An American Family History

Anthony and Margaret Yerkes

Germantown, Pennsylvania
Manor of Moorland, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Yerkes has also been spelled Gerkes, Gerckes, Jerghes, Jerghjes, Jurckes,Yercas, Yercks, Yerkhas, Yerkas, Yerkiss, Yerks, and Yerkus

Home of Anthony Yerkes in the Pennypack Creek area of the Manor of Moreland. It was inherited by Herman Yerkes.


The Pennepek (Pennepack) Baptist Church, also known as Lower Dublin is in in Bustleton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Anthony Yerkes and his wife, Margaret, married in Europe and immigrated to America. They first settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania. In 1709 they purchased a tract of 300 acres in the Manor of Moorland and moved there near Pennypack Creek.

Herman Yerkes was born about 1689 and Adolphus Yerkes was born about 1690.

Margaret died before September 9, 1709 when Anthony married Sarah Eaton Watts. Anthony died before 1744.

Burgess Court
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.
Christ Church in Philadelphia was founded in 1695 as a condition of William Penn’s Charter. The current building dates to 1744.



History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania: From the Discovery of the Delaware to the Present Time by William Watts Hart Davis, Warren Smedley Ely, John Woolf Jordan published by The Lewis Pub. Co., 1905

About 1700, Anthony Yerkes, with wife Margaret, and sons Herman, Adolphus and John, came from Germany and settled on the Schuylkill. He was one of the Burgesses of Germantown, 1703 and 1709, bought of John Holme three hundred acres at Shelmire's mills on the Pennypack, in the manor of Moreland, Philadelphia county, now Montgomery.

After the death of his first wife, Anthony Yerkes married Sarah Eaton, widow of Rev. John Watts, who died June 27, 1725. Anthony Yerkes had three children,
Herman, born 1689, died 1750-1,
Adolphus, living, 1744, and
John who probably died unmarried.


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

Anthony Yerkes, the founder of the Yerkes family in Pennsylvania, came to that Province about 1700, or possibly a few years prior to that date. The earliest record of him in the Province is under date of 11 September, 1702, on which day he served as a juryman in a cause heard before the Court of Record at Germantown, Philadelphia. Is it likely that he would have been selected for this service had he not been a resident there for at least a few years? . . .

Upon coming to America, Anthony Yerkes settled at Germantown, the fair name of which place had no doubt come to his attention before he departed from his home in the old world to establish one in the new. On his arrival he probably found some old acquaintances, and possibly some kinsfolk. Among the early settlers of the town was one David Scherkes, the sheriff of the municipality in 1692. It has been suggested that "Scherkes" was another of the variations in the spelling of the surname Yerkes, and that David Scherkes was a kinsman of Anthony.

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.

When Anthony Yerkes settled in Germantown, the inhabitants of that place were enjoying the privileges of a borough government, organized in 1691, under the title and name of "the Bailiffe, Burgesses, and Commonalty of Germantown," by virtue of the charter granted in 1689 by William Penn. . .

Anthony Yerkes was an applicant for such right and privileges, and his application met with favor at the hands of the court. In 1702 he was selected, as before mentioned, to serve as a juror in the Court of Record of the borough, and in January, 1702-03, he was chosen by the General Court one of the burgesses, in the place of one who was elected in the previous month but had been excused from serving. At the succeeding annual election, 1 December, 1703, he was re-elected Burgess, and duly qualified for the office on the 28th of the same month, as appears from the following abstract of the minutes of the General Court under that date: "Arents Klinker, Bailiff, Hans Heinrich Meels, Peter Schumaker, Jr., and Anthony Gerkes, three eldest burgesses, Simon Andrews recorder and William De Wees constable, were all attested to serve in their respective places."

The bailiffs and burgesses were the chief public functionaries of the municipality, and selections to fill these offices were made from among the leading men in the corporation. These officials acted as justices of the peace, and they constituted the Court of Record provided for in the charter, and their presence was necessary to compose a legal meeting of the General Court of the borough, in which various capacities Mr.Yerkes rendered service during the two terms in which he held a burgess-ship.

Mr.Yerkes was a farmer, and engaged in this pursuit upon his settlement at Germantown. The acreage of the town was so limited that it precluded extensive land-holdings by a single individual, and Mr. Yerkes, after carrying on farming there for a few years, concluded to extend his agricultural operations by establishing himself on a larger plantation than could be had in that place, and to this end he purchased, in 1709, a tract of three hundred acres in the Manor of Moreland, to which he removed with his family. . .

Anthony Yerkes appears to have been so comfortable in his financial circumstances that he was able to retire from active business a few years after he occupied his plantation in Moreland, and to hand over the plantation to his sons. He gave two hundred acres of the same to his eldest son, Herman, and one hundred acres to his youngest son, Adolphus, and he subsequently executed deeds of conveyance for their respective portions. In a deed dated 11 June, 1719, he is styled "of Dublin Township," to which point he is believed to have removed upon his retirement from business. His second wife's relatives, the Wattses, resided in the latter township, and the motive prompting his removal there may have been a desire to gratify her wish to be near her family.

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.

The date of Mr. Yerkes's death has not been ascertained. He was living 20 August, 1723, when he executed a deed to his son Herman, but died prior to 1 March, 1744, when Herman made a deed for a portion of the land conveyed to him by his father, in which the father is mentioned as being deceased. He married twice.

His first wife, Margaret, emigrated with him to Pennsylvania, and died before 17 November, 1705, on which day, as is learned from the Register of Christ Church, Philadelphia, he married Sarah [Eaton] Watts, the widow of Reverend John Watts, the eminent pastor of the Lower Dublin or " Pennepek" Baptist Church, and the sister of George and John Eaton, who were among the early Welsh colonists of Pennsylvania. She died 27 June, 1723, and was survived by her husband. Mr. Yerkes's children were by his first wife, Margaret, whose maiden name is not known.

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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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