Mystery Solved: Village of Rye’s World War I Monument Names William & Ralph Yerks (Yerkes)

In one last act of desperation to find some type of mention of Ralph Yerks at a War Memorial,  I emailed the Rye Historical Society to ask them if there was a War Memorial in Rye.  Rye was the only town that I had had not visited because I was unfamiliar with it.  Within 12 hours, I received an email back from Dr. Ruth Smalt, Executive Director of the Rye Historical Society.  She took the time out of her busy day to walk across the street from her office to the war memorial located at the intersection of Rt 1 (Boston Post Rd) and Purchase St.  It is opposite the Village Green, and directly across from the Square House Museum front door where her office is.  She wrote:

“I just took a look at the WWI monument outside the Square House and sure enough, there is Ralph Yerks.  There is also a William Yerks, who served but survived the war.”

So we finally found him!  Ralph, brother of James L Yerks I,  who gave his life serving his country, died in France is recognized in the Town of Rye, New York.  His brother William, who survived The Great War is also recognized as serving his country on the same memorial.  Williams descendants are now in New Jersey and other points south of the New York / Connecticut area.

One interesting thing about the names on the memorial is that they are both listed as “Yerkes”, not “Yerks”.  Ralph’s draft card lists him as “Yerkes”, but he signed his card as “Yerks”.  Could this be the point where the name changed?  Maybe he was born as a “Yerkes” and changed his name with the rest of the family to “Yerks”?  Only time and more research will tell.

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Philip (Phil) Hayes is the CEO of Sirius Innovations, LLC. As CEO of Sirius Innovations, LLC, he served as a Technology Solutions Consultant and Web Applications Programmer for fortune 500 companies, large municipalities and hospitals. He is fluent in the SQL, ColdFusion, PHP and Javscript programming languages. He is also a power user of the WordPress Content Management System, commonly used for blogging. Phil's latest product development includes a service called 'Map The Past'. The advanced, yet easy to use functionality offered in this product will enable its members to "Walk in the Footsteps of Their Ancestors". Phil became a Genealogy addict when in 1998, his Uncle, Lloyd W Lewis, sat he and his wife down on the deck of his Uncle's Pennsylvania home and told them the story of his Great, Great Grandfather Henry W. Lewis, the Privateer. The story was so intriguing that Phil found himself yearning for more details. Hence…. Philip Hayes, the Genealogist was born. Leveraging his technology skills, Philip has grown and developed the family tree well beyond what his Uncle could have ever dreamed of. Combining the power of technology and the primary sources from historical documents, Philip developed his own family history web site, based on the Word Press Content Management System ( Upon publishing the site, it has inspired many people to develop interest in the family's history and has connected Philip to several undiscovered relatives and their family stories. Phil is a member of numerous historical and genealogy societies, including the Association of Professional Genealogists

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