An American Family History

Joshua Yerkes, Jr. 

Yerkes has also been spelled Gerkes, Gerckes, Jerghes, Jerghjes, Jurckes,Yercas, Yercks, Yerkhas, Yerkas, Yerkiss, Yerks, and Yerkus

The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia borders Maryland and Virginia. The first European settlers started arriving about 1730.

A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.

The National Road (Cumberland Road) was built by the federal government and connected the Potomac and Ohio Rivers. Construction began in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland. The road crossed the Allegheny Mountains and southwestern Pennsylvania and reached Wheeling, West Virginia in 1818. It then crossed Ohio and Indiana and stopped at Vandalia, Illinois.

Joshua Yerkes, Jr. was born on August 11, 1772 in Berkeley County, Virginia which is now Jefferson County, West Virginia. His father was Joshua Yerkes.

In 1798 Joshua, Sr. transferred all of his property to Joshua Yerkes, Jr. 

According to his pension record from the War of 1812, he married Margaret Reed in 1799 in Hagerstown, Virginia. He was 27 when he married. Margaret was born on December 25, 1784 in Jefferson County, Virginia. Her parents were Thomas Reed and Mary Calvert.

Joshua and Margaret's children included:
Nathaniel Yerkes (1808, married Elizabeth Medd),
John H. Yerkes (1810),
Rachel Yerkes Reed (1812, married James Addison Reed),
Joshua Yerkes
Mary Yerkes Griffith (1817, married James Griffith),
Margaret Yerkes Jolly (1821), and
Samuel Yerkes (1824, married Mary Jane McQuirter).

The family appeared in the 1810 census of Jefferson County, Virginia. The family consisted of two boys under ten, a man between 26 and 44, and a woman between 16 and 25.

Joshua served in the War of 1812 in the 57th Regiment, Virginia Militia as a corporal in Captain Thomas Cockerell's Company of Infantry in a Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Minor. He began service August 26, 1814 and mustered out in December, 1814 in Washington. His home was listed as Jefferson County, Virginia. The distance of the place of discharge from his home was sixty six miles. He received ten dollars a month. In his pension application he said that he

was guarding Ft. McHenry, Relived Picket Guards five nights in Succession kept Cogburn from coming into Ft McHenry & from there we went to Bladensburg and was there two or three months to keep them from coming into Washington City. My discharge was lost when I was getting land.

In 1819 they moved from Virginia to Ohio. They probably took the National Road.

In 1840 Joshua (Yarkes) was living in Springfield Township Hamilton County, Ohio. At the time of the 1850 census, Joshua and Margaret were living in Dearborn, Indiana. Joshua was 70 and Margaret was 66. Joshua and Margaret appeared in the 1860 census of Dearborn. Joshua (jashuay Yerks) was 83 and Margaret was 78.

Margaret died on June 15, 1866 of a heart attack in Bright, Dearborn County, Indiana.

At the time of the 1870 census, Joshua was still living in Harrison Township. He (josuah gergers) was a member of the James and Mary "refett" household. Joshua was 89, James refett was 57 and Mary refett was 53.

Joshua died on February 28, 1872 in Bright, Indiana when he was 99 years old. The Journal-Press in Lawrenceburg, Indiana reported on March 14, 1872 that Joshua had been burid the day before.


Children of Joshua Yerkes
  • Joshua Yerkes, Jr.
  • Margaret Yerkes Blue (Peggy)
  • Josiah Yerkes
  • Mary Yerkes Conklin
  • Rachel Yerkes Irvin
  • Priscilla Yerkes Wood
  • In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.

    Indiana became a state in 1819. The north was settled by people from New England and New York, the center by people from the Mid-Atlantic states and Ohio, and the south by people from Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee.


    West Virginia is located in the Appalachians and was originally part of Virginia. The capital and largest city is Charleston. It became a state during the Civil War and was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863.

    from History of Hamilton County, Ohio

    Joshua Yerkes was born in Virginia and came from that State to Ohio, where he settled in Springfield township in the year 1819. All through his life he followed the business of farming, and was a soldier in the War of 1812. He died in Indiana in his hundredth year.

    His wife, Margaret Yerkes, died in her eighty-seventh year. The surviving members of the family are John H., Rachel Reed, Mary Griffith, Margaret Jolly, and Joshua, the second son and subject of this sketch.

    [Joshua Yerkes, Jr]... was born in Virginia, in the year 1812, and came with his parents to Hamilton county when but a lad of seven summers. He left the parental roof at the age of fourteen; was twice married, first to Miss Eliza McGillard, daughter of an early pioneer. To Mr. and Mrs. Yerkes was born an only son, Howard, who resides in Iowa and has a wife and two children. Mr. Yerkes lost his companion after four years of married life. Mr. Yerkes married for his second wife Miss Elizabeth Brown, who was also of quite an early and prominent family, of whom an extended account will be found elsewhere. To this second marriage were born six children four sons and two daughters-Susan, Alfred, Elizabeth, Hiram, Martin, and Edward all living

    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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