The House of Twelve Twins
At one of my recent family history talks, Dot Farrington shared newspaper articles she discovered during a research trip to Salt Lake City. The article that first caught her interest appeared on page 10 of the April 26, 1902, issue of Salt Lake City’s Deseret Evening News:
HOUSE NOTED FOR TWINS
Six Sets Born to Successive Families Who Have Lived There.
York, Pa.,–Midway between Stonybrook and Campbell’s Station, in Hellam Township, in this country, there stands a comfortable farm dwelling which is known throughout the township as the House of Twelve Twins because six sets of twins have been born under its roof in eleven years.
The article went on to mention twins born to families that Dot Farrington was interested in; specifically the Harry Farrington and James Runkle families. In the course of her research, Dot discovered other sources of this article, or variations of it, appeared in newspapers all around the United States and even in Australia.
Dot struck out on any of her connections to the particular Harry Farrington and James Runkle families in the article. She thought James Runkle was possibly married to Savanna Farrington, however her research concluded James Runkle, from the article, was actually married to Savanna Fuhrman on January 16, 1892.
I verified the Runkle research work Dot Farrington provided, using resources of the York County Heritage Trust, the York County Archives and Ancestry.com. It is pretty certain that one of the set of twins born in The House of Twelve Twins are Frank Eugene Runkle and Luella May Runkle; born on November 27, 1896.
When the various newspaper articles provide a source, they cite either The Philadelphia North American or The Inter Ocean, a Chicago based newspaper. Continue reading for a full copy of the earliest article discovered about The House of Twelve Twins.
The March 30, 1902, issue of a Chicago newspaper, The Inter Ocean, contained the earliest article, as yet discovered, about The House of Twelve Twins. The article begins “YORK, Pa., March 26.” I searched local newspapers for a potential March 26th article, however did not find any; possibly that was the date of The Philadelphia North American article? The Inter Ocean article follows in its entirety.
Six Sets Born to Successive Families Who Have Lived There.
Special Correspondence of The Inter Ocean.
York, Pa., March 26.–Midway between Stonybrook and Campbell’s Station, in Hellam Township, in this country, there stands a comfortable farm dwelling which is known throughout the township as the House of Twelve Twins because six sets of twins have been born under its roof in eleven years.
The house was originally known as the Rudy homestead, and it was to Mr. and Mrs. John Rudy that the first pair of the twelve little visitors came. The Rudys sold the homestead and it became the abode of David Stiles and his family.
The Stileses were not long in their new home when twins arrived. Then they moved out and the family of A. L. Thomas moved in and was blessed with twins.
Mr. Thomas, wishing to engage in farming in another part of the country, vacated the house one April day, and James Runkle became its tenant. One dark and stormy night a doctor was hastily summoned to the Runkle home. As he was leaving he was heard to remark to the astonished Mr. Runkle:
“Two—a boy and a girl.”
The Runkles, having heard of the previous twin arrivals, and their family being already a large one, they concluded not to run further risk of another double increase and followed the example of the other families by moving.
Harry Farrington and his family were the next to occupy the house, and with the Farringtons it was in course of time the same old story—twins.
The house is now owned by Milton Heindel, who, with his family, finds it a pleasant and confortable home. Mr. and Mrs. Heindel are the parents of the sixth set of twins born in the house.
Of the dozen twins born under the same roof, ten are living.
The nearest local article about The House of Twelve Twins, discovered thus far, appeared in the April 4, 1902, issue of the New Oxford Item of New Oxford, Pa. With a few minor word usage variations, it is the same article printed days earlier in The Inter Ocean. On a Google Search, I noticed Buffy Andrews commented several years ago on an article Blake Stough saw about The House of Twelve Twins; maybe that article was from the New Oxford Item. I wonder if any discoveries about this house were made back then.
Throughout the month of April, 1902, articles about The House of Twelve Twins appeared in newspapers around the United States. Most newspapers printed the article with few variations. However an example of variations added to the original story appear in the April 21, 1902, issue of the Evening Sentinel newspaper in Santa Cruz, California; where the following sentences were added in the middle of the article:
“The Old Ruby House,” [Rudy House typo] as it was still known, began to acquire a peculiar reputation. Some Hellmanites found in it an object for facetious comment, while others looked upon it with a degree of awe and superstition.
The Northern Star, a newspaper in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, printed an article about The House of Twelve Twins in their issue of July 16, 1902. This article added a sentence at the very end, obviously referring to a comment by another newspaper, in Australia?; the Daily News:
This is a haunted house which (says the ‘Daily News’) the Psychical Society ought to investigate.
Location of The House of Twelve Twins
The statement the house is midway between Stonybrook and Campbell’s Station, in Hellam Township, and with the house originally known as the Rudy homestead, indicates the general area of the house as being located along today’s Campbell Road. The 1800s property of Michael Rudy was 105 acres located primarily on the north side of Kreutz Creek, with the present house located at 295 Campbell Road. The 1800s property of Michael’s neighbor Samuel Rudy was primarily located on the south side of Kreutz Creek, with the present house located at 327 Campbell Road.
The House of Twelve Twins could have been the present house on either of these properties or another house that might have served as the homestead house. Deed searches and examination of old maps were not conclusive in pinpointing the location of this house. If any of my readers know anything about The House of Twelve Twins, please comment.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts