John Runkle

John Runkle (1756-1813) was born March 28, 1756 in the Boght (Watervliet), NY.  He was my third great grandfather.

His parents were Johan Runkle (1730-1803) and Anna Barbara Neher (1728-1793).  John’s father purchased a 246 acre farm in October 1769 in the Boght, eight miles north of Albany.  It was there that John and his brother and their four sisters were raised.  John’s older brother Henry (1754-1838) inherited the family home and raised his family there until his death. The farm then was passed onto Henry’s son John Runkle (1787-1865) who married Christina Roff, niece of Frederick Roff.  There were growing close connections between the Roff and Runkle families.

John Runkle (1756-1813) served in the 3rd Albany County Regiment of the Militia, along with Frederick Roff.  The 3rd Regiment of Albany County Militia in 1768 became the 3rd Regiment of Tryon County Militia in 1772 and reformed in 1775 for the War of Independence.

At age 40, on April 16, 1796, he married Helena Van Woert (1773-1824), daughter of Eldert Van Woert and Elizabeth Fonda.

After the death of his father in 1803, John built and resided on the portion of the homestead farm which was divided with his brother.  It was there on February 17, 1813 that he died and is buried.

John and Helena’s children, some of who were baptized at St. Paul’s (Zion’s) Lutheran Church at Red Hook:

Child Born Married Departed
Elizabeth Runkle 14 Nov 1797 none
John Runkle 1 Oct 1800 Mary Harrington & Fannie Van Patten 8/24/1889 Peoria Co., Illinois
Eldert Runkle 19 Aug 1802 Nancy Bowen 1834 Illinois
Mary Runkle 10 Dec 1805 Frederick Roff 31 Dec 1848 New York
Henry Runkle 14 Nov 1807 Carrie Fitch 14 Apr 1852 Illinois
Cornelius Runkle 19 Jan 1810 none

The family burying ground of the Runkles is located in the town of Colonie, formerly Watervliet, NY.  It branches from the Loudon road at the old brick house of the Roff family and runs somewhat northwesterly leading to Dunsbach’s Ferry and the Railroad station of Ermick.  The burying ground is nearby.  Also interned there are the bodies of Johann Ruckle, the original settler, and his wife Barbara Neher, but apparently no stones mark their graves.

The following inscriptions have been found: “Runkle, John, brother of Henry, born March 28, 1756 – died February 17, 1813.” ” Helena Van Woert – wife of Johann Ronckle – daughter of Eldert Van Woert and Elizabeth (Fonda) married April 16, 1796.”  RIP

From a psychological standpoint, John spent his life in the house were he was born and lays buried nearby.   In contrast, his children moved away to Illinois and California, seeing a larger world.  Their youngest son Cornelius became President of the First National Bank of Knoxville


Index of the Rolls of Honor (ancestor’s Index) in the Lineage of the DAR, Volumes 57-59

U.S. Federal Census Records, Watervliet, 1790

The Runkle family : being an account of the Runkels in Europe, and their descendants in America (1899) by Ben Van D. Fisher

Knox County


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