Her Question, My Discovery

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It seemed like a simple enough question, how was I related to the McKims in Mercer, Pennsylvania? The question came through and I try to answer as many as possible. I sent back information about my third great grandfather, William R McKim that had died in the Civil War.

There were a lot of things about this man that I knew and could confirm. He had been in the war and died in Virginia. He married my third great grandmother that was a Kilgore, in Oberlin, Ohio. That both of them had been going to Oberlin College at the time of their marriage. And that he had artistic skills, from the drawings that he had signed and left in the family bible. I knew his wife had died a couple of years before he did. And I knew my orphaned great-great grandmother was raised by her mother’s family.

I couldn’t confirm that his father was John “Adam” McKim and his mother Henrietta or Harriet. Logic placed him in the family from location, and his birth year. Nothing else solidly placed him, and what I determined to be his younger sister, in the family of 5 other children living in Mercer.

That was until the email conversation with my now new cousin. As we traded communications, she wrote that William was mentioned in his grandfather, George Rung’s will. George Rung lived in Petersburg, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania and was a tanner and a county Burgess. Not only did this confirm William’s name but corrected the maiden name that I had for his mother.

William’s mother was Harriet Rung, not Nelson as I had thought. She and her husband, John McKim, are mentioned in George Rung’s will. All six of his living children were included in his will, but only four of his grandchildren received notice.

His daughter Henrietta’s first born child, William Rung McKim seemed to be a major focus of his attention. Aside from the one thousand dollars that he would get at the age of 21, he would also be clothed until the age of 16 and schooled for 18 months. He was to be trained in a trade until he turned 16 or he would only receive eight hundred dollars at 21. Henrietta, William’s sister, would also receive one thousand dollars when she reached the age of 21.

George Rung would leave one thousand dollars to his grandson Lewis G Mytinger and five hundred to his oldest grandson John Farringer Rung when they both reached the age of 21. He didn’t show the same concern for these grandsons’ continuing education and training as he did with William.

William would attend Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio in 1853, at the age of 21. While in Oberlin he would marry Sydney Isabella McKim, who was also attending college at Oberlin. Their only child, Lilly, would be born shortly before their first anniversary.

Lilly would be left an orphan by the time she turned 7. Her mother would pass when she was three from illness and she would go to live with her maternal grandparents. Her father would die in the Civil war just 4 short years later.


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