The Families of

Earl & Bonnie Updegrove

This website provides photos, names, memorabilia, family trees, and narratives of the various families associated with Earl David Updegrove of Muir, PA and Katherine “Bonnie” Graham Updegrove of Purcellville, VA. Earl and Bonnie raised 3 sons in Falls Church, VA: David, Craig & Bob.

On the Updegrove side there are two principal families: Updegrove and Drum, Drum being the family of Earl’s mother. On Bonnie’s side of the family there are four principal families: Graham (Bonnie’s father), Arnold (Bonnie’s mother), Corell (Bonnie’s paternal grandmother), and Yakey (Bonnie’s maternal grandmother).

The families of Earl’s father and mother.

The Updegrove/Drum families were rooted in the coal mining region of Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County, roughly an hour northeast of Harrisburg. Earl’s family home was in the small town of Muir, along Route 209. Our Updegrove family roots can only verifiably be traced back to Conrad Updegrove (1771-1865), Earl’s great great grandfather. The Updegrove name has been traced to the Op den Graeff families who migrated from Germany in the late 1600’s, founding what became Germantown, PA. It is unclear whether Earl’s family line has a direct lineage to these families. Not much is known about the family of Earl’s mother (Drum).

Schuylkill County, PA

The family of Bonnie’s father.

The Graham family name has its roots in Scotland, but the furthest back we can verifiably trace our Graham family is to a Robert Graham (b. 1723) in Ireland. There is quite a bit of material on Robert’s son Capt. Robert Graham (1749-1811), born in Ireland and buried in Wythe County, VA. Most of our Graham ancestors lived in southwest Virginia, mostly in Wythe County and Tazewell County, southwest of Radford, VA. William Robert (W.R.) Graham, father of Charles Graham and grandfather of Bonnie Graham Updegrove, moved his family from Tazewell to Loudoun County, VA in 1904, settling on a farm between Leesburg and Hamilton. While in Tazewell W.R. mostly worked with his father, Samuel Livingston Graham, who was a Clerk of the courts, a judge, and a U.S. Marshall. W.R. became a farmer after his move to Loudoun and, along with his wife Maggie Corell Graham, raised 8 children on their farm. More can be learned about life on the Graham farm in the book “Beyond The Blue Ridge” by WM Hickam.

General area of the Graham family in southwest Virginia

Graham Farm off old Route 7 in Loudoun County, VA

The family of Bonnie’s paternal grandmother.

The Corell family likewise was centered in the Tazewell area of Virginia. The furthest back we can trace the Corell name is Joshua Corell, born in Tazewell in 1794. Joshua was married to Mary Jane Wynne. The Wynne family first came to Virginia from England in 1657, and if the family tree is accurate, can be traced back to a Meredith Evan Wynne, born in 1370.

The family of Bonnie’s mother.

Our Arnold family ties can be traced back to David Arnold (b. 1757), born in Germany and moved to Frederick, Md sometime prior to 1830. The Arnold family grew and expanded toward the Burkittsville, Md area, owning a number of large farms. David’s grandson John Arnold (b. 1826) moved his family to Loudoun County in the late 1860’s. In 1988 John Arnold was a founding trustee of the newly formed Peoples National Bank in Leesburg (currently the building of Lightfoot Restaurant). John bought several farms in Loudoun and in his will left each of his three surviving sons a farm. His son Jason received a farm near Taylorstown, VA at the age of 24. This farm was located next to the Thomas Simon and Eliza James Yakey farm. Thomas and Eliza’s daughter Katherine would soon become Jason’s wife. They would go on to have three children, the oldest being Nellie Kathleen Arnold, who would marry Charles Graham (Bonnie’s parents).

The family of Bonnie’s maternal grandmother.

The Yakey family can be traced back to Simon Yakey (b. 1771), the grandfather of Thomas Simon Yakey. There are several papers belonging to both a Martin Yeaca and a Martin Yakey who proceeded Simon in Loudoun County. The will of Martin Yeaca refers to a son named Simon. The timing would indicate that this is Simon’s father, but there does not seem to be any additional verification to certify that relationship. Thomas and Eliza Yakey’s farm (140 acres) had been in the Yakey family since 1832 and was inherited by Thomas from his grandfather Simon. The brick house was built in 1838. After the death of Eliza in 1917 the farm was bought at auction by Jason and Katherine (Yakey) Arnold, their second farm along with the one Jason inherited from his father. The Yakey farm remained in the family until 1933 when Jason had to sell it, largely as a result of the Great Depression and his not being able to handle both farms. In 2021 a smaller 50 acre portion of the original Yakey farm became the Flying Ace Brewery and Distillery.

Earl:  Along with his 8 siblings, Earl grew up in the coal mining town of Muir PA. His family ancestry is traceable back to central Pennsylvania in the late 1700’s. While the Updegrove name is associated with the Op den Graeff family who migrated from Germany in the late 1600’s to establish Germantown, PA, there is a question as to whether Earl’s family is of the same lineage. Earl was the only one of a set of triplets who survived birth. He was also the youngest of his siblings, being born 19 years after his oldest sister. Earl served 3 and a half years in the Army as a Technical Sergeant during WWII, about a year and a half spent in Europe. Without a high school degree, Earl spent his career working for the federal government, retiring in 1977 as the Budget Director for the Federal Maritime Commission. He was a lifelong artist and  musician.

Earl David Updegrove

(Loudoun Times-Mirror 1989)

Earl David Updegrove, Falls Church, 69, a retired director of the Federal Maritime Commission’s budget and finance office, who was active in church groups, died Sept. 30 (1989) at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. Mr. Updegrove was a member of Falls Church Presbyterian Church, where he had served as a deacon and member of the session. He was a native of Muir, Pa. He moved to this area in 1941, and served with the Army in Europe during World War II. Mr. Updegrove began his civilian government career after the war, becoming a civilian Army employee. He was a fiscal officer with the Military Petroleum Purchasing Agency before joining the Federal Maritime Commission in 1965. He retired in 1977.

Bonnie:  Katherine Bondeena “Bonnie” Graham grew up in Hamilton/Purcellville VA. The ancestors of Bonnie’s father, Charles MacDonald Graham (Pops), spent several generations in southwest Virginia. Charles’ father, William Robert Graham, moved his family from Tazewell VA to Hamilton VA around 1904 when Charles was 7 years old. Bonnie’s mother, Kathleen Arnold (Granny), grew up near Lucketts VA. Her traceable family roots in Loudoun go back to the mid 1700’s. At age 16 Bonnie attended Madison College, followed by the Medical College of Virginia. She worked as an RN, mostly at Arlington Hospital, and retired as the Associate Director of Nursing. While her three boys were in grade school, Bonnie worked the “graveyard” shift in the Emergency Room and would be home in time to see them off to school. Bonnie was a terrific cook and known for her hospitality and generosity, along with her outgoing personality. She did not have a shy bone in her.

Katherine Bondeena (Bonnie) Graham Updegrove

(Loudoun Times-Mirror 2016)

Katherine Bondeena Graham Updegrove (Bonnie), born November 13, 1924, passed away in Leesburg, VA on February 28, 2016 in the presence of her three sons. She was born at Leesburg Hospital and grew up in Hamilton and Purcellville. She graduated from Lincoln High School where she was the captain of the basketball team and the editor of the school paper. She attended Madison College before graduating from the Medical College of Virginia School of Nursing. Bonnie worked as an Emergency Room RN and ended her career as the Associate Director of Nursing at Arlington Hospital, retiring in 1988.

Bonnie married Earl Updegrove in 1949 and lived in Falls Church until Earl’s death in 1989. She then returned to live in Purcellville in 1990. She loved her family, making new friends, family trips to Bethany Beach, and travel throughout the country. Mom, “Bonnie”, Grandma, and “Bon Bon” was loved and admired by all who knew her and will be long remembered for her cheerful, caring and energetic spirit.

Most of the material on this website has been transcribed into a book form. The eBook version (pdf) is ideally suited for tablet devices such as an iPad. Just download and import into an app like Apple Books.

This link will take you to a charted family tree. Once there, click on any of the boxed names to make that person the target, or you can click on any of the names that appear in the person’s narrative below the chart.

This site was created and is maintained by Bob Updegrove,

youngest son of Earl & Bonnie Updegrove.