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John McKim, A Tale of Two Wives

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For as long as I have been researching, there has always been a debate about who John McKim married, was his wife a Rung or a Nelson. Or was John Mckim married twice? There has been much discussion concerning who John McKim, born 1805 in Centre County, Pennsylvania and died 1867, Mercer County ,Pennsylvania was married to. It would seem that he was married to Henrietta Elizabeth Rung and had at least two children, William Rung McKim, my three times great grandfather, born in 1832 and died during the Civil War in West Virginia, and Henrietta Rung McKim born in 1833 and died in 1881.

Henrietta Rung’s father, George Rung was born in 1777, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and died in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania in 1842. In his will George gives money to his grandson, William R McKim, his granddaughter, Henrietta R McKim and his son-in-law, John McKim. There is no mention of his daughter in the will, is that because she is already deceased? There is also no mention of Robert Alexander McKim, who was born in 1838. Is that because Robert isn’t a blood related grandchild?

“I give and bequeath to Will Rung McKim, one thousand dollars, as soon as he arrives at the age of twenty one years, I also give and bequeath to Henrietta McKim one thousand dollars as soon as she arrives at the age of twenty one. I also bequeath to John McKim fifty dollars two years after my death. . . . . I also desire my son John Rung and my Executor to keep, if he can, William Rung McKim until the age of sixteen years old, keep him in good clothes and give him eighteen months schooling, one year of the schooling to be given at fourteen years old, if he stays until sixteen, he is to let him go to a trade, and if he does not stay until the age of sixteen, he is to have but eight hundred dollars of the foregoing bequest.”

If the above is true, then John McKim remarried to Harriet Nelson and had Robert Alexander McKim, born in 1838, whose death record has Harriet Nelson as his birth mother’s maiden name. Harriet Nelson was previously married to John Adam Lightner and had a daughter, Margaret Jane Lightner in 1834. Harriet’s first husband was deceased about 1835 placing the marriage of John McKim and Harriet between 1835 and 1837. Margaret appears on the 1860s census living in the McKim household with her mother, Harriet, and half-brothers and sisters. Henrietta Rung McKim was already married to Thompson Buckley and William Rung McKim was a widower with a six year old daughter living with her maternal grandparents.

Also from the 1860s Census, you see Harriet McKim living next door to her Nelson relatives and siblings.

Henrietta Rung McKim Buckley inherited 50 dollars from her uncle, John Rung, in his will dated 1877 in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. John was her mother, Henrietta Rung McKim’s brother. No other siblings of Henrietta Rung McKim were mentioned in the will of her uncle. This would probably be because they weren’t related.

In Harriet Nelson McKim’s father’s will dated 1850, Harriet and John McKim are both mentioned. John Nelson was holding a promissory note for money that John McKim had borrowed and was forgiving the debt and leaving additional inheritance to Harriet.


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