RUNK, Rev, Jacob. Retired minister of the United Brethren church, residing at Berrysburg, Pa., was born in Elizabethville, Dauphin county, Pa., July 20 1835. His grandfather, John Jacob Runk, was born in Germany, April 16, 1763. He came to this country early in life and settled in Lykens Valley, then a part of Lancaster county. He married a Miss Hayman and bought of his father-in-law seventy acres of woodland. This he cleared and built upon it a dwelling and other structures, living at first in a log house. He was always a farmer. His children were: Michael, Jacob, Philip, Ludwig, John, Susan, Elizabeth, Kate, and Hannah. Mr. Runk and his wife died on the homestead, the former on December 4, 1826. They were members of the German Reformed church. Mr. Runk is a Democrat.
His son Philip, father of Rev. Jacob Runk, was born in Elizabethville in September, 1805. He had a fairly good German education and grew up on his father’s farm. He became a farmer and cultivated eighty acres of land: he had also forty acres of timber land. He was to some extent a stock raiser. He was married, in Lykens Valley, to Elizabeth Smith, born in the valley near Elizabethville, in 1808; daughter of John Adam Smith, a farmer of Berks county, of German descent. They had nine children: Mary, deceased; Susan, deceased, wife of William Bordner, Powell’s Valley; Rev. Jacob; Christina, wife of Henry Buffington, Dauphin county; Michael, blacksmith, Pine Grove, Pa.; Elizabeth, wife of John Shoop, Ninevah, Mo.; Hannah, wife of Elias Shoop, farmer, Powell’s Valley; Adam, resides in Logansport, Ind., and Philip, died young. The father died on the homestead in December, 1874. He was born a Democrat and died a Republican. He was school director, supervisor and a member of the United Brethren church, in which he was a class leader and trustee. His wife also took an active part in church affairs. She died on the homestead in 1877.
Jacob Runk attended a German school in Powell’s Valley, kept in the basement of a private house, and afterwards went to English and German schools of the township. From eight to twenty-one years of age he worked on his father’s farm. He educated himself by reading and observation, and took up preaching. He was licensed to preach, and after taking a three years course in theology was ordained to the ministry in the United Brethren church by the conference held at Schuylkill Haven, Pa., in 1859.
Mr. Runk’s first field of labor in the Lord’s vineyard was near Reading, Berks county, Pa., where he spent a short time. He went thence to Lebanon circuit, and remained two years; thence to Hummelstown one year; thence to Lykens Valley; thence to Middleburg, Snyder county, tow years; to Reading Station two years; to Bethlehem Northampton county, three years; to Salem church, Lebanon, as station preacher, two years. He was then presiding elder for four years. He went then to the town of Lykens for three years; thence to Jacksonville circuit two years; to Lykens Valley circuit two years. Thence he went to Bellevue, Lebanon county, and was one year on Bellevue circuit; thence to Allentown two years. Mr. Runk was again elected presiding elder in 1888, and removed to Berrysburg, where he has since resided. After serving four years as presiding elder he retired to his fine farm of thirty-eight acres, on which he has his home. Several churches have been built up under his supervision. He has been three times a delegate to general conference: at Dayton, Ohio, in 1873; Westtield, Ill., 1877; and York, Pa., 1889. He still takes an active part in church matters.
Rev. Jacob Runk was married, in Uniontown, Miffllin township, Dauphin county, Pa., to Henrietta Geist, born in Uniontown, August 21, 1843; daughter of Conrad Geist, a preacher of the United Brethren church. They have five children: Cora M., born April 10, 1865, wife of Rev. Charles Mutch, a United Brethren preacher, of Shamokin, Northumberland county; Anna I., born September 7, 1867; M. Ellie, born January 2, 1870, wife of Prof. Daniel Romberger, Williamstown, Pa., died June 5, 1893; Irvin, born August 23, 1874, teacher, now studying at Lebanon Valley College. Mrs. Henrietta Runk died August 28, 1874. She was a devout Christian, and a talented leader in church work, a lovely lady, and a devoted mother. Mr. Runk was married the second time in 1876, at Lebanon, to Sallie Davis, born November 18, 1846, in Lebanon county. They had one child, Harry V., born July 11, 1877, is a tinsmith at Uniontown. Mrs. Sallie Runk died July 11, 1877.
Mr. Runk is a Republican and a Prohibitionist. He worked hard to obtain an education, having to depend upon his own resources. He won success, and established himself in his chosen profession. He has been very active and useful; he has worked for the establishment of righteousness and religion, and in all his fields of labor has been a power for good. Advancing years have not chilled his ardor or dampened his zeal; in years, as in youth, he is alive to the needs of the world, and to all opportunities for doing good.
Historical Review of Dauphin County