandson Larry Sanner wedded Kate and resided in Rockwood.
Granddaughter Pamela Sanner was united in matrimony with Jeff Moore. In 2020, they were in Berlin.
Grandson Douglas Sanner married Roxanne. They made a home in Rockwood.
~ Daughter Sarah "Sadie" (Swarner) Blubaugh ~
Daughter Sarah Jane "Sadie" Swarner (1875-1949) was born on June 5, 1875, a twin with her sister Susan.
Sarah resided with her grandfather, Frederick F. Younkin, at age six, when the federal census was taken in 1880.
She married Harvey L. Blubaugh (1867-1953), son of Alexander and Susan (Brougher) Blubaugh of Rockwood, Somerset County. They made their home near Kingwood, Somerset County. Their one known daughter was Minnie (Eppley) Lape.
The marriage apparently did not work out. In 1920 and again in 1940, federal census records show Harvey living with his widowed sister Amanda Cramer and her single daughter Sadie, while in 1920 Sarah lived and worked in the residence of 53-year-old bachelor Wilson Witmier as a housekeeper. Circa 1940, she dwelled with their daughter and son in law, Minnie and Freeman Lape.
Just 11 days after her 75th birthday, Sarah succumbed of a cerebral hemorrhage on June 16, 1949. Her remains were interred in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. Freeman Lape of Somerset was the informant on her death certificate.
At the age of 86, having endured hardening of the arteries for a decade, Harvey was felled by a heart attack and died on Sept. 15, 1953 at home in Upper Turkeyfoot Township. Burial was in the Lutheran Cemetery in Kingwood. A few weeks before his passing, the Somerset Daily American reported that "Harvey Blubaugh, of Kingwood, who has been quite ill remains in a serious condition."
Daughter Minnie Eppley (1916-1982) was born on Dec. 3, 1916 at Hooversville, Somerset County, the daughter of Elmer and Myrtle (Wirick) Eppley. How she came into the lives of Sarah Jane Swarner and Harvey Blubaugh is a mystery. She was joined in matrimony with Freeman "Sammy" Lape (1914- ? ). They made their home in Somerset, where Freeman in 1940 was a laborer on the construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They produced at least four children -- Dorothy Lape, Shirley Lape, Robert F. Lape and Jean Young. Minnie appears to have remained in Somerset for the rest of her years and was a member of the First Christian Church. She also was employed as governess of the girls' floor of the Seay Memorial Home. She died at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh at age 65 on May 3, 1982. Her remains were returned to Somerset County for burial in St. John's Cemetery. An obituary in the Daily American reported that she left behind 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
~ Daughter Susan "Susie" (Swarner) Wiltrout ~
Daughter Susan "Susie" Swarner (1875- ? ) was born on June 5, 1875, a twin with her sister Sarah "Sadie."
In about 1890, when she would have been age 15 or 16, she wed 17-year-old Carl Wiltrout (1873- ? ). They had these known children -- Annie M. Wiltrout, Hannah A. Wiltrout, Jacob Wiltrout and Henry Wiltrout.
When the federal census was enumerated in 1900, the Wiltrouts lived in Casselman, Somerset County, where Carl was employed as a railroad brakeman.
He may be the same "Carl Wiltrout" who died on Oct. 2, 1901 at the age of 28 and was buried in Mt. Union Cemetery near Kingwood. [Find-a-Grave]
The widowed Susan traveled to Kansas to live in or near Junction City, Geary County, where her sister Cora Etta Younkin made her home.
In later April 1905, at the Geary County Courthouse, Susan was united in marriage for a second time to John F. Knowles ( ? - ? ). At the time, bride and groom both lived in Fort Riley, and they were wed by the hand of Probate Judge J.F. Brown.
When the U.S. Census was taken in 1910, the couple made their home in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, KS. John held a job as a foreman in a packing house. They did not have any of their own children by that time, but nephew 14-year-old Roy Wiltrout lived under their roof and worked as a cash boy at a department store.
More will be added here when discovered.
~ Son John H. Swarner ~
Son John H. Swarner (1880-1968) was born on Feb. 6 or 8, 1880 in Kansas.
He returned to Rockwood and married Bertha Mae Cramer (1882-1953), the daughter of Henry Clay and Amanda J. (Bluebaugh) Cramer. In an ironic twist, her father in 1914 shot and killed John's cousin William H. Trimpey.
They had five children -- Wilbur H. "Sammy" Swarner, Ferne Heinbaugh, Blanche Pyle, Melda A. Schrock and Yvonne Narad.
In the 1930s and early '40s, their postal address was Rockwood R.F.D. John apparently was ornery, and one of his grand-nephews recalled this:
John H. Swarner was my mother's uncle and lived next door to us in Black Twp. (south of Rockwood, on the hill across the Casselman River bridge). In my, and my parents' opinion, he was not a nice man. He planted a hedge row, with pricket like spikes, on the property line so we could not get in his yard. If a ball or other toy went into his yard I and probably my older brothers, had to wait until night when he went to bed before we could retrieve it. If he saw the object he would take it into his house and keep it. I do not remember him being in our home or any of us going into his house. I asked my mother why he was so mean. She said he had always been that way and she did not know why. She also said I was to ignore and stay away from him.
John died at the age of 88 on March 4, 1968, with burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. He was survived by 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
When an estate auction was held at their home in April 1968, Somerset Daily American reporter David R. Hay wrote that "From up on the hill at the stable ou looked down the gradually sloping yard during the sale to the well kept white frame dwelling which was built by Mr. Swarner many years ago.. If you would have been at the sale you would have seen lots of people sitting and standing around the porch waitign for Col. Jim Johnson, the auctioneer, to work his way down to the house from the stable and garage... From the backyard you could see an aerial view of Rockwood."
John and Bertha's great-granddaughter Diane (Hostetler) Summers has researched this family's genealogy.
Son Wilbur H. "Sammy" Swarner (1907-1987) was born on Sept. 18, 1907 in Black Township near Rockwood. He married Julia A. Benford (1910-1983), daughter of Archie and Annie (Barclay) Benford. They lived in Rockwood and were members of the Rockwood Church of the Brethren. They had four daughters and one foster son -- Lois Jean Shaffer, Anna Mae Snyder, Wanda June Kalp, Karen Walker and Melvin Lasure. Julia died in Somerset Community Hospital at the age of 72 on May 6, 1983. Said the Daily American, "Her death terminates a marriage union of 55 years." She was entombed in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. Wilbur survived his wife by four years. He passed into eternity at age 79 on Feb. 15, 1987. His funeral service was led by Rev. Jay Christner.
Daughter Leora "Ferne" Swarner (1899-1981) was born in 1899. She married Ray Austin Heinbaugh (1895- ? ), son of David and Alice (Marker) Heinbaugh. (Ray's brother Lloyd Jacob Heinbaugh wed one of Ferne's cousins, Olga Vought.) They resided in Rockwood and produced four children -- Donald Bernell Heinbaugh, Leo Heinbaugh, M.J. Heinbaugh and Virginia Dosch. Sadly, Ferne passed away in 1981.
Daughter Blanche Swarner ( ? - ? ) wed Wilson Pyle ( ? - ? ) and lived in Somerset. In April 1968, she attended an estate auction at the former home of her parents in Black Township on the outskirts of Rockwood and was named in an accompanying article in the Somerset Daily American.
Daughter Melda Swarner (1910-1988) was born on April 24, 1910 in Rockwood. At the age of 15, in about 1925, she married Leonard Schrock (June 3, 1904-1993), a native of Rockwood and the son of Lawrence J. and Elizabeth (Long) Schrock. Their marriage lasted for 63 years until the separation of death. They produced one daughter, Lenadelle Ream, and two sons. The family were members of the Church of the Brethren. In the years before World War II, Leonard is believed to have owned the East End Garage in Rockwood, purchased from Corbett Miller, with the building later transferred just prior to World War II to Ray Pletcher. Leonard and the garage are cited in the commemorative booklet, Rockwood Centennial: 1857-1957. Sadly, the Schrocks outlived both of their sons. At some point prior to 1968, they relocated to South Carolina, where their married daughter resided in the community of Sumter. There, Leonard was employed with several Chrysler Plymouth dealerships as a parts manager. Melda died in Sumter, SC on Feb. 23, 1988. Her remains were brought back to Somerset County for burial in the Rockwood IOOF Cemetery. Rev. Roger Forry officiated at the burial, with an obituary appearing in the Somerset Daily American. Leonard outlived his wife by five years. Admitted to the Tuomey Regional Medical Center as his health declined, Leonard passed away at the age of 89 on June 23, 1993. As with Melda, Leonard's body was returned to Rockwood for interment, with Rev. Tim Resh leading the funeral service.
Daughter Yvonne Swarner ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in holy matrimony with Van Narad ( ? - ? ). The Narads dwelled in Somerset. Yvonne was a registered nurse and in March 1971 took part in the Tag Day benefit for Somerset Community Hospital, and was pictured in the Somerset Daily American with board chair Mrs. James Walker and board president Luther Shaulis. Again in March 1975, she was included in a Daily American photograph presenting a $500 check from the Somerset Registered Nurses' Association to help the hospital acquire a Puritan Bennett Volumn Ventilator to use for respiratory therapy.
~ Daughter Martha Ellen (Swarner) Vought ~
Daughter Martha Ellen "Ella" Swarner (1882-1915) was born on Sept. 7, 1882 in Kansas. She married a triple cousin, John Vought Jr. (1879-1932), son of Missouri Younkin and grandson of William "Shedrick" and Caroline (Cupp) Younkin of near Rockwood, Somerset County. (While the "t" at the end of the "Vough" name dropped away during the 20th century, the family name generally is still pronounced in Somerset County as "Vote.")
Early in their married life, they relocated to Kansas, although they too eventually returned to Rockwood. Read more about the Voughts.