SHENK, CYRUS G., was born in Derry township , Dauphin county, Pa., May 21, 1839; son of John M. Shenk. Rev. Michael Shenk, the grandfather, was the first of this family to settle in Dauphin county. He was first at Germantown, Pa., removed from there to Philadelphia and later of Lancaster county, where he received his education. The family were of the class which left Switzerland for good political and economical reasons, removing first to London, England, and later to America. His great-grandfather married Miss Lehman, who bore him a large family.
Christian, the grandfather, was brought up a farmer boy, and had few educational advantages, the lack of which made him a strong advocate for a liberal provision in this respect for the youth of the State. He was married in Dauphin county to Miss Martin, by whom he had two daughters and one son, John M. He later married a Miss Lehman, who bore him two daughters and a son. He was a man of great public spirit, an advocate of free schools and all measures promoting the general welfare of society, and was a man of prominence and influence whose advice was sought on all matters. He succeeded his father on the old Shenk farm which then contained six hundred and forty acres.
John M., the father, was born on the homestead, November 15, 1814, and was educated in the district schools of that time. He was reared on the farm and became a farmer. He was married, in Dauphin county, in 1838, to Miss Mary Gingrich, born in Derry township, in 1815, daughter of John and Mary (Moyer) Gingrich. After marriage, he settled on a rented farm in Derry township, and after a short time returned to the old homestead in Conewago township. Their children are: Cyrus G., Diana, Mary Ann, Christian M., and Elizabeth. His wife died in 1881, after a lingering illness. She was a devoted Christian woman, active in all good works. The father still survives and enjoys good health for his years. He has held several township offices, and has been one of the directors of the Hummelstown National Bank since its organization.
Cyrus G. began his education in the district schools of Conewago township, and finished at Mt. Joy Academy, when he was about nineteen years of age. He then taught school for four terms, and later became a farmer, and has made this his occupation. He has been something of a traveler, having visited various sections of the country, both east and west. He was married, at Mt. Joy, Pa., in 1868, to Miss Annie Herr, born in Lancaster county, in 1847, daughter of Abraham and Ann (Riehr) Herr. After marriage he took up his residence with his father on the old homestead, which, in 1870, he bought from his father, and which now contains two hundred and sixty acres. His children are: Albert, Mamie, John, Herman, Cyrus, and Annie. Mr. Shenk is an independent voter with Republican preferences. He has held the office of school director for many years, and also that of auditor and other offices. He has never connected himself with any church, and has always held that people should not be divided by religious prejudices and preferences, and would prefer to call all men brethren. He has taken a deep interest in Sunday-schools, and in early life served as superintendent at the local school. He is treasurer of his district, and is esteemed by all as an upright man.