Editor's note -- Otto R. Younkin was a great friend of the Minerd-Miner-Minor family. During the height of the Depression, in 1934, he and our cousin Charles A. Younkin played key roles in establishing a National Younkin Home Coming Reunion, an event which drew thousands and spawned a family newspaper, the Younkin Family News Bulletin. Otto served as president and historian until the reunion's demise in 1941, and is shown at right with his supportive wife Mildred (Coldren) Younkin. Since so many of our cousins married into the Younkin clan, these reunions are important in understanding these branches.
On the 16th day of July, 1934, I received a letter from Charles A. Younkin of Charleroi Pa., dated July 13 - 1934, asking me to which branch (Jacob or Frederick) I belonged.
My name having been sent to [him] by David F. Younkin, of Johnstown Pa., having come across it in a local Somerset Co. paper. The said Charles desired to know what I thought of holding a reunion of the Younkin's.
On the 17 of July I answered the above letter to the effect that I was in favor and would do what I could towards making a it a success. While paying a visit to my mother, near Kingwood Pa., on Sunday Aug. 5th, 1934, I decided to visit the old Delilah Younkin cemetery in "Hexebarger." So in company with my wife, son, mother, step-father, and also a picnic lunch, we proceeded upon the journey.
Having spent an hour or so in the cemetery we were ready to leave for other old burial grounds when another car drives in through the wilderness. Two men got out of the car, one of them whom I recognized as a first cousin of my mother, Milton Bruce "Pete" Younkin, of Kingwood Pa.; the other man was a total stranger to me as well as the rest with me. Upon being introduced we learned this stranger to be none other than the former Charles A. Younkin of Charleroi Pa. Who was upon a similar mission as ourselves. It was a rather strange coincidence since I had received no further communication from him and neither knew the other to be in that vicinity. It was then resolved that the first reunion of Younkins had taken place. There were six Younkin descendants and related by marriage present at this little reunion.
[Note -- the photo here in July 2000 shows Otto's son Tom, right, and Charles A.'s grandson Chuck re-enacting this momentous first meeting in the old Delilah Younkin Cemetery. Sadly, Tom died a few months after this picture was taken.]
Before going to the Delilah cemetery we went to the old Hartzell burial ground, where we met "Badger" Clevenger (son of "Little Fred" Clevenger whose mother was a Younkin.) who decided to accompany us to the Delilah burial grounds (Delilah being his great- grandmother). From there both cars proceeded to the Old Bethel cemetery. Stopping on our way to permit Charles to talk a short time with William "Hexebarger Bill" Younkin.
After reaching Bethel and checking the various Younkin descendants burried there, mother spread the contents of her picnic basket and invited all to share the lunch while it lasted, this, then, what was intended to be just a picnic lunch turned out to be the first-Reunion dinner. We parted after dinner with a resolve to bend every effort toward holding a large reunion some time in the near future.
On Aug. 9th, I received a letter from Charles A. asking me to meet with him, David F. Younkin of Johnstown Pa., "Peter" and his brother of Kingwood Pa., Mrs. Edward Wiley of California Pa., and Wesley D. Younkin of Kingwood Pa., at the Kingwood grove on Sunday Aug. 12 - 1934.
-- Otto R. Younkin -- Masontown, Pa.
The first Sunday of Sept. was decided as the day for holding the reunion, the same being Sept. 2 - 1934. The I.O.O.F. Grove at Kingwood Pa. was the place decided upon for holding it. The group, without David F., who could not stay long, then paid a visit to Wesley D. Younkin of Kingwood Pa.
[Note -- the photo at left shows the Younkin planning committee circa 1936, with Otto and his wife Mildred standing third and fourth from left. Click for an enlarged view with each person numbered and identified.]
The secretary immediately began to send cards to those he knew to send them announcing the fact that a Younkin Reunion was to be held Sept. 2 - 1934, and that all were invited to attend.
Sunday Sept. 2 - 1934 -- Odd Fellows Grove -- Reunion Day
The sky was clear, the air slightly cool, a fine day for the reunion. The first to arrive was Grant Miner, of Ursina Pa, who was upon the ground by 8 o'clock. By noon quite a number had assembled and partook of a bounteous basket-dinner. After dinner the following program was given:
-- Rev. Shultz
The following officers were elected for the coming year:
-- Otto R. Younkin -- Masontown Pa.
Date for holding next reunion was left for the officers to decide. A free-will collection was lifted; the results - $14.50. The acting Ass't. Sec. Registered those present -- 400. Adjournment.
[Note in 2006 -- Click here for the Younkin DNA study webpage.]
with permission of the Otto R. Younkin family.