Adam Runkle

Male 1730 - 1800  (70 years)


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  • Name Adam Runkle  [1
    Born 1720-1730  Prob. Runkel, Hessen, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Male 
    Property 15 Dec 1761  Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Province Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    225 acres 
    • Several years after his marriage Adam removed to a farm in Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, which was afterward owned, about 1800, by Tunis Cramer, and still later by Adam's grandson, John Runkle.  There in a log-house, which was standing within the writer's remembrance, our progenitor made his home for several years.  At that time - between the years 1755 and 1765 - the country was to a great extent in its primeval condition.  Noble forests of oak, hickory, chestnut, and other native woods extended over hill and valley as far as the eye could reach.  The only breaks in their majestic sweep were those made by the occasional clearings, in which nestled the primitive homes of the settlers; but the work of cutting off the timber and of giving the fertile soil to the ploughshare, owing to the influx of Germans, rapidly progressed.  Churches were erected, better houses took the places of the earlier log-cabins, roads were laid out, and the entire country steadily advanced on the highway of prosperity.  During this period, through hard work and by strict economy, our ancestor managed to save sufficient money with which to purchase a farm of his own.  He selected a tract nearly adjoining the one in which he had been living.  The deed for this property, bearing date December 15,1761, states that the indenture was made "Between Mahlon Kirkbride of Makefield in the county of Bucks and Province of Pennsylvania, yeoman, and mary his wife, of the first part, and Adam Runcle[sic] of Lebanon in the County of Hunterdon and Western Division of the province of New Jersey, yeoman, of the second part."  After a preliminary description of title, the deed further states that "Mahlon Kirkbride for and in consideration of the sum of Four Hundred and Seventy-two Pounds Ten Shillings current proclamation money of West Jersey to him in Hand paid by the said Adam Runcle," etc., conveyed to said Adam Runcle two hundred and twenty-five acres of land, strict measure, situated in Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, N.J., on the Great Road leading from the South Branch of Raritan River to Potters Town.  On the tract referred to, near a large spring and surrounded by sheltering hills, our ancestor built himself a home.  The main portion of the story-and-a-half house, erected so many years ago, is still standing and in an excellent state of preservation.  Within, on the ground floor, is a narrow hallway, on the left of which, with its low ceiling crossed by heavy timbers, was the sacred spare room, opened only on occasions of state, and when the Runkle girls had particular company.  In the rear, with entrances both from the front room and from the hall, was Adam;s bedchamber.  The stairs leading to the floor above are exceedingly steep and narrow, and the four bedrooms thereon, with their sloping, wide board ceilings, are the same as when the house was first built.  The extension, originally on the right, contained a large kitchen, and back of it the weaving-room.  In the latter apartment was placed the old-fashioned loom, on which the women of the household exhibited their industry and skill.  This part of the house, becoming very much decayed, was torn down about the year 1830, and a new kitchen was erected on the left.  The main building, however, with its small windows and its old-fashioned rooms, must look much as it did in that long ago when our ancestors there played as children.
      [3]
    Will 5 Jul 1791  [5
    Died Nov 1800  Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Province Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Buried Nov 1800  Runkle Weart Burying Ground, Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Notes 
    • Adam Runkle was of German descent, and no doubt, more or less remotely, was related and traced his ancestry to the Runkels or Runckels who, in the early Middle Ages, were prominent in the Valley of the Lahn, a river tributary to the Rhine.  There can be no doubt as to the nationality of the Runkle stock: it was German.  It is necessary, however, to try to reconcile conflicting traditions as to the fatherland of this, our emigrant ancestor, before proceeding with the story of his life.  By a large portion of the family it is asserted that he came from Holland, and many of an earlier generation, now long passed away, were also of that belief.  As tending to support that tradition, we would mention a corresponding one among the new York and Pennsylvania Runkles: the generally acknowledged relationship - though what, not exactly known - between these different branches, and the assertion, by some of the older living members of the new York family, that within their remembrance the "Low Dutch" language was ordinarily spoken by their parents.  Of course, the speaking of the Holland language in the home of these early Runkles may be accounted for by the fact of their having made their homes in a section of the country almost exclusively settled by Hollanders.  The word Runkle, whatever the spelling, is distinctively German - the surname of an influential family belonging to the higher social order of Germany, the nobility.  It is not a Holland family name, nor is there within the pales of the Low Countries a family, tracing their descent entirely within, bearing the name of Runkle or one kindred thereto.  If then, Adam Runkle was a Hollander, one of his ancestors, possibly on account of religious persecution or for political reasons, must have left his German home for the enjoyment of the greater freedom offered by the Netherlands.  In addition to those who hold to the Holland tradition, there is a large number of Adam's descendants who are of the firm opinion that he was German through and through, and the tradition on which their belief is founded bears, equally with the other, the impress of ancestral approval.  By them it is stated that he came from the Valley of the Rhine, and by one member of the family it has been affirmed that his German home was in Baden.  As tending to reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable traditions, the suggestion has been made, and it seems to us a plausible one, that, from the fact that all the lower German districts near or bordering on the Netherlands, use the "Low Dutch," as distinguished from the "High Dutch" or German language, to a great extent may have arisen the misconception in the minds of some of our ancestors that Adam came from Holland: i.e. his speech proclaimed him a "Low Dutchman," while his nationality was really "High Dutch" or German.  The facts must not be overlooked that, by inter-marriages, the head of the House of Runkle and the ruling family of Holland were closely allied....

      The Runkles of the past, like tose of the present day, carried out the Bible injunction, to increase and multiply: a family of a dozen being considered of hardly more than average size.  As a consequence of this prolificness and of the law of primogeniture, the prestige and property which made up the inheritance of the first-born were exceedingly small or entirely wanting in the portions of the younger children.  The father of our emigrating ancestor, owing to the above unfortunate conditions, in his noble descent from some earlier head of the family, had almost reached the bottom of the aristocratic scale.  About all he had to show for his illustrious ancestry was the "von" in front of his name, which carried with it no other significance than that, socially, the family "has seen better days," and that his branch had struck bottom.  While thus so poorly off as to title, with regard to fortune the Fates had been a little more auspicious; for it is said the father of Adam Runkle was a man of considerable property.  Our emigrant ancestor, however, was unfortunately a younger son, and at his father's death, except as to the "von" we have mentioned, inherited very little, if anything, and found himself a pensioner upon his brother's parsimonious bounty.  He was only a child when his father died; but he was so filled with a sense of injustice at being deprived of what he considered his rightful share in the estate, that he determined to make his way to America - the land of promise, to which so many of the neighboring youth has already emigrated.  There is a tradition that several of his brothers, at eh same or at a previous time, has also bidden adieu to their fatherland.  Be this as it may, somewhere between 1735 and 1745 - the exact time cannot be determined - Adam Runkle -, then a lad of not quite sixteen, knowing that his friends would refuse their consent to his making so long, and, at that time, so difficult a journey as the one to America, ran away from home, and, having joined a party bound for the same goal, with what money he had in a belt around his waist and with his other worldly possessions on his back, trudged his weary way, as one tradition has it, the two hundred miles necessary to reach the nearest point whence he could take passage to the Colonies.  The particular ports from and to which our ancestor sailed, it has been impossible to determine; but as Philadelphia was at that time the great haven for German emigrants, it is not unlikely that he there first trod the soil of his adopted country.  In conflict with the tradition of his having money with him, is another to the effect that, upon his arrival, his time was sold to pay for his passage.  Whatever be the right of the matter, certain it is that we now lose sight of him until about the year 1749, when, married to Mary Youngblood, we find him living, on his father-in-law's farm, in Old Amwell, New Jersey, near what is now the village of Wertsville.

      [6]
    Person ID I34686  runkle | Descendants of Adam Runkle of New Jersey, Karen Brubaker
    Last Modified 11 Aug 2018 

    DNA Tests  Y-DNA-208207 Living (6 Feb 2012)

    Family Mary Youngblood,   b. 1722, Sandyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1805, Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Married Abt 1749  [1
    Notes 
    • In the old farm-house, we have endeavored to describe, grew up, around the stalwart father, a large family of sons and daughters.  There he saw his children gradually pass into manhood and womanhood, marry and start out to fight life's battle for themselves.  There, too, as his hair became whiter and whiter with the frosts of age, a grandsire, he was again surrounded by little ones, and a second time the old home echoed with children's voices.  Thus, forgetful of the troubled years of youth, Adam Runkle peacefully passed through life's eventide to its closing.  He died in the fall of 1800, and was laid to rest on the hill to the northward and overlooking the home where he had lived so happily and so long.  Mary, his wife, survived him about five years, and they are buried side by side.  Marked only by large, flat field-stones, with nothing thereon to indicate who are the sleepers, for nearly a century now they there have slumbered.  Adam Runkle was naturally very reticent: a trait which has, no doubt, unfortunately deprived us of much interesting information concerning his youth and his early home.  Immediately upon his arrival in America he dropped from his name the "von," which, while betokening his social standing, was also a constant reminder of its accompanying injustice.  Concerning his childhood surroundings, his early life and family, his lips were tightly sealed; but despite his efforts to blot out all remembrances of those early days and their associations, many of the social usages of that far-off German home had become so deeply fixed in his life, that, in after years, their rigid observance in his own family was strenuously insisted upon.  Among these were especially noticeable certain small matters regarding table etiquette and the strictness with which he enforced the rule excluding children from the family board with their elders.

      As a disciplinarian the subject of our sketch was over-strict.  All forms of innocent amusement that did not contain at least a soupcon of the religious element were frowned upon.  The result of this too strong repression was that the Runkle boys, whenever possible, obtained by stealth those pleasures of the young, placed thus indiscriminately under the parental ban.  In after years these, our guileful forefathers, were fond of narrating how, when invited to some neighboring merry-making, they early betook themselves to their rooms, where, removing their boots, they would drop them heavily upon the floor to punctuate the fact of their early retirement; watching their opportunity, they would then, boots in hand, steal stealthily down the outside way and hasten to the place of jollification.  There, prime movers in all the games and enjoyments of that day, the hours would quickly fly until the rosy finger of dawn warned them it was time to hasten home.  Softly returning to their rooms, they would then hastily get to bed, there to sleep the sleep of innocence until the stern voice of their father, breaking in upon their slumbers, awakened them to a realization of the pleasure of rest and the danger connected with its further enjoyment.

      This strain of severity in our ancestor's character, from his son Abraham's account, it would seem was especially visited upon him.  In after years he spoke bitterly of his father's tyranny and injustice, while of his mother he had only words of praise.  That the relations between father and son were not too cordial, whatever the cause may have been, would seem to be evinced by Adam's will.  In it Abraham, while sharing equally with the other children in real estate, was not mentioned in the division of the personality.  In addition, he was the only one of the sons not named as an executor in that instrument. 

      During the dark days of the Revolution, Adam Runkle was a zealous, outspoken patriot.  It is narrated that so anxious was he to further the country's cause that, with Peter Aller assisting, he took Matthias Cramer to Jone's Tavern, and sought to induce him to enter the Federal service.  Mr. Cramer, however, was enfeebled with consumption, and that fact becoming speedily apparent to the army surgeon, he ordered Cramer's release.  From that time he declined rapidly in health, and died in 1783.  Thus it was that our ancestor's efforts for his country's welfare were frustrated by fate, and the descendants of Mr. Cramer were shut out from becoming Sons and Daughters of the revolution.  Why Adam did not himself enter the army, or show the same earnestness in securing the enlistment of his own sons, old enough to bear arms, we do not know.  The anecdote we have given, however, shows most conclusively how actively aroused were his sympathies for his country's welfare.

      To Adam and Mary Runkel were born eight children. [7]
    Children 
    +1. Mary Runkle,   b. Abt 1751, Amwell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 06 Jan 1833  (Age ~ 82 years)
    +2. John Runkel,   b. 29 Aug 1752, Amwell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Apr 1846, Delaware Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years)  [Birth]
    +3. William Runkle,   b. 1755, Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Nov 1839, Washington, Warren County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)  [Birth]
    +4. Abraham Runkle,   b. 14 Jan 1757, Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Apr 1846  (Age 89 years)  [Birth]
    +5. Sarah Runkle,   b. 15 Feb 1761, Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Apr 1846, Belvidere, Warren County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
    +6. Jacob Runkle,   b. 1763-1764, Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Sep 1824, Prob. Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)  [Birth]
    +7. Margaret Runkle,   b. 1765, Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Sep 1843  (Age 78 years)  [Birth]
    +8. Adam Runkle, Jr.,   b. 18 Jan 1766, Annandale, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Oct 1850, Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)  [Birth]
    Photos
    Runkle Cemetery, 1899
    Runkle Cemetery, 1899
    Last Modified 25 May 2018 
    Family ID F14260  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1720-1730 - Prob. Runkel, Hessen, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsProperty - 225 acres - 15 Dec 1761 - Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Province Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Nov 1800 - Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Province Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - Nov 1800 - Runkle Weart Burying Ground, Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Adam Runkle House, 1999
    Adam Runkle House, 1999
    Adam Runkle House, 1999
    Adam Runkle House, 1999
    Adam Runkle House, 1899
    Adam Runkle House, 1899

  • Sources 
    1. [S52] adamrunkle.ged, Shanan M. Anderson, Compiler: Shanan M. Anderson, (P.O. Box 207, Salamander Bay NSW 2317, Australia, 22 Jan 2010).

    2. [S265] The Runkle Family, Benjamin Van Dorn Fisher, (T.A. Wright, New York, 1899), p. 45, 1899.
      ...sometime between 1735-1745 - the exact time cannot be determined - Adam Runkle, then a lad not quite sixteen... emigrated from Europe. [b.c. 1720-1730]

    3. [S265] The Runkle Family, Benjamin Van Dorn Fisher, (T.A. Wright, New York, 1899), pp. 46-48.
      Transcribed by James H. Culbert

    4. [S265] The Runkle Family, Benjamin Van Dorn Fisher, (T.A. Wright, New York, 1899), Will and Inventory of Adam Runkle, pp. 333-335, 1791-1801.
      See will record. Engraved and Probated, Recorded in Liber No. 39 of Wills, Folio 224
      (1987J in New Jersey State Archives)
      Transcribed and compiled By: James H. Culbert
      Compiler's Notes: The information that follows was obtained from the New Jersey State Archives. Where this information has been provided in the Appendix of Ben Van Dorn Fisher's 1899 book, The Runkle Family, I have used that printed version rather than my copy for ease of compilation. Where I have added question marks, the word preceding the mark is uncertain. The spelling found in the Will and Inventory has been retained here. I have added punctuation to improve readability.

    5. [S265] The Runkle Family, Benjamin Van Dorn Fisher, (T.A. Wright, New York, 1899), p. 51, 1899.

    6. [S265] The Runkle Family, Benjamin Van Dorn Fisher, (T.A. Wright, New York, 1899), pp. 42-45, 1899.
      Transcribed by James H. Culbert

    7. [S265] The Runkle Family, Benjamin Van Dorn Fisher, (T.A. Wright, New York, 1899), pp. 48-51.
      Transcribed by James H. Culbert