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Nessly Younkin (1856-1925) and
Caroline Kreger



Caroline and Nessly Younkin

Caroline (Kreger) Younkin was born on March 7, 1862, in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of John "Frederick" and Sarah "Sally" (Younkin) Kreger.

She wed a cousin, Nestor "Nessly" Younkin, son of Civil War veteran Frederick J. Younkin and his wife Delilah (Faidley) Younkin.

The wedding ceremony was held at Delilah’s home on March 5, 1883, with justice of the peace G.W. Anderson officiating. The news was published in the Somerset Herald.


Caroline and Nessly produced a family of these known children -- Effie Florence Gaston, John Frederick Younkin, Goldie Ethel Gingrich, H. Edward Younkin, Millie Elizabeth Fleming, Joseph C. "Joe" Younkin, Ivy May Adams and Theodore Roosevelt Younkin. 


The Younkins were members of the Kingwood Church of God.

As with many of their Kreger and Younkin kin, the Younkins decided to relocate to Kansas immediately following marriage. They made the trip in about 1883, and their daughter Effie was born there in November 1883. They remained in Kansas for several years, with children Effie, John and Edward born in the Sunflower State. But for reasons not yet known, they migrated back to Pennsylvania by 1890 or '91, where children Millie (1891) and Joseph (1892) were born.


Caroline's obituary, 1944

Under the name "Nestor Younkin," Nessly wrote the following letter which was printed in the Somerset Herald on Dec. 18, 1895: 

I left my home in Upper Turkeyfoot township on October 5th, with a railroad ticket reading to Wakefield, Clay county, Kan., via Kansas City; arrived at my destination three days later without anything having occurred to mar the pleasure of the trip. Wakefield is a town of about 600 inhabitants, located a few miles from Clay Centre, the county seat of Clay county. They surrounding community is largely made up of Somerset county people, who were among the original settlers. Moses Younkin, who was murdered a few years since at Seattle, was the first white settler in this county, he having emigrated thither in the early fifties, and whose only neighbors were the half-civilized Indians of the plains. He was followed by other Somerset countians, among whom were the following: William, a brother of Moses Younkin; D.H. Meyers and his three brothers, John, H.H., and Uriah; John P. King, Stephen D. Hartzell and others. In later years Henry Younkin, then an old citizen of Addison township, bought a fine farm here and moved his family upon it, and like all Somerset county people here, prospered. He died a few years ago and his venerable wife, now eighty-eight years of age and in the enjoyment of good health, resides with her son –in-law – D.H. Meyers – at Clay Centre.


Younkin Reunion news story, Wakefield, Kansas, 1930s

The Younkins spent the rest of their lives in Wakefield. Said the Clay Center Dispatch, "Mrs. Younkin was one of the pioneer mothers who knew the hardships of frontier life. She worked hard for her family and had many friends.... [She] represented one of the prominent pioneer families of Clay county, who are fast passing on to their eternal reward." Caroline was a charter member of the Royal Neighbors. 

Nessly passed away in Wakefield on July 7, 1925, at the age of 68. 

Caroline outlived her husband by almost two decades, and made her home with her son Edward in Wakefield. In the mid-1930s, she attended what was billed as the "first real reunion of the Younkin families in Kansas," held at the Wakefield Methodist Church with about 150 attendees. Said a local newspaper, "Although all ages were represented at Sunday's gathering, from the cradle up, Mrs. Nesley Younkin appeared to be the oldest, at 75; or at least she was willing to admit her age, though there were others near that mark." 

She suffered a stroke in the winter of 1944 and died a year later, on Feb. 13, 1945 at the age of 82. Her last words, said the Dispatch, "were of her religious faith in Jesus."

At her death, she was survived by 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Funeral services were held in the Wakefield Methodist Church, led by Rev. Benjamin White. Music was performed by Richard Heikes, Onne Faulkner, Eldon and Duane Todd, Louise Davidson and pianist Mrs. C.W. Rankin.


Above, left: 4 generations -- Caroline holding Barbara Morrison with Adena Morrison and Millie Fleming behind. Above right: Caroline with presumed daughters. Below: their graves in Wakefield, Kansas


~ Daughter Effie Florence (Younkin) Gaston ~

Daughter Effie Florence Younkin (1883-1911) was born in November 1883 in Kansas.

She married Edward Gaston (1883-1969).

The couple produced one daughter, Edra M. Luter.

The Grim Reaper cut her away on Nov. 11, 1911, at the age of 28. Her remains were lowered into the earth in Highland Cemetery in Wakefield, Clay County. [Find-a-Grave]

Edgar survived his wife by an astonishing 58 years. He succumbed in 1969.

Daughter Edra Gaston ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Carl Luter ( ? - ? ).

~ Son John Frederick Younkin ~

Son John Frederick Younkin (1886-1939) was born on July 7, 1886 in Kansas.

As a young adult, he obtained employment with Alexander Lumber Company.

In Feb. 10, 1909, when he was 22 years of age, he wed Mary E. Billingham (Oct. 2, 1889-1962), daughter of Walter G. and Sarah P. (Johnson) Billingham of Wakefield. The ceremony was held in the office of Clay County Probate Judge Otis, with Mary wearing a brown traveling suit. They took a short honeymoon trip to Formosa. Reported the Clay Center Times, "By this marriage two of Wakefield's excellent young people join hands for life's battle and their many friends wish them a life of joy and happiness."

Their three sons were Lawrence Walter Younkin, Allen Dale Younkin and Russell John Younkin.

John operated a produce business in Wakefield circa 1930 and later a cream station and cafe.

He died on March 23, 1939. Burial was in Highland Cemetery in Wakefield, Clay County. [Find-a-Grave]

Mary outlived her husband by 23 years. She passed away on April 2 or 15, 1962. The Younkins are named in the article "Pioneers of the Bluestem Prairie," published in 1976 and 1991 by the Riley County Genealogical Society in Manhattan, KS, and later reprinted in the January-February-March edition of the Younkin Family News Bulletin.

Son Lawrence Walter Younkin (1909- ? ) was born in 1909. He married Marion Riordan ( ? - ? ).

Son Allen Dale Younkin (1912-1964) was born in 1912. He died on Oct. 12, 1964.

Son Russell John Younkin (1915- ? ) was born in 1915. He wedded Ethlyn Clair Lofton (1924- ? ). They produced two sons -- John Michael "Mike" Younkin and James Russell Younkin.


~ Son H. Edward "Edd" Younkin ~


Edward and Naomi Younkin, in better times

Son H. Edward "Edd" Younkin (1887-1959), also known as "Edwin," was born on Nov. 14, 1887 in Kansas. As an infant, he moved to his parents' home region of Somerset County, PA, but then returned to Kansas after a few years.

At the age of 34, on Aug. 7, 1923, Edward was united in holy matrimony with Naomi Crane ( ? - ? ). The nuptials took place in Denver, CO. Annuoncements of the marriage were sent to family and friends in Wakefield. In reporting on the wedding, the Clay Center (KS) Times said that "The groom is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Nessley Younkin of Wakefield and has always lived in this community, where he is well and favorably known. The bride is a stranger to Wakefield people. They will probably live in Wakefield."

Sadly, the Younkins' marriage endured for only "a short time," according to family notes.

The U.S. Census of 1930 lists the 41-year-old Edward as living in his mother's home in Wakefield, with his brother Joseph, working as a railroad section hand and marked as "divorced."

Circa 1940, when the federal census enumeration was made, he was marked "single" and lived with his mother and supported them through his work as a section hand with the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Tragically, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1959. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Highland Cemetery in Wakefield, Clay County.


~ Daughter Mildred Elizabeth "Millie" (Younkin) Fleming ~

Daughter Mildred Elizabeth "Millie" Younkin (1891-1970) was born on March 23, 1891 in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA after her parents had returned from Kansas. But as a young girl, she and her family moved back to Kansas and settled in Republican Township, Clay County.

On Dec. 10, 1913, in Junction City, at the age of 22, Mildred married 27-year-old Warren Robert Fleming (June 8, 1886-1964), also a native of Pennsylvania.

They were the parents of three offspring, Adena Lee Morrison, Thomas Nesley Fleming and Mary Louise "Lou" Fleming.

Circa December 1916, the Flemings dwelled in Abilene, KS, and Mildred made news in the gossip columns of the Junction City Weekly Union when she came home to visit her parents.


Left: sisters Goldie Gingrich and Millie Fleming (right). Right: Millie and Warren Fleming with son Thomas.


When the U.S. Census was enumerated in 1920, the Flemings made their residence on North Gordy Street in Eldorado, Butler County, KS. There, Warren earned a living as a carpenter in the house construction trade.

Warren died on Nov. 15, 1964. Interment was in Wakefield.

Mildred survived her spouse by six years. She passed away in Wichita, Sedgwick County, KS on Oct. 22, 1970. Her remains were returned to Wakefield to repose beside her husband's.

Daughter Adena Lee Fleming (1917-1995) was born on Oct. 27, 1917 in Abilene, KS. News of her birth was published in the gossip columns of the Clay Center (KS) Times. On Oct. 25, 1936, when she was two days shy of her 19th birthday, Adena married James Blaine Morrison Jr. (Jan. 27, 1914- ? ). Their five children were Barbara Sue Morrison, James Thomas Morrison, Mary Lee Ellender, Richard Craig Morrison and Robert Greg Morrison. Sadly, Adena passed away in 1995. Their daughter Mary has attended our Younkin Reunion in Somerset County, PA.

Son Thomas Nesley Fleming (1920-1975) was born in about 1920 in Eldorado, Butler County, KS. He passed away in 1975.

Daughter Mary Louise "Lou" Fleming (1921-2004) was born in 1921. She succumbed in 2002.


~ Son Joseph C. "Joe" Younkin ~


Joseph Younkin, World War I -- and his grave in Arlington National Cemetery


Son Joseph C. "Joe" Younkin (1894-1966) was born on Aug. 2, 1894 in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA.

As a very young boy, he and his parents and siblings left Somerset County and the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania for a new home on the flat prairie of Kansas. Joseph thus grew up in and around Wakefield, Clay County, KS.

He was a soldier in World War I, serving as a sergeant at base hospital 119. After the war's end, he returned to Wakefield where he appears to have spent most if not all of the remainder of his long life.

For reasons not known, he and his brother Edward were unable to attend a family reunion at the home of his parents in September 1923, although they were named in a related story in the Clay Center (KS) Times.

Single in 1930 at the age of 36, he dwelled with his widowed mother and divorced brother Edward in Wakefield, and earned a living performing labor for odd jobs. He died on April 16, 1966, at the age of about 72, and rests in Section 35, Grave 3518 in Arlington National Cemetery, one of a very few cousins to have received that singular honor.


~ Daughter Goldie Ethel (Younkin) Gingrich ~


Goldie Gingrich

Daughter Goldie Ethel Younkin (1897-1956) was born on Jan. 4, 1897 in Republican Township, Clay County, the first of the Younkin offspring to be born after the second move to Kansas.

When she was 20 years of age, on Aug. 17, 1917, Goldie was married to a prominent local farmer and politician, 37-year-old Robert "Ray" Gingrich (1890-1954), son of Joseph Gingrich. The groom was seven years older than the bride. Their wedding ceremony was held at the home of Goldie's sister Millie Fleming in Abilene, KS. Said the Clay (KS) Center Times, the marriage "will be of unusual interest in the county, due to the popularity of the couple among the young people of their home communities.... The marriage was celebrated in a quiet way, there being no attendants and no wedding guests aside from the immediate members of the Fleming family."

The newlyweds took a honeymoon driving trip in a new Dodge automobile through the state of Colorado. At the time, Robert's father was serving as a Clay County Commissioner.

The Gingriches produced six offspring -- Velda Stitt, Joe Ray Gingrich, Lloyd Leroy Gingrich, Robert Alan Gingrich, Darlene Gottfried and Ralph Gingrich.

The family were longtime farmers. In 1920, the United States Census shows the family dwelling on a farm in Gill Township, Clay County. That year, 14-year-old Anna Hill lived in the household as a servant girl.

The Gingrich brood relocated during the 1920s to a farm in Wakefield, Clay County, and they are shown there in the 1930 census. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, Goldie and Ray and their six children continued to reside on a farm in Gill Township.

Ray passed into eternity on March 22, 1954. Goldie Ethel died just under two years later on Jan. 21, 1956. 

They repose for eternity in Mizpah Cemetery in Clay County. [Find-a-Grave]


Velda (Gingrich) and Dale Stitt


Daughter Velda Gingrich (1920- ? ) was born on Jan. 10, 1920. She was joined in matrimony with Dale Stitt (Nov. 30, 1919- ? ). They did not reproduce. Their home in the early 1990s was at 1611 Ninth Street in Clay Center. Velda provided valuable information about these Younkin and Kreger branches to the founder of this website in the early 1990s.The Stitts were pictured in the July-August-September 1991 edition of the Younkin Family News Bulletin. In a letter penned in August 1991, she wrote.

I am ashamed to say that this is all I have... We are both retired. I taught school (the old one-room, country type) for 17 years at the same time we were run & owned a country gasoline station, and farmed 160 acres we owned. In 1962 we sold the farm & gas station & moved to Clay Center. They had just started the construction of our new high school. We bought a newe house just across the street from the school. The construction boss wanted to hire Dale so he worked there until it was finished & when it opened in the fall of 63 he was hired as custodian and held that position until we retired 8 years ago. I worked up there in the lunch room kitchen for 18½ years. Now we go to a lot of auctions and have done some traveling. Just wish it wasn't so far to Somerset (PA).

Son Joe Ray Gingrich (1921- ? ) was born on Dec. 12, 1921 in Clay County. He wedded Elva Wilson (Aug. 8, 1921- ? ). Their children were Barbara Gaylord and Melanie Mueller. Joe Ray was a professor of agronomy and spent time in India, Korea, Pakistan, Africa, South America and the Philippines.

Son Lloyd Leroy Gingrich (1924- ? ) was born on Sept. 5, 1924 in Clay County. He was united in wedlock with Eunice Butler (Aug. 25, 1925- ? ). They were the parents of Scott Gingrich and Janice Kahle Vander Veldte.

Son Robert Alan "Bobby" Gingrich (1927- ? ) was born on July 19, 1927 in Clay County. He was wed to Betty Engert (April 19, 1931- ? ). Their five children were Phillip Gingrich, Ronald Gingrich, David Gingrich, Karen Gingrich and Randy Gingrich. Robert was a longtime employee of the U.S. Postal Service and retired from this position.

Daughter Darlene Gingrich (1929- ? ) was born on Dec. 6, 1929 in Clay County. She married George John Gottfried Sr. (1928- ? ). They had two sons -- George John Galtfried Jr. and Robert Dale Galtfried. Darlene was employed as a dental assistant at Fort Benning, GA, while George served with the Army. After retirement, he worked for a brick factory.

Son Ralph Harold Gingrich (1932- ? ) was born on March 9, 1932. He wedded Beverly Pettet (June 20, 1934- ? ). They produced three children -- Debra Rae Gill Chesebro, Susan Frederick Snepp and Terry Eugene Gingrich. Ralph earned a living over the years working in the field of outdoor advertising. After undergoing heart bypass surgery, he died on Feb. 22, 1983.


Benjamin and Iva (Younkin) Adams
Younkin Family News Bulletin, April 1992

~ Daughter Iva May "Ivy" (Younkin) Adams ~

Daughter Iva May "Ivy" Younkin (1900- ? ) was born on April 25, 1900 in Wakefield, Clay County, a twin of her brother Theodore Roosevelt "Ted" Younkin.

They were the only of the Younkin children to be born in Kansas.

She married Benjamin "Ben" Adams ( ? - ? ).

The couple produced one daughter, Elaine Harrison.

They were farmers for decades.

Daughter Elaine Adams ( ? - ? )


~ Son Theodore Roosevelt "Ted" Younkin ~

Son Theodore Roosevelt "Ted" Younkin (1900-1972) was born on April 25, 1900 in Wakefield, a twin of his sister Iva. He also may have been known as "Oliver."

On July 3, 1923, in Brixey, MO, he wed Esther Eva Byerley ( ? - ? ), daughter of William and Mary Edgie (Little) Byerley of Brixey, MO.

They were the parents of Doyle Nessly Younkin and William "Dale" Younkin.

Ted died on July 9, 1972, in Larned, Pawnee County, KS.

Esther joined in him death a year later, in Emporia, KS, on Sept. 10, 1973. They are buried in Larned Cemetery.

Son Doyle Nessly Younkin.

Son William "Dale" Younkin (1927- ? ) was born on July 6, 1927 in Oil Hill, KS. On Sept. 5, 1947, when he was 20 years of age, he was united in holy matrimony with Jerry Lee Collins (July 6, 1931- ? ), daughter of Glen Edward and Floyda Ellen (Hardison) Collins. Dale was employed as a soil conservationist. Their three children were Gail Lynn Hounkin Johnson, Michael Lane Younkin and Clinton Aaron Younkin.

Copyright © 2013-2018, 2020

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Velda (Gingrich) Stitt, the late Olive (Rowan) Duff, the late Donna (Younkin) Logan and Linda Marker.