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As I continue to struggle to find proof that George Oakley Yerks is the son of William Townsend Yerks, I changed focus for a bit in hopes that something else might pop-up that would help me put the pieces of this family puzzle together. I decided to research the brothers and sister of William T Yerks. I’ll give you a little spoiler… I have more questions now, than I did before.
John W Yerks
Thanks to research done by David Yerks (a descendant of John W Yerks) of California, we have pretty much solidified this branch of the family tree. There are not too many mysteries left here. We even recently found his gravestone in Pleasantville.
According to Census records, Ezra Yerks is the brother of William Townsend Yerks, John F. Yerks and Armenia Yerks. The 1880 Census indicate that there were two Ezra Yerks that inhabited New Castle in 1880. One was listed as single (b. 1837) and living with the Wright family as a servant on a farm in Chappaqua. The other Ezra Yerks (b. 1830), was listed as married at the time, but his wife was not listed in the Census with him. So that may be a mistake. Living with the second Ezra was his brother Joseph, father John and mother Fanny. I found a gravestone in Palmer Cemetery in Pleasantville that shows a 62 year old Ezra Yerks who died in 1890, so I decided to do some research on him.
First, someone had already added him to Find-A-Grave
His obit (below) offers little help except that he managed Mr. Cowdins Farm in Chappaqua.
There is another article that mentions how a box with lots of money and valuables was found under his bed when he died.
This articles indicates that this Ezra Yerks was a bachelor, “so of course the money would go to his bother and sister”. So, at age 62, that would most likely make him the second Ezra Yerks from above. But if Ezra was indeed a bachelor, than maybe he was Ezra Yerks, the brother of William Townsend. I did contact the poster of the Find-A-Grave memorial to see what she knows. Right now, I guess I would have to say that the Ezra Yerks who died in 1890 is NOT the brother of William Townsend Yerks, but maybe time will tell otherwise.
Armenia Yerks is the daughter of Maria and William Yerks, born around 1835. The 1880 Census shows Armenia Yerks (b. 1830) to be living with Charles Carpenter. It indicates that Armenia is the Aunt of the head of household. This would mean that Charles Carpenter would have to be the son of one of Armenia’s sisters. The problem is that as far as I knew, Armenia was the only daughter of Maria and William Yerks. I am sure there is a connection here, I just have to figure it out..
Then the 1900 Census shows Armenia to be in an “Almshouse” with lots of other woman. From Wikipedia: “Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people (typically elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent) to live in a particular community”. Also: “A building of residence for the poor, sick or elderly of a parish. Originally founded by the Church. Usually a charity relying on donations for funding”.
Ira F. Yerks
Here is another mystery. Who is the Ira F Yerks that appears in the 1870 Census with William and Maria? Maria would have to have been 59 when she delivered him, if she was his mother. It would seem more likely that he would be the son of Ezra or Armenia, but as far as we know, neither had children. There are two Ira Yerks living in the area in 1900. The first (b. 1864) is listed as a boarder with the Birdsall family in Bedford. The second (b. May 1863) is living with a Jared and Julia Dann in Pound Ridge. He is listed as a son-in-law, making him the sister of Julia.
To make things more confusing, I found two newspaper articles that mention the name Ira Yerks.
- A Mr. and Mrs. Ira Yerks of Mount Kisco “Spent Sunday with their Aunt, Mrs. Hannah Lawrence” according to an 1888 Newspaper article.
- A September 1887 newspaper article states that a Ira Yerks “went to Newark last Monday to begin work”
You would think that with all the information out there about the Yerks Families in Westchester, it would be easier finding information on this branch of the family tree. It’s not. Chances are that they were poor and did not appear as much in the public eye as other branches of the Yerks family tree have because of that. The only grave I have found so far is that of John W Yerks. He is in the same cemetery as the Ezra Yerks above.