Jacob C. Younkin was born on Feb. 19, 1828 near Kingwood, Somerset County, the son of Frederick F. and Mary (Sanner) Younkin. He "lived and died about a mile from the old homestead, where Grandfather [F.F.] Younkin lived," remembered a nephew.
Jacob wed Lucy A. Weimer (1837-1890).
The Younkins produced a family of four known children -- Eleanor Josephine "Ellen" Schrock, Adaline M. Gerhard, Wesley D. Younkin and Etta M. "Ettie" Gerhard.
When the federal census was enumerated in 1880, Jacob and Lucy were listed among a cluster of related neighbor family households -- including his parents, married sister Salome Liston and cousin Ephraim Minerd.
Grief enveloped the family when Lucy passed from this earth on July 15, 1890, at the age of 53. In a short obituary, the Somerset Herald reported the following: “YOUNKIN.—At her residence, near Kingwood, July 15, 1890, Lucy Ann, wife of Jacob Younkin aged 53 years, 4 months and 7 days." The cause of her untimely passing is not yet known.
On the face of her upright grave marker was inscribed this poem: "We miss thee from our home dear mother. We miss thee from thy place. A Shadow o'er our life is cast. We miss the sunshine of thy face."
Jacob only survived his wife by four years. In the early 1890s, a photographer came to the farm and shot a number of photographs of the Younkin family in front of their house and barn.
He suffered from heart disease for an extended period of time and died from its effects on Feb. 12, 1894. He received an expansive obituary on the pages of the Herald:
In the death of Jacob C. Younkin, who passed away at his home in Upper Turkeyfoot township Monday, Feb. 11th, the south of the county lost one of its most prominent and leading citizens. Mr. Younkin had been in delicate health for several years, suffering from dropsy, but was always uncomplaining and would not admit up until a short time prior to his death that his condition was serious. He had accumulated a moderate sized fortune but had disposed of most of it by gift among his children some years ago. He is survived by four children, three daughters and one son.
They are buried together under a prominent stone in the Lutheran Church cemetery in Kingwood. Many years later, their genealogy was researched by a descendant, with notes deposited in the "Younkin" surname file at the Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County.
The photograph of the family posed in front of their house is pictured in the book Down the Road of Our Past published by the Rockwood Area Historical & Genealogical Society.
~ Daughter Eleanor Josephine "Ellen" (Younkin) Schrock ~
Daughter Eleanor Josephine "Ellen" Younkin (1858-1938) was born on May 13, 1858.
Click on the Schrock link for more of their story.
~ Daughter Adaline M. (Younkin) Gerhard ~
Daughter Adaline M. Younkin (1861-1889) was born on July 10, 1861.
She married Jacob B. Gerhard Jr. (Nov. 17, 1857-1938) (originally spelled "Gerhardt"), son of Jacob B. and Catherine (Brougher) Gerhard Sr.
Their only child was Edna Gerhard, born in 1887.
In the 1870s and '80s, Jacob served as a justice of the peace (also known as "judge" at the time) for Upper Turkeyfoot Township. This allowed him to legally officiate at weddings, and his name often was mentioned in the "Married" section of local newspaper articles. He also affixed his signature over the years to many deeds involving Younkin land transactions.
Adaline died at the untimely age of 27 on April 9, 1889. She was laid to rest in the Lutheran Church Cemetery in Kingwood with her parents.
Jacob lived for another almost half-century, and married his sister in law Ettie Younkin. See Etta's entry elsewhere on this page for more about her.
Daughter Edna Gerhard married M.E. Baughman. Circa 1926, the Baughmans lived in Philadelphia. By 1938, they were back in Somerset.
~ Son Wesley D. Younkin ~
Son Wesley D. Younkin (1864-1943) was born on Feb. 8, 1864.
He married Mary Ann Kreger (Jan. 18, 1864-1933), daughter of Christopher H. and Catherine (Schrock) Kreger, on July 3, 1884, when both of them were 20 years of age. Rev. J.W. Bloyd officiated, with Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Kreger and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sweitzer serving as witnesses.
The couple bore a family of four known children -- Lillian M. "Lillie" Brougher, Jacob "Ross" (nicknamed "Shorty") Younkin, Clark J. Younkin and Matthew McKinley "Matt" Younkin.
They resided on the old farm of Wesley's parents located south of Kingwood, along what today is Route 281, a tract originally owned by Wesley's great-grandfather, Frederick Younkin. Wesley paid for the farm in $300 installments, from 1896 to 1900.
For many years, as Kingwood did not have its own post office, they received their mail through a nearby community, and shown on envelopes as Markleton R.F.D. (rural free delivery).
Tragedy rocked this family on June 20, 1892, when 22-month-old son Clark drowned in a spring.
When the U.S. Census was made in 1900, the Younkins continued to dwell on their Upper Turkeyfoot farm, with 24-year-old George W. Sanner boarding in the home.
In the mid-1910s, a school house was established directly across the Route 281 highway from Wesley's farm. The Meyersdale Republican reported the news on July 15, 1915, saying: Owing to the long distance some of the pupils have to school, the school board will move the one known as the Dwire school to the top of the hill above Markleton, and will build a new one near the home of Ross Younkin, which will likely be called the Younkin school. This will shorten the distance for a large number of pupils."
A photograph of Bud James Younkin and Mildred Henry in childhood, seated on the step of the Younkin School, was printed in the book Down the Road of Our Past published by the Rockwood Area Historical & Genealogical Society.
The federal census of 1900 shows the family living near Kingwood, with their near neighbors including Wesley's sister Salome Liston and her family, and step-cousin Lawrence A. Hall and his brood. In 1900, 24-year-old George W. Sanner lived under their roof as a hired laborer on their farm.
Census records for 1910 disclose that son Ross, who had married Myrtle Goller, was living next door.
When his longtime friend and cousin Jacob Phillippi died in 1914, Wesley and his brother-in-law Ephraim Schrock stepped forward to help the widow obtain her husband's Civil War pension payments.
The family's longtime place of worship, the Kingwood Church of God, was renovated in 1920. The updates included a two-story addition and a vestibule with a bell tower. New stained glass windows were installed, and Wesley made a donation to dedicate one of the windows in honor of the family.
In March 1931, Wesley underwent surgery for an enlarged thyroid, as noted on the pages of the Somerset Daily American.
Suffering from influenza, which developed into a deadly acute meningitis, Mary was swept away by the Angel of Death on Feb. 19, 1933 at the age of 69. Her passing occurred "following an illness of several months," reported a local newspaper. Interment of the remains was in the Kingwood International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery. In addition to her adult children, said the Somerset Daily American, she was survived by her siblings Sara Faidley of Broughton, KS; Adeline Weimer of Pittsburgh; and Ida Zufall, James Kreger and Ross A. Kreger, all of Upper Turkeyfoot Township.
Wesley survived his wife by a decade.
Despondent as he approached his 80s, likely due to declining health, Wesley in mid-March 1943 decided to end his life. The Meyersdale Republican reported the grisly details:
Wesley D. Younkin of Kingwood died last Saturday night in the Somerset Hospital, the result of a gunshot wound in the head, believed to have been self-inflicted. Younkin was found in an unconscious condition at his home on March 17 and was removed to the Somerset hospital, where he rallied and appeared to be on the road to recovery. He suffered a relapse, however, last week. The bullet, from a .22 caliber rifle, entered the man's right temple, and passed through his right eye. When the man was discovered by relatives he was on the floor of his bedroom, but there were bloodstains on the kitchen floor. Investigators expressed the belief that Younkin shot himself in the kitchen and walked to his bedroom before he collapsed.Dr. Brubakers office; and the Dr. pronounced him very sick. Said he had asthma and Rheumatism and gave him some medicine. I then took him to my house and kept him all night.
Wesley lingered for several weeks after his suicide attempt. But there was no hope of a recovery. He finally succumbed to death on April 3, 1943.
Daughter Lillian "Lilly" Younkin (1885-1967) was born on July 5, 1885, near Kingwood. She married a cousin, John Brougher (1885-1942) on March 18, 1906, with Rev. S. Fulmer officiating. John was the son of Samuel and Barbara "Ellen" (Dull) Brougher, grandson of Frederick and Margaret "Peggy" (Faidley) Dull and great-grandson of George and Christina (Younkin) Dull Sr. Their children were Roy Wesley Brougher, Charles Edward Brougher, Hazel Ferne Kreger, Mabel "Florence" Gardner, Thelma Theda Sanner and Mary Ellen Ohler. Sadly, son Charles died in infancy. The Broughers were longtime members of the Kingwood Church of God. Sadly, John died on July 1, 1942, at age 57. At his death, John was survived by a sister, Mrs. J.D. Liphart, and by two half-brothers, Fred Ream and Jesse Ream. Lilly remained in the Kingwood area for the remainder of her years. She died at age 81, on Feb. 6, 1967, in the home of her married daughter Florence in Markleton. She was buried in Kingwood IOOF Cemetery.
Son Jacob "Ross" (or "Shorty") Younkin (1888-1960) was born on Dec. 18, 1888 near Kingwood. He wed Myrtle Goller (Nov. 14, 1890-1974), daughter of Ed and Etta (Leslie Collins-Snyder) Goller. Ross was a longtime farmer and lumberman near Kingwood, with Markleton R.F.D. as their post office address. Their children were Evelyn Vera Fisher, James Matthew Younkin and Glenn Ray Younkin. They were lifelong members of the Kingwood Church of God, with Ross serving for 18 years as treasurer of the congregation's Sunday School class. Ross belonged to the Odd Fellows lodge in Kingwood, while Myrtle was a charter member of the affiliated Rebekah Lodge. She is mentioned in a memoir written her longtime pastor, entitled F.O. Eakin's Reveries, penned in 1968 and published in 2014. Ross was stricken with lung cancer which spread to his bones. He passed away on Sept. 16, 1960, at age 72, in his Kingwood residence. Rev. Earl F. Show preached the funeral sermon, with an obituary printed in the Meyersdale Republican. Myrtle lived for another 14 years as a widow. She died at the home of their daughter Evelyn Fisher in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, PA at age 83 on June 15, 1974. Her remains were brought back to Somerset County for a funeral led by Rev. Earl Show and Rev. Paul Tobias. Burial was in Somerset County Memorial Park.
Son Matthew McKinley "Mat" Younkin (1896-1980) was born on May 14, 1896 in Upper Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. When he was age 20, he was united in matrimony with 20-year-old Lucy Ellen Sechler (April 29, 1896-1979), daughter of Joshua and Emily (Meyers) Sechler. Their wedding service was held on March 21, 1917 in Kingwood, led by Rev. F.O. Eakin. During their brief marriage, they bore a daughter, Mary Emma Vernon. The couple eventually divorced. In time, he wed his second bride, Ruth Naomi (Berkey) Lehman (Jan. 28, 1910-1965), daughter of William B. and Juliana (Long) Berkey of Stonycreek Township. She brought a daughter to the union, Faye Morin. Matthew variously made a living over the years as a farmer, lumberman and school teacher. The Younkins were members of the Kingwood Church of God. In the field of education, he taught school in the Kingwood area circa 1915. He also served in April 1917 on a Kingwood committee to oversee eighth grade examinations of the common schools. He is known to have hired Jud Wable and Smith Woods to help him cut logs in December 1928 in Upper Turkeyfoot. Matthew made news in June 12, 1930 when his sawmill, situated on the lower end of Orion Nicklow's farm in Hexebarger, burned. In 1934, when the church building burned to the ground, Matthew agreed to serve on a Building Committee to reconstruct the structure, along with Younkin cousins James "Beecher" Dumbauld and Peter Albert Kreger as well as local banker and contractor David Francis Shultz. In recognition of their services to the congregation, Matthew's name is inscribed today on a cornerstone type marker embedded on the church exterior brickwork. Circa 1935-1936, when the Somerset County Producers Association was organized, he was named vice president of the Lumber Products Unit. Politically, Matthew was a Republican candidate for Somerset County Commissioner in September 1939., but finished a distant sixth in the voting tally. During the 1960s, the couple dwelled in rural Somerset Township. The family was plunged into heartbreak when Ruth was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was admitted for treatment to Somerset Community Hospital, and passed into eternity on Jan. 20, 1965. Rev. James Kalp preached the funeral sermon. Matthew survived as a widower for another 15 years. During that time, he suffered the loss of his married daughter Mary Vernon. He died at age 83, at Somerset Community Hospital, on Feb. 5, 1980. Rev. Paul Tobias led the funeral service. Entombment was with Ruth in Somerset County Memorial Park, with an obituary appearing in the Somerset Daily American. Matthew's ex-wife Lucy married again to Grant Snyder and made a home in Stoystown. She died on Dec. 11, 1979.
~ Daughter Etta M. "Ettie" (Younkin) Gerhard ~
Daughter Etta M. "Ettie" Younkin (1869-1926) was born on May 1, 1869 in Somerset County.
On Sept. 17, 1890, at the age of 21, Etta married her widowed, 32-year-old brother in law Jacob B. Gerhard Jr. (1858- ? ), son of Jacob and Catharine (Brougher) Gerhard Sr. Rev. T. Woods led the wedding service.
Early in adulthood, Jacob was a school teacher "in and about Kingwood and then entered the mercantile business there," said the Younkin Family News Bulletin (Dec. 20, 1938). He was one of two shop keepers in Kingwood, along with Peter Albert Kreger, married to Etta's cousin Ida (Trimpey) Kreger. The store is pictured in the book Down the Road of Our Past published by the Rockwood Area Historical & Genealogical Society.
In the late summer of 1903, a correspondent from the Meyersdale Commercial wrote a piece entitled "The Hills of Somerset" which featured eyewitness observations during a tour of southern Somerset County. He made a stop at Jacob's store in Kingwood, and penned the following:
Leaving Humbert a very rough and hilly portion of Turkeyfoot township is reached, extending towards the little village of Kingwood which has two stores and other small industries, two churches, schools, &c. The proprietors of the stores are J.B. Gerhart and Mr. Kregar; the former gentleman has here one of the most magnificent houses that can be found in any village in the county; the house is large and commodious and most beautifully finished and decorated, besides it is surrounded with flowers and shrubbery that give it almost an oriental magnificence.
After 14 years of married life in Kingwood, the Gerhards moved into the city of Somerset. Jacob was active in local public service, and served as Prothonotary of Somerset County for three years, from 1909 to 1912. He eventually was appointed by Judge J.A. Berkey as a court officer, which he maintained for the rest of his life. They resided on Main Street in Somerset.
Etta suffered from hardening of the arteries and chronic kidney disease. She was stricken by a cerebral hemorrhage and died at home on July 20, 1926. Burial was in Husband Cemetery in Somerset County, and an obituary was published in the Connellsville Weekly Courier.
Jacob survived her by a dozen years. He was "one of the oldest members of the Grace Evangelical Church," said the news bulletin, and "was a charter member of the Baraca Bible Class." He died at the home of his married daughter, at 313 West Main Street in Somerset, on June 27, 1938.