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Sarah 'Sally' (Younkin) Whipkey


Sarah "Sally" (Younkin) Whipkey was born on Oct. 7, 1817 in Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth "Betsy" (Weimer) Younkin.


She was married to Joseph Henry Whipkey (1818-1891), a native of Illinois. He also has been referred to as "Henry," perhaps erroneously.

Between 1840 and 1844, the Whipkeys migrated to Illinois and settled in Somerset, Jackson County. Their farm was in Township 8, Range 2 West.


They had these known children, and perhaps more, with the first two born in Pennsylvania and the rest in Illinois: Martin Whipkey, Phoebe Whipkey, Amanda King, Henry Whipkey, Frances Whipkey, John Whipkey, Mary Katherine "Kate" Whipkey and Lucy Whipkey.


When the 1850 federal census was enumerated, the family lived on a farm in Somerset, IL, with their unmarried adult daughters Mary "Kate" and Lucy, and 19-year-old grandson John Wilson. 

In 1860, their next door neighbors were Joseph's presumed brothers and their wives, Elias and Serena Whipkey, and Simon and Mary Whipkey.

The Whipkeys would have been filled with anxiety when their son Martin joined the Union Army during the Civil War. Martin was captured in battle and imprisoned at the notorious Andersonville prison camp in Georgia. Upon the son's arrival back home in April 1865, Joseph wrote later that the son "came to my house and remained there over two years. And that since that time I have seen him often and have known of his condition and health each year since and that from the time of his return from the serivce to the present time, his ability to perform manual labor has been from year to year upon an average in my judgment about as follows: The first time I saw him after he came home from the army I did not know him owing to his debilitated condition, and ever after that tie he has been a broken down man, a constant sufferer and wholly unable to perform manual labor without great inconvenience and suffering...."

The federal census of 1880 shows Joseph and Sarah, daughter Mary Katherine and Lucy, and 19-year-old grandson John Wilson living together on a farm in Somerset Township. Their married son Henry and his wife Sarah lived next door.

Joseph died in 1891 at the age of 74. His remains were placed into eternal repose in DeSoto Cemetery. 

Sarah lived for another two years and passed away in 1893. [Find-a-Grave]

Some of their descendants lived in Grand Tower, IL in the 1930s.



~ Son Martin Whipkey ~

Son Martin Whipkey (1838-1907) was born in April 1838 in Somerset County, PA. He was a boy when the family migrated to Jackson County, Illinois. As a young man, he stood 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 150 lbs.

He served in the Civil War as a member of the 81st Illinois Infantry, Company D. He rose to the rank of corporal and then to sergeant.

While in action at Ripley, Mississippi on June 10, 1864, also known as the Battle of Guntown, he was taken prisoner. His commanding officer, Capt. David G. Young and many other fellow soldiers, now as prisoners of war, were taken to Andersonville, Georgia. There, in July 1864, Martin and his friends were subjected to human suffering everywhere they turned. He himself was stricken with rupture of the lower bowels, salt rheumatism (severe itching), varicose veins of the arms and kidney disease. He "came nearly dying," remembered friend Thomas B. Duncan.

As a POW over the span of nine months, he was transferred to other Confederate prisons in the Deep South, among them Savannah, SC; Camp Lawton in Millen, GA; Florence, SC; and Salisbury, NC.

After a parole was arranged in the winter of 1865, Martin was sent for exchange to Raleigh, NC when he was re-united with Capt. Young. Recalled Young, "we stoped a day or two [at Raleigh]. I saw him there and had a few minutes talk with him. He was then quite sick and very poor and emaciated... I hardly knew him at first." The exchange took place on Feb. 27, 1865. Following his release, fellow soldier James Smith said, Martin "was barely able to be moved about and no mor by reason of [his] disabilities; that at the tim ehe was discharged he was not fit for anything at all."

In February 1865, after the exchange, he was admitted to the City Hall branch of General Hospital in Wilmington, NC, where he received treatment until late March. He was sent from there to Benton Barracks, Missouri, arriving March 29, 1865. He finally received an honorable discharge and returned to Illinois.

Upon arriving back at his father's home in Jackson County, Martin was a wreck of his former self. His father wrote that he was "extremely debilitated and feeble."

Friend George Kennedy, who saw him immediately after arrival, said he "was then very much emaciated and enfeebled and not able to do any manual labor whatever. he could hardly walk." Friend Henry C. Bowlby, who saw him soon after arrival, said that Martin "had a very bad color, much affected with malaria [and] could hardly reach home." B.F. Will, who also saw him at this time, said "he was completely broken down and worn out, complaining and suffering severely from pain in his back. He was so crippled in his back at the time that he could not stand erect and cannot do so to this day." John P. King, who saw the soldier at his father's house, noted how "bloated" he was "so that he did not look like he did before he went into the service."

Martin and King roomed in the Whipkey home for two years, from 1866 to 1868, where the two of them worked together on a farm.

On Nov. 11, 1866, at the age of 28, Martin was united in matrimony with 18-year-old Isabel Will (1848-1933), said to have been the daughter of Garrett and Catherine (Knight) Will. The ceremony was performed by justice of the peace George Kennedy of Murphysboro, IL. Martin's brother Henry and brother-in-law John P. King are among those known to have witnessed the happy event.

The Whipkeys produced 11 children, of whom seven lived past childhood. The known names were Lizzie Zimmerman, Sarah Katherine "Kate" Whipkey, Annie Whipkey, Henry Franklin "Frank" Whipkey, Ethel "Effie" Whipkey, Jessie Whipkey, Mollie Whipkey and Susan Whipkey. Other possible children, who may have died young, may have been Joseph Gephart Whipkey and Martin Benjamin Whipkey.

They spent their entire married lives in Jackson County, on a farm two miles east of the town of DeSoto. Evidence suggests that neither Martin nor Lisabel could read or write, although Martin is known to have penned some letters later in life.

When the federal census count was made in 1870, only daughter Lizzie had been born, and 12-year-old Peter Will lived under their roof.

The Carbondale (IL) Daily Free Press once said he was "a prominent farmer of DeSoto township for many years." Friend George Kennedy once noted that "he has not been a healthy man since he left Andeersonville. He is a man of considerable energy, and can direct the work on a farm but is not able to do much labor." Martin hired Jasper Holton to work for him in 1868 which continued until the 1880s. Hollon later recalled "some years staying with him and working fo rhim as much as 11 months in the year."

Later in life, he was awarded a soldier's pension in June 1883 [Invalid App. #1.185.731 - Cert. #333.509]. Circa 1899, when examined by Dr. H.C. Mitchell, the muscles of both arms and shoulders were atrophied and paralyzed. The physician prescribed anti-rheumatism medications and administered electricity and massage in an effort to help. He also had foul-smelling outbreaks of rashes on his scrotum and upper thighs.

Afflicted with heart problems, Martin passed away on Oct. 31, 1907 at home, at the age of 69. His brother-in-law John P. King was at his bedside at the end. Burial was in the DeSoto Cemetery following funeral services held in the home. [Find-a-Grave] A short obituary was published in the Daily Free Press.

Some 18 years after Martin's death, his grave was among many Civil War veterans' final resting places to be located and marked for Memorial Day, known at the time as Decoration Day.

After Martin's death, Martha began receiving the pension payments. [Widow App. #887.193 - Cert. #652.257] She lived as a widow for more than a quarter of a century, maintaining her home in DeSoto. Martha passed on Oct. 4, 1933.

One of the daughters married J.Q. Russell and lived in Washington, KS and Humansville, MO -- another was wedded to E.J. Shaw of San Anselmo, Marin County, CA -- and another was married to Andy Elliot of Hurst, IL.

Daughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" Whipkey (1869- ? ) was born in about 1868 in DeSoto. She married (?) Zimmerman. Tragedy shook the family during World War I when their son Garret was killed in France as a member of the 347 MG Battalion, 91st Division, Company B.

Daughter Sarah Katherine "Kate" Whipkey (1872- ? ) was born in about 1872 in DeSoto.

Daughter Annie Whipkey (1874- ? ) was born in about 1874 in DeSoto. She appears to have been deceased by 1898.

Son Henry Franklin "Frank" Whipkey (1879- ? ) was born in February 1879 in DeSoto. He made his home in DeSoto circa 1943.

Daughter Ethel "Effie" Whipkey (1881- ? ) was born in November 1881 in DeSoto.

Daughter Jessie Whipkey (1884- ? ) was born in March 1884 in DeSoto.

Daughter Mollie Whipkey (1886-1943) was born in September 1886 in DeSoto. She was unmarried and living in DeSoto in 1933. By 1943, she had relocated to northern California and resided in Alameda, near Oakland. She died in Alameda at the age of 57 just three days after Christmas 1943.

Daughter Susan Whipkey (1891- ? ) was born in March 1891 in DeSoto.


~ Daughter Phoebe Whipkey ~

Daughter Phoebe Whipkey (1840- ? ) was born in about 1840 in Somerset County, PA.


~ Daughter Amanda (Whipkey) King ~

Daughter Amanda Whipkey (1844- ? ) was born in about 1844, the first of the family to be born in Jackson County, IL.

In June 1864, when she would have been about 20 years of age, Amanda was wedded to 28-year-old John P. King (June 1836-1915). During the Civil War, he served in the U.S. Army.

When the federal census was taken in 1880, the family lived on a farm in DeSoto, Jackson County.

Their four children were Minnie B. King, Norman S. King, Alice A. King and Mary C. King.

Sadly, Amanda died sometime between 1880 and 1900. The federal census of 1900 shows John widowed and heading a household which included his married daughter Mary Carter and her family..

John died at the home of his daughter Mary in January 1915. A short notice in the Carbondale Daily Free Press called him "an old soldier."

Daughter Minnie B. King (1867- ? ) was born in about 1867 in or near DeSoto, Jackson County, IL.

Son Norman S. King (1870- ? ) was born in about 1870 in or near DeSoto, Jackson County, IL

Daughter Alice A. King (1872- ? ) was born in about 1872 in or near DeSoto, Jackson County, IL

Daughter Mary C. King (1874- ? ) was born in about 1874 in or near DeSoto, Jackson County, IL. At the age of about 25, in 1899, Mary married Thomas Carter (July 1869- ? ). They produced at least four offspring, including Florence Carter and Thomas R. Carter and two who died young. They lived under the roof of Mary's widowed father in DeSoto in 1900. During the decade between 1900 and 1910, Thomas took over the family farm and was head of the household in 1910.

  • Granddaughter Florence Carter (1900- ? ) was born in about 1900 in DeSoto, Jackson County.
  • Grandson Thomas R. Carter (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902 in DeSoto, Jackson County.


~ Son Henry Whipkey ~

Son Henry Whipkey (1845-1922) was born in August 1845 in Jackson County. He grew up on his parents' farm in Jackson County. At age 22, unmarried, he lived at home and labored on the farm.

Henry was present in April 1865 when his brother Martin returned home from the Civil War, shattered in health and hardly able to work. Henry later provided testimony in writing about the brother's condition for purposes of obtaining a federal pension.

In about 1876, when he was age 31, Henry married Pennsylvania native Sarah E. (1852- ? ), a  native of Pennsylvania. 

In 1880, they dwelled on a farm in Somerset, Jackson County, and lived next door to Henry's parents. 

They produced three children, of whom only one is known -- Jennie Florence Whipkey. The other two children died between 1876 and 1880.

By 1910, the family of three had relocated into DeSoto, Jackson County.

Henry passed away in DeSoto, IL in 1922. Interment was in the DeSoto Cemetery.

Sarah survived by 14 years. During that time, she endured the death of her 44-year-old daughter Jennie. Sarah passed away in 1936.

Daughter Jennie Florence Whipkey (1880-1924) was born on Sept. 18, 1880 in Murphysboro, Jackson County. She was a teacher at age 19 and continued working in this occupation for decades. She never married. She and her parents relocated to DeSoto, IL where she lived "for a number of years," reported the Murphysboro Daily Independent. She is believed to have served as historian with the Ninth Annual Convention of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society of Southern Illinois. Suffering from kidney disease at the age of 44, she was admitted to Holden Hospital. She died there on or about Nov. 18, 1924. Funeral services and burial were held in DeSoto.


~ Daughter Frances Whipkey ~

Daughter Frances Whipkey (1848- ? ) was born in about 1848 in Jackson County.


~ Son John Whipkey ~

Son John Whipkey (1849- ? ) was born in about 1849 in Jackson County.


~ Daughter Mary Katherine "Kate" (Whipkey) Cross ~

Daughter Mary Katherine "Kate" Whipkey (1852-1940) was born in about 1852 in Jackson County. 

Unmarried at age 28, in 1880, she lived at home with her parents in Somerset, Jackson County. 

At some point she was united in holy wedlock with Andrew Jackson Cross (1837-1931). He may have been married once before and brought a young son to the union with Mary Katherine, John A. Cross.

Their two known sons were Maurice W. Cross and Joseph Whipkey Cross.

Andrew died on March 29, 1931 in Grand Tower.

Mary Katherine survived for another nine years and died in Grand Tower, Jackson County on March 13, 1940. [Find-a-Grave]

Stepson John A. Cross (1877-1957) was born on July 5, 1877. He was wedded to Marguerite Perschbacher (1878-1957). Their only known son was John Ralph Cross. 

  • Grandson John Ralph Cross (1901-1953)

Son Maurice W. Cross (1885-1956) was born on Jan. 15, 1885.


Son Joseph Whipkey Cross (1890-1968) was born on Jan. 24, 1890 in Ava, Jackson County. He married Nola Emily Monroe (1887-1966). Joseph died in November 1968 in Herrin, Williamson County, IL.


~ Daughter Lucy (Whipkey) Bates ~

Daughter Lucy Whipkey (1857-1924) was born on March 23, 1857 in Jackson County. 

In 1880, single at age 23, she resided with her parents. 

Lucy later was married to (?) Bates. Nothing about him is known. 

Tragedy befell Lucy and her neighbors in the late winter of 1923. On March 22, 1923, "the greatest cyclone that ever swept Illinois" touched down at Gorham, 12 miles southwest of Murphysboro, reported the Daily Independent. Having crossed the Mississippi River, the storm was three-quarters of a mile wide in its swath, killing 32 and injuring 30. Other towns in the tornado's path were Cairo and St. Louis. Having suffered a scalp wound, Lucy was listed among the injured. 

The following year, at the age of 67, she died on Oct. 19, 1924. Burial was in Holliday Farm Cemetery, located about 1.5 miles northeast of Murphysboro along Route 149. [Find-a-Grave]


Copyright 2016-2017 Mark A. Miner

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Olive (Rowan) Duff and the late Donna (Younkin) Logan.