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Photo of the Month
December 2013
See Previous Photos     Unknown Faces and Places


Mayor Younkin

'A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS' -- Although black ink on red paper is not the most legible combination, grocer and politician Ira "David" Younkin of Connellsville, Pennsylvania used this format for his Christmas card in the early 1900s.

With an eye on cultivating his business and political relationships, David sent beautifully engraved Christmas messages on heavily red paper stock. In the card shown here, date unknown, the message read: "I value highly your business - I value still more the cordial relations that have existed between us, and take this opportunity to wish you a Very Merry Christmas."

Sparked by an entrepreneurial spirit, David and his brother Osborne established the Younkin Brothers Company in Connellsville. After five years, he then joined the Tri-State Candy Company, where he worked for three years.  Still wanting to be his own boss, he then launched a produce company under his own name. This company remained in business for more than three decades, until his retirement in 1961.

Politics was always one of his passions. In 1929, David was elected to Connellsvilleís City Council, and in 1936 was appointed Mayor of Connellsville, succeeding his distant cousin, dentist Dr. Harold "Daniel" Minerd. David then was elected in 1937, serving until 1941. He also supported his brother Charles, who was co-founder of the Younkin National Home-coming Reunions of the 1930s and published the Younkin Family News Bulletin.

Among Davidís accomplishments, perhaps none was more important than in 1936, when he and Fayette County Commissioner John W. Rankin helped break ground for a new airport in Connellsville, a project they had supported for years. When President Franklin Delano Rooseveltís train stopped in Connellsville for the event, to give a speech to a crowd of thousands at the B&O station, David was to have made the public introduction. But when the time came, reported the Connellsville Daily Courier, David "declined the honor, saying that it would be a difficult task to break through the crowd, and that because of the limited time the train was stopping here the President should be given all of the time available."


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