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Daniel W. Younkin


Daniel W. Younkin was born in about 1836 in Somerset County, PA, the son of Jacob and Sarah "Salome" Weimer Younkin Jr.


Little is known of Daniel in the years leading up to his migration westward. One existing fact of that period, however, is that he held an account at the John McMillan tannery in Listonville. Entries from the year 1857 are recorded in the tannery's business ledger which is preserved today. His entries read as follow: "paching mittens, 31 cents, Jan. 25, 1857 1 yards cloth at $3.00, cost $4.50, March 21, 1857 double halfsoles, cost 31 cents, and one halfsole, 10 cents, March 28, 1857 apron, 75 cents, April 29, 1857."


As a young man, Daniel migrated to Iowa with his elder brother Elijah and members of the Pringey and Mountain families. The group initially settled in or around West Liberty, Muscatine County. Daniel is mentioned in a letter dated Oct. 21, 1861 which N.W. Mountain sent back home to Catherine Prinkey Dwire. It read:

West Liberty
Dear Cousin,
got here with the money you and your father sent with me and sent it with Joseph to William. I was at Williams and Elijahs today 3 weeks ago they were all well and another young heir at Williams, Hannah taught school this last summer. Ellen was married to John Wright a few weeks since, Dan Younkin intends to farm Elijahs place next season Frederic went back home about 9 weeks since he intended to be at home a short time and then go to the army Harrison and Walter have enlisted Many have gone from here, nearly all follows. A duty we owe our government and it must be supported. Jeff Davis and Beauregard ought to be hung as high as a canon for their rebellion. Crush rebellion and peace follow Joseph expected to start back home on the 29th. your cousin N W Mountain

On Nov. 30, 1865, in Muscatine County, the 29-year-old Daniel married 16-year-old Abiah Virginia "Abi" Pringey (1849- ? ), either a native Pennsylvanian or West Virginian, and the daughter of George and Effie (Colburn) Pringey. They were 13 years apart in age.

As a young girl, Abiah had migrated with her parents to Bloomington, IL, where they stayed until after the Civil War. She also witnessed one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates leading up to the presidential election of 1860. The Pringeys pushed further into Iowa, settling in Muscatine County, where Abiah met and married Daniel.

The couple bore two children, Francis E. "Frank" Younkin and Olive K. Meese.

The federal census enumerations of 1870 and 1880 show this family living as farmers in Wapsinonoc Township, Muscatine County, IA. Circa 1870, also living under their roof were 36-year-old Ross Mountain and 24-year-old Joseph Mountain, both Pennsylvania-born farmers.  

Daniel passed away on March 25, 1885, at the age of 49, in Nichols Township, Muscatine County. Burial was in Nichols Cemetery. At the death of his wife, more than five decades later, he was named in her newspaper obituary.

Abiah outlived her spouse by an extraordinary 56 years. On Feb. 27, 1890, she married again to 40-year-old Civil War veteran Caleb A. Hesser (1850-1921), son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Hahn) Hesser. He apparently had been married previously and brought a young daughter to the marriage, Maude V. Hesser, born in September 1888 in Indiana. Abiah considered Maude as a foster daughter.

The 1900 census shows Abiah, Caleb and Maud living in the Pike District of Muscatine County, with him working as a "stationery engineer," referred today as a janitor or custodian.

Abiah maintained a deep love for Nichols and at one time was the town's correspondent for the Muscatine News Tribune. She also compiled a history of "incidents in the early history of the Nichols community," said the News-Tribune.

C.A. Hesser "died very suddenly" on Jan. 5, 1921, reported the News-Tribune.

Now widowed a second time, Abiah survived Hesser by two decades. Said the News-Tribune, she "was ever active in the affairs of the community. In 1872 she helped to organize the Christian church and for a number of years has been the only surviving charter member. Every loyal to the faith she has been an ardent supporter of all its good works." She served as a noble grand of the Rebekah Lodge and was a member of the Order of Eastern Star and the Rose Croix Shrine of the White Shrine of Jerusalem, an organization seeking to uphold the values of Christ and "further his Gospel of 'Peace and Good Will upon the Earth'."

She spent her final dozen years living with her daughter, "who spared neither time nor labor in caring for her mother, thus adding happiness and contenentment which, no doubt, lengthened the time wherein she might enjoy the companionship of friends and neighbors who always found her happy, contented and cheerful with a mind active and aleret on the affairs of the day," noted the News-Tribune. She died in Pike Township, Muscatine County on Feb. 4, 1941 at the age of 93. A poem published as part of her newspaper obituary read as follows:

Shall claim of death cause us to greive

And make our courage faint and fall?

Nay, let us faith and hope receive,

The rose still blooms beyond the wall.

Scattering fragrance far and wide

Just as it did in days of yore;

Just as it did on the other side,

Just as it will forever more.


~ Son Francis E. "Frank" Younkin ~

Son Francis E. "Frank" Younkin (1868- ? ) was born in 1868 in Iowa, presumably in Muscatine County. He is not to be confused with a distant cousin, Frank S. Younkin (1867-1955) of Union and Madison Counties, Iowa.

At the age of 25, on Sept. 19, 1893, Frank was united in matrimony with Katherine F. "Kate" Ryan (1871- ? ) of Iowa, whose parents Dennis and Kate (Dalton) Ryan were immigrants from Ireland. The nuptials were held in Township 76 in Muscatine County.

They made their home in Spirit Lake, IA. Their one known daughter was Lona Younkin.

By 1930, they had moved to Denver, where he had obtained work as proprietor of a parking (or "packing") station. His sister Olive is known to have traveled there for visits over the years, and Frank and family enjoyed returning home to Iowa to spend time with family. This family has not yet been found in the 1940 census records.

Daughter Lona Younkin (1903- ? ) was born in 1903 in Iowa. At the age of 27, unmarried, she lived with her parents in Denver and was employed as oerator of an ice company.


~ Daughter Olive Katherine (Younkin) Meese ~

Daughter Olive Katherine Younkin (1871-1956) was born in November 1871 in Wapsinonoc Township, Muscatine County.

On New Year's Day 1891, when she was age 20, Olive was wedded to 27-year-old Frank S. Meese (1863-1929), a native of Indiana. He was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Budd) Meese. The ceremony was celebrated in Nichols, Muscatine County. They did not reproduce.

Circa 1900, the couple made their home in Pike Township, Muscatine County. Frank earned a living that year as a railroad agent. By 1910, now working as a telegraph operator, Frank was transferred to Oklahoma, and they relocated to Binger in Fern Township, Caddo County, OK, as shown on the 1910 census. In the margin of the Meeses' page, the census taker wrote: "Streets not named. Houses not numbered."

By 1920, their neighborhood now named "Main Street," the couple continued to dwell in Binger with Frank earning income as a railway station agent. Frank passed into eternity in 1929 at the age of 66. Olive lived for another 27 years -- more than a quarter of a century as a widow -- was an active volunteer in community activities, including organizing the annual Memorial Day celebration in Nichols, despite living so far away. As a member of the Order of Eastern Star, she advanced within the organization and circa 1932 was its grand representative from Oklahoma, holding joint events with the Masons in Nichols.

By 1932, she appears to have spent the bulk of her time in Nichols and often traveled to Oklahoma on business, as reported in the gossip columns of the Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune. Without family on holidays, she is known to have spent Thanksgiving 1943 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Nichols in Nichols, along with several other friends and young women students from the University of Iowa. She joined him in eternity on Aug. 27, 1956, at the age of 86. Burial was in Nichols Cemetery.


~ Foster Daughter Maude (Hesser) Watson ~

Foster daughter Maude Hesser (1888- ? ) was born in 1888.

She married John H. Watson ( ? - ? ).

In 1940-1941, they lived in Binger and El Reno, OK, and she traveled back to Nichols to visit her foster sister Olive Meese. Nothing more is known.


Copyright 2016-2017, 2022  Mark A. Miner

Research for this page graciously shared by the late Olive (Rowan) Duff, the late Donna (Younkin) Logan and Linda Marker. N.W. Mountain letter courtesy Beverly Domer.