Adam Runner (1751 — October 17, 1816)

Elizabeth (Betsy) Miller (1784 — )
Parents: XXXXX
Son: Benjamin Runner

Pennsylvania was a busy place in 1787. One of the least significant (unless you are a direct descendant) is that Adam Runner was born there that year. Also that year, in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , George Washington presided over a meeting of delegates from the former British colonies delegates to draft a new United States Constitution. Later that year, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify that constitution.

We do not know a lot about Adam, but records do show that he married twice, first to Elisabeth (Peggy) Penner and second to Sarah Elizabeth (Betsy) Miller on October 22, 1802 in Lincoln County , Kentucky .[1]

We also know that he moved a lot. Like was mentioned above, he was born in Pennsylvania , moved with his parents to Wythe County , Virginia when he was six or younger. He remained there until early adulthood. In fact, three of his children were born there. He then moved eastward a few miles to Montgomery County , Virginia (where at least two of his other children were born, thence moved westward to Boyle County , Kentucky where two other children were born and finally to Warren County, Kentucky, where he is shown in the 1810 census and where his youngest four children were born.

Adam and his first wife, Peggy, had seven children[2], as follows:

Adam Runner 1787 Wythe County , Virginia September 5, 1859
Nancy Runner March 9, 1793 Wythe County , Virginia March 28, 1872
Ann Runner 1794 Wythe County , Virginia
John Runner 1795 Montgomery County , Virginia
William J. Runner August 11, 1798 New Trail, Montgomery County , Virginia September 9, 1889
Polly Runner 1799

His second wife, Sarah Elisabeth Miller was born in 1770 in Virginia, the daughter of Jacob Miller and Margaret Penner. She died in 1833 in Richardsville, Warren County, Kentucky .[3] They had six children.

Sallie Runner 1808 Boyle County , Kentucky 1850
Jacob Runner 1810 Warren County , Kentucky After 1828
Dorinda Runner 1812 Warren County , Kentucky 1858
Margaret (Polly) Runner 1813 Probably Warren County , Kentucky 1833
Madison Runner 1815 Warren County , Kentucky Between 1858 and 1880

The 1810 census for Warren County, Kentucky shows an Adam Renner (sic) as the head of a household consisting on one white male under 10 years old, two between 10 and 15 and one between 26 and 44. Also, two white females under ten years old and one 26 and 44.[4]

Adam died on October 17, 1816 in Ray's Branch, Warren County, Kentucky. He is buried in the Smith-Runner Cemetery , Warren County, Kentucky. He left Elisabeth with six children, ranging from one year to ten years old. It would surprise no one that she needed help. So, she returned to her native Virginia where, three years later (on September 6, 1819 ) she married again, to another Adam, Adam Flora.[5]


[1] genealogy posted by Elinore Olsen, [email protected]



[4] 1810 United States Census for Warren County , Kentucky .


By JIM GAINES, The Daily News, Thursday, August 11, 2005.

Adam Runner came to Warren County in 1800, and died here in 1816. Like so many early settlers of this area, he was buried in a family cemetery.

His family remained and grew in Warren County, but his grave was generally forgotten - again, like many others. But unlike the others, his descendants developed a sense of their past. Now Adam Runner's burial site is known again, and documented for future generations.

That's thanks to current Warren County residents Ben Runner and his son Tyler Reeder, and to the Cemetery Documentation Project.

"I've lived here all my life, and I'm very interested in the history of Warren County," Runner said. He and Tyler, 13, documented more unmapped cemeteries during this round of the research project than any other volunteers, according to county Historic Preservation Planner Robin Zeigler.

And Tyler's become an active participant, Runner said. "I've just dragged him around with me everywhere, and he picked up the interest that way," he said. Together they have mapped and recorded details on about half a dozen cemeteries so far, including one containing Adam Runner's grave.

"The goal of this is to eventually document every cemetery in Warren County," Zeigler said. So far volunteers have documented 35 cemeteries, but there are many more to be done over the next few years, she said.

Local resident Barbara Ford donated her genealogical research on more than 100 cemeteries in Warren County, Zeigler said. "That has been our base," she said. "That's what we've been working from."

Altogether, Zeigler has some record of about 200 cemeteries - but there's even more than that to be found. "There may be as many as 500 (cemeteries) in Warren County," she said.

Warren County is dotted with small private cemeteries that served long-ago families. But many of those are falling apart, especially if that family has died out, Runner said. "I found one that all that was left was blank stones lying on the ground," he said.

Many old graveyards are now on active farmland. Farmers may not identify them if they've deteriorated so badly that that appear to be no more than a few scattered rocks, Runner said. So those headstones are often destroyed in the course of plowing.

Even if they are recognized as cemeteries, farmers often don't know what to do with them, he said.

One old cemetery was found on what had been the current owner's grandfather's farm. Not realizing its significance, the owner was going to build a road over the site. But after the graves' identification and documentation, the owner preserved it and cleaned it up, Runner said.

Old cemeteries should be documented for several reasons, Zeigler said.

"The most obvious is genealogical research," she said. Gravestones are often the only place to find some historical information.

Another is simple respect for the dead. The people buried in these forgotten plots expected that their graves would be cared for, just as those alive today assume their resting places will be maintained, Zeigler said.

Discovery of an unknown cemetery can also be costly for developers. With Warren County growing rapidly, information on gravesites becomes more valuable to those designing new streets and buildings, she said.

"I would much rather see people work with them than try to move them," Zeigler said.

If cemetery locations are known in advance, developers can plan to leave them as green space, as is being done with a small cemetery on the site of the Kentucky TriModal Transpark, she said.

The transpark is leaving the cemetery in the middle of a circular road, plans to keep it mowed and seeks a grant to build a small fence around it.

Mary Travelsted signed up for a documentation workshop through her interest in genealogy, she said.

She'd already visited many cemeteries to research family history. Now she's documented three abandoned graveyards, and worked on one near Smiths Grove that held 200 graves, Travelsted said.

"I think it's important to preserve them if we can," she said.

Documenting cemeteries means more than recording just the names and dates for genealogists, Zeigler said. It means recording a host of information about the monuments.

"Photographs, measurements, what kind of stone it is, why type of style it is, what shape it's in - all that kind of stuff," she said.

And the cemetery itself must be measured, mapped and described, Zeigler said. Zeigler holds documentation workshops in the spring and fall, she said.

A workshop about how to document cemeteries will be held Sept. 10. For a $5 fee, volunteers will be taught how to read worn and overgrown monuments without damaging them and how to accurately fill out state documentation forms.

"We give training on documentation, but also teach about legalities of cemeteries, how to protect them," Zeigler said.

A lot of people think that bleach or shaving cream are good to use on tombstones, to help clean worn inscriptions, she said. Others make pencil rubbings. But she teaches volunteers not to do either.

"All of those things are extremely harmful to monuments," Zeigler said. Instead, she advises use of a spray bottle of water and a soft-bristled scrub brush.

"That works remarkably well," she said.

A strong flashlight or sun-reflecting mirror can highlight contrasts enough to read many worn inscriptions, Zeigler said. She urges people to consult professional conservators before trying any cleaning or repairs on their own.

Many people show up for workshops out of interest, even if they don't have time to do the work; but about half of those who attend are ready to start documenting graves, she said.

"Generally, people who get involved know of a small cemetery on their property or on their family property, or out in the countryside somewhere," Zeigler said. They'll often want to focus on that one, she said.

In 600 hours of work, Zeigler and 11 volunteers have documented 2,371 monuments, she said.

Three workshops have been held so far, training 32 people to document cemeteries and three more for entering the information in a database, she said.

Copies of the documentation will be sent to the Kentucky Library, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Genealogical Society and the state Department of Transportation, for inclusion on road-planning maps, Zeigler said.

Many cemeteries are already mapped but not fully documented, she said.

A $7,500 grant from the Kentucky Heritage Council funds the documentation project, as well as a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the residential area of Smiths Grove, Zeigler said. That funding is being matched by the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County, she said.

- For more information about cemetery documentation workshops and volunteering, call Zeigler at 842-1953.[4]