An American Family History

Herman Yerkes

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.

Herman Yerkes was born in 1689 in Germantown, Pennsylvania or he immigrated to America with his parents from Germany or Holland. He was the son of Anthony and Margaret Yerkes. He was a farmer and a miller. His brother was Adolphus Yerkes.

He married Elizabeth Watts in 1711. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on Herman and Elizabeth Watts.

In 1729 he was naturalized. The assembly declared him entitled to the rights and privileges of subjects of the king. His will was dated February 5, 1750 and proved on April 3, 1750(?).

Harman Yerkes was listed in the 1734 assessment of Moreland. He had 50 acres.

He died in 1751 in 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 yeoman was a man who owned and cultivated a small farm. He belonged to the class below the gentry or land owners. A husbandman was a free tenant farmer. The social status of a husbandman was below that of a yeoman.



    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.
    A sorrel horse is light brown.
    Imprimus or imprimis means "in the first place."
    Germantown Township, Pennsylvania was originally settled by German Quakers and Mennonites in 1681. It was divided into settlements, called Germantown, Cresheim, Sommerhausen and Crevelt. The township became part of the city of Philadelphia in 1854.

    IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN, the Second Day of May One Thousand Seven hundred and fifty I, Herman Yerkes of the Manor of Moreland County of Philadelphia and Province of Pennsylva Yeoman being well in Health of Body and of perfect Mind and Memory Thanks be given unto God yet calling to mind the mortality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dye do make and Ordain this my Last Will & Testament.

    That is to say Principally and first I give and recommend my Soul into the Hands of God that gave it & my Body I recommend to the Earth to be Buried in Decent Christian Buriel at the Discretion of my Executors Nothing Doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty Power of God and as Touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath Pleased God to bless me with in this Life I give Demise & Dispose of the  same in the following manner & form ffirst that all my Lawfull Debts be paid, if there be any.

    Imprimis. I give and Bequeath to Elizabeth my Dearly beloved wife the sum of Twelve Pounds Current and Lawfull money of Pennsylvania Yearly to be Leved out of my Estate as Long as She lives to her own proper use & Behoof. Together with her Bed & Bedding & what Cow she pleases with her own Mare and the Sorrel Colt to be kept on the place for her use and also which room she thinks most proper for her self in the House and Likewise Sarah Griffied to attend her till she becomes free.

    I also give and Bequeath to my four Eldest Sons Anthony, John, Josiah, & Herman Yerkes Together with what they have already had, the sum of One Pound each to them and their Heirs for ever

    it is also my Will that if Josiah my son thinks proper to keep the Thirty acres that is over and above the fifty acres that I gave him he may keep it he Paying my two Daughters Sarah [Hufty] and Elizabeth [Howell] the Sum of Sixty Pounds (viz) Thirty Pounds each Current Money of Pennsylvania to them or their Husbands and to their Heirs for Ever at the Expiration of One Year after my Decease otherways it shall be joyned again to my own Plantation and the Sixty Pounds for my two Daughters as above shall be Leved out of my Estate and given to them or their Husbands and their Heirs for ever.

    I also give & Bequeath to my four Youngest Sons (viz) Silas, Stephen, Elias & Titus Yerkes all the Plantation whereon I now live with my Part of the mill and all Privileges Belonging or appertaining Thereto with all & Singular my Goods, Chattels, and Moveables thereto belonging Excepting what is above Expressed to be payd out of my Estate to them and their Heirs for Ever to be Equally divided amongst them at my Death (viz)

    to Silas Yerkes & Stephen Yerkes, Elias Yerkes & Titus Yerkes & to their Heirs for ever they paying their mother & Brethren & sisters as before  mentioned if Josiah will not keep the Thirty acres as above and Likewise I allow all my Debts to be paid out of this my Estate.

    I Likewise Constitute and ordain Elizabeth my well beloved Wife and Silas Yerkes my Son Sole Executors of this my Last will & Testament.

    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.

    Personal property can be called personalty (personality), goods, chattels, articles, or movable property. It includes both animate or inanimate property.

    Horse Terms
    Foal: less than 1 year old
    Yearling: between 1 & 2
    Colt: male under 4
    Filly: female under 4
    Mare: female over 4
    Gelding: castrated male
    : non-castrated male over 4


    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

    Herman, who doubtless came with his father from Germany, married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. John Watts, February 11, 1711, becoming the son-in-law of his step-mother. They had ten children, and at the father's death, he divided eight hundred acres on the Pennypack among them.


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

    Herman Yerkes (Anthony1) was born circa 1689. He emigrated to Pennsylvania with his parents, and no doubt resided with them, at Germantown, until 1709, when his father purchased a plantation of three hundred acres in the Manor of Moreland, to which estate the family doubtless removed about that time. Subsequently—probably at the time of the marriage of Herman Yerkes—the father set apart to his son two hundred acres of the above named plantation, and formally conveyed to him such portion by deed dated 20 August, 1723.

    Herman Yerkes was a farmer and miller, and he conducted his business affairs with such energy, prudence, and success, that he came to possess considerable wealth, in the accumulation of which he was materially assisted by the strong hands of his eight sturdy sons. He added largely to his landed estate, acquiring in all about eight hundred acres of the best farm land in the Manor of Moreland. In 1744 he formed a co-partnership with Walter Moore in the milling business, and, as partners, they built a water gristmill on the bank of the Pennypack Creek, upon a portion of the plantation of Mr. Yerkes, who set apart nineteen acres of the same for milling purposes. Mr. Yerkes devised his interest in the mill property to his four youngest sons,—Silas, Stephen, Elias, and Titus,—and the three last named released their interests to their brother Silas, who, 4 July, 1757, conveyed all of his rights to Walter Moore, the former partner of his father. At a later period this property was acquired by one Shelmire, and was long known as " Shelmire's Mills."

    A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.
    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
    An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
    an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
    As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.