Tidbits on this page were originally published online between January and December 2006
Two New Jersey Runyan men married daughters of Augustine Stevenson, who owned land in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, New Jersey. Samuel H. Runyan married Susannah Stevenson and Daniel ___ Runyan married Elizabeth Stevenson. These Runyans and their spouses are listed as heirs to Stevenson’s estates in both counties in a partition of estate filed with the Hunterdon County Clerk in April 1811. Elizabeth, however, sold her rights to her sister, Caroline.
(Sources: Brown, Virginia Alleman. “Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, New Jersey. Heirs to Estates.” P 31.
In the Kentucky Gazette, there is mention of a Daniel Runyen. As the report goes, James Lemon of Paris, Ky., claimed that a mare had strayed or was stolen on 13 April 1791 from Col. Robert Patterson’s property. Mentioned in the account are Daniel Runyen who lived two miles from the Bourbon County Courthouse, Abraham Drake from May’s Lick, Thomas West of Bourbon County, and Teagarden and McCullough of Lexington.
(Source: Green, Karen Maurer. “The Kentucky Gazette” 1801-1820. Genealogical and Historical Abstract. Baltimore. Gateway. (From Vol. IV, No. XXXVI. 14 May 1791.)
Tucked away in biographies of families with various surnames, you often find the Runyon name. Such is the case in the biographical sketch of Smith Thomas Stone, son of Smith Stone of Garrrard County, Ky. On 06 August 1803, Smith Thomas Stone married Maggie K., the daughter of Asa and Mary (Arthur) Runyon of Knox County. Maggie K. Runyon Stone was born 01 April 1841. Still another Runyon was found in a biography of David Vaughan of Ohio County, Kentucky. He was the son of George Vaughan from Rhode Island, then Vermont, then Hamilton County, Ohio, where David was born before being removed to Ohio County, Kentucky. David’s wife from his first marriage was Ann, the daughter of Peter and Ellen Runion Mitchel of Hamilton County, Ohio. She was born 05 November 1815 and died 05 November 1840.
(Source: Westerfield, Thomas W. “Kentucky Genealogy and Biography.” Vol. V. Ownesboro, Ky., Gen Ref. Co. 1975. p. 268. Ibid. Vol. III. 1971. p. 200.
Mrs. Lula Reed Bass of Maysville, Ky., has written a well-researched paper entitled “Mason County’s First Temple of Justice.” The temple was Mason County’s first courthouse located in Washington, which had been established as a town in 1786 by an act of the Virginia Legislature. Made “of brick and stone,” the building was opened on 26 October 1796, Mrs. Bass wrote. On the outside of the building, in an area called “publick grounds,” there was a section fenced off for “stray pens” where lost or stray livestock were placed for owners to identify and recover. Another outdoors section was the pillory or whipping post where culprits received 20 lashes as punishment. After 115 years, lightning struck the courthouse (Friday, 13 August 1909) and burned the building. The Hixon Papers at the Maysville Public Library talk about a bill passed in 1847 to remove the court from Washington to Maysville. Before 1847, the court appointed a committee of farmers to report on adding a room to the courthouse in Maysville. On the farmer’s committee for Mason County are listed Daniel Runion and A. Runion.
The 8 August 2006 edition of the Brownsville Herald carries a lengthy story on my father, Robert Runyon, who was co-author with his cousin Amos Runyon, of Runyon Genealogy. The article, entitled “Picturing the Past” by Julian Cavazos revolves around an interview with my brother, Delbert Runyon, who lives in Brownsville. The story focuses on Robert Runyon’s career as a photographer in the Rio Grande Valley from 1910 to about the mid-1920s. This was a time period during which the Mexican Revolution took place and Robert Runyon traveled both sides of the border to document the events on film. Many of these photos either made it to newspapers of the day or were offered for distribution through post cards. The interview also coincides with an exhibit of his post cards at the Brownsville Heritage Complex from Aug. 10 to Oct. 9, 2006. It will then appear at the Port Isabel Historic Museum from November through February 2007 for anyone making the trip to the Valley this winter. From a genealogy standpoint, it’s an excellent article that covers Robert Runyon’s life from his birth in Kentucky to his life in Brownsville.
Incidentally, another story by Julian Cavazos on Aug. 9 involves refurbishment of a house in Brownsville using photos taken decades ago by Robert Runyon and another article on Aug. 14, again by the same author, tells the story of Brownsville’s first female postmistress, Julia O’Brien. This article notes that after her death in 1946, she was succeeded as postmaster by Robert A. Runyon, who is the son of Robert Runyon who co-authored Runyon Genealogy.
Is Rognon the original spelling for Runyon, Runyan and Runion? A case might be made for it if you traveled to Belgium because indirect hints of Vincent Rognion would be all around you. In Brussels, you can dine at the Rue de Dominicains just off Butcher’s Alley (remember Bouchiere?) at a restaurant named Chez Vincent. You can order Rognon Veau (veal kidneys) and for dessert follow up with Crepe Vincent all on the same menu. The next day you could take a trip to Rebecq-Rognon to visit the home of famed physicist Ernest Solvay and perhaps look up some distant relatives?
Rognon is not an unknown surname in the U.S. either. We came across the Marietta College (Marietta, OH) dean’s list for fall 2003 and spring 2004. Heather C. Rognon is cited for her academic accomplishments on the web page. In addition, the United Soccer Leagues list Ryan Rognon among the members of the West Michigan Fire Juniors. Unfortunately, the links are no longer working.
We received a genealogy note recently regarding the word agnate from Tidbits reader Stephanie Perkins. The definition from the Oxford University Press is “a relation by descent from a common male ancestor, especially on the father’s side.” If nothing else, it’s a good word to note for crossword puzzles.
On 5 April 1971, the San Antonio News carried an Associated Press story about Keith Runyon, then a 20-year-old junior at the University of Louisville, who won a $50 first prize from his school for the best personal library. Keith started accumulating his collection at age 14. At the time of the award, he had 595 books, 458 tape recordings, 1,500 magazines and numerous newspapers, all of which he kept in his bedroom.
Phoebe in California writes us to inform Runyon genealogists of an error in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) records. Her ancestor, Moses Carpenter, is listed as being married to Elizabeth Bunyon. However, she was Elizabeth Runyon, the daughter of Richard Runyon of Morris County, N.J. Phoebe used to live in Edison, N.J., just about 3 miles from Piscataway where so much Runyon history begins.
Mary Gilmore Runyon, wife of Asa R. Runyon, of Lexington, Ky., merited an interesting obituary when she died around 1904. An undated clipping, probably from the Lexington newspaper, titled the report: “Death Comes to Oldest Woman in Lexington.” Mary was born at Mays Lick in Mason County in 1810. Her father fought in the war of 1812 and after the war’s close they moved to Exeter, N.H., but later returned to Kentucky. Her husband was “one of the original leaders who assisted in bringing about the reformation of the Christian Church, of which Kentucky was made the battle ground.” After he died, Mary made her home in Marietta, Ohio, and then lived again in New Hampshire before returning once more to Kentucky where she died at Lexington at 95 years of age. The children of Asa and Mary Gilmore Runyon included George F. Runyon, Asa R. Runyon, Mrs. A.B. Chinn and Charles G. Runyon.
Summer travelers through New Jersey should take the opportunity to visit the village in Piscataway that is known as East Jersey Olde Towne. The village is under the guidance of the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Comission with the help of a non-profit East Jersey Olde Towne, Inc. The guiding force behind creation of the site was Dr. Joseph Kler who sought to save historic buildings in the area from destruction. The village is on 12 acres on the northern end of Johnson Park near the Raritan River in Piscataway. The Runyon House and Bar, moved from Possumtown Road in Piscataway in 1978, is among the buildings that make up the village.
(Source: Dorothy White Hartman. “Joseph H. Kler, M.D., F.A.C.S., A Monograph.” Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission. 1994.)
The Daughters of the American Revolution files list the following Revolutionary War veterans who were spouses of women with the Runyon surname.
Ebenezer Tingley Jr.
Mrs. Mary Runyan
Deborah (Clark) Runyon
Elsa Smalley Runyon
Source: DAR Patriot Index. Vol III. P. 622-623.
This poem was written almost a hundred years ago on a postcard to a Runyon:
Like me little, like me long
Like me when I am right or wrong
Like me whether rich or poor
Don’t think you do but be real sure
Make up your mind that I am it
Make all the other girls “git”
A parson, a witness, a wedding ring
Isn’t love a grand old thing?
When it came to Runyon males in merry Old England, John was a popular name through the ages. A recent scan of the National Archives reveals three references to John Runyons. In 1435, a John Runyon along with the Bishop of Exeter and others is cited as holding the manor of Talfern in Cornwall. Between 1553 and 1558, a John Runyon and others are defendants in an assault case at Compton Martin in Somerset. And between 1556 and 1558, a John Runyon, esquire, and John Horner and Richard Morgan are in a dispute with Thomas Gryffyn, knight, and Jane his wife, over diversion of water from a tucking-mill in Babington. A tucking-mill required water to mill cloth.
(Source: The National Archives: Records of the UK government from Domesday to the present. Accessed 14 May 2006.
The diary of Joseph D. McCutchan tells the story of how American William J. Runyan and 15 companions dug their way out of the dungeons of Perote Castle in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in an escape attempt. The men were part of the Mier Expedition, a raiding foray by Texans into Mexico during the Republic of Texas days that was led by William S. Fisher—after Texas independence but before statehood. The reasons for the raid varied, depending on the individual. Some sought revenge against the Mexicans and some were adventurers. We don’t know what category Runyan fell into, but we do know he was among the seven escapees who were recaptured. The other nine made it safely to Texas. At some point, Runyan was released. He next appears decades later living in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, in a request to the state of Texas for a pension. He says he was in the Army of Texas from 01 November 1842 to 16 September 1844 in Capt. J. G. W. Pierson’s company and in Col. Fisher’s regiment. His petition states he was a prisoner from the Mier Expedition for 5 months.
(Source: Copy of W. J. Runyon’s pension papers. Nance, J.M., editor. Mier Expedition Diary by Joseph D. McCutchan. University of Texas Press, Austin. 1978. p. 119.
A couple of interesting notes about the above-mentioned Mier Expedition Diary edited by J.M. Nance. The diary’s author, Joseph D. McCutchan, one of the participants in the Mier Expedition, listed all the men under Col. Fisher in that ill-fated raid into Mexico. There is no W.T. Runyan listed in Capt. Pierson’s company, but there is an A. D. Runyan. Nance, the book’s editor, in a footnote, refers to a William T. Runyan who escaped from Perote Castle. However, the pension is listed in the archives of the Texas State Library under the name William J. Runyan. Search for his name at the library website for more documents.
Another Texas story deals with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers showed little patience in dealing with badmen over the decades. Many served and died upholding the true objectives of the Ranger Service. A Runyon took the oath of the Ranger Force in Amarillo, TX, on 13 December 1909. He was L.G. Runyon, a native Texan, who was born at Weatherford in Parker County, just west of Fort Worth. At the time of his enlistment, he was 36, single and his occupation was listed as a carpenter. Runyon was assigned to Company D Ranger Force. He later resigned, but the date is not known.
(Source: Texas State Library and Archives Commission Web Site.)
Some of Vincent Rongnion’s descendants moved from the Raritan River area to Rocky Hill, a borough in Somerset County, N.J. The census of 2000 reports only 662 citizens in Rocky Hill, but there probably were even fewer almost 225 years ago when a very important event took place. On 2 November 1783, Gen. George Washington gave his Farewell Address to the Army at Rocky Hill following the end of the American Revolution.
(Source: Rocky Hill, NJ.)
The Baltimore Sun of Feb. 3, 1954, carried this under its deaths column: “RUNYON—On February 2, 1954, MARY ERMA, at the residence of her sister, Mrs. E. Garfield Perkins, 1507 Frederick road, Catonsville, Maryland. Service and interment in Martins Ferry, Ohio.”
A gazetteer and business directory of Kentucky dated 1879-1880 lists names of businesses and business leaders living in that state’s towns. One such town was Runyan, Kentucky. Here is its listing:
“Pike County, on the N. & W. R. R. 25 miles from Pikeville on the county and 3 miles from Williamson, W. Va. Its banking point, W. G. W. Riddle, postmaster.
Scott, A.J. & Smith, general store
Scott, T. B. & Co., general store
The directory’s authors caution, however, that the distances given may be in error.
(Source: “Polk’s Kentucky State Gazetteeer.” “Pike County Kentucky 1822-1077 Historical Papers, Number Three.” Pike County Historical Society. Berea College Press. Berea, KY. Revised edition, p. 7-14.)
At the town meeting of Early Absecon, N.J., on 11 March 1728/29, Thomas Rugnion was appointed overseer of Rogers Road. The only reference to the duties of a colonial overseer that we could find was on the web page of the Virginia Transportation Research Council. It states: “The establishment and maintenance of public roads were among the most important functions of the county court during the colonial period in Virginia. Each road was opened and maintained by an overseer (or surveyor) of the highways, who was appointed each year by the Gentlemen Justices. The overseer was usually assigned all the able-bodied men (the "Labouring Male Tithables") living on or near the road. These laborers then furnished their own tools, wagons, and teams and were required to work on the roads for six days each year.”
(Source for information on Thomas Rugnion: “Along Absecon Creek. A History of Early Absecon, New Jersey.” Sarah W. R. Ewing and Robert McMullin. P. 13.)
Willyam Runyon lived in London in the 16th century during Tudor times. He is listed in the 1582 London Subsidy Roll as living in Dowgate Ward and having to pay £5 to Queen Elizabeth I. According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online, a subsidy was “a pecuniary aid granted by Parliament to the sovereign to meet special needs.” In Tudor times, the subsidy was applied “pre-eminently to a tax of 4s. in the pound on lands and 2s. 8d. in the pound on movables.”
(Source: '1582 London Subsidy Roll: Dowgate Ward, Two Tudor subsidy rolls for the city of London: 1541 and 1582 (1993), pp. 219-24. Date accessed: 14 May 2006.
About half a century before Vincent Rongnion arrived in the United States, an English brickmaker known as William Runion of Deptford went before a justice in the Quarter Session in Kent on 4 August 1611 and was ordered to pay 20£. Runion had been accused by a gentleman named William Letsam of Lewisham and others of going on Letsam's grounds at 7 p.m. on a Friday evening about a week prior and taking pears from Letsam’s tree. Runion also was suspected of taking three of Letsam’s geese. The proceeding was called a recognizance in that the charged party recognized that he or she owed a debt for the performed misdeed. However, the debt could be avoided with the stipulation that the charged person pledged before the justice to do a certain act. Runion’s recognizance included the order “to appear and to be of good behaviour.” Sureties for the fine were provided by John Bagley of Greenwich, yeoman, and William Greene of Deptford, labourer.
Bob Runion sent a great computer tidbit that will be helpful for all genealogy researchers using the Internet and frustrated with small type. If you hold the ctrl key down and then turn the small wheel in the middle of your mouse, the print size will increase or decrease depending on which way you turn it. If you don’t have a wheel, you can also increase or decrease size by going to View and then Text Size on your browser’s tool bar. It’s a great aid “especially in the early hours,” as Bob says.
In the middle of the 18th century, Protestant John Peter Runyoe was considered a foreigner by the British Crown even though he resided at Bedminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The 1740 Act of Parliament stipulated that in order for a non-English immigrant to have all the rights and privileges of a British subject, that person had to live in a British colony for seven years, take an oath and produce a certificate that he had taken the Sacrament. In 1742, Runyoe joined 16 “Quakers and other Protestants” in taking the “Affirmation” and making and repeating “the Declaration according to the Directions of the act of the thirteenth of King George the second, entituled ‘an Act for naturalizing such foreign Protestants and others therein mentioned as are settled or shall settle in any of his Majesty’s Colonies in America.’” The same declaration was required by the General Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania.
(Source: Persons Naturalized in the Province of Pennsylvania, publisher unknown, p. 67.)
In the presidential election of 1868, C. Runion of Lower Johns Creek in District 5 in Pike County, Ky., probably didn’t hear much from his kin. He was the county’s sole person with a variation of his surname who registered to vote as a Republican. The Democrats were Stephen Runyons of District No. 1, and Ara H. Runyon, Anderson Runyon and David Runyon of District No. 6. C. Runion did all right though. The Democrats voted for Horatio Seymour for president and Frank D. Blair for vice president while the Republican nominee was Ulysses S. Grant for president and Schuyler Cofax for VP.
(Source: “A Pike County Voting Report for 1868.” Transcribed by Faye Burke. Pike County Historical Papers. No. 5. P. 33-44. Pike County Historical Society, Inc. Pikeville, KY., 1983.)
On Jan. 15, 1894, Isaac S. Runyon of Raritan Township in N.J., appeared in the Middlesex County deed office and claimed right to land by virtue of a deed of “over 40 years and upward.” The deed abstract showed that the land had an interesting history in this area where Vincent Rongnion first settled. On 1 May 1759, Benjamin Fitzrandolph and Reuben Fitzrandolph of Piscataway, Middlesex, N.J., sold to Elijah Dunham, also of Piscataway that “lott of salt march or meadow” for £4, 12 shillings and 5 pence. Benjamin and Reuben Fitzrandolph, the latter the father of the late Moses Fitzrandolph, had purchased the land from the executors of Benjamin Hull through a deed of 11 April 1740. The 1.5 acres of land lay in Piscataway Meadows and adjacent landowners were Timothy Caslor, Vinson Runyon, Richard Smith. Witnesses to the sale to Dunham included John L. Couty (?) and Thomas Holton.
(Source: Middlesex County New Jersey Deed Abstracts Book “1.” Richard S. Hutchinson. Heritage Books, Inc.)
Gerald Runyon from Arkansas pointed us to the web site for Albert Benton Runions (1918-1998) who was a pioneer rockabilly star later known as Al Runyon. Al was born in the Little Sycamore Valley in Claiborne County, Tennessee. After World War II, Al became a well-recognized entertainer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He performed with other stars including Bill Monroe, Brenda Lee and Gene Autry. The web site gives many more details of his life and musical career. Thanks to Gerald for bringing it to our attention.
We found yet another spelling for Runyon/Runyan/Runion in a small book about the French Huguenots' early settlement in New Jersey. In this book, the index refers to Vincent and Martha Roughnion. However, there is no proof that Vincent was a Huguenot until someone discovers his name appearing on a roster of Friends meetings. We looked at the booklet in hopes it had some clue to the name of the ship on which Vincent came to America. It didn’t have any information on that. But it did list the following ships on which French Huguenots arrived in America about the time Vincent first is recorded living in this continent:
The Philip in 1665 brought Robert Vaquellin, a native of Caen, Lower Normandy, France. He accompanied Phillip Carteret and Daniel Perrin. They landed first at Nieu Amsterdam 29 July 1665. In 1666, Daniel Perrin lived in Elizabeth Town Plantations.
The St. Jan Baptist brought Marin DuBois.
The Faith in 1649 listed among its passengers Giles Jans de Mandeville who settled first in New Amsterdam and then in the Passaic Valley in New Jersey.
No ship was listed for Eves Bellangee (Bellinger, Ballinger) who came from Poitou in 1682-1690. Nor was one listed for Henry Jacques, whose son, Henry Jacques Jr. settled the township of Woodridge.
The Bontekoe brought David de Marest.
The Spotted Cow brought Pierre Neau (Noe) from England in 1663. He became an “associate” in Elizabethtown in 1695.
The Purmerland Church brought Nicholas De Puy to New Amsterdam in 1662. He settled in Bergen County.
No indication any of these was Vincent’s ship unless he was a passenger not listed on one mentioned above. In all the author of the booklet cites 34 references.
The booklet leaves no doubt that the Huguenots were eager to leave France. It tells of the departure from France of Ruel Rulon, who settled in Monmouth County. On p. 18, the book states this about Rulon: “Although his brothers were Catholics, they helped him to escape in a hogshead which was rolled on shipboard and thus he left France.”
(Source: Koehler, Albert F. “The Huguenots or The Early French in New Jersey.” Baltimore. Clearfield Co. Inc. 1996.)
People go to horse shows, dog shows, cat shows, and in Texas to big cattle shows. But on 08 September 1919, several young Runyons in Kentucky helped put on a pig contest to showcase their pig club. Pond Creek Citizens, coal companies and the bank of Williamsburg, W.V., contributed an award of $1,000 for the contest to go to first, second and third place winners. Runyon members of this Pond Creek Pig Club were: Charley Runyon, Burt Runyon, Thomas Runyon, Clyde Runyon and Virgil Runyon. The show began at 10 a.m. at the Old Pond District No. 63. Unfortunately, the news account of the show did not list winners.
(Source: “News of Pond Creek and Stone.” Old Pond Hatfield/McCoy Historical Association. Tom Atkins, editor. Tug Valley Genealogical Society. South Williamson, Ky. Vol 3, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2000. p. 44.)
Western New York in the 19th century recorded seven Runyon/Runyans. They were (all dates are between 1809 and 1850):
Record 7557: Runyan, Eli, m 11/25/30, Sally Ann Gordon in Lyons: William Voorhies, Esq. (5-11/26).
Record 7558: Runyan, Henry M. inf. s. of Isaac W., d 11/24/25 in Jersey, Steuben Co. (3-12/7).
Record 7559 Runyan, Isaac W. m 2/19/25 Hannah Hollett in Bethel; Rev. Gideon Laning, (3-2/23).
Record 7560 Runyan, Philip m Priscilla Brush in Bethel; Rev. Hollett (3-4/15/18).
Record 7561 Vincent of Ontario Co. m 6/28/14 Vicey Edington of Fayette of F.; Hugh McAllister, Esq. (3-7/6).
Record 7562 Runyon, Aaron of Seneca m. 1/14/16 Sally Silvers of Fayette in F.; Rev. Young (3-1/24).
Record 8949 Thornton Ezra of Meredith, Dela. Co. m Charity Runyan in Fayette in F.; Joseph Pixley Esq. 3-2/3/13.
(Source: Bowman, Fred Q. “10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, 1809-1850.” Baltimore. Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc. 1985. pps. 194, 227.)
Mary, the daughter of Jonathan Rose, married David L. Runyon in Fleming County, Ky., by license dated 3 November 1801. This information came to light in documented evidence about Mr. Rose that was contributed to The Kentucky Genealogist in 1971 by Mrs. Lula Reed Bass of Maysville, Ky. The 1850 census of Fleming County shows that Mary Rose was a widow with some of her children living with her in House 298. The children were Eliza Runyon, Lydia Runyon, George W. Runyon and David Runyon (27 years old). The other children are listed in their own households. One Ezekiel married Elizabeth Caywood on 23 December 1830.
(Source: The Kentucky Genealogist. April-June 1971. Vol. 13, No. 2. p. 74-76.
Another family record submitted in 1969 by Mrs. E. H. Arthur of Cincinnati, Ohio, to “The Gateway to the West” includes Stout D. Runyon who was born 26 September 1803. On 2 September 1823, he married Dorothy Graham, born 9 May 1802. They had three children:
Lucinda, born Nov. 4, 1824. She married Litte Gray on 20 April 1845, and they moved to Achison County, Missouri, in April 1866.
Eliza Jane, born 7 February 1824.
David Runyon, born 22 May 1832. He married Mollie O’Neal in September 1858.
Dorothy Graham Runyon died 13 April 1834 at the age of 31. Stout D. then married Catherine Sibrel on 22 November 1834. Catherine was born 29 May 1804 to Nicholas and Catherine Sibrel. Stout and Catherine had one daughter, Sarah A. Runyon, born 23 January 1836. She married I.B. Dunn on 4 September 1853.
Stout’s daughter Eliza from his first marriage died 18 April 1844. He died 2 April 1864 at 61 and his second wife Catherine died 27 August 1879 at 75.
(Source: “Gateway to the West.” Vol. 2. 1969. Jan-Mar 1969. No. 1.)