Of the many reunions of various branches of our family, none was as large in size and scope as the Younkin National Home-Coming Reunion of the 1930s and early '40s. Held at the IOOF Picnic Grove in Kingwood, Somerset County, PA (the same place as our reunions from 1986-2005), these gatherings drew more than 1,000 people a year during the heart of the Great Depression. This photograph shows one of the early meetings of the reunion committee, including cousin Charles Arthur Younkin (back row, third from left) of Charleroi, PA, who was secretary of the association, and Otto Roosevelt Younkin (next to Charley) of Masontown, PA, who was president. Charley Younkin is thought to have based the format of these events on the Harbaugh Reunions he had attended for eight years up to that time.
In 1937, to support the Younkin effort, Charley launched a major publishing outreach with the printing of a national family newspaper, the Younkin Family News Bulletin. Eight issues were produced between 1937 and 1941, providing remarkable insights into this massive, sprawling clan and the latest research available at that time. In 1938, cousin Horton Younkin of Ashville, OH, showed a copy to newspaper columnist Clyde Mitchell of the Pickaway County News. Mitchell later devoted an entire column to the reunion and family newspaper, and wrote:
[Horton] showed me what I believe to be the only newspaper whose news is devoted entirely to one family and which is written and published as a family newspaper.... [He] told me when he gave me this paper that he attended the reunion in 1935 and 1936...
In 1940, just before the possibly last reunion was held, the Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier published an editorial praising the reunion's size and national reach:
Of the numerous family reunions which run through the summer season in ever increasing numbers, that of the Younkins is one of the few which take on a national scale.. According to Attorney Fred E. Younkin of this city who has been vice-president since the organization was formed, they come all the way from California and Maine. The association has a national printed bulletin... The usual big gathering is anticipated for the reunion August 18.
America's entry into World War II, in addition to waning interest, was the death knell for the original Younkin reunions. In 1991, after 50 years of inactivity, they were revived by Donna (Younkin) Logan of Frederick, MD and again held at the Kingwood Picnic Grove. The tireless Donna hosted a Younkin website; published her own version of the Younkin Family News Bulletin; traveled to Germany to make connections with current-day cousins; and launched a DNA research project to determine precise Younkin bloodlines. In about 1996, cousin Diana (Younkin) Egan of Salem, OR, formed the Younkin Reunion-West in Oregon to benefit West Coast kin who could not make the long trip east to Pennsylvania. Sadly, both Donna and Diana passed away in 2006, but their legacies still live on the Minerd.com and Younkin websites, Donna's 2004-2005 travel diary, and through the Younkin Reunions in Kingwood each July.
The Younkin and Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor families were very close, and we know of at least 12 marriages between the clans during the 19th century, including some who were truly "kissin' cousins." The earliest wedding was in about 1802, when Jacob Minerd Jr. and Catherine Younkin were married near Kingwood.
Other marriages were between Henry and Polly (Younkin) Minerd; John M. and Laura (Minerd) Younkin; Charles and Adaline (Harbaugh) Minerd; Jacob M. and Mary Jane (Christner) Younkin; James and Candace (Rush) Minerd Jr.; Ephraim and Joanna (Younkin) Minerd; Ephraim and Rosetta (Harbaugh) Minerd; William and Catherine (Knight) Younkin; William "Dayton" and Lucinda (Harbaugh) Younkin; John and Martha Ellen (Swarner) Vough Jr.; and Jacob Y. and Minnie (Enos) Kuhns. There likely are more still to be discovered.
~ 1934 ~
Younkin Family Reunion Proves Enjoyable Affair
With a splendid program of speaking and entertainment carried out, the annual Younkin family reunion and home-coming Sunday, September 2 at the I.O.O.F. Grove at Kingwood proved a most enjoyable affair.
Acting president Otto Younkin of Masontown called the afternoon meeting to order and delivered the address of welcome and Attorney F. E. Younkin of Connellsville recounted the history of the Younkin family.
At the formal election of officers the following were named: Otto Younkin, president; F. E. Younkin, vice president; Charles Younkin of Charleroi, secretary; and Mrs. Edward Willey of California, Pa, assistant secretary; M. B. Younkin of Rockwood, treasurer.
Charles Younkin read a number of letters from those unable to be present, one of especial interest from Charles Franklin Younkin of Great Bend, Kansas explained that the family first came to New York from Holland in 1647 and later to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, eventually migrating to Somerset County.
Harold and Pauline Younkin of Charleroi sang several selections and stringed instrument music was furnished by another group.
Mr. and Mrs. John Younkin of Confluence and their 13 children were recognized as the largest family group present.
Representatives were present from Indiana, California, Charleroi, Belle Vernon, Uniontown, Connellsville, Meyersdale, Johnstown, Ursina, Markleton, Confluence, Ralphton, Listie, Rockwood, Salisbury, Masontown, Indian Head, Denbo, Mill Run, Markleysburg, Somerset, Smithfield, Harnedsville, Hazelwood, Grandonville, West Virginia and Grantsville, Md.
Click for an eyewitness report by inaugural Younkin Reunion president Otto Roosevelt Younkin of Masontown, PA
~ 1935 ~
The second annual reunion of the Younkin family was held in the Kingwood I.O.O.F. Grove, on Sunday, August 25, 1935. Five hundred and fifty registered. It was estimated about two hundred were present that did not register.
Mrs. Luella Sheppard led the singing and the devotional services. Frank Younkin of Johnstown, chairman of the Get Acquainted Committee, introduced the officers. Later all the officers were re-elected.
Dr. Noble Younkin of Decatur, Indiana, spoke in Pennsylvania Dutch, classical German and English. Eight-year-old Martha Van Swearengen gave readings in Dutch, German, Italian and English.
Attorney F. E. Younkin of Connellsville spoke of the early history of the family, tracing their wanderings through Europe due to persecution. He also gave a number of variations in the spelling and pronunciation of the name.
Secretary Charles Younkin of Charleroi read letters from members of the family who were absent. Music was furnished by a string trio.
J. O. Sheppard and Pauline and Harold Younkin sang a welcome song written for the occasion by Mrs. Sheppard.
The oldest person present was Mrs. J. C. Forsythe, of Connellsville, 84. Colwell Younkin, Confluence, 82, was the oldest man present. Joan Loretta Barclay of Rockwood, four weeks old, was the youngest person present. President Otto Younkin, of Masontown, presented each of these with a gift. Seven states and the District of Columbia were represented. Nine members of the family passed away during the year. Mrs. Victoria Augusta Younkin Evans, of Rockwood, in her 94th year, was the oldest. Harriet Sherbondy Younkin, 87, died in Uniontown. Mr. Almira Lichliter Boucher, 87, died in Salisbury. Jefferson Younkin, 91, a veteran of the Civil War, died in Washington, DC, and Frank Leslie Younkin, a World War veteran, passed away at the Perry Point Veterans Facility. Braden Christner, Connellsville; Mrs. Margaret Krissinger Younkin, Johnstown; Frank Flanigan, Beaver, and Daniel Martin Younkin, Rockwood, also were called away during the year.
Cumberland (MD) Evening Times - Aug. 28, 1935
"Mr. Richard Younkin and daughters, Dorothy and Mabel, Mrs. Lillie B. Younkin, Thomas Younkin and sons, Harry, Walter and Clarence, and daughter Ruth, and George Younkin attended the Younkin reunion at Kingwood, Pa., Sunday." [See the family of "Weasel Jake" Younkin in the biography of Jacob and Salome (Weimer) Younkin Jr.]
~ 1936 ~
Younkin National Reunion Draws 1,200 Crowd to Kingwood
The third annual National Younkin home-coming reunion was held Sunday, August 23, 1936 in the I.O.O.F. Grove at Kingwood.
The descendants of John Henrick Younkin, came from Holland to Philadelphia, September 17, 1753, aboard the Richard and Mary, John Herman Younkin, who arrived October 8, 1737, on the Charming Nancy, and of Henrick Younkin who landed December 1, 1806, from the vessel Neptune, from Bremen, Germany, have scattered to all parts of the country from the original settlement in eastern Pennsylvania.
Gideon Younkin came to New York on the Three Sisters, in 1800. His relation to the others mentioned has not been established.
Approximately 1,200 attended the reunion. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Watt, Gameco, N.M.; Mrs. R. J. Hughes, Hartford, Conn.; Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Younkin, Paris, Tenn.; Mrs. Horton Younkin and sons, Fred and Howard, and their families from Ashville, Ohio; Mrs. Weldy McMahon, George W. and Mary Younkin, Martins Ferry, Ohio; Mrs. C. W. Fernsner and daughter, Washington, DC; Mr and Mrs. A. S. Cheeseman and son, Clarksburg, W.Va.; Dr. Noble Younkin and A. C. Younkin, Decatur, Ind.; Floyd Younkin, Detroit, and others from West Virginia and Maryland.
The oldest present were Mrs. Lizzie McNutt, Indiana, Mrs. J. C. Forsythe, Connellsville, both 84, Caldwell Younkin, Confluence, 83, and Daniel Younkin, Butler, 80.
The officers were all elected unanimously to serve their third term. They are: Otto Younkin, Masontown, president; Charles Younkin, Charleroi, secretary; and Mrs. Nelle Wiley, California, assistant secretary.
~ 1937 ~
Persons near 1000 in number gathered at the beautiful I.O.O.F. Grove at Kingwood, Pa., Sunday, August 22, 1937 to attend the 4th Annual Reunion of the great Younkin Family group. Though the day was anything but pleasant for a gathering of this nature, as it rained continuously all day long, but the spirit of this great family group is not easily broken, as was shown on this day, it takes more than a rainy day to keep the folks away from this great annual event. Early in the day a continuous stream of cars began to arrive and continued to do so far past mid-day.
The spacious pavilion was quickly filled to capacity and the new recently erected pavilion was also filled, and all other buildings were quickly taken up. Many hundreds of the folks kept to their cars, owing to the lack of other shelter. The usual visiting which is one of the main features of this great annual gathering was somewhat marred but all was taken with a wonderful spirit which is always present at these gatherings. The morning program a short one of music and song; then a bounteous noonday meal was spread (owing to the weather the many tables under the trees in the spacious grove could not be used), in the cars parked near by in the two large pavilions, seats were arranged boards and plank were placed over the backs, every available space was quickly taken, many having to wait their turn, and food fit for the gods, and enough for an army.
You of this great Younkin group at least showed known Younkin hospitality. The spirit of fine Younkin women is clearly shown by the abundance of food prepared for this annual feast, at least I have first hand information that your secretary is not the only one that has worked all night, in order that this should come about, but that the noble and grand mother, of our worthy pres. working all night baking and preparing that nobody should go hungry if there is any finer spirit, I have never known of it. As I, the writer have traveled and visited in my research much among these fine Younkin folds and find a wonderful friendly spirit which is universal in every instance, and truthfully saying there was plenty for all and much to be taken back home.
The afternoon program, much musical (on the piano recently purchased for these annual gatherings) several numbers were rendered by violinist, Fred Younkin, accompanied by Mrs. Luella Shepard on piano. Master Tommy Younkin with his cornet rendered several fine selections, accompanied by his mother, Mrs. Otto Younkin on the piano. Otto R. Younkin gave a short address of welcome, and told of the Pioneer of 1737, Johan Herman Junghen, on this date paying honor to the first Younkin in America. Dr. Noble Younkin gave a fine talk in English, Holland Dutch, and German. Also, told of the origin of the family name of A. D. 814, also telling the origin of the Royal Coat of Arms, an exact copy of which was on display. A work of art shown for the first time, this contribution was furnished by Dr. Noble Younkin of Decatur, Ind.
A novel feature of the program was a tap dance act of several numbers rendered by the Lincoln Sisters of Connellsville, Pa., who incidentally are grandchildren of one time Prof. Younkin, famous Ventriloquist of 50 years gone by he, near 85 years of age Colwell S. Younkin, of Confluence, Pa., also a tap dance act by Pauline Younkin dressed as little Uncle Sam. Representative groups were present, who are descendants of the Pioneer Johan Herman Junghen of 1753, Johan Johannes Junghen of 1753, Johan Johannes Junghen of 1754, Henrich Junghen of 1806, and possibly of Peter Junkhen of 1753. A representation of all the variations of present day spelling were present, the Younkin family of Sullivan Co., Pa., the Younkin family of Western, Pa., and many other places, the Younghen family of Eastern, Pa., the Youngkin family of Cambria Co., Pa., and the Younkins of Butler Co., Pa., and Maryland and a little explanation of who they are, the Younkin family are of Henrick Junghen of 1806, the Younkens are of George Younkin of Somerset Co., Pa., the Younkins are descendants of Johan Henrick Junghen of 1753 and of Johan Johannes Junghen of 1754, the Youngken, are John Herman Junghen of 1753, and the Younkins , of Maryland of 1753, and the Younkins, of Maryland are possibly of Johan Johames Junghen of 1754, the newly organized Kansas Auxiliary group being represented by their Pres., Grover C, Younkin, of Wichita, and many others from his state, this newly formed group held their first Reunion, April 11-37, an article which appears in this issue gives a full account representative groups were present from many states, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Maryland, West Va., New Jersey, and others.
From Ohio, the following were present, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Younkin, Fostoria, Phillip F. Younkin, Haskins, Mrs. H. E. Brim, Bowling Green, Wm. Black, Beloit, Mrs. Margaret and John Black, East Fultonham, Calvin Black, Delta, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Yeager, Chillicothe, Fred and Howard Younkin, and sons, Ashville, Rev. and Mrs. L. J. Ramsey, Mt. Vernon, Mrs. Emma and Alfred Younkin, and Mrs. Joseph Rogers and sons, Akron.
From West Va., J. C. Younkin, Brandonville, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Younkin, and daughter Rainelle, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Jackson, Pisgah, Mrs. C. H. McCullough, Mrs. Daisy Bowers and Mrs. Sadie Corcoran, Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Cheesman, and son and Mrs. Mary Chalfant, Clarksburg.
From New Jersey, Mrs. Mary Speicher, Bellville and Hattie Speicher, West Orange. From Indiana, Dr. Noble Younkin, Decatur, and Mrs. V. R. Craig, Huntington. From Kansas, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Faidley, Oak Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Warren Faidley, Clay Center, C. Livingstone, H. A. Younkin, and family and Grover C. Younkin and family, Wichita. From Illinois, Glenn Younkin, wife and mother, Mrs. J. H. Younkin, Marion, Rev. and Mrs. Jas. F. LeCleve, Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. E. Younkins and family, Middletown, Md., Mrs. Geo. Kane, Atlanta, Ga. Also from many places in Penna., including Clairton, Butler, Mountaindale, Somerset, Ursina, Markleton, Fairchance, Braddock, Connellsville, Ralphton, Charleroi, Rockwood, Listie, Bobtown, Pt. Marion, Uniontown, Mather, Scenery Hill, Harnedsville, Greensburg, Mill Run, Confluence, Brownsville, Clairton, Pittsburg, Meyersdale, Johnstown, Salisbury, Farmington, Palmerton, Hazelwood, Wind Ridge, McKeesport, Holsopple, Indiana, Homer City and many other places.
All offices were again re-elected. President, Otto R. Younkin, Vice President, F. E. Younkin, Secretary, Chas. Younkin, Assistant Secretary, Mrs. Edw. Wiley, Treasurer, M. B. Younkin. Date of 1938 Reunion will be given in next issue of Bulletin.
~ 1938 ~
Fifth Annual Reunion Held at Kingwood
Greatest of all Younkin gatherings near 1,500 persons in attendance, at Fifth Annual Reunion.
Held in I.O.O.F. Grove at Kingwood, Pa., Sunday, August 21, 1938.
Visitors were present from thirteen states and the District of Columbia. A most beautiful day, and a representation of many of the branches of a great allied family group make this annual gathering one of the greatest of its kind in existence. From early a.m. until well past mid-day, a continuous stream of cars came pouring into this wonderful spacious park (by actual count 300 autos and buses) where once each year we of Younkin Clan gather and make merry.
The morning program was a short one of music and song. The mid-day festivities were supplemented by a continuous stream of music by the Galluci Orchestra, through a high power four-way amplifying system, and was plainly heard in all parts of the grove and immensely enjoyed by all. "Then the feast" ó food, food everywhere, food fit for a king and enough for an army (if not too large). The cafeteria pavilion was soon filled to capacity; every available place was quickly taken up. The day being ideal, many spread old fashioned picnic style. Soon this happy throng began enjoying to their hearts' content, to the fullest meaning of these gatherings. To the good women folks we owe much for these most wonderful, successful affairs, for they seem to know just what it takes to satisfy the appetites of the hungry hordes. The satisfied look is most convincing. Am inclined to believe this old saying, that many a personís heart has been won via the stomach. There was plenty for all and much was taken back home. During all this time autos continued to arrive, and by the time to start the afternoon program, the crowd looked more like a Fair or Chautauqua than a family gathering.
The afternoon program, one long to be remembered by all that were present, was a charge of Frank W. Younkin, master of ceremonies. The program was opened by prayer and song service, which was followed by address by Otto R. Younkin, patriotic speeches by F. E. Younkin and D. Garfield Younkin. Clarence L. Younkin of Miami, Fla., told of his many travels, and of being marshal in a Kansas town when western bad men were plenty.
All present officers were elected to serve again. After a brief business meeting, the balance of the day was spent visiting. Persons were present from the following states: Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham and child from California; D. G. Younkin, Mesa Ariz.; Mrs. Mamie Y. Prather, Garden City, Kan.; Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Younkin, Miami, Fla.; Dr. Noble Younkin and Col. Beck, Decatur, Ind.; Glenn Younkin, wife and mother, Mrs. Dottie J. Younkin, Marion, Ill.; Fred Younkin and sons, Ashville, Ohio; Calvin, Jesse, Oscar and William Black, Zanesville, Ohio; Ernest Younkin and wife, Rainelle, W. Va.; Marcus Younkin, wife and daughter, Margaret, Paris, Tenn.; Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Fernsner, Washington, DC; Carl Smith, Edinburg, Va.; Mrs. Louise Kane Atlanta, Ga.; Geo. A. Younkin, Grantsville, Md.; and many from Pennsylvania.
Many others were present from several of the states already mentioned, but it would take too much space to enumerate them all. The reason for enumerating the different states was to give you some idea of the size and magnitude of these great gatherings, a representation from 13 states and District of Columbia. We doubt if any other family can boast of a gathering as far reaching. Many of our old members were present again this year. Mrs. Nancy Y. Forsythe, of Connellsville, Pa., who just recently celebrated her 87th birthday, was the oldest person present, followed closely by Colwell S. Younkin, of Confluence, Pa., 85; Fremont Younkin of Somerset, Pa., 84; Daniel Younkins, Butler, Pa., 83; Benton Younkin, Rockwood, Pa., 81; and from far-away Florida, Clarence L. Younkin, aged 73 years; also many others whose ages have not been reported. The youngest person present was Clarence Ivan Younkin, 28 days old, he being a son of Kermit Younkin of Johnstown, Pa., and a grandson of Clarence Younkin, whose photo appears in this issue. Too soon we come to the end of a glorious day, but one year hence we meet again.
"Thousand Attend Younkin Reunion"
Cumberland (MD) Evening Times - Aug. 24, 1938
More than 1000 attended the fifth annual reunion of the Younkin clan, which is represented in thirty-five states, Sunday, at the I.O.O.F. grove, near Kingwood, Pa. The morning program was composed of music by the Gallucci Brothes, who also played throughout the day, unison prayer, group singing and welcome song. Frank W. Younkin, Connellsville, was in charge of the afternoon program. Addresses were given by Otto R. Younkin, Masontown, Pa., Prof. Garfield Younkin, Arizona and California; F.E. Younkin, attorney, of Connellsville; Mamie Younkin Prather, Kansas; Dr. Noble Younkin, of Decatur, Ind.; and others. The program included Kansas song by Clarence L. Younkin, of Florida, and Mamie Y. Prather; Lincoln sisters tap dancing acts; ventriologuists; D.E. Smith with his crayon act, hillbilly music and sacred hymns. Charles Younkin, Charleroi, is secretary. Attending from here were Mr. and Mrs. Richard F. Younkin, Emmons Younkin, Ralph Glotfelty, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Miller, George Younkin, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Richter.
~ 1939 ~
The 1939 Younkin Reunion was held on Sunday, August 20, 1939, at the IOOF Picnic Grove in Kingwood, PA. One newspaper article, printed in advance of the event, stated that:
Descendants of a hardy pioneer Dutch family, the Younkins, will join in their
annual reunion and homecoming in Kingwood I.O.O.F. grove Sunday, August
Another news article, in Connellsville Daily Courier, reported that the reunion "will be in the form of an all-day basket picnic. These reunions are of widespread interest, as many as 1,200 persons having attended. Professor Garfield Younkin of Tucson, Ariz., and members of the clan from California are planning to be present this year."
Seen at right: reunion singer and pianist Luella Shepard (left) at the 1939 reunion with Ann Elizabeth (Younkins) Martin, age 3 1/2, daughter of Jasper P. and Ruth (Ausherman) Younkins of Burkittsville, MD.
Inset in color: Ann Martin today, a regular attendee of the Younkin Reunions with her husband Richard. The 1939 reunion results were published in the Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier. The article reads as follows:
Thousand Persons At Younkin Reunion
Over 1,000 members attended the Younkin reunion held Sunday at Kingwood Grove in Somerset county. Members of the Younkin clan in attendance included, four from Phoenix, Ariz., four from Garden City and Clay Center, Kans., and others from Georgia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. A program was presented with Frank Younkin of Johnstown serving as master of ceremonies. It was:
Charles Younkin is the editor of the Younkin quarterly newspaper. The next reunion will be held the third Sunday in August at the same place.
~ 1940 ~
Near 1,000 members and friends present at the seventh annual national reunion held at Kingwood, Pa., Sunday, August 18th, 1940. A beautiful day, ideal for a gathering of this nature. A representative of many branches, from many states and places and at the place where once each year all Younkins gather and make merry.
States represented are as follows: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Michigan and Puerto Rico, many old members present whose ages totaled 260 years, Colwell, 87 years; Henry, 87 Years; Freemont, 86 years.
All three reside in Somerset County, (see photos in this issue), many other old members were present whose ages have not been checked. The morning program was omitted and the time was spent visiting and receiving new members. The noonday meal was a bounteous one.
The afternoon program which started at 2 p.m. was short and appropriate. Frank W. Younkin, master of ceremonies, officiated; speaking by Otto R. Younkin; F. E. Younkin Group singing, "God Bless America"; tap dancing by Lincoln Sisters; music by the Galluci Brothers orchestra followed by election of officers and adjournment. \
The balance of the day was spent visiting, far too short, but ere we all meet again another year.
~ Epilogue ~
Charleroi Charley is pictured, and he and the early reunions and the Younkin Family News Bulletin are mentioned specifically, in a lavishly illustrated book about Charley's uncle Ephraim Miner -- entitled Well At This Time: the Civil War Diaries and Army Convalescence Saga of Farmboy Ephraim Miner.
The book, authored by the founder of this website, and the publisher of the YFNB reprint booklet, is seen here. [More about the book.]
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