I have known for a long time that William Compton, father of our “Compton clan” and of my ancestor Hannah Marie Compton, had a brother named Runyon. Or was it Runyen? Or Runyan? Though in his will it is spelled Runyon, on his tombstone it is Runyen. And as was common in those days, even the three grandsons who carried on his name did not leave a trail of consistent spellings. So take your pick.
It wasn’t until recently that it became clear to me how much the lives of the two brothers and their families ran side by side. Both Runyen and William were born in Orange County in eastern New York where their father William fought in the Revolutionary War. Both brothers were married there and had children born there. It seems clear that Runyen, his wife Sarah, and at least his first child, Hannah, moved from Orange County to the Finger Lakes area, specifically to the town of Tyrone, in either 1814 or 1815. With William’s family moving there at least by 1820 or possibly as early as1816 (birth of Susan; see Comptons’ Move and history of Tyrone), it seems clear that Runyen’s move contributed to William’s.
A few years ago I corresponded with at least two of Runyen’s descendants, both of them with friendly (?) challenges to things I had posted on my webpage. Duane Fowler, a descendant of Runyen’s daughter Fanny, is one of several descendants who have done extensive research on the family and visited the sites in western New York. I asked him to write a summary of what is known of Runyen’s life. Some of the above, along with what follows, is part of that.
As his life was nearing an end, Runyen and Sarah moved from Tyrone to live with family in Allegany County to the west. There in the summer of 1852 Runyen drafted his will. He left son Jesse Miller Compton as executor with instructions to care for Sarah. Runyon died 3 Sept. 1852, and is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Friendship, Allegany County, NY.
Back in Stueben County, his brother William had died a couple of years earlier (late in 1850), so it seems the two brothers lived near each other almost their whole lives. For William’s children it means their Uncle Runyen was part of their lives all through their growing up and, for most of them, well into their adult years.