Jacob "Jakey" Minerd is thought to have died in infancy in the 1840s or 1850s, presumably on the family farm at Hexebarger near Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, the son of Henry and Polly (Younkin) Minerd. He is believed to have been named after his mother's brother, Jacob H. "Devil Jake" Younkin, and/or his paternal grandfather, Jacob Minerd, Jr.
Jakey's name is known through family stories and and one reference in writing. He was killed when he and his mother, who suffered from epileptic seizures, fell into a fireplace, and were horribly burned.
One version of the story, told by Jakey's niece Minnie (Miner) Gary, says that Jakey's grandmother saw what was unfolding, ran screaming for help and fell over dead of shock. A slightly different version told by grand-niece Evanell (Miner) Kimmel Nicklow, says that Jakey's older brother Ephraim had enough presence of mind to race to his mother's aid and pull her burned body out of the fire, and later gave credit to God for giving him the strength.
Another version of the story, and perhaps the most accurate one, was related by Jakey's future sister in law, Rosetta (Harbaugh) Miner to Charles Arthur Younkin during a visit in October 1935. Charles put the story into a letter he wrote to kinsman Otto Roosevelt Younkin as part of a national effort to gather Younkin genealogical material and organize a national home-coming reunion at Kingwood. In his letter, dated Oct. 15, 1935, Charles wrote:
I am told by aunt Rosetta Miner ... of Polly who was in habit of taking fits, and on one occasion, with child in arms, fell head first into fireplace, and was pulled out by her mother by hair and upon seeing how badly she was burned, her mother died of fright, as also did child from burns. Polly herself having one ear burned off as well as many facial burns, she not being able to see either her mother, or child, on account of severe burns...
It was a triple tragedy -- for mother, son and grandmother.
At one time, the grandmother was thought to have been Catherine (Patton) Younkin, known to have died on June 17, 1854, and whose crumbling grave marker is in a small cemetery on the Upper Turkeyfoot farm owned by Gerald Younkin. This was actually published by Minerd.com's founder in an article in the Younkin Family News Bulletin, Vol. 3, #4, Oct.-Dec. 1992, and in the first six years of this website. However, it is wrong.
Newfound data shows that the grandmother actually was Nancy (Hartzell) Younkin, whose death date is not yet known, but which apparently occurred before 1860. Once this date is determined, it will fix this tragic story more precisely in time.
Copyright © 2000, 2006 Mark A. Miner