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JOSEPH YERKES AND HIS DESCENDANTS

BY ELIAS S. WOODMAN

Mr. Yerkes participated in the war of independence from its inception to its close, and soon after removed with his family to Romulus, New York. Here he passed the meridian of his days engaged in farming, but infused with the spirit of westward emigration, then setting toward the land of the great lakes, he came in 1826 with the family of his son William (he then being a widower) to the territory of Michigan, by steamboat from Buffalo to Detroit, and-thence up the blazed trail where is now the State road leading to the Grand River valley. Arriving at the township of Plymouth, Wayne county, he settled upon section two of township one south, range eight east, taking the land from the government.
With axe and fire brand he soon made a clearing in this wilderness of forest, and planted his family hearthstone within the four humble walls of a settler's cabin. Though well advanced in years and the father of a numerous family, he wrought with a strong arm, which soon transformed a dense forest into a beautiful and productive farm. After a residence here of twenty-four years he passed to his final rest on January 10, 1850, at the ripe age of eighty-one years. The eight decades of his life extended over an eventful period of the world's history. He had seen America, as well as France, in the throes of a mighty revolution, and attain their independence of kingly rule. He had seen the successful issue of three other American wars. He had seen fair Michigan emerge from the chrysalis of territorial dependence, into perfect state sovereignty, and take her place in the shining diadem of states which form our glorious union, where she now lies, set and encircled by the emerald lakes that kiss her fertile shores.

Michigan


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