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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Samuel Younker

A brave pioneer, an exemplary mother, and a woman of broad charity, was Mrs. Samuel Younker.  When the womanly virtues are summed up, they are compassed in these three --- to face life, and its hardships bravely, to be a good mother and to "love thy neighbor as thyself."  Mrs. Younker embodied them all.  She was born Nov. 17, 1839, in Kurnick, Prussia, and died in Chicago, April 16, 1909.  Her father, Falk Cohen, was a Rabbi, a College Professor, an author, and a linguist of high standing and wide reputation.  They were people rich in culture but poor in this world's goods;  the memory of that poverty, in later years, added to her joy in giving from her abundance.  With her parents she came to America at the age of fifteen, taking up her residence in New York in 1854.  In 1863 she was married to Samuel Younker, a dry goods merchant of Keokuk.  Six children were born to them --- Aaron, Nettie, Falk, Isaac, Gertrude and Marcus, who died in childhood.  Mr. Younker was a very successful business man.  He was one of the organizers of the B'Nai Israel church at Keokuk, the oldest Jewish church in Iowa.  He died in 1879.  The oldest son having moved to Des Moines in 1883, Mrs. Younker and her family moved to that city which was her home until her death.  Her sons with two uncles, Marcus and Herman Younker, established the Younker store of Des Moines, which is one of the best known stores in the middle west.  Mrs. Younker was a woman of great charity, a humanitarian in every impulse.  She gave comfort to the sorrowing, lifted the fallen and gave courage to the disheartened.  She was not one who sent her gifts by a messenger, but with the gift went her own gracious personality.



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