Jacob J. "Dorcas Jake" Younkin was born on April 8 (or 16), 1808 in the upper section of Turkeyfoot Township, near Kingwood, the son of John J. and Mary "Polly" (Hartzell) Younkin.
A newspaper once said his birthplace was "on the land near where the mines of the Ursina Coal Mining co. are now located, which property he owned for a number of years."
At the age of 22, in 1830, Jake married his mother's cousin, 19-year-old Dorcas Hartzell (1811-1880). Writing many years later, his sister Elizabeth Hare said: "I was not present to witnefs in person his marriage to Mifs Dorkes Hartzell, but I was present when on the following day he brought his wife to my father's house, when and where we did celebrate the event of his marriage." Her name also has been given as "Tabitha."
Because "there being so many Jake Younkins ... they identified each one of them by putting the given name of their wife before their surname," recalled a nephew, Connellsville attorney Frederick E. Younkin.
They produced a family of 10 children: Hiram Younkin, Joel R. Younkin, Balaam Younkin, Susanna Koontz, Foster H. (or "C.") Younkin, Dorcas "Tabitha" Grim, Noble Younkin, Caroline Malinda Grossman and Colwell Seveno Younkin. Sadly, son Noble is believed to have died young.
Of the 10 offspring, Jake outlived five. He carefully kept a record of his children's births in a family Bible.
Said a newspaper:
Mr. Younkin always followed the occupation of farmer and almost the whole of his long life was spent in the Turkeyfoot townships. He retained all of his faculties to the very last and had a most retentive memory and delighted to talk of by gone days. he cast his first presidential vote for Henry Clay in 1832 in the exciting election between Jackson and Clay in that year and voted at 17 presidential elections since, making eighteen in all. He always voted as a most sincere Whig in politics and being an ardent abolitionist he affiliated with the Free Soil party until the Republican party was formed and supported that party until his death. During one of Henry Clay's campaigning tours through this section he saw and conversed with the great Whig Statesman, a circumstance that he always referred to with great pleasure.
Upon his father's death in 1839, Jake and Michael Sanner were called upon to help administer the estate. This work was drawn out over several years, as efforts were made to determine if the farm could easily be subdivided among heirs. (It could not.) In February 1846, a classified advertisement was published in the Somerset Herald, advertising that the plantation would be auctioned the next March 14, on the premises. The advertisement is seen in full here, courtesy of the Chronicling America project.
During the Civil War, sons Balaam and Foster joined the army. Balaam enlisted on Oct. 24, 1862, and Foster -- stout, hearty and able bodied -- enlisted nearly eight months later, on June 17, 1863, for a term of six months' service. Foster was a member of the 1st Battalion, Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H. Foster and his regiment were assigned to guard duty in Harrisburg, the state capitol city of Pennsylvania. While there, he became seriously ill with chronic diarrhea. Among his fellow soldiers who were aware of his disability were Harrison H. Rush and Jacob J. Rush. When Foster was honorably discharged and came home in January 1864, his brother Balaam noted that he "continued to complain." Harrison H. Rush, wrote that said "Foster Younkin and myself were together much of the time we were in the service. I heard him complain of not being well while yet in the service." Foster remained ill for nine months, including a bout with the measles, and died on Sept. 30, 1864. Recalled his brother Balaam, "I was at his bed side when he died." Harrison Rush noted that "I visited the soldier during his sicknefs at his father's house frequently and was present when he died."
Their son's death shook Jacob and Dorcas deeply. Claiming he had been dependent on his son for financial support, Jacob applied to the federal government to receive a pension as compensation for his loss. Both Josiah Hyatt and Samuel Minder of Ursina (no relation to the Minerd-Minard family) testified on their behalf, writing in separate affidavits that Jacob "neither owns any property nor has he any income." Samson C. Lytle, who had known Foster's father for 33 years, also wrote a supporting affidavit.
The Younkins did receive one beneficial act from the federal government in the loss of their son. A standard-issue military grave marker was erected at the site of his burial at the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. The work was carried out by contractor D.W. Whitney in an agreement dated Nov. 29, 1879, some 15 years after the soldier's death.
Sadly, Dorcas died at the age of 69 on May 9, 1880. The Somerset Herald noted that "one of our aged citizens" had died, and that she "leaves a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn her departure. The interment will take place at the Jersey Church, on Tuesday." Among the mourners attending her funeral was Harrison H. Rush of Confluence, who had served in the army with their son Foster some 15 years earlier.
Jake survived his wife by almost a quarter of a century. In his mid-80s, he was the subject of an article in the Herald, dated Jan. 7, 1891, which read as follows:
Jacob J. Younkin, Esq., a spry young gentleman from Confluence, dropped into this office on the 2nd to square up for his paper, he having been a reader of the HERALD since 1858. Mr. Younkin is rather small of stature but is as erect as an Indian. Very few silver hairs have appeared among the heavy, black crop that covers his head, notwithstanding he is in his 84th year. He was never sick a day in all his life and has never had to use eye glasses. Mr. Younkin cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson and has never missed voting at an election since that year -- not even for township officers. he has been an earnest and active Republican ever since the formation of the party. Mr. Younkin was born on that favored spot of Lower Turkeyfoot township, known as "Hexeburg" and always resided in the Turkeyfoots. He is one of the most remarkably active and well preserved men for his years in the county and has no idea of retiring from active life for a long time to come.
Jacob spent his final time living in the household of his son Colwell in Ursina, Somerset County. He died there on March 24, 1903, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. He was laid to rest in the Jersey Church Cemetery following a funeral led by Rev. J.S. Potts and Rev. A.J. Black.
In an obituary, the Meyersdale Commercial said "He was only eight days sick" before his passing. "While Mr. Younkin never affiliated with any religious denomination, he lived a good, earnest, consistent life believing in the Golden Rule, 'As you would that others should do unto you do ye even so unto them' and that 'He prayeth best who lovest best all things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, he made and loveth all.' It was thus he lived doing much good in his humble way during his long life, and wronging no man."
~ Son Hiram Younkin ~
Son Hiram Younkin (1831- ? ) was born on Dec. 19, 1831. His paper trail has gone cold.
~ Son Joel R. Younkin ~
Son Joel R. Younkin (1834-1914) was born on April 18, 1834 in Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. As a young man, he migrated to Illinois and settled in Williamson County.
He is not to be confused with his first cousin Joel S. Youngkin (1845-1922), also of Williamson County, the son of John Harrison Youngkin.
Joel began his career as a teacher and is remembered in written notes made in the 1930s by his grand-nephew, Otto Roosevelt Younkin, president of the Younkin National Home-Coming Reunion of southwestern Pennsylvania. The note states that Joel "went west and taught for [his brother John] in Southern Illinois until the war broke out."
At the time, to be hired as a school teacher only required an eighth grade education. One room schools were scattered throughout townships, easily reached by walking, long before the era of consolidation into larger, centralized schools.
On April 14, 1858, when Joel would have been age 24, he was united in marriage in Williamson County with Martha Louise Padgett ( ? - ? ). She was a native of Virginia or of Kent, NC.
They had two known daughters -- Della "Dell" Wilson Fannon and Nora Younkin -- born 11 years apart.
Later that year, in December 1858, Joel purchased farm land for $400 from Joel Hufstutler in Southern Township near the farm of his uncle, John Harrison Youngkin. In 1859, Joel purchased additional adjoining land for $400 from George and Amanda Chamness.
Joel served during the Civil War in Capt Evans' Independent Company of Illinois Cavalry, nicknamed the "Egyptian Guards." With some level of organizational skills, as evidenced by his teaching experience, he was promoted to corporal. The Guards were part of the Illinois State Guards, available to defend their home turf if invaded. Members of the Guards volunteered for terms from two weeks to 100 days, so Joel may only have served for a few months. One of the few references to the guards is found in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volume 3, page 86. Nothing is on record in Frederick H. Dyer's landmark work, Compendium of the War of the Rebellion.
Living conditions in Williamson County deteriorated substantially during and after the war, when the county earned the nickname “Bloody Williamson.” In particular, farm commodity prices and land values appear to have plummeted in the county during the conflict, as many able-bodied men were away and not able to provide labor. Epidemics and lawlessness appear to be among the worst. Foreclosures were common and lucrative for local banks and politicians. Joel may well have sold or lost the land he purchased in Williamson County. "No record has been found," reports Mark Youngkin, who has researched this question.
By 1865, Joel and Martha had relocated to DeSoto, Jackson County, IL, where he obtained work making barrels as a "cooper." They remained in DeSoto through 1870 when the federal census again recorded them there.
During the two decades between 1880 and 1900, the family moved again to the small farming community of Kinmundy in Marion County, IL, just north of Williamson County, where Joel continued his labors as a cooper. That year, 30-year-old unmarried daughter Nora lived under their roof and was occupied making dresses.
In June 1892, Joel was awarded a pension for his military service, under the spelling of "Joel R. Youngkin." [App.# 1116864, Cert.# 871404] Circa 1906, his monthly payments were raised to $24, as approved by Congress.
Joel died on July 22, 1914 in Kinmundy.
Daughter Della "Dell" Younkin (1859-1936) was born on March 5, 1859 in Jackson County, IL. At the age of 17, on May 26, 1876, she was married to 23-year-old John W. Wilson (1852-1912), son of Elizabeth Wilson of Kentucky. They apparently did not reproduce. The 1880 census shows the couple living on Washington Street in Kinmundy, Marion County, IL, with John working as a dry goods merchant, and his 68-year-old mother under their roof. When the federal census was taken in 1900, they had been married for 24 years and lived as farmers in Kinmundy, Marion County. Sadly, John died on Jan. 26, 1912 in Kinmundy. On May 30, 1915, in or near Kinmundy, the 56-year-old Della married for a second time, to widowed Disciples of Christ evangelist and revivalist Rev. Frank O. Fannon (1860-1933). Frank had been married once before, to Louella F. Kepford (1861-1914) and brought two children to the marriage -- Harold F. Fannon and Shorland Fannon. At the time of marriage, they resided on a farm near Boyd, Jefferson County, IL for several years until Frank accepted a pastoral call to Newman, IL, where they spent two years. In 1919, Frank accepted a call to Centralia, Marion County to become pastor the Christian Church. He exhibited so much energy in his work that he once was called "the irrepressible." Frank once was named in an article in The Modern Woodman, which said he was "one of the best boosters and mixers you ever saw in your life. His invitation speech was a wonder and his winning personality made everybody love him." In 1925, Frank was president of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce and helped organize a conference to promote Southern Illinois as a site for homes, farms and "industrial advantages." Reported the Dixon Evening Telegraph: "The conference, one of the most important ever held in Southern Illinois from a booster standpoint was for the purpose of getting the railroad companies to cooperate with the commercial organization in telling the country about this section, known as 'Egypt'." Also in 1925, he was named an honorary chief of the Co-Hawks order, made up of 250 local boys "who have clubbed together for the purpose of conserving bird life," said the Decatur Herald. On Christmas Eve 1933, at the age of 73, Frank passed away. Della survived him by three years. She died in Centralia at the age of 77 on April 12, 1936. Burial was in Hillcrest Memorial Park in Sandoval, Marion County, and an obituary was printed in the Kinmundy Express.
Daughter Nora Youngkin (1870- ? ) was born in June 1870. She apparently did not marry, and lived at home with her parents, assisting in earning income as a dressmaker. She is shown in their homeplace in the 1900 and 1910 federal censuses of Kinmundy. She made news in the gossip column of the Decatur Herald in January 1926 after having "visited in Centralia during the holidays with her sister, Mrs. F.O. Fannon." Circa 1928, she was a member of the 6 G's Club in Kinmundy. Nothing more is known.
[Many thanks to Mark Youngkin who has contributed significantly to this biography of Joel and family.]
~ Daughter Susanna (Younkin) Kuhns ~
Daughter Susanna Younkin (1838-1922) was born on July 17, 1838. She wed Jacob B. Kuhns (also spelled "Koontz") (1835-1925), son of Michael Kuhns.
They lived in Indian Head, Fayette County, PA during their adult lives. They had 10 children, of who eight are known -- John Kuhns, W. "Benson" Kuhns, Mrs. W.P. Miller, Malinda Miller, Lavan Y. Kuhns, Jacob Y. Kuhns, Horatio Kuhns and James Y. Kuhns.
Said the Connellsville Daily Courier, Jacob "was well known in the Indian Creek Valley. He was a farmer and a blacksmith...."
Susan contracted kidney disease and dropsy and died from their effects at the age of 83 on April 1, 1922.
In his final years he suffered with senility. While spending the winter of 1924-1925 at the home of his son Lavan Y. Kuhns in Champion, Fayette County, Jacob became unexpectedly and seriously ill with a cerebral hemorrhage. He died on Jan. 5, 1925. Burial was in Indian Head Cemetery.
Susanna's story is obscured by the shroud of history.
During the Younkin national home-coming reunion and genealogy research conducted in the mid-1930s by Otto Roosevelt Younkin and Charles Arthur "Charleroi Charley" Younkin, the Kuhnses were included in the studies of these ancient family history links.
Son John H. Kuhns (1868-1921) was born in Indian Head. He married Ella Porterfield ( ? - ? ), daughter of David and Sarah (Miller) Porterfield. They had two children -- Mrs. Harry Herbert and Harry C. Kuhns. For many years, John labored as a blacksmith at the Moyer coal works near Connellsville. He operated his own shop before moving to Francis Avenue in Connellsville and thence to the coal mining patch town of Herbert in 1920. He was a member of the United Brethren Church of Connellsville and the local lodges of the Odd Fellows and Knights of the Mystic chain, as well as the Junior order of United American Mechanics. His wife belonged to the United Daughters of Rebekah. John became ill and went to live with his brother in law John H. Porterfield in Moyer in early April 1921 so he could receive treatment from a favored local physician. He died in the Porterfield home on April 21, 1921, age 53. Following funeral services held at the Mount Olive Church in Bullskin Township, with Rev. J.S. Showman officiating, he was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.
Son W. "Benson" Kuhns lived in Indian Head.
Daughter (?) Kuhns married Walter P. Miller. She resided in Indian Head.
Daughter Malinda Kuhns (1865-1954) was born on Sept. 9, 1865 at Indian Head. On July 20, 1890, at Indian Head, the 24-year-old Malinda wed 30-year-old James S. Miller ( ? -1942), son of Samuel H. and Mary Miller. They dwelled in Indian Head and had three children, Chester Miller, Gertrude Breakiron and an unnamed infant who died young. They were members of the Indian Head Church of God. Sadly, James died on April 24, 1942. Malinda lived for another dozen years, and went to live in the home of her daughter and son-in-law Gertrude and Clifton Breakiron in Indian Head. In September 1948, Malinda received a surprise 83rd birthday party at her son's home. "Beautiful gifts were presented to her by her relatives and friends," said the Daily Courier. Among the attendees were Jacob Kuhns, Lavan Kuhns, W.P. Miller, Minerva Kuhns, Ida Kuhns, Bell Kuhns, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Shultz, Rev. and Mrs. Marion Smith and their son David, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Miller, Sarah Whetsel, J.V. Miller, Sherman Miller, Mr. and Mrs. bill Walker and their daughter Yvonne, Jean Firestone, Sidney Firestone, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Marlin Showman, Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Swisher and Grace Hunter. Malinda died in the Breakiron home at age 89 on Oct. 10, 1954. Her funeral sermon was preached by Rev. G. Marion Smith, assisted by Rev. James I. Kalp, at the family church. She was buried in the Sparks Cemetery of Indian Head. In an obituary, the Daily Courier noted that she "had lived all her life in the same community." On Nov. 22, 1967, their son Chester and his wife Minnie were pictured in the Daily Courier when celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.
Son Lavan Y. Kuhns (1876-1949) was born in 1876. He married Mildred Berg (1883-1932), who had a daughter from a previous marriage, Evelyn Whipkey. They had three children of their own: Glenn Kuhns, Eugenia Martin and Lorraine Ritchie. He was a longtime blacksmith, and was employed for many years by the Melcroft Coal Company, retiring in 1946. He was a member of the United Mine Workers of America Local 6872. Circa 1921, they established a home in Roaring Run in the community of Indian Head/Champion, remaining there for the remainder of their lives. Sadly, Mildred endured a long illness and passed away on Dec. 14, 1932, at age 49. He died at Connellsville State Hospital at the age of 73 on Nov. 8, 1949. Funeral services were held in the County Line Church of the Brethren in Champion, with burial in the Sparks Cemetery of Indian Head.
Son Jacob Y. Kuhns married a cousin, Minnie Enos, daughter of Perry and Joanna (Minerd) Enos of Normalville, Fayette County. They are seen here.
Son Horatio Y. Kuhns (1871-1937) was born on Sept. 30, 1871 in Indian Head. He married Rachel Berg ( ? - ? ), daughter of David R. and Barbary Berg, (1872- ? ) on Feb. 19, 1894. Later, he wed Ida (?). They had five children -- Susan Gorman, Charles B. Kuhns, Mrs. James McMaster, Frank Kuhns and Reid M. Kuhns. The family moved to Moyer, near Connellsville, circa 1905. He originally was employed by the W.J. Rainey Inc. coal company, where he spent two decades before establishing an independent blacksmithing business. They were members of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Connellsville. Horatio also belonged to the Knights of the Mystic Chain and Junior Order of United American Mechanics. On June 8, 1937, Horatio died at home at the age of 65. Following a funeral in the family church, led by Rev. Dr. William H. Hetrick, he was interred in the Indian Head Cemetery.
Son James Y. Kuhns (1873-1946 ) was born on July 1, 1873 near Indian Head. He married Belle Miller ( ? - ? ) on March 18, 1898, when he was age 24 and she 21. They had two daughters, Hazel Bosley and Jean Kuhns. James "resided in Connellsville and vicinity for ... 44 years," said the Connellsville Daily Courier. "He was a blacksmith and a former employe of the H.C. Frick Coke Company at Coalbrook and was a retired employe of West Penn Railways Company." They were members of the Indian Head Church of God, and circa 1946 lived in Poplar Grove. James was stricken with a deathly illness in May 1946 and was admitted to the Connellsville State Hospital. After five months of decline, he died there on Oct. 7, 1946, age 73. Entombment was in Green Ridge Memorial Park north of Connellsville.
~ Daughter Tabitha (Younkin) Critchfield Grim ~
Daughter Dorcas "Tabitha" (or "Isabella") Younkin (1842-1911) was born on April 16, 1842 in Turkeyfoot Township. Her middle name, which she primarily used, was given differently in the newspaper obituaries of her two daughters.
She was twice married, and her first husband was James Critchfield ( ? - ? ). They had three children -- George W. Critchfield, Cyrus Critchfield and Carrie M. Sheppard.
Later, Tabitha wed Peter Grim ( ? - ? ), and they had one daughter of their own, Gertrude Grim.
Her home in 1865 was in Confluence and in 1869 was in Addison, Somerset County. Within a few years she moved to Connellsville, Fayette County, where she remained circa 1903. Her final address there was 522 North Pittsburgh Street.
Tabitha suffered for 18 months from cancer of the bowels, and died on March 25, 1911 at the age of 68. She was laid to rest in Hill Grove Cemetery. Daughter Gertrude, living in Connellsville at the time, provided information for her death certificate.
Son George W. Critchfield (1865-1936) was born in 1865 in Confluence, Somerset County. He moved as a boy to Connellsville, where he "grew to manhood," said the Connellsville Daily Courier. He married Carrie Artis of Connellsville, and they had three children: James Critchfield, Oscar Critchfield and Mae Logan. Carrie also had an earlier daughter, Mrs. Bert Means. George and family lived in Pittsburgh, where he was employed for many years as an insurance agent. He also was a member of the Pittsburgh lodges of the Masons and Odd Fellows. Their home was on Mount Washington in Pittsburgh. George suffered from a debilitating illness for three months in late 1935 and died in Pittsburgh City Hospital at age 71, on Dec. 12, 1936. His remains were shipped to Connellsville for burial in Hill Grove Cemetery.
Daughter Carrie Critchfield (1869-1959) was born on April 22, 1869 in Addison, Somerset County. She married Harry G. Sheppard ( ? -1906). They had one son, Harry C. Sheppard. The family resided in Hazelwood, near Pittsburgh. Then, in 1906, tragedy struck when Harry died at a young age. She moved back to Connellsville the following year and lived at 110 Green Street in Connellsville. At Christmas 1926, she hosted a visit from her half sister Gertrude Grimm of Buffalo, NY. Later, she and sister Gertrude shared the home. Carrie was a member of the First Methodist Church of Connellsville. At the age of 90, "after a lingering illness," she died at home on April 1, 1959, said the Daily Courier. Following funeral services at the Brooks Funeral Home, led by Rev. H. Carl Butterbaugh, she was interred in Hill Grove Cemetery. Circa 1959, her son lived in Pittsburgh.
Daughter Gertrude Grimm ( ? -1965) was born in Confluence. She never married, but pursued an early professional career of impressive credentials. In the 1910s and 1920s, she was employed as a buyer with Kobacher's Department Store in Connellsville. Circa the mid-1920s, she resided in Buffalo, NY. She eventually returned to Connellsville and was treasurer of the German Union Insurance Company. She was elected president of the Connellsville Business and Professional Women's Club in 1918 and was a member of the Connellsville chapter of the Eastern Star and Woman's Culture Club. She also belonged to the First Methodist Church of Connellsville. Circa 1919, she mingled socially with distant cousins Harriet (Sherbondy) Younkin and Martha Jane Detwiler of Pennsville, and Clara (Jeffery) Younkin of Connellsville, all of the family branch of Charles and Jane (Johnson) Younkin, as reported in the social columns of the Daily Courier. In the 1950s, she resided with her half-sister Carrie Critchfield on East Green Street in Connellsville, but after the sister's death moved to Pittsburgh. There, she resided with Mrs. John A. Henrich at 108 Lebanon Church Road in the borough of Pleasant Hills. In a news story about her hospitalization circa April 1961, the Daily Courier named her nieces Margaret O'Hara, May Fosbrink and Geraldine Bailey. She died on Feb. 3, 1965. Following a funeral organized by the Eastern Star, and preached by Rev. Lynn Shindledecker, she was laid to rest in Green Ridge Memorial Park.
~ Daughter Caroline Malinda (Younkin) Grossman~
Daughter Caroline "Malinda" Younkin (1850-1890) was born on April 27, 1850 or 1851. He rmiddle name also has been shown as "Belinda."
At the age of 19, in 1870, Malinda was unmarried and lived at home with her parents near Ursina, Somerset County. That year, 35-year-old, Saxony-born Ludwig "Louis" Grossman (1843-1916) dwelled in the household.
In about 1879, the 29-year-old Malinda married her parents' boarder, the 36-year-old Louis. They are shown together in the 1880 census of Confluence.
Notes compiled by a grand-nephew, Otto Roosevelt "Pete" Younkin, of the family of Balaam Younkin, state that the couple produced only one son, Garfield Grossman, who died at the tender age of four days on Nov. 24, 1888. The infant's remains were placed into holy repose in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery. At the base of the marker -- still erect but of fading legibility circa 2016 -- were inscribed the words "Gone to Heaven."
Sadly, Melinda only lived for two years after the death of her baby. She passed away on July 14, 1890 at the age of 39 years, two months and 17 days. Burial was in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery near Ursina, near the resting place of her infant son. [Find-a-Grave] An image of shaking hands was carved at the top of the marker shaft, under which were written these words: "Till we meet again."
The widowed Louis moved into the town of Connellsville by 19100 and obtained work as a railroad laborer. He boarded in the home of widow Julia Nee on West Fayette Street. In 1900, he disclosed to the census-taker that he was widowed, had no children, was born in October 1846 in Germany, and had come to America in 1866 and was a naturalized citizen.
By 1910, he had moved again into the Fayette County seat of Uniontown, where he was a patient in the Fayette County Home and performed odd jobs as a hospital janitor. He is believed to have been the same "Lewis Grossman" who, suffering from pancreatic cancer, died in the County Home at the age of 72 just five days before Christmas 1916. Home executive Richard "Dick" Sherrick -- whose wife Nora Catherine was a Younkin cousin, of the family of Franklin B. Younkin -- signed the death certificate. Interment was in the Home cemetery.
~ Son Colwell Seveno Younkin, a.k.a. "Professor Younkin ~
Son Colwell Seveno Younkin (1853-1946) was born on June 19, 1853.
He made his home as a young man with his widowed father near Ursina. When the federal census was taken in 1880, he and his father resided together, with the father laboring as a farmer. That year, 50-year-old servant Rachael Carver and 12-year-old farm hand Charles Fisher also lived under the Younkin roof.
Although Colwell was age 27 in 1880, he had no occupation, noted the census-taker, other than being "At Home."
Early in life, known locally as "Professor Younkin," he made a name as a ventriloquist and, "struck by the glamor of the footlights [he] toured vaudeville circuits for a half dozen years as a ventriloquist and sleight-of-hand performer, interspersing his performances with discussions of astronomy," said a Somerset newspaper.
In about 1885, at the age of 32, Colwell married Emma Ringer ( ? - ? ), a native of Listonburg, Somerset County, and the daughter of Josiah J. and Sarah Jane Ringer. They had four children, of whom four are known -- Ernest Ives Younkin and Emma V. Lincoln.
The 1900 census shows Colwell heading a household with his elderly father, nine-year-old son and 13-year-old niece Daisy E. Brother. When the federal census again was enumerated in 1910, he lived alone, with Emma heading her own household in Connellsville, Fayette County, PA.
Professionally, Colwell was a longtime county engineer for the County of Somerset. Circa 1924, he was sworn in as county surveyor even though the position was un-compensated, and he continued to produce his own blue prints. This continued for several decades, and generated a headline article in Somerset American later reprinted in the Younkin Family News Bulletin, "Younkin Pays $25 To Get County Payless Job." The story said that Colwell's responsibility as surveyor was made easier by the fact that "Today, there is very little or no unclaimed land in Somerset county. None has been reported for nearly a decade." He also was a beekeeper in his spare time.
At the age of 79, reported his cousin Frederick E. Younkin, a Connellsville attorney, he "can go over the hills yet like a greyhound." A story in the Younkin news bulletin of 1940 said he:
... strides rapidly when walking, his shoulders erect and enjoys walking more than a mile from Confluence to his home farm even with a heavy load of groceries for himself and his wife. His sparkling blue eyes and sun-tanned face, the brown spots showing through his thinning gray hair, indicates a man who has spent much of his life in the open.... [He] likes astronomy and mathematics, and he is somewhat of a linguist, speaks fluent German. Like his engineering, he learned German from a brother-in-law who studied at a German university before coming to America as a railroad engineer when the Baltimore and Ohio was building between Cumberland and Connellsville.
Emma spent her final years in the dwelling of her married daughter and son-in-law Emma V. and W.S. Lincoln in Connellsville. She passed away at the age of 82 on March 27, 1945. Her remains were shipped to Confluence for interment in the Jersey Baptist Church Cemetery near Ursina.
Colwell suffered a stroke and died in Confluence's Price Hospital on June 10, 1946. His death occurred just 10 days before what would have been his 93rd birthday. At his death, the county surveyor position was offered to his son Ernest, but the son declined as it would not provide income.
Son Ernest Ives Younkin (1890-1957) was born on Aug. 27, 1890 outside of Confluence. He learned the trade of surveying from his father and they apparently worked together over the years. He was married but later divorced, and may have had a son named Ernest. Ernest Sr. maintained a home in Confluence. He suffered a heart attack at the age of 66 and died three days later on April 20, 1957 in Somerset State Hospital. Burial was in the Jersey Church Cemetery. Providing vital information for his certificate of death was Ernest Younkin of Ohio.