An American Family History

Anthony Yerkes

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,
and, under a just God cannot retain it."
― Abraham Lincoln
Yerkes has also been spelled Gerkes, Gerckes, Jerghes, Jerghjes, Jurckes,Yercas, Yercks, Yerkhas, Yerkas, Yerkiss, Yerks, and Yerkus
Byberry is a township in the northeast corner of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. The Walton brothers were early settlers. Moreland Township was just west of Byberry. When Montgomery County broke off in 1784, Moreland was divided into two townships, both called Moreland. In 1917 the Montgomery County Moreland split into Upper Moreland Township and Lower Moreland Township.

Pennsylvania is one of the 13 original states and was originally founded in 1681 as a result of a royal land grant to William Penn, the son of the state's namesake.

Anthony Yerkes was born on November 28, 1712 in the Manor of Moreland. His parents were Herman Yerkes and Elizabeth Watts. He was named for his grandfather, Anthony Yerkes. He was a farmer.

His wife's name was Jane. They were members of the Southampton Baptist Church.

Anthony and Jane's children were:
Elizabeth Yerkes Fulton (1735, married David Fulton),
Obadiah Yerkes (1742),
Jacob Yerkes (1744, married Elizabeth Gaunt and Sarah Fleming),
Anthony Yerkes, Jr. (1745, married Mary Harper),
Joseph Yerkes (1746, married Hannah Ashton),
Sarah Yerkes Grant (1750, married Robert Grant) and
Lieutenant David Yerkes (1752, married Elizabeth Wilmerton).

In the 1776 Assessment of Moreland from Bean's 1884 History of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Anthony Yerkes had 230 acres, 3 horses, 7 cows, and a son who was "a cripple." His son, Jacob Yerkes and a horse and a cow and Anthony Yerkes, Jr. had 2 horses and 2 cows. Obadiah was probably the handicapped child because he provided for his maintenance in his will.

In 1780 their son, Anthony was in the 3rd Company, First Battalion of the Philadelphia County Militia.

In 1790 the Anthony Yerkes, family lived in the Manor of Moreland, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The household consisted of 15 people. They had one person enslaved.

During the Revolution, their son Anthony was first lieutenant of the Second Company, First Battalion, Philadelphia County militia, Lieutenant-Colonel George Smith commanding. David was a first lieutenant of Captain Josiah Hart's company, in the Fourth Battalion of Philadelphia County militia.

Jane died on May 12, 1783 and he died on March 9, 1791 in Moreland when he was 78 years old.

First printed in Boston 1745
The Manor of Moreland was composed of a tract of ten thousand acres, and was created, in 1682, by a grant from William Penn to Dr. Nicholas More. Most of the Manor was in Philadelphia County, but is now Moreland Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Children of
Herman Yerkes
& Elizabeth Watts:
  • Anthony Yerkes
  • John Yerkes
  • Sarah Yerkes Hufty
  • Josiah Yerkes
  • Herman Yerkes
  • Silas Yerkes
  • Elizabeth Yerkes Howell
  • Stephen Yerkes
  • Elias Yerkes
  • Titus Yerkes
  • A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.
    Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

    Lush forests in Colonial America allowed settlers to build wooden homes.



    Bucks County, Pennsylvania is one of three original Pennsylvania Counties and was formed in 1682. Originally it was a large territory that included all of what would later be Berks, Northampton, and Lehigh.
    An early American tavern (or ordinary) was an important meeting place and they were strictly supervised. Innkeepers were respectable members of the community. Taverns offered food and drink. An inn also offered accommodation.

    Chronicle of the Yerkes Family, with Notes on the Leech and Rutter Families by Josiah Granville Leach

    Anthony Yerkes (Herman2, Anthony1), the eldest son of Herman Yerkes by his wife Elizabeth Watts, was born in the Manor of Moreland, Montgomery (formerly Philadelphia) County, Pennsylvania, 28 November, 1712, and died there, 9 March, 1791.

    He was a farmer, and resided in said Manor, on a tract of land which he purchased from his father. This tract contained one hundred acres, and lay on the east side of the road leading from Philadelphia to Southampton, Bucks County, and near the "old mill." He also owned a tract of over eighty acres, which he purchased from his brother, Elias Yerkes, and which was located on the west side of this road, opposite the first-named tract. He was a member of the Southampton Baptist Church, Bucks County, and in 1772 was one of the committee for the building of a new meeting-house. The Pennsylvania Gazette of 2 July, 1767, contains the following:

    Five Pounds Reward
    Stolen, last night, out of the Pasture of the Subscriber, living in the Manor of Moreland, Philadelphia County, a black Horse, about 15 hands high, well set, a Star in his forehead, a thick curly mane, hanging on the right side, a white spot on one of his left feet, hath been used to Gears, Paces, Trots, and Gallops. Whoever takes up said Horse, and brings him to the Subscriber, or to William Whitehead's Tavern, in Second Street, Philadelphia, and secures the Thief, so that he may be brought to Justice, shall have the above Reward, and for the Horse only Three pounds, with reasonable charges paid by "anthony Yerkes. N.B.—The Horse is about eight years old.

    No record of the marriage of Anthony Yerkes has been found. The Christian name of his wife was Jane, and she died 12 May, 1783, in the seventy-third year of her age. The names of their children, as given below, are from his will,' dated 22 February, 1790; proved 26 April, the following year.

    Children of Anthony8 and Jane Yerkes; all born, no doubt, in Moreland:

    Obadiah Yerkes, who is believed to have died unmarried and without issue.

    Jacob Yerkes, born circa 1744; died 28 March, 1819; married (1) Elizabeth Gaunt; (2) Sarah Fleming.

    Anthony Yerkes, born circa 1745; died circa 1804; married Mary Harper.

    Joseph Yerkes, born circa 1746; died 24 December, 1807; married Hannah Ashton.

    A pair of Horse gears are the parts that allow wagon wheels to be turned by a horse.
    wagon gearsx
    A horse gear allows a horse to operate machinery.
    American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.
    Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.

    Will Abstract for Anthony Yerkes, Moreland. 
    February 27, 1790. April 26, 1791. 

    To son Obadiah, maintenance. 
    To daughter Elizabeth Fulton of Virginia
    To sons Anthony and David, 20 s. each.
    To son Joseph 20 pounds
    To daughter Sarah Grant, 100 pds. 
    To son David, 1 cow. 
    To son Jacob, farm purchased from father 
    Herman Yerkes,100 acres and land purchased from brother Elias, 89 3/4 acres.

    Execs: Sons Joseph and Jacob Yerkes.
    Wit: James Fulton, Saml. Ayres,  Philip Wynkoop

    Cattle were vital to a household and an important legacy.
    Unweaned cattle are calves.
    Female cattle are heifers and cows (had a calf).
    Male cattle are steers (castrated) and bulls.
    are trained draft animals and are often castrated adult male cattle.


    American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia,
    January 31, 1818 

    Died at Baltimore, on Saturday evening last, of an apoplectic fit, Mr. David Yerkiss, in the 65th year of his age, for many years a respectable inhabitant of that City. Mr. Yerkiss was a native of Pennsylvania, and was bred in the Calvinistic faith, but was among the first in this City to receive the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem, promulgated in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and has through life verified his faith by a deportment the most amiable and inoffensive.

    If to die without leaving a solitary enemy behind be evidence of worth, such may literally and truly, we believe, be said of Mr. Yerkiss and his friends were as numerous as his acquaintances.

    He left an amiable wife and party to bemoan his loss and bathe with tears of anguish the fondly cherished memory of an affectionate husband, and indulgent parent.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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