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Younkin Migrations to Kansas

19th and Early 20th Century Pioneer Moves 
from Pennsylvania to Clay and Geary 
Counties in the 'Sunflower State'


A 1855 migration from Somerset County, PA to Kansas by fearless brothers Jeremiah, Moses and William Younkin and their cousin John T. King triggered a series of Younkin family relocations to the Sunflower State in the latter half of the 1800s and first decade of the 1900s. They clustered together in the communities of Wakefield and Timber Creek in Clay County and Junction City and Milford in neighboring Geary (formerly Davis) County.

In fact, the Kansas Historical Society has cited the original three brothers as "the first white men to settle within the present limits of Clay county." Moses' wife Lavila (Mitchell) Younkin is acknowledged as the "first white woman in that locality," and their son Edwin Leander Younkin, born in 1858, is considered the "first child of American parentage in Grant township." Many of these moves took place immediately upon marriage. In the example of Uriah and Catherine "Cassie" (Younkin) Myers, they were married in 1860 in Somerset County and right away "embarked by boat from Pittsburgh, Pa., landing at Leavenworth, Kan., after a tedious journey of five weeks," said the Clay Center (KS) Times. "From Leavenworth Mr. and Mrs. Myers came by ox-team to Clay county and settled on a ranch near Wakefield."

Kansas prairie life was rife with struggles, both natural and manmade. The wind and dust never stopped blowing. Uriah and Cassie Myers "endured all the privations of pioneer life, hauling the lumber with which their first house was built from Atchison and building it with his own hands; also bringing their groceries from Leavenworth by ox-team." Alfred Younkin joined a Kansas regiment during the Civil War and died of "bilious fever" while in the army.

This page documents the known migrations by Younkins from Pennsylvania to Clay and Geary Counties in the latter half of the 19th century and early decade of the 20th century. By the 1930s, these families had grown dramatically in headcount but retained their interest in their family roots and in 1937 held a Kansas Younkin Reunion in Wakefield, Clay County.


Destination County

Offspring of Frederick G. and Catherine (Patton) Younkin Migration Year Comments
Clay Henry S. and Barbara Jean (Younkin) Swarner 1870s Returned to PA 1890s
Clay Henry F. and Mary (King) Younkin 1875  
Clay Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Branscom) Younkin 1854 One of the 1st "white men" to settle in Clay County.
Clay Moses and Lavila (Mitchell) Younkin 1855 Among 1st "white men" in Clay Co.; she was 1st "white woman"
Clay William K. Younkin and wives 1856 One of the 1st "white men" to settle in Clay Co.
Clay Alfred Younkin 1856? Died in Civil War, 11th Kansas Cavalry
Clay John Peter and Delilah "Hiley" (Younkin) Faidley 1850s or '60s  
Clay Daniel Henry and Catherine (Younkin) Myers 1860  
Clay Silas and Lucinda (Hershberger) Younkin 1866 Returned to PA 1890-92
Clay Alexander and Sarah J. (Kreger) Faidley (?)  
Clay Ross and Emma (Rush) Younkin - son of Henry F. Younkin - daughter of Sarah (Dull) Rush 1874 Returned to PA 1884
Clay Wilson S. and Louisa (Dumbauld) Kregar - son of Sarah (Younkin) Kreger - daughter of Elizabeth (Dull) Dumbauld 1878  
Clay Edward G. and Cordia B. (Rhoads) Hanna - daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Dumbauld) Rhoads 1900 In 1930, employed 57-year-old James Younkin on their farm
Geary Frederick "Fred" and Jane (McNeil) Dumbauld 1879 Returned to PA 1917


Edward Cleveland and Lillie (Romesburg) Liston



Geary Henry W. and Barbara Ellen (Faidley) Bartell - son of John Peter and Hila (Younkin) Faidley 1882  
Geary Curtin Faidley - son of Henry F. and Mary (King) Younkin 1880s  
Destination County Offspring of Yankee John and Nancy (Hartzell) Younkin Migration Year Comments
Clay James D. and Sibella J. "Bell" Andrews 1877-1879  
Geary Uriah F. and Minnie F. (Younkin) Myers - daughter of John H. and Lucinda (Sweitzer) Younkin 1885  
Geary Elizabeth (Younkin) Andrews 1877-1879  
Destination County Offspring of Jacob and Hannah (Nicola) Younkin Migration Year Comments
Clay Jacob and Elizabeth (Bodes) Phillippi 1874 Returned to PA as widower 1875
Destination County Offspring of Johannes "John" and Catharina (Dorscheimer) Younkin Migration Year Comments
Clay Nessly and Caroline (Kreger) Younkin 1890s "Eldest cousin" at the 1937 Wakefield reunion
Clay Stephen Decatur and Hannah (King) Hartzell Spring 1861 Moved to Kansas from Texas

John and Martha Ellen (Swarner) Vought - son of Missouri (Younkin) Wingerd - daughter of Barbara (Younkin) Swarner

1906 Returned to PA 1913



Kansas Younkin Reunion headline, inaugural issue of the Younkin Family News Bulletin, Christmas 1937. Below: the Kansas reunion, at Wakefield, 1937.


Copyright 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020 Mark A. Miner