James R. Runyon
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. I., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

This honored resident of Passaic township comes from a family whose ancestral history has been intimately interwoven with that of New Jersey for a period of more than two hundred years. It is particularly consistent than a brief review be here accorded.

The family is of French origin, and the name has undergone certain changes in orthography, having been originally spelled RONGUION, then RUNNION and finally RUNYON. On account of religious persecution, representatives of the name fled from France to America in 1663, and five years later the original progenitor of the New Jersey branch of the family took up his abode in Elizabethtown. He married Ann BOUTCHER, daughter of John BOUTCHER, of Hartford, England, and took up his residence in Elizabethtown. In 1672 he removed to Piscataway, Middlesex county New Jersey. His children were Vincent, Dorien, Joseph, Reune, Ephraim, Mary, Peter, Jane and Sarah; and it is from the first named that our subject descended. Vincent RUNYON and his wife Mary had four children: Vincent, Reune, Reuben and Reziah; and of this family Reune, who was born in 1711, and died in 1776, married Rachel Drake, and had six children; Mary, Ephraim, Rachel, Reune, John and Reziah.

Of this family John RUNYON was the great-grandfather of our subject. He was born August 7, 1743, and died in 1792. He married Violet Layton, and their family numbered seven children: Reune, Enos, Ephraim, Mary, Francis, Thomas and Rebecca. The grandfather of our subject, Reune RUNYON was born Jul 7 1766, and died June 19 1855. He and his wife Ester had five children; Benjamin, Violet, Harriet, Asa and David R. The last named is the father of James R. RUNYON, of this review, and was born September 21, 1796. January 28, 1818 he married Ester ROSS, daughter of John and Martha (VANTILE) ROSS, and had the following named children; Isaac, who was born November 20, 1818 and died in 1892; Reune, who was born October 14, 1820, and died in 1838; Martha R., who was born in 1823, and is the wife of Freeman STEELE; Benjamin, who was born in 1826 and lives in Somerset county New Jersey; John R., who was born in 1827 and resided in Morristown; David, who was born in 1831 and died in 1895; James R., the subject of our sketch; and William H., who was born September 8, 1837, and died in 1881. The father of the family was a blacksmith and farmer of Somerset county for many years, and was also for some time a leading and influential citizen of Morris County. He was honored with a number of public offices, was originally a Whig, being a warm supporter of Henry CLAY, and was afterward a Republican. His death occurred December 4, 1886.

In taking up the history of James R. RUNYON we present to our readers the life record of one who has long and honorably been identified with the interests of Morris County. He was born February 26, 1834, reared to manhood at his parental home, and in 1858 he was married to Miss Susan C. DUNN, a daughter of Abram DUNN. She was born in 1836, and by her marriage has become the mother of the following named: Martha F., Anna M., Alletta R., Abram D., Susan D., and Harriet, who died in childhood.

Mr. RUNYON came to Morris County from Somerset county many years ago and has always lived in Passaic township, where he has carried on agricultural pursuits, with good success. In the affairs of the township he has been an important factor, and for twenty-five years has acceptably served in the office of commissioner of deeds, has long term indicating his ability and fidelity in the office. In politics he is a stanch Republican, having throughout the time of the existence of the party been one of its zealous advocates. He is a recognized leader in public matters, and is a progressive citizen, whose support is cheerfully and generously given to all matters pertaining to the public welfare. He and his family attend the Baptist church and in social circles occupy a prominent position.

His son, Abram D. RUNYON, is a wide awake young man of the county, who was educated in the Millington Academy and is now the general manager of the manufacturing plant owned by Fred NISHWITZ, of Millington. He has served in that position since 1892, discharging his duties in a prompt and capable manner, to the entire satisfaction of his employer and with credit to himself. Like his father, he is also an earnest Republican and takes an active interest in the advancement of his party, and is frequently seen in its state and other conventions.

Transcribed by Ida King


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