An American Family History

Stephen 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.

Stephen Yerkes was born on August 3, 1727 in the Manor of Moreland. His parents were Herman Yerkes and Elizabeth Watts. He was a farmer and a landowner.

He was a member of the Union Library Company of Hatboro, and he and his wife were members of the Southampton Baptist Church.

He married Rebecca Whiteside. 

Rebecca and Stephen's children included:
James Yerkes (1756, died age 4),
Stephen Yerkes (1759, never married),
James Yerkes (1761, married Rachel Shaw),
Elizabeth Yerkes Morgan (1764, married Eli Morgan),
Rebecca Yerkes Watson  (1766, married Levi Watson),
Joseph Yerkes (1769, married Mary Purdy),
Rachel Yerkes Rodgers (1772, married James Rogers), and
Samuel Yerkes (1775, married Elizabeth Rutherton).

In the Assessment of Moreland of 1776 from Bean's 1884 History of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania he had 150 acres, 4 horses, and 4 cows.

In 1790 the Stephen Yerkes family was in the Manor of Moreland, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. There were 11 members of the household.

His will was probated December 23, 1811.

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
  • The Union Library of Hatborough was formed in August, 1755 by 38 men who met the Crooked Billet Tavern. They each paid ten shillings a year to buy books. In August, 1756, the first shipment arrived from England.

    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.
    It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.
    Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.



    John Adams, Jr. (1735-1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801), the first Vice President (1789–1797).

    Chronicle of the Yerkes Family: With Notes on the Leech and Rutter Families by Josiah Granville Leach, published by Printed for private circulation by J. B. Lippincott, 1904

    Stephen Yerkes (Herman2, Anthony1), sixth son and eighth child of Herman Yerkes by his wife Elizabeth Watts, was born in the Manor of Moreland, Montgomery (formerly Philadelphia) County, 3 August, 1727, and died there, probably shortly before 23 December, 1811, the date of the probate of his will. He was a farmer and land-owner, and resided in Moreland throughout his life. His father devised to him a one-fourth share in the two hundred acre plantation which he, the father, had received from his father, Anthony Yerkes, which share Stephen Yerkes sold to his brother Silas.

    Stephen Yerkes married Rebecca Whiteside, who was living 28 July, 1811, and is named in her husband's will of that date. The others named therein are: sons Samuel and Joseph, daughters Rebecca and Rachel, and grandchildren Mary, Emma, and Thomas, the children of his deceased daughter Elizabeth, "late the wife of Eli Morgan." His son Samuel Yerkes and George Shelmire were appointed executors. Mr. Yerkes was a member of the Union Library Company of Hatboro, and he and his wife were members of the Southampton Baptist Church.

    Children of Stephen and Rebecca (Whiteside) Yerkes; born in the Manor of Moreland:
    James Yerkes, born 24 December, 1756; died in infancy.

    Stephen Yerkes, born 4 June, 1759; died at about fifty years of age, unmarried.

    James Yerkes, born 2 October, 1761; died at Ovid, New York, in June, 1804;married, 23 December, 1783, Rachel Shaw. He removed with his family to Ovid, New York, after 22 September, 1800, on which day he conveyed land in Moreland, which his father had conveyed to him 6 May, 1797, and the son is described in the former conveyance as "of Moreland." He is said to have had ten children, "all of whom died young." His will, dated Ovid, 11 June, 1804, proved 28th of same month, names wife Rachel, and mentions "sons" and "daughters," but only one child by name,—Stephen. He directs that his estate should be sold, debts paid, and that his family should remove to Pennsylvania, "among my relations, and there remain until my youngest child be twenty-one years of age." As none of the family are mentioned in his father's will, it is believed that all had died before the date thereof.

    Elizabeth Yerkes, born 18 February, 1764; died before 28 July, 1811; married,by the Reverend William Van Horne, Pastor of the Southampton Baptist Church, 17 February, 1782, to Eli Morgan, by whom she had, according to the will of her father: Mary Morgan, Emma Morgan,Thomas Morgan.

    Rebecca Yerkes, born 2 October, 1766; married Levi Watson, son of JosephWatson tby his wife Rachel Croasdale, and had issue. Mr. and Mrs. Watson removed to Wayne County, New York, but the writer has failed to obtain their family record. It is said that Mr. and Mrs. Watson had two sons and one daughter, and it is known that their daughter, Sarah Watson, married, in 1817, Samuel Smith, a prominent school-teacher, of whom see "Scharfs History of Delaware," 742.

    Joseph Yerkes, born 5 July, 1769; died 10 January, 1850; married Mary Purdy.

    Rachel Yerkes, born 4 November, 1772; married James Rogers.

    Samuel Yerkes, born 24 September, 1775; died 19 March, 1861; married Elizabeth Rutherton.

    Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.
    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
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